Author: caldercannons

Cannons sneak past Rebels in thriller

Written by Jarryd Barca

We’re very proud of the kids. They were phenomenal.

– Assistant Coach Chris Nolan.

The Calder Cannons find themselves equal-second on the NAB League ladder after scraping past the GWV Rebels in Round 15.

The home side was able to keep the Cannons at arms length for most of the day and even drew the lead out to 23 points nearing stoppage time in the third term.

But in a show of pure resilience, Calder was able to kick five of the last six goals of the match to pip the Rebels and secure its fourth win in a row.

The Rebels recorded 70 more disposals over the four quarters and held the ascendancy in most key areas.

But despite never really controlling the game, Cannons assistant coach Chris Nolan said it was one of their proudest wins of the season.

“We’re very proud of the kids. They were phenomenal,” he said post game.

“It was pretty frustrating to be truthful, it just felt like we were moments away but just couldn’t control the game.

“They were pretty good. Our pressure was good enough, our execution forward of centre probably not.

“We could’ve certainly had things in control a lot earlier but to pull it off with 10 minutes to go – you’ll take it.”

Midfielder Sam Ramsay led from the front in another eye-catching performance, picking up 33 disposals, 12 tackles, seven inside 50s and five clearances in the win.

Ned Gentile was also influential with 21 disposals and five tackles, but it was his ability to step up when it mattered most with three important goals that came to the fore.

Nineteen-year-old Mason Fletcher booted 3.3 and took five marks as the side’s focal point in the forward 50.

But the collective effort of the group to stand tall and not give in despite things not going their way was the overriding factor in the result.

Nolan gave praise to his many standouts.

“Sam Ramsay is going as good as I’ve seen a block of form since I’ve been at the club,” he said.

“To be able to go from an outside running type defender-wingman to what he’s doing on the inside now as a midfielder – win his own ball – has been great.

“Jackson Cardillo has been an outstanding bottom-ager all year, his ability o compete, win his own ball and apply pressure, he was really good.

“Josh Eyre – I wouldn’t say a breakout game but he’s not far away, he was composed, he took some great, really important marks deep and used it by foot beautifully at pressured times.

“Harrison Andronaco as a 15-16 year-old … he was actually a real barometer. Him and Flynn Gentile as kids to do what they did today, they just give an injection of not just enthusiasm but they actually bring a bit of pace that we lack.”

“And ‘Fletch’ – Mason’s had seven shots at goal today, once he works or gets his head around the understanding of the actual forward role as such and the actual work load required like getting up and down and working sideways – there’s a few tricks there within the boy.”

Nolan said the composure shown by the leaders of the group and making the right decisions at the right times – such as winning the ball back at crucial times and knowing when to cause stoppage or restart – was “really important”.

“I think this win will do wonders for their confidence even for what’s left of our season,” he said.

“The emotion when they sung the song and to see the boys united, even with the four or five 15-16 year olds today, the group – they sensed that it was such a hard-fought win and they were spent.

“Just to see the joy it brought them, sometimes you do have to work hard and do it ugly but they actually got a really good reward today and I think when the dust settles they’ll realise the significance of what they’ve achieved.”

The Cannons will lap up another bye week before returning for their final home-and-away match of the season against the Eastern Ranges at Avalon Airport Oval on August 17.

Patrikios earns All-Australian honours

Calder Cannons graduate Georgia Patrikios has been named in the 2019 NAB AFL Women’s Under-18 All Australian team.

The announcement comes just two weeks after being named Vic Metro and AFLW Under-18 Championships MVP after a stellar campaign representing the Metro.

The 2019 NAB League Girls captain was one of 10 players from the NAB League competition to be selected in the squad.

Patrikios, a prolific ball-winner who led the Cannons to this year’s grand final played at Ikon Park, averaged 22.8 disposals, 2.8 clearances and 4.5 tackles during the carnival – justifying her spot as one of six midfielders.

The 18-year-old is also set to make her VFLW debut tomorrow for Essendon in its clash against Williamstown at Downer Oval.

The club would like to congratulate Georgia and wish her all the best as she dons the sash for the first time tomorrow.

Three in a row for Cannons

The Calder Cannons sit just percentage outside the top four on the NAB League ladder after holding off the Bendigo Pioneers by 20 points on Sunday. 

Both teams lapped up a rare winter’s day with hardly a cloud in sight for the Round 14 contest played at Queen Elizabeth Oval. 

After a goal-for-goal opening quarter Calder enjoyed what proved to be a match-winning 15-minute purple patch when it booted the opening four goals of the second term. 

Jake Sutton’s third major in the last quarter drew the margin out to an unassailable 37 points.

And while the home side booted the final three goals of the contest, the Cannons did enough to earn their eighth win of the season – and fifth in six matches.

“It was a pretty frustrating game where we were quite inconsistent across the four quarters,” Football Operations and Admin Coordinator Matthew Burton said. 

“We played patches of the brand of football that we expect from the boys and we also had some really poor lapses of concentration and effort.

“Credit to Bendigo who kept coming at us and applied pressure all day, really making us work for it.

“Five wins in six matches is a credit to the boys that they’ve been able to find ways to win on a regular basis.” 

Midfielder Harrison Minton-Connell led the field with 34 disposals and two goals, while Sam Ramsay (28 and one) and Ned Gentile (18 and five tackles) were strong support acts on-ball. 

Jake Sutton was an imposing target in the front half and posed several headaches for the Pioneers defence, finishing the game with three goals, 18 possessions, four marks and seven inside 50s. 

Half-back Curtis Brown and tall utility Campbell Edwardes – who showed continued improvement playing up the ground – were also named in the best players. 

“Some of our consistent players once again were standouts for us in Ramsay, Minton-Connell and Gentile who all again were brilliant,” Burton said. 

“Cody brand is a bit of an unsung hero as a 17-year-old down back, he is rarely beaten and one on one he’s terrific.

“Jake Sutton’s last two games have been outstanding. We’ve been wrapped with Jake. 

“It was also exciting to see Harrison Andronaco in his first game do some really nice things as a small forward, we were wrapped with how he went.” 

The Cannons will look to make it four in a row when they travel to Ballarat to take on the GWV Rebels in Round 15.

But the Rebels are coming off a morale-boosting 35-point win over the Geelong Falcons, boding as a great opportunity and another challenge that Burton says the side is looking forward to. 

“We get to go to Ballarat which is a pretty underrated venue, the ground is always in extremely good nick and the facilities are second to none,” he said. 

“They’re coming off a really good win and have got their Vic Country boys back. They’re a side that we cannot take lightly. 

“We need to iron out our deficiencies in the next month before we get to the real pointy end of the season,” Burton added. 

“We can’t afford to have lapses like we did (against Bendigo) or the better sides at the back end of the year will take full advantage of them.

“This week is a game that will provide some real opportunity for boys to stake their claim with some PEGS and Assumption boys unavailable due to AGS finals and we wish them all the best.” 

Patrikios continues to lead the way

Written by Jarryd Barca

Calder Cannons graduate Georgia Patrikios has been named Vic Metro and AFLW Under-18 Championships MVP after a stellar campaign.

The 18-year-old averaged 23.3 disposals and led both the tackle and rebound 50 count in two of the representative side’s three matches played against Vic Country, Queensland and the Eastern Allies.

Patrikios was also named captain in Day 2 where Metro ran away 18-point winners.

It’s the second year in a row a former Cannon has achieved the same accolade, with Madison Prespakis taking the top honour in last year’s carnival before being drafted by Carlton.

It’s another feather in the cap of the young gun who was runner-up in Calder’s best and fairest award two years straight, while also captaining the Cannons to the 2019 NAB League Girls grand final.

Fellow Cannons Felicity Theodore (captain against the Allies) and Alana Barba also played every game for Vic Metro throughout the championships.

“Were extremely proud of the three girls that represented the state in the metro squad. All the girls played in every game which is just fantastic,” Calder Cannons Female Talent Coordinator Russel Humphrey said.

“Georgia and Felicity both being given a chance to captain the side is a great accolade for them both, while Alana also had a great carnival.

“As a football club we’re proud of Georgia’s achievement in winning the MVP award for both metro and the championship – it’s fantastic and well deserved.”

Patrikios, whose run and carry and composure with the ball in hand protruded her NAB League opponents, told that she benefited from her also skilful teammates in Metro’s 2019 campaign.

“I’ve been able to pick up different qualities from all the leaders, putting all their skills together, gaining knowledge from them and working together,” Patrikios said on the Gold Coast.

“Ellie McKenzie (Northern Knights) just looks like she has so much time. She has a nice sidestep and is really composed for a bottom-ager. Gabby Newton (Northern Knights) has unreal hands, is really smart with the footy and covers the ground really well. Izzy Grant (Western Jets) is quick and agile and does the little things like tackling and winning ground-balls.

“Just getting to meet all the girls and create closer bonds with them is probably the most important thing. You only get to play with each other in three or four games for the year, so to make those new friendships is pretty special.”

Patrikios, Theodore and Barba will now all shift their focus on the VFLW competition where they’ll represent the Essendon Bombers for the remainder of the season, along with Gloria Elarmaly and Krstel Petrevski.

Cannons teammate Terira Fry also played in a development game for Essendon against GWS on the weekend and held her own.

Red-hot Cannons show Stingrays no mercy

Written by Jarryd Barca

The Calder Cannons head into this week’s Development Weekend with two wins in a row after crushing the Dandenong Stingrays by 68 points in Round 13.

Calder soared to a 45-point lead at half time after booting seven of the first nine goals of the clash at Highgate Recreation Reserve, before showing the Stingrays no mercy in a seven-goal final quarter onslaught. 

The Cannons were coming off a spirited 22-point win over highway rivals Western Jets last week in Futures Round and backed it up with a similar-looking youthful outfit – electing not to play Vic Metro trio Daniel Mott, Harry Jones and Brodie Newman. 

The win sees the Cannons leap frog the Stingrays into 6th spot on the NAB League ladder. 

Midfielder Sam Ramsay was again the most prolific player on the ground finding the ball on 32 occasions, while Jackson Cardillo (27 and a goal) and Ned Gentile (23 and two) continued their season-long form. 

Running defenders Curtis Brown and Max Simpson provided plenty of drive off the half-back line and had critical synergy with teammates ahead of the ball.    

Jake Sutton (17 touches, nine marks and two goals) also played his best game for the club. 

Winning every critical stat on the day including disposals (+85) and marks (+34), Calder’s arial prowess shone above all recording 19 for the entire contest – its most in a single game this season.

Talls Mason Fletcher (four goals and six marks) and Jeremy O’Sullivan (two and five) showed that in spades.

Sam Paea in his second game also provided a strong target up forward.

“We had a real emphasis pre-game on contested ball and our pressure around the football and it was terrific for the boys to respond to Ross and the coaches’ messages around these focus areas needing to improve,” Football Operations and Admin Coordinator Matthew Burton said. 

“We’re still having lapses at the half time break where we seem to take our foot off the gas a little bit, but the way we started the game and then how we responded after three-quarter time to run out the game really strong was some of the best team football we’ve played all year.

“Two wins in a row with a majority of inexperienced players having played over the past two weeks has been fantastic for the group.

“A good problem to have is when selection becomes really difficult with so many players putting their hand up for selection. 

“Our midfielders set the tone on the weekend with Jackson Cardillo playing his best game for the club.

“Sam Ramsay having a change of role this year and becoming more of an inside midfielder has been fantastic.

“Nathan Stewart joining our squad late once the season had started has provided another midfield option for us and has held his own.  

“Once again Ned Gentile gave us four quarters of effort. 

“It’s one of those weeks where we could honestly mention every player that played. Every player contributed on the weekend which was very pleasing.”

The Cannons will enjoy another week off before making the trek down to Queen Elizabeth Oval to take on the Bendigo Pioneers in an attempt for three consecutive wins.

Youngsters will be “better for the run”: Gourley

Written by Jarryd Barca

Calder Cannons caretaker coach Brett Gourley believes a key focus going into the side’s Round 12 match against the Western Jets was to expose the club’s youth to a higher level of football.

The Cannons turned to their future by blooding 13 bottom-age players along with four debutants at Highgate Recreation Reserve on Sunday.

The several young players created plenty of spark throughout the match and showed no signs of nerves playing amongst older, draft-eligible talent. 

With a vastly different looking Cannons outfit to previous weeks this season, Gourley was adamant when asked about the focus going into the match against the arch rival.

“To give them an experience of playing at this level of footy,” he said post game. 

“So four first-gamers and three of those were 16 year olds – we were really pleased with the effort from all of them and I think they’re going to be better for the run.”

The Cannons broke away late in a scrappy contest where both sides seemed to have a case of the goal-kicking yips. 

The scores were locked at 1.7 to 0.4 at half time before the home side experienced a drastic change of fortunes, booting five goals straight in the second half to claim bragging rights. 

Gourley said he was pleased with the leadership shown by the more experienced players who led from the front foot. 

“Even though our captain Brodie (Newman) wasn’t here, we had a real emphasis on making sure that we had someone else step up or a lot of those 18 year olds, even Mason (Fletcher) a 19-year-old, just to make sure that they help the younger boys out in terms of how to play the game and just give them a real confidence boost,” he said.

“I thought Rama (Sam Ramsay) was outstanding in the middle today – gave us a bit of pace through there. 

“Ned’s (Gentile) ever-reliable self and Minty (stand-in captain Harrison Minton-Connell) was really good as well.

“Mason moving forward definitely helped us, kicking a couple of goals in a low-scoring game was outstanding.”

But where was the game won?

“The effort and intensity in the last quarter I thought was great,” Gourley explained. 

“We sort of let ourselves down a little bit in the third (quarter) but the way we responded in the last quarter was just outstanding.” 

Young Cannons too good for Jets

Written by Jarryd Barca

The Calder Cannons have retained the Shane Sexton McDonald’s Cup after a hard-fought 22-point win over the Western Jets in Round 12 of the NAB League season.

It was a scrappy affair at Highgate Recreation Reserve as no side registered a goal until the second term, with Calder holding on for a retentive 6.7 (43) to 2.9 (21) triumph. 

Despite the inaccuracy which plagued both teams, the home side booted five goals straight in the second half to run away with their sixth win of the season coming off a two-week break.

The ‘futures’ fixture required clubs to select at least 11 players who are currently in their 16th or 17th year, with team line-ups allowed to consist of up to 24 players. 

The Cannons fielded 13 bottom-age players who all showed signs of things to come. 

Sam Ramsay (31 disposals and eight tackles) was a clear standout through the middle of the ground, while fellow top-agers Curtis Brown (29 disposals) and stand-in captain Harrison Minton-Connell (27) were also prolific. 

Giacomo Thomas, Ben Overman, Cody Brand and Josh Hotchkin were the others to be named in the best players.

The Cannons also fielded brothers Ned and Flynn Gentile – the latter one of four debutants to take the field in the rivalry clash.  

The first quarter proved to be an eyesore with both sides registering a total of just seven behinds in gusty conditions. 

It took until the 19-minute mark of the second term before a goal was registered, with debutant Sam Paea snapping truly from the boundary line to break the deadlock. 

Calder’s nine-point half time advantage was short-lived as the Jets found a reply through Eddie Ford early in the third term.

And as it seemed the Cannons would be counting the cost of their missed opportunities early, back-to-back majors to Nathan Stewart and Mason Fletcher meant the margin was back out to 11 points at the final break.

Saad El-Hawli’s goal in just over a minute into the final stanza drew the Jets to within five points of the lead. 

But the hungry Cannons – in a show of resilience – never backed down or dropped their heads.

The Cannons flexed their muscles in the final stages of the contest with both Jackson Cardillo and Fletcher again capitalising on goal-scoring opportunities.

But the final major to 16-year-old Flynn Gentile – a classy finish on his opposite side – meant it was the sweetest of endings for a young Cannons outfit. 

Calder will look to carry the momentum into this Saturday’s contest against the Dandenong Stingrays at Highgate Recreation Reserve.

Smith relishing Cannons journey

Written by Jarryd Barca

He played 224 games for North Melbourne across a playing career spanning 12 seasons and has spent time as an assistant coach with successful AFL clubs such as Hawthorn and Richmond. 

It’s fair to think that the demanding rigours of AFL football – where the ultimate goal is to win a premiership in a winner-takes-all competition – and its professionalism is the level you need to reach to find real enjoyment in the footy industry.   

But it’s at the Calder Cannons where head coach Ross Smith is re-establishing a similar joy he had whilst coaching his sons in the Under 12s and 16s at Aberfeldie many years ago.

One of those sons – Jesse – who was also a part of the Cannons system, was drafted by North Melbourne in 2004.  

The NAB League being more about development than results is an aspect the 54-year-old is relishing. 

“Absolutely, it’s probably the biggest joy,” he said.

“Seeing kids become more responsible and seeing their skills improve and leave here hopefully better people – they’re all the joys.

“It was really enjoyable coaching the Under 12s and 16s when I coached my two boys (and) this is very similar to that with a few more responsibilities here.

“The focus is taken away from winning a little bit – we all want to win when the game roles on and players are no exception to that – but the main focus here is to develop players and get as many drafted as possible.

“Second to that is making sure we develop our players to become better people.”

Smith – who has coached the Cannons since the start of the 2018 season – jumped at the opportunity to join his good friend and former teammate Alastair Clarkson when the four-time premiership coach dialled his number prior to 2005. 

“I started off as opposition analyst and then was a coach for the next six years,” he explained.

“I spent seven years at Hawthorn with ‘Clarko’ and learnt an enormous amount there.” 

Smith recalled a significant moment of the 2008 grand final which may or may not have spurred the Hawks to an unlikely victory against a red-hot Geelong outfit in the big dance. 

The Cats had lost just one match for the entire season and were clear favourites going into the match in their bid to win back-to-back flags. 

“It’s funny because I speak about how you look at what’s written on a white board before games, they do a lot of work during the week obviously. But you look at our white board before the grand final and it had nothing on it,” Smith explained.

“Alastair wanted a shark on the white board, so we just super impose one up and I traced it. Alastair came back into the room and thought I was an artist!

“But that’s all he had on the board for the grand final. Geelong were the shark and it was about stopping it – that was the reference.” 

After being left out of the North Melbourne premiership side in 1996, the ’08 flag slayed a few personal demons. 

“Collectively to win a flag coaching with Alastair – a very good friend of mine and doing it with some great people – it was just amazing,” Smith said.

“(It was) an amazing day really, we were under dogs against the Cats who were unstoppable. We obviously rushed a few points – it wasn’t deliberate – and they missed a few as well and that helped us. 

“Everything just went right for us on the day. It is a different feeling for a coach than it is a player but in some ways there are similarities as well.”

Following his Richmond tenure which ended in 2016, Smith worked at The Social Golf Club in a year out of footy.

But the opportunity to come to the Cannons as a full time regional coaching director in 2018 was one that Smith couldn’t pass up – and the club is better for it.

“We’ve been extremely fortunate having Ross here, he brings a wealth of knowledge and experience and has been invaluable,” Football Operations and Admin Coordinator Matthew Burton said.

“One of his strengths is education and development which is perfect for this competition. 

“He brings a level of both professionalism and enjoyment and I know not only the staff but all the players enjoy having him here.” 

Cannons selected in Under 16s Metro squad

The Calder Cannons will be represented by four players in this year’s NAB AFL Under-16 Championships.

Noah Candotti (Airport West), Joshua Goater (Sunbury Lions), Jack Newitt (Sunbury Lions) and Zac Taylor (Pascoe Vale) have all been selected in the final 28-player Vic Metro squad.

The four Cannons who form part of the 23-player Metro team (plus five emergencies) will begin their Under-16 Championships campaign on Sunday, June 16 when they take on Vic Country at GMHBA Stadium in Geelong from 12.30pm.

Both Metro and Country will then travel to Queensland for rounds two and three of the Championships, which feature games against South Australia and Western Australia on Monday, July 8 at Southport (Gold Coast) and Friday, July 12 at the Gabba (Brisbane).

Metro played its final trial match ahead of the Championships last Saturday at Preston City Oval, defeating Vic Country 12.8 (80) to 7.3 (45).

Taylor was impressive in the contest, racking up 21 disposals, 10 tackles and kicking two goals.

Calder Cannons Football Club wishes all four players the best of luck.

Cannons win ugly against Knights 

Calder Cannons continue rise up ladder after holding off Northern Knights 

Written by Jarryd Barca 

The Calder Cannons Under 18 boys improved their 2019 record to 5-4 after keeping the Northern Knights at bay on Saturday afternoon.

The Round 9 contest was originally meant for Highgate Recreation Reserve, before a late venue change saw the two sides do battle on a wet Preston City Oval.

The 10.5 (65) to 8.8 (56) result puts Calder seventh on the ladder leading into this week’s match against the highly-fancied Oakleigh Chargers. 

Midfielders Ned Gentile (21 disposals and five inside 50s) and Zach Molloy (20 and seven tackles) were both instrumental in a contested game, while Max Simpson and Curtis Brown created plenty of drive off the half-back flank.

Football Operations Manager Matthew Burton said many players stood up in the absence of Vic Metro trio Brodie Newman, Daniel Mott and Harrison Jones. 

“With our metro and PEGS kids unavailable, it’s given some others an opportunity at the level and it’s a real positive when you play four first-gamers and they’re all able to play their part,” he said.

“At this stage of the year it gives other kids an opportunity to stand up and perform when we have some of our better players absent. 

“The week also provides an opportunity not only for players but with Ross (head coach Ross Smith) with Vic Metro commitments it gives an opportunity for our aspiring assistant coaches to step up and enjoy the pressures of coaching,” he added.

“It was a pretty scrappy game but you always enjoy it when your side wins ugly.”

Both sides exchanged goals in the opening term and it was Cannons tall Jeremy O’Sullivan who took the game by the scruff of the neck early with three first-quarter majors.

With scores locked at 3.1 apiece and in a game where scoring was difficult, it was the Cannons who proved more efficient in the second quarter booting four goals to one to open up what proved to be a match-winning lead. 

A major highlight of the quarter was debutant Josh Eyre slotting a 45-metre snap on the run to finish off a great end-to-end team effort.  

With a 17-point half time lead in Calder’s advantage, the Knights were able to wrestle back control in the third quarter to reduce the deficit to 10 points and ensure a nail-biting finish. 

Simpson and Jackson Cardillo’s final-quarter majors within a minute of each other drew the margin out to 22 points.

But two late goals to the Knights meant the final margin was pegged back to nine points at the final siren. 

The Cannons finished the game with 25 less disposals and three less inside 50s than their opponents despite keeping their winning record in tact with another victory. 

“Even though Northern led many of the stats – they beat us in every KPI we set – we were still able to win the game which was very pleasing,” Burton said. 

“We identified that Northern are a very contested side and they showcased that early on.

“After quarter time we were able to match that through our contested ball and competitiveness. 

“In every game there are always areas we identify we need to work on and we look forward to another great week on the track and having our second crack at Oakleigh for the year.”