Category: Boys

Four Cannons join AFL clubs

Jones, Evans, Ramsay, Gollant await the big time

Four Calder Cannons earned their way onto AFL lists following the conclusion of the 2019 NAB AFL National and Rookie drafts.

First to go was tall key forward Harry Jones, before two-gamer Francis Evans, best and fairest-winner Sam Ramsay and late bloomer Lachie Gollant joined him in the AFL ranks.

Harrison Jones | Pick 30 | Essendon

“Quite simply, we rated Harry as a first-round draft selection and when he got there overnight and missed out in the first round, we decided that we wanted to target him and get him to our club,” Essendon Football Club List Manager Adrian Dodoro told

“He’s tall and a phenomenal athlete. He’s going to take a bit of time obviously, but I think long term he and Joey (Daniher) in our forward half will be pretty dynamic.

“It is nice, he’s an Essendon Grammar boy (from the) Calder Cannons, he lives down at Gisborne. He’s a great young fella and we’re looking forward to seeing what he can do in the future.”

Francis Evans | Pick 41 | Geelong

“I went to a game where Francis was playing at North Old Boys earlier in the year and soon after that he was recruited into the Calder Cannons before he got injured. If we hadn’t seen him play senior football early in the year it would’ve been hard to pick him,” Geelong Head of Recruiting Stephen Wells told

Sam Ramsay | Pick 47 | Carlton

“Sam does a lot of things really well: he gets involved offensively, has good speed and gets his hands dirty,” General Manager of List Management and Strategy Stephen Silvagni told

“When it comes down to it, it was his form at the end of the year where he showed what he’s capable of. His performances as an inside midfielder were really encouraging. 

“He knows how to find the footy, he’s a competitor and he’s good in traffic. We think he’ll relish the chance to work with and learn off some of our experienced midfielders.”

Lachlan Gollant | Pick 48 | Adelaide

“Lachie’s probably a bit of a smoky, because not many people would know him, but that’s okay,” Adelaide National Recruiting Manager Hamish Ogilvie told

“We knew him pretty well. He’s played on the wing for Calder. We just forecast if he played again for Calder as a 19-year-old next year, he could’ve been anything, so we’re happy to bite him off and take him now.”

The Calder Cannons Football Club would like to congratulate all four draftees and wish them all the best as they begin their AFL journeys.

Jones pinching himself over draft reality

Article created by on November 13.

Harrison Jones didn’t expect to even be a 2019 NAB AFL Draft prospect earlier this year, but the Calder Cannons key forward knew everything had changed when he ran onto the MCG in June.

It wasn’t just that the 18-year-old had been catapulted into Vic Metro’s starting forward line for the NAB AFL Under-18 Championships.

It was also because Jones felt almost instantly at home on the biggest stage in Australian football during Metro’s first match of the Championships, booting a goal and leading his Vic Country opponents up and down the ground with strong running for a 194cm target.

Having made his NAB League debut and played seven games for Calder in the back half of his bottom-age 2018 season, the Gisborne Rookies (Riddell District FL) product showed even more exciting glimpses in 2019.

Jones averaged 12 disposals, three marks and five hitouts per game in eight matches for the Cannons and saved some of his best form for the national-level Championships, announcing himself to AFL recruiters as a big-game player ahead of November 27-28’s draft.

“I didn’t even see myself getting drafted at the start of this year; I wasn’t really expecting any of this to happen,” Jones said at the recent NAB AFL Draft Combine, where he finished among the top five NAB League players for both the 20m sprint and the endurance-based Yo-Yo Test.

“I was thinking it’d just be a big year at school and that I’d hopefully play a couple of games for the Cannons, but I never expected to play four games for Metro and have my footy take off as it has.

“We got beaten (in the opening Championships match), but I thought to myself afterwards: ‘That was awesome. I really want to get drafted now, to play at the MCG again.’ That was probably the moment for me.

“I don’t think I’m arrogant, but I do like playing in big games and competitive games. I thrive off that and try to play the best I can.”

Much of Jones’ appeal to AFL clubs likely lies in the upside to his game should he become part of an elite-level environment. While his remarkable athletic traits for a tall player have stood out in patches, Jones came into his top-age year still balancing the demands of football with playing cricket.

That clash of priorities as well as some late-season injury niggles meant his body didn’t allow him to find top form as Calder won two NAB League finals, but Jones was soon focused on a new goal that had only crystallised in the previous months.

“I tried to get really fit during the summer holidays, but apart from that it’s just all seemed to happen this year,” he said.

“I had a pretty busy pre-season with cricket on as well and I didn’t play a match for footy until the first (NAB League) round, because I was focused on cricket and my body was just sore.

“I then worked a lot on my kicking and my target-hitting in the early half of the season, with a lot of running to keep my fitness and endurance up.

“My main goal became to make the Vic Metro squad. When I made that, I realised maybe I did have a chance of getting drafted, so that’s become the priority since.”


Most influential person on your football at Calder:

“There’s a volunteer named ‘Pops’ and he’s been there for ages. Everyone loves him. I think he’s a real culture-builder for the Cannons and he inspires everyone. He’s always working hard and helping others and he’s just an awesome person to be around.”

Most valuable lesson learned in the NAB League:

“Just don’t get complacent and don’t think things are going to happen. Keep working hard and always try to be better.”

Teammate you’ve most enjoyed sharing the NAB League journey with:

“Jake Sutton is my best mate from high school and Sam Ramsay has been my mate since we were really young. It’s been good to experience it with those two.”

Most difficult NAB League opponent:

“I played against Fischer McAsey (Sandringham Dragons) in the first round this year and he took it to me a bit. He played really well that game running off half-back. He’s probably the most influential player I’ve played on.”

Most memorable NAB League moment:

“My first game as a bottom-ager (Round 9, 2018). I wasn’t really expecting it to happen, but an opportunity came up in the ruck. It was a draw with the Gippsland Power and that was probably the most memorable game I’ve played in.”

Cannons fire at combines

While the 2019 NAB League seasons have well and truly concluded for our boys and girls, the hard work continued for several draft hopefuls.

Calder had 12 players attend last week’s NAB AFLW, AFL and state combines, putting their mental and physical skills to the test in front of on-looking recruiters.

The high performance team had been working with all combine-bound Cannons post season, to best prepare them for the testing days.

It started with the AFL Women’s Draft Combine where Cannons graduates Georgia Patrikios, Alana Barba and Felicity Theodore spent two days at the MCG, Margaret Court Arena and Collingwood’s Holden Centre to undertake several tests and interviews.

The four-day AFL Draft Combine – attended by midfielder Daniel Mott and key forward Harrison Jones – was also split across several venues.

Club interviews were held at the super boxes at Rod Laver Arena, medical screenings took place at the MCG and Margaret Court Arena housed the athletic tests, such as the agility, speed, yo-yo and jump tests.

The 2km time trial was held at the Holden Centre.

Mott recorded the equal-third highest standing vertical jump (70cm), while Jones registered a top 10 finish in the running vertical jump (83cm), 20-metre sprint (2.963 seconds) and yo-yo test (21.4).

On Saturday, seven Cannons – Curtis Brown, Brodie Newman, Sam Ramsay, Jeremy O’Sullivan, Nathan Stewart, Lachlan Gollant and Francis Evans – attended the Sate Combine at Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre, with three of them recording top-five numbers for the running vertical jump.

See some of the results from the AFL and State combines below:



Miles Bergman (Sandringham Dragons): 77cm

Brady Rowles (Bendigo Pioneers): 73

Ben Johnson: 70

Daniel Mott (Calder Cannons): 70

Cody Weightman (Dandenong Stingrays): 69

Sam Flanders (Gippsland Power): 69

Lachlan Williams (Dandenong Stingrays): 69

Sam Philp (Northern Knights): 69

Nick Bryan (Oakleigh Chargers): 69


Brady Rowles (Bendigo Pioneers): 98cm

Miles Bergman (Sandringham Dragons): 90

Sam Flanders (Gippsland Power): 88

Cian McBride: 87

Lachlan Williams (Dandenong Stingrays): 86

Hugo Ralphsmith (Sandringham Dragons): 86

Jaxon Prior: 85

Nick Bryan (Oakleigh Chargers): 85

Oscar Lewis (Sandringham Dragons): 83

Kysaiah Pickett: 83

Cody Weightman (Dandenong Stingrays): 83

Will Day: 83

Brady Rowles (Bendigo Pioneers): 83

Cooper Stephens (Geelong Falcons): 83

Harrison Jones (Calder Cannons): 83


Sam Philp (Northern Knights): 2.867 seconds

Ben Johnson: 2.885

Malcolm Rosas: 2.924

Mitch Georgiades: 2.925

Noah Cumberland: 2.931

Finn Maginness (Sandringham Dragons): 2.957

Harrison Jones (Calder Cannons): 2.963

Jeremy Sharp: 2.966

Brady Rowles (Bendigo Pioneers): 2.968

Dylan Stephens: 2.972


Jay Rantall (GWV Rebels): level 21.8 

Cooper Stephens (Geelong Falcons): 21.8

Connor Budarick: 21.6

Chad Warner: 21.6

Oscar Lewis (Sandringham Dragons): 21.5

Sam Philp (Northern Knights): 21.5

Lachlan Ash (Murray Bushrangers): 21.4

Harrison Jones (Calder Cannons): 21.4

Finn Maginness (Sandringham Dragons): 21.4

Trey Ruscoe: 21.4

Riley Baldi (Gippsland Power): 21.3

Sam Flanders (Gippsland Power): 21.3

Matthew Rowell (Oakleigh Chargers): 21.3

Jeremy Sharp: 21.3



Jeremy O’Sullivan (Calder Cannons): 96cm

Andrew Courtney (Sandringham Dragons): 94cm

Jake Riccardi (Werribee): 92cm

Bigoa Nyuon (Dandenong Stingrays): 92cm

Brodie Newman (Calder Cannons): 92cm

Nathan Stewart (Calder Cannons): 92cm

The AFLW Draft will be held on Tuesday October 22, while the AFL Draft is on Wednesday and Thursday, November 27 and 28.

The Calder Cannons Football Club wishes all aspiring draftees the best in the upcoming drafts.

Cannons rapt with “deserving” duo

Gentile, Ramsay share spoils

By Jarryd Barca

For the first time in the club’s history, the Calder Cannons have celebrated two joint Robert Hyde Medal winners as 2019’s best and fairest players.

Both Ned Gentile and Sam Ramsay rightfully couldn’t be separated following two stellar campaigns, polling in 14 and 12 games respectively.

Gentile led the count for much of the night, before a fast-finishing Ramsay ensured the honour was eventually shared with 99 votes.

Eighteen-year-old Gentile, who averaged more than 19 touches and nearly four tackles and inside 50s per game, also took home the club’s Most Courageous award.

“It’s an extremely fair result that they shared the honours together,” football operations and admin coordinator Matthew Burton said.

“The word I use to describe Ned’s year is consistent.

“His ability to continually perform week in week out both on and off the field is a true credit to the hard work he put in. He’s definitely a deserving winner.”

Ramsay took his game to a new level in the later stages of the season, averaging a mammoth 31.4 disposals in his final eight matches.

“Sam faced some adversity – missing Vic Metro selection and missing games due to concussion – (he) probably didn’t have the front half to the year he would’ve liked, but he really knuckled down in the second half of the season and had an outstanding back end to the year,” Burton said.

Also finishing on the podium was gun midfielder Daniel Mott after another impressive NAB League season, complimenting his 2018 where he finished runner-up to Mitch Podhajski.

“For Daniel to back up a really solid 17-year-old year where he finished second and step into the role of being our premier midfielder – and missed some games through Vic Metro – to be able to finish in the top three again is a credit to the body of work he has put in over two years with us,” Burton said.

“We’re hoping he is able to reap the ultimate reward for it, like all our players.”

Mott averaged 26 disposals, 12 contested possessions and six clearances per outing in 2019. Captain Brodie Newman (58 votes) and Harrison Minton-Connell (56) rounded out the top five.

Among the other award winners were Newman (coaches award), Ben Overman (Neil Wood Most Improved) and Ben Bozinovski (Phil Dunk Best on Track).

“All award winners on the night were all thoroughly deserving. I’d like to congratulate them all and everyone from players to staff and parents for creating a terrific environment in season 2019,” Burton said.

“It was also great to acknowledge Ann steel as our club person of the year for all the amazing selfless and hard work she puts in to not only the girls program but the boys program. She does a lot of work that isn’t seen or heard but we’ve thoroughly appreciated having her around in 2019.

“Obviously we’re going through our exit review period at the moment and we wish our 18 and 19 year olds the very best in the next phase of their footballing pathway. Hopefully they’ve enjoyed their time at the Cannons as much as we’ve enjoyed having them here,” he added.

Both Mott and Harry Jones are this week undertaking a trial under the watchful eye of recruiters at the NAB AFL Draft Combine which runs until Friday.

On Saturday the club will have a further seven Cannons – Curtis Brown, Brodie Newman, Sam Ramsay, Jeremy O’Sullivan, Nathan Stewart, Lachlan Gollant and Francis Evans – showcase their mental and physical abilities at the State Combine.

“Hopefully the boys headed to the combines are able to put their best foot forward and enjoy the experience,” Burton said.

Inaccurate Cannons bow out of finals

Calder’s 2019 NAB League campaign has drawn to a close at the hands of the Sandringham Dragons in a rainy semi final played on Saturday.

The Cannons were within arm’s length for the majority of the contest but were in patches outclassed by the Dragons who were coming off a qualifying final defeat of their own.

Four un-answered goals to kick off proceedings helped set up the match for the Dragons who were kicking with an ominous breeze.

The 8.7 (55) to 1.12 (18) scoreline at Ikon Park is a far cry from the 109-point defeat the Cannons suffered at the hands of the Dragons back in Round 1.

Calder was able to outscore its highly-fancied opponent in two of the four quarters and won the contested possession (+8) and clearance (+5) counts.

But it was its inability to capitalise and find clear-cut chances that proved costly.

Sam Ramsay remained busy in the engine room and was the most prolific Cannon, registering 32 disposals and six clearances, while counterpart Daniel Mott also impressed with 23 and nine.

Seventeen-year-old Jackson Cardillo was the side’s only goal scorer, converting late in the third quarter.

Ben Overman and Giacomo Thomas were defensively sound in the 37-point loss, with Lachy Gollant, Josh Hotchkin and Harrison pair Minton-Connell and Andronaco also named in the best players.

The Oakleigh Chargers awaited in a preliminary final for the winner.

Calder came out with a vengeance but despite showing flashes of potential, Sandringham was able to punish any turnovers with clinical forward 50 entries.

The Dragons subsequently booted the first four goals of the game with 24 points separating the two sides on a damp deck at the first change of ends.

Large chunks of the second quarter were played on the Cannons’ terms, but they were left to rue their missed opportunities when, despite registering three more scoring shots (four sole behinds to one goal), the lead extended to 26 at the main break.

The low-scoring affair continued in the second half as the Dragons continued to stamp their authority.

But not giving up has been a trait that had steered the Cannons to its first semi final since 2014. And when Cardillo steadied through his set shot against the breeze, there was still a glimmer of hope.

The 35-point margin heading into the final stanza was going to be hard to reel in, but Calder’s confidence was sky-high knowing it booted six unanswered goals a week earlier to make it to this stage.

But the yips continued in front of the goal face and deja vu was experienced; more scoring shots – five for the quarter for five behinds as a return – but unfortunately no change of fortune.

Nine NAB League Boys players (Harrison Jones, Daniel Mott, Curtis Brown, Brodie Newman, Sam Ramsay, Jeremy O’Sullivan, Nathan Stewart, Lachlan Gollant and Francis Evans) will now begin preparations for AFL and state draft combines which will be held from October 1.

Cannons survive wildcard thriller

Written by Jarryd Barca

Come-from-behind win seals Cannons’ finals berth

They did it the hard way, but Calder has secured its position in the NAB League finals with a heart-stopping six-point win over Tasmania during Wildcard Round.

The Cannons suffered an after-the-siren loss against the ladder-leading Ranges last weekend.

But in a change of fortuity, this time they ran over the top of the Devils who were looking to take a scalp and enter the finals proper from 13th position.

Tasmania held a five-point three-quarter time advantage which had Calder staring down the barrel of a second-successive Wildcard Round defeat, having been pipped by the Geelong Falcons in 2018.

And with their season on the line, the desperate Cannons booted the opening three goals of the final quarter to record the 9.9 (63) to 7.15 (57) victory and keep their season alive.

Assistant coach Chris Nolan said he was pleased with the boys’ efforts to rally behind each other and edge past the Devils.

“It probably started in the middle,” he said.

“Hotch (ruckman Josh Hotchkin) was enormous for us today. We got first use, the ball started going forward a bit more consistently than it had all day and we probably made the most of some more opportunities.”

Tasmania continued to threat in the last term and put Cannons defenders under pressure with a 17 inside 50 effort, compared to Calder’s 11.

But many stood tall for their teammates when the going got tough.

“I thought our defence was really good, especially late,” Nolan said.

“Keeps (Jack Keeping) was phenomenal on a wing in the last quarter and admittedly he’d been down to that point, so to keep his head up, stay positive and have an impact says a bit about Jack and how far his footy’s come.

“The skipper was good as always – just read the flight of the ball and him and Cody Brand were both exceptional late in defence.”

No strangers to a nail-biter, the past three Cannons matches have all finished with an accumulative margin of just 14 points.

Their ability to respond when challenged and overcome adversity is a trait the Nolan believes will hold them in good stead this finals series.

“I think there’s a real connection in the group. We seem a lot more united now than we did after say four rounds, we know each other’s strengths and we have a great trust in each other,” he said.

“We’ve got every faith that the group can still go for a few weeks yet, providing they play their best football.”

Sam Ramsay was yet again the most prolific in the engine room, amassing 33 disposals and 11 marks at Highgate Recreation Reserve.

Midfield counterpart Harry Minton-Connell (19 touches) played a pivotal role – with the first two goals of the last quarter both coming off his boot.

But the road blocks for Tasmania were Campbell Edwardes and Lachlan Gollant, who both combined for an impressive – and equally crucial – 19 marks.

Nolan said it was cleaner ball movement moving forward in the final stanza that enabled the Cannons to make the most of their slim opportunities.

“Having only gone inside 50 12 times in a half, a little bit more hand ball receive – which we seemed to get through Simpson and the like, Curtis Brown off half back – was the key,” he said.

“They dictated us a lot with their pressure and tackling in the first half and we really let them off. But we were a lot more cautious with the footy in the second half.

“We were able to get it on our terms at the right times to hold on.”

Calder will take on the eighth-placed Dandenong Stingrays in an elimination final this Sunday at Ikon Park.

The two sides previously met back in Round 13 where the Cannons showed no mercy in a 68-point drubbing at Highgate Recreation Reserve.

Cannons go down after siren

Written by Jarryd Barca

Stolen at the death

The Calder Cannons’ fifth consecutive win was snatched at the jaws of defeat in the final game of the NAB League home-and-away season.

Going into Round 17 with a four-game winning streak, Calder flexed its finals credentials against the top-of-the-table Eastern Ranges – despite losing with the last kick of the game.

The Cannons were five-point leaders at the last change of ends, with that lead extended to 12 when Jeremy O’Sullivan capitalised after 10 minutes.

The Ranges booted two in under a minute to lock the scores at 55 apiece as Avalon Airport Oval was treated to a grandstand finish.

Mason Fletcher was able to edge the home side’s noses in front again with a long-range launch from outside the arch.

The Cannons peppered the inside 50s in the dying stages and had chances to seal the game, but only managed two behinds.

And in heartbreaking circumstances, the Ranges surged the ball forward one last time and locked away a four-point win on the final buzzer.

Assistant coach Brett Gourley was impressed with the players’ ability to take it right up to the minor premiers.

“When you lose any game with a kick after the siren it’s obviously pretty disappointing, but to do what we did against the best team in the competition is a real credit to the boys,” he said.

Calder finished fifth on the ladder following the 9.9 (63) to 10.7 (67) result, winning a total of nine matches for the season.

And they should be taking ample confidence into this week’s Wildcard Round fixture against the Tasmania Devils having registered wins in six of their last seven matches.

“They’ve played some really good footy and we’re starting to gel as a team at the right time of the year,” Gourley said.

“I think it’s a really even competition – anything’s possible and on any day.

“The way this competition works, any team can beat any team.

“We’re really confident heading into this finals campaign and I think the boys should be too.”

Sam Ramsay closed out his home-and-away season with another best-afield 27 touches, seven tackles and five inside 50s.

Midfield counterpart Daniel Mott was also prominent with 21 touches, 10 clearances and six inside 50s, while Jake Sutton (three goals) was the most dangerous of the forwards.

Gourley said the side has come a long way since losing the opening game of the season against Sandringham by 109 points.

“We were having a look at our stats throughout the course of the week to clearly see that this team has improved a hell of a lot,” he said.

“We’re really pleased with our progress – we just have to take that into finals.”

Head coach Ross Smith was as equally proud, optimistic of the Cannons’ ability to compete against the best.

“Eastern’s strength is their clearance numbers, contested ball, tackling and we matched them in all departments,” he told

“We’re really buoyed by the way we played … we’ve got to learn from the experience, we’ve got to be disappointed but positive and use it to drive us.”

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.

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.”