Tag: Calder Cannons

Jones pinching himself over draft reality

Article created by nableague.com.au 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.

Brand to feature in Futures match

Calder Cannons Under 18 boys player Cody Brand has been selected to play in this year’s NAB AFL All Stars Futures match.

The AFL today announced the squads for the match which is to be played at the MCG as a curtain-raiser to the 2019 AFL grand final on Saturday, September 28 at 10:00am.

The two teams, filled with the nation’s best under-17 talent, have been named after former AFL champions Jonathan Brown (ex-Brisbane) and Nick Dal Santo (ex-St Kilda).

Twenty-three NAB League Boys players will participate in the match, with Brand the only Cannons selected.

The 17-year-old has played eight NAB League matches this season, including last week’s Wildcard Round fixture against Tasmania, and is averaging 8.4 disposals and two marks per game.

Brand, a 195cm utility, will line up for the Cannons in this Sunday’s elimination final against Dandenong.

NAB AFL Academy Head Coach Luke Power will coach Team Brown, while Team Dal Santo will be coached by Vic Country Under-18 coach Leigh Brown.

Brand will feature in Team Dal Santo.

AFL Talent Ambassador Kevin Sheehan said the match will give AFL club recruiting personnel and fans a chance to see the future stars of the game go head-to-head on the biggest day in the AFL calendar.

“All players named in the 2019 NAB AFL All Stars Futures match will be eligible for the 2020 NAB AFL Draft,” Sheehan told nableague.com.au.

“With trading of future selections now part of the NAB AFL Draft landscape, this game becomes essential viewing for clubs and will be a great spectacle for fans.

“Many of the players selected have been prominent in this year’s NAB AFL Under 18 Championships as bottom-aged players … and we look forward to watching their progression.

“We are pleased to have the support of two champions of the game in Jonathan Brown and Nick Dal Santo – the players in their teams will have a memorable experience.”

U15 Dick Reynolds squads

See below the Under 15 Dick Reynolds squads for two matches to be played on Monday night.

Please note: players in Game 1 must be at the ground by 5pm and players in Game 2 must be at the ground by 6:30pm.


  • Dawson
  • Winkel
  • Ryan
  • Piescik
  • Hubik
  • Gaylard
  • Phelan-Smith
  • Cullen
  • Burquest
  • Pascu
  • Foley
  • Balta
  • Wilmore
  • Winchester
  • Alessio
  • Egan
  • Jedwab
  • Making
  • Rode
  • Kenos
  • Smith
  • Hibble
  • Vendramini
  • Valensisi
  • Sudano
  • Penny


  • Fish
  • Lee
  • Taleb
  • Fox
  • Bullen
  • O’Sullivan
  • Phelan
  • Restuccia
  • Murphy
  • M Johnson
  • Banova
  • Veneziano
  • Curll
  • Forte
  • Saad
  • Disipio
  • Lockens
  • Ivkovic
  • Jones
  • Figioli
  • Middleton
  • Tadd
  • L Johnson
  • O/Richards

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.

Prespakis tops the league

Calder Cannons young gun Georgie Prespakis took out the NAB League Girls best and fairest award overnight, 12 months after her sister Madison achieved the same feat.

Prespakis polled a total of 20 votes in seven of her eight matches in 2019 – six times being judged best-afield.

The 16-year-old averaged 22.8 disposals, 2.4 marks, 5.6 tackles and 1.3 goals – including one seven-goal haul – this season.

“It’s a fantastic achievement, and something that’s really well deserved,” Female Talent Coordinator Russell Humphrey said.

“Georgie had a wonderful season and we were really pleased with the development she showed across her eight matches.

“It’s another great feather in her cap after winning our club’s Meg McArthur Medal as the side’s best player.”

It also becomes the third-straight season a Cannon has taken out the award, with current Collingwood player Chloe Molloy earning the honour in the maiden NAB League Girls – the then-known TAC Cup – 2017 season.

Madison Prespakis was drafted by Carlton in last year’s AFL Women’s draft, however Georgie will continue to develop in the NAB League for a further two season before being eligible to be selected by an AFLW club.

“It’s brilliant to have had all three winners come from our club,” Humphrey said.

“It comes down to our players’ willingness to listen to coaches and to transform that into game day performance.”

Vice-captain Felicity Theodore (six votes), captain Georgia Patrikios and Alana Barba (four each), Zali Friswell and Georgia Sampson (two each) and Gloria Elarmaly, Krstel Petrevski and Laura Cocomello (one each) also polled on the night.

“It’s great that we had nine different players acknowledged by the umpires throughout the yer,” Humphrey said.

“A number of those players are bottom-agers and we look forward to their continual development in 2020.”

Prespakis was also named on a half-back flank in the 2019 NAB League Girls Team of the Year, along with Theodore and Patrikios.

Meanwhile, state combine-bound Brodie Newman was named in a back pocket in the NAB League Boys Team of the Year after a stellar season averaging 19.4 touches and 6.3 marks per game.

Ned Gentile can also hold his head high after finishing third in the Morrish Medal with 13 votes.

The small forward has averaged nearly 20 disposals, four marks and 4.1 inside 50s this NAB League season.

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 heraldsun.com.au.

“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.”

A dozen Cannons headed to combines

Twelve Calder Cannons players will attend the 2019 NAB AFL, AFLW and State Draft Combine later this year.

Georgia Patrikios, Alana Barba and Felicity Theodore will be among 25 NAB League girls invitees to the NAB AFL Women’s Draft Combine to be held in Melbourne in early October.

AFLW clubs shortlist their preferred players to attend the Combine, with each of the 45 players invited receiving at least one AFLW club nomination.

The combine will test players’ skills, agility and strength through a series of tests including the 20-metre sprint and vertical jump, along with goal-kicking and marking tests.

After impressing with Vic Metro, Harrison Jones and Daniel Mott also caught the eye of recruiters and will join 21 others from the metro region to trial at the NAB AFL Draft Combine to be held from Tuesday, October 1 to Friday, October 4.

Prospects needed to be nominated by at least four clubs to head to the national Combine, with each AFL club asked to select a list of their 50 preferred players to attend.

AFL Talent Ambassador Kevin Sheehan said the combine is an opportunity for players to showcase their skills before the 2019 NAB AFL Draft.

“The Draft Combine sees the best players from across Australia gather to showcase their abilities both physically and mentally in front of club recruiters,” he told nableague.com.au.

“Clubs receive a final chance to assess players from their skills testing at the Draft Combine, and they are able to conduct one-on-one interviews across the week to analyse the personalities of the players.

“The on and off-field assessments assist AFL clubs in making their decisions for the upcoming NAB AFL Draft in November.”

The NAB AFL Draft Combine will move from Marvel Stadium for the first time since 2011, with a new venue yet to be confirmed.

A further seven Cannons – Curtis Brown, Brodie Newman, Sam Ramsay, Jeremy O’Sullivan, Nathan Stewart, Lachlan Gollant and Francis Evans – have been invited to the State Draft Combine, which will run following the conclusion of the national NAB AFL Draft Combine.

Players needed to receive at least two nominations from AFL clubs to be invited to attend the State Draft Combine.

The dozen Cannons will join 185 others from across Australia to showcase their AFL potential.

The club wishes the 12 invitees all the very best.

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.”