Geelong has retained its top spot in the state after a 21-point victory over Mornington Peninsula Nepean in the weekend’s interleague clash. Here’s how the players rated out of 10:
*All photos are with thanks to Marcel Berens and AFL Barwon*
Campbell Floyd- 8
Last year’s best-on-ground medalist again shone, the 20-year old defender showed poise beyond his years. When the game was at it’s most frantic in the first half, it was Floyd who was the calming hand in on often chaotic opening hour. So often his precise kicking and reading of the play bailed out his side. Produced a special bit of play in which he paddled the ball toward the boundary, kept it in, then spun and darted clear of two tacklers in the first quarter. Over 20 disposals and rarely missed a target, Floyd had a defensive forward go to him in the second half which nullified his influence, but still terrific.
Ryley Hall- 5
The undervalued St Mary’s defender had a few jobs throughout the day and did a solid if not spectacular job. Used to playing key defensive roles, Hall wasn’t limited to that on Saturday as his size meant coach Jeremy Dyer could use him on some smaller opponents. Key forwards Bongetti and Edwards for Mornington were kept goalless so Hall’s ability to help out Luke Delaney was vital. Didn’t get a lot of the ball but that wasn’t his job.
Nathan Peoples- 6
The North Shore defender was named in the best and did a good job throughout on the MCG. Much like Hall, Peoples was able to play a variety of roles in an already flexible back six. Always solid in the air, the amount of times Peoples was able to lay a fist on the ball or get some body contact was always a vital point of his game. Once again, not a heap of the ball but he allowed Rob Condy, Marcus Thompson, the Sheringham brothers and Kane Leersen play in more freedom than they otherwise would have.
Kane Leersen- 6
Another vital cog of the back six who did his job to a tee. The Colac coach used all his experience to be efficient by foot and rarely made the wrong decision. Leersen had twelve second half possessions to follow an already busy first half. Played a sweeping role well and chose the right moments to get off his man. Terrific player.
Luke Delaney- 7
The former Saint returned to the MCG and the back half after starting his Grovedale career as a forward, and he didn’t disappoint. Given the job on ex-North Melbourne and Richmond forward Aaron Edwards, Delaney stood tall and kept the MPNFL forward goalless. Delaney was imperious in the air and always strong in the contest. The cohesive backline unit gave him some help, but Delaney stood firm in shutting down Mornginton’s biggest avenue to goal.
Tim Sheringham- 6
The 2014 Bob Cahir Medalist wasn’t as prolific as he was that day on Simonds Stadium, but still performed to the level we have come to expect from a player his ilk. Stationed in the back half and occasionally into the midfield for a burst, Sheringham had in excess of 15 disposals and rarely wasted one. It was his defensive work, especially in the back half that stood out, and his ability from locking down on a player to releasing himself is a fantastic trait.
Chris Moreland- 6
The Geelong West Giants star was everywhere early, having over 10 first quarter possessions before fading late, but not before damage was done. Was allowed far too much freedom on the Members Wing in the first half, and someone of Moreland’s pace is always going to hurt you. Added a second quarter goal before being paid some closer attention in the second half. A more the handy cog in the wheel. Named in the best.
Ben Dobson- 7
Was part of the mid-week intrigue as to whether he would be released to play by the Essendon VFL, and weren’t Jeremy Dyer’s coaching staff happy when he was. Both he and brother Sam were instrumental in the victory, and it was Ben who set the early running. Roaming through the middle of the ground, Dobson picked up possessions at will and so often was the vital marking chain between defense and attack. Mornington didn’t really have a match up for the 189cm midfielder all day, and it showed.
Jackson Sheringham- 6
The former Geelong player returned to the MCG where he played five of his games for the Cats. Starting on the wing, the younger Sheringham was paid some close attention and wasn’t afforded any time and space. That being said, free space was hard to come by in the first half due to the games fast paced nature. Sheringham showed his class and was shifted to defense to watch the dangerous Shane McDonald at times and what ever other small forwards drifted down. Worked hard and classy in patches, yet not at his most destructive.
Jason Davenport- 9
Simply superb, Davenport lead by example on the MCG. Arguably the competitions best player, the North Shore coach was influential all day and never let up. 23 disposals and 3 goals from a predominately half forward role, the MPNFL couldn’t go with the former Cat and Port Adelaide player. His finishing and class with ball in hand stood out, as the 31-year old stood firm when Mornignton mounted various challenges. This was most evident half way through the third term, when the MPNFL had narrowed the margin to three goals. Enter Davenport, who received the ball on the Great Southern Stand wing and sprinted away, slotting a goal from 45 meters on the run tucked in on the boundary. What more can you say?
Sam Dobson- 8
A standout game from the Geelong VFL listed-Dobson. 3 goals and plenty of marks, he presented hard and the MPNFL were unable to really find a match up for him throughout the day. For their size, he and Simon Close must have the strongest hands in the GFL such is their marking prowess. Dobson finished with three goals which was a just reward for a very good day at the office, after much conjecture during the week whether the St Mary’s Saint would play at all. Named in the best.
Brant Haintz- 5
The St Joseph’s half forward didn’t get a lot of ball but when he got it, often used it productively. Kicked a first quarter goal right before quarter time from a set shot, and drifted in and out of the game from there. Playing more up the ground for St Jospeh’s this year, Haintz was playing a slightly deeper role in a squad boasting deep midfield depth, but did his bit.
Simon Close- 6
Unlucky not to be rated higher, the Leopold spearhead worked tirelessly on the wide expanses of the MCG. Presented all day and never got beaten 1-1. Produced a big screamer on the half forward flank in the second quarter which would’ve taken mark of the day honors. Ended with two goals and along with Sam Dobson, led the Geelong forward line. Kicked the opening goal of the day with a smooth left foot snap on the run.
Jarrod Garth- 3
Will be the first to admit it wasn’t his best day against the league he used to play in, but Garth took the heat off the other forwards to allow them to shine. The service to the Bell Park spearhead wasn’t always the best, and was double teamed at times. Was part of the forward line rotation to allow the Geelong forward line go a bit smaller at various moments.
Jacko McLachlan- 5
The youngest player for the GFL, the 19-year old McLachlan was a terrier throughout the day. Not a heap of possessions, but applied strong defensive pressure and presented up at the ball well despite his height. Described the MCG experience as “a bit surreal”, the St Josepeh’s product hit the post with an outrageous attempt from deep in the pocket, before slotting one home truly from the opposite forward flank and celebrated accordingly.
Jayden Symes- 7
The surprise choice for the number 1 ruck spot over Jack Berry and Luke Davis, Symes didn’t lose any friends with a very good performance on the Interleague stage. The Geelong West Giants ruckman had a tough opening against MPNFL opposite number Dylan Jones, but with the help of backup ruckman Cam Delaney, Symes reversed the hitout advantage to finish well in Geelong’s favor by games end. It was so often Geelong’s centre stoppage work that held them in good stead, and the 194cm ruckman was an integral part of this. Was very agile around the ground and ran off his opponent well.
Jai Thompson- 6
The inspirational Thompson was tireless in accumulating over 20-hard fought possessions through the middle of the MCG. Was often at the bottom of packs burrowing his way through, and never gave in. Was involved in an intriguing battle with former Demon Luke Tapscott, but the Leopold Premiership captain probably took the cake. Unlucky not to be rated higher.
Ryan Monaghan- 6
Much like Thompson, Colac’s Ryan Monaghan worked hard in the middle of the ground and had the better of his opponents. Had a prolific first term in gathering over 10 disposals, and was steady over the next three quarters. Has the ability to play an attacking or more dogged midfield role, and did both on Saturday. Used his strong body to good effect.
Tony Armstrong- 7
The lone Lara player to earn an Interleague jumper this season, Armstrong worked his way into the game nicely. Finished with 20 disposals sweeping across half back. Reads the play extremely well and is able to find space where others can’t because of that. Forced to play deeper in defence for Lara due to the ball spending a large chunk of time down there, the former AFL player enjoyed some more freedom and used it well on Saturday.
Rob Condy- 8
The experienced Condy finished with the most disposals of any Geelong player on the ground (26). Read the play nearly better than anyone and often found himself in the right spot. A handful of intercept marks and efficient kicking were his hall marks, often playing the loose man in defense. Prolific and vital.
Matt McMahon- 9
The Bob Cahir medalist for best on ground, McMahon was irresistible on Saturday. The experienced and respected Eagle got better as the game wore on, and openly admitted the slower style of game suited his rhythm more in the second half. Picked up possessions at will and was fierce at the contest as we have come to expect. No easy ball and never gave up, the Newtown star was simply superb. A deserving medalist.
Cam Delaney- 7
The younger Delaney made his name as a defender in his short AFL career, yet he was brilliant in his role as backup ruckman/second forward on Saturday. Was superb in the air, plucking a few vital marks when swung forward to great effect, and finished with two goals. In the ruck, he helped arrest the momentum off Mornington’s Dylan Jones and got the hitout counter back in his side’s favour. The MPNFL simply had no match-up for him.
Marcus Thompson- 6
A late call-up for the unlucky Zak Sherman, Thompson made it four sets of brothers in the one Interleague side along with the Delaney’s, Sheringham’s and Dobson’s. An elite user out of the back half, it wasn’t a big day possessions wise for the Leopold product who is part of the Geelong VFL set-up, but fulfilled his defensive duties with aplomb. Was shifted onto the dangerous Shane McDonald in the second half when he threatened to break the game open, and along with Jackson Sheringham was able to quell his influence.