Sandringham continued its march through the finals by overwhelming minor premier Gippsland through the middle two quarters to win by 34 points at ETU Stadium and cruise into its first Grand Final since 2017.

The Dragons did their homework and reduced the impact from Power stars Bailey Humphrey, Zane Duursma and Coby Burgiel as they took a six-point quarter-time lead and blew it out to a match-winning 44-point gap by the final change.

The Power hasn’t been able to produce its best in the last third of the season after starting 9-0, winning just two of its last six games, but can still hold its head high after its best performance in a decade has a large contingent of players in contention for November’s NAB AFL Drafts.

Team of the Year ruckman Max Knobel had 25 hitouts and Harvey Howe 21 as Gippsland won that category 50-12, providing plenty of chances for Tom Hanily (22, six marks, two goals) and returning star Mitch Moschetti (26, six marks, eight tackles), while Max Walton (25, five marks, five rebounds) was again outstanding out of defence and Jonti Schuback (19, five marks) and Cooper Vickery (18, one goal) could also hold their heads high.

Excerpt taken from article published by NAB League, which can be viewed in full here.

#5 Bailey Humphrey

It was a tough day at the office for Humphrey who, after spending plenty of time in midfield during last week’s quarter final, found the ball 14 times with many more minutes up forward. Nonetheless, he did everything in his power to help will his side into the contest, proving strong over the ball and booting a team-lifting goal in the third quarter. His bodywork to mark in that instance was indicative of his improvement this year, and is why he remains right among the top 10 mix. The strength of Sandringham’s on-ball brigade was telling.

#7 Jacob Konstanty

One of the many top Gippsland prospects whose numbers were not indicative of his promise, Konstanty spent most of his time in the forward line for 12 disposals, five marks, and five tackles. As a clever type, he consistently lead into the right channels and looked near-unstoppable with his speed off the mark and clean hands. His kicking left a little to be desired at times, but Konstanty could not be faulted for his creative intent.

#9 Zane Duursma

On the same weekend elder sister Yasmin made her AFLW debut, Duursma showed glimpses of his high-end potential without being overly prolific. The bottom-ager managed nine disposals and three marks, but it could have been many more given the way he attacked aerial contests. With a clear run and jump, he leapt aggressively at the ball with little reward, and made a couple of key touches count. Starting forward, he claimed Gippsland’s second goal of the game, and jetted out of defence to spark Nate Pipicelli‘s third quarter major.

#10 Jonti Schuback

Playing on both sides of midfield, Schuback injected some of his typical class to Gippsland’s ball movement and looked most comfortable on the outside, where he made great decisions. Even in tight spots, he drew opponents in before dishing off and looked slick when stepping around them, hardly looking fazed in the face of pressure. He penetrated both arcs with his 19 disposals, as one of the more productive Power players.

#11 Tom Hanily

Among a star studded lineup of teammates, Hanily stood out as an impactful member of the midfield-forward rotation. The bottom-ager took the game on with his 22 touches, breaking forward at speed and standing up in key moments. His best bit of play was a 50-metre set shot goal in the fourth quarter, and he almost pulled off a remarkable run into the forward 50 before being caught on the bounce. His four NAB League games this year were encouraging.

#22 Archer Reid

In what was arguably his best game for the year, Reid showcased just why he is already considered among the top prospects for 2023. The bottom-aged key forward got on the board early with a 40-metre set shot, and later snapped a second in the opening quarter. He would use the same method to claim a third major in term four, displaying wonderful dexterity at 201cm. That was a factor in much of Reid’s play, as he got separation on the lead and performed a memorable blind turn late in the day.

#27 Cooper Vickery

Vickery was made to absorb plenty of heat in Gippsland’s defence, but stood up typically well to it with his ability to position smartly, win the ball back, and set off on the rebound. Aside from a dropped mark in the first quarter, the top-aged Vic Country representative was a sure head with his 18 disposals and even earned some midfield time. Capping off a well rounded game, he also kicked a 40-metre goal in the final quarter.

Excerpt taken from article published by Rookie Me Central, which can be viewed in full here.


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