TAC Cup season preview - Metro Round

Each season gives a new wave of players an opportunity to seize the moment and forge their own piece of history in AFL Victoria’s TAC Cup competition.

Last year it was the Eastern Ranges that rose from the bottom of the ladder in 2012 to the premiership in 2013 – such is the transient nature of the competition.

Which region will make a similar rise this year, or will it be one of the regular finals contenders that can take the next step in 2014?

The coaching staff of each of the 12 regions have made the tough decisions in the preseason to cut their lists for their final 2014 squads, and we congratulate all players named this year on a list.

In the lead up to Metro Round this weekend, we spoke to the coaches to find out their thoughts on season 2014, revealing some of the players to watch this season as well.

  • Click HERE for the Round 1 Metro teams


Last season: 10-7

Finish: 4th

Coach: Andrew Jago (2nd season)

Best & fairest: Jake Owen

2013 Drafted Players: -

Direct draftees currently on AFL lists: 38

Notable AFL draftees: Ryan O’Keefe (Sydney), Eddie Betts (Carlton/Adelaide), Mitch Wallis (Western Bulldogs), Jackson Trengove (Port Adelaide)

What can we expect from Calder in 2014?:

AJ: We are aiming to get the balance between offense and defense right. We preached the defense side, but we want to be a bit more attacking in our rebound.

Who will be the players to watch this season?:

AJ: Jake Lever has unfortunately done a knee but will likely still be in most people’s considerations come the end of year. Peter Wright, Matt Goodyear, Touk Miller and Ben Allen has just been added to the Vic Metro squad. We also have a couple coming back from injury that hopefully will attract some attention as the season moves on.


Last season: 12-5

Finish: Premiers

Coach: Darren Bewick (5th season)

Best & fairest: Ben Cavarra

2013 Drafted Players: 4 - Michael Apeness (Fremantle), Tom Boyd (GWS), Mitch Honeychurch (Western Bulldogs), Daniel McStay (Brisbane)

Direct draftees currently on AFL lists: 24

Notable AFL draftees: Kade Simpson (Carlton), Liam Shiels (Hawthorn), Travis Cloke), Rory Sloane (Adelaide)

What can we expect from Eastern in 2014?:

DB: We are hoping theysecond year players can be role models to the next crop of players coming through. We will have four or five players that played in the premiership as regular players this year. Any experience (they had) of playing in finals is a great experience, and hopefully that will hold them in good stead for this year.

Who will be the players to watch this season?:

DB: Christian Petracca will be one, he is very strong forward type who will go through the midfield this year. Daniel Nielsen is a key defender we think will develop. Luke Hannon and Matt Traynor are two midfielders we hope will develop throughout the year. There will be four or five players that give themselves a chance during the year.


Last season: 9-7-1

Finish: 6th

Coach: Andrew Shakespeare (1st season)

Best & fairest: Josh Turner

2013 Drafted Players: 2 - Marcus Bontempelli (Western Bulldogs), Ben Lennon (Richmond)

Direct draftees currently on AFL lists: 24

Notable AFL draftees: Brent Harvey (North Melbourne), Heath Shaw (Collingwood/GWS), Michael Hurley (Essendon), Trent Cotchin (Richmond)

What can we expect from Northern in 2014?:

AS: We are a lot more even across the playing group this year so what I look forward to is watching our players demand attention by their actions on the field over the next few weeks and get invited to the Metro Squad. I want to see our top age players build reputations in this competition and I want to see our bottom age players begin to force their way into our team as some have already done. None of this will be gifted to anyone, it will come about with hard work and dedication and a deep belief in themselves and a confidence that I want to see in the way they practice and play.

Who are the players to watch out for in 2014?:

AS: Garret McDonagh is a beautiful distributor of the footy by foot. Zac Ballard is a hard inside mid field, tackling machine. Aerialist Kyle Langford roams through the high forward area. Good finisher. Jason Castagna is a speedster with dazzling lateral movement. Reece McKenzie is back after a year off, plays deep forward and is capable of marking everything. Liam Hunt, 19 year old back after injury interrupted 2013. Jordan Perry also a 19 year old back after injury interrupted 2013. Sam Switkowski is a courageous midfielder and Josh Iacobaccio is the club captain.


Last season: 6-10-1

Finish: 10th

Coach: Justin Wenke (3rd season)

Best & fairest: James Toohey

2013 Drafted Players: 8 - Jack Billings (St Kilda), Tom Cutler (Brisbane), Jay Kennedy Harris (Melbourne), Darcy Byrne Jones (Port Adelaide), Will Maginess (West Coast)*, James Toohey (Geelong)*, Jake Kelly (Adelaide)*, Shem-Kalvin Tatupu (Hawthorn)*

Direct draftees currently on AFL lists: 39

Notable AFL draftees: Todd Goldstein (North Melbourne), Andrew Carrazzo (Carlton), Marc Murphy (Carlton), Daniel Hannebery (Sydney)

What can we expect from Oakleigh in 2014?:

JW: We are looking at a more even effort throughout the course of the entire year as we were probably a bit inconsistent with our performances last year. We are really keen to have a strong performance in the first round, as the first round last year did not go to plan. Our boys are training really well, and we are really up and about for the first four rounds, and we believe we are well prepared and our guys will compete really strongly.

Who will be the players to watch this season?:

JW: Darcy Moore, who has just been named captain. He was nominated by the players and the committee. He will play key back and captain the club this year. We have a couple of 19 year olds, with one that has come back after limited TAC Cup experience by the name of Jack Sinclair who has only played a couple games of TAC Cup and he has had a really strong preseason. He is a midfielder that gets plenty of the ball and has the ability to go forward. Matthew Jackson is a 189cm midfielder and has a really nice kick on him and good around the clearances. 


Last season: 8-8-1

Finish: 9th

Coach: Justin Plapp (3rd year)

Best & fairest: Taylor Grace

2013 Drafted Players: 7 - Josh Kelly (GWS), Christian Salem (Melbourne), Nathan Freeman (Collingwood), Zach Merrett (Essendon), Tom Langdon (Collingwood), Karl Amon (Port Adelaide), Kurt Heatherley (Hawthorn)*

Direct draftees currently on AFL lists: 36

Notable AFL draftees: Chris Judd (West Coast/Carlton), Tom Hawkins (Geelong), Luke Ball (Collingwood/St Kilda), Jobe Watson (Essendon)

What can we expect from Sandringham in 2014?:

JP: I would like to hope from an external point of view people would see a close knit, very coachable group of players that really enjoy their footy. These are some of the characteristics that externally I hope people see. We have a good group that really enjoy their footy, so we hope week to week that they are able to play their roles and play the brand of football that will help their individual development and something they can enjoy as a program as well. 

Who will be the players to watch this season?:

JP: Ed Vickers-Willis is a half forward, running type of midfielder. Angus Brayshaw our captain is a very classy midfielder, a workman like type. Brayden Maynard a forward/back, is a really competitive type of player. Sean McLaren is a ruckman, key position player who is really athletic. Tom Wilkinson is a hard running wingman half back that has a lot of intensity around the footy.


Last season: 9-7-1

Finish: 5th

Coach: Torin Baker (2nd year)

Best & fairest: David Iaccarino

2013 Drafted Players: 1 - James Sicily (Hawthorn)

Direct draftees currently on AFL lists: 16

Notable AFL draftees: Dustin Fletcher (Essendon), Bachar Houli (Essendon/Richmond), Majak Daw (North Melbourne), Callan Ward (Western Bulldogs/GWS)

What can we expect from Western in 2014?

TB: We want to make sure that we play a very competitive brand of football, and if that turns into more wins than losses that will be fantastic and we hope that some of our players get some great opportunities at a national level.

Who will be the players to watch this season?:

TB: We have two boys in the AIS / AFL Academy system, with Liam Dugan and Duom Dawam, and both of those players will get opportunities at higher level this year. I also think that Jay Laverde has had a great preseason, and he is in the Vic Metro squad, Corey Ellis is another player that has had a fantastic bottom age year, and we are looking for him to show big things this year.


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