Dragons defeat Calder to advance to a prelim final
By Dylan Bolch
The Sandringham Dragons have booked their place in the 2022 NAB League Boys Preliminary Finals with a comprehensive 61-point victory over the Calder Cannons.
Both sides had four shots on goal in the first term in what was a tight contest, but the Dragons pulled away in the second quarter, booting five goals to one to open up a 35-point lead at the main break.
Sandringham’s trio of small forwards – Charlie Clarke, Jamie Hope and Levi Ashcroft, booted three goals apiece to spearhead the Dragons to victory, whilst Harry Sheezel (two goals) and Will Brown (two goals) also chimed in.
Midfield duo Will Ashcroft and Cam Mackenzie lead the way in the middle of the ground once more, amassing 28 and 24 touches respectively.
They were well supported by youngster Ryley Sanders (22 touches) and Olli Hotton (14 touches), who provided versatility to the dominant Dragons midfield.
In defence, Nathan Scollo was at his brilliant best finishing with 22 disposals and five marks, whilst Archie Roberts (16 touches) provided dare and dash coming out of the defensive 50 for the Dragons.
Experienced heads Mitch Rowe (21 disposals, five inside 50s) and Jakob Anderson (19 touches, five marks) were forces to be reckoned with, providing voice and direction all afternoon.
Rowe’s gut-running and ability to get to as many contests as possible was outstanding, regularly providing an extra number for his side.
The Dragons booted nine second half goals to run out 61-point victors and live to fight another day.
The Dragons will face off against the Gippsland Power in a cut-throat preliminary final for a place in the 2022 NAB League Boys Grand Final.
DRAGONS 3.1 8.8 12.11 17.13 (115)
BUSHRANGERS 1.3 2.3 5.4 8.6 (54)
BEST: W. Ashcroft, Mackenzie, Roberts, Hope, Scollo, Rowe
GOALS: Clarke 3, Hope 3, L. Ashcroft 3, Sheezel 2, Brown 2, Creighton, Rousakis, Andrews, W. Ashcroft