Will Ashcroft and Harry Sheezel used Sandrigham’s final round one tune-up as a day to show off against the Dandenong Stingrays.
The Dragons hosted the Rays in a practice match at Trevor Barker Oval on Sunday morning, winning by more than 12 goals and giving the coaching staff plenty to like ahead of round one selection.
Sheezel was supreme in attack fishing with four goals from his eight shots on goal to entrench himself among the best of his cohort.
A running banana from just inside 50 on the quarter time siren was the highlight as he proved a difficult match-up, combining aerial ability with work-rate and cleanliness at ground level.
Midfield coach Scott Nish spent the majority of the contest focussed on his engine room yet noted Sheezel’s impact on the game.
“He was good, he just showed his strength – we were trying to get him to play in front a little bit in the wet conditions because the ball was coming in a little bit scrappy but he’s got the ability to turn on a dime and we thought he did really well to kick his handful of goals,” Nish said.
Ruckman Max Ramsden competed well in the ruck and was noted by Nish for his influence on the contest but lost the hitout count comfortably making the Dragons midfield excellence more impressive.
Ashcroft showed that there is more to him than just a strong body, sharking opposition hitouts and getting involved in plenty of scoring chains and got in the way when the Rays tried to go the other way
“He did his fair share of work to win us stoppages so he was really strong for us today,” Nish said.
“He’s good on the inside and outside and got that really nice step, and he’s quick on his feet so he did a fair bit of damage for us today.”
Charlie Clarke and Cam McKenzie are each also well-placed ahead of round one: Clarke threw his weight around and was tough in the contest and McKenzie’s attack and leap served him well.
After playing as half-backs last season and moving onto the wing in preseason, Luca Macnab and Ben Hempel ensured Sandy held their shape on the outside, with Hempel even getting a run in the forward-line.
The Dragons were dominant in the first half of the under 17s match, holding Dandenong goalless and looking better across all facets of the ground.
Levi Ashcroft kicked two goals and won plenty of possession, as did Zach Travers, while Josh Docking’s agility stood out.
The Dragons rejigged their line-up for the second half, testing their depth to give everyone a chance to get involved.
The final match of the day – a practice match against Oakleigh’s development squad - offered the fringe players a final opportunity to push their case for selection ahead of round one, next Sunday afternoon against Oakleigh.