U18 TAC Cup Squad

(PHOTO: AFL Victoria)

Story thanks to Star Weekly

The Northern Knights’ TAC Cup season ended positively with the defeat of the Western Jets by 15 points on Saturday.

While the regular TAC Cup season ended the week before, the competition scheduled an extra match for the four teams that missed out on finals, including both the Knights and Jets.

The Knights made the most of the extra match to record their fourth win of the season with a 11.12 (78)-10.3 (63) scoreline.

Patrick Lipinski and Joel Naylor kicked three goals each in the win, while Jamison Shea produced a best-on-ground performance.

The result ends an up-and-down year for the Knights, who again missed out on finals.

Knights coach Andrew Shakespeare said that as with all TAC Cup clubs, results weren’t everything when looking at the season.

“In terms of wins and losses it has been disappointing,” he said. “Fortunately, in this system you’re not just judged by that.

“There’s been terrific development and by in large we have been competitive. We’ve exposed some future talent and got quite a few players in the possible draft category.

“Quite a few players have played VFL, most recently our captain, Mason Blakey.”

The 12th-placed finish was a long way short of the preseason expectation of playing finals.

Shakespeare said building a winning culture was something the Knights needed to continue working on.

“Finals were our stated aim … we needed to try to lift the expectations of the side,” he said. “Part of the development of the side is teaching them to win.

“It’s a real skill … the experienced sides are serial winners. Oakleigh Chargers, who have won the last two premierships, have won critical matches.”

Shakespeare said several players would be in the mix come draft time.

Patrick Lipinski has been invited to the AFL national draft combine, while three Knights have been invited to the state combine.

He said those players in draft contention would have a week off before resuming training.

“Matthew Signorello is someone who can play at the next level and I’m bullish about the draft for him,” Shakespeare said.

“Lachlan Murphy has had a stellar TAC Cup season player with multi dimensions and the mindset to push to another level.

“Charles Roberts is a 200-centimetre, 19-year-old. One recruiter from the AFL said he was the biggest improver in the TAC Cup. If a club is looking for a rookie ruckman that will continue develop, he would be a good pick.”

The Northern Star Weekly provides the best local coverage of news, sport and entertainment – It’s Your Community Voice