Chargers hold off Ranges to win TAC Cup

After being overlooked in last year’s AFL draft, Oakleigh Chargers’ Kade Answerth has put his hand up for the AFL again with a best on ground performance in the TAC Cup grand final.

The Chargers, who came from sixth on the ladder to make the under 18s decider, grabbed the premiership with a 12-point win over Eastern Ranges at Etihad Stadium in Melbourne on Sunday.

It is their second successive flag.

Oakleigh led by 30 at the main break but the Ranges hit back, using their speed to slash the deficit.

The margin was just two points at the final break but it was the Chargers who steadied and eventually won 10.13 (73) to 9.7 (61).

Answerth was awarded the TAC Cup medal for his 30 disposals, 10 clearances, six marks and seven tackles.

Oakleigh coach Mick Stinear said he hoped AFL clubs would give the 19-year-old another look this year.

“His biggest improvement has been his running game and is explosiveness in tight,” Stinear said.

“He just has a will to compete and will to win.

“He has had some Port Melbourne opportunities in the VFL, he had three games there … It has been a super year from him and I am really happy for him.”

The coach also nominated Jack Firns and Tom Phillips as others who would have impressed AFL recruiters.

Pacy midfielder David Cuningham had 20 disposals to further his claims at the November draft, while Oakleigh skipper Ben Crocker, Aaron Cottee and Alex Morgan were others to catch the eye.

Forwards Blake Hardwick and Jayden Stephenson were best for the Rangers.

Stephenson, a livewire forward, is only 16 and not eligible for this year’s draft.

But his three goals will likely ensure many pundits are watching him throughout 2016.

A smaller forward, Hardwick also booted three important second half goals.

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