AJAX duo feature in Dragons’ TAC Cup Grand Final feat
Two rising stars of Jewish sport in Melbourne, Kane Nissenbaum and Ashley Krakauer have tasted the ultimate success on the big stage, winning the 2016 TAC Cup Premiership with the Sandringham Dragons on Sunday at Etihad Stadium.
The Dragons led at every change in a tight contest against Murray Bushrangers and went onto win 12.13 (85) – 9.14 (68).
“The overriding emotion when the siren went was just happiness. It still hasn’t sunk in that we won,” Krakauer told the AJN.
Nissenbaum who is a year 12 student at Leibler Yavneh College faced a nervous wait during the week before being told he would play in the Grand Final.
The 18-year old played in the Elimination Final three weeks ago but didn’t feature in the next two finals. An injury to star player Will Setterfield opened the door for his timely return.
“I was a bit nervous early in the week, but obviously when I heard that I was going to play I was pretty excited,” Nissenbaum told the AJN.
“It is such a long year and we all work so hard, so obviously getting the nod to play was pretty special,” he said.
Krakauer, a small forward, was his team’s equal leading goalkicker with two. He was lively all game and both goals he kicked were at critical stages.
Photo: Adam Trafford/AFL Media
“I was pleased with my game, but every player has some team-first objectives to tick off and I thought I did that,” he said.
The Caulfield Grammarian gathered 12 disposals, six handball receives and laid two tackles to go along with his two classy majors.
He played 14 games this season with the Dragons, was named in the best on six occasions and kicked eight goals.
“I’ve loved every minute. The Sandringham Dragons’ program has been a really important part of my life since I started as an under 13 player back in 2011.”
“There’s a strong focus on developing the person not just the player. I’ve been able to deal with and overcome certain life challenges because of the development and education that the program has given me,” he said.
Krakauer is one of the most talented players to come out of the AJAX Football Club, with a list of junior accolades, rivalled by very few.
He was the junior Club Champion in 2010 and the Pratt Foundation Outstanding Achiever in 2011.
Nissenbaum who played off a wing made the most of his limited game-time on Sunday, hitting the target with six of his seven possessions as well as working hard to take four marks.
Photo: Adam Trafford/AFL Media
He played 14 games, was named in the best twice and kicked four goals. He also played on four occasions with AJAX and debuted in the seniors earlier in the year.
His impressive junior career at AJAX was rewarded last season when he was named the Outstanding Achiever.
With the NAB AFL Draft taking place in late November, both boys remained realistic about their chances but have other plans in mind if their AFL dream is not fulfilled this year.
“I feel like I’ve had a consistent season, but it has been tough at times when I’ve been out of the team. You get the feel early on in the season if you might be on the draft radar,” Nissenbaum said.
“The next step for me and my footy will probably be to try and play with a VFL team. I have a few people helping me with the decisions I have in front of me,” he said.
Standing at 172cm, Krakauer takes a lot of motivation and confidence from the small stars of the AFL such as Western Bulldogs’ Caleb Daniel and will nominate for November’s AFL Draft.
“Seeing similar type players running around in the AFL and doing well has been a driving force for me to give it a crack, but if doesn’t work out I’ll probably look at the VFL as my next move,” Krakauer said.
AJAX Amateur Football Club
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