Story so far: TAC Cup Girls – Metro

THE Story so far continues on from the Country sides, with a review of the TAC Cup Girls Metro sides. There have been plenty of impressive players and team performances across the first five rounds, with one metro team sitting second on the ladder. If the first five rounds are anything to go by, the next four rounds will be full of fantastic battles.

Calder Cannons

Position: 11th
Win-loss: 1 win – 4 losses
Percentage: 43%

Results:

R1: lost to Murray Bushrangers by 46 points
R2: lost to Northern Knights by 48 points
R3: defeated Western Jets by 12 points
R4: lost to Gippsland Power by 3 points
R5: lost to Sandringham Dragons by 55 points

The Calder Cannons enjoyed a premiership last season so coming into this year, they would have been hoping to continue their hot run of form. Unfortunately, they did not get off to the start that they would have liked, with heavy defeats against Murray Bushrangers and Northern Knights. But the competition was high as both are top four sides, and Calder were without draftees, Monique Conti, Chloe Molloy and Sarah Dargan, who were integral to their 2017 program. But this year, being the Calder captain has allowed the already talented Madison Prespakis to spread her wings. Prespakis has been unstoppable in the midfield and has really been able to lift her team when needed. She has been complemented by some great young talent in Felicity Theodore, Zoe Hardiman and Grace Dicker, who have all shown great signs throughout the season. The next four weeks could be tough for the Cannons, but with a young side willing to throw everything on the line, expect some close contests to finish off their 2018 campaign.  

Fixtures:

R6: vs. GWV Rebels
R7: vs. Geelong Falcons
R8: vs. Dandenong Stingrays
R9: vs. Eastern Ranges

Eastern Ranges

Position: 3rd
Win-loss: 4 wins – 1 loss
Percentage: 189%

Results:

R1: defeated GWV Rebels by 19 points
R2: defeated Dandenong Stingrays by 39 points
R3: defeated Oakleigh Chargers by 28 points
R4: defeated Bendigo Pioneers 17 points
R5: lost to Western Jets by 5 points

The Eastern Ranges’ season has been spectacular, despite a round five loss against the Jets. The TAC Cup Girls competition is all about development, meaning losses are often a good learning curve for the players. This is particularly good for the Ranges, who face ladder-leaders, Geelong in round six, where they would love to fix their mistakes from round five and claim a win. Players like Georgia Macpherson and Emerson Woods have been fantastic for Eastern and are showing no signs of slowing down. Forward Laura McClelland is the joint leading goalkicker in the competition with 11 majors, and has been prolific inside 50. In the midfield, it has been Gabriella De Angelis’ quick hands and Mikala Cann’s explosive speed that have been the catalyst behind the Ranges’ admired ability to swiftly penetrate the ball forward.

Fixtures:

R6: vs. Geelong Falcons
R7: vs. Gippsland Power
R8: vs. Murray Bushrangers
R9: vs. Calder Cannons

Northern Knights

Position: 2nd
Win-loss: 5 wins – 0 losses
Percentage: 268%

Results:

R1: defeated Dandenong Stingrays by 35 points
R2: defeated Calder Cannons by 48 points
R3: defeated Sandringham Dragons by 30 points
R4: defeated GWV Rebels by 16 points
R5: defeated Oakleigh Chargers by 51 points

The Northern Knights have been a surprise packet this year, going undefeated so far from five rounds. The wins have been extremely convincing, winning four out of five games by over 30 points. The Knights have an innate ability to burst the game open through one quarter of blistering footy, and leaders such as Madeline Brancatisano, Gabrielle Newton and Britney Gutknecht have been pivotal in these electric passages of play. Abigail Bennett has shown her versatility for the Knights with impressive stints both in the forward-line and in the midfield. Alex Pronesti and Alyssa Bannan have been a dangerous duo inside 50, kicking eight and 11 goals for the season, respectively. The Knights’ lesser-known players have also been standouts, with Ellie McKenzie running amok in each of her three games for the Knights, while Marnie Jarvis has provided fantastic speed throughout the season. Northern’s talent has stood up so far, and will need to continue to do so, as they face their fellow top-four sides in the last rounds of the season. These next four rounds could significantly shape the Knights’ season.

Fixtures:

R6: vs. Gippsland Power
R7: vs. Eastern Ranges
R8: vs. Geelong Falcons
R9: vs. Murray Bushrangers

Oakleigh Chargers

Position: 10th
Win-loss: 1 win – 4 losses
Percentage: 55%

Results:

R1: defeated Gippsland Power by 67 points
R2: lost to Sandringham Dragons by 33 points
R3: lost to Eastern Ranges by 28 points
R4: lost to Geelong Falcons by 70 points
R5: lost to Northern Knights by 51 points

The Oakleigh Chargers enjoyed a magnificent win in round one to open their season, however the next four rounds have not been ideal for the Chargers. They have not won a game since, but their development has been good. Gemma Lagioia, Alana Porter and Katie Lynch have been important in the midfield and have stood up when the side has been down. Captain Hannah McLaren has shown great leadership throughout Oakleigh’s 2018 campaign, demonstrating her versatility across the backline and through the middle of the ground. Players like Chloe O’Malley, Mimi Hill and Nicola Xenos have also had convincing performances in patches throughout the season. The Chargers play four of the bottom six teams coming up, in which they can prove a point to the rest of the competition.

Fixtures:

R6: vs. Bendigo Pioneers
R7: vs. Dandenong Stingrays
R8: vs. Western Jets
R9: vs. GWV Rebels

Sandringham Dragons

Position: 6th
Win-loss: 3 wins – 2 losses
Percentage: 136%

Results:

R1: lost to Geelong Falcons by 20 points
R2: defeated Oakleigh Chargers by 33 points
R3: lost to Northern Knights by 30 points
R4: defeated Dandenong Stingrays by 15 points
R5: defeated Calder Cannons by 55 points

The Sandringham Dragons have plenty of talent in their side, with players like Sarah Hartwig holding up the backline, Eliza McNamara dominating in the midfield, and Maddison Wilson playing well up forward. Eleanor Brown has been damaging all over the ground and has proved that she can have an impact in any position, while captain Jemma Owen has been in fine form of late. The Dragons have now won two consecutive games and have a chance to keep their momentum going against a Murray side who experienced its first loss in the TAC Cup Girls competition in round five. Despite no AFLW Academy members in the side, Sandringham still has the firepower to match it up against the sides that do.

Fixtures:

R6: vs. Murray Bushrangers
R7: vs. Western Jets
R8: vs. Bendigo Pioneers
R9: vs. Gippsland Power

Western Jets

Position: 9th
Win-loss: 1 win – 4 losses
Percentage: 57%

Results:

R1: lost to Bendigo Pioneers by 37 points
R2: lost to Gippsland Power by 15 points
R3: lost to Calder Cannons by 12 points
R4: lost to Murray Bushrangers by 25 points
R5: defeated Eastern Ranges by 5 points

It was extremely pleasing to see the Western Jets get their first win of the TAC Cup Girls competition as their development has been positive throughout the season. Isabelle Pritchard has been solid in defence, Isabella Grant can make an impact wherever she plays, and Elisabeth Georgostathis has been sensational through the middle of the ground. Despite four losses to start the season, the losses were not heavy, with the biggest loss coming in round one against Bendigo. But in the last two weeks in particular, we have seen the emergence of forward, Caitlin Greiser. Greiser has kicked seven goals in two rounds and will continue to be a key cog inside 50 as the Jets approach the Stingrays in round six, who are yet to win a game in 2018.

Fixtures:

R6: vs. Dandenong Stingrays
R7: vs. Sandringham Dragons
R8: vs. Oakleigh Chargers
R9: vs. Geelong Falcons

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