THERE were some big margins this week, with the Eastern Ranges getting a 46-point win and the Sandringham Dragons getting a 71-point win. But perhaps the most important win of the round went to the Geelong Falcons, who handed the Northern Knights their first loss of the season while keeping their winning streak intact. With only one round to go in the competition, the Falcons have booked themselves a spot in the grand final.
Calder Cannons vs. Dandenong Stingrays
#2 Felicity Theodore
Has incredible acceleration and wonderful speed in general. She always goes hard for the ball and continues to follow it up even when she continues to get bumped and crunched. Theodore has the composure to back-track and kick. Displayed great speed to follow up on a missed kick.
#3 Madison Prespakis
Her long kick was on display once again and helped the Cannons penetrate forward. Prespakis got a high handball while being tackled, using her body to get the ball away. As usual, she just gets and kicks, and her kicks are often too hot for the opposition to mark. She displayed immense strength again, getting a kick away while being pushed over and displaying strong tackling. Kicked a great snap that bent back perfectly for Calder’s first goal. She is at the bottom of every contest, yet gets up so quickly, taking a great chest mark running at full speed. Kicked her second goal of the game with another lovely snap at a crucial moment. Displayed great gut running and even got strong penetration on her handballs.
#18 Carla Rendelmann
Dominated in the ruck again, winning nearly every hit-out. Has great acceleration and hunts hard for the ball. Took a good defensive mark and her kick was composed out of defensive 50, instead of being hacked out of there. Rendelmann got penetration on her taps and followed them up like a rover.
#21 Georgia Patrikios
Played her best game for the Cannons on Friday night. Ran really well and was able to deliver some long kicks down the field. Laid a strong tackle after she dropped the mark and continued that strong tackling throughout the contest. Her hands were clean, especially on the boundary line, where she was able to cleanly pick up the ball and turn her opponent inside out. Burst well out of the midfield and worked really well with Prespakis. Showed great agility when she picked the ball up off the ground, side-stepped and kicked the ball to Prespakis for her second goal of the day. Patrikios was able to get the ball and spin out of trouble on multiple occasions.
#15 Jordyn Allen
Allen’s footy IQ really stood out in this game. She displayed quick hands and did the little things, such as trapping the ball at her feet. Displayed excellent gut running to follow up the ball, and beat all her opponents to trap and kick it long. Allen always managed to get back behind the ball and displayed good composure. She effectively set up her own wall off half-back. Displayed some nice deft kicking. Took a fantastic contested mark after conceding a free kick. The Cannons could not get anything past her. Always applied strong pressure on her opponent and made them hesitate the kick.
#3 Courtney Jones
Jones read the footy well throughout the game. Kicked a great snap around the body for Dandenong’s second goal. Ran well on the wing and kicked great under pressure. Delivered a beautiful centring kick, having good awareness to not blaze away at goal. Kicked a long ball off one step and has an innate ability to kick around her body. Jones is one of the best in the league at around-the-body kicking. Took a good mark to stop the Cannons in their tracks and send it back inside 50.
#26 Isabella Shannon
Kicked a great mid-air snap while being pushed over. Did some good work to wrestle the ball out of the pack. Broke away well from a tackle, and still got the kick away while being pursued hotly. Shannon converted Dandenong’s first goal with a nice snap on an angle. Her courage showed when she bravely got up after a heavy hit.
#28 Tyanna Smith
Took a great mark and took her time to ensure she used the ball well. Her marking was on display throughout the match when she took another good mark and pursued with the footy despite tripping. In that instance, she did well to keep running, showing her intent to hunt the footy. Laid a great tackle and was able to quickly get a kick away. Picked up the ball cleanly and displayed nice movement through the ground.
#35 Lucinda Cripps
Ran well throughout the game and was able to follow up on her kicks. Displayed good movement from the stoppage to kick the ball away. Delivered a magnificent spearing pass to Jones inside 50 which beat all the players and fell out the back of the contest. Jones missed but deserved a goal because it was such a clever kick by Cripps.
Eastern Ranges vs. Murray Bushrangers
By: Peter Williams
#3 Emerson Woods
A strong performance from Woods, particularly early in the game when the game was hot. In the opening term when the game was on the line she was huge. Her first contact was impacting a contest on the wing and killing a ball across the line, and proceeded to win a number of free kicks for fierce tackles. She had a set shot which went wide in the windy conditions, but continued to work hard on the inside, moving well through the stoppages. She also has that trademark handball where she gets her arms free of a would-be tackler and had the vision to execute to a teammate outside the stoppage. She reads the opposition taps well, sharking one from Sophie Damon, and played a good role between midfield and half-forward.
#21 Mikala Cann
Cann was the best player on the ground early, kicking a fantastic goal on the run under pressure and then giving off a second one to Catherine Chamberlain. She almost could have had three, but Ashleigh Allsopp’s set shot just missed. Her tackling pressure was very good and won a couple of free kicks under the holding the ball rule. Was quieter in the second half, but had a huge first half, both offensively and defensively.
#37 Georgia Macpherson
Worked into the game well after a quiet opening term given the ball hardly reached her vicinity. She took a number of strong marks across the four quarters and kicked long with penetration to half-forward or wide to the wing. She has a unique ability to mark the ball at full-speed and keep moving, or win the contested ball one-on-one and just burst a few steps before kicking long. She took a strong grab in the third term leaping high, and hit up Laura McClelland late in the fourth term after charging through the midfield.
#38 Laura McClelland
McClelland continued to present throughout the match and is a one-grab player. She took a great mark leaping in from the side in the second term, and took another on the lead in the third term. Her set shot dropped short, but she continued to show good aggression and defensive pressure. In the final term she took a good mark going back with the flight and hit-up Woods coming out of the attacking 50. She took a strong grab and shot for goal on the final siren, but it was rushed through, or counted as a behind.
#46 Sarah Kendall
Another solid performance rotating between ruck and defence. She quite often punched the ball clear for a teammate to run onto it, and took a strong intercept mark on the wing late in the first term. She laid a great tackle not long after to win a free kick, and then moved into defence where she was able to take a couple of good marks and perform well.
#1 Julia Harvey
The small midfielder/forward never stopped trying and while Eastern was controlling most of the play early, Harvey was buzzing around winning the contested ball and trying to release her teammates. She showed good tackling pressure and won a free kick for being caught high. Sometimes she rushed a little and threw the ball on the boot, but showed good leadership at the stoppages and directed teammates where to run and stand.
#16 Eloise Ashley-Cooper
One of the more impressive Bushrangers, Ashley-Cooper provided plenty of run out of defence. She showed smart decision-making and found herself opposed to the dangerous McClelland at times. She was able to intercept the ball at half-back and took on the opposition in a number of occasions. She laid a strong tackle on Mikala Cann in the defensive 50 to lock the ball up when the Ranges were attacking, and just got better as the game went on. Put her body on the line on a number of occasions too.
#19 Millie Brown
Without Rebecca Webster in the midfield, Millie Brown stood up and did her best to try and drive the ball forward. She floated into the back half and took vital intercept marks and used her penetrating kick to clear the defence. Strong overhead and a textbook kicking action, Brown caused some headaches for the opposition and moved well along the wing often sending the ball back inside 50 for the Bushrangers. She even had a hit-out in the ruck showing off her versatility.
#22 Tamara Smith
A really solid game from Smith who never stopped trying. Worked hard through the middle of the ground and is really good at changing direction quickly and compose herself to kick long like she did in the second quarter. She laid a great smother in the third term and put her body on the line. Ran back with the flight and took a mark inside 50 but rushed to play on and her kick was affected by the opposition pressure.
Oakleigh Chargers vs. Western Jets
By: Peter Williams
#2 Mimi Hill
A quick thinking midfielder, Hill is really good one-on-one and has good strength for a smaller player. She is able to dish off a quick handball and time her release well, and also lays some strong tackles. Hill won a free kick at half-back and was able to hit-up Bridie Winbanks in the middle of the ground in the second term with good vision.
#10 Alice O’Loughlin
A lively player up forward, O’Loughlin was busy around the 50m arc. She took a few marks, had shots on goal and was worrying the opposition defence. Did not end up finishing with a major, but opened up the forward line with her strong hands, including a good grab in the third term in front of a big pack of players.
#11 Bridie Winbanks
Used her height to advantage around the stoppages and often got the ball clear to the outside. She drifted around the ground and took a good contested grab at half-back in the third term and then brought down a mark on the goal line from an Isabella Grant set shot.
#14 Hannah McLaren
Another tireless effort from the Chargers captain who continually forced a contest at ground level. She played in the back half and provided plenty of pressure to the ball carrier and at the coal face. She won a big one-on-one contest and managed to free her arms to handball to a teammate in the second term. She also won a free kick in the final quarter for a great tackle.
#30 Gemma Lagioia
Really created drive and run across the ground, always on the move. She uses her vision to kick into space and opens up the other side of the ground with kicks to her teammates advantage. She nailed a great kick on the run to O’Loughlin in the third term, and had a perfect pick-up at top speed, collecting the ball off the deck and handballing almost in the same motion – a real one-touch player. Later in the game she continued to win a fair chunk of the football and took a good intercept mark on the wing.
#38 Daisy Bateman
Could sniff out a goal in a submarine. Kicked three majors, all of which were opportunistic, right-time, right-place type goals. She could have had another had it not been punched across the line in the second term by Isabelle Pritchard. She is smart and positioned herself well in the one-on-one marking contest where she took a mark in the goal square in the third term, turned around and booted it home. Shortly after, she kicked it off the deck after the ball bounced between two Jets opponents. She dropped into the hole 30m out from goal to almost kick a third in the term but couldn’t convert with the heavy ball dropping short.
#14 Isabella Grant
Grant covers the ground quite well and moves nicely in transition from defence to attack. She teamed up well with Isabelle Pritchard in the second term in one instance where Pritchard handballed through traffic and Grant took off, kicking long to half-forward, where it was marked by Nikita Wright. Grant seems to love to go direct because when she wins the football she takes off and kicks long down the middle of the ground. It gained some really good meterage for the Jets. She had a shot on goal in the final term but her shot was marked on the line by Bridie Winbanks.
#16 Elisabeth Georgostathis
Georgostathis put in a hard-working performance through the midfield and was one of the better Jets players on the day. Some of her most noticeable traits were her ability to pick the ball up cleanly despite the weather and be able to change direction and dispose of it quickly. She showed good vision at a centre stoppage in the second term to handball over a couple of opponents to a teammate on the outside. In the second half she made a number of strong tackles, letting her opposition know that she was there. In the final term she took a strong mark in defence, marking the ball at full flight over the top of Isabella Gietzmann.
#30 Isabelle Pritchard
Stood strong in defence with a couple of crucial one-on-one wins. Pritchard spoiled the ball in the second term to punch it across the line and stop a Daisy Bateman goal. She then took a good mark at half-back in the third term and handballed to Isabella Grant who kept the play moving. She won a one-on-one at ground level by wrestling the ball back and handballed to a teammate whilst under pressure in the third term, then laid a fantastic tackle to lock the ball up 30m from goal a few minutes later. She won an intercept possession at half-forward in the final term and showed quick hands in the middle of the ground to give it off to a teammate streaming forward.
#39 Cleo Saxon-Jones
Stood up in the final term booting a powerful goal from a set shot, which she navigated the breeze well and went straight through. She showed good defence in the third term where she found herself opposed to the speedy Gemma Lagioia and did well to punch the ball away and out of bounds but was unlucky to be called for deliberate.
#43 Caitlin Greiser
Had an early shot on goal in the first term but didn’t quite get through the big sticks, then showed her strength and smarts in the second term. Greiser was one-on-one deep and indicated to her teammate to kick it long. She positioned herself at the back, taking a mark and then not breaking stride and running into goal, backing herself in and kicking a major from the top of the goal square. In the third term she had a shot from long range but just missed to the right.
Geelong Falcons vs. Northern Knights
By: John Van Noorden
#7 Olivia Purcell
Was wherever the team needed her all day. Her hard work in the contest was evident and her tackling was ferocious. A highlight of her game was when she executed a Dusty-like fend-off to perfection. With her efforts on the inside and in the clearances, she was best on ground for me.
#18 Nina Morrison
She is a great reader of the play, and her intercept and contested marking was on display all day, allowing Geelong to rebound quickly and turn defence into attack. She was clean and efficient throughout the day, and laid some important tackles. She is one of those players that makes all her teammates look better.
#23 Lucy McEvoy
Her long kicking out of defence was a highlight, and never hesitated to go back with the flight. She was composed when her team needed it in the second half, and provided great structure to the Falcons backline.
#27 Denby Taylor
She was very quick, and her long kicking saw off many of Northern’s forward entries, and also set up her team well to rebound.
#4 Neve O’Connor
She had a big presence on the field, and was very effective at winning the hit-outs to space, and was always quick to follow up. She moves exceptionally well for a taller player, and she took a couple of great contested marks. O’Connor also delivered long kicks inside 50 to the advantage of Northern.
#21 Ellie McKenzie
Was quiet in the first quarter (although most of the Knights were), but had an explosive patch in the middle of the second quarter. She chased and tackled, winning a free kick for her team on the back flank. She followed that with a long kick down the wing hitting her target on the chest, then sprinted forward and made a contest in the forward 50 to force a ball-up. A minute later, she was sitting on a player’s shoulders as she flew for a high mark, but could not bring the ball down. McKenzie was very influential.
#22 Britney Gutknecht
Very classy and displayed excellent clean pick ups. Got high-quality possessions in the contest, and drew a free kick inside 25 metres but didn’t convert. Gutknecht’s composure was one reason why Northern was able to get back into the game in the second half.
#23 Gabby Newton
She was composed under pressure and looked a level above at times. On a few occasions she displayed the awareness to change her decision at the last minute, making a better one and opening up space for teammates. Newton was strong in defence, and held the fort down well in the third quarter, enabling her teammates to mount a comeback against the breeze. Her unselfish team play was a highlight, and was best on ground for Northern in my opinion.
Sandringham Dragons vs. Bendigo Pioneers
By: Matt Balmer
#30 Eleanor Brown
Brown was a marking machine throughout the afternoon where she would’ve taken 10 plus marks. Standing at 176cm, her presence in the air made her a tough match-up for the Pioneers players. One of her standout marks was in the second quarter, where she smartly intercepted the ball. She was good marking overhead, as well on her chest. The left foot kicker also had a huge run down the ‘scoreboard’ wing in the final quarter, and was one of the Dragons’ best for the day.
#36 Jemma Owen
The Sandy Dragons skipper has the ability to break the lines, making her a damaging player. She is also willing to take players on to help get the ball moving forward. In one passage of play, she smartly ran hard to get the handball off the stationary player and used her good kick to get it moving forward. She also showed throughout the contest that she was willing to kick the ball on either foot if required.
#43 Abbie McKay
One thing I noticed about McKay was the noise that was made everytime she kicked the ball – the “thump” after every kick was obvious compared with some of the other girls and she had a long distance on her right foot. McKay also had an impressive passage of play, kicking the ball well inside 50 in the second quarter.
#46 Alice Burke
She had a quieter first half, but she got going in the second half playing a really good half. She won the opening contest of the third quarter, getting the ball and clearing it from the stoppage and kicking it inside 50. Similar to McKay, she also has a long right foot kick.
#19 Kodi Jacques
Played most of the game in the midfield trying hard during the contest, but the Pioneers were well and truly beaten during the match. She took an outstanding contested mark in the opening quarter and competed hard during the match. Her effort won her a free kick in the second quarter, while another highlight was a thumping right foot kick in the final quarter that hit the target up the ground.
#28 Megan Williamson
Was the Pioneers best player in my eyes, working exceptionally hard in the defensive half of the ground. The left footer did show she was willing to use it off her right foot if required, but hit most of her targets on her natural left foot. She was strong in the contest and at times, was willing to tuck it under her arm and run forward. She showed she was willing to put her head over the ball and deservingly won a free for high contact in the third term. Despite the score, she fought hard in the final term with multiple inside 50s – including a kick straight out of the middle early in the fourth quarter that ventured inside 50.
Greater Western Victoria Rebels vs. Gippsland Power
By: Matt Balmer
Greater Western Victoria Rebels:
#15 Tara Jasper
She did some nice things throughout the contest, but an outstanding piece of play had to be recognised in the third quarter. On the ‘scoreboard’ side of the ground, she laid an absolutely superb run-down tackle in the third quarter that stopped a certain inside 50 and possible goal for the Power.
#16 Lauren Butler
Was impressed with her work during the match, where she competes well around the ground, mostly playing across half-back. She puts her head over the footy, showing she is willing to win the footy in the contest.
#18 Sophie Van De Heuvel
Played almost exclusively across half forward, rarely pushing into the midfield. She did play as a high half-forward at times. What was most impressive about Van De Heuvel was her tackling, where she laid over five for the match, putting pressure on her opponents. Another impressive aspect is her recovery, while she did drop a mark in the opening term, she immediately laid a tackle on her Power opponent forcing a stoppage. She recovers well when the ball hits the turf and picks it up cleanly. She snapped a beautiful goal in the second quarter at the south end of Trevor Barker Oval.
#25 Georgia Clarke
Clarke was the player I was most impressed with for the entire day. She played almost as a quarterback role as a rebounding defender, repelling multiple Power attacks on goal. Her rebound work was outstanding and she used the ball well off her right foot. She is very agile and moves well around the ground. An intercept possession in the third quarter was a highlight and there was no doubting that Clarke was one of the Rebels’ best players.
#35 Rene Caris
Caris played in the ruck and it was the first throw-up of the day that was the most impressive, where she got up and over at the first ruck contest and hitting the ball down to a teammate. The right footer did find some football around the ground and was reasonable below her knees when the ball hit the ground in the wet conditions.
#6 Emily Haeusler
Haeusler is a strong tackler, playing most of the game in the attacking half of the ground. She can use the ball reasonably well on either her left or right foot, but she hit a superb pass on the left on the wing in the second quarter. Her hands in close in the contest were good despite the slippery ball.
#28 Tyla Hanks
You only need one look at Hanks to know she is going to be an outstanding footballer in the future. Her opening quarter was superb and she almost single handedly got her Power side over the line in the tight contest. She would’ve had close to 10 disposals in the opening quarter, where she begun the contest with a big inside 50 from the stoppage. She is strong in the contest and reads the taps from the rucks exceptionally well. She has a zip of speed and gets the ball moving forward whenever possible. She exits very well from the stoppages and booted an outstanding goal in the final quarter, snapping the ball and dribbling it through the goals – which in the end was the Power’s only goal of the day.
#58 Amy Dunn
The tall played most of the match in the ruck where she competed very well. Despite the wet conditions, she took a good mark inside 50 in the second quarter. A set shot on goal went for a point on her right foot. She marked well early in the match.