Fantastic Five: Memorable moments from the weekend

IT was an exciting weekend of football with plenty of firsts in women’s footy, a couple of defied expectations in the AFL, and Tarryn Thomas‘ Tasmanian side remaining the team to beat in the Under 18 Academy Series.

VFLW season kicks off

After a major overhaul of the Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s at the end of last season, the competition started on the weekend with some exciting games. Friends became foes, with the likes of Jess Duffin and Jasmine Garner switching the black and white stripes for blue and gold. Five of the six winners were AFL-aligned clubs, with Northern Territory Thunder getting the job done over reigning premiers Darebin Falcons in the other match. The competition might not have a lot of the traditional clubs – Melbourne University and Darebin remain with their prior titles – but it added an extra element of interest from AFLW supporters as many had a team to cheer on across the weekend.

Geelong books grand final spot

It was a winner-takes-all match between the Geelong Falcons and Northern Knights for a spot in the TAC Cup Girls Grand Final. While the result was arguably less important in the scheme of the season – the loser would have to completely fall off a cliff in the final round – it would still be nice to have the bragging rights. In a battle of the best offence versus the best defence, it was the defence that prevailed as the Falcons locked in a grand final spot – likely to face the Knights a fortnight later. Northern will look to regroup and try and topple the Falcons in the rematch.

North continues to surprise

It is hard not to get excited for North Melbourne, who continue to raise eyebrows with some strong performances. Many expected a lean season from the rebuilding club, but the Kangaroos surprised spectators once again, toppling Sydney in Sydney, and while they face the biggest challenge of all in season 2018 this round – Richmond – they have shown they can match it with some of the top sides.

Tasmania remain unbeaten in Academy series

Tasmania has taken out the Under 18 Academy Series after defeating Sydney Swans Academy in a match between the unbeaten sides. Tarryn Thomas got the points over Nick Blakey in the battle for the best Academy prospect – although both North Melbourne and Sydney fans will be excited to see the pair at the next level in 2019. Thomas’ Tasmanian side has been a dominant force in the series, while the Swans have also been impressive, so expect a number of representatives from both teams forming the Allies side.

Lions/Pies play out “traditional” thriller

When two bottom 10 teams face off, it is unlikely to create too many expectations. But when the tenth placed Pies faced off against the cellar dwelling Lions, every supporter got the biggest bang for their buck all season. Played as a twilight match on a Sunday night, the two sides had a good old fashioned shootout, and even neutral supporters could not help but admire the pace at which the game was played, almost as a throwback to a bygone era. In the end, a relieved Collingwood outfit got the job done in enemy territory despite former Pie and premiership player Dayne Beams levelling the scores with two minutes to play. In the last few seconds it was young gun Jaidyn Stephenson – a former Lions supporter himself – who stuck the stake in the heart of Chris Fagan and his supporter base, however Brisbane fans should be excited about how their team is developing.

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