AFTER three rounds of Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s football, NT, Hawthorn, Geelong and Collingwood are the undefeated teams. Down the other end of the ladder, Casey, Williamstown, Essendon and the Bulldogs hare yet to experience their first win. We watched three games on the weekend and took notes on all the players that impressed across the round.
NT Thunder vs. Essendon
By: Julia Montesano
#26 Chelsea Randall
Always put her head over the footy and busted her way through tacklers. Showed her agility with an excellent spin around her opponent, turning her inside out to get the ball forward. Her intercept marking was fantastic as usual, she reads the footy so well. I thought her running was also fantastic this game, as she impacted the contest at both ends of the ground. When she was kicking the ball inside 50, she instructed her forwards of where to go, showing great on-field leadership. A highlight was when she delivered a kick perfectly to Eloise Jones, which was one of many perfectly pinpointed kicks. Randall chases every ball hard and tackles even stronger, giving her opponent no chance to dispose of the ball at times. Her composure with the ball in hand is exquisite. Randall proved that she can do anything when she took an excellent contested mark, ran around the player on the mark and attempted a torpedo inside 50.
#24 Georgia Bevan
Bevan was unstoppable in the midfield, as she was a ball magnet at every contest. She laid a fantastic tackle that halted the Bombers’ momentum, which slowed down a fast passage of play. Delivered a nice clearing kick from the centre square which sailed a long way towards forward 50. Bevan was able to burst through the middle towards inside 50 on plenty of occasions, racking up key clearances for the Thunder. She executed a great hack kick out of a pack and used that same quickness to tackle opponents immediately, stopping them in their tracks. She earned a free kick off one of her tackles, and booted the kick through for a goal, topping off her hard work throughout the day.
#3 Angela Foley
Started her day off marvellously with a great outside of the boot kick towards goal that sailed through. Foley had the ball on a string, getting plenty of the footy and clearing it out of the pack on many occasions. She usually makes an impact in defence but against the Bombers, she created so many scoring opportunities, which played a huge part in piling the pressure on the Bombers. Foley always tackled hard, and displayed great vision to switch the ball to Georgia Bevan who was on her own in space. Executed a good spin around her opponent to get the ball into space inside 50. Played a great captain’s game.
#17 Emma Swanson
Swanson was extremely lively inside 50. She displayed great hands as well as quick and accurate kicking. Laid a great run-down tackle to trap the ball inside 50, and backed it up with strong tackling throughout the game. A highlight of Swanson’s game was when she chased the ball on the ground, ducked under a pack to get the ball and worked in tandem with Sarah Allan for a great one-two to set up a forward thrust for NT, which resulted in an Angela Foley goal. Took a great leading mark when she worked in tandem with Deni Varnhagen, who told her where to run. Swanson was strong force in the contest, taking a good contested one-on-one mark. For one of her goals, she read the ball well off the bounce to pick it up and kick it through for a major. She has been on fire in the season so far.
#40 Deni Varnhagen
Varnhagen was everywhere, with her trademark long kick having an impact throughout the day. What impressed me most about Varnhagen was her unselfish play, as she always looks up when she gets the ball in hand. She used her booming kick to boot a goal from long range, and also used it on the boundary line. The kick went high but stayed in. demonstrating Varnhagen’s ability to manipulate her kicks. A highlight of her game was when she burst through a pack of players to kick a goal. She also delivered plenty of great goal assists, with one to Renee Forth and another to Emma Swanson off a beautiful long kick to the goal square, which landed perfectly out the back of the contest. Took a great intercept mark and executed a lovely lace-out kick to Emma Swanson. Varnhagen just gets and goes whenever she gets the ball, which is a real asset in her game.
#28 Renee Forth
Burst well out of the centre and delivered a lovely chip kick inside 50. Displayed great acceleration throughout the afternoon. Read the play wonderfully and looked like one of the smartest players out there. This was demonstrated when the ball fell out the back of the pack and she snapped it around the body perfectly for a great goal. Forth took a great intercept mark to send the ball back inside 50 and got plenty of the ball. I thought she did her best work at the top of 50, where she would deliver long booming kicks that would create space for the Thunder’s forwards.
#6 Alex Quigley
Started her day by taking a strong mark between two players in a pack. She then delivered the ball perfectly inside 50 for Essendon’s first score of the match, which was a Lisa Williams miss. Ran well next to her teammate to create the one-two. Quigley kicked a remarkable goal when she picked up the ball and snapped around the body from long range. Quigley showed great goal sense, and has been doing so at the beginning of the competition.
#35 Valerie Moreau
The Canadian pocket rocket was really lively early on the day, getting plenty of touches in the first quarter. She was one of the reasons that Essendon got in top in the first term, with her great run and carry as well as her ability to create forward thrusts from the back half of the ground. Took a nice mark in defensive 50, and took it right up to Rhiannon Metcalfe, despite the size difference, with a really strong tackle, which stopped her flow. Moreau used the ball well off a free kick with a perfectly delivered kick inside space in the 50 metre arc for the Bombers.
#8 Hayley Bullas
Took a nice mark and used it to switch the play and open up the ground. Bullas was really proactive with the ball in hand, creating plenty of opportunities for Essendon to get forward. Bullas loves to get the footy and run, and does it really well as she has immense speed and endurance to back up her innate agility.
#7 Kirby Hicks
Did a great job of kicking out for the Bombers. She was able to easily transition from a long, booming kick to a short, deft kick in order to hit a target. Hicks had one of the longest kicks of the ground, which was handy for the Bombers to try and get some momentum going forward. A highlight of her game came in the form of a great run-down tackle to save a goal.
#46 Courtney Ugle
Laid a perfect tackle on Jessica Sedunary, where she pinned one arm and got a free kick. Ugle tried hard for the Bombers all day, displaying good run and carry throughout the back half. She was rewarded for hard work with free kicks. She often mopped up well on the back line and showed great composure for her side.
#30 Simone Nalder
Nalder was Essendon’s best-on-ground for me because her marking was second to none. Although the Bombers faded away in the end, without her strong hands, the margin in the end would’ve been even bigger. She took a great contested mark that saved a crucial goal, courageously clunking the ball and bringing it down in a pack. Nalder was a general down back, holding her own in the toughest of contests. She probably had the best set of hands on the ground and used them to effect, making her Essendon teammates proud.
Collingwood vs. Richmond
By: James Halley
#93 Vaomua Laloifi
She is really good deep in defence under immense pressure. She was probably the cleanest player on the ground in the wet conditions. When many would fall to their feet, she would keep her composure and gather many loose balls.
#73 Gabrielle Biedenweg-Webster
She was a really dangerous forward for Collingwood with one goal for the day. She kicked Collingwood’s third for the game with a free kick from the pocket, using her smarts to run around the corner to open up the angle and have an easy shot.
#11 Eliza Hynes
She played in the ruck and was a lot taller then every other player. She used her height to her advantage as she took a pack mark in the goal square for the first goal of the game. She also took numerous marks.
#46 Sarah Dargan
Dargan is often used as the distributor into the forward 50, and she is quite proficient in the role. She rarely misses a kick!
#53 Rebecca Grant
She has a very nice kick where she can pinpoint teammates deep forward. After immense pressure, she was let out the back and kicked one through the goals to finish the half.
#77 Justine Hocking
She won herself a free kick on the 50 and after ill-discipline from Sarah D’Arcy. Hocking was then brought forward 50 metres and kicked Richmond’s first goal for the game from the goal line. She bobbed up a few times and did her job when needed. Hocking was not disgraced.
#63 Jacqueline Graham
She has a lot of courage as she took a mark going back with the flight in the second term. She was a key player for Richmond, taking numerous intercepts possessions. She is very clean with her hands and rarely drops a mark.
#76 Ella Ross
She was able to kick a miraculous soccer goal from the pocket in the third quarter. This was the highlight of the game for Richmond.
#58 Courtney Musico
Due to the large amount of ball that came her way in defence, she was solid in her role. She chose to spoil almost every time the ball came near her. This was effective in parts but cost Richmond a goal as well. Going for a simple chest mark would have been more effective.
#64 Emma Gunn
After a scrimmage in the goal square she managed to get a kick away but only managed a point for the Tigers’ first score for the game. She was lively all day but just couldn’t convert in front of goal.
Williamstown vs. Geelong
By: Julia Montesano
#9 Rachel Achampong
Delivered a really long kick off one step, and displayed that same skill throughout the game. A highlight of her game was when she took a great one-handed mark. I thought she did really well in the ruck, getting plenty of hit-outs and getting penetration on her taps. She worked hard at the contest, and she was in most ruck contests, displaying her endurance around the ground.
#22 Morgan Lowe
Laid a great wrap-around tackle that won her a free kick and finished with a nice kick towards the goal-square. Seemed to always pop up around the contest and never failed to make an impact with the ball in hand.
#19 Erin Meade
Meade is a really speedy player who has that trademark acceleration that can tear a game wide open. Unfortunately, her team couldn’t make much of an impact but she did. Meade was lively and got plenty of the ball. Her acceleration was a highlight of her game, as she just took the ball and burst into space.
#13 Nikki Wallace
Delivered a great kick towards the centre-square and showed good endurance when she followed up her kick to provide the next link in the chain. Executed a nice hack kick out of a contest towards the coal-face Always tried to provide an option for her teammate and never gave up trying throughout the afternoon.
#2 Jess Duffin
Duffin was the star of the day for the Seagulls once again. She was able to spin out of trouble on many occasions, giving her teammates opportunity to run. Did some of her finest work on the boundary line, as she delivered a quick-fire handball to a teammate and also curled the line perfectly with her kick towards the Seagulls’ forward 50. Duffin even managed to stop the best-on-ground in Richelle Cranston, when she stole the footy off her in the contest and burst away to kick the ball forward. She also took a fantastic pack mark in the back line and delivered a precise kick to a teammate. At one point, she beat four players in a contest inside 50, steaming towards goal.
#44 Rebecca Goring
The Geelong captain was solid as ever in the back line, mopping up everything that came her way. Was able to execute some really nice deft kicks out of defensive 50 and kicked it long when she needed to. Goring was never in a rush to get the ball out of defensive 50, always looking for an option instead of hacking the ball away. Her defensive pressure contributed to keeping Williamstown goalless.
#30 Richelle Cranston
Cranston was unstoppable for the Cats, she seemed to have the ball on a string for the whole afternoon! Her acceleration was unbelievable as there were numerous occasions where she would get the ball, tuck it under her arm and just burst. She got past whoever was in her way and did everything she could to propel Geelong forward. Cranston combined her exceptional speed and composure, when she lowered her eyes magnificently to hit Kate Darby perfectly on the lead. Cranston even mopped up well in the backline when she saved the ball going through for a point, keeping the ball in play and letting her defenders mop up on transition. She pinpointed her kick on another occasion when she hit Danielle Orr perfectly on the chest lace-out. Delivered some great balls inside 50. Whether it was long, short or speared, you just knew Cranston’s kick was going to hit a target.
#8 Kate Darby
I thought Darby did well around the ground, working hard to get the footy. She read the ball quite well in defensive 50 to take some handy intercept marks to disrupt the flow of the Seagulls. At the other end of the ground, she led to the ball really well and was a key presence inside 50, as she always is. She was lively and displayed good acceleration at times as well. A highlight for her was when she displayed good endurance to run hard and keep hunting a dribbling ball. Her effort paid off as the ball spilled out the back of the pack and she ran into an open goal to sign off on a good day at Williamstown.
#24 Maddy McMahon
Executed a perfect bump on her opponent, and attempted to trap the footy shortly after. She looked dangerous inside 50 throughout the afternoon. McMahon delivered a beautiful long kick towards the goal-square, always helping her teammates to get on the scoreboard. She got a major herself, capping off an unselfish performance in the forward line. The best part of her game for me was her strong hands, as she took a great mark in the goal-square as well as a great juggling mark in a pack.
#36 Evelyn Dhamarrandji
Dhamarrandji had a stellar performance in the blue and white hoops, as she killed it inside 50. Her marking was superb, clunking everything that came in her vicinity. She always kept her eyes on the footy in any situation, whether she was marking the ball in a pack or leading out rapidly to capture it on her chest. Also displayed good second and third efforts in multiple instances throughout the contest. At one point, she laid a strong tackle after her kick got smothered, then went and tackled an opponent in her vicinity to stop the ball from spilling out of a contest. Was not only on the end of goals, kicking two herself, but also got plenty of score involvements, with a nice kick from the centre-square towards the forward 50.