THE Eastern Ranges started the season in hot form, winning their first four games and putting their stamp on the competition. But the surprise loss to the previously winless Western Jets derailed their positive start to the season, as they went on to lose against the impressive Geelong Falcons shortly after. Overall Eastern had a solid season and showcased plenty of young up and coming talent.
R1: defeated Greater Western Victoria Rebels by 19 points
R2: defeated Dandenong Stingrays by 39 points
R3: defeated Oakleigh Chargers by 28 points
R4: defeated Bendigo Pioneers by 17 points
R5: lost to Western Jets by five points
R6: lost to Geelong Falcons by 31 points
R7: defeated Gippsland Power by 9 points
R8: defeated Murray Bushrangers by 46 points
R9: lost to Calder Cannons by 24 points
Emerson Woods: The Eastern Ranges co-captain had a stellar season, as she was named in the AFL Draft Central Team of the Week on three occasions. After an impressive performance against the Gippsland Power in round seven, she found herself in amongst the mix once again. Further credit to her dominant season, Woods was named in the AFL Draft Central TAC Cup Girls Team of the Year. Woods was dominant through the midfield and up forward, and was a real workhorse, competing hard to win the footy at the coal face. She displayed her footy smarts throughout the season and her leadership skills were on show for the Ranges, helping to release teammates into space. She was influential for Eastern, leading from the front and inspiring her players to work hard to win the ball. Her strong hands and clever use of the footy was invaluable for the Ranges and was a real reason why she was chosen in the Team of the Year.
Laura McClelland: McClelland was another standout for Eastern with her clean hands and ability to impact the scoreboard. She constantly provided strong leads and was a good target up forward for the Ranges. McClelland finished the season with 11 majors from her nine games, averaging a goal a game. Her accuracy in front of the sticks helped to get Eastern over the line and created a good contest both in the air and at ground level.
Mikala Cann: Cann was also amongst the best for the Ranges with her tackling pressure and ability to extract the footy out of the stoppages. She was named in the AFL Draft Central Team of the Week for two consecutive weeks in rounds eight and nine after strong performances for the Ranges. Cann showcased her creativeness with ball in hand and highlighted her ability to hit the scoreboard throughout the season. Over the duration of the season, Cann grew in confidence and became even more composed with ball in hand, showing her ability to cope under pressure and make smart footy decisions.
Georgia Macpherson: She impressed with her consistent efforts across the four quarters in each game of the season. Macpherson was renowned for her strong hands and booming kick which helped to propel her team forward and create some good momentum. The Ranges really relished having her in the team as she provided great variety and hit the packs with speed. Her ability to pick up the ball cleanly and dish it out to a teammate was impressive as she helped to open up space across the ground for her side.
Sarah Kendall: Kendall showcased her versatility to play both in the ruck and defence, impacting on the contest in either position. She was named in AFL Draft Central’s TAC Cup Girls Team of the Year after finding herself in the Team of the Week three times. Kendall had good hands in close and was a key member for the Ranges. Her composure under pressure was second to none and her ability to hit targets was important for her side. Not only was her accuracy by foot good but so too was her hands in tight situations and strength around the ball to lay crunching tackles.
Lauren Szigeti: She was a pivotal player throughout the season for Eastern as she acted as a real general down back. Her strong hands in defence were invaluable as she was took plenty of intercept marks and helped to set up play out of the Ranges’ back 50. Szigeti was instrumental in setting up their defensive structure.