WE attended five of the six NAB League Girls games, taking a look at some of the players raised by respective Female Talent Managers at the start of the season as those to watch. All notes are the opinion of the individual writer.
Sandringham Dragons vs. Calder Cannons
By: Peter Williams
#22 Eliza McNamara
Impressed in the midfield working hard at the coalface for contested ball, and was winning a number of clearances. She had a consistent effort across the four quarters, and while it was not a flashy game, McNamara played her role, and along with Winnie Laing got the ball out to the Dragons runners on the outside.
#25 Sarah Hartwig
The standout key defender on the ground, Hartwig impressed once again with her closing speed and one-on-one ability. She laid a huge tackle in the first quarter, blindsiding her opponent and earning a free, while constantly competing in the air or at ground level. She is able to dispose of the ball laterally and had no problems putting her body on the line when required. Hartwig took a great flying intercept mark in the defensive 50 and earned a 50m penalty for her troubles, then took another great intercept mark at top speed going back with the flight in the final term.
#28 Alice Burke
The potential St Kilda father-daughter prospect had a terrific game throughout the four quarters, having her usual impact on the contest. What was particularly impressive was her defensive work, laying multiple tackles on opponents to cause turnovers or stoppages at crucial points in the game. In one instance she tackled Georgia Patrikios, forced a spilled ball and backed up by tackling Georgie Prespakis straight after. She put her body on the line and while sometimes she gave away free kicks due to her fierce nature, she continued to work hard, putting a perfect low darting ball inside 50 late in the game. Burke had a chance to goal from a tight angle on the boundary line in the third term, after a clean pick-up, but just missed. Overall a really promising performance in the midfield.
#30 Winnie Laing
Similar to McNamara, Laing worked hard around the stoppages and constantly dived on the ball and shovelled it out to teammates. While at times she can rush her disposals, Laing’s ability to extract the ball from a tight situation and get it forward to dangerous positions was quite noticeable. In one instant she got the ball forward to a teammate who won a free from a marking contest, but was unfortunately unable to convert the set shot.
#42 Marguerite Purcell
Worked well on a wing, and although her kicking at times was a little erratic, she was able to get into space and impress with her ability to move the ball. She took a number of intercept marks in midfield and showed good speed out of a stoppage to kick it forward. Had a strong first half before a quieter second half.
#2 Felicity Theodore
Had her moments throughout the middle of the match, using her smarts to paddle the ball in front of her in the second term to keep the play alive before giving it off to Georgia Patrikios with a quick handball. She caused a free against her when running hard forward which was unlucky, but the moment her team won back possession she took off showing her high work rate. Her pressure in the forward 50 allowed the ball to spill from a tackle and for teammate Neve Crowley to boot a goal.
#21 Georgia Patrikios
Always involved, Patrikios had a mixed bag of a day. Her clean hands and ability to sidestep opponents and seemingly make time still was evident, but she uncharacteristically missed her targets by foot at times. She still had plenty of impressive passages of play however, hitting up Krstel Petrevski on the wing in the second term, and was crucial in setting up some plays late in the game, combining well with Georgie Prespakis and Felicity Theodore inside 50 to create scoring opportunities.
#31 Krstel Petrevski
One of the more impressive players in the win, Petrevski was really prominent early, kicking out of congestion to put it to Makeisha Muller‘s advantage in the first half. She pumped it in deep in the first half, and also showed quick hands out of congestion. On a number of occasions she kicked to an area where it advantaged her forwards and troubled the opposition defence. Petrevski has shown signs at times this season, but the Round 3 clash was her most consistent across four quarters thus far.
#41 Georgie Prespakis
The exciting bottom-ager spent time in midfield and defence, and was one of the biggest ball winners on the day. She showed quick thinking on the inside with slick hands, often shovelling the ball out to the likes of Georgia Patrikios. When going forward, she set up Gloria Elarmaly for a shot on goal which was unfortunately missed. She had her own chance on goal earlier in the game, and then a late set shot, but missed both opportunities. When coming out of defence, she was able to run and carry and use good skills to kick the ball forward.
GWV Rebels vs. Dandenong Stingrays
By: Cameron Ross
#9 Renee Saultis
Tough as nails. Got cleaned up on the wing with an awful high hip and shoulder, but got straight back up and kept on going. Relatively quiet game for her lofty standards, but was still able to get numerous inside 50s to put pressure on the Stingray’s defence.
#10 Ella Wood
She is really tough and puts her head over the ball showing she is not afraid to go in hard at the stoppages. Wood was the Rebels best midfielder, and proved that she is a contested ball winner. She showcased her football smarts throughout the game with some clever passages of play. Some of her work in the first term set her apart from the others on the field, simply due to her ability to read the play better than her opponents and teammates.
#24 Sophie Molan
It was a true captains performance, she could not have done more. Moved forward in the second quarter and looked to have single handledly brought her side back into the game. Crunched her opponent with a huge tackle in the goal square two minutes into the second quarter and converted from that opportunity, she followed that effort up minutes later with a nice set shot. Molan moved back once the Rebels started struggling, yet was still working desperately to drag her side back into it. She worked tirelessly throughout the game to win the ball and move into good positions across the ground to create opportunities proving her value to the side.
#32 Isabella Simmons
Had a really good first half. Her athletic ability is fantastic seeing as though she is quite tall, and proved with the amount of touches she got in the first half that she has plenty of ability. A brain fade at the end of the second quarter really hurt her confidence, and she found the second half a little more challenging not seeing the footy as well but still tried hard throughout the match. difficult. Simmons showed she has a lot of potential and with more development and exposure could be a valuable player for the Rebels.
#12 Molly McDonald
McDonald has a booming kick. In the second quarter, she took the centre clearance, strolled out and launched from about 50. The wind got hold of it and it just faded, but it could have been goal of the year credit to her ability to strike the ball with precision. McDonald kicked 2.3 and probably had the opportunity to kick a bag of four if she was able to convert all her shots at goal. Her volley goal from the goal square sealed the Stingrays victory proving her footy smarts.
#20 Isabella Shannon
Classy player. Shannon played in many positions all over the ground, and was outstanding throughout racking up plenty of touches. She kicked a nice goal after the Rebels turned the ball over, and she finished well. Nice set shot on goal in the third and seemed to have a hand in most of the Stingrays goals in some way credit to her attacking style of play and ability to go in hard at the contest.
#28 Tyanna Smith
Smith had so many highlights, but her best one was a silky pickup on the wing, a bounce and a long bomb to the Rebels forward 50. She had an impact all over the ground with her clean hands, quick handballs and applied plenty of pressure laying some good strong tackles. She is proving to be a talented player for Dandenong and with further game time she could develop into an even more valuable asset for her side.
Northern Knights vs. Western Jets
By: Taylah Melki
#6 Alyssa Bannan
Bannan displayed her good hands under pressure with clean pick-ups and a beautiful strong grab in the goal square. Her ability to read the flight of the ball allowed her to nail a good goal in the first quarter as she could get into a good scoring position and read the drop of the ball. She impressed with her good quick hands and pushed forward to create a real presence in the forward 50. Used her kicking ability to bomb it long inside the Knights attacking half and showcased her ability to hit up a target. Bannan provided a good contest in the air and with the wind behind her in the last quarter she kicked an impressive goal from about 40m out after a beautiful lead through the middle of the 50.
#18 Sarah Sansonetti
Sansonetti used her good strong kick of the footy to propel the ball out of their defensive 50. She used the ball well by foot and had good hands in close. She was not afraid to put her body on the line, laying a strong tackle to bring down her opponent. She tracked the ball well and pushed into the midfield at times, using her strength to shrug off tackles and dish off handballs.
#21 Ellie McKenzie
McKenzie impressed with her good evasive skills, shrugging off a big tackle in the first and keeping her hands free finishing off with a good handball. She showed good spatial awareness, broke through the packs at the centre bounce and pushed forward to try and create scoring opportunities for the Knights. Even when she fumbled she recovered well, got to her feet and hit up a target showcasing her footy smarts and composure. She applied a good smother and agility to pick up the ball and dish it off out of the congestion. McKenzie highlighted her speed with a good run and bounce through the middle of the ground but will be disappointed she was unable to finish off the good piece of play. She worked hard all game both in attack and defence, opening up the middle of the ground with a good pick up and precise kick into the 50. McKenzie continued to find space throughout the game and used the footy well, creating plenty of forward thrusts for the Knights.
#22 Britney Gutknecht
The midfielder displayed her beautiful strong hands and was clean at the stoppages, able to extract the footy with ease throughout the game. She kicked an impressive long goal from about 40 out off a step going right through the middle. Gutknecht applied a strong tackle to bring her opponent to ground and trap the footy in and showed good attack on the footy. She impressed with her ability to read the flight of the ball and rode the tackles well to keep her arms free and dish off a handball. She worked hard to get in and under at the stoppages and moved into good positions around the stoppages to be that release player for the Knights.
#23 Gabby Newton
Newton impressed from the get-go racking up plenty of touches and using her footy smarts to impact the play across the ground. She attacked the footy hard and tracked the ball well at ground level. She was clean at the stoppages, composed under pressure and showed good control of the footy to hit up teammates. Newton applied her fair share of strong tackles and displayed her impressive vision to kick to a moving target. She was good off hands, read the play well, attacked the footy and impressed with her ability to read the play and get it out of congestion. The midfielder was never far from the contest and proved she was not afraid to put her body on the line, roving exceptionally well around the ball ups and reading the taps really well. She worked hard in defence as well, getting hands to ball and contesting the footy, ran hard all game and kept presenting to be an option across the ground.
#13 Isabella Grant
Grant showcased her good hands in close and read the play well moving into strong positions across the ground. At the stoppages she flicked the ball out to her teammates and worked tirelessly to get in and win the footy. She showcased her clean hands and booming kick to help move the ball forward for the Jets.
#17 Elisabeth Georgostathis
Georgostathis attacked the ball hard and impressed with her speed across the ground. She showcased her spatial awareness to dodge players and pass off the footy with her clean hands. She highlighted her beautiful kick of the ball and worked hard in attack using her body well to out position her opponents. She competed well in the air and if she did not mark the ball she brought the ball to ground and followed up her work. Georgostathis roved the packs well and worked tirelessly all game to try and win the footy for the Jets using her quick hands and beautiful kick of the footy to find a teammate under pressure.
#23 Isabelle Pritchard
She is a good long kick of the footy and showcased her strong hands in the contest, taking a big grab in the middle of the ground in the third quarter. Pritchard got involved across the ground, put her body on the line and was solid in the ruck winning a few taps to the advantage of her teammates. Her follow up work was impressive and used her long kick to help move the Jets forward.
#25 Cleo Saxon-Jones
Saxon-Jones showcased her kicking ability with a long piercing kick into the forward 50. She displayed her strong hands taking a couple of big marks. Saxon-Jones impressed with her quick hands and good footy smarts to dish off a handball to a teammate in a better position. When in the ruck she won a few taps and read the flight of the ball well.
Geelong Falcons vs. Bendigo Pioneers
By: Michael Alvaro
#1 Elise Vella
The diminutive forward returned for another outstanding display of forward pressure and nous around goal, buzzing around the Falcons’ 50 to make a solid impact on proceedings. Her ability to bring the ball up from ground level is invaluable, and combined with her tackling often presents Geelong with scoring opportunities. Vella booted the only goal of the third term on the back of some slick twists and turns, but was influential throughout the day.
#12 Laura Gardiner
Arguably her side’s best, Gardiner looked slick from the get-go with some smooth side-steps and a knack for taking opponents on successfully. She showed her ability to break away from opponents with strong bursts, and pushed her side forward with real intent across the game. Gardiner’s running ability also allowed her to find space in the forward half and create clear-cut chances, much like the passage for Renee Tierney’s second quarter goal. A particular highlight was her sensational intercept mark in the third term, capping a ripping performance.
#18 Darcy Moloney
Moloney cracked in hard and showed a willingness for the contest – both at ground level and with an impressive second quarter overhead mark. She has a good leap which boded well for her aerial impact, and often kicked long to be one of many Falcons to provide some serious drive. Moloney’s smother in the fourth quarter was a fitting finish to a hard-fought shift.
#21 Abbey Chapman
Chapman did not have much to do in the first three quarters, but was solid as usual at full-back when the ball came her way. Pressing off from deep in defensive 50, Chapman did well to cut off many of Bendigo’s forward forays and push the ball back the other way, making her a key part of keeping Bendigo goalless for three quarters. She went forward in the closing term and bagged a goal deep inside 50, while also leading up well in that time.
#24 Mia Skinner
The dangerous forward went one better on her three-goal effort last time out, snagging her fourth goal in the final term to cap off an exciting display of offence. Employed both deep and in her usual high half forward role, Skinner made good use of quick-fire opportunities to snap on goal and was clinical in her finishing for the most part. She just seems to find space so easily and is always in the contest when the ball arrives in Geelong’s attacking half.
#38 Lucy McEvoy
While the skipper was followed almost everywhere by Bendigo’s Brooke Hards, she still managed to find a heap of the ball in all areas of the ground. Starting at the first centre bounce, McEvoy looked on track to continue her good form in midfield, but did not quite have the same damaging effect with her disposals. Many of her better touches were handballs from in-close and she found teammates often, which has been a pleasing feature of her game. She later moved forward, and then seemed to cover for Abbey Chapman down back later on and was solid.
#39 Renee Tierney
While she still managed to hit the scoreboard, Tierney was made to earn it throughout the day by star Bendigo defender Katie Douglass. She showed good signs at ground level and looked better when working into space on leads, rather than competing one-on-one. Still, her goal came from a mark deep inside the 50 in the second term, and she provided a nice assist to Laura Ryan later on to see out her game.
#4 Brooke Hards
Started off in her usual midfield position and provided some good tackling presence. An early tackle on Lucy McEvoy was a sign of things to come, as Hards competed well with the Geelong skipper at most contests, while also following her to both ends of the ground. Hards was still able to showcase her dash from stoppages and won some eye-catching clearances while zipping around the packs. Was named Bendigo’s best for the day.
#28 Eloise Gretgrix
The Pioneers captain joined Hards in the midfield as expected and competed hard to set the tone for her side. She is not afraid to crack in at the stoppages, and showed her competitiveness in the third quarter with some tough efforts. Also showed strong hands against two opponents in the second when Bendigo were under the pump.
#36 Katie Douglass
Despite the Pioneers leaking nine goals, Douglass was a star down back all day and had some ultra impressive moments. Matched against Renee Tierney deep in defence for most of the day, Douglass reeled in some fantastic one-on-one marks under pressure, while also staying composed in traffic when moving the ball out with her booming left foot. She pushed hard at the ball when it came in at ground level, while also affecting spoils and smothers when the ball was otherwise in dispute. A good shift from the defender overall on a tough day for the Pios.
#40 Tara Slender
While Slender struggled at times to hold a rampant Geelong side at bay, she looked to improve in the second half with a couple of really nice overhead marks and intercepts. That is clearly a key part of her game, and is usually an eye-catching feature of her back-half partnership with Katie Douglass. Slender has plenty of time to work on her promising traits too, set for another two years in the NAB League system.
#44 Jordyn Jolliffe
The over-ager started up forward and took a nice one-on-one mark early on. Not afraid to use her body in the contest, Jolliffe tried to burst away with the ball and was even employed at times at the centre bounces. She made good on that move too with a couple of clearances.
Murray Bushrangers vs. Gippsland Power
By: Peter Williams
#8 Abby Favell
A prominent midfielder on the day, the noticeable trait about Favell is her ability to somehow find space around the ground. She would often take an uncontested mark after working hard to push into open space, and then kick long inside 50. As a whole she was reliable by hand or foot and also worked hard back into defence on occasions and was able to find the ball. Overall, she was one of the more prominent players on the day and in a match without standouts, a lot of the Bushrangers shared the load and she was one of those who stood tall in the win.
#19 Millie Brown
Just did her thing around the ground and contributed through the midfield. She won a fair chunk of contested ball, and got involved early with some important touches. Brown was able to display good core strength to dispose of the ball while being tackled, and she moved well through traffic to dish off to teammates.
#10 Sophie Locke
Another Bushrangers midfielder who shared the load around, and was best on the defensive side of things, laying a number of big tackles on opponents to stop them in their tracks. Locke is strong one-on-one and gained distance going forward. Putting together a few solid performances thus far this season, and provided some strong inside ability for the Bushrangers against Gippsland.
#45 Olivia Barber
The Bushrangers’ best player on the day, Barber could have had a real day out in front of goal had she not missed a couple opportunities. But in the first half she looked the most damaging on the field, and then was rewarded for her hard work in the second half by converting a couple of goals to seal the win. Barber continually presented at the ball, and would more often than not mark the ball, or if not, bring it to ground. She showed what she was capable of with her leading and marking, and will be one to watch over the course of the next two seasons.
#8 Chandra Abrahams
Abrahams contested strongly around the ground, playing through the midfield and always providing a target for defenders to kick to. She went up for a series of marks, and while she couldn’t bring one down, was providing an aerial contest to force opponents to go with her. At ground level, she was fierce with her tackling, defensive pressure and one percenters, indirectly forcing some turnovers. Abrahams also had a desperate smothering attempt in the first term and a great smother in the second term. While statistically her numbers would not be huge, the work she did off the ball was what was impressive.
#9 Maddison Shaw
One of a number of Gippsland defenders who stood tall in defeat, constantly stemming the flow and rebounding the ball out of the back half. Shaw showed great leadership off half-back and was able to dispose of the ball by foot under pressure, getting it out of the danger zone and up to the wing. When required, Shaw pushed up the ground to add an extra number to the contest and copped a foot to the face in the third term but shook it off to continue and continued to be involved in the play.
#27 Nikia Webber
A quieter game from Webber, but she still showed patches of strong play, laying a number of tackles and pushing up the ground to bomb the ball long inside 50. She pushed up the ground to help out her teammates, and missed a shot on goal in the third term. Took a couple of strong marks around the ground as well.
In the other game at Healesville, Eastern Ranges won by a goal over Oakleigh and here’s how some of the notable players performed on the day:
#21 Olivia Meagher – 18 disposals, one mark, two tackles, two inside 50s, one rebound
#26 Tarni Brown – 21 disposals, five marks, five tackles, three inside 50s, one rebound
#39 Laura McClelland – 10 disposals, one mark, one tackle, two inside 50s, one goal
#46 Serena Gibbs – 11 disposals, four marks, 15 hitouts, three inside 50s
#1 Gemma Lagioia – 17 disposals, one mark, one tackle, four inside 50s
#2 Mimi Hill – 19 disposals, two marks, five tackles, four rebounds
#4 Emily Harley – 14 disposals, one mark, three tackles, one inside 50, one rebound, one goal