WITH so many new players entering NAB League Girls sides as plenty missed out due to AFL Women’s Academy duties, there are few new faces in the Draft Central Team of the Week for Round 6. There are also plenty of regulars who stepped up in the absence of teammates, but now there are no players who have made the side every single week, showing a great diversity of talent among the competition. Bendigo Pioneers, Geelong Falcons and Northern Knights all enjoyed impressive wins, sitting in the top four of the NAB League Girls ladder. Those three sides all had three players in the Team of the week, with six sides having two players and the remaining three sides – Calder Cannons, Murray Bushrangers and Western Jets all having the one nominee in the team.
Geelong Falcons’ undefeated streak continued on the weekend and Paige Sheppard and Mia Skinner‘s terrific seasons continued, named in the Team of the Week again, along with midfielder Luka Lesosky-Hay. Northern Knights also remained undefeated with just a draw as the only blemish on an otherwise top season so far. The Knights had to overcome a number of key personnel losses to post a big win over Gippsland Power, with Jess Fitzgerald, Phoebe Chisholm and Nell Morris-Dalton crucial in that win at Garfield. Their opposition had a number of impressive players with Chandra Abrahams being a tackling machine and flowing well between the arcs, while Megan Fitzsimon had a round-high 28 touches.
The other team with three players in the Team of the Week was Bendigo Pioneers, who enjoyed a hard-fought win over Dandenong Stingrays. Brooke Hards was named in the midfield yet again continuing her top season, along with Tara Slender at centre half-back and Jordyn Jolliffe in attack. All three players are in three different birth years showing the vast impact that talented girls of all ages can have on the competition. Their opponents had a couple of familiar faces in the Team of the Week with Brooke Vernon and Zoe Hill slotting into the side for yet another week. Also in defence are a couple of individual team nominees in Murray Bushrangers’ Sophie Locke and Calder Cannons’ Georgie Prespakis who while predominantly midfielders, drift back and help their defences.
Rounding out the Team of the Week midfield is Sandringham Dragons’ ruck Celia Cody making her debut in the team, along with Winnie Laing who was best on ground in the Dragons’ win over the Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels. The Rebels had two players in the Team of the Week as well, with Ella Wood returning to the side along with Nyakoat Dojiok who has been impressing across the ground. In attack, Eastern Ranges’ Serena Gibbs has been named at full-forward after a strong show of marking and long kicking against the Cannons, as well as teammate Tess Flintoff who was named the Draft Central Rising Star of the Week. Rounding out the side are Oakleigh Chargers’ captain Mimi Hill and her teammate, Chloe O’Malley, as well as Western Jets’ captain Elisabeth Georgostathis who has been a regular in the Team of the Week this season. It was a tough week to decide on just 24 players with Gippsland’s Grace McRae, Calder’s Felicity Theodore and Eastern’s Tahlia Merrett among those very close to making the team this week.