WITH three rounds remaining there were some surprising results and finals-defining events, with a number of individuals standing up across the NAB League Girls competition. We took note of some of the top performers that respective Female Talent Managers highlighted at the start of the season as ones to watch. We attended five games live and noted the final game at the bottom. All notes are the opinion of the individual writer.
Western Jets vs. Tasmania Devils
By: Sophie Taylor
#17 Elisabeth Georgostathis
Georgostathis was dominant in this matchup, had great intensity and some really good footy smarts when in possession. Picked up 24 touches and racked up seven tackles from her exceptional pressure around the pack. Had some good opportunities to go for marks but in the cold and wet only managed one, but was still flying for the ball at every opportunity. Also did some great shepherding, showing off her game smarts to give her teammates opportunities around the ground ball.
#23 Isabelle Pritchard
Pritchard was another player who had a great game, denying Tasmania entry into their forward 50 and putting immense pressure on the carrier if it made it inside 50. Racked up 18 disposals running off half back, with five tackles to show for her ability to create opportunities in defence ready to move the ball back forward. Put in the hard yards at the ground ball to cause issues for the Devils, had the strength to get out of the pack.
#4 Mia King
King was one of the highlights in the high pressure match, doing her best to create opportunities despite issues across the field. Despite the weather had some good moments, with her ability to run both ways and move the footy down field. Good run and carry as well as pressure on the carrier. Also had some great opportunities down back to move the footy out of defence, however had little options to kick to, proving difficult.
#7 Netty Garlo
Garlo had a quiet match but still made her mark on the contest. Had some good defensive and tackling intensity, putting pressure on the ground ball and going for the second try on a number of opportunities to regain possession for the Devils.
Calder Cannons vs. Geelong Falcons
By: Taylah Melki
#2 Felicity Theodore
She had a relatively slow first half but kept her player well held. Theodore really came alive in the final quarter showcasing her speed and desire to keep the game moving going for a run and bounce through the middle of the park in the last term to open it up for the Cannons. Her intensity sparked in the fourth quarter taking a strong mark under pressure and using her dash on more than one occasion to apply pressure on her opponents and open space.
#21 Georgia Patrikios
She was a real ball winner for the Cannons credit to her ability to read the play and intent to get involved at the contest on more than once occasion. She applied good pressure across the ground covering her player well and worked hard in attack to put the ball into a damaging position for her teammates. She showcased her good evasive skills to shake off her opponents and kick the ball long down the line in the second quarter. Patrikios kicked their only goal for the game in the last few minutes of the fourth quarter and worked consistently hard to extract the ball out of the stoppages.
#41 Georgie Prespakis
Prespakis was her usual dominant self across the ground. She had clean hands out of the middle and kept her arms free in the tackle to dish the ball off to a teammate in space and allow them to run free. She constantly put her body on the line and impressed with her follow up work across the ground to get involved in the contest. Prespakis went in hard at the coalface trying to extract the ball and lay it off to a teammate in a better and more attacking position. She tackled hard and did not back down at the contest. She used her long booming kick to bomb it long inside forward 50 and create some attacking play for the Cannons who were starved for most of the game. She was a real ball magnet and looked electric every time she got the ball. Prespakis showcased her good spatial awareness to know where her opponents were and to pass the ball off to teammates in space. Overall she had a really impressive game and paired well with Patrikios.
#8 Paige Sheppard
She was clean with ball in hand and ran hard across the ground providing support for her teammates. Sheppard was really clean and took a good mark to keep the ball in her attacking 50 and pepper the Falcons attacking end. She was really strong around the contest and laid some strong tackles credit to her intent to win the ball. She displayed her accuracy and beautiful kick with a pinpoint precision pass to a leading forward. Her hands were good under pressure taking a couple of strong marks and laid a big tackle to lock the ball in. Sheppard also nailed a goal to go with her handy contributions around the ground.
#21 Abbey Chapman
Chapman was solid in defence applying plenty of pressure throughout the game and was a constant in defence taking some good grabs and reading the flight of the ball well. Her hands were exceptional under pressure taking a heap of marks and won plenty of the ball. She offered good run out of the back half and was clever with ball in hand.
#24 Mia Skinner
She reads the flight of the ball well and showed good awareness in the forward 50 to keep the ball moving into dangerous areas. Skinner had a good passage of play running through the middle of the ground to open up space and create a spark for the Falcons. She had clean hands on the up and was strong in the marking contest not afraid to stand under the ball and bring it down. She provided a good option up forward but was unable to capitalise in front of goal missing both shots. She worked hard across the ground laying some strong tackles and consistently fought hard in the air and on the ground to win the footy
#38 Lucy McEvoy
McEvoy led from the front the very first whistle getting involved in the contest. She was a tackling machine, laying crunching tackle after crunching tackle and showcasing her desperation and love for the fight. She once again showed composure with ball in hand, having time to look around and hit up a target. Her clean hands under pressure were very impressive and she imposed herself across the ground. She almost took a big fly getting hands to ball but just dropped it when she came down in the second term. In around the clearances McEvoy was solid going in hard to extract the ball and dish it out a passing teammate. She consistently got boot to ball cleanly and provided plenty of attack across the ground. She displayed her strong set of hands and read the play well to make sure she got into the right spots. Her on-field leadership was on show providing a calming figure in the dying minutes of the last term when the Cannons were coming hard, doing the little things well.
Eastern Ranges vs. Tasmania
By: Peter Williams
#21 Olivia Meagher
Meagher was a strong addition into the middle and won a number of clearances from stoppages. She is not afraid to take the game on and fended off a number of opponents throughout the game, or wrestled the ball back. She went a bit too far in the second term, breaking away from one but eventually got pinged for dropping the ball, but she was still very impressive.
#26 Tarni Brown
Using her strength at ground level, Brown won the ball back from her opponents when one-on-one and was providing an option when spreading to the wings or flanks at half-back. She used the ball fairly well and her long kick inside 50 put it to a contest for Tahlia Merrett to soccer home in the goal square in the first term. Had a couple of clearances from defensive stoppages, putting it on the outside of the boot. The first time she kicked it straight to the opposition but the second time got the ball clear. Had great movement out of the stoppages.
#39 Laura McClelland
Doing a lot of things that might go unnoticed on the stats sheet, but providing good defensive pressure and blocks, as well as laying tackles creating space for teammates. She has quick hands and was able to dispose of the ball quickly late in the second term to set up the goal to Serena Gibbs. McClelland came out in the second half with great determination, winning a clearance through a handball then laying a tackle. She locked the ball up a number of times with crunching tackles and was able to wind down the clock by causing repeat stoppages late. Had a really good last term for her intensity and determination.
#41 Tahlia Merrett
Kicked a great opportunistic goal in the first term, creating a contest at the top of the goal square then recovering well to soccer it home. Not a huge possession winner but laid a great tackle inside forward 50 in the final term and won a holding the ball free kick.
#46 Serena Gibbs
Had a terrific game with two majors in a low-scoring contest. Put her side in front with a quick snap around her body in the second term which proved vital, but had put together a strong first half. Won her fair share of the ball along the wing and pumped the ball inside 50 to give her teammates the best opportunity to score. Her tap work was also clean and she covered ground well. She continued her good work through the second half and scored the winning goal with a quick snap in a congested pack late in the match. Played good wet weather footy. Gibbs did have a mind blank that she could laugh about after the game, bombing it long from half-forward to half-back forgetting the direction they were kicking, in that third term.
#4 Mia King
A clear talent in the Tasmanian team and will no doubt be a key member of the Eastern Allies again this year as she was last year. She has a long kick and had a couple of chances on goal with one falling short from an accurate kick hugged against the boundary, and a second from long range which missed to the left. King competes at ground level and has good strength, but is a natural ball winner as well. Stood out in the second half as well, using her long kicking and competitive nature to effect to keep her side in it. Had a lovely kick inside 50 to a teammate in the final term but the attempted mark was spoiled by a defender.
#6 Tahlia Bortigon
Bortigon had a number of impressive plays, showing good strength to get her hands on the ball at ground level then get them free from the would-be tackler and dispose of the ball to a teammate in space. She won an interesting free kick for a piggyback ride on Laura McClelland in defence, but her attitude showed how determined she was to win the ball back. Bortigon also showed good composure under pressure when hemmed in the back pocket.
Dandenong Stingrays vs. Oakleigh Chargers
By: Brandon Hutchinson
#10 Abbey Jordan
Jordan played off the ball against Oakleigh, recording a season-high four tackles and accumulating lower numbers (seven disposals) than in previous rounds. She managed to record most of her disposals by foot (five) and proved reliable going inside 50 (three).
#12 Molly McDonald
Utilised well in the second half, McDonald’s attack on the footy cleared and rebounded well off half-back. She lifted her work in the third, brought clean hands to the ground ball and continually put boot to ball off the back-flanks into space. The first half was not her best work, but she picked up her intensity at the main break, recording most of her 13 disposals after the break.
#58 Georgia Howes
Howes was both dominant and strong in the ruck. She utilised her strengths in the stoppages, muscling out her direct opponent at the drop of the ball (15 hit-outs). Of her four disposals, she recorded two inside 50s and one rebound alongside two tackles.
#1 Gemma Lagioia
Lagioia injected speed and agility into Oakleigh’s midfield, taking the loose ball from traffic in a blink and looping out with many effective kicks downfield. She set her team off well, kicking a goal in the first. While unlucky not to have all her efforts rewarded, her eye through congestion often tipped the odds Oakleigh’s way. She worked hard getting to the next contest, showcasing a good tank and commitment to the play. Untouched around congestion, Lagioia glided with the ball and created space with pure class and silk; her footy sense and instinct turning almost any contest on its head.
#2 Mimi Hill
While less damaging than she has been in previous weeks, Hill still had an impact at the stoppages. She brought clean hands to the ball, contested well and delivered effectively by foot. She remains an important ball winner for Oakleigh despite playing a bit below her own standards.
#4 Emily Harley
A tried and proven contested ball winner, Harley did well through the midfield with a game and individual season-high 20 disposals. She took the ball well overhead in the backline, rebounded well up the ground and applied important defensive pressure in pivotal moments. Her kicking remained a feature, quickly putting boot to ball to find the player out the back – breaking lines, and once setting up a shot inside. All in all, a clever user and important ball winner in Oakleigh’s victory.
#8 Alana Porter
Porter brought great hands and acceleration to the stoppages, surging with the ball and clearing well. She found the board after impressing in a forward stoppage, side-stepping and ripping her way through Dandenong’s defence. Porter accumulated 15 touches the best for her season but did not rack up any marks and tackles for her efforts throughout the game. Despite this, she remained key on the contested ball, initiating and contributing well to linking plays.
#12 Amelia Peck
Held up well in the ruck and showcased her craft effectively against a stronger opponent, getting over the top in the centre bounce. Through the stoppages she struggled with body on body on contests, giving the edge to her opponent, though unlike Howes, Peck managed to see a lot more of the footy (10 disposals), as well as delivered well to her forwards (three inside 50s).
Gippsland Power vs. Greater Western Victoria Rebels
By: Brandon Hutchinson
#8 Chandra Abrahams
Abrahams brought a great deal of defensive effort to the contest, proving to be a real thorn to the Rebels in the first half. In the first, she was rewarded for a chase down tackle heading toward goal and countlessly threw her body at the contest, tackling and smothering hard. A relentless defender with an enormous work rate.
#9 Maddison Shaw
Held up well in defence, bringing strong hands overhead and effective tackling. Shaw remained an important piece to Gippsland’s defensive efforts throughout the game trying to cover her opponent and win the ball at any chance she could. She showcased great acceleration out of traffic and played her footy with great intensity.
#27 Nikia Webber
The most important player in the Gippsland outfit, Webber accumulated plenty and moved well with ball in hand. She demonstrated great vision inside 50, power through the stoppage and brought strong hands to the contested ball. In the third, she willed her team back in the game with two amazing goals and outstanding work trapping the ball in their forward half, as well having many score involvements throughout the game.
#33 Shanara Notman
Notman rebounded well off half-back and intercepted well. Her height served her throughout, beating her direct opponents with versatility and clean ball use. A tried and proven kicker, Notman remained reliable in the backline when the game was on the line.
#10 Ella Wood
Excelled with her clearance work, Wood brought great awareness and agility clearing the stoppage. In the dying minutes, she spun out of a tackle and broke free into space to help keep the game alive. She fought hard for the footy and moved well in traffic but was unlucky not to have her efforts rewarded at the end. She also recorded one goal for the day.
#24 Sophie Molan
With a classy element to her football, Molan seems to glide with the football of half-back. She finds space in traffic and sets her eyes to the next play, seeming unbeknownst to the pressure around her. Her kicking was a feature, breaking lines and quickly rebounding forward presses, as well putting one through the sticks. Molan was also the player tasked with a kick after the siren to tie the game, having pushed up the ground to trap the footy inside. While she was not successful on the kick, she was more than impressive throughout four quarters.
Bendigo Pioneers vs. Northern Knights
By: Maddy Pieper
#1 Maeve Tupper
Tupper was a force through the midfield, continually fighting hard for the ball. She took some good contested marks for a smaller player, driving the ball forward and constantly trying to create opportunities inside 50.
#4 Brooke Hards
Hards showed off her footy smarts against the Knights, moving well through traffic and finding a lot of ball in the middle and around stoppages. Had a quiet patch in the third quarter, however had a never give up attitude and continuously tried her hardest in what was a frustrating game for the Pioneers.
#3 Nell Morris-Dalton
Morris-Dalton did not put on her usual strong performance forward, unable to make an impact on the scoreboard with goals, but still had a strong presence up forward taking some good marks with clean hands. Did not let her game affect her playmaking, however as she continued to try hard and create opportunities for her teammates up forward.
#21 Ellie McKenzie
McKenzie was another player who had a lot of the ball, playing a consistent game wherever she was on the field and was not rattled when she got a knock to the head during a strong tackle. Her ability to clear the ball and take strong marks made her a standout in this match, while her clever footwork came in useful around traffic, on multiple times sidestepping opponents to find space and move the ball forward.
#22 Britney Gutknecht
Gutknecht showcased her ability to break through tackles, leading by example in the midfield to create opportunities forward for the Knights. Was persistent through the middle of the ground, putting in the hard yards in both the defensive and forward 50 to clear the ball. Was rewarded for her efforts with a good kick at goal in the second quarter to take Northern’s tally to four goals at half-time.
#23 Gabby Newton
Newton showcased her good game smarts in this matchup credit to her clean kicking inside 50 to Knights forwards, putting the ball to the advantage of her teammates and creating opportunities on goal. Worked well with Gutknecht in the midfield to gain possession and start the charge forward.
In the other game played on the weekend…
Murray Bushangers 5.6 (36) defeated Sandringham Dragons 1.11 (17)
#7 Kate Adams – Booted a goal from seven tdisposals, one mark, three tackles and one inside 50.
#8 Abby Favell – Continued her good form this season with a game-high 23 disposals, three marks, four tackles, four inside 50s and one rebound.
#10 Sophie Locke – Laid five tackles to go with her 10 disposals and three marks, while also recording two rebounds.
#19 Millie Brown – Named best on ground for her 22 disposals, two marks, four tackles, two inside 50s and six rebounds working hard across the ground.
#25 Sarah Hartwig – Equal highest disposal winner for the Dragons, taking two marks, laying five tackles and having a team-high five rebounds propelling her side out of defence.
#28 Alice Burke – Usually a prolific tackler, Burke worked more offensively with 16 disposals, one mark and two inside 50s.
#30 Winnie Laing – The inside midfielder had 13 touches, one mark, four tackles, two inside 50s and one rebound.
#33 Bella Eddey – The talented forward might not have hit the scoreboard, but registered 15 disposals, three marks, three tackles and two inside 50s.