Author: Eli Duxson

Launceston claims TSL flag with impressive win in the wet

ONE of the better deciding games of football you are likely to see anywhere captivated fans all the way through the final quarter where Launceston kicked away to run out 13-point winners against their Northern rivals North Launceston. The Blues completed the perfect day winning flags in the development league and the women’s league, triumphing to win their first flag since 2011 and  stopped a fourth straight premiership to the Bombers in the process. It was the first time these familiar foes have met in a grand final since 1985 and they duly delivered the anticipated intense contest. Jobi Harper was awarded the Darrell Baldock medal as the best player on the ground for his grunt work through the midfield and his two goals.

Light drizzle started with the first siren as it came and went for much of the game, leaving a greasy surface for the four quarters as North Launceston kicked with a slight breeze advantage to start the game. After some scrappy repeat stoppages, the Bombers managed a clean breakaway and with their first inside 50 of the game they scored a goal from a Jack Rushton soccer off the ground. North managed the next centre clearance and squeezed the Blues for territory with manic defensive pressure highlighted by a Josh Ponting smother.

The rest of the first quarter was played mostly between the arcs as even though Launceston managed to find the corridor frequently, they were unable to capitalise on the scoreboard going scoreless to the Bombers’ 1.2. (8). With the wet surface affecting clean disposal, the contest was physical with plenty of niggle including a cut to the head for ruckman Alex Lee. It all blew up as players were going to their huddles as fiery spot fires popped up after a couple of altercations with every player involved. Passion and feeling in spades which would carry through the rest of the contest.

The rain started to fall heavier to begin the second quarter as Launceston needed to respond, and that they did. A defensive-50 transition required just two kicks to find Jay Blackberry who sidestepped his way into an open goal to kick his side’s first. As the Bombers did after their first goal, the Blues got the very next centre clearance but instead managed to goal on the back of some Fletcher Seymour dash.

A 15-minute stalemate was broken as Hudson medallist Dylan Riley scored from directly in front after a Blackberry intercept just past half forward. With the Bombers only managing minor scores, the Blues enjoyed a seven-point lead at the main break.

North Launceston’s third quarters have been the best in the league all season and they were on display again as Tom Bennett slotted a goal from a free kick less than a minute in. A huge Rushton chase down tackle stopped an almost certain Launceston goal as the momentum started to tip in their favour. Bradley Cox-Goodyer’s raking left boot drilled a 50-metre set shot which gave them a goal buffer 20 minutes into the term. Harper and the Blues were having none of that as he finessed a check side in from 25 metres out on the boundary to bring it back to a one-point margin after the siren.

With the barest of separations, Launceston kicking with the slight wind advantage, and everything to play for, it was game on. The game started to open up, but it was North Launceston who struck first with a Jackson Callow kick off the ground going through. Playing coach Taylor Whitford had an opportunity to put the Bombers up two goals before the shot fell short into the breeze. Up the other end, Riley bodied Corey Nankervis in the one-on-one contest and snapped it through to bring the game back. It was goal for goal as Bennett replied with his second, and some Riley brilliance led to a second Blackberry goal.

With very little separating the two sides, it was going to take something special to give either side a two-score lead, and that is what they got. Harper plucked the ball out of the ruck contest at the top of the goal square and banged it through, an exclamation point to what was already a good day for him. With a seven-point lead 18 minutes into the final quarter, one more goal would seal it. Youngster Jared Dakin delivered the icing goal from the goal square as Launceston would become the 2020 premiers winning 8.4 (52) to North’s 5.9 (39).

Blackberry, Riley, and Michael Musicka starred alongside Harper, as Jamieson House and Jacob Boyd were instrumental down back for the Blues. The Bombers’ midfield brigade of Cox-Goodyer, Whitford, Ponting, and Lee were among their side’s best, while 17-year-old Baynen Lowe provided important contests around the ground.

NORTH LAUNCESTON 1.2 | 1.6 | 3.8 | 5.9 (39)
LAUNCESTON 0.0 | 3.1 | 4.1 | 8.4 (52)

GOALS:

North: T. Bennett 2, J. Rushton, B. Cox-Goodyer, J. Callow.
Launceston: J. Harper 2, D. Riley 2, J. Blackberry 2, F. Seymour, J. Dakin.

BEST:

North: B. Cox-Goodyer, B. Lowe, T. Donnelly, T. Whitford, J. Ponting, A. Lee
Launceston: J. Harper, M. Musicka, T. Jones, D. Riley, F. Seymour, J. House

SCOUTING NOTES

North Launceston

#16 Ollie Sanders

Sanders could not manage to get into the game in the first half playing between half-forward and wing but provided some good pressure in the second half. He halved a crucial contest through relentless pressure and was more active around contests, roving and disposing of it cleanly on one occasion.

#25 Jackson Callow

Callow made his way into the final 22 after being named on the extended bench as he seemed unhindered by the ankle injury he sustained which had the potential to rule him out for the season. Like he did for most of the year, he played a half at either end of the ground, tasked with the Mitch Thorp matchup early. He was not afraid to push Thorp back and put his solid frame to good use in the contest. He kept him goalless, but a turnover from a poor kick in the back half resulted in a Launceston goal. Moving to the other end of the ground he was a physical presence more than anything. House ensured he worked for his touches and made Callow worry about him more than his own game, often only engaging body rather than leading at the ball carrier. Even though he struggled to find space, he kicked a goal at a crucial time in the final quarter.

#64 Baynen Lowe

The 17-year-old Devonport product played mostly through the middle of the ground, starting on the wing before rotating through the centre bounces in the second half. Lowe’s physicality and pressure stood out as he showed good speed and defensive qualities, highlighted by a smother and a chase down tackle. His poise with ball in hand was impressive and even despite the slippery conditions, he showed good cleanliness in tight. A nice snap to set up a shot on goal was indicative of his sound decision-making as he was named second best in his side for his efforts.

Launceston

#20 Jared Dakin

After playing on Whitford the last time these teams met there was feeling the same would happen again. Although he did not play a strict run with role, he played defensive at stoppages on Ponting much like his role last week. When play unravelled he managed to get to most contests and look for his own ball, earning a couple of clearances and showing strength to get a handball out. A quiet second half saw him kick the one goal, but it was the final one for his side as he capped off an impressive season.

#30 Isaac Chugg

Chugg assumed his natural half-back role and was serviceable in his side’s triumph. He was trusted with the kickout duties at times, but it was his run out of the back half which was is main mode of operation all game. Numerous times he ran past for the handball to rebound, but most impressively he did not just blaze away long. He found shorter and better targets. He did lose his direct opponent in traffic who goaled in the final quarter but nonetheless, a solid game.

Picture: Solstice Digital & Photography

TSL scouting notes: Launceston vs. Lauderdale

A SPOT in the grand final was up for grabs in the season’s penultimate game, a spot that Launceston took with both hands after making the most of the southerly breeze.

Accurate goalkicking was on display for both teams, but it was Launceston’s second term which saw them kick 8.1 to no score for Lauderdale which set up their match-winning lead. Despite 47 points separating the two teams, Lauderdale continued to push to the end, but they just could not maximise the win advantage like Launceston. The 23 points they trailed by at the final break was insurmountable as Launceston kicked away in the final term.

Jay Blackberry and Mitchell Thorp were among Launceston’s best with three goals each, while Dylan Riley, Jake Hinds, and Joe Groenewegen each kicked two goals. Ex-Brisbane Lion Josh McGuinness was among Lauderdale’s best, as Nick Baker toiled away all day in the back half.

We took a look at how the sole AFL Draft Combine invitee in the match, Jared Dakin performed.

Launceston

#20 Jared Dakin

His output was not what we have come to expect from the exciting youngster as he looked to take on more of a defensive role on Lauderdale gun McGuinness. He started in the midfield and made his way to most stoppages with McGuinness, often taking front position and holding it. He showed good core strength to maintain his balance after taking a front-on hit and keep scrapping away. As it did not look to be a hard tag, Dakin made his way around the ground and pooped up at either end to win his own ball. He looked clean and strong over the ball in greasy conditions and often got first hands on it at stoppages. Pressure on the inside, which is where he does a lot of his work, meant he could not always get clean hands out but there were still plenty of occasions where he did and followed up. When McGuinness went down back to start the second half, Dakin followed him and did not allow many easy touches. He competed aerially and again showed good strength through his hips and core to not get knocked down. Dakin showed glimpses of his abilities with his inside grunt work and ability to get dangerous on the outside, but if he was given the defensive role, he did it very well.

2020 AFLW: The run to finals – How do the expansion clubs fare?

THE 2020 AFL Women’s season has seen four new clubs introduced to the competition and with two rounds left, we look at the two new clubs who both have a chance at playing finals footy. Gold Coast sit one game out finals in Conference A, while St Kilda find themselves two games out of finals in Conference B.

The Gold Coast Suns have the best chance out of the four expansion clubs to make finals, currently placed just one game behind cross-town rivals Brisbane who sit securely in the top three. The Suns have won two games, lost three and drawn one, yet still boast a percentage of 101 per cent. The only club below them on the ladder that they have lost to was Geelong who are only two points behind the Suns, however, they have still not defeated a team above them on the ladder. Should they have beaten Brisbane instead of devastatingly drawing, they would find themselves equal third and with every chance of playing finals. The Suns face the sixth-placed Crows (Conference A) at home this weekend, and then the third-placed Demons (Conference B) in Casey to finish off. With Brisbane a high chance of beating Richmond this week, Gold Coast’s best chance at playing finals would be to win both games healthily to get in on percentage, so long as the Lions drop their last game to North Melbourne.

The Suns have enjoyed some brilliant individual performers in their inaugural season with Jamie Stanton (17.7 disposals per game), Lauren Ahrens (14.3 disposals per game) and Hannah Dunn (13.8 disposals and close to six tackles per game) the standouts. After a four-goal effort against the Eagles on Sunday, Kalinda Howarth finds herself the team’s leading goal-kicker having kicked nine for the season. Boasting some impressive young talent, Jacqui Yorston stands out as the best young player having spent last season on Brisbane’s list for just the four games which included a Rising Star nomination. Yorston has played every game averaging 12.5 disposals and over seven tackles to go with two goals. Second year 188cm ruck Lauren Bella also deserves a mention averaging just under 19 hit outs per game.

The Suns’ biggest strength is their ferocious tackling with seven players averaging more than four tackles per game. As a team, they average 14 more tackles per game than their opposition. Where Gold Coast will look to improve is their disposal count and delivery inside 50. On average, the Suns record almost 37 less disposals per game than their opposition, so coach David Lake will be hoping there are more ball-winners across the ground if they want to pose a threat in the post-season. In terms of efficiency, Gold Coast only mark one out of every seven entries inside 50 and will be looking to get more unimpeded shots at goal in the last two rounds if they want to score more.

In Conference B, St Kilda have an outside chance of making finals, however, everything will have to work in their favour. They currently sit two games out of finals behind Melbourne and Collingwood who have both won two of their last three games and are playing confident football. The biggest issue for St Kilda is their percentage in which they will have to make up a minimum of 63 per cent. Still technically possible. The Saints have won two games and lost four. One loss was a one-point heart breaker against undefeated Fremantle in which a win would have seen them just one game out finals contention, much better odds. The Saints face fourth-placed Collingwood (conference B) and seventh-placed West Coast (also Conference B) in Perth to finish the season off. With both must-win games, the Saints’ best chance at playing finals is to win big, and hope Melbourne and Collingwood lose big to secure themselves third spot.

Much like the Suns, the Saints have enjoyed outstanding performances from their youth, with first year players Georgia Patrikios (15.7 disposals per game) and Olivia Vesely (15.2 disposals per game) leading the way for the entire Saints team. 2019 VFLW team of the year player Rosie Dillon (13.5 disposals and almost six tackles per game) has also been important for the Saints with a more mature inside-presence. Donned the “G-Train”, Caitlin Greiser is the leading goal-scorer for the Saints kicking 10 for the season, including a 55m bomb against Melbourne in Round 3. Outside of Patrikios and Vesely, Nicola Xenos (9.3 disposals and more than four tackles per game) and Molly McDonald (9.5 disposals per game), have been the more impressive younger players for St Kilda.

St Kilda’s biggest issue this season has simply been their consistency. They suffered losses in two of their first three games of the season after giving up significant margins in total disposals, clearance and inside 50’s. Since then, they have averaged almost 28 more disposals, nine more clearances and six more inside 50’s per game than their opposition. One point of difference in that time has been the injection of Poppy Kelly in the ruck, who is averaging 14 hit outs in her three appearances this season. To continue the trend, the Saints will be looking for Kelly to continue her aerial prowess to feed Patrikios and Vesely out of the middle.

Whether the Saints or Suns make the finals or not, the end of the AFLW season begs to be an exciting one.

AFL Women’s Young Gun Watch: Round 6

IN our sixth edition of the Young Gun Watch, we take a look at some of the top young performers across the AFL Women’s competition in Round 6 focusing on those players born in the 21st century (2000 or 2001). We analyse match-by-match just how they performed and what they did well.

Geelong vs. North Melbourne

North Melbourne ended up coasting to a comfortable victory over Geelong on Friday night to maintain top spot on the Conference A ladder. However, star Cat Nina Morrison’s devastating injury would be the main takeaway from the game as she unfortunately ruptured the ACL in her right knee for the second time in two seasons. As things went from bad to worse for Geelong fans, Olivia Purcell gave them something to smile about having collected 18 disposals and five tackles. Millie Brown (nine disposals) and Sophie Van De Heuvel (eight disposals) were also serviceable in what was a tough night for the Cats. Daisy Bateman again provided pressure up forward for the Kangaroos resulting in a goal for her five mark and five tackle effort. Making the most of a high-scoring team performance was Mia King, who managed her first career goal after gathering 12 disposals and an impressive seven tackles.

Brisbane vs. Collingwood

Collingwood collected a dominant road win against Brisbane, keeping them in the hunt for finals footy. Much like the rest of the team, Brisbane’s young talent couldn’t quite get into the game with their first draft pick in 2019, Lily Postlethwaite, collecting just the two disposals. Natalie Grider showed some positive signs out of defence, collecting 10 disposals and laying four tackles having to contend with the sharp and abundant inside 50 use from the Magpies. Full-forward Jesse Tawhaio-Wardlaw had seven disposals, three marks and six hit outs while Isabel Dawes managed five disposals in what was a quiet night for Brisbane’s forward stocks. Collingwood’s experience led the way as their young talent played roles in the win. Jordyn Allen had nine disposals and five marks while Lauren Butler also collected nine disposals off the half back-flank. Mikala Cann (five disposals, four tackles) and Alana Porter (five disposals) were also useful.

St Kilda vs Richmond

St Kilda boasted contributors across the board as they held Richmond goalless at Moorabbin on Saturday, a first in AFLW history. The Saints’ youth again impressed as their first draft pick, Georgia Patrikios, had 14 disposals and a couple of tackles out of the middle, unfortunately also just missing out on a goal. Dandenong product Molly McDonald showed large improvement with 12 disposals, six marks and three tackles, while Isabella Shannon was serviceable with four disposals and two tackles. Nicola Xenos again applied solid pressure in the centre with six tackles, as she enjoyed a well-rounded 11 disposal performance to go with a goal. The Tiger’s young talent endured a tough day with the rest of the team, with Kodi Jacques (seven tackles) and Sophie Molan (eight disposals) the stand-out players. With finals footy out of the question for Richmond, Nekaela Butler (five disposals, three tackles) and Ciara Fitzgerald (two disposals, two tackles) both debuted in the loss.

Melbourne vs. Carlton

Alice Springs brought the heat on Saturday in more ways than one, with the Blues enjoying a 16-point win over the Demons, propelling them to second on Conference B’s ladder. Sticking with mature-aged players, Melbourne again played just the two players born this century. Tyla Hanks has been the most impressive all season and started in the centre, collecting 11 disposals and laying six tackles. Hanks now averages five tackles per game on the season. Carlton’s youth again showed why they are arguably the best in the league, with Madison Prespakis leading the crop in a typical Prespakis performance of 23 disposals, four marks and a goal. Lucy McEvoy put up impressive numbers with 19 disposals, while last week’s Rising Star nominee, Charlotte Wilson, had 11 disposals and six marks out of defence. Murray product Grace Egan was also important, popping up with a goal to go with her 11 disposals and three tackles.

Western Bulldogs vs. Fremantle

Fremantle maintained its perfect record off the back of a dominant final quarter which saw them outscore the Bulldogs 25 to six at Whitten Oval on Sunday. The highest-scoring game in AFLW history was littered with admirable performances from youth on both sides as fans were treated to the future of the competition. The Bulldogs’ young talent improved greatly on last week’s performance with Gabby Newton (16 disposals, eight tackles) and Elisabeth Georgostathis (13 disposals, four tackles) leading the way. Gemma Lagiola (10 disposals) and Eleanor Brown (11 disposals, three tackles) were also important for the Bulldogs, as Hannah Munyard returned nine disposals, three tackles and a goal. Britney Gutknecht (seven disposals, four tackles) played her second game for the season, while fellow former Northern Knight Nell Morris-Dalton debuted with eight disposals and five tackles. Fremantle’s Mim Strom backed up last week’s effort with an even more dominant 25 hitouts, playing a lone hand in the ruck with Roxanne Roux out. Though it was not four goals, Sabreena Duffy managed to keep the Bulldogs defenders under pressure with five tackles, while Emma O’Driscoll managed seven disposals.

Adelaide vs. GWS GIANTS

The GIANTS defeated the Crows for the first time in franchise history behind closed doors on Sunday, running out five-point victors. Adelaide continue to showcase their young talent as finals footy feels like a long way for them having suffered this loss, with Montana McKinnon again the most impressive. The six-foot ruck again provided the Crows midfielders with deluxe service with 17 hitouts. Danielle Ponter collected six disposals out of full-forward to go with her two tackles, while Jaimi Tabb managed just the five disposals. GWS again opted with just the one player born in this century and you cannot blame them. Star midfielder Alyce Parker enjoyed a best-on-ground performance with 30 disposals, seven marks and three tackles. She led all players in the disposal count as she now averages just over 20 disposals on the season. With just two more 21st century-born players on the list, you hardly expect the GIANTS to change the formula heading toward finals.

West Coast vs. Gold Coast SUNS

The SUNS enjoyed a 25-point win on Sunday against the Eagles after having kept West Coast without a goal for the first three quarters. The Eagles will be looking forward to next year’s draft to secure more young talent as McKenzie Dowrick and Sophie McDonald were both out this week, leaving winger Mikayla Bowen the sole 21st century-born representative. Bowen gathered nine disposals and three tackles in what was a tough day for the Eagles. Inversely, Gold Coast’s youth all enjoyed solid outings as they kept their season alive. Lauren Bella dominated the ruck on her way to 16 hit outs, sharing the load with debutant Taylor Smith who was useful with 10 disposals and four hit outs. Gold Coast’s pressure was pivotal throughout the game with Jacqui Yorston (12 disposals, four marks, nine tackles), Ellie Hampson (12 disposals, six tackles) and Dee Heslop (five disposals, 10 tackles) all driving factors in that aspect.

Kangaroos and Dockers lead the way at midway point of AFLW season

TOP sides in their respective conferences, North Melbourne and Fremantle have proven to be a real threat to be reckoned with in 2020 with each side possessing a couple of defining stats. We take a look at what sets them apart from one another while also highlighting their similarities despite sitting on opposite sides of the conference system.

The North Melbourne Kangaroos now stand two points clear atop Conference A in the AFL Women’s after a seven-goal thumping of the Adelaide Crows in Hobart. The only blemish on their record came from a two-point loss to Melbourne in Round 1 and since then, no team has come closer than 13 points. With the most prolific offence in the league, 11 separate goal scorers, the Kangaroos have scored 243 points throughout the season at just under 50 points per game. Kaitlyn Ashmore leads the way with eight goals, with Daisy Bateman and Jasmine Garner contributing with a goal a game so far in 2020. Strong at both ends of the ground, North Melbourne boast the second-best defence in the league, having conceded more than three goals on just one occasion this season. Where coach Scott Gowans will look to improve, however, would be the ruck contests. North Melbourne have 42 less hit outs than their opposition, yet still have 32 more clearances. Quite the paradox that Gowans will not consider an emergency as their major ball winners in Garner, Ash Riddell and Emma Kearney are still averaging over 20 disposals per game despite the lack of aerial service.

On top of Conference B sit the undefeated Fremantle Dockers following their three-goal victory against the Brisbane Lions on Sunday evening. Though the losses column is empty, the Dockers have had some close calls with a three-point victory over Collingwood and a one-point victory over St. Kilda threatening to ruin their record. Only the Kangaroos have scored more than the Dockers this season, which has seen Fremantle boast 10 different goal-scorers. Sabreena Duffy has scored the most with nine, highlighting just how key she is to the side. Fremantle’s aggression at the contest has seen them lay 100 more tackles than their opposition throughout the season, where Kiara Bowers incredibly averages more than 14 tackles per game. Bowers also leads the way for disposals at 16 per game with Hayley Miller, Philipa Seth and Gemma Houghton all average more than 11 disposals per game.

Though their points for and against are similar and their ladder positions are equal in their respective conferences, the Dockers have been far less convincing than the Kangaroos despite their perfect record. Fremantle record an average of 33 less disposals than their opponents in wins, where North Melbourne records 47 more disposals. With more disposals, it is inevitable that more shots on goal are had which leads to higher scores, which teams would hope leads to larger winning margins. North Melbourne’s average winning margin is almost double what Fremantle’s is, so with finals footy in sight, Fremantle coach Trent Cooper will be looking to rectify his team’s defence. Unfortunately, the two teams will not meet during the home and away season, but a sole match up during the finals would make it even more interesting.

AFL Women’s Young Gun Watch: Round 5

IN our fifth edition of the Young Gun Watch, we take a look at some of the top young performers across the AFL Women’s competition in Round 5 focusing on those players born in the 21st century (2000 or 2001). We analyse match-by-match just how they performed and what they did well.

Gold Coast SUNS vs. Geelong

A convincing win saw Geelong climb above Conference rivals Gold Coast to claim their second win on the trot, however, some impressive performances from Gold Coast youngsters would give the Suns fans something to smile about. Jacqui Yorston continued her good form with 16 disposals, 10 tackles and a goal, while Lauren Bella was impressive again in the ruck with 19 hit-outs. Queenslanders Ellie Hampson and Dee Heslop both brought physicality to the contest with three and four tackles respectively. Geelong’s Nina Morrison was back to her best gathering a team-high 22 disposals and seven tackles, while fellow 2018 graduate Olivia Purcell collected 21 disposals. Rebecca Webster (12 disposals, two tackles) and Sophie Van De Heuvel (nine disposals) were both serviceable for the cats in the victory. Georgia Clarke played a role off the bench with two tackles and a goal, as did father-daughter draftee Millie Brown who found the ball nine times.

North Melbourne vs. Adelaide

North Melbourne secured their spot on top of the Conference A ladder with a commanding win over Adelaide where the Kangaroos experienced players took the reigns. Daisy Bateman was useful up forward without impacting the scoreboard with her nine disposals and four marks. Launceston product Mia King brought plenty to the contest with four tackles but was down on her disposal count from last week with just the six. Adelaide showcased a lot of young talent again with Montana McKinnon the most impressive, accumulating 16 hit-outs in the ruck to go with her nine disposals. Nikki Gore was again kept off the scoreboard but managed seven tackles up forward, however, centre half-forward Danielle Ponter was able to kick a goal after also being held scoreless last week. Jaimi Tabb was able to make an impact out of full-forward despite not kicking a goal with eight disposals, four marks and three tackles.

GWS GIANTS vs. Richmond

GWS’ young talent is scarce with just the one player born this century, yet Alyce Parker and the Giants do not care for that with a dominant display against Richmond keeping them up near the top of the ladder. Parker backed up another impressive outing last week with 24 disposals and four tackles, a performance which could have seen her receive a rising star nomination if she had not have received a Round One nomination. The winless Tigers have blooded plenty of youth this season but again it was Sophie Molan leading the way for Richmond’s young talent with nine disposals and four tackles. Kodi Jacques laid six tackles and collected six disposals, as did Ella Wood. Northern Knights pair Maddy Brancatisano and Sarah Sansonetti had four and two disposals respectively, while Laura McClelland collected four disposals and two tackles.

Carlton vs. St Kilda

Carlton’s accuracy in front of goal led them to a 21-point win over St Kilda with valuable contributions from their young talent. After narrowly missing nomination last week, Charlotte Wilson became Carlton’s third Rising Star nomination for the season after putting in an impressive 12 disposal and eight-mark performance down back for the Blues. 2019 Rising Star Madison Prespakis impressed as usual with 26 disposals to go with three tackles. To continue with the Rising Star trend, fellow 2020 nominees Grace Egan (12 disposals, six tackles) and Lucy McEvoy (four disposals, eight tackles) kicked a goal each. Number five draft pick, Georgia Patrikios continued her stellar debut season collecting 18 disposals while Isabella Shannon gathered 10 disposals and three tackles. Nicola Xenos’ six tackles was important to keep the pressure on the Blues, as Molly McDonald had seven disposals.

Collingwood vs. Western Bulldogs

Collingwood stayed in the race for finals with a strong win over the Bulldogs, led by their more experienced stars. With room for the Magpies youngsters to improve, it was a relatively quiet outing for all of them. Lauren Butler collected nine disposals off the half-back flank, while Mikala Cann collected eight disposals and laid two tackles out of the middle. Jordyn Allen (six disposals) and Alana Porter (four disposals, two tackles) had less output than last week and will be looking to bounce back this week against the Lions. The Bulldogs youth also experienced quieter performances than last week as number one draft pick Gabby Newton picked up nine disposals and six tackles. Fellow top ten draft picks Gemma Lagiola (seven disposals, two tackles) and Elisabeth Georgostathis (six disposals, four tackles) will both also be looking to get back to the form they have displayed throughout the season.

Melbourne vs. West Coast

Melbourne enjoyed an outstanding day out to come out 59-point winners against the Eagles out at Casey Fields on Sunday, in an outing with the least amount of 21st century representatives. Consistently picked for a reason, Tyla Hanks played her role again in Melbourne’s forward rotation collecting 10 disposals and laying two tackles in a well-functioning forward line, while New South Wales product Brenna Tarrant gathered five disposals in the win. Mikayla Bowen was again the standout Under-20 Eagle as she backed up last week’s effort with similar numbers, posting 11 disposals and five tackles. Claremont product Sophie McDonald improved again, putting up another season-high disposal count with 10, while tall McKenzie Dowrick come off the bench for four disposals and three tackles. Despite not enjoying the success in the wins columns this season, West Coast fans would enjoy the performances from their youth.

Fremantle vs. Brisbane

Fremantle secured their place atop the Conference B ladder with a three-goal victory over the Brisbane Lions. Sabreena Duffy became the team’s leading goal-scorer with a terrific four-goal effort which very well could have been eight if she kicked straight. Duffy also had 10 disposals and five marks in her day out, while Emma O’Driscoll collected seven disposals and three tackles. Tall prospect Roxanne Roux found the footy five times to go with three hit outs in a day where fellow tall Mim Strom dominated the ruck with 17 hit-outs with her seven disposals. Key forward Jesse Wardlaw was the standout youth performer for the Lions with seven disposals, four marks, three hit-outs and a goal. Brisbane’s first draft pick, Lily Postlethwaite in 2019 had seven disposals and three tackles, as Natalie Grider (seven disposals) also contributed.