Author: Sophie Taylor

NAB League Girls Grand Final preview: Northern Knights v. Calder Cannons

AN exciting end to season 2019 of NAB League Girls is set to take place on Saturday as minor premiers, Northern Knights take on an unexpected opposition in Calder Cannons following a dominant performance over reigning premiers, Geelong Falcons in the preliminary finals.

Northern Knights v. Calder Cannons

NAB League Girls Grand Final – 25/05/2019
2:00pm
Ikon Park – Carlton

Regardless of the final score, a tough slog by both teams is to be expected when Northern Knights take on Calder Cannons in a battle for premiership glory. Calder Cannons have made a strong case to push the Knights after a phenomenal effort saw the Cannons hand Geelong a 35 point loss, while Northern almost got knocked out of finals contention by Eastern Ranges but held them off to win by a single goal margin. Calder and Northern did not play the each other during the season due to there being only nine rounds, so this match is sure to see some big performances and match-ups across the board.

Northern’s performance this season should be commended, with an exceptional nine wins – including a six-point victory against Eastern Ranges last week – and one draw under their belts to remain undefeated in 2019. Calder’s season may not have the same cleanliness to it, but despite three losses the side continued to push and ultimately were rewarded with a victory over one of the most prolific teams in the competition. Calder’s unexpected dominance sees the club get an opportunity to go for their second premiership since the inaugural NAB League/TAC Cup Girls season, when the side finished top of the ladder with no finals system in place prior to 2018, while Northern will come into this match with a fire in the belly after going down to Geelong last season.

Northern leading disposal winner and captain, Gabby Newton provided great run through the midfield with 19 touches and 10 tackles to lead her side to victory last week, while half-forward and target inside 50, Nell Morris-Dalton stood up when it counted against Eastern last week, finishing with 22 touches and four goals for her best performance of the season. However with competition leading disposal winner, Georgie Prespakis and ball magnet, Georgia Patrikios taking the field in opposition on the weekend, it will be a battle of the mids as both sides look to penetrate inside 50 and create scoring opportunities. With an even spread contributing to the margin for both sides last week, both teams will want to come out firing with precision and accuracy to take an early lead. Getting the ball in should not be an issue given both teams boast strong targets forward, however it will be what players do with the ball that could turn the tides. If Calder put in a full team effort the likes of their match against the Falcons, they could push the Knights all the way and really bring it down to the wire. A number of big names are set to line up in opposition this week, with the likes of Northern’s Alyssa Bannan, Britney Gutknecht and Ellie McKenzie electric with ball in hand, backed up by the strong efforts and leadership of Newton. Calder’s midfield trio of Prespakis, Patrikios and Alana Barba is just as exciting while defensively, the likes of Sarah Sansonetti (Northern) and Felicity Theodore (Calder) are the ones to watch with good awareness and ability to move the ball to advantage under pressure.

TEAMS

NORTHERN KNIGHTS

B: 2. S. Fell, 10. P. Chisholm, 30. M. Plunkett
HB: 9. M. Chaplin, 18. S. Sansonetti, 17. C. Fitzgerald
C: 11. M. Appleby, 23. G. Newton, 14. J. Fitzgerald
HF: 20. C. Linssen, 3. N. Morris-Dalton, 29. T. Pulcino
F: 6. A. Bannan, 36. T. Smart, 21. E. McKenzie
R: 1. J. Nelson, 22. B. Gutknecht, 16. Z. Flanigan
Int: 7. A. Bennett, 8. G. Ceravolo, 26. M. Papachristos, 38. L. Picioane, 31. M. Ramsay, 35. J. Simpson, 34. M. Uwland

In: M. Uwland, M. Ramsay, L. Picioane

CALDER CANNONS

B: 4. K. Lennox, 19. P. Poultney, 2. F. Theodore
HB: 24. K. Delia, 18. T. Gillard, 31. K. Petrevski
C: 38. L. Cocomello, 21. G. Patrikios, 8. Z. Friswell
HF: 22. M. Muller, 5. N. Crowley, 3. E. Yassir
F: 34. Z. Hardiman, 42. T. Crook, 25. A. Magri
R: 17. G. Sampson, 41. G. Prespakis, 11. A. Barba
Int: 40. C. Brown, 1. H. Cooke, 32. T. Fry, 15. M. McLeod, 44. I. McNeill-Wren, 9. M. Styles, 35. I. Young

In: M. Styles, M. McLeod, I. McNeill-Wren

STATISTICS:

Ave Disposals: Georgia Patrikios (CC – 23.1), Georgie Prespakis (CC – 22.9), Gabby Newton (NK – 19.8)
Ave Marks: Georgia Patrikios (CC – 3.3), Gabby Newton (NK – 2.8), Georgie Prespakis (CC – 2.7), Ellie McKenzie (NK – 2.7)
Ave Tackles: Alana Barba (CC – 7.3), Georgie Prespakis (CC – 5.8), Jess Fitzgerald (NK – 5.7)
Ave Hitouts: Georgie Sampson (CC – 15.2), Jaime Nelson (NK – 14.4), Tamsin Crook (CC – 7.1)
Goals: Alyssa Bannan (NK – 13.5), Georgie Prespakis (CC – 13.5), Nell Morris-Dalton (12.7)

2019 RESULTS:

Northern Knights:

R1: defeated Murray Bushrangers by 76 points
R2: drew with Oakleigh Chargers
R3: defeated Western Jets by 25 points
R4: defeated Sandringham Dragons by 21 points
R5: defeated Eastern Ranges by 24 points
R6: defeated Gippsland Power by 45 points
R7: defeated Bendigo Pioneers by 53 points
R8: defeated Geelong Falcons by 36 points
R9: defeated GWV Rebels by 45 points
PF: defeated Eastern Ranges by 6 points

Calder Cannons:

R1: defeated Western Jets by 27 points
R2: defeated GWV Rebels by 58 points
R3: defeated Sandringham Dragons by 23 points
R4: lost to Oakleigh Chargers by 10 points
R5: defeated Murray Bushrangers by 27 points
R6: lost to Eastern Ranges by four points
R7: lost to Geelong Falcons by 14 points
R8: defeated Bendigo Pioneers by 21 points
R9: defeated Gippsland Power by 31 ponts
PF: defeated Geelong Falcons by 35 points

Northern:

When in front…

QTR: 8-0-1
HT: 9-0-1
3QTR: 9-0-1

When trailing…

QTR: 1-0
HT:
3QTR:

Calder:

When in front…

QTR: 5-1
HT: 5-1
3QTR: 7-0

When trailing…

QTR: 2-2
HT: 2-2
3QTR: 0-3

FUN FACTS:

1. Eastern Ranges’ 7.1 (43) was the highest score a team had kicked against Northern Knights all season, with the last three Knights wins seeing them power to a total score of 22.25 (157) to 1.17 (23) in Rounds 7-9.
2. Neither side has lost when leading at three quarter time, meaning one of those streaks will be broken.
3. Northern Knights have trailed only one at a break – four points against Eastern Ranges at quarter time in Round 5.

VFL Women’s wash-up: Round 2 – Demons, Thunder and Mugars go two from two

WITH all but one Victorian Football League Women’s (VFLW) team playing over the weekend, Round 2 saw some big clashes and high scoring matches across the board.

CASEY DEMONS 1.1 | 3.5 | 6.6 | 7.8 (50)
CARLTON 1.3 | 0.4 | 1.6 | 2.7 (19)

GOALS

Casey: M. Guerin 2, K. Oates, T. Tatterson, K. Smith, R. Clayton, B. Winbanks
Carlton: C. Leighton, C. Bromage

BEST

Casey: K. Bentvelzen, M. Hogg, R. Clayton, K. Smith, H. Bailey, E. Archer
Carlton: S. Mason, N. Plane, M. Clifford, C. Faulks, S. Wright, J. Hosking

Despite an even start to Carlton’s first match for 2019, Casey got the job done for their second win of the season, pulling off a spectacular 31 point victory to sit in second on the ladder. With dependable ball movers, Sarah Lampard (20 disposals) and Bianca Jakobsson (18) sharing the ball around, there was no shortage of inside 50 entries for the Demons with the likes of Maddy Guerin and Ruby Clayton on the end of some good kicks in front of goal. Guerin had another stellar match to kickstart her season, kicking two goals and picking up 16 touches and four tackles, while Clayton was solid kicking one goal from 14 touches, but missed three attempts on goal as the Dees peppered the goal square. With six individual goalkickers Casey will not yet be worried by inaccuracy, instead likely happy with the amount of opportunities for players in front of goal. For Carlton, Natalie Plane (22 disposals, nine tackles) and Abbie McKay (19 touches, seven tackles) stood up while Chloe Leighton and Courteney Bromage kicked one goal apiece.

GEELONG 3.1 | 5.1 | 7.2 | 7.2 (44)
ESSENDON 0.2 | 2.5 | 4.8 | 5.9 (39)

GOALS
Geelong:
K. Darby 4, R. Benham, J. Ivey, C. Blakeway
Essendon: A. Moreen 2, F. Puruntatameri, L. Stepnell, A. Anderson

BEST
Geelong:
J. Ivey, R. Caris, M. Boyd, R. Goring, C. Blakeway, M. Keryk
Essendon: H. Bullas, L. Stepnell, M. Fogas, S. Nalder, K. Hicks, F. Puruntatameri

The tight match between Geelong and Essendon was a close one from start to finish as Essendon put the pressure on but failed to capitalise to their full capacity in front of goal. Geelong’s Amy Mcdonald racked up 18 disposals and seven tackles in the tight clash, while Kate Darby was exceptional in front of goal, kicking 4 majors and one behind as Geelong ran away with the match. Bombers’ Arthurina Moreen kicked two goals of her own to give Essendon a leg-up, while Hayley Bullas was among the best for her side as she managed 21 touches and 10 tackles. Maighan Fogas and Maddy Collier weren’t far behind as they generated pressure on ball carriers across the field, picking up nine and eight tackles respectively, while Geelong’s Madisen Maguire (eight tackles) and Mcdonald (seven) were also solid as they forced turnovers.

COLLINGWOOD 3.0 | 6.0 | 7.3 | 8.6 (54)
HAWTHORN 1.1 | 1.2 | 2.2 | 4.2 (26)

GOALS

Collingwood: J. Lambert 2, K. Newton, K. Lynch, P. Nash, A. Curley, M. Shevlin, J. Allen
Hawthorn: E. Gilder 3, C. Perera

BEST

Collingwood: G. Gourlay, R. Schleicher, S. King, J. Allen, J. Ferguson, J. Lambert
Hawthorn: C. Perera, R. Dillon, M. Hutchins, P. Peschke, K. Henderson, A. Tanner

Collingwood bounced back from an average Round 1 effort as they dominate against the Hawks, holding the side to only two goals across the first three quarters before the opposition came back to win the final quarter. Unfortunately it was a fight back that came about far too late, as the Pies’ six straight goals in the first half all but proves. Mikala Cann and Jaimee Lambert led the way for the Magpies, collecting a combined 38 touches and 18 tackles while Lambert also found the big sticks with two goals to her name. Meg Hutchins (20 disposals, five marks) and Kara Henderson (16 and four tackles) were solid for the Hawks, while Emily Gilder kicked three of the Hawks’ four goals in a bid to keep her side in the match. Abbey Tanner dominated the ruck with 34 hitouts, however Collingwood’s Sarah King put up a tough fight with 21 and six tackles.

NT THUNDER 1.0 | 3.1 | 5.3 | 7.4 (46)
SOUTHERN SAINTS 1.3 | 3.4 | 3.5 | 4.8 (32)

GOALS

NT Thunder: D. Ponter 2, K. Rosenzweig 2, J. Hickey, J. Baird, A. Considine
Southern Saints: J. Vogt, D. Jolliffe, T. Bohanna, C. Greiser

BEST

NT Thunder: H. Martin, A. Hatchard, M. Roberts, L. Roberts, K. Streader, K. Irvine
Southern Saints: C. Phillips, R. Neaves, O. Vesely, J. Kelly, D. Jolliffe, E. Keaney

Another relatively close affair saw NT Thunder get their second win on the board for 2019, stronger in front of the big sticks than their opposition. The Saints had a solid start to lead by three points at half time, before a fantastic second half from the Thunder blew the Saints out of the water, unable to capitalise on their early lead. Northern Territory’s dominant pairing of Danielle Ponter and Katelyn Rosenzweig combined for four goals, while Ebony Marinoff racked up 23 touches and six tackles in a solid day out. For the Saints, Alison Drennan (28 disposals, five marks, six tackles) Cat Phillips (20) were good on the ball, while Deanna Jolliffe kicked a great goal to be named in the best.

WILLIAMSTOWN 0.2 | 1.2 | 1.2 | 1.3 (9)
WESTERN BULLDOGS 2.5 | 2.6 | 7.7 | 8.8 (56)

GOALS

Williamstown: S. Whiting
Western Bulldogs: M. Ward 4, D. Marshall 2, S. Jolly, M. Sandral

BEST

Williamstown: E. Meade, S. Dixon, R. Dardengo, S. Whiting, A. Shannon, A. Melinkas
Western Bulldogs: B. Toogood, N. Ferres, M. Sandral, M. Ward, K. Betts, N. McMahon

In what was the first match of the 2019 season for both sides, it was a particularly frustrating way to start the season for Williamstown, while the Western Bulldogs will be very happy with their first win for the year. A quiet and inaccurate first half saw the Dogs fail to capitalise in front of goal, however some good composure and game smarts saw the side kick 6.2 in the second half to run away with an easy win, keeping Williamstown to only the one major. In a match that didn’t see many good things for the Seagulls, Sharnie Whiting kicked the side’s only goal, also picking up 12 touches against the immense defensive pressure of the Bulldogs, while Erin Meade finished with only five touches but a solid seven tackles to her name. Dogs’ Mikayla Ward kicked four goals alone, while Danielle Marshall kicked two of her own to add to the tally as the side ran over Williamstown, relegating the Gulls to the bottom of the ladder. The likes of Bonnie Toogood (24 disposals, six marks) and Mary Sandral (14 touches, four tackles, four marks, one goal) were among the Bulldogs’ best.

MELBOURNE UNI 3.2 | 4.5 | 5.7 | 11.8 (74)
DAREBIN 0.1 | 3.1 | 3.2 | 6.2 (38)

GOALS

Melbourne Uni: J. Garner 2, K. Angelis 2, A. Price 2, V. Saad, H. Whitford, J. Grierson, A. Riddell, K. Gillespie-Jones
Darebin: G. Hammond 3, S. Simpson, J. Stanton, S. David

BEST

Melbourne Uni: A. Riddell, V. Saad, A. Runnalls, J. Bruton, J. Garner, K. Angelis
Darebin: L. Pearce, G. Colvin, R. Hicks, J. Stanton, E. Honybun, K. Roe

In the highest scoring match of the round, Melbourne Uni ran away with their second win of the season against a slow-starting Falcons outfit. Ash Riddell racked up 30 touches, six marks, nine tackles and a goal to star for Uni, putting on a show alongside the likes of Jasmine Garner (26, two goals, six tackles) and Jenna Bruton (23). Asha Price and Katie Angelis also pitched in on the scoreboard, kicking two apiece as the Muggars shared around the footy inside 50. For Darebin, Lauren Pearce was phenomenal in the ruck dominating with 28 hitouts, also picking up 17 touches. Georgia Hammond kicked three of Darebin’s six goals, while Jamie Stanton (23 disposals, four marks, two tackles and one goal) and Reni Hicks (14 touches, four marks, four tackles) also put in a valiant effort against the classy Uni side.

VFL Women’s wash-up: Round 1 – Tigers stamp authority, while 2018 top three suffer losses

ROUND 1 of Victorian Football League Women’s (VFLW) commenced across the past two weekends, with five matches across three days of footy action all but setting the tone for the season to come. Carlton, Western Bulldogs and Williamstown had the bye this week, so will be rearing to go come Round 2.

SOUTHERN SAINTS 0.2 | 2.7 | 3.8 | 5.13 (43)
COLLINGWOOD 0.0 | 0.0 | 1.1 | 1.2 (8)

GOALS
Southern:
C. Greiser 2, T. Bohanna, C. Jones, A. Allsopp.
Collingwood: M. Doherty.

BEST
Southern:
J. Kelly, C. Phillips, O. Vesely, E. Keaney, C. Greiser, A. Drennan
Collingwood: J. Ferguson, G. Buchan, A. Bild , B. Bonnici, K. Lee, J. Lambert

It was a dominant performance from the Saints in the season opener, coming away 35 point winners against a struggling Magpies outfit. Despite all the momentum in their favour, the Saints were inaccurate inside 50 and missed opportunities to drag out the margin. Caitlin Greiser was the only multiple goalkicker, with two majors to her name, while Morgan Doherty was the sole goalkicker for the Pies. Collingwood’s Jaimee Lambert was the leading disposal winner for the match with 33 touches and six tackles, while the Magpies’ tackling pressure was solid with the likes of Katelyn Lee and Jasmine Ferguson racking up nine and seven alike. Despite the low scoring affair, the Magpies did a good job defensively to keep the Saints’ score down, showing some good composure as they controlled entries inside defensive 50 and piled on the pressure to deny space for marking contests. The Magpies will want to boost their opportunities forward in order to get a win on the board, with the defensive pressure of the Saints just too good.

ESSENDON 1.0 | 2.1 | 4.2 | 5.2 (32)
CASEY DEMONS 0.0 | 2.2 | 2.3 | 5.5 (35)

GOALS
Essendon:
M. DeMatteo 3, M. Collier, S. Audley.
Casey: M. Guerin 3, B. Jakobsson 2.

BEST
Essendon:
S. Nalder, R. Svarc, S. Wilson, A. Morcom, H. Bullas, M. DeMatteo
Casey: E. Zanker , E. Birch, B. Jakobsson, M. Guerin, C. Emonson, K. Bentvelzen

A burst from the Demons in the final moments of the game gifted the side a win to start the season after trailing by 11 at the final change. Multiple goal hauls to two Melbourne AFL Women’s players – Maddy Guerin (three goals) and Bianca Jakobsson (two) – lead the way for the Demons, as they struggled to contain the likes of Monique DeMatteo, who kicked 3.1 in a solid outing for the Bombers. Casey’s Jakobsson and Essendon’s Georgia Nanscawen were among the leading ball winners, with 20 and 19 touches respectively, while Jakobsson’s nine marks and four tackles proved pivotal to the Demons’ success. The likes of Shae Audley and Courtney Ugle provided much needed tackling pressure, combining for 21 tackles as the Demons threatened to overrun the Bombers. Eden Zanker proved to be a solid option across the field for Casey, accumulating 24 hitouts, 12 touches and four marks.

DAREBIN 0.0 | 2.0 | 3.1 | 7.2 (44)
RICHMOND 3.1 | 7.1 | 10.6 | 12.7 (79)

GOALS
Darebin:
J. Stanton, C. Byrne, E. McLaughlin, G. Hammond, L. Szigeti, E. Gardner, M. Wilson.
Richmond: T. Stahl-Smith 6, C. Wakefield 2, M. Klingbeil , J. Colwell, H. Ibrahim, E. Paterno.

BEST
Darebin:
J. Stanton, A. Lister, E. McLaughlin, S. Fairchild, G. Hammond, S. Simpson
Richmond: T. Stahl-Smith, H. Ibrahim, G. Campbell, A. Edmonds, R. Miller, C. Wakefield

A dominant performance from Tayla Stahl-Smith saw the Tigers blow the Falcons out of the water, with six goals alone almost equaling Darebin’s final tally. That being said, it was not all bad news for the Falcons as they shared around possession and showed they have options and versatility across the board. Seven individual goalkickers all but proves Darebin’s depth inside 50, giving the Falcons plenty of opportunity in front of the big sticks despite the defensive pressure of the Tigers. Jamie Stanton (19 disposal, four marks, four tackles) and Hannah Ibrahim (17 touches, two marks, six tackles) lead the way for their respective sides, putting pressure both on and off the ball with their respective ability to take control of possession. Both Shree Fairchild and Alana Woodward came away with 10 tackles to their name, however it was the backup provided by fellow Tigers teammates that kept the pressure on around the ground as Kodi Jacques and Shayla Marsh also came away with solid tackling numbers (nine and eight, respectively).

HAWTHORN 0.1 | 3.1 | 3.2 | 4.3 (27)
NT THUNDER 1.3 | 3.8 | 5.10 | 6.13 (49)

GOALS
Hawthorn:
J. Sibley 2, C. Perera, T. Luke.
NT: A. Considine 2, J. Hewett, J. Baird, A. Foley, L. Roberts.

BEST
Hawthorn:
T. Luke, C. Perera, E. Nixon, P. Peschke, R. Dillon, N. Cormack
NT: T. Thorn, C. Randall, D. Varnhagen, J. Hewett, A. Foley, M. Roberts

It was a slow start for both sides in this matchup, however a second half boost from the Thunder saw the interstate side take control from that point onwards and did not look back. Chelsea Randall (28 disposals, seven marks, four tackles), Ailish Considine (22 touches, two goals) and Angela Foley (20 disposals, one goal, six marks) were named in the best for the NT side, while the likes of Deni Varnhagen (18 touches, seven marks) and Jasmyn Hewitt (one goal, eight tackles) also made their mark on the game. For the Hawks, it took a full field defensive unit to stop the press of the Thunder’s attack, proving strong as they limited Thunder’s accuracy with the constant pressure inside defensive 50. Philippa Peschke and Meg Hutchins were among Hawthorn’s best with 22 and 21 disposals respectively, while Peschke also notched up five marks and five tackles. Also up there for the Hawks was Ebony Nixon, who finished with a solid 20 touches, six marks and five tackles. Jess Sibley was a good option inside 50, kicking an equal game-high two goals to keep her side in the match.

MELBOURNE UNI 3.0 | 7.1 | 9.2 | 12.5 (77)
GEELONG CATS 2.1 | 3.1 | 3.3 | 5.3 (33)

GOALS
Uni:
A. Price 4, J. Garner 3, L. Amelung 2, J. Bruton, M. McDonald, E. King.
Geelong: M. Boyd 2, M. Keryk, B. Beckley, R. Benham.

BEST
Uni:
T. Mesiti, J. Garner, J. Grierson, K. Angelis, A. Price, M. McDonald
Geelong: R. Webster, A. McDonald, J. Ivey, M. Boyd, C. Blakeway, M. Keryk

Melbourne Uni made their presence felt on the field winning comfortably against Geelong. It was a close start but as the game went on Melbourne Uni pushed ahead credit to their accuracy in front of goal and making the most of their opportunities with ball in hand. Geelong were unable to stop the Muggars who were crisp with ball in hand and flexed their muscles in the second term nailing four goals to one, to take a 24 point lead into the main break and did not look back. Jasmine Garner was prolific across the field picking up plenty of the ball with a game high 31 disposals. She also impacted the scoreboard nailing three goals to add to her impressive afternoon. Asha Price was a dead in eye in front of goal booting four goals for Melbourne University while Laura Amelung was also important in the forward half kicking two goals straight, showcasing their accuracy in front of goal. Jenna Bruton was a major ball winner for the Muggars who relished her hard-nosed attitude at the contest, amassing 22 touches and a goal while Kate Gillespie-Jones led the way in physicality with 10 tackles for the game. In a disappointing outing for Geelong, Rebecca Webster recorded the highest number of disposals with 20 touches, using the ball well to hit up teammates and create space. In the forward 50 Maddie Boyd was impressive, slotting two majors and securing a game high seven marks showcasing her strong hands in the contest.

NAB League Girls Round 8 preview: Knights to battle Falcons in grand final rematch

ROUND 8 of the NAB League Girls is set to be a big one, with the penultimate round seeing a number of season defining matches between closely ranked sides and a potential grand final preview to finish off the weekend.

CALDER CANNONS v. BENDIGO PIONEERS
Saturday May 4, 12:30pm
RAMS Arena

An intriguing match will open Round 8, with fifth ranked Calder hosting sixth ranked Bendigo. The Cannons certainly have the front-end talent to get the job done, however Bendigo’s form this season has been impressive as they continue to put on strong performances across the field. Calder will need to put on a better team performance across the board against Bendigo, after the likes of Georgia Patrikios and Georgie Prespakis combined for 63 disposals in the Round 7 loss to Geelong as the side struggled to convert. If the Pioneers can keep Calder’s stars quiet, the visitors may just have a big chance to steal their fifth win for the season. It’s difficult to call a winner in this match with both teams sitting just outside the top 4, on the same win-loss tally (four wins, three losses), so while both sides have the ability and skill to take control, Calder may just scrape by with the win on home soil.

DANDENONG STINGRAYS v. MURRAY BUSHRANGERS
Saturday May 4, 1:00pm
Shepley Oval

With the return of some big names this round, seventh ranked Dandenong will hope to make one last push as they take on eighth ranked Murray in the second game on Saturday afternoon. It is unlikely either of these teams will make finals now given the percentages of higher teams on the ladder, however strong efforts from both sides could go far in bumping teams out of the running for finals contentions. Dandenong put in a good defensive effort last round but ultimately were outrun by Oakleigh, so will want to up their consistency to buffer the efforts of Murray as they come into this match off the back of a win last round, with intensity and pressure key attributes of their 13 point victory.

WESTERN JETS v. SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS
Sunday May 5, 11:00am
Avalon Airport

Sunday morning’s matchup between Western and Sandringham is set to be an interesting one, with both sides sitting on two wins and five losses coming into this Round 8. Western are coming into this matchup with confidence off the back of a 37 point win against competition newbies, Tasmania Devils, so will want to put their kicking boots on to keep the ball locked inside 50 and create scoring opportunities again this week. The Dragons had a shocker against Murray in Round 7, kicking 1.11 on their way to a 13 point defeat after two wins on the trot brought a sense of momentum back to the side, so the Jets will want to capitalise on their issues and use their strong pressure off half back to reduce entries into their defensive 50. Sandringham will want to put themselves in a position to take advantage of the Jets’ movement through the midfield and put pressure on the footy at every opportunity to deliver the ball inside 50 and get a third win on the board.

GIPPSLAND POWER v. EASTERN RANGES
Sunday May 5,
Morwell Recreation Reserve

Gippsland finally managed their first win for the season in Round 7, however Eastern’s strong season so far will likely prove too strong for the Power this week. Despite having a home ground advantage, the odds are in the Ranges’ favour off the back of a narrow win against Tasmania Devils last round to form their now two-game winning streak. Some good performances across the board for the Power have seen the side improve over the past few weeks, however if the Ranges can kick straight on the weekend they should come away with a good win to solidify their finals chances. Gippsland will want to ensure their pressure in defence is on, with an opportunity to limit goals that could ultimately bump Eastern out of finals contention based on percentage.

GREATER WESTERN VICTORIA REBELS v. OAKLEIGH CHARGERS
Sunday May 5, 12:45pm
Avalon Airport

With just one win on the board, the Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels will be looking for a strong performance against the Chargers in Round 8, though Oakleigh’s form, with 33 and 54 point wins over Dandenong and Gippsland, has propelled them into fourth on the ladder as they head into the final rounds of the season. The Chargers need a win this week to give the side a genuine shot in finals, so are likely to come in hard and fast against the Rebels to control from the get-go. GWV put in the hard yards early last week before a second half push from Gippsland handed the Power their first win of the season, so the Rebels will want to put in a harder effort this round and up their consistency against an arguably stronger side in Oakleigh. Oakleigh’s forward pressure has put them on the map this season, so the side will want to continue their good form inside 50 in order to finish well.

GEELONG FALCONS v. NORTHERN KNIGHTS
Sunday May 5,
Deakin University, Geelong

This match up between first and second on the ladder is set to be one of the blockbusters of the season, with the Falcons and Knights controlling the competition week-in and week-out. With both sides likely to make finals, this match has all the pressure and skill to be a potential grand final preview, while both sides certainly have the talent and intensity to make it. Defensively, the Knights will want to control entries forward and create stoppages to disrupt the flow of Geelong’s movement down field, with depth no issue for the home side. If the Falcons can force their way through Northern’s settled defensive unit the Knights will need to stay composed and controlled to create opportunities to carry the ball back forward. The Knights have a hard slog ahead of them, with the defensive pressure of Geelong’s backline significant, having only had 76 points scored against them in seven rounds. However, Northern’s forward line has some real talent that consistently fires with accuracy and volume. With both sides having similar strengths across the field, this matchup is certainly the one to watch this weekend.

Final Siren Podcast: Episode 9

IN a huge episode of Final Siren Podcast, host Matthew Cocks and Draft Central’s Peter Williams and Sophie Taylor chat all things NAB League. This week’s podcast has been split into two; you can listen to the podcasts on the links below or on Spotify, Google Podcasts, Breaker, Overcast, PocketCasts or RadioPublic.

NAB League Girls:

* Round 8 review and Round 9 preview
* Interviews with Geelong Falcons’ Elise Vella, Mia Skinner and Lucy McEvoy

NAB League Boys:

* Calder Cannons’ Tye Browning and Josh Kemp interviews
* Analysis of Dandenong Stingrays’ win over Oakleigh Chargers
* Round 5 review and Round 6 preview

NAB League Girls preview: Round 5

THE halfway point of the inaugural NAB League Girls is up this weekend, with Round 5 shaping up to have a host of interesting matchups. The Calder Cannons will be looking to maintain their high position on the ladder with another win this week, while two other matches will include the other four sides in the top five of the competition.

CALDER CANNONS v. MURRAY BUSHRANGERS

Round 5 – 6/4/19
12pm
Rams Arena, Craigieburn

The Calder Cannons will have the home advantage when they take on the Murray Bushrangers to open Round 5, and will come in needing a burst of confidence after a 10 point loss to the Oakleigh Chargers last week disrupted their fantastic start to the season. The third placed Cannons will take on Murray in eighth, sitting on two and two, with a disappointing loss to the Bendigo Pioneers last round likely to spark them into action this week. This week’s Murray lineup has seen a lot of changes, but Round 4 best on, Millie Brown was not one of them after a phenomenal performance last week saw her pick up 27 touches, six rebound 50s and two marks. Abby Favell also put on a great effort last round with 22 disposals, five marks and eight tackles, so will want to replicate her fine season form again this week to propel Murray to a better result than last week. Calder bottom-ager, Georgie Prespakis is back in the side this week after missing Round 4, so the Cannons will be hoping for another influential performance from her with Krstel Petrevski missing from this week’s lineup. To beat the Cannons the Bushrangers will have to boost their opportunities in front of goal, or otherwise suffer a fate similar to last week.

DANDENONG STINGRAYS v. GEELONG FALCONS

Round 5 – 6/4/19
1pm
Robinson Reserve, Doveton

The second match of Round 5 will be one to watch, with fourth placed Dandenong Stingrays hosting table toppers, Geelong Falcons. Both sides registered big wins in Round 4, so will be looking for another opportunity to get a win on the board. However, both sides seemed to have an issue with accuracy, with Geelong kicking poorly in front of goal, finishing with 17 behinds in their win against Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels. If the Stingrays can put on the pressure in their defence they may have an opportunity to stop the Falcons’ strong forward line in its tracks and come out on top. That being said, the Stingrays posted 12 behinds against the Gippsland Power in Round 4, so will want to make sure their kicking is on when they take on the reigning premiers. With at least 6 confirmed changes to the Stingrays’ lineup since last round, it will be interesting to see how the side takes the field against the Falcons at full strength. Luka Lesosky-Hay will be looking to replicate her strong Round 4 effort (31 disposals, eight marks) this week after being a standout performer across the board last round, but in front of goal will need to double down after three behinds contributed to Geelong’s frustrating winning margin last week. Maeve Skinner is another one who will want to boost her accuracy this round, with two goals from six kicks last week after a dominant four goal haul in Round 3. The Stingrays had five individual goalkickers against the Power, with Georgia Howes booting two, so the side will need to keep up their team effort in front of the big sticks if they want to get on top of Geelong this round.

SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS v. OAKLEIGH CHARGERS

Round 5 – 6/4/19
2:45pm
Trevor Barker Oval

The Oakleigh Chargers are sitting in sixth at this point of the competition, and with such a short season every point matters, so will want to win this one against the Sandringham Dragons in tenth. The Chargers have only dropped one game and drawn with Northern this year, so are shaping up to be real contenders if they keep up this good form, while the Dragons have yet to win a game. For Oakleigh, Amelia Van Oosterwijck is out of the side this week, so it will be interesting to see how they perform without one of their main targets forward. Gemma Lagioia was strong last week, with 21 touches and a goal, so will look to continue her form to get another win for her side. Meanwhile for Sandringham, Bryanna Arnold put on a good performance last week with 17 disposals and six tackles, so will want to put the pressure onto Oakleigh to aim for their first win of the season. The Dragons only managed to get two majors on the board last round, both through Sophia Rothfield, so will want to double down on that effort this week to create a strong team effort against the Chargers.

BENDIGO PIONEERS v. GIPPSLAND POWER

Round 5 – 7/4/19
11am
Epsom Huntly Reserve

Sunday’s first match will see seventh placed Bendigo Pioneers host eleventh placed Gippsland Power, with Bendigo needing a win if they want to stay in touch with the leading sides in the competition. The Pioneers had a good win against the Bushrangers last week, kicking two final quarter goals to cement their second win for the season. Tackling pressure seemed to be a major focus in that match with seven players registering five or more, while Brooke Hards alone racked up a massive 11 tackles to go with her 17 touches. The Pioneers will have to bump up their attacking pressure and volume in front of goal to combat the Power down back, with Megan Fitzsimon racking up 26 touches, five marks, four tackles and five rebounds last round while Nikia Webber was out. Webber will be back this round, so it’s likely we will see Hards and Webber line up alongside each other in this matchup. Missing from the Power this week is ball magnet, Grace McRae, while her Pioneers counterpart, Elizabeth Snell is a big inclusion for the home side.

WESTERN JETS v. GREATER WESTERN VICTORIA REBELS

Round 5 – 7/4/19
1pm
Downer Oval, Williamstown

Cellar dwellers, Western Jets will host ninth place GWV Rebels in the penultimate match for Round 5. Both sides will be looking toward a win this week after a winless Round 4, but the Jets will want to take advantage of their opponent also sitting low on the ladder.The Rebels had a disappointing match when rendered goalless against ladder leaders, Geelong last week, though Nekaela Butler was impressive despite the loss, with 21 touches, four marks and six rebounds. Lauren Sykes put up her best performance for the season so far, with 16 disposals (15 kicks), seven rebound 50s and three tackles. The pair will be bolstered this week with the return of Ella Woods and Nyakoat Doijok, though dominant ruck, Maggie Caris has not been listed for Round 5. Isabella Grant (17 disposals, seven tackles) and Elisabeth Georgostathis (13 disposals, two rebounds) were best on for the Jets last round, however the loss of Cleo Saxon-Jones will surely be an issue through the midfield. All in all, it should be an interesting match with both sides chomping at the bit for a win.

NORTHERN KNIGHTS v. EASTERN RANGES

Round 5 – 7/4/19
2pm
La Trobe University, Bundoora

In the final match of Round 5, second and fifth on the ladder will face off in another game that could be one to watch. Both Northern Knights and Eastern Ranges come into this round off the back of two wins in a row, so it’s likely to be a close one if Eastern put in the hard yards against last year’s grand finalists. The Ranges will want to take advantage of Alyssa Bannan being out for the Knights, however will still have the likes of Round 4 performers, Britney Gutknecht (19 disposals, six tackles, one goal) and Gabby Newton (19 disposals, five marks, five tackles) to worry about, while Nell Morris-Dalton was strong forward with two goals, 15 touches and 11 tackles in a season best performance. A second-half goal blitz from the Ranges saw them jump up the ladder last round, with Serena Gibbs and Laura McClelland kicking two goals apiece, while Tess Flintoff was also dominant, picking up 23 touches and six marks.The Knights have a number of options forward who have the ability to kick goals, so that will be the big task for Eastern this week as they aim to do what Oakleigh managed in Round 2, stifling the ball, stopping it from moving forward and going in hard at ground ball opportunities. Both teams have the ability to produce high scores and quickly, so it will certainly be an interesting match to finish up the round.

Weekend preview: AFL Women’s – Grand Final

SUNDAY will see the biggest game of the AFL Women’s calendar, with minor premiers of both Conference A and Conference B, Adelaide and Carlton making it to the 2019 AFLW Grand Final. A battle of conferences is a fitting way to end the 2019 season, with both sides hopeful for their best win of the season. Carlton showed a new side of their team in last week’s first preliminary final against Fremantle, convincingly outplaying the Dockers and beating them by 36 points to lock in an inaugural grand final appearance. Adelaide put up a stellar performance against Geelong in the second preliminary final, running over the Cats by a painful 66 point margin and locking in a home grand final on Sunday afternoon. This week will see Adelaide as strong contenders for their second AFLW Grand Final win, only the first club in a position to do so after the competition’s inception in 2017, while Carlton will hope to pull off a big upset similar to their performance last week in order to get the win in front of a hostile Adelaide home crowd.

Adelaide vs. Carlton
Sunday, March 31
1:00pm AEDT, Adelaide Oval

Carlton’s strong win against favourites, Fremantle last week sees the Blues make it into their inaugural Grand Final, while the Crows are the first side to take the field in a Grand Final with one trophy already under their belt, meaning this match will be a one to add to the record books regardless of the outcome. While the Conference system is the only reason Carlton were able to make finals, this match will be a big indicator of the difference between Conference A and Conference B, unless Carlton are able to pull off another shock victory to take out the 2019 AFLW Grand Final. That being said, Carlton have produced fighting scorelines in majority of their matches, winning five of their last six matches to make the Grand Final, so do have the potential to give Adelaide a run for their money. The Crows have won their last seven matches, the first of their run against Carlton in Round 2 2019, so will want to keep their fine form going with another win to add to their season tally.

From the two sides in the mix this week, Carlton’s Madison Prespakis, Lauren Brazzale and Brianna Davey stood out in the big win against the Dockers, with 57 touches, 11 tackles, nine marks and a goal between them. Adelaide’s Ebony Marinoff, Jess Foley and Erin Phillips were among the best in the team effort against Geelong, with a combined 69 disposals, 21 tackles, 11 marks and three goals.

Last time they met saw Adelaide prevail as Carlton threw all they had at the Crows, going down by only 13 points in Round 2 at Ikon Park (Carlton 7.2 (44) to Adelaide 9.3 (57)). The Blues led for a good part of the game with a good run out of defence, but struggled with forward options after Tayla Harris was a late omission from the side, allowing turnovers by a clinical and offence-driven Crows side. The Blues’ relentless forward push did mean some goals were bound to break through the Crows’ backline, however a late push from the visitors saw the two sides combine for a competitive seven goal third term, effectively taking the Crows back into the lead ahead of the last quarter. A three goal to one burst in the final term saw Adelaide come away with their first win for the season, while Carlton came away with a lot to think about and build on for their next matchup.

Adelaide’s small forwards were at their best in Round 2, with Stevie-Lee Thompson (four goals, 17 disposals) and Eloise Jones (two goals, five tackles) putting on a show in front of goal and poking holes in Carlton’s defence. Anne Hatchard and Erin Phillips dominated around the ground with 43 touches and 10 marks between them, while Jess Foley had the 17 hitouts and Ebony Marinoff added eight tackles to her season tally. Carlton had a good game in front of the big sticks, only registering two behinds for the day with six individual goalkickers, but were unable to capitalise on opportunities credit to Adelaide’s pressure around the ground and the Blues’ forward 50. Natalie Plane had her best game for the season, kicking two goals and racking up 11 touches and three tackles, while Kerryn Harrington and Madison Prespakis were among Carlton’s best, racking up 20 disposals apiece, with Prespakis kicking her debut goal in AFLW and Harrington notching up six marks. Shae Audley and Amelia Mullane managed seven and six tackles, respectively.

Weekend wash-up: AFLW – Preliminary Finals

THE past weekend saw the first ever AFL Women’s Preliminary Finals, and with it came surprise results that prove the intensity of the 2019 AFLW season and finals campaigns. Fremantle went down to Carlton in a surprising turn of events at Ikon Park, while Adelaide safely cemented themselves as the best side in the 2019 competition.

Carlton Blues 9.10 (64) defeated Fremantle Dockers 4.4 (28)
By: Brandon Hutchinson

Carlton earn their first AFLW Grand Final appearance with an impressive win over a formidable Fremantle. The Blues led the first but struggled to convert (five behinds), only hitting their strides in the second by adding four goals to their tally, while holding Fremantle to a goalless second quarter. The Blues surged away in the second half, kicking two more in the third, and the same in the fourth. Fremantle managed to kick consecutive goals in the fourth but by this time the Blues were already out of reach.

First year player, Madison Prespakis put on another outstanding performance, amassing 19 disposals, three marks, six tackles and a goal toward the end of the second on her way to a game-high 90 AFLW Fantasy Points. Alison Downie (13 disposals, three marks and three tackles), Brianna Davey (16 disposals, four marks and five tackles) and Lauren Brazzale (22 disposals, 16 kicks and two marks) were also pivotal in the win. Tayla Harris also kicked a goal in the win and amassed 10 disposals, four marks and four tackles with 56 AFLW Fantasy Points. Dana Hooker stood up in the loss for her side with 12 disposals, two marks and five tackles on her way to 63 AFLW Fantasy Points. Kiara Bowers (13 disposals, three marks and six tackles) and Ashley Sharp (10 disposals, one mark and four tackles) also impressed through the middle, while Gabby O’Sullivan kicked well with two goals.

This signals the end of Fremantle’s year after thoroughly impressing throughout the 2019 season. Carlton now face league favourites, Adelaide, at their home ground for a chance to make AFLW history.

Adelaide 11.7 (73) defeated Geelong 1.1 (7)
By: Nikki Jamieson

Adelaide has easily cruised into the 2019 AFLW Grand Final after thrashing Geelong by 66 points over the weekend. The Crows proved to be the stronger team, dominating in possessions and holding the Cats scoreless until 12 minutes into the final quarter. Geelong now hold the unfortunate title for lowest ever score in AFLW, with only seven points for the whole match. The odds were always stacked against Geelong, who had the lowest percentage in the competition, competing against an electric Adelaide team who only lost one game all season.

The Cats battled to get the ball early, but it was clear that the Crows’ experience outmatched even skilled players the likes of Richelle Cranston (one goal, 12 disposals) and young midfielder Olivia Purcell (14 disposals, four tackles). Captain, Mel Hickey (15 disposals) fought valiantly, while defenders, Meghan McDonald (16 disposals) and Anna Teague (nine disposals) worked hard against Adelaide’s overwhelming forward push, but it all was dismal for a not-quite-ready Geelong side.

The Crows displayed ultimate class throughout the match, showing off their best assets effortlessly in front of their home crowd. Co-captains, Erin Phillips (23 disposals, six tackles) and Chelsea Randall (15 disposals, one goal) were influential, but Ebony Marinoff (two goals, 27 disposals, 10 tackles) was the clear star of the show. Marinoff exemplified why she is a common name surrounding this year’s Best and Fairest, as one of the league’s best ball-winners and clearance players. Danielle Ponter (three goals) and Chloe Scheer (two goals) were absolutely damaging to Geelong, erupting in offence.

Adelaide is now to host Carlton in the 2019 AFLW Grand Final next Sunday 31 March at Adelaide Oval, 1pm (AEDST).

NAB League Girls weekend preview: Round 3

ROUND 3 of the NAB League Under 18 Girls competition has arrived, and with it comes another weekend of intense footy across the board. In such a short season every win matters, so every game is on the line once again as teams settle into their lists and leaders emerge.

SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS v. CALDER CANNONS

Round 3 – 23/03/19
9:30am
Trevor Barker Oval

Sandringham is in for another tough week as they take on the Calder Cannons, who are sitting in second on the ladder after two convincing wins in as many weeks. Calder will look to star bottom-ager, Georgie Prespakis again this week, after she picked up 22 disposals and kicked seven goals last week against Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels. Sandringham’s Alice Burke had a solid game through the midfield in Round 2, racking up 20 disposals and 11 tackles in the Dragons’ loss to Dandenong, making her the perfect candidate to lead the charge against the Cannons’ dominant midfield. Burke was matched by fellow mid, Eliza McNamara in her disposal tally, winning plenty of contested ball and creating clearances, while Marguerite Purcell along the wing proved her effectiveness in the first half last round, before a quieter second half lowered her influence on the match. The trio will have to watch out for Cannons midfielder, Georgia Patrikios (21 disposals, seven inside 50s), who who performed well as she returned to the side last week, while Gloria Elarmaly (nine tackles, 14 disposals) and Alana Barba (six tackles, two rebounds) both showed some good signs through the midfield and will certainly make it difficult for the Dragons to penetrate the forward 50.

GREATER WESTERN VICTORIA REBELS v. DANDENONG STINGRAYS

Round 3 – 23/03/19
11:15am
Mars Stadium, Ballarat

Round 3 will see a battle for control of the middle of the ladder as both GWV Rebels and Dandenong come into this match sitting on a win and a loss apiece. Only percentage separates the sides, so it will be a big match to determine ladder positions in such a short season. Sophie Molan worked tirelessly through the middle, racking up 24 touches for her efforts extracting the ball to create clearances, while Ella Wood was impressive throughout against the Cannons. Dandenong showed the depth of their forward line last round, with five individual goalkickers making their mark on the match, while defender, Zoe Hill will be key down back to reduce the impact of the Rebels up forward. Isabella Shannon was a tackling machine through the midfield, racking up 12 tackles to go with her team high 18 disposals. Reducing the wealth of the Stingrays’ goalkicking options will be key for the Rebels’ success, while the midfield battle is sure to be one to watch.

NORTHERN KNIGHTS v. WESTERN JETS

Round 3 – 23/03/19
12:00pm
RAMS Arena, Craigieburn

Last year’s grand finalists, Northern will come into Round 3 off the back of a draw to Oakleigh, so are sure to be raring to go against their Western counterparts, likely to pull out all the stops against the Jets, who are sitting winless in tenth. The Knights will hope for big games again from Ellie McKenzie and Alyssa Bannan, who had mirrored efforts in Round 2 with five inside 50s and kicked two goals apiece, while a shared tackling effort around the ground saw Jess Fitzgerald rack up nine, with six other Knights picking up five or more tackles each. With strengths across the field, Northern will be hard to stop once they get going, and have the ability to run over their opposition. Despite difficulty taking advantage of opportunities in the forward 50 last round against Murray, the Jets had some standout players in Elisabeth Georgostathis (28 disposals, seven rebound 50s) and Isabella Grant (19 disposals, six marks), both players who have the ability to run amok if given the opportunity.

MURRAY BUSHRANGERS v. GIPPSLAND POWER

Round 3 – 24/03/19
11:15am
RAMS Arena, Craigieburn

Sunday’s opening match will be a lower ladder brawl, seeing ninth placed Murray Bushrangers host bottom of the ladder, Gippsland Power. Murray had three players hit 20 disposals in Round 2, with Abby Favell the main culprit with 21 disposals and five marks. Zali Spencer and Millie Brown were also pivotal through the midfield, while Sophie Locke and Mikaela Trethowan dominated the tackles with eight apiece. Gippsland will need to outplay the Bushrangers’ midfield to ensure a second win on the trot, a role that will see players the likes of Nikia Webber and Chandra Abrahams put to the task. Webber racked up eight tackles and 15 disposals last round while Abrahams had a quieter match compared to her impressive Round 1 performance, but the pair are likely to put forward a strong performance against a relatively even midfield counterpart in the Bushrangers.

EASTERN RANGES v. OAKLEIGH CHARGERS

Round 3 – 24/03/19
12:00pm
Healesville Football Ground

The Eastern Ranges will host Oakleigh Chargers at midday in a match that will see ball magnets combine for an intense and relentless pressure filled contest. Eastern endured a loss in a low scoring affair against the Bendigo Pioneers last round while Oakleigh suffered a draw against Northern, so both sides will be raring for a hard and tough contest to get the four points. Tess Flintoff flexed her muscles last round, dominating the midfield with 23 touches, 11 marks and nine inside 50s, however didn’t have many opportunities or options forward to capitalise on her efforts. Tarni Brown paired well, laying a game-high eight tackles to go with her 17 disposals and four inside 50s. Flintoff and Brown will want to back up their strong performance against the Chargers, but the strength of Oakleigh’s composure with the footy is likely to get them over the line this week. Mimi Hill’s ability to clear the ball out from stoppages on her way to 17 disposals was key in last week’s match against Northern, while Amelia Van Oosterwijck’s ability to layer intensity and pressure on ball movers allowed her to notch up 10 tackles, topping her nine touches. Meanwhile, Emily Harley will want to keep her successful start to the season going, with seven goals over the first two rounds proving her strength in front of goal, meaning Eastern will have to ensure their defence is top notch.

GEELONG FALCONS v. BENDIGO PIONEERS

Round 3 – 24/03/19
1:00pm
Deakin University, Geelong

Geelong is back in top spot this week after a convincing Round 2 win over Eastern, settling back comfortably into where they sat for majority of season 2018. Lucy McEvoy’s fine 2018 form has continued into this season, racking up 26 disposals, six marks, six tackles and a goal, while Darcy Moloney and Paige Sheppard combined for 41 disposals and 14 inside 50s. The Falcons’ ball movers are backed up by two players who kicked a bag of goals apiece, the likes of Mia Skinner (three goals and eight tackles) and Renee Tierney (four goals, 15 disposals), while four other individual goalkickers last round just goes to show the extent of Geelong’s strength forward. A team effort across the board got the Pioneers the four points last week, with a smattering of players contributing through the midfield to create opportunities forward. Brooke Hards (17 disposals, five tackers) and key defender, Tara Slender (16 disposals, seven rebounds) combined well, with Slender currently top of the leaderboard for rebounds and likely to line-up on Geelong’s Skinner to try and reduce her impact forward. Fellow defender, Kate Douglass is likely to line up against Tierney. Bendigo will need to be at its best, but have shown some terrific competitiveness and will look to match the benchmark in the competition.

Weekend wash-up: AFLW – Round 7

THE final round of the 2019 home and away season saw potential finals bound teams take each other on to determine which sides made finals. Major premiership contender, North Melbourne got knocked out by Fremantle, while Collingwood managed their first win of 2019 to ruin Brisbane’s finals chances.

GWS GIANTS 6.5 (41) defeated Geelong (1.4) 10
By: Sophie Taylor

The GWS GIANTS almost denied Geelong finals chances on Friday night, running over the Conference B rivals, 6.5 (41) to 1.4 (10). Geelong were set to wait until Sunday’s clashes to find out their 2019 finals fate, while the GIANTS got the well deserved four points but were unable to make finals despite the win. Both sides wore black armbands to honour the victims of Friday’s Christchurch Massacre, while a minute of silence took place before the match began.

It was only the GIANTS’ second win for the season, dominating majority of the match and rendering the Cats goalless in the opening half. For Geelong, it was a tale of woe from the very beginning as the GIANTS took an early lead, relying on the Cats’ inaccuracy in front of goal before kicking four goals to one in the second half to snag victory. Despite Geelong’s free kick count vastly outnumbering the GIANTS (9 – 20), the Cats were unable to take advantage of their opportunities forward. Olivia Purcell and Renee Garing showed their worth to the side, as Purcell grabbed 19 disposals while Garing notched up 14 tackles to add to her season tally of 62. Mia-Rae Clifford was Geelong’s only goal kicker, showing some composure as she slotted the major in the third quarter.

The GIANTS’ Irish pair, Cora Staunton and Yvonne Bonner were exciting to watch, kicking a goal apiece and gathering 16 and 10 disposals respectively. Christina Bernardi added two goals to her season tally, while Alicia Eva and Alyce Parker continued to show their strength in the midfield as the pair racked up 36 disposals and 14 tackles between them. Haneen Zreika finished her season on a high with her first goal in AFLW, also picking up a career high 17 disposals and seven tackles. Veteran GIANTS midfielder, Courtney Gum announced her retirement following the match.

This match saw the last of the GIANTS for 2019, though the side will be able to hold their heads high come 2020. Geelong will head into finals, having finished second behind Carlton in Conference B.

Melbourne Demons 1.2 (8) defeated by Adelaide Crows 10.8 (68)
By: Brandon Hutchinson

In their last game of the home and away season, Adelaide handed Melbourne one of the biggest thrashings all season with a 60-point win at Casey Fields. Melbourne were kept completely scoreless in the first half while Adelaide opened the first quarter with 21-points – reaching 34 unanswered points by the main break. The Dees found their first score in the form of a rushed behind in the third and would not find their first goal until the final quarter. In a complete show of dominance, Adelaide rounded out the game with five more goals – kicking three in the third and two at the end of the fourth.

Erin Phillips was her usual classy self (22 disposals, three marks and three tackles) – having a season to potentially rival her 2017 Best & Fairest year. While she had some trouble hitting the scoreboard (three behinds), she combined well with Ebony Marinoff (one goal, 19 disposals and eight tackles) and first-year, Jess Foley (two goals, 16 hit-outs, 15 disposals, two marks, six tackles) to keep a firm grip of the game. Fellow first year, Ailish Considine, also impressed in front of goals with her first two career goals, seven disposals, two marks and one tackle.

Despite the heavy loss, Melbourne still had a few players who stood up to the onslaught. Lily Mithen (16 disposals, four marks and six tackles), Elise O’Dea (21 disposals and five marks) and Harriet Cordner (19 disposals and seven marks) all kept their head highs and remained prolific throughout. While bittersweet, first-year, Chantel Emonson (14 disposals and five tackles) managed to kick her first career goal as Melbourne’s only major for the day.

This marked Melbourne’s final game for the year while Adelaide head into the finals as the most successful teams across both Conferences, with a big chance of taking it all the way.

Fremantle 7.10 (52) defeated North Melbourne 4.1 (25)
By: Sophie Taylor

Fremantle knocked the predicted premiers out of finals contention on Saturday night, proving too strong for the Kangaroos at Fremantle Oval in front of a hostile 6386 strong crowd. The 27 point margin showed Fremantle’s improvement in the competition this season, and just goes to show that the two best Conference A sides in Adelaide and Fremantle are well deserving of their top two finish.

Fremantle started strong, kicking the first two goals of the game and rendering North goalless by quarter time. North Melbourne’s goalkicking once again stagnated through the second half, rendering their third quarter comeback frustrating as they were unable to take control of the match. Fremantle were fortunate for the Roos’ struggle as they were inaccurate in front of goal, kicking 2.6 in the final quarter.

Sabreena Duffy and Ashley Sharp were among the Dockers’ best up forward, kicking two goals apiece, while Ashlee Atkins and Gemma Houghton both kicked a major each but missed five goal opportunities between them. Kiara Bowers racked up 19 kicks from 23 touches, also managing 13 tackles on her way to 118 AFLW Fantasy Points. Fremantle will be sweating on the injury concerns of Duffy and Dana Hooker ahead of next week’s final after both players were helped from the ground in the second half.

Jenna Bruton (26 disposals, six tackles) paired well with Emma Kearney (24 disposals, seven tackles and a goal) in the loss, while half back, Jess Duffin was also prolific against Fremantle’s barrelling attack line with 22 disposals, five tackles and five rebound 50s. Mo Hope was also effective for the Roos, coming away with two goals and four tackles.

North Melbourne have found themselves knocked out of finals contention in 2019 despite a dominant inaugural season, while Fremantle will take on Conference B minor premiers, Carlton next week.

Collingwood 3.7 (25) defeated Brisbane 2.7 (19)
By: Taylah Melki

In the last game of the season the Magpies claimed victory over the Brisbane Lions to snatch away any hopes of finals. The upset win marked the first victory of the season for Collingwood who struggled all year after losing players to expansion clubs and injury. Both teams were inaccurate in front of goal but the Pies set the game up before half time going into the main break up by 16 points after scoring two goals in the second quarter. After making the grand final two years straight and falling agonisingly short this will be the first year the Lions will not feature in the quest for a premiership.

For the Pies, Sarah D’Arcy stood up in front of goals nailing two goals and amassed plenty of touches across the ground credit to her hard work and ability to get to the contest. Dual athlete Ash Brazill dominated once again with her clean hands, clever kicks, accuracy by foot and smothering defensive pressure. She also showcased her strong hands taking her fair share of marks and proved to be a key member of the Collingwood team thanks to her read of the play. Captain, Steph Chiocci was solid for the Pies through the middle going in hard to win the footy and applied plenty of strong tackles. Jaimee Lambert stood up again making her presence felt on the scoreboard and working hard in attack to try and create scoring opportunities for her teammates.

The Brisbane Lions failed to fire on all cylinders, with the likes of star forward Sabrina Frederick-Traub unable to capitalise on her scoring chances. Fellow forward and goal sneak Jess Wuetschner was well held for most of the game but got some separation in the first quarter slotting an important goal for the Lions. Former Carlton captain, Lauren Arnell played her part applying some strong tackles and getting her hands to plenty of ball, while youngster Jacqui Yorston impressed across the ground racking up plenty of touches.

Western Bulldogs 5.8 (38) defeated by Carlton 6.5 (41)
By: Nikki Jamieson

The 2019 home and away season of AFLW wrapped up with the Pride rematch between the Western Bulldogs and Carlton. The Blues were finally able to redeem their 76-point loss last season that also cemented them as Conference B’s finals hosts. Despite Bulldogs no longer being able to defend their premiership, they fought through the dying minutes of the match and notably kicked all five of their goals in the last quarter.

Missed opportunities proved to be the biggest downfall for the Dogs as a slow start followed with the failure to finish in front of the goals. Though dominating position in the second quarter, Bulldogs could not convert leading to five behinds instead of goals. Carlton made the Dogs pay in the third, keeping them scoreless. Alison Downie (12 disposals, three tackles) played a key role in Carlton’s defence, causing major disruptions to the Bulldogs’ play inside 50.

Brooke Walker had an impressive game, kicking three goals for the Blues. A favourite moment from the match came from Walker marking the ball 55 metres out from goal and absolutely launching it from inside centre square for a terrific goal. Skipper Brianna Davey (21 disposals, 11 tackles) was impactful for Carlton’s midfield as well as Madison Prespakis (19 disposals, four tackles).

The Bulldogs’ strongest plays came from the last 18 minutes of the match, as the side was finally able to decrease the score margin. Co-captain, Katie Brennan opened the scoring two minutes into the quarter and was followed by a goal from Libby Birch when she was awarded two 50m penalties to see the Dogs remarkably close the scoreline to be within 10 points. Monique Conti (25 disposals, three tackles) helped move the ball throughout but it still proved to be too little too late for the Bulldogs.

Carlton (4-3) will host Fremantle (6-1) in a preliminary final in Melbourne next weekend to playoff for a spot in the 2019 AFLW Grand Final.