Author: Sophie Taylor

King emerges from Apple Isle

FOR 18-year-old Tasmanian Mia King, it has not been a traditional route to this level, but it has certainly found her well with plenty of opportunity once she opted to follow the Australian rules football pathway in high school.

“I started (when) one of the PE (physical education) teachers at school came up to me – and it was like a school team – he asked if I wanted to get involved and I said yes,” King said. “So it started off as a bit of fun for like a school club, East Launceston, and then I went away on the Kickstart program, started getting selected for (representative teams) and that’s when it really took off. “Then I obviously got selected for the Allies three years ago and yeah, it’s just been getting bigger each year I guess.”

The talented midfielder shared Eastern Allies captaincy in 2019, her third year with the side. King credits the privilege of working with her teammates as something that spurs her on, with her confidence growing from every match.

“This (was) my third Allies trip,” she said. “On the first one I was so young, so nervous and now I feel completely relaxed and comfortable around everyone and definitely it’s really helped me grow as a person being on the trips. “Obviously I was always the one looking up to the bigger girls and now vice-captaining the Allies this year has been a massive privilege and it’s just really great to be able to talk to the girls like that.”

AFL Tasmania has a direct affiliation with North Melbourne in the AFL Women’s, something King said is a massive step in the right direction for juniors aspiring to AFLW greatness.

“It’s so exciting,” she said. “There wasn’t a pathway for any kids and now we’ve got an affiliation with North Melbourne, we’re getting home games down at UTAS and North Melbourne and it’s really exciting to see for the younger girls in Tasmania that there is an opportunity for AFLW at an elite level. “We actually got to train with North Melbourne in our pre-season. We trained with them once a week, so I’ve been training with Daria (Bannister) and the Haines’ (twins Chloe and Libby) which is really good because you’re seeing them at that elite level and being in that environment is really good for development for the younger girls coming through.”

Tasmania had another massive opportunity in 2019, playing three matches in the NAB League Girls as the Tasmania Devils. King averaged 19.7 touches, 4.7 tackles and three inside 50s across the three games.

“I like to just attack the ball, get the footy, I’m a hunter I guess,” she said. “Obviously with NAB League this was the first year they had the Tasmania Devils for the girls so it was really exciting. “We got to (fly) over to Melbourne and play a few games in the NAB League. “I think it was really good for our skill development because I think it really helped us in Blacktown when we came to New South Wales.”

“So it was just really good and I think next year they’re planning to have even more games – like eight or nine – this year we only had like two or three, and trying to get some home games down there,” King said. “Vic’s got a lot of talent and we’ve just got to try and look at their play, learn their strengths but also just focus on our strengths as well.”

With plenty of strong talent across Australia, King said improvement is key with skill development in the works.

“I reckon my skill development still needs improving and I’m trying to keep working on my kicking,” she said. “So I reckon just working on the skills and obviously I was a bit sick at the start of the year so my fitness isn’t really where I want it to be, but I’m just working on that to get it up. “It’s really exciting, I’ve just got to keep working on my skills, fitness and just see what happens.”

Roux ready for the next step

WITH a decorated highlight reel for her young age, it is no wonder Roxy Roux will be a key name in Western Australia heading into the 2019 AFL Women’s Draft. She spoke with Draft Central last year to tell of her remarkable journey, and what she had given up to get to where she is today.

The speedy 18-year-old has plenty to offer on the field, starting out as a junior and displaying a raw talent that has only blossomed with selection to AFLW Academies and AFLW Championships in recent years.

“From the first year I started in under 18s to where I am now, there’s a big improvement, I’ve really worked hard and everyone has supported me through my journey through here,” Roux said. “From there it all just kind of started looking up and linking together, so being able to train with the Dockers and West Coast Academy and then got straight into our under 18s, the WAFLW season and whatnot, it’s all just coming together at the moment and I’m really excited for what’s in the future.”

Like many young up-and-comers, Roux has had plenty of communication with clubs in her nominated zone of home state Western Australia, with both West Coast and Fremantle showing interest in the versatile speedster ahead of the 2019 Draft.

“I have nominated for WA, so super excited for that, that we have two teams this year,” she said. “Look, I’m happy for anyone that picks me and I really just want to play football. “Being in the West Coast Academy there was a lot of communication there, talking through training and whatnot, and being a part of Freo’s training, being able to get around the club, not so much the communication about draft but being able to experience what it’s like to be in a club and the club culture there is amazing. “The girls are so encouraging and just really kind and helped us out a lot, so I’m really, really excited to see where the draft takes me.”

The forward utility provides a spark on field, able to rotate through as an undersize ruck when required credit to her vertical leap and ability to find the ball. Roux says that while she has a key physical strength in her aerial ability, she wants to work on her endurance on the field to go longer distances when required.

“Preferred I guess is ruck but you know, being an undersize ruckman in a competition where you’re going up against girls about 20cm taller than you, probably not gonna happen! “Being forward or being in that kind of ruck situation in the forward that’s gotta be my favourite, being able to get up in the air,” she said. “I love just being able to get up into the air and help my team out, it’s better than kicking a goal, being able to tap that ball straight down, I’m happy running off the wing and straight into our forward 50.”

While Roux said she does not have one singular inspiration for her desire to go far in the sport, she has the support of her family and competitiveness of her siblings to thank for where she has gotten on her journey so far.

“I haven’t put much thought to that (inspiration) because my family help me a lot, I haven’t really looked at anyone in AFL, AFLW and gone ‘wow like you’ve really inspired me’ and don’t get me wrong a lot of people have but it’s kind of just been a journey at the moment, not so much focusing on myself but focusing on getting to where I am today, its been just years in the making,” Roux said. “I remember my mother looking at me after I was told that I couldn’t play boys footy anymore and she just said ‘well if you want to play footy at the highest level we’ll get you there, if you have to play for the men then we’re gonna get you there’ and then about a year after that comment was made the women’s league came in.”

Roux has been compared to AFL Women’s star Tayla Harris in recent years, proving the hype around her even in the Under-18s competition is well-deserved.

“My family keeps me pretty grounded, I don’t really like to compare myself to Tayla Harris because I know I have been – I definitely can’t do that fantastic scissor kick so that’s one of the reasons I don’t compare myself to her,” she said. “I’d like to rather compare myself to my eldest two brothers, Ross Roux and Dylan Roux. “If you’ve got tapes of them and myself, put us all together and the kicking style is the same even though Dylan’s a left-booter, you know, kicking style, running style, everything – we do everything almost the same.”

With a good head on her shoulders and plenty of family support despite making the move to Perth to be closer to the football action, Roux said there is still plenty of competition in the Roux household.

“There was I think one argument we all got into where my brothers were like ‘well I’m the greatest footballer in the house’ and then mum just goes ‘look at your sister, she’s in states!’, so that kind of shut them up real quickly,” Roux said. “But no, they’ve really helped me develop my skills, so I credit my brother Dylan for my jumping skills, I mean we used to play games literally just based around rucking, and he was a few years older than me so he had that height and he was going through growth spurts so having about four foot on me going up against my brother,” Roux said. “Both of them have really helped me, Ross with my skills and my younger brother he likes to try keep me humble, it’s really just a family effort that helps me deal with the pressure.”

NTFL Women’s weekly wrap: Round 2 – Buffettes, Districts and Nightcliff go two from two

THE Northern Territory Football League Women’s (NTFLW) Premier League ladder has well and truly split after round one, with three sides sitting victorious two weeks in a row, four sides sitting on one win from two matches and the bottom three not having won a match yet.

DARWIN BUFFETTES 2.7 | 10.11 | 13.13 | 19.19 (133)
BIG RIVER HAWKS 0.0 | 0.0 | 0.0 | 0.0 (0)

It was a hard and fast start for the Buffettes, and despite inaccuracy they well and truly got over the line, dominating against the league’s newest side and flooding them 133 to zero. The Buffettes only have the one behind scored against them for the season so far proving Darwin are well and truly the team to beat at this early stage of the season. The Buffettes had six multiple goalkickers on top of four individual kickers, with Tikesa Docherty-Cole leading the charge forward with four, closely followed by Bianca Scrymgour with three.

PINT 2.2 | 4.7 | 6.9 | 8.14 (62)
TRACY VILLAGE 0.0 | 0.0 | 0.0 | 0.0 (0)

The second side to go scoreless in Round 2 were Tracy Village, with Pint just far too strong for the side which sits at the bottom of the ladder. A slow start from Pint kept Tracy Village within touching distance, however a lack of forward pressure from the Razorbacks ultimately saw the side go scoreless while the attacking momentum did not stop going Pint’s way. Despite the loss, Tracy Village’s Lauren Douglas and Jessica Downie did not stop pushing while Alexandra Biggs put in the hard yards. For Pint, Emma Greaves and Jessie Baumer kicked two goals apiece while four other players got their first goal of the season on the board.

PALMERSTON MAGPIES 1.1 | 3.3 | 3.6 | 3.6 (24)
WARATAH 2.3 | 2.3 | 3.10 | 4.10 (34)

It was a tough see-sawing battle from last season’s top two sides, with Waratah prevailing in a tight 10 point victory, keeping the Magpies scoreless in the final quarter to get the win. The Magpies stuck right to the Warriors after a slow start, getting ahead at the main break before the defensive pressure of Waratah became too strong, unable to get boot to ball in front of goal. Natasha Medbury was key for the Magpies while Madeline Gault impressed for Waratah, aided by Isabella Rapson-Staropoli while Jenna Singh was also named among the best with a second goal to her name for the season.

ST MARY’S 0.1 | 0.4 | 0.4 | 2.6 (18)
NIGHTCLIFF 3.1 | 3.2 | 3.4 | 4.5 (29)

In another close match, it was a slow start from St Mary’s that kept them from going two from two, with Nightcliff getting their second victory on the board to already equal their 2018/2019 season campaign. While the Saints stalled Nightcliff from booting goals after the first quarter, their three goals to nil start kept the Tigers ahead with a final quarter goal cementing victory. Emma-Lou Wolsey and Eliza Wear were solid for Nightcliff while young gun Shantel Miskin-Ripia kicked two more goals to add to her Round 1 tally. For St Mary’s, goals from Edith Boundry and Natasha Dunn-Richards were not enough to get them over the line this week against an ultimately tougher opposition than their Round 1 counterpart.

SOUTHERN DISTRICTS 4.5 | 7.10 | 13.12 | 18.14 (122)
WANDERERS 0.0 | 0.0 | 0.0 | 0.0 (0)

The final match of the round saw yet another big victory with Southern Districts also keeping their opposition scoreless for what is the third scoreless side in Round 2 alone. The Crocs got away to speedy start, dominating from the get-go with plenty to offer around the ground while the Wanderers struggled to maintain possession of the footy. Despite the sloppy efforts from the Eagles however, Maria Billias and Sophia Mauboy proved they will not back down from a fight, going hard until the very end. For districts, Lateesha Jeffrey and Samantha Hoogeveen-Hill were among the best contesting well and forcing turnovers aplenty from their struggling opposition.

NTFL Women’s Premier League: Round 2 preview – Reigning premiers look to bounce back

ROUND 2 of the Northern Territory Football League Women’s (NTFLW) is set to be a big one, with plenty of entertaining matches coming up over the weekend.

Big River Hawks v. Darwin Buffettes
Round 2 – 12/10/19
12:30
TIO Stadium

Big River Hawks have a real task ahead this week, taking on ladder-topping Darwin Buffettes who only conceded one behind in the opening round credit to a tenacious defensive unit and forward line that had plenty in the tank. While the inaugural Premier Division match for the Hawks did not go to plan, they now know what to improve on heading into this match to ideally prove their place in the competition. Darwin will be coming into this match bursting with confidence so will need to ensure their confidence translates on the field after last week’s massive win saw the Buffettes kick only one less behind than goals meaning their accuracy may need some fine tuning. The Buffettes had six multiple goalkickers last round proving their threatening ability with ball in hand, especially with one of those multiple goalkickers being young gun Tayla Hart-Aluni, proving she can have a big impact on the contest despite her relative inexperience. For Hawks, Jade de La Coeur and Keomi Ross put in the hard yards last round so are sure to stand up once more with plenty to prove in the competition.

Pint v. Tracy Village
Round 2 – 12/10/19
2:30
MCG

This will be an interesting match, with both Pint and Tracy Village coming into Round 2 off the back of devastating Round 1 losses – though at completely different ends of the spectrum with Pint only going down by two points, while the Razorbacks conceded a whopping 118 points to the Buffettes. Tracy Village left plenty to be desired last week so will want to come into this match with a bang to get back on their feet and deny Pint the comeback they are looking for. Pint showed some really good intensity last round against the Palmerston Magpies but were unable to take control, so will be sure to take on the contest from the starting bounce to ensure they get on top of Tracy Village from the get-go. Pint is another side with solid goal-kicking options inside 50 so the likes of Jasmyn Hewett and Jessie Baumer will be key for the side to get on the board, while the Razorbacks had some solid performers last week with Bonnie McDougall and Tara Everett standing up despite the margin.

Palmerston Magpies v. Waratah
Round 2 – 12/10/19
5:00
TIO Oval 2

Last season’s top two will go head-to-head this round, with the Magpies sure to come into this match ready to win back their qualifying final match where they went down by 27 points. For Waratah, this match will be about coming back from their disappointing start to the season last week after going down to Southern Districts by 42 points. The Warriors were behind from the get-go last round while Magpies matched their respective opposition goal for goal all match making this an interesting one given the sides’ recent history. While Palmerston come into this match with the belief behind them, they were still given a tough muck by Pint last round so can’t underestimate the Warriors. Arthurina Moreen and Natasha Medbury will be key for the Magpies while options around the footy inside 50 allows the side to be dangerous from a number of angles. For the Warriors, stalwart Lisa Roberts lead the charge last round to keep chins up despite the slow start to the season so will look to keep spirits up again this week with young talent in Alysha Healy proving her ability with the footy to dominate contests.

St Mary’s v. Nightcliff
Round 2 – 12/10/19
7:00
TIO Oval 2

It is an early season battle of second and third on the ladder, with the only match between two Round 1 victors taking place in the second of the TIO Oval 2 double header to finish off the Saturday fixtures. Both sides put solid wins on the board last week, but sit in an unfamiliar position towards the top of the ladder after last season’s results, so will be keen to keep on top of their opposition and put their best foot forward for the season. Nightcliff only put the two wins on the board all last season so come into this match with plenty of hopeful eyes on them while St Mary’s took on this season’s newbies in Big River Hawks last round, meaning both sides could realistically take out this match despite question marks over both teams’ ability to keep up the winning ways throughout the season. Danielle Ponter impressed last round for St Mary’s as did young gun Aaliyah Bailey with three goals while Nightcliff have a similar number of young options with Shantel Miskin-Ripia booting four goals last week and surely looking for an opportunity to go back to back, while Eliza Morrison and Laura De Hommel were both named among the Tigers’ best last round, so watch out for a plethora of exciting talent taking on the contest in this match.

Southern Districts v. Wanderers
Round 2 – 13/10/19
4:00
Norbuilt Oval

Wanderers will be in for a tough one this week after going down goalless to Nightcliff last week, taking on last season’s grand finalists in Southern Districts in the only Sunday match of the round. The Crocs will be very happy with their Round 1 victory over Waratah so are sure to come into this match with plenty of confidence. This makes it all the more important for the Wanderers to come out hard and fast to ensure they don’t fall to a similar fate to the ‘Tahs and continue on from the low form and trajectory of their 2018/2019 season. Lori Niven lead the way for the Crocs last week credit to her leadership and skill with ball in hand while the side had no issue finding options inside 50 with three multiple goalkickers in Ebony Miller (three goals), Kelsey Patterson and Samantha Hoogeveen-Hill (both two). For the Eagles, last week saw Pierre-Angelique Koulakis and Tulaha Jeffrey having an impact despite the loss so will be raring to go with a better full-field effort this week.

NTFL Women’s Premier League weekly wrap: Round 1 – Buffettes off to flying start

ROUND 1 of Northern Territory Football League (NTFL) Women’s League is done and dusted, with Big River Hawks debuting to much fanfare while Darwin Buffettes rocketed right up to the top of the ladder with a massive 117 point victory over Tracy Village.

ST MARY’S 5.2 | 6.2 | 8.8 | 11.11 (77)
BIG RIVER HAWKS 0.0 | 1.3 | 1.3 | 2.7 (19)

GOALS

St Marys: A. Bailey 3, D. Ponter 2, S. Garner, M. Ludwig , B. Mcmurtrie, S. Edwards, C. Suapero, E. Calma
Big River Hawks: J. De La Coeur, K. Ross

BEST

St Mary’s:
Big River Hawks:
J. De La Coeur, K. Ross, H. Ross, D. Peckham, T. Munn, C. Browne

St Mary’s got off to a flying start to open the 2019/2020 NTFL Women’s season, with a dominant display from the Saints who controlled every inch of the ground and didn’t let the big day for the Hawks take away from their desire to dominate the contest and get a big win on the board to start the season on a high. Young gun Danielle Ponter continued her fantastic form with two goals on the board, joined by 18-year-old Aaliyah Bailey with three goals and opening up plenty of space forward to share the load and provide plenty of forward pressure for the Hawks. For the Hawks, though they only put two goals on the board and had some issues across the ground there were plenty of high points with some solid defence seeing the Saints finding a lot of the behind posts. While the Hawks were similarly plagued with inaccuracy, it proves that the side has plenty to offer to the competition with Jayde De La Coeur and Kalieshia Ross putting a goal apiece on the board while Hayley Ross and Deanna Peckham also made an impact.

TRACY VILLAGE 0.0 | 0.0 | 0.1 | 0.1 (1)
DARWIN BUFFETTES 4.2 | 9.8 | 12.12 | 17.16 (118)

GOALS

Tracy Village: N/A
Darwin: N/A

BEST

Tracy Village: B. McDougall, T. Angel, T. Everett, A. Biggs, E. Tuohy, G. Young
Darwin:

This was certainly not the way Tracy Village would have wanted to open their 2019/2020 campaign, with Darwin Buffettes well and truly dominating in every aspect of the match. Last season’s semi-finalists set up an astounding win to open the season, only conceding the one behind to leap right up to the top of the ladder and send a big message to the competition. For Tracy Village it was a disappointing start to the season, however they found some solid patches, with the likes of Bonnie McDougall, Taquila Angel and Tara Everett standing up when required. While the Buffettes may not have been as accurate as they would have liked, they will still be very happy with this result and the massive percentage it gives them in the season opener. The Razorbacks left much to be desired this week so will surely be raring to go next round to prove they have more in them than this performance.

SOUTHERN DISTRICTS 4.3 | 4.3 | 8.4 | 9.4 (58)
WARATAH 0.0 | 0.3 | 1.4 | 2.4 (16)

GOALS

Southern Districts: E. Miller 3, K. Patterson 2, S. Hoogeveen-Hill 2, H. Engelhardt, L. Jeffrey.
Waratah: J. Singh, C. Fabris.

BEST

Southern Districts: L. Niven, E. Miller, M. Davis Tahere, C. Deegan, M. Breed, L. Jeffrey
Waratah: L. Roberts, A. Healy, M. Hunter, H. Goodall, J. Smyth

The reigning premiers were dealt a tough blow in Round 1, going down to their fellow grand finalists by a whopping 42 points. Districts certainly enjoyed their first win out of the blocks, dominating entries inside 50 and finding plenty of turnover ball with the ‘Tahs unable to hold onto possession. Despite some strong defensive work from Waratah getting the ball out of defence, far too much easy ball went straight back to their opposition with a strong blockading defence set up through the midfield allowing Districts to intercept mark and propel the footy forward. Despite the efforts of captain, Lisa Roberts, Waratah were unable to repeat their stellar 2018/2019 season form in the opening match, with Alysha Healy, Jenna Singh and Claudia Fabris also putting in the hard yards against their tough opposition. For Districts, Lori Niven dominated while the likes of Madisen Davis-Tahere caused plenty of issues across the ground. Ebony Miller (three goals), Kelsey Patterson and Samantha Hoogeveen-Hill (both two) all opened their accounts for the season proving that Southern Districts will be a force to be reckoned with this season thanks to goalkicking options alone.

PINT 3.1 | 4.1 | 4.3 | 5.4 (34)
PALMERSTON MAGPIES 3.1 | 4.4 | 4.6 | 5.6 (36)

GOALS

Pint: J. Hewett 2, J. Baumer 2, C. Evans.
Palmerston: N/A

BEST

Pint: N/A
Palmerston: N/A

The closest match of the round saw the Magpies only just hold onto victory against Pint, who stayed on Palmerston’s tail for the whole game but were unable to steal the points. It was close from the very beginning, with both sides evenly matched and finding plenty of space to run and carry while at the same time unable to take control. The middle quarters were mostly slow with both sides having difficulty putting goals on the board despite the relatively high-scoring first term. Both sides applied phenomenal pressure, relentlessly denying easy ball after the opening quarter to cause issues up the field and forcing plenty of stoppages to create little scoring opportunity. Palmerston got the four points but Pint proved they will be a hard side to beat with plenty of options around the footy while Jasmyn Hewett and Jessie Baumer kicked two goals apiece.

NIGHTCLIFF 1.2 | 5.5 | 7.6 | 7.6 (48)
WANDERERS 0.0 | 0.0 | 0.2 | 0.4 (4)

GOALS

Nightcliff: S. Miskin-Ripia 4, E. Morrison, C. Bracey, K. Morris
Wanderers: N/A

BEST

Nightcliff: E. Morrison, S. Miskin-Ripia, L. de Hommel, K. Morris, E. Wolsey
Wanderers: N/A

Nightcliff have started their 2019/2020 season with a bang, getting their first win on the board after only winning two games overall last season. While the match was relatively even to start, Nightcliff all but ran away with it in the second quarter piling five goals on the board and keeping the Wanderers scoreless at halftime. While the Wanderers found some better ball inside 50 in the second half, moving better to drive the ball forward, they were unlucky to not put a goal on the board with Nightcliff’s defensive effort just too strong. Star youngster Shantal Miskin-Ripia dominated for Nightcliff, with the key position player booting four goals while Eliza Morrison, Laura De Hommel and Emma-Lou Wolsey all played their role to contribute to the impressive victory. For the Wanderers, this match proves that the side has some potential but only if they can work together to deny ease of access forward and capitalise off stoppages to propel the footy towards their attack.

NTFL Women’s Premier League weekend preview: Round 1 – Hawks enter league

THE stage is set for Round 1 of the 2019/2020 Northern Territory Football League Women’s season, and with ten teams competing in this season the division has opened up to an 18-round season to make this the best NTFLW season yet. With a grand final rematch among this weekend’s matches, it is set to be a big weekend of footy.

St Mary’s v. Big River Hawks
Round 1 – 5/10/19
TIO Oval 2
2.30pm

The inaugural match for Big River Hawks will take place as the season opener, with the Hawks taking on St Mary’s in a clash that will see the elimination finalists from last season prove they have what it takes to defeat the newbies. With a notably stable lineup compared to the new look Hawks, St Mary’s should be able to get over the line given their form last season. The Hawks will want to announce themselves from the opening bounce, contesting hard at the stoppages and stopping St Mary’s signature run and carry in order to establish a commanding lead. With history in the making expect the Hawks to bring the heat and make the most of their opportunities to kick start their inaugural season off in style. However, St Mary’s will be wanting to make amends for their short comings last year and get their year off on the right foot.

Tracy Village v. Darwin Buffettes
Round 1 – 5/10/19
TIO Oval 2
5.00pm

Last season’s fifth and seventh place-getters will do battle to open their respective seasons, with only one side separating the two last year. Tracy Village were unlucky to not make finals last season while the Buffettes made it to the semi-final so it will be very interesting to see whether the Razorbacks can get one back this time around. The Buffettes will be hoping to replicate their form from last year to continue that winning momentum and hopefully assert themselves on the competition. The last time these two sides met the Buffettes ran away with a convincing win with the likes of youngster Tayla Hart-Aluni helping herself to two majors while Tikesa Docherty-Cole was also superb. For Tracy Village, Elissa Ienco and Jessica Downie left their mark on the game. Tracy Village will be hoping to gain bragging rights and start with a bang while the Buffettes will want to repeat their efforts from their previous encounters.

Southern Districts v. Waratah
Round 1 – 5/10/19
TIO Stadium
5.00pm

Round 1 will see a grand final rematch, with 2018/19 premiers Waratah taking on Southern Districts. While the grand final was in less than ideal conditions, the Crocs were well and truly beaten by Waratah last time they met so are sure to come into this match with a whole new game plan and ready to take one back. For Waratah, this match will be all about staking a claim on the competition once more after stellar form in recent years. Both sides have key players that they will be trying to get the ball into their hands in order to make sure they can capitalise in front of goal or dispose cleanly. Sue Nalder proved to be crafty in front of the big sticks for the Waratahs racking up 14 goals from the 12 games she played and will want to bring that same intensity again this game if her side is to roll over that hot form from last season.

Pint v. Palmerston Magpies
Round 1 – 5/10/19
TIO Oval 2
7.00pm

This will be an interesting match, with last season’s second and fourth place finishers taking on their fellow finalist. Last season the two sides split evenly with one victory apiece in head to head, while Palmerston won two more matches so both sides will be hoping to replicate their 2018/2019 form especially after both were knocked out of grand final contention. The Magpies showed glimpses of brilliance but had a tendency to fade away against higher place opposition and will be hoping to rectify those issues with a convincing win over Pint. Meanwhile, Pint will be hoping to establish a solid grounding for the rest of the season with a victory over Palmerston. Both teams know how to hit the scoreboard and if given the time and space can have an impact in front of the goals.

Nightcliff v. Wanderers
Round 1 – 6/10/19
TIO Oval 2
2.30pm

This match will pit last season’s cellar dwellers against each other, with both sides combining for only four wins last season. This will be an opportunity for both Nightcliff and Wanderers to start with a bang and find some form early in the season to ensure they do not sit at the bottom again this season. They showed that they can put on a show when on song with Nightcliff piling on a whopping 97 points the last time these two sides met credit to Shantel Miskin-Ripia bagging five goals while Emma-Lou Wolsey also made her presence felt with three majors of her own. They will be hoping to put out a similar performance in order to start on a high. For the Wanderers they will be wanting to regain some belief and prove their skill to compete within the league.

2019 AFLW Draft Combine Results

WITH the AFL Women’s 2019 Draft looming ever closer, the AFLW Draft Combine is the final opportunity for young talent to prove their craft prior to the Draft on 22 October.

Victoria rated highly across all five tests, featuring in the top five in each and leading two, seeing Nicola Xenos coming in fast for the 20-metre sprint and Elisabeth Georgostathis exceeding in the agility test. Meanwhile, West Australian Roxy Roux and South Australian Hannah Munyard both placed in the top five for three of the five tests and Irish recruits Olivia Divilly and Vicki Wall proved they could match with the best of Australia’s young talent.

Below are the top five results for each test.

STANDING VERTICAL JUMP

Roxanne Roux (WA): 59cm
Molly Denahy-Maloney (VIC): 58cm
Marguerite Purcell (VIC): 53cm
Tahlia Hickie (QLD): 52cm
Hannah Munyard (SA): 51cm

20-METRE SPRINT

Nicola Xenos (VIC): 3.210 seconds
Olivia Divilly (Ireland): 3.258 seconds
Roxanne Roux (WA): 3.250 seconds
Vicki Wall (Ireland): 3.299 seconds
Hannah Munyard (SA): 3.307 seconds

AGILITY TEST

Elisabeth Georgostathis (VIC): 8.535 seconds
Isabel Dawes (QLD): 8.651 seconds
Roxanne Roux (WA): 8.654 seconds
Hannah Munyard (SA): 8.668 seconds
Tarni White (QLD): 8.696 seconds

YO-YO TEST

Olivia Divilly (Ireland): level 17.2
Georgia Garnett (NSW/ACT): level 16.8
Sophie Molan (VIC): level 16.4
Paige Sheppard (VIC): level 16.3
Gemma Lagioia (VIC): level 16.1
Luka Lesosky-Hay (VIC): level 16.1
Serene Watson (QLD): level 16.1

TWO-KILOMETRE TIME TRIAL

Hannah Hillman (QLD): 7min 41sec
Olivia Divillly (Ireland): 7min 48sec
Nicola Xenos (VIC): 7min 58sec
Gemma Lagioia (VIC): 8min 1sec
Ella Wood (VIC): 8min 9sec
Tahlia Hickie (QLD): 8min 9sec

Decorated Abbott reaching new heights

AT only 18-years-old Shoneeka Abbott has been dealt her fair share of obstacles in her football journey, but come out better than ever with plenty of high praise despite her age.

Abbott represented Central Allies in the 2019 AFL Women’s Under-18 Championships, earning a debut for NT Thunder VFL Women’s and awarded the CAFL Rising Star Award in August for her efforts in the Central Australian Football League.

The Alice Springs local was not allowed to play football during her junior years despite plenty of begging on her part, not getting a real opportunity to put boot to ball until moving to Darwin.

“It was actually like four or five years ago, I couldn’t play AFL Women’s back at home because I was too young so I had to go through school, but it was even difficult going through there because I was still too young,” Abbott said. “So I begged them to let me play and then it all started from there and girl’s academy, and then that’s when I went away to Darwin and that’s when I got noticed. “I was in Year 7, so I was so young and they wouldn’t let me, and I had to beg, beg, beg until they let me.”

While many would have taken that to heart the defender was unwilling to give up, proving everyone wrong when she was finally able to prove herself on the field.

“I’ve always played back in state and all that but when I’m back home I switch back to the middle… I like to support the players at the back and blocking the goals, it’s fun, the back line is so important, but I find every position important,” Abbott said. “It was a little bit later, after I came back from Darwin, the local team – like my mother’s team, noticed like ‘oh hey you look pretty good, you can handle it’ and I was like ‘yeah that’s what I’ve been saying!’”

The 18-year-old started out as a basketballer along with some junior netball experience, but had plenty of love for footy despite not being allowed to play for a long time.

“It’s part of my family, sort of. My grandpa played it, my uncles, cause I usually grew up with fellas around me so it was always about football, football, basketball and so yeah it’s just always been part of me,” Abbott said. “I’d been playing basketball all my life so I was like, I just need to lay off basketball for a little bit, and just focus on football and see where I go with that.”

Along with making the switch from basketball, Abbott also made the switch from her home town of Alice Springs to Darwin, moving away from family and friends to play a higher level of footy.

“I was actually pretty shocked,” she said. “Because it was my first time and I was like, ‘I can’t be this good!’. “I was actually pretty scared because I’ve really not travelled that far before, like I’d been away for basketball and always to Darwin but this was a different sport, a different team and people and I just felt really nervous and scared.”

It was family that got her through however, with plenty of support back home spurring her on both in Darwin and when representing Northern Territory in the Central Allies. Abbott was the only Alice Springs player selected, proving her real potential.

“There were a couple of times where I thought about giving up because of the difficulties, cause I’m from Alice Springs and I can’t communicate from Darwin that well,” Abbott said. “Yeah definitely my uncle, my mum, just everyone telling me not to give up and keep on going,” Abbott said. “I still live in Alice, so it’s still difficult for me because I’m the only Alice girl here. I think just to make everyone proud at home, all the family and stuff. “Sometimes I find it difficult because like, Darwin girls have got each other and then there’s Adelaide girls that have got each other, and then there’s just me, one Alice girl!”

Abbott said representing the Allies was an honour, with the defender remarking that she would definitely like to get drafted as the ultimate goal.

“Where I’m from, it’s like a big honour,” she said. “Just representing both states, SA and the Territory is just amazing,” Abbott said. “I think (my strengths) would be my ground ball and my one percenters, just going in there, trying to handpass it to the back or front… I can’t really run a whole field, that’s why I love the back but yeah, running I need to improve on a lot.”

2019/20 NTFL Women’s Premier League season preview

A NEW season of NTFL Women’s Premier League is set to begin this weekend, with a new team added to the mix and plenty of excitement as we head into the 2019/2020 season.

Waratah

The 2018/19 premiers well and truly held their own in convincing fashion, defeating Southern Districts in the grand final to be premiers for the seventh time in eight years. The side had a plethora of talent up forward, with Amy Chittick the leading goalkicker for the season with 27 goals, closely followed by Lisa Miceli (24) and Lauren O’Shea (21) to round out the side’s impressive forward onslaught. Defensively, the efforts of Lisa Roberts were key throughout the season to rebound the footy and propel it forward. With a massive percentage and three 20-plus goalkickers to boot, Waratah are sure to be back for another bit of silverware this season.

2018/2019 Season
Position: 1st (Premiers)
Percentage: 411.84
Win-loss: 13-2-1

Palmerston Magpies

Though the Magpies were frontrunners for majority of the season, they unfortunately went down to Southern Districts in the semi-final to be knocked out of flag contention. Despite a much lower percentage than the top side in Waratah, the Magpies kept in touch with dominant goalkickers of their own as well as a smattering of high impact players that could well and truly change the game when required. Rounding out the goalkicking leaderboard for the season were Magpies’ Freda Puruntatameri (20 goals) and Natasha Medbury (17) while key players Tabitha May and Billie Byers proved their importance on the field time and time again.

2018/2019 Season
Position: 2nd
Percentage: 193.72
Win-loss: 13-3

Southern Districts

The grand finalists may not have been good enough on the day, but they certainly proved their ability to impact the contest time and time again to make it to the big dance with huge wins over St Marys and Palmerston during the finals. With impact players the likes of Tahlia Holtze, Tayla Thorn and Lateesha Jeffrey in the mix the side had plenty left in the tank, however just could not compete in the wet weather against Waratah. A solid percentage and plenty of goalkickers gave Districts the push they needed to make it to the grand final last season but an inability to compete in wet-weather footy was their downfall, meaning they will be back and raring to go once more this season.

2018/2019 Season
Position: 3rd
Percentage: 238.28
Win-loss: 11-5

Pint

Pint will be frustrated by their season-ending elimination final against Darwin Buffettes, knocked out well before they had an opportunity to prove their fourth place finish was deserved. With the likes of Cassie Henderson, Erin Hetherington, Kristen Smits and Danielle Suddaby among the side there was plenty of talent across the field, however it was not enough against powerhouse sides despite their form in the home and away season. It was the side’s inability to impact against teams higher on the ladder early on that kept them out of the top of the ladder, so Pint are likely to push even harder this season to get out of the rut of fourth position and contest against the hard-hitting sides.

2018/2019 Season
Position: 4th
Percentage: 95.24
Win-loss: 11-5

Darwin Buffettes

Another side with a wealth of talent, the Buffettes made it to the semi-final before being knocked out by the soon-to-be premiers at the final hurdle. With the likes of Machaelia Roberts, Celina Whan, Kylie Duggan and young gun Dominique Carbone in the mix there was plenty to be excited about for Darwin, however a confidence boosting win in the elimination final was not enough to get the side into the grand final. Having gone close to cracking 100 points on numerous occasions last season, the Buffettes will want to one-up their 2018/19 form this season and keep their eyes on finals contention once more.

2018/2019 Season
Position: 5th
Percentage: 191.58
Win-loss: 9-7

St Mary’s

Unfortunate to be bumped out in the early stage of finals footy last season, St Mary’s is sure to be back with a vengeance this season, especially safe in the knowledge that the Saints drew even with ladder-topping Waratah back in Round 5 last season – though not much to boast about with the match was called off due to weather conditions. The side had a smattering of big names, with Alana Coombes, Katherine Dann and Marlee Gunderson sharing the load inside 50. Defensively, the likes of Lori Niven and Courtney Webb held up well during the season, unshakeable in their task however were unable to hold up defensively against sides that had a number of goalkicking options in their midst.

2018/2019 Season
Position: 6th
Percentage: 57.56
Win-loss: 5-10-1

Tracy Village

With a seventh place finish last season, Tracy Village just missed out on finals contention. Now the side will surely be ready this season to go that extra mile and ensure a finals berth. While it was only the washout and split points that got St Mary’s over the line last season, Tracy Village just did not do enough in the second half of the season to push past St Mary’s and allow themselves an opportunity in the finals. Kristy Irvine was the side’s leading goalkicker last season closely followed by Rachael Bull, with a number of other players able to have an impact on the scoreboard if it wasn’t for the side being plagued with inaccuracy at inopportune times. Meanwhile, Zhoe Clarke proved key around the ground week in and week out.

2018/2019 Season
Position: 7th
Percentage: 55.78
Win-loss: 5-11

Wanderers

Finishing in eighth, the Wanderers were fortunate to come out of the season off the bottom of the ladder only by percentage. Arthurina Moreen (nine goals from 11 matches) was key for the Wanderers last season, with the side unable to capitalise in front of goal without as key target forward. That being said, Pierre-Angelique Koulakis and Lauren Motlop proved time and time again that they had what it took to get the ball back down the ground, just unfortunately not working in their favour against teams with key figures across the field.

2018/2019 Season
Position: 8th
Percentage: 37.23
Win-loss: 2-14

Nightcliff

Last season’s wooden spooners, Nightcliff will be back with a vengeance this season after falling again and again. Despite rarely finishing games with more than 15 points on the board early in the season, Nightcliff proved they have the capacity to improve and put up a fight to finish out the season much better than they started. Emma-Lou Wolsey, Hannah Turnbull and Sophie Hatzismalis did not give up regardless of the match quality, while young gun Shantel Miskin-Ripia played less than half the season but kicked nine goals from her seven games proving the key position player has plenty in the tank if the ball comes to her and that the side has plenty to prove this season.

2018/2019 Season
Position: 9th
Percentage: 32.88
Win-loss: 2-14

Big River Hawks

The newest side to the NTFL Women’s League for the 2019/2020 season, the Big River Hawks will have plenty to prove when they take on last season’s finalists St Mary’s in Round 1. With little form to go off, the side will be raring to go and put the Hawks on the map this season, especially when taking on two of last year’s finalists in the opening rounds.

Dual All-Australian McKinnon determined to reach the elite level

SOUTH Australia-born Montana McKinnon has plenty to be happy about in her sporting career so far, only 18-years-old but playing in representative teams from a young age. Like many other young Aussies, McKinnon started her footy journey as a five-year-old in Auskick before making the switch to netball at a young age.

“I started when I was five, just did AusKick for a bit of fun but obviously didn’t think anything of it,” McKinnon said. “I had a really big netball background, played at a high level – played for 11 years. Then when I hit the age of 14 I found out about football, girls teams and stuff and I wanted to come out and try.”

While McKinnon pulled on the footy boots once more as a 14-year-old, it was only as a 15/16-year-old that she made the full time switch to footy when games started to clash.

“I feel like obviously you need your different skills and stuff but I feel like netball did help, definitely in some ways,” McKinnon said. “I was a defender in netball, ever since I was about 10 so I feel like it did help my defence. “I like the contact as well, netball you’re not allowed to be rough or anything and I love the physicality of the game.”

Despite little footy experience up her sleeve, McKinnon had talent and flair to boot and was granted permission to play in the South Australian Academy from a young age.

“I heard about the state academy, and I knew because I was only 14 I was too young to play in the Under 18s team so I just went out to the academy sessions, thought I’d give it a crack just for a bit of extra training before I went out towards the club level,” McKinnon said. “Then they actually wanted me to come, they got an AFL permit for me to come out so at 14 I played in the state academy for the first time and then I’ve been playing there ever since, they’ve kept me in the team for the past four years.”

While McKinnon has plenty of experience now, playing in the academy at only 14 was a daunting task, especially with the inaugural AFL Women’s season looming.

“It was definitely very scary especially considering that was my very first ever game of football, going away to Melbourne playing against NSW,” said McKinnon. “Especially a few months after hearing the names called out at the draft, there’s been some big names that played in that team who are now off all over Australia playing for all different clubs in all different states.”

Named Most Valuable Player for the Central Allies in the 2019 AFL Women’s Under 18 Championship, McKinnon puts her work ethic down to constantly wanting to one-up her own form and create opportunities for her teammates.

“It’s really special to represent the Central Allies, considering especially how big football has now become. Obviously a few or more years ago it wasn’t as noticed as it is now but yeah it’s really special,” McKinnon said. “My ultimate goal is to get drafted after this, hopefully even if it’s next year, in five years time, just definitely work on it for a few years and see where it takes me.”

McKinnon has been touted as the standout ruck prospect in the 2019 AFL Women’s Draft, with her ability to not only impact the ball in and around the contest but also find opportunity to clear the ball out of stoppages and set up key plays for her side.

“I think my marking and my aerial contest would be my biggest strength,” McKinnon said.

As for improvements, she said ground ball gets are the ones to work on.

“Definitely my ground balls, because I’m a tall player and it’s a struggle to get down,” she joked.

Meanwhile, it’s family both on and off field that makes McKinnon tick with her biggest inspiration coming down to her parents and teammates.

“Probably my parents, they’ve always been there supporting me and have helped me out along the way … all the teams and all the girls it’s such a great bunch. Each team is different and it’s like they become your family, it’s pretty cool.”