Author: Taylah Melki

Resilient Anderson works her way to the top

RENOWNED for her ability to light up the footy field with her explosive speed and fancy footwork, West Australian product Nyra Anderson boasts an exceptional story of resilience and hard work hailing from a rural town and working her way up through the ranks to follow her love for football.

A very proud Indigenous woman, Anderson sees her football as an opportunity to encourage other young Aboriginal women in particular, to follow in her footsteps and not to be afraid, instead jump on each opportunity that comes their way.

“I grew up in probably a real low, disadvantaged community,” she said. “So, opportunities what I’m getting hopefully girls have the opportunity to do exactly what I’m doing. “I really try and get that out publicly, as much as I can.”

Anderson expressed her desire to use her platform as a footballer to be a face for the Indigenous community and create more pathways for girls to succeed.

“Just where the place I grew up was just girls didn’t really have a pathway was just mainly boys so now that we have a pathway, I want girls to take every opportunity,” she said. “Even if it is not football. “Even if it is just going to school, getting help through that or getting your L’s like getting a job or something like that. “Just girls take on every opportunity that they can, take the help, don’t be scared.”

Growing up in a rural town, Anderson did not have a lot of opportunities to ply her trade on the footy field, or if she did, she had to compete with the boys. But that did not stop the 18-year-old who first picked up the footy at a very young age as her family fostered her love for the game.

“It’s all I ever really wanted when I was a kid,” Anderson said. “My dad just gave me a footy and then started playing when I was little. “When I was about four or three, and then grew up. “Couldn’t really afford to play in any clubs, so I just played school footy with all the boys and then got to Year 7 and saved up and then I joined the state team and made the state team.”

Still at such a young age, Anderson has impressed across a wealth of different leagues highlighting just how damaging she can be on the footy field and her ability to not be overawed by the bigger bodies.

“In Year 8 or Year 9 I joined Swan Districts, so it was pretty good,” she said. “Then tried out for state when I was like 12 to 16 and then, I got train on when I was 13 and then the next years I just made it through all the way. “Pretty much just where I am now, playing League when I was 16. “And now, I’m 18.”

Swan Districts has played a significant role in Anderson’s football development with the youngster crediting their caring nature as a focal point throughout her time with the club.

“It’s been pretty good yeah I love how it’s so family orientated,” she said. “They’re a really down to earth club and understand any financial issues, family issues that we have so it’s pretty good.”

An incredibly talented young player, Anderson plied her trade at the AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships last year, donning the Western Australia guernsey to not only showcase her football smarts but so too leadership qualities despite only being 17.

“It was a really good experience for my leadership and to work on my game and then just try to get drafted really,” she said.

Not only did Anderson get the opportunity to play for Western Australia, but so too the chance to play in Queensland and most exciting of the lot, run out on Metricon Stadium, something her family touted as “inspirational”.

“It was good, it was a good experience because for kids like me, from a really like remote community it really was a really good experience to tell my family, to tell my friends. So, I loved that,” she said.

With speed to burn Anderson pegs fitness as an area she hopes to improve on before getting drafted while her strengths lie in her ability to read the play and contest in one on one situations given her ability to “put [her] head over the ball and get it out”.

“Really first just to make AFLW and then give back to my community as much as I can because they really need it,” Anderson said. “I’m pretty versatile wherever the coach puts me and now it’s just, I adjust to wherever I am and play to my ability really.”

Anderson has also spent time with Fremantle, training with the midfield group and honing in her craft alongside some notable names in the AFLW world, something she hopes might become a reality one day soon.

“It was a good experience like a taste of AFL was at my fingertips so I’m hoping for the best in the future,” she said.

With the AFL Women’s Draft around the corner, Anderson has proven she has the skillset to be a handy inclusion in any side.

Draft Central 2020 top 50 players: #1 Jasmine Garner

WITH the AFL Women’s 2020 season officially coming to a close now the awards are done and dusted, Draft Central looks back on our Top 50 Players of season 2020. This countdown purely looks at the 2020 season so does not look at past performances and will not include injured stars such Erin Phillips or Chelsea Randall.

In the final edition of the countdown and taking out the Draft Central Top 50 Players crown, it is no surprise that Jasmine Garner takes the cake after a formidable year in the blue and white stripes. The North Melbourne star had a phenomenal season winning the AFL Players’ Association most valuable player (MVP) award for her efforts while also being named in the All-Australian squad.

#1 JASMINE GARNER

AVERAGES: 20.1 disposals, 4.6 marks, 4.1 inside 50s, 4.7 tackles, 1.1 goals

2020 proved to be the season of Jasmine Garner with the midfielder taking the competition by storm with her brute strength mixed with her finesse. She was simply unstoppable with ball in hand, able to hit a teammate lace-out time and time again and was a real barometer for the side. Garner was a key reason for the Kangaroos’ success throughout the season, guiding them through the challenging moments and most importantly standing up under pressure when it counted.

Constantly hungry for the footy, Garner’s eyes would almost light up when a contest was near, sniffing out the challenge and inserting herself in the battle, often winning the footy and disposing of it effortlessly. Garner was a real workhorse across the ground, not afraid to put her body on the line to win the pill, making her presence felt in every situation possible. Her general football understanding was second to none able to position cleverly to either elicit an attacking foray or drop back to help in defence.

Garner was constantly on the move and looking ahead to create the next play or be the link in transition, often resorting to her solid and sturdy kick to do the damage. She averaged an impressive 20.1 disposals per game credit to her high level of endurance and ability to stay on-ball for large amounts of time. Not only was she clever by foot but so too by hand, able to fire off a handball under pressure or flick it to a teammate in space showcasing not only skill but her spatial awareness.

There is no denying that Garner was a threat in all aspects able to hit the scoreboard with ease averaging a goal a game. She was incredibly crafty inside the forward 50 able to lead up at the footy and take a mark testament to her strong hands while also able to crumb off the ground and find her way to the big sticks. The North Melbourne star proved to be a handful for opposition teams often bursting out of the pack leaving them behind while she ran rampant across the ground.

Her chemistry with teammates Ash Riddell, Emma Kearney and Jenna Bruton also allowed Garner to play her game and help direct traffic whether it be in the middle or at a throw-in. The former Collingwood player has well and truly cemented herself as an integral cog in the Kangaroos outfit as shown in Round 5 where she blew Adelaide out of the water with her explosiveness. Garner shone true in that clash racking up an impressive 24 touches, seven marks and four tackles while nailing two majors to cap off what was a stellar performance by the Draft Central number one.

Draft Central’s 2020 Top 50 AFLW players: #3 Jaimee Lambert

WITH the AFL Women’s 2020 season officially coming to a close now the awards are done and dusted, Draft Central looks back on our Top 50 Players of season 2020. This countdown purely looks at the 2020 season so does not look at past performances and will not include injured stars such Erin Phillips or Chelsea Randall.

#3 JAIMEE LAMBERT

AVERAGES: 22.3 disposals, 1.9 marks, 4.6 inside 50s, 6.4 tackles, 0.4 goals

There is no denying that Lambert is a real livewire across the ground, constantly able to make something out of nothing. Her crumbing style of play allows her to track the ball at ground level and dispose of it easily, while her dynamic movement and spatial awareness make her one of the most exciting players to watch able to light up the ground with her sheer presence. She is unpredictable and oozes that layer of class able to hit a teammate lace-out thanks to her precision with ball in hand.

Lambert took her game to a whole other level in season 2020 guiding Collingwood to some big wins and using her general nous to have an influence. Her desperation to win the footy and have an impact across the ground was undoubted racking up a whopping 22.3 touches each game. Able to move into the midfield and play a role up forward, Lambert went from strength to strength throughout the season taking everything in her stride.

A real leader on the footy field, Lambert was a ball magnet for the Pies finding the footy at the bottom of every pack. She was not afraid to put her body on the line averaging 6.4 tackles a game such was her intent and physicality at the contest. Her turn of speed allowed her to hunt down opposition players and lay big tackles while her high level of execution was also evident.

Lambert found the big sticks on a couple of occasions, able to dart around inside the forward 50 and lead up at the footy when it came her way. Her clever leading patterns and strong hands made her a key cog for Collingwood while her experience paid dividends able to direct traffic across the ground.

She consistently stood up under pressure winning the footy when it needed to be won and using her pace to evade players and create attacking forays. Although the Pies did not get the job done in the final against North Melbourne, Lambert showcased her array of talents amassing an equal team-high 22 disposals along with six marks, five tackles and two behinds – although she would be ruing those missed chances. Her quick slick hands make her hard to stop when on song, able to dish off a handball to a player flying past.

The Collingwood speedster delivered the ball inside 50 effortlessly able to sight her teammates in space with an average of 4.6 the highest of any of her teammates. She is nimble at ground level and is constantly on the look out for the next play combining well with the likes of Sharni Layton in the ruck and new recruit Bri Davey along with Chloe Molloy to have a demanding presence on the ground. Credit to her impressive season Lambert took out Collingwood’s best and fairest award while also being named in the All-Australian squad.

Q&A: Macie Brown (Coorparoo/Brisbane Lions)

AS the postponement of all seasons commenced over the last week, we head back to the pre-season where we chatted to a number of athletes across the country. In a special Question and Answer (Q&A) feature, Draft Central‘s Taylah Melki chatted with Queensland’s Macie Brown at the state testing day hosted by Rookie Me.

Hailing from rural Queensland, Brown stunned many in her first year of footy earning a spot in the Brisbane Lions Academy and showcasing just how much potential she has.

How did you get into footy?
I was introduced to footy through school, a couple of my good teachers played in the QAFL and stuff. They suggested that I go trial for this thing called Brisbane South so I went and did that and turned out to be pretty successful. This is my second year now, my first year was last year.

Any major changes from first year to second year?
I impressed myself, I made it pretty far in my first year with Queensland and I wasn’t really expecting it and it kind of made me realise what I want to achieve with this year to hopefully get drafted and just keep going and go up through the ranks again.

What do you love about footy?
I love the community, how everyone is always like so approachable and you build some really good friendships and stuff compared to other sports as such. AFL is really community based so I love that.

Did you play other sports before trying footy?
Yeah I played mainly just school sports and then a bit of club netball, I went alright at it but like I said it wasn’t really a good environment as such.

What was the transition from netball to football like?
Yeah well I also played touch and I was pretty successful with that a little bit. I wasn’t the best at it and I thought I could take my AFL further so I did that instead.

What area are you hoping to strengthen this year?
Yeah definitely my defence. I want to be able to stick my tackles more often than not and hopefully work on my run and carry because that is really important.

What are some of your strengths?
I would say that I’m pretty agile, I’m fast and good at ground level. I can clean the ball up at the forwards’ feet I’d say.

How did you find the experience playing with Queensland last year?
Honestly it was overwhelming. It was my first year of footy and I didn’t think that I’d make it this far. I just took it all in and I loved the environment, I loved the elite level, expectations and standards. It was awesome.

What is the travel like?
I used to live out rural kind of half way between Ipswich and Toowoomba out near Gatton. But I chose to play in Brisbane because I knew a few people through the Brisbane South footy rep team and I just wanted to go straight into Brisbane and get amongst it so it was a bit of travel.

Where are you based now?
I just moved into Ipswich this year with my family so it is still a 40 minute travel but it’s not 80 minutes anymore. It was difficult last year because I was also playing under 17s so I was training four nights a week and then playing Saturday QAFL, Sunday 17s so I only had Friday nights free and I was working so it was a bit difficult.

How do you manage all of those commitments?
Yeah so being my senior year last year it was a bit stressful, a bit overwhelming but with the support of my mum and my family it really got me through and helped me organise and what not. My teachers were really understanding with deadlines and stuff like that.

Is your mum one of your driving passions for success?
Yeah definitely 100 per cent. I mean if it wasn’t for mum before I could drive she would be the one driving me in to Brisbane every week and every night almost, getting me there and supporting me.

Draft Central’s Top 50 AFLW Players 2020: #35-31

WITH the AFL Women’s 2020 season officially come to a close now the awards are done and dusted, Draft Central looks back on our Top 50 Players of season 2020. This countdown purely looks at the 2020 season so does not look at past performances and will not include injured stars such Erin Phillips or Chelsea Randall.

In this edition, we look at the players ranked from 35-31. This part of the countdown leans more towards forwards with a couple of Queensland representatives and a pair of Fremantle Dockers not to mention a Carlton youngster. Check out who made the cut below.

#35 GEORGIA GEE (CARLTON)

7 GAMES AVE: 10.1 disposals, 1.1 marks, 3.6 tackles, 2 inside 50s

The 20-year-old left her mark on the competition, consistently working hard for the Blues and often unfazed by the bigger bodies in the competition. She played every game of the season and while she did not rack up a stats filling performance week in week out it was her pressure acts that made her really stand out. Despite her small stature – only standing at 160cm – Gee was hard at the contest laying an average of 3.6 tackles per game, testament to her go-get-it nature. Gee was clean with ball in hand and was not afraid to use her signature burst of speed to try and evade her opponents, proving to be an integral member in the Blues charge to success.

#34 GEMMA HOUGHTON (FREMANTLE)

7 GAMES AVE: 11.1 disposals, 3.7 marks, 3.1 inside 50s, 0.6 goals, 2.9 hitouts

Houghton is just one of many Fremantle players that enjoyed a run of hot form with the 26-year-old hardly missing a beat in the Dockers rise up the ladder. Unlucky not to win a flag given the circumstances, Houghton showed why she is one to watch with her dashing pace and strength in the air to take the ball at full-flight. She was a constant threat inside the forward line for Fremantle constantly looking for a flying shot at goal and most importantly creating opportunities for teammates with an average of 3.1 inside 50s. She imposed herself on the contest, working hard to win the footy at the coalface while also displaying her versatility chipping in the ruck when needed.

#33 SOPHIE CONWAY (BRISBANE)

7 GAMES AVE: 11.4 disposals, 3.3 marks, 4.4 tackles, 3.4 inside 50s

In her third season at the club and first since rupturing her anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) last year, Conway made sure she came back with a bang.  A spirited Round 1 win and strong performance over the reigning premiers proved just how much she had to offer racking up 14 touches and six tackles. The 21-year-old continued to bring plenty of fire to the contest with her physical pressure on display, laying an average of 4.4 tackles per game. Standing at 170cm, the Brisbane Lions youngster imposed herself at the contest with her flashes of speed and silky ball movement. Although she did not constantly blow away the stats column it was her consistency and ability to butter up and execute the small things that made Conway such a dominant and explosive force for the Lions.

#32 SABREENA DUFFY (FREMANTLE)

7 GAMES AVE: 8.3 disposals, 1.4 marks, 1.6 tackles, 1.7 goals

Fellow Fremantle forward Sabreena Duffy also impressed throughout her 2020 campaign taking home the leading goal kicker award for the club. Although she is only 165cm the 20-year-old forward has an uncanny knack for finding the big sticks and slotting them through with an average of 1.7 goals per game and a total of 12 for the season. She is quick on her feet, able to evade oncoming traffic and most importantly can convert under pressure. Her ability to lead up at the footy and create space caused havoc for opposition defences something the Dockers well and truly relished in all of their outings. Duffy proved to be the key up forward on more than one occasion for Fremantle with the youngster providing options inside the forward arc and applying a wealth of pressure to trap it inside their attacking end.

#31 KALINDA HOWARTH (GOLD COAST)

7 GAMES AVE: 10.1 disposals, 1.4 marks, 2.3 tackles, 1.3 goals, 1.9 inside 50s

After spending time with the Lions and failing to make a splash, Kalinda Howarth well and truly stepped up to the plate proving to be that go-to player inside the forward 50 for the Gold Coast SUNS. Howarth did not disappoint up forward for the new side with the 170cm tall gobbling up everything that came her way and most importantly hit the scoreboard thanks to her relative accuracy. The priority signing for the SUNS proved to be just what the doctor ordered with her slick ball skills and strength to take a mark even in a contest. Her second efforts also shone through with the talented footballer working hard at ground level to apply tackle pressure while also winning her fair share of the footy. Howarth starred in the Round 3 match against state rivals Brisbane nailing three majors to go with her 10 touches.

Q&A: Anjelani Kibombo (USQ Cougars/Queensland)

AS the postponement of all seasons commenced over the last week, we head back to the preseason a month earlier where we chatted to a number of athletes across the country. In a special Question and Answer (Q&A) feature, Draft Central‘s Taylah Melki chatted with Queensland’s Anjelani Kibombo at the state testing day hosted by Rookie Me.

Q&A

TM: How did you get into footy?

AK: “It started back when I came in 2013 in Australia. “My sports teacher kept on encouraging me to try out this sport, and said it’s amazing, since you’re kind of good at running, you love being active. “I don’t know I just loved it.”

What is it that you love about footy?

“I don’t know, the people are so friendly. “You have a lot of friends, everyone’s always there to support you, your family, it’s really nice.”

You have been playing footy since 2013, what has made you stay for seven years?

“I don’t know all my coaches are just so supportive. “They’re always saying that there’s space for people to improve. “You know sometimes there are ups and downs, but you still have to push hard and work hard. “You know I’ve made it into a lot of teams and that’s encouraged me to lift my spirits and work harder.”

What are you hoping to improve on this season?

“I would hope that this test we are doing right now, I hope it takes me somewhere and that I actually do it with everything I’ve got. “Hopefully, I don’t know, I make it to pro one day, I’d love to, if I guess that happens.”

Is there an area you feel you are really strong at?

“I feel like I’m really good being forward and midfield. “That’s the two spots that I really enjoy.”

Why do you enjoy those positions the most?

“I don’t know I guess, I’m kind of good at running. “My endurance is really good and I just love it, I’m more comfortable there.”

Is endurance something you’ve been working on?

“Yeah I’ve been doing a lot of training with my coaches and everyone. “I’ve really been working on my running which is really good.”

Did you play a different sport before you played footy?

“I played touch, cricket, tennis, I played all sorts of sports but I really just enjoy AFL the most.”

Did you have a particular sporting icon that you looked up to?

“There’s loads, I mean Tayla Harris, I love her so much, Sabrina (Frederick), Katie (Brennan) I just love all the AFL girls. “I just love them I really do.”

You listed three forwards, what is it that you love about them?

“I guess just the way they handle things, I feel like I can relate to them because I actually do it too which is really good.”

What is it like being in the Brisbane Lions Academy?

“It’s so good, you always have to work hard, the more you work hard the more you get to improve your skills and everything you need to improve on. “It’s just really good.”

How are you finding the balance between footy and extra curricula?

“I actually live in Toowoomba so it’s far away from here but I’m starting university this year. “I guess one of the things that actually motivates me to keep on going and working hard is just that I’ve been doing this for so long and I really think this might take me somewhere. Yeah it’s really hard to balance school and academy but it is what it is.”

2020 Top 10 AFLW matches: #3 – Fremantle sneak over the line against the Saints

COMING in at number three in Draft Central’s Top 10 AFLW Women’s clashes is the game between St Kilda and Fremantle. The Dockers had been in ripping form, sitting undefeated at the top of the ladder despite a couple of close scares, while the Saints had plenty to prove in their inaugural season. The Round 4 battle was nothing short of impressive with both sides going blow for blow but in the end, it was Fremantle that snuck over the line with an emphatic one point win 3.6 (24) to 3.5 (23).

In what was a low scoring affair in the opening quarter neither side could seem to buy a goal with a collective three points scored. Despite not being on their home turf the Dockers rallied in the second term to apply some strong scoreboard pressure landing the first blow of the quarter. An early goal to Jasmin Stewart seemed to get the ball rolling, before the Saints answered with a major of their own to get back within level pegging. However, inaccuracy continued to plague both sides and with only two points separating the teams at half time the contest was only just about to heat up.

With a renewed belief and intensity for the ball St Kilda did not muck around in the third quarter, peppering away at the goals and trapping the footy inside their forward 50. Fremantle failed to score in the third term such was St Kilda’s defensive pressure and slick ball movement. But the Dockers were not out of the game yet, keen to keep their unbeaten record intact they upped the ante in the final term nailing two goals none bigger than Kate Flood’s. With the clock ticking down, Flood went back and took one of the biggest shots in her career to draw level with the Saints before Gemma Houghton landed the knockout punch to win by a mere point. It was an action-packed game with the lead ebbing and flowing between both sides.

Although the Saints fell agonisingly short after leading in the third they would take plenty out of the contest, proving they have what it takes to match it with the best. Their young brigade of stars once again had an influence with Georgia Patrikios and Nicola Xenos 11 and 12 touches respectively plying their trade. Rosie Dillon amassed a team-high 18 disposals along with seven tackles while Alison Drennan showcased her strength around the contest with 17 touches. Tilly Lucas-Rodd also racked up 16 touches while Rhiannon Watt displayed her strength with four marks and 14 possessions. Inside the forward 50 Caitlin Greiser, Molly McDonald and Olivia Vesely combined for three goals highlighting their options in front of the big sticks.

For Fremantle, their usual suspects in Kiara Bowers and Ebony Antonio led the way. Bowers was electric across the ground for her 13 touches and whopping 12 tackles, clearly displaying her physical intent while also managing to slot a major to cap off yet another impressive performance. Philipa Seth managed to win the pill 17 times with 15 of her disposals kicks while 24-year-old Hayley Miller was also crucial in the win thanks to her 13 touches. To go with her opening goal, Stewart accumulated 12 touches with Katie-Jayne Grieve also picking up 12 touches. Although Houghton could have had a big day out had she converted her three shots, she still managed to deliver the winning point. Leading goal kicker Sabreena Duffy also had a trying day in front of goal with two behinds.

ST KILDA 0.1 | 1.1 | 2.4 | 3.5 (23)
FREMANTLE 0.2 | 1.3 | 1.3 | 3.6 (24)

GOALS:

St Kilda: C. Greiser, M. McDonald, O. Vesley
Fremantle: J. Stewart, K. Flood, K. Bowers

BESTS:

St Kilda: R. Dillon, A. Drennan, C. Greiser, T. Lucas-Rodd
Fremantle: K. Bowers, P. Seth, E. Antonio, J. Stewart

2020 Top 10 AFLW matches: #7 – Suns and Lions play out draw in inaugural clash

NEITHER side could be separated in the first women’s Q-Clash with the Lions and Suns walking away with two points apiece. It was a hard-fought battle between the two sides, who both tried to assert themselves with their physicality around the contest. The conditions ultimately played into the hands of Lions early but the Suns were not about to be bullied by their state rivals upping the ante after half time to get back to level pegging and draw at 28 points each. Prior to their Round 3 clash Brisbane had flexed their muscles winning two games on the trot while the Suns had fallen short in Round 1 and claimed their inaugural victory in Round 2.

It was a tale of two halves with the Lions doing all the attacking early to claim some early ascendancy. Brisbane managed to keep the Suns goalless in the opening term while piling on two goals of their own showcasing just how strong they could be and their ability to shut down their oppositions attacking forays. They kept that momentum going in the second term with five scoring shots however they struggled when it came to accuracy nailing three points and only registering two goals, keeping the Suns in the hunt for glory. Gold Coast could sniff their opportunity coming out after the main break with a real fire in the belly and increased intensity. The Suns worked their way back into the contest in the third term, applying strong pressure with some big tackles and shots at goal.  With the game on the line, Gold Coast pulled out all in the stops in the final quarter, peppering away at the goals with repeat entries and constant pressure. But it was some magic from Kalinda Howarth in the 11th minute that landed the match tying punch, with the 20-year-old showing nothing but composure and class to slot her third major for the day in what is the first of many Queensland battles to come.

Still trying out new combinations across the board the ball was shared evenly amongst a host of Suns players with Kate Surman leading the way with 16 touches.  Not far behind her was Jamie Stanton with the 24-year-old highlighting her strength by foot with 14 of her 15 possessions kicks. When it came to physicality Hannah Dunn proved to be the go to girl for the Suns, laying a team-high six tackles while also showcasing her ability to cover the ground with ease racking up 15 touches. Youngsters in Dee Heslop and Elle Hampson also displayed their gritty attitude with three tackles apiece while the ever reliable Lauren Ahrens was silky with ball in hand for her 14 disposals. For the Lions, the trio of Rheanne Lugg, Jesse Wardlaw and Sophie Conway lead the way on the scoreboard with Lugg the most prolific of the three with two goals to her name, the other two managed a major each. Once again it was the experience and class of Emily Bates that helped to guide Brisbane with the talented mid amassing a game high 24 touches while partner in crime Ally Anderson also managed to get her hands on the ball 22 times. Much like Anderson, Kate Lutkins won her fair share of the ball with 21 disposals but it was her strength in the air to notch up 12 marks that showcased her dominance on the game.

GOALS:

Gold Coast Suns: K. Howarth 3, B. Perry.
Brisbane Lions: R. Lugg 2, J. Wardlaw, S. Conway.

BESTS:

Gold Coast Suns: K. Howarth, K. Surman, H. Dunn, J. Stanton, L. Aherns
Brisbane Lions: E. Bates, A. Anderson, R. Lugg, K. Lutkins, S. Conway

AFLW stats analysis: Semi-finals – How the four last standing got there

IT was a story of two tales with the matches between Melbourne and GIANTS along with North Melbourne and Collingwood, being decided by three points or less, while the clashes between Carlton and Brisbane, and Fremantle and Gold Coast were blowouts. The first game of the finals series saw North and Collingwood score a combined 10 goals, while the Dees and Giants managed seven between them. The final game of the round saw the Blues and Lions notch up eight goals collectively. The outlier however seemed to be the Dockers verse Suns. With majority of matches only recording a collective maximum of 10 goals, Fremantle single handily took account for that, proving to be unstoppable in front of the big sticks with a whopping 12 goals while the Suns only registered one major for the match.

Carlton:

The Blues showcased their strong ball movement and ability to hit the scoreboard on Sunday winning the game with ease. They controlled the flow of the game winning the disposal count 236 compared to 181. Carlton simply did not allow Brisbane any easy access to the footy leading the way in both kicks 148 and handballs 88. They won just about every major key performance indicator registering five more marks 42-37 and won the inside 50 battle 39 to 20 which in turned reflected their accuracy sitting at 36 per cent compared to 25. Georgia Gee proved to be a hot option in front of goals with three goals while dynamic forward duo Tayla Harris and Darcy Vescio managed to get on the scoreboard with one goal each. Despite winning, the Blues will be hoping to improve on their accuracy kicking eight behinds compared to six goals, meaning they could have had a big day out if they were on target.

Fremantle:

The Dockers proved that scoring was no issue on Saturday consistently peppering the goals and trapping the ball inside 50 racking up 39 inside 50s compared to the Suns’ 26. Fremantle had 20 shots on goal with 12 of them being majors highlighting just how efficient they were inside the forward arc going at 51 per cent. Leading goal kicker Sabreena Duffy made no mistake in front of the big sticks converting three goals from her 11 touches while the likes of Kate Flood, Gemma Houghton and Gabby O’Sullivan shared the load inside 50 with two goals apiece. The Dockers ability to find a target in front of goal and move the ball quickly was a key component of their game play able to move the ball with ease. It was a complete performance by the Dockers who made it look easy throughout their clash however when it came to ruckwork they will want to gain more dominance losing the contest 18-29.

Melbourne:

It was a hard-fought slog for Melbourne who did just enough to get over the line despite losing pretty much all of the key performance indicators. The main thing that set Melbourne apart was their conversion rate sitting at 44 per cent compared to GWS’ 27 per cent. The Dees also just won the tackle count 60 to 59 highlighting their ability to hunt both the ball and player while most importantly they made the most of their opportunities in front of goal notching up four goals compared to three. When it came to goal scorers Lily Mithen was the standout player shooting truly with two majors to her name while both Daisy Pearce and Karen Paxman were the major ball winners. Although the Demons got the win, they struggled for accuracy inside 50 unable to capitalise on their chances and failed to generate momentum coming out of the back half with 17 rebound 50s.

North Melbourne:

Much like Melbourne, North prevailed in a tight game running out two-point victors. The Kangaroos were hot inside 50 with nine scoring shots compared to seven and 28 inside 50s to 20. The Roos while they were not overly efficient managed to trap the ball inside the forward arc and create scoring opportunities. In terms of defensive pressure, North Melbourne showcased their physicality racking up 11 more tackles with 58 to 47. Ash Riddell led the way on the field racking up the touches while Emma Kearney also plied her trade winning the footy at the coalface and laying strong tackles. The Roos could not get the ball in their hands losing the possession battle and struggled to take a mark something they will be hoping to address next season.

No footy? No worries

DESPITE there being no NAB League Boys or Girls games over the coming weeks due to the coronavirus outbreak, Draft Central will still be producing a wealth of content dedicated to promoting the young talent coming up through the ranks across the country. We have more than 100 interviews with players from preseason testing days from Victoria, South Australia and Queensland along with special player diaries from Western Australia to ensure everyone gets their daily dose of footy content. The interviews will come in a variety of mediums whether it be via podcasts or written features.

While there may not be any games actually being played, now will be a good time to read up on player journeys, their weird pre-game quirks or superstitions and most importantly their dreams for the future. Draft Central will continue to provide knowledge and analysis on players in preparation for what will be a big year of NAB League once it gets underway. In the meantime, the player previews and team overviews will give an insight into the journey of a NAB League player or developing junior in their respective states.

Feel free to interact with us on social media and let us know about the type of content you would like to see during the break.

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