Author: Taylah Melki

2020 AFL Women’s team preview: Carlton

COMING off a grand final loss Carlton will be looking to right their wrongs and claim that elusive first premiership. They showed that they have the skill and talent to perform on the big stage but will have to cover the loss of former captain Bri Davey who defected to arch rivals Collingwood in the off-season. Aside from Davey and Tilly Lucas-Rodd the line-up has remained relatively unchanged giving the Blues another shot at the finals if they play their cards right and continue their form from last season.

KEY PLAYER:
Tayla Harris (forward)

The talented forward is a real barometer for the Blues and can dictate the play for her side with her explosiveness. Harris’ lead up at the footy is hard to stop when on song using her long stride and strong hands to take her fair share of contested marks. Her work in the forward 50 is second to none consistently posing a threat whether the ball is in the air or at ground level. If she can get off to a hot start it will go a long way in forging the Blue’s finals tilt. The forward has proven that she can hit the scoreboard and welcomes the physicality given her boxing background.

RISING STAR:
Lucy McEvoy (midfield)

It will be hard to miss the likes of Lucy McEvoy with the Geelong Falcons product and pick number 2 in the draft able to have an impact anywhere on the ground. She is a readymade player who many can expect to hit the ground running with her impressive foot skills, spatial awareness and high footy IQ. She is not overawed by the bigger bodies often embracing the physical battle and prevailing. McEvoy offers plenty of versatility and doggedness across the field not afraid to put in the hard yards and never far away the contest. The natural born-leader captained her side to premiership glory in 2018 while also making the All-Australian team in 2019 making her a hot contender for the overall Rising Star nomination.

WATCH FOR:
Madison Prespakis (midfield)

After winning the 2019 Rising Star expect Prespakis to continue to grow and impose herself on the competition once again. Despite it only being her first season, the talented mid showed nothing but class and was not fazed by the bigger bodied and more experienced players. Much like McEvoy, Prespakis is versatile able to slot into any role and fulfil it to the highest ability. She is already a ball magnet and will only grow with further exposure to the highest possible level making her an exciting prospect for the Blues in 2020.

CONFERENCE OPPONENTS: Fremantle, Melbourne, Western Bulldogs, Collingwood, St Kilda, West Coast.

FIXTURE:

Round 1: @ Richmond
Round 2: vs. Collingwood
Round 3: @ Bulldogs
Round 4: @Adelaide
Round 5: vs. St Kilda
Round 6: @Melbourne
Round 7: vs. West Coast Eagles
Round 8: vs. Fremantle

The Blues will reignite their age-old rivalry with Collingwood in Round 2 with both sides hoping to get off to a flying start. the Blues are lucky enough to not have to make the trip over to Western Australia with both West Coast and Fremantle making the trek down south in back-to-back rounds. The grand final rematch will take place in Round 4 with the Blues travelling over to Adelaide in hope for some redemption.

PREDICTION: 1st/2nd in Conference

Carlton have a good mix of youth and experience with the young ones coming in littered with talent and considering the pool they are in should finish near the top of the ladder. Collingwood will be bolstered by the return of a couple of key players while Fremantle have proven time and time again that they should not be discounted. The 2018 premiers, Western Bulldogs always pose a threat and while they lost a chunk of players last season expect them to comeback with a vengeance in 2020. New teams in West Coast and St Kilda will have their work cut out for them up against some high quality teams that know what it takes to win at the elite level but all in all the Blues should take the cake.

NTFL Women’s Premier League wrap: Round 13 – Tigers, Buffettes win tight as Magpies, Tahs produce smashings

IT was another round of ladder defining games in the Northern Territory Football League Women’s (NTFLW) with Southern District dropping their clash against Darwin Buffettes. Round 13 also saw a host of close matches paired with a couple of blowouts highlighting the variety of competition within the league. For a second week in a row the Big River Hawks forfeited gifting the Wanderers a win to cap off an exciting round of action.

PINT 2.0 | 4.0 | 4.0 | 4.0 (24)
NIGHTCLIFF 2.0 | 2.1 | 4.3 | 4.4 (28)

GOALS:
Pint: J. Baksh, R. Fecht , J. Baumer, E. Pechey.
Nightcliff: J. Steppacher, J. Anyon-Smith, E. Wolsey, S. Politis.

BESTS:
Pint: N/A
Nightcliff: E. Morrison, M. Ward, H. Turnbull

It was a tantalising battle between Pint and Nightcliff with the two sides going toe to toe for the entirety of the match. Pint looked to have got the jump on the away side in the second quarter establishing an 11-point lead before Nightcliff wrestled momentum back in the third to hold a three-point buffer heading into the final change. Despite neither side registering a major in the fourth quarter Nightcliff did enough to secure their seventh win of the year and create a two game gap between seventh while sitting one game out of the top four. Pint failed to score after half time credit to the increased pressure applied by Nightcliff. Jacqueline Anyon-Smith hit the scoreboard for Nightcliff while Jessica Steppacher booted another major in her sides win. Emma-Lou Wolsey continued her purple patch of form once again finding the scoreboard while the likes of Eliza Morrison and Mickayla Ward were named in the bests credit to their efforts against Pint. It was a tough loss for the seventh placed Pint who were looking to leapfrog their opponents, but despite the loss Rhiannon Fetch and Jessie Baumer played their role contributing to their overall score.

WARATAH 2.1 | 3.2 | 5.4 | 11.4 (70)
ST MARY’S 1.1 | 1.1 | 1.4 | 4.6 (30)

GOALS:
Waratah: J. Singh 3, T. O”Hehir 2, S. Nalder 2, T. Cunningham 2, B. Martin, M. Cooper.
St Mary’s: N/A.

BESTS:
Waratah: L. Roberts, M. Cooper, P. Cox, C. Fabris, R. Pryer
St Mary’s: N/A

Despite the relatively even start to the game, Waratah blew their opponents away in the last term piling on a whopping 36 points to stamp their authority on the competition. Waratah held the lead from the get go with St Mary’s forced into chase position early and ultimately unable to peg the margin back. The Tah’s were accurate in front of goal making the most of their opportunities and most importantly sharing the load around highlighting their plethora of options inside forward 50. Jenna Singh has hit the scoreboard in her previous two outings and did not disappoint, once again contributing three goals. Her efforts were rivalled by teammates Tarryn O’Hehir and Sue Nalder who both slotted two goals. Meanwhile Timaya Cunningham continued her hot form from the previous round booting two goals to get her side well and truly over the line. Rebecca Pryer worked tirelessly while Lisa Roberts was consistent as ever named in the bests once again proving just how crucial she is to Waratah’s line-up. St Mary’s struggled to combat the power of Waratah but the likes of Aaliyah Bailey stood tall while Rachel and Shannon Ponter the sister of Adelaide’s Danielle Ponter also left their mark on the game.

TRACY VILLAGE 0.3 | 0.4 | 1.4 | 1.4 (10)
PALMERSTON MAGPIES 3.2 | 5.8 | 8.12 | 13.15 (93)

GOALS:
Tracy Village: N/A.
Palmerston Magpies: A. Moreen 5, F. Puruntatameri 3, A. Seubert 2, I. Ronberg, T. Jeffrey, N. Medbury.

BESTS:
Tracy Village: N/A
Palmerston Magpies: B. Byers, T. Jeffrey, A. Moreen, F. Puruntatameri, I. Ronberg, G. Garling

The Magpies put on a dominant display against Tracy Village who simply could not match their opponents going down by 83-points. Tracy only scored one goal after half time adding salt into their wounds as the Magpies went on to add 55 points to their end total highlighting their convincing performance. It was always going to be a difficult task for the ninth placed Tracy Village up against the higher ranked Magpies and it showed with Palmerston capitalising on their opportunities despite being a bit wayward in front of goal. The Magpies were led by Arthurina Morren who booted five goals taking her tally to 10 in the past three rounds while Freda Puruntatameri proved she was no slouch winning plenty of the ball and converting three majors. The goal scoring options were endless with Alisha Seubert bagging two in her first game and Iesha Ronberg also inflicting scoreboard pain to make it a complete effort by the Magpies heading into the final stretch of the home and away season. Bonnie McDougall notched up her 11 game for the season while Lisa-Maree Toner made her presence felt in her sides crushing loss.

DARWIN BUFFETTES 4.0 |6.1 |6.1 |8.2 (50)
SOUTHERN DISTRICT 1.4 | 2.5 |4.6 |6.7 (43)

GOALS:
Darwin Buffettes: E. Miller 3, M. Breed, M. Moussa, A. Lewis.
Southern District: N/A.

BESTS:
Darwin Buffettes:  B. Hayne, B. Clarke, T. Holtze, M. Breed, D. Lee-Feeney
Southern District: N/A

The clash of second versus fourth lived up to the hype with the game going down to the wire in the final game of the round. In the end, it was the higher placed Darwin Buffettes that prevailed against Southern District credit to their increased accuracy in front of goal. District will be ruing their missed opportunities peppering the goals but unable to hit the maximum. The Buffettes had control of the match from the very beginning skipping out a 14-point lead in the opening term before gradually extending it at half time. But District was not going to lie down mounting a comeback after half time to get within seven, the eventual losing margin. Ebony Miller has been unstoppable in the forward 50 for Southern District in recent weeks and this game was no different booting another three goals while youngster Mattea Breed also showcased her skills across the board nailing a major and being named in the bests. Maria Moussa and April Lewis also got in on the scoring action with one goal apiece but their efforts were not enough to push their side over the line. For a third week in a row Bella Clarke put her best foot forward earning a mention in the bests while Tahlia Holtze plied her trade. With yet another win under their belts the Buffettes will be able to sleep easy with the likes of Tayla Hart-Aluni, Dominque Carbone and Kylie Duggan all working tirelessly and using their skill to have an impact.

2019/20 NTFL Women’s Premier League Preview: Round 13

ROUND 13 of the Northern Territory Football League Women’s (NTFLW) is set to be another big one, headlined with ladder defining clashes. With shock losses and a mid-table log jam the fight for finals is anyone’s game, with the biggest match of the round between Southern Districts and Darwin Buffettes.

Wanderers v. Big River Hawks
Saturday, January 11, 12:30pm
TIO Stadium

The Wanderers will have a spring in their step after clenching a narrow three-point victory last round and will aim to repeat those winning ways once again in Round 13. It has been a testing season for the newly inducted Big River Hawks who are yet to register a win but coming off an extended break they could be refreshed and looking for their first victory. The Wanderers have been relatively accurate in front of goal and will want to make the Hawks pay to get a percentage boost and set themselves up for the finals. Lucille Motlop is one to watch for the Wanderers given her goal nous and ability to get loose in the forward 50. She is coming off a two-goal performance last week while the likes of Tishara Davern is no stranger to the scoreboard making her another option in front of goals. Shekeine De Satge is an exciting player able to win the ball for the Wanderers while for the Hawks they will be looking to Crystal Browne to lead the way.

Pint v. Nightcliff
Saturday, January 11, 4:00pm
MCG

Expect a close battle between sixth placed Nightcliff and seventh placed Pint with their closeness on the ladder making for an exciting contest. A shot at finals is not out of the question yet with both sides sitting two and three games respectively out of fourth spot, meaning a win here could give them the boost they are after. Nightcliff are coming off a surprise win against first-placed Waratah, making a point to the rest of the competition that their best is good enough against the top echelon of teams. Nightcliff capitalised on their opportunities in front of goal and must do the same this round to continue their fight for finals. Mickayla Ward was a saving grace up forward last round and given her ability to find the goals could quite easily repeat her feats against Pint. Another few key contributors for Nightcliff are Eliza Morrison and Emma-Lou Wolsey who are both renowned for their ability to cause havoc across the field. Pint were well beaten last round and will have to bring their A-game to get over a red hot Nightcliff. Emma Greaves and Erin Hetherington have been nothing but consistent for Pint, time and time again working tirelessly to win the ball and create half chances.

Waratah v. St Mary’s
Saturday, January 11, 4:30pm
TIO Oval

After a shock loss last round the top of the table Waratah will be seeking redemption. The ‘Tahs were kept to a mere 15 points, something they would not be used to considering how prolific they normally are and will want to make amends given finals are around the corner. On the other hand, St Mary’s will see it as an opportunity to strike especially if they can replicate the same pressure and game plan. The last time these two sides met Waratah reigned supreme with a 45-point thumping that was marred by inaccuracy, with the ‘Tahs registering 12 behinds. Although a lot has changed since Round 4, with both sides developing and becoming more cohesive expect Waratah to bounce back from their loss and establish their dominance once again. In her first game for the season Timaya Cunningham proved to be filled with plenty of talent bagging two goals while teammate Isabella Rapson-Staropoli also made her presence felt being named in the best for the third consecutive week. Alysha Healy has also enjoyed a purple patch for Waratah. St Mary’s will look to their usual suspects in Aaliyah Bailey and Chinette Suapero to lead the way.

Tracy Village v. Palmerston Magpies
Sunday, January 12, 4:00pm
Tracy Village

The Palmerston Magpies flexed their muscles last week with a 20-point victory. The win allowed them to hold onto third spot and stay in the hunt for second spot only missing out by percentage. Tracy Village did not take the field in Round 12 thanks to a forfeit. It will be a big effort for the ninth placed side to compete with the Magpies who are humming at the moment. The Magpies have a plethora of options up forward with the likes of Freda Puruntatameri owning inside 50 last round with three goals while Arthurina Moreen also added to the scoreboard with two majors. If both players can replicate their Round 12 form Tracy Village could be in for a tough outing. In recent weeks Natasha Medbury and Billie Byers have plied their trade across the ground winning the ball and hitting the scoreboard making them a dangerous duo. Keep an eye out for Alexandra Biggs and Bonnie McDougall for Tracy Village who have plenty have tricks up their sleeves.

Darwin Buffettes v. Southern Districts
Sunday, January 12, 5:00pm
TIO Stadium

It will be a tantalising battle between second and fourth placed Darwin Buffettes and Southern Districts in the final match of the round with neither side willing to give an inch. Southern District are coming off a 56 point win and will be riding a wave of confidence, ready to dismiss their opponents in style. They shared the goal scoring load around and if given the chance against the Buffettes will do the same. If forward, Ebony Miller can get off to a dominant start it will go a long way in setting up a potential win. Miller booted four goals last week with Grace Mulvahil also getting in on the action for Southern District. Youngster Mattea Breed made her presence felt while April Lewis and Keeley Waterbury also contributed to the scoreboard proving they have plenty of options. The Buffettes will be seeking revenge after going down to the Magpies last round making for an intense match with ladder position ultimately riding on this result. Young-gun Tayla Hart-Aluni has been a sensation, scoring goals and running freely. Teammates Leashay Warbuton-Richards, Meredith Turner and Dominique Carbone have also been solid contributors for the Buffettes. If the trio can have an impact early it will go a long way in setting up a win.

NTFL Women’s 2019/20 wrap: Round 12

IN the first game back after the Christmas break there was plenty on the line ,with prime ladder position and reputation all up for grabs. Round 12 of the Northern Territory Football League Women’s (NTFLW) was filled with close games and a few blowouts with the biggest surprise Waratah’s loss to the sixth placed Nightcliff. Meanwhile, Big River Hawks forfeited their game against Tracy Village and the Wanderers prevailed in a tight encounter.

PALMERSTON MAGPIES 4.3 | 4.4 | 6.6 | 8.6 (54)
DARWIN BUFFETTES 0.0 |1.2 | 3.3 | 5.4 (34)

GOALS:
Magpies: F. Puruntatameri 3, A. Moreen 2, K. Whittaker, N. Medbury, J. Brock
Buffettes: L. Warburton-Richards, L. Adam, M. Turner, T. Hart-Aluni, B. Scrymgour

BESTS:
Magpies: N. Medbury, B. Byers, K. White, I. Ronberg, A. Moreen, F. Puruntatameri
Buffettes: M. Turner, L. Adam, D. Carbone, K. Duggan, T. Hart-Aluni

The round kicked off on Friday night with only 20 points separating both sides at the final siren. Unfortunately for the Buffettes the damage was all but done in the first quarter, with the Magpies going on a scoring spree to open up a 27-point lead. The Buffettes failed to register a score in the first quarter thanks to the intense defensive pressure applied by the Magpies, while the Pies continued to hit the scoreboard with every opportunity that came their way. With a handy lead they were hard to catch, forcing the Buffettes to play catch-up – a game style they simply could not maintain. Freda Puruntatameri was electric in front of goals nailing three majors to help establish a nice buffer for her side while Arthurina Moreen also contributed to the scoresheet with two goals of her own in the Magpies victory. Natasha Medbury also found the big sticks along with plenty of ball across the field while teammate Kaeleisha White made no mistake fighting hard to win the footy and dispose of it cleanly. For the Buffettes, youngster Tayla Hart-Aluni kept her hot form running with another strong showing, nailing a goal and proving she is not afraid to get in on the action. Although Dominique Carbone did not find the goals like the previous round she still found plenty of the ball, instead helping to set up plays across the ground while Lucy Adam and Meredith Turner hit the scoreboard instead.

ST MARY’S 2.3 | 3.3 | 5.4 | 5.6 (36)
WANDERERS 2.1 | 6.1 | 6.1 | 6.3 (39)

GOALS:
St Mary’s: N/A
Wanderers: L. Motlop 2, T. Davern 2, P. Koulakis, S. De Satge

BESTS:
St Mary’s: N/A
Wanderers: T. Davern, G. Halkitis, S. De Satge, L. Motlop, M. Johnston, P. Koulakis

It came down to a mere three points with St Mary’s falling just short of their sixth win for the season. St Mary’s will be rueing both their inaccuracy and lacklustre second quarter, allowing the Wanderers to pile on four goals to their one. It was close throughout the match with St Mary’s ultimately forced into chase position early on after a disappointing second term. However, the Saints were not going to die wondering, mounting a strong comeback and eventually going down by just the three points. Both sides fought hard to gain ascendancy and most importantly capitalise on their scoring opportunities but it was the Wanderers’ increased accuracy in front of the big sticks that got them over the line. Lucille Motlop was the danger woman for the Wanderers, booting two goals, while Tishara Davern also added another two majors to the total. Both Pierre-Angelique Koulakis and Shekeine De Satge also made their presence felt with one goal apiece to cap off a tight but successful outing for the Wanderers. Aaliyah Bailey was solid as ever, plying her trade across the field and getting involved in the action to keep her side in the contest while Chinette Suapero continued her consistent form for St Mary’s, but it was not enough to give them the boost they needed to clinch the win.

SOUTHERN DISTRICTS 2.2 | 4.6 | 6.10 | 9.12 (66)
PINT 0.1 | 0.2 | 0.4 | 1.4 (10)

GOALS:
Southern District: E. Miller 4, K. Waterbury, G. Stiles, H. Engelhardt, G. Mulvahil, A. Lewis
Pint: N/A

BESTS:
Southern District: G. Mulvahil, K. Waterbury, L. Jeffrey, A. Lewis, M. Breed
Pint: N/A

It was another dominant performance from Southern Districts to limit Pint to only 10 points, proving that the Christmas break did no harm to their game play and intensity. The Crocs were on from the first whistle of the game, coming out with a point to prove and scoring prowess to boot but suffered from inaccuracy registering 12 behinds. Although they ran out with a 56 point victory they really could have romped it home if it was not for the missed chances in front of goal, something they will want to tidy up with finals fast approaching. Pint scored their only goal in the final term of the game thanks to the hard work and strong defensive structure of Southern Districts. Goal scoring machine Ebony Miller added to her growing tally booting another four majors in the clash with five other teammates hitting the scoreboard. Grace Mulvahill was clean across the ground using her spatial awareness to have an impact while also showing her goal sense to bag a goal herself. Mattea Breed was a key contributor once again in the win, using her ball smarts and vision to have an impact while Keeley Waterbury left her mark both on the scoresheet and on stats sheet. Emma Greaves and Cara Evans worked tirelessly to try and create some type of forward thrust for Pint but it was often to no avail.

NIGHTCLIFF 1.2 | 2.4 | 3.6 | 4.6 (30)
WARATAH 0.0 | 1.1 | 1.2 | 2.3 (15)

GOALS:
Nightcliff: M. Ward 2, E. Morrison, J. Steppacher
Waratah: T. Cunningham 2

BESTS:
Nightcliff: E. Wolsey, E. Morrison, S. Hatzismalis
Waratah: M. Cooper, L. Roberts, P. Cox, A. Healy, I. Rapson-Staropoli

Nightcliff pulled off one of the biggest shocks of the round, downing the first placed Waratah in convincing fashion. This is only the second loss of the season for Waratah who struggled to find their normal momentum and scoring prowess, making for an enthralling battle between the two sides. Nightcliff took an early lead and did not look back, steadily building on their lead and proving that their best can match it with anyone in the competition. They all but doubled their opponents’ score by the final siren, showcasing their ability to close out games and score at a steady pace albeit with slight inaccuracy. The margin really started to open up in the third quarter before Waratah fought back but ultimately could not do enough to reduce the margin significantly. In her first game of the season Timaya Cunningham was a shining light for the ‘Tahs, nailing her side’s only two goals and showcasing her talent. Isabella Rapson-Staropoli continued her hot form, named in the bests for the third consecutive week and highlighting her ball winning ability and skill. For Nightcliff, Mikayla Ward was up to her usual tricks in front of goal nailing two majors and causing headaches for her defensive opposition. Eliza Morrison made an impact on the scoreboard with a goal while also doing her fair share of damage across the ground alongside Emma-Lou Wolsey and Sophie Hatzismalis.

2019/20 AFLW off-season review: Richmond

THE Richmond Tigers are one of the four expansion teams set to join the AFLW in 2020 and will be looking to make a splash after recruiting some key players who they can build an exciting framework around for years to come. They boast a mix of experience and youth but most importantly have that unpredictable edge that many teams will be looking to combat.

With the likes of marquee forwards Sabrina Frederick and Katie Brennan both set to pull on the yellow and black in 2020 expect plenty of excitement with the two able to hit the scoreboard and lead up at the footy time and time again. Frederick can switch into the ruck when needed, while Brennan is known for her silky movement and conversion rate in front of goal. Youngster Monique Conti also made the switch from the Western Bulldogs over the off-season and will be hoping to bring her signature game play to her new club. Christina Bernardi will suit up for her third club having played with Collingwood and GWS making her a handy inclusion in the side. Bernardi adds a touch of class across the ground and paired with a host of ‘A’ listers Richmond could be in good stead for a 2020 grand final push. Iilish Ross defected from Collingwood to Richmond with the 20-year-old set to have an impact in her new colours after building throughout the 2019 season, meanwhile Maddy Brancatisano also switched jumpers.

2020 AFLW Team List:

Laura Bailey
Christina Bernardi
Maddy Brancatisano
Katie Brennan
Hannah Burchell
Nekaela Butler
Grace Campbell
Monique Conti
Kate Dempsey
Alice Edmonds
Ciara Fitzgerald
Sabrina Frederick
Emily Harley
Emma Horne
Kodi Jacques
Akec Makur Chuot
Laura McClelland
Rebecca Miller
Sophie Molan
Phoebe Monahan
Iilish Ross
Sarah Sansonetti
Cleo Saxon-Jones
Tayla Stahl
Lauren Tesoriero
Courtney Wakefield
Holly Whitford
Ella Wood
Alana Woodward

Rookie: Gabby Seymour

Potential 2020 side:

B: Laura McClelland – Laura Bailey –  Rebecca Miller
HB: Phoebe Monahan – Iilish Ross – Akec Makur Chuot
C: Monique Conti
HF: Christina Bernardi – Katie Brennan – Maddy Brancatisano
F:  Holly Whitford – Sabrina Frederick – Tayla Stahl
R: Gabby Seymour* – Hannah Burchell – Kate Dempsey
INT: Courtney Wakefield – Sophie Molan – Alice Edmonds – Grace Campbell – Kodi Jacques
EMG: Ella Wood – Cleo-Saxon-Jones – Sarah Sansonetti

DEPTH: Nekaela Butler, Ciara Fitzgerald, Emily Harley, Emma Horne, Lauren Tesoriero, Alana Woodward

The Tigers pre-listed Laura Bailey and Kate Dempsey who already had strong connections to the club thanks to playing with them in their VFLW side. Dempsey was a standout for Richmond throughout her time in the VFLW consistently displaying her elite foot-skills and will be a handy inclusion looking ahead to next year. They were not the only ones pre-listed to Richmond with Alana Woodward snatched up and Grace Egan making her way onto the list making for a pretty stacked line-up.

The Tigers also picked up some young draftees in the likes of Sophie Molan who became the clubs first AFLW draftee. Expect the talented midfielder to push for selection come Round 1 renowned for her classy on-field work and strong leadership. She has experience against the bigger bodies having played with the Dogs in the VFLW so knows what it takes to combat the more elite players. Other draftees such as GWV Rebels teammate Ella Wood will also pull on the yellow and black in 2020. Hailing from the Eastern Ranges, Laura McClelland will be another star of the future for Richmond and will give the side something to build upon such is her talent. Northern Knights product Sarah Sansonetti will be a valued addition to the side in the back half with the dashing defender not afraid to take the game on and go for a bounce while NAB League teammate Ciara Fitzgerald was also drafted to Richmond. Although she may not be ready for Round 1 given the Tigers’ strength in attack, Cleo Saxon-Jones is definitely a player with plenty of potential and raw talent who can take a strong mark when needed and will feature at some stage during the season.

2019/20 NTFL Women’s Premier League preview: Round 9 – Darwin looks to bounce back

WARATAH will be looking to extend their reign at top of the ladder with another strong performance while the Southern Districts will be wanting to keep in touch with the top four. It has been a trying season for the Big River Hawks who are yet to register a win but if they can muster up enough will power could give the seventh placed Nightcliff a run for their money.

Big River Hawks v. Nightcliff
30/11/19 – Round 9
2:30pm
Katherine Oval

Nightcliff will look to go for two wins in a row this round when it takes on the winless Big River Hawks. The side will be brimming with confidence after beating Southern Districts in a close encounter in Round 8 so are sure to go in hard to every contest this week to take their winning tally to five and hopefully move up the ladder in the process. For the Hawks, one thing they will have going for them is Nightcliff’s form in recent seasons, with consistency a real issue for the Tigers despite their good form to start the season. Youngster Shantel Miskin-Ripia has been in stellar form lighting up the field with her daring style of play for Nightcliff. Miskin-Ripia has been named in the “bests” for the past three weeks highlighting her dominance while teammate Michaela Ward is renowned for her ability to hit the scoreboard. Jade De Melo made a splash in her first game for the season and will be hoping to continue that form while River Hawks duo Sam Clarke and Zainab Mohamud have lifted their load in the past couple of matches.

Pint v. Darwin Buffettes
30/11/19 – Round 9
4:00pm
MCG

Darwin Buffettes will look to bounce back from a rough few weeks on the track, losing to Wanderers and Waratah in successive rounds to lose their undefeated status and top spot on the ladder. Two consecutive two-point losses are sure to spur the side into action, meaning Pint – who had a massive 159-point victory last round – will need to be at their best to get over the line against a tough Buffettes outfit. Pint have had some real shaky form in recent weeks, sitting in sixth with four wins from eight rounds but have a dominant percentage that could see them rocket up the ladder with a good week on the field. Coming off a bag of six goals last week expect Casey Morris to be the go to girl in the forward 50 with her uncanny ability to find the sticks while Jasmyn Hewett can find the ball and hit the scoreboard if given time and space. The Darwin Buffettes will be looking to right their wrongs of last week with the likes of Kylie Duggan and Bianca Stokes hoping to lead the way.

Waratah v. Tracy Village
30/11/19 – Round 9
5:00pm
TIO Oval 2

Waratah will look for a confidence boosting win this week when they take on Tracy Village, with the Razorbacks only having won one match for the season thus far, a close victory over cellar dwellers, Hawks. Tracy Village will need to limit Waratah’s scoring ability, with the side able to pepper the goal posts thanks to a number of players who can impact well in front of goal. For Waratah, the side once again had issues with inaccuracy last round so will need to tighten up inside 50. Joanna Kolodziej had a strong performance last week able to hit the scoreboard and have an influence across the board with her ball winning abilities while Gemma Cusack is a scoring machine and can cause a muck in the forward half. For Tracy Village, Alexandra Briggs, Gabrielle Young and Tara Everett can all band together to form a dominant trio.

Southern Districts v. St Mary’s
30/11/19 – Round 9
5:00pm
TIO Stadium

Southern Districts will look to bounce back this week after a difficult loss last round, and will certainly have a confidence boost when they take on a St Mary’s side that only put one behind on the board last round. The Saints have had an up and down season so far, unable to string multiple wins along but having some good patches along the way, making this a key match to put some goals on the board and bring back some consistency. The Southern Districts have host a key players in front of goal with the likes of Kelsey Patterson and Ebony Miller all getting on the board while first gamer Lucy Murray will be striving to keep up the good work after nailing her first goal last round. For St Mary’s Sharna Edwards has been nothing but consistent playing all eight games this season while Danielle Ponter knows how to cause an impact and will be hoping to bring some magic to the game to worry the opposition. Aaliyah Bailey is a handy player inside 50 given her scoring ability so except St Mary’s to look for her when pushing into the forward half.

Palmerston Magpies v. Wanderers
30/11/19 – Round 9
7:00pm
Palmerston Oval

Both the Magpies and Wanderers are coming off wins making this an interesting clash between the top four sides. Palmerston well and truly dismantled their opponent last round and will be looking to replicate that dominance heading into this match-up while the Wanderers will have plenty of confidence after coming from behind to clench victory. After a dominant performance in front of goal last round for the Wanderers, Shekeine De Satge will be wanting to influence the scoreboard once again if they are any chance to win. Maria Billias and Sophia Mauboy have also been key in recent weeks for the Wanderers and if can get on the board early will help to set the tone for the game. On the other hand the Magpies are not short of star-power in front of goal after nailing 16 goals last round with Arthurina Moreen and Jessica Stassi both scoring four majors apiece meaning if they can get loose in the forward 50 again they can do some serious damage. Iesha Ronberg has also been in hot form in recent weeks being named in the bests for the past three weeks.

2019/20 NTFL Women’s Premier League wrap: Round 8 – Thrillers and blow outs and not much inbetween

ROUND 8 of the Northern Territory Football League Women’s (NTFLW) was a mixed bag of results with some matches extremely close and others big blowouts highlighting the extreme level of difference within the competition.

SOUTHERN DISTRICTS 1.3 | 2.5 | 3.5 | 3.8 (26)
NIGHTCLIFF 0.1 | 2.2 | 3.5 | 4.4 (28)

GOALS
Southern Districts:
L. Murray, K. Patterson, E. Miller
Nightcliff: M. Ward 2, J. Anyon-Smith, S. Politis

BEST
Southern Districts:
N/A
Nightcliff: J. de Melo, S. Miskin-Ripia, M. Ward

After a slow start Nightcliff built its way back into the game to run out victors by two points in what was an upset win. They did not let a goalless first quarter dictate their match working hard in the second to have four shots on goal and limit the higher placed Southern Districts to three drawing within in three points at half time. Nightcliff kept plying its trade in the third before putting the nail in the coffin in the final term to notch up their fifth win of the season. It was a tight battle between the two sides with neither willing to give an inch but inaccuracy ultimately cost District. Mickayla Ward did plenty of damage on the scoreboard with two goals highlighting her impressive goal nous while teammates Jacqueline Anyon-Smith and Sophia Politis added to the match winning total. Youngster Shantel Miskin-Ripia left her mark on the game with her signature run and carry a real feature of her game while Jade De Melo was also recognised in the bests for her efforts throughout the match. Southern Districts also had a handful of key players that set the tone for its side with the likes of Kelsey Patterson converting a major along with the likes of Ebony Miller who had a quiet game in comparison to her 10 goal haul last week. In her first game of the season Lucy Murray did not muck around nailing a goal to keep her side in touch of their opponents but it was not enough to get them over the line.

WARATAH 1.5 | 2.5 | 3.6 | 4.10 (34)
DARWIN BUFFETTES 0.1 | 2.2 | 3.3 | 5.3 (33)

GOALS
Waratahs:
G. Cusack, J. Kolodziej, J. Singh, L. O’Shea.
Darwin Buffettes: N/A.

BEST
Waratahs:
G. Cusack, J. Kolodziej, C. Fabris, R. Pryer, I. Rapson-Staropoli
Darwin Buffettes: N/A

The second game of the round resulted in another nail-biter with the margin coming down to a mere one point in favour of the Waratahs. The ‘Tahs skipped out to an early lead in the first quarter but were plagued with inaccuracy unable to capitalise on their opportunities in front of goal. The Buffettes came out with a point to prove in the second term piling on two goals to reduce the margin to three points heading into the main break. The deficit remained three points up into the third before missed chances by Waratah in the last quarter almost handed their opponents the game, scoring 1.4 compared to the Buffettes straight two goals. The goal scoring was evenly spread across Waratahs with Gemma Cusack maintaining her recent consistency in front of goal making it three consecutive weeks in which she has scored a major. Jenna Singh, Joanna Kolodziej and Lauren O’Shea rounded out the goal scorers while teammate Isabella Rapson-Staropoli was influential across the ground.

PINT 7.5 | 12.8 | 17.14 | 23.21 (159)
BIG RIVER HAWKS 0.0 | 0.0 | 0.0 | 0.0 (0)

GOALS
Pint:
C. Morris 6, J. Baumer 3, J. Hewett 3, E. Ryan 3, K. Smits 2, R. Fecht, E. Markussen, J. Downey, C. Evans.
Big River Hawks: N/A.

BEST
Pint:
N/A
Big River Hawks: S. Clarke, Z. Mohamud, J. Daniels, F. Joshua, C. Browne, C. Delacoeur

It was a complete and utter demolition with Pint simply running rampant for a full four quarters against their last placed opposition. Big River Hawks had no answers for Pint who outclassed them at every turn using their clever ball movement, speed and accuracy to really punish the Hawks. It is fair to say it was game on from the opening bounce with Pint piling on seven goals to set the tone and highlight their intent. They did not let up throughout the match not conceding a single point credit to their extreme defensive pressure paired with their attacking prowess. Casey Morris caused havoc in the forward half with her six goals while Ellie Ryan, Jasmyn Hewett and Jessie Baumer contributed three goals apiece to add further pain to the already struggling Hawks side. Kristen Smits clearly did not want to miss out on the goal scoring action with two majors of her own while an additional four players got on the scoreboard. Despite things not going their way throughout the match Sam Clarke, Zainab Mohamud and Johanna Daniels worked gallantly to try and give their side a fighting chance.

PALMERSTON MAGPIES 7.4 | 11.9 | 12.10 | 16. 14 (110)
ST MARY’S 0.0 | 0.0 | 0.1 | 0.1 (1)

GOALS:
Palmerston Magpies:
A. Moreen 4, J. Stassi 4, N. Medbury 2, I. Ronberg, W. Barlow, J. Brock, B. Byera.
St Marys: N/A.

BEST:
Palmerston Magpies:
A. Moreen, B. Byers, J. Baird, I. Ronberg, M. Singh, G. Garling
St Mary’s: N/A

Despite scores drying up in the third term, the Palmerston Magpies had things all their own way for much of the match thanks to a dominant start to the game. The Magpies kept St Mary’s scoreless in the first half thanks to their intense pressure and own goal scoring ability to simply deny their opponents any opportunity to push forward. Palmerston showed why they are in the top four claiming their fifth win of the season sitting on equal points with the Wanderers meaning the percentage boost could not have come at a better time. Arthurina Moreen and Jessica Stassi led the way in attack for the Magpies nailing four goals apiece with the duo proving to be a real thorn in their oppositions side. Natasha Medbury, Iesha Ronberg, Billie Byers, Jessie Brock and Wynona Barlow could not be denied in front of goal adding to the total. Unfortunately, the same could not be said for St Mary’s who failed to trouble the scoreboard.

TRACY VILLAGE 1.0 | 3.1 | 3.2 | 3.3 (21)
WANDERERS 1.2 | 1.3 | 3.3 | 6.6 (42)

GOALS
Tracy Village: N/A.
Wanderers: S. De Satge 2, M. Billias, P. Koulakis, T. Bush, K. White.

BEST
Tracy Village: N/A
Wanderers: M. Johnston, T. Davern, S. Mauboy, S. De Satge, M. Billias, L. Motlop

A mere two points separated the ninth placed Tracy Village and fourth placed Wanderers at quarter time before the tables quickly turned. Tracy took control of the game to make the most of their opportunities and open up a handy lead heading into half time. But the Wanderers refused to back down, kicking it up a gear to get the game back on their terms and eventually run out 21 point victors thanks to a final quarter blitz. Shekeine De Stage threw her weight around in the forward half to boot two majors while Maria Billias made no mistake in front of goal nailing one goal for the game. Sophia Mauboy featured in the bests for the second consecutive week along with Morgan Johnston who made her presence felt on the footy field with her damaging style of play. In her second game of the round Karita White continued her merry goal scoring way, with another major to help get her side over the line.

Theodore hoping to emulate Prespakis’ journey to AFLW

CALDER Cannons product, Felicity Theodore proved to be a lynchpin in defence using her nimbleness and speed to evade players and burst away from the pack time and time again. Signed with Essendon VFLW, Theodore aspires to follow the same path of those before her in particular, NAB Rising Star Maddy Prespakis who introduced her to the sport.

“I got into footy through Maddy Prespakis who plays for Carlton. She actually pulled me over one training session and was like ‘come to training’ so that’s how I started,” she said.

Prespakis had a continued influence on Theodore, captaining her last season and leading from the front both on the footy field and off the park.

“I hope to follow Maddy’s footsteps and get drafted but I’m just at the moment hoping to have a really good season and enjoy myself,” she said.

The Rising Star proved to be an inspiration for Theodore who credited her effort on the field and sheer class while also highlighting her importance at the Cannons throughout their time together.

“It was amazing, every game she just gave 120 per cent and it was so inspiring to see,” she said.

The nippy defender worked tirelessly throughout the year securing a spot in the National Championships with Vic Metro credit to her gut running, versatility and ability to break lines and while she has a spot with Essendon’s VFLW side is aware of elements she must improve.

“Definitely my quick kicks so like just getting kicks and really trying to hit up a target,” she said.

She relished the new opportunities throughout the 2019 season, taking the younger players under her wing and capitalising on her chances to impact across the ground.

“I’m just looking forward to this season as a whole and being able to play with my teammates, the coaching staff that are amazing and just to improve my game,” she said at the NAB League Fitness Testing Day earlier this year.

Theodore’s move from the attacking 50 to defence paid dividends with the talented small making the Vic Metro side. In the NAB League Girls competition, Theodore averaged 8.3 disposals, 2.0 tackles and more than a rebound per game, but it is her speed and dare to create options up the field that set her apart. She played a similar role for Vic Metro, running hard for almost identical statistics, and holding her own against the nation’s most talented players.

Then returning to Victoria, Theodore tasted Victorian Football League Women’s (VFLW) experience with Essendon, where she averaged 8.3 disposals and 3.3 tackles, not afraid to throw herself into the contest against stronger bodies. Now with some good form behind her throughout the season across three different levels, Theodore is hoping to join Prespakis in the AFL Women’s.

Late bloomer O’Driscoll eyes elite level

ONLY still new to footy Emma O’Driscoll is taking each moment as it comes and enjoying the ride despite being an overager. O’Driscoll was a late bloomer to the sport and has not put a foot wrong since her inception into the game, steadily developing and posing a dominant threat credit to her skill.

“So I only started playing footy last year, so in Year 12 – which was in 2017 – I went to school country week,” O’Driscoll said. Just a week of football at the school country week and then one of the ‘Deggers’ – Clint Degebrodt came up to me and gave me a state invitation and I thought I’ll go and try out for the state 18s and that summer I did their academy and then made it to the state 18s team last year, and then I made it again this year as an overager so that was really exciting.

The talented footballer is hoping to remain in her home state with the Eagles and Dockers both viable options considering her breakout season and connection to both clubs with the youngster receiving text messages and calls from the rival clubs throughout the WAFL season.

“I think it’s great, I think it just shows that the game is developing so much and obviously it gives us girls in WA a lot more opportunity having two teams to be able to go to,” she said. “I was part of the West Coast Eagles Academy so I was training with those girls and signed girls every Tuesday throughout the season which was great, got feedback from the coaches constantly. “Freo have been the exact same, ringing me, checking up on me if I did get injured and they were always making sure everything was all good and I was looked after which has been amazing. Both clubs were very supportive.”

Despite going for the Eagles her whole life, O’Driscoll is open to the chance of either Western Australia side to pick her up and has been inspired by a host of AFLW players along the journey.

“AFLW is a bit different, I literally support everyone, Tayla Harris is probably my favourite player so there’s a bit of Carlton there but I love the Dockers in the AFLW,” she said. “Kara ‘Juddy’ [Donnellan], she’s the captain of the Dockers, she was my Swan Districts coach at my WAFL club, she’s just been amazing, calls me ‘champ’, will message me all the time. “Checks up on me and we just have that good kind of communication going so I’ll message her if I can’t come to training and things like that, yeah she’s been a really really great help.”

Having spent a large portion of her life playing netball the switch to footy was slightly challenging for the Western Australian with the sport posing a heap of new challenges physically and mentally.

“Most importantly my kicking, was the main thing I got told to work on, fitness-wise it would be the 2km, I haven’t been used to running that long distance you know, I’ve had a 30m court that I’ve had to run on instead of a big oval so they were the main things and feedback that I got back from the coaches,” she said.

Aware of her areas of improvement O’Driscoll has toiled away to address the issues in her game play to further develop her skills and become a commanding figure on the footy field.

“I definitely think I have been working harder this year, I think because last year was my first season I was kind of settling in and getting to know everyone whereas this year I know the game a lot better so being able to implement those things at training was a lot easier for me to do and I was more familiar with the coaches,” she said. “I think I am fitter, in terms of my 2km I’ve cut my time down which was one of my major goals, not comparing myself to other people and just trying to work on my own 2km time trial so that was good. In terms of kicking I’m getting there, slowly, but I think by having more exposure to the game I’ll be able to improve that a lot more.”

Gifted with the opportunity to play for and represent Western Australia, O’Driscoll has loved every moment taking on a leadership role of sorts and injecting herself into the footy culture.

“Oh it’s been amazing, probably one of the best experiences I’ve ever had,” she said. “I think the first year it was a lot different to obviously netball, so coming over and just the footy culture is fantastic and I’ve enjoyed every minute of playing in the State 18s with the girls and I think this year being older in that team has kind of allowed me to have a leadership role which I’ve really enjoyed so yeah it’s been great,” she said.

With the league expanding and the possibility of two clubs vying for her services the 19-year-old’s main aim is to get drafted and put her best foot forward highlighting her hard work and skill across the oval.

“I think I really just want to push myself and show that I have a really good work ethic and I’m willing to work as hard as I can and kind of step up to the level of AFLW,” she said.

Tarrant taking GIANT strides ahead of draft

BRENNA Tarrant is no stranger to the limelight, earning herself a spot in the AFL Women’s Under-18 All-Australian side credit to her impressive season and ball winning ability – but she did not start off playing Australian rules football. Despite encouragement from her father, Tarrant did not follow in her father’s rugby footsteps, instead initially opting for netball and dancing.

“My dad used to play Union, he played first grade Union, and he sort of thought ‘oh, she can go play Union’,” Tarrant said. “I ended up playing netball and dancing and then sort of got into AFL and a lot of kids are going to AFL too because it’s sort of a safe option over the Union and League.”

Hailing from western Sydney, Tarrant was immersed in a heavy NRL (National Rugby League) and rugby union culture with only a handful of girls opting to pick up the footy. But that tune is slowly changing with more girls making the switch to Aussie rules.

“A lot of parents are cautious about ‘oh, I don’t want my child to get hurt, don’t want them to be injured’,” Tarrant said. “I think we still cop a lot of it, especially living in that Penrith area because that’s a really big Union/League area with the Penrith Panthers being so close, so I cop it a bit at school, so there is a bit of it around – a lot of that NRL sort of competitiveness. But it is coming through a lot, it’s been really good to see that rise in AFL,” she said.

Tarrant’s love for footy runs deep with this year marking her fifth season in the system after starting her journey with her local side Penrith-Emu Plaines at the bottom of the Blue Mountains.

“Played there in their inaugural team, played against one other club just for that season and then played with them in the first Western Sydney Under 15s team,” she said. “Then got onto the Under 15s New South Wales school team, came through the Rams team for the past three years now alongside some of the other stronger girls.”

Her development has seen her earn a spot in the Eastern Allies side with Tarrant enjoying the opportunity to play against some of the elite up and coming talent and hone her own craft on the footy field.

“It’s been phenomenal,” Tarrant said. “It’s definitely boosted my skills, playing alongside Tasmania and playing against Tasmania, all the coaching, it’s just been the best learning experience and playing with the best from two different states has definitely improved my skills and the skills of everyone else because we’re so united and we (bonded) really quickly as well.”

Having spent a large chunk of time playing in the defence end for netball, Tarrant has been able to transfer some of her skills onto the footy field, labelling marking as one of her strengths.

“I like to think that I’m a good marking target,” Tarrant said. “I used to do quite a bit of netball as a defensive player, I’ve only just started playing forward lately so I’ve worked a lot on my marking and getting down cleanly off the ground and that’s sort of a few good strengths of mine. “I like to think I’m a good tackler as well, run and carry is still one to work on, marking and (those) clean skills.”

Growing up in New South Wales, the 17-year-old models a lot of her play off the likes of Swans forward Isaac Heeney while also drawing inspiration from Christian Petracca and AFL Women’s player Alyce Parker.

“I played with Alyce for the last two years in Rams and Allies and she’s led the team really well, she’s been strong and her skills are really good too,” Tarrant said. “I just sort of looked up to her leadership and her skills.”

Tarrant seemed unfazed by the travel despite having to journey around the state to get to training and games.

“I have had to travel 45 minutes to get to training and then I’m sort of training on with the Giants’ team – that’s a bit of a trek out to Homebush from where I am. It is a little bit of a drive but it’s definitely not as far as some of the other girls who have to travel three-plus hours to get to training,” she said.

With commitments to the GIANTS, the defender is kept quite busy managing training schedules and is loving the opportunity to be surrounded by AFLW players.

“So a lot of them like Alicia Eva, Parker, Louise Stephenson are all around that training and they really get around all us new girls who have been invited into it. So we get a lot of help, encouragement and support from those girls and they really have helped us improve our skills,” Tarrant said.

Eva has had a huge influence on Tarrant given her coaching role as well as on-field impact, helping to guide her through the stages and further enhance her skills.

“She still takes on that coaching role even when she’s training because she’s the vice-captain, she sort of has to take on that coaching role,” she said.

But like many aspiring footballers the the ultimate goal for Tarrant is to get drafted and play at the elite level whether it be in her home state or elsewhere.

“Getting drafted and playing for the GIANTS or any team would be probably my main goal,” she said.