Category: Western Australia

State Leagues wrap: Contenders appear after two rounds

STATE League football continued across the country on the weekend, with plenty of teams recording back-to-back wins, while others look for improvement across the board following a disappointing first week. We take a look at the action in the QAFL, SANFL, TSL and WAFL across Round 2.

QUEENSLAND:

By: Peter Williams

A couple of massive wins to sides – including a triple-figure thumping – saw plenty of goals kicked in what was effectively a very one-side round in the QAFL. Aside from one 14-point differential, the other four games were between 32 and 100 points. The largest of them all was Maroochydore’s 25.18 (168) to 10.8 (68) shellacking of Wilston Grange. The Gorillas were coming off a first round one-point win over newcomers Noosa Tigers, but ran into an unstoppable force in the Roos.

Maroochydore piled on a whopping 12.12 to 3.1 by half-time, and booted six goals in each of the first three quarters, and seven in the final term for 43 scoring shots to 18. After narrowly missing out on the leading goalkicker award last year, Maroochydore’s Mitchell Scholard wasted no time getting some runs on the board with 11 majors, kicking more goals than the entire opposition side. Lochie Laing booted four snags, while Lachlan Robinson and Josh Govan were also impressive for the winners. Hugh Fidler managed three majors for Wilston Grange, while Harry Wilson and Mitchell Crawley were steadfast in defeat.

League newcomers Redland-Victoria Park also wasted no time asserting themselves on the competition with a high-scoring 58-point win over 2019 QAFL premiers Surfers Paradise. In the combined highest scoring match of Round 2, the Sharks won 24.10 (154) to 15.6 (96). Twenty two players hit the scoreboard in the match, with Josh Brown and Harrison Kerr snagging four goals apiece for the winners, while Thompson Smith‘s three majors were the most of any player on the losing side. Matthew Walters (Redland-Victoria Point) and Jack Prestegar (Surfers Paradise) were named the top players for their respective sides.

Reigning premiers Morningside also kicked off their season in style with a 43-point triumph over Palm Beach Currumbin. Rising star talent Nathan Colenso slotted five majors in the win, with Sam Godfrey (one) and Liam Dwyer (two) also among the best for the Panthers. Nick Crowley and Frazer Eaton both kicked a couple of goals for the Lions, as Corey Joyce was named best-on for the home side.

The result sets up a tantalising grand final rematch next week after Connor Nutting (five goals) and Jordan Moncrieff (four) put Labrador to the sword during Broadbeach’s 15.7 (97) to 9.11 (65) win. Trailing by 10 points at quarter time, the Cats piled on 13 goals to six in the final three quarters to get the win, with Tyrone Armitage and Ryan Gilmore both impressive. Shaydan Close and Blair Rubock both kicked three goals for the Tigers, while Andy Hollis was named the best in a losing side.

In the tightest game of the round, Mt Gravatt held on to run out the stronger side against Sherwood Districts, defeating the Magpies, 12.12 (84) to 9.16 (70). Trailing by a goal at half-time, and then leading by only four points at the final break, the Vultures booted 4.3 to 2.5 in the final term to secure the win. Jonah Licht nailed half a dozen goals in the victory, while Craig Malone and Gavin Grose were among the Vultures’ best. For Sherwood, Kobe Tozer made a successful return from injury the last couple of years to slot three goals for the Magpies, as Luca Winton and Riley Easton were also among the losing team’s top players.

SOUTH AUSTRALIA:

By: Liam Badkin

At Alberton Oval, Port Adelaide pulled off a miraculous comeback against the Bulldogs, kicking 4.6 to 0.0 in the last quarter to run out 17-point victors. Boyd Woodcock led his side with 23 disposals and a goal, while Jarrod Lienert had 23 touches of his own but missed both of his opportunities to put his name in the goalkickers column. Luke Surman kicked 3.2 and led the come from behind victory. Kyle Presbury was the best for the Bulldogs, racking up 36 disposals and nine marks, while Ethan East was dangerous around goal, kicking three.

At Prospect Oval, the North Adelaide Roosters fell to a second quarter surge courtesy of the South Adelaide Panthers, who kicked seven goals to one in the second term, to put the game out of reach. The Roosters battled hard in the second half, but the comeback couldn’t be completed as they were defeated by 11 points. South Adelaide’s Joseph Haines found plenty of the ball, accumulating 28 disposals, while midfielders Joel Cross and Bryce Gibbs combined for 11 clearances. Liam Fitt, Damon Frietag and Eamon Wilkinson kicked two goals each. For the Roosters, Harrison Wigg had 29 disposals, while Jarred Allmond impressed with 27 touches and a goal. William Combe kicked two goals while an inaccurate Aaron Young kicked 1.4 for the day.

Moving to Unley Oval, the Redlegs backed up last week’s win with another, beating Sturt by 21 points in a solid outing. Sturt trailed all game, and while the margin was only four points at half time, the Redlegs did enough to keep their opponents at bay and leave the ground 2-0 after two games. Matthew Nunn and Nikolaus Rokahr finished with 24 disposals each, while Michael Knoll was the main extractor from stoppages, finishing with nine clearances. Dom Barry and Tom Wagner slotted two goals apiece. For Sturt, James Battersby won a game high 25 disposals and was able to hit the scoreboard with a goal in a solid performance, while Ashley Johnson kicked two goals to try and bring his side back into the contest.

Across at ACH Group Stadium, the Glenelg Tigers proved too good for the Woodville West Torrens Eagles, winning by a comfortable 29 points. Inaccurate to start the game, the Eagles punished their opponents, who were left ruing their missed opportunities. A second half told a different tale as the Tigers kicked 11 goals to three and would be pleased with their turnaround. Tigers midfielder Matthew Snook was unstoppable in the midfield, finishing with 24 disposals, 12 tackles, 10 clearances and a goal, setting the tone for his teammates. Luke Partington (32 disposals) and Brett Turner (26 disposals and 10 clearances) both found themselves with the ball plenty of times, while Luke Reynolds and Lachie Hosie chimed in three goals each. For the Eagles, Daniel Menzel (three goals) and Dane McFarlane (25 disposals) fought hard.

Hisense Stadium was home to a classic on Saturday afternoon, as the Adelaide Crows scraped past the North Adelaide Bloods by six points in a thriller. With the game tied at three quarter time, both sides were inaccurate, kicking three behinds each, but a James Matthews goal in time on proved to be the match winner. For the Crows, skipper Matthew Wright found plenty of the ball, disposing of it 27 times and combined well with ruckman Kieran Strachan who displayed dominance in the air. Luke Pedlar kicked three goals, all of which proved to be handy. For the Bloods, former Hawthorn player Kieran Lovell dominated through the midfield with 39 disposals and six clearances, while Logan Hill continued to find the ball with 27 touches.

TASMANIA:

By: Liam Badkin

Saturday’s Tasmanian football action saw some big wins across the grounds. Clarence bounced back from last week’s loss to Lauderdale by defeating Glenorchy by 32 points at KGV oval. Coming off the bye last week, Glenorchy found themselves trailing by four goals at the main break. A third quarter fightback saw scores level heading into the final term, but Clarence kicked five goals to none in the last quarter to walk away with their first win of the year. There were a plethora of goal kickers for the victors. Former Brisbane Lions and Essendon player Josh Green and Oliver Preshaw kicked three goals each, while Jacques Barwick chimed in with two. Onballer Baxter Norton was judged best afield for his work through the midfield, while playing coach and former Richmond Tiger Jeromey Webberley was also amongst the best. For Glenorchy, Ben Karamic booted a game high five goals to be his side’s best performer and start his season off in style.

Moving to Kingston’s Twin Ovals, the Tigers took down Lauderdale by 29 points in a convincing win. The Tigers started the game in style, kicking 5.0 to Lauderdale’s 3.1, and the lead only continued to grow. Lauderdale struggled to contain the Tigers, particularly in the second term, and it didn’t help that the Tigers didn’t miss a shot on goal until the third term. For the Tigers, Tyler Carter kicked three goals, while Sam Duigan, Elijah Reardon, Marcus Gardner and Max Collidge all kicked two each, and midfielder Lachlan Clifford was judged best afield. For Lauderdale, Josh Mcguinness kicked four goals and was his side’s best, while Will Poland also impressed in his first game of the year.

In the north of the state, North Launceston bounced back from last week’s disappointing defeat to crush North Hobart by 113 points at UTAS Stadium. Last year’s runners up dominated all day, not allowing their opponents from the south any room to score, while piling on the goals themselves. For the winners, there were 10 individual goal kickers, led by Thomas Bennett’s four goals and Brad Cox-Goodyer’s three. Daniel Withers kicked two of his own and was his side’s best performer. For the Demons, Jack Mcculloch was the lone goal scorer for his side, while Callum Kilpatrick tried all day.

Launceston had the bye.

WESTERN AUSTRALIA:

By: Peter Williams

Subiaco has set the bar high in the early stages of the WAFL season, with an impressive 33-point win over fellow Round 1 winners, East Fremantle. The teams were evenly matched to three quarter time with the Lions leading by just two points, before running away with it in the final term thanks to 5.8 to 1.1 in order to post a 12.14 (86) to 8.5 (53) victory over the Sharks. Leigh Kitchin had a day out with a match-high 28 touches, as well as 10 tackles and six inside 50s, working hard alongside Gregory Clark (21 disposals, five marks, 11 tackles, one goal). Ryan Borchet (three goals) and Harrison Marsh (two) were both prominent in the win. For the Sharks, ball magnet Josh Schoenfeld racked up 27 touches and 10 tackles to go with his 40-plus disposals from last week, while Luke Strnadica dominated the ruck with 48 hitouts and a goal to accompany 23 disposals, five marks and four tackles.

Claremont is hot on Subiaco’s tail after Round 2, accounting for another Round 1 winner in South Fremantle on Saturday. The Tigers won 17.6 (108) to 13.14 (92) in the game of the round. Lachlan Martinis and Jye Bolton combined for 63 disposals and nine tackles, while Jake Patmore (26 disposals, four marks) and Kane Mitchell (25 disposals, eight marks and three goals) were also prominent. Top draft-eligible tall Jacob Van Rooyen had a quieter day out compared to Round 1, managing the seven touches and three marks. Dylan Main (26 disposals, four marks and three tackles) and Haiden Schloithe (24 disposals, five tackles, five inside 50s and a goal) were the most prominent players for the Bulldogs.

After suffering a Round 1 defeat, Peel Thunder completely dismantled East Perth with a 15 goals to three second half, to run away with the 24.10 (154) to 7.7 (49) victory. The Thunder were far too strong in posting the 105-point shellacking, as a combination of past and present AFL talents took control. Fremantle duo, Taylin Duman (30 disposals nine marks and three inside 50s) and Connor Blakely (26 disposals, seven marks and two inside 50s) were both impressive, while ex-Eagle Will Schofield (26 disposals, seven marks, 16 hitouts and a goal) and ex-Bomber Jackson Merrett (25 disposals, seven marks) all stood out. For the Royals, Angus Scott had a day out with 34 touches, four marks, three tackles and six inside 50s, while Jackson Ramsay did all he could in the loss with 28 disposals, 10 tackles and six inside 50s.

West Perth bounced back from a Round 1 loss to easily account for a disappointing West Coast side, piling on nine and 10 goals in the respective first and second halves, as the Eagles only managed the three apiece in those halves. The Falcons dominated possession with four players picking up 30-plus disposals, and only one player having single-digit disposals on their way to a team total of 457 disposals. Aaron Black had a lazy 43 disposals, nine marks and six inside 50s in his 200th WAFL game, joined in the 40-plus club by Trent Manzone (40 disposals, seven marks). Shane Nelson (31 disposals, five marks) and Connor West (30 disposals, six marks) were also massive ball winners, whilst up forward, Tyler Keitel was unstoppable thanks to six goals from 17 touches and nine marks, while Mitchell Antonio snagged four goals from 25 touches and a whopping 15 marks. The Eagles had a couple of players pushing for a recall with Brayden Ainsworth (36 disposals, 10 marks and three inside 50s) the clear best, while Alex Witherden managed the 26 touches, six marks, four tackles and two inside 50s.

In the only game of the round where a Round 1 loser defeated a Round 1 winner, Swan Districts got on the board with a 50-point victory over Perth. While the Bombers kicked 3.6 in the final term to reduce the deficit, the damage was already done in the first three quarters, when the Swans booted 11 goals to three. Ball magnet Sam Fisher had a lazy 41 touches with seven marks, six tackles, seven inside 50s and a goal, teaming up well with fellow ex-Carlton VFL midfielder Frank Anderson (31 disposals, five marks, six tackles and five inside 50s). Nelson Waite (29 disposals, five marks and four tackles) and Aidan Clarke (28 disposals, 14 marks and four inside 50s) were also strong, as Matt Riggio (20 disposals, six tackles, five inside 50s and four goals) was a dominant goalkicker alongside Jesse Palmer (11 disposals, three marks and four goals). For Perth, Chris Masten had the 29 disposals and six marks, while Brady Grey (28 disposals, six marks, seven tackles and eight inside 50s) and Brent Edmonds (25 disposals, eight marks, five inside 50s and a goal) were also consistent despite the loss.

Picture credit: WAFL

Slick West Australian guns zip past Allies

WESTERN Australia claimed its first win of the AFLW Under 19 National Championships on Monday afternoon, defeating the Allies by 33 points at Avalon Airport Oval. The Black Ducks led from the first goal and never looked back, absorbing a good amount of heat during the second term and applying their own scoreboard pressure to win 9.7 (61) to 4.4 (28).

Quick ball movement in transition and even more speedy play inside forward 50 proved the Sandgropers’ main avenue to goal, with the well-drilled unit moving the ball well in some delightful end-to-end passages.

Usual defender Mel Hardy started up forward for Western Australia and snagged the game’s first goal, benefitting from one of her side’s trademark forward surges from defence. Ella Roberts was one to tear the game open with her run-and-carry, which was a prominent feature in the build-up to Tajah Griffiths’ major. It saw Western Australia take a two-goal lead into the first break.

Needing a spark, Cynthia Hamilton kick-started the Allies’ game with a couple of fierce tackling efforts. She booted her side’s opening goal after the second defensive act, slotting a set shot after a 50-metre penalty. After Jessica Doyle soccered the ball home from point-blank range, the Allies were back to within a goal.

But for all their dominance in the second term, the Allies could only break even as Western Australia hit back through Ashleigh Reidy and Sarah Lakay. The 16-point half time buffer was unkind to the Allies, but put Western Australia in the box seat to really take hold.

Having taken their opponents’ best blows on the chin, the Black Ducks broke the contest open with three goals in the third quarter to all-but ice the game. Two of the three came late in the stanza, making it a 33-point lead heading into the last break.

Lakay snapped up a contested mark and slotted her second goal early in the final period to put the result to bed, though the Allies played out until the final siren and added a couple more major scores to their total. Still, they could only break even in the term overall, in the face of WA’s forward firepower.

Courtney Rowley was classy for the winners, while Roberts provided some excitement forward of centre despite being in the wars late on. The spark of Makaela Tuhakaraina was also important among others up forward, while talls Lauren Wakfer and Lakay also shone at either end and through the ruck.

For the Allies, Hamilton was hard at it and collected plenty of the ball playing off a wing and through midfield. She and Doyle were the two standout players, with the latter adding to her promising highlight reel up forward. Claire Ransom was also serviceable alongside goalkicker, Isadora McLeay.

In the next round of action, Western Australia will take on Vic Metro on Thursday, while the Allies prepare to lock horns with South Australia on the same day, with both games to be played at Trevor Barker Oval.

WESTERN AUSTRALIA 2.3 | 4.5 | 7.6 | 9.7 (61)
ALLIES 0.0 | 2.1 | 2.3 | 4.4 (28)

GOALS:

Western Australia: S. Lakay 2, M. Hardy, T. Griffiths, A. Reidy, M. Leitch, A. Wright, C. Reilly, N. Anderson
Allies: C. Hamilton, J. Doyle, A. Bush, I. McLeay

DC BEST:

Western Australia: C. Rowley, E. Roberts, M. Tuhakaraina, L. Wakfer, E. Bennett, B. Mann
Allies: C. Hamilton, C. Doyle, C. Ransom, I. McLeay, M. Hendrie

2021 WAFL Women’s Round 7 preview: Bowen returns to Swans as sides roll out changes after week off

THE West Australian Football League (WAFL) Women’s competition top three teams will have a chance to extend their lead on the bottom three sides when they clash with their counterparts for Round 7 in the competition. Top of the table Swan Districts take on fourth placed East Fremantle, reigning premiers Peel Thunder how Subiaco, and third placed Claremont lock horns with South Fremantle.

In the first game of the round early tomorrow morning South Fremantle will search for its first win of the season up against Claremont, with a number of changes made to the Bulldogs’ outfit since Round 6. Reanne Pickett and Kara Turley come onto the bench, while Sheridan Kowald and Everylyn Burry will lock down the key defence. The in-form Claremont will look to bounce back from a loss after four straight wins, bringing back the likes of Sarah Garstone, Kate Orme and Sasha Goranova in a crucial week of inclusions.

With the state’s top youth in Victoria, it will be up to some of the other young talents in Hunter Cronin and Shakira Pickett (South Fremantle) up against still young experienced talents who have garnered AFL Women’s club interest in the past, in Ella Smith and Jess Low. The Tigers midfield and overall depth should be too much with Rachel Ortlepp and Tess Doumanis up opposite ends among more names able to dictate play, while Lauren Vecchio, Tahlia Holtze and Pia Durk form a strong midfield core.

Peel Thunder return to David Grays Arena tomorrow to try and keep separation on third placed Claremont by taking down Subiaco. The Thunder will of course be without their abundance of youth in Victoria for the AFL Women’s Under 19 Championships, while Subiaco will bring back Lara Filocamo, but lose Maggie Maclachlan as the sides all added extended benches for the match.

The reigning premiers still have more than enough firepower to get by, getting the job done last week, and the forward line containing Kira Phillips, Kate Bartlett and Bailey Molloy, while Tanisha Anderson, Ebony Dowson and Cassie Davidson hold down the defence. For the Lions, Jess Ritchie is a quality ruck to have, was captain Tarnica Golisano, teaming up with Liana Burchell and Lara Filocamo will give the visitors an advantage through the midfield, whilst youngsters Kia Buckley and Jamie Rust are others up forward to watch.

In the final game of the round, East Fremantle will plot to overthrow the previously unbeaten Swan Districts, and have a massive chance to do so with some huge chances. They do lose the likes of Alex Williams, Anjelique Raison, Kahra Sprylan, Evie Gooch and Alli Nokes, but have regained the services of Sharon Wong and Kate Inglis-Hodge onball, Paisley Prentice and Sara Lewis up forward, and Rosie Walsh named at full back upon return for the Sharks.

Swan Districts will be without Mikayla Morrison – though she has been named as an out before and still played – as well as reliable defender-turned-ruck Aimee Ralph. They regain a massive inclusion in West Coast’s Mikayla Bowen who will dictate the midfield for the Swannies now the Eagles’ season is over in the AFL Women’s, and work well with the likes of Jess Cox and Kloe Taylor in there. With tall targets Emily McGuire and Sarah Wielstra up either end and some other youngsters in Jaime Henry and Danielle Wright to look out for, Swan Districts still has plenty of talent.

WAFL WOMEN’S ROUND 7 FIXTURE:

Claremont vs, South Fremantle
Peel Thunder vs. Subiaco
East Fremantle vs. Swan Districts

Image Credit: (Retrieved from) West Coast FC

State Leagues preview: QAFL’s first full round begins as other states go again for Round 2

IN a Draft Central first, we have streamlined a look across the nation with a number of state leagues coming back for Round 2 after a big opening round. Competitions in South Australia, Western Australia, Tasmania and Queensland all take place over the weekend and we preview them all in one convenient preview.

QUEENSLAND:

The full bill of teams will be out in force for Round 2 of the QAFL after last year’s wooden spooners Wilston Grange got the one-point win over newcomers Noosa Tigers last weekend. The Gorillas matched their total wins from last season – albeit from a shorter nine-game season – from just one match, and will host Maroochydore this weekend. The Roos have teenager Ben Thomas on the wing, with key position tall Max McDonald named at half-back. For the Gorillas top-age draft prospect Bae Gallop has been named onball, alongside Kuot Thot (half-forward flank). Ky McKenzie (interchange) and Oscar Stewart (back pocket) are others who are young talents to watch for the home side.

Meanwhile grand finalists Broadbeach will host Labrador in the Cats’ first game of the year, while reigning premiers Morningside will travel to Palm Beach Currumbin for an away game first up. Naturally the Panthers were happy to wait until Round 3 to unfurl the flag against the team they conquered in the 2020 decider. The Cats will have a couple of Suns Academy members who have come through the program in Ryan Pickering and Finn Brown (emergency), while for Labrador, small forward Blair Rubock is back again in the yellow and black, with Bryce Retzlaff to provide a a tall target and crucially, ex-Gold Coast and Brisbane talent Pearce Hanley named onball.

Will Bella is the one to watch for the Lions as they try to take down the reigning premiers in Round 1, as the Gold Coast Suns’ tall has been named in the forward pocket. He will play alongside the likes of Ethan Hunt and Ashton Crossley who have both come through the Northern Academy programs in recent years. For Morningside, Ben McCarthy has been named at half-back and is one to watch from the Brisbane Academy, while Nathan Colenso and Tom Griffiths have come through the Northern Academies in recent years and remain youngsters to keep an eye on.

The 2019 QAFL premiers Surfers Paradise will be eyeing off a much better season in 2021 after just two wins last year, taking on another new team in Redland-Victoria Point. The Demons will hit the road against the Sharks in the clash, whilst the final match of the round will see Sherwood Districts hosting Mt Gravatt. Noosa Tigers will have a bye after the tight Round 1 loss.

Not named as a starter, but young Jaspa Fletcher will be one to watch for Sherwood this season, with Adrian’s son set to create plenty of headaches inside 50. Speaking of headaches inside 50, it is great to see Kobe Tozer returning from injury to be named at full-forward for the black and whites. Up the other end, Conner Bulley has been named in a forward pocket as another teenager in the side, whilst for the Vultures, Lochlan Harrop (half-forward) and Ethan Kerr (back pocket) are a couple of teenagers in the Round 2 team.

Surfers Paradise have players to keep an eye on as they keep developing such as Matthew Green and Myles Jewell returning to the side to take on the Sharks. Redland-Victoria Point is a new side entering the QAFL, though Redland has had its success in the NEWAFL, and ex-Collingwood talent Peter Yagmoor is one to watch on the list, as well as ex-Sherwood player Caleb Franks.

South Australia:

Former Tasmanian State League (TSL) and ex-West Coast Eagle Mitch O’Neill has been named for his South Adelaide debut, coming into the Panthers’ team alongside another former TSL and ex-AFL talent in Fraser Turner. They will beef up the Panthers’ starting team to take on North Adelaide in the SANFL League clash, who celebrate Jarred Allmond‘s 200th game. Top draft prospect will start on the interchange for the Panthers, whilst Dyson Hilder will be at full forward for the Roosters.

Another Tasmanian coming into the league is Hamish Allan, with the ex-North Hobart 20-year-old running out for Sturt this year. He will be amongst the side that features past South Australian representatives at Under 18s level, Tom Lewis, Josh Shute and Jed McEntee among others. Their opponents Norwood will celebrate Cameron Shenton‘s 100 games, but will be without Richard Douglas for the clash due to personal reasons, though a player who has garnered draft interest in recent years in Cole Gerloff returns to the Redlegs.

A trio of teenagers will potentially line-up for the League side with Brady Searle, Cooper Horsnell and Will Chandler all named in the side for their debuts, with ex-Demon Billy Stretch out with an ankle injury. Their opponents Woodville-West Torrens will unveil Canberra Demons’ recruit Mitchell Hardie who comes into the side along with the huge – physical and metaphorical – inclusion of ruck Jarrad Redden.

Teenage talent Bailey Chamberlain has been named for West Adelaide as one of three inclusions up against Adelaide’s reserves side. He joins new recruit Nick Steele as a potential inclusion, with no outs as of yet, and the likes of Josh Gore and Elliot Dunkin as ones who have caught AFL clubs attention in past years. The Crows will include ex-Glenelg onballer Luke Pedlar for the first time, with Daniel Jackson rested from the match.

Meanwhile Port Adelaide will be without Lachie Jones (debut) and Tom Rockliff (concussion) in a couple of massive outs, which gives Central District a big bonus at the selection table, welcoming in former Panther Brett Kennedy alongside ex-Tiger Ben Nason who returns into the team for the clash against the Magpies.

 

TASMANIA:

In Round 2 of the TSL, Glenorchy enter the competition after a Round 1 bye, set to take on a Clarence team coming off a hard-fought seven-point defeat. The Roos took a little too long to get going against an Allen Christensen-inspired Lauderdale outfit, and they will be keen to step it up against the Magpies.

Glenorchy will of course be without legend Jaye Bowden who retired last season, with Matthew Joseph set to be the focal point up forward, whilst youngster Callum Thompson is one to keep an eye on in the match. The Roos lose a shot of young guns due to Tasmania Devils returning to the NAB League with Oliver Davis, Baker Smith, Darcy Gardner and Noah Holmes all out, while ex-Demon Colin Garland has been named at full-forward.

In the Tigers-Lauderdale clash, much has been spoken about the huge impact that Sam Siggins and Nat Franklin had through the midfield with Christensen dominating up forward. The trio will look to have a similar impact when they travel to Kingborough to take on Tigers, who had a young gun stand out in Round 1 with Zach Adams impressing off a wing, whilst Lachlan Gadomski and Riley Ashlin are other young talents.

North Launceston will be without the Sanders brothers in Ollie and Ryley Sanders, as well as Nathan Pearce for the clash against North Hobart, as the Northern Bombers need to find a way to bounce back from a 55-point loss to reigning premiers Launceston. They still have experience in Brad Cox-Goodyer through the middle, but have a new-look side to its recent years. For the Demons. The Demons are coming off a loss themselves, going down to Tigers by 11 points, and will be massively depleted with a ridiculous amount of young talent out of the side including George McLeod and Jye Menzie. It will be up to the next ground of players coming in, with 12 inclusions – including four emergencies – to the Demons side.

WESTERN AUSTRALIA:

East Perth and Peel Thunder will be keen to quickly move on from Round 1 losses as they do battle in Round 2. The Royals will be without Nick Robertson, but still have Jackson Ramsay and Rohan Kerr among the midfielders as former AFL talents. Peel Thunder will bring in a quartet of Fremantle players with Griffin Logue and Liam Henry joining Mitch Crowden and Bailey Banfield in the side, with Sam Sturt‘s five-goal haul enough to earn a recall at the Dockers, as Connor Blakely and Taylin Duman also are out. A non Fremantle-listed talent to watch for is young gun Brodie Lake who is named in the back pocket.

Two teams that picked up wins in Round 1 were Claremont and South Fremantle, with ex-Dockers Jason Carter and Alex Pearce a couple of big inclusions for the Tigers. They have plenty to like about their lineup with Jye Bolton, Kane Mitchell and Jake Patmore among the talented experienced players in there, though Jacob Van Rooyen is the one to watch as a potential Top 10 pic, lining up on ex-Geelong Cat Blake Schlensog who is playing for South Fremantle. The Bulldogs will be without Cam McCarthy for this match, but still have Haiden Schloithe and Matthew Parker, and the exciting Ben Rioli.

A potential matchup between Chris Masten and Lewis Jetta on the team selection sheets is a mouth-watering clash for any West Coast Eagles fan, with the two ex-talents doing battle for Perth and Swan Districts respectively. Jetta might just have the leg speed in that head-to-head, with Sam Fisher, Jesse Palmer and Frank Anderson among the other Swans to keep an eye on. For Perth, ex-Murray and St Kilda talent Doulton Langlands joins ex-Docker Brady Gray and ex-Eagle Brant Colledge in the Perth midfield which will provide some resistance for the clash.

It is early days, but a top of the table clash between Round 1’s big winners in East Fremantle and Subiaco opens the second round with plenty to get excited about. Ex-Docker Hugh Dixon is joined by youngster Finn Gorringe who comes into the Sharks’ League side, while Jonathon Marsh and Dillon O’Reilly make a damaging forward duo. For the Lions, Ben Sokol is a goal-scoring machine, with Lachlan Delahunty starting his year off strong, set to go head-to-head with Josh Schoenfeld in a battle of the leather poisoning talents from the opening weekend.

At the time of publishing, the West Perth and West Coast teams were not out.

Picture credit: Bronia Henty-Smith Photography

2021 AFLW U19 Championships: Six top-agers to watch

THE AFL Women’s Under 19 Championships has got underway with Vic Country and South Australia victorious over Vic Metro and Western Australia respectively in the past fortnight, but now the full week of matches – two match days – takes place in Melbourne. As an additional preview for the tournament, we take a look at a top-ager to keep an eye on from each side. Top-agers are 19-year-old – or turning 19-year-old – prospects who for one reason or another missed out on being drafted last year, and have returned to the junior pathways for another crack at standing out and representing their state.

ALLIES: Jayde Hamilton (North Melbourne VFLW)

The NSW-ACT hard nut received a Draft Combine invitation last year and showed in her bottom-age year at the AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships that she was not afraid to crack in and win the contested ball. Fast forward to 2021, and whilst she missed out on gaining a place on an AFL Women’s list, she has joined her sister Lexi – ex-Gold Coast Suns tall – at North Melbourne in the VFL Women’s. As someone who is good on the inside around the clearances, she will no doubt crack in once again for the Allies.

“I’m very competitive, so I always want to win which is probably bad and good,” Hamilton told Draft Central last year. “But it’s having fun, I think that’s still the main part of enjoying it and every moment on the field.”

 

QUEENSLAND: Keyshia Matenga (Coolangatta Tweed)

The speedy over-age talent is one of a number of Queensland players who have garnered attention over the past 18 months, providing great run and carry throughout the QAFL Women’s competition. A member of grand finalists Coolangatta Tweed last season, Matenga is a player who has the perfect balance of power and speed having come from a touch football and Rugby Sevens background, as well as karate and swimming as a youngster.

“I feel like my speed is more better in that area instead of in the midfield where the ball will just be hit down and I’m quite small as well so I can just be wrapped up,” Matenga said to Draft Central last year. “(I want to work on) just hitting targets more and scooping up the ball through the offensive play or transition play, or transitioning from defence to offence.”

 

SOUTH AUSTRALIA: Jade Halfpenny (Norwood)

South Australia has a ridiculous amount of top-age talent given it just feeds the one club in its state, and the talent overflows into other states for the elite level. Jade Halfpenny is one of a number of talents this season who have gone to another level, adding an inside midfield string to her bow, with the athleticism and contested marking ability she has as a 175cm tall forward. Throw in her remarkable speed and second efforts with her fierce tackling, and she has quite the package that will likely standout at the championships.

“I never thought I’d be able to do what I’ve already done and so if this was as far as I got then I would be happy with that,” Halfpenny told Draft Central. “But to get the furthest I can and maybe if I can have a shot at AFLW would be a dream, but at the end of the day I’m happy with what I’ve done and if that’s as far as I get, then that’s as far as I get.”

 

VIC COUNTRY: Elizabeth Snell (Bendigo Pioneers)

The Bendigo Pioneers midfielder/forward has been one of the most consistent players across the NAB League Girls competition, and has some elite traits that standout at any level. Whilst still working on some areas of her game, Snell’s athleticism – in particular her burst speed and agility – sets her aside from most other midfielders, whilst also having great goal sense when inside 50. She might be a future pressure forward who can roll through the midfield in future years, but Snell is someone who has progressed to be a very important player for both the Pioneers and Vic Country.

“We’ve got two girls from Bendigo who have been training with us quite a lot as well, Elizabeth Snell and Jemma Finning, they’re both 19th-year players with Bendigo,” Essendon VFLW operations manager Charlotte Miller told Draft Central during preseason. “They’re playing in the NAB League season but we’re going to try and get them in games down here as soon as we can. “They’ve been training really well, their attitude is great and they’re bringing everything they can to the sessions.”

 

VIC METRO: Maeve Chaplin (Northern Knights)

A dominant inside midfielder, Chaplin is just a natural ball-winner who can take control on the inside for her side, and also hit the scoreboard. On multiple occasions this season, Chaplin was able to just step up when she was required to do so, and whilst she has copped a couple of knocks this year, has the potential to add to the Vic Metro midfield. A player who will have no issues whatsoever stepping up to the VFL Women’s competition, Chaplin has been outstanding for the Knights and a real driving force at the coalface.

“I definitely tried to use (the lockdown period) to my advantage and I really worked on myself mentally,” Chaplin told Draft Central last year. “It was a big thing for me because I didn’t really have the time like I do now to just focus on myself. “It was a time for me to understand that I really do want to get far in footy and that I am prepared to play at a professional level. “In order to do that I really wanted to mature in those areas.”

 

WESTERN AUSTRALIA: Dana East (Swan Districts)

Of everyone on this list, East stands alone in the sense that 12 months ago she was not playing at the same state level as many of her contemporaries. The now-Swan Districts standout midfielder was dominating for Donnybrook Football Club in the South West Football League. She has since moved due to further studies, and took up the chance to play at Swan Districts, and has starred at the WAFL Women’s level for the unbeaten Swans. Throughout multiple games this season, East has been clean by hand and smooth-moving through the midfield, able to hit the scoreboard as well.

West Australian Female Talent Manager Clint Degebrodt commented throughout a Swans’ game earlier in the season that East worked so hard during the off-season that the State Academy coaches could barely hold her back, and it is showing in her performances this season.

2021 WAFL Colts MOTR: Round 1 – South Fremantle vs. West Perth

THE 2021 WAFL Colts competition got underway on the weekend, with the four fixtures providing some fairly competitive action. It took little time for much of the West Australian Under 19 talent pool to shake off the cobwebs in Round 1, and fans were treated to high-scoring games with end-to-end forays and even a bit of spirit.

Our featured match of the round, played between South Fremantle and West Perth, exemplified everything good about the opening weekend of football. In a contest littered with momentum shifts and fast-paced transitional play, the Bulldogs came out on top by 14 points 15.11 (101) to 13.9 (87) in warm conditions at Fremantle Oval on Saturday morning.

We take you through some of the top performers from either side in our Scouting Notes. Please note, they are the opinion of the individual scout.

SCOUTING NOTES

SOUTH FREMANTLE vs. WEST PERTH

By: Michael Alvaro

South Fremantle:

#9 Julian Hultan

Hultan was a sensation in the attacking half for South Fremantle, finishing with half-a-dozen goals and proving a handful for opposition defenders. While not an overly tall player at 182cm, Hultan defied his listing to play like a key forward at times with the way he commanded space and worked strongly in the air. He opened his account with an opportunistic goal from nothing in the first term and added another in the second, but was sighted contributing more work up the ground before the main break. Afterwards, his forward craft came to the fore inside 50 with some really crafty goals. His composure and willingness to compete at ground level proved the theme for two third term goals, while contested marking became his MO in the fourth with another two majors. Overall, it was a memorable day for the 18-year-old.

#18 Aaron Drage

A key part of the Bulldogs’ strong midfield rotation, Drage won his fair share of ball on the inside early and did not mind getting nice and physical with the opposition. He looked to send the ball forward quickly from congestion with some hurried kicks away at stoppages, but also remained strong under tackling pressure to dish out by hand. As the game wore on, Drage also worked up to either end of the ground and was competitive in his efforts to ensure South could hold on for victory.

#20 Caleb Stephens

Stephens was South’s leading ball winner on the day with 22 disposals and provided some real drive from midfield with a game-high seven inside 50 entries. He looked to set the tone by wheeling and going quickly, while also working to string together some nice handball chains as South broke forward. Stephens almost troubled the scorers in the third term but pulled a snap wide, though his long kick to Lochlan Bloomer ended in a goal assist during the same stanza. He also ran hard back to defence in the fourth quarter after South was beaten in the middle, providing a clutch intercept at the death.

#21 Angus Fraser

Another of the Bulldogs to play a key hand in midfield, Fraser provided a handy point of difference with his willingness to stay on the move once in possession at the contest. He was not as overtly dominant as a pure ball winner, but did some nice things with ball in hand and most importantly, impacted the scoreboard. Fraser’s first major came from a crafty and clean finish at a forward 50 stoppage, showcasing his quick thinking. His second was a set shot conversion on the end of a 50-metre penalty, having initially cut across to turn the ball over inside attacking 50.

#37 Jesse Motlop

The Fremantle Next Generation Academy (NGA) member and son of Daniel was lively in South’s win, rotating through midfield from up forward. He bookended his game inside the attacking 50 and constantly looked to create forward of centre, showing great confidence to take on opponents and baulk his way into open spaces. He first hit the scoreboard with some quick work over the back in term two, putting boot to ball with composure to snap through a classy goal. His second major was the highlight of the day through, as Motlop initiated a give-and-go hemmed in on the boundary, before cutting inside and snapping home once again. He is still a raw type who looks more comfortable up forward, but has rare instincts and constantly backs himself to make something happen.

Others:

Lochlan Bloomer was another South Freo forward to shine, taking his chances well for three goals on the back of some lively work inside 50. Liam Brandis and Ira Jetta were others to provide some spark in the front half, while Lachlan Turley played a key role down back and Toby Dodds‘ work on the rebound was terrific. Another Fremantle NGA prospect, Riley Colborne also showed promise on the wing.


West Perth:

#3 Zac Fleiner

Difficult to miss under his brightly-coloured helmet, Fleiner also has an eye-catching style of play. The run-and-gun defender loves to break the lines out of defence and strung together a number of passages with multiple running bounces. He is a kick-first kind of talent and often sent forward short, darting passes, but can refine some of his work at full tilt. His first term goal was one of the moments of the day, as Fleiner finished from long range on his favoured left foot having taken a couple of bounces and good meterage. While lightly built, another pleasing aspect of Fleiner’s play was his intensity and courage to work back defensively; flying for intercept marks and doing some dirtywork at ground level.

#4 Luke Reilly

Reilly was one who worked well into the game and began to show his best traits once he built up a full head of steam. His first good bit of play came in the second term, with a spearing pass to assist Jack De Marte’s goal. The nippy midfielder looked smooth on the ball and often looked to dart into open space before delivering forward passes by foot. He set the tone for West Perth’s ball movement with a relentless willingness to move it on quickly, constantly looking to move with intent. Reilly seemed to lift in the final term and kicked a goal on the run having taken the advantage from a free kick.

#8 Lochlan Paton

Paton is a player with a lot of class and while he was not overly prolific with 15 disposals, his high level was evident in nearly every possession. He started a little shakily with a poor kick across defensive 50, but redeemed himself with some nice moments in the first quarter. A couple of important defensive efforts led to goals for West Perth in term two; with the first being a smother as South Fremantle looked to break out of defence, and the second a terrific holding the ball tackle which had the same effect. Paton seemed to have more time on the ball than most others and showed off with some nice spins to break out of congestion cleanly. If he can begin to accumulate better and string together such moments more consistently, he could quickly rise in 2021.

#24 Jack De Marte

Leading all comers on the day with 23 disposals (20 kicks), De Marte was one of the more busy players out there. He built into the contest well and began to take hold after quarter time, propping nicely in congestion to get an open kick away and even sneaking forward to snare a goal in term two. His kicking became neater as the game wore on and he was one of the key West Perth players to lift when the game was on the line late. One particularly clutch play saw him lay a tackle and then deliver inside 50 for a Saverio Marafioti goal.

#28 Zarne Robis

Robis was clearly West Perth’s premier forward on the day and finished with four goals in a highly promising display. He took a bit of luck to get going, but exemplified the Falcons’ ability to be efficient inside 50 with two snap goals in the first term. Later, he would showcase his smooth set shot routine to complete the four-goal haul and catch the eye of many onlookers. At 191cm, the 19-year-old is not exactly key position size, but rather dynamic and versatile in the role he plays up forward.

Others:

Cooper Blackburn showed plenty of dash coming out of defence for the Falcons, while Saverio Marafioti‘s raw talent came to the fore up forward with bull-like attack and real penetration in his play. Kane Bevan‘s transition to a key forward role yielded one goal, as Liam McWha and Riley Sprigg battled well in the ruck. Harrison Baxter was also handy in the front half and Jordan Berry had his moments.

Image Credit: AFLNT Media

State Leagues preview: Opening rounds kick-off across the country

IN a Draft Central first, we have streamlined a look across the nation with a number of state leagues returning to action over the Easter long weekend. Competitions in South Australia, Western Australia, Tasmania and Queensland all kick-off over the weekend and we preview them all in one convenient preview. At the time of publishing, only the South Australian and Tasmanian teams were out, with our West Australian and Queensland previews to come.

South Australia:

The much anticipated South Australian National Football League (SANFL) competition kicks off starting tonight in a huge opening long weekend of action.

Tasmanian key forward Jackson Callow will be one to watch for Norwood tonight as they host Port Adelaide returning to the competition after a year off due to the COVID-19 restrictions regarding AFL non-selected players in state leagues. With ex-Geelong talent Jacob Kennerley and ex-Swans tall Michael Knoll returning to Coopers Stadium, the home team will be hard to beat. For Port fans, they will get a glimpse at recent draftees, father-son prospect Taj Schofield and key forward Ollie Lord, whilst the likes of Dylan Williams and Joel Garner are also named in there.

Speaking of ex-AFL talent, South Adelaide has bolstered its list with no bigger name than ex-Crow and Blue, Bryce Gibbs joining the Panthers. He joins ex-Cat Jake Tarca and ex-Lion Sam Skinner, whilst former State Under 18s player Damon Frietag has also joined the cause, Potential number one pick Jason Horne is the player many will turn in to watch, named on the bench to start 2021. Their opponents Adelaide is in the same boat to the Port Magpies, returning to the competition for 2021. Next-Generation Academy (NGA) member Tariek Newchurch is an exciting talent to watch named off half-back, with AFL-listed Crows Jackson Hately, Riley Thilthorpe and Fischer McAsey alongside another NGA draftee in James Borlase. Thilthorpe being named on a wing will be an interesting one to watch, showing off the 200cm key position player’s versatility.

Looking to the other Good Friday clash between Central District and North Adelaide, GWS GIANTS’ Academy member Harry Grant has crossed to the Dogs, with Tom Graham stepping up to League level after plying his trade with the Reserves following a 2019 premiership with Oakleigh Chargers in the NAB League. Tasmanian Aiden Grace arrives from Glenorchy, whilst the Bulldogs brother-duo of Travis and Jarrod Schiller will find plenty of the ball. Lachlan Grubb and Lewis Cowham are among the ones to watch in the Reserves side. For North Adelaide, reigning Margarey Medallist Campbell Combe will look to get his season off to a perfect start, with ex-Power and Suns talent Aaron Young joining the team, and former Under 18s state representative Dyson Hilder at full-forward.

In a mid-afternoon game at Maughan Thiem Kia Oval, the Eagles will unveil ex-Crow Riley Knight, as well as former Central talents Daniel and Troy Menzel for their clash against Sturt. James Tsitas has remained in South Australia rather than head back to the VFL, while Kobe Mutch will complete a dominant midfield hoping to get back on an AFL list after his time at Essendon. Ex-Crow Patrick Wilson will don the Double Blues colours in 2021 and is straight into the midfield, with former Under 18s state representative Josh Shute also in the side for his League debut. Jordan Houlahan and Zane Kirkwood will once again be keen players for the visitors.

In the final game of the round, Glenelg hosts West Adelaide tomorrow evening. The Tigers have brought in two ex-AFL talents in former Swan Toby Pink, and North Melbourne tall Sam Durdin. Both will provide great versatility around the ground, and back-to-back leading goalkicker Liam McBean will start off another season back at full-forward. Margarey Medallist from a couple of seasons ago Luke Partington will return again for the Bays, as Cooper Horsnell could be among a number of junior players to step up to League level in Round 1. For West Adelaide, Kieren Lovell has joined the side after a stint with Tigers in the TSL last season, while Tom Murphy has been named in the side after his stint with North Melbourne. Josh Gore will be a very handy goalkicker inside 50, while over-age draft prospect Jye Sindeberry has been named at centre half-back for the match.

 

TASMANIA:

Looking down on the Apple Isle, the youth of the competition will be reduced when Tasmania Devils enter the NAB League competition after it was cancelled in 2020. Nonetheless, there are still some good young talents to keep an eye on, and established players who will stand up.

North Hobart kicks off its campaign against Tigers in what should be a fascinating contest. Youngsters Jye Menzie and George McLeod are among the ones to watch for the Demons, as they hope to topple a Tigers side that has lost key ball winner, Kieren Lovell to the SANFL. Lachlan Gadomski remains an important tall for the Tigers, with Sam Duigan a key inclusion for the Kingborough-based side.

In a massive 2020 Tasmanian State League Grand Final rematch, the two Launceston sides go head-to-head with North Launceston up against reigning premiers, Launceston. Young midfielder Ollie Sanders will play a crucial role on the inside, with plenty of chances over the off-season for the Northern Bombers, though Jay Foon and Brad Cox-Goodyer remain among the top players in the side, and Angus Jeffries another teenager to keep an eye on in 2021. Launceston will have its forward line combination of Jay Blackberry and Dylan Riley, as Jake Hinds will line-up again in midfield for the team.

The other match for the weekend is Lauderdale up against Clarence. The Bombers will welcome Allen Christensen to the side, with the ex-AFL livewire named in the middle, team up with Sam Siggins in there. Clarence have a ton of youth on display, led by last year’s Rising Star in Ollie Davis back again, alongside Ethan Jackson, Darcy Gardner and Noah Holmes among others looking for a good 2021 season in the red and white.

WESTERN AUSTRALIA:

Peel Thunder vs. East Fremantle
Subiaco vs. East Perth
Perth vs. West Coast
South Fremantle vs. West Perth
Swan Districts vs. Claremont

QUEENSLAND:

Noosa Tigers vs. Wilston Grange Gorillas

Just the one match this weekend in a standalone clash between new Queensland Australian Football League (QAFL) newcomers Noosa Tigers, and Wilston Grange Gorillas. The match, set to be played at Rococo Oval in Noosa, will have a 2pm start if it goes ahead. With much uncertainty around the COVID-19 outbreak in Queensland, there is yet to be confirmation the match will go ahead. The teams are also yet to be named due to the uncertainty around the outbreak.

Picture credit: Solstice Digital

Swan Districts maintain reputation as benchmark in big win over Claremont

IF you want to win the West Australian Football League (WAFL) Women’s flag this year, you will have to get through Swan Districts. Heading into the top of the table clash, it was evident we would find out which team is the real deal, and now we know for sure. Despite Claremont heading into the game only one win behind their opponents, they were convincingly beaten by the Swans in what turned out to be a somewhat one-sided affair. The first quarter was as even as it gets, with both teams heading into the first break tied. The final three quarters belonged to the Districts as they put their opponents under immense pressure, as they ran out victors 7.4 (46) to 2.1 (13).

The two best teams in the competition heading into the match unfortunately played each other on the same weekend as a representative competition. This meant both sides put a significantly weaker side than previous weeks, but this didn’t matter. Both teams went into the game with talent all over the ground and this showed in the first quarter. The game was even all over the ground, with physical contests and hard-won clearances going either way. The Swans kicked the first goal through Hayley Cole, who was the recipient of some terrific hands in traffic from the home team. The lead was short-lived however, as Claremont responded immediately through Ella Smith, who capped off her blistering start to the game with a major of her own.

The armwrestle continued as neither side could gain an advantage, with the Swan Districts’ second goal followed up by another immediate response from the Tigers. At quarter time, it looked as if the match would be a closely fought contest. This all changed in the second quarter though, when Swan Districts were able to break away, tackling hard and forcing their opponents into turnovers, all the while hitting the scoreboard themselves. The third quarter saw Claremont raise the fight to their opposition but failed to capitalise on the scoreboard. Meanwhile, the Swans took their chances inside 50, and the quarter ended with two goals to nil in their favour. Two more goals to Swan Districts in the fourth sealed the win as their undefeated streak continues, and will be hopeful regarding the availability of Aimee Ralph, who was replaced on report. The Tigers slipped to third following the loss, and will be monitoring the wellbeing of Madeleine Scanlon, who was concussed during the match.

For the Swan Districts, the backline duo of Lauren Osbourne and Emily McGuire were remarkable in not only consistently thwarting the forward 50 entries of the Tigers, but also generating some key run from the backline. At different stages, both displayed composure under pressure, and were able to extract the ball from the backline and rebound out of the defensive 50 to find a teammate up the ground. In typical fashion, Jessica Cox was fantastic around the stoppages, and Ralph continued to dominate in the ruck. Taylah Edwards kicked two goals, while Cole, Ralph, Mikayla Morrison, Hope Ugle-Hayward and Chanel Jetta kicked one each. For Claremont, Rachel Ortlepp was exceptional in a losing side, taking plenty of intercept marks and generating some much-needed ball movement out of the backline. Katherine Bennett battled bravely through the midfield, despite the constant pressure. The goal kickers were Smith and Brooke Whyte.

In Round 7, Swan Districts will travel to take on East Fremantle on Sunday as they look to keep their undefeated streak alive. Meanwhile, Claremont will be looking to bounce back against South Fremantle on Saturday morning, who are still searching for their first win.

In the other games across the round, Subiaco smashed the struggling South Fremantle on Saturday afternoon 11.12 (78) to 1.0 (6). For Subiaco, the goal kickers were Kia Buckley and Tarnee Tester with three goals each, Amy Hunt and Kate Pocsidio with two goals each and Abbey Dowrick with one goal. The best players were Buckley, Dowrick, Tester, Ellie Blackmore and Jessica Ritchie. For South Fremantle, Hunter Cronin kicked the only goal for her side. The best players were Kiara Templeman, Ebony Clarkson, Casey Byrne, Tahlia Holtze and Liusaidh Gilchrist.

At New Choice Homes Park, Peel Thunder made easy work of their opponents, defeating East Fremantle 9.5 (59) to 2.7 (19). For Peel Thunder, the goal kickers were Kira Phillips with three goals, Bailey Molloy and Kate Bartlett with two goals apiece, and Ebonee Hardie and Katie Jayne Grieve with one goal each. The best players were Ebony Bilcich, Greta Mckinley, Abby Barnden, Molloy and Skipper Van Peer. For East Fremantle, the goal kickers were Stephanie Dalton and Kahra Sprylan with one goal each. The best players were Madeline Ross, Larissa Versaci, Sprylan, Nadya Browne and Ashleigh Gomes.

Picture credit: WAFL

2021 AFLW U19 Championships match preview: South Australia vs. Western Australia

AFTER more than 18 months without an AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships, the adjusted Under 19 Championships kick-off tomorrow with South Australia up against Western Australia. It will be the first match of the Round 1 fixtures that also feature Vic Country locking horns with Vic Metro, before the four sides – along with host state Queensland and the Allies – battle it out at Metricon Stadium on April 12 and 15.

South Australia come into the match with plenty of experienced inside talents and outside runners with great speed. Their defensive pressure and abundance of running defenders are other highlights of the squad that will hold them in good stead. For Western Australia, they have a dynamic and versatile line-up, with plenty of goal-scoring options, and contested marking talents who are strong one-on-one.

SA DEFENCE vs. WA ATTACK

B: Jamie Parish – Hannah Prenzler – Madison Lane
F: Ashleigh Reidy – Ella Roberts – Bella Edgley
HB: Tamsyn Morriss – Alex Ballard – Brooke Tonon
HF: Aisha Wright – Chloe Reilly – Mylee Leitch

There is plenty of X-factor in the front six for the Sandgropers, with Ella Roberts a bottom-age marking target with great athleticism and quick speed off the mark. She can pull down contested marks and snap remarkable goals, leaving the opposition in awe of ways to contain her. Hannah Prenzler has been named to potentially take her on first, with the Sturt talent able to read the ball well in flight, and will want to stay in front of her opponent given Roberts’ speed on the lead. Bella Edgley and Chloe Reilly are the other marking targets inside 50, with Madison Lane smaller than Edgley, but smart at ground level, whilst Alex Ballard will be an even match with Reilly in the air. Glenelg duo Tamsyn Morriss and Brooke Tonon will look to provide the run off half-back against a couple of youngsters in Mylee Leitch and Aisha Wight, while Jamie Parish will look to use her strength against Ash Reidy in the other pocket.

SA ATTACK vs. WA DEFENCE

HF: Laitiah Huynh – Georgia Swan – Tahlita Buethke
HB: Bella Mann – Beth Schilling – Emily Bennett
F: Lauren Breguet – Lauren Clifton – Jade Halfpenny
B: Emma Nanut – Matilda Dyke – Melisha Hardy

Up the other end, a small South Australian forward line will look to get the ball to ground and use their speed, with the forward entries crucial to the success of the Croweaters. Western Australia have the advantage in the air, with many of their defenders more than capable one-on-one, and taller than their respective opponents. Jade Halfpenny is the key tall inside 50 for the home team, and she has been named in a forward pocket against Melisha Hardy. The Swan Districts defender is good one-on-one, and whilst she has some toe, Halfpenny might have her in that regard, so will be better to utilise her speed on the lead. One-on-one Hardy will be difficult to beat, whilst Emily Bennett and Matilda Dyke are others in the same boat. Tahlita Buethke will have the speed in her matchup, with Lauren Clifton also having that advantage despite predominantly playing up the other end at SANFL Women’s level. Lauren Breguet returns after a couple of weeks off due to concussion, and she will have a great battle one-on-one with Emma Nanut, whilst Laitiah Huynh and Bella Mann are both tackling, fierce players who will not take a backwards step. Beth Schilling will have too much height in the air for Georgia Swan, but the Sturt forward will look to compete and bring the ball to ground and create scoring opportunities.

SA MIDFIELD vs. WA MIDFIELD

R: Zoe Prowse – Lauren Young – Zoe Venning
R: Sarah Lakay – Courtney Rowley – Makaela Tuhakaraina
C: Kate Case – Keeley Kustermann – Gypsy Schirmer
C: Naomi Baker – Dana East – Jaide Britton

The midfield battle has a massive number of not-to-be-missed one-on-ones. Regardless of who lines up on who, it will be a classic contest. Lauren Young is the youngest player on the field at 15-years-old but will have the height advantage over her rivals, and ironically is two centimetres taller than her ruck, Zoe Prowse. The Sturt tall has a great leap and will look to take advantage, but has an equal in that regard with Sarah Lakay incredibly athletic and nine centimetres taller than the South Australian. Both have similar attributes but Prowse has more experience and will cause headaches with second efforts around the ground. Lakay will look to get clean taps to the advantage of her teammates to stop Prowse applying pressure as that “fourth midfielder”. The battle between Zoe Venning and Makaela Tuhakaraina will be one that provides plenty of punch. Both have an incredible appetite for contested ball, and will not take a backwards step. Tuhakaraina has the upper hand in athleticism with elite speed and agility, but Venning is no slouch either, consistent across the board. She has more runs on the board as well, with her opponent coming from a rugby union background. Venning will have the footy smarts to go forward and impact the scoreboard there.

Courtney Rowley and Dana East will take on the West Adelaide youngsters in Young and Keeley Kustermann. Rowley and Kustermann both have terrific kicking skills and great balance, whilst East is terrific inside the contest with clean hands, able to distribute the ball to teammates on the outside. Young is developing her game with great ability in the air and around the ground, and will be too tall for her respective opponents around the ground and is the tallest South Australian in the match. Prowse will have to use all of her energy to battle against multiple opponents, with Lakay likely to receive support from Schilling and South Fremantle’s Lauren Wakfer, whilst Prowse will rely on Halfpenny and Jorja Eldridge as potential back up options. On the wings, AFL Women’s Academy member Gypsy Schirmer provides that elite speed, and Sandgropers co-captain Jaide Britton will look to contain her whilst getting the ball forward in transition herself. On the other wing, Kate Case and Naomi Baker both share similar traits with the ability to move the ball in transition and play off flanks as well.

SA INTERCHANGE vs WA INTERCHANGE

SA INT: Alana Lishmund – Jorja Eldridge – Julia Clark – Charlotte Dolan – Amelie Borg – Sarah Branford
WA INT: Lauren Wakfer – Emily Gunton – Tara Stribley – Emily Boothman – Amy Franklin – Nyra Anderson

The depth of both sides is impressive, though the bench talent goes in the favour of Western Australia, with AFL Women’s Academy member with Amy Franklin keeping the opposition guessing able to play up either end. Tara Stribley is easily a starting wing on any given day and will provide terrific run on the outside. Nyra Anderson is a goal-scoring machine and has come in due to injuries and is a 2001-born talent who is making her mark at WAFL Women’s level year after year. Developing ruck Wakfer, as well as fellow bottom-agers Emily Gunton and Emily Boothman round out the interchange. For South Australia, they have a host of fierce tackling talents there, led by Norwood’s Alana Lishmund, North Adelaide’s Julia Clark and Woodville-West Torrens’ Charlotte Dolan. Eldridge has the versatility to play in multiple positions, as does Amelie Borg who gets her chance as a bottom-age tall. At the opposite end of the height scale, the tenacious Sarah Branford will provide skill and decision making in the forward half.

OVERALL:

The game is set to be a thriller, with the teams really strong in different areas. It is predicted to be mild temperatures, but no rain at this stage, so the talls of Western Australia should be strong if the inside 50s are to their advantage. South Australia have the strength on the inside to win the ball forward, but cannot afford to hack it inside with the Sandgropers’ ability to intercept so well, and be in front position on their opponent. Once the ball hits the deck, the South Australians will be favoured, but a lot of the match will be determined by the midfields. The midfield that can take full advantage and get the ball forward in terms of quality rather than quantity will automatically be well placed to take out the match.

2021 WAFL Women’s Round 6 preview: Wholesale changes as young guns head to South Australia

MOST sides – but particularly Swan Districts and Peel Thunder – will be heavily depleted in Round 6 of the West Australian Football League (WAFL) competition. Both sides have built a reputation on their abundance of young talent coming through the teams, and now they will need to work around the amount of forced changes in their respective games, with the Swans forced for eight changes due to the AFL Women’s Under U19s matchup between South Australia and Western Australia, and five of six changes for Peel. South Fremantle (two), East Fremantle (one) and Subiaco (none) have fewer forced changes due to the game, but a number of switches at the selection table have still occurred.

Swan Districts will be without Nyra Anderson, Naomi Baker, Dana East, Melisha Hardy, Sarah Lakay, Emma Nanut, Tara Stribley and Bella Edgley for the huge top of the table clash against Claremont, meaning a number of other talents will need to step up. They regain some key position options in the likes of Sarah Wielstra – who missed last week – and Fiona Boucher, while Hayley Cole and Olivia Cripps are among other inclusions for the Swans. They still have a young onball brigade with teenagers Jessica Cox and Kloe Taylor in there, whilst Mikayla Hyde has been named at full-forward alongside the dangerous Mikayla Morrison and Taylah Edwards. Young guns Jaime Henry and Danielle Wright are also in there, too young for the AFL Women’s Under 19s selection.

Claremont on the other hand also have quite a few outs, with five changes including Matilda Dyke heading to South Australia. Sasha Goranova, Kate Orme, Andie Payne and Mikayla Western are also out of the match, though the Tigers do regain the likes of Sarah Garstone and Emma Lendrum among others. Emily Bennett is another player out of the Tigers’ lineup due to her commitments in South Australia, but was not named as an out given she missed the Round 5 clash as well. Amy Fortescue and Rachel Ortlepp will hop to hold down the defensive fort this week, whilst the midfield of Jess Low, Tessa Doumanis and Ella Smith is quality, and former State representatives in Garstone and Jacinta Valentini will look to make the most of their chances against a steadfast defence. This game is a huge chance for Claremont to knock off the undefeated Swans.

At the other end of the ladder, the bottom two sides in Subiaco and South Fremantle lock horns in a must-win game for both teams. The Lions only have the one forced change in Tarnee Tester out of the side, while Maggie MacLachlan replaces that AFL Women’s experience by coming back into the side alongside Holly Hyder, Maud-Annie Foley and Kate Pocsidio. The Lions have a largely unchanged lineup heading into the clash, with Jamie Rust looking strong last week, and Tarnica Golisano, Lara Filocamo and Ellie Blackmore working around Jessica Ritchie at the stoppages. Youngsters Kia Buckley and Abbey Dowrick have the capacity to be game-changes, while Madi Wilkins was impressive, and Claire Ortlepp a reliable source of rebound from the back half.

For South Fremantle, they have lost Makaela Tuhakaraina and Lauren Wakfer to State Academy duties against South Australia, whilst last week’s debutant Bella Clarke is also among six outs this week. Coming into the side are a few important talents in ruck/forward Ella Ward, and midfielder Kiara Templeman, while Shakira Pickett is an excitement machine. Liusaidh Gilchrist and Pia Durk are always dangerous for the red and whites through the middle, whilst the forward trio of Hunter Cronin, Zoe Huggett and Lauren Vecchio is threatening. They will need to be at their best given the outs for the Bulldogs, but will enjoy the challenge taking on a side they narrowly fell short of in Round 1.

In the final match of the round, reigning premiers Peel Thunder – who are coming off two losses in three games – will look to bounce back against East Fremantle. The Thunder have been gutted – in a good way – at the selection table, with their enviable amount of young guns all heading to South Australia. Jaide Britton will co-captain her state at the championships – and as the only fit captain for the first clash against South Australia will toss the coin at Flinders University Stadium – while Jade Briggs, Bella Mann, Ella Roberts and Courtney Rowley will also miss the Thunder’s game. Into the side comes another Rowley in Angel Rowley, whilst Ebonee Hardy is the other player coming in that is named in an extended team. The Thunder will have plenty of talent across the ground, with Kate Bartlett, Bailey Molloy and Kira Phillips all capable of dominating inside 50, while Tanisha Anderson, Cassie Davidson and Ebony Dowson are rock solid up the other end.

East Fremantle have only lost one player to the Academy game in Chloe Reilly, but have lost a ton of experience elsewhere, as full-back Kimberley Boulton, experienced midfielders Sharon Wong and Ann McMahon, as well as Kate Inglis-Hodge are among the outs in the match. It opens the door for a number of other Sharks to come back in, with Evie Gooch the big name returning for Round 6. She joins Cadian Lodge, Nikki Phillips and Stephanie Dalton in slotting straight into the starting side. The Sharks will lack experience, but still have youth, as Anjelique Raison and Gabby Radojkovich are forward talents, and Alli Nokes providing the physicality in defence. Ashleigh Gomes, Kahra Sprylan and Larissa Versaci have the experience to overcome the Thunder midfield, whilst Alex Williams and Hayley O’Donnell are still in the backline, and Madeline Ross up forward meaning the home team could cause an upset and string their third win together and join the Thunder on 3-3.

WAFL WOMEN’S ROUND 6 FIXTURES:

Swan Districts vs. Claremont
Subiaco vs. South Fremantle
East Fremantle vs. Peel Thunder

Picture credit: Owen Davies / Peel Thunder