Category: Womens

Suns shine brightly to run out comfortable Q-Clash winners at AFLW U17 Championships

GOLD Coast Suns Academy have taken out the first of two games in a battle between the Queensland Northern Academies, defeating Brisbane Lions by 55 points at Surfers Paradise yesterday. The Suns piled on seven goals to one in the first half – from only two more scoring shots – to lead by 32 points at half-time. A tighter second half saw the Lions begin to make some inroads, but the Suns kicked away again to record a comfortable 12.6 (78) to 3.5 (23) victory ahead of the second game on Wednesday. Alana Gee was a clear best on ground for the Suns in the win, with the talented midfielder bringing her own ball to the game and showing off her natural class to dominate through the midfield and then roll off half-back in the final term.

Alana Gee. Picture credit: RF Photography via AFL Photos

The game was a highly contested one, with not only the tackling itself, but the technique of the tackling a clear standout in the match. There was little room to move for many of the players, which allowed those with natural evasion skills to shine, and the Suns had more of them on the park. Gee lead the way from the first bounce, but was particularly influential after quarter time, as the Suns piled on the only four goals of the game and eight of the first nine goals of the game. Brisbane hit back after half-time thanks to tough inside midfielder Ava Seton, who stepped up to provide on-ball support to top talent Charlotte Mullins, with the Lions able to kick a couple of majors in the third term but still losing the quarter as the Suns kicked three.

Brooke Sheridan and Kadie Fletcher – the latter came off hurt in the final term after hitting the ground hard – showed their class in the forward half for the Lions, whilst twins Sarah and Courtney Browne were also reliable in the back half and pushing through the midfield. Ebony Milne was one of the better ball users going forward as the kicking inside 50 often let the Lions down, with the Suns defence – lead by remarkable 2006-born Tara Harrington – continually rebounding most of the forward forays. Harrington stole the show early and never let up, being the second best behind Gee, with her ability to read the ball, make good decisions and use it well under pressure as a highlight. She eventually switched roles with Gee to push through the middle on a wing, and still found the ball, pairing up nicely with fellow 2024 AFLW Draft prospect, Nyalli Milne.

Gold Coast’s Milne provided a couple of eye-catching goals, with a multi-bounce run in the first term, and then a clever forward play to sidestep a couple of opponents in the second term to create all sorts of headaches inside 50 for the Lions’ defence. Gold Coast had a remarkable five multiple goalkickers from 12 goals, with Milne, Josie McCabe, Isabella Iverach, Maggie O’Connell and Ella Calleja all kicking two apiece. McCabe was a clever link-up player at half-forward and another bottom-age talent for next year. Key position utility Fleur Davies often controlled the ruck stoppages with her extra height able to get first hands to the ball more often than not.

Charlotte Mullins had to withstand strong pressure all day. RF Photography via AFL Photos

From a Lions perspective, they were overrun in the midfield, but the defence held up best it could, with Christine Watson a fierce competitor deep, and the Browne sisters always helping out. Missing Ella Smith from the side, Brisbane will be keen to bounce back at its home game on Wednesday Moreton Bay Sports Complex. Keep an eye out on Draft Central over the next few days as we compile notes from the match, as well as a Player Focus on Gee.

GOLD COAST 4.1 | 7.1 | 10.4 | 12.6 (78)
BRISBANE 0.2 | 1.5 | 3.5 | 3.5 (23)

GOALS:

Gold Coast: N. Milne 2, J. McCabe 2, I. Iverach 2, M. O’Connell 2, E. Calleja 2, C. Miller, C. Coombes.
Brisbane: B. Sheridan, K. Fletcher, L. Paget.

DC BEST:

Gold Coast: A. Gee, T. Harrington, N. Milne, J. McCabe, M. O’Connell
Brisbane: C. Mullins, A. Seton, B. Sheridan, K. Fletcher, E. Milne

2021 AFLW U17 Championships preview: Queensland

AN underage Q-Clash between Brisbane and Gold Coast Academies will kick off on Sunday afternoon in the first of two AFLW Under 17 Championship clashes between the sides. The second game will take place on Wednesday with a short turnaround, but both sides have plenty of impressive players to keep an eye on. Both the Lions Academy and Suns Academy will be coached by recently retired AFLW star Lauren Arnell in more of an exhibition clash than anything else.

From a 2022 AFLW Draft perspective, Alana Gee and Charlotte Mullins loom as the two prospects to really keep an eye on in the clash. Hailing from Mackay, Gee is a member of the Gold Coast Suns Academy, standing at 169cm. A balanced midfielder who can use either foot, her work rate in very impressive. Whilst she is a natural inside midfielder coming through the program, she showed an adaptability to roll into an outside position and even as a running defender in 2020.

Mullins is a versatile talent out of the Brisbane Lions Academy who has been plying her trade for Aspley in the QAFL Women’s competition. Mullins is a lively player around the ball who applies great defensive pressure, and was a clever forward when these sides played last year. As an Under 16s talent, she held her own then, and continued to improve through her bottom-age year, with the 165cm midfielder expected to spend more time in there this year, and lead the Lions group.

Gold Coast Suns Academy’s Fleur Davies representing Queensland a the AFLW U19 Championships.

Fleur Davies, a taller and younger sister of recently drafted Suns Academy talent Giselle, is another one to keep an eye on. Like her older sister, Davies is capable of playing up either end, but played forward for the Lions last year, and pinch-hit in the ruck. She had experience at the AFLW Under 19 Championships, and at 185cm is a genuine key position player who will outmark most opponents when reading it well. Still a raw talent, Davies has plenty of upside and will be one to watch.

Not playing in this clash, bottom-age talent Ella Smith is another name to remember for Queensland prospects, and is another Brisbane Lions Academy talent. From a Brisbane Academy perspective, 171cm Aspley youngster Kadie Fletcher who had an outstanding debut season at senior level year year, and Wilston Grange talent Brooke Sheridan are others who were able to make the Queensland Under 19s squad in their bottom-age years. The Suns also had another bottom-age representative with Gee and Davies in this year’s Under 19s program, with Imogen Evans impressing onball for Queensland, picking up 12 disposals, five tackles, three clearances and booting a goal in the loss to Vic Country.

While the Queensland Academy squads are made up of 2022 and 2023 AFLW Draft talents, there are three 2006-born players named for the Suns. Tara Harrington, Nyalli Milne and Havana Harris are ones to keep in mind for a few years away, with the latter two playing at Burleigh, and Harrington out at Broadbeach. Whilst the result in the match does not really matter, the lack of Under 19s carnival for the Queensland girls will mean these games will provide them with some more experience at a higher level.

>> Watch Brisbane Lions vs. Gold Coast Suns AFLW Under 17s Academy clash

Team: Brisbane Lions
Coach: Lauren Arnell
Team Manager: Jason Torney

# NAME SURNAME DOB HT STATE/ACADEMY/REGION LOCAL CLUB / SCHOOL
2 Holly O’Flaherty 20/06/2004 162 Brisbane Lions Academy / Brisbane North Wilston Grange
3 Ava Seton 19/04/2004 165 Brisbane Lions Academy / Brisbane North Wests Juniors / Uni of Queensland
4 Daisy Carter 7/06/2004 166 Brisbane Lions Academy / Brisbane North Sandgate / Wilston Grange
5 Lauren Fraser 13/01/2005 164 Brisbane Lions Academy / Brisbane South-Darling Downs Toowoomba
6 Courtney Page 23/02/2004 165 Brisbane Lions Academy / Sunshine Coast-Wide Bay Kawana
7 Neve Underwood 17/03/2004 166 Brisbane Lions Academy / Sunshine Coast-Wide Bay Kawana / Maroochydore
8 Harriet Knijff 21/11/2005 167 Brisbane Lions Academy / Brisbane South-Darling Downs Redland-Victoria Point
9 Ebony Milne 3/08/2005 167 Brisbane Lions Academy / Brisbane South-Darling Downs Redland-Victoria Point
10 Jacinta Baldwick 14/11/2005 167 Brisbane Lions Academy / Brisbane South-Darling Downs Jindalee / Wests Juniors
11 Charlotte Mullins 28/10/2004 167 Brisbane Lions Academy / Brisbane North Wilston Grange / Aspley
12 Lara Paget 23/02/2005 168 Brisbane Lions Academy / Brisbane South-Darling Downs Jindalee / Toowoomba
13 Sarah Browne 28/10/2004 169 Brisbane Lions Academy / Brisbane South-Darling Downs Toowoomba / Jindalee
14 Georgia Carmody 13/04/2004 169 Brisbane Lions Academy / Brisbane South-Darling Downs Mt Gravatt
15 Sasha Rival-Quinn 29/12/2004 169 Brisbane Lions Academy / Brisbane South-Darling Downs Jindalee / University of Queensland
17 Leah Siertsema 13/07/2004 169 Brisbane Lions Academy / Brisbane South-Darling Downs Mt Gravatt
18 Christine Watson 11/10/2004 178 Brisbane Lions Academy / Brisbane South-Darling Downs Concordia College / Toowoomba
20 Demi Norton 6/04/2004 170 Brisbane Lions Academy / Sunshine Coast-Wide Bay Kawana / Maroochydore
21 Madalyn Hennessy 9/03/2004 170 Brisbane Lions Academy / Sunshine Coast-Wide Bay Maroochydore
22 Brooke Sheridan 8/09/2004 170 Brisbane Lions Academy / Brisbane North Boyne Island-Tannum Sands / Wilston Grange
23 Kadie Fletcher 18/08/2004 171 Brisbane Lions Academy / Brisbane North Wilston Grange / Aspley
24 Lily Willoughby 17/04/2005 171 Brisbane Lions Academy / Brisbane North Sandgate
25 Charlotte Millen 2/12/2004 172 Brisbane Lions Academy / Brisbane South-Darling Downs Mt Gravatt
26 Courtney Browne 28/10/2004 173 Brisbane Lions Academy / Brisbane South-Darling Downs Toowoomba / Jindalee
27 Indiana Gosbell-Smith 30/09/2004 173 Brisbane Lions Academy / Brisbane North Sandgate
28 Kiara Hillier 3/11/2004 173 Brisbane Lions Academy / Sunshine Coast-Wide Bay Kawana
29 Grace Pearson-Smith Brisbane Lions Academy / Sunshine Coast-Wide Bay Maroochydore
30 Lilu Hung Brisbane Lions Academy / Brisbane North Kedron

Team: Gold Coast Suns
Coach: Lauren Arnell
Team Manager: Jason Torney

# NAME SURNAME DOB HT STATE/ACADEMY/REGION LOCAL CLUB / SCHOOL
1 Jasmine Single 17/12/2005 160 QLD/GC SUNS/Gold Coast Burleigh
2 Caitlin Miller 21/07/2004 166 QLD/GC SUNS/Gold Coast Southport
3 Monet Ferris 19/02/2004 173 QLD/GC SUNS/Gold Coast Yeronga AFC
4 Darcie Davies 14/06/2005 184 QLD/GC SUNS/Gold Coast Southport
5 Tara Harrington 24/03/2006 166 QLD/GC SUNS/Gold Coast Broadbeach
6 Isabella Iverach 7/07/2004 169 QLD/GC SUNS/Gold Coast Broadbeach
7 Josie McCabe 18/04/2005 173 QLD/GC SUNS/Gold Coast Burleigh
10 Jasmyn Smith 10/05/2004 158 QLD/GC SUNS/Gold Coast Broadbeach
11 Keeley Parker 23/07/2005 163 QLD/GC SUNS/Gold Coast Tweed Coolangatta
12 Piper Phelan 11/11/2004 172 QLD/GC SUNS/Gold Coast Bond University
13 Grace Ella 9/11/2005 164 QLD/GC SUNS/Northern Rivers Tweed Coast Tigers
14 Sienna McMullen 15/07/2005 164 QLD/GC SUNS/Gold Coast Burleigh
15 Makayla Sekac 5/04/2005 169 QLD/GC SUNS/Northern Rivers Tweed Coolangatta
16 Cloe Coombes 1/12/2004 166 QLD/GC SUNS/Gold Coast Broadbeach
17 Abbey Bevan 19/06/2004 178 QLD/GC SUNS/Northern Rivers Broadbeach
19 Alana Gee 20/04/2004 169 QLD/GC SUNS/Mackay North Mackay Saints
20 Jessica Frape 27/05/2004 171 QLD/GC SUNS/Cairns Cairns Saints
21 Imogen Evans 5/02/2004 171 QLD/GC SUNS/Northern Rivers Bond University
22 Kayla Giles 28/09/2005 170 QLD/GC SUNS/Gold Coast Palm Beach Currumbin
23 Maggie O’Connell 30/01/2004 171 QLD/GC SUNS/Gold Coast Southport
24 Avalon Pearce 17/10/2005 182 QLD/GC SUNS/Gold Coast Southport
25 Indiana Brough 15/07/2004 173 QLD/GC SUNS/Mackay Bakers Creek Tigers
26 Nyalli Milne 26/05/2006 169 QLD/GC SUNS/Gold Coast Burleigh
27 Kialla-Skye Bailey 10/03/2005 165 QLD/GC SUNS/Gold Coast Southport
28 J’noemi Anderson 17/12/2004 170 NT/Thunder St Marys
29 Fleur Davies 6/05/2004 185 QLD/GC SUNS/Gold Coast Southport
30 Ella Calleja 20/11/2004 171 QLD/GC SUNS/Capricornia Yeppoon Swans
31 Havana Harris 1/07/2006 181 QLD/GC SUNS/Gold Coast Burleigh
32 Kaylee Kimber 13/09/2003 174 QLD/GC SUNS/Mackay Moranbah Bulldogs
33 Annabel Kievit 22/09/2005 175 NT/Thunder Warratahs
34 Millie Heathcote 4/01/2004 181 QLD/GC SUNS/Gold Coast Palm Beach Currumbin
35 Nikita Cripps 4/07/2005 175 QLD/GC SUNS/Gold Coast Mt Gravatt

NT AFLW Under 17s clash goes down to the wire as 14-year-old forward shines

IN a grandstand finish fit for the representative football occasion, Team Baird took out the first game win over Team Ponter in the Northern Territory’s AFL Women’s Under 17 Championships clash. Whilst Baird won by a point – 7.7 (49) to 7.6 (48) – it was the impressive effort of 14-year-old Rania Shelford up forward for Ponter that caught the eye. Possessing some impressive athleticism, and equal measure of offensive and defensive traits, Shelford slotted three majors in the loss to try and drag her side over the line.

The 2007-born prospect kicked Ponter’s first goal of the game in response to one up the other end by Mikayla Baldwin, and then kicked back-to-back goals in the third term in different ways. Her second major came with a nice turn of speed one-on-one heading back to goal to slot it running in, and her third was from a run-down tackle inside forward 50 – in what was a third chasing effort after a handball chain from the opposition – to win a free kick and convert the set shot from 25m out.

While Shelford was certainly the most damaging up forward, talented Southern Districts prospect Grace Whittaker was arguably best on ground in a losing side, backing up her performance from a year before where she impressed with her athleticism and footy IQ. The 2005-born talent is only two days inside her year – as a December 30 birth – but looks the most readymade of any player in the game, with her move into the ruck in the second half a key component for Ponter.

It was neck-and-neck throughout the match, but Baird did a lot of the attacking in that first half, before the third term was dominated inside 50 by Ponter. Whittaker’s move into the ruck helped set up the goal-scoring prowess of Shelford, and the side peppered the goals, but kicked 2.3, and then Team Baird, through the likes of 2022 AFLW Draft-eligible Siniva Sa’anga who slotted two majors, kicked three goals from three scoring shots to open up a seven-point lead at the final break.

Not only did Whittaker’s move into the ruck prove crucial – and when she began to impact the game around the ground as well – but it helped somewhat nullify Parnell who to half-time was a standout performer and far too athletic in the ruck and clean at ground level around the stoppages. Like Whittaker, she is an 05-born talent and therefore a 2023 AFLW Draft hopeful. She spent most of the game in the ruck, against a multitude of opponents and impressed, then when Whittaker was moved back on the outside, she again took control.

It was fitting that Whittaker gave her side a chance of winning, kicking the only goal of the final term in the dying minutes to draw within a point, as Baird kicked just two behinds for the quarter. Ponter was constantly driving the ball forward and attacking, but ran out of time as the siren sounded with one point the difference between the sides. Another impressive performer on the goal front was Baird’s Kyanne Campbell (05-born) who slotted three goals – one in each of the first three quarters.

From the winners, Parnell was a standout most of the game and found plenty of it in the first half, with Campbell being the key goalkicker and future talent Emma Stark showing some impressive forward craft as an 06-born talent. Of the 2022 AFLW Draft eligible players, Erini Gikas and Sa’anga were both among the winners’ best. Ponter had the two clear standouts in Whittaker and Shelford, though the draft-eligible Hayley Maher showed some nice signs, and bottom-age talent Tsharni Graham was prominent adding to the impressive nature of the 2023 AFLW Draft class.

Whilst very raw as a whole cohort, the likes of Whittaker and Zerafa are two athletic talls who have a great foundation to build from and Campbell a forward threat, with Stark and Shelford among those to keep an eye on for even longer-term future years.

TEAM BAIRD 3.2 | 4.5 | 7.5 | 7.7 (49)
TEAM PONTER 3.1 | 4.1 | 6.4 | 7.6 (48)

GOALS:

Baird: K. Campbell 3, S. Sa’anga 2, E. Stark, M. Baldwin.
Ponter: R. Shelford 3, H. Maher, L. Stewart, K. Munyarryun, G. Whittaker

DC BEST:

Baird: C. Parnell, E. Stark, K. Campbell, E. Gikas, S. Sa’anga
Ponter: G. Whittaker, R. Shelford, H. Maher, T. Graham

 

Picture credit: AFLNT YouTube

Tasmanian Statewide Women’s Grand Final: Glenorchy vs. Ulverstone

THE best of the best women’s football teams in Tasmania have been decided, with the Southern Football League (SFL) premiers Glenorchy taking on the Northern Women’s Football League (NWFL) premiers Ulverstone this weekend. The Magpies defeated Claremont in the SFL Grand Final last weekend despite only having 15 players onfield, and will be looking to take out the entire statewide trophy with a win as favourites against the Robins. Ulverstone has earned its place in the decider following a 29-point win over Launceston in the NFWL-NTFA Preliminary Final.

GLENORCHY vs. ULVERSTONE
Sunday, September 19 @ 1:00pm
North Hobart Oval

Ulverstone is yet to lose a game all season, going through 12 matches undefeated in the NWFL as the clear benchmark tea, finishing five wins ahead of second placed Penguin, and then knocking off the Wynyard Cats by 45 points in the grand final. The Robins have some former AFL Women’s talent in Libby and Chloe Haines who have been reliable talls for them. Libby has played every game in the red and black, booting 26 goals in 14 games for the Robins in the NWFL, leading the goalkicking by six from talented top-ager Amy Bissett. The crafty small forward has booted 20 from eight, and added another one to her tally in the preliminary final, with Hannah Martin (15 goals) and Haines (14) other key goalkickers.

Ruby Mitchell won the NWFL Women’s Best and Fairest for her season, and was one of a number of outstanding players for the winning side last week. Teaming up with Devils duo Candice Belbin and Meghan Gaffney, they controlled the midfield against Launceston and had the damaging forwards to do the rest of the work. Whilst the accuracy was not always there, they had enough about them to get the job done and constantly look dangerous as captain Meg Thompson, and forward Georgia Anderson (two goals) were others who caught the eye.

Glenorchy will be tough to beat though with a star-studded outfit. Having had experience at North Melbourne VFL Women’s and impressing, Sarah Skinner is a player the Robins simply have to find a way to contain. She is among a host of Tasmania Devils talents, with Jemma Webster, Georgia Clarke and Brooke Barwick among other names on the list. This season Tiarna Ford has been the crucial goalkicker, slotting 29 majors in nine games in the SFL, 15 more than her next highest teammate in Elise Barwick and finishing third overall in the goalkicking. Molly Mitchell (12 goals) rounds out the top three for the Magpies.

Like Ulverstone, Glenorchy has not lost a game all season, going through the season undefeated from 11 games, and finishing eight points clear of Clarence. To further show their stranglehold on the on the competition, they won by 67 points over Clarence in the first week of finals, then six goals last week against Claremont. With greater exposure to the top level in VFLW this season, the Magpies will be deserving favourites, though the fascination will be when the Devils players go head-to-head with the likes of Webster and Gaffney, whilst the Haines twins will be that elite level experience for the Robins.

Picture credit: The Mercury

2021 AFLW U17 Championships preview: Northern Territory

REPRESENTATIVE action is back on the field for the next generation of aspiring AFL Women’s footballers. The Under 17 All-Star games in Northern Territory and Queensland will give staff, fans and recruiters alike a chance to see players who are draft-eligible in the coming years face-off in a battle of the best of the best. In this preview we take a look at the Northern Territory clash which kicks off at 5pm today AEST (4:30pm ACST).

>> Ponter claims impressive win in NT All-Stars match

As in past years, the two sides are named Team Ponter and Team Baird after two young stars of the AFL Women’s in Danielle Ponter (Adelaide) and Janet Baird (Gold Coast) who are successful graduates of the Northern Territory pathway. The sides will face off twice as part of the exhibition series to showcase future talent. Unlike many other states, the Northern Territory has a lot of long-term draft hopefuls, with draft eligibility ranging from 2022 (2004-born players) to 2026 (2008-born players).

As the majority of the talented NT players run around in the Northern Territory Football League (NTFL) Women’s competitions, they are largely unknown quantities with limited footage, but always provide plenty of eye-catching moments. Last year Baird played in this game – now ironically for Team Ponter – and her performance earned her a spot on Gold Coast’s list. From a 2022 AFLW Draft perspective, both teams have just three draft-eligible players for next year, meaning the exhibition will be largely for future drafts.

The 2004-born players on Team Ponter are Hayley Maher, Tahnee McLaughlin and Brylee Kerrin, whilst for Team Baird, the draft eligible players are Erini Gikas, Siniva Sa’anga and Ciaralii Parnell. Whilst all six have earned their place in the sides for the competition, another 2004-born NT prospect in J’Noemi Anderson who represented the Allies this year as the sole bottom-age NT talent in that side, will run out for Gold Coast Suns Academy in the Queensland Academy game.

For the Northern Territory Academy, it is based in two regions of Darwin and Alice Springs, with the former having 30 representatives in the match, and the latter having 23. In terms of the NTFL breakdown, Waratah and Tracy Village have the most with six apiece, whilst Southern Districts (five), and St Mary’s and Nightcliff (four apiece) have the next most representatives. From Alice Springs, Rovers will have the most representatives of any side by far, with a whopping 12 players across the two teams. Alkamilya has six representatives , whilst Pioneer (four) and West (one) round out the entire 23 players.

Grace Whittaker is a Southern Districts product who will represent Team Baird this year, and a player who caught the eye in last year’s showcase match. Whittaker has eye-catching athleticism and teamed up well with Annabel Kievit who will join Anderson in the Queensland game. Most remarkably, there are two players on Team Baird who are 2008-born talents and playing four years above their age group. The recently turned 13-year-olds are Peta Wilson and Acacia Tipene who have shown enough talent for their age to earn the call-up. Both games across the weekend will be ones to watch, not just for next year’s AFLW Draft, but for future ones as well.

AFLW U17S GAME LINK

Team: Ponter
Coach: Rhiannon Busch
Team Manager: Elise Ralston

# NAME SURNAME DOB STATE/ ACADEMY/ REGION LOCAL CLUB / SCHOOL
1 REGAN MOLDRICH 13/06/2006 NT / NT Thunder Academy / Alice Springs Alkamilya FC
2 CHLOE LAI 13/06/2006 NT / NT Thunder Academy / Darwin Waratah FC
3 MYA TOMMY 10/03/2007 NT / NT Thunder Academy / Alice Springs Pioneer FC
10 HAYLEY MAHER 5/03/2004 NT / NT Thunder Academy / Alice Springs Alkamilya FC
11 TAHNEE MCLAUGHLIN 7/10/2004 NT / NT Thunder Academy / Alice Springs Alkamilya FC
12 LESHAYE STEWART 27/08/2006 NT / NT Thunder Academy / Alice Springs Rovers Football Club
13 LEKISHA NELSON 25/11/2007 NT / NT Thunder Academy / Alice Springs Rovers Football Club
14 SOPHIE MADDALOZZO 4/11/2006 NT / NT Thunder Academy / Darwin Waratah FC
15 RAHNI TILLER 20/05/2007 NT / NT Thunder Academy / Darwin Tracy Village FC
16 BELLA FOSTER 1/12/2007 NT / NT Thunder Academy / Alice Springs Pioneer FC
17 LEXIE CAGNEY 9/11/2006 NT / NT Thunder Academy / Darwin Wanderers FC
19 BRYLEE KERRIN 26/12/2004 NT / NT Thunder Academy / Alice Springs Rovers Football Club
20 RANIA SHELFORD 19/03/2007 NT / NT Thunder Academy / Alice Springs Alkamilya FC
21 TOBY BLOOMFIELD 1/12/2006 NT / NT Thunder Academy / Alice Springs Rovers Football Club
22 KALLIOPI GIKAS 28/12/2006 NT / NT Thunder Academy / Darwin St Mary’s FC
23 TSHARNI GRAHAM 28/10/2005 NT / NT Thunder Academy / Darwin Palmerston FC
25 BROOKLYN TARRANT 22/02/2006 NT / NT Thunder Academy / Darwin Southern Districts FC
26 EMMA CLIFTON 22/02/2005 NT / NT Thunder Academy / Darwin Nightcliff FC
27 ALYSSA CARUANA 1/09/2005 NT / NT Thunder Academy / Darwin Nightcliff FC
28 GRACE WHITTAKER 30/12/2005 NT / NT Thunder Academy / Darwin Southern Districts FC
29 ARMANI FRANCOIS 20/04/2005 NT / NT Thunder Academy / Alice Springs Rovers Football Club
30 KENISHA MUNYARRYUN 8/09/2007 NT / NT Thunder Academy / Darwin Tracy Village FC
31 KIERRA ZERAFA 10/11/2005 NT / NT Thunder Academy / Darwin Waratah FC
28 GRACE WHITTAKER 30/12/2005 NT / NT Thunder Academy / Darwin Southern Districts FC
29 ARMANI FRANCOIS 20/04/2005 NT / NT Thunder Academy / Alice Springs Rovers Football Club
30 KENISHA MUNYARRYUN 8/09/2007 NT / NT Thunder Academy / Darwin Tracy Village FC
31 KIERRA ZERAFA 10/11/2005 NT / NT Thunder Academy / Darwin Waratah FC

Team: Baird
Coach: Darren Pfeiffer
Team Manager: Elise Ralston

# NAME SURNAME DOB STATE/ACADEMY/REGION LOCAL CLUB / SCHOOL
1 THEA WISCHUSEN 17/03/2004 NT / NT Thunder Academy / Alice Springs Rovers FC
2 SARAH LAI 27/04/2006 NT / NT Thunder Academy / Darwin Waratah FC
3 GRACIE BUSUTTIL 14/07/2005 NT / NT Thunder Academy / Darwin Southern Districts FC
4 IMOGEN FOXCHAFFER 28/12/2006 NT / NT Thunder Academy / Darwin Nightcliff FC
5 TANEISHA SWAN 22/01/2007 NT / NT Thunder Academy / Alice Springs Alkamilya FC
6 LAHNI GILBY 27/01/2007 NT / NT Thunder Academy / Alice Springs West FC
7 ACACIA TIPENE 22/07/2008 NT / NT Thunder Academy / Alice Springs Pioneer FC
8 SYRAI LANSEN 27/01/2005 NT / NT Thunder Academy / Alice Springs Rovers FC
10 MIKAYLA BALDWIN 9/06/2006 NT / NT Thunder Academy / Darwin Palmerston FC
11 CHARLOTTE BRADY 7/10/2005 NT / NT Thunder Academy / Darwin Palmerston FC
12 LAVINAH POLLO 13/06/2007 NT / NT Thunder Academy / Darwin Tracy Village FC
14 KYANNE CAMPBELL 13/01/2005 NT / NT Thunder Academy / Alice Springs Rovers FC
15 DANIKA MCDONALD 6/06/2007 NT / NT Thunder Academy / Alice Springs Rovers FC
16 ERINI GIKAS 16/10/2004 NT / NT Thunder Academy / Darwin St Mary’s FC
17 MARTINA GUNTHER-OLIVER 1/04/2006 NT / NT Thunder Academy / Darwin Nightcliff FC
18 AMBER WUNUNGMURRA 17/07/2006 NT / NT Thunder Academy / Darwin Tracy Village FC
20 MARYSHAE GREEN 1/12/2006 NT / NT Thunder Academy / Alice Springs Alkamilya FC
24 EMMA STARK 2/01/2006 NT / NT Thunder Academy / Darwin St Mary’s FC
25 LATINA CAGNEY 2/10/2005 NT / NT Thunder Academy / Darwin Wanderers FC
26 SINIVA SA’ANGA 18/02/2004 NT / NT Thunder Academy / Alice Springs Rovers FC
27 ELLA FITZ 22/10/2005 NT / NT Thunder Academy / Alice Springs Pioneer FC
29 PETA WILSON 28/04/2008 NT / NT Thunder Academy / Alice Springs Rovers FC
31 CIARALII PARNELL 31/12/2004 NT / NT Thunder Academy / Darwin St Mary’s FC
28 GRACE WHITTAKER 30/12/2005 NT / NT Thunder Academy / Darwin Southern Districts FC
29 ARMANI FRANCOIS 20/04/2005 NT / NT Thunder Academy / Alice Springs Rovers Football Club
30 KENISHA MUNYARRYUN 8/09/2007 NT / NT Thunder Academy / Darwin Tracy Village FC
31 KIERRA ZERAFA 10/11/2005 NT / NT Thunder Academy / Darwin Waratah FC

Picture credit: Aaron Black/AFL Photos

Tasmanian Statewide Women’s Player Focus: Candice Belbin (Ulverstone)

IN our latest Player Focus, we take a look at the Tasmanian Women’s Statewide Preliminary Final, where Ulverstone defeated Launceston by 19 points at Dial Park in Penguin on the weekend. The teams had a number of top-age and draft-eligible players running around, but the main focus was on a 2022 AFLW Draft talent in Candice Belbin, who was one of the Robins’ best in the win.

>> MATCH REPORT: Ulverstone dominate scoreboard to book final decider spot with Glenorchy
>> STATS PROFILE: Candice Belbin

CANDICE BELBIN PROFILE:

Height: 164cm
DOB: 14/07/2004
Position: Midfielder/Defender
Club/s: Ulverstone/Tasmania Devils

Strengths: Power, strength, contested ball, versatility, clearance work
Key Improvement: Execution by foot

Candice Belbin was one of those players who improved as the 2021 NAB League Girls season went on, catching the eye with her work across the ground. Her ability to win the contested ball and power out of a stoppage – despite often playing outside in the season – is what she does so well. Even though she is smaller compared to some inside mids, she has the ability to read the taps well and also provide run-and-carry. Her quick hands and versatile athleticism – a nice mix of speed and agility, as well as her work rate and competitiveness – helps her remain strong throughout matches. She only had one game below 10 touch for the Devils (and that was nine) in a season where she was ultra-consistent, and showed that she had plenty of give for next year. If she can tidy up her execution by foot, then she ticks a lot of boxes.

2021 NAB League Girls stats (averages):

Games: 9
Kicks:
 4.6
Handballs: 6.8
Disposals: 11.3
Marks: 0.9
Tackles: 4.1
Inside 50s: 0.9
Rebound 50s: 1.0

Match in focus: Ulverstone 3.12 (30) defeated Launceston 1.5 (11)

Candice Belbin Quarter by Quarter analysis:

Q1:

Stats: 3 kicks, 3 handballs, 6 disposals, 2 tackles, 1 inside 50, 1 behind

Belbin started the game with a prominent first quarter as expected being the top talent eligible for next year’s draft in the game. She laid a great early tackle and then won her first kick in close out of a stoppage and scrubbed it forward to the advantage of her teammates. Her movement through traffic was evident inside 50 when she won the ball inside a stoppage, could not get rid of it cleanly, but then produced a second effort to win the contested ball again and fire away a quick handball, kept her feet to get it back and spun through traffic to have a kick towards goal, albeit for a behind.

Another highlight of the term was her second efforts and work rate of back-to-back handballs where from half-back she ran onto it, kept her eyes on the ball, won it with oncoming pressure and opted to handball over her opponent so Belbin could run onto it again. She handballed a second time, and whilst opponents were able to halt her run there, she had gained great meterage from the play along the wing. Her last touch of the quarter was a kick off the ground, followed by another great tackle.

Q2:

Stats: 2 kicks, 4 handballs, 6 disposals, 1 mark, 1 tackle, 2 frees against

Belbin’s ground coverage and overall pressure was really good as her second quarter built on that of her first. Not finding much space in close, Belbin used her power time and time again to breakthrough congestion and get it forward, with only the execution being the area to sharpen up. She did get caught holding the ball trying to break through a tackle late in the second term, and gave away an earlier free kick for a tackle on an opponent for slinging, but was perhaps a little unlucky for that one. Her first touch was a quick handball in close, and her cleanliness at ground level for the most part was good, often having a split second to pickup the ball and tackle off, which she did at one stage on the wing. Belbin had pressure coming with a two-on-one situation, cleanly grabbed the ball on the wing close to the boundary, drew the contact and produced the handball, which enabled her team to go forward and set up the team’s first goal of the day.

Belbin’s clean pickups and run-and-carry were certainly highlights, though she did tend to rush her kicks even once she had gained the space. Taking a strong uncontested mark 40m out after sneaking into the perfect spot, she looked to hit up Amy Bissett in the pocket but just overcooked the kick and went over her head. Back in the midfield, Belbin won another contested ball on the wing, but was immediately tackled, then a second effort saw her win another touch and this time get her handball off, to finish the first half with a really prominent 12 disposals, one mark and three tackles.

Q3:

Stats: 5 kicks, 4 handballs, 9 disposals, 1 mark, 1 inside 50, 2 frees for

Belbin’s best quarter by far was her third term, spending the entire quarter right where the action was in midfield. Whilst she played through the midfield around the ground in the first half, she was a permanent fixture at each stoppage in the third, and it showed on the stats sheet with her ball-winning ability. She won a free kick in the opening few seconds for being taken high, but her kick again missed the target and was intercepted. Her ability to win the ball under pressure and still be able to dispose of it through power and strength is eye-catching, and she produced an elite tackle four and a half minutes into the quarter. Her execution on the tackle was fantastic to win the holding the ball free kick, but again the spin on the ball from the free kick did not go the right way and the opposition took advantage. Playing more inside, Belbin was able to read the taps off the ruck hands well, often being the one to get into the right spot to win it, and then either power away or quickly dish off, which she did on a number of occasions.

Belbin pushed forward to about 20m out and while the mark was not paid, she quickly handballed forward under pressure, and won the ball another two times in the chain, keeping the ball locked inside the forward 50 as Ulverstone really put scoreboard pressure on Launceston. Winning the ball over and over again in the contest, Belbin was clean when she was able to go inside 50 and then ran on to win another contested ball off the ground before being immediately tackled. Showing off her one-on-one bodywork, late in the quarter Belbin nudged her opponent off the ball, grabbed the ball but was immediately tackled winning a free kick for being taken high. Her kick was intercepted, though Belbin won the ball back off that next possession through a mark herself, before another turnover. By the final break, Belbin was one of the best on ground with 21 disposals and two marks.

Q4:

Stats: 1 kick, 3 handballs, 4 disposals

It was Belbin’s quietest quarter of the game in the last, with most of the time in possession being in Launceston’s forward half, and Ulverstone struggling to clear it from the defensive 50 for large portions of the game. The bottom-age talent spent time around the ground, and when she was in the at defensive 50, won a contested ball, tried to charge away, was tackled but still got her handball off. She almost had an identical moment not long after, but lost control of it – without giving away a free kick – as it was knocked out of her hands. Her clearance work had been on show the game and once again she did well with her hard running to kick it forward, and then got to the next stoppage to do it again by reading the tap well, but was immediately tackled.

Being immediately tackled before being able to possess of the ball from the stoppage was more often than earlier in the game, with Launceston ramping up the defensive pressure to try and get back in the game. Belbin did win a last touch late in the match, with her trademark contested ball win from the stoppage, charging off, being tackled but still getting her hands free for a handball to teammates.

TOTAL STATS: 11 kicks, 14 handballs, 25 disposals, 2 marks, 3 tackles, 2 inside 50s, 2 frees for, 2 frees against, 1 behind

SUMMARY:

Candice Belbin’s game was impressive, with the 2022 AFL Women’s Draft prospect having some draftable traits, particularly with her running, contested ball-winning ability and power from a stoppage. She does need to continue to clean up the execution by foot, but aside from that, there was not too much to fault in her performance, with her hands through contact and decision making by hand both good. She also found space well, able to win the ball inside or outside, and in each third of the game. With plenty of time until the NAB League Girls season starts, Belbin has the raw attributes to show promise next year.

Picture credit: Simon Sturzaker via The Advocate

Ulverstone dominate scoreboard to book final decider spot with Glenorchy

ULVERSTONE has booked its spot in the Tasmanian Women’s Statewide Grand Final after getting the job done in an imposing performance against Launceston at Dial Park in Penguin on the weekend. The Robins controlled play for nearly the entirety of the match, having 15 scoring shots to six – including 11 to two by the final break, but it took until a goal in the last two minutes from Amy Bissett to seal the 19-point victory.

In the first year of the new-look women’s football structure in Tasmania, Ulverstone and Launceston were the respective premiers in the NWFL and NTFA in the north of the state. By winning their respective leagues, they booked a spot in the preliminary final in order to have a shot at the winner of the Southern Football League (SFL) competition. Both sides came into the clash with some impressive young players and experienced heads, and in perfect football conditions, produced a hard-fought spectacle throughout four quarters.

For the most part, the game was dominated by Ulverstone in the forward half, with respective captains Meg Thompson (Ulverstone) and Dearne Taylor (Launceston) the best on ground for their respective sides. The Robins had more depth around the ground however, with ex-AFLW listed talents in Chloe and Libby Haines up opposite ends, and a sprinkling of talented Tasmania Devils players such as Meghan Gaffney and Candice Belbin through midfield and Bissett up forward who all caught the eye.

Neither team could really get on the board in a meaningful way early, with five behinds shared between the teams, and Ulverstone leading by three points at the first break. Bissett had a great run and set it up to Georgia Anderson, but the subsequent set shot missed. The Robins did the bulk of the attacking as it would prove to be the case for most of the game, with Bissett and Chloe Haines both having rushed shots on goal, which saw the Launceston defence up to the task. Up the other end, Kiara Mills had a chance on goal but was marked on the line, with Molly Clark‘s strong hands and booming kick around the ground having an impact for the Blues.

The second term saw Anderson put through the first major of the game six minutes into the term, with a contested ball win by Belbin getting the ball forward on the wing to a teammate in space, and leading to Anderson kicking the major. The Blues tried to respond immediately with Mills having a quick snap under pressure but bouncing through for a behind. It would be Launceston’s only goal of the game, as Bissett missed a chance she would usually gobble up, to put the margin at nine points heading into half-time. Ruby Mitchell was productive for the Robins alongside Thompson, Gaffney and Belbin, with Mikayla Binns and ruck Monique Duffy also getting involved with Clark and Taylor for the Blues.

It was complete one-way traffic for the Robins in the third term as they built an incredible 19-point lead by the final break. It should have been a lot larger, with Ulverstone kicked 1.4 to 0.0 to suffocate the Launceston attack and maintain forward possession for the majority of the term. The move of Belbin on-ball permanently was a huge success with the bottom-age talent having the ball on a string, whilst Thompson and Gaffney were busy again, and lead to Anderson having a crack at a second goal but was saved on the line by Hayley Whyte. The defensive work from Whyte had been great close to goal, but she tried to bite off too much charging out, tackled by Anderson who had another shot, but just missed.

Moments later she would get her chance though, with Thompson winning a free kick and it drifted to the pocket for Chloe Haines to mark uncontested, she popped it up to the top of the goalsquare where Anderson marked and slotted the major for her, and her team’s second goal. Despite the likes of Taylor, Whyte and Elyse Page working hard to stem the damage, the Robins kept on attacking, with Thompson having a couple of shots, with Page touching one on the line and another one being rushed across. The siren sounded soon other with an imposing 19-point lead to the Robins.

With a quarter to play, Launceston needed a quick response, and after Bissett had a snap around her body that was rushed through early in the term, the Blues provided it. They rushed it forward and had the best chance for goal after a free kick for downfield was paid to Despina Amerikanos. Her set shot missed though, and when Clark intercepted and had a shot from 40m that fell short and was cleared after a Duffy mark claim was not paid, it appeared their time, and luck had run out. They still attacked over the course of the next 10 minutes, peppering the goals desperate to get back into it, with a couple of rushed behinds with Ulverstone’s back six up to the task.

Finally Launceston got the goal they were deserving of, with Maddison Shaw winning a free kick 15m out and slotting it to cut the deficit to nine points with the faint sniff of a comeback. That was put to bed in the final few minutes though, with the Robins attacking and Bissett reading the play brilliantly off hands at the top of the goalsquare to snap the goal and send her team into the grand final. She had another chance running into goal in the final minute and almost began to celebrate her effort before it cannoned into the woodwork. Regardless, Ulverstone had got up by 19 points and progressed into the Women’s Statewide Grand Final.

Ulverstone will take on Glenorchy in the Tasmanian Women’s Stateleague Grand Final next weekend after the Magpies defeated Claremont 10.8 (68) to 5.2 (32) in the SFL Women’s Grand Final on Sunday.

ULVERSTONE 0.4 | 1.5 | 2.9 | 3.12 (30)
LAUNCESTON 0.1 | 0.2 | 0.2 | 1.5 (11)

GOALS: 

Ulverstone: G. Anderson 2, A. Bissett.
Launceston: M. Shaw.

DC BEST: 

Ulverstone: M. Thompson, M. Gaffney, C. Belbin, G. Anderson R. Mitchell, A. Bissett
Launceston: D. Taylor, M. Clark, M. Brazendale, K. Mills, M. Duffy, M. Binns

2021 VFL Women’s Grand Final cancelled

AFTER multiple attempts to play out the final game of the Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s season, the AFL has officially pulled the pin on the competition, meaning the 2021 season will join 2020 as years without an official premier. Collingwood and Geelong had both reached the grand final and were hopeful of playing off at some stage to determine a champion, but with the inconsistent community lockdowns, it had become too difficult.

Aside from the obvious restrictions of lockdowns preventing fans from celebrating a grand final, and the difficulty in finding a suitable venue that met requirements, the fact that neither team had played in over a month – Geelong July 31 and Collingwood July 10 – meant the sides would need suitable time to prepare for a match to determine a premiership. Collingwood being situated in metropolitan Melbourne was particularly impacted by the community lockdowns, with regional Victoria getting a couple of reprieves to train, though on a whole both sides have had limited opportunities.

In the end it was the clubs who confirmed to the AFL saying it would prove too difficult to field a VFL Women’s team given the lengthy break and preseason requirements for the AFL Women’s listed players, as well as those needing post-season treatment such as surgeries. It is heartbreaking for both sides, and particularly unfortunate for the Magpies who went through the season undefeated as minor premiers, and defeated Geelong three times – including in the first week of finals – to reach the decider. None of their head-to-heads were blowouts however, and the Cats were confident of a fourth time lucky had they been given a chance.

Collingwood VFL Women’s captain Caitlin Bunker said she was proud of the group that produced the Magpies’ third consecutive minor premiership season.

“Our whole group is absolutely devastated that we won’t be able to play the VFLW Grand Final this year and have the opportunity to play for the Premiership in front of our Collingwood fans, but we understand and are supportive of the decision,” she said. “The decision was best to ensure for the health and safety of our players, coaches, staff and the broader community. “Having missed last year’s season and having to adapt with further lockdowns this year has been hard for our players, coaches, staff and fans who have all shown immense dedication and commitment to our program and the competition.

“For the third season in a row, Collingwood were crowned minor premiers and remained undefeated throughout the season and finals series. While our group is disappointed that we won’t have the opportunity to play the Grand Final, I’m still extremely proud of what our group has been able to achieve in 2021.”

Geelong VFL Women’s captain Claudia Gunjaca said the Cats were heartbroken, also understood the bigger picture.

“As a group, we have remained hopeful and focused throughout the uncertainty and while it’s not the outcome we were hoping for, we understand and support the decision that’s been made,” Gunjaca said. “As disappointing as it is, it doesn’t take away from how proud we are of what we’ve been able to achieve this season.”

AFL Head of Talent Pathways and State League Competitions Tristan Salter expressed sadness at the decision after what had been a terrific and resilient year of football.

“The rebel VFLW Competition has been a foundation league in Victoria for many years and an exciting pathway for young girls. The 2021 season has been a challenge to everyone connected to football. The AFL is very proud of how all VFLW clubs, players, officials, supporters and corporate partners managed through a difficult year and kept their communities connected,” Salter said.

“To play 90 VFLW games during a COVID-interrupted season is a testament to the resilience and commitment of the whole industry – all clubs, players, coaches, umpires and officials. “Our clubs and the League have made a difficult decision and we sympathise with their players and coaches and their legion of fans and supporters. Everyone is aligned and united in this decision and we will come through this together.

“In 2021 we celebrate 40 years of women’s football in Victoria and we reflect on the contribution of all women to our great game. Participation for women and girls has exploded and the VFLW has added a vibrancy and excitement to our game that we have sorely needed in these challenging times. “We congratulate all clubs on a successful year of football and look forward to returning for the 2022 season.”

Planning will commence for the 2022 VFL Women’s season, with the next year anticipated to start earlier than usual to align with the pushed forward AFL Women’s competition.

Picture: AFL Photos

McLeay’s GIANT opportunity

VERSATILE tall Isadora McLeay has earned her chance at the elite level after GWS GIANTS chose her to replace Emily Goodsir this week. Goodsir, who announced her pregancy post AFLW Draft, was placed on the inactive list for the 2022 season, allowing the GIANTS to select another player to fill their list. They opted to go for the 2021 AFLW Under 19 All-Australian full-back who enjoyed a great carnival for the Allies.

McLeay averaged 16.5 disposals, 3.0 marks and 2.5 rebound 50s during the two-game carnival, though her offensive output was still an area she was looking to build. GIANTS fans will enjoy watching her one-on-one ability, with a powerful, accurate kick and a reliable set of defensive traits. She is also strong overhead, and capable of playing up either end, making her a valuable talent for the orange and charcoal.

Turning 18 next week, McLeay stands at 178cm and will likely fill a key position role in defence, but can swing forward if required to do so. Draft Central spoke to McLeay at the 2021 AFLW Under 19 Championships after the Allies’ loss to Western Australia, ahead of their game with South Australia.

See the full interview below.

Countdown is on until NTFL kicks off for 2021/22

JUST 21 sleeps remain until the first bounce of the 2021/22 Northern Territory Football League (NTFL) Men’s Premier League, with a Friday night fixture kicking off on October 1. Waratah hosts Palmerston Magpies at Gardens Oval, before the remaining three games take place the next day. The NTFL Women’s Premier League also kicks off that weekend, with a triple header at TIO Stadium on Saturday October 2, before the Waratah-Palmerston clash at Gardens Oval on Sunday.

In 2021/22 the same eight sides will again contest the Men’s Premier League, with nine teams battling it out in the Women’s Premier League. Each round a women’s side will have the bye, with last year’s runners-up Darwin Buffettes having an extra week of preseason. Their first match will be all the way down on Sunday, October 10 taking on fellow finalists Southern Districts.

From a contenders perspective, Pint took home its inaugural Women’s Premier League premiership last season, and the Queen Ants will be keen to go back-to-back. Since the inaugural 2004/05 season, St Mary’s and Waratah have shared in 13 of the 17 flags, though Pint and Southern Districts have been the last two premiers. Nightcliff, Tracy Village and Wanderers are the only sides without a premiership title to their name in the women’s history.

In the men’s competition, four teams have collected the majority of flags, particularly dominated by St Mary’s (32) and Darwin Buffaloes (23), who have more than half a century worth of flags. St Mary’s record haul is made all the more impressive by the fact they entered the league after four of the current eight sides, in 1952. Every side in the league has won at least one title, with the newest team Tiwi Bombers – formed in 2007 – winning in 2011-12. The longest premiership drought belongs to Waratah who last won on the turn of the century in the 1999-2000 season.

Nightcliff is the team to beat though, winning the past three flags to take their tally to six, having not won one since 1964/65 prior to their 2018-21 three-peat. The reigning premiers will have the biggest challenge up first, taking on St Mary’s in a grand final rematch that promises to be massive at TIO Stadium. The Saturday night clash is the second in a double-header for the men’s competition, with Wanderers and Southern Districts kicking off that league from 4pm, and the second game at 6:30pm.

For the diehard fans, the triple header of the Women’s Premier League will start from 10am at TIO Stadium, meaning fans can watch from 10am until 9pm with five games taking place. Nightcliff hosts Tracey Village, Wanderers hosts St Mary’s and reigning premiers Pint locks horns with Southern Districts in what is anticipated to be a massive day of footballing action.

Round 1 is known as TIO Round, with Umpires Round (Round 3), Indigenous Round (Round 7), Road Safety Round (Round 8) and No More Round (Round 17) among the special initiative rounds. Both leagues will run for 18 rounds, with the final regular season of action taking place on Saturday, February 19. There will be a break over Christmas and New Year, with Round 12 competition concluding on Sunday, December 19, and Round 13 kicking off on Saturday, January 18.

Clubs will also have a break on Saturday, January 22 for NTFL representation weekend, whilst Waratah and Wanderers will battle it out on January 26 for their annual rivalry. With plenty of speculation around potential recruits to the league – including rumours of ex-Blue and Crow Eddie Betts taking part this year – expect the competition to be as big as ever.

MEN’S PREMIER LEAGUE ROUND 1 FIXTURE:

Friday, October 1:

Waratah vs. Palmerston Magpies @ Gardens Oval, 6:30pm

Saturday, October 2:

Tiwi Bombers vs. Darwin Buffaloes @ Gardens Oval, 2:00pm
Wanderers vs. Southern Districts @ TIO Stadium, 4:00pm
Nightcliff vs. St Marys @ TIO Stadium, 6:30pm

WOMEN’S PREMIER LEAGUE ROUND 1 FIXTURE:

Saturday, October 2:

Nightcliff vs. Tracey Village @ TIO Stadium, 10:00am
Wanderers vs. St Mary’s @ TIO Stadium, 12:00pm
Pint vs. Southern Districts @ TIO Stadium, 2:00pm

Sunday, October 3:

Waratah vs. Palmerston Magpies @ Gardens Ocal, 4:30pm

Image Credit: Felicity Elliott/AFLNT Media