Category: Womens

Weekend preview: 2020/21 NTFL Women’s Premier League – Round 5

JUST one team remains at the top of the Northern Territory Football League (NTFL) Women’s Premier League ladder heading into Round 5, and one side that was knocked off their perch with a loss last round will look to execute the same result this round when Pint and Nightcliff go head-to-head. A renewed looking Palmerston Magpies will look to continue their rise up the ladder after a sloppy start to the season, while Tracy Village will have their work cut out for them. As per usual, all four matches will play on Saturday afternoon, while Waratah was handed the bye.

Southern Districts vs. Wanderers
Saturday, October 31

Reigning premiers Southern Districts will be chomping at the bit after a bye last round, with no wins on the board yet in season 2020/21 and plenty to play for. The Crocs are possibly in their best position to win this round after the shaky tart, with fresh legs and a similarly struggling opposition in the Wanderers. While the Wanderers had a similarly shaky opening round, they were fortunate to take on Tracy Village in Round 2 which built up some confidence but have struggled since then. While their form is technically in better shape than Districts’ at this point in time, the reigning premiers cannot be underestimated given their scoring ability when they get going and plenty of pride coming into this match. 

Wanderers’ Kaitlyn Armstrong may have been rendered goalless last round but has proven to be a huge threat up forward so far this season, but if she can be held off by the Crocs this week the Wanderers could be in trouble with just four other players managing to get on the board thus far. Djimila Totham and Shekeine De Satge have been named in the best on three occasions, while for the Crocs they will be looking to not only bring a little bit of consistency to their game but also some excitement from Ebony Miller and Tayla Thorn.

Pint vs. Nightcliff
Saturday, October 31

A huge top three battle is set between the undefeated Pint and Nightcliff, with the former holding mantle at the top of the ladder and the latter looking to avenge their frustrating Round 4 loss last week. Both teams have had an excellent start to the season and have rarely faltered out the front, with the Queen Ants ultimately coming into this match as favourites credit to their firepower and proven ability to win under pressure. While Nightcliff have plenty of talent of their own inside their forward 50, with 237 points for compared to Pint’s 252, they have conceded the most points of the teams within the top four so will need to ensure their back end matches the firepower up forward.

Nightcliff’s Emma-Lou Wolsey still leads the goal tally following Round 4 with 11 majors to her name, with Jacqueline Anyon-Smith zipping up the leaderboard with three goals last round, stepping up as Wolsey was kept quiet by the Saints. But while Wolsey has dominated up forward for the Tigers, Pint’s Jasmyn Hewett and Casey Morris have been sharing the footy around, combining well up forward and providing a couple of crucial targets on a list with 12 proven goalkickers just across the opening four rounds. Between the two teams, Pint centurion Cassie Henderson is the lone player to have been named in the best three times.

Tracy Village vs. Darwin Buffettes
Saturday, October 31

Collecting two wins under their belts from three matches, the Buffettes will look to capitalise here and look to break into the top three when they take on the lowly Tracy Village. Always a tough ask, The Darwin side has dropped just one game in a close encounter, and otherwise have been fairly consistent this season. They outlasted a tough Waratah outfit last round and have plenty of exciting names across the field, so will hope to put some real pressure not only on the scoreboard this round but also on the three teams sitting above them on the ladder. The Razorbacks are yet to score more than single digits per game throughout the season so far, and while they have only played three matches from four rounds, they have struggled to not only put goals on the board but also negate their opposition – something Darwin will hope to capitalise off with its flurry of consistent goalkickers.

With just two goals for the season so far, Meagan Wylie and Indianna Hughes will hope to provide a spark up forward for the Razorbacks, and with both named in the best two and three times respectively, they can be relied on to do just that with their continuous hunt on the ball. For the Buffettes, Zoe Anderson and Machaelia Roberts lead the goalkicking tally, with a flurry of other handy options able to put goals on the board where required making for a hugely unpredictable side up forward.

St Mary’s vs. Palmerston Magpies
Saturday, October 31

The final match of the round will see St Mary’s host Palmerston Magpies, with the Saints sitting up in second on the ladder on percentage and the Magpies sitting in sixth after finally getting their first win on the board last round. While the Saints certainly have the winning form going into this round, only defeated by ladder-leading Pint in Round 2 by a close margin, there is no doubt the Magpies’ excellent 87-point win over the Razorbacks last round will give the side plenty of confidence heading into this matchup.

One of the intriguing things about St Mary’s this season is their winning ability regardless of the high turnover of players each round. Watch out for Michaela Long who has booted six goal across her four outings while five other player have booted more than one goal this season. Megan Williamson has been named among the best in all four matches, while Claudia Whitfort has been named in the best three times and booted four majors. For the Magpies, Arthurina Moreen (four goals) and Natasha Medbury (three) were crucial in last round’s victory, both playing just their second games for the season and will look to overwhelm the Saints’ defence this week.

Port Melbourne earns VFLW licence for 2021 in revamped Victorian structure

PORT Melbourne will field a Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s side for the first time next season after the Borough was accepted into the competition following Richmond’s decision to withdraw in 2021. The decision came yesterday with a landmark announcement that VFL Women’s competition will run concurrently with the AFL Women’s competition in February next year. The move allows players from the Victorian AFL Women’s clubs to get match practice under their belts without having to rely on just training sessions when not selected for their club.

South Australia was a trailblazer in that approach, having much success over the past few years allowing Adelaide Crows players to represent their South Australia National Football League (SANFL) Women’s side when not picked to play for the Crows. More recently, Queensland applied a similar approach for the Queensland Australian Football League (QAFL) Women’s competition with the introduction of Gold Coast Suns coming into the top league.

Port Melbourne previously played in the AFL South Eastern Women’s Division 1 competition, but has strong ties through the state league with its rich history of its VFL Men’s side. The Borough will play at ETU Stadium, also known as North Port Oval, and will be aligned with Richmond. It means that the Tigers’ AFL Women’s players will pull on the Port Melbourne colours in the competition in 2020.

Port Melbourne CEO Paul Malcolm said on the Port Melbourne website that the alignment was a fantastic opportunity for both clubs.

“We are looking forward to working together with Richmond to create a pathway for women looking to live out their football dream,” he said. “Our club and our existing partnerships with Bendigo Women’s Football Club, St Michaels Grammar, Oakleigh Chargers, Port Colts, and the Tommy Lahiff Cup will benefit greatly from the alignment and our entry into the VFLW.”

The VFL Women’s competition will run beyond the AFL Women’s season, from February through to July.

The other announcement was that the 2020 NAB League Girls competition would be brought forward slightly to also run concurrently with the VFL Women’s and AFL Women’s competitions. In 2020, the NAB League Girls started on February 29, but that will be brought forward four weeks to allow it to run over the same time as the AFL Women’s competition.

It also means the AFL Women’s Under-18 Championships will be brought forward to April, 2021 from its usual July date. More information about the competitions will be announced in the future.

Picture: Port Melbourne website

2020/21 NTFL Women’s Premier League wrap: Round 4

ROUND 4 of the Northern Territory Football League (NTFL) Women’s Premier League saw Palmerston and Pint secure blowout victories, while St Mary’s and Darwin got the better of fellow top five opponents on what was a super Saturday of play. The results see Pint remain the sole undefeated side atop the ladder, while Tracy Village is still searching for its first win and Southern Districts freshened up with a bye. All that, and more in our weekend wrap.

PALMERSTON MAGPIES | 3.1 | 4.5 | 9.8 | 14.12 (96)
TRACY VILLAGE | 0.1 | 0.2 | 1.3 | 1.3 (9)

GOALS:

Palmerston: A. Moreen 4, N. Medbury 3, T. May 2, I. Ronberg, E. Pretlove, M. Brown, C. Byers, J. Baird.
Tracy Village: M. Wylie.

BEST:

Palmerston: J. Guthridge, J. Baird, T. May, A. Moreen, M. Brown, B. Byers
Tracy Village: I. Hughes, K. Battel, K. Marschall, L. Toner, Z. Clarke, R. von Prott

Palmerston got on the board for season 2020/21 at the third time of asking, thumping the winless Tracy Village by 87 points at Cazaly’s Arena on Saturday. The Magpies took an early lead and never looked back, setting up their victory with four goals to nil in the first half. The damage was only compounded after half time despite the Razorbacks getting on the board, as Palmerston piled on a further 10 goals to storm home 14.12 (96) to 1.3 (9) winners.

Arthurina Moreen (four goals) and Natasha Medbury (three) combined to claim half of the Magpies’ majors, while Tabitha May rounded out the multiple goalkickers with two. Meagan Wylie was Tracy Village’s lone player to find the big sticks, as her side was soundly outdone going forward. The likes of Janet Baird and Michaeline Brown were others to both be named among the best and hit the scoreboard for Palmerston, but it was Jo Guthridge who earned best afield honours. Indianna Hughes gained the same credit for Tracy Village in the loss.

WANDERERS | 0.0 | 0.0 | 0.0 | 1.3 (9)
PINT | 2.2 | 7.5 | 12.7 | 16.7 (103)

GOALS:

Wanderers: C. Ormsby.
Pint: C. Morris 5, K. Smits 3, G. Cusack 2, J. Hewett 2, R. Pryer 2, S. Ingram, K. Streader.

BEST: 

Wanderers: M. Johnston, T. Davern, D. Peckham, C. Ormsby, S. De Satge, T. Parriman
Pint: A. Chittick, C. Henderson, J. Hewett, C. Morris, K. Streader

Pint maintained its flawless start to the season with a resounding 94-point win over Wanderers at TIO Oval on Saturday morning. The Queen Ants started steadily with a two-goal buffer at the first break, before piling on five goals in both the second and third terms to set up the big victory. All the while, Wanderers went scoreless, with Cassie Ormsby converting the Eagles’ first six-pointer in the final term en route to the 16.7 (103) to 1.3 (9) scoreline. It did little to arrest Pint’s momentum, as the victors also put through another four majors.

Casey Morris led a remarkable group of five multiple goalkickers for Pint, bagging a handful of goals while Kristen Smits (three) managed the next-best haul. Jasmyn Hewett was another to trouble the scorers with two majors as she was named among the Queenants’ best behind Amy Chittick and Cassie Henderson. Meanwhile, Morgan Johnston and Tishara Davern led the way for Wanderers alongside goalkicker, Ormsby as the Eagles fell to a second-consecutive defeat to sit seventh at 1-3. Pint is still riding high in top spot having knocked over every challenger thus far.

ST MARY’S | 3.1 | 7.2 | 9.8 | 11.10 (76)
NIGHTCLIFF | 1.2 | 2.2 | 4.2 | 5.2 (32)

GOALS:

St Mary’s: J. Anderson 3, A. Coombes 3, M. Long 2, J. Bryant, C. Whitfort, D. Ponter
Nightcliff: J. Anyon-Smith 3, L. Gooden, E. Wolsey

BEST:

St Mary’s: A. Coombes, D. Ponter, M. Williamson, S. Peris, J. Anderson, C. Whitfort
Nightcliff: K. Simmons, L. Gooden, J. Anyon-Smith

Finals ramifications were in play when St Mary’s and Nightcliff went to battle at TIO Stadium on Saturday morning, and it was the Saints who gained a big boost by becoming the first side to defeat the Tigers this season. The 44-point victory saw St Mary’s jump its opponent into second spot, with both sides currently boasting 3-1 records within the top five. A five-goal to one second term in favour of the victors did most of the damage, as Nightcliff failed to match the Saints’ firepower and fast ball movement throughout the contest.

Jasmine Anderson and Alana Coombes snared three goals apiece for the green and gold, with Michaela Long (two goals) rounding out St Mary’s multiple goalkickers. Up the other end, Jacqueline Anyon-Smith spearheaded the Tigers’ attack with three majors, as fellow goal-getter Lauren Gooden was named among the best behind Katrina Simmons. Coombes was adjudged St Mary’s best afield in front of Adelaide Crows AFLW livewire Danielle Ponter, as well as the likes of Megan Williamson and Claudia Whitford, who have enjoyed strong starts to the season among others.

WARATAH | 1.0 | 4.4 | 5.4 | 6.7 (43)
DARWIN | 2.3 | 4.4 | 5.8 | 7.8 (50)

GOALS:

Waratah: L. Miceli 5, L. Roberts
Darwin: J. Dodsworth 2, A. Bush, D. Ah Wang, S. Henry, M. Gargan, Z. Anderson

BEST:

Waratah: N/A
Darwin: M. Roberts, T. Hart-Aluni, K. Kurnoth, K. Hazlett, J. Iacono

Another top five clash rounded out the weekend proceedings, as Darwin defeated Waratah by seven points in by far the closest game of the round. Tahs’ were simply unable to catch the Buffettes back up after drawing level at half time, with a two-goal to one final term sealing the 7.8 (50) to 6.7 (43) win for Darwin. The result sees the Double Blues return to the winners list and gain a positive record, while Waratah slides to 1-2-1 and has not won since the opening round. However, the Warriors remain fifth having clinched a draw last time out.

It was not all bad for Waratah, especially given Lisa Miceli bagged an equal round-high five goals, with Lisa Roberts their side’s only other goalkicker. A more even spread saw Johanna Dodsworth (two goals) finish as Darwin’s lone multiple goalkicker, as five more Buffettes’ found the big sticks across the day. Unsurprisingly, Machaelia Roberts and Tayla Hart-Aluni fronted Darwin’s best players, with Jemma Iacono also instrumental in the win from defence. After the hotly-contested match, Waratah will look to rebound on the back of a bye next week.

Featured Image: Action from the NTFL Women’s Premier League clash between Darwin and Waratah | Credit: Celina Whan/AFLNT Media

Weekend preview: 2020/21 NTFL Women’s Premier League – Round 4

ROUND 4 of the 2020/21 NTFL Women’s Premier League season will see all four matches played on Saturday once more, with reigning premiers Southern Districts having a week off with the bye this round. Nightcliff and Pint still sit atop the ladder on three wins straight, while one of the three winless teams will get points on the board in the opening match of the round. A battle between ladder-leading Nightcliff and third placed St Mary’s looms as the match of the round, though the battle to stay off the bottom of the ladder could prove much more significant with three teams sitting on just the one win – making a big move up the ladder a viable outcome at the end of the round.

Palmerston Magpies vs. Tracy Village
Saturday, October 24

One of the three winless sides will get points on the board this round when Palmerston and Tracy Village go head-to-head, and while the two cellar dwellers have only played two matches apiece thanks to respective bye rounds, both teams need to get something on the board this week to give them a chance of bouncing back from the rough start. Ultimately, neither team has been a real worry on the scoreboard, combining for just 32 points throughout the opening rounds. That being said, there have been some consistent performers across the field for both teams, with Magpies’ Iesha Ronberg, Khani White and Shanoah Leedie named in the best twice, as have Razorbacks’ Indianna Hughes – the side’s lone goalkicker – Meagan Wylie and Sarah Wilson. Expect a tight match between these two, although the Magpies’ success and winning mentality over past seasons will surely work in their favour against the Razorbacks.

Wanderers vs. Pint
Saturday, October 24

The Wanderers have a tough battle this week, coming up against a Pint outfit that still sits undefeated after three rounds and have shown no signs of stopping. While Wanderers do have the one win on the board from Round 2, the side’s main issue has been a lack of opportunity up forward, tending to crumble under tight defensive pressure. Pint, however, have found some excellent form with the help of a couple new names from down south, and weathered the storm well when required to showcase how their defensive outfit can be just as cohesive as their exciting frontline. With plenty of firepower out the front and six of their eight goalkickers on multiple majors, Jasmyn Hewett and Jessie Baumer (five goals from three games and four from two, respectively) are big targets while Cassie Henderson has been influential time and time again. For Wanderers, Djimila Totham has been critical around the ground, named in the best three times while Kaitlyn Armstrong has proved hard to stop when she gets going, booting 10 majors in three games to be equal-leading goalkicker.

St Mary’s vs. Nightcliff
Saturday, October 24

A top battle is expected when ladder-leading Nightcliff head to take on third placed St Mary’s, with the Saints’ Round 3 victory over the Buffettes injecting plenty of confidence into the side. Both teams are more than capable of maintaining pressure and composure even in a close contest while firepower is no issue for either side, with Nightcliff boasting the current equal-leading goalkicker in Emma-Lou Wolsey (10 goals) and Mickayla Ward (equal second with five goals, two bests). While St Mary’s does not feature in the top five for scoring, that is more due to the shared load out the front than a lack of opportunity with 10 individual goalkickers so far this season and three who have booted more than one. Ash Melnikas and Michaela Long (four goals apiece) are the ones to watch inside 50, with the former and Megan Williamson named in the best three times from three matches. 

Waratah vs. Darwin Buffettes
Saturday, October 24

These two sides come into an unprecedented matchup in at fourth and fifth, though Buffettes have only played two games – only winning one – thanks to the bye while Waratah won by default in the first round and were faced with a draw in Round 3. While Waratah has been competitive in patches, expect the firepower of the Buffettes to control proceedings with so many players capable of shouldering the load. Both Zoe Anderson and Machaelia Roberts boast not only goal sense but also plenty of composure with five and four goals to their name, while Waratah’s Jenna Singh has been consistent as ever, booting three goals alongside Caitlin Couch who has booted three from two outings. Lauren O’Shea and Lisa Roberts are excitement machines when they get going, and while both have put a goal on the board to start the season they will hope to explode out of the blocks.

2020/21 NTFL Women’s Premier League wrap: Round 3

ROUND 3 of Northern Territory Football League (NTFL) Women’s saw Nightcliff keep their winning record intact with a come-from-behind victory while Southern Districts and Waratah played out the first draw of the season. Tracy Village had a bye this week, keeping them stuck at the bottom of the ladder while Pint flexed their muscles to claim an impressive 44-point win.

ST MARYS 2.3 | 3.3 | 4.3 | 5.3 (33)
DARWIN BUFFETTES 0.1 | 1.4 | 1.4 | 3.5 (23)

St Marys were on-song from the opening bounce, skipping out to a handy lead in the first term thanks to a two goal to zip start and never really looked back. Despite having a wealth of opportunities to hit the scoreboard inaccuracy plagued the Buffs who simply could not find their range while St Marys made it count where it hurt, on the scoreboard. In the end it was a case of too little, too late for the Buffettes who strung two goals together but could not overrun their opponents as St Marys brought home a 10-point victory.

There were no multiple goal kickers for either side, instead the scoring was scattered across a number of players with Claudia Whitfort once again popping up for St Marys and proving to be a menace in and around goals. Whitfort was also named amongst the best for her performance against the Buffettes while teammates Alana Coombes and Jasmine Anderson boasted a similar stat line with a goal and nod in the bests. Ashlea Melnikas returned to the goal kicking brigade this round to take her tally to four for the season while Madison Ludwig also found the big sticks. For the Buffettes, Martha De Santis showed what she is capable of snagging a goal while Zoe Anderson continued her hot form in front of goal with a major of her own. Bianca Stokes impressed in her first outing for the Buffs while Kiera Kurnoth settled into the line-up and earned a spot amongst the best.

SOUTHERN DISTRICTS 2.0 | 2.2 | 2.3 | 4.4 (28)
WARATAH 1.0 | 4.3 | 4.4 | 4.4 (28)

The first draw of the season took place on Saturday with Southern Districts and Waratah unable to be split at the final siren. After a sluggish first quarter, Waratah put the foot down in the second to steal the ascendancy heading into the main break thanks to three unanswered goals. However they plateaued in the second half unable to find a major and only registering one point  while the Crocs found their mojo in the final term to pile on two goals and secure a draw.

Michala Shaw made her presence felt in front of the goals nailing two majors in her first appearance of the season for the Crocs, while Tayla Thorn managed a goal of her own and was named amongst the bests. The only other goal scorer for Southern Districts was Kelsey Patterson. Ebony Miller was recognised for her four quarter performance for the Crocs as was Indianna Hickling and Makayla Siddons. The scoring was shared in the Waratah camp as Caitlin Couch, Monet Hunter, Danica Pedersen and Jenna Singh all slotted one with the latter making it three weeks straight she has hit the scoreboard.

PINT 1.2 | 6.8 | 7.8 | 9.10 (64)
PALMERSTON MAGPIES 1.3 | 1.4 | 2.6 | 2.8 (20)

A blistering second term from Pint all but gifted the home side the win, blowing the Magpies out of the water, piling on five goals to nothing. Down by a point at the first change Pint came out with a real pep in their step in the second and could have inflicted more scoreboard damage had they been more accurate slotting four behinds to accompany their five goals. The Magpies had their chances to strike but simply could not find the big sticks and suffered from inaccuracy much like Pint.

Jessie Baumer was a menace inside 50 for Pint kicking a bag of three while Gemma Cusack navigated the goals with ease in her first appearance for the season piling on two majors. Cara Evans and Jasmyn Hewett also popped up with two goals apiece in a collective effort for Pint with the latter also named amongst the bests for her performance. Cassie Henderson was influential for Pint as was Amy Chittick. For the Magpies their goals came from Arthurina Moreen and Tyra McKay as the duo slotted a major each while Iesha Ronberg was once again named in the bests for her efforts across the ground. Billie Byers and Shanoah Leedie also plied their trade in the losing side, working hard for every possession.

WANDERERS 0.3 | 3.3 | 3.4 | 3.4 (22)
NIGHTCLIFF 1.0 | 3.1 | 3.2 | 6.5 (40)

A dominant final quarter from Nightcliff saw the current table toppers come from behind and clinch a victory against Wanderers. Unable to generate their usual flow in the second and third terms, they ramped up the pressure in the last quarter to wrestle the game back onto their terms and stop the Wanderers from scoring. Nightcliff managed to add three goals to their half time tally as opposed to the Wanderers mere point, ultimately handing them the 18-point victory and keeping their undefeated record intact.

Although goals were hard to come by for some, that was not the case for Wanderers forward Kaitlyn Armstrong who slotted three majors to keep her side in the contest. She was the only real avenue to goal, making the most of her opportunities that came her way up forward. Armstrong was named amongst the best as was Morgan Johnston for the second consecutive week. Georgia Halkitis backed up her performance from last week while for Nightcliff a couple of familiar faces were once again at the forefront of the action with Lauren Gooden finding the big sticks twice. She was not the only one to kick a bag with in-form goal kicker Emma-Lou Wolsey slotting two with teammates Jacqueline Anyon-Smith and Gracie Reid also adding some scoreboard pressure. Hannah Turnbull earned a spot in the bests as did Laura de Hommel in what was a gritty performance by the ladder leaders.

Tracy Village bye

Picture: NT News

2021 AFLW Under 18s Ones to Watch

NOW the curtain has closed on the 2020 AFL Women’s off-season period, we turn our attention to the next group of budding stars across the country who will be vying for a spot on an AFL Women’s list. We have named 25 players who have already shown some great signs in their bottom and middle-age seasons, as well as a number of others to watch out for in 2021.

Georgie Prespakis (Calder Cannons/Vic Metro)

A name that has been circulating for a number of years now, it is hard to believe the all-round talent was robbed of what she could potentially do in her middle-age year. She looked more than comfortable at the level in her bottom-age year as a 16-year-old and caught plenty of attention with a seven-goal haul against Greater Western Victoria Rebels. Taller than her sister – AFL Women’s league best and fairest winner Madison – Prespakis is hard at it, has great athleticism and is ridiculously strong one-on-one. A highlight-reel package nearly any time she steps out on the field, Prespakis is a future star and could play just about anywhere, but expect her to play inside midfield and rest forward.

Teagan Levi (Bond University/Queensland)

The sister of recently drafted Gold Coast Suns’ talent Maddison, Levi is 11cm shorter and plays onball rather than forward. Her athletic traits are similar to that of Georgia Patrikios in the way that she can seamlessly get herself out of trouble by wrong-footing and side-stepping opponents with ease. Not only is she able to beat them in congestion, she can run and take the game on down a wing, and then when the opponent wins it, she is the first to lay a strong tackle. Similar to Prespakis, Levi has so many weapons and is as effective defensively as she is offensively, and is the standout Queensland prospect for next year and in the clear top few talents running around.

Courtney Rowley. Picture credit: Owen Davies / Peel Thunder

Courtney Rowley (Peel Thunder/Western Australia)

A player who has been building very nicely over in Western Australia over the past two seasons and then was the most impressive of the middle-agers in the WAFL All-Stars game. A really smooth mover, Rowley often plays off a wing and knows how to distribute the ball so well, winning Peel Thunder’s League best and fairest last year as a 16-year-old competing against senior opponents including AFL Women’s talents. Whilst she had more support in 2020 as the Thunder rose from wooden spooners to premiers in a remarkable turnaround, it is hard not to admire what the talented midfielder could be in her top-age season next year.

Zoe Prowse (Sturt/South Australia)

The standout ruck prospect in next year’s draft, Adelaide will have another promising talent on their radar in Prowse. Winning Sturt’s best and fairest award this year, Prowse was just about the best in nearly every game she played for the Double Blues, particularly in the second half of the season. Despite standing at just under 180cm, Prowse has ridiculous athleticism with a high vertical leap and is almost like a fourth midfielder. She can get down and apply second and third efforts to ground level players, and is one who could also play forward if required. With great ruck nous, she can outwork her opponents around the ground, and it was easy to see why she was the sole South Australian AFL Women’s Academy member in her middle-age year.

Charlie Rowbottom (Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro)

An absolute star in the making. Capable of playing midfield or forward, Rowbottom just knows how to set scoring opportunities up in transition. The sister of Sydney’s James, Rowbottom has similar ball-winning abilities and defensive attributes, but has a lot to offer offensively as well. She showed in the Chargers’ win over Tasmania that she is not only able to hit the scoreboard herself – kicking two goals – but set up a number of chances for her teammates. One that will really surprise in 2021 as a leader for the Chargers.

Charlie Rowbottom. Picture credit: Solstice Digital & Photography

Tara Slender (Bendigo Pioneers/Vic Country)

With quite a few tall defenders in this year’s AFL Women’s Draft, Slender would be putting her hand up as potentially the pick of the bunch. Her intercepting capability and reading of the ball in flight is exceptional, and while she did miss her middle-age year, Slender is one who could catch the attention pretty quickly. Having played alongside some Vic Country representatives in the past – and playing at Under 16s level for her state – Slender is good in one-on-ones and looms as a key lynchpin for the Pioneers. It would also not be too surprising to see her take a similar transition to Isabelle Pritchard and move into the midfield given she has the traits to slot right in there.

Makaylah Appleby (Northern Knights/Vic Metro)

Class personified. Appleby has managed to catch the eye on more than a few occasions over the past few seasons despite playing in such a stacked team at the Northern Knights. She often played off a wing or provided run on the outside like during the 2019 NAB League Finals Series. Appleby is now the top prospect at the Knights for the upcoming season as a member of the AFL Women’s National Academy, and as a damaging ball user, Appleby is one that teammates want to get the ball in the hands of in order to create scoring opportunities up the field.

Charlotte Thomas (Subiaco/Western Australia)

A dangerous forward half player with clean skills and a nous for goals, Thomas is the other AFL Women’s Academy member from Western Australia in her middle-age year along with Rowley and has a big future. Playing in an experienced team like Subiaco, Thomas was able to still stand out, regularly hitting the scoreboard. Standing at 175cm, Thomas has good size and good hands and having made her League debut in 2020, big things are predicted for 2021 with a lot of AFL Women’s talent, and more experienced heads around her.

Nyakoat Dojiok. Picture credit: Draft Central

Nyakoat Dojiok (GWV Rebels/Vic Country)

A player who is not afraid to take the game on and really take it to the opposition is GWV Rebels’ Dojiok who has been developing year-on-year over the last few years. Playing as a 15-year-old a few years back, Dojiok is one who when she gets going is hard to contain, and she has that rich blend of power and speed. She is utilised best as that outside runner, playing off half-back or along a wing, but is eye-catching in the way she plays and the way she can bring teammates into the game. Entering her top-age year, expect her to see even more midfield time as she has some seriously great traits.

Elizabeth Dowling (Geelong Falcons/Vic Country)

A player who might be flying under the radar that has some casual NAB League Girls watchers reaching for the team lists next year is Dowling. An incredible talent who showed progression in her two games this year, she has only managed to fly under the radar due to the enormous amount of talent coming out of the Falcons’ football factory. She played in defence as a bottom-ager then got time more up the field last year, and expect her to play through the midfield in 2021. She can play anywhere, at that hybrid 171cm-plus size and can be too athletic for talls and too strong for smalls, Dowling is one who should not be forgotten when talking about Vic Country prospects.

Ally Morphett (Murray Bushrangers/NSW-ACT)

The standout NSW/ACT prospect for 2021, Morphett is the sole AFL Women’s Academy member from her state. The developing 189cm-plus ruck is one who improved from her bottom-age season and it would have been fantastic to see her going up against the Melbourne-drafted Maggie Caris if their teams had met in the NAB League Girls before the season ended. She is commanding overhead and able to drift forward if required, Morphett is one of the few NAB League Girls prospects to play this year. Representing Belconnen Magpies in the AFL Canberra League, Morphett finished second in the league best and fairest, and then won best on ground in the Magpies’ premiership win. Not bad for a 17-year-old and she is one anticipated to take a huge step in 2021.

Maggie Harmer (Maroochydore/Queensland)

Stood tall at senior level in the QAFL Women’s competition for the Roos and is one of a remarkable three players in the AFL Women’s Academy from the side. Harmer showed in the Queensland All-Stars game that she looms as a strong prospect in 2021 with her overhead marking, read of the play and powerful kicking standing out in a tight game. A member of the Brisbane Lions Academy, Harmer is 170cm and could play at half-back as that intercepting rebounder, or through the middle, seemingly able to break down opposition defences on transition by getting in the way and then pumping it long.

Maggie Harmer. Picture credit: Deion Menzies, Highflyer Images

Amy Franklin (Claremont/Western Australia)

If we are talking upside, then Franklin, not too dissimilar to her West Australian namesake, has plenty of that for the future. A tall marking forward, Franklin has speed that makes smaller opponents envious, and standing at 180cm, she is big enough to outmark most opponents. Still quite raw and lightly built compared to more experienced WAFL Women’s defenders she came across, Franklin is one that once the ball gets goalside, you can almost put the glasses down. Terrific athleticism and one who is threatening to be an even bigger threat in 2021, she is yet another exciting tall forward to come out of Western Australia.

Tahlia Gillard (Calder Cannons/Vic Metro)

If you are talking upside and potential in next year’s AFL Women’s Draft crop then take 186cm Gillard as an example. Only turning 17 in December this year, the key position utility can play in all three lines, starting off as a key defender, spending time up forward and has the size if required to play ruck. For a player of her size, Gillard is so good at ground level and able to create something out of nothing. While she is still a raw and developing talent, she is another from the Cannons’ program who has already had plenty of NAB League Girls experience that will only make her better.

Ella Friend (GWV Rebels/Vic Country)

A second GWV Rebels player making the list, Friend did not get many chances this season to show what she is capable of, but what she did in that short space of time was quite remarkable. Another member of the AFL Women’s National Academy, Friend looked comfortable in the tight contest against the Western Jets back in Round 3, racking up a ton of the ball – 19 touches – and having a real influence in the forward half. Not only that, but she iced the game for the Rebels with a match-winning goal, and provided as much offence (six inside 50s) and defence (five tackles) to suggest she is a gamechanger and one to look out for next season.

Jorja Livingstone (Eastern Ranges/Vic Metro)

Made her debut in the NAB League Girls competition and just has that X-factor about her that makes you sit up and take notice. Elite acceleration out of the stoppage and some really top-end traits, Livingstone came into the Ranges’ midfield and assimilated easily that it was hard to believe she was not a top-ager. Behind the experienced Olivia Meagher and Tarni Brown, Livingstone was the next biggest performer onball, and with another preseason behind her, it will be exciting to see just what she can produce with her athletic traits and ability to get forward and look dangerous.

Emelia Yassir (Calder Cannons/Vic Metro)

Yassir is just a fierce competitor who can play through the midfield or as a small forward. Standing at just 161cm, Yassir defies her size and is not afraid to take on bigger opponents, laying multiple tackles and is a contested ball winner. She stood up during Calder’s NAB League Girls finals series as a bottom-ager in 2019, and started strongly in 2020. She will have a bigger role in 2021 and has a bucketload of talent that will have opposition players wary of when she is in the zone.

Mikayla Pauga (Maroochydore/Queensland)

Another small forward and member of the AFL Women’s Academy, Pauga might just stand at 161cm like Yassir, but packs plenty of punch as a damaging forward. The second Maroochydore player in this list, Pauga finished second in her club’s goalkicking with 13 majors in 14 games, and was a clear standout. With an eye for goal and a large endurance base that sees her outwork opponents, Pauga is one who could step up again in 2021 and will be one to watch at the AFL Women’s Under-18 Championships having shown her wares at senior level in the QAFL Women’s already.

Zoe Venning. Picture credit: SANFL

Zoe Venning (West Adelaide/South Australia)

A hard-nosed midfielder/forward from West Adelaide, Venning came on in leaps and bounds throughout her second season in the red and black. She became a crucial member of the Bloods’ midfield, playing between wing and forward, though her attack on the ball shows she can easily translate into an inside midfielder. Providing great assistance to equal league best and fairest winner, Rachelle Martin as well as young talent Abbie Ballard, Venning is one who is dangerous around goals. She is still developing some areas of her game such as her kicking, but her work rate and intensity in play is superb.

Kasey Lennox (Calder Cannons/Vic Metro)

A reliable key defender for the Cannons, Lennox is a fourth member of the Calder side to make this list, and shows just how strong their top-age group will be next season. Lennox is one who is good at ground level for a taller player, being one of the most dominant rebounders in the competition to start the 2020 NAB League Girls season. As a player who stood out on the big stage of the 2019 NAB League Girls Grand Final, Lennox is not afraid of big moments, and will team up well with Gillard as a couple of talls in a really strong Cannons outfit.

Amy Prokopiec (Clarence/Tasmania)

The sole Tasmanian prospect in the AFL Women’s National Academy, Prokopiec became one of the standout defenders for Tasmania Devils, albeit in just a handful of games in her bottom and middle-age years. As she showed with Clarence in the TSL Women’s competition this year and in the Tasmanian All-Stars game, Prokopiec is capable of playing at either end, and becoming that versatile tall utility. As a long kick and strong overhead, she is a crucial cog in the both the Roos and Devils sides, and will be hoping for a full season next year to test herself against the best in the NAB League Girls.

Amy Prokopiec (right). Picture credit: Solstice Digital & Photography

Gypsy Schirmer (South Adelaide/South Australia)

There are quite a few talls in this list with potential, and Schirmer is another one who just has that look about her that she could be in for a big 2021. In her middle-age season with reigning premiers South Adelaide, she acquitted herself well and while she did have some really outstanding performances, even when she was quieter, there was always a moment or two within games where you could see she was capable of kicking a couple of goals and winning the match for her side. Not far off 180cm, Schirmer can push up to a wing or even in defence, but she always looks damaging inside 50 and a real target for her teammates to kick to.

Eliza James (Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro)

A good size and capable of hitting the scoreboard, the 176cm James is a damaging prospect. She showed in her two games this year how she has developed both her offensive and defensive traits, and even as an Under 16s player for the Chargers, stood up in nine games and booted five goals. As one of a number of Chargers who were able to provide support to the top-end talent this year, James is another leader in the group to standout in her own top-age year in 2021.

Alana Lishmund (Norwood/South Australia)

Was a prominent member of the Norwood side in her debut SANFL Women’s season, then really stepped up as one of the best in the All-Stars match last month. She is predominantly a forward talent who can push up the ground into the midfield, and then play high or deep forward when required. A reliable kick for goal, she has that X-factor about her inside 50 and can be a leading or crumbing target, playing taller than her 166cm size, and one who will be another South Australian jostling for a spot as one of the more prominent talents in the state.

Alana Lishmund. Picture credit: AFL Media

Jaide Anthony (Dandenong Stingrays/Vic Country)

A multi-sport talent for the Stingrays, Anthony also has that something special about her game playing as a forward. She can play at either end, and has progressed through the pathway from V/Line Cup to the NAB League Girls. One who has shared her football journey with cricket duties – she has only managed the five games for the Stingrays – she knows how to hit the scoreboard and provide a presence. Despite standing at just 166cm, Anthony plays like a taller forward and finds space, and will be a top talent to watch out for from the Stingrays in 2021.

Others:

Maroochydore’s Bella Smith is another member of the AFL Women’s National Academy who stood up for Maroochydore this season in the QAFL Women’s, whilst Georgia Hutton and Caitlin Thorne are a couple of Gold Coast Academy members who showed some top-end traits during the All-Stars match.

The South Australian group has been sensational with plenty having senior experience, led by South Adelaide’s Lauren Clifton who stood out in the All-Stars match up forward. Central District’s Madison Lane, North Adelaide’s Kate Case, Glenelg’s Brooke Tonon and Woodville-West Torrens’ Jamie Parish are others who have been ones to watch at SANFL Women’s level this season.

Over in the west, Chloe Reilly remains a dangerous forward option for East Fremantle with her work at ground level and around goals, whilst Swan Districts’ Emma Nanut, and South Fremantle trio, Tayla Whincup, Taylah Cruttenden and Poppy Stockwell are also great talents.

Looking to the NAB League and there are plenty of names to throw up, but a few in the mix include Mikayla Jones (Murray Bushrangers), Jemma Radford (Dandenong Stingrays) and Annie Lee (Geelong Falcons) who have shown to be natural players in their respective areas. From the Vic Metro perspective, Peppa Poultney (Calder Cannons), Stella Reid (Oakleigh Chargers), Caitlin Sargent (Western Jets) and Tarrah Delgado (Northern Knights) were terrific this year, while a host of middle-age Sandringham Dragons got their starts and will no doubt produce a number of surprise packets alongside their elite bottom-age talents.

Perri King is another Tasmanian prospect behind Prokopiec to watch, making history as the Devils’ first goalkicker last season and will be keen to build on that again. From Northern Territory, there is a heap of great young talents coming through from 2022 onwards, with one 2021 draft prospect being Georgia Johnson, a 160cm talent from Waratah who stood out in the NT All-Stars match last month. Playing in defence, she was one to take note of as she regularly mopped up and got the ball down the field for Team Hewett.

Alongside the top-age talents, a number of over-age talents who missed out on being drafted this year will no doubt be trying to stake their case against be it via the NAB League or state leagues, including Brooke Hards, Jemma Finning and Annabel Strahan (all Bendigo Pioneers), Zoe Hill, Abbey Jordan and Jess Matin (all Dandenong Stingrays), Ash Snow and Maeve Chaplin (both Northern Knights), Amber Micallef (Oakleigh Chargers), Olivia Meagher (Eastern Ranges) and Grace McRae (Gippsland Power) who all received AFL Women’s Draft Combine invites but were unlucky to miss out.

In Western Australia, Maggie MacLachlan (Subiaco), Brianna Hyde and Mikayla Hyde (both Swan Districts) head into 2021 as over-agers, while mature-agers Ella Smith and Jess Low (both Claremont), Rosie Walsh (East Fremantle) and Sarah Wielstra (Swan Districts) are others who missed out on the AFL Women’s Draft but will remain ones to watch.

Elsewhere, Northern Territorian Mattea Breed continues to develop for Norwood in South Australia, whilst Abby Favell (Murray Bushrangers), Jayde Hamilton (Queanbeyan Tigers) and Kiara Beesley (Southern Power) were draft combine invitees from NSW/ACT.

In Queensland, Beth Pinchin has shown great resilience as a mature-ager coming back from multiple injuries, while Courtney Bromage and Brooke Spence are other mature-agers who caught attention this year. Christine Okesene, Ebony Peterson, Laura Blue, Chloe Gregory and Madison Goodwin were also in the mix this year with Draft Combine invites so will be kept on close watch in 2021. The other two players to receive AFL Women’s Draft Combine invites but miss out were the exciting Freda Puruntatameri (Calder Cannons/Northern Territory) and Charlie Vandenberg (Wynyard/Tasmania) who have plenty of development left in them.

Launceston paints the town blue with seven-point TSL Women’s premiership

LAUNCESTON has claimed the 2020 Tasmanian State League (TSL) Women’s premiership with a seven-point victory over Glenorchy at UTAS Stadium on Saturday. The result marked Launceston’s third women’s flag and redeemed their heartbreaking Grand Final defeat to Clarence last season. North Melbourne AFL Women’s player Mia King was sensational in the midfield and rightly awarded the medal for best on ground.

The minor premiers were slow out of the gates, with Glenorchy controlling the majority of the play early. The Magpies were kicking with the wind and locked the ball in their forward half for the majority of the first quarter. However, they dropped some easy marks inside 50 and could not capitalise on their opportunities. Elise Barwick earned a free kick in a forward 50 ruck contest midway through the term, but she got too close to the woman on the mark and opened the scoring with a behind. Tiarna Ford, who looked dangerous in front of goal early, hit the post with a snap just moments later. Perri King then laid a strong tackle inside 50 and won a holding the ball decision, but she missed her set shot as well to the near side. Launceston was scoreless at quarter time and trailed by three points.

The second quarter is where Launceston won the game, as they kicked all 13 of their points in this term. Going towards the scoring end, the Blues were finally able to get on top in the midfield. King was the leader of their dominance, as she won plenty of clearances and created some strong link-up play through the middle of the ground. Her attack on the ball clearly set the tone for her side coming out of quarter time. In the fourth minute, forward Brooke Brown produced some magnificent play on the half-forward flank to set up Cecilia Cameron for the first goal of the match. Just minutes later, Brown kicked the second with a nice snap around the body from 30 metres out. For the rest of the quarter, Glenorchy kept kicking the ball over the boundary coming out of defence, so Launceston locked it in their forward half quite easily. Abbie Hoiberg-Cox’s dash off half-back was a highlight of this term, as was Cameron’s strong presence up forward. Launceston went into half-time with a 10-point lead.

Glenorchy had most of the play in the first half of the third term, but Launceston’s defence led by Dearne Taylor and Hayley Whyte stood up magnificently. Sarah Skinner eventually earned a free kick right in front of goal, but her set shot was touched by the woman on the mark. While the Magpies had a couple of other opportunities to hit the scoreboard, their lack of composure inside 50 continued to haunt them. They were pressing until Cameron took one of the marks of the year in defensive 50 running back with the flight to shift the momentum. Skinner was equally as courageous in this contest, as she blindly ran back the other way and copped a massive hit for her troubles. A great contested mark from Brown on the wing released the pressure for Launceston even more, and Glenorchy did not earn any more scoring opportunities for the rest of the quarter.

In the final term, Launceston always had extra numbers back to stop Glenorchy from kicking a major and getting back into the game. Ford almost broke their goal-scoring drought at the eight-minute mark, but Taylor sprinted back with desperation to touch the ball on the line. Launceston held up well after that and ran out deserving winners.

Launceston 0.0 | 2.1 | 2.1 | 2.1 (13)
Glenorchy   0.3 | 0.3 | 0.5 | 0.6 (6)

GOALS:

Launceston: C. Cameron, B. Brown.
Glenorchy: Nil.

BEST:

Launceston: M. King, D. Taylor, K. Hill, M. Binns, C. Cameron. G. Hill
Glenorchy: L. Haines, P. King, A. Clark, R. Clifton. G. Sullivan, Z. Crawford

Picture: Solstice Digital & Photography


For more football news and analysis, follow Tom Cheesman on Twitter.

Weekend preview: 2020/21 NTFL Women’s Premier League – Round 3

ROUND 3 of the 2020/21 NTFL Women’s Premier League season will see all four matches played on Saturday once more, with bottom of the ladder Tracy Village set to sit out with the bye this round. Nightcliff and Pint still remain undefeated at the top of the ladder after solid starts to the season, while this round will be headlined by a 2019/20 grand final rematch between Southern Districts and Waratah with both sides sitting towards the lower end of the ladder after two rounds.

St Mary’s vs. Darwin Buffettes
Saturday, October 17

Darwin Buffettes may have only played the one match for the season so far but well and truly exploded out of the blocks last week, compared to St Mary’s who showcased impressive form in Round 1 but could not consolidate on a huge third quarter fight back and eventually went down in a close affair with Pint. With so many quality players across the field and both teams seemingly in solid form heading into this match, expect the Saints to explode out of the blocks and the Buffs to use their flurry of forward targets to apply plenty of scoreboard pressure. Machaelia Roberts and Zoe Anderson fired on all cylinders last round for Darwin, booting four goals apiece, while both Michaela Long and Ash Melnikas have been handy goalkickers for the Saints. Melnikas and Megan Williamson have been named among the best in both matches for the Saints, while Molly Althouse impressed for the Buffs last round.

Southern Districts vs. Waratah
Saturday, October 17

Southern Districts need a win this week in the grand final rematch to restore some of their 2019/20 dignity after a rough start to the season, going down by 48 points in Round 1 and 49 points in Round 2. While the Crocs are by no means lacking options up forward, they have seemed to lack that forward push and volume up forward, and this could be the side’s best chance to do so against Waratah with the Warriors also coming in off the back of a loss in Round 2 and a default victory in Round 1 – although the default came when the side was ahead. Just two players have hit the scoreboard more than once for Waratah, with usual suspect Jenna Singh and newbie Caitlin Couch kicking two apiece over the first two matches, while Danica Pedersen and Eliza Straford have been solid across the ground. For Districts, Megan Crauford is a solid target. 

Pint vs. Palmerston Magpies
Saturday, October 17

Palmerston will head into this round renewed after the bye, but come in against an improved Pint outfit that sits in second on the ladder with two wins from two. Pint has proved it has a heap of firepower and while an excellent first round victory showcased the side’s winning ability, it was a low-scoring victory in Round 2 that makes this battle so interesting given the side’s ability to outlast under pressure. Look for Amy Chittick and Jasmyn Hewitt inside 50 when it comes to Pint with both players able to hit the scoreboard, while Jacinta Reid, Rebecca Pryer and Cassie Henderson have had solid starts to the season. For the Magpies, fans will hope that Cassie Ormsby can return to the fray after a first round high hit that saw the match finish at half time. Meanwhile, Tabitha May is always a force to be reckoned with.

Wanderers vs. Nightcliff
Saturday, October 17

The lone match between two Round 2 winners, Nightcliff will come into this battle with plenty of confidence given they sit atop the ladder with a significant percentage boost ahead of Pint in second. Meanwhile, Wanderers have one win on the board which came in Round 2 and the significant margin in that match will see the side certainly take it up to Nightcliff. Expect an intriguing matchup here, with the top four goalkickers in the competition likely to take the field in this battle. That being said, three of the four are from Nightcliff who are arguably the team to beat at the moment given their firepower up forward and multitude of options inside forward 50. Emma-Lou Wolsey (eight goals), Mickayla Ward (five goals) and Darcy Elliston (four) have proved to be constant and consistent goalkickers out the front, sitting first, third and fourth on the leading goalkicker tally at this stage, with second spot taken by Wanderers’ Kaitlyn Armstrong who is just one goal behind Wolsey on seven. Just two players across the two teams have been named in the best twice – showcasing the calibre of talent across the two teams – with Ward (Nightcliff) and Djimila Totham (Wanderers) those players.

TSL Women’s Grand Final preview: Launceston vs. Glenorchy

GRAND Final day is finally here and it is an old fashioned north against south clash in the Tasmanian State League (TSL) Women’s when minor premiers Launceston come up against second placed Glenorchy in the decider. It is a different finals series to what these sides are used to, with just the two semi-finals and grand final to determine the premier for season 2020.

LAST SEASON:

These two teams again finished first and second, and clearly too. Launceston (15-0) went undefeated in season 2020, and even won the first final to earn a spot in the decider. Glenorchy (12-3) bowed out in straight sets as a raging Clarence (8-7) came through and trumped both to win the premiership in stunning circumstances.

THIS SEASON:

Launceston (6-2) has earned its place in the 2020 TSL Women’s Grand Final following a strong victory over North Launceston (2-6), whilst Glenorchy (6-2) came from behind in a thriller to edge out Clarence (6-2) and exact revenge on their 2019 finals conquerors.

HEAD-TO-HEAD:

While Launceston did finish on top of the table, they only did so by percentage, with a whopping 307.41 per cent to Glenorchy’s 264.24 per cent, a hair ahead of Clarence (264.08 per cent). It was a strange old season with the Roos defeating Glenorchy twice yet finishing below the Magpies, whilst the Magpies actually defeated Launceston twice, the Blues’ only two losses for the year.

In the first match back in Round 4, Glenorchy booted four second half goals, whilst keeping the Blues scoreless in three quarters to get up and win, 5.3 (33) to 1.1 (7). Eventual competition leading goalkicker, Sarah Skinner booted two majors in the victory, whilst Libby Haines and Kira Maass were the Magpies’ best in the win. For Launceston, Makenna Hillier was the only goalkicker in a rare disappointing scoring effort from the Blues, though Kelsie Hill joined the experienced duo of Daria Bannister and Mia King in the bests.

Four weeks later, Glenorchy repeated the dose, but in a tighter contest. The Magpies trailed by seven pints at quarter time before booting three goals in the second term, and four for the rest of the match, to Launceston’s one, to win 5.2 (32) to 3.4 (22). Skinner was again amongst hte bests despite just slotting the one goal this time, as Molly Mitchell (two) goals was prominent, as was Jemma Webster and Holly Ryan. Bannister was best-on for the Blues with a two-goal effort, whilst Hill and Melissa Smith were also amongst Launceston’s best.

FORM:

Since that loss, Launceston has won its past two games, though in a weird season, the Blues have had three byes in that time. So since the September 5 clash between the sides, the Blues have played just two matches, whilst the Magpies have played one extra game alongside two byes. They come into the game off some hot-form, defeating every team in the competition the past four matches, with their most recent loss coming in Round 7 against Clarence, but knocked off the Roos in the semi-finals last weekend.

KEY PLAYMAKERS:

Sarah Skinner (Glenorchy)

It is hard not to have Skinner high up on the players to stop for Launceston, booting 18 goals in nine games, including two hauls of four goals against Tigers, and a haul of three against North Launceston a couple of weeks ago. Skinner did not hit the scoreboard last week against the Roos, the first time she has done so all season, but her team still got the job done which was important. She has booted three goals in two games against the Blues this season.

Zoie Crawford (Glenorchy)

The former Clarence captain returned to TSL Women’s in a big way this season, switching the red and white for the black and white, and she has certainly been a standout performer. Playing in all nine games, she has been in the best seven times and even booted two goals. Given her ability to beat an opponent one-on-one, and be a reliable player week-in, week-out, she is one that can really create things for the Magpies from the back half of the ground.

Daria Bannister (Launceston)

The experienced Roo at AFL Women’s level has been a class above this season, not too far behind Skinner with 13 goals in nine games. With multiple goals in five games and the versatility to slot in anywhere, she is a terrific player to have in the side, and one that is ultra consistent – having slotted 38 goals in 15 games last season for the Blues. Against Glenorchy she failed to hit the scoreboard in Round 4 but was still impressive, then bobbed up with a best-on effort in Round 8, slotting two goals.

Brooke Brown (Launceston)

Judging from her five-goal haul last week against North Launceston, it does not look like being drafted into the AFL Women’s competition has phased her. The former Launceston Tornadoes basketball player who is in her first TSL Women’s season with the Blues, has been in red-hot form of late. Having booted fur goals in her first six games, Brown booted one goal but was second best-on in the Blues’ win over Clarence a few weeks back, then slammed home five goals in a best on ground performance against the Bombers. The in-form player of the competition.

Others: Haines has been a reliable player all season for the Magpies, showing why she was drafted into the AFL Women’s. Alongside her, Webster and Elise Barwick are always consistent workers, with Mitchell (10 goals) leading Barwick and Tiarna Ford (both nine) in those stakes. For the Blues, King is one of the standout players in the competition, while the likes of Angela Dickson, Hill and Camilla Taylor have been consistent week-in, week-out.

WHO WINS?

This is too tough to call. Glenorchy have found the way to win against the Blues the past two matches, but Launceston have shown to be the best team in the competition. That did not matter last year in the decider, but they did beat the Magpies in the first week of finals in 2019, so will hope to repeat the dose here. Glenorchy are favoured in a tight one, but could go either way.

Picture: Solstice Digital & Photography

2020 AFLW Draft review: Western Bulldogs

NOW the AFL Women’s Draft is over, we take a look at each club, who they picked and what they might offer to their team next year. We continue our countdown with Western Bulldogs, a team that has an abundance of youth, and whilst they did not make finals in 2020, gave plenty of indication that they will be a team to watch in 2021 and beyond.

Western Bulldogs:

#2 – Jess Fitzgerald (Northern Knights/Vic Metro)
#11 – Sarah Hartwig (Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro)
#16 – Isabelle Pritchard (Western Jets/Vic Metro)

Western Bulldogs took three picks into the AFL Women’s Draft and managed to pluck out three elite talents in 2020, all of whom are top 10 players on value. They again continued their trend of Vic Metro talents who played under Bulldogs’ coach Nathan Burke last year, as he looks to build that familiarity around his line-up and one that will be a successful unit in the future.

Taken with Pick 2 was Northern Knights’ co-captain Jess Fitzgerald who became the second Knight of three to go in the first three Victorian picks. The skilful ball user can win the ball inside or outside and is a big-game performer having been named best on ground in the Knights’ premiership last year. Another natural leader joining the Dogs, she follows her 2019 Knights captain in Gabby Newton at the Dogs.

Coming in at Pick 11 is the best defender in the AFL Draft crop in Sarah Hartwig. A natural interceptor and great above her head, Hartwig offers terrific value at the pick and one who will slot straight into the lineup. Her clean ball use and reading of the play makes her a great player to slot in at half-back, but also know when to push up to the wing if required. She played in defence for Vic Metro in the championships, and will be hard to beat in the air or at ground level with he willingness to take off when given the opportunity.

Another Vic Metro defender who has joined the Dogs is Isabelle Pritchard. The Western Jets defender turned midfielder is a Bulldogs supporter and lived out her dream by being picked up at Pick 16. She moved into the midfield this year and starred in the couple of games she played, performing strongly at the contest and showcasing her versatility. Another player who is top 10 on talent, she is a great steal by the Dogs and one who will be a good player for a long time in the red, white and blue.

Overall the Dogs have added even more elite young talent to their line-up and will be hard to stop when they all get to their peak.

Picture: Western Bulldogs Women’s Twitter