Tag: 2021 aflw draft

2021 AFLW Draft club review: Richmond

NOW the AFL Women’s Draft is done and dusted, Draft Central will review each club’s draft hand, and provide supporters with all the content they need to know about the latest additions to their AFL Women’s programs. We continue the club-by-club reviews with Richmond.

#5 Stella Reid (Medium Utility)
10/09/2003 | 173cm
Oakleigh Chargers / Vic Metro

One of the best and most consistent players of this year’s NAB League season, Reid was snapped up by Richmond with pick five. The Oakleigh Chargers premiership player is a utility of sorts; having started out the season at half-back, before spending time on both sides of midfield and eventually capping it off with some fantastic performances up forward. In every third of the ground, Reid proved a natural ball winner who could find it at a good rate and provide line-breaking drive on the outer. Her carry and penetrative kick suit the outside midfielder mould well, but Reid is also a handy marking target up forward at 173cm and finds ways to craft shots on goal out of congestion. The Tigers may employ her as a ‘fix-it’ type of player depending on what the team requires, and have a very versatile talent on their hands – not to mention elite.

STELLA REID CONTENT:

>> 2021 Nationwide Power Rankings
>> NAB League Girls season review: Oakleigh Chargers

#16 Emelia Yassir (Midfielder)
25/09/2003 | 160cm
Calder Cannons / Vic Metro

At 160cm, Yassir may be small but truly packs a punch. The Calder Cannons graduate was a teammate of Reid at Vic Metro and together, the pair add some nice depth to Richmond’s midfield rotation. Yassir has long been one of the top Victorian ball winners and is exceptional with her mix of grit and class at ground level. She cracks in at the coalface and comes away with a zippy turn of speed, while also remaining relevant defensively. Her size and tackling game could see her be developed as a pressure forward before transitioning into midfield, but Yassir is a class act in there and should be sound fold for the likes of Monique Conti, Ellie McKenzie, and the Hosking twins for years to come.

EMELIA YASSIR CONTENT:

>> 2021 Power Rankings: Victorian Pool
>> NAB League Girls season review: Calder Cannons

#48 Meagan Kiely (Midfielder)
15/12/1994 | 168cm
North Melbourne VFLW

If North Melbourne didn’t pounce, another team would and that was exactly what Richmond did by selecting VFLW standout Meagan Kiely at pick 48. The 26-year-old proved one of the best state leaguers going around in 2021 and offers a readymade option for the Tigers’ midfield mix. Kiely’s inside game and work-rate should allow some of her new side’s more flashy midfielders to be released, aiding their ball winning cause in the face of tags and heavy opposition attention. Having lead the VFLW for disposals, kicks, and marks during the regular season, her dominance was simply undeniable. A few of her new teammates would know all about her talent too, given Kiely had 34 disposals and seven marks in her second-last VFLW outing this year – against Richmond’s VFLW affiliate, Port Melbourne.

MEAGAN KIELY CONTENT:

>> 2021 Mature-age team to watch
>> VFLW Player Focus: Meagan Kiely

Meagan Kiely gets a kick away

#50 Ingrid Houtsma (Utility)
20/11/2003 | 176cm
Geelong Falcons / Vic Country

After three Geelong Falcons graduates were taken in the first round, Houtsma became the fourth at pick 50. The 176cm utility can play on each line, but found a home on the wing for large parts of this year’s NAB League season. She is a prospect with high upside and while she may not accumulate the numbers others might, has an impact with each disposal and boasts a promising athletic profile. Houtsma could offer spurts of play similar to current wing revelation Tessa Lavey given said athleticism and aerial ability, but has all the versatility and room for development to be moulded into a player who suits whatever Richmond may need.

INGRID HOUTSMA CONTENT:

>> NAB League Girls season review: Geelong Falcons

Ingrid Houstma in action for Geelong Falcons

#54 Akec Makur Chuot (Defender)
5/09/1992 | 178cm
Richmond AFLW (Re-Drafted)

DRAFT SUMMARY:

With a couple of early and late picks, Richmond brought in a quartet of fresh faces who provide great depth and versatility not only to the midfield, but potentially all around the ground. Reid was arguably a best available selection at pick five and while Yassir was arguably the same at pick 16, also suited the Tigers’ need for some midfield support. Kiely adds to that as one of the prime mature-agers nationwide, while Houtsma is a high-value late choice who could develop strongly in an elite system. Richmond also re-drafted defender Akec Makur Chuot with their final pick (54) after delisting her at the end of last season.

2021 AFLW Draft club review: Melbourne

NOW the AFL Women’s Draft is done and dusted, Draft Central will review each club’s draft hand, and provide supporters with all the content they need to know about the latest additions to their AFL Women’s programs. We continue the club-by-club reviews with Melbourne.

#41 Georgia Campbell (Ruck/Forward)
1/09/2003 | 182cm
Eastern Ranges / Vic Metro

Melbourne got an absolute steal in obtaining Campbell all the way back at pick 41 via the competition’s father-daughter rules. The Eastern Ranges ruck-forward, who is the daughter of Adrian, was eligible to nominate for either Melbourne or the Western Bulldogs, but becomes a Dee and adds to the tall stocks of a finals contending team. She came on in leaps and bounds this season to quickly become the leading Victorian ruck prospect, boasting eye-catching athleticism for a player of her 182cm stature. Able to impact in the air and on the ground, Campbell is also versatile enough to do so both as a ruck or key forward, as shown during her representative stint with Vic Metro. Having transitioned into football from other sports, she has plenty of development left too.

GEORGIA CAMPBELL CONTENT:

>> 2021 Nationwide Power Rankings
>> AFLW Draft Positional Analysis: Rucks
>> NAB League Girls team review: Eastern Ranges

#42 Tahlia Gillard (Ruck/Forward)
12/12/2003 | 190cm
Calder Cannons / Vic Metro

Having known before the fact that they would be getting Campbell, the Demons went tall once more with their second pick immediately after. Gillard has long been one of the most promising Victorian talls, and offers terrific aerial presence at 190cm. While rucking, she uses that size to advantage and has the potential to become a really dominant hitter, while also having the experience of playing at either end of the ground. She rotated forward in 2021 and while some of her disposal execution is a touch raw, the Calder Cannons graduate is difficult to beat in the air. She will likely be developed as a ruck to support Lauren Pearce, given the Dees have just recruited Campbell and Tayla Harris to go with the likes of Eden Zanker and Alyssa Bannan as tall forwards – but there is plenty of dynamism among that lot.

TAHLIA GILLARD CONTENT:

>> 2021 Nationwide Power Rankings
>> AFLW Draft Positional Analysis: Rucks
>> NAB League Girls team review: Calder Cannons

Gillard fires away a handball for Calder Cannons

#45 Alison Brown (Utility)
21/09/1997 | 179cm
Casey Demons VFLW

Having already rookied midfielder Eliza West from its VFLW program, Melbourne dipped into the reserves pool once more to select Brown with pick 45. The 23-year-old lands at her third AFLW club after earning the honour of being an inaugural Blue and Saint, and in fact the first player signed to St Kilda’s women’s squad. Brown continued to persevere since, and having established a spot in the Demons’ VFLW defence, has been duly promoted for another crack at the elite level. She offers strong and experienced depth to a largely established squad and will likely be ready to go once called upon.

DRAFT SUMMARY:

Melbourne fans were made to wait a long time to witness their club’s first pick, which was always going to be Campbell, but all three selections came in a flurry. Campbell and Gillard add to the Demons’ strong tall stocks, particularly in the ruck-forward rotation and given the competition for spots, may well be afforded a proper amount of time to develop before entering the elite level. Brown rounded out the haul nicely as the mature-ager of the bunch, able to play multiple roles and solidify the defence. She’s a readymade option with plenty of experience under her belt already, which is just what Melbourne needs en route to premiership contention in 2021/22.

Image Credit: Melbourne AFLW via Twitter

2021 AFLW Draft club review: Geelong

NOW the AFL Women’s Draft is done and dusted, Draft Central will review each club’s draft hand, and provide supporters with all the content they need to know about the latest additions to their AFL Women’s programs. We continue the club-by-club reviews with Geelong.

#2 Georgie Prespakis (Midfielder)
13/03/2003 | 168cm
Calder Cannons / Vic Metro

It was no surprise to see Geelong take Prespakis with the first pick in the Victorian pool, with the potentially generational talent near-impossible to deny in pole position. The sister of Maddy will quickly break that tag, with her own talents proving exceptional throughout the junior pathways – starting with her NAB League best and fairest win at 16-years-old in 2019. Prespakis is as well-rounded a midfielder you can find; able to win her own ball at the coalface, use her running capacity to accumulate around the ground, prove effective by hand and penetrative by foot, while also providing her fair share of tackling pressure. She is a star in the making and ready to go at senior level, providing ideal cover for the loss of Liv Purcell among a regenerating Cats midfield.

GEORGIE PRESPAKIS CONTENT:

>> 2021 Nationwide Power Rankings
>> VFLW Player Focus: Georgie Prespakis

Prized pick Georgie Prespakis in action for Vic Metro

#7 Zali Friswell (Midfielder)
30/12/2003 | 165cm
Calder Cannons / Vic Metro

The Cats pulled off one of the surprise picks of the first round by taking Friswell at pick seven, though the selection is a shrewd one in context. A teammate of Prespakis through multiple competitions, the 17-year-old has waxed with her new Cats teammate through the NAB League, VFLW, and AFLW Under 19 National Championships. But let’s get it straight – she is far from just a sweetener in the Prespakis coup. Friswell is a gun midfielder in her own right with elite running capacity and a great balance of traits in the engine room. She was made to play a variety of roles throughout 2021 at either end of the ground, but looks most comfortable around the ball and has the potential to be a very reliable ball winning asset for Geelong.

ZALI FRISWELL CONTENT:

>> 2021 Power Rankings: Victorian Pool
>> NAB League Girls team review: Calder Cannons

#9 Gabbi Featherston (Forward/Ruck)
12/11/2003 | 169cm
Geelong Falcons / Vic Country

Geelong seldom misses out on local talent and like usual, snapped up a Falcons graduate among this year’s intake. Having sured up their midfield stocks, Featherston was the player the Cats went for, an exciting player with rare athleticism and enormous upside. Such is the power of Featherston’s leap, she rotated through the ruck for Geelong Falcons and Vic Country this season at just 169cm and more than held her own. She is mostly stationed up forward though, where that same athleticism translates to her potential as a marking target who attacks the aerial ball with vigour and possesses a thumping kick. The 17-year-old is almost certain to capture fans’ imaginations with her style of play, and has great potential to grow into a top player.

GABBI FEATHERSTON CONTENT:

>> 2021 Nationwide Power Rankings
>> Positional Analysis: Medium/Tall Forwards
>> NAB League Girls team review: Geelong Falcons

Gabbi Featherston (centre right) competes in the ruck

#15 Annabel Johnson (Midfielder)
6/11/2000 | 167cm
Geelong VFLW

After promoting mature-agers Claudia Gunjaca and Olivia Fuller from their VFLW side, the Cats added another with pick 15 in the form of Johnson. The multi-sport athlete is a relative newcomer to high levels of Australian football but has taken to the code quickly and shown a rapid rate of development over the last couple of years. The 20-year-old needed just one season in Geelong’s VFLW system to prove her worth, with her athletic base and promising state league form on both sides of midfield enough to see her crack the top flight.

DRAFT SUMMARY:

Geelong’s draft night ended as quickly as it began, with the Cats on the clock early at pick two and out of action by pick 15. They were smart to pair Prespakis alongside long-time teammate in Friswell with their first two picks, making for a one-two midfield punch which promises to prove more than handy. The Cats always pick local and did so once again in taking on Featherston, adding some dynamism and excitement to a talented crop of midfielders. VFLW product, Johnson was the final cab off the rank, another athletic type who adds a different element to the midfield mix. With four selections within the top 15, the Cats have made good on an opportunity to accelerate their regeneration.

Featured Image: Geelong draftee Zali Friswell dons her new colours | Credit: AFL Photos

2021 AFLW Draft club review: Collingwood

NOW the AFL Women’s Draft is done and dusted, Draft Central will review each club’s draft hand, and provide supporters with all the content they need to know about the latest additions to their AFL Women’s programs. We continue the club-by-club reviews with Collingwood.

#29 Eliza James (Forward/Midfielder)
1/10/2003 | 168cm
Oakleigh Chargers / Vic Metro

Collingwood fans were made to wait for their side’s first pick before all three came in a flurry. The Collingwood-Oakleigh link remains strong as premiership Charger, James enters the Magpies’ squad, marking great reward for a terrific few years in the elite talent pathway. With explosive athletic traits, the ability to clunk strong marks and create scoring opportunities, James is a dynamic forward-midfielder who can really hurt the opposition. Competition for spots will likely be pretty tight in the rotation James fits, though she is quite versatile and would benefit from being afforded some time to sharpen her skills and build a more refined finishing touch. Overall, there is plenty of upside in this selection.

ELIZA JAMES CONTENT:

>> NAB League Girls season review: Oakleigh Chargers
>> Top Performers: 2021 NAB League Girls grand final

#32 Eloise Chaston (General Forward)
23/02/2002 | 169cm
Eastern Ranges / Hawthorn VFLW

The Magpies pulled this pick out of the hat, taking on another versatile forward in Eastern Ranges skipper, Chaston. The 19-year-old also plied her trade for Hawthorn’s VFLW side across six games this season, impressing from the get-go with her smooth movement and overall dynamism. She plays slightly taller than what her 169cm standing suggests, leaning on her athleticism to compete aerially while maintaining an eye-catching ground level game. Chaston spent plenty of time up forward in 2021 but is also capable of rolling further afield. Her selection, especially in context with the other two, suggests Collingwood may be in for a restructure of its forwardline personnel.

Eloise Chaston on the ball for Eastern Ranges

#33 Imogen Barnett (Tall Forward)
11/06/1995 | 176cm
Collingwood VFLW

Rounding out Collingwood’s three-player draft haul was another of their own, in VFLW mature-ager Barnett. The 26-year-old has spearheaded the Magpies’ undefeated reserves side in 2021, booting a competition-high 21 goals across her 15 outings. She has refined her craft over the years to become a reliable and consistent key forward, possessing a sound goalkicking technique and strong hands on the end of her shrewd leads. The Magpies’ forward depth gets even stronger with the addition of Barnett, who is a readymade option familiar with the Magpies’ system and style of play. She has a big job ahead trying to crack Collingwood’s starting forwardline.

Imogen Barnett has a shot on goal for Collingwood VFLW

DRAFT SUMMARY:

Collingwood added some size, strength and dynamism to its forward stocks with three selections between picks 29-33. There is serious upside and scope for development in the likes of James and Chaston, who are versatile enough to fit a few different roles in the front five or further afield. Barnett, the mature-ager of the group, is a known quantity to Magpies staff and players alike and thus provides a reliable depth option. The Magpies now have quite extensive ruck and tall forward listings, having addressed both needs in the trade and draft periods.

2021 AFLW Draft club review: Carlton

NOW the AFL Women’s Draft is done and dusted, Draft Central will review each club’s draft hand, and provide supporters with all the content they need to know about the latest additions to their AFL Women’s programs. We continue the club-by-club reviews with Carlton.

#10 Annie Lee (Defender)
28/08/2003 | 169cm
Geelong Falcons / Vic Country

One of the standout prospects from a talent-stacked Geelong Falcons region, Lee proved a ‘best available’ kind of selection for Carlton at pick 10. As was seen on draft night, the 17-year-old is an avid Blues fan which makes this match all the more sweet. Throughout this year’s NAB League season, Lee looked a class above with her reading of the play and composure on the ball in defence, with that class translating well during her time representative level and even VFLW football. The Blues somewhat struggled in transition during last season, so likely valued Lee’s decision making and execution by foot, while her intercept abilities will suit a backline already strong in that department. She may even roam up the ground to a wing given the competition for defensive spots.

ANNIE LEE CONTENT:

>> 2021 Nationwide Power Rankings
>> AFLW Draft Positional Analysis: Tall/Medium Defenders

Annie Lee in action for the Geelong Falcons

#11 Keeley Sherar (Midfielder)
29/11/2003 | 170cm
Eastern Ranges / Vic Metro

In need of midfield depth and running power, Carlton pulled off somewhat of a surprise at pick 11 by snapping up Sherar. Another Blues fan, the Eastern Ranges midfielder offers a handy point of difference to her new side’s midfield with her raw athleticism and burst of speed out of congestion. While time to refine her disposal would be ideal, Sherar may have a role to play in her maiden AFLW season alongside a very sturdy Carlton engine room which already features Madison Prespakis, Grace Egan, Lucy McEvoy, and Abbie McKay. With a lot of similar types in that lot, Sherar could be the dynamic turn what Carlton is after around the ball, especially given who the Blues have lost and will be without. Her upside is enormous and her highlight reel, impressive.

KEELEY SHERAR CONTENT:

>> 2021 Nationwide Power Rankings
>> Ones to watch: AFLW Draft surprise packets

Brooke Vickers on the ball for Oakleigh Chargers

#23 Brooke Vickers (Wing / Defender)
6/03/2002 | 171cm
Oakleigh Chargers / Vic Metro

Adding to the much-needed running power Carlton obtained in this year’s crop, Vickers can tear sides up on the outer but isn’t afraid to crack in and win the hard ball. The Oakleigh Chargers premiership player started out the season at half-back, but later found her place on the wing where she was able to join in attacking transitions and deal some serious damage to the opposition with her penetrative kicking. With fellow Chargers graduate Mimi Hill sidelined due to injury, Vickers could prove a like-for-like replacement option or bide her time with a shift back to defence. A popular teammate, ‘Chook’ could well become a fan favourite too if given the opportunity.

BROOKE VICKERS CONTENT:

>> VFLW Player Focus: Brooke Vickers
>> 2021 Nationwide Power Rankings
>> Positional Analysis: Medium/Tall Defenders
>> Ones to watch: AFLW Draft surprise packets

#26 Imogen Milford (Tall Forward)
2/12/1999 | 179cm
Casey Demons VFLW

Carlton said it would target a forward and with its final pick, swooped on a mature-ager in Milford. The 21-year-old is obviously still quite young and has taken some time to develop, but began to really hit her stride in 2021 with 19 goals across 15 VFLW games – the second-highest haul in this year’s competition. At 179cm, she may well prove the readymade key forward option Carlton seeks with Tayla Harris out the door, potentially also allowing more time for the likes of fellow talls Serena Gibbs and Paige Trudgeon to develop their own craft. A handy addition.

IMOGEN MILFORD CONTENT:

>> Top mature-agers to watch
>> Positional Analysis: Tall/Medium Forwards

DRAFT SUMMARY:

After securing a top talent in Lee with pick 10, Carlton drafted for needs and picked up players with plenty of upside. Their ball movement will be aided by the likes of Lee and Vickers behind the ball, while Sherar could unlock a different element in midfield with her turn of speed and overall dynamism. There is a really positive blend of reliability and upside among those three Victorian youngsters, while the addition of 21-year-old key forward Milford ensures the Blues’ tall stocks are, well, stocked. Two Carlton supporters in the mix sweetens things further, and Blues fans should be excited by what these prospects can offer to the squad both immediately and in the future.

2021 AFLW Draft: Club-by-club wrap

THE 2021 AFL Women’s Draft saw 59 players enter the top flight on Tuesday night, with a mix of the nation’s most promising youth, undeniable state league guns, and some recycled elite level talent making up the selections. We recap the hauls from all 14 clubs, and there still may be more to come yet with Carlton and St Kilda opting to pass their final picks, while Geelong’s Millie Brown has been placed on the inactive list.

Adelaide:

#17 Zoe Prowse (Sturt)
#20 Brooke Tonon (Glenelg)
#34 Abbie Ballard (West Adelaide)

Adelaide picked up a three-pronged haul of local talent, spearheaded by another tall in Sturt’s Zoe Prowse. The 177cm ruck has been developing her craft in other positions given the Crows’ strong stocks in said department, but offers great athleticism, aerial ability, and value at their first pick. Three selections later, Adelaide went with a bolter to secure Glenelg prospect Brooke Tonon, a half-back/winger with tenacity and plenty of drive on the outer. Rounding out the crop was Abbie Ballard, a top-age midfielder who remarkably stepped up to skipper West Adelaide in its SANFLW grand final this season, setting the tone with her pressure and contested work.

Brisbane:

#18 Maggie Harmer (Maroochydore)
#35 Bella Smith (Maroochydore)
#46 Mikayla Pauga (Bond University)
#53 Luka Yoshida-Martin (University of Queensland)
#58 Lucinda Puller (Bond University)

Brisbane hauled in a handful of Queenslanders to top up its premiership squad, headlined by three players originally out of the Maroochydore Football Club. The Lions featured with the final pick of the first five rounds, starting with Maggie Harmer at number 18. She’s an intercept defender who can roam further afield, where inside midfielder and pick 35 Bella Smith likes to operate. Fellow Lions Academy graduate Mikayla Pauga was next off the board, a forward-midfielder with natural footballing traits. Brisbane then dipped into the mature-age pool by selecting Luka Yoshida-Martin and Lucinda Puller out of the QAFLW. The former was an exciting forward asset in the University of Queensland’s premiership side, while the latter hails from an elite soccer background and typically plays at the other end of the field.

Carlton:

#10 Annie Lee (Geelong Falcons)
#11 Keeley Sherar (Eastern Ranges)
#23 Brooke Vickers (Oakleigh Chargers)
#26 Imogen Milford (Casey VFLW)
#39 Pass

Poised nicely with two close pairs of picks in the first and second rounds, Carlton stuck to its word by targeting the best available talent, some midfield running power, and forward-line depth. Classy Geelong Falcons defender Annie Lee was first up at pick 10, fitting the ‘best available’ description having slipped passed the Cats’ early picks. She’s a great reader of the play, distributor, and avid Blues fan. Another in the latter category is Keeley Sherar, who was snapped up with the very next pick. Her burst out of the stoppages and athletic upside make for some exciting viewing through midfield. A second Vic Metro representative in Brooke Vickers opened Carlton’s second round account, with the forward-running winger potentially an apt replacement for fellow Oakleigh product Mimi Hill while she recovers from injury. Mature-age forward Imogen Milford was taken at pick 26 out of the VFLW, having booted 19 goals in 15 games for Casey. She could be a readymade replacement for Tayla Harris as Serena Gibbs continues to develop.

Collingwood:

#29 Eliza James (Oakleigh Chargers)
#32 Eloise Chaston (Eastern Ranges)
#33 Imogen Barnett (Collingwood VFLW)

With three selections poised close together, Collingwood nabbed a dynamic crop of players. Eliza James was first up at pick 29, an Oakleigh premiership player who continues the Magpies’ strong connection with the NAB League region. She’s an athletic midfielder-forward who can take a strong mark and hit the scoreboard. A surprise selection came at pick 32 as Eastern Ranges captain Eloise Chaston was snapped up. She’s another dynamic type up forward who boasts a booming kick and moves smoothly. With the very next pick, Collingwood promoted VFLW product Imogen Barnett to its senior list, after she led the competition’s goalkicking for the undefeated Magpies.

Fremantle:

#14 Amy Franklin (Claremont)
#31 Dana East (Swan Districts)
#38 Makaela Tuhakaraina (South Fremantle)
#44 Airlie Runnalls (North Melbourne VFLW)
#52 Jessica Low (Claremont)
#57 Sarah Wielstra (Swan Districts)

Fremantle brought in an equal-high haul of six players on draft night, including five local talents out of the WAFLW and elite talent pathway. Athletic key position utility Amy Franklin was difficult to pass up at pick 14, serving as a player who can get it done aerially at either end of the ground. Fellow state Under 19s representatives Dana East and Makaela Tuhakaraina were next off the board in the 30s, offering inside ball winning class and incredible speed up forward respectively. The Dockers pulled off a Victorian coup with VFLW product Airlie Runnells landing at pick 44. Fremantle liked the 23-year-old’s running ability having broken down her VFLW footage. Jessica Low (pick 52) and Sarah Wielstra (57) rounded out the selections, dipping back into the local pool. Low can play a variety of positions and finally gets her chance as a senior player, while Wielstra offers some forward-ruck support for Mim Strom.

Geelong:

#2 Georgie Prespakis (Calder Cannons)
#7 Zali Friswell (Calder Cannons)
#9 Gabbi Featherston (Geelong Falcons)
#15 Annabel Johnson (Geelong VFLW)

It was no surprise to see Georgie Prespakis head to the Cattery at pick two, and the classy midfielder will be joined by fellow Calder Cannons graduate Zali Friswell. Geelong will hope the two can form a strong centre bounce partnership amid its rebuild, with the two already a very familiar combination. The Cats then picked local with their last two picks, dipping into the Falcons and VFLW talent pools. Athletic forward Gabbi Featherston came at pick nine, with her leap and massive upside at 169cm proving too hard to ignore. 20-year-old multi-sport athlete Annabel Johnson was the Cats’ fourth first round selection, again adding to her new side’s midfield depth.

Gold Coast:

#1 Charlie Rowbottom (Oakleigh Chargers)
#6 Teagan Levi (Bond University)
#8 Ashanti Bush (Hawthorn VFLW)
#30 Giselle Davies (Bond University)

All eyes were on Gold Coast with pick one and it was no surprise to see Oakleigh Chargers premiership captain, Charlie Rowbottom selected first. The powerful midfielder-forward is a contested beast at 179cm and is equally damaging bursting away from stoppages as she is taking big grabs inside attacking 50. Local product Teagan Levi joined her sister Maddison at the Suns with pick six, again adding great athleticism and skill to the engine room. A second Suns Academy graduate in Giselle Davies joined at pick 30 to add some key defensive support, but not before Northern Territory native Ashanti Bush was taken at pick eight. Bush is a damaging forward who also plied her trade with Hawthorn in this year’s VFLW.

Greater Western Sydney:

#37 Ally Morphett (Murray Bushrangers)
#49 Jessica Doyle (Sydney Swans Academy)
#55 Brodee Mowbray (Southern Power)
#59 Georgie Fowler (East Coast Eagles)
#60 Casidhe Simmons (UNSW-ES Bulldogs)
#61 Erin Todd (Inner West Magpies)

The GWS GIANTS took the equal most draft selections into the night, and utilised them all, including redrafting Erin Todd with the final selection. The first two picks went as many predicted, with Murray Bushrangers tall and GIANTS Academy member Ally Morphett heading to the club with Pick 37, followed by Sydney Swans Academy member Jess Doyle with the second selection at Pick 49. The pair provide completely different attributes, but make a couple of immediate inclusions in the forward half of the ground. The GIANTS then picked up tackling machine Brodee Mowbray out of the Southern Power, with talented forward Georgie Fowler a big improver in AFL Sydney this year, and former heptathlete Casidhe Simmons being a surprising and unique pick, selected with Pick 60 to round out the large GIANTS’ haul.

Melbourne:

#41 Georgia Campbell (Eastern Ranges)
#42 Tahlia Gillard (Calder Cannons)
#45 Alison Brown (Casey VFLW)

Melbourne selectors and fans alike had to wait a while for their first pick, but knew what was coming with father-daughter selection Georgia Campbell landing at pick 41. The athletic ruck-forward is an absolute steal at that range, bringing enormous upside and potential to her post. The Dees went tall again with the very next pick, snapping up Campbell’s Vic Metro teammate Tahlia Gillard out of the Calder Cannons. Gillard uses her 189cm frame to advantage in the ruck but is also versatile enough to roll forward and clunk big marks. Rounding out the trio was mature-ager Alison Brown, a player with experience at two different AFLW clubs. Originally a Blue and then a Saint, she comes out of the Demons’ VFLW program where she settled in defence but showed good versatility.

North Melbourne:

#13 Tess Craven (Geelong Falcons)
#19 Tara Slender (Bendigo Pioneers)
#28 Kim Rennie (Western Bulldogs)
#43 Perri King (Tasmania Devils)
#51 Jasmine Ferguson (Collingwood VFLW)
#56 Ella Maurer (Tasmania Devils)

The third side to take six selections in the 2021 draft, North Melbourne picked up some absolute bargains and a strong mix of experience and youth. The youth came early with Geelong Falcons midfielder Tess Craven taken at pick 13, a wonderful addition to the Roos’ already strong midfield who can crack in at the coalface, but also works hard to accumulate and make good decisions around the ground. Tara Slender may well be the steal of the draft at pick 19, with the athletic tall able to play at either end or through midfield. She may take some time to settle at senior level, but her best is elite. The Roos finally secured Kim Rennie‘s services at pick 28, having not struck a deal with the Western Bulldogs during trade period. She brings some much-needed key position experience and strength. Perri King and Ella Maurer were the Tasmanians North Melbourne opted for; King is arguably a first round talent with a terrific blend of class and tackling grunt in midfield, while Maurer is another midfielder with promising traits. Collingwood VFLW product Jasmine Ferguson landed between them at pick 51, showcasing the Roos’ intent in gaining mature talent en route to premiership contention.

Richmond:

#5 Stella Reid (Oakleigh Chargers)
#16 Emelia Yassir (Calder Cannons)
#48 Meagan Kiely (North Melbourne VFLW)
#50 Ingrid Houtsma (Geelong Falcons)
#54 Akec Makur Chuot (Richmond)

Richmond addressed its need for midfield depth with four fresh faces, and the redrafting of defender Akec Makur Chuot. Oakleigh Chargers premiership player Stella Reid came at pick five, with the utility offering consistent ball winning prowess, running power, and scoreboard presence on each line. Fellow Vic Metro representative Emelia Yassir matches the Tigers’ tenacity and is a handy addition at pick 16, providing class at ground level. Richmond then went for a mature-ager in Meagan Kiely with pick 48, who proved too good to overlook after a stellar VFLW campaign with North Melbourne. She’s ready to slot straight into midfield. Geelong Falcons winger Ingrid Houtsma was the last fresh selection at pick 50, brining a good deal of athleticism and versatility to the mix.

St Kilda:

#4 Ella Friend (GWV Rebels)
#12 Ashleigh Richards (Dandenong Stingrays)
#36 Pass

St Kilda was in and out of this draft in a flash, taking two first round selections before passing at pick 36. The Saints sured up their forwardline with the selection of Ella Friend, a contested marking phenom out of the GWV Rebels who can also roll up to a wing. She could prove a great fold for Caitlin Greiser at 175cm. At pick 12, Ashleigh Richards keeps the Dandenong-St Kilda link alive as somewhat of a surprise selection, though she has proven herself at every level. The 17-year-old can rotate through midfield from the forwardline and has great footy smarts, as well as her obvious versatility and leadership quality as the Stingrays’ 2021 co-captain.

West Coast:

#3 Charlotte Thomas (Subiaco)
#21 Courtney Rowley (Peel Thunder)
#24 Beth Schilling (Peel Thunder)
#40 Sarah Lakay (Swan Districts)
#47 Emily Bennett (Claremont)

West Coast pulled off arguably the night’s first surprise by snapping up Charlotte Thomas with pick three. The AFLW Academy member only played one game this year due to a wrist injury, but had previously shown enormous talent at 175cm with her clean skills and reading of the play. Courtney Rowley was a steal at pick 21, the third of Western Australia’s pool, and is a bundle of energy on both sides of midfield. Tall stocks were next on the agenda as the Eagles took Beth Schilling and Sarah Lakay. Both are athletic, with Schilling more of a key defensive type, while Lakay is a developing forward-ruck. Emily Bennett got her chance at pick 47 after missing out last year, proving hard to deny after a consistent campaign. The rebounding defender capped off a strong haul for the Eagles.

Western Bulldogs:

#22 Amanda Ling (Oakleigh Chargers)
#25 Aurora Smith (Murray Bushrangers)
#27 Elizabeth Snell (Bendigo Pioneers)

Having previously featured heavily at the top end of the draft, the Western Bulldogs got to sit back and watch others select first in the Victorian pool, ending up with three high value picks within the 20s. Two of them were 19th-year talents who came back after being overlooked in 2020, starting with Amanda Ling. The Oakleigh Chargers midfielder was best afield in her side’s NAB League grand final triumph, and is a tenacious worker on the inside with clean hands and a sound work rate. Elizabeth Snell (pick 27) was the other 2002-born prospect to land at the Kennel, bringing a touch of speed and great character to the midfield-forward rotation. In between those selections, Murray Bushrangers best and fairest Aurora Smith slid to pick 25, proving a high-value choice for the Bulldogs. She balances her game well on both sides of midfield and again has a handy burst of speed, adding to her level of consistency.

Image Credit: Gold Coast SUNS via Twitter

2021 AFLW Draft: Every club’s selection

THE 2021 AFL Women’s Draft saw 59 players enter the elite level; from the fresh faces out of elite junior pathways, to state league guns who finally get their chance, and even a few mature-agers who have earned second chances in the top flight. There were plenty of surprises throughout the eight rounds of selections, but as expected, Oakleigh Chargers midfielder-forward Charlie Rowbottom was the first player picked and will soon jet up to join the Gold Coast SUNS.

Check out the full order of selections below, with plenty of analysis and club-by-club breakdowns to come on Draft Central.

ROUND 1:

#1 Gold Coast – Charlie Rowbottom (Oakleigh Chargers)
#2 Geelong – Georgie Prespakis (Calder Cannons)
#3 West Coast – Charlotte Thomas (Subiaco)
#4 St Kilda – Ella Friend (GWV Rebels)
#5 Richmond – Stella Reid (Oakleigh Chargers)
#6 Gold Coast – Teagan Levi (Bond University)
#7 Geelong – Zali Friswell (Calder Cannons)
#8 Gold Coast – Ashanti Bush (Hawthorn VFLW)
#9 Geelong – Gabbi Featherston (Geelong Falcons)
#10 Carlton – Annie Lee (Geelong Falcons)
#11 Carlton – Keeley Sherar (Eastern Ranges)
#12 St Kilda – Ashleigh Richards (Dandenong Stingrays)
#13 North Melbourne – Tess Craven (Geelong Falcons)
#14 Fremantle – Amy Franklin (Claremont)
#15 Geelong – Annabel Johnson (Geelong VFLW)
#16 Richmond – Emelia Yassir (Calder Cannons)
#17 Adelaide – Zoe Prowse (Sturt)
#18 Brisbane – Maggie Harmer (Maroochydore)

ROUND 2:

#19 North Melbourne – Tara Slender (Bendigo Pioneers)
#20 Adelaide – Brooke Tonon (Glenelg)
#21 West Coast – Courtney Rowley (Peel Thunder)
#22 Western Bulldogs – Amanda Ling (Oakleigh Chargers)
#23 Carlton – Brooke Vickers (Oakleigh Chargers)
#24 West Coast – Beth Schilling (Peel Thunder)
#25 Western Bulldogs – Aurora Smith (Murray Bushrangers)
#26 Carlton – Imogen Milford (Casey VFLW)
#27 Western Bulldogs – Elizabeth Snell (Bendigo Pioneers)
#28 North Melbourne – Kim Rennie (Western Bulldogs)
#29 Collingwood – Eliza James (Oakleigh Chargers)
#30 Gold Coast – Giselle Davies (Bond University)
#31 Fremantle – Dana East (Swan Districts)
#32 Collingwood – Eloise Chaston (Eastern Ranges)
#33 Collingwood – Imogen Barnett (Collingwood VFLW)
#34 Adelaide – Abbie Ballard (West Adelaide)
#35 Brisbane – Bella Smith (Maroochydore)

ROUND 3:

#36 St Kilda – Pass
#37 GWS – Ally Morphett (Murray Bushrangers)
#38 Fremantle – Makaela Tuhakaraina (South Fremantle)
#39 Carlton – Pass
#40 West Coast – Sarah Lakay (Swan Districts)
#41 Melbourne – Georgia Campbell (Eastern Ranges)
#42 Melbourne – Tahlia Gillard (Calder Cannons)
#43 North Melbourne – Perri King (Tasmania Devils)
#44 Fremantle – Airlie Runnalls (North Melbourne VFLW)
#45 Melbourne – Alison Brown (Casey VFLW)
#46 Brisbane – Mikayla Pauga (Bond University)

ROUND 4:

#47 West Coast – Emily Bennett (Claremont)
#48 Richmond – Meagan Kiely (North Melbourne VFLW)
#49 GWS – Jessica Doyle (Sydney Swans Academy)
#50 Richmond – Ingrid Houtsma (Geelong Falcons)
#51 North Melbourne – Jasmine Ferguson (Collingwood VFLW)
#52 Fremantle – Jessica Low (Claremont)
#53 Brisbane – Luka Yoshida-Martin (University of Queensland)

ROUND 5:

#54 Richmond – Akec Makur Chuot (Richmond)
#55 GWS – Brodee Mowbray (Southern Power)
#56 North Melbourne – Ella Maurer (Tasmania Devils)
#57 Fremantle – Sarah Wielstra (Swan Districts)
#58 Brisbane – Lucinda Puller (Bond University)

ROUND 6:

#59 GWS – Georgie Fowler (East Coast Eagles)

ROUND 7:

#60 GWS – Casidhe Simmons (UNSW-ES Bulldogs)

ROUND 8:

#61 GWS – Erin Todd (Inner West Magpies)

Image Credit: Michael Willson/AFL Photos

Competitive Venning used to putting in the “extra effort”

WINNING your club’s best and fairest award over the league and state Under 19s MVP is no mean feat, but it’s exactly what West Adelaide midfielder Zoe Venning pulled off in 2021. The tenacious ball winner was part of a strong Westies side which surged to this year’s SANFL Women’s grand final, averaging 16.5 disposals, 4.7 tackles, and 2.1 clearances across 12 games.

Having previously played netball at a high level, the 17-year-old says she knew exactly what it would take to be able to put in the “extra effort” required to make such strides at senior level.

“I was quite high up with my netball so I was used to putting the extra effort in off the field,” Venning said. “I always did my running… I know what it takes to put in hard work so that wasn’t something I was inexperienced with, it was more the age gap because I had always played with girls my age.

“Moving to SANFLW and playing with older girls matured my level of training, being a bit more mature was the biggest challenge.”

Venning credited her footballing journey to her dad, who encouraged her to “give it a go” having already excelled in netball and basketball. After starting out with the Mitcham Hawks, she fell in love with the game and soon found team success closer to home.

“I got to where I am now through my dad,” she said. “I first played at Mitcham Hawks when I was 13 and I didn’t want to play at all but dad said ‘come on Zoe, give it a go’ and I really liked it. My first game I got a lot of it, kicking off my shin but I just loved it.

“My dad wanted to make a girl’s program where I live, so he started up the Blackwood Football Club girl’s program and I’ve played there ever since and every year we’ve won the premiership. It’s just been such a good culture, all my best friends play there so that’s really how I started footy.”

Having started out scrubbing the ball off her shin, Venning has since added some polish to her game but remains a tough sort of ball winner who thrives at the contest. When outlining her strengths, the versatile talent was quick to list “contested ball wins” atop the tree.

“I really back myself,” she said. “I don’t really get intimidated by who I’m (against). I control if I’m going to get the ball or not, I’m not an outside receiver.

“I also think my marking’s quite strong. As a midfielder I can take a strong mark and be a link-up player, even on the kick-outs.”

Zoe Venning on the move for West Adelaide | Image Credit: On The Ball Media

Venning’s strengths made her a lock for SANFLW Team of the Year honours, and she brought the same kind of vigour to her state representative duties. With averages of 23 disposals, seven tackles, and four clearances per her three National Championship games, she also earned Under 19 All Australian status.

Speaking amid April’s Victorian leg of the carnival, she had both individual and team goals in mind.

“It’s been a really good achievement and I’m really excited just to show people what I’ve got,” she said. “I’m looking at it as an opportunity for me and the team to really utilise the talent we have in SA because it’s our standalone year.

“I’m just looking forward to showing my teamwork with others and it’s not just me, I want everyone to do well. But I still want to show that I am a strong player and I’m here to get drafted.”

While finding her way onto an AFLW list is the end goal, Venning is also seeking to succeed in her current Year 12 studies and knows missing out may not be the “be all and end all”. She also has a strong source of inspiration to look up to at the next level.

“An inspiration is Rachelle Martin, who was in my Westies team,” she said. “She inspires me because she worked so hard to get where she is now, playing for the Crows. “She’s a really hard worker, really nice, always caring to her teammates and that’s mainly what inspires me to keep going. I see her work ethic and I want to be like that.”

Come July 27 at the 2021 AFLW Draft, Venning has the chance to join Martin at Adelaide.

2021 NAB League Girls: Elimination Finals wrap – Scott-inspired Rebels secure finals boilover

FINALS time rolled around in the 2021 NAB League Girls competition, with the four elimination bouts bringing a terrific atmosphere and some fantastic football to the fore. The action kicked off with a Metro double-header on Saturday morning, which saw Oakleigh and Eastern set up their preliminary final meeting, before Geelong romped to a big win over the highly-fancied Dandenong Stingrays, and Greater Western Victoria (GWV) inflicted an inspired upset on enemy territory the following day.

OAKLEIGH CHARGERS 2.1 | 3.3 | 4.5 | 5.6 (36)
CALDER CANNONS 1.1 | 1.1 | 1.4 | 3.5 (23)

By: Declan Reeve

In a fiery contest to open up the NAB League Girls finals series, the Oakleigh Chargers came away 13-point victors over the Calder Cannons, allowing them to continue on their finals campaign. The highly contested nature of the game led to plenty of stoppages, giving viewers ample opportunity to see Victorian pick one fancies Charlie Rowbottom and Georgie Prespakis line up head-to-head, each winning their fair share of clearances and ball around the ground. 

The Chargers were buoyed by a great all-round team performance; Rowbottom was a big influence through the midfield and up forward, with teammate Amanda Ling also rotating through the two areas of the ground to great effect. Stella Reid and Sarah Morley both kicked two majors when goals were hard to come by. Caitlin Matthews and Erin Woodford worked well in tandem in the defensive 50 for the Chargers, both winning crucial contests in the final term.

For Calder, it was a lot of the usual suspects stepping up; Prespakis, Emelia Yassir and Zali Friswell were again influential around the ground, working hard to assist their team in defence. Abbey McDonald was played in all thirds of the ground and continued to be a strong contributor wherever she ended up, and winger Mali McLeod had one of her best performances to date. Kasey Lennox was instrumental in defence for Calder, with her efforts keeping the game within arms reach at times. It was to no avail in the end, as the Cannons’ season came to an end.

GOALS:

Oakleigh: S. Reid 2, S. Morley 2, C. Van der Vlies
Calder: E. Nickolaus, G. Prespakis, R. Sutton

DC BEST:

Oakleigh: S. Reid, C. Rowbottom, A. Ling, C. Matthews, E. Woodford, S. Morley
Calder: G. Prespakis, E. Yassir, Z. Friswell, K. Lennox, A. McDonald, M. McLeod

EASTERN RANGES 2.3 | 2.3 | 2.6 | 5.9 (39)
NORTHERN KNIGHTS 1.1 | 1.1 | 1.2 | 1.5 (11)

By: Declan Reeve

The Eastern Ranges booked themselves a match up against the Oakleigh Chargers in the second week of NAB League Girls finals, after pulling away from the Northern Knights in a 28-point win. Despite what the scoreboard may say, the game was a constantly tight, with the feeling that Northern was still very much in the game as both teams had periods where they’d be on top of the arm wrestle.

The Ranges had plenty of contributors in the victory, arguably none more so than Alyssia Pisano who ended the game with three goals. The midfield did well to continue piling on pressure, with Bridget Deed, Jorja Livingstone, Keeley Sherar and Ruby O’Dwyer winning plenty of it and getting involved defensively. They were well served by ruck Georgia Campbell who looked strong around stoppages, while Mia Busch was a strong rebounding option, coming out of defence to impact the ball further up the ground. 

Northern will be happy with the performance of midfielders Ava Jordan and Maeve Chaplin who won plenty of the ball, with Chaplin finding her way into the backline later in the piece. Defender Lulu Beatty looked strong aerially and on the ground, not afraid to push up the ground and back her kicking skills to get Northern in dangerous spots. 

GOALS:

Eastern: A. Pisano 3, R. O’Dwyer, G. Wilson
Northern: E. Smallacombe

DC BEST:

Eastern: A. Pisano, B. Deed, M. Busch, J. Livingstone, R. O’Dwyer, K. Sherar
Northern: L. Beatty, M. Chaplin, A. Jordan, R. Wilcox, P. Nelson, G. Kitchell

DANDENONG STINGRAYS 1.0 | 2.1 | 4.1 | 6.1 (37)
GEELONG FALCONS 3.2 | 5.3 | 6.9 | 10.12 (72)

By: Declan Reeve

A fast-starting Geelong Falcons side caught Dandenong Stingrays off guard from the get go, finishing the game as 35-point victors on Saturday afternoon. The Stingrays were unable to keep Geelong from scoring, stacking on 17 additional scoring shots after the first quarter. The effort sees the Falcons continue their finals campaign against the GWV Rebels next week.

The Stingrays, despite the loss, were well served by a few. Defensive trio Jaide Anthony, Jemma Radford and Zoe Hill battled hard all day, looking to create anything they could out of the defensive 50, with Olivia Robinson, Felicity Crank and Ashleigh Richards playing big parts in the midfield and forwardline, not afraid to push up the ground and help out the defensive half.

The Falcons, unsurprisingly, had plenty of contributors in the impressive victory, with Tess Craven and Poppy Schaap the major ball winners through the middle of the ground and up forward. Gabbi Featherston was also lively in the forward half, rotating through the ruck at times. Ash Van Loon and Charlotte Simpson were consistent workhorses through the midfield, putting in impressive performances that suggest the Falcons are in good hands next year with these two at the forefront. 

GOALS:

Dandenong: A. Richards, T. Gatt, F. Crank, M. Williamson, J. Radford, J. Anthony
Geelong: M. Van Dyke 2, T. Craven 2, G. Featherston 2, P. Schaap, Z. Garth, R. Tierney, C. Adams

DC BEST:

Dandenong: J. Anthony, J. Radford, Z. Hill, F. Crank, A. Richards, O. Robinson
Geelong: T. Craven, P. Schaap, A. Van Loon, G. Featherston, C. Simpson, Z. Garth

TASMANIA DEVILS 1.0 | 3.1 | 4.2 | 4.4 (28)
GWV REBELS 0.0 | 3.2 | 4.3 | 4.5 (29)

By: Peter Williams

The GWV Rebels have triumphed in an epic upset one-point victory over Tasmania Devils, reversing the result of just a week earlier to win from fourth spot in the semi-finals of the Vic Country pool. The Rebels did not make the most of their chances last week, but they certainly started to capitalise down at Windsor Park in Launceston, as Paige Scott ran rampant booting four goals – including three in less than five minutes during the second term – to be the difference between the sides.

Lilli Condon had a massive last term to cap off another sensational day, while Chloe Leonard and Tahlia Meier were ever-present in the midfield, and Nyakoat Dojiok and Ella Friend provided marking targets in the back half of the ground. For Tasmania, the midfield of Claire Ransom, Perri King and Ella Maurer ticked along nicely, while Charlotte Dennis was rock solid on the last line, and Amy Prokopiec kicked 2.3 in what was an impressive, hard-working effort up forward. In the end, the Rebels just held on, 4.5 (29) to 4.4 (28) to advance through to face the Geelong Falcons in the Country final next week.

GOALS:

Tasmania: A. Prokopiec 2, C. Ransom, M, Edwards
GWV: P. Scott 4

DC BEST:

Tasmania: C. Ransom, P. King, E. Maurer, A. Prokopiec, C. Dennis
GWV: P. Scott, L. Condon, C. Leonard, T. Meier, N. Dojiok

PRELIMINARY FINALS FIXTURES

Metro Pool:

Oakleigh Chargers vs. Eastern Ranges
Saturday May 8, 10:00am
Avalon Airport Oval

Country Pool:

Geelong Falcons vs. GWV Rebels
Saturday May 8, 12:00pm
Avalon Airport Oval

2021 NAB League Girls: Round 9 wrap – Finals places locked in

THE ultimate 2021 NAB League Girls home-and-away round was completed over the weekend, with finals fixtures locked in as each region returned after nearly a month away from competition. For some teams, Round 9 presented the opportunity to finish their season of a high, while those in the postseason hunt were able to get back up to speed on the eve of finals. Catch up on the action from all seven games in our weekend wrap.

GEELONG FALCONS 3.3 | 3.3 | 5.5 | 7.6 (48)
CALDER CANNONS 0.1 |  1.4 | 3.5 | 4.5 (29)

By: Declan Reeve

One of the most important matches in regards to finals for the round did not disappoint for viewers, as Geelong Falcons continued their good pre-break form to topple Calder Cannons by 19 points. The Falcons ended with 7.6 (48) to 4.5 (29) against a determined Calder side, who despite the scoreboard looked right in it throughout the contest, with some passages of slick ball movement through the midfield.

With a total of 16 girls playing for Country or Metro in the recent U17’s and U19’s representative games between these two sides, it comes as no surprise that the game was entertaining viewing, with both teams having plenty of contributors throughout the game. 

The Falcons can thank Renee Tierney and Poppy Schaap for their multiple goals, with Schaap also noticeable around the ground as a pressure player and ball winner. Ingrid Houtsma also bobbed up at some crucial moments, using it well along with midfielder Tess Craven who again found ways to control the tempo. Elizabeth Dowling and Annie Lee were rock solid in defence, moving it well into the middle of the ground, with bottom-aged defender Taiya Morrow also taking some strong intercept marks.

The Cannons were unsurprisingly served well by the ever consistent midfield trio of Georgie Prespakis, Emelia Yassir and Zali Friswell who all battled hard around the ground to create anything they could. Bottom-agers Tahlia Read and Abbey McDonald also had good performances splitting their time between the forwardline and the midfield, both showing that they’re ready to step up into a more permanent move next season, whilst Jessica Zakkour contributed two goals for Calder.

GOALS:

Geelong: R. Tierney 3, P. Schapp 2, K. Hardingman, I. Houtsma
Calder: J. Zakkour 2, O. Manfre, G. Prespakis, 

DC BEST:

Geelong: E. Dowling, P. Schapp,  I. Houtsma, T. Craven, R. Tierney, A. Lee
Calder: G. Prespakis, E. Yassir,  T. Read, A. McDonald, Z. Friswell, J. Zakkour

DC MEDAL VOTES:

5 – Elizabeth Dowling (Geelong Falcons)
4 – Georgie Prespakis (Calder Cannons)
3 – Emelia Yassir (Calder Cannons)
2 – Poppy Schapp (Geelong Falcons)
1 – Ingrid Houtsma (Geelong Falcons)

DANDENONG STINGRAYS 2.1 | 3.3 | 5.3 | 7.3 (45)
NORTHERN KNIGHTS 3.0 | 6.1 | 6.3 | 9.5 (59)

By: Michael Alvaro

The Northern Knights flexed their muscle ahead of the most important stage of their premiership defence, defeating the highly fancied Dandenong Stingrays by 14 points on Saturday. While the Knights lead at every break, three-goal efforts in the second and fourth terms saw them break away at crucial stages, especially after the Stingrays cut the margin to a single straight kick at three quarter time. In the end, the reigning premiers notched a terrific pre-finals win on the road, 9.5 (59) to 7.3 (45).

Both sides had an even spread of contributors, comprising of usual suspects and prospects on the rise. Maeve Chaplin returned from an excellent Under 19 national carnival in good form, enjoying more time around the ball with Ava Jordan. Tannah Hurst stood up in an important repelling role, while tall Phoebe Nelson clunked five marks and the 2005-born Molly McErlain notched her best performance to date. Three Knights finished with two goals, as Rylie Wilcox snared one and performed well.

For Dandenong, bottom-age standout Emily Shepherd led all comers with 24 touches in a top outing, while Ashleigh Richards booted two majors from her 15 touches and five marks. Elsewhere, Felicity Crank‘s rich vein of form continued, as Abbey Jordan and Charley Ryan pitched in well, and Mikayla Williamson and Sarah Hosking also earned votes from the Stingrays staff for their efforts.

In the first week of finals, Northern will take on Eastern Ranges on Saturday afternoon at Warrawee Park, while the Stingrays will host Geelong Falcons in a second-straight game at Shepley Oval.

GOALS:

Dandenong: A. Liddle 2, A. Richards 2, C. Blair, H. Monk, B. Lyne
Northern: C. Laurie 2, T. Mills 2, T. Smart 2, L. Jatczak, R. Wilcox, M. Girolami

DC BEST:

Dandenong: A. Richards, E. Shepherd, F. Crank, M. Williamson, A. Jordan, S. Hosking
Northern: M. Chaplin, T. Hurst, P. Nelson, A. Jordan, M. McErlain, R. Wilcox

DC MEDAL VOTES:

5 – Maeve Chaplin (Northern Knights)
4 – Ashleigh Richards (Dandenong Stingrays)
3 – Tannah Hurst (Northern Knights)
2 – Emily Shepherd (Dandenong Stingrays)
1 – Phoebe Nelson (Northern Knights)

GWV REBELS 1.2 | 1.5 | 2.6 | 2.6 (18)
TASMANIA DEVILS 2.0 | 3.0 | 4.0 | 6.5 (41)

By: Declan Reeve

In a rare contest where the two sides will be facing each other again just a week later, Tasmania Devils knocked off the Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels by 23 points, for what they’ll be hoping is the first of two wins over their opposition. The result secured the top spot in the Tasmania/Victoria Country pool for the Devils, earning them a match against the fourth-placed Rebels in the first week of the NAB League Girls finals series. The final scores were 2.6 (18) to 6.5 (41).

Amy Prokopiec was well assisted by her midfield teammates, with Perri King, Claire Ransom, Olivia Smith, Meghan Gaffney and Ella Maurer all performing well through the contest against a strong and contested GWV midfield group, along with Shania Saward who impacted up either end. The Rebels had their fair share of contributors as well, with Lilli Condon and Tahlia Meier standing up through the midfield, using their speed to get the ball moving. Nyakoat Dojiok and Molly Walton were solid in defence all day, rebounding and intercepting well whilst Ella Friend was also strong when down there, but also played on the wing and through the midfield at times.

GOALS:

GWV: P. Scott, Z. Larkins
Tasmania: A. Prokopiec 2, A. Bisset 2, E. Maurer, G. Clark

DC BEST:

GWV: L. Condon, T. Meier, E. Friend, N. Dojiok, M. Walton
Tasmania: P. King, C. Ransom, O. Smith, S. Saward, A. Prokopiec 

DC MEDAL VOTES:

5 – Perri King (Tasmania)
4 – Lilli Condon (GWV Rebels)
3 – Tahlia Meier (GWV Rebels)
2 – Claire Ransom (Tasmania)
1 – Ella Friend (GWV Rebels)

EASTERN RANGES 0.0 | 3.1 | 5.2 | 5.2 (32)
NORTHERN TERRITORY 1.1 | 1.1 | 1.1 | 1.1 (7)

By: Peter Williams

Eastern Ranges have secured a comfortable 25-point victory over Northern Territory Thunder to lock up seconds spot in the metropolitan pool as a result. After the Thunder got the jump on the Ranges thanks to a goal from Madison Harris in the first term, it was all Eastern from then on, scoring 5.2 to 0.0 for the remainder of the game. The Ranges led by 12 points at half-time, and kicked on to win by just over four goals.

Georgia Wilson slotted two majors for the winners, while Jorja Livingstone joined regular scoreboard contributors Alyssia Pisano and Matilda Hardy as goalkickers. Keeley Sherar was her productive self, as Ruby O’Dwyer, Bridget Deed and Livingstone all found plenty of the footy. Georgia Campbell and Jess Grace took control to dominate the ruck, while Mia Busch and Isabelle Khoury were also impressive.

For the Thunder, Djimila Totham was named best-on for her defensive work, while Tatyana Perry and Shanoah Leedie were also impressive with Allies representatives, Kasey Marsden and Grace Mulvahil, and past representative Bella Clarke. The result marks the end of the two-game campaign for the Thunder, whilst the Ranges will go on to play Northern Knights in the first week of finals next weekend.

GOALS:

Eastern: G. Wilson 2, J. Livingstone, A. Pisano, M. Hardy
Northern Territory: M. Harris

DC BEST:

Eastern: M. Busch, K. Sherar, R. O’Dwyer, B. Deed, J. Livingstone
Northern Territory: D. Totham, K. Marsden, T. Perry, B, Clarke, G. Mulvahil

DC MEDAL VOTES:

5 – Mia Busch (Eastern Ranges)
4 – Keeley Sherar (Eastern Ranges)
3 – Ruby O’Dwyer (Eastern Ranges)
2 – Djimila Totham (NT Thunder)
1 – Kasey Marsden (NT Thunder)

WESTERN JETS 4.0 | 5.1 | 7.6 | 8.8 (56)
BENDIGO PIONEERS 0.2 | 0.3 | 0.4 | 1.6 (12)

By: Michael Alvaro

Western Jets capped off their season with a belting win over the Bendigo Pioneers on Saturday afternoon, soaring 44 points to the good by the final siren of both sides’ campaigns. The Jets lead from the first goal and hardly gave the Pioneers a sniff at the other end, keeping them without a major score until the final term. Forward firepower was a key factor for the winners, with their 8.8 (56) total one point shy of a season high, while notching their best defensive effort to restrict Bendigo to 1.6 (12).

Bottom-age gun Charlotte Baskaran returned alongside Montana Ham from Under 19 representative duties in fine form, leading all comers as both players made a sizeable splash. The marking of Caitlin Sargent was a feature up forward as she booted a game-high four goals, while the dynamic Jemima Woods snared two. Usual defender Ciara Singleton also got on the board with skipper Leah Spargo, while Trinity Skenderis, Kiera Whiley, and Laura Elliott were also solid in a terrific team effort.

For the Pioneers, it was an almost-day for 2006-born prospect Lucia Painter, who managed three behinds from 12 disposals in just her second NAB League appearance. Drew Ryan and Octavia Di Donato were among Bendigo’s best and led the disposal count, as the likes of Jemma Finning, Scarlett Orritt, and Tegan Williams also stood up at times in the heavy loss.

GOALS:

Western: C. Sargent 4, J. Woods 2, L. Spargo, C. Singleton
Bendigo: C. Mitchell

DC BEST:

Western: C. Baskaran, C. Sargent, M. Ham, J. Woods, T. Skenderis, C. Singleton
Bendigo: L. Painter, D. Ryan, O. Di Donato, S. Orritt, T. Williams, J. Finning

DC MEDAL VOTES:

5 – Charlotte Baskaran (Western Jets)
4 – Caitlin Sargent (Western Jets)
3 – Montana Ham (Western Jets)
2 – Jemima Woods (Western Jets)
1 – Lucia Painter (Bendigo Pioneers)

OAKLEIGH CHARGERS 4.3 | 8.8 | 15.9 | 15.11 (101)
GIPPSLAND POWER 0.0 | 0.0 | 0.1 | 0.1 (1)

By: Declan Reeve

The final game of the year for Gippsland Power ended in a disappointing loss to ladder leaders Oakleigh Chargers at Warrawee Park, with Oakleigh holding the Power goalless for the game and scoreless for the first half in an unforgiving performance. The comprehensive display saw the Chargers run out 100-point victors, 15.11 (101) to 0.1 (1).

In an impressive display of teamwork, the Chargers had a total of nine individual goalkickers, as Charlie Rowbottom and Amanda Ling led the way with three each. Rowbottom in particular looked dangerous all game, she could’ve had five or six had she been more accurate in front of goal, with Stella Reid and debutant Jasmine Fleming also getting multiple goals for the Chargers.

The Power, despite not having any goalkickers, will be proud of the work of Taylah Bourne in the defensive 50, along with Grace McRae in the middle, not giving up despite the margin. Looking strong for next year, bottom-aged pair Yasmin Duursma and Leesa Guastella were also impressive throughout with their efforts.

GOALS:

Oakleigh: C. Rowbottom 3, A. Ling 3, S. Reid 2, J. Fleming 2, E. James, A. Smith, H. Kennealy, K. James, B. Vickers
Gippsland: Nil

DC BEST:

Oakleigh: J. Fleming, C. Rowbottom, L. Hart, A. Ling, E. James, B. Vickers
Gippsland: T. Bourne, G. McRae, L. Guastella, Y. Duursma, T. Angwin, A. Guy-Toogood

DC MEDAL VOTES:

5 – Jasmine Fleming (Oakleigh Chargers)
4 – Charlie Rowbottom (Oakleigh Chargers)
3 – Lily Hart (Oakleigh Chargers)
2 – Amanda Ling (Oakleigh Chargers)
1 – Eliza James (Oakleigh Chargers) 

MURRAY BUSHRANGERS 2.5 | 5.9 | 8.10 | 9.11 (65)
SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS 0.0 | 2.1 | 4.1 | 5.3 (33)

By: Peter Williams

Finishing the season in style, Murray Bushrangers won three of their last four games to head into the post-season with plenty to take from 2021. The Bushrangers proved too good for Sandringham Dragons, having 20 scoring shots to eight and piling on nine goals to win by 32 points up in Wangaratta. With the Bushrangers’ strongest side on the park all season – also thanks to the return of Cassidy Mailer from a long-term injury – the Bushrangers booted five goals to two in the opening half, and led by 33 points at the final break, holding that margin firm to secure the 9.11 (65) to 5.3 (33) victory.

Olivia Cicolini was damaging up forward with another three goals to her name alongside Sophia McCarthy, while Vic Country representatives – and top two in their best and fairest award – Aurora Smith and Keeley Skepper – also shone in the victory. Allies representative Ally Morphett had a day out in the ruck, while Lucy Anderson was also named among the Bushrangers’ best. For the Dragons, Bridie Hipwell stood up in defeat, with Ebony Angelopoulos being the key goalkicker with three of her team’s five majors. J’Noemi Anderson, Ella Schiberras, Kiana Lynch and Natasha Morris were also named amongst the Dragons’ best in the loss.

GOALS:

Murray: O. Cicolini 3, S. McCarthy 3, T. Gray, K. Skepper, C. Mailer.
Sandringham: E. Angelopoulos 3, M. Mottram, L. Mitchell.

DC BEST:

Murray: K. Skepper, A. Morphett, A. Smith, O. Cicolini, S. McCarthy
Sandringham: B. Hipwell, E. Angelopoulos, J. Anderson, E. Schiberras, K. Lynch

DC MEDAL VOTES:

5 – Keeley Skepper (Murray Bushrangers)
4 – Ally Morphett (Murray Bushrangers)
3 – Aurora Smith (Murray Bushrangers)
2 – Bridie Hipwell (Sandringham Dragons)
1 – Olivia Cicolini (Murray Bushrangers)