Tag: Abbie McKay

AFL Women’s Saturday wrap: Giants outlast Suns in wet conditions for maiden 2021 win

THE Greater Western Sydney Giants finally put a win on the board on Saturday afternoon, defeating Gold Coast Suns in a rain-affected encounter at Blacktown International Sportspark, 2.6 (18) to 1.2 (8). Both teams were coming into this match off the back of comprehensive Round 2 losses, and while the Suns pressed hard after a tough first quarter, it was to no avail in the wet weather as they failed to put a major on the board until the final minutes of the match.

In an excellent start to the match the Giants were just about unstoppable, hogging the footy as Alyce Parker and Bec Beeson could not be separated from the action, as Taylah Davies and Alicia Eva slotted early goals to open proceedings and put some space between them and the traveling Suns. While the Suns were relatively composed running out of half back and dominated the marking contest, led by Jade Pregelj who collected a number of rebounds and Alison Drennan who piled on the physicality, the side could not clear the footy through the tightly contested Giants as a clogged midfield continuously sent the ball soaring back inside 50. While the tides changed in the second, with a clear scoring end coming to fruition as the Suns piled on the offensive pressure, the away side just could not pile on the scoreboard intensity they needed with the footy continuously rebounding between Lauren Ahrens and Elle Bennetts. A 15-point margin at quarter time only slightly changed to 16 points as the main break came around, with both sides failing to put a goal on the board.

Whilst the weather cleared up in the second half, the slippery conditions remained as frantic footy was played through the midfield and a tight one-on-one defence from both sides denied any easy chances for clearances. While the Suns denied the Giants a single goal after the first term and Jamie Stanton finally broke the drought with a Suns goal in the last minutes of the match, it was a tough slog for the Suns in a much tighter encounter than the scoreline suggested.

The trio of Parker (24 disposals and five tackles), Beeson (23 and seven) and Eva (15 and one goal) was impressive as ever, while Haneen Zreika was unstoppable early to finish with seven tackles and opposing rucks Erin McKinnon and Lauren Bella racked up 20 hitouts apiece. The Suns’ physicality was excellent with Drennan (22 disposals, 12 tackles) combing well with Serene Watson and Hannah Dunn (eight and seven tackles, respectively) while Ahrens and Stanton were also solid.

Image Credit: AAP/Dan Himbrechts

GWS GIANTS | 2.3 | 2.5 | 2.6 | 2.6 (18)
GOLD COAST SUNS | 0.0 | 0.1 | 0.1 | 1.2 (8)

GOALS:

Giants: T. Davies, A. Eva
Suns: J. Stanton

DC BEST:

Giants: A. Parker, R. Beeson, E. Bennetts, A. Eva, B. Tully
Suns: A. Drennan, J. Stanton, L. Ahrens, M. Levi, S. Watson

Credit: Getty Images

Experienced Blues overawe Saints

The second match of the evening saw the Saints host the Blues at Moorabbin, in the first crowd-less matchup of the round. Perfect conditions in Melbourne saw the home side get off to the perfect start, as Caitlin Greiser would not be rendered goalless for the second straight round and put the first goal through for the match with minute left in the quarter as the Saints dominated the early stages. With Greiser taking centre stage up forward for the Saints, the Blues would not be left wondering what could be playing an extra back to lighten the load of the likes of Mua Laloifi, but Greiser’s beautiful gather and goal from an angle well and truly outclassed the Blues backwoman on return from injury, allowing the Saints some breathing space and a slight seven-point upper hand heading into the first change.

But it was not all doom and gloom for Carlton, as the side picked up their game as the second term rolled around with two shocking weeks behind them and no desire to head in that same direction once more, as the side well and truly took advantage of the blustery wind to pile on the scoreboard pressure in the second quarter. It took only a perfect start from Elise O’Dea who was sent forward to do what she does best, hitting the scoreboard quickly and seeing the rest of the side pick up their game immediately as Maddy Prespakis got in on the action with a snap out of the back of a contest, and seeing a couple of excellent chains of handballs keep the footy moving fast down the field, evading Saints’ possession. While it was the experienced Blues cohort that got the show on the road in the second quarter, it was the young talent that lifted in the second half as Prespakis was aided by Grace Egan, Georgia Gee and Abbie McKay, with the latter two finding much more of the footy as the match opened up. A Kate Shierlaw purple patch – including the Saints’ second goal – was cut short as the tall was briefly sent off the field for a head knock, whilst the likes of Georgia Patrikios and Tyanna Smith were influential around the footy, matching up well against the Blues’ talent but unable to apply the offensive pressure the side so sorely needed.

A tough contest was had in the final term, and while the Saints proved they were more than capable of taking the game on, it was not enough as the Blues had the momentum and wind going in their favour. Whilst the Saints midfield and back-end worked in overdrive to push the footy forward once more, the Blues shut down the centre corridor and minimised options on the wing to continuously propel the footy back inside their attacking 50. Nic Stevens‘ second goal of the game – a soccer off the ground from within the square – well and truly put the ice on the cake for the then-winless Blues, as the side ran home with a solid 6-4 (40) to 2.4 (16) victory.

For the successful Blues, Prespakis and Egan led the way with 24 touches apiece, combining for eight tackles between them while McKay was not far behind with 17 touches and seven tackles alone. O’Dea had her best match in the navy blue, piling 21 disposals onto her season tally and booting the side’s opening goal, while Jess Hosking and Breann Moody were solid as ever. For the Saints, Patrikios was excellent with 20 disposals and five tackles, while Hannah Priest (18 disposals, six tackles and five marks) and Rosie Dillon (14 disposals and nine tackles) were also solid targets around the ground.

ST KILDA | 1.1 | 1.2 | 2.4 | 2.4 (16)
CARLTON | 0.0 | 3.1 | 5.1 | 6.4 (40)

GOALS:

St Kilda: C. Greiser, K. Shierlaw
Carlton: N. Stevens 2, L. Brazzale, M. Downie, E. O’Dea, M. Prespakis

DC BEST:

St Kilda: G. Patrikios, R. Dillon, H. Priest, K. Shierlaw, T. Lucas-Rodd
Carlton: M. Prespakis, G. Egan, E. O’Dea, A. McKay, J. Hosking

Credit: Getty Images

Dees triumph thanks to second term

demolition

Melbourne reigned supreme in an almighty top four battle as the Demons came from behind to claim an emphatic nine-point win over North Melbourne 9.6 (60) to 8.3 (51). Both sides headed into the Round 3 match undefeated but Melbourne proved their status as a powerhouse side in the AFL Women’s competition. highlighting their attacking mentality and peppering away at the goals in the second term to flip the script.

Despite multiple chances throughout the opening term the Dees struggled to find their kicking boots early while North Melbourne nailed the first two goals of the game. With the ball spending majority of time inside 50 for Melbourne, the Demons finally struck their first major as the clock ticked down to quarter time reducing the deficit to three points at the break. That momentum trickled into the second term as the Demons showcased their ability to link up with handballs and weave their way forward to steal the lead and slot four consecutive goals. Tegan Cunningham and Jackie Parry inspired the comeback second term with the pair combining for four goals in that quarter alone, showcasing their ability to get the job done both in the air and at ground level with Parry roving the pack and slotting a nice goal to really give Melbourne the ascendancy heading into half time.

Melbourne stretched the lead out to as much as 25 points before the Kangaroos tightened things up in the third term to pile on the scoreboard pressure and nullify the influence of the Dees. With a number of key cogs in the blue and white, the Roos found a way to be damaging as Daria Bannister picked up the slack with two goals in her side’s four goal term. But sensing a momentum switch, the Demons regathered their composure in the final stanza to keep North Melbourne at bay, trapping the ball inside 50 despite the margin getting as close as three points with only moments to spare.

It was the usual suspects for the Kangaroos that stood up in the contest as Jasmine Garner took the game into her own hands as shown through her mammoth 15 disposals, 12 tackles and two goal effort. Emma Kearney chimed in, amassing 16 touches while also slotting a timely goal to keep the Roos within touching distance of the Demons. Ashleigh Riddell was a key contributor with her 17 disposals as was Kaitlyn Ashmore who managed to find plenty of the footy thanks to her 16 disposals and two tackle performance. Jenna Bruton threw her weight around laying six tackles to accompany her 14 touches while Bannister kept the scoreboard ticking over banging home two majors.

For the Demons, Karen Paxman was a force to be reckoned with directing traffic and picking up a game-high 25 disposals. Paxman was involved in just about everything and made full use of her physical nature to match up against Kearney through the middle while on the goal-scoring front Cunningham was proving too big and too strong, outmuscling her opponents and kicking true out the front. Cunningham finished with two goals for the game as teammate Parry impressed with her three majors. Youngster Tyla Hanks provided that element of run and carry across the ground picking up 23 touches and nine tackles as Kate Hore was a real livewire with 15 touches and three marks. Maddison Gay made her presence felt recording seven tackles and 16 disposals in the win with Lily Mithen also a key playmaker for the Dees amassing 21 touches.

MELBOURNE | 1.3 | 7.4 | 8.4 | 9.6 (60)
NORTH MELBOURNE | 2.1 | 3.1 | 7.3 | 8.3 (51)

GOALS:

Melbourne: J. Parry 3, T. Cunningham 2, S. Scott 2, K. Hore, K. Paxman
North Melbourne: J. Garner 2, D. Bannister 2, G. Campbell, E. Kearney, S, Abbatangelo, I. Eddey

DC BEST: 

Melbourne: K. Paxman, T. Hanks, L. Mithen, M. Gay, T. Cunningham,
North Melbourne: J. Garner, E. Kearney, A. Riddell,  J.Bruton, K. Ashmore

Pies shock Blues on AFLW’s return

THE long awaited return of AFL Women’s for season 2021 arrived on Thursday night, with traditional rivals Carlton and Collingwood shaping up at Ikon Park for a huge start to season five. A tribute to Jacinda Barclay opened the match with a moment of silence, before football returned at full throttle with Victorian fans treated to their first live match since mid-2020. While a slow start from both sides kept a full house of fans on the edge of their seats, a stagnant Blues outfit and a huge four-goal second term from the Magpies saw the tides quickly turn as fast-paced footy began, with the Pies running out six-point winners 5.3 (33) to 4.3 (27) to open the season with a bang.

While the match may not have started with the bang many fans were expecting from the two sides, it was a tight battle early with neither side willing to give through the midfield and very little going the way of the scoreboard. Both backlines worked in overdrive limiting movement, with the first score of the game – a behind – going the way of Jaimee Lambert, rendered inaccurate by the continuous efforts of the likes of Mua Laloifi and Charlotte Wilson, who tracked the ball well. But much the same was happening at the other end, with the Blues missing targets and Ruby Schleicher proving a ball magnet and rebounded with ease.

But things quickly switched into gear for the Magpies in the second, with Chloe Molloy moved forward and turned on the foot candy with two goals from right out in front. It saw the Pies pile on the pressure as the Blues remained scoreless in the first half for the first time since 2019. Where the Blues’ defence had held strong in the first, they scrambled in the second term with no answers for the combination of Molloy and Bri Davey out the front, while Aliesha Newman turned on the speed – later reported for a dangerous tackle – and Lambert continued to fire on all cylinders as the Pies went four goals up, looking dangerous as the Blues wasted opportunities. Maddy Prespakis was unafraid of the contest, throwing herself at the footy and at former Blue Davey, while all eyes were on the matchup between Stacey Livingstone and Tayla Harris as the game hit the midway point, with the duo matching in intensity and hunt for the footy.

A talking to from Carlton coach Daniel Harford seemed to do the trick for the Blues, coming out with a renewed sense of intensity and pressure after half-time, hitting back with three straight goals. Nicola StevensDarcy Vescio and Jess Hosking all put majors on the board – with the third coming from a pinpoint precise Prespakis – as a scoring end shaped up. While the Baggers showed a lot more fight, the Pies retained the lead with an excellent running goal from Aishling Sheridan, courtesy of Lambert, seeing the Magpies head into the final change with an 11-point advantage.

After a busy second and third quarter, scoring dried up in the last with neither side able to really break through the fierce defensive buffers down back. While the Pies missed a couple of early chances to extend their lead, Carlton had their own fair share of opportunities too with the footy locked inside their forward 50 for much of the last five minutes. While the last score of the match was a goal to Kerryn Harrington after the siren, it was a sombre celebration as the Magpies started off their 2021 campaign with the solid 33-27 victory and plenty of confidence.

On the stats sheet, Britt Bonnici led all comers with 22 disposals, five marks and four tackles, while Lambert (18 touches, five tackles) and Prespakis (18 and three) were not far behind. Abbie McKay proved she has more in her wheelhouse leading the tackle count with seven to go with her 10 touches, while two players from each side racked up six tackles apiece in the physical battle.

Both teams have just over a week to prepare for their next respective matches, with the Blues heading to VU Whitten Oval next Friday night to take on the Western Bulldogs, while the Pies host the Gold Coast Suns in their first home match of the season next Saturday afternoon at Victoria Park.

CARLTON | 0.0 | 0.0 | 3.1 | 4.3 (27)
COLLINGWOOD | 0.1 | 4.2 | 5.2 | 5.3 (33)

GOALS
Carlton: Stevens, Vescio, Hosking, Harrington.
Collingwood: Molloy 2, Sheridan 2, Davey.

ADC BEST
Carlton: Prespakis, Laloifi, Wilson, Egan, Hosking
Collingwood: Bonnici, Lambert, Davey, Molloy, Schleicher

2021 AFLW Preview: Carlton Blues

CARLTON proved its rise from wooden spooner to grand finalist was no flash in the pan, establishing itself as one of the competition’s powerhouses with another strong campaign in 2020. This year, the Blues are primed for another premiership tilt under much-loved coach Daniel Harford, starting with a season-opening blockbuster against traditional rival, Collingwood at Princes Park.

2020 RECAP

2020 ended as a ‘what if’ season for each preliminary finalist, but the Blues looked like a side daring to dream after their surprise grand final appearance the year before. Having finished second in Conference B at 5-1, Carlton fended off a pesky Brisbane outfit in the first week of finals to cap a five-game win streak at the ideal time.

A first-ever loss to fierce rival, Collingwood in Round 2 came as a shock but only seemed to click the Blues into gear thereafter as they answered every challenge with aplomb. Harford’s Blues became known for their fighting spirit, stringent yet dynamic structures, and the ability to take over games when it mattered.

Madison Prespakis was among those to enjoy stellar individual seasons, taking out the AFLW best and fairest award in just her second campaign. Spearhead Tayla Harris and co-captain Kerryn Harrington earned All Australian honours alongside the star midfielder, showcasing Carlton’s strength through the spine and just why the Blues remain bonafide premiership contenders.

NEW FACES

The acquisition of Elise O’Dea, one of the competition’s premier midfielders, headlined a bumper trade and draft period for the Blues. Their squad depth, particularly through midfield is among the best in the league and O’Dea will work to take a load off Prepakis in the engine room.

Another former Demon in Maddy Guerin looks to be past her injury troubles having come through a preseason hitout unscathed, with her pace something the Blues valued before she landed at Princes Park. Charlotte Hammans, formerly of the Gold Coast was the third in-league signing, again bringing some dash and dare on the outer and up forward. Those kind of traits were clearly ones the Blues targeted heavily at the trade and draft tables.

Carlton welcomed a trio of Victorian guns through the draft too, adding to the already fearsome dynamism and versatility of its midfield group. Mimi Hill is already one of the coach’s favourites credit to her work ethic and adaptability, making her a chance to feature in the senior side early on. Daisy Walker has also taken well to senior level and fellow Sandringham Dragons graduate Winnie Laing is an exciting runner who, like Hill, captained her NAB League team.

ONE TO WATCH IN 2021

Carlton players and staff alike have lauded the condition Abbie McKay has returned in for season 2021, with the league’s maiden father-daughter selection set to take on some added responsibility in her third senior campaign. Expect to see even more of her through the Blues’ star-studded midfield; with her work-rate, conditioning, and hardness at the ball all traits which bode well for dominance at the contest.

Darcy Vescio is an established name but could take the competition by storm as she spends more time in the engine room, and livewire Georgia Gee is another who is looking to do the same. Inaugural Blue Jess Hosking will take on a new role as well having trained with the forwards during preseason.

WHY THEY CAN WIN IT

The Blues have become renowned for their ability to adjust to different gameplans under Harford, who has such a dynamic squad at his disposal. The versatility of Carlton’s crop makes it a scary proposition for all opposition coaches and players, able to flick a switch on gameday and play to a range of styles. In the midfield mix alone, the ball winning prowess of Prespakis, O’Dea, and Grace Egan will be complimented with the x-factor of Vescio and Gee, with a heap of moving parts able to impact at the coalface. While other teams excel in one style, the Blues can triumph in a range of ways and that is exactly why they can win it.

QUESTION MARK

Is it possible to have too much of a good thing? The Blues are so strong through midfield and have a raft of options who can move through there when needed, but it raises the potential problem of overchoice. While versatility and adaptability are key strengths of this Carlton side, it could be a factor which works in the opposite way at the selection table or in crunch moments. Premiership teams are typically steady and know the exact structure which yields a winning formula, so does that leave Carlton with too many makeups? We may find out in 2021, especially with some of the added depth.

FINAL WORD

Carlton is arguably one of the top three premiership contenders in 2021 and will fancy itself to book in another finals appearance, with a postseason win the marker of a successful campaign. Given the lofty standards set, the Blues will hope to go even better than that mark and gun for the ultimate prize, something well within their reach.

Featured Image: Madison Prespakis breaks with ball in hand | Credit: Michael Klein

Determined McNamara follows footy pathway

COMING from a basketball background, Sandringham Dragons midfielder Eliza McNamara has dealt with her fair share of setbacks over the years. A concussion last season ruled her out of some matches at NAB League level, and she missed out on playing at the AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships second round on the Gold Coast, but it has not slowed her desire to be the best possible player and achieve her dream of landing on an AFL Women’s list.

“I used to play a lot of basketball and then we got told to check out the local footy team because they were starting to grow the girls culture there,” McNamara said of her first taste of football. “So I joined halfway through my Year 8 season, just at Ashburton footy club and then it was quite big at school but obviously you can’t play until Year 9. I really loved it when I was old enough to play in Year 9 because I was playing with a couple of girls who are in the AFLW Academy and in the AFLW now like Liv Vesely and Abbie McKay.

“From there I played at Sandy and moved to East Malvern footy club which was so fun. “There’s like five girls in that team who were also in the Sandy squad, so we kind of learnt each other’s dynamics in club and Sandy, which kind has made the core of our top-agers quite strong is because we’ve played against each other in club and we’ve also played with each other.”

The familiarity with each other’s games is a key reason why the Dragons have improved from year to year and have a record amount of AFL Women’s Draft Combine invites.

“I think as bottom-agers you end to respect the older kids and because we were all able to grow together from bottom-agers to the older kids, we kind of just grew off each other’s talents and brain-picked each other for how they do X and Y in a game and learn off them in a training session as well as on the field and we kind of got a sense of how each other plays,” McNamara said. “How to complement each other in our footy which is quite an asset to our team.”

She might not have played in the week-long carnival on the Gold Coast, but McNamara pulled on the ‘Big V’ from an early age, representing Metro at Under 16s level.

“That’s one really good thing about playing through NAB League is that you do get recognised and your name gets out there so it kind of, when it starts to pick up momentum, it provides a lot of opportunities,” McNamara said. “Obviously I was lucky enough to play in that Vic team, and then from there you play with girls who you inadvertently play again in the NAB League which you learn off their strengths but also you’re able to identify what each team’s got going for them.

“Like obviously Northern Knights have quite a high representation in Vic so when you come up against them, you know they’ve got quite a strong midfield and forward, so we’re going to have to be really switched on this game. “But opportunity and confidence which then adds to your footy skills through that.”

A natural inside midfielder, McNamara’s willingness to win the hardball came at a cost last year when she copped a concussion and was forced to the sidelines. While hungry to run out on the field, the Dragons middle-ager did take positives from the experience.

“It was frustrating just because I then had to miss a couple of games but it was also a bit fortunate I think we had the Easter weekend so we didn’t have a game anyway,” McNamara said. “I only missed one less game than I should have as well so, you just kind of learn from not being able to play you realise how much you want to be on the field, when you’re watching the games you don’t get nearly as much fun as when you’re playing it.”

“But then it was another blessing that I was able to see this is where our team struggles, so when I am able to play again this is how we’re going to improve, and this is how I can get myself involved,” she said. “When you take a step back and watch, you see how midfields or wingers get lost on the ground, as an observer of that, you’re able to recognise where they could be, and then implement it into your own game which is a good thing.”

The concussion has not stopped the small tenacious midfielder from fiercely attacking the contest. But it has opened up other opportunities for her to increase her versatility and work on other aspects of her game.

“I love kind of going through the midfield which was one blessing for this year, because I got taken out of the inside mid just because the coaches wanted to protect my head because I got a concussion last year,” McNamara said. “Which meant I was able to be thrown around and learn different positions like the wing, high-forward, and like kind of how to involve myself in the game in a midfield sense and still remain an attacking and defensive player, but also nailing some running patterns and getting a better sense of the roles other than inside mid.”

“That’s like helpful one, in terms of confidence that I can play those roles, but also two, if I was to be in the inside mid, then I know how to involve the wings because I’ve played that role, I know the patterns and then I’m able to become an inside mid’s perspective. “The wings sometimes gets a bit neglected because no-one really knows how to incorporate them in girls footy, but I think that is growing with opportunities with NAB, they drill in the importance of each position.”

It is no surprise that her regards her attack on the ball as one of her strengths, showing no fear going into the coalface and winning it for her side. But she also has a sense of undoing any wrongs, such as fixing her own mistakes.

“If I turn it over then I’m adamant that I have to go get that ball and get it back to our team,” McNamara said. “I think I’ve got a sense of just want to fix things on the field so my efforts are all repeated and have a lot of drive and intent in them.”

The talented small is working on polishing her kicking and having greater consistency and variety in the action, which is something she has been looking at over the off-season. Having set small goals each week – such as improving each quarter of each game – McNamara has a big goal coming up, and has been working hard during the lockdown period to achieve it.

“I mean I’m in the middle of three ovals, so I’m quite lucky where I’ve been locked down and we’ve got cricket nets on one of the ovals, so Tam‘s (Hyett, senior coach) made me drill the ball into the cricket nets and just be able to get a penetrating kick between the nets and not miss it,” McNamara said. “Obviously there’s frustrations of the ball getting stuck on top, but that’s a bit of a motive to concentrate and fix my kicking. “That’s probably been my biggest goal this season.”

At first being told the season had been called off was a bit of a shock, with a number of players upset and McNamara described it as “demoralising” and “such a waste of a season”. But then she took a look at the “silver linings”.

“Our coach Tam lives near me so when the state rules had gone through, we’d gone for a couple of kicks,” McNamara said. “I’ve got three brothers so i’ve always got a kicking buddy at home, but yeah initially it just sucked. “There’s nothing better than team sports. “Even though you’re training at home, it doesn’t replicate the sense of passion and fun you get when you’re playing in the team.”

Indeed the sense of team at the Dragons is strong with McNamara acknowledging not only Hyett’s work with her over the journey, but some of the fitness staff as well who have contributed to her progression through the Sandringham program.

“The coaches at Sandy deserve such a big wrap, especially Tam and the fitness coaches Danny (Byrne) and Fraser (Cameron), everyone we’ve had them since for the past three years,” McNamara said. “They’ve been our foundation of coaches and they’ve never waived in their support or given us a half, they’ve always been fully committed to us so I think the coaches at Sandy definitely deserve a major wrap.”

Despite missing out on the championships last year – given the difficulty of squeezing into the side as a middle-ager – and then not getting to play out her own top-age championships this year, McNamara took confidence from her performances at NAB League level.

I think confidence naturally comes when one, your team wins, but also even training sessions are quite good for confidence,” McNamara said. “I found playing club in between last season and this season was such a good re-establishment that if you are able to play really good footy then you kind of learn to train further into a bit more of a competitive level at NAB League. “The main thing with confidence I find is till having enjoyment and playing your own game.

“Even though you have a prescribed role in the team, there’s a way to individualise it a little bit and as long as you don’t lose that individuality in your role, you just naturally succeed a bit better and I guess that’s what reaffirms your confidence and your player is succeeding in the role you’re given.”

Her dream of earning a spot on an AFL Women’s list could be less than a week away, and McNamara hoped to follow idols such as Daisy Pearce and former Melbourne Girls’ graduate Bonnie Toogood into the elite level. While she knows next week is not the last opportunity to play in the AFL Women’s, she know exactly what it would mean to her.

“It would mean everything,” McNamara said. “It would be a weight off your shoulders, but also exciting and I don’t even know. “It would be great, a bit of excitement this year when not much has happened. “I think once you’ve been playing at such a level and dedicated so much time and mum and dad driving me X, Y and Z all over Melbourne, and we get the buses to Wangaratta, it’s kind of a nice way to finish junior football stepping into such an elite environment. “You don’t know, boundless opportunities to come from there so it would be very exciting.”

2020 AFL Women’s Round 2 preview: Expansion sides to face off as inaugural sides do battle under lights tonight

ROUND 2 of the AFL Women’s is sure to bring plenty of big clashes and ignite old rivalries with Collingwood and Carlton set to do battle on Sunday while Fremantle and West Coast will take place in their inaugural Western Derby.

Friday, February 14

Western Bulldogs v. Melbourne at Whitten Oval, 7:40pm, AEDT

Taylah Melki

With one win on the board each expect a high intensity battle from the opening bounce in search of each teams’ respective second win. The Demons announced themselves to the rest of the competition last round, downing premiership favourites North Melbourne by two points and will be riding a wave of confidence heading into their Round 2 match-up. Similarly, the Dogs inflicted their fair share of pain on newcomers St Kilda with an impressive 25-point win. The Bulldogs were slick from the beginning, exploiting their oppositions’ inexperience and making them pay while the Dees fought hard to just get over the line and set up the makings of what could be a strong season.

After waiting 693 days the return of Daisy Pearce was exactly what the doctor ordered for Melbourne and their fans. The talented midfielder-turned-defender was right back in the mix, throwing her weight around and winning plenty of the pill around the contest, something that was sorely missed last season. Karen Paxman is as experienced as they come, able to sense the moment and have an impact while the likes of Elise O’Dea and Lily Mithen could prove a handful for the Dogs who lost a couple of key players during the off-season. Forward, Tegan Cunningham will be looking to have a big game after failing to trouble the scorers last round, only registering a point. But if Cunningham and Kate Hore get going the two could pose a dominant force inside forward 50, plus throw in the likes of Eden Zanker and the Dees have a lot to work with.

With Katie Brennan and Monique Conti both departing the kennel, the likes of Ellie Blackburn and Kirsty Lamb have taken their game to another level and will be hoping to have the same dominant impact as last round. Blackburn is a class act, able to read the play, apply strong tackles and consistently get involved while Hannah Scott has upped the ante. Number one draft pick Gabby Newton did not look out of place in Round 1 with her contested ball work and cleanliness, but will be keen to prove it was not a one-off with a strong showing against Melbourne. Up forward, Bonnie Toogood will have to deliver for the Dogs if they are to apply scoreboard pressure and get over the line.

Tip: Melbourne by 15.

WESTERN BULLDOGS

B: A.Gogos 36 L.Spark 11
HB: K.Herron 31 E.Gamble 14 N.Ferres 16
C: B.Hunt 21 K.Lamb 27 G.Lagioia 12
HF: G.Newton 5 B.Toogood 8 K.McLeod 6
F: E.Georgostathis 17 D.Berry 7
Foll: K.Rennie 24 E.Blackburn – C 2 A.McCarthy 15
I/C: E.Brown 9 D.Marshall 26 N.Callinan 10 H.Scott 22 A.Van Oosterwijck 28
Emerg: N.Morris-Dalton 25 H.Munyard 20

In: E.Brown, A.Van Oosterwijck
Out: I.Huntington (concussion), C.Moody (ankle)

MELBOURNE

B: L.Birch 9 M.Downie 2
HB: S.Lampard 8 S.Goldrick 23 D.Pearce – C 6
C: S.Heath 30 T.Hanks 28 C.Emonson 11
HF: K.Hore 10 E.Zanker 29 S.Scott 12
F: T.Cunningham 1 A.Newman 16
Foll: H.Cordner 21 K.Paxman 4 M.Gay 3
I/C: G.Colvin 32 C.Sherriff 18 N.McEvoy 17 A.Kemp 36 E.O’Dea 5
Emerg: B.Tarrant 20 M.Guerin 22

In: N.McEvoy
Out: M.Guerin

Saturday, February 15 

North Melbourne v. GWS GIANTS at University of Tasmania Stadium, 3:10pm AEDT

Michael Alvaro

North Melbourne will be looking to make good on a shock Round 1 loss when it hosts the GWS GIANTS in Launceston. Premiership points may soon become a premium for Scott Gowans‘ side as it looks to top a tricky Conference A, and the pre-season premiership fancies will expect to pick up their first set in this clash. But the GIANTS are one of the few sides which can match the ‘Roos for experience throughout their squad, and already ground out a win against league newcomer, Gold Coast in an opening round thriller. While North’s home ground advantage paid dividends in its inaugural season, the GIANTS were already made to endure tough conditions last time out, which should put them in good stead to tackle the often-windy Launceston afternoons. Last year’s result – which swung convincingly to the way of the ‘Roos – will also be in the back of players’ minds, but North knows it cannot take anything for granted.

The debut of Lisa Steane looms as one of the stories of the weekend, with the 24-year-old teacher surprised mid-week with news of her inclusion while working. Steane’s replacement of Ellie Brush in the side is the only change for GWS, with its strong and experienced core remaining for what should be a tough test. The midfield combination of skipper Alicia Eva and young gun Alyce Parker will again look to lead from the engine room, and their work will be cut out for them given the depth and strength of North’s midfield. The Kangaroos have made two changes as Daria Bannister (collarbone) and Bethany Lynch come out of the side for Jas Grierson and local girl, Abbey Green, whose inclusion could free up Emma King to play a more permanent key forward role. It makes the North Melbourne forward line one to behold, with a couple of capable tall targets and the likes of Daisy Bateman and Katlyn Ashmore at their feet.

Given how deep the hosts’ talent runs through midfield and around the ground, they are rightly fancied to bounce back to more typical form. The ‘Roos should also take solace in the feats of reigning premier Adelaide, as the Crows overcame a surprise first round loss in 2019 to go undefeated throughout the rest of the season. While last week’s outcome should drive North Melbourne to better results, the pressure will be on given not many would expect GWS to trouble them a whole lot. Nonetheless, the Kangaroos should fare much better in this clash against a side which looks like battling for mid-conference status, so do not be surprised if a statement is made.

NORTH MELBOURNE

B: T.Randall 16 B.Gibson 18
HB: T.Nestor 24 D.Hardiman 31 A.Gilroy 8
C: J.Trend 21 E.Kearney – C 9 A.Riddell 7
HF: S.Abbatangelo 1 K.Gillespie-Jones 5 K.Ashmore 10
F: E.King 60 D.Bateman 11
Foll: V.Saad 39 J.Garner 25 J.Bruton 35
I/C: E.King 4 S.Wright 17 J.Grierson 19 E.Gavalas 22 A.Green 26
Emerg: M.King 23 B.Lynch 20

In: J.Grierson, A.Green
Out: D.Bannister (collarbone), B.Lynch

GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY

B: P.Randall 21 T.Hetherington 9
HB: R.Beeson 6 L.Stephenson 12 A.Lister 14
C: E.Bennetts 22 A.Eva – C 2 N.Barr 8
HF: H.Zreika 24 C.Staunton 13 J.Hicks 5
F: R.Privitelli 19 I.Nielsen 25
Foll: E.McKinnon 23 J.Dal Pos 7 A.Parker 3
I/C: Y.Bonner 27 L.Steane 20 J.Allan 39 A.Schmidt 11 B.Tully 36
Emerg: T.Mackrill 32 S.Halvorsen 30

In: L.Steane
Out: E.Brush (unavailable)

Tip: North Melbourne by 20 points

Gold Coast v. Richmond at Metricon Stadium, 5:10pm AEDT

Taylah Melki

Two expansion teams are set to face off in an exciting clash at Metricon Stadium, the Suns’ first home game of the season. Both teams will be looking for their inaugural AFLW win, meaning there is plenty at stake for each side. The Suns were highly competitive over the weekend, narrowly edged out by the Giants by a mere one point while the Tigers simply had no answers for the rampaging Blues. Gold Coast went down in trying conditions with rain and wind impacting their ability to handle the ball cleanly and hit the scoreboard. On the other hand, Richmond were simply outclassed – unable to combat the torrential storm that was Carlton credit to their onslaught of pressure in the forward 50. But the girls in yellow and black know how to fight, not willing to be bullied across the field and will be hoping to assert themselves on a relatively young and inexperienced Gold Coast Suns outfit.

Richmond has a plethora of star power across the footy field, none bigger than captain Katie Brennan who has showcased her ability to turn a game on its head. Brennan will have to push up through the midfield, more to give players a chop out and provide added support despite her best work being done inside forward 50 with her leading patterns and strong hands. Full forward Sabrina Frederick could prove to be a handful for the Suns given her strength around the contest and ability to gobble up anything that comes her way while the nifty Monique Conti has shown she is all class with ball in hand, able to hit a target from a mile away. Phoebe Monahan was a ball magnet last round along with Christina Bernardi. The two will have to combine once again if they are to trouble the Suns.

Despite not being top-loaded in a-list class the Suns have a wealth of young up and coming stars that can do damage anywhere on the field. Youngsters in Serene Watson and Ellie Hampson offer plenty of excitement for the Suns’ line-up which could give them that upper hand thanks to their raw talent and unpredictability. Lauren Aherns led from the front last round, recording an equal team-high 15 touches running around ragged and burrowing in hard while Jamie Stanton was strong across the ground for the Suns. Captain Leah Kaslar will have her work cut out for her up against a strong Tigers side.

Tip: Richmond by 5.

GOLD COAST

B: J.Pregelj 42 J.Hickey 4
HB: S.Virgo 22 L.Ahrens 7 S.Watson 14
C: T.Ernst 19 J.Stanton 17 C.Hammond 29
HF: P.Parker 1 K.Surman 26 L.Kaslar – C 11
F: E.Hampson 21 B.Perry 16
Foll: L.Bella 2 J.Yorston 5 H.Dunn 24
I/C: J.Hewett 20 M.Ritson 12 S.Riley 8 D.Heslop 25 K.Howarth 23
Emerg: T.Thorn 15 T.Groves-Little 3

In: E.Hampson
Out: A.Hamilton

RICHMOND

B: R.Miller 15 G.Seymour 28
HB: S.Sansonetti 18 P.Monahan 2 A.Makur Chuot 34
C: K.Jacques 10 K.Brennan – C 3 H.Burchell 9
HF: S.Frederick 14 C.Wakefield 8 T.Stahl 24
F: L.McClelland 16 C.Bernardi 6
Foll: A.Edmonds 11 M.Conti 4 A.Woodward 13
I/C: L.Tesoriero 7 L.Bailey 12 S.Molan 1 M.Brancatisano 5 G.Campbell 43
Emerg: E.Wood 17 C.Fitzgerald 26

In: G.Campbell
Out: H.Whitford (injured)

West Coast Eagles v. Fremantle Dockers at Optus Stadium 7:10pm AEDT

Peter Williams

The Western Derby is the pride of Western Australia and for the first time ever at AFL Women’s level, the two sides can continue the tradition. West Coast and Fremantle go head-to-head in a Saturday night blockbuster with both teams coming off varying form. Last week, West Coast looked strong up against Collingwood at Victoria Park, booting the first goal and holding the Magpies scoreless in the opening term, before Collingwood took control and ran away comfortable victors in the end. Fremantle on the other hand did finish the job, knocking over fellow finalist Geelong in Western Australia in an effort that saw youngster, Sabreena Duffy win Most Valuable Player (MVP) for the week with four of her side’s six goals in the win. Both in Conference B – the more competitive conference – every win is absolutely crucial and neither side will want to relent against its biggest rival.

West Coast is the new kid on the block and they showed last week that they will be competitive, it will just be for how long. Dana Hooker plays her former side this week and it will unlikely faze the star who booted the club’s inaugural – and in the end, only – goal last week with a clever snap out of the pack. She was simply sensational across the four quarters, while Emma Swanson was also impressive with the pair leading from the front as vice-captain and captain respectively. Mikayla Bowen brought her tackling pressure from the Under 18s up to the elite level, while Imahra Cameron showed she has a nice set of wheels to burst away from stoppages and cause headaches for the opposition. Add in the smooth skills of McKenzie Dowrick coming off half-back and the reliability of Chantella Perera and Talia Radan on the last line and the Eagles are strong defensively. The Eagles have made just the one change for the this game, with the club’s social media coordinator Kate Orme making her debut for the injured Ashton Hill.

The expansion side will need to be strong defensively against a forward line that has plenty of excitement and X-factor, including Roxanne Roux, who showed exactly why she was the first West Australian taken last year with her high leaping and booming kick. She is a franchise player at centre half-forward, and with fellow teenage talent Mim Strom, the Dockers have a couple of gems they can build a side around through the ruck and key forward spots. Also up forward is Duffy who was simply sensational, and Ebony Antonio, who with partner and captain Kara and tackling machine Kiara Bowers rotating inside 50, there is no shortage of scoring options. The Dockers have made two changes for the team in Round 2 with Leah Mascall and debutant Bianca Webb coming in for Steph Cain – who unfortunately did her anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) – and Mia-Rae Clifford. The question this season will be around the Dockers’ defence given the young rucks have already earned their stripes, but against an Eagles side still looking to gel, they should be able to contain their yellow and blue state-based rivals. In order to win they will want to shut down Hooker and restrict the flow forward while putting plenty of pressure on the opposition defence. Given many of the Eagles have come from the Dockers, the remaining Fremantle players would love nothing more than to get one-up on them early in the season and it will likely happen.

Tip: Fremantle by 35.

WEST COAST

B: C.Perera 27 T.Radan 26
HB: B.Smith 14 S.McDonald 35 M.Dowrick 5
C: M.Collier 8 I.Cameron 19 N.Kelly 12
HF: A.Atkins 9 K.Gibson 2 M.Bowen 1
F: G.Kelly 15 D.Pisconeri 11
Foll: P.Laurie 25 D.Hooker 17 E.Swanson – C 13
I/C: T.Tester 23 C.Guard 4 H.Bullas 24 B.Devlyn 7 K.Orme 32
Emerg: E.Bonser 6 C.Davidson 33

In: K.Orme
Out: A.Hill (knee)

FREMANTLE

B: J.Cuthbertson 29 L.Pugh 32
HB: A.Stannett 24 E.Gooch 8 L.Mascall 14
C: L.Rohde 11 H.Miller 19 J.Stewart 7
HF: E.Antonio 12 R.Roux 17 S.Duffy 6
F: G.O’Sullivan 22 G.Houghton 27
Foll: M.Strom 21 K.Bowers 2 K.Antonio – C 15
I/C: K.Flood 44 B.Webb 26 P.Seth 18 K.Grieve 13 A.Sharp 1
Emerg: E.O’Driscoll 3 M.Clifford 4

In: L.Mascall, B.Webb
Out: S.Cain (knee), M.Clifford

Sunday, February 16

Geelong Cats v. Brisbane Lions at GMHBA Stadium, 1:10pm AEDT

Peter Williams

This Conference A clash on Sunday looms as one of the more intriguing contests of the weekend. The teams head into the match with differing results from Round 1, as Brisbane toppled the Crows at home while the Cats fell to a Duffy-inspired Dockers outfit in the west. Heading into the clash, Geelong will start favourites against the current conference leaders, playing at home and with more experience in the line-up. For the Lions, they have youthful excitement about them and will worry a few teams. They will not win every game in the manner they did in Round 1, but you get the feeling they will push most teams and show that they are building something special for the future.

The Cats have not had to make any major changes to its line-up that fell to the Dockers last Sunday evening, bringing in Rene Caris and Maddy Boyd to their extended squad. Last week it was the developing midfield of Olivia Purcell and Rebecca Webster, teaming with fellow 19-year-olds, Sophie Van De Heuvel and Nina Morrison, while Julia Crockett-Grills found plenty of the ball as well. They are still missing All Australian defender, Meg McDonald from their back five, but the Cats have the reliable Mel Hickey and Maddy McMahon helping youngsters Millie Brown and Denby Taylor. Geelong is growing a great culture of youth all coming through together, and with Phoebe McWilliams and Richelle Cranston bringing experience to the forward half, there is a nice balance of talent that should get the job done in this match.

Brisbane does not necessarily have the names on paper that Geelong has, but some of the players will become household names sooner rather than later. Jess Wuetschner is a big loss for the Lions, having been rested after being struck by lightning on the eve of the season. While she got through the first game, the Lions have erred on the side of caution for a game-by-game basis. Coming into the side on an extended bench are Gabby Collingwood, Jordan Zanchetta and Jade Ellenger. Of the trio, Ellenger has played just the two games and is one of a number of teenagers who are in the Lions line-up alongside recent draftees, Lily Postlethwaite and Isabel Dawes, and second year players, Nat Grider and Jesse Tawhiao-Wardlaw. Sophie Conway made a successful return from a long term knee injury last round, and along with Ally Anderson and Emily Bates providing plenty of run and hardness through the midfield. Throw in the impenetrable Kate Lutkins at centre half-back and they have enough about them to worry the Cats.

Tip: Geelong by 15.

GEELONG

B: M.Brown 19 M.McMahon 24
HB: M.Keryk 45 M.Hickey – C 18 D.Taylor 28
C: S.Van De Heuvel 27 R.Cranston 30 N.Morrison 9
HF: J.Crockett-Grills 6 M.Maguire 7 R.Garing 12
F: P.McWilliams 23 J.Ivey 5
Foll: A.O’Connor 14 R.Webster 21 O.Purcell 16
I/C: A.McDonald 3 D.Higgins 2 G.Rankin 10 R.Goring 44 G.Clarke 17 R.Caris 1 M.Boyd 26

In: R.Caris, M.Boyd
Out: None

BRISBANE

B: N.Grider 10 S.Campbell 20
HB: R.Lugg 11 K.Lutkins 13 C.Svarc 25
C: E.Zielke – C 8 B.Koenen 3 S.Webb 4
HF: L.Arnell 16 J.Tawhiao-Wardlaw 30 S.Conway 12
F: D.Davidson 14 G.Bodey 15
Foll: J.Keeffe 27 A.Anderson 18 E.Bates 1
I/C: I.Dawes 17 M.Moloney 28 G.Collingwood 7 O.O’Dwyer 9 L.Postlethwaite 6 J.Zanchetta 2 J.Ellenger 5

In: G.Collingwood, J.Zanchetta, J.Ellenger
Out: J.Wuetschner (managed)

Carlton v. Collingwood at Ikon Park, 3:10pm AEDT

Michael Alvaro

Traditional rivals and Conference B hopefuls Carlton and Collingwood are set to do battle at Ikon Park for a four time in their histories, in what promises to be a test of either sides’ true credentials. Both teams come in having feasted on competition newcomers in their opening fixtures, both running out on home turf in comfortable starts to the season. Bizarrely, last week’s season opener was an away match for Carlton, but the Blues once again hold home status against the ‘Pies in this match-up. While the extended history between these two powerhouse clubs is storied, their AFLW meetings have been much more one-sided – with Carlton taking out all three fixtures but the Magpies getting closer to a win every year. The Blues also fared much better in season 2019, embarking on a grand final run while Collingwood floundered and took out the Conference B wooden spoon. But with marked improvement already shown, Collingwood has the elite talent to take it to the Blues.

Much of the off-season talk and narrative coming in to the match surrounded ex-Carlton skipper and new Magpie, Bri Davey. Unfortunately for both neutrals and ‘Pies fans, the 2017 All Australian is set to miss this game after picking up a lower leg injury in Round 1. Davey’s sole omission opens the door for one of Kristy Stratton, Eliza Hynes, or Ebony O’Dea to enter the winning lineup, which has struggled at times to fill out depth outside of its formidable spine. With Davey out, the emphasis down back will be firmly placed on the pairing of Stacey Livingstone and Ash Brazill, while Brittany Bonnici and skipper Stephanie Chiocci will have to dig in hard to combat a powerhouse Carlton midfield. The ruck battle between Sharni Layton and Carlton’s pairing of Breann Moody and Alison Downie will also be one to watch, with Layton’s ability to provide use to her midfielders potentially key to shutting down a usually dominant Carlton engine room.

Twins Sarah and Jess Hosking will take the field together for the first time this year in navy blue, as the latter slots in on the wing while Jess Edwards and Abbie McKay help make up an extended bench. The Carlton core of Madison Prespakis, co-captain Katie Loynes, Grace Egan, and Georgia Gee remains, while the forward targets of Tayla Harris, Darcy Vescio, and Nicola Stevens should also work to stretch the aerial capabilities of Collingwood’s back five. Round 1 Rising Star nominee Lucy McEvoy is also primed to back up an eye-catching debut performance as part of the midfield-forward rotation, only adding to the hardness of Carlton’s overall unit. The only potential concern for the Blues may come down back as Jayde Van Dyk exits the side through injury, but the half back line of Kerryn Harrington, Lauren Brazzale, and popular mature-age draftee Vaomua Laloifi has already proven solid and will have to be as much against the likes of Chloe Molloy and Sarah Dargan. While this fixture has been somewhat of a mismatch in previous years, the increasing number of intriguing match-ups on across the field suggests this one should be a corker, with the Pies looking to elevate their game against the better-established Blues.

CARLTON

B: G.Pound 6 C.Wilson 20
HB: K.Harrington – C 9 V.Laloifi 8 L.Brazzale 12
C: C.Dalton 15 G.Gee 19 J.Hosking 11
HF: N.Stevens 21 T.Harris 7 L.McEvoy 13
F: A.Downie 30 J.Doonan 26
Foll: B.Moody 16 G.Egan 1 M.Prespakis 4
I/C: S.Hosking 10 N.Plane 32 B.Walker 14 K.Loynes 2 D.Vescio 3 J.Edwards 25 A.McKay 5

In: J.Hosking, J.Edwards, A.McKay
Out: J.Van Dyk (injured)

COLLINGWOOD

B: A.Porter 9 S.Livingstone 12
HB: L.Butler 23 A.Brazill 10 E.Fowler 15
C: S.Rowe 7 B.Bonnici 8 S.Chiocci – C 17
HF: C.Molloy 2 S.D’Arcy 4 S.Dargan 46
F: M.Cann 25 J.Allen 6
Foll: S.Layton 1 A.Sheridan 14 J.Lambert 13
I/C: S.Casey 22 K.Stratton 41 S.Alexander 24 J.Membrey 21 M.Shevlin 35 E.Hynes 11 E.O’Dea 50

In: K.Stratton, E.Hynes, E.O’Dea
Out: B.Davey (shin)

Adelaide Crows v. St Kilda at Hisense Stadium, 5:10pm AEDT

Peter Williams

This is expected to be an exciting show of talent for the future, with one side having been there and done it all – twice – while the other is still looking to find its feet in the new league as part of the expansion. A wounded Adelaide Crows side welcomes back some troops for the Round 2 clash against St Kilda with this match considered a must-win contest for the reigning premiers. The Crows were well beaten by a hungry Brisbane Lions side in Queensland, showing how tight the competition has become. Not even a record-breaking disposal count from Anne Hatchard (35) was enough to help the Crows get up in Round 1, and they will want to get a win on the board before the top sides in their conference get too far away. The benefit for the Crows was that fellow premiership contender, North Melbourne also lost, while last year’s finalist Geelong went down too. For the Saints, there are no expectations on their season with such a young list, but being competitive is the bare minimum expected, and after a nervous first quarter last week, the Saints settled and seemed to match it with the Western Bulldogs for large parts of the second half.

The Crows are still missing a host of names heading into this game led by Erin Phillips and Chelsea Randall – the latter of whom will play no further part in the season – but have brought in a couple of debutants in Caitlin Gould and Montana McKinnon. Gould hails from Glenelg and provides a tall presence up either end, while McKinnon is a dual All-Australian at Under 18s level, and could genuinely start ruck if they required her to. Expect her to spend time as a forward however, a role she played in South Adelaide’s premiership side, while rotating through the ruck and providing some strong contested marking ability around the ground. Ebony Marinoff, Hatchard and SANFL Women’s best and fairest winner Najwa Allen form a strong onball brigade and with former MVP, Courtney Gum in the team up forward alongside Danielle Ponter and Stevie-Lee Thompson, they still have the firepower to get the job done. Sophie Li has also come into the side for the Crows, as the only omission was Rachelle Martin – a top-up player who was brought on due to Adelaide’s expansive injury list.

The Saints have made three confirmed changes, with South Australian Nadia Von Bertouch – missing a return to the state where she captained North Adelaide last season – while Kelly O’Neill and Emma Mackie have been omitted. Coming into the side is a mix of youth and experience with former Collingwood talent, Darcy Guttridge and ex-North Melbourne players Alison Drennan and Courteney Munn named in the extended side. Also in to potentially make their debuts are ruck, Poppy Kelly and tall utility, Isabella Shannon who continue the trend of youth at the club. Georgia Patrikios starred in Round 1 with a Rising Star nomination, and expect her to show just as much excitement out on Hisense Stadium. Teaming up with the likes of Molly McDonald, Nicola Xenos and Tarni White, the youth of the Saints will come good in time. They still have experience on the list, with former Crow Jess Sedunary set to make her return to the AFL Women’s having kicked one of the Saints’ two goals last week. While the Saints have plenty to like, expect the Crows to do enough to win in a tight one, even with a few still out. They are desperate, hungry and at home, so a win is non-negotiable when it comes to their premiership aspirations.

ADELAIDE

B: D.Cox 31 C.Biddell 12
HB: A.Foley 3 S.Allan 39 M.Rajcic 32
C: S.Li 19 E.Marinoff 10 J.Mules 23
HF: E.Jones 2 C.Gum 5 R.Forth 27
F: D.Ponter 15 S.Thompson 14
Foll: J.Foley – C 24 A.Hatchard 33 N.Allen 8
I/C: C.Gould 1 A.Considine 16 M.Newman 17 N.Campbell 20 N.Gore 7 M.McKinnon 21 J.Tabb 28

In: S.Li, C.Gould, M.McKinnon
Out: R.Martin (ineligible)

ST KILDA

B: T.White 29 C.Fitzpatrick 24
HB: H.Priest 14 C.Phillips 35 T.Lucas-Rodd 18
C: D.Guttridge 5 J.Sedunary 10 M.McDonald 1
HF: N.Exon 15 K.McCarthy 9 C.Greiser 17
F: K.Shierlaw 12 G.Patrikios 21
Foll: R.Watt – C 7 O.Vesely 23 R.Dillon 25
I/C: I.Shannon 11 A.Brown 2 C.Munn 13 N.Xenos 27 C.Whitfort 4 A.Drennan 8 P.Kelly 16

In: D.Guttridge, I.Shannon, C.Munn, A.Drennan, P.Kelly
Out: K.O’Neill, N.Von Bertouch (knee), E.Mackie

ROUND 2 TIPS: [Total tips in brackets]

Michael Alvaro [5]: Melbourne / North Melbourne / Richmond / Fremantle / Geelong / Carlton / Adelaide
Taylah Melki [5]: Melbourne / North Melbourne / Richmond / Fremantle / Brisbane / Collingwood / Adelaide
Sophie Taylor [4]: Melbourne / North Melbourne / Richmond / Fremantle / Brisbane / Carlton / Adelaide
Peter Williams [4]: Melbourne / North Melbourne / Richmond / Fremantle / Geelong / Carlton / Adelaide

2019/20 AFLW off-season review: Carlton

CARLTON might have had the most talked about departure of the off-season, but as a whole, the Blues retained the majority of their list, whilst heading to the AFL Women’s Draft in a really strong position to pick up a heap of youth prospects for the future. The Blues lost captain Brianna Davey to Collingwood, but in doing so received a bounty full of picks to position themselves in a great spot to pick up natural-born leader Lucy McEvoy from the Geelong Falcons with their first selection at Pick 2.

They also picked up fellow NAB League Girls’ players Brooke Vernon and Serena Gibbs, while selecting a trio of players just a year out of the Under 18s pathway following strong seasons at VFL Women’s level. Grace Egan, Sharnie Whiting and Courtney Jones all earned places on the Blues’ list, with Vaomua Laloifi the exception as the once listed Collingwood defender gained a second chance at the elite level following an impressive year for a Western Bulldogs VFLW side that reached the grand final. Aside from six delistings, Amelia Mullane retired, proving even further the Blues’ need for an inside midfield replacement – and Rhiannon Watt headed back to her roots at St Kilda. Carlton was savvy enough to pick up players with a hard edge and uncompromising ability to win the football, while Gibbs will be that ruck depth replacement who can also play forward.

OFF-SEASON CHANGES:

IN: Joanne Doonan (Gaelic football), Katie Harrison (Rugby sevens), Lucy McEvoy (Geelong Falcons), Grace Egan (Richmond VFLW), Brooke Vernon (Dandenong Stingrays), Sharnie Whiting (Williamstown VFLW), Serena Gibbs (Eastern Ranges), Vaomua Laloifi (Western Bulldogs VFLW), Courtney Jones (Southern Saints VFLW)
OUT: Rhiannon Watt (St Kilda), Brianna Davey (Collingwood), Shae Audley, Kirby Bentley, Reni Hicks, Bridie Kennedy, Tilly Lucas-Rodd, Courtney Webb (delisted), Amelia Mullane (retired)

2020 TEAM LIST:

Lauren Brazzale
Chloe Dalton
Alison Downie
Jess Edwards
Grace Egan
Georgia Gee
Serena Gibbs
Kerryn Harrington
Tayla Harris
Jess Hosking
Sarah Hosking
Courtney Jones
Vaomua Laloifi
Katie Loynes
Lucy McEvoy
Abbie McKay
Breann Moody
Natalie Plane
Gabriella Pound
Madison Prespakis
Nicola Stevens
Jayde Van Dyk
Brooke Vernon
Darcy Vescio
Brooke Walker
Sharnie Whiting
Charlotte Wilson
Emerson Woods

Rookies: Joanne Doonan, Katie Harrison

POTENTIAL 2020 SIDE:

B: Jayde Van Dyk – Kerryn Harrington – Nicola Stevens
HB: Chloe Dalton – Charlotte Wilson – Gabriella Pound
C: Lucy McEvoy
HF: Lauren Brazzale – Breann Moody – Georgia Gee
F: Darcy Vescio – Tayla Harris – Brooke Walker
R: Alison Downie – Madison Prespakis – Sarah Hosking
INT: Jess Edwards – Jess Hosking – Katie Loynes – Grace Egan – Abbie McKay
EMG: Vaomua Laloifi – Natalie Plane – Emerson Woods

DEPTH: Serena Gibbs, Courtney Jones, Brooke Vernon, Sharnie Whiting, Joanne Doonan*, Katie Harrison*

After making a grand final last season, Carlton do not need to adjust too much to the side for it to be potent again in 2020. They have lost Davey and Mullane from the best 22, with McEvoy and Egan slotting into those roles with a shuffling of magnets around the board. Tilly Lucas-Rodd is the third player to be gone from the side that ran out in last year’s grand final, and expect the likes of Abbie McKay to step up and get more games in season 2020, as will Emerson Woods in that half-forward role which could free up Georgia Gee for her run and carry further up the ground.

Laloifi is a readymade option to add to the defensive half, but can play forward as well, while Natalie Plane showed she can come in and complete a role if required. The depth is filled with young talent in four of this year’s draftees, as Gibbs, Jones, Vernon and Whiting could add something across the ground if injury strikes. Overall, the Blues surprised many with their ability to step up despite being a relatively young side, and with Daniel Harford at the helm, anything is possible next year.

VFLW Preview: Round 16 – Fight to finals

IN the final round of the VFL Women’s home and away season Collingwood Magpies will look to regain top spot while the Southern Saints will be hoping to maintain their hot form heading into finals. Up the other end of the ladder, Williamstown and Carlton will be hoping to end their season on a high with one last win on the board.

ESSENDON v. WILLIAMSTOWN

Round 16 – 24/8/19
11:00
Windy Hill

Coming off a surprise win last week against the ladder leaders, Essendon will be looking to build on their form and notch up their sixth win of the season. The Bombers have had a relatively up and down season showing glimpses of brilliance but have been unable to do so consistently. Young gun Georgia Patrikios has been a revelation for the side with her ball winning ability, explosiveness and skill across the ground while Georgia Nanscawen has been crucial for the side. If the Bombers can pull out a similar performance to last week it will go a long way in getting them across the line against a desperate Williamstown outfit. Although they are sitting at the bottom of the ladder and have suffered plenty of big losses throughout the season the Seagulls will be wanting to end their year on a high. Emily Gardner has shown that she can hit the scoreboard making her a valuable asset if she is named while Sharnie Whiting is not afraid to go in hard at the contest.

HAWTHORN v. COLLINGWOOD

Round 16 – 24/8/19
11:30
Box Hill City Oval

After suffering their first loss since Round 1 the Magpies will be wanting to get back on the winners list ahead of their finals campaign. They have been the in form team of the competition thanks to their strong structures, clever game play and talented list so expect them to come out all guns blazing in hope to reclaim top spot. Jaimee Lambert has proven to be a sharp shooter for the Magpies line-up, leading the goal kicking tally with 20 goals for the season and will be a welcomed addition into the side if named this week to take on the Hawks. Stacey Livingstone and Brit Bonnici have also made their way back into the side for the final round of the season with their strength and leadership a key aspect of the Pies’ game plan. If the Hawks win they could climb up the ladder and really assert themselves on the competition with the likes of Phoebe McWilliams (named as emergency however) and Rebecca Beeson steering the ship. If both are able to break free against the Magpies they could pose a dominant threat given their ability to hit the scoreboard and win plenty of ball.

DAREBIN v. WESTERN BULLDOGS

Round 16 – 24/8/19
12:00
La Trobe University, Bundoora

After a relatively lacklustre season the Darebin Falcons will be hoping to go out with a bang whereas the Bulldogs will be wanting to iron out all the creases ahead of finals. The Falcons have pushed teams to their limit this season, contesting hard and putting up a strong fight but their inability to put out a four quarter performance has been their Achilles heel. Lauren Arnell has been a handy player for the Falcons and will be wanting to have her usual impact on the game in the final round of the season. Annalyse Lister and Reni Hicks have both been major ball winners for Darebin and if left unattended could pose a dominant threat for the finals-bound Dogs. The Western Bulldogs have shown that they have plenty of game changers but will need to overcome the losses of Ellie Blackburn and Brooke Lochland in order to find victory. The addition of youngsters Elisabeth Georgostathis and Ella Wood has also paid dividends for the side which will be hoping to maintain third spot on the ladder with a win against the 11th placed Falcons.

SOUTHERN SAINTS v. RICHMOND

Round 16 – 24/8/19
12:00
Trevor Barker Beach Oval

The Southern Saints have gone from strength to strength throughout the season, only losing the two games for the year. The Saints currently sit in top spot while the Tigers are hot on their tail in fourth making for an exciting and intense battle. Both sides have plenty of star power and will want to hit their straps heading into the finals in hope to claim the coveted premiership. After coming off a disappointing loss last round the Tigers will be hoping to rectify their issues across the ground and impose themselves as competition front-runners. Tayla Stahl has been a focal point in the Tigers forward line giving her accuracy in front of goal and ability to bring ball down with 17 goals for the season while Sabrina Frederick has had a hot and cold season with only a number of games under her belt but definitely can turn a game on its head. Monique Conti has been a real ball magnet for Richmond but could be rivalled by Saints star Alison Drennan who has had the ball on a string in the past couple of games. Up forward, Kate McCarthy and Molly McDonald could create havoc for the Tigers defenders given their ability to hit the scoreboard and take strong contested marks.

GEELONG v. CARLTON

Round 16 – 24/8/19
1:45
GMHBA Stadium

Geelong have plenty to play for with ladder position and finals up the grabs. The Cats put out an impressive performance last round to keep their opponents to one goal while showcasing their ability to hit the scoreboard. With a home ground advantage the Cats will be hoping to put together a strong performance and notch up another win ahead of finals. Rene Caris was crucial last round finding both the goals and ball with ease making her a huge asset heading into this round against Carlton. Richelle Cranston and Amy McDonald have both proven that they can tear games open with their ball winning abilities for the Cats. Although the Blues have not had the season they would have wanted, only managing three wins, they will be wanting to end on a positive note. A hard fought win last round will fill them with some confidence heading into the clash with Katie Loynes and Abbie McKay coming off match winning performances. Lauren Brazzale and Jess Hosking could both play a big role in the match if named credit to their strength and general football nous.

MELBOURNE UNI v. NT Thunder

Round 16 – 25/8/19
12:00
Ardern Street, North Melbourne

In a disappointing season for the Thunder they will be wanting to go out with a bang while Melbourne Uni will be fighting to claim ascendancy heading into finals. The Mugars are fresh off the bye but on the other hand Thunder are coming off a big loss last round unable to get their clever ball movement and game style up and running. With a week off expect Jasmine Garner and Katie Angelis to be hungry for ball in front of goal with both players proving they know how to score sitting third and fourth respectively on the goal kicking tally. If Jenna Bruton and Emma Kearney can find plenty of ball for Melbourne Uni it will go a long way in helping to set their side up for a victory given their class and vision with ball in hand. Thunder speedster Danielle Ponter has showcased her class and goal smarts in recent weeks and will want to encapsulate that form in the final round while Lisa Roberts has led the way in regards to disposals.

VFLW weekly wrap: Round 15 – Plenty of ladder movement in the penultimate round

IN the penultimate round of VFL Women’s there were a number of big results, with ladder leaders Collingwood going down to Essendon – albeit resting most of their big name players, while Casey, Geelong and Western Bulldogs all recorded impressive wins.

CARLTON 1.2 | 1.2 | 2.3 | 4.5 (29)
DAREBIN 0.4 | 1.6 | 1.8 | 2.9 (21)

GOALS

Carlton: A. McKay 2, S. Craige, B. Gurr.
Darebin: S. David, B. Kennedy.

BEST

Carlton: B. Gutknecht, S. Cubasch, S. Wright, A. McKay, K. Loynes, A. Prins
Darebin: J. Stanton, K. Roe, R. Hicks, E. McLaughlin, B. Patterson, L. Arnell

It was a disappointing loss for Darebin in the opening match of Round 15, going down by only eight points despite plenty of chances to get ahead of Carlton. Both sides only had pride on the line with no chance of making finals, but it was the Blues that got the points and their third win on the board. It was a match with constant lead changes, however Carlton ultimately made the most of their opportunities while the Falcons struggled with inaccuracy, spraying the goalposts and getting very little return. The Falcons were missing a big name in Lauren Pearce, and while Erin McLaughlin was impressive in the ruck regardless with 29 hitouts and 15 touches, the Falcons clearly missed Pearce’s forward presence. Also impressive were Jamie Stanton (24 disposals, four marks), Annalyse Lister (18 disposals, 11 tackles) and Reni Hicks (17 disposals, 15 tackles) while young gun Nell Morris-Dalton was threatening forward but ultimately unable to get a goal on the board, managing three minor scores. Katie Loynes was among the best for the Blues, collecting 22 disposals and 11 tackles while Abbie McKay kicked two goals from 13 touches. Bry Gurr was also right up in the contest, racking up 16 touches, eight tackles and a goal while Sidney Cubasch and Jaime Nelson combined for 47 hitouts.

COLLINGWOOD 1.2 | 1.2 | 3.2 | 3.4 (22)
ESSENDON 2.1 | 4.6 | 5.7 | 7.7 (49)

GOALS

Collingwood: R. Grant 2, K. Lynch.
Essendon: G. Patrikios 2, M. DeMatteo 2, M. Fogas, A. Quigley, L. Stepnell.

BEST

Collingwood: A. Porter, K. Lee, C. Bunker, N. Xenos, N. Hales, R. Grant
Essendon: G. Patrikios, G. Nanscawen, C. McIntosh, L. Ahrens, S. Nalder, M. Fogas

It was an interesting match for the table topping Magpies, ultimately putting out a team that was missing a number of big name players yet still going down to Essendon, a side that has struggled to get wins on the board all season. With a big source of firepower in Jaimee Lambert missing from the fray the Pies were still in with a chance despite their inexperience, however it was the Bombers’ mix of skilled youth and experience that got them over the line with impressive performances from 18 year old Georgia Patrikios (15 disposals, two goals) and veteran Cecilia McIntosh (18 disposals, six marks) combining for a solid 27-point victory. Also solid for the Bombers were Georgia Nanscawen (21 touches, seven tackles) and Lauren Ahrens (20 disposals, five marks) who combined well across the field, finding the likes of Patrikios, Monique De Matteo (two goals) and Alex Quigley (one goal, four behinds) inside 50. For Collingwood, Caitlin Bunker put out ultimately her best performance of 11 matches this season, collecting 25 touches and providing a vital run downfield while Emily Bliss, Emily Hastie and Katelyn Lee combined for 22 tackles. Meanwhile, Rebecca Grant (two goals) and Katie Lynch (one goal) contributed to the scoreline, keeping the Bombers on their toes.

RICHMOND 1.1 | 1.1 | 2.2 | 3.2 (20)
WESTERN BULLDOGS 4.0 | 4.1 | 7.1 | 10.3 (63)

GOALS

Richmond: A. Woodward, J. Colwell, S. Frederick.
Western Bulldogs: E. Georgostathis 3, K. Rennie 2, D. Marshall 2, D. Berry 2, B. Lochland.

BEST

Richmond: S. Frederick, A. Woodward, M. Conti, P. Monahan, K. Jacques, G. Seymour
Western Bulldogs: N. Ferres, D. Berry , D. Marshall, L. Spark, K. McLeod, C. Moody

While the Bulldogs were the side that started Richmond’s month-long losing streak, for the Dogs to pull out another big win against the Tigers proves that the side should not be underestimated in finals. While the Pies purposely played over the weekend with little experienced players named, the Tigers have no such excuse with a number of big names on the field who were unable to spark the side into action. Monique Conti and Kate Dempsey were among the best for Richmond, collecting 18 touches apiece and combining for seven tackles while Alana Woodward managed a team-high seven tackles and a goal. While Alice Edmonds impressed in the ruck with 31 hitouts and five tackles, she was controlled well by the Bulldogs’ shared rucks in Nicole McMahon (19 hitouts) and Celine Moody (16 hitouts). Also impressive for the Dogs were Bailey Hunt (20 disposals) and Naomi Ferres (19 disposals, seven tackles) while Elisabeth Georgostathis was one of four multiple goalkickers for the Bulldogs with three majors and six tackles from 14 disposals, combining well with Kimberley Rennie (two goals, five tackles), Deanna Berry (two goals, six tackles) and Danielle Marshall (two goals, six marks, five tackles).

CASEY 4.4 | 4.5 | 9.7 | 11.9 (75)
NT THUNDER 1.0 | 2.0 | 2.0 | 3.0 (18)

GOALS

Casey: K. Hore 3, C. Sherriff 2, M. Downie 2, L. Mithen 2, M. Hogg, S. Scott.
N Thunder: D. Ponter 2, R. Killian.

BEST

Casey: L. Mithen, B. Winbanks, K. Hore, M. Hogg, C. Sherriff, R. Edmeades
NT Thunder: J. Hickey, S. Riley, M. Ellis, E. Morrison, G. Cusack, M. Johnston

Similarly to the Bulldogs, while Casey managed an impressive win over Thunder last time they met there was no guarantee the inconsistent Demons would be able to pull a similar performance out of the bag. While the Dees may not have produced the same impressive score as their Round 11 victory, they were convincing from the get-go flying down field and finding plenty of forward options to put scores on the board. Thunder had patches of solid play, but were ultimately let down once again by their inconsistency and inability to string quarters together. Lily Mithen starred for the Dees, collecting a whopping 35 disposals and seven tackles, also going forward to kick two goals. Meg Downie was solid with 21 touches and two goals while Maddy Guerin put in her best performance since her early season form with 20 disposals, six tackles, three marks and two behinds. Kate Hore (three goals, five tackles) and Casey Sheriff (two goals, six marks, eight tackles) also provided valuable options inside 50 while Bridie Winbanks dominated in the ruck with 41 hitouts and seven tackles, while Thunder collected nine hitouts overall. For Thunder, Lisa Roberts (23 disposals, four tackles) and Sally Riley (20 disposals, 11 tackles) were solid, while Danielle Ponter added two more goals to her season tally and Jordann Hickey put in a season-best performance with 18 disposals and five tackles to her name.

SOUTHERN SAINTS 1.0 | 4.3 | 4.4 | 7.9 (51)
HAWTHORN 1.3 | 1.5 | 2.6 | 3.6 (24)

GOALS
Southern Saints:
M. McDonald 2, K. McCarthy 2, E. Mackie, T. Bohanna, K. Shierlaw.
Hawthorn: P. McWilliams 2, T. Kelly.

BEST

Southern Saints: K. O’Neill, S. Johnson, T. Lucas-Rodd, K. McCarthy, M. McDonald, O. Vesely
Hawthorn: T. Radan, R. Beeson, R. Dillon, P. McWilliams, L. Wotton, J. Membrey

The Southern Saints leapfrogged the Magpies into top spot this round with a convincing win over Hawthorn. While the Hawks are all but locked in for finals unless Round 16 goes drastically wrong, this win proves the Saints – and Magpies – in top spot are worlds apart from the rest of the top six. Despite a quiet third term the Saints kicked 3.5 to 1.0 in the last quarter to run away with the 26 point win. It was a shared effort by the Saints, with Olivia Vesely leading the disposal count with 19, while Alison Drennan returned for a solid performance collecting 17 disposals and seven tackles, matched by Samantha Johnson with 17 and eight tackles. Kate McCarthy (two goals from nine touches) and Molly McDonald (15 disposals, two goals) impressed while Jemima Kelly and Lou Wotton were well-matched in the ruck, collecting a respective 14 and 13 hitouts with neither really able to take control. For the Hawks, Talia Radan was solid with 18 touches while Jayde Van Dyke collected 16 disposals and four tackles and Phoebe McWilliams added two more goals to her tally, having put a score on the board in all but one of her matches this season.

WILLIAMSTOWN 1.0 | 1.0 | 1.0 | 1.0 (6)
GEELONG 1.0 | 2.0 | 4.3 | 8.4 (52)

GOALS

Williamstown: E. Gardner.
Geelong: J. Woollett 2, R. Caris 2, T. Love, M. Maguire, D. Taylor, S. Van De Heuvel.

BEST

Williamstown: A. Shannon, E. Straford, T. Merrett, M. Williamson, N. Wallace, E. Gardner
Geelong: S. Van De Heuvel, T. Love, R. Webster, D. Taylor, J. Woollett, R. Caris

Despite an impressive final margin, this match was likely too close for comfort for the Cats, who needed a win this week to raise their chances of a finals berth, very much reliant on a victory next week as well as relying on other results in Round 16. It was an even start to the match that gave Williamstown some hope, however the Cats were just far too good against the cellar dwelling Seagulls, kicking six goals nil in the second half to race away 46 point victors. For the Seagulls, Megan Williamson was impressive with 22 touches and eight tackles, aided by Danica Pederson (21 disposals, three marks, three tackles) and Rachel Achampong (27 hitouts) while Emily Gardner put Williamstown’s only goal on the board midway through the first. For the Cats, Amy McDonald (21 disposals, five tackles) and Tarryn Love (18 disposals, seven tackles, one goal) proved to be big ball movers around the field while Rene Caris (16 hitouts, 12 disposals, five marks, two goals) and Jaime Woollett (13 disposals, six tackles, two goals) provided solid options inside 50. Caris shared the role in the ruck with Kate Darby, who collected 13 hitouts and 16 disposals, also racking up four marks and four tackles.

BYE: Melbourne Uni

VFLW review: Round 8

ROUND 8 of Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s saw some big matchups and some even bigger results as we hit the midway point of the season. Williamstown managed their first win of the season, while early flag contenders in the Western Bulldogs and Melbourne Uni fell to sides they should have beaten with ease. Ladder leaders, Collingwood still sit at the top of the ladder on percentage after a bye this week.

 

CARLTON 1.0 | 1.0 | 3.2 | 4.2 (26)
GEELONG 2.0 | 3.1 | 4.2 | 5.3 (33)

GOALS

Carlton: N. Stevens 2, B. Moody, S. Craige.
Geelong: D. Orr 3, M. Boyd, S. Van De Heuvel.

BEST

Carlton: C. Bromage, B. Gurr, B. Moody, C. Wilson, A. McKay, C. Dalton
Geelong: D. Orr, J. Ivey, J. Crockett-Grills, M. Keryk, R. Webster, M. Boyd

The opening match of Round 8 was a close one, seeing the Blues host the Cats in a tight tussle – the tightest margin of the round. It was a relatively even battle, with the Cats taking the lead early but Carlton unwilling to give up, gradually lowering the margin throughout the match befor drawing even early in the final term. An accurate start from both sides saw only majors kicked in the first term, while Danielle Orr (18 disposals, five tackles) kicked two of her three goals in the opening term to stake a claim on the Blues’ turf. While the first half was all Geelong, Carlton took control early in the second half with the likes of Nicola Stevens generating some excitement with a scoring opportunity 30 seconds into the second, but missing to the side. Stevens took her pressure back up, however, lowering the scoreline with her two goals from 11 touches and seven tackles. Regular ball magnets, Abbie McKay and Maddy Prespakis lead the disposal count for the Blues with 24 apiece and combining for 10 tackles while Courteney Bromage (seven touches, 12 tackles) and Natalie Plane (15 touches, 10 tackles) provided some much needed assistance piling on the pressure. Breann Moody also put in a solid performance with 18 disposals, 22 hitouts, five marks and a goal. For Geelong, Olivia Purcell (20 touches, seven tackles) and Jordan Ivey (19 touches, eight tackles) impressed in the win.

 

WILLIAMSTOWN 0.1 | 0.1 | 3.2 | 4.2 (26)
NT THUNDER 0.1 | 1.4 | 1.4 | 1.9 (15)

GOALS

Williamstown: J. Kawa, J. Heard, M. Williamson, G. Anderson.
NT Thunder: J. de Melo.

BEST

Williamstown: R. Dardengo, J. Heard, R. Tripodi, J. Kawa, E. Crawford, M. Williamson
NT Thunder: D. Varnhagen, E. Jones, N. Gore, T. Thorn, S. Miskin-Ripia, K. Irvine

A surprise win from the Seagulls all but set the tone for the weekend, beating the NT Thunder to move off the bottom of the ladder. A slow start from both teams only saw minor scores in the first half of the game before the Seagulls pulled out all the stops in the second half to win by 11 points. Despite a final quarter fight back, the Thunder were unable to capitalise in front of goal with five behinds (two rushed) while the harried Williamstown side piled on the pressure, desperate for their first win of the season. Mo Hope put up another fantastic performance, racking up 32 touches (28 kicks) and providing valuable ball forward toproduce scoring opportunities. It was the Seagulls’ ruck effort that got them over the line, with Jedda Heard putting up a solid performance with a goal, 11 disposals and 21 hitouts – more alone than Thunder’s combined effort of 20. Rebecca Dardengo racked up 21 touches, five marks and four tackles, while Ruby Tripodi piled on the pressure with nine tackles. For Thunder, Deni Varnhagen (23 touches, six marks) and Nikki Gore (13 touches, seven tackles) put in strong performances, while Jade de Melo kicked the only goal from her seven touches. Eloise Jones (eight touches, nine tackles) put in the hard yards forward but didn’t reap the reward with three behinds to her name.

 

WESTERN BULLDOGS 0.0 | 1.1 | 1.2 | 1.2 (8)
HAWTHORN 2.6 | 2.6 | 4.9 | 4.9 (33)

GOALS

Western Bulldogs: B. Hunt.
Hawthorn: P. McWilliams, R. Dillon, P. Peschke, S. Perkins.

BEST

Western Bulldogs: K. Lamb, E. Gavalas, M. Sandral, N. McMahon, L. Spark, S. Jolly
Hawthorn: J. Van Dyk, G. Bevan, R. Beeson, S. Perkins, R. Dillon, K. Henderson

Early contenders, Western Bulldogs have slowed down in recent weeks, going down by 25 points to Hawthorn on Saturday and dropping to sixth in the process. The Hawks dominated the first term, with eight scores on the board to nil as they forced their way inside 50. It was an inaccurate start, however, with only two goals on the board and six behinds leaving an opening for the Bulldogs to come back. Fortunately for the now fourth ranked Hawks, the Dogs piled on the pressure in the second to deny scoring opportunities but only put one goal on the board – their only major for the game, courtesy of Bailey Hunt (10 touches, six tackles). Hawks’ Rebecca Beeson was among the best with 26 touches (18 kicks), eight tackles and a behind proving her dominance around the ground, while Rosie Dillon found plenty of the ball to finish with 17 disposals, 11 tackles and a goal for a solid performance. Hawks ruck Lou Wotton only had the four touches but applied plenty of pressure around the ball with 13 tackles and 34 hitouts. For the Dogs, Emma Mackay lead the disposal count with 18 touches and six marks, while Kirsty Lamb was not far behind with 17 disposals and nine tackles.

 

SOUTHERN SAINTS 4.5 | 5.5 | 6.7 | 6.7 (43)
DAREBIN FALCONS 0.0 | 2.1 | 2.2 | 2.4 (16)

GOALS

Southern Saints: C. Greiser 3, S. Johnson, A. Silver, D. Guttridge.
Darebin: L. Arnell, G. Hammond.

BEST

Southern Saints: K. Shierlaw, C. Greiser, K. O’Neill, L. Olsen, C. Phillips, C. Munn
Darebin: G. Hammond, J. Stanton, A. Lister, L. Arnell, R. Hicks, M. Eastman

The outcome of this match was all but sorted early, with the Saints just too good attacking the ball in the first quarter, dominating to lead by 29 at quarter time and keeping Darebin scoreless. The Falcons came back hard in the second, only allowing the one goal and kicking two, but it wasn’t enough after giving the Saints the confident start, unable to kick any more goals for the rest of the match. Caitlin Greiser was among the best for the Saints with three goals, providing a valuable target up forward while Olivia Vesely (22 disposals, six tackles) and Cat Phillips (14 touches, 10 tackles) were dominant around the ground, pushing forward and sharing the footy around. For Darebin, Reni Hicks topped the tables in both disposals and tackles with 25 and 13 respectively, while Lauren Arnell (16 touches, five tackles) and Georgia Hammond (16 touches, six tackles, 12 hitouts) kicked a goal apiece. Falcons’ Jamie Stanton managed seven tackles and nine touches but put two behinds on the board, unable to provide the scoreboard pressure needed to push the Saints. The combined ruck efforts of Poppy Kelly (22 hitouts) and Rhiannon Watt (11 hitouts) was too much for the Falcons, who despite leading the tackle count were unable to produce opportunities inside 50.

 

RICHMOND 2.5 | 3.10 | 4.10 | 9.11 (65)
CASEY 2.0 | 3.0 | 4.2 | 4.2 (26)

GOALS

Richmond: T. Stahl 3, L. Bailey 3, J. Kennedy, K. Brennan, I. Milford.
Casey: C. Sherriff, A. McDonough, C. Emonson, E. Zanker.

BEST

Richmond: G. Campbell, L. Bailey, T. Stahl, A. Makur Chuot, K. Dempsey, R. Miller
Casey: C. Emonson, C. Sherriff, E. Zanker , S. Heath, B. Pratt, H. Cordner

Another disappointing week for Casey saw the Demons lose their fourth match on the trot to be three from seven midway through the season. Though Casey fought valiently, they couldn’t apply the scoreboard pressure to keep in the contest despite the Tigers peppering the posts, inaccurate with nine goals and 11 behinds from 31 inside 50s. Laura Bailey and Tayla Stahl switched on, kicking three goals apiece as they disassembled the Demons’ defensive unit and created opportunities early. The first quarter saw an inaccurate start from the Tigers, kicking two goals and five behinds while Casey was accurate with two goals from two attempts. Katie Brennan (23 disposals, one goal) was in among the action early with three scoring shots in the first quarter before being shut down in attack. However, Casey’s defensive pressure on Brennan inside 50 allowed both Bailey and Stahl better access to the ball, firing again and again. For the Demons, Eden Zanker found plenty of the footy with 19 touches, three tackles and a goal while Nicole Garner (15 disposals, 11 tackles) and Bianca Jakobsson (14 disposals, seven marks, six tackles) applied some much needed pressure around the ground. Despite the margin it was a relatively even ruck battle, with Richmond finishing with only four hitouts more than Casey and lower on the tackle count.

 

MELBOURNE UNI 0.1 | 1.3 | 2.4 | 3.9 (27)
ESSENDON 2.1 | 3.1 | 4.4 | 6.4 (40)

GOALS

Melbourne Uni: B. Gibson, E. Hay, J. Grierson
Essendon: J. Stassi 2, S. Wilson 2, C. McIntosh, L. Stepnell

BEST

Melbourne Uni: J. Trend, K. Gillespie-Jones, B. Gibson, C. Daniec, S. Abbatangelo, V. Saad
Essendon: C. McIntosh, K. Hicks, J. Stassi, S. Audley, M. Collier, K. Heil

A fast start from Essendon saw the side nab a surprise win over Melbourne Uni, who came into the match off the bye in Round 7. Not limited in the scoring department, Uni all but kicked themselves out of contention with a 1.5 final quarter while Essendon finished well in the 13 point victory. Though Uni certainly were not at their dominant best, all credit to the Bombers who put on a solid performance worthy of the win, starting strong courtesy of first quarter goals to Lori Stepnell and Jess Stassi, their respective first of two. While Jas Grierson kicked the first of the second to pull Uni back into the match, Essendon’s Sian Wilson followed shortly to take the lead to 10 points by the main break. It was a shared effort from the Bombers, with no one player standing out. Kendra Heil put out her best performance of the season so far with 17 touches and six tackles, while Shae Audley and Georgia Nanscawen combined for 27 touches and 18 tackles. For Uni, Jess Trend (24 disposals, four marks, three tackles), Jess Duffin (23 disposals, six marks, six tackles) and Brittany Gibson (23 disposals, three tackles and a goal) all put in the hard yards across the board to no avail. While Uni put on a stronger effort in the second half, it wasn’t enough against the hungry Bombers who have now lifed to tenth with their second win of the season.

COLLINGWOOD: BYE

VFLW weekend wash-up: Swooping season for Magpies, while Blues grab first win

IT was an interesting round of VFL Women’s action over the weekend, with Carlton shocking the undefeated Dogs, and the Saints continued their great year with another victory, while the Magpies, Tigers and Hawks won as expected thanks to goal bursts at different times of the match.

CARLTON 1.1 | 1.3 | 1.5 | 3.8 (26)
WESTERN BULLDOGS 0.3 | 0.4 | 0.4 | 1.4 (10)

GOALS:

Carlton: S. Hosking, N. Plane, C. Bromage.
Western Bulldogs: M. Sandral.

BEST:

Carlton: E. Woods, C. Bromage, M. Neill, J. Hosking, S. Hosking, N. Stevens
Western Bulldogs: E. Gavalas, K. McLeod, S. Ruedin, L. Bibby, E. Blackburn, K. Lamb

Carlton caused a massive boilover at Ikon Park on Saturday morning when the previously winless Blues upset the undefeated Western Bulldogs in a low-scoring game. The Blues only booted one goal in the first three quarters – just before the quarter time siren – but held the Bulldogs goalless in the first three teams to lead by seven points at the final break. A relatively open final term saw the Blues boot two of the final three goals to record a 16-point win which was vital in getting the AFL Women’s grand finalists VFL Women’s season off and running after five games. Madison Prespakis was enormous with 28 disposals, five marks and six tackles, bouncing back from twice being used as a stepladder in the first half, to produce a big game. Jess Hosking (23 disposals, two marks and nine tackles) and twin sister Sarah Hosking (20 disposals, three marks, four tackles and a goal) were superb, while Breann Moody (18 disposals, six marks, five tackles and 18 hitouts was strong in the ruck), as the youth of the Blues in Emerson Woods, Abbie McKay and Charlotte Wilson all stood tall playing the back half of the ground and McKay through the midfield. For the Western Bulldogs, Ellie Blackburn was a star throughout, picking up 26 disposals, four marks and four tackles, but did miss a couple of running shots on goal in the opening term. Kirsty Lamb (23 disposals, 10 marks and nine tackles) was the other Bulldogs player who impressed across the match.

ESSENDON 1.0 | 1.0 | 2.1 | 3.2 (20)
HAWTHORN 3.3 | 7.4 | 8.7 | 8.8 (56)

GOALS:

Essendon: S. Wilson 2, J. Stassi.
Hawthorn: O. Flanagan 3, P. McWilliams, R. Dillon, R. Beeson, J. Membrey, M. Hutchins.

BEST:

Essendon: K. Heil, S. Wilson, C. McIntosh, L. Ahrens, S. Audley, L. Stepnell
Hawthorn: P. Peschke, O. Flanagan, P. McWilliams, R. Dillon, R. Beeson, C. Dyett

Hawthorn moved to within percentage outside the top six after a dominant first half handed the Hawks a massive six-goal victory at Windy Hill over traditional rivals, Essendon. The Hawks looked on early, booting three goals from six scoring shots – including two majors to Olivia Flanagan – to Essendon’s one major, which came from a 50-metre penalty. The second term was all the Hawks with the Bombers struggling to get it inside 50, as Hawthorn piled on 4.1 to 0.0. Essendon reset for the second half and came out on top for the half, booting 2.2 to 1.4 for the rest of the game to avoid an even larger blowout in the 8.8 (56) to 3.2 (20) loss. Philippa Peschke picked up a game-high 24 disposals for the Hawks, while also laying five tackles. Flanagan played mostly in the forward half, converting three opportunities from her 12 touches, while Rebecca Beeson (23 disposals), Rosie Dillon (22 disposals) and Phoebe McWilliams (18 disposals) all converted one major apiece. For Essendon, Ally Anderson was busy with 23 disposals, two marks and five tackles, while fellow AFLW experienced midfielder, Shae Audley had 21 touches, one mark and a game-high 13 tackles. Kendra Heil (17 disposals, two marks) and Lauren Ahrens (15 disposals, two marks, five tackles) were others who impressed for Essendon.

DAREBIN 0.0 | 0.0 | 0.1 | 0.1 (1)
COLLINGWOOD 4.3 | 7.5 | 7.10 | 11.13 (79)

GOALS:

Darebin: Nil.
Collingwood: C. Molloy 5, J. Lambert 4, B. Davey, K. Lynch.

BEST:

Darebin: L. Pearce, G. Colvin, B. Patterson, G. Lawson-Tavan, L. Arnell, R. Hicks
Collingwood: C. Molloy, J. Lambert, B. Davey, S. Layton, A. Curley, J. Blecher

A combined nine goals from Chloe Molloy and Jaimee Lambert saw Collingwood completely obliterate Darebin Falcons in the Magpies’ biggest win in the VFL Women’s competition to-date. The Magpies never looked like losing, standing up from start to finish, with just a disappointing third term – yielding three behinds – the one blip on the radar. A bake from coach Penny Cula-Reid at the final break got the Magpies up and about again, piling on four goals in the final term, after booting seven in the first half, to record a huge 78-point victory and gain valuable percentage. The win catapulted the Pies to the top of the table, albeit with one extra game compared to second placed Richmond. Molloy finished the match with a huge 25 disposals, eight marks, five tackles and five goals, while Lambert helped herself to 21 touches, four marks, six tackles and four goals. Both could have had even more with two behinds apiece. The other two standouts for the Magpies were Brianna Davey who had 21 disposals, two marks, seven tackles and one goal, while Sharni Layton played her best match in black and white on her VFL Women’s debut, notching up 18 disposals, 12 hitouts and five marks, while booting two behinds. For Darebin, Lauren Pearce tried hard around the ground with 24 hitouts from 12 disposals and four marks, while Brooke Patterson and Lauren Arnell both picked up a team-high 14 touches in the heavy loss.

NT THUNDER 1.5 | 2.7 | 3.8 | 3.10 (28)
RICHMOND 0.2 | 3.4 | 5.6 | 7.7 (49)

GOALS:

NT Thunder: A. Foley 2, D. Ponter.
Richmond: C. Wakefield 2, K. Brennan 2, T. Stahl, J. Colwell, E. Paterno.

BEST:

NT Thunder: T. Thorn, H. Martin, S. Riley, M. Johnston, K. Streader, K. Irvine
Richmond: G. Seymour, K. Brennan, H. McLaren, R. Miller, J. Colwell, T. Stahl

Richmond has spoiled Northern Territory (NT) Thunder’s homecoming at TIO Stadium, heading home with the four points after an impressive second half to remain undefeated. The Thunder were on top early, booting the only goal of the first term, but could not convert their opportunities with five behinds. Richmond took advantage of this in the second term, booting 3.2 to the Thunder’s 1.2, to hit the front by three points. It was all the Tigers after half-time, extending the lead to 10 points with a quarter to play, before piling on the only two majors of the last term to come away with a handy 21-point victory. Katie Brennan had no problems adapting to the climate, booting two goals from 19 disposals, seven marks and six tackles in a dominant performance, while Gabrielle Seymour was strong in the ruck, picking up 32 hitouts on debut to go with her 18 touches, one mark and six tackles. Kodi Jacques (18 disposals, four tackles), Jenna Colwell (16 disposals, one marks, two tackles, seven hitouts and one goal) and Tayla Stahl-Smith (15 disposals, four marks, one tackle and one goal) were also impressive. For the Thunder, Angela Foley had an unsurprising terrific game with 24 disposals, six marks, three tackles and two goals, while Hannah Martin (17 disposals, one mark and 13 tackles) and Machaelia Roberts (17 disposals, three marks and two tackles) found plenty of the football.

SOUTHERN SAINTS 1.2 | 1.3 | 4.7 | 6.13 (49)
MELBOURNE UNI 1.2 | 2.2 | 2.2 | 3.3 (21)

GOALS:

Southern Saints: C. Greiser 2, K. Shierlaw 2, J. Vogt, J. Owen.
Melbourne Uni: K. Gillespie-Jones, J. Garner, M. Muller.

BEST:

Southern Saints: L. Olsen, O. Vesely, S. Ryan, K. Shierlaw, C. Fitzpatrick, K. O”Neill
Melbourne Uni: K. Gillespie-Jones, A. Runnalls, J. Garner, K. Angelis, J. Bruton, B. Gibson

A dominant five goals to one second half has helped Southern Saints continued their remarkable rise this season with a victory over the highly fancied Melbourne University. The game was tight in the first half, with the Mugars taking a five-point lead into the main break in what was a low-scoring affair at Trevor Barker Beach Oval. After the main break it was all the Saints however, as the home side piled on an effective if not rather inaccurate, 5.10 to deny the Mugars enough time in forward half with the experienced side booting just 1.1 in the half. Tilly Lucas-Rodd was important for the Saints, producing 27 disposals, six marks and three tackles, while Alison Brown picked up 22 disposals, six marks and a tackle, and Olivia Vesely had 18 disposals, four marks and three tackles. Caitlin Greiser continued her strong form inside 50, though could have had an even bigger day than her two goals, booting five behinds to accompany her 12 touches and two marks. For Melbourne University, Jenna Bruton had a game-high 30 disposals, two marks and six tackles, while Jess Trend (25 disposals, seven marks), Kate Gillespie-Jones (22 disposals, five marks, two tackles and a goal) and Jasmine Garner (16 disposals, five marks, 10 tackles and a goal) were also among the Mugars’ best in defeat.