Tag: Abbie McKay

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.

VFLW Round 3 preview: Five undefeated teams look to keep perfect records alive

ROUND 3 of the Victorian Football League Women’s (VFLW) is up this week, with some tight clashes to come as the ladder starts to take shape. Five teams are still undefeated – though two of the five have only played one match – while NT Thunder have the bye this week.

GEELONG v. COLLINGWOOD
Round 3 – 25/05/2019
11:30
GMHBA Stadium

Round 3 opens with a clash between two of the middle ranked teams on the ladder at this early stage of the season, with both sides sitting on one win and one loss apiece after two rounds. Collingwood’s Jaimee Lambert is currently sitting in third for disposals with 51 across the opening rounds, while Geelong’s Kate Darby has kicked four goals to start the season on a strong note. Despite letting in 12 goals in Round 1, Geelong put in a solid performance last week to hold off Essendon, kicking with accuracy in front of goal with 7.2 on the board, also putting on a load of pressure through defence to deny the Bombers space to settle in front of goal. Collingwood come into this match off a solid win over Hawthorn last round, so will want to replicate the shared effort on the ball and strong tackling pressure the likes of Lambert and Mikala Cann put on last week.

DAREBIN v. HAWTHORN
Round 3 – 25/05/2019
12:00
Swinburne Centre

Both Darebin and Hawthorn have struggled so far this season, so look for a tight match for both sides as they come into Round 3 looking for an elusive first win. It makes for an interesting match, with the Hawks struggling to get goals on the board, while the Falcons have had more trouble defensively, letting in more goals – and while Hawthorn’s losing margin is lower than Darebin’s, it seems the Falcons may have the scoreboard pressure and more options forward to get a win on the board. Meg Hutchins will be one to watch out for, averaging 20.5 touches for the season so far, while Emily Gilder kicked three goals last week and Jess Sibley two in Round 1. Darebin’s Jamie Stanton is sitting at an average of 21 disposals, while Lauren Pearce sat out of Round 1 but was solid in the ruck with 28 hitouts and 17 touches last week, also making a good target forward.

RICHMOND v. ESSENDON
Round 3 – 25/05/2019
12:00
Bill Lawry Oval

Richmond take on Essendon in what will be an interesting match, with the Tigers sitting one from one after a bye last week, while Essendon are zero from two but pushed both Casey and Geelong in Rounds 1 and 2 to show they have some fight in them. That being said, the Tigers were convincing in their 35-point victory over Darebin in Round 1, proving the Bombers will need to give this match everything they’ve got to get a win on the board this week. Tayla Stahl-Smith will be one to watch, equal first in goals kicked for the season after kicking 6.2 in Round 1, while Chloe Wakefield kicked two and four other individuals also got on the board. Essendon have some strong goalkickers of their own with the likes of Monique de Matteo and Arthurina Moreen able to put ball to boot, however it will be defensive pressure that the Bombers will need to work on to put a stop to Richmond’s forward options after going down by close margins two weeks in a row.

WESTERN BULLDOGS v. MELBOURNE UNI
Round 3 – 25/05/2019
4:30
VU Whitten Oval

In what looks to be the match to watch this round, early ladder leaders in Melbourne Uni (1st) take on Western Bulldogs (4th) to close out Saturday’s matches with a bang. Melbourne Uni have dominated so far this season, kicking 11 and 12 goals across the opening rounds and setting the sideup for a big and high-scoring season. The Bulldogs had a bye in the opening round, meaning their solid win against Williamstown in Round 2 is all they have to go off on season form so far. The Mugars are currently dominating the stats with the likes of Jasmine Garner (57 disposals from two matches), Asha Price (six goals) and Kate Gillespie-Jones (16 tackles) sitting high on their respective leaderboards with two comfortable and confident wins under their belts. The Dogs will have the home field advantage, so will hope the likes of Bonnie Toogood (24 disposals, six marks, three tackles), Eleanor Brown (19 disposals, six tackles) and Mikayla Ward (four goals, nine touches) turn it on again this week to put out a good performance.

WILLIAMSTOWN v. CASEY
Round 3 – 26/05/19
11:30
Downer Oval

A strong start to Casey this season will put Williamstown under the pump, with the Demons already having proved they have the star power and players inside 50 to get the job done, while also standing up under pressure in Round 1 to get the chocolates in a close match. The Seagulls come into this match with only one game under their belt – a 47 point loss to Western Bulldogs in Round 2 – so will want to come in strong against the well-rounded Demons. Maddy Guerin (five goals from two matches) and Bianca Jakobbson (averaging 19 touches from two games) have stood up for the Demons thus far, while Sharnie Whiting and Aliesha Newman showed some good signs last week in what was a mostly forgettable start to the season, as the only two to get on the board. Newman will take on a number of her Melbourne AFLW teammates in the Casey side, making for a very interesting contest given her unrivaled speed and ability to snap at goal, while Mo Hope will want to exert some strength this round after a quiet match to start the season.

SOUTHERN SAINTS v. CARLTON
Round 3 – 26/05/19
11:50
Skybus Stadium

Both the Southern Saints and Carlton were dealt losses last week by their respective opponents, so are sure to be raring to go this round. Though Carlton sit in twelfth on the ladder, the side had a bye in Round 1 so will hope it was just a first match blip in the radar before settling into the competition. Both sides kicked a large number of behinds last round so if they can get the ball inside 50 and through the big sticks with accuracy we could have a close game on our hands. Carlton’s Natalie Plane and Abbie McKay were among the best in last week’s loss, collecting a combined 41 touches and 16 tackles, so will want to put on a similar performance as they take on the Saints, with the likes of Alison Drennan (28 disposals, five marks, six tackles) and Olivia Vesely (22, three tackles) able to create opportunities across the field. Carlton will also need to watch out for the Saints’ multiple targets forward, with four goals from eight individual attempts.

NT THUNDER: BYE

VFLW Round 2 weekend preview: Pies bolster experience, while Cats and Dons head to Colac

CARLTON, Western Bulldogs and Williamstown all begin their campaigns this week coming off byes, while Richmond has a break from the VFL Women’s competition to test themselves against GWS GIANTS in an invitational match. With plenty of entertaining contests across the weekend, expect some great clashes.

CASEY DEMONS v. CARLTON
Round 2 – 18/05/2019
11:30
Casey Fields

In the opening game down at Casey Fields, Carlton comes into the 2019 VFL Women’s season for the first time, meeting a relieved Casey Demons outfit who just got over the top of last year’s wooden spooners Essendon last week. Maddy Guerin played her best game in the red and blue with three goals, while Bianca Jakobsson booted two, in the five-goal all game. Key forward Eden Zanker was named best for the Demons in the win, while former Dog Libby Birch was prolific.  The Blues have a number of Carlton AFL Women’s players in their side with the likes of Sarah Hosking, Emerson Woods, Abbie McKay, Charlotte Wilson and Nicola Stevens among those included in the side for the clash tomorrow morning. The Demons deservedly go in as favourites with some more AFLW experience, especially with Birch and Jakobsson in the side, and at home will be home to play well and make it two consecutive victories. For Carlton, it has a young side and will be keen to try and start the season off on the right note and build on its AFLW form.

Casey Demons

B: 40. H. Dyson, 8. S. Lampard, 50. G. McLean
HB: 11. C. Emonson, 29. E. Zanker , 7. B. Jakobsson
C: 42. H. Bailey, 48. E. Archer, 34. A. Kirkwood
HF: 22. M. Guerin, 9. A. Johnson, 13. K. Smith
F: 33. R. Clayton, 27. B. Winbanks, 37. T. Nash
R: 38. K. Bentvelzen , 23. E. Birch, 24. N. Garner
Int: 16. M. Hogg, 32. A. McDonough, 54. K. Oates, 15. T. Tatterson
Emg: 57. L. Davies, 51. A. Francese, 47. K. Guttridge, 56. A. Harris
23P: 46. B. Pratt

In: A. Harris, T. Nash, A. Francese, R. Clayton
Out: R. Edmeades

Carlton

B: 31. N. Burns, 66. M. Neill, 11. J. Hosking
HB: 50. J. Borg, 55. G. Wright, 41. I. Dakis Rofe
C: 21. T. Cassar, 35. M. Clifford, 27. E. Woods
HF: 8. C. Bromage, 7. S. Wright, 39. C. Leighton
F: 9. B. Gurr, 20. C. Wilson, 33. L. Munday
R: 15. K. Neumann Stone, 32. N. Plane, 5. A. McKay
Int: 63. S. Craige, 26. C. Faulks, 17. J. Malouf, 40. S. Mason
Emg: 22. C. Balshaw, 34. I. Gietzmann, 37. A. Prins, 16. N. Stevens
23P: 18. M. Jarvis

 

GEELONG CATS v. ESSENDON
Round 2 – 18/05/2019
12:00
Central Reserve (Colac)

Heading out west, Geelong will be licking its wounds after a 44-point defeat at the hands of a rampaging Melbourne University side, while Essendon will rue a narrow loss against Casey. Young talent Denby Taylor, and the experienced Bec Goring have been brought into the team to change fortunes given the team is relatively settled from the AFLW and last year’s VFLW side. Falcons premiership players, Taylor, Tarryn Love, Zoe Inei and Sachi DeGiacomi are all named in the team, with fellow former TAC Cup players, Georgia Clarke and Rebecca Webster also in the side showing their youth. Essendon has former Calder Cannon, Molly Warbuton and former Murray Bushranger, Eloise Ashley-Cooper in a side that does not have a great deal of AFLW talent outside of West Coast’s Maddy Collier, but has good team cohesion and took it right up to Casey last week. The other AFLW listed player, Maighan Fogas has the unique opportunity to play against her AFLW teammaes in the match. While Geelong got a shock to the system last week, they are still one of the teams to beat this season, although Essendon will put up a fight in this game.

Geelong Cats

B: 44. R. Goring, 17. G. Clarke, 11. J. Woollett
HB: 20. R. Pearce, 4. C. Blakeway, 49. E. Ramsay
C: 3. A. McDonald, 5. J. Ivey, 10. G. Rankin
HF: 45. M. Keryk, 26. M. Boyd, 43. M. Maguire
F: 42. B. Beckley, 8. K. Darby, 7. R. Benham
R: 1. R. Caris, 21. R. Webster, 9. T. Love
Int: 41. A. Haigh, 33. Z. Inei, 23. H. Rowe, 28. D. Taylor
Emg: 15. G. Deller, 14. N. French, 13. L. Taylor
23P: 19. S. DeGiacomi

In: D. Taylor, R. Goring, G. Deller

Essendon

B: 7. K. Hicks, 4. A. Saundry, 29. C. Laan
HB: 18. K. Heil, 27. A. Morcom, 34. F. Puruntatameri
C: 28. R. Svarc, 8. H. Bullas, 1. C. Ugle
HF: 46. L. Ahrens, 38. E. Gogerly, 3. M. DeMatteo
F: 23. M. Collier, 40. A. Moreen, 25. L. Stepnell
R: 30. S. Nalder, 22. N. MacDonald, 39. M. Fogas
Int: 9. A. Anderson, 2. I. Currenti, 21. K. McFadyen, 11. M. Warburton
Emg: 15. L. Caruso, 33. E. Hosking, 20. A. Madden, 14. T. Zagontinos
23P: 45. E. Ashley-Cooper

In: L. Caruso, F. Puruntatameri, L. Ahrens, E. Ashley-Cooper, A. Anderson, E. Hosking,
A. Madden
Out: G. Nanscawen, J. Stassi, S. Audley, S. Wilson

 

COLLINGWOOD v. HAWTHORN
Round 2 – 18/05/2019
02:00
Victoria Park

Last year’s semi finalists both suffered losses in Round 1, with Collingwood having a shock loss at the hands of Southern Saints in the standalone game a fortnight ago, while the Hawks lost to Northern Territory Thunder, the side it booted out of last year’s finals series. Collingwood has recalled a host of AFLW talent including last year’s draftees, Jordyn Allen, Katie Lynch and Georgia Gourlay and key position players Sophie Livingston and Sophie Alexander who will straighten the side up. Add in Ruby Schleicher and Maddie Shevlin and the Magpies team on paper looks considerably more experienced than Round 1. The reigning premiers have backed themselves in with just the one confirmed change in the side this round. It means Collingwood will go in as favourites and keen to atone for the semi-final loss, but one can never discount the strength of the Hawthorn squad and what it is capable of under coach Patrick Hill.

Collingwood

B: 75. E. Bliss, 12. S. Livingstone, 22. S. Casey
HB: 52. N. Hales, 18. R. Schleicher, 13. J. Lambert
C: 32. G. Gourlay, 41. K. Stratton, 49. K. Newton
HF: 6. J. Allen, 70. J. Ferguson, 72. K. Lee
F: 24. S. Alexander, 16. K. Lynch, 25. M. Cann
R: 92. S. King, 60. D. Calautti, 63. P. Nash
Int: 48. A. Bild , 50. G. Buchan, 55. C. Bunker, 35. M. Shevlin
Emg: 58. J. Blecher, 23. L. Butler, 59. A. Levin
23P: 51. A. Curley

In: G. Gourlay, A. Curley, S. Alexander, J. Allen, S. Livingstone, M. Shevlin,
K. Lynch, R. Schleicher
Out: E. Browning, B. Bonnici, A. Malander, M. Doherty, S. Mastras

Hawthorn

B: 5. C. Perera, 6. T. Radan, 31. J. Sibley
HB: 11. D. Haines, 25. M. Hutchins, 13. E. Nixon
C: 33. E. Gilder, 14. O. Flanagan, 40. E. Macdonald
HF: 26. C. Dyett, 29. A. Tanner, 35. C. O’Donnell
F: 12. N. Cormack , 22. T. Luke, 2. K. Henderson
R: 20. L. Kelly, 10. P. Peschke, 24. R. Dillon
Int: 4. S. Carroll, 17. A. Dowler, 15. B. Struylaart, 18. E. Wroe
Emg: 32. N. Bjelan, 16. T. Reiter, 30. A. Sarec, 27. K. Scott
23P: 23. G. Macpherson

In: N. Bjelan, T. Reiter, L. Kelly

 

NT THUNDER v. SOUTHERN SAINTS
Round 2 – 18/05/2019
03:30
TIO Stadium

Both these teams come into the game in winning form, with NT Thunder overcoming Hawthorn and Southern Saints giving Collingwood a touch-up in the opening round of the season. The Thunder bring in the likes of Danielle Ponter and Hannah Martin, the latter of whom has enjoyed a good season for West Adelaide in the SANFL Women’s competition. The Thunder have lost a number of experienced players with Chelsea Randall, Angela Foley and Deni Varnhagen among some very experienced outs, while the Saints have made minimal changes to their side with just bringing in four players to the squad and four emergencies. NT Thunder are one of the teams to beat this season and it is expected at home they take the points in this one, but the Saints have plenty of exciting youngsters that are coming through, such as Caitlin Greiser who crossed from Melbourne University and booted two goals last round, and former AFL Women’s Academy member, Courtney Jones. The Thunder are favourites, but the Saints will be hoping to make it a tight contest.

NT Thunder

B: 50. A. Sheridan, 33. T. Thorn, 31. A. Stanley
HB: 23. E. Miller, 9. L. Jeffrey, 15. D. Ponter
C: 13. L. Roberts, 21. K. Irvine, 12. K. Streader
HF: 11. J. Hickey, 10. A. Chittick,
F: 17. S. Bishop, 7. M. Ellis, 27. A. Considine
R: 20. J. Hewett, 47. A. Hatchard, 1. M. Johnston
Int: 4. K. Duggan, 24. S. Hoogeveen-Hill, 42. H. Martin, 5. M. Roberts, 48. K. Rosenzweig
Emg: 32. B. Byers, 29. C. Deegan
23P: 2. J. Baird

In: B. Byers, A. Hatchard, C. Deegan, D. Ponter, A. Sheridan, H. Martin,
K. Duggan
Out: M. Rajcic, T. Holtze, D. Varnhagen, C. Randall, A. Foley

Southern Saints

B: 26. F. Steiert, 47. F. Hocking, 11. H. Stuart
HB: 30. E. Keaney, 41. R. Neaves, 4. G. Ricardo
C: 22. C. Jones, 2. A. Brown, 20. K. O’Neill
HF: 35. L. McCarthy, 15. T. Bohanna, 16. K. Thompson
F: 49. A. Allsopp, 43. C. Greiser, 10. J. Vogt
R: 12. C. Fitzpatrick, 8. A. Drennan, 7. C. Phillips
Int: 5. D. Jolliffe, 31. T. Lucas-Rodd, 3. D. Smith, 18. O. Vesely
Emg: 34. G. De Angelis, 17. L. Olsen, 36. J. Owen, 46. S. Ryan
23P: 48. J. Kelly

In: L. Olsen, T. Lucas-Rodd, S. Ryan, D. Smith

 

WILLIAMSTOWN v. WESTERN BULLDOGS
Round 2 – 18/05/2019
07:00
Downer Oval

Neither of these sides took part in Round 1 and therefore have a clean slate heading into this Round 2 contest. Williamstown look likely to struggle this season after the off-season losses, while the Western Bulldogs have also lost some big names. The Seagulls’ combination of Mo Hope and Aliesha Newman, two players who have the X-factor and bring plenty of excitement to the team and crowd. While Newman is the only currently listed AFLW player, the Seagulls also have the likes of former Bendigo Pioneers skipper Megan Williamson and Western Jet, Ruby Tripodi, the latter of who is making her debut in the game. The Western Bulldogs have a good core of AFLW players in their team, and will look to Bonnie Toogood – who has been named in defence, alongside Hayley Wildes and Naomi Ferres. First round pick last year, Eleanor Brown has also been named in the Bulldogs’ midfield. The Bulldogs will be favourites, but this is a game the Seagulls can win.

Williamstown

B: 19. E. Meade, 15. D. Pedersen, 30. A. Melnikas
HB: 1. R. Dardengo, 24. J. Thomson, 5. N. Wallace
C: 23. A. Shannon, 7. M. Williamson, 3. L. Suleiman
HF: 4. G. Anderson, 25. S. Whiting, 44. I. Porter
F: 12. S. Navarro, 17. M. Hope, 18. E. Straford
R: 20. S. Seabrook, 2. A. Newman, 6. J. Reid
Int: 38. S. Barbas, 14. K. Carew, 34. E. Crawford, 21. S. Dixon, 29. K. Koropeckyj, 22. M. Lowe, 16. J. Paten
23P: 39. R. Tripodi

Western Bulldogs

B: 35. S. Ruedin, 30. A. Tessari, 17. H. Wildes
HB: 51. R. Christgoergl , 8. B. Toogood, 29. J. Davies
C: 34. E. Mackay, 16. N. Ferres, 50. C. Mullins
HF: 33. S. Jolly, 32. T. Dinuccio, 39. M. Sandral
F: 38. J. Crundall, 44. M. Ward, 41. A. Scott
R: 47. N. McMahon, 9. E. Brown, 48. K. Betts
Int: 49. L. Bibby, 43. E. Gavalas, 31. A. Gunn, 26. D. Marshall
Emg: 54. J. Austin, 52. M. Chadwick, 42. L. Dundon, 53. A. Xanthos
23P: 46. K. McAloon

 

MELBOURNE UNI v. DAREBIN
Round 2 – 19/05/2019
02:30
Melbourne University Main Oval

These two sides come into the match with differing Round 1 results, after Melbourne Uni knocked off Geelong in a 44-point win, while Darebin fell to Richmond by 35 points. Holly Whitford, Ash Riddell and Jessica Trent are among the ins for the Mugars, while Melbourne AFLW ruck, Lauren Pearce comes in as a crucial inclusion for the Falcons against a side that is missing Emma King. Kate Gillespie-Jones will step up to the role and make it an entertraining contest, and with the likes of Jenna Bruton and Jasmine Garner in the midfield, the Mugars will be strong favourites in this clash. Darebin do not quite have the AFLW depth to match it with a premiership contender, but will be hoping the youth in the side such as former Eastern Ranges’ defender, Lauren Szigeti and former Kangaroo Jamie Stanton can have an impact. Stanton is playing against her former side and will be keen to prove a point in this game. Melbourne Uni should win this game with the firepower they have.

Melbourne Uni

B: 45. A. Arundel, 3. T. Mesiti, 17. E. Hay
HB: 32. C. Daniec, 37. K. Ebb, 13. A. Roan
C: 40. A. Runnalls, 36. N. Julian, 21. J. Trend
HF: 19. J. Grierson, 57. A. Price, 14. M. McDonald
F: 38. K. Angelis, 22. J. Anwyl, 7. A. Riddell
R: 5. K. Gillespie-Jones, 35. J. Bruton, 25. J. Garner
Int: 4. L. Amelung, 34. K. Cox, 18. A. Tupper, 16. H. Whitford
Emg: 47. M. Hare, 52. M. Shone, 51. J. Tancred, 50. S. Webb
23P: 39. V. Saad

In: S. Webb, H. Whitford, J. Trend, A. Riddell, K. Ebb
Out: E. King

Darebin

B: 19. R. Hibbert, 21. K. Roe, 16. B. Kennedy
HB: 34. R. Hicks, 32. G. Colvin, 7. L. Szigeti
C: 1. E. Honybun, 9. M. Eastman, 15. A. Lister
HF: 17. S. Simpson, 22. G. Hammond, 23. M. Wilson
F: 39. S. David, 31. E. Gardner, 37. E. McLaughlin
R: 40. L. Pearce, 33. J. Stanton, 43. N. Wolfe
Int: 56. R. Ashley, 36. E. Buckley, 18. C. Byrne, 28. A. Morrow
Emg: 46. R. Coombs, 25. C. Delbridge, 55. M. Hubbard, 50. M. Suzuki
23P: 57. P. Kearney

In: L. Pearce, R. Coombs, M. Suzuki, R. Hicks
Out: S. Fairchild

2019 VFLW weekend Round 1b preview: Eight teams begin their campagins

AFTER the Southern Saints made a statement in the opening round with a victory over last year’s minor premiers Collingwood, the other Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s sides take to the field, as four games are played across the competition. The Western Bulldogs and Carlton have the bye, as do Williamstown, however the Seagulls are facing off against GWS GIANTS in an invitational match which will see the GIANTS match-up against some of the Victorian sides. Below are the teams and season previews.

ESSENDON v. CASEY DEMONS

Round 1 – 11/05/2019
11:30
Windy Hill

Essendon

B: 7. K. Hicks, 11. M. Warburton, 29. C. Laan
HB: 18. K. Heil, 27. A. Morcom, 21. K. McFadyen
C: 28. R. Svarc, 39. M. Fogas, 1. C. Ugle
HF: 25. L. Stepnell, 23. M. Collier, 24. S. Wilson
F: 3. M. DeMatteo, 38. E. Gogerly, 40. A. Moreen
R: 30. S. Nalder, 22. N. MacDonald, 8. H. Bullas
Int: 13. S. Audley, 2. I. Currenti, 43. G. Nanscawen, 4. A. Saundry
Emg: 45. E. Ashley-Cooper, 15. L. Caruso, 33. E. Hosking, 14. T. Zagontinos
23P: 31. J. Stassi

Casey Demons

B: 50. G. McLean, 13. K. Smith, 15. T. Tatterson
HB: 34. A. Kirkwood, 7. B. Jakobsson, 8. S. Lampard
C: 23. E. Birch, 16. M. Hogg, 22. M. Guerin
HF: 42. H. Bailey, 29. E. Zanker , 11. C. Emonson
F: 24. N. Garner, 40. H. Dyson, 27. B. Winbanks
R: 38. K. Bentvelzen , 41. R. Edmeades, 47. K. Guttridge
Int: 48. E. Archer, 9. A. Johnson, 32. A. McDonough, 54. K. Oates
Emg: 57. L. Davies, 51. A. Francese, 37. T. Nash, 62. G. Speedy
23P: 46. B. Pratt

 

DAREBIN v. RICHMOND

Round 1 – 11/05/2019
12:00
Swinburne Centre

Darebin

B: 32. G. Colvin, 21. K. Roe, 19. R. Hibbert
HB: 16. B. Kennedy, 56. R. Ashley, 43. N. Wolfe
C: 1. E. Honybun, 9. M. Eastman, 28. A. Morrow
HF: 17. S. Simpson, 22. G. Hammond, 7. L. Szigeti
F: 36. E. Buckley, 31. E. Gardner, 23. M. Wilson
R: 37. E. McLaughlin, 15. A. Lister, 33. J. Stanton
Int: 18. C. Byrne, 39. S. David, 25. C. Delbridge, 20. S. Fairchild
Emg: 46. R. Coombs, 55. M. Hubbard, 49. A. Ladson, 50. M. Suzuki
23P: 57. P. Kearney

Richmond

B: 26. E. Burry, 41. S. Last, 15. R. Miller
HB: 19. K. Dempsey, 2. P. Monahan, 34. A. Makur Chuot
C: 25. G. Egan, 5. M. Brancatisano, 8. J. Graham
HF: 33. J. Colwell, 16. C. Wakefield , 36. E. Paterno
F: 17. E. Gunn, 24. T. Stahl-Smith, 46. H. Ibrahim
R: 11. A. Edmonds, 13. A. Woodward, 1. J. Kennedy
Int: 43. G. Campbell, 30. D. Edward, 37. M. Klingbeil , 22. S. Marsh
Emg: 39. M. Lindsay , 32. I. Milford, 23. T. Smith
23P: 29. K. Jacques

 

HAWTHORN v. NT THUNDER

Round 1 – 12/05/2019
11:30
Box Hill City Oval

Hawthorn

B: 25. M. Hutchins, 6. T. Radan, 31. J. Sibley
HB: 13. E. Nixon, 40. E. MacDonald, 21. P. Randall
C: 33. E. Gilder, 24. R. Dillon, 5. C. Perera
HF: 12. N. Cormack , 26. C. Dyett, 18. E. Wroe
F: 17. A. Dowler, 2. K. Henderson, 30. A. Sarec
R: 22. T. Luke, 10. P. Peschke, 8. R. Beeson
Int: 14. O. Flanagan, 11. D. Haines, 15. B. Struylaart, 29. A. Tanner
Emg: 4. S. Carroll, 35. C. O’Donnell, 27. K. Scott
23P: 23. G. Macpherson

NT Thunder

B: 37. M. Rajcic, 33. T. Thorn, 31. A. Stanley
HB: 23. E. Miller, 9. L. Jeffrey, 26. C. Randall
C: 13. L. Roberts, , 12. K. Streader
HF: 11. J. Hickey, 10. A. Chittick, 18. T. Holtze
F: 27. A. Considine, 7. M. Ellis,
R: 20. J. Hewett, 3. A. Foley, 1. M. Johnston
Int: 17. S. Bishop, 24. S. Hoogeveen-Hill, 21. K. Irvine, 5. M. Roberts, 48. K. Rosenzweig, 34. D. Varnhagen
Emg: 32. B. Byers, 29. C. Deegan
23P: 2. J. Baird

 

MELBOURNE UNI v. GEELONG CATS

Round 1 – 12/05/2019
02:30
Melbourne University Main Oval

Melbourne Uni

B: 45. A. Arundel, 3. T. Mesiti, 17. E. Hay
HB: 22. J. Anwyl, 26. N. O’Connor, 32. C. Daniec
C: 53. J. Grierson, 36. N. Julian, 14. M. McDonald
HF: 38. K. Angelis, 51. J. Tancred, 40. A. Runnalls
F: 4. E. King, 57. A. Price, 18. A. Tupper
R: 5. K. Gillespie-Jones, 25. J. Garner, 35. J. Bruton
Int: 34. K. Cox, 47. M. Hare, 46. A. Roan , 52. M. Shone
Emg: 42. L. Amelung, 44. E. Bult, 30. S. Farmer, 41. J. Thomas
23P: 39. V. Saad

Geelong Cats

B: 49. E. Ramsay, 4. C. Blakeway, 23. H. Rowe
HB: 20. R. Pearce, 44. R. Goring, 11. J. Woollett
C: 3. A. McDonald, 27. R. Webster, 10. G. Rankin
HF: 45. M. Keryk, 17. G. Clarke, 9. T. Love
F: 42. B. Beckley, 8. K. Darby, 7. R. Benham
R: 1. R. Caris, 5. J. Ivey, 41. A. Haigh
Int: 14. N. French, 33. Z. Inei, 43. M. Maguire, 13. L. Taylor
Emg: 26. M. Boyd, 15. G. Deller, 16. O. Purcell
23P: 19. S. DeGiacomi

 

SEASON PREVIEWS: (Including byes)

CARLTON BLUES

Coach: Shannon McFerran
Last year: 7th (6-8)

The entire Carlton side would be buzzing with the AFL Women’s achievement of making the Grand Final and hoping to follow in the senior side’s footsteps. Last year the Blues showed signs within games, but could not quite put together a four quarter effort. They had an enormous amount of future AFL Women’s talent on their list last season with Tyla Hanks and Madeline Brancatisano (both Melbourne), Rene Caris (Geelong) and Celine Moody (Western Bulldogs) all poached by other clubs in the draft, while Abbie McKay, Chloe Dalton and Brooke Walker made the transition up to senior football at the Blues. Darcy Vescio won the leading goalkicker award after another terrific season inside 50 and look for her to be a key player in Shannon McFerran‘s side. With the close bond between Carlton and Northern Knights – and the strength of the Knights program in 2019 – do not be surprised for the Blues to be bolstered mid-season by the likes of Gabby Newton and Britney Gutknecht among others. They have picked up Marnie Jarvis and Taylah Manson from the Knights last year, and with continued improvement and recruitment of Madison Prespakis, Emerson Woods and Charlotte Wilson – who all had TAC Cup Girls and VFLW experience prior to being drafted, the Blues are a sleeper side that is not to be taken lightly.

 

CASEY DEMONS

Coach: Damien Keeping
Last year: 10th (5-9)

Despite a disappointing season on the ladder, Casey Demons were raided at the AFL Women’s draft with six drafted on the night, and a further one (Taylor Mesiti) prelisted. Jordyn Allen, Georgia Gourlay and Maddie Shevlin all swapped red and blue for black and white, while Casey Sherriff, Chantel Emonson and Shae Sloane showed enough to be picked up the Dees. The Demons have brought in some height with the recruitment of former Oakleigh Chargers and Essendon ruck, Bridie Winbanks, while putting an emphasis on retaining Melbourne AFLW listed players, something they did not have the luxury of having with many playing at Darebin given the players history with the Falcons. Now just Elise O’Dea, Lauren Pearce and Brooke Patterson are at the Falcons, so the Demons can have a stronger link to the AFLW side. Harriet Cordner and Maddison Gay were two big improvers of the 2019 AFLW season and will be ones to watch for the Demons in the upcoming VFLW season. A couple of key pickups for the Demons include Gippsland Power duo, Nikia Webber and Shanara Notman who could provide service up opposite ends. Overall look for the Demons to improve this year.

 

DAREBIN FALCONS

Coach: Michael Ericson (NEW)
Last year: 5th (8-6)

Darebin Falcons defied odds by finishing fifth last season and on track for finals up until a couple of rounds out from the post-season series. Michael Ericson has taken over from Jane Lange at the helm, and with it faces a new challenge of keeping the side competitive. O’Dea, Pearce and Patterson loom as the keys to the team, while Jamie Stanton who moved from Melbourne University – to align with her shift from North Melbourne to Gold Coast AFLW – is another AFLW listed player. Bridie Kennedy also joins the team from Carlton after having that AFLW experience, but mostly the Falcons will be relying on the yourh of the team and experienced VFLW players. Captain Stephanie Simpson is one of six players with 30 or more VFLW games under her belt which in the scheme of the relatively new competition is vital. Northern Knights, Nell Morris-Dalton and Ciara Fitzgerald have also joined Darebin, while former Eastern Ranges’ Lauren Szigeti will have benefited from her six games last year. Overall the Falcons will still give the top teams something to think about on their day, and rack up wins against the bottom handful, but it will be a test to be a genuine contender.

 

ESSENDON BOMBERS

Coach: Brendan Major
Last year: 13th (1-13)

It was fair to say Essendon did not have the season it had hoped for, winning just the one game and taking out the wooden spoon in season 2019. With limited AFL Women’s experience, the Bombers just lacked that top-end talent that other clubs had, and while the Bombers had that tackling ferocity through best and fairest winner, Hayley Bullas and the class and skill of future Adelaide AFLW premiership player, Danielle Ponter, they did not have enough talent across the board to compete with the sides that were flushed with AFLW signatures. The one win against Richmond was terrific to see, as it meant the Bombers got some reward for effort after a long season. Along with Bullas, Courtney Ugle and Simone Nalder have returned to the club, while former Murray Bushrangers’ defender and Eastern Allies representative, Eloise Ashley-Cooper will add some class to the side. The Bombers have four players with AFLW experience, including Maddy Collier and Hayley Trevean. With NAB League Girls club, Calder Cannons having some great talent coming through the ranks, expect the likes of Georgia Patrikios to open some eyes late in the season with her agility and goal sense, while Felicity Theodore, Alana Barba, Gloria Elamaly and Krstel Petrevski will add a mix of skill and toughness to the Bombers’ team. The Bombers will still lack the star quality other AFLW experienced teams have, so the goal will be to be more competitive and try and get off the bottom of the table this season.

 

GEELONG CATS

Coach: Natalie Wood (NEW)
Last year: 4th (10-3-1) Grand final loss

Natalie Wood has taken over from Paul Hood who opted to just focus on the AFLW side in the blue and white hoops, but has inherited a genuine premiership contender. After Geelong had fewer AFLW listed players compared to others last season, they now have 20 on their VFLW books, topped up by local players including former Geelong Falcons premiership players, Tarryn Love, Zoe Inei and Sachi DeGiacomi who managed six games at VFLW level between them last season. They have not only retained the majority of the their list, but picked up teh likes of Julia Crockett-Grills (Hawthorn), Rebecca Webster (Melbourne University) and Sophie Van De Heuvel (Williamstown), keeping them in the Geelong system. It is hard not to picture a scenario where Geelong are not in finals considering the now deep and strong bond the players have and having reached the grand final, before strengthening their list even more. The Geelong AFLW side made finals in its first year and expect the VFLW side to follow suit with the same talent on its list.

 

HAWTHORN HAWKS

Coach: Patrick Hill
Last year: 2nd (12-2) Premiers

The reigning premiers had a number of players drafted including Rising Star Jayde Van Dyk, Emerson Woods and Mikala Cann in what was a perfectly timed season, finishing second, pouncing on Collingwood in the semi-final, and then making the most of their opportunities against Geelong in the decider. In great news for the Hawks, Van Dyk has returned to the club for the VFLW season, as have key forward Phoebe McWilliams (Geelong), Rebecca Beeson and Pepa Randall (both GWS GIANTS). With super coach, Patrick Hill at the reigns again, the Hawks will be predicted to be thereabouts again and a genuine premiership contender. Sarah Perkins will be primed for a big season in the brown and gold, hoping to force her way back onto an AFLW list after being delisted by the Crows following the 2019 season. The forward combination between Perkins and McWilliams is as good as it gets in the competition, and with Eastern Rangers youngsters Serena Gibbs and Laura McClelland in the side later in the year, expect the reigning premiers to have a potent forward line. Gippsland Power’s Maddison Shaw has also joined the Hawks, and is one of just two 2001-birth players on the list. A huge contender.

 

MELBOURNE UNIVERSITY MUGARS

Coach: Scott Gowans
Last year: 9th (5-9)

The Mugars were up and down at times throughout the 2018 VFLW season, finishing with five wins from 14 games, but having some great young talent come into the side last in the year, including Prepsakis and Webster who were both drafted by AFLW clubs. Sophie Abbatangelo, Ashleigh Riddell, Maddison Smith, Chloe Haines, Libby Haines and Nicole Bresnehan all stepped up to the senior side, with many showing their ability to adapt to the faster pace of the game. After a huge season that ultimately fell short of a finals berth in the AFLW, North Melbourne and Melbourne Uni coach, Scott Gowans will be keen to continue the form shown by the Kangaroos at AFLW level, into the VFLW system. Emma Kearney was terrific for the Mugars last year along with Kaitlyn Ashmore, and expect them to be key players once again. They have added experience to their list with Hawthorn duo, Tahni Nestor and Kim Ebb, as well as Essendon’s Jessica Anwyl who showed promising signs last season in the red and black. Throw in league best and fairest winner, Jess Duffin, Jasmine Garner and Jenna Bruton, and the Mugars have to be considered one of the premiership favourites. All up they have 23 AFL Women’s listed players and will be another tough team to beat.

 

NORTHERN TERRITORY THUNDER

Coach: Heidi Thompson (NEW)
Last year: 3rd (11-3) – Semi-final loss

Much was spoken about the Thunder and whether or not the experienced top-heavy side with Adelaide Crows, could be allowed to play so much talent at once. Early in the season it looked like the Thunder would skip through the season, but in the end, ultimately fell in the first week of finals to the Cats. After missing out on her AFLW dream last year, Janet Baird is the biggest junior recruit to the Thunder in season 2019, with the NTFL Women’s top player signing on at the Thunder for the upcoming season. She joins the likes of Madeline Gault, Arthurina Moreen and Tabitha May, who all played for Central Allies in 2018, but missed out on a chance in the AFLW. The top-end and upcoming talent at the Thunder is clear, with Ebony Marinoff, Stevie-Lee Thompson, Marijana Rajcic, Renee Forth, Eloise Jones and Sarah and Jess Allen among a ridiculous among of Crows talent in the side. They were arguably a premiership favourite early in 2018, and should be in that place once again given the improvement of many of the Crows through the 2019 AFLW premiership year. With Heidi Thompson now taking the reigns from Tim Weatherald, it will be interesting to see how she balances the AFLW talent throughout the season.

 

RICHMOND TIGERS

Coach: Tom Hunter
Last year: 12th (4-10)

The Tigers had a disappointing season in 2018, finishing twelfth and losing to Essendon, the only side to do so. They, like the Bombers just lacked that star quality in the 2018 VFLW season, but if their 2019 AFLW trade period is anything to go by, expect them to shoot up the ladder in season 2019. Jessica Kennedy and Jacqueline Graham were two standouts for the Tigers, it was just a case of adding depth to the obvious talent that was coming through the ranks. While some will play limited games, the likes of Monique Conti, Katie Brennan and Sabrina Frederick make for a scary forward line. With Richmond able to pre-list players this season, every player on the list will be keen to impress in front of the Tigers’ hierarchy and see what they can do to try and get an AFLW spot for the 2020 season. Overlooked Murray Bushrangers, Tamara Smith, Grace Egan and Sophie Damon are back at Punt Road, while Kodi Jacques has also joined the club with the Bendigo Pioneers’ midfielder looking to stake her claim this year. Former Magpies, Shayla Marsh and Hannah McLaren will don the yellow and black this year, making the Tigers stocked with young talent that will create run and excitement throughout the 2019 season. Expect the Tigers to rise up the ladder, and while they might lack the AFLW talent other teams have outside their forward 50, they could overtake a number of the clubs around their level in season 2018, this year.

 

WESTERN BULLDOGS

Coach: Sean Kavanagh (NEW)
Last year: 6th (7-7)

Sean Kavanagh has taken over from Debbie Lee who is now VFLW General Manager at the club, and will be looking to reshape the side that has lost some serious AFLW talent. Conti always spent the majority of the season playing basketball, while Brennan will be a big lose inside 50. However with 20 AFLW players on their list, they still have more than enough talent and experience to get them by. Their three top-age players they have picked up from NAB League Girls clubs are Sophie Molan, Ella Wood and Elisabeth Georgostathis which is arguably the best trio of pick-ups across the league. Molan will make an immediate impact, while Wood and Georgostathis can play both off half-back and through the middle. They will be unavailable during the AFLW National Championships, but expect them to show their talent. Overager Georgia Pidgeon will also provide some height for the Bulldogs, while a host of local players joins the likes of Ellie Blackburn, Brooke Lochland, Isabel Huntington and Deanna Berry as key players. When talking about experience, the Bulldogs have 14 players with 30 or more games, making them a very experienced side in the competition, and one that while they might not be in the top handful, could still challenge for finals.

 

WILLIAMSTOWN

Coach: Amy Catterall
Last year: 11th (4-10)

Williamstown finished eleventh in 2019, notching up the four wins, but had some serious top-end talent at the Gulls’ disposal. Duffin won the league best and fairest despite the team struggles, while Garner and Bruton were stars for Williamstown before emulating that for the Kangaroos at AFLW level. Big question marks remain over the Seagulls with all three departing the club. It means the load falls onto their VFLW listed players shoulders and puts them in a similar position to Essendon and Richmond last year. They had a good win over the Western Bulldogs in a pre-season practice match, and can have the continuity that teams with restricted AFLW numbers cannot. However this year is set to be a massive challenge for the Seagulls after losing so much top-end talent, with Demon, Aliesha Newman being a key signing – the only AFLW player on the list – and likely to cause headaches inside 50 for opposition defences. In doing so, there might be some serious youngsters step up and then make a case to land at an AFLW club, like former Bendigo Pioneers’ captain Megan Williamson, Eastern Ranges’ tall Tahlia Merrett and Bendigo Pioneers’ key defender Kate Douglass.

U18 Girls season preview: Sandringham Dragons

DEALT a tough draw to open season 2018, Sandringham Dragons were 1-2 after going down to both of the eventual grand finalists in their first three games. Come the end of the regular season, the Dragons were unlucky to have just missed out on a grand final berth as they built some serious momentum and finished in third at 7-2. Girls Head Coach, Tamara Hyett said her side was unfortunate not to meet those teams with some form under its belt, but built into the season well and marks it as a success given the immense personal development shown by individual players.

“You try and develop a really good rapport amongst the players and it just took us a couple of rounds to get going but I think ideally you try and compete against the best when you’re at your best and unfortunately we weren’t in the first couple of rounds,” she said. But I think we proved that we were a good side by season’s end. “From where we came from, from day one and especially Round 1 to how all of our players developed throughout the season, I think it was good reward with the finishing result, just missing out on the grand final. I think the pleasing thing was that every girl improved throughout the season – you measure success by individual improvement, well at least we do, and so it was a successful year.”

The respective journeys of the Dragons’ two eventual draftees serve as evidence of that individual improvement, as both Eleanor Brown and Abbie McKay now boast AFL Women’s experience. Brown grew on and off the field throughout the year and made the wing her own on the back of pure dedication – something Hyett says the Dragons staff were deeply impressed by.

“Eleanor had a stand-out year on the wing and every game she just grew in confidence – from someone who was quite reserved and shy, to then becoming quite vocal, backing herself going for marks and things like that was great to see and I think she’s someone that we probably had to hold back a bit because she wanted to work and wanted it so bad that she was doing probably too much with extra sessions and things like that. But it was just rewards for the effort and improvement that she showed across the year,” she said.

A more natural footballer with the pedigree to suggest so, McKay has gone on to become the AFLW’s first ever father-daughter draftee, as well as the first father-daughter pick to grace the field as she ran out for Carlton in Round 4. Given talent aside, Hyett said McKay showed great determination to improve once she realised how far she could go.

“(Abbie) is a natural footballer so if she wanted to get drafted, she’d get drafted, and she did. I think she realised how good she could be, especially playing for Victoria at the championships – she’s just a natural footballer. A pretty driven girl internally, doesn’t show much externally but internally she’s pretty driven and we saw on the weekend that she made a seamless transition really into AFLW so that’s a credit to her and her ability to want to improve and want to be out there,” she said.

In a team sense, Hyett is not looking to change much heading into the new season – sighting fundamental skills as a key area for fast-tracking the development of each player, while also giving them the freedom to express themselves on-field.

“We’re probably focused a little bit more on the fundamentals because we have had a whole new batch basically and I don’t think you can do enough skills work. As far as the structure of the program, it’s very similar, we’re very lucky we’re well resourced with our strength and conditioning department and also the physios and things like that,” Hyett said. “I think from a pure footy sense that something we’ve focussed more on is the fundamentals and we want the girls to play with flair – I think that’s one thing that we’ve changed since we’ve just given the girls license to go off and show us what you can do, we want to see them at their best, not playing a defensive style at all.”

Should the new top four finals structure have been in place last year, the Dragons may have been better poised to challenge Geelong and Northern than they were earlier in the season, but they are set to face a similar fate as a clash with the reigning premiers awaits in Round 1. Hyett is not fazed by the challenge though, with promising players coming on across each age group set to put them in good stead for the early-season bout.

“I think it’s the best thing (playing Geelong), you want to see where you’re at early in the season and playing the defending champions is an ideal first round match-up for us and it’ll be a good gauge. Hopefully the work we’ve done in the off-season and from last year has been good and you never know but success is not really measured in wins and losses but I think a lot of our girls have grown and hopefully that’ll show up on Sunday,” she said.

Leading the pack are three outstanding top-age talents, with a raft of middle-agers also set to poise Sandringham as one of the competition’s stronger sides. A solid pre-season has built on the already admirable fitness base of those leaders, with each Dragon looking to keep standards at a relative high.

“I think the pleasing thing was that the girls that are backing up from last year have, as of day one of pre-season, come back improved physically – fitness-wise and also the fundamentals skill-wise,” she said. “Then we’ve got a really good balance of new young players as well as some top-age players who have come in so I think it’s a really balanced squad and hopefully we can all gel together and go really well.

Skipper Molly Denahy Maloney is one who sets the tone for her teammates in training and on matchday.

“I think our captain leads by example. She just grows and grows every session, she’s a fantastic leader who sets the standard physically and vocally as well,” Hyett said. “On and off the field when she speaks, everyone listens and her skills and determination I think will set her up for a really good year.”

Fellow top-agers, Margie Purcell and Sophie Rothfield are also coming on strong, impressing Hyett with their mix of grit and class while taking their games to the next level.

“Someone like Margie was pretty raw last year – started half-forward and ended up rotating on a wing,” she said. “Her game’s gone to the next level, her skills, her outside run and she’s really tough.
“She’s a really great pressure player, uses her speed without the ball but when she gets the ball in hand she takes off and adds a little bit of flair and toughness at the same time,” she said. “Then you’ve got someone like Soph’ who’s just got natural talent and if she puts it all together, anything’s possible – she’s got raw talent.”

A raft of middle-age talent is also something Hyett is excited by, with a range of players filling out the core of the team and looking to make a real impact.

“Girls like Alice Burke who won our best and fairest, they’re just constantly improving and learning about footy,” Hyett said. “So, footy IQ and their game sense is increasing, as well as the foot skills so I think Alice is in for a good year, she’s part of our leadership group as well. “Someone like Eliza McNamara has unbelievable speed, she’s just an athlete… I think she wears bruises with pride but also her skills have improved out of sight – the same with Winnie Laing, tough as nails and her skills have improved as well.”

Sarah Hartwig is also one who has impressed, holding down a spot in the side as a 16-year-old last year. Hyett said her continual progress has been impressive in the back half, epitomising the overall squad growth shown in the skill stakes.
“Probably our number one defender, Sarah Hartwig who has still got two years in the program and she takes a key forward, backs herself and very rarely gets beaten,” she said. “So those girls have all gone to a new level too as far as skills go which is what we want them to improve on. They’re all really good athletes and just constantly improving on skills and footy IQ and game smarts.”

With a practice match win over the Knights to build on, Sandringham looks a contender once again and may well be a side to benefit from the new finals structure with a host of talent across the field set to hold them in good stead for 2019.