Tag: AFL Womens

2021 AFL Women’s trade period: Final day update

THE 2021 AFL Women’s sign and trade period came to a close at 2:00pm on Wednesday, ahead of dual list lodgement deadlines. A bunch of big deals played out since our week one wrap, with stars like Olivia Purcell and Tayla Harris seeing their big moves get over the line, while West Coast came to life at the death to push a couple of negotiations through.

Check out all the ins and outs below, listed club-by-club, with a quick recap of this year’s trade dealings. There should also be even more movement to come as free agency period remains open.

INS AND OUTS:

Adelaide:

In: Pick 20, Pick 47
Out: Chloe Scheer, Pick 49

Brisbane:

In: Nil
Out: Nil

Carlton:

In: Jess Dal Pos, Pick 10, Pick 11, Pick 23, Pick 26, Pick 40
Out: Chloe Dalton, Katie Lyons, Tayla Harris, Pick 12, Pick 29, Pick 32 Pick 44

Collingwood:

In: Sabrina Frederick, Pick 29, Pick 32
Out: Maddie Shevlin, Pick 16, Pick 48

Fremantle:

In: Pick 38
Out: Evangeline Gooch

Geelong:

In: Chantel Emonson, Chloe Scheer, Pick 15
Out: Olivia Purcell, Pick 20, Pick 37

Gold Coast:

In: Claudia Whitford, Viv Saad, Pick 30
Out: Pick 19, Pick 36

Greater Western Sydney:

In: Chloe Dalton, Jasmine Grierson, Katie Loynes, Pick 37
Out: Elle Bennetts, Jess Dal Pos, Aimee Schmidt, Pick 10, Pick 27, Pick 42

Melbourne:

In: Tayla Harris, Olivia Purcell, Pick 44
Out: Chantel Emonson, Pick 15, Pick 32

North Melbourne:

In: Pick 19 Pick 28
Out: Jasmine Grierson, Viv Saad, Pick 30

Richmond:

In: Poppy Kelly, Maddie Shevlin, Jess Hosking, Pick 57
Out: Sabrina Frederick, Pick 23, Pick 26, Pick 40

St Kilda:

In: Pick 12, Pick 36, Pick 48
Out: Poppy Kelly, Claudia Whitford, Pick 22, Pick 25

West Coast

In: Evangeline Gooch, Aimee Schmidt
Out: Pick 38

Western Bulldogs

In: Elle Bennetts, Pick 22, Pick 25, Pick 27
Out: Pick 11, Pick 28, Pick 57

After Collingwood, Richmond, and St Kilda were the only teams to deal during a truly dour first week of trading, the Western Bulldogs entered the equation with a trade for classy Greater Western Sydney (GWS) rebounder, Elle Bennetts. The cross-code athlete made her move back home to Victoria at a cost of pick 28 for the Bulldogs, which looms as a high-value pickup.

The whole period came to life as a monster five-way trade saw seven players transferred yesterday evening. Among the biggest names to prize a move were Olivia Purcell and Tayla Harris, who both join Melbourne with plenty of credit in the bank. The injured Purcell, a Geelong Falcons graduate, shifts to the big smoke from her home region, while Harris’ much-hyped move sees her join a third AFLW club.

Carlton bolstered its draft hand in the deal as Melbourne sent Chantel Emonson down the highway along with an exchange of picks. The Blues also dealt with GWS to secure Jess Dal Pos, seeing Chloe Dalton‘s wish granted in exchange along with former Carlton skipper, Katie Loynes. Adelaide got involved by allowing Chloe Scheer to move to Geelong, with pick 20 coming the other way.

A bunch of fallout was left to come, with Carlton then looking to shift slightly up the draft order in lop-sided deals with Collingwood and the Western Bulldogs. The Blues relinquished picks 12, 27, 29, and 32 to gain selections 11, 26, 55 and 57. The Bulldogs acted on their gains, securing St Kilda’s picks 22 and 25 for that 12th selection, while Collingwood’s ended with a solid hand after that deal, and the one to nab Sabrina Frederick – with Maddie Shevlin going to Richmond.

Elsewhere, the Saints were involved earlier as they moved on Claudia Whitford, who yielded pick 36 from the Gold Coast SUNS. Jasmine Grierson landed at the GIANTS for pick 28, which came from the Western Bulldogs, as Aimee Schmidt crossed to West Coast as a delisted free agent. The Eagles also signed Evangeline Gooch from cross-town rivals Fremantle, at the cost of pick 38.

While sides like Fremantle, Gold Coast and North Melbourne were involved in straightforward one-player exchanges, reigning premier Brisbane was the only team not to get involved – a welcome change for Lions fans after seeing their list previously dismantled by expansion clubs.

Jess Hosking sought a late move to Richmond to join sister Sarah, after the deadline passed with picks exchanged both ways. The free agency market remains open, while clubs have been scrambling final list changes and delistings ahead of list lodgement dates on June 16 and 25.

Image Credit: Melbourne FC (@MelbourneAFLW via Twitter)

2021 AFL Women’s Trade Wrap: Week 1

AFTER a huge first trade on day one, the AFL Women’s first week of Trade Period slowed to a grinding halt, as just one more trade was completed over the next five days to make two in the opening week. Ahead of the second week of Trade Period, we take a look at the trades that were completed and how it affected both the teams and the draft order.

COLLINGWOOD:

In: Sabrina Frederick, Pick 26, Pick 55
Out: Maddie Shevlin, Pick 16, Pick 48

RICHMOND:

In: Maddie Shevlin, Poppy Kelly, Pick 16
Out: Sabrina Frederick, Pick 26, Pick 55

ST KILDA:

In: Pick 48
Out: Poppy Kelly

The big-name trade to kick off the Trade Period was Sabrina Frederick getting her wish to be traded to her third AFL Women’s club in Collingwood. The trade allows the Magpies to pick up a tall target up forward and provide extra height in the ruck given the retirement of Sharni Norder at the end of the 2021 season. Frederick was traded with a second round and fourth round pick, in exchange for Maddie Shevlin, and Collingwood’s first and third round selections.

As the Magpies finished higher than any other Victorian team, they had Pick 10 in the Victorian draft pool (Pick 8 before priority picks were handed out to Geelong), which now gives the Tigers two selections inside the Top 10. Whilst Richmond is unable to trade Pick 5 – effectively third in the Victorian pool – they can still deal that Magpies selection if need be, as they did with Pick 48.

That third round selection was sent to St Kilda in order to acquire another tall, with Poppy Kelly landing at Punt Road in a straight swap for the selection. It will enable Kelly more opportunities, and gave the Saints another draft selection to use. Whilst the Magpies did trade out Pick 10 in the Victorian pool, they effectively received Pick 13 back from the Tigers, so it was not a huge drop despite being 10 picks apart in the overall scheme of things.

Richmond’s Trade and Draft selection period will be one to watch, holding the third pick which could shape how the draft forms. With Vic Metro duo Charlie Rowbottom and Georgie Prespakis likely to land in the opening couple of selections, the Tigers will have the chance to pick between talls or smalls, with some AFL Women’s Academy members such as Tara Slender and Ella Friend providing the height, or potentially look to spoil the party for Geelong who hold the next two Victorian selections, with Falcons inside midfielder Tess Craven, or one of the Oakleigh Chargers standout midfielders in Stella Reid or Amanda Ling.

An action packed last three days of Trade Period commences today and closes at 2pm on Wednesday. From there, the first list lodgement opens, whilst a re-signing period will begin next Wednesday. A Delisted Free Agency period also takes place for a week as the AFL Women’s Draft order is confirmed on Friday, June 25.

Picture credit: Collingwood Women’s

Reserves wrap: 2021 VFL Women’s – Round 7

THE Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s returned for Round 7 on the weekend, with six fixtures split evenly across Saturday and Sunday. With the 2021 AFL Women’s season run and done, top flight players are now filing through the state league system at a greater rate, strengthening the eight aligned teams. We take you through how some of the standouts performed over the weekend in our Reserves Wrap.

>> Results: VFLW Round 7 wrap

Collingwood’s unblemished run rolled on as the Magpies accounted for Southern Saints for their seventh win of the year. Key forward Bella Smith was best afield for the victors, booting a game-high three goals having gained valuable senior experience in 2021. Another returning player, Maddie Shevlin notched 25 disposals, as twin talls Abbey Green (two goals) and Abbi Moloney (one) both hit the scoreboard in black and white.

First year Saints midfielder Alice Burke was easily the most prolific ball winner on the day, finishing with 35 disposals in arguably her best effort to date – at any level. Fellow youngster Molly McDonald (19 disposals, five marks) featured among the votes with Jacqui Vogt (14 disposals, eight tackles, one goal), as Poppy Kelly fared well in the ruck to win 30 hitouts.

While Hawthorn boasted some former AFLW talent of its own, the standalone was up against it as Casey fielded a strong crop of senior players in a 13-point win. Ruck prospect Maggie Caris looks primed to crack a senior berth next season having continued her terrific year in the twos, with another 11 disposals and 22 hitouts. Megan Fitzsimon and Mietta Kendall also featured, contributing 12 touches apiece, as Isabella Simmons booted a goal and Irishwoman Lauren Magee returned to the fold in handy form.

Geelong was another side to blood plenty of youth through its VFLW-aligned lineup, with senior players among the best afield in the Cats’ win over North Melbourne. Dynamic tall forward Olivia Barber booted an equal game-high three goals, as Laura Gardiner topped the disposal charts with 27. Sophie Van De Heuvel had it 22 times to join the aforementioned pair in Geelong’s votes, while Georgie Rankin (18 disposals, seven tackles) and Darcy Moloney (14 disposals, one goal) played their parts.

At the opposite end of the ground to Barber, first year ‘Roo Brooke Brown also snared three majors in another promising display. She was joined by Sarah Wright and Amy Smith in the side, with both finishing on 13 disposals in serviceable outings. Wright also got her hands dirty with nine tackles.

The Western Bulldogs snapped a long losing streak on Sunday, defeating Darebin Falcons with a side loaded up on elite level players. A bunch of them got among the goals too; Danielle Marshall led the way with three, while Gemma Lagioia and usual defender Eleanor Brown both snared two. Angelica Gogos (23 disposals, one goal) was named best afield in the win, while Amelia Van Oosterwijck was also among the productive brigade of senior stars to do damage in red, white, and blue.

In the round’s final game, Port Melbourne snuck home against Carlton to keep its perfect record in tact, with imposing Richmond forward Sabrina Frederick (two goals) leading the attack. For the Blues, Paige Trudgeon was awarded full votes for her 12 disposals and seven tackles, as Maddy Guerin led her side’s disposal count with 21, and Charlotte Hammans also earned votes. Among the other senior Blues to feature, Serena Gibbs took on some ruck duties with 11 hitouts to go with her 10 touches.

2021 AFL Women’s draftee watch: Grand Final

BRISBANE was crowned the 2021 AFL Women’s premier on Saturday after defeating two-time winner, Adelaide by 18 points at Adelaide Oval. A number of fresh faces to the competition continued their contributions for the two remaining sides, producing big moments on the biggest of stages. We run you through how Generation W’s generation next fared across the latest weekend, focusing on players who were selected from the most recent draft crop.

2021 AFL Women’s Grand Final
Adelaide 3.2 (20) def. by Brisbane 6.2 (38) 

In Brisbane’s maiden premiership triumph, rookie speedster Courtney Hodder booted a couple of crucial goals to kickstart the Lions’ day. The diminutive mover got her side off to an ideal start, booting the first goal of the game with a typically shrewd snap only a couple of minutes in.

She then followed it up with a ridiculously good soccered effort in term two, trickling the ball home after latching onto a kick deep in the pocket that she had little right to get to first. It marked a terrific end to Hodder’s debut campaign, as she played every game and finished with nine disposals, five tackles, and those two goals in the all important decider.

18-year-old Indy Tahau was the Lions’ other 2020 draftee afield, with the athletic utility notching five disposals (four kicks), two marks, and one tackle. Her first season at senior level was a promising one, having come into the side in Round 4 and established her place among a well-drilled unit, playing every game thereafter.

Explosive first year forward Teah Charlton was a strong aerial presence for Adelaide, claiming five marks among her 11 disposals. The prized draft pick also managed two inside 50s and laid two tackles in her final performance for the year. Having come into a stacked squad with plenty of plaudits, Charlton played every game and lived up to her pick four billing.

Another Crow to have appeared in every game was Ashleigh Woodland, a 22-year-old who is making good on her second chance at the elite level. Her numbers – three disposals, one tackle – were not flattering on Saturday, but the dynamic forward was involved in some key moments during the first half and if not for Brisbane’s immense pressure, would have been involved in more scores for Adelaide.

Exciting small prospect Rachelle Martin was the Crows’ third draftee afield, with the 22-year-old good at ground level for nine disposals (seven handballs), two marks, three tackles, and two inside 50s. Having previously been a top-up player at the Crows, Martin capitalised on finally being included in the senior squad and played every game after Round 6, proving her AFLW worth.

Image Credit: James Elsby/AFL Photos

Reserves wrap: 2021 VFL Women’s – Round 6

THE Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s returned for Round 6 on the weekend, with five fixtures played on a super Saturday, and one on Sunday. As the season runs concurrently alongside that of the AFLW, senior-listed players from Victorian clubs who miss out on senior selection will be able to run out for what are effectively reserve sides in the VFLW. As no Victorian teams remain in the top flight finals hunt, state league sides will now be able to load up on elite level talent.

>> Results: VFLW Round 6 wrap

A pair of recently-delisted Saints swapped red, white and black for brown and gold in a battle between standalone clubs, as Hawthorn took on Essendon. The players in question, Nadia Von Bertouch and Tamara Luke, both featured in the Hawks’ votes having notched 10 disposals each, but could not quite help their new side to a win.

Their old VFLW team, the Southern Saints had a win over Williamstown in the same Saturday morning timeslot, after stocking up well on top level players. Jacqui Vogt was named best afield for her 17 disposals and 11 tackles, while Alice Burke fared well in the engine room with 15 touches, and Molly McDonald found it 12 times for the victors.

Port Melbourne’s unblemished record remained so after the Borough beat Western Bulldogs comfortably. Sabrina Frederick booted two goals in her first VFLW outing this year, while Sarah Sansonetti was prominent with five marks down back and recently-delisted forward Emily Harley (16 disposals, one goal) was named her side’s best player.

For the Bulldogs, Annabel Scott gathered a team-high 20 touches and was supported well by young duo, Isabelle Pritchard and Isabella Grant. The latter two have swung between senior and reserves level this year, gaining valuable experience against senior bodies among the young Bulldogs squad.

Geelong held on to beat a fast-finishing Casey Demons on Saturday, with a bunch of top flight products proving impactful. A quartet of senior Cats kicked goals, in Darcy Moloney, Carly Remmos, Laura Gardiner, and Georgia Clarke, while Georgie Rankin gathered 18 disposals. Gardiner also laid 13 tackles and Moloney had 16 touches in the win.

North Melbourne was defeated by Darebin, but that did not stop Katelyn Cox from continuing her good form with 19 disposals and seven tackles. In Collingwood’s victory over traditional rival Carlton, Amelia Velardo thrived with a team-high 20 touches, as Maddy Guerin led all comers to notch a game-high 27 disposals.

AFL Women’s draftee watch: Preliminary Finals – Martin helps Crows surge to another decider

THE 2021 AFL Women’s season rolled on into its second week of finals, with two enthralling knockout bouts played on Saturday. A number of fresh faces continue to make their mark on the competition having already established roles in each remaining team, producing big moments on the biggest of stages. We run you through how Generation W’s generation next fared across the latest weekend, focusing on players who were selected from the most recent draft crop.

Adelaide vs. Melbourne

Two-time AFLW premier, Adelaide became the first side to book its spot in this year’s decider, beating Melbourne by 18 points at Adelaide Oval on Saturday. The Crows were led by their usual band of ball winners, but also had a bunch of handy contributions across the board. 22-year-old Rachelle Martin was one who provided great spark for the winners, applying punishing pressure and digging in hard at ground level. The diminutive speedster finished with 13 disposals, three tackles, and four inside 50s in an important outing.

First year forward Teah Charlton was also productive with 10 touches, two marks and three tackles for the winners, while fellow attacker Ashleigh Woodland brought great intensity with six tackles. The latter two have played every game this season and will likely suit up next week, with Martin another in that boat having impressed across a five-game run in the side.

Melbourne was dealt a crushing blow early as tough midfielder Eliza McNamara was ruled out with concussion following a heavy collision with Adelaide skipper, Chelsea Randall. She played every game in her debut season and has been an excellent addition to the Dees’ squad. 24-year-old Irish recruit Lauren Magee notched three touches in her sixth-straight outing, as prized draftee Alyssa Bannan finished her maiden senior campaign with two disposals in red and blue.

Brisbane vs. Collingwood

Brisbane earned passage to its third grand final in five AFLW seasons on Saturday, via a thrilling four-point win over Collingwood at the Gabba. The Lions now have the chance to claim their first AFLW premiership, with plenty of members from the 2017 and 2018 squads remaining in the maroon, blue, and gold. Rookie sensation Courtney Hodder has played every game this season and while she only registered one disposal on Saturday, played her role with four tackles. South Australian native Indy Tahau has cemented her spot since a Round 4 debut, and will also look to cap off her year in a big way after managing three touches and two tackles.

While they did not achieve the desired result, the Magpies were served well by their two first-year players afield. Father-daughter selection Tarni Brown proved she is every bit the finals player with another outstanding goal in black and white. During the second term, she gathered in the centre square before tucking the ball under her arm, taking on an opponent and slotting the goal from about 40-metres out. She finished with 11 disposals and three inside 50s to cap off a terrific debut season. Bella Smith was also solid with three marks among her eight touches. The tall recruit played the first and last three games for Collingwood in 2021.

2021 AFL WOMEN’S GRAND FINAL:

Adelaide Crows vs. Brisbane Lions

Date: Saturday, April 17
Venue: Adelaide Oval
Time: 1:30pm (ACST)

Image Credit: Sarah Reed/AFL Photos

Adelaide eyes off third AFL Women’s flag

REIGNING AFL Women’s premiers Adelaide Crows have booked their ticket to the 2021 AFLW Grand Final with a convincing 5.3 (33) to 1.9 (15) defeat of Melbourne in the preliminary final on Saturday at the Adelaide Oval. Although they lost the inside 50 battle 28 to 30, Adelaide were far more efficient going forward and deserve the opportunity to challenge for their third women’s premiership against an impressive Brisbane outfit next week.

Midfielders Anne Hatchard and Ebony Marinoff were the stars for the Crows and clearly the two best players on the ground. Hatchard started the game brilliantly, collecting 18 disposals in the first half and providing plenty of run and carry through the corridor. She finished with 27 disposals, five marks, four tackles and a goal in one of her best ever performances. Partner-in-crime Marinoff was just as prominent, equalling Hatchard’s AFLW record for the most disposals in an AFLW match with 35. She also laid 13 tackles and took five marks in the victory.

Despite the loss, Melbourne midfielders Karen Paxman and Tyla Hanks did not have their colours lowered. These two gathered 48 disposals and ten tackles between them and led the Demons to winning the clearance battle 25 to 18. Unfortunately, they did not get much help from their teammates, who were ineffective with their ball use and lacked composure going inside 50.

The match was a tight arm wrestle early, with both sides attacking the ball with ferocity and not allowing their opponents to get many uncontested possessions. Melbourne were on top and repeatedly got the ball inside 50, but Adelaide’s defence held up well under the pressure. Their resistance was led by captain Chelsea Randall until she was involved in a heavy collision halfway through the first term with Melbourne’s Eliza McNamara. Despite both players solely having eyes for the ball, they clashed heads, abruptly left the field and were ruled out of the match with concussion. Due to the AFLW’s 12-day concussion protocol rule, Randall will be unable to compete in the Grand Final. This is a major loss for the home side, as her versatility and leadership has been a key part of the Crows’ resurgence in 2021. Youngster McNamara was a big loss for the Demons in this match as well given her elite running capacity and consistently fierce attack on the ball.

As the two players departed the field, Adelaide superstar Erin Phillips earned a free kick in a marking contest and booted the first goal of the game. While Melbourne were well led in the first term by Paxman (nine disposals) and Hanks (seven disposals), their teammates kept blazing away going forward. This allowed Adelaide defenders to zone off and take easy intercept marks. Late in the term, Kate Hore did well to provide Brenna Tarrant with an opportunity to kick her side’s first, but she hit the post due to some relentless pressure from Sarah Allan.

Early in the second, Shelley Scott got Melbourne fans excited with a spectacular mark at half-back. Melbourne’s pressure went to another level in the second, as they won many holding the ball decisions and gained greater inside 50 dominance. However, this was when Hatchard lifted for the Crows, and she was instrumental in setting up Adelaide’s second major, kicked once again by Phillips. Although Phillips had a quiet first half by her standards, she still kicked the only two goals in that timeframe. Marinoff had 20 disposals and four tackles at the main break.

In the third, draftee Rachelle Martin was the one to break the game open with some explosive passages of play. First, she found forward Chloe Scheer on the lead with a well-weighted kick, and Scheer nailed the set shot from a tight angle to extend Adelaide’s lead to three goals. One minute later, Martin caught Paxman holding the ball with a strong tackle inside 50, which allowed Hatchard to take the advantage kick the Crows’ fourth. Martin continued to apply relentless pressure and bamboozle Melbourne defenders throughout the term, creating many more chances for the Crows that they failed to capitalise on. This meant that they remained less than four goals up at the last break. However, Melbourne were still goalless at three-quarter time, demonstrating how brilliantly Adelaide’s defence was holding up.

While Melbourne tried to turn the tide in the last, Crows livewire Eloise Jones had other ideas. Jones, who played predominantly in defence throughout the contest, pushed forward and soccerred one of the goals of the year with her opposite foot under significant pressure. Thankfully for the Demons, Hore was able to get out the back of Adelaide’s defence in the ninth minute and slot her side’s first major. It was a well-deserved goal for Hore, who toiled hard all day and was one of Melbourne’s most consistent contributors. The Demons got several more chances to hit the scoreboard in the final term, but they were very inaccurate in front of goal. Despite the windy conditions, a couple of the misses were inexcusable. It did not matter in the end, as Adelaide ran out 18-point victors. In seven days, they will attempt to become the first ever back-to-back AFLW premiers in a rematch of the 2017 AFLW decider.

ADELAIDE 1.0 | 2.1 | 4.2 | 5.3 (33)
MELBOURNE 0.2 | 0.3 | 0.5 | 1.9 (15)

GOALS:

Adelaide: E. Phillips 2, E. Jones, A. Hatchard, C. Scheer.
Melbourne: K. Hore.

DC BEST:

Adelaide: A. Hatchard, E. Marinoff, R. Martin, S. Allan, M. Rajcic
Melbourne: K. Paxman, T. Hanks, K. Hore, S. Scott, E. Zanker

Picture credit: Sarah Reed/AFL Photos

AFL Women’s draftee watch: Qualifying Finals – Brown completes Collingwood comeback

THE 2021 AFL Women’s season rolled on into its first week of finals, with two enthralling knockout bouts played on Saturday. A number of fresh faces continued to make their mark on the competition having already established roles in each team, producing big moments on the biggest of stages. We run you through how Generation W’s generation next fared across the latest weekend, focusing on players under 21 years of age who were selected from the most recent draft crop.

Melbourne vs. Fremantle

Melbourne booked its preliminary final ticket with a fighting win over Fremantle at Casey Fields, setting up its clash with Adelaide this coming Saturday. The Dees were sparked early by prized 2020 draftee Alyssa Bannan, who booted the first goal of the game via a crafty steal and improvised finish deep inside 50. She finished with six touches, one tackle, and two inside 50s but did not manage to add another major to her tally. Meanwhile tough first year midfielder Eliza McNamara had another solid outing in the red and blue; collecting nine disposals (all kicks), two marks, and three inside 50s while also laying three tackles. For Fremantle, Sarah Verrier rounded out a promising debut campaign with nine touches, three tackles, and two rebound 50s. She played all 10 games for the Dockers in 2020, an impressive feat given their strength over the last two seasons in particular.

Collingwood vs. North Melbourne

Collingwood remains right in the premiership hunt after a hard-earned win over North Melbourne, forced to work back from behind to topple the highly-fancied Kangaroos. A sense of nostalgia dawned on Victoria Park as Tarni Brown, the daughter of the legendary Gavin, notched the winning goal in black and white to complete her side’s final term turnaround. The youngster had another memorable moment at the same end of the ground, only she booted the ball through the wrong set of sticks in a bizarre brain-lapse. She finished with 12 disposals, three tackles, and three inside 50s. Joanna Lin and Bella Smith were the other 2020 Collingwood draftees afield, though they could only combine for five touches and a couple of tackles. For North, first round coup Bella Eddey contributed four handballs and two tackles, but was terrific in her first senior campaign. She was another to play all 10 games and had some bright moments throughout, playing mostly as a forward.

PRELIMINARY FINAL FIXTURES:

Saturday, April 10

Adelaide vs. Melbourne
Adelaide Oval, 1:40pm

Brisbane vs. Collingwood
Gabba, 4:10pm

Image Credit: Kelly Defina / AFL Photos

Demons book prelim spot with win over Dockers at windswept Casey Fields

MELBOURNE has earned a chance at toppling two-time AFL Women’s premiers Adelaide in the preliminary final next weekend after defeating Fremantle by 17 points at a windswept Casey Fields yesterday. The Demons kept last year’s minor premiers goalless in the first half, then held on the second half despite some inaccuracy, to win, 5.10 (40) to 3.5 (23). Despite a phenomenal effort from Kiara Bowers with a Bowers-like tackle count of 17, the Demons put together a strong team effort across four quarters to advance through to the penultimate week of the 2021 AFL Women’s season.

After a couple of behinds early in the match, the Demons’ first selection in last year’s draft Alyssa Bannan got them on the board midway through the term, and whilst the Dockers had a couple of chances late in the quarter, could not capitalise and trailed by a straight kick at the first break. Shelley Scott was quick to pile on another major for the Demons, needing just 36 seconds from the restart to slot through the home team’s second goal, and the lead was out to 12. Scott doubled up five minutes later with her second and the Demons’ third, and when Eden Zanker missed a chance, the lead was out to a game-high 19 points at the half. Fremantle was unable to add to its quarter time score of two behinds, and the danger signs were there.

Fremantle had the first chance of the second half through Gemma Houghton, but she scored her second behind of the contest two minutes into the quarter, before Ashley Sharp broke the Dockers’ drought with a crucial major in the fourth minute of the premiership quarter. That cut the deficit to 12, and it did get as low as a 11 points midway through the quarter, before Brenna Tarrant – who had kicked five majors in her VFL Women’s debut earlier in the year – snagged a goal and the Demons had one foot in the preliminary final. Sabreena Duffy had other ideas though, and just as soon as the Demons were looking comfortable, she answered with a goal of her own, and the lead was back to less than two kicks. In the dying moments of the third term, Houghton finally found her range with a great goal and the deficit was just four points heading into the final break.

The first goal of the last term was crucial, but for some reason no matter how many chances they had, the Demons could not split the big sticks. Seven consecutive behinds – including one rushed – opened the term, but the ball was effectively locked inside the Demons 50, when the Dockers needed it up the other end for a chance to win the game. Instead, all of those behinds had pushed the lead from four points to 11 with four minutes on the clock. Eventually it would be the crafty Maddi Gay who put the icing on the cake with a terrific goal in the 15th minute to seal the game for the home team and guarantee them another week in the competition. Unfortunately for the Dockers, it meant the end of the road after their premiership aspirations were cut short last year due to the league cancellation, and now they will head back to go again in 2022. For the Demons, they will take on a red-hot Adelaide in South Australia next week, with the winner to book a place in the 2021 AFL Women’s Grand Final.

Gay was sensational throughout the match, fitting that she kicked the winning goal to go with 19 touches, three marks and nine tackles in the match, while Karen Paxman (20 disposals, five tackles, two inside 50s and two rebound 50s), Lily Mithen (17 disposals, two marks, three inside 50s and two tackles) and Scott (13 disposals, two tackles and two goals) were also prolific. Jacqueline Parry (12 disposals, four marks and four tackles), Zanker (10 disposals, three marks and four tackles) and Lauren Pearce (11 disposals, two tackles, 15 hitouts and three inside 50s) were also strong, as Casey Sherriff, Sarah Lampard, Tegan Cunningham, Kate Hore and Tyla Hanks all hit double-figure disposals.

For the Dockers, Bowers continued her remarkable season with 20 disposals and 17 tackles, six more than her nearest teammates in Steph Cain (14 disposals, five marks and three tackles) and Matilda Sergeant (14 disposals, two tackles). Houghton was forever busy up forward with 1.2 from nine disposals, two marks ad thee tackles, while Philippa Seth had 13 disposals, two marks and six rebound 50s. Mim Strom (12 disposals, two marks, 12 hitouts and six tackles), Ange Stannett (12 disposals, seven tackles and two inside 50s), Hayley Miller (11 disposals, six tackles and two rebound 50s) and Laura Pugh (10 disposals, four tackles and four rebound 50s) were others who not only hit double-figure disposals, but laid plenty of tackles as well.

MELBOURNE 1.2 | 3.3 | 4.3 | 5.10 (40)
FREMANTLE 0.2 | 0.2 | 3.5 | 3.5 (23)

GOALS:

Melbourne: S. Scott 2, A. Bannan, B. Tarrant, M. Gay.
Fremantle: A. Sharp, S. Duffy. G. Houghton.

DC BEST:

Melbourne: M. Gay, K. Paxman, L. Mithen, S. Scott, T. Cunningham
Fremantle: K. Bowers, M. Sergeant, M. Strom, H. Miller, S. Cain

Picture credit: Graham Denholm/Getty Images via AFL Photos

Reserves wrap: 2021 VFL Women’s – Round 4

THE Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s returned for Round 4 on the weekend, with another six enthralling fixtures spread over Saturday and Sunday. As the season runs concurrently alongside that of the AFLW, top-flight players from Victorian clubs who miss out on senior action will be able to run out for what are effectively reserve sides in the VFLW. Round 4 saw promising elite level talent scattered across the eight aligned teams, with players again staking claims for call-ups.

>> Results: VFLW Round 4 wrap

Having previously boasted a wealth of senior-listed guns in their lineup, the Western Bulldogs’ tally was down to two as they went down to standalone side, Williamstown on Saturday. Bailey Hunt‘s strong return from injury continued as she found plenty of the ball, while Amelia van Oosterwijck was another to get her hands dirty in midfield as the only other AFLW representative wearing red, white and blue.

Another team usually stacked with senior talent is Geelong, though the Cats took quality over quantity in their 16-point home loss to Port Melbourne. Maddie Boyd‘s improvised ruck role has seen her hit some handy form at state league level, and that was no different on Saturday evening as she dominated the airways. Northern Territory native Stephanie Williams was busy at ground level with her pressure game, while also finding the goals alongside Georgia Clarke.

The Borough had some strong input from their Richmond-listed players, with Sarah Sansonetti and Hannah McLaren both featuring among the votes while Alice Edmonds, Phoebe Monahan, and young tall Cleo Saxon-Jones all kicked goals. First year midfielder Luka Lesosky-Hay is another who continues to find her feet, having returned arguably her best senior-level performance to date.

Among a half-dozen Melbourne players pushing for call-ups in Casey’s win over the Southern Saints was Niamh McEvoy, who snared another two goals as the best player afield. 2020 draftee Isabella Simmons also bagged a major score for Casey, as did Renee Saulitis for the Saints. Meanwhile, Nadia von Bertouch continues to push for a recall in the red, white and black after another strong outing.

Carlton’s significant showing of AFLW talent shone through in the Blues’ victory over North Melbourne, as the likes of Serena Gibbs (one goal), Winnie Laing, and Maddy Guerin all earned votes. The latter will be unavailable for selection next week through concussion protocols, while Brooke Vernon (ankle) will also miss a couple of games. On a lighter note, promising tall Paige Trudgeon was another to find the big sticks in Carlton’s win.

Speaking of, North forward Brooke Brown continues to show promise in front of goal after snagging four in the loss. She may worth a second senior berth given the Roos’ two-goal effort in Round 8. Katelyn Cox was another senior-listed representative to impress, as Bethany Lynch also took the field for her third VFLW game running.

Collingwood remains unbeaten after accounting for Hawthorn in Round 4’s final fixture, with solid impact coming from the Magpies’ elite level talent. Maddie Shevlin dropped back down and again proved her worth on the outside, claiming a full set of votes in the winning side. Young tall Abbi Moloney showed promise up forward and kicked a goal, while Amelia Velardo continues her development down the other end.

Image Credit: Jonathan Di Maggio/AFL Photos