Tag: AFLW

Code-crosser Garnett grateful for the journey

TWO years was all it took for Georgia Garnett to be recognised on football’s national stage.

Growing up in the rugby league heartland of Western Sydney, Garnett was naturally taken in and down the rugby path through Oztag and touch footy. But when her footballing father took her out for a kick of the oblong ball and her physical education (PE) teacher handed over a school football sign-up sheet, everything changed. Garnett soon earned New South Wales representative selection, sparking a journey travelled at breakneck speed.

“I was into rugby league, we had a rugby league family so I played a lot of touch (rugby) and Oztag,” Garnett said. “(I) played in a weekend-long carnival and made the New South Wales team from there but I hadn’t actually played footy before. “So I had to join a club which was Kellyville/Rouse Hill Magpies, I just started playing a couple of games there and went up to the school national championships but that was my first couple of games of footy.”

From there, Garnett slotted straight into the GWS GIANTS Academy and earned selection in the AFLW National Academy to boot, learning on the job and picking up the required skills at a rapid rate on the back of her sporting history.

“(Rugby and other sports) helped me a lot,” Garnett said. “With touch; all the running, the fitness and also the hand-eye coordination, being able to see and set up plays has helped me a lot. “Obviously I wasn’t doing much kicking so I had to learn that pretty quickly too.”

Garnett’s steep rise has been nurtured by the support of some of the GIANTS’ finest, with the grateful junior able to lean on elites of the game during her development.

“We’ve got Alicia Eva and Lou Stephenson here so they’ve been a big part… ‘Fridge’ (Amanda Farrugia) the captain, she’s kind of taken me under her wing and obviously Alyce Parker from last year has helped me a lot. “She’s messaged me a few times making sure I’m alright, asking if I need anything so yeah, a lot of girls who’ve really helped me out and I’m very grateful,” she said.

The journey for year 2019 has culminated thus far in Garnett’s National Championships appearances, building into some great from with a 12-disposal game against Vic Metro before unfortunately having her carnival cut short by injury. Still, it was enough for Garnett to once again prove her talent and needless to say, she enjoyed the week.

“Who doesn’t love the Gold Coast?” Garnett said amid the excitement. “It’s been good, especially with the girls, they’re a great bunch so it’s been very fun.”

With full support from her parents and the GIANTS family backing her in, Garnett is nearing the final hurdles of her junior career. And that support has helped her thrive to this point.

“(Choosing football) has always been my choice which I’m also happy about,” she said. “My dad played football himself so he was stoked when I started playing and my mum just comes to everything – the Giants let her sit in and watch training so she loves it, she drives me everywhere – they’ve been very supportive.”

Weekend preview: AFL Women’s – Grand Final

SUNDAY will see the biggest game of the AFL Women’s calendar, with minor premiers of both Conference A and Conference B, Adelaide and Carlton making it to the 2019 AFLW Grand Final. A battle of conferences is a fitting way to end the 2019 season, with both sides hopeful for their best win of the season. Carlton showed a new side of their team in last week’s first preliminary final against Fremantle, convincingly outplaying the Dockers and beating them by 36 points to lock in an inaugural grand final appearance. Adelaide put up a stellar performance against Geelong in the second preliminary final, running over the Cats by a painful 66 point margin and locking in a home grand final on Sunday afternoon. This week will see Adelaide as strong contenders for their second AFLW Grand Final win, only the first club in a position to do so after the competition’s inception in 2017, while Carlton will hope to pull off a big upset similar to their performance last week in order to get the win in front of a hostile Adelaide home crowd.

Adelaide vs. Carlton
Sunday, March 31
1:00pm AEDT, Adelaide Oval

Carlton’s strong win against favourites, Fremantle last week sees the Blues make it into their inaugural Grand Final, while the Crows are the first side to take the field in a Grand Final with one trophy already under their belt, meaning this match will be a one to add to the record books regardless of the outcome. While the Conference system is the only reason Carlton were able to make finals, this match will be a big indicator of the difference between Conference A and Conference B, unless Carlton are able to pull off another shock victory to take out the 2019 AFLW Grand Final. That being said, Carlton have produced fighting scorelines in majority of their matches, winning five of their last six matches to make the Grand Final, so do have the potential to give Adelaide a run for their money. The Crows have won their last seven matches, the first of their run against Carlton in Round 2 2019, so will want to keep their fine form going with another win to add to their season tally.

From the two sides in the mix this week, Carlton’s Madison Prespakis, Lauren Brazzale and Brianna Davey stood out in the big win against the Dockers, with 57 touches, 11 tackles, nine marks and a goal between them. Adelaide’s Ebony Marinoff, Jess Foley and Erin Phillips were among the best in the team effort against Geelong, with a combined 69 disposals, 21 tackles, 11 marks and three goals.

Last time they met saw Adelaide prevail as Carlton threw all they had at the Crows, going down by only 13 points in Round 2 at Ikon Park (Carlton 7.2 (44) to Adelaide 9.3 (57)). The Blues led for a good part of the game with a good run out of defence, but struggled with forward options after Tayla Harris was a late omission from the side, allowing turnovers by a clinical and offence-driven Crows side. The Blues’ relentless forward push did mean some goals were bound to break through the Crows’ backline, however a late push from the visitors saw the two sides combine for a competitive seven goal third term, effectively taking the Crows back into the lead ahead of the last quarter. A three goal to one burst in the final term saw Adelaide come away with their first win for the season, while Carlton came away with a lot to think about and build on for their next matchup.

Adelaide’s small forwards were at their best in Round 2, with Stevie-Lee Thompson (four goals, 17 disposals) and Eloise Jones (two goals, five tackles) putting on a show in front of goal and poking holes in Carlton’s defence. Anne Hatchard and Erin Phillips dominated around the ground with 43 touches and 10 marks between them, while Jess Foley had the 17 hitouts and Ebony Marinoff added eight tackles to her season tally. Carlton had a good game in front of the big sticks, only registering two behinds for the day with six individual goalkickers, but were unable to capitalise on opportunities credit to Adelaide’s pressure around the ground and the Blues’ forward 50. Natalie Plane had her best game for the season, kicking two goals and racking up 11 touches and three tackles, while Kerryn Harrington and Madison Prespakis were among Carlton’s best, racking up 20 disposals apiece, with Prespakis kicking her debut goal in AFLW and Harrington notching up six marks. Shae Audley and Amelia Mullane managed seven and six tackles, respectively.

Weekend wash-up: AFLW – Round 5

ROUND 5 of the AFL Women’s competition saw some huge wins and some firsts, with Brisbane recording the lowest score and Adelaide handing North Melbourne the Roos’ first defeat.

Brisbane 1.2 (8) defeated by Geelong 5.5 (35)
By: James Halley

Geelong defeated Brisbane by 27 points in their Round 5 encounter to earn themselves top spot in Conference B. With only two rounds remaining, Geelong is one game clear on top of Conference B and has a great chance to qualify for the finals.

After a tense first half, Geelong hit the front moments before the siren due to a goal from Mia-Rae Clifford, sparking a dominant second half by the Cats and keeping Brisbane to the lowest AFLW score in the league’s short history, winning 5.5 (35) to 1.2 (8).

Richelle Cranston starred for Geelong in the midfield, amassing 22 disposals, while Olivia Purcell was equally as dominant, picking up 20 disposals and a whopping ten tackles. Cats forward Kate Darby kicked three of Geelong’s five goals, after being axed from the side in Round 4. This performance should give her some confidence to keep her spot going forward.

The Cats’ manic pressure was astounding, and will be hard to beat leading into the finals if they can sustain it in the coming weeks.

Carlton 4.10 (34) defeated Collingwood 4.5 (29)
By: Sophie Taylor

It was a scorching evening for footy at Ikon Park, but that didn’t stop a crowd forming for the Round 5 matchup between traditional rivals Carlton and Collingwood. It was a do or die match for both sides, as Collingwood worked to get a victory for the first time in 2019, while Carlton were pushing for a top 2 position in Conference B. There was plenty of action in the low scoring affair, as Carlton overcame a mid-match slump to beat the Magpies 4.10 (34) to 4.5 (29).

It was Carlton that came to play in the opening quarter, kicking the first goal after five minutes of play. It was an unfortunate night for goal kicking, however, as the Blues struggled with inaccuracy, kicking 1.5 in the first quarter but keeping the Magpies scoreless. Despite their speedy start it was the Magpies that jumped into action in the second quarter, kicking 2.4 to 0.1 to be up by four points at half time, thanks to a goal apiece to Katie Lynch and Jordyn Allen. Some on the line defence work from the Blues kept them in the game throughout the middle quarters as inaccuracy continued to be an issue all over the field. Collingwood remained in control throughout the third term, kicking two more goals in the hopes of keeping their 2019 season alive, while Carlton kicked another goal and behind to stay in the match.

Despite lighting issues plaguing the Carlton forward pocket in the final term, a two goal, three behind final quarter to nil brought the Blues’ second win of the season, turning the tides and bringing back the confident start they had in the first term. Despite her three behinds in the first quarter, Darcy Vescio finally got a major on the board and kicked her only goal of the game to put the Blues ahead in the dying minutes. Madison Prespakis starred for the Blues, leading the disposal count with 21 touches and a goal, while captain, Brianna Davey dominated across the ground with 20 disposals and four tackles. Along with Vescio and Prespakis, Tayla Harris and Alison Downie also managed a major each in what was an inaccurate day out in front of goal.

For the Blues, Gabriella Pound and Kerryn Harrington impressed with 31 disposals between them, along with their eight and seven respective marks. Jaimee Lambert led the tackle count with seven tackles to go with her 18 disposals, while Britt Bonnici and Kristy Stratton weren’t far behind on six and five tackles respectively. Sarah Rowe and debutant, Darcy Guttridge also both made it onto the scoreboard, kicking a debut goal apiece for the Pies.

GWS Giants 2.6 (18) defeated by Melbourne 8.9 (57)
By: Michael Alvaro

Melbourne earned four points and a crucial percentage boost against GWS as the Demons push for a spot in the Conference A top two. The home side was not able to match it with the surging Dees for long, as the winners broke a quarter time deadlock to open up a 16-point lead at the main break – all while keeping the Giants goalless in the second stanza. With the third term spoils shared at an even 1.2 apiece, there was still a chance for the hosts to snatch a victory with one final push. That was not to be though, as a clinical Melbourne outfit again kept its opponent goalless after the last break and piled on another four majors to run out 39-point victors.

Tegan Cunningham was the star Dee inside forward 50 as she put 3.2 on the board to be the game’s lone multiple goal kicker. Melbourne midfielders Maddison Gay and Karen Paxman also found the goals, and were their side’s best ball winners with 19 and 17 disposals respectively. Not to be outdone, Giants star, Alicia Eva had 20 of her own and was matched by 2018 draftee, Alyce Parker who continued her outstanding debut season to date.

Looking forward, Melbourne is set to play part in a Marvel Stadium double-header on Saturday against the battling Bulldogs in a Conference A clash, while GWS will look to keep its finals hopes alive as it travels to face the red-hot Adelaide Crows at Unley Oval.

North Melbourne 4.5 (29) defeated by Adelaide 10.4 (64)
By: Nikki Jamieson

In the blockbuster match between the top-two conference A teams, Adelaide proved that the new North Melbourne side could be stopped by making their winning streak come to a crashing end. The Crows were able to thump the Roos by 35 points, throwing a spanner into the premiership race for North Melbourne.

The Roos started out strong, with performances by Moana Hope and Kaitlyn Ashmore leading to the first two goals on the board. However, it didn’t take long for Adelaide to strike back by the thirteenth minute, from which point onward the Crows were able to maintain the lead for the rest of the match.

An impressive competition took place in the midfield between the Crows’ Erin Phillips and the Roos’ Emma Kearney. Naturally, Phillips had an excellent game with 2 goals and 23 disposals, but it was Kearney who took out the disposal count with 31.

As the game continued, Adelaide were responsible for ten of the last 12 goals, comfortably placing them far in front of North Melbourne, who were only able to put up 8 points in the entire second half. This was exemplified through the work of Stevie-Lee Thompson who was able to easily brush past a dormant North Melbourne defence and kick two goals and one behind.

Next round on the Saturday, North Melbourne face off against a winless Collingwood at Marvel Stadium in a double header and on the Sunday Adelaide return home to play GWS at Unley Oval.

Fremantle 8.4 (52) defeated Western Bulldogs 5.4 (34)
By: Carly McClen

It was a crucial 18-point win for a much improved 2019 Fremantle Dockers outfit on their home turf over the reigning premiers. The Bulldogs flew to Fremantle to get back to their brand of football and play with heart, which they accomplished, and they’d be rightly satisfied with achieving that. Also on the flight was 2017 number one draft pick, Isabel Huntington and 2018 leading goal kicker, Brooke Lochland, both returning from injury. Both played their roles well, as did Katie Brennan, Aisling Utri and Aisling McCarthy. The Dogs were out there on the day against a better side with a bigger hunger to win the footy and more grunt and poise to get it done.

It was a tight game throughout the four terms, with the Dockers kicking clear halfway through the final term. Sabreena Duffy was pivotal late on her home track with two crucial goals, showing the depth Freo have in their forward line. Fremantle gun, Kiara Bowers was a consistent standout all day with 23 disposals, 16 tackles and a goal for her side.

The Dockers had a few of these above-the-rest individual efforts from the usual suspects in Dana Hooker, Kellie Gibson, Kara Donnellan and Gemma Houghton. The well-rounded Dockers had the whole team to fall back on, making them a polished side to contend with. Every time the Bulldogs were looking to get in front, the Freo midfield would form a wall, tackling fiercely head on and taking Bulldogs to the turf. Bowers really lead that charge with her 16 tackles.

Conference A is tight right now. Today’s win positions the Dockers to be level with leaders North Melbourne and Adelaide. A win against Geelong next week and a jump on percentage will flag the Dockers as a real and present danger to qualify for the top two.

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.

Weekend preview: AFLW – Round 5

WITH three rounds remaining, it is becoming vitally important to come home with four points as conferences are really taking shape.

BRISBANE vs. GEELONG
Saturday, March 2, 4.45pm
Moreton Bay Sports Complex

A battle between the top two sides of Conference B looms as Brisbane meets Geelong for the first time in AFLW, with the 2-2 Cats travel north in hope of pouncing on top spot. The Lions’ greater percentage holds them clear of their weekend opponents for now and barring a draw, we will have an outright leader atop the Conference B standings after this clash. While both sides returned to form with wins last time out, a 7.7 Round 4 scoreline puts the Lions in good stead for this bout given the Cats were held goalless in the second half against Carlton on the same day. Goalsneak Jess Wuetschner has led the way in that department Brisbane, with six goals helping her to equal-second for the competition. As part of more astute defensive unit, Geelong’s Phoebe McWilliams and Mia-Rae Clifford hold the best hauls for their side with three majors each, so this should prove an interesting battle between attack and defence.

H2H: Brisbane 0 | Geelong 0 | Draws 0
Venue: Brisbane 1-1-0 | Geelong 0-0-0

Last time they met: N/A

CARLTON vs. COLLINGWOOD
Saturday, March 2, 7.10pm
Ikon Park

Traditional rivals Carlton and Collingwood do battle once again at Ikon Park, with the travelling Magpies still searching for an AFLW win against their nemesis, as well as in season 2019. Waywardness cost the Blues in their last outing, but a star-studded forward line boasting the likes of Tayla Harris and Darcy Vescio will hope to bound back into form here. The marking power of Harris will no-doubt be challenged by Magpies netball convert, Ash Brazill, who is second in the competition for intercept possessions (31). Up the other end, Collingwood’s lack of a real target inside forward 50 has been a sore spot, with last week’s score of 27 its highest for the season. If they are to stand a chance in this Conference B clash, the Magpies will need to lock down well in defence and take their chances going the other way.

H2H: Carlton 2 | Collingwood 0 | Draws 0
Venue: Carlton 4-1-2 | Collingwood 0-3-0

Last time they met: Carlton 3.4 (22) defeated Collingwood 2.2 (14) at Ikon Park, Round 1 2018.

In the second time these two teams opened the season, Carlton prevailed once agin in a much tighter, eight-point win over their arch rivals. In a game best remembered for future Rising Star winner Chloe Molloy‘s debut – she had 20 disposals and completely nullified Darcy Vescio in defence – the Blues were more effective inside 50. Captain Brianna Davey amassed 16 disposals, four marks, two clearances, three rebounds and two tackles. Danielle Hardiman (12 touches and three rebounds) was solid, while Gab Pound and former Magpie, Nicola Stevens both amassed 11 touches and four rebounds. For the Magpies, Molloy had six more disposals than any other Pies player and also had four rebounds, while Jaimee Lambert – also making her Collingwood debut – was next best with 14 touches.

GWS GIANTS vs. MELBOURNE
Sunday, March 3, 2.05pm
Blacktown International Sportspark

GWS hosts Melbourne in a game that could prove vital for the Dees’ finals aspirations in Conference A. A much tighter Conference B ladder poises GWS in fourth, identical to their weekend counterparts’ standing, but a big win could propel the Giants into second come the round’s end. The home side will also come in with a bill of confidence having edged out the Magpies for their first win last time out, and will hope to make it two on the trot here. Conversely, Melbourne fought valiantly in a loss to the currently invincible Kangaroos, and a win would put them firmly back into the top two mix. The Dees will look to get back to winning ways after having won consecutively before Round 4, with the likes of Karen Paxman, Lauren Pearce, and Elise O’Dea enjoying terrific seasons through the midfield thus far. Rebecca Beeson is right up there with Paxman and O’Dea in the disposal count, and will look to combine with the class of Alicia Eva to make the engine room battle an even one. The Dees are also usually a healthy scoring side, so look for that to be a feature too.

H2H: GWS GIANTS 1 | Melbourne 1 | Draws 0
Venue: GWS GIANTS 1-3-1 | Melbourne 0-1-0

Last time they met: Melbourne 7.3 (45) defeated GWS GIANTS 6.3 (39) at Casey Fields, Round 1 2018.

Melbourne had to come from behind to get the job done in a thrilling contest against the GIANTS at Casey Fields in the opening round last year. They trailed at every break, but booted three of the last four goals to claim the victory. Daisy Pearce was the top ball winner with 19 disposals, seven clearances and five inside 50s, while Elise O’Dea had 17 as well as five inside . 50s, four rebounds and five tackles. Lily Mithen (15 disposals) and Bianca Jakobsson (14) were other Demons who performed well in the victory. For the GIANTS, Courtney Gum was superb with 17 disposals (12 contested), four clearances, two tackles and two inside 50s, while Alicia Eva and Jacinda Barclay both recorded 14 disposals, with the latter slotting two majors.

NORTH MELBOURNE vs. ADELAIDE
Sunday, March 3, 4.05pm
Avalon Airport Oval

A top of the table clash looms in Conference A as Adelaide looks to join the undefeated North Melbourne on 16 points atop of the ladder. Adelaide are the only other side who can boast a winning run of over three game, with the Crows’ only loss coming in Round 1 by the slimmest of margins on the back of a 1.11 score. Meanwhile, the Kangaroos have proved a powerhouse since entering the competition, with their lowest score thus far a more than respectable 38, coming last round. The Dees proved their biggest challenge by far on that day, with an otherwise average winning margin of almost 31 points. Since Round 1, the Crows have proved to be no slouches in front of goal either, with three scores over 57 points leading to handy victories and a percentage of 168. The goalkicking prowess on either team is easily identified by the fact that new ‘Roo Emma King and Crows forward Stevie-Lee Thompson each lead the goalkicking charts with seven goals apiece. Both sides boast versatile midfields along with their scoring power, with the likes of Ebony Marinoff and Erin Phillips dominating for the Crows with good meterage and a link into forward 50, while Emma Kearney has led superbly from Jamie Stanton, Jenna Bruton, and Jess Duffin for the ‘Roos. The undoubted game of the round, this one should be a belter between two form sides used to winning.

H2H: North Melbourne 0 | Adelaide 0 | Draws 0
Venue: North Melbourne 0-0-0 | Adelaide 0-0-0

Last time they met: N/A

FREMANTLE vs. WESTERN BULLDOGS
Sunday, March 3, 6.05pm
Fremantle Oval

Third plays fifth in this Conference A clash between Fremantle and Western Bulldogs, with both sides coming off Round 4 losses. The 3-1 Dockers hold a superior record to the Dogs, and will be looking to breaking the top two of the conference with a win here. The Bulldogs hold the second-worst percentage of the whole competition, but could move up off the bottom of Conference A with four points and results pending. Both sides possess shining lights up forward, with Katie Brennan an established star of the game and leading the competition for contested marks as a link into forward 50 for the Dogs. Meanwhile, Ebony Antonio has been electric for Freo, leading the way in terms of goals and score involvements. In another key comparison, the home side’s hard-nosed midfield duo of Dana Hooker and Kiara Bowers meets the dynamism of Bulldogs pair Ellie Blackburn and Monique Conti, with their run and carry a crucial piece of the puzzle this fixture throughs up. Either way, this bout will help give the Conference A ladder some shape, and could prove make or break for the Bulldogs.

H2H: Fremantle 0 | Western Bulldogs 2 | Draws 0
Venue: Fremantle 4-3-0 | Western Bulldogs 0-0-0

Last time they met: Western Bulldogs 7.7 (49) defeated Fremantle 3.5 (23) at Whitten Oval, Round 1, 2018.

For the second consecutive year, the Western Bulldogs were all over Fremantle and had no trouble putting them away at Whitten Oval to start what was going to be a memorable year. Fremantle booted three goals to two in the second half, but it was to no avail as they went down by 26 points. Ellie Blackburn was best on ground with 23 disposals, seven marks, three clearances, three inside 50s and three rebounds, while Emma Kearney ably assisted with 18 touches, six marks, seven clearances, four inside 50s and two rebounds. Katie Brennan slotted three goals in the victory, while Brooke Lochland managed one to go with her 13 touches and six marks. For the Dockers, Dana Hooker and Kara Donnellan both had 12 touches but were the only ones into double figures in what was a disappointing game for Dockers fans.

Weekend preview: AFLW – Round 3

TWO round down and the two conference ladders are already starting to show an alarming trend, with all Conference A sides ahead of every Conference B side. In the match of the round, the Western Bulldogs travel to Tasmania to face North Melbourne, while winless sides, GWS GIANTS and Carlton face-off with one team to finally score four points. In the other matches, Collingwood travels west to face Fremantle, Adelaide hosts Geelong, and Brisbane take on Melbourne in a unique round that sees all five games played interstate.
 
NORTH MELBOURNE v. WESTERN BULLDOGS
Friday, February, 15, 7:15pm
University of Tasmania Stadium

After a thumping win in Round 1, North Melbourne head back to the Apple Isle, this time to the University of Tasmania Stadium. While their opponents this time around will be much tougher in the reigning premiers, the Kangaroos will fancy themselves having seen off GWS GIANTS in torrential rain and thunderstorms, a week earlier. The Western Bulldogs will also fancy their chances and are likely the best side to topple the team of champions, which should see plenty of eyes glued to televisions tonight. The winner seems almost destined to secure a finals spot, given their respective opponent will arguably be the toughest opponent they come across, and will go 3-0 up with four rounds remaining. Western Bulldogs have one of the most potent forward lines in the league and that is how they can exploit the Kangaroos. If the Roos, led by former Dog Emma Kearney, can win the midfield battle, then it will go a long way to victory. The North forward line is ultra-impressive and has no trouble kicking goals, but the Bulldogs have a stern defence that will not give them an inch. It all adds up to being an absolute blockbuster with Kearney and Ellie Blackburn going head-to-head.

H2H: North Melbourne 0 | Western Bulldogs 0 | Draws 0
Venue: North Melbourne 0-0-0 | Western Bulldogs 0-0-0

Last time they met: N/A
 

GWS GIANTS v. CARLTON
Saturday, February, 16, 4:45pm
Blacktown International Sports Park

If a week is a long time in football, then a year is an eternity, with Carlton’s last victory coming in the Round 2 clash, last year. Carlton has made a habit of upsetting GIANTS fans, winning both of its matches against the GIANTS since the AFL Women’s began. Their contested brand of football tends to work well against the GIANTS and they restrict the run of GWS, however the GIANTS have ensured bigger bodies in the midfield this season. The teams almost match up identically across the board statistically, with Carlton’s tackling inside 50 a highlight – averaging 11 per game. The GWS midfield will be hard to combat, but if the Blues can get the ball forward, they are a huge chance of an upset. The winner gets back on track this season, while the loser will find it tough to recover, needing to win at least three games from its last four games to secure a finals spot. No doubt the match-up to keep an eye on is Madison Prespakis against Alyce Parker with both young guns unbelievably talented, strong and can go forward and have an impact. A head-to-head we will see plenty over the next decade.

H2H: GWS GIANTS 0 | Carlton 2 | Draws 0
Venue: GWS GIANTS 1-1-2 | Carlton 0-0-0

Last time they met: Carlton 3.12 (30) defeated GWS GIANTS 1.3 (9), Round 2, 2018

Carlton gave their fans some serious hope in the Round 2 clash between the sides when a inaccurate Blues team got the job done at Drummoyne Oval. The win was the club’s first victory outside Ikon Park, and with the Blues holding the GIANTS to just three behinds after quarter time, the defensive work was terrific. Captain, Brianna Davey had 16 disposals, two marks, six tackles and two rebounds, while Jess Hosking and Shae Audley shared 28 disposals and 10 clearances between them. But the biggest memory was that of Sarah Hosking who smashed the tackle record with 16 to go with 12 disposals. For the GIANTS, Alicia Eva had 17 disposals and a game nine tackles, while Amanda Farrugia and Courtney Gum both finished with 16 touches.

 

FREMANTLE v. COLLINGWOOD
Saturday, February, 16, 7:15pm
Fremantle Oval

In one of the first three cross-conference games, Fremantle hosts Collingwood at Fremantle Oval. The sides have been relatively even over the first two seasons, which is to say a little underwhelming overall. This year the teams have taken different paths, with the Dockers winning their opening two games, while the Magpies have suffered two defeats. Collingwood almost toppled Geelong in Round 1 and the Dockers almost fell to Melbourne, so the teams were very close to both being 1-1. With Sophie Alexander returning to the Pies side to strengthen them up forward, and Nicole Hildebrand named in defence; the latter will assist the in-form Ash Brazill in creating run out of defence. For Fremantle, Dana Hooker and Kara Donnellan have been dominant through the middle, and with an electric forward line, it will be hard for the Magpies to combat. If Fremantle win, they will move to second in Conference A with the other two undefeated sides facing off the day before. A Collingwood loss means the Magpies go 0-3 for the third consecutive year, almost ruling out finals before the midway point of the season.

H2H: Fremantle 1 | Collingwood 1 | Draws 0
Venue: Fremantle 3-3-0 | Collingwood 0-0-0

Last time they met: Fremantle 6.4 (40) defeated Collingwood 4.3 (27), Round 2, 2018

In front of a home crowd at Optus Stadium, Fremantle recorded an important 13-point win after having won just the one game in Western Australia the year before. Dana Hooker starred for the Dockers, racking up 20 disposals, two marks, five clearances, six inside 50s, six tackles and finishing off with two goals in a clear best on ground performance. Lara Filocamo and Lisa Webb both recorded 17 disposals, while Melissa Caulfield also booted two goals, from 12 disposals. Christina Bernardi was the key goalkicker for the Magpies with two majors, while Melissa Kuys had a game-high 21 touches.

 
ADELAIDE CROWS v. GEELONG CATS
Sunday, February, 17, 2:35pm
Norwood Oval

After escaping with a win last week, Adelaide will be keen to make it two on the trot and keep in touch with the top three in Conference A. The Crows were unlucky not to win against the Dogs at the ground in Round 1, while the Cats also suffered a defeat at the hands of the reigning premiers, last week. A win for Geelong will give them breathing space inside the top two in Conference B, while a Crows loss will make it tough given the relative strength of the Conference, and require them to win against the remainder of their Conference rivals. Chelsea Randall is a massive inclusion for the Crows to strengthen a defence which conceded seven goals to Carlton last week. Geelong captain, Mel Hickey, and the exciting Richelle Cranston return for the Cats in what makes for an entertaining battle around the ground. Expect both teams to bring the heat with everything on the line, especially for the home side.

H2H: Adelaide 0 | Geelong 0 | Draws 0
Venue: Adelaide 2-3-0 | Geelong 0-0-0

Last time they met: N/A

 

BRISBANE LIONS v. MELBOURNE
Sunday, February, 17, 5:35pm
Hickey Park, Stafford

In the final game of the round, top of Conference B hosts the bottom of Conference A with both teams even for the season with one win and one loss. The Lions will be keen to maintain top spot in their Conference, while the Demons can ill-afford to drop further behind given the strength of Conference A. A win for the Demons could see them leap-frog a couple of teams and keep in touch with the leaders. Last week both teams had different contests, with Brisbane going down in a high-scoring thriller in the west, while the Demons got their hands dirty against Collingwood in a low-scoring affair to earn the four points. Elise O’Dea was sensational in the win with 26 touches and a drought-breaking second quarter goal, while Ally Anderson recorded 26 disposals, four marks and a goal in the win, to be the highest disposal winner for season 2019 so far, with 48 disposals. The Demons are a contested based team that can clunk strong marks around the ground, while Brisbane are good at controlling the play around the ground, which spells for an entertaining contest when both teams clash.

H2H: Brisbane 1 | Melbourne 1 | Draws 0
Venue: Brisbane 0-0-0 | Melbourne 0-0-0

Last time they met: Melbourne 4.10 (34) defeated Brisbane 4.4 (28), Round 5, 2018

Melbourne survived a scare in their clash with Brisbane last season with both sides keen to keep on top of their finals hopes. The Demons held the Lions scoreless in the first term, and led by 14 points at the final break, before Brisbane booted two of the last three goals to almost seemingly take the points under lights at Casey Fields. Karen Paxman had 25 disposals, while Daisy Pearce was dominant with 24 disposals, five clearances, four inside 50s and two goals. Elise O’Dea was equally as busy with 23 touches as the experienced trio ensured the Dees came away with the four points. Kate Lutkins was enormous in defence, racking up a massive nine rebounds as well as a game-high 26 possessions, while taking four marks and having three inside 50s as well. Sabrina Frederick-Traub was important up forward with three majors from 15 disposals and three marks.

DRAFT CENTRAL TIPPING

Leaderboard:

1st : Sophie Taylor [ 7 ]
2nd : Taylah Melki, Michael Alvaro [ 6 ]
3rd : Peter Williams, Matthew Cocks [ 5 ]

 

Peter Williams

Chief Editor

Last week: 3

Round 3 selections:

Western Bulldogs
Carlton
Fremantle
Adelaide
Brisbane

 

Taylah Melki

Assistant Chief Editor

Last week: 4

Round 2 selections:

North Melbourne
GWS GIANTS
Fremantle
Adelaide
Brisbane

 

Sophie Taylor

Women’s Football Editor

Last week: 4

Round 3 selections:

North Melbourne
GWS GIANTS
Fremantle
Geelong
Melbourne

 

Michael Alvaro

Men’s Football Editor

Last week: 4

Round 3 selections:

North Melbourne
Carlton
Fremantle
Adelaide
Melbourne

 

Matthew Cocks

Guest Tipster

Last week: 2

Round 3 selections:

North Melbourne
GWS GIANTS
Fremantle
Adelaide
Brisbane

Taking opportunities pays off for Katie Lynch

IN the midst of Year 12, Katie Lynch had a lot on her plate.

She featured in the TAC Cup Girls competition, represented Vic Metro, played for Collingwood in the Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s competition and balanced school sport commitments as well. Although it was a difficult situation to be in for Lynch, she says she had no choice but to take those opportunities that came her way.

“Obviously I was a bit under the pump earlier in the year, well at least I put myself under the pump,” Lynch said. “I had the opportunities come my way and I just had to take them and I thought I did that pretty well so it’s got me here. “I’m proud of myself.”

Now, she finds herself on Collingwood’s AFL Women’s list, with the club selecting her with pick 10 in the draft. Lynch says although it was unexpected, she was relieved to hear her name being called out on draft day.

“It was obviously really exciting, probably something I didn’t expect either,” she said. “But I heard my name get read out and yeah it was just a real relieving feeling I guess but I’m excited to get started.”

Lynch has already experienced playing for the Magpies, having played with them in the VFLW, meaning she will be able to continue playing with some familiar faces. This also signals a new opportunity for Lynch to mingle with the new draftees, who she regards quite highly.

“There’s some really exciting players that we’ve drafted as well,” Lynch said. “We’ve got Jordy Allen so I’m just excited, everyone’s great, I know a lot of the faces there which will really help.”

The 18 year-old admits the VFL experience, along with the TAC Cup Girls and AFL Women’s Under 18 competitions, have helped her adapt to different game styles. This is something that she hopes will hold her in good stead for her upcoming stint in the AFL Women’s.

“TAC Cup, Metro, VFL, they all bring a different kind of game,” Lynch said. “They’re each unique in their own way so it was kind of interesting trying to adapt to each game style. “But at the end of the day, you’re just playing footy so it was good.”

Despite the simplicity of playing the game, Lynch admits she is is still coming to terms with being an AFL Women’s footballer, not accustomed to the prestigious title.

“It’s pretty surreal, hard to believe, really,” she said. “But I guess I’ll start believing it once everything really kicks off into pre-season but at the moment, it’s really surreal.”

Growing up as a Richmond supporter, Lynch has quickly adapted to the black and white, donning the stripes for both the Oakleigh Chargers and Collingwood Magpies this year. Now she will have the opportunity to continue to dominate in those colours at the highest level.

Jasmin Stewart not ready then, but ready now

IN 2016, Jasmin Stewart entered the first ever AFL Women’s draft as a member of the All-Australian Youth Girls Team. Unfortunately, even with her credentials, she missed out, but Stewart was not surprised. Now in 2018, she has been selected by Fremantle at pick four, and according to Dockers TV, Stewart is ready to go.

“I was in the Freo (Fremantle) academy for 10 weeks (in 2016),” she said. “I know when I nominated for the draft a few years ago I probably wasn’t ready. This year, I really do feel ready to take it to the next level.”

Since her rejection from AFL Women’s clubs, she has been honing her skills at the Claremont football club for the last two years. The Tigers have had a poor season for 2018, but one of their shining lights throughout the year was their Best and Fairest, Jasmin Stewart. Her position on the field can vary from the midfield to half-forward flank, making her a versatile player.

Stewart and her family have always been passionate Fremantle supporters, and though her family couldn’t make the trip, she knew they’d be watching at home.

“Mum, I imagine she’d be crying, or really screaming,” she said. “At work, she’s watching the draft, so she’ll be really stoked.  My brothers are also watching, crossing their fingers at work as well, but I know they’ll be very proud.”

Football seems to run in the family, with her older brother, who also plays football, influenced his younger sister to follow in his footsteps. On the Dockers website, Stewart spoke of his influence.

“My brother played footy and I just wanted to do everything that he did when I was little,” she said. “He always likes to say that he taught me everything I know, but he sort of has. We’re very close and we still kick the footy around now.”

Although Stewart is an athlete that has contributed in other sports, it appears the family influence has rubbed off on her. She chose to reject other sports, and dedicate her life to football.

“I just pretty much played footy all my life,” Stewart said. “I have done sports here and there but just mainly footy.”

Fremantle has had two poor years of AFLW, but with the inclusion of Stewart playing alongside Docker jets such as Dana Hooker, and Kara Donnellan, the Dockers could be on the rise.

Ten-hour round trip to training highlights Roux’s dedication

WESTERN Australia forward, Roxanne Roux used to dedicate a full day to football training.

Living in rural Western Australia, Roux had to stay home from school every Monday to prepare for her five-hour trip to training.

Roux says this placed a lot of pressure on her single mother, who also had to make time to take care of Roux and her five brothers.

“I have two younger brothers that were left at home every Monday when I went (to training),” Roux said. “They were about seven and eight, maybe a little bit older then. “We used to have people coming over just to check on them. “It takes a fair chunk of time and you miss out a lot on your brothers and siblings, and especially for Mum, missing out on school assemblies on a Monday and they got awards, we missed out on them.”

But despite the negatives, Roux was driven by her love for the game. Her passion and dedication have combined to mould her into a footballer with a very bright future. She may also have her brothers to thank for that.

“My brothers always played footy,” Roux said. “I have five brothers, three of them are older so they all played footy and I was always at the local club and everything like that.”

One day, Roux went from being at the local club to playing for it, as she signed up to play Auskick. From there, her love for football just kept growing, and no other sport could deter her love for Australian Rules.

“I went to one of the Auskick volunteers and asked ‘can I join in?’,” she said. “So I joined in and I stuck that year out in Auskick, got moved up to super 8s. “(I) Made the state team in Year 7 when I was 12 years old and I just continued to try out for state teams since then. “I played a lot of other sports but footy has kept pulling me back.”

The 16 year-old says that the reason football may be pulling her back is because of the enjoyment factor within the sport.

“It’s just so much fun,” she said. “I can’t really put a finger on it but there’s just something about it that keeps pulling me back. “It’s just the fast pace, the intensity of everything, just enjoying a team sport as well. “I did lots of other sports that weren’t team-based sometimes but it’s just a great environment to be around.”

It’s easy to see that Roux is enjoying her football, as she had a solid outing in the AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships representing Western Australia. At local level, Roux became a premiership player with her side, East Fremantle, where she chipped in with 15 goals from 12 games. But being the dedicated player she is, Roux admits she still has room to improve.

“I definitely think (I need to improve on) not getting caught at a stoppage when people go past because there’s a couple of times in every game that you always catch yourself out no matter how switched on you think you are,” she said. “Pretty much my footy game brain needs to have switched on a bit more in the games.”

Roux is working hard to improve on these assets of the game in order to play in football’s prime competition. Of course, the 16 year-old would love to play AFL Women’s, but will still strive for the highest level of football underneath if her name isn’t called out in next year’s draft.

“That’s (AFLW) the ultimate goal and what I’ve been working towards this whole time I’ve been playing,” Roux said. “If I don’t get there then so be it, I’ll still keep going at my highest level.”

Away from football, Roux keeps is simple, and possesses a unique hobby.

“It’s a little bit embarrassing to admit that I have an interest in poetry and writing and stuff like that,” the Western Australia forward said. “I have won awards and things like that for writing.”

Roux is eligible for next year’s AFL Women’s Draft, so another exciting year beckons for her in her Under 18s career.

AFLW Draft preview: GWS GIANTS

GREATER Western Sydney (GWS) Giants came so close to a Grand Final last season, with their fate up in the air up until the last round. With some key losses like Maddie Boyd, Phoebe McWilliams and Renee Forth ahead of the 2019 AFL Women’s season, the Giants will need some young talent to go one step further this year.

 

Last season: 4th

In: Christina Bernardi, Yvonne Bonner (rookie), Taylah Davies (rookie)
Out: Maddy Boyd, Phoebe McWilliams, Renee Forth, Melissa Freckleton, Rebecca Privitelli, Alex Saundry, Pippa Smyth, Renee Tomkins, Haneen Zreika (rookie)

GWS AFLW LIST (24/30)

  • Jacinda Barclay
  • Nicola Barr
  • Rebecca Beeson
  • Eleanor Bennetts
  • Christina Bernardi
  • Yvonne Bonner
  • Ellie Brush
  • Maddy Collier
  • Jess Dal Pas
  • Taylah Davies
  • Alicia Eva
  • Amanda Farrugia
  • Courtney Gum
  • Tanya Hetherington
  • Jodie Hicks
  • Tait Mackrill
  • Erin McKinnon
  • Phoebe Monahan
  • Pepa Randall
  • Aimee Schmidt
  • Cora Staunton
  • Louise Stephenson
  • Emma Swanson
  • Britt Tully

DRAFT PICKS

12, 42, 52, 59, 64, 69, 72, 75

POTENTIAL DRAFT PROSPECTS

The Giants are likely to take New South Wales (NSW) Most Valuable Player (MVP) at this year’s AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships, Alyce Parker. Parker has been one of NSW’s most dominant players throughout her whole Under 18s career, playing through the midfield and up forward when needed to. A midfield trio of Parker, Courtney Gum and Amanda Farrugia could be a threatening prospect for the rest of the competition. Murray Bushrangers defender, Eloise Ashley-Cooper is another player who could earn a spot at GWS. Ashley-Cooper spent some time in the TAC Cup Girls playing for Murray but has represented NSW at a representative level. She is a classy defender who could complement the likes of Tanya Hetherington and Pepa Randall. Alexia Hamilton is another one who will likely be on the minds of the GWS recruiters. She is a known goalkicker and a smart footballer who can play consistently well over a stretch of games.