Tag: alana barba

NAB League Girls Grand Final preview: Northern Knights v. Calder Cannons

AN exciting end to season 2019 of NAB League Girls is set to take place on Saturday as minor premiers, Northern Knights take on an unexpected opposition in Calder Cannons following a dominant performance over reigning premiers, Geelong Falcons in the preliminary finals.

Northern Knights v. Calder Cannons

NAB League Girls Grand Final – 25/05/2019
2:00pm
Ikon Park – Carlton

Regardless of the final score, a tough slog by both teams is to be expected when Northern Knights take on Calder Cannons in a battle for premiership glory. Calder Cannons have made a strong case to push the Knights after a phenomenal effort saw the Cannons hand Geelong a 35 point loss, while Northern almost got knocked out of finals contention by Eastern Ranges but held them off to win by a single goal margin. Calder and Northern did not play the each other during the season due to there being only nine rounds, so this match is sure to see some big performances and match-ups across the board.

Northern’s performance this season should be commended, with an exceptional nine wins – including a six-point victory against Eastern Ranges last week – and one draw under their belts to remain undefeated in 2019. Calder’s season may not have the same cleanliness to it, but despite three losses the side continued to push and ultimately were rewarded with a victory over one of the most prolific teams in the competition. Calder’s unexpected dominance sees the club get an opportunity to go for their second premiership since the inaugural NAB League/TAC Cup Girls season, when the side finished top of the ladder with no finals system in place prior to 2018, while Northern will come into this match with a fire in the belly after going down to Geelong last season.

Northern leading disposal winner and captain, Gabby Newton provided great run through the midfield with 19 touches and 10 tackles to lead her side to victory last week, while half-forward and target inside 50, Nell Morris-Dalton stood up when it counted against Eastern last week, finishing with 22 touches and four goals for her best performance of the season. However with competition leading disposal winner, Georgie Prespakis and ball magnet, Georgia Patrikios taking the field in opposition on the weekend, it will be a battle of the mids as both sides look to penetrate inside 50 and create scoring opportunities. With an even spread contributing to the margin for both sides last week, both teams will want to come out firing with precision and accuracy to take an early lead. Getting the ball in should not be an issue given both teams boast strong targets forward, however it will be what players do with the ball that could turn the tides. If Calder put in a full team effort the likes of their match against the Falcons, they could push the Knights all the way and really bring it down to the wire. A number of big names are set to line up in opposition this week, with the likes of Northern’s Alyssa Bannan, Britney Gutknecht and Ellie McKenzie electric with ball in hand, backed up by the strong efforts and leadership of Newton. Calder’s midfield trio of Prespakis, Patrikios and Alana Barba is just as exciting while defensively, the likes of Sarah Sansonetti (Northern) and Felicity Theodore (Calder) are the ones to watch with good awareness and ability to move the ball to advantage under pressure.

TEAMS

NORTHERN KNIGHTS

B: 2. S. Fell, 10. P. Chisholm, 30. M. Plunkett
HB: 9. M. Chaplin, 18. S. Sansonetti, 17. C. Fitzgerald
C: 11. M. Appleby, 23. G. Newton, 14. J. Fitzgerald
HF: 20. C. Linssen, 3. N. Morris-Dalton, 29. T. Pulcino
F: 6. A. Bannan, 36. T. Smart, 21. E. McKenzie
R: 1. J. Nelson, 22. B. Gutknecht, 16. Z. Flanigan
Int: 7. A. Bennett, 8. G. Ceravolo, 26. M. Papachristos, 38. L. Picioane, 31. M. Ramsay, 35. J. Simpson, 34. M. Uwland

In: M. Uwland, M. Ramsay, L. Picioane

CALDER CANNONS

B: 4. K. Lennox, 19. P. Poultney, 2. F. Theodore
HB: 24. K. Delia, 18. T. Gillard, 31. K. Petrevski
C: 38. L. Cocomello, 21. G. Patrikios, 8. Z. Friswell
HF: 22. M. Muller, 5. N. Crowley, 3. E. Yassir
F: 34. Z. Hardiman, 42. T. Crook, 25. A. Magri
R: 17. G. Sampson, 41. G. Prespakis, 11. A. Barba
Int: 40. C. Brown, 1. H. Cooke, 32. T. Fry, 15. M. McLeod, 44. I. McNeill-Wren, 9. M. Styles, 35. I. Young

In: M. Styles, M. McLeod, I. McNeill-Wren

STATISTICS:

Ave Disposals: Georgia Patrikios (CC – 23.1), Georgie Prespakis (CC – 22.9), Gabby Newton (NK – 19.8)
Ave Marks: Georgia Patrikios (CC – 3.3), Gabby Newton (NK – 2.8), Georgie Prespakis (CC – 2.7), Ellie McKenzie (NK – 2.7)
Ave Tackles: Alana Barba (CC – 7.3), Georgie Prespakis (CC – 5.8), Jess Fitzgerald (NK – 5.7)
Ave Hitouts: Georgie Sampson (CC – 15.2), Jaime Nelson (NK – 14.4), Tamsin Crook (CC – 7.1)
Goals: Alyssa Bannan (NK – 13.5), Georgie Prespakis (CC – 13.5), Nell Morris-Dalton (12.7)

2019 RESULTS:

Northern Knights:

R1: defeated Murray Bushrangers by 76 points
R2: drew with Oakleigh Chargers
R3: defeated Western Jets by 25 points
R4: defeated Sandringham Dragons by 21 points
R5: defeated Eastern Ranges by 24 points
R6: defeated Gippsland Power by 45 points
R7: defeated Bendigo Pioneers by 53 points
R8: defeated Geelong Falcons by 36 points
R9: defeated GWV Rebels by 45 points
PF: defeated Eastern Ranges by 6 points

Calder Cannons:

R1: defeated Western Jets by 27 points
R2: defeated GWV Rebels by 58 points
R3: defeated Sandringham Dragons by 23 points
R4: lost to Oakleigh Chargers by 10 points
R5: defeated Murray Bushrangers by 27 points
R6: lost to Eastern Ranges by four points
R7: lost to Geelong Falcons by 14 points
R8: defeated Bendigo Pioneers by 21 points
R9: defeated Gippsland Power by 31 ponts
PF: defeated Geelong Falcons by 35 points

Northern:

When in front…

QTR: 8-0-1
HT: 9-0-1
3QTR: 9-0-1

When trailing…

QTR: 1-0
HT:
3QTR:

Calder:

When in front…

QTR: 5-1
HT: 5-1
3QTR: 7-0

When trailing…

QTR: 2-2
HT: 2-2
3QTR: 0-3

FUN FACTS:

1. Eastern Ranges’ 7.1 (43) was the highest score a team had kicked against Northern Knights all season, with the last three Knights wins seeing them power to a total score of 22.25 (157) to 1.17 (23) in Rounds 7-9.
2. Neither side has lost when leading at three quarter time, meaning one of those streaks will be broken.
3. Northern Knights have trailed only one at a break – four points against Eastern Ranges at quarter time in Round 5.

NAB League Girls Preliminary Finals wash-up: Northern and Calder to meet in decider

THE NAB League season finale is set, with the unbeaten Northern Knights qualifying first, and the Calder Cannons securing their spot with a massive upset win over reigning premiers, Geelong at Shepley Oval on Saturday.

NORTHERN KNIGHTS 2.1 | 4.3 | 7.7 | 7.7 (49)
EASTERN RANGES 2.0 | 4.0 | 5.1 | 7.1 (43)

GOALS:
Northern:
N. Morris-Dalton 4, E. McKenzie, M. Appleby, A. Bannan.
Eastern: M. Di Cosmo 2, J. Dunning, T. Flintoff, R. Hall, O. Meagher, T. Merrett.

BEST:
Northern:
N. Morris-Dalton, G. Newton, E. McKenzie, S. Sansonetti, M. Chaplin, P. Chisholm
Eastern: O. Meagher, M. Kendall, J. Richardson, S. Gibbs, M. Di Cosmo, E. Horne

Northern Knights became the first team to qualify for the 2019 NAB League Grand Final, but were made to work for it by the Eastern Ranges in a tense Preliminary Final at Shepley Oval. The sides went goal for goal in the opening term after Northern middle-ager Ellie McKenzie snapped truly to first trouble the scorers. The Knights looked like breaking away in the second stanza as Maykaylah Appleby backed up Nell Morris-Dalton‘s second goal with another major, but the Ranges would hit back with two goals of their own through midfield stars Tess Flintoff and Olivia Meagher to trail by just three points at half time. When Madeline Di Cosmo kicked the Ranges’ third-straight goal to snatch the lead at the start of the third term, an upset loomed large – right up until Morris-Dalton had her say. Two quick goals from the Knights’ forward saw Northern reclaim the lead, and an Alyssa Bannan goal ensured they would go into the final break with a 15-point buffer. Despite a late Eastern charge with two goals to nil over the quarter, and the margin cut to six points with over two minutes left, the Knights held on to remain undefeated and scrape into a second-straight Grand Final. McKenzie was outstanding in the closing stages for the winners, thrown into the midfield and contributing some vital touches when the heat was on. Her midfield partner and skipper, Gabby Newton also played a big hand, while the goals of Morris-Dalton ultimately proved the difference. Sarah Sansonetti had her hands full down back but stood tall, with Maeve Chaplin another defender to be named amongst the best. Meagher led the charge through midfield for the combative Eastern side, with Flintoff proving her partner in crime. The likes of Serena Gibbs and Tahlia Merrett caused headaches with their height and versatility, while Di Cosmo provided the scoring pressure with her two majors. Eastern showed plenty of promise and really took it to Northern at times when other sides could have given in, but the Knights proved too strong and rightly cemented their spot in the competition decider.

GEELONG FALCONS 0.0 | 1.2 | 1.4 | 1.5 (11)
CALDER CANNONS 3.2 | 4.3 | 5.3 | 7.4 (46)

GOALS:
Geelong:
M. Skinner.
Calder: Z. Hardiman 2, A. Magri 2, E. Yassir, G. Prespakis, A. Barba.

BEST:
Geelong:
L. McEvoy, A. Chapman, R. Tierney, P. Schaap, G. Featherston , L. Lesosky-Hay
Calder: E. Yassir, G. Sampson, G. Prespakis, G. Patrikios, K. Lennox, A. Barba

The Calder Cannons saved arguably their best performance for just the right occasion, scoring one of the upsets of the season as they toppled Geelong Falcons by 35 points to book a spot in the Grand Final. The underdogs came out hard, pouring the pressure on Geelong and hitting the scoreboard early to open up a three-goal quarter time lead. In a similar fashion to how their game against Northern went, the Falcons came out hard in the second term and looked to mount a comeback as Mia Skinner bagged their first goal. But when Georgie Prespakis nailed a set shot in reply, it looked more and more unlikely with the Cannons taking a 19-point lead into the main break. A Zoe Hardiman goal in the opening two minutes of the third stanza all but put the result beyond doubt, as the Cannons kept their foot on the gas with unrelenting pressure to keep the game locked up, and Geelong goalless for another quarter. Two more goals in the final term, including Hardiman’s second, cemented the win as the Falcons again could only manage a behind, with the Calder crowd in raptures on the back of their side’s big-time display. Bottom-agers Emelia Yassir and Kasey Lennox played out of their skin at either end, while fellow ’03 birth Prespakis was again phenomenal with every touch of the ball. Georgia Patrikios led the Cannons from the front with her mix of flair and toughness, with fellow midfielder Alana Barba starting well to find the goals and Alisa Magri joining Hardiman with two goals. Skinner finished as Geelong’s sole goal kicker, while skipper Lucy McEvoy a beacon of light in the tough loss through midfield and in the ruck. Abbey Chapman provided a calm head in the beaten Falcons back six, with fellow defender Liz Dowling standing up as an impressive bottom-ager alongside Poppy Schapp. Renee Tierney spent time on each line to good effect, with Luka Lesosky-Hay putting in her usual combative shift. The loss saw Geelong end its season with just one win from their last three tries after previously going unbeaten in their premiership defence, and it would be a hard one to take given they had beaten Calder just three weeks ago. Meanwhile, the Cannons look to be peaking at the right time and move on to the decider, sure to give Northern a hell of a test if this game is anything to go by.

Scouting notes: NAB League Girls – Preliminary Finals

FINALS fever finally hit the NAB League Girls competition and in an exciting day of action, there were certainly plenty of standout performances on the big stage. Here are Michael Alvaro‘s opinion-based scouting notes on a mix of the most outstanding players on the day, and others selected in the Victorian sides for this year’s National Championships.

Northern Knights vs. Eastern Ranges

Northern:

#3 Nell Morris-Dalton

The Knights’ forward focal point continued her scintillating end-of-season form, booting over half of her side’s goals to finish with a bag of four. Morris-Dalton’s competitiveness inside 50 both in the air and at ground level played a big part in allowing Northern to make the most of their forward entries, while also locking the ball in. The Fitzroy junior’s marking overhead has greatly improved, and she was simply on form in front of goal with clinical finishes on her left boot. While she prized a couple of goals out of nothing in open play, arguably her best came on the run with a booming kick, and she claimed two of her goals in the all-important third term as the Knights pulled away.

#6 Alyssa Bannan

Bannan is a constant threat in the forward half with her pace and smarts over the back, and while she was quiet at times, this game proved no different. Unable to consistently find her trademark forward run from half-forward, Bannan spent a lot of time inside 50, where she took a nice overhead mark in the third quarter and slotted the resultant set shot – which proved to be the difference between the sides. Bannan’s best moment came with a couple of running bounces through the corridor which made the crowd stand up.

#11 Maykaylah Appleby

One to watch for a couple of years’ time, Appleby was terrific for the Knights on the wing. At still only 15 years of age, Appleby looked more than up to the level – as she has proven in her previous eight games to date. The bottom-ager provided great forward run throughout the day and constantly looked dangerous with ball in hand. Caught the eye with a sensational running goal in the second term and loves a celebration.

#18 Sarah Sansonetti

Sansonetti’s role was always going to be important against Eastern’s tall timber, and she well and truly stood up to the task. By no means had a high-disposal output, but the key defender did most of the defensive things well while looking to thwart the influence of Serena Gibbs for large chunks of the game. Really came to life in the fourth quarter with some physical showings around the contest – tackling hard up on the wing and pushing the Knights forward with presence from one-on-one wins.

#21 Ellie McKenzie

Talk about weapons, McKenzie is one of those players coaches wish they had two of. Snapped the first goal of the game starting one-out at full-forward, and had another opportunity to hit the scoreboard in the third term, but missed her shot on the run after rounding an opponent. Proved a match-winner in the second half with a move into the midfield – seen intercepting twice on defensive 50, winning crucial clearances from the centre bounces when the Ranges were pressing late, and slowing the game down in the final two minutes with composure beyond her years. Will again prove vital in the grand final, and stands out in high-paced contested games as her clean hands allows for more time on the ball and better decisions.

#22 Britney Gutknecht

Gutknecht was an absolute bull at the stoppages, burrowing in to prize out contested possessions and tackling hard all day. The versatile midfielder-forward spent all of her time in the engine room, providing great drive with clearing kicks and short runs out of traffic. Had an outstanding second half where she seemed to be involved in everything, accumulating key possessions at important times to prove her worth as part of Northern’s star midfield trio.

#23 Gabby Newton

It is unlikely that much more can be made about how good Newton is, and she was outstanding once again here. Playing her usual role in the midfield, Newton toned down her use of handballs and belted the Knights forward on multiple occasions early on with clearing kicks from centre bounces. Accumulating at her normally high rate across the day, Newton led from the front in a consistent display. The Northern skipper’s smarts in more of an extracting role proved crucial, with Newton’s ability to keep her hands free allowing her to escape traffic and dispose of the ball effectively. Newton’s overhead marking was again also a feature, forming a one-woman wall across the forward 50 arc. A prime example of that was when she marked from an Eastern kick-out, cleverly shifting to one side before charging back into the open space to intercept and frustrate the Ranges coaches. A step above.

Eastern:

#21 Olivia Meagher

Meagher played an absolute blinder for the Ranges, showing true heart to almost drag her side over the line from midfield. Hard to miss in her helmet, Meagher caught the eye in a different way on this occasion, providing scintillating run from the stoppages and in open play. Showed her intentions early in that sense with a two-bounce dash from defensive wing, with the rest of her breakaways coming through traffic and ending with a kick forward. Won her fair share of contested ball, but was also a danger across the forward 50 arc – finding the goals on the back of a 50-metre penalty in the second term, and assisting one of Madeline Di Cosmo’s two in the second half. Her defensive plays were just as important, laying a big tackle on Ellie McKenzie to set the tone late on, while also affecting a smother which would start the chain for Riley Hall’s goal to cut the margin to six points. A great overall effort, and we can look forward to more next year.

#26 Tarni Brown

It was by no means Brown’s most prolific day, but she started on the right note. The 2020 Collingwood father-daughter prospect was good alongside Meagher in competing against a stacked Northern midfield, winning clearances and proving tough in tackles. She would lay a few of her own too, but her best moment came with a smart steal as the ball was in dispute, which she ended nicely with a clearing kick to enter forward 50. Another we will see more of next year.

#33 Tess Flintoff

Very unlucky to miss out on being named in Eastern’s best for mine, but Flintoff has another two years in the system to rack up the votes. The midfielder is one of the best marking players in the competition, and showcased her skill in that area with phenomenal reading of the play and positioning. Often employed a kick behind the ball in open play, Flintoff had a purple patch in the third term with a series of intercept possessions, while also taking an impressive diving slips catch to show off her highly-touted junior cricketing skills. Flintoff’s clearance game was also strong – particularly when you consider her opposition – and she accumulated well throughout the day.

#39 Laura McClelland

It was not a huge day out of McClelland, but she started well in her usual post at half-forward. She helped the Ranges move forward well, acting as a link in the chain towards forward 50 – often collecting the ball on the arc and wheeling around to boot towards goal. McClelland did so twice in the opening few minutes, and popped up again in the third term with some nice work up the ground.

#41 Tahlia Merrett

One of Eastern’s many tall prospects, Merrett provided good value at either end of the ground. Starting at full-forward and later pitching in through the ruck, Merrett was an important part of the Ranges’ structure and helped to keep the Knights’ defence on its toes. Missed a long-range set shot in the third term but found the goals earlier on, and was later thrown down back to show her versatility.

#46 Serena Gibbs

Touted as a key player before the game for her ability to consistently find the goals, but Gibbs was unable to do so in this game. While she was limited at times by Northern’s Sarah Sansonetti, Gibbs competed well and looked to stand up in the closing stages with a big tackle and terrific overhead mark as the Ranges surged home. The over-ager also took on some of the ruck duties inside forward 50 and looked comfortable there as well.

Geelong Falcons vs. Calder Cannons

Geelong:

#12 Laura Gardiner

Gardiner capped off a fine middle-age year with another solid display, mixing time between her customary wing position and the inside. While she got her hands on the ball well at stoppages, her usual clearing kicks forward went lateral at times, somewhat limiting her damage. Undeterred, Gardiner competed well all day and is one to keep an eye on for next year.

#18 Darcy Moloney

The middle-ager had a quiet opener but built into the game nicely, spending time on half-forward and up on the wing. Moloney became influential in the second half, starting with a nice intercept mark on the Falcons’ forward 50 arc. While she missed the resultant set shot, she followed up the kick well and was unlucky to miss again with another shot on goal – this time though a snap. Moloney’s luck continued to go against her as a long shot on goal which was on target took an unfortunate bounce in the goalsquare, but her ability to create those three chances was hugely promising. Has obvious midfield credentials, but looked very good forward of centre.

#21 Abbey Chapman

Chapman again found herself in uncharted territory as the Falcons defence came under siege, and she again stood tall despite the defeat. Her mopping up deep inside defensive 50 early on was composed, but Chapman came up short on one occasion where she spilt a mark and gifted Alana Barba her opportunistic goal. Bounced back in the second half to save another Cannons goal with a clutch tackle, and followed up with a perfectly placed kick to find touch. Will be a key part of Vic Country’s campaign in the upcoming National Championships.

#24 Mia Skinner

Playing her typical half-forward role, Skinner tried her level best to manufacture the usual chances she would get to pepper the goals. While she worked hard up the ground to provide an option and link inside forward 50, Skinner’s best work came within the arc. She converted Geelong’s only goal with a set shot in the second term, had two quick-fire chances smothered, snapped one shot out on the full, and missed another. Skinner is great at getting dangerous positions and finding the ball in all the right areas, it is just unfortunate that on this occasion, she was hardly given a clean look to duly finish off her hard work.

#38 Lucy McEvoy

The Falcons’ skipper again led from the front and was simply outstanding. Won the first clearance of the game and launched a couple of huge kicks forward as she sought to set the tone for her side through the midfield. She has shown her ability to play just about anywhere, but took it to another level in this game with stints in the ruck after quarter time – playing more like a fourth midfielder at the centre bounces as the Falcons looked to thwart the impact of Calder’s firing midfield stars. McEvoy also tackled well and rose to the occasion with some fantastic overhead marking. Her positioning behind the ball while it was inside the Falcons’ forward 50 was effective, but McEvoy also ventured inside the arc and almost scrounged a goal with a snap out of congestion. Can hold her head up high, great performance as Geelong’s clear best.

#39 Renee Tierney

Tierney started brightly, tackling hard to win a holding the ball free kick which she used to punt inside 50. Given time in the midfield, Tierney won a couple of nice clearances to set Geelong forward and got involved well in a slightly different role. Went on to spend time all around the ground and will be one of Geelong’s better top-agers next year.

Calder:

#2 Felicity Theodore

Named at half-forward, Theodore took on a role in the back half on this occasion. The top-ager competed well in defensive 50 and swept up the scraps well at ground level throughout the day. While her kicking was a little shaky in the first half, she showed her ability to hit targets more effectively in the second, finding Emelia Yassir well from a free kick. A solid performer in the sturdy Calder defence.

#3 Emelia Yassir

Yassir put in an incredible performance to be named the Cannons’ best as part of a trio of promising Calder bottom-agers. After finding the goals in the first term as her side broke to an early lead, Yassir never looked back. The bite-sized forward played well above her height, marking strongly up the ground and becoming a key link into the forward 50. Played out of her skin, but could be one to keep an eye on in the coming years.

#4 Kasey Lennox

Another outstanding Calder bottom-ager on the day, Lennox was a rock in defence. The Calder back six collectively stood tall to intercept a wealth of high balls which entered their own 50 arc, and Lennox played a key part in that factor. The 15-year-old looked unfazed by the challenge, and is already a good height to play as a key defender.

#11 Alana Barba

Barba played a fantastic game as the third prong in a dynamic Calder midfield, and made arguably the best start to the game of all three. After a previous dribbled effort fell short, the top-ager cleverly snatched a spilled mark off her Falcons opponent and snapped truly, lifting her side with a big celebration to boot. While she did not find as much room to move after half time, Barba won some nice clearances and played her role well.

#21 Georgia Patrikios

Patrikios is an out-and-out leader, and stood up when it mattered as arguably the most skilful player on the ground. Winning clearances and providing a wealth of run, Patrikios delivered the ball aptly on both sides and was one of the more effective short passers by foot on the day. She is just so clean on the ball and her searing pace means she is hardly caught in possession – if ever – making her such a damaging player. Patrikios used her pace well in a particular passage along the boundary, skipping past players as she soccered the ball forward for some valuable meterage. She also proved her smarts with a holding the ball tackle on the back of a 50-metre penalty against the Cannons, and proved tough in contested situations. Missed the chance to hit the scoreboard in the final quarter and cap off a big day, but should be proud with her effort to lead Calder to their unlikely win.

#38 Laura Cocomello

‘Coco’ was combative on the wing, helping the Cannons to both break forward and keep the ball inside attacking 50. Cocomello’s overhead marking was impressive at times, with one from behind over the smaller Elise Vella a particular highlight. The middle-ager’s ability to keep her hands up allowed her to escape tackles well, and she was usually impactful with ball in hand. Had the chance to find the goals with a long-range set shot in the final term, but fell short.

#41 Georgie Prespakis

We are running out of superlatives to describe how scarily good Prespakis is at just 16 years of age, and she looked to have thrived in the finals atmosphere. Hard to miss in her standard long-sleever, Prespakis was the anchor at each centre bounce for the Cannons, bursting forward on multiple occasions and slicing through traffic with ease, while often finishing with a long roost inside 50. Laid a huge holding the ball tackle on Geelong star Lucy McEvoy the second term to further prove Calder’s intentions, and was an unstoppable presence around the ground all day. She was simply damaging with almost every possession, and has the ability to make opponents look silly in open space as she looks to deliver forward. Is the leading prospect for 2021 at this stage, and is more than living up to her pedigree.

NAB League Girls Preliminary Finals preview – Grand Final spots up for grabs at Shepley

FINALS fever hits the NAB League Girls competition, with a revamped finals series set to get underway at Shepley Oval on Saturday. A spot in the grand final is on the line in both games as first does battle with fourth, and second plays third. In the weekend’s other game, Oakleigh hosts Tasmania at Windy Hill in a one-off exhibition.

NORTHERN KNIGHTS (1st, 8-0-1) vs. EASTERN RANGES (4th, 6-3)
Saturday May 18, 12:30pm
Shepley Oval, Dandenong

Round 9:
Northern Knights 7.8 (50) defeated Greater Western Victoria Rebels 0.5 (5)
Eastern Ranges 3.1 (19) defeated by Sandringham Dragons 3.5 (23)

Last Meeting:
Round 5 – Northern Knights 7.8 (50) defeated Eastern Ranges 4.2 (26) @ La Trobe University Oval

MATCH PREVIEW

The undefeated Knights came into the year as strong premiership fancies, and firmed as favourites with their 36-point Round 8 win over reigning premiers, Geelong – avenging their 2018 grand final defeat and snapping the Falcons’ two-year winning run in one fell swoop. The only hiccup in Northern’s season thus far was a Round 2 draw with Oakleigh, with the best attack in the league and a raft of stars helping them ease to eight wins – including ones over two fellow finals sides. They are only one step away from a second-consecutive grand final berth, but an exciting Eastern team stands in the way. The Ranges are one of the best marking sides in the competition, and can compete with most teams on their day, but suffered a couple of disappointing losses to lower-ranked sides and had a close encounter with Tasmania in Round 7. Their narrow margins of victory and defeat – including three wins by under a goal – make for heart-stopping games, but their more convincing wins like their 51-point one over Gippsland show why they are always a chance. Eastern’s prime movers in the middle include potential 2020 Collingwood father-daughter selection Tarni Brown, as well as gun bottom-ager Tess Flintoff, and Olivia Meagher, but their most potent threats will come through the tall duo of Laura McClelland and Serena Gibbs forward of centre. Northern key back Sarah Sansonetti has been in terrific in recent weeks, and could well find herself playing on both of those Ranges talls throughout the game. While her role will prove vital, if the likes of Gabby Newton, Britney Gutknecht, and Ellie McKenzie are thrown into the middle at the same time as we have seen recently, it may be tough for the Ranges to venture forward in the first place. The versatility of those three will make a huge difference, and one would think the range of Knights weapons could well prove too much as it did in the side’s previous meeting. With Northern getting one back on Geelong two weeks ago to come in as the top seed, and Eastern suffering a defeat in their final regular season outing, this will be a tough mountain to climb for the Ranges.

KEY PLAYERS

Northern:

Gabby Newton

The Northern skipper has been sensational throughout the year, averaging almost 20 disposals over her eight NAB League games. Much has already been made of her basketball background, with the gun midfielder showing off her hops in the ruck at times and her equally impressive composure in traffic to no end. While her starting position will most likely be at the centre bounces, Newton’s role as a general behind the ball will be key in this clash – with a potent Eastern tall duo likely to line up down forward. Her intercept marking and overall overhead prowess is profound, so look for that to be a feature in this game along with her consistent ball-winning ability – with over 20 disposals in five games this year. Versatile and damaging, Newton is key.

Eastern:

Serena Gibbs

Gibbs is one of three Eastern talls who pose an enormous risk to the Northern defence, often trading time between centre half-forward and the ruck. If she is matched up on Northern’s Sarah Sansonetti, the clash becomes one of the more important ones for the game with the likes of Laura McClelland and Tahlia Merrett also able to be freed up should they play forward at the same time. Gibbs has found the goals in seven of her nine NAB League appearances, led by a dominant 3.4 from 18 disposals against Gippsland in Round 8. While her Round 9 return saw her collect under 10 disposals for just the third time, Gibbs has been a consistently dangerous threat and will be a key focal point this time around.

GEELONG FALCONS (2nd, 8-1) vs. CALDER CANNONS (3rd, 6-3)
Saturday May 18, 2:15pm
Shepley Oval, Dandenong

Round 9:
Geelong Falcons 8.7 (55) defeated Murray Bushrangers 1.1 (7)
Calder Cannons 5.7 (37) defeated Gippsland Power 1.0 (6)

Last Meeting:
Round 7 – Geelong Falcons 3.2 (20) defeated Calder Cannons 1.0 (6) @ RAMS Arena

MATCH PREVIEW

The Geelong Falcons bounced back well from their Round 8 loss to Northern – their first since May 2017 – to secure second place with a welcome return to form, toppling Murray by 48 points after conceding the first goal. Their depth across all lines is scary good, but their premiership defence has largely been built on a typically sturdy back six and dominant midfield, with their forward structure taking greater shape across the year. Abbey Chapman has led the league’s stingiest defence all year, with the Falcons’ highest score conceded (43) coming against Northern, while the likes of skipper Lucy McEvoy, Paige Sheppard, and Luka Lesosky-Hay have been instrumental in the engine room. Pair the inside grunt of those three with the outside class of Laura Gardiner and Darcy Moloney on either wing, and you have a midfield that is hard to beat to say the least. Mia Skinner has been the spearhead forward of centre, booting a league-high 18 goals – including two bags of four – having only been held goalless on two occasions, in Rounds 7 and 8. The Cannons have some firepower of their own, which more often than not comes from star duo, Georgia Patrikios and Georgie Prespakis. Both have the ability to not only find a wealth of the ball through the middle, but to also find the goals – exemplified by Prespakis’ bag of seven in Round 2 from full forward. Prespakis, the sister of Carlton star Maddie, has averaged 23.3 disposals over her eight games with two returns of over 30 touches, while Patrikios averages just over 22 in her seven outings, and the pair should provide a dynamism that Geelong will have to pay great attention to. Include talls at either end, such as the likes of Alana Barba up forward and Krstel Petrevski, along with Makeisha Muller at ground level, and there are some interesting moving parts to the Calder line-up. Having already gotten the better of Calder as recently as in Round 7, Geelong will be confident of repeating the feat and storming into another grand final. If Calder can again keep the Falcons to under four goals though, then anything can happen. Expect fireworks either way.

KEY PLAYERS

Geelong:

Lucy McEvoy

Able to be utilised on each line, the Falcons skipper is arguably her side’s most important player. An ultra-consistent force, McEvoy has only dropped below 20 disposals once in her eight games – incidentally in the Falcons’ only loss – to average 22.2 disposals per outing. Her presence at the centre bounces in undeniable, using her size to prize the ball out and her composure to flick out effective handballs to receivers. In general play, McEvoy utilises a booming kick to rebound and enter either arc, while positioning herself a kick behind the play to act as an impenetrable wall at both ends. Her overhead marking is a feature, but expect to see her mostly in the thick of the midfield action given Calder’s strength in that area.

Calder:

Georgia Patrikios

Patrikios is all but equal to McEvoy in her disposal output, but provides a different kind of threat from midfield. Having shown how damaging she can be on the outside during her bottom-age year, Patrikios has developed into a balanced midfielder very quickly, but is still often seen bursting away from congestion and delivering forward with aplomb. The Cannons star’s best game came in Round 7 against the Falcons, collecting 31 disposals and finding the goals, so she will hope to produce more of the same here. With the strength of Geelong’s midfield obvious, Patrikios’ point of difference in her pace will be key amidst that battle.

OAKLEIGH CHARGERS vs. TASMANIA DEVILS
Sunday May 19, 11:00am
Windy Hill

Oakleigh hosts Tasmania on neutral ground for a one-off friendly game, completing a hat-trick of Devils NAB League appearances. With Oakleigh narrowly missing finals, this game poises the travelling side against the best of the rest as finals gets underway, and will be a third opportunity for them to pick up a win in the competition. Tasmania entered in Round 7 with two games over three days, going down to Western by 37 points under Friday night lights, and giving Eastern a mighty scare just two days later. Oakleigh will be keen to finish off the season with another win to make it six all up, but the Devils showed their fighting spirit already and should provide a good test for the Chargers. The game will also be a curtain raiser for the NAB League boys clash between Gippsland and Greater Western Victoria at 1:00.

Victorian AFL Women’s Under 18 Championship teams announced

REIGNING premiers, Geelong Falcons have dominated the Victorian representation with nine players in the Vic Country 29-player squad, while minor premiers Northern Knights, finalists Eastern Ranges and fifth placed Oakleigh Chargers have six apiece in the 30-player Vic Metro squad. Of the other sides, Dandenong Stingrays also has six players in the Country team, meaning more than half the squad are Falcons or Stingrays, including St Kilda pre-listed duo, Molly McDonald and Isabella Shannon. Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels and Sandringham Dragons have five players each in the Country and Metro squads respectively, while Murray Bushrangers and Western Jets have four apiece. Bendigo Pioneers and Calder Cannons have three players in their representative squad, while Gippsland Power has the two.

Vic Country has included eight middle-agers (not eligible to be drafted until next year) in its squad, while Vic Metro has seven. The two coaches will have more than their fair share of AFL and AFLW experience, with Nathan Burke taking the reigns at Vic Metro, while Aasta O’Connor will coach Vic Country. The sides face off on June 22, before squads are reduced to fly to Gold Coast for three games against other states from July 8-12. AFL Draft Central will be on the ground in Queensland providing you all the latest.

State Talent Manager Paul Hamilton said the Championships gave Victoria’s best emerging female footballers the chance to highlight their skills on a big stage.

“The NAB AFL Women’s Under-18 Championships have the potential to put our up-and-coming female players firmly on the radar of AFL Women’s clubs,” Hamilton said. “Our Vic Country and Vic Metro girls will have access to some of the best coaching resources in women’s football in order to develop their games and will be able to experience playing at elite-level venues against the best talent the rest of Australia has to offer. “Travelling to the Gold Coast in July will also provide them an extra opportunity to bond with girls who share a common goal of furthering their careers within the elite talent pathway.”

The Country vs Metro under-18 match on June 22 will be part of a double-header along with an under-16 Country vs Metro clash (commencing at 12pm), with the initial squads for those teams to be announced next week. All the non-Victorian state lists will be posted once the final team lists are completed, with some out, while others are yet to be released.

Tomorrow we will provide more details on each of those players selected in the Victorian squads.

VIC COUNTRY

NO. NAME   DOB HT NAB LEAGUE GIRLS CLUB
1 Elise Vella 05-Sep-01 156 Geelong Falcons
2 Teagan Brett 08-Feb-01 157 Murray Bushrangers
3 Paige Sheppard 23-Apr-01 158 Geelong Falcons
4 Renee Saulitis 14-Aug-02 163 GWV Rebels
5 Luka Lesosky-Hay 07-Jan-01 164 Geelong Falcons
6 Laura Gardiner 21-Nov-02 164 Geelong Falcons
7 Ella Wood 14-Feb-01 164 GWV Rebels
8 Elizabeth Snell 14-Mar-02 165 Bendigo Pioneers
9 Darcy Moloney 20-Nov-02 165 Geelong Falcons
10 Sophie Locke 24-Apr-01 166 Murray Bushrangers
11 Brooke Hards 19-Jul-02 166 Bendigo Pioneers
12 Tyanna Smith 29-Oct-02 167 Dandenong Stingrays
13 Molly McDonald 04-May-01 168 Dandenong Stingrays
14 Abbey Chapman 15-Apr-01 170 Geelong Falcons
15 Nikia Webber 29-Aug-01 170 Gippsland Power
16 Renee Tierney 23-May-02 168 Geelong Falcons
17 Mia Skinner 30-Jan-01 170 Geelong Falcons
18 Kate Douglass 19-Jul-01 171 Bendigo Pioneers
19 Brooke Vernon 20-Oct-01 172 Dandenong Stingrays
20 Zoe Hill 13-May-02 173 Dandenong Stingrays
21 Sophie Molan 24-Mar-01 175 GWV Rebels
22 Millie Brown 15-Jan-01 175 Murray Bushrangers
23 Lucy McEvoy 13-May-01 172 Geelong Falcons
24 Isabella Simmons 19-Apr-02 181 GWV Rebels
25 Olivia Barber 14-Jul-02 184 Murray Bushrangers
26 Isabella Shannon 30-Jun-01 178 Dandenong Stingrays
27 Shanara Notman 27-Jul-01 178 Gippsland Power
28 Georgia Howes 26-Jul-00 183 Dandenong Stingrays
29 Maggie Caris 21-Dec-02 188 GWV Rebels

 

VIC METRO

NO. NAME   DOB HT NAB LEAGUE GIRLS CLUB
1 Olivia Meagher 10-Dec-02 158 Eastern Ranges
2 Felicity Theodore 14-Mar-01 159 Calder Cannons
3 Gemma Lagioia 03-May-01 160 Oakleigh Chargers
4 Nicola Xenos 08-Mar-01 161 Oakleigh Chargers
5 Elisabeth Georgostathis 17-Oct-01 162 Western Jets
6 Madeleine Edwards 19-Jan-01 164 Eastern Ranges
7 Amelia Van Oosterwijck 08-Nov-01 164 Oakleigh Chargers
8 Mimi Hill 04-Oct-01 165 Oakleigh Chargers
9 Bella Eddey 02-Nov-02 165 Sandringham Dragons
10 Alana Barba 26-Sep-01 166 Calder Cannons
11 Tarni Brown 26-Mar-02 166 Eastern Ranges
12 Alice Burke 10-Mar-02 166 Sandringham Dragons
13 Britney Gutknecht 20-Apr-01 167 Northern Knights
14 Laura McClelland 03-Jul-01 169 Eastern Ranges
15 Alyssa Bannan 13-Apr-02 169 Northern Knights
16 Emily Harley 04-Dec-01 169 Oakleigh Chargers
17 Georgia Patrikios 30-Mar-01 170 Calder Cannons
18 Emma Horne 29-Nov-01 170 Eastern Ranges
19 Marguerite Purcell 27-Jul-01 170 Sandringham Dragons
20 Sarah Sansonetti 02-Aug-01 172 Northern Knights
21 Ellie McKenzie 17-Oct-02 173 Northern Knights
22 Sarah Hartwig 04-Dec-02 173 Sandringham Dragons
23 Nell Morris-Dalton 05-Apr-01 174 Northern Knights
24 Isabella Grant 21-Sep-01 174 Western Jets
25 Tahlia Merrett 08-Jan-01 174 Eastern Ranges
26 Gabrielle Newton 31-Aug-01 175 Northern Knights
27 Molly Denahy Maloney 25-Feb-01 175 Sandringham Dragons
28 Isabelle Pritchard 08-Mar-02 176 Western Jets
29 Cleo Saxon-Jones 04-Nov-01 181 Western Jets
30 Amelia Peck 13-Jan-00 183 Oakleigh Chargers

NAB League Girls wash-up: Round 9 – Unbeaten Knights seal minor premiership

FINALS fever awaits in the NAB League Girls competition, with the Northern Knights securing the minor premiership in an undefeated season. The top four order remained unchanged as three of the sides won in Round 9, with next week’s semi-final fixture locked in.

GEELONG FALCONS 1.2 | 4.3 | 5.3 | 8.7 (55)
MURRAY BUSHRANGERS 1.1 | 1.1 | 1.1 | 1.1 (7)

GOALS:

Geelong: M. Skinner 3, J. Hecker, L. McEvoy, P. Sheppard, D. Smith, T. Hassett
Murray: O. Barber

BEST:

Geelong: L. McEvoy, P. Sheppard, L. Lesosky-Hay, M. Skinner, A. Chapman, D. Smith
Murray: M. Brown, O. Barber, C. Mailer, K. Skepper, M. Trethowan, K. Adams

By: Peter Williams

Geelong Falcons bounced back from a rare loss to post a comfortable eight-goal win over Murray Bushrangers at Avalon Airport Oval in the final round of the NAB League Girls season. The Falcons have not needed to respond to a loss for more than two years, but they did so in style on Saturday afternoon despite the plucky Bushrangers’ best efforts. Missing a number of key players due to NSW/ACT representation, Murray brought the heat early, and booted the opening goal of the game through Olivia Barber, but from then on, the game seemed like it was a matter of time before Geelong finally broke the dam wall. They did so in the second term, when Mia Skinner decided enough was enough, booting three goals for her team to lead by 20 points at the main break. While the Bushrangers restricted the Falcons to just the one major in the third term, the Falcons took advantage of the breeze in the last quarter to boot another three goals and record a strong victory ahead of finals next week. Lucy McEvoy was bordering on unstoppable in the game, often needing multiple opponents to drag her down in tackles, she bustled her way to 27 disposals, eight marks, six tackles, four inside 50s and a goal, and could have had a few more had her kicks from outside 50 carried the distance. Paige Sheppard was equally as terrific in the forward half, booting the Falcons first goal of the game, and having 23 disposals, six marks, five inside 50s, two rebounds and laying five tackles. Luka Lesosky-Hay did her own thing around the ground amassing 19 touches and laying six tackles, while Skinner also had 16 disposals and four inside 50s with her three goals, constantly looking dangerous inside the arc. For the Bushrangers, Millie Brown was far and away the best just for her work in defence which time and time again stopped the Falcons attacking movements. It was no surprise to see the potential Geelong father-daughter selection pick up 28 disposals, three marks, four tackles, two inside 50s, and crucially, five rebounds. Barber had seven hitouts, 14 disposals and three marks in defeat, while Cassidy Mailer, Keeley Skepper and Mikaela Trethowan were also named among the best, with Mindy Quade producing a number of timely spoils in defence as well.

WESTERN JETS 0.0 | 0.0 | 0.1 | 1.3 (9)
DANDENONG STINGRAYS 3.1 | 4.3 | 8.6 | 9.6 (60)

GOALS:

Western: L. Wright
Dandenong: T. Smith 4, E. Allen-Burns 2, H. Thomas, S. Stratton, G. Grimmer

BEST:

Western: R. Tripodi, J. Woods, M. Ham, E. Georgostathis, P. Ozols, E. Kiely
Dandenong: B. Vernon, G. Grimmer, I. Shannon, M. McDonald, G. Hodder, T. Smith

By: Michael Alvaro

The Dandenong Stingrays ended their season emphatically, trouncing Western Jets by 51 points to finish a game outside of the top four. Western’s two game winning run came to a halt with another heavy defeat, but the Jets can hold their head up having picked up three wins to finish tenth after a winless first four rounds. The Stingrays were on top from the get-go, building their winning score best in the first and third terms while keeping Western goalless until Laura Wright kicked truly in the final term. Dandenong middle-ager Tyanna Smith played a blinder, racking up an equal game-high 23 disposals, while also pushing forward for a clinical four-straight goals to earn the Round 9 Draft Central Rising Star nod. Brooke Vernon was named best for the winners on the back of a solid defensive outing, while AFLW pre-listed pair Isabella Shannon and Molly McDonald were their usual selves in midfield. Elisabeth Georgostathis was one of Western’s best in defence and midfield, winning 23 disposals, but Ruby Tripodi claimed the full votes for her seven disposals and five tackles. With both sides’ seasons now over, stars from each team will now look forward to VFLW commitments, as well as potential call-ups to represent Victoria Country and Metro in July’s National Championships.

GREATER WESTERN VICTORIA REBELS 0.2 | 0.4 | 0.4 | 0.5 (5)
NORTHERN KNIGHTS 3.1 | 4.1 | 6.3 | 7.8 (50)

GOALS:

GWV: Nil
Northern: A. Bannan 2, N. Morris-Dalton, M. Appleby, T. Pulcino, G. Newton, B. Gutknecht

BEST:

GWV: M. Ciavarella, N. Butler, S. Molan, E. Friend, E. Wood, M. Caris
Northern: N. Morris-Dalton, C. Fitzgerald, S. Sansonetti, P. Chisholm, T. Smart, G. Newton

By: Michael Alvaro

Northern Knights ensured they would end the regular season undefeated with a dominant 45-point win over the Greater Western Victoria Rebels securing them minor premiership honours. Picking up from where they left off last week, the Knights led all game, breaking it open in the first and third quarters with three goals in each to build their winning margin – all while keeping the Rebels goalless. An impressive spread of six individual Knights goal kickers was lead by Alyssa Bannan‘s two, with fellow goal-finders Nell Morris-Dalton (22 disposals) and Gabby Newton (17) also being named in the best while Ellie McKenzie (23 disposals, four marks) was their leading ball-winner and Jess Fitzgerald almost had a huge day with 21 disposals and 0.3. GWV’s Sophie Molan narrowly outdid McKenzie to rack up a game-high 26 disposals, but was beaten out by Melina Ciavarella (eight disposals, five tackles) to be the Rebels’ best. Ella Wood (15 disposals), and Lauren Sykes also won plenty of the ball to be thereabouts as the hosts’ season ended on two wins – including a memorable upset over Oakleigh just last week. Northern move on into the finals, set to play fourth-placed Eastern with the Ranges coming in off a Round 9 loss.

GIPPSLAND POWER 0.0 | 0.0 | 0.0 | 1.0 (6)
CALDER CANNONS 2.1 | 4.3 | 5.6 | 5.7 (37)

GOALS:

Gippsland: N. Webber
Calder: G. Patrikios 2, G. Prespakis, Z. Hardiman, M. Muller

BEST:

Gippsland: C. Bird, G. McRae, M. Fitzsimon, M. Van Berkel, M. Shaw, M. Gilmour
Calder: G. Sampson, T. Fry, Z. Friswell, A. Barba, Z. Hardiman, M. Muller

By: Peter Williams

Calder Cannons booked a date with reigning premiers, Geelong Falcons next Saturday after securing a finals spot courtesy of a 31-point win over Gippsland Power at Morwell Recreation Reserve on Sunday. Despite Gippsland toiling hard in the first 10 minutes of the game, it took some magic from Calder captain, Georgia Patrikios who booted two goals and hit the post to almost have a third in the opening term as her efforts handed Calder a lead. Makeisha Muller and Georgie Prespakis added their names to the goalkickers list in the second term, with Muller on the receiving end of a perfect Prespakis kick, while Prespakis converted a set shot in windy conditions. By the time Zoe Hardiman booted the Cannons’ final goal of the game six minutes into the third term the game was done, but the Power refused to give in, strangling the scoring power from the Cannons, and deservedly finding a major of their own late in the game. Nikia Webber‘s effort in her final NAB League Girls game was symbolic of the entire team – hard working without reward – with that reward coming in the dying minutes when she won a free kick and converted the goal. The Cannons were clearly the better side on the day, but it took magic from the likes of Patrikios, Prespakis and some run and carry from Felicity Theodore off half-back in the opening half to break down the otherwise steady Gippsland defence. Patrikios finished with three marks, five tackles and two inside 50s to go with her 19 touches and two goals, while Prespakis had four marks, six tackles, nine inside 50s and 26 touches in a strong effort once again. Georgia Sampson was named Calder’s best with 15 disposals, three marks and 14 hitouts, while Alana Barba tackled hard with 10 as well as 16 disposals in the game. For Gippsland, Shanara Notman was impressive in defence, having 18 touches, five marks and seven rebounds, while Maddison Shaw (14 disposals, four tackles and three rebounds) and Grace McRae (16 disposals and three tackles) were also consistent once again.

SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS 1.2 | 2.4 | 2.5 | 3.5 (23)
EASTERN RANGES 1.0 | 1.0 | 1.1 | 3.1 (19)

GOALS:

Sandringham: S. Rothfield 3
Eastern: S. Gibbs, C. Wilsmore, M. Hardy

BEST:

Sandringham: A. Burke, D. Walker, G. Strangio, S. Rothfield, E. McNamara, I. Stutt
Eastern: E. Horne, T. Brown, M. Edwards, T. Merrett, J. Richardson, S. Gibbs

By: Josh Ward

In a game which had finals ramifications, the Sandringham Dragons prevailed what was a close contest. In a low-scoring game with rarely any easy possession throughout, the real breakout performer was surprise packet Sophia Rothfield up forward for Sandringham, scoring their only three goals, whilst providing that extra bit of pressure as well. The first two quarters were closely fought, with Sandy dominating the inside 50 game, putting on heaps of pressure up forward whilst not letting the Ranges getting any easy exits, going into the half time break with a deserved 10-point lead (2.4 16 to 1.0 6). However, it could have been more had it not been for the many missed opportunities. The second half was again closely fought, with their only being two points scored during the third quarter. But when Rothfield kicked her third, the game became a bit more open, with the Ranges scoring the next two goals, getting a little more exciting for the last couple of minutes. But despite the late resurgence from the Ranges, the Dragons kept their cool and won what was a really tight contest throughout. The midfield battle also lived up to its hype, with the Ranges duo of Tess Flintoff and Tarni Brown slightly winning it in the first half, but Sandy’s duo of Alice Burke and Winnie Lang winning it the second half. And in the end, it proved vital for the Dragons to pull off yet another surprise victory.

BENDIGO PIONEERS 2.0 | 2.0 | 2.0 | 4.0 (24)
OAKLEIGH CHARGERS 2.0 | 4.3 | 7.6 | 7.8 (50)

GOALS:

Bendigo: E. Snell 2, T. Coad, B. Hards
Oakleigh: E. Harley, J. D’Amato, E. James, G. Lagioia, M. Bertuna, J. Lin, N. Xenos

BEST:

Bendigo: M. Tupper, B. Hards, E. Snell, D. Villiva, G. Barton, K. Douglass
Oakleigh: N/A

By: Michael Alvaro

Oakleigh Chargers did all they could to secure a finals spot, but fell just short despite an impressive 26-point win over the Bendigo Pioneers to round out the regular season. With the scores locked at two-straight goals apiece at quarter time, Oakleigh took charge after the first break with 5.6 during the second and third terms while keeping their opponents scoreless over the same period. Bendigo finished well with two goals to nil in the last quarter, but it proved too little, too late as Oakleigh ensured a fifth win and more than doubled the ‘Pio’s score. Nicola Xenos (23 disposals, one goal), Emily Harley (19 and one), and Gemma Lagioia (19 and one) all found plenty of the ball while also hitting the scoreboard for the winners, with Mimi Hill (19 disposals, five marks) capping off a good year and Amelia Peck (17 disposals, 32 hitouts) also very influential. Mauve Tupper was named best for Bendigo for her team-high 15 disposals and six tackles, with Kate Douglass (11 disposals) the next highest disposal-getter, while Elizabeth Snell claimed her second haul of multiple goals with two. Brooke Hards was also named amongst the best in a low-disposal performance, laying a monster 13 tackles to finish five clear of the next-best player. Both sides’ seasons end here, but there were plenty of positives on either end with finals looking like a real possibility at different stages. All eyes will now be on the National Championships and VFLW season.

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.

Weekend wash-up: NAB League Girls – Round 7

THE Geelong Falcons continued their winning streak, staking their claim as genuine finals contenders while the Western Jets notched up their second win of the season. The Gippsland Power also made their way off the bottom of the ladder with a hard fought win over the Rebels at home.

 

WESTERN JETS 1.3 | 2.3 | 4.8 | 5.8 (38)
TASMANIA DEVILS 0.0 | 0.0 | 0.0 | 0.1 (1)

By: Sophie Taylor

GOALS:

Western: E. Quinn 2, J. Goodman 2, C. Saxon-Jones.
Tasmania: Nil.

BEST:

Western: E. Georgostathis, J. Goodman, L. Wright, I. Pritchard, P. Ozols, R. Tripodi
Tasmania: E. Brickhill, E. Dixon, A. Prokopiec, H. Smith, M. King, A. Clark

It was a cold and wet game on Friday night footy over the weekend as the Western Jets hosted the Tasmania Devils at RAMS Arena, registering their second win of the season with a 37 point margin. The Jets had all the momentum early, keeping the ball inside 50 for majority of the first quarter as Tasmania struggled to get boot to ball. The Devils showed some good defensive play before the Jets were able to take advantage of a dropped mark and get their first goal on the board courtesy of Jasmine Goodman (two goals, 14 disposals) for her first of the night. Jets struggled with accuracy throughout the match, wasting opportunities forward and spraying the ball across the face to register minor scores. Despite the likes of Isabelle Pritchard (18 disposals, five tackles) and Elisabeth Georgostathis (24 disposals, seven tackles) in fine form spoiling the Devils’ chances at goal, Western did themselves no favours bombing the ball inside 50, while their difficulty converting meant the Devils were able to hold onto a fighting chance if they were to get a score on the board. Mia King, Ellen Brickhill and Amy Prokopiec were among the best for Tasmania, as King racked up 16 touches off half back while Brickhill picked up 14 of her own, as well as a behind in the final quarter to get the Devils on the board. Prokopiec was prolific in defence, notching up 14 touches and eight rebound 50s. Despite only getting the one score for the match in the final term, the Devils showcased some good skill and pressure around the ball, registering 54 tackles to the Jets’ 60.

 

CALDER CANNONS 0.0 | 0.0 | 0.0| 1.0 (6)
GEELONG FALCONS 2.1 | 3.2 | 3.2 | 3.2 (20)

By: Taylah Melki

GOALS:

Calder: G. Patrikios.
Falcons: T. Lewis 2, P. Sheppard.

BEST:

Calder: G. Patrikios, P. Poultney, F. Theodore, G. Prespakis, A. Barba, T. Gillard
Falcons: A. Chapman, D. Smith, E. Dowling, P. Sheppard, S. Hovey, E. Mahoney

The Geelong Falcons claimed their seventh consecutive win of the season unfazed by the final term come back from the Cannons. They kept Calder goalless up until the fourth minute of the final term while the Falcons themselves did not manage to register a score after half time. The game was mainly played between the arcs with both sides contesting hard throughout the game. Georgie Prespakis and Georgia Patrikios combined exceptionally well across the ground for the Cannons, using their speed, spatial awareness and clean hands at the stoppages to push their side forward. Tahlia Gillard and Alana Barba were also important for the Cannons working tirelessly but it was so to no avail with the Falcons flexing their muscles around the contest. Tamika Lewis was solid up forward for the Falcons slotting two goals she was ably assisted by teammate Paige Sheppard who also chipped in on the scoreboard and around the ground. Captain Lucy McEvoy was also impressive for Geelong leading the way for her side with 12 tackles and five marks while also racking up the possessions to finish the game with a side high 23 touches. Luka Lesosky-Hay also won plenty of the ball but was unable to capitalise with ball in hand at times.

 

MURRAY BUSHRANGERS 0.1 | 3.2 | 3.2 | 5.6 (30)
SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS 1.4 | 1.6 | 1.9 | 1.11 (17)

By: Taylah Melki

GOALS:

Murray: O. Barber 3, K. Adams, M. Jones.
Sandringham: L. Enders.

BEST:

Murray: M. Brown, O. Barber, T. Brett, K. Adams, L. Sharp, M. Trethowan
Sandringham: G. Strangio, D. Walker, S. Hartwig, S. Trim, C. Cody, K. Lynch

The Sandringham Dragons were good off the mark holding a nine point lead at quarter time but were unable to maintain that intensity falling to the Bushrangers who overran them. Sandringham were inaccurate in front of goal missing multiple opportunities to secure a win. On the other hand the Bushrangers made the most of it when they went forward and applied plenty of pressure to remain in the hunt and convert when they needed to. A big second quarter from Olivia Barber spurred her team on to success nailing two crucial goals before putting the nail in the coffin in the final term to slot her third for the game. Kate Adams was equally as impressive for Murray working her way around the ground and scoring a major while the likes of Abby Favell also made her presence felt on the field laying some crunching tackles (four) and winning the ball at the coalface finishing with a game high 23 disposals. Millie Brown was also prolific for the Bushies who valued her ferocity and run and carry across the ground racking up six rebound 50s, 22 touches and four tackles. For Sandringham, Alice Burke recorded the highest touches with 16 disposals while her teammate Sarah Hartwig was influential across the ground with her 16 possessions, five rebound 50s and five tackles. Gemma Strangio was also impressive for the Dragons while Lily Enders scored her teams only goal for the game and picked up a couple of disposals around the field.

 

DANDENONG STINGRAYS 1.3 | 1.3 | 2.4 | 2.4 (16)
OAKLEIGH CHARGERS 2.2 | 4.5 | 6.5 | 7.7 (49)

By: Brandon Hutchinson

GOALS:

Dandenong: J. Anthony 2.
Oakleigh: E. James, M. Bertuna, J. Lin, A. Porter, C. O’Malley, G. Lagioia, J. D’Amato.

BEST:

Dandenong: M. Pearson, P. Swayn, M. McDonald, A. Jordan, L. Grocock, J. Anthony
Oakleigh: J. Lin, T. Morton, A. van Oosterwijck, K. Kearns (two players listed that didn’t play)

Oakleigh Chargers earn some much-needed separation from Dandenong Stingrays with a big away win at Shepley Oval on Saturday. Despite the quick response to Oakleigh’s opening goal in the first, Dandenong were unable to hold on as the Chargers surged away in the second, kicking four to one by the main break. Leading into the third, Oakleigh showed no signs of slowing, adding two more to the board with Dandenong responding late. The home side managed to defend well in the final quarter, letting through one, but ultimately conceded defeat 2.4 (16) to 7.7 (49). Emily Harley was pivotal to Oakleigh’s victory, recording 20 disposals, four marks and three rebounds, while Eliza James stood up in the midfield with 19 disposals, four marks, five inside 50s and a goal. Joanna Lin also had a season-best performance, collecting 18 disposals, three marks, six tackles, two inside 50s and a goal. Taylah Morton, Amelia Van Oosterwijck and Alana Porter were also among their team’s best, while Kalarni Kearns performed well in the ruck. For Dandenong, Lucy Grocock was among their best with 10 disposals, three marks and 10 tackles, while Molly McDonald continued to dominate off half-back. Jaide Anthony kicked two in her first game with two marks and two tackles, while Abbey Jordan remained pivotal alongside teammate’s Madeline Pearson and Piper Swayn.

 

GIPPSLAND POWER 0.1 | 1.2 | 4.4 | 5.4 (34)
GREATER WESTERN VICTORIA REBELS 1.2 | 3.3 | 3.4 | 4.4 (28)

By: Brandon Hutchinson

GOALS:

Gippsland Power: K. Te Huia 2, N. Webber 2, M. Fitzsimon
GWV Rebels: V. Jewell, I. Robson, S. Molan, E. Wood

BEST:

Gippsland Power: G. McRae, M. Van Berkel, M. Fitzsimon, C. Abrahams, N. Webber, M. Shaw
GWV Rebels: N. Butler, L. Condon, M. Caris, E. Wood, V. Jewell

In one of the tightest finishes of the season, Gippsland Power endured a fierce contest against GWV Rebels, earning a six-point victory at Shepley Oval on Sunday. With the game close to ending in a draw, both sides contested well throughout with neither team ever seeming out of the match. At the main break, GWV held a 13-point lead and were holding Gippsland off well. Though come the conclusion of the third, GWV were turned goalless and Gippsland had stolen the lead with a forward onslaught led by Nikia Webber. Come the final term, both teams added a goal each but GWV were pressing hard in their forward half. The rebels were awarded a chance for a kick after the siren with Sophie Molan tasked with the job 35 metres out. Unfortunately for GWV, the kick did not travel, and Gippsland left with a much-needed and rare victory.

 

EASTERN RANGES 1.1 | 2.1 | 2.1 | 3.3 (21)
TASMANIA DEVILS 1.2 | 1.3 | 2.4 | 2.4 (16)

By: Peter Williams

GOALS:

Eastern: S. Gibbs 2, T. Merrett.
Tasmania: H. Breward, B. Oates.

BEST:

Eastern: S. Gibbs, J. Dunning, E. Horne, J. Richardson, M. Kendall, L. McClelland
Tasmania: H. Smith, B. Oates, M. King, C. Lovell, P. King

Eastern Ranges have kept their finals hopes alive with a nail-biting five-point win over Tasmania Devils at RAMS Arena on Sunday. Following the Devils going down to Western by 37 points on Friday night, many would have predicted the fifth placed Ranges to win comfortably. However, it was far from the case with Tasmania booting the first goal of the game through Hannah Breward, leading at two of the four breaks, and competing for the full four quarters. In fact, had it not being for two clever snaps from Victorian Netball League netballer Serena Gibbs, Eastern might have headed home without any points and a sense of deja vu from last year where a tight loss ultimately saw them miss out. This time was different however, as the Ranges held firm, dominating the last term and having a number of chances, but it took until the thirteenth minute for Gibbs to put ball to boot amongst congestion and see it dribble through past the Devils defence. Gibbs was crucial around the ground and a standout player on the day, with her two majors and Tahlia Merrett‘s soccer goal in the first term showing Eastern had to get creative with their majors. Laura McClelland had a big last term, and was named among the best with Jessica Dunning, Emma Horne, Jenna Richardson and Mietta Kendall. For Tasmania, Mia King was all class throughout the day with some impressive ball-winning abilities, while Hannah Smith and Brianna Oates (one goal) were also named in the Devils’ best.

 

BENDIGO PIONEERS: 0.1 | 0.4 | 1.5 | 1.5 (11)
NORTHERN KNIGHTS: 2.4 | 4.5 | 6.8 | 9.10 (64)

By: Sophie Taylor

GOALS:

Bendigo: A. Thompson.
Northern: A. Bannan 3, G. Pirdis 2, M. Appleby 2, A. Reibelt, B. Gutknecht.

BEST:

Bendigo: M. Tupper, B. Hards, E. Snell, D. Villiva, M. Barton, K. Douglass
Northern: J. Fitzgerald, S. Sansonetti, A. Bannan, E. McKenzie, B. Gutknecht, G. Newton

Sunday’s match between the Bendigo Pioneers and Northern Knights was always shaping up to be a big one, with both sides on the higher end of the ladder. The Knights once again proved their depth and ability across the field to register another big win, still undefeated for the season and sitting in second on the ladder with two rounds to go. Clean play from the Knights saw the first two scoring shots of the game, before a goal from Maykaylah Appleby in space got the first major on the board. The Pioneers struggled under pressure from the likes of Sarah Sansonetti defensively, struggling to find avenues into their forward 50 and wasteful when opportunities came up. High, rushed kicks to the disadvantage of teammates proved ineffective as the side only managed the one major for the game. The Knights were smooth transitioning from defence through to their forward 50, with plenty of options forward and locking the ball inside 50 at turnovers. Alyssa Bannan (three goals), Georgia Purvis (two) and Appleby (two) were on song in front of goal, while Abby Thompson was Bendigo’s only goalkicker with a dribble through in the third term, courtesy of some stellar teamwork and workrate forward by the likes of Maeve Tupper and Brooke Hards.

NAB League Girls Round 6 preview: The race for finals spots heats up

A BUMPER weekend of NAB League girls football will have onlookers having to choose which games to keep an eye on, with fixtures spread across the state in the 12:45pm timeslot on both Saturday and Sunday. In arguably the game of the round, Bendigo hosts Dandenong for an outcome crucial to their finals aspirations, while some sides will suffer from forced changes on the back of AFL Academy games.

GIPPSLAND POWER v. NORTHERN KNIGHTS

Round 6 – 13/04/2019
12:45pm
Garfield Football Ground

A late fixture change sees Northern Knights travel to Garfield to meet Gippsland Power and open Round 6. After a minor hiccup in the form of a draw against Oakleigh in Round 2, the Knights have hit form once again and rolled on to three-consecutive wins. The travelling side’s depth will be tested though as four of their star players come out of the side due to Academy commitments, but the likes of Jess Fitzgerald and Abigail Bennett should thrive of an extended run in the midfield and deliver well to perennial forward target Nell Morris-Dalton. It has been a much different season for Gippsland, still searching for its first win in season 2019 and coming off a 62-point thumping at the hands of Bendigo. Still, developing talents in the form of Nikia Webber and Chandra Abrahams amongst others continue to show promise in a tough year and should have a good opportunity to shine this week.

OAKLEIGH CHARGERS v. MURRAY BUSHRANGERS

Round 6 – 13/04/2019
12:45pm
Warrawee Park – Oakleigh

Both the Oakleigh Chargers and Murray Bushrangers will be hoping to bounce back from Round 5 losses when they do battle on the metro side’s home turf. After toppling a dangerous Calder side, Oakleigh were upset last week as Sandringham notched its first win for the year, while Murray has suffered consecutive defeats after a big wins over Western and Gippsland in Rounds 2 and 3. With wins on the board for both sides, this will be a tough ask for Oakleigh as it looks to charge back into a top four spot – and can do so if other results go its way. Murray hang on the other side of that chasing pack, and will look to the likes of Millie Brown and Abby Favell to regain their form, while Sophia McCarthy is set to back up her three-goal Round 5 haul. For Oakleigh, Mimi Hill was electric last week, and will be a key player again with Gemma Lagioia one who can build on her Round 5 performance and Alana Porter another in good form. While it will prove a test for the home side, the Charger will be confident of bouncing back onto the winners list here.

BENDIGO PIONEERS v. DANDENONG STINGRAYS

Round 6 – 14/04/2019
12:45pm
Epsom Huntly Reserve – Bendigo

Bendigo Pioneers faces an uphill battle in its push for a finals berth, faced with a Dandenong Stingrays side also poised on 12 premiership points. The Stingrays went down narrowly to the dominant Geelong Falcons last time out, but certainly showed their credentials as a genuine premiership contender with an eye-catching first half. The Pioneers are also staking their claim with three wins from their last four outings, headlined by a standout 62-point drubbing of Gippsland last week. With the sides poised evenly and the race for finals spots heating up, this is shaping to be the game of the round. Brooke Vernon and Zoe Hill have been consistent features for Dandenong thus far, and will have to stand up with Academy prospects Isabella Shannon, Molly McDonald and Tyanna Smith all out this week. The Pioneers managed to keep a relatively steady lineup, with Elizabeth Snell coming off a five-goal haul and Brooke Hards their key ball winner, while Kate Douglass has been immense down back. It will be a good opportunity for Bendigo to prove themselves further, with the home ground advantage in tow.

EASTERN RANGES v. CALDER CANNONS

Round 6 – 14/04/2019
12:45pm
Bayswater Football Ground

Another exciting match-up with finals ramifications is set to take place on Sunday, with Eastern Ranges playing host to Calder Cannons in Bayswater. Both sides experienced losses over the last couple of weeks, with Calder falling to Oakleigh in Round 4 and Eastern going down to Northern last week. With Calder currently holding the edge over their weekend opponents on four wins as opposed to three, this will prove to be a classic ‘eight-pointer’ in the race for a top four spot. Tarni Brown remains in a weakened Ranges side on the back of Academy selections, with Tess Flintoff another who has recently benefitted from the ruckwork of Serena Gibbs. While Calder faces a similar situation with the loss of Georgia Patrikios, Georgie Prespakis remains alongside Alana Barba in a tight-knit midfield. With plenty on the line, expect these sides to throw everything but the kitchen sink at getting a result here, with either team capable of kicking big scores.

GREATER WESTERN VICTORIA REBELS v. SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS

Round 6 – 14/04/2019
12:45pm
Mars Stadium – Ballarat

A second win is up for grabs for both Greater Western Victoria and Sandringham Dragons as they do battle in Ballarat on Sunday. The Rebels have not quite been able to recapture the form that earned them a Round 1 win over Bendigo, since falling in every game coming into this clash on the back of an upset loss to Western. Conversely, the Dragons look to finally be playing themselves into some form after knocking off Oakleigh last week for their first win of the season. Rebels midfield ace Ella Wood will be important in the engine room alongside Chloe Leonard, with Sophie Molan out of the side, while Sandringham will look to Winnie Laing to shoulder most of the midfield load as Alice Burke goes out. With the form of either side differing at this point of the season despite their identical record, the Dragons will be confident of making it two-straight in a tight tussle.

WESTERN JETS v. GEELONG FALCONS

Round 6 – 14/04/2019
12:45pm
Downer Oval – Williamstown

In the round’s last listed fixture, Western Jets faces a tall order in building on last week’s winning effort, as a meeting with the undefeated reigning premiers awaits. The Falcons found themselves behind for the first time in a long time last week against the Stingrays, but rallied in the second half to keep their perfect record in tact. Western will be hoping for more of the same in that respect, as the Jets looked the best they have all year in Round 5 as it overcame GWV for win number one. They will have to do so without the prolific Isabella Grant, leaving a heap of heavy lifting for fellow midfielder Elisabeth Georgostathis. In a testament to their depth, the Falcons will only be without skipper Lucy McEvoy due to Academy duties, with the likes of Luka Lesosky-Hay, Paige Sheppard, and Darcy Moloney able to fill the void in midfield. With the Falcons’ forward line clicking into gear, their defence sturdy as ever, and everything in between up to scratch, it is always hard to look past the undefeated unit in any game.

Team of the Week: NAB League Girls – Round 5

BENDIGO Pioneers’ impressive win over Gippsland Power has resulted in four players receiving spots in the Draft Central NAB League Girls’ Team of the Week for Round 5. The Pioneers had the most of any club for the round, one more than Geelong Falcons, while a further seven clubs had two players each. The Power, Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels and Murray Bushrangers all had the one player each after defeats on the weekend.

The Pioneers midfield was ultra impressive and Brooke Hards, Annabel Strachan and Hannah Stewart all made the side, along with goalsneak mid-forward Elizabeth Snell who bagged five majors and earned the title of Draft Central Player of the Week for Round 4. The Geelong Falcons had another impressive win on the weekend, coming from behind to knock off Dandenong Stingrays and were rewarded with three players in Team of the Week, captain Lucy McEvoy, full-forward Renee Tierney and midfielder Paige Sheppard. Their opponents the Stingrays had two players each, with defender Brooke Vernon in the side for a fourth week, as well as Georgia Howes who was impressive up forward.

Also in defence is Sandringham Dragons’ Alice Burke and Sarah Hartwig, with Hartwig and Western Jets’ Isabelle Pritchard likely to form the defensive duo in Vic Metro’s campaign at the AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships. Pritchard is joined in the side by teammate Isabella Grant on the wing. On the other wing is Georgia Patrikios who stood out in Calder Cannons’ win over Murray Bushrangers, while Alana Barba has been named at centre half-forward. Sophie McCarthy booted three goals up the other end of the ground at RAMS Arena to earn a spot in the pocket.

Northern Knights Team of the Week regulars, Britney Gutknecht and Gabby Newton made the team once again, while Eastern Ranges opponents Tarni Brown and Serena Gibbs were impressive throughout and also earned nods in our team for Round 5. The other side with two players in the Team of the Week was Oakleigh Chargers, with Mimi Hill (half-back) and Alana Porter making the side. To round out the team is Gippsland Power defender Matilda Van Berkel who has been in good form the last few weeks in defence.