Tag: Alice O’Loughlin

Season reviews: TAC Cup Girls – Oakleigh Chargers

THE Oakleigh Chargers often had to change their side throughout the season, due to school commitments, injuries and rotation. But this enabled plenty of players to get a chance to experience football at TAC Cup Girls level. Despite only three wins for the season, two were by massive margins and the other was a tough slog near the end of the season.

Position: 9th
Win-loss: 3-6
Percentage: 77%


R1: defeated Gippsland Power by 67 points
R2: lost to Sandringham Dragons by 33 points
R3: lost to Eastern Ranges by 28 points
R4: lost to Geelong Falcons by 70 points
R5: lost to Northern Knights by 51 points
R6: defeated Bendigo Pioneers by 67 points
R7: lost to Dandenong Stingrays by 28 points
R8: defeated Western Jets by 15 points
R9: lost to Greater Western Victoria Rebels by 25 points

Key players:

Hannah McLaren: The Oakleigh captain led by example throughout the season with aggressive tackling, clean hands and good ball-use in general. McLaren is also a strong marker of the footy, as she could intercept and control the play for her side. She could play anywhere throughout the season, often playing behind the ball to counteract opposition scoring. Her best work was arguably done in the midfield, where she would burrow into contests and also provide good run on the outside to assist her teammates. She is currently playing for Vic Metro in the AFL Women’s U18 National Championships.

Gemma Lagioia: Lagioia often worked in tandem with McLaren to put pressure on the opposition midfield, tackling hard and winning the ground balls. She demonstrated a high footy IQ throughout the season, reading the play well and taking some nice intercept marks. Her long kick was crucial, as it gave her teammates chances to create scoring opportunities. Lagioia showed consistent hunger for the footy, demonstrated by her ability to go hard at the footy and win it cleanly.

Daisy Bateman: Bateman was an exciting forward who came equal second in the TAC Cup Girls goal kicking tally. She had the highest average of the season, averaging two goals per game to register 14 goals from seven games. The highlight of her season was when she kicked five majors against the Bendigo Pioneers, being her dominant self inside 50. Bateman often demonstrated strong hands and her positioning inside 50 was outstanding. Her forward pressure was an asset of her game as was her ball movement. She booted a goal in Vic Metro’s first game of the AFL Women’s National Championships, getting her Nationals campaign off to a good start.

Bridie Winbanks: Was not only a standout ruck for the Chargers, but was also a standout in the competition. Winbanks did well aerially to win the ball and also fought hard for the ground ball, showing constant fight to win the footy. She was able to tackle hard and used her long kick to get her teammates out of trouble. She has already had an opportunity to feature in Essendon’s VFLW side, competing hard in the ruck in new colours. Winbanks also made the AFL Draft Central Team of the Year, which was reward for a consistent year in the ruck.

Katie Lynch: Lynch was a game-changer for the Chargers when she had the opportunity to play, often dominating through the midfield. Her strong hands were a huge asset in her game, as she was able to intercept or mark overhead which helped to open up play for her teammates. Her long kick can clear the ball out of congestion while her tackling is fierce and can give opposition midfields headaches. Lynch had a blistering start to the AFL Women’s National Under 18 Championships, displaying her eite ball use and high footy IQ which we became so accustomed to seeing during the season.

Season summary:

A three-win season would not dishearten the Chargers, as they got the opportunity to unveil some wonderful young talent that will hold them in good stead for years to come. With just two of its six losses being over 50 points, it shows that Oakleigh have been able to keep in the contest for the majority of its games. With players like Alana Porter, Nicola Xenos and Alice O’Loughlin playing exciting footy and the side having a solid connection with Collingwood, the Chargers have a bright future ahead of them.

Scouting notes: National AFLW Under 16s Championships

IN what was a great opportunity for the most talented Under 16s girls, Vic Country took on Vic Metro at GMHBA Stadium on Saturday morning as a curtain raiser to their Under 18s counterparts. Vic Metro got the job done in an entertaining contest, and Peter Williams (Vic Country) and Julia Montesano (Vic Metro) took notes on each of the players who took part. Note all reviews are opinion-based.

Vic Country:

#1 Jerusha Devarakonda

Throughout the match she showed a fierce attack on the footy, particularly in the third term where she was involved in a number of plays. She was often deep in defence or running off the half-back flank, she had quick hands and did not take a backwards step. She gave away a free kick to Tarni Brown in the third quarter, but it was her attack to win the footy that was most impressive.

#2 Leila Raymond

Raymond showed great defensive pressure in the back half, laying a number of strong tackles. It was almost déjà vu for the Gippsland Power player, who had no problems burying her opponent in a fantastic tackle in both the third and fourth quarters. She also saved a goal with a great tackle as an opponent ran towards the big sticks.

#3 Holly Andrews

Attacked the contest hard and had a good first term where she laid a couple of great tackles – unfortunately giving away a free for holding on too long. She created run out of defence in the second term, and was reliable with her disposal, including a good kick from half-back to the wing in the third term.

#4 Elizabeth Snell

Had a couple of nice passages of place including a good handball at ground level under pressure in the first term, and quick hands out of a stoppage in the third term.

#5 Megan Fitzsimon

Fitzsimon showed quick hands under pressure and a cleanliness at ground level to collect and go. She had a good kick to the wing after picking the footy up cleanly off the deck in the second half. She continued to stay involved along the wing.

#6 Renee Saulitis

Along with Tyanna Smith, was a driving force in the midfield. She won the footy throughout the four quarters and put in a really consistent effort. She did the defensive things well, laying tackles and providing bumps, while taking a courageous mark on the wing in the second term. She kicked well off half-back and had a fantastic run-down tackle on Ellie McKenzie after copping a don’t argue in the third term and earned a free kick for her troubles. She covered the ground well, also winning possessions in the forward half of the ground.

#7 Jemma Finning

Unfortunately Finning was injured early in the second term and did not get to play the game out.

#8 Kate Adams

Took a lovely mark at half-back in the final term and had a good centering pass to a teammate. She also showed a quick kick out of a stoppage late in the game.

#9 Emily Nicholson

Played in defence and constantly went in hard. She took a good one-on-one mark early and was able to quickly dispose of the ball under pressure. Nicholson had a highlight laying a strong tackle on Olivia Meagher, not fooled by Meagher’s attempt to sidestep her inside 50.

#10 Abbey Jordan

Jordan stood under a high ball in defence and despite contact coming did not waiver. She was unlucky not to get a free, showing good courage. In the third term she had a piercing kick inside 50 after moving through traffic, and then took a good intercept mark on the wing. Jordan laid a fierce bump on her opponent in the final term.

#11 Brooke Hards

Hards showed a willingness to back herself at all times coming off half-back. She got caught a couple of times, but for the run and ability to crash through opponents, it was worth it. She charged out of defence a number of times and was often under pressure. She laid a great tackle at half-back early in the game and hit-up Maggie Caris on the wing.

#12 Tyanna Smith

The Vic Country captain was one of the best with Renee Saulitis. Smith spread well to the outside and worked hard back into defence to help out. On a number of occasions, Smith read the loose ball in the air superbly, sticking out a hand and grabbing it cleanly before disposing of it by hand. She showed great acceleration out of a stoppage and kicked a goal on the run in the second term, really starting to dominate through the midfield. She laid some strong tackles and also took intercept marks at half-back.

#13 Chloe Leonard

Played in defence and had a number of kicks from half-back to the wing, rebounding where possible. She showed a good long kick and took a great mark dropping back in the first term to intercept.

#16 Sharmaine Reilly

Showed good courage going back with the flight at half-back to impact a contest despite copping body contact. She also applied good defensive pressure at half-back, applying a good shepherd to allow a teammate to run on.

#17 Sophie Milsome

A quieter first half, but took a great mark on the lead 35m out for a set shot in the third term. The shot drifted right, but she was presenting to the midfielders. She also laid a great smother at half-forward to put the ball out of bounds in the final term and force a throw in.

#18 Zoe Hill

Had a very nervous start to the day with some fumbles and caught holding the ball once for Alyssa Bannan to goal. Once she settled in she got back to what we have come to expect from her with a couple of strong intercept marks and was reliable by foot.

#19 Matilda Van Berkel

A quiet game, but always attacked the contest hard. She had a fantastic kick in the third quarter with a perfect pass to Sophie Milsome on the lead.

#20 Stephanie Glover

Busy early in the game, showing good vision to handball to a teammate at half-back through a couple of opponents. She has really good evasion and is able to step around opponents well. She threw it on the boot once, but is often more composed with the ball, and is quite athletic.

#21 Isabella Robson

Had a good moment to knock Ellie McKenzie off balance and drop the ball as she streamed towards 50 in the first half.

#22 Renee Tierney

Just continues to pop up at times despite not having a lot of opportunities. She had a clean pick-up off an awkward bounce at half-forward and was able to maintain composure to give it off to a teammate while she was under pressure. Tierney’s highlight came in the third term with the goal of the match after picking it up, snapping quickly from the boundary and dribbling it home. She also took a huge contested grab in the forward 50 later in the term, clunking the mark and looking dangerous.

#23 Isabella Simmons

When the ball went in her forward zone she showed good defensive pressure and was able to lock the ball up with a good tackle.

#24 Olivia Barber

Barber’s second efforts are noticeable in her ruck work, often winning her own ball from the taps. She laid a number of fierce tackles at ground level and continued to work hard. She snapped at goal off a couple of steps but just missed to the left.

#25 Maggie Caris

A raw but talented ruck who is smart with her hitout work. She was strong overhead and often marked at the highest point. A learning curve for her would be the game smarts when Alyssa Bannan was having a set shot from 40m and she stood at the top of the goal square instead of on the line and it bounced through with no-one to stop it. A really solid game all round, however.


#1 Olivia Meagher

Meagher was really lively up forward and was not afraid to take the game on. This was shown when she kicked a long bomb from just inside 50 that sailed through the goals. Before that, she read the ball well out of a stoppage and snapped through a goal from just outside the goal square. She was able to generate good acceleration and cleared the ball well after tackling a Country player. Meagher was not afraid to run the ball through the corridor and used her long kick to advantage on multiple occasions. Hacked a kick nicely out of a stoppage. Meagher kicked her third goal with a beautiful pick-up and snap and utilised excellent closing speed to chase down the Country player and earn a free kick. 

#2 Mietta Kendall

Chased the ball well in defence, as she attempted to tackle three players. Nicked one of the jumpers and won a dropping the ball free kick, thanks to her desperation at back half. Laid a goal-saving tackle and always gets involved in the right moments.

#3 Taylah Morton

Morton followed the footy with purpose and intent throughout the day. She was able to trap the footy well and often used the ball well by foot. She also displayed great clean hands while being tackled, showing her strength in the contest.

#5 Mary Daw

Took a nice mark in defence to stop Country running forward and then hit a target with her kick.

#6 Abigail Bennett

Bennett competed hard throughout the match and displayed some great work inside 50. Kicked two goals for the day. Her first was a snap from an angle while being slung to the ground, which got the momentum swinging in Metro’s favour after a slow first quarter. Bennett has great composure with the ball in hand and when she does not have it, she follows it up well, laying strong tackles to prevent any opposition forward movement.

#7 Jessica Fitzgerald

Fitzgerald followed the footy nicely throughout the match and got plenty of it, which was a credit to her efforts around the stoppages. Executed a good pick-up and laid off a nice handball out of a stoppage while on hands and knees. The Northern Knights product always followed up her efforts well, through tackling hard.

#8 Bella Eddey

Gave off a nice quick-fire handball out of a stoppage inside 50. Picked the ball up with ease off the deck and got a quick handball away to Alyssa Bannan. Played well on the wing considering her normal spot is up forward while playing for the Dragons.

#9 Winnie Laing

Laing read the play well and hunted the footy with intent. She got a lot of the ball and did everything she could to get the ball out of a stoppage. Often used her speed to break away and get the ball forward for Metro.

#10 Ashleigh Snow

Snow had great hands out of stoppages and showed good strength while doing so. While being pursued by two players, she got a clean handball out to a teammate on the outside. Snow got the ball away while being tackled multiple times, giving her teammates first opportunity to get onto the football.

#11 Eliza McNamara

Executed many nice kicks to the top of the square, giving them good height and allowing her forwards to jump at the footy. Also had the ability to pinpoint kicks, displaying good all-round footwork throughout the day. McNamara accelerated well with the ball in hand, clearing it out of the centre square in one instance. Also did well defensively when she laid a strong wrap-around tackle on a Vic Country player then followed it up with another aggressive tackling effort.

#12 Tarni Brown

Had a sensational first half for Metro then played consistently for the rest of the game. Brown created so many scoring opportunities for Vic Metro with her clean hands and accurate kicking. She was able to boot the ball forward when needed to or she would get the play started with a strong handball out of a stoppage. Brown did nicely to find space and utilised it with lovely acceleration. Her blind turns were a highlight of her game, as one ended up in a handball to Abigail Bennett on the outside, who kicked her second major of the day as a result. Brown also demonstrated a high footy IQ when she lowered her eyes to spot Alyssa Bannan on the outer side, who then kicked a goal while being tackled. 

#13 Alice Burke

Took a good leading mark on the wing and read the ball well off a tap. She then moved the ball well with a nice clearing kick out a stoppage.

#15 Mimi Hill

Gave off a good handball on hands and knees to get the ball out of congestion.

#16 Alice O’Loughlin

O’Loughlin laid a great tackle that prevented a Vic Country breakaway. Did most of her hard work up forward with a good kick towards goal that was on line but just didn’t make the distance. O’Loughlin’s defensive efforts were sound as she laid a strong tackle to earn a free kick. She then pinpointed the pass perfectly to Olivia Meagher for a set shot, giving her prime opportunity to kick a goal.

#17 Alisa Magri

Magri displayed strong hands throughout the day. She took a great mark off an Alice O’Loughlin kick inside 50, but she just missed the set shot. Took another miraculous mark inside 50 in a one-on-one contest, grabbing the ball with one hand and moving it forward. She is an exciting player with the ball in hand.

#18 Amber Micallef

Micallef pursued the ball with intent and then kicked it well around her body towards the boundary line. This showed great composure as it helped to slow the play down for Vic Metro.

#19 Sarah Hartwig

Hartwig gave off a good handball while being tackled strongly. Also took a strong contested mark and followed it up with a pinpointed a kick to Bennett at half-forward.

#20 Ellie McKenzie

McKenzie played a blinder of a game, particularly showing off her strong hands and exciting dash. She often found herself on the wing and created excitement when she fended off a player and streamed towards the forward 50. She did this in two separate points in the game, displaying her X factor and strength with the ball in hand. In many instances, she showed good situational awareness, as she knew she had space and used it to her advantage. In the forward half, she laid a good smother and attempted an almighty speccy. McKenzie leapt for every ball that came her way, and was fearless in attack. Demonstrated excellent run and carry when she streamed inside 50 to get the ball towards goal and creates a scoring opportunity. Showed class when she executed a great one-two with Alice O’Loughlin.

#21 Tamsin Crook

Crook did well in the ruck and followed up her work. She showed good intent to keep the ball moving when she dribbled the ball on the ground instead of just diving on it. This was smart play by her to keep it moving and then pick it up when she had the space to do so. Crook also tackled well on the day.

#22 Isabelle Pritchard

Ball didn’t go down her end that much but showed good intent when it came her way. At one point, she displayed good use of the body to shrug the tackle then executed a good second effort to create a stoppage.

#23 Jess Grace

Grace played in the ruck and contested well with Maggie Caris.

#24 Alyssa Bannan

Bannan was prolific in the forward line, demonstrating her high footy IQ. Took a good mark lace-out and then executed a perfect kick for goal from about 40 metres out. At this point, she backed herself and the ball bounced through. Bannan even had a stint in the ruck and competed well thanks to her height and footy smarts. A highlight of her game was when she punched the ball forward in the air to prevent a stoppage, then got the ball back off her punch and gave off a quick handball to Ellie McKenzie. Bannan also displayed clean hands throughout the game. Her kicking was on display too when she kicked a brilliant centering ball to Jessica Fitzgerald, giving Fitzgerald’s opponent no chance to compete. The Northern Knights forward finished with two majors for the day. 

#25 Isabel Young

Young tackled well and displayed good strength to stand up in the stoppage and get a handball away over the top.

Fifty named in AFL Draft Central’s TAC Cup Girls’ Team of the Year squad

FIFTY players from across the TAC Cup Girls’ competition have been named in AFL Draft Central’s Team of the Year squad, with the even cut-off those who received two of more nominations in our Team of the Week. There have also been 43 players recognised by AFL Draft Central who put in an outstanding effort to be nominated once throughout the season.

Remarkably, there has been an almost even split, with 26 players receiving three or more nominations in our Team of the Week, while another 24 players made the team twice. Of the 50-player squad, Geelong Falcons received the most nominations with seven players receiving two or more nominations in the Team of the Week, while the Northern Knights (six) were next followed by Sandringham Dragons and Eastern Ranges (five each). It is no surprise that these four teams were the top four sides at the end of the TAC Cup Girls regular season.

It was an even split between the next five sides with Dandenong Stingrays, Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels, Murray Bushrangers, Oakleigh Chargers and Western Jets all having four dual nominees, while Gippsland Power had three. Bendigo Pioneers and Calder Cannons had the two standout players each who were nominated multiple times. In terms of total players nominated, the Geelong Falcons and Eastern Ranges both had an impressive 11 players nominated at least once, ahead of Northern Knights and Sandringham Dragons (10), Dandenong Stingrays and Murray Bushrangers (nine), Oakleigh Chargers (eight). GWV Rebels (seven), Western Jets (six), Bendigo Pioneers (five), Gippsland Power and Calder Cannons (three) to round out the 12 sides.

In terms of most nominations, it is no surprise to see Calder Cannons’ Madison Prespakis and Gippsland Power’s Tyla Hanks, are leading the way with a stunning eight nominations from eight games. The pair will be captain and vice-captain in the Team of the Year. Just as remarkably, 15 year-old Ellie McKenzie is outright third, with six nominations from her six games and will no doubt feature many times in the team over the next two years.

Team of the Year squad: [50]

Bendigo Pioneers [2]: Kodi Jacques, Megan Williamson
Calder Cannons [2]: Georgia Patrikios, Madison Prespakis
Dandenong Stingrays [4]: Jordyn Allen, Shelley Heath, Courtney Jones, Isabella Shannon
Eastern Ranges [5]: Mikala Cann, Gabriella De Angelis, Sarah Kendall, Georgia Macpherson, Emerson Woods
Geelong Falcons [7]: Samantha Atkins, Sachi DeGiacomi, Zoe Inei, Lucy McEvoy, Nina Morrison, Olivia Purcell, Denby Taylor
Gippsland Power [3]: Tyla Hanks, Emily Haeusler, Nikia Webber
GWV Rebels [4]: Lauren Butler, Georgia Clarke, Sophie Molan, Sophie Van De Heuvel
Murray Bushrangers [4]: Eloise Ashley-Copper, Grace Egan, Tamara Smith, Rebecca Webster
Northern Knights [6]: Alyssa Bannan, Abigail Bennett, Britney Gutknecht, Ellie McKenzie, Gabby Newton, Alex Pronesti
Oakleigh Chargers [4]: Daisy Bateman, Gemma Lagioia, Katie Lynch, Bridie Winbanks
Sandringham Dragons [5]: Holly Bate, Eleanor Brown, Alice Burke, Isabella Eddey, Eliza McNamara
Western Jets [4]: Elisbeth Georgostathis, Caitlin Greiser, Isabelle Pritchard, Sharnie Whiting

Single nominations: [43]

Bendigo Pioneers [3]: Eloise Gretgrix, Brooke Hards, Sophie Kerridge
Calder Cannons [1]: Felicity Theodore
Dandenong Stingrays [5]: Eloise Allen-Burns, Saige Bayne, Lucy Cripps, Samantha Ryan, Tyanna Smith
Eastern Ranges [6]: Ashleigh Allsopp, Tarni Brown, Olivia Meagher, Laura McClelland, Lauren Szigeti, Charlotte Wilson
Geelong Falcons [4]: Abbey Chapman, Luka Lesosky-Hay, Renee Tierney, Sophie Walmsley
Gippsland Power [1]: Jasmine Ferguson
GWV Rebels [3]: Stephanie Glover, Nyakoat Dojiok, Ella Wood
Murray Bushrangers [5]: Olivia Barber, Millie Brown, Julia Harvey, Chelsea Knight, Claudia McKimmie
Northern Knights [4]: Maddy Brancatisano, Jess Fitzgerald, Nell Morris-Dalton, Ashleigh Snow
Oakleigh Chargers [4]: Hannah McLaren, Alice O’Loughlin, Chloe O’Malley, Nicola Xenos
Sandringham Dragons [5]: Molly Denahy Maloney, Sarah Hartwig, Winnie Laing, Jemma Owen, Maddi Wilson
Western Jets [2]: Isabella Grant, Taylah Kolevski

The final AFL Draft Central TAC Cup Girls Team of the Year will be posted later in the week.

Team of the Week: TAC Cup Girls – Round 8

IN the penultimate round of the TAC Cup Girls competition, the AFL Draft Central Team of the Week has welcomed five debutants into the best 22 after some standout performances in round eight. While the team is comprised of plenty of familiar names, five players – four from metro sides and one from country – are in the Team of the Week for the first time in Round 8.

In defence, Western Jets tall Sharnie Whiting was a clear standout and earned her place in the back pocket, joined in the team by regular Team of the Week nominee Elisabeth Georgostathis. On the opposition, dynamic forward Alice O’Loughlin was a danger for the Chargers in their win over the Jets, and she has earned a spot in the starting six, as has ruck Bridie Winbanks who was impressive once again.

Eastern Ranges welcomes two new faces into the team, with Mikala Cann‘s superb performance through the midfield seeing her take the centre position, along with Ashleigh Allsopp who in our eyes was the most damaging of a number of damaging Ranges forwards on the day. She just kicked the one goal, but helped create more and was constantly involved in the play. The team Eastern easily accounted for had two players make the best 22 this week, with Eloise Ashley-Cooper‘s work in defence, and Millie Brown‘s – the fifth debutant in our Team of the Week – strength through the midfield earning them spots in the team.

Of all the sides this week, it is no surprise to see Geelong Falcons again having their fair share of nominees, with three players – the only team to record that number this week. Lucy McEvoy was terrific in defence, Olivia Purcell again dominated through the midfield, and Sachi DeGiacomi makes it back-to-back nominations in the team after another strong performance in the forward line. Northern Knights still had two nominees with Ellie McKenzie filling her regular spot in the team, while Gabby Newton played a different role in defence – starring and now having filled places in the Team of the Week in the ruck, forward, bench and now defence.

In what has become almost a lock each week, Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels’ centre-half back Georgia Clarke earns her place in the side once again, with the team unlucky to only have the one nominee – but in a game which was described as a real team performance, it was hard to single out top individuals. One such top individual was on the other side, with Tyla Hanks making the team yet again, having made it all seven times from her seven games – equal with Calder Cannons gun Madison Prespakis. Speaking of Prespakis, she is joined in the side by Georgia Patrikios for the second time, with the exciting forward having a damaging performance inside 50.

The Cannons went down to the Dandenong Stingrays on Friday night, and a couple of key reasons for that were the Stingrays’ AFLW Academy members. Jordyn Allen‘s performance in defence was top-notch, filling out the space on the half-back flank, while Courtney Jones was damaging through the midfield and half-forward. If you are talking about damage up forward, look no further than Holly Bate, our Round 8 TAC Cup Girls’ Player of the Week following her seven-goal haul for the Sandringham Dragons. Both Bate, and teammate Eleanor Brown made our Team of the Week. The Dragons’ win over Bendigo Pioneers was comprehensive, but one of the few shining lights for the Pioneers was captain Megan Williamson who again stood up for four quarters against the tide, earning a spot in the Team of the Week.

This week there were a number of unlucky players as there is always, with Geelong Falcons’ Denby Taylor, GWV Rebels’ Sophie Molan and Eastern Ranges’ Emerson Woods considered the three next in line for a place in the team after strong performances.


Weekend Wash-up: TAC Cup Girls – Round 8

GEELONG has booked a spot in the TAC Cup Girls grand final after they got the job done over the Northern Knights. Sandringham improved to six wins and two losses in season 2018 while the Dandenong Stingrays got over the line in a thriller over the Cannons. Although the season is coming to a close, the teams are still fighting hard to end their season on a high note. 


Calder Cannons 4.1 (25) defeated by Dandenong Stingrays 3.9 (27)

By: Julia Montesano 

The Dandenong Stingrays kept their winning streak alive, but only just, as the Cannons fought hard all game to limit the victory to just two points. Although Dandenong had most of the play, their inaccuracy hurt them and nearly cost them the game.

Captain, Jordyn Allen starred yet again for the Stingrays, creating her own wall behind the ball. She marked everything that came her way and moved the ball swiftly and cleanly. Down forward, it was Courtney Jones who was putting in the hard yards with plenty of forward pressure and a couple of goals. Tyanna Smith was important on the wing and through the middle of the ground, running hard throughout the night and using the ball well both by hand and by foot.

The Cannons tried to nullify Allen’s impact through throwing star midfielder, Madison Prespakis up forward. Prespakis ended up making an influence herself, kicking two goals and doing all the nice things we have gotten accustomed to seeing from her. Her teammate, Georgia Patrikios played one of her best games for the Cannons all season. Patrikios laid damaging tackles, and her inside 50 pressure was fantastic. Georgie Prespakis starred in her second game for Calder, starring with a long kick that looks incredibly similar, and has the same damaging impact as her sister’s. 


Eastern Ranges 7.5 (47) defeated Murray Bushrangers 0.1 (1)

By: Peter Williams 

A terrific performance by the Eastern Ranges has resulted in a 46-point victory over the Murray Bushrangers at Warrawee Park. The Ranges were on top for the entire game and put in a four quarter performance, restricting the Bushrangers to just one behind – a late score in the final term – while booting seven goals themselves with seven individual goal kickers. The win means the Ranges will finish top four, having just two losses from eight games this season with one match to come.

Mikala Cann put in a best on ground performance and was everywhere early, booting a sensational goal on the run under pressure to get the momentum flowing, then assisting in some more scores as she really stood out in the victory. Emerson Woods was strong early up forward, being involved in most passages of play with the co-captain impressing, as did fellow co-captain, Charlotte Wilson in defence. But it was the multi-pronged forward line that caused headaches for the opposition with Ashleigh Allsopp, Gabriella De Angelis, Jess Provan and Laura McClelland showing Eastern’s depth inside 50.

For the Bushrangers, the midfield of Millie Brown, Tamara Smith and Julia Harvey worked hard throughout without top star, Rebecca Webster, while Eloise Ashley-Cooper stood up in the absence of Grace Egan down back. Chelsea Knight also stood up in spite of a dominant Ranges’ midfield in what was a tough day at the office for the Bushrangers.


Oakleigh Chargers 5.8 (38) defeated Western Jets 3.5 (23)

By: Peter Williams 

A three-goal performance by Oakleigh leading goalkicker, Daisy Bateman has helped the Chargers record a solid 15-point victory over the Western Jets at Warrawee Park to take out the inaugural Zaidee’s Cup. In a great initiative by the two teams, the players worse Zaidee’s Rainbow Shoelaces to help raise awareness for organ and tissue donation. On the scoreboard, Oakleigh proved too good early to boot five goals to one in the opening three quarters – including two opportunistic goals in the third term to Bateman – to secure the victory. The Jets booted two goals in the final term to reduce the final deficit.

Bridie Winbanks was important in the ruck, while Alice O’Loughlin and Gemma Lagioia were crucial between midfield and forward for the Chargers. Captain, Hannah McLaren was strong in defence, in what was a great team effort for the Chargers who were missing Katie Lynch, Charlotte Moon and Nicola Xenos – three of their more consistent players – due to school football commitments, allowing others to stand up in their place.

For the Jets, full-back Sharnie Whiting stood up against constant pressure, while Elisabeth Georgostathis was consistent once again with some strong tackles across the ground. Caitlin Gashi and Payton-Ani Ozols were also among the best for Western, while talls, Caitlin Greiser and Cleo Saxon-Jones got on the scoresheet.


Geelong Falcons 4.7 (31) defeated Northern Knights 3.5 (23) 

By: Julia Montesano

The Geelong Falcons made it eight from eight against fellow undefeated team, Northern Knights with an eight-point win. The Falcons came out of the blocks with a three goal to none first half, then the Knights fought back with a three goal to one second half. 

AFLW Academy members, Lucy McEvoy, Denby Taylor, Olivia Purcell and Nina Morrison were some of the best players on the ground yet again. McEvoy and Taylor held down the fort well in defence while Purcell and Morrison chased and tackled in the midfield. They were complemented by Zoe Inei in the ruck, who delivered some nice taps towards her gut-runners. In the forward line, it was Sachi DeGiacomi who put in all the hard yards to keep her side’s undefeated streak alive. 

For Northern, midfielder, Marnie Jarvis found herself up forward on a couple of occasions, slotting through two of the Knights’ three majors. Gabby Newton was a star, this time in defence, proving she can play just about anywhere on the field. Young gun, Ellie McKenzie had another standout performance for the Knights, as did Nell Morris-Dalton. Other solid contributors included Paije Kearney and Ashleigh Snow. 


Sandringham Dragons 10.14. (74) defeated Bendigo Pioneers 0.3 (3)

By: Matt Balmer 

The Sandringham Dragons kept their slim TAC Cup grand final berth alive with a strong 71-point win over the Bendigo Pioneers at Trevor Barker Beach Oval on Saturday.

The Pioneers got an early score, but after that moment they struggled to get the ball inside their half of the ground, as the Dragons dominated. Forward, Holly Bate booted five first half goals, eventually finishing the match with 7.2 and a set shot after the siren on a very very tough angle not scoring to finish the match. Eleanor Brown marked exceptionally well during the contest and was the best player on the ground, as a marking machine. Abbie McKay had a strong second half, while captain, Jemma Owen led from the front as always in the midfield.

Despite not booting a goal, Megan Williamson was the Pioneers’ clear best, working very hard in the defensive half of the ground. Williamson hit up multiple targets on her left boot and competed well during the match.


Greater Western Victoria Rebels 3.4 (22) defeated Gippsland Power 1.2 (8)

By: Matt Balmer 

The Greater Western Victoria Rebels collected their fifth win of the 2018 TAC Cup Girls competition with a hard fought 14-point victory over the Gippsland Power at Trevor Barker Beach Oval on Saturday.

The match started in overcast conditions, before the heavens opened for the next hour after quarter-time, with constant rain keeping the scoring close, making for a great contest. Georgia Clarke was exceptional across half back, rebounding the ball well, while Nekaela Butler was judged the Rebels’ best. Sophie Van De Heuvel booted the best goal for the Rebels, snapping truly in the second quarter – with the AFLW Academy member playing a good game as a high half-forward.

For the Power, Tyla Hanks was the clear standout, tackling hard and winning the contested ball. Hanks had multiple inside 50s and showed why she is one of the leading performers from the TAC Cup Girls this season. She also booted a great goal in the last quarter, keeping the Power in the contest – but ultimately they left their run too late, after trailing 16-2 at three-quarter time.

Victorian squads named for National AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships

VICTORIA’S top youth girl prospects have been selected to represent Vic Metro and Vic Country at the upcoming AFL Women’s Under 18 and Under 16 National Championships.

The players will begin training immediately after the TAC Cup Girls Grand Final on Saturday, May 19, with the first training session to be held at Ikon Park the following day. A second training session will be held at Windy Hill on June 3 ahead of the competition with Vic Country Under 16s hosting Vic Metro on May 27 in both Albury and Horsham. On June 16, both Under 16s and Under 18s will face off against each other at GMHBA Stadium in Geelong. The teams then fly north to compete in the AFL Women’s Under 18 National Championships with three games held on July 9, July 11 and July 13.

Murray Bushrangers’ coach Sam Ahmet and Eastern Ranges’ coach Tom Humphrey will lead Vic Country and Vic Metro respectively. Geelong Falcons’ Jason Armistead and Geelong VFLW assistant coach Natalie Wood were named as Vic Country assistants, while Northern Knights’ coach Marcus Abney-Hastings and Calder Cannons’ coach Paul Tilley will be the Vic Metro assistants.

AFL Victoria Female Talent Manager Darren Flanigan said it is pleasing to have a number of current TAC Cup Girls head coaches overseeing the U18 teams.

“Both Sam and Tom have good knowledge of the competition and the players within it,” Flanigan said. “We have been able to attract strong assistant coaching staff as well, which the players will benefit from.

“The Academy program provides players with the perfect opportunity to test themselves against the best players at this level, and start to showcase their capabilities to recruiters for the upcoming AFLW draft later in the year.

“Draftees such as Darcy Guttridge, Eden Zanker, Bridie Kennedy and Maddy Guerin all performed well at the 2017 championships, which certainly helped their draft chances later in the year. “It is a great learning experience to be part of the U18 Academy program, learning from other players and coaches in the competition.”

At Under 16 level, players selected will benefit from being mentored by current and former AFLW and VFLW players Mel Hickey, Emma Grant, Katherine Smith and Lauren Morecroft.

“The ability of these players to provide their time will only benefit the those selected in our program,” Flanigan said.

“Playing at the highest level possible, they will be able to share their experiences from the various levels of the female talent pathway, and help educate and develop these players to be ready to take the next step with their football.

In the under 18s, the Vic Metro midfield could contain the likes of top prospect Madison Prespakis, and fellow AFLW Academy teammates Emerson Woods and Gabby Newton, while the likes of Georgia Patrikios, Britney Gutknecht and Daisy Bateman add some X-factor up forward. Mikala Cann, Maddy Brancatisano, Katie Lynch and Eleanor Brown are a number of other players likely to roam through the midfield, while in defence, Georgia Macpherson, Molly Warburton and Hannah McLaren will hold up the fort.

For Vic Country, their midfield will include an AFLW Academy littered centre line featuring Tyla Hanks, Nina Morrison, Rebecca Webster and Olivia Purcell, who will rove to fellow AFLW Academy ruck Rene Caris. Lucy McEvoy, Georgia Clarke, Lucy Cripps, Denby Taylor and Jordyn Allen provide some strong numbers in defence, while up forward, Courtney Jones, Nikia Webber and Sophie Van De Heuvel will be key targets.

Under 18s:

Vic Metro:

Calder Cannons: Grace Dicker, Georgia Patrikos, Madison Prespakis, Carla Rendelmann, Felicity Theodore, Molly Warburton
Eastern Ranges: Mikala Cann, Gabriella De Angelis, Sarah Kendall, Georgia Macpherson, Laura McClelland, Jenna Richardson, Lauren Szigeti, Charlotte Wilson, Emerson Woods
Oakleigh Chargers: Daisy Bateman, Gemma Lagioia, Katie Lynch, Hannah McLaren, Bridie Winbanks, Nicola Xenos,
Northern Knights: Maddy Brancatisano, Britney Gutknecht, Marnie Jarvis, Neve O’Connor, Gabby Newton, Sarah Sansonetti
Sandringham Dragons: Holly Bate, Eleanor Brown, Molly Denahy Maloney, Abbie McKay, Jemma Owen, Jasmine Tait
Western Jets: Elisabeth Georgostathis, Isabella Grant, Cleo Saxon-Jones

Vic Country:

Bendigo Pioneers: Maddie Baldwin, Kate Douglass, Kodi Jacques, Megan Williamson
Dandenong Stingrays: Jordyn Allen, Lucy Cripps, Shelley Heath, Courtney Jones, Molly McDonald, Isabella Shannon
Geelong Falcons: Abbey Chapman, Zoe Inei, Tarryn Love, Lucy McEvoy, Nina Morrison, Olivia Purcell, Denby Taylor
Gippsland Power: Amy Dunn, Emily Haeusler, Tyla Hanks, Nikia Webber
GWV Rebels: Lauren Butler, Rene Caris, Georgia Clarke, Nyakoat Dojiok, Sophie Molan, Sophie Van De Heuvel, Ella Wood
Murray Bushrangers: Julia Harvey, Millie Brown, Tamara Smith, Rebecca Webster

The championships will begin June, with list reductions made in the lead-up to the first game.

The full Under 16s squads will be named on Wednesday.


Scouting notes: TAC Cup Girls – Round 8

THERE were some big margins this week, with the Eastern Ranges getting a 46-point win and the Sandringham Dragons getting a 71-point win. But perhaps the most important win of the round went to the Geelong Falcons, who handed the Northern Knights their first loss of the season while keeping their winning streak intact. With only one round to go in the competition, the Falcons have booked themselves a spot in the grand final. 

Calder Cannons vs. Dandenong Stingrays

Calder Cannons:

#2 Felicity Theodore

Has incredible acceleration and wonderful speed in general. She always goes hard for the ball and continues to follow it up even when she continues to get bumped and crunched. Theodore has the composure to back-track and kick. Displayed great speed to follow up on a missed kick.

#3 Madison Prespakis

Her long kick was on display once again and helped the Cannons penetrate forward. Prespakis got a high handball while being tackled, using her body to get the ball away. As usual, she just gets and kicks, and her kicks are often too hot for the opposition to mark. She displayed immense strength again, getting a kick away while being pushed over and displaying strong tackling. Kicked a great snap that bent back perfectly for Calder’s first goal. She is at the bottom of every contest, yet gets up so quickly, taking a great chest mark running at full speed. Kicked her second goal of the game with another lovely snap at a crucial moment. Displayed great gut running and even got strong penetration on her handballs.

#18 Carla Rendelmann

Dominated in the ruck again, winning nearly every hit-out. Has great acceleration and hunts hard for the ball. Took a good defensive mark and her kick was composed out of defensive 50, instead of being hacked out of there. Rendelmann got penetration on her taps and followed them up like a rover.

#21 Georgia Patrikios

Played her best game for the Cannons on Friday night. Ran really well and was able to deliver some long kicks down the field. Laid a strong tackle after she dropped the mark and continued that strong tackling throughout the contest. Her hands were clean, especially on the boundary line, where she was able to cleanly pick up the ball and turn her opponent inside out. Burst well out of the midfield and worked really well with Prespakis. Showed great agility when she picked the ball up off the ground, side-stepped and kicked the ball to Prespakis for her second goal of the day. Patrikios was able to get the ball and spin out of trouble on multiple occasions.


Dandenong Stingrays:

#15 Jordyn Allen

Allen’s footy IQ really stood out in this game. She displayed quick hands and did the little things, such as trapping the ball at her feet. Displayed excellent gut running to follow up the ball, and beat all her opponents to trap and kick it long. Allen always managed to get back behind the ball and displayed good composure. She effectively set up her own wall off half-back. Displayed some nice deft kicking. Took a fantastic contested mark after conceding a free kick. The Cannons could not get anything past her. Always applied strong pressure on her opponent and made them hesitate the kick.

#3 Courtney Jones

Jones read the footy well throughout the game. Kicked a great snap around the body for Dandenong’s second goal. Ran well on the wing and kicked great under pressure. Delivered a beautiful centring kick, having good awareness to not blaze away at goal. Kicked a long ball off one step and has an innate ability to kick around her body. Jones is one of the best in the league at around-the-body kicking. Took a good mark to stop the Cannons in their tracks and send it back inside 50.

#26 Isabella Shannon

Kicked a great mid-air snap while being pushed over. Did some good work to wrestle the ball out of the pack. Broke away well from a tackle, and still got the kick away while being pursued hotly. Shannon converted Dandenong’s first goal with a nice snap on an angle. Her courage showed when she bravely got up after a heavy hit.

#28 Tyanna Smith

Took a great mark and took her time to ensure she used the ball well. Her marking was on display throughout the match when she took another good mark and pursued with the footy despite tripping. In that instance, she did well to keep running, showing her intent to hunt the footy. Laid a great tackle and was able to quickly get a kick away. Picked up the ball cleanly and displayed nice movement through the ground.

#35 Lucinda Cripps

Ran well throughout the game and was able to follow up on her kicks. Displayed good movement from the stoppage to kick the ball away. Delivered a magnificent spearing pass to Jones inside 50 which beat all the players and fell out the back of the contest. Jones missed but deserved a goal because it was such a clever kick by Cripps.


Eastern Ranges vs. Murray Bushrangers

By: Peter Williams 

Eastern Ranges:

#3 Emerson Woods

A strong performance from Woods, particularly early in the game when the game was hot. In the opening term when the game was on the line she was huge. Her first contact was impacting a contest on the wing and killing a ball across the line, and proceeded to win a number of free kicks for fierce tackles. She had a set shot which went wide in the windy conditions, but continued to work hard on the inside, moving well through the stoppages. She also has that trademark handball where she gets her arms free of a would-be tackler and had the vision to execute to a teammate outside the stoppage. She reads the opposition taps well, sharking one from Sophie Damon, and played a good role between midfield and half-forward.

#21 Mikala Cann

Cann was the best player on the ground early, kicking a fantastic goal on the run under pressure and then giving off a second one to Catherine Chamberlain. She almost could have had three, but Ashleigh Allsopp’s set shot just missed. Her tackling pressure was very good and won a couple of free kicks under the holding the ball rule. Was quieter in the second half, but had a huge first half, both offensively and defensively.

#37 Georgia Macpherson

Worked into the game well after a quiet opening term given the ball hardly reached her vicinity. She took a number of strong marks across the four quarters and kicked long with penetration to half-forward or wide to the wing. She has a unique ability to mark the ball at full-speed and keep moving, or win the contested ball one-on-one and just burst a few steps before kicking long. She took a strong grab in the third term leaping high, and hit up Laura McClelland late in the fourth term after charging through the midfield.

#38 Laura McClelland

McClelland continued to present throughout the match and is a one-grab player. She took a great mark leaping in from the side in the second term, and took another on the lead in the third term. Her set shot dropped short, but she continued to show good aggression and defensive pressure. In the final term she took a good mark going back with the flight and hit-up Woods coming out of the attacking 50. She took a strong grab and shot for goal on the final siren, but it was rushed through, or counted as a behind.

#46 Sarah Kendall

Another solid performance rotating between ruck and defence. She quite often punched the ball clear for a teammate to run onto it, and took a strong intercept mark on the wing late in the first term. She laid a great tackle not long after to win a free kick, and then moved into defence where she was able to take a couple of good marks and perform well.


Murray Bushrangers:

#1 Julia Harvey

The small midfielder/forward never stopped trying and while Eastern was controlling most of the play early, Harvey was buzzing around winning the contested ball and trying to release her teammates. She showed good tackling pressure and won a free kick for being caught high. Sometimes she rushed a little and threw the ball on the boot, but showed good leadership at the stoppages and directed teammates where to run and stand.

#16 Eloise Ashley-Cooper

One of the more impressive Bushrangers, Ashley-Cooper provided plenty of run out of defence. She showed smart decision-making and found herself opposed to the dangerous McClelland at times. She was able to intercept the ball at half-back and took on the opposition in a number of occasions. She laid a strong tackle on Mikala Cann in the defensive 50 to lock the ball up when the Ranges were attacking, and just got better as the game went on. Put her body on the line on a number of occasions too.

#19 Millie Brown

Without Rebecca Webster in the midfield, Millie Brown stood up and did her best to try and drive the ball forward. She floated into the back half and took vital intercept marks and used her penetrating kick to clear the defence. Strong overhead and a textbook kicking action, Brown caused some headaches for the opposition and moved well along the wing often sending the ball back inside 50 for the Bushrangers. She even had a hit-out in the ruck showing off her versatility.

#22 Tamara Smith

A really solid game from Smith who never stopped trying. Worked hard through the middle of the ground and is really good at changing direction quickly and compose herself to kick long like she did in the second quarter. She laid a great smother in the third term and put her body on the line. Ran back with the flight and took a mark inside 50 but rushed to play on and her kick was affected by the opposition pressure.


Oakleigh Chargers vs. Western Jets

By: Peter Williams 

Oakleigh Chargers:

#2 Mimi Hill

A quick thinking midfielder, Hill is really good one-on-one and has good strength for a smaller player. She is able to dish off a quick handball and time her release well, and also lays some strong tackles. Hill won a free kick at half-back and was able to hit-up Bridie Winbanks in the middle of the ground in the second term with good vision.

#10 Alice O’Loughlin

A lively player up forward, O’Loughlin was busy around the 50m arc. She took a few marks, had shots on goal and was worrying the opposition defence. Did not end up finishing with a major, but opened up the forward line with her strong hands, including a good grab in the third term in front of a big pack of players.

#11 Bridie Winbanks

Used her height to advantage around the stoppages and often got the ball clear to the outside. She drifted around the ground and took a good contested grab at half-back in the third term and then brought down a mark on the goal line from an Isabella Grant set shot.

#14 Hannah McLaren

Another tireless effort from the Chargers captain who continually forced a contest at ground level. She played in the back half and provided plenty of pressure to the ball carrier and at the coal face. She won a big one-on-one contest and managed to free her arms to handball to a teammate in the second term. She also won a free kick in the final quarter for a great tackle.

#30 Gemma Lagioia

Really created drive and run across the ground, always on the move. She uses her vision to kick into space and opens up the other side of the ground with kicks to her teammates advantage. She nailed a great kick on the run to O’Loughlin in the third term, and had a perfect pick-up at top speed, collecting the ball off the deck and handballing almost in the same motion – a real one-touch player. Later in the game she continued to win a fair chunk of the football and took a good intercept mark on the wing.

#38 Daisy Bateman

Could sniff out a goal in a submarine. Kicked three majors, all of which were opportunistic, right-time, right-place type goals. She could have had another had it not been punched across the line in the second term by Isabelle Pritchard. She is smart and positioned herself well in the one-on-one marking contest where she took a mark in the goal square in the third term, turned around and booted it home. Shortly after, she kicked it off the deck after the ball bounced between two Jets opponents. She dropped into the hole 30m out from goal to almost kick a third in the term but couldn’t convert with the heavy ball dropping short.


Western Jets:

#14 Isabella Grant

Grant covers the ground quite well and moves nicely in transition from defence to attack. She teamed up well with Isabelle Pritchard in the second term in one instance where Pritchard handballed through traffic and Grant took off, kicking long to half-forward, where it was marked by Nikita Wright. Grant seems to love to go direct because when she wins the football she takes off and kicks long down the middle of the ground. It gained some really good meterage for the Jets. She had a shot on goal in the final term but her shot was marked on the line by Bridie Winbanks.

#16 Elisabeth Georgostathis

Georgostathis put in a hard-working performance through the midfield and was one of the better Jets players on the day. Some of her most noticeable traits were her ability to pick the ball up cleanly despite the weather and be able to change direction and dispose of it quickly. She showed good vision at a centre stoppage in the second term to handball over a couple of opponents to a teammate on the outside. In the second half she made a number of strong tackles, letting her opposition know that she was there. In the final term she took a strong mark in defence, marking the ball at full flight over the top of Isabella Gietzmann.

#30 Isabelle Pritchard

Stood strong in defence with a couple of crucial one-on-one wins. Pritchard spoiled the ball in the second term to punch it across the line and stop a Daisy Bateman goal. She then took a good mark at half-back in the third term and handballed to Isabella Grant who kept the play moving. She won a one-on-one at ground level by wrestling the ball back and handballed to a teammate whilst under pressure in the third term, then laid a fantastic tackle to lock the ball up 30m from goal a few minutes later. She won an intercept possession at half-forward in the final term and showed quick hands in the middle of the ground to give it off to a teammate streaming forward.

#39 Cleo Saxon-Jones

Stood up in the final term booting a powerful goal from a set shot, which she navigated the breeze well and went straight through. She showed good defence in the third term where she found herself opposed to the speedy Gemma Lagioia and did well to punch the ball away and out of bounds but was unlucky to be called for deliberate.

#43 Caitlin Greiser

Had an early shot on goal in the first term but didn’t quite get through the big sticks, then showed her strength and smarts in the second term. Greiser was one-on-one deep and indicated to her teammate to kick it long. She positioned herself at the back, taking a mark and then not breaking stride and running into goal, backing herself in and kicking a major from the top of the goal square. In the third term she had a shot from long range but just missed to the right.


Geelong Falcons vs. Northern Knights

By: John Van Noorden

Geelong Falcons: 

#7 Olivia Purcell

Was wherever the team needed her all day. Her hard work in the contest was evident and her tackling was ferocious. A highlight of her game was when she executed a Dusty-like fend-off to perfection. With her efforts on the inside and in the clearances, she was best on ground for me. 

#18 Nina Morrison

She is a great reader of the play, and her intercept and contested marking was on display all day, allowing Geelong to rebound quickly and turn defence into attack. She was clean and efficient throughout the day, and laid some important tackles. She is one of those players that makes all her teammates look better.

#23 Lucy McEvoy

Her long kicking out of defence was a highlight, and never hesitated to go back with the flight. She was composed when her team needed it in the second half, and provided great structure to the Falcons backline.

#27 Denby Taylor

She was very quick, and her long kicking saw off many of Northern’s forward entries, and also set up her team well to rebound.


Northern Knights:

#4 Neve O’Connor

She had a big presence on the field, and was very effective at winning the hit-outs to space, and was always quick to follow up. She moves exceptionally well for a taller player, and she took a couple of great contested marks. O’Connor also delivered long kicks inside 50 to the advantage of Northern. 

#21 Ellie McKenzie

Was quiet in the first quarter (although most of the Knights were), but had an explosive patch in the middle of the second quarter. She chased and tackled, winning a free kick for her team on the back flank. She followed that with a long kick down the wing hitting her target on the chest, then sprinted forward and made a contest in the forward 50 to force a ball-up. A minute later, she was sitting on a player’s shoulders as she flew for a high mark, but could not bring the ball down. McKenzie was very influential. 

#22 Britney Gutknecht

Very classy and displayed excellent clean pick ups. Got high-quality possessions in the contest, and drew a free kick inside 25 metres but didn’t convert. Gutknecht’s composure was one reason why Northern was able to get back into the game in the second half. 

#23 Gabby Newton

She was composed under pressure and looked a level above at times. On a few occasions she displayed the awareness to change her decision at the last minute, making a better one and opening up space for teammates. Newton was strong in defence, and held the fort down well in the third quarter, enabling her teammates to mount a comeback against the breeze. Her unselfish team play was a highlight, and was best on ground for Northern in my opinion. 


Sandringham Dragons vs. Bendigo Pioneers 

By: Matt Balmer 

Sandringham Dragons:

#30 Eleanor Brown

Brown was a marking machine throughout the afternoon where she would’ve taken 10 plus marks. Standing at 176cm, her presence in the air made her a tough match-up for the Pioneers players. One of her standout marks was in the second quarter, where she smartly intercepted the ball. She was good marking overhead, as well on her chest. The left foot kicker also had a huge run down the ‘scoreboard’ wing in the final quarter, and was one of the Dragons’ best for the day.

#36 Jemma Owen

The Sandy Dragons skipper has the ability to break the lines, making her a damaging player. She is also willing to take players on to help get the ball moving forward. In one passage of play, she smartly ran hard to get the handball off the stationary player and used her good kick to get it moving forward. She also showed throughout the contest that she was willing to kick the ball on either foot if required.

#43 Abbie McKay

One thing I noticed about McKay was the noise that was made everytime she kicked the ball – the “thump” after every kick was obvious compared with some of the other girls and she had a long distance on her right foot. McKay also had an impressive passage of play, kicking the ball well inside 50 in the second quarter.

#46 Alice Burke

She had a quieter first half, but she got going in the second half playing a really good half. She won the opening contest of the third quarter, getting the ball and clearing it from the stoppage and kicking it inside 50. Similar to McKay, she also has a long right foot kick.


Bendigo Pioneers:

#19 Kodi Jacques

Played most of the game in the midfield trying hard during the contest, but the Pioneers were well and truly beaten during the match. She took an outstanding contested mark in the opening quarter and competed hard during the match. Her effort won her a free kick in the second quarter, while another highlight was a thumping right foot kick in the final quarter that hit the target up the ground.

#28 Megan Williamson

Was the Pioneers best player in my eyes, working exceptionally hard in the defensive half of the ground. The left footer did show she was willing to use it off her right foot if required, but hit most of her targets on her natural left foot. She was strong in the contest and at times, was willing to tuck it under her arm and run forward. She showed she was willing to put her head over the ball and deservingly won a free for high contact in the third term. Despite the score, she fought hard in the final term with multiple inside 50s – including a kick straight out of the middle early in the fourth quarter that ventured inside 50.


Greater Western Victoria Rebels vs. Gippsland Power 

By: Matt Balmer 

Greater Western Victoria Rebels:

#15 Tara Jasper

She did some nice things throughout the contest, but an outstanding piece of play had to be recognised in the third quarter. On the ‘scoreboard’ side of the ground, she laid an absolutely superb run-down tackle in the third quarter that stopped a certain inside 50 and possible goal for the Power.

#16 Lauren Butler

Was impressed with her work during the match, where she competes well around the ground, mostly playing across half-back. She puts her head over the footy, showing she is willing to win the footy in the contest.

#18 Sophie Van De Heuvel

Played almost exclusively across half forward, rarely pushing into the midfield. She did play as a high half-forward at times. What was most impressive about Van De Heuvel was her tackling, where she laid over five for the match, putting pressure on her opponents. Another impressive aspect is her recovery, while she did drop a mark in the opening term, she immediately laid a tackle on her Power opponent forcing a stoppage. She recovers well when the ball hits the turf and picks it up cleanly. She snapped a beautiful goal in the second quarter at the south end of Trevor Barker Oval.

#25 Georgia Clarke

Clarke was the player I was most impressed with for the entire day. She played almost as a quarterback role as a rebounding defender, repelling multiple Power attacks on goal. Her rebound work was outstanding and she used the ball well off her right foot. She is very agile and moves well around the ground. An intercept possession in the third quarter was a highlight and there was no doubting that Clarke was one of the Rebels’ best players.

#35 Rene Caris

Caris played in the ruck and it was the first throw-up of the day that was the most impressive, where she got up and over at the first ruck contest and hitting the ball down to a teammate. The right footer did find some football around the ground and was reasonable below her knees when the ball hit the ground in the wet conditions.


Gippsland Power:

#6 Emily Haeusler

Haeusler is a strong tackler, playing most of the game in the attacking half of the ground. She can use the ball reasonably well on either her left or right foot, but she hit a superb pass on the left on the wing in the second quarter. Her hands in close in the contest were good despite the slippery ball.

#28 Tyla Hanks

You only need one look at Hanks to know she is going to be an outstanding footballer in the future. Her opening quarter was superb and she almost single handedly got her Power side over the line in the tight contest. She would’ve had close to 10 disposals in the opening quarter, where she begun the contest with a big inside 50 from the stoppage. She is strong in the contest and reads the taps from the rucks exceptionally well. She has a zip of speed and gets the ball moving forward whenever possible. She exits very well from the stoppages and booted an outstanding goal in the final quarter, snapping the ball and dribbling it through the goals – which in the end was the Power’s only goal of the day.

#58 Amy Dunn

The tall played most of the match in the ruck where she competed very well. Despite the wet conditions, she took a good mark inside 50 in the second quarter. A set shot on goal went for a point on her right foot. She marked well early in the match.