Tag: alicia eva

Passion and determination drives Doyle to succeed

AT only 17-years-old, Lillian Doyle has plenty of talent and passion to boot, playing for Eastern Allies in the AFL Women’s U18 Championships and giving both soccer and rugby a try before making the switch to footy, having always been interested in the sport.

“I was kicking the soccer ball over at the AFL oval across from my home one time and I had one of the AFL coaches come up to me and say ‘oh you have a hectic left foot, do you want to come and play AFL with the boys’,” Doyle said. I’d grown up with a whole bunch of boys so I was a bit of a tomboy myself and I’d always wanted to play footy. “I grew up playing rugby when I was younger but I hit 12 and then I couldn’t play anymore. I was 13 when they (AFL coaches) picked me up actually, and they said I was allowed to play with the boys so obviously I snatched that opportunity up and here I am five years later still playing footy.”

Doyle has a wealth of experience, playing with the SUNS Academy prior to joining Eastern Allies and showcasing her versatility with a willingness to shake up her position on the field when needed, such as being thrown back during the AFLW Under-18 Championships.

“So I actually played with the Suns Academy quite a few years back before I played with the NSW side, and we trained there (at Metricon Stadium) quite a few times and every time we go there it blows me away, it’s just such an amazing field and it’s amazing that they actually allow us to play on it every year,” she said. “I think it’s a really good opportunity to at least showcase to the other girls who are coming into the AFL academies that, you know, this is where you can come to one day and what you might be playing on one day.”

“I’ve been thrown in back quite a few times, I think when coaches have a few they can throw up forward … it’s good to experience something different and just to give it a go, I’m more of a flexible player I suppose in that regard and yeah nah it was awesome I loved it.”

In her second year with the Eastern Allies, Doyle says the standard of the competition has lifted immensely with plenty of talent coming through the ranks and in the coaching staff, ensuring players hit their full potential.

“The development has been great, the amount of talent that I’ve seen come through this system is just remarkable,” Doyle said. “Jess Whelan is one of the youngest and she’s an absolute star, she’s just such a standout and just to see these girls come through and show their talent – I just can’t wait to meet them in the AFLW one day, it’s going to be amazing. “Alicia Eva has been our coach for a couple years, she’s definitely somebody that I idolise, she’s just been an amazing support throughout the years and even having her in this academy – it’s been very rewarding for all of us girls, she’s someone I really look up to.”

While the skill of her teammates has lifted, Doyle’s own strengths have become more apparent too with quick hands and a left foot some of her trademark.

“I think I’m really good at attacking the ball,” she said. “I think one of the things I can showcase is my hands and apart from that probably my left foot, not many girls in the competition have a left foot so that’s something that’s a little bit different and unique. “Probably something I can work on would be my cardio, I think that I’ve got a lot to work on with my sprints and my long distance but I mean there’s always stuff to work on, always things to improve. AFL is a sport where you can always develop and you’ve always got things to work on.”

Her 2018 AFLW Under-18 Championships run saw her put out a match-saving performance against the Central Allies, kicking two final quarter goals to cement victory for Eastern.

“It was unbelievable, that was the peak of my career I believe at that point in time,” Doyle said. “It was amazing and I remember like it was yesterday actually, I can’t believe it’s been a year already but yeah I think I actually snatched one off the ground that bounced back up to me and I got a goal so that was cool.”

While Doyle’s football journey alone has been big, the massive travel time getting to and from training and games is a testament to how important football is for Doyle, proving that love, talent and drive to play the sport is worth every moment of travel.

“So since I’m from Grafton it’s a six hour drive – or one and a half hour flight, so it’s quite a trek to get down to NSW when we do train,” she said. “I actually play for Coolangatta up here (Gold Coast) so I travel up here once a week to train and then back up the highway once again we go on a Saturday to play. So I’m quite used to the travel by now and definitely get sick of it quite fast but it’s something I don’t mind doing because I love footy that much.”

Doyle says the ultimate goal for her football journey is to make AFLW and get to the highest level possible. However she doesn’t want to put too much pressure on herself, maintaining that it was something she came into because it was fun and exciting.

“I think a lot of girls put a lot of pressure on themselves just to make it into the AFLW … I’d love to make AFLW, that’s something I aspire to achieve and hope to make the draft at the end of the year, fingers crossed. But yeah I think a lot of girls put a lot of pressure on themselves so I’m just trying not to put a lot of pressure on myself as well, just take it as it comes and hopefully make the draft, that would be amazing.”

Team of the Week: AFLW – Round 7

ROUND 7 sees the end of the 2019 AFL Women’s home and away season, and thus the end of the Draft Central Team of the Week for this year. This week saw four Crows make it into the squad after a magnificent win over Melbourne, while Geelong is the only side that doesn’t have a player represented.

Adelaide’s Erin Phillips (22 disposals, three tackles), Courtney Cramey (18 disposals and a goal), Jess Foley (15 disposals, six tackles, two goals) and Ebony Marinoff (19 disposals, eight tackles) all made it into the team of the week after a comfortable Round 7 win that cements them as Conference A’s minor premiers. The four were prolific through the midfield and forward against Melbourne, clinical in front of goal and being a battering ram through Melbourne’s defence. Defender, Harriet Cordner was the only Melbourne player to make the cut this week, standing up and managing 19 disposals, seven marks and three rebound 50s.

Collingwood won their first game of the season and were rewarded with three players listed in this round’s team of the week. Ash Brazill was pivotal down back against Brisbane, firing 19 kicks from her 23 disposals with nine rebound 50s, while Sarah D’Arcy (20 disposals, two goals) and Steph Chiocci (18 disposals, seven marks, three tackles) were also major contributors in the upset.

The Brisbane Lions and the Western Bulldogs both had two players make the team, despite their respective Round 7 losses. Brisbane’s Jacqui Yorston was named on the interchange as she impressed in what was only her fourth game at AFLW level, notching up 21 disposals and nine tackles on her way to 90 AFLW Fantasy Points, while Kate Lutkins was impressive down back against the Magpies, picking up 14 disposals, six marks and three rebound 50s. Bulldogs, Monique Conti and Ellie Blackburn also made the side, with Conti racking up a career high 25 disposals, four marks while Blackburn managed 23 touches and was pivotal in the Bulldogs’ final quarter comeback against Carlton, kicking a goal in the dying minutes to take the Dogs to within two goals of the Blues. Credit to Carlton’s resolve they held on to win the match with first year, Brooke Walker kicking a career high three goals, while Madison Prespakis (19 disposals, four tackles) continued her dominant debut season. Brianna Davey (21 disposals, 11 tackles) stood up as captain, leading her side to their first AFLW finals campaign.

GWS GIANTS, North Melbourne and Fremantle each had a trio of players make the list, with wins helping on the way to the GIANTS’ and Fremantle’s selection chances this week, while Geelong’s loss saw them miss out completely on the team of the week despite still making finals.

Alicia Eva, Christina Bernardi and Alyce Parker represent the GIANTS this week, as Parker racked up 19 touches and five tackles to pair well with Eva’s goal, 17 disposals and nine tackles, putting immense pressure on Geelong’s defence. Meanwhile, Bernardi’s two goals and 10 disposals gave the Cats a big fright on their way to finals.

North Melbourne saw their second big loss of the season to Fremantle, but still had some high flyers who deserved to be mentioned. Jess Duffin was phenomenal in the backline for the Kangaroos, notching up 22 disposals, five tackles and five rebound 50s. Emma Kearney continued her dominant form, picking up 24 disposals, seven tackles and a goal while Jenna Bruton produced her best performance of the season, racking up 26 touches and six tackles.

North Melbourne’s great stats just go to show how well the Dockers played to come away as 27 point victors, with Fremantle also having three players who made their case for team of the week this round. Kiara Bowers (23 disposals, 13 tackles) and Melissa Caulfield (17 disposals, two marks) were dominant on field, while Ebony Antonio, though not making a statement in statistics, was clinical down back in denying the Kangaroos access to the footy, notching up 11 disposals, three rebound 50s and five marks.

Weekend wash-up: AFLW – Round 7

THE final round of the 2019 home and away season saw potential finals bound teams take each other on to determine which sides made finals. Major premiership contender, North Melbourne got knocked out by Fremantle, while Collingwood managed their first win of 2019 to ruin Brisbane’s finals chances.

GWS GIANTS 6.5 (41) defeated Geelong (1.4) 10
By: Sophie Taylor

The GWS GIANTS almost denied Geelong finals chances on Friday night, running over the Conference B rivals, 6.5 (41) to 1.4 (10). Geelong were set to wait until Sunday’s clashes to find out their 2019 finals fate, while the GIANTS got the well deserved four points but were unable to make finals despite the win. Both sides wore black armbands to honour the victims of Friday’s Christchurch Massacre, while a minute of silence took place before the match began.

It was only the GIANTS’ second win for the season, dominating majority of the match and rendering the Cats goalless in the opening half. For Geelong, it was a tale of woe from the very beginning as the GIANTS took an early lead, relying on the Cats’ inaccuracy in front of goal before kicking four goals to one in the second half to snag victory. Despite Geelong’s free kick count vastly outnumbering the GIANTS (9 – 20), the Cats were unable to take advantage of their opportunities forward. Olivia Purcell and Renee Garing showed their worth to the side, as Purcell grabbed 19 disposals while Garing notched up 14 tackles to add to her season tally of 62. Mia-Rae Clifford was Geelong’s only goal kicker, showing some composure as she slotted the major in the third quarter.

The GIANTS’ Irish pair, Cora Staunton and Yvonne Bonner were exciting to watch, kicking a goal apiece and gathering 16 and 10 disposals respectively. Christina Bernardi added two goals to her season tally, while Alicia Eva and Alyce Parker continued to show their strength in the midfield as the pair racked up 36 disposals and 14 tackles between them. Haneen Zreika finished her season on a high with her first goal in AFLW, also picking up a career high 17 disposals and seven tackles. Veteran GIANTS midfielder, Courtney Gum announced her retirement following the match.

This match saw the last of the GIANTS for 2019, though the side will be able to hold their heads high come 2020. Geelong will head into finals, having finished second behind Carlton in Conference B.

Melbourne Demons 1.2 (8) defeated by Adelaide Crows 10.8 (68)
By: Brandon Hutchinson

In their last game of the home and away season, Adelaide handed Melbourne one of the biggest thrashings all season with a 60-point win at Casey Fields. Melbourne were kept completely scoreless in the first half while Adelaide opened the first quarter with 21-points – reaching 34 unanswered points by the main break. The Dees found their first score in the form of a rushed behind in the third and would not find their first goal until the final quarter. In a complete show of dominance, Adelaide rounded out the game with five more goals – kicking three in the third and two at the end of the fourth.

Erin Phillips was her usual classy self (22 disposals, three marks and three tackles) – having a season to potentially rival her 2017 Best & Fairest year. While she had some trouble hitting the scoreboard (three behinds), she combined well with Ebony Marinoff (one goal, 19 disposals and eight tackles) and first-year, Jess Foley (two goals, 16 hit-outs, 15 disposals, two marks, six tackles) to keep a firm grip of the game. Fellow first year, Ailish Considine, also impressed in front of goals with her first two career goals, seven disposals, two marks and one tackle.

Despite the heavy loss, Melbourne still had a few players who stood up to the onslaught. Lily Mithen (16 disposals, four marks and six tackles), Elise O’Dea (21 disposals and five marks) and Harriet Cordner (19 disposals and seven marks) all kept their head highs and remained prolific throughout. While bittersweet, first-year, Chantel Emonson (14 disposals and five tackles) managed to kick her first career goal as Melbourne’s only major for the day.

This marked Melbourne’s final game for the year while Adelaide head into the finals as the most successful teams across both Conferences, with a big chance of taking it all the way.

Fremantle 7.10 (52) defeated North Melbourne 4.1 (25)
By: Sophie Taylor

Fremantle knocked the predicted premiers out of finals contention on Saturday night, proving too strong for the Kangaroos at Fremantle Oval in front of a hostile 6386 strong crowd. The 27 point margin showed Fremantle’s improvement in the competition this season, and just goes to show that the two best Conference A sides in Adelaide and Fremantle are well deserving of their top two finish.

Fremantle started strong, kicking the first two goals of the game and rendering North goalless by quarter time. North Melbourne’s goalkicking once again stagnated through the second half, rendering their third quarter comeback frustrating as they were unable to take control of the match. Fremantle were fortunate for the Roos’ struggle as they were inaccurate in front of goal, kicking 2.6 in the final quarter.

Sabreena Duffy and Ashley Sharp were among the Dockers’ best up forward, kicking two goals apiece, while Ashlee Atkins and Gemma Houghton both kicked a major each but missed five goal opportunities between them. Kiara Bowers racked up 19 kicks from 23 touches, also managing 13 tackles on her way to 118 AFLW Fantasy Points. Fremantle will be sweating on the injury concerns of Duffy and Dana Hooker ahead of next week’s final after both players were helped from the ground in the second half.

Jenna Bruton (26 disposals, six tackles) paired well with Emma Kearney (24 disposals, seven tackles and a goal) in the loss, while half back, Jess Duffin was also prolific against Fremantle’s barrelling attack line with 22 disposals, five tackles and five rebound 50s. Mo Hope was also effective for the Roos, coming away with two goals and four tackles.

North Melbourne have found themselves knocked out of finals contention in 2019 despite a dominant inaugural season, while Fremantle will take on Conference B minor premiers, Carlton next week.

Collingwood 3.7 (25) defeated Brisbane 2.7 (19)
By: Taylah Melki

In the last game of the season the Magpies claimed victory over the Brisbane Lions to snatch away any hopes of finals. The upset win marked the first victory of the season for Collingwood who struggled all year after losing players to expansion clubs and injury. Both teams were inaccurate in front of goal but the Pies set the game up before half time going into the main break up by 16 points after scoring two goals in the second quarter. After making the grand final two years straight and falling agonisingly short this will be the first year the Lions will not feature in the quest for a premiership.

For the Pies, Sarah D’Arcy stood up in front of goals nailing two goals and amassed plenty of touches across the ground credit to her hard work and ability to get to the contest. Dual athlete Ash Brazill dominated once again with her clean hands, clever kicks, accuracy by foot and smothering defensive pressure. She also showcased her strong hands taking her fair share of marks and proved to be a key member of the Collingwood team thanks to her read of the play. Captain, Steph Chiocci was solid for the Pies through the middle going in hard to win the footy and applied plenty of strong tackles. Jaimee Lambert stood up again making her presence felt on the scoreboard and working hard in attack to try and create scoring opportunities for her teammates.

The Brisbane Lions failed to fire on all cylinders, with the likes of star forward Sabrina Frederick-Traub unable to capitalise on her scoring chances. Fellow forward and goal sneak Jess Wuetschner was well held for most of the game but got some separation in the first quarter slotting an important goal for the Lions. Former Carlton captain, Lauren Arnell played her part applying some strong tackles and getting her hands to plenty of ball, while youngster Jacqui Yorston impressed across the ground racking up plenty of touches.

Western Bulldogs 5.8 (38) defeated by Carlton 6.5 (41)
By: Nikki Jamieson

The 2019 home and away season of AFLW wrapped up with the Pride rematch between the Western Bulldogs and Carlton. The Blues were finally able to redeem their 76-point loss last season that also cemented them as Conference B’s finals hosts. Despite Bulldogs no longer being able to defend their premiership, they fought through the dying minutes of the match and notably kicked all five of their goals in the last quarter.

Missed opportunities proved to be the biggest downfall for the Dogs as a slow start followed with the failure to finish in front of the goals. Though dominating position in the second quarter, Bulldogs could not convert leading to five behinds instead of goals. Carlton made the Dogs pay in the third, keeping them scoreless. Alison Downie (12 disposals, three tackles) played a key role in Carlton’s defence, causing major disruptions to the Bulldogs’ play inside 50.

Brooke Walker had an impressive game, kicking three goals for the Blues. A favourite moment from the match came from Walker marking the ball 55 metres out from goal and absolutely launching it from inside centre square for a terrific goal. Skipper Brianna Davey (21 disposals, 11 tackles) was impactful for Carlton’s midfield as well as Madison Prespakis (19 disposals, four tackles).

The Bulldogs’ strongest plays came from the last 18 minutes of the match, as the side was finally able to decrease the score margin. Co-captain, Katie Brennan opened the scoring two minutes into the quarter and was followed by a goal from Libby Birch when she was awarded two 50m penalties to see the Dogs remarkably close the scoreline to be within 10 points. Monique Conti (25 disposals, three tackles) helped move the ball throughout but it still proved to be too little too late for the Bulldogs.

Carlton (4-3) will host Fremantle (6-1) in a preliminary final in Melbourne next weekend to playoff for a spot in the 2019 AFLW Grand Final.

Weekend preview: AFL Women’s – Round 7

THE final AFL Women’s round gets underway tonight with Round 7 the final frontier for six teams. For Collingwood, GWS GIANTS and reigning premiers, Western Bulldogs, their season is over by the end of the weekend, while for the six other sides, there is still hope. Brisbane and Melbourne are the two sides that need everything to go right for them, while Fremantle, North Melbourne, Adelaide and Carlton have their fate in their own hands. It sets up an exciting round of football action.

GWS GIANTS vs. GEELONG
Friday, March 15, 7:15pm
UNSW Canberra Oval

The GIANTS will host Geelong in what will be an interesting match up for Conference B’s finals bound teams. The GIANTS have had a lacklustre season, unable to string together multiple wins and looking to be a completely different side to the 2018 team. Geelong need a win to keep their inaugural season finals hopes alive, so will do anything in their power to guarantee themselves an opportunity to play finals footy. Despite a disappointing loss to Fremantle in Round 6, Geelong’s best in Meghan McDonald and Erin Hoare will want to replicate their respective good day out on field, while Richelle ‘Rocky’ Cranston will be gunning for her best outing yet in 2019 after an up and down season so far. The Cats will be relying on leading goalkickers, Kate Darby and Mia-Rae Clifford to be options inside 50 this week to cement a win. The GIANTS are also coming off a loss last round, so will want to use this last opportunity to make their mark on the competition and make it harder for other sides to make finals. Alicia Eva and Ellie Brush were among the GIANTS’ best last week so will hope to bring the same level to this week’s matchup, while GIANTS fans will also be hoping that Irish-born Cora Staunton and Yvonne Bonner step up and boot a few goals in what will be GWS’ final game for 2019.

Finals permutations:

GWS win:
GWS finish fourth
Geelong finish second (Collingwood win) or third (Brisbane win)

Geelong win:
Geelong finish first (Western Bulldogs win) or second (Carlton win)
GWS finish fourth (Brisbane win) or fifth (Collingwood win)

MELBOURNE vs. ADELAIDE
Saturday, March 16, 4:45pm
Casey Fields

It’s a do-or-die match for Melbourne on Saturday night when they host Adelaide, top of the ladder. After a scare last round against the Bulldogs, the Dees need to come into this matchup with every bit of confidence they can muster to run over the Crows and make finals. The Crows flexed their muscles against the GIANTS last round to continue their domination of the competition so will be a hard side to beat, especially knowing they sit between Melbourne and finals. A full field domination will be necessary for Melbourne to get over the line, so Melbourne’s best need to stand up tall in this match, with the likes of Karen Paxman and Elise O’Dea both significant features of the side, while Lily Mithen has the ability to take the game on if not held well through the midfield. Dees fans will hope for Harriet Cordner to put on her best show yet in full back, and Tegan Cunningham will also need to be her most dangerous self full forward to keep the Dees in contention. Also battling in the midfield will be Crows captain, Erin Phillips, who true to form over the competition’s history has been dominant as ever in 2019, while Ebony Marinoff is likely to put on a show with her tackling efficiency and effortlessness with the ball in hand. Chelsea Randall is another whose reliability is key to the side, and coupled with the scoring ability of first year Danielle Ponter, who has managed two goals apiece in her last three games, the Crows could prove to be too much for Melbourne. If given the opportunity, goal sneaks Aliesha Newman (Melbourne) and Stevie-Lee Thompson (Adelaide) could be dangerous forward for their respective sides.

Finals permutations:

Melbourne win:
Dees finish second if they destroy Adelaide
Dees finish third if they don’t destroy Adelaide
Adelaide finish second if they lose but are not destroyed
Adelaide finish third if they lose and are destroyed
Melbourne and Adelaide both miss finals if North Melbourne and Fremantle draw

Adelaide win:
Adelaide finish first
Melbourne finish fourth

FREMANTLE vs. NORTH MELBOURNE
Saturday, March 16, 7:10pm
Fremantle Oval

Another big matchup to end the home and away season, this blockbuster between Conference A’s Fremantle and North Melbourne is one of the games to watch this weekend. North Melbourne have proved their dominance all season, only dropping one game to the Crows. In a conference system that made it seem unlikely for Fremantle to take a stab at finals footy in 2019, the Dockers have certainly pushed all the right buttons this season to sit below the Kangaroos only on percentage as we head into the final round. Freo have not lost since Round 4, while the Roos had their respective sole loss in Round 5 – both against ladder leaders, Adelaide, proving the closeness of the competition between Conference A sides in 2019. Fremantle’s Kiara Bowers is sitting atop of the leaderboard for tackles this season, picking up 19 last week alone, and 20 clear of next on the board, Ebony Marinoff. Meanwhile, primary ball carrier, Dana Hooker will be looking for a big week to run over the season’s premiership favourites and give off the ball to effective goalkickers in Gemma Houghton, Ashley Sharp and young gun Sabreena Duffy. Bowers’ influence through the midfield will hope to put great pressure on North Melbourne’s star-studded mids, with Emma Kearney leading the charge in what the Roos will hope is a better team effort than last week’s sloppy match against the Magpies. The big job for the game will be holding up the Kangaroos’ fantastic forward line, with the likes of Jasmine Garner, Mo Hope and Emma King all capable of taking excellent pack marks and converting to goal quickly.

Finals permutations:

Fremantle win:
Fremantle finish first (Melbourne win) or second (Adelaide win)
North Melbourne finish third (Adelaide win) or fourth (Melbourne win)

North Melbourne win:
North Melbourne finish first (Melbourne win) or second (Adelaide win)
Fremantle finish third (Adelaide win) or fourth (Melbourne win)

If both sides draw:
North Melbourne finishes first (Melbourne win) or second (Adelaide win)
Fremantle finishes second (Melbourne win) or second (Adelaide win)

COLLINGWOOD vs. BRISBANE
Sunday, March 17, 2:05pm
Victoria Park

Collingwood have one last opportunity to get a win on the board for 2019 as they take on Brisbane in a bid to spoil their finals hopes and bump the Lions out of finals contention for the first time in AFLW history. However, if the Magpies lose this game, it will make them the first side in AFLW history to lose every game in a season. A thought that is likely to spark the side into action, the Pies will rely on their effective midfield in Britt Bonnici, Jaimee Lambert and Ash Brazill off half-back to move the ball forward and clear to forward 50. Young gun, Darcy Guttridge has impressed since debuting in Round 5, so is likely to be a great option forward for the Pies up forward, while Sarah Rowe had arguably her best game of her career so far last week against the Kangaroos. Brisbane has made finals in both previous seasons of AFLW, but are unlikely to make it this year unless they rely on both a win from the GIANTS and a win against the Pies. With three players hitting the 20 disposal mark, with great efforts off ball – Emily Bates (22 disposals, five tackles), Kate Lutkins (20 disposals, seven tackles) and Alexandra Anderson (20 disposals, six tackles) – last week despite a big loss to Carlton, it just goes to show the Lions’ effective ball movement isn’t getting far when it comes to scoring off opportunities. Arguably one of the most dominant players in the first two seasons of AFLW, Sabrina Frederick-Traub has been well held defensively in 2019, only managing one goal for the season in Round 1. With the lack of Frederick-Traub as an option up forward, the scoring opportunities have been severely limited and the Lions have had to adapt to other options up forward. In her Round 6 debut, Jade Ellenger kicked two goals of the Lions’ four for the match, so will hope to match that number this weekend in a bid to keep the Magpies winless.

Finals permutations:

Collingwood win:
Collingwood finish fourth (Geelong win) or fifth (GWS win)
Brisbane finish third or fourth (if GWS win by plenty)

Brisbane win:
Brisbane finish second (GWS win) or third (Geelong win)
Collingwood finish fifth

WESTERN BULLDOGS vs. CARLTON
Sunday, March 17, 4:05pm
VU Whitten Oval

The final match of the 2019 AFLW home and away season will see the Western Bulldogs host Carlton. The 2018 premiers have had a forgettable season, having not won a game since Round 2 and sitting one win behind Carlton. The Blues have had a miraculous end to the season, having won three of their past four matches and proving they’re not a team to underestimate. With veteran stars forward and young stars through the middle, Carlton have certainly come into their own this season, especially when their big names in Tayla Harris, Darcy Vescio and Brianna Davey stand up and lead their younger teammates to have an effect on the game, with each respective player able to make a big difference in a short amount of time. Madison Prespakis has been in a league of her own after debuting in Round 1, racking up a season average of 20.2 disposals and being one of Carlton’s best on ground week in and week out, so will be a hard player for the Bulldogs to combat. The Bulldogs have the players to be a star side, but can’t seem to work as a team to nab a win. Ellie Blackburn and Monique Conti have shown good signs in recent weeks, picking up 22 and 20 disposals respectively in their Round 6 match against Melbourne, before falling agonisingly short by one point. The Dogs did a fantastic job of holding back the Dees in the middle terms last week, so will want to build on that performance this week to ensure they disrupt Carlton’s road to finals.

Finals permutations:

Western Bulldogs win:
Western Bulldogs finish fifth
Carlton finish 1st (GWS win), second (Geelong win) or third (if Brisbane smash Collingwood)

Carlton win:
Carlton finish first
Western Bulldogs finish fifth

 

DRAFT CENTRAL TIPPING

Leaderboard:

1st : Michael Alvaro [ 20 ]
Eq. 2nd : Sophie Taylor [ 18 ]
Peter Williams [ 18 ]
4th : Matthew Cocks [ 17 ]
5th : Taylah Melki [ 16 ]

 

Peter Williams

Chief Editor

Round 7 selections:

GWS GIANTS
Melbourne
Fremantle
Collingwood
Western Bulldogs

 

Taylah Melki

Assistant Chief Editor

Round 7 selections:

Geelong
Adelaide
North Melbourne
Brisbane
Western Bulldogs

 

Sophie Taylor

Women’s Football Editor

Round 7 selections:

Geelong
Melbourne
Fremantle
Brisbane
Carlton

 

Michael Alvaro

Men’s Football Editor

Round 7 selections:

Geelong
Adelaide
Fremantle
Collingwood
Carlton

 

Matthew Cocks

Guest Tipster

Round 7 selections:

Geelong
Adelaide
Fremantle
Brisbane
Western Bulldogs

 

Weekend wash-up: AFLW – Round 6

WITH just one round left in the 2019 AFL Women’s home and away season, Round 6 was a week of highs and lows for a number of sides, as Conference A continues to dominate the competition. We saw some teams keep their finals hopes alive, while others were struck down with further disappointment after a difficult season.

Geelong 2.1 (13) defeated by Fremantle 6.13 (49)
By: James Halley

Fremantle has moved one step closer to securing itself a preliminary finals spot after a resounding 36-point win over Geelong at GMHBA Stadium. The Dockers kept Geelong scoreless in the second half to win 49-13.

The Dockers’ tenacious Kiara Bowers was on track to beat Ebony Marinoff’s AFLW tackle record, with 13 at half-time. However, Bowers was moved further forward in the second half and her tackle pressure dwindled as a result. It was not all good news for Fremantle, as the side struggled to kick straight, registering 13 behinds. Meanwhile, defender Alex Williams was assisted from the ground in the second term with a suspected knee injury.

Geelong’s Meg McDonald could stand tall after she was dominant in the backline once again, proving her worth in the side after missing out on making a team list in 2018. The Cats will need to put in a better performance next round, with a win ensuring a preliminary spot and a loss making them sweat on results.

The Cats will face GWS next Friday night in a do or die clash, while Fremantle will face North Melbourne who would also want to win to secure a finals birth.

Collingwood 5.1 (31) defeated by North Melbourne 7.11 (53)
By: Nikki Jamieson

North Melbourne’s premiership dream has been kept alive following their defeat of Collingwood in game one of the double header at Marvel Stadium. Collingwood, who continue the season winless, kept pace with the Kangaroos for the majority of the first half, only to let them get away as North Melbourne really found their rhythm.

Britt Bonnici was an absolute star for Collingwood, swiftly neutralising 2018 best and fairest winner Emma Kearney’s influence on the game. Bonnici had the game-high of 21 possessions and laid 10 tackles for the Pies. Teammates, Jaimee Lambert and Ash Brazill also had commendable performances with 20 and 18 disposals respectively.

In what was sure to cause more pain to Collingwood fans and teammates alike, defected stars such as Jess Duffin, Emma King, Jasmine Garner and Mo Hope had little remorse against their old side. Garner had a promising game, kicking two crucial goals and laying four tackles. Best on field for North Melbourne, however, was Jenna Bruton with 19 disposals and six clearances. Bruton was a major implementer of many of the Roos’ key scoring moments throughout the match.

In Round 7, Collingwood will have their last chance to get a win for the 2019 season as they face off against the Brisbane Lions at their home ground of Victoria Park. North Melbourne travel to Fremantle Oval to play the Dockers in what could prove to be a crucial final attempt to qualify for finals for both teams.

Western Bulldogs 6.2 (38) defeated by Melbourne 5.9 (39)
By: Sophie Taylor

It was a scrappy game at Marvel Stadium to end the double header, as the Bulldogs hosted a Melbourne side that was ready for payback after the Dogs’ two-point 2018 victory that knocked the Demons out of finals for the second year running. With a dominant start from the Dees and strong middle quarters from the Dogs it was difficult to see who would take home the four points, before Melbourne managed a goal in the dying minutes to produce a one-point win.

Despite a good start from the red and blue, the Dogs took charge when the game mattered, leading for most of the second half. Melbourne’s efficiency with the ball suffered as the Bulldogs took advantage of momentum, piling on relentless pressure through the midfield and the Dees’ forward 50. Meanwhile, Melbourne suffered in the penalty department, only picking up 10 frees for the game compared to the Dogs’ 24, with the disparity in free kicks further contributing to the Dees’ struggles downfield.

In the scrappy affair it was the ever reliable Karen Paxman who stood up for the Dees, notching up 24 touches, seven tackles and a goal. Elise O’Dea was next best for Melbourne, with 21 disposals and eight tackles to her name. Ellie Blackburn picked 22 disposals, while Monique Conti managed 20 touches and seven tackles. Bulldog, Kirsty Lamb notched up the most tackles for the day, with ten. Tegan Cunningham redeemed herself in this matchup after a disappointing day against the Dogs in 2018, kicking two goals, with her second for the match the sealer.

The final round of AFLW will see the Western Bulldogs host Carlton next Sunday at VU Whitten Oval, while Melbourne will take on Adelaide at their home at Casey Fields in a bid to keep their 2019 finals hopes alive.

Adelaide Crows 9.5 (59) defeated GWS GIANTS 4.3 (27)
By: Taylah Melki

The Crows asserted their dominance once again, coming out all guns blazing and scoring three goals in the opening term. The GIANTS failed to score a goal in the second half credit to the defensive pressure of Adelaide, while the Crows piled on more pain throughout the course of the game credit to their ability to hit the scoreboard, eventually winning by 32 points.

The usual stars stood tall for the Crows with the likes of Erin Phillips and Ebony Marinoff leading the way for their side. Phillips chipped in with a goal while amassing 24 touches proving her dominance across the field, while Marinoff racked up 24 touches and 10 tackles credit to her attacking play. Stevie-Lee Thompson made her presence felt up forward nailing three goals while Danielle Ponter also displayed her ability to hit the scoreboard with two majors. Ponter does not need a lot of the footy to be damaging, proving her accuracy by foot. Chelsea Randall and Angela Foley also starred for the Crows, accumulating plenty of the footy and going in hard to win the ball.

For the GIANTS, the likes of Alicia Eva stood up in what was a difficult outing for her side. Eva racked up the touches and was not afraid to go in hard and win the footy, showing her experience and class around the stoppages. Ellie Brush was also a key player for the GIANTS with her clever kicks. Cora Staunton and Christina Bernardi both hit the scoreboard with a major but were unable to capitalise on all of their opportunities in front of goal, both missing a shot on goal.

In the final game of the home and away season the Crows will face the Melbourne Demons at Casey Fields while the GWS GIANTS take on the Cats at UNSW Canberra Oval.

Carlton 6.7 (43) defeated Brisbane 4.3 (27)
By: Brandon Hutchinson

After a shaky start to 2019, Carlton have since turned their season around with a win over Brisbane at home and a move to the top of the table in Conference B. While Brisbane led at the end of the first, Carlton’s offensive push turned the tables in the second with a three-point lead entering the main break – leaving Brisbane with a goalless second quarter. Brisbane managed to kick a goal midway through the third, but the effort stood small next to Carlton’s three as they bullied their way through Brisbane’s defence. The final quarter was a wrestle for Brisbane as Carlton held on to a comfortable 16-point win against a tough outfit.

Madison Prespakis had another stellar performance for the Blues, leading with a game-high 27 disposals on the way to 69 AFL Fantasy Points. Fellow rookie, Brooke Walker also impressed with a season-high 12 disposals and her first two career goals. Tayla Harris (two goals, eight disposals, two marks and four tackles), Darcy Vescio (one goal and 13 disposals) and Tilly Lucas-Rodd (one goal, 10 disposals and four tackles) also impressed in front of goals.

For Brisbane, Nat Exon was a great defensive utility, laying nine tackles with 17 disposals on her way to a game-high 98 AFL Fantasy Points. Kate Lutkins (20 disposals, five marks and seven tackles) and Alexandra Anderson (20 disposals, six marks and six tackles) both impressed through the middle, while first-year, Jade Ellenger kicked two goals in her first game. Emily Bates also continued her stunning season with a team-high 22 disposals, three marks and five tackles.

Heading into the final round, Carlton are set to face reigning premiers, Western Bulldogs, at VU Whitten Oval for the last game of the regular season, while Brisbane come up against a winless Collingwood outfit at Victoria Park, looking for a chance to join finals footy.

Weekend preview: AFLW – Round 6

IN the penultimate regular season round of AFLW for 2019, a number of teams are coming into this round for do-or-die contests that could further or endanger their push for finals.

Saturday, March 9, 2:35pm
Geelong vs. Fremantle
GMHBA Stadium

This is Geelong’s final home game for 2019 as the Fremantle Dockers travel to GMHBA Stadium for a clash that is likely to determine positions in both Conference A and B. Fremantle need to finish off the season perfectly to ensure they don’t miss out on finals, while the Cats will want another win to cement their position at the top of the Conference B ladder. Geelong have thrived at home this season so far, so despite Fremantle’s success in 2019, the Cats will be on the prowl for that all important extra win and percentage boost. Dana Hooker and Kiara Bowers have paired well in recent weeks, racking up a combined 44 disposals and 21 tackles in Round 5 alone against the Bulldogs. Geelong’s Renee Garing has been excellent over the past few weeks, while Kate Darby will want to back up her strong Round 5 effort, after kicking three goals in the win over the Lions.

H2H: Geelong 0 | Fremantle 0 | Draws 0
Venue: Geelong 2-0-0 | Fremantle 0-0-0

Last time they met: N/A

Saturday, March 9, 4:45pm
Collingwood vs. North Melbourne
Marvel Stadium

The first match of an AFLW double header in the heart of Melbourne will see bottom of Conference B, Collingwood take on Conference A’s, North Melbourne, who despite having a loss in Round 5, are still heavy favourites for the premiership. Collingwood is sitting on zero wins from five for the season, while the ‘Roos have only dropped one game, so the Pies will have to bite the bullet and go out hard in this match. North Melbourne will be hard to stop, with stars at the calibre of Emma Kearney and Jess Duffin holding up the midfield. Meanwhile, Collingwood’s midfield has struggled this season with little forward line to kick to, with the side tending to look to ball carriers Jaimee Lambert and Ash Brazill to get the job done. It will be the first time Mo Hope, Jasmine Garner, Emma King and Duffin take on their old side in Collingwood since jumping ship to the Kangaroos, so it will certainly be an interesting match.

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

Last time they met: N/A

Saturday, March 9, 7:15pm
Western Bulldogs vs. Melbourne
Marvel Stadium

The Western Bulldogs will host Melbourne on Saturday night for a battle of Conference A sides. Sitting fourth in Conference A, Melbourne need a perfect two-from-two end to the season to give themselves any opportunity to break into the top two and make finals. Meanwhile, the Bulldogs are unlikely to make finals at this point given their low percentage and three losses in a row, so will be doing everything in their power to deliver an upset to the Dees. Defender, Harriet Cordner is likely to be tasked with the job of keeping Katie Brennan at bay, while returnees, Isabel Huntington and Brooke Lochland are players the Dees will have to watch out for, as both returned for the Dogs last week for the first time in 2019. Meanwhile, the Dees will be looking to prolific ball movers Lily Mithen, Karen Paxman and co-captain, Elise O’Dea to lead the charge.

H2H: Western Bulldogs 1 | Melbourne 1 | Draws 0
Venue: Western Bulldogs 0-0-0 | Melbourne 0-0-0

Last time they met: Western Bulldogs 5.3 (33) defeated Melbourne 4.7 (31), Round 7 2018.

It was a heartbreaking end to Melbourne’s second season of AFLW, finishing third and missing out on the Grand Final based on percentage for the second year running. The Bulldogs took the confidence gained from this match and went on to win their inaugural AFLW premiership. Melbourne forward, Tegan Cunningham had a self-confessed ‘shocker’, not managing a single touch, while the side played out majority of the match with one less on the interchange, after Sarah Lampard was carried off with a knee injury early. Karen Paxman played 100 per cent game time, proving her worth to the side, as Richelle Cranston put up another dominant performance. Ellie Blackburn and Emma Kearney lead the charge for the Dogs, putting constant pressure on the Dees.

Sunday, March 10, 1:35pm
Adelaide vs. GWS Giants
Unley Oval

It is the final home game for Adelaide in 2019, played at Unley Oval for the first time in AFLW history. The Crows are sitting happy on the top of Conference A after a dominant performance against premiership favourites, North Melbourne in Round 5, and will be confident as they line up against the GIANTS on Sunday afternoon. Ebony Marinoff has consistently put in the hard yards for the Crows this season, notching up 22 disposals and ten tackles last week, while goalsneak Stevie-Lee Thompson is lead goalkicker of the side. GIANTS’ Alicia Eva was excellent in last week’s loss to Melbourne, picking up 20 disposals, while Cora Staunton and Yvonne Bonner are players to watch, always dangerous around the ball.

H2H: Adelaide 1 | GWS GIANTS 0 | Draws 1
Venue: Adelaide 0-0-0 | GWS GIANTS 0-0-0

Last time they met: GWS GIANTS 2.7 (19) drew Adelaide 2.7 (19), Round 4 2018.

It was a low scoring affair the last time these two sides played, with bad weather plaguing the match and making it difficult to mark and move the ball efficiently. The Crows trailed for majority of the match, managing to pull back the margin early in the final quarter, before the game ended in a stalemate despite scoring opportunities for both sides all game. Crows’ Ebony Marinoff starred, notching up an AFL/AFLW record-breaking 21 tackles, while Alicia Eva picked up 22 disposals.

Sunday, March 10, 4:05pm
Carlton vs. Brisbane
Ikon Park

Both Conference B sides are sitting on a 2-3 loss-win ratio for the 2019 season, battling out for a top two position in their conference with finals just around the corner. Carlton will hope that Tayla Harris and Darcy Vescio have their eyes in this week, as both players have struggled with accuracy over the past few weeks – Vescio kicking 1.3 in Round 5. Carlton midfielder, Madison Prespakis has had an outstanding start to her AFLW career, so will be hard to stop in the midfield. Meanwhile, Brisbane is likely to look to leading tackler Nat Exon, averaging six tackles per game in 2019, and Alexandra Anderson, a player who has consistently managed 20 or more disposals per game in 2019.

H2H: Carlton 0 | Brisbane 1 | Draws 1
Venue: Carlton 5-1-2 | Brisbane 1-0-0

Last time they met: Carlton 2.6 (18) defeated by Brisbane 6.4 (40), Round 3 2018.

In their last clash Brisbane delivered Carlton a 22-point smashing in front of 6200 spectators, dominating inside 50s for most of the night, before converting the majority of their scoreboard pressure in the second half of the match. The Blues were goalless until after half time, missing captain, Brianna Davey’s influence across the field. Kate McCarthy was prolific for the Lions, moving well inside 50, while Sophie Conway kicked two final quarter goals to give Carlton no chance at coming back into the match. Maddison Gay and Darcy Vescio were Carlton’s two goalkickers for the night, while Jess Wuetschner and Sabrina Frederick-Traub were named in Brisbane’s best.

DRAFT CENTRAL TIPPING

Leaderboard:

1st : Michael Alvaro [ 16 ]
Eq. 2nd : Sophie Taylor [ 14 ]
Taylah Melki [ 14 ]
Peter Williams [ 14 ]
5th : Matthew Cocks [ 13 ]

 

Peter Williams

Chief Editor

Round 6 selections:

Fremantle
Collingwood
Melbourne
Adelaide
Carlton

 

Taylah Melki

Assistant Chief Editor

Round 6 selections:

Geelong
North Melbourne
Western Bulldogs
Adelaide
Brisbane

 

Sophie Taylor

Women’s Football Editor

Round 6 selections:

Fremantle
North Melbourne
Melbourne
Adelaide
Brisbane

 

Michael Alvaro

Men’s Football Editor

Round 6 selections:

Geelong
North Melbourne
Melbourne
Adelaide
Carlton

 

Matthew Cocks

Guest Tipster

Round 6 selections:

Fremantle
North Melbourne
Western Bulldogs
Adelaide
Carlton

Team of the Week: AFLW – Round 5

ADELAIDE and Geelong make up a third of the Round 5 Draft Central Team of the Week for AFL Women’s, with several individual performances helping them to crucial wins in Conference A and B respectively. Fellow winners, Fremantle and Carlton have three representatives each after impressive displays over conference rivals, while Melbourne surprisingly only have two players featuring, despite owning the round’s biggest winning margin. The Dees join a pack of three others with two nominees, while Brisbane and GWS each have a sole player included after comprehensive losses.

Emma Kearney cracked the 30-disposal mark with an outstanding 31 possession, 10 clearance and eight mark game to headline the individual feats this week. Incredibly, her and Jess Duffin’s standout games came in a losing effort. That came at the hands of the Crows, with Erin Phillips (23 disposals, seven inside 50s, six clearances, two goals) again leading the way for a surging Adelaide side as Ebony Marinoff and Chelsea Randall followed suit in terms of ball-winning, and Danielle Ponter proved dangerous up forward to make it four Crows in the starting 18.

Geelong was another big winner, with the standout being Richelle Cranston’s 22 disposal game in the engine room, while Kate Darby impressed inside 50 for three goals. 2018 draftee, Olivia Purcell was unlucky to be relegated to the bench in this side, with her 20 disposal and 10 tackle performance another highlight. Jessy Keeffe was Brisbane’s sole representative from that game, shining in the ruck despite the Lions managing the lowest ever team score in AFLW history.
Carlton skipper, Brianna Davey had arguably the most influential game of the round, willing her side on to victory in an incredible all-round display that yielded a perfect 10 from the coaches. Fellow Blues midfielder, Madison Prespakis kept up her terrific form to also be named, with the much-improved Pies pair of Jaimee Lambert and Ash Brazill also named. Melbourne’s Maddison Gay was another to crack a perfect 10, with teammate Tegan Cunningham’s three goals crucial to their win, much like Kellie Gibson for Fremantle. The Dockers overcame the Dogs despite the best efforts of nominees, Katie Brennan and Monique Conti, with Dana Hooker and Kiara Bowers putting in monumental shifts.

Weekend wash-up: AFLW – Round 5

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Weekend preview: AFLW – Round 5

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

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

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

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

Last time they met: N/A

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Last time they met: N/A

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

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

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

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

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

Weekend wash-up: AFLW – Round 4

ROUND 4 was packed to the brim with exciting matches, with three teams winning by less than 10 points to close out the midway point of the season. North Melbourne got a shock this week when they took on a fighting Melbourne side at home, but are now the only team that has not dropped a game this season. Brisbane pulled a big win out in the final quarter against Bulldogs, while Collingwood has now lost four on the trot, essentially out of the running for finals with three rounds to go.

Geelong 2.7 (19) defeated Carlton 1.8 (14)
By: Michael Alvaro

A first half shut-out and Carlton’s blues in front of goal were the difference as Geelong pounced onto another win to climb into Conference B’s top two.

The Cats showed their typical guile in defence, keeping the star-studded Blues forward line to just two points at the main break, while opening up a 14-point buffer thanks to goals from Phoebe McWilliams and Sophie Van de Heuvel. While they kept the clamps on to see Carlton only manage one goal for the game’s entirety, it was not without unintended aid from the travelling side – encapsulated by two close-range misses from Tayla Harris in the third term that could have otherwise turned the tide of the game. Veteran Katie Loynes had no such trouble as she got Carlton on the board in the same stanza as the Blues pushed to snatch the lead. While Carlton managed to reverse the shut-out and restrict Geelong to three points in the second half, it was to no avail as the home side held on for its second win at GMHBA Stadium in as many tries.

Despite close attention from Blues skipper Bri Davey in the first half, McWilliams was one of the Cats’ best alongside the engine room prowess of Renee Garing and Maddy Keryk. Davey was thrown into the middle to combat their dominance after half time, and led the way from leading ball winners, Madison Prespakis and Kerryn Harrington – who stood up down back. Having leapfrogged their weekend opponents in Conference B, the Cats travel north in a top of the table clash against Brisbane, while the Blues host a winless Collingwood side on the same day.

Bulldogs 2.5 (17) defeated by Brisbane 7.7 (49)
By: Carly McClen

In the 2018 grand final rematch, it was Brisbane’s time for reckoning. With momentum, belief and energy, the Lions not only beat a Conference A side, they made it clear they’re in with a real shot at this year’s flag.

Playing at home with the breeze behind them, the Bulldogs set forth very differently to last year’s brand of footy. Though they had plenty of the ball and won clearances, they were kept goalless in the first and second terms due to inefficiency. They could not apply their characteristic short chip game under the Lions’ precise attack on the ball and the ball carrier.

The action was fierce, with bodies on the line, but it was scrappy from both teams until the second term when the Lions made good use of the breeze, broke out of the congestion and started to convert. Close to half time, and 21 points down, it got desperate for the Dogs. They put Katie Brennan deep down back and the whole side in defence to stop the haemorrhaging and reset in the main break.

First half goals went to Jordan Zanchetta in the first term, along with Jess Wuetschner and Breanna Koenen in the second.

The Dogs tried to rally early in the third and looked to have upped the intensity. Yet even with a strengthening wind behind them, they were unable to make a different statement or post scoreboard pressure.

Opportunities for the Dogs went by in the second half. Monique Conti missed an easy goal and there were multiple poor deliveries into key forward Katie Brennan. Just when those opportunities looked to have really sailed and Nat Exon celebrated a huge goal for the Lions, the Dogs got their first, with a clever intercept from Aisling McCarthy and and easy goal.

As Bulldogs’ prime midfield mover Ellie Blackburn was taken down the race with a knock to the head, Brisbane finished out the match as though being in front at three quarter time is a regular thing.

They take on the Cats at home next week.

Adelaide 9.11 (65) defeated Fremantle 3.5 (23)
By: Sophie Taylor

For the first time in 2019 a game was played at TIO Stadium in Darwin as Adelaide hosted Fremantle for the battle of Conference A. With a spectacular goal apiece for both teams in the first term and relatively even second and third quarters it looked like it was going to be a close match, however a final quarter onslaught from the Crows proved not only their strength in the competition, but their determination under pressure.

The Crows managed a convincing win over their fellow Conference A side, beating the Dockers 9.11 (65) to 3.5 (23), and delivering Fremantle’s first loss for the season.

Despite the loss, Fremantle’s Kiara Bowers and Dana Hooker put on a tackling show, picking up a combined 18 tackles of the Dockers’ 55. Bowers and Hooker were dominant for the Dockers, also picking up 19 and 16 touches respectively, while Evangeline Gooch picked up 17 touches and four marks.

Ashlee Atkins, Ebony Antonio and Kellie Gibson kicked a goal apiece, with Gibson kicking the opening goal of the match for the second week running.

Erin Phillips was dominant for the Crows, managing 25 touches, two goals and a behind to her name. Anne Hatchard and Ebony Marinoff were not far behind with 22 and 20 touches, respectively, while Eloise Jones, Stevie-Lee Thompson and Danielle Ponter each kicked another two goals to add to the tally. Thompson’s goal opened the scoring for the Crows, knocking down the goal umpire in what fortunately did not foreshadow the end result.

Adelaide dominated the hitouts, with Jessica Foley managing 24 of the 29 for her side alongside her five marks. Meanwhile teammate, Deni Varnhagen, and opposition, Stephanie Cain and Bowers also picked up five marks.

Collingwood 4.3 (27) defeated by GWS 5.6 (36)
By: Nikki Jamieson

Round 4 proved to be do-or-die for both the Giants and the Pies as they each were without a win all season. The GIANTS were able to hold Collingwood down for majority of the game, keeping them from scoring in both the first and third quarters. This very well means the end for the Pies’ 2019 campaign, whereas GWS just holds on in conference pool B.

In an almost fairytale start for the Giants, Tait Mackrill opened the scoring with her first career goal 30 seconds into the game, with a terrific goal that dribbled through Collingwood’s backline. The Giants continued to take advantage of the strong winds, kicking another two goals within the first 8 minutes of play.

GWS were more than able to out play Collingwood on the ball throughout the game, having far greater possession. Key players like Rebecca Beeson and Alicia Eva were most reflective of this, both players having equal highest disposals (22). Beeson’s dominance in the fourth quarter as well as early in the game proved to be a foil for Collingwood’s forwardline.

Collingwood tried in earnest to make a late-comeback in the fourth, leading to a 27-36 deficit and keeping GWS scoreless for the quarter. For Collingwood, key players like Jaimee Lambert and Sarah Dargan were able to stand out despite the loss. Lambert (21 disposals and 7 tackles) and Dargan (six tackles and 1 goal) were both influential in Collingwood’s final dig at a win, but nevertheless it proved too little too late.

Next Sunday, Giants will host the Dees in their second conference cross-over match back in their home stadium. Whereas Collingwood face their all-time rivals, Carlton at the historical Ikon Park on the Saturday.

Melbourne 5.4 (34) defeated by North Melbourne 6.2 (38)
By: Peter Williams

North Melbourne has survived its biggest threat yet in the AFL Women’s competition, to remain the only undefeated team from four rounds. The Kangaroos were challenged throughout the match, and were trailing as late as up until the seventh minute of the final term, before Emma King‘s third goal of the game put the visitors back in front to record a four-point win. Mo Hope converted the first goal of the game for North Melbourne, but the Dees through the unlikely goalkicker of Catherine Phillips, responded to trail by a point at quarter time. The second term belonged to the Roos as they piled on three goals, including two to King who was too tall at full-forward. After half-time, Melbourne booted the first two goals of the half including a running beauty to speedster, Aliesha Newman, and then a snap from former Gippsland Power co-captain, Tyla Hanks to hit the front momentarily. Hope’s second goal handed the Roos back the lead and while Newman’s second major in the final term gave the Dees a huge sniff, it was fitting that King was to eventually boot the winning goal.

Melbourne could consider itself very unlucky not to walk away with the points, having 45 more disposals, seven more marks and broke even in the clearances. Karen Paxman was terrific with 25 disposals, two marks and three tackles to be the Demons’ best alongside Lily Mithen (22 disposals, five marks and four tackles). Newman’s two goals up forward, and Tegan Cunningham‘s work rate inside 50 early was a treat, while Kate Hore was also impressive with 18 touches, three marks and three tackles. For North Melbourne, King was the clear difference between the teams with 3.1 from eight disposals and three marks, while Hope was lively throughout with the two goals from 10 touches and three marks. Jess Duffin was superb in the back half with 20 disposals and seven marks, while Jamie Stanton stood up on a wing with 21 touches, two marks and two tackles.