Tag: amber micallef

The Graduates 2021 VFLW – Round 13

AFTER a long-awaited three-week break, the Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s competition returned to action in Round 13, with several sides ruled out of finals contention, whilst others secured their spot in the post-season series. A number of NAB League Girls made their debuts in the competition, as we took a look at how they performed, as well as some of the others who have graduated the elite junior competition.

Geelong held off Hawthorn in a tight battle between the rival clubs, with the Hawks’ plethora of Eastern Ranges talents getting a run around. Isabelle Khoury (12 disposals, eight tackles) was the pick of the bunch, with current teammates Cadhla Schmidli (seven disposals), Eloise Chaston (six disposals and one goal), Keeley Sherar (six disposals, six tackles), Bridget Deed and Sarah Humm all donning the brown and gold.

Former Ranges player Jenna Richardson had the 13 disposals, six marks and four tackles in an impressive effort, whilst Gippsland Power’s Grace McRae (12 disposals, four tackles) and Northern Territory young gun Dominique Carbone (nine disposals, three marks and five tackles) also impressed. For the Cats, ex-Murray midfielder Tamara Smith continued her impressive season with 13 disposals and seven tackles, while former Falcon Paige Sheppard (nine disposals, two marks, three tackles and a goal) and current GWV Rebels utility Chloe Leonard (seven disposals) also played in the tight contest.

Collingwood dominated the Western Bulldogs in the second half on their way to a huge 64-point victory, and had plenty of young talents coming through. Oakleigh’s Stella Reid (13 disposals, two marks) and Eliza James (10 disposals, three tackles) both held their own in the contest, with former Gippsland Power defender Jasmine Ferguson standing up on the last line, and Olivia Meagher also playing through some early soreness to finish the game.

The Western Bulldogs had a trio of GWV Rebels return to the side, led by Ella Friend (seven disposals), Lilli Condon and Tahlia Meier (both five), with Western Jets midfielder Trinity Skenderis picking up the eight touches and ex-Bendigo Pioneers skipper Brooke Hards laying 13 tackles and having three clearances from her four kicks.

Another former Bendigo skipper in Megan Williamson ran around for the Seagulls again laying five tackles with her five touches, whilst the current Bendigo skipper was on the opposite side – Essendon – with Tara Slender making her debut, picking up six touches, two marks, three tackles and a behind. Calder Cannons’ Zali Friswell booted a goal from three scoring chances for the Bombers, as Calder teammates Emelia Yassir (13 touches, seven tackles) and Kasey Lennox (seven disposals, two marks) also impressed.

Former Cannons Alana Barba (17 disposals, 11 tackles), Grace Dicker and Lauren Caruso also played in the match, with ex-Bushrangers talent Eloise Ashley Cooper picking up 10 touches and laying four tackles in the win.

A couple of former NAB League talents in Emma Horne (seven disposals) and Bridie Winbanks (five disposals, 12 hitouts and five tackles) ran around in Casey Demons’ win over Darebin. For the Falcons, Northern Knights duo Trinity Mills (11 disposals, five marks and four tackles) and Mikayla Plunkett (10 disposals, two marks and eight tackles) were named the best for the losing side. Calder Cannons’ Peppa Poultney and Katelyn Hazlett were among he present and former NAB Leaguers to pull on the Darebin jumper.

Southern Saints enjoyed a tight win over Carlton to give themselves best chance at a finals spot, and they had a number of young guns running around. Sandringham Dragons’ duo Pia Staltari (nine disposals, four tackles) and Emma Stuber both got their chance at VFLW level, whilst Jemma Radford had another game coming out of the Stingrays’ program. Ex-Ranges forward Gabi De Angelis had 15 disposals, two marks and nine tackles, whilst former Chargers tall Amelia Peck booted a goal from eight touches and four marks. Ex-Stingray Grace Hodder continued her stint at senior level for the Saints.

The Blues welcomed back Northern Knights duo Maeve Chaplin (10 disposals, five tackles) and Tara Delgado (six disposals, two tackles), while ex-Charger Amber Micallef stood up with 11 disposals, three marks and three tackles in the loss.

Port Melbourne had no shortage of young stars running around in its big win over North Melbourne, lead by Oakleigh Chargers’ Brooke Vickers (13 disposals, two marks) and Dandenong Stingrays’ Ashleigh Richards (11 disposals, four marks and a goal). Chargers’ Amanda Ling had another impressive outing with 10 touches, three marks, four tackles and a goal, whilst Dandenong Stingrays’ Jaide Anthony (seven disposals, two marks) and ex-Bushranger Sophie Locke (seven disposals, two marks and five tackles) also worked hard. North Melbourne had GIANTS Academy hard nut Jayde Hamilton back onball for nine touches, four marks and three tackles.

2021 VFLW Round 13 preview: Future stars return as teams limited by border restrictions

THERE might not be crowds this weekend, but the stakes are as high as ever for the Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s teams, as the penultimate Round 13 finally gets underway after a three-week hiatus due to the Victorian lockdown. Three teams cannot be moved out of the finals race – Collingwood, Geelong and Port Melbourne – though only one of the latter two can secure a double-chance.

The other three spots are up for grabs, though Casey Demons and Essendon effectively need one win to book their spots – with the Demons even needing to just not be smashed in their final two matches to make it given their ridiculously high percentage. Western Bulldogs currently holds sixth spot and is the most in danger of missing out, taking on the Magpies and Demons, needing at least one win – but potentially two – to grab a finals place with Southern Saints, Carlton and North Melbourne all knocking down the door.

HAWTHORN vs. GEELONG
Saturday, June 19 @ 12:00pm
Box Hill City Oval

A battle between traditional rivals, Hawthorn and Geelong takes place at Box Hill City Oval from midday tomorrow. The Hawks unfortunately not only need to win their games and have results go their way in other matches, but realistically need a draw in one of the Southern Saints games and the other three teams around them – Western Bulldogs, Carlton and North Melbourne – to lose in the game that isn’t a draw. Geelong on the other hand need to keep winning in order to book a double chance, with third placed Port Melbourne just percentage behind and ready to earn a spot against Collingwood in the qualifying final if the Cats do slip up.

Both teams have past and present AFLW talent, with Rene Caris, Darcy Moloney and Laura Gardiner forming a huge midfield for the Cats. The Hawks have some experience tall timber with Meg Hutchins, Tamara Luke and Sarah Perkins among the names in the side. In terms of AFLW Draft hopefuls, Gippsland Power’s Grace McRae returns for another game in the brown and gold, joining Eastern Ranges’ Bridget Deed, Keeley Sherar, Isabelle Khoury, Eloise Chaston and debutants, Cadhla Schmidli and Sarah Humm in the side. For the Cats, Chloe Leonard returns to the blue and white hoops again, named on the bench for this match, whilst Jess Foley, Madelyn Keryk and Madisen Maguire are among the other Cats experienced talents.

COLLINGWOOD vs. WESTERN BULLDOGS
Saturday, June 19 @ 12:00pm
Olympic Park Oval

It might have been a long time for football to return, but luckily for the Magpies, they sewed up top spot and their third consecutive minor premiership last round. They can now play the role of managing players leading into finals, with Chloe Molloy, Jaimee Lambert, Sophie Livingstone and Sophie Casey among the outs for Round 13. In come the younger group in Amelia Velardo, Abbi Moloney and Alana Porter to face a hungry Western Bulldogs side needing a win. The Bulldogs can put themselves in pole position for a finals spot with an upset win, and have not held make in doing so with their team selection.

The Bulldogs have a mix of AFLW and NAB League Girls talents, with the midfield of Jess Fitzgerald, Britney Gutknecht and Isabelle Pritchard, as well as Isabella Grant, Gemma Lagioia and Sarah Hartwig around the ground, there is plenty of top-end talent that could cause a boil-over to the top of the table Magpies. From an AFLW Draft perspective, potential Top 10 pick Ella Friend is back in the side with Rebels’ teammates Lilli Condon and Tahlia Meier, whilst Brooke Hards and Simone Ruedin remain the only players to not miss a game for the red, white and blue. The Magpies have a couple of top talents making their debuts too, with Stella Reid and Eliza James – both out of the Oakleigh Chargers’ program – coming into the black and white stripes whilst another AFLW Draft Combine invitee in Olivia Meagher is also in the team. With six players in Draft Central’s recent AFLW Draft Power Rankings playing in the game, it is a must-listen via WARF Radio.

The Magpies deserve to be favourites as an unbeaten side, but the Western Bulldogs could arguably have the stronger team on paper for this clash, so it should be a really big contest.

>> AFLW Draft Power Rankings

WILLIAMSTOWN vs. ESSENDON
Saturday, June 19 @ 1:00pm
Downer Oval

Across at Downer Oval, Williamstown and Essendon will look to control the elements and the game, when the Bombers hit the road for a must-win clash. They take on the bottom two sides in the last two rounds and need just one win, so have the easiest draw in the final fortnight. They still need to get it done though, and the Seagulls still have plenty about them coming up against a Bombers side with a lot of talent. Another potential Top 10 selection in Tara Slender will make her debut in this game for the Bombers, with the Bendigo Pioneers’ utility named at centre half-forward.

Slender will join Calder Cannons’ Emelia Yassir, Kasey Lennox and Zali Friswell in the starting team, with the experience of Georgia Nanscawen, Cecilia McIntosh and Mia-Rae Clifford across the three lines. Williamstown have had some consistent performers over the time, but the current border restrictions between Victoria and NSW/ACT has limited the GWS GIANTS AFLW players from taking part. The likes of Erin Meade, Scarlett Dunnell, Aimee Whelan and Megan Williamson have all enjoyed solid seasons and will be looked upon to step up in what is ultimately a tough game for them. Alana Barba and Eloise Ashley-Cooper are recent NAB League Girls graduates and will be keen top put their best foot forward to impress, while the Bombers as a whole just have to win. Williamstown can play the role of party pooper in this game, and have the advantage of knowing the ground well.

CASEY DEMONS vs. DAREBIN
Saturday, June 19 @ 2:00pm
Casey Fields

Casey Demons are a win away from booking a spot in the VFL Women’s finals series, and providing the last placed Darebin do not roll them by a considerable amount, the Cranbourne-based team can potentially secure a home final in the process. They have a mix of past and present AFLW talents – including some recent delistings hoping to earn a second chance – whilst the Falcons will rely on some youngsters and their VFL Women’s players to try and cause an upset at windy Casey Fields.

Former Carlton player Winnie Laing and ex-Roo Kate Gillespie-Jones are lining up for Casey this weekend following their recent delistings from the Blues and North Melbourne respectively, alongside Mietta Kendall who is hoping for another chance in the red and blue, and then the most recent addition to the Demons’ rookie list in midfielder Eliza West. The latter has been a prominent ball winner for the VFL Women’s side and earned a promotion, whilst Imogen Milford is one player with plenty to prove after receiving an AFLW Draft Combine invite. Shelley Heath, Eliza McNamara and Megan Fitzsimon are also in the side, though there is an abundance of VFL Women’s talent in the team for the clash with the Falcons. Darebin have the experience of Nicole Callinan and Alyssia Mifsud who have played at the top level, but otherwise have the NAB League Girls talents of Trinity Mills and Peppa Poultney, as well as another former NAB League Girls player in Katelyn Hazlett. Samara David and Stephanie Simpson have enjoyed impressive seasons up forward, whilst Victoria Blackwood and Gena Lawson-Tavan are reliable players with Callinan in the back 50. Expect Casey to be too strong, but Darebin will be keen to cause an upset.

CARLTON vs. SOUTHERN SAINTS
Sunday, June 20 @ 11:00am
Ikon Park

A virtual elimination final in many ways, the loser of Carlton and Southern Saints will need to rely on other results in order to make finals, with the Blues in particular having a line put through their name given the percentage difference. If the Saints lose, they will need the Bulldogs to also lose to the Magpies in order to make the finals, or if they win and the Bulldogs win, it will come down to the final round. The Blues cannot overtake the Bulldogs unless they win big and the Bulldogs lose, but it will keep them in the finals hunt with a clash against Williamstown in the final round.

Carlton know the stakes by winning the match, with Lucy McEvoy named once again alongside some AFLW talent in Daisy Walker and Charlotte Hammans. They do have a lot of VFLW talent in the side still, with Amber Micallef, Ally Bild, Jennifer Lew and Jorja Borg among those who have had some impressive moments this season. Northern Knights duo Maeve Chaplin and Tara Delgado are in the side again to try and stake their claims ahead of the AFLW Draft, while ex-Murray Bushrangers talent Teagan Brett returns to the Navy Blues. The Saints have not fully confirmed their side at the time of publishing, but they were favoured to take it up to the Blues, with Alice Burke, Tyanna Smith, Jess Matin and Alice Burke all named in the side that narrowly went down to Western Bulldogs last round. Dandenong Stingrays’ Jemma Radford has really held her own in the side, with Sandringham Dragons’ Pia Staltari and Emma Stuber among those on the extended list for the Saints.

PORT MELBOURNE vs. NORTH MELBOURNE
Sunday, June 20 @ 1:00pm
ETU Stadium

Completing Round 13 of action is a game with plenty on the line for both teams in different ways. Port Melbourne is gunning for a second chance if the Borough can get up and hope Geelong loses, whilst North Melbourne can keep their hopes of finals alive with an upset win on the road at ETU Stadium. Much like Williamstown with the GIANTS, the Roos have been impacted by not being able to utilise their Tasmanian contingent, which has meant plenty of changes for the blue and white stripes. Port Melbourne on the other hand have not held back in their selection, with experience and young guns galore in what will be an exciting contest.

Roos captain Meagan Kiely is based in Victoria and the Tasmanian talent will look to continue her ripping form this season teaming up with Brooke Slaney and Reni Hicks in midfield. They have a tough job with Ellie McKenzie making her VFLW debut for the Borough, and Courteney Bromage and Mel Kuys rounding out a strong midfield. The Port Melbourne bench is as exciting as one could be, with Dandenong Stingrays duo Jaide Anthony and Ashleigh Richards, and Oakleigh Chargers duo Amanda Ling and Brooke Vickers – all who received AFLW Draft Combine invites – playing in the match. Sarah D’Arcy also makes her debut up forward for the Borough, alongside Emily Harley and Sophie Locke. The Roos will have Alexia Hamilton through the ruck and Jayde Hamilton and Elisha King up forward, whilst Molly Eastman and Beth Lynch are among those likely to create some run out of defence for the visitors in the Sunday afternoon clash. The Borough have the advantage at home and can snuff out the Roos’ finals chances with a win, but North have proven to put up a fight most weeks so should give the game a shake.

Ones to Watch: AFLW Draft – Victorian top-age talents

IN the next edition of our Ones to Watch series, we take a look at those players from Victoria who for one reason or another missed out on being picked up in last year’s draft despite being eligible. We name 10 players as Ones to Watch who have stepped up in 2021 to put their best foot forward through both NAB League Girls and Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s competitions.

>> DRAFT SURPRISE PACKETS
>> NON-AFLW U19S VFLW PERFORMERS
>> SANFLW MATURE-AGERS

Maeve Chaplin (Northern Knights/Carlton VFLW)
22/08/2002 | 167cm
Inside Midfielder/Defender

After having a solid start to the 2020 season, Chaplin has built on her performances in past years to become a dominant inside midfielder. Stronger than most opponents, Chaplin not only won plenty of contested ball and clearances, but was able to hit the scoreboard on occasions too. She finished the NAB League Girls season averaging 17.3 disposals, 5.0 tackles and 3.0 inside 50s, providing plenty of drive going forward, but also showing she can play off half-back too, something she has done in the past.

Zoe Garth (Geelong Falcons/Williamstown)
04/04/2002 | 168cm
Medium Forward

Playing nine games for Geelong Falcons, a couple for Williamstown and squeezing her way into the Vic Country team for the state’s final AFL Women’s Under 19 Championships match against Queensland, Garth has tested herself against plenty of different opponents. Whilst not a natural high possession winner, Garth is a fierce tackler who plays as a high half-forward and someone who is able to play a role in the forward half. Averaging 8.8 disposals and 6.1 tackles per game for the Falcons, the 168cm talent brings the heat when out on the field.

Brooke Hards (Western Bulldogs VFLW)
19/07/2002 | 167cm
Medium Utility

The only player on the list not to play in the NAB League Girls competition this year, Hards has not missed a match all season for the Western Bulldogs in the VFL Women’s competition. One of only two players to achieve the feat for the red, white and blue, Hards has been utilised in all three areas of the ground, but has been most damaging off half-back and pushing into her familiar role on the inside midfield. Her athleticism and footy smarts are what stand out on the footy field, and the ex-Bendigo Pioneers captain has been building confidence as the season has progressed.

Abbey Jordan (Dandenong Stingrays/Southern Saints)
08/09/2002 | 168cm
Balanced Midfielder

After plying her trade as a wing and outside runner in her first draft-eligible year, Jordan honed in on her inside craft this season, to earn a spot on Vic Country’s list and play every AFL Women’s Under 19 Championships match. She has also been able to play a couple of games for the Southern Saints in the VFL Women’s competition, showing she can step up to the more senior level. A lot of her good work comes from her remarkable work rate, where she covers the ground like few others, and along with her speed and natural leadership, stands out across the ground.

Chloe Leonard (GWV Rebels/Geelong VFLW)
01/02/2002 | 168cm
Defender/Midfielder

The consistent Rebels ball magnet has hardly put a foot wrong in the 2021 season, also choosing to represent Geelong in the VFL Women’s, and made her debut against the Southern Saints. Able to win the footy across those competitions as well as the AFL Women’s Under 19 Championships, Leonard laid a massive 7.1 tackles per game across nine matches in the NAB League Girls, as well as 19.4 disposals, 2.4 marks and 4.0 rebound 50s, playing between defence and midfield, often mopping up and clearing the ball from danger. An ultra-consistent player where you know exactly what you are going to get each match.

Grace McRae (Gippsland Power/Hawthorn VFLW)
15/07/2002 | 166cm
Inside Midfielder

Another consistent player who toiled away in a side that did not have a lot of luck in Gippsland Power, but it did not stop McRae putting in regular four-quarter performances. One of Vic Country’s better players across the AFL Women’s Under 19 Championships, McRae has developed into that consistent contested ball-winner, backing up the glimpses she showed in 2020 to average 16.6 disposals and 7.0 tackles at NAB League Girls level, then picking up 21 disposals in a game for Hawthorn VFL Women’s, for a three game average of 12.7 disposals and 7.0 tackles. A tackling machine.

Olivia Meagher (Eastern Ranges/Collingwood VFLW)
21/12/2002 | 157cm
Balanced Midfielder

After missing out on being drafted last year, Meagher went back to the Ranges where she played three games before stepping up to represent Collingwood at VFL Women’s level. There she became a consistent performer, even earning a place in the Anzac Day winning side, and averaging 14.5 disposals per game across six matches. She put up numbers of 18.7 disposals, 4.7 inside 50s and 5.3 tackles for the Ranges earlier in the season, and at 157cm is strong overhead. She has proven she can play inside or outside, and is a natural ball winner with defensive and team-orientated goals.

Taylah Morton (Oakleigh Chargers/Port Melbourne VFLW)
23/06/2002 | 158cm
Small Forward

The pocket rocket from the Chargers won a premiership at NAB League level, returning from injury just in time to play a role in Oakleigh’s assault on the flag. In 10 games, Morton predominantly played deep forward and was deployed as a small who could bring he pressure around the ball and create scoring opportunities. Though she did only kick the three goals, Morton was able to lock the ball in and force turnovers from the opposition, and has already played the three games for the Borough, where she has averaged a higher 12 disposals and four tackles in her time there.

Elizabeth Snell (Bendigo Pioneers/Essendon VFLW)
14/03/2002 | 165cm
Inside Midfielder/Forward

Another tackling machine who has proven she can stand up at both junior and senior level, Snell had a really impressive 2021 year. She averaged 20 disposals, 3.5 marks and 8.8 tackles, which was made all the more impressive given she won a lot of her ball at the coal face, before spreading hard to the outside where she was able to provide separation from her opponents and pull down plenty of marks. Strong overhead, with elite athletic and defensive traits, Snell certainly did her draft chances no harm with her season, and managed to play a couple of games for Vic Country at the AFL Women’s Under 19 Championships too.

Renee Tierney (Geelong Falcons/Geelong VFLW)
23/05/2002 | 166cm
Medium Forward

Tierney is a unique player in the sense that despite being smaller than most leading forwards, her strong hands and powerful one-on-one capacity make her more of a tall than a medium forward. She is able to create scoring chances out of nothing, and is a reliable set shot for goal, booting 11 majors in eight games at 1.4 per match for the Geelong Falcons. She also averaged the 13 disposals, three marks and two inside 50s, showing she can work up the ground and even pinch-hit in the midfield if required. Most dangerous close to goal, Tierney has also managed the two games for the Cats at VFL Women’s level this season, laying 4.5 tackles to go with 8.5 disposals and 3.0 marks per game.

OTHERS:

A number of other players who received AFLW Draft Combine invites last year who have gone on to play at one or both NAB League Girls and VFL Women’s level include key defender Zoe Hill (Dandenong Stingrays/Southern Saints), Jemma Finning (Bendigo Pioneers/Essendon VFLW) and Amber Micallef (Carlton VFLW). Shanara Notman (Gippsland Power/Carlton VFLW) is a year older, but played at both levels this season.

The Graduates: 2021 VFLW – Round 12

A HEAP of young prospects continue to filter through the Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s competition, with the revamped structure allowing Under 18 and 19 NAB League players to align with state league sides as both seasons run concurrently. As the NAB League season has now drawn to an end, Round 11 saw plenty more young talent scattered across each state league side. We take a look at how VFLW-listed players who currently compete in, or have recently graduated from the NAB League, performed.

>> Results: VFLW Round 12

There were a number of debutants across the VFL Women’s competition in Round 12, but two of the most anticipated ones were the inclusions of Calder Cannons’ Georgie Prespakis (Essendon) and Tasmania Devils’ Perri King (North Melbourne). The pair went head-to-head in the opening game of the round at Windy Hill, with King coming away with 15 disposals and seven tackles, while Prespakis had the 10 touches and seven tackles. The other Devils running around were Ella Maurer (11 disposals, one goal), Camilla Taylor (five disposals, eight tackles and three hitouts) and Jemma Blair running around for the Roos. The other Cannons donning the sash were Emelia Yassir (11 disposals, four marks and four tackles), Kasey Lennox and Zali Friswell who all gained great experience. Recent Cannons graduate Alana Barba continued her ripping season with 16 disposals, five tackles and two goals, while ex-Bushranger Eloise Ashley-Cooper had the 15 disposals and 11 tackles in the loss.

Port Melbourne had a number of NAB League talents running around, led by best on ground in last week’s grand final, Oakleigh Chargers’ Amanda Ling (10 disposals, three tackles). Her premiership teammate Taylah Morton had her best game at VFLW level with 12 disposals and six tackles, while ex-Bushranger Sophie Locke managed the seven touches, three marks and five tackles in another solid performance. Ex-Eastern Ranges talent Emma Horne was the main graduate out of the NAB League Girls that was VFLW-listed for the Demons.

In Carlton’s upset win over Geelong, Maeve Chaplin played her second VFLW game, joining Northern Knights teammate Tara Delgado and ex-Oakleigh talent Amber Micallef (nine disposals, nine tackles). Tamara Smith put in another good tackling performance of 18 disposals and eight tackles, while ex-Falcon Paige Sheppard had the 17 disposals and eight tackles. Darebin might have gone down in a heavy loss to the undefeated Collingwood, but Northern Knights’ Trinity Mills played her second game for the Falcons.

On Sunday, Hawthorn enjoyed an important win over Williamstown, with a number of Eastern Ranges players having an impact. Ranges’ co-captain Eloise Chaston had the 10 touches and three marks, Bridget Deed laid four tackles with eight touches, and Keeley Sherar had six touches, two marks and two tackles. AFL Women’s Academy member Ashanti Bush slotted two majors from six disposals in a promising effort up forward. Past Ranges graduate Jenna Richardson had a solid outing with 10 disposals, six marks and three tackles. For the Seagulls, Sydney Swans Academy member Jess Doyle was named best-on with 13 disposals, three marks and three tackles, while ex-Pioneers midfielder Megan Williamson had the 18 disposals, five marks and four tackles to continue her strong season.

Western Bulldogs kept their finals hopes alive with a number of young talents coming through the team. Western Jets graduate Caitlin Sargent (nine disposals, two marks, two tackles and a goal) kicked a clutch goal, whilst Jemima Woods, Stephanie Asciak and Nikita Wright all played their roles. Former Bendigo Pioneers co-captain Brooke Hards pieced together another impressive effort from her seven touches, six tackles and an important third term goal, while ex-Sandringham Dragon Molly Denahy Maloney returned from injury.

The Graduates: 2021 VFLW – Round 11

A HEAP of young prospects continue to filter through the Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s competition, with the revamped structure allowing Under 18 and 19 NAB League players to align with state league sides as both seasons run concurrently. As the NAB League season has now drawn to an end, Round 11 saw plenty more young talent scattered across each state league side. We take a look at how VFLW-listed players who currently compete in or have recently graduated from the NAB League, performed.

>> Results: VFLW Round 11

Geelong’s winning run towards the postseason continued on Saturday, as the Cats found a way to edge past the Southern Saints on enemy territory. Usual suspects Tamara Smith (17 disposals, seven tackles) and Paige Sheppard (15 disposals, five marks) were among the winners’ best players, as Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels gun Chloe Leonard landed her VFLW debut in the hoops.

Meanwhile, Leonard’s Vic Country teammate and Dandenong Stingrays product Abbey Jordan marked her maiden game for the Saints with a goal, while Gabby De Angelis also found the big sticks in red, white and black.

Northern Knights standout Maeve Chaplin was another to debut in Round 11, turning out for Carlton in the Blues’ epic win over Casey. She managed six touches, as teammate and former Oakleigh Charger, Amber Micallef booted a goal. Talls Bridie Winbanks (eight tackles, 12 hitouts) and Grace Matser (six disposals, six hitouts) suited up once again for Casey, as did Emma Horne (nine disposals).

Collingwood moved another step closer to an undefeated regular season after accounting for Port Melbourne on the road, though it was the Borough who fielded more NAB League graduates. Dandenong pair Jaide Anthony (10 disposals, four marks) and Ash Richards (seven disposals) again impressed in their second outings, as the only current NAB Leaguers afield.

The likes of Bridie Kennedy, Sophie Locke, and Cleo Saxon-Jones also turned out for the Borough, while tall Neve O’Connor continues her extended run in the black and white.

Standalone sides Williamstown and Darebin played off in the season’s first draw, kicking to 16 points apiece at Downer Oval. Both teams fielded debutants and were served well by each. Sydney Academy skipper and Allies representative Jessica Doyle (15 disposals) suited up for the Seagulls and was one of their best alongside Ruby Tripodi (18 disposals, 11 tackles, one goal), while Northern Knights’ Trinity Mills booted a goal and laid eight tackles in her first outing for Darebin.

A host of past and present NAB Leaguers were scattered across the Essendon and Western Bulldogs lineups on Saturday, as the Bulldogs won out by 18 points. GWV products Nyakoat Dojiok (15 disposals, three marks), Ella Friend (two goals), and Tahlia Meier (10 tackles) were all productive on debut for the Dogs, as the likes of Nikita Wright and Brooke Hards also got on the park once more.

Essendon debuted Calder Cannons prospects Emelia Yassir and Neve Crowley, who joined teammates Kasey Lennox and Zali Friswell at state league level. Graduates Eloise Ashley-Cooper and Alana Barba were among the Bombers’ best, while Tamsin Crook again got a run in red and black.

Sunday’s sole fixture saw North Melbourne topple Hawthorn, with a host of Eastern Ranges and Tasmanian talents getting a chance for either team. Hawthorn fielded four current Ranges, with Bridget Deed the latest to debut. Teammates El Chaston, Tilly Hardy, and Keeley Sherar all returned, running out with graduates Chloe O’Malley and Jenna Richardson, while Gippsland’s Grace McRae earned plaudits for her efforts in brown and gold.

North Melbourne gave debuts to a trio of Tasmanians, in Amy Bissett, Jemma Blair, and Ella Maurer, with more still to come. Jayde Hamilton, another Allies representative, also turned out for the Roos in their win.

Image Credit: Kelly Defina / AFL Photos

2021 VFLW Round 11 wrap: Dogs keep finals hope alive as Cats leave run home late

THE Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s Round 11 saw plenty of tight results including a draw between the bottom two sides, and the Western Bulldogs kept their finals hopes alive.

SOUTHERN SAINTS 2.0 | 2.0 | 4.3 | 5.5 (35)
GEELONG CATS 0.2 | 1.10 | 1.10 | 6.10 (46)

GOALS:

Southern Saints: G. De Angelis 2, C. Whitfort, T. Bohanna, A. Jordan
Geelong Cats: R. Cranston 2, O. Barber, A. Johnson, G. Clarke, C. Gunjaca

BESTS:

Southern Saints: M. McDonald, G. De Angelis, A. Hynes, H. Stuart, T. Bohanna, A. Burke
Geelong Cats: T. Smith, S. Van De Heuvel, C. Leonard, B. Beckley, R. Webster, P. Sheppard

Geelong notched up a handy 11-point win over Southern Saints on Saturday to hold onto second spot on the ladder. Despite a slow and inaccurate start to the game Geelong worked their way back into the contest to hit the lead in the second quarter given that they peppered away at the big sticks for majority of the term. But the Saints hit back in the third, revitalised after the half time break to pile on two goals while rendering Geelong scoreless. With the game in the hands of the Southern Saints it was the Cats’ time to shine and that they did piling on five goals in the final quarter. It was the first time in the game that Geelong scored multiple games with the visitors riding a real wave of momentum in the last to steal a come-from-behind win.

Laura Gardiner was a ball magnet picking up 26 disposals for the Cats while partner in crime Rebecca Webster was also impressive amassing 25 touches and a staggering 12 tackles. AFLW gun, Darcy Moloney was strong around the contest finishing with 18 touches as both Sophie Van De Huevel and Tamara Smith struggled to hit the scoreboard with two and three behinds respectively but found plenty of the footy. Richelle Cranston spurred her side on inside 50 with two majors as Georgia Clarke also got busy with a goal of her own to accompany her 11 possessions. Father-daughter youngster Alice Burke was arguably one of the best on-field for the Saints picking up 20 touches as Molly McDonald also inserted herself in the thick of things with 18 disposals. Tara Bohanna, Gabriella De Agelis and Abbey Jordan managed to keep things ticking along nicely on the scoreboard for the Saints with the trio all kicking a major apiece.

CASEY DEMONS 3.5 | 3.5 | 3.7 | 3.7 (25)
CARLTON 0.0 | 3.2 | 3.3 | 8.3 (51)

GOALS:

Casey Demons: C. Sherriff 2, I. Simmons
Carlton: B. Walker 3, M. Guerin, A. Micallef, S. Lawrence, O. Madden, C. Hammans

BESTS:

Casey Demons: C. Sherriff, E. Birch, E. McNamara, S. Johnson, A. Brown, M. Macdonald
Carlton:  M. Guerin, S. Lawrence, J. Borg, B. Walker, N. Plane, L. McEvoy

Carlton flexed their muscles in an impressive display against Casey Demons to run out 26-point victors. The Demons blew Carlton out of the water in the opening term nailing three goals and really could have put them to the sword had they been more accurate. But their inability to convert in front of the big sticks cost them in the end as Carlton fought their way back into the contest. The Blues slotted three goals in the second term however Casey still had the upper hand albeit by two points. But the real damage came in the final term as Carlton found their kicking boots, stacking on five goals to run out victorious.

Lucy McEvoy was a force to be reckoned with for the Blues as she racked up 25 disposals with 17 of them kicks along with seven tackles. Maddy Guerin also had a day out picking up 22 touches and a goal while Natalie Plane also made her presence felt for the navy blue amassing 19 touches. Brooke Walker could not be denied inside 50 for Carlton as she nailed a handy three goals while Charlotte Hammans hit the scoreboard as Amber Micallef slotted her first major. Eliza McNamara was influential across the ground for Casey collecting 20 disposals and five tackles. Teammate Libby Birch was also up to her usual tricks amassing 19 touches as Megan Fitzsimon plied her trade with 17 touches and 11 tackles. Casey Sherriff brought her kicking boots for Casey as she banged home two majors while Isabella Simmons also chimed in with a goal of her own in the loss.

PORT MELBOURNE 0.0 | 0.0 | 0.1 | 1.4 (10)
COLLINGWOOD 0.2 | 2.2 | 5.2 | 8.4 (52)

GOALS:

Port Melbourne: M. Kuys
Collingwood: I. Barnett 4, M. Zander 2, H. Bowey, C. Bunker

BESTS:

Port Melbourne: J. Anthony, C. Dyett, A. Edmonds, K. Jacques, S. Sansonetti, C. Bromage
Collingwood: K. Lee, M. Cann, I. Barnett, H. Bowey, J. Lambert, C. Bunker

Collingwood made light work of Port Melbourne running over the top of their third placed opponents by 42 points. Neither side could buy a goal in the opening quarter as Collingwood could only manage two points while Port Melbourne were rendered scoreless. Things started to heat up a little bit more by the time second quarter came around as the Pies booted two unanswered goals to hold a 14-point lead heading into the main change. Having been held scoreless for the opening half the Borough finally got onto the board albeit with a behind. In the meantime Collingwood continued to motor as they added another three goals to their tally. With the game all but won and done the Magpies put the final nail in the coffin slotting another three goals and while Port Melbourne got their first on the board it was too little, too late.

There was no stopping Imogen Barnett who proved to be a handy option inside 50 for the Pies, snaring four goals from her 11 touches. Hot on her heels was Matilda Zander who was also influential in front of the big sticks nailing two majors while Hannah Bowey also effectively added to the total. It is no surprise that Jaimee Lambert was a force to be reckoned with for Collingwood picking up a game-high 26 disposals as she received support from the likes of Mikala Cann (25 touches) and Maddy Shevlin (17) to keep the Pies ticking along nicely through the midfield. Marla Neal was a tackling machine laying 13 for the match as Amelia Verlado showcased her strong hands to clunk five marks to accompany her 16 touches. Sophie Molan worked gallantly in her sides defeat accumulating 18 possessions as Kodi Jacques also dug deep to rack up 16 touches and six tackles. Melissa Kuys was the lone goalkicker for the Borough and also got her hands dirty thanks to her nine touches.

WILLIAMSTOWN 0.4 | 0.6 | 0.9 | 1.10 (16)
DAREBIN 0.0 | 1.0 | 1.0 | 2.4 (16)

GOALS:

Williamstown: R. Tripodi.
Darebin: T. Mills, S. Simpson.

BEST:

Williamstown: L. Steane, A. Whelan, J. Doyle, E. Straford, L. Suleiman, A. Melnikas
Darebin: S. David, K. Roe, T. Mills, K. Hazlett, J. Dal Pos, A. Lister

Williamstown and Darebin Falcons have played out the first draw of the VFL Women’s season in a low-scoring tight tussle. Only one goal was kicked in the first three quarters as the Seagulls kicked nine consecutive behinds in that period before finally getting a last quarter major. Darebin also kicked their second goal in the final term, with both teams level on 16 points apiece.

Lisa Steane had 30 disposals as a clear standout for the Seagulls, with young gun Sydney Swans Academy member Jess Doyle collecting the 15 touches and laying three tackles. Aimee Whelan (13 disposals, two marks and three tackles) was also named amongst the best, whilst Ruby Tripodi, Erin Todd and Emily Pease also stood out. For Darebin, Jess Dal Pos had a team-high 19 touches and 15 tackles, whilst Annalyse Lister finished with 16 and 13. Samara David clunked four marks and laid nine tackles to go with 15 touches, whilst Sidney Cubasch, Kathleen Roe and Katelyn Hazlett also stood out. Northern Knights debutant Trinity Mills kicked a goal in the match.

ESSENDON 0.1 | 0.1 | 0.3 | 1.4 (10)
WESTERN BULLDOGS 1.1 | 2.2 | 4.3 | 4.4 (28)

GOALS:

Essendon: M. Clifford.
Western Bulldogs: E. Friend 2, A. Scott, I. Grant.

BEST:

Essendon: E. Ashley-Cooper, M. Clifford, A. Morcom, Z. Friswell, A. Barba, E. Yassir
Western Bulldogs: S. Ruedin, A. Tessari, E. Georgostathis, N. Dojiok, A. Gogos , I. Pritchard

The Western Bulldogs kept their finals hopes alive with an 18-point triumph over Essendon at the aptly-named Windy Hill. The conditions were not suited to clean possessions, and it was the Dogs who made the most of it, restricting the Bombers to just three behinds in the first three quarters to lead by 24 points at the final break, then Mia-Rae Clifford booted the final goal of the match to cut the deficit to a straight three goals at full-time.

Simone Ruedin (eight disposals, 21 hitouts) and Amanda Tessari (13 disposals, 24 hitouts) took control in the ruck, whilst young guns Ella Friend kicked two goals and Nyakoat Dojiok was lively in defence, intercepting everything that came her way. Jess Fitzgerald (22 disposals, nine tackles) and Angelica Gogos (22 disposals, 11 tackles) were the busiest ball-winners for the Dogs. For Essendon, midfielder Georgia Nanscawen stood up with 20 touches and four tackles, while Eloise Ashley-Cooper (16 disposals, three marks and seven tackles and Clifford (12 disposals, three tackles, one goal) also impressed. The young combination of Zali Friswell and Emelia Yassir were also named amongst the best in the loss.

HAWTHORN 2.0 | 4.0 | 4.0 | 4.2 (26)
NORTH MELBOURNE 1.1 | 2.3 | 4.7 | 4.10 (34)

GOALS:

Hawthorn: P. McWilliams 2, J. Williams, E. Chaston.
North Melbourne: B. Slaney, A. Hamilton, A. Smith, L. Wright.

BEST:

Hawthorn: G. McRae, K. Cox, T. Luke, C. Perera, E. Chaston, M. Hutchins
North Melbourne: A. Hamilton, R. Hicks, S. Skinner, M. Kiely, D. Bannister, M. Eastman

North Melbourne has knocked off Hawthorn at Box Hill after kicking the only two goals in the second half. The Kangaroos kicked away with 14 scoring shots to six, as Phoebe McWilliams slotted two goals for the Hawks, but the shared load at the Roos got them home. Hawthorn looked to be on top at half-time, but North Melbourne refused to give in and eventually took home the points on the road.

Meagan Kiely had 25 disposals, five marks and six tackles in another big effort, sharing the load with Molly Eastman (22 disposals, four marks and six tackles) and Sarah Skinner (19 disposals, six marks and three tackles) for the Roos. Daria Bannister (18 disposals, nine tackles) and Alexia Hamilton (16 disposals, four marks, five tackles and 14 hitouts) were others who found plenty of the ball with Reni Hicks (15 disposals, eight tackles) also named amongst the best.

Tamara Luke racked up 43 hitouts from 18 touches, seven marks and two tackles, whilst AFLW Draft hopeful Grace McRae with six disposals and seven tackles was named the Hawks’ best. Jenna Richardson (15 disposals, six marks), Meg Hutchins (12 disposals, two marks) and Eloise Chaston (six touches, four marks and one goal) were also strong in the match, Ex-Roo Katelyn Cox stood out against her former side, with Chantella Perera returning to the brown and gold from out west and was named amongst the best.

The Graduates: 2021 VFLW – Round 7

A HEAP of young prospects are now filtering through the Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s competition, with the revamped structure allowing Under 18 and 19 NAB League players to align with state league sides as both seasons run concurrently. Round 7 saw plenty of talent scattered across each side and a few players make their debuts. We take a look at how VFLW-listed players who currently compete in or have graduated from the NAB League, performed.

>> Results: VFLW Round 7

Collingwood maintained its unbeaten streak with a win over the Southern Saints on Saturday morning, with Eastern Ranges standout Olivia Meagher enjoying an extended run in the side. She had 11 disposals, laid three tackles and picked up votes for the Magpies in their seventh win. For the Saints, Gabby De Angelis notched 12 touches, while fellow pathway graduates Amelia Peck and Grace Hodder each found the ball nine times.

Essendon boasted a host of current and former Calder Cannons products in its win over Williamstown, with the young brigade making a real impact. Zali Friswell booted two goals to feature among the Bombers’ votes with Kasey Lennox, as former Cannons Alana Barba (11 disposals) and Grace Dicker (10) also fared well.

Meanwhile, country coup Eloise Ashley-Cooper racked up a team-high 17 disposals, while current Bendigo Pioneers standout Elizabeth Snell laid 10 tackles in the sash. For Williamstown, Ruby Tripodi was again superb as she found the ball 20 times, but could only manage two behinds among them. Megan Williamson had it 16 times, booting a goal and laying nine tackles to feature among the Seagulls’ votes.

Casey and Hawthorn treated fans to a relatively high-scoring spectacle, with the Demons coming out on top and the Hawks continuing to blood exciting youth. The Eastern Ranges representation was high in brown and gold, as Ruby O’Dwyer (12 disposals, four tackles), Isabelle Khoury (11 disposals, seven tackles, one goal), Eloise Chaston (six disposals, five tackles), and Tilly Hardy (five disposals, four tackles) all continue to acclimatise to the level alongside graduate, while Jenna Richardson (eight disposals) also impressed.

Emma Horne was arguably Melbourne’s pick of the NAB League products, notching nine disposals and finishing with four tackles. Versatile tall Bridie Winbanks managed two disposals and eight hitouts, as 19-year-old former Dandenong Stingray, Harmony Thomas also ran out for the Demons.

Geelong’s top four charge rages on, as the Cats kept North Melbourne at bay in Sunday’s opening bout. Paige Sheppard was again terrific in the hoops, racking up 22 disposals to go with seven tackles and four marks. Tamara Smith had it 14 times and got her hands dirty with eight tackles, as current Geelong Falcons guns Annie Lee and Renee Tierney returned to the fold. Ciara Fitzgerald had 10 touches for North, while 20-year-old Tasmanian Camilla Taylor collected seven on debut.

The Western Bulldogs returned to the winners list with an emphatic victory over Darebin Falcons, with a continued injection of youth and AFLW-listed players aiding their cause. Western Jets’ Jemima Woods had a memorable debut with three goals, running out for the first time alongside Stephanie Asciak. GWV’s Lilli Condon celebrated her first win at the level with 11 disposals and five tackles, as Brooke Hards and Molly Denahy Moloney continued their runs in the side. For Darebin, youth product and Calder ruck Peppa Poultney entered the fray with 10 disposals and a couple of marks.

The final game of the round saw Port Melbourne come from behind to edge Carlton on home turf, seeing the Borough remain top of the table. Recently delisted Richmond AFLW tall, Cleo Saxon-Jones finished with 11 kicks among her 12 disposals, as former Carlton utility Bridie Kennedy had 10 touches, and current Oakleigh forward Taylah Morton matched that output, but could not quite snare her maiden goal.

For Carlton, Northern Knights graduate Marnie Jarvis collected 12 touches and laid four tackles, as Amber Micallef had it a handful of times and Murray Bushrangers standout Kate Adams came in for her fifth game – ending with three disposals for the third game running.

2021 VFLW Round 7 preview: Dogs and Darebin eye off second win in bottom two clash

A BOTTOM two clash between Western Bulldogs and Darebin Falcons will see the winner escape the bottom of the table, whilst the Southern Saints and Collingwood clash for a second time and are set to have a beauty of a contest.

SOUTHERN SAINTS vs. COLLINGWOOD
Saturday, April 17 @ 10:00am
Trevor Barker Beach Oval

Despite Collingwood joining the rest of the Victorian-based AFL Women’s teams in being eliminated from the finals series, the Magpies have resisted massive changes to the state league side, with Bella Smith and Joanna Lin among those included in the forward half, with other existing AFL Women’s players including Maddie Shevlin, Abbey Green, Amelia Velardo, Imogen Purcell and Abbi Moloney in the team. They currently sit undefeated at the top of the table, with a tough clash down at Trevor Barker Beach Oval against the Southern Saints. Dandenong Stingrays tall Zoe Hill is set to make her debut for the side, alongside the likes of other teenagers in Alice Burke and Renee Saulitis who have established themselves in the side. Molly McDonald is a huge inclusion for the Saints at half-back to create some run, and with Tara Bohanna and Gabriella De Angelis up forward, the home team certainly has the capacity to inflict the Magpies’ first loss of the season. Eastern Ranges youngster Olivia Meagher is among the ones to watch in the black and white, as the Magpies eye off making it seven straight wins.

ESSENDON vs. WILLIAMSTOWN
Saturday, April 17 @ 11:00am
The Hangar

One of the teams looking to keep in touch with the top two sides is Essendon, after the Bombers came from behind to defeat Hawthorn last week at Box Hill. They managed to do it without star midfielder Georgia Nanscawen who succumbed to injury early in the match, and they will need to do it again without her, relying on the likes of Alana Barba, Courtney Ugle and Eloise Ashley-Cooper in the midfield. Bendigo Pioneers’ Elizabeth Snell returns to the red and black in a five-day turnaround from a successful outing for Vic Country, with Calder Cannons duo Kasey Lennox and Zali Friswell remaining in the side. Williamstown stand between Essendon and the Bombers’ fifth win, with the Seagulls not far off the top six despite having just the two wins from six games. The midfield trio of Ashlea Melnikas, Megan Williamson and Aimee Whelan will be hard to beat, with Scarlett Dunnell up forward and Erin Meade in defence among the others to keep an eye out for in the blue and gold. Even without Nanscawen, Essendon will be favoured to get up here at home, but the Seagulls will give them a run for their money.

HAWTHORN vs. CASEY DEMONS
Saturday, April 17 @ 11:30am
Box Hill City Oval

Speaking of Hawthorn at Box Hill, the brown and gold are back again, this time hosting a Casey Demons side looking to bounce back having lost their past two games to the Magpies and Cats. The home team was able to include some AFL Women’s talent last week with the entire half-back line having that experience in Georgia Bevan, Tamara Luke and Nadia von Bertouch. However perhaps the most interesting inclusion is former Magpie Kristy Stratton who has been named on the bench after playing for the undefeated Pies throughout the season. Much like Luke and von Bertouch, she has moved to the Bec Goddard-coached Hawks. Up the other end, Meg Hutchins has been a terrific leader with some youngsters inside 50, such as Eastern Ranges’ co-captain Eloise Chaston who kicked the only goal for her side last week. Matilda Hardy is back into the team with Isabelle Khoury and Ruby O’Dwyer some Ranges to hold their places, while Northern Territory talent Dominique Carbone is another one to watch for the home team. For the Demons, Maggie Caris, Megan Fitzsimon, Mietta Kendall and Isabella Simmons are among the future of the red and blue having been picked up in last year’s draft, whilst Emma Humphries‘ experience is crucial, much like defender Alison Brown in the back 50. Casey should be too strong, but the Hawks will give it a red hot crack at home.

GEELONG vs. NORTH MELBOURNE
Sunday, April 18 @ 11:30am
Queens Park

Some Vic Country youngsters will return for the Cats as they field their strongest side to-date in the Round 7 encounter against North Melbourne. The Cats will be keen to keep in touch with the top two, and should do so against a Kangaroos side that is 2-4 and coming off a loss to the previously winless Darebin Falcons. Annie Lee and Renee Tierney return to the Cats’ VFL Women’s side after playing on Monday, with the side well stacked with AFL Women’s talent. Rene Caris, Darcy Moloney, Laura Gardiner and Sophie Van De Heuvel in the midfield is the future AFL Women’s midfield, whilst Georgia Clarke, Olivia Barber and Stephanie Williams in attack makes the Cats a potent team when in transition. The Kangaroos remain without a great deal of AFL Women’s talent, instead focusing on the development aspect of the side with Amy Smith and Brooke Brown a couple of listed players in attack, while Sarah Skinner is always a threat inside 50. Molly Eastman and Tarni Nestor will try and contain the Cats’ forward line, while Katelyn Cox will have a great battle with Moloney and Gardiner throughout the day. Geelong should take the match fairly comfortably being at home with a pretty impressive outfit.

DAREBIN vs. WESTERN BULLDOGS
Sunday, April 18 @ 12:00pm
Bill Lawry Oval

A potential match of the round at the other end of the ladder is the one between Darebin Falcons and Western Bulldogs, with both sides sitting at 1-5 for the season. A loss here will really hurt finals hopes, whilst a win keeps the victor in the hunt if they can build momentum in the second half of the season. Coming off a four-goal haul to help her side over the line, Stephanie Simpson will be looking for much of the same for the Falcons. It will be a tough ask against the strongest looking Bulldogs defence all year, with AFL Women’s talents, Eleanor Brown and Isabella Grant, the consistent rock in Simone Ruedin, speedy teenager Brooke Hards and natural ball-winner Katelyn Betts, both of the latter whom have moved into new roles of late. Up the other end, Nell Morris-Dalton has returned to the fold, with Gemma Lagioia and Amelia van Oosterwijck also there, and Isabelle Pritchard rounding out the AFL Women’s contingent. For the Falcons, ex-Bulldog Nicole Callinan was impressive in her first game back and will be a key player in the defence alongside consistent defender Gena Lawson-Tavan. Up the other end, Alyssa Mifsud kicked three goals a couple of rounds back, so between her and Simpson, they have the potential to put some high scores on the board, while Calder Cannons’ Peppa Poultney is another youngster in the side. The Western Bulldogs side is arguably the strongest of the year and should take care of Darebin, but the Dogs cannot afford to take the Falcons lightly.

PORT MELBOURNE vs. CARLTON
Sunday, April 18 @ 2:00pm
ETU Stadium

Port Melbourne will look to continue its winning streak up against Carlton at ETU Stadium, with Cleo Saxon-Jones named at full-back this week. Up the opposite end is Sabrina Frederick who slotted two goals on debut against Western Bulldogs last week, and will look to provide the smalls of NAB League-listed talents Kate Adams and Taylah Morton in there, whilst Mel Kuys through the midfield is a crucial player. Ex-Carlton talent Bridie Kennedy is back into the side to take on her former team, while Pip Peschke and Courteney Bromage are other key midfielders to watch. Carlton has got a solid contingent of AFL Women’s talent in the team, with Serena Gibbs, Courtney Jones and Winnie Laing all named inside 50, while Charlotte Hammans and Maddy Guerin are up the other end. Akayla Peterson has been named in the back pocket in the opposite side to Ally Bild in a strong last line, while over-age talent Amber Micallef and ex-Northern Knights speedster Marnie Jarvis are also in the side, named on the bench. Port Melbourne should have too much about them at home, but the Borough will be wary of a Blues outfit wanting to lift their efforts from last round when they went goalless against the Magpies at Victoria Park.

The Graduates: 2021 VFLW – Round 6

A HEAP of young prospects are now filtering through the Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s competition, with the revamped structure allowing Under 18 and 19 NAB League players to align with state league sides as both seasons run concurrently. Round 6 saw plenty of talent scattered across each side, and we take a look at how VFLW-listed players who currently play in or have graduated from the NAB League, performed.

Essendon welcomed a couple of fresh faces to the fold as it trumped fellow standalone side, Hawthorn by 14 points on Saturday morning, The Bombers called upon current Calder Cannons guns Kasey Lennox (defender) and Zali Friswell (midfielder), who enjoyed solid runs in their debuts. They ran out alongside former Cannons Alana Barba and Grace Dicker, the former of whom has established a key role in the team.

Hawthorn also had a NAB League product make her debut, in Eastern prospect Ruby O’Dwyer. She was one of three current Ranges to run out in the brown and gold, with Jess Grace and Isabelle Khoury returning for their second games at the level. Khoury, a likely type up forward, was named among the Hawks’ best players.

The Southern Saints notched their third win of the season, also on Saturday morning, as they defeated Williamstown by 10 points on home turf. Gabby De Angelis booted two goals in the winning effort, while Ruby Tripodi claimed full votes for the Seagulls as she continues her stellar season. Promising forward Tahlia Merrett also returned after nearly a month out.

Despite another heavy loss, the Western Bulldogs continue to present strong opportunities to their young players, headlined this week by Molly Denahy Maloney. The tall was named best afield for the Dogs in their loss to Port Melbourne, while debutant Lilli Condon proved lively at ground level and Nikita Wright returned to the fold. Former Bendigo Pioneers skipper Brooke Hards fared well in a new role, trialled in defence and matching up on Borough first-gamer, Taylah Morton.

Elsewhere, Bridie Winbanks featured in the votes for Casey as the Demons went down by two points to a Geelong side boasting the likes of Tamara Smith and Paige Sheppard. Collingwood remains undefeated after keeping Carlton goalless on Sunday, with Olivia Meagher getting an extended run while Amber Micallef and Marnie Jarvis ply their trade in navy blue. Ciara Fitzgerald again found the goals as North Melbourne went down to Darebin, in the Falcons’ first win for the season.

The Graduates: 2021 VFLW – Round 3

A HEAP of young prospects are set to filter through the Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s competition in 2021, with the revamped structure allowing Under 18 and 19 NAB League players to align with state league sides as both seasons run concurrently. Round 3 saw plenty of talent scattered across each side, and we take a look at how VFLW-listed players who currently play in or have graduated from the NAB League, performed.

The Western Bulldogs were again littered with former NAB League talent, but the young pups were soundly outdone by a surging Collingwood side on Friday night. On a positive note for the Bulldogs, Margie Purcell came in for her first game and ended as one of three goalkickers alongside former Sandringham teammate, Molly Denahy Maloney.

2020 Bendigo Pioneers skipper Brooke Hards gave it everything up forward and through midfield, while Nikita Wright continues to establish her spot. For Collingwood, current Eastern Ranges midfielder Olivia Meagher was again amongst the action and booted a goal in the big win, as tall prospect Neve O’Connor got a third game for the season under her belt.

Standalone rivals Essendon and Hawthorn both fielded some promising NAB League graduates, with the Bombers’ batch proving particularly impactful in their win at The Hangar. Debutant and current Bendigo midfielder Elizabeth Snell was named among the votes alongside Eloise Ashley-Cooper and Alana Barba. The latter’s ex-Calder teammate, Felicity Theodore also popped up with a goal.

In the brown and gold, Lauren Szigeti‘s strong start to the season continued as she was named among her side’s best players for the third time in as many games. She played a key role as Hawthorn’s prime inside midfielder. Jemma Owen, Maddi Shaw, and Chloe O’Malley were among the other graduates to suit up for the Hawks as they suffered a second loss.

Casey enjoyed a big win over North Melbourne on Saturday, aided by some impactful senior-listed stars. Emma Horne and Bridie Winbanks both notched their third appearances for the Demons, contributing to their side’s second win. Former Richmond youngster Ciara Fitzgerald finished as North’s lone goalkicker and earned votes, while Western Jets defender Marli Klaumanns-Moller ran out for her third VFLW outing in blue and white.

Geelong Falcons pair Annie Lee and Renee Tierney earned VFLW berths with the Cats, with the former being recognised among her team’s best players in the low-scoring victory. Tamara Smith was also influential for Geelong, while Paige Sheppard continues to return promising form in the hoops. Amelia Peck and Grace Hodder were again among Southern Saints’ contingent, battling away in the tough conditions.

Sophie Locke took her season goal tally up to six with two majors in Port Melbourne’s win over traditional rival, Williamstown on Saturday. Fellow Murray Bushrangers product, Kate Adams is another promising youngster to have suited up for the Borough, as Williamstown fielded similarly good youth.

The Seagulls had some high-level youngsters afield too, with Ruby Tripodi again a key figure at the coalface, while the dynamic Megan Williamson earned votes alongside talented forward Tahlia Merrett. Geelong Falcons product Zoe Garth also notched her second game after previously turning out in the NAB League in 2021.

Carlton had a couple of up-and-comers make their third-straight appearances on the season as senior-listed talent continues to filter through, with Amber Micallef and Taylah Kolevski contributing in the Blues’ maiden win for 2021.

Image Credit: Martin Keep/AFL Photos