Tag: Ashleigh Snow

Tenacious Snow takes the long road to her footballing goal

THE PATH less travelled by is a phrase often attached to the journey of budding AFL Women’s draftees. Well, how does Perth, to Singapore, to America, to Melbourne sound?

That’s the journey Northern Knights prospect Ashleigh Snow has embarked on throughout her young life, with an AFLW club potentially the next destination. The diminutive defender-turned-midfielder learned to play football through a school program during her seven years in Singapore, and says she “always wanted to play” having watched her brother and dad do the same.

“I went to an Aussie school, so they had a little program where I learned to play,” Snow said. “My brother and dad played so I just always wanted to play. I played there for two years and then came back to Melbourne and that’s where I joined my first girl’s team at West Preston.”

Snow entered the Northern Knights through its development program, before turning out six times throughout the region’s undefeated premiership season in 2019, and thrice more in 2020. Though injury kept her out of last year’s Grand Final team, Snow came back strongly as a top-ager.

Her form was enough to warrant a National Combine invite, something which Snow says was “unexpected” following the cancellation of this year’s NAB League season.

“In the year that Knights won the NAB League premiership, I missed out because of my injury which was a bit hard,” she said. “I went back this year and only got to play the three games, but I feel like I came back pretty (strongly) and got to show what I could do in those games.”

“I started playing midfield which was a bit different because I played (in the) backline for the last two years before that. I feel like I seemed pretty determined and was always going hard for the ball. In one of the games I even got a goal against Calder, which is a bit different for me, always being down back.”

“The draft, being invited to the combine, and having the interviews was actually really unexpected for me. I just thought ‘the season’s over and that’s it’. “But luckily enough I have a little gym in my garage so I’ve been doing circuits every day to keep my fitness up. So hopefully if I do get drafted I’ll be in alright shape for preseason.”

Lauded for her tenacity and toughness at the ball despite her size, Snow’s importance to the team has long been known to those who can see past the conveyer belt of stars Northern has produced of late. She comes from good pedigree as well, with her father, David a former WAFL footballer and 1996 Simpson Medal winner. The ‘daughter-of’ says her dad has long been one of her greatest motivators, along with outgoing Knights coach Marcus Abney-Hastings.

“My dad has a massive footy background and I just have to say, he’s the one person who’s non-stop motivating me,” she said. (He is) always asking me to go for runs, do workouts with him, and wanting to go for kicks. “When I don’t want to do any of that he’ll keep pushing me and he knows that in the long run I’ll be thankful that he made me do it.”

“Marcus has been the coach for the whole three years I’ve been (at Northern). I really like him and feel like he’s been the most supportive…  obviously all the coaches as Knights like Marcus and Nat Grindal, they’ve been a massive help. “They’ve always made me keep belief in myself and given me the confidence that I sort of struggle to have.”

The Knights’ affiliation with Carlton’s AFLW side saw Snow choose the Blues as her favourite women’s side, though her upbringing in Perth meant she grew up a West Coast Eagles fan. Heading into the draft, Snow says she will be watching alongside her family and boyfriend at home amid Melbourne’s lockdown, hoping to hear her name called out.

“My parents and friends (have) always supported me in life. My boyfriend I think is my number one fan, he’s proudest out of everyone,” she said.

The 2020 AFL Women’s Draft will be held virtually at 7pm AEDT on October 6.

2020 NAB League Girls team update: Northern Knights

WHILE the NAB League Girls competition is on break, we take a quick recap of each team, how the first three rounds have panned out for them and who has already stood up in the short time. In this edition we look at the Northern Knights, who have made an unblemished start to their premiership defence with wins over Calder, Geelong, and Dandenong on home turf.

2020 RESULTS:

R1: defeated Calder Cannons by 6 points
R2: defeated Geelong Falcons by 25 points
R3: defeated Dandenong Stingrays by 23 points

The 3-0 record may look ominous along with the average winning margin of 18 points, but the Knights were made to earn each of their first three victories. First up was a grand final rematch against the Calder, who looked the most direct threat to Northern’s flag defence. After holding the Cannons at bay, long-time closest rival Geelong was up next, but the Falcons hardly got close with just one goal on the board. Arguably the biggest test of Northern’s character came against another finals threat, Dandenong, where the Knights fought back from two goals down to win with a five-goal second half.

FIVE STRONG STARTERS:

Jess Fitzgerald (18.7 disposals, 1.3 marks, 3.7 tackles, 2 rebound 50s, 2.7 inside 50s, 2 goals)

Coach Marcus Abney-Hastings described Fitzgerald as his side’s most important player after last year’s grand final, and she is proving as much in her top-age season as one of the competition’s most well-rounded prospects. The Knights co-captain has stood up at critical times across all three testing games thus far, showcasing the ability to generate run while also digging in hard at the contest. Fitzgerald’s standout game came against Dandenong, where she collected 28 disposals and booted two goals.

Ellie McKenzie (19 disposals, 5 marks, 2.3 tackles, 4.7 inside 50s, 1 goal)

Arguably the front-runner to be taken first off the board come draft time at this early stage, McKenzie has lived up to the hype generated by her under-age seasons. Leading the Knights for disposals and inside 50s as it stands, the dynamic left footer showcased her ability to tear games apart when she combined with co-captain Fitzgerald to drag Northern over the line against Dandenong. As a more permanent midfield fixture, her goals from further afield have become all the more valuable. She currently leads the Draft Central Medal standings alongside Tyanna Smith.

Alyssa Bannan (14.3 disposals, 5.7 marks, 3.3 tackles, 2.3 inside 50s, 9 goals)

Another out-and-out gun along the spine of this Northern side is Bannan, who has thrived as the primary key forward in her top-age season. Leading the competition for goals (nine) and marks (17), Bannan is equally damaging at ground level with her searing pace as she is in the air with her height. A five-goal effort against Calder in Round 1 got the ball rolling, with the 177cm prospect bagging consecutive hauls of two over the next fortnight. Could well be the new key forward prototype.

Maeve Chaplin (11.7 disposals, 1 mark, 2.3 tackles, 1.3 rebound 50s, 1.3 inside 50s)

After impressing as an effective two-way defender in her middle-age year, Chaplin has transitioned into a midfield ace this season credit to her ability to find the ball and use it cleanly. Discounting her three disposals against Dandenong, Chaplin had consecutive 16-touch efforts to open the campaign, showing virtually identical numbers in a typical mark to her consistency. With game winners around her in midfield, Chaplin has proven to be the reliable rock who can perform an important role each week.

Ashleigh Snow (15.7 disposals, 2.3 marks, 3 tackles, 1 rebound 50, 3.3 inside 50s)

Another who has featured prominently in the Northern lineup over the past couple of seasons is Snow, who has stepped up her ball winning numbers in 2020. Averaging over 15 disposals per game, the nuggety utility continues to go hard at the ball an inspire her side in transition, pushing further afield to penetrate the forward 50 arc after being used in more defensive roles previously. Despite her 158cm standing, Snow is not one to be overlooked and holds her own in the contest.

Others who have stood out: Georgia Kitchell, Tarrah Delgado, Abigail Bennett, Maykaylah Appleby

There are a number of players who can stake their claim here, starting with dominant ruck Kitchell, who has handily won the hitout battle in each of Northern’s three games. Able to follow up at ground level, the middle-ager’s tackle average of five is impressive given her 180cm frame. Another middle-age tall, Delgado has also impressed with her calm work down back, while hard-edged outside movers Bennett and Appleby continue to provide that bit of spark. Bennett, an experienced top-ager, also leads the competition for tackles with 24 over her three games.

Knights remain undefeated with 25-point win over Falcons

THE Northern Knights flexed their muscles in a see-sawing affair at RMIT University claiming a 25-point win over the Geelong Falcons on Saturday, 5.8 (38) to 1.7 (13) to remain undefeated since their 2018 Grand Final loss to the Falcons.  For the first half it looked as if it was going to be an even matchup with every score being kicked to the left side of the field in the first three quarters. But Northern was too good in the end for Geelong, having more potent options up forward in the form of Alyssa Bannan who was great for a second week in a row, kicking two goals against the Falcons.

Northern Knights kicked a goal in the first and last minute of the opening quarter handing them a 16-point lead at quarter time. Northern Knights’ Grace Wake and Tarrah Delgado were invincible down back, stopping numerous Falcons forward attacks, being a major reason why they kept the Falcons scoreless in the first term. The second term was then owned by the Falcons, they dominated the possession and had five scoring shots to zero, though they were only able to register one goal and three behinds in a wasted opportunity to fly past the Knights heading into the main break. The Falcons’ only goal of the game was scored through a goal line soccer goal by Ingrid Houtsma early in the term.

The third term was when the Knights’ class started rising above, with Abigail Bennett and Ellie McKenzie both starring in the midfield and Bannan being dominant up forward, slotting her second along with Michaela Molenberg getting on the scoreboard. In the fourth term the Northern Knights managed to maintain their lead without conceding a goal for the second consecutive quarter. The sole goal of the quarter came due to some more Bannan brilliance with a great mark while also having enough composure to hit up Brooke Plummer in the pocket for a routine shot on goal. McKenzie amassed plenty of the ball in the final term and was able to easily dispose of opponents at will. Geelong’s Taiya Morrow had her work cut out for her down back with the sheer number of Knights forward entries, although she was well up to the task with numerous intercept marks and release kicks being a shining light late for the Falcons. 

Among the Knights’ best down back was Delgado (14 disposals, five rebounds, four marks) who took numerous intercept marks and had the ball on a string in the second term. She has an effective kick for a key position player and is trusted with taking the kick-ins for the Knights. Wake (13 disposals, five tackles, two rebounds) was also immense down back with her tackling pressure causing headaches for the Geelong forwards, whilst up the other end, Geelong’s Annie Lee had a game-high seven rebounds to go with 18 disposals and five marks. Bennett (12 tackles, 10 touches), McKenzie (17 disposals, five marks) and Ashleigh Snow (18 disposals, four inside 50s) were all dominant in the midfield for the Knights. They all accumulated plenty of the ball while also being a class above the Falcons midfield. The main focal point for the Knights up forward was Bannan who was a threat on the ground and in the air, kicking two goals and collecting 14 touches. Geelong’s Morrow was superb down back for the Falcons propelling attacks from defence for Geelong, while Carly Remmos (16 disposals, eight tackles) worked tirelessly all day in the midfield. Laura Gardiner hit the 30-disposal mark for the second week in a row, collecting  31 touches to go with her nine tackles and five inside 50s, while Darcy Moloney (25 disposals, two marks and two inside 50s) put in a tough effort in a match with little return.

Next week the Northern Knights will play at RMIT University once again next Saturday, this time hosting the Dandenong Stingrays at 11am. Geelong’s next game is in a fortnight’s time against the Bendigo Pioneers at Deakin University at 1:30pm. 

NORTHERN KNIGHTS 2.4 | 2.4 | 4.6 | 5.8 (38)
GEELONG FALCONS 0.0 | 1.3 | 1.4 | 1.7 (13)

GOALS

Northern: A. Bannan 2, B. Plummer, T. Mills, M. Molenberg.
Geelong: I. Houtsma.

BEST

Northern: E. McKenzie, A. Bannan, T. Delgado, A. Lee, G. Wake
Geelong: L. Gardiner, A. Lee, D. Moloney, C. Remmos, T. Morrow

DC Medal:

5: Ellie McKenzie (NK)
4: Alyssa Bannan (NK)
3: Laura Gardiner (GF)
2: Tarrah Delgado (NK)
1: Annie Lee (GF)

Knights claim victory in grand final rematch

IT was a thrilling opening game of NAB League Girls with reigning premiers Northern Knights snatching a one-goal victory over grand finalists Calder Cannons, 8.5 (53) to 7.5 (47). It was an even start to the game with both sides struggling to break away from each other credit to the high intensity battle and skill on show. The Cannons held the lead heading into the second quarter but the Knights ability to pepper the goals in the second term gave them the advantage at half-time, a margin which they continued to hold for the remainder of the match.

It was arguably a best on ground performance from Knights forward Alyssa Bannan who was in ripping form with the talented youngster clunking just about everything that came her way and leading up to the footy time and time again. Her accuracy in front of goal was impressive nailing a whopping five goals thanks to her goal sense while also showing her clean hands and ability below her knees to move the ball forward. Through the midfield Ellie McKenzie was on song with her gut-running and explosiveness on full display, bursting through the packs and effectively disposing of the footy. She finished with 12 touches, four inside 50s and three tackles, while teammate Jess Fitzgerald impressed by foot delivering passes lace out with 10 kicks and an overall 15 possessions. Coming out of defence Fitzgerald was red hot with three rebounds while Ashleigh Snow also displayed her defensive ability laying eight tackles. Maeve Chaplin led the troops in disposals for Northern racking up 16 disposals and working hard across the ground to hit up a target.

Although they fell agonisingly short the Cannons had a couple of star players wow in front of a strong crowd at RMIT Bundoora with 16-year-old Charlotte Clayton leaving her mark inside 50 with three majors. Clayton did not win a lot of the footy but when she got ball in hand she made the most of her opportunities while teammate Jessica Zakkour was handy in front of the big sticks with two goals and 18 disposals highlighting her influence across the ground. NTFLW Palmerston star Freda Puruntatameri generated plenty of excitement up forward with her leaping ability and strong hands not often beaten in a one on one and nailing a goal. Youngster Georgie Prespakis lit up the field once again with another strong performance thanks to her 19 disposals, three rebound 50s and three inside 50s displaying her ability to win the footy at either end of the ground. Captain Laura Cocomello and Emelia Yassir combined well with the two collecting a combined 33 touches and sending plenty of excitement through the Calder camp.

After winning the 2019 NAB League Girls grand final rematch, the Knights face Geelong Falcons at RMIT Bundoora next week in a rematch of the 2018 grand final. Meanwhile, Calder host Round 1 winners, Dandenong Stingrays at Craigieburn to try and bounce back to get on the board with a win.

NORTHERN KNIGHTS 2.0 | 4.2 | 7.2 | 8.5 (53)
CALDER CANNONS 2.2 | 3.2 | 6.2 | 7.5 (47)

GOALS:

Northern: A. Bannan 5, M. Molenberg, M. Ramsay, A. Snow.
Calder: C. Clayton 3, J. Zakkour 2, F. Puruntatameri, R. Sutton, M. Styles.

BEST:

Northern: A. Bannan, E. McKenzie, J. Fitzgerald, M. Chaplin, A. Snow
Calder: J. Zakkour, G. Prespakis, E. Yassir, K. Lennox, F. Puruntatameri.

DC Medal:

5 – Alyssa Bannan (NK)
4 – Ellie McKenzie (NK)
3 – Jessica Zakkour (CC)
2 – Jess Fitzgerald (NK)
1 – Georgie Prespakis (CC)

Knights seek sustained success after bumper draft

AN undefeated premiership-winning NAB League Girls season, the number one AFL Women’s draft pick, and five players taken overall made for an amazingly successful year in 2019, but the future is still very bright at the Northern Knights according to incoming Female Talent Coordinator, Natalie Grindal.

There is not much more the Knights could have achieved last year in as dominant a season the competition has seen, all despite the list being touted by former Female Talent Coordinator Zoe Slatter for its upcoming youth in the pre-season. Along with the five Northern draftees, three more 2019 top-agers have gone on to train with Carlton at VFLW level, while five middle and bottom-age players are now part of the 2020 AFL Women’s Academy – highlighting the younger talent Slatter was high on.

Grindal acknowledged the success of last year and while she is tapering expectations given the turnover of talent, said she is excited by what the next group of talent can bring to the table, and impressed by the way they have stepped up over the pre-season.

“Obviously for us, a measure of our success is what players go on to do afterwards whether it’s AFLW or VFLW… to be honest it’s really overwhelming to know that you’ve played a part in their journey to help them get to an AFL level,” Grindal said “I was lucky enough last week to go watch Gabby Newton (and) Sarah Sansonetti debut, and Maddy Brancatisano from the year before, so it’s really exciting that those girls have gone through this pathway and onto AFLW. “We were lucky to have a really successful season last year. “Obviously the nature of the competition is each year is a new year with the turnover of teams and players, so it’s really exciting that we had a really good year but each year is a new year for us.”

“We had some really quality players, but also quality leaders leave our program last year so I guess for our girls the challenge has been to step up to that next level and really take on those leadership opportunities and drive the standards for the girls who are new to our club as well. “I guess that’s been the really pleasing aspect for us, that the girls who were in their middle-age year last year and were playing under players like Gabby Newton, Britney Gutknecht and Sarah Sansonetti, they’ve now lifted up to that standard and are now driving the standards for the club. “I think we’ll probably end up having probably 11 or 12 top-age girls… this top-age group were actually quite a strong bottom-age group in 2018, so it’s been really exciting to see their progression through their bottom-age, having their middle-age year last year and now into their top-age year so we’re really excited,” she said.

Coming through a “really good” pre-season unscathed and maintaining positive individual development are two points checked off the list for Grindal and her Knights thus far, with her transition into a the coordinator’s chair made easier through previous connections to the Preston-based program, and a new partnership with RMIT University.

“It’s been really exciting,” Grindal said. “Obviously I was really lucky being involved at the club (over) the last two years so I guess for me transition-wise, I knew a lot of the players, I knew most of the staff and also having existing relationships with Rhy (Gieschen, Talent Manager) and Alex (Davey, Football Administration Officer) in the office, it’s made my transition quite enjoyable, but also a bit easier knowing those people. “We’ve started the partnership with RMIT so have been using the ground out there which is in incredible condition. “That’s been really exciting and we’ll play our first four games there which is really good.”

Despite boasting a couple of early standouts in Ellie McKenzie – the sister of former North Melbourne rookie, Tom – and best afield in the 2019 NAB League Grand Final, Jess Fitzgerald, the Knights are set to maintain that well-renowned spine and a good spread of top-age contributors.

“I still think we’ve got quite a handful of top-age players who will be strong contributors to the team,” Grindal said. “Girls like Ellie McKenzie and Jess Fitzgerald are spoken about a lot and they are exceptional footballers, but we’ve got other girls as well – Maeve Chaplin, Alyssa Bannan, those girls are in the AFLW Academy and who are incredible footballers. “Players like Abigail Bennett and Ashleigh Snow are really strong contributors as well and we’re excited about seeing how they progress through their top-age year this year.

“The one thing we tell our girls and we expect of them is to be willing to try different positions in the field and see where their strengths lie. “I think for us we still have a spread across the field for our top-agers, but again they’ll be challenged to try different positions and take on different opportunities within the team,” she said.

While players will be tested in their final years of junior development, Grindal says there will be no “dramatic changes” to the line-up from week to week, with a Round 1 Grand Final rematch against Calder next on the agenda after two successful practice matches.

“(It’s) really exciting to have a grand final rematch at RMIT, we’re really excited to host that match and have Calder come down,” she said. “As I said before, you don’t know what’s going to happen in the season, we had a fantastic match with them in the Grand Final and we’re excited about playing them again.”

An announcement on the leadership group is also imminent, with a heap of talent again at the Knights’ disposal and a “strong culture” with clear standards ensuring Northern is set for another big year – in both team and individual aspects.

Scouting notes: NAB League Girls – Round 2

ROUND 2 of the NAB League Girls competition played out on the weekend, and we were at four of the six games taking a look at the players highlighted by respective talent managers as ones to watch throughout the season and beyond. For the two games we did not get to, we recapped how some of the players performed statistically for the sides.

 

GWV Rebels vs. Calder Cannons

By: Peter Williams

GWV:

#9 Renee Saulitis

Started in attack opposed to Georgie Prespakis, and kicked a great goal in the last minute of the term. She showed great game smarts to toe tap the ball to her advantage, then get the right spin on it to kick it off the ground, and for it to dribble around the goal post for the Rebels’ first major of the day, from a tight angle. Saulitis pushed further up the ground as the game went on and played through the midfield, even winning possession at half-back and kicking cleanly to the wing. She did get bumped off the ball a little too easy in a marking contest, but once the ball hits the ground, she is in her element.

#10 Ella Wood

Impressive game through the midfield, especially early on when the game was even. Her kicking inside 50 was very solid and set up Renee Saulitis for a mark, and continued to relentlessly attack the ball throughout the match. In the second term she had two instances of great courage where she flew back into a marking contest, then if she got knocked down, got straight up again. She worked hard around the ground and presented as an option from kick-ins, and a perfect representation of her second efforts was when her kick was smothered in defence, she followed up to lay a tackle on her opponent and force a throw-in.

#24 Sophie Molan

A big game for the tireless leader who had the ball on a string for a lot of hte day. Her clearance work in particular stood out, and she won a number of free kicks for being held around the stoppages. Molan spent time at full-forward, but was most effective when in the middle extracting the ball from the coal face. She regularly put her body on the line and moved well in tight, showing great vision and football IQ in one instance to handball clear to a teammate while under pressure. Her second efrorrts in attack saw her lay a big tackle, win a free kick for holding the ball then Molan played on and kicked a great goal.

#35 Maggie Caris

A promising game from the developing ruck, who won a bit of the football around the ground as well as dominating in the ruck. She won countless hitouts, and was able to extract a ball from traffic inside 50 and kick it deep in the forward line. Caris’ standout feature is her clean hitout ability, able to get a full hand to the ball such is her height and leap ability over her opponents.

Calder:

#2 Felicity Theodore

A terrific game from the Cannons mid/forward who just got better as the game went on. While Georgie Prespakis’ name was the one to be thrown around for her seven goals, Theodore was the clear second best with some huge efforts, including multiple goal assists to Prespakis, and kicking a goal of her own. She had other chances as well but just missed out on converting late in the game. The piece of play that best exemplified her impact was where she won the ball inside 50 in the third term, but insitead of blazing away and only looking for the goals, lowered the eyes and put it to Prespakis’ advantage. She combined immediately after with a similar play, bursting out of a stoppage to pop it up above Prespakis who marked and goaled again.

#21 Georgia Patrikios

Back into the team after Round 1, Patrikios was used sparingly early, starting on the bench in the first and second terms, and then rotating across the ground on the grandstand side. She played on the outside to use her skills to advantage. Patrikios has that ability to make time stop and can turn opponents inside out and seemingly casually side step them without too much trouble. Her vision and skill execution was impressive and came as no surprise, and with a game under her belt, she will be better going forward.

#41 Georgie Prespakis

Seven goals in the second half, a match winning performance. There is not much you can say about her performance other than dominance when at full-forward. She is strong and clean in the air, quick at ground level and has an innate goal sense when to go and when to pass. She remarkably started in defence on Renee Saulitis in the first term, moved into the middle in the second, then played out of the goalsquare in the last half. Prespakis has a powerful kick and once she has front position in a marking contest, it is hard to stop her. Of her seven goals, most came from set shots, but she produced a few tricks, including one where she was being dragged down by a couple of opponents and she managed to get a kick away between a couple more for it to go in, as well as her next one where she was corralled into the boundary, but had the speed to take on her opponent run around and kick into the open goal. Prespakis had a couple of opportunities late in the game to break the record and kick a couple more goals, but seeing her teammates with the ball were in better positions, she just pointed to the goals and let her teammates get on the board.

 

Northern Knights vs. Oakleigh Chargers

By: Taylah Melki

Northern Knights:

#6 Alyssa Bannan

Bannan showed a good ability to get boot to ball and helped to propel the footy forward on multiple occasions throughout the game. She worked hard at the stoppages and displayed her strong marking ability in the 50. She provided plenty of good leads and opened up space. She impressed in one passage of play where she was taken in a tackle and stood strong while getting dragged down to throw the ball on her boot and kick into the Knights forward 50. She protected the drop of the ball and showcased her good footy smarts to read the play and get into a good position. Kicked a good goal in the third after breaking away from the pack and nailing the shot.

#18 Sarah Sansonetti

Sansonetti proved that she could read the flight of the ball well and contested hard in the air. She showed good attack on the footy and worked hard throughout the game to get to the contest and compete. Her tackling pressure was second to none bringing players to ground and hunting them to win the footy. She also displayed good spatial awareness to kick the ball into space and move the ball out of defence to a more attacking position for her side.

#21 Ellie McKenzie

She applied plenty of good strong tackles and chased hard throughout the game to try and win the ball back for her side. McKenzie attacked the footy hard and dished it off with clever passes to teammates in better positions. She showcased her strong marking skills and ability to read the play. McKenzie impressed in the last quarter credit to her good dash away from the pack to break into space and kick an important goal and then backed it up with another stellar goal from a difficult angle to get her side back on an even playing field. She showed great spatial awareness to pass off to teammates and know when to run herself and offered strong leads through the centre.

#22 Britney Gutknecht

Gutknecht was once again solid showcasing her good hands in the contest to work the ball out of stoppages and pass off to teammates. She showcased her strength while getting tackled to keep her arms free and dish to footy off while she also impressed with her acceleration and ability to break out of the centre bounce. She provided good attacking play had clean hands and ran hard continuously to get to the contest. Gutknecht also provided good link-up play through the middle of the ground thanks to her footy smarts and spatial awareness.

#23 Gabby Newton

Newton showed good spatial awareness and was composed with ball in hand even while under pressure. She used the footy well to move the ball forward and showcased her strong hands taking some solid marks across the ground. Her general football awareness was impressive and she applied good defensive pressure to worry opponents out of the kick.

#32 Ashleigh Snow

Snow applied good pressure across the field and worked hard to get to the contest. She tackled well on multiple occasions and used her beautiful kick into the forward 50 showcasing her pinpoint precision. Her good vision and acceleration was also a key part in her game and she racked up plenty of timely touches.

 

Oakleigh Chargers:

#1 Gemma Lagioia

Lagioia impressed with her follow up work across the ground especially in the forward half to try and trap the footy in the Chargers’ attacking 50. She also showcased her clever use of the footy with timely kicks to teammates and into space. She did the one percenters well chasing hard and applying pressure.

#2 Mimi Hill

Hill was strong around the contest and worked hard to try and win the footy leading the way for her side in possessions. She used her acceleration and clever kicks to push the ball forward and set up attacking bursts for the Chargers. She used her defensive pressure to try and trap the footy and was good around the stoppages extracting the footy. Her clever handballs out of traffic were efficient and allowed her teammates to run into space.

#4 Emily Harley

Harley was a real presence up forward for the Chargers with her long booming kick and good positioning in front of goals. She helped to push forward and create scoring opportunities for her teammates. She took plenty of strong contested marks and showed a good ability to read the flight of the ball. Harley impressed in the second quarter taking a strong contested mark just outside the goal square and slotting a good goal to finish off the play. She was not afraid to put her body on the line going in hard at the contest. Harley took another big mark just inside the 50 and bombed a long goal finishing the game with three majors.

#8 Alana Porter

Porter used her clever kicks to get the ball into space and showed good attack on the footy across the ground. She worked hard at the clearances to win the footy and pushed hard into the forward 50 to try and create some attacking play. Porter reads the play well, breaks away from the packs and is a good strong kick of the footy.

 

Geelong Falcons vs. Gippsland Power

By: Michael Alvaro

Geelong:

#1 Elise Vella

The bite-sized forward competed well and did contributed some really neat touches throughout the game. A courageous mark going back with the flight of the ball in the second term was a highlight, with Vella hanging on and bouncing straight back up despite a copping a tremendous knock from behind. Her tackling was also willing, and she provided some good balls inside 50.

#8 Paige Sheppard
Sheppard was close to, if not the Falcons’ best on the day, winning a wealth of the ball through the midfield. Sheppard terrific coming out of congestion and provided nice forward bursts. Her repeated ground ball gets and long kicks forward were a feature, but she truly did it all across the match.

#12 Laura Gardiner
Assuming her usual positon on the wing, Gardiner looked to take the game on and was usually clean in doing so. She showed good awareness on the last line of defence to clean up after a fumble, but was more often seen between the arcs. She capped off her day with a nice running goal in the third term – the only one scored in the quarter.

#18 Darcy Moloney
The midfielder has a good step, and used it to move around opponents when looking to break forward. She was effective by foot going inside 50, and constantly finished off runs with long kicks. Like Sheppard, she also finished off her solid display with a goal late on.

#21 Abbey Chapman
While the defence as a whole would be disappointed in letting a couple of late goals through, Chapman was solid as a rock inside defensive 50. She copped a knock in the second quarter, but bounced back well to affect a number of intercept marks and shut down many Gippsland attacks. Entrusted with the kick-outs, Chapman spent a good amount of time deep, while also moving towards the arc to cut off Gippsland’s forays.

#38 Lucy McEvoy
The star Falcon had another day out, putting in a complete shift and looking a class above at times. Utilised at the centre bounces for most of the game, McEvoy showcased her outstanding decision making at the stoppages with clean hands and neat vision to bring her teammates into the contest. Her kicking game was also typically strong, with a particular shot from 50-out hitting the post. McEvoy also tended to play a kick off the ball when it was inside the Falcons’ 50, providing a wall and relentlessly pumping the ball back in, while also being the primary kick-in target. A solid game was capped again by her final quarter goal, which she snared off a Renee Tierney kick and booted into an open goal.

#39 Renee Tierney
Together with Skinner, Tierney was the lead player up forward for Geelong and claimed four of their seven first half goals. Showing good awareness and a deft finishing touch, Tierney took full advantage of the space afforded to her inside 50. Her clever dribble goal through traffic in the second term was a highlight, and she could well have finished with five or six goals had she not missed a couple early.

Gippsland:

#8 Chandra Abrahams
The midfielder battled hard all day against a slick Geelong engine room, attending most of the stoppages and anchoring the centre bounces. Opposed to Lucy McEvoy at times, Abrahams had a good crack and won some nice clearances. Her effort against two opponents to see the ball out in the second term was a good example of her combativeness on the day.

#9 Maddi Shaw
Shaw is a leader in the Gippsland defence and despite a difficult day, she made a solid contribution. She had a good one-on-one win on defensive wing early on, and showed her potential in patches. A strong marking attempt against two Falcons in the final term with the game all but over was impressive, and Shaw has a decent boot when allowed space to use it.

#27 Nikia Webber
While Webber was arguably her side’s best, she found the going tough early on starting at centre half-forward. She pushed up the ground to find more of the ball and provide a target to link inside 50, but Geelong hardly gave her an inch when she went near it. Her marking game was solid, and a 55-metre set shot on goal turned into an assist for the Power’s first goal of the game in the final term. A run through the midfield in the second half looked to lift the Power slightly, and she fought well in the clinches.

 

Sandringham Dragons vs. Dandenong Stingrays

By: Peter Williams

Sandringham:

#2 Sophia Rothfield

Presented throughout playing forward, getting on the end of a kick inside 50 from Bryanna Arnold and converting the set shot. It would be the Dragons’ only major of the game, but Rothfield continued to cause headaches up forward for her opposition with some powerful marks. She took a great contested grab in the second term, and put her body on the line time ad time again. Rothfield had an opportunity in the final quarter for a second goal, but missed the snap.

#25 Sarah Hartwig

Played in front of her opponent most of the day and backs herself in to go for marks rather than spoils. Hartwig is clean at ground level and is able to pick up the ball at top speed and take off, which she did in the second term when she scooped up the ball on the run, fended off an opponent and kicked straight down the middle. Later on she showed her second efforts, laying a big tackle after dropping an intercept mark, to win back possession for her side. She won a free kick for a huge run-down takccle in the final term.

#28 Alice Burke

A big first half around the stoppages and her defensive pressure was very good. She is able to win the contested ball and just get enough separation to move laterally or forward to kick long. Early in the game she showed the perfect way to use your body at a stoppage, getting a low centre of gravity, protecting herself as well as the ball at ground level and buying herself time to dispose of the ball to a teammate while having the space to get rid of it if tackled. In the third term she drifted into defence on a number of occations and showed clean hands and quick disposal, as well as a lovely technique coming out of defence to the wing. A big tackle on Tyanna Smith in the final term allowed a teammate to have a long shot on goal form the subsequent spillage.

#30 Winnie Laing

Worked hard throughout the four quarters and constantly put her body on the line. Along with Alice Burke and Eliza McNamara, Laing won plenty of contested ball and clearances, even if it was just a deft tap or bump off the ball to allow a .teammate to take possession. Laing plays with fierce intend and won a few free kicks, including one in the first term for too high, but her set shot missed to the left.

#42 Marguerite Purcell

Impressive game along the wing as she has that balance between athletic capabilities and hardness at the ball and ball carrier. She roamed between the arcs and has a long, dangerous kick going inside. Purcell had a big impact in the first half and took a good intercept mark outside 50 to then send the ball back inside. A quieter second half, but she had a chance in the final quarter running into goal, but rushed a little and missed the shot on goal.

Dandenong:

#12 Molly McDonald

The captain returned for the Round 2 game and after a quieter first half, started to have a massive impact in the second term. She played on a wing and did not take a backwards step, covering the ground with ease and crashing into marking contests to impact at every chance she got. McDonald laid some big tackles and had a few chances on goal but rued missed opportunities. One went out on the full and the St Kilda recruit berating herself for the missed chance, another was on target from long range but was touched on the line. Her work rate is an obvious advantage and despite it being her first game back this year in competition, she fitted in well.

#26 Isabella Shannon

A tackling machine. Shannon played through the midfield and up forward, and her work on the ball was very good, putting her body on the line and also able to shrug off opponents with ease. Shannon has great core strength ad is able to move well when under pressure, and has a fierce attack on the ball. In one instance in the third term, Shannon was outnumbered one against two on a . forward flank, and laid a huge tackle to trap the ball and force a stoppage. She missed a chance lain the same term from long range, but then kicked the final goal in the final term to put the nail in the coffin.

#28 Tyanna Smith

The bottom-ager had another impressive game through midfield and was able to find space at times to not only hurt her opponents on the inside, but also on the outside. She loves to win the contested ball, but on a couple of occasions got free and took off, with a ‘wow’ moment in the second term, bursting off half-back and running all the way to half-forward, but just pulled the kick a little to the left. Luckily the ball spilt and the Stingrays were able to create a goal out of the opportunity. While on some occasions she was caught, you had to admire the way she attempted to continually break the game open. In the final term she set up the final goal to Isabella Shannon with great vision in the pocket to spot up her teammate and put it to her advantage rather than blazing away.

#31 Brooke Vernon

The defender found herself uncharacteristically in the goalsquare in term one after back-to-back 50-metre penalties and an easy conversion in front of goal. The major was the first of the game, and then Vernon played a solid game in the back 50. She took a great contested mark in the goal square to save a certain goal in the opening term. Often tasked with the kick-in duties, Vernon is a long, accurate kick of the ball and always provided a contest. Finished with a handful of rebounds and a solid four quarter performance.

#51 Zoe Hill

The reliable defender did her job once again, especially under fire in the final term. She did not win a heap of the ball, but when in possession, Hill is calm and composed under pressure and is able to dispose of it cleanly. She forced a rushed behind in the final term and has an ability to get a clean first in one-on-one. Earlier in the game she showed great closing speed and was able to spoil an opponent when at top speed.

 

In other games, here’s how some of the ones to watch played:

Bendigo Pioneers vs. Eastern Ranges

Brooke Hards had 17 disposals, two marks, three inside 50s, three rebounds and five tackles, while key defender, Tara Slender amassed an equal round-high seven rebounds to go with her 16 disposals, four marks and three tackles, and Eloise Gretgrix worked hard defensively for 13 touches, four marks and six rebounds. For Eastern, Tarni Brown also collected 17 disposals and had four inside 50s while laying a game-high eight tackles, Laura McClelland also found plenty of hte ball with 15 disposals, five inside 50s and six tackles, while Olivia Meagher had 16 disposals, three marks, four tackles and six inside 50s.

Murray Bushrangers vs. Western Jets

The standout performer from the match was Western’s Elisabeth Georgostathis who racked up 28 disposals – 22 kicks – two marks, five inside 50s and seven rebounds, while Abby Favell was impressive with 21 touches, five marks, four inside 50s, three rebounds and three tackles. Potential father-daughter selections, Millie Brown and Isabella Grant were impressive with Brown (20 disposals, two marks, three tackles, four inside 50s and two rebounds) and Grant (19 disposals, six marks and three inside 50s) playing important roles through midfield. Cleo Saxon-Jones was ever present with 18 touches and four marks for the Jets, while Sophie Locke (14 disposals, eight inside 50s) and Olivia Barber (13 disposals, four marks and a goal) were also good for the Bushrangers.

Scouting notes: National AFLW Under 16s Championships

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

Vic Country:

#1 Jerusha Devarakonda

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

#2 Leila Raymond

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

#3 Holly Andrews

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

#4 Elizabeth Snell

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

#5 Megan Fitzsimon

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

#6 Renee Saulitis

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

#7 Jemma Finning

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

#8 Kate Adams

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

#9 Emily Nicholson

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

#10 Abbey Jordan

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

#11 Brooke Hards

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

#12 Tyanna Smith

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

#13 Chloe Leonard

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

#16 Sharmaine Reilly

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

#17 Sophie Milsome

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

#18 Zoe Hill

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

#19 Matilda Van Berkel

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

#20 Stephanie Glover

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

#21 Isabella Robson

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

#22 Renee Tierney

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

#23 Isabella Simmons

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

#24 Olivia Barber

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

#25 Maggie Caris

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

VIC METRO:

#1 Olivia Meagher

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

#2 Mietta Kendall

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

#3 Taylah Morton

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

#5 Mary Daw

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

#6 Abigail Bennett

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

#7 Jessica Fitzgerald

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

#8 Bella Eddey

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

#9 Winnie Laing

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

#10 Ashleigh Snow

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

#11 Eliza McNamara

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

#12 Tarni Brown

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

#13 Alice Burke

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

#15 Mimi Hill

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

#16 Alice O’Loughlin

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

#17 Alisa Magri

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

#18 Amber Micallef

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

#19 Sarah Hartwig

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

#20 Ellie McKenzie

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

#21 Tamsin Crook

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

#22 Isabelle Pritchard

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

#23 Jess Grace

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

#24 Alyssa Bannan

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

#25 Isabel Young

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

Knights, Ranges lead the way for Metro U16s win

IMPRESSIVE performances from the Northern Knights and Eastern Ranges contingent in the Vic Metro Under 16s side has paved the way for a dominant 41-point victory over Vic Country. Ranges’ forward Olivia Meagher booted three goals and was kicking them from everywhere in another stunning performance, backing up from her best on ground against South Australia a week earlier. Northern Knights duo Alyssa Bannan and Abigail Bennett were also superb up forward, booting two goals and looking dangerous inside 50.

Northern Knights’ Ellie McKenzie and Eastern Ranges’ live-wire Tarni Brown were busy through the midfield, with McKenzie’s brute strength and Brown’s unbelievable class setting a tone for the match and giving spectators an idea of what the future of the AFL Women’s competition would look like. Sandringham’s Eliza McNamara was also busy through the midfield, as Metro booted five goals to one in the second half, including three goals to zero in the final term to run away with the contest.

For Vic Country, it was hard to look past the work of GWV Rebels’ mid/forward Renee Saulitis who seemed to be everywhere on the day, one of the best again as she was the week prior against NSW/ACT, along with Country captain Tyanna Smith. Smith booted the first goal of the game and moved well through stoppages, leading by example throughout the four quarters. Maggie Caris dominated in the ruck with her height, giving midfielders first opportunity to get their hands on the ball. Up forward, Geelong Falcons’ Renee Tierney never stopped presenting, kicking a miraculous goal in the third term and clunking a great mark shortly after. It was an even contribution after that, with defenders Holly Andrews and Emily Nicholson among the better players for their defensive pressure and four quarter effort. Similarly, Chloe Leonard played an important role in defence for the Country side taking a number of strong marks.

From the outset it looked like Vic Metro were the more consistent side, keeping Vic Country scoreless in the first term, and to just two goals and four scoring shots for the match. The defenders from Vic Metro – including Isabelle Pritchard and Sarah Hartwig, held down the fort as the smaller runners made the most of any entries into the defensive half. Up forward, the dynamic trio of Meagher, Bannan and Bennett caused all sorts of headaches for Country, making the most of their opportunities. Metro’s Tasmin Crook scored the last goal of the game, while small utility Ashleigh Snow was also impressive throughout the match. Other Vic Country players who showed a great attack on the ball included Jerusha Devarakonda, Leila Raymond and Abbey Jordan.

While the National Under 16s Championships are more a way of giving the 15 and 16 year-old TAC Cup Girls a chance to play representative football and allow just top-age and bottom-age players in the Under 18s, it gave everyone involved a sense of pride and excitement about what is to come for the future with the girls who will lead the TAC Cup in the next couple of seasons.

VIC METRO 1.1 |  3.4 | 5.4 | 8.7 (55)
VIC COUNTRY 0.0 | 1.1 |  2.2 | 2.2 (14)

GOALS:
Metro: Olivia Meagher 3, Alyssa Bannan 2, Abigail Bennett 2, Tasmin Crook.
Country: Tyanna Smith, Renee Tierney.

ADC BEST:
Metro: Olivia Meagher, Ellie McKenzie, Tarni Brown, Alyssa Bannan, Eliza McNamara, Abigail Bennett, Ashleigh Snow
Country: Renee Saulitis, Tyanna Smith, Maggie Caris, Renee Tierney, Holly Andrews, Emily Nicholson, Chloe Leonard

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

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

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

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

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

Team of the Year squad: [50]

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

Single nominations: [43]

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

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

Fantastic Five: Memorable moments from the weekend

WITH a new TAC Cup Girls premier and the future of the AFLW on show, it was a weekend to sit back and enjoy what looks to be an enjoyable few years as women’s football continues to go from strength to strength.

Geelong Falcons win inaugural Grand Final

Nothing is more memorable than a premiership and Geelong Falcons’ grand final win over a spirited Northern Knights side was one to remember. They had their work cut out for them, but a few positional changes and the belief within the group to fight back from a two-goal half-time deficit saw them etch their names into history. The likes of Denby Taylor, Olivia Purcell, Tarryn Love and Nina Morrison led the way, while captain Lucy McEvoy was everywhere.

AFLW future talent on show

Following on from the memorable moment of a premiership, it is impossible not to sit back and enjoy what will be the future of AFL Women’s in the next three years. Aside from the clear top-end talent to come out of this year’s draft at the end of the season, bottom agers Gabby Newton, Britney Gutknecht, Nell Morris-Dalton, Ciara FitzgeraldSarah Sansonetti, Lucy McEvoy, Abbey Chapman and Luka Lesosky Hay were all impressive. Throw in some of the best 15/16 year-olds in the competition in Ellie McKenzie, Alyssa Bannan, Abigail Bennett, Ashleigh Snow, Jess Fitzgerald, Laura Gardiner, Renee Tierney and Jerusha Devarakonda and the 2020 draft crop is already at an advanced level compared to their predecessors.

Brisbane Lions’ maiden win

It was a long time coming, but the Brisbane Lions cubs finally recorded their first win, coming from behind in the opening term to storm home and claim a memorable victory over Hawthorn. It was extra special for veteran Luke Hodge against his old side, while Matt Eagles and Charlie Cameron celebrated their first AFL and Brisbane Lions’ wins respectively. After a few lean years, the Lions are providing supporters with some serious hope going forward.

Big bags are back in fashion

There is nothing quite like a dominant key position forward in a game where athleticism and scoreboard pressure from smalls has been placed at a premium. On the weekend we saw not one, not two, but three key position forwards booting bags of goals. Murray Bushrangers’ Hudson Garoni continued his sensational form with seven majors, while Corey Ellison (Dandenong Stingrays) and Jordan Rossiter (Eastern Ranges) booted six each. Harry Bede who is no shrimp himself, booting four in the Sandringham Dragons’ win.

Teenagers step up to the big time

We are already seeing a number of talented TAC Cup Girls make the transition through to the Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s competition. With a number of players suiting up for different VFL Women’s sides, and not having the National Under 18 Championships on the horizon, Oakleigh Chargers’ Isabella Gietzmann and Eastern Ranges’ Ashleigh Allsopp donned the Carlton and Southern Saints’ jumpers respectively.