Tag: Britney gutknecht

Scouting notes: NAB League Girls – Grand Final

IT was a massive NAB League Girls Grand Final with Northern Knights coming out on top as 30-point winners over Calder Cannons. In an exciting day of action, there were certainly plenty of standout performances on the big stage. Here are our opinion-based scouting notes on a mix of the most outstanding players on the day, and others selected in the Victorian sides for this year’s National Championships.

Northern
By: Sophie Taylor

#3 Nell Morris-Dalton

True to her number, Morris-Dalton kicked three goals to ultimately lead her side to victory, providing a great target inside 50 and showing off her clever movement into space to advantage of the ball. Her marking ability was solid inside 50, while a great passage of play saw her kick the only Knights goal for the second quarter from their first inside 50 of the term. Showcased her ability to free herself from opposition, getting off the body to take control of the space.

#6 Alyssa Bannan

Bannan was on fire early, kicking her first goal within minutes of the first bounce to open Northern’s account for the afternoon. Also all but cemented victory for Northern with a goal right in the goal square in the late stages of the match for the final score of the game. Other than her accuracy in front of goal, Bannan showcased her good run and carry and pressure on the ball carrier, causing messiness when Calder headed inside 50.

#14 Jess Fitzgerald

Player of the Match, Fitzgerald put on a solid performance well deserving of her title in what was a strong shared effort for the Knights. Her five tackles contributed to the great pressure her side put on the Cannons, while her clean marking ability allowed her a shot on goal – and though going through for a behind, put in the hard yards to gain back possession. Also showed some good game smarts to handball under pressure out of a pack to carry the ball forward.

#18 Sarah Sansonetti

Sansonetti was good one-on-one, putting constant pressure on her opposition as she forced intercepts and crowded the space. Had a solid kick but was intercepted on a few occasions, though was fortunate the rest of Northern’s defensive unit was also standing up. Also put her quick hands into practice on the wing, handballing to a passing player in better space, also marking well under the pump to clear the ball back out of defence.

#21 Ellie McKenzie

McKenzie was solid, taking a good contested mark early for a snap on goal, rewarded for her efforts with the ball going through the big sticks. Had a good eye to kick inside 50 to Morris-Dalton on her own in a similar position to McKenzie’s first goal, while her marking ability was exceptional with six to her name. Had a great run down the far wing late in the match, showcasing her speed and ability to free herself from opposition players and fitting in about seven bounces as she coasted from the defensive 50 into attack.

#22 Britney Gutknecht

Gutknecht had a solid match, picking up an equal-second 14 disposals for the Knights in a shared effort across the ground. Her five tackles and five handballs proved necessary through midfield, gaining ground as she found her way clear to get the ball out of congestion courtesy of her two-way running ability and skill scooping up the ground ball. Also had a chance on goal from 40m out but bounced through for a behind.

#23 Gabby Newton

Had some great passages of play, continually pressing the ball forward as she used the space to create options and opportunities down field. Her 15 touches were put to good use, using her body to get hands on the footy. Took some good contested marks as well as being a pivotal ball mover with two inside 50s and two rebounds as she appeared to be everywhere on the ground at once. Good awareness of not just the ball, but also of her opposition and teammates as she kicked cleanly to advantage and shared the load.

Calder
By: Taylah Melki

#2 Felicity Theodore 

Good intercept mark in the first term but was relatively quiet. Her move up forward was inspired able to showcase her strong hands to take important marks. She took two good grabs in the fourth quarter and presented well up at the footy. She showcased her quick hands under pressure and desire to win the ball throughout the game.

#11 Alana Barba

Barba was strong around the contest for the Cannons applying good tackling pressure and making her presence felt across the ground. She was involved involved early and used her clean hands to dish off handballs to passing teammates. Barba won her fair share of the footy and covered the ground well, she consistently went in hard at the ball and stood up in a strong tackle. She tracked the footy well at ground level and imposed herself on the contest when the ball came her way.

#21 Georgia Patrikios 

Patrikios worked tirelessly throughout the game leading her side with her clean hands, impeccable vision and never say die attitude. She used her quick hands and willingness to play on to spur the Cannons into attack. Patrikios showcased her ability to read the play well almost taking a good mark when the ball was coming out of their attacking 50. She used her impressive long booming kick into the forward 50 to create scoring chances for her side. She took a good intercept mark early in the third quarter and applied strong pressure laying solid tackles throughout the game. Clean pick up off the ground to keep the ball moving and had good body positioning to win the ball for the Cannons. Quick hands out of defence and good control of the ball. She showcased her speed going for a good dash through the middle of the ground to kick into the forward 50 and create a scoring opportunity.

#31 Krstel Petrevski

She had a relatively quiet game and was well kept by the Knights but she still had her moments of magic working hard to win the ball and using her body well to out position her opponent. She showcased her slick hands with a clever handball into space and worked her way into the game in the third term. She utilised her long kick to push the ball forward and create options for the Cannons.  

#41 Georgie Prespakis

Prespakis was a key player for the Cannons throughout the game with her desperation, strength and clever use of the ball an important feature of her game. She showcased her clean hands and impressive strength to shake off a tackler and dispose of the ball to Patrikios. She showcased her emotion midway through the second term getting into a scuffle with that only sparking her ferocity and intensity for the rest of the match. she really built herself into the game with her good forward pressure and ability to win the ball time and time again. She was clean off the deck and won her fair share of clearances around the ground. She patrolled the defensive end well sticking to her player and showcased her ability to read the play, wining the ball one on one credit to her footy smarts. Good vision to kick to space and use her impressive evasive skills to dodge opponents and then dish the ball off on the wing. Prespakis worked tirelessly all game and showed good elevation and control of the footy. Consistently used her body well and won plenty of the footy across the ground with clever linkup play with Patrikios throughout the game. A real standout for the Cannons in a difficult loss.

2019 NAB League Girls Grand Final

NORTHERN Knights claimed the 2019 NAB League Girls premiership, defeating the Calder Cannons by 22 points at Ikon Park on Saturday. We were there to capture the day and here are some of the images, accompanied with some post-game quotes for Northern Knights fans to relieve the huge day.

“Our forwards are so, so dangerous, even you saw in that last bit where Alyssa (Bannan) had that one-on-one with that girl, they just put people under pressure.” – Gabby Newton.

I think we played a good game, I think last year (2018 Grand Final loss to Geelong Falcons) our issue was we got too confident coming out of half-time. This year we played all four quarters and it really showed.” – Nell Morris-Dalton.

“The small forwards having manic pressure as Marcus (Abney-Hastings) would say, to keep it in there. They can convert whenever they get opportunities.” – Britney Gutknecht.

“I got my hands nice and strong and then the girls were just kicking it in very well and helped me out.” – Nell Morris-Dalton on her recent form, including seven goals in two finals.

“I think we all knew what to expect and players who had been a part of that team last year were able to impart that knowledge on the girls who hadn’t played a grand final so we knew that if we could get on top of them in the first five minutes and keep our cool, that we’d be able to shut them down first quarter.” – Gabby Newton.

“I’m not too much about the individual achievements, more about the team, I’ll take it I guess, but really happy with the win.” – Jess Fitzgerald on winning the Best on Ground medal.

“Playing with Gabby (Newton) is unreal. I know she’s a future star of the game, (and) to be playing alongside her and knowing hopefully we cross paths further down the track, it’s unreal, it’s just so good” – Britney Gutknecht.

It was a pretty surreal feeling, I haven’t really played in front of a crowd that big before so just happy to just get that opportunity and the girls really pulled through today so it was good.” – Ellie McKenzie.

“I go to school with Georgie (Prespakis), so we’re pretty good friends so that was pretty interesting, but yeah she’s a great talent and I’m sure she’s going to do well in the next few years.” – Ellie McKenzie on direct opponent, Georgie Prespakis.

“I trust our leaders within the ground, and yes you’re right they were getting a lot of ball inside their 50, but I think ultimately our leaders really stood up, led by our marvellous captain. Within our backline, Phoebe Chisholm and Sarah Sansonetti are really strong leaders, so they took the sting out of the game and were able to get that 5 or 10 minutes which was really, really pleasing.” – Northern Knights coach, Marcus Abney-Hastings on Calder’s purple patch in the second quarter.

“We really have a strong back six who have stood up time upon time throughout the year so with those close games we’re used to being challenged, so we were able to deal with that today.” – Gabby Newton.

“It’s just like playing with a sister. We’ve been together for three years now, it’s just huge. I love playing with Brit (Gutknecht), we just know where each other are and we don’t even need to communicate it, so I’m really going to miss it.” – Gabby Newton.

“It’s hugely sad, we’re a huge family. I know this team is never going to be the same again and obviously as top-agers we’re moving on but we’ve just enjoyed our time together, it’s really sad that we’re splitting.” – Britney Gutknecht.

“Jess is probably our most important player. We’re really strong inside the contest and we’ve got players of the Brit’s (Gutknecht) and the Gabby’s (Newton) that put a lot of heat around the ball, but with Fitzy’s run and carry, and really good ball use, she’s probably our most important player. Her speed off the mark, the way she takes the game on is absolute electric, you can’t teach that. We’re really blessed to have this number 14 in our corner.” – Marcus Abney-Hastings.

“It has been a two-year journey for us. We made conscious decisions in both pre-seasons to really develop our bottom-agers and our middle-agers and today that’s really come to fruition with the performance that we showed and the year we had. I think it will be pretty similar next year. Our ultimate is to make sure girls get drafted. This is fantastic, and a great reward for our girls, but ultimately our job is to make sure they’re in the best position to get drafted and take their careers to the next stop, so we’ll continue to do that and really push our girls forward.” – Marcus Abney-Hastings.

Northern Knights soar to go one better in 2019 with 33-point premiership victory

NORTHERN Knights have capitalised on their opportunities in a memorable 33-point premiership win over Calder Cannons at Ikon Park in near-perfect conditions. While grey skies threatened to rain on the game, no one or nothing could rain on the Knights parade, who stormed to victory in a terrific team effort, deserving of the only side who could go through the 2019 season undefeated. They held Calder goalless despite the Cannons piling on the pressure in the second term, to win 6.3 (39) to 0.6 (6). Jess Fitzgerald won the best on ground medal from 15 disposals, four marks, five tackles, two inside 50s and three rebounds, while Nell Morris-Dalton starred with 10 marks and three goals. Alyssa Bannan booted the book-end goals of the game while Ellie McKenzie also converted on her opportunity in front of goal. For the Cannons, Georgie Prespakis and Georgia Patrikios were typically superb, while Alisa Magri looked damaging up front despite missing some chances. Emelia Yassir also played her role for the Cannons.

Northern booted their first goal through Bannan with the ball bouncing over her head but she cleanly grabbed it and snapped around her body for a goal a few minutes into the opening term. Fitzgerald had a couple of chances, going inside 50 but the Cannons defence was holding up. Gabby Newton started having an impact just outside 50 and produced a great kick to Fitzgerald but her shot was touched in the square and hit the post. McKenzie put the Knights’ second goal on the board from 15m out after a couple of chances, having a long-range shot, fell short and Tallia Pulcino won a free for in the back. Her shot on goal came off the side of the boot, but McKenzie was in the right spot with a terrific contested mark and goal. McKenzie was in the action shortly after, kicking perfectly after winning a free to hit up Morris-Dalton deep one-on-one who converted easily and the Knights were out to a 19-point lead at quarter time. Patrikios, Prespakis, Alana Barba and Felicity Theodore all had moments in the first term, but the Cannons struggled to get the ball and did not get it inside 50.

The second quarter was an arm-wrestle to start the term with Patrikios getting a heap of the ball, but could not capitalise with a couple of wild chances on goal. A chance from Yassir and Magri went the wrong side of the sticks. After dominating the term, Calder could only manage a couple of behinds and the first inside 50 of the term to the Knights saw Morris-Dalton run onto the ball and kick from point blank range and boot her second major. The Knights now lead by 23 points and were coming from everywhere to celebrate her goal. Patrikios had a chance to narrow the gap herself but was dragged down and the ball bounced the wrong side of the post. Makeisha Muller then had a chance from a snap set shot but it slammed into the woodwork for the Cannons’ fourth straight behind. The siren sounded shortly after and for all their effort, the Cannons had booted 0.4 to the Knights’ 1.0 to trail 4.1 (25) to 0.4 (4).

The third term started with the Knights rebounding out of defence, as Newton had a couple of deft touches in to keep the ball moving in space and heading forward. A timely intercept mark by Patrikios dropping back to half-back repelled the attack. The Knights were pressing however, and eventually the ball got free from Bannan at a stoppage over the top of a couple of opponents to Morris-Dalton who ran on and kicked her third major of the game. Trailing by 26 points, the Cannons had an attempt on goal off the ground but mistimed and went out of bound. Calder was refusing to give in and having its share of opportunities despite Northern being efficient when going forward. Prespakis went onto McKenzie in defence in a match-up that draft watchers were keen to see for the future and the first contest saw Prespakis pick up the loose ball after McKenzie slip over and kick long, then read the ball perfectly again and kicked to the wing. Bannan gave it over to McKenzie who was immediately tackled by Patrikios in defence, but was deemed to have infringed and McKenzie had a set shot which fell short in the square. The Cannons were holding up in defence, but for all the intercept marks in defence, could not push it past half-back and the Knights continued to drive hard forward. Britney Gutknecht had a chance on goal from 40m but it drifted to the right and bounced through for a behind and the Knights led 5.2 (32) to Calder 0.4 (4). The siren sounded and the Knights were 15 minutes away from the premiership glory that eluded them 12 months earlier.

Sensing the urgency in the game, Calder rushed the ball forward and Magri had a shot on goal but just missed. And the deficit was 27 points again. The Cannons continued to push forward and throw everything out on the table, with Theodore pushing forward and taking a good mark and sending it inside 50. It led to Magri winning a free for high contact and having a set shot from 25m out, which drifted to the left and all but spelled the end for Calder’s chances. McKenzie had the highlight of the match, taking a massive seven-bounce run from half-back to half-forward as the crowd got behind her. The Knights were going to hold on with seven minutes left. If the game was not already done and dusted, by the time Bannan ran onto an intercept ball and slammed it home from point blank, it was game over. The Knights were celebrating with just two minutes left as they led by 33 points. The Cannons defence had held up relatively well in a game that the Knights had control of, and were efficient with their inside 50s, but the minor premiers were just too strong, running out the game to run out 33-point winners, 5.9 (39) to 0.6 (6).

Aside from Fitzgerald and Morris-Dalton who were prominent in the forward half, Newton had 15 disposals, three marks, five tackles, two inside 50s and two rebounds, while Sarah Sansonetti had 14 disposals and three rebounds stopping multiple Cannons attacks. Gutknecht (14 dipsosals, two marks and five tackles) was also prolific for the winners, while Patrikios (24 disposals, nine tackles, six inside 50s and six rebounds) and Prespakis (20 disposals, four tackles, two inside 50s, two rebounds) both impressed.

For full game and individual player statistics click here.

NORTHERN KNIGHTS 3.1 | 4.1 | 5.2 | 5.9 (39)
CALDER CANNONS 0.0 | 0.4 | 0.4 | 0.6 (6)

GOALS:

Northern: N. Morris-Dalton 3, A. Bannan 2, E. McKenzie.
Calder: Nil.

ADC BEST:

Northern: J. Fitzgerald, G. Newton, N. Morris-Dalton, E. McKenzie, B. Gutknecht, S. Sansonetti
Calder: G. Prespakis, G. Patrikios, E. Yassir, A. Magri, A. Barba, F. Theodore

AFLW U18 Championships Team Profile: Vic Metro

THE final Victoria Metropolitan squad for the Under 18 National Championships has been named, with a number of strong top-age prospects set to lead the charge from some exciting middle-age guns. After looking in-depth at the Vic Country squad last week, we take a look at how each player has stacked up statistically in this year’s NAB League season, as well as what they may bring to the Metro side come game time.

 

#1 Olivia Meagher*
Eastern Ranges | Balanced Midfielder | 158cm

The zippy midfielder is as tough as they come and mixes her line-breaking speed with clearance-winning ability. Put in an exceptional Preliminary Final performance against the Knights and while she does not always accumulate the biggest numbers, Meagher can find the goals and may feature forward of centre if given an opportunity. 

NAB League Girls

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC Points
2019Eastern Ranges7728105140022002462711.04.015.02.00.03.10.356
Total-7728105140022002462711.04.015.02.00.03.10.356

Career Total

SeasonKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC Points
20197728105140022002462711.04.015.02.00.03.10.356
Total7728105140022002462711.04.015.02.00.03.10.356

 

#2 Felicity Theodore
Calder Cannons | Small Defender/Forward | 159cm

The reliable Cannon is one who can play a role at either end inside the arcs, rebounding well from defence and looking dangerous around goal up forward. Will be an asset at ground level and sweeps up well under the talls.

NAB League Girls

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC Points
2019Calder Cannons682391160022008143116.22.18.31.50.02.00.331
Total-682391160022008143116.22.18.31.50.02.00.331

VFLW

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC Points
2019Essendon VFLW000000000000000000000
Total-000000000000000000000

Career Total

SeasonKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC Points
2019682391160022008143116.22.18.31.50.02.00.331
Total682391160022008143116.22.18.31.50.02.00.331

 

#3 Gemma Lagioia
Oakleigh Chargers | Outside Midfielder | 160cm

A classy ball user, Lagioia is often a joy to watch. Has all the makings of a neat outside player, employed on just about every line – with time at half-forward, half-back, and through the middle. Accumulated over 15 disposals in six of her nine games.

NAB League Girls

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC Points
2019Oakleigh Chargers100531492500130027541010.05.314.92.50.01.30.456
Total-100531492500130027541010.05.314.92.50.01.30.456

VFLW

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC Points
2019Collingwood VFLW000000000000000000000
Total-000000000000000000000

Career Total

SeasonKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC Points
2019100531492500130027541010.05.314.92.50.01.30.456
Total100531492500130027541010.05.314.92.50.01.30.456

 

#4 Nicola Xenos
Oakleigh Chargers | General Defender | 161cm

Another who has spent time at either end, Xenos mixes a pressure game with ball-winning well – averaging 15.4 disposals and 5.4 tackles, while breaking each arc around two times per her eight NAB League games.

NAB League Girls

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC Points
2019Oakleigh Chargers6261114130040001416387.87.614.31.60.05.00.451
Total-6261114130040001416387.87.614.31.60.05.00.451

VFLW

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC Points
2019Collingwood VFLW000000000000000000000
Total-000000000000000000000

Career Total

SeasonKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC Points
20196261114130040001416387.87.614.31.60.05.00.451
Total6261114130040001416387.87.614.31.60.05.00.451

 

#5 Elisabeth Georgostathis
Western Jets | Defender/Midfielder | 162cm

The Western Jets skipper most often plays as a classic rebounding half-back, finding a high amount of ball and bringing it out of the back half with line-breaking speed. She may find a home there at the Championships, but can also move into the midfield and provide pressure around the ball while also winning it herself. 

NAB League Girls

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC Points
2019Western Jets138381762300380017440915.34.219.62.60.04.20.071
Total-138381762300380017440915.34.219.62.60.04.20.071

VFLW

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC Points
2019Western Bulldogs VFLW000000000000000000000
Total-000000000000000000000

Career Total

SeasonKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC Points
2019138381762300380017440915.34.219.62.60.04.20.071
Total138381762300380017440915.34.219.62.60.04.20.071

 

#6 Madeline Edwards
Eastern Ranges | General Defender | 164cm

The small defender has made her mark as a pressure player, averaging almost five tackles across her nine NAB League games. Not always a high disposal winner, but disposes by foot more often than not and can rebound well.

NAB League Girls

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC Points
2019Eastern Ranges5421758004000816096.02.38.30.90.04.40.029
Total-5421758004000816096.02.38.30.90.04.40.029

Career Total

SeasonKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC Points
20195421758004000816096.02.38.30.90.04.40.029
Total5421758004000816096.02.38.30.90.04.40.029

 

#7 Amelia Van Oosterwijck
Oakleigh Chargers | General Forward | 164cm

A tackle-happy small forward who found the goals in three of her nine NAB League games for Oakleigh, including a Round 1 haul of two. Delivered the ball inside 50 at least twice in her average of just over 11 disposals, and rarely falls below double-figures.

NAB League Girls

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC Points
2019Oakleigh Chargers61399917004600190496.84.311.01.90.05.10.442
Total-61399917004600190496.84.311.01.90.05.10.442

Career Total

SeasonKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC Points
201961399917004600190496.84.311.01.90.05.10.442
Total61399917004600190496.84.311.01.90.05.10.442

 

#8 Mimi Hill
Oakleigh Chargers | Midfielder/Defender | 165cm

A zippy outside player who finds plenty of the ball, making for busy work in between the arcs. Does just about everything in between delivering the ball to and from each 50, and had less than 15 disposals just twice this NAB League season. 

NAB League Girls

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC Points
2019Oakleigh Chargers95831682800310023170109.58.316.82.80.03.10.060
Total-95831682800310023170109.58.316.82.80.03.10.060

Career Total

SeasonKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC Points
201995831682800310023170109.58.316.82.80.03.10.060
Total95831682800310023170109.58.316.82.80.03.10.060

 

#9 Bella Eddey*
Sandringham Dragons | General Forward | 165cm

Only featured in five NAB League games this season, but the middle-ager showed enough to warrant selection. Can go inside 50 well and averages just below a dozen disposals per game, with one of her best being a successful return effort against GWV (13 disposals, one goal).

NAB League Girls

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC Points
2019Sandringham Dragons223355700190061154.46.611.01.40.03.80.234
Total-223355700190061154.46.611.01.40.03.80.234

Career Total

SeasonKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC Points
2019223355700190061154.46.611.01.40.03.80.234
Total223355700190061154.46.611.01.40.03.80.234

 

#10 Alana Barba
Calder Cannons | Inside Midfielder | 166cm

A tough inside midfielder who compliments her fellow Calder midfield stars well with some grunt. Has played every game for the Cannons this year, and while she can fall well below 10 disposals in some games, is more than capable of collecting over 20 in others. 

NAB League Girls

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC Points
2019Calder Cannons7659135700780023143116.95.412.30.60.07.10.340
Total-7659135700780023143116.95.412.30.60.07.10.340

VFLW

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC Points
2019Essendon VFLW000000000000000000000
Total-000000000000000000000

Career Total

SeasonKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC Points
20197659135700780023143116.95.412.30.60.07.10.340
Total7659135700780023143116.95.412.30.60.07.10.340

 

#11 Tarni Brown*
Eastern Ranges | Balanced Midfielder | 166cm

The 2020 Collingwood father-daughter prospect has more than shown her worth for Eastern this season, proving to be a consistent and balanced ball winner. Has class, but is not afraid to also do the hard work as well.

NAB League Girls

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC Points
2019Eastern Ranges1146517918005000331011011.46.517.91.80.05.00.161
Total-1146517918005000331011011.46.517.91.80.05.00.161

Career Total

SeasonKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC Points
20191146517918005000331011011.46.517.91.80.05.00.161
Total1146517918005000331011011.46.517.91.80.05.00.161

 

#12 Alice Burke*
Sandringham Dragons | Inside Midfielder | 166cm

The durable Dragon has been a picture of consistency through the engine room, hardly straying from her average disposal count of 16.5 – with a high of 20 and a low of 13. A typical inside midfielder who also tackles hard, and wins the ball at stoppages all over the ground.

NAB League Girls

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC Points
2019Sandringham Dragons94381321500490019140811.84.816.51.90.06.10.057
Total-94381321500490019140811.84.816.51.90.06.10.057

Career Total

SeasonKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC Points
201994381321500490019140811.84.816.51.90.06.10.057
Total94381321500490019140811.84.816.51.90.06.10.057

 

#13 Britney Gutknecht
Northern Knights | Midfielder/Forward | 167cm

Gutknecht has adapted well to a move into the midfield, while also reminding us of her obvious forward talents when called upon – including a four-goal haul against Murray. Is a good reader of taps and attracts the ball, but may well revert back to a forward game at the championships.

NAB League Girls

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC Points
2019Northern Knights98681661400470028149109.86.816.61.40.04.70.960
Total-98681661400470028149109.86.816.61.40.04.70.960

VFLW

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC Points
2019Carlton VFLW000000000000000000000
Total-000000000000000000000

Career Total

SeasonKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC Points
201998681661400470028149109.86.816.61.40.04.70.960
Total98681661400470028149109.86.816.61.40.04.70.960

 

#14 Laura McClelland
Eastern Ranges | General Forward | 169cm

McClelland can play above her height, leading up from half-forward and providing a good link to the forward 50. Only found the goals in three of her nine games, but gets involved and only fell below 10 disposals thrice.

NAB League Girls

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC Points
2019Eastern Ranges50409011003710191595.64.410.01.20.14.10.637
Total-50409011003710191595.64.410.01.20.14.10.637

VFLW

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC Points
2019Hawthorn VFLW000000000000000000000
Total-000000000000000000000

Career Total

SeasonKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC Points
201950409011003710191595.64.410.01.20.14.10.637
Total50409011003710191595.64.410.01.20.14.10.637

 

#15 Alyssa Bannan*
Northern Knights | General Forward | 169cm

The Knights forward is dangerous inside 50 with good goal sense and positioning. Only failed to boot a goal in one of her eight games, while claiming multiples on five occassions. Had a day out against Bendigo with 18 disposals and three goals, and is dyamic when running over the back.

NAB League Girls

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC Points
2019Northern Knights5632882000301102301596.23.69.82.21.23.31.749
Total-5632882000301102301596.23.69.82.21.23.31.749

Career Total

SeasonKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC Points
20195632882000301102301596.23.69.82.21.23.31.749
Total5632882000301102301596.23.69.82.21.23.31.749

 

#16 Emily Harley
Oakleigh Chargers | Utility | 169cm

The strong Oakleigh utility has played on every line this season, but looks most effective forward of centre having booted 13 goals this NAB League season – including four against Gippsland. Is a bullocking type through midfield, and her versatility could prove handy if required.

NAB League Girls

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC Points
2019Oakleigh Chargers88431263400254081113108.84.312.63.40.42.51.356
Total-88431263400254081113108.84.312.63.40.42.51.356

VFLW

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC Points
2019Collingwood VFLW000000000000000000000
Total-000000000000000000000

Career Total

SeasonKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC Points
201988431263400254081113108.84.312.63.40.42.51.356
Total88431263400254081113108.84.312.63.40.42.51.356

 

#17 Georgia Patrikios
Calder Cannons | Outside Midfielder | 170cm

While the classy Calder leader has long been a standout, Patrikios has been in a partiularly rich vein of form at the back end of the year. Stands up in big games and has the ability to hit the scoreboard from midfield. Watch for her efficient short kicking, elite agility and speedy ball carrying throughout the championships.

NAB League Girls

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC Points
2019Calder Cannons164452092700430044205918.25.023.23.00.04.80.689
Total-164452092700430044205918.25.023.23.00.04.80.689

VFLW

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC Points
2019Essendon VFLW000000000000000000000
Total-000000000000000000000

Career Total

SeasonKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC Points
2019164452092700430044205918.25.023.23.00.04.80.689
Total164452092700430044205918.25.023.23.00.04.80.689

 

#18 Emma Horne
Eastern Ranges | Balanced Midfielder | 170cm

Has been a regular in the Eastern midfield, with only a couple of outliers bringing her usually steady disposal average down. Only fell below 10 disposals twice, and had more than 15 on six occassions – with a 28-disposal effort against Gippsland her clear best return.

NAB League Girls

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC Points
2019Eastern Ranges8467151170025001741108.46.715.11.70.02.50.148
Total-8467151170025001741108.46.715.11.70.02.50.148

Career Total

SeasonKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC Points
20198467151170025001741108.46.715.11.70.02.50.148
Total8467151170025001741108.46.715.11.70.02.50.148

 

#19 Marguerite Purcell
Sandringham Dragons | Wing/Outside Midfielder | 170cm

A dangerous ball winner on the outside, Purcell has made the wing her own for Sandringham. Has had one outlying game either way in an otherwise linear run of disposals, and can deliver the ball inside 50 well.

NAB League Girls

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC Points
2019Sandringham Dragons6587314001400173079.31.110.42.00.02.00.041
Total-6587314001400173079.31.110.42.00.02.00.041

Career Total

SeasonKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC Points
20196587314001400173079.31.110.42.00.02.00.041
Total6587314001400173079.31.110.42.00.02.00.041

 

#20 Sarah Sansonetti
Northern Knights | Key Defender | 172cm

Sansonetti has thrived latter half of the season against some top opposition, holding her own in aeriel contests and with the ball in dispute. Is not the tallest key position player, so is ultra competitive at ground level and tackles hard. Likely to take the opposition’s best forward.

NAB League Girls

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC Points
2019Northern Knights57328980038307120105.73.28.90.80.33.80.029
Total-57328980038307120105.73.28.90.80.33.80.029

VFLW

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC Points
2019Darebin Falcons000000000000000000000
Total-000000000000000000000

Career Total

SeasonKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC Points
201957328980038307120105.73.28.90.80.33.80.029
Total57328980038307120105.73.28.90.80.33.80.029

 

#21 Ellie McKenzie*
Northern Knights | Midfielder/Forward | 173cm

The dynamic middle-ager would have a decent highlight reel to date, and is so dangerous when positoned one-out at full forward. Stands out with her clean hands and composure, and seems to always be thereabouts. Arguably as damaging as any player to take the field at the championships.

NAB League Girls

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC Points
2019Northern Knights101491503000244034771010.14.915.03.00.42.40.761
Total-101491503000244034771010.14.915.03.00.42.40.761

Career Total

SeasonKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC Points
2019101491503000244034771010.14.915.03.00.42.40.761
Total101491503000244034771010.14.915.03.00.42.40.761

 

#22 Sarah Hartwig*
Sandringham Dragons | Key Defender | 173cm

Another middle-ager who is sure to play a key part for Metro. Hartwig is a terrific overhead marker and has played in key positions at either end, but looks more comfortable down back. Is a composed user from defence to boot and is one to keep an eye on.

NAB League Girls

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC Points
2019Sandringham Dragons734511825003720331098.15.013.12.80.24.10.047
Total-734511825003720331098.15.013.12.80.24.10.047

Career Total

SeasonKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC Points
2019734511825003720331098.15.013.12.80.24.10.047
Total734511825003720331098.15.013.12.80.24.10.047

 

#23 Nell Morris-Dalton
Northern Knights | Key Forward | 174cm

Has been enormous for the Knights at times this year, and found the goals in six of her last seven games. Dragged her side over the line with four Preliminary Final goals last week and looks to be coming into form at the right time. Usually efficient inside 50 on her left boot, and brings others into the game.

NAB League Girls

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC Points
2019Northern Knights875213921003434027215117.94.712.61.93.13.11.455
Total-875213921003434027215117.94.712.61.93.13.11.455

VFLW

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC Points
2019Darebin Falcons000000000000000000000
Total-000000000000000000000

Career Total

SeasonKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC Points
2019875213921003434027215117.94.712.61.93.13.11.455
Total875213921003434027215117.94.712.61.93.13.11.455

 

#24 Isabella Grant
Western Jets | Tall Utility | 174cm

The Bulldogs father-daughter prospect only featured in six games this season, but proved her worth in the forward half and through midfield. Marks well and can find the ball at will, with her best game a 25-disposal, five-mark effort against GWV. Can penetrate both arcs. 

NAB League Girls

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC Points
2019Western Jets584510316001900138169.77.517.22.70.03.20.259
Total-584510316001900138169.77.517.22.70.03.20.259

Career Total

SeasonKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC Points
2019584510316001900138169.77.517.22.70.03.20.259
Total584510316001900138169.77.517.22.70.03.20.259

 

#25 Tahlia Merrett
Eastern Ranges | Key Utility | 174cm

Merrett has proven to be a useful outlet at both ends, while also contesting in the ruck when called upon. Is not a huge disposal-getter but plays whichever role is asked of her and has plenty of upside on the back of her versatility. 

NAB League Girls

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC Points
2019Eastern Ranges28174590027140442102.81.74.50.91.42.70.218
Total-28174590027140442102.81.74.50.91.42.70.218

VFLW

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC Points
2019Williamstown VFLW000000000000000000000
Total-000000000000000000000

Career Total

SeasonKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC Points
201928174590027140442102.81.74.50.91.42.70.218
Total28174590027140442102.81.74.50.91.42.70.218

 

#26 Gabrielle Newton
Northern Knights | Tall Utility | 175cm

Right up there with the best of the best, Newton will be a key player for Metro. Has played almost exclusively in the midfield this year but has the hops to ruck and also moves forward well, while playing a key role behind the ball with her overhead marking. Is composed in possession and finds it with ease, with her leadership qualities also evident.

NAB League Girls

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC Points
2019Northern Knights911021932800472602192109.110.219.32.82.64.70.265
Total-911021932800472602192109.110.219.32.82.64.70.265

VFLW

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC Points
2019Carlton VFLW000000000000000000000
Total-000000000000000000000

Career Total

SeasonKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC Points
2019911021932800472602192109.110.219.32.82.64.70.265
Total911021932800472602192109.110.219.32.82.64.70.265

 

#27 Molly Denahy Moloney
Sandringham Dragons | Ruck | 175cm

Has not been a huge year for the Sandringham product over her five NAB League games, but she is a ruck who can win the hitouts and follow up with hard tackles at ground level. Not a high disposal winner, but makes her presence felt and can also spend time forward. 

NAB League Girls

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC Points
2019Sandringham Dragons1115260001736030052.23.05.20.07.23.40.021
Total-1115260001736030052.23.05.20.07.23.40.021

VFLW

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC Points
2019Southern Saints000000000000000000000
Total-000000000000000000000

Career Total

SeasonKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC Points
20191115260001736030052.23.05.20.07.23.40.021
Total1115260001736030052.23.05.20.07.23.40.021

 

#28 Isabelle Pritchard*
Western Jets | Key Defender | 176cm

Collects her fair share of ball as a taller prospect, not falling below 10 touches across her seven games. Does not drop many marks and provides safe rebound out of the back half, so could be part of a solid Metro back six as a middle-ager.

NAB League Girls

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC Points
2019Western Jets55521071400271901014077.97.415.32.02.73.90.052
Total-55521071400271901014077.97.415.32.02.73.90.052

Career Total

SeasonKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC Points
201955521071400271901014077.97.415.32.02.73.90.052
Total55521071400271901014077.97.415.32.02.73.90.052

 

#29 Cleo Saxon-Jones
Western Jets | Key Forward | 181cm

A physical centre half-forward, Saxon-Jones finds her way up the ground well to impact the contest and provide a link into the forward half. Has a knack for taking strong contested marks and may even pinch-hit in the ruck.

NAB League Girls

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC Points
2019Western Jets4513581200590143167.52.29.72.01.50.80.241
Total-4513581200590143167.52.29.72.01.50.80.241

VFLW

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC Points
2019Darebin Falcons000000000000000000000
Total-000000000000000000000

Career Total

SeasonKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC Points
20194513581200590143167.52.29.72.01.50.80.241
Total4513581200590143167.52.29.72.01.50.80.241

 

#30 Amelia Peck
Oakleigh Chargers | Ruck/Key Utility | 183cm

The only over-ager prospect on the Metro list, Peck has earned her spot as a standout ruck. Averages almost 12 hitouts per game and just under 10 disposals, while also being able to move forward when required having at least scored in three games.

NAB League Girls

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC Points
2019Oakleigh Chargers42477818001611801522104.24.77.81.811.81.60.244
Total-42477818001611801522104.24.77.81.811.81.60.244

VFLW

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC Points
2019Collingwood VFLW000000000000000000000
Total-000000000000000000000

Career Total

SeasonKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC Points
201942477818001611801522104.24.77.81.811.81.60.244
Total42477818001611801522104.24.77.81.811.81.60.244

 

* – denotes middle-ager.

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

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

Northern Knights v. Calder Cannons

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

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

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

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

TEAMS

NORTHERN KNIGHTS

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

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

CALDER CANNONS

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

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

STATISTICS:

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

2019 RESULTS:

Northern Knights:

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

Calder Cannons:

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

Northern:

When in front…

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

When trailing…

QTR: 1-0
HT:
3QTR:

Calder:

When in front…

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

When trailing…

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

FUN FACTS:

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

Draft Central Team of the Year: NAB League Girls

WITH so many impressive individuals performing across the NAB League Girls nine-week season, it was incredibly tough to pick our Draft Central Team of the Year for 2019. The Team of the Year is decided by the amount of Team of the Week nominations a player receives, with everyone in the team receiving between three and seven nominations for the year. There were a further 10 players who were unlucky to miss out on the team despite receiving three nominations, while another 18 players – 52 in total – received at least two nominations.

Three players received the highest amount of nominations, with Western Jets’ Elisabeth Georgostathis, Dandenong Stingrays’ Brooke Vernon and Calder Cannons’ Georgie Prespakis making our Team of the Week seven times. Georgostathis has been named captain of the side, having led the Jets in season 2019. Two other club captains – Geelong Falcons’ Lucy McEvoy and Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels’ Sophie Molan – as well as Falcons midfielder Paige Sheppard, received six nominations to make our 24-player squad.

It is a phenomenal effort to even have five nominations – more than half the possible games – and Sandringham Dragons duo, Sarah Hartwig and Alice Burke, Northern Knights duo Gabby Newton and Britney Gutknecht, Calder Cannons captain Georgia Patrikios, and Eastern Ranges tall Serena Gibbs all achieved that feat. In terms of those players with four nominations and thus automatically qualifying for the side are Stingrays’ key defender Zoe Hill, potential Collingwood father-daughter selection Tarni Brown, Gippsland Power defender Matilda Van Berkel, Murray Bushrangers’ captain Millie Brown, and Northern Knights middle-age duo Jess Fitzgerald and Ellie McKenzie.

Of the remaining six players chosen to make the side, there were Oakleigh Chargers duo Emily Harley and Gemma Lagioia, both of whom have been electrifying at times in an even team, top five leading goalkicker, Northern’s Nell Morris-Dalton, Geelong Falcons talls; competition leading goalkicker Mia Skinner and reliable defender Abbey Chapman, and Bendigo Pioneers tackling machine Brooke Hards. The emphasis for the remaining players with three nominations was to allow for top-agers to fill the side, but Hards’ efforts were that impressive – summed up by winning the Bendigo Pioneers’ Best and Fairest award – that she earned a spot in the side.

In terms of club spread, it is no surprise to see minor premiers Northern Knights with the most nominees, having five in the side, while reigning premiers Geelong Falcons had four. A number of sides had two each including finalists, Calder Cannons and Eastern Ranges, as well as Dandenong Stingrays, Oakleigh Chargers and Sandringham Dragons, while Bendigo Pioneers, Gippsland Power, GWV Rebels, Murray Bushrangers and Western Jets had one player each. In terms of the three emergencies, key defenders Kate Douglass (Bendigo) and Isabelle Pritchard (Western), and Murray midfielder Abby Favell were the next three in line for a spot in the team.

Eight players followed up from their Draft Central Team of the Year in 2018 with a second nomination, those being Knights, Newton, Gutknecht and McKenzie, as well as Georgostathis, Burke, McEvoy and Patrikios.

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

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

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

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

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

MATCH PREVIEW

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

KEY PLAYERS

Northern:

Gabby Newton

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

Eastern:

Serena Gibbs

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

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

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

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

MATCH PREVIEW

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

KEY PLAYERS

Geelong:

Lucy McEvoy

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

Calder:

Georgia Patrikios

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

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

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

Victorian AFL Women’s Under 18 Championship teams announced

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

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

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

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

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

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

VIC COUNTRY

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

 

VIC METRO

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

2019 VFLW weekend Round 1b preview: Eight teams begin their campagins

AFTER the Southern Saints made a statement in the opening round with a victory over last year’s minor premiers Collingwood, the other Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s sides take to the field, as four games are played across the competition. The Western Bulldogs and Carlton have the bye, as do Williamstown, however the Seagulls are facing off against GWS GIANTS in an invitational match which will see the GIANTS match-up against some of the Victorian sides. Below are the teams and season previews.

ESSENDON v. CASEY DEMONS

Round 1 – 11/05/2019
11:30
Windy Hill

Essendon

B: 7. K. Hicks, 11. M. Warburton, 29. C. Laan
HB: 18. K. Heil, 27. A. Morcom, 21. K. McFadyen
C: 28. R. Svarc, 39. M. Fogas, 1. C. Ugle
HF: 25. L. Stepnell, 23. M. Collier, 24. S. Wilson
F: 3. M. DeMatteo, 38. E. Gogerly, 40. A. Moreen
R: 30. S. Nalder, 22. N. MacDonald, 8. H. Bullas
Int: 13. S. Audley, 2. I. Currenti, 43. G. Nanscawen, 4. A. Saundry
Emg: 45. E. Ashley-Cooper, 15. L. Caruso, 33. E. Hosking, 14. T. Zagontinos
23P: 31. J. Stassi

Casey Demons

B: 50. G. McLean, 13. K. Smith, 15. T. Tatterson
HB: 34. A. Kirkwood, 7. B. Jakobsson, 8. S. Lampard
C: 23. E. Birch, 16. M. Hogg, 22. M. Guerin
HF: 42. H. Bailey, 29. E. Zanker , 11. C. Emonson
F: 24. N. Garner, 40. H. Dyson, 27. B. Winbanks
R: 38. K. Bentvelzen , 41. R. Edmeades, 47. K. Guttridge
Int: 48. E. Archer, 9. A. Johnson, 32. A. McDonough, 54. K. Oates
Emg: 57. L. Davies, 51. A. Francese, 37. T. Nash, 62. G. Speedy
23P: 46. B. Pratt

 

DAREBIN v. RICHMOND

Round 1 – 11/05/2019
12:00
Swinburne Centre

Darebin

B: 32. G. Colvin, 21. K. Roe, 19. R. Hibbert
HB: 16. B. Kennedy, 56. R. Ashley, 43. N. Wolfe
C: 1. E. Honybun, 9. M. Eastman, 28. A. Morrow
HF: 17. S. Simpson, 22. G. Hammond, 7. L. Szigeti
F: 36. E. Buckley, 31. E. Gardner, 23. M. Wilson
R: 37. E. McLaughlin, 15. A. Lister, 33. J. Stanton
Int: 18. C. Byrne, 39. S. David, 25. C. Delbridge, 20. S. Fairchild
Emg: 46. R. Coombs, 55. M. Hubbard, 49. A. Ladson, 50. M. Suzuki
23P: 57. P. Kearney

Richmond

B: 26. E. Burry, 41. S. Last, 15. R. Miller
HB: 19. K. Dempsey, 2. P. Monahan, 34. A. Makur Chuot
C: 25. G. Egan, 5. M. Brancatisano, 8. J. Graham
HF: 33. J. Colwell, 16. C. Wakefield , 36. E. Paterno
F: 17. E. Gunn, 24. T. Stahl-Smith, 46. H. Ibrahim
R: 11. A. Edmonds, 13. A. Woodward, 1. J. Kennedy
Int: 43. G. Campbell, 30. D. Edward, 37. M. Klingbeil , 22. S. Marsh
Emg: 39. M. Lindsay , 32. I. Milford, 23. T. Smith
23P: 29. K. Jacques

 

HAWTHORN v. NT THUNDER

Round 1 – 12/05/2019
11:30
Box Hill City Oval

Hawthorn

B: 25. M. Hutchins, 6. T. Radan, 31. J. Sibley
HB: 13. E. Nixon, 40. E. MacDonald, 21. P. Randall
C: 33. E. Gilder, 24. R. Dillon, 5. C. Perera
HF: 12. N. Cormack , 26. C. Dyett, 18. E. Wroe
F: 17. A. Dowler, 2. K. Henderson, 30. A. Sarec
R: 22. T. Luke, 10. P. Peschke, 8. R. Beeson
Int: 14. O. Flanagan, 11. D. Haines, 15. B. Struylaart, 29. A. Tanner
Emg: 4. S. Carroll, 35. C. O’Donnell, 27. K. Scott
23P: 23. G. Macpherson

NT Thunder

B: 37. M. Rajcic, 33. T. Thorn, 31. A. Stanley
HB: 23. E. Miller, 9. L. Jeffrey, 26. C. Randall
C: 13. L. Roberts, , 12. K. Streader
HF: 11. J. Hickey, 10. A. Chittick, 18. T. Holtze
F: 27. A. Considine, 7. M. Ellis,
R: 20. J. Hewett, 3. A. Foley, 1. M. Johnston
Int: 17. S. Bishop, 24. S. Hoogeveen-Hill, 21. K. Irvine, 5. M. Roberts, 48. K. Rosenzweig, 34. D. Varnhagen
Emg: 32. B. Byers, 29. C. Deegan
23P: 2. J. Baird

 

MELBOURNE UNI v. GEELONG CATS

Round 1 – 12/05/2019
02:30
Melbourne University Main Oval

Melbourne Uni

B: 45. A. Arundel, 3. T. Mesiti, 17. E. Hay
HB: 22. J. Anwyl, 26. N. O’Connor, 32. C. Daniec
C: 53. J. Grierson, 36. N. Julian, 14. M. McDonald
HF: 38. K. Angelis, 51. J. Tancred, 40. A. Runnalls
F: 4. E. King, 57. A. Price, 18. A. Tupper
R: 5. K. Gillespie-Jones, 25. J. Garner, 35. J. Bruton
Int: 34. K. Cox, 47. M. Hare, 46. A. Roan , 52. M. Shone
Emg: 42. L. Amelung, 44. E. Bult, 30. S. Farmer, 41. J. Thomas
23P: 39. V. Saad

Geelong Cats

B: 49. E. Ramsay, 4. C. Blakeway, 23. H. Rowe
HB: 20. R. Pearce, 44. R. Goring, 11. J. Woollett
C: 3. A. McDonald, 27. R. Webster, 10. G. Rankin
HF: 45. M. Keryk, 17. G. Clarke, 9. T. Love
F: 42. B. Beckley, 8. K. Darby, 7. R. Benham
R: 1. R. Caris, 5. J. Ivey, 41. A. Haigh
Int: 14. N. French, 33. Z. Inei, 43. M. Maguire, 13. L. Taylor
Emg: 26. M. Boyd, 15. G. Deller, 16. O. Purcell
23P: 19. S. DeGiacomi

 

SEASON PREVIEWS: (Including byes)

CARLTON BLUES

Coach: Shannon McFerran
Last year: 7th (6-8)

The entire Carlton side would be buzzing with the AFL Women’s achievement of making the Grand Final and hoping to follow in the senior side’s footsteps. Last year the Blues showed signs within games, but could not quite put together a four quarter effort. They had an enormous amount of future AFL Women’s talent on their list last season with Tyla Hanks and Madeline Brancatisano (both Melbourne), Rene Caris (Geelong) and Celine Moody (Western Bulldogs) all poached by other clubs in the draft, while Abbie McKay, Chloe Dalton and Brooke Walker made the transition up to senior football at the Blues. Darcy Vescio won the leading goalkicker award after another terrific season inside 50 and look for her to be a key player in Shannon McFerran‘s side. With the close bond between Carlton and Northern Knights – and the strength of the Knights program in 2019 – do not be surprised for the Blues to be bolstered mid-season by the likes of Gabby Newton and Britney Gutknecht among others. They have picked up Marnie Jarvis and Taylah Manson from the Knights last year, and with continued improvement and recruitment of Madison Prespakis, Emerson Woods and Charlotte Wilson – who all had TAC Cup Girls and VFLW experience prior to being drafted, the Blues are a sleeper side that is not to be taken lightly.

 

CASEY DEMONS

Coach: Damien Keeping
Last year: 10th (5-9)

Despite a disappointing season on the ladder, Casey Demons were raided at the AFL Women’s draft with six drafted on the night, and a further one (Taylor Mesiti) prelisted. Jordyn Allen, Georgia Gourlay and Maddie Shevlin all swapped red and blue for black and white, while Casey Sherriff, Chantel Emonson and Shae Sloane showed enough to be picked up the Dees. The Demons have brought in some height with the recruitment of former Oakleigh Chargers and Essendon ruck, Bridie Winbanks, while putting an emphasis on retaining Melbourne AFLW listed players, something they did not have the luxury of having with many playing at Darebin given the players history with the Falcons. Now just Elise O’Dea, Lauren Pearce and Brooke Patterson are at the Falcons, so the Demons can have a stronger link to the AFLW side. Harriet Cordner and Maddison Gay were two big improvers of the 2019 AFLW season and will be ones to watch for the Demons in the upcoming VFLW season. A couple of key pickups for the Demons include Gippsland Power duo, Nikia Webber and Shanara Notman who could provide service up opposite ends. Overall look for the Demons to improve this year.

 

DAREBIN FALCONS

Coach: Michael Ericson (NEW)
Last year: 5th (8-6)

Darebin Falcons defied odds by finishing fifth last season and on track for finals up until a couple of rounds out from the post-season series. Michael Ericson has taken over from Jane Lange at the helm, and with it faces a new challenge of keeping the side competitive. O’Dea, Pearce and Patterson loom as the keys to the team, while Jamie Stanton who moved from Melbourne University – to align with her shift from North Melbourne to Gold Coast AFLW – is another AFLW listed player. Bridie Kennedy also joins the team from Carlton after having that AFLW experience, but mostly the Falcons will be relying on the yourh of the team and experienced VFLW players. Captain Stephanie Simpson is one of six players with 30 or more VFLW games under her belt which in the scheme of the relatively new competition is vital. Northern Knights, Nell Morris-Dalton and Ciara Fitzgerald have also joined Darebin, while former Eastern Ranges’ Lauren Szigeti will have benefited from her six games last year. Overall the Falcons will still give the top teams something to think about on their day, and rack up wins against the bottom handful, but it will be a test to be a genuine contender.

 

ESSENDON BOMBERS

Coach: Brendan Major
Last year: 13th (1-13)

It was fair to say Essendon did not have the season it had hoped for, winning just the one game and taking out the wooden spoon in season 2019. With limited AFL Women’s experience, the Bombers just lacked that top-end talent that other clubs had, and while the Bombers had that tackling ferocity through best and fairest winner, Hayley Bullas and the class and skill of future Adelaide AFLW premiership player, Danielle Ponter, they did not have enough talent across the board to compete with the sides that were flushed with AFLW signatures. The one win against Richmond was terrific to see, as it meant the Bombers got some reward for effort after a long season. Along with Bullas, Courtney Ugle and Simone Nalder have returned to the club, while former Murray Bushrangers’ defender and Eastern Allies representative, Eloise Ashley-Cooper will add some class to the side. The Bombers have four players with AFLW experience, including Maddy Collier and Hayley Trevean. With NAB League Girls club, Calder Cannons having some great talent coming through the ranks, expect the likes of Georgia Patrikios to open some eyes late in the season with her agility and goal sense, while Felicity Theodore, Alana Barba, Gloria Elamaly and Krstel Petrevski will add a mix of skill and toughness to the Bombers’ team. The Bombers will still lack the star quality other AFLW experienced teams have, so the goal will be to be more competitive and try and get off the bottom of the table this season.

 

GEELONG CATS

Coach: Natalie Wood (NEW)
Last year: 4th (10-3-1) Grand final loss

Natalie Wood has taken over from Paul Hood who opted to just focus on the AFLW side in the blue and white hoops, but has inherited a genuine premiership contender. After Geelong had fewer AFLW listed players compared to others last season, they now have 20 on their VFLW books, topped up by local players including former Geelong Falcons premiership players, Tarryn Love, Zoe Inei and Sachi DeGiacomi who managed six games at VFLW level between them last season. They have not only retained the majority of the their list, but picked up teh likes of Julia Crockett-Grills (Hawthorn), Rebecca Webster (Melbourne University) and Sophie Van De Heuvel (Williamstown), keeping them in the Geelong system. It is hard not to picture a scenario where Geelong are not in finals considering the now deep and strong bond the players have and having reached the grand final, before strengthening their list even more. The Geelong AFLW side made finals in its first year and expect the VFLW side to follow suit with the same talent on its list.

 

HAWTHORN HAWKS

Coach: Patrick Hill
Last year: 2nd (12-2) Premiers

The reigning premiers had a number of players drafted including Rising Star Jayde Van Dyk, Emerson Woods and Mikala Cann in what was a perfectly timed season, finishing second, pouncing on Collingwood in the semi-final, and then making the most of their opportunities against Geelong in the decider. In great news for the Hawks, Van Dyk has returned to the club for the VFLW season, as have key forward Phoebe McWilliams (Geelong), Rebecca Beeson and Pepa Randall (both GWS GIANTS). With super coach, Patrick Hill at the reigns again, the Hawks will be predicted to be thereabouts again and a genuine premiership contender. Sarah Perkins will be primed for a big season in the brown and gold, hoping to force her way back onto an AFLW list after being delisted by the Crows following the 2019 season. The forward combination between Perkins and McWilliams is as good as it gets in the competition, and with Eastern Rangers youngsters Serena Gibbs and Laura McClelland in the side later in the year, expect the reigning premiers to have a potent forward line. Gippsland Power’s Maddison Shaw has also joined the Hawks, and is one of just two 2001-birth players on the list. A huge contender.

 

MELBOURNE UNIVERSITY MUGARS

Coach: Scott Gowans
Last year: 9th (5-9)

The Mugars were up and down at times throughout the 2018 VFLW season, finishing with five wins from 14 games, but having some great young talent come into the side last in the year, including Prepsakis and Webster who were both drafted by AFLW clubs. Sophie Abbatangelo, Ashleigh Riddell, Maddison Smith, Chloe Haines, Libby Haines and Nicole Bresnehan all stepped up to the senior side, with many showing their ability to adapt to the faster pace of the game. After a huge season that ultimately fell short of a finals berth in the AFLW, North Melbourne and Melbourne Uni coach, Scott Gowans will be keen to continue the form shown by the Kangaroos at AFLW level, into the VFLW system. Emma Kearney was terrific for the Mugars last year along with Kaitlyn Ashmore, and expect them to be key players once again. They have added experience to their list with Hawthorn duo, Tahni Nestor and Kim Ebb, as well as Essendon’s Jessica Anwyl who showed promising signs last season in the red and black. Throw in league best and fairest winner, Jess Duffin, Jasmine Garner and Jenna Bruton, and the Mugars have to be considered one of the premiership favourites. All up they have 23 AFL Women’s listed players and will be another tough team to beat.

 

NORTHERN TERRITORY THUNDER

Coach: Heidi Thompson (NEW)
Last year: 3rd (11-3) – Semi-final loss

Much was spoken about the Thunder and whether or not the experienced top-heavy side with Adelaide Crows, could be allowed to play so much talent at once. Early in the season it looked like the Thunder would skip through the season, but in the end, ultimately fell in the first week of finals to the Cats. After missing out on her AFLW dream last year, Janet Baird is the biggest junior recruit to the Thunder in season 2019, with the NTFL Women’s top player signing on at the Thunder for the upcoming season. She joins the likes of Madeline Gault, Arthurina Moreen and Tabitha May, who all played for Central Allies in 2018, but missed out on a chance in the AFLW. The top-end and upcoming talent at the Thunder is clear, with Ebony Marinoff, Stevie-Lee Thompson, Marijana Rajcic, Renee Forth, Eloise Jones and Sarah and Jess Allen among a ridiculous among of Crows talent in the side. They were arguably a premiership favourite early in 2018, and should be in that place once again given the improvement of many of the Crows through the 2019 AFLW premiership year. With Heidi Thompson now taking the reigns from Tim Weatherald, it will be interesting to see how she balances the AFLW talent throughout the season.

 

RICHMOND TIGERS

Coach: Tom Hunter
Last year: 12th (4-10)

The Tigers had a disappointing season in 2018, finishing twelfth and losing to Essendon, the only side to do so. They, like the Bombers just lacked that star quality in the 2018 VFLW season, but if their 2019 AFLW trade period is anything to go by, expect them to shoot up the ladder in season 2019. Jessica Kennedy and Jacqueline Graham were two standouts for the Tigers, it was just a case of adding depth to the obvious talent that was coming through the ranks. While some will play limited games, the likes of Monique Conti, Katie Brennan and Sabrina Frederick make for a scary forward line. With Richmond able to pre-list players this season, every player on the list will be keen to impress in front of the Tigers’ hierarchy and see what they can do to try and get an AFLW spot for the 2020 season. Overlooked Murray Bushrangers, Tamara Smith, Grace Egan and Sophie Damon are back at Punt Road, while Kodi Jacques has also joined the club with the Bendigo Pioneers’ midfielder looking to stake her claim this year. Former Magpies, Shayla Marsh and Hannah McLaren will don the yellow and black this year, making the Tigers stocked with young talent that will create run and excitement throughout the 2019 season. Expect the Tigers to rise up the ladder, and while they might lack the AFLW talent other teams have outside their forward 50, they could overtake a number of the clubs around their level in season 2018, this year.

 

WESTERN BULLDOGS

Coach: Sean Kavanagh (NEW)
Last year: 6th (7-7)

Sean Kavanagh has taken over from Debbie Lee who is now VFLW General Manager at the club, and will be looking to reshape the side that has lost some serious AFLW talent. Conti always spent the majority of the season playing basketball, while Brennan will be a big lose inside 50. However with 20 AFLW players on their list, they still have more than enough talent and experience to get them by. Their three top-age players they have picked up from NAB League Girls clubs are Sophie Molan, Ella Wood and Elisabeth Georgostathis which is arguably the best trio of pick-ups across the league. Molan will make an immediate impact, while Wood and Georgostathis can play both off half-back and through the middle. They will be unavailable during the AFLW National Championships, but expect them to show their talent. Overager Georgia Pidgeon will also provide some height for the Bulldogs, while a host of local players joins the likes of Ellie Blackburn, Brooke Lochland, Isabel Huntington and Deanna Berry as key players. When talking about experience, the Bulldogs have 14 players with 30 or more games, making them a very experienced side in the competition, and one that while they might not be in the top handful, could still challenge for finals.

 

WILLIAMSTOWN

Coach: Amy Catterall
Last year: 11th (4-10)

Williamstown finished eleventh in 2019, notching up the four wins, but had some serious top-end talent at the Gulls’ disposal. Duffin won the league best and fairest despite the team struggles, while Garner and Bruton were stars for Williamstown before emulating that for the Kangaroos at AFLW level. Big question marks remain over the Seagulls with all three departing the club. It means the load falls onto their VFLW listed players shoulders and puts them in a similar position to Essendon and Richmond last year. They had a good win over the Western Bulldogs in a pre-season practice match, and can have the continuity that teams with restricted AFLW numbers cannot. However this year is set to be a massive challenge for the Seagulls after losing so much top-end talent, with Demon, Aliesha Newman being a key signing – the only AFLW player on the list – and likely to cause headaches inside 50 for opposition defences. In doing so, there might be some serious youngsters step up and then make a case to land at an AFLW club, like former Bendigo Pioneers’ captain Megan Williamson, Eastern Ranges’ tall Tahlia Merrett and Bendigo Pioneers’ key defender Kate Douglass.

Scouting notes: NAB League Girls – Round 8

ROUND 8 saw some big clashes with the Northern Knights handing the Geelong Falcons their first loss in two years in the NAB League Girls. We took note of some of the top performers that respective Female Talent Managers highlighted at the start of the season as ones to watch. We attended five games live and noted the final game at the bottom. All notes are the opinion of the individual writer.

Calder Cannons 4.6 (30) defeated Bendigo Pioneers 1.3 (9)
By: Taylah Melki

Calder 

#2 Felicity Theodore

She had a relatively quiet first half, not finding much of the footy but well and truly worked her way into the game in the second half. She kicked a good crumbing goal in the third after picking the ball up out the back of the pack and taking a couple of steps to dribble it through for a goal. Theodore also showcased her good vision and attacking mind set to push her side forward.

#21 Georgia Patrikios

She was involved early, getting hands to the ball at the stoppages and showing good spatial awareness to dish the ball out to teammates. She had good strong hands to take a solid grab in the first quarter and showcased her ability to read the play. Patrikios consistently attacked the ball hard, sets up play for her teammates and had really good hands. She showed great control of the ball while on the run and kicked a good crumbing goal in the third quarter to stay down and cleanly pick the ball up and then turn and kick. She used her long booming kick to propel the ball into the forward 50 and knew where to position the ball to her teammates advantage. She was clean around the stoppages working hard to extract the footy and ran hard both ways making her presence felt across the field.

#31 Krstel Petrevski

After a quiet start Petrevski came alive in the second half. She had a good passage of play receiving a handball and steaming forward to kick to a teammate in the third term and used her booming kick to move the ball forward on multiple occasions. Her hands in close were also impressive and applied strong pressure across the ground. She was creative with ball in hand and worked hard to move the ball into an attacking position throughout the game.

#41 Georgie Prespakis 

Prespakis continued her dominant form and seemed to have plenty of time and space with ball in hand. Her ability to sidestep her opponents and then dish it off to a teammate was second to none and she consistently pushed hard to create attacking options. She showed good courage to go back with the flight of the ball while second efforts were impressive working hard to try and win the ball back for her side. Prespakis never seemed far from the footy winning plenty of it both at the coalface and across the ground for the Cannons. She read the tap out of the ruck exceptionally well, used her beautiful long booming kick to her sides advantage and provided repeat entries into forward 50. Won a heap of the ball in the third and had an impressive passage of play with a tunnel ball handball while getting tackled out to a teammate in space.

Bendigo 

#1 Maeve Tupper

Tried hard throughout the game to impact the contest. Good read of the flight of the ball to take a big intercept mark in the middle of the ground and propel her team forward, good smother in the second quarter showcasing her ability to track the ball and apply strong defensive pressure on the ball carrier.

#3 Elizabeth Snell

Good clean grab of the footy and pushed hard to move the ball forward. She showed some good evasive skills to break free at the contest and go forward. Snell displayed good vision to hit up teammates in space and identify passages of play. She was not afraid to put her body on the line and go for a big mark against her taller opponent and tried hard throughout game to keep her side in it. She also used her body well around the stoppages to try and out manoeuvre her opponent and get free. 

#4 Brooke Hards 

Made an impact from the get go, tackling hard and was ferocious at the contest. Good read of the flight of the ball and took an intercept mark showcasing her strength. Hards had clean hands at ground level to crumb and then pass it off and tracked the ball well at ground level. She was strong in the contest not afraid to put her body on the line and take a bump. She kept her arms free and dished off a clever handball to a teammate in a better position in the second term credit to her spatial awareness and general footy smarts. Hards also laid some good strong tackles throughout the game.

#19 Jemma Finning

Good lead up at the footy, and well weighted kick to an opponent on the lead in the forward 50 in the first quarter. Her second efforts were good, worked hard to win the ball and had good support run to provide an option for her teammates. She got busy in the second quarter around the contest and was strong to push off an opponent and maintain possession. Finning used her booming kick to propel the ball forward and keep the ball moving in attack. 

Dandenong Stingrays 6.4 (40) defeated Murray Bushrangers 3.9 (27)
By: Peter Williams

Dandenong:

#10 Abbey Jordan

Played on a wing and had some nice plays throughout the game, putting pressure on defenders at half-forward and also getting back to assist at half-back. On a number of occasions, she was able to nullify contests through a quick kick before being tackled or bumped, or was able to impact opposition players while in possession, forcing mistakes.

#12 Molly McDonald

The captain played on the ball and provided good strength at ground level. She continually put her body on the line and while a lot of the good work she did would not find its way onto a stats sheet, her defensive pressure and one percenters were very impressive. She is a team-orientated player and showed good vision on the inside to find teammates free on the outside.

#26 Isabella Shannon

Kicked an important goal in the third term when they needed it, and roamed around the forward half, playing midfield and inside 50. She exited stoppages well, moving around opposition players and was able to get boot to ball while being brought down in tackles. After kicking the goal, Shannon won the next clearance from the midfield and put it inside 50 to a teammates’ advantage.

#28 Tyanna Smith

Smith stood up when it counted late, turning it on with a great running clearance late in the final term, then booted the winning goal coming out of a forward stoppage on the run, negotiating the breeze perfectly. Still had moments of strength and grace throughout the game, but it was the last quarter which stood out.

#31 Brooke Vernon

Played her reliable game in defence, tasked with the kick-outs and pushing up the ground when required. She was able to have a number of forward 50 entries when going inside, and also ran hard to lay a good tackle on the last line of defence in the third term to force a throw-in and save a potential goal.

#51 Zoe Hill

Often rebounded and pushed up the ground to provide an extra number at a contest at half-back. Hill won a number of free kicks for her fierce tackling and was composed under pressure in the back half.

Murray:

#6 Chelsea Hargreaves

The NSW/ACT representative played in defence and was able to move the ball quickly in transition. She showed a nice few quick steps before clearing the ball long and was able to get through a couple of players backing herself in, late in the game but her handball was intercepted. It was still promising to see her take the game on, which she tried to do with another strong run and kick out of defence going long down the field.

#7 Kate Adams

Played a pressure role through the midfield and forward end, just doing team things but chasing opponents and forcing them to dispose of the ball quicker than they would have liked. She took a nice steady mark under pressure at half-back at one stage, and in another instance was able to win the ball at ground level, handball it off and then apply a shepherd for a teammate to run with it.

#8 Abby Favell

Had the ball on a string throughout the game, particularly in the first quarter. Just ran and ran all day long. Not only was her accumulation on point, but her defensive pressure was superb as well. She laid a great goal-saving tackle in the first term and while some of her kicks were intercepted, she followed up with strong second efforts and just kept running, bringing her teammates into the game through handballs. She forced a number of turnovers through her tackling, and also showed off a clean set of heels by sidestepping an opponent at half-back and taking off. Kicked a late goal in the final term after sneaking 20m out from goal, wasting no time slotting the set shot and bring the Bushrangers back within six points. Best afield despite being in a losing side.

#19 Millie Brown

Another standout player for the Bushrangers, what impressed me most about Brown’s game was her last term. While the defence was under siege she was able to maintain her composure and just keep it going forward. She intercepted a number of kicks inside defensive 50 and worked hard throughout the match to keep her team in the game. She would often bring a teammate into the play with one-two handballs, but her interceptions on the wing and long bombs inside 50 were among the crucial plays that kept the game alive for the visitors.

#45 Olivia Barber

Barber is a raw talent that once she can convert her opportunities into goals, it will make her an incredibly damaging. The tall forward works hard for her leads and creates space well, and can also clunk a lot of marks. She just missed some gettable shots, which is something that can be easily fixed, just adjusting the kicking style. Continues to impress and is one to watch as she develops, and more so her field kicking is also sound, so just ironing it out in front of goal.

Western Jets 3.3 (21) defeated Sandringham Dragons 1.3 (9)
By: Peter Williams

Western:

#13 Isabella Grant

Returning to the side, Grant rotated between forward and midfield, having a good battle with Sarah Hartwig early. Both players impressed with Grant winning the battle with her smarts at ground level, while Hartwig impressed with her ability in the air. Grant used her body well around the ground to knock opponents off the ball and give off quick handballs to teammates running by. In one instance in the second term she bumped an opponent away, picked up the ball, spun around and kicked long down the wing. In the third term she had a couple of shots on goal with one fading to the right and the next going to the opposite pocket out on the full. Overall had her moments through the midfield in transition.

#17 Elisabeth Georgostathis

The captain played her usual consistent game coming out of half-back, winning the ball at ground level and looking to run down the middle to get her team forward. She cracked in hard throughout four quarters and showed strength in tackles by getting her hands free. Led the team well and stepped up late in the game to nullify a few contests.

#23 Isabelle Pritchard

A standout for the Jets throughout the game, intercepting inside 50s at will, positioning herself well in marking contests and kicking long to midfield. She laid a goal-saving tackle at one stage close to the boundary line, earning herself a free. Pritchard won a number of free kicks as well for chopping of the arms or holding because of her dominance in defence. She weighed up between pushing up and dropping back, taking a couple of crucial marks late in the game to settle the team.

Sandringham:

#25 Sarah Hartwig

The clear best for Sandringham on the day, Hartwig was ultra-impressive at centre half-back spending time on Isabella Grant and then other opponents while focusing maintaining her line. She copped a knock in the first term on the wing but got up and became one of the Dragons most influential players, winning a number of one-on-one contests by reading the ball in flight well. Such was her impact when she was taken off for a rest last in the third term, Western booted a goal. Had plenty of marks and rebounds as well as one percenters.

#28 Alice Burke

Hunted the football and while she did not win as much of it as she has before, she just kept getting her hands in at ground level and feeding the ball out to teammates. Won a free kick late in the game for being bumped high and kept cracking in with either tackles or hardball gets on the inside of the contest.

#42 Marguerite Purcell

Roamed along the wing and was another player who copped a hard bump early in the fourth term, but returned to play on. She moved well out of stoppages and was able to kick long down the middle, buzzing around the midfield and providing an option for her teammates to run and carry the ball forward.

Greater Western Victoria 3.2 (20) defeated Oakleigh Chargers 2.7 (19)
By: Peter Williams

GWV:

#9 Renee Saulitis

Played a different role to her usual smart forward role many have become accustomed to, but still was able to use her smarts and foot skills to advantage. If anything, she was able to have a greater impact on the contest because of her footy IQ and ability to dish off the ball quickly under pressure. She uses the ball well and one of her best moments was actually a defensive one – laying a run-down tackle on Mimi Hill on the wing, earning a free kick.

#10 Ella Wood

Spent time off half-back and pushing up through the midfield, Wood was strong throughout the four quarters with her defensive work and hard running. She forced a number of turnovers and pushed up to win the ball and bring teammates into the game, working well with a one-two handball combination with a teammate on the wing in the second term as an example of where she was able to get the ball moving forward. Was involved in the final goal with good strength at the stoppage.

#24 Sophie Molan

Never plays a bad game and Molan just kept consistent throughout the four quarters, booting the opening goal of the game and winning the footy at will. She missed a snap on goal initially but made up for it with a goal on the run, and then spread around the ground providing good strength at ground level or in the air. Molan executed the perfect handball out of the stoppage to Lilli Condon for the winning goal in the final term.

#30 Nyakoat Dojiok

One of the Rebels best, providing run and carry across the ground from half-back to the wing. She primarily was stationed on the wing and was often used in transition. On some occasions she might have done a bit too much, but she was still able to get the ball free even when under pressure. Most promising sign was the fact she continually tried to break the lines and create something for the Rebels and her burst of speed worried the opposition. Also has quick hands and was able to dispose of the ball quickly when being tackled.

#35 Maggie Caris

Provided her midfielders with first hands more often than not continuing her good season. What separates Caris from many other rucks is her cleanliness at ground level, and her ability to control the ball once in her hands. She is a one-touch player and has a long kick that can hit targets.

Oakleigh:

#1 Gemma Lagioia

The silky midfielder showed off her slick skills primarily off half-back, winning the ball and then executing 45-degree kicks opening up angles and avenues for her team to go forward. While the game was scrappy at times, Lagioia was able to add a touch of class with her foot skills and hit-up targets repetitively and keep the ball moving. She was also not afraid to take the opposition on, sidestepping an opponent and kicking long to the wing in the second term.

#2 Mimi Hill

Worked hard for four quarters and was influential early pushing up the ground and getting some important inside 50s for her teammates. Provided an option in the back half of the ground, combining with Lagioia at one stage, getting the ball forward. Hill had a flying shot on goal in the second term but just missed to the right while on a tight angle.

#8 Alana Porter

One of Oakleigh’s best throughout and just missed out on finishing off in front of goal. Kicked a major from a set shot, but missed a couple of opportunities to add to her tally in the third term. Not only did Porter use her trademark burst of speed to good effect, but she also applied plenty of defensive pressure, laying some big tackles and bumps on opponents to force turnovers. When tackled herself, Porter stood up in tackles and was able to get her hands free.

Geelong Falcons 0.7 (7) defeated by Northern Knights
By: Michael Alvaro

Geelong:

#1 Elise Vella

It was not Vella’s most productive day as the Falcons struggled for goals, but the diminutive forward took on her usual role of creating pressure around the contest and looked dangerous forward of centre. Had a nice passage where she took her opponent on and carried the ball through the middle of the ground, and also spent some time in the midfield during the second half.

#8 Paige Sheppard

Was in the thick of everything early, proving Geelong’s most productive player at stoppages and in the game overall. Sheppard accumulated a good amount of ball and tried her best to push the Falcons forward, but often saw her kicks smothered or compensated for distance given the wealth of contested situations she found herself in. Was particularly impressed with her combativeness, and Sheppard looked unfazed in physical battles against much taller midfield opponents.

#12 Laura Gardiner

The middle-ager was outstanding in one of her better performances for the year, and was one of the few Falcons midfielders to show composure in heavy traffic. Often a damaging driver forward on the outside, Gardiner won a fair amount of the ball at stoppages around the ground and looked to weave her way out of trouble instead of blazing away. While that inevitably happened at times anyway, Gardiner has plenty of time to refine her already strong skill base.

#18 Darcy Moloney

Moloney was one who seemed to struggle at times amidst the Knights’ pressure around the ball, but dug in hard as she typically does. Could have had a better return had she not missed a tough snapped chance, with some of her second half minutes spent inside the forward 50. Was often swamped when in possession, but showed good strength in tackles trying to break away.

#21 Abbey Chapman

Chapman stood up in an under-siege defence, providing a cool head and cutting off as many Northern forward forays as she could. Showed her high-level reading of the play with a couple of nice intercept marks, and backed them up with neat kicks and sharp decision making. While the ball often came right back, Chapman was hardly beaten one-on-one despite Northern finding most of their goals from marks at close range.

#24 Mia Skinner

Often the leader of Geelong’s attack, Skinner was quelled well by Northern defender Sarah Sansonetti. Playing as a lead-up centre half-forward, Skinner’s effort could not be faulted as she worked her opponent over with runs up to the wing and then hard back towards goal. Missed a couple of difficult chances in the first half which would have really boosted Geelong’s chances of staying in the game, but is usually a clinical finisher.

#38 Lucy McEvoy

McEvoy was central to coach Jason Armistead’s heavy shuffling of the magnets – starting off half-back, moving into the midfield as the Knights got on top, and then being thrown forward at the start of the last term as Geelong looked to find her with the first clearance for a quick goal. Used her long and penetrating kick to good effect from defence to rebound, and played the role of a general well. Her overhead marking was also outstanding, and probably would have stood out more if it was not so expected of her. Most of them came as McEvoy positioned herself a kick off the ball when it was inside the Falcon’s forward arc, with her attempt against two Knights opponents in the second term the best of the lot. Continues to show she can play anywhere, and is a true leader in that sense as she can sacrifice her own game for the benefit of the team.

#39 Renee Tierney

Had some really impressive moments across the match, but was ultimately unable to find the goal as she often does. Her best chance was a stray snap, but a lot of her possessions were found up the ground as she looked to work with Skinner as a link forward. Tierney’s clean hands both overhead on leads and below her knees at speed were fantastic, and allowed the Falcons to create chances to move forward quickly with much of the game played in dispute. Showed good defensive intentions with a crunching tackle on Northern’s Gulia Ceravolo in the final term which unfortunately ended the match.

Northern:

#3 Nell Morris-Dalton

Morris-Dalton was a force inside 50, playing one of her better games for the year. The key forward booted the first goal of the game after a one-on-one mark, setting the tone for a game where she intelligently found space inside 50 and worked hard to do so. A couple of impressive loose ball gets allowed Morris-Dalton to find Alyssa Bannan inside 50 just as impressively, and she picked out targets well to give Northern good looks at goal.

#6 Alyssa Bannan

Bannan was another Knight who proved dangerous in the forward half, and benefitted from the smart work of Morris-Dalton to combine for Northern’s second goal in the first term. Bannan was persistent around the contests early on and tackled hard, but proved most damaging when the ball was delivered to her over the back as she streamed forward and delivered inside 50. Could have added another goal in the third term but missed on the run in an otherwise impressive performance.

#14 Jess Fitzgerald

Like Bannan, Fitzgerald was fantastic going forward with lightning runs to set the Knights into attack. Seemed to be doing everything right early on with a neat kick and an overhead mark on the forward 50 arc both catching the eye. Fitzgerald continued her form in the second term with a clever passage to combine with Britney Gutknecht, and pressed to find the goals with multiple snaps from deep in the pocket either falling short or missing to the narrow side. She managed to find the big sticks in the third quarter with a set shot conversion, and her best moment came with a weaving break through three opponents through the middle of the ground to cap off a promising display.

#18 Sarah Sansonetti

Fulfilled one of the most important roles for the Knights, wearing Mia Skinner like a glove in a fantastic defensive effort. While her kicking at times was a little off, Sansonetti was hardly beaten one-on-one and looked a force in the air as she chimed in with spoils and contested marking attempts. In one of the best plays of the game, she laid a crunching bump on Paige Sheppard to force a spillage and followed up by winning the ball to the applause of her coaches on the bench.

#21 Ellie McKenzie

Named the Knights’ best on the day, and it is hardly any wonder why. McKenzie was a step above with her decision making and ability to remain composed on the ball, finding targets by hand and foot with ease. While constantly looking to wheel onto her left side could have sold her into trouble, McKenzie was good enough to bide her time and escape being caught. Playing through the midfield, perhaps the most pleasing part of McKenzie’s game was her physicality – as she laid a huge bump off the back of her own kick forward, as well as another on Poppy Schapp which unfortunately saw the diminutive Falcon forced off through injury. Scary to think McKeznie has another year left in the system, and showed she can dominate in the middle just as much as she does up forward.

#22 Britney Gutknecht

Employed in the midfield for much of the game, Gutknecht looked like having a big one after winning a running clearance at the very first centre bounce. While her output was slightly down across the day, Gutknecht had some good moments and managed to find the ball around the ground. She often looked to take the game on, but sometimes came unstuck in the back half when playing on after marks – which could be a product of her natural forward tendencies. Almost took a courageous mark late on, with the impressive effort catching the eye as the result was beyond doubt.

#23 Gabby Newton

Newton was productive as ever through the midfield, providing a point of difference in the frantic opening stages with calm use at the stoppages and impressive moves through traffic. Newton often handed the ball out effectively to her outside runners, and while she overdid it at times, was great to watch as others blazed away by foot. Much like McEvoy did for the Falcons, Newton positioned herself a kick off the play while the ball was disputed inside either 50 arc, taking a couple of high marks as she so often does. Newton’s understanding of the game was on full show in such positions, and she played a huge part in not allowing Geelong clean inside 50 entries.

In the other game over the weekend…

Gippsland Power 2.1 (13) defeated by Eastern Ranges 9.10 (64)

Gippsland:

#8 Chandra Abrahams – Named in the best laying five tackles from eight disposals and continued her strong defensive pressure.
#9 Maddison Shaw – Again busy through the midfield and getting back in defence with 13 disposals, two rebounds and six tackles.
#12 Megan Fitzsimon – Named best by the Power for her 16 disposals, six tackles and four rebounds.
#26 Grace McRae – Had 17 disposals, two tackles and three rebounds in a hard working effort.

Eastern:

#26 Tarni Brown – Classy with 24 touches, eight tackles and seven inside 50s, pumping the ball long and setting up her teammates while finishing with a goal.
#33 Tess Flintoff – Returned and was impressive again with 21 touches, seven marks, four tackles and four inside 50s.
#39 Laura McClelland – Named among the best again with 12 disposals, two marks and five tackles in the win.
#46 Serena Gibbs – Had seven shots on goal, booting 3.4 from 18 disposals, six marks and six inside 50s, while also having five hitouts in the ruck in another impressive performance.