Tag: camilla taylor

NAB League Girls Round 4 preview: Unbeaten sides to go head-to-head across Super Saturday

NAB League Girls action is back for a second consecutive week – unfortunately for the first time this season due to the Victorian snap lockdown – but it provides teams with a couple of instant classics, as well as sides that are battling for their first wins of the season.

EASTERN RANGES vs. GEELONG FALCONS
Saturday, February 27 @ 10.30am
Kilsyth Recreation Reserve

Two unbeaten sides go head-to-head in the early Saturday morning game when Geelong Falcons travel east to take on Eastern Ranges at Kilsyth Recreation Reserve from 10.30am. The Falcons are coming off back-to-back wins over Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels and Bendigo Pioneers in the opening rounds, while the Ranges put Gippsland Power to the sword last week with a record-breaking 114-point win after getting past an inefficient Western Jets in Round 1. Both these sides come into the game as two of the most in-form teams which spells the potential for a classic.

The Ranges’ midfield is a real strength with the likes of Bridget Deed and Olivia Meagher providing inside contested grunt work, and the class of Jorja Livingstone on the outside providing the run. Inside 50, Alyssia Pisano has become a revelation with four goals last week following a promising Round 1 debut, and the bottom-age prospect is shaping as a top-end talent for 2023. Georgia Campbell was outstanding in her effort against Grace Matser last week, and will look to hold down the fort again coming up against Keeley Hardingham of the Falcons, whilst Geelong have a number of inside midfielders themselves with Tess Craven, Poppy Schaap and Charlotte Simpson always having a crack in there.

Up forward, Renee Tierney has already kicked six goals in two games, with captain Lucy Were, and the dynamic Gabbi Featherston capable of anything when inside 50. It will be up to the Ranges’ defence to try and contain the Falcons forward six, with Cadhla Schmidli and Mia Busch having promising starts to the 2021 season. Annie Lee and Elizabeth Dowling up the other end have been impressive at flanking Mia Van Dyke to be a dominant half-back line, intercepting nearly anything that comes their way. The Ranges will need to be smart with their ball use, and pinpoint their passes inside 50 to ensure the best efficiency going forward.

The game is neck and neck, with the Final Siren podcast team split, with Geelong marginally ahead 2-1 in the tipping, though it genuinely could go either way.

 

GIPPSLAND POWER vs. NORTHERN KNIGHTS
Saturday, February 27 @ 11.30am
Ronald Reserve, Morwell East

Two sides looking for a big effort are out at Morwell East when Gippsland Power heads back home to host Northern Knights. It will be their first game at the venue this season following the Round 2 home game with the Eastern Ranges being flipped around and played at Kilsyth Recreation Reserve instead. The Power will be looking to put in a more competitive effort in Round 3 after a 114-point defeat at the hands of Eastern Ranges last round, and will look to do it against a Northern Knights side that looked pretty good against Sandringham Dragons in Round 3. The Knights were blown away by Oakleigh Chargers in Round 1, but responded last week, and Gippsland will look to do the same in this clash.

The Power have a strong inside midfield group, led by Grace McRae who is a natural ball-winner. She will need to lead the way with hard ball gets against a Northern side that feasted on it last week thanks to the work of Maeve Chaplin. Lily-Rose Williamson is another inside body that will help extract the ball from the contest, whilst Matilda Van Berkel can play anywhere from midfield, ruck to key position and was the main interceptor in defence last week. Sunday Brisbane and Yasmin Duursma are happy to run the ball forward and that is where the Power can take advantage, with the Knights missing AFL Women’s Academy member Maykaylah Appleby from the clash.

Matser has a chance to take control in the ruck with dominant hitout specialist Georgia Kitchell also missing the game, though the Knights have plenty of depth to step up. Ella Smallacombe and Megan Girolami were busy last week combining for five goals, and the likes of Van Berkel, Holly Booth and Courtney Fletcher will have their work cut out for them. Expect Tarrah Delgado to continue her form and be a rock in defence, while Brooke Plummer will step up to bring that outside run on a wing and become the key playmaker in the match.

Northern are favourites after last week’s effort, but missing a couple of key personnel could make it a little tougher, but should still get the job done. Gippsland have the strengths to match it with Northern on the inside, with the battle between McRae and Chaplin the highlight.

 

MURRAY BUSHRANGERS vs. WESTERN JETS
Saturday, February 27 @ 12.15pm
Cathedral College, Wangaratta

Up north, Murray Bushranger host Western Jets in a battle of two winless sides looking to get on the board in season 2021. The Bushrangers went down to Bendigo Pioneers in the opening round, then lost out to GWV Rebels in Round 3. The Jets were unlucky not to capitalise against Eastern Ranges in Round 1, before just falling short against Dandenong Stingrays in Round 3. Heading into this game, the Jets will be keen to make almost-there become success.

Grace Hay returns for the Bushrangers having to juggle her football and netball commitments which immediately strengthens the Bushrangers’ back six and provides another strong ball user out there. She will team up with a half-back line featuring the strong hands of Molly Kennedy – due for a great battle with Jets’ Caitlin Sargent – and Chloe Locke who both can provide some offence to go with their defensive work. Mindy Quade at full-back is another strong player who can win one-on-ones regularly, and use her powerful boot to clear the area. Going head-to-head with Jemima Woods, the Bushrangers’ talls will need to quell the Jets’ targets inside 50.

Two of the more in-form wings could go head-to-head in Charlotte Baskaran and Aurora Smith, with both having outstanding games in the opening two rounds. Montana Ham and Keeley Skepper are two of the most promising prospects for next year and will likely lock horns in the midfield, while Krystal Russell will look to take full advantage in the ruck with Bushrangers’ AFL Women’s Academy member Ally Morphett out. The Bushrangers still have scoring options in the likes of Kristy Whitehead and Sophia McCarthy, while Kate Maxwell and Laura Elliott were good in defence last week.

The Jets are favoured in this contest, but some of the one-on-ones should be fantastic to watch.

 

BENDIGO PIONEERS vs. CALDER CANNONS
Saturday, February 27 @ 12.30pm
Epsom Huntly Reserve

From two winless sides to two with a 1-1 record, Bendigo Pioneers host Calder Cannons in a much anticipated Round 4 matchup. The Cannons were arguably the team to beat given their two AFL Women’s Academy members and host of likely Vic Metro talents, but were just outclassed by an incredible Oakleigh Chargers outfit last week, after knocking off Sandringham Dragons in the opening round. Bendigo took out Murray Bushrangers in the opening round, but then suffered defeat at the hands of Geelong Falcons in Round 3, so will be looking to make up for that loss with a huge scalp here.

Tara Slender returns from a concussion precaution that kept her out of the Pioneers’ Round 3 loss, and will play a crucial role at centre half-forward. It forces one of Neve Crowley or Kasey Lennox to make sure she has a close-checking key defender on her, with Tegan Williams seamlessly slotting into Slender’s role up the opposite end of the ground. Bottom-ager Lila Keck, as well as top-ager Lily Den Houting have been named inside 50, and could provide scoring options for the home team. Meanwhile up the other end, Alisa Magri and Jessica Zakkour could be targets inside 50 for the Cannons.

The ruck battle between Madeline Marks and Peppa Poultney will be a fascinating one, with the Pioneers midfield getting a huge challenge to try and contain the Cannons’ onball group. Georgie Prespakis and Zali Friswell will head in with Emelia Yassir this week, while Elizabeth Snell and Jayda Richardson will line up with Chantelle Mitchell to try and take control in there.

The Cannons will go in as strong favourites, but the Pioneers are back to full strength with Slender returning, and if they can get on top in the midfield, anything is possible.

 

TASMANIA DEVILS vs. OAKLEIGH CHARGERS
Saturday, February 27 @ 12.30pm
Twin Ovals

After missing out in Round 2, Tasmania Devils return to Twin Ovals for their first home game of the year. They take on Oakleigh Chargers who 12 months ago, took them to pieces in a triple-figure victory on the Apple Isle. Fast forward to 2021, and the Devils are a stronger, more cohesive unit that are coming off an impressive 12-goal win over Gippsland Power in the opening round. Oakleigh Chargers are a different group altogether and right now the benchmark of the competition, which gives Tasmania a great chance to measure themselves against the top team.

The Devils were able to have high efficiency going forward in Round 1, with Amy Prokopiec slotting four goals – including two in the first quarter – against the Power, while Amy Bissett also nailed a couple of majors. Having Charlie Vandenberg take the first ruck spot has enabled Camilla Taylor to be another target inside 50, while the midfield group of Perri King, Ella Maurer and Claire Ransom was terrific against the Power. Now they meet the most dominant group in the league, with Charlie Rowbottom, Amanda Ling and Eliza James on-ball, and Stella Reid tearing it up on the the outside.

Tasmania will need to ensure the Oakleigh midfield does not get off the chain as the Chargers can score quickly and heavily when given the chance, especially with Jemma Rigoni and Ameille Smith being targets inside 50. Charlotte Thomas and Candice Belbin are some of the defensive options back there for the Devils, whilst up the other end, Brooke Vickers has been a source of run and carry for the Chargers. If Oakleigh can get the ball forward, they have an abundance of smalls running around at the feet of the talls, such as Taylah Morton who could hit the scoreboard.

Overall, the Chargers have passed every test thrown at them and deserve to be overall favourites. The key to this game is seeing how much the Devils have progressed in 12 months, and if they can cause a huge boilover in front of their home fans.

 

GREATER WESTERN VICTORIA REBELS VS. DANDENONG STINGRAYS
Sunday, February 28 @ 11.30am
MARS Stadium

The standalone Sunday game is a must-watch, with the GWV Rebels sitting 1-1 and the Dandenong Stingrays 1-0 after a delayed entry into the competition. The Stingrays were due to return to the competition in Round 2, but Victoria’s snap lockdown pushed it back a week, where they took care of the Western Jets in a competitive match. The Rebels had a similar clash in Round 1 going down to the Falcons, before they put Murray Bushrangers to the sword in a seven goals to two first half last week at Epsom Huntly, then steadied in the second half to record a strong win.

The Rebels are one of only two sides – with Calder Cannons – that have two AFL Women’s Academy members, and this week Nyakoat Dojiok has been named beside Ella Friend in the half-forward line. With Dandenong’s abundance of strong defenders, it provides the Rebels midfield with another target to use, and Dojiok is more than capable of taking on opponents at ground level. Mackenzie Eardley will have a huge job on the contested-making Friend, while Tahlia Meier works hard both ways and will need to hit the scoreboard whilst being aware her opponent Brooke Smith can do damage the other way. Zoe Hill, Jemma Radford and Jaide Anthony are all capable of intercepting in the back 50, so the Rebels will need to be good with their ball use.

In midfield, Amber Clarke has been thrown there alongside last week’s Draft Central Player of the Week Emily Shepherd, and top-age talent Abbey Jordan. The trio of Paige Scott, Lilli Condon and Crystal Summers worked well for the Rebels in Round 3, and they will lock horns in a fantastic battle of inside midfields. Chloe Leonard is the key for the Rebels off half-back, though Molly Walton has also made a splash for the Rebels in her debut season, and they will have to rebound the Stingrays’ attacks, with Ashleigh Richards one to watch inside 50 who could do some damage.

This is a 50-50 game and both these teams have such a well-balanced list. The Stingrays might be able to get the job done due to their intercepting firepower, but the Rebels have plenty of attacking options. Expect it to be a tough, low-scoring game.

NAB League Girls Round 1 preview: Undefeated 2020 sides to face off in huge round of action

AT least one of the three undefeated sides from the 2020 NAB League Girls season will extend their winning run to 18 months or more, when the competition returns this weekend. Starting tomorrow, the NAB League Girls will have six games across four different venues – including one double-header – in a new footballing landscape for 2021. For Dandenong Stingrays, they will have to tack on an extra week to their extended break that saw the 2020 season come to an unfulfilled end last year, after they were handed the bye. For the 12 other teams, it will be a chance to start the season off on the right note. For the likes of Northern Knights, Oakleigh Chargers and Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels, they look to continue what they started last year, having not lost since 2019, or in the Knights’ case, the 2018 grand final.

Eastern Ranges vs. Western Jets
Saturday, February 6 @ 12pm
Kilsyth Recreation Reserve

In what is officially the first NAB League Girls game in almost 12 months, Western Jets will cross the West Gate Bridge and head down to Kilsyth Recreation Reserve where the Eastern Ranges will be waiting for them. These teams last played way back in Round 4, 2019, when the Ranges easily accounted for the Jets by 43 points. A dominant second half where they booted 6.2 to 0.0 saw them run out 7.4 to 0.3 winners, with Olivia Meagher picking up 17 disposals, three tackles and three inside 50s.

Meagher has been named for the match tomorrow, with last year’s captain to play as a 19-year-old prospect in 2020. She is the only Ranges player from that match to remain on the list, whilst a trio of then 15-year-old talents in Caitlin Sargent, Trinity Skenderis and Jemima Woods – as well as now top-age and over-age talents respectively, Nikita Wright and Ciara Singleton – all remain on the Jets’ list having played in that match.

Looking at the teams, the match will be won and lost in the middle, with the Jets having some great height, whilst the Ranges have speed to burn. That is not to say the respective teams do not have the opposite as well, but they are damaging in their respective areas. For the home team, Jorja Livingstone was a player who really shone last year and is a clean ball user and able to work her way out of stoppages. She will team up with the likes of Meagher and Bridget Deed in the middle, roving Georgia Campbell‘s taps. Up forward, Matilda Hardy, Jade Hutchison and Isabella Khoury are ones to watch, whilst Saskia Nannes will be a potential big improver with more matches after having the season cut short last year.

For Western, their under-age group is brimming with talent, though now with extra experience, Sargent, Skenderis and Woods will be among those to watch. Montana Ham and Charlotte Baskaran present as two of the top 2022 prospects, with Ham’s versatility and size through the midfield hard to match, while Baskaran’s run and carry – as well as her elite use by foot – will provide a one-two punch that is always difficult to combat.

This is a game that could go right down to the wire, and difficult to predict with so many new players, but Eastern might have the upper hand at home.

Murray Bushrangers vs. Bendigo Pioneers
Saturday, February 6 @ 12.15pm
JC Lowe Oval, Yarrawonga

From the east to the far north, Murray Bushrangers will host Bendigo Pioneers in a terrific spectacle for the country regions at Yarrawonga. Both these teams have a talented tall in the AFL Women’s Academy which makes things exciting. These two teams have also not played since March 30, 2019 when the Pioneers – during their most successful season to-date – toppled the Bushrangers by 14 points in Wangaratta.

That day it was Annabel Strahan (now Bulldogs) who had 20 touches, seven tackles, five inside 50s and a goal) and Brooke Hards (17 disposals, three marks, 11 tackles, four inside 50s and three rebounds) who teamed up to cause havoc on the Bushrangers, while Millie Brown (now Geelong) racked up 27 disposals and six rebounds, and Abby Favell (22 disposals, five marks eight tackles, three inside 50s and two rebounds) were the best for the losing side.

A then 15-year-old Ally Morphett had 11 disposals, two marks, 14 hitouts and two inside 50s, with the now AFL Women’s Academy member looming as the key player for the Bushrangers. Bendigo’s Academy member Tara Slender also played in that match, picking up seven disposals and having six hitouts, though the pair are unlikely to spend too much time one-on-one considering Slender will roll through a key position role and Morphett will be one of the dominant rucks in the competition.

Looking at the overall squads, Murray’s defence is strong given the likes of Mindy Quade and Kristy Whitehead provided plenty of run down there – though could be utilised further up the ground this season. Lily Sharp has been touted as one to watch by the Bushrangers’ coaching staff following a big off-season, and Keeley Skepper remains one of Vic Country’s top talents for 2022. Kate Adams returning as co-captain and providing experience and strength in the midfield will also be important.

For the Pioneers, Slender could be the top Vic Country prospect this year and will always be difficult to beat in the air, with the Pioneers’ captain not having to shoulder the ruck load given Madeline Marks‘ efforts in 2020. She will have her hands full against Morphett but it could be a fascinating battle, while Jayda Richardson, and now top-age talents Elizabeth Snell and Jemma Finning provide much needed experience to a really young Pioneers outfit.

Murray is excited about the depth of its squad in 2021, and while the Pioneers have some great young talents coming through, the extra experience for the Bushrangers – and what they started to show last year – should have them favourites at home in Yarrawonga.

Gippsland Power vs. Tasmania Devils
Saturday, February 6 @ 12.30pm
Highgate Recreation Reserve

In a battle between two teams that are building exciting programs, Gippsland Power “hosts” Tasmania Devils at Highgate Recreation Reserve. The furthest south east side travel up the highway to welcome the league’s newest team that only managed to taste one game in Victoria last year. The Devils had a rough introduction to the NAB League Girls competition – though the improvement from their brutal loss to Oakleigh Chargers to being competitive for the most part against Eastern Ranges has plenty of people buoyant about what they could produce in 2021.

These teams have never played before, and both have younger lists, sprinkled with some top-age and over-age experience. Key position players Camilla Taylor and Shanara Notman are the 20-year-old allowances in those sides, and have the size to cause a matchup dilemma for their respective opponents. Tasmania Devils have the sole AFL Women’s Academy member in this match, with the speedy Perri King looking to breakdown the Power’s zones and create some important run and carry for her side.

Aside from King, Amy Prokopiec remains a player to watch, having predominantly played as a last-line defender in previous seasons for the Devils, but became a reliable goalscoring threat in the TSL Women’s for Clarence. Other players who stood out 12 months ago include Jemma Blair, Aprille Crooks, Chelsea Thomas, Zoe Bourne and Meghan Gaffney. Having received an AFL Women’s Draft Combine invite without managing to get on the park in the NAB League Girls, Charlie Vandenberg will get a great opportunity in the ruck and rotating forward with Taylor against one of Vic Country’s top ruck prospects.

Grace Matser is going to be difficult to stop, with the ruck battle set to be a duel within the match not to be missed. As the only Power player above 180cm, she will look to control the airways. The Gippsland midfield has some nice depth to it, with Grace McRae returning to the fold after being unlucky to miss out on the draft in 2020, and will get a good chance to play consecutive games this season. Matilda Van Berkel is another one with experience and able to play a number of roles, while Holly Booth and Sunday Brisbane are among those tipped to cause problems for the opposition. One name to remember for next year is Lily-Rose Williamson who has come through the V/Line Cup program and been one ready to step up at the level.

This game is as 50/50 as they come, so as is often the case in 50/50 games, we will lean towards the “home” team in Gippsland Power, though Tasmania Devils will be keen to sniff out their first win in the competition.

Geelong Falcons vs. GWV Rebels
Sunday, February 7 @ 11am
Deakin University – Geelong

The final country game of the round occurs down in Geelong at Deakin University when the Falcons host the GWV Rebels. Much like the earlier two Saturday games, these two teams last played back in Round 4, 2019, when the Falcons – on their way to another finals series and coming off a premiership in 2018 – defeated the young Rebels by 36 points at City Oval in Ballarat. Luka Lesosky-Hay (31 disposals), Darcy Moloney (23) and Lucy McEvoy (22) all suffered leather poisoning and showed why they were capable of playing at the top level, whilst Nekaela Butler picked up 21 disposals and had six rebounds bravely defending for the home team.

There are a sprinkling of players from that day that remain on the lists in 2021, such as AFL Women’s Academy member Ella Friend, and Chloe Leonard and Crystal Summers (GWV Rebels), and Zoe Garth, Renee Tierney, Poppy Schapp and Elizabeth Dowling (Geelong). Those players will provide great experience for their respective sides in that clash, in what is sure to feature some of the best talent in the NAB League Girls competition.

The Falcons might not have an Academy member, but have plenty of developing young players, with Dowling a presence in the back half but can play anywhere, Annie Lee beside her in defence, Keeley Hardingham controlling the ruck, and Mia Van Dyke a bottom-age prospect who will be one to watch for next year able to roll through the midfield. Geelong has always been a team flushed with depth, and 2021 appears to be the same, with no shortage of talent across all three lines.

Alongside Friend – who will be that taller marking target at half-forward – Nyakoat Dojiok is the other AFL Women’s Academy member on the Rebels’ list. The running defender could start off half-back or roam along a wing depending on the team’s needs, able to add that mix of power and acceleration to breakaway from would-be tacklers. Leonard returns to the club as a new top-ager and one who will settle down the defence, while Stephanie Glover, Lilli Condon and Summers are some of the names to watch in the match.

Geelong have had such success over the past few years, it is hard to look past them at home. The Rebels will provide a great contest, but we will find out where both these teams are at following the Round 1 encounter.

Calder Cannons vs. Sandringham Dragons
Sunday, February 7 @ 11am
Highgate Recreation Reserve

In the first double-header of the year, a star-studded Calder Cannons outfit hosts an ever-growing talent base in the Sandringham Dragons. The last time these two met was in 2019 back in Round 3, as the Cannons went on to make the grand final that year. They only scored two behinds in the first half and trailed by five points at the main break, before booting the last four goals of the game to win 4.8 (32) to 1.3 (9) over the Dragons at Trevor Barker Oval.

Alice Burke (St Kilda) and Sarah Hartwig (Bulldogs) were among the top players for the Dragons, whilst it was Georgia Patrikios (St Kilda) and Krstel Petrevski (Melbourne) who shone from those who have been drafted. Best on ground that day was Georgie Prespakis who lit it up with 23 disposals, three marks, eight tackles, four inside 50s and two rebounds. The now-Cannons captain will look to have an equally big impact this year, while Emelia Yassir, Kasey Lennox, Alisa Magri, Zali Friswell and Neve Crowley are just a handful of the talented names who also played as 15/16-year-old talents on that day.

The Cannons have proven to have such great development over the past few years, and all the above names along with Mali McLeod, Peppa Poultney and Jessica Zakkour makes them a rock solid team across the board. Though their opponents are no slouches either. Back in the 2019 clash, now-captain Kiana Lynch, as well as the likes of Charli Murphy, Summer Trim, Emma Stuber, Isabella Stutt, Ebony Angelopoulos and Chloe Saultry all took to the field, so the Dragons have a core of players with plenty of experience under their belt.

Murphy will provide that marking target up forward, while Lynch will lead a host of bottom-agers with future potential. Bridie Hipwell and Sofia Hurley are just a couple of names who still have another year to go after this one, but are becoming key players in the Dragons outfit going forward. They made great strides last season and play what would be considered the benchmark team in the competition first-up here.

Calder Cannons deserve to be favourites for the overall title, so it is hard to tip against them in any game. The Dragons will be up and about and likely to be among the contenders this season too, so buckle up for an exciting contest.

Northern Knights vs. Oakleigh Chargers
Sunday, February 7 @ 12.45pm
Highgate Recreation Reserve

Wrapping up the weekend might just be the tightest of the lot, with both Northern Knights and Oakleigh Chargers going undefeated last year, and technically the Knights are still the reigning premiers from 2019. Both these sides had a host of players drafted in 2020, with the Knights having the first three Victorian players taken in the draft. These two sides played back in Round 2, 2019, when they played out a thrilling draw in what would be the only match where the Knights did not collect the full points that season.

Future AFL Women’s talents, Ellie McKenzie, Britney Gutknecht, Gabby Newton and Alyssa Bannan were the best for the Knights, while Mimi Hill, Joanna Lin, Alana Porter and Emily Harley all shone for the Chargers. Also playing that day was now AFL Women’s Academy member, Maykaylah Appleby who leads the Knights charge in 2021, with Teleah Smart, Mikayla Plunkett, Jessica Simpson and Tallia Pulcino among the current-listed Northern players running around that day.

Appleby is the one to watch this season, but the Knights have brought back a host of top-age players such as Plunkett, Pulcino, Maeve Chaplin, Trinity Mills and Gulia Ceravolo, so have plenty of experience to guide the next crop of Knights talents. Some names to watch this year aside from the above group with a point to prove are the likes of defender Tarrah Delgado and ruck Georgia Kitchell who showed some promising signs in the short 2020 season.

The Chargers had the likes of Taylah Morton, Kalarni Kearns, Charlie Rowbottom, Eliza James and Emma Chamberlain running around in the draw with the Knights, and have been growing some phenomenal depth of late. Rowbottom is the AFL Women’s Academy talent and if she crosses paths with Appleby, it will provide plenty of highlights. Add in the likes of top-ager Amanda Ling, middle-ager Stella Reid, and bottom-ager Rianna Thiele, and the Chargers have built an exciting list.

Another 50/50 split game that could go either way. It is hard to look past the Knights’ success rate, but what the Chargers were starting to do last year, the depth is among the best going around so Oakleigh could become the first team to knock off Northern in almost three years.

Pressure and development key for Devils in 2021

TASMANIA Devils have a key focus for the 2021 season and that is to be a team that is renowned for their pressure and intensity according to coach and talent manager Cameron Joyce. After only managing to play two games last season prior to the NAB League Girls cancellation the Devils are raring to go and have a real buzz about them.

“We certainly want to be a respected team in the competition. We certainly want to be a team that will go forward with the ball and be able to hit the scoreboard. But at the same time probably a hallmark of our game will probably be our pressure, and the way we are able to apply layers of pressure to the opposition,” Joyce said.

With the season opener around the corner, Joyce highlighted the overall level of enthusiasm amongst the group as they prepare for Round 1 on Saturday and the season as a whole.

“Yeah they’ve been super excited wanting to learn and wanting to improve and we’ve had a really good preseason and yeah just looking forward to getting into it,” he said.

“It’s been a long wait, for staff and players included in terms of the NAB League that you know there was only two games last year for the girls. It’s been a long wait and then you know obviously training in the lead up to it, but I think everyone just wants to get out there,” he said. “Hopefully we’ve done enough work to be able to produce some good football and the girls can play it, the way we want to play but everyone’s just looking forward to playing the game of footy.”

Although pre-season training was hindered due to the COVID-19 protocols – albeit not as tight as Victoria – the Devils still found a way to keep their spirits high and engage in some form of training to iron out any kinks in the armour.

“Yeah, they certainly had a little break off the back of their season at the end of last year,” Joyce said. “We probably had a good month before Christmas and then they had three weeks off and then we’ve been able to build up over the last three or four weeks.”

One of the most promising signs was the Devils ability to get out on the park and enjoy an intraclub match to test out the combinations across the ground and really solidify the unit heading into the opening round of action.

“We had a hitout out on the weekend, which was great and we had an intraclub the week before so we feel like we’re ready to go against opposition and just see where we’re at,” Joyce said.

Tasmania has an “extensive leadership group of eight players” this season showcasing the number of talented players coming through the ranks at the club with the Devils announcing their captain and vice captains in Olivia Smith, Jemma Webster and Jemma Blair respectively.

“We’ve got Jemma Webster, and Jemma Blair both our vice captain’s, Jemma Webster in the midfield, and Jemma Blair across half-back both had good preseasons and Olivia Smith our captain on the wing. “She runs all day and keeps getting the footy so she’s been going well.”

Highlighting pressure as a key focal point for the upcoming season Joyce also expressed his pleasure with the midfield highlighting the depth of the squad and most importantly touted the notion of continued development throughout the Devils unit.

“Our midfield has been has been pretty strong, which is been good so we’re certainly hoping for that just continuous improvement from those players,” Joyce said.

With a number of exciting prospects set to take the field, one name in particular that is gearing up for a big season is Perri King with the AFL Women’s Academy member a lynchpin for the side.

“She’ll (Perri King) probably play predominantly in the midfield this year, but she’ll also spend some time forward as well seeing because she is quite good above the head, in terms of marking ability and we hope she’s going to be able to hit the scoreboard as well when she’s down there, so yeah I think mainly those two roles, for Perri at this stage,” Joyce said.

Ella Maurer is another one that has been performing really well. “She’s another midfielder, she gets a lot of the ball, she’s also been a goal kicker in our games, thus far. “We’re hoping for big, big things from Ella.”

“We’ve got quite an even spread of players that are performing well. “We’ve got a couple of 20-year-old’s that have come back as overagers in Camilla Taylor and Priscila Odwogo. One is playing at one end, Camila’s playing forward at the moment and Priscilla is playing back and both of them are playing good football at the moment.”

The list of players to watch did not stop there with Joyce highlighting the likes of Amy Prokopiec, Charlie Vandenberg and Claire Ransom as some faces to look out for in the upcoming season given their skillset and ability to run all day.

Despite being in another state, travel does not seem to faze Tasmania who are more than up to the challenge given the number of players that travel from all parts of the state in order to play at the top level.

“To be honest, it takes longer in the car to drive to some of those places than it does to fly to Melbourne,” Joyce said. “It is fair to say that the 50-minute plane ride isn’t going to be too much of an issue for the girls and the staff.”

The Devils kickstart their season against Gippsland Power at Highgate Recreation Reserve from 12.30pm.

TSL Women’s Grand Final preview: Launceston vs. Glenorchy

GRAND Final day is finally here and it is an old fashioned north against south clash in the Tasmanian State League (TSL) Women’s when minor premiers Launceston come up against second placed Glenorchy in the decider. It is a different finals series to what these sides are used to, with just the two semi-finals and grand final to determine the premier for season 2020.

LAST SEASON:

These two teams again finished first and second, and clearly too. Launceston (15-0) went undefeated in season 2020, and even won the first final to earn a spot in the decider. Glenorchy (12-3) bowed out in straight sets as a raging Clarence (8-7) came through and trumped both to win the premiership in stunning circumstances.

THIS SEASON:

Launceston (6-2) has earned its place in the 2020 TSL Women’s Grand Final following a strong victory over North Launceston (2-6), whilst Glenorchy (6-2) came from behind in a thriller to edge out Clarence (6-2) and exact revenge on their 2019 finals conquerors.

HEAD-TO-HEAD:

While Launceston did finish on top of the table, they only did so by percentage, with a whopping 307.41 per cent to Glenorchy’s 264.24 per cent, a hair ahead of Clarence (264.08 per cent). It was a strange old season with the Roos defeating Glenorchy twice yet finishing below the Magpies, whilst the Magpies actually defeated Launceston twice, the Blues’ only two losses for the year.

In the first match back in Round 4, Glenorchy booted four second half goals, whilst keeping the Blues scoreless in three quarters to get up and win, 5.3 (33) to 1.1 (7). Eventual competition leading goalkicker, Sarah Skinner booted two majors in the victory, whilst Libby Haines and Kira Maass were the Magpies’ best in the win. For Launceston, Makenna Hillier was the only goalkicker in a rare disappointing scoring effort from the Blues, though Kelsie Hill joined the experienced duo of Daria Bannister and Mia King in the bests.

Four weeks later, Glenorchy repeated the dose, but in a tighter contest. The Magpies trailed by seven pints at quarter time before booting three goals in the second term, and four for the rest of the match, to Launceston’s one, to win 5.2 (32) to 3.4 (22). Skinner was again amongst hte bests despite just slotting the one goal this time, as Molly Mitchell (two) goals was prominent, as was Jemma Webster and Holly Ryan. Bannister was best-on for the Blues with a two-goal effort, whilst Hill and Melissa Smith were also amongst Launceston’s best.

FORM:

Since that loss, Launceston has won its past two games, though in a weird season, the Blues have had three byes in that time. So since the September 5 clash between the sides, the Blues have played just two matches, whilst the Magpies have played one extra game alongside two byes. They come into the game off some hot-form, defeating every team in the competition the past four matches, with their most recent loss coming in Round 7 against Clarence, but knocked off the Roos in the semi-finals last weekend.

KEY PLAYMAKERS:

Sarah Skinner (Glenorchy)

It is hard not to have Skinner high up on the players to stop for Launceston, booting 18 goals in nine games, including two hauls of four goals against Tigers, and a haul of three against North Launceston a couple of weeks ago. Skinner did not hit the scoreboard last week against the Roos, the first time she has done so all season, but her team still got the job done which was important. She has booted three goals in two games against the Blues this season.

Zoie Crawford (Glenorchy)

The former Clarence captain returned to TSL Women’s in a big way this season, switching the red and white for the black and white, and she has certainly been a standout performer. Playing in all nine games, she has been in the best seven times and even booted two goals. Given her ability to beat an opponent one-on-one, and be a reliable player week-in, week-out, she is one that can really create things for the Magpies from the back half of the ground.

Daria Bannister (Launceston)

The experienced Roo at AFL Women’s level has been a class above this season, not too far behind Skinner with 13 goals in nine games. With multiple goals in five games and the versatility to slot in anywhere, she is a terrific player to have in the side, and one that is ultra consistent – having slotted 38 goals in 15 games last season for the Blues. Against Glenorchy she failed to hit the scoreboard in Round 4 but was still impressive, then bobbed up with a best-on effort in Round 8, slotting two goals.

Brooke Brown (Launceston)

Judging from her five-goal haul last week against North Launceston, it does not look like being drafted into the AFL Women’s competition has phased her. The former Launceston Tornadoes basketball player who is in her first TSL Women’s season with the Blues, has been in red-hot form of late. Having booted fur goals in her first six games, Brown booted one goal but was second best-on in the Blues’ win over Clarence a few weeks back, then slammed home five goals in a best on ground performance against the Bombers. The in-form player of the competition.

Others: Haines has been a reliable player all season for the Magpies, showing why she was drafted into the AFL Women’s. Alongside her, Webster and Elise Barwick are always consistent workers, with Mitchell (10 goals) leading Barwick and Tiarna Ford (both nine) in those stakes. For the Blues, King is one of the standout players in the competition, while the likes of Angela Dickson, Hill and Camilla Taylor have been consistent week-in, week-out.

WHO WINS?

This is too tough to call. Glenorchy have found the way to win against the Blues the past two matches, but Launceston have shown to be the best team in the competition. That did not matter last year in the decider, but they did beat the Magpies in the first week of finals in 2019, so will hope to repeat the dose here. Glenorchy are favoured in a tight one, but could go either way.

Picture: Solstice Digital & Photography

TSL Women’s Semi-finals preview: Blues and Magpies host do-or-die matches

THERE is no turning back for any of the four Tasmanian State League (TSL) Women’s sides when the four finalists battle it out in two do-or-die semi-finals. Last year’s runners-up Launceston host the fourth placed North Launceston at Windsor Park, before the classic contest between big improvers Glenorchy and reigning premiers Clarence.

The Magpies have knocked off Launceston twice this season, a feat that they did not manage to achieve last season – nor did anyone until the grand final – and now must overcome a 0-2 head-to-head in 2020 against the Roos to book a spot in the TSL Women’s Grand Final. It will be a tough game to pick with Glenorchy snatching the home ground advantage with a massive 63-point win over North Launceston in the final round, so now the sides will play out at Abbotsfield Park.

Fresh off her leading goalkicker title, Sarah Skinner (18 goals) will be one the Roos need to contain, whilst up the other end, second placed Jessie Williams (17) is a key component of Clarence’s attack. She is one of three players inside the top five for goals however, with Jacinta Limbrick (12) and Amy Edmand (nine) up there, as is Magpies’ Molly Mitchell (nine).

Skinner has been an outstanding force this season for the black and whites, with Zoie Crawford the other one who has caught the eye of coaches, named among the best on seven occasions each. Young talent Jemma Webster has also had a great year, whilst former AFLW player Libby Haines has rebounded strongly through the league.

For the Roos, Nicole Bresnehan provides much-needed experience in the red and white, whilst the likes of Bronte Scott, Limbrick, Amy Prokopiec and Brianna Oates have all had some strong season, with the latter ones impressing beyond their years. Clarence start favourites in this clash given their 2-0 head-to-head record, but expect Glenorchy to bring the heat because the Magpies would back themselves in the decider against Launceston.

Speaking of Launceston, they are heavy favourites to roll through to another grand final when they come up against North Launceston. The Bombers pushed them in the opening round of the season, but have only managed the two wins – both against the winless Tigers – whilst Launceston has only lost to Glenorchy this year. The Blues grabbed the all-important top spot as the top three in the five-team competition were so even, and now have a chance to build some confidence.

Daria Bannister is third overall for goals with 13 this season, and has been amongst the Blues’ top performers throughout 2020. Launceston tend to share the goals around with recently drafted North Melbourne forward Brooke Brown (five goals), Angela Dickson (four) and Meg Sinclair (four). Bannister’s fellow AFL Women’s teammate Mia King has also found herself in the bests on five occasions, with Dickson, Camilla Taylor and Kelsie Hill all making it in four times.

There is no doubt the game is an uphill battle for North Launceston, but the Bombers have nothing to lose, and the likes of Zoe Bourne (five bests), Maggie Cuthbertson (four), Ruby Slater (four), Jodie Clifford (four) and Kayla Sheehan (four) will not shy away from a challenge. They have struggled to score against the big three teams, and will need to conquer that to have a huge upset, but finals footy is a different ball game.

TSL WOMEN’S SEMI-FINALS FIXTURES:

Launceston vs. North Launceston
Glenorchy vs. Clarence

Picture: Solstice Digital & Photography

TSL Women’s weekend preview: Round 11 – Top two battle for minor premiership

THE Tasmanian State League (TSL) Women’s minor premiership will be decided on the weekend when top of the table Clarence locks horns with second placed Launceston in a potential Grand Final preview. Indeed, those teams were last year’s grand finalists, with the Roos upsetting the Blues on the big day after Launceston had gone undefeated throughout the 2019 regular season. Fast forward to 2020 and Launceston got the better of Clarence earlier in the year, but now the stakes are higher with the minor premiership on the line.

Clarence sits four points clear on top of the table, and with both teams playing their last clash, it is a simple scenario. The Roos win and they secure the minor premiership. The Blues win, and due to their higher percentage, grab top spot and cannot be knocked off their perch. Third placed Glenorchy cannot grab top spot regardless of the result, with the Magpies having a bye and then facing North Launceston in the final round. However a Launceston loss would see Glenorchy leapfrog them with a Round 12 victory over the Bombers and gain home ground advantage for the semi-finals.

The winner of the clash not only secures the minor premiership, but will face North Launceston in the first week of finals. The Bombers have been more competitive than last placed Tigers, but there is minimal difference between the top three teams, and second has to take on third in the other semi-final. The last time the teams played, Launceston got up against an inaccurate Roos outfit, 6.5 (41) to 1.6 (12) at Windsor Park.

Abbey Green played what would be her only game of the season, slotting three goals in a best on ground performance, whilst the likes of regular performers, Camilla Taylor and Daria Bannister also slotted goals, as did Sian Beeton. Abbie Hoiberg-Cox and Melissa Smith also impressed in the win. For the Roos, leading goalkicker Jessie Williams booted the only goal of the match, whilst Louisa Marmion, Bronte Scott and Nicole Bresnehan all stood out.

Given Glenorchy is playing North Launceston in the final round, it is the last chance for Williams (16 goals), Jacinta Limbrick (12) and Bannister (11) to hit the scoreboard in the search of the leading goalkicker award. Magpie, Sarah Skinner has slotted 15 goals this season and is a huge chance to take the award if the Blues’ defence can hold the dangerous Williams. Others to watch for from a Clarence perspective are young guns, Amy Prokopiec and Netty Garlo, whilst Mia King and Angela Dickson have also had superb seasons.

Whilst that is the feature game, fourth placed North Launceston takes on fifth placed Tigers in a bottom two clash. For Tigers to get off the bottom, they would need to win by a substantial amount, though a win would close out the season with confidence, The Bombers can head into the final round off the back of a second win this season to try and upset Glenorchy in Round 12.

For the Bombers, the players to watch are Jodie Clifford, Kayla Sheehan and Maggie Cuthbertson who have all stood out this season, with Zoe Bourne another who has found her way into the best on multiple occasions. Hailee Baldwin has been named in the Tigers’ best on five occasions, whilst Mikayla Absolom, Mimosa Middleton Miller and Priscilla Odwogo have also stood out in a trying season for the young Tigers.

TSL WOMEN’S ROUND 11 FIXTURE:

Clarence vs. Launceston
Tigers vs. North Launceston

TSL Women’s weekly preview: Round 8 – Can lightning strike twice for the Magpies?

THE last time Launceston took on Glenorchy in the Tasmanian State League (TSL) Women’s competition, it was the Magpies who caused a boil-over to shock the ladder leaders and premiership favourites. At that stage the Blues had been undefeated, and actually surrendered top spot following the loss. They bounced back by knocking their incumbents Clarence a couple of weeks later and are back on top with a massive percentage of 467.21. The Magpies sit third, with three wins from five games, as the other two wins have come against the bottom two sides in North Launceston and Tigers, whilst the two losses have both come at the hands of the second placed Roos.

Launceston has only conceded a measly 61 points this season, with 33 of those points against Glenorchy. The Magpies were on fire that day, restricting the table toppers to just seven points themselves, when their average score in the five other matches stands at a whopping 55.6 points per game. Neither side will move regardless of result because of the percentage differences in the top three sides, but it would be a huge confidence boosting win if lightning can strike twice for Glenorchy. For the Blues, it is about ensuring they get that crucial win against a team that has a chance of facing them in the final match of the year.

From a Blues perspective, Daria Bannister is the danger forward with nine goals in six games, and named among the best on multiple occasions. Angela Dickson and Brooke Brown have both booted the four goals, while Abbey Green came in for a game and slotted three, the same amount as Meg Sinclair this season. Dickson, Camilla Taylor and Mia King have all being named among the best the most times (four) with the latter two teenagers and capable of something special through the ruck and midfield respectively.

Looking at Glenorchy, Sarah Skinner has double-figure goals to her name and is eyeing off a leading goalkicker award this season with 10 majors, while Molly Mitchell (six), Tiarna Ford (six) and Elise Barwick (four) have been impressive with multiple majors. Skinner, Libby Haines and Zoie Crawford have been the team’s most consistent players throughout the season, named in the best four times from a possible five games, and with a game in hand, will put themselves in a great position to edge closer to the Blues on the table.

Launceston will be keen to right the wrongs of its last encounter with the Magpies, but you cannot discount Glenorchy’s ability to cause an upset.

TSL WOMEN’S ROUND 8 FIXTURES:

Launceston vs. Glenorchy

Byes: Clarence, North Launceston, Tigers

Picture: Solstice Digital & Photography

Tasmanian weekly preview: Round 8 – Blues look to atone for Wednesday night defeat

REIGNING premiers North Launceston have joined Launceston at the top of the table in a rare Wednesday night fixture, defeating the Blues to kick off Round 8 last night. The Bombers won by 18 points, defeating the Blues 8.4 (52) to 5.4 (34) heading into a bye, and reversing the result from earlier in the season where the Blues were too strong. In this week’s Tasmanian State League (TSL) weekly preview, we look at the upcoming three games still remaining.

Launceston will have a chance to atone for the loss on Sunday when it takes on Tigers, while the Bombers will earn a nice rest over the weekend. In other matches, Glenorchy and Clarence do battle at KGV, while Lauderdale hosts North Hobart. All four teams are split by just four points in the middle of the table, with Clarence and Lauderdale looking to increase their lead on their opponents to eight points, and sit just four points behind North Launceston. If the Blues win they will go further ahead at the top and regain breathing space over the Bombers, while Tigers are desperate to join the Demons and Magpies on eight points to remain in finals contention.

The key inclusion for the Tigers will be former Gold Coast Suns talent, Mackenzie Willis who joins Kieran Lovell in the yellow and black as they try and overcome what was a flat-looking Blues side off the bye last night. A slow start cost the Kingborough-based side last round and will be hoping to get off with a better one against the ladder leaders who remain contenders, particularly with the likes of Dylan Riley (6 goals) up forward.

For the Magpies, Jaye Bowden has rekindled his best form at times this season, slotting eight goals to be a danger alongside Matthew Joseph up forward, whilst youngster Braidy Simpson has shown he has a bright future. Playing coach Jeromey Webberley is the man to stop in the red and white, leading his young side well with Noah Holmes (five goals), Sam Banks, Darcy Gardner and Oliver Davis all strong performers this season.

Lauderdale finally broke its losing streak last week, and will be keen to record back-to-back wins, with Luke Nelson (seven goals in four games) and Harry Richmond (three in seven) amongst the top goalkickers in recent weeks. North Hobart’s young legs are starting to be overrun, starring down the barrel of a fourth straight loss if the Demons cannot turn the form around here. Nathan Hardy (eight goals) and Jacob Steele (seven) have been strong as key options, but the youth of Jye Menzie (seven) and Patrick Walker (four) have provided good speed and skill around the forward half.

TSL ROUND 8 FIXTURES:

Glenorchy vs. Clarence
Lauderdale vs. North Hobart
Launceston vs. Tigers

Top three battle the one to watch at KGV

A top three battle between second placed Clarence and third placed Glenorchy is the Tasmanian State League (TSL) Women’s match of the round at KGV. With Launceston reasserting itself as the top team in the league, a Clarence side looking to bounce back from its loss to the Blues two weeks ago and coming off a bye, takes on a Magpies outfit that found the winning formula to knock off the Magpies, but went down to the Roos last time these teams met.

The Roos got up by 32 points in their last encounter, but now back home at KGV, the Magpies will be keen to atone. They have strung three consecutive wins together with a bye in there as well, holding the Blues to their lowest score – just seven points – along the way. Sarah Skinner is travelling very nicely for the black and whites, slotting nine majors in four games, named in the best every match, while Tiarna Ford (six goals), Molly Mitchell (five) and Elise Barwick (four) are all impressive. Former North Melbourne youngster Libby Haines, and teenage talent Jemma Webster have also been named among the best multiple times with Zoie Crawford.

The Roos will be keen to double the dose against the Magpies and cement themselves inside the top two with another win here, having only lost to Launceston this season. Jessie Williams was best remembered for her seven snags earlier this year, and has nine for the season to lead her side’s goalicking, while Amy Edmand (seven) and Jacinta Limbrick (five) are both hitting the scoreboard with a couple of four-goal hauls. The experienced Nicole Bresnehan has not missed a beat this season, named among the best in every game, whilst Bronte Scott and Louisa Marmion have both been impressive for the red and whites.

In a battle of Launceston, the top of the table Blues will hope to blow out their already ridiculous percentage of 405.66 and extend the lead they have at pole position on the TSL Women’s table. They take on the fourth placed North Launceston, who boosted their percentage with a win over Tigers, but went down to Glenorchy last week. Prior to their second bye, the Bombers had lost back-to-back games with a low percentage, but are starting to hit their groove. The last time these teams met, Launceston won by 25 points, but restricted its northern rivals to just one behind for the game.

Daria Bannister is leading all-comers for the Blues with seven majors in her five games, including a haul of three snags at Twin Ovals. Abbey Green popped in for one game and a best on ground performance with three goals against Clarence, while Meg Sinclair (three) is also in the top few goalkickers. Over-age tall Camilla Taylor remains one of the ladder leaders’ best this season with four from five bests, the same as young gun Mia King, with Angela Dickson another one performing strongly.

For the Bombers, Maggie Cuthbertson has been a nice source for the goals the past couple of weeks booting three majors, while Hayley Breward has also kicked a couple as the two multiple goalscorers. In terms of their top performers, the duo are impressing this season alongside the likes of Jodie Clifford, Kayla Sheehan, Sophie Farrow and Zoe Bourne who have all made it into the team’s best on multiple occasions.

TSL WOMEN’S ROUND 7 FIXTURES:

Glenorchy vs. Clarence
North Launceston vs. Launceston

TSL Women’s weekend review: Round 6 – Blues and Magpies run away with strong wins

TOP three sides, Launceston and Glenorchy came away with victories in Round 6 of the Tasmanian State League (TSL) Women’s against the bottom two sides as the competition crossed the midway point of the season. The top of the table Launceston was too good for last placed Tigers, winning by 53 points, while third placed Glenorchy put more distance between itself and the fourth placed North Launceston, getting up by 32 points.

In the top against bottom clash, Launceston could not buy a goal in the opening term, kicking five behinds but kept its opponent scoreless to lead by that margin at the first break. They managed to find their range in the second term, booting two straight goals, while the visitors kicked a major to be within 12 points at the main break. It was the second half where the premiership favourites broke away, booting six goals to zero, and having 12 scoring shots to nil to run away and win 8.11 (59) to 1.0 (6).

Daria Bannister continued her impressive season back at state level, slotting three goals in the win as the sole multiple goalscorer. Alongside her, Camilla Taylor and Mia King both slotted goals and were named among Launceston’s best, while Dearne Taylor and Amy Halaby were also among the winning team’s best on the day. Phoebe Parsons booted Tigers’ only goal of the match in the second term, while it was Maci Polley, Hailee Baldwin and Sacha Rival-Quinn who all earned their name in the best for their efforts on the losing side.

In the other match, Glenorchy overcame a first quarter deficit to run out comfortable winners with a strong final three terms. North Launceston looked like causing a stir in the first quarter by kicking two goals to one and leading by seven points at the first break. A four goals to zip second term in favour of the Magpies saw them race off to a 17-point advantage at half-time. From there they held off the Bombers, restricting them to just three behinds in the second half, whilst booting the two goals in the half to make it the final six goals of the game.

Molly Mitchell kicked three goals for Glenorchy, with leading goalkicker Sarah Skinner and Tiarna Ford also kicking two majors apiece for all multiple goalkickers. Libby Haines was terrific in the win for the black and whites, while Skinner, Kira Maass and Jemma Webster were all named among the bests for the winners. Bonnie Farrell and Maggie Cuthbertson both kicked goals for the Bombers, while Sophie Farrow, Hayley Breward and Kayla Sheehan were all amongst the top players in the side.

TSL WOMEN’S ROUND 6 RESULTS:

Launceston 8.11 (59) defeated Tigers 1.0 (6)
Glenorchy 7.6 (48) defeated North Launceston 2.4 (16)

Picture: Solstice Digital & Photography

Tasmanian weekend preview: Devils galore at North Hobart

IN this week’s Tasmanian State League (TSL) weekend preview, we take a look at a couple of head-to-heads across the weekend as the six sides go at it through the midway point of the season. The match of the round should be the battle between third placed North Hobart and fourth placed Clarence, two sides that clearly have ability, but being young they have not had the consistency thus far in season 2020.

They are among four sides sitting on two wins from five games, with the others being Lauderdale and Glenorchy who take on last placed Tigers and second placed North Launceston this weekend. The round also marks a fully completed half of the season with all seven teams having had a bye to-date as Launceston sits out this weekend. It is fair to the say the Blues will be happy with their season thus far despite dropping their first game last week in an odd 17-16 loss, but have enough percentage to ensure North Launceston do not catch them. The top two sides are sitting pretty at the top of the table, while at the other end, Tigers will be desperate to win their second game in three weeks and level up against at least three other sides.

FEATURED MATCH: NORTH HOBART VS. CLARENCE

The Demons will want to quickly put behind them their loss last week, which saw them kick their first goal in the third term. They fought hard at the end in trying conditions, but ultimately were too slow to start. Clarence has had an up and down year, dropping its first game, then smashing Glenorchy, and going down in a tough loss to the reigning premiers. The last two weeks got even stranger, belted in the first half against a winless Tigers side to lose by 15 points, then toppled the undefeated Launceston last week in a two goals to one victory.

H2H: Patrick Walker (North Hobart) vs. Sam Banks (Clarence)

These two will not necessarily line-up on one another, but both have played wing roles in the past few weeks throughout games, which means it could be an all AFL Academy head-to-head at North Hobart Oval. Walker is more of a half-back who can play up on the wing, whereas Banks can do his best work forward of the ball setting up nice plays.

Banks has the extra athleticism and skill that helped him earn All-Australian honours at the Under 16s National Carnival as well as taking home the prize as the Most Valuable Player (MVP). Walker was one of Tasmania Devils’ most impressive players in his bottom-age year, averaging 5.4 rebounds to go with 16.5 disposals and 3.8 marks.

Round 5 scouting notes:

#48 Patrick Walker

R5 stats: 16 disposals @ 50% (62.5% contested), 2 marks (1 contested), 1 tackle, 1 clearance, 1 rebounds

“While many of his teammates were missing targets early in the wet conditions, Walker was using the ball well and showing clean hands off the deck… Walker showed composure under pressure and while he made the odd mistake in the wet conditions after the opening term, was still able to show good recovery on the wing when knocked off the ball at first in the third term.” – Peter Williams

#23 Sam Banks

R5 stats: 14 disposals @ 85% (31.3% contested), 2 marks, 3 tackles, 1 clearance, 3 inside 50s

Just like last week Banks began as an outside midfielder, and came to life late in the first quarter grabbing a few possessions out of the contest. While this game he may not have provided anything special for the highlights reel, he showed good vision when he had the ball linking up to multiple scoring chances. He has a good eye for a mark, goes to the contest quickly and even gets the ground ball out in a fast manner.” – Fraser Stewart

[ … FULL SCOUTING NOTES … ]

In other matches, Jackson Callow‘s North Launceston will hope to draw level with top of the table Launceston which is achievable with a win over Glenorchy. The key forward had 13 disposals, three marks – one contested – two inside 50s and two rebounds last week, spending time at both ends of the field to showcase his versatility. He tackles a Glenorchy team that will be buoyant after a win in the wet over the Demons in Round 5, and while he might only be 15-years-old, Braidy Simpson showed he is not afraid to show what he has through the midfield with 12 touches, three marks and three inside 50s.

Meanwhile, Tigers can bounce back from last week’s loss with a win against the out-of-form Lauderdale. The Bombers have lost three on the trot since winning their opening two games of the season, albeit the losses came against the top three sides. Lachlan Gadomski continues to stake his case to be drafted as a 20-year-old, showing off his terrific athleticism in defence on his way to 13 touches, two marks and three rebounds, with a team-high eight one-percenters. He will look to stop the flow through to the Lauderdale forwards, with former Eastern Ranges’ talent Adrian Kalcovski booting four goals in five games, including a couple of rippers in a fortnight ago.

TSL ROUND 7 FIXTURES:

Tigers vs. Lauderdale
North Hobart vs. Clarence
Glenorchy vs. North Launceston

TOP FOUR CLASH TAKES PLACE AT KGV

IN the TSL Women’s competition, a top three clash headlines the weekend, with third placed Glenorchy up against fourth placed North Launceston. The Magpies knocked off the previously undefeated Launceston two weeks ago before a bye in Round 5, while the Bombers grabbed their first win of the season last round. Now there is plenty on the line with the Magpies able to go four points clear inside the top three, or the Bombers able to level with their opponents with an even keel of 2-2 from four matches.

Glenorchy will go into the game as heavy favourites given their percentage, and the Magpies will be confident they can continue their recent form. If as expected they get up, Glenorchy will be on a three-game winning streak. Sarah Skinner (seven goals), Elise Barwick (four) and Tiarna Ford (four) are all damaging players for the Magpies inside 50, with Skinner also named amongst Glenorchy’s best in every match. The Bombers will be pleased they scored a win last week against struggling Tigers, but now have a bigger challenge against the Magpies. Hayley Breward (two goals) and Maggie Cuthbertson (two) both stood out in the win last week, while Jodie Clifford, Zoe Bourne and Kayla Sheehan are others who have been good this year.

New Collingwood AFL Women’s ruck/forward Abbey Green stood up in her first game of the season for Launceston last week booting three goals in the top of the table clash against Clarence. She will prove a handful for a Tigers side yet to get on the board in what is anticipated to be a one-sided contest. Other AFL Women’s stars who make life difficult for the opposition included Daria Bannister and Mia King, while Camilla Taylor and Angela Dickson have been impressive this year. For the Tigers, youngster Priscilla Odwogo continues to impress, booting a goal last week to join Brooke Phillips and Lilly Ellis in the goalkicking books this season. Odwogo, Mikayla Absolom and Mimosa Middleton Miller have all been named among the best in a tough start to the season for the Kingborough side.

TSL WOMEN’S ROUND 6 FIXTURES:

Launceston vs. Tigers
Glenorchy vs. North Launceston

Picture: Solstice Digital & Photography