Tag: Chantella Perera

2020 AFL Women’s Round 2 preview: Expansion sides to face off as inaugural sides do battle under lights tonight

ROUND 2 of the AFL Women’s is sure to bring plenty of big clashes and ignite old rivalries with Collingwood and Carlton set to do battle on Sunday while Fremantle and West Coast will take place in their inaugural Western Derby.

Friday, February 14

Western Bulldogs v. Melbourne at Whitten Oval, 7:40pm, AEDT

Taylah Melki

With one win on the board each expect a high intensity battle from the opening bounce in search of each teams’ respective second win. The Demons announced themselves to the rest of the competition last round, downing premiership favourites North Melbourne by two points and will be riding a wave of confidence heading into their Round 2 match-up. Similarly, the Dogs inflicted their fair share of pain on newcomers St Kilda with an impressive 25-point win. The Bulldogs were slick from the beginning, exploiting their oppositions’ inexperience and making them pay while the Dees fought hard to just get over the line and set up the makings of what could be a strong season.

After waiting 693 days the return of Daisy Pearce was exactly what the doctor ordered for Melbourne and their fans. The talented midfielder-turned-defender was right back in the mix, throwing her weight around and winning plenty of the pill around the contest, something that was sorely missed last season. Karen Paxman is as experienced as they come, able to sense the moment and have an impact while the likes of Elise O’Dea and Lily Mithen could prove a handful for the Dogs who lost a couple of key players during the off-season. Forward, Tegan Cunningham will be looking to have a big game after failing to trouble the scorers last round, only registering a point. But if Cunningham and Kate Hore get going the two could pose a dominant force inside forward 50, plus throw in the likes of Eden Zanker and the Dees have a lot to work with.

With Katie Brennan and Monique Conti both departing the kennel, the likes of Ellie Blackburn and Kirsty Lamb have taken their game to another level and will be hoping to have the same dominant impact as last round. Blackburn is a class act, able to read the play, apply strong tackles and consistently get involved while Hannah Scott has upped the ante. Number one draft pick Gabby Newton did not look out of place in Round 1 with her contested ball work and cleanliness, but will be keen to prove it was not a one-off with a strong showing against Melbourne. Up forward, Bonnie Toogood will have to deliver for the Dogs if they are to apply scoreboard pressure and get over the line.

Tip: Melbourne by 15.

WESTERN BULLDOGS

B: A.Gogos 36 L.Spark 11
HB: K.Herron 31 E.Gamble 14 N.Ferres 16
C: B.Hunt 21 K.Lamb 27 G.Lagioia 12
HF: G.Newton 5 B.Toogood 8 K.McLeod 6
F: E.Georgostathis 17 D.Berry 7
Foll: K.Rennie 24 E.Blackburn – C 2 A.McCarthy 15
I/C: E.Brown 9 D.Marshall 26 N.Callinan 10 H.Scott 22 A.Van Oosterwijck 28
Emerg: N.Morris-Dalton 25 H.Munyard 20

In: E.Brown, A.Van Oosterwijck
Out: I.Huntington (concussion), C.Moody (ankle)

MELBOURNE

B: L.Birch 9 M.Downie 2
HB: S.Lampard 8 S.Goldrick 23 D.Pearce – C 6
C: S.Heath 30 T.Hanks 28 C.Emonson 11
HF: K.Hore 10 E.Zanker 29 S.Scott 12
F: T.Cunningham 1 A.Newman 16
Foll: H.Cordner 21 K.Paxman 4 M.Gay 3
I/C: G.Colvin 32 C.Sherriff 18 N.McEvoy 17 A.Kemp 36 E.O’Dea 5
Emerg: B.Tarrant 20 M.Guerin 22

In: N.McEvoy
Out: M.Guerin

Saturday, February 15 

North Melbourne v. GWS GIANTS at University of Tasmania Stadium, 3:10pm AEDT

Michael Alvaro

North Melbourne will be looking to make good on a shock Round 1 loss when it hosts the GWS GIANTS in Launceston. Premiership points may soon become a premium for Scott Gowans‘ side as it looks to top a tricky Conference A, and the pre-season premiership fancies will expect to pick up their first set in this clash. But the GIANTS are one of the few sides which can match the ‘Roos for experience throughout their squad, and already ground out a win against league newcomer, Gold Coast in an opening round thriller. While North’s home ground advantage paid dividends in its inaugural season, the GIANTS were already made to endure tough conditions last time out, which should put them in good stead to tackle the often-windy Launceston afternoons. Last year’s result – which swung convincingly to the way of the ‘Roos – will also be in the back of players’ minds, but North knows it cannot take anything for granted.

The debut of Lisa Steane looms as one of the stories of the weekend, with the 24-year-old teacher surprised mid-week with news of her inclusion while working. Steane’s replacement of Ellie Brush in the side is the only change for GWS, with its strong and experienced core remaining for what should be a tough test. The midfield combination of skipper Alicia Eva and young gun Alyce Parker will again look to lead from the engine room, and their work will be cut out for them given the depth and strength of North’s midfield. The Kangaroos have made two changes as Daria Bannister (collarbone) and Bethany Lynch come out of the side for Jas Grierson and local girl, Abbey Green, whose inclusion could free up Emma King to play a more permanent key forward role. It makes the North Melbourne forward line one to behold, with a couple of capable tall targets and the likes of Daisy Bateman and Katlyn Ashmore at their feet.

Given how deep the hosts’ talent runs through midfield and around the ground, they are rightly fancied to bounce back to more typical form. The ‘Roos should also take solace in the feats of reigning premier Adelaide, as the Crows overcame a surprise first round loss in 2019 to go undefeated throughout the rest of the season. While last week’s outcome should drive North Melbourne to better results, the pressure will be on given not many would expect GWS to trouble them a whole lot. Nonetheless, the Kangaroos should fare much better in this clash against a side which looks like battling for mid-conference status, so do not be surprised if a statement is made.

NORTH MELBOURNE

B: T.Randall 16 B.Gibson 18
HB: T.Nestor 24 D.Hardiman 31 A.Gilroy 8
C: J.Trend 21 E.Kearney – C 9 A.Riddell 7
HF: S.Abbatangelo 1 K.Gillespie-Jones 5 K.Ashmore 10
F: E.King 60 D.Bateman 11
Foll: V.Saad 39 J.Garner 25 J.Bruton 35
I/C: E.King 4 S.Wright 17 J.Grierson 19 E.Gavalas 22 A.Green 26
Emerg: M.King 23 B.Lynch 20

In: J.Grierson, A.Green
Out: D.Bannister (collarbone), B.Lynch

GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY

B: P.Randall 21 T.Hetherington 9
HB: R.Beeson 6 L.Stephenson 12 A.Lister 14
C: E.Bennetts 22 A.Eva – C 2 N.Barr 8
HF: H.Zreika 24 C.Staunton 13 J.Hicks 5
F: R.Privitelli 19 I.Nielsen 25
Foll: E.McKinnon 23 J.Dal Pos 7 A.Parker 3
I/C: Y.Bonner 27 L.Steane 20 J.Allan 39 A.Schmidt 11 B.Tully 36
Emerg: T.Mackrill 32 S.Halvorsen 30

In: L.Steane
Out: E.Brush (unavailable)

Tip: North Melbourne by 20 points

Gold Coast v. Richmond at Metricon Stadium, 5:10pm AEDT

Taylah Melki

Two expansion teams are set to face off in an exciting clash at Metricon Stadium, the Suns’ first home game of the season. Both teams will be looking for their inaugural AFLW win, meaning there is plenty at stake for each side. The Suns were highly competitive over the weekend, narrowly edged out by the Giants by a mere one point while the Tigers simply had no answers for the rampaging Blues. Gold Coast went down in trying conditions with rain and wind impacting their ability to handle the ball cleanly and hit the scoreboard. On the other hand, Richmond were simply outclassed – unable to combat the torrential storm that was Carlton credit to their onslaught of pressure in the forward 50. But the girls in yellow and black know how to fight, not willing to be bullied across the field and will be hoping to assert themselves on a relatively young and inexperienced Gold Coast Suns outfit.

Richmond has a plethora of star power across the footy field, none bigger than captain Katie Brennan who has showcased her ability to turn a game on its head. Brennan will have to push up through the midfield, more to give players a chop out and provide added support despite her best work being done inside forward 50 with her leading patterns and strong hands. Full forward Sabrina Frederick could prove to be a handful for the Suns given her strength around the contest and ability to gobble up anything that comes her way while the nifty Monique Conti has shown she is all class with ball in hand, able to hit a target from a mile away. Phoebe Monahan was a ball magnet last round along with Christina Bernardi. The two will have to combine once again if they are to trouble the Suns.

Despite not being top-loaded in a-list class the Suns have a wealth of young up and coming stars that can do damage anywhere on the field. Youngsters in Serene Watson and Ellie Hampson offer plenty of excitement for the Suns’ line-up which could give them that upper hand thanks to their raw talent and unpredictability. Lauren Aherns led from the front last round, recording an equal team-high 15 touches running around ragged and burrowing in hard while Jamie Stanton was strong across the ground for the Suns. Captain Leah Kaslar will have her work cut out for her up against a strong Tigers side.

Tip: Richmond by 5.

GOLD COAST

B: J.Pregelj 42 J.Hickey 4
HB: S.Virgo 22 L.Ahrens 7 S.Watson 14
C: T.Ernst 19 J.Stanton 17 C.Hammond 29
HF: P.Parker 1 K.Surman 26 L.Kaslar – C 11
F: E.Hampson 21 B.Perry 16
Foll: L.Bella 2 J.Yorston 5 H.Dunn 24
I/C: J.Hewett 20 M.Ritson 12 S.Riley 8 D.Heslop 25 K.Howarth 23
Emerg: T.Thorn 15 T.Groves-Little 3

In: E.Hampson
Out: A.Hamilton

RICHMOND

B: R.Miller 15 G.Seymour 28
HB: S.Sansonetti 18 P.Monahan 2 A.Makur Chuot 34
C: K.Jacques 10 K.Brennan – C 3 H.Burchell 9
HF: S.Frederick 14 C.Wakefield 8 T.Stahl 24
F: L.McClelland 16 C.Bernardi 6
Foll: A.Edmonds 11 M.Conti 4 A.Woodward 13
I/C: L.Tesoriero 7 L.Bailey 12 S.Molan 1 M.Brancatisano 5 G.Campbell 43
Emerg: E.Wood 17 C.Fitzgerald 26

In: G.Campbell
Out: H.Whitford (injured)

West Coast Eagles v. Fremantle Dockers at Optus Stadium 7:10pm AEDT

Peter Williams

The Western Derby is the pride of Western Australia and for the first time ever at AFL Women’s level, the two sides can continue the tradition. West Coast and Fremantle go head-to-head in a Saturday night blockbuster with both teams coming off varying form. Last week, West Coast looked strong up against Collingwood at Victoria Park, booting the first goal and holding the Magpies scoreless in the opening term, before Collingwood took control and ran away comfortable victors in the end. Fremantle on the other hand did finish the job, knocking over fellow finalist Geelong in Western Australia in an effort that saw youngster, Sabreena Duffy win Most Valuable Player (MVP) for the week with four of her side’s six goals in the win. Both in Conference B – the more competitive conference – every win is absolutely crucial and neither side will want to relent against its biggest rival.

West Coast is the new kid on the block and they showed last week that they will be competitive, it will just be for how long. Dana Hooker plays her former side this week and it will unlikely faze the star who booted the club’s inaugural – and in the end, only – goal last week with a clever snap out of the pack. She was simply sensational across the four quarters, while Emma Swanson was also impressive with the pair leading from the front as vice-captain and captain respectively. Mikayla Bowen brought her tackling pressure from the Under 18s up to the elite level, while Imahra Cameron showed she has a nice set of wheels to burst away from stoppages and cause headaches for the opposition. Add in the smooth skills of McKenzie Dowrick coming off half-back and the reliability of Chantella Perera and Talia Radan on the last line and the Eagles are strong defensively. The Eagles have made just the one change for the this game, with the club’s social media coordinator Kate Orme making her debut for the injured Ashton Hill.

The expansion side will need to be strong defensively against a forward line that has plenty of excitement and X-factor, including Roxanne Roux, who showed exactly why she was the first West Australian taken last year with her high leaping and booming kick. She is a franchise player at centre half-forward, and with fellow teenage talent Mim Strom, the Dockers have a couple of gems they can build a side around through the ruck and key forward spots. Also up forward is Duffy who was simply sensational, and Ebony Antonio, who with partner and captain Kara and tackling machine Kiara Bowers rotating inside 50, there is no shortage of scoring options. The Dockers have made two changes for the team in Round 2 with Leah Mascall and debutant Bianca Webb coming in for Steph Cain – who unfortunately did her anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) – and Mia-Rae Clifford. The question this season will be around the Dockers’ defence given the young rucks have already earned their stripes, but against an Eagles side still looking to gel, they should be able to contain their yellow and blue state-based rivals. In order to win they will want to shut down Hooker and restrict the flow forward while putting plenty of pressure on the opposition defence. Given many of the Eagles have come from the Dockers, the remaining Fremantle players would love nothing more than to get one-up on them early in the season and it will likely happen.

Tip: Fremantle by 35.

WEST COAST

B: C.Perera 27 T.Radan 26
HB: B.Smith 14 S.McDonald 35 M.Dowrick 5
C: M.Collier 8 I.Cameron 19 N.Kelly 12
HF: A.Atkins 9 K.Gibson 2 M.Bowen 1
F: G.Kelly 15 D.Pisconeri 11
Foll: P.Laurie 25 D.Hooker 17 E.Swanson – C 13
I/C: T.Tester 23 C.Guard 4 H.Bullas 24 B.Devlyn 7 K.Orme 32
Emerg: E.Bonser 6 C.Davidson 33

In: K.Orme
Out: A.Hill (knee)

FREMANTLE

B: J.Cuthbertson 29 L.Pugh 32
HB: A.Stannett 24 E.Gooch 8 L.Mascall 14
C: L.Rohde 11 H.Miller 19 J.Stewart 7
HF: E.Antonio 12 R.Roux 17 S.Duffy 6
F: G.O’Sullivan 22 G.Houghton 27
Foll: M.Strom 21 K.Bowers 2 K.Antonio – C 15
I/C: K.Flood 44 B.Webb 26 P.Seth 18 K.Grieve 13 A.Sharp 1
Emerg: E.O’Driscoll 3 M.Clifford 4

In: L.Mascall, B.Webb
Out: S.Cain (knee), M.Clifford

Sunday, February 16

Geelong Cats v. Brisbane Lions at GMHBA Stadium, 1:10pm AEDT

Peter Williams

This Conference A clash on Sunday looms as one of the more intriguing contests of the weekend. The teams head into the match with differing results from Round 1, as Brisbane toppled the Crows at home while the Cats fell to a Duffy-inspired Dockers outfit in the west. Heading into the clash, Geelong will start favourites against the current conference leaders, playing at home and with more experience in the line-up. For the Lions, they have youthful excitement about them and will worry a few teams. They will not win every game in the manner they did in Round 1, but you get the feeling they will push most teams and show that they are building something special for the future.

The Cats have not had to make any major changes to its line-up that fell to the Dockers last Sunday evening, bringing in Rene Caris and Maddy Boyd to their extended squad. Last week it was the developing midfield of Olivia Purcell and Rebecca Webster, teaming with fellow 19-year-olds, Sophie Van De Heuvel and Nina Morrison, while Julia Crockett-Grills found plenty of the ball as well. They are still missing All Australian defender, Meg McDonald from their back five, but the Cats have the reliable Mel Hickey and Maddy McMahon helping youngsters Millie Brown and Denby Taylor. Geelong is growing a great culture of youth all coming through together, and with Phoebe McWilliams and Richelle Cranston bringing experience to the forward half, there is a nice balance of talent that should get the job done in this match.

Brisbane does not necessarily have the names on paper that Geelong has, but some of the players will become household names sooner rather than later. Jess Wuetschner is a big loss for the Lions, having been rested after being struck by lightning on the eve of the season. While she got through the first game, the Lions have erred on the side of caution for a game-by-game basis. Coming into the side on an extended bench are Gabby Collingwood, Jordan Zanchetta and Jade Ellenger. Of the trio, Ellenger has played just the two games and is one of a number of teenagers who are in the Lions line-up alongside recent draftees, Lily Postlethwaite and Isabel Dawes, and second year players, Nat Grider and Jesse Tawhiao-Wardlaw. Sophie Conway made a successful return from a long term knee injury last round, and along with Ally Anderson and Emily Bates providing plenty of run and hardness through the midfield. Throw in the impenetrable Kate Lutkins at centre half-back and they have enough about them to worry the Cats.

Tip: Geelong by 15.

GEELONG

B: M.Brown 19 M.McMahon 24
HB: M.Keryk 45 M.Hickey – C 18 D.Taylor 28
C: S.Van De Heuvel 27 R.Cranston 30 N.Morrison 9
HF: J.Crockett-Grills 6 M.Maguire 7 R.Garing 12
F: P.McWilliams 23 J.Ivey 5
Foll: A.O’Connor 14 R.Webster 21 O.Purcell 16
I/C: A.McDonald 3 D.Higgins 2 G.Rankin 10 R.Goring 44 G.Clarke 17 R.Caris 1 M.Boyd 26

In: R.Caris, M.Boyd
Out: None

BRISBANE

B: N.Grider 10 S.Campbell 20
HB: R.Lugg 11 K.Lutkins 13 C.Svarc 25
C: E.Zielke – C 8 B.Koenen 3 S.Webb 4
HF: L.Arnell 16 J.Tawhiao-Wardlaw 30 S.Conway 12
F: D.Davidson 14 G.Bodey 15
Foll: J.Keeffe 27 A.Anderson 18 E.Bates 1
I/C: I.Dawes 17 M.Moloney 28 G.Collingwood 7 O.O’Dwyer 9 L.Postlethwaite 6 J.Zanchetta 2 J.Ellenger 5

In: G.Collingwood, J.Zanchetta, J.Ellenger
Out: J.Wuetschner (managed)

Carlton v. Collingwood at Ikon Park, 3:10pm AEDT

Michael Alvaro

Traditional rivals and Conference B hopefuls Carlton and Collingwood are set to do battle at Ikon Park for a four time in their histories, in what promises to be a test of either sides’ true credentials. Both teams come in having feasted on competition newcomers in their opening fixtures, both running out on home turf in comfortable starts to the season. Bizarrely, last week’s season opener was an away match for Carlton, but the Blues once again hold home status against the ‘Pies in this match-up. While the extended history between these two powerhouse clubs is storied, their AFLW meetings have been much more one-sided – with Carlton taking out all three fixtures but the Magpies getting closer to a win every year. The Blues also fared much better in season 2019, embarking on a grand final run while Collingwood floundered and took out the Conference B wooden spoon. But with marked improvement already shown, Collingwood has the elite talent to take it to the Blues.

Much of the off-season talk and narrative coming in to the match surrounded ex-Carlton skipper and new Magpie, Bri Davey. Unfortunately for both neutrals and ‘Pies fans, the 2017 All Australian is set to miss this game after picking up a lower leg injury in Round 1. Davey’s sole omission opens the door for one of Kristy Stratton, Eliza Hynes, or Ebony O’Dea to enter the winning lineup, which has struggled at times to fill out depth outside of its formidable spine. With Davey out, the emphasis down back will be firmly placed on the pairing of Stacey Livingstone and Ash Brazill, while Brittany Bonnici and skipper Stephanie Chiocci will have to dig in hard to combat a powerhouse Carlton midfield. The ruck battle between Sharni Layton and Carlton’s pairing of Breann Moody and Alison Downie will also be one to watch, with Layton’s ability to provide use to her midfielders potentially key to shutting down a usually dominant Carlton engine room.

Twins Sarah and Jess Hosking will take the field together for the first time this year in navy blue, as the latter slots in on the wing while Jess Edwards and Abbie McKay help make up an extended bench. The Carlton core of Madison Prespakis, co-captain Katie Loynes, Grace Egan, and Georgia Gee remains, while the forward targets of Tayla Harris, Darcy Vescio, and Nicola Stevens should also work to stretch the aerial capabilities of Collingwood’s back five. Round 1 Rising Star nominee Lucy McEvoy is also primed to back up an eye-catching debut performance as part of the midfield-forward rotation, only adding to the hardness of Carlton’s overall unit. The only potential concern for the Blues may come down back as Jayde Van Dyk exits the side through injury, but the half back line of Kerryn Harrington, Lauren Brazzale, and popular mature-age draftee Vaomua Laloifi has already proven solid and will have to be as much against the likes of Chloe Molloy and Sarah Dargan. While this fixture has been somewhat of a mismatch in previous years, the increasing number of intriguing match-ups on across the field suggests this one should be a corker, with the Pies looking to elevate their game against the better-established Blues.

CARLTON

B: G.Pound 6 C.Wilson 20
HB: K.Harrington – C 9 V.Laloifi 8 L.Brazzale 12
C: C.Dalton 15 G.Gee 19 J.Hosking 11
HF: N.Stevens 21 T.Harris 7 L.McEvoy 13
F: A.Downie 30 J.Doonan 26
Foll: B.Moody 16 G.Egan 1 M.Prespakis 4
I/C: S.Hosking 10 N.Plane 32 B.Walker 14 K.Loynes 2 D.Vescio 3 J.Edwards 25 A.McKay 5

In: J.Hosking, J.Edwards, A.McKay
Out: J.Van Dyk (injured)

COLLINGWOOD

B: A.Porter 9 S.Livingstone 12
HB: L.Butler 23 A.Brazill 10 E.Fowler 15
C: S.Rowe 7 B.Bonnici 8 S.Chiocci – C 17
HF: C.Molloy 2 S.D’Arcy 4 S.Dargan 46
F: M.Cann 25 J.Allen 6
Foll: S.Layton 1 A.Sheridan 14 J.Lambert 13
I/C: S.Casey 22 K.Stratton 41 S.Alexander 24 J.Membrey 21 M.Shevlin 35 E.Hynes 11 E.O’Dea 50

In: K.Stratton, E.Hynes, E.O’Dea
Out: B.Davey (shin)

Adelaide Crows v. St Kilda at Hisense Stadium, 5:10pm AEDT

Peter Williams

This is expected to be an exciting show of talent for the future, with one side having been there and done it all – twice – while the other is still looking to find its feet in the new league as part of the expansion. A wounded Adelaide Crows side welcomes back some troops for the Round 2 clash against St Kilda with this match considered a must-win contest for the reigning premiers. The Crows were well beaten by a hungry Brisbane Lions side in Queensland, showing how tight the competition has become. Not even a record-breaking disposal count from Anne Hatchard (35) was enough to help the Crows get up in Round 1, and they will want to get a win on the board before the top sides in their conference get too far away. The benefit for the Crows was that fellow premiership contender, North Melbourne also lost, while last year’s finalist Geelong went down too. For the Saints, there are no expectations on their season with such a young list, but being competitive is the bare minimum expected, and after a nervous first quarter last week, the Saints settled and seemed to match it with the Western Bulldogs for large parts of the second half.

The Crows are still missing a host of names heading into this game led by Erin Phillips and Chelsea Randall – the latter of whom will play no further part in the season – but have brought in a couple of debutants in Caitlin Gould and Montana McKinnon. Gould hails from Glenelg and provides a tall presence up either end, while McKinnon is a dual All-Australian at Under 18s level, and could genuinely start ruck if they required her to. Expect her to spend time as a forward however, a role she played in South Adelaide’s premiership side, while rotating through the ruck and providing some strong contested marking ability around the ground. Ebony Marinoff, Hatchard and SANFL Women’s best and fairest winner Najwa Allen form a strong onball brigade and with former MVP, Courtney Gum in the team up forward alongside Danielle Ponter and Stevie-Lee Thompson, they still have the firepower to get the job done. Sophie Li has also come into the side for the Crows, as the only omission was Rachelle Martin – a top-up player who was brought on due to Adelaide’s expansive injury list.

The Saints have made three confirmed changes, with South Australian Nadia Von Bertouch – missing a return to the state where she captained North Adelaide last season – while Kelly O’Neill and Emma Mackie have been omitted. Coming into the side is a mix of youth and experience with former Collingwood talent, Darcy Guttridge and ex-North Melbourne players Alison Drennan and Courteney Munn named in the extended side. Also in to potentially make their debuts are ruck, Poppy Kelly and tall utility, Isabella Shannon who continue the trend of youth at the club. Georgia Patrikios starred in Round 1 with a Rising Star nomination, and expect her to show just as much excitement out on Hisense Stadium. Teaming up with the likes of Molly McDonald, Nicola Xenos and Tarni White, the youth of the Saints will come good in time. They still have experience on the list, with former Crow Jess Sedunary set to make her return to the AFL Women’s having kicked one of the Saints’ two goals last week. While the Saints have plenty to like, expect the Crows to do enough to win in a tight one, even with a few still out. They are desperate, hungry and at home, so a win is non-negotiable when it comes to their premiership aspirations.

ADELAIDE

B: D.Cox 31 C.Biddell 12
HB: A.Foley 3 S.Allan 39 M.Rajcic 32
C: S.Li 19 E.Marinoff 10 J.Mules 23
HF: E.Jones 2 C.Gum 5 R.Forth 27
F: D.Ponter 15 S.Thompson 14
Foll: J.Foley – C 24 A.Hatchard 33 N.Allen 8
I/C: C.Gould 1 A.Considine 16 M.Newman 17 N.Campbell 20 N.Gore 7 M.McKinnon 21 J.Tabb 28

In: S.Li, C.Gould, M.McKinnon
Out: R.Martin (ineligible)

ST KILDA

B: T.White 29 C.Fitzpatrick 24
HB: H.Priest 14 C.Phillips 35 T.Lucas-Rodd 18
C: D.Guttridge 5 J.Sedunary 10 M.McDonald 1
HF: N.Exon 15 K.McCarthy 9 C.Greiser 17
F: K.Shierlaw 12 G.Patrikios 21
Foll: R.Watt – C 7 O.Vesely 23 R.Dillon 25
I/C: I.Shannon 11 A.Brown 2 C.Munn 13 N.Xenos 27 C.Whitfort 4 A.Drennan 8 P.Kelly 16

In: D.Guttridge, I.Shannon, C.Munn, A.Drennan, P.Kelly
Out: K.O’Neill, N.Von Bertouch (knee), E.Mackie

ROUND 2 TIPS: [Total tips in brackets]

Michael Alvaro [5]: Melbourne / North Melbourne / Richmond / Fremantle / Geelong / Carlton / Adelaide
Taylah Melki [5]: Melbourne / North Melbourne / Richmond / Fremantle / Brisbane / Collingwood / Adelaide
Sophie Taylor [4]: Melbourne / North Melbourne / Richmond / Fremantle / Brisbane / Carlton / Adelaide
Peter Williams [4]: Melbourne / North Melbourne / Richmond / Fremantle / Geelong / Carlton / Adelaide

AFL Women’s Round 1 preview: Four new teams begin elite journey

AFTER nine months of waiting, AFL Women’s 4.0 is here and four more teams enter the fray in a bid to take home the 2020 premiership. Adelaide won its second title in three years last season, with the Western Bulldogs the only other premiership winner in the competition. With the Crows wounded and plenty of movement over the off-season for the four news side – Gold Coast, Richmond, St Kilda and West Coast – this round is set to answer quite a few questions.

Friday, February 7

Richmond v Carlton at Ikon Park, 7.45pm AEDT

Peter Williams

The opening night of AFL Women’s 4.0 is under lights at Ikon Park with a familiar feel, but a bit of a twist. Yet again, Carlton opens the season, but instead of Collingwood (as it was in the first two seasons), it will now be Richmond – mirroring the AFL Men’s competition season opener. A lot can change in 12 months, and this time last year Carlton was coming off a wooden spoon with a new coach in charge looking for some respect in the competition. Now looking ahead to 2020, the Blues are fresh off a Grand Final appearance and hungry to go one better.

The big question mark for the Blues in this match will be how they go without their inaugural captain in Brianna Davey who switched to Collingwood for a war chest of draft picks. They should not have to look too far for a replacement with Geelong Falcons premiership skipper, Lucy McEvoy immediately entering the fray for her debut alongside Richmond VFLW and former Murray Bushrangers’ utility, Grace Egan. Both provide a hard edge to the side and crack into a team that is hard to find a spot. Their defence is still relatively inexperienced compared to others, so Kerryn Harrington will be crucial in settling them down back there. Interestingly, exciting forward Darcy Vescio has been named in the centre, which makes for a dynamic contest against fellow traditional forward, Katie Brennan.

The Tigers have a tonne of debutants which does not come as a surprise considering it is Richmond’s inaugural match. First year draftees, Sophie Molan (GWV Rebels), Sarah Sansonetti (Northern Knights) and Laura McClelland (Eastern Ranges) headline the young talent, but the depth of the midfield from the likes of Kodi Jacques (Bendigo Pioneers) and Maddy Brancatisano (Northern Knights via Melbourne AFLW) will be great to see. Monique Conti and Christina Bernardi are the class players, and Carlton will need to find a way to limit their influence. In saying that, with Madison Prespakis and Sarah Hosking in midfield, expect the Blues to get on top through the middle with that extra hard edge. Carlton should win this game based on experience and more readymade players, but Richmond should show some fight and give their fans something to smile about for 2020.

Tip: Carlton by 15.

RICHMOND

B: R.Miller 15 G.Seymour 28
HB: S.Sansonetti 18 P.Monahan 2 A.Makur Chuot 34
C: S.Molan 1 K.Brennan – C 3 H.Burchell 9
HF: S.Frederick 14 C.Bernardi 6 T.Stahl 24
F: C.Wakefield 8 L.McClelland 16
Foll: A.Edmonds 11 M.Conti 4 A.Woodward 13
I/C: L.Tesoriero 7 L.Bailey 12 K.Jacques 10 M.Brancatisano 5 H.Whitford 20
Emerg: C.Fitzgerald 26 E.Wood 17

CARLTON

B: N.Plane 32 C.Wilson 20
HB: K.Harrington – C 9 V.Laloifi 8 J.Van Dyk 36
C: S.Hosking 10 D.Vescio 3 C.Dalton 15
HF: N.Stevens 21 T.Harris 7 J.Doonan 26
F: A.Downie 30 B.Walker 14
Foll: B.Moody 16 K.Loynes 2 M.Prespakis 4
I/C: L.Brazzale 12 G.Pound 6 G.Egan 1 L.McEvoy 13 G.Gee 19
Emerg: J.Edwards 25 A.McKay 5

Saturday, February 8

Greater Western Sydney v Gold Coast, Blacktown International Sportspark, 1.10pm AEDT

Peter Williams

While these two sides are the newest teams in AFL Men’s, GWS GIANTS are the far more experienced team in AFL Women’s. One of eight inaugural sides in the competition, they welcome the Gold Coast SUNS to the league at Blacktown in a Saturday afternoon blockbuster. While most Victorian fans might be more focused on games either side of his match, the game is expected to answer a lot of questions, particularly about Gold Coast and where they might be at in their preparation for their inaugural season.

The SUNS on paper have talent, it is just trying to piece it all together and gel, which might take some time for it to work. Jamie Stanton remarkably plays in her third inaugural game for a side, having previously represented Brisbane (2017) and North Melbourne (2019). She will need to use all of her experience to lead a young team into battle, with essentially Tiarna Ernst in midfield, Leah Kaslar down forward and Sam Virgo in defence as the others who can provide that extra experience. Former Crows, Sally Riley and Jasmyn Hewett will no doubt give insight into their last club’s success, but the ones to watch are more so the young talent. Alexia Hamilton is a high-flying tall who can take a grab, Lauren Bella is a developing tap ruck, and both Serene Watson and Dee Heslop are talented young defenders who will only get better with more exposure. You cannot discount Hannah Dunn either, with the former Norwood ball winner thrown straight into the midfield.

Bella will have her work cut out for her against arguably the best pure ruck in the competition – Erin McKinnon. She leads a loaded midfield of Rebecca Beeson, new captain Alicia Eva, young gun Alyce Parker, Jes Dal Pos and Nicola Barr. Despite the last minute retirement of Amanda Farrugia, the GIANTS look as strong as ever on paper, with just the question marks coming over whether they can continue their form from last season on a more consistent basis. Pepa Randall is a great asset to have off half-back, and their experienced defence should be able to contain the SUNS like it did against Brisbane in the practice match not long ago. Cora Staunton continues to be a dangerous option wherever she plays, while Haneen Zreika showed promising signs in her games last year. You would imagine the GIANTS will kick their season off with a strong win here, as the SUNS are young and while they will get there, are not quite in the same window as the GIANTS – but watch out when they are fully developed.

Tip: GWS by 35.

GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY

B: L.Stephenson 12 T. Hetherington 9
HB: P.Randall 21 E.Brush 10 E.Bennetts 22
C: J.Dal Pos 7 A.Eva – C 2 N.Barr 8
HF: H. Zreika 24 C.Staunton 13 A.Schmidt 11
F: J.Hicks 5 R. Privitelli 19
Foll: E.McKinnon 23 R. Beeson 6 A.Parker 3
I/C: Y.Bonner 27 I.Nielsen 25 J.Allan 39 A.Lister 14 B.Tully 36
Emerg: L. Steane 20 T. Mackrill 32

GOLD COAST

B: J.Pregelj 42 J.Hickey 4
HB: S.Virgo 22 L.Ahrens 7 C.Hammond 29
C: T.Ernst 19 J.Stanton 17 M.Ritson 12
HF: B.Perry 16 A.Hamilton 30 P.Parker 1
F: L.Kaslar – C 11 K.Surman 26
Foll: L.Bella 2 J.Yorston 5 H.Dunn 24
I/C: S.Watson 14 J.Hewett 20 S.Riley 8 D.Heslop 25 K.Howarth 23
Emerg: T.Thorn 15 M.Roberts 10

Melbourne v North Melbourne, Casey Fields, 3.10pm AEDT

Michael Alvaro

Two of last season’s most unlucky finals absentees meet in a cross-conference grudge match, as Melbourne and North Melbourne go head-to-head at Casey Fields. One of the inaugural AFLW sides, the Demons will be seeking to add ultimate glory to an already storied history this year, but an opening fixture against one of the flag favourites makes for a tough initiation. While the Dees’ four wins were only good enough for fourth place in Conference A, the Roos’ can count themselves even more unfortunate as two losses at the end of their maiden campaign saw them heartbreakingly miss finals. Still, with a stacked squad and added depth, North Melbourne have a great opportunity to bounce back in 2020 – starting here.

Scott Gowans‘ side fared well in the off-season to bare no major changes, losing only three players to newly-established clubs and bringing in some mature-aged depth come draft time to hint at a real flag tilt. Sarah Wright and Ellie Gavalas are two VFL Women’s standouts who landed on the Roos’ list and are set to debut off the bench on Saturday, adding some grunt to the already hardened North Melbourne midfield led by skipper, Emma Kearney. There may be some goals to make up inside attacking 50 given 2019 equal-leading goalkicker Mo Hope was unceremoniously delisted, but ruck-forward Emma King has shown her worth in front of the big sticks, while Kate Gillespie-Jones is a capable tall foil and Kaitlyn Ashmore could rotate through the forward line from midfield alongside Jasmine Garner. With the midfield battle a relative stalemate, depth across the ground will be key to the cause of either side.

The Dees will be buoyed by the long-awaited return of captain and women’s football pioneer, Daisy Pearce, who is set to be eased in off half-back given her side’s strength through the middle. Her presence in the back five alongside boom recruit, Libby Birch will be important given the danger North’s forward flankers present, with her trademark ball use sure to make a difference. Further afield, and Melbourne is one of the few sides which boasts an engine room to match the grunt of North’s, with Karen Paxman set to lead the line next to Elise O’Dea and young gun, Tyla Hanks while further depth lies on the bench. The forward half was seldom an issue for the Dees last year too, so their even spread points toward a cracking contest. While Melbourne will come in as a slight underdog, the Demons’ experienced movers and the fact they managed just one fewer win than North during last campaign without Pearce means they stand a real chance here, and could become an instant frontrunner in Conference B with a win. But North Melbourne has proven had to look past despite struggling against the top sides, so should come up trumps.

Tip: North Melbourne by 7.

MELBOURNE

B: L.Birch 9 M.Downie 2
HB: G.Colvin 32 S.Goldrick 23 D.Pearce – C 6
C: C.Sherriff 18 T.Hanks 28 C.Emonson 11
HF: K.Hore 10 E.Zanker 29 S.Scott 12
F: T.Cunningham 1 A.Newman 16
Foll: H.Cordner 21 K.Paxman 4 E.O’Dea 5
I/C: S.Heath 30 M.Gay 3 M.Guerin 22 A.Kemp 36 S.Lampard 8
Emerg: B.Tarrant 20 K.Petrevski 31

NORTH MELBOURNE

B: T.Randall 16 B.Gibson 18
HB: T.Nestor 24 D.Hardiman 31 B.Lynch 20
C: J.Trend 21 A.Riddell 7 J.Bruton 35
HF: S.Abbatangelo 1 K.Gillespie-Jones 5 El.King 4
F: Em.King 60 K.Ashmore 10
Foll: V.Saad 39 J.Garner 25 E.Kearney – C 9
I/C: D.Bannister 2 A.Gilroy 8 D.Bateman 11 S.Wright 17 E.Gavalas 22
Emerg: N.Bresnehan 12 J.Grierson 19

Brisbane v Adelaide, Hickey Park, 4.10pm AEST

Michael Alvaro

Inaugural AFLW sides and Conference A rivals, Brisbane and Adelaide are primed to kick off their seasons in the Sunshine State, with the visiting reigning premiers out to defend their 2019 flag in 2020. The Crows were nothing short of dominant during last year’s campaign, going down only in the first regular season round before deservedly being crowned premiers in front of an adoring Adelaide Oval crowd – packed to the brim, no less. Adelaide has only added to its already deep squad over the off-season, despite being dealt a cruel blow weeks out with star defender Chelsea Randall ruled out for the year, but will come as the clear competition benchmark. On the other hand, Brisbane struggled throughout 2019 to notch just two wins having been repeatedly depleted throughout the off-season, but can lean on a reliable spine despite another 15-player coming out of its squad.

The Lions will field eight debutants in its Round 1 side, with top draftees and Academy graduates Lily Postlethwaite and Belle Dawes set to make theirs off the interchange bench. The 2018 best and fairest, Kate Lutkins leads the back six alongside mature-age recruit, Cathy Svarc, while skipper and stalwart Emma Zielke lines up on the wing outside of midfield jets, Ally Anderson and Emily Bates. Recent lightning strike survivor Jess Wuetschner will lead the forward line with Sophie Conway bringing some youthful exuberance and Lauren Arnell, the hard-edged experience. The Lions’ inability to put massive scores on the board will need to be rectified given Adelaide’s strength in that area, with added midfield strength – albeit through draftees – key to ensuring the forwards are given enough opportunity.

The Crows have had to adjust heavily, naming five debutants of their own with further injuries seeing the magnets shuffled before Round 1. Angela Foley and Marijana Rajcic will hold up the defence as Ebony Marinoff moves into midfield to replace recovering reigning MVP Erin Phillips, with Randall’s absence leaving a gaping hole in the back five. Stand-in skipper Jessica Foley is set to ruck with Montana McKinnon also unavailable, while a couple of late changes see emergencies Jaimi Tabb and Caitlin Gould slot in as Sophie Li and Courtney Cramey come out. It is a lot to make good for and while if any side has the depth to cover such losses, it is the Crows, Adelaide proved slow starters against a team it would normally beat last year – making for a bad omen. But even so, the Crows’ depth seems enough to overcome the changes, with a wealth of experience and the confidence of a premiership side holding up their chances. The Lions may struggle this season, but expect them to give it a red hot crack early on.

Tip: Adelaide by 30

BRISBANE

B: N.Grider 10 S.Campbell 20
HB: R.Lugg 11 K.Lutkins 13 C.Svarc 25
C: E.Zielke – C 8 B.Koenen 3 S.Webb 4
HF: L.Arnell 16 J.Tawhiao-Wardlaw 30 S.Conway 12
F: D.Davidson 14 J.Wuetschner 23
Foll: J.Keeffe 27 A.Anderson 18 E.Bates 1
I/C: G.Bodey 15 M.Moloney 28 I.Dawes 17 O.O’Dwyer 9 L.Postlethwaite 6
Emerg: J.Zanchetta 2 G.Collingwood 7

ADELAIDE

B: D.Cox 31 S.Allan 39
HB: A.Foley 3 M.Rajcic 32 N.Campbell 20
C: R.Forth 27 E.Marinoff 10 J.Mules 23
HF: D.Ponter 15 C.Gum 5 C.Gould 1
F: S.Thompson 14 E.Jones 2
Foll: J.Foley – C 24 A.Hatchard 33 N.Allen 8
I/C: 22 M.Newman 17 A.Considine 16 C.Biddell 12 N.Gore 7 J.Tabb
Emerg: R. Martin, C. Cavouras

Sunday, February 9

Collingwood v West Coast, Victoria Park, 1.10pm AEDT

Peter Williams

Heading back to Collingwood’s traditional home, the Magpies will no doubt give one of the AFL Women’s newest sides a hostile environment from which to make their debut in the competition. Fresh in supporters minds will be the Eagles’ men’s side triumph a couple of years ago in the AFL Grand Final, and with the new kids on the block entering the Magpies nest, it will certainly be a match to watch. Collingwood has been far from successful so far in its short history, failing to make finals and picking up a wooden spoon each year, leading to a coach change in Steve Symonds. West Coast join Fremantle in the west and picked up a host of recycled players to try and get them off to the best possible start.

For the first time in some time, the Magpies head into a match as favourites, having finished the year on a high last year following a victory over Brisbane. They came close against a number of sides, but showed they were gradually working as a cohesive unit following a massive upheaval over the previous off-season. After targeting youth the year before, the Magpies picked up the recruit of the off-season in Davey, who immediately adds grunt and class to an onball group that lacked a bit of pizazz. Sharni Layton‘s improvement in the ruck has been phenomenal, and along with VFL Women’s leading goal kicker and disposal winner, Jaimee Lambert, the Magpies will back themselves to win against most midfields. The only possibly bigger name to don the black and white this round is Chloe Molloy who returns after missing the entire 2019 season due to injury. The 2018 AFL Women’s Rising Star has been named in attack after making her name in defence during that season. With Ash Brazill‘s stunning transformation from netballer to footballer, it has allowed Molloy to play in attack and along with Sarah D’Arcy create some scoring opportunities. Oakleigh Chargers’ speedster Alana Porter makes her debut in the side, so watch for her set of wheels as along with the likes of Sarah Rowe and captain Steph Chiocci, give the Magpies some outside run.

While the Magpies will start favourites, the Eagles have gone about recruiting some important players to their line-up. Former Fremantle star Dana Hooker is every bit an equal to the Magpies’ Davey, while former GIANTS’ onballer Emma Swanson and Lambert will have an equally important head-to-head. Kellie Gibson and Ashlee Atkins will be looked upon to provide some goals, while Talia Radan will try to hold down the defence, with the former Adelaide and Melbourne player amongst a host of young stars. McKenzie Dowrick will be better for last year crossing back to her home state from Queensland, while Mikayla Bowen is as talented as any other player entering the AFL Women’s from the Under 18s last year. Former hockey player, Sophie McDonald has been thrown in the deep end to hold down centre half-back, while former Hawthorn VFL Women’s premiership player and best on ground in the premiership, Chantella Perera also has been named on an extended interchange to make her potential debut. The Eagles will give the Magpies a run for their money, and it would not be a complete shock to see the new side get a win, but the Magpies have built more depth, have more experience and are at home, so expect them to get up in a close one.

Tip: Collingwood by 12.

COLLINGWOOD

B: A.Porter 9 S.Livingstone 12
HB: L.Butler 23 A.Brazill 10 S.Casey 22
C: M.Shevlin 35 B.Bonnici 8 S.Chiocci – C 17
HF: C.Molloy 2 S.D’Arcy 4 S.Dargan 46
F: M.Cann 25 J.Allen 6
Foll: S.Layton 1 B.Davey 3 J.Lambert 13
I/C: E.O’Dea 50 E.Fowler 15 S.Alexander 24 J.Membrey 21 S.Rowe 7 E.Hynes 11 A.Sheridan 14

WEST COAST

B: B.Smith 14 T.Radan 26
HB: M.Dowrick 5 S.McDonald 35 A.Hill 16
C: M.Bowen 1 I.Cameron 19 N.Kelly 12
HF: K.Gibson 2 A.Atkins 9 M.Collier 8
F: G.Kelly 15 D.Pisconeri 11
Foll: P.Laurie 25 D.Hooker 17 E.Swanson – C 13
I/C: T.Tester 23 C.Guard 4 H.Bullas 24 B.Devlyn 7 C.Perera 27 E.Bonser 6 K.Orme 32

St Kilda v Western Bulldogs, RSEA Park, 3.10pm AEDT

Michael Alvaro

St Kilda is set to become the fourth of the expansion clubs to take centre stage in Round 1, facing a tough Conference B initiation against inaugural AFLW club, Western Bulldogs. Fielding a side which combines plenty of experience and a blooding of exciting youth, the Saints will have to work for their maiden elite-level win with the Bulldogs a potential season 2020 climber. Under the guidance of new coach, Nathan Burke and with a number one pick in tow, the Bulldogs are primed to rectify the two-win season which saw them finish last in Conference A.

There could be as many as six Western Bulldogs debutants with draftees Gemma Lagioia and Hannah Munyard among seven players named on an extended bench. Confirmed in the starting line-up are star draftee Gabby Newton and internally-hyped Western product Elizabeth Georgostathis; both primed to initially make an impact up forward, with the potential to move further afield – somewhat in the place or mould of now-Tigers, Katie Brennan and Monique Conti. The pair will join stalwarts Bonnie Toogood and Deanna Berry inside forward 50, with Ellie Blackburn and Isabel Huntington making up the remainder of a very strong spine. The Dogs will lean on those experienced movers to keep themselves in games, but a much-welcomed injection of youth will make them a team which proves easy on the eye.

For the Saints, all three co-captains in Cat PhillipsKate Shierlaw and Rhiannon Watt have been named to lead out the new team, with plenty of recognisable names to keep an eye on among each line. Top five draftee Georgia Patrikios has been named up forward, but will likely drift up to a wing or into the midfield given her undeniable class on the ball, while pre-listed draftee Molly McDonald takes up one of those starting wing spots. With an extended bench of seven also set to be narrowed down, there could be even more pace and young stars to come into the fold immediately. An unknown entity, the Saints should come in with nothing to lose and throw caution to the wind with most expecting the Bulldogs to salute in this fixture. We are in that boat.

ST KILDA

B: T.White 29 C.Fitzpatrick 24
HB: H.Priest 14 C.Phillips 35 T.Lucas-Rodd 18
C: K.O’Neill 20 J.Sedunary 10 M.McDonald 1
HF: N.Exon 15 K.McCarthy 9 C.Greiser 17
F: K.Shierlaw 12 G.Patrikios 21
Foll: R.Watt – C 7 O.Vesely 23 E.Mackie 3
I/C: N.Von Bertouch 28 P.Kelly 16 R.Dillon 25 A.Drennan 8 C.Whitfort 4 N.Xenos 27 A.Brown 2

WESTERN BULLDOGS

B: A.Gogos 36 L.Spark 11
HB: E.Gamble 14 I.Huntington 4 N.Ferres 16
C: B.Hunt 21 K.Lamb 27 N.Callinan 10
HF: G.Newton 5 B.Toogood 8 K.McLeod 6
F: E.Georgostathis 17 D.Berry 7
Foll: C.Moody 13 E.Blackburn – C 2 A.McCarthy 15
I/C: D.Marshall 26 K.Rennie 24 G.Lagioia 12 H.Scott 22 K.Herron 31 E.Brown 9 H.Munyard 20

Tip: Western Bulldogs by 20.

Fremantle v Geelong, Fremantle Oval, 2.10pm AWST

Peter Williams

In the final game of the AFL Women’s Round 1, last year’s preliminary final losers go head-to-head at Fremantle Oval. The Dockers host Geelong with a renewed optimism that they can match it with the top sides in the competition, and it will be a good test to see how they have recovered after being pillaged by West Coast in the off-season. The Cats were up and down last season, but have remained relatively untouched, and should go in as favourites based on the list changes. In a quirk, Mia-Rae Clifford will run out in the purple against her former side following her delisting and then free agency acquirement.

The home side will thrive on running out in front of a home crowd, and have named a number of young stars in the team who will drive the team forward over the next few years. Kara Antonio (nee Donnellan) will captain the side, and alongside partner, Ebony Antonio will try and maintain some balance to a team that has lost a number of quality players, led by the departure of star talent, Hooker. Tackling machine, Kiara Bowers and goal sneak Ashlee Sharp still remain as dangers to any opposition, while Gemma Houghton will have big shoes to fill with Parris Laurie leaving for the Eagles among a number of rucks departing the club. Sabreena Duffy got used to the level by season’s end in 2019, and is a future leader of the club, and now she is joined by a number of talented Under 18s stars. Roxanne Roux is a high-flying forward who will provide plenty of highlights over the next few years, while Mim Strom is an athletic ruck who has developed rapidly. While the Dockers side might have lost some star talent, they have also headed to the draft to pick up some more, and you can imagine they will be competitive in 2020.

Geelong might have stayed relatively untouched over the off-season, but have welcomed back a rising star in Nina Morrison. The number one pick in the 2018 AFL Women’s Draft was unbelievable on debut against Collingwood 12 months ago, but then injured her knee and missed the next 12 months. She returns to the Round 1 side and has been named on a wing, hoping to repeat the effort from 2019. She is joined in the midfield by fellow 2018 draftees, Sophie Van De Heuvel and Olivia Purcell. Denby Taylor, Rebecca Webster and debutant, Millie Brown are all in the back five, held down by experienced skipper, Mel Hickey. Richelle Cranston has that X-factor about her in midfield, and Georgia Clarke looks set for a role change up forward with the former GWV Rebels’ defender named there with goalkicking machine, Phoebe McWilliams. The Cats will be confident heading into this match, with coach Paul Hood no doubt having them ripe and ready to go after a finals appearance in their inaugural season last year. The road trip can be a challenge, but if you are going to do it, at least they have it first up off a long break.

Tip: Geelong by 2 points.

FREMANTLE

B: J.Cuthbertson 29 L.Pugh 32
HB: A.Stannett 24 E.Gooch 8 E.Antonio 12
C: S.Cain 20 L.Rohde 11 K.Flood 44
HF: K.Grieve 13 A.Sharp 1 H.Miller 19
F: G.O’Sullivan 22 S.Duffy 6
Foll: G.Houghton 27 K.Bowers 2 K.Antonio – C 15
I/C: P.Seth 18 L.Mascall 14 B.Webb 26 R.Roux 17 J.Stewart 7 M.Strom 21 M.Clifford 4

GEELONG

B: M.Brown 19 M.McMahon 24
HB: D.Taylor 28 M.Hickey – C 18 R.Webster 21
C: S.Van De Heuvel 27 R.Cranston 30 N.Morrison 9
HF: D.Higgins 2 G.Clarke 17 R.Garing 12
F: P.McWilliams 23 J.Ivey 5
Foll: A.O’Connor 14 J.Crockett-Grills 6 O.Purcell 16
I/C: A.McDonald 3 G.Rankin 10 A.Teague 40 R.Goring 44 R.Caris 1 M.Maguire 7 M.Keryk 45

ROUND 1 TIPS:

Michael Alvaro [0]: Carlton / GWS / North Melbourne / Adelaide / Collingwood / Western Bulldogs / Fremantle
Taylah Melki [0]: Carlton / GWS / North Melbourne / Adelaide / Collingwood / Western Bulldogs / Fremantle
Sophie Taylor [0]: Richmond / GWS / Melbourne / Adelaide / Collingwood / St Kilda / Fremantle
Peter Williams [0]: Carlton / GWS / North Melbourne / Adelaide / Collingwood / Western Bulldogs / Geelong

2019/20 AFLW off-season review: West Coast

WEST Coast might have the biggest question mark against itself for the 2020 AFL Women’s season. It is not a question of talent – the names on the Eagles’ list attest to that – but it is more a question of how the team will adapt to the structures in place and with one another purely because of the four expansion sides, West Coast is the only side not to have played together. St Kilda and Richmond both had VFL Women’s sides, Gold Coast had a Winter Series team, while West Coast has picked up a host of experience and youth from all over the country and it will be fascinating to see how the coaching staff throw the team together and see how fast they can jell at the elite level.

The Eagles were quick to list a couple of young stars on their list back in January, with Mikayla Bowen a standout prospect from Western Australia’s Under 18s, while Rosie Deegan is a talented dual-code basketballer. When the expansion club period opened in April, West Coast immediately went straight to the top, snaffling Fremantle star, Dana Hooker, whilst also convincing former Dockers, Ashlee Atkins, Melissa Caulfield, Brianna Green and Courtney Guard to come across, along with GWS GIANTS’ talent, Emma Swanson. Swanson was soon joined by GIANTS teammate, Maddy Collier, as well as Dockers, Parris Laurie, Kellie Gibson, Alicia Janz, and Western Bulldogs’ Belinda Smith.

The Eagles were more than happy to hand over Pick 13 for Brisbane’s McKenzie Dowrick, then grabbed former West Australian Kate Bartlett from the Dogs, and Cassie Davidson from the Dockers for bargain basement prices. They pre-listed one of the unluckiest players not to be on and AFL Women’s list currently in Essendon’s Hayley Bullas at the end of August, along with local talents from the West Australian Women’s Football League (WAWFL) in Emily Bosner, Beatrice Devlyn, Ashton Hill, Danika Piscoceri and Emily McGuire. Rounding out the pre-draft list, the Eagles picked up twin sisters, Grace and Niamh Kelly from Gaelic football as rookies, as well as Rugby union player, Mhicca Carter.

The Eagles did not have a first round pick in the AFL Women’s Draft, selecting Imahra Cameron with the club’s opening selection down at Pick 19. They had previously matched a bid to pick up Academy athlete Sophie McDonald at Pick 39, then picked up locals Tarnee Tester and Katherine Orme – the latter of whom was able to post about her own recruitment as the social media coordinator at the club. West Coast wrapped up the draft with a couple of Hawthorn VFL Women’s teammates in former Crow and Demon, Talia Radan, and the best on ground in the 2018 VFLW Grand Final Chantella Perera.

2020 TEAM LIST:

Ashlee Atkins
Emily Bonser
Mikayla Bowen
Hayley Bullas
Imahra Cameron
Melissa Caulfield
Maddy Collier
Cassie Davidson
Beatrice Devlyn
McKenzie Dowrick
Kellie Gibson
Brianna Green
Courtney Guard (nee Stubbs)
Ashton Hill
Dana Hooker
Alicia Janz
Emily McGuire
Katherine Orme
Danika Pisconeri
Chantella Perera
Talia Radan
Belinda Smith
Emma Swanson
Tarnee Tester

Rookies: Mhicca Carter, Grace Kelly, Niamh Kelly
Inactive list: Rosie Deegan (basketball)

POTENTIAL 2020 SIDE:

B: Cassie Davidson – Talia Radan – Belinda Smith
HB: McKenzie Dowrick – Sophie McDonald – Emma Swanson
C: Dana Hooker
HF: Melissa Caulfield – Kellie Gibson – Ashlee Atkins
F: Kate Bartlett – Emily McGuire  – Tarnee Tester
R: Parris Laurie – Mikayla Bowen – Emily Bonser
INT: Maddy Collier – Hayley Bullas – Imahra Cameron – Alicia Janz – Brianna Green

EMG: Danika Pisconeri – Beatrice Devlyn – Chantella Perera

DEPTH: Courtney Guard, Ashton Hill, Katherine Orme, Mhicca Carter, Grace Kelly, Niamh Kelly, Rosie Deegan

By far, the West Coast line-up is the hardest to predict for 2020, with plenty of depth through the midifield and defensive end, but more medium and small forwards than talls. They have a number of ruck options who might develop into key forwards, but the Eagles’ strength lies in its inside ball winning ability and danger at ground level once in side 50.

Hooker is the standout player in the side, though the youth of Bowen, Dowrick and McDonald will add to the future, while Swanson and Gibson are quality players on their day. The Eagles will head into the season as one of the underdog teams and hard to predict given their relative lack of matchday experience, but they have a good base for the future.

Season reviews: VFLW – Hawthorn

THE premiers of the Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s competition were one of the in-form teams throughout the season. The Hawks scraped through for some close wins while also showing their dominance with some big victories.

 

Position: 2nd (Premiers)
Win-loss: 12-2
Percentage: 180%

Results:
Round 1: Defeated Essendon by 39 points
Round 2: Defeated Casey Demons by seven points
Round 3: Defeated Carlton by 51 points
Round 4: Bye
Round 5: Lost against Collingwood by seven points
Round 6: Defeated Southern Saints by 33 points
Round 7: Defeated Essendon by 27 points
Round 8: Defeated Richmond by four points
Round 9: Defeated Williamstown by four points
Round 10: Defeated Melbourne University by five points
Round 11: Bye
Round 12: Defeated Southern Saints by nine points
Round 13: Lost against Darebin by four points
Round 14: Defeated Western Bulldogs by 55 points
Round 15: Defeated NT Thunder by 25 points
Round 16: Defeated Geelong Cats by 16 points

 

Key players:

#1 Emma Mackie

The skipper led from the front in marvellous fashion this season, putting her body on the line and proving to be an inside bull. Mackie’s football smarts partnered with her power gave opposition midfielders headaches, as she was able to move the ball swiftly through the midfield. Mackie had a cracking game in Round 3 against the Blues, racking up 29 disposals, taking four marks, laying 11 tackles and kicking a goal.  

#5 Chantella Perera

The Lisa Hardeman medalist was a standout all season, with coach, Patrick Hill trusting her to shut down dangerous opposition forwards The former basketballer showed her agility in defensive 50, taking athletic marks and showcasing her exciting run and carry. Perera placed fifth in Hawthorn’s Best and Fairest count.

#8 Rebecca Beeson

The Greater Western Sydney (GWS) star was a ball magnet this season, consistently racking up high numbers of disposals. Beeson had the ability to float up forward and also dominate in the midfield, proving to be a highly versatile player for the Hawks. Her kicking and handballing was fantastic and she always endeavoured to go forward with the ball in hand. Beeson placed second in Hawthorn’s Best and Fairest count. She starred in Round 15 with 30 disposals, eight marks and three tackles.

#25 Meg Hutchins

The heart and soul of female football was a joy to watch this season, proving that despite retiring from AFL Women’s, she can still play the game very well. Hutchins was dominant in the back line, taking plenty of intercept marks and getting her side out of trouble on multiple occasions. She could shut down key players or play as a loose player, and could succeed in both roles. Hutchins came third in Hawthorn’s Best and Fairest count and stood out in Round 7, when she racked up 19 disposals and took five marks.

#36 Jayde Van Dyk

A deserved Hawthorn Best and Fairest winner, Jayde Van Dyk was an absolute star in the backline. Van Dyk impressed with her football smarts and agility, combining them both to use the ball well both by hand or by foot. The VFLW Rising Star could stop key players in their tracks and used her run and carry to effect multiple times this season. She led the way in Round 8 when she gathered 26 disposals, six marks and nine tackles against the Tigers.

 

Season summary:

The premiers didn’t do much wrong this season, only dropping two games. Among the 12 wins, Hawthorn experienced some real character-building wins, with seven of those wins being under 10 points. This showed the Hawks’ composure and resilience to get the win, making them deserved premiers of the VFLW.

Number Crunching: VFLW – Grand Final

THE 2018 Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s finals series concluded with a nail-biting final between Hawthorn and Geelong. In a tight, low-scoring game, Hawthorn claimed the premiership over Geelong 4.6 (30) to 2.5 (17). The Cats were simply not able to break through Hawthorn’s tight defence. The Hawks were able to keep Geelong to only one goal until early in the fourth quarter, when Kate Darby finally broke through. Overall possession throughout the game was tight and reflected the opportunities both teams had, with 52 per cent in the Hawks’ favour and 48 per cent with the Cats.

Hawthorn’s season-defining defence proved to be too much for an otherwise strong Geelong side. Chantella Perera became the well-deserved Lisa Hardeman Medal winner, leading her defence with 13 disposals and four marks. Perera’s command in the back line was assisted by veteran player, Meg Hutchins. Hutchins, who gathered 17 disposals and a game-high seven marks, finally got her first premiership after 16 years of football. Additionally, Hawthorn key forward, Phoebe McWilliams had an explosive game. McWilliams took a game-high four contested marks to lead to a total of six marks.

Geelong still was able to perform despite facing a superior Hawthorn side. Young gun, Nina Morrison had an excellent game with 20 disposals and five tackles. Morrison is certain to get drafted into Geelong’s 2019 AFLW side and continued to solidify that notion with her performance in the Grand Final. Her Falcons teammate, Olivia Purcell was able to shine through with 19 disposals and a game-high eight clearances. Madeline Keryk also continued her blistering finals form with 18 disposals and nine tackles.

Totaled team stats- VFLW Grand Final

TEAM G BHD K H MKS TKS FF FA HO D I50s
Hawthorn 4 5 151 76 59 86 15 12 45 227 24
Geelong 2 5 121 85 24 85 12 15 29 206 34

 

Top player stats- VFLW Grand Final

PLAYER TEAM G BHD KE KIE HE HIE HR CM UM MKS TKS
Chantella Perera Hawthorn 0 0 5 1 6 1 1 2 2 4 5
Meg Hutchins Hawthorn 0 1 10 3 3 1 5 1 6 7 2
Phoebe McWilliams Hawthorn 0 2 3 4 4 2 1 4 2 6 2
Nina Morrison Geelong 0 0 5 4 9 2 7 0 0 0 5
Olivia Purcell Geelong 0 0 4 2 8 5 1 0 1 1 11
Madeline Keryk Geelong 0 0 4 8 5 1 3 0 2 2 9

 

Scouting notes: VFLW Grand Final

HAWTHORN’S Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s side claimed the premiership on the weekend with a hard-fought victory over Geelong at Etihad Stadium. We took note of some of the impressive players on the day.

 

Hawthorn vs. Geelong

Hawthorn:

#1 Emma Mackie

Went for a ride on Anna Teague on the wing but was pinged for unrealistic attempt. Then had a crack with a clever snap on goal which bounced past three running Geelong defenders, before unluckily bouncing into the post. Made her chance count when she got another one in the second term with an attempt off a step and kicked it through the middle to hand Hawthorn an 11-point lead in the 13th minute.

#5 Chantella Perera

With Geelong attacking early with momentum, it was Perera’s tackle on a Geelong opponent that earned an important free kick and rebound down the other end. Then had another impressive defensive moment with an intercept mark then pass to Pepa Randall who found a target inside 50. Her drive off half-back and ability to take the game on earned her Best on Ground honours.

#6 Julia Crockett-Grills

Kept her feet in a one-on-one contest and gained some vital meterage for her team going forward. Did a lot of work that might have gone unnoticed on the stats sheet, but really contributed to the on-ball brigade.

#7 Phoebe McWilliams

Good one-one one mark just inside 50, then delivered the ball on a platter to Tamara Luke leading out from the square. Had a golden chance from 15 metres out in the second term almost identical to Clifford in the first term, and McWilliams also missed. She started to have a real impact in the second despite the miss, leading out and taking another strong mark then kicking to the danger zone 20 metres out from goal. Had a chance in the fourth quarter and decided to pass it off but it fell short.

#8 Rebecca Beeson

Worked hard at the coal face with a big opening term, collecting five disposals and laying a tackle. Cracked in hard and won a one-on-one contest in the second term on the wing. Beeson led all-comers by half-time with 11 disposals and three tackles to be a key reason why the Hawks were on top. Almost bit off more than she could chew on the wing but got out of the tackle. Won a holding the ball free against Nina Morrison on the wing.

#13 Ebony Nixon

Massive cheer rang out across the Hawks’ defensive end when Nixon cleanly picked up a ball and kicked to a teammate on defensive 50 to stop a potential Geelong goal.

#14 Olivia Flanagan

Just attacked the contested hard and showed cleanliness at ground level. Could not quite keep it in on the wing early in the game, but buried herself at any contest she could throughout the opening stanza. Had a shot on goal in the second term from the set shot but it fell short and was rushed across the line. Always busy around the stoppages.

#21 Pepa Randall

Made her presence felt early, stopping Maddy McMahon from running into the 50 with a front on bump. Then delivered a lovely ball inside 50 to a teammate on the lead. Took a strong grab in the middle intercepting to send it back inside 50.

#22 Tamara Luke

Took a strong one-on-one mark leading out and converted the set shot. Impressive second term saw Luke win a number of free kicks for getting to the ball first.

#24 Rosie Dillon

Sold a bit of candy at half-forward to kick inside 50 and force a stoppage.

#25 Meg Hutchins

A rock in the back half, was quiet early, but had a good kick in the second term along the wing. Drifted forward and then had a quick snap which missed. Headed back down the other end and then took a big intercept mark on the last line. Showed good power to dash off half-back and kick long along the wing. Stood tall with a strong intercept mark off a Nina Morrison kick going inside 50.

#28 Sarah Perkins

Had an early shot on goal from a quick snap, which went through for a behind. Had a second chance off a split second, missing the shot as she was pushed down and it went out on the full in the second quarter. Got the Hawthorn faithful up and about with a snap 15 metres out after juggling the mark, playing on and kicking around her body – was the first Hawthorn inside 50.

#31 Jess Sibley

Big grab in defence to intercept and clear to the defensive 50 in the final term with the game on the line.

#32 Kim Ebb

Won a free kick for copping head-high contact at ground level inside 50, showing courage.

#33 Emily Gilder

Had a set shot from 30 metres out which nailed the game and put it beyond doubt with seven minutes remaining in the final term.

#36 Jayde Van Dyk

Goal-saving tackle one-on-one on her opponent, Michele Fedele when she was running into an open 50 and the bounce went astray. Unbelievable chase and stopped a certain goal. Laid another strong tackle just out from goal when her opponent tried to turn around and Van Dyk wrapped her up. A terrific effort in the third term when Geelong was doing all the attacking, standing up strong and kicking clear, while taking a number of marks.

#40 Ellie MacDonald

Won a free kick for being held after going in for the ball at half-back when Geelong was attacking and kicked along the wing. Forced a ball-in on the wing with a big grab.

#45 Mikala Cann

Took a really strong intercept grab at half-forward, then showed off her tackling prowess late in the first term with a massive tackle to force a throw-in inside the Hawks forward 50. Just attacks the contest and does not take a backwards step.

 

Geelong:

#1 Jamie Woollett

Provided a big front on bump to Ellie MacDonald in the first term, but helped her opponent up in a show of good spirit. Had a few nice touches on the wing. Continued showing her physicality with a strong tackle on the wing.

#2 Danielle Orr

Fell into the hole and took a good uncontested grab, but like so many others, missed the chance with the wind from the doors being opened at the Lockett end pushing it to the left.

#3 Hannah Burchell

Had a chance to kick an early goal in the second term but just missed and it was knocked across the line for a behind.

#4 Cassie Blakeway

Showed courage in the last term sliding in to mark the ball and copped front on contact.

#6 Maddie Boyd

Showed great defensive pressure on her opponents early, laying an important tackle 15 metres out and then slotting the set shot with a neat stab kick. Took what looked to be a strong mark on the 50 but it was not paid. Used her body well.

#7 Mia-Rae Cllifford

Took a huge grab at the top of the square, but missed from 20 metres out. Had a chance in the third term but was rushed across the line for another behind.

#8 Kate Darby

Gave Mia-Rae Clifford silver service after winning a free and then delivering her kick inside 50 on a platter to Clifford, who unfortunately missed the set shot. Was unlucky not to be paid a mark in the second term on the wing, and then Hawthorn cleared it, leading to a Phoebe McWilliams goal. Won a free kick in a forward ruck contest for being pushed in the back, but missed her attempt. Nailed her third chance in the final term, taking a mark under a high ball and kicking truly.

#16 Olivia Purcell

Won an important one-on-one clearance and got her hands on the ball early. She was the equal highest disposal winner on the ground at quarter time with six, firing out five handballs to teammates outside the stoppage. Massive on the inside throughout the game, not only winning the ball but laying 10 tackles. Really important on the inside just getting to the right positions and giving it off cleanly to teammates on the outside.

#20 Nina Morrison

Looked all class in the first term when she spun around and fired out a handball to a teammate in traffic in forward 50. Morrison was putting good defensive pressure on her opponents, spending time on the more experienced Meg Hutchins at times. Just kept winning the football with important touches, racking up 10 disposals by half-time, and also laying three tackles. Won a hardball at a contest in the third term at half-forward then kicked inside 50. Morrison had a massive impact in the final term and continued to rack up the ball at will with some big inside 50s.

#24 Maddy McMahon

Copped a big front-on bump early in the first term but bounced straight back up and was one of the Cats’ best with six touches (four kicks) in the quarter. Had another big moment in the final term with a nice kick inside 50 to the the hot spot early which resulted in a Kate Darby goal.

#30 Richelle Cranston

Almost kicked a miracle goal from 50 metres around her body but the ball bounced up and was taken away. Fended off an opponent in the second term and kicked forward, got more involved with a couple of powerful kicks to try and inspire her team.

#40 Anna Teague

Showed courage and strength at ground level in the first term to go in hard while protecting herself to pick up a contested ball and hold it up.

#45 Madeline Keryk

Had a big first half, often kicking out of defence with nine kicks from 10 disposals and mopping up for the Cats.

Zero players, coaches and support staff becomes one premiership

HAWTHORN Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s premiership coach, Patrick Hill had to build the club up from scratch when he first walked through the doors.

He had no players, coaches or support staff on board, and was all of a sudden thrown into the deep end to create a team. After the club’s first trial day and training session, Hill admits he was worried. But now after an exciting blend of experience and youth culminating in a premiership, he says he couldn’t be happier.

“(In) the first training session, I didn’t know what I’d gotten myself into,” Hill said.

“It wasn’t great but we built slowly and slowly then just added some experience this year which has just changed our team around. “They played a great style last year and they were very compliant in what they wanted to do but we just needed the mature heads and some more physical bodies out there.”

The premiership also required some work behind the scenes from the coach himself, who is now 16 years into his coaching career.

“I remember working on a game style that would work on this ground (Etihad Stadium) all year and even last year,” he said. “To get here and be able to do it, I’m rapt.”

Another person who is rapt is Hawthorn President, Jeff Kennett. Hill says Kennett has been his side’s number one supporter all year.

“He really gets around the girls, he loves them as I do and it’s great to see someone of his age and where he’s come from to really embrace women’s footy for what it is and it’s beautiful,” the Hawthorn VFLW coach said.

Together, Hill and Kennett are out to prove a point that the Hawthorn Football Club is completely invested in women’s football.

“I still see on social media, there’s this thought process out there that we don’t care and we haven’t cared about women’s footy and we’re sort of late to the party and we don’t really care anyway,” Hill said. “Nothing could be further from the truth, we really wanted to come out here today and show that not only do we care about women’s footy, but we care about women’s issues. “We really want to excel in this as well.”

The players have also played a part in caring for each other, with Hill admitting that forward, Phoebe McWilliams has been one of the players who has bonded with the younger girls in the side. This has benefited the likes of Eastern Ranges duo, Mikala Cann and Emerson Woods, and former Vic Metro representative, Olivia Flanagan, who Hill says have been outstanding this season.

“Young Mikala Cann, we call her the bull and she just loves the contest,” he said. “She’s an extremely coachable player and she slotted straight into our midfield. “Emerson Woods just runs all day and even Liv Flanagan, we were able to get her up today after doing a hammy in Darwin, she re-twinged it again a couple of weeks ago and we thought the dream was over. “But for her to get up and get through and play an important role for us was fantastic. “They had youthful exuberance, they had some real vibe around the group. “Phoebe McWilliams has really taken to them and they’ve really taken to her. “It’s been fantastic to watch those relationships develop.”

Of course, it was hard to go past Chantella Perera’s game on the day, with the defender taking home the Lisa Hardeman medal for the best on ground. Hill was not only impressed with her game at Etihad Stadium, but also praises her consistent efforts throughout the year.

“She was fantastic last year, she played on all the best players in the league and never got beaten once,” he said. “Maybe Chloe Molloy at the start of this year kicked some nice goals, but today I thought she added the offensive side to her game. “She’s really cool and composed with the ball, her skills were great and she’s just a great athlete. “She’s been a champion WNBL player and now she’s a VFLW premiership player. “It just shows how good women are when you give them the opportunity.”

Hawthorn claims VFLW premiership

THE Hawks have made history in the Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s league after an 11-point win over Geelong in the Grand Final.

Not only did the team lift up its first ever VFLW premiership cup, but it was also stalwarts of female football, Meg Hutchins, Lou Wotton and Phoebe McWilliams who got to experience premiership success for the first time.

Basketball convert, Chantella Perera was the deserving recipient of the Lisa Hardeman medal with 13 disposals, four marks and five tackles in defence. Greater Western Sydney (GWS) forward, Rebecca Beeson (24 disposals, three marks, four tackles), VFLW rising star, Jayde Van Dyk (19 disposals, four marks, six tackles) and Eastern Ranges midfielder, Mikala Cann (14 disposals, nine tackles) also impressed for the Hawks.

If Geelong had won, Vic Country duo, Olivia Purcell and Nina Morrison would have been hot favourites to claim the best-on-ground accolade, and could have claimed it even though their side lost. Purcell gathered 19 disposals and a game-high 11 tackles while Morrison racked up 20 disposals and laid five tackles.

New Geelong AFL Women’s forward, McWilliams was up and about early, creating the first goal for her side. She marked the ball just outside 50 and kicked it to the top of the square where Tamara Luke marked and kicked truly for the Hawk’s first of the day. Geelong fought back with a strong goal-line tackle provided by ruck/forward, Maddie Boyd. Boyd dispossessed Hawthorn defender, Jessica Sibley and then booted through the Cats’ first major from a tough angle just outside the goal square. Despite a dominant first quarter for the Hawks, they matched their goal with four behinds, giving them a slim two-point lead at quarter time.

After two behinds from McWilliams and Meg Hutchins to kick off the second quarter, it was unsurprisingly captain, Emma Mackie who steadied the ship with a goal halfway through the term. At the other end, the Hawks’ defence kept Geelong scoreless for the quarter, giving them an 11-point lead at the main break.

The Cats tried to bounce back in the third term but wasted their opportunities. They finished the term goalless, with behinds from Hannah Burchell, Maighan Fogas, Danielle Orr and Mia-Rae Clifford. These wasted opportunities hurt more when Sarah Perkins kicked a major in the dying stages of the game. In the Hawks’ only inside 50 of the quarter, McWilliams was again involved with a long kick inside 50 ending up with Perkins. Perkins gathered the ball with two opponents hanging off her, yet still managed to grab it cleanly and snap it through for the Hawks’ third goal. This gave them a lead of 13 points at the last break, leaving Geelong with a lot of work to do in the last 20 minutes of the game.

The Cats responded immediately though, with a long kick from ruck/forward, Maddy McMahon ending up in the reliable hands of new Geelong AFL Women’s recruit, Kate Darby at the top of the square. She made no mistake from directly in front, reducing the deficit to seven points. But not long after, it was Hawthorn forward, Emily Gilder who kicked the sealer with a set-shot goal from about 25 metres out.

This ended the scoring for both sides, and meant that Hawthorn claimed one of the most historic 11-point wins in female football.

HAWTHORN 1.3 | 2.6 | 3.6 | 4.6 (30)
GEELONG 1.1 | 1.1 | 1.5 | 2.7 (19)

GOALS:

Hawthorn: S. Perkins, T. Luke, E. Mackie, E. Gilder.
Geelong: M. Boyd, K. Darby.

BEST:

Hawthorn: C. Perera, P. McWilliams, M. Hutchins, R. Beeson, T. Luke, J. Van Dyk
Geelong: H. Burchell, N. Morrison, M. McMahon, M. Keryk, C. Blakeway, O. Purcell

Scouting notes: VFLW: Round 5

COLLINGWOOD, Darebin, Richmond, NT, Casey and Geelong were the round five Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s winners. For the Magpies, Thunder and Cats, their wins extend their undefeated streaks while for the Demons, their win was their first in the competition. We watched four games on the weekend and took some notes on the standout performers from each game.

 

Hawthorn vs. Collingwood 

By: Peter Williams 

Hawthorn:

#1 Emma Mackie

The Hawthorn skipper led by example in the midfield, continually cracking in at the coal face to win a number of frees. She showed a good ability to stand up while being tackled and kick clear of the stoppage, while also being composed under pressure with ball-in-hand. She took a great intercept mark backing back in the first term in the Collingwood attack, filling the hole and showing no fear.

#5 Chantella Perera

Had the job on Chloe Molloy and had a good old fashioned scrap back there. Both players were relentless in giving it to each other and gave away free kicks for holding. Molloy finished the game with one goal – in the first term – and missed a number of set shots, but the pressure Perera put on her was good. It could have ended a lot worse on the scoreboard, but Perera did well in the one-on-ones where she did not give away the free.

#14 Olivia Flanagan

One of Hawthorn’s best over the four quarters, just wins the footy in a no-fuss approach to the game. Wins the pill on the inside or the outside, and is not afraid to take the game on. Had a really busy opening term and it set the tone for the rest of her match and the team. Worked well with Mackie on the inside and played arguably her best game of the year.

#19 Lou Wotton

Prominent early in the ruck, might not have had the athleticism that her opposition Eliza Hynes had, but Wotton had the game smarts and the strength to position herself well in the ruck contests. She had a dominant first term and worked well in tandem with Tamara Luke.

#22 Tamara Luke

Had a few clearances out of the ruck and pumped the ball forward off quick kicks. Luke worked hard to win the contested ball and taps to space for her midfielders. More importantly, her ability to get down and work hard for second efforts was another highlight of her game. Won a free kick late in the second term but her set shot just missed to the left.

#25 Meg Hutchins

Just smart and experienced playing in defence and pushing up to the wing. Uses good body contact on her opponents and knows when she needs to boot it long to safety. Hutchins had the nous to use momentum to dive forward in a Sarah D’Arcy tackle and draw a free for in the back in the third term.

#28 Sarah Perkins

Led up at the footy continually and had a set shot from a free kick on the boundary line in the third term but did not make the distance. Did not have the normal space she could be afforded to on occasions, but continued to work hard throughout the match.

 

Collingwood:

#2 Chloe Molloy

Returned to the Magpies side in style worrying opposition defenders with her presence and having multiple shots on goal. Booted 1.3 in the first half alone, with the goal coming off a smart kick off the ground running goal side of her opponent. Won a number of free kicks for holding or pushing, playing a strong game. Would be disappointed she missed a couple of shots she would normally nail.

#4 Sarah D’Arcy

Just cracked in hard and won so many frees across the game. She got to the contest first on a number of occasions, and when she did not, she applied a number of crunching tackles to win holding the ball free kicks. She produced a perfect lace-out kick to Molloy in the opening term and had a great steal, blind turn and snap out of a contest in the forward 50 in the third quarter.

#13 Jaimee Lambert

Covered the ground well in all thirds and draws free kicks from getting to the contest first. She is able to fire out handballs at ground level under pressure and plays smart, often kicking for distance as she did when she was hugged up against the boundary line in the second term. Finds plenty of the football across the four quarters.

#22 Sophie Casey

Really liked her game off half-back. She took a number of marks and laid some fierce tackles to stop opponents in their tracks. In one instance in the second term, she took a good mark and kicked off half-back to a teammate who was spoiled, then she charged at the contest, won the ball back and kicked wide to a teammate on the lead who marked.

#28 Holly Whitford

The type of player who teammates love and opponents love to hate. Never takes a backwards step and wins multiple free kicks for going in hard. Had a great pass inboard to see Chloe Leighton diving into space in the second term, then won consecutive free kicks and goaled from the set shot 20 metres out. She came off early in the third term after a hard knock, then returned to have a few things to say to the opposition.

#47 Jessica Edwards

A player with a good turn of speed, able to completely change direction without losing too much momentum. Played well out of the defensive 50 providing some good rebound and showed fantastic acceleration. The captain led by example in defence and created pressure on opposition forwards.

#65 Emily Browning

Laid a great hip-and-shoulder on the wing in the opening term and then had a snap on goal in the second term but was smothered. Provided good defensive pressure up forward throughout.

#73 Gabrielle Biedenweg-Webster

Liked her attack on the contest and her ability to hunt the ball and harass the opposition. Just went in hard every chance she got.

 

Carlton vs. Darebin 

By: Taylah Melki

Carlton: 

#2 Madeline Keryk

Her follow up work around the ground was good for Carlton while she applied plenty of physical pressure, laying four tackles for the game. Keryk was accurate by foot and got her hands on plenty of the footy.

#10 Sarah Hosking

Hosking was a tackling machine, laying seven tackles for the game and imposing herself on the contest. She applied plenty of pressure on the ball carrier and won her fair share of the footy both in the air and at ground level.

#17 Tilly Lucas-Rodd

Lucas-Rodd was important for the Blues with her clever use of the footy and ability to impact the contest. She looked dangerous around the stoppages in the first quarter and extracted the footy well from the contest. She impressed with her pin-point passing inside the forward 50. Lucas-Rodd was a ball magnet, getting plenty of touches and using the ball effectively for Carlton.

#31 Kate Shierlaw

Shierlaw was a workhorse for Carlton and was good out of defence. She had a real give it and go attitude, hitting the contest hard and competing hard to win the footy. Shierlaw had some good strong leads, and took a strong mark which led to a goal in the third quarter.

 #42 Caroline Hardeman

Hardeman put her body on the line, hitting the packs hard and picking up the ball cleanly. Her silky skills were on display, breaking a tackle and then slotting the first goal of the match for the Blues.

#44 Danica Pedersen

In her first game, Pedersen starred, amassing plenty of touches and using her physical presence, laying five tackles for the game. She worked tirelessly all game in a difficult outing for the Blues.

#50 Jorja Borg

Borg took a good mark going back with the flight of the footy and was a real general down back. She helped to control the Blues’ defence and was efficient by foot.

 

Darebin Falcons:

#8 Nat Exon

Exon had good break-away speed and opened up the middle of the field. She showcased her kicking ability with a strong kick into the forward 50. Exon used her booming kick to slot a good goal from about 40 metres out. Exon impressed with her clean pick-ups and was a real ball magnet throughout the four quarters, taking strong grabs and imposing herself on the contest laying strong tackles.

#14 Meghan McDonald

McDonald was a key player down in defence, showcasing her ability to read the play and take intercept marks. She impressed with her long booming kick and was in charge of kick outs from defence for the majority of the game, credit to her ability to hit targets.

#20 Maddy Guerin

Guerin showcased her footy smarts, dancing around her opponent on the boundary line and then kicking a centering ball. She was really good around the stoppages and had quick hands at the coal-face to release the footy to the voice of a teammate.

#22 Georgia Hammond

She impressed with her good break-away speed, going for a run and bounce through the middle and creating some forward momentum with a good long penetrating kick into the forward 50. Hammond positioned herself well and took a good mark in the goal square, going on to slot a nice goal for Darebin.

#32 Gabrielle Colvin

Colvin was really strong around the stoppages and her clean hands were invaluable for the Falcons. She showcased her footy smarts, weaving out of trouble and helping to propel them forward.

#40 Lauren Pearce

Pearce had sticky fingers from start to finish. She really imposed herself on the marking contest, competing hard in the air and at ground level. She took a heap of intercept marks and worked hard to keep her opponent out of the contest.

#43 Hannah Mouncey

Mouncey was strong in the ruck, showcasing her good jump and ability to tap the footy to advantage for her midfielders, demonstrating her versatility to play in multiple positions. She showed great attack on the footy and applied a lot of good forward pressure. She missed a few opportunities at goal but made up for it, taking a strong grab in the third quarter which resulted in a goal from about 5 metres out. Mouncey ended up with three majors for the game and provided plenty of good leads for her teammates.

 

Richmond vs. Essendon 

By: James Halley

Richmond:

#53 Kate Dixon

She is clearly the focal point of the forward line for Richmond, as her teammates continue to look for her and she takes marks accordingly.

#57 Emma King

She has a clear advantage in the ruck. Her taps lead to clear stoppage break-aways for Richmond. After an uncontested grab, she kicked the Tigers’ first goal with a monster kick from 50 metres out.

#79 Lauren Tesoriero

She used her body to her advantage, using her opponents to keep her at bay and slot through two goals. She is able to rag-doll her opponents with ball in hand. Tesoriero finished with nine kicks, 13 disposals and three clearances, as the veteran midfielder provided constant support for her teammates.

#61 Jenna Colwell

She is capable of taking big contested grabs but just needs to work on the penetration of her kicking. From a free kick she kicked truly from the goal square in the last term.

#88 Phoebe Monahan

Utility Phoebe Monahan was spectacular for the Tigers, leading the team for touches (27), to go with nine inside 50s and eight clearances. She was best afield in the Dreamtime match, being announced as the recipient of the Aunty Joy Murphy Award.

 

Essendon:

#8 Hayley Bullas

She kicked the first goal of the game in a great kick from 25 metres out on the run. The midfielder played a really good game, as she got lots of the ball as well as kicking a goal.

#46 Courtney Ugle

She is very quick and nimble and is able to get around Tiger forwards at ease. Her kicking is very precise, and allows her to cut through the middle of the ground. Her tackling is superb, as she recorded four holding the ball free kicks for the match. She displayed a four-quarter performance and a well-rounded game.

#35 Valerie Moreau

She has quick hands and had a lot of inside 50s. She has a really good kick and often found targets in the forward 50, which gave Essendon shots on target.

#30 Simone Nalder

She kicked her first goal from a ruck free kick. Nalder was everywhere for Essendon with her great ball use. One of the best for the day.

#37 Irena Malliaras

She was instrumental for Bombers in the midfield. Malliaras was at the bottom of the packs all day and they relied on her a lot for good distribution.

 

NT Thunder vs. Western Bulldogs

By: Julia Montesano 

NT Thunder:

#40 Deni Varnhagen

Her intercept marking was fantastic all day. Her contested marking also provided a highlight. Varnhagen was a great sweeper in defence and a general down back.

#27 Anne Hatchard

Came in for her first game for NT Thunder and set the field alight. Kicked four well-deserved goals, displaying her dominance inside 50. Hatchard was really proactive up forward and positioned well in the goal square. She just attacked the ball with acceleration and grit every time the ball was in her vicinity. Also displayed some great hands in a contested situation to kick some nice goals from close range.

#20 Jasmyn Hewett

Hewett played her best game for the NT Thunder. She dominated in the ruck, getting a fantastic vertical leap over her opponent. She was extremely proactive whenever the ball was in her vicinity,  running hard to ensure that the ball was used effectively. Displayed this when she ran hard through a contest, got tackled, yet still got on the end of a good goal. Took an early contender for VFLW Mark of the Year with a fantastic overhead mark over a Western Bulldogs player. She sat perfectly on top of her opponent’s shoulders and had all eyes for the footy. She is becoming a really solid player for NT Thunder.

#4 Sue Nalder

Nalder’s marking was spectacular. She took a great juggling mark in one instance and then centered the ball magnificently. In another instance, she threaded the needle well to find Anne Hatchard in the goal square. Nalder’s marking was on display again when she took a great sliding mark off a Renee Forth kick. Her strong hands gave her a platform to take her time and ensure that her kicks hit targets, which was quite valuable for the Thunder.

#49 Madeline Gault

The 17 year-old NT native came in for her first match for the Thunder after playing in the National Under 18 Championships. Gault showed outstanding composure in defence, making it difficult to believe that she is only 17 years-old. There was never a moment where she didn’t attack the footy hard. In many instances, she came hard to the ball and didn’t wait for it. Spoiled the ball well which helped to move the ball forward for NT.

#3 Angela Foley

Foley was everywhere as usual, setting up the play on plenty of occasions. Whether it was in the midfield, up forward or in defence, you just knew that Foley was going to make an impact. She was targeted hard in this game by the Bulldogs midfielders but adapted to the pressure really quickly to play her natural style of footy. A highlight of her game was when she kicked a great goal while being tackled.

 

Western Bulldogs:

#16 Naomi Ferres

Ferres did not stop working for the Bulldogs all day. She was always in and around the contest, going in hard for the footy. This was shown when she dived on the ball and trapped it in the middle of the ground to create a stoppage when the Bulldogs were leading. Provided a great highlight when she laid a strong tackle on one of the hardest players to bring down in Angela Foley. Ferres continued her tackling throughout the whole game. Gave away a clever no-look handball while she on the deck. Kicked two well-deserved goals in the last quarter to top off a great individual performance.

#6 Kirsty McLeod

McLeod was a key player for the Bulldogs. She did well to get up after being spoiled in a marking contest and was involved in Bulldogs’ second goal. She troubled her opponents at multiple times, displayed when she took a good intercept mark off an Eloise Jones kick. Also had great awareness to spot Jessica Sedunary playing on after a free kick and tackled her immediately, which affected a kick inside 50.

#1 Brooke Lochland

In this game, we got to see Brooke Lochland’s courageous side. She took a couple of big hits but continued to run and battle hard in each contest. She seems to have worked on her running during the off-season, as she covered ground exceptionally well with her improved endurance. Kicked well on the day, allowing her teammates to run onto the space that she would kick it to.

#34 Emma Mackay

Mackay was another one who worked hard for the Bulldogs. She delivered a lovely spearing pass inside 50, which helped her teammates run onto the ball. She laid a great run-down tackle, and even when she got tackled, she wouldn’t give up and just kept running and working hard. Delivered a nice hack kick towards 50, doing her best work around the forward 50 mark. Was able to execute disposals well from a dangerous position.

#18 Libby Birch

Courageously got up after a big hit and still went on to kick the ball after earning a free kick. Her kicking was precise throughout the game, as she was another Bulldogs player that liked to utilise the space around her. She ran hard all game and worked particularly well on the wings where she tried and work the ball down the line. Birch has the capacity to know when to hack a kick or use it deftly, which is a really valuable trait for her and her team.  

Weekend wash-up: VFLW – Round 5

A one-point win, a bag of five goals and an inaugural Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s Dreamtime match headlined an action-packed round five. The Cats’ one-point win saw them soar to the top of the ladder, joining Collingwood and NT as the three remaining undefeated teams, as the Pies beat the previously undefeated Hawks. 

 

Hawthorn 3.3 (21) defeated by Collingwood 4.4 (28)

By: Peter Williams

Collingwood handed Hawthorn its first loss of the season with an enthralling seven-point victory at Box Hill on Saturday. In a battle of two unbeaten sides, it was the Magpies who took home the four points, leading at every break and surviving a two goals to one final term by the Hawks to celebrate a victory. The Magpies move into equal first on the ladder with Geelong – a side Collingwood drew with a fortnight ago – however Northern Territory are yet to drop any points and have a superior percentage but are two points adrift due to their Round 2 bye. Hawthorn sits in fourth, percentage ahead of reigning premiers Darebin, and surprise packets Southern Saints.

The match marked the return to the VFLW of Chloe Molloy. The AFL Women’s Rising Star Award winner and Collingwood AFL Women’s Best and Fairest winner made her impact felt early, booting the first goal of the game, and just missing several chances to capitalise on more. The former Diamond Creek forward was one of a number of standouts on the day for the Magpies, joined by usual suspects Jaimee Lambert and Sarah D’Arcy. Hawthorn named Olivia Flanagan as its best, along with Chantella Perera and Pepa Randall.

 

Carlton 3.5 (23) def. by Darebin 11.6 (72)

By: Taylah Melki

The Darebin Falcons had a quick start to the game, scoring three goals while keeping the Blues to one. The Falcons applied plenty of forward pressure as Carlton struggled to move the ball out of its defensive 50. Darebin shared the goal kicking duties once again with seven individual goalkickers. The Falcons were able to capitalise on their opportunities in front of goal while Carlton struggled to convert.

For Carlton, the likes of Kate Shierlaw and Sophie Li were instrumental, scoring a goal each for the Blues and applying plenty of pressure. Li starred with her clean hands around the contest and good evasive skills. Caroline Hardeman worked hard all game, hitting the packs hard and creating a contest, while Tilly Lucas-Rodd was clean around the stoppages and showcased her pin-point accuracy by foot. Damaging midfielder, Sarah Hosking also starred for the Blues with her clean hands in close and ability to break away from the pack. 

Hannah Mouncey was at her impressive best again, bagging three goals for the Falcons. She showcased her strong hands and ability to work in the ruck with her good leap and taps to advantage. Meanwhile teammate, Nat Exon had a blinder for Darebin, scoring a goal and winning plenty of the footy. She imposed herself on the contest through laying strong tackles and scrumming hard to win the footy. Maddy Guerin and Georgia Hammond also impressed for the Falcons, working hard in both defence and offence as well as gathering plenty of touches.

 

Richmond 8.6 (54) defeated Essendon 3.2 (20) 

By: James Halley

The VFLW Tigers overcame Essendon on Saturday afternoon in the first ever VFLW Dreamtime curtain raiser clash by 34 points. Richmond played with spirit throughout the whole game, with intense pressure being a real highlight. Essendon kicked the first goal of the match then Richmond kicked the next two, and held that lead for the remainder of the game.

For the second match in a row Essendon could not capitalise on its possession dominance in the third quarter with goals to match. Phoebe Monahan was superb for Richmond, as she amassed 27 disposals and was the recipient of the Aunty Joy Murphy Award for the best on ground player. Lauren Tesoriero managed two majors for Richmond in a skillful display with the two goals being a highlight for the match.

Richmond’s tall forward line stretched the Bombers back line all day, which was an interesting battle of game plans. Natalie MacDonald played her best game for the Bombers in a promising sign of things to come. Defender, Courtney Ugle also displayed a four-quarter performance to be a shinning light for Essendon. She started countless attacks from the back half with her speed and drive.

 

NT Thunder 13.5 (83) defeated Western Bulldogs 7.5 (47)

By: Julia Montesano

NT Thunder continued its undefeated start to the season with a 36-point win over the Western Bulldogs. The Bulldogs kept the Thunder to its smallest winning margin after a series of big wins to kick off the season.

NT captain, Angela Foley was on fire once again, making an impact wherever she went. She also added two goals to her name, and was joined by Kylie Duggan, who also scored two goals. Adelaide AFLW player, Anne Hatchard went two better, kicking four goals for the Thunder in her debut game in the VFLW. Hatchard worked well in the goal square, using her strong hands and applying strong body-work to make an impact. Sue Nalder was another one who displayed strong hands, as she was able to take marks of all kinds in Darwin. The best of them all was Adelaide AFLW young gun, Jasmyn Hewett. Hewett was extremely dominant in the ruck, was able to kick a goal, and took a Mark of the Year contender.

It was Bulldogs AFLW player, Naomi Ferres who led the way for the away team. Ferres worked hard in the midfield, laying some strong tackles and moving swiftly to get her team forward. She and AFLW teammate, Kirsten McLeod were the Bulldogs’ only multiple goalkickers, with each of them kicking two majors for the day. Reigning AFLW leading goalkicker, Brooke Lochland joined Ferres and McLeod for the first time this season and didn’t disappoint, displaying a high work ethic throughout the game with some hard running and good ball use.

 

Williamstown 5.7 (37) defeated by Casey Demons 8.1 (49)

By: Julia Montesano 

The Casey Demons recorded their first win of the season with a 12-point win over Williamstown. The Demons led at every change, and put the game away with a four goals to none third quarter.

Kaila Bentvelzen had a day out inside 50, kicking five of the Demons’ eight goals on the day. She was complemented by Dandenong Stingrays forward, Brooke Struylaart, who got on the board with two majors. Casey Sheriff was named best on ground for the Demons and was joined by AFLW talents, Darcy Guttridge and Harriet Cordner. Taryn Orgill was able to back up her solid performance last week, playing a key role in Casey’s win. Lorianne Lowerson was another impressive player in what was a great team win for the Demons.

For Williamstown, debutant and former Western Jet, Emma Ludolff got on the board with a major. She was joined by Stacey Cross and AFLW star, Jess Duffin, who were both named in the best. Emily Paterno was the Seagulls’ only multiple goalkicker, booting through two majors on the day. New North Melbourne recruit, Jenna Bruton also had a good day out, joining the likes of Brodie Stevens, Georgia Harris and Shae-Lee Murphy-Burke in Williamstown’s best.

 

Melbourne Uni 4.3 (27) defeated by Geelong Cats 4.4 (28)

By: Julia Montesano

The Geelong Cats recorded a thrilling win over the Mugars at their home ground. The narrow one-point victory keeps their undefeated streak intact as they advance to the top of the ladder after round five.

Geelong forward, Kate Darby continued her wonderful goalkicking this season, adding two majors to the Cats’ total of four to bring her up to third in the VFLW’s leading goalkicker tally. She was complemented by Hannah Burchell and fellow Geelong AFLW recruit, Richelle Cranston, who both kicked goals and were named in the best. Darby and Cranston kicked the last two goals of the game to record a memorable come-from-behind victory, after the Mugars led at every change. Amy McDonald was the best of the lot, named as the best player by the Geelong coaches.

We saw AFLW best and fairest, Emma Kearney at her best on Sunday, as she kicked two goals and dominated across the park. She was complemented by captain and fellow North Melbourne recruit, Ashleigh Riddell, who worked in tandem with Kearney in the midfield. Bendigo Pioneers graduate, Aisling Tupper also had a solid performance, kicking a goal in the last quarter to take Melbourne University’s lead to 11 points. USA Freedom player, Katie Klatt and former Carlton defender, Kate Gillespie-Jones contributed well on the day.