Tag: chelsea randall

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 review: Pies win opening round as Lions upset reigning premiers

BRISBANE’s youth stepped up downing reigning premiers Adelaide at home, as Collingwood claimed its first win in Round 1 from four tries. All four expansion sides suffered defeats, with the Gold Coast SUNS getting within one point of victory against the GIANTS. We recap the remaining six games after our Match of the Round saw Melbourne topple North Melbourne at Casey Fields.

RICHMOND 0.0 | 0.2 | 0.2 | 2.2 (14)
CARLTON 1.5 | 1.8 | 5.9 | 6.12 (48)

By: Michael Alvaro

Richmond’s induction into the AFLW proved a baptism of fire as Carlton outclassed the Tigers to come up 34-point winners in Friday night’s season opener. The Blues looked at home on the Ikon Park turf, outmuscling the league newcomers through the engine room and having all the territory in the 6.12 (48) to 2.2 (14) drubbing. Signs were ominous early despite the scoreline not suggesting as much, with Katie Loynes’ first term major the only one in the opening half as Carlton failed to translate its dominance to scoreboard pressure. Even still, the Blues’ midfield trio of Loynes, Madison Prespakis, and Sarah Hosking brutalised that of the Tigers, setting the tone with their work rate, punishing pressure, and superior contested ball winning to get well on top.

The 2019 Rising Star, Prespakis then took over after the main break, inspiring her side to a game-breaking four-goal to nil third term as things began to look ugly. But things were not all bad for the Tigers, with boom forward recruit Sabrina Frederick making history as she slotted Richmond’s first ever AFLW goal three minutes into the final quarter, receiving a good pop from the adoring crowd. Fellow tall target Courtney Wakefield also joined in on the goalkicking action, getting on the end of a fantastic bit of transitional play to give fans a glimpse of what the Tigers may be capable of in time. Monique Conti (13 disposals, four tackles) was arguably the best in a losing side, combining through midfield with skipper, Katie Brennan (10 disposals) but lacking the grunt to turn the game around. Phoebe Monahan and Christina Bernardi also stood up in the yellow and black, while Akec Makur Chuot was terrific in an under-siege defence, positioning expertly to intercept and rebound assuredly.

For the Blues, Prespakis picked up from where she left off in 2019, collecting 21 disposals and laying five tackles on her way to best afield honours. Hosking worked like the Energizer bunny in the first half to finish with 17 touches, while captain Loynes had it 13 times and Lucy McEvoy debuted impressively with 12 disposals and five marks. The dynamic forward targets of Tayla Harris and Darcy Vescio proved troublesome inside 50, while ruck Breann Moody showed improvement from the middle. The Blues will again feature at Ikon Park up next, set to face another traditional rival and bunny side in Collingwood, while the Tigers travel up to Queensland to face fellow newcomer, Gold Coast on Saturday night.

GOALS:

Richmond: C. Wakefield, S. Frederick.
Carlton:
T. Harris, M. Prespakis, D. Vescio, A. Downie, K. Loynes, B. Walker.

ADC BEST:

Richmond: M. Conti, A. Makur Chuot, C. Bernardi, C. Wakefield, P. Monahan, S. Frederick
Carlton:
M. Prespakis, L. McEvoy, S. Hosking, K. Loynes, T. Harris, B. Moody

GWS GIANTS 0.1 | 0.2 | 1.3 | 1.3 (9)
GOLD COAST 1.0 | 1.2 | 1.2 | 1.2 (8)

By: Nikki Jamieson

GWS narrowly avoided a loss in torrential weather to the Suns in Blacktown doing just enough to limp over the line. The match favourites had to work hard for their victory while the Suns looked to kick off their 2020 campaign with a fairy-tale beginning, taking advantage of the conditions to show that they should not be underestimated. Gold Coast denied any easy access to goals for the GIANTS only registering two points up until half time before the gears started to kick in, in the third term to apply scoreboard pressure. Both sides worked tirelessly, not willing to give an inch and scrapping hard to win the slippery footy but in the end it was the experience of GWS that prevailed.

Gold Coast’s Brittany Perry made history, kicking the team’s debut AFLW goal in the early in the match resulting in an early lead. The experienced co-captains, in Sam Virgo and Leah Kaslar, were able to keep the young team under control. Breakout stars for the Suns included ex-Lion Jacqui Yorston who proved she was a tackling machine with a whopping 12 tackles to her name along with 13 disposals while Jamie Stanton also made an impact with 15 disposals and five tackles.

Thankfully for the home side, they gained their lead back through a goal late in the third term by Aimee Schmidt. GWS’ experience proved to be the decider, as outstanding second and third efforts by Alyce Parker led the way racking up 22 disposals and five tackles. Re-listed Rebecca Privitelli was a key factor in the GIANTS narrow win, with 14 disposals and a potentially match winning behind. New captain Alicia Eva had a similarly influential game, with 17 disposals and six tackles.

In Round 2 both teams play on the Saturday again, with GWS taking on North Melbourne in Tasmania and the Suns have their first home match against Richmond at Metricon Stadium.

GOALS:

GIANTS: A. Schmidt.
Gold Coast: B. Perry.

ADC BEST:

GIANTS: A. Parker, A. Eva, B. Tully, C. Staunton, H. Zreika, R. Privitelli.
Gold Coast: J. Stanton, S. Virgo, J. Yorston, H. Dunn, B. Perry, L. Ahrens.

COLLINGWOOD 0.0 | 2.2 | 3.4 | 5.8 (38)
WEST COAST EAGLES 1.2 | 1.2 | 1.4 | 1.5 (11)

By: Taylah Melki

It was a history making performance for both sides with Eagles captain Dana Hooker scoring the first goal in her club’s inaugural match while also racking up 18 touches. But that was where the fairytale ended for West Coast, with Collingwood securing their first win in Round 1 in AFLW history. It was a sluggish start to the match for the Magpies who went scoreless in the opening term thanks to the Eagles mountain load of defensive pressure applying strong bumps and tackles. But the tables slowly turned in favour of the Pies with Collingwood peppering the forward 50 and capitalising on their opportunities.

After 693 days out of the game, fan favourite and former Rising Star, Chloe Molloy made her presence felt across the footy field nailing the Pies opening goal of the match and racking up 10 touches. Captain, Steph Chiocci also starred in the black and white leading from the front and slotting a nice goal on the run to get her sides nose in front. Former Diamonds goal keeper, Sharni Layton followed suit with a history making performance kicking her first AFLW goal, while Jaimee Lambert and Sarah D’Arcy also found the big sticks with ease. Defensively the Collingwood duo of Ash Brazill and Stacey Livingstone seemed impossible to break through with the two reading the play with ease and picking off passes willy nilly. Brazill made the most of her speed and dynamic movement while Livingstone showcased her strong set of hands. But their victory was soured by a suspected lower leg injury to star recruit Bri Davey who went down midway through the third quarter.

The Eagles had glimpses of magic with Emma Swanson a ball magnet across the ground with her 18 disposals, while teammate Imahra Cameron was a real live wire tackling hard and running the ground with ease. Youngster Mikayla Bowen was also a tackling machine collecting a game-high 10 tackles and while she did not win a heap of the ball, her off the ball pressure was through the roof. Despite a dominant first quarter, West Coast simply could not maintain that high intensity pace allowing Collingwood to wear them down and poke holes in their defence to claim first spot on the ladder.

GOALS:

Collingwood: S. D’Arcy, C. Molloy, S. Layton, J. Lambert, S. Chiocci
West Coast: D. Hooker

ADC BEST: 

Collingwood: J. Lambert, S. Chiocci, C. Molloy, S. Livingstone, B. Bonnici.
West Coast: D.Hooker, E. Swanson, M. Bowen, I. Cameron, M. Dowrick.

BRISBANE 2.2 | 3.3 | 5.3 | 5.4 (34)
ADELAIDE 0.0 | 1.2 | 1.2 | 3.3 (21)

By: Taylah Melki

The Brisbane Lions kicked off their 2020 campaign in style defeating the reigning premiers in style. The Lions got the jump on the Crows early opening up a two-goal lead and did not look back steadily building their attacking momentum and only allowing Adelaide to score one goal up until the fourth quarter. Adelaide fought back in the last quarter to add some respectability to the score line and prove they still have what it takes to score freely despite being well held for majority of the match.

Lauren Arnell was electric for the Lions using her physicality and go get it attitude to win the ball at the coal face while also hitting the scoreboard. Arnell led the way for Brisbane with two majors while reliable defender Kate Lutkins was up to her usual tricks with 17 disposals 14 of which were kicks. In her debut game, Lily Postlethwaite plied her trade across the field amassing nine touches and showcasing her physical intent laying five tackles. Ally Anderson was in hot form racking up the touches across the field with 16, while Emma Zielke did not muck around collecting 15 touches.

Although it was not the Crows day, Anne Hatchard made history with a whopping 35 touches in what was a complete performance from the talented midfield. In the absence of Erin Phillips and Chelsea Randall, Hatchard stood up and seemed to have the ball on a string while also controlling both the forward and defensive 50. Teammate Ebony Marinoff also played a major role for the Crows with the 22-year-old amassing 21 disposals and throwing her weight around with six tackles. Marinoff was not afraid to go in hard at the contest and extract the footy, using her awareness and vision to sight players in space. New recruit Courtney Gum hit the scoreboard in her first outing as a Crow while Angela Foley also added a major. Sarah Allan showcased her skill set to cover the ground well and win the ball at the coal face with 18 disposals but unfortunately it was not enough to get them over the line, with Brisbane running out comfortably.

GOALS:

Brisbane: (2) L. Arnell, O. O’Dwyer, G. Bodey, J. Tawhiao-Wardlaw.
Adelaide: C.Gum, N.Gore, A. Foley.

ADC BEST:

Brisbane: L. Arnell, K. Lutkins, A. Anderson, E. Zielke, L. Postlethwaite
Adelaide: A. Hatchard, E. Marinoff, S. Allan, A. Foley, C. Gum

ST KILDA 1.0 | 1.1 | 1.1 | 2.2 (14)
WESTERN BULLDOGS 4.1 | 5.1 | 5.2 | 6.3 (39)

By: Peter Williams

A fast-starting Western Bulldogs team has outclassed St Kilda in its inaugural game, playing the role of party poopers at the Saints’ homecoming to RSEA Park, Moorabbin. The Bulldogs booted the first three goals of the game, including two to Bonnie Toogood and one to Danielle Marshall – who broke history becoming the first American to kick a goal in the AFL Women’s competition. With the game starting to slip by, the Saints gave the crowd something to cheer about with Georgia Patrikios combining with Molly McDonald to slot through the latter’s first in her AFL Women’s career.

The Dogs headed into the the break with a three-goal lead, and while the Saints were never able to head them, it was a much closer contest in the remaining three quarters. St Kilda stepped up and lifted its defensive pressure and used the ball better, booting a last quarter goal to Jess Sedunary – the final one of the match to counter the Western Bulldogs’ only goal of the half – to Kirsty Lamb – which ended any hope of the home side coming back and put it out to a game-high 32 points. The final 25-point margin was an accurate representation of the game, with the Bulldogs a bit too slick and too experienced for the young Saints.

Patrikios looked at home in the competition on debut, racking up 18 touches, two marks, three inside 50s and five tackles, while setting up the Saints’ opening goal with a lovely kick across 50 to hit-up a free McDonald, using her elite vision to find her in space. McDonald herself was very impressive with 12 touches – all kicks – four marks, three tackles, two rebounds, one inside 50 and a goal, while Olivia Vesely also stood out with the second most disposals of anyone in the red, white and black, picking up 14 disposals, one mark and four tackles.

For the Dogs, Ellie Blackburn showed just how elite she is with a standout performance of 17 touches, four marks, five tackles and a poster that caused a premature celebration from the captain believing it had split the big sticks. Hannah Scott and Lamb also picked up 17 disposals each, recording a combined five marks and 10 tackles, while number one draft pick, Gabby Newton had 13 disposals and eight tackles, playing off half-forward and having stints on-ball.

GOALS: 

St Kilda: M. McDonald, J. Sedunary.
Bulldogs: B. Toogood 2, D. Marshall, B. Hunt, K. Lamb, B. Hunt.

ADC BEST:

St Kilda: G. Patrikios, M. McDonald, O. Vesely, H. Priest, K. McCarthy, N. Exon
Bulldogs: E. Blackburn, B. Hunt, K. Lamb. H. Scott, A. McCarthy, K. Rennie

FREMANTLE 1.0 | 3.3 | 4.4 | 6.8 (44)
GEELONG 1.2 | 3.2 | 4.4 | 4.4 (28)

By: Michael Alvaro

Fremantle made the ideal start in its quest to go one better than its preliminary final-making 2019 campaign, kicking away late to topple Geelong by 16 points on home turf. Fremantle young gun Sabreena Duffy played a starring role, booting more than half of her side’s score with four goals in the 6.8 (44) to 4.4 (28) triumph.

While the Dockers enjoyed plenty of time in their forward half with 48 inside 50s to 13, the Cats controlled the uncontested ball and transitioned well while making better use of their opportunities up forward. It meant the visiting side had an answer for each challenge, with the two sides going goal-for-goal in the first three terms with the margin not breaching seven points either way. But Duffy’s fourth goal and one followed by Gemma Houghton sealed the deal for Fremantle late in the final term, with the winners made to earn their first set of premiership points.

Duffy was the spearhead up forward, but had good support in the form of Houghton (17 disposals, five tackles, 1.3) and star debutant Roxanne Roux (seven disposals, 1.2), while Kiara Bowers took on a mammoth workload with 22 touches and 14 tackles from midfield. The Cats’ top end was made to work hard, with promising youngster Olivia Purcell racking up a game-high 27 disposals, while Julia Crockett-Grills (22 disposals, five marks), Rebecca Webster (21 disposals, seven marks), and Madeline Keryk (20 disposals, four marks) stood up in Geelong’s defensive half. Richelle Cranston had arguably the highlight of the day with her second term goal, handballing to herself on the break and slamming the ball home, while Nina Morrison made a steady return to action with a goal from nine touches. A home fixture is up next for the Cats as the Lions come to town, while Fremantle is set to play out in the inaugural AFLW Western derby on Saturday night.

GOALS:

Fremantle: S. Duffy 4, G. Houghton, R. Roux.
Geelong: G. Clarke, R. Cranston, M. Maguire, N. Morrison.

ADC BEST:

Fremantle: S. Duffy, K. Bowers, G. Houghton, R. Roux, H. Miller, K. Antonio
Geelong: O. Purcell, J. Crockett-Grills, R. Cranston, R. Webster, M. Keryk, D. Taylor

2020 AFL Women’s season predictions

WITH the 2020 AFLW season set to commence tomorrow night, we take a look at three potential leading goal kickers, MVPs, premiership favourites and Rising Stars contenders, as well as give our predictions for the season ahead.

Leading goal kickers:

Collingwood – Jaimee Lambert

The talented forward caused many headaches last year with her deceptive speed, strong goal sense and determination. Lambert is a ball magnet in the forward 50 thanks to her sticky hands and skill to get goal side and shoot truly. She is a real excitement machine able to have an impact both in the air and at ground level. Lambert took out the VFLW leading goal kicker in 2019 proving just how dangerous she can be when given time and space to do what she does best and will be looking to bring home the AFLW leading goal kicker title in 2020.

Richmond – Katie Brennan

The key forward will want to make a lasting impact in her new colours and lead from the front with her scoring prowess. The Richmond captain is renowned for her strong leading patterns and strength on the take to reel the ball in despite oncoming pressure. She is relatively accurate in front of goal and has a good turn of speed to attack the goal sticks when need be. Brennan is hard to stop when she is on song able to hit the scoreboard multiple times with her strong marking a key aspect of her game.

Adelaide – Stevie-Lee Thompson

After a stellar 2019 the Crows star will be hoping to back up her performance and make it back-to-back leading goal kicker honours. She is a real livewire at ground level for Adelaide with her smooth pick-ups and electric speed, pair that with her accuracy and Thompson is a dangerous prospect for opposing teams. She is a dynamic mover across the field able to lead up at the footy and take a big grab consistently showcasing her impressive skillset in front of goals.

MVP:

North Melbourne – Emma Kearney

The 2018 MVP will be hoping to back up her stellar past couple of seasons once again in 2020 and guide her side to their inaugural grand final. Kearney can win the ball in any situation able to read the play and constantly get involved. She is a real ball magnet across the field using her on-field leadership to direct traffic and set up both offensively and defensively. She oozes class and composure able to think her way through congestion.

West Coast – Dana Hooker

The former Dockers midfielder made the switch to West Coast and will be hoping to have an immediate impact with her ball winning abilities. She works tirelessly across the field to win the ball at the coalface while her cleanliness with ball in hand puts her in good stead to take out the award. Hooker backs herself in a contest using her footy smarts to out think her opponents while her on-field leadership is another key facet of her game play.

Adelaide – Ebony Marinoff

Marinoff is a physical beast consistently putting her body on the line to win the ball and impose herself on the contest. She is a real leader on the field and will have to stand up in the absence of Phillips and Randall. The Crows star has been a consistent performer unfazed by the physical battle often extracting the ball out of congestion and delivering to teammates in space. She can turn a game on its head able to hit the scoreboard while also get back and do the defensive things well.

Rising Star:

Carlton – Lucy McEvoy:

The former Geelong Falcons captain led from the front throughout her time in the NAB League using her on-field leadership and bullish go-get it attitude to extract the ball time and time again. McEvoy is one of a kind able to slot into any vacant spot on the footy field and fulfil the role to the utmost level thanks to her high level of skill and class with ball in hand. She is a smart player able to think her way through pressure and hit a teammate lace out making her a class above many other. It will be a challenge to play against some of the bigger bodies in the AFLW but if her time in the VFLW is anything to go by it won’t really phase the talented midfielder.

St Kilda – Georgia Patrikios:

Much like McEvoy, Patrikios oozes composure and class able to manoeuvre her way out of traffic and deliver well-weighted handballs to teammates. She works hard to win the ball at the coalface unfazed by the physical nature of the game instead, embracing the contest and nine times out 10 winning it. She is a smooth mover across the field and uses her vision to full effect able to dish off a pass lace out to someone in space. The former Calder Cannons captain is no stranger to the big stage and stands up under pressure making her an exciting prospect for the Saints in 2020.

Brisbane – Lily Postlethwaite

The young Queensland product has skill and class to boot able to weave her way in and out of traffic with ease. The 18-year-old captained Queensland in the AFLW Under 18 Championships and will be looking to bring that natural born leadership to the contest for the Lions. Postlethwaite will offer great versatility to Brisbane with her impressive vision, clean hands and high footy IQ a couple of her main tricks.

Premiership contenders:

Adelaide:

The two-time premiers will be looking to add to their premiership tally in 2020 having tasted success last year. Unfortunately, the Crows have been struck down with a host of injuries with Erin Phillips and Chelsea Randall both suffering ACL injuries. But they should not be forgotten about, given their ability to turn games on their head within seconds. Expect the likes of Ebony Marinoff, Courtney Gum and Courtney Cramey to do the damage across the field for the Crows while the likes of youngster Montana McKinnon is another one to keep an eye out.

Carlton:

It would be hard to discount the Blues after making it all the way to the grand final last year and although they lost the likes of Bri Davey over the off-season they have gained another potential rising star in McEvoy. Darcy Vescio and Tayla Harris have proven to be a dynamic duo in the forward 50 with the two able to cause havoc credit to their strong goal sense while through the midfield Maddy Prespakis has been a revelation thanks to her ball winning ability.

North Melbourne:

After a strong showing in the opening half of the 2019 season the Kangaroos fell away when it counted but will be looking to make amends in 2020 and go one better. North definitely, have the star power to take the competition by storm and really announce themselves on the rest of the competition with the likes of Emma Kearney and Emma King at the helm. Throw in the likes of Kaitlyn Ashmore and Jasmine Garner and the Roos will be a hard team to beat throughout the season.

OUR PREDICTIONS:

Michael Alvaro – 2019 Draft Central AFLW Tipping winner
Premier: Adelaide
Runner-up: North Melbourne
Big Improver: Collingwood
MVP: Ebony Marinoff
Leading Goalkicker: Tayla Harris
Rising Star: Gabrielle Newton

Taylah Melki
Premier: North Melbourne
Runner-up: Carlton
Big Improver: Collingwood
MVP: Bri Davey
Leading Goalkicker: Katie Brennan
Rising Star: Georgia Patrikios

Sophie Taylor
Premier: Richmond
Runner-up: Melbourne
Big Improver: Western Bulldogs
MVP: Emma Kearney
Leading Goalkicker: Stevie-Lee Thompson
Rising Star: Lucy McEvoy

Peter Williams
Premier: North Melbourne
Runner-up: Carlton
Big Improver: Western Bulldogs
MVP: Ellie Blackburn
Leading Goalkicker: Emma King
Rising Star: Millie Brown

2020 AFL Women’s team preview: Adelaide

LAST year’s premiers and the clear top side in the AFL Women’s short history, Adelaide heads into season 2020 with a couple of huge question marks. Two of their best players are out with long-term knee injuries in dual MVP Erin Phillips and co-captain Chelsea Randall. They leave two massive holes to fill in a side with enviable depth but the hope is still there for Phillips to return at some point during the season. If they can manage to fill those roles without too much upheaval in the line-up, the Crows are still a great chance to make finals and push for a third flag in four years.

FULL ADELAIDE TEAM LIST WITH JUMPER NUMBERS

KEY PLAYER:

Ebony Marinoff (Inside Midfielder)

It is hard to believe the star midfielder has only just turned 22 last year, and is still a few years away from potentially hitting her prime. A genuine elite talent already, Marinoff can do it all through the midfield and in the absence of Phillips and Randall on-field, she can lead her Crows to another finals series. Her attack on the ball and ability to push through adversity and win games off her own boot – as shown in her return to the SANFL Women’s late last year – are among her greatest strengths.

RISING STAR:

Montana McKinnon (Ruck/Key Forward)

Watch out for the next big star when it comes to key position players, with McKinnon able to seamlessly slot into the Crows’ rotation. They might not throw her straight into the mix against bigger-bodied and more experienced rucks, but McKinnon can fill the role of Phillips up forward and provide a marking target. Her best attributes are her contested marking and her ability to compete at ground level which she showed for South Adelaide in the SANFL Women’s, as well as for South Australia at the AFL Women’s Under-18 Championships where she was named in the All-Australian team.

WATCH FOR:

Chloe Scheer (forward)

AFL Women’s spectators got a glimpse of what the talented forward was capable of last year, so expect her to follow up her efforts with a big season this year. Having missed her top-age year due to a knee reconstruction, Scheer was drafted as an over-ager and did not disappoint in season 2019. There is unlikely to be any second year blues from Scheer, who along with a young forward line has the potential to be a leading goal kicker in the future. A perfect example of the next group of AFL Women’s stars coming through the ranks.

CONFERENCE OPPONENTS: Brisbane, Geelong, Gold Coast, GWS GIANTS, North Melbourne, Richmond.

FIXTURE:

Round 1 – @ Brisbane
Round 2 – vs. St Kilda
Round 3 – @ Geelong
Round 4 – vs. Carlton
Round 5 – @ Kangaroos
Round 6 – vs. GWS GIANTS
Round 7 – @ Gold Coast SUNS
Round 8 – vs. Richmond

Realistically, the Crows have a fairly decent draw, with the challenge undoubtedly being back-to-back games against grand finalists Carlton, then travelling to North Hobart in Round 5 to face the Kangaroos. Both these sides will eye off finals, and with North Melbourne also falling in their pool, it will be a tough couple of games. Outside of those matches, Adelaide would be favourites to win fairly well, though do not discount Geelong in Round 3, and potentially Richmond in Round 8 if the Tigers are up and running.

PREDICTION: 2nd/3rd in Conference A

The Crows might be missing a couple of elite talents, but their best 21 is the greatest in the league and given the mix of experience and youth, goal scoring power and defensive prowess, it would be a surprise not to see the Crows make the finals again. North Melbourne is tipped to top the conference given how it went last year, but the Crows are in the next couple with both Carlton and Geelong considerations after their finals seasons. The new sides in Gold Coast and Richmond have talent on the board but it will be easier to read once the season has started.

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2019/20 AFLW off-season review: Adelaide

REIGNING premier Adelaide is a deserving favourite of chasing its third AFL Women’s flag in four years after keeping together an already impressive list, and adding a host of young and experienced stars to its roster. There were plenty of tears when two-time Most Valuable Player (MVP) Erin Phillips went down with an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury in the 2019 AFL Women’s Grand Final, and just as many recently when Chelsea Randall suffered the same injury that has now ruled her out of the 2020 season.

But through some shrewd recruiting, the Crows picked up the only other MVP winner in the AFL Women’s short history, with former GWS GIANTS’ star Courtney Gum returning back to South Australia after retiring, then opting to give the elite level another crack. Along with Gum, Montana McKinnon will provide the immediate relief for the loss of Jess Allan who headed to the GIANTS due to work, while Jess Sedunary was the only other player to leave for another club, joining St Kilda. Rheanne Lugg and Sally Riley both found second homes through free agency, while Jenna McCormick retired to focus on her international soccer career. Joining the club along with McKinnon through the draft were 2019 Under-18 All Australians, Jaimi Tabb and Madison Newman, while versatile talls, Caitlin Gould and Chelsea Biddell add some much needed depth to the Crows – especially now Randall has gone down. The other two recruits were South Adelaide ball winner, Nicole Campbell, and the best South Australian women’s player in the state league in Najwa Allen who crossed to the state for the 2019 season and showed just how talented she is through the midfield.

OFF-SEASON CHANGES:

IN: Montana McKinnon, Nicole Campbell, Courtney Gum (South Adelaide), Najwa Allen (Norwood), Jaimi Tabb (WWT Eagles), Caitlin Gould (Glenelg), Madison Newman, Chelsea Biddell (West Adelaide)
OUT: Jess Sedunary (St Kilda), Jess Allan (GWS GIANTS), Rheanne Lugg, Sally Riley, Katelyn Rosenzweig, Sarah Perkins (delisted), Jenna McCormick (retired)

2020 TEAM LIST:

Sarah Allan
Najwa Allen
Chelsea Biddell
Nicole Campbell
Dayna Cox
Courtney Cramey
Angela Foley
Jessica Foley
Renee Forth
Nikki Gore
Caitlin Gould
Courtney Gum
Anne Hatchard
Eloise Jones
Sophie Li
Ebony Marinoff
Montana McKinnon
Rhiannon Metcalfe
Justine Mules
Madison Newman
Erin Phillips
Danielle Ponter
Marijana Rajcic
Chloe Scheer
Jaimi Tabb
Stevie-Lee Thompson
Deni Varnhagen
Ruth Wallace

Rookie: Ailish Considine
Inactive list: Hannah Martin (ACL), Chelsea Randall (ACL), Maisie Nankivell (netball)

POTENTIAL 2020 SIDE:

B: Dayna Cox – Sarah Allen – Justine Mules
HB: Courtney Cramey – Marijana Rajcic – Angela Foley
C: Courtney Gum
HF: Danielle Ponter – Chloe Scheer – Erin Phillips
F: Eloise Jones – Stevie-Lee Thompson – Deni Varnhagen
R: Jessica Foley – Anne Hatchard – Ebony Marinoff
INT: Renee Forth – Najwa Allen – Ailish Considine* – Courtney Cramey – Montana McKinnon
EMG: Jaimi Tabb – Rhiannon Metcalfe – Sophie Li

DEPTH: Chelsea Biddell, Nicole Campbell, Nikki Gore, Caitlin Gould, Madison Newman, Ruth Wallace, Hannah Martin*, Chelsea Randall*

*ACL injuries

It is clear the Crows have enviable depth on their roster with a ridiculous amount of talent that is hard to squeeze into the side. Adelaide might opt to begin blooding more young players in season 2020, as the likes of Courtney Cramey, Rhiannon Metcalfe, Sophie Li and even Phillips come towards the twilight of their careers. The huge question will be whether or not Phillips can return in time for the start of the season, but if not, you can be sure she will run out at some stage such is the elite professionalism and determination of the athlete.

Expect names such as McKinnon and Allen to push for a Round 1 spot, with Gum the other obvious choice if fit. The loss of Randall is huge, meaning Marijana Rajcic might have to play taller, or they opt for a team defence. Caitlin Gould could also slot in there, but is likely to take time to adapt to the level, with Newman, Tabb and Nikki Gore others one can expect to feature at some stage. The Crows have plenty of ‘Plan Bs’ with Biddell a readymade key forward option, much like Campbell in midfield, and then there’s the ruck experience of Metcalfe just waiting in the wings. From the dominant midfield to the firepower up forward, this side is every chance to go back-to-back and no-one will be surprised if the super-human athlete in Phillips makes it back for an early return.

Maher inspired by family to play footy

NIECE of Melbourne Demons great Aaron Davey, Tesharna Maher has footy in her blood and seems to be living up to the hype with her pace a real focal point of her game play. Having spent a lot of her younger years playing soccer the switch to footy was a bit unexpected but one she has taken in her stride.

“I’m originally a soccer player and because my mum and her brothers played football so she was like “why don’t you give it a try?” so I gave it a try and now I’m here,” she said.

Although the shape of the ball is different Maher has adopted some skills from her soccer days and applied them to the footy field to have an impact across the ground with her read of the play.

“I think reading the play because in soccer I was a defender so I had to look for the field and so yeah,” she said.

When asked about some of her skills Maher touted her contested ball work as a strength.

“I’d say either ground or contested balls and running and carrying with the ball,” she said.

Maher only picked up a sherrin three to four years ago but has not looked back since constantly looking to improve her footy and become the best player she can.

“I’d like to probably improve my endurance so that I can last through a whole game and probably also like aerial marks,” she said.

Encouraged by her mum to get into footy, Maher labels her mum as one of her biggest supports and inspirations while AFLW star Chelsea Randall is also in the mix given her impact on the footy field and caring nature.

“Well I’ve kind of got two. So the first one is my mum because she was the one who inspired me to play football because she was actually apart of the first AFLW exhibition match. The second one is Chelsea Randall because she’s just courageous and she’s just a lovely person,” she said.

The Central Allies player has been tasked with managing the commitments of both footy and school and has high hopes for the future.

“Well considering I’m still in school I’d love to finish that off first and then regarding football hopefully maybe get drafted,” she said.

Tabb narrows footy focus to find school-sport balance

WITH two separate South Australian seasons, AFL Women’s Under-18 Championships and of course school studies every year, it was becoming quite the work load for Jaimi Tabb. The Under-18 draft prospect had to juggle her South Australian National Football League (SANFL Women’s) season with West Adelaide, her South Australian Women’s Football League (SAWFL) commitments with Fitzroy, her South Australian and Central Allies commitments at the championships, and of course her school studies. It came apparent she had to lessen the load to narrow her focus on what she wanted to get out of football and school.

“It was full-on last year with school and everything,” Tabb said. “I quit basketball so I could take up football and with going to the AFL Academy and all that and then trying to have the opportunity to train with the Crows a few times a week, it got heaps. “This year I just said no to winter and just stick to SANFL and focus on state.”

The Eagles youngster crossed to Woodville-West Torrens over the off-season due to the side entering the SANFL Women’s for the first time. But her football journey started prior when she was asked if she wanted to join in a nine-a-side association game.

“I’m from Windsor Bay which is about two and a half hours out from Adelaide and so I grew up playing basketball, netball and all those sports because football wasn’t an option down there,” Tabb said. “Then my brothers’ physio said there was an association game and said ‘do you want to just come join?’ and I said ‘oh yeah’ because I’d done nine-a-side with school and everything and I was like ‘oh yeah I will’. “So we did nine-a-side for that competition and got best on for the day, and I was like ‘I’m pretty good at this’ so I looked at a few clubs and West Adelaide was the closest because Eagles wasn’t an option in 2015 when I started. “So I went to Westies and did two years there, one year of SANFL in 2018, so last year. “Then went to Fitzroy for the winter season and then moved to Woodville-West Torrens for this SANFL season.”

The Eagles entering the league was a brand new experience for Tabb, who thoroughly enjoyed it and the bond she had with the playing group which outweighed the cons of the winless season.

“For me, I got to choose between Westies and Woodville, but because I’m zoned to Woodville I thought I might as well have the opportunity to go there while Tess Baxter‘s coaching,” Tabb said. “I love it, all the bunch of girls were amazing. “Even though none of them played SANFL before, it was just a great opportunity to play with a different group of girls and build a culture that will last for the next few years.”

Tabb has a fierce attack on the ball and a unique combination of power and speed that catches the eye on the football field. While her kicking is a self-proclaimed area of improvement, Tabb did enough during the Under-18 Championships to earn a National Draft Combination. Now the tackling machine will look to show off her speed at the three-day event in October. Speaking of the championships, Tabb said the bond between the Central Allies players was really strong and everyone had embraced the chance to join together once again up on the Gold Coast.

“Everyone has bonded extremely well, which I think we’ve all loved,” Tabb said. “Last night (July 10) we were all in a group circle singing, it was just so good. “Everyone has embraced the opportunity and you can see on the field we’re enjoying our footy which is good.”

As a player who has grown up through the Adelaide Crows’ Academy, Tabb has a mentor who has been a clear role model for her on and off the field.

Chelsea Randall has helped me heaps though the Crows Academies,” Tabb said. “Given how she goes and plays on the field, but she goes and gives opportunities to others, not only in the country but all around the world has inspired me as well.”

Journey the key for Carbone

IT is not always about the goal, it is more about the journey and how much you have to work to get there – a mantra that Northern Territory’s Dominique Carbone subscribes to as she strives to make the most of her AFL Women’s career. The talented Under 18s player was co-captain of Northern Territory and a leader at Central Allies in the AFL Women’s Under-18 Championships, and it is easy to see why.

“My goal is to make the AFLW and it’s not always about the goal, it’s more about the journey and how much you have to work to get there and hopefully if I achieve that goal I can look back and see how much I enjoyed the journey to get to where I wanted to be,” Carbone said. For now, she is just enjoying the opportunity she has been given.

“I think the biggest thing with AFL and with women playing AFL I think it’s a really good opportunity for empowerment in youth girls,” she said, “I fell in love with the amazing team environment there is. “Just the way you can go out and express yourself in different ways.”

Originally from basketball, Carbone said it was her friends who initially got her to try out the sport she can now not get enough of.

“Originally I was a basketballer and I had a couple of friends who were playing footy and I thought it was just a really good opportunity for me to come across and transfer some skills and just fell in love with the game,” she said.

With the rapid growth of women’s football across the country, Carbone said the development pathway in the Northern Territory has benefited from the NT Thunder being involved in the Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s competition.

“I feel like it really has (benefited), with the help of our new (Thunder Academy) coach Heidi Thompson,” Carbone said. “I feel like there is a bigger pathway for us girls growing up in the Northern Territory with the VFL coming up having those older ladies there being role models for us to look up to and compete against is a really great opportunity for someone like me.”

As a player, Carbone loves the contested side of football, backing herself to go in and win the hardball and try and be “hungry” to win the footy and shovel it out to teammates. While she is still constantly building her awareness of the game and its structures, she is getting more and more adaptable to the rigours of Australian rules football.

It is never easy combining two different states into one and expecting them to gel, though Carbone said the Northern Territory and South Australian representatives made it work incredibly well.

“I think that like us as a team have really grown together really quickly,” she said. “I think we have good morals and we trust and believe in each other and that’s a really good thing that we’ve been trying to build and we’ve been able to get to know each other really quick and built this team really well.”

As an individual, Carbone has pride everytime she pulls on a Central Allies jumper.

“For me it’s really heartwarming (to be included in the squad),” she said. “It’s a great opportunity for me as a young woman to be a role model for other girls who are growing up like me. “I play footy because I love the game and I play for my family and putting on the Central Allies colours and having a jersey that means so much, just being able to go out there and give it my all and hopefully live up to that.”

While Carbone is enjoying the journey and intends to continue to do so, she has always looked up to others in her life both personally and professionally which drives her to succeed.

“I have lots of role models that I look up to in different aspects of people,” Carbone said. “Like my dad is one of the biggest role models I have in my life, with the likes of (Angela) Foley who’s been a big presence for the NT youth women and Chelsea Randall as well. “Just being that someone to look up to with a great personality and just really showing if you have a good work ethic you can make it.”

With the AFL Women’s Draft now two months away, it is a nervous time for any young draft hopeful, but as she knows, Carbone is prepared for whatever path she needs to take on her journey to reach her goal.

Travel just the beginning for Bella Smith

TWELVE hours in the car to get to and from training and games is not the first choice for any budding footballer, but for Bella Smith, it was an easy choice when the Eyre Peninsula local opted to play women’s football in Adelaide. Whilst she did end up moving to Adelaide in the recent years, Smith still remembers the long car journeys to begin her career in the sport she loved.

“I’m originally from Eyre Peninsula so I started playing with the boys up until I was 14 until I was told I wasn’t able to play anymore with the boys,” Smith said. “So I gave it up for a bit because I wasn’t allowed in. “I ended up moving to Adelaide when I was 16 and brought it back up. Had my first season with the girls last year and went from there. “(I) went from under 17s with Norwood, and got into the Under 18s team last year and the Allies last year. (I) came back again this year with the Norwood SANFL team.”

The success of Norwood in the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s has helped Smith develop and learn from some of the most talented footballers in the country. It was such a successful program that Head Coach Steve Symonds earned the chance at coaching the elite competition at Collingwood in the AFL Women’s for the 2020 season. Smith said the group was close and wanted to achieve success together, and while they missed out on the elusive premiership this year, they still loved the season.

“It was awesome to be in such a successful team,” she said. “We had such a great minor rounds series and we were just a really tight knit group. “We all wanted to get better, we were all training as a squad and it was really good to be in that sort of environment just learning off other players such as Sally Riley when she’d come back from the Crows. “It was just so good to learn from people who had been so successful.”

Over the years, Smith has noticed a marked improvement in the talent across the board in women’s football, with both the competition and training standards held in much higher regards.

“The talent is just growing more and more,” Smith said. “It’s just getting more competitive and the elite standards. “The standards have just grown so much – just over the past year and it’s just going to continue to grow so much.”

For all the travel as she paved the way to her eventual state representation at the 2019 AFL Women’s Under-18 Championships, Smith said there was always the passion burning inside her. Smith thanked her parents for their support and credited them for inspiring her to believe in herself and her career.

“I have my parents have to thank for that, they had to give up so much for me to keep travelling and ended up moving me over,” she said. “Just having that support behind me has been awesome.”

As for on-field, an AFL Women’s premiership captain has been one who Smith has looked up to and tried to model her game on and off the field.

“If I’m talking about role models, I’d probably say Chelsea Randall,” Smith said. “I just think she’s such a fierce competitor. Just the way she plays, I just love watching her play, it’s just so awesome. Watching her train and her work ethic, it’s just so admirable.”

While her top-age year has crept up, The 182cm Smith has been working hard to continually improve her game and hope to take it to another level going forward.

“I think working on would be probably my athleticism, just getting more endurance into me,” Smith said. “As well as using my body a bit more, probably my strengths are my hands and my kicking. I’m able to take a few good marks here and there and can kick a fair distance which is good and efficient.”

VFLW Round 6 preview: Fourth and fifth clash to stay in touch with the top

THREE more sides have the bye this week as the Victorian Football League Women’s (VFLW) competition heads toward the midway point of the season. With most sides playing teams at the opposite end of the ladder, matchups between the middle-ranked sides will set the scene for the competition come Round 7.

CARLTON v. WESTERN BULLDOGS

Round 6 – 15/06/19
10.30
IKON Park

Carlton have a tough slog on Saturday morning as they host top of the ladder Western Bulldogs to open Round 6. Sitting at zero from four after a bye in Round 1, Carlton’s start to the season has been far from ideal, scoring less than 20 points in each of their three away matches in Rounds 2, 3 and 4. However, the side put up a good fight last round when they hosted NT Thunder, kicking seven goals – more than their opening three rounds combined – and only going down by seven points. The Bulldogs have had an incomparable start to the season, starting on a high with a 47 point win over Williamstown in Round 2 before continuing their fine form, keeping all of their opposition to less than 15 points. The Blues will hope for Natalie Plane to have another big one, with an average of 20 touches and a score on the board in every match this season, while young-gun Maddy Prespakis will hope for another dominant performance after accruing 29 disposals and five tackles last week in her first match of the season. The Bulldogs’ success this season has largely been down to the dominant ruck work of Nicole McMahon, averaging 31 hitouts per game, while Bonnie Toogood (averaging 20 disposals) and Tayla Dinuccio (averaging nine tackles) have done a wealth of work around the ground.

ESSENDON v. HAWTHORN

Round 6 – 15/06/19
11.30
Windy Hill

In the first of two closely matched games of the round, ninth placed Essendon and eighth placed Hawthorn will face off with the winner hoping to stay in touch with the top sides. Both teams had a bye last round, and while sitting close on the ladder, Hawthorn will come into this match as the favourites with two wins under their belt – one a dominant 42 point victory over Darebin. Essendon have only won one of their four matches but have no issue getting access to goal having kicked five goals in three of their four matches, but have struggled defensively with an average of 38 points kicked against. The Bombers will hope for another strong performance from Hayley Bullas, who has averaged eight tackles and 18 touches per game this season, while the likes of Jess Sibley and Emily Gilder have shared the brunt of the goalkicking load for the Hawks. It will be an interesting ruck battle between Abbey Tanner (Hawks) and Simone Nalder (Bombers), who are sitting on 95 and 94 hitouts from four matches, respectively. Hawthorn have done a good job sharing the load across the field, with no one player who can be targeted and tagged out.

DAREBIN v. COLLINGWOOD

Round 6 – 15/06/19
12.00
Preston City Oval

Collingwood will aim for their fifth win on the trot this round as they take on cellar dwellers, Darebin Falcons. The Falcons have struggled so far this season, unable to string along consistent performances. While Darebin’s points scored in the opening rounds would have been enough to beat a number of sides, the first five rounds saw Darebin face three of the current top five. A four point win over Casey has solidified Collingwood’s spot in the top four after five rounds, so the side will likely come in confident this week against the severely depleted Falcons side. Collingwood AFLW captain, Steph Chiocci took the field in Round 5 for the first time this season, kicking two goals and gathering 13 touches and three tackles in a solid day out. Meanwhile, Bri Davey will be a big one for the Falcs to watch out for if she returns this week, collecting 57 touches and 14 tackles from just two matches. Jamie Stanton has been one of the big performers for the Falcons this season with an average of 20 touches while Lauren Pearce has had a good run in the ruck with an average of 18 touches and 24 hitouts from three matches.

NT THUNDER v. RICHMOND

Round 6 – 15/06/19
3:30
TIO Stadium

NT Thunder face a massive challenge this round when they host an undefeated Richmond side on Saturday afternoon. A dominant first few rounds was cut short by a bye, with Thunder dropping their next match before sticking it out in a close match against Carlton in Round 5. Richmond have scored over 50 points in three of their four matches, with their closest coming down to three points against sixth place Melbourne Uni in Round 4. Thunder will need to bring their A-game against the Tigers, but will have the added bonus of a home ground advantage in Darwin. Richmond’s Tayla Stahl has been one of the big names this season, sitting atop the goal leaderboard despite a bye in Round 2. Stahl has kicked nine goals and 10 behinds for the season so far, so if she kicks on target she could be a massive threat when coupled with the dominant force of ex-Western Bulldogs pair, Katie Brennan and Monique Conti. If Thunder have Chelsea Randall back in the side she could give them a massive boost, having only played two games but sitting on 59 touches, while Angela Foley has been solid with an average of 23 disposals across three matches. Thunder have struggled with consistency so far this season, unable to click given only five players have taken the field for all four matches.

SOUTHERN SAINTS v. MELBOURNE UNI

Round 6 – 16/06/19
12.00
Trevor Barker Beach Oval

The final match of the round is set to be the best matchup, with the Saints (fourth) taking on Melbourne Uni (fifth) in a bid to stay among the top sides in the competition. The Saints have had a fairly good run this season sitting on three wins from four matches and come into this round fresh off the bye in Round 5. Melbourne Uni had a dominant first few rounds before falling to two of the top sides in consecutive weeks, and were challenged by winless Williamstown last week, so will want to bounce back to prove their position on the ladder. Alison Drennan has been one of the most consistent for the Saints this season, averaging 24 touches and 5.5 tackles across four matches, while Caitlin Greiser has kicked a goal in every game so far. Despite only taking the field for three games, Uni’s Jasmine Garner is sitting second in the competition for goals (eight) and has an average of 26 touches, while Holly Whitford managed a massive 10 tackles against Williamstown last week, taking her season tally to 31. Uni will hope to put out a similar performance to their Round 4 match against Richmond, coming back from an 18 point margin to only go down by three points in the nailbiter.

BYE: Williamstown, Casey, Geelong