Tag: chloe leonard

2020 NAB League Girls team update: GWV Rebels

WHILE the NAB League Girls competition is on break, we take a quick recap of each team, how the first three rounds have panned out for them and who has already stood up in the short time. In this edition we look at one of the sides to remain undefeated in 2020, Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels, who had a bye in Round 2 but beat otherwise undefeated sides, Sandringham Dragons and Western Jets in the other rounds.

2020 RESULTS:

R1: defeated Sandringham Dragons by 5 points
R2: Bye
R3: defeated Western Jets by 25 points

It was a promising start to the season for the Rebels who looked like one of the big improvers for season 2020. While it has been postponed without certainty of any further action, there were plenty of highlights for the Ballarat-based side with a number of impressive players already standing up and making their presence felt.

FIVE STRONG STARTERS:

Maggie Caris (11.5 disposals, 0.5 marks, 29.0 hitouts, 1.0 tackles, 3.0 inside 50s)

The competition’s leading ruck prospect lived up to expectations in the opening two rounds, dominating against two of the smaller ruck groups in the NAB League Girls. She was impressive around the stoppages against the Dragons in Round 1, then was a huge influence in the victory against the Jets in Round 2. So far this season she averages 11.5 disposals, 29 hitouts and three inside 50s per game. Also a talented netballer, Caris is one who hoped to join sister, Geelong’s Rene in the AFL Women’s.

Lilli Condon (14.5 disposals, 1.0 marks, 4.0 tackles, 6.0 inside 50s, 1.5 rebounds, 1 goal)

The tenacious midfielder just seemed to be everywhere in the opening two rounds and would have been the Rebels’ best small accumulative across the contests. She averaged almost 15 touches a game, but racked up six inside 50s and four tackles per match, as well as getting on the scoreboard for her troubles with a major too. The middle-ager packs plenty of punch and has a year left having already played seven games as a bottom-ager last year. Despite standing at 154cm, she is not afraid to match it with taller opponents.

Renee Saulitis (12.0 disposals, 2.5 marks, 3.0 tackles, 2 goals)

The AFL Women’s National Academy member won the opening round’s match off her own boot with an inspired last term, getting to the right positions and slotting two majors, while still having influence around the ground. With an ability to play anywhere on the ground, Saulitis has lovely skills and is most damaging close to goal. If the wind-swept Mars Stadium had been a little kinder to forwards, she could have been right up there with the leading goalkickers despite playing one less game, finishing with four behinds.

Nyakoat Dojiok (11.0 disposals, 2.0 marks, 4.0 tackles, 2.0 inside 50s, 2.0 rebounds)

The daring speedster does not need many possessions to have an impact, and she certainly did that in the opening two rounds. She often starts at half-back but can burst away and not only get the ball clear from the defensive 50, but also get it inside 50 as well. She is hard to stop when running at full stride, and picking up 11 disposals per game and an even balance of inside 50s and rebounds shows how she has a capacity to play on the wing and use her outside gifts to hurt the opposition.

Crystal Summers (9.0 disposals, 3.0 marks, 2.0 tackles, 3.0 rebounds)

Having an impressive opening round match where she was named best on ground for her efforts, Summers was tireless out of the back half and continually drove the ball from the danger zone. With more structure in the Round 3 game, Summers might have had less to do, but still had plenty of influence on the contest from defence, and she finished the two games averaging nine touches, three marks, two tackles and three rebounds. One of the Rebels’ top-agers who led by example.

Others who have stood out: Alice Astbury, Ella Friend, Paige Scott, Chloe Leonard

Astbury and Friend could well have been in the top group after their amazing second game teaming up and dominating in the forward half. Given the season only included the two games, only those who played both made it in, but make no mistake these two were ultra-impressive. They combined for 34 disposals, seven marks, 12 inside 50s and three goals in a good day out. The likes of Scott and Leonard were just ever-consistent through that midfield and half-back respectively, and there were far from alone with half a dozen more players who were fairly even across the start of the season for the Rebels.

Second half charge helps Rebels remain undefeated in wind-swept Ballarat

AN impressive second half from the Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels at wind-swept Mars Stadium in Ballarat, has seen them remain undefeated after three rounds. The winners did not kick a goal until the twelfth minute mark of the third term, but when they got a taste for it, they took control, running out 4.9 (33) to 1.2 (8), keeping the Jets to just two behinds after quarter time in an impressive 25-point win.

With a huge breeze blowing to the Midland Highway end of the ground, the Jets were able to have the early advantage, but it took a remarkable effort from Montana Ham just inside 50 to get the first and only score of the first term on the board after some nice running and the release handball from Charlotte Baskaran. Ham utilised the open goalsquare for it to bounce home with a wonderfully accurate kick, coming moments after she rebounded it out of the back 50 following a safe mark to repel a Rebels attack. While the scores were not piling up, there were a number of defensive efforts from both sides with Marli Klaumanns-Moller laying a terrific tackle on Isabella Simmons to save a goal in the opening five minutes, while Melina Ciavarella did the same up the opposite end to stop a certain goal. Isabelle Pritchard was having an impact off half-back, with the AFL Women’s National Academy member teaming up well with Ham and Baskaran in the back half of the ground, while Caitlin Sargent was presenting at every opportunity. Despite the Jets largely dominating possession – and an impressive run down the win by Baskaran – they only led by six points heading into quarter time. For the Rebels, Alice Astbury was having an impact on debut, while Zoe Larkins was busy in the first term.

Now with the breeze themselves, the Rebels continued their brutal defensive pressure with Chloe Leonard laying a ripping tackle at half-back, as Round 1 hero, Renee Saulitis achieved the home team’s first score – albeit a behind – with a snap from a tight angle. Astbury was continually building through the middle with some important touches, while Maggie Caris‘ height and leap was a huge factor in the middle giving her smaller midfielders a chance at first touch against the taller Jets’ midfield. Sargent continued to be a headache for the Rebels defenders with her work up and down the ground, while Amelia Velardo was doing her best in the ruck, but impressing around the ground with a long wobbly kick inside 50 but Annie Gray could not quite find the space to capitalise close to goal and Nyakoat Dojiok cleared the danger. Late in the term, Ham copped a knock to the back of her head through a marking contest, but bounced back up and with Pritchard was a key reason for the Jets maintaining a three-point lead at half-time and keeping the Rebels goalless.

It was the third term where the game was won, with the Rebels remarkably having the ball locked inside their forward 50 for the majority of the quarter, with their defenders holding a high line. Despite the Jets having the wind, they could not get it into the forward 50 until the 15th minute of the term, with the only saving grace being the fact that the Rebels had kicked three consecutive behinds to be level with the Jets, 0.6 to 1.0. Such was the wind up the scoreboard end that one shot on goal from a snap by the Rebels held up in the breeze and came back into the field of play for the Jets to clear. Simmons was continually involved but could not break free, and it took an unlucky high tackle from a Jets defender on Astbury to finally break the deadlock. The debutant won the free kick straight in front and slotted it truly 12 minutes into the term. While it was the only goal of the term, it handed the home team a six-point lead with a quarter – and the wind – to play. Western’s big ball winners were still finding plenty of it, with Velardo (20 disposals, five tackles), Pritchard (17 disposals, three marks and three tackles), Ham (17 disposals, two marks and four rebounds) and Baskaran (15 disposals, two marks, eight tackles and three inside 50s). For the Rebels, Friend (14 touches, three marks, four tackles and five inside 50s) and Astbury (14 disposals, two marks and six inside 50s) were the best, while Caris was up to 23 hitouts from 12 disposals and a couple of inside 50s.

Both sides knew the importance of an early goal in the contest, and Sargent almost got her name in the books with a great passage of play. She won the ball off Pritchard at half-forward, kicked it long, then worked her way into space to mark uncontested about 35m out from goal. The set shot was on target but touched on the line. The Jets had a couple of chances in the final term, but the wind was making it difficult for the visitors, only kicking the two behinds as the likes of Astbury and Friend were combining well between midfield and forward. In fact it was Friend who took it upon her self on a tight angle to kick a running goal at the end of a chain of handballs to give the Rebels a 10-point buffer, and then backed up not long after to take a strong one-grab mark outside 50 on the lead. Sargeant, along with Ciara Singleton was working hard in the defensive half to nullify the forward thrusts. It was feeling like one more major would seal the deal, and it came through Paige Scott who perfectly roved a contest with the ball getting out to her and she snapped it off a step for a terrific goal and a 16-point lead at the 12-minute mark of the term. Lilli Condon was also working hard through the midfield with bursts and had a chance on the end of another chain of handballs, but missed, as did Saulitis who finished with four behinds for the day, but all were from tricky angles under pressure.

It was fitting that the best on ground, Astbury (15 disposals, three marks, six inside 50s and two goals) would put through the final nail in the coffin off Friend (19 disposals, four marks, five tackles, six inside 50s and one goal) who pumped a ball-burster into her teammate on the lead and pierced one home. It was a real team effort from the Rebels who celebrated the win, while the Jets were strong for the most part, but were unable to take advantage with the wind in the third term, and then the opposition got momentum in the final quarter. Also impressive was Caris (15 disposals, four inside 50s and 33 hitouts) through the ruck and Condon (16 disposals, five tackles, six inside 50s) across the ground, while Dojiok (12 disposals, two inside 50s and two rebounds) and Leonard (12 disposals, three tackles, three inside 50s and two rebounds) were impressive in the back half. For the Jets, Pritchard and Velardo both shared in 50 disposals and 19 tackles, as well as a combined four inside 50s and eight rebounds. Ham worked hard for 19 touches, three marks, five tackles, two inside 50s and seven rebounds, while Baskaran (17 disposals, two marks, nine tackles and three inside 50s), Singleton (11 disposals, three tackles, two inside 50s and two rebounds), Sargent (10 disposals, eight tackles) and Klaumanns-Moller (13 disposals, five tackles and five rebounds) were all impressive for the losing side.

GWV REBELS 0.0 | 0.3 | 1.6 | 4.9 (33)
WESTERN JETS 1.0 | 1.0 | 1.0 | 1.2 (8)

GOALS:

GWV: A. Astbury 2, P. Scott, E. Friend.
Western: M. Ham.

ADC BEST:

GWV: A. Astbury, M. Caris, E. Friend,  L. Condon, N. Dojiok, C. Leonard
Western: I. Pritchard, A. Velardo, M. Ham, C. Sargent, C. Singleton, C. Baskaran

DC Medal:

5 – Alice Astbury (GWV)
4 – Maggie Caris (GWV)
3 – Isabelle Pritchard (WJ)
2 – Ella Friend (GWV)
1 – Amelia Velardo (WJ)

NAB League Girls preview: Round 1 – New talent to shine in opening round of action

NAB League Girls action is back on the agenda this weekend with a grand final rematch among a host of expected tight contests with all sides back on level pegging at 0-0 to start the season and hoping to kick-off their seasons with wins.

NORTHERN KNIGHTS v. CALDER CANNONS
Saturday, February 29, 10:15am
RMIT University Bundoora

The first game of the round is a fitting opener to the new NAB League Girls season, with Northern Knights hosting Calder Cannons at a refurbished RMIT University ground in the 2019 Grand Final rematch. The Knights had five players drafted last year, with the remainder signed up for state league level football in 2020, while the Cannons just had the two, but had a number of players on the periphery. Both these sides have plenty of talent with the Knights potentially a year ahead in development, finishing runner-up in 2018 before winning last year, while the Cannons made the grand final last season, and will be hoping to build on that this year. The Knights have five players in the National AFL Women’s Academy, led by Ellie McKenzie and last year’s grand final best on ground medallist, Jess Fitzgerald who are both amongst a strong midfield core. Fellow Academy member, Maeve Chaplin is also named onball, while Maykaylah Appleby will run down the wings as the sole middle-age Academy member. Alyssa Bannan is a leading target and strong overhead named at centre half-forward, and a battle with the likes of key backs, Tamsin Crook and Tahlia Gillard – the latter of whom is in the AFL Women’s Academy too will be a match-up to watch. The name that will always catch the eye is Georgie Prespakis, a 2021 draft prospect and sister of Carlton Rising Star, Madison. She is capable of anything and her battle with McKenzie will be intriguing. The Cannons also have some serious depth at their disposal, with Emelia Yassir and Kasey Lennox another couple of youngsters who made their debuts last season and looked at home. With Freda Puruntatameri playing with Palmerston in the NTFL Women’s competition up forward for the Cannons, there is plenty of X-factor there too.

GREATER WESTERN VICTORIA REBELS v. SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS
Saturday, February 29, 11:30am
City Oval Ballarat

Up in Ballarat, the Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels host the Sandringham Dragons in a battle between two sides who should improve on their 2019 placings. Both sides have a number of AFL Women’s Academy member with the Rebels (five) and the Dragons (three) both having some serious top-end talent. The Rebels have a strong spine with Maggie Caris likely to be the top ruck in the competition this year with her height and tap work causing problems for the opposition. Renee Saulitis has played up forward and down back, but is named in the middle, with her athleticism and ability to sidestep opponents a feature of her game. Along with Isabella Simmons who has also been named through the midfield, all three Academy members are very different and add varied elements to the game style. They will face an equally impressive midfield of Dragons’ captain Winnie Laing, potential St Kilda father-daughter selection, Alice Burke and Bella Eddey who provide a real hard edge to the onball brigade. Sarah Hartwig is one of a couple of premier rebounding defenders, reading the ball in flight so well and able to create a lot of offensive run while nullifying her opponent defensively. Playing at half-forward is Eliza McNamara who is a tackling machine and elite runner, who will work her opponent over, while Abbi Moloney lines up at full-forward to try and clunk a few grabs by outmuscling her opponent one-on-one. The Rebels will look to run the ball out of defence through Nyakoat Dojiok who is a 2021 draft prospect in the Academy, while Chloe Leonard has been named at full-forward for the Rebels who will look to have a spread of goalkickers rather than a dominant target.

GEELONG FALCONS v. GIPPSLAND POWER
Saturday, February 29, 12:00pm
RMIT University Bundoora 

After its first finals loss last season, Geelong Falcons return to the NAB League Girls with a hunger to get back to the heights of 2018, starting off the 2020 season with a clash against Gippsland Power. The Power have a lot of players who were able to run out last season and will be more experienced in 2020, so they will no doubt look to push the Falcons who have plenty of young players themselves. Geelong’s duo of Darcy Moloney and Laura Gardiner will be damaging through the midfield as the Falcons’ two AFL Women’s National Academy members. Joined in the middle by basketballer Carly Remmos, the Falcons have a strong foundation to continue the success of past years. Elizabeth Dowling is a name that will be raised over the next couple of years, and along with Renee Tierney as targets up forward and Poppy Schaap‘s defensive pressure, the Falcons are in a good shape going forward. Mia Van Dyke is one of a number of prospects who have come through the club’s V/Line Cup program and despite being just three days away from being a 2023 draft eligible prospect (only turned 15 in December), she is one of a number who have come through the pathway with some high wraps from the coaching staff. Gippsland has some familiar names in its line-up, led by midfielder and AFL Women’s Academy member, Megan Fitzsimon. She, along with Grace McRae forms a strong midfield duo in there, and will compete strongly for the contested ball. In defence, Shanara Notman returns as a 19-year-old named at centre half-back and will provide some good rebound there, right alongside Leyla Berry who played for the Power back in 2018. On the other flank is a familiar Power name with Yasmin Duursma (sister of Port Adelaide’s Xavier), while when talking about bottom-age talent, Lily-Rose Williamson is one who will be a standout along a win having starred for the club through the V/Line Cup in past years.

BENDIGO PIONEERS v. WESTERN JETS
Saturday, February 29, 12:50pm
Queen Elizabeth Oval 

Turning the attention to Bendigo, the Pioneers host Western Jets in a curtain raiser to the AFL Women’s clash between Richmond and Geelong. Bendigo has the one official AFL Women’s National Academy member in key defender Tara Slender, but have a midfield that will trouble opposition onballers. Brooke Hards and Annabel Strahan have both been named onball and the co-captains will provide a hard-edge to the midfield and be difficult to beat there. Along with Maeve Tupper who has some impressive athletic skills and great goal sense when up forward, the midfield is a strength for the Pioneers. Jemma Finning has been named at half-back to provide some run out of defence with Slender, while up forward, Hannah Stewart is a target inside 50 as a 19-year-old. The Jets have opted to throw rebounding defender, Isabelle Pritchard into the midfield to counteract the Pioneers’ onball and develop her game even further. Along with bottom-age tall, Montana Ham and Nikita Wright in the middle, the Jets have some good height and ball-winning ability in there with upside. A highly rated bottom-ager with Ham is Charlotte Baskaran who is considered elite with her foot skills and decision making, so will be one to watch coming off half-back where she has been named. Both these sides are going to go close to winning in this tight contest with a fair few bottom-agers on show, though Bendigo should be more prepared after their top-agers had consistency through the team as middle-agers last season.

DANDENONG STINGRAYS v. EASTERN RANGES
Sunday, March 1,  11:00am
Holm Park Recreation Reserve 

In a rewind to 2018, Dandenong Stingrays and Eastern Ranges return to Holm Park in Beaconsfield to open their seasons on Sunday. While both played different opponents on that day two years ago, they will both be hoping for more ideal temperatures than the 37 degrees on that day. The Stingrays are coming off a solid season in 2019. just missing out on finals, while Eastern reached the post-season series and pushed eventual premiers, Northern Knights all the way in the preliminary final clash. The Stingrays’ standout prospect in 2020 is Tyanna Smith, with the AFL Women’s National Academy member having the combination of speed and strength in the middle, which she will use to burst out of the stoppages and create scoring opportunities for her team. Abbey Jordan showed last season she can win the ball through the middle, while young talls, Jaide Anthony and Georgia Grimmer up forward provide a glimpse into the future for the Stingrays having come through the V/Line Cup program. Down back, the ever-reliable Zoe Hill is alongside Jemma Radford, while Serene Vudiniabola comes highly rated as an overager who played school footy last year and is tied to Old Haileybury. Eastern Ranges pack a punch in the midfield as well, with Olivia Meagher and Tarni Brown the club’s two AFL Women’s Academy members. With ruck, Jess Grace likely to get first hands to them more often than not, the contested ball-winning Meagher and slick Brown will give their forwards some nice feeds inside 50. Matilda Hardy has been named at half-forward as one to watch, while Mietta Kendall is a reliable source of calmness in the back pocket, and Lily Peacock named as one to watch with her run along the wing.

MURRAY BUSHRANGERS v. OAKLEIGH CHARGERS
Sunday, March 1, 1:00pm
Norm Minns Oval 

The final game of the round is another curtain raiser, this time for the Collingwood and Richmond AFL Marsh Series clash at Wangaratta. A big crowd is expected in attendance for the game, with two teams expected to improve in 2020 to battle it out. Murray Bushrangers and Oakleigh Chargers both had some superb performances last season, but had to iron out some consistency issues at times. Both having a number of talents coming through the ranks this season, the Bushrangers had a lot of middle and bottom-agers last season who have progressed through to the next year of their youth careers. The Charges had five players drafted and will be looking to replace them through a team approach. The Chargers have three players in the AFL Women’s National Academy with captain Mimi Hill and middle-ager Charlie Rowbottom named on-ball to rove the work of ruck, Kalarni Kearns. Also in the midfield is Joanna Lin on the wing, working the ball forward to an even front six. The Bushrangers have a two-pronged tall attack with AFL Women’s Academy members, Olivia Barber (top-age) and Ally Morphett (middle-age) rotating between ruck and forward. Abby Favell is a natural ball winner and will rotate between midfield and forward, while Kate Adams is another player who can be slippery around the stoppages and find the goals when inside 50. Keeley Skepper showed last season in the Under 16 Championships that she has a lot of upside, while a number of players on both teams loom as surprise packets in what could be one of the games of the round.

Rebels to focus on fundamentals ahead of 2020 season

FUNDAMENTALS have been the focus for the Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels’ NAB League Girls side as the Ballarat-based club prepares for the 2020 season. Head coach Rhys Cahir said his second full pre-season in charge – having taken over from Jeff Whittaker in March, 2018 – had gone well as the players looked to step it up a notch in the skills department.

“It’s been a pretty solid pre-season again,” Cahir said. “We’ve been pretty big on getting the fundamentals right early so we had a lot of kicking early, specifically to get it right. “It’s such a big skill to master in the game and the girls, we allowed them to work as much at it. “We haven’t done a lot of fitness stuff but the fundamentals were our biggest thing we looked at this year. “We are seeing that it is a vast improvement straight away.”

Now the top-agers have adjusted to a number of pre-seasons, Cahir said it was clear the talent pool across not only the region, but the country was growing.

“Each bottom age group seems to get better and better than the year before,” he said. “It’s just that girls footy is growing and not just in this region, but all over so girls from Auskick can play all the way through instead of stopping three or four years and just coming in because their friends are playing. “It’s their number one sport now and the talent shows right through pretty early.”

Last year the Rebels had three players land on AFL Women’s lists – in fact just the one list – with Sophie Molan, Ella Wood and Nekaela Butler all selected by Richmond in last year’s AFL Women’s Draft. Cahir credited the off-field nature of the trio, and the Rebels’ program itself for providing its players with the terrific support needed to impress at the next level both on and off the field.

“Very exciting. For the second year in a row, we had three girls go to Geelong the year before, then three go to Richmond,” Cahir said. “For us, it’s good for our program that clubs are seeing that we are creating a good environment where the girls can play good footy, but they’re good characters as well and it’s exciting that clubs think that we can produce good footballers and good people. “Last year I was a part of Vic Country and had a bit of a say but Ella and Sophie probably picked themselves with the main lot,” he said. “You try and push your own wheelbarrow a little bit and get a few girls there, but the whole comp is getting too talented. “If AFL clubs ring up, I’m happy to talk all our girls up, not just about their football, but about their character. “I think that’s why Richmond were so keen to get the three of them. “More their character and what they could get out of them on-field and off-field. “They’re building something at Richmond so we are looking at building and pushing them on-field and off-field.”

Some of that character was evident with Molan’s extra responsibilities as captain, such as leading the warm-up before the coaches got on the ground, pre-game. Cahir said while the coaches gave her the green light to take that responsibility, it was not hard for the natural-born leader.

“It was part of me encouraging Soph to be herself,” he said. “Yes, she was the best player in the side and a natural leader but that was mostly on her a few times. “Good players can do that, they can sense when the whole side is down and need a spark or need a rev up or a bit of a cuddle to settle them down. “Terrific leader just naturally. It wasn’t something we had to push or tell her to do, we just helped her with it.”

While Molan and Wood both earned places on Vic Country’s list, Butler missed out but did not give up on her dream, earning a place on the Western Bulldogs’ VFLW list with support from her coaches and her own sheer determination.

“Nekaela was the one we thought early we could really push and highlight what she could do,” Cahir said. “She was terrific off half-back, we tried her in the midfield a bit early. Played well, but just played consistently off half-back. Unlucky to miss Vic Country but she got down to the Bulldogs’ VFL. “We kept pushing her to say ‘do everything right, get to every training, doesn’t matter if you don’t get games, do all the little things, someone’s always watching’. “Got a game of VFLW, played really well her first game and as I said there’s always someone watching you’ve just got to do the right things, and terrific character as well too. “She wanted to work, she has a bit of a laugh, but she can obviously play football as well.”

Looking ahead to 2020 and there are another three talents in the top-age bracket that have already been identified as members of the AFL Women’s National Academy. All three are very different players, but each add a unique element to the line-up.

“I’ve been pretty excited to see the three top-age Academy girls in Maggie Caris – who is really good in the ruck, went away and played for the Vic Country side and played some really good games. “Same with Isabella Simmons and Renee Saulitis, really excited for them to take the next step because they’re all super talented. “But now they drive the whole group because they’re the leaders as well so they can take their game to the next level. “We’ve also got a couple of younger ones that are just super talented coming through because they are naturally playing football from a young age now.”

Caris has a big year herself across multiple sports, representing Australia at Under 19s level in netball while entering her most important year of schooling. Cahir said the club was working with her to support her both on and off the field wherever possible.

“Well at the moment she’s extremely clever too, she’s gone into Year 12,” Cahir said. “I’ll let Maggie not run her own race, but monitor what she does. Tell her to have a break when she needs. “It’s a big commitment to be an elite AFL footballer or NAB League footballer, in the Australian Under 19 Netball side and going into Year 12, so we are pretty big on welfare and players looking after themselves and footy comes second, third and fourth if we need be.”

Along with the top-agers, Cahir said the talent at the bottom of the list in terms of age was constantly improving, with 16 and 17-year-olds always stepping up to challenge the 18-year-olds and try and force their way into the starting side.

“A couple of girls in Vic Country last year,” Cahir said. “Nyakoat Dojiok is just going to take leaps and bounds when she finally figures out she can play the game. “Ella Friend similar, Vic Country last year and in the bests. “Growing into her football and just keeps working. “Lilli Condon‘s flying, and even the bottom-bottom-ager in Paige Scott who’s going to come into the program from V/Line Cup last year is just a natural tough country footballer but will grow and grow for the next two years.”

Having recorded the two wins last year, Cahir said it was always nice to win, but at the end of the day, the focus – as it has always been – will be on development. With seven girls drafted in two years, the Rebels are one of the most successful organisations from the NAB League Girls competition when focusing on a development standpoint, and the Rebels coach hoped that would continue.

“We just want girls to have a crack,” Cahir said. “Yes they might not play in their favourite position all the time but it’s about development in themselves and outside if we win games it’s great, but it’s about pushing them and getting better and giving them a chance of playing AFLW. “If we lose no games and get three or four drafted, great. “If we win every game and get none drafted we probably haven’t really done our job, so it’s just keep developing in themselves, give them a bit of help with what we think could get them there, and not worry too much (about) what they can’t do.”

The GWV Rebels have a couple of trial games coming up, including a match against the Geelong Falcons in Ballarat. Following the trial games, the final list will be decided and a leadership group will be formed. Cahir said the players would vote for those leaders, but admitted there were a number of players who could easily lead the side.

“The next couple of weeks, we’ll give them a list and they can vote for four or five girls and announce it on the camp who will be our leaders,” Cahir said. “We’ve got some terrific leaders, Maggie, Renee, Chloe Leonard who is similar to Sophie Molan, is just a natural leader. “Whoever the girls pick we’ll be more than happy to support them and push them through.”

NAB League Girls Round 6 preview: The race for finals spots heats up

A BUMPER weekend of NAB League girls football will have onlookers having to choose which games to keep an eye on, with fixtures spread across the state in the 12:45pm timeslot on both Saturday and Sunday. In arguably the game of the round, Bendigo hosts Dandenong for an outcome crucial to their finals aspirations, while some sides will suffer from forced changes on the back of AFL Academy games.

GIPPSLAND POWER v. NORTHERN KNIGHTS

Round 6 – 13/04/2019
12:45pm
Garfield Football Ground

A late fixture change sees Northern Knights travel to Garfield to meet Gippsland Power and open Round 6. After a minor hiccup in the form of a draw against Oakleigh in Round 2, the Knights have hit form once again and rolled on to three-consecutive wins. The travelling side’s depth will be tested though as four of their star players come out of the side due to Academy commitments, but the likes of Jess Fitzgerald and Abigail Bennett should thrive of an extended run in the midfield and deliver well to perennial forward target Nell Morris-Dalton. It has been a much different season for Gippsland, still searching for its first win in season 2019 and coming off a 62-point thumping at the hands of Bendigo. Still, developing talents in the form of Nikia Webber and Chandra Abrahams amongst others continue to show promise in a tough year and should have a good opportunity to shine this week.

OAKLEIGH CHARGERS v. MURRAY BUSHRANGERS

Round 6 – 13/04/2019
12:45pm
Warrawee Park – Oakleigh

Both the Oakleigh Chargers and Murray Bushrangers will be hoping to bounce back from Round 5 losses when they do battle on the metro side’s home turf. After toppling a dangerous Calder side, Oakleigh were upset last week as Sandringham notched its first win for the year, while Murray has suffered consecutive defeats after a big wins over Western and Gippsland in Rounds 2 and 3. With wins on the board for both sides, this will be a tough ask for Oakleigh as it looks to charge back into a top four spot – and can do so if other results go its way. Murray hang on the other side of that chasing pack, and will look to the likes of Millie Brown and Abby Favell to regain their form, while Sophia McCarthy is set to back up her three-goal Round 5 haul. For Oakleigh, Mimi Hill was electric last week, and will be a key player again with Gemma Lagioia one who can build on her Round 5 performance and Alana Porter another in good form. While it will prove a test for the home side, the Charger will be confident of bouncing back onto the winners list here.

BENDIGO PIONEERS v. DANDENONG STINGRAYS

Round 6 – 14/04/2019
12:45pm
Epsom Huntly Reserve – Bendigo

Bendigo Pioneers faces an uphill battle in its push for a finals berth, faced with a Dandenong Stingrays side also poised on 12 premiership points. The Stingrays went down narrowly to the dominant Geelong Falcons last time out, but certainly showed their credentials as a genuine premiership contender with an eye-catching first half. The Pioneers are also staking their claim with three wins from their last four outings, headlined by a standout 62-point drubbing of Gippsland last week. With the sides poised evenly and the race for finals spots heating up, this is shaping to be the game of the round. Brooke Vernon and Zoe Hill have been consistent features for Dandenong thus far, and will have to stand up with Academy prospects Isabella Shannon, Molly McDonald and Tyanna Smith all out this week. The Pioneers managed to keep a relatively steady lineup, with Elizabeth Snell coming off a five-goal haul and Brooke Hards their key ball winner, while Kate Douglass has been immense down back. It will be a good opportunity for Bendigo to prove themselves further, with the home ground advantage in tow.

EASTERN RANGES v. CALDER CANNONS

Round 6 – 14/04/2019
12:45pm
Bayswater Football Ground

Another exciting match-up with finals ramifications is set to take place on Sunday, with Eastern Ranges playing host to Calder Cannons in Bayswater. Both sides experienced losses over the last couple of weeks, with Calder falling to Oakleigh in Round 4 and Eastern going down to Northern last week. With Calder currently holding the edge over their weekend opponents on four wins as opposed to three, this will prove to be a classic ‘eight-pointer’ in the race for a top four spot. Tarni Brown remains in a weakened Ranges side on the back of Academy selections, with Tess Flintoff another who has recently benefitted from the ruckwork of Serena Gibbs. While Calder faces a similar situation with the loss of Georgia Patrikios, Georgie Prespakis remains alongside Alana Barba in a tight-knit midfield. With plenty on the line, expect these sides to throw everything but the kitchen sink at getting a result here, with either team capable of kicking big scores.

GREATER WESTERN VICTORIA REBELS v. SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS

Round 6 – 14/04/2019
12:45pm
Mars Stadium – Ballarat

A second win is up for grabs for both Greater Western Victoria and Sandringham Dragons as they do battle in Ballarat on Sunday. The Rebels have not quite been able to recapture the form that earned them a Round 1 win over Bendigo, since falling in every game coming into this clash on the back of an upset loss to Western. Conversely, the Dragons look to finally be playing themselves into some form after knocking off Oakleigh last week for their first win of the season. Rebels midfield ace Ella Wood will be important in the engine room alongside Chloe Leonard, with Sophie Molan out of the side, while Sandringham will look to Winnie Laing to shoulder most of the midfield load as Alice Burke goes out. With the form of either side differing at this point of the season despite their identical record, the Dragons will be confident of making it two-straight in a tight tussle.

WESTERN JETS v. GEELONG FALCONS

Round 6 – 14/04/2019
12:45pm
Downer Oval – Williamstown

In the round’s last listed fixture, Western Jets faces a tall order in building on last week’s winning effort, as a meeting with the undefeated reigning premiers awaits. The Falcons found themselves behind for the first time in a long time last week against the Stingrays, but rallied in the second half to keep their perfect record in tact. Western will be hoping for more of the same in that respect, as the Jets looked the best they have all year in Round 5 as it overcame GWV for win number one. They will have to do so without the prolific Isabella Grant, leaving a heap of heavy lifting for fellow midfielder Elisabeth Georgostathis. In a testament to their depth, the Falcons will only be without skipper Lucy McEvoy due to Academy duties, with the likes of Luka Lesosky-Hay, Paige Sheppard, and Darcy Moloney able to fill the void in midfield. With the Falcons’ forward line clicking into gear, their defence sturdy as ever, and everything in between up to scratch, it is always hard to look past the undefeated unit in any game.

Weekend preview: NAB League Girls – Round 4

WITH the NAB League Girls competition ladder taking shape, some teams are looking to break away on top of the table, while others are still searching for their first victory. With the six games on the weekend across six different venues, it makes for some interesting viewing for spectators.

 

NORTHERN KNIGHTS v. SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS

Round 4 – 30/03/2019
11:15am
La Trobe University – Bundoora

The first game of the round sees the unbeaten Northern Knights taking on the winless Sandringham Dragons. The Knights were forced to share the points with Oakleigh in Round 1, but were able to secure two victories either side of the draw against Murray Bushrangers and Western Jets. Gabby Newton has been a standout performer this season, averagine 19 disposals, 2.3 marks and 3.3 tackles per game, while Britney Gutknecht has been damaging inside 50, with five goals from her three matches as well as 18.3 disposals and 3.7 tackles per game. The Dragons have been competitive for large patches of their game but have struggled to score, booting one goal in each of their three games, while missing chances they would like to take again. Their defence and midfield will match up with the best sides, with Alice Burke averaging a massive nine tackles per game as well as 16.3 disposals and 2.7 marks. Nayeley Borg and Sarah Hartwig have combined for 24 rebounds between them in their three games, while Marguerite Purcell has been crucial along the wings for Sandringham, recording 11 inside 50s, while Knights’ midfielder Ellie McKenzie has averaged 15.7 disposals, 2.3 marks and 3.3 tackles. Northern is a team to beat this season and noone has managed to secure the four points against them, so they will head in favourites, but the Dragons could apply that defensive pressure to try and force it into a slog and get the game on their terms.

 

MURRAY BUSHRANGERS v. BENDIGO PIONEERS

Round 4 – 30/03/2019
11:45am
Norm Minns Oval – Wangaratta

Up in Wangaratta, Murray Bushrangers host Bendigo Pioneers at Norm Minns Oval. The Bushrangers were badly beaten in the first round by the Knights, but have since responded with back-to-back wins against the Western Jets and Gippsland Power. Both of those sides are winless from three games, so it will be a great test to see where the Bushrangers are at against a competitive Bendigo Pioneers outfit. The Pioneers went down narrowly to the Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels in Round 1 before posting a win against Eastern Ranges in Round 2 and being outclassed by the reigning premiers, Geelong Falcons. Bendigo is a side that will bring teriffic defensive pressure, with Brooke Hards (7.7 tackles per game) and Dakota Villiva (7.3) both in the top three tacklers in the league. They are not a high possession team, but Elizabeth Snell (15.7 disposals) and Maeve Tupper (15.3) know how to find the ball, while bottom-ager Tara Slender leads the league in rebounds with 16 in her three games. For the Bushrangers, Abby Favell has been consistent in the opening three rounds, recording 4.7 marks per game – the second most of any player – as well as 11.3 disposals. Olivia Barber is not a high possession winner, but the key position player has managed 3.3 marks from seven disposals and a goal per game, while having a number of attempts as well and she will be sorely missed in the Bushrangers’ attack this weekend. Millie Brown has now played the two games after missing Round 1 and averages the most touches of any Bushranger with 16.5 per game. This is a genuine 50-50 game and the panel were split as to which way to go with the tipping as both teams are a genuine chance in this clash.

 

WESTERN JETS v. EASTERN RANGES

Round 4 – 30/03/2019
2:30pm
Rams Arena – Craigieburn

Up in Craigieburn, the Western Jets are searching for their first win, while Eastern Ranges look to make it two on the trot after going down in Round 2 to Bendigo Pioneers. In the corresponding game last year between these sides, the Jets won their only match of the competition against a highly fancied Ranges outfit, downing them in Williamstown with a super come-from-behind victory. The win derailed Eastern’s season and gave the Jets plenty of confidence going into the remaining games of the season. Both sides have some top-end talent in this match with Western captain, Elisabeth Georgostathis leading from the front this season averaging 19.7 disposals, two marks and three tackles per game, having also spent time at half-back recording 14 rebounds to be equal third in the competition for the statistic. Potential Western Bulldogs father-daughter selection, Isabella Grant has enjoyed a strong season with 15 touches, two marks and 3.3 tackles per game, while Cleo Saxon-Jones has taken 2.3 marks per game presenting as a key forward, while also recording 11 disposals and three hitouts per match. For Eastern, potential Collingwood father-daughter selection, Tarni Brown is progressing nicely with another year left in the system, averaging 19.7 disposals and two marks per game, but it is her tackling that catches the eye, laying a whopping 6.7 per match. Tess Flintoff and Olivia Meagher have also been amongst the best few each week, averaging 17 disposals per game, with Meagher also averaging 2.7 tackles, while Flintoff finds space for 3.3 inside 50s and 5.3 marks. Eastern will head into the clash as favourites having ground out two wins already this season, but the Jets showed last year they are capable of an upset on their day.

 

GREATER WESTERN VICTORIA REBELS v. GEELONG FALCONS

Round 4 – 30/03/2019
2:30pm
City Oval – Ballarat

The reigning premiers are heading up the highway to Ballarat to take on the GWV Rebels to try and extend their winning streak to four. For the Rebels, they defeated the Pioneers in Round 1 but have since gone down to Calder Cannons and Dandenong Stingrays on their home turf at MARS Stadium. With this game originally scheduled for Colac Reserve and moved to City Oval, the Rebels will enjoy a closer trip and will want to test themselves against the Falcons. Lucy McEvoy has been in unbelievable form this season for Geelong, averaging 23.3 disposals, 3.3 marks, six inside 50s and 7.7 tackles per game, topping the league in two of those stats. Luka Lesosky-Hay has been great support for McEvoy with 21.3 disposals, two marks and five tackles per game, as well as 3.6 inside 50s per game. Two Falcons who have stood up this season are Darcy Moloney and Laura Gardiner with Gardiner laying seven tackles per game as well as 18 touches through the midfield, while Moloney has got free for 19 disposals and 2.3 marks per game. The second highest disposal winner after McEvoy is her opposing captain with Sophie Molan registering 21.7 disposals per game as well as 4.3 tackles and getting forward to boot three goals this season – two last week. With Ella Wood missing this week, Chloe Leonard will become important in sharing the midfield load, having averaged 16 disposals and 4.7 tackles per game. Along with Molan, Renee Saulitis has managed to hit the scoreboard three times while Lauren Sykes has been important in defence with eight rebounds so far this season. A huge inclusion is that of Maggie Caris, averaging a competition high average of 29.5 hitouts per game, 12.5 more than her closest opponent and will sure be an asset in the ruck. The Falcons are expected to continue their winning ways in this game, but the Rebels will enjoy the challenge and aim to match them in the midfield.

 

GIPPSLAND POWER v. DANDENONG STINGRAYS

Round 4 – 30/03/2019
5:15pm
Morwell Recreation Reserve

With the sun setting in the west, Gippsland Power hosts Dandenong Stingrays in the east as the Power hopes to get on the board in season 2019, while Dandenong intend to make it three on the trot after back-to-back victories over Sandringham Dragons and GWV Rebels both away from home. In a super day of football, the game will be the fourth match of the day at Morwell, and a tough task for the Power minus Nikia Webber. They do have some great future talents with a defensive duo of Matilda Van Berkel and Maddison Shaw making life difficult for forwards, recoding 22 rebounds between them so far this season. Grace McRae and Megan Fitzsimon have been able to find the ball enough both averaging 13.7 disposals and laying 7.7 tackles per game. The Stingrays have an even squad across the park with plenty of standouts, none less talked about that St Kilda pre-listed duo of Isabella Shannon and Molly McDonald. Shannon has averaged 17.3 disposals, 2.7 marks, 6.7 tackles and 1.3 goals per game, while McDonald has laid four tackles and booted two goals to go with 12.5 disposals per game. Outside the two highly fancied top-agers, Brooke Vernon has been one of the best defenders in the competition this season, averaging 4.3 rebounds as well as 14 disposals and three marks, while Tyanna Smith has been important on the inside with 16 disposals, 4.3 tackles and 3.6 inside 50s per game. The Stingrays will be favourites in this clash to make it three consecutive wins, but the Power will have plenty of home crowd support.

 

CALDER CANNONS v. OAKLEIGH CHARGERS

Round 4 – 31/03/2019
1:45pm
Rams Arena – Craigieburn

The final match of the round is one of the best with the undefeated Calder Cannons taking on the much improved Oakleigh Chargers. The Cannons have knocked off Western Jets, GWV Rebels and Sandringham Dragons in the first three rounds, but the three sides have combined for just the one win this season so the Chargers will present a big challenge to the Cannons. Calder’s pursuit for four consecutive wins will be made harder without Georgie Prespakis who sensationally booted seven goals in Round 2 and was best on ground in the opening two rounds. Georgia Patrikios has stood tall in her two games as expected, averaging 21 disposals, four marks, two tackles and 5.5 inside 50s. She will be crucial in the Cannons quest for a third win with Oakleigh’s strength lying in their outside run. Gemma Lagioia (14.3 disposals, 3.3 inside 50s) could well be an opponent for Patrikios with the two among the best kicks in the league and are great movers around the field. Mimi Hill (15.3 disposals, 2.7 marks and 3.7 tackles) has been great off half-back and along the wing for the Chargers and could provide important rebound for the Chargers in a game where their opponents have plenty of attacking options. With Prespakis out, Emily Harley has a chance to take the outright lead in the goalkicking, booting eight goals in her three games while also getting involved up the ground with 13 touches and 3.7 marks. The Cannons have an advantage in the ruck with Georgie Sampson averaging 17 hitouts per game, the second highest in the competition. Both sides are evenly matched but the way the Chargers pushed the Knights they are capable of inflicting the Cannons’ first defeat, however Calder has just found a way each and every week even when challenged.

Weekend Wash-up: NAB League Girls – Round 3

ROUND 3 of the NAB League Girls saw Geelong Falcons and Calder Cannons remain undefeated proving their dominance of the competition. While the likes of the Western Jets, Sandringham Dragons and Gippsland Power are yet to register a win this season after a tricky start. The Murray Bushrangers made it two wins in a row, with Northern Knights making their way back onto the winner’s list after a draw in Round 2.  

GWV REBELS 0.1 | 0.2 | 2.2 | 2.3 (15)
DANDENONG STINGRAYS 0.2 | 3.3 | 5.3 | 8.4 (52)

By: Cameron Ross

GOALS:

GWV: S. Molan 2.
Dandenong: M. McDonald 2, L. Grocock 2, I. Shannon 2, J. Radford, T. Smith.

BEST:

GWV: I. Rustman, C. Leonard, S. Molan, E. Wood, G. Pidgeon, V. Jewell.
Dandenong: B. Vernon, Z. Hill, T. Smith, G. Howes, I. Shannon, A. Liddle.

The Dandenong Stingrays won their second game of the season against the GWV Rebels at MARS Stadium in Ballarat. The windy conditions made things difficult for both sides as they had trouble adjusting early. There was a cross breeze early in the game that slightly favoured the Wendouree end, yet the breeze became more prominent as the game went on. The Rebels could not take advantage of this early breeze and despite having more of the ball, were not able to register a goal in the first term. The Stingrays defence held up well with the key defender Zoe Hill, making things difficult for the Rebels.

The Stingrays took advantage of the wind in the second quarter, and the Rebels really struggled to get any penetration on their kicks. Rebels captain, Sophie Molan, attempted to lead the way and prove to her teammates what was required when kicking into the wind, but the Stingrays were simply too good. Tyanna Smith had a great quarter, finding space around the ground, and producing an amazing highlight. Smith cleanly scooped up the ball on the wing, took a bounce and kicked the ball long into the Stingray forward line. Unfortunately for Isabella Simmons, the Stingray’s third goal for the quarter came from her running the ball out of the square the wrong way and kicking it long into the Stingrays forward line. The goal was duly converted. This was even more unfortunate, as Simmons would have been one of the leading possession winners on the ground at the time, and also one of the Rebels best.

The third quarter was exciting, and the Rebels announced that they were not going to be pushed over. After Stingrays ruck Georgia Howes left early in the quarter, the Rebels were dominant at stoppages. Molan again led the way, going forward and kicking two goals in six minutes, and there was a sense at the ground, that the tide was changing. Ella Wood also started to get her hands on the footy a lot more, having an important 5 minutes when the Stringrays resistance began. It was not enough for the Rebels. Isabella Shannon kicked a goal against the run of play, but the dagger blow game when the Stingrays kicked another, after a brutal 50 metre penalty that brought them within point blank range and only 30 seconds in the quarter remaining. This meant that Stingrays increased their buffer back to 3 goals, and severely impacted the Rebels comeback.

Chloe Leonard started the final quarter well for the Rebels, winning back to back clearances and attempting desperately to bring the margin back within reason. Yet the Stingrays finally put the game away after the seven minute mark of the final term, after Molly McDonald goaled with a volley from the goal square. There would be some concerns for the Rebels with Wood going off late with a shoulder injury, but the game was much closer than the score line suggested.

Molan was impressed with the young Rebels’ sides fight.

“Our effort was much better this week. I thought we showed a lot of intensity at the ball, and when we used it well, we were really hard to stop,” she said. “It was just those couple of slight brain fades at the end of the quarters which made it really hard to get back into the match.” Molan also did not want to blame the wind for the sides struggles in the second and final quarters stating, “we haven’t played a game where it hasn’t been windy yet, and we’re used to it because of the lack of protection at this ground. It does make a difference, but we train here and we play here, we need to get used to it!”

Stingray Isabella Shannon was the best player on the field, and an absolute moral for votes in the league count, but Molly McDonald and Tyanna Smith were also solid contributors for the Stingrays. For the home side, the captain Sophie Molan led from the front, but Ella Wood and Chloe Leonard were also terrific.

 

SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS 1.0 | 1.1 | 1.2 | 1.3 (9)
CALDER CANNONS 0.2 | 0.2 | 1.7 | 4.8 (32)

By Peter Williams

GOALS:

Sandringham: E. Stuber.
Calder: G. Elarmaly, H. Cooke, N. Crowley, A. Magri.

BEST:

Sandringham: A. Burke, W. Laing, S. Hartwig, C. Saultry, E. McNamara, S. Trim.
Calder: K. Petrevski, Z. Friswell, G. Prespakis, H. Cooke, Z. Hardiman, G. Elarmaly.

 

Calder Cannons won their third consecutive match with a terrific last term to overrun a determined Sandringham Dragons outfit, handing the Dragons their third consecutive loss to start the 2019 season. Both teams were evenly matched throughout the game, and it took until the final term for the undefeated Cannons to finally shake off their opponents in challenging conditions at Trevor Barker Oval. Emma Stuber booted the first goal of the game for the Dragons to get them off to the perfect start, and due to weather conditions, the home side added the only score – one behind – in the second term to head into half-time with a five-point advantage. Calder dominated the third term, peppering the goals but could not find a major until Alisa Magri finally put through a goal after a great kick from Georgie Prespakis. They led by five points at the final break, but ran out the last quarter stronger, as Haylea Cooke booted the first less than two minutes into the quarter, then a couple of late ones to Gloria Elarmaly and Neve Crowley sealed the deal in a 4.8 (32) to 1.3 (9) victory. Krstel Petrevski was impressive throughout, particularly early as she collected 16 disposals, laid three tackles and had four inside 50s, while Prespakis had 23 disposals, three marks, four inside 50s, two rebounds and eight tackles, while missing a couple of chances on goal. For the Dragons, Alice Burke was enormous laying 10 tackles from 16 disposals and six marks, laying some crucials smothers as well. Sarah Hartwig was impressive in defence with 13 disposals, three marks, five tackles and six rebounds, while Winnie Laing and Eliza McNamara had 11 touches each on the inside.

 

NORTHERN KNIGHTS 2.0 | 4.4 | 4.4 | 5.7 (37)
WESTERN JETS 1.2 | 1.4 | 1.6 | 1.6 (12)

By: Taylah Melki

GOALS:

Northern: A. Bannan 2, T. Pulcino, M. Ramsay, B. Gutknecht.
Western: N. Wright.

BEST:

Northern: G. Newton, B. Gutknecht, J. Fitzgerald, S. Sansonetti, E. McKenzie, A. Bennett
Western: R. Tripodi, E. Georgostathis, T. Kolevski, E. Quinn, C. Sargent, J. Woods

The Northern Knights stamped their authority on the competition with a 25-point victory over the Western Jets at RAMS Arena. After a relatively close start, Northern put on the after burners to push the lead out and did not look back keeping the Jets goalless in the second half. The Knights looked like a polished outfit with the likes of Gabby Newton, Ellie McKenzie and Britney Gutknecht starring in the middle and contributing to the scoreboard. The three were clean with ball in hand and worked tirelessly across the ground to win the footy in the contest. For the Western Jets, Elisabeth Georgostathis once again dominated going in hard at the stoppages and using her speed to try and break away from the packs but it was not enough to stop the Knights who were on top across the field. Ruby Tripodi was a tackling machine and got hands to plenty of ball throughout the game and combined well with Western teammate, Taylah Kolevski.

 

MURRAY BUSHRANGERS 0.4 | 0.11 | 1.11 | 4.12 (36)
GIPPSLAND POWER 0.0 | 0.0 | 1.3 | 1.3 (9)

By: Peter Williams

GOALS:

Murray: O. Barber 2, L. Sharp, T. Verhoeven.
Gippsland: G. McRae.

BEST:

Murray: O. Barber, T. Brett, A. Favell, C. Hargreaves, M. Quade, Z. Spencer.
Gippsland: M. Van Berkel, M. Fitzsimon, G. McRae, C. Abrahams, M. Shaw.

Murray Bushrangers made it two wins on the trot with a hard-fought victory over the winless Gippsland Power at RAMS Arena. Following a disappointing Round 1 defeat to Northern Knights, the Bushrangers have strung two impressive wins together, with the latest being a 4.12 (36) to 1.3 (9) win against the Power yesterday. Neither side could find the big sticks in the first half, with the Bushrangers holding the Power scoreless to half-time, while booting 11 behinds themselves. Olivia Barber looked impressive early, but missed a couple of close chances, before being rewarded in the second half with a couple of majors. The Bushrangers booted the last four goals of the game after Grace McRae became the first goalkicker with a major in the tenth minute. It put the Power within three points, before Barber gave the Bushrangers deserved breathing space at the final break by eight points. They managed to finally get reward for effort in the last quarter with Barber, Lily Sharp and Tali Verhoeven all slotting goals to secure the 27-point victory. Barber was the best on ground with her work inside 50, but the defensive work of Matilda Van BerkelMegan Fitzsimon and Maddison Shaw was critical in the Power staying in the contest. Abby Favell and Grace McRae were prominent in midfield for their respective sides, while Teagan Brett put out another consistent performance as well. Chelsea Hargreaves was impressive up the Bushrangers’ defensive end, while Chandra Abrahams laid a number of strong tackles and defensive efforts.

 

EASTERN RANGES 0.2 | 2.3 | 2.5 | 4.7 (31)
OAKLEIGH CHARGERS 1.2 | 2.3 | 3.7 | 3.7 (25)

By: Taylah Melki

GOALS:

Eastern: T. Flintoff, R. Hall, L. Hilton, L. McClelland.
Oakleigh: E. Harley, A. Peck, J. D”Amato.

BEST:

Eastern: E. Horne, R. Hall, T. Flintoff, O. Meagher, T. Brown, S. Zappia
Oakleigh: C. Rowbottom, G. Lagioia, G. Larkey, E. Jackson, A. Micallef, M. Bertuna

After a slow start to the game the Eastern Ranges claimed their second win of the season against the Oakleigh Chargers. The Ranges kept the Chargers scoreless in the second half of the match piling on two goals themselves. Emma Horne proved to be a key player for the Ranges while teammate Laura McClelland slotted a major. Tarni Brown was instrumental across the field while Riley Hall was solid for the Ranges who went home six point winners. Tess Flintoff was also amongst the best for Eastern chipping in with one major and getting her hands to plenty of ball throughout the game. For the Chargers, the likes of Charlie Rowbottom and Gemma Lagioia were impressive with Rowbottom racking up the touches. Emily Harley and Jasmine D’Amato combined to score two goals between them and keep the Chargers in the game.

 

GEELONG FALCONS 2.2 | 5.2 | 6.5 | 9.5 (59)
BENDIGO PIONEERS 0.0 | 0.1 | 0.1 | 1.4 (10)

By: Michael Alvaro

GOALS: 

Geelong:M. Skinner 4, E. Vella, I. Long, R. Tierney, L. Ryan, A. Chapman 
Bendigo: M. Ward

BEST:

Geelong: L. Gardiner, P. Sheppard, L. Lesosky-Hay, M. Skinner, K. Haustorfer, P. Schapp
Bendigo: B. Hards, K. Douglass, E. Snell, M. Tupper, J. Jolliffe, D. Villiva

The Geelong Falcons kept their perfect NAB League record in tact with another dominant display on Sunday, accounting for Bendigo Pioneers by 49 points. 

With their wings unclipped atop the table, the Falcons looked sturdy across every line throughout the game and put the result beyond much doubt early on. Mia Skinner was at the centre of each Geelong attack, booting three first-half goals and ending with a bag of four to have seven in the last two games. Her forward partners, Renee Tierney and Elise Vella, were also dangerous but Skinner prevailed as the sole Falcons multiple goal kicker. Typically stingy in defence, the Falcons kept their opponents goalless across three quarters for the second week running, but Mia Ward broke through for the Pioneers in a fighting final term to slot through her side’s only major. Skipper Lucy McEvoy was thrown back in the final term as Abbey Chapman went forward and fetched a goal, but was worn tightly all day by Bendigo’s Brooke Hards. While the Pioneers were valiant, the ladder leaders were simply too strong and flex their muscle to run out comfortable winners.

Team Selection: Under 18 Girls – Round 1

AFTER a long off-season, the Under 18 Girls competition returns to Victoria, with the 12 teams reset for 2019. Geelong Falcons went undefeated in 2018, while the Northern Knights fell short of upsetting the Falcons in the Grand Final having impressed throughout the competition as well. There is plenty of future talent on show over the weekend with fans treated to two triple headers on Saturday and Sunday respectively. Six sides make the journey to RAMS Arena in Craigieburn on Saturday with the games moved forward to allow the girls to escape the heat of the day with predicted temperatures reaching the high 30s. On Sunday, the remaining six sides head to Skybus Stadium in Frankston to kickstart their campaigns for the new season.

CALDER CANNONS v. WESTERN JETS

Round 1 – 02/03/2019
9:15am
Rams Arena – Craigieburn

CALDER CANNONS

B: 24. K. Delia, 6. K. Reid, 4. K. Lennox
HB: 15. M. McLeod, 35. I. Young, 31. K. Petrevski
C: 8. Z. Friswell, 11. A. Barba, 32. T. Fry
HF: 34. Z. Hardiman, 42. T. Crook, 3. E. Yassir
F: 22. M. Muller, 44. I. McNeill-Wren, 2. F. Theodore
R: 17. G. Sampson, 38. L. Cocomello, 41. G. Prespakis
Int: 12. J. Andrighetti, 5. N. Crowley, 46. G. Elarmaly, 43. C. Leahy, 25. A. Magri, 36. Z. Penno, 19. P. Poultney

WESTERN JETS

B: 10. T. Evans, 19. A. Anthony, 11. K. O’Keefe
HB: 47. C. Sargent, 23. I. Pritchard, 15. N. Wright
C: 3. L. Andrews-Quinn, 9. R. Tripodi, 18. P. Ozols
HF: 32. S. Asciak, 25. C. Saxon-Jones, 5. I. Cavka
F: 20. T. Kolevski, 26. C. Weston-Sirett, 14. L. Wright
R: 22. C. Singleton, 17. E. Georgostathis, 13. I. Grant
Int: 36. K. Bays, 6. E. Kiely, 24. J. Mwaka, 21. E. Robinson
Emg: 30. T. Kotoski, 51. J. Wilson

The first game of the year sees the Cannons taking on the Jets, with Calder missing star midfielder/forward, Georgia Patrikios. A familiar name can be found in the midfield, with Georgie Prespakis replacing her sister Madison in the onball brigade, while Felicity Theodore is another name to watch, named in the forward pocket. Western has a number of strong talls in the team with Isabella Grant, Cleo Saxon-Jones and Isabelle Pritchard able to hold down key roles, with Grant also running through the midfield with last year’s best and fairest winner, Elisabeth Georgostathis.

BENDIGO PIONEERS v. GREATER WESTERN VICTORIA REBELS

Round 1 – 02/03/2019
11:00am
Rams Arena – Craigieburn

BENDIGO PIONEERS

B: 25. K. Hazlett, 36. K. Douglass, 49. C. McGillivray
HB: 46. K. Mitchell, 40. T. Slender, 41. E. Peacock
C: 3. E. Snell, 28. E. Gretgrix, 1. M. Tupper
HF: 14. A. Strahan, 30. H. Stewart, 20. D. Villiva
F: 50. M. Barton, 44. J. Jolliffe, 9. T. Miaoudis
R: 24. S. Oliver, 19. J. Finning, 4. B. Hards
Int: 22. G. Barton, 8. T. Coad, 48. D. Kelly-Guthrie, 37. G. Sladden

GREATER WESTERN VICTORIA REBELS

B: 12. V. Jewell, 27. G. Pidgeon, 16. L. Sykes
HB: 5. N. Butler, 30. N. Dojiok, 19. C. Summers
C: 32. I. Simmons, 24. S. Molan, 3. A. Trigg
HF: 1. L. Condon, 34. K. Harris, 11. L. Donegan
F: 6. M. Ciavarella, 23. I. Rustman, 9. R. Saulitis
R: 35. M. Caris, 10. E. Wood, 15. C. Leonard
Int: 14. G. Douhadji, 28. I. Robson, 13. B. Thompson, 4. K. Tomkins
Emg: 25. G. Henderson, 21. A. Stevens

In the second game, Bendigo Pioneers are coming off a promising practice match win over Murray Bushrangers and have a strong spine with Kate Douglass and Jordyn Jolliffe holding down key positions at either end, while Tara Slender was impressive in the V/Line Cup last year and will slot into centre half-back. Jemma Finning, Brooke Hards, Maeve Tupper and Eloise Gretgrix make up a young but promising midfield core, which will make for an entertaining contest against GWV Rebels’ Ella Wood, Chloe Leonard, Sophie Molan and Isabella Simmons. Renee Saulitis and Nyakoat Doijiok are others who impressed at times last season and will add some speed to the side that will hope to get off with a win after such a strong finish to the year last season.

NORTHERN KNIGHTS v. MURRAY BUSHRANGERS


Round 1 – 02/03/2019
12:45pm
Rams Arena – Craigieburn

NORTHERN KNIGHTS

B: 24. J. Nursey, 2. S. Fell, 34. M. Uwland
HB: 10. P. Chisholm, 18. S. Sansonetti, 20. C. Linssen
C: 6. A. Bannan, 21. E. McKenzie, 9. M. Chaplin
HF: 7. A. Bennett, 23. G. Newton, 29. T. Pulcino
F: 11. M. Appleby, 3. N. Morris-Dalton, 25. T. Mills
R: 1. J. Nelson, 14. J. Fitzgerald, 22. B. Gutknecht
Int: 8. G. Ceravolo, 16. Z. Flanigan, 26. M. Papachristos, 30. M. Plunkett, 32. A. Snow
Emg: 19. I. Hammond, 38. L. Picioane, 5. A. Ward

MURRAY BUSHRANGERS

B: 11. T. Brett, 43. A. Williams, 24. H. Doohan
HB: 33. E. Mifka, 45. O. Barber, 40. K. Whitehead
C: 20. S. Lang, 8. A. Favell, 46. S. McCarthy
HF: 10. S. Locke, 14. C. Boschetti, 41. L. Sharp
F: 16. M. Jones, 39. A. Morphett, 22. A. Richardson
R: 34. E. McPherson, 18. Z. Spencer, 31. M. Trethowan
Int: 7. K. Adams, 26. E. Nicholson, 21. C. Styan , 27. J. Ward
Emg: 3. A. McMillan, 44. M. Quade

In the final game of the Saturday triple header, grand finalists Northern Knights face the Murray Bushrangers. The Bushrangers will be without top prospect, Millie Brown, but have the likes of Sophie Locke, Olivia Barber and Kate Adams who all add different elements to the side in a team that looks different to the one that ran out in 2018. The Knights are a formidable side and with Gabby Newton, Ellie McKenzie, Alyssa Bannan, Abigail Bennett, Britney Gutknecht, Jess Fitzgerald and Sarah Sansonetti all named, it will take a strong performance to knock the Knights off.

DANDENONG STINGRAYS v. EASTERN RANGES

Round 1 – 03/03/2019
10:30am
SkyBus Stadium – Frankston


DANDENONG STINGRAYS

B: 40. R. Clancy – Dillon, 51. Z. Hill, 17. M. Layfield
HB: 14. L. Grocock, 50. A. Nagtzaam, 32. J. Radford
C: 4. J. Guy-Toogood, 31. B. Vernon, 10. A. Jordan
HF: 48. A. Carroll, 26. I. Shannon, 55. H. Thomas
F: 24. A. Liddle, 49. K. McKenzie, 2. S. Stratton
R: 58. G. Howes, 28. T. Smith, 21. G. Hodder
Int: 13. S. Gammaldi, 60. T. Jones, 30. P. Swayn, 39. N. Taylor
Emg: 9. C. Bell, 34. A. Richards

EASTERN RANGES

B: 29. M. Di Cosmo, 51. S. Zappia, 54. E. Odria
HB: 11. M. Edwards, 49. C. Wilsmore, 17. M. Kendall
C: 20. J. Richardson, 39. L. McClelland, 1. C. Smith
HF: 16. E. Horne, 41. T. Merrett, 18. T. Kelly
F: 48. I. Khoury, 46. S. Gibbs, 12. M. Taverna
R: 25. J. Grace, 21. O. Meagher, 26. T. Brown
Int: 44. S. Bowden, 31. S. Collard, 33. T. Flintoff, 35. L. Hilton
Emg: 34. M. Hardy, 19. S. Humm

Heading down the Peninsula on Sunday, Dandenong Stingrays host Eastern Ranges in the first of three matches at Frankston. One half of St Kilda’s newest recruits will be playing in the match, with Isabella Shannon named at centre half-forward, while the Stingrays will miss Molly McDonald. Tyanna Smith is a bottom-ager to watch throughout 2019, as is key defender, Zoe Hill. For Eastern, Laura McClelland is the key top-age player to watch, named in the middle, while Olivia Meagher and Tahni Brown make the Ranges’ midfield a tough proposition for any side, and with Tahlia Merrett and netballer, Serena Gibbs up forward, there are no shortage of tall targets inside 50.

OAKLEIGH CHARGERS v. GIPPSLAND POWER

Round 1 – 03/03/2019
12:15pm
SkyBus Stadium – Frankston


OAKLEIGH CHARGERS

B: 21. S. Reid, 26. A. Micallef, 17. N. Xenos
HB: 2. M. Hill, 12. A. Peck, 18. C. O’Malley
C: 33. E. Chamberlain, 7. J. D’Amato, 22. J. Lin
HF: 1. G. Lagioia, 10. T. Cowan, 5. A. van Oosterwijck
F: 14. G. Byrne, 15. C. Russell, 4. E. Harley
R: 3. K. Kearns, 8. A. Porter, 32. E. James
Int: 6. S. Cato, 20. B. Fox, 9. E. Jackson, 38. D. Lloyd, 23. A. Mayne, 31. S. Morley, 13. T. Morton, 29. C. Rowbottom

GIPPSLAND POWER

B: 2. S. Beaton, 47. E. Williams, 19. H. Booth
HB: 40. C. Robinson, 33. S. Notman, 9. M. Shaw
C: 30. A. Rippon, 12. M. Fitzsimon, 17. S. Trewin
HF: 13. H. Andrews, 45. M. Van Berkel, 3. M. Gilmour
F: 50. G. Matser, 27. N. Webber, 11. S. Walker
R: 49. G. Radford, 8. C. Abrahams , 26. G. McRae
Int: 20. J. Chila, 48. C. Prestidge, 7. L. Raymond , 34. S. Symes
Emg: 1. S. Brisbane, 16. A. Hardwick, 24. N. Williams

In the second game, Oakleigh Chargers takes on Gippsland Power in a repeat of the same fixture 12 months earlier. In that game the Chargers were far too good, but after a strong pre-season, the Power hopes to start the season off on the right note. Gemma Lagioia will be a player to watch off half-forward, while Emily Harley is a key target inside 50. Alana Porter provides the dash, while Chloe O’Malley and Nicola Xenos are defenders who know how to use the ball going forward. Gippsland has named Nikia Webber at full-forward for the opening game, but she could rotate with bottom-age tall Chandra Abrahams who will start in the midfield. Holly Andrews and Maddi Shaw will be others to watch off their respective flanks, while Shanara Notman has good potential having returned to football after a year off.

SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS v. GEELONG FALCONS

Round 1 – 03/03/2019
2:00pm
SkyBus Stadium – Frankston


SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS

B: 45. E. Stuber, 24. N. Borg, 44. D. Walker
HB: 38. G. Strangio, 25. S. Hartwig, 7. R. Woods
C: 42. M. Purcell, 17. B. Arnold, 26. C. Saultry
HF: 33. I. Eddey, 2. S. Rothfield, 40. A. Moloney
F: 3. C. Murphy, 15. C. Cody, 29. I. Stutt
R: 1. M. Denahy Maloney, 28. A. Burke, 22. E. McNamara
Int: 13. T. Grasso, 30. W. Laing, 50. P. Staltari, 58. T. Tysoe
Emg: 65. E. Angelopoulos, 47. K. Lynch, 18. J. Stolz

GEELONG FALCONS

B: 27. E. Dowling, 16. A. Chapman, 6. M. Holdsworth
HB: 11. E. Mahoney, 19. K. Haustorfer , 8. D. Smith
C: 9. L. Gardiner, 7. P. Sheppard, 1. E. Vella
HF: 14. D. Moloney, 13. L. Ryan, 18. A. Sanderson
F: 12. M. Skinner, 23. R. Tierney, 26. L. Were
R: 25. A. McKee, 21. L. McEvoy, 17. L. Lesosky-Hay
Int: 10. Z. Garth, 15. S. Hovey, 20. A. Lee, 2. P. Schaap
Emg: 28. T. Hassett, 22. S. Milsome, 24. J. Robinson

Wrapping up the first round of action is arguably the match of the round with reigning premiers, Geelong taking on Sandringham Dragons. The Dragons have a good bottom-age contingent who will look for guidance from new captain, Molly Denahy Maloney, with Alice Burke and Eliza McNamara forming a strong inside midfield. Marguerite Purcell provides the outside pace, while Isabella Eddey will cause headaches inside 50. Down back, Sarah Hartwig looks to hold down the defence. For the Falcons, captain Lucy McEvoy and Luka Lesosky-Hay will team up in midfield, while Renee Tierney is the main target inside forward 50 among a number of players who have made the transition into the side. Abbey Chapman and Kaitlyn Haustorfer are very solid key defenders, while Elise Vella is a winger who could be a point of difference.

Scouting notes: National AFLW Under 16s Championships

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

Vic Country:

#1 Jerusha Devarakonda

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

#2 Leila Raymond

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

#3 Holly Andrews

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

#4 Elizabeth Snell

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

#5 Megan Fitzsimon

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

#6 Renee Saulitis

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

#7 Jemma Finning

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

#8 Kate Adams

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

#9 Emily Nicholson

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

#10 Abbey Jordan

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

#11 Brooke Hards

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

#12 Tyanna Smith

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

#13 Chloe Leonard

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

#16 Sharmaine Reilly

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

#17 Sophie Milsome

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

#18 Zoe Hill

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

#19 Matilda Van Berkel

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

#20 Stephanie Glover

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

#21 Isabella Robson

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

#22 Renee Tierney

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

#23 Isabella Simmons

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

#24 Olivia Barber

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

#25 Maggie Caris

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

VIC METRO:

#1 Olivia Meagher

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

#2 Mietta Kendall

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

#3 Taylah Morton

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

#5 Mary Daw

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

#6 Abigail Bennett

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

#7 Jessica Fitzgerald

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

#8 Bella Eddey

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

#9 Winnie Laing

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

#10 Ashleigh Snow

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

#11 Eliza McNamara

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

#12 Tarni Brown

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

#13 Alice Burke

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

#15 Mimi Hill

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

#16 Alice O’Loughlin

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

#17 Alisa Magri

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

#18 Amber Micallef

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

#19 Sarah Hartwig

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

#20 Ellie McKenzie

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

#21 Tamsin Crook

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

#22 Isabelle Pritchard

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

#23 Jess Grace

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

#24 Alyssa Bannan

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

#25 Isabel Young

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

Knights, Ranges lead the way for Metro U16s win

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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