Tag: chloe o’malley

Experienced O’Malley thrives on team culture

UNLIKE a number of NAB League Girls players, Oakleigh Chargers’ Chloe O’Malley has been somewhat of a pioneer in her region when it comes to women’s football. She was into Australian rules football ahead of many of her peers, picking up a ball from when she could walk and getting involved in any pathway she could.

“I actually did Auskick when I really young,” O’Malley said. “I was kicking in the backyard with dad a lot and I really enjoyed it so he took me to local Auskick and I was the only girl there among hundreds of kids. “It was really good fun and I really enjoyed it.”

While she loved being out there showing off her skills, O’Malley said it was the team environment that kept her in the sport all these years.

“Probably the team culture,” she said. “Just being able to push yourself really hard with a great group that can support you and do the same thing as well.”

O’Malley said at the NAB League Fitness Testing Day earlier in the year that the Chargers’ pre-season training had gone up a notch compared to the previous season. She hoped it meant a more fruitful season in terms of wins with plenty of development coming through the playing group.

“Definitely the training intensity has been so much higher, I feel like we’ve been working so much harder at training, everyone’s really getting around it,” O’Malley said. “You’re cooked when you get home and you’re starving, just the sessions are so intense.”

The fact she was now one of the oldest girls in the side in her top-age year and a January birthdate, O’Malley took it upon herself to try and provide leadership amongst her peers.

“I find a responsibility to get around the girls and really rev them up before games, and I feel like it’s really important to get around and pick people up after they’ve been tackled to the ground,” O’Malley said. “So as one of the senior players I feel like you’ve really got to get around each other.”

O’Malley said she was making it a focus to improve her clean hands out of the contest, thus improving her disposal efficiency around the ground. In season 2019, O’Malley played all 10 games for the Chargers, averaging 10.9 disposals, 1.8 marks, 2.4 tackles and 1.6 inside 50s, while booting three goals.

As if she was a psychic, when asked what the Chargers needed to improve on, she not only hoped and predicted Oakleigh win more games in the NAB League Girls, but nailed the exact number as well.

“We’re definitely hoping to win more games than last year so try and go at least four/five,” O’Malley said. “It would be really good if we could go and make finals because we have a stronger team this year and we have a really good chance of doing that.”

The Chargers had the five wins and a draw, falling just two points short of finals in fifth. But one thing is for sure, O’Malley and her senior teammates did all they could in a season that showed they were a much more improved outfit.

Team of the Week: NAB League Girls – Round 6

WITH so many new players entering NAB League Girls sides as plenty missed out due to AFL Women’s Academy duties, there are few new faces in the Draft Central Team of the Week for Round 6. There are also plenty of regulars who stepped up in the absence of teammates, but now there are no players who have made the side every single week, showing a great diversity of talent among the competition. Bendigo Pioneers, Geelong Falcons and Northern Knights all enjoyed impressive wins, sitting in the top four of the NAB League Girls ladder. Those three sides all had three players in the Team of the week, with six sides having two players and the remaining three sides – Calder Cannons, Murray Bushrangers and Western Jets all having the one nominee in the team.

Geelong Falcons’ undefeated streak continued on the weekend and Paige Sheppard and Mia Skinner‘s terrific seasons continued, named in the Team of the Week again, along with midfielder Luka Lesosky-Hay. Northern Knights also remained undefeated with just a draw as the only blemish on an otherwise top season so far. The Knights had to overcome a number of key personnel losses to post a big win over Gippsland Power, with Jess Fitzgerald, Phoebe Chisholm and Nell Morris-Dalton crucial in that win at Garfield. Their opposition had a number of impressive players with Chandra Abrahams being a tackling machine and flowing well between the arcs, while Megan Fitzsimon had a round-high 28 touches.

The other team with three players in the Team of the Week was Bendigo Pioneers, who enjoyed a hard-fought win over Dandenong Stingrays. Brooke Hards was named in the midfield yet again continuing her top season, along with Tara Slender at centre half-back and Jordyn Jolliffe in attack. All three players are in three different birth years showing the vast impact that talented girls of all ages can have on the competition. Their opponents had a couple of familiar faces in the Team of the Week with Brooke Vernon and Zoe Hill slotting into the side for yet another week. Also in defence are a couple of individual team nominees in Murray Bushrangers’ Sophie Locke and Calder Cannons’ Georgie Prespakis who while predominantly midfielders, drift back and help their defences.

Rounding out the Team of the Week midfield is Sandringham Dragons’ ruck Celia Cody making her debut in the team, along with Winnie Laing who was best on ground in the Dragons’ win over the Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels. The Rebels had two players in the Team of the Week as well, with Ella Wood returning to the side along with Nyakoat Dojiok who has been impressing across the ground. In attack, Eastern Ranges’ Serena Gibbs has been named at full-forward after a strong show of marking and long kicking against the Cannons, as well as teammate Tess Flintoff who was named the Draft Central Rising Star of the Week. Rounding out the side are Oakleigh Chargers’ captain Mimi Hill and her teammate, Chloe O’Malley, as well as Western Jets’ captain Elisabeth Georgostathis who has been a regular in the Team of the Week this season. It was a tough week to decide on just 24 players with Gippsland’s Grace McRae, Calder’s Felicity Theodore and Eastern’s Tahlia Merrett among those very close to making the team this week.

Weekend wash-up: NAB League Girls – Round 6

ROUND 6 of the NAB League Girls saw a host players out with AFL Women’s Academy duties but that did not stop the Geelong Falcons and Northern Knights from continuing their winning ways. Geelong once again proved to be the front runners of the competition while Oakleigh also flexed their muscles with a big win over Murray. The round also saw some close clashes between the Eastern Ranges and Calder Cannons along with Greater Western Victoria Rebels and Sandringham Dragons with both games coming down to two kicks or less.

 

GIPPSLAND POWER 0.0 | 0.2 | 2.3 | 3.4 (22)
NORTHERN KNIGHTS 1.2 | 4.3 | 7.4 | 10.7 (67)

By: Peter Williams

GOALS:

Gippsland: G. McRae, N. Webber, S. Walker.
Northern: L. Picioane 3, J. Simpson 2,  J. Fitzgerald 2, N. Morris-Dalton, T. Smart, M. Ramsay.

BEST:

Gippsland: G. McRae, C. Abrahams , M. Fitzsimon, S. Walker, M. Van Berkel, N. Webber
Northern: J. Fitzgerald, P. Chisholm, N. Morris-Dalton, A. Snow, M. Chaplin, L. Picioane

After a slow start, Northern Knights pulled away from Gippsland Power to ensure they remained undefeated after six rounds and sitting just two points behind Geelong Falcons on top of the table. In the match against the Power, Northern booted nine goals to three after quarter time to secure the 10.7 (67) to 3.4 (22) win, but not without some resistance from the home side. After the match was moved from Preston City Oval to Garfield, the Knights became the visitors but looked all at home once they had settled in despite missing an number of their top stars – Gabby Newton, Britney Gutknecht, Ellie McKenzie and Sarah Sansonetti – who were all out on AFL Women’s Academy duties. The Knights’ depth stepped up in their absence, with Jess Fitzgerald being the key influencer through the midfield, collecting 16 disposals, five marks, four inside 50s and booting two goals, while Phoebe Chisholm led her side for disposals with 19, as well as two marks, four tackles and five rebounds. Ash Snow was prolific around the ground, while Nell Morris-Dalton continued her strong season rotating between ruck and forward, while Lanarose Picioane who booted three majors in an impressive performance up forward. For Gippsland, Grace McRae was named the best for her 19 disposals, three tackles and a goal, while Chandra Abrahams and Megan Fitzsimon continued their great seasons, combining for 49 disposals, 12 tackles and eight inside 50s in a losing side. Nikia Webber also had a solid performance with a goal, while Matilda Van Berkel was strong at half-back.

 

OAKLEIGH CHARGERS 2.2 | 5.3 | 8.7 | 11.8 (74)
MURRAY BUSHRANGERS 2.0 | 3.1 | 3.1 | 3.2 (20)

By: Peter Williams

GOALS:

Oakleigh: J. D”Amato 2, M. Bertuna 2, T. Morton, A. Peck, E. Harley, N. Xenos, K. Kearns, T. Cowan, A. van Oosterwijck.
Murray: C. Boschetti 2, T. Verhoeven.

BEST:

Oakleigh: C. O”Malley, M. Bertuna, M. Hill, N. Xenos, J. Lin, G. Byrne
Murray: S. Locke, L. Sharp, K. Adams, C. Boschetti, A. Smith, A. Favell

Oakleigh Chargers have bounced back from their second loss of the season to record a huge nine-goal win over Murray Bushrangers. Both sides were close in the first term with two goals apiece, before the Chargers kicked away with a three goals to one second term to open up a 14-point lead. Despite their determination in the first half, Murray was unable to restrict Oakleigh in the second half as the Chargers booted six goals to zero to run out 11.8 (74) to 3.2 (20) winners. Jasmine D’Amato and Melanie Bertuna both booted two goals for the Chargers among nine individual goalkickers in a massive team effort. Captain Mimi Hill led from the front with 20 touches, two inside 50s and three rebounds, while Chloe O’Malley was named best on ground for her 14 disposals, three tackles and two inside 50s. Nicola Xenos was influential in getting the ball inside 50 with 13 disposals, one mark, four tackles, five inside 50s and a goal, while Emily Harley booted another goal to take her season tally to 11. For Murray, Sophie Locke was named the best, collecting 13 disposals, four marks and four rebounds while laying an equal-team high eight tackles. Abby Favell was the top disposal winner once again with 14 touches, three marks, four tackles and two inside 50s, while Teagan Brett had 13 disposals and eight tackles in the defeat. Oakleigh now sits sixth after the win, just two points outside the top four, while Murray are ninth but still clear of the Rebels, Jets and Power.

 

EASTERN RANGES 0.1 | 2.1 | 3.5 | 4.5 (29)
CALDER CANNONS 1.4 | 2.5 | 2.5 | 3.7 (25)

By: Peter Williams

GOALS:

Eastern: S. Gibbs, S. Collard, T. Flintoff, J. Dunning.
Calder: G. Prespakis, T. Gillard, E. Yassir.

BEST:

Eastern: T. Flintoff, E. Horne, S. Gibbs, T. Merrett, M. Edwards
Calder: G. Prespakis, F. Theodore, N. Crowley, K. Lennox, T. Gillard, Z. Hardiman

Eastern Ranges have kept themselves in contention for finals heading into the last three rounds after an impressive four-point win over Calder Cannons. The Ranges are now within percentage of the top four, sitting just adrift of both Calder and Bendigo Pioneers who sit third and fourth respectively with 16 points apiece. It was a fairly scrappy game throughout with both sides applying plenty of defensive pressure around the ground as Eastern’s talls stood out with their strong marking at both ends. Where possible the Ranges moved the ball quickly with short, sharp passes, whereas Calder wanted to run the ball and kick long inside 50. Both methods were effective at times throughout the game, but the key defence of Eastern held strong with Tahlia Merrett taking a number of good intercept marks in defensive 50. Serena Gibbs also provided an option between half-back and half-forward, taking marks and booting the ball long to put it in front of the Eastern runners. Tahlia Gillard provided that target for Calder and early looked like breaking the game open, booting a goal and missing a couple of opportunities before the home side restricted the inside 50 entries. Georgie Prespakis and Tess Flintoff were impressive for their respective sides providing plenty of run, while Tarni Brown and Felicity Theodore assisted well through the midfield. In a see-sawing final term that almost saw Calder steal the win through Emelia Yassir, it took until the final minute for Flintoff to mark inside 50 against the boundary and calmly slotted the set shot for the four-point win.

 

WESTERN JETS 0.0 | 0.0 | 0.1 | 0.1 (1)
GEELONG FALCONS 2.1 | 7.2 | 11.3 | 12.4 (76)

By: Sophie Taylor

GOALS

Western: Nil.
Geelong: M. Skinner 4, P Schaap 2, R.Tierney 2, T. Lewis 2, J. Robinson, A. McKee

BEST

Western: J. Woods, E. Georgostathis, A. Anthony, C. Singleton, N. Wright, R. Tripodi
Geelong: P. Sheppard, M. Skinner, L. Lesosky-Hay, R. Tierney, A. McKee, G. Featherston

It was tough muck for the Western Jets on Sunday afternoon as they hosted ladder leaders, Geelong Falcons at Williamstown. Despite a relatively even first quarter the undefeated Falcons were able to pull away and deny the Jets opportunities in front of goal, running away to a 75 point win. The Jets started well defensively, crowding the Falcons and making it difficult to get a clear kick on goal, but were unable to move the ball downfield to their advantage. A beautiful kick inside 50 from Geelong debutant, Gabbi Featherston set up the first goal of the game after almost eight minutes of play, showing how well the Jets held their ground early. However, Western’s good fortune dwindled from there as the Falcons used their depth of their talent to kick away.

The Falcons proved to be dangerous up forward as the Jets struggled to contain their opposition without two of their main ball magnets in Isabella Grant and Isabelle PritchardPaige Sheppard (22 disposals, four tackles, five inside 50s) and Luka Lesosky-Hay (20 disposals, two tackles) switched on as the Falcons started to pile on the majors, with the likes of Renee TierneyTamika Lewis and Poppy Schaap kicking two goals apiece while Mia Skinner (four goals, 18 disposals) put on her best performance so far this season. Tierney’s tackling pressure was crucial, notching up eight as the Jets tried to force their way through Geelong’s defensive setup, while Lesosky-Hay showed some good footy smarts as she continuously pushed the contest back up the ground.

The Jets were unable to break through Geelong’s midfield barricade as the Falcons crowded and contested every possession, outrunning the Jets and scooping up the ground ball with precision. The Jets showed some good signs in attack in the third quarter, managing some great passages of play through the middle of the ground. Though unable to capitalise, Western’s defensive pressure inside forward 50 granted them opportunities in front of goal, gifting them their only score of the game – a rushed behind off the back of a good attempt on goal from Taya MeiersElisabeth Georgostathis (14 disposals, six tackles, six rebounds) showed her versatility in the backline, with her ability to read the play enabling her to know where the ball would be placed. Georgostathis was arguably one of the best for the Jets, putting constant pressure on her opposition, while a fantastic tackle in the final quarter saved an almost certain goal. Taylah Kolevski dominated hitouts with 23 alone, also racking up four tackles.

 

BENDIGO PIONEERS 2.0 | 3.1 | 3.2 | 4.4 (28)
DANDENONG STINGRAYS 1.0 | 1.0 | 1.4 | 1.4 (10)

By: Peter Williams

GOALS:

Bendigo: J. Jolliffe 2, E. Snell, B. Hards.
Dandenong: S. Stratton.

BEST:

Bendigo: J. Jolliffe, T. Slender, B. Hards, E. Gretgrix, A. Strahan, M. Tupper
Dandenong: Z. Hill, G. Hodder, J. Radford, G. Howes, B. Vernon, K. McKenzie

Bendigo Pioneers have given themselves a terrific shot at finals after overcoming Dandenong Stingrays by three goals at Epsom Huntly Reserve on Sunday. In a low-scoring affair, the Pioneers got the job done by restricting the Stingrays to just one goal in the game, and only four behinds after quarter time. Despite this, the game was tight throughout and it was not until the final goal of the game that the Pioneers could relax and enjoy their fourth win of the season. Jordyn Jolliffe played the best game of the season with 20 disposals, four marks, four inside 50s, two tackles and two goals in a best-on-ground effort, while Tara Slender was terrific up the other end, racking up 12 disposals, five marks, three tackles and two rounds in the win. The midfield of Brooke Hards, Eloise Gretgrix, Maeve Tupper and Annabel Strahan again took control in the absence of key Stingrays, Molly McDonald, Tyanna Smith and Isabella Shannon. Hards and Tupper both had 18 touches with Hards also laying eight tackles and having three inside 50s and four rebounds. For the Stingrays, Zoe Hill stood tall in defence with 12 disposals, three marks and three rebounds, while Brooke Vernon‘s super season continued, amassing 18 touches, four marks, five inside 50s and six rebounds, while Grace Hodder laid seven tackles from her 15 disposals. With Geelong Falcons, Calder Cannons and Oakleigh Chargers in the final three rounds, the finals are within the Pioneers’ control in what is a tough draw on the run home. The Stingrays can still make finals if they can topple Oakleigh Chargers next round with Murray Bushrangers and Western Jets in the final two weeks.

 

GREATER WESTERN VICTORIA REBELS 1.1 | 2.1 | 2.2 | 4.2 (26)
SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS 1.1 | 3.2 | 5.3 | 5.3 (33)

By: Taylah Melki

GOALS:

GWV: E. Friend 3, R. Saulitis.
Sandringham: E. Angelopoulos 2, C. Murphy 2, I. Eddey.

BEST:

GWV: E. Wood, N. Dojiok, N. Butler, A. Trigg, E. Friend, G. Pidgeon
Sandringham: W. Laing, C. Cody, P. Staltari, G. Strangio, I. Eddey, C. Murphy

It was a tight contest from start to finish with Sandringham Dragons claiming a seven-point victory over Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels. It was neck and neck in the first term with either side unable to pull away going into quarter time at seven points apiece. The Dragons piled on two goals in the third term, keeping GWV to just one point for the quarter. But the Rebels were not going down without a fight applying all the scoreboard pressure to come within striking distance but just falling short after a gallant effort. Without Sophie Molan and Maggie Caris, GWV looked to the likes of Renee Saulitis to lead the way. Saulitis made her presence felt on the field slotting a major, she was ably assisted by teammate Ella Friend. Friend dominated for the Rebels kicking three goals, racking up 10 disposals and laying a team high six tackles. Nyakoat Dojiok also led the way for her side with a team high 18 touches and four inside 50s showcasing the work she does across the ground. She was closely followed by Brook Thompson who also amassed four inside 50s, while 12 of her 15 disposals were kicks. Georgia Pidgeon also impressed with 14 touches while Ally Trigg took five marks to accompany her 10 disposals. Sandringham were missing some key players with Alice Burke, Eliza McNamara and Molly Denahy Maloney all out with AFL Women’s Academy duties but that did not seem to stop them from claiming the four points. Charli Murphy showed her hand up forward slotting two majors for the game while Ebony Angelopoulos also chipped in with her two goals. Through the midfield the Dragons were led by Winnie Laing who finished the afternoon with a game high 20 disposals and seven tackles. She was helped out by Chloe Saultry who amassed 16 touches with all of them kicks and a whopping six inside 50s. Bella Eddey was also impressive for Sandringham getting involved on the scoreboard, laying six tackles and racking up 13 touches for her efforts.

NAB League Girls weekend preview: Round 1

TWO triple headers headline the first ever round of NAB League Girls as the 12 teams begin their 2019 campaigns hoping to get their season off on the right foot.

CALDER CANNONS v. WESTERN JETS


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

In what is predicted to be a sweltering day at RAMS Arena, the first match in the triple header is the Calder Cannons taking on the Western Jets. Both sides are bringing in some strong depth making it an interesting game to see which team can kickstart its season first. The Cannons will be without Georgia Patrikios, but have the likes of Alana Barba, Felicity Theodore and former Gippsland Power player, Makeisha Muller. Georgie Prespakis is one to watch for the future, and while older sister Madison is no longer there to lead the team, the Cannons will have Krstel Petrevski coming off half-back and is a player the Cannons are excited to develop throughout the season. For the Jets, they have a number of top prospects who are members of the AFL Women’s Academy at both the top and middle-age brackets. Isabella Grant and Cleo Saxon-Jones are strong overhead and can kick goals when forward, while Isabelle Pritchard still has two years in the system and is shaping as a highly talented key defender. Elisabeth Georgostathis is the other player who put in a consistent 2018 season, named onball like she was last year where she won the Jet’s best and fairest award.

BENDIGO PIONEERS v. GREATER WESTERN VICTORIA REBELS


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

The second game sees two country neighbours battling it out in what could be a thrilling contest. The teams have had productive pre-seasons and the Pioneers had no trouble scoring in their practice match against the Bushrangers, while the Rebels were pleased with their efforts against the Falcons. The defensive duo of Kate Douglass and Tara Slender will be one to watch and assist in restricting opposition teams from scoring, while Jordyn Jolliffe‘s return from injury – she missed all of last season’s TAC Cup Girls competition – will be welcome and she starts at full-forward. The midfield group of the Pioneers is quite strong and will have benefited from another year, with the likes of Brooke Hards – who played some roles in defence last season – Eloise Gretgrix and Jemma Finning, while Maeve Tupper was predominantly a forward pocket last season and will spend more time in the midfield. Sophie Molan and Ella Wood will lead a deep Rebels midfield in what will be the battle of the midfields within the match. Isabella Simmons developed strongly as the season went on last year, while Renee Saulitis and Isabella Robson are other middle-age talents in the team.

NORTHERN KNIGHTS v. MURRAY BUSHRANGERS


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

In the final game of Saturday’s triple header with the temperatures expected to be high 30s by the final siren, the two teams who finished second in the first two years face off from 12.45pm. The Knights head into the game as strong favourites based on the form they showed last season, and they have a number of talented players in each third of the ground. The midfield features Ellie McKenzie, Jess Fitzgerald and Britney Gutknecht, with the likes of Gabby Newton and Abigail Bennett rotating between the midfield and forward. Sarah Sansonetti and Ash Snow are a couple of defenders who impressed last season, while Alyssa Bannan developed rapidly in 2018. For the Bushrangers, Olivia Barber has been named at centre half-back and could be the one to try and quell Newton, while forwards, Sophie Locke and Kate Adams could do some damage if given time and space. Mikaela Trethowan is a 19-year-old prospect who will provide good support in the midfield, while Emily Nicholson is another player who played every game last season and will be well prepared for the first round match. The game is a huge challenge for the Bushrangers against the likely premiership favourites, but it will be a good test to see where they are at, and how the Knights have changed with players tested in other positions.

DANDENONG STINGRAYS v. EASTERN RANGES


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

In the first game of a triple header at Frankston on Sunday, Dandenong Stingrays will be looking for their fifth straight win after finishing the season in a blaze of glory following four early season losses. Recent St Kilda recruit, Isabella Shannon has been named at centre half-forward and will be a player to watch for any Saints fans who head down to the game. While fellow Saints teammate, Molly McDonald will not be out there, Brooke Vernon, Tyanna Smith and Grace Hodder will lead the charge in the middle. Zoe Hill stands tall at centre half-back and while partner-in-crime Lucy Cripps will not be out there, Hill will aim to try and nullify one of Eastern’s talls. That could be netballer, Serena Gibbs or AFL Women’s Academy member, Laura McClelland who could rotate between midfield and forward. The forward line and particularly midfield looks solid for the Ranges, with Olivia Meagher and Tahni Brown among the middle-agers who still have a couple of seasons to develop. Both teams are likely to create a lively contest.

OAKLEIGH CHARGERS v. GIPPSLAND POWER


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

The middle game on Sunday will see two teams that faced off in Round 1 last year do battle once again with Oakleigh Chargers facing Gippsland Power. The Chargers won easily 12 months ago and will be hoping to serve a repeat dose, while the Power feel more prepared to tackle the Chargers this time around. Middle-age captain, Mimi Hill leads a band of quick defenders who like to move the ball well, as Chloe O’Malley and Nicola Xenos showed last season. Gemma Lagioia and Emily Harley inside 50 will provide any opposition coach problems, as would Alana Porter‘s speed through the middle of the ground. The club is excited to release Amelia Peck on the competition with the 19-year-old named at centre half-back. Gippsland will miss Tyla Hanks in the middle, but have been able to supply a number of players with a season of experience and now there are top and middle-agers with a taste of the competition already. Nikia Webber and Matilda Van Berkel line up in the key forward posts, while Chandra Abrahams, Megan Fitzsimon and Grace McRae fill out the midfield. Maddi Shaw and Shanara Notman are others who could be key players in the game, providing strength and run from defence.

SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS v. GEELONG FALCONS


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

In the final game of the round, Sandringham Dragons face Geelong Falcons on Sunday afternoon. The reigning premiers will test themselves against a danger side in the 2019 competition. Both teams are in the form of their lives having not lost a game in the past six regular season rounds – and even longer for the Falcons. The midfield battle will be one to savour with Dragons’ captain Molly Denahy Maloney, Alice Burke and Eliza McNamara tackling the likes of Falcons’ captain Lucy McEvoy, Luka Lesosky-Hay and Paige Sheppard. Both sides have a highly touted key defender in Sarah Hartwig (Sandringham) and Abbey Chapman (Geelong), have speedy wingers in Marguerite Purcell (Sandringham) and Elise Vella (Geelong) and forwards who can take big grabs, Sophia Rothfield (Sandringham) and Renee Tierney (Geelong). With both sides having a high amount of talent coming through at middle and bottom-age level, they are going to be teams to watch this season. Round 1 may well have saved the best until last, and the final game of the new NAB League Girls will likely be a match to remember.

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.

Fifty named in AFL Draft Central’s TAC Cup Girls’ Team of the Year squad

FIFTY players from across the TAC Cup Girls’ competition have been named in AFL Draft Central’s Team of the Year squad, with the even cut-off those who received two of more nominations in our Team of the Week. There have also been 43 players recognised by AFL Draft Central who put in an outstanding effort to be nominated once throughout the season.

Remarkably, there has been an almost even split, with 26 players receiving three or more nominations in our Team of the Week, while another 24 players made the team twice. Of the 50-player squad, Geelong Falcons received the most nominations with seven players receiving two or more nominations in the Team of the Week, while the Northern Knights (six) were next followed by Sandringham Dragons and Eastern Ranges (five each). It is no surprise that these four teams were the top four sides at the end of the TAC Cup Girls regular season.

It was an even split between the next five sides with Dandenong Stingrays, Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels, Murray Bushrangers, Oakleigh Chargers and Western Jets all having four dual nominees, while Gippsland Power had three. Bendigo Pioneers and Calder Cannons had the two standout players each who were nominated multiple times. In terms of total players nominated, the Geelong Falcons and Eastern Ranges both had an impressive 11 players nominated at least once, ahead of Northern Knights and Sandringham Dragons (10), Dandenong Stingrays and Murray Bushrangers (nine), Oakleigh Chargers (eight). GWV Rebels (seven), Western Jets (six), Bendigo Pioneers (five), Gippsland Power and Calder Cannons (three) to round out the 12 sides.

In terms of most nominations, it is no surprise to see Calder Cannons’ Madison Prespakis and Gippsland Power’s Tyla Hanks, are leading the way with a stunning eight nominations from eight games. The pair will be captain and vice-captain in the Team of the Year. Just as remarkably, 15 year-old Ellie McKenzie is outright third, with six nominations from her six games and will no doubt feature many times in the team over the next two years.

Team of the Year squad: [50]

Bendigo Pioneers [2]: Kodi Jacques, Megan Williamson
Calder Cannons [2]: Georgia Patrikios, Madison Prespakis
Dandenong Stingrays [4]: Jordyn Allen, Shelley Heath, Courtney Jones, Isabella Shannon
Eastern Ranges [5]: Mikala Cann, Gabriella De Angelis, Sarah Kendall, Georgia Macpherson, Emerson Woods
Geelong Falcons [7]: Samantha Atkins, Sachi DeGiacomi, Zoe Inei, Lucy McEvoy, Nina Morrison, Olivia Purcell, Denby Taylor
Gippsland Power [3]: Tyla Hanks, Emily Haeusler, Nikia Webber
GWV Rebels [4]: Lauren Butler, Georgia Clarke, Sophie Molan, Sophie Van De Heuvel
Murray Bushrangers [4]: Eloise Ashley-Copper, Grace Egan, Tamara Smith, Rebecca Webster
Northern Knights [6]: Alyssa Bannan, Abigail Bennett, Britney Gutknecht, Ellie McKenzie, Gabby Newton, Alex Pronesti
Oakleigh Chargers [4]: Daisy Bateman, Gemma Lagioia, Katie Lynch, Bridie Winbanks
Sandringham Dragons [5]: Holly Bate, Eleanor Brown, Alice Burke, Isabella Eddey, Eliza McNamara
Western Jets [4]: Elisbeth Georgostathis, Caitlin Greiser, Isabelle Pritchard, Sharnie Whiting

Single nominations: [43]

Bendigo Pioneers [3]: Eloise Gretgrix, Brooke Hards, Sophie Kerridge
Calder Cannons [1]: Felicity Theodore
Dandenong Stingrays [5]: Eloise Allen-Burns, Saige Bayne, Lucy Cripps, Samantha Ryan, Tyanna Smith
Eastern Ranges [6]: Ashleigh Allsopp, Tarni Brown, Olivia Meagher, Laura McClelland, Lauren Szigeti, Charlotte Wilson
Geelong Falcons [4]: Abbey Chapman, Luka Lesosky-Hay, Renee Tierney, Sophie Walmsley
Gippsland Power [1]: Jasmine Ferguson
GWV Rebels [3]: Stephanie Glover, Nyakoat Dojiok, Ella Wood
Murray Bushrangers [5]: Olivia Barber, Millie Brown, Julia Harvey, Chelsea Knight, Claudia McKimmie
Northern Knights [4]: Maddy Brancatisano, Jess Fitzgerald, Nell Morris-Dalton, Ashleigh Snow
Oakleigh Chargers [4]: Hannah McLaren, Alice O’Loughlin, Chloe O’Malley, Nicola Xenos
Sandringham Dragons [5]: Molly Denahy Maloney, Sarah Hartwig, Winnie Laing, Jemma Owen, Maddi Wilson
Western Jets [2]: Isabella Grant, Taylah Kolevski

The final AFL Draft Central TAC Cup Girls Team of the Year will be posted later in the week.

Team of the Week: TAC Cup Girls – Round 9

IT was quite a bizarre day at RAMS Arena, with all 12 teams coming together to face off in a fantastic ‘Super Saturday’ of matches. For the final AFL Draft Central TAC Cup Girls’ Team of the Week, we find the highest ever number of players from a losing side making the team. The Western Jets were well beaten by the Geelong Falcons, but their top three players stood out so much in the wet that they earned places in the Round 9 Team of the Week. Remarkably, their opponents, the Geelong Falcons also had three players in the team. Conversely, despite winning their match well, the Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels had just the one player in the team – mainly due to the fact it was hard to split such an even contribution.

For Western, it was their highest number of representatives for the year, with regular nominees Elisabeth Georgostathis and Isabelle Pritchard and making the team for the fifth and fourth time respectively. But a fresh face to the team was ruck Taylah Kolevski who was ultra-impressive around the ground and at the stoppages in wet conditions. On the opposition side, Olivia Purcell collected her fifth Team of the Week nomination, joined in the side by Nina Morrison and Sachi DeGiacomi who are both no stranger to making the Team of the Week – both named four times.

Six of the remaining 10 teams had two nominees in the side, with Northern Knights’ Ellie McKenzie making a remarkable sixth Team of the Week – sitting third overall on most nominees. She is joined in the team by debutant in the side, Ashleigh Snow in the back pocket. Of the two with more nominations than McKenzie, they are fairly handy players in Madison Prespakis and Tyla Hanks – both making it eight out of eight games played. Their respective teammates at Calder Cannons, forward Georgia Patrikios and Power half-back Emily Haeusler have made it for the third and fourth time respectively.

In the back pocket is Sandringham Dragons’ Alice Burke who makes it for the third time, along with now two-time nominee forward Isabella Eddey. Rounding out the defence on the flank is GWV Rebels’ captain Lauren Butler who is the sole Rebel in a rather unlucky round given Rene Caris was one of many ruck choices in a week where plenty of key position players stood tall. But she was not the only one, with Sophie Molan also deemed impressive in the wet and would be an emergency in the round’s Team of the Week.

The remaining starting midfielder in the Team of the Week is Kodi Jacques, who for the first time is joined by fellow Bendigo Pioneers hard nut Megan Williamson. The pair have almost exclusively held a spot in the best 22 throughout the season, with Jacques (now five nominations) and Williamson (four) both impressing despite Bendigo’s loss to Dandenong Stingrays. Speaking of the Stingrays, Isabella Shannon returns to the Team of the Week, joining Courtney Jones, who is situated at half-forward, for their second and third times respectively.

Earning places on the bench in losing sides were talented trio, Eastern Ranges’ Mikala Cann (for the second consecutive week), Murray Bushrangers’ Tamara Smith (third time) and Chloe O’Malley (first time). Gippsland Power’s Jasmine Ferguson was the other unlucky emergency with Caris and Molan who just missed out on making the side.

Weekend wash-up: TAC Cup Girls – Round 7

ROUND seven confirmed the two grand finalists for the TAC Cup Girls competition. The Geelong Falcons and Northern Knights have now won seven games in a row, and sit two games ahead of Sandringham and Eastern at third and fourth (respectively). All four teams had a win on the weekend and were joined by Greater Western Victoria (GWV) and Dandenong on the winners’ list.

Greater Western Victoria Rebels  5.8.38 defeated Murray Bushrangers 5.2.32

By: Peter Williams

The Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels continued their fantastic form with their third straight win, following a thrilling six-point victory over the Murray Bushrangers. The Bushrangers have found themselves on the opposite side of the formline, with the loss making it three consecutive defeats since going nine games without a loss in the first season and a half of TAC Cup Girls football. Both sides were impressive throughout with a number of AFLW Academy stars putting on a show.

For the winners, Georgia Clarke was immense at centre-half back in the first half, rebounding all the Murray attacks, while up the other end, Sophie Van De Heuvel booted two goals and could have had a couple more had it not been for a few unlucky misses, or unselfish plays. Sophie Molan continued her fantastic form through the midfield and around the ground, while up forward, the exciting Renee Saulitis booted a goal and almost had a second, just looking dangerous every time she went near it. Captain Lauren Butler was another consistent player across four quarters playing all across the ground.

The Bushrangers’ midfield was the shining loss in the defeat, with Rebecca Webster leading the way despite being closely watched by her opponents, while Tamara Smith, Chelsea Knight and Millie Brown all threw themselves into the contest. Kate Adams was lively between midfield and forward, while Grace Egan was solid off half-back, producing some good rebounds and run-and-carry.

Oakleigh Chargers 4.4.28 defeated by Dandenong Stingrays 8.8.56

The Dandenong Stingrays backed up their first win of the season last week with a clinical 28-point win over the Oakleigh Chargers. The Stingrays led all day but in a positive for the Chargers, they outscored the away side by a point in the last quarter.

Alice O’Sullivan was the best afield for the Stingrays and was joined by usual suspect, Jordyn Allen among the top Dandenong players. The Stingrays captain has been a consistent performer in the back line all season and Saturday was no different. Isabella Shannon backed up her two-goal performance last week with another two goals against the Chargers. Amie Carroll was one of seven goal-kickers for the Stingrays, and also found her name in the best for the away side.

Playing without last week’s best-on-ground, Katie Lynch was always going to be a big challenge for Oakleigh. But the Chargers had plenty of players who stepped up in her place, including Chloe O’Malley, Melanie Bertuna and captain, Hannah McLaren. Bridie Winbanks was named the best player for Oakleigh after having another dominant performance in the black and white. Cricketer Isabella Gietzmann got on the board with a goal and also featured among Oakleigh’s best.

Eastern Ranges 4.5.29 defeated Gippsland Power 3.2.20

By: Taylah Melki

In a close encounter, it was the Eastern Ranges that came away with a nine-point win over the Gippsland Power. Both teams brought their a-game and competed hard throughout the game, with plenty of good match-ups across the ground. The Power threw everything at the Ranges in the last quarter but the Ranges showed great composure and held on to claim their fifth win for the season.

For the Ranges, Emerson Woods impressed both in the air and at ground level, going in hard to win the footy. Woods took a few good strong marks and consistently provided an option for her teammates. Nicole Cormack also played a big role in the Ranges win, slotting an important goal in the dying minutes to help secure the victory for Eastern. Georgia Macpherson applied plenty of pressure and was clean in and around the contest while Catherine Chamberlain imposed herself on the scoreboard, slotting a major.

Tyla Hanks was in impressive form yet again for the Power, slotting a big goal to keep them in the game and racking up plenty of touches. Her ability to read the play allowed her to release her teammates into space and propel her team forward. Jazz Ferguson also had a stellar game for the Power, laying plenty of strong tackles and taking a heap of intercept marks. Ferguson was really strong around the contest and showed her clean hands in tight. Emily Haeusler was in fine form once again winning plenty of the footy while teammate Chelsea Bray slotted an important goal for the Power.  

Sandringham Dragons 8.9.57 defeated Western Jets 1.1.7

By: Carly McClen and Julia Montesano

Sandringham kept the Western Jets goalless until late in the last quarter, making more noise on the ground than ever before and proving it near impossible for the Jets to get the ball- not just into their attacking 50, but across the halfway line. Nobody could get near Dragons forward Holly Bate, who kicked five majors for the day while Kaitlyn O’Keefe kicked the only goal for the Jets late in the last quarter.

Midfielder, Eliza McNamara was among the standouts on the weekend, continuing to show how much of an asset she is to the Dragons line-up. Alice Burke and Bryanna Arnold stood up in defence and had solid performances. But it was Holly Bate who stole the show for Sandringham, kicking five goals in a dominant performance inside 50. Abbie McKay also got on the board with two majors, and was named among the Dragons’ best players. 

For the Jets, Elisabeth Georgostathis had another fine day through the middle of the ground and never gave up throughout the match. Isabelle Pritchard was solid once again in defence and continues to trouble opposition forwards. Cleo Saxon-Jones had another commendable performance while Isabella Grant found her name in Western’s best once again, proving how valuable she is to the side. 

Northern Knights 14.7.91 defeated Bendigo Pioneers 3.2.20

By: James Halley

After an even first quarter, it was all the Knights from then on as they piled on 12 goals to two to stay undefeated after seven rounds. At quarter time, the match could have gone either way, but the Knights flicked the switch and kicked five goals to none in the second term to give themselves a game winning 35-point lead at half time.

Britney Gutknecht was enormous with six goals, jumping to second on the league’s top goal kickers list. Ellie McKenzie was influential in the middle of the ground, and was assisted by Neve O’Connor dominating the ruck and getting plenty of hit-outs throughout the game.

Kodi Jacques was clearly the best for the Pioneers, digging in deep in the midfield all day while also kicking a goal. Captain, Megan Williamson and Dayna Kelly-Guthrie were among the other leading performers for the Pioneers. 

The Knights will look to claim top spot in round eight against Geelong Falcons in a top-of-the-table clash, while Bendigo will face another tough game against third-placed Sandringham.

Calder Cannons 4.2.26 defeated by Geelong Falcons 7.4.46

At the end of the first quarter, the Cannons were leading the Falcons, prompting them to go bang with a six-goal second quarter. Calder fought back in the third quarter with three goals but Geelong’s second quarter was dominant enough to secure the victory at RAMS Arena.

Sophie Walmsley had a dominant performance for the Falcons, kicking two goals for the day and having a strong presence around the ground. Ella Mahoney also got on the board with two majors in her first game of the season. Nina Morrison continued her stellar season in the midfield with a high work ethic throughout the match, and was complemented by Zoe Inei in the ruck.

Madison Prespakis again starred for the Cannons, playing in the midfield and contributing at full forward. Prespakis kicked two goals for the day and her on-field leadership was second-to-none. Carla Rendelmann starred in the ruck and absolutely dominated, winning plenty of hit-outs. Midfielders, Felicity Theodore and Grace Dicker were among the best for the Cannons, providing important run throughout the day.

TAC Cup Girls previews: Round 6

AFTER a week of no TAC Cup Girls football, the players would undoubtedly be keen to get back into a huge round six. There are plenty of matches that could go either way, including the highly anticipated clash between two top sides in the Geelong Falcons and Eastern Ranges. Meanwhile, Bendigo and Oakleigh will both be searching for their first wins since round one, as they face off at Golden Square.

 

GEELONG FALCONS v. EASTERN RANGES

Round 6 – Saturday 21 April, 12.45pm
McDonald Reserve, Belmont

Geelong has brought in its big guns ahead of its clash against the Eastern Ranges. The Falcons have selected all five of their AFLW Academy players, including Eliza Shannon, who has been named as an emergency for the clash. Geelong is still undefeated after five rounds of TAC Cup Girls football and are looking to keep it that way, despite the Ranges bringing in a formidable outfit ahead of the clash at Belmont.

The Eastern Ranges experienced their first loss of the season in round five and would be hoping to bounce back in style and stop the Falcons in their tracks. But they will have to do this without star defender, Georgia Macpherson, who will sit out her first game of the season. Eastern’s depth is one of the best in the competition though, so there will be no shortage of talent out on the park as Emerson Woods and Olivia Meagher will come in to bolster the midfield and forward lines.

 

GIPPSLAND POWER v. NORTHERN KNIGHTS

Round 6 – Saturday 21 April, 3.15pm
Morwell Football Ground, Morwell

The Power are coming into this game off two consecutive wins and would be aware of the challenge they face to make it three from three in round six. However, co-captain Tyla Hanks will return to the Gippsland line-up this week after having a stellar performance in AFLW Academy colours. Emily Haeusler won our Player of the Week in her last match after a best on ground against Bendigo Pioneers and will be looking to continue that form, while Nikia Webber has been making her way up the goal-kicking tally and could play a big role on Saturday.

Webber may find it easier to play her role without Ellie McKenzie playing in defence for the Northern Knights. McKenzie will sit out the round six clash, as well as key players, Neve O’Connor and Ciara Fitzgerald. But the side’s depth continues to pay dividends, as they will boast a forward line that includes joint TAC Cup Girls leading goalkicker, Alyssa Bannan, vice-captain, Magdelene Antypas as well as Alex Pronesti and Nell Morris-Dalton. Northern could be in for a big challenge against the impressive Power but would be keen to keep their undefeated streak alive.

 

MURRAY BUSHRANGERS v. SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS

Round 6 – Saturday 21 April, 3.30pm
Norm Minns Oval, Wangaratta

The Murray Bushrangers are going into round six with an unfamiliar feeling, after experiencing their first loss in the TAC Cup Girls competition. The loss of stars such as Rebecca Webster and Millie Brown may have contributed to this, but fortunately, they will be back this round and could dominate in the heart of the contest. Also be sure to keep an eye out for Grace Egan and Tamara Smith, who are coming off fantastic games for Murray.

With the Dragons looking as strong as ever, they could be in prime position to really push the Bushrangers at Wangaratta. Eleanor Brown has been playing consistent football and is a key cog in the Sandringham midfield. On Saturday, she will be joined by Abbie McKay, who usually plays in defence. There was an even spread of goal kickers in round five, and these players would be willing to step up again in round six. The forward group of Maddison Wilson, Isabella Eddey, Laura Amelung, Sophia Rothfield, Hannah Bate and Georgia Emberton is one of the strongest forward lines in the competition.

 

GREATER WESTERN VICTORIA REBELS v. CALDER CANNONS

Round 6 – Sunday 22 April, 11.30am
MARS Stadium, Ballarat

The Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels would be hoping to even up their season by recording their third win on the weekend. Their three big guns in Sophie Van De Huevel, Rene Caris and Georgia Clarke will return to the line-up this week after all having solid performances for the AFLW Academy. Meanwhile, Nyakoat Dojiok and Lauren Butler would be hoping to continue their good form for the Rebels.

However, this could be harder for them due to some huge ins for the Cannons. Calder welcomes in captain, Madison Prespakis, after she kicked two goals and dominated the contest for the AFLW Academy squad. Fellow AFLW Academy members, Georgia Patrikios and Molly Warburton will also come back into the side to provide some support at the bookends of the ground. Playing her first game of the season will be Emily Vukovic, who is a former Melbourne Tigers youth player, so be sure to keep an eye out for her.

 

BENDIGO PIONEERS v. OAKLEIGH CHARGERS

Round 6 – Sunday 22 April, 2.00pm
Golden Square, Bendigo

The Pioneers last tasted victory against the Western Jets in round one, but came close in a number of encounters. Captain Megan Williamson has starred in every game she has played, while fellow midfielder, Kodi Jacques has been as consistent as ever. Playing at home will be a huge advantage for Bendigo, who will welcome Gemmi Murrell and Grace Sladden into its strong side this round.

But the Chargers also have some huge ins with captain, Hannah McLaren and star midfielders, Gemma Lagioia and Chloe O’Malley slotting back into the lineup. McLaren and Lagioia last featured in round four against the Falcons, but only played one quarter due a head clash. They were a big loss for Oakleigh last round, but will be raring to go in their return match on Sunday. With Katie Lynch looking at dangerous as ever in the midfield, it could spell trouble for the Pioneers.

 

DANDENONG STINGRAYS v. WESTERN JETS

Round 6 – Sunday 22 April, 3.00pm
Shepley Oval, Dandenong

The Stingrays welcome in their three AFLW Academy players into the side this week, after they all played wonderfully against Geelong. Brooke Struylaart and Samantha Ryan will slot into the forward line while Jordyn Allen will be looking to dominate in defence. Courtney Jones will start in the midfield alongside Lucinda Cripps, who usually plays in defence. Dandenong have not had a win this season but would be liking its chances at its home ground.

But the Western Jets have come off a great week, after defeating the Eastern Ranges in round five. Forward Caitlin Grieser was dominant in that game with four goals and would be hoping to intimidate the Stingrays defence as she did against the Ranges. Meanwhile, Elisabeth Georgostathis and Payton Ani-Ozols would be keen to continue their red-hot form in the midfield. On Sunday, they will have AFLW Academy member, Isabella Grant to help them out, which is a huge in for the side.

Story so far: TAC Cup Girls – Metro

THE Story so far continues on from the Country sides, with a review of the TAC Cup Girls Metro sides. There have been plenty of impressive players and team performances across the first five rounds, with one metro team sitting second on the ladder. If the first five rounds are anything to go by, the next four rounds will be full of fantastic battles.

Calder Cannons

Position: 11th
Win-loss: 1 win – 4 losses
Percentage: 43%

Results:

R1: lost to Murray Bushrangers by 46 points
R2: lost to Northern Knights by 48 points
R3: defeated Western Jets by 12 points
R4: lost to Gippsland Power by 3 points
R5: lost to Sandringham Dragons by 55 points

The Calder Cannons enjoyed a premiership last season so coming into this year, they would have been hoping to continue their hot run of form. Unfortunately, they did not get off to the start that they would have liked, with heavy defeats against Murray Bushrangers and Northern Knights. But the competition was high as both are top four sides, and Calder were without draftees, Monique Conti, Chloe Molloy and Sarah Dargan, who were integral to their 2017 program. But this year, being the Calder captain has allowed the already talented Madison Prespakis to spread her wings. Prespakis has been unstoppable in the midfield and has really been able to lift her team when needed. She has been complemented by some great young talent in Felicity Theodore, Zoe Hardiman and Grace Dicker, who have all shown great signs throughout the season. The next four weeks could be tough for the Cannons, but with a young side willing to throw everything on the line, expect some close contests to finish off their 2018 campaign.  

Fixtures:

R6: vs. GWV Rebels
R7: vs. Geelong Falcons
R8: vs. Dandenong Stingrays
R9: vs. Eastern Ranges

Eastern Ranges

Position: 3rd
Win-loss: 4 wins – 1 loss
Percentage: 189%

Results:

R1: defeated GWV Rebels by 19 points
R2: defeated Dandenong Stingrays by 39 points
R3: defeated Oakleigh Chargers by 28 points
R4: defeated Bendigo Pioneers 17 points
R5: lost to Western Jets by 5 points

The Eastern Ranges’ season has been spectacular, despite a round five loss against the Jets. The TAC Cup Girls competition is all about development, meaning losses are often a good learning curve for the players. This is particularly good for the Ranges, who face ladder-leaders, Geelong in round six, where they would love to fix their mistakes from round five and claim a win. Players like Georgia Macpherson and Emerson Woods have been fantastic for Eastern and are showing no signs of slowing down. Forward Laura McClelland is the joint leading goalkicker in the competition with 11 majors, and has been prolific inside 50. In the midfield, it has been Gabriella De Angelis’ quick hands and Mikala Cann’s explosive speed that have been the catalyst behind the Ranges’ admired ability to swiftly penetrate the ball forward.

Fixtures:

R6: vs. Geelong Falcons
R7: vs. Gippsland Power
R8: vs. Murray Bushrangers
R9: vs. Calder Cannons

Northern Knights

Position: 2nd
Win-loss: 5 wins – 0 losses
Percentage: 268%

Results:

R1: defeated Dandenong Stingrays by 35 points
R2: defeated Calder Cannons by 48 points
R3: defeated Sandringham Dragons by 30 points
R4: defeated GWV Rebels by 16 points
R5: defeated Oakleigh Chargers by 51 points

The Northern Knights have been a surprise packet this year, going undefeated so far from five rounds. The wins have been extremely convincing, winning four out of five games by over 30 points. The Knights have an innate ability to burst the game open through one quarter of blistering footy, and leaders such as Madeline Brancatisano, Gabrielle Newton and Britney Gutknecht have been pivotal in these electric passages of play. Abigail Bennett has shown her versatility for the Knights with impressive stints both in the forward-line and in the midfield. Alex Pronesti and Alyssa Bannan have been a dangerous duo inside 50, kicking eight and 11 goals for the season, respectively. The Knights’ lesser-known players have also been standouts, with Ellie McKenzie running amok in each of her three games for the Knights, while Marnie Jarvis has provided fantastic speed throughout the season. Northern’s talent has stood up so far, and will need to continue to do so, as they face their fellow top-four sides in the last rounds of the season. These next four rounds could significantly shape the Knights’ season.

Fixtures:

R6: vs. Gippsland Power
R7: vs. Eastern Ranges
R8: vs. Geelong Falcons
R9: vs. Murray Bushrangers

Oakleigh Chargers

Position: 10th
Win-loss: 1 win – 4 losses
Percentage: 55%

Results:

R1: defeated Gippsland Power by 67 points
R2: lost to Sandringham Dragons by 33 points
R3: lost to Eastern Ranges by 28 points
R4: lost to Geelong Falcons by 70 points
R5: lost to Northern Knights by 51 points

The Oakleigh Chargers enjoyed a magnificent win in round one to open their season, however the next four rounds have not been ideal for the Chargers. They have not won a game since, but their development has been good. Gemma Lagioia, Alana Porter and Katie Lynch have been important in the midfield and have stood up when the side has been down. Captain Hannah McLaren has shown great leadership throughout Oakleigh’s 2018 campaign, demonstrating her versatility across the backline and through the middle of the ground. Players like Chloe O’Malley, Mimi Hill and Nicola Xenos have also had convincing performances in patches throughout the season. The Chargers play four of the bottom six teams coming up, in which they can prove a point to the rest of the competition.

Fixtures:

R6: vs. Bendigo Pioneers
R7: vs. Dandenong Stingrays
R8: vs. Western Jets
R9: vs. GWV Rebels

Sandringham Dragons

Position: 6th
Win-loss: 3 wins – 2 losses
Percentage: 136%

Results:

R1: lost to Geelong Falcons by 20 points
R2: defeated Oakleigh Chargers by 33 points
R3: lost to Northern Knights by 30 points
R4: defeated Dandenong Stingrays by 15 points
R5: defeated Calder Cannons by 55 points

The Sandringham Dragons have plenty of talent in their side, with players like Sarah Hartwig holding up the backline, Eliza McNamara dominating in the midfield, and Maddison Wilson playing well up forward. Eleanor Brown has been damaging all over the ground and has proved that she can have an impact in any position, while captain Jemma Owen has been in fine form of late. The Dragons have now won two consecutive games and have a chance to keep their momentum going against a Murray side who experienced its first loss in the TAC Cup Girls competition in round five. Despite no AFLW Academy members in the side, Sandringham still has the firepower to match it up against the sides that do.

Fixtures:

R6: vs. Murray Bushrangers
R7: vs. Western Jets
R8: vs. Bendigo Pioneers
R9: vs. Gippsland Power

Western Jets

Position: 9th
Win-loss: 1 win – 4 losses
Percentage: 57%

Results:

R1: lost to Bendigo Pioneers by 37 points
R2: lost to Gippsland Power by 15 points
R3: lost to Calder Cannons by 12 points
R4: lost to Murray Bushrangers by 25 points
R5: defeated Eastern Ranges by 5 points

It was extremely pleasing to see the Western Jets get their first win of the TAC Cup Girls competition as their development has been positive throughout the season. Isabelle Pritchard has been solid in defence, Isabella Grant can make an impact wherever she plays, and Elisabeth Georgostathis has been sensational through the middle of the ground. Despite four losses to start the season, the losses were not heavy, with the biggest loss coming in round one against Bendigo. But in the last two weeks in particular, we have seen the emergence of forward, Caitlin Greiser. Greiser has kicked seven goals in two rounds and will continue to be a key cog inside 50 as the Jets approach the Stingrays in round six, who are yet to win a game in 2018.

Fixtures:

R6: vs. Dandenong Stingrays
R7: vs. Sandringham Dragons
R8: vs. Oakleigh Chargers
R9: vs. Geelong Falcons