Tag: Christina Bernardi

Team of the Week: AFLW – Round 7

ROUND 7 sees the end of the 2019 AFL Women’s home and away season, and thus the end of the Draft Central Team of the Week for this year. This week saw four Crows make it into the squad after a magnificent win over Melbourne, while Geelong is the only side that doesn’t have a player represented.

Adelaide’s Erin Phillips (22 disposals, three tackles), Courtney Cramey (18 disposals and a goal), Jess Foley (15 disposals, six tackles, two goals) and Ebony Marinoff (19 disposals, eight tackles) all made it into the team of the week after a comfortable Round 7 win that cements them as Conference A’s minor premiers. The four were prolific through the midfield and forward against Melbourne, clinical in front of goal and being a battering ram through Melbourne’s defence. Defender, Harriet Cordner was the only Melbourne player to make the cut this week, standing up and managing 19 disposals, seven marks and three rebound 50s.

Collingwood won their first game of the season and were rewarded with three players listed in this round’s team of the week. Ash Brazill was pivotal down back against Brisbane, firing 19 kicks from her 23 disposals with nine rebound 50s, while Sarah D’Arcy (20 disposals, two goals) and Steph Chiocci (18 disposals, seven marks, three tackles) were also major contributors in the upset.

The Brisbane Lions and the Western Bulldogs both had two players make the team, despite their respective Round 7 losses. Brisbane’s Jacqui Yorston was named on the interchange as she impressed in what was only her fourth game at AFLW level, notching up 21 disposals and nine tackles on her way to 90 AFLW Fantasy Points, while Kate Lutkins was impressive down back against the Magpies, picking up 14 disposals, six marks and three rebound 50s. Bulldogs, Monique Conti and Ellie Blackburn also made the side, with Conti racking up a career high 25 disposals, four marks while Blackburn managed 23 touches and was pivotal in the Bulldogs’ final quarter comeback against Carlton, kicking a goal in the dying minutes to take the Dogs to within two goals of the Blues. Credit to Carlton’s resolve they held on to win the match with first year, Brooke Walker kicking a career high three goals, while Madison Prespakis (19 disposals, four tackles) continued her dominant debut season. Brianna Davey (21 disposals, 11 tackles) stood up as captain, leading her side to their first AFLW finals campaign.

GWS GIANTS, North Melbourne and Fremantle each had a trio of players make the list, with wins helping on the way to the GIANTS’ and Fremantle’s selection chances this week, while Geelong’s loss saw them miss out completely on the team of the week despite still making finals.

Alicia Eva, Christina Bernardi and Alyce Parker represent the GIANTS this week, as Parker racked up 19 touches and five tackles to pair well with Eva’s goal, 17 disposals and nine tackles, putting immense pressure on Geelong’s defence. Meanwhile, Bernardi’s two goals and 10 disposals gave the Cats a big fright on their way to finals.

North Melbourne saw their second big loss of the season to Fremantle, but still had some high flyers who deserved to be mentioned. Jess Duffin was phenomenal in the backline for the Kangaroos, notching up 22 disposals, five tackles and five rebound 50s. Emma Kearney continued her dominant form, picking up 24 disposals, seven tackles and a goal while Jenna Bruton produced her best performance of the season, racking up 26 touches and six tackles.

North Melbourne’s great stats just go to show how well the Dockers played to come away as 27 point victors, with Fremantle also having three players who made their case for team of the week this round. Kiara Bowers (23 disposals, 13 tackles) and Melissa Caulfield (17 disposals, two marks) were dominant on field, while Ebony Antonio, though not making a statement in statistics, was clinical down back in denying the Kangaroos access to the footy, notching up 11 disposals, three rebound 50s and five marks.

Weekend wash-up: AFLW – Round 7

THE final round of the 2019 home and away season saw potential finals bound teams take each other on to determine which sides made finals. Major premiership contender, North Melbourne got knocked out by Fremantle, while Collingwood managed their first win of 2019 to ruin Brisbane’s finals chances.

GWS GIANTS 6.5 (41) defeated Geelong (1.4) 10
By: Sophie Taylor

The GWS GIANTS almost denied Geelong finals chances on Friday night, running over the Conference B rivals, 6.5 (41) to 1.4 (10). Geelong were set to wait until Sunday’s clashes to find out their 2019 finals fate, while the GIANTS got the well deserved four points but were unable to make finals despite the win. Both sides wore black armbands to honour the victims of Friday’s Christchurch Massacre, while a minute of silence took place before the match began.

It was only the GIANTS’ second win for the season, dominating majority of the match and rendering the Cats goalless in the opening half. For Geelong, it was a tale of woe from the very beginning as the GIANTS took an early lead, relying on the Cats’ inaccuracy in front of goal before kicking four goals to one in the second half to snag victory. Despite Geelong’s free kick count vastly outnumbering the GIANTS (9 – 20), the Cats were unable to take advantage of their opportunities forward. Olivia Purcell and Renee Garing showed their worth to the side, as Purcell grabbed 19 disposals while Garing notched up 14 tackles to add to her season tally of 62. Mia-Rae Clifford was Geelong’s only goal kicker, showing some composure as she slotted the major in the third quarter.

The GIANTS’ Irish pair, Cora Staunton and Yvonne Bonner were exciting to watch, kicking a goal apiece and gathering 16 and 10 disposals respectively. Christina Bernardi added two goals to her season tally, while Alicia Eva and Alyce Parker continued to show their strength in the midfield as the pair racked up 36 disposals and 14 tackles between them. Haneen Zreika finished her season on a high with her first goal in AFLW, also picking up a career high 17 disposals and seven tackles. Veteran GIANTS midfielder, Courtney Gum announced her retirement following the match.

This match saw the last of the GIANTS for 2019, though the side will be able to hold their heads high come 2020. Geelong will head into finals, having finished second behind Carlton in Conference B.

Melbourne Demons 1.2 (8) defeated by Adelaide Crows 10.8 (68)
By: Brandon Hutchinson

In their last game of the home and away season, Adelaide handed Melbourne one of the biggest thrashings all season with a 60-point win at Casey Fields. Melbourne were kept completely scoreless in the first half while Adelaide opened the first quarter with 21-points – reaching 34 unanswered points by the main break. The Dees found their first score in the form of a rushed behind in the third and would not find their first goal until the final quarter. In a complete show of dominance, Adelaide rounded out the game with five more goals – kicking three in the third and two at the end of the fourth.

Erin Phillips was her usual classy self (22 disposals, three marks and three tackles) – having a season to potentially rival her 2017 Best & Fairest year. While she had some trouble hitting the scoreboard (three behinds), she combined well with Ebony Marinoff (one goal, 19 disposals and eight tackles) and first-year, Jess Foley (two goals, 16 hit-outs, 15 disposals, two marks, six tackles) to keep a firm grip of the game. Fellow first year, Ailish Considine, also impressed in front of goals with her first two career goals, seven disposals, two marks and one tackle.

Despite the heavy loss, Melbourne still had a few players who stood up to the onslaught. Lily Mithen (16 disposals, four marks and six tackles), Elise O’Dea (21 disposals and five marks) and Harriet Cordner (19 disposals and seven marks) all kept their head highs and remained prolific throughout. While bittersweet, first-year, Chantel Emonson (14 disposals and five tackles) managed to kick her first career goal as Melbourne’s only major for the day.

This marked Melbourne’s final game for the year while Adelaide head into the finals as the most successful teams across both Conferences, with a big chance of taking it all the way.

Fremantle 7.10 (52) defeated North Melbourne 4.1 (25)
By: Sophie Taylor

Fremantle knocked the predicted premiers out of finals contention on Saturday night, proving too strong for the Kangaroos at Fremantle Oval in front of a hostile 6386 strong crowd. The 27 point margin showed Fremantle’s improvement in the competition this season, and just goes to show that the two best Conference A sides in Adelaide and Fremantle are well deserving of their top two finish.

Fremantle started strong, kicking the first two goals of the game and rendering North goalless by quarter time. North Melbourne’s goalkicking once again stagnated through the second half, rendering their third quarter comeback frustrating as they were unable to take control of the match. Fremantle were fortunate for the Roos’ struggle as they were inaccurate in front of goal, kicking 2.6 in the final quarter.

Sabreena Duffy and Ashley Sharp were among the Dockers’ best up forward, kicking two goals apiece, while Ashlee Atkins and Gemma Houghton both kicked a major each but missed five goal opportunities between them. Kiara Bowers racked up 19 kicks from 23 touches, also managing 13 tackles on her way to 118 AFLW Fantasy Points. Fremantle will be sweating on the injury concerns of Duffy and Dana Hooker ahead of next week’s final after both players were helped from the ground in the second half.

Jenna Bruton (26 disposals, six tackles) paired well with Emma Kearney (24 disposals, seven tackles and a goal) in the loss, while half back, Jess Duffin was also prolific against Fremantle’s barrelling attack line with 22 disposals, five tackles and five rebound 50s. Mo Hope was also effective for the Roos, coming away with two goals and four tackles.

North Melbourne have found themselves knocked out of finals contention in 2019 despite a dominant inaugural season, while Fremantle will take on Conference B minor premiers, Carlton next week.

Collingwood 3.7 (25) defeated Brisbane 2.7 (19)
By: Taylah Melki

In the last game of the season the Magpies claimed victory over the Brisbane Lions to snatch away any hopes of finals. The upset win marked the first victory of the season for Collingwood who struggled all year after losing players to expansion clubs and injury. Both teams were inaccurate in front of goal but the Pies set the game up before half time going into the main break up by 16 points after scoring two goals in the second quarter. After making the grand final two years straight and falling agonisingly short this will be the first year the Lions will not feature in the quest for a premiership.

For the Pies, Sarah D’Arcy stood up in front of goals nailing two goals and amassed plenty of touches across the ground credit to her hard work and ability to get to the contest. Dual athlete Ash Brazill dominated once again with her clean hands, clever kicks, accuracy by foot and smothering defensive pressure. She also showcased her strong hands taking her fair share of marks and proved to be a key member of the Collingwood team thanks to her read of the play. Captain, Steph Chiocci was solid for the Pies through the middle going in hard to win the footy and applied plenty of strong tackles. Jaimee Lambert stood up again making her presence felt on the scoreboard and working hard in attack to try and create scoring opportunities for her teammates.

The Brisbane Lions failed to fire on all cylinders, with the likes of star forward Sabrina Frederick-Traub unable to capitalise on her scoring chances. Fellow forward and goal sneak Jess Wuetschner was well held for most of the game but got some separation in the first quarter slotting an important goal for the Lions. Former Carlton captain, Lauren Arnell played her part applying some strong tackles and getting her hands to plenty of ball, while youngster Jacqui Yorston impressed across the ground racking up plenty of touches.

Western Bulldogs 5.8 (38) defeated by Carlton 6.5 (41)
By: Nikki Jamieson

The 2019 home and away season of AFLW wrapped up with the Pride rematch between the Western Bulldogs and Carlton. The Blues were finally able to redeem their 76-point loss last season that also cemented them as Conference B’s finals hosts. Despite Bulldogs no longer being able to defend their premiership, they fought through the dying minutes of the match and notably kicked all five of their goals in the last quarter.

Missed opportunities proved to be the biggest downfall for the Dogs as a slow start followed with the failure to finish in front of the goals. Though dominating position in the second quarter, Bulldogs could not convert leading to five behinds instead of goals. Carlton made the Dogs pay in the third, keeping them scoreless. Alison Downie (12 disposals, three tackles) played a key role in Carlton’s defence, causing major disruptions to the Bulldogs’ play inside 50.

Brooke Walker had an impressive game, kicking three goals for the Blues. A favourite moment from the match came from Walker marking the ball 55 metres out from goal and absolutely launching it from inside centre square for a terrific goal. Skipper Brianna Davey (21 disposals, 11 tackles) was impactful for Carlton’s midfield as well as Madison Prespakis (19 disposals, four tackles).

The Bulldogs’ strongest plays came from the last 18 minutes of the match, as the side was finally able to decrease the score margin. Co-captain, Katie Brennan opened the scoring two minutes into the quarter and was followed by a goal from Libby Birch when she was awarded two 50m penalties to see the Dogs remarkably close the scoreline to be within 10 points. Monique Conti (25 disposals, three tackles) helped move the ball throughout but it still proved to be too little too late for the Bulldogs.

Carlton (4-3) will host Fremantle (6-1) in a preliminary final in Melbourne next weekend to playoff for a spot in the 2019 AFLW Grand Final.

Weekend wash-up: AFLW – Round 6

WITH just one round left in the 2019 AFL Women’s home and away season, Round 6 was a week of highs and lows for a number of sides, as Conference A continues to dominate the competition. We saw some teams keep their finals hopes alive, while others were struck down with further disappointment after a difficult season.

Geelong 2.1 (13) defeated by Fremantle 6.13 (49)
By: James Halley

Fremantle has moved one step closer to securing itself a preliminary finals spot after a resounding 36-point win over Geelong at GMHBA Stadium. The Dockers kept Geelong scoreless in the second half to win 49-13.

The Dockers’ tenacious Kiara Bowers was on track to beat Ebony Marinoff’s AFLW tackle record, with 13 at half-time. However, Bowers was moved further forward in the second half and her tackle pressure dwindled as a result. It was not all good news for Fremantle, as the side struggled to kick straight, registering 13 behinds. Meanwhile, defender Alex Williams was assisted from the ground in the second term with a suspected knee injury.

Geelong’s Meg McDonald could stand tall after she was dominant in the backline once again, proving her worth in the side after missing out on making a team list in 2018. The Cats will need to put in a better performance next round, with a win ensuring a preliminary spot and a loss making them sweat on results.

The Cats will face GWS next Friday night in a do or die clash, while Fremantle will face North Melbourne who would also want to win to secure a finals birth.

Collingwood 5.1 (31) defeated by North Melbourne 7.11 (53)
By: Nikki Jamieson

North Melbourne’s premiership dream has been kept alive following their defeat of Collingwood in game one of the double header at Marvel Stadium. Collingwood, who continue the season winless, kept pace with the Kangaroos for the majority of the first half, only to let them get away as North Melbourne really found their rhythm.

Britt Bonnici was an absolute star for Collingwood, swiftly neutralising 2018 best and fairest winner Emma Kearney’s influence on the game. Bonnici had the game-high of 21 possessions and laid 10 tackles for the Pies. Teammates, Jaimee Lambert and Ash Brazill also had commendable performances with 20 and 18 disposals respectively.

In what was sure to cause more pain to Collingwood fans and teammates alike, defected stars such as Jess Duffin, Emma King, Jasmine Garner and Mo Hope had little remorse against their old side. Garner had a promising game, kicking two crucial goals and laying four tackles. Best on field for North Melbourne, however, was Jenna Bruton with 19 disposals and six clearances. Bruton was a major implementer of many of the Roos’ key scoring moments throughout the match.

In Round 7, Collingwood will have their last chance to get a win for the 2019 season as they face off against the Brisbane Lions at their home ground of Victoria Park. North Melbourne travel to Fremantle Oval to play the Dockers in what could prove to be a crucial final attempt to qualify for finals for both teams.

Western Bulldogs 6.2 (38) defeated by Melbourne 5.9 (39)
By: Sophie Taylor

It was a scrappy game at Marvel Stadium to end the double header, as the Bulldogs hosted a Melbourne side that was ready for payback after the Dogs’ two-point 2018 victory that knocked the Demons out of finals for the second year running. With a dominant start from the Dees and strong middle quarters from the Dogs it was difficult to see who would take home the four points, before Melbourne managed a goal in the dying minutes to produce a one-point win.

Despite a good start from the red and blue, the Dogs took charge when the game mattered, leading for most of the second half. Melbourne’s efficiency with the ball suffered as the Bulldogs took advantage of momentum, piling on relentless pressure through the midfield and the Dees’ forward 50. Meanwhile, Melbourne suffered in the penalty department, only picking up 10 frees for the game compared to the Dogs’ 24, with the disparity in free kicks further contributing to the Dees’ struggles downfield.

In the scrappy affair it was the ever reliable Karen Paxman who stood up for the Dees, notching up 24 touches, seven tackles and a goal. Elise O’Dea was next best for Melbourne, with 21 disposals and eight tackles to her name. Ellie Blackburn picked 22 disposals, while Monique Conti managed 20 touches and seven tackles. Bulldog, Kirsty Lamb notched up the most tackles for the day, with ten. Tegan Cunningham redeemed herself in this matchup after a disappointing day against the Dogs in 2018, kicking two goals, with her second for the match the sealer.

The final round of AFLW will see the Western Bulldogs host Carlton next Sunday at VU Whitten Oval, while Melbourne will take on Adelaide at their home at Casey Fields in a bid to keep their 2019 finals hopes alive.

Adelaide Crows 9.5 (59) defeated GWS GIANTS 4.3 (27)
By: Taylah Melki

The Crows asserted their dominance once again, coming out all guns blazing and scoring three goals in the opening term. The GIANTS failed to score a goal in the second half credit to the defensive pressure of Adelaide, while the Crows piled on more pain throughout the course of the game credit to their ability to hit the scoreboard, eventually winning by 32 points.

The usual stars stood tall for the Crows with the likes of Erin Phillips and Ebony Marinoff leading the way for their side. Phillips chipped in with a goal while amassing 24 touches proving her dominance across the field, while Marinoff racked up 24 touches and 10 tackles credit to her attacking play. Stevie-Lee Thompson made her presence felt up forward nailing three goals while Danielle Ponter also displayed her ability to hit the scoreboard with two majors. Ponter does not need a lot of the footy to be damaging, proving her accuracy by foot. Chelsea Randall and Angela Foley also starred for the Crows, accumulating plenty of the footy and going in hard to win the ball.

For the GIANTS, the likes of Alicia Eva stood up in what was a difficult outing for her side. Eva racked up the touches and was not afraid to go in hard and win the footy, showing her experience and class around the stoppages. Ellie Brush was also a key player for the GIANTS with her clever kicks. Cora Staunton and Christina Bernardi both hit the scoreboard with a major but were unable to capitalise on all of their opportunities in front of goal, both missing a shot on goal.

In the final game of the home and away season the Crows will face the Melbourne Demons at Casey Fields while the GWS GIANTS take on the Cats at UNSW Canberra Oval.

Carlton 6.7 (43) defeated Brisbane 4.3 (27)
By: Brandon Hutchinson

After a shaky start to 2019, Carlton have since turned their season around with a win over Brisbane at home and a move to the top of the table in Conference B. While Brisbane led at the end of the first, Carlton’s offensive push turned the tables in the second with a three-point lead entering the main break – leaving Brisbane with a goalless second quarter. Brisbane managed to kick a goal midway through the third, but the effort stood small next to Carlton’s three as they bullied their way through Brisbane’s defence. The final quarter was a wrestle for Brisbane as Carlton held on to a comfortable 16-point win against a tough outfit.

Madison Prespakis had another stellar performance for the Blues, leading with a game-high 27 disposals on the way to 69 AFL Fantasy Points. Fellow rookie, Brooke Walker also impressed with a season-high 12 disposals and her first two career goals. Tayla Harris (two goals, eight disposals, two marks and four tackles), Darcy Vescio (one goal and 13 disposals) and Tilly Lucas-Rodd (one goal, 10 disposals and four tackles) also impressed in front of goals.

For Brisbane, Nat Exon was a great defensive utility, laying nine tackles with 17 disposals on her way to a game-high 98 AFL Fantasy Points. Kate Lutkins (20 disposals, five marks and seven tackles) and Alexandra Anderson (20 disposals, six marks and six tackles) both impressed through the middle, while first-year, Jade Ellenger kicked two goals in her first game. Emily Bates also continued her stunning season with a team-high 22 disposals, three marks and five tackles.

Heading into the final round, Carlton are set to face reigning premiers, Western Bulldogs, at VU Whitten Oval for the last game of the regular season, while Brisbane come up against a winless Collingwood outfit at Victoria Park, looking for a chance to join finals footy.

Weekend wash-up: AFLW – Round 3

IN a round that certainly shook up the ladder, North Melbourne continued their outstanding form for the season, sitting on a comfortable 250.8 per cent to finish Round 3. Carlton put their first win on the board for 2019 with a convincing win over GWS GIANTS, while Conference A’s bottom, Melbourne, took on Conference B’s top, Brisbane, in a match that proved the difference between the two conferences.

North Melbourne 8.5 (53) defeated Western Bulldogs 3.4 (22)
By: James Halley

North Melbourne has emerged as favourites for the 2019 AFLW flag after a great start to the season. The Kangaroos won their third straight match with a comfortable 31-point win over the Western Bulldogs. Kangaroo, Courteney Munn helped inspire the victory with a dominant debut match kicking four goals. Captain, Emma Kearney took control of the midfield against her former side, collecting 17 disposals.

It was a slow start to the match, with the first goal of the game not coming until the fourth minute of the second quarter through Roos debutant, Munn. She continued to impress, kicking a second goal mere minutes later. Munn kicked two more late goals, including one dribbled home from the boundary putting an exclamation mark on a great start to the season for the Kangaroos.

Along with Munn’s two early goals, North kicked five unanswered majors in the second term to create a thirty-point buffer against the Bulldogs, ultimately putting an end to the match. It took until the third quarter for the Bulldogs to kick their first goal of the night through Ash Utri. This spurred a more competitive second half from the Dogs, although it was too little too late as they could not overcome the first half deficit.

North Melbourne will play in Victoria for the first time next week, against Melbourne at home next Sunday afternoon. Meanwhile, the Western Bulldogs have a chance to get back on the winners list next week when they host the Brisbane Lions.

GWS GIANTS 5.6 (36) defeated by Carlton 10.5 (65)
By: Brandon Hutchinson

A revitalised Carlton leave the track victorious following a comprehensive showing at Blacktown over GWS. Both teams started Saturday without a win, but Carlton have seemingly revived their chances for finals footy as GWS slips further away. In the congestion, Carlton won a lot of the hard ball and contested well in the air with Tayla Harris on the receiving end. Their intense brand of offensive football rocked GWS and set the pace for the game early. Despite the GIANTS having a few glimpses, the Blues kept history from repeating itself and remained focused on how they wanted to play.

Carlton secured the first goal off a GWS kick-in and subsequent mark infringement. Gabriella Pound was awarded the 50m and secured her first in front of the sticks. Soon after, Harris kicked her first from an advantage call, running in on an angle to increase Carlton’s lead. The GIANTS responded by playing tighter on the football – keeping both sides goalless for seven minutes. The GIANTS hit their first major at the end of the first term with a scoop and snap by Jacinda Barclay, shortening the margin to seven-points as they entered the second.

Darcy Vescio kicked her first directly in front to start the second. She immediately followed up with a mark and kick to first-year, Madison Prespakis to get her first for the day. While Carlton quickly increased the lead, Yvonne Bonner and Cora Staunton restored the GIANTS’ momentum with a goal each in succession to return the margin to seven points. Prespakis and Harris combined twice in the final minutes to help them secure a goal each, with Prespakis first hitting Harris on the lead, while in the closing seconds Harris returned the favour, giving Prespakis a run-on goal.

In the second half, Bonner opened the forward line for the Giants, assisting Christina Bernardi with two goals, while Harris and Prespakis closed out the final quarter with their respective third goals for the game. GWS trailed for the second half but could not crack above Carlton’s scoring and compete with their numbers around the ball.

Prespakis has notched it up another level. Her performance on the track might be the best of the weekend, with a game-high 21 disposals and career-high three goals. Harris (nine disposals and six marks) was a pillar for Carlton up forward, also kicking three goals. While on the opposite end, Bonner (one goal, 13 disposals and eight marks) and Bernardi (two goals, 10 disposals and five tackles) cleaned up for the Giants.

This match marks a new beginning for Carlton and may even spark a finals campaign. For the GIANTS, there is a lot of work to be done if they plan on salvaging this season.

Fremantle 7.9 (51) defeated Collingwood 2.6 (18)
By: Michael Alvaro

Fremantle kept its undefeated streak alive with a resounding victory over the winless Magpies. The Dockers started well with the breeze at their backs as season one marquee, Kellie Gibson slotted a goal with less than 40 seconds taken from the clock, setting a ruthless tone for the encounter. Magpie vice-captain, Britt Bonnici missed the chance to hit straight back and Ebony Antonio made the Magpies pay with a clinical finish to a breakneck defensive transition.

That minute-passage was a perfect window into the game as a whole, with the Magpies getting plenty of the ball forward of centre but not being able to capitalise. That lack of a finishing touch or clear link into forward 50 was a sore spot for the travelling side despite Sophie Alexander’s inclusion, and it showed in a goalless first half. Fremantle’s 31-point half time lead was extended to 33 in a more even second half, with Sarah D’Arcy slotting Collingwood’s first goal halfway through the third stanza on the back of two 50-metre penalties.

Antonio and Gibson dealt the most damage with two goals each as the only multiple goal kickers, while D’Arcy and Jaimee Lambert were the only Pies to trouble the scorers. D’Arcy was their best, while Bonnici played a good role on Dana Hooker in the midfield and Ash Brazill continued her outstanding defensive form. Leading ball-winner, Kara Donnellan was again Freo’s best, aided by Paris Laurie and Kiara Bowers.

Collingwood now has perhaps its best opportunity to get on the board in 2019 as the Pies host fellow winless side, GWS in a game that could see them scrape off the bottom of Conference B. The Dockers hit the road to face a Crows side coming into form, hoping to maintain their flawless record and a spot in Conference A’s top two.

Adelaide 10.6 (66) defeated Geelong 6.1 (37)
By: Nikki Jamieson

Heartbreak continued for Geelong after being crushed by a superior Adelaide side. In what started as a close game, with the Crows leading by only one-point early in the second quarter, it did not take long for the elite side to end the half leading by 28.

As the match continued, the Cats could not keep up with Adelaide, going nearly 45 minutes without putting up a score. Goals by Danielle Orr and Kate Darby late in the third gave Geelong possible hope, but it proved to be too little too late.

Geelong struggled against Adelaide’s tight midfield and paid the price more than a few times against a more experienced backline. The Crows were to be too much for the newcomers, who despite putting up a good fight were no match for Adelaide’s efficiency and skill in front of the goals.

Crows captain, Erin Phillips led with a dominating performance putting 19 points (3 goals, 1 behind) on the board for her team. Tough midfielder, Ebony Marinoff was on fire breaking records within the Crows with 33 disposals. Anne Hatchard had another exceptional game with 27 touches as well as kicking a goal.

Despite the continued bad luck for Geelong, young gun, Olivia Purcell had a phenomenal moment on the ball, kicking a fantastic goal early in the second quarter by sidestepping an Adelaide defender and getting herself wide open. Richelle Cranston’s first game for the Cats wasn’t the win that was desired but she still demonstrated why she’s a high-impact player, leading her team with 18 disposals.

Brisbane 3.3 (21) defeated by Melbourne 9.6 (60)
By: Taylah Melki

Melbourne dominated from the get go, nailing seven goals in the opening half to the Lions’ one. The Demons attacked the footy with speed and intent, helping them to secure their second win for the season. Brisbane struggled to combat Melbourne’s offensive pressure with the Dees using their quick hands and clever kicks into space to create scoring opportunities.

After a dominant performance last week, Elise O’Dea starred once again for the Demons, amassing plenty of touches while her partner in crime, Karen Paxman also dominated slotting a goal and getting her hands to plenty of the ball. Young gun, Tyla Hanks also impressed on the big stage taking it up to the Lions with her clever kicks into space and clean hands. Up forward speedster, Aliesha Newman stamped her authority on the competition slotting three goals. Newman showed off her speed and impressive football smarts to evade tacklers and get into the right positions. Bianca Jakobsson also starred across the field racking up plenty of touches and contributing on the scoreboard with two majors.

Star Brisbane forward, Sabrina Frederick-Traub struggled against the defensive pressure of the Dees, while the experience of Nat Exon shone through working hard to win the footy and nailing a good goal to keep her side in the contest. Alexandra Anderson was the major ball winner for the Lions, going in hard to win the footy and laying plenty of tackles. Veteran, Kate Lutkins was also a standout for Brisbane in what was a disappointing outing, using the ball efficiently and cleverly.

Weekend preview: AFLW – Round 3

TWO round down and the two conference ladders are already starting to show an alarming trend, with all Conference A sides ahead of every Conference B side. In the match of the round, the Western Bulldogs travel to Tasmania to face North Melbourne, while winless sides, GWS GIANTS and Carlton face-off with one team to finally score four points. In the other matches, Collingwood travels west to face Fremantle, Adelaide hosts Geelong, and Brisbane take on Melbourne in a unique round that sees all five games played interstate.
 
NORTH MELBOURNE v. WESTERN BULLDOGS
Friday, February, 15, 7:15pm
University of Tasmania Stadium

After a thumping win in Round 1, North Melbourne head back to the Apple Isle, this time to the University of Tasmania Stadium. While their opponents this time around will be much tougher in the reigning premiers, the Kangaroos will fancy themselves having seen off GWS GIANTS in torrential rain and thunderstorms, a week earlier. The Western Bulldogs will also fancy their chances and are likely the best side to topple the team of champions, which should see plenty of eyes glued to televisions tonight. The winner seems almost destined to secure a finals spot, given their respective opponent will arguably be the toughest opponent they come across, and will go 3-0 up with four rounds remaining. Western Bulldogs have one of the most potent forward lines in the league and that is how they can exploit the Kangaroos. If the Roos, led by former Dog Emma Kearney, can win the midfield battle, then it will go a long way to victory. The North forward line is ultra-impressive and has no trouble kicking goals, but the Bulldogs have a stern defence that will not give them an inch. It all adds up to being an absolute blockbuster with Kearney and Ellie Blackburn going head-to-head.

H2H: North Melbourne 0 | Western Bulldogs 0 | Draws 0
Venue: North Melbourne 0-0-0 | Western Bulldogs 0-0-0

Last time they met: N/A
 

GWS GIANTS v. CARLTON
Saturday, February, 16, 4:45pm
Blacktown International Sports Park

If a week is a long time in football, then a year is an eternity, with Carlton’s last victory coming in the Round 2 clash, last year. Carlton has made a habit of upsetting GIANTS fans, winning both of its matches against the GIANTS since the AFL Women’s began. Their contested brand of football tends to work well against the GIANTS and they restrict the run of GWS, however the GIANTS have ensured bigger bodies in the midfield this season. The teams almost match up identically across the board statistically, with Carlton’s tackling inside 50 a highlight – averaging 11 per game. The GWS midfield will be hard to combat, but if the Blues can get the ball forward, they are a huge chance of an upset. The winner gets back on track this season, while the loser will find it tough to recover, needing to win at least three games from its last four games to secure a finals spot. No doubt the match-up to keep an eye on is Madison Prespakis against Alyce Parker with both young guns unbelievably talented, strong and can go forward and have an impact. A head-to-head we will see plenty over the next decade.

H2H: GWS GIANTS 0 | Carlton 2 | Draws 0
Venue: GWS GIANTS 1-1-2 | Carlton 0-0-0

Last time they met: Carlton 3.12 (30) defeated GWS GIANTS 1.3 (9), Round 2, 2018

Carlton gave their fans some serious hope in the Round 2 clash between the sides when a inaccurate Blues team got the job done at Drummoyne Oval. The win was the club’s first victory outside Ikon Park, and with the Blues holding the GIANTS to just three behinds after quarter time, the defensive work was terrific. Captain, Brianna Davey had 16 disposals, two marks, six tackles and two rebounds, while Jess Hosking and Shae Audley shared 28 disposals and 10 clearances between them. But the biggest memory was that of Sarah Hosking who smashed the tackle record with 16 to go with 12 disposals. For the GIANTS, Alicia Eva had 17 disposals and a game nine tackles, while Amanda Farrugia and Courtney Gum both finished with 16 touches.

 

FREMANTLE v. COLLINGWOOD
Saturday, February, 16, 7:15pm
Fremantle Oval

In one of the first three cross-conference games, Fremantle hosts Collingwood at Fremantle Oval. The sides have been relatively even over the first two seasons, which is to say a little underwhelming overall. This year the teams have taken different paths, with the Dockers winning their opening two games, while the Magpies have suffered two defeats. Collingwood almost toppled Geelong in Round 1 and the Dockers almost fell to Melbourne, so the teams were very close to both being 1-1. With Sophie Alexander returning to the Pies side to strengthen them up forward, and Nicole Hildebrand named in defence; the latter will assist the in-form Ash Brazill in creating run out of defence. For Fremantle, Dana Hooker and Kara Donnellan have been dominant through the middle, and with an electric forward line, it will be hard for the Magpies to combat. If Fremantle win, they will move to second in Conference A with the other two undefeated sides facing off the day before. A Collingwood loss means the Magpies go 0-3 for the third consecutive year, almost ruling out finals before the midway point of the season.

H2H: Fremantle 1 | Collingwood 1 | Draws 0
Venue: Fremantle 3-3-0 | Collingwood 0-0-0

Last time they met: Fremantle 6.4 (40) defeated Collingwood 4.3 (27), Round 2, 2018

In front of a home crowd at Optus Stadium, Fremantle recorded an important 13-point win after having won just the one game in Western Australia the year before. Dana Hooker starred for the Dockers, racking up 20 disposals, two marks, five clearances, six inside 50s, six tackles and finishing off with two goals in a clear best on ground performance. Lara Filocamo and Lisa Webb both recorded 17 disposals, while Melissa Caulfield also booted two goals, from 12 disposals. Christina Bernardi was the key goalkicker for the Magpies with two majors, while Melissa Kuys had a game-high 21 touches.

 
ADELAIDE CROWS v. GEELONG CATS
Sunday, February, 17, 2:35pm
Norwood Oval

After escaping with a win last week, Adelaide will be keen to make it two on the trot and keep in touch with the top three in Conference A. The Crows were unlucky not to win against the Dogs at the ground in Round 1, while the Cats also suffered a defeat at the hands of the reigning premiers, last week. A win for Geelong will give them breathing space inside the top two in Conference B, while a Crows loss will make it tough given the relative strength of the Conference, and require them to win against the remainder of their Conference rivals. Chelsea Randall is a massive inclusion for the Crows to strengthen a defence which conceded seven goals to Carlton last week. Geelong captain, Mel Hickey, and the exciting Richelle Cranston return for the Cats in what makes for an entertaining battle around the ground. Expect both teams to bring the heat with everything on the line, especially for the home side.

H2H: Adelaide 0 | Geelong 0 | Draws 0
Venue: Adelaide 2-3-0 | Geelong 0-0-0

Last time they met: N/A

 

BRISBANE LIONS v. MELBOURNE
Sunday, February, 17, 5:35pm
Hickey Park, Stafford

In the final game of the round, top of Conference B hosts the bottom of Conference A with both teams even for the season with one win and one loss. The Lions will be keen to maintain top spot in their Conference, while the Demons can ill-afford to drop further behind given the strength of Conference A. A win for the Demons could see them leap-frog a couple of teams and keep in touch with the leaders. Last week both teams had different contests, with Brisbane going down in a high-scoring thriller in the west, while the Demons got their hands dirty against Collingwood in a low-scoring affair to earn the four points. Elise O’Dea was sensational in the win with 26 touches and a drought-breaking second quarter goal, while Ally Anderson recorded 26 disposals, four marks and a goal in the win, to be the highest disposal winner for season 2019 so far, with 48 disposals. The Demons are a contested based team that can clunk strong marks around the ground, while Brisbane are good at controlling the play around the ground, which spells for an entertaining contest when both teams clash.

H2H: Brisbane 1 | Melbourne 1 | Draws 0
Venue: Brisbane 0-0-0 | Melbourne 0-0-0

Last time they met: Melbourne 4.10 (34) defeated Brisbane 4.4 (28), Round 5, 2018

Melbourne survived a scare in their clash with Brisbane last season with both sides keen to keep on top of their finals hopes. The Demons held the Lions scoreless in the first term, and led by 14 points at the final break, before Brisbane booted two of the last three goals to almost seemingly take the points under lights at Casey Fields. Karen Paxman had 25 disposals, while Daisy Pearce was dominant with 24 disposals, five clearances, four inside 50s and two goals. Elise O’Dea was equally as busy with 23 touches as the experienced trio ensured the Dees came away with the four points. Kate Lutkins was enormous in defence, racking up a massive nine rebounds as well as a game-high 26 possessions, while taking four marks and having three inside 50s as well. Sabrina Frederick-Traub was important up forward with three majors from 15 disposals and three marks.

DRAFT CENTRAL TIPPING

Leaderboard:

1st : Sophie Taylor [ 7 ]
2nd : Taylah Melki, Michael Alvaro [ 6 ]
3rd : Peter Williams, Matthew Cocks [ 5 ]

 

Peter Williams

Chief Editor

Last week: 3

Round 3 selections:

Western Bulldogs
Carlton
Fremantle
Adelaide
Brisbane

 

Taylah Melki

Assistant Chief Editor

Last week: 4

Round 2 selections:

North Melbourne
GWS GIANTS
Fremantle
Adelaide
Brisbane

 

Sophie Taylor

Women’s Football Editor

Last week: 4

Round 3 selections:

North Melbourne
GWS GIANTS
Fremantle
Geelong
Melbourne

 

Michael Alvaro

Men’s Football Editor

Last week: 4

Round 3 selections:

North Melbourne
Carlton
Fremantle
Adelaide
Melbourne

 

Matthew Cocks

Guest Tipster

Last week: 2

Round 3 selections:

North Melbourne
GWS GIANTS
Fremantle
Adelaide
Brisbane

AFLW H2H Battle: Early 90s v Late 90s

IN our first AFL Women’s Head-to-Head Battle, we have created teams of 24 players to determine which end of the 90s might prevail in a head-to-head clash. For the early 90s team, we have those AFL Women’s players born between 1990-1994, and for the late 90s, we have the 1995-1999 births. We have not included any player that made their debut in season 2019. As you will see from the two different sides, the early 90s is stacked through the forward line with a strong defence, while the late 90s midfield is very deep with strong players up both ends. It made for a very difficult task of picking just 24 players for each side, and picking a winner is just as difficult.

Early 90s – 1990-1994:

B: Nicola Stevens – Chelsea Randall – Hannah Scott
HB: Bianca Jakobsson – Elise O’Dea – Ebony Antonio
C: Alicia Eva – Kara Donnellan – Kaitlyn Ashmore
HF: Christina Bernardi – Katie Brennan – Jasmine Garner
F: Jess Wuetschner – Darcy Vescio – Brooke Lochland
R: Emma King – Dana Hooker – Jessica Dal Pos
INT: Nat Exon – Sarah D’Arcy – Jaimee Lambert –  Kate McCarthy – Sarah Perkins – Deni Varnhagen

The Early 90s team features the best of the best from 1990-1994 births, with a forward line that is All Australian quality, and an enviable spine that would win one-on-ones galore. In defence, captains, Adelaide’s Chelsea Randall and Melbourne’s Elise O’Dea hold down key spots, with Hannah Scott taking the third tall role, and the likes of Nicola Stevens, Bianca Jakobsson and Ebony Antonio providing run from the back half.

In the midfield, the early 90s team features some seriously underrated players. Fremantle duo, Kara Donnellan and Dana Hooker, GWS GIANTS’ duo Jessica Dal Pos and Alicia Eva, and North Melbourne’s Kaitlyn Ashmore fill out the starting five, with Nat Exon, Jaimee Lambert and Deni Varnhagen able to rotate through there, as would O’Dea and Jakobsson who push up the ground. With Emma King in the ruck, the early 90s would have a strong chance to win the hitouts, although the opposition midfield would be hard to combat.

Up forward, it is littered with stars from start to finish, in what is an unbelievably powerful front six. Katie Brennan and Darcy Vescio as a one-two combo would bring the crowds alone, but throw in goal machines, Jess Wuetschner and Brooke Lochland, as well as great playmakers, Christina Bernardi and Jasmine Garner who provide both defensive and offensive pressure respectively, and add a different element to the mix. Add in the likes of Sarah D’Arcy, Nat Exon, Kate McCarthy and Sarah Perkins, and the forward rotation would be the envy of any side.

Even those who missed out could consider themselves incredibly unlucky, with Rhiannon MetcalfeStevie-Lee ThompsonAmelia MullaneMeghan McDonald, Aimee Schmidt, Jacinda Barclay, Lauren Pearce, Catherine Phillips, Kate Gillespie-Jones, Brittany Gibson and Hayley Wildes among some seriously talented depth for the five years.

VS

Late 90s – 1995-1999:

B: Nicola Barr – Libby Birch – Chloe Molloy
HB: Brianna Davey – Tahlia Randall – Emma Swanson
C: Emily Bates – Ebony Marinoff – Ally Anderson
HF: Ashley Sharp – Sabrina Frederick-Traub – Monique Conti
F: Aliesha Newman – Tayla Harris – Rebecca Beeson
R: Erin McKinnon – Ellie Blackburn – Lily Mithen
INT: Deanna Berry – Brittany Bonnici – Jenna Bruton – Sarah Hosking – Breann Moody – Jamie Stanton

The late 90s team has a deep midfield that would worry any opposition midfield with its uncompromising attack on the ball and ball carrier. Around the ground the side has good options in attack and defence, and while they might not be as experienced as their early 90s counterparts, they show the future of the game over the next five to 15 years. In defence, Tahlia Randall and Libby Birch are the two key backs, with Chloe Molloy capable of playing tall or small. Nicola Barr, Brianna Davey and Emma Swanson provide the fierce attack out of the back half, with the ability to roam through the midfield too.

In the middle, talented young ruck Erin McKinnon leads a massively inside midfield brigade, with Ellie Blackburn, Lily Mithen and Ebony Marinoff likely to lay a record amount of tackles in a game between them. Brisbane pair, Emily Bates and Ally Anderson will provide support on the wings, while Sarah Hosking, Brittany Bonnici, Jenna Bruton and Jamie Stanton are able to also rotate off the bench into the team. Breann Moody would be McKinnon’s back-up ruck, and also allows Randall to purely focus on her defensive match-ups.

Up front, Sabrina Frederick-Traub and Tayla Harris join forces inside 50 as the key targets. Around their, feet speed demons, Ashley Sharp, Monique Conti and Aliesha Newman will always have defenders worried, while Rebecca Beeson is consistent as they come. Deanna Berry will add to the pace inside 50 and will add some extra running off the bench.

Among those unlucky, injured talents Jess Hosking and Isabel Huntington would make the team with some luck in the future, while Jasmine GriersonBonnie ToogoodEden ZankerEloise JonesJordan ZanchettaHayley Miller, Stephanie Cain and Maddison Gay are among those in contention for a spot in the 24-player team.

Weekend previews: AFLW – Round 2

AFTER an exhilarating first round, which saw four of the five matches go down to the wire, teams prepare to tweak game styles or mix up team sheets in order to get an advantage over their opponents. Four of the first round losers face off, with Melbourne heading to Victoria Park on Saturday to face the Magpies, while Carlton hosts Adelaide at Ikon Park on Sunday. The two sides who head home without any points face an uphill battle in the race for finals action. The fifth losing side from Round 1, GWS GIANTS has its own mammoth effort – trying to take down North Melbourne who simply blitzed Carlton. A maximum of three sides can remain undefeated after Round 2 with first round winners, Geelong and Western Bulldogs, and Fremantle and Brisbane facing off over the weekend.

GWS GIANTS vs. NORTH MELBOURNE
Friday, February 8, 7.15pm
Drummoyne Oval

In the opening game of the round, new side North Melbourne fresh off a huge victory over Carlton, head to Drummoyne Oval to face the GIANTS. The GIANTS are playing just their second game at the venue, following a loss to the Blues this time last year. The battle within the contest is the All-Australian rucks going head-to-head with Kangaroos’ Emma King and GIANTS’ Erin McKinnon. North Melbourne’s midfield has great depth to it, lead by last year’s League Best and Fairest winner, Emma Kearney, Jamie Stanton, Jess Duffin and Ash Riddell, of whom the latter was ultra-impressive on debut. North Melbourne’s dynamic forward line features former Magpies, Jasmine Garner and Mo Hope, premiership-winning Bulldog Jenna Bruton, and former Lion Kaitlyn Ashmore. With the strength around the ground, it will be hard to contain the Roos if they win the midfield battle.

The one area the GIANTS could get an upper hand is through rebounding forward with an equally impressive, albeit underrated forward line. Jess Dal Pos, former Magpie Christina Bernardi and defender-turned-forward Cora Staunton are all capable of multiple goals, while Haneen Zreika was impressive on debut last week. The midfield simply has to win its fair share of head-to-heads, with Courtney Gum, Rebecca Beeson, Alicia Eva and Alyce Parker leading the way, while Amanda Farrugia, Emma Swanson and Tanya Hetherington will have big jobs coming out of defence. The Kangaroos took a massive 56 marks in last week’s huge win over Carlton, while still laying 66 tackles. The GIANTS laid just the 42 and only five in the forward 50, and will need to show more pressure inside 50 against a side capable of hurting you on the scoreboard really quickly. Both teams are generally good ball users and make the most of their opportunities so it will be fascinating to see which team can take the early advantage and put it on the scoreboard. North Melbourne will head in as favourites, but it is far from completely clear cut, and this will be a huge win for the GIANTS if they can get the job done at home.

H2H: GWS GIANTS 0 | North Melbourne 0 | Draws 0
Venue: GWS GIANTS 0-1-0 | North Melbourne 0-0-0

Last time they met: N/A

Fun facts:

  • Emma Kearney averages 20 disposals, 6.5 tackles, 4.5 clearances, four inside 50s and a goal against the GIANTS from two clashes.
  • Both AFL Women’s All Australian rucks are set to go head-to-head with Emma King taking on Erin McKinnon. In the battle between the pair last year, King won convincingly with 11 disposals and 18 hitouts to McKinnon’s three disposals and 14 hitouts.
  • GWS GIANTS’ only game at the venue resulted in a loss to Carlton last year, while North Melbourne looks to back up its only game – a huge win over Carlton last week.
  • The GIANTS have won two, drawn two and lost three games in New South Wales and Australian Capital Territory.

 

COLLINGWOOD vs. MELBOURNE
Saturday, February 9, 4.45pm
Victoria Park

At one of the homes of traditional football, Collingwood hosts Melbourne in what has become a must-win for both sides. After heart-breaking losses in Round 1 despite leading at the final change, neither team can afford to go 0-2, with the reality that teams need at least four wins to secure a finals berth. A second loss means they must win four of their final five games as a minimum and with both still to play their respective conference favourites, it would spell trouble for their post-season hopes. However, for the winner, it is a chance to balance the ledger and get back on track early in the season. Collingwood has been a slow starter in year’s gone by, and has been overhauled with youth since last season, while Melbourne has also brought a number of young players into the team, furthering the development of players who got their starts last season. With both teams defensively capable, it will make for a great clash. The sides also sit at one win each in the head-to-head, funnily enough after the losing side in each game got a head start, but was run over the top of in the second halves.

Both teams have made two changes, with a debutant and a return from a long-term injury headlining the selection moves. Oakleigh Chargers’ tall, Katie Lynch comes into the side after Sophie Alexander’s concussion last week ruled her out of the game. Kristy Stratton was also ruled out through injury, with the Magpies opting to go tall by bringing in Eliza Hynes to try and stretch the Melbourne defence when forward, while rotating with Sharni Layton and Eliza Fowler. Melbourne have brought in Ainslie Kemp who has not played since 2017 due to an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tear – sadly replacing Shae Sloane who suffered the exact same injury. The Dees have also brought in Ashleigh Guest for Claudia Whitfort. The key to victory for the Demons is restricting the run of Collingwood’s defence, which helped the Magpies hold up against Geelong last week with Ash Brazill causing all sorts of headaches, while Jordyn Allen was equally as impressive. They also need to clamp down on Jaimee Lambert who has the ability to turn a game with great plays, while Catherine Phillips could be the one asked to restrict Sarah D’Arcy from dominating in the air. For the Magpies, they need to be wary of Melbourne’s firepower with Tegan Cunningham and Eden Zanker likely to stretch the defence, while Aliesha Newman has pace to burn and both Kate Hore and Maddison Gay are capable of getting over the back and hurting teams on the rebound. Elise O’Dea, Karen Paxman and Lily Mithen are up there with the best midfields in the competition, and will look to control the stoppages around the ground and give their forwards early opportunities.

H2H: Collingwood 1 | Melbourne 1 | Draws 0
Venue: Collingwood 0-0-0 | Melbourne 0-0-0

Last time they met: Collingwood 9.4 (58) defeated Melbourne 3.6 (24) at TIO Traeger Park, Round 4, 2018

After booting the opening two goals of the match and keeping Collingwood goalless in the opening term, the Demons only managed 1.4 for the rest of the match as the Magpies piled on 9.4 to run away with the match by 34 points. Magpies captain, Steph Chiocchi played one of her best games under lights, booting a goal from 17 disposals, two marks, four clearances and three inside 50s, while Jaimee Lambert had a team-high 19 disposals as well as three inside 50s and two rebounds. Caitlyn Edwards and Mo Hope both booted two goals in the victory, but arguably the best performance was that of Brittany Bonnici who tagged Melbourne captain, Daisy Pearce and restricted her to a career-low nine disposals. For the Demons, Elise O’Dea was the top performer with 19 disposals, two clearances, three inside 50s and a goal, while Karen Paxman had 18 touches and three rebounds.

Fun facts:

  • Of the 42 players to take the field in last year’s clash in the Top End, just 24 players remain available for selection in season 2019. Even more remarkably, just eight players from Collingwood’s first match against the Demons – two years ago – remain on the list.
  • Elise O’Dea (17 disposals) and Karen Paxman (16.5 disposals) average the most disposals against the Magpies from their two clashes.
  • Sarah D’Arcy and Emma Grant average the most disposals against the Demons, with 10 touches apiece.
  • Both sides were in the lead at three quarter time after holding their opponent scoreless in the third term last week only to go on to lose the game in heartbreaking circumstances.

 

WESTERN BULLDOGS vs. GEELONG
Saturday, February 9, 7.15pm
VU Whitten Oval

H2H: Western Bulldogs 0 | Geelong 0 | Draws 0
Venue: Western Bulldogs 4-3-0 | Geelong 0-0-0

In the other game that will be the first time these teams go head-to-head is between reigning premiers, Western Bulldogs and new side, Geelong. Both teams had a win in Round 1 and this weekend marks the first home game for the Bulldogs, which means they will unfurl the 2018 AFL Women’s flag in front of what is predicted to be a strong crowd at VU Whitten Oval. The winner will most certainly get an early advantage given the strength of their opponent, and it marks the first game for the sides which sees them pitted against a non-conference rival. Both teams also know how to close out tight games, having survived one-point thrillers in the opening round to secure the four points. Given their experience and depth across the field, Western Bulldogs will head in as favourites, but Geelong are expected to throw down a challenge with a couple of key players returning.

The Cats have welcomed back key forward, Phoebe McWilliams and ruck, Erin Hoare to bolster their side against the reigning premiers. Georgie Rankin and Maighan Fogas have been the two unlucky players omitted from the victorious side last Saturday night, with Fogas and key defender, Georgia Clarke named as emergencies for the clash. The Dogs will unveil Irish debutant, Aisling McCarthy who comes into the side, replacing the omitted Belinda Smith. The enticing battle will see which defence holds up the best as both sides proved to have their respective opposition’s measure last week. Co-captain, Katie Brennan booted the Bulldogs’ two goals against the Crows, while Meg McDonald, Rebecca Goring and Madeline Keryk were among the Cats’ best under pressure when the Magpies were attacking. While the heartbreaking story of Nina Morrison doing her ACL at training will dominate headlines, Geelong still has a huge core of youth including Denby Taylor, Olivia Purcell and Sophie Van De Heuvel who will face established young talents in Monique Conti and Bonnie Toogood, and first round draftee, Eleanor Brown. Co-captain Ellie Blackburn is always a crucial player for the Dogs and will look to take control in the midfield, while the Dogs’ defence of Lauren Spark, Libby Birch and Hannah Scott will provide plenty of rebound.

Last time they met: N/A

Fun facts:

  • The Western Bulldogs lost three consecutive matches at VU Whitten Oval in 2017, but have since won all three games they have played there, and is the Dogs’ first home game since winning the 2018 AFL Women’s flag.
  • Aasta O’Connor will play against her old side for the first time, lining up in the ruck to face Kim Rennie, while sharing the ruck duties with Erin Hoare in the blue and white hoops.
  • Ellie Blackburn averaged 16.9 disposals, 2.9 marks, 3.25 tackles and 3.25 clearances last season, the most of any current Western Bulldogs player.
  • With Brooke Lochland injured for the season, Phoebe McWilliams will be the leading goal kicker from last season in the match, booting seven goals for the GIANTS.

 

CARLTON vs. ADELAIDE
Sunday, February 10, 4.05pm
Ikon Park

H2H: Carlton 0 | Adelaide 2 | Draws 0
Venue: Carlton 4-1-2 | Adelaide 0-0-0

For the first time in 2019, Ikon Park hosts a match with the Blues heading back home to welcome the Crows in a Sunday evening game. The ground has traditionally been the host of the opening game of the year between bitter rivals, Carlton and Collingwood but that has changed in 2019. These teams are both heading into the match off the back of a loss, with Carlton’s heavy defeat to North Melbourne not the ideal start to the season following a wooden spoon, while the Crows will rue missed opportunities in front of goal after booting 1.11 against the Bulldogs at Norwood Oval. Adelaide is yet to play at Ikon Park, while Carlton has made it somewhat of a fortress winning four and drawing a fifth game from its seven matches at the venue. Considering they have only won one match outside Ikon Park, it has been a comfort zone and the Crows cannot afford to take them lightly. With Adelaide in the tougher conference, they would not want to drop this game and go 0-2 to start the season, while Carlton will look for its first win under Daniel Harford who would have learnt plenty from the round one defeat.

Looking at the Round 1 matches, efficiency inside 50 looks to be key, with Adelaide having a 75 per cent scoring efficiency with 18 shots from 24 attempts, while Carlton had just 10 shots from 29 attempts – 35 per cent scoring efficiency. Both sides have impressive forward lines on paper, but they will need to convert their opportunities. Any forward 50 with Darcy Vescio, Tayla Harris and Brianna Davey – who has actually been named in defence – is going to worry opposition defenders, while Erin Phillips is as good as anyone one-on-one and is lining up at full-forward, while Chloe Scheer is a young star who will only get better. Speaking of young stars, Madison Prespakis carried the weight of the midfield on her shoulders last week and was ultra-impressive on debut, so the Crows will need to be aware of her presence. The Adelaide midfield has greater depth and the Blues should look to limit the influence of Ebony Marinoff who racked up 23 disposals and laid 11 tackles in Round 1. If Carlton can restrict her influence on the inside and win the contested ball – with the likes of Jess Hosking and Katie Loynes getting on top, it will go a long way to causing an upset. Chelsea Randall leads the defence, while the experience of Renee Forth through the midfield will be important. Carlton will need to control the ruck contest through Breann Moody, and break even in the middle, while the Crows will focus on clearance domination to give their forwards first opportunity and more importantly, those forwards need to convert.

Last time they met: Adelaide 8.7 (55) defeated Carlton 2.8 (20) at Norwood Oval, Round 5, 2018.

Adelaide flexed their muscles against the Blues when the sides were heading in opposite directions. The Crows at home booted six goals to one after quarter time to run away from the Blues, but counted the cost of the win with injuries to Erin Phillips and Courtney Cramey. Ruth Wallace booted three goals, while Eloise Jones finished with two, as Ebony Marinoff and Chelsea Randall shared 31 disposals. Breann Moody was dominant in the ruck for the Blues with 29 hitouts from 11 disposals and four clearances, while Tayla Harris had 11 disposals, three marks and booted a goal.

Fun facts:

  • Despite winning the wooden spoon last season, Carlton has a strong record at Ikon Park, having won four and drawn one from seven attempts.
  • If Carlton lose the match, it will mark more than a year since they won their last match.
  • While she picked up an injury in the second game, Erin Phillips was everywhere in the Crows’ first win over the Blues, racking up 21 disposals and eight clearances. In the same game, Ebony Marinoff laid 14 tackles from 16 disposals, her exact disposal average against Carlton.
  • Of the Carlton players to play against Adelaide in both games, the omitted Tilly Lucas-Rodd averages the most disposals with 13.5, while Darcy Vescio averages two goals per game against the Crows.

 

FREMANTLE vs. BRISBANE
Sunday, February 10, 3.05pm
Fremantle Oval

H2H: Fremantle 0 | Brisbane 2 | Draws 0
Venue: Fremantle 2-3-0 | Brisbane 1-0-0

Both sides won against the odds in Round 1, with Fremantle toppling Melbourne in scorching weather at Casey Fields after being 14 points down at the final break, while Brisbane knocked off GWS GIANTS a fortnight after succumbing to the GIANTS in a heavy practice match loss. Both sides had plenty to be positive about last week, most importantly securing an early four points, while also having plenty to improve upon for this week. Fremantle are back at home in Western Australia, but at their only other clash at the venue, Brisbane took home the points, though it was two years ago. Both teams look to be very different to that clash, with the Lions having a host of youth coming through, as do the Dockers while also filtering in some experienced local talent. Brisbane will go in as favourites given their history in the competition, but Fremantle’s performance last week certainly raised eyebrows and showed that everyone could be underrating the Dockers.

Both sides play a different brand of football which is really exciting for this clash. In Round 1, Fremantle battered and bruised their way to an impressive contested ball style, getting the pull forward to record a huge 11 marks inside 50, while laying 10 tackles in the arc. They harassed and pressured the Demons into making uncharacteristic mistakes, laying 77 tackles in the process. The Lions have tall targets up forward, but opted for a balanced possession game and spread well around the ground. They intercepted the GIANTS 51 times and took the game on, trying to unsettle the defence with possession football, but going when required. This game could well be a combination of both styles and sets up for a huge clash. The Lions forward line is severely underrated with Sabrina Frederick-Traub the dominant key position player, while McKenzie Dowrick and Jess Wuetschner are incredibly clever and dangerous around goals. Throw in Jordan Zanchetta, Emma Zielke and the defensively-minded but strong, Lauren Arnell and the Lions front six is as good as any. Ebony Antonio and Tayla Bresland were strong in defence last week, while the midfield of Dana Hooker and Kara Donnellan are not huge ball winners, but always effective. They tackle the biggest ball-winning duo of Emily Bates and Ally Anderson who had the ball on a string last week, while the potential match-up of Kiara Bowers and Sam Virgo could be entertaining based on Round 1 form. Both teams have immensely talented youth coming through, and both teams’ first round picks, Sabreena Duffy and Paige Parker, have been named in the side.

Last time they met: Brisbane 3.4 (22) defeated Fremantle 2.3 (15) at South Pine Sports Complex, Round 4, 2018.

In a low-scoring affair that saw just one goal kicked in the first half, Brisbane held on in a thriller to win by seven points and remain on track for a grand final berth. Dynamic forward, Jess Wuetschner booted two goals from 18 disposals, three marks and four inside 50s, while Kate Lutkins and Ally Anderson both had 18 touches in the win. For the Dockers, Lara Filocamo had 18 disposals and laid five tackles. Kara Donnellan laid a whopping 10 tackles and had five clearances and 15 disposals.

Fun facts:

  • In their only clash at the venue, Brisbane defeated Fremantle by 13 points in Round 2, 2017. Fremantle has a 100 per cent winning ratio at Fremantle Oval over Victorian sides, but a zero per cent winning ratio over non-Victorian sides.
  • Jess Wuetschner has been the dominant goal kicker in the matches between these sides, averaging two goals per game.
  • Lara Filocamo averages the most disposals between the sides, with 17.5 per match.
  • Both sides won their opening round matches by less than a kick, with Fremantle getting a dress rehearsal for the scorching West Australian heat, winning at Casey Fields in 38 degrees Celcius.

 

DRAFT CENTRAL TIPPING

Leaderboard:

Eq. 1st : Sophie Taylor, Matthew Cocks [ 3 ]
Eq. 3rd : Peter Williams, Taylah Melki, Michael Alvaro [ 2 ]

 

Peter Williams

Chief Editor

Last week: 2

Round 2 selections:

North Melbourne
Collingwood
Western Bulldogs
Adelaide
Brisbane

 

Taylah Melki

Assistant Chief Editor

Last week: 2

Round 2 selections:

North Melbourne
Melbourne
Western Bulldogs
Adelaide
Brisbane

 

Sophie Taylor

Women’s Football Editor

Last week: 3

Round 2 selections:

North Melbourne
Melbourne
Western Bulldogs
Adelaide
Brisbane

 

Michael Alvaro

Men’s Football Editor

Last week: 2

Round 2 selections:

North Melbourne
Melbourne
Western Bulldogs
Adelaide
Brisbane

 

Matthew Cocks

Guest Tipster

Last week: 3

Round 2 selections:

GWS GIANTS
Collingwood
Western Bulldogs
Adelaide
Brisbane

Weekend preview: AFLW – Round 1

FOOTY is back and for the first time, 10 AFL Women’s clubs are preparing to achieve the ultimate glory. Each week we will preview and review the games, provide a Team of the Week, Draftee Watch piece and analyse the week’s statistics, as well as plenty more for the third season of the competition. Stay tuned on Draft Central for all the coverage.

GEELONG vs. COLLINGWOOD
Saturday, February 2, 6.40pm
GMHBA Stadium, Geelong

The opening game of the AFL Women’s season has a massive question mark for both sides. On one side of the head-to-head is a brand new team with no historical data at the elite level, aside from some of the players who have crossed from other clubs. On the other side is a team that has been gutted in terms of experience, especially in the forward half, but has picked up a number of elite young kids as well as players who can have an impact in the short-term. Playing in front of a home crowd will help the Cats in their inaugural clash,  while the Magpies will be keen to finally get a good start to their season after two losses in opening round games. Both teams are deemed to be in the “weaker” conference – by means of avoiding both past premiers and the heavily stacked North Melbourne – and a win against a conference rival is vitally important in the stakes for securing a top four place. The advantage both these teams have is the fact much of their core group played VFL Women’s together, and therefore in terms of team chemistry over a 12-month period are well adjusted.

Both teams head into the clash with key personnel out, as Collingwood’s Best and Fairest and 2018 AFLW Rising Star winner, Chloe Molloy unavailable for the season, while Richelle Cranston will miss the first two rounds through suspension.  When talking about key youth, it is hard to look past some of the talent both clubs picked up in the draft. Geelong looked to its TAC Cup affiliate to select number one pick, Nina Morrison, as well as premiership teammates, Olivia Purcell and Denby Taylor. Add in talented GWV Rebels, Sophie Van De Heuvel and Georgia Clarke, as well as Murray Bushrangers’ inside midfielder and defender, Rebecca Webster, and the future is very bright at the Cats. The Magpies also heavily invested in the draft, picking up two first rounders in Dandenong Stingrays’ captain, Jordyn Allen and Oakleigh Chargers’ tall, Katie Lynch. Expected to play up opposite ends, they are well complemented by Eastern Ranges’ speedster, Mikala Cann who 12 months ago was yet to play a competitive match of football. Versatile youngster, Lauren Butler is also expected to become a key feature in the Magpies’ side. With Geelong having the likes of Bec Goring, Madeline Keryk, Julia Crockett-Grills and Meghan McDonald among their contingent of impressive VFLW performers last season, they have a cohesive unit. The Magpies will look to the experience of captain Stephanie Chiocchi, Emma Grant, Sarah D’Arcy and Jaimee Lambert to lead the young side this season.

H2H: Geelong 0 | Collingwood 0 | Draws 0
Venue: Geelong 0-0-0 | Collingwood 0-0-0

Last time they met: N/A

Fun facts:

  • The game marks the first ever AFL Women’s game at GMHBA Stadium, the first time Geelong’s AFL Women’s side will play a match for premiership points, but the third consecutive year Collingwood will be involved in the opening match of the season.
  • Unfortunately for the Magpies, the opening match of the season has not been kind for them, losing both games to Carlton at Ikon Park, albeit in a much closer game in 2018.
  • The last time these two teams played in any form was the VFL Women’s Preliminary Final, which saw the Cats upset the minor premiers to bundle the Magpies out in straight sets and head into the decider against Hawthorn. Collingwood’s loss was compounded by an injury to 2018 Rising Star winner, Chloe Molloy that would keep her out of the 2019 AFL Women’s season.
  • Collingwood booted 42 goals in season 2018. Players that contributed 36 of them are now either no longer on the Magpies’ list, or injured (Chloe Molloy – one).

 

ADELAIDE vs. WESTERN BULLDOGS
Saturday, February 2, 8.10pm
Norwood Oval, Adelaide

The game of the round is surely the match between the two AFL Women’s premiers. The 2017 champions, Adelaide take on the reigning premiers, Western Bulldogs in an evening game at Norwood Oval. Last season was a remarkable story for the Bulldogs, who overcame some key injuries, and the suspension of captain, Katie Brennan to topple Brisbane in the 2018 AFL Women’s decider. Adelaide would have been disappointed to not make the decider, but considering their injuries at different times, it was worth applauding their never-say-die attitude. A loss to Collingwood in the final round knocked them out of the race to go back-to-back, but they are now hungry as ever and keen to make amends in this match.

Both teams lost key players to long-term injuries in practice games a fortnight ago, with Adelaide’s number one ruck, Rhiannon Metcalfe and Western Bulldogs’ league leading goalkicker, Brooke Lochland both out. While the Crows will look to try and fill the void in the ruck, the Dogs certainly showed they have no shortage of forwards who can step up, and could turn to the likes of West Australian, Kate Bartlett who comes into the team with great forward nous at Under 18s level. Adelaide do have some serious firepower returning to the team with a fully fit Erin Phillips, and a dangerous youngster by the name of Chloe Scheer causing headaches inside 50. Adelaide could have the edge in the midfield given its depth with Phillips, Ebony Marinoff and Chelsea Randall all running through there, but the Dogs’ key position players could stretch the Crows’ defence. If the Crows can keep it from the Dogs talls getting supply, then it will go a long way to deciding the match, but if the Dogs get on top of the Crows’ highly rated midfield, then they will be able to put on some serious scoreboard pressure. In saying that, the Dogs’ midfield is far from shabby itself with Ellie Blackburn and Monique Conti among the most talented in the competition. It all adds up to being a cracker of a match.

H2H: Adelaide 2 | Western Bulldogs 0 | Draws 0
Venue: Adelaide 2-2-0 | Western Bulldogs 0-1-0

Last time they met: Adelaide 6.5 (41) defeated Western Bulldogs 5.4 (34) at Norwood Oval, Round 3, 2018

Trailing the entire game, the Crows found something special in the final term to overrun the Bulldogs at home by just seven points. Chelsea Randall picked up 24 disposals (15 contested), had five rebounds and laid six tackles, while Ebony Marinoff laid a whopping 15 tackles on her way to 21 disposals, four inside 50s and five rebounds. But the inspiration was inaugural league best and fairest winner, Erin Phillips. The star played exclusively forward and had 15 disposals, but booted four of the Crows’ six goals to single-handedly dominate up forward and show Crows fans that there was going to be no second year blues – until injury unfortunately struck. Jenna McCormick booted the other two goals for the Crows, while for the Bulldogs, Katie Brennan was the multiple goalkicker with two from nine touches and three marks. Emma Kearney (20 disposals, three marks, three clearances, three inside 50s, five rebounds and six tackles) was everywhere, as was Ellie Blackburn (17 disposals, five clearances, five tackles and four inside 50s).

Fun facts:

  • Ebony Marinoff averages 19.5 disposals, four clearances, 10.5 tackles and four inside 50s against the Western Bulldogs from two clashes, the most of any Crow.
  • Now North Melbourne skipper, Emma Kearney averaged the most touches against the Crows in both meetings, with Ellie Blackburn set to take over the mantle, averaging 18 touches, four clearances, four tackles and five inside 50s from two games.
  • It is the first time two AFL Women’s Premiers have met in the history of the competition.
  • Western Bulldogs are yet to lose an opening round match in the AFL Women’s season.

 

NORTH MELBOURNE vs. CARLTON
Sunday, February 3, 1.05pm
North Hobart Oval, Hobart

The second history making match for Round 1 sees one of the premiership favourites, North Melbourne take on last year’s wooden spooners, Carlton. Both head into the game with relative different looking sides. The Kangaroos strategically targeted experience, picking up players from other AFL Women’s sides as part of the free agency and expansion period, while Carlton headed to the draft. As such, the Kangaroos head into the game as strong favourites in the clash, and their pre-season victory over Melbourne did nothing to sway opinions from the fact they will be a contender this season. Carlton took it up to Geelong at times in the practice game, but much like at times last season, it is just finding some four quarter consistency. The strong football state of Tasmania will get around the clash which is the first of the AFL Women’s competition, and with a number of local talents wearing blue and white, expect there to be a strong contingent of home support.

With no past head-to-head clashes to go by, there are plenty of questions leading into this clash. The biggest question mark is that of the Kangaroos and how they will gel with so many players from other teams. They brought over key Magpies, Emma King, Jess Duffin, Jasmine Garner and Mo Hope to supply their forward line and ruck division with power, while securing the biggest name from the 2018 season in Emma Kearney – the league best and fairest winner – to come across from the Dogs. Carlton has the potential to have the best one-two forward combination in the league with Darcy Vescio and Tayla Harris, but it is just getting the talented duo to click. With the midfield and forward half boosted by young guns, Madison Prespakis, Abbie McKay and Emerson Woods, and the defence sured up by Collingwood VFLW captain, Jess Edwards, as well as Charlotte Wilson and Jayde Van Dyk, Carlton’s future is looking bright. Realistically, it will take an unbelievable effort to knock off North Melbourne, but Blues fans will be keen to see what new coach, Daniel Harford can do to create more scoring opportunities – something the Blues lacked last season. A four-goal practice game by returning captain, Brianna Davey gave fans a hint of what to expect, creating all sorts of headaches for opposing teams.

H2H: North Melbourne 0 | Carlton 0 | Draws 0
Venue: North Melbourne 0-0-0 | Carlton 0-0-0

Last time they met: N/A

Fun facts:

  • The match marks the first official match to be played in Tasmania, with the North Melbourne Tasmanian Kangaroos opening their season in the Apple Isle, and of course marking their first match in the competition.
  • Carlton’s Brianna Davey has averaged 21 disposals, five rebounds and 2.5 inside 50s in her two opening round clashes, as Carlton beat arch-rivals Collingwood under lights on both occasions.
  • Darcy Vescio booted four goals in the inaugural AFL Women’s match in 2017, before being held goalless by debutant, Chloe Molloy last year, who would go on to win the Rising Star Award.
  • North Melbourne captain, Emma Kearney has averaged 22 disposals, six marks, five clearances and six inside 50s in her two matches against Carlton.

 

MELBOURNE vs. FREMANTLE
Sunday, February 3, 3.05pm
Casey Fields, Cranbourne

With predicted temperatures around the south-eastern suburbs predicted to be mid-to-late thirties, fans heading to the clash between Demons and Fremantle are recommended to stay hydrated. The game at Melbourne’s spiritual home, has become a fortress of late, winning five of a possible six games, including a thrashing victory over their Round 1 opponents back in 2017. Last year the Dockers got the better of Melbourne over in the west, using straight goalkicking to get the job done early in the season and chalk up a win against a premiership contender. The Demons have always been thereabouts, just missing out on the deciders, while Fremantle has had disappointing starts to the seasons which have ultimately cost them. With a new coaching panel and new-look side, Fremantle will be keen to topple the Demons at their home ground, especially a Demons side minus Daisy PearceMel Hickey and Richelle Cranston, among others.

Both teams are bringing in some serious young talent this season, with the Demons looking to the likes of Gippsland Power co-captain, Tyla Hanks and Northern Knights captain, Maddy Brancatisano. Both have incredible work ethics and a desire to just hunt the footballer and play their role, potentially being future leaders at the club. Throw in Dandenong Stingrays’ speedster, Shelley Heath and Casey Demons slick ball user, Casey Sherriff and the Dees have added some speed and skills to their inside grunt and contested ball-winning ability. The Dockers have also added some great local talent to their stocks, led by West Australian Under 18s state captain, Sabreena Duffy as well as overagers, Matilda Sergeant and Jasmin Stewart. The big question mark regarding Fremantle is how they will line-up as the off-season seemed to be a clean-out of sorts through their own choosing, whereas Melbourne lost players due to free agency and expansion. The difference in this game could well be the top-end star factor of the Demons, with Karen Paxman, Lily Mithen, Bianca Jakobsson and Elise O’Dea all roaming through the midfield at times. With Eden Zanker providing a target up forward, they have good depth across the ground, The Dockers have Kara Donnellan and Dana Hooker amongst their arsenal, but with a relatively new-looking side, it will be fascinating to see how they perform.

H2H: Melbourne 1 | Fremantle 1 | Draws 0
Venue: Melbourne 5-1-0 | Fremantle 0-0-0

Last time they met: Fremantle 6.0 (36) defeated Melbourne 4.7 (31) at Fremantle Oval, Round 3, 2018

Fremantle had to come from behind twice as they held Melbourne to a combined one behind in the second and fourth quarters, kicking the only two goals of the final term. In a display of precision accuracy, the Dockers did not kick a behind all game, and after not scoring in the opening term, booted six straight goals to secure a win at Fremantle Oval. Kara Donnellan and Lisa Webb both picked up 17 disposals, while Emily McGuire booted two goals. For the Dees, Daisy Pearce had another day out with 24 disposals, three marks, five clearances and four inside 50s, while Tegan Cunningham booted two majors in the loss.

Fun facts:

  • Since losing their inaugural AFL Women’s Round 1 clash to Brisbane at Casey Fields, Melbourne has not lost a game, winning five consecutive matches at the venue, including a nine-goal win over Fremantle in 2017.
  • Both sides are likely to head into the clash very different to the previous encounter with a maximum of 13 players each from their sides of 21 just 12 months ago, still on their respective lists.
  • Dana Hooker averaged 17 disposals (11 contested) and 5.5 tackles in her two matches for the Dockers against the Demons, and was Fremantle’s best player in the disastrous 54-point belting back in 2017.
  • Melbourne will need to find a way to replace the influence of Daisy Pearce, who has been a headache for the Dockers in the past, averaging 25 disposals, five tackles, four clearances and 3.5 inside 50s.

 

BRISBANE vs. GWS GIANTS
Sunday, February 3, 4.05pm
Moreton Bay Sporting Complex, Moreton Bay

The final game of the round pits back-to-back grand finalist, Brisbane against the team they knocked out of the decider contention in the final round last year, GWS GIANTS. The quirky fact between these teams is they have played each other four times – twice in the pre-season and twice in the regular season. On both occasions, GWS has triumphed in the pre-season practice matches, while Brisbane has got the job done – and convincingly so – when playing for premiership points. The GIANTS average just two goals per game against the Lions during the season, and they will be keen to repeat the effort of a fortnight ago when they were too good for the young Lions. Brisbane has played just the one game at Moreton Bay Sporting Complex – the Lions new home for 2019 – which was a disappointing and almost season-defining loss to Collingwood, whereas the GIANTS are yet to run out at the venue.

Both teams have young line-ups coming through with the teams losing players such as Kaitlyn Ashmore, Jamie Stanton and Tahlia Randall (Brisbane), and Phoebe McWilliams and Renee Forth (GIANTS). They have also picked up some experience with Brisbane scooping up Lauren Arnell from Carlton and the GIANTS adding Magpie, Christina Bernardi to its forward mix. Heading to the draft, the GIANTS picked up one of the most decorated and talented juniors in Alyce Parker who will slot straight into the midfield and undoubtedly be a key cog in that onball division. Former netballer, Taylah Davies is already looking like a valuable pick-up for the GIANTS, while Haneen Zreika hit the scoreboard in the practice match as well. Any team with Alicia Eva, Jessica Dal Pos and Amanda Farrugia has to be respected. Brisbane’s forward power with Sabrina Frederick-Traub and Jess Wuetschner is always going to be a key consideration for opposition coaches, while Lions coach Craig Starcevich has the luxury of bringing up his Queensland Under 18 young guns into the senior team at draft time. All Australian ruck Lauren Bella, state captain Natalie Grider and key Queensland players Jesse Tawhaio-Wardlaw, Jade Ellenger, Tori Groves-Little and Jacqui Yorston join West Australian, McKenzie Dowrick as the future of the Lions.

H2H: Brisbane 2 | GWS 0 | Draws 0
Venue: Brisbane 0-1-0 | GWS 0-0-0

Last time they met: Brisbane 10.4 (64) defeated GWS GIANTS 3.6 (24) at Blacktown ISP, Round 7, 2018.

With an AFL Women’s Grand Final spot on the line, it was the Brisbane Lions who were all over the GIANTS, running out 40-point winners to keep their premiership dreams alive – albeit with their fate in Collingwood’s hands. The GIANTS had improved remarkably from the inaugural season, but fell short of a grand final place, and will have rued that final game over the summer. Ally Anderson and Emily Bates had days out against the GIANTS, collecting a combined 46 disposals, seven marks and eight clearances. Up forward, Sabrina Frederick-Traub was unstoppable with four goals to go with 18 disposals, five marks and five hitouts. Jess Wuetschner was equally as impressive with three majors from 11 touches, doing all the damage at ground level. For the GIANTS, Alicia Eva tried her best with a team-high 18 disposals, three marks, six tackles and five inside 50s, while Jessica Dal Pos and Amanda Farrugia were the next highest ball winners with 14 apiece.

Fun facts:

  • Brisbane has played just the one match at Moreton Bay Sporting Complex, and unfortunately it was one to forget, losing to Collingwood in Round 6, 2018. It put their premiership aspirations in serious doubt, before ironically the Magpies knocked off the Crows in the final round to hand the Lions a second consecutive Grand Final berth.
  • The Lions bounced back from the above loss with that 40-point win over GWS in the last round, knocking out the GIANTS from Grand Final contention, and replacing them in the decider.
  • In the two games against the GIANTS, Sabrina Frederick-Traub has booted five goals, whereas the entire GIANTS team have booted just the four.
  • Emma Swanson averages the most disposals for a GIANT against the Lions, at 15, while Jessica Dal Pos averages 13 touches per game.

AFLW season previews: GWS GIANTS

THE GIANTS had a consistent season in 2018, going from finishing eighth in the AFLW’s first season to fourth last year. The side will again be led by Amanda Farrugia in 2019 as she sets her sights on being the longest serving AFLW captain. The new recruits will also be looking to make a big impact in the new conference system.

Last season: 4th – three wins, three losses.

Changes:

In: Christina Bernardi, Alyce Parker, Brittany Perry, Lisa Whiteley, Ingrid Nielsen, Renee Tomkins, Delma Gisu, Haneen Zreika, Ebony O’Dea, Yvonne Bonner, Taylah Davies

Out: Maddy Boyd, Phoebe McWilliams, Renee Forth, Melissa Freckleton, Rebecca Privitelli, Alex Saundry, Pippa Smyth

The GIANTS lost three of their most experienced players in Maddy Boyd, Phoebe McWiliams and Renee Forth over the off-season, which left a gap in key positions on the field for the GIANTS. But to fill the hole in the ruck, Greater Western Sydney (GWS) picked up Ingrid Nielsen, who is a premiership played with the UNSW-ES Bulldogs in the AFL Sydney competition. To cover the X-factor of McWilliams, the GIANTS picked up Christina Bernardi, who is almost a straight swap for McWilliams, as both players possess smarts inside 50 as well as accurate kicks. Renee Forth has been a harder one to replace for the GIANTS, as her versatility was pivotal for them during the last two seasons. Given she can rotate through the midfield and the forward line, Alyce Parker is probably the closest player in terms of position to Forth, as she can play a role in the forward line if her team is on the back foot. The Thurgoona midfielder is as exciting as it gets, with a booming kick and a set of football smarts that are second to none, meaning she is a very important pick-up for the GIANTS.

Area of strength: Midfield

The GIANTS have incredible midfield depth heading into 2019, with the usual stars in Alicia Eva, Courtney Gum, Jessica Dal Pos and Rebecca Beeson being joined by the likes of Alyce Parker, Brittany Perry, Haneen Zreika and Phoebe Monahan. Parker had a standout Under-18 year last year, being named captain of the All-Australian team and the Most Valuable Player (MVP) for both New South Wales and the Eastern Allies in the AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships on the Gold Coast. Monahan had a similar influence for Richmond in the Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s season, being among the highest disposal-getters each week for the Tigers. Zreika is likely to add that X-factor that the midfield needs, as she has speed to burn and is a tenacious midfielder that should excite all GWS fans. She was on the GIANTS’ rookie list last season but has now been moved into the primary list for 2019.

Area of weakness: Defence

There’s not too much to worry about here for the GIANTS, as they have skilful defenders that can all play a role on dangerous forwards. With new recruits coming in, Alan McConnell will have to decide who fits where, as he has an extensive list of defenders on his hands. Renee Tomkins is likely to take the opposition’s leading forward, with Pepa Randall and Tanya Hetherington there to assist with other forward targets. Amanda Farrugia, Ellie Brush and Elle Bennetts will play as a running defenders. The problem comes into the equation if one of these players has to sit out a game, as the depth doesn’t expand much further than that in the GIANTS’ defensive 50.

Players to watch:

Haneen Zreika

Zreika was on the rookie list last season for the GIANTS and did not get to make her AFLW debut, but she will be a good chance to do so in 2019. She has exciting breakaway speed that is vital in a clogged midfield. Zreika is also a player that can break the lines and tackle aggressively, making her a complete player in the midfield. She played for Auburn-Penrith in the AFL Sydney competition during the off-season, being named in the best nine times from 12 games.

Phoebe Monahan

Monahan was one of Richmond’s leading players in the VFLW season, finishing equal third in the Tigers’ Best and Fairest count. She is a ball magnet and uses it well both by hand and by foot. Monahan played 11 games for the Tigers and was named in the best five times. She averaged 20 disposals per game last season and stood out amongst a struggling Richmond side.

Alyce Parker

Alyce Parker is one of the most talented players out of last year’s Under-18 crop. Just last year, she was named the All-Australian captain, the MVP for the Central Allies and New South Wales, played in a premiership for the Thurgoona Bulldogs and was named the best on ground in their victory. She’s received all these accolades because she is a smart midfielder who has a long clearing kick, giving her an advantage in the clearances. She tackles hard and has good hands as well, making her an all-round talent. Parker matched it with the bigger bodies when playing for Thurgoona, so she should fit right in to the AFLW.

2019 prediction: 1st in Conference B

This may be the GIANTS’ year, as they boast a strong list with plenty of depth. They are also in the easier conference, and with Brisbane losing a lot of talent over the off-season, GWS should be favourites heading in. Geelong may also be another team to contend with, but the GIANTS’ experience from the first two seasons should hold them in good stead. They have a couple of big tests in the first two rounds of the season, taking on Brisbane and North Melbourne. However, if they are to drop any of those games, they have an opportunity to bounce back against the Pies and Blues. If the GIANTS’ list can stay healthy, they will definitely be a side to watch in 2019.

2019 GWS AFLW Fixture

DateEventTime/ResultsVenueArticleMatch Day
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Moreton Bay Sporting ComplexRound 1
Drummoyne OvalRound 2
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Blacktown International SportsparkRound 3
Morwell Recreational ReserveRound 4
Blacktown International SportsparkRound 5
Unley OvalRound 6
UNSW Canberra OvalRound 7

AFLW season previews: Collingwood

COLLINGWOOD has been hit the hardest by the introduction of the two expansion teams, losing a host of stars to North Melbourne. The Pies also lost the experience of Bree White and Meg Hutchins, as well as the exciting Caitlyn Edwards, as the trio retired at the end of the 2018 season. Collingwood had to capitalise on the draft pool and it did, selecting some exciting young talent and some Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s experienced players.

Last season: 6th – three wins, four losses.

Changes:

In: Nicole Hildebrand, Sarah Rowe, Sophie Alexander, Erica Fowler, Jordyn Allen, Katie Lynch, Lauren Butler, Mikala Cann, Maddie Shevlin, Georgia Gourlay, Jordan Membrey, Sharni Layton

Out: Caitlyn Edwards, Bree White, Christina Bernardi, Moana Hope, Jess Duffin, Jasmine Garner, Emma King, Amelia Mullane (nee Barden), Lauren Tesoriero, Meg Hutchins, Tara Morgan

Collingwood has lost seven of its top 10 in last year’s Best and Fairest, with Jasmine Garner, Christina Bernardi, Amelia Mullane, Jess Duffin, Emma King and Moana Hope all jetting off to other clubs. Add the loss of Chloe Molloy to injury and Caitlyn Edwards to retirement, and you have a depleted list. Thankfully, the Pies picked up one of most talented players in the Under-18 crop in Jordyn Allen. Allen is a known leader, captaining the Dandenong Stingrays and Vic Country in 2018, and is a pillar of strength through the midfield and the back line. To back that up, the Pies selected the powerful Katie Lynch, who thrives in the middle of the ground but can use her booming kick and strong hands to effect in the forward line. They also boast two of the most exciting new crosscoders in the league, with former Australian netballer, Sharni Layton and Gaelic footballer, Sarah Rowe, who broke a club record in the 2km trial, set to take the field in 2019.

Area of strength: Midfield

Out of all the areas left with holes by the departed players, the midfield is the least unscathed. The Pies still boast a potent midfield containing Jaimee Lambert, Emma Grant, Brittany Bonnici, Melissa Kuys and Kristy Stratton. They will also be able to add Eastern Ranges dynamo, Mikala Cann to the mix, who has intense tackling pressure and immense speed. The experience of Maddie Shevlin will also be a vital addition, as she starred for the Casey Demons during the VFLW season. There’s also some flexibility in the side, with Stephanie Chiocci able to move from defence to the midfield, while Katie Lynch and Sophie Casey can roam the forward line and move into the middle of the ground when needed.

Area of weakness: Defence

Collingwood’s defence has taken a big hit over the off season, waving goodbye to Jess Duffin, Meg Hutchins and Jasmine Garner. Although the Pies lost more forwards in the off season, they were able to fill the void quite well with the recruitment of Erica Fowler, Sophie Alexander, Jordan Membrey and Katie Lynch. However, their defence remains vulnerable, as the Pies will have a young defensive 50 leading the brigade. Darcy Guttridge and Georgia Gourlay are both a risk with injury troubles, but will be keen to play a big role for the Pies. Iilish Ross is still a developing player who has been in and out of the Collingwood line-up, but was convincing during the VFLW season. She does not often trouble the disposal count, so this could be an area where she seeks to improve in 2019. It will also be interesting to see how Lauren Butler fares in this defensive line-up with her light build. Expect the loss of Chloe Molloy to really be felt for the Pies this season as unpredictability surround their defensive make-up.

Players to watch:

Mikala Cann

It is hard to believe that this will be Mikala Cann’s second year of competitive football. Prior to 2018, Cann competed in athletics and basketball, and has brought those attributes over to Australian Rules. She has great acceleration and can tackle like no other, always willing to show her tenacity on the field. She was fortunate enough to represent Vic Metro in 2018, and played in Hawthorn’s VFLW premiership side, so she knows how to make an impact on the big stage. Nicknamed ‘the bull’ by her teammates, expect Cann to be one of the toughest players out there.

Sophie Alexander

A dangerous forward with a great leap, Alexander gave a lot of VFLW opposition defenders headaches. In her breakout game for the Pies, she kicked four goals against the in-form NT Thunder, showing she can make an big statement. She ended up with 14 goals from 14 games, and was named in the VFLW Team of the Year for her efforts. What makes Alexander stand out is her ability to rack up the disposals inside 50, which is something Collingwood will need in the 2019 season.

Sharni Layton

Sharni Layton has done it all in netball, winning a Commonwealth Games gold medal in 2014, and winning two Netball World Championships with Australia in 2011 and 2015. Having come from the Collingwood netball team, Layton is accustomed to the attitudes of the club and has been hitting the track hard, working on her running technique in particular. Her leap will be invaluable for the club as will her strength, so it will be interesting to see where she will line up on the field, as these assets are valuable in any zone. With unpredictability comes excitement through, and Layton is sure to put on a show, following in the footsteps of fellow netballer/footballer, Ash Brazill.

2019 prediction: 5th in Conference B

Unfortunately with a list that takes a hit like that, it’s hard to see the Pies making any inroads in Conference B. They will be looking to make a statement in Round 1 against the new kids on the block in Geelong, but it will be hard to do so away from home. They could snag wins against Carlton and Fremantle in rounds three and five, but all eyes will be on the side in Round 6. Not only will they host the first ever AFLW game at Marvel Stadium, but they will be coming up against old teammates at North Melbourne, which will definitely be a challenge. Collingwood still has the players to be a top side, but gelling what is effectively a whole new team together is no easy task.

2019 AFLW Collingwood Fixture

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GMHBA StadiumRound 1
Victoria ParkRound 2
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Fremantle OvalRound 3
Morwell Recreational ReserveRound 4
Ikon ParkRound 5
Marvel StadiumRound 6
Victoria ParkRound 7