Tag: Ciara Fitzgerald

AFL Women’s Young Gun Watch: Round 6

IN our sixth edition of the Young Gun Watch, we take a look at some of the top young performers across the AFL Women’s competition in Round 6 focusing on those players born in the 21st century (2000 or 2001). We analyse match-by-match just how they performed and what they did well.

Geelong vs. North Melbourne

North Melbourne ended up coasting to a comfortable victory over Geelong on Friday night to maintain top spot on the Conference A ladder. However, star Cat Nina Morrison’s devastating injury would be the main takeaway from the game as she unfortunately ruptured the ACL in her right knee for the second time in two seasons. As things went from bad to worse for Geelong fans, Olivia Purcell gave them something to smile about having collected 18 disposals and five tackles. Millie Brown (nine disposals) and Sophie Van De Heuvel (eight disposals) were also serviceable in what was a tough night for the Cats. Daisy Bateman again provided pressure up forward for the Kangaroos resulting in a goal for her five mark and five tackle effort. Making the most of a high-scoring team performance was Mia King, who managed her first career goal after gathering 12 disposals and an impressive seven tackles.

Brisbane vs. Collingwood

Collingwood collected a dominant road win against Brisbane, keeping them in the hunt for finals footy. Much like the rest of the team, Brisbane’s young talent couldn’t quite get into the game with their first draft pick in 2019, Lily Postlethwaite, collecting just the two disposals. Natalie Grider showed some positive signs out of defence, collecting 10 disposals and laying four tackles having to contend with the sharp and abundant inside 50 use from the Magpies. Full-forward Jesse Tawhaio-Wardlaw had seven disposals, three marks and six hit outs while Isabel Dawes managed five disposals in what was a quiet night for Brisbane’s forward stocks. Collingwood’s experience led the way as their young talent played roles in the win. Jordyn Allen had nine disposals and five marks while Lauren Butler also collected nine disposals off the half back-flank. Mikala Cann (five disposals, four tackles) and Alana Porter (five disposals) were also useful.

St Kilda vs Richmond

St Kilda boasted contributors across the board as they held Richmond goalless at Moorabbin on Saturday, a first in AFLW history. The Saints’ youth again impressed as their first draft pick, Georgia Patrikios, had 14 disposals and a couple of tackles out of the middle, unfortunately also just missing out on a goal. Dandenong product Molly McDonald showed large improvement with 12 disposals, six marks and three tackles, while Isabella Shannon was serviceable with four disposals and two tackles. Nicola Xenos again applied solid pressure in the centre with six tackles, as she enjoyed a well-rounded 11 disposal performance to go with a goal. The Tiger’s young talent endured a tough day with the rest of the team, with Kodi Jacques (seven tackles) and Sophie Molan (eight disposals) the stand-out players. With finals footy out of the question for Richmond, Nekaela Butler (five disposals, three tackles) and Ciara Fitzgerald (two disposals, two tackles) both debuted in the loss.

Melbourne vs. Carlton

Alice Springs brought the heat on Saturday in more ways than one, with the Blues enjoying a 16-point win over the Demons, propelling them to second on Conference B’s ladder. Sticking with mature-aged players, Melbourne again played just the two players born this century. Tyla Hanks has been the most impressive all season and started in the centre, collecting 11 disposals and laying six tackles. Hanks now averages five tackles per game on the season. Carlton’s youth again showed why they are arguably the best in the league, with Madison Prespakis leading the crop in a typical Prespakis performance of 23 disposals, four marks and a goal. Lucy McEvoy put up impressive numbers with 19 disposals, while last week’s Rising Star nominee, Charlotte Wilson, had 11 disposals and six marks out of defence. Murray product Grace Egan was also important, popping up with a goal to go with her 11 disposals and three tackles.

Western Bulldogs vs. Fremantle

Fremantle maintained its perfect record off the back of a dominant final quarter which saw them outscore the Bulldogs 25 to six at Whitten Oval on Sunday. The highest-scoring game in AFLW history was littered with admirable performances from youth on both sides as fans were treated to the future of the competition. The Bulldogs’ young talent improved greatly on last week’s performance with Gabby Newton (16 disposals, eight tackles) and Elisabeth Georgostathis (13 disposals, four tackles) leading the way. Gemma Lagiola (10 disposals) and Eleanor Brown (11 disposals, three tackles) were also important for the Bulldogs, as Hannah Munyard returned nine disposals, three tackles and a goal. Britney Gutknecht (seven disposals, four tackles) played her second game for the season, while fellow former Northern Knight Nell Morris-Dalton debuted with eight disposals and five tackles. Fremantle’s Mim Strom backed up last week’s effort with an even more dominant 25 hitouts, playing a lone hand in the ruck with Roxanne Roux out. Though it was not four goals, Sabreena Duffy managed to keep the Bulldogs defenders under pressure with five tackles, while Emma O’Driscoll managed seven disposals.

Adelaide vs. GWS GIANTS

The GIANTS defeated the Crows for the first time in franchise history behind closed doors on Sunday, running out five-point victors. Adelaide continue to showcase their young talent as finals footy feels like a long way for them having suffered this loss, with Montana McKinnon again the most impressive. The six-foot ruck again provided the Crows midfielders with deluxe service with 17 hitouts. Danielle Ponter collected six disposals out of full-forward to go with her two tackles, while Jaimi Tabb managed just the five disposals. GWS again opted with just the one player born in this century and you cannot blame them. Star midfielder Alyce Parker enjoyed a best-on-ground performance with 30 disposals, seven marks and three tackles. She led all players in the disposal count as she now averages just over 20 disposals on the season. With just two more 21st century-born players on the list, you hardly expect the GIANTS to change the formula heading toward finals.

West Coast vs. Gold Coast SUNS

The SUNS enjoyed a 25-point win on Sunday against the Eagles after having kept West Coast without a goal for the first three quarters. The Eagles will be looking forward to next year’s draft to secure more young talent as McKenzie Dowrick and Sophie McDonald were both out this week, leaving winger Mikayla Bowen the sole 21st century-born representative. Bowen gathered nine disposals and three tackles in what was a tough day for the Eagles. Inversely, Gold Coast’s youth all enjoyed solid outings as they kept their season alive. Lauren Bella dominated the ruck on her way to 16 hit outs, sharing the load with debutant Taylor Smith who was useful with 10 disposals and four hit outs. Gold Coast’s pressure was pivotal throughout the game with Jacqui Yorston (12 disposals, four marks, nine tackles), Ellie Hampson (12 disposals, six tackles) and Dee Heslop (five disposals, 10 tackles) all driving factors in that aspect.

AFL Women’s preview: Round 3 – Make or break games set the scene for third round of action

IT is now or never for a number of teams who sit on a knifes-edge when it comes to their finals aspirations. While some sides will finish the round undefeated with three wins, other teams will head into Monday doing the maths as to how many wins they need to make finals. With many teams at 1-1, this is the earliest junction in the season where sides can make a getaway from the sides around them, or fall back and have to play catch-up football in the run home.

Friday, February 21

St Kilda v. Melbourne at RSEA Park, 7:10pm, AEDT

Taylah Melki

With St Kilda still looking for their first win in AFLW history, Melbourne will be hoping to keep the good times rolling and make it three from three. it has been a tricky initiation for the Saints who have been competitive for large chunks of time but lack that little bit of finesse and experience in the crucial moments as opposed to the Demons. Melbourne have been in hot form downing premiership favourites North Melbourne in Round 1 and dismissing the Dogs by 20 points last round proving just how damaging they can be when on song.

It is hard to deny that Melbourne look like a much better side with Daisy Pearce back in the mix. The skilful footballer can extract the footy out of congestion and use the ball efficiently by hand or foot adding that touch of class to an already strong side. Teammates, Karen Paxman and Elise O’Dea provide an experienced head across the field something they will be hoping to use against a relatively young and inexperienced Saints side. Libby Birch is a ball magnet and will be hoping to once again have a profound impact across the ground with her silky skills. In their second year of AFLW youngsters Tyla Hanks and Shelley Heath have been building into some hot form with their tackling pressure the key aspect of their game play.

Despite taking it to the Crows last round, St Kilda let it slip when it counted and will be hoping for a more rounded four quarter performance against some tough opposition. The Saints have plenty of young talent with Rising Star nominee Georgia Patrikios leading the pack with her cleanliness below her knees, quick hands and spatial awareness. Patrikios has made a seamless transition into AFLW with fellow draftee Tarni White also making a splash with an impressive 18 disposals last round while Molly McDonald and Nicola Xenos will be hoping to leave a lasting imprint this round. Expect the young guns to look to the likes of Tilly Lucas-Rodd, Jessica Sedunary and Rhiannon Watt to lead the way and provide some guidance given their experience and high footy nous.

Tip: Melbourne by 22 points.

ST KILDA

B: T.White 29 T.Luke 22
HB: H.Priest 14 A.Brown 2 T.Lucas-Rodd 18
C: N.Exon 15 J.Sedunary 10 M.McDonald 1
HF: C.Munn 13 K.McCarthy 9 C.Greiser 17
F: K.Shierlaw 12 G.Patrikios 21
Foll: R.Watt – C 7 O.Vesely 23 C.Phillips 35
I/C: D.Guttridge 5 R.Dillon 25 A.Drennan 8 N.Xenos 27 I.Shannon 11

Emerg: S.Johnson 6 P.Kelly 16

In: T.Luke, I.Shannon
Out: C.Fitzpatrick (concussion), C.Whitfort

MELBOURNE

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

Emerg: B.Tarrant 20 K.Petrevski 31

In: M.Guerin
Out: A.Kemp (knee)

Saturday, February 22

Western Bulldogs v. Carlton at Whitten Oval, 3:10pm, AEDT

Taylah Melki

The Western Bulldogs will be hoping to take advantage of their home ground and inflict pain on the Blues who were well and truly shocked last round by Collingwood. The Dogs have had an up and down start to the 2020 season getting an easy win in the opening round and then well held in Round 2 much like their opposition making for an interesting battle on Saturday. Both sides will be vying for their second win and given it is a short season a win here means everything. But after a seething comment last round expect the Blues to come out firing on all cylinders.

After a relatively disappointing outing the Dogs will be hoping to right their wrongs and get back on the winners list. Once again Bonnie Toogood provided the pressure up forward and will have to keep that going if they are to topple the Blues. The likes of Aisling McCarthy and Naomi Ferres have stepped up to the plate with their ball winning ability on full display while the likes of best and fairest winner Ellie Blackburn is in ripping form. Blackburn is a machine in the midfield able to dig deep and provide a constant threat. Both Elisabeth Georgostathis and Gemma Lagioia still have plenty to develop but have shown promising signs with their physical pressure and ability to hunt the footy.

Carlton have a plethora of stars across the ground, none bigger than ball magnet and bull Maddy Prespakis with the 20-year-old not afraid to burrow in. She struggled at times throughout Round 2 given the heavy tag but has shown that she has the class, strength and smarts to think her way through challenges pairing with the likes of fellow youngster Grace Egan. The two proved to be a dominant force last round and will be seeking to replicate their form again this round. After an early goal Tayla Harris faded out of the game against Collingwood something that she won’t let happen twice with the talented footballer able to pluck balls from the sky and kick truly. Another one in the forward brigade that will be seeking retribution is Darcy Vescio who failed to find the big sticks but has shown that she is a force to be reckoned with her goal sense and forward pressure.

Tip: Carlton by 14.

WESTERN BULLDOGS

B: A.Gogos 36 L.Spark 11
HB: K.Herron 31 E.Gamble 14 N.Ferres 16
C: B.Hunt 21 K.Lamb 27 G.Lagioia 12
HF: G.Newton 5 B.Toogood 8 K.McLeod 6
F: E.Georgostathis 17 D.Berry 7
Foll: K.Rennie 24 E.Blackburn – C 2 A.McCarthy 15
I/C: E.Brown 9 D.Marshall 26 I.Huntington 4 H.Scott 22 B.Lochland 1

Emerg: N.Callinan 10 H.Munyard 20

In: I.Huntington, B.Lochland
Out: N.Callinan, A.Van Oosterwijck

CARLTON

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

Emerg: B.Vernon 31 C.Jones 22

In: J.Edwards
Out: J.Doonan

Gold Coast v Brisbane, Metricon Stadium, 4.10pm AEST

Tom Cheesman

The first ever AFLW Q Clash will be played on Saturday in the Sunshine State, as expansion side Gold Coast look to topple their undefeated Conference A rival Brisbane. The Lions are sitting pretty on top of the table thanks to a dominant round one victory over Adelaide and a come-from-behind win on the road against Geelong. Meanwhile, the Suns evened their ledger at 1-1 last weekend with an 11-point victory over fellow newcomers Richmond. Both sides have strong percentages to work with and are building momentum heading into round three, so this contest should be a belter.

Ex-North Melbourne and Brisbane midfielder Jamie Stanton has been Gold Coast’s most reliable player through the opening two rounds, rated best for the SUNS by Draft Central in both matches. She averages 18 disposals, four tackles and two marks so far this season. Leah Kaslar was great last week with 15 disposals and four tackles, while Kate Surman is proving to be an excitement machine for the Suns up forward. Northern Territory recruit Tayla Thorn will look to make an impact in defence for the hosts in what will be her first match of the season.

Brisbane NAB rising star nominee Jesse Tawhiao-Wardlaw plans on replicating last week’s entertaining three-goal performance. She trails Fremantle’s Sabreena Duffy by one in the race for the AFLW Leading Goalkicker award and would love to take the lead through a dominant performance against the Suns. Lion midfielders Emily Bates and Ally Anderson led from the front in Geelong with 38 disposals between them, while Lily Postlethwaite is showing plenty of physicality early in her debut season. She has amassed 11 tackles over the first two rounds and with a physical clash set to take place on Saturday, this number should continue to rise.

Tip: Brisbane by 9.

GOLD COAST

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

Emerg: S.Riley 8 A.Hamilton 30

In: T.Thorn
Out: S.Riley

BRISBANE

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

Emerg: J.Ellenger 5 J.Zanchetta 2

In: None
Out: None

Fremantle v. Collingwood at Fremantle Oval, 7:10pm

Taylah Melki

The top of the table clash will bring plenty of excitement with both sides undefeated and looking to make it three straight wins. It is fair to say that both the Dockers and Collingwood have shocked the competition with just how well they are going with Fremantle romping it home last round against cross-town rivals. Collingwood have found a new lease on life with their running style of play paying dividends and often giving them first purchase on the footy whereas the Dockers have a more attacking style.

Scoring has proven no issue for the Dockers posting some hefty totals already this season with the likes of leading goal kicker Sabreena Duffy doing a wealth of damage on the scoreboard. Both Kara Antonio and Ebony Antonio have proven to be a deadly duo with their tackling pressure and intensity a constant feature of their game. Roxy Roux bounded into Rising Star contention last week with a couple of impressive grabs and two goals to her name an effort she will want to repeat again this week while Mim Strom is continuing to ply her trade. Kiara Bowers had a best on field performance last week getting her hands to ball with ease and disposing of it cleanly with teammates Evangeline Gooch and Katie-Jayne Greive others who can inflict pain on the Pies if left unattended.

The return of Magpies star Chloe Molloy has been everything the club could have asked for with her running ability, hard edge and cleanliness along with her versatility a key aspect to the line-up. Molloy is a real excitement machine while livewire Jaimee Lambert has gone from strength to strength already and it is only entering Round 3. The potential return of the injured Bri Davey could further bolster Collingwood’s midfield stocks making them an ominous threat for the Dockers. Defensively the Pies have stood up to the task with damaging duo Stacey Livingstone and Ash Brazill acting as a wall down back and propelling anything that comes their way while in the ruck Sharni Layton has taken her craft to a whole other level. Brittany Bonnici and Mikayla Cann have been in ripping form for the black and white army and will be hoping to front up once again to get their side over the line.

Tip: Fremantle by 10.

FREMANTLE

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

Emerg: E.O’Driscoll 3 M.Clifford 4

In: None
Out: None

COLLINGWOOD

B: A.Porter 9 S.Livingstone 12
HB: L.Butler 23 A.Brazill 10 C.Molloy 2
C: S.Rowe 7 S.Casey 22 S.Chiocci – C 17
HF: A.Sheridan 14 J.Lambert 13 B.Bonnici 8
F: M.Cann 25 R.Schleicher 18
Foll: S.Layton 1 E.Fowler 15 S.D’Arcy 4
I/C: S.Dargan 46 B.Davey 3 J.Allen 6 J.Membrey 21 K.Stratton 41

Emerg: M.Shevlin 35 E.O’Dea 50

In: R.Schleicher, B.Davey, K.Stratton
Out: E.O’Dea, S.Alexander, M.Shevlin

Sunday, February 23

Greater Western Sydney v West Coast, Blacktown International Stadium, 1.10pm AEDT

Peter Williams

Kicking off proceedings on Sunday, one of the expansion clubs makes its longest trip yet when West Coast crosses the country to face GWS GIANTS at Blacktown. The Eagles have shown signs in their opening two games, but have ultimately been overwhelmed, while the GIANTS survived an almighty scare in Round 1 to just get the points against Gold Coast, before going down to North Melbourne last week. It was lucky the GIANTS did get the win against the SUNS, or they could be all but out of the finals race if they dropped this match as well. As it stands, that is the predicament facing West Coast, with realistically three losses the maximum a team could have and still make finals, though not many would expect West Coast to make the post-season series in its first season. The GIANTS on the otherhand are desperate to get there having not yet tasted finals action in three seasons.

The GIANTS have a consistent list across the board with a lot of underrated stars. Alicia Eva and Alyce Parker are a damaging duo in the competition, with Parker one of the top few talents in her second year. She has worked well winning the hard ball out of the middle and using her skills, while Eva’s evasion and speed make her a damaging prospect out of congestion or in space on a wing. The GIANTS have an experienced defence that just nullifies opposition forwards, with Tanya Hetherington and Pepa Randall back on the last line, and Jess Dal Pos providing the touch of class off half-back. Up forward, Cora Staunton is always a player you have to watch out for as an opposition defender, while Rebecca Privitelli is enjoying career-best form. Also in good form is ex-Crow Jess Allen, who becomes even more crucial in this clash in the absence of All-Australian ruck Erin McKinnon.

Parris Laurie will look to continue her great form through the middle as the leading tap ruck, amassing more than 20 hitouts a game so far. She has a very strong midfield at her feet, with Dana Hooker a top five player in the league, and captain Emma Swanson a real talent with ball-in-hand. Imahra Cameron has genuinely lit up moments in games with her breakaway speed and has been a huge inclusion into the side as a mature-age recruit. Mikayla Bowen provides the toughness around the contest, and McKenzie Dowrick adds the class and skill playing off half-back. While the Eagles forward line is still learning to function as a unit, former Dockers, Kellie Gibson and Ashlee Atkins make a damaging duo, and once the midfield and forward lines can link-up regularly, they will be a strong force.

Tip: GWS by 20.

GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY

B: P.Randall 21 T.Hetherington 9
HB: J.Dal Pos 7 E.Bennetts 22 A.Lister 14
C: Y.Bonner 27 A.Eva – C 2 R.Beeson 6
HF: A.Schmidt 11 C.Staunton 13 J.Hicks 5
F: I.Nielsen 25 R.Privitelli 19
Foll: J.Allan 39 B.Tully 36 A.Parker 3
I/C: N.Barr 8 L.Steane 20 J.Barclay 34 L.Stephenson 12 H.Zreika 24 T.Mackrill 32 S.Halvorsen 30

In: J.Barclay, T.Mackrill, S.Halvorsen
Out: E.McKinnon

WEST COAST

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

In: E.Bonser, C.Davidson
Out: None

Richmond v North Melbourne, Ikon Park, 3.10pm AEDT

Peter Williams

The Sunday mid-afternoon game pits an expansion side against one of last year’s expansion teams when Richmond plays host to North Melbourne at Ikon Park. The Tigers enter this game without a win on the board just yet, and suffered defeats at the hands of Carlton and Gold Coast SUNS who are also 1-1 having lost their other respective matches. North Melbourne also sits at 1-1 from its two games, having gone down to Melbourne in a tight one out at Casey Fields, before bouncing back with a win over the GIANTS in Tasmania last week. It is fair to say the star-studded talent of North Melbourne will head in as strong favourites for this game, but with a number of fresh faces coming into Richmond’s team, it will be interesting to see how they line-up.

Joining Richmond’s extended squad in the game are debutant Ella Wood – with the former Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels midfielder named on the wing – as well as potential debutants, Ciara Fitzgerald and surprise non-listed call-up, Hannah McLaren. Both have been named on the extended bench in case of any injuries, while Tayla Stahl misses with a hamstring problem. The Tigers have a strong top-end with Monique Conti and Katie Brennan leading the midfield. Brennan copped flak throughout the week in the media and is likely to come out firing to silence the critics, which the North Melbourne midfield will have to be aware of for this game. Up forward, Sabrina Frederick provides a tall marking target, while Christina Bernardi and Kodi Jacques have been in good form this season. In defence, Akec Makur Chuot and Phoebe Monahan are just quietly going about their business but are statistically the top one-two duo when thinking about marks and rebounds. Wood adds extra hardness at the contest, and joins GWV teammate Sophie Molan, and a number of other youngsters, such as Laura McClelland and Sarah Sansonetti in the team.

North Melbourne’s depth is one of the envies of the competition and there is a reason the Roos headed into the 2020 season as the premiership favourites. With a strong list despite missing one of its stars in Jess Duffin (maternity leave), North Melbourne has more players that stand up in big moments than any other side. Emma Kearney is a Most Valuable Player (MVP) winner a couple of seasons ago and well heralded, but the work of Jenna Bruton and recently, Ash Riddell should not be underestimated. With Jasmine Garner in career-best form – which is saying something – and Kaitlyn Ashmore roving at the feet of Emma King up forward, the Roos have plenty of scoring options.They are missing that Duffin-type role off half-back, though Tahlia Randall and Danielle Hardiman have provided good strength in the air for the midfielders who drop back and help out to run the ball down the field. Overall, this North Melbourne side on paper should win this game fairly easily, but as we know with any match, games are not won on paper.

Tip: North Melbourne by 28.

RICHMOND

B: S.Sansonetti 18 A.Makur Chuot 34
HB: L.McClelland 16 P.Monahan 2 G.Seymour 28
C: E.Wood 17 K.Brennan – C 3 R.Miller 15
HF: S.Frederick 14 K.Jacques 10 C.Bernardi 6
F: C.Wakefield 8 M.Brancatisano 5
Foll: A.Edmonds 11 M.Conti 4 G.Campbell 43
I/C: L.Tesoriero 7 L.Bailey 12 S.Molan 1 A.Woodward 13 H.Burchell 9 H.McLaren 29 C.Fitzgerald 26

In: E.Wood, H.McLaren, C.Fitzgerald
Out: T.Stahl (hamstring)

NORTH MELBOURNE

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

In: B.Lynch, M.King
Out: None

Geelong v Adelaide, GMHBA Stadium, 5.10pm AEDT

Peter Williams

The final game of the round might well be the best of the lot, perhaps barring the top of the table clash between the Dockers and Magpies. Geelong is hungry for a win, sitting at 0-2 despite statistically looking pretty good across the board and plenty of their teenage talents stepping up already in season 2020. Adelaide has been the walking wounded, having to bring in a top-up player back in Round 1 due to the multitude of injuries, and then bouncing back with a win – albeit not entirely convincing – over newcomers St Kilda. This feels like a game that could make or break both these side’s seasons. Geelong win, and the Cats are back in contention, while they lose and it is pretty much curtains for season 2020 unless they really get on a roll. Adelaide win, and the Crows are flying high on confidence and can sustain it long enough to receive some extra troops in the run home to finals, while they lose and the reigning premiers will be in a bit of trouble for their title defence aspirations.

Geelong lost at home last week to Brisbane, and will want to give the home fans who turn up for the second week in a row something to cheer about. The Cats have lost promising youngster, Denby Taylor to an ankle injury, but have regained All-Australian defender Meg McDonald, which would be a huge relief for coach Paul Hood. Maddy Boyd and Rebecca Goring have been added to the squad as well for the clash, as Geelong understands the importance of a win here for its finals calculations. The core group of second year players in the blue and white hoops have been simply sensational and a blueprint for clubs going forward. Olivia Purcell is in the top five ball winners across the league, while Rebecca Webster has been a marking machine and is the most improved player in the competition. Along with Sophie Van De Heuvel and 2018 AFL Women’s number one draft pick Nina Morrison, the Cats have a plethora of talent across the board. They still have more to get out of some of the depth around the ground, but with McDonald back, it releases some of the pressure off captain Mel Hickey, while Phoebe McWilliams will enjoy having Boyd back in the side as another target up forward.

The Crows go in with top selection from last year’s draft, Montana McKinnon – who dominated in the SANFL Women’s competition last week – and Courtney Cramey of whom both have been added to the extended side. The midfield duo of Anne Hatchard and Ebony Marinoff is ranked first and second in terms of disposals won, while Eloise Jones have gained some important minutes in the absence of star, Erin Phillips. Up forward, Nikki Gore and Danielle Ponter have improved in their second year, adding extra dimensions to the side, while Courtney Gum‘s new role as a deep forward has been important in providing leadership around the young players. The midfield battle between these teams will be fascinating, and if the Crows can continue their ball-winning and stoppage ways, then expect their forwards to have a good day in Geelong. But if the Cats can neutralise the midfield, then they will also have a huge chance of taking out the contest.

Tip: Geelong by 4.

GEELONG

B: M.Brown 19 M.McMahon 24
HB: M.Keryk 45 M.McDonald 11 M.Hickey – C 18
C: S.Van De Heuvel 27 R.Webster 21 N.Morrison 9
HF: J.Crockett-Grills 6 P.McWilliams 23 J.Ivey 5
F: M.Boyd 26 R.Garing 12
Foll: A.O’Connor 14 R.Cranston 30 O.Purcell 16
I/C: M.Maguire 7 D.Higgins 2 G.Rankin 10 R.Caris 1 G.Clarke 17 R.Goring 44 A.McDonald 3

In: M.McDonald, M.Boyd, R.Goring
Out: D.Taylor (ankle)

ADELAIDE

B: D.Cox 31 S.Allan 39
HB: S.Li 19 M.Rajcic 32 C.Cramey 22
C: A.Foley – C 3 A.Hatchard 33 J.Mules 23
HF: N.Gore 7 C.Gould 1 S.Thompson 14
F: C.Gum 5 D.Ponter 15
Foll: J.Foley 24 E.Marinoff 10 E.Jones 2
I/C: A.Considine 16 M.McKinnon 21 C.Biddell 12 N.Allen 8 M.Newman 17 N.Campbell 20 R.Forth 27

In: C.Cramey, M.McKinnon
Out: None

ROUND 3 TIPS: [Total tips in brackets]

Michael Alvaro [10]: Melbourne / Carlton / Brisbane / Fremantle / GWS / North Melbourne / Adelaide
Taylah Melki [12]: Melbourne / Carlton / Brisbane / Collingwood / GWS / North Melbourne / Adelaide
Sophie Taylor [10]: Melbourne / Carlton / Brisbane / Fremantle / GWS / North Melbourne / Adelaide
Peter Williams [9]: Melbourne / Carlton / Brisbane / Fremantle / GWS / North Melbourne / Geelong

2019/20 AFLW off-season review: Richmond

THE Richmond Tigers are one of the four expansion teams set to join the AFLW in 2020 and will be looking to make a splash after recruiting some key players who they can build an exciting framework around for years to come. They boast a mix of experience and youth but most importantly have that unpredictable edge that many teams will be looking to combat.

With the likes of marquee forwards Sabrina Frederick and Katie Brennan both set to pull on the yellow and black in 2020 expect plenty of excitement with the two able to hit the scoreboard and lead up at the footy time and time again. Frederick can switch into the ruck when needed, while Brennan is known for her silky movement and conversion rate in front of goal. Youngster Monique Conti also made the switch from the Western Bulldogs over the off-season and will be hoping to bring her signature game play to her new club. Christina Bernardi will suit up for her third club having played with Collingwood and GWS making her a handy inclusion in the side. Bernardi adds a touch of class across the ground and paired with a host of ‘A’ listers Richmond could be in good stead for a 2020 grand final push. Iilish Ross defected from Collingwood to Richmond with the 20-year-old set to have an impact in her new colours after building throughout the 2019 season, meanwhile Maddy Brancatisano also switched jumpers.

2020 AFLW Team List:

Laura Bailey
Christina Bernardi
Maddy Brancatisano
Katie Brennan
Hannah Burchell
Nekaela Butler
Grace Campbell
Monique Conti
Kate Dempsey
Alice Edmonds
Ciara Fitzgerald
Sabrina Frederick
Emily Harley
Emma Horne
Kodi Jacques
Akec Makur Chuot
Laura McClelland
Rebecca Miller
Sophie Molan
Phoebe Monahan
Iilish Ross
Sarah Sansonetti
Cleo Saxon-Jones
Tayla Stahl
Lauren Tesoriero
Courtney Wakefield
Holly Whitford
Ella Wood
Alana Woodward

Rookie: Gabby Seymour

Potential 2020 side:

B: Laura McClelland – Laura Bailey –  Rebecca Miller
HB: Phoebe Monahan – Iilish Ross – Akec Makur Chuot
C: Monique Conti
HF: Christina Bernardi – Katie Brennan – Maddy Brancatisano
F:  Holly Whitford – Sabrina Frederick – Tayla Stahl
R: Gabby Seymour* – Hannah Burchell – Kate Dempsey
INT: Courtney Wakefield – Sophie Molan – Alice Edmonds – Grace Campbell – Kodi Jacques
EMG: Ella Wood – Cleo-Saxon-Jones – Sarah Sansonetti

DEPTH: Nekaela Butler, Ciara Fitzgerald, Emily Harley, Emma Horne, Lauren Tesoriero, Alana Woodward

The Tigers pre-listed Laura Bailey and Kate Dempsey who already had strong connections to the club thanks to playing with them in their VFLW side. Dempsey was a standout for Richmond throughout her time in the VFLW consistently displaying her elite foot-skills and will be a handy inclusion looking ahead to next year. They were not the only ones pre-listed to Richmond with Alana Woodward snatched up and Grace Egan making her way onto the list making for a pretty stacked line-up.

The Tigers also picked up some young draftees in the likes of Sophie Molan who became the clubs first AFLW draftee. Expect the talented midfielder to push for selection come Round 1 renowned for her classy on-field work and strong leadership. She has experience against the bigger bodies having played with the Dogs in the VFLW so knows what it takes to combat the more elite players. Other draftees such as GWV Rebels teammate Ella Wood will also pull on the yellow and black in 2020. Hailing from the Eastern Ranges, Laura McClelland will be another star of the future for Richmond and will give the side something to build upon such is her talent. Northern Knights product Sarah Sansonetti will be a valued addition to the side in the back half with the dashing defender not afraid to take the game on and go for a bounce while NAB League teammate Ciara Fitzgerald was also drafted to Richmond. Although she may not be ready for Round 1 given the Tigers’ strength in attack, Cleo Saxon-Jones is definitely a player with plenty of potential and raw talent who can take a strong mark when needed and will feature at some stage during the season.

2019 VFLW weekend Round 1b preview: Eight teams begin their campagins

AFTER the Southern Saints made a statement in the opening round with a victory over last year’s minor premiers Collingwood, the other Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s sides take to the field, as four games are played across the competition. The Western Bulldogs and Carlton have the bye, as do Williamstown, however the Seagulls are facing off against GWS GIANTS in an invitational match which will see the GIANTS match-up against some of the Victorian sides. Below are the teams and season previews.

ESSENDON v. CASEY DEMONS

Round 1 – 11/05/2019
11:30
Windy Hill

Essendon

B: 7. K. Hicks, 11. M. Warburton, 29. C. Laan
HB: 18. K. Heil, 27. A. Morcom, 21. K. McFadyen
C: 28. R. Svarc, 39. M. Fogas, 1. C. Ugle
HF: 25. L. Stepnell, 23. M. Collier, 24. S. Wilson
F: 3. M. DeMatteo, 38. E. Gogerly, 40. A. Moreen
R: 30. S. Nalder, 22. N. MacDonald, 8. H. Bullas
Int: 13. S. Audley, 2. I. Currenti, 43. G. Nanscawen, 4. A. Saundry
Emg: 45. E. Ashley-Cooper, 15. L. Caruso, 33. E. Hosking, 14. T. Zagontinos
23P: 31. J. Stassi

Casey Demons

B: 50. G. McLean, 13. K. Smith, 15. T. Tatterson
HB: 34. A. Kirkwood, 7. B. Jakobsson, 8. S. Lampard
C: 23. E. Birch, 16. M. Hogg, 22. M. Guerin
HF: 42. H. Bailey, 29. E. Zanker , 11. C. Emonson
F: 24. N. Garner, 40. H. Dyson, 27. B. Winbanks
R: 38. K. Bentvelzen , 41. R. Edmeades, 47. K. Guttridge
Int: 48. E. Archer, 9. A. Johnson, 32. A. McDonough, 54. K. Oates
Emg: 57. L. Davies, 51. A. Francese, 37. T. Nash, 62. G. Speedy
23P: 46. B. Pratt

 

DAREBIN v. RICHMOND

Round 1 – 11/05/2019
12:00
Swinburne Centre

Darebin

B: 32. G. Colvin, 21. K. Roe, 19. R. Hibbert
HB: 16. B. Kennedy, 56. R. Ashley, 43. N. Wolfe
C: 1. E. Honybun, 9. M. Eastman, 28. A. Morrow
HF: 17. S. Simpson, 22. G. Hammond, 7. L. Szigeti
F: 36. E. Buckley, 31. E. Gardner, 23. M. Wilson
R: 37. E. McLaughlin, 15. A. Lister, 33. J. Stanton
Int: 18. C. Byrne, 39. S. David, 25. C. Delbridge, 20. S. Fairchild
Emg: 46. R. Coombs, 55. M. Hubbard, 49. A. Ladson, 50. M. Suzuki
23P: 57. P. Kearney

Richmond

B: 26. E. Burry, 41. S. Last, 15. R. Miller
HB: 19. K. Dempsey, 2. P. Monahan, 34. A. Makur Chuot
C: 25. G. Egan, 5. M. Brancatisano, 8. J. Graham
HF: 33. J. Colwell, 16. C. Wakefield , 36. E. Paterno
F: 17. E. Gunn, 24. T. Stahl-Smith, 46. H. Ibrahim
R: 11. A. Edmonds, 13. A. Woodward, 1. J. Kennedy
Int: 43. G. Campbell, 30. D. Edward, 37. M. Klingbeil , 22. S. Marsh
Emg: 39. M. Lindsay , 32. I. Milford, 23. T. Smith
23P: 29. K. Jacques

 

HAWTHORN v. NT THUNDER

Round 1 – 12/05/2019
11:30
Box Hill City Oval

Hawthorn

B: 25. M. Hutchins, 6. T. Radan, 31. J. Sibley
HB: 13. E. Nixon, 40. E. MacDonald, 21. P. Randall
C: 33. E. Gilder, 24. R. Dillon, 5. C. Perera
HF: 12. N. Cormack , 26. C. Dyett, 18. E. Wroe
F: 17. A. Dowler, 2. K. Henderson, 30. A. Sarec
R: 22. T. Luke, 10. P. Peschke, 8. R. Beeson
Int: 14. O. Flanagan, 11. D. Haines, 15. B. Struylaart, 29. A. Tanner
Emg: 4. S. Carroll, 35. C. O’Donnell, 27. K. Scott
23P: 23. G. Macpherson

NT Thunder

B: 37. M. Rajcic, 33. T. Thorn, 31. A. Stanley
HB: 23. E. Miller, 9. L. Jeffrey, 26. C. Randall
C: 13. L. Roberts, , 12. K. Streader
HF: 11. J. Hickey, 10. A. Chittick, 18. T. Holtze
F: 27. A. Considine, 7. M. Ellis,
R: 20. J. Hewett, 3. A. Foley, 1. M. Johnston
Int: 17. S. Bishop, 24. S. Hoogeveen-Hill, 21. K. Irvine, 5. M. Roberts, 48. K. Rosenzweig, 34. D. Varnhagen
Emg: 32. B. Byers, 29. C. Deegan
23P: 2. J. Baird

 

MELBOURNE UNI v. GEELONG CATS

Round 1 – 12/05/2019
02:30
Melbourne University Main Oval

Melbourne Uni

B: 45. A. Arundel, 3. T. Mesiti, 17. E. Hay
HB: 22. J. Anwyl, 26. N. O’Connor, 32. C. Daniec
C: 53. J. Grierson, 36. N. Julian, 14. M. McDonald
HF: 38. K. Angelis, 51. J. Tancred, 40. A. Runnalls
F: 4. E. King, 57. A. Price, 18. A. Tupper
R: 5. K. Gillespie-Jones, 25. J. Garner, 35. J. Bruton
Int: 34. K. Cox, 47. M. Hare, 46. A. Roan , 52. M. Shone
Emg: 42. L. Amelung, 44. E. Bult, 30. S. Farmer, 41. J. Thomas
23P: 39. V. Saad

Geelong Cats

B: 49. E. Ramsay, 4. C. Blakeway, 23. H. Rowe
HB: 20. R. Pearce, 44. R. Goring, 11. J. Woollett
C: 3. A. McDonald, 27. R. Webster, 10. G. Rankin
HF: 45. M. Keryk, 17. G. Clarke, 9. T. Love
F: 42. B. Beckley, 8. K. Darby, 7. R. Benham
R: 1. R. Caris, 5. J. Ivey, 41. A. Haigh
Int: 14. N. French, 33. Z. Inei, 43. M. Maguire, 13. L. Taylor
Emg: 26. M. Boyd, 15. G. Deller, 16. O. Purcell
23P: 19. S. DeGiacomi

 

SEASON PREVIEWS: (Including byes)

CARLTON BLUES

Coach: Shannon McFerran
Last year: 7th (6-8)

The entire Carlton side would be buzzing with the AFL Women’s achievement of making the Grand Final and hoping to follow in the senior side’s footsteps. Last year the Blues showed signs within games, but could not quite put together a four quarter effort. They had an enormous amount of future AFL Women’s talent on their list last season with Tyla Hanks and Madeline Brancatisano (both Melbourne), Rene Caris (Geelong) and Celine Moody (Western Bulldogs) all poached by other clubs in the draft, while Abbie McKay, Chloe Dalton and Brooke Walker made the transition up to senior football at the Blues. Darcy Vescio won the leading goalkicker award after another terrific season inside 50 and look for her to be a key player in Shannon McFerran‘s side. With the close bond between Carlton and Northern Knights – and the strength of the Knights program in 2019 – do not be surprised for the Blues to be bolstered mid-season by the likes of Gabby Newton and Britney Gutknecht among others. They have picked up Marnie Jarvis and Taylah Manson from the Knights last year, and with continued improvement and recruitment of Madison Prespakis, Emerson Woods and Charlotte Wilson – who all had TAC Cup Girls and VFLW experience prior to being drafted, the Blues are a sleeper side that is not to be taken lightly.

 

CASEY DEMONS

Coach: Damien Keeping
Last year: 10th (5-9)

Despite a disappointing season on the ladder, Casey Demons were raided at the AFL Women’s draft with six drafted on the night, and a further one (Taylor Mesiti) prelisted. Jordyn Allen, Georgia Gourlay and Maddie Shevlin all swapped red and blue for black and white, while Casey Sherriff, Chantel Emonson and Shae Sloane showed enough to be picked up the Dees. The Demons have brought in some height with the recruitment of former Oakleigh Chargers and Essendon ruck, Bridie Winbanks, while putting an emphasis on retaining Melbourne AFLW listed players, something they did not have the luxury of having with many playing at Darebin given the players history with the Falcons. Now just Elise O’Dea, Lauren Pearce and Brooke Patterson are at the Falcons, so the Demons can have a stronger link to the AFLW side. Harriet Cordner and Maddison Gay were two big improvers of the 2019 AFLW season and will be ones to watch for the Demons in the upcoming VFLW season. A couple of key pickups for the Demons include Gippsland Power duo, Nikia Webber and Shanara Notman who could provide service up opposite ends. Overall look for the Demons to improve this year.

 

DAREBIN FALCONS

Coach: Michael Ericson (NEW)
Last year: 5th (8-6)

Darebin Falcons defied odds by finishing fifth last season and on track for finals up until a couple of rounds out from the post-season series. Michael Ericson has taken over from Jane Lange at the helm, and with it faces a new challenge of keeping the side competitive. O’Dea, Pearce and Patterson loom as the keys to the team, while Jamie Stanton who moved from Melbourne University – to align with her shift from North Melbourne to Gold Coast AFLW – is another AFLW listed player. Bridie Kennedy also joins the team from Carlton after having that AFLW experience, but mostly the Falcons will be relying on the yourh of the team and experienced VFLW players. Captain Stephanie Simpson is one of six players with 30 or more VFLW games under her belt which in the scheme of the relatively new competition is vital. Northern Knights, Nell Morris-Dalton and Ciara Fitzgerald have also joined Darebin, while former Eastern Ranges’ Lauren Szigeti will have benefited from her six games last year. Overall the Falcons will still give the top teams something to think about on their day, and rack up wins against the bottom handful, but it will be a test to be a genuine contender.

 

ESSENDON BOMBERS

Coach: Brendan Major
Last year: 13th (1-13)

It was fair to say Essendon did not have the season it had hoped for, winning just the one game and taking out the wooden spoon in season 2019. With limited AFL Women’s experience, the Bombers just lacked that top-end talent that other clubs had, and while the Bombers had that tackling ferocity through best and fairest winner, Hayley Bullas and the class and skill of future Adelaide AFLW premiership player, Danielle Ponter, they did not have enough talent across the board to compete with the sides that were flushed with AFLW signatures. The one win against Richmond was terrific to see, as it meant the Bombers got some reward for effort after a long season. Along with Bullas, Courtney Ugle and Simone Nalder have returned to the club, while former Murray Bushrangers’ defender and Eastern Allies representative, Eloise Ashley-Cooper will add some class to the side. The Bombers have four players with AFLW experience, including Maddy Collier and Hayley Trevean. With NAB League Girls club, Calder Cannons having some great talent coming through the ranks, expect the likes of Georgia Patrikios to open some eyes late in the season with her agility and goal sense, while Felicity Theodore, Alana Barba, Gloria Elamaly and Krstel Petrevski will add a mix of skill and toughness to the Bombers’ team. The Bombers will still lack the star quality other AFLW experienced teams have, so the goal will be to be more competitive and try and get off the bottom of the table this season.

 

GEELONG CATS

Coach: Natalie Wood (NEW)
Last year: 4th (10-3-1) Grand final loss

Natalie Wood has taken over from Paul Hood who opted to just focus on the AFLW side in the blue and white hoops, but has inherited a genuine premiership contender. After Geelong had fewer AFLW listed players compared to others last season, they now have 20 on their VFLW books, topped up by local players including former Geelong Falcons premiership players, Tarryn Love, Zoe Inei and Sachi DeGiacomi who managed six games at VFLW level between them last season. They have not only retained the majority of the their list, but picked up teh likes of Julia Crockett-Grills (Hawthorn), Rebecca Webster (Melbourne University) and Sophie Van De Heuvel (Williamstown), keeping them in the Geelong system. It is hard not to picture a scenario where Geelong are not in finals considering the now deep and strong bond the players have and having reached the grand final, before strengthening their list even more. The Geelong AFLW side made finals in its first year and expect the VFLW side to follow suit with the same talent on its list.

 

HAWTHORN HAWKS

Coach: Patrick Hill
Last year: 2nd (12-2) Premiers

The reigning premiers had a number of players drafted including Rising Star Jayde Van Dyk, Emerson Woods and Mikala Cann in what was a perfectly timed season, finishing second, pouncing on Collingwood in the semi-final, and then making the most of their opportunities against Geelong in the decider. In great news for the Hawks, Van Dyk has returned to the club for the VFLW season, as have key forward Phoebe McWilliams (Geelong), Rebecca Beeson and Pepa Randall (both GWS GIANTS). With super coach, Patrick Hill at the reigns again, the Hawks will be predicted to be thereabouts again and a genuine premiership contender. Sarah Perkins will be primed for a big season in the brown and gold, hoping to force her way back onto an AFLW list after being delisted by the Crows following the 2019 season. The forward combination between Perkins and McWilliams is as good as it gets in the competition, and with Eastern Rangers youngsters Serena Gibbs and Laura McClelland in the side later in the year, expect the reigning premiers to have a potent forward line. Gippsland Power’s Maddison Shaw has also joined the Hawks, and is one of just two 2001-birth players on the list. A huge contender.

 

MELBOURNE UNIVERSITY MUGARS

Coach: Scott Gowans
Last year: 9th (5-9)

The Mugars were up and down at times throughout the 2018 VFLW season, finishing with five wins from 14 games, but having some great young talent come into the side last in the year, including Prepsakis and Webster who were both drafted by AFLW clubs. Sophie Abbatangelo, Ashleigh Riddell, Maddison Smith, Chloe Haines, Libby Haines and Nicole Bresnehan all stepped up to the senior side, with many showing their ability to adapt to the faster pace of the game. After a huge season that ultimately fell short of a finals berth in the AFLW, North Melbourne and Melbourne Uni coach, Scott Gowans will be keen to continue the form shown by the Kangaroos at AFLW level, into the VFLW system. Emma Kearney was terrific for the Mugars last year along with Kaitlyn Ashmore, and expect them to be key players once again. They have added experience to their list with Hawthorn duo, Tahni Nestor and Kim Ebb, as well as Essendon’s Jessica Anwyl who showed promising signs last season in the red and black. Throw in league best and fairest winner, Jess Duffin, Jasmine Garner and Jenna Bruton, and the Mugars have to be considered one of the premiership favourites. All up they have 23 AFL Women’s listed players and will be another tough team to beat.

 

NORTHERN TERRITORY THUNDER

Coach: Heidi Thompson (NEW)
Last year: 3rd (11-3) – Semi-final loss

Much was spoken about the Thunder and whether or not the experienced top-heavy side with Adelaide Crows, could be allowed to play so much talent at once. Early in the season it looked like the Thunder would skip through the season, but in the end, ultimately fell in the first week of finals to the Cats. After missing out on her AFLW dream last year, Janet Baird is the biggest junior recruit to the Thunder in season 2019, with the NTFL Women’s top player signing on at the Thunder for the upcoming season. She joins the likes of Madeline Gault, Arthurina Moreen and Tabitha May, who all played for Central Allies in 2018, but missed out on a chance in the AFLW. The top-end and upcoming talent at the Thunder is clear, with Ebony Marinoff, Stevie-Lee Thompson, Marijana Rajcic, Renee Forth, Eloise Jones and Sarah and Jess Allen among a ridiculous among of Crows talent in the side. They were arguably a premiership favourite early in 2018, and should be in that place once again given the improvement of many of the Crows through the 2019 AFLW premiership year. With Heidi Thompson now taking the reigns from Tim Weatherald, it will be interesting to see how she balances the AFLW talent throughout the season.

 

RICHMOND TIGERS

Coach: Tom Hunter
Last year: 12th (4-10)

The Tigers had a disappointing season in 2018, finishing twelfth and losing to Essendon, the only side to do so. They, like the Bombers just lacked that star quality in the 2018 VFLW season, but if their 2019 AFLW trade period is anything to go by, expect them to shoot up the ladder in season 2019. Jessica Kennedy and Jacqueline Graham were two standouts for the Tigers, it was just a case of adding depth to the obvious talent that was coming through the ranks. While some will play limited games, the likes of Monique Conti, Katie Brennan and Sabrina Frederick make for a scary forward line. With Richmond able to pre-list players this season, every player on the list will be keen to impress in front of the Tigers’ hierarchy and see what they can do to try and get an AFLW spot for the 2020 season. Overlooked Murray Bushrangers, Tamara Smith, Grace Egan and Sophie Damon are back at Punt Road, while Kodi Jacques has also joined the club with the Bendigo Pioneers’ midfielder looking to stake her claim this year. Former Magpies, Shayla Marsh and Hannah McLaren will don the yellow and black this year, making the Tigers stocked with young talent that will create run and excitement throughout the 2019 season. Expect the Tigers to rise up the ladder, and while they might lack the AFLW talent other teams have outside their forward 50, they could overtake a number of the clubs around their level in season 2018, this year.

 

WESTERN BULLDOGS

Coach: Sean Kavanagh (NEW)
Last year: 6th (7-7)

Sean Kavanagh has taken over from Debbie Lee who is now VFLW General Manager at the club, and will be looking to reshape the side that has lost some serious AFLW talent. Conti always spent the majority of the season playing basketball, while Brennan will be a big lose inside 50. However with 20 AFLW players on their list, they still have more than enough talent and experience to get them by. Their three top-age players they have picked up from NAB League Girls clubs are Sophie Molan, Ella Wood and Elisabeth Georgostathis which is arguably the best trio of pick-ups across the league. Molan will make an immediate impact, while Wood and Georgostathis can play both off half-back and through the middle. They will be unavailable during the AFLW National Championships, but expect them to show their talent. Overager Georgia Pidgeon will also provide some height for the Bulldogs, while a host of local players joins the likes of Ellie Blackburn, Brooke Lochland, Isabel Huntington and Deanna Berry as key players. When talking about experience, the Bulldogs have 14 players with 30 or more games, making them a very experienced side in the competition, and one that while they might not be in the top handful, could still challenge for finals.

 

WILLIAMSTOWN

Coach: Amy Catterall
Last year: 11th (4-10)

Williamstown finished eleventh in 2019, notching up the four wins, but had some serious top-end talent at the Gulls’ disposal. Duffin won the league best and fairest despite the team struggles, while Garner and Bruton were stars for Williamstown before emulating that for the Kangaroos at AFLW level. Big question marks remain over the Seagulls with all three departing the club. It means the load falls onto their VFLW listed players shoulders and puts them in a similar position to Essendon and Richmond last year. They had a good win over the Western Bulldogs in a pre-season practice match, and can have the continuity that teams with restricted AFLW numbers cannot. However this year is set to be a massive challenge for the Seagulls after losing so much top-end talent, with Demon, Aliesha Newman being a key signing – the only AFLW player on the list – and likely to cause headaches inside 50 for opposition defences. In doing so, there might be some serious youngsters step up and then make a case to land at an AFLW club, like former Bendigo Pioneers’ captain Megan Williamson, Eastern Ranges’ tall Tahlia Merrett and Bendigo Pioneers’ key defender Kate Douglass.

Fantastic Five: Memorable moments from the weekend

WITH a new TAC Cup Girls premier and the future of the AFLW on show, it was a weekend to sit back and enjoy what looks to be an enjoyable few years as women’s football continues to go from strength to strength.

Geelong Falcons win inaugural Grand Final

Nothing is more memorable than a premiership and Geelong Falcons’ grand final win over a spirited Northern Knights side was one to remember. They had their work cut out for them, but a few positional changes and the belief within the group to fight back from a two-goal half-time deficit saw them etch their names into history. The likes of Denby Taylor, Olivia Purcell, Tarryn Love and Nina Morrison led the way, while captain Lucy McEvoy was everywhere.

AFLW future talent on show

Following on from the memorable moment of a premiership, it is impossible not to sit back and enjoy what will be the future of AFL Women’s in the next three years. Aside from the clear top-end talent to come out of this year’s draft at the end of the season, bottom agers Gabby Newton, Britney Gutknecht, Nell Morris-Dalton, Ciara FitzgeraldSarah Sansonetti, Lucy McEvoy, Abbey Chapman and Luka Lesosky Hay were all impressive. Throw in some of the best 15/16 year-olds in the competition in Ellie McKenzie, Alyssa Bannan, Abigail Bennett, Ashleigh Snow, Jess Fitzgerald, Laura Gardiner, Renee Tierney and Jerusha Devarakonda and the 2020 draft crop is already at an advanced level compared to their predecessors.

Brisbane Lions’ maiden win

It was a long time coming, but the Brisbane Lions cubs finally recorded their first win, coming from behind in the opening term to storm home and claim a memorable victory over Hawthorn. It was extra special for veteran Luke Hodge against his old side, while Matt Eagles and Charlie Cameron celebrated their first AFL and Brisbane Lions’ wins respectively. After a few lean years, the Lions are providing supporters with some serious hope going forward.

Big bags are back in fashion

There is nothing quite like a dominant key position forward in a game where athleticism and scoreboard pressure from smalls has been placed at a premium. On the weekend we saw not one, not two, but three key position forwards booting bags of goals. Murray Bushrangers’ Hudson Garoni continued his sensational form with seven majors, while Corey Ellison (Dandenong Stingrays) and Jordan Rossiter (Eastern Ranges) booted six each. Harry Bede who is no shrimp himself, booting four in the Sandringham Dragons’ win.

Teenagers step up to the big time

We are already seeing a number of talented TAC Cup Girls make the transition through to the Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s competition. With a number of players suiting up for different VFL Women’s sides, and not having the National Under 18 Championships on the horizon, Oakleigh Chargers’ Isabella Gietzmann and Eastern Ranges’ Ashleigh Allsopp donned the Carlton and Southern Saints’ jumpers respectively.

Falcons fly to second flag in a year with 11-point triumph over Knights

A FIVE-minute purple patch in the third term and an inspired performance from Denby Taylor has helped the Geelong Falcons claim their second premiership in a year. After the TAC Cup side claimed victory last September, it was the TAC Cup Girls time to shine on the biggest day on the calendar, and it was Taylor who produced a second half to remember to win the best on ground medal.

Taylor was far from alone in her efforts however, with coach Jason Armistead throwing around the magnets at half-time to send Taylor up to the wing and captain Lucy McEvoy forward in moves that changed the game. The Knights were on top at half-time and refused to give in, with it taking until the final five minutes of the third term for the Falcons to thrown open the premiership window and clamber through, booting three goals in red time to find themselves a goal up. From there, they never took the foot off with a superb last term despite the best efforts of the Knights defenders, claiming a great 11-point win.

The opening term saw both teams clearly up for the fight, with Geelong holding the ball inside its forward 50 more often than not. But the great work of Ashleigh Snow, Gabby Newton and Mika Suzuki out of defence was stalling the Falcons from making the most of their first term opportunities. Renee Tierney won a free kick midway through the opening term but her shot cannoned into the woodwork. Perhaps the Falcons best chance for a goal came when Nina Morrison streamed through the middle of the ground to put it in front of Elise Vella and the open goal. Vella gathered the ball, but the implied pressure from Samatha Atkins running hard into defence was enough for Vella to kick it off the side of the boot and roll through for a behind.

Ellie McKenzie produced a great tackle on her opponent up forward, but the Knights could not seem to penetrate past Abbey Chapman who took a number of marks and crucial intercept possessions on the last line, holding her ground well. McEvoy and Taylor were superb in the opening quarter, providing rebound and impacting contests up on the wing. Alyssa Bannan managed to escape McEvoy a couple of times, while Marnie Jarvis and Maddy Brancatisano continued to win plenty of the football through midfield.

The second term belonged to the Knights however, with Abigail Bennett breaking through the scoring drought to nail a goal from 35m out on the run. It was not the sweetest kick off the boot, but it did the job. It was all because of the work of Jarvis who roved the McKenzie marking contest and then kicked to Bennett inside 50. Moments earlier, McKenzie brought down a towering mark, making up for her uncharacteristic dropped mark just 30 seconds prior which bounced off her chest. Bennett had a purple patch in that second term, running down Sophie Walmsley in a great tackle as the Falcons look to roam to the outside. They were rewarded not long after when Britney Gutknecht managed to find a couple of metres of space, gathered the football and snapped round her body given the Knights a second goal and some important breathing space in a low-scoring contest.

The Knights were arguably unlucky not to be further up at the break, with a couple of snaps just missing with both Gutknecht and McKenzie involved. For the Falcons, Chapman continued to be one of their best, rebounding everything she could, and stopping a certain goal on the line, rushing it across. Along with Chapman, Morrison had some eye-catching moments, while Luka Lesosky-Hay and Tarryn Love battled hard at ground level.

The third term seemed to be an armwrestle until Taylor and Love decided they had seen enough and individually spurred their team on with some great efforts. Love won a hardball at ground level and shovelled the ball out while being tackled to the running Sachi DeGiacomi. While he had not had many opportunities early, the key forward seized the moment and put through a running goal for the Falcons’ first. Just a couple of minutes later a long bomb into the forward 50 from Taylor caused a stoppage, and Love pounced shortly after with a snap straight through the middle that will no doubt make the game highlights tape. For a player who had been run down a couple of times already, Walmsley showed no signs of losing confidence when she marked one-on-one inside 50 about 40m out. Rather than going back, she fended off her opponent, burnt her off and then booted the goal to give Geelong a remarkable six-point lead t the final break. Five minutes of brilliance had seen the Falcons take an all-important lead at the last change.

Newton provided the Knights’ highlight for the quarter when she pick-pocketed Love running into goal. It was prior to the Falcons scoring and Newton used an outstretched arm to steal the ball and then in the same motion kick cleanly forward. As Northern went forward late in the quarter, the crowd were roaring knowing the seconds were counting down. A huge tackle by Morrison on Morris-Dalton halted the attacks and less than 15 seconds later the siren sounded.

With the game still in the balance, it was Taylor who rose above all others with an inspired final quarter performance that no doubt will not be forgotten by the Falcons faithful. Her move to the wing in the second half proved fruitful as she booted a goal and narrowly missed a couple of others taking a glutton of intercept marks at half-forward. The goal turned out to be the only one of the final term for the Falcons, with McEvoy playing a strong role down forward and Chapman rebounding everything coming her way in the back half. With 90 seconds left on the clock, Northern’s Ciara Fitzgerald launched a ripper goal from inside 50 to give them the slightest of hopes, trailing by 10 points. When Northern won the next clearance there seemed to be the thought of ‘they couldn’t could they?’ given the time remaining.

A couple of huge tackles at half-back ended any chance of a comeback for the Knights, but they never threw in the towel and were well and truly deserved of a place in the grand final. Snow was phenomenal playing on the last line taking intercept marks and rebounding well. Jarvis on the wing was strong, and the likes of Sarah Sansonetti and Laura Gardiner were also good in the final term for their respective teams. In the end, the Knights had played well, but a five-minute purple patch from the Falcons sealed their place in history.

GEELONG FALCONS 0.2 | 0.2 | 3.3 | 4.8 (32)
NORTHERN KNIGHTS 0.0 | 2.3 | 2.3 | 3.3 (21)

GOALS:

Geelong: DeGiacomi, Love, Walmsley, Taylor
Northern: Bennett, Gutknecht, C. Fitzgerald

ADC’S BEST:

Geelong: Taylor, Love, Chapman, McEvoy, Morrison, Lesosky-Hay
Northern: Newton, Snow, Jarvis, McKenzie, Suzuki, Bennett

TAC Cup Girls previews: Round 6

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

 

GEELONG FALCONS v. EASTERN RANGES

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

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

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

 

GIPPSLAND POWER v. NORTHERN KNIGHTS

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

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

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

 

MURRAY BUSHRANGERS v. SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS

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

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

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

 

GREATER WESTERN VICTORIA REBELS v. CALDER CANNONS

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

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

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

 

BENDIGO PIONEERS v. OAKLEIGH CHARGERS

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

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

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

 

DANDENONG STINGRAYS v. WESTERN JETS

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

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

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

Team Selection: TAC Cup Girls – Round 6

With the AFLW Academy games done and dusted, the TAC Cup Girls sides have plenty of players available for selection going into round six, making way for several changes to their line-ups. The Western Jets claimed a big scalp, knocking off the undefeated Eastern Ranges and will be hoping to bring that form into the current round. Meanwhile, the Dandenong Stingrays are still on the hunt for their first win of the 2018 season. Up the other end of the ladder, the Geelong Falcons and Northern Knights remain unbeaten sitting first and second and will be bolstered by the return of some of their key players.

GEELONG FALCONS v. EASTERN RANGES

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

This match up could prove to be one of the biggest games of the round with the Falcons sitting pretty at the top of the ladder and the Ranges in third. The two teams are littered with classy players across the field who ooze footy smarts and good ball use.

The Eastern Ranges defence will be bolstered with the return of defenders Abbey Tognazzini and Ashleigh Allsopp who were sorely missed in the previous round. They both offer great composure and strength down back for the Ranges and work well together to shut down their opponents. Co-captain Emerson Woods will also be set to return as well as midfielder/forward Olivia Meagher who wins plenty of footy across the ground. However the loss of Georgia Macpherson is a tough one.

With the Geelong Falcons still boasting an unbeaten record, they have only made a few changes to their line-up to take on the Eastern Ranges. Geelong will see the return of Olivia Purcell and Nina Morrison who are contested ball winners and are clean in and around the stoppages. The Falcons will also recall Lucy McEvoy to the midfield, but Tarryn Love will miss the game after an injury late in their last match.

Geelong Falcons

B: 38. S. Dinneen, 37. A. Chapman, 22. K. Haustorfer
HB: 33. M. Sheppard, 35. S. Hungerford, 28. D. Taylor
C: 18. N.  Morrison, 11. L.  Lesosky-Hay, 36. S.  Walmsley
HF: 10. S. Atkins, 42. S. DeGiacomi, 27. M. Skinner
F: 6. P. Sheppard, 39. R. Tierney, 2. E. Vella
R: 34. Z. Inei, 24. L. McEvoy, 7. O. Purcell
Int: 15. J. Devarakonda, 16. L. Gardiner, 21. D. Smith, 4. B. Thompson
Emg: 5. J. Dover, 29. L. Ryan, 40. E. Shannon

In: N. Morrison, L. McEvoy, D. Taylor, J. Dover, O. Purcell, E. Shannon
Out: E. Lawson,  E. Allan,  T. Love,  S. Milsome

Eastern Ranges

B: 11. M. Edwards, 43. A. Tognazzini, 50. S. Zappia
HB: 18. A. Allsopp, 49. C. Wilson, 48. L. Szigeti
C: 8. C.  Delbridge, 21. M.  Cann, 41. J.  Richardson
HF: 38. L. McClelland, 40. T. Merrett, 3. E. Woods
F: 22. C. Chamberlain, 28. L. Kelly, 47. J. Provan
R: 46. S. Kendall, 39. O. Meagher, 10. N. Cormack
Int: 35. B. Cubitt, 6. G. De Angelis, 51. J. McCormick, 15. J. Torney
Emg: 34. S. Bowden, 17. M. Kendall, 23. C. Smith, 42. M. Taverna

In: A. Allsopp, C. Chamberlain, S. Bowden, J. Provan, M. Edwards, T. Merrett, A. Tognazzini, O. Meagher, E. Woods
Out: G. Macpherson, E. Horne, I. Ball, M. Wandin, J. Grace, P. Buruma

 

GIPPSLAND POWER v. NORTHERN KNIGHTS 

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

The Northern Knights dominated once again last week even with the absence of key players keeping their undefeated run in-tact. The Power will be full of confidence after a good win over Bendigo last week making for an intriguing contest.

The Knights will be pleased to see the likes of midfield star Gabby Newton back out on the field while key forward Gulia Ceravolo is set to play against the Power after they both missed round five. However the in-form Ellie McKenzie and talented Neve O’Connor and Ciara Fitzgerald will all miss the match.

The midfield battle will be one to keep an eye on with the likes of Tyla Hanks returning for the Power up against the midfield trio of Newton, Maddy Brancatisano and Alyssa Bennett who are important onballers for the Knights. Gippsland will also the return of Leila Raymond and Caitlyn Beale who are vital to the Power’s line-up as they offer a good contest around the footy.

Gippsland Power

B: 47. E. Cornish , 45. L. Van Berkel, 17. S. Trewin
HB: 8. C. Abrahams, 65. J. Redmond, 6. E. Haeusler
C: 1. E.  Jones, 57. J.  Ferguson, 30. A.  Rippon
HF: 13. H. Andrews, 32. C. Bird, 12. M. Fitzsimon
F: 29. C. Bray, 27. N. Webber, 10. T. Dower
R: 58. A. Dunn, 28. T. Hanks, 49. M. Shaw
Int: 59. C. Beale, 7. L. Raymond , 4. J. Ross, 9. T. Whitehead
Emg: 2. S. Beaton, 11. S. Walker, 60. E. Williams

In: C. Bird, S. Walker, C. Beale, T. Hanks, L. Raymond
Out: H. Balmer,  M. Van Berkel

Northern Knights 

B: 27. P. Kearney, 32. A. Snow, 20. J. McCarthy
HB: 10. P. Chisholm, 18. S. Sansonetti, 12. O. Dikranis
C: 9. M.  Chaplin, 5. M.  Brancatisano, 2. M.  Jarvis
HF: 6. A. Bannan, 31. T. Shell, 8. G. Ceravolo
F: 1. M. Antypas, 24. A. Pronesti, 3. N. Morris-Dalton
R: 26. E. Clayton, 22. B. Gutknecht, 23. G. Newton
Int: 7. A. Bennett, 33. T. Curavic, 16. T. Manson, 13. M. Suzuki
Emg: 25. T. Mills, 30. M. Rodezno     

In: G. Ceravolo, E. Clayton, T. Curavic, G. Newton, T. Manson
Out: E. McKenzie, N. O’Connor, C. Fitzgerald

 

MURRAY BUSHRANGERS v. SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS 

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

The Dragons will be hoping to continue their impressive form again this week against the Murray Bushrangers who will be boosted with the return of key players across the ground. Suffering a loss to the Falcons last week the Bushrangers will be searching to keep their finals hope alive with a big win against the Dragons. Sandringham and Murray have both recorded the same number of wins making for a highly contested match with both teams evenly poised across the ground.

The inclusion of gun midfielder Rebecca Webster will provide the Bushrangers with some composure with ball in hand. Webster has a great ability to read the play and is vital throughout the middle of the ground for Murray. The return of Millie Brown for Murray will provide a target up forward with her strong hands and accuracy in front of goal. The Bushrangers will be without Eloise Ashley-Cooper and Chelsea Knight who both provide good run and carry for the team.  

Sandringham have gone in with a relatively unchanged line-up but have the likes of Taylah Grasso and Grace Bridges as emergencies. Both players have strong hands and provide composure down back for the Dragons. The strong form of Sandringham lately means the Dragons will go in confident, but will need to be at their best to topple the Bushrangers.

Murray Bushrangers

B: 21. C. Boschetti, 39. H. Doohan, 32. N. Watts
HB: 8. O. Hall, 42. G. Egan, 26. E. Nicholson
C: 31. S.  Locke, 17. R.  Webster, 33. M.  Trethowan
HF: 19. M. Brown, 6. K. Adams, 1. J. Harvey
F: 37. S. Damon, 34. E. McPherson, 5. C. Hargreaves
R: 43. T. Verhoeven, 22. T. Smith, 36. C. Mckimmie
Int: 11. A. Chessor, 3. P. Crelley, 10. G. Kelly, 20. R. Winiata

In: R. Winiata, G. Kelly, R. Webster, T. Verhoeven, C. Hargreaves, P. Crelley, C. Boschetti, M. Brown
Out: Z. Spencer,  C. Knight,  E. Freeman,  E. Balaburov,  M. Cook,  M. Jones,  M. Eze,  E. Hibble

Sandringham Dragons

B: 31. B. Arnold, 60. G. Strangio, 13. D. Walker
HB: 23. C. Bowen, 32. S. Hartwig, 65. C. Saultry
C: 30. E.  Brown, 43. A.  McKay, 5. J.  Tait
HF: 50. H. Bate, 56. G. Emberton, 25. I. Eddey
F: 49. L. Amelung, 3. S. Rothfield, 1. M. Wilson
R: 20. A. Dalley, 36. J. Owen, 64. E. McNamara
Int: 46. A. Burke, 33. M. Denahy Maloney, 2. W. Laing, 39. M. Purcell
Emg: 58. G. Bridges, 24. T. Grasso, 42. R. Woods

In: T. Grasso, R. Woods, G. Bridges

 

GREATER WESTERN VICTORIA REBELS v. CALDER CANNONS

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

After a disappointing game against the Dragons in round five, the Calder Cannons will be looking to get back into the winners books with the return of some key players. The Rebels have also rung in the changes, making seven changes to their line-up.

The Cannons will be pleased to see the return of star midfield duo Madison Prespakis and Georgia Patrikios who win plenty of the footy and are smooth operators. Their ability to win the ball at ground level helps to propel their team forward. Molly Warbuton has also been named for the Cannons after playing in the AFLW Academy game and will be a good addition both in the centre of the ground and down back in defence. The likes of Emily Vukovic and Lethea Phillipou are also expected to take the field for Calder.

The Rebels did not shy away from the changes bringing in the likes of half-forward Lucy Moloney to help provide a target up forward. GWV will be pleased to see the return of key midfielder and play maker Sophie Van De Heuvel, along with Rene Caris and key defender Georgia Clarke. On the other hand, the likes of Georgette Douhadji and Stephanie Glover are among the outs for the Rebels.

Greater Western Victoria Rebels 

B: 15. T. Jasper, 26. G. Pidgeon, 14. L. Sykes
HB: 19. K. McAloon, 25. G. Clarke, 4. A. Nicholson
C: 27. N.  Dojiok, 8. E.  Wood, 10. H.  Simpson
HF: 3. L. Moloney , 21. D. Henson, 18. S. Van De Heuvel
F: 7. A. McAuliffe, 13. C. Leonard, 22. I. Rustman
R: 35. R. Caris, 16. L. Butler, 23. S. Molan
Int: 6. N. Butler, 20. T. Heath, 11. T. Marra, 1. A. Trigg
Emg: 42. B. Gregory, 41. K. Harris

In: L. Moloney , K. Harris, G. Clarke, A. Nicholson, R. Caris, S. Van De Heuvel, E. Wood
Out: R. Saulitis,  A. Humphries,  S. Glover,  G. Douhadji,  J. McAuliffe ,  I. Simmons

Calder Cannons

B: 42. K. Sutton, 48. C. Brown, 8. E. Vale
HB: 11. A. Barba, 15. G. Marsland, 2. F. Theodore
C: 29. S.  Elias, 21. G.  Patrikios, 9. M.  Warburton
HF: 32. T. Fry , 17. E. Cornish, 34. Z. Hardiman
F: 37. F. Holloway, 46. G. Elarmaly, 25. A. Magri
R: 18. C. Rendelmann, 3. M. Prespakis, 23. G. Dicker
Int: 10. M. Hemburrow, 31. K. Petrevski, 36. L. Philippou, 12. E. Vukovic
Emg: 16. C. Hodgson, 44. I. McNeill-Wren, 50. B. Tolson

In: M. Warburton, E. Vukovic, G. Patrikios, L. Philippou, C. Hodgson, I. McNeill-Wren, M. Prespakis
Out: T. Crook, L. Cocomello, I. Young, M. Muller, A. Driscoll

 

BENDIGO PIONEERS v. OAKLEIGH CHARGERS

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

They Bendigo Pioneers will be hoping to assert their dominance in their home game against the Chargers on Sunday. With both teams evenly poised it will make for a highly contested match with good match ups across the ground.

The Pioneers have made minimal changes to their side with the likes of Gemmi Murrell and Grace Sladden making way for Elizabeth Snell and Eloise Gretgrix. Bendigo will be looking to the likes of Kodi Jacques who showed great endurance and composure with ball in hand as well as their captain Megan Williamson who offers consistency and an attack on the footy.

Similarly, the Oakleigh Chargers have only named one out for the match with Tiana Johnson out of the team. The likes of versatile full-forward Hannah McLaren is set to take on the Pioneers while important midfielder Gemma Lagioia will also return after injury. McLaren’s presence up forward will provide a great target for the Chargers and Lagioia’s work in the middle will help to propel her team forward.

Bendigo Pioneers

B: 24. E. Gretgrix, 32. S. Reilly, 9. D. Kelly-Guthrie
HB: 27. B. Hards, 20. K. Douglass, 3. C. Isaac
C: 11. J.  Finning, 28. M.  Williamson, 15. T.  Goodrem
HF: 30. B. Heiden, 8. S. Knoll, 31. H. Stewart
F: 21. H. Spencer, 7. G. Barton, 1. M. Tupper
R: 25. T. Stewart, 2. M. Baldwin, 19. K. Jacques
Int: 10. A. Bodilly, 12. T. Coad, 26. L. Newton, 29. E. Snell, 14. O. Taverna, 5. E. Turnbull

In: A. Bodilly, E. Snell, E. Gretgrix, E. Turnbull
Out: G. Murrell,  G. Sladden

Oakleigh Chargers

B: 5. A. van Oosterwijck, 45. T. Cowan, 17. N. Xenos
HB: 2. M. Hill, 39. T. Nichols, 14. H. McLaren
C: 31. K.  Hunter-Scott, 50. C.  Nancarrow, 30. G.  Lagioia
HF: 3. J. D’Amato, 43. E. Hastie, 19. E. Harley
F: 29. M. Bertuna, 38. D. Bateman, 18. I. Gietzmann
R: 11. B. Winbanks, 32. C. O’Malley, 41. K. Lynch
Int: 33. G. Byrne, 70. P. Fennell, 15. A. Ling, 22. Z. Makris, 69. L. Mayne, 26. A. Micallef, 21. C. Moon, 16. A. Porter

In: L. Mayne, C. O’Malley, J. D’Amato, G. Lagioia, H. McLaren
Out: T. Johnson

 

DANDENONG STINGRAYS v. WESTERN JETS

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

The Stingrays have made multiple changes going into round six in hope to secure their first win for the season. Meanwhile the Western Jets have retained a relatively unchanged line-up after notching up their first win of the season. The Jets showed moments of brilliance last week to topple their undefeated opponents.

For the Stingrays, they will welcome back the likes of Jordyn Allen and versatile player Courtney Jones who offers great composure with ball-in-hand.  Key defender Rose Clancy-Dillon will also return after missing round five. Clancy-Dillon provides great strength down back and might be asked to curb influential Jets forward Caitlin Greiser.

Greiser will be out to dominant for the Western Jets sitting fifth on the goal scoring tally. Greiser offers a great target up forward for the Jets and is accurate in front of goal, but has been named in the ruck once again this week. The Jets will also see the likes of Isabella Grant return who offers a good presence across the ground while Lauren Basto and Katarina Rebuffo have also been named to take on the Stingrays. 

Dandenong Stingrays

B: 5. E. Allen-Burns, 51. Z. Hill, 18. S. Bayne
HB: 15. J. Allen, 40. R. Clancy-Dillon, 1. S. Heath
C: 12. M.  McDonald, 35. L.  Cripps, 31. B.  Vernon
HF: 44. S. Ryan, 26. I. Shannon, 28. T. Smith
F: 46. J. George, 29. B. Struylaart,
R: 45. M. Graham, 3. C. Jones, 20. E. Wilson-Macdonald
Int: 48. A. Carroll, 42. A. O’Sullivan, 2. S. Stratton, 16. A. West

In: A. West, J. Allen, S. Ryan, J. George, C. Jones, R. Clancy – Dillon, B. Struylaart
Out: L. O’Connell-Webb,  J. Lilley,  H. Thomas,  A. Jordan,  B. Borchard,  M. Layfield,  G. Hodder,  J. Guy-Toogood

Western Jets

B: 22. A. Chivell, 31. K. Rebuffo, 8. E. Gardner
HB: 21. M. Fenech, 30. I. Pritchard, 44. C. Myors-Moore
C: 14. I.  Grant, 13. C.  Jansen, 27. P.  Ozols
HF: 2. C. Gashi, 26. I. Negri, 36. J. Goodman
F: 19. O. Forsythe, 40. S. Whiting, 12. K. O’Keefe
R: 43. C. Greiser, 39. C. Saxon-Jones, 16. E. Georgostathis
Int: 33. L. Basto, 41. S. Forbes, 28. E. Hannett, 3. A. Lowe
Emg: 29. E. Cassar

In: I. Grant, L. Basto, K. Rebuffo
Out: L. Spargo, H. Bult

Scouting notes: TAC Cup Girls – Round 4

ROUND four gave us a new ladder-leader with the Geelong Falcons taking top spot off the Northern Knights. It also saw the Stingrays move off the bottom of the ladder with a commendable performance against the Sandringham Dragons. Meanwhile Gippsland continued its great run of form with a three-point win against reigning premiers, Calder Cannons. This competition just keeps on giving with plenty of great performances on an action-packed Tuesday.  Our scouts attended four games from the round.

Dandenong Stingrays vs. Sandringham Dragons 

By: Peter Williams 

Dandenong: 

#3 Courtney Jones

I thought it was the best four-quarter performance I have seen from her this season. She played well inside 50 and just consistently worked her way to the front in marking contests. Jones has a good game sense and knew when to time her leads and use her body to wedge herself between her opponent and the pass coming inside 50. Just kicked the one goal after marking from an Eliza Wilson-Macdonald snap, then missed a chance to make it two after a great lead and mark. Overall a really strong performance.

#15 Jordyn Allen

The captain played a typical consistent game, and when called upon, stood up and made it count. She seemed to be everywhere on Tuesday, intercepting and rebounding early, then went forward in the final term and took a huge contested mark, converting the goal and giving the Stingrays a real sniff at victory late in the game. She reads the play so well and is pivotal off half-back. She just knows how to get to the right positions and uses her great vision to not only chop off opposition passes, but open up angles for teammates and find space for them with neat passes.

#26 Isabella Shannon

Arguably the Stingrays best across four quarters, her contested work was top notch on Tuesday. You would often find her at the bottom of a pack, shovelling the ball out and no doubt her contested numbers and one percenters would be high from her efforts in the match. Shannon also has good composure with ball-in-hand and is able to stand up in a mark with pressure coming from around her. She took a great intercept mark early in the fourth term, and also had a chance to draw the team within five points late in the match after a quick handball from Lucinda Cripps, but her snap missed.

#29 Brooke Struylaart

Struylaart kicked the first goal of the game and continually presented up forward. Her game tended to flow like the Stingrays, but when they needed a target inside 50, she was there. Her positioning in the first marking contest was smart, reading the ball’s flight better than her opponent to position herself at the back and take an easy uncontested mark and slot the goal from the goal square. She had a shot in the second term but her snap did not bend back enough. Struylaart also cut the margin back in the fourth term with the opening goal to get the Stingrays up and about.

#35 Lucinda Cripps

I am yet to see her play a bad game, such is the consistency Cripps has throughout matches. Even when she is not winning the ball, she is contesting and putting her body on the line via blocks, tackles or shepherding – a real team player. She gets to the right positions in the defensive 50 and puts pressure on her opponents, and intercept marks, spoils or just puts her opponents off balance enough to slow play. In the last term Cripps went forward and while she did not win a heap of it, almost changed the game with a lightning handpass to Isabella Shannon as she ran by, but unfortunately the proceeding snap was missed.

Others:

#1 Shelley Heath: Quieter early, but had some really classy moments. The most noticeable trait for me is her ability to dispose of the ball really quickly. It is hard for opponents to get a hand on her, because she either fires out the handball or puts the ball to boot in record time. A clean user of the ball across the game and clean at ground level.

#5 Eloise Allen-Burns: A consistent game playing in defence, taking a crucial intercept mark late in the game and being a rock alongside Cripps in that back 50.

#20 Eliza Wilson-Macdonald: A good mover who just cracks in hard at the contest. Had an entertaining battle with Winnie Laing throughout the day when the pair matched up in the midfield with neither player taking a backwards step. Wilson-Macdonald laid a few bone-crunching tackles, and also set up a Courtney Jones goal with a neat turn and snap to the danger zone.

#21 Grace Hodder: I was impressed with her game just showing a few signs here and there, laying a huge tackle on the wing and taking a good intercept mark at half-forward. Started to win a bit of the ball through the midfield and was fairly clean too.

#28 Tyanna Smith: Had an eye-catching play in the second term, marking and not breaking stride and she bombed long inside 50 to hit up Brooke Struylaart. She then laid a great run down tackle on Abbie McKay later in the match to lock up the ball.

 

Sandringham: 

#36 Jemma Owen

The best performance I have seen the Dragons captain put out for the season, she was just everywhere. She not only did all the hard stuff that you are used to with her in-and-under work and fierce tackling, but she broke the lines and made the grandstand wing her own with a couple of daring dashes to burn off opponents and gain serious meterage. She created run off half-back and then seemingly iced the game late in the third term with a huge goal from about 40m out with the kick never looking like missing. She copped a knock in the final term but got back up.

#43 Abbie McKay

A consistent performer across the game, not as noticeable as some, but looking carefully she plays a vital role in the contest. She laid a great goal-saving tackle in the third term, but unfortunately for her the ball spilled free and another opponent kicked truly. Nonetheless her effort in the contest was indicative of her desire at the coal face and produced a strong team player game.

#46 Alice Burke

I thought her game was the most noticeable I had seen from her despite having some impressive performances this season. She created good drive off half-back and did a few things that indicated her game sense and footy IQ was high – deft taps or knock ons that advantaged either herself or her teammates for the next possession or contest. She also kicked a great goal when all the momentum was with the Stingrays, nailing a shot inside 50 after drifting down there and putting the Dragons nine points up with five minutes remaining in the match.

#49 Laura Amelung

A damaging game from the versatile utility who does not need a lot of space to hurt her opponents. She has a trademark sidestep that opens up space and only needs a split second to compose herself and zero in on the goals. Amelung showed great vision to be able to pick out teammates in pockets of space, and finished the game with two goals – one on the run from 40m out in the first quarter and another from bouncing on a loose ball in the pocket. She also set up a great goal assist to Jemma Owen in the third term who nailed the shot from 40m out.

#56 Georgia Emberton

Emberton played up forward and I was impressed with her ability to balance between offensive and defensive mindsets. She would find space and become an option for her teammates going forward, but also put pressure on her opponents so they knew they were being hunted inside their defensive 50. Emberton laid a great run down tackle in the first term for a free kick late, then nailed the set shot from a 45 degree angle. She missed the opportunity to make it two later on, marking in front but the set shot just missed. Emberton moved into the midfield late in the game and found a bit of the ball.

Others:

#1 Maddison Wilson: Copped a knock in the first term from a tackle, but got back up to compete at the next contest. She reads the play well and is a clean user of the football, and also clean at ground level.

#2 Winnie Laing: A contested game from Laing, going head-to-head with Eliza Wilson-Macdonald at times through the midfield, she continued to battle and force her way to contests throughout the match.

#25 Isabella Eddey: Kicked a great goal from a snap in the third term to put the Dragons 12 points up. Also had a vital contest backing back into defence in the final term, doing enough to put body contact on Lucinda Cripps to spoil her attempt at a mark, then won the proceeding one-on-one and cleared it out of the danger zone. Zipped around and played her role throughout the game.

#32 Sarah Hartwig: Hartwig provided great drive and kept one of the competition’s key goal-scorers – Samantha Ryan – goalless. She has a great ability to change direction and lay some strong tackles, and also provided a crucial intercept midway through the last term, striding out of defence to clear it to the wing.

#64 Eliza McNamara: Played even more of an inside role on Tuesday than other matches and looked comfortable. She had to earn every possession this round and did so, well. She has a good turning circle and can work her way out of a stoppage, and almost kicked a great goal in the second half after sidestepping a couple, but was dragged down at the last second and the kick fell short.

 

Murray Bushrangers vs. Western Jets 

By: Taylah Melki

Murray: 

#1 Julia Harvey

Harvey was a standout for the Bushrangers, competing hard for the footy and slotting an impressive goal from a tricky angle. She used the footy cleanly and hit her targets. Harvey showcased her fight and desperation for the footy, and took a few really strong marks under heaps of pressure.

#16 Eloise Ashley-Cooper

She was really strong down back and through the middle for the Bushrangers once again. Ashley-Cooper took plenty of strong marks and showed good hustle to win the footy at ground level. She was very clean around the contest and used the footy effectively, showing great awareness with ball in hand.

#17 Rebecca Webster

Webster backed up her impressive form again this week gathering plenty of touches and imposing herself on the contest. She was never far from the footy and was a huge influence on her teammates, imposing herself on the stoppages. She had clean hands in and around the contest and used the footy well. Webster laid plenty of strong tackles and showcased her ability to run and carry with the footy. Not only did she tackle well but she used her strength to burst away from the packs and help set up forward play for her team. She showed great awareness with ball in hand and demonstrated her long penetrating kick, scoring a goal herself in another strong performance for the Bushrangers.

#19 Millie Brown

Brown had a huge first quarter for the Bushrangers. She showcased her class and footy skill nailing two big goals in the opening term and demonstrated good awareness with ball in hand. Brown used her evasive skills to get into damaging positions and used her booming kick to propel her team forward. She also took big grabs throughout the match.

#22 Tamara Smith

Smith showed some good fight and competed hard to win the footy. She was never far from the contest and laid plenty of good strong tackles throughout the match. Smith applied good forward pressure to lock the ball in their forward 50 and used the footy cleanly, hitting targets with pin-point accuracy. In and around stoppages she was really clean and helped to open up the space with her dash.

Others:

#4 Chelsea Knight: Knight showcased her marking ability and competed hard for the footy throughout the match. She ran hard and was not afraid to impose herself on the contest.

#5 Chelsea Hargreaves: Hargreaves took plenty of good intercept marks and had really strong hands under heaps of pressure.

#11 Ada Chessor: Chessor showcased her clean hands around the contest and used her break-away speed to open up the field. Her ability to win the in and under ball allowed her to use skills to burst away from the pack.

#26 Emily Nicholson: Nicholson laid a huge tackle in the third quarter and took a few good intercept marks throughout the match.

#37 Sophie Damon: Damon was really solid down back for the Bushrangers and competed hard at the contest. She laid an impressive smother and helped to propel her team forward multiple times from defence.

#42 Grace Egan: Egan backed up her strong performance last week with another consistent game, taking plenty of strong intercept marks and impressing with her ability to read the flight of the footy and the play of the game.  

#45 Olivia Barber: Barber took plenty of good contested marks and rucked really well for the Bushrangers. She won plenty of the ruck contests and took a strong good grab. Barber nailed an impressive goal in the third quarter.

 

Western: 

#2 Caitlin Gashi

Gashi was a standout for the Jets showcasing her impressive speed and evasive skills. She was very clever with ball in hand and used the footy effectively and efficiently. Her run and carry was important to help propel her team forward and she used her strong kicking ability to set her team up.

#8 Emily Gardner

Gardner was good around the contest and competed hard to win the footy for her team. She was never far from the contest and was not afraid to get involved in the thick of it. She had clean hands and picked up the footy with ease.

#14 Isabella Grant

Grant showed some good dash across the ground and took a few running bounces to try and open up space for her team. She set up plenty of play in the forward 50 and competed hard for the footy at ground level.

#26 Isabella Negri

She took a big mark in the second quarter and competed hard for the ball throughout the whole match. Negri was a key presence up forward for the Jets and used the ball relatively well. Negri was not afraid to go hard at the footy. Her quick release with ball in hand helped her team mates and allowed them to run into space.  

#43 Caitlin Greiser

She was the sole goal-kicker for the Jets bagging three majors. Greiser impressed with her accuracy in front of goal and showed good composure with ball in hand. She moved well across the ground and got herself into damaging positions in order to set up shots at goal. Greiser was a key figure on the ground and looked dangerous in front of goal.

Others:

#19 Olivia Forsythe: Forsythe laid some good strong tackles and used her long penetrating kick to help her team get out of trouble. She showed great awareness and helped to set up some forward play for the Jets.

#21 Maddison-Eve Fenech: She applied some good tackling pressure and fought hard to win the footy.

#40 Sharnie Whiting: She was effective down back for the Jets and had a beautiful long kick which she used to help propel her team forward. She set up play defensively and was able to hit targets on the kick in.

#44 Carle Myors-Moore: She was really strong down back for the Jets and soaked up a lot of pressure from the Bushrangers. She used her long clearing kick to get the ball out of their defensive 50.

 

Northern Knights vs. GWV Rebels 

By: James Halley

Northern: 

#7 Abigail Bennett

She is quite classy in tight and has time when her opposition has none. She has good hands for and can hold her marks when under heavy duress. She is really trustworthy on the last line of defence when needed to mark under pressure. Her ability to play anywhere on the field is a strength.

#14 Jessica Fitzgerald

She seemed to be everywhere in the first quarter. She had a presence on the ground which the Rebels could not contain early on. She kicked an impressive goal late in the third term as she was getting tackled, which shows great composure. 

#24 Alexandra Pronesti

She played as the main target for the Knights in the forward line, presented well and was rewarded for constant hard work in the first quarter with a goal, which she converted from a set shot 20m out. She converted her second from a similar distance moments later, as she stamped her authority on the game. Her hands did not falter as the game went on.

#27 Paije Kearney

She managed to hold her own as a key position back and took impressive marks when the team needed her. She is often the player that her teammates look to when distributing the ball.

Others: 

#3 Nell Morris-Dalton: She has great hands and leads very well.

#10 Phoebe Chisolm: Chisolm displayed her tackling power with a great chase-down tackle in the first term.

#17 Ciara Fitzgerald: She seems a class above with her speed out of the stoppages.

#23 Gabby Newton: Newton was a key interceptor for the Knights in the backline, continuing her form this season.

 

#22 Britney Gutknecht: She is a quality on-baller who disposes the ball well out of the contest. 

 

GWV: 

#15 Tara Jasper

For a backline player, she was able to convert from a long distance after she was a awarded a free and 50m penalty for rough conduct, which illustrates great flexibility for the 18-year-old. Definitely one of the Rebels’ best on the day.

#18 Sophie Van De Heuvel

She snapped through a very nice goal from the boundary which showed great promise as a small forward. Afterwards she showed a bit of character which was good to see, as she brought her team within one point of the Knights in the second term. She was lively throughout the whole game and a real standout for the Rebels.

#23 Sophie Molan

Molan is a very accurate shot for a goal as she converted from 30m out in the second term after being awarded a free kick for holding. She continues to improve as the season goes on, being one of GWV’s most consistent players. Molan was a strong defender early in the season but has made her mark in attack the last few weeks.

#25 Georgia Clarke

Her dash and accurate kicking across half-back was instrumental in attacks for the Rebels. Her pressure on the ball-carrier was immense. She proved this by winning multiple frees. Clarke backed up her best-on-ground efforts last week with another sterling game in defence.

#27 Nyakoat Dojiok

She has really good pace and runs all day up and down the wing. Late in the last quarter she sprinted away and kicked her first goal for the match in a good quarter of forward athleticism. 

 

 

Others: 

#13 Chloe Leonard: She was able to finish nicely in front of goal as she kicked truly for her second-term major.

 

Oakleigh Chargers vs. Geelong Falcons 

Oakleigh:

#2 Mimi Hill

Did some really nice things on the day and was one of the Chargers players who never gave up. At times, she would pick the ball up quickly and kick it out of congestion, displaying her great spatial awareness. She also displayed clean hands throughout the day. Was a key link in the chain for the Chargers throughout the day.

#16 Alana Porter

Has a great long and penetrating kick, which was even executed well on the run. She had great balance to kick the ball well and keep her feet while Geelong players were chasing her down. Had the ability to get and go throughout the whole game to try and hack the ball forward for her side. Took a great in and under mark, laid a goal-saving tackle, and completed a huge run-down tackle to save Geelong running forward. A complete game from her.

#17 Nicola Xenos

Made the clubroom end her own by always getting the ball in that area and hacking it out of congestion off the half-back line. Often marked, and kicked towards the wing to create space. She was proactive in finding other ways to get her team moving forward. In one instance she had the awareness to kick across the ground to allow her team control the footy. Was able to accelerate and kick on the run. Read the game really well.

#32 Chloe O’Malley

Got plenty of the footy on the day. Dug in deep for the side, trying to hold down the fort in defence then presenting herself in one instance in the forward line. Had good agility to evade a tackle at one point and kept trying to surge forward. Constantly went in hard for the footy and when she got it, she had the composure to go back, look for a target and allow her teammates to get into position.

#21 Charlotte Moon

Another commendable performance from Moon, she is a very consistent player. She showed her strength with a good pick-up off the deck while she had a player on her back. She is proving to be very important for Oakleigh. She was one of their better players on the day and seems to be improving as each week goes on.

#70 Peggy-Sue Fennell

In one instance she burst from the last line of defence, cleared the ball from goal-square congestion and took it to the wing. Backed up last week’s solid performance.

 

Others:

#14 Hannah McLaren: Penetrating kick and was getting plenty of the footy in the first quarter. Went off with a head knock towards the end of the term and did not come back on which was a shame. Looked like she was going to have a solid performance.

#11 Bridie Winbanks: Did well in the ruck to minimise Inei’s influence. Kicked the ball nice and high at times to allow her smaller teammates to run onto the ball. Got plenty of air on her kicks.  

#30 Gemma Lagioia: Started the game incredibly well before an unfortunate head clash with Hannah McLaren. Won plenty of the ball and kept it moving in the short time she was out there.

#39 Tayla Nichols: Took a good intercept mark and laid a goal-saving tackle on the last line of defence to prevent a Geelong goal.  

#43 Emily Hastie: Laid an excellent rundown tackle and took a good mark from a defensive kick inside 50.

 

Geelong: 

 

 

#7 Olivia Purcell

Was everywhere throughout the day. Had a good clearance out of the centre and was able to burst through congestion multiple times. Was able to pick up the ball cleanly and it paid dividends when she did it inside 50 and slotted through a goal. Her marking power was remarkable for such a small player. Took a good leap over a player’s back and took a mark with an opponent on her back, showing she could do it all. Was another Falcon who had a wonderful goal sense. She was Geelong’s best player on the day.

#10 Nina Morrison

Displayed electric speed throughout the game. She is such a composed player. Morrison is also a confident player, shown when she ran along the boundary line and kicked a brave snap. She has a good kick off one step, and has one of the most diverse kicks I’ve seen this year. Can kick it high, low, or spear a pass. In one instance, she kicked a low ball into the forward line, as she picked a target rather than just hacking it to the top of the goal square. So good at finding targets and has an innate ability to lower her eyes to control the flow of the game for the Falcons.

#15 Lucy McEvoy

Flexed her muscles against the Chargers. She plucked many marks out of contests and was able to clear the ball, whether it was by giving the ball off or running into space herself. Took a huge contested mark with a contest of players behind her. At one point she had good game sense to cleverly tap the ball in a contest which allowed her to run forward. She displayed good kicking up forward and had a strong presence inside 50. Kicked a nice goal to solidify her dominance. Always knew how to bring her teammates into the game with quick-fire handballs. In one instance, she got a kick away even though she was being tackled.

 

#17 Denby Taylor

Good acceleration. Got heaps of the footy throughout the day. Has a long kick which got Geelong out of trouble deep in defence. Had a great knack to pick up the footy and kick off one step to boot it forward.

#25 Renee Tierney

Kicked four brilliant goals for the day. Always ran into the right spots to run onto the end of some long kicks inside 50. For one of her goals, she read McEvoy’s quick pick-up, grabbed the ball off the deck and snapped it around her body. Kicked a good goal off a free kick with a nice calm run up. Took an excellent pack mark at the top of the square. She was really lively inside 50 throughout the whole game but her influence was especially felt in the third quarter when she kicked two goals. Has a remarkable goal sense.

 Others:

#9 Luka Lesosky-Hay: Had a nice long kick into the forward line and created a couple of forward thrusts. Kicked to the ball beautifully to the perfect spot, the goal square, to allow the small forwards to run onto a loose ball. Kicked a goal herself to polish off a nice day out.

#11 Kaitlyn Haustorfer: In one instance she cleverly tapped the ball under pressure to get it out of the congested stoppage. Laid a great tackle and got straight back up to continue chasing.

#14 Tarryn Love: Great mark and good ability to play on.

#19 Zoe Inei: Nice goal from a free kick, curled it nicely.

#22 Mia Sheppard: Good effort to get the ball, kick it then follow up her kick. Kept her feet well throughout the game.

#30 Emily Allan: Read the play well to get the ball out the back off a big kick inside 50. Kicked a nice goal to finish it off.

Team selection: TAC Cup Girls – Round 4

THERE are plenty of changes for round four of the TAC Cup Girls competition which will be played on Tuesday following the long Easter weekend. With names such as Sophie Van De Heuvel, Rene Caris, Isabella Gietzmann and Paige Buruma among those set to return, the teams are packed to the brim full of talent. As they are scattered across Victoria, it is hoped plenty of spectators will get down to check out the top junior girls football competition in the state.

DANDENONG STINGRAYS vs. SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS 
Round 4 – Tuesday, April 3, 12pm
Robinson Reserve, Doveton

In the opening game of the round, Dandenong Stingrays will take on Sandringham Dragons at Doveton in what could be the match of the round. The Stingrays are still searching for their first win, while the Dragons have one win from three matches, but both sides seem considerably better than their win-loss ratios. The Stingrays have made three changes to the side that fell short against the Geelong Falcons in round two, and are looking quite strong across the pitch.

Stingrays Eloise Allen-Burns, Courtney Jones and Lucinda Cripps will hold down the fort in defence, while Jordyn Allen, Isabella Shannon and inclusion Eliza Wilson-Macdonald will look to take advantage through the middle. The half-forward line of Shelley Heath, Samantha Ryan and Brooke Struylaart looks ominous and will match up well against the Dragons’ half-backs.

Winnie Laing will start on-ball after beginning in defence the last couple of weeks, while Eleanor Brown will look to continue her red-hot form along the wing. Sarah Hartwig is a lynch-pin in defence, while Jasmine Tait, Alice Burke and Abbie McKay are among the other players who have had some good form of late.

Dandenong Stingrays

B: 5. E. Allen-Burns, 51. Z. Hill, 37. J. Lilley
HB: 3. C. Jones, 35. L. Cripps, 12. M. McDonald
C: 46. J.  George, 20. E.  Wilson-Macdonald, 28. T.  Smith
HF: 1. S. Heath, 44. S. Ryan, 29. B. Struylaart
F: 2. S. Stratton, 42. A. O’Sullivan, 31. B. Vernon
R: 45. M. Graham, 26. I. Shannon, 15. J. Allen
Int: 19. B. Borchard, 40. R. Clancy – Dillon, 47. L. Metcalfe, 7. L. O’Connell-Webb

In: L. O’Connell-Webb, J. Lilley, E. Wilson-Macdonald
Out: A. Jordan,  N. Taylor,  G. Hodder

Sandringham Dragons

B: 58. G. Bridges, 24. T. Grasso, 46. A. Burke
HB: 49. L. Amelung, 32. S. Hartwig, 23. C. Bowen
C: 30. E.  Brown, 43. A.  McKay, 5. J.  Tait
HF: 25. I. Eddey, 3. S. Rothfield, 36. J. Owen
F: 31. B. Arnold, 50. H. Bate, 1. M. Wilson
R: 20. A. Dalley, 64. E. McNamara, 2. W. Laing
Int: 48. N. Amiet, 33. M. Denahy Maloney, 56. G. Emberton, 60. G. Strangio

In: T. Grasso, G. Emberton, N. Amiet, C. Bowen
Out: T. Tysoe

BENDIGO PIONEERS vs. EASTERN RANGES
Round 4 – Tuesday, April 3, 1pm
Epsom Huntly Recreation Reserve, Epsom Huntly

The Bendigo Pioneers will be looking to bounce back from two consecutive losses when they welcome the Eastern Ranges to Epsom Huntly on Tuesday. The Ranges are in superb form having not lost a game and will be looking to continue their winning streak in round four. Respective captains, Megan Williamson for the Pioneers, and Emerson Woods and Charlotte Wilson for the Ranges, will lead from the front in the clash to try and get their teams over the line.

While goalkicking forward Sophie Kerridge will be a big loss for the Pioneers, the two sides have made a combined 12 changes meaning there will be plenty of fresh talent out on the park. Kodi Jacques will no doubt continue her strong form through the midfield, while Kate Douglass is a rock in defence. 15 year-old Grace Barton will head straight to full-forward and is one of many bottom-age and 15/16 year-olds fronting up for the Pioneers side. Dayna Kelly-Guthrie will have her work cut out for her in the ruck taking on the in-form Sarah Kendall, while winger Jemma Finning and rover Maddie Baldwin are others who will form a strong Pioneers midfield.

For Eastern, the half-back line of Wilson, Georgia Macpherson and Lauren Szigeti provide plenty of rebound out of defence, while Olivia Meagher will move into the strong midfield group including Woods and Mikala Cann after Meagher played and outstanding match last week. Laura McClelland is the dangerous half-forward, while Paige Buruma is a strong inclusion to an already talented squad. The Ranges have good depth across the park and the game is expected to be quite fast with plenty of nimble, smaller players, while the Ranges height could be a key factor in the game.

Bendigo Pioneers

B: 3. C. Isaac, 32. S. Reilly, 14. O. Taverna
HB: 24. E. Gretgrix, 20. K. Douglass, 25. T. Stewart
C: 11. J.  Finning, 28. M.  Williamson, 21. H.  Spencer
HF: 30. B. Heiden, 8. S. Knoll, 26. L. Newton
F: 27. B. Hards, 7. G. Barton, 1. M. Tupper
R: 9. D. Kelly-Guthrie, 19. K. Jacques, 2. M. Baldwin
Int: A. Bodilly, 15. T. Goodrem, 29. E. Snell, 5. E. Turnbull

In: A. Bodilly, E. Snell, E. Gretgrix, S. Knoll, G. Barton, L. Newton, H. Spencer
Out: E. Cooper,  S. Kerridge ,  T. Coad,  G. Murrell,  M. Ward,  G. Sladden,  I. Gould

Eastern Ranges

B: 18. A. Allsopp, 43. A. Tognazzini, 45. M. Wandin
HB: 37. G. Macpherson, 49. C. Wilson, 48. L. Szigeti
C: 35. B.  Cubitt, 39. O.  Meagher, 8. C.  Delbridge
HF: 6. G. De Angelis, 42. M. Taverna, 38. L. McClelland
F: 47. J. Provan, 28. L. Kelly, 15. J. Torney
R: 46. S. Kendall, 21. M. Cann, 3. E. Woods
Int: 9. P. Buruma, 16. E. Horne, 51. J. McCormick, 41. J. Richardson

In: M. Wandin, J. McCormick, A. Tognazzini, L. Kelly, J. Torney, P. Buruma
Out: M. Kendall, N. Cormack , C. Chamberlain, S. Bowden

MURRAY BUSHRANGERS vs. WESTERN JETS
Round 4 – Tuesday, April 3, 1.45pm
Memorial Oval, Euroa

Both these teams will have a point to prove heading into round four. After a draw last week, the Bushrangers will be going all-out to collect the four points against the Western Jets in their clash at Memorial Oval, Euroa. But for the Jets, they almost knocked off Calder Cannons to claim their first win in the competition, but a last quarter burst by the Cannons saw Calder take the win.

On Tuesday, the Bushrangers head in with another strong side, minus Kate Adams who was among five changes for the home team. With Grace Egan and Eloise Ashley-Cooper providing great support down back, Rebecca Webster the star in midfield, and Sophie Damon, Julia Harvey and Claudia McKimmie providing plenty of firepower up forward, there is no shortage of depth across the team. Small midfielder Tamara Smith has shown some good form this season, as has ruck Olivia Barber who can also turn a game down forward.

For the Jets, they have made at least seven changes with three added to emergencies for their road trip up north. Their key forward combination of Isabella Grant, Cleo Saxon-Jones and Caitlin Greiser will provide plenty of height inside 50, while Isabella Pritchard and Maddison Eve-Fenech have been named as respective half-backs. Last week Elizabeth Georgiostathis was named in our TAC Cup Girls Team of the Week after some great form, while the exciting Kelera Ratu is among the inclusions for Western.

Murray Bushrangers

B: 33. M. Trethowan, 44. M. Eze, 32. N. Watts
HB: 16. E. Ashley-Cooper, 42. G. Egan, 14. A. Duguid
C: 11. A.  Chessor, 17. R.  Webster, 3. P.  Crelley
HF: 19. M. Brown, 5. C. Hargreaves, 1. J. Harvey
F: 8. O. Hall, 37. S. Damon, 36. C. Mckimmie
R: 45. O. Barber, 22. T. Smith, 4. C. Knight
Int: 40. M. Cook, 25. E. Freeman, 23. E. Hibble, 34. E. McPherson

In: C. Hargreaves, M. Cook, E. Hibble, M. Eze, E. Freeman
Out: K. Adams,  T. Verhoeven,  S. Locke,  C. Boschetti,  E. Nicholson

Western Jets

B: 1. M. Gregory, 42. A. Bolt , 26. I. Negri
HB: 21. M. Fenech, 40. S. Whiting, 30. I. Pritchard
C: 22. A.  Chivell, 19. O.  Forsythe, 27. P.  Ozols
HF: 43. C. Greiser, 14. I. Grant, 12. K. O’Keefe
F: 15. H. Bult, 39. C. Saxon-Jones, 2. C. Gashi
R: 25. T. Kolevski, 16. E. Georgiostathis, 8. E. Gardner
Int: 33. L. Basto, 3. A. Lowe, 44. C. Myors-Moore, 20. K. Ratu

In: K. Ratu, K. O’Keefe, A. Bolt , I. Negri, E. Cassar, A. Lowe, M. Gregory, H. Bult, E. Hannett, S. Forbes
Out: L. Spargo, L. Wright, T. Evans, J. Goodman, I. Freeman, K. Rebuffo, M. Daw

GIPPSLAND POWER vs. CALDER CANNONS
Round 4 – Tuesday, April 3, 2.45pm
Morwell Recreation Reserve, Morwell

Heading down the highway on Tuesday, Gippsland Power face the Calder Cannons at home. Gippsland has collected six of a possible eight points in the past two weeks, while Calder won its first game of the season against Western last weekend. A head-to-head between Power star Tyla Hanks and Calder gun Madison Prespakis would be a highlight for spectators.

Gippsland’s form over the past fortnight has unearthed some more depth with defenders Emily Haeusler and Julia Redmond, midfielders Alana Rippon and Ebony Jones, and forwards Nikia Webber, Chandra Abrahams and the versatile ruck/forward/midfielder Jazz Ferguson all impressive of late. The Power have some impressive kicks of the football and they will look to control the tempo and hit-up targets down forward while running all day long.

Calder will look to win the midfield battle with Prespakis, Georgia Patrikios, Grace Dicker and Felicity Theodore among the names rotating through there. Patrikios played her best game for the season last week with a strong performance going forward and kicking a crucial last quarter goal. Down back, Eleanor Cornish and Molly Warburton will provide good support, while up forward, Rose Love and Georgia Marsland are just a couple of four tall targets up front for the Cannons, while Zoe Hardiman will provide the crumbing work at ground level.

Gippsland Power

B: 29. C. Bray, 65. J. Redmond, 17. S. Trewin
HB: 6. E. Haeusler , 45. L. Van Berkel, 49. M. Shaw
C: 1. E.  Jones, 28. T.  Hanks, 30. A.  Rippon
HF: 8. C. Abrahams, 27. N. Webber, 12. M. Fitzsimon
F: 47. E. Cornish , 60. E. Williams, 4. J. Ross
R: 58. A. Dunn, 31. L. Berry, 57. J. Ferguson
Int: 13. H. Andrews, 21. H. Balmer, 2. S. Beaton, 9. T. Whitehead

In: S. Beaton, L. Raymond , S. Symes, T. Whitehead, H. Balmer, E. Cornish
Out: S. Walker,  T. Dower,  M. Van Berkel

Calder Cannons

B: 29. S. Elias, 48. C. Brown, 44. I. McNeill-Wren
HB: 8. E. Vale, 17. E. Cornish, 9. M. Warburton
C: 11. A.  Barba, 23. G.  Dicker, 21. G.  Patrikios
HF: 32. T. Fry , 28. R. Love, 34. Z. Hardiman
F: 49. T. Crook, 15. G. Marsland, 25. A. Magri
R: 18. C. Rendelmann, 2. F. Theodore, 3. M. Prespakis
Int: 4. T. Cook, 37. F. Holloway, 31. K. Petrevski, 35. I. Young

In: H. Cooke, K. Sutton, G. Elarmaly, L. Philippou, G. Marsland, T. Cook
Out: M. Muller, C. Hodgson

OAKLEIGH CHARGERS vs. GEELONG FALCONS
Round 4 – Tuesday, April 4, 2.45pm
Warrawee Park, Oakleigh

Oakleigh Chargers will be able to test themselves against another genuine challenger this week in the Geelong Falcons. The Chargers were well beaten by the Eastern Ranges last week, but managed to show signs later in the game they could compete with the top clubs. Geelong racked up its third week against the Stingrays, but had a real fight on its hands for most of the game.

The Chargers have some really talented ball users through the midfield, with Gemma Lagioia on the wing with Mimi Hill attacking from the other side of the ground. Hannah McLaren and Bridie Winbanks straighten up the side in the key position forward posts, while Nicola Xenos provides some run out of defence with Amber Micallef. The team will be without Katie Lynch this week but could finally see Isabella Gietzmann in action who was due to play last week but did not. Alana Porter, Emily Harley and Charlotte Moon are a strong onball brigade, with Porter having speed to burn.

Looking at Geelong’s side, the versatile Lucy McEvoy has been named in the centre just when you thought the Falcons ominous midfield could not get any stronger. Nina Morrison and Olivia Purcell are among the top midfielders in the competition and they will look to rove to Zoe Inei who has shown good form early in the season. Up forward, Sachi DeGiacomi has become a target, while Samantha Atkins provides great tackling pressure, as does Denby Taylor down back.

Oakleigh Chargers

B: 50. C. Nancarrow, 45. T. Cowan, 17. N. Xenos
HB: 6. T. Johnson, 39. T. Nichols, 26. A. Micallef
C: 2. M.  Hill, 70. P.  Fennell, 30. G.  Lagioia
HF: 29. M. Bertuna, 14. H. McLaren, 43. E. Hastie
F: 33. G. Byrne, 11. B. Winbanks, 18. I. Gietzmann
R: 21. C. Moon, 19. E. Harley, 16. A. Porter
Int: 52. L. Harris, 9. E. Jackson, 15. A. Ling, 32. C. O’Malley

In: E. Hastie, I. Gietzmann, G. Relph, Z. Makris, A. Dyer
Out: A. van Oosterwijck,  K. Lynch

Geelong Falcons

B: 24. S. Dinneen, 23. A. Chapman, 22. M. Sheppard
HB: 11. K. Haustorfer , 21. S. Hungerford, 17. D. Taylor
C: 16. K.  Gleeson, 15. L.  McEvoy, 10. N.  Morrison
HF: 8. S. Atkins, 26. S. DeGiacomi, 9. L. Lesosky-Hay
F: 18. S. Milsome, 25. R. Tierney, 1. E. Vella
R: 19. Z. Inei, 7. O. Purcell, 14. T. Love
Int: 30. E. Allan, 12. J. Devarakonda, 27. E. Lawson, 20. S. Walmsley

In: S. Hungerford, E. Allan Out: P. Sheppard, M. Skinner

NORTHERN KNIGHTS v. GREATER WESTERN VICTORIA REBELS
Round 4 – Tuesday, April 3, 2.45pm
Mill Park Lakes Recreation Reserve, Mill Park

A bolstered GWV Rebels outfit will travel to Mill Park full of confidence after obtaining victory over Bendigo Pioneers – the Rebels’ first for the season. Meanwhile the Knights need no confidence booster, having met every challenge thrown at them thus far. This game is building to be a great contest, as both sides will front up with plenty of stars out on the park.

The midfield battle in particular will be one to watch. The Knights have got Neve O’Connor, Britney Gutknecht, Gabby Newton and Maddy Brancatisano on-ball, while Alyssa Bennett and Mika Suzuki provide the need for speed down back. Nell Morris-Dalton and Alyssa Bannan are strong targets up forward for the Knights, while Jess and Ciara Fitzgerald, and Alex Pronesti are among the made players that can rotate through the forward line. Many are excited to see what Ellie McKenzie can do this week after the 15 year-old was sensational off half-back last weekend.

For the Rebels, Rene Caris comes in for her first game of the season and is named at full-forward, while the talented and classy Sophie Van De Heuvel also returns to the team among five changes. Van De Heuvel joins the in-form pair of Lauren Butler and Sophie Molan on the ball, while Nyakoat Dojiok and Hannah Simpson will provide drive into the forward line. Centre-half back Georgia Clarke will be a leader in defence, while the likes of Isabella Simmons and Nekaela Butler will provide support across the ground coming off the bench.

Northern Knights

B: 1. M. Antypas, 26. E. Clayton, 27. P. Kearney
HB: 7. A. Bennett, 18. S. Sansonetti, 13. M. Suzuki
C: 12. O.  Dikranis, 5. M.  Brancatisano, 2. M.  Jarvis
HF: 17. C. Fitzgerald, 3. N. Morris-Dalton, 14. J. Fitzgerald
F: 8. G. Ceravolo, 6. A. Bannan, 24. A. Pronesti
R: 4. N. O’Connor, 22. B. Gutknecht, 23. G. Newton
Int: 10. P. Chisholm, 21. E. McKenzie, 25. T. Mills, 34. M. Uwland

In: M. Uwland, S. Sansonetti, M. Rodezno, T. Mills
Out: T. Manson

Greater Western Victoria Rebels

B: 34. S. Glover, 26. G. Pidgeon, 14. L. Sykes
HB: 15. T. Jasper, 25. G. Clarke, 7. A. McAuliffe
C: 27. N.  Dojiok, 18. S.  Van De Heuvel, 10. H.  Simpson
HF: 13. C. Leonard, 21. D. Henson, 2. R. Saulitis
F: 9. J. McAuliffe , 35. R. Caris, 22. I. Rustman
R: 43. M. Caris, 16. L. Butler, 23. S. Molan
Int: 6. N. Butler, 11. T. Marra, 19. K. McAloon, 28. I. Simmons

In: K. McAloon, R. Caris, S. Van De Heuvel, T. Heath, M. Caris
Out: K. Harris, E. Bibby, A. Nicholson, E. Wood, I. Robson