Tag: cleo saxon-jones

Jets focus on fast-tracking talent

WESTERN Jets now have a “template” that they can use for their NAB League Girls squads after their success at the AFL Women’s Draft last year. Jets Girls’ senior coach, Zachary Read said the club’s five who were drafted – three straight out of the Jets program and an additional two who were former Jets alumni’s – meant the current playing group have players to look up to who had been in their shoes over the past two years.

“The Jets program’s still kind of in its infancy compared to a number of NAB League programs that have been going for a number of years and we’ve never traditionally been results on-field based, it’s always been about the talent and working with the girls to fast-track them for senior local footy, VFLW and of course making it to the AFLW,” Read said. “We were lucky enough to have three girls drafted out of our program last year, but then you have the other two girls in Caitlin Greiser and Sharni Whiting who played a year at VFL level and then got drafted so, whilst not everyone can go straight into the AFLW, to be able to prepare them for the different levels of footy means the door’s still open.”

Along with Greiser and Whiting who played out seasons with Southern Saints and Williamstown respectively, the Jets saw Elisabeth Georgostathis and Isabella Grant (both Western Bulldogs), and Cleo Saxon-Jones (Richmond) all land on AFL Women’s lists. Read said the players had come back to their roots to speak to the girls at training.

“They’ve all come and visited, so Sharni, Cleo Saxon-Jones who’s at Richmond, and the two Doggies girls have all been back to say g’day to the girls at training,” Read said. “One, it energises the group to see their friends go onto bigger and better things, but it’s the first year that we’ve had a template now that we can say ‘these are the girls that you’ve got to try and emulate their training standards, the way they prepare, how they look after themselves because they’ve got to the area you want to get to’ so I think that has helped us drive our training standards on the field a lot more because now we’ve got that tangible person to reference when our girls are striving to improve.”

While there will be plenty of new faces on the field, there is a change off the field, with new Female Talent Coordinator Alex (Agrotis) taking over from inaugural coordinator, Claudia Davey. It might be a new change, but Read praised both Agrotis and boys’ Talent Coordinator, Luke Williams who had done an “awesome” job over the pre-season.

“Luke who oversees the whole Western Jets program, he’s been awesome supporting the girl’s program whilst also managing the boy’s 16s and boy’s 18s,” Read said. “He’s been really charitable with his time while we did find a coordinator in Alex. “She’s hit the ground running too. “She’s awesome, she just allows the coaches and players to be able to focus on training and improving and setting the standards on the track while she looks after everything in the background.”

Having decided the Jets’ squad early last week following a practice match against Dandenong Stingrays, Read said he was excited about the youth coming through.

“The growth in the western region is super exciting,” he said. “It’s a really large pool that we worked with pre-Christmas. “(We) narrowed it down after heading into the Christmas break and probably had another three or four weeks as a group and finalised it last week and had our team-building camp on the weekend.”

Like a number of clubs, the bottom-age talent coming through is among the first to have played football throughout all their junior years and travelled down a more traditional pathway to their predecessors of years gone by. Read agreed with the statement that there are quite a number of 16-year-olds who are forcing their way onto NAB League Girls lists.

“Yeah, and if you look across the league that seems to be the general feel is that we’ve got the 16s now who are probably the first group who have been able to play at every level which is indicative of the youth girls space,” Read said. “We’ve got a couple of 19-year-olds who haven’t played much footy who have been given the opportunity to come back and a couple coming back from injury, so they got some concessions. “Then we’ve got a good crop of 18 and 17-year-olds, and the top-age 16-year-olds. I think there’s a good balance of talent across all the age levels for sure.”

While the bottom-age talent is impressive, the Jets have also brought in a few 19-year-old talents to help strengthen the program.

“We’ve got Olivia Forsyth who missed all of last year with an ACL,” Read said. “So just little steps as we go. “Every training session we get through she gets better and we’re not rushing her to get best on ground Round 1. “We want her to get back into her footy, and she’s a really good character to have around the group which is why we wanted to give her another crack. “Then we have a couple of code-hoppers from basketball and soccer who have some characteristics that are definitely looking like being able to play at a high level, but again we’re not putting any expectations on them.”

Looking at the top-age group, the standout prospect is key defender, Isabelle Pritchard who has already represented Vic Metro as a bottom-ager at the AFL Women’s Under-18 Championships. Read said there was “something special” about the intercept marking machine, and spectators could see her develop further up the ground after ticking all the boxes at half-back.

“She’s going great guns,” he said. “She’s working really closely with Aasta (O’Connor) in the (AFL Women’s Academy) program. “She did it last year and was in as a bottom-age Metro last year and she’s got something special about her. “She competes, one-on-one, they know she can play really good footy at half-back, but we’ll be looking to give her opportunities as a taller, bigger-bodied midfielder going forward and test her in some other areas. “She’s a great kid, really studious. “It’s one thing we preach at the Jets is that AFLW is not a full-time career so we try and develop them in other areas as well whether it’s casual work, studies, whatever it is they might be doing outside of footy, and she’s one that’s really focused on having a good crack at Year 12 and her footy will flow on from that.”

Another couple of watch are those at bottom-age level with Montana Ham and Charlotte Baskaran already showing signs that they will be talents for years to come. Read said Ham had “shot up two feet” and had a competitiveness like few others, admitting she hated to lose at anything, whether it was a match of football or a game of tic-tac-toe. Baskaran is another who has impressed in the pre-season showing off her “elite skills and decision making”, with the bottom-age player already able to kick on both feet and make few mistakes with her ball use. While those two might be ones for the future, Read said there would be a less reliance on individuals and more on team performance, with speed a key characteristic of the Jets’ game.

“I think we’ll be quick,” he said. “I don’t think we’re overly tall, but if you look at the trend of the NAB League to this point, the ball spends a fair bit of time on the deck, so to have some clean, fleet-footed, almost a mosquito fleet running around, will play into our favour. “But we want to play a pretty tall spine to play around, and we’ve got the players to do that, but I think our asset with definitely be our speed.”

Following the hitout with Dandenong a couple of weeks back, the Jets will play their final practice match this Friday night against Calder Cannons at RAMS Arena. Read said the club had been lucky – “touch wood” – with few injuries over the pre-season, praising his staff for their work in keeping everyone fit and healthy. As for expectations heading into 2020, the Western Jets’ coach said there were none.

“We’re just looking to fast-track the girls for whatever footy lays ahead and I think the key focuses for us were improvement on our skills, just having those elite characteristics at training and on game day,” Read said. “They’ll be our two focuses for the year.”

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.

Saxon-Jones ready for the next step

FOR Western Jets’ Cleo Saxon-Jones, the journey through to the big league has been a bumpy road with plenty of footy action along the way. Despite starting Auskick at a young age like a lot of other Aussie kids, she explored other sporting avenues before ultimately coming back to where it all began.

“I started off at Auskick around five or six when it was the starting age years,” Saxon-Jones said. “Then I went to about Grade 3 and 4, stopped and went to basketball and cricket and played that for a few years and nagged mum and dad for about two years to go back to footy. “They were like ‘oh no it’s too rough’ and then one of my mates from cricket came along and was like ‘come join my club’ so I was nagging mum and dad to join the under 18 girls and I was only 13 at the time then. From Year 8 onwards it was just a build up from there. “Started local and then I think I was invited to a few try-outs for Western Jets and Geelong when it was combined. Got here and then went through the various pathways.”

With a booming kick and height on her side, Saxon-Jones says her aerobic fitness is something she wants to improve on while a big focus is her ability to impact the contest.

‘Definitely my aerobic fitness and some overhead contested marking,” she said. “Just being able to get up there just being able to take a mark and crash packs.”

The talented forward has now found herself playing with the Western Jets for a number of years in the NAB League and TAC Cup, progressing through to Vic Metro in the AFL Women’s Under-18 Championships in both 2018 and 2019 and now playing with Melbourne Uni in the VFL Women’s league.

“I started on the wing in my first year and then was used as a ruck mainly onwards from then,” Saxon-Jones aid. “The last two years I’ve ventured down forward as a full-forward and now playing my game more as a centre half-forward and trying to get a run through the midfield every now and again. “(Vic Metro) was very good. “It was a very high standard, very different to TAC/NAB League. “It was an honour to play with and against some of the best girls in the country and state.”

While playing for Victoria is a massive step in the right direction, Saxon-Jones is ultimately aiming for the AFL Women’s and is sure to push herself if given the opportunity.

“(I’ve dreamed of AFL) probably since I was little,” she said. “We used to go down to the VFL games with dad, used to go to the AFL games with him too. “Then watching them running around it was kind of like I want my time to be able to play. “It’s just gone on from there pretty much.”

Club collaboration the key to AFLW future

FROM a young age, winning is something that is instilled in every competitive sportsperson. But sometimes there is the need for the greater good, and in the case of the women’s football space, the greater good is growing the competition to the point where sustained success at the elite level is guaranteed. To do that, clubs such as Melbourne Uni are collaborating at Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s level to foster the next elite talent that will run around in the AFL Women’s. The competitive edge is not lost on Mugars’ coach Scott Gowans, but for the game to grow in the best possible way, Gowans said the VFLW competition is a pathway to breed talent for the next level either for the affiliate club or for an opposition side.

“I think we did that even before the season,” he said. “We were really big on last year’s group of Melbourne Uni players and doing the right thing by them. So we had chat with Lauren Ahrens and offered her to go to Richmond or St Kilda and try her luck there – she went to the Saints , didn’t work out – and then ended up getting picked up by the Gold Coast and ended up at Essendon. Caitlin Greiser has just been picked up by St Kilda, Hannah Ibrahim at Richmond. “There’s a number of traditional Melbourne Uni girls that we talked about what was best for them, not just what was best for us. “From the perspective of the current list, Katie Angelis and Viv Saad, Airlie Runnalls, people like that, they’re all draftable players. They’re all footballers, maybe not for us because of what we need, but for other clubs definitely. “We share a lot of information with the other clubs as well to help their cases as well because that’s a big part of it, trying to get players drafted.”

Every year Under-18 talents filter into VFLW programs from the mid-point of the season and get some games under their belt in order to present their case to be drafted into the AFLW for the following season. While many clubs ideally would draft those players into their AFLW affiliate, sometimes they do not have a need, but instead those players fill one for another club such as the case of one particular Vic Metro Under 18s player.

Cleo Saxon-Jones that we’ve got is an interesting prospect,” Gowans said. “She’s tall and strong and she probably has just not learnt to use her body to her advantage yet, but for someone that’s 185cm she’s so clean below her knees and we don’t necessarily need a tall forward and we don’t need a ruck. “But where we sit on the spectrum of women’s footy is that it’s really important that we develop Cleo for other clubs, and a couple of the clubs during the year have said ‘can we see Cleo at full-forward’, higher up at centre half-forward – we did that last week on a request – couple of the other players are in similar boats that we’ve played them where other clubs want to see them and I don’t necessarily think it hurts your win-loss, but what it does do is the ball will go back the other way at some stage and we’ll ask someone to have a look at a player in a different position. “I just think it’s a really healthy spot that the competition’s in.”

In some cases, it can also work in the opposite way, with North Melbourne AFLW list manager Rhys Harwood working hard behind the scenes to not only spot the best talent for the Roos, but approach other clubs with Mugars players who might be best suited for a particular AFLW club.

“Yeah Rhys Harwood does that (approaches other clubs to recommend players),” Gowans said. “He promotes our list to other clubs when they ask questions and vice-versa, which is really good as well. “We’ve got the players hearts and interests and at the end of the day we want to see them all drafted, hopefully to North Melbourne but it just can’t happen because of the list spots. “But if they can get drafted somewhere else then you still feel proud to be part of their journey.”

To give an idea of how much women’s football has developed over the past couple of years, Gowans said that now a collaborative approach is in place with clubs working together for the greater good, the competition is becoming increasingly even. When asked if the process was made easier in the women’s space compared to the men’s – where competitive advantage is priority – Gowans said the overall change in the women’s space over the past two years made it possible.

“It’s a great question because I would have said no (that it was not easier than the men’s) in 2017 when I was in Diamond Creek, because it was very competitive from a club point of view, but I think it’s completely changed around now and it’s completely different to the men’s as well which is great,” Gowans said. “At the end of the day we’re all custodians of this game. “Part of our jobs is to win, yep no problem, but it’s also to develop football for beyond 20 years time. “To do that, the only way to do that is to expand quickly and if you’re going to do that, you’ve got to have collaboration with the clubs. I think it’s a really healthy spot and you run on the field with your 23 players and absolutely want to win, but there’s also a piece of everyone’s involvement in the game that says you must do what’s right for the game as well which goes to style of footy and everything like that.”

But North fans should not worry too much, because the list management team has plenty of cards up its sleeve. Another area that has changed in the women’s football space is the recruitment process and role delegation within football clubs. Gowans said coaches were still involved in the recruiting process, but more after the recruitment team had identified players. The North Melbourne coach said he flew up to the AFL Women’s Under-18 Championships to get a first hand look at the next potential stars of the competition, with a special eye on the Tasmanian prospects such as Mia King who the Kangaroos have first access to given their association with the Apple Isle.

“I watch the vision and get the reports from her (King’s) coaches and how she’s going,” Gowans said. “She’s going really well. “I went up to Nationals and watched her. “You have an eye on it but I think if I reflect back when I was at Carlton in Year 1, it was a little different in list management in Graham Burgen was the head of Carlton’s list management and he did a job there that was he had the say on the list, but Damien Keeping, myself, a couple of other people we all had a say in it. “Whereas now I presented how I want to play, the type of players I like and then Rhys Harwood and his team have gone out and found those players to that game plan which I think is a much healthier way to do it because you’re concentrating on what I’m employed for which is to coach. “So that’s really beneficial.”

AFL Women’s Draft Combine: Player Summaries

AFTER the 2019 AFL Women’s Draft Combine list of names were announced earlier in the week, we take a look at each player who was nominated, with a quick summary and link to their profile. Check them out below:

2019 AFLW NAB Draft Combine Nominees

NSW/ACT: [3]

Georgia Garnett (East Coast Eagles)
* Eastern Allies captain, member of the GWS GIANTS Academy and a player from the GIANTS heartland of western Sydney

Eloise Hiller-Stanbrook (Dubbo)
* Tireless ruck who averaged 14 hitouts per game at the AFL Women’s Under-18 Championships

Brenna Tarrant (East Coast Eagles)
* All-Australian in 2019 and a crucial key defender who can move up the ground, also from western Sydney heartland

QUEENSLAND: [8]

Georgia Breward (Coolangatta)+
* Suffered a season-ending injury last year but showed plenty of talent and determination

Isabel Dawes (Maroochydore)
* Classy, smart forward who made All-Australian last year in her middle-age year

Dee Heslop (Yeronga South Brisbane)
* Consistent player who has been reliable in the defensive half and uses the ball well

Tahlia Hickie (Coorparoo)+
* Ruck prospect who played as an over-ager at the championships and performed strongly

Lily Postlethwaite (Maroochydore)
* Dual All-Australian and state captain, super talented midfielder

Taylor Smith (Bond University)+
* Tall target who presented well during the championships up forward, another overage player on the list

Serene Watson (Bond University)
* Another dual All-Australian from Queensland who provided a reliable marking target in the defensive half, repelling opposition attacks time and time again

Tarni White (Coorparoo)
* Returned from an ACL injury to show some promising signs at the championships and has plenty of upside

SOUTH AUSTRALIA: [4]

Montana McKinnon (South Adelaide)
* Dual All-Australian ruck and dual Most Valuable Player (MVP), South Australian and Central Allies captain, South Adelaide premiership player… the list of accolades is unbelievable. Top ruck in the draft crop

Hannah Munyard (South Adelaide)
* Smart user of the footy with elite athletic traits, premiership player at South Adelaide predominantly through the midfield

Madison Newman (West Adelaide)
* One of the top rebounders in the draft crop, an All-Australian in 2019 and consistent as they come

Jaimi Tabb (Woodville-West Torrens)
* Tackling machine who thrives on the contest and has shown a capability to also win the ball on the outside as well

TASMANIA: [1]

Mia King (Launceston)
* Super talented mover through the midfield with burst speed, King won the Eastern Allies’ MVP for the carnival to go with her All-Australian selection. North Melbourne have first priority being Tasmanian

VIC COUNTRY: [10]

Teagan Brett (Murray Bushrangers)
* Small midfielder who came of age in the championships, playing well on the outside and getting the ball from midfield into attack

Millie Brown (Murray Bushrangers)
* Potential Geelong father-daughter selection, Brown was superb across the championships in defence until injury ruled her out of the final game. 2019 All-Australian

Luka Lesosky-Hay (Geelong Falcons)
* Accumulator who just finds the football and works hard into space, a key cog in Geelong Falcons’ midfield with Lucy McEvoy

Lucy McEvoy (Geelong Falcons)
* Hard to even begin with the accolades, but a three-time All-Australian, dual Best and Fairest, premiership captain, Vic Country MVP… just a star and unbelievable leader who has captained for three years at the Falcons

Sophie Molan (GWV Rebels)
* Natural born leader who captained the Rebels this year and is as versatile as they come, can play anywhere and was a 2019 All-Australian

Shanara Notman (Gippsland Power)
* A late bloomer after having last year off, she can play up either end and is strong in the air and very good athletically

Paige Sheppard (Geelong Falcons)
* Raised her draft stocks at the championships with a terrific carnival following on from a consistent year in the NAB League Girls

Brooke Vernon (Dandenong Stingrays)
* One of Dandenong’s best in the NAB League Girls this year, playing as a rebounding defender who is as good in the air as she is at ground level

Nikia Webber (Gippsland Power)
* Tall forward who can also play through the midfield, Webber is an elite kick of the footy, arguably the best in the draft crop with accuracy and penetration

Ella Wood (GWV Rebels)
* Uncompromising midfielder who loves the contested side of footy and relishes winning the hard ball with great courage

VIC METRO: [15]

Alana Barba (Calder Cannons)
* A tackling machine who stood up particularly later in the year, emerging as a genuine draft chance with great defensive pressure

Molly Denahy-Maloney (Sandringham Dragons)
* Athletic ruck who captained Sandringham Dragons this year and held up Vic Metro’s ruck division in 2019

Elisabeth Georgostathis (Western Jets)
* Captain of Western Jets and one who always puts her body on the line, Georgostathis was another who raised her draft stocks at the championships with important moments in big games. Can play anywhere on the field too

Isabella Grant (Western Jets)
* Potential Western Bulldogs father-daughter, she is able to play midfield or forward and can take a grab and hit the scoreboard

Britney Gutknecht (Northern Knights)
* Known for her goalkicking last year, Gutknecht became an inside midfielder this year and was a key player in the Knights’ premiership side

Gemma Lagioia (Oakleigh Chargers)
* Classy user of the football who can play anywhere on the ground, she was able to develop her inside game at the championships to add another string to her bow

Laura McClelland (Eastern Ranges)
* One of only three Vic Metro All-Australians, McClelland can play anywhere on the ground and is strong in the air and capable of kicking terrific goals

Nell Morris-Dalton (Northern Knights)
* One of the most consistent players this season, Morris-Dalton had a massive end to the NAB League Girls season and is so strong one-on-one, particularly in the air

Gabrielle Newton (Northern Knights)
* Dual All-Australian, Northern Knights premiership captain and one who is almost copied and pasted into the best every week, Newton hardly puts a foot wrong and has played literally everywhere on the field from the ruck to all thirds of the ground given her athletic talents

Georgia Patrikios (Calder Cannons)
* Overall MVP of the championships, Patrikios led her Calder side to a grand final and has the best agility of any player in the draft crop. Uses the ball well and is a dual All-Australian too

Marguerite Purcell (Sandringham Dragons)
* Speedy winger who has developed rapidly this year playing for the Dragons and earned a spot on Vic Metro’s list for the championships, holding her own there

Sarah Sansonetti (Northern Knights)
* Reliable defender who stood up in the NAB League Girls Grand Final for Northern and just does the job week-in, week-out

Cleo Saxon-Jones (Western Jets)
* Key forward who is a strong contested mark and powerful set shot at goal, she thrived on one-on-one situations at the championships

Felicity Theodore (Calder Cannons)
* Fierce tackling runner who just works hard all day and attacks the footy and ball carrier with vigour, able to play up either end and provide great defensive pressure

Nicola Xenos (Oakleigh Chargers)
* Talented running defender who uses the ball well off half-back and makes good decisions with ball-in-hand

WESTERN AUSTRALIA: [4]

Sophie McDonald (Claremont)+
* Key defender who repelled opposition attacks and was able to set up attacking plays after some goal-saving moves deep in defence

Emma O’Driscoll (Swan Districts)*
* Did not play up on the Gold Coast, but O’Driscoll is a reliable defender who has good positioning and high level smarts

Roxanne Roux (East Fremantle)
* Exciting key forward who has a massive vertical leap and could become a human highlight reel with her long kicking, goal sense and work rate; another All-Australian

Mim Strom (South Fremantle)
* Really stood out in the ruck as a key player who not only worked well at stoppages, but at ground level and around the ground, providing an impact – 2019 All-Australian too

+Overage player (ie. born 2000)

2019 AFL Women’s Draft Combine invitations announced

FORTY-five players have been invited to the 2019 AFL Women’s NAB Draft Combine, with 25 from Victoria – where eight of the 10 AFL Women’s clubs are based, with Queensland (eight) the next highest. Four players from both South Australia and Western Australia have been invited, as have three from NSW/ACT and one from Tasmania. Among the invitees are five overagers (eligible last year), as well as two father-daughter potential selections in Isabella Grant (Western Bulldogs) and Millie Brown (Geelong). Players who are already pre-listed to clubs such as Gold Coast’s Ellie Hampson, West Coast’s Mikayla Bowen and St Kilda’s Molly McDonald and Isabella Shannon were not included in the invitations.

The combine will be held from October 1-3 to align with the AFL Under-18 National Combine. Western Bulldogs hold the first pick in this year’s AFL Women’s Draft.

Extended content on the invitees will come later in the week.

2019 AFLW NAB Draft Combine Nominees

NSW/ACT: [3]
Georgia Garnett (East Coast Eagles)
Eloise Hiller-Stanbrook (Dubbo)
Brenna Tarrant (East Coast Eagles)

QUEENSLAND: [8]
Georgia Breward (Coolangatta)*
Isabel Dawes (Maroochydore)
Dee Heslop (Yeronga South Brisbane)
Tahlia Hickie (Coorparoo)*
Lily Postlethwaite (Maroochydore)
Taylor Smith (Bond University)*
Serene Watson (Bond University)
Tarni White (Coorparoo)

SOUTH AUSTRALIA: [4]
Montana McKinnon (South Adelaide)
Hannah Munyard (South Adelaide)
Madison Newman (West Adelaide)
Jaimi Tabb (Woodville-West Torrens)

TASMANIA: [1]
Mia King (Launceston)

VIC COUNTRY: [10]
Teagan Brett (Murray Bushrangers)
Millie Brown (Murray Bushrangers)
Luka Lesosky-Hay (Geelong Falcons)
Lucy McEvoy (Geelong Falcons)
Sophie Molan (GWV Rebels)
Shanara Notman (Gippsland Power)
Paige Sheppard (Geelong Falcons)
Brooke Vernon (Dandenong Stingrays)
Nikia Webber (Gippsland Power)
Ella Wood (GWV Rebels)

VIC METRO: [15]
Alana Barba (Calder Cannons)
Molly Denahy-Maloney (Sandringham Dragons)
Elisabeth Georgostathis (Western Jets)
Isabella Grant (Western Jets)
Britney Gutknecht (Northern Knights)
Gemma Lagioia (Oakleigh Chargers)
Laura McClelland (Eastern Ranges)
Nell Morris-Dalton (Northern Knights)
Gabrielle Newton (Northern Knights)
Georgia Patrikios (Calder Cannons)
Marguerite Purcell (Sandringham Dragons)
Sarah Sansonetti (Northern Knights)
Cleo Saxon-Jones (Western Jets)
Felicity Theodore (Calder Cannons)
Nicola Xenos (Oakleigh Chargers)

WESTERN AUSTRALIA: [4]
Sophie McDonald (Claremont)*
Emma O’Driscoll (Swan Districts)*
Roxanne Roux (East Fremantle)
Mim Strom (South Fremantle)

*Overage player (ie. born 2000)

VFLW wrap: Round 12 – Young guns star in the race to finals

ROUND 12 saw a number of big matches take place, with results that could change the course of the competition given the closeness of the ladder at this late stage of the season. Darebin got their third win on the board while Collingwood dealt Richmond their fourth loss in a row with a goal after the siren to win the tight match, keeping the Magpies in top spot on the ladder. Meanwhile, a smattering of young talent put their names in the spotlight with some impressive form following the AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships.

WILLIAMSTOWN 0.0 | 0.0 | 1.1 | 1.2 (8)
ESSENDON 1.0 | 4.4 | 4.5 | 7.5 (47)

GOALS

Williamstown: M. Hope.
Essendon: A. Quigley 2, J. Stassi, F. Frew, M. Collier, S. Audley, S. Wilson.

BEST

Williamstown: M. Williamson, R. Tripodi, J. Thomson, D. Pedersen, N. Wallace, M. Hope
Essendon: A. Quigley, G. Patrikios, M. Collier, S. Audley, S. Nalder, E. Ashley-Cooper

It was a rough day at the office for Williamstown as they were dealt yet another big loss, going down to Essendon in the opening match of the round. With both sides sitting towards the bottom of the ladder the Seagulls were hoping for a better performance, but the Bombers found their form to run home 39 point winners after solid second and fourth quarters. It took the struggling Seagulls almost three quarter to get a goal on the board through Mo Hope, who also collected 19 touches and four tackles, aided by Megan Williamson who also managed 19 touches and eight tackles. Ashlea Melinkas (10 tackles) and Ruby Tripodi (15 disposals) provided valuable backup around the field with the Bombers all but running rampant for much of the game. For Essendon, young gun Georgia Patrikios backed up her phenomenal NAB League form with 20 touches, seven tackles and a behind to be named among the best along with Alex Quigley (two goals, five marks), Shae Audley (22 disposals, nine tackles, one goal) and Simone Nalder (16 disposals, 38 hitouts).

DAREBIN 2.0 | 2.1 | 3.3 | 6.5 (41)
GEELONG 1.0 | 2.1 | 3.1 | 4.1 (25)

GOALS

Darebin: N. Morris-Dalton 2, S. Simpson, L. Arnell, E. McLaughlin, G. Hammond.
Geelong: D. Orr, J. Ivey, R. Webster, L. McEvoy.

BEST

Darebin: L. Arnell, L. Pearce, E. O’Dea, G. Lawson-Tavan, N. Morris-Dalton, S. Simpson
Geelong: D. Taylor, J. Ivey, R. Cranston, R. Webster, R. Caris, D. Orr

The Falcons got another much-needed win on the board on their way up the ladder, capitalising in Lauren Arnell‘s two-hundredth game and getting an important win against the Cats who continued their frustrating post-bye form with another loss. For the most part it was an even match, with neither side able to take control before a stellar final quarter from the Falcons saw them soar to their third victory of the season. In her milestone match, Arnell racked up 17 touches, seven tackles and a goal, while Lauren Pearce was influential with a season-best performance of 39 hitouts and 24 disposals, leading Darebin’s tally for the day. It was a game of inches for Darebin, who found many players doing the little things right with eight players managing five or more tackles, while Northern Knights’ premiership player Nell Morris-Dalton was the only multiple goal kicker with two majors from eight touches and six tackles. For the Cats, Jordan Ivey (19 disposals, 12 tackles, one goal) and Renee Garing (26 disposals, seven marks, six tackles) impressed while Richelle Cranston racked up 11 tackles and 23 disposals.

MELBOURNE UNI 5.3 | 8.3 | 10.6 | 12.9 (81)
CARLTON 0.1 | 1.3 | 4.5 | 5.5 (35)

GOALS

Melbourne Uni: K. Angelis 3, K. Ashmore 3, C. Saxon-Jones 2, S. Abbatangelo, J. Duffin, K. Gillespie-Jones, J. Garner.
Carlton: A. Downie, S. Cubasch, G. Newton, N. Plane, B. Gurr.

BEST

Melbourne Uni: J. Trend, S. Abbatangelo, K. Ebb, K. Gillespie-Jones, K. Angelis, K. Ashmore
Carlton: M. Clifford, S. Wright, A. Downie, C. Bromage, A. Prins, G. Newton

Melbourne Uni bounced back from its Round 11 loss to Collingwood in the best way possible, beating Carlton by 46 points to jump back into the top four. It always looked to be a big game for the Mugars, who kicked five goals to one in the first to stake their claim on the match before extending their lead in every quarter despite every attempt the Blues threw at them to reduce the margin. Maddy Prespakis was among the best for Carlton in an otherwise uneventful match, leading the charge with 18 disposals, five marks and six tackles and well aided by the likes of Alison Downie (23 hitouts, 17 disposals, five tackles, one goal). For Uni, it was a battle of the forwards with Kaitlin Ashmore (17 disposals, six marks, four tackles, three goals), Katie Angelis (10 disposals, three goals) and Cleo Saxon-Jones (two goals) kicking a bag each, well aided by Jenna Bruton (28 disposals, four tackles) and Sophie Abbatangelo (24 disposals, six marks, one goal) who were influential coming down field.

WESTERN BULLDOGS 4.3 | 6.7 | 10.10 | 13.13 (91)
NT THUNDER 0.0 | 2.1 | 2.1 | 2.1 (13)

GOALS

Western Bulldogs: D. Berry 3, M. Sandral 2, M. Ward 2, K. Lamb, T. Dinuccio, B. Lochland, S. Molan, E. Georgostathis, D. Marshall.
NT Thunder: T. Hart-Aluni 2.

BEST

Western Bulldogs: V. Laloifi, D. Berry , B. Lochland, K. Lamb, S. Molan, A. Guest
NT Thunder: S. Armitstead, K. Streader, L. Roberts, T. Hart-Aluni, S. Riley, J. Baird

In a match that all but summed up the inconsistency of Thunder’s season, the Western Bulldogs started strong and finished stronger to record the highest score of the season so far with a 78-point win over NT Thunder. However, Thunder were fortunate to come away with the margin they did, with the Bulldogs missing as many goals as they attempts, with 13 behinds equalling their 13 goals and getting agonisingly close to 100 points. In a hard game it was young gun Tayla Hart-Aluni who picked up the slack in front of goal, putting two on the board in the second to help put her side back in the contest, before the side continued to struggle capitalising in front of goal and going scoreless in the second half. Sophie Armitstead (18 disposals) was among the best for the losing side, aided by Lisa Roberts with 15 touches and six tackles, one of seven players with over five tackles on the board. Kirsty Lamb was influential for the Bulldogs, getting a goal on the board to go with her 27 touches and eight tackles, finding plenty of the ball while also presenting a valuable option through the midfield to create opportunities forward for the Dogs. Deanna Berry (22 disposals, five marks, three goals), Mary Sandraal (two goals) and Mikayla Ward (12 disposals, two goals) were the side’s main goalkickers, while Elisabeth Georgostathis impressed with 16 touches, five tackles and a goal on debut.

RICHMOND 0.3 | 2.3 | 2.3 | 3.4 (22)
COLLINGWOOD 0.3 | 1.5 | 1.7 | 3.8 (26)

GOALS

Richmond: J. Kennedy, S. Frederick, C. Wakefield .
Collingwood: S. Alexander, J. Lambert, M. Cann.

BEST

Richmond: A. Woodward, P. Monahan, K. Dempsey, J. Colwell, S. Marsh, T. Stahl
Collingwood: J. Lambert, S. Alexander, S. Livingstone, B. Davey, S. Lawry, G. Lagioia

In what was ultimately the biggest match of the round, Collingwood found themselves in a sticky situation unable to convert in front of goal, before pulling out a big four-point win in the dying moments with a goal after the siren to Sophie Alexander who kicked true. However while a win to the Pies keeps them atop the ladder for another week, the four-point loss sees the Tigers with their fourth consecutive loss to drop out of the top four, needing some big wins in the coming weeks to return to the top, with teams hot on their heels. Bri Davey had a big impact in her fourth game for the club, racking up 28 touches, four marks and five tackles, while Gemma Lagioia and Jaimee Lambert found plenty of the ball with 20 touches apiece. For Richmond, Alice Edmonds was impressive with 28 hitouts while Sabrina Frederick (15 disposals, one goal) and Alana Woodward (nine disposals, eight tackles) put in the hard yards across the field to deny ball to the Magpies. With plenty of opportunities in front of goal for both sides that went unconverted, both teams will look to pick up their game in the coming weeks regardless of ladder position.

SOUTHERN SAINTS 1.3 | 2.8 | 4.11 | 5.14 (44)
CASEY 0.0 | 0.1 | 1.3 | 2.3 (15)

GOALS

Southern Saints: T. Bohanna 2, C. Jones, M. McDonald, H. Stuart.
Casey: K. Smith, N. Webber.

BEST

Southern Saints: S. Johnson, A. Drennan, D. Guttridge, C. Munn, A. Brown, M. McDonald
Casey: S. Heath, H. Cordner, K. Smith, S. Scott, T. Hanks, B. Jakobsson

It was yet another match with a big margin, however Casey are fortunate to come away with only a 29-point loss given the Southern Saints’ volume of ball inside 50, finding plenty of space and opportunity to go forward to kick goals but ultimately missing majority of their shots. However the Dees also had plenty of opportunities, only trailing inside 50s by six, but failing to head for goal to finish with only five scores on the board to speak of for the match. Samantha Johnson (19 disposals, five tackles) and Alison Drennan (15 disposals, seven tackles) were phenomenal for the Saints, while Jemima Kelly (30 hitouts) was almost unstoppable in the ruck causing plenty of rotation headaches for the Demons. Tara Bohanna was the sole multiple goalkicker with two to her name. Despite a frustrating match, Melbourne AFL Women’s trio Bianca Jakobsson, Lily Mithen and Libby Birch put in the hard yards collecting majority of Casey’s possession, combining for 59 disposals, 15 marks and 15 tackles. Meanwhile, Kate Hore lead the tackle count with eight and 13 touches, along with two behinds.

Draft Central Team of the Week: AFLW U18 Championships – Round 2

AFTER a massive week on the Gold Coast, we at Draft Central have named our Team of the Week for the AFL Women’s Under-18 Championships. For the exercise, the 24-player team does not include form from Round 1 (ie. prior to the Gold Coast matches) and only includes players who played all three matches, therefore a number of middle-agers such as Ellie McKenzie are ineligible having played just the two games as it is such a short tournament. Across the breakdown, Central Allies actually had the most individual standouts with five players named in our Team of the Week, followed by Vic Metro, Vic Country, Queensland and Western Australia all on four, and Eastern Allies on three after even team performances.

BACKS:

Madison Newman (CENTRAL ALLIES) – The rebounding defender had the equal second most rebounds at the carnival and averaged 15.3 disposals and 2.7 marks out of defence.
Shantel Miskin-Ripia (CENTRAL ALLIES) – The NT Thunder defender was far and away the most dominant rebounder, averaging almost seven per game, and was a crucial key in getting the ball out of defence when under siege against other opponents in tight games.
Kitara Whap-Farrar (QUEENSLAND) – Was an excitement machine with X-factor and one of a number of pre-listed AFL Women’s players who stepped up at the carnival, averaging 12.0 disposals and 2.7 tackles per game.

HALF-BACKS:

Ellie Hampson (QUEENSLAND) – The Queensland MVP was a huge ball winner for the home side and was deserving of the honour in a side that failed to win a game. The pre-listed Gold Coast SUNS player averaged 20.3 disposals, 4.0 marks, 4.3 tackles, 3.3 inside 50s and 2.0 rebounds.
Serene Watson (QUEENSLAND) – Another member of the impressive Queensland defence, Watson was crucial in getting the ball out of danger and still winning the footy. She dropped into the hole to intercept and rebound, averaging 14.7 disposals, 3.7 rebounds and 3.7 tackles.
Georgia Patrikios (VIC METRO) – Probably a little cheeky to have the winger here, but Patrikios averaged more than two rebounds per game on her way to having the equal sixth most of any player in the carnival. She played across all three thirds and also averaged 20.7 disposals, 2.3 marks and 5.0 tackles on her way to the overall MVP.

CENTRES:

Sophie Molan (VIC COUNTRY) – The versatile utility was consistent across all three games for Vic Country, averaging 17.0 disposals, 5.7 tackles and 2.0 clearances and earned her spot on the wing in the side.
Lily Postlethwaite (QUEENSLAND) – Backed up her dominant carnival last year with another great effort as a top-ager this year. The Queensland captain averaged 16.0 disposals, 3.3 marks, 2.0 clearances, 2.0 inside 50s and 2.0 tackles.
Lucy McEvoy (VIC COUNTRY) – The Vic Country MVP and Geelong Falcons premiership skipper was a ray of consistency through good and bad, and was the biggest ball winner at the carnival, averaging 21.0 disposals, 3.3 clearances, 2.0 marks and 5.0 tackles whilst booting three goals.

HALF-FORWARDS:

Teah Charlton (CENTRAL ALLIES) – The middle-age forward looms as a top talent for next year after roaming up the ground and causing defensive half headaches for the opposition. She averaged a massive 7.0 tackles to go with her 14.3 disposals, 2.3 marks, 3.3 inside 50s and booted a goal.
Gabby Newton (VIC METRO) – A standout for the Metro side and no doubt a shade behind eventual MVP Georgia Patrikios, standing up in each of the three games with great consistency. Newton averaged 15.7 disposals, 4.0 marks, 4.0 tackles and 3.0 clearances.
Tyanna Smith (VIC COUNTRY) – Another player who is not eligible to be drafted until next year, Smith kept getting better as the championships rolled on, providing dash and hardness between the arcs. She averaged 16.0 disposals, 4.3 inside 50s – ranked equal first – and 6.3 tackles.

FORWARDS:

Olivia Barber (VIC COUNTRY) – Led the overall goalkicking for the week with five majors, proving to be a threat up forward. While the majority came in the opening match, Barber provided a great target in the air and at ground level and worked hard inside 50.
Cleo Saxon-Jones (VIC METRO) – Stepped up as a key target inside 50 for Metro and gave a chop out in the ruck, booting the three goals, but assisting in a number of others and providing a presence in attack.
Roxanne Roux (WESTERN AUSTRALIA) – The high-flying West Australian forward was dominant at her best and still looking dangerous when she was being held. Showed off her leap on the opening day chopping out in the ruck, and continued to present throughout the week with a high ceiling for improvement.

RUCKS:

Montana McKinnon (CENTRAL ALLIES) – The captain and MVP was terrific in the ruck, but she earns the spot for her work around the ground. While Mim Strom had more hitouts, McKinnon took a number of strong grabs throughout the week at crucial times, averaging 11.7 disposals. 3.7 marks and 16.3 hitouts per game.
Mia King (EASTERN ALLIES) – The Tasmanian and vice-captain of the Eastern Allies was one of the most consistent players across the carnival using her burst and ability to do all the defensive things right. King averaged 5.3 clearances – ranked first – as well as 18.0 disposals, 6.7 tackles and 2.3 inside 50s.
Mikayla Bowen (WESTERN AUSTRALIA) – The West Australian leader and pre-listed West Coast player lived up to expectations with a sensational carnival, winning her state’s MVP. She averaged 8.0 tackles and 5.0 clearances per game – ranked second in both – as well as 17.7 disposals.

INT:

Nyra Anderson (WESTERN AUSTRALIA) – Underrated West Australian midfielder who finished the carnival with two big games, averaging 13.3 disposals, 4.0 clearances and 5.0 tackles.
Abby Favell (EASTERN ALLIES) – Murray Bushrangers’ middle-age midfielder who continued her ball-winning form to have an impact in the Eastern Allies’ midfield. She finished with 11.0 disposals, 2.7 marks and 2.7 tackles per game.
Elisabeth Georgostathis (VIC METRO) – Worked hard and stepped up in big moments for Vic Metro, having more impact than her 9.0 disposals per game might suggest, also laying 4.7 tackles and booting the match sealer against Queensland at Southport.
Jayde Hamilton (EASTERN ALLIES) – Another Eastern Allies midfielder who was fierce in her attack on the ball, laying 5.7 tackles per game to go with her 11.3 disposals, 3.3 clearances and 2.7 inside 50s per game.
Mim Strom (WESTERN AUSTRALIA) – The dominant ruck of the carnival who only misses out on the spot due to McKinnon’s dominance around the ground and her MVP achievement. Strom racked up 27.7 hitouts per game – 10 more than her nearest rival – as well as 9.3 disposals and 2.3 tackles.
Jaimi Tabb (CENTRAL ALLIES) – The number one tackler at the carnival, Tabb cracked in and won the hard ball whilst keeping opposition players looking over their shoulders. She laid 8.7 tackles per game to go with her 11.3 disposals.

AFLW U18 National Championships wrap

VIC Metro had an undefeated run in the championships, dominating across the board after coming into the Queensland series with a win over Vic Country. Every other team fought hard at each contest in what was a mostly even carnival played in a variety of conditions. We recap how each side fared and shed light on some of the better performers throughout the competition.

Central Allies (2-1)

Results:
Eastern Allies 4.8 (32) def. by Central Allies 5.6 (36)
Western Australia 5.2 (32) def. Central Allies 1.4 (10)
Queensland 4.5 (29) def. by Central Allies 5.0 (30)

MVP: Montana McKinnon

The Central Allies put up a solid performance at the championships, coming away with close wins over Eastern Allies and Queensland. The only chink in the armour came from Western Australia on the Wednesday, where they struggled to find connections across the field to go down by 22 points. The players who stood up time and time again were the likes of Teah Charlton and Jaimi Tabb who both imposed themselves throughout the Championships with good marking and strong tackling. Montana McKinnon was awarded the MVP for her work across the field, defensive presence and clever use of the footy while Tayla Hart-Aluni provided plenty of excitement with her dash across the ground. Tegan Usher showcased their strength taking some strong grabs throughout the series while using the ball well by foot. There was plenty to like about the Allies who grew as the competition went on finding stronger connections and creating good space to hit each other on the lead.

Eastern Allies (0-3)

Results:
Eastern Allies 4.8 (32) def. by Central Allies 5.6 (36)
Vic Country 6.6 (42) def. Eastern Allies 2.0 (12)
Vic Metro 11.9 (75) def. Eastern Allies 0.3 (3)

MVP: Mia King

Eastern Allies lost each of their three games only kicked six goals, but were competitive in both of their first two matches. Their closest match was their opener against the Central Allies, going down by four points but putting on a solid performance in a game they could well have won given they dominated the last quarter for forward 50 entries, and clearances for the game. The likes of Abby Favell, Mia King and Georgia Garnett were exceptional for Eastern Allies across the week. Favell was solid throughout the Championships going in hard at each and every contest, laying strong tackles and winning her fair share of the ball. Meanwhile King was awarded MVP honours for her efforts across the competition credit to her get in and go mentality and clean hands around the stoppages. Jayde Hamilton worked tirelessly across the matches, while Jordyn Jolliffe also played an imposing role when on the field. Brenna Tarrant was another player who stood out across the tournament.

Queensland (0-3)

Results:
Vic Country 9.7 (61) def. Queensland 3.1 (19)
Queensland 1.5 (11) def. by Vic Metro 4.5 (29)
Queensland 4.5 (29) def. by Central Allies 5.0 (30)

MVP: Ellie Hampson

Similar to Eastern Allies, Queensland failed to put a win on the board from their three matches but were in each of their matches. An inaccurate one point loss to Central Allies was likely the most painful for the side, which had plenty of opportunities to get in front but could not capitalise, whilst they were in the game for three quarters against the undefeated Vic Metro. The Maroons had plenty of talent with the likes of Zimmorlei Farquharson providing an exciting prospect in the forward line with her athleticism, football nous and speed. Every time she went near the ball something electric happened sparking plenty of enthusiasm from the crowd. Meanwhile the likes of Lily Postlethwaite and Isabel Dawes were equally as impressive throughout the Championships. Their class and skill in and around the contest was second to none extracting the ball and using it effectively. Charlotte Hammans also displayed her ball winning abilities throughout the series to have an impact for her side along with Serene Watson who proved to be crucial for Queensland at times. Another key player for Queensland and the MVP was Ellie Hampson who imposed herself at each and every contest using her body well to win the ball and bomb it out of congestion but unfortunately it was not enough to register a win for Queensland.

Vic Country (3-0)

Results:
Vic Country 9.7 (61) def. Queensland 3.1 (19)
Vic Country 6.6 (42) def. Eastern Allies 2.0 (12)
Western Australia 3.5 (23) def. By Vic Country 3.7 (25)

MVP: Lucy McEvoy

Vic Country came away a solid contender in the Championships, notching up three wins with their best, a come-from-behind win on Friday against Western Australia while they racked up a 42-point win against Queensland earlier in the week. Country stood up when challenged backing themselves in the contest and fighting their way out of trouble thanks to the likes of MVP winner Lucy McEvoy who took the game on at every opportunity. The highly skilled player showed her versatility playing in each area of the ground and having a profound impact while the likes of Tyanna Smith and Sophie Molan also worked hard to win the ball. Middle-ager Olivia Barber was exciting for Country who valued her height and versatility throughout the Championships hitting the scoreboard more than once and constantly providing an option inside 50 with her marking strength. Renee Saulitis provided a spark up forward with her dynamic movement and goal sense while Millie Brown was also impressive across the series providing good run and carry off the back half. Shanara Notman had a number of highlights, hitting the scoreboard while Darcy Moloney also worked tirelessly for Vic Country winning the ball and creating forward forays.

Vic Metro (3-0)

Results:
Vic Metro 8.3 (51) def. Western Australia 5.4 (34)
Queensland 1.5 (11) def. by Vic Metro 4.5 (29)
Vic Metro 11.9 (75) def. Eastern Allies 0.3 (3)

MVP: Georgia Patrikios

Vic Metro were by large the most dominant of all the teams in the series, winning their first two matches by solid three-goal margins before posting a dominant 72-point victory over the Eastern Allies on Friday to close out their tournament. They oozed strength and skill across the field making them tough opponents throughout the Championship. Metro have no shortage of ball winners with the likes of Gabby Newton and Georgia Patrikios both able to burrow down and extract the hard ball credit to their clean hands, slick movement and footy awareness. Ellie McKenzie offered plenty of spark with her brute strength and speed to evade would be tacklers and move the ball down the field with ease while the likes of Nell Morris-Dalton and Cleo Saxon-Jones relished the good ball movement from the strong midfield. Morris-Dalton and Saxon-Jones hit the scoreboard more then once throughout Championships thanks to their accuracy in front of goal while Emily Harley also made her presence felt in the forward half. Laura McClelland showed her versatility throughout the series while Felicity Theodore used her speed to create good space for Metro. Alana Barba played her role for Vic Metro while the likes of Gemma Lagioia and Elisabeth Georgostathis bobbed up for patches throughout the Championships to impact the play.

Western Australia (1-2)

Results:
Vic Metro 8.3 (51) def. Western Australia 5.4 (34)
Western Australia 5.2 (32) def. Central Allies 1.4 (10)
Western Australia 3.5 (23) def. By Vic Country 3.7 (25)

MVP: Mikayla Bowen

Western Australia were one of the most exciting sides all week, producing some impressive performances but unfortunately only getting the one win on the board against the Central Allies on Wednesday. Though they put both Vic Metro and Vic Country through their paces, they lacked consistency at times which was ultimately the catalyst for their defeat. WA showed glimpses of brilliance moving the ball with pace and precision down the field but lapses such as the start of their clash with Vic Metro, and the second half against Vic Country cost them from going undefeated this year. In saying that there were plenty of star players for the Black Ducks who proved that they have what it takes to match it with the best and cause headaches for opposition teams. Roxanne Roux left her mark on the Championships taking some huge grabs and putting her body on the line time and time again to win the hard ball. Roux showed great elevation throughout the Championships to contest the ball in the air but also following up her work at ground level. Mim Strom was crucial for WA with her impressive taps and strength in the ruck providing her side with first access to the ball with the likes of MVP winner Mikayla Bowen reaping the rewards of her work. Bowen had an impressive Championship showcasing her clean hands in close while Nyra Anderson dazzled with her pace and tackling intent. Taylor Pescud, Rebecca Viney and Mikayla Morrison all had their moments for Western Australia going in hard when necessary to extract the ball.

Scouting notes: AFLW U18s – Friday, 12 July

ON the final day of the Under-18 Championships we headed down to Bond University. It was a perfect day for footy with the sun shining and not a cloud in sight allowing the action on the field to do all the talking. Vic Metro continued their dominance finishing undefeated while Vic Country and Central Allies both prevailed in their respective tight contests. Taylah Melki was on hand to provide her opinion-based notes on players from each of the six sides.

EASTERN ALLIES v. VIC METRO

Eastern Allies

#9 Jayde Hamilton

Made her presence felt across the ground with her strength and desperation to win the ball at every contest. Stood up in the tackles and used her composure to think her way through defence. Slick hands out of the stoppages to release teammates and used her long clearing kick to try and get the ball out of danger.

#10 Abby Favell

Constantly involved in the contest and working hard to win the ball at the coalface. She showcased her clean hands in close to flick the ball out of the congestion and to a player in space. Applied strong tackling pressure and put her body on the line with her clever shepherds. Favell displayed her strong set of hands taking a heap of contested marks and intercept marks. Impressive passage of play at the start of the fourth quarter with a long booming kick from just outside defensive 50 towards the attacking 50 for Allies. Was arguably one of the best on field for the Allies who struggled to combat the pressure of Vic Metro.

#11 Mia King

Good read of the tap out of the ruck and good intent to win the ball and push it forward. Constantly involved in the play credit to her football smarts and commitment to the footy, putting her body on the line time and time again. Had the ball on a string for majority of the game showcasing her slick hands in close and working her way through traffic to dish the ball out to passing teammates. Came off early in the last term with a suspected knee injury but overall had a solid performance for the Allies who struggled to penetrate through the defence of Vic Metro.

#19 Sophie Phillips

Phillips displayed her intercept marking abilities taking a wealth of marks coming inside 50. She was under constant pressure and showed great composure to think her way through traffic and move the ball down the field.

#20 Brenna Tarrant

Worked tirelessly throughout the match to nullify the influence of the Vic Metro forwards, picking off errant kicks and showcasing her strong set of hands to take mark after mark. Imposed herself on the contest and used her football nous to bang the ball forward and create some type of forward momentum.

#24 Georgia Garnett

Good clearing kick to move the ball out of congestion and down the ground. She had a relatively up and down game emulating the consistency of her team but when she featured she made her presence with her clean hands and intent to move the ball forward.

#25 Tarni Evans

Evans applied good attacking pressure and showcased her goal sense to bomb the ball from outside 50 with the footy dribbling through only for it to be touched on the line registering their first score of the game. She worked hard throughout the game to win possession for her side and went in hard at every contest showcasing her intent.

Vic Metro

#3 Gemma Lagioia

She won plenty of the footy early on using her long clearing kick to pass the mess and move the ball forward to better options. Utilised her evasive skills to zip through players and create space across the field. She found really good space in the third term and highlighted her accuracy by foot, nailing a pass lace out to a teammate inside 50. She had a flying shot at goal picking the ball up off the deck and going for a run but the ball hit the post.

#4 Nicola Xenos

Xenos showcased her footy smarts to cleanly pick the ball up off the ground and go streaming forward, sidestepping her opponents and kicking the first goal of the game. Popped in and out of the game but when she had ball in hand she made the most of it, delivering slick passes and creating forward thrusts for her side.

#14 Laura McClelland

Good intercept mark and showcased good courage to go back with the flight and stand up in a pack. Went in hard at the footy both attacking in the air and at ground level and won her fair share of the footy throughout the match credit to her tenacity. Constantly hitting the packs with good intent and displayed her footy smarts to know when to leave her player and when to stick with them. Switched forward in the second half and made her presence felt, taking a strong pack mark early in third term and turning and slotting her first goal of the game. Huge tackle in the last quarter to claim a holding the ball credit to her strength and attack on the footy while also highlighting her decision making with a clever ball into the middle channel to open up the ground. Took a huge mark with two minutes left in the last quarter at full stretch on a slight angle and banged it through for her second of the match.

#17 Georgia Patrikios

Continued her hot form to break away from the packs and stream forward with a long booming kick just drifting through for a behind. Showcased her slick hands in close and her evasive skills to manoeuvre her way around opponents and find space in the forward 50 time and time again. Patrikios impressed in the third term with a pinpoint pass to Felicity Theodore resulting in a goal credit to her slick hands and intent to take the game on, going for a run and bounce through the forward 50 and opening up space. Patrikios was in everything and impressed, racking up plenty of touches and treasuring possession when she had ball in hand.

#22 Sarah Hartwig

Really strong mark in the second quarter to take it at full flight over the top of a couple of players. She showcased good elevation and football smarts to read the flight of the footy and drop back into the spot. Goal saving mark a couple of steps out from the goal line to top off a solid performance.

#23 Nell Morris-Dalton

Kicked the first goal of the second quarter with four minutes left on the clock credit to her footy smarts to shrug off the would be tackler and step to the side, bending the ball back and nailing an impressive goal. Constantly posed a threat inside the forward 50 with her commanding presence and goal sense.

#26 Gabby Newton

Good read of the ruck tap straight out of the middle to burst through the middle and take it cleanly to bomb the ball forward into their attacking 50. Newton showcased her accuracy in front of goal winning a free kick and making no mistake to score her first major of the game in the opening term. Ran into good space throughout the game and displayed her impressive vision to kick long into the forward 50 to a one on one. Good use of the angles to slice through the ground and open it up to create space and free running for Metro. Brought out the party tricks in the fourth quarter with an over the shoulder handball to a teammate in space while also doing the one percenters well such as tackling and tracking the ball at ground level.

#29 Cleo Saxon-Jones

Imposed herself in the forward 50 taking a strong mark in the opening term and highlighting her impressive kick to nail it between the big sticks. Good tackling pressure to win a holding the ball call in the third quarter. Impressive passage of play in the third quarter with a piercing kick straight through the middle to hit Patrikios on the lead.

#34 Jessica Fitzgerald

Applied plenty of physical pressure early, contesting hard to win the footy at the coalface and using her body to out muscle other players. Showed great intent to push the ball forward and create potential scoring opportunities. Moved into the forward in the last term and made no mistake taking a strong contested mark inside the goal square and slotting her first goal of the match.

WESTERN AUSTRALIA v. VIC COUNTRY

Western Australia

#7 Taylor Pescud

Worked hard at ground level to pick the ball up off the deck and keep the ball moving in the forward 50. She won her fair share of the footy and worked tirelessly throughout the match to win the ball and extract it out of the stoppages.

#8 Rebecca Viney

Worked hard in transition throughout the match to provide options across the ground. She consistently tried to win the footy at stoppages and was cautious with ball in hand to try and hit targets on the lead.

#13 Kia Buckley

Good contested mark in the forward 50 leading up at the footy resulting in a goal. Took a huge mark in the dying minutes of the fourth quarter but was unable to capitalise with the ball tracking to the right.

#17 Mikayla Bowen

Showcased her speed and good vision to go for a run down the wing and propel the ball long inside forward 50 to create scoring opportunities for WA. Showed good intent to try and win the footy time and time again while also highlighting her clean hands off the deck to pick the ball up off the ground with ease. Bowen was constantly involved in the contest, applying strong physical pressure and covering the ground well to have an impact at the contest.

#22 Nyra Anderson

Laid a huge tackle in the second quarter to claim a holding the ball call credit to her impressive athleticism and speed to trap Sophie Molan and bring her to ground. Showed good decision making to think her way through traffic and know when to burst away from packs.

#23 Mikayla Morrison

Good run and carry to break away from the pack and stream forward to slot her first for the game. She showed good spatial awareness to dodge players and keep her composure to lower her eyes and drill the ball through the big sticks.

#29 Roxanne Roux

The bandage on her head did not slow her down, working hard to win the footy both at ground level and in the air. She showcased her long booming kick once again, bombing the ball long down into the forward line. Bodied up well at the contest and got good separation from the tackler to break free and bomb the ball long down the line into the forward 50. Huge fly in the last quarter to get up high and then work hard to bring the ball to ground.

#35 Mim Strom

Kicked the opening goal of the game credit to her goal sense and ability to work her way through traffic and go for home. Showcased her impressive elevation in the ruck getting up high to tap the ball down to her teammates’ advantage, tracking well across the field.

Vic Country

#3 Paige Sheppard

Involved in everything early in the game getting hands to ball and showcasing her evasive skills to sidestep her opponent. She tracked the ball well at ground level to extract the footy and dish it off to a teammate in a better position.

#9 Darcy Moloney

Really built into the game and had an impact in the second half leading up at the footy and using her speed to get into dangerous positions across the ground. She had a shot at goal in the early stages of the third but just missed. Moloney showcased her skill to impact the play and cause havoc with her footy smarts.

#12 Tyanna Smith

Popped up in the third quarter and injected herself into the forward 50 with an impressive goal from about 35 out, slotting it straight through the middle. She showcased her strong hands to take a good grab and made the most of her leading patterns getting into space.

#14 Abbey Chapman

Showed a good ability to read the flight of the ball and cut off WA’s forward forays with multiple intercept marks across the backline. She worked tirelessly down back to win ball and propel it back down the field while also using her physicality to impact the play.

#21 Sophie Molan

Really built into the game and showed her good hands in close to feed the ball out of congestion and into space. Displayed good footy smarts and vision in the fourth quarter to dish off a loopy handball into space and create forward momentum for Country.

#23 Lucy McEvoy

Showcased her sheer strength and understanding to find the ball and use her body effectively to out muscle opponents. Injected herself into the game in the second quarter with a huge tackle to win a holding the ball call. Dropped forward late in the second quarter and offered a good lead up at the footy taking a strong grab and converting from about 20 metres directly in front for Country’s first goal of the game. Continued to show her dominance and ability to pick holes in defence to weave the ball through and hit targets throughout the match. Her marking was second to none, taking big grabs and getting up high to pick off stray kicks.

#24 Isabella Simmons

Good crumbing goal in the third term to pick the ball up off the deck and soccer it through for her first for the afternoon. Really good lead in the forward 50 and took a juggling mark on a tight angle from about 30 out but was unable to convert only registering a behind.

#25 Olivia Barber

Imposed herself early on in the game creating good leads and attacking the footy with strong intent. She displayed her strong hands to take a couple of consecutive marks but struggled to convert registering two behinds in the opening term. Showed good courage to go back with the flight of the ball and put her hands to the test taking some good strong marks across the ground acting as the outlet player for Country. She covered the ground well and ran hard to provide constant leads. She found plenty of opportunities in front of goal with another chance in the fourth but could not capitalise.

#29 Maggie Caris

Imposing figure in the last quarter taking two big grabs in the fourth quarter to stop the quick transition play from WA and allow Country to get re-entries into their forward 50. Was solid in the midfield defensive setup, cutting off WA’s clearing ball to the midfield and drilling it back forward.

QUEENSLAND v. CENTRAL ALLIES

Queensland

#4 Lily Postlethwaite

Showcased her strength and footy smarts to win one on ones and deliver well weighted passes to teammates moving past. Her strong hands were also a key feature of her game taking good marks and competing both in the air and at ground level to win the footy. Good vision to lower her eyes and sight a free player and deliver a bullet-like kick straight to her. Displayed her football nous to work her way through traffic and then make the most of her opportunities with ball in hand using it effectively and cleverly.

#8 Isabel Dawes

Good evasive skills to dodge her way through traffic and shrug off opponents to hit an opponent lace out on the wing. She used her quick hands to work her way through traffic and create space for her teammates. Showed a good burst of speed and footy smarts in the last term to zig-zag through the pack, read the tap out of the ruck and then stream inside 50 to kick long to a contest just outside the goal square.

#16 Ellie Hampson

Good out of the middle bursting away from the pack and using her pace to bang the ball long. Stood up in the tackles using her strength to shrug opponents off and showcased her long booming kick to bang it deep inside 50. Constantly involved in the play and displayed her physical nature taking the game on and moving the ball out of dangerous positions. She showed a never say die attitude, always hunting both the ball and the player.

#19 Zimmorlei Farquharson

Impressed throughout the game with her strong intent and desire to win the footy at every occasion. Won a holding the ball call in the first quarter credit to her strong tackling pressure and kicked it deep inside forward 50 to create a scoring opportunity. Was involved in plenty of contests going in hard and using her speed to weave through traffic. Took a strong contested mark inside the forward 50 but was unable to convert, only managing a behind. Made amends for her earlier miss with a strong take and a relaxed and composed run up to slot her first goal of the game. Good read out of the ruck to rove the pack, having a flying shot at goal but the ball just drifted left. She looked electric every time the ball came near her given her goal sense and dynamic movement.

#20 Charlotte Hammans

Worked her way into the game and made her presence felt across the field with her attacking style of play. She worked tirelessly throughout the match to try and extract the ball in close and then burst away.

#21 Taylor Smith

Stood up in the last term taking a big grab directly in front and converting her first for the afternoon to draw back the margin under pressure. She showcased her strong hands to take the ball above her head and displayed great composure to think her way through the shot and nail it.

#24 Annise Bradfield

Took a strong mark in the goal square credit to her footy smarts and clever body positioning and nailed her first goal of the game at the start of the second quarter.

Central Allies

#5 Shantel Miskin-Ripia

Worked tirelessly down in defence to try and chop off any forward forays from Queensland. Consistently got hands to ball taking a couple of intercept marks and dropping into the holes to regain possession for the Allies. Showcased her long booming kick to move it out of defence and push the ball forward.

#9 Jaimi Tabb

Proved to be hard to stop when on song, making her presence felt in and around the stoppages and flicking the ball out to teammates. She was a real bull and won a couple of clearances to move the ball forward and creating scoring pressure.

#10 Madison Newman

Worked her way into the game, winning plenty of footy in the forward half and working it around to better positions. Showcased her strength around the contest to get the ball out of congestion and move it forward with pace.

#11 Teagan Usher

Good read of the flight of the ball to get into the right spots and take numerous marks throughout the game. she tackled hard and applied good physical pressure to worry her opponents out of the contest. She covered the ground well and worked hard to try and create a contest at every opportunity.

#15 Mattea Breed

Really good overhead to take a strong mark inside forward 50 after a clever lead up at the footy slotting her first goal in the opening term. Took a big contested mark in the goal square and slotted her second goal for the game credit to her accurate kicking style and composure with ball in hand.

#23 Stephanie Williams

Impressive run through the forward 50 into an open goal shrugging off the tackler and getting the Allies on the board midway through the first quarter. Used her body well to take a strong grab near the goal square and then play on taking on the tackler and slotting it through for her second. Showcased her electric speed and attacking flair, soccering the ball off the ground and gaining important metres. Her attack on the ball was second to none hunting the ball and player throughout the match.

#25 Teah Charlton

Won plenty of ball throughout the game, going in hard at the contest and using her quick hands to feed the ball out to teammates. Positioned herself well around the stoppages to read the tap and get hands to ball. Extracted the ball with ease from the contest and showed good composure and footy smarts to take a couple of steps, look inside 50 and then deliver a spearing kick into their attacking 50. Displayed her strong set of hands to take an important mark just inside the centre square and then kick long into the forward 50. She applied good tackling pressure contesting hard at every opportunity.

#26 Montana McKinnon

Displayed her strong hands and defensive mindset to slot into holes and pick off errant kicks that came her way. She was really clean below her knees to pick the ball up off the deck all in one motion and then dish it off to a teammate while getting tackled. Applied good physical pressure to lay a strong tackle and win the ball back for the Allies. Took an impressive mark in the last quarter getting up high and showcasing her aerial ability to bring the ball down in a pack. Really good elevation when in the ruck working hard to direct her taps to her teammates.

#27 Tayla Hart-Aluni

Injected herself into the game early with her quick hands and impressive vision to sight players on the lead and dish off clever passes. Hit a perfect kick late in the first quarter lace out to Breed who slotted a goal. Second efforts were second to none competing both in the air and on the ground working tirelessly to regain possession for Central. Clean hands off the deck to pick the ball up and dish it off to a teammate all in one swooping action.