Tag: daisy pearce

2019/20 AFLW off-season review: Melbourne

THE 2019 AFLW season was an interesting one for the Demons, who found themselves in a difficult conference playing against premiers, Adelaide and flag favourites, North Melbourne, winning four of their seven matches and ultimately would have made finals in the alternate conference. However, the Dees have proved they have consistency over the first three seasons, finishing mid-range on the ladder every season. Melbourne were one of the lucky teams heading out of the 2019 AFL Women’s season, managing to retain a large portion of their lineup while adding some impressive names to the list. Ultimately one of the biggest ins to the side is the return of Daisy Pearce following a season out of the sport with pregnancy, something that will surely bolster the Demons’ already impressive midfield. The addition of Western Bulldogs defender, Libby Birch will kick Melbourne’s defensive pressure up a notch, while the core side sticking together will ensure Melbourne continue their consistency and hopefully go one better in 2020.

With Birch the key cog and retaining Pearce key, the Demon’s had a mostly uneventful off-season, delisting four players and picking up four late picks in the AFL Women’s Draft. Interstaters Jacqueline Parry (Canberra) and Brenna Tarrant (East Coast Eagles) join the side alongside Calder Cannons’ Krstel Petrevski, while Darebin Falcons’ Gabby Colvin will have the chance to prove herself at the top level after three seasons at VFL Women’s. The Dees will also benefit from the addition of Irish recruits, Sinead Goldrick and Niamh McEvoy who join the rookie list for 2020.

OFF-SEASON CHANGES:

IN: Libby Birch (Western Bulldogs), Brenna Tarrant (East Coast Eagles), Gabby Colvin (Darebin Falcons), Krstel Petrevski (Calder Cannons), Jacqueline Parry (Canberra), Shae Sloane (promoted from rookie list to primary), Sinead Goldrick (gaelic), Niamh McEvoy (gaelic)
OUT: Maddy Brancatisano (Richmond), Ashleigh Guest (Western Bulldogs), Cat Phillips (St Kilda), Claudia Whitfort (St Kilda), Jordann Hickey, Talia Radan, Brooke Patterson, Ashleigh Woodland (delisted)

2020 TEAM LIST:

Libby Birch
Gabrielle Colvin
Harriet Cordner
Tegan Cunningham
Meg Downie
Maddison Gay
Madeleine Guerin
Tyla Hanks
Shelley Heath
Kate Hore
Bianca Jakobsson
Ainslie Kemp
Sarah Lampard
Lily Mithen
Aliesha Newman
Elise O’Dea
Jacqueline Parry
Karen Paxman
Daisy Pearce
Lauren Pearce
Krstel Petrevski
Shelley Scott
Casey Sherriff
Shae Sloane
Katherine Smith
Brenna Tarrant
Eden Zanker

Rookies: Chantel Emonson, Sinead Goldrick, Niamh McEvoy

POTENTIAL 2020 SIDE:

B: Meg Downie, Harriet Cordner, Chantel Emonson
HB: Sarah Lampard, Libby Birch, Karen Paxman
C: Elise O’Dea
HF: Maddison Gay, Kate Hore, Shelley Scott
F: Eden Zanker, Tegan Cunningham, Aliesha Newman
R: Lauren Pearce, Lily Mithen, Daisy Pearce
INT: Bianca Jakobsson – Tyla Hanks – Katherine Smith – Maddy Guerin – Ainslie Kemp
EMG: Jacqueline Parry – Shae Sloane – Shelley Heath

DEPTH: Gabby Colvin, Krstel Petrevski, Casey Sherriff, Brenna Tarrant, Sinead Goldrick, Niamh McEvoy

It will likely be difficult for some of the new recruits to break into the 2020 lineup, with the Demons maintaining a number of key combinations across the field. Harriet Cordner proved her dominance defensively last season and with the addition of Birch they could form a real formidable trio down back. Through the midfield, look to key ruck, Lauren Pearce who had a fantastic run in the 2019 season. She followed up her form awarded with the VFL Women’s Lambert-Pearce Medal over the off-season. Pearce’s ability to find co-captains Elise O’Dea and Shelley Scott plays a massive role in making headway down the field, with key ball movers the likes of Lily Mithen and Daisy Pearce able to have an impact both in the air and at ground level, while young gun Tyla Hanks found her form in a similar manner, playing up the ground with ball magnets Aliesha Newman, Eden Zanker and Kate Hore.

Melbourne’s first draft pick in Jacqueline Parry is a relatively unknown quantity with plenty of class traits but will have to fight her way into the side, while the likes of Krstel Petrevski, Gabby Colvin and Brenna Tarrant will also provide good support and try and force their way in.

McClelland leading from the front

A LETTER from the Eastern Ranges kick-started future club captain Laura McClelland’s footy journey, with the club inviting her to come down and try out before blowing staff away and earning herself a spot in the team.

She first picked up a footy when she was eight, inspired by the likes of her brother and best friend, both of whom always had a passion for football.

“My brother played when he was younger,” McClelland said. “I kind of just wanted to be like him so I just got into it from him and one of my best friends was playing and she convinced me to go up to the local club.”

McClelland has a big bag of tricks, able to play anywhere across the field and have an impact credit to her footy nous.

“I don’t really mind (where I play),” McClelland said. “I’ve played a lot forward for Eastern so I think I’ve become adapt to that craft, so I like playing forward. “But I’m also used to the backline from local so either’s fine, there’s no preferred.”

Coming into her top-age year and rewarded with the captaincy, McClelland has taken it all in her stride standing up to the challenge time and time again and backing herself to perform even when under pressure.

“Being captain of Eastern Ranges, obviously there’s a lot more pressure put on you, but it’s just something you have to take with a grain of salt and just push through and lift everyone around you,” she said. “With pressure comes responsibility so you just have to take it on.”

McClelland took her side to the preliminary final this year despite losing a host of top-end talent last year with the captain praising the young side after falling short against the Northern Knights in the final.

“It was exciting,” she said. “But heartbreaking to just lose it in the end. “But they were the top team all year and they probably deserved it but it was a lot of fun and exciting and it was a great opportunity to play like that, probably our best game for the year.”

Despite all the accolades – having made it to the finals, being named in the All-Australian Team and the Vic Metro team – McClelland still has areas she wants to improve on.

“Probably my right foot kicking as I’m a left footer, so just working on that,” McClelland said. “I’d like to work on just my endurance just so I can run out full games and get my marking all right and so I can really showcase what I have to offer.”

The nod in the All-Australian Team was a surprise for the Eastern captain who was flattered to be selected.

“That was an honour,” McClelland. “Don’t think I was really expecting it, but it was a pleasure to be in and to be around all the great players that were playing, it was just an honour.”

When asked to define her favourite football momen,t McClelland could not just cut it down to one with the Ranges captain attributing that winning feeling as one of the most special things about footy.

“I don’t know if I have one particular memory, but just the feeling of being around everyone,” she said. “You know when you’re playing well and everyone around you is playing well, so just being around everyone and getting the win is also awesome.”

Over time, McClelland has witnessed first-hand the evolution of women’s footy, from being one of the first girls to play for the Ranges to the steady growth and expansion of AFLW.

“It’s amazing. I’ve played since I was eight, so how it’s expanded and the growth it’s gone through, it’s amazing and I’m just excited for the new generation of girls to come through and make it even better,” she said.

One of her biggest inspirations throughout her footy journey so far has been none other than Daisy Pearce, with the AFLW Melbourne star paving a way for all future women footballers.

“Daisy Pearce is a phenomenal player, she’s an inspiration to so many young girls and I guess I aspire to be someone like her when I’m older,” she said.

Pearce takes home Lambert-Pearce Medal

DAREBIN Falcons’ ruck Lauren Pearce has claimed the 2019 Lambert-Pearce Medal for the Swisse Wellness VFL Women’s best and fairest player at the competition’s awards night last night. The 26-year-old had a stellar season despite her side being unable to register many wins.

The Melbourne AFLW-listed player became the third Darebin player to win the Lambert-Pearce Medal in the four-year history, following on from former Falcons, Daisy Pearce (2016) and Katie Brennan (2017) as past winners. Brennan herself featured early on the leaderboard, equal second with Tigers’ teammate Monique Conti after eight rounds, just two behind Casey Demons’ Bianca Jakobsson. While Brennan ended up finishing on those eight votes, Conti became Pearce’s – who was on six votes after eight rounds – biggest challenger.

After 13 rounds, Pearce was on 15 votes and lead Melbourne University’s Ash Riddell by three, with Conti and Jakobsson back five. In an unusual quirk at that stage, both Hosking sisters – Jess and Sarah were on identical votes with nine apiece alongside Essendon’s Celia McIntosh and one of the pre-night favourites, Collingwood’s Jaimee Lambert.

Heading into the last two rounds, Pearce held a five-vote gap on Conti with the Falcons’ ruck missing the final couple of matches, while Conti earned votes in both. But to the Falcons’ camp delight, it would not be enough with the dynamo Tiger making up just three of the six votes required to win, allowing Pearce to claim the victory.

Pearce’s win came off the back of five best-on-ground performances, including all four of Darebin’s wins. She picked up a further three votes to take her tally to 18, two clear of Conti, with McIntosh (14), Riddell (12) and Jakobsson (10) next in line. The Hosking sisters and Lambert remained on nine votes at the conclusion of the night.

*Picture credit: VFL.com.au

In other awards:

VFL Women’s Team of the Year

ELEVEN of the 13 VFL Women’s teams were represented in the 2019 Team of the Year, with reigning premiers Hawthorn, and semi-finalists Melbourne University recording a league-high four players each in the 24-player side. Preliminary finalists, Southern Saints had three, the same number as finalists, Richmond, while minor premiers Collingwood, as well as Geelong and Casey Demons both had two apiece. Darebin Falcons, Williamstown, Essendon and Western Bulldogs all had the one player in the Team of the Year, leaving Carlton and Northern Territory Thunder as the only teams without a representative.

Richmond’s Tom Hunter was named the Coach of the Year after an outstanding season, guiding the Tigers to a finals series and earning the senior job at the club when it enters the AFL Women’s competition next season.

Southern Saints’ Olivia Vesely took out the Debbie Lee Medal – the VFL Women’s Rising Star Award. The former Sandringham Dragons’ player was recently pre-listed on St Kilda’s AFL Women’s list for 2020, following on from last year’s winner Jayde Van Dyke who was picked up by Carlton in the AFL Women’s Draft. Other nominees were Geelong’s Amy McDonald, Melbourne Uni’s Kate Angelis and Richmond’s Grace Campbell.

Collingwood’s Jaimee Lambert won the Rohenna Young Medal – VFL Women’s leading goalkicker – for her 21 goals in season 2019.

Western Bulldogs’ Caroline Kilmartin earned the Ann Rulton Award for her volunteer work at the club.

Weekend preview: AFLW – Round 5

WITH three rounds remaining, it is becoming vitally important to come home with four points as conferences are really taking shape.

BRISBANE vs. GEELONG
Saturday, March 2, 4.45pm
Moreton Bay Sports Complex

A battle between the top two sides of Conference B looms as Brisbane meets Geelong for the first time in AFLW, with the 2-2 Cats travel north in hope of pouncing on top spot. The Lions’ greater percentage holds them clear of their weekend opponents for now and barring a draw, we will have an outright leader atop the Conference B standings after this clash. While both sides returned to form with wins last time out, a 7.7 Round 4 scoreline puts the Lions in good stead for this bout given the Cats were held goalless in the second half against Carlton on the same day. Goalsneak Jess Wuetschner has led the way in that department Brisbane, with six goals helping her to equal-second for the competition. As part of more astute defensive unit, Geelong’s Phoebe McWilliams and Mia-Rae Clifford hold the best hauls for their side with three majors each, so this should prove an interesting battle between attack and defence.

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

Last time they met: N/A

CARLTON vs. COLLINGWOOD
Saturday, March 2, 7.10pm
Ikon Park

Traditional rivals Carlton and Collingwood do battle once again at Ikon Park, with the travelling Magpies still searching for an AFLW win against their nemesis, as well as in season 2019. Waywardness cost the Blues in their last outing, but a star-studded forward line boasting the likes of Tayla Harris and Darcy Vescio will hope to bound back into form here. The marking power of Harris will no-doubt be challenged by Magpies netball convert, Ash Brazill, who is second in the competition for intercept possessions (31). Up the other end, Collingwood’s lack of a real target inside forward 50 has been a sore spot, with last week’s score of 27 its highest for the season. If they are to stand a chance in this Conference B clash, the Magpies will need to lock down well in defence and take their chances going the other way.

H2H: Carlton 2 | Collingwood 0 | Draws 0
Venue: Carlton 4-1-2 | Collingwood 0-3-0

Last time they met: Carlton 3.4 (22) defeated Collingwood 2.2 (14) at Ikon Park, Round 1 2018.

In the second time these two teams opened the season, Carlton prevailed once agin in a much tighter, eight-point win over their arch rivals. In a game best remembered for future Rising Star winner Chloe Molloy‘s debut – she had 20 disposals and completely nullified Darcy Vescio in defence – the Blues were more effective inside 50. Captain Brianna Davey amassed 16 disposals, four marks, two clearances, three rebounds and two tackles. Danielle Hardiman (12 touches and three rebounds) was solid, while Gab Pound and former Magpie, Nicola Stevens both amassed 11 touches and four rebounds. For the Magpies, Molloy had six more disposals than any other Pies player and also had four rebounds, while Jaimee Lambert – also making her Collingwood debut – was next best with 14 touches.

GWS GIANTS vs. MELBOURNE
Sunday, March 3, 2.05pm
Blacktown International Sportspark

GWS hosts Melbourne in a game that could prove vital for the Dees’ finals aspirations in Conference A. A much tighter Conference B ladder poises GWS in fourth, identical to their weekend counterparts’ standing, but a big win could propel the Giants into second come the round’s end. The home side will also come in with a bill of confidence having edged out the Magpies for their first win last time out, and will hope to make it two on the trot here. Conversely, Melbourne fought valiantly in a loss to the currently invincible Kangaroos, and a win would put them firmly back into the top two mix. The Dees will look to get back to winning ways after having won consecutively before Round 4, with the likes of Karen Paxman, Lauren Pearce, and Elise O’Dea enjoying terrific seasons through the midfield thus far. Rebecca Beeson is right up there with Paxman and O’Dea in the disposal count, and will look to combine with the class of Alicia Eva to make the engine room battle an even one. The Dees are also usually a healthy scoring side, so look for that to be a feature too.

H2H: GWS GIANTS 1 | Melbourne 1 | Draws 0
Venue: GWS GIANTS 1-3-1 | Melbourne 0-1-0

Last time they met: Melbourne 7.3 (45) defeated GWS GIANTS 6.3 (39) at Casey Fields, Round 1 2018.

Melbourne had to come from behind to get the job done in a thrilling contest against the GIANTS at Casey Fields in the opening round last year. They trailed at every break, but booted three of the last four goals to claim the victory. Daisy Pearce was the top ball winner with 19 disposals, seven clearances and five inside 50s, while Elise O’Dea had 17 as well as five inside . 50s, four rebounds and five tackles. Lily Mithen (15 disposals) and Bianca Jakobsson (14) were other Demons who performed well in the victory. For the GIANTS, Courtney Gum was superb with 17 disposals (12 contested), four clearances, two tackles and two inside 50s, while Alicia Eva and Jacinda Barclay both recorded 14 disposals, with the latter slotting two majors.

NORTH MELBOURNE vs. ADELAIDE
Sunday, March 3, 4.05pm
Avalon Airport Oval

A top of the table clash looms in Conference A as Adelaide looks to join the undefeated North Melbourne on 16 points atop of the ladder. Adelaide are the only other side who can boast a winning run of over three game, with the Crows’ only loss coming in Round 1 by the slimmest of margins on the back of a 1.11 score. Meanwhile, the Kangaroos have proved a powerhouse since entering the competition, with their lowest score thus far a more than respectable 38, coming last round. The Dees proved their biggest challenge by far on that day, with an otherwise average winning margin of almost 31 points. Since Round 1, the Crows have proved to be no slouches in front of goal either, with three scores over 57 points leading to handy victories and a percentage of 168. The goalkicking prowess on either team is easily identified by the fact that new ‘Roo Emma King and Crows forward Stevie-Lee Thompson each lead the goalkicking charts with seven goals apiece. Both sides boast versatile midfields along with their scoring power, with the likes of Ebony Marinoff and Erin Phillips dominating for the Crows with good meterage and a link into forward 50, while Emma Kearney has led superbly from Jamie Stanton, Jenna Bruton, and Jess Duffin for the ‘Roos. The undoubted game of the round, this one should be a belter between two form sides used to winning.

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

Last time they met: N/A

FREMANTLE vs. WESTERN BULLDOGS
Sunday, March 3, 6.05pm
Fremantle Oval

Third plays fifth in this Conference A clash between Fremantle and Western Bulldogs, with both sides coming off Round 4 losses. The 3-1 Dockers hold a superior record to the Dogs, and will be looking to breaking the top two of the conference with a win here. The Bulldogs hold the second-worst percentage of the whole competition, but could move up off the bottom of Conference A with four points and results pending. Both sides possess shining lights up forward, with Katie Brennan an established star of the game and leading the competition for contested marks as a link into forward 50 for the Dogs. Meanwhile, Ebony Antonio has been electric for Freo, leading the way in terms of goals and score involvements. In another key comparison, the home side’s hard-nosed midfield duo of Dana Hooker and Kiara Bowers meets the dynamism of Bulldogs pair Ellie Blackburn and Monique Conti, with their run and carry a crucial piece of the puzzle this fixture throughs up. Either way, this bout will help give the Conference A ladder some shape, and could prove make or break for the Bulldogs.

H2H: Fremantle 0 | Western Bulldogs 2 | Draws 0
Venue: Fremantle 4-3-0 | Western Bulldogs 0-0-0

Last time they met: Western Bulldogs 7.7 (49) defeated Fremantle 3.5 (23) at Whitten Oval, Round 1, 2018.

For the second consecutive year, the Western Bulldogs were all over Fremantle and had no trouble putting them away at Whitten Oval to start what was going to be a memorable year. Fremantle booted three goals to two in the second half, but it was to no avail as they went down by 26 points. Ellie Blackburn was best on ground with 23 disposals, seven marks, three clearances, three inside 50s and three rebounds, while Emma Kearney ably assisted with 18 touches, six marks, seven clearances, four inside 50s and two rebounds. Katie Brennan slotted three goals in the victory, while Brooke Lochland managed one to go with her 13 touches and six marks. For the Dockers, Dana Hooker and Kara Donnellan both had 12 touches but were the only ones into double figures in what was a disappointing game for Dockers fans.

Weekend preview: AFLW – Round 3

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

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

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

Last time they met: N/A
 

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Last time they met: N/A

 

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

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

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

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

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

DRAFT CENTRAL TIPPING

Leaderboard:

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

 

Peter Williams

Chief Editor

Last week: 3

Round 3 selections:

Western Bulldogs
Carlton
Fremantle
Adelaide
Brisbane

 

Taylah Melki

Assistant Chief Editor

Last week: 4

Round 2 selections:

North Melbourne
GWS GIANTS
Fremantle
Adelaide
Brisbane

 

Sophie Taylor

Women’s Football Editor

Last week: 4

Round 3 selections:

North Melbourne
GWS GIANTS
Fremantle
Geelong
Melbourne

 

Michael Alvaro

Men’s Football Editor

Last week: 4

Round 3 selections:

North Melbourne
Carlton
Fremantle
Adelaide
Melbourne

 

Matthew Cocks

Guest Tipster

Last week: 2

Round 3 selections:

North Melbourne
GWS GIANTS
Fremantle
Adelaide
Brisbane

Number Crunching: AFLW – Round 1

THERE are plenty of individual stats to put under the microscope after Round 1 of the Australian Football League Women’s (AFLW) competition, with a handful of players starring on the sheet across multiple lines – including a gun draftee, former rising star, and high-profile tradee.

Adelaide’s Ebony Marinoff was the talk of the town after her round-leading 23 disposal performance in a losing effort against the ‘Dogs. It was an incredible game from the hard-working midfielder, who topped the fantasy charts at 107 points having also laid 11 tackles and spread her load at almost an even 50 per cent between contested and uncontested possessions. Not to be outdone by the former rising star, Geelong’s number one draft pick, Nina Morrison starred in the season-opener to be the equal-second leading disposal winner for the round with 22. The midfielder showed her balance in the craft with 14 contested possessions and six clearances, while also providing her trademark run with three inside 50’s. Meanwhile, Emily Bates and Ally Anderson had 22 disposals each in the Lions’ midfield to match Morrison as they overcame GWS.

Anderson’s 14 contested possessions were enough for equal-second best alongside Morrison, but Melbourne’s Karen Paxman was the boss of the engine room for Round 1, with a whopping 18 contested possessions from her 21 disposals at a rate of 85 per cent. Stepping up in the absence of stalwart, Daisy Pearce, Paxman also earned a round-high nine clearances to lead in the stat from Fremantle’s Dana Hooker (eight) and Adelaide superstar, Erin Phillips (seven). While Paxman and co won the contested ball in spades, a current and a former Magpie won all of their touches in the clinches. Collingwood’s Sarah Dargan (11 disposals) and Kangaroo ruck recruit, Emma King (10 disposals) both had contested possession rates of 100 per cent in impressively gritty displays. Geelong’s Maddy Keryk was the only player bar-Paxman with over 15 disposals to also have had a rate of over 80 per cent contested possessions. On the other end of the scale, Bates and new-Roo Jess Duffin won the most uncontested ball with 13 apiece, with Duffin’s teammate, Emma Kearney working in tandem for her tally of 10 – matched by GWS draftee Alyce Parker on debut.

The Fremantle duo of Hooker and Kiara Bowers topped the tackle count with 12 each as they put the clamps on Melbourne, with Hooker’s hard work also translating to ball-winning as she had 15 disposals. But it was again the efforts of Marinoff which attracted the headlines, as the premiership Crow laid 11 tackles to bring her career tally to 169 – the only AFLW player to have cracked the ton at the time of writing. Despite all that, Marinoff was amazingly still down on her 2018 tackle average of 11.7. In a sign of things to come, Morrison (eight tackles) was also not far behind as the teenager with the highest count.

Moving from the ground to the air, Lauren Spark reeled in the most marks with her effort of 11 – finding space well to have 13 kicks amongst her 14 disposals (nine uncontested). Spark’s Bulldogs teammate, Ellie Blackburn had six but was narrowly beaten out to second-best honours by Duffin’s seven. She may have only had three, but Carlton’s dynamic forward star, Tayla Harris took an absolute screamer to claim mark of the round. Melbourne’s Lauren Pearce dominated the air in a different fashion with her round-high of 32 hit-outs, while Giant, Erin McKinnon won 31 taps. Carlton’s tall duo of Breann Moody and Alison Downie combined for 29 against the otherwise dominant King in their loss to the ‘Roos.

Brisbane goalsneak Jess Wuetschner bagged the highest goal tally for the week, booting three of the Lions’ four goals as seven others claimed hauls of two. Amongst the group of multiple goal kickers was returning Bulldog gun, Katie Brennan – who came up clutch for her side – as well as arguably the player of the round, King. The worst offenders in front of goal collectively were the Crows with 1.11, however Phillips was the only player in that game to miss more than once. She was not alone though as eight others registered multiple behinds in their respective outings – four of them from the Kangaroos/Carlton game.

Weekend wash-up: AFLW – Round 1

WITH a new look 10 team competition, Round 1 of AFL Women’s 2019 was set to be a cracker. Two new sides in North Melbourne Tasmanian Kangaroos and Geelong Cats took the field for the first time in AFLW history, both nabbing a historic win to start the season. Four of the five games were down to the wire, with less than five points margin at the final siren. Only the Kangaroos managed to pull away for a dominant win, with resilient Geelong and Fremantle sides coming from behind to win their respective matches.

 

Geelong 3.6 (24) defeated Collingwood 3.5 (23)
By: Taylah Melki

In a Round 1 thriller it came down to the wire with Geelong sealing the deal with a one-point victory over Collingwood, who are yet to win a first round match in the AFLW. The Magpies dominated the first quarter of play but Geelong fought back hard to take ascendancy going into the half time break. But the fight did not stop there with Collingwood coming back hard to fall agonisingly short come the final siren.

In their inaugural match, Geelong showed they have plenty of stars with the likes of number one draft pick, Nina Morrison tearing up the field. The youngster left her mark on the game with her silky skills, brute force to shrug off tackles and clean hands in traffic to hit up teammates. Other draftees such as Olivia Purcell, Denby Taylor and Sophie Van De Heuvel also showed their worth getting involved in the play. Darebin VFLW star, Meghan McDonald dominated down back taking a heap of marks and stopping the attacking flow of Collingwood with her clever positioning, strong overhead marks and quick recovery making her an integral player in the Cats lineup. Up the other end in the absence of Phoebe McWilliams, Madeleine Boyd made history nailing Geelong’s first goal. The former Melbourne and GWS GIANTS player made her presence felt up forward scoring two goals and getting her hands to plenty of the ball, giving Geelong fans plenty to cheer about.

With a host of stars gone, Collingwood proved they have plenty of depth and are versatile when it comes to positioning with the likes of Cecilia McIntosh moving into a more attacking forward role. But it was the likes of Ash Brazill and Jaimee Lambert that dominated across the field for the Pies. Brazill showed her extreme athleticism with her impressive vertical leap and good sidestep to work her way through traffic and deliver the ball to a teammate. Lambert sent scares through the Collingwood camp after going down with what seemed to be a leg injury, to only return and score an impressive dribble goal to keep the Pies in the game. Youngsters, Jordyn Allen and Mikala Cann also did their part, while the likes of code-crosser Sharni Layton worked well in the ruck. Sophie Alexander looked ominous up forward scoring 1.2 in the opening quarter but suffered a concussion later in the match.

 

Adelaide 1.11 (17) defeated by Western Bulldogs 2.6 (18)
By: Taylah Melki

In another close encounter it was the Western Bulldogs that came away with a one point victory over Adelaide. It is the first time two premiers have gone head-to-head in AFLW history and the match up did not disappoint with it all coming down to the final minutes of the game. The Crows had plenty of the play, but inaccuracy ultimately cost them game, with players unable to capitalise on their opportunities.

Bulldogs captain, Katie Brennan made her presence felt up forward slotting the only two majors for her side. While the likes of Ellie Blackburn starred once again getting her hands on the ball and using her elite skill to move the ball cleanly and quickly through traffic. Blackburn proved she is a real force to be reckoned with, highlighting her dash and general football smarts to hit Brennan up in the goal square with a perfectly weighted kick. Hannah Scott also dominated across the field for the Dogs racking up plenty of marks and using her clever kicks to try and alleviate pressure.

Tackling machine, Ebony Marinoff once again starred for Adelaide going in hard and laying a whopping 11 tackles for the match. Marinoff also accumulated plenty of touches thanks to her clean hands and hard work to go in and win the footy at the contest. Youngster, Eloise Jones showed plenty of courage going back with flight of the ball and taking an impressive mark while also highlighting her footy smarts trying to set up a chance at goal for her teammate.  In her debut match, Chloe Scheer also had her moments of brilliance nailing the Crows only major and showed she has good goal sense attacking the goal face on multiple occasions and taking some impressive marks in the forward 50. Veteran, Erin Phillips also starred thanks to her good hands in close and ability to open up space.

 

North Melbourne 7.10 (52) defeated Carlton 2.4 (16)
By: Carly McClen

The Kangaroos introduced themselves into the competition head on and with force, prevailing to start the second half of round 1 on Sunday, with a dominating 36-point win over the Carlton Blues. It was an ominous memo for every club in the competition, stating that the Roos are a gelled and composed outfit and have made capital of their pre season.

The great start by the Roos was a skilled show of star-studded players who came together, showed mutual respect, made the most of opportunities and played their individual roles. They followed process without dropping off throughout the four quarters and they got results. To win games, you have to kick goals. For Carlton, having Brianna Davey in the forward line meant that she wasn’t around the ball, getting it into the forward line and assisting her team to more inside 50 possessions. Carlton’s star players appeared to go missing throughout the game, reappearing for solid patches but unable to cement any scoring opportunities.

Although the Blues won the hit-outs, the North Melbourne midfielders were winning the possessions, providing the run and carry while haggling and stopping the Blues from penetrating and playing their game. The Blues got pushed under the ball, lacked structure and didn’t appear to have time to lower their eyes to hit targets, largely due to the relentless pressure from the Kangaroos. Ex-Collingwood player Emma King dominated in the Kangaroos colours and was likely the best on ground in her role as a versatile ruck playing forward, kicking two goals, tackling and taking marks. Another ex-Pie, Jasmine Garner also had a great day out, collecting 17 disposals and a goal in her first outing as a Kangaroo. 

Though Roos captain, Emma Kearney was tagged for the game, she collected a solid 18 disposals for her first game out of Bulldogs colours. The evenness and the spread of the side without reliance on their captain to dominate makes them a real threat to the competition in 2019. North Melbourne coach, Scott Gowans appears to be admired and well respected by his newly formed playing group. He was happy to enjoy some celebration post debut, but keen to get back to business and focus on the next encounter, the GWS GIANTS, for the quick turnaround Friday night match.

 

Melbourne 8.7 (55) defeated by Fremantle 9.5 (59)
By: Peter Williams

Fremantle claimed its first AFL Women’s interstate win over Melbourne in scorching temperatures at Casey Fields yesterday. With the maximum heat reaching more than 38 degrees, both sides took advantage of their respective change rooms at each break. The Demons kicked the first two goals of the game, before Fremantle – led by teenager Sabreena Duffy, booted the last three goals of the quarter to take the lead at quarter time. Just to show it was not a once-off, Fremantle piled on another three goals to one, opening up a 20-point lead by the main break.

It did not take long for a different, more direct Melbourne side to come out in the second half, as they banged home five goals to zero – including three in two minutes. Tegan Cunningham was rewarded for her hard running inside 50 with a perfect snap from the tightest of angles, Eden Zanker also snapped truly off a step, while Maddison Gay ran into an open goal for the easiest of six-pointers. By that stage they lead by eight, and when Bianca Jakobsson slotted home the side’s final major of the term, Melbourne fans found themselves 14 points in front.

Against the odds, the West Australian side showed they had plenty of fight left, with tackling machine, Kiara Bowers booting a goal on debut in the sixth minute to draw within eight points. When Ashley Sharp found the big sticks for the second time, Fremantle were just two points adrift midway through the final term. A minute later, Gemma Houghton booted what would be the match winning goal as Melbourne struggled with the breeze to get it out of the defensive 50 in the dying stages, allowing the Dockers to hold on to a terrific four-point win.

Despite the loss, Melbourne had plenty of big ball winners in the absence of Daisy Pearce, as Karen Paxman (21 disposals), Lily Mithen (18) and Elise O’Dea (17) all got amongst it. Zanker and Cunningham were dangerous up forward, but it was the speed and dare of the Dockers that got them over the line. Dana Hooker (15 disposals and 12 tackles) was a standout, as was Bowers who had 13 disposals and 12 tackles, as well as a goal. Ebony Antonio (14 disposals and a goal) and Melissa Caulfield (12 disposals, three marks and a goal).

 

Brisbane Lions 4.5 (29) defeated GWS GIANTS 4.3 (27)
By: Brandon Hutchinson

Capping off Round 1 of the AFL Women’s third season, fans bared witness to another tight finish with the Lions winning over the GIANTS at home. In the first half, however the Lions were a different side. They struggled to capitalise on their opportunities and failed to penetrate the GIANTS’ defence. Come the third term, the game flipped as Brisbane kicked three consecutive goals with Jess Wuetschner at the helm. The GIANTS attempted a comeback in the fourth, but could not free the ball in the dying minutes.

Lions star, Emily Bates impressed with a strong 22 disposals, two marks and four tackles. She showed great awareness and delivered effectively (77 per cent). Alexandra Anderson also picked up 22 possessions, exhibiting her talents more in her contested work, earning four marks and a game-high seven tackles. Up forward, Sabrina Frederick-Traub and Wuetschner led the charge. Frederick-Traub’s goal in the third secured the lead which won them the game, while Wuetschner kicked the remaining three with unmatched goal sense.

The GIANTS had stars in Cora Staunton, Alyce Parker and Rebecca Beeson. Parker and Beeson both picked up 18 disposals at 72 and 78 per cent efficiency respectively, with Parker also taking four marks and landing three tackles. Staunton remained a pillar up forward, kicking two goals with 14 disposals, two marks and two tackles. She did her best to keep her team in it, but alone could not withstand Brisbane’s pressure.

Weekend preview: AFLW – Round 1

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

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

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

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

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

Last time they met: N/A

Fun facts:

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fun facts:

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

 

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

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

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

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

Last time they met: N/A

Fun facts:

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fun facts:

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fun facts:

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

AFLW season previews: Melbourne

THE Demons have been one of the stronger sides in the AFLW during the past two seasons. But with a big loss of players in the off-season, we will see a new-look Melbourne outfit on the park in 2019. Perhaps the biggest loss of the season was losing star midfielder, Daisy Pearce, which will undoubtedly challenge Mick Stinear to change his game plan heading into 2019.

Last season: 3rd – four wins, three losses.

Changes:

In: Maddison Gay, Talia Radan, Tyla Hanks, Madeline Brancatisano, Jordann Hickey, Shelley Heath, Chantel Emonson, Shae Sloane, Casey Sherriff, Ashleigh Woodland

Out: Richelle Cranston, Melissa Hickey, Erin Hoare, Anna Teague, Jasmine Grierson, Emma Humphries, Laura Duryea, Maddie Shevlin, Alyssa Mifsud

Melbourne’s list changes have seem to go under the radar compared to the likes of the Collingwood and Brisbane lists. Geelong caused the most havoc to the Melbourne line-up, taking Richelle Cranston, Melissa Hickey, Erin Hoare and Anna Teague to Kardinia Park. The other expansion team, North Melbourne took two Tasmanian natives in Jasmine Grierson and Emma Humphries, leaving a gap in Melbourne’s defence. However, the Dees have covered this quite well with the recruitment of Talia Radan and Shelley Heath, who are handy defenders who can run or play on a key player. They have also boosted their midfield stocks with the loss of Pearce and Cranston, recruiting Under-18 representatives, Tyla Hanks and Madeline Brancatisano, who are two midfielders with great agility.

Area of strength: Midfield

Melbourne’s midfield has always been one of the strongest in the competition, but they will be without Daisy Pearce and Richelle Cranston this season. A recruit who has not been talked about much is Maddison Gay from the Blues. Gay was voted the Best First Year player when she was Carlton, and is a smart midfielder who is clever with the ball in hand. She should help to assist Elise O’Dea and Karen Paxman, who have always been consistent in the middle of the ground for the Dees. Add in Brancatisano and Hanks, and Melbourne has a good core group of midfielders. Katherine Smith and Kate Hore are also set for a good season after finding some consistency for the Casey Demons in the VFLW season.

Area of weakness: Forward line

The Demons are lacking some numbers in the forward line. While they boast the likes of Tegan Cunningham and Aliesha Newman, the list does not go much further than that. Jordann Hickey is a crucial pick-up for the Dees to rectify this issue. She will be a key target up forward thanks to her solid hands and accurate kick. Eden Zanker should be set for a good year as well, finding some form in the Casey Demons VFLW side, but she was starved of opportunity last year, so she will also be pretty new to the AFLW environment.

Players to watch:

Tyla Hanks

Tyla Hanks has made the All-Australian Under 18s side two years in a row and is a force to be reckoned with in the midfield. On the inside, she is sharp with her hands and can clear congestion with her forceful kicking. She co-captained the Gippsland Power in the TAC Cup Girls competition, so is no stranger to being an on-field leader. Hanks can also float up forward and make an impact to steady the ship for her team, highlighting her ability to be versatile in a Melbourne line-up that lacks forward depth.

Jordann Hickey

Originally from Alice Springs, Hickey made her mark on the 2018 VFLW season with 14 goals for the NT Thunder. From her 14 games, she also averaged 8.25 disposals per game, with her season-high coming against Richmond, where she racked up 16 disposals and also kicked two goals. Hickey managed to kick goals in seven of her games for the Thunder, showing great consistency across the season. She fought hard inside 50 and provides a tall target, which will be pivotal for the Demons.

Eden Zanker

Zanker got to play some consistent football again for the Casey Demons in the VFLW, after only playing three games for the Demons in the AFLW last year. She kicked nine goals from her 14 games with Casey and was named in the best four times. Zanker has a calm run-up and a precise kick, and is also great at winning the ball inside 50. She was the Demons’ first selection in the 2017 draft so Melbourne will have high hopes for her to show why she was selected so high in the draft.

2019 prediction: 4th in Conference A

Despite a strong midfield, the Demons could struggle in their 50s, making for a difficult run in a difficult conference. However, they could get off to a good start with Fremantle and Collingwood looming as their first opponents of the season. It then gets a whole lot harder with Brisbane, North Melbourne and Greater Western Sydney (GWS) to come. When the Demons’ defence comes up against a powerful forward line like North Melbourne’s, and their forwards go head-to-head against Brisbane’s A-grade defenders, it could spell trouble for them.

2019 Melbourne AFLW Fixture

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Casey FieldsRound 1
Victoria ParkRound 2
Hickey ParkRound 3
Casey FieldsRound 4
Blacktown International SportsparkRound 5
Marvel StadiumRound 6
Casey FieldsRound 7

Young guns shine in AFLW practice matches

FOOTY is back and it was welcomed by five AFL Women’s practice games on Saturday, which allowed fans to witness how teams were shaping up ahead of the AFLW’s season. While the results were secondary, there were plenty of eye-catching moments across the country with three games in Victoria, one in Queensland and one in the Northern Territory.

We take a look at how each game went down:

 

GWS GIANTS 3.1 | 5.3 | 9.6 | 11.9 (75)
BRISBANE 1.1 | 2.3 | 3.3 | 4.4 (16)

Layshon Park, Brisbane

GOALS:

GWS: Schmidt 3, Staunton 3, Bonner, Zreika, Gisu, Collier, Bennetts,
Brisbane: Wuetschner, McCarthy, Frederick-Traub, Dowrick.

Club wraps:

GIANTS thump Lions in AFLW practice match

Key points:

1 GWS could be the dark horse of season 2019

GWS could end up being a sneaky chance for the flag in 2019 if their form in the pre-season is anything to go by. Sliding up the radar perfectly and with no Phoebe McWilliams for the upcoming season, the GIANTS went about their business in terrific fashion, manufacturing goals from multiple sources, with Aimee Schmidt and Cora Staunton booting three apiece.

2 Brisbane take long-term approach

We have seen first hand the embarrassment of riches that Brisbane has at its disposal in Queensland, albeit having to share the youngsters once the Gold Coast side enters the competition in 12 months. On the weekend there was the likes of McKenzie Dowrick – who booted a goal on debut – and fellow All Australian, Lauren Bella who started in the ruck going up against another All Australian, but that at senior level in Erin McKinnon. A terrific showing of faith from coach, Craig Starcevich.

3 Cross-coders are as impressive as ever

You need not look far, but the likes of Taylah Davies, a former GWS GIANTS netballer was really strong in the air and looked at home with the oblong ball. With Staunton already showing the success of international recruits to the game, it will be great to see how many of the former netballers, basketballers and other sporting stars, can have an impact in season 2019.

 

GEELONG 0.1 | 3.3 | 6.3 | 7.4 (46)
CARLTON 2.0 | 3.1 | 5.1 | 7.2 (44)

Ikon Park, Carlton North

GOALS:

Geelong: McWilliams 4, Ivey, Clifford, Darby.
Carlton: Davey 4, Plane 2, Audley.

Club wraps:

Cats record impressive two-point win
Blues show plenty of promise

Key points:

1 Brianna Davey is a star

In case anyone had forgotten what the Carlton captain was capable of, the star midfielder who missed the bulk of the 2018 season played forward and was a standout. She booted four goals across the game and was a lively target, shaping as a third option outside of dynamo, Darcy Vescio and tall timber, Tayla Harris inside 50 for the Blues.

2 Phoebe McWilliams will cause serious headaches

Much like Davey, McWilliams is as damaging at ground level as she is in the air, and she showed it in her first game in the blue and white hoops. Since crossing from the GWS GIANTS in the off-season, McWilliams enjoyed a VFL Women’s premiership with Hawthorn, ironically against her new teammates. She fitted in well and looms as a potential leading goal kicker now the midfield kicking to her has some serious depth.

3 Madison Prespakis and Nina Morrison showing what the fuss is about

We have promoted their abilities for the past 12 months, but Madison Prespakis and Nina Morrison let their football do the talking in the match at Ikon Park. Prespakis was judged one of the best on-field, copping a hit and bouncing back, while Morrison was exciting and enjoyed a win with her new teammates. Prespakis and Morrison could be the AFL Women’s equivalent debate of Marcus Bontempelli and Patrick Cripps – both stars in their own way and huge futures for their respective clubs.

 

MELBOURNE 0.0 | 2.3 | 2.5 | 4.10 (34)
NORTH MELBOURNE 1.1 | 1.2 | 7.2 | 9.2 (56)

Casey Fields, Cranbourne

GOALS:

Melbourne: Hore 2, Hickey, Scott.
North Melbourne: Hope 2, Abbatangelo 2, Bateman, Garner, Kearney, Riddell, C Haines.

Club wraps:

Cordner remaining positive
Report card: Practice match

Key points:

1 North Melbourne will be scary when they click

It is something the fans of the AFL Women’s competition feared when North Melbourne assembled a “dream team” of sorts, picking up reigning league best and fairest winner, Emma Kearney, and key Collingwood players in Mo Hope, Jasmine Garner, Emma King and Jess Duffin among others. While Duffin was out playing for the Renegades, the Kangaroos had no troubles kicking a winning score. At first they did not manage to find the flow, but then booted six goals in the third term to storm away with the match.

2 Melbourne will take time

The Demons have lost one of the biggest names of the AFL Women’s competition – and she never even left the club. Daisy Pearce will sit out the 2019 season while she is pregnant with twins, and the Demons will search to fill that hole with a host of young up-and-coming players. They have recruited well with Tyla Hanks and Maddy Brancatisano among those who could step up into the Dees’ midfield, but the experienced side will just take a bit of time with a number of fresh faces coming through. Fatigue was another factor, according to Harriet Cordner, but Melbourne will still be a tough assignment this season.

3 Kangaroos forward line the best in the business

They might be brand new, but the fact VFL Women’s talents, Sophie Abbatangelo and Ash Riddell stepped up and showed no fear upon their senior level debuts shows even North Melbourne’s next tier of players will provide great depth in season 2019. While much is talked about their high profile recruits, adding in those players along with young talents, Daisy Bateman – who kicked the opening Roos’ goal – and Chloe and Libby Haines, shows that the side will have the depth to cover any injuries to their top stars.

 

BULLDOGS 1.1 | 2.4 | 3.4 | 5.5 (35)
COLLINGWOOD 0.2 | 1.2 | 2.4 | 4.4 (28)

MARS Stadium, Ballarat

GOALS:

Bulldogs: Brennan, Blackburn, McLeod, Hunt, Gamble.
Collingwood: Rowe 2, McIntosh, Hildebrand.

Club wraps:

Dogs score pre-season win over Magpies
Good signs in narrow loss to Dogs

Key points:

1 Western Bulldogs will be force again

While the Magpies do not have a great deal of support in regards to their flag chances, the Western Bulldogs looked ultra-impressive in their seven-point win over the Pies, having the ability to rest co-captain Ellie Blackburn in the second half after a superb first half. They shared the goals around and used precision kicking to hurt the Magpies.

2 Baby Magpies and cross-coders stand tall

They were always going to be inexperienced compared to the reigning premiers, but the Magpies draftees were impressive throughout the loss. Dandenong Stingrays’ skipper, Jordyn Allen and Oakleigh Chargers talent, Katie Lynch were a couple of names raised by coach Wayne Siekman after the game, while cross-coders Sarah Rowe and Sharni Layton were very competitive in the forward half.

3 Dogs sweat on Lochland’s ankle

Leading goalscorer, and forward dynamo Brooke Lochland caused some worry amongst Dogs fans when she was taken from the field after a collision. While full results were yet to come at the time of publication, AFL Women’s reporter Sarah Black believed it was not as serious as first thought.

 

ADELAIDE 2.2 | 5.2 | 8.3 | 9.4 (58)
FREMANTLE 1.4 | 3.4 | 3.7 | 5.8 (38)

TIO Stadium, Darwin

GOALS:

Adelaide: Scheer 2, Thompson 2, Forth, A Foley, Varnhagen, J Foley, Phillips.
Fremantle: Antonio 2, Houghton 2, Bresland.

Club wraps:

New Crows impress in trial match victory
Freo challenged by Crows in Darwin

Key points:

1 Danielle Ponter and Chloe Scheer impact at either end

Young guns, Danielle Ponter and Chloe Scheer gave an indication they will be key players in Matthew Clarke’s Adelaide side this season, playing roles at either end. Ponter’s work out of defence using her slick skills to hit-up targets is different from her forward craft with Essendon VFL Women’s side, while Scheer was prolific up forward booting a goal and returning successfully from a knee injury that kept her from being drafted following her top-age year.

2 Fremantle will be competitive

With the amount of changes the Dockers have had, particularly with experience heading out the door and young talents walking in, it was always going to be tough against a premiership contender in challenging conditions. They looked solid early, but were outclassed in the third term before holding firm in the final stanza to avoid a blowout. The Dockers are a side that will be introducing plenty of new faces to the side in season 2019, so expect there to be some mixed results.

3 Crows talls go down

The win was somewhat soured by tall Crows, Rhiannon Metcalfe and Jasmyn Hewett, as they were forced from the field and will undergo scans during the week. It was the position that the Crows could ill-afford to lose, and will be sweating on the results. Given how strong the Crows are through the midfield, Adelaide will be keen to have a dominant force in the ruck giving the onballers first touch.

Feature Image credit: Arj Giese