Tag: Danielle Ponter

AFL Women’s Saturday wrap: Lions set up potential top of the table clash

By: Peter Williams

BRISBANE Lions have set up a potential top of the table clash with Collingwood – provided the Pies win today – after grabbing their fifth win of the season against GWS GIANTS yesterday. The Lions were a touch inaccurate, booting 7.13 (55) to 2.5 (17), but it was enough to secure the comfortable 38-point win and temporarily move into top spot. With five individual goalkickers for their seven goals, the Lions shared the goals around on the afternoon, and moved to a 5-1 record heading into the final three rounds of the season.

Dakota Davidson was quick off the mark, scoring a goal in the opening two minutes of the match to get the visitors up and about early. New recruit Courtney Hodder soon added her first at the 12-minute mark with a remarkable effort close to goal in tight space under pressure, and Jess Wuetschner in her second game back converted one, and the Lions were out to an 18-point lead with a few minutes remaining in the first term. The quarter time margin – which extended by one from that point courtesy of a Hodder behind – was 20 points, and the Lions were already looking in control of the match.

That only increased in the second term, as Isabel Dawes scored an early goal two minutes into the quarter, and fellow youngster Jade Ellenger drove the dagger in further with a fifth individual goalkicker in the match. When Davidson snagged her second of the contest late in the quarter, the margin had blown out to 39 points, and would by 41 by half-time. The GIANTS were unable to put one through the big sticks, while the Lions were sharing the ball around going inside 50 and reaping the rewards of doing so.

Dawes kicked her second major of the game again early in the third, as the six-and-a-half minute mark ticked past and Brisbane was out to a 49-point lead. It was at this point, the GIANTS began to rise. Katherine Smith was the first to respond two minutes later, and the goal drought was broken. Whilst the GIANTS would not kick another major until the final stanza through Emily Bennetts, they restricted the visitors to just three behinds in the final half an hour of action. The dried up scoring mattered little for the Lions however, as they claimed the important win.

Davidson snagged two goals from 10 disposals, four marks and five tackles to be lively in the first half, while Dawes managed the 11 disposals and four tackles to go with her two majors. Emily Bates was the top disposal winner for the Lions, picking up 20 touches, three marks and three tackles, while fellow midfielder Ally Anderson, and All-Australian defender Kate Lutkins racked up the 19 disposals. Tahlia Hickie was influential in the ruck, and Wuetschner was again lively, kicking a goal from 12 touches, three marks and four tackles.

For the GIANTS, Alicia Eva picked up 22 disposals, four marks and two tackles, ahead of Britt Tully (19 disposals, three marks and three tackles). Young gun Alyce Parker was again busy across the game with 16 disposals, two marks and six tackles, as was Rebecca Beeson (16 disposals, four tackles) and another rising star talent in Georgia Garnett (15 disposals, three marks and three tackles). Bennetts not only kicked the final goal of the game, but had 15 disposals and five marks to boot as well. Brisbane Lions set their sights on Collingwood next Sunday at Hickey Park, while the GIANTS head to RSEA Park on Saturday to clash with the Saints in what are both expected to be tight contests.

GWS GIANTS 0.1 | 0.2 | 1.3 | 2.5 (17)
BRISBANE 3.3 | 6.7 | 7.11 | 7.13 (55)

GOALS:
Greater Western Sydney: Smith, Bennetts.
Brisbane: Davidson 2, Dawes 2, Hodder, Wuetschner, Ellenger

DC BEST:
Greater Western Sydney: Eva, Parker, Beeson, Bennetts, Garnett
Brisbane: Davidson, Lutkins, Bates, Dawes, Anderson

Picture credit: via Adelaide FC

ADELAIDE SEND WARNING SHOT WITH RECORD-BREAKING WIN

By: Tom Cheesman

ADELAIDE has continued its strong run of form with a 70-point smashing of Gold Coast at Norwood Oval on Saturday afternoon. The Crows held their opponents scoreless in the first and third terms while piling on 13 goals of their own for the match, an AFLW record. Adelaide controlled the inside 50s (41-19) and were far more efficient with their disposals inside 50 (56 to 37 per cent). Stevie-Lee Thompson (17 disposals, two marks, one goal) provided plenty of run and carry all day for the Crows, while Anne Hatchard (21 disposals, seven tackles, one goal) and Ebony Marinoff (20 disposals, eight tackles) were influential in the midfield. Superstar Erin Phillips and Danielle Ponter kicked six goals (and had 10 scoring shots) between them, while Alison Drennan (29 disposals, seven tackles) and Kalinda Howarth (18 disposals) worked tirelessly for the visitors.

There were major injury issues for both sides in the opening minutes of the contest. First, Adelaide small defender Nikki Gore courageously flew from the side into a marking contest and went down with a suspected ankle fracture. Two minutes later, Gold Coast midfielder Jamie Stanton‘s ankle buckled underneath her when she laid a tackle in her side’s defensive 50. She was taken from the ground on a stretcher and was seen on crutches after the match. Once the match got going, Sarah Allan immediately set the tone for Adelaide in defence. She made a significant impact defensively but also initiated some counterattacking ball movement with effective forward handballs off half-back. Hatchard was able to kick the Crows’ first after a perfect pass from Phillips, and captain Chelsea Randall soccered through her side’s  second soon after.

For the fourth consecutive week, Adelaide held their opponents scoreless in the opening term. Regardless, it was not all doom-and-gloom for the Suns early. Howarth was classy with her ball use coming out of congestion, Kate Surman found plenty of the ball, and Tori Groves-Little took some spectacular marks up forward in her first quarter of the season. The Suns looked positive at the start of the second term, as Daisy D’Arcy found Leah Kaslar on the lead for their first goal of the day. However, the Crows noticed that the Suns were within a goal and quickly got the game back on their terms.

Ash Woodland earned a free for a hold and kicked truly from 30 metres out, and then Chloe Scheer set up Ponter for her first. Second-gamer Rachelle Martin redeemed herself after dropping a mark inside 50 by applying relentless forward pressure, earning a free kick and snapping her first goal in AFLW. Gold Coast’s only chance to score was from centre clearances at this point because, much like St Kilda last Sunday, they were unable to cleanly move the ball out of their defensive 50 through Adelaide’s zone.

In stark contest, Adelaide ran the ball out of their defence very easily, picking holes in Gold Coast’s defence at will. After Ponter and Phillips kicked back-to-back goals, Gold Coast won a centre clearance and got a late goal through Surman. Although Surman and Drennan had a whopping 33 touches between them at the main break, the Crows held a convincing 30-point lead. Ferocious Adelaide player Scheer extended her side’s lead at the start of the third by earning a free and putting through a set shot. Phillips set the ground alight when she unloaded a huge barrel off half-back, but unfortunately for the home fans it went straight to Elizabeth Keaney, who took several intercept marks in the third term. Thompson continued her impressive performance by running onto a loose ball and drilling the Crows’ ninth, and it was very clear that the Suns had no answers on how to stop Adelaide’s momentum.

After some relentless pressure from Teah Charlton and Woodland, Phillips earned a free for being blocked in a marking contest and kicked her second. Things soured for the Crows at the end of the third term, as Hannah Button dislocated her shoulder while reaching to lay a tackle and left the field in the hands of trainers. Adelaide did not slow down to start the fourth, continuing to pepper the goals and refusing to let the ball out of their forward half. This led to Ponter kicking another, this time from a forward 50 stoppage. Soon after, a duck through traffic and clever handball over the shoulder from Phillips set up Ponter for her fourth.

On the other side, all of Gold Coast’s forward movement came through Groves-Little, who got little-to-no support at that end of the ground. When Crows captain Randall got on the end of some unselfish ball movement from Phillips and Thompson to kick her second, Adelaide’s score moved to 85 points, just one behind shy of the highest score in AFLW history (12.14.86 by the 2018 Western Bulldogs). As Adelaide went for the record, the Suns were finally able to lock the ball in their forward 50 for an extended period. Sally Riley had some good moments during this stretch, but the Suns failed to capitalise on her hard work and only added one behind to their total.

After a late end-to-end transition by the Crows, Dee Heslop laid a brilliant tackle on Ponter in the goal square to save a certain score and keep the Bulldogs’ scoring record intact. Regardless, it was a percentage-boosting win that Adelaide’s coaches will be pleased with as they move into the final three rounds of the home and away season.

Next week, Adelaide hit the road to face Melbourne at Casey Fields on Saturday night. Meanwhile, Gold Coast will aim to get their first win of 2021 when they take on the Tigers in a Friday night clash at Metricon.

ADELAIDE 2.1 | 7.2 | 10.5 | 13.7 (85)
GOLD COAST 0.0 | 2.2 | 2.2 | 2.3 (15)

GOALS:
Adelaide: D. Ponter 4, E. Phillips, C. Randall 2, S. Thompson, A. Woodland, R. Martin, C. Scheer, A. Hatchard.
Gold Coast: L. Kaslar, K. Surman.

DC BEST:
Adelaide: S. Thompson, E. Phillips, D. Ponter, A. Hatchard, E. Marinoff
Gold Coast: A. Drennan, T. Groves-Little, K. Howarth, K. Surman, S. Riley

Picture credit: Dylan Burns/AFL Photos

DEES DOWN SAINTS TO KEEP SEASON ALIVE

By: Sophie Taylor

IT was a tight encounter between Melbourne and St Kilda on Saturday night, with both sides looking to get back on the winners list this season after big losses last round. It was the Demons that got a confident and comfortable percentage-boosting victory on the board on home soil at Casey Fields, running out 9.12 (66) to 3.4 (22) victors, credit to a consistent four-quarter effort.

The Dees were on the offensive from the get-go, driving forward and flooding the 50m to lock the ball in attack. It appeared the Melbourne coaching staff were not afraid to switch things up a bit heading into this matchup, with a couple of shaky matches over the last few weeks making for a different approach in the forward line. A classy kick from Maddi Gay hit Daisy Pearce on a lead at the top of the square with the Dees legend putting the first goal of the game through, before minutes later Alyssa Bannan rid herself off her recent goal drought with an excellent running goal to put a second on the board. The Saints were still yet to make it inside their own 50m though despite piling pressure on through midfield, with the Dees making it tough to clear the footy. Gay and Tyla Hanks were never far from the footy as Sainters Tilly Lucas-Rodd and Cat Phillips contested well, while Kate Shierlaw also kept on the pressure around the ground, rarely beaten.

The remainder of the first was hotly contested with Melbourne unable to put a third major on the board despite locking the footy inside 50, and leading 14-0 at the first change. A huge inside 50 from Georgia Patrikios started the second quarter, surging the footy forward, and while it did not work to the Saints’ favour, the effort paid off with the Saints given a couple of chances to put on the scoreboard pressure, all to no avail. An excellent run down midfield from Hanks earned a free kick down field for a late push in the back, with a goal right in front from Shelley Scott undoing all the hard work the Saints had done early to lock the footy inside 50. While she was well held early, Patrikios fired up in the second quarter, throwing herself at the contest and doing everything she could to pile on the pressure around the ground.

The Saints strung some great minutes together in forward 50 as Nat Exon finally put the Saints on the board, reducing the margin and seeing the Saints build up their confidence with a couple more attempts coming in thick and fast but to no avail. The Dees’ midfield was on fire, and led by Hanks and Karen Paxman, they were crucial in quickly and efficiently driving down the centre. A free kick to Tegan Cunningham kept the scoreboard ticking over, seeing an 18-point half-time margin and an intense contest brewing.

A huge first few minutes of the third quarter saw plenty of argy bargy from both sides, with a tough battle through the midfield and Melbourne’s midfielders doing the trick to drive the footy forward, while St Kilda’s defence was just staying ahead of the pack to maintain possession. Lauren Pearce continued her excellent first half efforts utilising her height and footy smarts, before an excellent passage from Eden Zanker saw the forward kick directly to Daisy Pearce at the top of the square once more, before another goal to Bannan saw the second half kick off to an eerily similar way to the beginning of the match, though this time seeing a 31-point margin with 10 left in the third quarter. 

A goal to Jackie Parry saw the Dees extend their lead further, with the remainder of the match played on Melbourne’s terms as Caitlin Greiser was moved down back to help work the Saints back into the match but to no avail as Rosie Dillon, Rhi Watt and Hannah Priest continued to throw themselves into the contest. But it was a second scoreless term for the Saints, trailing by 39 points at the final change. The Dees needed a percentage boost ahead of the remaining three rounds of the season, and that’s what they got as the Saints failed to close the margin.

Zanker continued her solid work across the ground, putting a couple of behinds on the board and worrying the Saints but ultimately unable to find the big sticks, before Eliza McNamara topped off an excellent effort with her maiden goal. A maiden Claudia Whitfort goal reduced the margin a fraction but it was not enough, with the Dees creating a highlight reel up forward with their continuous hunt on the footy, and Kate Hore joining the party inside 50 with some slick skills towards the latter stage of the match. A Tamara Luke goal with just over two minutes of the clock did plenty for the Saints’ work rate but unfortunately not enough to really shake the Dees, with the home side running out 44-point winners credit to a solid four quarter effort.

For the losing side, Priest, Patrikios and Phillips were the leading ball-winners with 17 disposals apiece, and combining for 15 tackles between them. Dillion picked up 12 touches and eight tackles, whilst Watt (15 touches and five marks) also proved crucial. For the Dees, Lauren Pearce was a revelation in the ruck with 22 touches, 21 hitouts, four tackles, four marks and a behind, whilst Hanks (22 and four tackles), Zanker (23, eight marks and three behinds) and Paxman (24 touches)  were also heavily involved in the contest. Daisy Pearce booted her two from 13 touches and six marks, whilst Lily Mithen and Scott piled on the pressure with six tackles each.

The Dees will have their work cut out for them in the remaining three rounds of the season, currently sitting just outside the top six and matches against Adelaide (second), Fremantle (fourth) and Brisbane (first) awaiting. They host Adelaide during the same Saturday evening timeslot in a week’s time, whilst the Saints host the Giants in the early Saturday timeslot at RSEA Park.

MELBOURNE | 2.2 | 4.3 | 7.6 | 9.12 (66)
ST KILDA | 0.0 | 1.3 | 1.3 | 3.4 (22)

GOALS
Melbourne: D. Pearce 2, A. Bannan 2, S. Scott, T. Cunningham, J. Parry, E. McNamara, K. Hore.
St Kilda: N. Exon, C. Whitfort, T. Luke.

DC BEST
Melbourne: L. Pearce, T. Hanks, D. Pearce, E. Zanker, M. Gay
St Kilda: H. Priest, G. Patrikios, C. Phillips, R. Watt, R. Dillon

AFL Women’s Sunday wrap: Adelaide lock down St Kilda to claim one-sided victory

ADELAIDE has moved into fourth position on the AFLW ladder with a 53-point drubbing of St Kilda at Norwood Oval on Sunday afternoon. In what was arguably the Crows’ most complete team performance of the season to date, they had contributors all across the ground and dominated the inside 50s (47-8), contested possessions (110-80) and centre clearances (7-4).

Najwa Allen was a standout for the home side, providing plenty of drive off half-back and halting many of St Kilda’s forward thrusts. Ebony Marinoff (23 disposals, nine tackles) and Anne Hatchard (15 disposals, four marks) were powerful at the stoppages, while superstar Erin Phillips (21 disposals, five marks, one goal) showed her usual class in the midfield and up forward. Georgia Patrikios (24 disposals, three marks, three tackles) was exceptional all day for the visitors.

It was a hot footy early, as both sides applied strong tackling pressure and did not allow the other any space. St Kilda defender Bianca Jakobsson was fantastic in the opening term, as she repelled several of Adelaide’s attacks and showed poise with ball in hand. Kate Shierlaw was prominent early as well, but the Saints struggled to get the ball into their forward 50. Chloe Scheer was busy at the stoppages for the Crows, as was Marinoff, who had four tackles in the first quarter alone. Less than 30 seconds before the quarter-time siren, Phillips earned a free kick for a high tackle and kicked the Crows’ first to give them a nine-point lead.

While St Kilda’s pressure dropped off after the first break, Adelaide’s forward 50 pressure increased to new heights. This meant that they were creating many opportunities, with Randall eventually capitalising and kicking the Crows’ second with a nice snap. Soon after, number four pick Teah Charlton shrugged off a tackle and kicked her maiden AFLW goal. Charlton kicked her second just minutes later, proving once again how comfortable she is competing at AFLW level in just her fifth match. Defenders Lisa Whiteley and Sarah Allan continued to be brick walls for Adelaide at half-back, while Eloise Jones and Justine Mules supported them by providing some outstanding run and carry down the wings. Nadia von Bertouch laid a brilliant tackle on Caitlin Gould to save a certain goal, as Adelaide’s lead stayed at 30 points going into the main break. At half time, the Crows led the inside 50 count 29 to 2.

Adelaide’s pressure continued to be too much for the Saints in the third term, especially when they were exiting the defensive 50. Danielle Ponter kicked her first for the day after earning a free kick 15 metres out from goal, then Ashleigh Woodland extended the Crows’ lead with a nice checkside from the pocket. This was Woodland’s fifth goal for the season, a fantastic start to her career in Crows colours. Shierlaw gave Saints fans something to cheer about at the end of the term when she got on the end of some nice ball movement from Patrikios and kicked St Kilda’s first goal for the day.

Ex-Saint Jess Sedunary rubbed some salt in the wound at the start of the last when she kicked truly from a set shot. Despite this, St Kilda played much better in the final term. They started to control the ball well and were much more effective by foot, finding gaps in Adelaide’s zone as they chipped the ball around. The problem was that, outside of Patrikios, the Saints could not facilitate much attacking play through the middle of the ground. In her 32nd AFLW game, Mules made Adelaide fans even happier when she took a contested mark and kicked her first ever AFLW goal from a set shot on a tight angle. From there, St Kilda created some chances but could not kick straight in front of goal. The Crows ran out comfortable winners.

In Round 6, Adelaide will plan on making it three straight wins when they take on the winless Gold Coast at Norwood Oval on Saturday afternoon. Meanwhile, St Kilda will come up against Melbourne in what should be a fascinating clash at Casey Fields on Saturday night.

By Tom Cheesman

ADELAIDE | 1.3 | 4.6 | 6.10 | 8.13 (61)
ST KILDA | 0.0 | 0.0 | 1.0 | 1.2 (8)

GOALS:
Adelaide: T. Charlton 2, J. Mules, J. Sedunary, E. Phillips, C. Randall, D. Ponter, A. Woodland 1.
St Kilda: K. Shierlaw 1.

ADC BEST:
Adelaide: E. Marinoff, N. Allen, A. Hatchard, E. Phillips, J. Mules, S. Allan.
St Kilda: G. Patrikios, B. Jakobsson, R. Dillon, T. Lucas-Rodd, C. Phillips, H. Priest.

Image credit: Getty Images

Image credit: Michael Klein

UNDEFEATED MAGPIES OUTCLASS INACCURATE DEMONS

Collingwood showcased their development in a huge clash against Melbourne, which was ultimately do or die for the red and blue side needing to prove they were capable of holding up under pressure. The Pies well and truly got their revenge on the Demons at Victoria Park, running down Melbourne for an excellent 35-point win 7.7 (49) to 1.8 (14). With this win on the board and given Fremantle’s loss on Saturday, the Magpies remain the only undefeated side on the ladder with five straight on the board.

It was the Chloe Molloy and Bri Davey show as the hot Pies ran down the inaccurate Dees, taking advantage of the young side’s slump in form and punishing Melbourne for its inability to put pressure on the scoreboard. Whilst a slow start from both sides set the scene, it was a huge second quarter that not only put Collingwood on the map, but also on the right path as Melbourne struggled to contain the Magpies’ engine room. Molloy’s work rate and ability to find the scoreboard was punishing for the Dees, who defensively could not compete despite continuous efforts from the usually impenetrable Libby Birch and Daisy Pearce. Molloy finished with three goals and partnered well with Davey who booted two of her own to go with a match-high 25 disposals, and whilst Melbourne certainly had its chances – most remarkably in the third, when the Dees lifted but could only manage 1.4 despite dominating possession and momentum – it was not enough as the Magpies commanded control in another three-goal quarter to finish the match. 

Despite sitting out the remainder of the match after a hit to the shoulder in the final quarter, Molloy’s influence could not be quelled as she head to be a three-way equal-leader on the goalkicking leaderboard for the season with nine majors to her name. Britt Bonnici and Jaimee Lambert also proved to be ball magnets in the tough contest with 23 and 21 touches respectively, whilst Melbourne’s Tyla Hanks continued her terrific form with a 22 disposal, six mark and six tackle effort. Lauren Pearce was the lone goalkicker for Melbourne and also nabbed 15 touches, whilst Karen Paxman was kept relatively quiet with 19 touches, and Kate Hore (17 touches), Maddi Gay (12) and Alyssa Bannan were amongst those who failed to hit the scoreboard with two behinds apiece. Collingwood’s Jordan Membrey unfortunately went down with a knee injury, seeing her season in doubt. The Magpies will host fellow in-form side Western Bulldogs next round once more at Victoria Park, whilst Melbourne host St Kilda on Saturday evening.

COLLINGWOOD | 1.1 | 4.3 | 4.4 | 7.7 (49)
MELBOURNE | 0.1 | 0.2 | 1.6 | 1.8 (14)

GOALS:
Collingwood: C. Molloy 3, B. Davey 2, A. Sheridan, M. Cann
Melbourne: L. Pearce

BEST:
Collingwood: C. Molloy, B. Davey, B. Bonnici, S. Livingstone, J. Lambert, R. Schleicher
Melbourne: T. Hanks, K. Paxman, S. Scott, L. Pearce, K. Hore, L. Mithen

 

Image credit: Daniel Carson / AFL Photos

EAGLES SNAG MAIDEN 2021 WIN IN CLOSE ENCOUNTER WITH SUNS

The last match of Round 5 saw the West Coast Eagles pile on the pressure in a tight contest with Gold Coast, gaining ascendancy early and fighting to remain ahead in the 5.4 (34) to 4.9 (33) victory. This win registered the Eagles’ first for the season, and whilst this encounter was bound to see one of the winless sides put points on the board, both teams were tested in a highly offensive contest.

A three goal first quarter from the Eagles well and truly got the ball rolling, but Gold Coast proved they were capable of standing up to the onslaught with an improved second term to limit West Coast’s chances and apply their own forward pressure, rewarded with a goal to go into the second half trailing by eight points and well within their chances. Second year Eagles talent Mikayla Bowen was everywhere throughout the contest, taking the game on and drawing Maddy Collier and Emma Swanson into the fray as the trio piled on the pressure through midfield. Defensively, Lauren Ahrens proved once more how dangerous she can be with 19 touches, five marks and three rebounds, limiting the Eagles from finding avenues to goal after the first quarter as Alison Drennan (14 disposals, 11 tackles) and Jamie Stanton (14 touches, six tackles and 1.3) also switched on across the ground following the first quarter barrage from the Eagles.

Whilst the Suns showed some really good signs, hunting the footy and propelling the ball forward consistently – finishing with 34 inside 50s to the Eagles’ 20 – they were ultimately unable to capitalise under pressure. Sarah Perkins and Kalinda Howarth piled on second half goals for the Suns but it was to no avail, and while Stanton’s snap in the last minutes of the match could have spelled trouble for the Eagles, it was not to be as the Eagles ran out one-point winners in tight circumstances. 

Next round, Gold Coast will continue on the road for a fifth straight match when they look to upset Adelaide on Saturday afternoon, whilst the Eagles will take on Fremantle for the second time this season on Sunday.

WEST COAST | 3.1 | 3.1 | 4.3 | 5.4 (34)
GOLD COAST | 0.4 | 1.5 | 3.7 | 4.9 (33)

GOALS:
West Coast: M. Bowen, I. Cameron, M. Caulfield, G. Kelly, K. Orme
Gold Coast: K. Howarth, A. Parker, S. Perkins, J. Stanton

BEST:
West Coast: M. Bowen, E. Swanson, G. Kelly, M. Collier, I. Lewis, C. Perera
Gold Coast: L. Ahrens, J. Stanton, K. Surman, L. Single, L. Bella, A. Drennan

2021 AFL Women’s: Round 3 preview – Four of the top six lock horns on blockbuster weekend

ROUND 3 of the 2021 AFL Women’s season sees two sets of undefeated sides lock horns to find out whose ‘0’ will go, while teams just outside the top six battle to emerge as finals threats. As was the case last time around, fixtures have been shuffled and one matchup – between Brisbane and West Coast – is on hold. But with a couple of mouthwatering clashes and one Victorian grudge match set to go down, there is still plenty to look forward to from this weekend’s action.

Note: All start times are local.

GEELONG (14th, 0-2) vs. WESTERN BULLDOGS (7th, 1-1)
Friday February 12, 7:10pm
Kardinia Park

History will be made in red, white, and blue on Friday night as the Western Bulldogs’ first ever father-daughter selection, Isabella Grant makes her AFLW debut against Geelong at Kardinia Park. The daughter of 341-game Bulldogs champion, Chris missed all of her maiden season through injury, but comes into a winning side in place of the injured Bailey Hunt (calf). Her team will be sniffing out a positive record here, especially seeing that Geelong is currently bolted to bottom spot after losses of a combined 91 points.

The Cats have made a couple of changes, with the experienced Bec Goring called up to help bolster her side’s defence, while mature-age coup Nicole Garner also comes in for her senior debut. The pair’s additions come at the expense of youngsters Darcy Moloney and Georgia Clarke. Having lost handily to premiership fancy North Melbourne at home in Round 1, the Cats will be keen to make good on their advantage this time around and give fans something to cheer about.

The Bulldogs’ youthful exuberance and counter-attacking nature may pose some problems for Geelong, especially given the home side has only scrounged three majors in its first two outings. The Cats are also known for their young talent, but that has seen them fall away in lapses of concentration after positive periods. That could be a worrying factor if they don’t get up or stay level early, because we all saw how the ‘Dogs came back with force against Carlton last week.

Tip: Bulldogs by 13

GWS (11th, 0-2) vs. GOLD COAST (13th, 0-2)
Saturday February 13, 3:10pm
Blacktown International Sportspark

Two sides coming off hefty losses will look to get off the mark for season 2021, when Greater Western Sydney (GWS) hosts Gold Coast in Blacktown on Saturday afternoon. The Suns were kept to the lowest-ever AFLW score (two points) last time out in a one-sided Q-Clash, which should serve as fuel enough for this game. GWS went down to somewhat a rival of its own in Adelaide last week, making this a clash between two winless teams in desperate need of a confidence boost.

An improved Suns forwardline saw hardly any of the ball last week, but showed in Round 1 that when given the opportunity, goals will come. GWS has also had trouble moving forward with its fluency on the ball – or lack thereof – underselling the dominance of Alyce Parker and Rebecca Beeson at the clearances. Whichever team can click into gear quicker and find its groove in the front half should coast clear for a much-needed maiden win.

Tip: Giants by 5

ST KILDA (8th, 1-1) vs. CARLTON (9th, 0-2)
Saturday February 13, 5:10pm
RSEA Park

Carlton faces a tricky must-win fixture as it rolls into Moorabbin to take on St Kilda on Saturday night, with both sides poised outside the top six. Touted as a premiership chance coming into the season, the Blues have stumbled in two surprise losses with short bursts from opposition sides hurting them in the long run. The Saints loom as another tricky test having beaten the Blues’ last opponent and remained competitive against North Melbourne a week later.

Perhaps mercifully, the Carlton looks likely to call upon the recently recovered trio of Lucy McEvoy, Mua Laloifi, and Gab Pound, who would all normally feature in the starting lineup. While McEvoy will prove another classy midfield choice, the latter two should shore up the backline. Sturdiness will be important against an improve Saints attack, spearhead by Caitlin Greiser.

The midfield battle will also be an interesting one, with the likes of McEvoy and Maddy Prespakis locking horns with in-form St Kilda jets Georgia Patrikios and Tyanna Smith. The hardened ball winning ability of Carlton’s pair against the classy running Saints should form an intriguing matchup of styles. Making the most of their impact will be key for either side, especially after their respective faults up forward thus far.

Tip: Blues by 15

MELBOURNE (4th, 2-0) vs. NORTH MELBOURNE (2nd, 2-0)
Saturday February 13, 7:10pm
Casey Fields

A mouthwatering contest between two undefeated Victorian sides goes down at Casey Fields on Saturday night, as Melbourne takes on North Melbourne. The Roos have been near-flawless across the opening two rounds; first dismantling Geelong on the road and then pulling away from the plucky St Kilda last week. Melbourne has found its grove after slow starts in both of its opening two fixtures, but now faces easily its toughest test to date.

While the Roos are renowned for their vast avenues to goal, Melbourne has proven somewhat of a surprise packet through its seemingly revitalised attacking nous. The engine room has played a big part, with Tyla Hanks slotting in seamlessly alongside Karen Paxman and Lily Mithen, but North is known to boss the ball and bat incredibly deep. A Kangas midfield quintet of Emma Kearney, Jenna Bruton, Jasmine Garner, Ash Riddell, and Ellie Gavalas has proven unbeatable across four quarters thus far, and will be tough to top.

The ruck battle will be another area of interest given how much class lies in either sides’ midfields, with Melbourne’s Lauren Pearce set to tackle an in-form Emma King. King, who has also rediscovered her scoring form, averages nearly double her opponent’s hitouts, but aide from rotating key forward Eden Zanker will likely even the contest up.

Tip: Kangaroos by 11

ADELAIDE (3rd, 2-0) vs. FREMANTLE (5th, 2-0)
Sunday February 14, 12:40pm
Norwood Oval

The round’s second top six clash sees Adelaide do battle with Fremantle at Norwood Oval, with the two undefeated teams battling to maintain their perfect records. Freo’s nine-game unblemished run has continued on from last season and while a tense derby only saw them get up by nine points with two majors on the board last week, the Dockers look every bit the premiership contender. Adelaide is right up there as well, emphatically returning to form in 2021 with the chance now to prove just how serious its flag tilt will be.

The Crows’ elite ball winners in Ebony Marinoff, Anne Hatchard, and Erin Phillips will be difficult to match, while the dynamic wildcard that is Chelsea Randall could prove a game-breaking factor in roles at either end. A heap of responsibility will fall on the shoulders of Fremantle’s Kiara Bowers in midfield, though a greater team spread up and down the spine is more the Dockers’ go.

It is no secret that Gemma Houghton poses a massive threat up forward alongside Sabreena Duffy, while Janelle Cuthbertson has been an absolute rock down back. With running power on the outer and many avenues to goal, Freo should have little trouble managing a winning score. Adelaide will again look to its midfield to fill out the scorebook, while the likes of Danielle Ponter, Ashleigh Woodland, and Teah Charlton loom as individuals who can break the game open.

Tip: Dockers by 1

RICHMOND (12th, 0-2) vs. COLLINGWOOD (6th, 2-0)
Sunday February 14, 3:10pm
Punt Road Oval

A late fixture shuffle sees traditional rivals Richmond and Collingwood go head-to-head on Sunday afternoon, set to provide some nostalgia to fans at Punt Road Oval. The Tigers are still out to claim their first points in the competition having shown signs of improvement thus far, but ultimately fallen short of better opposition. Collingwood looms as another difficult test, currently holding up the top six with a perfect 2-0 record.

The two sides have not yet met in the women’s competition, making for a fresh start and opportunity for either team to grab bragging rights. Collingwood’s rejigged forwardline which boasts Chloe Molloy and Brianna Davey benefitted last week with the inclusion of Sarah Rowe, and will again be in good shape to overpower the opposition. Conversely, scoring continues to be a sore spot for Richmond despite the dominance of Monique Conti in midfield and promise of Ellie McKenzie on the outer.

Tip: Magpies by 33

Note: The Brisbane Lions vs. West Coast Eagles fixture is TBC.

Featured Image: Western Bulldogs’ Isabella Grant (right) with her famous father, Chris | Credit: Michael Willson/AFL Photos

AFL Women’s Sunday wrap: Lions secure roaring Q-Clash victory

BRISBANE roared to a record-breaking Q-Clash win on Sunday, gaining bragging rights over its local rival with a 63-point thrashing of Gold Coast at Hickey Park. The 10.5 (65) to 0.2 (2) result served as the first Q-Clash win in AFL Women’s history, while also making for Brisbane’s highest ever score in the competition. On the flip-side, Gold Coast’s two behinds became the lowest-ever total and just the second goalless effort on record.

Dynamic Brisbane tall forward Jesse Wardlaw was awarded the Q-Clash Medal as best afield, booting goals in each quarter and having a hand in plenty more as she dominated both in the air and around the ground. She was a key benefactor of the Lions’ slick and quick ball movement on the outside, which put the Suns’ defence under enormous pressure.

While the scoreboard only showed two goals for Brisbane’s early ascendancy, signs were ominous when the Lions headed into the main break 29 points clear – all while keeping Gold Coast scoreless. In a sign of maturity for the maroon, blue, and gold, they put the foot down after half time with six-straight goals to run away comfortable winners.

Dakota Davidson let fans know it was party time as she sunk four majors for the Lions, while speedy second-year jet Greta Bodey added two more goals to her career tally in an electric display. Ally Anderson and Nat Grider (20 disposals) led all comers, with the likes of Emily Bates (17 disposals), Lauren Arnell (15), and Sophie Conway (14) were prolific going forward.

Lauren Aherns was Gold Coast’s leading ball winner with 19 touches, followed closely by Alison Drennan and Hannah Dunn on 18 apiece. A knee injury to prized 2020 draftee Annise Bradfield in the first term only rubs salt into the wound of Gold Coast’s mammoth loss, on top of an 0-2 record.

Image Credit: Jono Searle/Getty Images via AFL Photos

BRISBANE 2.4 | 4.5 | 6.5 | 10.5 (65)
GOLD COAST 0.0 | 0.0 | 0.1 | 0.2 (2)

GOALS:

Brisbane: J. Wardlaw 4, D. Davidson 4, G. Bodey 2
Gold Coast: Nil.

DC BEST:

Brisbane: J. Wardlaw, E. Bates, S. Conway, D. Davidson, N. Grider, L. Arnell
Gold Coast: A. Drennan, H. Dunn, L. Aherns, J. Pregelj

Credit: Dylan Burns/AFL Photos

HARDENED ROOS HOP PAST SAINTS ON HOME TURF

NORTH Melbourne secured its eighth-straight AFL Women’s victory on Sunday with a 26-point triumph over St Kilda at Arden Street Oval, but it was not enough to hold onto top spot. The Roos were tested for a half and only led by five points at the main break, but kept St Kilda scoreless thereafter to run out 5.6 (36) to 1.4 (10) winners.

The home side was met by a tenacious Saints outfit keen to compete, with the pressure gauge turned up in a competitive contest. But the more mature side, North Melbourne, was able to keep its foot on the gas for longer and eventually opened the game up on its own terms with more fluid ball movement and relentless attack at the contest.

Skipper Emma Kearney led the way for her Roos, collecting 22 touches in a vintage display of her class. Jemma Bruton was North’s leading ball winner with 23 disposals, while Ash Riddell was lively and sunk the sealing goal to boot. Jasmine Garner (18 disposals) and Ellie Gavalas (17) were the other second-half goalkickers who helped North pull away.

Georgia Patrikios broke her own record for the most disposals by a Saint in the AFLW, collecting 27 touches as she continues to go from strength to strength. Second-gamer Tyanna Smith was her side’s lone goalkicker in another promising display, while Cat Phillips (21 disposals) was also influential. The hard luck continues for Bianca Jakobsson though, as she was injured in her club debut, and first game back from collarbone surgery.

NORTH MELBOURNE 2.2 | 2.3 | 3.6 | 5.6 (36)
ST KILDA 0.1 | 1.4 | 1.4 | 1.4 (10)

GOALS:

North Melbourne: J. Garner, A. Riddell, D. Bateman, E. Gavalas, T. Randall
St Kilda: T. Smith

DC BEST:

North Melbourne: E. Kearney, A. Riddell, J. Bruton, J. Garner, E. Gavalas
St Kilda: G. Patrikios, C. Phillips, T. Smith, H. Priest, K. Shierlaw

Credit: Mark Kolbe/Getty Images via AFL Photos

CROWS FLY PAST GIANTS IN ROAD ROMP

ADELAIDE looks every bit the premiership contender after another convincing win, this time over the GWS Giants by 47 points at Blacktown International Sportspark on Sunday. Signs were ominous early as the Crows opened with three quick goals, before closing even better to secure the emphatic 9.8 (62) to 2.3 (15) result.

Danielle Ponter opened the game up in the first half with three majors, causing headaches inside 50 as Adelaide’s scoreboard pressure quickly began to mount. GWS was competitive at the coalface but had little to show for it in goalless second and third terms, a factor which eventually became telling as the Crows cruised to victory.

The Crows’ prime movers in Anne Hatchard (23 disposals), Erin Phillips (19), and skipper Chelsea Randall (14) were all prolific while managing to secure second half goals, while Ebony Marinoff was her side’s leading ball winner with 24 touches. Ponter finished as the game’s lone multiple goalkicker in a game-breaking performance.

Alyce Parker was again the Giants’ most valuable asset, proving monstrous at the contest to lead all comers with 27 disposals – including 16 contested possessions. She put the cherry on top of a big individual game with her first-ever AFLW goal in the final term. Rebecca Beeson also stood up in the charcoal and orange with 22 touches.

GWS 1.0 | 1.1 | 1.1 | 2.3 (15)
ADELAIDE 3.1 | 5.2 | 5.4 | 9.8 (62)

GOALS:

GWS: A. Parker, H. Zreika
Adelaide: D. Ponter 3, C. Randall, A. Woodland, M. Newman, E. Phillips, E. Jones, A. Hatchard

DC BEST:

GWS: A. Parker, R. Beeson, H. Zreika
Adelaide: E. Marinoff, E. Phillips, A. Hatchard, D. Ponter, S. Allan, C. Randall

Credit: Paul Kane/Getty Images via AFL Photos

DOCKERS GIVE EAGLES THE SLIP IN WET WESTERN DERBY

Fremantle slipped, slid, and secured its ninth-consecutive AFL Women’s victory on Sunday, defeating West Coast by nine points in a wet Western Derby. The heavens opened above Fremantle Oval and a hard-fought, contested scrap ensued as the local rivals searched for ascendancy. Having been drawn back to within just six points in the final term, Freo was able to hold on and win 2.11 (23) to 2.2 (14) in an enthralling encounter.

West Coast struck first through Aisling McCarthy, who teamed up with fellow Irishwoman Niamh Kelly for a precise opening goal considering the conditions. But another glorious feat in the wet from Docker Gemma Houghton put Fremantle ahead in the second term, before Kiara Bowers bombed home from 50 to give her side a handy 12-point buffer at the final break. It proved enough, despite Imahra Cameron‘s six-pointer making the final exchanges all the more dramatic in the fourth term.

Bowers won the best afield medal having come up clutch with her goal and led all comers on the back of 23 disposals and 14 tackles in a game which was seemingly made for her. Stephanie Cain (12 disposals, two behinds) and Hayley Miller (15 disposals) both worked two ways with six tackles apiece, while Sabreena Duffy was lively in the front half.

Young gun Mikayla Bowen (18 disposals) was West Coast’s leading ball winner, followed closely by Belinda Smith (17) and skipper Emma Swanson (16). Kelly and McCarthy were also prominent for the Eagles, who came away worse for ware with multiple injuries throughout the bruising battle. The two sides remain on opposite records, with Freo flying at 2-0 while West Coast remains on the hunt for points at 0-2.

FREMANTLE 0.3 | 1.6 | 2.8 | 2.11 (23)
WEST COAST 1.1 | 1.1 | 1.2 | 2.2 (14)

GOALS:

Fremantle: G. Houghton, K. Bowers
West Coast: I. Cameron, A. McCarthy

BEST:

Fremantle: K. Bowers, S. Cain, H. Miller, S. Duffy, G. Houghton,
West Coast: M. Bowen, B. Smith, E. Swanson, A. McCarthy

2021 AFLW Preview: Adelaide Crows

ADELAIDE will aim to catapult itself back into premiership contention after an injury-riddled 2020 season. Head coach Matthew Clarke has made some major changes to his coaching staff, with club greats Scott Thompson and Tom Lynch joining the panel. The trio will restock Adelaide’s side with a number of returning premiership stars.

2020 RECAP
The Crows finished sixth in Conference A last year, winning just two of their six matches. Premiership players Chelsea Randall and Chloe Scheer missed the entire season with anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstructions, while Deni Varnhagen and superstar Erin Phillips only played three matches between them as they returned from their own respective knee issues. Injuries to several other players meant that the Crows were forced to blood more and more youngsters as the season progressed. Adelaide’s two wins came early in the season against St Kilda and Geelong, two sides that did not qualify for finals in 2020. Realistically, the Crows just struggled to move the ball from end to end and failed to apply enough pressure on opposition sides.

A shining light throughout 2020 was midfielder Anne Hatchard, who won their best and fairest and made the AFLW All-Australian side after averaging 25 disposals, six tackles and three inside 50s per game. Tackling machine Ebony Marinoff was effective alongside her at the clearances, but the pair did not get much help from the Crows’ wingers or forwards, particularly late in the season. Sarah Allan was the side’s other strong performer, as she led Adelaide’s defence well and was rewarded with a spot in the All-Australian side.

NEW FACES
Lively forward Jess Sedunary returns to the club after playing one season for expansion side St Kilda. Sedunary was a premiership player for the Crows in 2017 and is a proven goalkicker at senior level. Although she is coming off a broken fibula and may take some time to reach full strength, she will bring a wealth of leadership and experience to the group. Former Giant Lisa Whiteley will be an important addition to the Crows’ defence, while young winger Hannah Munyard, who has good pace and skills, provides some much-needed depth after playing three games for the Bulldogs in her debut season.

Draftees Teah Charlton, Rachelle Martin and Ash Woodland are three readymade recruits that should make an immediate impact for the club. Charlton, taken with pick four in the AFLW Draft, is a talented midfielder and half-forward from South Adelaide with goal sense, effective ball use, overhead marking ability and aggression. Expect her to be in the running for the NAB AFLW Rising Star Award. Midfielder Martin won the South Australian National Football League Women’s (SANFLW) 2020 best and fairest award (alongside Hatchard) and played a match for the Crows last year as an injury-replacement player. Flexible utility Woodland gained AFLW experience for Melbourne in 2019 before winning North Adelaide’s best and fairest award last year in a premiership side. She also won the SANFLW Leading Goalkicker award in 2020.

With Randall, Scheer, Varnhagen, Hannah Button, Rhiannon Metcalfe and Phillips all set for full seasons this year after serious injuries in 2020, they can be considered ‘new faces’ as well. On the other hand, Adelaide loses veteran Courtney Gum along with premiership players Jess Foley, Courtney Cramey and Sophie Li to retirement.

ONE TO WATCH IN 2021
Chelsea Randall is the one to watch. She is arguably the most courageous defender in AFLW and her skills, leadership and football IQ were sorely missed last year. With Randall positioned alongside Allan and Marijana Rajcic in defence, Adelaide should prove very difficult to score against.

Justine Mules is the other Crow to keep an eye on. She finished third in Adelaide’s 2020 best and fairest count after averaging 11 disposals, two tackles and two inside 50s per game. The two-time premiership player has shown continuous improvement since her debut season and looks set to have a major impact on a wing in 2021.

WHY THEY CAN WIN IT
Two words: premiership experience. With 19 premiership players on their list, the Crows have more of these than any other side in the competition. This experience will prove valuable in finals, and it is well known that the Crows’ top names are made for the biggest stage. With numerous young players rising up the ranks and some veterans nearing the end of their careers, the hunger to recapture premiership glory should be there as well.

QUESTION MARK
Adelaide’s lack of depth is their biggest question mark. This was exposed last season following injuries to their franchise players, as the young Crows struggled to hold up their end of the bargain. However, this experience could prove valuable for the inexperienced players as they should now be more comfortable competing at senior level. Additionally, the inclusions of Sedunary, Whiteley, Munyard and the draftees should help improve their depth.

FINAL WORD
A line-up that includes Randall, Marinoff, Hatchard, Phillips and Allan is a scary proposition for any opposition side. The Crows have elite talents all across the ground and should catapult back into finals contention, but it is unclear whether they are truly premiership contenders. Fremantle, North Melbourne and Carlton were the best sides in 2020 and deserve favouritism ahead of the Crows at this stage.

Much of Adelaide’s hopes depend on the fitness and agility of the seasoned players returning from injury. Their forward line was the main area that struggled last year, as they often failed to lock the ball inside their forward 50 and relied far too heavily on Stevie-Lee Thompson, Eloise Jones and Danielle Ponter. The returns of Scheer, Phillips, Sedunary and Button should help spread the workload in this area.

We we will learn more about the Crows’ premiership aspirations when their season gets underway on the 30th of January against the Demons.



For more AFLW news and analysis, follow Tom Cheesman on Twitter.

Picture: Daniel Kalisz/Getty Images

2020/21 NTFL Women’s – Midseason review: Pint, St Mary’s, Southern Districts

HEADING into a break over the Christmas period Draft Central takes a look at the NTFL Women’s Premier League so far, putting each team under the microscope and considering elements such as key standouts for each side, current win-loss ratio and who they are set to face when play returns in January 2021.

Pint

Position: 1st
Win-loss-draw: 11-0-0
Percentage: 362.36%

Sitting pretty in first place on the ladder, the Queen Ants have been in ripping form and are yet to drop a game showcasing their ability to close out games and weather the storm from opposition teams. The only team that has gotten close to Pint so far this season was Darwin back in Round 8 where the Queen Ants got up by a mere two points. They are cool, calm and collected and most importantly have placed themselves in a good position to challenge for a premiership and will be hoping to inflict plenty of pain on Nightcliff when the action resumes in January.

Pint has no shortage of players able to step up and steer the ship with the goal scoring shared between three main contributors in Amy Chittick, Casey Morris and Jasmyn Hewett. Chittick leads the pack with 14 goals, Morris has 13 and Hewett with 12 while Jessie Baumer has proven to be a handy option in front of the big sticks with a season total of nine. Chittick is not only integral in front of goal but so too across the ground named in the bests six times alongside Cassie Henderson. Reni Hicks has proven to be effective for Pint as has Jacinta Reid with the duo frequently making their way onto the top performers list throughout the season.

St Mary’s

Position: 2nd
Win-loss-draw: 8-3-0
Percentage: 360.69%

Currently second on the ladder St Mary’s will be keen to keep their two game winning streak intact when they return against Palmerston Magpies. After somewhat of a slow start to the season the Saints built some strong form through the midpart stringing together four consecutive wins and subsequently rising up the ladder. However the past five games have not been as convincing coming off the bye and losing two games before downing both Tracy Village and Wanderers to recapture their mojo.

The Saints have a number of players that are able to take the game by the scruff of the neck and have an influence with Michaela Long leading the pack with 17 goals in 11 games while Ashlea Melnikas has also chimed in to average a goal a game. Danielle Ponter has not played since mid-November but was a commanding presence with her eight goals while Jasmine Anderson and Tesharna Maher have both been consistent figures for the Saints. Megan Williamson has been a real ball magnet for St Mary’s and has been regularly recognised for her efforts while Alana Coombes is another one to keep an eye out for.

Southern Districts

Position: 4th
Win-loss-draw: 6-3-2
Percentage: 158.41%

The Southern Districts have been up and down throughout the 2020/21 season registering six wins and three losses but could have been higher up the ladder had they closed out games as shown via their two draws. Currently holding down fourth spot on the ladder heading into the break the Crocs will be hoping to regroup after going down to Pint in the final round. But prior to the loss were flying, going on a three game winning streak and registering a draw. They face the Wanderers in their first game back.

There are two main options inside 50 with Tayla Thorn a key cog and able to kick multiple goals each time she steps out taking her tally to 25 for the year. She is often assisted by teammate Grace Mulvahil who is a real livewire in attack recording 11 goals for the year while Jessie Brock is the next best with six majors to her name. In terms of bests it is no surprise that Thorn is right up there given her influence on the scoreboard while Bella Clarke and Emma Forsyth are also formidable figures for the Crocs. Malory Nankervis has steadily found her groove as has Ebony Miller with the two featuring highly for the side.

Weekend preview: 2020/21 NTFL Women’s Premier League – Round 11

EXPECT a tight round of NTFL Women’s Premier League action, with the competition well and truly heating up now as we enter Round 11. The penultimate round before the Christmas break, Saturday’s fixtures will either set teams in motion heading into the latter rounds of the season, or separate the top sides even further from the bottom. Wanderers have the bye this week, and will look to recuperate after a tough match last round.

Southern Districts v. Palmerston Magpies
Saturday, December 12

Expect an interesting matchup here between the Districts and Magpies, with the two sides opening the round and never failing to put on a show. While it was the Districts who got the chocolates in their first encounter of the season – their second straight win, which effectively sparked their better form to sit in fourth now – the Magpies have been putting up competitive scorelines for much of the season proving the side is capable of great things, they just need the extra polish and consistency around the ground to push it all the way. With two wins on the board to the Crocs’ five and two draws, the Magpies are certainly capable of pulling another solid effort out here, but will need to really come out flying against the Districts to get the job done.

Districts’ Tayla Thorn is currently leading the overall goalkicker tally, so will hope to continue her excellent form over the past few rounds, as will Emma Forsyth who sits even on four bests alongside Thorn. Grace Mulvahil and Jessie Brock have been a couple of other major targets up forward, while there is no denying the impact of the likes of Bella ClarkeEbony MillerMalory Nankervis and Megan Craufurd. When it comes to consistency, there is no doubting the workrate of Magpies’ Iesha Ronberg and Tabitha May, with the duo named amongst the best on seven of their nine respective matches, showcasing just how impactful they are. Billie Byers is also high up for the Magpies with five bests, while Crystal Browne (nine goals) and Arthurina Moreen (seven) have proved crucial up forward, but have only played four and three games respectively, showcasing the Magpies’ requirement for more players to step up in their absence.

Nightcliff v. Darwin Buffettes
Saturday, December 12

Another intriguing battle is expected in the second match of the round, with the Tigers and Buffs going head-to-head. A 49-point margin last time they met was certainly not what Nightcliff was expecting, and it is safe to say the side will be looking to not only redeem themselves for that scoreline, but also continue on from their solid victory last round to jump up the ladder. Given both teams are coming off Round 10 victories and some fairly consistent form, expect a show from the two, though Buffettes may have the number of the Tigers given their dominance last time around and confidence, sitting in second on the ladder.

While Thorn leads the goalkicking tally with 18, Buffettes’ Zoe Anderson is not far behind on 16 goals and realistically, could be far higher if it was not for the amount of forward 50 options the Darwin side has at its disposal. With both Machaelia Roberts (nine goals) and Delsey Ah Wang (eight) right up there too, there is no doubt the Buffettes have the firepower to consistently get the job done. Add in the constant pressure of the likes of Jemma Iacono, Dominique Carbone and Katelyn Hazlett and the Buffs are hard to stop once they are on. For the Tigers, Mickayla Ward is a real lynchpin, listed in the bests on six of her seven outings and leading the side’s goal tally on 13. Emma-Lou Wolsey and Jacqueline Anyon-Smith both sit on 12 apiece, with the former leading the competition tally early in the season, while Lauren Gooden has been a consistent figure for the side.

Pint v. Waratah
Saturday, December 12

Pint will look to continue their consistency and dominance this week, and a win over Waratah – a side which has been such a force to be reckoned with in the competition for so many years – would certainly do the trick. While Pint has been at the top of the ladder since Round 4, Waratah had to escape a rough start to the season and are now currently suffering in the mid-table logjam, putting on some solid performances but not quite hitting the mark against the top sides. A 36-point loss to Southern Districts last round certainly would not have helped that, while Pint is yet to falter with their closest margin two points back in Round 8. It will require a huge effort from the Warriors here to have a chance against the powerful Queen Ants.

There is no doubt that Pint has plenty of firepower, with Amy ChittickCasey Morris and Jasmyn Hewett all registering double figures in front of goal, credit to not only their ability to find the ball, but also the side’s midfielders’ ability to deliver the footy on a silver platter. The trio have combined for 37 goals so far this season, with Chittick also racking up five bests alongside Cassie Henderson who rarely skips a beat. While Waratah does not record bests, the likes of Lisa Miceli and Jenna Singh have consistently provided not only that forward foray, but also the ability to score well with 15 and nine goals to their names, respectively. Miceli and Danica Pedersen (seven goals) have both only played six of the side’s nine games, proving just how impactful they can be when they get ball to boot.

St Mary’s v. Tracy Village
Saturday, December 12

St Mary’s will look to redeem themselves after a couple of disappointing days on the track, with a battle here against Tracy Village. While the Saints’ past few rounds have not been ideal, the side still remains amongst the top sides in the competition and it will take a huge, season-changing effort from the Razorbacks to get over the line here. Although the Razorbacks have shown glimpses of form, the side has failed to score in four of their nine encounters – including against the Saints in Round 6 – and has not scored since Round 7 – a single behind against Southern Districts. Expect a confidence-boosting win here from the Saints, who will need a boost to ensure their percentage stays high coming into the later stages of the season.

When it comes to sharing around the footy and accolades, there is no doubt that the Saints excel at showcasing their depth of talent. While Michaela Long leads the goal tally with 13 to her name from nine matches, Danielle Ponter and Ash Melnikas both have eight to their name while four more players have multiple goals on the board. Megan Williamson has been named amongst the best in all seven of her matches, while Melnikas, Ponter and Jasmine Anderson have been listed five times each, and three more players have been named four times apiece, proving the consistent efforts around the ground. For the Razorbacks, Zhoe Clarke and Kiri Marschall are right up there, rarely skipping a beat or letting up on the pressure regardless of the scoreline.

Weekend preview: 2020/21 NTFL Women’s Premier League – Round 10

AS quick as a flash, the NTFL Women’s Premier League season has flown by as the competition has now officially passed its midway point of the 2020/21 season. The finals race is heating up with a mid-table log-jam evident already, while Pint sit comfortable and undefeated at the top of the ladder as the competition heads back into return fixtures. Tracy Village are yet to win a game but will get some valuable rest this week with a second bye for the season, while this weekend of action will see some teams hope to replicate their Round 3 form from their last encounter against their respective sides.

Nightcliff v. Wanderers
Saturday, December 5

While Nightcliff come into this match off a Round 9 bye, Wanderers will be looking to take every chance they have of upsetting the Tigers this week. Neither team has significant issues finding the goals, but at times seem to lack the defensive pressure to limit their opposition in the scoring department making for an intriguing matchup here. Nightcliff came away with the “W” in their Round 3 encounter, downing the Wanderers by 19 points and certainly giving the Tigers some confidence coming into this one, but will need to be hyper-aware of the side’s ability to fly out of the blocks and challenge teams.

Kaitlyn Armstrong (Wanderers), Lauren Gooden and Emma-Lou Wolsey (both Nightcliff) were crucial for their respective teams last time around, hauling much of the forward load. The Wanderers will need some of their other forward targets to take some of the load off Armstrong if they are to win this one, with Shekeine de Satge and Tishara Davern the likely suspects although the former is more of a transitional player. Wolsey’s powerful kick was huge early in the season but a couple of quiet weeks have allowed the likes of Darcy Elliston and Lauren Gooden to step up, while there is no doubt Jacqueline Anyon-Smith and Mickayla Ward will be up for a big match after a week off.

Waratah v. Southern Districts
Saturday, December 5

This battle between last year’s premiership sides is sure to be a big one, with their Round 3 match ending with a draw in a fitting finish to the close encounter. Factor in that both Waratah and Southern Districts come into this round with a couple of season-saving wins on the board over the last three rounds, and this match could realistically go either way. Neither side lack in firepower, but at times they seem to fall apart when their key forwards are under pressure, with both sides’ leading goalkickers in Tayla Thorn (Southern Districts, 17 goals) and Lisa Miceli (Waratah, 14 goals) flying under the radar for the most part until the past few rounds.

Expect the usual suspects to command the footy in this match, with plenty of key options on both sides able to hit the scoreboard and do so with ease. Add in the fact that both teams need a win here to realistically stay in touch with the top sides and this should be just as tight a matchup as it was the first time around. Given Waratah need a victory on the board to generate some more confidence and Districts are only a leg up due to a second draw, expect the firepower to be out in spades with the aforementioned duo just the tip of the iceberg for both teams. Crocs young gun Grace Mulvahil and Jessie Brock are able to switch on with ease, while for the Warriors there is no doubt Jenna Singh will be out with a vengeance as will Danica Pedersen.

St Mary’s v. Darwin Buffettes
Saturday, December 5

While the battle between St Mary’s and Darwin Buffettes was close last time around, expect big things from the two top four sides this week with much more at stake as the finals race heats up. The Saints have breezed through this season for the most part, soaking up pressure and outlasting in tough battles, but came off second best last round to the Crocs which allowed the Buffs to equal the Saints on points and be in with a fighting chance of taking over second on the ladder. Neither side has any shortage of key options around the ground, and have both continuously showcased defensive capabilities to match their respective forward firepower, with plenty of options able to put on consistent performances.

Intriguingly, when taking a look at the season stats so far there is a significant similarity between the two sides and the way they go about their game, particularly inside forward 50; while both sides have a key option up forward, they do not rely on that one player and have no shortage of key pillars inside 50. While this was not as evident in their last battle, where the two sides combined for 56 points overall with no multiple goalkickers, the likes of Saints trio Michaela Long (12 goals), Danielle Ponter and Ash Melnikas (both eight), and Buffs trio Zoe Anderson (14 goals), Machaelia Roberts and Delsey Ah Wang (both eight) showcased their respective abilities to hit the scoreboard with ease. While the Saints realistically should get the job done here given the consistency of Megan Williamson, Ponter and Melnikas, the Buffs have a plethora of key figures around the ground with the workrate of Dominique Carbone and Jemma Iacono unquestionable.

Pint v. Palmerston Magpies
Sunday, December 6

The final match of the round is a standalone Sunday fixture, pitting top-of-the-table Pint against the lowly Magpies. Given the Queen Ants still sit undefeated after nine rounds and rarely come off second best in their closer encounters, able to play through tough pressure and conditions, they should realistically have this one tied up with a confident 44-point Round 3 victory telling much of the tale prior to the match beginning. That being said, the Magpies have finally put a few wins on the board, albeit not consistently, and have proven they are capable of forcing teams into close margins so will look to do exactly that in this encounter. Realistically, the Magpies need a win here if they want any chance of moving up the ladder for a chance of finals footy.

Last time they met, Pint put on a show with Jessie Baumer leading the charge with three goals to her name, while Cassie Henderson showcased her consistency to lead from the front. With three multiple goalkickers behind Baumer and conceding just two goals from the Magpies, it is safe to say the Queen Ants will come into their second battle with plenty of confidence. The Magpies have no shortage of star players, but just have lacked the fire in the belly to really get the job done. Tabitha May and Iesha Ronberg have consistently stood up throughout the season, while Arthurina Moreen and Crystal Browne have ben solid fixtures inside 50 combining for 15 goals across their respective three games apiece. For Pint, Amy ChittickCasey Morris and Jasmyn Hewett are the ones to watch out for up forward, with 13, 10 and eight goals, with Chittick a consistent performer alongside Henderson.

Weekend preview: 2020/21 NTFL Women’s Premier League – Round 9

ROUND 9 of the NTFL Women’s Premier League is set to be a big one with some eye-catching match-ups set to headline the round. Tracy Village will have their work cut out for them against a dominant Pint side while St Mary’s will be chomping at the bit coming off the bye. Meanwhile, Nightcliff has the week off, and will hope results go in their favour to attack the second half of the season.

Southern Districts v. St Mary’s
Saturday, November 28

Fresh off the bye and determined to keep second spot, expect the Saints to throw everything they have at Southern Districts who are coming off a tight contest and will be ruing their missed opportunities. Southern Districts have plenty of firepower, able to blow teams out of the water but will need to put out a consistent four quarter effort to reduce the chance of the same thing happening in consecutive weeks. On the other hand, the Saints are proven winners thus far this season, and with fresh legs will have plenty of run in them against the Crocs.

Tayla Thorn will be one to watch for the Crocs given her explosiveness inside 50 and ability to convert, nailing 13 goals in the past two games, with her bag of 10 one of the most impressive hauls so far. Grace Mulvahil is another barometer for the side, able to navigate her way towards the big sticks coming off a two goal spree and proving more than a one-trick pony – as is Jessie Brock, showcasing the array of talent and variety of avenues the Crocs have. The second placed Saints have a number of goal scoring options with Michaela Long and Ash Melnikas slotting 11 and eight goals respectively throughout the season. Danielle Ponter is another handful to keep a watchful eye on, highlighting the number of options the higher-ranked side have heading into the contest, able to pile on the pressure consistently.

Tracy Village v. Pint
Saturday, November 28

It will be a big ask for Tracy Village this round, yet to secure a win and faced with top of the table Pint who have seven straight wins on the board. Pint know how to win and have shown that more times than not, constantly attacking the footy and exploiting their opponents with their silky ball movement. In the past three weeks the Razorbacks have only managed to slot one point, highlighting their struggle and inability to impact the play, and will have to bring their A-game if they are chance of ruffling the feathers of Pint, who are full steam ahead despite only narrowly getting over the line in Round 8.

Although Tracy Village have struggled to find the big sticks throughout the course of the season, Megan Wiley has been known to bob up every now and then to hit the scoreboard. A couple of familiar names in Zhoe Clarke and Kahla Dumbris have been consistent figures for the Razorbacks and will once again have to lead the way for the side, as will the likes of Kiri Marschall and Sarah Wilson who were both named in the bests last round for their high output. For Pint, Casey Morris leads the charge inside 50 with eight goals to her name so far this season making her one to watch while Amy Chittick is also a handy option around the big sticks. Pint have the luxury of being able to share around the goalkicking duties with a number of players able to step up to the plate and deliver, with Jasmyn Hewett proficient across the ground and in front of goal as is Gemma Cusack.

Waratah v. Wanderers
Saturday, November 28

Waratah will be riding high after a stellar victory in Round 8 trouncing the Razorbacks by 176 points and will be hoping to bring that same intensity against the Wanderers in this clash. Currently sitting in sixth place, there is only one game separating the two sides showcasing just how much is at stake for both teams. The Warriors proved their extensive depth in their last outing, finding a number of players who were able to do some scoreboard damage while the Wanderers had glimpses of brilliance and will be hoping to find some continuity in their performance this round.

Danica Pedersen proved to be a real handful up forward last round, booting a bag of six and will be eager to keep that hot streak going as will teammate, Lisa Miceli who has taken her season tally to 11 goals. Another player that cannot be overlooked is Jenna Singh, renowned for her pluckiness around the goal front while Molly Cooper and Monet Hunter are coming off strong performances. The Wanderers will have to be on song from the opening siren if they are to halt Waratah in their tracks and cause a boilover. In saying that, the Wanderers have no shortage of options inside 50 that know how to find the big sticks, with Sophie Fazzolari and Shekeine De Satge both prominent figures in attack. Morgan Johnston is another one to keep a constant eye on given her explosive nature alongside Tishara Davern, with the duo a force to be reckoned with.

Darwin Buffettes v. Palmerston Magpies
Saturday, November 28

The Buffettes will come in as hot favourites due to their third ranking, seeing them muster up five wins for the season so far compared to the Magpies’ seventh position, showcasing the stark difference between the two sides. However, Palmerston are coming off a strong performance in Round 8 and will be hoping to replicate that same intensity and attack for the ball in this clash. To keep in touch with the top two, Darwin must win this game while if the Magpies want to hike up the ladder now is the time as the competition hits the midway point of the season.

Despite only playing two games for the season, Crystal Browne has proven to be the go-to-girl up forward bagging eight goals, six of them last week making her a real livewire each time she steps out. Although Iesha Ronberg is not overly prominent on the goal scoring front, her ability to cover the ground is what makes her a standout while Laquoiya Motlap is another promising player for the Magpies, able to navigate her way around goals. For the Buffettes, Zoe Anderson is the real barometer and one the Magpies will be hoping to stop given her tenacity and goal nous already taking her season tally to 14. Delsey Ah Wang and Machaelia Roberts are a couple of other impressive players for Palmerston, as are youngsters Tayla Hart-Aluni and Dominique Carbone making for an exciting clash between the two sides.

2020/21 NTFL Women’s Premier League weekly wrap – Round 7

THERE was no shortage of close encounters throughout Round 7 of the NTFL Women’s Premier League with two of the games decided by less than 20 points. While the ladder leaders in Pint had the week off, second placed St Mary’s kept the heat on notching up their fifth win to remain in the hunt for that top spot. At the other end of the table, Tracy Village fell to their sixth straight loss.

WANDERERS 1.1 | 1.1 | 2.1 | 5.2 (32)
DARWIN BUFFETTES 4.4 | 5.5 | 6.6 | 7.7 (49)

A fast-starting Buffettes side was ultimately the difference between the two teams, as Darwin piled on four goals to one in the opening term and therefore managed to dictate the terms of the game for the remaining three quarters. Despite a strong last quarter performance from the Wanderers they simply could not peg back the margin enough to get over the line as the Buffettes walked away with their fifth win of the season. Darwin could have won by more had they been more accurate in front of the big sticks, notching up seven behinds, but overall will be pleased with their ability to halt the Wanderers in their tracks.

Zoe Anderson continued her stellar form in front of goal to make it three straight weeks where she has contributed to the scoreboard, posting two majors in this clash against the Wanderers. She was not the only multiple goalkicker in the side with Delsey Ah Wang bobbing up for two goals of her own while in her first game for the season Tayla Hart-Aluni also managed to slot one through the big sticks. Dominique Carbone was once again named in the bests for the Buffettes as was Molly Althouse for her second time in three weeks. Talia Corrie and Bianca Stokes also made their presence felt across the ground in their side’s win. For the Wanderers, Kaitlyn Armstrong once again found her range slotting a major while Shekeine De Satge and Kiarhii Williams also managed a goal apiece. Morgan Johnston was a constant threat across the ground and was recognised for her efforts, making her way into the bests for the third straight week as did Tishara Davern.

TRACY VILLAGE 0.0 | 0.0 | 0.0 | 0.1 (1)
SOUTHERN DISTRICTS 5.5 | 13.6 | 15.7 | 21.21 (138)

It is fair to say that it was all one-way traffic with Southern Districts handing Tracy Village a 137 point thumping. The Crocs had the ball on a string and came out with a real fire in the belly, not allowing Tracy Village any easy touches. The real damage was done in the second quarter where Southern Districts piled on eight unanswered goals as Tracy Village simply had no remedy to stop the avalanche of scoreboard pressure. it was not until the final quarter that the bottom of the ladder Razorbacks managed to register a mere point.

There is no denying that Tayla Thorn was the best afield with the Crocs forward putting on a show and walking away with a staggering 10 goal haul for her efforts inside 50. She was a constant firepower and showcased her impressive goal nous to take her season tally to 16. Emma Forsyth, Megan Craufurd and Grace Mulvahil all collected two goals each highlighting the number of goalscoring options the Crocs had. Michala Shaw and Indianna Hickling both stood up to be named in the bests joining the likes of Thorn, Forsyth and Craufurd.

PALMERSTON MAGPIES 1.5 | 2.6 | 3.8 | 4.8 (32)
NIGHTCLIFF 1.1 | 2.5 | 3.6 | 6.9 (45)

It all came down to the final quarter of action with Nightcliff pulling away and showcasing their high level of endurance and footy smarts to come from behind at three quarter time and steal the win. The lead chopped and changed throughout the game testament to the intensity and closeness of the match however a three goal to one final quarter allowed the Tigers reign supreme. Inaccuracy plagued both sides but the Magpies will be ruing their sloppy start to the game, monopolising the play and scoreboard but just unable to capitalise on their chances.

Goal-scoring machine Arthurina Moreen was up to her usual tricks and while it was not enough to get her side over the line her two goals kept them in the hunt. Crystal Browne was the only other Magpies player to hit the scoreboard nailing two majors of her own. Tabitha May continued her dominant ways across the ground, named in the bests for her third consecutive week while Michaeline Brown and Jo Guthridge also slotted into the mix. For Nightcliff, Mickayla Ward proved to be handy inside 50 nailing two goals as first gamer Amy Pittman booted a major to kick off her season. Jacqueline Anyon-Smith returned to the goalkickers list this round while in terms of best performers, Andi Moliere, Emily Casey and Eliza Morrison were recognised for their performance.

ST MARY’S 2.3 | 4.4 | 4.4 | 4.6 (30)
WARATAH 0.1 | 0.1 | 0.1 | 1.3 (9)

In the final game of the round, St Mary’s flexed their muscles with a strong showing against Waratah to collect a 21-point victory and edge closer to the top of the table Pint. It was a fast start from St Mary’s that set the tone for the match and while accuracy was somewhat of a problem they still managed to get the job done and shut down Waratah’s every move, rendering them goalless until the final term. The second and third quarters proved to be a stalemate for both sides, unable to create any real fluidity however the Saints had all but set the game up.

Ashlea Melnikas was in hot form converting three goals to take her season total to eight while Claudia Whitfort was the only other goal scorer for the victors. Melnikas was also named in the bests credit to her output throughout the game as Danielle Ponter and Megan Williamson also made their third straight appearance in the bests. Eliza Shannon and Annabelle Shannon both plied their trade across the ground for the Saints. The only goal scorer for Waratah was Lisa Roberts who showcased her goal nous while the bests are yet to be released for the Tahs.