IN what was a great opportunity for the most talented Under 16s girls, Vic Country took on Vic Metro at GMHBA Stadium on Saturday morning as a curtain raiser to their Under 18s counterparts. Vic Metro got the job done in an entertaining contest, and Peter Williams (Vic Country) and Julia Montesano (Vic Metro) took notes on each of the players who took part. Note all reviews are opinion-based.
#1 Jerusha Devarakonda
Throughout the match she showed a fierce attack on the footy, particularly in the third term where she was involved in a number of plays. She was often deep in defence or running off the half-back flank, she had quick hands and did not take a backwards step. She gave away a free kick to Tarni Brown in the third quarter, but it was her attack to win the footy that was most impressive.
#2 Leila Raymond
Raymond showed great defensive pressure in the back half, laying a number of strong tackles. It was almost déjà vu for the Gippsland Power player, who had no problems burying her opponent in a fantastic tackle in both the third and fourth quarters. She also saved a goal with a great tackle as an opponent ran towards the big sticks.
#3 Holly Andrews
Attacked the contest hard and had a good first term where she laid a couple of great tackles – unfortunately giving away a free for holding on too long. She created run out of defence in the second term, and was reliable with her disposal, including a good kick from half-back to the wing in the third term.
#4 Elizabeth Snell
Had a couple of nice passages of place including a good handball at ground level under pressure in the first term, and quick hands out of a stoppage in the third term.
#5 Megan Fitzsimon
Fitzsimon showed quick hands under pressure and a cleanliness at ground level to collect and go. She had a good kick to the wing after picking the footy up cleanly off the deck in the second half. She continued to stay involved along the wing.
#6 Renee Saulitis
Along with Tyanna Smith, was a driving force in the midfield. She won the footy throughout the four quarters and put in a really consistent effort. She did the defensive things well, laying tackles and providing bumps, while taking a courageous mark on the wing in the second term. She kicked well off half-back and had a fantastic run-down tackle on Ellie McKenzie after copping a don’t argue in the third term and earned a free kick for her troubles. She covered the ground well, also winning possessions in the forward half of the ground.
#7 Jemma Finning
Unfortunately Finning was injured early in the second term and did not get to play the game out.
#8 Kate Adams
Took a lovely mark at half-back in the final term and had a good centering pass to a teammate. She also showed a quick kick out of a stoppage late in the game.
#9 Emily Nicholson
Played in defence and constantly went in hard. She took a good one-on-one mark early and was able to quickly dispose of the ball under pressure. Nicholson had a highlight laying a strong tackle on Olivia Meagher, not fooled by Meagher’s attempt to sidestep her inside 50.
#10 Abbey Jordan
Jordan stood under a high ball in defence and despite contact coming did not waiver. She was unlucky not to get a free, showing good courage. In the third term she had a piercing kick inside 50 after moving through traffic, and then took a good intercept mark on the wing. Jordan laid a fierce bump on her opponent in the final term.
#11 Brooke Hards
Hards showed a willingness to back herself at all times coming off half-back. She got caught a couple of times, but for the run and ability to crash through opponents, it was worth it. She charged out of defence a number of times and was often under pressure. She laid a great tackle at half-back early in the game and hit-up Maggie Caris on the wing.
#12 Tyanna Smith
The Vic Country captain was one of the best with Renee Saulitis. Smith spread well to the outside and worked hard back into defence to help out. On a number of occasions, Smith read the loose ball in the air superbly, sticking out a hand and grabbing it cleanly before disposing of it by hand. She showed great acceleration out of a stoppage and kicked a goal on the run in the second term, really starting to dominate through the midfield. She laid some strong tackles and also took intercept marks at half-back.
#13 Chloe Leonard
Played in defence and had a number of kicks from half-back to the wing, rebounding where possible. She showed a good long kick and took a great mark dropping back in the first term to intercept.
#16 Sharmaine Reilly
Showed good courage going back with the flight at half-back to impact a contest despite copping body contact. She also applied good defensive pressure at half-back, applying a good shepherd to allow a teammate to run on.
#17 Sophie Milsome
A quieter first half, but took a great mark on the lead 35m out for a set shot in the third term. The shot drifted right, but she was presenting to the midfielders. She also laid a great smother at half-forward to put the ball out of bounds in the final term and force a throw in.
#18 Zoe Hill
Had a very nervous start to the day with some fumbles and caught holding the ball once for Alyssa Bannan to goal. Once she settled in she got back to what we have come to expect from her with a couple of strong intercept marks and was reliable by foot.
#19 Matilda Van Berkel
A quiet game, but always attacked the contest hard. She had a fantastic kick in the third quarter with a perfect pass to Sophie Milsome on the lead.
#20 Stephanie Glover
Busy early in the game, showing good vision to handball to a teammate at half-back through a couple of opponents. She has really good evasion and is able to step around opponents well. She threw it on the boot once, but is often more composed with the ball, and is quite athletic.
#21 Isabella Robson
Had a good moment to knock Ellie McKenzie off balance and drop the ball as she streamed towards 50 in the first half.
#22 Renee Tierney
Just continues to pop up at times despite not having a lot of opportunities. She had a clean pick-up off an awkward bounce at half-forward and was able to maintain composure to give it off to a teammate while she was under pressure. Tierney’s highlight came in the third term with the goal of the match after picking it up, snapping quickly from the boundary and dribbling it home. She also took a huge contested grab in the forward 50 later in the term, clunking the mark and looking dangerous.
#23 Isabella Simmons
When the ball went in her forward zone she showed good defensive pressure and was able to lock the ball up with a good tackle.
#24 Olivia Barber
Barber’s second efforts are noticeable in her ruck work, often winning her own ball from the taps. She laid a number of fierce tackles at ground level and continued to work hard. She snapped at goal off a couple of steps but just missed to the left.
#25 Maggie Caris
A raw but talented ruck who is smart with her hitout work. She was strong overhead and often marked at the highest point. A learning curve for her would be the game smarts when Alyssa Bannan was having a set shot from 40m and she stood at the top of the goal square instead of on the line and it bounced through with no-one to stop it. A really solid game all round, however.
#1 Olivia Meagher
Meagher was really lively up forward and was not afraid to take the game on. This was shown when she kicked a long bomb from just inside 50 that sailed through the goals. Before that, she read the ball well out of a stoppage and snapped through a goal from just outside the goal square. She was able to generate good acceleration and cleared the ball well after tackling a Country player. Meagher was not afraid to run the ball through the corridor and used her long kick to advantage on multiple occasions. Hacked a kick nicely out of a stoppage. Meagher kicked her third goal with a beautiful pick-up and snap and utilised excellent closing speed to chase down the Country player and earn a free kick.
#2 Mietta Kendall
Chased the ball well in defence, as she attempted to tackle three players. Nicked one of the jumpers and won a dropping the ball free kick, thanks to her desperation at back half. Laid a goal-saving tackle and always gets involved in the right moments.
#3 Taylah Morton
Morton followed the footy with purpose and intent throughout the day. She was able to trap the footy well and often used the ball well by foot. She also displayed great clean hands while being tackled, showing her strength in the contest.
#5 Mary Daw
Took a nice mark in defence to stop Country running forward and then hit a target with her kick.
#6 Abigail Bennett
Bennett competed hard throughout the match and displayed some great work inside 50. Kicked two goals for the day. Her first was a snap from an angle while being slung to the ground, which got the momentum swinging in Metro’s favour after a slow first quarter. Bennett has great composure with the ball in hand and when she does not have it, she follows it up well, laying strong tackles to prevent any opposition forward movement.
#7 Jessica Fitzgerald
Fitzgerald followed the footy nicely throughout the match and got plenty of it, which was a credit to her efforts around the stoppages. Executed a good pick-up and laid off a nice handball out of a stoppage while on hands and knees. The Northern Knights product always followed up her efforts well, through tackling hard.
#8 Bella Eddey
Gave off a nice quick-fire handball out of a stoppage inside 50. Picked the ball up with ease off the deck and got a quick handball away to Alyssa Bannan. Played well on the wing considering her normal spot is up forward while playing for the Dragons.
#9 Winnie Laing
Laing read the play well and hunted the footy with intent. She got a lot of the ball and did everything she could to get the ball out of a stoppage. Often used her speed to break away and get the ball forward for Metro.
#10 Ashleigh Snow
Snow had great hands out of stoppages and showed good strength while doing so. While being pursued by two players, she got a clean handball out to a teammate on the outside. Snow got the ball away while being tackled multiple times, giving her teammates first opportunity to get onto the football.
#11 Eliza McNamara
Executed many nice kicks to the top of the square, giving them good height and allowing her forwards to jump at the footy. Also had the ability to pinpoint kicks, displaying good all-round footwork throughout the day. McNamara accelerated well with the ball in hand, clearing it out of the centre square in one instance. Also did well defensively when she laid a strong wrap-around tackle on a Vic Country player then followed it up with another aggressive tackling effort.
#12 Tarni Brown
Had a sensational first half for Metro then played consistently for the rest of the game. Brown created so many scoring opportunities for Vic Metro with her clean hands and accurate kicking. She was able to boot the ball forward when needed to or she would get the play started with a strong handball out of a stoppage. Brown did nicely to find space and utilised it with lovely acceleration. Her blind turns were a highlight of her game, as one ended up in a handball to Abigail Bennett on the outside, who kicked her second major of the day as a result. Brown also demonstrated a high footy IQ when she lowered her eyes to spot Alyssa Bannan on the outer side, who then kicked a goal while being tackled.
#13 Alice Burke
Took a good leading mark on the wing and read the ball well off a tap. She then moved the ball well with a nice clearing kick out a stoppage.
#15 Mimi Hill
Gave off a good handball on hands and knees to get the ball out of congestion.
#16 Alice O’Loughlin
O’Loughlin laid a great tackle that prevented a Vic Country breakaway. Did most of her hard work up forward with a good kick towards goal that was on line but just didn’t make the distance. O’Loughlin’s defensive efforts were sound as she laid a strong tackle to earn a free kick. She then pinpointed the pass perfectly to Olivia Meagher for a set shot, giving her prime opportunity to kick a goal.
#17 Alisa Magri
Magri displayed strong hands throughout the day. She took a great mark off an Alice O’Loughlin kick inside 50, but she just missed the set shot. Took another miraculous mark inside 50 in a one-on-one contest, grabbing the ball with one hand and moving it forward. She is an exciting player with the ball in hand.
#18 Amber Micallef
Micallef pursued the ball with intent and then kicked it well around her body towards the boundary line. This showed great composure as it helped to slow the play down for Vic Metro.
#19 Sarah Hartwig
Hartwig gave off a good handball while being tackled strongly. Also took a strong contested mark and followed it up with a pinpointed a kick to Bennett at half-forward.
#20 Ellie McKenzie
McKenzie played a blinder of a game, particularly showing off her strong hands and exciting dash. She often found herself on the wing and created excitement when she fended off a player and streamed towards the forward 50. She did this in two separate points in the game, displaying her X factor and strength with the ball in hand. In many instances, she showed good situational awareness, as she knew she had space and used it to her advantage. In the forward half, she laid a good smother and attempted an almighty speccy. McKenzie leapt for every ball that came her way, and was fearless in attack. Demonstrated excellent run and carry when she streamed inside 50 to get the ball towards goal and creates a scoring opportunity. Showed class when she executed a great one-two with Alice O’Loughlin.
#21 Tamsin Crook
Crook did well in the ruck and followed up her work. She showed good intent to keep the ball moving when she dribbled the ball on the ground instead of just diving on it. This was smart play by her to keep it moving and then pick it up when she had the space to do so. Crook also tackled well on the day.
#22 Isabelle Pritchard
Ball didn’t go down her end that much but showed good intent when it came her way. At one point, she displayed good use of the body to shrug the tackle then executed a good second effort to create a stoppage.
#23 Jess Grace
Grace played in the ruck and contested well with Maggie Caris.
#24 Alyssa Bannan
Bannan was prolific in the forward line, demonstrating her high footy IQ. Took a good mark lace-out and then executed a perfect kick for goal from about 40 metres out. At this point, she backed herself and the ball bounced through. Bannan even had a stint in the ruck and competed well thanks to her height and footy smarts. A highlight of her game was when she punched the ball forward in the air to prevent a stoppage, then got the ball back off her punch and gave off a quick handball to Ellie McKenzie. Bannan also displayed clean hands throughout the game. Her kicking was on display too when she kicked a brilliant centering ball to Jessica Fitzgerald, giving Fitzgerald’s opponent no chance to compete. The Northern Knights forward finished with two majors for the day.
#25 Isabel Young
Young tackled well and displayed good strength to stand up in the stoppage and get a handball away over the top.