Tag: ella maurer

Maurer thrives on Tasmanian “team bond”

RETURNING for her second season of Tasmania Devils representation in 2021, there was a rise in “enjoyment” levels for tough midfielder-forward, Ella Maurer. The 19-year-old thrived across nine NAB League outings in her top-age campaign, averaging a tick under 17 disposals and five tackles as an integral part of the starting squad. She put much of her own, and the team’s success down to a rising “team bond”.

“We’ve really come together,” Maurer said. “We’ve been really united and it’s just been really enjoyable. Sometimes in previous years I found that it was a big sluggish getting to training but this year every training was enjoyable. All the coaches, staff and girls were great to be around.

“I love team sports, just the whole vibe and being out there with the girls.”

Through a consistent and much-improved NAB League campaign, Maurer was able to bring her own strengths to the fore and lean on her senior experience to provide a hard edge. She’s a player who loves the “aggression” of the game, which shows in the traits she says are her strengths, and areas for improvement.

“[My strength] is probably my attack on the ball,” she said. “Just being able to get in and get the ball out from contests and get the hands off to a teammate… [I’m working on] being cleaner and my skills, especially when I go down forward.

“I love to play in the midfield and rotate forward, I love to play down there as well. Even in the backline, I like to play some defensive footy so a bit of everything really.”

Maurer’s 2021 form saw her selected in the Allies squad, where she remained a constant ball winner and tough competitor, averaging 18 disposals, six tackles, and three clearances per her three games. The representative honours matched Maurer’s goals constantly “improving [her] game” and playing “at the highest level” possible.

She has plenty of examples to follow too, with former North Launceston captain Jodie Clifford a particular source of inspiration for the rising teenage prospect, having been there almost every step of the way.

“[Clifford] is just a really inspiring person and player as well,” Maurer said. “She’s one of the coaches for the Devils, the midfield coach, and I got to play footy with her at North Launceston. She was our captain and best and fairest both years that we played together.”

“I started playing footy when I was 14 in the junior youth girl’s team at North Launceston Football Club. I played there for two years, then went on to play in the TSLW team for North Launceston for the two years we had that. Unfortunately that folded so now I’m at Old Scotch in the NTFA.”

A raft of Tasmanians also joined Maurer in North Melbourne’s VFLW side this year, with as many as 11 of them getting out on the park at one time in blue and white. There are certainly big things happening out of the Apple Isle and if Maurer’s development is anything to go by, the rate of improvement will be steep.

Image Credit: Dylan Burns/AFL Photos

2021 Draft Central AFLW Draft Top/Mature Age Team to Watch

BE it 19-year-old talents who for one reason or another missed out last year, or mature-age players who have put together breakout seasons, there are plenty of player vying for a spot on an AFL Women’s list. The AFL Women’s Draft occurs on July 27, and plenty of players from almost 19 to 29-year-olds, we have put together a team of players who are in contention for this year’s draft. We have also named a number of others who are also in contention beyond the 24-player limit. The team features only 2002-born or prior players.

BACKS:
Emily Bennett (Claremont/WA)Matilda Dyke (Claremont/WA)Teagan Germech (Belconnen/NSW-ACT)

The deepest three features a Claremont duo who have put together a couple of good seasons, with Emily Bennett providing some one-on-ones and ability to hit targets further afield, and Matilda Dyke being a lockdown player who can move around the ground and not only intercept but provide some drive as proven at the AFL Women’s Under 19 Championships. Teagan Germech is a tall who not only can run off half-back, but provide an intercepting option and one who could roll into the ruck as well as she does at the Magpies.

HALF-BACKS:
Maeve Chaplin (Northern Knights/Victoria)Maddy Hendrie (UNSW/NSW-ACT)Brooke Hards (Western Bulldogs/Victoria)

Chaplin is capable of playing inside or off half-back, providing good versatility as one of the more consistent ball-winners in the NAB League this season. As a year older, Northern Knights’ Maeve Chaplin showed her experience throughout the season, having opted to head back to the junior age comp then progress into the VFL Women’s. Going straight there was Western Bulldogs’ Brooke Hards who went from being that predominant inside midfielder to a bit of everywhere, but has settled on half-back as someone who can provide great run and carry and uses it well going forward. The other tall rounding out the back six is NSW-ACT’s Maddy Hendrie, a versatile utility for Sydney Swans Academy.

CENTRES:
Tahlita Buethke (South Adelaide/South Australia)Amanda Ling (Oakleigh Chargers/Victoria)Chloe Leonard (GWV Rebels/Victoria)

Through the middle there is a mix of speed, hardness and versatility with a trio of 19th-year prospects running around. On one wing is South Adelaide’s Tahlita Buethke who has one of the best athletic profiles going around with her blistering speed and strong endurance. On the other wing is the versatile Chloe Leonard who could play off half-back, inside or outside, and had an ultra-consistent season for the GWV Rebels in NAB League Girls before representing Geelong in the VFLW. In the centre is Oakleigh Chargers’ best on ground in the grand final, Amanda Ling who has a nice balance of inside and outside traits, as well as consistency.

HALF-FORWARDS:
Elizabeth Snell (Bendigo Pioneers/Victoria)Imogen Milford (Casey Demons/Victoria)Sarah Skinner (North Melbourne/Tasmania)

Three players who have run around at VFL Women’s level – and two as permanent fixtures this season – start off the forward line. The youngest is top-age talent Elizabeth Snell who has represented Essendon as well as Bendigo Pioneers and Vic Country, playing as a midfielder who can go forward and provide great pressure as well as creativity inside 50. North Melbourne’s Sarah Skinner is one of the top mature-age prospects going around, hailing from Tasmania and stepping up in the VFLW to go from a reliable goalkicker to a dominant midfielder. Imogen Milford finished second in the VFLW goalkicking and is still young and developing as a 190cm key position talent.

FORWARDS:
Abbie Ballard (West Adelaide/South Australia)Imogen Barnett (Collingwood/Victoria) Sophie Locke (Port Melbourne/Victoria)

A real mix of sizes and versatilities rounds out the forward line, with VFL Women’s leading goalkicker Imogen Barnett hardly putting a foot wrong, and putting her hand up as a key position mature-age option. She is flanked by another VFLW player in Sophie Locke, with the ex-Murray Bushrangers talent and now Port Melbourne goalkicker leading the goalkicking at the midway point of the season prior to injury. She can also play in defence as she did for Vic Country a couple of years ago, whilst Abbie Ballard is a pocket rocket with a potent left foot who can play midfield or up forward and provide some high-level pressure, as well as scoreboard impact when running around at SANFLW level for the Bloods.

RUCKS:
Leah Cutting (Norwood/South Australia)Meagan Kiely (North Melbourne/Victoria)Dana East (Swan Districts/Western Australia)

The two oldest players in this team are onball, with 29-year-old Leah Cutting the most readymade of any AFLW Draft Combine invite to slot straight into a ruck spot. She was the clear choice for the role in this team, as was North Melbourne’s Meagan Kiely for the ruck rover spot. Kiely was the most dominant ball-winner in the VFLW, and played consistently well each and every week to be amongst the best player in the competition, with the Tasmanian having relocated to Victoria. She is joined in the side by Swan Districts’ Dana East, whose transformation onball at WAFLW level this season has been sensational and really put her hand up for the AFLW Draft.

INTERCHANGE:
Nyra Anderson (Swan Districts/Western Australia)Ashanti Bush (Hawthorn/Northern Territory)Tessa Doumanis (Claremont/Western Australia)Olivia Meagher (Eastern Ranges/Victoria) … Brodee Mowbray (Southern Power/NSW-ACT)Christine Okesene (Yeronga/Queensland)

The interchange is always the hardest place to pick as it rounds out the side with plenty more still capable of fitting in. Alphabetically-listed on the bench, there are a couple of West Australians in Nyra Anderson and Tessa Doumanis – both of whom do their best work forward, whilst Ashanti Bush is a classy AFLW Academy member inside 50. Brodee Mowbray is a tackling machine through midfield, with Olivia Meagher expanding her game to play outside this year to go with her inside talents, and Christine Okesene able to play off half-back or through the midfield.

OTHERS:

A few other names who were in contention for a spot include Queensland duo Madison Goodwin and Steph O’Brien, and Northern Territory’s Bella Clarke who all received AFLW Draft Combine invites. In Tasmania, Ella Maurer put together a consistent season, with Matilda Zander and Alana Barba the next two VFLW players to keep an eye on. Over in Western Australia, Jess Low is one known for winning the ball and having an impact, whilst Jade Halfpenny has developed into a versatile tall in the SANFLW for Norwood.

DRAFT CENTRAL’S 2021 TOP/MATURE AGE TEAM TO WATCH:

B: Emily Bennett (CL/WA) – Matilda Dyke (CL/WA) – Teagan Germech (Belconnen/NSW-ACT)
HB: Maeve Chaplin (NK/VIC) – Maddy Hendrie (UNSW/NSW-ACT) – Brooke Hards (WB/VIC)
C: Tahlita Buethke (SA/SA) – Amanda Ling (OC/VM) – Chloe Leonard (GWV/VC)
HF: Elizabeth Snell (BP/VIC) – Imogen Milford (CD/VIC) – Sarah Skinner (NM/TAS)
F: Abbie Ballard (WA/SA) – Imogen Barnett (CM/VIC) – Sophie Locke (PM/VIC)
R: Leah Cutting (NW/SA) – Meagan Kiely (NM/VIC) – Dana East (SD/WA)
INT: Nyra Anderson (SD/WA) – Ashanti Bush (HAW/NT) – Tessa Doumanis (CL/WA) – Olivia Meagher (CM/VIC) – Brodee Mowbray (Southern Power/NSW-ACT) – Christine Okesene (Yeronga/QLD)

Ones to Watch: AFLW Draft eligible surprise packets

EVERY year players produce some out-of-the-box games, but occasionally, those performances stick and become the new norm, helping certain talents put their best foot forward towards the AFL Women’s Draft. In this special edition, we have highlighted 10 players to keep an eye on after piecing together some impressive 2021 seasons.

Tahlita Buethke (South Adelaide/South Australia)
23/01/2002 | 167cm
Balanced Midfielder

Only managing the three games last year in her 18th year, Buethke became a regular fixture in the South Adelaide squad, to not miss a game when she was available – outside state representation – and really have more of an influence on games. For the first half of the SANFL Women’s season, Buethke might have had a quiet first half, then exploded, but once she returned from the AFL Women’s Under 19 Championships, Buethke went from a wing position onball and had 17 clearances in four weeks to show she was more than capable of standing up in any midfield role. Her burst of speed and athleticism as a whole are among the best in the draft crop, and she is building her consistency more with each game.

Tess Craven (Geelong Falcons/Vic Country)
23/12/2003 | 163cm
Inside Midfielder

The inside midfielder produced a remarkably consistent season in 2021, averaging more than 21 disposals, as well as four marks and four tackles per game for the Geelong Falcons in the NAB League Girls. She won the club best and fairest, and was a standout performer for Vic Country as well, consistently cracking in on the inside and clearing the ball from danger. One of the top inside midfielders in the draft crop this year, Craven certainly shot up this year having averaged the seven touches from two games in the limited 2020 season, but showed with her ball use and decision making, that she can have a real impact on the game in the forward half.

Dana East (Swan Districts/Western Australia)
10/06/2002 | 167cm
Inside Midfielder

Another inside midfielder but this time as a top-age (almost) 19-year-old, East has come on in leaps and bounds in 2021 with her slick hands and contested ball-winning abilities. East was previously playing local football in Western Australia, but since stepping up to the WAFL Women’s and developing rapidly within the State Academy, the talented midfielder has been one of the most consistent players in the competition. Not only does she extract the ball well from the stoppages, but she can go forward and hit the scoreboard, often able to grab the ball at full speed and have the composure to execute by hand or foot quickly which makes her so damaging.

Abby Hewett (Wilston Grange/Queensland)
12/04/2003 | 162cm
Midfielder/Forward

Unfortunately due to various lockdowns and COVID-19 scares, Queensland players have not been able to play as much representative football against the states as they would have liked, but one draft-eligible player who has impressed in the recent weeks has been Wilston Grange’s Hewett. The small, tough midfielder was fierce against Vic Country, clearly one of the standouts and racking up eight clearances, eight tackles and 16 disposals to be the premier clearance player on the day. What stands out with Hewett is her versatility, given that in the Queensland side’s win over Coorparoo, she played predominantly forward and showed great goal sense and footy nous to kick a couple of goals and then work hard up the ground at different times.

Ella Maurer (Tasmania Devils/Allies)
01/02/2002 | 169cm
Balanced Midfielder

In terms of boosting numbers, Maurer is one of a number of players symbolic of their team’s rise, standing up to put together a really consistent season in conjunction with the Devils’ rise to the finals. Only averaging the five touches and three tackles last year, the now 19-year-old became a household ball-winner in the NAB League Girls competition, picking up 16.8 disposals and laying 4.8 tackles, as well as more than two inside 50s, and one rebound 50 per game. She then went to the Under 19s Championships where she was again one of the more impressive midfielders, and has already gained two games experience in North Melbourne’s VFL Women’s team, not looking out of place against senior opponents. A ray of consistency in 2021 and has not put a foot wrong this year.

Keeley Sherar (Eastern Ranges/Vic Metro)
29/10/2003 | 170cm
Balanced Midfielder

There were plenty of players who came on incredibly well in 2021 compared to their 2020 seasons, and after only managing the one game for Eastern last year, Sherar really stepped up and became a huge feature for the Ranges midfield. She averaged the 14.8 disposals, 2.2 marks and 4.8 tackles this year, and just made things happen with ball-in-hand. A creative forward half player who was best suited to winning the ball at the contest and putting it inside 50 – something she did an average of 3.4 times a game – Sherar was trusted with ball-in-hand and set up scoring opportunities for her teammates. In a side with plenty of consistent performers, Sherar certainly did her draft chances no harm with a call-up to Vic Metro and not missing a beat in the NAB League.

Aurora Smith (Murray Bushrangers/Vic Country)
13/12/2003 | 165cm
Wing

Very similar to Craven but from an outside sense, Smith was arguably the most dominant wing in the NAB League Girls competition. A ray of consistency all season even early on when the Bushrangers were struggling, Smith averaged just under 21 disposals, and more than three tackles and three marks per game. Her best work was in her metres gained though, winning the ball on the outside and bursting away with her athleticism to go inside 50 four times a game. At the AFLW Under 19 Championships, Smith spent some time on the inside to add that string to her bow, but expect the wing to be a player who catches the eye of a number of clubs given her 2021 season compiled bigger numbers than her previous two put together. A huge rise and outstanding talent.

Brooke Tonon (Glenelg/South Australia)
19/09/2003 | 166cm
Defender/Midfielder

After playing forward and back in patches last year, the 17-year-old Tonon really stepped up in her second season at SANFL Women’s level. Having come through the State Academy program and been a leader at Under 16s level, the Glenelg youngster really put together an outstanding year and show what she has to offer. Playing in a team that reached the grand final this weekend, Tonon held her spot every week she did not have state representation, and averaged the 14.8 disposals 2.5 marks, 3.2 tackles and 2.5 rebound 50s, kicking at a high-level 76 per cent efficiency. More impressively was the consistency not to drop below double-digit disposals, and it earned her a place in the Team of the Year.

Makaela Tuhakaraina (South Fremantle/Western Australia)
23/08/2003 | 158cm
Utility

A really raw player coming from a rugby background, South Fremantle’s Tuhakaraina is the definition of eye-catching. Possessing elite speed and agility, the talented utility who can play through the midfield but can slot in anywhere including forward, Tuhakaraina is hard to stop when she gets going. A powerful athlete who is still building other areas of her game, she has the tools that clubs can work around and with the development she has already made, it one to keep an eye on. The fact she is sub-160cm will not matter considering her athletic traits and ability to get out of trouble by gaining separation on her opponents.

Brooke Vickers (Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro)
06/03/2003 | 171cm
Defender/Wing

Playing in the premiership team, Vickers did a really impressive job of still catching the eye amongst a host of other talented players. Whilst she was often stationed at half-back and then pushed up to a wing at times, Vickers was able to use the ball well coming off half-back and remain balanced and composed with ball-in-hand to deliver the ball inside 50. After averaging the eight disposals in her bottom-age year from the two available games – also big wins – Vickers stepped up to average the 13.5 disposals, and around two inside 50s and rebound 50s, as well as 3.3 tackles. She was a consistent feature for the Chargers, and while some others might have racked up bigger numbers, Vickers was a reliable player to produce transitional running.

2021 NAB League Girls team review: Tasmania Devils

NEXT up in our NAB League Girls team review series are the Tasmania Devils, the biggest improvers from the 2020 season to the 2021 edition. We recap the Devils’ season, and take a look at some of the top performers across those various age groups.

Wins: 6
Losses: 2
Position: 3rd (1st Country)

SEASON SUMMARY:

After coming off a shortened season that did not yield a win, Tasmania Devils kicked off 2021 with a bang, smashing Gippsland Power by 62 points at Highgate Recreation Reserve. Pushing eventual premiers Oakleigh all the way before falling six points short, the Devils went on to meet every challenge presented to them, with the only other regular season loss coming against Eastern Ranges. The Devils knocked off the Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels in the final round of the season to secure the minor premiership in the Country pool, before going down to the same opponents by a point a week later.

DRAFT-ELIGIBLE TOP PERFORMERS:

Perri King | Midfielder
25/08/2003 | 169cm

The AFL Women’s Academy member put together a really consistent season playing through the midfield, often winning the ball and bursting away, or resting forward and looking to send the ball inside. Winning at least 15 disposals in every one of her eight games, King was not only able to impact offensively, but lay a ton of tackles (9.4 per game) to make her mark defensively as well. She finished with 19.9 disposals and 4.2 inside 50s, indicating the importance she had to the team in sending the ball forward, and also winning it back from the opposition.

Meghan Gaffney | Midfielder
02/04/2003 | 156cm

The gut-running wing continually worked hard around the ground to create space and always put together a four-quarter performance. Much like King, Gaffney was always amongst the top few players on her side such was her consistency and ability to just tick a lot of boxes in her game. She won her fair share of the ball all around the ground and took the game on, always looking to create and break the lines where possible, working as hard as anyone on the field.

Ella Maurer | Midfielder
01/02/2002 | 170cm

One of the 19-year-old prospects coming back to the side this year, Maurer played an important role through the onball supporting King in winning the ball in tight and getting it out, then showing she could play on the outside and spread to win the ball. She was able to play multiple roles for the both the Devils and Allies, and ended up averaging 16.8 disposals and 4.8 tackles, with a lot of her touches being hard-earned. Maurer seemed to get better as the season went on which boded well for a VFLW debut with North Melbourne.

Jemma Blair | Defender
03/02/2003 | 170cm

The versatile defender provided good run and carry, but is also capable of playing a shut down role when required. Blair knows when to push up the ground and when to hold back and keep a strong line, and she always put together a consistent effort. At 170cm, Blair could be asked to play on talls or smalls and be relied upon to fill that role successfully.

Amy Bissett | Forward
20/05/2003 | 158cm

The pocket rocket ended up booting 10 goals in the NAB League Girls season, the second most of anyone in her team. With a season-high of three goals against Northern Knights to win them the game and our Draft Central NAB League Girls Player of the Week nomination, as well as multiple majors against the Gippsland Power, Bendigo Pioneers and GWV Rebels, Bissett was lively inside 50 with high-level footy IQ and great goal sense.

FUTURE ONES TO WATCH:

Claire Ransom | Midfielder
21/02/2004 | 170cm

Class personified, Ransom is one of the brightest stars for next year’s AFLW Draft crop. She has clean hands on the inside, time and space to make the right decision and execute properly, and can play inside or out. Most impressively, Ransom’s consistency was a highlight, and the midfielder made things happen with ball-in-hand. A player her teammates could rely on to dispose of the ball well, Ransom is set to be a key talent to watch in 2022 after a really promising bottom-age season this year.

Candice Belbin | Midfielder/Defender
14/07/2004 | 163cm

Providing ultra-consistency as a running defender who could also play up in the midfield, Belbin finished the 2021 season picking up double-figure disposals in all bar one of her games (and that one was nine touches). She created the run and carry in transition with quick hands and an ability to know when to move, also laying some fierce tackles to stop the opposition in their tracks. Expect her to be a key part of the Devils’ midfield next season.

OTHERS:

The Devils’ depth across the ground was absolutely superb and a real reason why they fared so well. Amy Prokopiec won the leading goalkicker award with 12 majors in her eight games, while Jemma Webster, Charlotte Dennis, Charlie Vandenberg, Madison Brazendale and Olivia Smith all impressed in nine games earning multiple bests for their sides.

The Graduates: 2021 VFLW – Round 12

A HEAP of young prospects continue to filter through the Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s competition, with the revamped structure allowing Under 18 and 19 NAB League players to align with state league sides as both seasons run concurrently. As the NAB League season has now drawn to an end, Round 11 saw plenty more young talent scattered across each state league side. We take a look at how VFLW-listed players who currently compete in, or have recently graduated from the NAB League, performed.

>> Results: VFLW Round 12

There were a number of debutants across the VFL Women’s competition in Round 12, but two of the most anticipated ones were the inclusions of Calder Cannons’ Georgie Prespakis (Essendon) and Tasmania Devils’ Perri King (North Melbourne). The pair went head-to-head in the opening game of the round at Windy Hill, with King coming away with 15 disposals and seven tackles, while Prespakis had the 10 touches and seven tackles. The other Devils running around were Ella Maurer (11 disposals, one goal), Camilla Taylor (five disposals, eight tackles and three hitouts) and Jemma Blair running around for the Roos. The other Cannons donning the sash were Emelia Yassir (11 disposals, four marks and four tackles), Kasey Lennox and Zali Friswell who all gained great experience. Recent Cannons graduate Alana Barba continued her ripping season with 16 disposals, five tackles and two goals, while ex-Bushranger Eloise Ashley-Cooper had the 15 disposals and 11 tackles in the loss.

Port Melbourne had a number of NAB League talents running around, led by best on ground in last week’s grand final, Oakleigh Chargers’ Amanda Ling (10 disposals, three tackles). Her premiership teammate Taylah Morton had her best game at VFLW level with 12 disposals and six tackles, while ex-Bushranger Sophie Locke managed the seven touches, three marks and five tackles in another solid performance. Ex-Eastern Ranges talent Emma Horne was the main graduate out of the NAB League Girls that was VFLW-listed for the Demons.

In Carlton’s upset win over Geelong, Maeve Chaplin played her second VFLW game, joining Northern Knights teammate Tara Delgado and ex-Oakleigh talent Amber Micallef (nine disposals, nine tackles). Tamara Smith put in another good tackling performance of 18 disposals and eight tackles, while ex-Falcon Paige Sheppard had the 17 disposals and eight tackles. Darebin might have gone down in a heavy loss to the undefeated Collingwood, but Northern Knights’ Trinity Mills played her second game for the Falcons.

On Sunday, Hawthorn enjoyed an important win over Williamstown, with a number of Eastern Ranges players having an impact. Ranges’ co-captain Eloise Chaston had the 10 touches and three marks, Bridget Deed laid four tackles with eight touches, and Keeley Sherar had six touches, two marks and two tackles. AFL Women’s Academy member Ashanti Bush slotted two majors from six disposals in a promising effort up forward. Past Ranges graduate Jenna Richardson had a solid outing with 10 disposals, six marks and three tackles. For the Seagulls, Sydney Swans Academy member Jess Doyle was named best-on with 13 disposals, three marks and three tackles, while ex-Pioneers midfielder Megan Williamson had the 18 disposals, five marks and four tackles to continue her strong season.

Western Bulldogs kept their finals hopes alive with a number of young talents coming through the team. Western Jets graduate Caitlin Sargent (nine disposals, two marks, two tackles and a goal) kicked a clutch goal, whilst Jemima Woods, Stephanie Asciak and Nikita Wright all played their roles. Former Bendigo Pioneers co-captain Brooke Hards pieced together another impressive effort from her seven touches, six tackles and an important third term goal, while ex-Sandringham Dragon Molly Denahy Maloney returned from injury.

2021 VFLW Round 12 wrap: Finals picture still unclear after upsets

AS it draws closer to the end, Round 12 of the Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s saw some important wins from North Melbourne, Port Melbourne, Carlton, Collingwood, Hawthorn and Western Bulldogs.

ESSENDON 1.3 | 2.5 | 3.6 | 3.7 (25)
NORTH MELBOURNE 0.2 | 1.2 | 3.4 | 4.5 (29)

For fifth placed Essendon, their main aim was a win after their defeat to Western Bulldogs in round 11. Quarter one saw them with a rushed behind before North Melbourne booted the first goal of the game thanks to Daria Bannister. The rest of first quarter went Essendon’s way, as they took the lead early on with 1.3. Essendon continued with their lead in both the second and third quarters. However, North Melbourne slowly began to catch up towards the end of the third and ultimately causing disappointment for Essendon to secure the win.

Alana Barba who scored two goals and had 16 disposals for the Bombers in the loss, while Alex Morcom had 10 disposals and six handballs to her name, however it was not enough to stop a strong North Melbourne outfit. Meagan Kiely dominated for the winning side with 25 disposals, 17 kicks and eight handballs. North Melbourne’s score was also bolstered by their two goal scorers of Daria Bannister and Ella Maurer.

GOALS:

Essendon: A. Barba 2, A. Marcom.
North Melbourne: M. Sinclair 2, D. Bannister, E. Maurer.

BEST:

Essendon: E. Yassir, L. Ahrens, L. Caruso, E. Ashley-Cooper, N. MacDonald, G. Nanscawen
North Melbourne: B. Brown, M. Kiely, V. Saad, A. Hamilton, A. Smith, M. King

_


CASEY DEMONS 1.3 | 3.3 | 4.4 | 5.5 (35)
PORT MELBOURNE 2.0 | 3.0 | 7.0 | 8.1 (49)

Port Melbourne caused a finals-defining win for Casey Demons last weekend at Casey Fields, knocking off the Demons to keep the Borough in contention for a top two spot. Right from the start of the first quarter, Casey held onto a strong start with a goal and two behinds scored. A response of two goals from Port Melbourne was not keeping Casey away from the tight contest. A string of goals in the third quarter from Port saw the Borough dominating the scoreboard, snatching the lead away from Casey. A even final term saw the Borough’s lead enough to win by 14 points on the road.

Emily Harley and Katherine Smith played a significant part in Port Melbourne’s win, both scoring two goals in the match. Kodi Jacques also was important for Port. 17 disposals, 1 goal and 12 tackles during her second VFLW game. Meanwhile, Eliza McNamara had a stellar performance for Casey with 23 disposals and 17 kicks.

GOALS:

Casey: L. Milford 2, C. Emonson, E. West, E.Zanker.
Port Melbourne: E. Harley 2, K. Smith 2, O. Barton, M. Brancatisano, K. Jacques, L. Stutt.

BEST:

Casey: E. Birch, M. Macdonald, G. Colvin, E. McNamara, M. Harasimiuk, C. Conroy
Port Melbourne: H. Cordner, K. Smith, C. Dyett, A. Edmonds, K. Jacques, I. Stutt

_

CARLTON 0.3 | 2.4 | 2.6 | 4.7 (31)
GEELONG 1.2 | 1.2 | 2.2 | 3.4 (22)

Second placed Geelong Cats were looking to keep up their streak after their win last week against the Southern Saints. Despite an early lead from Carlton with two behinds added to the scoreboard, Geelong’s Georgia Clarke snagged the first goal of the game. Both teams responded with behinds until the second quarter where the game slowly began going Carlton’s way. By the time the third quarter came around, Carlton had already started to make a comeback and snatched the lead from their opponent. It was not long until Carlton had sealed the deal with a win at the end of the fourth quarter, leading Geelong to be defeated.

The winning side showed a strong force during the match with Abbie Mckay and 27 disposals. Grace Egan’s 21 disposals and Bry Gurr’s 10 kicks proved valuable for Carlton as well. Whilst Geelong came short from the win, they showed promising signs. Renee Garing impressed with 23 disposals, 15 tackles and 13 handballs. Meanwhile, Laura Gardiner had 22 disposals and 12 tackles.

GOALS:

Carlton: C. Jones, S. Lawrence, L. McEvoy, E. Wood.
Geelong Cats: G. Clarke 2, A. Johnson.

BEST:

Carlton: N. Plane, P. Trudgeon, E. Honybun, L. McEvoy, D. Walker, J. Borg
Geelong Cats: P. Sheppard, C. Gunjaca, R. Garing, T. Meissner, A. Johnson, J. Foley

_

Darebin Falcons 0.0 | 0.2 | 2.3 | 3.3 (21)
Collingwood 4.0 | 6.1 | 7.2 | 11.6 (71)

Collingwood secured a 51-point win over the Darebin Falcons at Bill Lawry Oval. The win came as a result of a slow start from Darebin, which Collingwood were able to take advantage of immediately during the first quarter with four goals. Darebin’s struggle to get in the game continued during the second quarter, only managing to get in three behinds. It was not until a string of goals from Georgia Hammond and Stephanie Simpson which saw the Falcons finally get some majors on the board during the third quarter. Collingwood’s dominance over Darebin continued in the final quarter with Joanna Lin emerging as the side’s main goal scorer, alongside Mikala Cann who each kicked six goals between them.  For Darebin, Nicole Callinan led with the most disposals. Gena Lawson-Tavan had the most tackles for the side.

GOALS:

Darebin Falcons: S. Simpson 2, G. Hammond.
Collingwood: M.Cann 3, J.Lin 3, I.Barnett 2, C.Molloy 2, S. Livingstone.

BEST:

Darebin Falcons: N. Callinan, A. Mifsud, S. Simpson, J. Dal Pos, G. Lawson-Tavan, K. Roe
Collingwood: M. Cann, I. Purcell, J. Lin, J. Guy, N. Weston, C. Molloy

WILLIAMSTOWN 0.1 | 1.1 | 2.5 | 2.9 (21)
HAWTHORN 2.0 | 4.4 | 6.4 | 6.7 (43)

Hawthorn took control of the game from early on, leaving Williamstown struggling to get only a point on the board for the entirety of the first quarter. Hawthorn’s lead continued well into the second quarter with Sarah Perkins and Ashanti Bush among the side’s goal scorers. Heading into the third quarter, the Seagulls attempted to make a comeback, however, it was not enough as Hawthorn kept holding the lead in the third quarter. The Seagulls had begun to slowly crawl back into the game, but it did not have much impact on the outcome at the end of the final term.

Alison Drennan had a stellar performance for Hawthorn with 22 disposals. Meg Hutchins and Tamara Luke each proved pivotal for the winning side, with 18 and 12 disposals respectively. Although a win was not in the cards for Williamstown, Eliza Straford and Erin Todd were significant for the Seagulls, with both scoring a goal for their side, while young gun Jess Doyle was named best-on for her 13 disposals, three marks and and three tackles.

GOALS:

Seagulls: E. Straford, E. Todd.
Hawthorn: A. Bush 2, N. von Bertouch, S. Perkins, T. Luke, K. Stratton.

BEST:

Seagulls: J. Doyle, E. Graham, E. Baxter, E. Meade, E. Straford, L. Steane.
Hawthorn: C. Perera, G. Bevan, A. Bush, A. Drennan, J. Richardson, K. Stratton.

_

Southern Saints 1.0 | 2.2 | 2.7 | 3.9 (27)
Western Bulldogs 1.0 | 2.0 | 4.3 | 5.3 (33)

In the battle between sixth and seventh, both the Southern Saints and Western Bulldogs started the game off evenly, as Anna Harris and Stephanie Asciak helped their teams get a goal on the board. Despite a slow start to the match and Elisabeth Georgostathis’ goal for the Bulldogs, the Southern Saints responded with a goal from Tyanna Smith and several behinds in the second quarter. The Western Bulldogs had a comeback in the third quarter with Annabel Scott among the players who scored a goal. Although the Saints had managed to have the lead in the first half, they failed to regain the lead once more as the Bulldogs were set for the win.

The tight contest with the Southern Saints was helped by the efforts of Caitlin Sargent, who scored a goal and had nine disposals to her name. Brooke Hards, another goal scorer for the Western Bulldogs was significant for the side’s win with some impressive plays, as well as Elisabeth Georgostathis who managed 15 disposals, 10 kicks and 10 tackles. For the Southern Saints, Hannah Stuart, Jayde Van Dyke and Alice Burke proved important for the side.

GOALS:

Southern Saints: G. De Angelis, A. Harris, T. Smith.
Western Bulldogs: S. Asciak, E. Georgostathis, B. Hards, C.Sargent, A. Scott.

BEST:

Southern Saints: M. McDonald, H. Priest, A. Burke, J. Van Dyk, M. Capsalis, T. Smith
Western Bulldogs: D. Marshall, E. Vale, S. Hartwig, E. Georgostathis, A. Scott, I. Pritchard
Floyd Mayweather vs Logan Paul Live Reddit
Floyd Mayweather vs Logan Paul Live Reddit
Floyd Mayweather vs Logan Paul Live Reddit
Floyd Mayweather vs Logan Paul Live Reddit
Floyd Mayweather vs Logan Paul Live Reddit
Floyd Mayweather vs Logan Paul Live Reddit
Floyd Mayweather vs Logan Paul Live Reddit
Floyd Mayweather vs Logan Paul Live Reddit
Floyd Mayweather vs Logan Paul Live Reddit
Floyd Mayweather vs Logan Paul Live Reddit
Floyd Mayweather vs Logan Paul Live Reddit
Floyd Mayweather vs Logan Paul Live Reddit

2021 VFLW Round 12 preview: Finals on the line for several sides

THREE rounds remain and some results could ultimately determine finals spots, with last chances in play for a couple of teams, and a top against bottom clash featuring this weekend in the Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s competition.

ESSENDON vs. NORTH MELBOURNE
Saturday, May 22 @ 10:00am
Windy Hill

Potential top pick Georgie Prespakis has been named for Essendon in a game where the Bombers can lock up a finals spot, and snuff out North Melbourne’s chances at the same time. The Roos will make history with a record 11 Tasmanians in the side, and a debutant in fellow AFL Women’s Academy Perri King making her debut at VFLW level against Prespakis. Joining King in the side for their second games are Ella Maurer and Jemma Blair at opposite ends, whilst fellow Tasmanians, Sarah Skinner and Meagan Kiely make it a distinct Apple Isle feeling through the middle. They will have a huge job containing the midfield combination of Prespakis, Georgia Nanscawen, Alana Barba and Eloise Ashley-Cooper of whom the latter trio have been in great form at the level. The forward line of Daria Bannister, Meg Sinclair, Camilla Taylor and Mia King adds to the Roos’ Tasmanian presence, with Calder’s Kasey Lennox, as well as Zali Friswell and Emelia Yassir up the other end among the talented juniors running around in the red sash.

CASEY DEMONS vs. PORT MELBOURNE
Saturday, May 22 @ 10:30am
Casey Fields

Fresh off a best on ground performance in the NAB League Girls Grand Final, Amanda Ling will run out for Port Melbourne in the Borough’s clash with fellow finals-bound side, Casey Demons. The Oakleigh Chargers midfielder will join AFL Women’s talents Katherine Smith and Kodi Jacques, and past AFL Women’s talent Mel Kuys in the midfield, up against an equally stacked onball brigade of AFL Women’s midfielders Megan Fitzsimon and Casey Sherriff, and ball-winning star Eliza West. The Borough have other youngsters including Oakleigh Chargers’ Taylah Morton and ex-Murray Bushrangers talent Sophie Locke in the forward pockets, whilst the Demons have a stacked outfit including AFL Women’s stars Eden Zanker and Libby Birch, and young guns Brenna Tarrant and Eliza McNamara. Potentially the match of the round, both these sides are coming off disappointing losses, and both will be keen to make amends against quality opposition.

CARLTON vs. GEELONG
Saturday, May 22 @ 11:00am
Ikon Park

Following an upset win over Casey Demons, Carlton return home to Ikon Park against a Geelong side that cashed in its get out of jail free card in the final term last week. The Cats were in real danger against the Southern Saints, but managed to step up with four late goals to get over the line in fantastic style and remain in the top two. This week they take on a Carlton side that is as strong as it has been all season, featuring a core midfield of Lucy McEvoy, Abbie McKay and Grace Egan, as well as Maddy Guerin and Daisy Walker. Northern Knights’ full-back Tarrah Delgado will make her VFL Women’s debut with the Blues, joining teammate Maeve Chaplin in the side, in what will give the consistent talents a good run at state league level. For the Cats, the AFL Women’s midfield of Rene Caris, Darcy Moloney, Laura Gardiner and Sophie Van De Heuvel is unbelievable, while Olivia Barber has built some great form this season, and the likes of Tamara Smith and Paige Sheppard are also playing well at the level. Expect Geelong to really step up here, but the Carlton midfield is just as good making there plenty of terrific head-to-heads to watch.

DAREBIN vs. COLLINGWOOD
Saturday, May 22 @ 12:00pm
Bill Lawry Oval

A top against bottom clash featuring Darebin Falcons and Collingwood at Bill Lawry Oval has the potential to be one-sided, but the Falcons will be hoping that a draw against Williamstown has helped build some momentum into the game. Collingwood are rotating through their AFL Women’s talent, and Chloe Molloy, Elise O’Dea and Stacey Livingstone both play their first VFLW games this season, whilst Jaimee Lambert is back for her second game of the year. The Magpies team looks stacked and should be too strong for a Falcons outfit, though Georgia Hammond comes back into the club as the tall target up forward, forming with Samara David, Stephanie Simpson and teenager Trinity Mills. Jess Dal Pos is the prime mover in midfield and could have a tantalising head-to-head with Molloy in there, while Sidney Cubasch will look to take control in the ruck. The Falcons have some good experience in there including Nicole Callinan, but expect the Magpies to have too much depth across the field.

WILLIAMSTOWN vs. HAWTHORN
Sunday, May 23 @ 11:00am
Downer Oval

In the first of two matches on Sunday, Williamstown hosts Hawthorn in a huge Sunday morning clash at Downer Oval. The Seagulls are coming off a draw with Darebin, whilst the Hawks had their wings clipped by North Melbourne at Box Hill last week. Coach Bec Goddard just keeps finding AFLW talent to slot into the lineup, and this week Sarah Perkins returns to the club having missed the second half of the AFLW season due to injury. The key forward will team up with Chantella Perera and Kristy Stratton, whilst Jessie Williams has been a damaging goalkicker all season. In defence, Meg Hutchins announced she would hang up the boots at the end of the season, meaning the versatile legend will likely have just three games remaining in her career. Alison Drennan, Georgia Bevan and Nadia von Bertouch are among the other AFLW experienced talents running around in the brown and gold, while Eastern Ranges’ Keeley Sherar, Bridget Deed and Eloise Chaston retain their spots in the side. The Seagulls have some GWS GIANTS talents such as Emily Pease and Lisa Steane, whilst Sydney Swans Academy member Jess Doyle will look to hit the scoreboard alongside Gold Coast’s Bess Keaney up forward. Erin Meade and Aimee Whelan are in good form this year, with Elizabeth McGrath set to have a great contest with opposing ruck Tamara Luke. Hawthorn should win this game, but no doubt the Williamstown breeze will make life difficult in front of the big sticks.

SOUTHERN SAINTS vs. WESTERN BULLDOGS
Sunday, May 23 @ 12:00pm
Trevor Barker Oval

The final match of the round is the most important for the league as a whole, with the result potentially determining the finals series. Southern Saints hold sixth spot as it stands, but are only percentage ahead of the seventh placed Western Bulldogs. In reality, that percentage will be too difficult to make up for the Bulldogs or other chasing sides, so as long as the Saints win two of the last three – playing North Melbourne and Carlton in the final two rounds – they will get there. The Bulldogs can temporarily grab sixth spot with a win here, though they would need to knock off Casey Demons and Collingwood in the final fortnight – or hope the Saints lose to one of the other teams – in order to stay there. The Saints are not mucking around with a number of elite young talents through the midfield including Tyanna Smith and Georgia Patrikios – the latter of whom returns for her first VFLW game this season. Molly McDonald has been named off half-back, whilst Tarni White makes her VFLW debut for the Saints. All things considered the midfield battle will decide the result, with the Bulldogs having Jess Fitzgerald, Britney Gutknecht, Isabelle Pritchard and Elisabeth Georgostathis running around. Molly Denahy Maloney returns from injury to start in the ruck, whilst full-back Simone Ruedin has been named at full-forward, and forward Danielle Marshall has been named at full-back. Western Jets quartet Caitlin Sargent, Jemima Woods, Stephanie Asciak and Nikita Wright will provide the NAB League Girls factor, with the Saints focusing on VFLW talent for this game, such as the in-form Tara Bohanna, whilst Jayde Van Dyk makes her debut in defence for the red, white and black. This game could go down to the wire, and will have plenty riding on it.

Exciting Eleven: North Melbourne’s VFLW Tasmanian connection strong

WHEN North Melbourne’s Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s side runs out against Essendon tomorrow at Windy Hill, there will be plenty on the line in terms of finals calculations for the blue and white stripes. However beyond the fact the Kangaroos must win in order to remain a chance to play in the post-season series, they will also make history by having a record 11 Tasmanian players in the side.

More than half the team coming from the Apple Isle is an achievement at any level, and North Melbourne AFLW/VFLW list and performance manager Rhys Harwood said the connection the club had with the most southern state in Australia was special.

“We have 11 players playing this week who were born or a Tasmanian player by heritage which is cool,” he said. “It’s a combination of our AFLW players who are playing, and are from Tassie. “We have a couple of Tasmanians who have moved up here to play permanently, then we have a couple who fly up from the TSLW each or some weeks, and then we have three players who are coming up from the Tassie NAB League team, so 11 in total which is exciting.”

Harwood said while the club had played some exhibition games before which showcased a plethora of Tasmanian talent, 11 players from the Apple Isle in a VFL Women’s game for points was a record. He said the link with Tasmania had its challenges, but was “overwhelmingly beneficial” for the club and players involved. Three Tasmania Devils NAB League Girls players will run out again for the side, with AFL Women’s Academy member Perri King making her debut at VFLW level, joining Ella Maurer and Jemma Blair in the side after they debuted last week.

“She’s had a fantastic year, we’re really excited to give her the opportunity to have a run around,” Harwood said of King’s NAB League season. But the teenage Tasmanian trio were not the only ones who might be watched for a potential AFL Women’s list spot in the future.

Meagan Kiely‘s our captain, she’s had a fantastic year, I think she leads the comp in disposals, marks and a few other statistics, and she’s probably been our most consistent player across the course of the year, and played a few different roles for us as well, so she’s been pretty significant,” Harwood said.

Sarah Skinner as well has played 11 games now, she flies up most weeks, she’s had a really strong year, taking her game to another level. “Then Meg Sinclair is another one. “We’ve had a few others on the list as well who might not play this weekend but have been able to contribute as well. “It’s been good, to be honest it’s really helped us and really strengthened our on-field personnel, and obviously keeps working on that connection and relationship we have with Tassie.”

While it might be daunting for teenagers to come into the stronger state league program, Harwood said the main aim was to expose them to the higher level of football. While it might be tempting to ease them into roles, the North Melbourne AFLW list manager said the club would give them the exposure to play to their strengths, and in the roles that earned them a call-up to the level.

“Probably one of our philosophies AFLW, VFLW across the whole women’s program is to play players to their strengths and their weapons, so we’re cognisant of when girls come across is to play the roles they’ve been excelling at, and the reason they’ve been picked to come up,” Harwood said. “So Perri will start inside the centre square on Saturday and she’ll shoulder some pretty big minutes inside, Ella Maurer will play inside and go forward, and Jemma Blair will start on as a defender.

“We just want to expose to them the high level of playing similar roles that they’ve played and we think they can play going forward. “I think the thing is you need to provide them a really good opportunity to show what they can do when they’re up here, and I think they get the most out of it that way.”

While there is no doubt many of the Tasmanian players will be carefully watched by the North Melbourne recruiting team, Harwood said he suspects a number of the VFLW- listed talents would also be on opposition club radars, which is only a positive thing for the players. When asked if the club was looking to develop them into AFLW players or at least pushing for an AFLW spot in the future, Harwood was steadfast.

“Absolutely,” he said. “I think a number of the Tassie players on our VFLW list and also the girls coming up are right in the draft mix, for not only us but I assume other clubs as well. “I think that’s the type of players we look to bring into our VFLW programs, to bring up. “Players that we can expose to our system, expose to other clubs, and that we think have long-term scope to play AFLW.

“Meagan Kiely’s a great example of a player that I think has been able to put so many runs on the board this year that she would be a consideration for a number of clubs I would suspect. “Sarah Skinner the same, it’s obviously hard for a lot of clubs to see a lot of TSLW, we obviously do, but a lot of clubs probably don’t get the opportunity, so the capacity to bring her up and expose her to other clubs is great as well. “I think all of the players that we bring up or that are playing, are really pushing, and all are really keen to play AFLW. “That’s one thing we want to do is bring up players who want to take their game to the next level.”

Looking ahead to the clash with Essendon, Harwood said all the players wanted to be able to play finals, and whilst they will not only need to win their remaining games but hope other results go their way – such as Southern Saints and Western Bulldogs losing multiple games in the run home – the last few regular season games were all about development.

“I thought we had our best win on the weekend (against Hawthorn), it keeps us in the finals hunt,” he said. “We’re obviously still pushing for that and ambitious for that. But to be honest, as we go each week it’s just about improving our systems or the way we want to play. “There’s a few different things, like our AFLW players are really keen to keep giving development opportunities to, so we expose them to a few new roles and a few different scenarios.

“The NAB League girls we bring up we really want to expose them to the level and just see how they fit into our system. “Then the rest of the players as well are really pushing to keep playing finals and I feel like we have a number of players this year who have really thrown their hands up to being considered by AFLW clubs so for them it’s just about keeping on the path they’ve been going on for the last probably 12 or 13 weeks.”

Having 11 Tasmanians in the side will be something special for not only the players themselves and the club, but for their friends and family back home, and Harwood said it was a credit to Tasmania Devils’ region talent operations manager and head coach Cameron Joyce, as well as AFL Tasmania, for the way they have been able to develop the NAB League program recently.

“I thought they were one of the stronger NAB League teams, one of the more organised teams on-field, and the players are reaping the rewards of that and really pushing their names up,” Harwood said. “They’ve done a fantastic job and we’re really loving what they’re doing and wider down in Tassie as well the way they’re promoting their talent is really good, and it’s really great to be able to have a partnership with them and to hopefully get as many Tasmanians playing AFLW as we can.”

North Melbourne lock horns with Essendon from 10am tomorrow morning at Windy Hill with Essendon able to lock up a finals spot with a win, knocking North Melbourne out of the race in the process, whilst the Roos can keep their season alive with a victory.

The Graduates: 2021 VFLW – Round 11

A HEAP of young prospects continue to filter through the Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s competition, with the revamped structure allowing Under 18 and 19 NAB League players to align with state league sides as both seasons run concurrently. As the NAB League season has now drawn to an end, Round 11 saw plenty more young talent scattered across each state league side. We take a look at how VFLW-listed players who currently compete in or have recently graduated from the NAB League, performed.

>> Results: VFLW Round 11

Geelong’s winning run towards the postseason continued on Saturday, as the Cats found a way to edge past the Southern Saints on enemy territory. Usual suspects Tamara Smith (17 disposals, seven tackles) and Paige Sheppard (15 disposals, five marks) were among the winners’ best players, as Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels gun Chloe Leonard landed her VFLW debut in the hoops.

Meanwhile, Leonard’s Vic Country teammate and Dandenong Stingrays product Abbey Jordan marked her maiden game for the Saints with a goal, while Gabby De Angelis also found the big sticks in red, white and black.

Northern Knights standout Maeve Chaplin was another to debut in Round 11, turning out for Carlton in the Blues’ epic win over Casey. She managed six touches, as teammate and former Oakleigh Charger, Amber Micallef booted a goal. Talls Bridie Winbanks (eight tackles, 12 hitouts) and Grace Matser (six disposals, six hitouts) suited up once again for Casey, as did Emma Horne (nine disposals).

Collingwood moved another step closer to an undefeated regular season after accounting for Port Melbourne on the road, though it was the Borough who fielded more NAB League graduates. Dandenong pair Jaide Anthony (10 disposals, four marks) and Ash Richards (seven disposals) again impressed in their second outings, as the only current NAB Leaguers afield.

The likes of Bridie Kennedy, Sophie Locke, and Cleo Saxon-Jones also turned out for the Borough, while tall Neve O’Connor continues her extended run in the black and white.

Standalone sides Williamstown and Darebin played off in the season’s first draw, kicking to 16 points apiece at Downer Oval. Both teams fielded debutants and were served well by each. Sydney Academy skipper and Allies representative Jessica Doyle (15 disposals) suited up for the Seagulls and was one of their best alongside Ruby Tripodi (18 disposals, 11 tackles, one goal), while Northern Knights’ Trinity Mills booted a goal and laid eight tackles in her first outing for Darebin.

A host of past and present NAB Leaguers were scattered across the Essendon and Western Bulldogs lineups on Saturday, as the Bulldogs won out by 18 points. GWV products Nyakoat Dojiok (15 disposals, three marks), Ella Friend (two goals), and Tahlia Meier (10 tackles) were all productive on debut for the Dogs, as the likes of Nikita Wright and Brooke Hards also got on the park once more.

Essendon debuted Calder Cannons prospects Emelia Yassir and Neve Crowley, who joined teammates Kasey Lennox and Zali Friswell at state league level. Graduates Eloise Ashley-Cooper and Alana Barba were among the Bombers’ best, while Tamsin Crook again got a run in red and black.

Sunday’s sole fixture saw North Melbourne topple Hawthorn, with a host of Eastern Ranges and Tasmanian talents getting a chance for either team. Hawthorn fielded four current Ranges, with Bridget Deed the latest to debut. Teammates El Chaston, Tilly Hardy, and Keeley Sherar all returned, running out with graduates Chloe O’Malley and Jenna Richardson, while Gippsland’s Grace McRae earned plaudits for her efforts in brown and gold.

North Melbourne gave debuts to a trio of Tasmanians, in Amy Bissett, Jemma Blair, and Ella Maurer, with more still to come. Jayde Hamilton, another Allies representative, also turned out for the Roos in their win.

Image Credit: Kelly Defina / AFL Photos

2021 VFLW Round 11 preview: Teams stack up for final month of action

THERE are plenty of NAB League Girls debutants and AFL Women’s players who will run out for the respective teams this round of VFL Women’s (VFLW), in what could make or break some teams’ finals campaigns.

SOUTHERN SAINTS vs. GEELONG
Saturday, May 15 @ 10:00am
Trevor Barker Oval

Opening up the round is a genuine finals-defining clash in the sense that if the Southern Saints can get up at home, they should be home and hosed for the last finals spot. It will not be easy against a red-hot Geelong outfit that has loaded up on talent and looks to be the strongest lineup thus far which will be hard to beat. Focusing on youth and the return of NAB League Girls, Abbey Jordan comes in for her VFLW debut with the Saints, joining Sandringham’s Natasha Morris, whilst Tyanna Smith also makes her VFLW debut after an outstanding debut season at AFLW level. The VFLW talent at the Saints is quite strong, with Tara Bohanna and Hannah Stuart among the consistent performers this year supporting natural ball-winners Molly McDonald and Alice Burke who have shown their class above. The Cats midfield boasts Laura Gardiner, Darcy Moloney and Rebecca Webster with the possibility of Sophie Van De Heuvel rolling through and Olivia Barber rucking is the future of the AFLW side. The depth of the Cats looks to be just too strong, with Tamara Smith, Paige Sheppard and Richelle Cranston forming a dangerous half-forward line with elite level pressure. Expect the Cats to get the job done much to the relief of the chasing pack of VFLW sides just outside the finals places.

CASEY DEMONS vs. CARLTON
Saturday, May 15 @ 10:30am
Casey Fields

There are a couple of NAB League Girls players representing Casey Demons and Carlton in their battle at Casey Fields from 10:30am. Gippsland Power ruck Grace Matser comes back for her second game after a solid debut last weekend, whilst Northern Knights inside ball-winner Maeve Chaplin will get her first run around with the Blues. After carrying the drinks last match, Lucy McEvoy gets her chance at VFLW level, while Maddy Guerin, Natalie Plane and Charlotte Hammans will be looking to continue their great form stepping down to state league level. The Demons are just loaded across the field though, not mucking around with the likes of Eden Zanker, Casey Sherriff, Libby Birch and Jacqueline Parry in there, whilst Eliza McNamara makes her VFLW debut after a strong first season at AFLW level. The Demons have had one of the more stacked lineups the past few weeks, and with competition leading goalkicker Imogen Milford up forward, it is hard to see them not chalk up another win with the form they are in, even missing competition top ball-winner Eliza West.

PORT MELBOURNE vs. COLLINGWOOD
Saturday, May 15 @ 10:45am
ETU Stadium

Barring a collapse in the final three rounds, a win here would lock up top spot for the Magpies, coming up against a Port Melbourne side that has now dropped two of its past three games. Only Geelong could catch the Magpies in the final few weeks and even then would need the Magpies to drop all the games – or lose severe percentage – to be a chance to grab top spot. Port Melbourne is always a chance to get up though, having a couple of Dandenong Stingrays in Jaide Anthony and Ash Richards running round whilst having plenty of Richmond AFLW players in the side. Whilst Emily Harley will not be in the side this week, the Borough have Cleo Saxon-Jones and Gabrielle Seymour at opposite ends, with Kodi Jacques returning for her first VFLW game, and Sophie Locke still in contention for the the leading goalkicker. The midfield combination of Katherine Smith, Sophie Molan and Mel Kuys will be difficult to beat, but the inclusion of Magpies AFLW star Jaimee Lambert will have the opposition on notice. Teaming up with Mikala Cann, Maddie Shevlin, Abbi Moloney and Sophie Casey as regular AFLW talents, the Magpies have some good spread across the ground, while Imogen Barnett, Matilda Zander and Marla Neal are all in good form, and Jasmine Ferguson has been a rock at the back. It should be a great game, with the Magpies ticking over the wins, but the Borough having plenty of experience in this match.

WILLIAMSTOWN vs. DAREBIN
Saturday, May 15 @ 11:00am
Downer Oval

A bottom two clash at Downer Oval will give Williamstown the opportunity to confirm the Seagulls will avoid the wooden spoon, and effectively lock Darebin into that position with the result. The Seagulls have created that good link with the GWS GIANTS over the past couple of weeks, and bolster the side through some up and coming AFLW talents in Tarni Evans, Georgia Garnett and Emily Pease, whilst Tasmanian Priscilla Odwogo runs out in the blue and gold once again. Perhaps the biggest name from an AFLW Draft perspective in this game is Sydney Swans Academy member Jess Doyle, who has been named on the interchange for the Seagulls to make her debut at the level. There is also a debut on the Falcons side, with Northern Knights key forward Trinity Mills named on the bench. With Jess Dal Pos as the prime mover onball, and the defensive combination of Victoria Blackwood and Gena Lawson-Tavan in the back 50, the Falcons have some composure moving the ball down the ground. The ruck battle between Sidney Cubasch (Darebin) and Elizabeth McGrath (Williamstown) is another one to watch, with Stephanie Simpson and Alyssa Mifsud both capable of kicking multiple goals on their day.

ESSENDON vs. WESTERN BULLDOGS
Saturday, May 15 @ 11:00am
Windy Hill

The latest match on the Saturday is an early 11am fixture at Windy Hill, where the Bombers who are looking to push further up the table and just solidify that finals spot, take on a desperate Western Bulldogs outfit that has to win to stay in finals contention. If you want the best chance at seeing multiple AFLW Draft prospects this weekend, then this is the game to watch. Essendon have brought back Kasey Lennox and Zali Friswell, with talented top-age draft-eligible players Neve Crowley and Emelia Yassir also making their debuts. Crowley has been named in the back six with Lennox, though could play at either end, whilst Yassir will come off the bench and likely impact midfield or forward. Friswell is in a forward pocket. For the Western Bulldogs, a trio of Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels will make their debuts, with Ella Friend, Nyakoat Dojiok and Tahlia Meier all named in the Dogs’ squad. With AFLW talent in Sarah Hartwig, Jess Fitzgerald, Britney Gutknecht and Isabella Grant among plenty of others, the Bulldogs are also not mucking around with their lineup and arguably should be favourites in this game on paper alone. The key is to try and quell the strong Bombers’ midfield which includes Georgia Nanscawen, Alana Barba and Eloise Ashley-Cooper who are always finding the ball, and then Mia-Rae Clifford up forward, and Courtney Ugle creating across the ground.

HAWTHORN vs. NORTH MELBOURNE
Sunday, May 16 @ 3:30pm
Box Hill City Oval

In a standalone fixture on Sunday, Hawthorn will look to keep alive its slim chance of making finals with a win over North Melbourne. The Hawks have a superior percentage and have some good young talent coming into the side, with Keeley Sherar, Bridget Deed, Eloise Chaston and Matilda Hardy forming a strong Eastern Ranges contingent, and Gippsland Power’s Grace McRae returns for another week after a big Round 10 effort last week. The Kangaroos are also handing out some impressive debuts to young players they might consider for their AFLW list, with a Tasmanian trio of Ella Maurer, Jemma Blair and Amy Bissett – who are all capped at national level with the Allies at the AFLW U19 Championships – set to run out in the blue and white stripes. With Jayde Hamilton another teenager who played alongside them for the Allies also remaining in the side, and then the form of Sarah Skinner and Meagan Kiely among others, the Roos are going to make a good fist of it. The Hawks just have too much depth across the field, and with Phoebe McWilliams and Kristy Stratton up forward, Meg Hutchins down back and Georgia Bevan and Alison Drennan roving to Tamara Luke through midfield, the brown and gold deserve to be favourites here and take home the win.