Tag: Emily Bates

AFL Women’s Round 2 review: Magpies break arch rivals curse as Dees, Lions and Dockers remain unbeaten

COLLINGWOOD has beaten arch-rival Carlton for the first time in its AFL Women’s history, while Melbourne, Brisbane and Fremantle remained undefeated with the Pies at the conclusion of Round 2.

WESTERN BULLDOGS 1.0 | 1.0 | 1.0 | 2.0 (12)
MELBOURNE 2.3 | 2.6 | 4.8 | 4.8 (32)

Peter Williams

Melbourne has remained undefeated in season four of the AFL Women’s competition, claiming a 20-point victory over traditional rivals the Western Bulldogs under lights at Whitten Oval. The Dees were too strong, particularly in the second half where they booted two goals to one, but primarily controlled things in the first and third terms where they were able to build a lead and never let it up. Their overall disposal eficiency was better with 58 per cent to 45, while having an additional 35 more disposals, with a predominant kick-first approach. A telling stat for the Dees was their five marks inside 50 – leading to scoring opportunities – because once the ball hit the ground the Dogs showed some fierce attack on the ball. Melbourne was more prolific in the ruck, winning 31 hitouts to 18, but dominated the inside 50s with 34 for the match compared to just 15. By limiting the flow to the Dogs’ attacking end they never really gave them a chance, coming out deserving winners in the end.

Shelley Scott was the Dees’ top disposals winner with 16 touches, as well as six marks, three inside 50s and one tackle, while Daisy Pearce continued to remarked everyone of what she was capable of, working hard between the arcs with 15 touches, two marks, three tackles, two inside 50s and two rebounds. Kate Hore was busy in the forward half with 14 disposals, four marks, four tackles and four inside 50s, while former Dog, Libby Birch got one-up over her former team and assisted strongly with 13 disposals, two marks, two tackles, two inside 50s and two rebounds. Karen Paxman (16 disposals, two marks, five inside 50s, five tackles and a goal) and Maddison Gay (13 disposals, six tackles and two inside 50s) both his the scoreboard, while Casey Sherriff booted her first AFL Women’s goal in her second game.

The young pups showed some promising signs for the future, but were beaten in the ruck and had 11 more turnovers across the contest, unable to really impact the scoreboard often enough. The two goals came from Deanna Berry in the first quarter and Bonnie Toogood in the last, with the latter providing a good target inside 50 with 10 touches, two marks and a tackle to go with a goal. Aisling McCarthy was the Dogs’ top disposal winner with 15 touches, two marks, three rebounds and eight tackles, while Ellie Blackburn was strong without being her dominant self, finishing with 13 disposals, two marks, six tackles, two rebounds and one inside 50. Kirsty Lamb had 11 disposals – all kicks – as well as three marks, five tackles, two inside 50s and two rebounds, while 2019 AFL Women’s Draft number one pick, Gabby Newton continued to show great defensive pressure with 11 touches and six tackles.

GOALS:

Western Bulldogs: D. Berry, B. Toogood.
Melbourne: K. Paxman, M. Gay, C. Sherriff.

ADC BEST:

Western Bulldogs: A. McCarthy, E. Blackburn, K. Lamb, N. Ferres, G. Newton
Melbourne: K. Paxman, D. Pearce, K. Hore, M. Gay, L Birch

NORTH MELBOURNE: 1.0 | 3.0 | 5.1 | 6.1 (37)
GWS GIANTS 1.0 | 1.3 | 2.4 | 2.7 (19)

Michael Alvaro

Pre-season premiership favourite North Melbourne bounced back from a shock Round 1 loss, maintaining its undefeated record on Tasmanian soil with an 18-point win over GWS. While they looked scratchy early, the Kangaroos’ class through midfield shone through and helped the hosts break through for the 6.1 (37) to 2.7 (19) result.

In somewhat of a feeling out process throughout the opening term where both sides had a crack, Jasmine Garner found space inside forward 50 to boot the game’s first goal. Playing more of a midfield-first role, the former Magpie used her improved endurance to break into dangerous positions on the spread and still have an impact forward of centre. But her opening major was levelled by Haneen Zreika’s 50-metre penalty conversion, with the those the only two scores of a tight term.

But as the duo of Ashleigh Riddell – who suffered a season-ending injury against the GIANTS in 2019 – and skipper Emma Kearney started to take over, the ‘Roos began to take ascendancy. The home side’s stoppage superiority and willingness to attack through the corridor was rewarded with Garner’s second goal, while Zreika and Erin McKinnon were unable to capitalise on golden opportunities up the other end to remain in the contest. An Emma King goal with her first touch for the game came between those chances to rub salt in the wounds of GWS as North Melbourne took a nine-point lead into the main break. But North’s success in that term was somewhat soured as game-breaking forward Kaitlyn Ashmore was taken out of the contest following a clash of heads with GIANTS’ Irishwoman, Yvonne Bonner.

Despite the unfortunate and late injury to Ashmore, it was the GIANTS who were put on the ropes in the third quarter as Elisha King nailed a goal immediately after her own set shot attempt fell short. The luck simply seemed to be falling North Melbourne’s way in front of goal, but a coach killer of a free kick gifted Brittany Tully a six-pointer to keep GWS within touch. The GIANTS were organised well behind the ball and began to level the midfield battle as Alicia Eva went to war with Kearney, while Alyce Parker did her best to drive the visitors forward. It was to no avail though as Sophie Abbatangelo converted a tricky set shot from the pocket to make an unlikely comeback even tougher for the GIANTS, who kept kicking themselves out of the game.

Having put just about all their cards on the table during the third term, it seemed the GIANTS had little more to give in the run home. North Melbourne began to take complete control as the contest fizzed out, with Garner dominant at each stoppage and the improvised forward combination of Abbatangelo and Kate Gillespie-Jones too hot to handle. With the game played out on their terms, the ‘Roos ran out comfortable winners and got their season back on track.

North’s ball-winners in Kearney (21 disposals), Garner (20, two goals), Riddell (18 disposals), and Jenna Bruton (20) went a long way to ensuring they bossed the match, with Tahlia Randall’s sweeping efforts in defence massive in protecting the lead. Gillespie-Jones and Abbatangelo’s ability to hit the scoreboard in the absence of Ashmore and quiet form of Emma King was also handy, with contributors coming from across the board.

Eva (21 disposals) and Parker (16) were again at the core of GWS’ effort, while the debut of Lisa Steane (13 disposals) caught plenty of eyes. Zreika’s pressure and knack of finding the ball in advanced areas could have proven gamechanging if it weren’t for inaccuracy, with Pepa Randall and Elle Bennetts holding up the fort down back under immense pressure. Now 1-1, the GIANTS will hope to return to the winners list in Round 3 when they host West Coast, while the Kangaroos do battle with another winless newcomer, Richmond at Ikon Park.

GOALS:

North Melbourne: J. Garner 2, Em. King, El. King, S. Abbatangelo, K. Gillespie-Jones.
GWS: H. Zreika, B. Tully.

ADC BEST:

North Melbourne: J. Garner, E. Kearney, A. Riddell, J. Bruton, V. Saad, S. Abbatangelo
GWS: A. Parker, A. Eva, H. Zreika, L. Steane, P. Randall, E. Bennetts

WEST COAST 0.0 | 1.1 | 1.2 | 2.3 (15)
FREMANTLE 2.2 | 5.3 | 7.6 | 9.6 (60)

Peter Williams

Fremantle has made a mighty statement in the inaugural AFL Women’s Western Derby thanks to a massive 45-point smashing of competition newcomers, West Coast. The Dockers were far too experienced for the new Eagles, despite a number of players donning the gold and blue against their old side. From the get-go it was clear Fremantle was looking to back up its impressive win over Geelong a week earlier, booting two goals to zero in the opening quarter. The Eagles continued that dominance into the second term, booting three consecutive goals early to hand them a 32-point lead in the 14th minute of the term. It was not until former Brisbane talent, McKenzie Dowrick put one through that the Eagles fans had something to celebrate, though with Roxanne Roux’s second goal early in the third quarter and then Gabby O’Sullivan‘s major seven minutes later, the Dockers were home and hosted wit ha 34-point lead at the final break. Booting four goals last week, Sabreena Duffy got her name on the board in the final quarter, while Katie-Jane Grieve slotted a ninth goal for the purple side, pushing the margin out to a whopping 52 points. To their credit, the Eagles managed to get a consolation goal through Tarnee Tester 15 minutes into the last term, to bring the final deficit back to 45.

The Dockers easily won the inside 50 count 30-19, and looked better on the outside with 39 marks despite only having four more disposals. Kiara Bowers had a ridiculous 18 tackles to go with her 13 disposals, two mars, three inside 50s and two rebounds, while Grieve was not far behind her with great forward pressure, laying 11 tackles with 11 disposals, two marks, four inside 50s and two goals. The two tackling machines were the standouts on the day, though Jasmin Stewart was also solid with 12 disposals, three inside 50s, four tackles and two goals, as was teenager Roux who booted two goals and took four marks from limited chances up forward. Kara Antonio tried hard all day with nine touches – all kicks – as well as three marks, three inside 50s and six tackles, while O’Sullivan booted a goal from 11 disposals, three marks, four inside 50s and two tackles.

The Eagles preferred method was winning the ball at the contest, but were well beaten on the outside and then on the scoreboard where it counted. Nonetheless there were still a number of impressive players backing up from their first round performance. Imahra Cameron was superb with 14 disposals, two inside 50s and four tackles, showing off her burst around the contest, joined by Emma Swanson as the equal team-high ball winner thanks to 14 touches, four inside 50s and two tackles. Former Docker, Dana Hooker led by example with 13 disposals, three tackles and three rebounds, while Niamh Kelly had 13 disposals, two marks and three inside 50s. Strong midfielder, Hayley Bullas had 10 disposals and five tackles, while first year talent, Mikayla Bowen finished with nine disposals and four tackles.

GOALS:

West Coast: M. Dowrick, T. Tester.
Fremantle: K. Grieve 2, R. Roux 2, J. Stewart 2, G. O’Sullivan, S. Duffy, G. Houghton.

ADC BEST:

West Coast: I. Cameron. E. Swanson, D. Hooker, N. Kelly, H. Bullas
Fremantle: K. Bowers, K. Grieve J. Stewart, K. Antonio, R. Roux

GEELONG 2.1 | 3.1 | 3.1 | 3.2 (20)
BRISBANE 1.0 | 1.2 | 4.3 | 6.3 (39)

By: Taylah Melki

After a scintillating first half, Geelong fell away in the latter stages of the game, with Brisbane proving too strong. The Cats opened up a 13 point lead at the start of the second term and seemed to have the ascendancy but the tables drastically turned in the third with the Lions piling on three goals to zip. The trip down south did not seem to bother the Lions who after a slow start, put their foot down in the second half only allowing Geelong to add one point to their total. Despite the Cats having a wealth of possession they simply could not capitalise on their opportunities with Brisbane’s intensity inside forward 50 giving them that attacking edge. They took eight marks inside the forward arc compared to their opponents nil and laid a whopping 11 more tackles inside 50 than Geelong which in turn correlated into more scoring chances.

In her first season back from an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury, youngster Nina Morrison made her presence felt on the footy field with an equal team-high 18 disposals. Morrison threw her weight around from the get go using her clean hands to clear the pack while Olivia Purcell navigated her way around the ground with ease collecting 16 points and two goals. Rene Caris was strong in the ruck reading the flight of the ball well while Millie Brown found plenty of the ball with 18 disposals. Richelle Cranston was up to her usual tricks with her signature run and carry style of footy on display throughout the game but at times had limited options to kick to.

It was a game of two halves for the Lions with Emily Bates leading the way in the midfield brigade with her classy ball movement and go-get it attitude. Bates amassed a game high 22 disposals with 15 of them kicks and five marks to cap off her impressive performance. Ally Anderson was also amongst the best, often on the bottom of the pack or plying the ball out congestion with 16 touches and six tackles. Jesse Tawhiao-Wardlaw was the key target up forward for the Lions and she did not disappoint, kicking truly on all three occasions showcasing her impressive accuracy and goal sense.

GOALS

Geelong: O. Purcell 2, D. Higgins.
Brisbane: J. Tawhiao-Wardlaw 3, S. Conway, D. Davidson, G. Bodey.

ADC BESTS:

Geelong: N. Morrison, M. Brown, O. Purcell, R. Cranston, M. Brown
Brisbane: E. Bates, A. Anderson, S. Conway, J. Tawhiao-Wardlaw

CARLTON 1.0 | 2.1 | 2.4 | 3.6 (24)
COLLINGWOOD 2.2 | 4.2 | 4.3 | 6.3 (39)

By: Taylah Melki

For the first time in AFLW history, Collingwood downed old foe Carlton to make it a 2-0 start to the season. The girls in black and white got the jump early in enemy territory, nailing a goal in the first 25 seconds of the game, ultimately setting the tone for the match. The Pies showcased their intensity, slick ball movement and ability to lower the eyes going forward from the get go, establishing a slim lead in the opening quarter and building on it as the game went on. Both sides struggled in the third quarter unable to do any real scoreboard damage thanks to the footy pin-balling around the ground. Carlton will be ruing its missed opportunities, with three shots falling by the wayside. But when it came to crunch time Collingwood capitalised, slotting the first major of the fourth term and putting the nail in the coffin in the dying stages of the game.

Stacey Livingstone had a game to remember with the defender nullifying the influence of Carlton star forward Tayla Harris after her first quarter goal. Livingstone amassed 15 touches for the game, acting as a human wall in defence, not letting the ball pass her while Ash Brazill showed her defensive attributes. Former Diamond, Sharni Layton continued her hot form with some classy work out of the ruck and impressive work below her knees setting up two goals. Jordan Membrey did damage on the scoreboard with two goals while the likes of Chloe Molloy (17 touches, five tackles) and Jaimee Lambert (21 touches) proved to be a force to be reckoned with in the midfield.

The Blues were run by their young guns, with the likes of experienced stars Nicola Stevens and Darcy Vescio struggling to find the footy. Maddy Prespakis was a machine for the Blues powering through the constant physical pressure and using her quick hands to release the footy racking up 17 touches, 10 of which were kicks. Meanwhile 19-year-old Grace Egan was a real ball magnet notching up 18 disposals and laying a whopping game high 11 tackles, while Lauren Brazzale ended her eight-point streak with a well-deserved goal. Injuries to Katie Loynes and Kerryn Harrington further dampened Carlton’s performance with the two limping through the game.

GOALS:

Carlton: B. Walker, L. Brazzale, T. Harris.
Collingwood: J. Membrey 2, S. D’Arcy, S. Casey, J. Allen, A. Sheridan.

ADC BESTS:

Carlton: M. Prespakis, G. Egan, K. Harrington, G. Gee, J. Hosking
Collingwood: S. Livingstone, J. Lambert, C. Molloy, B. Bonnici, S. Layton

ADELAIDE 0.0 | 2.1 | 3.2 | 6.4 (40)
ST KILDA 1.1 | 3.2 | 4.2 | 4.3 (27)

Tom Cheesman

Reigning premiers Adelaide have defeated St Kilda by 13 points in a nail-biter at Hisense Stadium. The Crows were held goalless in the first term and trailed until late in the last quarter, but youngster Maddie Newman kicked truly with four minutes remaining to put them front and they did not look back. It was a heartbreaking result for the Saints, who were more efficient with ball-in-hand and appeared on-track for their first ever AFLW victory. Georgia Patrikios thought she extended her side’s lead with a set shot in the last term, but Crows defender Sarah Allan got her fingertips to it on the line. From there, Caitlin Gould levelled the scores after a contested mark in the goal square, then Newman’s goal and a sealer from forward Eloise Jones got Adelaide over the line.

Crows recruit Courtney Gum was outstanding, remaining calm under pressure when many of her teammates lacked composure. She finished with 19 disposals, five tackles and seven marks including a unique one-handed contested mark in the final term. Marijana Rajcic and Angela Foley were solid in defence and continually repelled St Kilda’s attacks, while Ebony Marinoff was dominant in the midfield with 26 disposals, five marks and four tackles.

For St Kilda, Caitlin Greiser provided a dominant presence up forward and kicked two goals. Tarni White was reliable in defence, while Kate McCarthy and Molly McDonald were dynamic up forward throughout the contest.

The Saints will look to reverse their fortunes on Friday night against Melbourne, while the Crows head to Geelong for a clash with the Cats on Sunday.

GOALS:

Adelaide: M. Newman, E. Jones, A. Considine, C. Biddell, S. Thompson, C. Gould.
St Kilda: C. Greiser 2, K. McCarthy, J. Sedunary.

ADC BEST:

Adelaide: C. Gum, M. Rajcic, A. Foley, S. Allan, E. Marinoff, S. Lee-Thompson
St Kilda: C. Greiser, T. White, K. McCarthy, G. Patrikios, K. Shierlaw, M. McDonald

2020 AFL Women’s Round 2 preview: Expansion sides to face off as inaugural sides do battle under lights tonight

ROUND 2 of the AFL Women’s is sure to bring plenty of big clashes and ignite old rivalries with Collingwood and Carlton set to do battle on Sunday while Fremantle and West Coast will take place in their inaugural Western Derby.

Friday, February 14

Western Bulldogs v. Melbourne at Whitten Oval, 7:40pm, AEDT

Taylah Melki

With one win on the board each expect a high intensity battle from the opening bounce in search of each teams’ respective second win. The Demons announced themselves to the rest of the competition last round, downing premiership favourites North Melbourne by two points and will be riding a wave of confidence heading into their Round 2 match-up. Similarly, the Dogs inflicted their fair share of pain on newcomers St Kilda with an impressive 25-point win. The Bulldogs were slick from the beginning, exploiting their oppositions’ inexperience and making them pay while the Dees fought hard to just get over the line and set up the makings of what could be a strong season.

After waiting 693 days the return of Daisy Pearce was exactly what the doctor ordered for Melbourne and their fans. The talented midfielder-turned-defender was right back in the mix, throwing her weight around and winning plenty of the pill around the contest, something that was sorely missed last season. Karen Paxman is as experienced as they come, able to sense the moment and have an impact while the likes of Elise O’Dea and Lily Mithen could prove a handful for the Dogs who lost a couple of key players during the off-season. Forward, Tegan Cunningham will be looking to have a big game after failing to trouble the scorers last round, only registering a point. But if Cunningham and Kate Hore get going the two could pose a dominant force inside forward 50, plus throw in the likes of Eden Zanker and the Dees have a lot to work with.

With Katie Brennan and Monique Conti both departing the kennel, the likes of Ellie Blackburn and Kirsty Lamb have taken their game to another level and will be hoping to have the same dominant impact as last round. Blackburn is a class act, able to read the play, apply strong tackles and consistently get involved while Hannah Scott has upped the ante. Number one draft pick Gabby Newton did not look out of place in Round 1 with her contested ball work and cleanliness, but will be keen to prove it was not a one-off with a strong showing against Melbourne. Up forward, Bonnie Toogood will have to deliver for the Dogs if they are to apply scoreboard pressure and get over the line.

Tip: Melbourne by 15.

WESTERN BULLDOGS

B: A.Gogos 36 L.Spark 11
HB: K.Herron 31 E.Gamble 14 N.Ferres 16
C: B.Hunt 21 K.Lamb 27 G.Lagioia 12
HF: G.Newton 5 B.Toogood 8 K.McLeod 6
F: E.Georgostathis 17 D.Berry 7
Foll: K.Rennie 24 E.Blackburn – C 2 A.McCarthy 15
I/C: E.Brown 9 D.Marshall 26 N.Callinan 10 H.Scott 22 A.Van Oosterwijck 28
Emerg: N.Morris-Dalton 25 H.Munyard 20

In: E.Brown, A.Van Oosterwijck
Out: I.Huntington (concussion), C.Moody (ankle)

MELBOURNE

B: L.Birch 9 M.Downie 2
HB: S.Lampard 8 S.Goldrick 23 D.Pearce – C 6
C: S.Heath 30 T.Hanks 28 C.Emonson 11
HF: K.Hore 10 E.Zanker 29 S.Scott 12
F: T.Cunningham 1 A.Newman 16
Foll: H.Cordner 21 K.Paxman 4 M.Gay 3
I/C: G.Colvin 32 C.Sherriff 18 N.McEvoy 17 A.Kemp 36 E.O’Dea 5
Emerg: B.Tarrant 20 M.Guerin 22

In: N.McEvoy
Out: M.Guerin

Saturday, February 15 

North Melbourne v. GWS GIANTS at University of Tasmania Stadium, 3:10pm AEDT

Michael Alvaro

North Melbourne will be looking to make good on a shock Round 1 loss when it hosts the GWS GIANTS in Launceston. Premiership points may soon become a premium for Scott Gowans‘ side as it looks to top a tricky Conference A, and the pre-season premiership fancies will expect to pick up their first set in this clash. But the GIANTS are one of the few sides which can match the ‘Roos for experience throughout their squad, and already ground out a win against league newcomer, Gold Coast in an opening round thriller. While North’s home ground advantage paid dividends in its inaugural season, the GIANTS were already made to endure tough conditions last time out, which should put them in good stead to tackle the often-windy Launceston afternoons. Last year’s result – which swung convincingly to the way of the ‘Roos – will also be in the back of players’ minds, but North knows it cannot take anything for granted.

The debut of Lisa Steane looms as one of the stories of the weekend, with the 24-year-old teacher surprised mid-week with news of her inclusion while working. Steane’s replacement of Ellie Brush in the side is the only change for GWS, with its strong and experienced core remaining for what should be a tough test. The midfield combination of skipper Alicia Eva and young gun Alyce Parker will again look to lead from the engine room, and their work will be cut out for them given the depth and strength of North’s midfield. The Kangaroos have made two changes as Daria Bannister (collarbone) and Bethany Lynch come out of the side for Jas Grierson and local girl, Abbey Green, whose inclusion could free up Emma King to play a more permanent key forward role. It makes the North Melbourne forward line one to behold, with a couple of capable tall targets and the likes of Daisy Bateman and Katlyn Ashmore at their feet.

Given how deep the hosts’ talent runs through midfield and around the ground, they are rightly fancied to bounce back to more typical form. The ‘Roos should also take solace in the feats of reigning premier Adelaide, as the Crows overcame a surprise first round loss in 2019 to go undefeated throughout the rest of the season. While last week’s outcome should drive North Melbourne to better results, the pressure will be on given not many would expect GWS to trouble them a whole lot. Nonetheless, the Kangaroos should fare much better in this clash against a side which looks like battling for mid-conference status, so do not be surprised if a statement is made.

NORTH MELBOURNE

B: T.Randall 16 B.Gibson 18
HB: T.Nestor 24 D.Hardiman 31 A.Gilroy 8
C: J.Trend 21 E.Kearney – C 9 A.Riddell 7
HF: S.Abbatangelo 1 K.Gillespie-Jones 5 K.Ashmore 10
F: E.King 60 D.Bateman 11
Foll: V.Saad 39 J.Garner 25 J.Bruton 35
I/C: E.King 4 S.Wright 17 J.Grierson 19 E.Gavalas 22 A.Green 26
Emerg: M.King 23 B.Lynch 20

In: J.Grierson, A.Green
Out: D.Bannister (collarbone), B.Lynch

GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY

B: P.Randall 21 T.Hetherington 9
HB: R.Beeson 6 L.Stephenson 12 A.Lister 14
C: E.Bennetts 22 A.Eva – C 2 N.Barr 8
HF: H.Zreika 24 C.Staunton 13 J.Hicks 5
F: R.Privitelli 19 I.Nielsen 25
Foll: E.McKinnon 23 J.Dal Pos 7 A.Parker 3
I/C: Y.Bonner 27 L.Steane 20 J.Allan 39 A.Schmidt 11 B.Tully 36
Emerg: T.Mackrill 32 S.Halvorsen 30

In: L.Steane
Out: E.Brush (unavailable)

Tip: North Melbourne by 20 points

Gold Coast v. Richmond at Metricon Stadium, 5:10pm AEDT

Taylah Melki

Two expansion teams are set to face off in an exciting clash at Metricon Stadium, the Suns’ first home game of the season. Both teams will be looking for their inaugural AFLW win, meaning there is plenty at stake for each side. The Suns were highly competitive over the weekend, narrowly edged out by the Giants by a mere one point while the Tigers simply had no answers for the rampaging Blues. Gold Coast went down in trying conditions with rain and wind impacting their ability to handle the ball cleanly and hit the scoreboard. On the other hand, Richmond were simply outclassed – unable to combat the torrential storm that was Carlton credit to their onslaught of pressure in the forward 50. But the girls in yellow and black know how to fight, not willing to be bullied across the field and will be hoping to assert themselves on a relatively young and inexperienced Gold Coast Suns outfit.

Richmond has a plethora of star power across the footy field, none bigger than captain Katie Brennan who has showcased her ability to turn a game on its head. Brennan will have to push up through the midfield, more to give players a chop out and provide added support despite her best work being done inside forward 50 with her leading patterns and strong hands. Full forward Sabrina Frederick could prove to be a handful for the Suns given her strength around the contest and ability to gobble up anything that comes her way while the nifty Monique Conti has shown she is all class with ball in hand, able to hit a target from a mile away. Phoebe Monahan was a ball magnet last round along with Christina Bernardi. The two will have to combine once again if they are to trouble the Suns.

Despite not being top-loaded in a-list class the Suns have a wealth of young up and coming stars that can do damage anywhere on the field. Youngsters in Serene Watson and Ellie Hampson offer plenty of excitement for the Suns’ line-up which could give them that upper hand thanks to their raw talent and unpredictability. Lauren Aherns led from the front last round, recording an equal team-high 15 touches running around ragged and burrowing in hard while Jamie Stanton was strong across the ground for the Suns. Captain Leah Kaslar will have her work cut out for her up against a strong Tigers side.

Tip: Richmond by 5.

GOLD COAST

B: J.Pregelj 42 J.Hickey 4
HB: S.Virgo 22 L.Ahrens 7 S.Watson 14
C: T.Ernst 19 J.Stanton 17 C.Hammond 29
HF: P.Parker 1 K.Surman 26 L.Kaslar – C 11
F: E.Hampson 21 B.Perry 16
Foll: L.Bella 2 J.Yorston 5 H.Dunn 24
I/C: J.Hewett 20 M.Ritson 12 S.Riley 8 D.Heslop 25 K.Howarth 23
Emerg: T.Thorn 15 T.Groves-Little 3

In: E.Hampson
Out: A.Hamilton

RICHMOND

B: R.Miller 15 G.Seymour 28
HB: S.Sansonetti 18 P.Monahan 2 A.Makur Chuot 34
C: K.Jacques 10 K.Brennan – C 3 H.Burchell 9
HF: S.Frederick 14 C.Wakefield 8 T.Stahl 24
F: L.McClelland 16 C.Bernardi 6
Foll: A.Edmonds 11 M.Conti 4 A.Woodward 13
I/C: L.Tesoriero 7 L.Bailey 12 S.Molan 1 M.Brancatisano 5 G.Campbell 43
Emerg: E.Wood 17 C.Fitzgerald 26

In: G.Campbell
Out: H.Whitford (injured)

West Coast Eagles v. Fremantle Dockers at Optus Stadium 7:10pm AEDT

Peter Williams

The Western Derby is the pride of Western Australia and for the first time ever at AFL Women’s level, the two sides can continue the tradition. West Coast and Fremantle go head-to-head in a Saturday night blockbuster with both teams coming off varying form. Last week, West Coast looked strong up against Collingwood at Victoria Park, booting the first goal and holding the Magpies scoreless in the opening term, before Collingwood took control and ran away comfortable victors in the end. Fremantle on the other hand did finish the job, knocking over fellow finalist Geelong in Western Australia in an effort that saw youngster, Sabreena Duffy win Most Valuable Player (MVP) for the week with four of her side’s six goals in the win. Both in Conference B – the more competitive conference – every win is absolutely crucial and neither side will want to relent against its biggest rival.

West Coast is the new kid on the block and they showed last week that they will be competitive, it will just be for how long. Dana Hooker plays her former side this week and it will unlikely faze the star who booted the club’s inaugural – and in the end, only – goal last week with a clever snap out of the pack. She was simply sensational across the four quarters, while Emma Swanson was also impressive with the pair leading from the front as vice-captain and captain respectively. Mikayla Bowen brought her tackling pressure from the Under 18s up to the elite level, while Imahra Cameron showed she has a nice set of wheels to burst away from stoppages and cause headaches for the opposition. Add in the smooth skills of McKenzie Dowrick coming off half-back and the reliability of Chantella Perera and Talia Radan on the last line and the Eagles are strong defensively. The Eagles have made just the one change for the this game, with the club’s social media coordinator Kate Orme making her debut for the injured Ashton Hill.

The expansion side will need to be strong defensively against a forward line that has plenty of excitement and X-factor, including Roxanne Roux, who showed exactly why she was the first West Australian taken last year with her high leaping and booming kick. She is a franchise player at centre half-forward, and with fellow teenage talent Mim Strom, the Dockers have a couple of gems they can build a side around through the ruck and key forward spots. Also up forward is Duffy who was simply sensational, and Ebony Antonio, who with partner and captain Kara and tackling machine Kiara Bowers rotating inside 50, there is no shortage of scoring options. The Dockers have made two changes for the team in Round 2 with Leah Mascall and debutant Bianca Webb coming in for Steph Cain – who unfortunately did her anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) – and Mia-Rae Clifford. The question this season will be around the Dockers’ defence given the young rucks have already earned their stripes, but against an Eagles side still looking to gel, they should be able to contain their yellow and blue state-based rivals. In order to win they will want to shut down Hooker and restrict the flow forward while putting plenty of pressure on the opposition defence. Given many of the Eagles have come from the Dockers, the remaining Fremantle players would love nothing more than to get one-up on them early in the season and it will likely happen.

Tip: Fremantle by 35.

WEST COAST

B: C.Perera 27 T.Radan 26
HB: B.Smith 14 S.McDonald 35 M.Dowrick 5
C: M.Collier 8 I.Cameron 19 N.Kelly 12
HF: A.Atkins 9 K.Gibson 2 M.Bowen 1
F: G.Kelly 15 D.Pisconeri 11
Foll: P.Laurie 25 D.Hooker 17 E.Swanson – C 13
I/C: T.Tester 23 C.Guard 4 H.Bullas 24 B.Devlyn 7 K.Orme 32
Emerg: E.Bonser 6 C.Davidson 33

In: K.Orme
Out: A.Hill (knee)

FREMANTLE

B: J.Cuthbertson 29 L.Pugh 32
HB: A.Stannett 24 E.Gooch 8 L.Mascall 14
C: L.Rohde 11 H.Miller 19 J.Stewart 7
HF: E.Antonio 12 R.Roux 17 S.Duffy 6
F: G.O’Sullivan 22 G.Houghton 27
Foll: M.Strom 21 K.Bowers 2 K.Antonio – C 15
I/C: K.Flood 44 B.Webb 26 P.Seth 18 K.Grieve 13 A.Sharp 1
Emerg: E.O’Driscoll 3 M.Clifford 4

In: L.Mascall, B.Webb
Out: S.Cain (knee), M.Clifford

Sunday, February 16

Geelong Cats v. Brisbane Lions at GMHBA Stadium, 1:10pm AEDT

Peter Williams

This Conference A clash on Sunday looms as one of the more intriguing contests of the weekend. The teams head into the match with differing results from Round 1, as Brisbane toppled the Crows at home while the Cats fell to a Duffy-inspired Dockers outfit in the west. Heading into the clash, Geelong will start favourites against the current conference leaders, playing at home and with more experience in the line-up. For the Lions, they have youthful excitement about them and will worry a few teams. They will not win every game in the manner they did in Round 1, but you get the feeling they will push most teams and show that they are building something special for the future.

The Cats have not had to make any major changes to its line-up that fell to the Dockers last Sunday evening, bringing in Rene Caris and Maddy Boyd to their extended squad. Last week it was the developing midfield of Olivia Purcell and Rebecca Webster, teaming with fellow 19-year-olds, Sophie Van De Heuvel and Nina Morrison, while Julia Crockett-Grills found plenty of the ball as well. They are still missing All Australian defender, Meg McDonald from their back five, but the Cats have the reliable Mel Hickey and Maddy McMahon helping youngsters Millie Brown and Denby Taylor. Geelong is growing a great culture of youth all coming through together, and with Phoebe McWilliams and Richelle Cranston bringing experience to the forward half, there is a nice balance of talent that should get the job done in this match.

Brisbane does not necessarily have the names on paper that Geelong has, but some of the players will become household names sooner rather than later. Jess Wuetschner is a big loss for the Lions, having been rested after being struck by lightning on the eve of the season. While she got through the first game, the Lions have erred on the side of caution for a game-by-game basis. Coming into the side on an extended bench are Gabby Collingwood, Jordan Zanchetta and Jade Ellenger. Of the trio, Ellenger has played just the two games and is one of a number of teenagers who are in the Lions line-up alongside recent draftees, Lily Postlethwaite and Isabel Dawes, and second year players, Nat Grider and Jesse Tawhiao-Wardlaw. Sophie Conway made a successful return from a long term knee injury last round, and along with Ally Anderson and Emily Bates providing plenty of run and hardness through the midfield. Throw in the impenetrable Kate Lutkins at centre half-back and they have enough about them to worry the Cats.

Tip: Geelong by 15.

GEELONG

B: M.Brown 19 M.McMahon 24
HB: M.Keryk 45 M.Hickey – C 18 D.Taylor 28
C: S.Van De Heuvel 27 R.Cranston 30 N.Morrison 9
HF: J.Crockett-Grills 6 M.Maguire 7 R.Garing 12
F: P.McWilliams 23 J.Ivey 5
Foll: A.O’Connor 14 R.Webster 21 O.Purcell 16
I/C: A.McDonald 3 D.Higgins 2 G.Rankin 10 R.Goring 44 G.Clarke 17 R.Caris 1 M.Boyd 26

In: R.Caris, M.Boyd
Out: None

BRISBANE

B: N.Grider 10 S.Campbell 20
HB: R.Lugg 11 K.Lutkins 13 C.Svarc 25
C: E.Zielke – C 8 B.Koenen 3 S.Webb 4
HF: L.Arnell 16 J.Tawhiao-Wardlaw 30 S.Conway 12
F: D.Davidson 14 G.Bodey 15
Foll: J.Keeffe 27 A.Anderson 18 E.Bates 1
I/C: I.Dawes 17 M.Moloney 28 G.Collingwood 7 O.O’Dwyer 9 L.Postlethwaite 6 J.Zanchetta 2 J.Ellenger 5

In: G.Collingwood, J.Zanchetta, J.Ellenger
Out: J.Wuetschner (managed)

Carlton v. Collingwood at Ikon Park, 3:10pm AEDT

Michael Alvaro

Traditional rivals and Conference B hopefuls Carlton and Collingwood are set to do battle at Ikon Park for a four time in their histories, in what promises to be a test of either sides’ true credentials. Both teams come in having feasted on competition newcomers in their opening fixtures, both running out on home turf in comfortable starts to the season. Bizarrely, last week’s season opener was an away match for Carlton, but the Blues once again hold home status against the ‘Pies in this match-up. While the extended history between these two powerhouse clubs is storied, their AFLW meetings have been much more one-sided – with Carlton taking out all three fixtures but the Magpies getting closer to a win every year. The Blues also fared much better in season 2019, embarking on a grand final run while Collingwood floundered and took out the Conference B wooden spoon. But with marked improvement already shown, Collingwood has the elite talent to take it to the Blues.

Much of the off-season talk and narrative coming in to the match surrounded ex-Carlton skipper and new Magpie, Bri Davey. Unfortunately for both neutrals and ‘Pies fans, the 2017 All Australian is set to miss this game after picking up a lower leg injury in Round 1. Davey’s sole omission opens the door for one of Kristy Stratton, Eliza Hynes, or Ebony O’Dea to enter the winning lineup, which has struggled at times to fill out depth outside of its formidable spine. With Davey out, the emphasis down back will be firmly placed on the pairing of Stacey Livingstone and Ash Brazill, while Brittany Bonnici and skipper Stephanie Chiocci will have to dig in hard to combat a powerhouse Carlton midfield. The ruck battle between Sharni Layton and Carlton’s pairing of Breann Moody and Alison Downie will also be one to watch, with Layton’s ability to provide use to her midfielders potentially key to shutting down a usually dominant Carlton engine room.

Twins Sarah and Jess Hosking will take the field together for the first time this year in navy blue, as the latter slots in on the wing while Jess Edwards and Abbie McKay help make up an extended bench. The Carlton core of Madison Prespakis, co-captain Katie Loynes, Grace Egan, and Georgia Gee remains, while the forward targets of Tayla Harris, Darcy Vescio, and Nicola Stevens should also work to stretch the aerial capabilities of Collingwood’s back five. Round 1 Rising Star nominee Lucy McEvoy is also primed to back up an eye-catching debut performance as part of the midfield-forward rotation, only adding to the hardness of Carlton’s overall unit. The only potential concern for the Blues may come down back as Jayde Van Dyk exits the side through injury, but the half back line of Kerryn Harrington, Lauren Brazzale, and popular mature-age draftee Vaomua Laloifi has already proven solid and will have to be as much against the likes of Chloe Molloy and Sarah Dargan. While this fixture has been somewhat of a mismatch in previous years, the increasing number of intriguing match-ups on across the field suggests this one should be a corker, with the Pies looking to elevate their game against the better-established Blues.

CARLTON

B: G.Pound 6 C.Wilson 20
HB: K.Harrington – C 9 V.Laloifi 8 L.Brazzale 12
C: C.Dalton 15 G.Gee 19 J.Hosking 11
HF: N.Stevens 21 T.Harris 7 L.McEvoy 13
F: A.Downie 30 J.Doonan 26
Foll: B.Moody 16 G.Egan 1 M.Prespakis 4
I/C: S.Hosking 10 N.Plane 32 B.Walker 14 K.Loynes 2 D.Vescio 3 J.Edwards 25 A.McKay 5

In: J.Hosking, J.Edwards, A.McKay
Out: J.Van Dyk (injured)

COLLINGWOOD

B: A.Porter 9 S.Livingstone 12
HB: L.Butler 23 A.Brazill 10 E.Fowler 15
C: S.Rowe 7 B.Bonnici 8 S.Chiocci – C 17
HF: C.Molloy 2 S.D’Arcy 4 S.Dargan 46
F: M.Cann 25 J.Allen 6
Foll: S.Layton 1 A.Sheridan 14 J.Lambert 13
I/C: S.Casey 22 K.Stratton 41 S.Alexander 24 J.Membrey 21 M.Shevlin 35 E.Hynes 11 E.O’Dea 50

In: K.Stratton, E.Hynes, E.O’Dea
Out: B.Davey (shin)

Adelaide Crows v. St Kilda at Hisense Stadium, 5:10pm AEDT

Peter Williams

This is expected to be an exciting show of talent for the future, with one side having been there and done it all – twice – while the other is still looking to find its feet in the new league as part of the expansion. A wounded Adelaide Crows side welcomes back some troops for the Round 2 clash against St Kilda with this match considered a must-win contest for the reigning premiers. The Crows were well beaten by a hungry Brisbane Lions side in Queensland, showing how tight the competition has become. Not even a record-breaking disposal count from Anne Hatchard (35) was enough to help the Crows get up in Round 1, and they will want to get a win on the board before the top sides in their conference get too far away. The benefit for the Crows was that fellow premiership contender, North Melbourne also lost, while last year’s finalist Geelong went down too. For the Saints, there are no expectations on their season with such a young list, but being competitive is the bare minimum expected, and after a nervous first quarter last week, the Saints settled and seemed to match it with the Western Bulldogs for large parts of the second half.

The Crows are still missing a host of names heading into this game led by Erin Phillips and Chelsea Randall – the latter of whom will play no further part in the season – but have brought in a couple of debutants in Caitlin Gould and Montana McKinnon. Gould hails from Glenelg and provides a tall presence up either end, while McKinnon is a dual All-Australian at Under 18s level, and could genuinely start ruck if they required her to. Expect her to spend time as a forward however, a role she played in South Adelaide’s premiership side, while rotating through the ruck and providing some strong contested marking ability around the ground. Ebony Marinoff, Hatchard and SANFL Women’s best and fairest winner Najwa Allen form a strong onball brigade and with former MVP, Courtney Gum in the team up forward alongside Danielle Ponter and Stevie-Lee Thompson, they still have the firepower to get the job done. Sophie Li has also come into the side for the Crows, as the only omission was Rachelle Martin – a top-up player who was brought on due to Adelaide’s expansive injury list.

The Saints have made three confirmed changes, with South Australian Nadia Von Bertouch – missing a return to the state where she captained North Adelaide last season – while Kelly O’Neill and Emma Mackie have been omitted. Coming into the side is a mix of youth and experience with former Collingwood talent, Darcy Guttridge and ex-North Melbourne players Alison Drennan and Courteney Munn named in the extended side. Also in to potentially make their debuts are ruck, Poppy Kelly and tall utility, Isabella Shannon who continue the trend of youth at the club. Georgia Patrikios starred in Round 1 with a Rising Star nomination, and expect her to show just as much excitement out on Hisense Stadium. Teaming up with the likes of Molly McDonald, Nicola Xenos and Tarni White, the youth of the Saints will come good in time. They still have experience on the list, with former Crow Jess Sedunary set to make her return to the AFL Women’s having kicked one of the Saints’ two goals last week. While the Saints have plenty to like, expect the Crows to do enough to win in a tight one, even with a few still out. They are desperate, hungry and at home, so a win is non-negotiable when it comes to their premiership aspirations.

ADELAIDE

B: D.Cox 31 C.Biddell 12
HB: A.Foley 3 S.Allan 39 M.Rajcic 32
C: S.Li 19 E.Marinoff 10 J.Mules 23
HF: E.Jones 2 C.Gum 5 R.Forth 27
F: D.Ponter 15 S.Thompson 14
Foll: J.Foley – C 24 A.Hatchard 33 N.Allen 8
I/C: C.Gould 1 A.Considine 16 M.Newman 17 N.Campbell 20 N.Gore 7 M.McKinnon 21 J.Tabb 28

In: S.Li, C.Gould, M.McKinnon
Out: R.Martin (ineligible)

ST KILDA

B: T.White 29 C.Fitzpatrick 24
HB: H.Priest 14 C.Phillips 35 T.Lucas-Rodd 18
C: D.Guttridge 5 J.Sedunary 10 M.McDonald 1
HF: N.Exon 15 K.McCarthy 9 C.Greiser 17
F: K.Shierlaw 12 G.Patrikios 21
Foll: R.Watt – C 7 O.Vesely 23 R.Dillon 25
I/C: I.Shannon 11 A.Brown 2 C.Munn 13 N.Xenos 27 C.Whitfort 4 A.Drennan 8 P.Kelly 16

In: D.Guttridge, I.Shannon, C.Munn, A.Drennan, P.Kelly
Out: K.O’Neill, N.Von Bertouch (knee), E.Mackie

ROUND 2 TIPS: [Total tips in brackets]

Michael Alvaro [5]: Melbourne / North Melbourne / Richmond / Fremantle / Geelong / Carlton / Adelaide
Taylah Melki [5]: Melbourne / North Melbourne / Richmond / Fremantle / Brisbane / Collingwood / Adelaide
Sophie Taylor [4]: Melbourne / North Melbourne / Richmond / Fremantle / Brisbane / Carlton / Adelaide
Peter Williams [4]: Melbourne / North Melbourne / Richmond / Fremantle / Geelong / Carlton / Adelaide

2019/20 AFLW off-season review: Brisbane

WITHOUT a doubt the team hardest hit by the expansion clubs was Brisbane, losing half of its list over the off-season. State rivals Gold Coast picked off seven players, including a number of young stars from last year’s draft and experienced heads. Nat Exon and Kate McCarthy were two of Brisbane’s best last season but departed for the Saints, Sabrina Frederick went to Richmond and McKenzie Dowrick headed home to Perth to fly with the Eagles. It meant all up, 11 players were lost to expansion clubs, while Bella Ayre and Ruby Blair retired and Megan Hunt and Krystal Scott were delisted. Adelaide’s Rheanne Lugg was the only established AFL Women’s player who joined the den. Brisbane had to head to the draft.

Head to the draft they did, picking up the two brightest Queensland talents available in Lily Postlethwaite and Isabel Dawes. Remember those names because the pair will no doubt have an impact in 2020, particularly Postlethwaite who captained her state Under 18s side and could well play midfield first up if given the chance. Catherine Svarc had a terrific season in the QAFLW and provides midfield strength, while the selections of Hannah Hillman, Tahlia Hickie and Lucy Bellinger give the Lions versatility in the key position spots. Selena Priest, Dakota Davidson and Maria Moloney earned a call-up after impressive QAFLW seasons, while they also pre-signed a couple of rookies in Orla O’Dwyer from Gaelic football and Greta Bodey from soccer. All in all, while Brisbane lost a lot of talent, they invested in the future, and wile they might be a year off contending, they sure are going to be an exciting team in 2020.

OFF-SEASON CHANGES:

IN: Rheanne Lugg (Adelaide), Orla O’Dwyer (Gaelic gootball), Greta Bodey (soccer), Lily Postlethwaite, Isabel Dawes (Maroochydore), Catherine Svarc (Wilston Grange), Hannah Hillman, Tahlia Hickie (Coorparoo), Lucy Bellinger (Glenelg), Selena Priest (Coolangatta-Tweed Heads), Dakota Davidson, Maria Moloney (University of Queensland)
OUT: Tori Groves-Little, Paige Parker, Sam Virgo, Jacqui Yorson, Lauren Bella, Leah Kaslar, Emma Pittman (Gold Coast), Nat Exon, Kate McCarthy (St Kilda), Sabrina Frederick (Richmond), McKenzie Dowrick (West Coast), Bella Ayre, Ruby Blair (retired), Megan Hunt, Krystal Scott (delisted)

2020 TEAM LIST:

Ally Anderson
Lauren Arnell
Emily Bates
Lucy Bellinger
Shannon Campbell
Arianna Clarke
Gabby Collingwood
Sophie Conway
Dakota Davidson
Isabel Dawes
Jade Ellenger
Natalie Grider
Tahlia Hickie
Hannah Hillman
Jessy Keeffe
Breanna Koenen
Rheanne Lugg
Kate Lutkins
Maria Moloney
Lily Postlethwaite
Selina Priest
Catherine Svarc
Jesse Wardlaw
Sharni Webb
Jess Wuetschner
Jordan Zanchetta
Emma Zielke

Rookies: Greta Bodey, Brianna McFarlane, Orla O’Dwyer

POTENTIAL 2020 SIDE:

B: Jess Wuetschner – Kate Lutkins – Natalie Grider
HB: Rheanne Lugg – Lucy Bellinger – Lauren Arnell
C: Catherine Svarc
HF: Sophie Conway – Tahlia Hickie – Emma Zielke
F: Isabel Dawes – Jesse Wardlaw – Lily Postlethwaite
R: Hannah Hillman – Ally Anderson – Emily Bates
INT: Shannon Campbell – Arianna Clarke – Gabby Collingwood – Jordan Zanchetta – Breanna Koenen
EMG: Sharni Webb – Jade Ellenger – Jessy Keefe

DEPTH: Dakota Davidson, Maria Moloney, Selina Priest, Greta Bodey*, Brianna McFarlane*, Orla O’Dwyer*

Trying to guess the Lions’ best 21 is incredibly difficult for two reasons. First off, Brisbane has had such a list overhaul of changes, there will be some players in new roles or perhaps making way for the young stars to come in, and the balance between youth and experience will be a tough call for coach Craig Starcevich. The Lions drafted versatile talls with Hillman and Hickie able to rotate through the ruck or key forward which could be the way they opt to go, with Jesse Wardlaw also filling that role. Bellinger can play up either end, but given the strength of the forward half and a missing role at half-back, she could team up with Kate Lutkins as reliable key defensive posts. Jess Wuetschner has played in defence over the winter so expect her to fill that new role, while the experience of Lugg and Lauren Arnell will be crucial off half-back.

The forward half is quite inexperienced with Postlethwaite and Dawes capable of stepping straight in and while they are long-term midfielders, will probably play forward and relieve the likes of Ally Anderson and Emily Bates who made the midfield their own last season, while the mature-age Catherine Svarc could step into the role. Emma Zielke and Sophie Conway could rotate through there, but with Conway coming off a long term injury, it is fair enough to ease her back into it up forward. There is a lot of youth or players yet to really impact consistently at AFL Women’s level, but Nat Grider is a season in and expect her to own a defensive role, while the bench has plenty of versatility in terms of height and roles. It might be a challenging year for Brisbane in 2020, but they will be better for it because they could be back challenging in 2021 once the team has been established.

Postlethwaite thrives with captaincy

AFTER overcoming an ankle injury leading up to her bottom-age championships, Brisbane Lions Academy member, Lily Postlethwaite continues to take her footy to the next level with the 18-year-old loving every moment of her journey so far. Draft Central spoke to her last year regarding how her love for footy blossomed and what she endured to overcome her injury.

Awarded the Queensland captaincy, Postlethwaite was not overawed by the added responsibility standing up to the occasion throughout the Championships and showcasing her elite talent through the midfield with her daring style of play, quick hands and good vision across the ground.

“(Captaining Queensland) is a real honour for me, I’ve loved leading the group this year and it’s been a great experience for me,” she said. “Sometimes you forget about yourself when you’re trying to make sure everyone else is up but it’s all part of the challenge and I’m really enjoying it so far.”

Postlethwaite has enjoyed a continuous ride to the top with the dynamic midfielder rewarded for her efforts on the field making it into the Winter Series team and playing with a host of AFLW stars.

“On the footy side of things my game has improved a lot… I’ve made the Winter Series team which has given me great experience with lots of AFLW players which has been great so just learning off them which has been really good,” she said.

The up-and-coming midfielder has relished the opportunity to play with the experienced girls, absorbing every bit of knowledge and applying it to her own game.

“It’s really good,” she said. “All the girls are so welcoming and you just learn so much off them and it’s just that next step that shows you where you’re at I guess, if you’re up for it or not.”

Despite all the accolades and chances to develop her skills at a higher level, Postlethwaite is still well aware of the improvements needed to make it to the top tier.

“Probably just play consistent footy and don’t drop below, like to always keep improving I guess and to not be set like ‘I’m good now’, you’ve always just got to keep getting better,” she said. “I’ve always got to keep improving.”

Although Postlethwaite does not have a particular inspiration she has a multitude of players that have helped guide and develop her throughout her budding career which she attributes a great deal of her success to.

“Probably some of the girls that were in this (Queensland) team last year like Jade Ellenger and Nat Grider, they’ve been great,” she said. They just welcome you so much, make you feel comfortable and everything like that. And then I’m probably learning off players like Emily Bates, she’s just a great player.”

Not only have they inspired her on-field with their courageous actions, clever game play and skill but so too off field with their training regime and dedication.

“For sure, the off-field side like the professionalism, your (rehabilitation), your recovery and everything like that – you just watch them and it’s really important,” she said.

When looking closer to home, it is her parents that have played a major role in her success and development with Postlethwaite noting their influence and commitment to fulfilling her footy dreams.

“Mum and Dad are really good, they’re always there for me which is really good and keeps me going,” she said.

All-Australian junior White returns to draft radar

TARNI White is a player who at the age of 16-years-old was identified as one of the nation’s top talents. In 2017, she was named in the All-Australian side after a terrific carnival for Queensland. To give an indication of how rare her achievement was, Geelong Falcons and Vic Country star Lucy McEvoy was the only other player to be named in the side as a 16-year-old – and now McEvoy is a candidate for the first pick in the AFL Women’s Draft. Aside from the pair yet to be drafted, all bar three players in 22-player team have made the AFL Women’s competition.

“I’ve been playing football since I was nine years old,” White said. “I’ve played with the boys for probably for over 100 games, then I transitioned into girls football under 15s, went through the ranks to Under 17s, through to QAFLW when I was 16, and now I’m finding my way through the Queensland team.”

But if anyone thought the journey was going to be easy, then think again. With a disastrous 12-month Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) injury ruling White out of the game during her bottom-age year. But, like any seasoned athlete and mature person, White was able to make the most of her year out of the game, building on her leadership.

“Going from the boys and I’ve played in the backline and I learnt really how to play it in a different way,” White said. “Boys is a different type of game to girls, I really had a really easy run through there, but now transitioning to the girls, I’ve developed the leadership just because it’s easy to go. “I’ve developed a sense of leadership, (especially since) I recently did my ACL so I made a comeback through that, and I planned on making my leadership as one of my biggest strengths and I’m definitely starting to fulfil those roles throughout the team and doing the team role.”

It was secret that White struggled during the recovery phase when all of her talented peers were hitting their strides and making serious in-roads into their future AFL Women’s careers.

“It was definitely huge rollercoaster ride,” White said. “I’d turn up to every training session and every gym session but some days were harder than others. “You’ve just got to grind through those and lean on your teammates when those darker days do come up, but yeah it was really hard but those 12 months came up really quick and I was able to get access to really good facilities from the Gabba and they helped me with my rehab.”

The injury may have been as mentally tolling as it was physically on White, but she has emerged the other side as a stronger person. After another AFL Women’s Under-18 Championships, this time in her top-age year with Queensland, White is a talent who has not been forgotten by recruiters – earning a draft combine invitation. The state representative said making the Queensland side is a difficult one with so much talent in the state and she did not take the honour lightly.

“It means everything to me,” White said. “This is a stepping stone through my journey and hopefully going into AFLW one day is my biggest dream. “To pull on a Queensland jersey, it really means everything to me. “I know some girls who missed out on these competitions and it’s really hard on them, so to do them proud really makes me happy.”

White is versatile after playing as a midfielder back in her All-Australian year, but transitioning into defence this year to ease her back into the game as she builds her match fitness with time. The tenacious, driven utility uses her determination on the field as much as off.

“Probably my (strengths are my) aggression on the ball, my tackling pressure, I’ve played on the half-back role and I’ve learnt just to shut down really quickly and keep my opponent out and do my role for the team that way,” White said.

As for her improvements, it is no surprise she just wants to get back to her peak fitness.

“Definitely my game fitness (is an improvement) really,” she said. “Just coming back from an ACL. “Everything’s still relatively new, but coming back now I need to work on this, and jump through all these hoops. “Definitely all these games help with fitness.”

White thanked her mum for her support over the years who she described as her “backbone” helping her through everything. On-the-field, it is a Brisbane Lions talent who she mirrors some of her traits on.

Emily Bates from the Brisbane Lions (is a role model),” White said. “She’s someone who is a go-getter and goes really hard at the footy and really tackles hard.”

Starting from scratch no problem for Heslop

PLENTY of AFL Women’s draft hopefuls move to further their Australian rules football career, but not too many do so unknowingly, which is what makes the story of Queensland’s Dee Heslop so unique. The versatile utility hails from New Zealand, with the Kiwi having no idea what the rules were when she first started, having to adjust to things like handballing when she kept throwing it to teammates.

“I’m originally from New Zealand,” Heslop said. “So I moved here in 2012, and started playing footy at Grade 7 at school. “It was just a little cup I ended up playing and I just progressed from there through club and a few more teams. “Then I also used to play netball, then that started to clash as well, but otherwise just kept going on playing more footy and more footy and then getting into more teams and really enjoying it so I ended up having to choose one of the sports, so I ended up choosing footy over netball and honestly I would never go back to it.”

Heslop admits when she first took up the sport, she was pretty naive when it came to rules or the way it was played.

“I thought it was more like touch, really,” she said. “But otherwise, we played nine-a-side. “That’s how we started it off, and then they were teaching me how to handball instead of throwing it. “But obviously I didn’t have any clue what it was back then.”

Her choice to pick football over netball was mostly due to her ability to run across the open field, rather than have limited boundaries where you can move such is the case in netball.

“I think you just go from running around on a massive field and you’re on a field with heaps more people where on a netball court you’ve only got seven on a side so that was a bit different and not having boundaries where to run,” Heslop said. “Where in AFL you can run wherever you want which is a big difference.”

Despite picking up the sport and achieving dreams of representing her state that few could imagine in such a period of time, Heslop understands the journey is far from over.

“It’s obviously been a really hard journey,” she said. “Being here in my final year is obviously really exciting. “Going through all the programs and year-by-year and now it’s my draft year, it’s the biggest year for an 18-year-old and it’s just really exciting to see how it pans out.”

Heslop said the pressure was on for her, but she was “going okay” with it.

“I’ve just been focusing on 18s as much as I can and going by each game, by each day,” she said. “After this obviously don’t know what’s going to happen so just see how that goes, so otherwise really good.”

While the Gold Coast SUNS Academy member has played in multiple positions, her preference is the midfield given her strengths, but she admits she is happy to play anywhere.

“I think the biggest strength that I have is maybe my work ethic and making the second and third efforts and tackling pressure,” Heslop said. “I’m very lucky to be a versatile player, I can play through the mid, forward or back wherever they need me.”

As for her biggest inspiration on her journey from New Zealand to the elite levels of Australian rules football, it was a no brainer.

“My mum and dad,” Heslop said. “We would not have moved over here without them thinking – the reason we moved was mum and dad wanted a better lifestyle for me and my older brother – so that was a massive help. “But otherwise, Craig Starcevich was a big help. “He looked at me when I was very young like five years ago and he’s obviously pushed me through the programs and also through Suns. So Michael Gugliotta, Tim Searle, so just coaches like that have been really helpful as well.”

On-the-field, Heslop’s role model is a player who loves the contested work as much as her.

“Definitely on a Queensland level, it would be Emily Bates,” Heslop said. “I played club with her as well and she helps me through my games and she tells me where to go and I just look up to here and try and do what she does I guess and even when I verse her, I try and match up on her and see how I go against her.”

Now with a National Draft Combine invitation and two Queensland clubs in the running for the top draft talent, Heslop is close to achieving her dream of running out for an AFL Women’s side.

Weekend preview: AFL Women’s – Round 7

THE final AFL Women’s round gets underway tonight with Round 7 the final frontier for six teams. For Collingwood, GWS GIANTS and reigning premiers, Western Bulldogs, their season is over by the end of the weekend, while for the six other sides, there is still hope. Brisbane and Melbourne are the two sides that need everything to go right for them, while Fremantle, North Melbourne, Adelaide and Carlton have their fate in their own hands. It sets up an exciting round of football action.

GWS GIANTS vs. GEELONG
Friday, March 15, 7:15pm
UNSW Canberra Oval

The GIANTS will host Geelong in what will be an interesting match up for Conference B’s finals bound teams. The GIANTS have had a lacklustre season, unable to string together multiple wins and looking to be a completely different side to the 2018 team. Geelong need a win to keep their inaugural season finals hopes alive, so will do anything in their power to guarantee themselves an opportunity to play finals footy. Despite a disappointing loss to Fremantle in Round 6, Geelong’s best in Meghan McDonald and Erin Hoare will want to replicate their respective good day out on field, while Richelle ‘Rocky’ Cranston will be gunning for her best outing yet in 2019 after an up and down season so far. The Cats will be relying on leading goalkickers, Kate Darby and Mia-Rae Clifford to be options inside 50 this week to cement a win. The GIANTS are also coming off a loss last round, so will want to use this last opportunity to make their mark on the competition and make it harder for other sides to make finals. Alicia Eva and Ellie Brush were among the GIANTS’ best last week so will hope to bring the same level to this week’s matchup, while GIANTS fans will also be hoping that Irish-born Cora Staunton and Yvonne Bonner step up and boot a few goals in what will be GWS’ final game for 2019.

Finals permutations:

GWS win:
GWS finish fourth
Geelong finish second (Collingwood win) or third (Brisbane win)

Geelong win:
Geelong finish first (Western Bulldogs win) or second (Carlton win)
GWS finish fourth (Brisbane win) or fifth (Collingwood win)

MELBOURNE vs. ADELAIDE
Saturday, March 16, 4:45pm
Casey Fields

It’s a do-or-die match for Melbourne on Saturday night when they host Adelaide, top of the ladder. After a scare last round against the Bulldogs, the Dees need to come into this matchup with every bit of confidence they can muster to run over the Crows and make finals. The Crows flexed their muscles against the GIANTS last round to continue their domination of the competition so will be a hard side to beat, especially knowing they sit between Melbourne and finals. A full field domination will be necessary for Melbourne to get over the line, so Melbourne’s best need to stand up tall in this match, with the likes of Karen Paxman and Elise O’Dea both significant features of the side, while Lily Mithen has the ability to take the game on if not held well through the midfield. Dees fans will hope for Harriet Cordner to put on her best show yet in full back, and Tegan Cunningham will also need to be her most dangerous self full forward to keep the Dees in contention. Also battling in the midfield will be Crows captain, Erin Phillips, who true to form over the competition’s history has been dominant as ever in 2019, while Ebony Marinoff is likely to put on a show with her tackling efficiency and effortlessness with the ball in hand. Chelsea Randall is another whose reliability is key to the side, and coupled with the scoring ability of first year Danielle Ponter, who has managed two goals apiece in her last three games, the Crows could prove to be too much for Melbourne. If given the opportunity, goal sneaks Aliesha Newman (Melbourne) and Stevie-Lee Thompson (Adelaide) could be dangerous forward for their respective sides.

Finals permutations:

Melbourne win:
Dees finish second if they destroy Adelaide
Dees finish third if they don’t destroy Adelaide
Adelaide finish second if they lose but are not destroyed
Adelaide finish third if they lose and are destroyed
Melbourne and Adelaide both miss finals if North Melbourne and Fremantle draw

Adelaide win:
Adelaide finish first
Melbourne finish fourth

FREMANTLE vs. NORTH MELBOURNE
Saturday, March 16, 7:10pm
Fremantle Oval

Another big matchup to end the home and away season, this blockbuster between Conference A’s Fremantle and North Melbourne is one of the games to watch this weekend. North Melbourne have proved their dominance all season, only dropping one game to the Crows. In a conference system that made it seem unlikely for Fremantle to take a stab at finals footy in 2019, the Dockers have certainly pushed all the right buttons this season to sit below the Kangaroos only on percentage as we head into the final round. Freo have not lost since Round 4, while the Roos had their respective sole loss in Round 5 – both against ladder leaders, Adelaide, proving the closeness of the competition between Conference A sides in 2019. Fremantle’s Kiara Bowers is sitting atop of the leaderboard for tackles this season, picking up 19 last week alone, and 20 clear of next on the board, Ebony Marinoff. Meanwhile, primary ball carrier, Dana Hooker will be looking for a big week to run over the season’s premiership favourites and give off the ball to effective goalkickers in Gemma Houghton, Ashley Sharp and young gun Sabreena Duffy. Bowers’ influence through the midfield will hope to put great pressure on North Melbourne’s star-studded mids, with Emma Kearney leading the charge in what the Roos will hope is a better team effort than last week’s sloppy match against the Magpies. The big job for the game will be holding up the Kangaroos’ fantastic forward line, with the likes of Jasmine Garner, Mo Hope and Emma King all capable of taking excellent pack marks and converting to goal quickly.

Finals permutations:

Fremantle win:
Fremantle finish first (Melbourne win) or second (Adelaide win)
North Melbourne finish third (Adelaide win) or fourth (Melbourne win)

North Melbourne win:
North Melbourne finish first (Melbourne win) or second (Adelaide win)
Fremantle finish third (Adelaide win) or fourth (Melbourne win)

If both sides draw:
North Melbourne finishes first (Melbourne win) or second (Adelaide win)
Fremantle finishes second (Melbourne win) or second (Adelaide win)

COLLINGWOOD vs. BRISBANE
Sunday, March 17, 2:05pm
Victoria Park

Collingwood have one last opportunity to get a win on the board for 2019 as they take on Brisbane in a bid to spoil their finals hopes and bump the Lions out of finals contention for the first time in AFLW history. However, if the Magpies lose this game, it will make them the first side in AFLW history to lose every game in a season. A thought that is likely to spark the side into action, the Pies will rely on their effective midfield in Britt Bonnici, Jaimee Lambert and Ash Brazill off half-back to move the ball forward and clear to forward 50. Young gun, Darcy Guttridge has impressed since debuting in Round 5, so is likely to be a great option forward for the Pies up forward, while Sarah Rowe had arguably her best game of her career so far last week against the Kangaroos. Brisbane has made finals in both previous seasons of AFLW, but are unlikely to make it this year unless they rely on both a win from the GIANTS and a win against the Pies. With three players hitting the 20 disposal mark, with great efforts off ball – Emily Bates (22 disposals, five tackles), Kate Lutkins (20 disposals, seven tackles) and Alexandra Anderson (20 disposals, six tackles) – last week despite a big loss to Carlton, it just goes to show the Lions’ effective ball movement isn’t getting far when it comes to scoring off opportunities. Arguably one of the most dominant players in the first two seasons of AFLW, Sabrina Frederick-Traub has been well held defensively in 2019, only managing one goal for the season in Round 1. With the lack of Frederick-Traub as an option up forward, the scoring opportunities have been severely limited and the Lions have had to adapt to other options up forward. In her Round 6 debut, Jade Ellenger kicked two goals of the Lions’ four for the match, so will hope to match that number this weekend in a bid to keep the Magpies winless.

Finals permutations:

Collingwood win:
Collingwood finish fourth (Geelong win) or fifth (GWS win)
Brisbane finish third or fourth (if GWS win by plenty)

Brisbane win:
Brisbane finish second (GWS win) or third (Geelong win)
Collingwood finish fifth

WESTERN BULLDOGS vs. CARLTON
Sunday, March 17, 4:05pm
VU Whitten Oval

The final match of the 2019 AFLW home and away season will see the Western Bulldogs host Carlton. The 2018 premiers have had a forgettable season, having not won a game since Round 2 and sitting one win behind Carlton. The Blues have had a miraculous end to the season, having won three of their past four matches and proving they’re not a team to underestimate. With veteran stars forward and young stars through the middle, Carlton have certainly come into their own this season, especially when their big names in Tayla Harris, Darcy Vescio and Brianna Davey stand up and lead their younger teammates to have an effect on the game, with each respective player able to make a big difference in a short amount of time. Madison Prespakis has been in a league of her own after debuting in Round 1, racking up a season average of 20.2 disposals and being one of Carlton’s best on ground week in and week out, so will be a hard player for the Bulldogs to combat. The Bulldogs have the players to be a star side, but can’t seem to work as a team to nab a win. Ellie Blackburn and Monique Conti have shown good signs in recent weeks, picking up 22 and 20 disposals respectively in their Round 6 match against Melbourne, before falling agonisingly short by one point. The Dogs did a fantastic job of holding back the Dees in the middle terms last week, so will want to build on that performance this week to ensure they disrupt Carlton’s road to finals.

Finals permutations:

Western Bulldogs win:
Western Bulldogs finish fifth
Carlton finish 1st (GWS win), second (Geelong win) or third (if Brisbane smash Collingwood)

Carlton win:
Carlton finish first
Western Bulldogs finish fifth

 

DRAFT CENTRAL TIPPING

Leaderboard:

1st : Michael Alvaro [ 20 ]
Eq. 2nd : Sophie Taylor [ 18 ]
Peter Williams [ 18 ]
4th : Matthew Cocks [ 17 ]
5th : Taylah Melki [ 16 ]

 

Peter Williams

Chief Editor

Round 7 selections:

GWS GIANTS
Melbourne
Fremantle
Collingwood
Western Bulldogs

 

Taylah Melki

Assistant Chief Editor

Round 7 selections:

Geelong
Adelaide
North Melbourne
Brisbane
Western Bulldogs

 

Sophie Taylor

Women’s Football Editor

Round 7 selections:

Geelong
Melbourne
Fremantle
Brisbane
Carlton

 

Michael Alvaro

Men’s Football Editor

Round 7 selections:

Geelong
Adelaide
Fremantle
Collingwood
Carlton

 

Matthew Cocks

Guest Tipster

Round 7 selections:

Geelong
Adelaide
Fremantle
Brisbane
Western Bulldogs

 

Weekend wash-up: AFLW – Round 6

WITH just one round left in the 2019 AFL Women’s home and away season, Round 6 was a week of highs and lows for a number of sides, as Conference A continues to dominate the competition. We saw some teams keep their finals hopes alive, while others were struck down with further disappointment after a difficult season.

Geelong 2.1 (13) defeated by Fremantle 6.13 (49)
By: James Halley

Fremantle has moved one step closer to securing itself a preliminary finals spot after a resounding 36-point win over Geelong at GMHBA Stadium. The Dockers kept Geelong scoreless in the second half to win 49-13.

The Dockers’ tenacious Kiara Bowers was on track to beat Ebony Marinoff’s AFLW tackle record, with 13 at half-time. However, Bowers was moved further forward in the second half and her tackle pressure dwindled as a result. It was not all good news for Fremantle, as the side struggled to kick straight, registering 13 behinds. Meanwhile, defender Alex Williams was assisted from the ground in the second term with a suspected knee injury.

Geelong’s Meg McDonald could stand tall after she was dominant in the backline once again, proving her worth in the side after missing out on making a team list in 2018. The Cats will need to put in a better performance next round, with a win ensuring a preliminary spot and a loss making them sweat on results.

The Cats will face GWS next Friday night in a do or die clash, while Fremantle will face North Melbourne who would also want to win to secure a finals birth.

Collingwood 5.1 (31) defeated by North Melbourne 7.11 (53)
By: Nikki Jamieson

North Melbourne’s premiership dream has been kept alive following their defeat of Collingwood in game one of the double header at Marvel Stadium. Collingwood, who continue the season winless, kept pace with the Kangaroos for the majority of the first half, only to let them get away as North Melbourne really found their rhythm.

Britt Bonnici was an absolute star for Collingwood, swiftly neutralising 2018 best and fairest winner Emma Kearney’s influence on the game. Bonnici had the game-high of 21 possessions and laid 10 tackles for the Pies. Teammates, Jaimee Lambert and Ash Brazill also had commendable performances with 20 and 18 disposals respectively.

In what was sure to cause more pain to Collingwood fans and teammates alike, defected stars such as Jess Duffin, Emma King, Jasmine Garner and Mo Hope had little remorse against their old side. Garner had a promising game, kicking two crucial goals and laying four tackles. Best on field for North Melbourne, however, was Jenna Bruton with 19 disposals and six clearances. Bruton was a major implementer of many of the Roos’ key scoring moments throughout the match.

In Round 7, Collingwood will have their last chance to get a win for the 2019 season as they face off against the Brisbane Lions at their home ground of Victoria Park. North Melbourne travel to Fremantle Oval to play the Dockers in what could prove to be a crucial final attempt to qualify for finals for both teams.

Western Bulldogs 6.2 (38) defeated by Melbourne 5.9 (39)
By: Sophie Taylor

It was a scrappy game at Marvel Stadium to end the double header, as the Bulldogs hosted a Melbourne side that was ready for payback after the Dogs’ two-point 2018 victory that knocked the Demons out of finals for the second year running. With a dominant start from the Dees and strong middle quarters from the Dogs it was difficult to see who would take home the four points, before Melbourne managed a goal in the dying minutes to produce a one-point win.

Despite a good start from the red and blue, the Dogs took charge when the game mattered, leading for most of the second half. Melbourne’s efficiency with the ball suffered as the Bulldogs took advantage of momentum, piling on relentless pressure through the midfield and the Dees’ forward 50. Meanwhile, Melbourne suffered in the penalty department, only picking up 10 frees for the game compared to the Dogs’ 24, with the disparity in free kicks further contributing to the Dees’ struggles downfield.

In the scrappy affair it was the ever reliable Karen Paxman who stood up for the Dees, notching up 24 touches, seven tackles and a goal. Elise O’Dea was next best for Melbourne, with 21 disposals and eight tackles to her name. Ellie Blackburn picked 22 disposals, while Monique Conti managed 20 touches and seven tackles. Bulldog, Kirsty Lamb notched up the most tackles for the day, with ten. Tegan Cunningham redeemed herself in this matchup after a disappointing day against the Dogs in 2018, kicking two goals, with her second for the match the sealer.

The final round of AFLW will see the Western Bulldogs host Carlton next Sunday at VU Whitten Oval, while Melbourne will take on Adelaide at their home at Casey Fields in a bid to keep their 2019 finals hopes alive.

Adelaide Crows 9.5 (59) defeated GWS GIANTS 4.3 (27)
By: Taylah Melki

The Crows asserted their dominance once again, coming out all guns blazing and scoring three goals in the opening term. The GIANTS failed to score a goal in the second half credit to the defensive pressure of Adelaide, while the Crows piled on more pain throughout the course of the game credit to their ability to hit the scoreboard, eventually winning by 32 points.

The usual stars stood tall for the Crows with the likes of Erin Phillips and Ebony Marinoff leading the way for their side. Phillips chipped in with a goal while amassing 24 touches proving her dominance across the field, while Marinoff racked up 24 touches and 10 tackles credit to her attacking play. Stevie-Lee Thompson made her presence felt up forward nailing three goals while Danielle Ponter also displayed her ability to hit the scoreboard with two majors. Ponter does not need a lot of the footy to be damaging, proving her accuracy by foot. Chelsea Randall and Angela Foley also starred for the Crows, accumulating plenty of the footy and going in hard to win the ball.

For the GIANTS, the likes of Alicia Eva stood up in what was a difficult outing for her side. Eva racked up the touches and was not afraid to go in hard and win the footy, showing her experience and class around the stoppages. Ellie Brush was also a key player for the GIANTS with her clever kicks. Cora Staunton and Christina Bernardi both hit the scoreboard with a major but were unable to capitalise on all of their opportunities in front of goal, both missing a shot on goal.

In the final game of the home and away season the Crows will face the Melbourne Demons at Casey Fields while the GWS GIANTS take on the Cats at UNSW Canberra Oval.

Carlton 6.7 (43) defeated Brisbane 4.3 (27)
By: Brandon Hutchinson

After a shaky start to 2019, Carlton have since turned their season around with a win over Brisbane at home and a move to the top of the table in Conference B. While Brisbane led at the end of the first, Carlton’s offensive push turned the tables in the second with a three-point lead entering the main break – leaving Brisbane with a goalless second quarter. Brisbane managed to kick a goal midway through the third, but the effort stood small next to Carlton’s three as they bullied their way through Brisbane’s defence. The final quarter was a wrestle for Brisbane as Carlton held on to a comfortable 16-point win against a tough outfit.

Madison Prespakis had another stellar performance for the Blues, leading with a game-high 27 disposals on the way to 69 AFL Fantasy Points. Fellow rookie, Brooke Walker also impressed with a season-high 12 disposals and her first two career goals. Tayla Harris (two goals, eight disposals, two marks and four tackles), Darcy Vescio (one goal and 13 disposals) and Tilly Lucas-Rodd (one goal, 10 disposals and four tackles) also impressed in front of goals.

For Brisbane, Nat Exon was a great defensive utility, laying nine tackles with 17 disposals on her way to a game-high 98 AFL Fantasy Points. Kate Lutkins (20 disposals, five marks and seven tackles) and Alexandra Anderson (20 disposals, six marks and six tackles) both impressed through the middle, while first-year, Jade Ellenger kicked two goals in her first game. Emily Bates also continued her stunning season with a team-high 22 disposals, three marks and five tackles.

Heading into the final round, Carlton are set to face reigning premiers, Western Bulldogs, at VU Whitten Oval for the last game of the regular season, while Brisbane come up against a winless Collingwood outfit at Victoria Park, looking for a chance to join finals footy.

Weekend preview: AFLW – Round 4

THE AFL Women’s season is about to pass the halfway point, with a Conference Round occurring in Round 4. Of the five games, four matches involve same-conference teams, while the cross-conference battle sees the reigning grand finalists go head-to-head in the prime time Saturday night match.

GEELONG vs. CARLTON
Saturday, February 23, 4.45pm
GMHBA Stadium

It seems somewhat strange that these two teams are the top two sides in Conference B with Carlton suffering the heavy Round 1 loss and Geelong going down in the past two encounters, but the sole victory for each side was enough to see them slot into first and second. The winner will take outright first depending if Brisbane can upset the Western Bulldogs, and go a long way to securing a finals place in the 2019 AFL Women’s competition. Carlton have been building over the past two weeks, looking more dangerous under new coach, Daniel Harford with dash and dare from defence to half-forward. Key forward Tayla Harris and young gun, Madison Prespakis both booted three goals last week and gave the GIANTS coaching staff some serious headaches. Geelong will look to counter the forward talent of the Blues, with the likes of Meg McDonald and former Blue, Madeline Keryk in great form this season. Mel Hickey and Richelle Cranston returned last week and will be keen to make a statement, while Darcy Vescio is yet to fire consistently this season and could be one in for a big game.

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

Last time they met: N/A

WESTERN BULLDOGS vs. BRISBANE
Saturday, February 23, 7.10pm
Whitten Oval

H2H: Western Bulldogs 1 | Brisbane 2 | Draws 0
Venue: Western Bulldogs 5-3-0 | Brisbane 0-0-0

In the only cross-conference game, we have a Grand Final replay between Western Bulldogs and Brisbane at Whitten Oval. It is the first time these teams have clashed at the venue, while the Bulldogs holding a 5-3 record when at home. Brisbane has the upperhand against the Dogs overall, winning both regular season games, with the Dogs’ only win between the sides coming in last year’s grand final. This game is crucial for both sides, but particularly the Bulldogs who sit in a stronger pool. The Dogs had a heavy loss against North Melbourne on the weekend and are anchored to the bottom but level with third placed Melbourne and fourth placed Adelaide. With those two sides playing the undefeated teams, the Bulldogs can jump to third spot with the right results. For Brisbane, they have a chance to try and catch Carlton and Geelong on percentage, and a win would guarantee them a top two spot after four rounds. The battle between midfield duos, Ellie Blackburn and Monique Conti against Ally Anderson and Emily Bates will be fascinating, and Sabrina Frederick-Traub will be keen for a big game after being well held by Melbourne’s Harriet Cordner last week, although it does not get any easier this week with a stringent Bulldogs defence.

Last time they met: Western Bulldogs 4.3 (27) defeated Brisbane 3.3 (21) at Ikon Park, Grand Final, 2018

It was the most memorable game of last season, as the Western Bulldogs took home the AFL Women’s Premiership Cup at Ikon Park in the 2018 decider. Monique Conti was best afield for her 13 disposals (12 contested), four clearances, three inside 50s and a goal, while Ellie Blackburn had 17 disposals (12 contested), five clearances, three inside 50s and two inside 50s. Emma Kearney racked up 15 disposals, one mark, five clearances and a goal. All-Australian full-back Kate Lutkins had a game-high 21 touches as well as six marks, four tackles and four rebounds, while Jamie Stanton had 20 disposals, two marks, four inside 50s and five rebounds.

ADELAIDE vs. FREMANTLE
Saturday, February 23, 9.35pm
TIO Stadium

Up in Darwin the Crows and Dockers clash in what could well be the game of the round. Adelaide lost to the Western Bulldogs by a point in Round 1 but have not missed a beat since, while Fremantle have opened eyes with their performances both at home and away. Now the teams clash in a game that has enormous ramifications, with the winner putting themselves in a great position for finals in the final few rounds, while the loser drops back to the back. For Fremantle, they have the extra game in hand, and could well be primed for a finals spot if they take down the Crows, while Adelaide cannot afford to lose with both Western Bulldogs and Melbourne battling with the Crows in the mid-table. Erin Phillips and Ebony Marinoff have been unbelievable this season, while Anne Hatchard was terrific last round to add an extra dimension to the midfield. Fremantle’s Dana Hooker and Kara Donnellan have been a ray of consistency, while Kiara Bowers has been a terrific find for the West Australian side. Fremantle’s forward line against Adelaide’s defence will be a battle within a battle.

H2H: Adelaide 2 | Fremantle 0 | Draws 0
Venue: Adelaide 1-1-0 | Fremantle 0-1-0

Last time they met: Adelaide 6.4 (40) defeated Fremantle 5.6 (36) at TIO Stadium, Round 6, 2018

In the only game at TIO Stadium in Round 6 last season, these two teams battled it out in a thriller which resulted in the “home” team getting home by four points. The Crows had lost to Melbourne in the only other game at TIO Stadium the year before, so winning in front of the passionate crowd with Northern Territory players in Crows colours was important. Erin Phillips had a day out up forward with three goals from nine disposals, while NT Thunder star Angela Foley had 15 disposals, four marks, six tackles, three inside 50s and two rebounds. Fremantle ball winner, Dana Hooker had a game-high 20 disposals, three marks, six clearances, three inside 50s, two rebounds and two goals, while Lisa Webb racked up 16 touches, three marks, two clearances, five inside 50s and four rebounds.

COLLINGWOOD vs. GWS GIANTS
Sunday, February 24, 2.05pm
Morwell Recreation Reserve

After playing in Moe last year, Collingwood returns to Gippsland, this time in Morwell for the Magpies to take on the GIANTS. In contrast to many of the other games, this game is the end of the line for one team, with both sides staring down the barrel of 0-4 starts. The premiership dreams of the loser would appear to be all over for season 2019, while the winner could join two other sides in equal second with victory. Being in the weaker conference, both sides are still in contention for a finals spot, but both sets of supporters’ hopes would be soon draining. Collingwood and the GIANTS’ fanbases are keen for a win, and victory in this clash could change the course of their season. Both are quite young with the likes of Jordyn Allen and Alyce Parker both impressing for the teams after coming in as first round draft picks. Mel Kuys returns for the first game of the season post-injury and helps with the Magpies’ experience, but the loss of Ash Brazill will hurt. For the GIANTS, Nicola Barr is a huge inclusion, while Haneen Zreika also returns to add some excitement into the team. While it might not be a top two blockbuster, both teams will not leave anything behind in search of a much-needed win.

H2H: Collingwood 1 | GWS GIANTS 1 | Draws 0
Venue: Collingwood 0-0-0 | GWS GIANTS 0-0-0

Last time they met: GWS GIANTS 7.6 (48) defeated Collingwood 5.5 (35) at Olympic Park Oval, Round 3, 2018

In reversing the result at the same ground the year before, GWS GIANTS took home an important four points to hand Collingwood its third loss of the season. Former Magpie, Alicia Eva was the star with 23 disposals, three marks, four tackles, two clearances and four inside 50s, while Courtney Gum and Phoebe McWilliams both booted two goals from 15 and 12 disposals respectively. Jaimee Lambert was the top Pie with 19 disposals, three marks, five tackles, two inside 50s and three rebounds, while Mo Hope found some form booting two goals and Emma King was dominant in the ruck with 18 hitouts, 11 disposals, three inside 50s and four rebounds.

MELBOURNE vs. NORTH MELBOURNE
Sunday, February 24, 4.05pm
Casey Fields

In the final game of the round, Melbourne hosts North Melbourne in what is a crucial game for the Demons. After a Round 1 loss at Casey Fields, Melbourne will be keen to upset the all-powerful Kangaroos who have emerged as the clear premiership favourites with three high-scoring wins. Harriet Cordner will have a big job on any one of a number of dangerous Kangaroo forwards, while the Melbourne midfield will need to win against the Kangaroos’ onball brigade if they are to be a chance of taking home the four points. Elise O’Dea and Karen Paxman continue to find plenty of the ball, while Aliesha Newman crumbs to Eden Zanker and Tegan Cunningham inside 50. The star power of the Roos might be too much considering the form of Emma Kearney, Jess Duffin, Jasmine Garner and Emma King among others, but a loss for Melbourne could see them slip eight points outside the top two, while for North, a defeat could mean they forfeit top spot. North look certain to play finals, while Melbourne would love to grab the four points against a team that has shown to be the benchmark thus far in season 2019.

H2H: Melbourne 0 | North Melbourne 0 | Draws 0
Venue: Melbourne 5-2-0 | North Melbourne 0-0-0

Last time they met: N/A

DRAFT CENTRAL TIPPING

Leaderboard:

1st : Michael Alvaro [ 11 ]
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AFLW H2H Battle: Early 90s v Late 90s

IN our first AFL Women’s Head-to-Head Battle, we have created teams of 24 players to determine which end of the 90s might prevail in a head-to-head clash. For the early 90s team, we have those AFL Women’s players born between 1990-1994, and for the late 90s, we have the 1995-1999 births. We have not included any player that made their debut in season 2019. As you will see from the two different sides, the early 90s is stacked through the forward line with a strong defence, while the late 90s midfield is very deep with strong players up both ends. It made for a very difficult task of picking just 24 players for each side, and picking a winner is just as difficult.

Early 90s – 1990-1994:

B: Nicola Stevens – Chelsea Randall – Hannah Scott
HB: Bianca Jakobsson – Elise O’Dea – Ebony Antonio
C: Alicia Eva – Kara Donnellan – Kaitlyn Ashmore
HF: Christina Bernardi – Katie Brennan – Jasmine Garner
F: Jess Wuetschner – Darcy Vescio – Brooke Lochland
R: Emma King – Dana Hooker – Jessica Dal Pos
INT: Nat Exon – Sarah D’Arcy – Jaimee Lambert –  Kate McCarthy – Sarah Perkins – Deni Varnhagen

The Early 90s team features the best of the best from 1990-1994 births, with a forward line that is All Australian quality, and an enviable spine that would win one-on-ones galore. In defence, captains, Adelaide’s Chelsea Randall and Melbourne’s Elise O’Dea hold down key spots, with Hannah Scott taking the third tall role, and the likes of Nicola Stevens, Bianca Jakobsson and Ebony Antonio providing run from the back half.

In the midfield, the early 90s team features some seriously underrated players. Fremantle duo, Kara Donnellan and Dana Hooker, GWS GIANTS’ duo Jessica Dal Pos and Alicia Eva, and North Melbourne’s Kaitlyn Ashmore fill out the starting five, with Nat Exon, Jaimee Lambert and Deni Varnhagen able to rotate through there, as would O’Dea and Jakobsson who push up the ground. With Emma King in the ruck, the early 90s would have a strong chance to win the hitouts, although the opposition midfield would be hard to combat.

Up forward, it is littered with stars from start to finish, in what is an unbelievably powerful front six. Katie Brennan and Darcy Vescio as a one-two combo would bring the crowds alone, but throw in goal machines, Jess Wuetschner and Brooke Lochland, as well as great playmakers, Christina Bernardi and Jasmine Garner who provide both defensive and offensive pressure respectively, and add a different element to the mix. Add in the likes of Sarah D’Arcy, Nat Exon, Kate McCarthy and Sarah Perkins, and the forward rotation would be the envy of any side.

Even those who missed out could consider themselves incredibly unlucky, with Rhiannon MetcalfeStevie-Lee ThompsonAmelia MullaneMeghan McDonald, Aimee Schmidt, Jacinda Barclay, Lauren Pearce, Catherine Phillips, Kate Gillespie-Jones, Brittany Gibson and Hayley Wildes among some seriously talented depth for the five years.

VS

Late 90s – 1995-1999:

B: Nicola Barr – Libby Birch – Chloe Molloy
HB: Brianna Davey – Tahlia Randall – Emma Swanson
C: Emily Bates – Ebony Marinoff – Ally Anderson
HF: Ashley Sharp – Sabrina Frederick-Traub – Monique Conti
F: Aliesha Newman – Tayla Harris – Rebecca Beeson
R: Erin McKinnon – Ellie Blackburn – Lily Mithen
INT: Deanna Berry – Brittany Bonnici – Jenna Bruton – Sarah Hosking – Breann Moody – Jamie Stanton

The late 90s team has a deep midfield that would worry any opposition midfield with its uncompromising attack on the ball and ball carrier. Around the ground the side has good options in attack and defence, and while they might not be as experienced as their early 90s counterparts, they show the future of the game over the next five to 15 years. In defence, Tahlia Randall and Libby Birch are the two key backs, with Chloe Molloy capable of playing tall or small. Nicola Barr, Brianna Davey and Emma Swanson provide the fierce attack out of the back half, with the ability to roam through the midfield too.

In the middle, talented young ruck Erin McKinnon leads a massively inside midfield brigade, with Ellie Blackburn, Lily Mithen and Ebony Marinoff likely to lay a record amount of tackles in a game between them. Brisbane pair, Emily Bates and Ally Anderson will provide support on the wings, while Sarah Hosking, Brittany Bonnici, Jenna Bruton and Jamie Stanton are able to also rotate off the bench into the team. Breann Moody would be McKinnon’s back-up ruck, and also allows Randall to purely focus on her defensive match-ups.

Up front, Sabrina Frederick-Traub and Tayla Harris join forces inside 50 as the key targets. Around their, feet speed demons, Ashley Sharp, Monique Conti and Aliesha Newman will always have defenders worried, while Rebecca Beeson is consistent as they come. Deanna Berry will add to the pace inside 50 and will add some extra running off the bench.

Among those unlucky, injured talents Jess Hosking and Isabel Huntington would make the team with some luck in the future, while Jasmine GriersonBonnie ToogoodEden ZankerEloise JonesJordan ZanchettaHayley Miller, Stephanie Cain and Maddison Gay are among those in contention for a spot in the 24-player team.