Tag: Emily Bates

QAFL Women’s weekend preview: Round 8 – Top of the table clash highlights weekend action

A TOP of the table clash between Yeronga South Brisbane and Coolangatta Tweed highlights a huge Round 8 in the Queensland Australian Football League (QAFL) Women’s action, as a number of other ladder-defining clashes take place.

WILSTON GRANGE vs. ASPLEY HORNETS
Saturday, August 8, 2pm – Hickey Park

  • A bottom two clash here between the seventh placed Wilston Grange and seventh placed Aspley Hornets
  • The Gorillas have the one win and cancellation draw this season, whilst the Hornets are yet to taste success
  • A win to the home side could see them level University of Queensland on 10 points, while Aspley can draw within two of the Gorillas with a victory
  • Wilston Grange is on a four-game losing streak since the return, but have only lost by more than five goals once, and one of them was a heartbreaking one-point defeat
  • Kaitlyn Day has been sensational this season, with Catherine Svarc using all her experience since returning, Rheanne Lugg also impressive for the Gorillas
  • Lucia Liessi and Luka Yoshida-Martin lead the goalkicking for Wilston Grange
  • Michaela Campbell and Rachel Crawford have been the multiple goalkickers for the Hornets this season
  • Courtney Daniec outstanding for the Hornets, whilst Isabella Kotatis and Lucy Pengelly will also be up there in the club best and fairest votes

 

YERONGA SOUTH BRISBANE vs. COOLANGATTA TWEED
Saturday, August 8, 2.45pm – Leyshon Park

  • Top of the table clash between first placed Yeronga South Brisbane and second placed Coolangatta Tweed
  • Both teams have achieved 20 points, with the top of the table Devils only losing the one game this season, while winning four and having two draws, while the Bluebirds have had a fifth win, but an extra loss with no draws
  • Winner takes top spot, and loser could theoretically fall as far as fourth
  • Since the break, Yeronga South Brisbane are two draws and two wins, Coolangatta Tweed had two losses then two wins, so both are in form the last fortnight
  • Lucy Bellinger is in terrific form with eight goals in six games, named among the best in four games, while Madison Goodwin (four) is next in line for goals, as 18 Devils players have hit the scoreboard
  • Emily Bates, Jordan Zanchetta and Vanessa Hart are among the Devils players in great form this season
  • Selina Priest (four goals) leads the goalkicking for the Bluebirds, ahead of Ahlani Eddy and Uma Brennan (both three)
  • Youngster Keyshia Matenga has been named amongst the best four times, more than any other player, while Alexandra Hamlyn, Casey Samuels, Georgia Breward and Sally Riley have also been strong

 

COORPAROO vs. MAROOCHYDORE
Saturday, August 8, 4.45pm – Giffin Park

  • A real ladder-defining clash for both the fourth placed Maroochydore and the fifth placed Coorparoo
  • Both teams have plenty of AFL Women’s experience, with the Kings sitting at 4-3 and two bonds off both the Roos and Bond University, though have played an extra game
  • A win to Maroochydore will see them at least move up to third, and if Bond University loses, second, while Coorparoo cannot drop below fifth, but could be a win behind fourth with a loss
  • Maroochydore had its first loss a fortnight ago to Coolangatta Tweed, and was not able to avenge it since, with the postponed match against Bond University
  • Coorparoo has been on fire of late, winning four of their past five games after two losses to start the season
  • Emma McKenzie (nine goals), Jess Wuetschner (eight) and Chelsea Chesterfield (six) are all in great form, as is match-winner Jamie Stanton who booted three last quarter goals last week to win the game for the Kings
  • Jade Ellenger is a contender for the best and fairest this season with a really consistent performance each week, as are McKenzie and Brooke Spence, while Emma Zielke and Ally Anderson are just another couple of stars running around
  • Ashleigh Hales and Mikayla Pauga (both five goals) are leading the goalkicking as Chloe Gregory and Jacqueline Dupuy are just behind on four
  • Maggie Harmer and Ruby McDowell have been named amongst the best more than anyone else (four times), while the likes of Lily Postlethwaite and Isabel Dawes are ever-dangerous

 

UNIVERSITY OF QUEENSLAND vs. BOND UNIVERSITY
Saturday, August 8, 4.45pm – UQ Oval 2 St Lucia

  • Huge game for both sides with Bond University able to keep in touch with the top two if the Sharkettes win, though have a game in hand, while University of Queensland can really go a long way to securing a finals spot with a victory
  • If the Red Lionesses lose, they could well sit only percentage ahead of Wilston Grange, and if Coorparoo get up, there will be an eight-point gap to fifth
  • For Bond University, they could slip to fourth with a loss, favoured by the fact Maroochydore and Coorparoo face off this round
  • University of Queensland have a mixed bag since the return of the competition in July, with two wins, a draw and a loss, while Bond University have had the unfortunate situation of a forced cancellation draw before the break, and potentially another one last week, depending on if that match with Maroochydore is rescheduled or not
  • Jasmyn Davidson leads the Sharkettes goalkicking with six majors ahead of Taylor Smith (five) and Lydia Pingel (four)
  • Youngsters like Annie Muir, Maddison Levi and Annise Bradfield have been superb in 2020, alongside the likes of Ellie Hampson and Lauren Bella
  • Dakota Davidson is the other Davidson to be sharp in front of goal, booting eight majors for the Red Lionesses in 2020, while Greta Bodey (seven) and Megan Hunt (four) are next in line
  • Hunt has been in blistering form for the home team this season, while Jane Childes, Alexandra Moran and Breanna Koenen are others who have stood out

QAFL Women’s weekend preview: Round 7 – Sharkettes and Roos to clash for top spot

A TOP of the table clash between Bond University and Maroochydore headlines our Round 7 Queensland Australian Football League (QAFL) weekend preview, with a number of ladder-defining clashes occurring on the weekend.

BOND UNIVERSITY vs. MAROOCHYDORE
Saturday, August 1, 3.30pm at Bond University

  • Top of the table clash between first placed Bond University and second placed Maroochydore, winner takes top spot, loser could drop to fourth
  • The teams have both had four wins, a loss and a draw on 18 points, though the Sharkettes’ draw was a cancellation against Wilston Grange
  • Maroochydore had four wins on the board either side of the extended break, but have picked up just two points in the past two weeks
  • Of the losses, the Roos’ came last week by just five points to Coolangatta Tweed, the same team Bond University lost to way back in Round 1 – eerily also by five points
  • After losing to the Bluebirds in Round 1, Bond University exacted revenge after the break in Round 4 with a four-goal win
  • Bond University is ranked second for offence and first for defence, conceding just a stingy 12.8 points to their opposition
  • Maroochydore are strong defensively as well, conceding the 21.5 points, while averaging the 37.5 points per game
  • Annie Muir (four), Lucinda Pullar (three) and Maddison Levi (three) have all been named in the best multiple times for the Sharkettes, while Jasmyn Davidson (six goals) and Taylor Smith (five) lead the club’s goalkicking
  • Maggie Harmer (four) and Ruby McDowell (four) are the most common players in the Roos’ bests, while Lily Postlethwaite (three) has been named in the bests every game she has played
  • Ashleigh Hales and Mikayla Pauga both lead Maroochydore’s goalkicking with five majors each

 

COOLANGATTA TWEED vs. WILSTON GRANGE
Saturday, August 1, 3pm at Eximm Oval

  • Coolangatta Tweed won its first game since the break over Maroochydore after losing the past two
  • Wilston Grange has not won since Round 1, with four losses and a cancelation draw the results in the past five rounds.
  • Last week the Gorillas got within a point of Yeronga South Brisbane without spiritual leader Kate Lutkins
  • The Bluebirds are the only side to have toppled the Roos and are four points clear inside the top four
  • A win to the Gorillas will see them at least draw level with University of Queensland, though they cannot move out of seventh
  • Coolangatta Tweed can leapfrog whoever loses the top of the table clash, as well as Yeronga South Brisbane if the Devils have a shock loss to the Hornets
  • Sally Riley, Keyshia Matenga, Casey Samuels and Alexandra Hamlyn have all been named in the best a team-high three times for the Bluebirds
  • Kaitlyn Day (five games) and Catherine Svarc (three) have been named in the Gorillas’ best in every game they have played

 

ASPLEY HORNETS vs. YERONGA SOUTH BRISBANE
Saturday, August 1, 4pm at Aspley

  • Third placed Yeronga South Brisbane travel to last placed Aspley to take on the Hornets
  • The Devils will take second spot with a win given the top two sides face off, whilst a loss could see them drop as low as fifth if both Coolangatta Tweed and Coorparoo both get up
  • Aspley cannot move from the bottom of the table, but were more competitive last week against University of Queensland
  • Yeronga South Brisbane won its first two matches, then became the first team to draw consecutive matches then hold off Wilston Grange in a thriller last week
  • The Devils are third for scoring, but also concede the second most points of any side
  • The only side that concedes more points than the Devils is Aspley, who also average just under 10 points per game
  • Four players – Courtney McDonnell, Lucy Bellinger, Madison Goodwin and Sam Virgo share the goalkicking for the Devils in an even spread of three each, whilst Bellinger, Goodwin, Emily Bates and Jordan Zanchetta have been named in the best multiple times
  • Rachel Crawford and Michaela Campbell are the sole multiple goalkickers for the Hornets with two apiece, but Phoebe Baird has been among the best the past three weeks for the Hornets, while Courtney Daniec (six), Isabella Kotatis (four), Lucy Pengelly (four) and Shaye Easton (four) are regularly named among the best

 

UNIVERSITY OF QUEENSLAND vs. COORPAROO
Saturday, August 1, 4.45pm at UQ at St Lucia

  • In a battle of fifth against sixth, a win will at the minimum guarantee fifth spot, with Coorparoo also able to leapfrog Coolangatta Tweed and Yeronga South Brisbane if both lose
  • The Kings have the highest scoring offence in the competition, averaging 50.8 points per game compared to the Red Lionesses’ 28.5 points per game
  • Defensively, the University of Queensland (UQ) average 27.3 points per game, while Coorparoo average only marginally more at 28.8 points per game
  • After losing their first three matches and then drawing the first game out of the break, the Red Lionesses have won the past two against the bottom two teams
  • Coorparoo won three consecutive games coming into last week, including two thumping wins over Aspley, but then went down to Bond University by 21 points
  • Three leading goalkickers in the competition will be situated up either end, with Dakota Davidson (UQ), Emma McKenzie and Kelsey Crosbie (both Coorparoo) all on eight majors
  • Megan Hunt (five), Alexandra Moran (three), Jane Childes (three) and Mikayla Martin (three) are all among the top players earned in the Red Lionesses’ bests
  • Jade Ellenger (four), Brooke Spence (three) and McKenzie (three) have been the top Kings throughout the season, but with the amount of AFL Women’s talent such as Emma Zielke, Ally Anderson, Jess Wuetschner and Jamie Stanton among others, it is hard not to consider them one of the favourites for the title

QAFL Women’s weekly wrap: Round 5 – Devils and Roos share points in otherwise one-sided round

YERONGA South Brisbane and Maroochydore were unable to be split in their Round 5 contest, drawing at Leyshon Park in the Queensland Australian Football League (QAFL) Women’s competition. In an otherwise one-sided round of action that had big winners in Coorparoo (34 points), University of Queensland (44) and Bond University (65), the seesawing clash between the Devils and Roos was an entertaining one.

Maroochydore started the better of the sides, piling on four first quarter goals to the Devils’ one, as neither team scored a behind in the opening term. That soon changed with the second term recording a cumulative total score of 2.5, and the Roos were holding a 15-point advantage at the main break. Yeronga South Brisbane made its move in the premiership quarter, piling on three goals to one to draw within a solitary point, setting up a huge final term. While the last stanza did not bring many goals, it was Maroochydoor that moved a goal ahead at the 13-minute mark, before it was countered just a minute later by Brisbane Lions’ Jordan Zanchetta who levelled the scores for the Devils and ensured the sides both took some points home.

Young gun Zimmorlei Farquharson kicked two goals in the win, as the Lions faithful of Emily Bates, Lauren Arnell and Gold Coast’s Jacqui Yorston led the way. Lucy Bellinger was another experienced AFL Women’s player who impressed in the match. For the Roos, Mikayla Pauga and Jya Epstein both snagged a couple of majors each and earned their team’s best honours. Jacqueline Dupuy also kicked a couple of majors, while Tayla Gesch and Brisbane Lions jet, Lily Postlethwaite were also strong in the draw.

At the other end of the results spectrum, Bond University showed no mercy in a 65-point victory over last placed Aspley Hornets. The home side was inaccurate in the first term booting 1.5, but fixed their woes in front of goal in the second with a 5.1 term, heading into the break seven goals up without the opposition scoring. They added a further four goals for the match, as Aspley kicked a third term goal, but Bond University was far too good, winning 10.12 (72) to 1.1 (7).

Jasmyn Davidson had a day out in a best on ground performance, slotting five goals for the Sharkettes, while Jess Maher managed two. Gold Coast young guns, Charlotte Hammans (one goal) and Ellie Hampson were named among the best, as was Annie Muir (one goal). Phoebe Baird stood up in the heavy loss for the Hornets, booting Aspley’s only goal and was named best-on for her side. Jasmine Kawa, Angela Lingard, Courtney Daniec and Lucy Pengelly were also named among the team’s best.

Coorparoo also had an impressive win, continuing their rise up the ladder as a genuine contender in the QAFL Women’s competition. The Kings toppled Coolangatta Tweed by 34 points, with Emma McKenzie slotting a game-high three majors in the victory. Jess Wuetschner and Jamie Stanton were some of the AFL Women’s talent out on the park and both players booted a goal for the Kings, as did Chelsea Chesterfield. Coorparoo’s best included other AFL Women’s talents in Jade Ellenger and Emma Zielke, while Brooke Spence was also among the top players on the day. For Coolangatta Tweed, Kate Surman kick the Bluebirds’ sole goal for the game, as Faith Alchin, Georgia Riley, Keyshia Matenga and Sally Riley were in the losing side’s best.

Meanwhile in the final game of the round, University of Queensland finally broke through for its first win of the season after having to settle for a draw last weekend. Dakota Davidson slotted four goals in the Red Lionesses’ 44-point triumph over Wilston Grange, leading the way with Breanna Koenen who snagged two and was deemed best on ground in the win. The home side controlled the first half but really broke away in the second half, slotting six goals to two and running our 11.6 (72) to 4.4 (28) winners. Aside from the major goal kickers, Jane Childes, Jamie Stone and Megan Hunt were all impressive for the Red Lionesses. Looking at the Gorillas, Catherine Svarc used her experience to do all she could in a best-on for her side, while Luka Yoshida-Martin‘s two goals were also impressive, to be named amongst the best with Imogen Stackelberg and Kristen Tyquin.

Round 6 sees a number of blockbuster games as Maroochydore hosts Coolangatta and Bond University travels to Coorparoo in a couple of matches not to be missed. In the other games, Yeronga South Brisbane will be favourites when they head to Hickey Park to face Wilston Grange, whilst University of Queensland looks to go back-to-back with wins against Aspley Hornets.

QAFL WOMENS ROUND 5 RESULTS:

Yeronga South Brisbane 6.8 (44) drew with Maroochydore 7.2 (44)
Bond University 10.12 (72) defeated Aspley Hornets 1.1 (7)
Coorparoo 6.6 (42) defeated Coolangatta Tweed 1.2 (8)
University of Queensland 11.6 (72) defeated Wilston Grange 4.4 (28)

QAFL Women’s weekly wrap: Round 1 – Coorparoo make statement with huge victory

A DOMINANT performance from some of Brisbane’s top AFL Women’s stars headlined Coorparoo’s commanding 93-point win over cellar dwellers, Aspley Hornets on the weekend in the Queensland Australian Football League (QAFL) Women’s competition.

The Kings had started the season slow, but the return of some of the Lions’ top talents reinvigorated the side and were far too classy for the Hornets on the road. Jess Wuetschner – who has spent time at both ends in the past – returned to the forward line where she slotted four goals, while Ally Anderson was best on ground during the 14.9 (93) to 0.0 (0) win.

Coorparoo kept the Hornets scoreless throughout the contest and after Aspley had seemingly slowed the momentum in the middle two quarters – only conceding two goals in each quarter – the Kings put the foot down to pile on six goals in the final term to run away with the match. Chelsea Chesterfield booted three goals and Tori Groves-Little snatched two, while Emma Zielke and Brooke Spence were also among the Kings’ best in the win. Angela Lingard and Courtney Daniec were named as the Hornets’ best in the defeat.

Reigning premiers Bond University used its AFL Women’s stars to inflict Coolangatta Tweed’s first loss of the season. The Sharkettes moved to just two points behind the Bluebirds with the 4.9 (33) to 1.3 (9) triumph, doing all their work in the first half. Booting 4.4 to 0.2 by half-time, Bond University failed to kick a major in the second half, but restricted Coolangatta Tweed to just the one anyway – Selina Priest – to secure the four-goal victory.

Taylor Smith booted two majors in the win, while AFL Women’s Academy’s Tegan Levi, and Shannon Danckert scored the others. It was the work of former Queensland Most Valuable Player (MVP) at Under 18s level, Ellie Hampson who stood tall in the win, named best on ground amongst some other young talents in Annise Bradfield and Annie Muir. The Bluebirds had the likes of Leah Kaslar, Sally Riley and Hannah Dunn on their team, but could not maintain their unbeaten run against a strong Sharkettes side.

The Coolangatta Tweed loss left Maroochydore as the sole undefeated team in season 2020, pushing on to record a 26-point victory over Wilston Grange. The Roos started slowly to trail by four points at the first break, before booting three goals to one in the second term to hit the front by 10 points at half-time. Holding the Gorillas to just one behind in the second half, Maroochydore booted 2.5 to win 6.10 (46) to 3.2 (20).

Shannon Campbell was prolific up forward with three goals and named among the best, while it was the work of young stars, Isabel Dawes and Lily Postlethwaite who shone, playing well through the midfield. Rachel Crack was named best-on for the Roos, who managed to penetrate a defence led by Brisbane All-Australian key defender, Kate Lutkins. She stood tall despite the defeat – even booting a goal – whilst fellow Lion, Catherine Svarc also booted a goal and was named in the best. Eloise O’Connor and Lucia Liessi were other Gorillas who impressed in the loss.

The final match to report on was the no-winners draw between Yeronga South Brisbane and University of Queensland. The Devils headed into the clash with a 2-1 record, whilst the Red Lionesses had struggled to start the year after three consecutive losses. Welcoming back a number of top AFL Women’s talents, the University of Queensland was expected to lift, and the Red Lionesses certainly did that with an impressive performance. Trailing by eight points at half-time, they booted two goals to one in the third term to draw level by the final break, which also ended up being the final scores during the 3.8 (26) apiece draw.

Greta Bodey, Dakota Davidson and Lauren Middleton all booted goals in the draw, while Breanna Koenen and Megan Hunt were named the Red Lionesses’ top players. For Yeronga South Brisbane, a number of talented players took to the field in the draw such as AFL Women’s National Academy member, Zimmorlei Farquharson as well as AFL Women’s talents Emily Bates, and Jacqui Yorston among others.

ROUND 4 RESULTS:

Coolangatta Tweed 1.3 (9) defeated by Bond University 4.9 (33)
Yeronga South Brisbane 3.8 (26) drew with University of Queensland 3.8 (26)
Aspley Hornets 0.0 (0) defeated by Coorparoo 14.9 (93)
Maroochydore 6.10 (46) defeated Wilston Grange 3.2 (20)

Next week, the match of the round belongs to Coorparoo and Coolangatta Tweed with the resurgent Kings looking to continue their ascent up the ladder, but face an equally talented side in the Bluebirds. The other matches see top of the table Maroochydore travelling to face Yeronga South Brisbane, University of Queensland hosting Wilston Grange, and Bond University looking to apply more pressure to Aspley Hornets.

2020 QAFLW season outlook: Back in action for bumper season

PLAYERS are preparing to take to the field once again in the Queensland Australian Football League Women’s (QAFLW) competition this weekend and Draft Central will be providing a weekly wrap on how the teams are performing and who’s taking on who the following week. To catch up on the competition already played – three rounds were completed prior to the season being cancelled due to the COVID19 pandemic – we run through where the teams stood. We also list the AFLW Academy Hub members as per their aligned club, as well as the AFL Women’s aligned players, though with competition returning at a different time to usual, there is no guarantee all will suit up for their respective sides.

1st Maroochydore (3-0, 274.42%, 12 points)

The green and gold Roos sit atop the QAFLW ladder after three rounds with a massive 274.42 per cent and a perfect 3-0 record. Their wins got progressively more nerve-wracking as the season went on, following a 55-point shellacking of Aspley Hornets before notching up a 16-point win over Coorparoo in Round 2, and a narrow four-point win over University of Queensland in the last match back on March 14. They face off against fifth placed Wilston Grange this weekend, to complete matches against the bottom four sides. The Roos are a much improved side this season, but expect them to know exactly where they stand when they face the other top few teams.

AFL Women’s aligned players: Lily Postlethwaite, Isabel Dawes, Shannon Campbell, Tahlia Randall

AFLW Academy Hub members: Bella Smith, Maggie Harmer, Mikayla Pauga

Others to watch: Chloe Gregory, Tahlia Mead, Kathryn Hehir

 

2nd Coolangatta Tweed (3-0, 162.96%, 12 points)

The Bluebirds are one of only two Gold Coast-based sides in the top flight QAFLW and started their season off strongly with an unblemished three from three record. In that time they knocked off rivals, Bond University by five points, defeated Aspley Hornets by 27, and got the better of Yeronga South Brisbane by 19 in the most recent match. They take on fellow Gold Coast side Bond University for a second time this weekend in what should be a massive clash. Having wins over two top four sides, albeit this early in the season would be promising for the confidence as they look to build on their season.

AFL Women’s aligned players: Lauren Ahrens, Hannah Dunn, Georgia Breward, Jasmyn Hewett, Jordann Hickey, Leah Kaslar, Paige Parker, Selina Priest, Sally Riley, Maddy Roberts, Kate Surman

Others to watch: Casey Samuels, Alexandra Hamlyn, Ebony Peterson

 

3rd Yeronga South Brisbane (2-1, 119.40%, 8 points)

The Devils had a promising start to the year with a high-scoring 15-point win over last year’s premiers, Coorparoo before toppling Wilston Grange by five goals. Their strong start was halted at the hands of Coolangatta Tweed who won by 19 points, but there was plenty to like about what the Devils had to offer. They take on University of Queensland this weekend and realistically should get up over the winless Red Lionesses. Their opponents are fairly strong defensively though, so Yeronga South Brisbane will need to line-up well.

AFL Women’s aligned players: Sam Virgo, Lauren Arnell, Emily Bates, Jordan Zanchetta, Jacqui Yorson, Gabby Collingwood, Jessie Keeffe, Dee Heslop, Jade Pregelj

AFLW Academy Hub members: Zimmorlei Farquharson

Others to watch: Emmii-Lee Zanker-Close, Madison Goodwin, Vanessa Hart

 

4th Bond University (1-1-1, 228.21%, 6 points)

Backing up from its maiden QAFLW Grand Final last year, Bond University sits at an even balance with a win, loss and draw to start its season. On face value its 228.21 percentage might seem absurd, but they completely tore apart the University of Queensland, 56-1 in Round 2 to bounce back from a shock five-point loss to Coolangatta Tweed in Round 1. Then the clash with Wilston Grange was called off due to fears over the COVID-19 pandemic, with both teams awarded two points for the game, with the Sharkettes in much better shape considering their massive Round 2 victory.

AFL Women’s aligned players: Molly Ritson, Serene Watson, Ellie Hampson, Kalinda Howarth, Lauren Bella, Tiarna Ernst

AFLW Academy Hub members: Maddison Levi, Tegan Levi, Annise Bradfield

Others to watch: Annie Muir, Esther Boles, Georgia Brehmer

 

5th Wilston Grange (1-1-1, 74.67%, 6 points)

It was only two seasons ago the Gorillas saluted in a memorable grand final win, and after missing out on going back-to-back, they hope to start their season off on the right note. They had indifferent form prior to the break with an 11-point win over University of Queensland before going down to Yeronga South Brisbane by 30 points. The called off game against Bond University meant they headed into the long lay-off with one result in each of the columns, but a lowly 74.67 percentage. They take on Maroochydore this weekend in what will be a tough game, but no one knows what to expect after such a long time off.

AFL Women’s aligned players: Sophie Conway, Rheanne Lugg, Kate Lutkins, Brianna McFarlane, Catherine Svarc

Others to watch: Kaitlyn Day, Sarah Fuller, Imogen Stackelberg

 

6th Coorparoo (1-2, 119.26%, 4 points)

The Kings regained their status as the league’s top club with a record fourth title from the nine years, moving outright first ahead of Yeronga South Brisbane (three). However to make it five, the Kings will need to really pick it up after a slow start, dropping matches to the Devils and then Roos back-to-back, before bouncing back with a 57-point smashing of Aspley Hornets. They take on the Hornets again this week up at Aspley, so will be looking to repeat the dose and further boost their percentage. One thing is for sure, the Kings have no trouble scoring so can really put up some big numbers.

AFL Women’s aligned players: Ally Anderson, Jade Ellenger, Tori Groves-Little, Tahlia Hickie, Hannah Hillman, Jamie Stanton, Jesse Tawhiao-Wardlaw, Jess Wuetschner, Emma Zielke

Others to watch: Charlize Anderson, Macie Brown, Abby Reynolds

 

7th University of Queensland (0-3, 30.00%, 0 points)

The Red Lionesses had a competitive start to the season if you exclude the Round 2 55-point loss at the hands of Bond University. They pushed Wilston Grange in the first round before going down by 11 points, then lost to top of the table Maroochydore in a four-point heartbreaker. Whilst they might only have a percentage of 30 and no points on the board just yet, expect that to change. Their first match up is against Yeronga South Brisbane which will likely be a tough first encounter. If all of their AFL Women’s players, or even some of them return, expect the Red Lionesses to be a real threat this season.

AFL Women’s aligned players: Maria Moloney, Natalie Grider, Breanna Koenen, Dakota Davidson, Greta Bodey, Sharni Webb

Others to watch: Megan Hunt, Mikayla Martin, Tiarna Jericho

 

8th Aspley Hornets (0-3, 21.47%, 0 points)

The league’s cellar dwellers had struggled to start the season, with a 55-point loss to Maroochydore followed by a 27-point defeat at the hands of Coolangatta Tweed. A 57-point loss to Coorparoo rounded out the first three weeks, but they will have a chance to atone for that coming off the break. They take on the Kings again this weekend at home, and will hopefully use the home crowd support to put in a bigger effort.

AFL Women’s aligned players: Nil.

Others to watch: Courtney Daniec, Isabella Kotatis, Shaye Easton

Draft Central’s 2020 Top 50 AFLW Players: #17 – Emily Bates

WITH the AFL Women’s 2020 season officially come to a close now the awards are done and dusted, Draft Central looks back on our Top 50 Players of season 2020. This countdown purely looks at the 2020 season so does not look at past performances and will not include injured stars such Erin Phillips or Chelsea Randall.

In this edition, we look number 17 in our count, an underrated Brisbane Lions star who continues to impress since initially being a second pick in the first ever AFL Women’s Draft.

#17 Emily Bates

7 GAMES AVE: 19.9 disposals, 3.3 marks, 3.4 tackles, 3.1 inside 50s, 1.6 rebounds, 1 goal

The Brisbane Lions midfielder was originally taken with pick two back in the 2016 AFL Women’s Draft and played in the Lions’ inaugural match. Since then she has been a mainstay of the Brisbane line-up and whilst she has won two All-Australian nods and won a club best and fairest, Bates still seems to fly under the radar for most people outside of Queensland.

In seven games this year, Bates averaged a career-high 19.9 disposals, 3.3 marks and 3.1 inside 50s, indicating her impact forward of centre compared to previous years. Whilst her back 50 numbers remained the same, Bates was able to take on a more attacking role in 2020 and it resulted in her kicking just her second career AFL Women’s goal, and first since her debut season.

Another player unlucky not to make the final AFL Women’s All-Australian team, she had a four-week purple patch from Rounds 2 to 5. In that time she did not drop below 22 disposals, and averaged 24.5 disposals and 88.3 AFL Fantasy points to be one of the best performing players in that patch. In an 18-point loss to Fremantle in Round 5, Bates racked up 28 touches, six marks, four inside 50s, four rebounds and two tackles in her best game of the season.

Only turning 25 in October, the Queensland native who turned her back on cricket to pursue the sport she loved has plenty of years left in her. If she can replicate the form of 2020 and continue to build, she will be a part of something very special in the future for the young Lions.

2020 Top 10 AFLW matches: #7 – Suns and Lions play out draw in inaugural clash

NEITHER side could be separated in the first women’s Q-Clash with the Lions and Suns walking away with two points apiece. It was a hard-fought battle between the two sides, who both tried to assert themselves with their physicality around the contest. The conditions ultimately played into the hands of Lions early but the Suns were not about to be bullied by their state rivals upping the ante after half time to get back to level pegging and draw at 28 points each. Prior to their Round 3 clash Brisbane had flexed their muscles winning two games on the trot while the Suns had fallen short in Round 1 and claimed their inaugural victory in Round 2.

It was a tale of two halves with the Lions doing all the attacking early to claim some early ascendancy. Brisbane managed to keep the Suns goalless in the opening term while piling on two goals of their own showcasing just how strong they could be and their ability to shut down their oppositions attacking forays. They kept that momentum going in the second term with five scoring shots however they struggled when it came to accuracy nailing three points and only registering two goals, keeping the Suns in the hunt for glory. Gold Coast could sniff their opportunity coming out after the main break with a real fire in the belly and increased intensity. The Suns worked their way back into the contest in the third term, applying strong pressure with some big tackles and shots at goal.  With the game on the line, Gold Coast pulled out all in the stops in the final quarter, peppering away at the goals with repeat entries and constant pressure. But it was some magic from Kalinda Howarth in the 11th minute that landed the match tying punch, with the 20-year-old showing nothing but composure and class to slot her third major for the day in what is the first of many Queensland battles to come.

Still trying out new combinations across the board the ball was shared evenly amongst a host of Suns players with Kate Surman leading the way with 16 touches.  Not far behind her was Jamie Stanton with the 24-year-old highlighting her strength by foot with 14 of her 15 possessions kicks. When it came to physicality Hannah Dunn proved to be the go to girl for the Suns, laying a team-high six tackles while also showcasing her ability to cover the ground with ease racking up 15 touches. Youngsters in Dee Heslop and Elle Hampson also displayed their gritty attitude with three tackles apiece while the ever reliable Lauren Ahrens was silky with ball in hand for her 14 disposals. For the Lions, the trio of Rheanne Lugg, Jesse Wardlaw and Sophie Conway lead the way on the scoreboard with Lugg the most prolific of the three with two goals to her name, the other two managed a major each. Once again it was the experience and class of Emily Bates that helped to guide Brisbane with the talented mid amassing a game high 24 touches while partner in crime Ally Anderson also managed to get her hands on the ball 22 times. Much like Anderson, Kate Lutkins won her fair share of the ball with 21 disposals but it was her strength in the air to notch up 12 marks that showcased her dominance on the game.

GOALS:

Gold Coast Suns: K. Howarth 3, B. Perry.
Brisbane Lions: R. Lugg 2, J. Wardlaw, S. Conway.

BESTS:

Gold Coast Suns: K. Howarth, K. Surman, H. Dunn, J. Stanton, L. Aherns
Brisbane Lions: E. Bates, A. Anderson, R. Lugg, K. Lutkins, S. Conway

2020 AFL Women’s season review: Brisbane

ANOTHER heavy list turnover did little to stop Brisbane from making finals for the third time in four AFL Women’s seasons, getting back to a positive record (3-2-1) in a campaign which began so brightly. A real surprise packet of this year’s competition, the Lions topped Conference A after four rounds before a string of losses ended their astonishing run upon the first (and only) week of finals. With a core of hardened leaders and some quickly developing recruits to boot, the Lions were a fun side to watch in 2020. Relive the highs and lows of Brisbane’s season in our review, and take a look back at some of the most outstanding players throughout.

RECORD: 3rd (A), 3-2-1 (0-1 finals), 107%

RESULTS:

R1: defeated Adelaide by 13 points
R2: defeated Geelong by 19 points
R3: drew with Gold Coast
R4:
defeated GWS by 28 points
R5:
lost to Fremantle by 18 points 
R6:
lost to Collingwood by 29 points
SF: lost to Carlton by 29 points

Little was expected from the Lions according to those outside of the Den, but they certainly delivered one of the more memorable opening months to the season on record. First on the agenda was the task of knocking off reigning premier, Adelaide, which was passed with flying colours. Next came Geelong, tick, and a maiden Q-Clash against Gold Coast which produced a thrilling draw. Arguably the most impressive victory was Brisbane’s last – a 28-point dismantling of fellow finalist GWS – which set up a mouthwatering clash against Fremantle, the other Conference leader and undefeated side. After the Dockers found the Lions out, so did Collingwood and Carlton in a less buoyant end to the year.

SEASON HIGH: Going nowhere – knocking off the Crows in Round 1

For the third time, not many expected Brisbane to prove much competition to the likes of Adelaide, but how wrong they were. The Lions’ defence stood strong in this one, holding the Crows goalless in two of the four quarters, with more clear-cut opportunities created up the other end. In this impressive triumph, the Lions gave fans a glimpse of what to expect in terms of effort and tackling pressure, proving their hunger for the contest and that indeed, they were going nowhere.

SEASON LOW: Running out of legs – finishing with three-straight losses

It may be a little harsh to throw three very different losses into a mix of one, but each consecutive defeats to see out the season put a slight dampener on it overall. While they were exceeding pre-season expectations, the Lions were billed to really match it with the likes of Fremantle, but instead were jumped from the get-go and could not claw their way back. Three goalless quarters against Collingwood came the next week, with Carlton outlasting the Lions come finals time.

FIVE KEY PERFORMERS:

Kate Lutkins (13.3 disposals, 4.4 marks, 3.1 tackles, 3.3 rebound 50s, 6.7 intercept possessions, 255 metres gained)

The Brisbane veteran is arguably her side’s most valuable player, and was effective as ever in her customary centre half-back role this season. As the core of the Lions’ usually rock-solid defence, Lutkins was influential going both ways in leading her club in intercept possessions, marks, and rebound 50s. The 31-year-old’s reading of the play is second to none, and was a key part of Brisbane’s success in 2020.

Emily Bates (19.9 disposals, 69% efficiency, 3.3 marks, 3.4 tackles, 3.3 inside 50s, 3.9 clearances, 273 metres gained)

Once a prized draft pick with high potential, Bates made the transition this year into Brisbane’s prime midfielder in what was nothing short of an outstanding campaign. The 169cm jet topped the Lions’ charts in disposals, metres gained, and clearances, showcasing her undeniable impact from the contest. Much of Brisbane’s forward drive began through the likes of Bates, as her star continues to rise with All Australian squad recognition.

Sophie Conway (11.4 disposals, 3.3 marks, 4.4 tackles, 3.4 inside 50s, 1 rebound 50, 2 goals)

While she looked to have battled through injury toward the back-half of the season, Conway proved she is tough as nails with her approach to the game. Utilised mostly as a half-forward, Conway was often the link in the chain between forward wing and the forward 50 arc – finishing as the clubhouse leader for inside 50s while also booting three goals herself. There is plenty of potential in the 21-year-old, who could well transition to a greater midfield role.

Ally Anderson (18.3 disposals, 4.3 marks, 2.4 tackles, 2 inside 50s, 1.6 rebound 50s, 2.6 clearances)

Another of the foundation Lions who just continues to perform at the highest level, Anderson was once again a mainstay in her side’s engine room across all seven games. The midfielder’s work rate was admirable as always, allowing her to find the ball both at the coalface and then on the spread at a good rate. With the midfield brigade to support her now developing well, Anderson’s experience is becoming increasingly important.

Jess Wuetschner (9 disposals, 2.4 marks, 2.4 tackles, 1.4 inside 50s, 3 goals)

The effects of a lightning strike may have limited the star forward’s season to five outings, but it did not stop Wuetschner from having an impact. A goal tally of three is low by her lofty standards, however the 27-year-old inaugural Lion enjoyed a slightly different role in 2020 as she led up the ground more and helped to link the play coming into Brisbane’s forward 50. A classy user with sticky hands, the goalsneak found the big sticks at important times, but to no avail in two losses.

THE SPEARHEAD:

Jesse Wardlaw (6.4 disposals, 3 marks, 1.3 tackles, 0.9 inside 50s, 2.4 score involvements, 9 goals)

The premier women’s competition has been crying out for a truly dominant key forward since its inception, and Wardlaw put her hat into the ring along with a few other youngsters to fill that void in 2020. The dynamic 185cm tall was held goalless just once across seven games, and led the league for goals for a good chunk of the season. While she was eventually overtaken, the high-marking Lion’s haul of nine went a long way to proving her potential.

SURPRISE PACKET:

Cathy Svarc (12.4 disposals, 5.4 tackles, 2.4 inside 50s, 1.3 rebound 50s, 2.9 clearances, 6 intercept possessions, 250 metres gained)

The 28-year-old became one of the league’s best mature-age draftee success stories in 2020, providing terrific drive for the Lions from defence and midfield. After debuting as a half-back, Svarc transitioned into a stoppage-splitting midfielder who doubled as a run-with player – best epitomised in her game against GWS where she had 23 disposals and two goals while keeping tabs on Alyce Parker. A true metre-gained player, Svarc was eye-catching in full flight with great aggression and speed.

VERDICT:

The ‘foundation eight’ carried a much of the responsibility in ensuring Brisbane could keep up with the competition’s best, and while they ultimately fell short of the league’s benchmark, the Lions have plenty of stock to suggest they can build on a promising year. With a strong core and strong academy system to top it up each year, this side can only get better.

2020 AFL Women’s season review

UNPRECEDENTED is what the fourth edition of AFL Women’s was in every sense, with the skill level and fanfare growing, but uncharted circumstances cutting the season short – twice. While we may only have been graced with six of the scheduled eight regular season rounds and one exhilarating week of finals, there is plenty to unpack from what was a truly special chapter in the women’s footy story. We bring you all the key stats and winners, the highs and lows of each teams’ season, and the leading candidates for the premiership, MVP and Rising Star awards in our 2020 season recap.

CONFERENCE LADDERS

Conference A

1st – North Melbourne (5-1, 227%)
2nd – GWS GIANTS (4-2, 123%)
3rd – Brisbane (3-2-1, 107%)
4th – Gold Coast SUNS (2-3-1, 101%)
5th – Geelong (2-4, 81%)
6th – Adelaide (2-4, 80%)
7th – Richmond (0-6, 36%)

Conference B

1st – Fremantle (6-0, 155%)
2nd – Carlton (5-1, 152%)
3rd – Melbourne (4-2, 165%)
4th – Collingwood (4-2, 154%)
5th – St Kilda (2-4, 91%)
6th – Western Bulldogs (1-5, 73%)
7th – West Coast (1-5, 32%)

Combined

1st – Fremantle
2nd – North Melbourne
3rd – Carlton
4th – Melbourne
5th – Collingwood
6th – GWS GIANTS
7th – Brisbane
8th – Gold Coast SUNS
9th – St Kilda
10th – Geelong
11th – Adelaide
12th – Western Bulldogs
13th – West Coast
14th – Richmond

FINALS RESULTS

North Melbourne 1.1 | 2.3 | 4.4 | 5.4 (34)
def.
Collingwood 1.0 | 4.1 | 4.1 | 5.2 (32)

GWS GIANTS 0.2 | 1.4 | 3.7 | 3.8 (26)
def. by
Melbourne 0.1 | 1.5 | 1.5 | 4.5 (29)

Fremantle 2.3 | 5.5 | 8.6 | 12.8 (80)
def.
Gold Coast 1.1 | 1.2 | 1.3 | 1.4 (10)

Carlton 1.0 | 2.2 | 4.6 | 6.8 (44)
def.
Brisbane 1.2 | 1.2 | 2.3 | 2.3 (15)

STATS LEADERS

Disposals:

Jaimee Lambert (Collingwood) 156
Anne Hatchard (Adelaide) 152
Ashleigh Riddell (North Melbourne) 149
Karen Paxman (Melbourne) 149
Madison Prespakis (Carlton) 149

Marks:

Chloe Molloy (Collingwood) 32
Jasmine Garner (North Melbourne) 32
Kate Lutkins (Brisbane) 31
Ebony Marinoff (Adelaide) 31
Kerryn Harrington (Carlton) 31

Tackles:

Kiara Bowers (Fremantle) 99
Katie-Jayne Grieve (Fremantle) 51
Jacqui Yorston (Gold Coast) 48
Ebony Marinoff (Adelaide) 47
Brittany Tully (GWS) 46

Goals:

Sabreena Duffy (Fremantle) 12
Caitlin Greiser (St Kilda) 10
Jesse Wardlaw (Brisbane) 9
Kaitlyn Ashmore (North Melbourne) 9
Kalinda Howarth (Gold Coast) 9

Inside 50s:

Jaimee Lambert (Collingwood) 32
Emma Kearney (North Melbourne) 29
Jasmine Garner (North Melbourne) 29
Ashleigh Riddell (North Melbourne) 27
Hayley Miller & Kiara Bowers (Fremantle) 25

Rebound 50s:

Phoebe Monahan (Richmond) 41
Stacey Livingstone (Collingwood) 29
Lauren Aherns (Gold Coast) 24
Jade Pregelj (Gold Coast) 24
Kate Lutkins (Brisbane) 23

Clearances:

Karen Paxman (Melbourne) 39
Jaimee Lambert (Collingwood) 32
Emma Swanson (West Coast) 30
Ashleigh Riddell (North Melbourne) 30
Olivia Purcell (Geelong) 30
Madison Prespakis (Carlton) 30

Hitouts:

Lauren Bella (Gold Coast) 130
Sharni Layton (Collingwood) 120
Breann Moody (Carlton) 117
Mim Strom (Fremantle) 114
Jessy Keeffe (Brisbane) 114

ROUND-BY-ROUND HIGHLIGHTS

Round 1: Dees take out the premiership fancy

Round 2: SUNS shine for historic opening win

Round 3: First-ever Q-clash delivers a thriller

Round 4: Carlton’s vengeance in grand final rematch

Round 5: Dockers take out Lions to remain undefeated

Round 6: Bulldogs bring it to Freo in instant classic

Semi Finals: Mithen’s maiden goals save Dees from finals hell

TEAM HIGHLIGHTS

Adelaide: The successful return of Erin Phillips

Brisbane: Going nowhere – knocking off the Crows in Round 1

Carlton: Delivering a baptism of fire for Richmond

Collingwood: Nabbing its first-ever win over Carlton after four tries

Fremantle: The barnstorming Round 6 win over the Western Bulldogs

Geelong: Pipping Richmond in a shootout for its opening win

Gold Coast: Picking up its first set of AFLW premiership points at home, Round 2

GWS: Knocking off the reigning premiers away from home

Melbourne: A spirited finals victory against all odds, off the boot of Lily Mithen

North Melbourne: Holding on for its maiden finals victory against the Magpies

Richmond: Marquee recruit Sabrina Frederick boots the club’s first goal

St Kilda: Beating-out the more experienced Melbourne for its maiden AFLW win

West Coast: Kicking its highest total to knock over the Dogs in a thriller

Western Bulldogs: The emergence of their young stars

TEAM LOWLIGHTS

Adelaide: Injuries plaguing a rather lacklustre premiership defence, never got going

Brisbane: Running out of legs – finishing with four-straight losses

Carlton: Losing to the old enemy for the first time in history

Collingwood: The heartbreaking knee injury to Ash Brazill

Fremantle: Being stripped of the chance to go undefeated throughout a whole season

Geelong: Nina Morrison’s second ACL injury in as many seasons

Gold Coast: A dismal finals showing

GWS: Getting pipped at the post on home turf come finals time

Melbourne: Going down to an expansion team in Round 3, and a spate of injuries

North Melbourne: The Round 1 hiccup, could have been disastrous

Richmond: Six losses by over 20 points, take your pick

St Kilda: Throwing away what would have been a huge win over Fremantle

West Coast: Setting the record for the lowest-ever AFLW score (later beaten)

Western Bulldogs: Being beaten by West Coast in a streak of five losses

MVP CANDIDATES

Seldom do midfielders miss out on this kind of award, and the candidates for season 2020 prove no different. With that being the case, midfielders with a difference have garnered the centre of attention in this debate of late – those who can find the goals, have big tackle numbers, penetrate each arc, or dominate the clearances. Each of the six names put forward have extra strings to their bow, making them the standouts for season 2020.

Kiara Bowers – At the heart of Fremantle’s success this year was Bowers, a seasoned ball winner who is as tough as they come. The Dockers midfielder was impactful going both ways; getting her hands on the ball for a club-high 123 disposals (17.6 average), as well as a record-breaking 99 tackles (14.1 average) to show her dominance on the defensive end. Given her impact around the ball and Fremantle’s unbeaten run, it is hard to see her not featuring in the votes for most games.

Jasmine Garner – This was a true breakout year for Garner, who took her game to the next level on the back of an improved running game. Moving further afield into midfield, Garner was able to rip games apart with her knack of finding the ball, combined with shrewd timing in her forward movement to also find the goals. She was second in the league for score involvements (32) and first in marks (32), showing her impact around the ground.

Jaimee Lambert – Has a case for being the best player in the competition right now, and is again a player who just keeps on getting better. Lambert was dominant in every sense of the word, possessing an unmatched ability to find the ball at the contest (league-high 156 disposals, 84 contested), while also providing a source of inspiration going forward with a club-high 29 score involvements and 32 inside 50s. Lambert stood up when it mattered this season, and was near-unstoppable in full flight.

Karen Paxman – Having taken over as Melbourne’s prime ball winner in the absence of Daisy Pearce last year, Paxman continued to stake her claim as the competition’s premier clearance player in this campaign. In proving as much, Paxman collected a league-high 39 clearances, and was equal-third for disposals (149, 21.3 average) as the fuel for the Dee’s engine room. Her prominance in Melbourne’s four wins makes her a strong candidate, without the fanfare of others.

Madison Prespakis – The 2019 Rising Star winner is an out-and-out superstar in just her second season, and continued to build on her already impressive resume. Prespakis continually put her side on her back at the important moments, stamping her status as the Blues’ prime ball winner despite resisting heavy tags most weeks. The nuggety midfielder led her club in a range of key stats, and also found the goals on three occasions.

Others to consider – Alyce Parker, Ebony Marinoff, Anne Hatchard, Emily Bates, Emma Kearney, Ashleigh Riddell

RISING STAR CANDIDATES

Grace Egan – Richmond would be kicking themselves for not matching the Blues’ bid for Egan at last year’s draft, with the physical midfielder going on to have a stellar debut season. Egan instantly became a key part of Carlton’s midfield, winning the ball with ease and going hard at it. Earned her nomination in Round 4 with 18 disposals, six marks and four tackles in Carlton’s big win over Adelaide.

Caitlin Greiser – The ‘G-Train’ lit up Moorabbin in the Saints’ inaugural AFL Women’s campaign, comfortably leading their goalkicking with 10 majors across all six games. After a goalless debut, Greiser found the big sticks in every other outing, and earned her nomination on the back of two goals in St Kilda’s first-ever win – including an absolute boomer from around the 50m arc.

Isabel Huntington – In a surprise to many, Huntington had not yet earned a Rising Star nomination in her three years as a Bulldog, with the former number one pick still eligible for the award given the fact and her age. A reliable figure in the Dogs’ back five, Huntington returned a consistent campaign and earned her nomination in Round 6 with 15 disposals and six marks as the Dogs almost knocked off Fremantle.

THE PREMIERSHIP GOES TO…?

Could’ve – Despite Fremantle being the only undefeated side, Carlton and North Melbourne could have argued a strong case for taking out the premiership, and were due to clash in the preliminary finals. Both holding 5-1 regular season records, the Blues and Roos overcame early-season hiccups to prove themselves as contenders. And let’s not forget Melbourne, who snuck into the second week of finals and could have produced anything after a daring escape against GWS. But given Carlton’s form, adaptability, finals experience, and dominance around the ball, they are this year’s ‘could’ve’.

Should’ve – Fremantle is the obvious candidate here given it was the only undefeated side left and topped the overall ladder. In trumping all-comers, the Dockers proved they were the competition’s benchmark, and were capable of knocking off the best the league had to offer. Case-in-point – beating the Lions in a top-of-the-conferences clash. If there was to be a winner, it should’ve been Fremantle.

Would’ve – Again, it is easy to go with Fremantle as the ‘would’ve’ been winner given its unmatched record, but how the teams would’ve matched up is something we will never know. Fremantle did not play against Melbourne, North Melbourne, or Carlton during the regular season, leaving it as an unknown. North Melbourne’s status as premiership fancy coming into the year would’ve put it in good stead, while Carlton’s defensive counter to Fremantle’s attack would have been interesting to see. Another preliminary final loss to Melbourne could also have been on the cards for the Dockers, too, so it is anyone’s guess as to which team would’ve won. May we find out next year.

 

All Gee for Carlton in another finals triumph

CARLTON won through to a would-be AFL Women’s preliminary final after toughing out a 29-point win against Brisbane on Sunday afternoon, but will have to settle for a second-consecutive top four berth on the back of its 6.8 (44) to 2.3 (15) triumph. Renowned for their ability to adjust gameplans mid-match, the Blues eventually got their running game going in the face of Brisbane’s early pressure to coast home on the turf of their Princes Park fortress.

The hosts did not have it all their own way throughout the contest, as the Lions dominated much of the early proceedings on the back of some fierce tackling and a sound set-up behind the ball. The footy was red hot, meaning Carlton could only turn the ball back over from its defensive half, while Brisbane was seldom afforded a straightforward avenue to goal. Despite the Lions’ control of the territory, they were unable to translate it to scoreboard pressure, with Jess Wuetschner’s snap coming only after her side boasted nine of the first 10 inside 50 entries. But her six-pointer was cancelled out at the other end by ex-Lion Tayla Harris, who was also attacking aerial balls with intent and gave the Blues a target to kick to on the rebound. Carlton’s overuse made it difficult to fully utilise her though, even if the Blues were hanging in the contest.

With the wind favouring one end of the ground, the second term saw a complete role-reversal as Carlton shifted the tide in its favour – only, the Blues were also able to keep the Lions scoreless in snatching a one-goal lead at the main break. Harris’ ability to bring the ball to ground worked wonders for the Blues’ smalls, as they got to work in mopping up the spillages to prove more effective inside forward 50. Darcy Vescio’s early goal to edge the Blues ahead looked to be a catalyst for her side, but the Lions’ defence held up well. Brisbane was largely a non-threat going the other way though, with the majority of its numbers occupying the defensive half in what seemed to be a damage-limitation tactic while Carlton owned the scoring end.

A bruising first half looked to have produced casualties for either side, but defenders Vaomua Laloifi (Carlton) and Shannon Campbell (Brisbane) both took the field in the third term after coming off worse for wear in heavy collisions. Key moments came early in the third stanza with the first goal key in deciding which way the momentum would shift. A 50-metre penalty helped Carlton dissipate the wind disadvantage, and it should have yielded the Blues a goal as Maddy Prespakis’ snap sailed through the big sticks – only to be wrongly adjudged as being touched off the boot. But it mattered little after another 50-metre penalty gifted Georgia Gee her first major after the running machine laid a big tackle on Campbell just outside of the arc. Gee was in the action again as the Blues began to take over on the outside with pace, and a long Harris bomb saw Gee covert a second major over the back to put the Blues three goals to the good. The frustrated Lions looked out of the hunt, only to be buoyed in the final minute as Jesse Wardlaw was infringed despite being outnumbered three-to-one, allowing the youngster to cut the margin to 15 points heading into the final break.

After some tense tussling in the early goings-on, Gee’s third goal from another snare close to goal sealed the deal with over eight minutes left on the clock. That left the ultra-impressive Lucy McEvoy to put the cherry on top of the Blues’ sweet win, snapping home in the final minute as Carlton again kept the Lions scoreless for the entire term. The toll continued to tell on the players with Prespakis recovering from an ankle knock, while Sophie Conway’s troublesome shoulder gave her some grief amid the gruelling contest. It would have mattered little as the Lions were set to bow out, but Prespakis’ recovery would have been a sticking point should the Blues’ meeting with North Melbourne have been scheduled to go ahead. Harris’ impending report could also have spawned a talking point, but the key forward’s sling tackle on Emily Bates looked to have been safe enough.

While a typically even team performance gave Carlton the edge, individuals took hold of certain periods to help the Blues gain the ascendancy. Arguably the most important of the lot was Gee’s three-goal contribution, with the pacy forward’s electric second half at the forefront of Carlton’s greater fortunes. Prespakis was at her usual best, covering the ground well for a game-high 18 disposals, while Grace Egan capped off a memorable debut season with 15 touches. The sweeping defensive trio of Kerryn Harrington (16 disposals, three marks), Jess Hosking (15 disposals, seven marks), and Laloifi (10 disposals, two marks) was outstanding, with the leading options of Harris (eight disposals, one goal), Vescio (12 disposals, one goal), and Nicola Stevens (six disposals) all playing roles which exceeded their statlines.

In a losing effort, it was most of Brisbane’s ‘foundation eight’ which stood up to keep their side in with a fighting chance. Kate Lutkins headed the effort in defence with 16 disposals, three marks, and three tackles, while the engine room workers in Ally Anderson (17 disposals, four marks), Bates (15 disposals, five tackles), Conway (13 disposals, four marks, five tackles) and Catherine Svarc (12 disposals) all gave it everything. Wuetschner (11 disposals, one goal) and ex-Blue Lauren Arnell (10 disposals, four tackles) both put in shifts from half forward with admirable running both ways, unfortunately to no avail.

CARLTON 1.0 | 2.2 | 4.6 | 6.8 (44)
BRISBANE 1.2 | 1.2 | 2.3 | 2.3 (15)

GOALS:

Carlton: G. Gee 3, T. Harris, D. Vescio, L. McEvoy.
Brisbane: J. Wuetschner, J. Wardlaw.

ADC BEST:

Carlton: K. Harrington, M. Prespakis, G. Egan, G. Gee, T. Harris, J. Hosking
Brisbane: K. Lutkins, E. Bates, A. Anderson, S. Conway, C. Svarc, E. Zielke