Tag: Emily McGuire

2021 WAFL Women’s Round 2 preview: Grand Final rematch opens action

ROUND 2 of the West Australian Football League (WAFL) Women’s competition kicks off with a Saturday night and early Sunday morning fixture to help with the heat, as a number of young guns aim to state their claims against experienced opposition.

SUBIACO vs. PEEL THUNDER
Saturday, February 27 @ 6pm
Leederville Oval

A grand final rematch kicks off Round 2 of the WAFL Women’s, with reigning premiers Peel Thunder unfurling their flag last week, then grabbing their first points of 2021 with an impressive win over East Fremantle. Now they come up against a Subiaco side looking to also go 2-0 after surviving a late fightback from South Fremantle in the last quarter of their Round 1 encounter.

Ella Roberts picked up where she left off in 2020 last week, booting two first half goals before being locked down by the Sharks in the second half. Subiaco knows just how dangerous she can be, so expect another tough day for the teenager who will learn to deal with extra attention. Fellow young gun Courtney Rowley showed good signs in Round 1 and will look to build on that for Round 2, providing a crucial run-and-carry on the outside. Beth Schilling provided a target up forward for the Thunder in Round 1, and throw in Jade Briggs and Kate Bartlett, and the Thunder have heaps of X-factor inside 50. Tanisha Anderson and Jaide Britton are another couple of talents to watch out for, with Britton named as co-captain for Western Australia ahead of the Under 19 Championships.

Despite the Thunder getting up in the grand final last year, Subiaco had won all of the previous four clashes against the Thunder, and will be hoping to restore that back in this game. They have some young talent of their own with Claire Ortlepp off half-back and Jamie Rust up forward. Captain Tarnica Golisano will also give a four-quarter effort, whilst Fremantle AFL Women’s injury replacement player Maggie MacLachlan has been named for the game. Similarly, Kia Buckley and Abbey Dowrick have both been named on the bench with the hope they can return to the side.

Both these sides have some terrific young talent, as well as some crucial state league and top-level experience, so expect it to be a terrific match, though Peel Thunder will be favourites after stamping their authority in Round 1.

 

SOUTH FREMANTLE vs. SWAN DISTRICTS
Sunday, February 28 @ 9.30am
Fremantle Community Bank Oval

Two sides that were on opposite sides of the coin in nail-biting encounters do battle in the second Round 2 clash, with South Fremantle hosting Swan Districts at Fremantle Community Bank Oval. An early 9.30am fixture provides fans with a way of avoiding an averse weather conditions like the Swans suffered through during their six-point low-scoring win over Claremont last week. The Bulldogs lost the points, but certainly lost no fans in a spirited fightback against Subiaco in the final term only to fall short.

Pia Durk in the midfield has been touted as one to watch this season for the red and whites, with Lauren Vecchio the ever-reliable leader onball. Poppy Stockwell returns to the side as a crucial forward option, while Ash Reidy and Tahlia Holtze are others for the Bulldogs who have been named at opposite ends on the flanks. South Fremantle coach Beau McCormack said in the preseason that ex-rugby player Makaela Tuhakaraina is one to keep an eye on in 2021. Zoe Huggett booted three goals in the narrow loss last week and will be a key target once again inside 50.

Swan Districts are a young side, but have plenty of upside, with Dana East and Jessica Cox among the developing talents at the black and whites. They provide the inside presence with ruck Sarah Wielstra getting better by the week as a ruck/forward, while Tara Stribley is the outside distributor needed for that touch of clash. Bella Edgley was the difference for the Swans in Round 1, with her two goals because crucial in challenging conditions, while Jamie Henry is another young talent who will play in defence with the likes of experienced backs, captain Emily McGuire, and Lauren Osborne.

Swan Districts will be favourites to continued South Fremantle’s losing streak, but the Bulldogs showed terrific signs last week and been at home, they know anything is possible with the talent they have brought into the club.

 

CLAREMONT vs. EAST FREMANTLE
Sunday, February 28 @ 1pm
Revo Fitness Stadium

The final game of the round takes place at 1pm on Sunday when two Round 1 losers face-off. Claremont went down in a narrow loss to Swan Districts last week, whilst East Fremantle was competitive early, but ultimately overwhelmed by the end against a dangerous Peel Thunder outfit. The Tigers will be hungry for more success in 2021 after just letting the game slip despite having chances, while the Sharks will need to overcome the loss of Rachel Ashley to injury which was one of the turning points in the game last week after the returning utility booted two goals from full-forward.

East Fremantle have a balance of youth and experience on the field, but are a very different-looking side to 2020. Rosie Walsh returns to the side after missing Round 1 and will look to take up a ruck role teaming up with Laura McClelland who stepped up to League football last week. Sharon Wong provided the four-quarter consistency you expect from her, while Ashleigh Gomes and Kahra Sprylan will be some of the crucial talents in adding experience to the Sharks’ lineup. Chloe Reilly has been named to start in defence again, with the forward taking on fellow West Australian Under-19 State Academy talent Amy Franklin in a huge head-to-head. With Alex Williams named in a back pocket and Sara Lewis up forward, the Sharks having marking targets at both ends.

For the Tigers, Rachel Ortlepp was a source of rebound last week, and she will go head-to-head with another young talent in Zoe Gillard. West Coast’s Sophie McDonald has been named to suit up for the Tigers this week for some crucial stability in defence, while the onball brigade of Ella Smith, Jess Low and Sasha Goranova are as hard as they come. Up forward, Franklin is always an imposing figure with her marking and athleticism, while Jacinta Valentini and Sarah Garstone also have State Academy experience. The Tigers are a well-balanced squad with Brooke Hongell showing some promising signs up forward last week and will be keen to capitalise more in this match.

Claremont seem to be set for a win after getting so close last week, but some important inclusions for the Sharks mean they will be more competitive for longer.

Picture: WAFL

WAFLW Round 1 wrap: Peel Thunders to opening round victory

REIGNING premiers Peel Thunder unfurled the flag and then unleashed their potential – albeit after a comical mishap in hindsight – to win by 32 points over a vastly-different East Fremantle side on the weekend. Opening up the West Australian Football League (WAFL) Women’s competition, the Thunder and Sharks were set to battle in repeat of last year’s preliminary final. On both occasions the Thunder emerged victorious, and this time it was 8.7 (55) to 3.5 (23).

After celebrating their 2020 WAFL Women’s flag in front of home fans, the Thunder players were so delirious they actually went to the wrong end of the field, with the defenders and forwards needing to switch and re-evaluate. Within 46 seconds, East Fremantle had a goal on the board through returning Sharks talent, Rachel Ashley. It would be the first of two goals for the talented utility who was moved forward after previously playing in defence.

After the first minute of mayhem for the Thunder, the reigning premiers steadied and took full control of the match, starting with a clever snap from Kate Bartlett and then one from star bottom-ager Ella Roberts. Having announced herself in last year’s grand final, the 16-year-old again came to the party for Peel, booting two ridiculous goals – one from long-range into the breeze and another in the second term under pressure tight on the boundary – and having an array of eye-catching moments.

East Fremantle locked down on her in the second half to limit her influence, but they could not contain the entire team, as Roberts was just one of three multiple goalkickers. Bartlett slotted three – including a final term ripper that was arguably the goal of the day to seal the match – and fellow youngster Jade Briggs booted two. With Ashley icing up a hamstring in the second half, the Sharks struggled to find avenues to goal, and aside from Ann McMahon kicking a consolation major in the fourth, went a full 36 minutes without a goal.

Roberts was clearly among the best-on in the first half before being tagged in the second half, with fellow youngsters Briggs, Courtney Rowley and Beth Schilling all showing some serious talent. From a more experienced point of view, Katie-Jayne Grieve and Nel Baxter were also impressive, as was Tanisha Anderson coming off half-back.

For the Sharks, Kate Inglis-Hodge stood out, with Amber Kinnane, Sharon Wong, Hayley O’Donnell and debutant Mylee Leitch having some impressive moments. While East Fremantle showed some potential, the loss of their experience due to AFL Women’s showed a team bringing through plenty of new faces.

The other two matches provided a couple of thrillers as Swan Districts ground out a narrow six-point win over Claremont in hot conditions yesterday afternoon. The Swans got up 2.6 (18) to 1.6 (12) at Steel Blue Oval, with the teams both going goalless in the second half. Claremont did hit back with three behinds to one, but the Tigers not taking their chances really hurt.

Young gun Bella Edgley showed some promising signs with a couple of second quarter goals – one from a set shot and another from a tight angle – to be the chief destroyer for the home team, while AFL Women’s Academy member Amy Franklin showed off her athleticism to get goalside and take plenty of grass on her way to slamming home the opening major of the day.

Franklin was a standout up forward as a target and roaming up the ground, whilst Jess Low was everywhere on the day. Emily Bennett had a great day out for the Tigers, while Rachel Ortlepp and captain Ella Smith also won their fair share of the footy despite the loss.

Swan Districts had a real even team performance across the board, with Bianca Webb and Mikayla Hyde showing off their AFL Women’s experience with great defensive efforts and athleticism respectively. Youngsters Tara Stribley and Emma Nanut had some great moments, as did 15-year-old Jamie Henry, while Emily McGuire was rock solid as usual in the back half, and Sarah Wielstra provided a tall target inside 50.

Meanwhile an inaccurate Subiaco escaped with the win against a fast-finishing and much improved South Fremantle. While the Bulldogs did not manage to breakthrough for their maiden victory, they certainly gave the Lions a scare, piling on three goals to three behinds in the final term, only to fall short by three points.

Casey Byrne was the standout goalscorer on the day, slotting home three majors for the losing side, while Ella Higgins and Lauren Vecchio both added goals to their name. Maggie MacLachlan looked to have benefited from a preseason at AFL Women’s level, kicking two majors for the winners, while Amy Hunt and Jamie Rust both slotted one apiece.

WAFL Women’s Round 1 results:

Peel Thunder 8.7 (55) defeated East Fremantle 3.5 (23)
Subiaco 4.13 (37) defeated South Fremantle 5.4 (34)
Swan Districts 2.6 (18) defeated Claremont 1.6 (12)

Picture credit: Owen Davies / Peel Thunder

AFL Women’s Draft preview: Fremantle Dockers & West Coast Eagles

THE AFL Women’s Draft is fast approaching and in the lead-up to the draft, we take a look at each of the AFL women’s sides in pairs and see what they might look for, and who might be available with the selections they have. Next up in our series are the two sides from Western Australia, in Fremantle Dockers and West Coast Eagles.

Fremantle Dockers – Western Australia pool

Draft selections: 14, 30, 46, 58

Off-season summary:

The Dockers made a few moves in the off-season with three players delisted alongside the retirement of Kate Flood. The experienced Mia-Rae Clifford, as well as Sarah Garstone and Lindal Rohde were all delisted by the Dockers, while Tayla Bresland headed to state rivals West Coast for Pick 46. Coming into the side was North Melbourne’s Jess Trend for a bargain basement price of Pick 44, effectively making it a straight swap in Trend for Bresland. The Dockers wrapped up a productive off-season by picking up Tarnee Tester as a delisted free agent seeing enough to suggest she has more to give at the elite level.

Finishing on top of the AFL Women’s table undefeated in 2020, the Dockers will be determined to back it up with a successful year in 2021 and enter with the second and third selections in the AFL Women’s Draft.

A draft look:

The two players the Dockers will likely look at are two hardened competitors in Sarah Verrier and Bella Lewis, who both trained at the Dockers over the summer. Verrier was a member of the premiership-winning Peel Thunder side in the midfield, while Lewis continued to improve through the midfield-half-forward line and is readymade to have an impact if need be. Both would be worthy selections with Verrier a player who has caught the eye for some time at junior level.

Others who fall under the Fremantle catchment include Lewis’ Claremont teammates, Jess Low and Ella Smith, and towering key forward Rosie Walsh who has enjoyed a strong season at senior level for the Sharks. Of course the Dockers could look at a number of West Coast Academy players too if they see fit in the draft.

West Coast Eagles – Western Australia pool

Draft selections: 3, 18, 32

Off-season summary:

West Coast made plenty of moves over the off-season from a list perspective with Kate Bartlett, Cassie Davidson, Emily McGuire, Danika Pisconeri and Tester all delisted. Most of them stepped up at WAFL Women’s level to suggest that they could all earn a call-up if the Eagles – or Dockers as they did with Tester – feel they deserve another chance, while Emily Bonser also announced her retirement.

In terms of trades, Western Bulldogs’ Irish recruit Aisling McCarthy joined the blue and gold for effectively Pick 16, as the Eagles helped the Bulldogs move one spot higher on the draft board which would not impact West Coast having the first selection in the West Australian draft. They also brought in Bresland for Pick 46 who will join the raft of players switching between the teams out west.

A draft look:

The Eagles have a number of top-end talented youngsters in high-flyers Mikayla Morrison and Shanae Davison. Holding pick one and three in the AFL Women’s Draft, they could secure both with those selections, or look at one of the Fremantle prospects too. Morrison has velcro-hands in any conditions and is so classy around the ground, while Davison is an athletic high flyer with a remarkable contested marking ability.

Looking at some of the other West Coast-aligned players, other Swan Districts teammates in twins, Brianna and Mikayla Hyde, and Sarah Wielstra have earned AFL Women’s Draft Combine invitations, as has Subiaco’s Maggie MacLachlan.

As an overall look at the West Australian draft crop, there is plenty to like about the players on offer, and both sides will be stronger for it with talent at ground level and in the air that could step up and have a massive impact at AFL Women’s level next season.

WAFL Women’s weekly wrap: Round 4 – Swans triumph over reigning premiers in wet conditions

SWAN Districts finally broke through for a second win after a couple of competitive efforts, defeating reigning premiers East Fremantle by 12 points in wet and windy conditions at Steel Blue Oval yesterday. The result saw the Swans move back inside the top four and move to 2-2 from four rounds, sentencing the Sharks to their third consecutive loss and bumping them out of the finals spots.

Led by young guns, Shanae Davison and Mikayla Morrison who as head coach, Jo Taylor said “played like they were playing with a dry footy all day”, the home side came back from a goalless first term and an eight-point half-time deficit to boot four goals to one in the second half. Both Davison and Morrison kicked terrific goals with clean hands, while fellow State Academy talent Nyra Anderson booted two majors, and Mikayla Hyde was one of the more prominent players through the midfield.

Coming into the day, both Swan Districts and East Fremantle had dropped their past two matches after Round 1 wins over Peel Thunder and South Fremantle respectively in the opening round of the season. Confronted by the wet conditions, and what would turn into heavy rain in the second half, both teams were willing to just win territory early with a lot of soccering off the deck to get the ball inside 50. Taylor said the team had to adjust to the conditions from what it had trained with previously, but knew that the young team could not afford to get too bogged down both metaphorically and physically against a more experienced and stronger side.

“We certainly addressed it and tried to drive home to the girls that it needed to be a territory game and that it was going to be really contested,” Taylor said. “We didn’t want it to just become a slog fest, so we still encouraged the players to take their opportunities and use their speed and their skill to break the game open when the opportunity arose.”

Despite trailing by eight points at half-time and only a sole Anderson goal with two minutes to play in the half following a free kick for an unrealistic attempt as the only major in the opening half, the Swans still kept in touch. They had limited their opponents to just the two majors themselves, which came via a Sharks young gun in Chloe Reilly – who snapped around her body well in the opening term – and then another State Academy member in Roisin Walsh who got on the end of a chain of neat passes to quickly get boot to ball and at that stage, give her side a two-goal advantage.

Taylor said despite trailing on the scoreboard, she was impressed with her side’s pressure all over the ground, and consistently attacked the ball and the ball carrier to wear down the Sharks as more time went on.

I think we were really, our pressure was through the roof for the whole game,” she said. “Our tackle pressure, forward pressure and around the ground and I think at the contest. “In the clearances we were actually holding our own, if not just in front for the majority of the game. “But as the game wore on, the girls were able to adjust to the conditions, but also it’s a young playing group that are still learning to play together, so each week they are feeling that connection a little bit more. “As the game went on, we were able to see that sort of trust in each other to spread the ball from the contest. “We were able to capitalise a bit more from the breakeven early and then dominating the contest as the game went on.”

The game really turned on the scoreboard midway through the premiership quarter when the Swans booted back-to-back goals on their way to four consecutive majors in the second half. Unbelievable pieces of play from Davison in the third, and Morrison in the fourth where they just created something out of nothing was superb, and while Walsh booted her second major late in the game – returning from an injury scare from her earlier goal – it would not be enough for the Sharks.

One player who put in a real four quarter performance was Swan Districts captain, Emily McGuire who time and time again repelled the ball off half-back and limited easy opportunities for the Sharks inside 50.

Em’s been in our system for a while but she’s still a really young player,” Taylor said. “Everyone feels like she’s been around forever and she’s now the captain of our football club. She’s still young and learning these roles. “I still think Em’s best position is behind the footy because she does patrol it well and she uses it really well. “So it was nice for it to come off for her, particularly in those conditions. “It was pretty tough, but she was pretty sure-handed and most of her decisions were very good. “It did give us the opportunity to break that line with her ability to dispose of the ball the way that she does.”

While the likes of Davison and Morrison were taking marks and picking the ball off the deck like it was a warm summer’s day, Taylor also credited the work of experienced players inside 50 who were able to crash the packs and force the ball to ground where the teenage talents went to work.

I think most importantly we worked a lot on the way we’re trying to move the ball into the forward line and to have players like Fiona Boucher who’s been around for a while, but she contested all day and crashed the pack and allowed the young players to use their skills and run through, so I think both her and Steph Graskowski were key for those young girls being able to play that role. “Which was just they presented in conditions they were never going to take the big grabs, it was always going to be tough, but they led up all day and brought the ball to ground so we could utilise the skills that those young ones have.”

Boucher worked a tireless game through the forward 50, having a couple of chances close to goal in the third term, with one quick kick in the goalsquare seeing her knocked off it, but a second chance – thanks to a long Morrison bomb in – resulted in a soccer off the ground a metre out. When asked just how crucial the likes of Boucher was for the younger players, Taylor said it was “absolutely crucial” to the development and success of the playing group.

For us to have someone like Fi Boucher and then down back, (Eliza) Gelmi, (Aimee) Ralph and (Lauren) Osborne who are all playing the same role down there. “Just to have that level head that experience it makes the young ones who are a little bit more confident. “It’s also creating that bit of crash and bash, creating a bit of chaos where as you say, Mikayla Morrison, Shanae Davison they thrive in that environment. “For us we’ve lost a lot of leadership out of our group, but the ones that we have are really crucial to allow us to play the game that we want to play.”

Taylor said Sarah Wielstra impressed her through the ruck, with the recent addition’s follow-up work “outstanding”. She praised the cleanliness of Davison and Morrison throughout the day, whilst said Mikayla Hyde’s progression into the midfield has been terrific, with the lightly-built forward-cum-midfielder playing “one of the best games (Taylor has) seen her play in the contest”. While the win was important in terms of Swan Districts’ finals hopes this season, Taylor said she still wanted her team to improve on the areas it had focused on all through pre-season and the first half of the season – transition and ball movement.

Our transition from defence to attack and then the way we’re moving the ball forward and in women’s footy and with us over the last few weeks, it can tend to get clogged up at that 40m mark,” Taylor said. “Between 40 and 60, rather than we’d like to see the ball go in deeper. “Our ball movement and transition to try and get some deeper entries is definitely something we’ve been working on for the last 10 weeks and will continue to work on those.”

PLAYER FOCUS:

Shanae Davison (Swan Districts)

The talented forward amazed with her ability to take mark after mark around the ground as if it was a perfectly dry day. She presented well, got stuck in playing a high amount of midfield minutes, and won the ball in each third of the ground. She protected the ball drop well in the contest, took a number of contested marks, and then looked to play on at every opportunity she can. Given Davison possesses nice wheels and decision making skills, she was able to get the ball in quickly, and try and open up the game, earning her best on ground in our eyes. Her goal from a quick snap was absolutely superb in the third term.

SWAN DISTRICTS 0.2 | 1.2 | 3.3 | 5.3 (33)
EAST FREMANTLE 1.1 | 2.3 | 2.3 | 3.3 (21)

GOALS:

Swan Districts: N. Anderson 2, F. Boucher, S. Davison, M. Morrison.
East Fremantle: R. Smith 2, C. Reilly.

ADC BEST:

Swan Districts: S. Davison, M. Morrison, E. Wielstra, E. McGuire, M. Hyde
East Fremantle: J. Norrish, G. O’Sullivan, R. Walsh, K. Tinson, A. Williams

In other Round 4 results, the top two sides continued their strong outings with wins over respective opponents. Subiaco’s unbeaten start to season 2020 rolled on with a massive 14.11 (95) to 2.2 (14) win over South Fremantle at Leederville Oval on Saturday, while Peel Thunder took a crucial away win against Claremont, 3.6 (24) to 2.4 (16) yesterday.

The Lions piled on seven goals in each half on their way to the 81-point smashing, as Aimee Schmidt (five goals), Lara Filocamo (three), Kia Buckley (two) and Abbey Dowrick (two) all had big days out. For the Bulldogs, Kiara Templeman and Lauren Vecchio both hit the scoreboard as the South Fremantle team score continues to increase each week in promising signs.

In Peel Thunder’s eight-point win over Claremont, the Thunder booted three goals to two in the opening half, and just held on from there in a really tight tussle with both teams combining for five behinds in the second half. Kira Phillips was the only multiple goalkicker for the Thunder with two, while Bailey Molloy booted one for the winners. Lewis Bella and Amy Franklin were the two major goalkickers for the Tigers.

WAFL Women’s weekly wrap: Lions continue undefeated streak

SUBIACO has remained undefeated after three rounds of the West Australian Football League (WAFL) Women’s competition following a couple of big wins. In the featured game of the round, the Lions won a real grind against a young Swan Districts outfit to ensure Subiaco extended their unbeaten streak.

It was an entertaining contest despite being played between the arcs for the majority of the match, as the the Lions, led by top-age talent Abbey Dowrick won 5.7 (37) to 2.4 (16) in perfect conditions. Dowrick slotted three majors and was the difference between the sides in the end, having an additional couple of chances roaming at half-forward, in what could have been an even bigger day for the talent.

Swan Districts repeated the effort of the game from the week before with an early goal to Sarah Wielstra from the work of Mikayla Hyde who was a little far out to score but found her teammate at the top of the goalsquare. The next 10 minutes of the first term belonged to Subiaco as they dominated forward half possession, and Dowrick took her chance with a snap off a couple of steps, along with a kind bounce that cleared the goalsquare pack to bounce through.

Three minutes later, late inclusion Kia Buckley made sure the coaches gave her some consideration to retain her spot with a strong fend-off on Eliza Gelmi and then put it through from 15m out. Some late pressure from Swans forced the Lions to rush a behind, but then an end-to-end play almost resulted in a second goal to Dowrick who marked all alone but shanked the kick to the right.

The number 23 soon made good on her miss with a chance early in the second term to make no mistake thanks to a thumping goal from 35m out and extend the lead after an earlier Janelle Cuthbertson miss. Jess Cox was having a strong day for the Swans, working well with the likes of Wielstra and Emily McGuire, whilst Mikayla Hyde was busy on the inside. while Mikayla Morrison had a quiet first term, she showed how she does not many touches to do some serious damage with an elite sidestep close to goal and then slammed the Swans’ second major home 12 minutes into the term.

The Swans had some impressive play in the backend of the second term, as Nyra Anderson‘s clean hands at ground level, McGuire’s booming kick and the work of Mikayla Hyde and Tara Stribley through the middle was eye catching. Hayley Cole had a chance in transition but missed to the right as Maggie Maclaughlin took a number of late intercept marks to end the half with Subiaco nine points ahead.

Unfortunately for the young Swan Districts side, it could not muster up a goal in the second half as the Lions had to work incredibly hard for the three they kicked to end the game. The third term was an odd term wither neither side scoring until a behind from Philippa Pienaar in the 15th minute broke the drought. Both sides had battled between the arcs, and it looked like the teams would head into half-time with just one additional behind separating them. Jacqueline Toth had other ideas as she pounced on Shanae Davison who dove on the ball late in the term, won the free kick and then moments before the siren drilled the goal from 15m for a 16-point advantage at the final break.

Swan Districts was not going to roll over though, as Stribley and Brianna Hyde were moving the ball well with some speed, but once again it was the thorn in the side for the Swans all day that broke the camel’s back. After three and a half minutes of early forward possession for Swan Districts, Subiaco rushed the ball inside 50 for the first time to a pack, it spilled and Dowrick did the rest with a quick kick from 40m and had her third for the term.

From there, the battle between the arcs continued as both half-back lines tried to create something, but neither side was able to really get a good look deep with the back 50s set up well. McGuire was trying her best with her ranking long boot as Davison, Brianna Hyde and Bianca Webb had really worked into the game as the match went on and opened up in terms of space. Lindal Rohde had a chance for Subiaco later in the term after smothering a kick in the forward 50, then having a running shot but missed to the left.

Swan Districts had its best chance for the match with Brianna Hyde and Cox combining, but the latter just did not quite settle on the shot running into goal for a behind, which was the home side’s first score of the final term. Once again up the other end less than two minutes later, Subiaco punished the Swans with a late bump from McGuire on talented middle-ager Charlie Thomas who sensed no one was manning the mark following the 50m penalty and ran in for a nice goal late in the match. The final scoring opportunity of the game came from Morrison who after being loose inside 50, had a shot on goal in the last 15 seconds but missed to the right, signalling a 27-point defeat.

Dowrick was the clear standout for the Lions, with Toth, Pisconari and Miller always damaging, while Maclaughlin, Pienaar and Cuthbertson showed some nice signs throughout the contest. Cole was among the Swans’ best with Cox, McGuire, Wielstra and the Hyde sisters, whilst 15-year-old Olivia Cripps was also strong in defence.

SWAN DISTRICTS 1.1 | 2.3 | 2.3 | 2.5 (17)
SUBIACO 2.3 | 3.6 | 4.7 | 6.8 (44)

GOALS: 

Swan Districts: S. Wielstra, M. Morrison.
Subiaco: A. Dowrick 3, K. Buckley, J. Toth, C. Thomas.

ADC BEST:

Swan Districts: J. Cox, H. Cole, M. Hyde, E. McGuire, S. Wielstra
Subiaco: A. Dowrick, J. Toth, D. Pisconari, H. Miller P. Pienaar

In the other Saturday game, Peel Thunder handed reigning premiers East Fremantle their second consecutive match with an impressive 13-point triumph at David Grays Arena. The Thunder booted the only goal of the first half in a low-scoring match, before booting four goals to three in the second half, and most importantly being more accurate in the half, kicking 4.1 to 3.3 to win 5.5 (35) to 3.4 (22). Kira Phillips booted another two goals for the Thunder, with Krystal Carter, Kate Bartlett and Kate Ditchburn all booting one apiece. For the Sharks, Stephanie Sparke kicked two majors, with Kahra Sprylan snagging one.

On Sunday, it was a cause for celebration in the final term when South Fremantle finally recorded its first goal of the season after two scoreless weeks to open the year for the league’s newest side. Getting a behind on the board in the opening term, the Bulldogs were able to get past the drought of the first eight quarters to finish with a scoreline of 1.3 (9). Unfortunately Claremont was far too good, and as one of the premiership contenders, booted nine goals from 21 scoring shots to win by 57 points. Mhicca Carter booted three goals on debut, with former Calder Cannons and Melbourne AFL Women’s talent, Krstel Petrevski also kicking a major for the Tigers. Brooke Whyte snagged three majors in the win, as did Bella Zadnik and Amy Franklin. for the Bulldogs, Chloe Taylor made history as her club’s first ever goalkicker.

WAFL WOMEN’S ROUND 3 RESULTS:

Swan Districts 2.5 (17) defeated by Subiaco 6.8 (44)
Peel Thunder 5.5 (35) defeated East Fremantle 3.4 (22)
South Fremantle 1.3 (9) defeated by Claremont 9.12 (66)

Pic: WAFL

2019/20 AFLW off-season review: West Coast

WEST Coast might have the biggest question mark against itself for the 2020 AFL Women’s season. It is not a question of talent – the names on the Eagles’ list attest to that – but it is more a question of how the team will adapt to the structures in place and with one another purely because of the four expansion sides, West Coast is the only side not to have played together. St Kilda and Richmond both had VFL Women’s sides, Gold Coast had a Winter Series team, while West Coast has picked up a host of experience and youth from all over the country and it will be fascinating to see how the coaching staff throw the team together and see how fast they can jell at the elite level.

The Eagles were quick to list a couple of young stars on their list back in January, with Mikayla Bowen a standout prospect from Western Australia’s Under 18s, while Rosie Deegan is a talented dual-code basketballer. When the expansion club period opened in April, West Coast immediately went straight to the top, snaffling Fremantle star, Dana Hooker, whilst also convincing former Dockers, Ashlee Atkins, Melissa Caulfield, Brianna Green and Courtney Guard to come across, along with GWS GIANTS’ talent, Emma Swanson. Swanson was soon joined by GIANTS teammate, Maddy Collier, as well as Dockers, Parris Laurie, Kellie Gibson, Alicia Janz, and Western Bulldogs’ Belinda Smith.

The Eagles were more than happy to hand over Pick 13 for Brisbane’s McKenzie Dowrick, then grabbed former West Australian Kate Bartlett from the Dogs, and Cassie Davidson from the Dockers for bargain basement prices. They pre-listed one of the unluckiest players not to be on and AFL Women’s list currently in Essendon’s Hayley Bullas at the end of August, along with local talents from the West Australian Women’s Football League (WAWFL) in Emily Bosner, Beatrice Devlyn, Ashton Hill, Danika Piscoceri and Emily McGuire. Rounding out the pre-draft list, the Eagles picked up twin sisters, Grace and Niamh Kelly from Gaelic football as rookies, as well as Rugby union player, Mhicca Carter.

The Eagles did not have a first round pick in the AFL Women’s Draft, selecting Imahra Cameron with the club’s opening selection down at Pick 19. They had previously matched a bid to pick up Academy athlete Sophie McDonald at Pick 39, then picked up locals Tarnee Tester and Katherine Orme – the latter of whom was able to post about her own recruitment as the social media coordinator at the club. West Coast wrapped up the draft with a couple of Hawthorn VFL Women’s teammates in former Crow and Demon, Talia Radan, and the best on ground in the 2018 VFLW Grand Final Chantella Perera.

2020 TEAM LIST:

Ashlee Atkins
Emily Bonser
Mikayla Bowen
Hayley Bullas
Imahra Cameron
Melissa Caulfield
Maddy Collier
Cassie Davidson
Beatrice Devlyn
McKenzie Dowrick
Kellie Gibson
Brianna Green
Courtney Guard (nee Stubbs)
Ashton Hill
Dana Hooker
Alicia Janz
Emily McGuire
Katherine Orme
Danika Pisconeri
Chantella Perera
Talia Radan
Belinda Smith
Emma Swanson
Tarnee Tester

Rookies: Mhicca Carter, Grace Kelly, Niamh Kelly
Inactive list: Rosie Deegan (basketball)

POTENTIAL 2020 SIDE:

B: Cassie Davidson – Talia Radan – Belinda Smith
HB: McKenzie Dowrick – Sophie McDonald – Emma Swanson
C: Dana Hooker
HF: Melissa Caulfield – Kellie Gibson – Ashlee Atkins
F: Kate Bartlett – Emily McGuire  – Tarnee Tester
R: Parris Laurie – Mikayla Bowen – Emily Bonser
INT: Maddy Collier – Hayley Bullas – Imahra Cameron – Alicia Janz – Brianna Green

EMG: Danika Pisconeri – Beatrice Devlyn – Chantella Perera

DEPTH: Courtney Guard, Ashton Hill, Katherine Orme, Mhicca Carter, Grace Kelly, Niamh Kelly, Rosie Deegan

By far, the West Coast line-up is the hardest to predict for 2020, with plenty of depth through the midifield and defensive end, but more medium and small forwards than talls. They have a number of ruck options who might develop into key forwards, but the Eagles’ strength lies in its inside ball winning ability and danger at ground level once in side 50.

Hooker is the standout player in the side, though the youth of Bowen, Dowrick and McDonald will add to the future, while Swanson and Gibson are quality players on their day. The Eagles will head into the season as one of the underdog teams and hard to predict given their relative lack of matchday experience, but they have a good base for the future.

Weekend preview: AFLW – Round 1

FOOTY is back and for the first time, 10 AFL Women’s clubs are preparing to achieve the ultimate glory. Each week we will preview and review the games, provide a Team of the Week, Draftee Watch piece and analyse the week’s statistics, as well as plenty more for the third season of the competition. Stay tuned on Draft Central for all the coverage.

GEELONG vs. COLLINGWOOD
Saturday, February 2, 6.40pm
GMHBA Stadium, Geelong

The opening game of the AFL Women’s season has a massive question mark for both sides. On one side of the head-to-head is a brand new team with no historical data at the elite level, aside from some of the players who have crossed from other clubs. On the other side is a team that has been gutted in terms of experience, especially in the forward half, but has picked up a number of elite young kids as well as players who can have an impact in the short-term. Playing in front of a home crowd will help the Cats in their inaugural clash,  while the Magpies will be keen to finally get a good start to their season after two losses in opening round games. Both teams are deemed to be in the “weaker” conference – by means of avoiding both past premiers and the heavily stacked North Melbourne – and a win against a conference rival is vitally important in the stakes for securing a top four place. The advantage both these teams have is the fact much of their core group played VFL Women’s together, and therefore in terms of team chemistry over a 12-month period are well adjusted.

Both teams head into the clash with key personnel out, as Collingwood’s Best and Fairest and 2018 AFLW Rising Star winner, Chloe Molloy unavailable for the season, while Richelle Cranston will miss the first two rounds through suspension.  When talking about key youth, it is hard to look past some of the talent both clubs picked up in the draft. Geelong looked to its TAC Cup affiliate to select number one pick, Nina Morrison, as well as premiership teammates, Olivia Purcell and Denby Taylor. Add in talented GWV Rebels, Sophie Van De Heuvel and Georgia Clarke, as well as Murray Bushrangers’ inside midfielder and defender, Rebecca Webster, and the future is very bright at the Cats. The Magpies also heavily invested in the draft, picking up two first rounders in Dandenong Stingrays’ captain, Jordyn Allen and Oakleigh Chargers’ tall, Katie Lynch. Expected to play up opposite ends, they are well complemented by Eastern Ranges’ speedster, Mikala Cann who 12 months ago was yet to play a competitive match of football. Versatile youngster, Lauren Butler is also expected to become a key feature in the Magpies’ side. With Geelong having the likes of Bec Goring, Madeline Keryk, Julia Crockett-Grills and Meghan McDonald among their contingent of impressive VFLW performers last season, they have a cohesive unit. The Magpies will look to the experience of captain Stephanie Chiocchi, Emma Grant, Sarah D’Arcy and Jaimee Lambert to lead the young side this season.

H2H: Geelong 0 | Collingwood 0 | Draws 0
Venue: Geelong 0-0-0 | Collingwood 0-0-0

Last time they met: N/A

Fun facts:

  • The game marks the first ever AFL Women’s game at GMHBA Stadium, the first time Geelong’s AFL Women’s side will play a match for premiership points, but the third consecutive year Collingwood will be involved in the opening match of the season.
  • Unfortunately for the Magpies, the opening match of the season has not been kind for them, losing both games to Carlton at Ikon Park, albeit in a much closer game in 2018.
  • The last time these two teams played in any form was the VFL Women’s Preliminary Final, which saw the Cats upset the minor premiers to bundle the Magpies out in straight sets and head into the decider against Hawthorn. Collingwood’s loss was compounded by an injury to 2018 Rising Star winner, Chloe Molloy that would keep her out of the 2019 AFL Women’s season.
  • Collingwood booted 42 goals in season 2018. Players that contributed 36 of them are now either no longer on the Magpies’ list, or injured (Chloe Molloy – one).

 

ADELAIDE vs. WESTERN BULLDOGS
Saturday, February 2, 8.10pm
Norwood Oval, Adelaide

The game of the round is surely the match between the two AFL Women’s premiers. The 2017 champions, Adelaide take on the reigning premiers, Western Bulldogs in an evening game at Norwood Oval. Last season was a remarkable story for the Bulldogs, who overcame some key injuries, and the suspension of captain, Katie Brennan to topple Brisbane in the 2018 AFL Women’s decider. Adelaide would have been disappointed to not make the decider, but considering their injuries at different times, it was worth applauding their never-say-die attitude. A loss to Collingwood in the final round knocked them out of the race to go back-to-back, but they are now hungry as ever and keen to make amends in this match.

Both teams lost key players to long-term injuries in practice games a fortnight ago, with Adelaide’s number one ruck, Rhiannon Metcalfe and Western Bulldogs’ league leading goalkicker, Brooke Lochland both out. While the Crows will look to try and fill the void in the ruck, the Dogs certainly showed they have no shortage of forwards who can step up, and could turn to the likes of West Australian, Kate Bartlett who comes into the team with great forward nous at Under 18s level. Adelaide do have some serious firepower returning to the team with a fully fit Erin Phillips, and a dangerous youngster by the name of Chloe Scheer causing headaches inside 50. Adelaide could have the edge in the midfield given its depth with Phillips, Ebony Marinoff and Chelsea Randall all running through there, but the Dogs’ key position players could stretch the Crows’ defence. If the Crows can keep it from the Dogs talls getting supply, then it will go a long way to deciding the match, but if the Dogs get on top of the Crows’ highly rated midfield, then they will be able to put on some serious scoreboard pressure. In saying that, the Dogs’ midfield is far from shabby itself with Ellie Blackburn and Monique Conti among the most talented in the competition. It all adds up to being a cracker of a match.

H2H: Adelaide 2 | Western Bulldogs 0 | Draws 0
Venue: Adelaide 2-2-0 | Western Bulldogs 0-1-0

Last time they met: Adelaide 6.5 (41) defeated Western Bulldogs 5.4 (34) at Norwood Oval, Round 3, 2018

Trailing the entire game, the Crows found something special in the final term to overrun the Bulldogs at home by just seven points. Chelsea Randall picked up 24 disposals (15 contested), had five rebounds and laid six tackles, while Ebony Marinoff laid a whopping 15 tackles on her way to 21 disposals, four inside 50s and five rebounds. But the inspiration was inaugural league best and fairest winner, Erin Phillips. The star played exclusively forward and had 15 disposals, but booted four of the Crows’ six goals to single-handedly dominate up forward and show Crows fans that there was going to be no second year blues – until injury unfortunately struck. Jenna McCormick booted the other two goals for the Crows, while for the Bulldogs, Katie Brennan was the multiple goalkicker with two from nine touches and three marks. Emma Kearney (20 disposals, three marks, three clearances, three inside 50s, five rebounds and six tackles) was everywhere, as was Ellie Blackburn (17 disposals, five clearances, five tackles and four inside 50s).

Fun facts:

  • Ebony Marinoff averages 19.5 disposals, four clearances, 10.5 tackles and four inside 50s against the Western Bulldogs from two clashes, the most of any Crow.
  • Now North Melbourne skipper, Emma Kearney averaged the most touches against the Crows in both meetings, with Ellie Blackburn set to take over the mantle, averaging 18 touches, four clearances, four tackles and five inside 50s from two games.
  • It is the first time two AFL Women’s Premiers have met in the history of the competition.
  • Western Bulldogs are yet to lose an opening round match in the AFL Women’s season.

 

NORTH MELBOURNE vs. CARLTON
Sunday, February 3, 1.05pm
North Hobart Oval, Hobart

The second history making match for Round 1 sees one of the premiership favourites, North Melbourne take on last year’s wooden spooners, Carlton. Both head into the game with relative different looking sides. The Kangaroos strategically targeted experience, picking up players from other AFL Women’s sides as part of the free agency and expansion period, while Carlton headed to the draft. As such, the Kangaroos head into the game as strong favourites in the clash, and their pre-season victory over Melbourne did nothing to sway opinions from the fact they will be a contender this season. Carlton took it up to Geelong at times in the practice game, but much like at times last season, it is just finding some four quarter consistency. The strong football state of Tasmania will get around the clash which is the first of the AFL Women’s competition, and with a number of local talents wearing blue and white, expect there to be a strong contingent of home support.

With no past head-to-head clashes to go by, there are plenty of questions leading into this clash. The biggest question mark is that of the Kangaroos and how they will gel with so many players from other teams. They brought over key Magpies, Emma King, Jess Duffin, Jasmine Garner and Mo Hope to supply their forward line and ruck division with power, while securing the biggest name from the 2018 season in Emma Kearney – the league best and fairest winner – to come across from the Dogs. Carlton has the potential to have the best one-two forward combination in the league with Darcy Vescio and Tayla Harris, but it is just getting the talented duo to click. With the midfield and forward half boosted by young guns, Madison Prespakis, Abbie McKay and Emerson Woods, and the defence sured up by Collingwood VFLW captain, Jess Edwards, as well as Charlotte Wilson and Jayde Van Dyk, Carlton’s future is looking bright. Realistically, it will take an unbelievable effort to knock off North Melbourne, but Blues fans will be keen to see what new coach, Daniel Harford can do to create more scoring opportunities – something the Blues lacked last season. A four-goal practice game by returning captain, Brianna Davey gave fans a hint of what to expect, creating all sorts of headaches for opposing teams.

H2H: North Melbourne 0 | Carlton 0 | Draws 0
Venue: North Melbourne 0-0-0 | Carlton 0-0-0

Last time they met: N/A

Fun facts:

  • The match marks the first official match to be played in Tasmania, with the North Melbourne Tasmanian Kangaroos opening their season in the Apple Isle, and of course marking their first match in the competition.
  • Carlton’s Brianna Davey has averaged 21 disposals, five rebounds and 2.5 inside 50s in her two opening round clashes, as Carlton beat arch-rivals Collingwood under lights on both occasions.
  • Darcy Vescio booted four goals in the inaugural AFL Women’s match in 2017, before being held goalless by debutant, Chloe Molloy last year, who would go on to win the Rising Star Award.
  • North Melbourne captain, Emma Kearney has averaged 22 disposals, six marks, five clearances and six inside 50s in her two matches against Carlton.

 

MELBOURNE vs. FREMANTLE
Sunday, February 3, 3.05pm
Casey Fields, Cranbourne

With predicted temperatures around the south-eastern suburbs predicted to be mid-to-late thirties, fans heading to the clash between Demons and Fremantle are recommended to stay hydrated. The game at Melbourne’s spiritual home, has become a fortress of late, winning five of a possible six games, including a thrashing victory over their Round 1 opponents back in 2017. Last year the Dockers got the better of Melbourne over in the west, using straight goalkicking to get the job done early in the season and chalk up a win against a premiership contender. The Demons have always been thereabouts, just missing out on the deciders, while Fremantle has had disappointing starts to the seasons which have ultimately cost them. With a new coaching panel and new-look side, Fremantle will be keen to topple the Demons at their home ground, especially a Demons side minus Daisy PearceMel Hickey and Richelle Cranston, among others.

Both teams are bringing in some serious young talent this season, with the Demons looking to the likes of Gippsland Power co-captain, Tyla Hanks and Northern Knights captain, Maddy Brancatisano. Both have incredible work ethics and a desire to just hunt the footballer and play their role, potentially being future leaders at the club. Throw in Dandenong Stingrays’ speedster, Shelley Heath and Casey Demons slick ball user, Casey Sherriff and the Dees have added some speed and skills to their inside grunt and contested ball-winning ability. The Dockers have also added some great local talent to their stocks, led by West Australian Under 18s state captain, Sabreena Duffy as well as overagers, Matilda Sergeant and Jasmin Stewart. The big question mark regarding Fremantle is how they will line-up as the off-season seemed to be a clean-out of sorts through their own choosing, whereas Melbourne lost players due to free agency and expansion. The difference in this game could well be the top-end star factor of the Demons, with Karen Paxman, Lily Mithen, Bianca Jakobsson and Elise O’Dea all roaming through the midfield at times. With Eden Zanker providing a target up forward, they have good depth across the ground, The Dockers have Kara Donnellan and Dana Hooker amongst their arsenal, but with a relatively new-looking side, it will be fascinating to see how they perform.

H2H: Melbourne 1 | Fremantle 1 | Draws 0
Venue: Melbourne 5-1-0 | Fremantle 0-0-0

Last time they met: Fremantle 6.0 (36) defeated Melbourne 4.7 (31) at Fremantle Oval, Round 3, 2018

Fremantle had to come from behind twice as they held Melbourne to a combined one behind in the second and fourth quarters, kicking the only two goals of the final term. In a display of precision accuracy, the Dockers did not kick a behind all game, and after not scoring in the opening term, booted six straight goals to secure a win at Fremantle Oval. Kara Donnellan and Lisa Webb both picked up 17 disposals, while Emily McGuire booted two goals. For the Dees, Daisy Pearce had another day out with 24 disposals, three marks, five clearances and four inside 50s, while Tegan Cunningham booted two majors in the loss.

Fun facts:

  • Since losing their inaugural AFL Women’s Round 1 clash to Brisbane at Casey Fields, Melbourne has not lost a game, winning five consecutive matches at the venue, including a nine-goal win over Fremantle in 2017.
  • Both sides are likely to head into the clash very different to the previous encounter with a maximum of 13 players each from their sides of 21 just 12 months ago, still on their respective lists.
  • Dana Hooker averaged 17 disposals (11 contested) and 5.5 tackles in her two matches for the Dockers against the Demons, and was Fremantle’s best player in the disastrous 54-point belting back in 2017.
  • Melbourne will need to find a way to replace the influence of Daisy Pearce, who has been a headache for the Dockers in the past, averaging 25 disposals, five tackles, four clearances and 3.5 inside 50s.

 

BRISBANE vs. GWS GIANTS
Sunday, February 3, 4.05pm
Moreton Bay Sporting Complex, Moreton Bay

The final game of the round pits back-to-back grand finalist, Brisbane against the team they knocked out of the decider contention in the final round last year, GWS GIANTS. The quirky fact between these teams is they have played each other four times – twice in the pre-season and twice in the regular season. On both occasions, GWS has triumphed in the pre-season practice matches, while Brisbane has got the job done – and convincingly so – when playing for premiership points. The GIANTS average just two goals per game against the Lions during the season, and they will be keen to repeat the effort of a fortnight ago when they were too good for the young Lions. Brisbane has played just the one game at Moreton Bay Sporting Complex – the Lions new home for 2019 – which was a disappointing and almost season-defining loss to Collingwood, whereas the GIANTS are yet to run out at the venue.

Both teams have young line-ups coming through with the teams losing players such as Kaitlyn Ashmore, Jamie Stanton and Tahlia Randall (Brisbane), and Phoebe McWilliams and Renee Forth (GIANTS). They have also picked up some experience with Brisbane scooping up Lauren Arnell from Carlton and the GIANTS adding Magpie, Christina Bernardi to its forward mix. Heading to the draft, the GIANTS picked up one of the most decorated and talented juniors in Alyce Parker who will slot straight into the midfield and undoubtedly be a key cog in that onball division. Former netballer, Taylah Davies is already looking like a valuable pick-up for the GIANTS, while Haneen Zreika hit the scoreboard in the practice match as well. Any team with Alicia Eva, Jessica Dal Pos and Amanda Farrugia has to be respected. Brisbane’s forward power with Sabrina Frederick-Traub and Jess Wuetschner is always going to be a key consideration for opposition coaches, while Lions coach Craig Starcevich has the luxury of bringing up his Queensland Under 18 young guns into the senior team at draft time. All Australian ruck Lauren Bella, state captain Natalie Grider and key Queensland players Jesse Tawhaio-Wardlaw, Jade Ellenger, Tori Groves-Little and Jacqui Yorston join West Australian, McKenzie Dowrick as the future of the Lions.

H2H: Brisbane 2 | GWS 0 | Draws 0
Venue: Brisbane 0-1-0 | GWS 0-0-0

Last time they met: Brisbane 10.4 (64) defeated GWS GIANTS 3.6 (24) at Blacktown ISP, Round 7, 2018.

With an AFL Women’s Grand Final spot on the line, it was the Brisbane Lions who were all over the GIANTS, running out 40-point winners to keep their premiership dreams alive – albeit with their fate in Collingwood’s hands. The GIANTS had improved remarkably from the inaugural season, but fell short of a grand final place, and will have rued that final game over the summer. Ally Anderson and Emily Bates had days out against the GIANTS, collecting a combined 46 disposals, seven marks and eight clearances. Up forward, Sabrina Frederick-Traub was unstoppable with four goals to go with 18 disposals, five marks and five hitouts. Jess Wuetschner was equally as impressive with three majors from 11 touches, doing all the damage at ground level. For the GIANTS, Alicia Eva tried her best with a team-high 18 disposals, three marks, six tackles and five inside 50s, while Jessica Dal Pos and Amanda Farrugia were the next highest ball winners with 14 apiece.

Fun facts:

  • Brisbane has played just the one match at Moreton Bay Sporting Complex, and unfortunately it was one to forget, losing to Collingwood in Round 6, 2018. It put their premiership aspirations in serious doubt, before ironically the Magpies knocked off the Crows in the final round to hand the Lions a second consecutive Grand Final berth.
  • The Lions bounced back from the above loss with that 40-point win over GWS in the last round, knocking out the GIANTS from Grand Final contention, and replacing them in the decider.
  • In the two games against the GIANTS, Sabrina Frederick-Traub has booted five goals, whereas the entire GIANTS team have booted just the four.
  • Emma Swanson averages the most disposals for a GIANT against the Lions, at 15, while Jessica Dal Pos averages 13 touches per game.

AFLW season previews: Fremantle

PRIOR to the inaugural AFLW season, Fremantle was touted as a premiership favourite. But the Dockers have struggled in the competition, and will be hoping to improve with a new coach at the helm. They opted for experience over youth in the draft, hoping to fast-track their development and experience a taste of success.

Last season: 7th – three wins, four losses.

Changes:

In: Jasmin Stewart, Sabreena Duffy, Philipa Seth, Courtney Stubbs, Parris Laurie, Laura Pugh, Matila Sergeant, Ebony Dowson, Katie-Jayne Grieve

Out: Stacey Barr, Kirby Bentley, Jade de Melo, Beatrice Devlyn, Lara Filocamo, Tiah Haynes, Emily McGuire, Belinda Smith, Lisa Webb, Jodie White, Amy Lavell

Some tough calls were made by the Dockers at the end of the off-season, with a Rising Star-nominated player in Emily McGuire, consistent defender, Lara Filocamo and the experienced Kirby Bentley being shown the door. Fremantle also farewelled some experienced players with Amy Lavell and Lisa Webb departing for the coach’s box, after Lavell chose to hang up the boots and Webb was delisted. On the bright side, the Dockers have included two exciting young talents in Sabreena Duffy and Matilda Sergeant. Both players have represented Western Australia, with Duffy in particular making inroads as a five-time All-Australian.

Area of strength: Defence

Despite the loss of Kirby Bentley and Lara Filocamo, the Dockers still have a good enough defence that can challenge the opposition. Former Western Australian captain, Sabreena Duffy will slot straight into the backline, and as shown in the Under 18 Championships in 2018, she is able to do most of the kicking in and do it precisely as well. Expect her to be joined by Sergeant, as well as new draftee, Laura Pugh, who hails from the West Perth Falcons. Ebony Dowson will also slot into the backline after a consistent year for the Peel Thunderbirds, while the ever consistent Ebony Antonio will run around again in 2019, looking to punish forwards with her intercept marking and defensive pressure at the contest.

Area of weakness: Forward line

After delisting known goalkickers, Emily McGuire and Stacey Barr, as well as losing Amy Lavell, the Dockers did not really patch up these holes in the draft. They instead opted for midfield and defensive depth, which will hold teams in good stead, but will not win games. The delisting of Kira Phillips at the end of the 2017 season could come back and hurt the Dockers, as she was the leading goal scorer in the Western Australian Women’s Football League (WAWFL). Ashley Sharp is a player that will need to stand up if she plays forward, as she has the potential to dominate, having shown that for Swan Districts.

Players to watch:

Sabreena Duffy

Duffy is a wonderful on-field leader who leads by example. She was named the Most Valuable Player (MVP) for Western Australia in the 2018 Under 18 Championships, after having played a massive role through the midfield and the back line. A player with solid hands and composed under pressure, expect Duffy to control the back line with her finesse and precision with the ball in hand.

Matilda Sergeant

Matilda Sergeant is a hard nut who just knows how to find the football. Featuring prominently in the midfield for Western Australia, she attacked the ball hard and used her clean hands and smart kicks to get her teammates out of trouble. She can also play a support role in the defensive 50 if needed, adding versatility to the Fremantle line-up.

Dana Hooker

The club’s 2018 Best and Fairest winner will be raring to go again in 2019. She only just finished short of winning the league Best and Fairest, proving how important she is in the Dockers’ midfield. Her clean hands and precise kicking has been what has held Fremantle in good stead so far, and expect no different in 2019.

2019 prediction: 5th in Conference A  

The Dockers just do not have enough star-power to compete with the might of the other clubs in Conference A. In the first three rounds of the season, they will have to come up against two of last year’s top four teams, which will be a massive challenge. They may have a chance against the Pies in Round 3, but meet Adelaide the week after. The Dockers will also give themselves a chance at home, as they have been consistent over the past two seasons. They will play four home games this season in the hope that they can take home four wins, but the task will not be easy.

 

AFLW Draft review: Fremantle

THE Dockers were ruthless again this year with their delistings, deciding to throw all their hopes in this year’s draft. The Dockers seem to target midfielders and half-back flankers to give the team some much-wanted speed. However, some talented Western Australian players opted to travel interstate, and this lost talent would have been useful for the Fremantle rebuild.

 

What they needed

  • Forwards to replace Amy Lavell and Emily Mcguire
  • Midfielders to assist Dana Hooker and Kara Donnellan
  • Half-back flankers to replace Belinda Smith and support Ebony Antonio

 

Players selected:

Jasmin Stewart – Claremont

There were many high-profile players from Western Australia who could have been Fremantle’s first pick, however, the honours went to Jasmin Stewart. The 19 year-old left-footer has had an outstanding year for Claremont with her elite ball use and hard work ethic. This year she claimed the Tigers’ Best and Fairest award for all her efforts in the West Australian Women’s Football League (WAWFL) . Stewart could be the tag-team partner that Dana Hooker has been looking for.

Sabreena Duffy – Peel Thunder

When Belinda Smith went to play for the Western Bulldogs, it left a huge hole in the Fremantle backline. Under-18 All Australian, Sabreena Duffy is the perfect candidate to fill the gap. Duffy can play half-back or midfield, and her skills shown in the AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships saw her become the Most Valuable Player (MVP) for Western Australia. For most experts, Duffy was a no-brainer to be picked by Fremantle.

Phillipa Seth – East Fremantle

This year, the East Fremantle Sharks took home the WAWFL premiership with Phillipa Seth playing off halfback. Seth was the runner-up for the Sharks’ Best and Fairest this year and has been a heavy contributor to East Fremantle all year. Her premiership experience will be a valuable asset to the the Dockers as they bolster their defensive stocks.

Courtney Stubbs- Subiaco

The Subiaco Lions were the underdogs of the WAWFL competition but made it all the way to the Grand Final  Courtney Stubbs was part of that midfield that battled week after week. Stubbs has had the pleasure of playing with greats Hayley Miller, Lara Filocamo, and young gun, McKenzie Dowrick. Stubbs was an equal contributor among this elite midfield growing each week. Unfortunately, her teammate Filocamo was delisted by Fremantle earlier this year, and now Stubbs will be taking her place at Fremantle.

Parris Laurie – Claremont

After two years of WAWFL, Parris Laurie was promoted to captain of the Claremont Tiger in 2018. Laurie showed a lot early this season in the ruck but had to leave towards the end of the year. She is surprisingly mobile for her height and covers the ground well. Alicia Janz has been waiting for some assistance in the hit-outs, and Laurie will have no problem with that.

Laura Pugh – West Perth

After this year’s draft, Laura Pugh made history. She is the first player from the West Perth Falcons to be drafted in the AFL Women’s competition. One of the reasons for this is Pugh’s defensive intercept marking, which has been a shining light for the Falcons in a poor year. Fremantle will be eager to slot her into a back line that has been under immense pressure in previous years.

Matilda Sergeant – Claremont

Another Claremont player selected for Fremantle, and at this pick, Matilda Sergeant is a steal. Sergeant was selected in the Under 18 All Australian squad for this year. Her run and carry is similar to the likes of Sabreena Duffy. Sergeant mainly plays midfield but can play the role of flanker if she must. Her clean foot skills and strong hands could see her playing in Round 1 for the Dockers.

Ebony Dowson – Peel Thunderbirds

Ebony Downson has played well across half-back for the Thunderbirds and has shown enough talent to be drafted with Fremantle’s last pick. The Peel Thunderbirds finished minor Premieres this year in the WAWFL with Dowson an important cog in defense. Dowson could be another important cog in Fremantle’s defense.

 

How they went:

The Dockers have definitely boosted their defensive stocks and added more depth to their midfield. However, they were in desperate need of forwards, and they didn’t pick one. Under 18 representatives, Sonia Dorizzi and Kate Bartlett would have been perfect, but Bartlett was drafted to the Western Bulldogs and Dorizzi was overlooked. Another forward who was overlooked was Kira Phillips, who kicked 79 goals in the WAWFL season. With the retirement of Amy Lavell and the delisting of Emily McGuire, question marks loom as to who will kick Fremantle’s goals.

WAWFL weekly wrap: Semi-finals

SUBIACO has knocked off the reigning premiers and sent them packing, while advancing to the preliminary final themselves to take on Peel Thunderbirds. Minor premiers, East Fremantle moved on to book a spot in the decider and await the winner of the preliminary final.

 

WAWFL:

SWAN DISTRICTS 1.2  | 1.2 | 4.3 | 4.8 (32)
SUBIACO 3.0 | 5.0 | 8.1 | 9.2 (56)

GOALS:

Swan Districts: A. Sharp 2, R. Williams, E. McGuire
Subiaco: A. Lavell 4, L. Filocamo, M. Dowrick, T. Lake, C. Stubbs, L. Jeffers.

Subiaco took it up to the third-placed Swan Districts side early and made a statement against its highly fancied opponents, booting 5.0 to 1.2 in the opening half to hold a 22-point advantage at the main break. Swan Districts hit back in the third term with three goals, including a clever couple of pieces of play from Rhonda Williams and Emily McGuire to keep the home side in it, but it was still a 22-point deficit at the final change after another late goal to the Lions. Subiaco then booted the only goal of the final term, with Swan Districts ruing missed opportunities – booting five behinds for the game to go down by 24 points. Amy Lavell booted four majors for the winners, while Lara Filocamo and McKenzie Dowrick each got on the scoreboard and were among the best on the day. Ashley Sharp finished with two majors for the losing side. Now Subiaco heads to the preliminary final to face Peel Thunderbirds, while last year’s premiers are now out of the flag race.

 

EAST FREMANTLE 4.4 | 7.5 | 9.9 | 12.11 (83)
PEEL THUNDERBIRDS 0.0 | 1.1 | 1.1 | 3.3 (21)

GOALS:

East Fremantle: J. de Melo 4, B. Smith 2, K. Sprlyan 2, R. Roux, A. Atkins, C. Edwards, G. O”Sullivan.
Peel Thunderbirds: K. Phillips, E. Hardie, B. Molloy

East Fremantle advanced to the 2018 WAWFL Grand Final after a stunning win over Peel Thunderbirds in the semi-final. Despite the Thunderbirds holding the X-factor goalscoring machine in Kira Phillips, it took until late in the second term for Phillips to nail her first, and by then, the Sharks had piled on seven majors and led by 40 points. Their dominance continued after half-time, booting five goals to two – both of which came in the last term. Jade de Melo booted four goals to be the dominant goal kicker on the ground, while Belinda Smith and Kahra Sprlyan managed two majors each. Teenager, Roxanne Roux and former Collingwood AFL Women’s player Caitlyn Edwards both hit the scoreboard in the big win. For Peel. Ebonee Hardie and Bailey Molloy booted late goals to join Phillips as the only goal kickers on the day for the Thunderbirds. Now Peel heads into a do-or-die preliminary final with Subiaco.

 

Reserves:

Swan Districts 3.3 (21) defeated by East Fremantle 7.6 (48)
Peel Thunderbirds 2.1 (13) defeated by Claremont 9.15 (69)

A six-goal haul to Stephanie Sparke has handed East Fremantle a fantastic 27-point win to keep its premiership hopes alive. The Sharks defeated Swan Districts after a three goals to one final term meant that the visitors were too good for the third-placed side, led by Sparke’s fantastic effort up forward. Claremont peppered the goals, but proved too strong for minor premiers Peel Thunderbirds, booting nine goals from 24 scoring shots on their way to a 56-point win. Amber Ugle-Hagan booted three goals for the winners, while Holly Cattermole finished with two majors to see Claremont advance through to the Grand Final.

 

Rogers Cup:

East Fremantle 3.4 (22) defeated Swan Districts 3.3 (21)
Peel Thunderbirds 6.9 (45) defeated South Fremantle 0.2 (2)

East Fremantle has survived a huge scare to remain alive in the 2018 finals series, defeating Swan Districts by a solitary point in the do-or-die semi-final clash. Trailing at half-time, the Sharks booted two of the three second half goals to get over the top of Swan Districts to face South Fremantle next week. In the other game, Peel Thunderbirds overcame a tight first half to boot four second half goals and record a 43-point win and book a spot in the Rogers Cup Grand Final. Leading by just 14 points at half-time and 20 at the final break, the Thunderbirds showed why they were the premiership favourites, booting three goals in the last stanza to win comfortably.