Tag: Erin Hoare

Weekend preview: AFL Women’s – Round 7

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

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

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

Finals permutations:

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

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

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

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

Finals permutations:

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

Adelaide win:
Adelaide finish first
Melbourne finish fourth

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

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

Finals permutations:

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

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

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

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

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

Finals permutations:

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

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

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

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

Finals permutations:

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

Carlton win:
Carlton finish first
Western Bulldogs finish fifth

 

DRAFT CENTRAL TIPPING

Leaderboard:

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

 

Peter Williams

Chief Editor

Round 7 selections:

GWS GIANTS
Melbourne
Fremantle
Collingwood
Western Bulldogs

 

Taylah Melki

Assistant Chief Editor

Round 7 selections:

Geelong
Adelaide
North Melbourne
Brisbane
Western Bulldogs

 

Sophie Taylor

Women’s Football Editor

Round 7 selections:

Geelong
Melbourne
Fremantle
Brisbane
Carlton

 

Michael Alvaro

Men’s Football Editor

Round 7 selections:

Geelong
Adelaide
Fremantle
Collingwood
Carlton

 

Matthew Cocks

Guest Tipster

Round 7 selections:

Geelong
Adelaide
Fremantle
Brisbane
Western Bulldogs

 

Team of the Week: AFLW – Round 6

THOUGH dominating their respective matches, Fremantle, North Melbourne and Carlton only had two players in the Draft Central AFL Women’s Round 6 Team of the Week. With the competition heating up, we also saw two players apiece from Geelong and Collingwood stand up in heavy losses. Losing side Western Bulldogs managed four players after a strong match against Melbourne, despite not getting the four points. Meanwhile the Dees had three players who stood out this week, alongside ladder leaders, Adelaide and the struggling Brisbane Lions. GWS GIANTS had another average week, with only one player selected for the Round 6 Team of the Week.

Four players were awarded a perfect 10 by the coaches this week, with Fremantle’s Kiara Bowers (16 disposals, 19 tackles, eight clearances), Melbourne’s Karen Paxman (24 disposals, seven tackles, one goal, eight clearances), Adelaide’s Erin Phillips (24 disposals, six marks, one goal) and Carlton’s Madison Prespakis (27 disposals, two tackles, six clearances) acknowledged for their dominance across the field.

Melbourne’s reliable midfield, led by Elise O’Dea (21 disposals, eight tackles) and Paxman, playing off half-back, got them over the line once again this week as the Dees narrowly escaped a loss to the Western Bulldogs. The Dogs took control of the match after quarter time, as told by the dominance of key players the likes of Ellie Blackburn (22 disposals, four marks), Monique Conti (20 disposals, seven tackles, one goal) and Kirsty Lamb (15 disposals, 10 tackles, five marks).

Full-back sees defenders, Kate Lutkins, Hannah Scott and Harriet Cordner get the recognition this week. Bulldogs defender, Scott (18 disposals, nine rebounds), and Brisbane’s Lutkins (20 disposals, seven tackles, five marks, eight rebounds) showed their strength in the backline. Though not strong on paper, Melbourne’s Cordner stood out in defence, playing a significant role in keeping the Dees in possession of the footy in the dying moments of the match.

Geelong had two players make the side this week, despite a big loss to Fremantle earlier in the round, with ruck, Erin Hoare (32 hitouts, three tackles, seven disposals) and half-back, Meghan McDonald (22 disposals, two tackles, six rebound 50s) getting the call up. Collingwood’s Britt Bonnici (21 disposals, 10 tackles) and Jaimee Lambert (20 disposals, eight tackles, seven marks) also showed their work ethic this week, while Ebony Marinoff (24 disposals, 10 tackles, eight clearances) made the cut once again this week, a familiar face to the team of the week.

Full forward sees a trio of multiple goal kickers, with Stevie-Lee Thompson managing three goals to go with her 12 disposals, while Jasmine Garner and Brooke Walker both managed two goals and 13 and 12 disposals respectively. Garner also made four tackles and Walker took four marks.

This week’s interchange could have been made up of a number of players, but Ellie Brush (17 disposals, five marks, five rebound 50s), Jenna Bruton (19 disposals, five clearances), Dana Hooker (18 disposals, 10 tackles), Alexandra Anderson (20 disposals, six tackles), Nat Exon (17 disposals, nine tackles, four rebound 50s) and Kirsty Lamb all showed their necessity in the side. Brush marks the GIANTS’ only player to make the side this week.

Number Crunching: AFLW – Round 6

CRUNCHING the numbers in Round 6 of the AFL Women’s competition reveals who fared best in each stat, including a nod to the players who managed to dominate multiple areas.

Carlton young gun, Madison Prespakis performed to the highest degree in the engine room for the Blues, collecting the highest amount of possessions of anyone over the past weekend with 27 touches in the Blues’ win over Brisbane.

Dockers utility, Kiara Bowers was on track to break Ebony Marinoff’s AFLW tackle record from last season, when she had 13 to her name at the main break. Bowers finished with 19, which is still a monumental effort.

Melbourne defender, Harriet Cordner led the way with seven one percenters against the Western Bulldogs. She was a major reason along with Tegan Cunningham as to why the Demons won the thrilling contest against the Western Bulldogs.

Adelaide’s Stevie-Lee Thompson moved three ahead of teammate, Erin Phillips in the AFLW goal kicking tally with three goals on the weekend. The small forward has amassed twelve goals in six rounds, with one match remaining.

Geelong’s Erin Hoare and Carlton’s Alison Downie were among the select few who managed 100 per cent disposal efficiency in round six.

Phillips, who has one hand on the AFL Women’s Coaches Award (AFLWCA), dominated the air against the GIANTS. She took four contested marks, which led the competition on the weekend.

Number Crunching: AFLW – Round 3

A record-breaking effort from Adelaide star, Ebony Marinoff was the highlight in a round of big individual performances across AFLW. The Round 3 edition of number crunching reveals who fared best in each stat, including a nod to the players who managed to dominate multiple areas.

The epitome of dominance this week was Marinoff, who helped herself to a record 33 disposals against the Cats to eclipse Emma Kearney‘s pervious feat of 30, and Erin Phillips‘ club record of 28. The versatile Crow also managed round-highs in uncontested possessions (20), kicks (18), and goal assists (two), while placing second for inside 50s (eight) and clearances (seven) in one of the more remarkable individual AFLW games to date.

Her closest rival in the disposals department was teammate, Anne Hatchard (27) who led the way in contested possessions (16) and handballs (18). North Melbourne’s Jenna Bruton fell just short of Marinoff’s kicks stat to have 17, but beat her out in the inside 50 count with a league-best of nine. Another to better Marinoff’s efforts was Demon, Lauren Pearce who managed an impressive nine clearances to lead the way from four players on seven.

One of those was GWS Giant, Rebecca Beeson who was the highest ball-winner of those to record a disposal efficiency of 90 per cent. Melbourne’s Meg Downie was one of 15 players to go at 100 per cent, claiming the most amount of ball of them all with eight disposals.

Beeson’s teammates, Yvonne Bonner (eight marks) and Erin McKinnon (26 hit-outs) dominated the air, with McKinnon only beaten out by Cat, Erin Hoare (29 hit-outs) in the ruck stakes. It took two Blues talls to nullify the impact of McKinnon though, with Breann Moody and Alison Downey combining for 34 taps to eclipse the Giant’s efforts. Fellow Blue, Tayla Harris also had a good day out, putting on a marking clinic to be one of three players with six marks – including a round-high four contested and equal-best of three inside 50 to go with three goals.

Harris was joined by young Carlton gun, Madison Prespakis on three majors, along with two others who managed the feat. They were all outdone in front of goal though by AFLW newcomer, Courteney Munn who booted four goals in an incredible breakout performance for the ‘Roos. On the flip-side, Fremantle’s Ashley Sharp had the dishonour of being the only player to notch three behinds, while three others had two.

It is hard to go past Marinoff in terms of the week’s best all-round performers, but teammate Phillips put her hand up with 19 disposals (14 contested) at 84 per cent, six tackles, four clearances, three goals, two assists to snap up a perfect 10 coaches votes. Another to do so was Round 2 Rising Star nominee, Prespakis, who had 21 disposals (14 contested) at 76 per cent, seven clearances, three goals, two assists. Undeniably a round for top individuals, with a good dose of free-flowing footy.

Weekend previews: AFLW – Round 2

AFTER an exhilarating first round, which saw four of the five matches go down to the wire, teams prepare to tweak game styles or mix up team sheets in order to get an advantage over their opponents. Four of the first round losers face off, with Melbourne heading to Victoria Park on Saturday to face the Magpies, while Carlton hosts Adelaide at Ikon Park on Sunday. The two sides who head home without any points face an uphill battle in the race for finals action. The fifth losing side from Round 1, GWS GIANTS has its own mammoth effort – trying to take down North Melbourne who simply blitzed Carlton. A maximum of three sides can remain undefeated after Round 2 with first round winners, Geelong and Western Bulldogs, and Fremantle and Brisbane facing off over the weekend.

GWS GIANTS vs. NORTH MELBOURNE
Friday, February 8, 7.15pm
Drummoyne Oval

In the opening game of the round, new side North Melbourne fresh off a huge victory over Carlton, head to Drummoyne Oval to face the GIANTS. The GIANTS are playing just their second game at the venue, following a loss to the Blues this time last year. The battle within the contest is the All-Australian rucks going head-to-head with Kangaroos’ Emma King and GIANTS’ Erin McKinnon. North Melbourne’s midfield has great depth to it, lead by last year’s League Best and Fairest winner, Emma Kearney, Jamie Stanton, Jess Duffin and Ash Riddell, of whom the latter was ultra-impressive on debut. North Melbourne’s dynamic forward line features former Magpies, Jasmine Garner and Mo Hope, premiership-winning Bulldog Jenna Bruton, and former Lion Kaitlyn Ashmore. With the strength around the ground, it will be hard to contain the Roos if they win the midfield battle.

The one area the GIANTS could get an upper hand is through rebounding forward with an equally impressive, albeit underrated forward line. Jess Dal Pos, former Magpie Christina Bernardi and defender-turned-forward Cora Staunton are all capable of multiple goals, while Haneen Zreika was impressive on debut last week. The midfield simply has to win its fair share of head-to-heads, with Courtney Gum, Rebecca Beeson, Alicia Eva and Alyce Parker leading the way, while Amanda Farrugia, Emma Swanson and Tanya Hetherington will have big jobs coming out of defence. The Kangaroos took a massive 56 marks in last week’s huge win over Carlton, while still laying 66 tackles. The GIANTS laid just the 42 and only five in the forward 50, and will need to show more pressure inside 50 against a side capable of hurting you on the scoreboard really quickly. Both teams are generally good ball users and make the most of their opportunities so it will be fascinating to see which team can take the early advantage and put it on the scoreboard. North Melbourne will head in as favourites, but it is far from completely clear cut, and this will be a huge win for the GIANTS if they can get the job done at home.

H2H: GWS GIANTS 0 | North Melbourne 0 | Draws 0
Venue: GWS GIANTS 0-1-0 | North Melbourne 0-0-0

Last time they met: N/A

Fun facts:

  • Emma Kearney averages 20 disposals, 6.5 tackles, 4.5 clearances, four inside 50s and a goal against the GIANTS from two clashes.
  • Both AFL Women’s All Australian rucks are set to go head-to-head with Emma King taking on Erin McKinnon. In the battle between the pair last year, King won convincingly with 11 disposals and 18 hitouts to McKinnon’s three disposals and 14 hitouts.
  • GWS GIANTS’ only game at the venue resulted in a loss to Carlton last year, while North Melbourne looks to back up its only game – a huge win over Carlton last week.
  • The GIANTS have won two, drawn two and lost three games in New South Wales and Australian Capital Territory.

 

COLLINGWOOD vs. MELBOURNE
Saturday, February 9, 4.45pm
Victoria Park

At one of the homes of traditional football, Collingwood hosts Melbourne in what has become a must-win for both sides. After heart-breaking losses in Round 1 despite leading at the final change, neither team can afford to go 0-2, with the reality that teams need at least four wins to secure a finals berth. A second loss means they must win four of their final five games as a minimum and with both still to play their respective conference favourites, it would spell trouble for their post-season hopes. However, for the winner, it is a chance to balance the ledger and get back on track early in the season. Collingwood has been a slow starter in year’s gone by, and has been overhauled with youth since last season, while Melbourne has also brought a number of young players into the team, furthering the development of players who got their starts last season. With both teams defensively capable, it will make for a great clash. The sides also sit at one win each in the head-to-head, funnily enough after the losing side in each game got a head start, but was run over the top of in the second halves.

Both teams have made two changes, with a debutant and a return from a long-term injury headlining the selection moves. Oakleigh Chargers’ tall, Katie Lynch comes into the side after Sophie Alexander’s concussion last week ruled her out of the game. Kristy Stratton was also ruled out through injury, with the Magpies opting to go tall by bringing in Eliza Hynes to try and stretch the Melbourne defence when forward, while rotating with Sharni Layton and Eliza Fowler. Melbourne have brought in Ainslie Kemp who has not played since 2017 due to an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tear – sadly replacing Shae Sloane who suffered the exact same injury. The Dees have also brought in Ashleigh Guest for Claudia Whitfort. The key to victory for the Demons is restricting the run of Collingwood’s defence, which helped the Magpies hold up against Geelong last week with Ash Brazill causing all sorts of headaches, while Jordyn Allen was equally as impressive. They also need to clamp down on Jaimee Lambert who has the ability to turn a game with great plays, while Catherine Phillips could be the one asked to restrict Sarah D’Arcy from dominating in the air. For the Magpies, they need to be wary of Melbourne’s firepower with Tegan Cunningham and Eden Zanker likely to stretch the defence, while Aliesha Newman has pace to burn and both Kate Hore and Maddison Gay are capable of getting over the back and hurting teams on the rebound. Elise O’Dea, Karen Paxman and Lily Mithen are up there with the best midfields in the competition, and will look to control the stoppages around the ground and give their forwards early opportunities.

H2H: Collingwood 1 | Melbourne 1 | Draws 0
Venue: Collingwood 0-0-0 | Melbourne 0-0-0

Last time they met: Collingwood 9.4 (58) defeated Melbourne 3.6 (24) at TIO Traeger Park, Round 4, 2018

After booting the opening two goals of the match and keeping Collingwood goalless in the opening term, the Demons only managed 1.4 for the rest of the match as the Magpies piled on 9.4 to run away with the match by 34 points. Magpies captain, Steph Chiocchi played one of her best games under lights, booting a goal from 17 disposals, two marks, four clearances and three inside 50s, while Jaimee Lambert had a team-high 19 disposals as well as three inside 50s and two rebounds. Caitlyn Edwards and Mo Hope both booted two goals in the victory, but arguably the best performance was that of Brittany Bonnici who tagged Melbourne captain, Daisy Pearce and restricted her to a career-low nine disposals. For the Demons, Elise O’Dea was the top performer with 19 disposals, two clearances, three inside 50s and a goal, while Karen Paxman had 18 touches and three rebounds.

Fun facts:

  • Of the 42 players to take the field in last year’s clash in the Top End, just 24 players remain available for selection in season 2019. Even more remarkably, just eight players from Collingwood’s first match against the Demons – two years ago – remain on the list.
  • Elise O’Dea (17 disposals) and Karen Paxman (16.5 disposals) average the most disposals against the Magpies from their two clashes.
  • Sarah D’Arcy and Emma Grant average the most disposals against the Demons, with 10 touches apiece.
  • Both sides were in the lead at three quarter time after holding their opponent scoreless in the third term last week only to go on to lose the game in heartbreaking circumstances.

 

WESTERN BULLDOGS vs. GEELONG
Saturday, February 9, 7.15pm
VU Whitten Oval

H2H: Western Bulldogs 0 | Geelong 0 | Draws 0
Venue: Western Bulldogs 4-3-0 | Geelong 0-0-0

In the other game that will be the first time these teams go head-to-head is between reigning premiers, Western Bulldogs and new side, Geelong. Both teams had a win in Round 1 and this weekend marks the first home game for the Bulldogs, which means they will unfurl the 2018 AFL Women’s flag in front of what is predicted to be a strong crowd at VU Whitten Oval. The winner will most certainly get an early advantage given the strength of their opponent, and it marks the first game for the sides which sees them pitted against a non-conference rival. Both teams also know how to close out tight games, having survived one-point thrillers in the opening round to secure the four points. Given their experience and depth across the field, Western Bulldogs will head in as favourites, but Geelong are expected to throw down a challenge with a couple of key players returning.

The Cats have welcomed back key forward, Phoebe McWilliams and ruck, Erin Hoare to bolster their side against the reigning premiers. Georgie Rankin and Maighan Fogas have been the two unlucky players omitted from the victorious side last Saturday night, with Fogas and key defender, Georgia Clarke named as emergencies for the clash. The Dogs will unveil Irish debutant, Aisling McCarthy who comes into the side, replacing the omitted Belinda Smith. The enticing battle will see which defence holds up the best as both sides proved to have their respective opposition’s measure last week. Co-captain, Katie Brennan booted the Bulldogs’ two goals against the Crows, while Meg McDonald, Rebecca Goring and Madeline Keryk were among the Cats’ best under pressure when the Magpies were attacking. While the heartbreaking story of Nina Morrison doing her ACL at training will dominate headlines, Geelong still has a huge core of youth including Denby Taylor, Olivia Purcell and Sophie Van De Heuvel who will face established young talents in Monique Conti and Bonnie Toogood, and first round draftee, Eleanor Brown. Co-captain Ellie Blackburn is always a crucial player for the Dogs and will look to take control in the midfield, while the Dogs’ defence of Lauren Spark, Libby Birch and Hannah Scott will provide plenty of rebound.

Last time they met: N/A

Fun facts:

  • The Western Bulldogs lost three consecutive matches at VU Whitten Oval in 2017, but have since won all three games they have played there, and is the Dogs’ first home game since winning the 2018 AFL Women’s flag.
  • Aasta O’Connor will play against her old side for the first time, lining up in the ruck to face Kim Rennie, while sharing the ruck duties with Erin Hoare in the blue and white hoops.
  • Ellie Blackburn averaged 16.9 disposals, 2.9 marks, 3.25 tackles and 3.25 clearances last season, the most of any current Western Bulldogs player.
  • With Brooke Lochland injured for the season, Phoebe McWilliams will be the leading goal kicker from last season in the match, booting seven goals for the GIANTS.

 

CARLTON vs. ADELAIDE
Sunday, February 10, 4.05pm
Ikon Park

H2H: Carlton 0 | Adelaide 2 | Draws 0
Venue: Carlton 4-1-2 | Adelaide 0-0-0

For the first time in 2019, Ikon Park hosts a match with the Blues heading back home to welcome the Crows in a Sunday evening game. The ground has traditionally been the host of the opening game of the year between bitter rivals, Carlton and Collingwood but that has changed in 2019. These teams are both heading into the match off the back of a loss, with Carlton’s heavy defeat to North Melbourne not the ideal start to the season following a wooden spoon, while the Crows will rue missed opportunities in front of goal after booting 1.11 against the Bulldogs at Norwood Oval. Adelaide is yet to play at Ikon Park, while Carlton has made it somewhat of a fortress winning four and drawing a fifth game from its seven matches at the venue. Considering they have only won one match outside Ikon Park, it has been a comfort zone and the Crows cannot afford to take them lightly. With Adelaide in the tougher conference, they would not want to drop this game and go 0-2 to start the season, while Carlton will look for its first win under Daniel Harford who would have learnt plenty from the round one defeat.

Looking at the Round 1 matches, efficiency inside 50 looks to be key, with Adelaide having a 75 per cent scoring efficiency with 18 shots from 24 attempts, while Carlton had just 10 shots from 29 attempts – 35 per cent scoring efficiency. Both sides have impressive forward lines on paper, but they will need to convert their opportunities. Any forward 50 with Darcy Vescio, Tayla Harris and Brianna Davey – who has actually been named in defence – is going to worry opposition defenders, while Erin Phillips is as good as anyone one-on-one and is lining up at full-forward, while Chloe Scheer is a young star who will only get better. Speaking of young stars, Madison Prespakis carried the weight of the midfield on her shoulders last week and was ultra-impressive on debut, so the Crows will need to be aware of her presence. The Adelaide midfield has greater depth and the Blues should look to limit the influence of Ebony Marinoff who racked up 23 disposals and laid 11 tackles in Round 1. If Carlton can restrict her influence on the inside and win the contested ball – with the likes of Jess Hosking and Katie Loynes getting on top, it will go a long way to causing an upset. Chelsea Randall leads the defence, while the experience of Renee Forth through the midfield will be important. Carlton will need to control the ruck contest through Breann Moody, and break even in the middle, while the Crows will focus on clearance domination to give their forwards first opportunity and more importantly, those forwards need to convert.

Last time they met: Adelaide 8.7 (55) defeated Carlton 2.8 (20) at Norwood Oval, Round 5, 2018.

Adelaide flexed their muscles against the Blues when the sides were heading in opposite directions. The Crows at home booted six goals to one after quarter time to run away from the Blues, but counted the cost of the win with injuries to Erin Phillips and Courtney Cramey. Ruth Wallace booted three goals, while Eloise Jones finished with two, as Ebony Marinoff and Chelsea Randall shared 31 disposals. Breann Moody was dominant in the ruck for the Blues with 29 hitouts from 11 disposals and four clearances, while Tayla Harris had 11 disposals, three marks and booted a goal.

Fun facts:

  • Despite winning the wooden spoon last season, Carlton has a strong record at Ikon Park, having won four and drawn one from seven attempts.
  • If Carlton lose the match, it will mark more than a year since they won their last match.
  • While she picked up an injury in the second game, Erin Phillips was everywhere in the Crows’ first win over the Blues, racking up 21 disposals and eight clearances. In the same game, Ebony Marinoff laid 14 tackles from 16 disposals, her exact disposal average against Carlton.
  • Of the Carlton players to play against Adelaide in both games, the omitted Tilly Lucas-Rodd averages the most disposals with 13.5, while Darcy Vescio averages two goals per game against the Crows.

 

FREMANTLE vs. BRISBANE
Sunday, February 10, 3.05pm
Fremantle Oval

H2H: Fremantle 0 | Brisbane 2 | Draws 0
Venue: Fremantle 2-3-0 | Brisbane 1-0-0

Both sides won against the odds in Round 1, with Fremantle toppling Melbourne in scorching weather at Casey Fields after being 14 points down at the final break, while Brisbane knocked off GWS GIANTS a fortnight after succumbing to the GIANTS in a heavy practice match loss. Both sides had plenty to be positive about last week, most importantly securing an early four points, while also having plenty to improve upon for this week. Fremantle are back at home in Western Australia, but at their only other clash at the venue, Brisbane took home the points, though it was two years ago. Both teams look to be very different to that clash, with the Lions having a host of youth coming through, as do the Dockers while also filtering in some experienced local talent. Brisbane will go in as favourites given their history in the competition, but Fremantle’s performance last week certainly raised eyebrows and showed that everyone could be underrating the Dockers.

Both sides play a different brand of football which is really exciting for this clash. In Round 1, Fremantle battered and bruised their way to an impressive contested ball style, getting the pull forward to record a huge 11 marks inside 50, while laying 10 tackles in the arc. They harassed and pressured the Demons into making uncharacteristic mistakes, laying 77 tackles in the process. The Lions have tall targets up forward, but opted for a balanced possession game and spread well around the ground. They intercepted the GIANTS 51 times and took the game on, trying to unsettle the defence with possession football, but going when required. This game could well be a combination of both styles and sets up for a huge clash. The Lions forward line is severely underrated with Sabrina Frederick-Traub the dominant key position player, while McKenzie Dowrick and Jess Wuetschner are incredibly clever and dangerous around goals. Throw in Jordan Zanchetta, Emma Zielke and the defensively-minded but strong, Lauren Arnell and the Lions front six is as good as any. Ebony Antonio and Tayla Bresland were strong in defence last week, while the midfield of Dana Hooker and Kara Donnellan are not huge ball winners, but always effective. They tackle the biggest ball-winning duo of Emily Bates and Ally Anderson who had the ball on a string last week, while the potential match-up of Kiara Bowers and Sam Virgo could be entertaining based on Round 1 form. Both teams have immensely talented youth coming through, and both teams’ first round picks, Sabreena Duffy and Paige Parker, have been named in the side.

Last time they met: Brisbane 3.4 (22) defeated Fremantle 2.3 (15) at South Pine Sports Complex, Round 4, 2018.

In a low-scoring affair that saw just one goal kicked in the first half, Brisbane held on in a thriller to win by seven points and remain on track for a grand final berth. Dynamic forward, Jess Wuetschner booted two goals from 18 disposals, three marks and four inside 50s, while Kate Lutkins and Ally Anderson both had 18 touches in the win. For the Dockers, Lara Filocamo had 18 disposals and laid five tackles. Kara Donnellan laid a whopping 10 tackles and had five clearances and 15 disposals.

Fun facts:

  • In their only clash at the venue, Brisbane defeated Fremantle by 13 points in Round 2, 2017. Fremantle has a 100 per cent winning ratio at Fremantle Oval over Victorian sides, but a zero per cent winning ratio over non-Victorian sides.
  • Jess Wuetschner has been the dominant goal kicker in the matches between these sides, averaging two goals per game.
  • Lara Filocamo averages the most disposals between the sides, with 17.5 per match.
  • Both sides won their opening round matches by less than a kick, with Fremantle getting a dress rehearsal for the scorching West Australian heat, winning at Casey Fields in 38 degrees Celcius.

 

DRAFT CENTRAL TIPPING

Leaderboard:

Eq. 1st : Sophie Taylor, Matthew Cocks [ 3 ]
Eq. 3rd : Peter Williams, Taylah Melki, Michael Alvaro [ 2 ]

 

Peter Williams

Chief Editor

Last week: 2

Round 2 selections:

North Melbourne
Collingwood
Western Bulldogs
Adelaide
Brisbane

 

Taylah Melki

Assistant Chief Editor

Last week: 2

Round 2 selections:

North Melbourne
Melbourne
Western Bulldogs
Adelaide
Brisbane

 

Sophie Taylor

Women’s Football Editor

Last week: 3

Round 2 selections:

North Melbourne
Melbourne
Western Bulldogs
Adelaide
Brisbane

 

Michael Alvaro

Men’s Football Editor

Last week: 2

Round 2 selections:

North Melbourne
Melbourne
Western Bulldogs
Adelaide
Brisbane

 

Matthew Cocks

Guest Tipster

Last week: 3

Round 2 selections:

GWS GIANTS
Collingwood
Western Bulldogs
Adelaide
Brisbane

AFLW season previews: Melbourne

THE Demons have been one of the stronger sides in the AFLW during the past two seasons. But with a big loss of players in the off-season, we will see a new-look Melbourne outfit on the park in 2019. Perhaps the biggest loss of the season was losing star midfielder, Daisy Pearce, which will undoubtedly challenge Mick Stinear to change his game plan heading into 2019.

Last season: 3rd – four wins, three losses.

Changes:

In: Maddison Gay, Talia Radan, Tyla Hanks, Madeline Brancatisano, Jordann Hickey, Shelley Heath, Chantel Emonson, Shae Sloane, Casey Sherriff, Ashleigh Woodland

Out: Richelle Cranston, Melissa Hickey, Erin Hoare, Anna Teague, Jasmine Grierson, Emma Humphries, Laura Duryea, Maddie Shevlin, Alyssa Mifsud

Melbourne’s list changes have seem to go under the radar compared to the likes of the Collingwood and Brisbane lists. Geelong caused the most havoc to the Melbourne line-up, taking Richelle Cranston, Melissa Hickey, Erin Hoare and Anna Teague to Kardinia Park. The other expansion team, North Melbourne took two Tasmanian natives in Jasmine Grierson and Emma Humphries, leaving a gap in Melbourne’s defence. However, the Dees have covered this quite well with the recruitment of Talia Radan and Shelley Heath, who are handy defenders who can run or play on a key player. They have also boosted their midfield stocks with the loss of Pearce and Cranston, recruiting Under-18 representatives, Tyla Hanks and Madeline Brancatisano, who are two midfielders with great agility.

Area of strength: Midfield

Melbourne’s midfield has always been one of the strongest in the competition, but they will be without Daisy Pearce and Richelle Cranston this season. A recruit who has not been talked about much is Maddison Gay from the Blues. Gay was voted the Best First Year player when she was Carlton, and is a smart midfielder who is clever with the ball in hand. She should help to assist Elise O’Dea and Karen Paxman, who have always been consistent in the middle of the ground for the Dees. Add in Brancatisano and Hanks, and Melbourne has a good core group of midfielders. Katherine Smith and Kate Hore are also set for a good season after finding some consistency for the Casey Demons in the VFLW season.

Area of weakness: Forward line

The Demons are lacking some numbers in the forward line. While they boast the likes of Tegan Cunningham and Aliesha Newman, the list does not go much further than that. Jordann Hickey is a crucial pick-up for the Dees to rectify this issue. She will be a key target up forward thanks to her solid hands and accurate kick. Eden Zanker should be set for a good year as well, finding some form in the Casey Demons VFLW side, but she was starved of opportunity last year, so she will also be pretty new to the AFLW environment.

Players to watch:

Tyla Hanks

Tyla Hanks has made the All-Australian Under 18s side two years in a row and is a force to be reckoned with in the midfield. On the inside, she is sharp with her hands and can clear congestion with her forceful kicking. She co-captained the Gippsland Power in the TAC Cup Girls competition, so is no stranger to being an on-field leader. Hanks can also float up forward and make an impact to steady the ship for her team, highlighting her ability to be versatile in a Melbourne line-up that lacks forward depth.

Jordann Hickey

Originally from Alice Springs, Hickey made her mark on the 2018 VFLW season with 14 goals for the NT Thunder. From her 14 games, she also averaged 8.25 disposals per game, with her season-high coming against Richmond, where she racked up 16 disposals and also kicked two goals. Hickey managed to kick goals in seven of her games for the Thunder, showing great consistency across the season. She fought hard inside 50 and provides a tall target, which will be pivotal for the Demons.

Eden Zanker

Zanker got to play some consistent football again for the Casey Demons in the VFLW, after only playing three games for the Demons in the AFLW last year. She kicked nine goals from her 14 games with Casey and was named in the best four times. Zanker has a calm run-up and a precise kick, and is also great at winning the ball inside 50. She was the Demons’ first selection in the 2017 draft so Melbourne will have high hopes for her to show why she was selected so high in the draft.

2019 prediction: 4th in Conference A

Despite a strong midfield, the Demons could struggle in their 50s, making for a difficult run in a difficult conference. However, they could get off to a good start with Fremantle and Collingwood looming as their first opponents of the season. It then gets a whole lot harder with Brisbane, North Melbourne and Greater Western Sydney (GWS) to come. When the Demons’ defence comes up against a powerful forward line like North Melbourne’s, and their forwards go head-to-head against Brisbane’s A-grade defenders, it could spell trouble for them.

2019 Melbourne AFLW Fixture

DateEventTime/ResultsVenueArticleMatch Day
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Casey FieldsRound 1
Victoria ParkRound 2
Hickey ParkRound 3
Casey FieldsRound 4
Blacktown International SportsparkRound 5
Marvel StadiumRound 6
Casey FieldsRound 7

AFLW season previews: Geelong

THE Geelong Cats are one of the two new sides entering the AFLW competition this year, and rather than finding players from other clubs, they have largely focused on adding local talent to their line-up. The Cats received the first two picks in the draft and snapped up two of the most exciting players in Nina Morrison and Sophie Van De Heuvel, who will certainly turn heads as the competition goes on.

List: Rene Caris, Danielle Orr, Hannah Burchell, Cassie Blakeway, Jordan Ivey, Julia Crockett-Grills, Mia-Rae Clifford, Kate Darby, Nina Morrison, Georgie Rankin, Meghan McDonald, Renee Garing, Maighan Fogas, Aasta O’Connor, Olivia Purcell, Georgia Clarke, Melissa Hickey, Rebecca Webster, Phoebe McWilliams, Madaleine McMahon, Elise Coventry, Madeleine Boyd, Sophie Van De Heuvel, Denby Taylor, Richelle Cranston, Hayley Trevean, Anna Teague, Rebecca Goring, Madeline Keryk, Erin Hoare

Local talent dominates this list, with 20 players featuring in Geelong’s 2018 Victorian Football League (VFLW) side. The Cats made the Grand Final and came up short against the Hawks, but showed what they are capable of with their list. Add experienced spearheads like Aasta O’Connor, Melissa Hickey and Phoebe McWilliams to the side and Geelong has a very potent line-up.

Area of strength: Midfield

The Geelong midfield is stacked with talent, led by Geelong Best and Fairest winner, Richelle Cranston. Cranston consistently racked up high numbers of disposals for the Cats during the VFLW season, and was complemented by a core group in Cassie Blakeway, Maighan Fogas and Hannah Burchell, who stepped up each week and are likely to do so again in the AFLW. Add in Geelong Falcons premiership duo, Nina Morrison and Olivia Purcell, who both also played in the Grand Final for the Cats. Morrison’s chase-down speed is unbelievable, and she has shown that she can come up against bigger bodies, having to deal with a Meg Hutchins tag in the VFLW Grand Final. Purcell is a tackling machine and led the way for both the Falcons and the Cats with her ferocity, so expect 2019 to be much the same from her.

Area of weakness: Defence

While Geelong has plenty of exciting forwards, its defence may come under pressure with the attacking forward lines that a lot of sides boast. Georgia Clarke will come into the mix as a calm and composed defender, and will have to work with the likes of Elise Coventry and Bec Goring, who were mainstays in the Cats’ defence in the VFLW. While Coventry is a consistent player, she often goes missing in the disposal count, so she will need to work on that coming into the AFLW season. Rebecca Webster is likely to be a key part of Geelong’s defence, even though she can play through the midfield too. Webster has a booming kick and strong hands, so if she floats into the midfield, it could leave a big gap in the defensive 50.

Players to watch:

Nina Morrison

Being the number one pick comes with a lot of pressure, but Morrison knows how to handle it. Having only picked up a football in a competitive environment three years ago, Morrison had a ripper 2018, sharing the TAC Cup Girls Best and Fairest and the Most Valuable Player (MVP) award at the Under 18 Championships. Her outside run is incredible, and her take-off speed is really something to watch. She is a precise kick and has shown that she can use it anywhere, having spent some time up forward for the Falcons last year in the TAC Cup Girls competition. Expect her to get a Rising Star nomination this season.

Olivia Purcell

The Geelong Falcons Best and Fairest was one of the most fierce tacklers in the TAC Cup Girls competition. She’s also a great clearance player, and knows how to hack it out of congestion with ease. She thrived in the Geelong VFLW environment, having played alongside players like Richelle Cranston. Purcell represented Vic Country in 2018 as well and was one of the leading disposal-getters in every match, highlighting her ability to find the footy with ease.

Maddy Boyd

A player that already has experience in the AFLW, Boyd will be a pivotal player for the Cats this year. She thrived in the ruck and through the forward line for Geelong’s VFLW side, taking big grabs and kicking crucial goals when needed. With plenty of ruck support in the team in the form of Aasta O’Connor, Kate Darby and Rene Caris, expect Boyd to spend some time up forward, as her marking prowess will give defenders massive headaches.

2019 prediction: 3rd in Conference B
The Cats certainly have the line-up to turn a few heads this season. With all the focus on North Melbourne’s star-studded line-up, the Cats’ has largely gone unnoticed, which the side will not mind at all. With Melissa Hickey leading the brigade as skipper and VFLW Grand Final coach, Paul Hood at the helm, it is hard to see where the Cats could go wrong in 2019. Gelling together will be the main challenge, as it always is for a new side. They have a hard draw to start off with, taking on the AFLW’s two premiership teams in Adelaide and the Bulldogs in the first four weeks, but those games are bookended by matches against Carlton and Collingwood. Expect Geelong to come out firing in 2019 and turn a few heads.

 

2019 Geelong AFLW Fixture

DateEventTime/ResultsVenueArticleMatch Day
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GMHBA StadiumRound 1
Whitten OvalRound 2
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Norwood OvalRound 3
GMHBA StadiumRound 4
Moreton Bay Sporting ComplexRound 5
GMHBA StadiumRound 6
UNSW Canberra OvalRound 7

AFLW Draft review: Melbourne

MELBOURNE will field a new-look line-up in 2019, suffering a loss of players to expansion clubs, North Melbourne and Geelong. With only five spots (they passed one pick) in the draft, the Demons had to pick their players carefully.

 

What they needed:

  • Midfielders to aid the loss of Daisy Pearce (inactive) and Richelle Cranston
  • Rucks to replace Erin Hoare and Alyssa Mifsud
  • Defenders to support Talia Radan and cover the loss of Laura Duryea and Anna Teague

 

Players selected:

Tyla Hanks – Gippsland Power

Hanks was one of the hardest and most skillful midfielders in the TAC Cup Girls competition. She plays very similarly to Madison Prespakis through her clean ball-use and long kicking. She can also head up forward when her side is in trouble, making her a very valuable asset for the Demons. Hanks was awarded with a place in the TAC Cup Girls Team of the Year and the AFL Women’s Under 18 All Australian side, after being a co-captain of the Gippsland Power this year. She will be a key player in helping to aid the loss of Daisy Pearce.

Madeline Brancatisano – Northern Knights

Like Hanks, Brancatisano also had a leadership role this year, leading her Northern Knights to a TAC Cup Girls Grand Final. Brancatisano is a smart inside midfielder who has clean hands and a consistent desire to win the ball in congestion. She can also add valuable defensive pressure in the middle, proving how much of a role player she is. Brancatisano earned a spot in the TAC Cup Girls Team of the Year and also spent some time with Carlton in the VFLW, adding some valuable experience to her game ahead of her AFL Women’s debut in 2019.

Jordann Hickey – NT Thunder

Jordann Hickey covers the loss of Alyssa Mifsud, who was delisted by the Demons in the AFL Women’s off-season. Hickey was consistent up forward for the NT Thunder this season, kicking 14 goals from 14 games. She played 14 matches and was named in the best three times. Hickey’s overhead marking and accurate kicking will be quite valuable in the Demons’ line-up, and she can also act as a back-up ruck.

Shelley Heath – Dandenong Stingrays

Shelley Heath is a great addition to the Melbourne line-up, thanks to her exciting run and carry out of the back pocket. She will inject some speed into the defensive 50, and could burn off a lot of players with that pace. Heath is also clever with the ball in hand, thanks to her clean hands and long kicks. She should do well to cover the losses of Anna Teague and Laura Duryea in the back line.

 

How they went:

Melbourne definitely needed midfielders in this draft and the Demons took two great ones in Hanks and Brancatisano. The duo will be great additions to a potent midfield that contains the likes of Karen Paxman and Elise O’Dea. Up forward, Tegan Cunningham will combine with Jordann Hickey, giving the Demons a powerful line-up inside 50. The Demons might struggle in defence, as the loss of bigger bodies such as Anna Teague could hurt them. It will be interesting to see how Melbourne approaches its ruck situation after losing Erin Hoare and Alyssa Mifsud. The Demons could have picked up a designated ruck in the draft but elected not to.

AFLW Draft review: Geelong

THE Cats trusted in their local talent, drafting six players from either the TAC Cup Girls or Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s team ahead of their inaugural season. Two players were drafted from the Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels, while one hailed from the Murray Bushrangers. After making it to the VFLW Grand Final, coach, Paul Hood appears to have huge faith in his local ready-made talent.

 

What they needed:

  • Midfield support for Richelle Cranston and Cassie Blakeway
  • Defenders to assist Anna Teague and Melissa Hickey
  • Versatility to cover any injury troubles

 

Players selected:

Nina Morrison – Geelong Falcons

There is not much that hasn’t been said about Nina Morrison. She was long touted as the number one pick, and lived out that dream. At the AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships, Morrison also took home the Vic Country Most Valuable Player (MVP) and the overall tournament MVP with Madison Prespakis. She also shared the TAC Cup Girls Best and Fairest award with Prespakis. Now, Morrison has the opportunity to show the nation what she’s made of and undoubtedly, her electric chase-down speed and fierce tackling will be on display. Her explosiveness down the wing combined with her ability to rack up the footy will be invaluable for the Cats.

Sophie Van De Heuvel – GWV Rebels

Van De Heuvel’s versatility will be of much use to the Cats. She played mostly in the forward line during the TAC Cup Girls season but also spent some time in the midfield in the AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships, highlighting her ability to break the lines and penetrate forward. Van De Heuvel was GWV’s leading goal kicker this year with six goals from seven games and made the 2018 TAC Cup Girls and All Australian teams on the half-forward flank. She will be a great help to Kate Darby, Danielle Orr and Phoebe McWilliams inside 50.

Rebecca Webster – Murray Bushrangers

Webster is another versatile player, but thrives off running off the half-back line. She can shift into the midfield when needed as well, due to her valuable booming kick that sends her team forward. She was named at full-back in the TAC Cup Girls Team of the Year and represented Vic Country this year, making herself known in defence. Webster is a great overhead mark and has brilliant run and carry, which will really assist the smarts of Anna Teague and Melissa Hickey.

Olivia Purcell – Geelong Falcons

Purcell was one of the fiercest players in the TAC Cup Girls competition, hurting players with her clearances and aggressive tackling. Purcell’s immense power helps her break through congestion and enforce her blistering run and carry. She had a marvellous year, taking home the Geelong Falcons’ Best and Fairest, playing in a premiership with the side, playing in a Grand Final for the Cats’ VFLW side, making the TAC Cup Girls Team of the Year and All Australian team. She will provide great support for Richelle Cranston, who can also hurt players with her power, aggression and run and carry.

Denby Taylor – Geelong Falcons

Denby Taylor was one of the smartest defenders in the TAC Cup Girls season, hurting players with her solid hands and run and carry off the half-back flank. She can be rotated through any position in defence, and also proved she could dominate on the wing, winning the best on ground award in the TAC Cup Girls Grand Final while playing in that position. It will be interesting to see what Paul Hood does with her, given her capabilities, but undoubtedly, she is a very handy pick-up for the Cats.

Georgia Clarke – GWV Rebels

Another defender with solid hands, Clarke and Taylor should work together in the back half to prevent opposition scoring. The Rebels defender made centre-half back her own in the TAC Cup Girls competition, creating a wall with her strong marking and kicking. Clarke was named in the TAC Cup Girls Team of the Year as the centre-half back, represented Vic Country in this year’s AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships and also spent some time with the AFL Women’s Academy.

Rene Caris – GWV Rebels

With a ruck line-up of Erin Hoare, Aasta O’Connor, Maddy Boyd, Kate Darby and the newly added Rene Caris, the Cats should dominate the midfield. Caris not only has a great leap but is agile at ground level, thanks to her clean hands and precise kicking. She was named in the TAC Cup Girls Team of the Year and also spent some time with the AFL Women’s Academy, giving her valuable experience in the Cats line-up. Caris featured for Carlton in the VFLW season, and proved that she could match it up against the bigger bodies in the AFL Women’s competition.

Maighan Fogas – Geelong VFLW

Maighan Fogas was one of Geelong’s most consistent midfielders this year in the VFLW, thanks to her exciting run and carry, clean hands and accurate kicking. She came second in Geelong’s VFLW Best and Fairest after playing 17 matches and being named in the best seven times. Her ability to fight for the ball in congestion made her a standout during the season, and if she continues to bring this trait into the AFL Women’s season, it will prove vital in the Geelong midfield.

Elise Coventry – Geelong VFLW

Coventry is your traditional no-fuss defender that consistently gets the job done. She is a great lockdown defender, which will prove vital if the Cats are to stop dangerous attacking teams such as the Western Bulldogs. Coventry finished in the top 10 of Geelong’s Best and Fairest and played 17 games for six appearances in the best.

Madeline Keryk – Geelong VFLW

Keryk worked incredibly hard to get back onto an AFL Women’s list in the off-season, after getting delisted by the Blues. She went over to the Cats halfway through the VFLW season and made an immediate impact with her ability to consistently rack up the footy and kick or handball long to get it out of congestion. Out of her 12 games during the season, she featured in the best on eight occasions, proving how damaging she is in the midfield. Her finals series was one to remember as well, gathering double-figure disposals in each match. Keryk’s experience combined with the youth of Morrison and Purcell will be fantastic to watch.

 

How they went:

Geelong has built a fantastic AFL Women’s side ahead of its first season in the competition.The Cats’ midfield will include Morrison, Purcell, Keryk, their forward line will feature the likes of Darby, Orr and McWilliams while their defence will be stacked with Clarke, Taylor and Coventry set to make a big impact. Add the ruck stocks of Aasta O’Connor, Erin Hoare and Rene Caris, and the Cats all of a sudden look very threatening to make a big statement in their first season of AFL Women’s.

Weekend previews: VFLW – Week 1 Finals

THE home and away season has come to an end and the finals have finally arrived in the Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s season. Collingwood, Hawthorn, NT Thunder and Geelong all battle it out over the coming weeks with the hope of raising the premiership cup.

 

Collingwood vs. Hawthorn

Saturday September 8, Stannards Stadium, 10:15AM

Collingwood and Hawthorn finished the home and away season in the top two spots and as a result have an opportunity to advance straight through to the Grand Final. Collingwood suffered just two slip-ups throughout the season; an early season draw against Geelong and a late season loss against the Thunder, both of whom will head into battle in the elimination final on Sunday. The Pies have a number of huge inclusions into their line-up with Sarah D’Arcy, Sophie Alexander and Brittany Bonnici among others returning to the line-up. The three inclusions will look to re-discover their early season form and re-establish themselves in the side. Collingwood will also be looking for a big contribution from star, Chloe Molloy who has been unbelievable all season long with her poise under pressure, elite decision-making and overall strong play. For the Hawks, they also enter the game with extreme confidence having defeated fellow finalists Geelong and the Thunder in their past two games. The Hawks lost just two games for the season and played consistent footy throughout the year, establishing themselves as a true contender. They make several inclusions (extended bench) highlighted by Melissa Kuys, who can be a real game-breaker at her best. Their forward line featuring Sarah Perkins and Phoebe McWilliams has been dangerous all year and should once again play a huge role in getting the Hawks over the line. The injection of youth, including Eastern Ranges duo Emerson Woods and Sarah Kendall joining Mikala Cann, provides the Hawks with plenty of excitement. Midfielder, Emma Mackie will also look to continue her terrific home and away season form with a big game in the finals to push the Hawks towards the Grand Final and a hugely important week off.

 

Northern Territory (NT) Thunder vs. Geelong

Sunday September 9, Stannards Stadium, 11:45AM

The NT Thunder meet Geelong on Sunday morning in the elimination final with both sides desperate to keep their premiership dreams alive. The Thunder have looked unstoppable at times throughout the season, posting several dominating defeats by high margins. By far the highest scoring team in the competition, their forward line has been firing on all cylinders, with some scoring contributions from the midfield to assist. They will have had plenty of preparation time, having not played since their Round 15 defeat at the hands of Hawthorn, with their bye coming in the final round of the home and away season. Jess Sedunary, Jenna McCormick and Angela Foley have all been huge for the team throughout the season and should once again have a big impact on the outcome. For the Cats, they narrowly missed out on an opportunity to face the Pies in the qualifying final, having lost to Hawthorn in the last round of the season. They look to shake off the disappointment and move into the second week of finals with a win, while also preventing elimination. Erin Hoare and Megan McMahon are among several inclusions for the Cats, with each having played a pivotal role in Geelong’s early season success. Richelle Cranston will be the player to watch for Geelong as she has been the catalyst in a number of victories this season with her commanding presence throughout the ground. A huge game of footy with both sides hoping to keep their dream alive for at least one more week.