Tag: geelong aflw

2021 AFLW 10 under 10 to watch: #1 Nina Morrison

IN a unique series for the lead-up to the 2021 AFL Women’s season, Draft Central will look at 10 players who have played under 10 games to watch this year. Whilst it would be easy to pick those who finished high in last year’s Rising Star, or top picks this year, we have opted to look at players who have been around at least two seasons but have only managed to play nine games or less. We conclude our countdown with our top player, Geelong’s Nina Morrison.

The top two players in our 2021 AFL Women’s 10 under 10 to watch list were clearly the standouts of the eligible talents. Both North Melbourne’s Ash Riddell and Geelong’s Morrison have the potential to be top 10 players in the competition if they live up to their potential. Unfortunately like most players in this list, injury has just impacted them thus far over their short careers, and only had one full healthy season.

For Morrison, the first pick in the 2018 AFL Women’s Draft and inaugural selection at the draft by expansion club Geelong, she had a starring debut against Collingwood in Round 1 of the 2019 season. She picked up a Rising Star nomination thanks to a whopping 22 disposals, eight tackles and kicking the match-winning behind in a clear best on ground effort.

Then it was like a nightmare that no one saw coming. The incredibly talented Morrison was gone for the year, having ruptured her anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) at training during the week without playing another game. It meant the player many had already dubbed as the Rising Star winner and next big thing, would need to wait another 12 months before truly making a sustained impact on the competition.

While her 2020 season was very good – she played all six games – the nightmare reoccured again, with the talented midfielder doing her second ACL in the final match of the season. It was terribly bad luck for such a determined and focused young player, but instead the teenager went to work on recovering again, and just last month, she was back at full speed running as she “eyed an early return” according to coach Paul Hood in the Geelong Advertiser.

Erin Phillips managed to return in 12 months without complication, and whilst Geelong are likely to be overly cautious with the teenager given her age and having done it a second time in 12 months, there is little doubt Morrison will leave anything out there to try and get back.

It might be slightly questionable Morrison being at the top of this list if she cannot get back on the park, but on talent alone, you have to admire what she is capable of, and when she does return – which many hope is sooner rather than later – it will only be good news for everyone involved.

2021 AFLW 10 under 10 to watch: #6 Rene Caris

IN a unique series for the lead-up to the 2021 AFL Women’s season, Draft Central will look at 10 players who have played under 10 games to watch this year. Whilst it would be easy to pick those who finished high in last year’s Rising Star, or top picks this year, we have opted to look at players who have been around at least two seasons but have only managed to play nine games or less. We continue the countdown at number six with Geelong’s Rene Caris.

The Cats’ ruck has played four games in two seasons, being a member of the foundation squad in 2019, having been picked up with selection 35 in the 2018 AFL Women’s National Draft. The 184cm tall – who has now been joined at the elite level by her sister Maggie – made her debut in Round 5 of the 2019 season and played one additional game in that year, before doubling her career games tally with another two games in 2020.

Playing alongside experienced ruck Aasta O’Connor – who oversaw Caris’ development through the AFL Women’s Academy – the former Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels’ talent is expected to make great strides in 2021 and spend more minutes through the ruck, and gradually transition into the role full-time over the coming seasons as the 33-year-old O’Connor rounds out a decorated career.

Whilst Caris is far from alone in terms of talent that has played under 10 games for the Cats, the ruck has an obvious opportunity and role that could be filled, learning from the best when it comes to youth development. O’Connor has overseen plenty of star youngsters coming through the pathway, and to get additional one-on-one coaching at the elite level will only make the 21-year-old all the more ready to have a long-term impact on the game.

Whilst Caris will turn 22 during the season – having been 19 when she was selected in 2018 – rucks always take longer to develop when taking on bigger bodies. As has been the case in her family with sister Maggie, Caris is equally talented at netball, but is firmly focused on the oblong ball game.

Despite only playing the two games last season, Caris averaged 11.5 hitouts to go with 2.5 rebounds and 5.0 disposals, showing an innate ability to run both ways and get back into defence to help out. Half of her disposals were rebounds, and with two-way running such an important trait for rucks, Caris has plenty of potential to go a long way. When she can begin hitting the scoreboard regularly playing a permanent role in the side, she will be a dual threat.

Picture credit: Geelong FC

2020 AFLW Draft review: Geelong Cats

NOW the AFL Women’s Draft is over, we take a look at each club, who they picked and what they might offer to their team next year. We continue our countdown with Geelong, a side that despite the region being removed as a choice for draftees, still managed to pick up four Geelong Falcons as they added five more teenagers to their list.

Geelong:

#10 – Darcy Moloney (Geelong Falcons/Vic Country)
#20 – Laura Gardiner (Geelong Falcons/Vic Country)
#21 – Olivia Barber (Murray Bushrangers/Vic Country)
#27 – Stephanie Williams (Geelong Falcons/Darwin Buffettes)
#39 – Carly Remmos (Geelong Falcons/Vic Country)

Geelong targeted more youth for its ascent up the AFL Women’s ladder after losing Mel Hickey over the off-season and just missing out on finals. Three Vic Country representatives, a Central Allies representative and an elite junior basketballer earned spots on the Cats’ list as they stuck close to home with their selections.

Darcy Moloney provides some outside class and ball-winning abilities with her superb vision and neat foot skills a highlight of her game. She was the first chosen at Pick 10, and rightly so with an impressive junior career to-date. She will likely play at half-forward where she did in her bottom and middle-age years for the Falcons before becoming a damaging wing or inside-outside midfielder.

Laura Gardiner is your quintessential inside midfielder who is not afraid to get her hands dirty. She loves digging in and finds a truckload of the ball, averaging more than 30 touches a game from her two matches in 2020 including 38 in Round 1. She will feed the ball out to the runners and be a consistent force on the inside, pretty much ready from early on. Like Moloney she played off a flank and even on a wing over the first couple of years, so is capable of pulling off other positions.

Geelong picked up the steal of the draft by selecting Olivia Barber at Pick 21, there is no two ways about it. The key position forward is terrific overhead, a great lead and able to play the role of a small forward when the ball hits the ground. She is a tall who can come in and make an immediate impact, and also comes from a basketball background. As an exciting key forward, Barber is one to watch over the next decade.

Speaking of basketball background, Carly Remmos was picked up with the Cats’ final pick of the draft at 39. She only took up the football pathway over the off-season last year and managed a couple of games before the season was called off. A real unknown coming into the season having been ready to pull on the Geelong Supercats’ top in the NBL1, Remmos showed great progress in a short amount of time as an inside midfielder.

Finally one of the feel-good stories of the draft, with Northern Territory’s Stephanie Williams getting picked up by the Cats. She hoped to remain in Geelong due to her university studies, and she achieved just that when the Cats called out her name at Pick 27. Expect her to develop over time to be a really dangerous forward with good hands, and is a smooth mover.

Overall the Cats really did well out of the draft, with a couple of predictable – but worthy – selections, as well as the steal of the draft, and a couple of raw talents who could really surprise with great development.

Picture: Geelong Cats Women’s Twitter

2020 Top 10 AFLW matches: #10 – Crows win at the Cattery in accurate display

IN a new countdown, Draft Central recall the Top 10 AFL Women’s games for season 2020, starting with a strong road win by the Crows at the Cattery in Round 3.

ADELAIDE held on to win a thriller against the Cats by 11 points at GMHBA Stadium to record back-to-back wins and hand Geelong a third straight defeat to open the season. Although the Crows led from late in the first quarter, Geelong played with great desperation and were in the match until the final moments. The majority of the game was played in Adelaide’s forward half, as they had 25 more inside 50s and dominated the clearances 32 to 15.

Geelong attempted to use the corridor through a short-kicking game style, and Danielle Higgins got them off to a flyer with a nice front and centre goal. After Chelsea Biddell kicked her first, some sloppy defending from the visitors allowed Phoebe McWilliams’ kick to dribble through for Geelong’s second. Danielle Ponter then showed her class, kicking back-to-back set shots to give her side a six-point lead at the first break.

The Crows started strongly in the second, with youngster Nikki Gore earning a free kick and kicking a nice goal. Higgins responded with her second, but some elite tackling pressure from Adelaide allowed Biddell to kick another, giving them a two-goal half time lead. Jordan Ivey used her sharp left boot to create a something out of nothing at the start of the third, setting up Madeleine Boyd for an open goal. The Cats had multiple opportunities to hit the front but inaccuracy cost them, and Ponter only needed one half-chance to kick an unbelievable goal and extend Adelaide’s lead. Olivia Purcell kicked a clever snap goal out of a stoppage to bring the margin back to five points at the final change.

Umpires let the game go more in the last quarter, so it was very tough and congested. Things stayed that way until Eloise Jones picked the pocket of Melissa Hickey and kicked a beauty to give the Crows a bit of breathing space. Richelle Cranston then dribbled a ripper from the pocket to bring the margin back to five points as the home crowd got behind their side. With less than a minute to go, a contentious decision against Maddy McMahon for a deliberate rushed behind allowed Ponter to kick the sealer.

Ebony Marinoff was the star for the Crows, dominating at stoppages and around the ground with 25 disposals and 12 tackles. Ponter was magnificent with four majors up forward, while Jess Foley and Marijana Rajcic played important roles in defence. For the Cats, McWilliams had a strong presence at centre-half forward and took four marks to go with her 12 disposals and a goal, while Ivey and Nina Morrison showed class with ball-in-hand but also combined for 14 tackles.

GEELONG 2.0 | 3.0 | 5.2 | 6.2 (38)
ADELAIDE 3.0 | 5.0 | 6.1 | 8.1 (49)

GOALS:
Geelong: D. Higgins 2, M. Boyd, P. McWilliams, O. Purcell, R. Cranston.
Adelaide: D. Ponter 4, C. Biddell 2, N. Gore, E. Jones.

ADC BEST:
Geelong: P. McWilliams, J. Ivey, D. Higgins, O. Purcell, N. Morrison, M. McMahon
Adelaide: E. Marinoff, D. Ponter, J. Foley, M. Rajcic, E. Jones, R. Forth

Top 10 AFLW matches:

#10 – Crows win at the Cattery in accurate display

2020 AFL Women’s season review: Geelong

GEELONG finished its second AFL Women’s campaign half a game away from consecutive finals berths, recovering from three defeats to open the season to end with a 2-4 record. The Cats were thrice beaten on home turf in what was a season of ups and downs, leaning on fixtures against expansion sides to eventually claim their two home-and-away victories. Despite a second knee injury to Nina Morrison and the retirement of inaugural club captain Melissa Hickey, there were plenty of positives to be taken from Geelong’s year; with the exuberance of its developing side shining through in glimpses, and a host of players taking their games to the next level. Revisit the good, bad, and otherwise produced by the Cats this season in our review, with a focus on their outstanding players.

RECORD: 5th (A), 2-4, 80.8%

RESULTS:

R1: lost to Fremantle by 16 points
R2: lost to Brisbane by 19 points
R3: lost to Adelaide by 11 points 
R4:
defeated Richmond by 22 points 
R5:
defeated Gold Coast by 20 points
R6:
lost to North Melbourne by 46 points

Having to recover from three consecutive losses to open the season is far from ideal for any side, and that was just the challenge that Geelong faced this year. After bringing it to Fremantle for three quarters in Perth, the Cats lost twice on their own patch and put a sizeable dent in their finals aspirations. But a roaring win against the Tigers in Round 4 got them on the board, and a rousing comeback victory over Gold Coast a week later had them on track. But again, it was always going to be tough to overcome North Melbourne and lock in a post-season entry, as the Cats finished their season on another low point despite the positives of the previous fortnight.

SEASON HIGH: The spirited win over Gold Coast

This was an ultra-impressive win for Geelong having been tested away from home by a team which always has a crack in the Gold Coast SUNS. The Cats looked to have blown their early ascendancy as a second term lapse saw them fall behind, but the fighting spirit to get back on top and pull away showcased the best of the Cats’ character. 2018 draft class pair Morrison and Olivia Purcell starred in the win with over 20 disposals each, providing a glimpse of what Cats fans can look forward to.

SEASON LOW: Nina Morrison’s second ACL tear

For all the promise around Geelong’s season came bouts of bitter disappointment, and this was arguably the most difficult pill to swallow. After steadily building form in each of the six Rounds, former number one draft pick Morrison looked to be flourishing at the top level, and the shock of a second ACL tear in as many years was felt across the competition. We got to see her potential, but we can only hope to see the end product after another heartbreaking setback.

FIVE KEY PERFORMERS:

Olivia Purcell (20.2 disposals, 1.8 marks, 3.2 tackles, 5 clearances, 2 rebound 50s, 2.5 inside 50s, 4 goals)

The highly-touted youngster was one of many Cats to make an enormous step in their development this season, moving into the elite midfield group on the back of a strong campaign. The 19-year-old was her side’s prime mover each week, and added the happy knack of kicking goals to her consistent ball winning capabilities. A clearance machine, Purcell also led her side for disposals, metres gained, contested possessions, score involvements, and inside 50s. The only Cat to earn All Australian squad selection.

Madeline Keryk (12.2 disposals, 2.3 marks, 2 tackles, 3.5 rebound 50s)

Much of the success of Keryk’s season can be put down to a move to the backline, with the former-Blue thriving in her new role behind the ball. In addition to collecting career-best numbers in a range of categories, the 25-year-old also led the Cats for rebound 50s this season while disposing at an efficiency of 70 per cent. A calm user who reads the play well, Keryk was a key part of a solid back five for Geelong.

Julia Crockett-Grills (14 disposals, 2.2 marks, 3.7 tackles, 1.8 rebound 50s, 1.2 inside 50s)

Perhaps one of the midfielders to have flown under the radar at times given the fanfare afforded to others, the hard-working Crockett-Grills finished the year only second to Purcell for disposals as a constant in the engine room. As one of the most-improved Cats this year, the 25-year-old proved her worth at the elite level with a string of solid performances working both ways.

Richelle Cranston (13.8 disposals, 2 marks, 2.7 tackles, 1 rebound 50, 1.7 inside 50s, 5 goals)

‘Rocky’ has been a fan favourite since day one at the Cattery, and did no harm to her reputation with an outstanding 2020 season. Cranston was a terrific generator of speed on the outside, while also finding the goals in four of her six outings. And who could forget her awesome solo effort against Fremantle in Round 1, showcasing everything good about this gutsy footballer.

Meghan McDonald (14.3 disposals, 4 marks, 2 tackles, 2.8 rebound 50s, 1 inside 50)

Rocked by a finger fracture on the eve of the season, McDonald missed the first two round before making a swift recovery to feature prominently in the back half of the year. As arguably the most important member of Geelong’s defence last season, the 28-year-old former-Bulldog got right back to her ways in organising a solid back five and leading as one of the Cats’ 2ICs. A great interceptor and mover of the ball.

SURPRISE PACKET:

Rebecca Webster (12.8 disposals, 3.5 marks, 2.7 tackles, 1.3 rebound 50s, 2 inside 50s)

There may be a slight theme in that much of Geelong’s improvement came from its defence, and Webster was another to take a significant step in her development this season. After taking out the Cats’ VFLW best and fairest award, the 172cm prospect translated that form well to the elite level across all six games, showing marked improvement as an able user in the back half.

YOUNG GUN:

Millie Brown (8.3 disposals, 1.5 marks, 1.2 tackles, 2 rebound 50s, 78% efficiency)

The Cats’ prize pick in the 2019 draft was Brown, who lived up to all expectation with a debut campaign beyond her years. The 19-year-old father-daughter recruit played all six games in her maiden season, locking down a role in Geelong’s back five in quick time. Barring a disposalless outing against Richmond in Round 4, Brown showed plenty of promise as a solid play-breaker inside defensive 50.

VERDICT:

Last year’s finals berth despite a negative record did not do much good for the Cats’ draw in 2020, and in all fairness, they won each game they were definitely expected to. The flashes of brilliance were great to watch, however too sparing, but those key lapses in form will be ironed out once this developing squad further improves. If the rate of improvement shown in some players can be matched next year, watch out.