Tag: gemma lagioia

Draft Central Team of the Year: NAB League Girls

WITH so many impressive individuals performing across the NAB League Girls nine-week season, it was incredibly tough to pick our Draft Central Team of the Year for 2019. The Team of the Year is decided by the amount of Team of the Week nominations a player receives, with everyone in the team receiving between three and seven nominations for the year. There were a further 10 players who were unlucky to miss out on the team despite receiving three nominations, while another 18 players – 52 in total – received at least two nominations.

Three players received the highest amount of nominations, with Western Jets’ Elisabeth Georgostathis, Dandenong Stingrays’ Brooke Vernon and Calder Cannons’ Georgie Prespakis making our Team of the Week seven times. Georgostathis has been named captain of the side, having led the Jets in season 2019. Two other club captains – Geelong Falcons’ Lucy McEvoy and Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels’ Sophie Molan – as well as Falcons midfielder Paige Sheppard, received six nominations to make our 24-player squad.

It is a phenomenal effort to even have five nominations – more than half the possible games – and Sandringham Dragons duo, Sarah Hartwig and Alice Burke, Northern Knights duo Gabby Newton and Britney Gutknecht, Calder Cannons captain Georgia Patrikios, and Eastern Ranges tall Serena Gibbs all achieved that feat. In terms of those players with four nominations and thus automatically qualifying for the side are Stingrays’ key defender Zoe Hill, potential Collingwood father-daughter selection Tarni Brown, Gippsland Power defender Matilda Van Berkel, Murray Bushrangers’ captain Millie Brown, and Northern Knights middle-age duo Jess Fitzgerald and Ellie McKenzie.

Of the remaining six players chosen to make the side, there were Oakleigh Chargers duo Emily Harley and Gemma Lagioia, both of whom have been electrifying at times in an even team, top five leading goalkicker, Northern’s Nell Morris-Dalton, Geelong Falcons talls; competition leading goalkicker Mia Skinner and reliable defender Abbey Chapman, and Bendigo Pioneers tackling machine Brooke Hards. The emphasis for the remaining players with three nominations was to allow for top-agers to fill the side, but Hards’ efforts were that impressive – summed up by winning the Bendigo Pioneers’ Best and Fairest award – that she earned a spot in the side.

In terms of club spread, it is no surprise to see minor premiers Northern Knights with the most nominees, having five in the side, while reigning premiers Geelong Falcons had four. A number of sides had two each including finalists, Calder Cannons and Eastern Ranges, as well as Dandenong Stingrays, Oakleigh Chargers and Sandringham Dragons, while Bendigo Pioneers, Gippsland Power, GWV Rebels, Murray Bushrangers and Western Jets had one player each. In terms of the three emergencies, key defenders Kate Douglass (Bendigo) and Isabelle Pritchard (Western), and Murray midfielder Abby Favell were the next three in line for a spot in the team.

Eight players followed up from their Draft Central Team of the Year in 2018 with a second nomination, those being Knights, Newton, Gutknecht and McKenzie, as well as Georgostathis, Burke, McEvoy and Patrikios.

Victorian AFL Women’s Under 18 Championship teams announced

REIGNING premiers, Geelong Falcons have dominated the Victorian representation with nine players in the Vic Country 29-player squad, while minor premiers Northern Knights, finalists Eastern Ranges and fifth placed Oakleigh Chargers have six apiece in the 30-player Vic Metro squad. Of the other sides, Dandenong Stingrays also has six players in the Country team, meaning more than half the squad are Falcons or Stingrays, including St Kilda pre-listed duo, Molly McDonald and Isabella Shannon. Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels and Sandringham Dragons have five players each in the Country and Metro squads respectively, while Murray Bushrangers and Western Jets have four apiece. Bendigo Pioneers and Calder Cannons have three players in their representative squad, while Gippsland Power has the two.

Vic Country has included eight middle-agers (not eligible to be drafted until next year) in its squad, while Vic Metro has seven. The two coaches will have more than their fair share of AFL and AFLW experience, with Nathan Burke taking the reigns at Vic Metro, while Aasta O’Connor will coach Vic Country. The sides face off on June 22, before squads are reduced to fly to Gold Coast for three games against other states from July 8-12. AFL Draft Central will be on the ground in Queensland providing you all the latest.

State Talent Manager Paul Hamilton said the Championships gave Victoria’s best emerging female footballers the chance to highlight their skills on a big stage.

“The NAB AFL Women’s Under-18 Championships have the potential to put our up-and-coming female players firmly on the radar of AFL Women’s clubs,” Hamilton said. “Our Vic Country and Vic Metro girls will have access to some of the best coaching resources in women’s football in order to develop their games and will be able to experience playing at elite-level venues against the best talent the rest of Australia has to offer. “Travelling to the Gold Coast in July will also provide them an extra opportunity to bond with girls who share a common goal of furthering their careers within the elite talent pathway.”

The Country vs Metro under-18 match on June 22 will be part of a double-header along with an under-16 Country vs Metro clash (commencing at 12pm), with the initial squads for those teams to be announced next week. All the non-Victorian state lists will be posted once the final team lists are completed, with some out, while others are yet to be released.

Tomorrow we will provide more details on each of those players selected in the Victorian squads.

VIC COUNTRY

NO. NAME   DOB HT NAB LEAGUE GIRLS CLUB
1 Elise Vella 05-Sep-01 156 Geelong Falcons
2 Teagan Brett 08-Feb-01 157 Murray Bushrangers
3 Paige Sheppard 23-Apr-01 158 Geelong Falcons
4 Renee Saulitis 14-Aug-02 163 GWV Rebels
5 Luka Lesosky-Hay 07-Jan-01 164 Geelong Falcons
6 Laura Gardiner 21-Nov-02 164 Geelong Falcons
7 Ella Wood 14-Feb-01 164 GWV Rebels
8 Elizabeth Snell 14-Mar-02 165 Bendigo Pioneers
9 Darcy Moloney 20-Nov-02 165 Geelong Falcons
10 Sophie Locke 24-Apr-01 166 Murray Bushrangers
11 Brooke Hards 19-Jul-02 166 Bendigo Pioneers
12 Tyanna Smith 29-Oct-02 167 Dandenong Stingrays
13 Molly McDonald 04-May-01 168 Dandenong Stingrays
14 Abbey Chapman 15-Apr-01 170 Geelong Falcons
15 Nikia Webber 29-Aug-01 170 Gippsland Power
16 Renee Tierney 23-May-02 168 Geelong Falcons
17 Mia Skinner 30-Jan-01 170 Geelong Falcons
18 Kate Douglass 19-Jul-01 171 Bendigo Pioneers
19 Brooke Vernon 20-Oct-01 172 Dandenong Stingrays
20 Zoe Hill 13-May-02 173 Dandenong Stingrays
21 Sophie Molan 24-Mar-01 175 GWV Rebels
22 Millie Brown 15-Jan-01 175 Murray Bushrangers
23 Lucy McEvoy 13-May-01 172 Geelong Falcons
24 Isabella Simmons 19-Apr-02 181 GWV Rebels
25 Olivia Barber 14-Jul-02 184 Murray Bushrangers
26 Isabella Shannon 30-Jun-01 178 Dandenong Stingrays
27 Shanara Notman 27-Jul-01 178 Gippsland Power
28 Georgia Howes 26-Jul-00 183 Dandenong Stingrays
29 Maggie Caris 21-Dec-02 188 GWV Rebels

 

VIC METRO

NO. NAME   DOB HT NAB LEAGUE GIRLS CLUB
1 Olivia Meagher 10-Dec-02 158 Eastern Ranges
2 Felicity Theodore 14-Mar-01 159 Calder Cannons
3 Gemma Lagioia 03-May-01 160 Oakleigh Chargers
4 Nicola Xenos 08-Mar-01 161 Oakleigh Chargers
5 Elisabeth Georgostathis 17-Oct-01 162 Western Jets
6 Madeleine Edwards 19-Jan-01 164 Eastern Ranges
7 Amelia Van Oosterwijck 08-Nov-01 164 Oakleigh Chargers
8 Mimi Hill 04-Oct-01 165 Oakleigh Chargers
9 Bella Eddey 02-Nov-02 165 Sandringham Dragons
10 Alana Barba 26-Sep-01 166 Calder Cannons
11 Tarni Brown 26-Mar-02 166 Eastern Ranges
12 Alice Burke 10-Mar-02 166 Sandringham Dragons
13 Britney Gutknecht 20-Apr-01 167 Northern Knights
14 Laura McClelland 03-Jul-01 169 Eastern Ranges
15 Alyssa Bannan 13-Apr-02 169 Northern Knights
16 Emily Harley 04-Dec-01 169 Oakleigh Chargers
17 Georgia Patrikios 30-Mar-01 170 Calder Cannons
18 Emma Horne 29-Nov-01 170 Eastern Ranges
19 Marguerite Purcell 27-Jul-01 170 Sandringham Dragons
20 Sarah Sansonetti 02-Aug-01 172 Northern Knights
21 Ellie McKenzie 17-Oct-02 173 Northern Knights
22 Sarah Hartwig 04-Dec-02 173 Sandringham Dragons
23 Nell Morris-Dalton 05-Apr-01 174 Northern Knights
24 Isabella Grant 21-Sep-01 174 Western Jets
25 Tahlia Merrett 08-Jan-01 174 Eastern Ranges
26 Gabrielle Newton 31-Aug-01 175 Northern Knights
27 Molly Denahy Maloney 25-Feb-01 175 Sandringham Dragons
28 Isabelle Pritchard 08-Mar-02 176 Western Jets
29 Cleo Saxon-Jones 04-Nov-01 181 Western Jets
30 Amelia Peck 13-Jan-00 183 Oakleigh Chargers

Team of the Week: NAB League Girls – Round 9

IN the final round of the NAB League Girls competition, there were a number of terrific performances across the board with eight teams bidding farewell to their premiership hopes for season 2019. Four teams remain in the hunt, with Calder Cannons, Eastern Ranges, Geelong Falcons and Northern Knights all preparing for at least another round of action with two teams to advance through to the decider. In this week’s Draft Central NAB League Girls’ Team of the Week, the Falcons and Knights have three players each once again, while other winners, Dandenong Stingrays and Oakleigh Chargers also have a trio of players in our 24-player squad. Calder Cannons and Sandringham Dragons tasted victory in the final round and have two players in the team. Round 9 losers, Bendigo Pioneers and Murray Bushrangers also have two players, while the remaining four losing sides have the one player in the team.

Minor premiers the Northern Knights have three players in the side with Ellie McKenzie a regular in the side, joined in the team by Nell Morris-Dalton and Jess Fitzgerald. Reigning premiers Geelong Falcons finished second overall and enjoyed a nice last round win, with captain Lucy McEvoy, winger Paige Sheppard and forward Mia Skinner all making this weeks team. Oakleigh Chargers also had three players in the team, with two new players in the side, with Amelia Peck and Nicola Xenos in, as well as Gemma Lagioia. The other side with three players in the team is Dandenong Stingrays, as Draft Central Player of the Week‘s Tyanna Smith, as well as Team of the Week regular, Brooke Vernon and Stingrays’ captain Molly McDonald.

The backline features Team of the Week regulars, Western Jets’ Elisabeth Georgostathis and Murray Bushrangers’ Millie Brown, as Olivia Barber joins Brown in the team lining up at full-forward. Also in defence is Bendigo Pioneers’ Kate Douglass, who is in the side with teammate Maeve Tupper. Sandringham Dragons have Sophia Rothfield and Alice Burke in the side, while Calder Cannons duo, Georgie Prespakis and Georgia Patrikios make the team once again. Of the players remaining, they are the sole representative for their team, with Matilda Van Berkel (Gippsland Power), Tarni Brown (Eastern Ranges) and Sophie Molan (GWV Rebels).

NAB League Girls wash-up: Round 9 – Unbeaten Knights seal minor premiership

FINALS fever awaits in the NAB League Girls competition, with the Northern Knights securing the minor premiership in an undefeated season. The top four order remained unchanged as three of the sides won in Round 9, with next week’s semi-final fixture locked in.

GEELONG FALCONS 1.2 | 4.3 | 5.3 | 8.7 (55)
MURRAY BUSHRANGERS 1.1 | 1.1 | 1.1 | 1.1 (7)

GOALS:

Geelong: M. Skinner 3, J. Hecker, L. McEvoy, P. Sheppard, D. Smith, T. Hassett
Murray: O. Barber

BEST:

Geelong: L. McEvoy, P. Sheppard, L. Lesosky-Hay, M. Skinner, A. Chapman, D. Smith
Murray: M. Brown, O. Barber, C. Mailer, K. Skepper, M. Trethowan, K. Adams

By: Peter Williams

Geelong Falcons bounced back from a rare loss to post a comfortable eight-goal win over Murray Bushrangers at Avalon Airport Oval in the final round of the NAB League Girls season. The Falcons have not needed to respond to a loss for more than two years, but they did so in style on Saturday afternoon despite the plucky Bushrangers’ best efforts. Missing a number of key players due to NSW/ACT representation, Murray brought the heat early, and booted the opening goal of the game through Olivia Barber, but from then on, the game seemed like it was a matter of time before Geelong finally broke the dam wall. They did so in the second term, when Mia Skinner decided enough was enough, booting three goals for her team to lead by 20 points at the main break. While the Bushrangers restricted the Falcons to just the one major in the third term, the Falcons took advantage of the breeze in the last quarter to boot another three goals and record a strong victory ahead of finals next week. Lucy McEvoy was bordering on unstoppable in the game, often needing multiple opponents to drag her down in tackles, she bustled her way to 27 disposals, eight marks, six tackles, four inside 50s and a goal, and could have had a few more had her kicks from outside 50 carried the distance. Paige Sheppard was equally as terrific in the forward half, booting the Falcons first goal of the game, and having 23 disposals, six marks, five inside 50s, two rebounds and laying five tackles. Luka Lesosky-Hay did her own thing around the ground amassing 19 touches and laying six tackles, while Skinner also had 16 disposals and four inside 50s with her three goals, constantly looking dangerous inside the arc. For the Bushrangers, Millie Brown was far and away the best just for her work in defence which time and time again stopped the Falcons attacking movements. It was no surprise to see the potential Geelong father-daughter selection pick up 28 disposals, three marks, four tackles, two inside 50s, and crucially, five rebounds. Barber had seven hitouts, 14 disposals and three marks in defeat, while Cassidy Mailer, Keeley Skepper and Mikaela Trethowan were also named among the best, with Mindy Quade producing a number of timely spoils in defence as well.

WESTERN JETS 0.0 | 0.0 | 0.1 | 1.3 (9)
DANDENONG STINGRAYS 3.1 | 4.3 | 8.6 | 9.6 (60)

GOALS:

Western: L. Wright
Dandenong: T. Smith 4, E. Allen-Burns 2, H. Thomas, S. Stratton, G. Grimmer

BEST:

Western: R. Tripodi, J. Woods, M. Ham, E. Georgostathis, P. Ozols, E. Kiely
Dandenong: B. Vernon, G. Grimmer, I. Shannon, M. McDonald, G. Hodder, T. Smith

By: Michael Alvaro

The Dandenong Stingrays ended their season emphatically, trouncing Western Jets by 51 points to finish a game outside of the top four. Western’s two game winning run came to a halt with another heavy defeat, but the Jets can hold their head up having picked up three wins to finish tenth after a winless first four rounds. The Stingrays were on top from the get-go, building their winning score best in the first and third terms while keeping Western goalless until Laura Wright kicked truly in the final term. Dandenong middle-ager Tyanna Smith played a blinder, racking up an equal game-high 23 disposals, while also pushing forward for a clinical four-straight goals to earn the Round 9 Draft Central Rising Star nod. Brooke Vernon was named best for the winners on the back of a solid defensive outing, while AFLW pre-listed pair Isabella Shannon and Molly McDonald were their usual selves in midfield. Elisabeth Georgostathis was one of Western’s best in defence and midfield, winning 23 disposals, but Ruby Tripodi claimed the full votes for her seven disposals and five tackles. With both sides’ seasons now over, stars from each team will now look forward to VFLW commitments, as well as potential call-ups to represent Victoria Country and Metro in July’s National Championships.

GREATER WESTERN VICTORIA REBELS 0.2 | 0.4 | 0.4 | 0.5 (5)
NORTHERN KNIGHTS 3.1 | 4.1 | 6.3 | 7.8 (50)

GOALS:

GWV: Nil
Northern: A. Bannan 2, N. Morris-Dalton, M. Appleby, T. Pulcino, G. Newton, B. Gutknecht

BEST:

GWV: M. Ciavarella, N. Butler, S. Molan, E. Friend, E. Wood, M. Caris
Northern: N. Morris-Dalton, C. Fitzgerald, S. Sansonetti, P. Chisholm, T. Smart, G. Newton

By: Michael Alvaro

Northern Knights ensured they would end the regular season undefeated with a dominant 45-point win over the Greater Western Victoria Rebels securing them minor premiership honours. Picking up from where they left off last week, the Knights led all game, breaking it open in the first and third quarters with three goals in each to build their winning margin – all while keeping the Rebels goalless. An impressive spread of six individual Knights goal kickers was lead by Alyssa Bannan‘s two, with fellow goal-finders Nell Morris-Dalton (22 disposals) and Gabby Newton (17) also being named in the best while Ellie McKenzie (23 disposals, four marks) was their leading ball-winner and Jess Fitzgerald almost had a huge day with 21 disposals and 0.3. GWV’s Sophie Molan narrowly outdid McKenzie to rack up a game-high 26 disposals, but was beaten out by Melina Ciavarella (eight disposals, five tackles) to be the Rebels’ best. Ella Wood (15 disposals), and Lauren Sykes also won plenty of the ball to be thereabouts as the hosts’ season ended on two wins – including a memorable upset over Oakleigh just last week. Northern move on into the finals, set to play fourth-placed Eastern with the Ranges coming in off a Round 9 loss.

GIPPSLAND POWER 0.0 | 0.0 | 0.0 | 1.0 (6)
CALDER CANNONS 2.1 | 4.3 | 5.6 | 5.7 (37)

GOALS:

Gippsland: N. Webber
Calder: G. Patrikios 2, G. Prespakis, Z. Hardiman, M. Muller

BEST:

Gippsland: C. Bird, G. McRae, M. Fitzsimon, M. Van Berkel, M. Shaw, M. Gilmour
Calder: G. Sampson, T. Fry, Z. Friswell, A. Barba, Z. Hardiman, M. Muller

By: Peter Williams

Calder Cannons booked a date with reigning premiers, Geelong Falcons next Saturday after securing a finals spot courtesy of a 31-point win over Gippsland Power at Morwell Recreation Reserve on Sunday. Despite Gippsland toiling hard in the first 10 minutes of the game, it took some magic from Calder captain, Georgia Patrikios who booted two goals and hit the post to almost have a third in the opening term as her efforts handed Calder a lead. Makeisha Muller and Georgie Prespakis added their names to the goalkickers list in the second term, with Muller on the receiving end of a perfect Prespakis kick, while Prespakis converted a set shot in windy conditions. By the time Zoe Hardiman booted the Cannons’ final goal of the game six minutes into the third term the game was done, but the Power refused to give in, strangling the scoring power from the Cannons, and deservedly finding a major of their own late in the game. Nikia Webber‘s effort in her final NAB League Girls game was symbolic of the entire team – hard working without reward – with that reward coming in the dying minutes when she won a free kick and converted the goal. The Cannons were clearly the better side on the day, but it took magic from the likes of Patrikios, Prespakis and some run and carry from Felicity Theodore off half-back in the opening half to break down the otherwise steady Gippsland defence. Patrikios finished with three marks, five tackles and two inside 50s to go with her 19 touches and two goals, while Prespakis had four marks, six tackles, nine inside 50s and 26 touches in a strong effort once again. Georgia Sampson was named Calder’s best with 15 disposals, three marks and 14 hitouts, while Alana Barba tackled hard with 10 as well as 16 disposals in the game. For Gippsland, Shanara Notman was impressive in defence, having 18 touches, five marks and seven rebounds, while Maddison Shaw (14 disposals, four tackles and three rebounds) and Grace McRae (16 disposals and three tackles) were also consistent once again.

SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS 1.2 | 2.4 | 2.5 | 3.5 (23)
EASTERN RANGES 1.0 | 1.0 | 1.1 | 3.1 (19)

GOALS:

Sandringham: S. Rothfield 3
Eastern: S. Gibbs, C. Wilsmore, M. Hardy

BEST:

Sandringham: A. Burke, D. Walker, G. Strangio, S. Rothfield, E. McNamara, I. Stutt
Eastern: E. Horne, T. Brown, M. Edwards, T. Merrett, J. Richardson, S. Gibbs

By: Josh Ward

In a game which had finals ramifications, the Sandringham Dragons prevailed what was a close contest. In a low-scoring game with rarely any easy possession throughout, the real breakout performer was surprise packet Sophia Rothfield up forward for Sandringham, scoring their only three goals, whilst providing that extra bit of pressure as well. The first two quarters were closely fought, with Sandy dominating the inside 50 game, putting on heaps of pressure up forward whilst not letting the Ranges getting any easy exits, going into the half time break with a deserved 10-point lead (2.4 16 to 1.0 6). However, it could have been more had it not been for the many missed opportunities. The second half was again closely fought, with their only being two points scored during the third quarter. But when Rothfield kicked her third, the game became a bit more open, with the Ranges scoring the next two goals, getting a little more exciting for the last couple of minutes. But despite the late resurgence from the Ranges, the Dragons kept their cool and won what was a really tight contest throughout. The midfield battle also lived up to its hype, with the Ranges duo of Tess Flintoff and Tarni Brown slightly winning it in the first half, but Sandy’s duo of Alice Burke and Winnie Lang winning it the second half. And in the end, it proved vital for the Dragons to pull off yet another surprise victory.

BENDIGO PIONEERS 2.0 | 2.0 | 2.0 | 4.0 (24)
OAKLEIGH CHARGERS 2.0 | 4.3 | 7.6 | 7.8 (50)

GOALS:

Bendigo: E. Snell 2, T. Coad, B. Hards
Oakleigh: E. Harley, J. D’Amato, E. James, G. Lagioia, M. Bertuna, J. Lin, N. Xenos

BEST:

Bendigo: M. Tupper, B. Hards, E. Snell, D. Villiva, G. Barton, K. Douglass
Oakleigh: N/A

By: Michael Alvaro

Oakleigh Chargers did all they could to secure a finals spot, but fell just short despite an impressive 26-point win over the Bendigo Pioneers to round out the regular season. With the scores locked at two-straight goals apiece at quarter time, Oakleigh took charge after the first break with 5.6 during the second and third terms while keeping their opponents scoreless over the same period. Bendigo finished well with two goals to nil in the last quarter, but it proved too little, too late as Oakleigh ensured a fifth win and more than doubled the ‘Pio’s score. Nicola Xenos (23 disposals, one goal), Emily Harley (19 and one), and Gemma Lagioia (19 and one) all found plenty of the ball while also hitting the scoreboard for the winners, with Mimi Hill (19 disposals, five marks) capping off a good year and Amelia Peck (17 disposals, 32 hitouts) also very influential. Mauve Tupper was named best for Bendigo for her team-high 15 disposals and six tackles, with Kate Douglass (11 disposals) the next highest disposal-getter, while Elizabeth Snell claimed her second haul of multiple goals with two. Brooke Hards was also named amongst the best in a low-disposal performance, laying a monster 13 tackles to finish five clear of the next-best player. Both sides’ seasons end here, but there were plenty of positives on either end with finals looking like a real possibility at different stages. All eyes will now be on the National Championships and VFLW season.

Scouting notes: NAB League Girls – Round 9

THE final round of the NAB League Girls took place over the weekend with plenty of impressive efforts as the final four was decided after results were confirmed. We attended five games and noted the final game at the bottom, with players focused among those mentioned by respective Female Talent Managers as players to watch at the start of the season. All notes are the opinion of the individual writer.

 

Geelong Falcons vs. Murray Bushrangers

By: Peter Williams

Geelong:

#8 Paige Sheppard

One of Geelong’s best on the day with McEvoy and Skinner, Sheppard kicked an early goal after working hard to get into the space inside 50. She had a couple of running shots throughout the game at either end but both just fell short or drifted wide. She won plenty of the ball and produced an elite kick from the wing inside to Lucy McEvoy leading out – that perfect 45-kick. She spread to the outside and often pushed up from half-forward then kept running receiving the ball and being a key link in transition between the mids and forwards. Terrific game.

#18 Darcy Moloney

Did not win as much of it as some of her teammates but used it well by foot. She was the one who was released with a quick handball for her to kick forward inside 50. She put it to her teammates’ advantage often placing the kick in front of them running. She kicked inside 50 well to assist Mia Skinner who snapped truly for her fourth major.

#21 Abbey Chapman

Just did what she does every game and while her second half would have been pretty quiet given the ball rarely came near her she had a great rebound at top speed off half-back in the last term. Early on with the heat in the game she forced Ally Morphett to kick off the side of her boot with a great run-down tackle, and also had a lovely kick to Paige Sheppard at half-back.

#24 Mia Skinner

Got off the chain in the second term after being tightly watched in the first to be the difference with three goals and break the game open. She did use her smarts to keep the ball in front of her in the opening term and gain about 30 metres and put it deep inside 50 by kicking it multiple times along the ground. Her goals came from two snaps and a set shot, including a couple within a minute. She then kicked a goal on the run in the final term to make it four for the game.

#38 Lucy McEvoy

The captain was inspirational in the game, often met by multiple opponents when she went near it in close, she kept working hard and would rip the ball from an opponents’ grasp and kick long inside 50. She did all the defensive work too, setting the tone with a run-down tackle at half-back then won a free kick at half-forward. Had a number of opportunities from long-range that just fell short, but then kicked a great goal in the fourth term. Seemed to be everywhere and won touches from the last line of defence through to deep forward and ran all day.

#39 Renee Tierney

Played up the ground and worked hard for her touches. She took a number of good marks, including a contested mark in the second term in front of a pack. She used her strength to get the ball forward on a number of occasions and while she did not win a heap of the ball, still played an important role.

Murray:

#10 Sophie Locke

Started in defence and laid a goal-saving tackle in the first term. Locke mained composed and worked well in defence offering herself as a switch option and used the ball neatly. She did well on Skinner in a one-on-one but just got pushed off it and Skinner goaled. She went forward in the second half and was unlucky not to win a free in a marking contest for a push. Ball did not go near her much but she still worked hard.

#19 Millie Brown

The Bushrangers best out of defence and saved a number of goals with her composure and ability to drop into the hole. Spent the game back there given Geelong’s dominance in the forward half and time and time again intercepted and just bombed it out of defence. Marshalled the defence and no doubt without her the margin could have been greater. A big influence in the game.

#45 Olivia Barber

Had a few nice moments taking some strong grabs, and converting a set shot in the opening term from 35m out. Barber shared the ruck load and worked hard to drop back into defence, putting pressure on an opponent to force a spillage from a marking contest. She took a good intercept mark at half-forward in the third term as well.

 

Sandringham Dragons vs. Eastern Ranges
By: Josh Ward

Sandringham:

#1 Molly Denahy Maloney

Was a touch quiet as well in the first half, but was pretty big in second half in terms of inside 50 pressure and ball use, playing a few big roles in the lead up to each goal.  Missed a couple of chances in front of goal, but had the 10 touches and six hitouts as well as four tackles.

#22 Eliza McNamara

Played a pretty big role of half-back, getting many intercept possessions and using the ball nicely as well with a high disposal efficiency. Had five inside 50s and four tackles as well.

#28 Alice Burke

Again was a bit quiet in the first half, but got herself into the game in the second half. Was impressive in terms of contested footy and clearances and getting it inside 50 as well. Finished with 18 disposals, five tackles and three inside 50s, and was one of the Dragons’ best.

Eastern:

#26 Tarni Brown

Again similar first half to Flintoff and was critical in helping Ranges get first goal. Was quieter in the second half, but still helped out with second goal for Ranges. Brown finished with 23 disposals, three marks, four tackles, three inside 50s and two rebounds.

#33 Tess Flintoff

Good first half with a few touches and good use of the ball. A little bit quieter in the second half. Had an impressive 23 disposals, six marks, three tackles, three inside 50s and four rebounds to her name, getting around the ground well.

#46 Serena Gibbs

Was a good presence up forward and when she went through the ruck, often helping the Ranges get clearances and keep the ball at times up forward. One of the best for the Ranges, with nine touches, 11 hitouts and four marks.

 

Gippsland vs. Calder
By: Peter Williams

Gippsland:

#8 Chandra Abrahams

Not a big possession winner, but showed strength at ground level, using her body well to get a kick away while being tackled in the second term, and then in the third term, used good body strength to bump Makeisha Muller off the ball and kick forward. Laid a number of important tackles as well.

#9 Maddison Shaw

Worked tirelessly for four quarters and really led the way throughout the game playing off half-back and pushing up to the wing. Did well against Georgia Patrikios one-on-one early, laying a big tackle and then spoiling a contest and winning a free for push in the back. Then mopped up time and time again and helped out a defence under siege. She pushed up to the wing and through the middle and had a nice burst in the third term to kick forward, and had a number of effective kicks going long in the final term.

#27 Nikia Webber

Just worked her guts out for four quarters and kicked a well-earned goal in the dying minutes. She showed good strength at the stoppages, often fending off her opponents and kicking long, and drifting back into defence to help out. Went forward later in the game, having a couple of opportunities in the third term with both going across the face, and copping a knock high on one occasion. She finally booted a goal from a set shot free kick in the last few minutes much to the excitement of her and her teammates.

#33 Shanara Notman

One of Gippsland’s best across the game with a number of intercept marks and possessions, while playing on the last line. She found it difficult kicking with the breeze, and was too ambitious in the opening term trying to step around Georgia Patrikios who is the last player in the league you try and step around, but what was promising was despite getting caught it did not deter her from attempting it in the future. She did it successfully a number of times and kicked long where possible.

Calder:

#2 Felicity Theodore

Was clean out of defence and took the game on a number of times in the first half, using handballs to go from half-back to half-forward. Laid a great tackle in the first term to win a free holding the ball, but confusion with the umpires gave it to the opposition player. She did well in that first half with her run and carry.

#21 Georgia Patrikios

Clean and composed with her disposal in windy conditions, Patrikios set the game up for the Cannons with two goals and a poster in the first term. She tackled Shanara Notman who tried to take her on and then converted the set shot, before picking up the loose ball and waiting for her opponent to overrun it then kick it through from a metre out. A third snap hit the post, and a fourth attempt later in the game just drifted in the breeze, but she was ever-dangerous. Showed good movement on the outside and worked well with Georgie Prespakis in midfield.

#22 Makeisha Muller

Spent a half in attack then a half in defence, kicking a goal in the second term after a nice kick from Georgie Prespakis. Then she tried to return the favour but it bounced past her for a behind. In defence, Muller set up the ball well and had a number of impressive runs and kicks from half-back, taking some intercept grabs in the fourth term.

#41 Georgie Prespakis

Busy from the word go winning plenty of the footy in tight and set up a goal to Muller in the second term with a great kick to her running teammate at the top of the goalsquare. She won a free kick inside 50 and converted the set shot shortly after, and had a terrific kick to Patrikios inside 50 in the third term. She had another chance in the third with a snap off a step but it bounced through for a behind.

 

Western Jets vs. Dandenong Stingrays
By: Michael Alvaro

Western:

#17 Elisabeth Georgostathis

Clearly the Jets’ most prolific ball-winner and arguably their best across the day, Georgostathis gave it her all across half-back and later, in the midfield. Showed her trademark pace and willingness to take the game on from the back flank with good rebound, and was not deterred by being caught holding the ball in the second term. Her competitiveness in an under-siege defence translated well with a move into the midfield after half time, as the top-age Jet won a couple of nice bursting clearances. The cherry on top of a solid last month of form.

#23 Isabelle Pritchard

It was by no means Pritchard’s best outing, but she was definitely kept busy and tried her best to hold up a defence under immense pressure at times. While she overran a couple of long balls which she would usually cut off, Pritchard did some good work in the clinches and in particular, made a brave smother in the final term which caught the eye despite the result being beyond her side.

#25 Cleo Saxon-Jones

It was a hard slog for the Jets’ forward focal point, but that did not prevent Saxon-Jones from getting involved in decent patches. Started well with a nice rove at centre half-forward and followed up with a couple of inside 50 entries – albeit with high snapped kicks over a wall of opponents. Being pressured in disposal was a theme for her day at times, but Saxon-Jones chimed in with a couple of fantastic overhead marks – one from a kick-out, and the other around her defensive 50. It was a hard day for Western forwards, so she put her hand up well.

Dandenong:

#12 Molly McDonald

The St Kilda AFLW-listed gun made a good start with the first clearance of the match, and it became a consistent theme as she drove her side forward from midfield with run out of the stoppages. While her kicking inside 50 lacked a touch of penetration at times, McDonald utilised her handballs well and displayed outstanding awareness in the process. Showed good combativeness with an overhead marking attempt against two Western opponents, adding grit to her classy overall game.

#26 Isabella Shannon

McDonald’s usual partner-in-crime through midfield, Shannon built into the game well. Hard to miss with her tucked-in shirt, the top-ager looked dangerous when she pushed forward of the ball – although she missed a couple of long-range opportunities on the run, including a poster from around the arc. Was another Stingray to kick forward well, with one inside 50 leading to Shaneece Stratton’s goal. A running clearance from the stoppage late-on was a highlight, and Shannon was one of the more effective Dandenong players.

#28 Tyanna Smith

Added raw pace and excitement to the midfield, making McDonald and Shannon’s dynamic duo and terrific trio for the day. The thing that made Smith stand out was her ability to push forward and become a dangerous figure inside 50, where she was seemingly everywhere at times as she slotted multiple goals. Her best came from a forward 50 stoppage, where she broke away and kicked truly, with her streaming runs from slick roves a nice feature throughout. Had another eye-catching passage of play where she paddled the ball along the boundary on defensive wing, showing great strength to keep her feet and composure to come away with the ball. Arguably the most damaging Stingray on the day, a top game from the middle-ager.

#31 Brooke Vernon

Vernon was an absolute rock at centre half-back, playing an effective nullifying role on Saxon-Jones while also winning her own ball. Following the Jets’ key forward up the field allowed Vernon to cut off Western’s attacks and distribute forward from defensive wing. While her work up the ground was good, Vernon’s best moments came in the form of a couple of defensive 50 overhead marks – showing outstanding courage for one in the final term. Was solid as ever, great game.

#51 Zoe Hill

While Vernon caught eyes roaming up the field, Hill played the more understated role as the last line of defence. It was not a particularly busy game for Hill with Western only managing one goal, but she did all the little defensive things well and certainly played her role. Laid a potentially goal-saving tackle on Emma Quinn as she streamed towards goal, which was her highlight for the game.

 

Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels vs. Northern Knights
By: Cameron Ross

GWV:

#9 Renee Saulitis

Saulitis proved once again that her tackling ability is elite. She has a textbook tackling technique, getting in low and watches the hips. Didn’t accumulate as many possessions as she would have liked, but her pressure more than made up for it.

#10 Ella Wood

Another solid game for the industrious and tough midfielder, who is going onto bigger and better things. I have stated previously that I am a massive fan of her, and nothing has changed.

#24 Sophie Molan

In her final game for the Rebels, Molan played in the exact same manner she does every game. Crunching tackles, leading with her voice, and doing everything in her power to get the win. After a relatively quiet first quarter, Molan had a much better last three quarters.

#32 Isabella Simmons

Simmons has all of the “tools” but just has to put it all together. Simmons will be one to keep an eye on in the future due to her athletic ability alone, but if she can work the rest out she will be a very talented footballer for years to come.

Northern:

#3 Nell Morris-Dalton

Often plays forward, but had some midfield time today. Took a stack of intercept marks, due to her intelligent positioning a kick behind the play. Seemed to be a natural midfielder, and was a big presence in there all game.

#6 Alyssa Bannan

Kicked a goal in the opening minute of the ground after reading the crumb, and then kicked another from the set shot, 25 out after a strong mark on the lead. Bannan was the prime target up forward all game and worked tireless to give a contest.

#21 Ellie McKenzie

Went head to head with Wood early and won the battle, then was let loose after quarter time. Won a lot of her own footy, and was unlucky not to finish with a goal after hitting the post on a set shot attempt. She has a lovely kicking technique, which is sure to hold her footballing career in good stead in the future.

 

In the other game over the weekend…

Bendigo Pioneers vs. Oakleigh Chargers

Bendigo:

#1 Mauve Tupper

Tupper was solid, finishing up with 15 disposals and six tackles. Was an effective ball user for Bendigo both forward and back, picking up two inside 50s and three rebounds for the match.

#3 Elizabeth Snell

Kicked two of Bendigo’s four goals so was an excellent target forward for the Pioneers. Also picked up 10 touches, two marks and three tackles for a solid day out.

#4 Brooke Hards

Had low disposals compared to her usual haul with only four for the match, but more than made up for it with her tackling pressure (13 tackles). Also had two rebound 50s.

#36 Kate Douglass

Another player who had a solid outing, picking up 11 touches, three tackles and five rebound 50s.

#40 Tara Slender

Slender had a quieter game this week, held well by the Chargers. Finished with six touches, three tackles, two rebounds and seven hit-outs.

Oakleigh:

#1 Gemma Lagioia

A solid 19 disposals, six marks and a goal was the tale for Lagioia in Round 9, clearing the ball well with her 15 kicks and four inside 50s.

#2 Mimi Hill

Hill put in a solid effort across the board this week, collecting 19 disposals, five marks, two tackles and three rebounds.

#4 Emily Harley

Another effective ball mover, Harley also picked up 19 touches, as well as three marks and a goal for her efforts.

#8 Alana Porter

Porter had a quiet game to finish the season, with only the six disposals, three tackles and one inside 50 to her name.

#12 Amelia Peck

Peck was among the best on ground for Oakleigh in what was certainly her best match for the season, notching 17 disposals, three marks and five inside 50s. Peck also dominated hitouts with 32, 11 more alone than the Pioneers collectively.

Team of the Week: NAB League Girls – Round 8

THE penultimate round of the NAB League Girls competition was made for defenders, as nine genuine starters had to fit into six for the Draft Central Team of the Week, while the midfield is as stacked as ever. Unlike in past weeks where forwards have dominated the landscape, a lot of low-scoring games had the defensive work of players on show. Three sides – Calder Cannons, Eastern Ranges and Northern Knights all enjoyed victories and had three players each in our Team of the Week, while other winners, Dandenong Stingrays, Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels and Western Jets had the two players in the 24-player squad. Unlucky losers, Murray Bushrangers, Oakleigh Chargers and Sandringham Dragons all had two players, while Bendigo Pioneers, Geelong Falcons and Gippsland Power had just the one player – the least of any week for the Falcons.

Northern Knights’ big win over Geelong Falcons in the final game of the round saw Team of the Week regulars, Ellie McKenzie and Gabby Newton making the side, as did forward, Alyssa Bannan. Abbey Chapman‘s work in defence under siege was terrific, picking up 11 rebounds in the Falcons’ first loss in two years, and slots into full-back. Up the other end of the field, Eastern Ranges’ Serena Gibbs booted 3.4 and lines up at full-forward, joined inside 50 by Team of the Week debutant Jenna Richardson, while Tarni Brown impressed on a wing. Regular Calder Cannons’ Team of the Week players, Georgia Patrikios and Georgie Prespakis make the side once again, as does Laura Cocomello who was impressive through the midfield.

Also on the ball is Murray Bushrangers ball magnet, Abby Favell who was named Draft Central Rising Star of the Week despite her side going down. She joins Newton and Prespakis onball, while Millie Brown stood up in defence and makes the team. In the opposite back pocket is Brooke Vernon who was best-on for Dandenong Stingrays in the win, while Isabella Shannon stood up in crunch moments in the forward half and she also makes the team. The Rebels’ captain Sophie Molan was involved everywhere and spent time inside 50 to provide a target, making the team alongside Nyakoat Dojiok who was terrific on a wing. Their opponents Oakleigh Chargers had the two nominees, with Kalarni Kearns impressing through the ruck against quality opposition, while Gemma Lagioia was also slick with her ball use off half-back.

The half-back line is filled with players from the one match, as Western Jets’ Elisabeth Georgostathis and Isabelle Pritchard were strong in rebounding the ball out of the Sandringham Dragons’ defensive 50. Up the other end, Sarah Hartwig was the Dragons’ best and makes Team of the Week again, along with Alice Burke who worked hard through the midfield. Rounding out the team are individual nominees for their respective sides, Bendigo Pioneers’ defender Kate Douglass, and Gippsland Power’s mid-defender Megan Fitzsimon.

Scouting notes: NAB League Girls – Round 8

ROUND 8 saw some big clashes with the Northern Knights handing the Geelong Falcons their first loss in two years in the NAB League Girls. We took note of some of the top performers that respective Female Talent Managers highlighted at the start of the season as ones to watch. We attended five games live and noted the final game at the bottom. All notes are the opinion of the individual writer.

Calder Cannons 4.6 (30) defeated Bendigo Pioneers 1.3 (9)
By: Taylah Melki

Calder 

#2 Felicity Theodore

She had a relatively quiet first half, not finding much of the footy but well and truly worked her way into the game in the second half. She kicked a good crumbing goal in the third after picking the ball up out the back of the pack and taking a couple of steps to dribble it through for a goal. Theodore also showcased her good vision and attacking mind set to push her side forward.

#21 Georgia Patrikios

She was involved early, getting hands to the ball at the stoppages and showing good spatial awareness to dish the ball out to teammates. She had good strong hands to take a solid grab in the first quarter and showcased her ability to read the play. Patrikios consistently attacked the ball hard, sets up play for her teammates and had really good hands. She showed great control of the ball while on the run and kicked a good crumbing goal in the third quarter to stay down and cleanly pick the ball up and then turn and kick. She used her long booming kick to propel the ball into the forward 50 and knew where to position the ball to her teammates advantage. She was clean around the stoppages working hard to extract the footy and ran hard both ways making her presence felt across the field.

#31 Krstel Petrevski

After a quiet start Petrevski came alive in the second half. She had a good passage of play receiving a handball and steaming forward to kick to a teammate in the third term and used her booming kick to move the ball forward on multiple occasions. Her hands in close were also impressive and applied strong pressure across the ground. She was creative with ball in hand and worked hard to move the ball into an attacking position throughout the game.

#41 Georgie Prespakis 

Prespakis continued her dominant form and seemed to have plenty of time and space with ball in hand. Her ability to sidestep her opponents and then dish it off to a teammate was second to none and she consistently pushed hard to create attacking options. She showed good courage to go back with the flight of the ball while second efforts were impressive working hard to try and win the ball back for her side. Prespakis never seemed far from the footy winning plenty of it both at the coalface and across the ground for the Cannons. She read the tap out of the ruck exceptionally well, used her beautiful long booming kick to her sides advantage and provided repeat entries into forward 50. Won a heap of the ball in the third and had an impressive passage of play with a tunnel ball handball while getting tackled out to a teammate in space.

Bendigo 

#1 Maeve Tupper

Tried hard throughout the game to impact the contest. Good read of the flight of the ball to take a big intercept mark in the middle of the ground and propel her team forward, good smother in the second quarter showcasing her ability to track the ball and apply strong defensive pressure on the ball carrier.

#3 Elizabeth Snell

Good clean grab of the footy and pushed hard to move the ball forward. She showed some good evasive skills to break free at the contest and go forward. Snell displayed good vision to hit up teammates in space and identify passages of play. She was not afraid to put her body on the line and go for a big mark against her taller opponent and tried hard throughout game to keep her side in it. She also used her body well around the stoppages to try and out manoeuvre her opponent and get free. 

#4 Brooke Hards 

Made an impact from the get go, tackling hard and was ferocious at the contest. Good read of the flight of the ball and took an intercept mark showcasing her strength. Hards had clean hands at ground level to crumb and then pass it off and tracked the ball well at ground level. She was strong in the contest not afraid to put her body on the line and take a bump. She kept her arms free and dished off a clever handball to a teammate in a better position in the second term credit to her spatial awareness and general footy smarts. Hards also laid some good strong tackles throughout the game.

#19 Jemma Finning

Good lead up at the footy, and well weighted kick to an opponent on the lead in the forward 50 in the first quarter. Her second efforts were good, worked hard to win the ball and had good support run to provide an option for her teammates. She got busy in the second quarter around the contest and was strong to push off an opponent and maintain possession. Finning used her booming kick to propel the ball forward and keep the ball moving in attack. 

Dandenong Stingrays 6.4 (40) defeated Murray Bushrangers 3.9 (27)
By: Peter Williams

Dandenong:

#10 Abbey Jordan

Played on a wing and had some nice plays throughout the game, putting pressure on defenders at half-forward and also getting back to assist at half-back. On a number of occasions, she was able to nullify contests through a quick kick before being tackled or bumped, or was able to impact opposition players while in possession, forcing mistakes.

#12 Molly McDonald

The captain played on the ball and provided good strength at ground level. She continually put her body on the line and while a lot of the good work she did would not find its way onto a stats sheet, her defensive pressure and one percenters were very impressive. She is a team-orientated player and showed good vision on the inside to find teammates free on the outside.

#26 Isabella Shannon

Kicked an important goal in the third term when they needed it, and roamed around the forward half, playing midfield and inside 50. She exited stoppages well, moving around opposition players and was able to get boot to ball while being brought down in tackles. After kicking the goal, Shannon won the next clearance from the midfield and put it inside 50 to a teammates’ advantage.

#28 Tyanna Smith

Smith stood up when it counted late, turning it on with a great running clearance late in the final term, then booted the winning goal coming out of a forward stoppage on the run, negotiating the breeze perfectly. Still had moments of strength and grace throughout the game, but it was the last quarter which stood out.

#31 Brooke Vernon

Played her reliable game in defence, tasked with the kick-outs and pushing up the ground when required. She was able to have a number of forward 50 entries when going inside, and also ran hard to lay a good tackle on the last line of defence in the third term to force a throw-in and save a potential goal.

#51 Zoe Hill

Often rebounded and pushed up the ground to provide an extra number at a contest at half-back. Hill won a number of free kicks for her fierce tackling and was composed under pressure in the back half.

Murray:

#6 Chelsea Hargreaves

The NSW/ACT representative played in defence and was able to move the ball quickly in transition. She showed a nice few quick steps before clearing the ball long and was able to get through a couple of players backing herself in, late in the game but her handball was intercepted. It was still promising to see her take the game on, which she tried to do with another strong run and kick out of defence going long down the field.

#7 Kate Adams

Played a pressure role through the midfield and forward end, just doing team things but chasing opponents and forcing them to dispose of the ball quicker than they would have liked. She took a nice steady mark under pressure at half-back at one stage, and in another instance was able to win the ball at ground level, handball it off and then apply a shepherd for a teammate to run with it.

#8 Abby Favell

Had the ball on a string throughout the game, particularly in the first quarter. Just ran and ran all day long. Not only was her accumulation on point, but her defensive pressure was superb as well. She laid a great goal-saving tackle in the first term and while some of her kicks were intercepted, she followed up with strong second efforts and just kept running, bringing her teammates into the game through handballs. She forced a number of turnovers through her tackling, and also showed off a clean set of heels by sidestepping an opponent at half-back and taking off. Kicked a late goal in the final term after sneaking 20m out from goal, wasting no time slotting the set shot and bring the Bushrangers back within six points. Best afield despite being in a losing side.

#19 Millie Brown

Another standout player for the Bushrangers, what impressed me most about Brown’s game was her last term. While the defence was under siege she was able to maintain her composure and just keep it going forward. She intercepted a number of kicks inside defensive 50 and worked hard throughout the match to keep her team in the game. She would often bring a teammate into the play with one-two handballs, but her interceptions on the wing and long bombs inside 50 were among the crucial plays that kept the game alive for the visitors.

#45 Olivia Barber

Barber is a raw talent that once she can convert her opportunities into goals, it will make her an incredibly damaging. The tall forward works hard for her leads and creates space well, and can also clunk a lot of marks. She just missed some gettable shots, which is something that can be easily fixed, just adjusting the kicking style. Continues to impress and is one to watch as she develops, and more so her field kicking is also sound, so just ironing it out in front of goal.

Western Jets 3.3 (21) defeated Sandringham Dragons 1.3 (9)
By: Peter Williams

Western:

#13 Isabella Grant

Returning to the side, Grant rotated between forward and midfield, having a good battle with Sarah Hartwig early. Both players impressed with Grant winning the battle with her smarts at ground level, while Hartwig impressed with her ability in the air. Grant used her body well around the ground to knock opponents off the ball and give off quick handballs to teammates running by. In one instance in the second term she bumped an opponent away, picked up the ball, spun around and kicked long down the wing. In the third term she had a couple of shots on goal with one fading to the right and the next going to the opposite pocket out on the full. Overall had her moments through the midfield in transition.

#17 Elisabeth Georgostathis

The captain played her usual consistent game coming out of half-back, winning the ball at ground level and looking to run down the middle to get her team forward. She cracked in hard throughout four quarters and showed strength in tackles by getting her hands free. Led the team well and stepped up late in the game to nullify a few contests.

#23 Isabelle Pritchard

A standout for the Jets throughout the game, intercepting inside 50s at will, positioning herself well in marking contests and kicking long to midfield. She laid a goal-saving tackle at one stage close to the boundary line, earning herself a free. Pritchard won a number of free kicks as well for chopping of the arms or holding because of her dominance in defence. She weighed up between pushing up and dropping back, taking a couple of crucial marks late in the game to settle the team.

Sandringham:

#25 Sarah Hartwig

The clear best for Sandringham on the day, Hartwig was ultra-impressive at centre half-back spending time on Isabella Grant and then other opponents while focusing maintaining her line. She copped a knock in the first term on the wing but got up and became one of the Dragons most influential players, winning a number of one-on-one contests by reading the ball in flight well. Such was her impact when she was taken off for a rest last in the third term, Western booted a goal. Had plenty of marks and rebounds as well as one percenters.

#28 Alice Burke

Hunted the football and while she did not win as much of it as she has before, she just kept getting her hands in at ground level and feeding the ball out to teammates. Won a free kick late in the game for being bumped high and kept cracking in with either tackles or hardball gets on the inside of the contest.

#42 Marguerite Purcell

Roamed along the wing and was another player who copped a hard bump early in the fourth term, but returned to play on. She moved well out of stoppages and was able to kick long down the middle, buzzing around the midfield and providing an option for her teammates to run and carry the ball forward.

Greater Western Victoria 3.2 (20) defeated Oakleigh Chargers 2.7 (19)
By: Peter Williams

GWV:

#9 Renee Saulitis

Played a different role to her usual smart forward role many have become accustomed to, but still was able to use her smarts and foot skills to advantage. If anything, she was able to have a greater impact on the contest because of her footy IQ and ability to dish off the ball quickly under pressure. She uses the ball well and one of her best moments was actually a defensive one – laying a run-down tackle on Mimi Hill on the wing, earning a free kick.

#10 Ella Wood

Spent time off half-back and pushing up through the midfield, Wood was strong throughout the four quarters with her defensive work and hard running. She forced a number of turnovers and pushed up to win the ball and bring teammates into the game, working well with a one-two handball combination with a teammate on the wing in the second term as an example of where she was able to get the ball moving forward. Was involved in the final goal with good strength at the stoppage.

#24 Sophie Molan

Never plays a bad game and Molan just kept consistent throughout the four quarters, booting the opening goal of the game and winning the footy at will. She missed a snap on goal initially but made up for it with a goal on the run, and then spread around the ground providing good strength at ground level or in the air. Molan executed the perfect handball out of the stoppage to Lilli Condon for the winning goal in the final term.

#30 Nyakoat Dojiok

One of the Rebels best, providing run and carry across the ground from half-back to the wing. She primarily was stationed on the wing and was often used in transition. On some occasions she might have done a bit too much, but she was still able to get the ball free even when under pressure. Most promising sign was the fact she continually tried to break the lines and create something for the Rebels and her burst of speed worried the opposition. Also has quick hands and was able to dispose of the ball quickly when being tackled.

#35 Maggie Caris

Provided her midfielders with first hands more often than not continuing her good season. What separates Caris from many other rucks is her cleanliness at ground level, and her ability to control the ball once in her hands. She is a one-touch player and has a long kick that can hit targets.

Oakleigh:

#1 Gemma Lagioia

The silky midfielder showed off her slick skills primarily off half-back, winning the ball and then executing 45-degree kicks opening up angles and avenues for her team to go forward. While the game was scrappy at times, Lagioia was able to add a touch of class with her foot skills and hit-up targets repetitively and keep the ball moving. She was also not afraid to take the opposition on, sidestepping an opponent and kicking long to the wing in the second term.

#2 Mimi Hill

Worked hard for four quarters and was influential early pushing up the ground and getting some important inside 50s for her teammates. Provided an option in the back half of the ground, combining with Lagioia at one stage, getting the ball forward. Hill had a flying shot on goal in the second term but just missed to the right while on a tight angle.

#8 Alana Porter

One of Oakleigh’s best throughout and just missed out on finishing off in front of goal. Kicked a major from a set shot, but missed a couple of opportunities to add to her tally in the third term. Not only did Porter use her trademark burst of speed to good effect, but she also applied plenty of defensive pressure, laying some big tackles and bumps on opponents to force turnovers. When tackled herself, Porter stood up in tackles and was able to get her hands free.

Geelong Falcons 0.7 (7) defeated by Northern Knights
By: Michael Alvaro

Geelong:

#1 Elise Vella

It was not Vella’s most productive day as the Falcons struggled for goals, but the diminutive forward took on her usual role of creating pressure around the contest and looked dangerous forward of centre. Had a nice passage where she took her opponent on and carried the ball through the middle of the ground, and also spent some time in the midfield during the second half.

#8 Paige Sheppard

Was in the thick of everything early, proving Geelong’s most productive player at stoppages and in the game overall. Sheppard accumulated a good amount of ball and tried her best to push the Falcons forward, but often saw her kicks smothered or compensated for distance given the wealth of contested situations she found herself in. Was particularly impressed with her combativeness, and Sheppard looked unfazed in physical battles against much taller midfield opponents.

#12 Laura Gardiner

The middle-ager was outstanding in one of her better performances for the year, and was one of the few Falcons midfielders to show composure in heavy traffic. Often a damaging driver forward on the outside, Gardiner won a fair amount of the ball at stoppages around the ground and looked to weave her way out of trouble instead of blazing away. While that inevitably happened at times anyway, Gardiner has plenty of time to refine her already strong skill base.

#18 Darcy Moloney

Moloney was one who seemed to struggle at times amidst the Knights’ pressure around the ball, but dug in hard as she typically does. Could have had a better return had she not missed a tough snapped chance, with some of her second half minutes spent inside the forward 50. Was often swamped when in possession, but showed good strength in tackles trying to break away.

#21 Abbey Chapman

Chapman stood up in an under-siege defence, providing a cool head and cutting off as many Northern forward forays as she could. Showed her high-level reading of the play with a couple of nice intercept marks, and backed them up with neat kicks and sharp decision making. While the ball often came right back, Chapman was hardly beaten one-on-one despite Northern finding most of their goals from marks at close range.

#24 Mia Skinner

Often the leader of Geelong’s attack, Skinner was quelled well by Northern defender Sarah Sansonetti. Playing as a lead-up centre half-forward, Skinner’s effort could not be faulted as she worked her opponent over with runs up to the wing and then hard back towards goal. Missed a couple of difficult chances in the first half which would have really boosted Geelong’s chances of staying in the game, but is usually a clinical finisher.

#38 Lucy McEvoy

McEvoy was central to coach Jason Armistead’s heavy shuffling of the magnets – starting off half-back, moving into the midfield as the Knights got on top, and then being thrown forward at the start of the last term as Geelong looked to find her with the first clearance for a quick goal. Used her long and penetrating kick to good effect from defence to rebound, and played the role of a general well. Her overhead marking was also outstanding, and probably would have stood out more if it was not so expected of her. Most of them came as McEvoy positioned herself a kick off the ball when it was inside the Falcon’s forward arc, with her attempt against two Knights opponents in the second term the best of the lot. Continues to show she can play anywhere, and is a true leader in that sense as she can sacrifice her own game for the benefit of the team.

#39 Renee Tierney

Had some really impressive moments across the match, but was ultimately unable to find the goal as she often does. Her best chance was a stray snap, but a lot of her possessions were found up the ground as she looked to work with Skinner as a link forward. Tierney’s clean hands both overhead on leads and below her knees at speed were fantastic, and allowed the Falcons to create chances to move forward quickly with much of the game played in dispute. Showed good defensive intentions with a crunching tackle on Northern’s Gulia Ceravolo in the final term which unfortunately ended the match.

Northern:

#3 Nell Morris-Dalton

Morris-Dalton was a force inside 50, playing one of her better games for the year. The key forward booted the first goal of the game after a one-on-one mark, setting the tone for a game where she intelligently found space inside 50 and worked hard to do so. A couple of impressive loose ball gets allowed Morris-Dalton to find Alyssa Bannan inside 50 just as impressively, and she picked out targets well to give Northern good looks at goal.

#6 Alyssa Bannan

Bannan was another Knight who proved dangerous in the forward half, and benefitted from the smart work of Morris-Dalton to combine for Northern’s second goal in the first term. Bannan was persistent around the contests early on and tackled hard, but proved most damaging when the ball was delivered to her over the back as she streamed forward and delivered inside 50. Could have added another goal in the third term but missed on the run in an otherwise impressive performance.

#14 Jess Fitzgerald

Like Bannan, Fitzgerald was fantastic going forward with lightning runs to set the Knights into attack. Seemed to be doing everything right early on with a neat kick and an overhead mark on the forward 50 arc both catching the eye. Fitzgerald continued her form in the second term with a clever passage to combine with Britney Gutknecht, and pressed to find the goals with multiple snaps from deep in the pocket either falling short or missing to the narrow side. She managed to find the big sticks in the third quarter with a set shot conversion, and her best moment came with a weaving break through three opponents through the middle of the ground to cap off a promising display.

#18 Sarah Sansonetti

Fulfilled one of the most important roles for the Knights, wearing Mia Skinner like a glove in a fantastic defensive effort. While her kicking at times was a little off, Sansonetti was hardly beaten one-on-one and looked a force in the air as she chimed in with spoils and contested marking attempts. In one of the best plays of the game, she laid a crunching bump on Paige Sheppard to force a spillage and followed up by winning the ball to the applause of her coaches on the bench.

#21 Ellie McKenzie

Named the Knights’ best on the day, and it is hardly any wonder why. McKenzie was a step above with her decision making and ability to remain composed on the ball, finding targets by hand and foot with ease. While constantly looking to wheel onto her left side could have sold her into trouble, McKenzie was good enough to bide her time and escape being caught. Playing through the midfield, perhaps the most pleasing part of McKenzie’s game was her physicality – as she laid a huge bump off the back of her own kick forward, as well as another on Poppy Schapp which unfortunately saw the diminutive Falcon forced off through injury. Scary to think McKeznie has another year left in the system, and showed she can dominate in the middle just as much as she does up forward.

#22 Britney Gutknecht

Employed in the midfield for much of the game, Gutknecht looked like having a big one after winning a running clearance at the very first centre bounce. While her output was slightly down across the day, Gutknecht had some good moments and managed to find the ball around the ground. She often looked to take the game on, but sometimes came unstuck in the back half when playing on after marks – which could be a product of her natural forward tendencies. Almost took a courageous mark late on, with the impressive effort catching the eye as the result was beyond doubt.

#23 Gabby Newton

Newton was productive as ever through the midfield, providing a point of difference in the frantic opening stages with calm use at the stoppages and impressive moves through traffic. Newton often handed the ball out effectively to her outside runners, and while she overdid it at times, was great to watch as others blazed away by foot. Much like McEvoy did for the Falcons, Newton positioned herself a kick off the play while the ball was disputed inside either 50 arc, taking a couple of high marks as she so often does. Newton’s understanding of the game was on full show in such positions, and she played a huge part in not allowing Geelong clean inside 50 entries.

In the other game over the weekend…

Gippsland Power 2.1 (13) defeated by Eastern Ranges 9.10 (64)

Gippsland:

#8 Chandra Abrahams – Named in the best laying five tackles from eight disposals and continued her strong defensive pressure.
#9 Maddison Shaw – Again busy through the midfield and getting back in defence with 13 disposals, two rebounds and six tackles.
#12 Megan Fitzsimon – Named best by the Power for her 16 disposals, six tackles and four rebounds.
#26 Grace McRae – Had 17 disposals, two tackles and three rebounds in a hard working effort.

Eastern:

#26 Tarni Brown – Classy with 24 touches, eight tackles and seven inside 50s, pumping the ball long and setting up her teammates while finishing with a goal.
#33 Tess Flintoff – Returned and was impressive again with 21 touches, seven marks, four tackles and four inside 50s.
#39 Laura McClelland – Named among the best again with 12 disposals, two marks and five tackles in the win.
#46 Serena Gibbs – Had seven shots on goal, booting 3.4 from 18 disposals, six marks and six inside 50s, while also having five hitouts in the ruck in another impressive performance.

2019 VFLW Round 1a preview: Southern Saints vs. Collingwood Magpies

AS the curtain closed on another AFL Women’s season, the Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s competition gets underway this weekend as a standalone game before a further four games take place next weekend. All matches are part of the beyondblue Round with the VFL a strong supporter of the cause. In the opening game of the season, last year’s minor premiers travel to RSEA Park to face the Southern Saints in what should be an interesting match to open the season.

In the game, the Pies have plenty of AFL Women’s talent, led by reigning club best and fairest winner Jaimee Lambert, as well as the uncompromising Britt Bonnici, and young stars Lauren Butler and Mikala Cann. For the Saints, Alison Drennan was traded back to St Kilda after a year at North Melbourne and will be a crucial player in the midfield, but the Round 1 team is mostly littered with young stars who are hoping for the opportunity to be pre-listed by the Saints. Given Peta Searle coaches the VFLW side and the AFLW side when it comes in, it means all players will be determined to please the coach for a potential opportunity at the big time in 2020. Among those players who missed out on being drafted last year are cross-coder Caitlin Greiser who has come from Melbourne University and provides a strong key forward option, as well as former Sandringham Dragons captain Jemma Owen, and Eastern Ranges duo, Ashleigh Allsopp and Gabriella De Angelis.

The Magpies also have a number of VFLW listed players to keep an eye on, with one name being full-back Jess Blecher, an American keen to make a name for herself and one that could well have the job on Greiser this weekend. Along with Blecher, Emily Browning who managed to play some games last year while still completing Year 12 studies is back again, as Jasmine Ferguson who has balanced her netball and football well. Grace Buchan and Ally Bild are a couple of Caulfield Grammarians who could be key players in the Pies’ side this season, and will be keen to start the year off with a win. Collingwood heads into the game as favourites, and considering the AFLW talent, the Magpies’ season last year and the determination within the group to atone for the straight sets exit, one would expect them to get the job done. Southern Saints will put up a massive fight however, and they look to have assembled a list that should see them rise higher than their eighth placed finish this season.

TEAMS:

SOUTHERN SAINTS v. COLLINGWOOD
(Video stream / WARF Radio)
Round 1 – 05/05/2019
12:00
RSEA Park

Southern Saints

B: 41. R. Neaves, 47. F. Hocking, 26. F. Steiert
HB: 19. L. Ahrens, 30. E. Keaney, 4. G. Ricardo
C: 22. C. Jones, 2. A. Brown, 20. K. O’Neill
HF: 35. L. McCarthy, 15. T. Bohanna, 10. J. Vogt
F: 49. A. Allsopp, 43. C. Greiser, 36. J. Owen
R: 12. C. Fitzpatrick, 18. O. Vesely, 8. A. Drennan
Int: 34. G. De Angelis, 14. D. Jolliffe, 11. H. Stuart, 7. C. Phillips
Emg: 17. L. Olsen, 24. K. Ripari, 3. D. Smith, 16. K. Thompson
23P: 48. J. Kelly

Collingwood

B: 22. S. Casey, 58. J. Blecher, 41. K. Stratton
HB: 13. J. Lambert, 75. E. Bliss, 65. E. Browning
C: 23. L. Butler, 67. M. Doherty, 63. P. Nash
HF: 55. C. Bunker, 70. J. Ferguson, 52. N. Hales
F: 25. M. Cann, 61. A. Malander, 72. K. Lee
R: 92. S. King, 60. D. Calautti, 50. G. Buchan
Int: 48. A. Bild , 8. B. Bonnici, 80. S. Mastras, 49. K. Newton
Emg: 77. K. Dudley, 54. A. Dyer, 90. C. Rooks
23P: 76. A. Levin

SEASON PREVIEWS:

COLLINGWOOD MAGPIES

Coach: Penny Cula-Reid
Last year: 1st (12-1-1) Preliminary Final loss

After the harrowing AFLM Grand Final loss, the next biggest heartache for Collingwood fans was the moment Chloe Molloy limped off the ground in the preliminary final with what turned out to be a season-ending foot injury. It meant Molloy missed the entire 2019 AFLW season, and the Magpies clearly lacked that extra bit of star quality around the ground. What they showed last year was the ability to get the job done and recruit really top-end VFLW players who lead the way for the Magpies to be able to rotate their AFLW talent from week-to-week. While their AFLW talent from the 2018 season was below that of their rivals, their VFLW talent was arguably the best as a collective – leading to them finishing as minor premiers. Unfortunately for the Magpies, back-to-back losses to Geelong and Hawthorn saw them bow out in straight sets. There is no reason they cannot go a step further into the decider in 2019, with Maddie Shevlin, Georgia Gourlay and Jordyn Allen all staying at the club for the VFLW season after playing for Casey last year. Lauren Butler (Williamstown) and Mikala Cann (Hawthorn) are others who will remain in the black and white from AFLW to VFLW after being drafted from other VFLW teams. A couple of Oakleigh Chargers prospects already secured for the second half of the season are Gemma Lagioia and Emily Harley who have been impressing in the NAB League Girls competition, while Jasmine Ferguson and Emily Browning were another couple of young stars who with some more development could be AFLW options.

SOUTHERN SAINTS

Coach: Peta Searle
Last year: 8th (5-9)

In 2018, the Southern Saints had seven players drafted into the AFLW (one pre-listed) in what was arguably a better season than many predicted given they had no AFLW current talent on the list 12 months ago. Eleanor Brown went to the Western Bulldogs in the top 10, paving the way for the likes of Charlotte Wilson and Rhiannon Watt (Carlton), Alison Drennan and Courtenay Munn (North Melbourne), Serena Karlson (Western Bulldogs) and Shelley Heath (Melbourne) all moving up to the next level. Much like the Tigers, Southern Saints have the ability to attract youth with the knowledge they will be able to pre-list players ahead of their entrance into the 2020 AFLW season. Drennan, Watt, Karlson and Munn have all made their way back to the Saints, while also picking up the likes of Caitlin Greiser and Olivia Vesely who have gone through the talent pathways and are looking for an opportunity. With Dandenong Stingrays’ Molly McDonald and Isabella Shannon already on St Kilda’s list, expect them to become key players in the second half of the season, and a number of Stingrays and Sandringham Dragons to follow suit to try and get their chance at AFLW level. Any team with Peta Searle as coach has to be viewed as a danger, and expect them to improve this season, although whether or not they have enough to make the jump into finals is yet to be determined.

Scouting notes: NAB League Girls – Round 7

WITH three rounds remaining there were some surprising results and finals-defining events, with a number of individuals standing up across the NAB League Girls competition. We took note of some of the top performers that respective Female Talent Managers highlighted at the start of the season as ones to watch. We attended five games live and noted the final game at the bottom. All notes are the opinion of the individual writer.

Western Jets vs. Tasmania Devils

By: Sophie Taylor

Western Jets:

#17 Elisabeth Georgostathis

Georgostathis was dominant in this matchup, had great intensity and some really good footy smarts when in possession. Picked up 24 touches and racked up seven tackles from her exceptional pressure around the pack. Had some good opportunities to go for marks but in the cold and wet only managed one, but was still flying for the ball at every opportunity. Also did some great shepherding, showing off her game smarts to give her teammates opportunities around the ground ball.

#23 Isabelle Pritchard

Pritchard was another player who had a great game, denying Tasmania entry into their forward 50 and putting immense pressure on the carrier if it made it inside 50. Racked up 18 disposals running off half back, with five tackles to show for her ability to create opportunities in defence ready to move the ball back forward. Put in the hard yards at the ground ball to cause issues for the Devils, had the strength to get out of the pack.

Tasmania Devils:

#4 Mia King

King was one of the highlights in the high pressure match, doing her best to create opportunities despite issues across the field. Despite the weather had some good moments, with her ability to run both ways and move the footy down field. Good run and carry as well as pressure on the carrier. Also had some great opportunities down back to move the footy out of defence, however had little options to kick to, proving difficult.

#7 Netty Garlo

Garlo had a quiet match but still made her mark on the contest. Had some good defensive and tackling intensity, putting pressure on the ground ball and going for the second try on a number of opportunities to regain possession for the Devils.

Calder Cannons vs. Geelong Falcons
By: Taylah Melki

Calder

#2 Felicity Theodore

She had a relatively slow first half but kept her player well held. Theodore really came alive in the final quarter showcasing her speed and desire to keep the game moving going for a run and bounce through the middle of the park in the last term to open it up for the Cannons. Her intensity sparked in the fourth quarter taking a strong mark under pressure and using her dash on more than one occasion to apply pressure on her opponents and open space.

#21 Georgia Patrikios 

She was a real ball winner for the Cannons credit to her ability to read the play and intent to get involved at the contest on more than once occasion. She applied good pressure across the ground covering her player well and worked hard in attack to put the ball into a damaging position for her teammates. She showcased her good evasive skills to shake off her opponents and kick the ball long down the line in the second quarter. Patrikios kicked their only goal for the game in the last few minutes of the fourth quarter and worked consistently hard to extract the ball out of the stoppages.

#41 Georgie Prespakis

Prespakis was her usual dominant self across the ground. She had clean hands out of the middle and kept her arms free in the tackle to dish the ball off to a teammate in space and allow them to run free. She constantly put her body on the line and impressed with her follow up work across the ground to get involved in the contest. Prespakis went in hard at the coalface trying to extract the ball and lay it off to a teammate in a better and more attacking position. She tackled hard and did not back down at the contest. She used her long booming kick to bomb it long inside forward 50 and create some attacking play for the Cannons who were starved for most of the game. She was a real ball magnet and looked electric every time she got the ball. Prespakis showcased her good spatial awareness to know where her opponents were and to pass the ball off to teammates in space. Overall she had a really impressive game and paired well with Patrikios.

Geelong Falcons

#8 Paige Sheppard 

She was clean with ball in hand and ran hard across the ground providing support for her teammates. Sheppard was really clean and took a good mark to keep the ball in her attacking 50 and pepper the Falcons attacking end. She was really strong around the contest and laid some strong tackles credit to her intent to win the ball. She displayed her accuracy and beautiful kick with a pinpoint precision pass to a leading forward. Her hands were good under pressure taking a couple of strong marks and laid a big tackle to lock the ball in. Sheppard also nailed a goal to go with her handy contributions around the ground.

#21 Abbey Chapman

Chapman was solid in defence applying plenty of pressure throughout the game and was a constant in defence taking some good grabs and reading the flight of the ball well. Her hands were exceptional under pressure taking a heap of marks and won plenty of the ball. She offered good run out of the back half and was clever with ball in hand.

#24 Mia Skinner

She reads the flight of the ball well and showed good awareness in the forward 50 to keep the ball moving into dangerous areas. Skinner had a good passage of play running through the middle of the ground to open up space and create a spark for the Falcons. She had clean hands on the up and was strong in the marking contest not afraid to stand under the ball and bring it down. She provided a good option up forward but was unable to capitalise in front of goal missing both shots. She worked hard across the ground laying some strong tackles and consistently fought hard in the air and on the ground to win the footy

#38 Lucy McEvoy

McEvoy led from the front the very first whistle getting involved in the contest. She was a tackling machine, laying crunching tackle after crunching tackle and showcasing her desperation and love for the fight. She once again showed composure with ball in hand, having time to look around and hit up a target. Her clean hands under pressure were very impressive and she imposed herself across the ground. She almost took a big fly getting hands to ball but just dropped it when she came down in the second term. In around the clearances McEvoy was solid going in hard to extract the ball and dish it out a passing teammate. She consistently got boot to ball cleanly and provided plenty of attack across the ground. She displayed her strong set of hands and read the play well to make sure she got into the right spots. Her on-field leadership was on show providing a calming figure in the dying minutes of the last term when the Cannons were coming hard, doing the little things well.

Eastern Ranges vs. Tasmania

By: Peter Williams

Eastern:

#21 Olivia Meagher

Meagher was a strong addition into the middle and won a number of clearances from stoppages. She is not afraid to take the game on and fended off a number of opponents throughout the game, or wrestled the ball back. She went a bit too far in the second term, breaking away from one but eventually got pinged for dropping the ball, but she was still very impressive.

#26 Tarni Brown

Using her strength at ground level, Brown won the ball back from her opponents when one-on-one and was providing an option when spreading to the wings or flanks at half-back. She used the ball fairly well and her long kick inside 50 put it to a contest for Tahlia Merrett to soccer home in the goal square in the first term. Had a couple of clearances from defensive stoppages, putting it on the outside of the boot. The first time she kicked it straight to the opposition but the second time got the ball clear. Had great movement out of the stoppages.

#39 Laura McClelland

Doing a lot of things that might go unnoticed on the stats sheet, but providing good defensive pressure and blocks, as well as laying tackles creating space for teammates. She has quick hands and was able to dispose of the ball quickly late in the second term to set up the goal to Serena Gibbs. McClelland came out in the second half with great determination, winning a clearance through a handball then laying a tackle. She locked the ball up a number of times with crunching tackles and was able to wind down the clock by causing repeat stoppages late. Had a really good last term for her intensity and determination.

#41 Tahlia Merrett

Kicked a great opportunistic goal in the first term, creating a contest at the top of the goal square then recovering well to soccer it home. Not a huge possession winner but laid a great tackle inside forward 50 in the final term and won a holding the ball free kick.

#46 Serena Gibbs

Had a terrific game with two majors in a low-scoring contest. Put her side in front with a quick snap around her body in the second term which proved vital, but had put together a strong first half. Won her fair share of the ball along the wing and pumped the ball inside 50 to give her teammates the best opportunity to score. Her tap work was also clean and she covered ground well. She continued her good work through the second half and scored the winning goal with a quick snap in a congested pack late in the match. Played good wet weather footy. Gibbs did have a mind blank that she could laugh about after the game, bombing it long from half-forward to half-back forgetting the direction they were kicking, in that third term.

Tasmania:

#4 Mia King

A clear talent in the Tasmanian team and will no doubt be a key member of the Eastern Allies again this year as she was last year. She has a long kick and had a couple of chances on goal with one falling short from an accurate kick hugged against the boundary, and a second from long range which missed to the left. King competes at ground level and has good strength, but is a natural ball winner as well. Stood out in the second half as well, using her long kicking and competitive nature to effect to keep her side in it. Had a lovely kick inside 50 to a teammate in the final term but the attempted mark was spoiled by a defender.

#6 Tahlia Bortigon

Bortigon had a number of impressive plays, showing good strength to get her hands on the ball at ground level then get them free from the would-be tackler and dispose of the ball to a teammate in space. She won an interesting free kick for a piggyback ride on Laura McClelland in defence, but her attitude showed how determined she was to win the ball back. Bortigon also showed good composure under pressure when hemmed in the back pocket.

Dandenong Stingrays vs. Oakleigh Chargers

By: Brandon Hutchinson

Dandenong Stingrays:

#10 Abbey Jordan

Jordan played off the ball against Oakleigh, recording a season-high four tackles and accumulating lower numbers (seven disposals) than in previous rounds. She managed to record most of her disposals by foot (five) and proved reliable going inside 50 (three).

#12 Molly McDonald

Utilised well in the second half, McDonald’s attack on the footy cleared and rebounded well off half-back. She lifted her work in the third, brought clean hands to the ground ball and continually put boot to ball off the back-flanks into space. The first half was not her best work, but she picked up her intensity at the main break, recording most of her 13 disposals after the break.

#58 Georgia Howes

Howes was both dominant and strong in the ruck. She utilised her strengths in the stoppages, muscling out her direct opponent at the drop of the ball (15 hit-outs). Of her four disposals, she recorded two inside 50s and one rebound alongside two tackles.

Oakleigh Chargers:

#1 Gemma Lagioia

Lagioia injected speed and agility into Oakleigh’s midfield, taking the loose ball from traffic in a blink and looping out with many effective kicks downfield. She set her team off well, kicking a goal in the first. While unlucky not to have all her efforts rewarded, her eye through congestion often tipped the odds Oakleigh’s way. She worked hard getting to the next contest, showcasing a good tank and commitment to the play. Untouched around congestion, Lagioia glided with the ball and created space with pure class and silk; her footy sense and instinct turning almost any contest on its head.

#2 Mimi Hill

While less damaging than she has been in previous weeks, Hill still had an impact at the stoppages. She brought clean hands to the ball, contested well and delivered effectively by foot. She remains an important ball winner for Oakleigh despite playing a bit below her own standards.

#4 Emily Harley

A tried and proven contested ball winner, Harley did well through the midfield with a game and individual season-high 20 disposals. She took the ball well overhead in the backline, rebounded well up the ground and applied important defensive pressure in pivotal moments. Her kicking remained a feature, quickly putting boot to ball to find the player out the back – breaking lines, and once setting up a shot inside. All in all, a clever user and important ball winner in Oakleigh’s victory.

#8 Alana Porter

Porter brought great hands and acceleration to the stoppages, surging with the ball and clearing well. She found the board after impressing in a forward stoppage, side-stepping and ripping her way through Dandenong’s defence. Porter accumulated 15 touches the best for her season but did not rack up any marks and tackles for her efforts throughout the game. Despite this, she remained key on the contested ball, initiating and contributing well to linking plays.

#12 Amelia Peck

Held up well in the ruck and showcased her craft effectively against a stronger opponent, getting over the top in the centre bounce. Through the stoppages she struggled with body on body on contests, giving the edge to her opponent, though unlike Howes, Peck managed to see a lot more of the footy (10 disposals), as well as delivered well to her forwards (three inside 50s).

Gippsland Power vs. Greater Western Victoria Rebels

By: Brandon Hutchinson

Gippsland Power:

#8 Chandra Abrahams

Abrahams brought a great deal of defensive effort to the contest, proving to be a real thorn to the Rebels in the first half. In the first, she was rewarded for a chase down tackle heading toward goal and countlessly threw her body at the contest, tackling and smothering hard. A relentless defender with an enormous work rate.

#9 Maddison Shaw

Held up well in defence, bringing strong hands overhead and effective tackling. Shaw remained an important piece to Gippsland’s defensive efforts throughout the game trying to cover her opponent and win the ball at any chance she could. She showcased great acceleration out of traffic and played her footy with great intensity.

#27 Nikia Webber

The most important player in the Gippsland outfit, Webber accumulated plenty and moved well with ball in hand. She demonstrated great vision inside 50, power through the stoppage and brought strong hands to the contested ball. In the third, she willed her team back in the game with two amazing goals and outstanding work trapping the ball in their forward half, as well having many score involvements throughout the game.

#33 Shanara Notman

Notman rebounded well off half-back and intercepted well. Her height served her throughout, beating her direct opponents with versatility and clean ball use. A tried and proven kicker, Notman remained reliable in the backline when the game was on the line.

GWV Rebels:

#10 Ella Wood

Excelled with her clearance work, Wood brought great awareness and agility clearing the stoppage. In the dying minutes, she spun out of a tackle and broke free into space to help keep the game alive. She fought hard for the footy and moved well in traffic but was unlucky not to have her efforts rewarded at the end. She also recorded one goal for the day.

#24 Sophie Molan

With a classy element to her football, Molan seems to glide with the football of half-back. She finds space in traffic and sets her eyes to the next play, seeming unbeknownst to the pressure around her. Her kicking was a feature, breaking lines and quickly rebounding forward presses, as well putting one through the sticks. Molan was also the player tasked with a kick after the siren to tie the game, having pushed up the ground to trap the footy inside. While she was not successful on the kick, she was more than impressive throughout four quarters.

Bendigo Pioneers vs. Northern Knights

By: Maddy Pieper

Bendigo Pioneers:

#1 Maeve Tupper

Tupper was a force through the midfield, continually fighting hard for the ball. She took some good contested marks for a smaller player, driving the ball forward and constantly trying to create opportunities inside 50.

#4 Brooke Hards

Hards showed off her footy smarts against the Knights, moving well through traffic and finding a lot of ball in the middle and around stoppages. Had a quiet patch in the third quarter, however had a never give up attitude and continuously tried her hardest in what was a frustrating game for the Pioneers.

Northern Knights:

#3 Nell Morris-Dalton

Morris-Dalton did not put on her usual strong performance forward, unable to make an impact on the scoreboard with goals, but still had a strong presence up forward taking some good marks with clean hands. Did not let her game affect her playmaking, however as she continued to try hard and create opportunities for her teammates up forward.

#21 Ellie McKenzie

McKenzie was another player who had a lot of the ball, playing a consistent game wherever she was on the field and was not rattled when she got a knock to the head during a strong tackle. Her ability to clear the ball and take strong marks made her a standout in this match, while her clever footwork came in useful around traffic, on multiple times sidestepping opponents to find space and move the ball forward.

#22 Britney Gutknecht

Gutknecht showcased her ability to break through tackles, leading by example in the midfield to create opportunities forward for the Knights. Was persistent through the middle of the ground, putting in the hard yards in both the defensive and forward 50 to clear the ball. Was rewarded for her efforts with a good kick at goal in the second quarter to take Northern’s tally to four goals at half-time.

#23 Gabby Newton

Newton showcased her good game smarts in this matchup credit to her clean kicking inside 50 to Knights forwards, putting the ball to the advantage of her teammates and creating opportunities on goal. Worked well with Gutknecht in the midfield to gain possession and start the charge forward.

In the other game played on the weekend…

Murray Bushangers 5.6 (36) defeated Sandringham Dragons 1.11 (17)

Murray:

#7 Kate Adams – Booted a goal from seven tdisposals, one mark, three tackles and one inside 50.

#8 Abby Favell – Continued her good form this season with a game-high 23 disposals, three marks, four tackles, four inside 50s and one rebound.

#10 Sophie Locke – Laid five tackles to go with her 10 disposals and three marks, while also recording two rebounds.

#19 Millie Brown – Named best on ground for her 22 disposals, two marks, four tackles, two inside 50s and six rebounds working hard across the ground.

Sandringham:

#25 Sarah Hartwig – Equal highest disposal winner for the Dragons, taking two marks, laying five tackles and having a team-high five rebounds propelling her side out of defence.

#28 Alice Burke – Usually a prolific tackler, Burke worked more offensively with 16 disposals, one mark and two inside 50s.

#30 Winnie Laing – The inside midfielder had 13 touches, one mark, four tackles, two inside 50s and one rebound.

#33 Bella Eddey – The talented forward might not have hit the scoreboard, but registered 15 disposals, three marks, three tackles and two inside 50s.

NAB League Girls Round 6 preview: The race for finals spots heats up

A BUMPER weekend of NAB League girls football will have onlookers having to choose which games to keep an eye on, with fixtures spread across the state in the 12:45pm timeslot on both Saturday and Sunday. In arguably the game of the round, Bendigo hosts Dandenong for an outcome crucial to their finals aspirations, while some sides will suffer from forced changes on the back of AFL Academy games.

GIPPSLAND POWER v. NORTHERN KNIGHTS

Round 6 – 13/04/2019
12:45pm
Garfield Football Ground

A late fixture change sees Northern Knights travel to Garfield to meet Gippsland Power and open Round 6. After a minor hiccup in the form of a draw against Oakleigh in Round 2, the Knights have hit form once again and rolled on to three-consecutive wins. The travelling side’s depth will be tested though as four of their star players come out of the side due to Academy commitments, but the likes of Jess Fitzgerald and Abigail Bennett should thrive of an extended run in the midfield and deliver well to perennial forward target Nell Morris-Dalton. It has been a much different season for Gippsland, still searching for its first win in season 2019 and coming off a 62-point thumping at the hands of Bendigo. Still, developing talents in the form of Nikia Webber and Chandra Abrahams amongst others continue to show promise in a tough year and should have a good opportunity to shine this week.

OAKLEIGH CHARGERS v. MURRAY BUSHRANGERS

Round 6 – 13/04/2019
12:45pm
Warrawee Park – Oakleigh

Both the Oakleigh Chargers and Murray Bushrangers will be hoping to bounce back from Round 5 losses when they do battle on the metro side’s home turf. After toppling a dangerous Calder side, Oakleigh were upset last week as Sandringham notched its first win for the year, while Murray has suffered consecutive defeats after a big wins over Western and Gippsland in Rounds 2 and 3. With wins on the board for both sides, this will be a tough ask for Oakleigh as it looks to charge back into a top four spot – and can do so if other results go its way. Murray hang on the other side of that chasing pack, and will look to the likes of Millie Brown and Abby Favell to regain their form, while Sophia McCarthy is set to back up her three-goal Round 5 haul. For Oakleigh, Mimi Hill was electric last week, and will be a key player again with Gemma Lagioia one who can build on her Round 5 performance and Alana Porter another in good form. While it will prove a test for the home side, the Charger will be confident of bouncing back onto the winners list here.

BENDIGO PIONEERS v. DANDENONG STINGRAYS

Round 6 – 14/04/2019
12:45pm
Epsom Huntly Reserve – Bendigo

Bendigo Pioneers faces an uphill battle in its push for a finals berth, faced with a Dandenong Stingrays side also poised on 12 premiership points. The Stingrays went down narrowly to the dominant Geelong Falcons last time out, but certainly showed their credentials as a genuine premiership contender with an eye-catching first half. The Pioneers are also staking their claim with three wins from their last four outings, headlined by a standout 62-point drubbing of Gippsland last week. With the sides poised evenly and the race for finals spots heating up, this is shaping to be the game of the round. Brooke Vernon and Zoe Hill have been consistent features for Dandenong thus far, and will have to stand up with Academy prospects Isabella Shannon, Molly McDonald and Tyanna Smith all out this week. The Pioneers managed to keep a relatively steady lineup, with Elizabeth Snell coming off a five-goal haul and Brooke Hards their key ball winner, while Kate Douglass has been immense down back. It will be a good opportunity for Bendigo to prove themselves further, with the home ground advantage in tow.

EASTERN RANGES v. CALDER CANNONS

Round 6 – 14/04/2019
12:45pm
Bayswater Football Ground

Another exciting match-up with finals ramifications is set to take place on Sunday, with Eastern Ranges playing host to Calder Cannons in Bayswater. Both sides experienced losses over the last couple of weeks, with Calder falling to Oakleigh in Round 4 and Eastern going down to Northern last week. With Calder currently holding the edge over their weekend opponents on four wins as opposed to three, this will prove to be a classic ‘eight-pointer’ in the race for a top four spot. Tarni Brown remains in a weakened Ranges side on the back of Academy selections, with Tess Flintoff another who has recently benefitted from the ruckwork of Serena Gibbs. While Calder faces a similar situation with the loss of Georgia Patrikios, Georgie Prespakis remains alongside Alana Barba in a tight-knit midfield. With plenty on the line, expect these sides to throw everything but the kitchen sink at getting a result here, with either team capable of kicking big scores.

GREATER WESTERN VICTORIA REBELS v. SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS

Round 6 – 14/04/2019
12:45pm
Mars Stadium – Ballarat

A second win is up for grabs for both Greater Western Victoria and Sandringham Dragons as they do battle in Ballarat on Sunday. The Rebels have not quite been able to recapture the form that earned them a Round 1 win over Bendigo, since falling in every game coming into this clash on the back of an upset loss to Western. Conversely, the Dragons look to finally be playing themselves into some form after knocking off Oakleigh last week for their first win of the season. Rebels midfield ace Ella Wood will be important in the engine room alongside Chloe Leonard, with Sophie Molan out of the side, while Sandringham will look to Winnie Laing to shoulder most of the midfield load as Alice Burke goes out. With the form of either side differing at this point of the season despite their identical record, the Dragons will be confident of making it two-straight in a tight tussle.

WESTERN JETS v. GEELONG FALCONS

Round 6 – 14/04/2019
12:45pm
Downer Oval – Williamstown

In the round’s last listed fixture, Western Jets faces a tall order in building on last week’s winning effort, as a meeting with the undefeated reigning premiers awaits. The Falcons found themselves behind for the first time in a long time last week against the Stingrays, but rallied in the second half to keep their perfect record in tact. Western will be hoping for more of the same in that respect, as the Jets looked the best they have all year in Round 5 as it overcame GWV for win number one. They will have to do so without the prolific Isabella Grant, leaving a heap of heavy lifting for fellow midfielder Elisabeth Georgostathis. In a testament to their depth, the Falcons will only be without skipper Lucy McEvoy due to Academy duties, with the likes of Luka Lesosky-Hay, Paige Sheppard, and Darcy Moloney able to fill the void in midfield. With the Falcons’ forward line clicking into gear, their defence sturdy as ever, and everything in between up to scratch, it is always hard to look past the undefeated unit in any game.