Tag: Grace Hodder

The Graduates: 2021 VFLW – Round 9

A HEAP of young prospects continue to filter through the Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s competition, with the revamped structure allowing Under 18 and 19 NAB League players to align with state league sides as both seasons run concurrently. While the NAB League finals commenced, Round 9 saw plenty of young talent scattered across each state league side. We take a look at how VFLW-listed players who currently compete in or have recently graduated from the NAB League, performed.

>> Results: VFLW Round 9

Essendon’s thumping win over Carlton saw a quartet of graduates get their hands dirty in the red and black. Bendigo Pioneers midfielder Elizabeth Snell continues to impress, with 12 disposals and nine tackles capping her latest effort. Meanwhile, Alana Barba matched the Country coup for tackles, as Eloise Ashley-Cooper and Tamsin Crook each managed nine touches. For Carlton, Marnie Jarvis also worked hard for seven disposals and seven tackles.

Not only did Port Melbourne return to the winners list this past weekend, but Sophie Locke also returned to the scoresheet with 1.2 from 14 touches against Darebin, in what was her second game back. Recently delisted Richmond forward Emily Harley showed her worth with a bag of four goals, as fellow former AFLW players Cleo Saxon-Jones and Bridie Kennedy both contributed six disposals in the win.

Geelong inflicted the round’s biggest margin of victory with a 75-point drubbing of the Western Bulldogs, who fielded two debutants. Current Western Jets prospects Caitlin Sargent (nine disposals, one goal) and Trinity Skenderis (five disposals) ran out alongside fellow NAB Leaguer Jemima Woods, while mainstay Brooke Hards played a defensive role on Stephanie Williams. For Geelong, Tamara Smith (17 disposals, eight tackles, two goals) and Paige Sheppard (22 disposals, one goal) were among the standouts.

The Casey Demons were also big winners on Saturday, with tall Bridie Winbanks playing an important role. She managed 29 hitouts, while Emma Horne seeing the ball six times throughout. In North’s blue and white, Jayde Hamilton returned to the fold after representing the Allies and GWS Academy, while Ciara Fitzgerald had eight touches and laid two tackles.

A hardened Collingwood side trounced Williamstown in Saturday’s final fixture, but it was the Seagulls who fielded the more NAB League graduates. Among them, tall talent Tahlia Merrett (seven disposals, three tackles, eight hitouts) was named her side’s best, while midfielder Ruby Tripodi also featured in the votes for her eight disposals and 10 tackles.

Sunday’s standalone fixture saw the Southern Saints get past Hawthorn, with the Hawks fielding a debutant in the fighting loss. Gippsland Power product and Vic Country representative Grace McRae was the player in question, managing 11 disposals and five tackles. Chloe O’Malley (11 disposals, five tackles, one goal) was also impressive in the brown and gold, as Jenna Richardson and Maddi Shaw also featured. For the Saints, Gabriella De Angelis, Amelia Peck, and Grace Hodder all turned out once again.

Image Credit: Martin Keep/AFL Photos

The Graduates: 2021 VFLW – Round 8

A HEAP of young prospects are now filtering through the Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s competition, with the revamped structure allowing Under 18 and 19 NAB League players to align with state league sides as both seasons run concurrently. Despite the NAB League’s resumption, Round 8 saw plenty of young talent scattered across each state league side. We take a look at how VFLW-listed players who currently compete in or have recently graduated from the NAB League, performed.

>> Results: VFLW Round 8

The Western Bulldogs are turning their season around, having notched a third win after defeating the Southern Saints by 18 points on Friday night. Brooke Hards (10 disposals, four tackles), who has played every game for the Dogs this season, was one of their best and only graduates afield in her relatively new defensive role. Molly Denahy-Maloney was the other in this category, notching four touches and six hitouts.

The Saints had some promising young talent scattered across their side too, headlined by the debut of Dandenong Stingrays defender Jemma Radford. She earned votes in the loss for her 12 disposals and six marks, getting better as the game wore on. Tall Amelia Peck was another to impress with 18 touches and four marks, while Grace Hodder had it 16 times and laid five tackles.

Casey brought Port Melbourne’s unbeaten run to an end on Saturday, trumping the Borough by 41 points on the road. Forward Sophie Locke made her return and fared well with 10 disposals, but could not quite find the goals. Recently delisted Richmond forward Emily Harley also found it 10 times, as Bridie Kennedy and Kate Adams also got a run for Port. Emma Horne (seven disposals) and Bridie Winbanks (six hitouts) were Casey’s representatives in these parameters.

Geelong’s top four surge roared on with a thumping win over Darebin Falcons, seeing the Cats move to an impressive 6-2 record. Paige Sheppard was among the votes for Geelong, finishing with 18 disposals and five marks as her terrific return season continues. Tamara Smith also found a good amount of ball, working hard for 20 touches and nine tackles in the famous hoops.

On Sunday, Collingwood got the points in a traditional Anzac Day matchup with Essendon, as the Magpies continue to set the competition benchmark. Olivia Meagher started well in black and white, and finished eight disposals. Essendon continues to blood a good amount of youth, with Elizabeth Snell (14 disposals, five tackles) and Eloise Ashley-Cooper (17 disposals, five tackles) both terrific, while Calder products Grace Dicker (12 and seven) and Alana Barba (11 and three) were others who proved productive.

Hawthorn picked up its second set of points on the weekend after downing Williamstown by 16 points, meaning the Hawks’ two wins have come against fellow standalone entities. Jenna Richardson got among the votes in her side’s victory, while it was no surprise to see Ruby Tripodi again do the same for Williamstown. In North Melbourne’s thumping win over Carlton, Ciara Fitzgerald took three marks in her 12 disposals, as Marnie Jarvis and Taylah Kolevski found touch in the Blues’ loss.

The Graduates: 2021 VFLW – Round 7

A HEAP of young prospects are now filtering through the Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s competition, with the revamped structure allowing Under 18 and 19 NAB League players to align with state league sides as both seasons run concurrently. Round 7 saw plenty of talent scattered across each side and a few players make their debuts. We take a look at how VFLW-listed players who currently compete in or have graduated from the NAB League, performed.

>> Results: VFLW Round 7

Collingwood maintained its unbeaten streak with a win over the Southern Saints on Saturday morning, with Eastern Ranges standout Olivia Meagher enjoying an extended run in the side. She had 11 disposals, laid three tackles and picked up votes for the Magpies in their seventh win. For the Saints, Gabby De Angelis notched 12 touches, while fellow pathway graduates Amelia Peck and Grace Hodder each found the ball nine times.

Essendon boasted a host of current and former Calder Cannons products in its win over Williamstown, with the young brigade making a real impact. Zali Friswell booted two goals to feature among the Bombers’ votes with Kasey Lennox, as former Cannons Alana Barba (11 disposals) and Grace Dicker (10) also fared well.

Meanwhile, country coup Eloise Ashley-Cooper racked up a team-high 17 disposals, while current Bendigo Pioneers standout Elizabeth Snell laid 10 tackles in the sash. For Williamstown, Ruby Tripodi was again superb as she found the ball 20 times, but could only manage two behinds among them. Megan Williamson had it 16 times, booting a goal and laying nine tackles to feature among the Seagulls’ votes.

Casey and Hawthorn treated fans to a relatively high-scoring spectacle, with the Demons coming out on top and the Hawks continuing to blood exciting youth. The Eastern Ranges representation was high in brown and gold, as Ruby O’Dwyer (12 disposals, four tackles), Isabelle Khoury (11 disposals, seven tackles, one goal), Eloise Chaston (six disposals, five tackles), and Tilly Hardy (five disposals, four tackles) all continue to acclimatise to the level alongside graduate, while Jenna Richardson (eight disposals) also impressed.

Emma Horne was arguably Melbourne’s pick of the NAB League products, notching nine disposals and finishing with four tackles. Versatile tall Bridie Winbanks managed two disposals and eight hitouts, as 19-year-old former Dandenong Stingray, Harmony Thomas also ran out for the Demons.

Geelong’s top four charge rages on, as the Cats kept North Melbourne at bay in Sunday’s opening bout. Paige Sheppard was again terrific in the hoops, racking up 22 disposals to go with seven tackles and four marks. Tamara Smith had it 14 times and got her hands dirty with eight tackles, as current Geelong Falcons guns Annie Lee and Renee Tierney returned to the fold. Ciara Fitzgerald had 10 touches for North, while 20-year-old Tasmanian Camilla Taylor collected seven on debut.

The Western Bulldogs returned to the winners list with an emphatic victory over Darebin Falcons, with a continued injection of youth and AFLW-listed players aiding their cause. Western Jets’ Jemima Woods had a memorable debut with three goals, running out for the first time alongside Stephanie Asciak. GWV’s Lilli Condon celebrated her first win at the level with 11 disposals and five tackles, as Brooke Hards and Molly Denahy Moloney continued their runs in the side. For Darebin, youth product and Calder ruck Peppa Poultney entered the fray with 10 disposals and a couple of marks.

The final game of the round saw Port Melbourne come from behind to edge Carlton on home turf, seeing the Borough remain top of the table. Recently delisted Richmond AFLW tall, Cleo Saxon-Jones finished with 11 kicks among her 12 disposals, as former Carlton utility Bridie Kennedy had 10 touches, and current Oakleigh forward Taylah Morton matched that output, but could not quite snare her maiden goal.

For Carlton, Northern Knights graduate Marnie Jarvis collected 12 touches and laid four tackles, as Amber Micallef had it a handful of times and Murray Bushrangers standout Kate Adams came in for her fifth game – ending with three disposals for the third game running.

The Graduates: 2021 VFLW – Round 4

A HEAP of young prospects are set to filter through the Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s competition in 2021, with the revamped structure allowing Under 18 and 19 NAB League players to align with state league sides as both seasons run concurrently. Round 4 saw plenty of talent scattered across each side, and we take a look at how VFLW-listed players who currently play in or have graduated from the NAB League, performed.

The Western Bulldogs have blooded plenty of youth across all levels in 2021 and that was no different on Saturday, though the young pups went down to Williamstown. Former Richmond player Nekaela Butler made her debut in red, white, and blue, joining a strong contingent of NAB League graduates in the side. Nikita Wright booted a goal, while Brooke Hards tackled strongly and former Sandringham pair Molly Denahy Maloney and Margie Purcell also featured.

For Williamstown, Western Jets product Ruby Tripodi continued her promising season with a performance good enough to earn votes, with former Bendigo Pioneers standout Megan Williamson also a key part of the Seagulls’ cause.

Sophie Locke booted three majors as Port Melbourne claimed the scalp of Geelong on Saturday evening, putting her clear atop the VFLW goalkicking charts. Former Carlton-listed utility Bridie Kennedy also got back into action for the Borough in their win. For Geelong, the likes of Tamara Smith and Paige Sheppard have established their spots among a talented team which should feature in finals.

Casey fielded a strong side in its win over the Southern Saints on Sunday, with Emma Horne among the standout VFLW-listed youngsters to run out. Meanwhile, Gabby De Angelis returned in the red, white and black after missing last week as Grace Hodder continues to feature at the level.

A Carlton squad stacked with AFLW talent trumped North Melbourne for its second-straight win, pushing some young prospects out of the side. On the other hand, North welcomed Jayde Hamilton back to the fold for her second state league outing after NAB League commitments, while former Richmond defender Ciara Fitzgerald was again named in the votes.

Essendon’s mix of experience and youth shone through in the Bombers’ comprehensive 67-point victory over Darebin, marking their third win for the season. Former Calder Cannons teammates Alana Barba and Felicity Theodore both snared two goals in the victory, with Barba also named in the votes alongside Grace Dicker. Murray graduate Eloise Ashley-Cooper was also among the action in red and black.

In the final game of the round, Collingwood held off a pesky Hawthorn unit to win by 15 points and remain undefeated, with Olivia Meagher and Neve O’Connor both taking the field in black and white. Hawthorn had some strong contributions from Chloe O’Malley and Maddi Shaw, with the versatile Lauren Szigeti also in the thick of things.

Image Credit: Peter Bratuskins/Port Melbourne FC

The Graduates: 2021 VFLW – Round 3

A HEAP of young prospects are set to filter through the Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s competition in 2021, with the revamped structure allowing Under 18 and 19 NAB League players to align with state league sides as both seasons run concurrently. Round 3 saw plenty of talent scattered across each side, and we take a look at how VFLW-listed players who currently play in or have graduated from the NAB League, performed.

The Western Bulldogs were again littered with former NAB League talent, but the young pups were soundly outdone by a surging Collingwood side on Friday night. On a positive note for the Bulldogs, Margie Purcell came in for her first game and ended as one of three goalkickers alongside former Sandringham teammate, Molly Denahy Maloney.

2020 Bendigo Pioneers skipper Brooke Hards gave it everything up forward and through midfield, while Nikita Wright continues to establish her spot. For Collingwood, current Eastern Ranges midfielder Olivia Meagher was again amongst the action and booted a goal in the big win, as tall prospect Neve O’Connor got a third game for the season under her belt.

Standalone rivals Essendon and Hawthorn both fielded some promising NAB League graduates, with the Bombers’ batch proving particularly impactful in their win at The Hangar. Debutant and current Bendigo midfielder Elizabeth Snell was named among the votes alongside Eloise Ashley-Cooper and Alana Barba. The latter’s ex-Calder teammate, Felicity Theodore also popped up with a goal.

In the brown and gold, Lauren Szigeti‘s strong start to the season continued as she was named among her side’s best players for the third time in as many games. She played a key role as Hawthorn’s prime inside midfielder. Jemma Owen, Maddi Shaw, and Chloe O’Malley were among the other graduates to suit up for the Hawks as they suffered a second loss.

Casey enjoyed a big win over North Melbourne on Saturday, aided by some impactful senior-listed stars. Emma Horne and Bridie Winbanks both notched their third appearances for the Demons, contributing to their side’s second win. Former Richmond youngster Ciara Fitzgerald finished as North’s lone goalkicker and earned votes, while Western Jets defender Marli Klaumanns-Moller ran out for her third VFLW outing in blue and white.

Geelong Falcons pair Annie Lee and Renee Tierney earned VFLW berths with the Cats, with the former being recognised among her team’s best players in the low-scoring victory. Tamara Smith was also influential for Geelong, while Paige Sheppard continues to return promising form in the hoops. Amelia Peck and Grace Hodder were again among Southern Saints’ contingent, battling away in the tough conditions.

Sophie Locke took her season goal tally up to six with two majors in Port Melbourne’s win over traditional rival, Williamstown on Saturday. Fellow Murray Bushrangers product, Kate Adams is another promising youngster to have suited up for the Borough, as Williamstown fielded similarly good youth.

The Seagulls had some high-level youngsters afield too, with Ruby Tripodi again a key figure at the coalface, while the dynamic Megan Williamson earned votes alongside talented forward Tahlia Merrett. Geelong Falcons product Zoe Garth also notched her second game after previously turning out in the NAB League in 2021.

Carlton had a couple of up-and-comers make their third-straight appearances on the season as senior-listed talent continues to filter through, with Amber Micallef and Taylah Kolevski contributing in the Blues’ maiden win for 2021.

Image Credit: Martin Keep/AFL Photos

The Graduates: 2021 VFLW – Round 2

A HEAP of young prospects are set to filter through the Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s competition in 2021, with the revamped structure allowing Under 18 and 19 NAB League players to align with state league sides as both seasons run concurrently. Round 2 saw plenty of talent scattered across each side, and we take a look at how VFLW-listed players who currently play in or have graduated from the NAB League, performed.

Geelong picked up its first points for season 2021 on Saturday afternoon, defeating standalone side Williamstown by 40 points. The Cats had some AFLW-listed talent to come from the NAB League, as well as Geelong Falcons graduate Paige Sheppard. The midfield-forward earned votes for the second week running in what has been a promising start to her year.

Williamstown blooded a Falcons product of its own in the form of Zoe Garth, who has played three NAB League games this year. Tahlia Merrett came into the team and was among the Seagulls’ best, while Megan Williamson and Ruby Tripodi also played roles for the losing side.

Promising Eastern Ranges midfielder Olivia Meagher was given an opportunity for Collingwood after her dominant Under 19s form, as the Magpies defeated Southern Saints by 22 points. Meanwhile, former Northern Knights tall Neve O’Connor played her second game running in the black and white as she continues her development.

Gabby De Angelis backed up from a goal in last week’s outing to be among the Southern Saints’ best players on the day, though she did not hit the scoreboard this time out. Versatile former Oakleigh tall Amelia Peck was again among the Saints’ lineup, as was Grace Hodder who started at half-back.

Essendon’s winning lineup featured a bunch of fairly recent NAB League talent, including a trio of ex-Calder Cannons. Among them, Alana Barba and Felicity Theodore each snared a goal in the win over Casey, with Grace Dicker rounding out the trio in her maiden appearance. Murray product Eloise Ashley-Cooper also suited up for her second game, as did Bridie Winbanks for Casey.

A promising young Western Bulldogs side fell short of North Melbourne on Sunday morning, as the Kangaroos earned their first points in 2021. Former Richmond player and Northern Knights graduate Ciara Fitzgerald ran out for her first game in blue and white, kicking a goal on debut. Western prospect Marli Klaumanns-Moller was also fielded as she continues to link with the state league side.

For the Bulldogs, a strong contingent of AFLW-listed NAB League products made their mark, while a few budding stars also contributed. Among them, 2020 Bendigo Pioneers skipper Brooke Hards battled away up forward, while Molly Denahy Moloney and Western’s Nikita Wright again donned the red, white and blue in Round 2.

Hawthorn was another team to win for the first time in 2021, and had some strong young talent on show. Lauren Szigeti was among the Hawks’ best rotating through midfield from defence, as she and Jemma Owen both snagged goals. Maddi Shaw returned to the lineup, while Chloe O’Malley played her second game, and Eastern products Isabelle KhouryTilly Hardy and Jess Grace all earned VFLW berths among a raft of changes.

Former Murray forward Sophie Locke lit up the attacking half for Port Melbourne with three goals as the Borough thumped Carlton on Sunday afternoon. Ex-Carlton AFLW utility Bridie Kennedy had her first outing for the standalone side, while Kate Adams featured once again after her promising start for Port in Round 1.

Marnie Jarvis was a late inclusion for Carlton and was among a few players to show glimpses in the loss. Meanwhile, Amber Micallef again ran through midfield for the Blues, as Teagan Brett and Taylah Kolevski rounded out the former NAB League players to feature in Round 2.

The Graduates: 2021 VFLW – Round 1

A HEAP of young prospects are set to filter through the Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s competition in 2021, with the revamped structure allowing Under 18 and 19 NAB League players to align with state league sides as both seasons run concurrently. Round 1 saw plenty of talent scattered across each side, and we will also take a look at how VFLW-listed players have graduated in the last three years from the NAB League performed.

A couple of draft eligible prospects who have already played in the NAB League this year earned VFLW berths this weekend, with Western’s Marli Klaumanns-Moller and Murray’s Kate Adams running out for North and Port Melbourne respectively. The former is a 20-year-old defender with some exciting traits, while the latter is capable of playing on each line while rotating through midfield. Another former Bushranger in Sophie Locke also played for North, booting a goal as the Roos fell by 33 points.

Former Geelong Falcons midfielder-forward Paige Sheppard made a successful return to football, coming back into the Cats’ VFLW fold and earning a spot among their best players. Northern Knights product Neve O’Connor got her chance with Collingwood, adding to the Pies’ tall stocks as they got up by two points.

Carlton fielded a host of recent graduates in its loss to Casey, who were serviced by former Oakleigh ruck Bridie Winbanks. Ex-Chargers coach Luke O’Shannessy has taken the reigns at Carlton and unleashed Amber Micallef for some nice passages through midfield, while the likes of Teagan Brett (Murray) and Shanara Notman (Gippsland) both had their hands full in defence. Northern graduate Marnie Jarvis and Western product Taylah Kolevski also took the field in navy blue.

The Western Bulldogs and Hawthorn also blooded some promising youth at Whitten Oval on Sunday, as the home side got up by eight goals. Former Bendigo Pioneers captain Brooke Hards showed some burst and grit from midfield, as Nikita Wright stepped into the side after a couple of games with Western this year, and Molly Denahy Maloney also got her chance in the red, white and blue.

A trio of metro region graduates appeared for Hawthorn, headlined by Jemma Owen who booted a goal and was the Hawks’ standout player. Lauren Szigeti was another among her side’s best players in the loss, with Chloe O’Malley also donning the brown and gold in Round 1.

Former Calder teammates Alana Barba and Felicity Theodore again joined forces with Essendon on the weekend, with Eloise Ashley-Cooper another NAB Leaguer to feature in the sash. Barba was among Essendon’s most productive players, bringing her contested acumen and also kicking a goal.

Gabby De Angelis found the big sticks too, only for the Southern Saints as they won out by 18 points. Ex-Oakleigh tall Amelia Peck and Grace Hodder were among the other NAB League products to feature in the win. In Williamstown’s victory over Darebin, Megan Williamson and Ruby Tripodi were productive going forward, both kicking goals in the low-scoring affair and producing some handy highlights.

Number Crunching: NAB League Girls – Falcons swoop to lead possession stakes

THE Geelong Falcons have dominated the NAB League throughout an unbeaten run extending over a year, and a raft of ball-winners have ensured that the first six rounds of this season have been no different. This edition of Number Crunching looks at which players are dominating each key statistic, while touching on the areas where teams have been most effective.

As the competition benchmark, reigning premiers Geelong pride themselves on a stingy defence, robust midfield and dynamic forward line. To this point, statistics show that the engine room has been most productive, with the Falcons able to claim four of the top five leading possession winners as their own.

Midfield bull Luka Lesosky-Hay leads all-comers with a whopping 132 disposals, but is beaten out by her skipper Lucy McEvoy‘s average of 22.4. Dynamic middle-ager Darcy Moloney ties with Paige Sheppard on 111, with Eastern bottom-ager Tess Flintoff (116) remarkably the only non-Falcon to make the top five. It is no surprise then that the ladder-leaders are the only side to average over 200 disposals (229), with Oakleigh’s average of 199 the next best.

The Falcons’ dominance is also reflected on the scoreboard with a competition-high team total of 330 points, which combined with their competition-low of just 70 conceded, sees their percentage sit at a pretty 471.4 per cent. Versatile forward Mia Skinner heads the attacking front with a league-high 15 goals – including two bags of four – with partner-in-crime Renee Tierney claiming nine to sit fourth.

Northern, the only other undefeated team to this point, is Geelong’s closest competitor in both departments with 307 points scored and 116 conceded, but hosts a more even spread of goals. While the versatile forward and midfielder Britney Gutknecht boasts seven majors after booting four in Round 1, Nell Morris-Dalton (six), Ellie McKenzie and Alyssa Bannan (both five) have also all managed at least five goals as part of Northern’s multi-pronged attacking force. While the aforementioned stars have only managed to claim hauls of four at best, Calder’s Georgie Prespakis‘ bag of seven goals against Greater Western Victoria (GWV) remains a season-high, with Bendigo’s Elizabeth Snell the only player to kick five and no player able to find the scoreboard in every game.

Despite Geelong and Northern’s heavy scoreboard dominance, sixth-placed Oakleigh has proven to be one of the more efficient sides inside-50. While the Chargers’ average of 26 inside 50s is good enough for just fourth-best in the competition, they score with 56 per cent of those entries to register 1.7 points from each. Northern is the only side to better that 1.7 average (1.8), with Geelong losing out due to its pure volume of entries.

All three sides have impressive inside 50 to rebound 50 ratios, with Geelong’s (35/14) showcasing its dominance of field position. Having most of the possession bodes well for not having to come out of defensive 50 very often, but Eastern (31/16) and Oakleigh’s (26/15) ratios are also impressive for sides outside of the top four with lesser possession counts.

Much of Eastern’s linkage towards forward 50 entries comes through bottom-aged midfielder, Flintoff, who leads the competition in both marks (36) and kicks (93). As one of the league’s more effective runners, Flintoff incredibly reels in almost a whole fifth of her side’s league-leading average of 33 marks each match.

On the topic of hard workers, Bendigo’s Brooke Hards is the clear leader in tackles with a total of 49 seeing her average 8.2 per game. Sandringham’s Alice Burke and Dandenong’s Grace Hodder are next-best with 40 at eight per game, but only the Dragons feature in the top four pressure sides. Geelong and Northern, two of the most dominant possession sides, also tackle at the greatest volume to win the ball back with a total of 68 and 64 respectively.

With one side featuring heavily across almost every stat line, there is hardly any secret as to why they continue to go from strength to strength. The best of the best have not just led the competition thus far, but they have been far and away the competition stand-outs – as the stats would suggest.

Weekend wash-up: NAB League Girls – Round 6

ROUND 6 of the NAB League Girls saw a host players out with AFL Women’s Academy duties but that did not stop the Geelong Falcons and Northern Knights from continuing their winning ways. Geelong once again proved to be the front runners of the competition while Oakleigh also flexed their muscles with a big win over Murray. The round also saw some close clashes between the Eastern Ranges and Calder Cannons along with Greater Western Victoria Rebels and Sandringham Dragons with both games coming down to two kicks or less.

 

GIPPSLAND POWER 0.0 | 0.2 | 2.3 | 3.4 (22)
NORTHERN KNIGHTS 1.2 | 4.3 | 7.4 | 10.7 (67)

By: Peter Williams

GOALS:

Gippsland: G. McRae, N. Webber, S. Walker.
Northern: L. Picioane 3, J. Simpson 2,  J. Fitzgerald 2, N. Morris-Dalton, T. Smart, M. Ramsay.

BEST:

Gippsland: G. McRae, C. Abrahams , M. Fitzsimon, S. Walker, M. Van Berkel, N. Webber
Northern: J. Fitzgerald, P. Chisholm, N. Morris-Dalton, A. Snow, M. Chaplin, L. Picioane

After a slow start, Northern Knights pulled away from Gippsland Power to ensure they remained undefeated after six rounds and sitting just two points behind Geelong Falcons on top of the table. In the match against the Power, Northern booted nine goals to three after quarter time to secure the 10.7 (67) to 3.4 (22) win, but not without some resistance from the home side. After the match was moved from Preston City Oval to Garfield, the Knights became the visitors but looked all at home once they had settled in despite missing an number of their top stars – Gabby Newton, Britney Gutknecht, Ellie McKenzie and Sarah Sansonetti – who were all out on AFL Women’s Academy duties. The Knights’ depth stepped up in their absence, with Jess Fitzgerald being the key influencer through the midfield, collecting 16 disposals, five marks, four inside 50s and booting two goals, while Phoebe Chisholm led her side for disposals with 19, as well as two marks, four tackles and five rebounds. Ash Snow was prolific around the ground, while Nell Morris-Dalton continued her strong season rotating between ruck and forward, while Lanarose Picioane who booted three majors in an impressive performance up forward. For Gippsland, Grace McRae was named the best for her 19 disposals, three tackles and a goal, while Chandra Abrahams and Megan Fitzsimon continued their great seasons, combining for 49 disposals, 12 tackles and eight inside 50s in a losing side. Nikia Webber also had a solid performance with a goal, while Matilda Van Berkel was strong at half-back.

 

OAKLEIGH CHARGERS 2.2 | 5.3 | 8.7 | 11.8 (74)
MURRAY BUSHRANGERS 2.0 | 3.1 | 3.1 | 3.2 (20)

By: Peter Williams

GOALS:

Oakleigh: J. D”Amato 2, M. Bertuna 2, T. Morton, A. Peck, E. Harley, N. Xenos, K. Kearns, T. Cowan, A. van Oosterwijck.
Murray: C. Boschetti 2, T. Verhoeven.

BEST:

Oakleigh: C. O”Malley, M. Bertuna, M. Hill, N. Xenos, J. Lin, G. Byrne
Murray: S. Locke, L. Sharp, K. Adams, C. Boschetti, A. Smith, A. Favell

Oakleigh Chargers have bounced back from their second loss of the season to record a huge nine-goal win over Murray Bushrangers. Both sides were close in the first term with two goals apiece, before the Chargers kicked away with a three goals to one second term to open up a 14-point lead. Despite their determination in the first half, Murray was unable to restrict Oakleigh in the second half as the Chargers booted six goals to zero to run out 11.8 (74) to 3.2 (20) winners. Jasmine D’Amato and Melanie Bertuna both booted two goals for the Chargers among nine individual goalkickers in a massive team effort. Captain Mimi Hill led from the front with 20 touches, two inside 50s and three rebounds, while Chloe O’Malley was named best on ground for her 14 disposals, three tackles and two inside 50s. Nicola Xenos was influential in getting the ball inside 50 with 13 disposals, one mark, four tackles, five inside 50s and a goal, while Emily Harley booted another goal to take her season tally to 11. For Murray, Sophie Locke was named the best, collecting 13 disposals, four marks and four rebounds while laying an equal-team high eight tackles. Abby Favell was the top disposal winner once again with 14 touches, three marks, four tackles and two inside 50s, while Teagan Brett had 13 disposals and eight tackles in the defeat. Oakleigh now sits sixth after the win, just two points outside the top four, while Murray are ninth but still clear of the Rebels, Jets and Power.

 

EASTERN RANGES 0.1 | 2.1 | 3.5 | 4.5 (29)
CALDER CANNONS 1.4 | 2.5 | 2.5 | 3.7 (25)

By: Peter Williams

GOALS:

Eastern: S. Gibbs, S. Collard, T. Flintoff, J. Dunning.
Calder: G. Prespakis, T. Gillard, E. Yassir.

BEST:

Eastern: T. Flintoff, E. Horne, S. Gibbs, T. Merrett, M. Edwards
Calder: G. Prespakis, F. Theodore, N. Crowley, K. Lennox, T. Gillard, Z. Hardiman

Eastern Ranges have kept themselves in contention for finals heading into the last three rounds after an impressive four-point win over Calder Cannons. The Ranges are now within percentage of the top four, sitting just adrift of both Calder and Bendigo Pioneers who sit third and fourth respectively with 16 points apiece. It was a fairly scrappy game throughout with both sides applying plenty of defensive pressure around the ground as Eastern’s talls stood out with their strong marking at both ends. Where possible the Ranges moved the ball quickly with short, sharp passes, whereas Calder wanted to run the ball and kick long inside 50. Both methods were effective at times throughout the game, but the key defence of Eastern held strong with Tahlia Merrett taking a number of good intercept marks in defensive 50. Serena Gibbs also provided an option between half-back and half-forward, taking marks and booting the ball long to put it in front of the Eastern runners. Tahlia Gillard provided that target for Calder and early looked like breaking the game open, booting a goal and missing a couple of opportunities before the home side restricted the inside 50 entries. Georgie Prespakis and Tess Flintoff were impressive for their respective sides providing plenty of run, while Tarni Brown and Felicity Theodore assisted well through the midfield. In a see-sawing final term that almost saw Calder steal the win through Emelia Yassir, it took until the final minute for Flintoff to mark inside 50 against the boundary and calmly slotted the set shot for the four-point win.

 

WESTERN JETS 0.0 | 0.0 | 0.1 | 0.1 (1)
GEELONG FALCONS 2.1 | 7.2 | 11.3 | 12.4 (76)

By: Sophie Taylor

GOALS

Western: Nil.
Geelong: M. Skinner 4, P Schaap 2, R.Tierney 2, T. Lewis 2, J. Robinson, A. McKee

BEST

Western: J. Woods, E. Georgostathis, A. Anthony, C. Singleton, N. Wright, R. Tripodi
Geelong: P. Sheppard, M. Skinner, L. Lesosky-Hay, R. Tierney, A. McKee, G. Featherston

It was tough muck for the Western Jets on Sunday afternoon as they hosted ladder leaders, Geelong Falcons at Williamstown. Despite a relatively even first quarter the undefeated Falcons were able to pull away and deny the Jets opportunities in front of goal, running away to a 75 point win. The Jets started well defensively, crowding the Falcons and making it difficult to get a clear kick on goal, but were unable to move the ball downfield to their advantage. A beautiful kick inside 50 from Geelong debutant, Gabbi Featherston set up the first goal of the game after almost eight minutes of play, showing how well the Jets held their ground early. However, Western’s good fortune dwindled from there as the Falcons used their depth of their talent to kick away.

The Falcons proved to be dangerous up forward as the Jets struggled to contain their opposition without two of their main ball magnets in Isabella Grant and Isabelle PritchardPaige Sheppard (22 disposals, four tackles, five inside 50s) and Luka Lesosky-Hay (20 disposals, two tackles) switched on as the Falcons started to pile on the majors, with the likes of Renee TierneyTamika Lewis and Poppy Schaap kicking two goals apiece while Mia Skinner (four goals, 18 disposals) put on her best performance so far this season. Tierney’s tackling pressure was crucial, notching up eight as the Jets tried to force their way through Geelong’s defensive setup, while Lesosky-Hay showed some good footy smarts as she continuously pushed the contest back up the ground.

The Jets were unable to break through Geelong’s midfield barricade as the Falcons crowded and contested every possession, outrunning the Jets and scooping up the ground ball with precision. The Jets showed some good signs in attack in the third quarter, managing some great passages of play through the middle of the ground. Though unable to capitalise, Western’s defensive pressure inside forward 50 granted them opportunities in front of goal, gifting them their only score of the game – a rushed behind off the back of a good attempt on goal from Taya MeiersElisabeth Georgostathis (14 disposals, six tackles, six rebounds) showed her versatility in the backline, with her ability to read the play enabling her to know where the ball would be placed. Georgostathis was arguably one of the best for the Jets, putting constant pressure on her opposition, while a fantastic tackle in the final quarter saved an almost certain goal. Taylah Kolevski dominated hitouts with 23 alone, also racking up four tackles.

 

BENDIGO PIONEERS 2.0 | 3.1 | 3.2 | 4.4 (28)
DANDENONG STINGRAYS 1.0 | 1.0 | 1.4 | 1.4 (10)

By: Peter Williams

GOALS:

Bendigo: J. Jolliffe 2, E. Snell, B. Hards.
Dandenong: S. Stratton.

BEST:

Bendigo: J. Jolliffe, T. Slender, B. Hards, E. Gretgrix, A. Strahan, M. Tupper
Dandenong: Z. Hill, G. Hodder, J. Radford, G. Howes, B. Vernon, K. McKenzie

Bendigo Pioneers have given themselves a terrific shot at finals after overcoming Dandenong Stingrays by three goals at Epsom Huntly Reserve on Sunday. In a low-scoring affair, the Pioneers got the job done by restricting the Stingrays to just one goal in the game, and only four behinds after quarter time. Despite this, the game was tight throughout and it was not until the final goal of the game that the Pioneers could relax and enjoy their fourth win of the season. Jordyn Jolliffe played the best game of the season with 20 disposals, four marks, four inside 50s, two tackles and two goals in a best-on-ground effort, while Tara Slender was terrific up the other end, racking up 12 disposals, five marks, three tackles and two rounds in the win. The midfield of Brooke Hards, Eloise Gretgrix, Maeve Tupper and Annabel Strahan again took control in the absence of key Stingrays, Molly McDonald, Tyanna Smith and Isabella Shannon. Hards and Tupper both had 18 touches with Hards also laying eight tackles and having three inside 50s and four rebounds. For the Stingrays, Zoe Hill stood tall in defence with 12 disposals, three marks and three rebounds, while Brooke Vernon‘s super season continued, amassing 18 touches, four marks, five inside 50s and six rebounds, while Grace Hodder laid seven tackles from her 15 disposals. With Geelong Falcons, Calder Cannons and Oakleigh Chargers in the final three rounds, the finals are within the Pioneers’ control in what is a tough draw on the run home. The Stingrays can still make finals if they can topple Oakleigh Chargers next round with Murray Bushrangers and Western Jets in the final two weeks.

 

GREATER WESTERN VICTORIA REBELS 1.1 | 2.1 | 2.2 | 4.2 (26)
SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS 1.1 | 3.2 | 5.3 | 5.3 (33)

By: Taylah Melki

GOALS:

GWV: E. Friend 3, R. Saulitis.
Sandringham: E. Angelopoulos 2, C. Murphy 2, I. Eddey.

BEST:

GWV: E. Wood, N. Dojiok, N. Butler, A. Trigg, E. Friend, G. Pidgeon
Sandringham: W. Laing, C. Cody, P. Staltari, G. Strangio, I. Eddey, C. Murphy

It was a tight contest from start to finish with Sandringham Dragons claiming a seven-point victory over Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels. It was neck and neck in the first term with either side unable to pull away going into quarter time at seven points apiece. The Dragons piled on two goals in the third term, keeping GWV to just one point for the quarter. But the Rebels were not going down without a fight applying all the scoreboard pressure to come within striking distance but just falling short after a gallant effort. Without Sophie Molan and Maggie Caris, GWV looked to the likes of Renee Saulitis to lead the way. Saulitis made her presence felt on the field slotting a major, she was ably assisted by teammate Ella Friend. Friend dominated for the Rebels kicking three goals, racking up 10 disposals and laying a team high six tackles. Nyakoat Dojiok also led the way for her side with a team high 18 touches and four inside 50s showcasing the work she does across the ground. She was closely followed by Brook Thompson who also amassed four inside 50s, while 12 of her 15 disposals were kicks. Georgia Pidgeon also impressed with 14 touches while Ally Trigg took five marks to accompany her 10 disposals. Sandringham were missing some key players with Alice Burke, Eliza McNamara and Molly Denahy Maloney all out with AFL Women’s Academy duties but that did not seem to stop them from claiming the four points. Charli Murphy showed her hand up forward slotting two majors for the game while Ebony Angelopoulos also chipped in with her two goals. Through the midfield the Dragons were led by Winnie Laing who finished the afternoon with a game high 20 disposals and seven tackles. She was helped out by Chloe Saultry who amassed 16 touches with all of them kicks and a whopping six inside 50s. Bella Eddey was also impressive for Sandringham getting involved on the scoreboard, laying six tackles and racking up 13 touches for her efforts.

NAB League Girls weekend preview: Round 1

TWO triple headers headline the first ever round of NAB League Girls as the 12 teams begin their 2019 campaigns hoping to get their season off on the right foot.

CALDER CANNONS v. WESTERN JETS


Round 1 – 02/03/2019
9:15am
Rams Arena – Craigieburn

In what is predicted to be a sweltering day at RAMS Arena, the first match in the triple header is the Calder Cannons taking on the Western Jets. Both sides are bringing in some strong depth making it an interesting game to see which team can kickstart its season first. The Cannons will be without Georgia Patrikios, but have the likes of Alana Barba, Felicity Theodore and former Gippsland Power player, Makeisha Muller. Georgie Prespakis is one to watch for the future, and while older sister Madison is no longer there to lead the team, the Cannons will have Krstel Petrevski coming off half-back and is a player the Cannons are excited to develop throughout the season. For the Jets, they have a number of top prospects who are members of the AFL Women’s Academy at both the top and middle-age brackets. Isabella Grant and Cleo Saxon-Jones are strong overhead and can kick goals when forward, while Isabelle Pritchard still has two years in the system and is shaping as a highly talented key defender. Elisabeth Georgostathis is the other player who put in a consistent 2018 season, named onball like she was last year where she won the Jet’s best and fairest award.

BENDIGO PIONEERS v. GREATER WESTERN VICTORIA REBELS


Round 1 – 02/03/2019
11:00am
Rams Arena – Craigieburn

The second game sees two country neighbours battling it out in what could be a thrilling contest. The teams have had productive pre-seasons and the Pioneers had no trouble scoring in their practice match against the Bushrangers, while the Rebels were pleased with their efforts against the Falcons. The defensive duo of Kate Douglass and Tara Slender will be one to watch and assist in restricting opposition teams from scoring, while Jordyn Jolliffe‘s return from injury – she missed all of last season’s TAC Cup Girls competition – will be welcome and she starts at full-forward. The midfield group of the Pioneers is quite strong and will have benefited from another year, with the likes of Brooke Hards – who played some roles in defence last season – Eloise Gretgrix and Jemma Finning, while Maeve Tupper was predominantly a forward pocket last season and will spend more time in the midfield. Sophie Molan and Ella Wood will lead a deep Rebels midfield in what will be the battle of the midfields within the match. Isabella Simmons developed strongly as the season went on last year, while Renee Saulitis and Isabella Robson are other middle-age talents in the team.

NORTHERN KNIGHTS v. MURRAY BUSHRANGERS


Round 1 – 02/03/2019
12:45pm
Rams Arena – Craigieburn

In the final game of Saturday’s triple header with the temperatures expected to be high 30s by the final siren, the two teams who finished second in the first two years face off from 12.45pm. The Knights head into the game as strong favourites based on the form they showed last season, and they have a number of talented players in each third of the ground. The midfield features Ellie McKenzie, Jess Fitzgerald and Britney Gutknecht, with the likes of Gabby Newton and Abigail Bennett rotating between the midfield and forward. Sarah Sansonetti and Ash Snow are a couple of defenders who impressed last season, while Alyssa Bannan developed rapidly in 2018. For the Bushrangers, Olivia Barber has been named at centre half-back and could be the one to try and quell Newton, while forwards, Sophie Locke and Kate Adams could do some damage if given time and space. Mikaela Trethowan is a 19-year-old prospect who will provide good support in the midfield, while Emily Nicholson is another player who played every game last season and will be well prepared for the first round match. The game is a huge challenge for the Bushrangers against the likely premiership favourites, but it will be a good test to see where they are at, and how the Knights have changed with players tested in other positions.

DANDENONG STINGRAYS v. EASTERN RANGES


Round 1 – 03/03/2019
10:30am
SkyBus Stadium – Frankston

In the first game of a triple header at Frankston on Sunday, Dandenong Stingrays will be looking for their fifth straight win after finishing the season in a blaze of glory following four early season losses. Recent St Kilda recruit, Isabella Shannon has been named at centre half-forward and will be a player to watch for any Saints fans who head down to the game. While fellow Saints teammate, Molly McDonald will not be out there, Brooke Vernon, Tyanna Smith and Grace Hodder will lead the charge in the middle. Zoe Hill stands tall at centre half-back and while partner-in-crime Lucy Cripps will not be out there, Hill will aim to try and nullify one of Eastern’s talls. That could be netballer, Serena Gibbs or AFL Women’s Academy member, Laura McClelland who could rotate between midfield and forward. The forward line and particularly midfield looks solid for the Ranges, with Olivia Meagher and Tahni Brown among the middle-agers who still have a couple of seasons to develop. Both teams are likely to create a lively contest.

OAKLEIGH CHARGERS v. GIPPSLAND POWER


Round 1 – 03/03/2019
12:15pm
SkyBus Stadium – Frankston

The middle game on Sunday will see two teams that faced off in Round 1 last year do battle once again with Oakleigh Chargers facing Gippsland Power. The Chargers won easily 12 months ago and will be hoping to serve a repeat dose, while the Power feel more prepared to tackle the Chargers this time around. Middle-age captain, Mimi Hill leads a band of quick defenders who like to move the ball well, as Chloe O’Malley and Nicola Xenos showed last season. Gemma Lagioia and Emily Harley inside 50 will provide any opposition coach problems, as would Alana Porter‘s speed through the middle of the ground. The club is excited to release Amelia Peck on the competition with the 19-year-old named at centre half-back. Gippsland will miss Tyla Hanks in the middle, but have been able to supply a number of players with a season of experience and now there are top and middle-agers with a taste of the competition already. Nikia Webber and Matilda Van Berkel line up in the key forward posts, while Chandra Abrahams, Megan Fitzsimon and Grace McRae fill out the midfield. Maddi Shaw and Shanara Notman are others who could be key players in the game, providing strength and run from defence.

SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS v. GEELONG FALCONS


Round 1 – 03/03/2019
2:00pm
SkyBus Stadium – Frankston

In the final game of the round, Sandringham Dragons face Geelong Falcons on Sunday afternoon. The reigning premiers will test themselves against a danger side in the 2019 competition. Both teams are in the form of their lives having not lost a game in the past six regular season rounds – and even longer for the Falcons. The midfield battle will be one to savour with Dragons’ captain Molly Denahy Maloney, Alice Burke and Eliza McNamara tackling the likes of Falcons’ captain Lucy McEvoy, Luka Lesosky-Hay and Paige Sheppard. Both sides have a highly touted key defender in Sarah Hartwig (Sandringham) and Abbey Chapman (Geelong), have speedy wingers in Marguerite Purcell (Sandringham) and Elise Vella (Geelong) and forwards who can take big grabs, Sophia Rothfield (Sandringham) and Renee Tierney (Geelong). With both sides having a high amount of talent coming through at middle and bottom-age level, they are going to be teams to watch this season. Round 1 may well have saved the best until last, and the final game of the new NAB League Girls will likely be a match to remember.