Tag: grace mcrae

Draft Central Rising Star: NAB League Girls – Round 9

DANDENONG Stingrays midfielder, Tyanna Smith was absolutely everywhere in Round 9, with the tenacious middle-ager adding searing pace to a midfield which includes two pre-listed AFLW players, as well as clinical finishing inside 50 to make it a day out.

Smith finished with 23 disposals, four tackles, four inside 50s, three rebounds, and four-straight goals in an impressive display.

Scouting notes for Round 9 vs. Western Jets:

#28 Tyanna Smith

Added raw pace and excitement to the midfield, making Molly McDonald and Isabella 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.

Rising Star of the Week:

Round 1 – Georgie Prespakis (Calder Cannons)
Round 2 – Elisabeth Georgostathis (Western Jets)
Round 3 – Gabby Newton (Northern Knights)
Round 4 – Luka Lesosky-Hay (Geelong Falcons)
Round 5 – Elizabeth Snell (Bendigo Pioneers)
Round 6 – Tess Flintoff (Eastern Ranges)
Round 7 – Grace McRae (Gippsland Power)
Round 8 – Abby Favell (Murray Bushrangers)
Round 9 – TYANNA SMITH (DANDENONG STINGRAYS)

Draft Central Rising Star: NAB League Girls – Round 8

IT is not often players who stand out in a losing side are awarded our Draft Central Rising Star of the Week award, but that was the case for the NAB League Girls in Round 8. Murray Bushrangers’ Abby Favell was everywhere on Saturday at Shepley Oval, having a massive first term to get her side up and about, and kicked the last goal for her side as they approached Dandenong Stingrays’ narrow lead.

While the Bushrangers were unable to get over the line, Favell had 26 disposals, four marks, five tackles, three inside 50s and four rebounds, as well as booting the late goal.

Scouting notes for Round 8 vs. Dandenong Stingrays:

#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.

Rising Star of the Week:

Round 1 – Georgie Prespakis (Calder Cannons)
Round 2 – Elisabeth Georgostathis (Western Jets)
Round 3 – Gabby Newton (Northern Knights)
Round 4 – Luka Lesosky-Hay (Geelong Falcons)
Round 5 – Elizabeth Snell (Bendigo Pioneers)
Round 6 – Tess Flintoff (Eastern Ranges)
Round 7 – Grace McRae (Gippsland Power)
Round 8 – ABBY FAVELL (MURRAY BUSHRANGERS)

NAB League Girls Round 8 wash-up: Knights rise while Ranges book finals spot

THIS round brought plenty of excitement with the top of the table clash between the Northern Knights and Geelong Falcons headlining the round, while Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels potentially ended Oakleigh Chargers’ finals campaign, as Calder Cannons put themselves in the best position possible, winning over Bendigo Pioneers. Eastern Ranges booked a finals spot with an impressive win, while other victors were the Dandenong Stingrays and Western Jets, the latter of whom won their second consecutive match.

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

GOALS:

Calder: A. Magri, Z. Hardiman, G. Patrikios, F. Theodore
Bendigo: E. Snell

BEST:

Calder: L. Cocomello, T. Crook, K. Petrevski, I. Young, G. Patrikios, N. Crowley
Bendigo: K. Douglass, B. Hards, D. Villiva, J. Finning, B. Heiden, T. Coad

It was a slow start for both sides with neither team able to score a goal in the opening term. Heading into half time the Bendigo Pioneers held a six-point margin scoring the only major for the term. But the goals seemed to be easier to find in the second half for the Calder Cannons who kicked into gear and applied strong pressure. Laura Cocomello impressed across the ground for the Cannons working hard at the contest and winning a heap of the ball with 17 touches. Georgia Patrikios and Georgie Prespakis led the way once again racking up 27 and 30 possessions respectively. Both were clean with the footy in hand with Patrikios making the most of her accuracy by foot with a game high 23 kicks and one goal for her efforts. Alana Barba applied good physical pressure laying nine tackles and did the little things well to worry her opponent out of the contest, while Krstel Petrevski was clever with ball in hand and made each possession count. For the Pioneers Brooke Hards put on a tackling masterclass with a whopping 16 showcasing her physicality and intent to win the ball. Jemma Finning also won plenty of footy for her side and fought hard throughout the game with the likes of Dakota Villiva also doing a wealth of work. Elizabeth Snell displayed her attacking flair with three inside 50s and the only goal for her side.

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

GOALS:

Dandenong: I. Shannon, A. Liddle, J. Guy-Toogood, J. Anthony, G. Grimmer, T. Smith
Murray: T. Verhoeven, A. Favell, A. Morphett

BEST:

Dandenong: B. Vernon, T. Smith, I. Shannon, J. Guy-Toogood, G. Howes, Z. Hill
Murray: A. Favell, M. Brown, K. Skepper, T. Brett, M. Jones, K. Adams

Dandenong Stingrays have held off a determined Murray Bushrangers outfit on their way to a 13-point win at Shepley Oval on Saturday. The Stingrays led by 11 points at quarter time, but the Bushrangers booted the only two goals of the second term to hit the front by four points. Dandenong hit back in the third term with a couple of majors, and led for the rest of the game as Murray missed a few chances in front of goal. A late goal to Abby Favell saw the Bushrangers draw to within a goal, but a Tyanna Smith major in the last minute sealed the win, 6.4 (40) to 3.9 (27). Brooke Vernon finished as Dandenong’s best with 19 disposals, two marks, two tackles and 12 rebounds, while Isabella Shannon finished with 14 disposals, five inside 50s and a goal. Smith stood up in the second half with her match-winning goal, while Molly McDonald continued her consistent form with 13 disposals, three marks and five inside 50s. Favell was the standout player on the field, racking up 26 disposals, four marks, five tackles, three inside 50s and four rebounds in the defeat. Millie Brown was also strong in defence, finishing the game with 24 disposals and seven rebounds.

Western Jets 3.1 (19) defeated Sandringham Dragons 1.3 (9)
By: Peter Williams

GOALS:

Western: J. Goodman 2, M. Ham.
Sandringham: A. Moloney.

BEST:

Western: P. Ozols, E. Georgostathis, I. Pritchard, R. Tripodi, A. Anthony, C. Singleton
Sandringham: S. Hartwig, D. Walker, A. Burke, A. Moloney, M. Purcell, L. de Gleria Cade

Western Jets have celebrated back-to-back wins after downing Sandringham Dragons at Avalon Airport Oval. The Jets hit the front in the second term after trailing by two points at the first break, booting 2.3 to 0.1 in the final three quarters to secure the win. Despite keeping them to one behind for three quarters, the Jets never looked entirely safe, holding strong in the final term despite the Dragons doing all the attacking in the quarter. Opposite centre half-backs Isabelle Pritchard (18 disposals, four marks and four rebounds) and Sarah Hartwig (17 disposals, four marks and five rebounds) were standouts on the day, rebounding and marking everything that came in their path. For the winners, Elisabeth Georgostathis had a game-high 22 touches as well as five marks and eight rebounds coming off half-back, while Payton-Ani Ozols was also impressive with 11 disposals, three marks and two tackles running on the outside and providing some drive for the Jets. For the Dragons, Alice Burke was strong again with 17 disposals, two marks and three tackles, while Daisy Walker had 16 disposals, three inside 50s and laid seven tackles in her best game this season.

Gippsland Power 2.1 (13) defeated by Eastern Ranges 9.10 (64)
By: Peter Williams

GOALS:

Gippsland: N. Williams, M. Van Berkel.
Eastern: S. Gibbs 3, B. Deed, S. Collard, M. Church, T. Brown, R. O”Dwyer, J. Richardson.

BEST:

Gippsland: M. Fitzsimon, C. Bird, M. Shaw, C. Abrahams , N. Webber, G. McRae
Eastern: J. Richardson, T. Brown, S. Gibbs, M. Di Cosmo, T. Flintoff, L. McClelland

Eastern Ranges produced their most commanding win of the year, defeating Gippsland Power by 51 points at Morwell Recreation Reserve. The Ranges looked impressive throughout the game on their way to the big win to cement a finals spot. It took until the tenth minute of the first term for Eastern to put through its first goal, but by quarter time they had three goals from seven scoring shots to lead by 22 points. Gippsland booted one goal in the second term, but the Ranges added a further two, extending their lead to 31 by the main break. By three quarter time the Ranges led by 44 points, and the margin got out to as much as 57 at one stage before the Power booted the final goal of the game through Matilda Van Berkel. Emma Horne picked up a game-high 28 touches, while Jenna Richardson was named the Ranges best for her 16 disposals, six marks, five inside 50s and a goal. Tarni Brown and Tess Flintoff were again busy with a combined 45 disposals, 11 inside 50s and 12 tackles, while Serena Gibbs slotted 3.4 from 18 disposals and six marks. For Gippsland, Megan Fitzsimon had 16 disposals, four rebounds and six tackles, while Grace McRae was again strong in the midfield with 17 disposals and three rebounds. Charlize Bird had 12 disposals, two marks and six tackles, while Chandra Abrahams was strong defensively, laying five tackles.

GWV Rebels 3.2 (20) defeated Oakleigh Chargers 2.7 (19)
By: Peter Williams

GOALS:

GWV: L. Condon, S. Molan, Z. Larkins.
Oakleigh: M. Bertuna, A. Porter.

BEST:

GWV: N. Dojiok, M. Caris, R. Saulitis, C. Willis, E. Wood, L. Condon
Oakleigh: K. Kearns, G. Lagioia, A. Porter, A. van Oosterwijck, J. Lin, A. Micallef

Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels spoiled Oakleigh Chargers’ finals campaign, kicking a goal in the dying minutes to win by a point. Trailing for most of the contest after holding a one-point lead at quarter time, the Rebels kept the Chargers to just five behinds in the second half as teamwork and cohesion across the field from the underdogs was terrific. In the end, it was a Lilli Condon goal that separated the sides, as the Rebels held on for dear life in the last 90 seconds with the ball deep in their defence. They held strong and partied after the siren, with much jubilation and elation across the ground having toppled a highly fancied side. Sophie Molan was unsurprisingly the dominant ball winner for the Rebels, picking up 20 disposals, having five tackles and kicking a great goal. Ella Wood and Nekaela Butler were both good out of defence moving up the ground, while Nyakoat Dojiok was superb collecting 12 disposals, five marks, five tackles and two inside 50s. For the Chargers, Joanna Lin racked up 21 disposals, three marks, four tackles, two inside 50s, while Mimi Hill had 20 touches, five marks, two tackles and four inside 50s were busy. Alana Porter was terrific with her speed across the ground, and Kalarni Kearns named best for the losing side for her work in the ruck.

Geelong Falcons 0.7 (7) defeated by Northern Knights 6.7 (43)

GOALS:
Geelong: Nil
Northern: A. Bannan 2, N. Morris-Dalton, J. Fitzgerald, C. Linssen, M. Appleby

BEST:
Geelong: P. Sheppard, L. Gardiner, L. McEvoy, A. Chapman, L. Lesosky-Hay, M. Skinner
Northern: E. McKenzie, G. Newton, S. Sansonetti, A. Bannan, T. Smart, J. Nelson

The Northern Knights inflicted Geelong Falcons’ first defeat since Round 4 2017, winning by 36 points in a dominant display to snatch top spot and remain undefeated.

The Knights looked on and meant business from the get-go at Deakin University, throwing star trio Gabby Newton, Ellie McKenzie, and Britney Gutknecht into the first centre bounce. On the other side, Falcons coach Jason Armistead had shuffled the magnets heavily, with skipper Lucy McEvoy a notable starter across half-back. After a tense opening few minutes, the Knights broke away in a flash with three goals in as many minutes mid-way through the first term. As expected, the hosts threw everything back at their opponents to start the following quarter, dictating general play in the first 10 minutes and narrowly missing chances to open their goal account. It was to no avail though, as Northern applied smothering pressure and held on to keep the term goalless, taking a 15-point advantage into the main break.

With Geelong lacking a spark after seeing its efforts go unrewarded, the Knights continued to break open an unassailable lead in the third stanza on the back of a Jess Fitzgerald goal – the only goal for the term. Armistead did his best to rally his side at the final change, referring to Superbowl comeback victories and encouraging his side to take the game on. The Falcons needed a spark, and hedged their bets on winning the first centre clearance – hopefully kicking into the hands of McEvoy at centre half-forward. It was not to be as the ball found its way up the other end, and the Knights delivered two more crushing blows to seal the win.

The game ended on a sour note, with Northern’s Gulia Ceravolo downed unintentionally by a hard Renee Tierney tackle, forcing an early stoppage of the contest mid-way through the final term as she received treatment. It proved to be a bruising encounter for both sides, with Poppy Schapp sporting an ice pack and sling after a solid bump from McKenzie.

McKenzie and Newton were outstanding for Northern, providing a point of difference as cool heads in the hotly contested opening stages. Fitzgerald, Maykaylah Appleby, and Alyssa Bannan proved handfuls with their forward running and managed to hit the scoreboard alongside focal point, Nell Morris-Dalton. Up the other end, Sarah Sansonetti played a sensational role on Mia Skinner to quell Geelong’s main scoring threat. On a tough day for the Falcons, Paige Sheppard was combative as ever through the midfield alongside Laura Gardiner, while Abbey Chapman stood up under enormous pressure down back. McEvoy’s selfless role across each line was also fantastic, with her rebound and overhead marking a feature early on.

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.

Team of the Week: NAB League Girls – Round 7

IN a NAB League Girls competition that continues to provide the goods through close even sides, the bottom two teams in Gippsland Power and Western Jets both had wins on the weekend, while ninth placed Murray Bushrangers also tasted victory. The Jets have the equal most players named in the Draft Central NAB League Girls Team of the Week for Round 7, along with fellow winners and top two sides, Geelong Falcons and Northern Knights. All three teams have three players in the squad of 24, while the Power, Bushrangers, Eastern Ranges and Oakleigh Chargers were other winners who have two players in the side. Round 7 loser, Calder Cannons still have two players in the team as does Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels, while remaining sides, Bendigo Pioneers, Dandenong Stingrays and Sandringham Dragons all have one player in the team. This round saw the introduction of Tasmania, but given they are just in for the one round – and had the extra benefit of playing two games, opted not to have them in Team of the Week, however Amy Prokopiec and Mia King would have made the side for their performances across two games.

Western Jets had key defender, Isabelle Pritchard and captain Elisabeth Georgostathis making the side once again, while forward, Jasmine Goodman makes the team for the first time. Reigning premiers Geelong Falcons make up the other key defensive post with Abbey Chapman named at full-back, while Paige Sheppard and Lucy McEvoy have made the team. The other side with three players is Northern Knights, as Britney Gutknecht continues her terrific season to be named in the team, while Alyssa Bannan and Jess Fitzgerald also made the squad.

Gippsland Power’s first win of the season resulted in Grace McRae slotting into the midfield, while Matilda Van Berkel made the side again in defence. Their opponents, GWV Rebels had captain Sophie Molan named at centre half-forward – having spent time there despite being predominant in the midfield, but it was hard to squeeze out a midfielder – and Nekaela Butler in the back pocket yet again. Murray Bushrangers’ Olivia Barber has been named at full-forward and will rotate through the ruck, while Millie Brown will provide run off half-back. In the ruck is Eastern Ranges’ Serena Gibbs who kicked two goals in a match-winning performance against Tasmania, joined in the side by teammate Emma Horne.

Oakleigh Chargers and Calder Cannons also have two players each in the side, with Taylah Morton and Joanna Lin making the side for the Chargers after impressive games, while Team of the Week regulars, Georgie Prespakis and Georgia Patrikios slot into the midfield after a combined 63 disposals. The remaining players filling out the side as their teams’ only representatives are Maeve Tupper (Bendigo), Madeline Pearson (Dandenong) and Sarah Hartwig (Sandringham) of which the latter has been prominent in our Team of the Week this season.

Draft Central Rising Star: NAB League Girls – Round 7

IT was a memorable weekend for Gippsland Power, recording their first victory of the year in a tight six-point win over Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels at Shepley Oval. The best player on the field was middle-ager Grace McRae who has been in terrific form over the past two rounds, earning the nod for our Rising Star for NAB League Girls in Round 7.

McRae amassed 24 disposals, three marks, four inside 50s, five rebounds and laid an impressive seven tackles in the Power’s win, while also scoring two behinds. The inside midfielder has booted three goals this season, averaging 14.0 disposals, 1.7 marks, 1.3 inside 50s, 1.8 rebounds and 4.2 tackles. Her 24-disposal game was her fourth match with 19 or more disposals thus far this season in her first year with the Power. McRae joins Elizabeth Snell as the second bottom-ager to earn our Rising Star for the week, with two bottom-agers and three top-agers making up the seven rounds thus far this season.

Rising Star of the Week:

Round 1 – Georgie Prespakis (Calder Cannons)
Round 2 – Elisabeth Georgostathis (Western Jets)
Round 3 – Gabby Newton (Northern Knights)
Round 4 – Luka Lesosky-Hay (Geelong Falcons)
Round 5 – Elizabeth Snell (Bendigo Pioneers)
Round 6 – Tess Flintoff (Eastern Ranges)
Round 7 – GRACE MCRAE (GIPPSLAND POWER)

Team of the Week: NAB League Girls – Round 6

WITH so many new players entering NAB League Girls sides as plenty missed out due to AFL Women’s Academy duties, there are few new faces in the Draft Central Team of the Week for Round 6. There are also plenty of regulars who stepped up in the absence of teammates, but now there are no players who have made the side every single week, showing a great diversity of talent among the competition. Bendigo Pioneers, Geelong Falcons and Northern Knights all enjoyed impressive wins, sitting in the top four of the NAB League Girls ladder. Those three sides all had three players in the Team of the week, with six sides having two players and the remaining three sides – Calder Cannons, Murray Bushrangers and Western Jets all having the one nominee in the team.

Geelong Falcons’ undefeated streak continued on the weekend and Paige Sheppard and Mia Skinner‘s terrific seasons continued, named in the Team of the Week again, along with midfielder Luka Lesosky-Hay. Northern Knights also remained undefeated with just a draw as the only blemish on an otherwise top season so far. The Knights had to overcome a number of key personnel losses to post a big win over Gippsland Power, with Jess Fitzgerald, Phoebe Chisholm and Nell Morris-Dalton crucial in that win at Garfield. Their opposition had a number of impressive players with Chandra Abrahams being a tackling machine and flowing well between the arcs, while Megan Fitzsimon had a round-high 28 touches.

The other team with three players in the Team of the Week was Bendigo Pioneers, who enjoyed a hard-fought win over Dandenong Stingrays. Brooke Hards was named in the midfield yet again continuing her top season, along with Tara Slender at centre half-back and Jordyn Jolliffe in attack. All three players are in three different birth years showing the vast impact that talented girls of all ages can have on the competition. Their opponents had a couple of familiar faces in the Team of the Week with Brooke Vernon and Zoe Hill slotting into the side for yet another week. Also in defence are a couple of individual team nominees in Murray Bushrangers’ Sophie Locke and Calder Cannons’ Georgie Prespakis who while predominantly midfielders, drift back and help their defences.

Rounding out the Team of the Week midfield is Sandringham Dragons’ ruck Celia Cody making her debut in the team, along with Winnie Laing who was best on ground in the Dragons’ win over the Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels. The Rebels had two players in the Team of the Week as well, with Ella Wood returning to the side along with Nyakoat Dojiok who has been impressing across the ground. In attack, Eastern Ranges’ Serena Gibbs has been named at full-forward after a strong show of marking and long kicking against the Cannons, as well as teammate Tess Flintoff who was named the Draft Central Rising Star of the Week. Rounding out the side are Oakleigh Chargers’ captain Mimi Hill and her teammate, Chloe O’Malley, as well as Western Jets’ captain Elisabeth Georgostathis who has been a regular in the Team of the Week this season. It was a tough week to decide on just 24 players with Gippsland’s Grace McRae, Calder’s Felicity Theodore and Eastern’s Tahlia Merrett among those very close to making the team this week.

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 preview: Round 5

THE halfway point of the inaugural NAB League Girls is up this weekend, with Round 5 shaping up to have a host of interesting matchups. The Calder Cannons will be looking to maintain their high position on the ladder with another win this week, while two other matches will include the other four sides in the top five of the competition.

CALDER CANNONS v. MURRAY BUSHRANGERS

Round 5 – 6/4/19
12pm
Rams Arena, Craigieburn

The Calder Cannons will have the home advantage when they take on the Murray Bushrangers to open Round 5, and will come in needing a burst of confidence after a 10 point loss to the Oakleigh Chargers last week disrupted their fantastic start to the season. The third placed Cannons will take on Murray in eighth, sitting on two and two, with a disappointing loss to the Bendigo Pioneers last round likely to spark them into action this week. This week’s Murray lineup has seen a lot of changes, but Round 4 best on, Millie Brown was not one of them after a phenomenal performance last week saw her pick up 27 touches, six rebound 50s and two marks. Abby Favell also put on a great effort last round with 22 disposals, five marks and eight tackles, so will want to replicate her fine season form again this week to propel Murray to a better result than last week. Calder bottom-ager, Georgie Prespakis is back in the side this week after missing Round 4, so the Cannons will be hoping for another influential performance from her with Krstel Petrevski missing from this week’s lineup. To beat the Cannons the Bushrangers will have to boost their opportunities in front of goal, or otherwise suffer a fate similar to last week.

DANDENONG STINGRAYS v. GEELONG FALCONS

Round 5 – 6/4/19
1pm
Robinson Reserve, Doveton

The second match of Round 5 will be one to watch, with fourth placed Dandenong Stingrays hosting table toppers, Geelong Falcons. Both sides registered big wins in Round 4, so will be looking for another opportunity to get a win on the board. However, both sides seemed to have an issue with accuracy, with Geelong kicking poorly in front of goal, finishing with 17 behinds in their win against Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels. If the Stingrays can put on the pressure in their defence they may have an opportunity to stop the Falcons’ strong forward line in its tracks and come out on top. That being said, the Stingrays posted 12 behinds against the Gippsland Power in Round 4, so will want to make sure their kicking is on when they take on the reigning premiers. With at least 6 confirmed changes to the Stingrays’ lineup since last round, it will be interesting to see how the side takes the field against the Falcons at full strength. Luka Lesosky-Hay will be looking to replicate her strong Round 4 effort (31 disposals, eight marks) this week after being a standout performer across the board last round, but in front of goal will need to double down after three behinds contributed to Geelong’s frustrating winning margin last week. Maeve Skinner is another one who will want to boost her accuracy this round, with two goals from six kicks last week after a dominant four goal haul in Round 3. The Stingrays had five individual goalkickers against the Power, with Georgia Howes booting two, so the side will need to keep up their team effort in front of the big sticks if they want to get on top of Geelong this round.

SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS v. OAKLEIGH CHARGERS

Round 5 – 6/4/19
2:45pm
Trevor Barker Oval

The Oakleigh Chargers are sitting in sixth at this point of the competition, and with such a short season every point matters, so will want to win this one against the Sandringham Dragons in tenth. The Chargers have only dropped one game and drawn with Northern this year, so are shaping up to be real contenders if they keep up this good form, while the Dragons have yet to win a game. For Oakleigh, Amelia Van Oosterwijck is out of the side this week, so it will be interesting to see how they perform without one of their main targets forward. Gemma Lagioia was strong last week, with 21 touches and a goal, so will look to continue her form to get another win for her side. Meanwhile for Sandringham, Bryanna Arnold put on a good performance last week with 17 disposals and six tackles, so will want to put the pressure onto Oakleigh to aim for their first win of the season. The Dragons only managed to get two majors on the board last round, both through Sophia Rothfield, so will want to double down on that effort this week to create a strong team effort against the Chargers.

BENDIGO PIONEERS v. GIPPSLAND POWER

Round 5 – 7/4/19
11am
Epsom Huntly Reserve

Sunday’s first match will see seventh placed Bendigo Pioneers host eleventh placed Gippsland Power, with Bendigo needing a win if they want to stay in touch with the leading sides in the competition. The Pioneers had a good win against the Bushrangers last week, kicking two final quarter goals to cement their second win for the season. Tackling pressure seemed to be a major focus in that match with seven players registering five or more, while Brooke Hards alone racked up a massive 11 tackles to go with her 17 touches. The Pioneers will have to bump up their attacking pressure and volume in front of goal to combat the Power down back, with Megan Fitzsimon racking up 26 touches, five marks, four tackles and five rebounds last round while Nikia Webber was out. Webber will be back this round, so it’s likely we will see Hards and Webber line up alongside each other in this matchup. Missing from the Power this week is ball magnet, Grace McRae, while her Pioneers counterpart, Elizabeth Snell is a big inclusion for the home side.

WESTERN JETS v. GREATER WESTERN VICTORIA REBELS

Round 5 – 7/4/19
1pm
Downer Oval, Williamstown

Cellar dwellers, Western Jets will host ninth place GWV Rebels in the penultimate match for Round 5. Both sides will be looking toward a win this week after a winless Round 4, but the Jets will want to take advantage of their opponent also sitting low on the ladder.The Rebels had a disappointing match when rendered goalless against ladder leaders, Geelong last week, though Nekaela Butler was impressive despite the loss, with 21 touches, four marks and six rebounds. Lauren Sykes put up her best performance for the season so far, with 16 disposals (15 kicks), seven rebound 50s and three tackles. The pair will be bolstered this week with the return of Ella Woods and Nyakoat Doijok, though dominant ruck, Maggie Caris has not been listed for Round 5. Isabella Grant (17 disposals, seven tackles) and Elisabeth Georgostathis (13 disposals, two rebounds) were best on for the Jets last round, however the loss of Cleo Saxon-Jones will surely be an issue through the midfield. All in all, it should be an interesting match with both sides chomping at the bit for a win.

NORTHERN KNIGHTS v. EASTERN RANGES

Round 5 – 7/4/19
2pm
La Trobe University, Bundoora

In the final match of Round 5, second and fifth on the ladder will face off in another game that could be one to watch. Both Northern Knights and Eastern Ranges come into this round off the back of two wins in a row, so it’s likely to be a close one if Eastern put in the hard yards against last year’s grand finalists. The Ranges will want to take advantage of Alyssa Bannan being out for the Knights, however will still have the likes of Round 4 performers, Britney Gutknecht (19 disposals, six tackles, one goal) and Gabby Newton (19 disposals, five marks, five tackles) to worry about, while Nell Morris-Dalton was strong forward with two goals, 15 touches and 11 tackles in a season best performance. A second-half goal blitz from the Ranges saw them jump up the ladder last round, with Serena Gibbs and Laura McClelland kicking two goals apiece, while Tess Flintoff was also dominant, picking up 23 touches and six marks.The Knights have a number of options forward who have the ability to kick goals, so that will be the big task for Eastern this week as they aim to do what Oakleigh managed in Round 2, stifling the ball, stopping it from moving forward and going in hard at ground ball opportunities. Both teams have the ability to produce high scores and quickly, so it will certainly be an interesting match to finish up the round.

Weekend preview: NAB League Girls – Round 4

WITH the NAB League Girls competition ladder taking shape, some teams are looking to break away on top of the table, while others are still searching for their first victory. With the six games on the weekend across six different venues, it makes for some interesting viewing for spectators.

 

NORTHERN KNIGHTS v. SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS

Round 4 – 30/03/2019
11:15am
La Trobe University – Bundoora

The first game of the round sees the unbeaten Northern Knights taking on the winless Sandringham Dragons. The Knights were forced to share the points with Oakleigh in Round 1, but were able to secure two victories either side of the draw against Murray Bushrangers and Western Jets. Gabby Newton has been a standout performer this season, averagine 19 disposals, 2.3 marks and 3.3 tackles per game, while Britney Gutknecht has been damaging inside 50, with five goals from her three matches as well as 18.3 disposals and 3.7 tackles per game. The Dragons have been competitive for large patches of their game but have struggled to score, booting one goal in each of their three games, while missing chances they would like to take again. Their defence and midfield will match up with the best sides, with Alice Burke averaging a massive nine tackles per game as well as 16.3 disposals and 2.7 marks. Nayeley Borg and Sarah Hartwig have combined for 24 rebounds between them in their three games, while Marguerite Purcell has been crucial along the wings for Sandringham, recording 11 inside 50s, while Knights’ midfielder Ellie McKenzie has averaged 15.7 disposals, 2.3 marks and 3.3 tackles. Northern is a team to beat this season and noone has managed to secure the four points against them, so they will head in favourites, but the Dragons could apply that defensive pressure to try and force it into a slog and get the game on their terms.

 

MURRAY BUSHRANGERS v. BENDIGO PIONEERS

Round 4 – 30/03/2019
11:45am
Norm Minns Oval – Wangaratta

Up in Wangaratta, Murray Bushrangers host Bendigo Pioneers at Norm Minns Oval. The Bushrangers were badly beaten in the first round by the Knights, but have since responded with back-to-back wins against the Western Jets and Gippsland Power. Both of those sides are winless from three games, so it will be a great test to see where the Bushrangers are at against a competitive Bendigo Pioneers outfit. The Pioneers went down narrowly to the Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels in Round 1 before posting a win against Eastern Ranges in Round 2 and being outclassed by the reigning premiers, Geelong Falcons. Bendigo is a side that will bring teriffic defensive pressure, with Brooke Hards (7.7 tackles per game) and Dakota Villiva (7.3) both in the top three tacklers in the league. They are not a high possession team, but Elizabeth Snell (15.7 disposals) and Maeve Tupper (15.3) know how to find the ball, while bottom-ager Tara Slender leads the league in rebounds with 16 in her three games. For the Bushrangers, Abby Favell has been consistent in the opening three rounds, recording 4.7 marks per game – the second most of any player – as well as 11.3 disposals. Olivia Barber is not a high possession winner, but the key position player has managed 3.3 marks from seven disposals and a goal per game, while having a number of attempts as well and she will be sorely missed in the Bushrangers’ attack this weekend. Millie Brown has now played the two games after missing Round 1 and averages the most touches of any Bushranger with 16.5 per game. This is a genuine 50-50 game and the panel were split as to which way to go with the tipping as both teams are a genuine chance in this clash.

 

WESTERN JETS v. EASTERN RANGES

Round 4 – 30/03/2019
2:30pm
Rams Arena – Craigieburn

Up in Craigieburn, the Western Jets are searching for their first win, while Eastern Ranges look to make it two on the trot after going down in Round 2 to Bendigo Pioneers. In the corresponding game last year between these sides, the Jets won their only match of the competition against a highly fancied Ranges outfit, downing them in Williamstown with a super come-from-behind victory. The win derailed Eastern’s season and gave the Jets plenty of confidence going into the remaining games of the season. Both sides have some top-end talent in this match with Western captain, Elisabeth Georgostathis leading from the front this season averaging 19.7 disposals, two marks and three tackles per game, having also spent time at half-back recording 14 rebounds to be equal third in the competition for the statistic. Potential Western Bulldogs father-daughter selection, Isabella Grant has enjoyed a strong season with 15 touches, two marks and 3.3 tackles per game, while Cleo Saxon-Jones has taken 2.3 marks per game presenting as a key forward, while also recording 11 disposals and three hitouts per match. For Eastern, potential Collingwood father-daughter selection, Tarni Brown is progressing nicely with another year left in the system, averaging 19.7 disposals and two marks per game, but it is her tackling that catches the eye, laying a whopping 6.7 per match. Tess Flintoff and Olivia Meagher have also been amongst the best few each week, averaging 17 disposals per game, with Meagher also averaging 2.7 tackles, while Flintoff finds space for 3.3 inside 50s and 5.3 marks. Eastern will head into the clash as favourites having ground out two wins already this season, but the Jets showed last year they are capable of an upset on their day.

 

GREATER WESTERN VICTORIA REBELS v. GEELONG FALCONS

Round 4 – 30/03/2019
2:30pm
City Oval – Ballarat

The reigning premiers are heading up the highway to Ballarat to take on the GWV Rebels to try and extend their winning streak to four. For the Rebels, they defeated the Pioneers in Round 1 but have since gone down to Calder Cannons and Dandenong Stingrays on their home turf at MARS Stadium. With this game originally scheduled for Colac Reserve and moved to City Oval, the Rebels will enjoy a closer trip and will want to test themselves against the Falcons. Lucy McEvoy has been in unbelievable form this season for Geelong, averaging 23.3 disposals, 3.3 marks, six inside 50s and 7.7 tackles per game, topping the league in two of those stats. Luka Lesosky-Hay has been great support for McEvoy with 21.3 disposals, two marks and five tackles per game, as well as 3.6 inside 50s per game. Two Falcons who have stood up this season are Darcy Moloney and Laura Gardiner with Gardiner laying seven tackles per game as well as 18 touches through the midfield, while Moloney has got free for 19 disposals and 2.3 marks per game. The second highest disposal winner after McEvoy is her opposing captain with Sophie Molan registering 21.7 disposals per game as well as 4.3 tackles and getting forward to boot three goals this season – two last week. With Ella Wood missing this week, Chloe Leonard will become important in sharing the midfield load, having averaged 16 disposals and 4.7 tackles per game. Along with Molan, Renee Saulitis has managed to hit the scoreboard three times while Lauren Sykes has been important in defence with eight rebounds so far this season. A huge inclusion is that of Maggie Caris, averaging a competition high average of 29.5 hitouts per game, 12.5 more than her closest opponent and will sure be an asset in the ruck. The Falcons are expected to continue their winning ways in this game, but the Rebels will enjoy the challenge and aim to match them in the midfield.

 

GIPPSLAND POWER v. DANDENONG STINGRAYS

Round 4 – 30/03/2019
5:15pm
Morwell Recreation Reserve

With the sun setting in the west, Gippsland Power hosts Dandenong Stingrays in the east as the Power hopes to get on the board in season 2019, while Dandenong intend to make it three on the trot after back-to-back victories over Sandringham Dragons and GWV Rebels both away from home. In a super day of football, the game will be the fourth match of the day at Morwell, and a tough task for the Power minus Nikia Webber. They do have some great future talents with a defensive duo of Matilda Van Berkel and Maddison Shaw making life difficult for forwards, recoding 22 rebounds between them so far this season. Grace McRae and Megan Fitzsimon have been able to find the ball enough both averaging 13.7 disposals and laying 7.7 tackles per game. The Stingrays have an even squad across the park with plenty of standouts, none less talked about that St Kilda pre-listed duo of Isabella Shannon and Molly McDonald. Shannon has averaged 17.3 disposals, 2.7 marks, 6.7 tackles and 1.3 goals per game, while McDonald has laid four tackles and booted two goals to go with 12.5 disposals per game. Outside the two highly fancied top-agers, Brooke Vernon has been one of the best defenders in the competition this season, averaging 4.3 rebounds as well as 14 disposals and three marks, while Tyanna Smith has been important on the inside with 16 disposals, 4.3 tackles and 3.6 inside 50s per game. The Stingrays will be favourites in this clash to make it three consecutive wins, but the Power will have plenty of home crowd support.

 

CALDER CANNONS v. OAKLEIGH CHARGERS

Round 4 – 31/03/2019
1:45pm
Rams Arena – Craigieburn

The final match of the round is one of the best with the undefeated Calder Cannons taking on the much improved Oakleigh Chargers. The Cannons have knocked off Western Jets, GWV Rebels and Sandringham Dragons in the first three rounds, but the three sides have combined for just the one win this season so the Chargers will present a big challenge to the Cannons. Calder’s pursuit for four consecutive wins will be made harder without Georgie Prespakis who sensationally booted seven goals in Round 2 and was best on ground in the opening two rounds. Georgia Patrikios has stood tall in her two games as expected, averaging 21 disposals, four marks, two tackles and 5.5 inside 50s. She will be crucial in the Cannons quest for a third win with Oakleigh’s strength lying in their outside run. Gemma Lagioia (14.3 disposals, 3.3 inside 50s) could well be an opponent for Patrikios with the two among the best kicks in the league and are great movers around the field. Mimi Hill (15.3 disposals, 2.7 marks and 3.7 tackles) has been great off half-back and along the wing for the Chargers and could provide important rebound for the Chargers in a game where their opponents have plenty of attacking options. With Prespakis out, Emily Harley has a chance to take the outright lead in the goalkicking, booting eight goals in her three games while also getting involved up the ground with 13 touches and 3.7 marks. The Cannons have an advantage in the ruck with Georgie Sampson averaging 17 hitouts per game, the second highest in the competition. Both sides are evenly matched but the way the Chargers pushed the Knights they are capable of inflicting the Cannons’ first defeat, however Calder has just found a way each and every week even when challenged.