Tag: grace mcrae

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.

Weekend Wash-up: NAB League Girls – Round 3

ROUND 3 of the NAB League Girls saw Geelong Falcons and Calder Cannons remain undefeated proving their dominance of the competition. While the likes of the Western Jets, Sandringham Dragons and Gippsland Power are yet to register a win this season after a tricky start. The Murray Bushrangers made it two wins in a row, with Northern Knights making their way back onto the winner’s list after a draw in Round 2.  

GWV REBELS 0.1 | 0.2 | 2.2 | 2.3 (15)
DANDENONG STINGRAYS 0.2 | 3.3 | 5.3 | 8.4 (52)

By: Cameron Ross

GOALS:

GWV: S. Molan 2.
Dandenong: M. McDonald 2, L. Grocock 2, I. Shannon 2, J. Radford, T. Smith.

BEST:

GWV: I. Rustman, C. Leonard, S. Molan, E. Wood, G. Pidgeon, V. Jewell.
Dandenong: B. Vernon, Z. Hill, T. Smith, G. Howes, I. Shannon, A. Liddle.

The Dandenong Stingrays won their second game of the season against the GWV Rebels at MARS Stadium in Ballarat. The windy conditions made things difficult for both sides as they had trouble adjusting early. There was a cross breeze early in the game that slightly favoured the Wendouree end, yet the breeze became more prominent as the game went on. The Rebels could not take advantage of this early breeze and despite having more of the ball, were not able to register a goal in the first term. The Stingrays defence held up well with the key defender Zoe Hill, making things difficult for the Rebels.

The Stingrays took advantage of the wind in the second quarter, and the Rebels really struggled to get any penetration on their kicks. Rebels captain, Sophie Molan, attempted to lead the way and prove to her teammates what was required when kicking into the wind, but the Stingrays were simply too good. Tyanna Smith had a great quarter, finding space around the ground, and producing an amazing highlight. Smith cleanly scooped up the ball on the wing, took a bounce and kicked the ball long into the Stingray forward line. Unfortunately for Isabella Simmons, the Stingray’s third goal for the quarter came from her running the ball out of the square the wrong way and kicking it long into the Stingrays forward line. The goal was duly converted. This was even more unfortunate, as Simmons would have been one of the leading possession winners on the ground at the time, and also one of the Rebels best.

The third quarter was exciting, and the Rebels announced that they were not going to be pushed over. After Stingrays ruck Georgia Howes left early in the quarter, the Rebels were dominant at stoppages. Molan again led the way, going forward and kicking two goals in six minutes, and there was a sense at the ground, that the tide was changing. Ella Wood also started to get her hands on the footy a lot more, having an important 5 minutes when the Stringrays resistance began. It was not enough for the Rebels. Isabella Shannon kicked a goal against the run of play, but the dagger blow game when the Stingrays kicked another, after a brutal 50 metre penalty that brought them within point blank range and only 30 seconds in the quarter remaining. This meant that Stingrays increased their buffer back to 3 goals, and severely impacted the Rebels comeback.

Chloe Leonard started the final quarter well for the Rebels, winning back to back clearances and attempting desperately to bring the margin back within reason. Yet the Stingrays finally put the game away after the seven minute mark of the final term, after Molly McDonald goaled with a volley from the goal square. There would be some concerns for the Rebels with Wood going off late with a shoulder injury, but the game was much closer than the score line suggested.

Molan was impressed with the young Rebels’ sides fight.

“Our effort was much better this week. I thought we showed a lot of intensity at the ball, and when we used it well, we were really hard to stop,” she said. “It was just those couple of slight brain fades at the end of the quarters which made it really hard to get back into the match.” Molan also did not want to blame the wind for the sides struggles in the second and final quarters stating, “we haven’t played a game where it hasn’t been windy yet, and we’re used to it because of the lack of protection at this ground. It does make a difference, but we train here and we play here, we need to get used to it!”

Stingray Isabella Shannon was the best player on the field, and an absolute moral for votes in the league count, but Molly McDonald and Tyanna Smith were also solid contributors for the Stingrays. For the home side, the captain Sophie Molan led from the front, but Ella Wood and Chloe Leonard were also terrific.

 

SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS 1.0 | 1.1 | 1.2 | 1.3 (9)
CALDER CANNONS 0.2 | 0.2 | 1.7 | 4.8 (32)

By Peter Williams

GOALS:

Sandringham: E. Stuber.
Calder: G. Elarmaly, H. Cooke, N. Crowley, A. Magri.

BEST:

Sandringham: A. Burke, W. Laing, S. Hartwig, C. Saultry, E. McNamara, S. Trim.
Calder: K. Petrevski, Z. Friswell, G. Prespakis, H. Cooke, Z. Hardiman, G. Elarmaly.

 

Calder Cannons won their third consecutive match with a terrific last term to overrun a determined Sandringham Dragons outfit, handing the Dragons their third consecutive loss to start the 2019 season. Both teams were evenly matched throughout the game, and it took until the final term for the undefeated Cannons to finally shake off their opponents in challenging conditions at Trevor Barker Oval. Emma Stuber booted the first goal of the game for the Dragons to get them off to the perfect start, and due to weather conditions, the home side added the only score – one behind – in the second term to head into half-time with a five-point advantage. Calder dominated the third term, peppering the goals but could not find a major until Alisa Magri finally put through a goal after a great kick from Georgie Prespakis. They led by five points at the final break, but ran out the last quarter stronger, as Haylea Cooke booted the first less than two minutes into the quarter, then a couple of late ones to Gloria Elarmaly and Neve Crowley sealed the deal in a 4.8 (32) to 1.3 (9) victory. Krstel Petrevski was impressive throughout, particularly early as she collected 16 disposals, laid three tackles and had four inside 50s, while Prespakis had 23 disposals, three marks, four inside 50s, two rebounds and eight tackles, while missing a couple of chances on goal. For the Dragons, Alice Burke was enormous laying 10 tackles from 16 disposals and six marks, laying some crucials smothers as well. Sarah Hartwig was impressive in defence with 13 disposals, three marks, five tackles and six rebounds, while Winnie Laing and Eliza McNamara had 11 touches each on the inside.

 

NORTHERN KNIGHTS 2.0 | 4.4 | 4.4 | 5.7 (37)
WESTERN JETS 1.2 | 1.4 | 1.6 | 1.6 (12)

By: Taylah Melki

GOALS:

Northern: A. Bannan 2, T. Pulcino, M. Ramsay, B. Gutknecht.
Western: N. Wright.

BEST:

Northern: G. Newton, B. Gutknecht, J. Fitzgerald, S. Sansonetti, E. McKenzie, A. Bennett
Western: R. Tripodi, E. Georgostathis, T. Kolevski, E. Quinn, C. Sargent, J. Woods

The Northern Knights stamped their authority on the competition with a 25-point victory over the Western Jets at RAMS Arena. After a relatively close start, Northern put on the after burners to push the lead out and did not look back keeping the Jets goalless in the second half. The Knights looked like a polished outfit with the likes of Gabby Newton, Ellie McKenzie and Britney Gutknecht starring in the middle and contributing to the scoreboard. The three were clean with ball in hand and worked tirelessly across the ground to win the footy in the contest. For the Western Jets, Elisabeth Georgostathis once again dominated going in hard at the stoppages and using her speed to try and break away from the packs but it was not enough to stop the Knights who were on top across the field. Ruby Tripodi was a tackling machine and got hands to plenty of ball throughout the game and combined well with Western teammate, Taylah Kolevski.

 

MURRAY BUSHRANGERS 0.4 | 0.11 | 1.11 | 4.12 (36)
GIPPSLAND POWER 0.0 | 0.0 | 1.3 | 1.3 (9)

By: Peter Williams

GOALS:

Murray: O. Barber 2, L. Sharp, T. Verhoeven.
Gippsland: G. McRae.

BEST:

Murray: O. Barber, T. Brett, A. Favell, C. Hargreaves, M. Quade, Z. Spencer.
Gippsland: M. Van Berkel, M. Fitzsimon, G. McRae, C. Abrahams, M. Shaw.

Murray Bushrangers made it two wins on the trot with a hard-fought victory over the winless Gippsland Power at RAMS Arena. Following a disappointing Round 1 defeat to Northern Knights, the Bushrangers have strung two impressive wins together, with the latest being a 4.12 (36) to 1.3 (9) win against the Power yesterday. Neither side could find the big sticks in the first half, with the Bushrangers holding the Power scoreless to half-time, while booting 11 behinds themselves. Olivia Barber looked impressive early, but missed a couple of close chances, before being rewarded in the second half with a couple of majors. The Bushrangers booted the last four goals of the game after Grace McRae became the first goalkicker with a major in the tenth minute. It put the Power within three points, before Barber gave the Bushrangers deserved breathing space at the final break by eight points. They managed to finally get reward for effort in the last quarter with Barber, Lily Sharp and Tali Verhoeven all slotting goals to secure the 27-point victory. Barber was the best on ground with her work inside 50, but the defensive work of Matilda Van BerkelMegan Fitzsimon and Maddison Shaw was critical in the Power staying in the contest. Abby Favell and Grace McRae were prominent in midfield for their respective sides, while Teagan Brett put out another consistent performance as well. Chelsea Hargreaves was impressive up the Bushrangers’ defensive end, while Chandra Abrahams laid a number of strong tackles and defensive efforts.

 

EASTERN RANGES 0.2 | 2.3 | 2.5 | 4.7 (31)
OAKLEIGH CHARGERS 1.2 | 2.3 | 3.7 | 3.7 (25)

By: Taylah Melki

GOALS:

Eastern: T. Flintoff, R. Hall, L. Hilton, L. McClelland.
Oakleigh: E. Harley, A. Peck, J. D”Amato.

BEST:

Eastern: E. Horne, R. Hall, T. Flintoff, O. Meagher, T. Brown, S. Zappia
Oakleigh: C. Rowbottom, G. Lagioia, G. Larkey, E. Jackson, A. Micallef, M. Bertuna

After a slow start to the game the Eastern Ranges claimed their second win of the season against the Oakleigh Chargers. The Ranges kept the Chargers scoreless in the second half of the match piling on two goals themselves. Emma Horne proved to be a key player for the Ranges while teammate Laura McClelland slotted a major. Tarni Brown was instrumental across the field while Riley Hall was solid for the Ranges who went home six point winners. Tess Flintoff was also amongst the best for Eastern chipping in with one major and getting her hands to plenty of ball throughout the game. For the Chargers, the likes of Charlie Rowbottom and Gemma Lagioia were impressive with Rowbottom racking up the touches. Emily Harley and Jasmine D’Amato combined to score two goals between them and keep the Chargers in the game.

 

GEELONG FALCONS 2.2 | 5.2 | 6.5 | 9.5 (59)
BENDIGO PIONEERS 0.0 | 0.1 | 0.1 | 1.4 (10)

By: Michael Alvaro

GOALS: 

Geelong:M. Skinner 4, E. Vella, I. Long, R. Tierney, L. Ryan, A. Chapman 
Bendigo: M. Ward

BEST:

Geelong: L. Gardiner, P. Sheppard, L. Lesosky-Hay, M. Skinner, K. Haustorfer, P. Schapp
Bendigo: B. Hards, K. Douglass, E. Snell, M. Tupper, J. Jolliffe, D. Villiva

The Geelong Falcons kept their perfect NAB League record in tact with another dominant display on Sunday, accounting for Bendigo Pioneers by 49 points. 

With their wings unclipped atop the table, the Falcons looked sturdy across every line throughout the game and put the result beyond much doubt early on. Mia Skinner was at the centre of each Geelong attack, booting three first-half goals and ending with a bag of four to have seven in the last two games. Her forward partners, Renee Tierney and Elise Vella, were also dangerous but Skinner prevailed as the sole Falcons multiple goal kicker. Typically stingy in defence, the Falcons kept their opponents goalless across three quarters for the second week running, but Mia Ward broke through for the Pioneers in a fighting final term to slot through her side’s only major. Skipper Lucy McEvoy was thrown back in the final term as Abbey Chapman went forward and fetched a goal, but was worn tightly all day by Bendigo’s Brooke Hards. While the Pioneers were valiant, the ladder leaders were simply too strong and flex their muscle to run out comfortable winners.

Weekend wash-up: NAB League Girls – Round 2

IN Round 2 of the NAB League Girls, Geelong Falcons and Calder Cannons made it two from two, while Northern Knights and Oakleigh Chargers split the points, and Eastern Ranges and Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels went down after Round 1 wins. Subsequently, Bendigo Pioneers, Murray Bushrangers and Dandenong Stingrays recorded their first wins of the year.

BENDIGO PIONEERS 1.1 | 1.1 | 2.2 | 3.3 (21)
EASTERN RANGES 0.1 | 1.2 | 1.3 | 2.6 (18)

GOALS:

Bendigo: E. Snell, C. Mitchell, J. Jolliffe.
Eastern:
J. Grace, S. Gibbs.

BEST:

Bendigo: E. Gretgrix, E. Snell, T. Slender, M. Tupper, B. Hards, H. Stewart
Eastern: 
T. Flintoff, M. Church, M. Di Cosmo, L. McClelland, J. Richardson, S. Gibbs

Bendigo Pioneers bounced back from a narrow loss to the GWV Rebels last week by knocking over Round 1 winners, Eastern Ranges in Round 2. Jordyn Jolliffe booted the only goal of the first term and the Pioneers led by her straight kick. Eastern hit back with the only goal of the second term courtesy of Jess Grace to take a one-point lead into the second half. Bendigo again found an avenue to goal with Chantelle Mitchell converting, before Serena Gibbs added a second one for Eastern in the final term. The Ranges had hit the front, with a few minutes left, before Elizabeth Snell became the hero in the final two minutes with a match-winning goal to hand the Pioneers a three-point win. Eloise Gretgrix was best on ground in the win, well assisted by the strong Bendigo midfgield inSnell, Maeve Tupper and Brooke Hards, while Tara Slender was terrific in defence. Tess Flintoff and Madison Church stood up for the Ranges, while Laura McClelland never stopped trying throughout the contest. Next week, Bendigo travels to Geelong to take on the reigning premiers, while Eastern hosts Oakleigh Chargers at Healesville.

 

GWV REBELS 1.1 | 2.1 | 2.1 | 3.3 (21)
CALDER CANNONS 2.0 | 3.2 | 7.5 | 12.7 (79)

GOALS:

GWV: R. Saulitis, L. Sykes, S. Molan.
Calder:
G. Prespakis 7, A. Magri, T. Crook, I. McNeill-Wren, F. Theodore, T. Gillard.

BEST:

GWV: L. Sykes, M. Caris, S. Molan, I. Robson, C. Leonard, K. Tomkins
Calder: 
G. Prespakis, F. Theodore, G. Patrikios, L. Cocomello, E. Yassir, G. Elarmaly

Calder Cannons made it two consecutive wins, with a 58-point victory over Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels. After a tight first half which saw the Cannons lead by just seven points at the main break, Georgie Prespakis moved to full-forward and became a dominant force in the air and at ground level. She piled on seven majors in just a half in the forward 50, equalling the goals record set by three other players. While she was the name on everyone’s lips, Felicity Theodore deserved plaudits for multiple goal assists and a goal herself in that second half, while Georgia Patrikios was also impressive as the Cannons eased her back into the contest after missing Round 1. For the Rebels, Renee Saulitis kicked a ripping goal early, while Sophie Molan continued to battle hard throughout hte contest. Maggie Caris was a dominant force in the ruck, while Lauren Sykes was named the Rebels’ best in the victory. Next week the Cannons take on the winless Sandringham Dragons, while the Rebels host the Dandenong Stingrays at MARS Stadium with both teams sitting at 1-1.

 

MURRAY BUSHRANGERS 2.2 | 5.2 | 5.2 | 6.3 (39)
WESTERN JETS 0.0 | 0.1 | 0.2 | 2.3 (15)

GOALS:

Murray: E. McPherson 2, O. Barber, T. Verhoeven, M. Trethowan, A. Morphett.
Western: N. Wright, C. Weston-Sirett.

BEST:

Murray: A. Favell, T. Brett, O. Barber, C. Hargreaves, S. Locke, K. Adams
Western: E. Georgostathis, I. Grant, N. Wright, T. Kolevski, H. Herring, E. Kiely 

Murray Bushrangers put their disappointing round 1 defeat to the Northern Knights behind them to boot five first half goals and set uop a 24-point win over Western Jets. There was no sign of the team that struggled to score against one of the competition favourites, as the home side booted two goals to zero in the opening term, then added three more by half-time to lead by 30 points at the main break. Western slowed the momentum in the third term, kicking the only score of the quarter in a behind, then booted two of the final three goals to cut the final deficit to 24 points. Emilee McPherson was the only multiple goalkicker in the game with two, as the Bushrangers shared around their majors, with Olivia Barber getting on the board and also named among the best. Abby Favell and Teagan Brett were impressive in the victory, while for Western, captain Elisabeth Georgostathis was terrific once again, as was Isabella Grant who backed up her opening round form with another strong performance. Nikita Wright booted one of Western’s two goals, and was also among the Jets’ top players on the day. Murray hosts Gippsland Power next weekend at the Swinburne Centre (Punt Road) as the two Country teams meet halfway, while Western travels to RAMS Arena to take on the Northern Knights.

 

NORTHERN KNIGHTS 2.0 | 3.1 | 4.3 | 6.3 (39)
OAKLEIGH CHARGERS  1.0| 3.0 |4.2 | 6.3 (39)

GOALS:

Northern: E. McKenzie 2, A. Bannan 2, M. Appleby, T. Pulcino
Oakleigh: E. Harley 3, M. Bertuna, N. Xenos, K. Kearns

BEST:

Northern: C. Fitzgerald, B. Gutknecht, M. Plunkett, P. Chisholm, G. Newton, G. Ceravolo
Oakleigh: M. Hill, N. Xenos, G. Larkey, G. Lagioia, E. Harley, C. RowbottoM

It was a tight contest with both the Northern Knights and Oakleigh Chargers going toe to toe for the entire match. The Knights held a narrow lead for most of the game but in the final term the Chargers came out firing to edge ahead. But in the end neither side could be separated with the Northern Knights sealing a goal in the dying minutes of the game to tie it all up, claiming the first draw of the season. Oakleigh applied plenty of pressure across the ground and stopped the attacking flow of the Knights for large parts of the game, causing some uncharacteristic errors at times. Emily Harley proved to be the key up forward for Oakleigh nailing three goals to keep her side in it, while for the Knights Alyssa Bannan and Ellie McKenzie chipped in with two goals apiece. Speedster Mimi Hill impressed throughout the game for Oakleigh with her timely touches, clever positioning and ability to break away from packs. Star midfielders Britney Gutknecht and Gabby Newton were their dominant selves racking up plenty of touches and hitting up targets. Northern Knights are set to face off with the Western Jets at RAMS Arena while the Oakleigh Chargers will make the journey to Healesville to play the Eastern Ranges.

GEELONG FALCONS 4.4 | 7.5 | 8.8 | 11.9 (75)
GIPPSLAND POWER 0.0 | 0.3 | 0.4 | 2.5 (17)

GOALS:

Geelong: R. Tierney 4, M. Skinner 3, L. McEvoy, L. Gardiner, J. Robinson, D. Moloney.
Gippsland: G. McRae, C. Robinson.

BEST:

Geelong: P. Sheppard, L. McEvoy, R. Tierney, D. Moloney, L. Lesosky-Hay, L. Gardiner
Gippsland: N. Webber, G. McRae, M. Fitzsimon, C. Abrahams, M. Van Berkel, M. Shaw

An almost flawless display across the ground saw the Geelong Falcons trounce Gippsland Power by 58 points at Deakin University, helping them soar back to the top of the table. The Falcons’ forward line was a clear feature early as Renee Tierney and Mia Skinner caused headaches for Gippsland’s defence in the first half, combing for all of Geelong’s seven first half goals in deep roles inside 50. With the attack running smoothly and the likes of Lucy McEvoy and Paige Sheppard providing unrelenting service from midfield, Geelong’s defence also stood up well to keep the Power goalless for three quarters of the game. But a final quarter lapse on Geelong’s part saw Gippsland’s Cailin Robinson take full advantage to slot through her side’s first major of the day, with Grace McRae adding to the total in the face of another three Falcons goals. Darcy Moloney and Laura Gardiner finished among a long line of Geelong standouts, with the bite-sized Elise Vella also doing a few neat things. Gippsland star Nikia Webber was her side’s clear best from half-forward and through the midfield, while McRae was another valiant trier alongside Chandra Abrahams, who fought well in the engine room, and Megan Fitzsimon. With a perfect record intact, the Falcons will now go on to face Bendigo at Deakin once again on Sunday, while the 0-2 clash with Murray in an all-country clash at the Swinburne Centre in Richmond on Saturday.

 

SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS 1.3 | 1.5 | 1.5 | 1.11 (17)
DANDENONG STINGRAYS 1.2 | 3.3 | 4.5 | 5.7 (37)

GOALS:

Sandringham: S. Rothfield.
Dandenong: B. Vernon, I. Shannon, A. Liddle, J. Radford, G. Howes.

BEST:

Sandringham: C. Cody, M. Purcell, T. Grasso, S. Hartwig, E. McNamara, E. Angelopoulos
Dandenong: M. Layfield, T. Smith, J. Radford, Z. Hill, S. Stratton, H. Thomas

Dandenong Stingrays have run out 20-point winners against an inaccurate Sandringham Dragons outfit at RSEA Park, Moorabbin. The Stingrays had the same amount of scoring shots as the Dragons, but converted five of their 12 attempts compared to the Dragons’ one. The one goal came in the first term when Soph Rothfield converted a set shot to match Brooke Vernon‘s major which came after back-to-back 50-metre penalties. Despite never having the game under control, the Stingrays booted the final four goals of the match, and when Isabella Shannon broke through to give the Stingrays a four-goal lead, it looked done and dusted. The Dragons relentlessly attacked in the final term, but missed some golden opportunites and it will be a great learning curve for them going forward. Marguerite Purcell and Eliza McNamara were huge in the midfield with Alice Burke for the Dragons, while Tyanna Smith and Shannon were tough for the Stingrays. Molly McDonald got better as the game went on, while Zoe Hill and Sarah Hartwig were consistent as ever up their respective ends. Next week the Dragons take on the undefeated Calder Cannons, while the Stingrays face the GWV Rebels at MARS Stadium.

Weekend wrap: NAB League Girls – Round 1

THE new era of Victorian Under 18s football began on the weekend with two triple headers at Craigieburn and Frankston. We wrap up how the six games played out and some of the better players on the day for each side.

Calder Cannons 1.2 | 4.3 | 5.3 | 5.7 (37)
Western Jets 1.1 | 1.3 | 1.4 | 1.4 (10)

GOALS:

Calder: G. Prespakis, N. Crowley, G. Elarmaly, M. Muller, I. McNeill-Wren.
Western: I. Grant.

BEST:

Calder: G. Prespakis, M. Muller, G. Elarmaly, K. Petrevski, A. Barba, L. Cocomello
Western: I. Grant, R. Tripodi, E. Georgostathis, I. Pritchard, C. Saxon-Jones, K. O”Keefe

Calder Cannons kicked off the new season on the right note with a 27-point win over the Western Jets in the first of three games at Craigieburn. The breeze made life difficult for both teams as they opted to use the grandstand side of the ground. The Cannons were the first on the board through Gloria Elarmaly, before a response came from the Jets through one of Western’s AFL Women’s Academy players in Isabella Grant. The Cannons headed into the first break with just a one-point lead, but then a second term burst saw Makeisha Muller and Georgie Prespakis conjure goals out of nothing, while Neve Crowley also added a major to the total. An 18-point lead soon became 23 by the final break as India McNeil-Wren booted the final goal of the match in the third quarter. Neither team could manage a goal in the final term, which suited Calder just fine, walking away with the points having restricted the Jets to just three behinds after quarter time. Prespakis was the star of the show, constantly winning possessions around stoppages and bursting away, while Muller and Alana Barba showed promising signs among what was a real team effort from the Cannons who were missing Georgia Patrikios. For the Jets, Grant was productive throughout the match, while Elisabeth Georgostathis had a massive first half and never gave in through the midfield, while Isabelle Pritchard and Cleo Saxon-Jones showed their ability up either end. In Round 2, Calder Cannons face fellow winners Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels, while Western Jets look to get on the board against other Round 1 losers, Murray Bushrangers.

Bendigo Pioneers 0.1 | 2.3 | 2.3 | 3.4 (22)
GWV Rebels 3.1 | 3.2 | 4.3 | 4.3 (27)

GOALS:

Bendigo: J. Jolliffe 2, M. Barton.
GWV: I. Simmons 2, R. Saulitis 2.

BEST:

Bendigo: M. Tupper, E. Gretgrix, K. Mitchell, B. Hards, D. Villiva, K. Douglass
GWV: B. Thompson, N. Butler, I. Simmons, E. Wood, N. Dojiok, S. Molan

In the second game of the day, spectators were treated to a tight match after quarter time. It all looked to be going pear-shaped for the Pioneers early as Isabella Simmons booted two opening term goals and was joined by fellow middle-ager, Renee Saulitis who split the middle from a tight angle to hand the GWV Rebels an 18-point quarter time lead. With the Pioneers kicking with the breeze in the second term, Madeline Barton snapped a goal off the deck for Bendigo’s first, before Jordyn Jolliffe converted from the set shot to draw within five points at the main break. After half-time, the first goal was crucial and it went to Saulitis who somehow found herself unguarded at the back of a pack close to goal, with the ball falling in her lap, turning around and snapping a goal. The Rebels extended the lead to two straight kicks at the final break having kept the Pioneers scoreless in the term, but with the breeze, Bendigo was always a chance. Jolliffe booted her second major and gave them real hope, though the end-to-end football meant both sides felt like they were close to scoring. In the end, the Rebels managed to hold firm against a gallant Pioneers outfit to win by five points. Brooke Thompson was named as the Rebels’ best, while Nekaela Butler and Nyakoat Dojiok did some of their best work out of defence. Ella Wood and Sophie Molan were a handful in the midfield, while Simmons and Saulitis were busy in the forward half. For the Pioneers, Maeve Tupper, Eloise Gretgrix and Brooke Hards all formed a resilient midfield that stood tall on the day, while Kaitlin Mitchell, Dakota Villiva and Kate Douglass were among others who impressed for the losing side. In Round 2, the GWV Rebels will meet Calder Cannons, while Bendigo Pioneers hope to record a win at home against Eastern Ranges.

Northern Knights 2.7 | 4.7 | 7.10 | 11.12 (78)
Murray Bushrangers 0.0 | 0.1 | 0.1 | 0.2 (2)

GOALS:

Northern: B. Gutknecht 4, N. Morris-Dalton, A. Bannan, G. Newton, T. Mills, C. Linssen, M. Appleby, A. Bennett.
Murray: Nil.

BEST:

Northern: B. Gutknecht, G. Newton, E. McKenzie, M. Chaplin, J. Fitzgerald, S. Sansonetti
Murray: A. Morphett, M. Quade, K. Whitehead, M. Trethowan, A. Favell, O. Barber

In the final game of the triple header at Craigieburn, there was a noticeable step-up in decision making and run as last year’s grand finalists, Northern Knights looked every bit a contender once again with a 76-point victory over Murray Bushrangers. In 2018, we saw the Knights had no trouble scoring and it looked to be the case once again, with eight individual goalkickers. Britney Gutknecht was the major beneficiary with four goals, three of which came in the second half. Throughout the day, sides struggled to kick goals into the breeze, with just two of a total 13 goals going through the big sticks up the Grand Boulevard end of RAMS Arena. The Knights found a way though, booting six goals, including four in the final term as they ran away with the contest to record 23 scoring shots to two in an impressive victory. There was no shortage of stars for the Knights with Gutknecht, Gabby Newton, Ellie McKenzie and Jess Fitzgerald all busy, while Maeve Chaplin and Sarah Sansonetti were also named in the best in what could have extended to a few more names as well. For Murray, the largely different side to last season with a lot of new or middle and bottom-age players showed some impressive signs trying to take the game on, but it was hard to get a read because of the strength of the Knights. Olivia Barber tried hard in the ruck throughout the day, while Abby Favell kept running. Ally Morphett and Mindy Quade were named the Bushrangers’ best in the big loss. Murray will have a chance to bounce back in Round 2 when they come up against the Western Jets, while the Knights will meet Oakleigh Chargers who also recorded an impressive win in Round 1.

Dandenong Stingrays 1.0 | 1.0 | 2.4 | 3.5 (23)
Eastern Ranges 0.2 | 2.4 | 3.4 | 4.8 (32)

GOALS:

Dandenong: H. Thomas, I. Shannon, J. Radford.
Eastern: S. Gibbs, L. McClelland, M. Kendall, S. Collard.

BEST:
Dandenong:
B. Vernon, I. Shannon, Z. Hill, G. Howes, J. Radford, A. Nagtzaam
Eastern: O. Meagher, T. Brown, T. Flintoff, L. McClelland, M. Kendall

By: Brandon Hutchinson

Opening the second triple header for the weekend, Eastern picked up their first win in a tight affair over Dandenong in Frankston. The game broke into the Ranges’ forward half early, but it was Dandenong who drew first blood with Isabella Shannon slotting one from congestion. A revitalised Eastern returned fire in the second with Mietta Kendall hitting the board early. Much of the second quarter continued in Eastern’s forward half with Dandenong defenders getting first hands to the ball but struggling to penetrate the forward press. Eastern were soon rewarded again with a goal from captain, Laura McClelland, while Dandenong remained scoreless for the second. The Stingrays attempted a resurgence following the main break, pushing the ball back up the centre. Jemma Radford kicked Dandenong’s second after snatching the pill mid-flight in congestion to put them within two-points. Though Shae Collard quickly replied for Eastern, snuffing out some of Dandenong’s momentum. In the final period, Harmony Thomas kicked Dandenong’s third while Serena Gibbs secured the win for Eastern in the closing minutes with a big kick from 35 metres out. Though playing without one of their best in captain, Molly McDonald, the Dandenong girls adjusted well with Alice Nagtzaam creating well up forward while Brooke Vernon and Shannon remained prolific. For the Ranges, Olivia Meagher pressured well while Tarni Brown and Tess Flintoff impressed on the move. In Round 2, Eastern Ranges face fellow Round 1 losers, Bendigo Pioneers, while Dandenong Stingrays face fellow losers, Sandringham Dragons.

Oakleigh Chargers 1.1 | 3.1 | 6.3 | 9.9 (63)
Gippsland Power 1.1 | 1.1 | 1.1 | 2.1 (13)

GOALS:

Oakleigh: E. Harley 4, A. Van Oosterwijck 2, E. James, K. Kearns, J. D’Amato
Gippsland: N. Webber, S. Walker

BEST:

Oakleigh: A. Porter, A. Van Oosterwijck, E. Harley, J. Lin, G. Lagioia, E. James
Gippsland: C. Abrahams, M. Van Berkel, N. Webber, G. Radford, G. McRae, M. Shaw

By: Brandon Hutchinson

Gippsland Power walked away from Sunday afternoon with a 50-point loss dealt by a dominant Oakleigh side at Frankston Oval. Both teams came out hard in the first, mostly locking the ball down in the midfield with repetitive stoppages. Nikia Webber kicked Gippsland’s first from a gather and snap early on, while Gemma Lagioia responded in the closing minutes for Oakleigh to tie the term. In the second, Oakleigh slowly increased their lead after trapping the ball in their forward line. Emily Harley kicked her first goal after a stray rebound found her teammate. Power tried to shift pressure through the centre, but the Chargers broke their lines and soon found their second through Amelia van Oosterwijck before entering the main break. Gippsland remained scoreless up until the final quarter as the Chargers surged on to kick six more. Kalarni Kearns kicked Oakleigh’s first for the third while Harley added two more as she and her teammates continued to dominate the airways. Harley’s fourth came in the final quarter, increasing Oakleigh’s lead early on, while Power replied with their second following a spill in defence. Van Oosterwijck hit back on the other end with her second with Eliza James soon following with Oakleigh’s final goal. Gippsland captain, Maddison Shaw, and teammates, Grace McRae, Chandra Abrahams and Matilda Van Berkel all combined well despite Oakleigh’s dominance. For Oakleigh, Harley and Van Oosterwijck were enormous in front of goals, while Joanna Lin and Lagioia starred through the centre. In Round 2, Oakleigh Chargers face fellow big winners, Northern Knights, while Gippsland Power face Round 1 winners, Geelong Falcons.

Sandringham Dragons 0.0 | 1.0 | 1.0 | 1.0 (6)
Geelong Falcons 0.0 | 2.3 | 4.5 | 4.8 (32)

GOALS:

Sandringham: C. Murphy.
Geelong: P. Schaap, R. Tierney, D. Moloney, M. Skinner.

BEST:

Sandringham: W. Laing, M. Purcell, D. Walker, T. Grasso, E. McNamara, S. Hartwig
Geelong: L. Lesosky-Hay, P. Sheppard, L. McEvoy, M. Skinner, A. Chapman, D. Moloney

Geelong Falcons overcame an early challenge from Sandringham Dragons to post a 26-point win at Frankston. Neither side managed to trouble the scorers in the first term, before Poppy Schaap and Renee Tierney both entered the goal scorers list with majors in the second quarter, while Charli Murphy booted the Dragons’ only score. An incredible goal from Darcy Moloney in the third term, which saw her handball over an opponent, run on and kick the goal,was the Dragons’ highlight of the game, before Mia Skinner extended the Falcons’ lead to 23 points at the final break. A tight third term saw the ball up the Falcons’ end for almost the entirety of the contest, with Geelong scoring the only three behinds of the term. In the end it was enough to walk away with the four points, scoring 4.8 from 12 scoring shots to Sandringham’s one. Luka Lesosky-Hay was the Falcons’ best running through the midfield and teaming up with Lucy McEvoy well, while Paige Sheppard and Skinner provided good support on the outside. For the Dragons, Winnie Laing did well through the middle on the inside, and Marguerite Purcell solid on the outside. While the Geelong midfield got on top, the Dragons’ defence held up well with Sarah Hartwig strong at centre half-back, and players like Alice Burke working hard defensively to reduce the scoring impact of the reigning premiers.

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.