Tag: Hannah Dunn

AFL Women’s Saturday wrap: Giants outlast Suns in wet conditions for maiden 2021 win

THE Greater Western Sydney Giants finally put a win on the board on Saturday afternoon, defeating Gold Coast Suns in a rain-affected encounter at Blacktown International Sportspark, 2.6 (18) to 1.2 (8). Both teams were coming into this match off the back of comprehensive Round 2 losses, and while the Suns pressed hard after a tough first quarter, it was to no avail in the wet weather as they failed to put a major on the board until the final minutes of the match.

In an excellent start to the match the Giants were just about unstoppable, hogging the footy as Alyce Parker and Bec Beeson could not be separated from the action, as Taylah Davies and Alicia Eva slotted early goals to open proceedings and put some space between them and the traveling Suns. While the Suns were relatively composed running out of half back and dominated the marking contest, led by Jade Pregelj who collected a number of rebounds and Alison Drennan who piled on the physicality, the side could not clear the footy through the tightly contested Giants as a clogged midfield continuously sent the ball soaring back inside 50. While the tides changed in the second, with a clear scoring end coming to fruition as the Suns piled on the offensive pressure, the away side just could not pile on the scoreboard intensity they needed with the footy continuously rebounding between Lauren Ahrens and Elle Bennetts. A 15-point margin at quarter time only slightly changed to 16 points as the main break came around, with both sides failing to put a goal on the board.

Whilst the weather cleared up in the second half, the slippery conditions remained as frantic footy was played through the midfield and a tight one-on-one defence from both sides denied any easy chances for clearances. While the Suns denied the Giants a single goal after the first term and Jamie Stanton finally broke the drought with a Suns goal in the last minutes of the match, it was a tough slog for the Suns in a much tighter encounter than the scoreline suggested.

The trio of Parker (24 disposals and five tackles), Beeson (23 and seven) and Eva (15 and one goal) was impressive as ever, while Haneen Zreika was unstoppable early to finish with seven tackles and opposing rucks Erin McKinnon and Lauren Bella racked up 20 hitouts apiece. The Suns’ physicality was excellent with Drennan (22 disposals, 12 tackles) combing well with Serene Watson and Hannah Dunn (eight and seven tackles, respectively) while Ahrens and Stanton were also solid.

Image Credit: AAP/Dan Himbrechts

GWS GIANTS | 2.3 | 2.5 | 2.6 | 2.6 (18)
GOLD COAST SUNS | 0.0 | 0.1 | 0.1 | 1.2 (8)

GOALS:

Giants: T. Davies, A. Eva
Suns: J. Stanton

DC BEST:

Giants: A. Parker, R. Beeson, E. Bennetts, A. Eva, B. Tully
Suns: A. Drennan, J. Stanton, L. Ahrens, M. Levi, S. Watson

Credit: Getty Images

Experienced Blues overawe Saints

The second match of the evening saw the Saints host the Blues at Moorabbin, in the first crowd-less matchup of the round. Perfect conditions in Melbourne saw the home side get off to the perfect start, as Caitlin Greiser would not be rendered goalless for the second straight round and put the first goal through for the match with minute left in the quarter as the Saints dominated the early stages. With Greiser taking centre stage up forward for the Saints, the Blues would not be left wondering what could be playing an extra back to lighten the load of the likes of Mua Laloifi, but Greiser’s beautiful gather and goal from an angle well and truly outclassed the Blues backwoman on return from injury, allowing the Saints some breathing space and a slight seven-point upper hand heading into the first change.

But it was not all doom and gloom for Carlton, as the side picked up their game as the second term rolled around with two shocking weeks behind them and no desire to head in that same direction once more, as the side well and truly took advantage of the blustery wind to pile on the scoreboard pressure in the second quarter. It took only a perfect start from Elise O’Dea who was sent forward to do what she does best, hitting the scoreboard quickly and seeing the rest of the side pick up their game immediately as Maddy Prespakis got in on the action with a snap out of the back of a contest, and seeing a couple of excellent chains of handballs keep the footy moving fast down the field, evading Saints’ possession. While it was the experienced Blues cohort that got the show on the road in the second quarter, it was the young talent that lifted in the second half as Prespakis was aided by Grace Egan, Georgia Gee and Abbie McKay, with the latter two finding much more of the footy as the match opened up. A Kate Shierlaw purple patch – including the Saints’ second goal – was cut short as the tall was briefly sent off the field for a head knock, whilst the likes of Georgia Patrikios and Tyanna Smith were influential around the footy, matching up well against the Blues’ talent but unable to apply the offensive pressure the side so sorely needed.

A tough contest was had in the final term, and while the Saints proved they were more than capable of taking the game on, it was not enough as the Blues had the momentum and wind going in their favour. Whilst the Saints midfield and back-end worked in overdrive to push the footy forward once more, the Blues shut down the centre corridor and minimised options on the wing to continuously propel the footy back inside their attacking 50. Nic Stevens‘ second goal of the game – a soccer off the ground from within the square – well and truly put the ice on the cake for the then-winless Blues, as the side ran home with a solid 6-4 (40) to 2.4 (16) victory.

For the successful Blues, Prespakis and Egan led the way with 24 touches apiece, combining for eight tackles between them while McKay was not far behind with 17 touches and seven tackles alone. O’Dea had her best match in the navy blue, piling 21 disposals onto her season tally and booting the side’s opening goal, while Jess Hosking and Breann Moody were solid as ever. For the Saints, Patrikios was excellent with 20 disposals and five tackles, while Hannah Priest (18 disposals, six tackles and five marks) and Rosie Dillon (14 disposals and nine tackles) were also solid targets around the ground.

ST KILDA | 1.1 | 1.2 | 2.4 | 2.4 (16)
CARLTON | 0.0 | 3.1 | 5.1 | 6.4 (40)

GOALS:

St Kilda: C. Greiser, K. Shierlaw
Carlton: N. Stevens 2, L. Brazzale, M. Downie, E. O’Dea, M. Prespakis

DC BEST:

St Kilda: G. Patrikios, R. Dillon, H. Priest, K. Shierlaw, T. Lucas-Rodd
Carlton: M. Prespakis, G. Egan, E. O’Dea, A. McKay, J. Hosking

Credit: Getty Images

Dees triumph thanks to second term

demolition

Melbourne reigned supreme in an almighty top four battle as the Demons came from behind to claim an emphatic nine-point win over North Melbourne 9.6 (60) to 8.3 (51). Both sides headed into the Round 3 match undefeated but Melbourne proved their status as a powerhouse side in the AFL Women’s competition. highlighting their attacking mentality and peppering away at the goals in the second term to flip the script.

Despite multiple chances throughout the opening term the Dees struggled to find their kicking boots early while North Melbourne nailed the first two goals of the game. With the ball spending majority of time inside 50 for Melbourne, the Demons finally struck their first major as the clock ticked down to quarter time reducing the deficit to three points at the break. That momentum trickled into the second term as the Demons showcased their ability to link up with handballs and weave their way forward to steal the lead and slot four consecutive goals. Tegan Cunningham and Jackie Parry inspired the comeback second term with the pair combining for four goals in that quarter alone, showcasing their ability to get the job done both in the air and at ground level with Parry roving the pack and slotting a nice goal to really give Melbourne the ascendancy heading into half time.

Melbourne stretched the lead out to as much as 25 points before the Kangaroos tightened things up in the third term to pile on the scoreboard pressure and nullify the influence of the Dees. With a number of key cogs in the blue and white, the Roos found a way to be damaging as Daria Bannister picked up the slack with two goals in her side’s four goal term. But sensing a momentum switch, the Demons regathered their composure in the final stanza to keep North Melbourne at bay, trapping the ball inside 50 despite the margin getting as close as three points with only moments to spare.

It was the usual suspects for the Kangaroos that stood up in the contest as Jasmine Garner took the game into her own hands as shown through her mammoth 15 disposals, 12 tackles and two goal effort. Emma Kearney chimed in, amassing 16 touches while also slotting a timely goal to keep the Roos within touching distance of the Demons. Ashleigh Riddell was a key contributor with her 17 disposals as was Kaitlyn Ashmore who managed to find plenty of the footy thanks to her 16 disposals and two tackle performance. Jenna Bruton threw her weight around laying six tackles to accompany her 14 touches while Bannister kept the scoreboard ticking over banging home two majors.

For the Demons, Karen Paxman was a force to be reckoned with directing traffic and picking up a game-high 25 disposals. Paxman was involved in just about everything and made full use of her physical nature to match up against Kearney through the middle while on the goal-scoring front Cunningham was proving too big and too strong, outmuscling her opponents and kicking true out the front. Cunningham finished with two goals for the game as teammate Parry impressed with her three majors. Youngster Tyla Hanks provided that element of run and carry across the ground picking up 23 touches and nine tackles as Kate Hore was a real livewire with 15 touches and three marks. Maddison Gay made her presence felt recording seven tackles and 16 disposals in the win with Lily Mithen also a key playmaker for the Dees amassing 21 touches.

MELBOURNE | 1.3 | 7.4 | 8.4 | 9.6 (60)
NORTH MELBOURNE | 2.1 | 3.1 | 7.3 | 8.3 (51)

GOALS:

Melbourne: J. Parry 3, T. Cunningham 2, S. Scott 2, K. Hore, K. Paxman
North Melbourne: J. Garner 2, D. Bannister 2, G. Campbell, E. Kearney, S, Abbatangelo, I. Eddey

DC BEST: 

Melbourne: K. Paxman, T. Hanks, L. Mithen, M. Gay, T. Cunningham,
North Melbourne: J. Garner, E. Kearney, A. Riddell,  J.Bruton, K. Ashmore

AFL Women’s Sunday wrap: Lions secure roaring Q-Clash victory

BRISBANE roared to a record-breaking Q-Clash win on Sunday, gaining bragging rights over its local rival with a 63-point thrashing of Gold Coast at Hickey Park. The 10.5 (65) to 0.2 (2) result served as the first Q-Clash win in AFL Women’s history, while also making for Brisbane’s highest ever score in the competition. On the flip-side, Gold Coast’s two behinds became the lowest-ever total and just the second goalless effort on record.

Dynamic Brisbane tall forward Jesse Wardlaw was awarded the Q-Clash Medal as best afield, booting goals in each quarter and having a hand in plenty more as she dominated both in the air and around the ground. She was a key benefactor of the Lions’ slick and quick ball movement on the outside, which put the Suns’ defence under enormous pressure.

While the scoreboard only showed two goals for Brisbane’s early ascendancy, signs were ominous when the Lions headed into the main break 29 points clear – all while keeping Gold Coast scoreless. In a sign of maturity for the maroon, blue, and gold, they put the foot down after half time with six-straight goals to run away comfortable winners.

Dakota Davidson let fans know it was party time as she sunk four majors for the Lions, while speedy second-year jet Greta Bodey added two more goals to her career tally in an electric display. Ally Anderson and Nat Grider (20 disposals) led all comers, with the likes of Emily Bates (17 disposals), Lauren Arnell (15), and Sophie Conway (14) were prolific going forward.

Lauren Aherns was Gold Coast’s leading ball winner with 19 touches, followed closely by Alison Drennan and Hannah Dunn on 18 apiece. A knee injury to prized 2020 draftee Annise Bradfield in the first term only rubs salt into the wound of Gold Coast’s mammoth loss, on top of an 0-2 record.

Image Credit: Jono Searle/Getty Images via AFL Photos

BRISBANE 2.4 | 4.5 | 6.5 | 10.5 (65)
GOLD COAST 0.0 | 0.0 | 0.1 | 0.2 (2)

GOALS:

Brisbane: J. Wardlaw 4, D. Davidson 4, G. Bodey 2
Gold Coast: Nil.

DC BEST:

Brisbane: J. Wardlaw, E. Bates, S. Conway, D. Davidson, N. Grider, L. Arnell
Gold Coast: A. Drennan, H. Dunn, L. Aherns, J. Pregelj

Credit: Dylan Burns/AFL Photos

HARDENED ROOS HOP PAST SAINTS ON HOME TURF

NORTH Melbourne secured its eighth-straight AFL Women’s victory on Sunday with a 26-point triumph over St Kilda at Arden Street Oval, but it was not enough to hold onto top spot. The Roos were tested for a half and only led by five points at the main break, but kept St Kilda scoreless thereafter to run out 5.6 (36) to 1.4 (10) winners.

The home side was met by a tenacious Saints outfit keen to compete, with the pressure gauge turned up in a competitive contest. But the more mature side, North Melbourne, was able to keep its foot on the gas for longer and eventually opened the game up on its own terms with more fluid ball movement and relentless attack at the contest.

Skipper Emma Kearney led the way for her Roos, collecting 22 touches in a vintage display of her class. Jemma Bruton was North’s leading ball winner with 23 disposals, while Ash Riddell was lively and sunk the sealing goal to boot. Jasmine Garner (18 disposals) and Ellie Gavalas (17) were the other second-half goalkickers who helped North pull away.

Georgia Patrikios broke her own record for the most disposals by a Saint in the AFLW, collecting 27 touches as she continues to go from strength to strength. Second-gamer Tyanna Smith was her side’s lone goalkicker in another promising display, while Cat Phillips (21 disposals) was also influential. The hard luck continues for Bianca Jakobsson though, as she was injured in her club debut, and first game back from collarbone surgery.

NORTH MELBOURNE 2.2 | 2.3 | 3.6 | 5.6 (36)
ST KILDA 0.1 | 1.4 | 1.4 | 1.4 (10)

GOALS:

North Melbourne: J. Garner, A. Riddell, D. Bateman, E. Gavalas, T. Randall
St Kilda: T. Smith

DC BEST:

North Melbourne: E. Kearney, A. Riddell, J. Bruton, J. Garner, E. Gavalas
St Kilda: G. Patrikios, C. Phillips, T. Smith, H. Priest, K. Shierlaw

Credit: Mark Kolbe/Getty Images via AFL Photos

CROWS FLY PAST GIANTS IN ROAD ROMP

ADELAIDE looks every bit the premiership contender after another convincing win, this time over the GWS Giants by 47 points at Blacktown International Sportspark on Sunday. Signs were ominous early as the Crows opened with three quick goals, before closing even better to secure the emphatic 9.8 (62) to 2.3 (15) result.

Danielle Ponter opened the game up in the first half with three majors, causing headaches inside 50 as Adelaide’s scoreboard pressure quickly began to mount. GWS was competitive at the coalface but had little to show for it in goalless second and third terms, a factor which eventually became telling as the Crows cruised to victory.

The Crows’ prime movers in Anne Hatchard (23 disposals), Erin Phillips (19), and skipper Chelsea Randall (14) were all prolific while managing to secure second half goals, while Ebony Marinoff was her side’s leading ball winner with 24 touches. Ponter finished as the game’s lone multiple goalkicker in a game-breaking performance.

Alyce Parker was again the Giants’ most valuable asset, proving monstrous at the contest to lead all comers with 27 disposals – including 16 contested possessions. She put the cherry on top of a big individual game with her first-ever AFLW goal in the final term. Rebecca Beeson also stood up in the charcoal and orange with 22 touches.

GWS 1.0 | 1.1 | 1.1 | 2.3 (15)
ADELAIDE 3.1 | 5.2 | 5.4 | 9.8 (62)

GOALS:

GWS: A. Parker, H. Zreika
Adelaide: D. Ponter 3, C. Randall, A. Woodland, M. Newman, E. Phillips, E. Jones, A. Hatchard

DC BEST:

GWS: A. Parker, R. Beeson, H. Zreika
Adelaide: E. Marinoff, E. Phillips, A. Hatchard, D. Ponter, S. Allan, C. Randall

Credit: Paul Kane/Getty Images via AFL Photos

DOCKERS GIVE EAGLES THE SLIP IN WET WESTERN DERBY

Fremantle slipped, slid, and secured its ninth-consecutive AFL Women’s victory on Sunday, defeating West Coast by nine points in a wet Western Derby. The heavens opened above Fremantle Oval and a hard-fought, contested scrap ensued as the local rivals searched for ascendancy. Having been drawn back to within just six points in the final term, Freo was able to hold on and win 2.11 (23) to 2.2 (14) in an enthralling encounter.

West Coast struck first through Aisling McCarthy, who teamed up with fellow Irishwoman Niamh Kelly for a precise opening goal considering the conditions. But another glorious feat in the wet from Docker Gemma Houghton put Fremantle ahead in the second term, before Kiara Bowers bombed home from 50 to give her side a handy 12-point buffer at the final break. It proved enough, despite Imahra Cameron‘s six-pointer making the final exchanges all the more dramatic in the fourth term.

Bowers won the best afield medal having come up clutch with her goal and led all comers on the back of 23 disposals and 14 tackles in a game which was seemingly made for her. Stephanie Cain (12 disposals, two behinds) and Hayley Miller (15 disposals) both worked two ways with six tackles apiece, while Sabreena Duffy was lively in the front half.

Young gun Mikayla Bowen (18 disposals) was West Coast’s leading ball winner, followed closely by Belinda Smith (17) and skipper Emma Swanson (16). Kelly and McCarthy were also prominent for the Eagles, who came away worse for ware with multiple injuries throughout the bruising battle. The two sides remain on opposite records, with Freo flying at 2-0 while West Coast remains on the hunt for points at 0-2.

FREMANTLE 0.3 | 1.6 | 2.8 | 2.11 (23)
WEST COAST 1.1 | 1.1 | 1.2 | 2.2 (14)

GOALS:

Fremantle: G. Houghton, K. Bowers
West Coast: I. Cameron, A. McCarthy

BEST:

Fremantle: K. Bowers, S. Cain, H. Miller, S. Duffy, G. Houghton,
West Coast: M. Bowen, B. Smith, E. Swanson, A. McCarthy

From the coast to the capital, Evans chases her dream

GROWING up in the New South Wales coastline suburb of Tathra, Tarni Evans was always involved in sport, be it soccer, athletics or as she has become more synonymous with lately, Australian rules football. The AFL Women’s National Academy member might be a good three hours drive from her home town, running out for Queanbeyan in the AFL Canberra league, but she is edging closer to her dream of playing AFL Women’s football.

“I was at Tathra footy club when I was 13/14 I think and I played in the women’s comp because that was the only comp that they had at home for the girls,” Evans said. “I played there for two years and then started to do SESA training which was the South East Sports Academy training in Canberra. I was doing that every Wednesday arvo and driving up to Canberra for that and then it was my third year of footy and my brother was in Queanbeyan and he was playing for Queanbeyan Tigers and living with the captain of the women’s team, Hannah and her partner.”

Hannah was Hannah Dunn, a football talent herself heading to the Gold Coast Suns with Pick 22 in last year’s AFL Women’s Draft after also spending a season with South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s side Norwood earlier in the year.

“Hannah asked if I’d come up and have a game with us sort of thing so I went up and played for the rest of the season for Queanbeyan. “So I played half a season with Queanbeyan and have been with Queanbeyan ever since. “Moved up to Canberra when I was 17, I turned 17 last year and moved up here and I’ve been up here to pursue my footy career from then until now.”

It sure beat Evans and her parents spending 12 hours on the road a week, and the talented midfielder immediately noticed the difference running out for the Tigers each week.

At home it’s kind of because there’s only a women’s comp for the girls, so it was pretty much any age group from 13 up, that was all playing women’s it was a mixed bag really,” Evans said. “We struggled for numbers for the first year at Tathra, so it was the beginning of it all. It was the first girls comp down at the coast. “So it was a massive difference coming up, it’s such a high level up here for sure, quite a shock.”

Coming through the pathways, Evans has represented NSW/ACT Rams and Eastern Allies at the AFL Women’s Under-18 Championships, and enjoyed the benefits that the AFL Women’s National Academy has to offer.

“(It’s been) a lot of fun,” Evans said. “Met some really awesome girls and had some great opportunities to learn some stuff. “With the SESA stuff that leads into the Rams, and then you get to travel with the team and go into Allies if you get picked for Allies. “So you’ve got a whole lot of different people and opportunities to learn. “That pathway’s been great.”

Evans described the feeling of running out on Metricon Stadium as an “awesome experience” and “a bit of an eye-opener” because of the ground’s ability to echo such was its size. Luckily Evans did not have to share the experience alone, as Tigers’ teammate Jayde Hamilton and AFL Canberra peer, Emily Pease, also members of the Eastern Allies squad and AFL Women’s National Academy, joined her.

Having Jayde and Emily has been amazing, it’s been so good. “Like we’ve been bouncing off each other and helping each other improve. “It’s been so fun having Em and Jayde to share all those experiences with and help each other train. “You have two best mates from footy who are doing the same stuff as you and have the same interests, it’s been so good having those two around and coming through all the different pathways with them.”

One of the most memorable trips of Evans’ life was the National Women’s Academy journey to Darwin, something the teenager admitted was unlike anything she had ever experienced.

“It’s probably the best city I’ve been to, it was so much fun,” Evans said. “It’s such a different climate it felt like you were in a different country really. It was awesome learning, we learnt so much about hydration and training in the hot. “It was just a cool experience. “We were training one night in Darwin and we had to get put under the covers because it started storming and it was a lightning storm, and then 10 minutes later it was sunny and hot again and sweaty. “It was wild, it was so much fun though.”

Evans’ strengths in football include her marking and penetrating kick, admitting that she likes to “run amok” on the field credit to her athletics background. She is working on her marking and her ability to read the play better, knowing when to release the ball at speed to best impact the game. Having played soccer, nippers (surf club) and athletics – the latter where she ironically met Pease – Evans has settled on Aussie rules as her sport of choice.

I think it was the team aspect,” Evans said. “I had done heaps of athletics, and it was such an individual sport. “Like I had done high jump and you’re so isolated from the individual (sport) and when it came to a team sport it’s just so much fun having people to share footy with. “The contact with it as well, being able to tackle people. “But mainly being with a group of girls that have got the same interested.”

Her goals for 2020 were to build up her strength returning from injuries in 2019, something she copped earlier this year with a minor ankle injury, but she was able to rehab well with the interrupted preseason and now she is back at Queanbeyan.

I started the preseason and did that at the start of the year,” Evans said. “We were doing all the preseason then it got pushed back with all the COVID stuff and I went home for a while. “So footy wasn’t on and it started a few weeks ago. “The first few games I didn’t play because of injury, but back now. I think I had four or five weeks off during that COVID bit during the break. “I’ve had great help from Scott Smith our strength and conditioning coach for SESA and Rams, he played a massive part of getting me back to footy with injuries and also improving my strength and conditioning letting us use his gym Myogen.”

Still at school, Evans said it could be tough to juggle her education, work and football commitments, but all her teacher and coaches were “really understanding” of her position, and accomodating her to live out her dream.

I’m in Year 12, I’m finishing off school,” she said. “I’m doing a trade once a week with school, so working with school at the moment. “It’s just a communication really. “I’ve had to get pretty good at communicating with different coaches and teachers and making sure everyone’s on the same page so I can try and stress a little less about handing in work, so it’s getting at communicating a little better and everyone’s really understanding.”

As for how her dream of playing at the elite level is tracking, Evans said she was just focusing on the now and looking to maintain her fitness, stay injury-free and play the best possible football she could with everything else out of her control.

This year, I’ve been injured a fair bit last year, so I’ve mainly been focused on getting myself back and just enjoying my footy so not being on the sideline rehabbing,” she said. “So mainly it’s just getting my body strong and healthy and play footy and play a few games and have a bit of fun. “Then improve with that and play my best footy and see where I go with it.”

QAFLW weekend preview: Round 6 – Sharkettes travel to Giffin Park to face Kings in match of the round

ROUND 6 of the Queensland Australian Football League (QAFL) Women’s has a potential grand final preview between two high-powered sides in Coorparoo and Bond University, whilst another contender and ladder leader in Maroochydore faces a big challenge in Coolangatta Tweed. In other games, Yeronga South Brisbane goes up against Wilston Grange, and University of Queensland hosts Aspley Hornets.

COORPAROO vs. BOND UNIVERSITY
Saturday, July 25, 4.45pm – Giffin Park

Our match of the round for Round 6 is Coorparoo up against Bond University which has developed into a top three clash. The Kings are red-hot since welcoming a stack of AFL Women’s talent into their midst, winning the last three games, and most notably the past two with a 93-point shellacking of Aspley Hornets, and an impressive 34-point win over Coolangatta Tweed. After losing their first two games of the year, the Kings are up to third on the table, and will leapfrog Bond University with a win. The Sharkettes are far from an easy beat however, maintaining a really consistent performance throughout the year since dropping their first game to Coolangatta Tweed in Round 1. Three wins and a cancellation draw later and the Sharkettes are only four points away from Maroochydore and within reach of top spot.

The Kings have so much firepower up forward with Emma McKenzie leading the goalkicking having played the four games and booted eight, while Jess Wuetschner (five) and Chelsea Chesterfield (four) are also dangers up forward having just joined the team in the past couple of weeks, while Kelsey Crosbie booted eight from the three games prior to lockdown. Young talent Jade Ellenger has been impressive throughout the year named in the best multiple times, while fellow Lions AFL Women’s talents in Emma Zielke and Ally Anderson make the Kings the team to beat on paper.

Jasmyn Davidson leads the Sharkettes goalkicking after a five-goal haul last week, as Bond University have a number of multiple goalkickers including Lydia Pingel (four). Caitlin Thorne (three goals), as well as teenagers, Taylor Smith and Maddison Levi (three each) are also hitting the scoreboard. Another young up and comer in Annie Muir has been named amongst the best four out of a possible five times, while Gold Coast young guns, Ellie Hampson and Charlotte Hammans are front and centre of a team that has so much young talent it is spilling over. In many ways, this clash has experience up against the future, and it could be a potential grand final preview.

It is hard to split either of these teams with both sides in terrific form. Perhaps the experience of the Kings nudges out the Sharkettes marginally, but there is plenty to like about Bond University and what the second placed side can produce when it is on fire.

 

MAROOCHYDORE vs. COOLANGATTA TWEED
Saturday, July 25, 4.45pm – Maroochydore Multisport Complex

The sole undefeated side in 2020 remains the hunted so far, with Maroochydore passing each test that has been thrown its way. Yet to face the other two title contenders in Bond University and Coorparoo since they were bolstered by their AFL Women’s yet, the Roos will now set their sights on Coolangatta Tweed in what should be an entertaining contest. Maroochydore will start favourite after four wins and a draw, and the fact that the Bluebirds have dropped a bit since the break. On the other side of the coin to Maroochydore, Coolangatta Tweed have played the two likely title contenders in the two rounds since returning to competition and were far from disgraced. They lost to Bond University by four goals and Coorparoo by 34 points, and this match will give the Bluebirds as much of an indication about where they stand, as it will for Maroochydore.

Ashleigh Hales leads the Roos’ goalkicking this year with an average of a goal a game from her five matches. Chloe Gregory, Jacqueline Dupuy and Mikayla Pauga all have four goals to their name, and a host of others have also hit the scoreboard. Maggie Harmer and Ruby McDowell have been the Roos’ top performers this year named in the best three times, while the young Brisbane Lions talent in Lily Postlethwaite and Isabel Dawes, and the experienced Tahlia Randall make Maroochydore a hard team to beat.

Three players share the Coolangatta Tweed leading goalkickers with Ahlani Eddy, Selina Priest and Uma Brennan all having slotted the three majors. Alex Hamlyn and Sally Riley have two apiece as the other multiple goalkickers for the Bluebirds. Casey Samuels is in some great form this year, named in the best the most of anyone on her side, while the Bluebirds have some AFL Women’s talent of their own in Georgia Breward, Kate Surman and Hannah Dunn among others. Maroochydore is a deserving favourite in this game, but the Bluebirds will give the Roos a real challenge.

 

WILSTON GRANGE vs. YERONGA SOUTH BRISBANE
Saturday, July 25, 2.00pm – Hickey Park

The earliest game of the day pits Wilston Grange up against Yeronga South Brisbane with the Gorillas looking to win their first game since Round 1 when they accounted for the Red Lionesses by 11 points. Since then they have suffered three losses and a cancellation draw, including going down to the Devils by five goals. On the other hand, the Devils might have forgotten what that winning feeling is themselves, but not necessarily through losing. Yeronga South Brisbane burst out of the blocks with a couple of wins and then suffered a loss prior to the COVID-19 shutdown, but upon return have mustered up two draws. Back-to-back draws for the same side is unusual, so the Devils will be hoping lightning does not strike a third time and they can take home the points.

Jordan Zanchetta kicked the goal that ensured the Devils went home with something last week, and she has been impressive in her four games this season. Likewise, Lucy Bellinger has stood out, while Madison Goodwin and Vanessa Hart are others who have impressed in their time this year. The Devils hare the goals around with already having 15 individual goalkickers in five games, a real feature of their style.

For Wilston Grange, Kaitlyn Day has been the standout running around, while the experienced Catherine Svarc has been a welcoming return. Imogen Stackelberg and Kristen Tyquin are among those who have hit the scoreboard multiple times this year and will be looking to do so again in this clash. The Gorillas are up against it in this contest, expect the extra experience of the Devils to win out and shake off their past two draws with the four points.

 

UNIVERSITY OF QUEENSLAND vs. ASPLEY HORNETS
Saturday, July 25, 4.45pm – UQ – Oval 2 St Lucia

After three consecutive losses to start the year and a draw upon return back in Round 4, the University of Queensland finally broke through for its maiden win of 2020 by downing Wilston Grange. The Red Lionesses blew away the Gorillas by 44 points in an impressive performance, and have come good at the right time to face an Aspley Hornets side that has really struggled without AFL Women’s experience. There are some consistent performers for the Hornets, but they have been met with some heavy defeats, losing their last two contests by 93 and 65 points and only kicking a goal from the two games combined. It is fair to say the revamped Red Lionesses head into the contest as heavy favourites in front of home fans.

Dakota Davidson is leading the goalkicking for the University of Queensland, slotting five goals in four games, ahead of Megan Hunt, Breanna Koenen and Greta Bodey who all have he two majors. Hunt has been one of the starring Red Lionesses, named in the best four out of five games, while Koenen and Davidson have made quite the impact off the two games since returning to the competition.

The Hornets have only kicked the six goals this year with Michaela Campbell and Rachel Crawford both slotting two, while Kylie Guarino and most recently, Phoebe Baird kicking one each. Baird is someone who has made an impact coming into the side since the break, named as a starring Hornet so far this month, and provides great relief to the likes of Courtney Daniel, Isabella Kotatis and Shaye Easton who have all been superb in defeat this year.

QAFL Women’s weekly wrap: Round 1 – Coorparoo make statement with huge victory

A DOMINANT performance from some of Brisbane’s top AFL Women’s stars headlined Coorparoo’s commanding 93-point win over cellar dwellers, Aspley Hornets on the weekend in the Queensland Australian Football League (QAFL) Women’s competition.

The Kings had started the season slow, but the return of some of the Lions’ top talents reinvigorated the side and were far too classy for the Hornets on the road. Jess Wuetschner – who has spent time at both ends in the past – returned to the forward line where she slotted four goals, while Ally Anderson was best on ground during the 14.9 (93) to 0.0 (0) win.

Coorparoo kept the Hornets scoreless throughout the contest and after Aspley had seemingly slowed the momentum in the middle two quarters – only conceding two goals in each quarter – the Kings put the foot down to pile on six goals in the final term to run away with the match. Chelsea Chesterfield booted three goals and Tori Groves-Little snatched two, while Emma Zielke and Brooke Spence were also among the Kings’ best in the win. Angela Lingard and Courtney Daniec were named as the Hornets’ best in the defeat.

Reigning premiers Bond University used its AFL Women’s stars to inflict Coolangatta Tweed’s first loss of the season. The Sharkettes moved to just two points behind the Bluebirds with the 4.9 (33) to 1.3 (9) triumph, doing all their work in the first half. Booting 4.4 to 0.2 by half-time, Bond University failed to kick a major in the second half, but restricted Coolangatta Tweed to just the one anyway – Selina Priest – to secure the four-goal victory.

Taylor Smith booted two majors in the win, while AFL Women’s Academy’s Tegan Levi, and Shannon Danckert scored the others. It was the work of former Queensland Most Valuable Player (MVP) at Under 18s level, Ellie Hampson who stood tall in the win, named best on ground amongst some other young talents in Annise Bradfield and Annie Muir. The Bluebirds had the likes of Leah Kaslar, Sally Riley and Hannah Dunn on their team, but could not maintain their unbeaten run against a strong Sharkettes side.

The Coolangatta Tweed loss left Maroochydore as the sole undefeated team in season 2020, pushing on to record a 26-point victory over Wilston Grange. The Roos started slowly to trail by four points at the first break, before booting three goals to one in the second term to hit the front by 10 points at half-time. Holding the Gorillas to just one behind in the second half, Maroochydore booted 2.5 to win 6.10 (46) to 3.2 (20).

Shannon Campbell was prolific up forward with three goals and named among the best, while it was the work of young stars, Isabel Dawes and Lily Postlethwaite who shone, playing well through the midfield. Rachel Crack was named best-on for the Roos, who managed to penetrate a defence led by Brisbane All-Australian key defender, Kate Lutkins. She stood tall despite the defeat – even booting a goal – whilst fellow Lion, Catherine Svarc also booted a goal and was named in the best. Eloise O’Connor and Lucia Liessi were other Gorillas who impressed in the loss.

The final match to report on was the no-winners draw between Yeronga South Brisbane and University of Queensland. The Devils headed into the clash with a 2-1 record, whilst the Red Lionesses had struggled to start the year after three consecutive losses. Welcoming back a number of top AFL Women’s talents, the University of Queensland was expected to lift, and the Red Lionesses certainly did that with an impressive performance. Trailing by eight points at half-time, they booted two goals to one in the third term to draw level by the final break, which also ended up being the final scores during the 3.8 (26) apiece draw.

Greta Bodey, Dakota Davidson and Lauren Middleton all booted goals in the draw, while Breanna Koenen and Megan Hunt were named the Red Lionesses’ top players. For Yeronga South Brisbane, a number of talented players took to the field in the draw such as AFL Women’s National Academy member, Zimmorlei Farquharson as well as AFL Women’s talents Emily Bates, and Jacqui Yorston among others.

ROUND 4 RESULTS:

Coolangatta Tweed 1.3 (9) defeated by Bond University 4.9 (33)
Yeronga South Brisbane 3.8 (26) drew with University of Queensland 3.8 (26)
Aspley Hornets 0.0 (0) defeated by Coorparoo 14.9 (93)
Maroochydore 6.10 (46) defeated Wilston Grange 3.2 (20)

Next week, the match of the round belongs to Coorparoo and Coolangatta Tweed with the resurgent Kings looking to continue their ascent up the ladder, but face an equally talented side in the Bluebirds. The other matches see top of the table Maroochydore travelling to face Yeronga South Brisbane, University of Queensland hosting Wilston Grange, and Bond University looking to apply more pressure to Aspley Hornets.

2020 SANFL Women’s team summaries: Norwood

WITH no football on given the current COVID-19 global pandemic, the Draft Central team takes a look at where the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s left off, and will examine each of the eight teams from reverse ladder order. Today’s team summary is Norwood.

RECORD: 5th (1-2-1)

RESULTS:

R1: lost to Central District by 4 points
R2: defeated WWT Eagles by 1 point
R3: lost to South Adelaide by 30 points
R4: drew with West Adelaide

With three results decided by a combined five points to start the year, it is fair to say Norwood has given its supporters plenty of nervous, but exciting moments. A shock loss in Round 1 to Central District would have had last year’s minor premiers nervous given the amount of change they had over the off-season, but the Redlegs quickly bounced back to level the score with a come-from-behind win over the Eagles. They were completely outplayed by the reigning premiers, but they drew with an impressive West Adelaide outfit and if the season had continued, would have likely been in the mix for finals again.

THE PROMINENT BALL-WINNER:

Matilda Zander (18.8 disposals, 4.5 marks, 3.8 tackles, 1.5 clearances, 3.0 inside 50s, 1.5 rebounds)

The 21-year-old small midfielder continues to improve at a rapid rate and it showed in 2020 in the absence of teammates such as Najwa Allen and Hannah Dunn who stepped up to AFL Women’s level. With an increased role, Zander led the competition in kicks and finished top three in disposals and Dream Team points to be one of the top ball-winners across the league. She averaged 18.8 disposals per game, as well as 4.5 marks, 3.8 tackles, 3.0 inside 50s, 1.5 clearances and 1.5 rebounds, and of course, 788.5 Dream Team points. Zander was announced as a Collingwood VFL Women’s signing for 2020, which would be exciting for the South Australian to test herself in that competition assuming it goes ahead as expected, albeit with the delay.

THE DOMINANT RUCK:

Leah Cutting (11.5 disposals, 3.0 marks, 5.8 tackles, 3.0 clearances, 2.3 inside 50s, 20.5 hitouts)

For consistency, Cutting was just a clear star in the ruck and finished the year as the top ranked player in hitouts and Dream Team points for the league, but was also among the top tacklers in the competition. Averaging 11.5 disposals, 3.0 marks, 5.8 tackles, 3.0 clearances, 2.3 inside 50s and 80.3 Dream Team points, Cutting filled up the stats sheet, but none more impressive than her 20.5 hitouts per match. She consistently won the ruck battle and most importantly followed up her ruck work with fierce defensive pressure hence her minimum five tackles per game.

THE STANDOUT RECRUIT:

Mattea Breed (16.3 disposals, 2.5 marks, 3.0 tackles, 3.8 clearances, 3.5 inside 50s, 1.5 rebounds, 1 goal)

Like Zander, Breed went to another level in her first season at Norwood in 2020 and was one of the best stories of the overage players running around. Having represented Central Allies last year at the AFL Women’s Under-18 Championships, Breed was able to step up and have an impact at senior level. Breed joined the club from the NTFL where she had previously played with both Darwin Buffaloes and Southern Districts, as well as representing NT Thunder in the VFL Women’s where she played five games last season. Winning the Breakthough Player of the Round in her second match for the Redlegs, Breed continued that form throughout the season to average 16.3 disposals, 2.5 marks, 3.0 tackles, 3.8 clearances, 3.5 inside 50s and 1.5 rebounds per match.

THE LEADING GOALKICKER:

Jo Hill (6.8 disposals, 2.0 marks, 6 goals)

At 46-years-old, Hill is not only a calming and reliable presence on the side, but a danger inside 50 with her nous and craft still outsmarting defenders in the 2020 season. She booted six goals in four games at 1.5 per match to lead her side in goalkicking and continued on from her form in 2019. While she was quiet in the draw against West Adelaide, Hill had a couple of standout games against Central District and Woodville-West Torrens, hauling her team across the line in the latter with 3.1 from six disposals and three marks (two contested). She only averaged the 6.8 touches and 2.0 marks as the stay-at-home forward, but Hill is always a danger and closely watched by opposition defender.

THE VERSATILE YOUNG GUN:

Bella Smith (8.0 disposals, 3.3 marks, 2.8 tackles, 3.3 inside 50s, 2.3 hitouts, 1 goal)

Another 18-year-old who represented the Central Allies at the AFL Women’s Under-18 Championships last year, Smith had a consistent year playing a number of roles from giving a chop out in the ruck to playing through the midfield, and even getting forward to kick a goal against South Adelaide in Round 3. She averaged the eight disposals, 3.3 marks, 3.3 inside 50s and 2.8 tackles per game, using the ball well at a 75 per cent efficiency. At 182cm, Smith has the capacity to play through the ruck, but is able to work hard at ground level to win the ball for her team as well and send it forward.

THE CONSISTENT PERFORMER:

Sophie Armitstead (13.0 disposals, 2.5 tackles, 2.5 clearances, 1.5 inside 50s, 1.0 rebounds)

A ray of consistency in 2020, Armitstead had 12 disposals in three of her matches this year, and then her best performance of 16 touches in the win against Woodville-West Torrens. She finished the season averaging 13.0 disposals, 2.5 tackles, 2.5 clearances, 1.5 inside 50s and 1.0 rebounds, showing an ability to play anywhere and have an impact. She was the cream on the cake last year with Norwood’s strong midfield group, and has continued her reliability to help guide the young guns through season 2020. As she showed in the early rounds, Armitstead is capable of winning the ball at stoppages and pumping it forward.

SUMMARY:

Norwood did well in its transition after losing a number of key players to the AFL Women’s, as well as head coach Steve Symonds to Collingwood. The Redlegs needed time to gel and one could see them get better as the season went on, albeit with still some consistency question marks. If they were able to finish the season the Redlegs were every chance to battle for a finals spot again, with the young guns and reliable veterans guiding the new-look outfit each week.

2020 Top 10 AFLW matches: #7 – Suns and Lions play out draw in inaugural clash

NEITHER side could be separated in the first women’s Q-Clash with the Lions and Suns walking away with two points apiece. It was a hard-fought battle between the two sides, who both tried to assert themselves with their physicality around the contest. The conditions ultimately played into the hands of Lions early but the Suns were not about to be bullied by their state rivals upping the ante after half time to get back to level pegging and draw at 28 points each. Prior to their Round 3 clash Brisbane had flexed their muscles winning two games on the trot while the Suns had fallen short in Round 1 and claimed their inaugural victory in Round 2.

It was a tale of two halves with the Lions doing all the attacking early to claim some early ascendancy. Brisbane managed to keep the Suns goalless in the opening term while piling on two goals of their own showcasing just how strong they could be and their ability to shut down their oppositions attacking forays. They kept that momentum going in the second term with five scoring shots however they struggled when it came to accuracy nailing three points and only registering two goals, keeping the Suns in the hunt for glory. Gold Coast could sniff their opportunity coming out after the main break with a real fire in the belly and increased intensity. The Suns worked their way back into the contest in the third term, applying strong pressure with some big tackles and shots at goal.  With the game on the line, Gold Coast pulled out all in the stops in the final quarter, peppering away at the goals with repeat entries and constant pressure. But it was some magic from Kalinda Howarth in the 11th minute that landed the match tying punch, with the 20-year-old showing nothing but composure and class to slot her third major for the day in what is the first of many Queensland battles to come.

Still trying out new combinations across the board the ball was shared evenly amongst a host of Suns players with Kate Surman leading the way with 16 touches.  Not far behind her was Jamie Stanton with the 24-year-old highlighting her strength by foot with 14 of her 15 possessions kicks. When it came to physicality Hannah Dunn proved to be the go to girl for the Suns, laying a team-high six tackles while also showcasing her ability to cover the ground with ease racking up 15 touches. Youngsters in Dee Heslop and Elle Hampson also displayed their gritty attitude with three tackles apiece while the ever reliable Lauren Ahrens was silky with ball in hand for her 14 disposals. For the Lions, the trio of Rheanne Lugg, Jesse Wardlaw and Sophie Conway lead the way on the scoreboard with Lugg the most prolific of the three with two goals to her name, the other two managed a major each. Once again it was the experience and class of Emily Bates that helped to guide Brisbane with the talented mid amassing a game high 24 touches while partner in crime Ally Anderson also managed to get her hands on the ball 22 times. Much like Anderson, Kate Lutkins won her fair share of the ball with 21 disposals but it was her strength in the air to notch up 12 marks that showcased her dominance on the game.

GOALS:

Gold Coast Suns: K. Howarth 3, B. Perry.
Brisbane Lions: R. Lugg 2, J. Wardlaw, S. Conway.

BESTS:

Gold Coast Suns: K. Howarth, K. Surman, H. Dunn, J. Stanton, L. Aherns
Brisbane Lions: E. Bates, A. Anderson, R. Lugg, K. Lutkins, S. Conway

2020 AFL Women’s season review: Gold Coast SUNS

GOLD COAST made a splash in its inaugural AFL Women’s season, earning its place as the sole 2020 expansion side in this year’s finals series on the back of a 2-3-1 record. A raft of local, and exciting young talent was unearthed along the way, as the SUNS took to life at the elite level with aplomb. The newcomers’ never-say-die attitude, attack on the contest, and free style of play made them a great side to watch, with plenty of individual performers and moments to cast the eye back on in our season review.

RECORD: 4th (A), 2-3-1, 101.3%

RESULTS:

R1: lost to GWS by 1 point
R2: defeated Richmond by 11 points
R3: drew with Brisbane
R4:
lost to North Melbourne by 13 points
R5:
lost to Geelong by 20 points 
R6:
defeated West Coast by 25 points
SF: lost to Fremantle by 70 points

You would be hard-pressed to find a side which had a more action-packed first three weeks, as the SUNS notched a loss, win, and draw in Rounds 1 to 3. Each game had massive talking points stem from it; with the low-scoring slug-fest against GWS going down to the wire in horrid conditions, the win over Richmond delivering the club its first premiership points, and the fighting draw with Brisbane making for a sensational maiden AFLW Q-Clash. Consecutive losses put a sight dampener on the fun, until the SUNS snuck into finals with a solid win over fellow newcomer, West Coast. A massive loss to Fremantle come finals time highlighted the gap between Gold Coast and the top sides, with plenty to work on yet.

SEASON HIGH: Snatching points in the inaugural Q-Clash

Games of firsts seldom disappoint, as proved by the SUNS in their first two outings, and the competition’s first-ever Q-Clash more than delivered. The result, albeit short of a win, showcased everything there is to like about Gold Coast’s season, with its fighting spirit helping the SUNS claw back to level pegging from over two goals down in a game which only featured eight majors. The perfectly linear 4.4 apiece scoreline was somewhat satisfying, but we will have to wait at least another year for the inaugural women’s Q-Clash winner.

SEASON LOW: Failing to fire in finals

For all the positives in Gold Coast’s 2020 effort, it would end on an unavoidably sour note as the SUNS were handed the competition’s second-biggest defeat in history. The 70-point loss to Fremantle was tight for a quarter of the contest, as the undefeated Dockers pulled away strongly while holding the SUNS scoreless in the final three terms. The gulf between the class of the two sides was truly exacerbated by the scoreboard, and this was the worst-possible end to an otherwise very impressive year for the newbies.

FIVE KEY PERFORMERS:

Jamie Stanton (17.1 disposals, 2.9 marks, 3.7 tackles, 2.1 rebound 50s, 3 inside 50s, 2 goals)

Highlighted before a game was even played as the SUNS’ classiest recruit, Stanton went on to prove as much on-field in leading her side for disposals, metres gained, contested possessions, clearances, score involvements, and inside 50s. The midfielder excelled as her club’s number one player, shouldering a great load of responsibility each week and performing well despite heavy opposition attention – see Round 2 against Richmond against Katie Brennan.

Lauren Aherns (14.7 disposals, 2.4 marks, 2.9 tackles, 3.4 rebound 50s)

Part of a crucial key defensive partnership alongside Jade Pregelj, Aherns was terrific in her first season at the elite level. Doubling her defensive duties with rebounding work on the ball, the 28-year-old led her side for rebound 50s and was only one of two SUNS to amass over 100 disposals for the year. Aherns’ cool head in the crises helped her side greatly, and truly justified her priority signing status.

Kate Surman (13.7 disposals, 2 marks, 5.1 tackles, 2.4 inside 50s, 3 goals)

Surman joined the SUNS with quite the reputation, having already earned priority selection and taken out the Player of the QW Winter Series award in 2019. The evasive and fearless inside midfielder worked brilliantly going both ways in her debut AFLW season, winning the ball at a good rate while also finding the goals across her seven outings. As a player who took on the game quite late, her development has been rapid.

Kalinda Howarth (10.1 disposals, 1.4 marks, 2.3 tackles, 1.9 inside 50s, 9 goals)

What a terrific story of success Howarth is, proving her worth at the top level after a one-year stint with Brisbane where she was delisted without playing a game. Fast-forward two years, and the exciting forward earned a Rising Star nomination in Round 3 after helping the SUNS claw back to a draw against her former club. Howarth would go on to back up the performance with a four-goal haul against West Coast, making the 20-year-old a prospect to watch.

Hannah Dunn (13.5 disposals, 2.2 marks, 5.5 tackles, 1 rebound 50, 1.3 inside 50s)

Another SUNS recruit who has prospered upon a second chance at the elite level is Dunn, who has been lauded for her persistence after being overlooked in three AFLW drafts. The 28-year-old has been a gun at local and state league level though, proving her worth for Gold Coast in 2020 as a hard-working midfielder who brings great consistency to the table. Dunn’s tackling presence was indicative of her side’s overall tone.

SURPRISE PACKET:

Jade Pregelj (11.9 disposals, 1.9 marks, 1.9 tackles, 3.4 rebound 50s)

One of the more shrewd mature-age pick-ups in the competiton as a whole was Pregelj, who starred in defence for the SUNS to earn selection in the All Australian squad. Having made waves as a promising junior, the defender has done just as much upon her return to the code as a 28-year-old, and was a key part of her side’s back five. Led the SUNS for intercept possessions, and was second for metres gained and contested marks.

YOUNG GUN:

Jacqui Yorston (13.9 disposals, 1.7 marks, 6.9 tackles, 1.3 rebound 50s, 2 goals)

Keen AFLW fans would have already been aware of Yorston’s talents after her debut season at Brisbane, and the 19-year-old remains one of the competition’s brightest prospects after another terrific season. At her best, Yorston mixes her talents going forward with punishing pressure around the ball in her midfielder-forward role, leading the SUNS for tackles while being second to Stanton for clearances.

VERDICT:

If you would have offered the SUNS a finals berth at the start of the season, they would have taken it in a heartbeat, so you can only really label their maiden campaign as a success. The newcomers showed great flair and tenacity, making them a fun side to watch as they took it to some quality opposition across seven games. With a squad stacked with young and developing local talent, the only way is up for the Queenslanders.

2020 AFLW: The run to finals – How do the expansion clubs fare?

THE 2020 AFL Women’s season has seen four new clubs introduced to the competition and with two rounds left, we look at the two new clubs who both have a chance at playing finals footy. Gold Coast sit one game out finals in Conference A, while St Kilda find themselves two games out of finals in Conference B.

The Gold Coast Suns have the best chance out of the four expansion clubs to make finals, currently placed just one game behind cross-town rivals Brisbane who sit securely in the top three. The Suns have won two games, lost three and drawn one, yet still boast a percentage of 101 per cent. The only club below them on the ladder that they have lost to was Geelong who are only two points behind the Suns, however, they have still not defeated a team above them on the ladder. Should they have beaten Brisbane instead of devastatingly drawing, they would find themselves equal third and with every chance of playing finals. The Suns face the sixth-placed Crows (Conference A) at home this weekend, and then the third-placed Demons (Conference B) in Casey to finish off. With Brisbane a high chance of beating Richmond this week, Gold Coast’s best chance at playing finals would be to win both games healthily to get in on percentage, so long as the Lions drop their last game to North Melbourne.

The Suns have enjoyed some brilliant individual performers in their inaugural season with Jamie Stanton (17.7 disposals per game), Lauren Ahrens (14.3 disposals per game) and Hannah Dunn (13.8 disposals and close to six tackles per game) the standouts. After a four-goal effort against the Eagles on Sunday, Kalinda Howarth finds herself the team’s leading goal-kicker having kicked nine for the season. Boasting some impressive young talent, Jacqui Yorston stands out as the best young player having spent last season on Brisbane’s list for just the four games which included a Rising Star nomination. Yorston has played every game averaging 12.5 disposals and over seven tackles to go with two goals. Second year 188cm ruck Lauren Bella also deserves a mention averaging just under 19 hit outs per game.

The Suns’ biggest strength is their ferocious tackling with seven players averaging more than four tackles per game. As a team, they average 14 more tackles per game than their opposition. Where Gold Coast will look to improve is their disposal count and delivery inside 50. On average, the Suns record almost 37 less disposals per game than their opposition, so coach David Lake will be hoping there are more ball-winners across the ground if they want to pose a threat in the post-season. In terms of efficiency, Gold Coast only mark one out of every seven entries inside 50 and will be looking to get more unimpeded shots at goal in the last two rounds if they want to score more.

In Conference B, St Kilda have an outside chance of making finals, however, everything will have to work in their favour. They currently sit two games out of finals behind Melbourne and Collingwood who have both won two of their last three games and are playing confident football. The biggest issue for St Kilda is their percentage in which they will have to make up a minimum of 63 per cent. Still technically possible. The Saints have won two games and lost four. One loss was a one-point heart breaker against undefeated Fremantle in which a win would have seen them just one game out finals contention, much better odds. The Saints face fourth-placed Collingwood (conference B) and seventh-placed West Coast (also Conference B) in Perth to finish the season off. With both must-win games, the Saints’ best chance at playing finals is to win big, and hope Melbourne and Collingwood lose big to secure themselves third spot.

Much like the Suns, the Saints have enjoyed outstanding performances from their youth, with first year players Georgia Patrikios (15.7 disposals per game) and Olivia Vesely (15.2 disposals per game) leading the way for the entire Saints team. 2019 VFLW team of the year player Rosie Dillon (13.5 disposals and almost six tackles per game) has also been important for the Saints with a more mature inside-presence. Donned the “G-Train”, Caitlin Greiser is the leading goal-scorer for the Saints kicking 10 for the season, including a 55m bomb against Melbourne in Round 3. Outside of Patrikios and Vesely, Nicola Xenos (9.3 disposals and more than four tackles per game) and Molly McDonald (9.5 disposals per game), have been the more impressive younger players for St Kilda.

St Kilda’s biggest issue this season has simply been their consistency. They suffered losses in two of their first three games of the season after giving up significant margins in total disposals, clearance and inside 50’s. Since then, they have averaged almost 28 more disposals, nine more clearances and six more inside 50’s per game than their opposition. One point of difference in that time has been the injection of Poppy Kelly in the ruck, who is averaging 14 hit outs in her three appearances this season. To continue the trend, the Saints will be looking for Kelly to continue her aerial prowess to feed Patrikios and Vesely out of the middle.

Whether the Saints or Suns make the finals or not, the end of the AFLW season begs to be an exciting one.

2020 AFLW weekend wrap: Round 6 – GIANTS, Blues consolidate finals chances

GWS and Carlton notched huge wins against fellow AFL Women’s finals hopefuls to consolidate their own finals chances in Round 6 of the competition, with reigning premier Adelaide dealt a blow in its premiership defence. Meanwhile, both conference leaders enjoyed wins to continue on their road to the post-season, Collingwood remained in the hunt, while expansion sides Gold Coast and St Kilda both also won out convincingly. In our Match of the Round, Carlton overcame Melbourne in a crucial win in the Top End.

GEELONG 2.1 | 3.2 | 3.2 | 3.2 (20)
NORTH MELBOURNE 0.2 | 2.3 | 6.4 | 10.6 (66)

Peter Williams

North Melbourne has overcome a slow start to run over the top of Geelong in the Friday night fixture at GMHBA Stadium. As the only game allowing fans into the venue for the weekend amid growing fears with the Coronavirus, the Cats put on a show early, booting the only two goals of the first term through Phoebe McWilliams and All-Australian defender, Meg McDonald. By the time Julia Crockett-Grills had converted the Cats’ third major just 62 seconds into the second term, the home team led 3.1 to 0.2 and an upset was brewing. Little did the fans that did turn up know, the visiting team was about to click into gear. While Olivia Purcell again attacked the scoreboard for a behind in the fourth minute, that would turn out to be the last score of the game for the Cats, as the Roos piled on 10.4 to 0.0 over the next hour to completely run away with the match and win by 46 points. Jasmine Garner booted three goals and Brittany Gibson two, with the premiership favourites taking a while, but finally finding their groove in the 10.6 (66) to 3.2 (20) triumph on the road.

Garner finished with 18 disposals, six marks, six tackles and five inside 50s to go with her three goals, while Gibson made the most of her four touches, booting two goals from two marks. In terms of disposals, Ash Riddell continued her fine form with a match-high 23, as well as five marks, three inside 50s and seven tackles. Former Most Valuable Player (MVP) winner, Emma Kearney was prominent again thanks to 22 disposals, six marks, three tackles, six inside 50s and five rebounds. Jenna Bruton (21 disposals, seven tackles and three inside 50s) and Ellie Gavalas (15 disposals, two marks, four tackles and four inside 50s) were busy, while Mia King booted her first AFL Women’s career goal to go with her 12 touches and seven tackles.

For the Cats, Purcell amassed 18 disposals, five tackles and two inside 50s, McDonald had the 14 touches, five marks, three rebounds and a goal, while Amy McDonald had 13 disposals, two marks and four tackles. Also amongst the more prominent ball winners were Crockett-Grills (12 disposals, three marks and five tackles), Danielle Higgins (12 touches, three marks and four tackles) and Madeline Keryk (12 disposals, two marks, three tackles and three rebounds). Unfortunately for the Cats, the loss was further soured by a serious knee injury to Nina Morrison with fears that she had done a second anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) on the same right leg. The result meant the Roos stretched their lead out to six points a the top of Conference A, with Geelong’s finals hopes coping a knock to sit four points, percentage and a game behind the top three sides.

GOALS:

Geelong: J. Crockett-Grills, P. McWilliams, M. McDonald.
North Melbourne: J. Garner 3, B. Gibson 2, D. Bateman, S. Abbatangelo, K. Gillespie-Jones, E. King, M. King.

BEST:

Geelong: O. Purcell, J. Crockett-Grills, M. McDonald, R. Cranston, R. Garing
North Melbourne: J. Garner, A. Riddell, E. Kearney, J. Bruton, M. King

BRISBANE LIONS 0.1 | 0.1 | 2.2 | 2.2 (14)
COLLINGWOOD 2.4 | 3.7 | 3.10 | 5.13 (43)

Ryan Dundas

Although Coronavirus halted the fans, Collingwood could not be stopped as they conquered the Brisbane Lions. The last time these two sides met saw the Magpies deny Brisbane finals football and there was a sense of déjà vu for Craig Starcevich’s side as Collingwood cemented early pressure. The Pies were able to control the contested possessions, allowing their side to take an early 15-point lead in the opening term. Led by Brittany Bonnici, a bunch of Magpies were instrumental in providing inside 50s for Collingwood, while seconding to stifle the Lions’ defence. Bonnici was threatening around the contest, offering the Pies options all over the ground. Collingwood’s dictating was not stopped as they kept Brisbane scoreless in the second term.

Down by 24 points at half-time, Brisbane came out strong in the second half and rallied momentum to only trail at the final break by 14. However, the damage was already done as Collingwood controlled the final term to win 5.13 (43) to 2.2 (14). Two consecutive wins for the Magpies ensure they are still in the hunt for a finals berth in the AFLW competition. Conversely, Brisbane’s loss opens the door now for the Gold Coast Suns to obtain the final spot in Conference A.

Bonnici was outstanding in the midfield for Collingwood, recording 26 disposals, three marks and three tackles. Undoubtedly, the best player on the ground, her stocks continue to rise in the AFLW. Sarah D’Arcy‘s willingness to find opportunities in the forward line was also one of Collingwood’s vital strengths against Brisbane. Although 1.4 is not her peak, her best work came off the ball, creating openings for her teammates. Similarly, on the defensive end, Steph Chiocci’s impact against Brisbane influenced the momentum away from the Lions with 18 disposals, six marks and four tackles. For the Brisbane Lions, Rheanne Lugg (18 disposals and eight marks) stepped up in a side that was outplayed by the Collingwood Magpies. Along with her, Sophie Conway in the second half was one of the best players on the ground with 11 disposals and two marks.

GOALS:

Brisbane: D. Davidson, C. Svarc
Collingwood: S. Rowe, S. D’Arcy, C. Molloy, S. Alexander, J. Membrey

ADC BEST:

Brisbane: D. Davidson, R. Lugg, S. Conway, C. Svarc
Collingwood:
S. D’Arcy, B. Bonnici, B. Davey, S. Chiocci, C. Molloy, J. Lambert

ST KILDA 2.1 | 2.1 | 4.5 | 6.6 (42)
RICHMOND 0.0 | 0.2 | 0.2 | 0.3 (3)

Tom Cheesman

“The G-Train” Caitlin Greiser led St Kilda to a dominant 39-point victory over the struggling Richmond at RSEA Park on Saturday. Greiser was unstoppable up forward while Richmond were held to just three points for the match, the lowest score ever recorded in AFLW. It has been a disappointing debut AFLW season for the Tigers, who are yet to record their first win and sit with a lowly percentage of 35.7. St Kilda dominated all the key stats including disposals (206-144), clearances (32-15), contested possessions (106-81) and inside 50s (29-19).

Greiser got the Saints off to a dream start, earning a free kick deep in the forward 50 and kicking her side’s first major. Round 5 Rising Star nominee Olivia Vesely was clean at the clearances early, while Clara Fitzpatrick took some nice intercept marks in defence. Greiser’s second gave the Saints a two-goal lead at the first break. Both teams went goalless in the second term, as Richmond did well to lock it in their forward 50 but could not impact the scoreboard. Sabrina Frederick earned two set shots on goal but failed to convert. With fans locked out due to the coronavirus, both sides’ benches made as much noise as possible to help support their sides.

In the third, the Saints got back to applying strong forward pressure while Richmond struggled to transition the ball past the centre of the ground. Greiser kicked her third before Kate Shierlaw got on the end of some great run and carry from Georgia Patrikios to put through their fourth. St Kilda’s dominance at the contest continued in the last as they ran away to a comfortable victory. Greiser was a clear best on ground with three goals, three marks and four tackles. Meanwhile, Rosie Dillon (17 disposals, seven tackles) and Vesely (16 disposals, five tackles) were very impactful at the clearances. For Richmond, Monique Conti was far and away their strongest performer with 22 disposals, four marks and four tackles.

GOALS:

St Kilda: C. Greiser 3, D. Guttridge, K. Shierlaw, N. Xenos
Richmond: Nil

ADC BEST:

St Kilda: C. Greiser, R. Dillon, N. Xenos, C. Fitzpatrick, O. Vesely
Richmond: M. Conti, G. Campbell, S. Frederick

WESTERN BULLDOGS 2.0 | 4.1 | 7.3 | 8.3 (51)
FREMANTLE 1.2 | 4.3 | 6.5 | 10.6 (66)

Lachie Abbott

Fremantle remain undefeated after edging out the Western Bulldogs by 15 points in a high scoring contest at Whitten Oval. The Dockers trailed by four points at three-quarter-time, but rallied to kick four goals, while the Bulldogs could only manage one in the final term.

Due to the coronavirus outbreak, the Bulldogs were unable to call upon the support of their home fans to get them off to a flying start, as organisers have closed all AFLW matches from crowds. Nevertheless, the Dogs got off to a strong start with a linking chain of handballs through the centre corridor, with the run of Katy Heron eventually allowing Ellie Blackburn to kick the opening goal of the match.

Hannah Munyard added a second major on the back of a lovely checkside pass from Kirsten McLeod and it was clear the Dogs were up for the fight. However, the Dockers soon showed why they are undefeated and hit back through a strong Kara Antonio mark and set shot, set up by the run of Gemma Houghton from the wing. The Dogs were potent using handballs to drive attacks off half-back through the centre of the ground, whereas the Dockers preferred to keep the ball out of the corridor and utilised their foot skills along the boundary line.

Blackburn began the second term as she finished the first, receiving a handball and firing home from 40 metres to add the much needed classy tough to the Dogs play. The Bulldogs’ defence struggled at times to escape the pressure of Fremantle’s forwards, resulting in several opportunities for the potent Dockers attack, including one set shot for Hayley Miller to cut the margin to four points.

Also up forward for the Dockers, Ashley Sharp was a thorn in the side of the Bulldogs defence for the entirety of the game, scoring multiple opportunistic goals. Laura Pugh added another for the Dockers just before the break after a penetrating inside 50 from Antonio spilled her way. Heading into the main interval, it was the Dockers who had recovered to lead by four points and look ready to break the game open in the second half.

Yet once the second stanza got underway, it was the Dogs who broke the game open. Unfortunately for Katie-Jayne Grieve, she was completely to blame for the first goal of the Dogs’ third-quarter rally, giving away a free kick and two 50-metre penalties to allow an easy goal for the dominant Aisling McCarthy.

Later in the term, McLeod, despite only having six touches for the day, was extremely effective when she got the ball in her hands. The small forward snapped her second major midway through the term to extend the lead back to 10 points with a classy finish. Deanna Berry then added another and suddenly, it looked like the one-win Bulldogs may run away with the match. However, the Dockers roared back into life to kick the last two goals of the quarter through a dribbling Mia-Rae Clifford finish and a strong contested mark from Sharp, on the back of outstanding forward pressure.

With it all to play for at the start of the final term, Ebony Antonio stood up when she was needed most, slotting a classy goal in the early stages of the quarter. Antonio feigned to give off the handball- selling two defenders- before cutting to her right and finishing with poise on the run. Antonio continued to play an inspired final quarter, laying crunching tackles and later drifting back behind the play and taking some important contested marks.

Danielle Marshall responded for the Dogs after almost ruining a golden goal-scoring opportunity by kicking into Kiara Bowers on the mark. Luckily for Marshall, the ricochet fell back into her arms and the American managed to finish from a tight angle. But that was as good as it got for the Bulldogs, and soon after a strong mark from Clifford set up her second. Almost two minutes later, a strong contest from Grieve in the goal square allowed Kate Flood to poke home from close range and suddenly the Dockers had a two goal cushion.

With little time left, the Bulldogs pressed up the field in search of a much needed second major of the term. However, a burst forward on the wing from Houghton made use of the now vacant space in behind the Dogs defence. Sharp knocked Houghton’s kick towards goal and used blistering speed to seal the match. The Dockers defended well in the closing moments to not allow the Bulldogs any clean possession and ultimately claimed their sixth win of the season in a thrilling encounter.

GOALS:

Western Bulldogs: K. McLeod 2, E. Blackburn 2, H. Munyard, D. Marshall, A. McCarthy, D. Berry.
Fremantle: A. Sharp 3, M. Clifford 2, L. Pugh, K. Flood, E. Antonio, K. Antonio, H. Miller.

BEST:

Western Bulldogs: E. Blackburn, A. McCarthy, G. Newton, I. Huntington, H. Munyard, K. McLeod
Fremantle: E. Antonio, K. Bowers, K. Antonio, A. Sharp, H. Miller, M. Clifford

ADELAIDE 2.1 | 2.1 | 2.3 | 3.3 (21)
GWS GIANTS 1.1 | 2.2 | 3.2 | 4.2 (26)

Michael Alvaro

GWS dealt a crushing blow to Adelaide’s premiership defence on Sunday, knocking over the reigning premiers by five points in a thriller at Hisense Stadium. The GIANTS came up clutch in the low-scoring contest, quickly rectifying an early deficit and holding off the Crows’ last-ditch effort to run out 4.2 (26) to 3.3 (21) victors. Not only does the win mean GWS is in the box seat to secure a finals berth, but it was also the GIANTS’ first-ever AFLW victory over Adelaide.

Fresh off a match winning four-goal haul against Richmond, Cora Staunton picked up right from where she left off in Round 5 by floating through the game’s opening goal. But the Crows would work to even the ledger and sneak ahead late in the first term, with the impact of a returning Erin Phillips proving vital. The two-time AFLW best and fairest winner had a hand in both of her side’s goals for the term; hitting Courtney Gum lace out on the lead, and later belting a stoppage clearance towards the goalsquare to be pounced on by Marijana Rajcic and give the home side ascendancy.

Both sides’ maturity shone through as the tackling pressure and physicality of the contest lifted in response to the tightness of the scoreboard, and it showed with only two goals notched for the entire second and third quarters. They both belonged to the GIANTS, who put their noses in front as Jodie Hicks finished well on the end of a slick chain inside forward 50, and extended their lead via a 50-metre penalty to Brittany Tully in the following term. The GIANTS’ ball movement looked to have lifted, remaining composed in the face of some fierce pressure while inflicting some serious tackling of their own.

The last term began much like the first, with Staunton again earning a free kick and for the second time, wobbling home a six-pointer to lift her side. Holding a nine-point lead early in the fourth quarter, GWS ensured it would stay on top with much of the same lockdown defensive work. Adelaide’s last roll of the dice came 90 seconds from the final siren as Gum marked strongly close to goal and duly converted the set shot. But the Crows’ attempts to blow down the door came up short as the GIANTS’ defence proved just that, helping them claim a second-consecutive victory.

Alyce Parker was instrumental in GWS’ success, collecting a mammoth 30 disposals and seven marks against some seasoned opponents in midfield. Rebecca Beeson and Tait Mackrill each had 20 touches, while Staunton (12 disposals, six marks, 2.1) and Elle Bennetts (16 disposals, three marks) were terrific as the GIANTS’s bookends. For Adelaide, the midfield combination of Anne Hatchard and Ebony Marinoff again proved potent as the pair combined for 41 disposals and 17 tackles, with the pacy Justine Mules also pitching in on the tackling front. The supporting hand of Erin Phillips was also impactful early on, as the champion finished with 13 disposals and three tackles in just her second game for the season.

Sitting pretty at 4-2 and in second place among the Conference A contenders, the GIANTS are now primed for finals with games against the lower-ranked Geelong and Western Bulldogs to come. On the other hand, Adelaide faces a fight to stay alive in season 2020, sixth in Conference A but with fixtures awaiting against expansion sides, Gold Coast and Richmond.

GOALS:

Adelaide: C. Gum 2, M. Rajcic
GWS: C. Staunton 2, J. Hicks, B. Tully

ADC BEST:

Adelaide: A. Hatchard, E. Marinoff, E. Phillips, C. Gum, C. Biddell, A. Foley
GWS: A. Parker, R. Beeson, T. Mackrill, B. Tully, E. Bennetts, C. Staunton

WEST COAST EAGLES 0.0 | 0.1 | 0.2 | 1.2 (8)
GOLD COAST SUNS 1.2 | 2.2 | 4.3 | 5.3 (33)

Taylah Melki

It was a convincing performance by the Suns who had control from the get go holding the Eagles goalless for the first three quarters before finally slotting one in the last term. West Coast simply could not generate any forward ball movement mainly in part to Gold Coasts efficiency with ball in hand and ability to shut down options across the ground. Despite having more inside 50s (29-26) the Eagles could not buy a goal showing just how strong the Suns defence was, consistently standing up under pressure and working the ball out of danger areas. Gold Coast pretty much cruised to victory never really challenged on the scoreboard by their opposition and while they lost the possession count and marks tally the Suns somehow managed to assert themselves on the game and claim a 25-point win.

The inaugural captain once again led from the front bullying her way through the packs and applying a wealth of physical pressure with six tackles. Dana Hooker was head and shoulders above the rest racking up 31 touches with 22 of them kicks showcasing her ability to find a target and hit them lace out while also taking six marks in what was a complete performance from the highly talented mid. Imahra Cameron also plied her trade across the ground with 20 disposals while Belinda Smith was constantly involved in the contest with her 18 possessions, three tackles and four marks. Although Hayley Bullas did not win a heap of the footy racking up 10 touches for the game she was the sole goalscorer for the Eagles proving her influence. The reliable Kellie Gibson was up to her usual tricks with 18 disposals while Emma Swanson was not far behind with 16 and five tackles. Despite not being able to post a competitive total the Eagles have plenty of stars that have shown with more time to gel as a side could become a damaging side.

It is fair to say that the ball was relatively evenly shared across the Gold Coast side with 12 players reaching double figures however it was Kate Surman that racked up the most touches of anyone in her squad with 20. Draftee Dee Heslop highlighted her ferocity at the contest multiple times throughout the match with a game high 10 tackles. Fellow youngster Serene Watson also made a lasting impression on the Eagles racking up the touches across the ground with 15 while Jacqui Yorston also inserted herself on the match with nine tackles and 12 disposals. Jamie Stanton, Hannah Dunn and Lauren Aherns managed 16 possessions apiece with the trio creating plenty of excitement with their clever ball use. But when it came to goal kickers, Kalinda Howarth proved to be the go to girl slotting an impressive four goals with two of them coming in the third quarter. Jordann Hickey rounded out the other scorer for the day nailing a major during the second term to help set up the Gold Coast win.

GOALS:

Gold Coast: K. Howarth 4, J. Hickey
West Coast: H. Bullas

BESTS:

Gold Coast: K. Surman, K. Howarth, S. Watson, J. Yorston, J. Stanton
West Coast: D. Hooker, E. Swanson, I. Cameron, B. Smith, K. Gibson