Tag: hawthorn vflw

Shaw eyes positives after disappointing 2020 season

IT has been disappointing year for most Victorian footballers, with few getting a chance to really test themselves competitively. In most cases for the AFL Women’s Draft Combine invites they have been able to get out on the field and stake their case to be drafted in tomorrow’s 2020 AFL Women’s Draft. Unfortunately for players such as former Gippsland Power and Hawthorn VFL Women’s talent Maddi Shaw, she has not been able to get on the park due to the COVID-19 global pandemic.

Shaw is an over-age prospect who missed out on being picked up in last year’s draft, admitting she was “not ready” to make the next step up to the elite level. But with a big preseason behind her she hoped to be prepared to tackle 2020 in a huge way.

“My plan was to do really, really well in preseason,” Shaw said. “So I really worked quite hard in preseason, really wanted to better myself because I knew last year I was not ready at all. “I was like ‘this year I need to get myself ready’ and become one of those better footballers and make sure I was training really hard, and then coming into the season at my peak. “Making sure I was fitter than I’ve ever been, stronger than I’ve ever been. “But also physically and mentally ready as I’d already had that season to prepare myself and I knew what I was looking forward to.”

It was her first proper full uninterrupted preseasons and her hope to kick-start the year off in style was positive. Despite missing out on being drafted, Shaw said she did not want to look too far ahead other than to have it as a long-term goal, and rather focus on the here and now.

“(I wanted to) just make sure I had a really good preseason, as the last few preseasons I had interruptions and I went to Cambodia, not that that’s an excuse to not be fit, but just making sure I was really prepared and then going into it knowing I was playing for Hawthorn and not aiming for anything other than where I was now and doing my best on each weekend and then looking to the future as it came closer, so trying to work in the moment,” she said.

Her transition from the Power at NAB League Girls level to the VFL Women’s has been a great learning curve, with Shaw getting the opportunity to move through the pathway at local level, through interleague, as well as the elite junior competition and then state-level program.

“It was a bit intimidating at first,” Shaw said. “Walking in as a 17-year-old it was a bit scary, but I had a lot of support around me. “I feel like it was a lot easier than I anticipated. “My experience at Hawthorn’s been awesome, has been really helpful and taught me a lot. “Fitness wise and as an athlete, learning how to take care of my body and also as a footballer. “I’ve learnt so much from not only coaches, but players as well.” 

She said learning off experienced players such as Talia Radan, as well as AFL Women’s premiership coach Bec Goddard and highly respected operator and VFL Women’s premiership coach Paddy Hill, was a great experience for her development.

“You feel really at home in a way so they really help you develop and you have this relationship with them where you can trust everything that they’re saying,” Shaw said. “There’s no second guessing, I like the fact I can walk into training, get my feedback and then go to training, fix what I need to fix, come back and play as a better person. “I don’t have to chase up feedback, they’re always with you and supporting you.”

Picture: Supplied

Like many people, Shaw figured when the season was first postponed, that it would come back in some capacity, but then the disappointment set in and she was resigned to the fact that she would not be able to test herself at the level.

“When it first got postponed I assumed we would only have a few weeks off and we’d be back on track sooner or later,” Shaw said. “But that was definitely not the case, so I was very disappointed when I got there and they told us at training, because I felt like I’d done pretty well throughout preseason and I’d worked hard. “It was kind of hard, you think that that time was wasted, like it definitely wasn’t, but it was very disheartening that we weren’t able to showcase what we’d done throughout preseason. It was really disappointing, but I’m sure we’ll get another chance next year.”

Shaw has always kept a positive mindset when it comes to her football career, never losing sight of being drafted, but also keeping an eye on her present situation to try and produce the best football she can for her side.

“I’d love to get drafted, that’s definitely something I’d really, really want to do,” Shaw said. “I’d also really want to do well in the VFL. “I want to provide and be a high-level player in my team so I can always be trusted to do my job and play my role at Hawthorn and as much as individually I want to get drafted, but as a team at Hawthorn I really just want us to do well and get back to that premiership that we got in 2017, not that I was involved.”

Shaw said her greatest strength was to take on feedback and adapt to whatever role her coaches needed. In terms of on-field traits, Shaw has good athleticism and can provide run out of defence and has been particularly focused on improving her offensive side and developing from a defensive player into a utility.

The Hawks’ teenager said she had been working diligently on her fitness over the break in preparation for the 2021 VFL Women’s season, with help from Hawthorn as well as her university.

“I’ve just been trying to maintain my fitness, so obviously not trying to push myself too hard, we’re going to go into preseason and I don’t want to overwork myself, but really working on my running, keeping my legs ticking over and pushing my body in a way to maintain my readiness coming into preseason,” Shaw said. “Hopefully not get too much of a shock.”

She described 2020 as a “learning curve” and said there was always an opportunity to get drafted regardless of age. Shaw herself sets short-term goals to accompany her long-term aim of being drafted, and said whether it was being selected in the Hawks’ side, having a statistical goal or providing a particular effort for her team, she was always ticking off short-term goals.

As for evolving her game, Shaw still has plenty of belief she has what it takes to make the AFL Women’s in the future.

“I just want to become better, I just want to get drafted,” Shaw said. “That’s going to be my target and I’m going to do whatever I have to do to get there. “I’m willing to put in extra hours of training, learn new skills, I really just want to make it because I know that I can because I have the right support around me.”

Shaw is not alone when it comes to disappointment of not having a season to try and improve her form, and she said while some might be tempted to question their future in the sport, she was confident the pendulum would swing back and opportunities would arise in the future.

“I don’t think a lot of people have really turned their back on footy because we’ve missed a whole season,” Shaw said. “I’ve heard a lot of girls who have commented on like ‘maybe this isn’t for me, I’ve missed a whole year, maybe I’m not ready’. “I think a lot of people just think to try and click that reset button and try and push again and try again because there’s always going to be an opportunity that is going to come out of hard work I reckon, so making sure everyone keeps going this year as much as it’s been really hard.”

Player Focus: VFLW – Danielle Ponter (Essendon)

IN 2018, AFL Draft Central will be covering the Victorian Football League Women’s (VFLW) competition, and this week we have written a player focus piece on Essendon’s Danielle Ponter thanks to the VFLW stream. Her Bombers went down to Hawthorn in the opening round on Sunday. Ponter is an 18 year-old mid/forward from Diamond Creek, who at 171cm provides height up forward and through the midfield. She is a member of the AFLW Academy and hails from the Northern Territory, having represented them at the National Under 18 Championships.

On the weekend, she played forward in the first and fourth quarters, and predominantly played through the middle in the second and third terms, where she picked up nine of her 13 disposals. She capped off her performance with a goal in the final term, and a long effective kick which helped set up a second Essendon goal moments later. Overall she was named third best by the Bombers for her performance.

We run through her interactions below, noting that statistics may be different to that of Champion Data due to definitions, or human error.

1.45 – Charged up to make a tackle but was blocked on the way
9.00 – Pushed up to half-back flank but jogged back once teammates in possession
9.42 – Laid a tackle but her opponent got the kick away
11.06 – Applied a tackle, then put pressure on the ball carrier moments later
13.10 – Held up opponent following an intercept mark, went over her line and was pinged for a 50m penalty, it lead to a goal to Meg Hutchins
17.06 – Roved a palm down, showed clean hands to grab it but handball was ineffective 18.50 – Stole the ball from the opposition on the wing but was immediately wrapped up

Q1 stats: Zero kicks, one handball, one disposal, two contested possessions, one uncontested possession, one free against, two tackles | one ineffective handball 0% disposal efficiency

9.16 – Applied pressure to the ball carrier at half-back 17.48 – Attended a stoppage at half-back against Clare O’Donnell
18.28 – Attended a stoppage on the forward side of the wing opposed to Clare O’Donnell
18.30 – Clean roved the football off a tap, cleared the ball off a step and had an effective short kick to Simone Nalder
18.45 – Handball receive from Simone Nalder off that same play, long effective kick inside 50
19.55 – Attended a stoppage 40m from defensive goal, unopposed
20.07 – Read the tap and cleared long with a long effective kick to a teammate who won the football and kicked inside 50

Q2 stats: Three kicks, zero handballs, three disposals, two contested possessions, one uncontested possession, one handball receive, two clearances, one inside 50, one rebound | two effective long kicks, one effective short kick, 100% disposal efficiency

0.00 – Started at the centre bounce unopposed
0.28 – Handball receive at half-back, turned around and immediately kicked short to hit-up Gabby Golds in the centre circle
0.44 – Laid a bone-crunching tackle on Cassandra Papadopoulous
0.56 – Attended a stoppage in the centre square, handball receive but dropped the ball
2.22 – Went up second in a marking contest and impacted with a spoil
4.53 – Uncontested mark at half-back, ineffective short kick to the wing where Hawthorn won a free
6.10 – Attended a stoppage in the defensive 50, opposed to Clare O’Donnell. Opposition ran in, she stayed out, collected the loose ball, had a clean pick up and sprinted away from the stoppage. Unfortunately her kick was a clanger, straight to Jayde Van Dyk
7.39 – Leapt for a intercept mark but the kick cleared her hands and was marked by Tamara Luke who missed the set shot
9.00 – Attended back-to-back stoppages inside the defensive 50 10.42 – Attended a stoppage on the wing, coming in late 11.09 – Handball receive in defensive 50, rebound and short effective kick to the defensive side of the wing
11.50 – Attended a stoppage in defensive 50, opposed to Julia Crockett-Grills, applied pressure to Clare O’Donnell who ran through the stoppage, but O’Donnell still kicked the goal
12.36 – Attended centre stoppage, collected the loose ball, fended off an opponent and cleared the area with an effective long kick inside 50
15.12 – Attended a stoppage in midfield, and attempted a tackle which did not stick
18.24 – Loose ball get off a marking contest inside 50, gather and snap but just a behind
18.39 – Two pressure acts on ball carrier

Q3 stats: Six kicks, 0 handballs, six disposals, two contested possessions, four uncontested possessions, one mark (one uncontested), three handball receives, two clearances, one tackle, one inside 50, two rebounds, one behind, one spoil, three loose ball gets | one effective long kick, two effective short kicks, two ineffective short kick, one clanger kick, 50% disposal efficiency

2.15 – Jumped at a contest to spoil on the wing but missed
4.39 – Attended a stoppage just outside forward 50
5.45 – Attended a stoppage on the edge of the centre square on the forward side
6.06 – Laid a tackle on an opponent forcing an error
6.18 – Won a contested possession, was tackled and forced to handball but went straight to an opponent for a clanger
12.01 – Attended a stoppage on the wing
12.43 – Handball receive inside 50, turned and had a long shot on goal which she nailed from 45m out
14.14 – Marked on the 50m line and had an effective long kick deep to a pack which resulted in a crumb goal
17.46 – Smothered an opposition kick forcing the kick to go to a teammate
18.19 – Attempted a tackle in midfield but missed the ball carrier

Q4 stats: Two kicks, one handball, three disposals, one contested possession, two uncontested possessions, one mark (one uncontested), one handball receive, one tackle, one goal, one smother | two effective long kicks, one clanger handball, 66% disposal efficiency

Total stats: 11 kicks, two handballs, 13 disposals, seven contested possessions, eight uncontested possessions, two marks (two uncontested), five handball receives, four clearances, four tackles, two inside 50s, three rebounds, one goal, one behind, one spoil, three loose ball gets, one smother | five effective long kicks, three effective short kicks, two ineffective short kicks, one clanger kick, one ineffective handball, one clanger handball, 62% disposal efficiency

Overall, Ponter had an impressive game in her debut for Essendon VFLW, providing some run and ability to clear the ball from congestion. She covered the ground well and was able to win the ball in each third of the ground, naturally more impactful on the contest when playing through the midfield. Her goal on the run in the final term was the highlight for the AFLW Academy member.

TAC Cup Girls preview: Oakleigh Chargers

THE Oakleigh Chargers will aim to be a more settled side in 2018 after tasting TAC Cup Girls football in 2017. While they finished the five-game season without a win, there were a number of players who stood out with impressive performances, of which a number of them have gone on to sign with VFL Women’s clubs ahead of the 2018 season, including three players to Collingwood.

Perhaps the biggest signing was former Charger Chelsea Mitchell to Hawthorn’s VFLW side, joining her brother and AFL disposal-leading Hawk, Tom at the affiliated club. Mitchell played through the midfield for the Chargers last season, and has an elite endurance base – similar to her brother – registering 11.05 on the last beep test conducted for the TAC Cup Girls in the 2017 pre-season – fourth overall in the competition.

The Chargers copped a heavy loss against the premiers Calder Cannons, but showed amazing resilience to almost knock off the undefeated Murray Bushrangers in the final round of the season – just a week later – falling four points short of victory. They were unlucky not to defeat Sandringham Dragons, having led for patches in the low-scoring contest at Frankston, while kicking their highest score of the season against Dandenong Stingrays in round one.

Among the top prospects for the 2018 season is rock-solid defender Hannah McLaren, who was best-on-ground against the Eastern Ranges, and was rarely beaten one-on-one throughout the 2017 season. Towards the end of the year, McLaren – who is the daughter of former AFL umpire Scott – showed her versatility by moving up the ground and impressing through the midfield and forward 50. Her performances throughout the year earned her the Oakleigh best and fairest award.

McLaren will be the reliable leader who second-year coach Luke O’Shannessy looks to as Oakleigh aims to tackle the season with a strong understanding of how competitive the TAC Cup Girls competition is, especially fast forwarding 12 months.

A familiar name for cricketing fans might be Isabella Gietzmann, who is one of the many dual-sport athletes running around the TAC Cup competition. Gietzmann plays high-level cricket but has also been a regular performer on the football field, booting 11 goals in the 2015 Vic Metro Championships for Youth Girls Under 16s. In that competition she represented Yarra Junior Football League, booting nine goals in back-to-back games against the Northern Football League and South Metro Junior Football League.

A top-ager that has always been close to the top in football circles is Bridie Winbanks, who was initially selected in the Sandringham Dragons Youth Girls squad in 2016 – the competition pre-dating the TAC Cup Girls. Once the latter started up, Winbanks was picked up by Oakleigh and was solid in her bottom-age year, and her high work ethic was obvious for those who watched the Chargers in 2017.

They start their campaign off against Gippsland Power on March 3 at Moe, as a curtain-raiser to the Collingwood-Western Bulldogs AFLW clash. Following on from that, the Chargers face neighbours Sandringham Dragons – a side they got to get a glimpse of in a practice match recently, before meeting Eastern Ranges a week later.

Like every TAC Cup club, Oakleigh will focus its efforts on development, and after a shorter inaugural season in 2017, are ready to hit the ground running in 2018. With the likes of McLaren, Gietzmann and Winbanks covering each area on the ground, the Chargers will have more depth than last season and will look to improve throughout the season as more players begin to stand out.