Tag: Hayley Bullas

2020 AFL Women’s season review: West Coast

FRESH off it’s inaugural AFL Women’s campaign, West Coast is the next team under the microscope in our club-by-club reviews.

The Eagles may have landed a couple of handy players at the nest in their maiden recruiting effort, but were one of the expansion sides which struggled to find their feet in faring only better than the winless Richmond with one win for the season. Scoring was real trouble spot for the newcomers, with a competition-low 85 points scored overall, which was far from enough to stay competitive since they would also concede 265 points up the other end.

Despite some hefty losses and a harsh initiation to the elite level, the Eagles’ opening win was a pure footballing highlight, and should give fans and players alike something to look back on fondly. Without further ado, we look back on the highs and lows of West Coasts’ first year in the AFLW, with a focus on the Eagles’ key performers and players to watch for in the future.

2020 RESULTS:

R1: lost to Collingwood by 27 points
R2: lost to Fremantle by 45 points
R3: lost to GWS by 28 points
R4: 
defeated Western Bulldogs by 4 points
R5:
lost to Melbourne by 59 points
R6:
lost to Gold Coast by 25 points

A solitary win perhaps puts some shine on what was an otherwise lacklustre set of results, with the fact that each loss came by 25 points or more not reading well in any capacity. The first AFLW Western Derby ended in a 45-point defeat just a week after Collingwood dismantled the newcomers first-up, but the Eagles’ lowest point arguably came via a 59-point thumping at the hands of Melbourne in Round 5. Barring that sensational Round 4 win over the Bulldogs, West Coast managed to score multiple goals just twice, while also conceding two totals over 60. Those numbers are hard to put a positive spin on, but the win would have given the Eagles a glimpse of hope.

SEASON HIGH: A thrilling maiden win on home turf

Enough of the dower talk – seeing West Coast hold on for its maiden win in the competition was nothing short of heartwarming. After losses of a combined 100 points in their first three outings, the Eagles somehow pulled one out of the hat against the Dogs, clawing their way back from a half time deficit to get ahead and stay there on home turf. West Coast’s 4.6 was double its next-best total for the season and its only venture past two goals in a game, with stars Emma Swanson and Dana Hooker leading the way. The Bulldogs may only have also managed one win for the season, but you would take the four points on any day ending with ‘y’.

SEASON LOW: Posting the (then) lowest-ever AFL Women’s score

Just eight days after West Coast’s spirit-lifting win came its most crushing loss upon a second trip to Victoria, going down to Melbourne by 59 points. It also marked a record no team wants to hold, with the Eagles managing what was then the lowest-ever total in any AFLW game – 1.1 (7). While that unfortunate feat was later taken by Richmond’s goalless effort, it was a fairly sour note to come just over a week after that incredible win. Hooker and Swanson were again the main ball winners, with Maddy Collier chiming in for her side’s only goal for the day.

FIVE KEY PERFORMERS:

Dana Hooker (19.7 disposals, 2.7 marks, 6.8 tackles, 3 rebound 50s, 2.8 inside 50s)

An out-and-out star of the competition, Hooker proved her worth as the club’s most high profile signing across another stellar year. The durable former-Fremantle midfielder made history by booting West Coast’s first-ever goal, and carried herself with pride in a team which suffered some heavy defeats. Hooker led the club for disposals, contested possessions, marks, and tackles to end the year as the only Eagle to be named in the All Australian squad.

Emma Swanson (17 disposals, 2.2 marks, 4.5 tackles, 2 rebound 50s, 3.3 inside 50s)

Hooker’s partner in crime through midfield, Swanson had arguably her best season since debuting for GWS in 2017 as another ever-present in the Eagles’ best half-dozen. The 25-year-old provided the perfect midfield partnership with Hooker, working hard to push the Eagles forward from the contest. She would end the year leading her club for clearances, inside 50s, and metres gained, perfectly encapsulating her role in the engine room.

Imahra Cameron (13.8 disposals, 2.5 marks, 3.5 tackles, 1.3 rebound 50s, 1.3 inside 50s)

One of West Coast’s best mature-age finds was Cameron, with the 23-year-old growing strongly into her debut AFLW campaign. Often partnering Swanson and Hooker in midfield while also drifting forward, the zippy 163cm recruit was one of the Eagles’ more consistent contributors despite her more flashy style. Her season total of 1.4 in front of goal could have taken her season to the next level if it were for better accuracy, but Cameron was influential nonetheless.

Parris Laurie (9 disposals, 2 marks, 2.7 tackles, 18 hitouts)

Completing the typical centre bounce quartet is Laurie, who fared well in her second AFLW season through the ruck. Another of West Coast’s recruits from rivals, Fremantle, Laurie upped her aerial impact this year with greater numbers in both the marking and hitout department. While she may have liked to find the goals more when drifting forward, 178cm ruck’s tap craft was solid for a someone slightly undersized in the position.

Belinda Smith (11 disposals, 1.7 marks, 2.8 tackles, 3 rebound 50s)

Plying her trade this year at a third AFLW club, Smith was certainly kept busy as one of the mainstays in West Coast’s defence. Across all six games, Smith was reliable at her best with leading numbers in the intercept possession and rebound 50 stakes, while also boasting a respectable disposal efficiency of 68 per cent. It was a solid year for the 24-year-old in a vital role among an under siege back five, and she will only get better as the Eagles work on possession retention.

YOUNG GUN:

Mikayla Bowen (10.3 disposals, 5.2 tackles, 1 rebound 50)

One of the first Eagles signed was Bowen, who lived up to the bill as a pre-listed player in her debut year after claiming WA’s MVP award at last year’s Under 18 national championships. In a tough side to start out in, Bowen steadily found her feet and performed consistently with a particular liking for the tough stuff. The young gun was only second to Hooker in tackles for West Coast this season, and has a bright future.

SURPRISE PACKET:

Niamh Kelly (9.7 disposals, 1.5 marks, 2.3 tackles, 1 rebound 50)

A surprise packet in the sense of her unknown ability coming into the season, Kelly became a key member in West Coast’s side with her daring run on the outside and ability to sneak forward. She was hard to stop when on song, and should benefit from more time in the game after transitioning from her native sport in Ireland with sister, Grace.

Others who stood out: Ashlee Atkins, Hayley Bullas, Chantella Perera

Three pretty different players round out the list here for West Coast, with a key defender and two forwards playing their part. Atkins was one of the few Eagles to find the big sticks while also setting up others, and Bullas was the only one to find them twice as her side’s inaugural leading goalkicker. Up the other end, mature-age draftee Perera was a rock at the back across five games, playing her role as a dour defender well upon getting a chance at the elite level.

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

2020 AFL Women’s Round 4 review: Eagles claim maiden win, Dees get back on track

WEST Coast’s maiden win headlined Round 4 of the 2020 AFL Women’s season, with Melbourne returning to winning ways while Fremantle and Brisbane maintained their undefeated records to top the conferences. In our featured game of the weekend, Carlton exacted revenge for last year’s grand final loss with a thrilling win over Adelaide on the road.

COLLINGWOOD 0.1 | 2.1 | 3.1 | 4.1 (26)
MELBOURNE 2.1 | 4.1 | 6.1 | 7.4 (46)

Sophie Taylor

GOALS

Collingwood: S. Rowe 2, J. Lambert, S. Layton.
Melbourne: J. Parry, K. Hore, M. Gay, T. Cunningham, E. Zanker, C. Sherriff, S. Scott.

ADC BEST: 

Collingwood: J. Lambert, B. Davey, B. Bonnici, S. Layton, S. Rowe, A. Brazill
Melbourne: K. Paxman, T. Hanks, K. Hore, L. Birch, E. O’Dea, S. Scott

Melbourne needed a win after a disappointing Round 3 loss to St Kilda, and a win they did get on Friday night at Marvel Stadium, reigning supreme over a flat Collingwood outfit. The Dees well and truly ran over their opponents, though it was not without devastation on the Pies’ part with key defender and crosscoder Ash Brazill going down in the third and stretchered off the field with what has now been confirmed as an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tear. 

A strong start from the Demons under a closed roof was exactly what they wanted, dominant in defence and transitioning well through the midfield to apply scoreboard pressure against the Magpies. Dees debutant Jacqui Parry booted the opening goal with her first kick in the AFL Women’s competition off the back of a 50m penalty, before Kate Hore opened her own account minutes later to take a good lead into the second term. Collingwood was quick to get a few back however, with ruck Sharni Layton unleashing an impressive major from an angle while a goal from Jamiee Lambert evened up the ledger moments later. The Dees were not about to let this one slip away however, with impressive offensive pressure and persistence inside 50 leading to goals from Eden Zanker and Tegan Cunningham. A midfield stalemate saw neither side able to capitalise for the rest of the quarter with pressure building and Melbourne staying one step ahead of the Magpies. Injury to Brazill halted the game with only minutes left in the third, before both sides continued to press forward in the final term but to no avail, only putting a goal apiece on the board – but not for a lack of trying, with the Dees losing their relative accuracy in the final quarter with three behinds on the board. 

Karen Paxman continued her stellar form this season with another best on ground effort for the Demons, collecting 24 touches and five marks to lead the disposal count ahead of Lambert (23 touches, seven tackles), Bri Davey (23 touches, seven tackles) and Britt Bonnici (22 disposals, six tackles) who were impressive as ever. Libby Birch held up well in defence, rebounding well and collecting 15 disposals and six marks down back, while Tyla Hanks impressed with 15 touches and five tackles. The Dees were far more efficient inside 50, but still will want to improve after only 47 per cent efficiency, while the Pies impressed at the stoppages with eight centre clearances and 26 hitouts, thanks to the height of Layton despite the aerial ability of Zanker.

RICHMOND 1.1 | 3.1 | 7.1 | 7.3 (45)
GEELONG 1.3 | 7.4 | 9.7 | 10.7 (67)

Sophie Taylor

GOALS

Richmond: C. Wakefield 3, S. Frederick, L. McClelland, K. Jacques, C. Bernardi.
Geelong: R. Cranston 2, G. Clarke 2, K. Darby, D. Higgins, O. Purcell, J. Crockett-Grills, R. Garing, A. Teague.

ADC BEST: 

Richmond: M. Conti, C. Wakefield, P. Monahan, K. Jacques, S. Frederick,
Geelong: O. Purcell, R. Cranston, M. McDonald, G. Clarke, J. Crockett-Grills, P. McWilliams

It was a feisty matchup between the two winless Conference B sides, with just about everything on the line. Geelong was poised in its pursuit for a maiden win in 2020, running over the expansion side in Richmond to reign supreme in Bendigo, 67-45. 

An even start saw both sides hungry for the ball, with both quick to get on the board thanks to goals from Kate Darby and Courtney Wakefield – her first of three – before both sides switched on the defensive pressure, making it tough for goals to be scored. Two behinds late in the quarter put Geelong’s nose in front heading into the second, while the likes of Monique Conti (28 disposals and five tackles) and Olivia Purcell (20 disposals, four tackles, one goal) proved their strength early for their respective sides. The second quarter saw the Cats well and truly blow the Tigers away, booting six goals to two and forcing Richmond to rethink their defensive strategy – which they clearly did, only conceding three goals in the second half. Geelong lead by as much as 40 points midway through the third quarter before the Tigers switched back into gear, dominating the second half of the third with four goals in 10 minutes, only separated by a Nina Morrison behind. A slow final term saw only the one goal kicked, with Geelong’s Julia Crockett-Grills cementing victory and leaving Richmond the only side to not yet have a win on the board this season. A head knock to Richmond key recruit Katie Brennan saw the star sidelined for the final quarter.

Wakefield booted a goal in each of the first three quarters as one of Richmond’s key performers alongside Conti, picking up 10 touches and five marks while the likes of Phoebe Monahan (20 disposals), Sabrina Frederick (one goal, nine disposals) and Kodi Jacques (one goal, six tackles) also put in solid performances for the losing side. For the Cats, Purcell was a ball magnet as usual, aided by Meghan McDonald (16 disposals, six marks) and Richelle Cranston (15 disposals, two goals). Georgia Clarke was also a solid option inside 50, booting two goals to go with another six individual goalkickers in an even team performance.

NORTH MELBOURNE 1.2 | 4.5 | 5.7 | 6.11 (47)
GOLD COAST SUNS 2.1 | 2.2 | 4.3 | 5.4 (34)

Sophie Taylor

GOALS

North Melbourne: D. Bateman 2, Em. King, S. Abbatangelo, El. King, J. Trend.
Gold Coast: K. Howarth 2, K. Surman, T. Ernst, L. Ahrens.

ADC BEST: 

North Melbourne: E. Kearney, J. Garner, E. Gavalas, A. Riddell, D. Bateman, K. Gillespie-Jones
Gold Coast: J. Stanton, J. Yorston, L. Ahrens, H. Dunn, K. Howarth, J. Pregelj

North Melbourne put a third solid 2020 win on the board in Round 4 when they took on the Gold Coast Suns, reigning supreme over the expansion side in a real make-or-break match for the Shinboners. The victory came down to dominant performances from key duo Jasmine Garner and Emma Kearney, with the pair combining for 56 disposals and 10 tackles. While the Kangaroos were not the most accurate on the day, their consistency and early lead kept them in good stead with an all-round team effort. 

While North Melbourne got the chocolates, it was Gold Coast that had the better start, responding well to an opening goal from Kangaroos’ Sophie Abbatangelo with goals from Tiarna Ernst and Kalinda Howarth’s first for the day coming amid behinds for the Roos. But while the Suns had the upper hand heading into the first change, it was North that switched on in the second term, peppering the posts to lead by 15 points at half-time. That buffer disappeared quickly however with the Suns coming within two points midway through the third before North cleaned it up and extended the lead once more thanks to a well-timed Emma King major. The Suns once again proved in the final term that they could get close, backing up their effort to once again come within a goals distance of a lead thanks to a goal from Lauren Ahrens, but a couple of rushed behinds for the Kangaroos proved they had the forward pressure to get the job done if only they cleaned up the contest inside 50. They did just that with less than three minutes left on the clock, with Daisy Bateman booting her second and all but sealing the deal in what was a mostly inaccurate match for the Roos. 

Howarth and Bateman were the top scorers for the match with two goals apiece, while Howarth was among the best for the Suns collecting 12 disposals and four marks to go with the majors. Jamie Stanton (17 disposals, seven marks, four tackles) and Jacqui Yorston (15 disposals, six tackles, five marks) were among the best for the Suns with Ahrens also up there, while Kate Surman collected nine tackles to go with her 12 touches and one goal, while North’s Ellie Gavalas equaled in tackles but racked up 21 touches while she was at it. While Garner and Kearney only booted a behind apiece, Garner’s 30 disposals and Kearney’s 26 ensured the Roos maintained control of the footy.

WEST COAST EAGLES 1.3 | 1.4 | 3.6 | 4.6 (30)
WESTERN BULLDOGS 0.2 | 2.3 | 2.5 | 3.8 (26)

Michael Alvaro

GOALS:

West Coast: G. Kelly, E. Swanson, H. Bullas, A. Atkins
Bulldogs: I. Huntington, D. Marshall, K. Rennie

ADC BEST:

West Coast: E. Swanson, D. Hooker, N. Kelly, G. Kelly, A. Atkins, I. Cameron
Bulldogs: E. Blackburn, G. Newton, K. McLeod, I. Huntington, K. Lamb, G. Lagioia

West Coast broke through to become the third 2020 expansion team to claim its first AFLW premiership points, edging the Western Bulldogs by four points in a tense tussle on home turf. The Eagles passed on some first half inaccuracy to their opponent as they held on for the 4.6 (30) to 3.8 (26) win, with jubilant scenes ensuing upon the final siren.

The Eagles enjoyed good spurts of possession early on, and landed the rightful first blow through a well-wrapped around Ashlee Atkins snap from the pocket. The goal made up most of the difference between the sides in the first term, but it did not take long for the Bulldogs to wrestle back momentum and get on top in the following quarter. Skipper Ellie Blackburn again proved to be the Bulldogs’ main source of inspiration heading inside forward 50, and her kick to find Kimberley Rennie deep helped ensure her side would gain a half time lead. But in a low-scoring contest, the loss of Bonnie Toogood to a knee injury was a body blow to the visitors’ chances of holding on.

West Coast would take full advantage, hitting back as the tide once again began to turn in favour of the home side. After the lead was quickly taken back via some smart Emma Swanson and Imahra Cameron teamwork, Hayley Bullas‘ opportunistic soccer goal from nothing ensured the Eagles had more than a one-goal buffer heading into the final turn. But it could well have been scrapped if Kirsten McLeod‘s dribbler just after the siren had rolled through a couple of seconds earlier, with the forward appealing for the call. Grace Kelly’s goal over the back made things even tougher in the fourth quarter, but the ‘Dogs kept hitting back and were given a sniff through Isabel Huntington‘s precise set shot conversion. It proved too little, too late though as the Eagles toughed out the final five minutes and ran out deserving winners, compounding a frustrating year for the ‘Dogs with a third-straight loss.

Swanson was terrific for the winners with a game-high 22 disposals (20 kicks) and eight tackles, while Dana Hooker (19 disposals) proved a real presence around the ball going both ways with nine tackles. Irish sisters Grace (14 disposals, one goal) and Niamh Kelly (16 disposals, 0.2) continue to show promise going forward, with the likes of Atkins and Cameron also adding to the forward threat. For the Bulldogs, Blackburn’s 19 touches were important, but the emergence of number one draft pick Gabby Newton (16 disposals, 10 tackles, five marks) would be most exciting. Kirsty Lamb, Aisling McCarthy, and McLeod (six behinds combined) all had opportunities close to goal but could not capitalise in what was the story of the Bulldogs’s day, while up the other end Gemma Lagioia proved solid with 12 disposals and three marks. Both 1-3 in Conference B, the two sides will go on to face another set of conference rivals in Round 5 as the ‘Dogs face Collingwood and West Coast travels to do battle with Melbourne – both on Sunday.

ST KILDA 0.1 | 1.1 | 2.4 | 3.5 (23)
FREMANTLE 0.2 | 1.3 | 1.3 | 3.6 (24)

Michael Alvaro

GOALS:

St Kilda: C. Greiser, O. Vesley, M. McDonald.
Fremantle: J. Stewart, K. Bowers, K. Flood.

ADC BEST:

St Kilda: A. Drennan, R. Dillon, O. Vesley, R. Watt, C. Greiser, T. Lucas-Rodd
Fremantle: K. Bowers, P. Seth, H. Miller, K. Grieve, G. Houghton, E. Antonio

Fremantle pulled off the great escape with a dramatic one-point victory over the desperately unlucky St Kilda, with Gemma Houghton‘s last-minute behind the difference in what was a thriller at Moorabbin. A 50-metre penalty against 18-year-old star Molly McDonald – who was very nearly the Saints’ hero after a lovely final term snap – ultimately proved most costly, gifting Kate Flood the opportunity to level the scores and confirming the footy gods can be nothing short of cruel.

Earlier, the wind played a factor in a low-scoring opener, with the 2-1 scoreline replicating that of a soccer match and the Dockers struggling to adjust in their first real game on the road. But they would be first to find the big sticks in the following stanza as Houghton tapped deftly down to Jasmin Stewart from a forward 50 stoppage to get the ball rolling. The early buffer was reigned back again to within a goal though as Olivia Vesley finished off a rolling Saints passage of play to keep them within striking distance, behind by just two points at the main break.

With Tarni White having already gone down in excruciating pain with a left knee injury, Kate McCarthy‘s awkward leg knock in the third term meant the Saints’ chances of a comeback were dwindling. But no one told that to Caitlin Greiser, who slammed home a major early in the third term to help St Kilda claim the lead. In keeping Freo scoreless up the other end, the Saints found themselves in the box seat for an unlikely upset win, and McDonald’s final term goal looked like being enough for the win. But just as quickly as the pre-listed prospect marked an errand Rhiannon Watt clearance and dropped the ball out of bounds, she realised her mistake as the umpire blew for a costly 50-metre penalty. Houghton’s two opportunities running into an open goal should truly have been the difference though, with the Dockers lucky to come away victors and remain perfect in season 2020.

Philipa Seth (17 disposals) found the most ball of any Docker, but it was the likes of Kiara Bowers (13 disposals, 12 tackles), Ebony Antonio (13 disposals, six tackles), and Katie-Jayne Grieve (12 disposals, six tackles) who had that two-way impact. There were plenty of contributors for the Saints too, with Rosie Dillon having a game-high 18 disposals, while Alison Drennan (17) and Tilly Lucas-Rodd (16) were not far behind. Vesley continued her impressive come-up with 14 touches and a goal, while the ‘G-Train’, Greiser was impactful with her eleven kicks and lone major. The Saints will look to hit back but face a tough ask in battling Carlton at Ikon Park in Round 5, while Fremantle takes on Brisbane in a battle between the two undefeated conference leaders.

BRISBANE LIONS 2.5 | 4.5 | 7.7 | 7.9 (51)
GWS GIANTS 1.0 | 2.5 | 2.5 | 3.5 (23)

Michael Alvaro

GOALS:

Brisbane: J. Wardlaw 2, C. Svarc 2, E. Bates, K. Lutkins, L. Postlethwaite.
GWS: R. Privitelli, A. Schmidt, Y. Bonner.

ADC BEST:

Brisbane: C. Svarc, E. Bates, J. Wardlaw, A. Anderson, K. Lutkins, M. Moloney
GWS: H. Zreika, E. Bennetts, R. Beeson, N. Barr, B. Tully, A. Parker

Brisbane Lions roared back to the top of Conference A with a comprehensive 28-point win over GWS on home turf to close out Round 4, moving to 3-0-1. The winners maintained their undefeated start to the season on the back of some awesome individual efforts, but overpowered the GIANTS across the ground to wow home fans and neutrals alike.

The win was set up in the opening term and consolidated in the third, with the Lions booting 5.7 of their eventual 7.9 total across the two periods of play. Mature-aged draftee Catherine Svarc kicked off the game of her life by latching onto a long ball over the back of a contest and booting the ball out of mid-air through the big sticks, while promising tall forward Jesse Wardlaw also got on the board with a lovely set shot conversion. Rebecca Privitelli‘s contested grab and own set shot up the other end kept the GIANTS in the contest though, with Svarc and Emily Bates running rampant. The theme continued as Katie Lutkins‘ standout second term goal on the run looked to help Brisbane break the shackles, but it was cancelled out late in the half as Aimee Schmidt narrowly slotted GWS’ second major.

Much of the resistance was broken heading into the third term, and the floodgates finally opened mid-way through the quarter as the Lions piled on three majors. One of which was 2019 number three draft pick, Lily Postlethwaite‘s first ever AFLW goal, while Svarc’s second six-pointer from a tight angle got the crowd on its feet shortly after, effectively putting the result beyond doubt. The contest fizzed out in a much less eventful closing stanza, with the GIANTS managing to withstand any more damage while troubling the scorers once more themselves through Irishwoman, Yvonne Bonner‘s booming boot. It made the margin slightly more respectable, but did not take away from what was a dominant Brisbane win.

Svarc’s 23 disposals, 11 tackles and two goals were made even more incredible by the fact that she was tagging Alyce Parker, with the young GIANT managing a subdued 11 touches. Bates also continued to take the next step in her development, amassing 24 disposals and booting a goal, while the reliable Ally Anderson had a game-high 25 touches and Wardlaw showed good signs with two goals from 10 disposals and five marks. For the GIANTS, Haneen Zreika returned another solid shift with her team-high 15 disposals, with defender Elle Bennetts having 14 to stay true to her form. A bunch of GWS ball-winners were good without being outstanding, with Parker kept quieter than usual, and Alicia Eva unable to get going. Eva and the GIANTS will face a winless Richmond side next time out in a good chance to snare a win, while Brisbane is set to take on Fremantle in a battle of the conference table-toppers.

2019/20 AFLW off-season review: West Coast

WEST Coast might have the biggest question mark against itself for the 2020 AFL Women’s season. It is not a question of talent – the names on the Eagles’ list attest to that – but it is more a question of how the team will adapt to the structures in place and with one another purely because of the four expansion sides, West Coast is the only side not to have played together. St Kilda and Richmond both had VFL Women’s sides, Gold Coast had a Winter Series team, while West Coast has picked up a host of experience and youth from all over the country and it will be fascinating to see how the coaching staff throw the team together and see how fast they can jell at the elite level.

The Eagles were quick to list a couple of young stars on their list back in January, with Mikayla Bowen a standout prospect from Western Australia’s Under 18s, while Rosie Deegan is a talented dual-code basketballer. When the expansion club period opened in April, West Coast immediately went straight to the top, snaffling Fremantle star, Dana Hooker, whilst also convincing former Dockers, Ashlee Atkins, Melissa Caulfield, Brianna Green and Courtney Guard to come across, along with GWS GIANTS’ talent, Emma Swanson. Swanson was soon joined by GIANTS teammate, Maddy Collier, as well as Dockers, Parris Laurie, Kellie Gibson, Alicia Janz, and Western Bulldogs’ Belinda Smith.

The Eagles were more than happy to hand over Pick 13 for Brisbane’s McKenzie Dowrick, then grabbed former West Australian Kate Bartlett from the Dogs, and Cassie Davidson from the Dockers for bargain basement prices. They pre-listed one of the unluckiest players not to be on and AFL Women’s list currently in Essendon’s Hayley Bullas at the end of August, along with local talents from the West Australian Women’s Football League (WAWFL) in Emily Bosner, Beatrice Devlyn, Ashton Hill, Danika Piscoceri and Emily McGuire. Rounding out the pre-draft list, the Eagles picked up twin sisters, Grace and Niamh Kelly from Gaelic football as rookies, as well as Rugby union player, Mhicca Carter.

The Eagles did not have a first round pick in the AFL Women’s Draft, selecting Imahra Cameron with the club’s opening selection down at Pick 19. They had previously matched a bid to pick up Academy athlete Sophie McDonald at Pick 39, then picked up locals Tarnee Tester and Katherine Orme – the latter of whom was able to post about her own recruitment as the social media coordinator at the club. West Coast wrapped up the draft with a couple of Hawthorn VFL Women’s teammates in former Crow and Demon, Talia Radan, and the best on ground in the 2018 VFLW Grand Final Chantella Perera.

2020 TEAM LIST:

Ashlee Atkins
Emily Bonser
Mikayla Bowen
Hayley Bullas
Imahra Cameron
Melissa Caulfield
Maddy Collier
Cassie Davidson
Beatrice Devlyn
McKenzie Dowrick
Kellie Gibson
Brianna Green
Courtney Guard (nee Stubbs)
Ashton Hill
Dana Hooker
Alicia Janz
Emily McGuire
Katherine Orme
Danika Pisconeri
Chantella Perera
Talia Radan
Belinda Smith
Emma Swanson
Tarnee Tester

Rookies: Mhicca Carter, Grace Kelly, Niamh Kelly
Inactive list: Rosie Deegan (basketball)

POTENTIAL 2020 SIDE:

B: Cassie Davidson – Talia Radan – Belinda Smith
HB: McKenzie Dowrick – Sophie McDonald – Emma Swanson
C: Dana Hooker
HF: Melissa Caulfield – Kellie Gibson – Ashlee Atkins
F: Kate Bartlett – Emily McGuire  – Tarnee Tester
R: Parris Laurie – Mikayla Bowen – Emily Bonser
INT: Maddy Collier – Hayley Bullas – Imahra Cameron – Alicia Janz – Brianna Green

EMG: Danika Pisconeri – Beatrice Devlyn – Chantella Perera

DEPTH: Courtney Guard, Ashton Hill, Katherine Orme, Mhicca Carter, Grace Kelly, Niamh Kelly, Rosie Deegan

By far, the West Coast line-up is the hardest to predict for 2020, with plenty of depth through the midifield and defensive end, but more medium and small forwards than talls. They have a number of ruck options who might develop into key forwards, but the Eagles’ strength lies in its inside ball winning ability and danger at ground level once in side 50.

Hooker is the standout player in the side, though the youth of Bowen, Dowrick and McDonald will add to the future, while Swanson and Gibson are quality players on their day. The Eagles will head into the season as one of the underdog teams and hard to predict given their relative lack of matchday experience, but they have a good base for the future.

VFLW Round 8 preview: Tigers host Demons in country outing

IT is a big round of VFLW action with the only team not in the thick of it this round, Collingwood, sitting in top spot on the ladder with percentage to boot.

CARLTON v. GEELONG

Round 8- 29/6/19
11:00
Ikon Park

This Saturday be prepared for a tight tussle between the ninth place Geelong Cats and tenth place Carlton Blues, with the Cats last week getting their second win for the season and the Blues coming off the Round 7 bye but having the win in Round 6. The two teams are coming into finer form with the sides bringing back two guns in Madison Prespakis for the Blues, averaging 28.5 disposals after her two 28 and 29 disposal games, and Danielle Orr for the Cats after kicking three of their eight goals after their win over the Casey last week. Carlton this week is looking to get their second win on the board with a home ground advantage while the Cats will be looking for their third win of the season.

WILLIAMSTOWN v. NT THUNDER

Round 8- 29/6/19
11:30
Downer Oval

The NT Thunder are coming off a dominant win against Essendon in Round 7 and with Williamstown still winless at the bottom the ladder they will be looking to inflict some more pain. Thunder’s slick ball movement and accuracy in front of goal makes them hard to stop when they are on song with the likes of Jasmyn Hewett and Jade De Melo hitting the scoreboard with ease. Nikki Gore will be hoping to back up her stellar performance and impose herself around the contest with her bone crunching tackles and intent to win the ball at the stoppages while expect excitement machine Danielle Ponter to bring her bag of tricks against Williamstown. But the Seagulls should not be underestimated with the likes of Moana Hope up forward and Sharnie Whiting who can hold her own. Williamstown will have a real fire in the belly after coming off a narrow loss to the Falcons last round.

WESTERN BULLDOGS v. HAWTHORN

Round 8- 29/6/19
12:00
Whitten Oval

With only game separating the two sides expect a close contest with both wanting to prove their dominance and claim ascendancy over the competition. Hawthorn went down to the Southern Saints in a tight battle while the Bulldogs will be hoping to bounce back after getting smashed by Collingwood. In recent weeks the Dogs and Hawks have struggled to transition down the field and get ball into their forward 50 but will want to turn the tables in this match-up. Hawthorn will look to the likes of Phoebe McWilliams who has plenty of class and good goal sense to get the ball rolling in their forward 50 while Sarah Perkins is renowned for her star power. Youngster Serena Gibbs also has plenty to offer along with Rebecca Beeson making them a real force to be reckoned with when on song. The Bulldogs will be hoping that Bonnie Hunt brings her hot form into the match-up along with Emma Mackay.

SOUTHERN SAINTS v. DAREBIN

Round 8- 29/6/19
12:00
Trevor Barker Beach Oval

The Falcons will be riding high after a good win against the Seagulls last round, their first of the season after a rough start to the year. On the other hand, the Southern Saints will be hoping to build on their momentum and keep pushing for a finals spot, currently sitting second on the ladder. The Saints have been emphatic, running hard and using the ball well across the field to hit targets and convert in front of goal making them a hard obstacle to overcome. Kate Shierlaw and Tilly Lucas-Rodd have been key players for the Saints, racking up the possessions while Darcy Guttridge has been a handy inclusion. After a hard fought win Darebin will be hoping that Lauren Pearce brings her hot form both in front of goal and across the ground. Meanwhile, expect Annalyse Lister to bring her tackling intensity and physicality into the match in hope to spark the Falcons.

RICHMOND v. CASEY DEMONS

Round 8- 30/6/19
1:00
Queen Elizabeth Oval

Richmond have worked their way up the ladder claiming third spot while the Demons are caught in the mid logjam hoping to cause a big upset and work their way out of the congestion. The Tigers will be hoping to muster up another win and keep their opponents at bay given their recent accuracy in front of goal. Although they are coming off the bye expect the Tigers to be hungry, competing hard for the ball in and around the contest while Katie Brennan provides an imposing threat up forward. Monique Conti also poses an ominous threat across the field while youngsters Madeline Brancatisano, Grace Egan and Kodi Jacques all offer plenty of excitement. Casey should not to be underestimated with the likes of Shelley Heath, Harriet Cordner and Bianca Jakobsson all able to win plenty of ball and dispose of it effectively, while they will be hoping that Maddy Guerin brings her kicking boots again this weekend.

MELBOURNE UNI v. ESSENDON

Round 8- 30/6/19
2:30
Melbourne University Main Oval

Melbourne Uni will be searching for their fourth win of the season while Essendon will be hoping to propel themselves further off the bottom with a second victory of the season. It has been an inconsistent start for the Muggars but coming off the bye expect them to be fresh while the Bombers will be wanting to restore some respectability after a big loss. The Bombers will be looking to Georgia Nanscawen to win plenty of ball once again along with Lauren Aherns to really control the midfield and think their way through traffic if they are to prevail against Melbourne Uni. Hayley Bullas also proved her physicality and will be wanting to maintain that form coming into this match up. For the Muggars, Kate Gillespie-Jones and Jasmine Garner are the go-to girls with their composure and ball winning ability a real feature of their game.

VFLW weekend wash-up: Magpies dominate again as Darebin celebrates first win

COLLINGWOOD had its second straight thrashing of an opponent in a top-of-the-table clash against Western Bulldogs, making it five consecutive wins, while Darebin Falcons won their first game of the season in the clash of the two winless sides at the other end of the ladder.

GEELONG 3.1 | 4.7 | 5.7 | 8.8 (56)
CASEY 1.1 | 2.1 | 3.3 | 4.3 (27)

GOALS

Geelong: D. Orr 3, R. Benham 2, S. Van De Heuvel, R. Cranston, J. Crockett-Grills.
Casey: H. Cordner, G. Speedy, A. Johnson, C. Emonson.

BEST

Geelong: M. Keryk, J. Crockett-Grills, S. Van De Heuvel, A. McDonald, D. Orr, R. Garing
Casey: C. Emonson, H. Cordner, K. Bentvelzen , N. Garner, S. Heath, A. Johnson

A slow start for Casey ultimately led to yet another loss on the board after an impressive start to the season, but full credit to the Cats who had control from the get-go at home on Saturday. The Dees tried valiantly to fight their way back into the contest but defensively didn’t have the pressure needed to get the job done, going down by 29 points. Danielle Orr proved hard to stop with three goals and two behinds from 20 disposals, while Amy McDonald (25 touches) and Renee Garing (25 touches, 12 tackles) pitched in around the ground. The Demons shared the ball around well but were unable to capitalise, only getting four goals on the board from 20 inside 50s, while the likes of Maddy Guerin was back in the side finishing with 19 touches and seven tackles but unable to mark her mark on the scoreboard. The Dees were competitive through the middle of the ground dominating the ruck with 27 more hitouts than the Cats, credit to the likes of Harriet Cordner (15 disposals, 19 hitouts, six tackles) sharing the load with Taryn Orgill (17 hitouts) in her first match for the season.

COLLINGWOOD 3.0 | 7.1 | 9.2 | 13.5 (83)
WESTERN BULLDOGS 0.0 | 0.1 | 1.2 | 1.3 (9)

GOALS

Collingwood: J. Lambert 4, S. Livingstone 3, S. Layton 2, M. Shevlin 2, S. Casey, K. Lynch.
Western Bulldogs: L. Dundon.

BEST

Collingwood: J. Lambert, B. Bonnici, S. Livingstone, P. Nash, J. Ferguson, M. Shevlin
Western Bulldogs: C. Moody, V. Laloifi, B. Hunt, J. Davies, T. Dinuccio, K. McLeod

The Magpies may have been without fan favourite, Chloe Molloy over the weekend, but the side certainly was not lacking star power as they handed the Bulldogs a 74-point smashing in a phenomenal team effort. The Pies shared the ball around, dominating possession and finding the goals with ease as four players notched more than one goal. Jaimee Lambert kicked four from 26 touches in a best on ground performance, while Stacey Livingstone kicked a bag of three and ex-Australian netballer, Sharni Layton slotted her first career goal towards the end of the second quarter, following up with another in the final term. Without Bonnie Toogood in their midst the Bulldogs all but fell apart, unable to capitalise under the Pies’ immense pressure. Similar to Casey, the Dogs dominated the hitouts with 42 to the Pies’ 26, but were unable to get through Collingwood’s solid defensive unit.

HAWTHORN 0.1 | 0.1 | 0.2 | 2.2 (14)
SOUTHERN SAINTS 0.1 | 1.1 | 1.3 | 2.5 (17)

GOALS

Hawthorn: P. McWilliams, E. Gilder
Southern Saints: F. Steiert, K. Shierlaw

BEST

Hawthorn: P. Randall, P. Peschke, T. Radan, P. McWilliams, R. Dillon, J. Membrey
Southern Saints: A. Brown, C. Fitzpatrick, T. Lucas-Rodd, S. Johnson, F. Steiert, K. Shierlaw

The Hawks put in an impressive performance to challenge the Southern Saints over the weekend, only losing by three points after mounting a final quarter comeback to give the Saints a scare. It was a low scoring affair at Box Hill City Oval, with the Hawks finding some good form and piling on the pressure at every turn. Tilly Lucas-Rodd and Jayde Van Dyke were among the best on ground, collecting 25 and 21 touches for their respective sides. It was a tale of inaccuracy for both sides, with Hawthorn unable to challenge the ball in their attacking 50 while the Saints were lucky to get away with a win after the Hawks started chipping away at the margin. Philippa Peschke collected 17 touches and eight tackles in yet another strong performance, while Pepa Randall was solid as ever with 12 touches, four marks and five tackles. For the Saints, Olivia Vesely may have missed a shot on goal but still played her part with 19 touches and eight tackles.

DAREBIN 0.1 | 2.3 | 3.5 | 4.7 (31)
WILLIAMSTOWN 1.0 | 1.1 | 1.4 | 1.5 (11)

GOALS

Darebin: L. Pearce, E. Honybun, S. David, B. Kennedy.
Williamstown: T. Merrett.

BEST

Darebin: K. McNiece, E. Honybun, G. Lawson-Tavan, M. Eastman, C. Byrne, B. Patterson
Williamstown: J. Heard, E. Straford, E. Crawford, T. Merrett, E. Gardner, J. Paten

It was a battle of the cellar dwellars in this match as the Falcons ran away with a solid win to hopefully jump-start their season. For Williamstown this match will surely come back to haunt them, after challenging a few sides over the past weeks before going down to the confident Falcons. Lauren Pearce proved her dominance in the ruck, collecting a whopping 44 hitouts as she fed her teammates the ball when required. Pearce also managed a goal from 15 touches to lead Darebin’s disposal count, while Annalyse Lister (12 touches, 10 tackles) was also up there. For Williamstown, the regular names stood up once more with the likes of Mo Hope (27 disposals) and Nikki Wallace (10 tackles), while Sharnie Whiting was unlucky in front of the big sticks with two behinds from nine touches.

NT THUNDER 4.0 | 9.3 | 11.3 | 12.4 (76)
ESSENDON 0.0 | 0.0 | 0.2 | 1.6 (12)

GOALS

NT Thunder: S. Thompson 3, D. Ponter 3, J. Hewett 2, J. de Melo 2, J. Hickey, K. Streader.
Essendon: A. Moreen.

BEST

NT Thunder: H. Martin, D. Cox, J. de Melo, N. Gore, J. Hewett, M. Breed
Essendon: G. Nanscawen, M. Collier, L. Stepnell, L. Ahrens, S. Nalder, E. Ashley-Cooper

NT Thunder are finally back on the winners list this week after recording a comprehensive win over the Bombers in Darwin to finish off the round. Multiple goal hauls from Stevie-Lee Thompason, Danielle Ponter, Jasmyn Hewitt and Jade de Melo saw the Thunder completely outshine the Bombers who only kicked the one goal for the game courtesy of Arthurina Moreen. Georgia Nanscawen (22 disposals) and Simone Nalder (17 hitouts) were reliable as always for the Bombers, while Hayley Bullas was solid with 16 touches and eight tackles. Thunder’s Nikki Gore put in the hard yards with 10 tackles while the shared effort across the board saw Lisa Roberts sit highest on the disposal count for NT with 16.

BYE: Carlton, Richmond, Melbourne Uni.

VFLW Round 7 preview: Cellar dwellers clash as top four fight for dominance

ROUND 7 of VFL Women’s sees one of the biggest match-ups of the season so far when one play three for bragging rights at the midpoint of the season. Meanwhile, the bottom two teams will battle it out for an all important first win of the season.

GEELONG v. CASEY

Round 7 – 22/6/19
11.30
GMHBA Stadium

With both sides coming into this match off the back of a Round 6 bye, this game is set to be an interesting contest between the two sides. Though the Demons got off to a ripping start with three wins on the trot, Geelong were faced with a difficult fixture early as they took on four of the current top five. Though Casey will hope to bounce back this week after two losses prior to the bye, the Cats will have the home ground advantage and be keen to get a second win on the board. Casey have struggled with consistency in recent weeks and will need their big names to stand up to get the job done this week. Based off performance against similar teams, Geelong and Casey seem relatively evenly matched despite their vastly different positions on the ladder. The Dees will hope Maddy Guerin is back in the side this week as Casey’s leading goalkicker, with an ability to free herself and find space inside 50, while Rebecca Webster has proven week in week out that she can be a big target all across the ground.

COLLINGWOOD v. WESTERN BULLDOGS

Round 7 – 22/6/19
11.30
Morwell Recreation Reserve

Both the Magpies and Dogs will travel this round as they head to Gippsland for a battle between first and third on the ladder. While the Magpies have played one more game to sit in top spot, the Bulldogs suffered a shock loss to Carlton last week, pushing the side into third after a dominant start to the season. The Bulldogs had a frankly disappointing outing against the Blues while the Magpies put on a fantastic performance last round with a number of players impressing across the board, so the Pies will want to continue their momentum before heading into a bye next week. Fan favourites, Chloe Molloy and Jaimee Lambert united for an impeccable performance last round, collecting a combined 46 touches and nine goals to lead Collingwood to victory while the Bulldogs struggled in front of goal with only one major for the match. While the Bulldogs only have the one loss on the board, tackling pressure from the likes of Tayla Dinuccio, and hitouts from leading ruck Nicole McMahon will be pivotal to get over the line.

HAWTHORN v. SOUTHERN SAINTS

Round 7 – 22/6/19
11.50
Box Hill City Oval

Hawthorn have crept up the ladder in recent weeks after three wins and a bye from four rounds, so will be a definite contender as they take on fourth ranked Southern Saints this weekend. The Saints may sit in fourth on win-loss ratio, but the Hawks are not too far behind with only one less victory and some high flyers the likes of Philippa Peschke and Rebecca Beeson who can share the load to get the job done. The Saints will hope for another win this week to maintain their position in fourth, and will be in danger of being overtaken by the Demons if they lose this game. Tilly Lucas-Rodd has been a force to be reckoned with for the Saints this season, while the consistency of Caitlin Greiser has been key, despite kicking 7.10 for the season so far. If Greiser can kick straight and the side can provide her plenty of backup inside 50, the Saints should be able to get a fifth win on the board for the season.

DAREBIN v. WILLIAMSTOWN

Round 7 – 22/6/19
2.00
Bill Lawry Oval

The first of two Saturday afternoon matches will be an intriguing matchup between the two cellar dwellers, both of which are yet to win a game this season. While both sides will be hungry to get a win on the board, this match will certainly be a test to see which of the bottom teams has what it takes to get off the bottom of the ladder and make something out of their season. Williamstown are only ahead on the ladder by default, having only played four matches for the season so far, so Darebin will want to give the Seagulls a run for their money and shut down the likes of Mo Hope and Sharnie Whiting who have been pivotal so far this season. Darebin’s season hasn’t been pretty, but the form of Lauren Pearce has been solid, ninth in hitouts despite sitting at the bottom of the ladder while Reni Hicks has been quiet on the ball but been reliable off the ball to lead the league’s tackle count with an average of 10 per match and a whopping 19 alone in Round 5 alone. The Falcons are still looking for the good form that saw them put 11 goals on the board across rounds one and two, so will hope they find it this week against the equally suffering Seagulls.

NT THUNDER v. ESSENDON

Round 7 – 22/6/19
3.30
TIO Stadium

The Thunder will have their second home game on the trot this week when they host Essendon in the hopes of getting a second home win on the board. Meanwhile, the Bombers will be reeling after a frustrating performance last week against the Hawks, so will be itching to get an all important victory in Darwin. A big win for Thunder could land them as high as fifth come the end of this round, so this match is sure to be a big decider in ladder positions at the midway point of the season. Thunder’s inaccuracy last round lost the match for them, with 10 behinds on the board putting them on the back foot all game. Angela Foley continues to be a shining light for the Thunder, while the Bombers will want their major ball getters in Hayley Bullas and Alexandra Anderson right in the mix.

BYE: Richmond, Carlton, Melbourne Uni

VFLW Round 6 preview: Fourth and fifth clash to stay in touch with the top

THREE more sides have the bye this week as the Victorian Football League Women’s (VFLW) competition heads toward the midway point of the season. With most sides playing teams at the opposite end of the ladder, matchups between the middle-ranked sides will set the scene for the competition come Round 7.

CARLTON v. WESTERN BULLDOGS

Round 6 – 15/06/19
10.30
IKON Park

Carlton have a tough slog on Saturday morning as they host top of the ladder Western Bulldogs to open Round 6. Sitting at zero from four after a bye in Round 1, Carlton’s start to the season has been far from ideal, scoring less than 20 points in each of their three away matches in Rounds 2, 3 and 4. However, the side put up a good fight last round when they hosted NT Thunder, kicking seven goals – more than their opening three rounds combined – and only going down by seven points. The Bulldogs have had an incomparable start to the season, starting on a high with a 47 point win over Williamstown in Round 2 before continuing their fine form, keeping all of their opposition to less than 15 points. The Blues will hope for Natalie Plane to have another big one, with an average of 20 touches and a score on the board in every match this season, while young-gun Maddy Prespakis will hope for another dominant performance after accruing 29 disposals and five tackles last week in her first match of the season. The Bulldogs’ success this season has largely been down to the dominant ruck work of Nicole McMahon, averaging 31 hitouts per game, while Bonnie Toogood (averaging 20 disposals) and Tayla Dinuccio (averaging nine tackles) have done a wealth of work around the ground.

ESSENDON v. HAWTHORN

Round 6 – 15/06/19
11.30
Windy Hill

In the first of two closely matched games of the round, ninth placed Essendon and eighth placed Hawthorn will face off with the winner hoping to stay in touch with the top sides. Both teams had a bye last round, and while sitting close on the ladder, Hawthorn will come into this match as the favourites with two wins under their belt – one a dominant 42 point victory over Darebin. Essendon have only won one of their four matches but have no issue getting access to goal having kicked five goals in three of their four matches, but have struggled defensively with an average of 38 points kicked against. The Bombers will hope for another strong performance from Hayley Bullas, who has averaged eight tackles and 18 touches per game this season, while the likes of Jess Sibley and Emily Gilder have shared the brunt of the goalkicking load for the Hawks. It will be an interesting ruck battle between Abbey Tanner (Hawks) and Simone Nalder (Bombers), who are sitting on 95 and 94 hitouts from four matches, respectively. Hawthorn have done a good job sharing the load across the field, with no one player who can be targeted and tagged out.

DAREBIN v. COLLINGWOOD

Round 6 – 15/06/19
12.00
Preston City Oval

Collingwood will aim for their fifth win on the trot this round as they take on cellar dwellers, Darebin Falcons. The Falcons have struggled so far this season, unable to string along consistent performances. While Darebin’s points scored in the opening rounds would have been enough to beat a number of sides, the first five rounds saw Darebin face three of the current top five. A four point win over Casey has solidified Collingwood’s spot in the top four after five rounds, so the side will likely come in confident this week against the severely depleted Falcons side. Collingwood AFLW captain, Steph Chiocci took the field in Round 5 for the first time this season, kicking two goals and gathering 13 touches and three tackles in a solid day out. Meanwhile, Bri Davey will be a big one for the Falcs to watch out for if she returns this week, collecting 57 touches and 14 tackles from just two matches. Jamie Stanton has been one of the big performers for the Falcons this season with an average of 20 touches while Lauren Pearce has had a good run in the ruck with an average of 18 touches and 24 hitouts from three matches.

NT THUNDER v. RICHMOND

Round 6 – 15/06/19
3:30
TIO Stadium

NT Thunder face a massive challenge this round when they host an undefeated Richmond side on Saturday afternoon. A dominant first few rounds was cut short by a bye, with Thunder dropping their next match before sticking it out in a close match against Carlton in Round 5. Richmond have scored over 50 points in three of their four matches, with their closest coming down to three points against sixth place Melbourne Uni in Round 4. Thunder will need to bring their A-game against the Tigers, but will have the added bonus of a home ground advantage in Darwin. Richmond’s Tayla Stahl has been one of the big names this season, sitting atop the goal leaderboard despite a bye in Round 2. Stahl has kicked nine goals and 10 behinds for the season so far, so if she kicks on target she could be a massive threat when coupled with the dominant force of ex-Western Bulldogs pair, Katie Brennan and Monique Conti. If Thunder have Chelsea Randall back in the side she could give them a massive boost, having only played two games but sitting on 59 touches, while Angela Foley has been solid with an average of 23 disposals across three matches. Thunder have struggled with consistency so far this season, unable to click given only five players have taken the field for all four matches.

SOUTHERN SAINTS v. MELBOURNE UNI

Round 6 – 16/06/19
12.00
Trevor Barker Beach Oval

The final match of the round is set to be the best matchup, with the Saints (fourth) taking on Melbourne Uni (fifth) in a bid to stay among the top sides in the competition. The Saints have had a fairly good run this season sitting on three wins from four matches and come into this round fresh off the bye in Round 5. Melbourne Uni had a dominant first few rounds before falling to two of the top sides in consecutive weeks, and were challenged by winless Williamstown last week, so will want to bounce back to prove their position on the ladder. Alison Drennan has been one of the most consistent for the Saints this season, averaging 24 touches and 5.5 tackles across four matches, while Caitlin Greiser has kicked a goal in every game so far. Despite only taking the field for three games, Uni’s Jasmine Garner is sitting second in the competition for goals (eight) and has an average of 26 touches, while Holly Whitford managed a massive 10 tackles against Williamstown last week, taking her season tally to 31. Uni will hope to put out a similar performance to their Round 4 match against Richmond, coming back from an 18 point margin to only go down by three points in the nailbiter.

BYE: Williamstown, Casey, Geelong

VFL Women’s wash-up: Round 4

ROUND 4 saw a number of big results in the VFL Women’s, with Casey losing top spot with their first loss for the season, dropping to fourth as the Bulldogs, Saints and Tigers got wins on the board. Meanwhile, three sides still sit winless, with Carlton, Williamstown and Darebin yet to secure the four points but all have had a bye.

HAWTHORN 2.1 | 3.4 | 4.8 | 4.11 (35)
WILLIAMSTOWN 2.1 | 2.1 | 2.2 | 4.2 (26)

By: Nikki Jamieson

GOALS
Hawthorn: R. Beeson 2, M. Hutchins, S. Perkins
Williamstown: S. Whiting 2, M. Hope, E. Crawford

BEST
Hawthorn: M. Hutchins, R. Dillon, T. Radan, O. Flanagan, R. Beeson, P. Randall
Williamstown: A. Melnikas, M. Williamson, L. Suleiman, N. Wallace, S. Whiting, G. Anderson

Hawthorn won their second match for the VFLW season, as Williamstown continues into round five without a win on the board. In what started as a close game with both teams tied at the end of the first quarter, Hawthorn’s defence were then able to keep Williamstown in check. The Hawks only let through one point from Williamstown before the final quarter. Williamstown was able to limit the Hawks’ strong offensive front, sparing them from a total blowout and limiting them to mostly behinds throughout the match. An impactful game from backline players such as Ashlea Melnikas and Nikki Wallace (12 disposals, six tackles) kept Hawthorn in check for most of the game. Seagulls’ Mo Hope (11 disposals, one goal) and Sharnie Whiting (18 disposals, two goals, four tackles) were also key in the final quarter comeback, kicking goals in the dying minutes.
Hawthorn’s season is starting to fare better but most would have expected a stronger performance from them against Williamstown who are at the bottom of the ladder. An important player for Hawthorn in defence was Pepa Randall (11 disposals, four tackles), helping keep the Seagulls’ forwards quiet for most of the match. Another key player for Hawthorn was Meg Hutchins (11 disposals, one goal, three tackles), consistently influencing the contest and winning the ball.Rebecca Beeson had a great match kicking two goals, and Olivia Flanagan (23 disposals, one behind, five tackles) led overall for disposals with 23. Also notable was Rosie Dillon (18 disposals, one behind, four tackles) who played tight on the ball all match.

MELBOURNE UNI 0.1 | 0.4 | 2.7 | 4.10 (34)
RICHMOND 2.3 | 3.4 | 3.5 | 5.7 (37)
By: Sophie Taylor

GOALS:
Melbourne Uni: J. Garner 3, K. Gillespie-Jones
Richmond: T. Stahl, M. Brancatisano, J. Colwell, K. Brennan, L. Bailey

BEST:
Melbourne Uni: J. Garner, K. Angelis, K. Gillespie-Jones, A. Riddell, N. Julian, J. Bruton
Richmond: K. Brennan, E. Burry, R. Miller, H. Burchell, T. Stahl, J.Colwell

A fast start from the Tigers saw the Muggars mount a comeback too little too late, as they peppered the goals without luck in an attempt to turn the tides with minutes left on the clock. Tigers were strong early, not only limiting Melbourne Uni to only four behinds by half time with no worries in front of goal as they kicked three goals four by half time. The main break sparked Uni into action, as the side put in the hard yards in an attempt to even up the ledger, only down by seven points at the final change and ready for a fight to the finish. It was the Tigers who had the last laugh however, as their pressing defence caused errors and inaccuracy in front of goal, with Uni finishing with more scoring shots on the board but going down by three credit to Richmond’s early lead and composure to fight through the momentum swing. AFLW players, Jasmine Garner (three goals, 22 disposals, eight marks) and Katie Brennan (31 disposals, nine marks, six tackles and one goal) were best on ground for their respective sides, while Uni’s Ash Riddell, Jenna Bruton and Kate Gillespie-Jones also made an impact around the ground with a combined 82 touches, 24 tackles and 14 marks between them. Tayla Stahl racked up a goal and two behinds from 15 touches, while Alice Edmonds and Jenna Colwell dominated the ruck, combining for 40 of Richmond’s 41 hitouts, compared to Uni’s 19. Richmond’s domination at centre bounce all but tells the tale of this match, with Uni’s ruck woes having a big impact on centre clearances.

ESSENDON 1.1|2.2|4.2|5.2 (32)
CARLTON 2.0|2.1|2.3|2.3 (15)

By: Brandon Hutchinson

GOALS:

ESSENDON: A. Quigley 3, H. Bullas, L. Stepnell
CARLTON: M. Clifford, N. Plane

BEST:
ESSENDON:
S. Nadler, A. Anderson, M. Collier, K. Heil, H. Bullas, A. Quigley
CARLTON: J. Hosking, N. Stevens, C. Wilson, N. Plane, G. Wright, B. Moody

Essendon proved better in the clash with their traditional rivals, the Blues, defeating the visitors by 17-points at Windy Hill. Both sides entered Round 4 winless, and though the Blues looked better in the first, Essendon’s efforts prevailed. The Bombers kept the Blues goalless for the remaining three quarters, adding four more of their own to close out the game. Despite the loss, Carlton dominated the hit-outs 51 to 23, and recorded more inside 50s (31), marks (33) and tackles (89). In the end, the Bombers’ defensive structures were too good for the Blues to penetrate – struggling to get any reward for repeat efforts. Carlton’s Breann Moody dominated in the centre with 14 disposals, four tackles and 31 hit-outs. Sarah Hosking (23 disposals, five marks and seven tackles) and Natalie Plane (25 disposals, one goal, five marks and five tackles) were also among Carlton’s best, as they impressed on-ball. For the Dons, Alex Quigley starred up forward, kicking three goals with nine disposals, four marks and two tackles, putting one away in every quarter except the second. Teammates, Simone Nalder (14 disposals, five marks and 21 hit-outs) and Hayley Bullas (28 disposals, one goal, 19 kicks and eight tackles), also starred through the midfield in Essendon’s win.

COLLINGWOOD 2.4 | 2.8 | 4.10 | 5.10 (40)
NT THUNDER 1.0 | 1.1 | 1.1 | 1.1 (7)
By: Sophie Taylor

GOALS:
Collingwood:
S. Dargan, G. Lagioia, J. Lambert, J. Allen, C. Molloy
NT Thunder: J. Hewett

BEST:
Collingwood:
B. Bonnici, B. Davey, G. Lagioia, K. Lynch, J. Allen, S. King
NT Thunder: J. Hewett, N. Gore, K. Streader, A. Sheridan, H. Martin, A. Foley

It was Brianna Davey‘s first match in her new colours and she certainly did not disappoint as the Pies well and truly dominated against the thus far high-flying Thunder. The Magpies did a great job to limit the Thunder’s options forward, and without the likes of Chelsea Randall and Ebony Marinoff to create pressure through the midfield, the visitors had a hard time maintaining possession. Davey, Britt Bonnici and Jaimee Lambert were excellent across the field, dominating possession as the Pies swooped on goal, peppering the sticks with attempts. Despite plenty of opportunities inside 50 the side struggled to convert at times, fortunate that the Thunder were cracking under pressure. Chloe Molloy was a big target forward, kicking one goal but missing a further four while Lambert and Jordyn Allen kicked 1.1 apiece. Sarah Dargan and Gemma Lagioia managed 12 touches and a goal apiece. Jasmyn Hewett was best afield for Thunder on an average day, picking up 15 touches, five marks, five tackles and kicking Thunder’s only goal. Leading the disposal count with 25 touches was Angela Foley, while Nikki Gore had low possessions but laid 14 tackles.

WESTERN BULLDOGS 1.0 | 1.0 | 1.0 | 3.1 (19)
GEELONG 0.1 | 0.2 | 1.5 | 1.6 (12)
By: Sophie Taylor

GOALS:
Western Bulldogs:
S. Jolly, D. Marshall, A. Scott
Geelong: K. Darby

BEST:
Western Bulldogs:
B. Lochland, D. Marshall, B. Toogood, S. Jolly, N. McMahon, J. Davies
Geelong: D. Taylor, J. Ivey, R. Webster, R. Goring, C. Blakeway, O. Purcell

The matchup between Geelong and Western Bulldogs was an interesting one, with both sides struggling to hit the board in the low-scoring contest before the Dogs eventually held on for a seven point victory. The Dogs had the momentum early courtesy of a goal from Danielle Marshall, and despite Geelong’s efforts the home side kept the lead for the first half. The third saw the Cats get into the contest, all but peppering the posts with four scoring shots to lead by five points by the final change thanks to a goal from Kate Darby, before the Bulldogs found some of their early offensive pressure to kick two final quarter goals to win the match. Brooke Lochland (24 disposals, six marks, three tackles), Sarah Jolly (21 disposals, five marks, one goal) and Emma Mackay (21 touches, three marks, six tackles) dominated the contest for the Dogs, while Bonnie Toogood racked up 20 touches, nine marks and six tackles. Though not a big ball winner, Nicole McMahon provided plenty of ball in the ruck with 34 hit-outs to dominate the contest. For Geelong, Jordan Ivey, Amy McDonald, Olivia Purcell and Rebecca Webster all collected 21 touches, with Ivey’s clean hands awarding her with five marks while Purcell racked up seven tackles. Geelong Falcons’ Luka Lesoksy-Hay made her mark in her first match for the side, only managing nine touches but applying plenty of pressure with her nine tackles.

CASEY DEMONS 0.1 | 0.1 | 1.1 | 1.6 (12)
SOUTHERN SAINTS 1.0 | 1.4 | 1.4 | 3.5 (23)
By: Sophie Taylor

GOALS:
Casey:
C. Emonson
Southern Saints: T. Bohanna 2, C. Greiser

BEST:
Casey:
E. Birch, S. Lampard, C. Emonson, B. Jakobsson, K. Oates, M. Guerin
Southern Saints: S. Johnson, E. Keaney, T. Bohanna, M. McDonald, F. Steiert, K. O’Neill

It was a rough day out for the Casey Demons, going down by 11 points in a low scoring affair that dropped the side from top spot to fourth. The Southern Saints were smothering from the get-go, not allowing the Demons any space to move the ball and forcing errors across the field. Yet another side with only one goalkicker for the match, it was Chantel Emonson who stepped up to the plate to boot Casey’s only goal for the match in the third term, also racking up 17 touches and seven tackles in her best performance for the season so far. Despite missing out on Round 3, Maddy Guerin did not seem to miss a beat back in the side with 20 touches, three marks and six tackles. Libby Birch (20 disposals, four marks, 10 tackles) and Bianca Jakobsson (19 touches, three marks, six tackles) were also solid, while Harriet Cordner and Tyla Hanks provided plenty of defensive pressure laying 10 and nine tackles respectively. The Saints did not have much more of the ball than the Dees did, but certainly used it better on the day with three goals on the board, two courtesy of Tara Bohanna who generated plenty of the footy. Samantha Johnson was best on for the Saints, racking up 24 touches, four marks and four tackles while Poppy Kelly dominated hitouts with 29 – the same amount as Casey’s three ruck options combined. Alison Drennan (20 disposals, two marks, four tackles) and Alison Brown (15 disposals, nine tackles) also put in the hard yards, and fortunately did enough to deny the Demons a fourth win on the trot.

Darebin Falcons: BYE

VFL Women’s wash-up: Round 2 – Demons, Thunder and Mugars go two from two

WITH all but one Victorian Football League Women’s (VFLW) team playing over the weekend, Round 2 saw some big clashes and high scoring matches across the board.

CASEY DEMONS 1.1 | 3.5 | 6.6 | 7.8 (50)
CARLTON 1.3 | 0.4 | 1.6 | 2.7 (19)

GOALS

Casey: M. Guerin 2, K. Oates, T. Tatterson, K. Smith, R. Clayton, B. Winbanks
Carlton: C. Leighton, C. Bromage

BEST

Casey: K. Bentvelzen, M. Hogg, R. Clayton, K. Smith, H. Bailey, E. Archer
Carlton: S. Mason, N. Plane, M. Clifford, C. Faulks, S. Wright, J. Hosking

Despite an even start to Carlton’s first match for 2019, Casey got the job done for their second win of the season, pulling off a spectacular 31 point victory to sit in second on the ladder. With dependable ball movers, Sarah Lampard (20 disposals) and Bianca Jakobsson (18) sharing the ball around, there was no shortage of inside 50 entries for the Demons with the likes of Maddy Guerin and Ruby Clayton on the end of some good kicks in front of goal. Guerin had another stellar match to kickstart her season, kicking two goals and picking up 16 touches and four tackles, while Clayton was solid kicking one goal from 14 touches, but missed three attempts on goal as the Dees peppered the goal square. With six individual goalkickers Casey will not yet be worried by inaccuracy, instead likely happy with the amount of opportunities for players in front of goal. For Carlton, Natalie Plane (22 disposals, nine tackles) and Abbie McKay (19 touches, seven tackles) stood up while Chloe Leighton and Courteney Bromage kicked one goal apiece.

GEELONG 3.1 | 5.1 | 7.2 | 7.2 (44)
ESSENDON 0.2 | 2.5 | 4.8 | 5.9 (39)

GOALS
Geelong:
K. Darby 4, R. Benham, J. Ivey, C. Blakeway
Essendon: A. Moreen 2, F. Puruntatameri, L. Stepnell, A. Anderson

BEST
Geelong:
J. Ivey, R. Caris, M. Boyd, R. Goring, C. Blakeway, M. Keryk
Essendon: H. Bullas, L. Stepnell, M. Fogas, S. Nalder, K. Hicks, F. Puruntatameri

The tight match between Geelong and Essendon was a close one from start to finish as Essendon put the pressure on but failed to capitalise to their full capacity in front of goal. Geelong’s Amy Mcdonald racked up 18 disposals and seven tackles in the tight clash, while Kate Darby was exceptional in front of goal, kicking 4 majors and one behind as Geelong ran away with the match. Bombers’ Arthurina Moreen kicked two goals of her own to give Essendon a leg-up, while Hayley Bullas was among the best for her side as she managed 21 touches and 10 tackles. Maighan Fogas and Maddy Collier weren’t far behind as they generated pressure on ball carriers across the field, picking up nine and eight tackles respectively, while Geelong’s Madisen Maguire (eight tackles) and Mcdonald (seven) were also solid as they forced turnovers.

COLLINGWOOD 3.0 | 6.0 | 7.3 | 8.6 (54)
HAWTHORN 1.1 | 1.2 | 2.2 | 4.2 (26)

GOALS

Collingwood: J. Lambert 2, K. Newton, K. Lynch, P. Nash, A. Curley, M. Shevlin, J. Allen
Hawthorn: E. Gilder 3, C. Perera

BEST

Collingwood: G. Gourlay, R. Schleicher, S. King, J. Allen, J. Ferguson, J. Lambert
Hawthorn: C. Perera, R. Dillon, M. Hutchins, P. Peschke, K. Henderson, A. Tanner

Collingwood bounced back from an average Round 1 effort as they dominate against the Hawks, holding the side to only two goals across the first three quarters before the opposition came back to win the final quarter. Unfortunately it was a fight back that came about far too late, as the Pies’ six straight goals in the first half all but proves. Mikala Cann and Jaimee Lambert led the way for the Magpies, collecting a combined 38 touches and 18 tackles while Lambert also found the big sticks with two goals to her name. Meg Hutchins (20 disposals, five marks) and Kara Henderson (16 and four tackles) were solid for the Hawks, while Emily Gilder kicked three of the Hawks’ four goals in a bid to keep her side in the match. Abbey Tanner dominated the ruck with 34 hitouts, however Collingwood’s Sarah King put up a tough fight with 21 and six tackles.

NT THUNDER 1.0 | 3.1 | 5.3 | 7.4 (46)
SOUTHERN SAINTS 1.3 | 3.4 | 3.5 | 4.8 (32)

GOALS

NT Thunder: D. Ponter 2, K. Rosenzweig 2, J. Hickey, J. Baird, A. Considine
Southern Saints: J. Vogt, D. Jolliffe, T. Bohanna, C. Greiser

BEST

NT Thunder: H. Martin, A. Hatchard, M. Roberts, L. Roberts, K. Streader, K. Irvine
Southern Saints: C. Phillips, R. Neaves, O. Vesely, J. Kelly, D. Jolliffe, E. Keaney

Another relatively close affair saw NT Thunder get their second win on the board for 2019, stronger in front of the big sticks than their opposition. The Saints had a solid start to lead by three points at half time, before a fantastic second half from the Thunder blew the Saints out of the water, unable to capitalise on their early lead. Northern Territory’s dominant pairing of Danielle Ponter and Katelyn Rosenzweig combined for four goals, while Ebony Marinoff racked up 23 touches and six tackles in a solid day out. For the Saints, Alison Drennan (28 disposals, five marks, six tackles) Cat Phillips (20) were good on the ball, while Deanna Jolliffe kicked a great goal to be named in the best.

WILLIAMSTOWN 0.2 | 1.2 | 1.2 | 1.3 (9)
WESTERN BULLDOGS 2.5 | 2.6 | 7.7 | 8.8 (56)

GOALS

Williamstown: S. Whiting
Western Bulldogs: M. Ward 4, D. Marshall 2, S. Jolly, M. Sandral

BEST

Williamstown: E. Meade, S. Dixon, R. Dardengo, S. Whiting, A. Shannon, A. Melinkas
Western Bulldogs: B. Toogood, N. Ferres, M. Sandral, M. Ward, K. Betts, N. McMahon

In what was the first match of the 2019 season for both sides, it was a particularly frustrating way to start the season for Williamstown, while the Western Bulldogs will be very happy with their first win for the year. A quiet and inaccurate first half saw the Dogs fail to capitalise in front of goal, however some good composure and game smarts saw the side kick 6.2 in the second half to run away with an easy win, keeping Williamstown to only the one major. In a match that didn’t see many good things for the Seagulls, Sharnie Whiting kicked the side’s only goal, also picking up 12 touches against the immense defensive pressure of the Bulldogs, while Erin Meade finished with only five touches but a solid seven tackles to her name. Dogs’ Mikayla Ward kicked four goals alone, while Danielle Marshall kicked two of her own to add to the tally as the side ran over Williamstown, relegating the Gulls to the bottom of the ladder. The likes of Bonnie Toogood (24 disposals, six marks) and Mary Sandral (14 touches, four tackles, four marks, one goal) were among the Bulldogs’ best.

MELBOURNE UNI 3.2 | 4.5 | 5.7 | 11.8 (74)
DAREBIN 0.1 | 3.1 | 3.2 | 6.2 (38)

GOALS

Melbourne Uni: J. Garner 2, K. Angelis 2, A. Price 2, V. Saad, H. Whitford, J. Grierson, A. Riddell, K. Gillespie-Jones
Darebin: G. Hammond 3, S. Simpson, J. Stanton, S. David

BEST

Melbourne Uni: A. Riddell, V. Saad, A. Runnalls, J. Bruton, J. Garner, K. Angelis
Darebin: L. Pearce, G. Colvin, R. Hicks, J. Stanton, E. Honybun, K. Roe

In the highest scoring match of the round, Melbourne Uni ran away with their second win of the season against a slow-starting Falcons outfit. Ash Riddell racked up 30 touches, six marks, nine tackles and a goal to star for Uni, putting on a show alongside the likes of Jasmine Garner (26, two goals, six tackles) and Jenna Bruton (23). Asha Price and Katie Angelis also pitched in on the scoreboard, kicking two apiece as the Muggars shared around the footy inside 50. For Darebin, Lauren Pearce was phenomenal in the ruck dominating with 28 hitouts, also picking up 17 touches. Georgia Hammond kicked three of Darebin’s six goals, while Jamie Stanton (23 disposals, four marks, two tackles and one goal) and Reni Hicks (14 touches, four marks, four tackles) also put in a valiant effort against the classy Uni side.