Tag: Hayley Miller

2021-22 AFLW early look: Fremantle

IN an early look at the upcoming AFL Women’s 2022 season, Draft Central checks out each of the 14 clubs over the next three weeks ahead of preseason commencing. Next up is Fremantle, a team that after going undefeated in 2020 was unlucky not to be rewarded with a chance to win a premiership, however the Dockers still made finals in 2021 with an impressive percentage.

LAST SEASON:

Position: 5th
Wins: 6
Losses: 3
Draws: 0
Points For: 374 (6th)
Points Against: 202 (3rd)

Fremantle fans might have rued what could have been in 2020, with the undefeated Dockers cruelly denied a chance at a flag after being the standout team through the regular season. But the Dockers picked themselves back up and remained a contender in 2021, winning six of nine games and being a stingy defensive side. Boasting the fourth highest percentage, the Dockers went down to Melbourne in the first week of finals, but leader Kiara Bowers continued her meteoric rise in the AFL Women’s by sharing the league’s best and fairest award. They blooded some new players and were an exciting team to watch, particularly when going forward, and with their defensive intensity through midfield led by Bowers.

OFF-SEASON:

Ins: Amy Franklin, Jessica Low (Claremont), Dana East, Sarah Wielstra (Swan Districts), Makaela Tuhakaraina (South Fremantle), Airlie Runnalls (North Melbourne VFLW)
Outs: Evie Gooch (West Coast), Leah Mascall (retired), Katie-Jayne Grieve, Tarnee Tester, Jess Trend, Alex Williams (delisted)
Inactive: Sabreena Duffy, Ash Sharp

Fremantle might not have done too much in the way of players for the AFL Women’s Draft, but they positioned themselves to pick up an equal competition-high six players in the draft. Showing their win-now mentality, the Dockers only picked up two 18-year-olds in Amy Franklin and Makaela Tuhakaraina, who will provide plenty of excitement in the forward half. They also selected top-ager Dana East after a sensational year, and her Swan Districts teammate Sarah Wielstra who came on in leaps and bounds as a key forward. Jess Low earned her spot after a second consistent season for Claremont, whilst Airlie Runnalls opted to cross from the east coast to the west coast, to be picked up by the Dockers following a great season with North Melbourne’s VFL Womens’ side as a running midfielder. Given the loss of Sabreena Duffy and Ash Sharp (pregnancy) for the 2022 season, and Evie Gooch heading to West Coast, the readymade recruits will be important for the Dockers to remain among the top sides in the competition.

2021-22 TEAM LIST:

Ebony Antonio
Kara Antonio
Kiara Bowers
Steph Cain
Janelle Cuthbertson
Dana East
Amy Franklin
Mikayla Hyde
Gemma Houghton
Jessica Low
Maggie MacLachlan
Ann McMahon
Hayley Miller
Mikayla Morrison
Emma O’Driscoll
Gabby O’Sullivan
Laura Pugh
Airlie Runnalls
Roxy Roux
Matilda Sergeant
Philipa Seth
Ange Stannett
Jasmin Stewart
Mim Strom
Aine Tighe
Tiah Toth (nee Haynes)
Makaela Tuhakaraina
Sarah Verrier
Bianca Webb
Sarah Wielstra

KEY QUESTIONS:

  • Could Fremantle have the most exciting one-two punch of key forwards in the competition with Roxy Roux and Amy Franklin?
  • If the Dockers can find more of the ball (ranked 13th for disposals) and run at the same efficiency to still play finals, just how far can they go?
  • Will the Dockers maintain their massive kick-to-handball gamestyle (where they ranked first in the competitions for kicks, and last for handballs)?

PREDICTION:

Fremantle is well-coached unit that makes the most of its opportunities. They run and gun down the ground with a clear gamestyle of play, using disposal by foot to cover ground and catch the opposition off guard. They have been able to bring in a raft of talent, both readymade and for the future, as they are already planning for when the older midfielders eventually retire, even though many are still in their prime. Given their recent form, it would be folly to suggest that Fremantle could not go all the way in 2022, though both Duffy and Sharp will be big losses as key members of their best 21.

Picture credit: Paul Kane/AFL Photos

Swan Districts book rematch with Thunder after reaching 2021 WAFLW Grand Final

SWAN Districts have utilised their double chance to secure a rematch with reigning premiers Peel Thunder in the 2021 West Australian Football League (WAFL) Women’s Grand Final after defeating Subiaco by 38 points in yesterday’s preliminary final. The Swans only led by a point at quarter time and four points at the main break, but booted five goals to zero after half-time, restricting Subiaco’s chances with a strong defence, then being able to capitalise on the scoreboard during the 7.8 (50) to 1.6 (12) win.

After not scoring a major last week, it was crucial that the minor premiers got on the board in a big way early, and they did that through goalsneak Nyra Anderson who was calm and composed from close range. It came after some neat play down the field from Bella Edgley to Bianca Webb to set up the goal, and the home team were on the board. Not long after, Hayley Corlett got on the end of a similarly impressive team play, to put one through with an open goalsquare.

Both teams had their chances early with McKenzie Dowrick and Dana East impacting through the midfield for their respective sides, and Mikayla Hyde looking classy in the forward half. Edgley was providing a target at half-forward and Tara Stribley almost added her name to the goalkickers list running back to goal, but a huge defensive effort from Taylisha Brown – who earlier set up the Corlett goal – forced a rushed behind and the favourites heading into the break with a one-point lead.

Dowrick continued her form into the second quarter, thumping it inside 50, but the likes of Lauren Osborne, Eliza Gelmi and captain Emily McGuire were a wall in defence. It almost looked like the Hyde sisters – Mikayla and Brianna – Anderson and Edgley were going to create something out of nothing, as the latter sold some candy to Claire Ortlepp but just missed the quick kick after. Soon it was Taylah Edwards that created something out of nothing from a stoppage with a snap around her body bouncing home midway through the quarter to hand her side a buffer at the break. The Lions almost had a chance to level the scores off the boot of Dowrick on the side, but it missed to the left.

The Subiaco forward line had looked good in the first half, with debutant Madison Dodd playing deep and the likes of Kia Buckley and Jamie Rust in the vicinity. But the experience of the Swan Districts defence was always going to come to the fore, and it did so in the second half, when they ramped up the pressure. Mikayla Hyde set the tone in the opening 30 seconds, going for a mark knowing she was going to get crunched, and then having a snap on goal not long after. The pressure was overwhelming and soon Anderson had her second on the run with a clever goal thanks to some quick thinking from youngsters Stribley and Abbygail Bushby inside 50.

With the forward half dominance, Swans captain McGuire pushed up to create an extra number, and produced an uncharacteristic wobbler off the boot, but it proved effective, sailing home midway through the term. She returned to centre half-back after the goal, but continued to look dangerous around the forward 50 when her team was in possession. Subiaco had a golden chance to score a major through Buckley at the top of the square, but the young talent missed under pressure. Hayley Miller was trying to will her side on, and the defence through Ortlepp was holding up. Though the Lions still found themselves three goals down at the break and needing a spark.

Swan Districts could smell blood in the final term, as a costly 50m penalty for the Lions handed the home team and McGuire another goal, this time the easiest of the lot from the top of the square. When Sarah Wielstra got on the end of one from a clever East kick deep, the margin was out to 30 points and the game was done and dusted. Bushby had a chance herself nine minutes into the term but just missed the set shot to the left, though by this stage it was all inside Swan Districts forward line. The Swans held Subiaco scoreless in the final term, as McGuire bombed her remarkable third goal from 50m out to put a final nail in the coffin.

A shot in the final minute from Steph Cain, and then a thumping kick from Osborne tried to get their names on the goalkicking list after seeing McGuire’s heroics, but they were not to be. In the end, the siren sounded with the minor premiers winning by 38 points. McGuire was a standout at both ends, with Aimee Ralph, Gelmi and Osborne being steadfast back there. Cain was also instrumental, whilst the work of Edgley and Anderson inside 50 and the run of East and Stribley was noticeable. The Lions looked to Dowrick, Corlett and Miller as their standouts, though Brown and Dodd both had some nice moments in the game.

SWAN DISTRICTS 1.3 | 2.4 | 4.6 | 7.8 (50)
SUBIACO 1.2 | 1.5 | 1.6 | 1.6 (12)

GOALS: 

Swan Districts: E. McGuire 3, N. Anderson 2, S. Wielstra, T. Edwards.
Subiaco: H. Corlett.

BEST:

Swan Districts: A. Ralph, E. McGuire E. Gelmi, L. Osborne, S. Cain
Subiaco: M. Dowrick, H. Corlett, H. Miller, M. Dodd, T. Brown

 

Picture credit: Nick Cambridge Photography via Swan Districts

WAFLW preview – Preliminary Final: Swans and Lions to battle it out for grand final spot

TWO teams are one win away from reaching the 2021 West Australian Football League (WAFL) Women’s Grand Final. The top of the table Swan Districts went down to Peel Thunder for the second time in a fortnight, forcing the Swans to utilise their double chance against a Subiaco side that turned the tables on Claremont a fortnight earlier. Now the Lions will hope to reach another grand final on the back of peaking at the right time of year and try and seek revenge on the Thunder who claimed their maiden premiership last year.

Focusing on Swan Districts first, the minor premiers will be keen to make sure they capitalise on a strong regular season, and have named an extended bench for Sunday’s clash. Fi Boucher adds extra experience to the team, with Naomi Baker a talent to keep an eye on also named back in the side. Shannon Matthews, Abbygail Bushby and Renee Holwill round out the five names in consideration for the final side, with only Imahra Cameron out of the team for the clash. For Subiaco, Kia Buckley is an important in, joining Tiah Toth and Madison Dodd as the other inclusions, with no omissions to speak of yet.

The midfield battle will be a fascinating one with young ruck Sarah Lakay testing herself up against Jessica Ritchie, whilst a couple of AFL Women’s players in Bianca Webb and Hayley Miller could go head-to-head. Dana East and Jessica Cox round out the Swan Districts’ onball brigade, looking to lock horns with their more experienced opponents in Tarnica Golisano and Lara Filocamo. The Swans’ midfield is star-studded with the experience of Mikayla Hyde and Steph Cain on the wings, whilst Maggie MacLachlan is another elite level player running around for the Lions.

Inside 50 for the Lions, Amy Hunt, McKenzie Dowrick and Jamie Rust are targets teammates can look for, up against the likes of Emily McGuire, Aimee Ralph and Eliza Gelmi. With young guns Melisha Hardy and Jaime Henry also back there, the Swans’ defence is mighty impressive. Similarly up forward, Sarah Wielstra and Taylah Edwards know how to hit the scoreboard, with the run of Tara Stribley and class of Nyra Anderson also providing different dynamics in there. For Subiaco, Caitlin Walker did a good job on Ella Roberts last week and will be up for another big job in the preliminary final, whilst Jayme Harken, Claire Ortlepp and Tayla Thorogood are ever-reliable.

The depth coming off the bench could feature teenagers Brianna Hyde and Kloe Taylor for the Swans, with Buckley the one to watch for Subiaco. With reliable defender Lauren Osborne also capable of locking down on an opponent, the Swans have no shortage of players to call upon to do jobs. Based on the sides, whilst Subiaco have a strong team and are deserving to be in the final three, Swan Districts have stars across every line, and it is hard to see them dropping this game based on their regular season form.

Picture credit: WAFL

WAFLW wrap – Semi-finals: Peel Thunder books automatic WAFLW Grand Final spot, as Subiaco tames Tigers

REIGNING premiers Peel Thunder are one win away from back-to-back flags, defeating minor premiers Swan Districts for the second time in three weeks to book an automatic spot in the West Australian Football League (WAFL) Women’s Grand Final. The Thunder earned themselves a week off with a hard-fought win in the torrential rain, defeating an inaccurate Swans outfit, 2.4 (16) to 0.11 (11).

Despite the Swans having far more chances on goal reflected by their 11 straight behinds, they could not seem to split the big sticks, through a combination of inaccuracy from set shots, and some desperate defending on the last line by the Peel backline. Three Swans players kicked multiple behinds on their way to the narrow defeat, though they were always in with a shot, only going down by a kick in the end.

Demi Liddle was absolutely sensational on the last line for Peel, saving numerous scoring chances, starting with a big tackle on Taylah Edwards in the opening 90 seconds of the match to force a behind. As the rain poured down, Peel started to have a few repeat forward entries, and whilst Ella Roberts‘ flying shot was off target, the teenager was able to weight a handball perfectly to Katie-Jayne Grieve in the final minute of the term to put through the first goal of the game.

Moments later Grieve had a chance, but strong defender Lauren Osborne was up to the task to put enough pressure on her opponent to force a missed kick and only a behind. Peel dominated the majority of the opening term, but only had a seven-point lead to show for it, with the rain causing all sorts of havoc. Ebony Bilcich and Kira Phillips were both looking dangerous in the forward half of the ground, but the likes of Osborne and Swans captain Emily McGuire were holding up the fort well.

Young defender Mel Hardy almost had a moment to forget early in the second term with the usually reliable ball user opting to kick across goal but mis-hitting the pass and landing in the goalsquare with the dangerous Phillips. Not realising she had more time, Phillips tried to quickly soccer off the ground but missed, much to the relief of the home team. Peel was doing all the attacking early, but the likes of Jaime Henry were standing up under pressure, as the teenager took a great mark in the defensive goalsquare.

Swans then took control of the momentum with repeat forward thrusts, kicking three behinds for the game, with a number of chances – such as Nyra Anderson‘s set shot and Kloe Taylor‘s running attempt – falling short with Phillips working hard to be up the other end with a strong, safe grab on the last line. At half-time, the sole goal to Grieve had the Thunder up by just five points, 1.3 (9) to 0.4 (4).

The third term saw chance after chance go begging for the top of the table side, as they slotted six behinds in some atrocious conditions. The Swans picked the worst quarter to have all the momentum, with the rain pouring down and making any sort of clean chances hard to come by. Sarah Wielstra had a couple of shots on goal early but could not find the big sticks, with the usually-reliable Dana East on the run also missing, and even McGuire, who is one of the safest kicks in the competition, drifted her set shot to the left.

As the rain bucketed down, Aisha Wright had a chance but missed to the left and was rushed through, to give Peel an important two-point buffer. Swans continued to have repeat entries, with the Thunder almost taking full advantage of a rare inside 50, but Aimee Ralph was able to save the day with a vital mark in front of Phillips with two and a half minutes on the clock. Stribley had the final shot of the day, running into goal and was tackled in the back right on the siren, allowing the bottom-ager to have a shot after the siren. Her set shot – like so many of her teammates – drifted for a behind, but the Swans had somehow levelled the scores at the final break despite not kicking a goal.

If anyone was wondering if the Swans could win the game off not kicking a goal, then the curiosity kicked up a notch early in the final term. Liddle was unbelievable on the last line, clearing it from danger, but then required to dive with desperation. East had a flying shot, Mikayla Hyde kicked off the ground, but a terrific defensive effort from Liddle to touch the ball saw it rushed through. Regardless, the unthinkable had happened, Swan Districts lead early in the last without kicking a goal, 0.11 (11) to 1.4 (10).

The final term was mostly an arm wrestle, with Kate Bartlett almost hitting a low bullet to a couple of free teammates inside the goalsquare, but a desperate Henry managed to get in the way and stop a certain goal. Steph Cain had a flying shot towards goal up the other end, but another terrific defensive effort – this time from Greta McKinley – saved the day. McKinley not only got a fist on a bouncing ball towards goal, but put it out of bounds to avoid the deficit going to two points.

Then the moment came. Peel had been bravely defending for the majority of the final term, and the quick ball movement from one end to the other saw a clash of bodies inside 50. Bartlett was on the deck, copped a high whack and made sure the umpire saw it, awarding the competition’s leading goalkicker with a set shot in front of goal. Becoming the first person in the match to split the big sticks from a set shot, Bartlett’s attempt made everyone else look silly as she popped it through and kicked what would be the match-winner for her side with six minutes left on the clock.

The Swans desperately tried getting it forward in the final few minutes, with Stribley trying to run inside 50 but was mowed down by fellow State Academy member Jaide Britton, then a quick passage of play forward by the Swans was intercepted by Cassie Davidson in defence. She along with Liddle had been outstanding, and despite the ball being in the Swans forward half when the siren sounded, Peel had done enough to secure the narrow five-point win and book a spot in the grand final, 2.4 (16) to 0.11 (11).

Eliza Gelmi had done well with Osborne and McGuire in defence, with Bianca Webb, Cain and Stribley all named amongst the best. For the Thunder, Liddle and Davidson were outstanding, with Sabreena Duffy and Chloe Wrigley winning plenty of it through the middle, and Bilcich having some terrific plays in the match. Now the Thunder get a well-earned break before playing at home against the winner of Swan Districts and Subiaco.

SWAN DISTRICTS 0.1 | 0.4 | 0.10 | 0.11 (11)
PEEL THUNDER 1.2 | 1.3 | 1.4 | 2.4 (16)

GOALS:

Swan Districts: Nil.
Peel Thunder: K. Grieve, K. Bartlett.

DC BEST:

Swan Districts: L. Osborne, E. Gelmi, S. Cain, T. Stribley, B. Webb
Peel Thunder: D. Liddle, C. Wrigley, S. Duffy, C. Davidson, E. Bilcich

In the do-or-die semi-final, Subiaco held off a determined Claremont by three points in equally wet conditions to remain in contention for the 2021 WAFL Women’s title. The Lions had all the momentum in the first term but could only slot five behinds, as Claremont kicked two of the next three goals to lead by four points at the final break. A late major via a free kick for front-on contact to Amy Hunt handed the Lions the goal they needed, to ensure they won 2.6 (18) to 2.3 (15).

The first quarter was really scrappy but dominated by Subiaco, who did not let it inside the Claremont forward 50 for the majority of the term. There were various shots on goal, but Hayley Miller and Lara Filocamo had the best chances, with the latter after the siren hitting the post to make it five straight behinds for the visitors.

AFL Women’s Academy young gun Amy Franklin kicked the first goal of the game in a stunning against-the-momentum play with a rare inside 50 for the Tigers and beating her opponent one-on-one to win the ball and run into the open goalsquare just two and a half minutes into the game. The sun was back out shining making life a little easier for the players, but Subiaco could still not find the range with Hunt winning a free kick, giving it off to the usually deadly McKenzie Dowrick but her flying shot went out on the full.

Jess Low and Maggie MacLachlan were dominating for their respective sides, and it took a quick kick where luck’s a fortune for Kate Pocsidio to hit-up a sliding Miller. She finally converted her side’s first goal of the contest, and the Lions took a four-point lead into the main break. Both sides had chances late in the term, but the scores stood at 1.5 (11) to 1.1 (7) in favour of the visitors.

Early in the third it was clear the tables had turned in Claremont’s favour, as Low was having a brilliant day alongside midfield partner-in-crime Andie Payne. Tessa Doumanis had a chance from a snap but just skewed it under pressure, before Brooke Whyte and Mikayla Western had opportunities but could not convert. Finally it took some kicks forward in the wet for Amber Goodwin-Wissink to put one through the big sticks, not phased by being brought down, nailing the goal on the run and handing her side the lead midway through the term.

Emily Elkington and Western were getting their hands on the ball to complement Low and Payne, providing good run in forward transition. This time it was Claremont’s turn to have plenty of forward half possession, but make little from it, only kicking the 1.2 in the term. The Tigers did keep Subiaco scoreless in the term, with the respective Ortlepp‘s – Rachel and Claire – toiling hard up opposite ends. By the time the siren sounded, Claremont led by four points, 2.3 (15) to 1.5 (11).

For the most part the final term was a real battle, as Subiaco started strongly with some repeat entries, as the usually reliable Claremont defence was having clanger after clanger coming out of the back 50. They gave the Lions plenty of chances, and eventually the overwhelming pressure was rewarded. A one-on-one between Rachel Ortlepp and Hunt in the forward pocket saw Hunt bump Ortlepp off the ball, win it at ground level and her Claremont opponent desperate to win it back, crashed into her clumsily.

It handed Hunt what seemed like a near-impossible shot in the conditions, about 20m out on the boundary, but the forward made no mistake, popping it through like she was in the goalsquare and the Lions were back in front. Ella Smith was trying to will her side on in the game, with Payne and Low both productive, but Smith’s great tackle inside 50 and attempt to pass to Goodwin-Wissink 15m out was called back. Her shot to the square looked dangerous, but the safe hands of Jayme Harken ensured it did not cause any damage to the visitors.

Tackle after tackle from the Subiaco side really showed their determination late in the contest of what had been a hard slog. Claire Ortlepp mowed down Mhicca Carter, then Taylisha Brown caught Low, accidentally kicking it into the midfielder trying to return it to the field of play. A late intercept mark from Caitlin Walker, then the team defence of Subiaco to gain meterage out of the back 50 in the final minute, followed by a last second tackle by Jamie Rust, ensured the Lions fans went home happy, knowing they had reached a preliminary final.

CLAREMONT 0.0 | 1.1 | 2.3 | 2.3 (15)
SUBIACO 0.5 | 1.5 | 1.5 | 2.6 (18)

GOALS:

Claremont: A. Franklin, A. Goodwin-Wissink.
Subiaco: H. Miller, A. Hunt.

BEST:

Claremont: J. Low, R. Ortlepp, M. Western, E. Smith, A. Payne
Subiaco: A. Hunt, H. Miller, J. Rust, J. Harken, M. MacLachlan

 

Picture credit: Total Sports Photography via Peel Thunder

WAFLW preview – Semi-Finals: Lions and Tigers battle to remain alive as Thunder and Swans face off for grand final spot

IT is finals time in the West Australian Football League (WAFL) Women’s competition, with the final four teams remaining in the title race, and only three will be there by Sunday night. We preview the two huge clashes.

CLAREMONT vs. SUBIACO
Sunday, June 20 @1:30pm
Revo Fitness Stadium

It is do or die time for Claremont and Subiaco as the Tigers are back in the finals series after missing out in 2020. This year Claremont replaces East Fremantle in the final four, whilst Subiaco will hope to extinguish its recent finals history by bouncing back and going all the way in season 2021. They will have to do it the hard way however as the lowest placed side coming into finals, whilst the Tigers are fresh off wins against not only Subiaco a fortnight ago, but Peel Thunder last week, giving them confidence they can match it with anyone on their day, and give themselves a huge chance to go deep in the WAFL Women’s finals series.

The Claremont defence is strong with West Coast key defender Sophie McDonald and West Australian State Academy member Matilda Dyke along with the likes of the reliable Rachel Ortlepp and experienced Amy Fortescue. They will look to find a way to restrict former Eagles and Lions AFLW talent McKenzie Dowrick who can create plenty of scoring opportunities in the forward half, as well as Jamie Rust, Madi Wilkins and Amy Hunt. Up the other end, Tessa Doumanis and Amy Franklin have been on fire for the Tigers and will both want to put their best foot forward ahead of the AFLW Draft Combine, whilst Brooke Whyte, Mhicca Carter and Amber Goodwin-Wissink are all capable of kicking multiple goals in a match.

Claire Ortlepp will hope to have the family bragging rights running out for Subiaco, and she has experience in the back 50 with Tayla Thorogood and Jayme Harken among those back there. Through the middle, the ruck battle between Matilda Husband and Jess Ritchie will be fascinating as Hayley Miller, Tarnica Golisano and Maggie MacLachlan going up against Ella Smith, Kate Orme and Jess Low make it some tantalising battles. Throw in the likes of Sarah Garstone and the exciting Mikayla Western off the bench for Claremont, and Lara Filocamo and youngster Kia Buckley for Subiaco, and the teams are well balanced.

It is anticipated to be a close game, and their last outing saw just one point separating them, but Claremont have the runs on the board of late, and are at home, so the Tigers in a tight one

SWAN DISTRICTS vs. PEEL THUNDER
Sunday, June 20 @ 2:30pm
Steel Blue Oval

The top two teams do battle at Steel Blue Oval on Sunday in what is a blockbuster clash between the sides. The reigning premiers Peel Thunder come in as the lower ranked team this year, but they can bring the positivity that they were the only team to knock over Swan Districts in the regular season, and it only happened a fortnight ago. The Thunder stumbled against Claremont last week with a couple of injuries to young talents Courtney Rowley and Jade Briggs, but will be hoping to bounce back and book their spot in a second straight grand final. For Swan Districts, the minor premiers will be keen to reward their terrific home and away season and advance through to the final match of the season by turning the tables on the team that defeated them recently.

Peel’s firepower up front is what makes it so damaging. Lead by leading goalkicker Kate Bartlett who shares the goals around with Western Australia’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) at the AFLW Under 19 Championships, Ella Roberts, and former WAFLW best and fairest winner Kira Phillips, the Thunder have plenty of targets inside 50. Swan Districts’ defence is rock solid with Emily McGuire and Eliza Gelmi providing great lessons to their younger teammates, Under 19s state representatives Nyra Anderson and Mel Hardy, and Under 17s representative Jaime Henry forming a young but talented defence. Up the other end, Bella Edgley and Dana East are some young guns in the black and white to look out for, with Bianca Webb and Aimee Ralph providing more experience to the side. Peel’s defence of Ebony Dowson, Demi Liddle, Cassie Davidson and Tanisha Anderson is unbelievable, and always hard to score against.

Looking to the midfield, Sarah Wielstra will have first crack in the ruck against Lauren Quaife, with Sarah Lakay on the bench ready to rotate through there. Mikayla Hyde, Jess Cox and Imahra Cameron onball, and Steph Cain and Tara Stribley on the wings, and the Swans have plenty of hardened talents and running players as well. They will lock horns with an equally impressive five of Gracie Fenton and Chloe Wrigley who both shone last week for the Thunder, as well as AFLW experienced talents in Sarah Verrier, Sabreena Duffy and Katie Jayne Grieve. Also on the bench are state representatives Brianna Hyde and Kloe Taylor who are sure to provide a spark for the Swans, while the state Under 19s captain Jaide Britton, defender Bella Mann and fellow youngster Emily Gunton shows the ridiculous depth the Thunder have at their disposal

It is near impossible to split the lineups here with AFLW players and future AFLW players galore, but Swan Districts finished on top of the table and will be keen to make that count for something after the loss a fortnight ago, though the depth at Peel is remarkable.

 

Picture credit: WAFL

WAFLW Wrap: Claremont back on track with big win

CLAREMONT have found themselves back on the West Australian Football League (WAFL) Women’s winners list, following their 29-point triumph over a struggling South Fremantle side at Fremantle Community Bank Oval on Sunday afternoon. Claremont found themselves on a shock losing streak that stretched to four games, and heading into the game, there were concerns that an upset could have been brewing. This would have sent shockwaves through the league, given South Fremantle are yet to register their first win of the season, heading into this matchup with a 0-12 record. These concerns were all but thrown out early into the second half, with Claremont gaining a strong lead in the third term, and never turning back.

The game started in scrappy fashion, with the wet conditions playing a big part in this. The centre circle was turned into a mud pile, and the style of play reflected this. Hard tackles came from both sides, and it took some time for Claremont to find their groove. As the quarter progressed, Claremont began to be cleaner with the ball, as players such as Jessica Low and Tessa Doumanis slicing their way through packs, and it was Amy Franklin who reaped the rewards on the scoreboard. Claremont headed into the first break with a healthy 10-point lead, thanks to a late goal from Amber Goodwin-Wissink. South Fremantle started the second term with some promising signs, such as a great run-down tackle from Aaliyah Ugle that likely saved a goal. Unfortunately, all the hard work they put in defensively went to waste when they couldn’t move the ball up the field successfully. Towards the end of the quarter, the rain began to have a big effect on the game, with the heavy downfall resulting in slower play. Franklin booted her second for the half, as Claremont’s lead extended to 15 at half time.

The third term saw quite a standoff, with the first score not registering until there were just seven minutes to go in the term, as Low’s set shot pushed to the right. Shortly after, a nice set shot from Doumanis saw the lead extend, and suddenly South Fremantle players began to drop their heads. The game began to get away from them, and once again, the bottom-placed side struggled to get the ball past the wing. Their backline was put under constant pressure and while they repelled many attacks, Franklin’s third goal of the match and Doumanis’ second sealed the result, as Claremont finally got their season back on track with a much-needed win.

For the victors, Franklin was a constant threat in the forward-50, with her three majors proving vital on a day where scoring was tough to come by at times. Doumanis was also a standout, with her agility on display, despite the slippery conditions. Her ability to sidestep opponents and zip through packs was fantastic to watch. For South Fremantle, Ashleigh Little battled hard through the middle, laying solid tackles and gathering plenty of contested possessions.

Around the grounds, Swan Districts have continued their remarkable undefeated run, getting the better of East Fremantle and running out 49-point victors at Steel Blue Oval on Saturday afternoon. Mikayla Hyde booted three goals for the winning side, while teammate Abbygail Bushby added two goals, and Stephanie Cain impressed. For East Fremantle, Phillipa Seth battled hard all day.

The final game of the round saw Subiaco live up to their title as the most improved team in the competition with an impressive 15-point triumph over Peel Thunder at Leederville Oval. Subiaco midfielder Hayley Miller was her side’s best, driving the ball inside 50 plenty of times, while teammate Lara Filocamo also performed strongly. For Peel Thunder, Sabreena Duffy was the standout.

Picture credit: WAFL

WAFLW: Final quarter surge sees East Fremantle put away cross-town rivals

THE East Fremantle Sharks have claimed their third win of the season, as they kicked away from the South Fremantle Bulldogs, denying them their first win of the season.

The game was contested for the first three quarters, with East Fremantle’s Stephanie Sparke opening the game’s scoring by converting her set shot. The game spent plenty of time in the forward half for the Sharks, but they could not capitalise on the scoreboard. The first three quarters saw the Sharks unable to break away from their opponents as they rued their poor scoring accuracy, which potentially cost them a massive percentage booster.

The Bulldogs were kept quiet in the first quarter, not registering a score, but came to life in the second term, booting two goals to none thanks to their fast ball movement. This resulted in goals to Zoe Huggett and Holly Denholm. The Sharks gave themselves plenty of opportunities to answer these scores, but inaccuracy saw them trail for a large period of the game. Heading into the final term, the Sharks trailed by one point, and it looked like a tense final quarter was ahead, but this was not to be the case. The Sharks booted four goals to none in the final term as they ran riot against their opponents. The Bulldogs could not get their hands on the ball as the Sharks constantly peppered the goals, tormenting their opponents. The final margin ended up as a four goal win for the Sharks as they edged their way to the top five.

For the Sharks, Gabrielle O’Sullivan was an excellent performer, using her explosiveness through the midfield to be her side’s best for the day. The midfielder was fantastic around the ground, constantly sharking the ball at stoppages as she shrugged off plenty of tackles to push the ball forward for her team. Teammate Kahra Sprylan also impressed, while Roisin Walsh booted two goals. For the Bulldogs, Mim Strom impressed, particularly in the first three quarters when her side was firmly in the contest.

Around the grounds and Swan Districts remain undefeated, after triumphing over the second-placed Peel Thunder by just one point in a thriller at Steel Blue Oval on Sunday afternoon. Swan Districts took a 20 point lead into the final term, and the Thunder comeback fell agonisingly short. Bianca Webb and Dana East were the best for Swan Districts while Tara Stribley kicked a pair of handy goals. For the Thunder, Sabreena Duffy and Chloe Wrigley were the standouts while Kate Bartlett booted four goals.

The final game of the round saw Subiaco emerge victorious from their clash with Claremont at Revo Fitness Stadium on Sunday afternoon. It was a big upset in the context of the season, as Subiaco closed the gap between them and Claremont in an attempt to climb up the ladder. For the winners, Hayley Miller booted three snags, while Claire Ortlepp was fantastic. For Claremont, Matilda Sergeant impressed.

2021 WAFL Women’s Round 10 preview: Sides return after forced cancellation

AFTER Round 9 matches were unable to go ahead due to the state lockdown, the Round 10 teams – which saw the return of the State Academy talents and more AFL Women’s players – were largely left the same with a few odd movements.

Up first is Peel Thunder taking on East Fremantle with the former stacked with returning talent and the latter also including some serious excitement. The reigning premiers have been able to bring their State Academy talent in recently named Most Valuable Player (MVP) Ella Roberts, with Courtney Rowley, Jaide Britton, Bella Mann, Beth Schilling and Aisha Wright all back in the side. Add in AFL Women’s talents in Sabreena Duffy, Sarah Verrier and Katie Jayne Grieve and the home team is absolutely stacked. Nel Baxter is another to return and slot straight onto a wing opposite Rowley as Chloe Wrigley has been named onball, while Roberts joins Grieve, Kira Phillips and Kate Bartlett inside 50, and Verrier is named off half-back with Cassie Davidson, Tanisha Anderson and Ebony Dowson among the players back there.

The Sharks have been able to add their two State Academy talents back into the side after the AFL Women’s Under 19 Championships in Chloe Reilly and Mylee Leitch, while Anjelique Raison is another young gun returning for the match. Gabby O’Sullivan will be a massive boost to the Sharks in the second half of the season, as will Philipa Seth up the other end, with the pair coming in alongside experienced forward Sara Lewis. The Sharks had to make six changes last week with Rachel Ashley and Gabby Radojkovich among the outs, though one name who has quietly snuck into a forward pocket is Roxanne Roux, who is a tall target that might just worry the Peel Thunder defence. If she can get off the chain with her athleticism and AFLW experience, then watch out.

The match of the round has to be the top of the table battle between the undefeated Swan Districts and one of the Swans’ biggest threats in Claremont. The Tigers have added in their State Academy players with Emily Bennett and Matilda Dyke going straight back into defence, and Amy Franklin named in her preferred position up forward. Matilda Sergeant and Jasmin Stewart come back to state level with captain Ella Smith returning alongside ruck Matilda Husband. The midfield featuring Jess Low, Sasha Goranova and Hayley Bullas is a major strength for the Tigers, while Dyke and Sophie McDonald holding the key position defence roles alongside Bennett, Rachel Ortlepp and Laura Pugh, while Amy Fortescue is one out from Round 9 to 10 selection sheet named as an emergency. Claremont have the talent to win the ball in the midfield and give their forwards first chance, but the Swans lineup is absolute A-grade and are the premiership favourites right now.

Swan Districts has also been able to roll out the welcome mat for plenty of inclusions as the State Academy members return for Round 9. Dana East, Nyra Anderson, Melisha Hardy, Sarah Lakay, Emma Nanut and Tara Stribley are all back into the side which has an extended bench, as AFL Women’s-listed players Kellie Gibson and Bianca Webb all return as well, Caitlyn Appleford is the other including of the 11 changes to the Swans, with the entirely new midfield of Lakay, East, Webb and Gibson will flank the damaging Mikayla and Brianna Hyde on the wings. The reliable Emily McGuire is at half-back, with young gun Jaime Henry also there while Jess Cox and Kloe Taylor are among the other young talents coming through the team, and Sarah Wielstra named up forward. The Swans will be keen to have a win over the Tigers and all but lock up top spot this season.

In the final game of the round, Subiaco hosts South Fremantle in a battle of  fourth against sixth. South Fremantle has also allowed for a ton of chances, as Makaela Tuhakaraina and Lauren Wakfer return from State Academy duties, with Sarah Wright also back on the extended interchange. Lauren Vecchio has come in to provide some extra experience, and Lara Rodin-Zimdahl, Cali Hunt and Ashleigh Little are the others to be coming back into the team. The Bulldogs will be heavy underdogs against an unbelievably strong ladder leaders lineup, though the forward line of Little, Wakfer, Ebony Clarkson and Tuhakaraina combining with Zoe Huggett, and then through the midfield Pia Durk, Kiara Templeman and Aaliyah Ugle will be one to watch, and particularly great experience for the younger South Fremantle players.

The Lions have not been forced to make any changes back in Round 9, and have instead recalled some experience in Hayley Miller, Ange Stannett, Beatrice Devlyn and Ashtyn Cowie. The midfield battle will be fascinating with Jess Ritchie in the ruck as Tarnica Golisano, Abbey Dowick and Lara Filocamo will look to win first possession. Kia Buckley, Jamie Rust and Madi Wilkins are among the talents forward of centre for the Lions, and Claire Ortlepp and Jayme Harken those holding up in defence. Maggie MacLachlan has been named on an extended interchange, and the depth of the Lions is clear in a game they should win to create separation from the bottom two sides and look towards finals footy.

WAFL WOMEN’S ROUND 10 FIXTURES:

Peel Thunder vs. East Fremantle
Claremont vs. Swan Districts
Subiaco vs. South Fremantle

Demons book prelim spot with win over Dockers at windswept Casey Fields

MELBOURNE has earned a chance at toppling two-time AFL Women’s premiers Adelaide in the preliminary final next weekend after defeating Fremantle by 17 points at a windswept Casey Fields yesterday. The Demons kept last year’s minor premiers goalless in the first half, then held on the second half despite some inaccuracy, to win, 5.10 (40) to 3.5 (23). Despite a phenomenal effort from Kiara Bowers with a Bowers-like tackle count of 17, the Demons put together a strong team effort across four quarters to advance through to the penultimate week of the 2021 AFL Women’s season.

After a couple of behinds early in the match, the Demons’ first selection in last year’s draft Alyssa Bannan got them on the board midway through the term, and whilst the Dockers had a couple of chances late in the quarter, could not capitalise and trailed by a straight kick at the first break. Shelley Scott was quick to pile on another major for the Demons, needing just 36 seconds from the restart to slot through the home team’s second goal, and the lead was out to 12. Scott doubled up five minutes later with her second and the Demons’ third, and when Eden Zanker missed a chance, the lead was out to a game-high 19 points at the half. Fremantle was unable to add to its quarter time score of two behinds, and the danger signs were there.

Fremantle had the first chance of the second half through Gemma Houghton, but she scored her second behind of the contest two minutes into the quarter, before Ashley Sharp broke the Dockers’ drought with a crucial major in the fourth minute of the premiership quarter. That cut the deficit to 12, and it did get as low as a 11 points midway through the quarter, before Brenna Tarrant – who had kicked five majors in her VFL Women’s debut earlier in the year – snagged a goal and the Demons had one foot in the preliminary final. Sabreena Duffy had other ideas though, and just as soon as the Demons were looking comfortable, she answered with a goal of her own, and the lead was back to less than two kicks. In the dying moments of the third term, Houghton finally found her range with a great goal and the deficit was just four points heading into the final break.

The first goal of the last term was crucial, but for some reason no matter how many chances they had, the Demons could not split the big sticks. Seven consecutive behinds – including one rushed – opened the term, but the ball was effectively locked inside the Demons 50, when the Dockers needed it up the other end for a chance to win the game. Instead, all of those behinds had pushed the lead from four points to 11 with four minutes on the clock. Eventually it would be the crafty Maddi Gay who put the icing on the cake with a terrific goal in the 15th minute to seal the game for the home team and guarantee them another week in the competition. Unfortunately for the Dockers, it meant the end of the road after their premiership aspirations were cut short last year due to the league cancellation, and now they will head back to go again in 2022. For the Demons, they will take on a red-hot Adelaide in South Australia next week, with the winner to book a place in the 2021 AFL Women’s Grand Final.

Gay was sensational throughout the match, fitting that she kicked the winning goal to go with 19 touches, three marks and nine tackles in the match, while Karen Paxman (20 disposals, five tackles, two inside 50s and two rebound 50s), Lily Mithen (17 disposals, two marks, three inside 50s and two tackles) and Scott (13 disposals, two tackles and two goals) were also prolific. Jacqueline Parry (12 disposals, four marks and four tackles), Zanker (10 disposals, three marks and four tackles) and Lauren Pearce (11 disposals, two tackles, 15 hitouts and three inside 50s) were also strong, as Casey Sherriff, Sarah Lampard, Tegan Cunningham, Kate Hore and Tyla Hanks all hit double-figure disposals.

For the Dockers, Bowers continued her remarkable season with 20 disposals and 17 tackles, six more than her nearest teammates in Steph Cain (14 disposals, five marks and three tackles) and Matilda Sergeant (14 disposals, two tackles). Houghton was forever busy up forward with 1.2 from nine disposals, two marks ad thee tackles, while Philippa Seth had 13 disposals, two marks and six rebound 50s. Mim Strom (12 disposals, two marks, 12 hitouts and six tackles), Ange Stannett (12 disposals, seven tackles and two inside 50s), Hayley Miller (11 disposals, six tackles and two rebound 50s) and Laura Pugh (10 disposals, four tackles and four rebound 50s) were others who not only hit double-figure disposals, but laid plenty of tackles as well.

MELBOURNE 1.2 | 3.3 | 4.3 | 5.10 (40)
FREMANTLE 0.2 | 0.2 | 3.5 | 3.5 (23)

GOALS:

Melbourne: S. Scott 2, A. Bannan, B. Tarrant, M. Gay.
Fremantle: A. Sharp, S. Duffy. G. Houghton.

DC BEST:

Melbourne: M. Gay, K. Paxman, L. Mithen, S. Scott, T. Cunningham
Fremantle: K. Bowers, M. Sergeant, M. Strom, H. Miller, S. Cain

Picture credit: Graham Denholm/Getty Images via AFL Photos

AFL Women’s finals preview: Melbourne and Collingwood to host qualifiers

NINE huge rounds of AFL Women’s action has culminated in the closest finals race of the league’s history, with the 2021 season proving hugely exciting with more and more developing players making their mark and the entire competition kicking up a notch this year. With a tight finish and the first six-team finals series in the competition’s five-year history, hopes are high with realistically all six clubs in with a chance of taking out the trophy this year. With minor premiers Adelaide Crows and runners-up Brisbane Lions handed a week off credit to finishing within the top two, just two matches will play out on Easter Saturday.

Melbourne vs. Fremantle
Saturday April 3, 1:05pm
Casey Fields

Expect another huge clash between the Demons and Dockers to open the qualifying finals proceedings, with the two sides only just split the last time they met. An explosive first term from the Dees set the tone on enemy territory as the Dockers appeared stunned, struggling to connect up the ground or find the big sticks. But a scrappy second half from the Dees saw Roxy Roux lead the charge as Freo came knocking and booted 4.3 to Melbourne’s 1.0 to trail by just five points, with missed chances and the footy inside 50 on the siren telling the story of a disappointing game for Fremantle.

Realistically, both sides are more than capable of coming home with a win in this match, although the Dees’ first chance for finals footy at home at Casey Fields could be a real gamechanger given their continued dominance on home turf. They also have a 4-1 win record across the past five rounds, with four straight wins – a confidence-boosting 44-point blasting of St Kilda before downing fellow top six sides Adelaide, Freo and Brisbane – to complete the season. Comparatively, Fremantle’s past few weeks have not been much to be too excited about, with losses to Melbourne and North Melbourne, as well as a tight four-point victory over Carlton. However, a huge 11.9 (75) to 1.2 (8) victory over West Coast in Round 6 shows just how much the side is capable of, so there should be no discounting the Dockers when they get in the groove.

For the Dees, Daisy Pearce is a definite out for the Dees in a huge blow for the side after the veteran went down in the early stages of Round 9. Karen Paxman and Tyla Hanks have starred for the side this season through the midfield with Lauren Pearce‘s past few rounds proving just what she is capable of and Eden Zanker and Kate Hore always dangerous around the footy. For the Dockers, Kiara Bowers is the one to stop given her ability to impact the play whilst Hayley Miller, Steph Cain and Ebony Antonio have all impressed throughout the season. Gemma Houghton and Roux can spark their side into action in a split second.

Records:
Melbourne:
7-2 (4th)
Fremantle: 6-3 (5th)

Last 5:
Melbourne: 4-1
Fremantle: 2-3

2021 meeting:
Round 8
– Melbourne by 5

Most goals:
Melbourne:
Kate Hore (11)
Fremantle:
Gemma Houghton (14)

Collingwood vs. North Melbourne
Saturday April 3, 3:10pm
Victoria Park

Last time these two sides met, a crunching battle was expected with the results overturned by a fired-up Magpies outfit which rendered North Melbourne goalless for the first time in the side’s short history. The Kangaroos allowed the Magpies to get off to a stellar start, and whilst they limited the scoreboard impact in the second half it was not quite enough with inaccuracy and an inability to shut down the Pies’ plethora of midfield standouts. But expect a very different North side this time around, having learned from their mistakes and lost just one match since then – to fellow top side Brisbane in Round 8 –  while the Magpies narrowly missed out on the minor premiership with a Round 9 loss to Adelaide.

Like the other match, both side have plenty to prove coming into this contest and both are more than capable of flying out of the blocks and producing an epic win. Both sides boast a wealth of scoring prowess and viable options across the field, with star players scattered throughout and more than capable of stepping up in the big moments. Realistically, this match will be won and lost through the midfield, with North’s hardened types needing to serve ball on a silver platter up forward and evade the Magpies’ stellar defence, with the black and white leading the competition for the least points conceded. That being said, an even spread of forward firepower from the Roos could be hard to stop.

For the Pies, the trio of Bri DaveyJaimee Lambert and Britt Bonnici has been key throughout the season, able to all rotate across the ground and create forward forays, whilst Chloe Molloy is one to watch out for inside 50 and Stacey Livingstone is a consistent barricade down back. As for North, the combination of Ash RiddellJas Garner and Emma Kearney never fails to withstand pressure and will be a real match for Collingwood’s mids. Kait Ashmore and Emma King are up there for effectiveness with ball in hand, while the Roos will hope to welcome back Jenna Bruton following a one-match ban for rough conduct.

Records:
Collingwood: 
7-2 (3rd)
North Melbourne: 6-3 (6th)

Last 5:

Collingwood: 3-2
North Melbourne: 4-1

2021 meeting:
Round 4
 – Collingwood by 20

Most goals:
Collingwood: Chloe Molloy (14)
North Melbourne: Jasmine Garner, Daisy Bateman (8)