Tag: Isabel Huntington

2019 VFLW weekend Round 1b preview: Eight teams begin their campagins

AFTER the Southern Saints made a statement in the opening round with a victory over last year’s minor premiers Collingwood, the other Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s sides take to the field, as four games are played across the competition. The Western Bulldogs and Carlton have the bye, as do Williamstown, however the Seagulls are facing off against GWS GIANTS in an invitational match which will see the GIANTS match-up against some of the Victorian sides. Below are the teams and season previews.

ESSENDON v. CASEY DEMONS

Round 1 – 11/05/2019
11:30
Windy Hill

Essendon

B: 7. K. Hicks, 11. M. Warburton, 29. C. Laan
HB: 18. K. Heil, 27. A. Morcom, 21. K. McFadyen
C: 28. R. Svarc, 39. M. Fogas, 1. C. Ugle
HF: 25. L. Stepnell, 23. M. Collier, 24. S. Wilson
F: 3. M. DeMatteo, 38. E. Gogerly, 40. A. Moreen
R: 30. S. Nalder, 22. N. MacDonald, 8. H. Bullas
Int: 13. S. Audley, 2. I. Currenti, 43. G. Nanscawen, 4. A. Saundry
Emg: 45. E. Ashley-Cooper, 15. L. Caruso, 33. E. Hosking, 14. T. Zagontinos
23P: 31. J. Stassi

Casey Demons

B: 50. G. McLean, 13. K. Smith, 15. T. Tatterson
HB: 34. A. Kirkwood, 7. B. Jakobsson, 8. S. Lampard
C: 23. E. Birch, 16. M. Hogg, 22. M. Guerin
HF: 42. H. Bailey, 29. E. Zanker , 11. C. Emonson
F: 24. N. Garner, 40. H. Dyson, 27. B. Winbanks
R: 38. K. Bentvelzen , 41. R. Edmeades, 47. K. Guttridge
Int: 48. E. Archer, 9. A. Johnson, 32. A. McDonough, 54. K. Oates
Emg: 57. L. Davies, 51. A. Francese, 37. T. Nash, 62. G. Speedy
23P: 46. B. Pratt

 

DAREBIN v. RICHMOND

Round 1 – 11/05/2019
12:00
Swinburne Centre

Darebin

B: 32. G. Colvin, 21. K. Roe, 19. R. Hibbert
HB: 16. B. Kennedy, 56. R. Ashley, 43. N. Wolfe
C: 1. E. Honybun, 9. M. Eastman, 28. A. Morrow
HF: 17. S. Simpson, 22. G. Hammond, 7. L. Szigeti
F: 36. E. Buckley, 31. E. Gardner, 23. M. Wilson
R: 37. E. McLaughlin, 15. A. Lister, 33. J. Stanton
Int: 18. C. Byrne, 39. S. David, 25. C. Delbridge, 20. S. Fairchild
Emg: 46. R. Coombs, 55. M. Hubbard, 49. A. Ladson, 50. M. Suzuki
23P: 57. P. Kearney

Richmond

B: 26. E. Burry, 41. S. Last, 15. R. Miller
HB: 19. K. Dempsey, 2. P. Monahan, 34. A. Makur Chuot
C: 25. G. Egan, 5. M. Brancatisano, 8. J. Graham
HF: 33. J. Colwell, 16. C. Wakefield , 36. E. Paterno
F: 17. E. Gunn, 24. T. Stahl-Smith, 46. H. Ibrahim
R: 11. A. Edmonds, 13. A. Woodward, 1. J. Kennedy
Int: 43. G. Campbell, 30. D. Edward, 37. M. Klingbeil , 22. S. Marsh
Emg: 39. M. Lindsay , 32. I. Milford, 23. T. Smith
23P: 29. K. Jacques

 

HAWTHORN v. NT THUNDER

Round 1 – 12/05/2019
11:30
Box Hill City Oval

Hawthorn

B: 25. M. Hutchins, 6. T. Radan, 31. J. Sibley
HB: 13. E. Nixon, 40. E. MacDonald, 21. P. Randall
C: 33. E. Gilder, 24. R. Dillon, 5. C. Perera
HF: 12. N. Cormack , 26. C. Dyett, 18. E. Wroe
F: 17. A. Dowler, 2. K. Henderson, 30. A. Sarec
R: 22. T. Luke, 10. P. Peschke, 8. R. Beeson
Int: 14. O. Flanagan, 11. D. Haines, 15. B. Struylaart, 29. A. Tanner
Emg: 4. S. Carroll, 35. C. O’Donnell, 27. K. Scott
23P: 23. G. Macpherson

NT Thunder

B: 37. M. Rajcic, 33. T. Thorn, 31. A. Stanley
HB: 23. E. Miller, 9. L. Jeffrey, 26. C. Randall
C: 13. L. Roberts, , 12. K. Streader
HF: 11. J. Hickey, 10. A. Chittick, 18. T. Holtze
F: 27. A. Considine, 7. M. Ellis,
R: 20. J. Hewett, 3. A. Foley, 1. M. Johnston
Int: 17. S. Bishop, 24. S. Hoogeveen-Hill, 21. K. Irvine, 5. M. Roberts, 48. K. Rosenzweig, 34. D. Varnhagen
Emg: 32. B. Byers, 29. C. Deegan
23P: 2. J. Baird

 

MELBOURNE UNI v. GEELONG CATS

Round 1 – 12/05/2019
02:30
Melbourne University Main Oval

Melbourne Uni

B: 45. A. Arundel, 3. T. Mesiti, 17. E. Hay
HB: 22. J. Anwyl, 26. N. O’Connor, 32. C. Daniec
C: 53. J. Grierson, 36. N. Julian, 14. M. McDonald
HF: 38. K. Angelis, 51. J. Tancred, 40. A. Runnalls
F: 4. E. King, 57. A. Price, 18. A. Tupper
R: 5. K. Gillespie-Jones, 25. J. Garner, 35. J. Bruton
Int: 34. K. Cox, 47. M. Hare, 46. A. Roan , 52. M. Shone
Emg: 42. L. Amelung, 44. E. Bult, 30. S. Farmer, 41. J. Thomas
23P: 39. V. Saad

Geelong Cats

B: 49. E. Ramsay, 4. C. Blakeway, 23. H. Rowe
HB: 20. R. Pearce, 44. R. Goring, 11. J. Woollett
C: 3. A. McDonald, 27. R. Webster, 10. G. Rankin
HF: 45. M. Keryk, 17. G. Clarke, 9. T. Love
F: 42. B. Beckley, 8. K. Darby, 7. R. Benham
R: 1. R. Caris, 5. J. Ivey, 41. A. Haigh
Int: 14. N. French, 33. Z. Inei, 43. M. Maguire, 13. L. Taylor
Emg: 26. M. Boyd, 15. G. Deller, 16. O. Purcell
23P: 19. S. DeGiacomi

 

SEASON PREVIEWS: (Including byes)

CARLTON BLUES

Coach: Shannon McFerran
Last year: 7th (6-8)

The entire Carlton side would be buzzing with the AFL Women’s achievement of making the Grand Final and hoping to follow in the senior side’s footsteps. Last year the Blues showed signs within games, but could not quite put together a four quarter effort. They had an enormous amount of future AFL Women’s talent on their list last season with Tyla Hanks and Madeline Brancatisano (both Melbourne), Rene Caris (Geelong) and Celine Moody (Western Bulldogs) all poached by other clubs in the draft, while Abbie McKay, Chloe Dalton and Brooke Walker made the transition up to senior football at the Blues. Darcy Vescio won the leading goalkicker award after another terrific season inside 50 and look for her to be a key player in Shannon McFerran‘s side. With the close bond between Carlton and Northern Knights – and the strength of the Knights program in 2019 – do not be surprised for the Blues to be bolstered mid-season by the likes of Gabby Newton and Britney Gutknecht among others. They have picked up Marnie Jarvis and Taylah Manson from the Knights last year, and with continued improvement and recruitment of Madison Prespakis, Emerson Woods and Charlotte Wilson – who all had TAC Cup Girls and VFLW experience prior to being drafted, the Blues are a sleeper side that is not to be taken lightly.

 

CASEY DEMONS

Coach: Damien Keeping
Last year: 10th (5-9)

Despite a disappointing season on the ladder, Casey Demons were raided at the AFL Women’s draft with six drafted on the night, and a further one (Taylor Mesiti) prelisted. Jordyn Allen, Georgia Gourlay and Maddie Shevlin all swapped red and blue for black and white, while Casey Sherriff, Chantel Emonson and Shae Sloane showed enough to be picked up the Dees. The Demons have brought in some height with the recruitment of former Oakleigh Chargers and Essendon ruck, Bridie Winbanks, while putting an emphasis on retaining Melbourne AFLW listed players, something they did not have the luxury of having with many playing at Darebin given the players history with the Falcons. Now just Elise O’Dea, Lauren Pearce and Brooke Patterson are at the Falcons, so the Demons can have a stronger link to the AFLW side. Harriet Cordner and Maddison Gay were two big improvers of the 2019 AFLW season and will be ones to watch for the Demons in the upcoming VFLW season. A couple of key pickups for the Demons include Gippsland Power duo, Nikia Webber and Shanara Notman who could provide service up opposite ends. Overall look for the Demons to improve this year.

 

DAREBIN FALCONS

Coach: Michael Ericson (NEW)
Last year: 5th (8-6)

Darebin Falcons defied odds by finishing fifth last season and on track for finals up until a couple of rounds out from the post-season series. Michael Ericson has taken over from Jane Lange at the helm, and with it faces a new challenge of keeping the side competitive. O’Dea, Pearce and Patterson loom as the keys to the team, while Jamie Stanton who moved from Melbourne University – to align with her shift from North Melbourne to Gold Coast AFLW – is another AFLW listed player. Bridie Kennedy also joins the team from Carlton after having that AFLW experience, but mostly the Falcons will be relying on the yourh of the team and experienced VFLW players. Captain Stephanie Simpson is one of six players with 30 or more VFLW games under her belt which in the scheme of the relatively new competition is vital. Northern Knights, Nell Morris-Dalton and Ciara Fitzgerald have also joined Darebin, while former Eastern Ranges’ Lauren Szigeti will have benefited from her six games last year. Overall the Falcons will still give the top teams something to think about on their day, and rack up wins against the bottom handful, but it will be a test to be a genuine contender.

 

ESSENDON BOMBERS

Coach: Brendan Major
Last year: 13th (1-13)

It was fair to say Essendon did not have the season it had hoped for, winning just the one game and taking out the wooden spoon in season 2019. With limited AFL Women’s experience, the Bombers just lacked that top-end talent that other clubs had, and while the Bombers had that tackling ferocity through best and fairest winner, Hayley Bullas and the class and skill of future Adelaide AFLW premiership player, Danielle Ponter, they did not have enough talent across the board to compete with the sides that were flushed with AFLW signatures. The one win against Richmond was terrific to see, as it meant the Bombers got some reward for effort after a long season. Along with Bullas, Courtney Ugle and Simone Nalder have returned to the club, while former Murray Bushrangers’ defender and Eastern Allies representative, Eloise Ashley-Cooper will add some class to the side. The Bombers have four players with AFLW experience, including Maddy Collier and Hayley Trevean. With NAB League Girls club, Calder Cannons having some great talent coming through the ranks, expect the likes of Georgia Patrikios to open some eyes late in the season with her agility and goal sense, while Felicity Theodore, Alana Barba, Gloria Elamaly and Krstel Petrevski will add a mix of skill and toughness to the Bombers’ team. The Bombers will still lack the star quality other AFLW experienced teams have, so the goal will be to be more competitive and try and get off the bottom of the table this season.

 

GEELONG CATS

Coach: Natalie Wood (NEW)
Last year: 4th (10-3-1) Grand final loss

Natalie Wood has taken over from Paul Hood who opted to just focus on the AFLW side in the blue and white hoops, but has inherited a genuine premiership contender. After Geelong had fewer AFLW listed players compared to others last season, they now have 20 on their VFLW books, topped up by local players including former Geelong Falcons premiership players, Tarryn Love, Zoe Inei and Sachi DeGiacomi who managed six games at VFLW level between them last season. They have not only retained the majority of the their list, but picked up teh likes of Julia Crockett-Grills (Hawthorn), Rebecca Webster (Melbourne University) and Sophie Van De Heuvel (Williamstown), keeping them in the Geelong system. It is hard not to picture a scenario where Geelong are not in finals considering the now deep and strong bond the players have and having reached the grand final, before strengthening their list even more. The Geelong AFLW side made finals in its first year and expect the VFLW side to follow suit with the same talent on its list.

 

HAWTHORN HAWKS

Coach: Patrick Hill
Last year: 2nd (12-2) Premiers

The reigning premiers had a number of players drafted including Rising Star Jayde Van Dyk, Emerson Woods and Mikala Cann in what was a perfectly timed season, finishing second, pouncing on Collingwood in the semi-final, and then making the most of their opportunities against Geelong in the decider. In great news for the Hawks, Van Dyk has returned to the club for the VFLW season, as have key forward Phoebe McWilliams (Geelong), Rebecca Beeson and Pepa Randall (both GWS GIANTS). With super coach, Patrick Hill at the reigns again, the Hawks will be predicted to be thereabouts again and a genuine premiership contender. Sarah Perkins will be primed for a big season in the brown and gold, hoping to force her way back onto an AFLW list after being delisted by the Crows following the 2019 season. The forward combination between Perkins and McWilliams is as good as it gets in the competition, and with Eastern Rangers youngsters Serena Gibbs and Laura McClelland in the side later in the year, expect the reigning premiers to have a potent forward line. Gippsland Power’s Maddison Shaw has also joined the Hawks, and is one of just two 2001-birth players on the list. A huge contender.

 

MELBOURNE UNIVERSITY MUGARS

Coach: Scott Gowans
Last year: 9th (5-9)

The Mugars were up and down at times throughout the 2018 VFLW season, finishing with five wins from 14 games, but having some great young talent come into the side last in the year, including Prepsakis and Webster who were both drafted by AFLW clubs. Sophie Abbatangelo, Ashleigh Riddell, Maddison Smith, Chloe Haines, Libby Haines and Nicole Bresnehan all stepped up to the senior side, with many showing their ability to adapt to the faster pace of the game. After a huge season that ultimately fell short of a finals berth in the AFLW, North Melbourne and Melbourne Uni coach, Scott Gowans will be keen to continue the form shown by the Kangaroos at AFLW level, into the VFLW system. Emma Kearney was terrific for the Mugars last year along with Kaitlyn Ashmore, and expect them to be key players once again. They have added experience to their list with Hawthorn duo, Tahni Nestor and Kim Ebb, as well as Essendon’s Jessica Anwyl who showed promising signs last season in the red and black. Throw in league best and fairest winner, Jess Duffin, Jasmine Garner and Jenna Bruton, and the Mugars have to be considered one of the premiership favourites. All up they have 23 AFL Women’s listed players and will be another tough team to beat.

 

NORTHERN TERRITORY THUNDER

Coach: Heidi Thompson (NEW)
Last year: 3rd (11-3) – Semi-final loss

Much was spoken about the Thunder and whether or not the experienced top-heavy side with Adelaide Crows, could be allowed to play so much talent at once. Early in the season it looked like the Thunder would skip through the season, but in the end, ultimately fell in the first week of finals to the Cats. After missing out on her AFLW dream last year, Janet Baird is the biggest junior recruit to the Thunder in season 2019, with the NTFL Women’s top player signing on at the Thunder for the upcoming season. She joins the likes of Madeline Gault, Arthurina Moreen and Tabitha May, who all played for Central Allies in 2018, but missed out on a chance in the AFLW. The top-end and upcoming talent at the Thunder is clear, with Ebony Marinoff, Stevie-Lee Thompson, Marijana Rajcic, Renee Forth, Eloise Jones and Sarah and Jess Allen among a ridiculous among of Crows talent in the side. They were arguably a premiership favourite early in 2018, and should be in that place once again given the improvement of many of the Crows through the 2019 AFLW premiership year. With Heidi Thompson now taking the reigns from Tim Weatherald, it will be interesting to see how she balances the AFLW talent throughout the season.

 

RICHMOND TIGERS

Coach: Tom Hunter
Last year: 12th (4-10)

The Tigers had a disappointing season in 2018, finishing twelfth and losing to Essendon, the only side to do so. They, like the Bombers just lacked that star quality in the 2018 VFLW season, but if their 2019 AFLW trade period is anything to go by, expect them to shoot up the ladder in season 2019. Jessica Kennedy and Jacqueline Graham were two standouts for the Tigers, it was just a case of adding depth to the obvious talent that was coming through the ranks. While some will play limited games, the likes of Monique Conti, Katie Brennan and Sabrina Frederick make for a scary forward line. With Richmond able to pre-list players this season, every player on the list will be keen to impress in front of the Tigers’ hierarchy and see what they can do to try and get an AFLW spot for the 2020 season. Overlooked Murray Bushrangers, Tamara Smith, Grace Egan and Sophie Damon are back at Punt Road, while Kodi Jacques has also joined the club with the Bendigo Pioneers’ midfielder looking to stake her claim this year. Former Magpies, Shayla Marsh and Hannah McLaren will don the yellow and black this year, making the Tigers stocked with young talent that will create run and excitement throughout the 2019 season. Expect the Tigers to rise up the ladder, and while they might lack the AFLW talent other teams have outside their forward 50, they could overtake a number of the clubs around their level in season 2018, this year.

 

WESTERN BULLDOGS

Coach: Sean Kavanagh (NEW)
Last year: 6th (7-7)

Sean Kavanagh has taken over from Debbie Lee who is now VFLW General Manager at the club, and will be looking to reshape the side that has lost some serious AFLW talent. Conti always spent the majority of the season playing basketball, while Brennan will be a big lose inside 50. However with 20 AFLW players on their list, they still have more than enough talent and experience to get them by. Their three top-age players they have picked up from NAB League Girls clubs are Sophie Molan, Ella Wood and Elisabeth Georgostathis which is arguably the best trio of pick-ups across the league. Molan will make an immediate impact, while Wood and Georgostathis can play both off half-back and through the middle. They will be unavailable during the AFLW National Championships, but expect them to show their talent. Overager Georgia Pidgeon will also provide some height for the Bulldogs, while a host of local players joins the likes of Ellie Blackburn, Brooke Lochland, Isabel Huntington and Deanna Berry as key players. When talking about experience, the Bulldogs have 14 players with 30 or more games, making them a very experienced side in the competition, and one that while they might not be in the top handful, could still challenge for finals.

 

WILLIAMSTOWN

Coach: Amy Catterall
Last year: 11th (4-10)

Williamstown finished eleventh in 2019, notching up the four wins, but had some serious top-end talent at the Gulls’ disposal. Duffin won the league best and fairest despite the team struggles, while Garner and Bruton were stars for Williamstown before emulating that for the Kangaroos at AFLW level. Big question marks remain over the Seagulls with all three departing the club. It means the load falls onto their VFLW listed players shoulders and puts them in a similar position to Essendon and Richmond last year. They had a good win over the Western Bulldogs in a pre-season practice match, and can have the continuity that teams with restricted AFLW numbers cannot. However this year is set to be a massive challenge for the Seagulls after losing so much top-end talent, with Demon, Aliesha Newman being a key signing – the only AFLW player on the list – and likely to cause headaches inside 50 for opposition defences. In doing so, there might be some serious youngsters step up and then make a case to land at an AFLW club, like former Bendigo Pioneers’ captain Megan Williamson, Eastern Ranges’ tall Tahlia Merrett and Bendigo Pioneers’ key defender Kate Douglass.

Weekend preview: AFLW – Round 6

IN the penultimate regular season round of AFLW for 2019, a number of teams are coming into this round for do-or-die contests that could further or endanger their push for finals.

Saturday, March 9, 2:35pm
Geelong vs. Fremantle
GMHBA Stadium

This is Geelong’s final home game for 2019 as the Fremantle Dockers travel to GMHBA Stadium for a clash that is likely to determine positions in both Conference A and B. Fremantle need to finish off the season perfectly to ensure they don’t miss out on finals, while the Cats will want another win to cement their position at the top of the Conference B ladder. Geelong have thrived at home this season so far, so despite Fremantle’s success in 2019, the Cats will be on the prowl for that all important extra win and percentage boost. Dana Hooker and Kiara Bowers have paired well in recent weeks, racking up a combined 44 disposals and 21 tackles in Round 5 alone against the Bulldogs. Geelong’s Renee Garing has been excellent over the past few weeks, while Kate Darby will want to back up her strong Round 5 effort, after kicking three goals in the win over the Lions.

H2H: Geelong 0 | Fremantle 0 | Draws 0
Venue: Geelong 2-0-0 | Fremantle 0-0-0

Last time they met: N/A

Saturday, March 9, 4:45pm
Collingwood vs. North Melbourne
Marvel Stadium

The first match of an AFLW double header in the heart of Melbourne will see bottom of Conference B, Collingwood take on Conference A’s, North Melbourne, who despite having a loss in Round 5, are still heavy favourites for the premiership. Collingwood is sitting on zero wins from five for the season, while the ‘Roos have only dropped one game, so the Pies will have to bite the bullet and go out hard in this match. North Melbourne will be hard to stop, with stars at the calibre of Emma Kearney and Jess Duffin holding up the midfield. Meanwhile, Collingwood’s midfield has struggled this season with little forward line to kick to, with the side tending to look to ball carriers Jaimee Lambert and Ash Brazill to get the job done. It will be the first time Mo Hope, Jasmine Garner, Emma King and Duffin take on their old side in Collingwood since jumping ship to the Kangaroos, so it will certainly be an interesting match.

H2H: Collingwood 0 | North Melbourne 0 | Draws 0
Venue: Collingwood 0-0-0 | North Melbourne 0-0-0

Last time they met: N/A

Saturday, March 9, 7:15pm
Western Bulldogs vs. Melbourne
Marvel Stadium

The Western Bulldogs will host Melbourne on Saturday night for a battle of Conference A sides. Sitting fourth in Conference A, Melbourne need a perfect two-from-two end to the season to give themselves any opportunity to break into the top two and make finals. Meanwhile, the Bulldogs are unlikely to make finals at this point given their low percentage and three losses in a row, so will be doing everything in their power to deliver an upset to the Dees. Defender, Harriet Cordner is likely to be tasked with the job of keeping Katie Brennan at bay, while returnees, Isabel Huntington and Brooke Lochland are players the Dees will have to watch out for, as both returned for the Dogs last week for the first time in 2019. Meanwhile, the Dees will be looking to prolific ball movers Lily Mithen, Karen Paxman and co-captain, Elise O’Dea to lead the charge.

H2H: Western Bulldogs 1 | Melbourne 1 | Draws 0
Venue: Western Bulldogs 0-0-0 | Melbourne 0-0-0

Last time they met: Western Bulldogs 5.3 (33) defeated Melbourne 4.7 (31), Round 7 2018.

It was a heartbreaking end to Melbourne’s second season of AFLW, finishing third and missing out on the Grand Final based on percentage for the second year running. The Bulldogs took the confidence gained from this match and went on to win their inaugural AFLW premiership. Melbourne forward, Tegan Cunningham had a self-confessed ‘shocker’, not managing a single touch, while the side played out majority of the match with one less on the interchange, after Sarah Lampard was carried off with a knee injury early. Karen Paxman played 100 per cent game time, proving her worth to the side, as Richelle Cranston put up another dominant performance. Ellie Blackburn and Emma Kearney lead the charge for the Dogs, putting constant pressure on the Dees.

Sunday, March 10, 1:35pm
Adelaide vs. GWS Giants
Unley Oval

It is the final home game for Adelaide in 2019, played at Unley Oval for the first time in AFLW history. The Crows are sitting happy on the top of Conference A after a dominant performance against premiership favourites, North Melbourne in Round 5, and will be confident as they line up against the GIANTS on Sunday afternoon. Ebony Marinoff has consistently put in the hard yards for the Crows this season, notching up 22 disposals and ten tackles last week, while goalsneak Stevie-Lee Thompson is lead goalkicker of the side. GIANTS’ Alicia Eva was excellent in last week’s loss to Melbourne, picking up 20 disposals, while Cora Staunton and Yvonne Bonner are players to watch, always dangerous around the ball.

H2H: Adelaide 1 | GWS GIANTS 0 | Draws 1
Venue: Adelaide 0-0-0 | GWS GIANTS 0-0-0

Last time they met: GWS GIANTS 2.7 (19) drew Adelaide 2.7 (19), Round 4 2018.

It was a low scoring affair the last time these two sides played, with bad weather plaguing the match and making it difficult to mark and move the ball efficiently. The Crows trailed for majority of the match, managing to pull back the margin early in the final quarter, before the game ended in a stalemate despite scoring opportunities for both sides all game. Crows’ Ebony Marinoff starred, notching up an AFL/AFLW record-breaking 21 tackles, while Alicia Eva picked up 22 disposals.

Sunday, March 10, 4:05pm
Carlton vs. Brisbane
Ikon Park

Both Conference B sides are sitting on a 2-3 loss-win ratio for the 2019 season, battling out for a top two position in their conference with finals just around the corner. Carlton will hope that Tayla Harris and Darcy Vescio have their eyes in this week, as both players have struggled with accuracy over the past few weeks – Vescio kicking 1.3 in Round 5. Carlton midfielder, Madison Prespakis has had an outstanding start to her AFLW career, so will be hard to stop in the midfield. Meanwhile, Brisbane is likely to look to leading tackler Nat Exon, averaging six tackles per game in 2019, and Alexandra Anderson, a player who has consistently managed 20 or more disposals per game in 2019.

H2H: Carlton 0 | Brisbane 1 | Draws 1
Venue: Carlton 5-1-2 | Brisbane 1-0-0

Last time they met: Carlton 2.6 (18) defeated by Brisbane 6.4 (40), Round 3 2018.

In their last clash Brisbane delivered Carlton a 22-point smashing in front of 6200 spectators, dominating inside 50s for most of the night, before converting the majority of their scoreboard pressure in the second half of the match. The Blues were goalless until after half time, missing captain, Brianna Davey’s influence across the field. Kate McCarthy was prolific for the Lions, moving well inside 50, while Sophie Conway kicked two final quarter goals to give Carlton no chance at coming back into the match. Maddison Gay and Darcy Vescio were Carlton’s two goalkickers for the night, while Jess Wuetschner and Sabrina Frederick-Traub were named in Brisbane’s best.

DRAFT CENTRAL TIPPING

Leaderboard:

1st : Michael Alvaro [ 16 ]
Eq. 2nd : Sophie Taylor [ 14 ]
Taylah Melki [ 14 ]
Peter Williams [ 14 ]
5th : Matthew Cocks [ 13 ]

 

Peter Williams

Chief Editor

Round 6 selections:

Fremantle
Collingwood
Melbourne
Adelaide
Carlton

 

Taylah Melki

Assistant Chief Editor

Round 6 selections:

Geelong
North Melbourne
Western Bulldogs
Adelaide
Brisbane

 

Sophie Taylor

Women’s Football Editor

Round 6 selections:

Fremantle
North Melbourne
Melbourne
Adelaide
Brisbane

 

Michael Alvaro

Men’s Football Editor

Round 6 selections:

Geelong
North Melbourne
Melbourne
Adelaide
Carlton

 

Matthew Cocks

Guest Tipster

Round 6 selections:

Fremantle
North Melbourne
Western Bulldogs
Adelaide
Carlton

Weekend wash-up: AFLW – Round 5

ROUND 5 of the AFL Women’s competition saw some huge wins and some firsts, with Brisbane recording the lowest score and Adelaide handing North Melbourne the Roos’ first defeat.

Brisbane 1.2 (8) defeated by Geelong 5.5 (35)
By: James Halley

Geelong defeated Brisbane by 27 points in their Round 5 encounter to earn themselves top spot in Conference B. With only two rounds remaining, Geelong is one game clear on top of Conference B and has a great chance to qualify for the finals.

After a tense first half, Geelong hit the front moments before the siren due to a goal from Mia-Rae Clifford, sparking a dominant second half by the Cats and keeping Brisbane to the lowest AFLW score in the league’s short history, winning 5.5 (35) to 1.2 (8).

Richelle Cranston starred for Geelong in the midfield, amassing 22 disposals, while Olivia Purcell was equally as dominant, picking up 20 disposals and a whopping ten tackles. Cats forward Kate Darby kicked three of Geelong’s five goals, after being axed from the side in Round 4. This performance should give her some confidence to keep her spot going forward.

The Cats’ manic pressure was astounding, and will be hard to beat leading into the finals if they can sustain it in the coming weeks.

Carlton 4.10 (34) defeated Collingwood 4.5 (29)
By: Sophie Taylor

It was a scorching evening for footy at Ikon Park, but that didn’t stop a crowd forming for the Round 5 matchup between traditional rivals Carlton and Collingwood. It was a do or die match for both sides, as Collingwood worked to get a victory for the first time in 2019, while Carlton were pushing for a top 2 position in Conference B. There was plenty of action in the low scoring affair, as Carlton overcame a mid-match slump to beat the Magpies 4.10 (34) to 4.5 (29).

It was Carlton that came to play in the opening quarter, kicking the first goal after five minutes of play. It was an unfortunate night for goal kicking, however, as the Blues struggled with inaccuracy, kicking 1.5 in the first quarter but keeping the Magpies scoreless. Despite their speedy start it was the Magpies that jumped into action in the second quarter, kicking 2.4 to 0.1 to be up by four points at half time, thanks to a goal apiece to Katie Lynch and Jordyn Allen. Some on the line defence work from the Blues kept them in the game throughout the middle quarters as inaccuracy continued to be an issue all over the field. Collingwood remained in control throughout the third term, kicking two more goals in the hopes of keeping their 2019 season alive, while Carlton kicked another goal and behind to stay in the match.

Despite lighting issues plaguing the Carlton forward pocket in the final term, a two goal, three behind final quarter to nil brought the Blues’ second win of the season, turning the tides and bringing back the confident start they had in the first term. Despite her three behinds in the first quarter, Darcy Vescio finally got a major on the board and kicked her only goal of the game to put the Blues ahead in the dying minutes. Madison Prespakis starred for the Blues, leading the disposal count with 21 touches and a goal, while captain, Brianna Davey dominated across the ground with 20 disposals and four tackles. Along with Vescio and Prespakis, Tayla Harris and Alison Downie also managed a major each in what was an inaccurate day out in front of goal.

For the Blues, Gabriella Pound and Kerryn Harrington impressed with 31 disposals between them, along with their eight and seven respective marks. Jaimee Lambert led the tackle count with seven tackles to go with her 18 disposals, while Britt Bonnici and Kristy Stratton weren’t far behind on six and five tackles respectively. Sarah Rowe and debutant, Darcy Guttridge also both made it onto the scoreboard, kicking a debut goal apiece for the Pies.

GWS Giants 2.6 (18) defeated by Melbourne 8.9 (57)
By: Michael Alvaro

Melbourne earned four points and a crucial percentage boost against GWS as the Demons push for a spot in the Conference A top two. The home side was not able to match it with the surging Dees for long, as the winners broke a quarter time deadlock to open up a 16-point lead at the main break – all while keeping the Giants goalless in the second stanza. With the third term spoils shared at an even 1.2 apiece, there was still a chance for the hosts to snatch a victory with one final push. That was not to be though, as a clinical Melbourne outfit again kept its opponent goalless after the last break and piled on another four majors to run out 39-point victors.

Tegan Cunningham was the star Dee inside forward 50 as she put 3.2 on the board to be the game’s lone multiple goal kicker. Melbourne midfielders Maddison Gay and Karen Paxman also found the goals, and were their side’s best ball winners with 19 and 17 disposals respectively. Not to be outdone, Giants star, Alicia Eva had 20 of her own and was matched by 2018 draftee, Alyce Parker who continued her outstanding debut season to date.

Looking forward, Melbourne is set to play part in a Marvel Stadium double-header on Saturday against the battling Bulldogs in a Conference A clash, while GWS will look to keep its finals hopes alive as it travels to face the red-hot Adelaide Crows at Unley Oval.

North Melbourne 4.5 (29) defeated by Adelaide 10.4 (64)
By: Nikki Jamieson

In the blockbuster match between the top-two conference A teams, Adelaide proved that the new North Melbourne side could be stopped by making their winning streak come to a crashing end. The Crows were able to thump the Roos by 35 points, throwing a spanner into the premiership race for North Melbourne.

The Roos started out strong, with performances by Moana Hope and Kaitlyn Ashmore leading to the first two goals on the board. However, it didn’t take long for Adelaide to strike back by the thirteenth minute, from which point onward the Crows were able to maintain the lead for the rest of the match.

An impressive competition took place in the midfield between the Crows’ Erin Phillips and the Roos’ Emma Kearney. Naturally, Phillips had an excellent game with 2 goals and 23 disposals, but it was Kearney who took out the disposal count with 31.

As the game continued, Adelaide were responsible for ten of the last 12 goals, comfortably placing them far in front of North Melbourne, who were only able to put up 8 points in the entire second half. This was exemplified through the work of Stevie-Lee Thompson who was able to easily brush past a dormant North Melbourne defence and kick two goals and one behind.

Next round on the Saturday, North Melbourne face off against a winless Collingwood at Marvel Stadium in a double header and on the Sunday Adelaide return home to play GWS at Unley Oval.

Fremantle 8.4 (52) defeated Western Bulldogs 5.4 (34)
By: Carly McClen

It was a crucial 18-point win for a much improved 2019 Fremantle Dockers outfit on their home turf over the reigning premiers. The Bulldogs flew to Fremantle to get back to their brand of football and play with heart, which they accomplished, and they’d be rightly satisfied with achieving that. Also on the flight was 2017 number one draft pick, Isabel Huntington and 2018 leading goal kicker, Brooke Lochland, both returning from injury. Both played their roles well, as did Katie Brennan, Aisling Utri and Aisling McCarthy. The Dogs were out there on the day against a better side with a bigger hunger to win the footy and more grunt and poise to get it done.

It was a tight game throughout the four terms, with the Dockers kicking clear halfway through the final term. Sabreena Duffy was pivotal late on her home track with two crucial goals, showing the depth Freo have in their forward line. Fremantle gun, Kiara Bowers was a consistent standout all day with 23 disposals, 16 tackles and a goal for her side.

The Dockers had a few of these above-the-rest individual efforts from the usual suspects in Dana Hooker, Kellie Gibson, Kara Donnellan and Gemma Houghton. The well-rounded Dockers had the whole team to fall back on, making them a polished side to contend with. Every time the Bulldogs were looking to get in front, the Freo midfield would form a wall, tackling fiercely head on and taking Bulldogs to the turf. Bowers really lead that charge with her 16 tackles.

Conference A is tight right now. Today’s win positions the Dockers to be level with leaders North Melbourne and Adelaide. A win against Geelong next week and a jump on percentage will flag the Dockers as a real and present danger to qualify for the top two.

AFLW H2H Battle: Early 90s v Late 90s

IN our first AFL Women’s Head-to-Head Battle, we have created teams of 24 players to determine which end of the 90s might prevail in a head-to-head clash. For the early 90s team, we have those AFL Women’s players born between 1990-1994, and for the late 90s, we have the 1995-1999 births. We have not included any player that made their debut in season 2019. As you will see from the two different sides, the early 90s is stacked through the forward line with a strong defence, while the late 90s midfield is very deep with strong players up both ends. It made for a very difficult task of picking just 24 players for each side, and picking a winner is just as difficult.

Early 90s – 1990-1994:

B: Nicola Stevens – Chelsea Randall – Hannah Scott
HB: Bianca Jakobsson – Elise O’Dea – Ebony Antonio
C: Alicia Eva – Kara Donnellan – Kaitlyn Ashmore
HF: Christina Bernardi – Katie Brennan – Jasmine Garner
F: Jess Wuetschner – Darcy Vescio – Brooke Lochland
R: Emma King – Dana Hooker – Jessica Dal Pos
INT: Nat Exon – Sarah D’Arcy – Jaimee Lambert –  Kate McCarthy – Sarah Perkins – Deni Varnhagen

The Early 90s team features the best of the best from 1990-1994 births, with a forward line that is All Australian quality, and an enviable spine that would win one-on-ones galore. In defence, captains, Adelaide’s Chelsea Randall and Melbourne’s Elise O’Dea hold down key spots, with Hannah Scott taking the third tall role, and the likes of Nicola Stevens, Bianca Jakobsson and Ebony Antonio providing run from the back half.

In the midfield, the early 90s team features some seriously underrated players. Fremantle duo, Kara Donnellan and Dana Hooker, GWS GIANTS’ duo Jessica Dal Pos and Alicia Eva, and North Melbourne’s Kaitlyn Ashmore fill out the starting five, with Nat Exon, Jaimee Lambert and Deni Varnhagen able to rotate through there, as would O’Dea and Jakobsson who push up the ground. With Emma King in the ruck, the early 90s would have a strong chance to win the hitouts, although the opposition midfield would be hard to combat.

Up forward, it is littered with stars from start to finish, in what is an unbelievably powerful front six. Katie Brennan and Darcy Vescio as a one-two combo would bring the crowds alone, but throw in goal machines, Jess Wuetschner and Brooke Lochland, as well as great playmakers, Christina Bernardi and Jasmine Garner who provide both defensive and offensive pressure respectively, and add a different element to the mix. Add in the likes of Sarah D’Arcy, Nat Exon, Kate McCarthy and Sarah Perkins, and the forward rotation would be the envy of any side.

Even those who missed out could consider themselves incredibly unlucky, with Rhiannon MetcalfeStevie-Lee ThompsonAmelia MullaneMeghan McDonald, Aimee Schmidt, Jacinda Barclay, Lauren Pearce, Catherine Phillips, Kate Gillespie-Jones, Brittany Gibson and Hayley Wildes among some seriously talented depth for the five years.

VS

Late 90s – 1995-1999:

B: Nicola Barr – Libby Birch – Chloe Molloy
HB: Brianna Davey – Tahlia Randall – Emma Swanson
C: Emily Bates – Ebony Marinoff – Ally Anderson
HF: Ashley Sharp – Sabrina Frederick-Traub – Monique Conti
F: Aliesha Newman – Tayla Harris – Rebecca Beeson
R: Erin McKinnon – Ellie Blackburn – Lily Mithen
INT: Deanna Berry – Brittany Bonnici – Jenna Bruton – Sarah Hosking – Breann Moody – Jamie Stanton

The late 90s team has a deep midfield that would worry any opposition midfield with its uncompromising attack on the ball and ball carrier. Around the ground the side has good options in attack and defence, and while they might not be as experienced as their early 90s counterparts, they show the future of the game over the next five to 15 years. In defence, Tahlia Randall and Libby Birch are the two key backs, with Chloe Molloy capable of playing tall or small. Nicola Barr, Brianna Davey and Emma Swanson provide the fierce attack out of the back half, with the ability to roam through the midfield too.

In the middle, talented young ruck Erin McKinnon leads a massively inside midfield brigade, with Ellie Blackburn, Lily Mithen and Ebony Marinoff likely to lay a record amount of tackles in a game between them. Brisbane pair, Emily Bates and Ally Anderson will provide support on the wings, while Sarah Hosking, Brittany Bonnici, Jenna Bruton and Jamie Stanton are able to also rotate off the bench into the team. Breann Moody would be McKinnon’s back-up ruck, and also allows Randall to purely focus on her defensive match-ups.

Up front, Sabrina Frederick-Traub and Tayla Harris join forces inside 50 as the key targets. Around their, feet speed demons, Ashley Sharp, Monique Conti and Aliesha Newman will always have defenders worried, while Rebecca Beeson is consistent as they come. Deanna Berry will add to the pace inside 50 and will add some extra running off the bench.

Among those unlucky, injured talents Jess Hosking and Isabel Huntington would make the team with some luck in the future, while Jasmine GriersonBonnie ToogoodEden ZankerEloise JonesJordan ZanchettaHayley Miller, Stephanie Cain and Maddison Gay are among those in contention for a spot in the 24-player team.

Weekend preview: AFLW – Round 1

FOOTY is back and for the first time, 10 AFL Women’s clubs are preparing to achieve the ultimate glory. Each week we will preview and review the games, provide a Team of the Week, Draftee Watch piece and analyse the week’s statistics, as well as plenty more for the third season of the competition. Stay tuned on Draft Central for all the coverage.

GEELONG vs. COLLINGWOOD
Saturday, February 2, 6.40pm
GMHBA Stadium, Geelong

The opening game of the AFL Women’s season has a massive question mark for both sides. On one side of the head-to-head is a brand new team with no historical data at the elite level, aside from some of the players who have crossed from other clubs. On the other side is a team that has been gutted in terms of experience, especially in the forward half, but has picked up a number of elite young kids as well as players who can have an impact in the short-term. Playing in front of a home crowd will help the Cats in their inaugural clash,  while the Magpies will be keen to finally get a good start to their season after two losses in opening round games. Both teams are deemed to be in the “weaker” conference – by means of avoiding both past premiers and the heavily stacked North Melbourne – and a win against a conference rival is vitally important in the stakes for securing a top four place. The advantage both these teams have is the fact much of their core group played VFL Women’s together, and therefore in terms of team chemistry over a 12-month period are well adjusted.

Both teams head into the clash with key personnel out, as Collingwood’s Best and Fairest and 2018 AFLW Rising Star winner, Chloe Molloy unavailable for the season, while Richelle Cranston will miss the first two rounds through suspension.  When talking about key youth, it is hard to look past some of the talent both clubs picked up in the draft. Geelong looked to its TAC Cup affiliate to select number one pick, Nina Morrison, as well as premiership teammates, Olivia Purcell and Denby Taylor. Add in talented GWV Rebels, Sophie Van De Heuvel and Georgia Clarke, as well as Murray Bushrangers’ inside midfielder and defender, Rebecca Webster, and the future is very bright at the Cats. The Magpies also heavily invested in the draft, picking up two first rounders in Dandenong Stingrays’ captain, Jordyn Allen and Oakleigh Chargers’ tall, Katie Lynch. Expected to play up opposite ends, they are well complemented by Eastern Ranges’ speedster, Mikala Cann who 12 months ago was yet to play a competitive match of football. Versatile youngster, Lauren Butler is also expected to become a key feature in the Magpies’ side. With Geelong having the likes of Bec Goring, Madeline Keryk, Julia Crockett-Grills and Meghan McDonald among their contingent of impressive VFLW performers last season, they have a cohesive unit. The Magpies will look to the experience of captain Stephanie Chiocchi, Emma Grant, Sarah D’Arcy and Jaimee Lambert to lead the young side this season.

H2H: Geelong 0 | Collingwood 0 | Draws 0
Venue: Geelong 0-0-0 | Collingwood 0-0-0

Last time they met: N/A

Fun facts:

  • The game marks the first ever AFL Women’s game at GMHBA Stadium, the first time Geelong’s AFL Women’s side will play a match for premiership points, but the third consecutive year Collingwood will be involved in the opening match of the season.
  • Unfortunately for the Magpies, the opening match of the season has not been kind for them, losing both games to Carlton at Ikon Park, albeit in a much closer game in 2018.
  • The last time these two teams played in any form was the VFL Women’s Preliminary Final, which saw the Cats upset the minor premiers to bundle the Magpies out in straight sets and head into the decider against Hawthorn. Collingwood’s loss was compounded by an injury to 2018 Rising Star winner, Chloe Molloy that would keep her out of the 2019 AFL Women’s season.
  • Collingwood booted 42 goals in season 2018. Players that contributed 36 of them are now either no longer on the Magpies’ list, or injured (Chloe Molloy – one).

 

ADELAIDE vs. WESTERN BULLDOGS
Saturday, February 2, 8.10pm
Norwood Oval, Adelaide

The game of the round is surely the match between the two AFL Women’s premiers. The 2017 champions, Adelaide take on the reigning premiers, Western Bulldogs in an evening game at Norwood Oval. Last season was a remarkable story for the Bulldogs, who overcame some key injuries, and the suspension of captain, Katie Brennan to topple Brisbane in the 2018 AFL Women’s decider. Adelaide would have been disappointed to not make the decider, but considering their injuries at different times, it was worth applauding their never-say-die attitude. A loss to Collingwood in the final round knocked them out of the race to go back-to-back, but they are now hungry as ever and keen to make amends in this match.

Both teams lost key players to long-term injuries in practice games a fortnight ago, with Adelaide’s number one ruck, Rhiannon Metcalfe and Western Bulldogs’ league leading goalkicker, Brooke Lochland both out. While the Crows will look to try and fill the void in the ruck, the Dogs certainly showed they have no shortage of forwards who can step up, and could turn to the likes of West Australian, Kate Bartlett who comes into the team with great forward nous at Under 18s level. Adelaide do have some serious firepower returning to the team with a fully fit Erin Phillips, and a dangerous youngster by the name of Chloe Scheer causing headaches inside 50. Adelaide could have the edge in the midfield given its depth with Phillips, Ebony Marinoff and Chelsea Randall all running through there, but the Dogs’ key position players could stretch the Crows’ defence. If the Crows can keep it from the Dogs talls getting supply, then it will go a long way to deciding the match, but if the Dogs get on top of the Crows’ highly rated midfield, then they will be able to put on some serious scoreboard pressure. In saying that, the Dogs’ midfield is far from shabby itself with Ellie Blackburn and Monique Conti among the most talented in the competition. It all adds up to being a cracker of a match.

H2H: Adelaide 2 | Western Bulldogs 0 | Draws 0
Venue: Adelaide 2-2-0 | Western Bulldogs 0-1-0

Last time they met: Adelaide 6.5 (41) defeated Western Bulldogs 5.4 (34) at Norwood Oval, Round 3, 2018

Trailing the entire game, the Crows found something special in the final term to overrun the Bulldogs at home by just seven points. Chelsea Randall picked up 24 disposals (15 contested), had five rebounds and laid six tackles, while Ebony Marinoff laid a whopping 15 tackles on her way to 21 disposals, four inside 50s and five rebounds. But the inspiration was inaugural league best and fairest winner, Erin Phillips. The star played exclusively forward and had 15 disposals, but booted four of the Crows’ six goals to single-handedly dominate up forward and show Crows fans that there was going to be no second year blues – until injury unfortunately struck. Jenna McCormick booted the other two goals for the Crows, while for the Bulldogs, Katie Brennan was the multiple goalkicker with two from nine touches and three marks. Emma Kearney (20 disposals, three marks, three clearances, three inside 50s, five rebounds and six tackles) was everywhere, as was Ellie Blackburn (17 disposals, five clearances, five tackles and four inside 50s).

Fun facts:

  • Ebony Marinoff averages 19.5 disposals, four clearances, 10.5 tackles and four inside 50s against the Western Bulldogs from two clashes, the most of any Crow.
  • Now North Melbourne skipper, Emma Kearney averaged the most touches against the Crows in both meetings, with Ellie Blackburn set to take over the mantle, averaging 18 touches, four clearances, four tackles and five inside 50s from two games.
  • It is the first time two AFL Women’s Premiers have met in the history of the competition.
  • Western Bulldogs are yet to lose an opening round match in the AFL Women’s season.

 

NORTH MELBOURNE vs. CARLTON
Sunday, February 3, 1.05pm
North Hobart Oval, Hobart

The second history making match for Round 1 sees one of the premiership favourites, North Melbourne take on last year’s wooden spooners, Carlton. Both head into the game with relative different looking sides. The Kangaroos strategically targeted experience, picking up players from other AFL Women’s sides as part of the free agency and expansion period, while Carlton headed to the draft. As such, the Kangaroos head into the game as strong favourites in the clash, and their pre-season victory over Melbourne did nothing to sway opinions from the fact they will be a contender this season. Carlton took it up to Geelong at times in the practice game, but much like at times last season, it is just finding some four quarter consistency. The strong football state of Tasmania will get around the clash which is the first of the AFL Women’s competition, and with a number of local talents wearing blue and white, expect there to be a strong contingent of home support.

With no past head-to-head clashes to go by, there are plenty of questions leading into this clash. The biggest question mark is that of the Kangaroos and how they will gel with so many players from other teams. They brought over key Magpies, Emma King, Jess Duffin, Jasmine Garner and Mo Hope to supply their forward line and ruck division with power, while securing the biggest name from the 2018 season in Emma Kearney – the league best and fairest winner – to come across from the Dogs. Carlton has the potential to have the best one-two forward combination in the league with Darcy Vescio and Tayla Harris, but it is just getting the talented duo to click. With the midfield and forward half boosted by young guns, Madison Prespakis, Abbie McKay and Emerson Woods, and the defence sured up by Collingwood VFLW captain, Jess Edwards, as well as Charlotte Wilson and Jayde Van Dyk, Carlton’s future is looking bright. Realistically, it will take an unbelievable effort to knock off North Melbourne, but Blues fans will be keen to see what new coach, Daniel Harford can do to create more scoring opportunities – something the Blues lacked last season. A four-goal practice game by returning captain, Brianna Davey gave fans a hint of what to expect, creating all sorts of headaches for opposing teams.

H2H: North Melbourne 0 | Carlton 0 | Draws 0
Venue: North Melbourne 0-0-0 | Carlton 0-0-0

Last time they met: N/A

Fun facts:

  • The match marks the first official match to be played in Tasmania, with the North Melbourne Tasmanian Kangaroos opening their season in the Apple Isle, and of course marking their first match in the competition.
  • Carlton’s Brianna Davey has averaged 21 disposals, five rebounds and 2.5 inside 50s in her two opening round clashes, as Carlton beat arch-rivals Collingwood under lights on both occasions.
  • Darcy Vescio booted four goals in the inaugural AFL Women’s match in 2017, before being held goalless by debutant, Chloe Molloy last year, who would go on to win the Rising Star Award.
  • North Melbourne captain, Emma Kearney has averaged 22 disposals, six marks, five clearances and six inside 50s in her two matches against Carlton.

 

MELBOURNE vs. FREMANTLE
Sunday, February 3, 3.05pm
Casey Fields, Cranbourne

With predicted temperatures around the south-eastern suburbs predicted to be mid-to-late thirties, fans heading to the clash between Demons and Fremantle are recommended to stay hydrated. The game at Melbourne’s spiritual home, has become a fortress of late, winning five of a possible six games, including a thrashing victory over their Round 1 opponents back in 2017. Last year the Dockers got the better of Melbourne over in the west, using straight goalkicking to get the job done early in the season and chalk up a win against a premiership contender. The Demons have always been thereabouts, just missing out on the deciders, while Fremantle has had disappointing starts to the seasons which have ultimately cost them. With a new coaching panel and new-look side, Fremantle will be keen to topple the Demons at their home ground, especially a Demons side minus Daisy PearceMel Hickey and Richelle Cranston, among others.

Both teams are bringing in some serious young talent this season, with the Demons looking to the likes of Gippsland Power co-captain, Tyla Hanks and Northern Knights captain, Maddy Brancatisano. Both have incredible work ethics and a desire to just hunt the footballer and play their role, potentially being future leaders at the club. Throw in Dandenong Stingrays’ speedster, Shelley Heath and Casey Demons slick ball user, Casey Sherriff and the Dees have added some speed and skills to their inside grunt and contested ball-winning ability. The Dockers have also added some great local talent to their stocks, led by West Australian Under 18s state captain, Sabreena Duffy as well as overagers, Matilda Sergeant and Jasmin Stewart. The big question mark regarding Fremantle is how they will line-up as the off-season seemed to be a clean-out of sorts through their own choosing, whereas Melbourne lost players due to free agency and expansion. The difference in this game could well be the top-end star factor of the Demons, with Karen Paxman, Lily Mithen, Bianca Jakobsson and Elise O’Dea all roaming through the midfield at times. With Eden Zanker providing a target up forward, they have good depth across the ground, The Dockers have Kara Donnellan and Dana Hooker amongst their arsenal, but with a relatively new-looking side, it will be fascinating to see how they perform.

H2H: Melbourne 1 | Fremantle 1 | Draws 0
Venue: Melbourne 5-1-0 | Fremantle 0-0-0

Last time they met: Fremantle 6.0 (36) defeated Melbourne 4.7 (31) at Fremantle Oval, Round 3, 2018

Fremantle had to come from behind twice as they held Melbourne to a combined one behind in the second and fourth quarters, kicking the only two goals of the final term. In a display of precision accuracy, the Dockers did not kick a behind all game, and after not scoring in the opening term, booted six straight goals to secure a win at Fremantle Oval. Kara Donnellan and Lisa Webb both picked up 17 disposals, while Emily McGuire booted two goals. For the Dees, Daisy Pearce had another day out with 24 disposals, three marks, five clearances and four inside 50s, while Tegan Cunningham booted two majors in the loss.

Fun facts:

  • Since losing their inaugural AFL Women’s Round 1 clash to Brisbane at Casey Fields, Melbourne has not lost a game, winning five consecutive matches at the venue, including a nine-goal win over Fremantle in 2017.
  • Both sides are likely to head into the clash very different to the previous encounter with a maximum of 13 players each from their sides of 21 just 12 months ago, still on their respective lists.
  • Dana Hooker averaged 17 disposals (11 contested) and 5.5 tackles in her two matches for the Dockers against the Demons, and was Fremantle’s best player in the disastrous 54-point belting back in 2017.
  • Melbourne will need to find a way to replace the influence of Daisy Pearce, who has been a headache for the Dockers in the past, averaging 25 disposals, five tackles, four clearances and 3.5 inside 50s.

 

BRISBANE vs. GWS GIANTS
Sunday, February 3, 4.05pm
Moreton Bay Sporting Complex, Moreton Bay

The final game of the round pits back-to-back grand finalist, Brisbane against the team they knocked out of the decider contention in the final round last year, GWS GIANTS. The quirky fact between these teams is they have played each other four times – twice in the pre-season and twice in the regular season. On both occasions, GWS has triumphed in the pre-season practice matches, while Brisbane has got the job done – and convincingly so – when playing for premiership points. The GIANTS average just two goals per game against the Lions during the season, and they will be keen to repeat the effort of a fortnight ago when they were too good for the young Lions. Brisbane has played just the one game at Moreton Bay Sporting Complex – the Lions new home for 2019 – which was a disappointing and almost season-defining loss to Collingwood, whereas the GIANTS are yet to run out at the venue.

Both teams have young line-ups coming through with the teams losing players such as Kaitlyn Ashmore, Jamie Stanton and Tahlia Randall (Brisbane), and Phoebe McWilliams and Renee Forth (GIANTS). They have also picked up some experience with Brisbane scooping up Lauren Arnell from Carlton and the GIANTS adding Magpie, Christina Bernardi to its forward mix. Heading to the draft, the GIANTS picked up one of the most decorated and talented juniors in Alyce Parker who will slot straight into the midfield and undoubtedly be a key cog in that onball division. Former netballer, Taylah Davies is already looking like a valuable pick-up for the GIANTS, while Haneen Zreika hit the scoreboard in the practice match as well. Any team with Alicia Eva, Jessica Dal Pos and Amanda Farrugia has to be respected. Brisbane’s forward power with Sabrina Frederick-Traub and Jess Wuetschner is always going to be a key consideration for opposition coaches, while Lions coach Craig Starcevich has the luxury of bringing up his Queensland Under 18 young guns into the senior team at draft time. All Australian ruck Lauren Bella, state captain Natalie Grider and key Queensland players Jesse Tawhaio-Wardlaw, Jade Ellenger, Tori Groves-Little and Jacqui Yorston join West Australian, McKenzie Dowrick as the future of the Lions.

H2H: Brisbane 2 | GWS 0 | Draws 0
Venue: Brisbane 0-1-0 | GWS 0-0-0

Last time they met: Brisbane 10.4 (64) defeated GWS GIANTS 3.6 (24) at Blacktown ISP, Round 7, 2018.

With an AFL Women’s Grand Final spot on the line, it was the Brisbane Lions who were all over the GIANTS, running out 40-point winners to keep their premiership dreams alive – albeit with their fate in Collingwood’s hands. The GIANTS had improved remarkably from the inaugural season, but fell short of a grand final place, and will have rued that final game over the summer. Ally Anderson and Emily Bates had days out against the GIANTS, collecting a combined 46 disposals, seven marks and eight clearances. Up forward, Sabrina Frederick-Traub was unstoppable with four goals to go with 18 disposals, five marks and five hitouts. Jess Wuetschner was equally as impressive with three majors from 11 touches, doing all the damage at ground level. For the GIANTS, Alicia Eva tried her best with a team-high 18 disposals, three marks, six tackles and five inside 50s, while Jessica Dal Pos and Amanda Farrugia were the next highest ball winners with 14 apiece.

Fun facts:

  • Brisbane has played just the one match at Moreton Bay Sporting Complex, and unfortunately it was one to forget, losing to Collingwood in Round 6, 2018. It put their premiership aspirations in serious doubt, before ironically the Magpies knocked off the Crows in the final round to hand the Lions a second consecutive Grand Final berth.
  • The Lions bounced back from the above loss with that 40-point win over GWS in the last round, knocking out the GIANTS from Grand Final contention, and replacing them in the decider.
  • In the two games against the GIANTS, Sabrina Frederick-Traub has booted five goals, whereas the entire GIANTS team have booted just the four.
  • Emma Swanson averages the most disposals for a GIANT against the Lions, at 15, while Jessica Dal Pos averages 13 touches per game.

AFLW Draft review: Western Bulldogs

THE reigning premiers have chosen to defend their premiership title by bolstering their forward line stocks. While the Bulldogs lost star players such as Emma Kearney, Jenna Bruton and Aasta O’Connor, they don’t seem to be too worried, recruiting some young, experienced and international talent into their 2019 side.

 

What they needed:

  • Midfielders to replace Emma Kearney, Daria Bannister and Jenna Bruton
  • Ruck/ versatility to fill the void of Aasta O’Connor
  • Defenders to cover the loss of Rachel Ashley, Laura Bailey and Kim Ebb

 

Players selected:

Eleanor Brown – Sandringham Dragons

Eleanor Brown will be a fitting replacement for Emma Kearney in the midfield. She possesses elite ball-use, especially by hand, often disposing of the ball quickly and cleanly to escape congestion. Brown also has a long and powerful kick, and can make an influence all over the ground. She spent some time at half-back during the AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships, racking up numerous disposals. She can also mark the ball well, making her a good fit to replace the loss of an important premiership trio.

Aisling McCarthy – Tipperary (Ireland)

Coming from the Crosscoders program, McCarthy impressed the Bulldogs, who took the forward with their 23rd pick. McCarthy played in the forward line for her Gaelic football side, and has now crossed over to Australian Rules to display her speed and agility in the competition. She will be a great addition to one of the most exciting forward lines in the league, which contains the likes of Katie Brennan, Isabel Huntington, Bonnie Toogood and Brooke Lochland.

Kate Bartlett – Peel Thunderbirds

The Bulldogs have further bolstered their inside 50 stocks with the addition of 19 year-old Kate Bartlett. Bartlett missed out on being drafted last year but will get her chance in the red, white and blue this season. It was hard to look past her at the AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships, as she dominated inside 50 for Western Australia, kicking six goals in five games and creating plenty of scoring opportunities. She earned a place in the All Australian team as a result, and will now fly across the country to join the Bulldogs.

Selena Karlson – Southern Saints

Selena Karlson will help aid the loss of Bailey, Ebb and Ashley, who departed the club in the off-season. She is a smart defender who played 12 games for the Southern Saints this season and finished in the top 10 of their Best and Fairest. Karlson was also named in the best three times.

Jessie Davies – Western Bulldogs

Jessie Davies is no stranger to the Western Bulldogs outfit, having spent time with them during the VFLW. She is a versatile utility who will add some depth to the side. Davies played seven games for the Bulldogs this season and is also a member of the VU Western Spurs. Having a player that can be used all over the ground will help the Bulldogs cover their off-season losses, especially that of Aasta O’Connor, who can be used in different areas of the ground.

 

How they went:

Instead of replacing their losses, the Bulldogs went in a different direction for the draft, opting to boost their already powerful forward line. This isn’t a bad strategy at all, as more firepower inside 50 gives them more of a chance to defend their premiership title. But in the midfield, they could struggle, as the loss of Emma Kearney, Jenna Bruton and Daria Bannister will be hard to replace. Thankfully, Eleanor Brown will fill a part of this void, thanks to her brilliant hands and strong kicking. Selena Karlson will also fill part of the absence of Ebb, Bailey and Ashley in defence, after playing for the Southern Saints this year. Having a versatile player like Jessie Davies will also be valuable to add support roles into different sections of the field. Despite a stellar inside 50 line-up, the Bulldogs could struggle through the midfield and in defence, with the loss of some key players. Aasta O’Connor’s void in the ruck has also not been filled, making the ruck situation an interesting one.

Fantastic Five: Memorable moments from the weekend

A PREMIERSHIP, forgotten hero and a young star shining bright were among the most memorable moments from the weekend. Here are five moments which are likely to be remembered from the football on and off the field, from the last few days.

Western Bulldogs claim AFLW flag

For a life-long lasting memory, it is hard to go past a premiership. On the weekend, 21 footballers tasted the ultimate glory when the Paul Groves-coached outfit knocked off the Brisbane Lions in a thrilling finish to the second AFLW Grand Final. Young Bulldog and former Calder Cannons star Monique Conti was Best on Ground for her performance in clutch moments. She might have been the youngest player on the ground, but the pocket rocket starred in a performance that is unlikely to be forgotten any time soon. The win was made all more remarkable by the fact the Dogs were without captain Katie Brennan, and number one pick Isabel Huntington, both of whom could have filled key position posts up forward.

Cyril’s return

Sometimes when players are injured for so long, you forget the impact they can have at their best. Hawthorn’s Cyril Rioli is a player who adds that X-factor and game nous that very few others have, and in his first game back from injury after missing the majority of the 2017 season, he was unbelievable – especially considering he was underdone. If he regains full fitness, opposition clubs will have to be wary because Cyril is capable of anything on his day, and just make the Hawks side look that much more dangerous.

TAC Cup returns for season 2018

After an exciting few weeks of TAC Cup Girls football, the boys’ competition kicked-off with a bang on the weekend. The first round was not without some surprise results, as the young Gippsland outfit – with an excess of bottom-agers – toppled the experienced Murray Bushrangers, while Dandenong Stingrays made their premiership intentions clear with a big win over fellow contenders Geelong Falcons. In the rain at Frankston, perennial success stories Oakleigh Chargers and Sandringham Dragons got their respective wins, while Western Jets and Bendigo Pioneers were the other winners in round one.

Gold Coast start season on high

After yet another disappointing season which saw Gold Coast lose their head coach, the Suns need to fly high in their first game. With Stuart Dew in control, Gold Coast got the job done in torrential rain in Cairns, so much so the AFL considered calling off the game pre-match. Luckily for the home side they did not, and the Suns knocked off North Melbourne to start their season on the right note.

Chloe Molloy wins AFLW Best First Year Player

Okay, so it was not quite on the weekend, but the Collingwood star and former Calder Cannons gun, Chloe Molloy, was today awarded AFLW’s Best First Year Player Award. It was hardly a surprise for anyone who had watched the competition this season. The rebounding defender who played forward in stints was a standout for the Magpies in a season where despite their best being good enough, could not make finals. But Molloy was a shining light, and the AFL Draft Central writer is only going to get better next season and beyond.

Crunching the numbers: AFLW – Round 4

AS the regular season passes the halfway point, things are heating up in the contention for finals places and round four did not disappoint. The weather was a major factor for many teams this week with players having to contend with extreme heat and wet and wild conditions. But the Bulldogs managed to put on a goal kicking masterclass against the Blues on Friday night, and the Pies secured their first victory in Alice Springs after upsetting the Demons. The Lions got over the line in a wet weather slog while the Giants and Crows were faced with similar conditions resulting in the first draw of the season.

Western Bulldogs vs Carlton

With injuries to key forwards Katie Brennan and Isabel Huntington the Bulldogs were in search of a star goalkicker, and after a record breaking seven-goal haul, they found one in Brooke Lochland.  It was a breakout performance for the former ice-skater who put on a dominate performance in windy conditions, racking up 17 disposals and smashing the previous record of four goals. Superstar on-ball duo Emma Kearney (26 disposals) and Ellie Blackburn (18 disposals) were on fire again, Aisling Utri (18 disposals) Monique Conti (16 disposals) and Hannah Scott (16 disposals) also contributed to the Dogs possession authority (220 to 157). While both teams had a similar inside 50 count (30 to 29) Carlton had a mere 10 per cent efficiency in comparison to the Western Bulldogs 87 per cent. Although missing many key players, Sarah Hosking (18 disposals) and Lauren Arnell (two goals) had notable performances, but it was ultimately to no avail with the Blues accepting consecutive defeats. They will have a fight to maintain a finals position while the Bulldogs sit comfortably in top spot after a percentage boosting win.

Brisbane vs Fremantle

Wet and miserable conditions resulted in a low scoring slog between Brisbane and Fremantle. There weren’t many opportunities when it came to scoring (seven to five), and on days like this, the team who hustles the hardest comes away with the victory, and that’s what the Lions did.  Tahlia Randall dominated in the ruck with 33 of her teams 44 hit outs in comparison to Fremantle’s total of 14. Brisbane defender Kate Lutkins had a stand out performance in the wet finishing with 18 disposals, with Jess Wuetschner (18 touches, two goals), Ally Anderson (18 disposals), Jamie Stanton (16 disposals) and Nat Exon (14 disposals, 10 tackles) also putting up notable performances. There was plenty of tackling on both sides (83 to 70) with Fremantle captain Kara Donnellan having another hard-fought game with 10. The Lions join the Bulldogs on top of the table with three wins only separated by percentage.

Melbourne vs Collingwood

The biggest surprise victory of the round saw Collingwood dominate most of the contest in an imposing 34-point win against hot premiership favourites Melbourne. Brittany Bonnici tagged Melbourne gun Daisy Pearce and restricted her to just nine disposals where Magpie midfielders Jaimee Lambert (19 disposals) and captain Stephanie Chiocci (17 disposals) shone. The Demons struggled to convert while the Pies were able to capitalise with a conversion rate of 69 per cent to their opponents 33 per cent. After a rough start, Moana Hope continued her return to form with two goals, equalled by teammate Caitlyn Edwards who impressed for the Pies. Elise O’Dea (19 disposals) and Karen Paxman (18 disposals) had commendable performances for the Demons, but the lack of impact from their star skipper was visibly deflating. The Pies still sit in the wooden spoon position after their first victory of the 2018 season while their opponents now fall one game shy of a top spot.

Greater Western Sydney vs Adelaide

After trailing for the majority of the match, a late comeback by last year’s premiers resulted in the first draw of the 2018 season. Suppressive conditions impacted the flow of the game and with a 9-point lead into the final term the Giants looked set for a victory. Yet somehow the Crows managed to grind their way back to even by doubling their 3-quarter time score. In another tackle heavy, wet weather hustle, Ebony Marinoff starred for Adelaide setting the record for the most tackles in an AFLW game with an incredible total of 21. There were also strong performances by Angela Foley (20 disposal, six tackles) and Chelsea Randall (15 disposals, six tackles) for the Crows, while Alicia Eva (23 disposals, eight tackles) and Jessica Dal Pos (12 disposals, 10 tackles) stood up for the Giants in the wet conditions.

TAC Cup Girls preview: Sandringham Dragons

THE Sandringham Dragons had an okay inaugural TAC Cup Girls competition, winning two of their five games and had a number of standout players including Team of the Year selection Georgia Ricardo, and best and fairest winner OIivia Vesely.

Without a doubt the Dragons would have loved to have had Isabel Huntington out on the park in 2017 – with the AFLW National Draft top pick missing the entire year through an ACL rupture. Her talent was obvious from a young age and did not deter the Western Bulldogs from pouncing on the key utility with the first pick. One thing that stood out about the Dragons in 2017 is that they had 16 players who played every game of the season, and just four players in the squad that took part in three or less games, enabling some continuity within the team.

In 2018, the Dragons will be guided by Tamara Hyett who will lead them into battle against the Geelong Falcons on Saturday, before facing Oakleigh Chargers on March 17 and Northern Knights a week later. The Dragons had an early pre-season hit-out with the Chargers recently, culminating in a strong victory to give them plenty to be excited about for the year ahead.

Sandringham also announced its leadership group ahead of the season, with Jemma Owen named captain, alongside Chelsea Bowen, Maddi Wilson and Alana Dalley. Owen played all five games last season, named in the best on two occasions, and was one of the few who stood up against the onslaught of GWV Rebels in the final round.

Dalley is one to watch in 2018 with the over-age ruck a notable performer over the pre-season, after looking good last season. Another top-ager worth keeping track of is Eleanor Brown who shone in the Dragons’ loss to the Northern Knights last season, and was named Sandringham’s best. She causes headaches for the opposition and has a strong endurance base stemming from her athletics background.

Sandringham also has a number of players still a year or two off being drafted with Eliza McNamara one that is likely to catch the eye after being a standout for Melbourne Girls Grammar in the Herald Sun Shield Division 1 Senior Girls Grand Final last season. Despite being 15 years-old at the time, the talented junior was consistently named among the best throughout the tournament, even in the school’s 23-point loss to Ballarat Grammar in the final.

A teammate of McNamara’s during that grand final was Abbie McKay, who also stood out as one of the best across the tournament, with the daughter of former Blue Andrew, playing five games for the Dragons in 2017. McKay was another one who stood tall in the Dragons’ loss to the Rebels and will be one to watch as a potential father-daughter selection for the Blues at the end of the year.

Another famous name to carry on the football tradition at the Dragons is Burke, with sisters Molly and Alice to run out for Sandringham in 2018. The daughters of St Kilda star Nathan, Molly is eligible to be drafted this season, with Alice a couple of years away. It will be interesting to see how the soccer-converts take to the field, with Burke recently putting pen to paper in Inside Footy telling of his experiences with coaching female footballers.

AFLW previews: Round 3

IN a round that had it all last week, it is hard to predict what will happen in round three. There is no doubt the players will be motivated to deliver standout performances to gift their sides much-needed wins, as they aim towards the ultimate prize – an AFLW premiership. This week, there will be plenty of new faces in AFLW colours, players coming up against their old sides, and even a former Calder Cannons coach going head-to-head with the TAC Cup Best and Fairest winner.

Adelaide vs. Western Bulldogs 

Saturday, February 17, 1.35pm ACDT at Norwood Oval

Reigning premiers, the Adelaide Crows, take on the in-form Western Bulldogs who are yet to be seriously threatened. This is just the second time these sides will meet in the AFLW competition. In their first clash, the Crows were victorious by 25 points, but this year is a different kettle of footballs on many fronts. Captain and AFLW MVP, Erin Phillips is yet to play a game this year, but will be returning for Saturday’s home game. It is a crucial game for the Crows, whose finals hopes hang on winning this one. After being recruited from Norwood itself, Marijana Rajcic will have the opportunity to debut at Norwood Oval, where she is set to slot into the Adelaide defence. The Bulldogs will be looking to continue their solid form, on the back of a convincing win against the dangerous Lions, where Bonnie Toogood and Libby Birch scored Rising Star nominations for the round. Melbourne recruit Jess Anderson will make her debut this week, after coming into the side to replace the injured Isabel Huntington.   

Carlton vs. Brisbane 

Saturday, February 17, 7.45pm AEDT at Ikon Park

Even though the Blues fought out a crash-and-bash game in the wet against GWS, you could not see the excitement of the win on their faces, as captain, Brianna Davey was stretchered off with a knee injury in the last quarter looking very distressed. Her injury  will have shaken up the players, who will face their biggest challenge of the season this week. With coach Damien Keeping still battling illness, they will have to dig deep on home soil against Brisbane, who are fourth on the ladder with one win. Brisbane’s Jess Wuetschner will need to fire again in front of goal, and we will expect Sabrina Frederick-Traub to return to her round one form, after last’s week struggle.

Collingwood vs. GWS

Sunday, February 18, 4.35pm AEDT at Olympic Park Oval

The deceivingly small heavyweight Alicia Eva will be playing against her old club at the Pies’ nest, with both clubs having everything to lose in this game. Eva will also face off against Chloe Molloy and Sarah Dargan – two Calder Cannons players she coached, who don the black and white. Both sides are yet to secure a win so you can expect hard bumps and no love lost in the clash between these two club as they strive to keep any finals hopes alive. Melbourne Uni forward, Moana Hope comes back into the side this round, and will be hoping of a repeat performance of last year’s match against GWS, where she was dynamic in the forward line, and owned her role. War-horse, Meg Hutchins has been named for the Magpies, who will provide a much-needed presence in defence to steady the side, and revive their confidence in the backline. The Pies will be hungry for a win after a taxing loss to Fremantle in front of a record crowd at the hard-surfaced Optus Stadium. 

Fremantle vs. Melbourne

Sunday, February 17, 3.35pm AWST at Fremantle Oval

Fremantle are coming off an epic win. They did their fans proud with their first win on home soil, performing solidly against Collingwood in front of a historic crowd. No doubt their collective spirit will be high, and they’ll be brimming with confidence that they can back up the win against a consistent Melbourne outfit on Sunday at Fremantle Oval. Forward, Emily McGuire will debut for the Dockers, replacing the experienced Stacey Barr, who was suspended for striking. Melbourne have been unstoppable so far in the competition, and they add Brooke Patterson and Harriet Cordner to their side travelling to Fremantle.