Tag: Janet Baird

AFL Women’s draftee watch: Round 3 – McKenzie arrives at the double

ROUND 3 of the 2021 AFL Women’s season went ahead over a four-day stretch after even more late fixture improvisation, with a number of fresh faces continuing to make their mark on the competition. We run you through how Generation W’s generation next fared over the weekend, focusing on the players under 21 years of age from the most recent draft crop.

Geelong vs. Western Bulldogs

In a fixture which feels like it was so long ago, 2020 number two pick Jess Fitzgerald again lit up the field in a Western Bulldogs win. The Northern Knights graduate was a little quieter throughout the game than in her opening two outings, but sealed the game for her side with a highlight reel running goal late in the piece to leave onlookers with their jaws to the floor.

Somewhat flying under the radar, fellow Bulldogs draftee Sarah Hartwig was again impressive, rebounding confidently off half-back and up to the wing. Geelong tall Olivia Barber continued her promising start to life at the elite level, clunking a terrific contested mark and proving mobile in her work up forward. Northern Territory native Stephanie Williams was also lively in patches, but kept to four touches and two tackles.

Greater Western Sydney vs. Gold Coast

Gold Coast and Greater Western Sydney (GWS) again did battle in horrendous conditions, with the Giants prevailing on the back of greater experience and class. It showed on the team sheet too, with no under 21 draftees from last year taking the field, but 19-year-old Georgia Garnett making her debut. On the other hand, four of Gold Coast’s young first year players were selected with Janet Baird making her maiden senior appearance.

The Territorian was relatively quiet with two disposals, with all of her fellow under 21 draftees – Maddison Levi, Lucy Single, and Daisy D’Arcy kept to under 10 touches each. Nonetheless, each of them got their hands dirty in the wet conditions as they were spread on all three lines, displaying the green shoots Gold Coast will require to get on the board this season.

St Kilda vs. Carlton

Carlton got on the board for the first time in 2021 with a steady victory over the competitive St Kilda Saints, with players making their debuts on either side. Daisy Walker became the Blues’ second 2020 draftee to crack the senior team and looked lively in defence with her speed on the rebound. Jessica Matin, a promising junior cricketer, also broke her duck and had a couple of touches for St Kilda.

Elsewhere, the Saints’ prized pick in Tyanna Smith was again impactful from midfield with 11 disposals, four marks, and six tackles, but came up against some pretty stiff competition in the Carlton engine room. After a very good showing last week, Mimi Hill was kept to just six touches for the Blues but looks settled in the starting lineup on a wing.

Melbourne vs. North Melbourne

One of the best AFL Women’s matches of all time saw Melbourne get the hop on North Melbourne with a captivating nine-point win. The cream rose to the top but there was still some young talent roaming Casey Fields on the day, with Melbourne continuing to blood Alyssa Bannan and Eliza McNamara. Both had promising spurts in the red and blue, while North’s prized draftee Bella Eddey booted a goal from her six touches – five of which were handballs.

Adelaide vs. Fremantle

Fremantle and Adelaide locked horns at Norwood Oval on Sunday, with the Dockers coming away 30-point victors and handy premiership favourites. Their mature members were fantastic as ever, but that did not stop the likes of Sarah Verrier and Mikayla Hyde from providing a glimpse into the future.

Verrier was typically assured in defence and played to her strengths with all nine of her disposals coming via foot. Hyde was not far behind on six touches and a couple of marks, also playing her role in the win. For Adelaide, Teah Charlton lit up the final term with some exciting passages, exploding in forward charges to eventually end with 14 disposals and five tackles.

Richmond vs. Collingwood

A trio of 2020 draftees all secured their maiden senior goals on Sunday as Collingwood defeated a fast finishing Richmond by 17 points at Punt Road Oval. Richmond’s number one pick Ellie McKenzie was at the forefront, snaring a double which included a three-bounce effort consistent with her junior form. She was outstanding, finishing with 12 disposals and five tackles.

Collingwood ruck Bella Smith stood up in the absence of Sharni Norder, taking on the primary ruck duties and fighting hard against in-form opposition. Father-daughter coup Tarni Brown booted her first goal and was matched by Joanna Lin, but both players were relatively quiet otherwise. Brown was the pick of the pair, finishing with eight touches and seven tackles.

Brisbane vs. West Coast

Brisbane roared back into top spot with a 45-point win over West Coast, dominating after half time and flexing its muscle. Courtney Hodder was the sole under 21 draftee from last year in the Lions’ lineup and continued her lively start to the season, finishing with 12 disposals and five tackles as she constantly looked to break forward quickly.

Bella Lewis was arguably the pick of West Coast’s young first year players, ending up as her side’s second highest ball winner with 15 touches. Her ability to cleanly win the contested ball and constantly burrow in suited the Eagles’ first half intensity. Shanae Davison popped up in the front half for four disposals, while Amber Ward had double that tally up the other end to go with three rebounds.

Image Credit: Michael Willson/AFL Photos

2021 AFLW Preview: Gold Coast Suns

GOLD COAST achieved a finals berth in its inaugural AFL Women’s campaign, exceeding expectations and setting a promising base for its second go-around at the elite level. With a new set of co-captains and a bumper draft crop, the Suns will be hoping to shine just as bright in 2021 and again feature in the postseason.

2020 RECAP

A one-point loss in a two-goal game served as Gold Coast’s AFL Women’s introduction and the Suns did not have to wait long for their maiden win as they trumped fellow newcomer, Richmond in Round 2. The competition’s first Q-Clash resulted in a thrilling draw at Metricon Stadium, with fans and pundits alike taking note of the side’s tenacity and youthful exuberance. Back-to-back losses pegged back Gold Coast’s momentum, but a second win against another expansion side in West Coast ensured the Suns would qualify for a surprise finals appearance. The undefeated Fremantle saw that the glory would be short-lived, trouncing the Queensland side by 70 points in the first postseason round.

NEW FACES

Former North Melbourne and St Kilda midfielder Alison Drennan was Gold Coast’s lone trade signing, promising to provide another strong body and some experience among the Suns’ engine room. The draft was where Gold Coast did most of its work, nabbing some strong local talent at bargain value and completing a haul of eight fresh faces.

Annise Bradfield was the first Queenslander called out on the night and looms as another midfielder who could crack the starting lineup straight away. The Suns nabbed Maddison Levi at pick 50, a steal at that range with Brisbane out of draft calculations. The tall forward should add some strength to her new side’s front half alongside Sarah Perkins, who was snapped up at pick 23 and slotted straight into the leadership group.

Levi was one of six Suns selected after pick 50, with four of them local talents and two coming from other states. Janet Baird, an NT native should deliver even more firepower to the forward half and some dash elsewhere, while Elizabeth Kearney comes in from the VFLW system.

ONE TO WATCH IN 2021

A surprise pick-up at the draft, no less at pick 23, was Perkins. The journeywoman key forward is the perfect addition for Gold Coast’s young side; both in terms of the role she fills and the character she brings. A former premiership player and All-Australian with Adelaide, Perkins is fresh off three appearances for Melbourne as a top-up player last year and gets a lifeline at her third club. She is well known already, but could well prove a key figure in this emerging Suns side which has previously lacked potency.

WHY THEY CAN WIN IT

Defence. The Suns may have lost four games last season and the last one came by 70 points, but they laid claim to the fifth-best defensive record in terms of points conceded overall. Structure from the back half is the first base good teams build in the modern game, and Gold Coast seems to have made great strides in that department early on. Youthful exuberance is another reason the Suns can go far, with their never-say-die attitude allowing them to bring it to highly fancied teams on any given day.

QUESTION MARK

Attack. Only the bottom two teams managed to score less points than the Suns in 2020, with a season-high total of 34 not exactly making for formidable reading. The Suns were also kept to just one goal twice during their maiden campaign and while they have bolstered the front half at the draft, have plenty of work to do to become a potent attacking unit.

FINAL WORD

The Suns are an exciting young side with plenty of scope to match their achievement of finals qualification in year one. There may be some downs with the ups, but this Queensland side has already shown great spirit and should only be better for the raft of inclusions they have made. Expect the Suns to ruffle some feathers and create upsets against good teams caught lacking.

Image Credit: Gold Coast Suns/AFL Photos

2020/21 NTFL Women’s Premier League wrap: Round 4

ROUND 4 of the Northern Territory Football League (NTFL) Women’s Premier League saw Palmerston and Pint secure blowout victories, while St Mary’s and Darwin got the better of fellow top five opponents on what was a super Saturday of play. The results see Pint remain the sole undefeated side atop the ladder, while Tracy Village is still searching for its first win and Southern Districts freshened up with a bye. All that, and more in our weekend wrap.

PALMERSTON MAGPIES | 3.1 | 4.5 | 9.8 | 14.12 (96)
TRACY VILLAGE | 0.1 | 0.2 | 1.3 | 1.3 (9)

GOALS:

Palmerston: A. Moreen 4, N. Medbury 3, T. May 2, I. Ronberg, E. Pretlove, M. Brown, C. Byers, J. Baird.
Tracy Village: M. Wylie.

BEST:

Palmerston: J. Guthridge, J. Baird, T. May, A. Moreen, M. Brown, B. Byers
Tracy Village: I. Hughes, K. Battel, K. Marschall, L. Toner, Z. Clarke, R. von Prott

Palmerston got on the board for season 2020/21 at the third time of asking, thumping the winless Tracy Village by 87 points at Cazaly’s Arena on Saturday. The Magpies took an early lead and never looked back, setting up their victory with four goals to nil in the first half. The damage was only compounded after half time despite the Razorbacks getting on the board, as Palmerston piled on a further 10 goals to storm home 14.12 (96) to 1.3 (9) winners.

Arthurina Moreen (four goals) and Natasha Medbury (three) combined to claim half of the Magpies’ majors, while Tabitha May rounded out the multiple goalkickers with two. Meagan Wylie was Tracy Village’s lone player to find the big sticks, as her side was soundly outdone going forward. The likes of Janet Baird and Michaeline Brown were others to both be named among the best and hit the scoreboard for Palmerston, but it was Jo Guthridge who earned best afield honours. Indianna Hughes gained the same credit for Tracy Village in the loss.

WANDERERS | 0.0 | 0.0 | 0.0 | 1.3 (9)
PINT | 2.2 | 7.5 | 12.7 | 16.7 (103)

GOALS:

Wanderers: C. Ormsby.
Pint: C. Morris 5, K. Smits 3, G. Cusack 2, J. Hewett 2, R. Pryer 2, S. Ingram, K. Streader.

BEST: 

Wanderers: M. Johnston, T. Davern, D. Peckham, C. Ormsby, S. De Satge, T. Parriman
Pint: A. Chittick, C. Henderson, J. Hewett, C. Morris, K. Streader

Pint maintained its flawless start to the season with a resounding 94-point win over Wanderers at TIO Oval on Saturday morning. The Queen Ants started steadily with a two-goal buffer at the first break, before piling on five goals in both the second and third terms to set up the big victory. All the while, Wanderers went scoreless, with Cassie Ormsby converting the Eagles’ first six-pointer in the final term en route to the 16.7 (103) to 1.3 (9) scoreline. It did little to arrest Pint’s momentum, as the victors also put through another four majors.

Casey Morris led a remarkable group of five multiple goalkickers for Pint, bagging a handful of goals while Kristen Smits (three) managed the next-best haul. Jasmyn Hewett was another to trouble the scorers with two majors as she was named among the Queenants’ best behind Amy Chittick and Cassie Henderson. Meanwhile, Morgan Johnston and Tishara Davern led the way for Wanderers alongside goalkicker, Ormsby as the Eagles fell to a second-consecutive defeat to sit seventh at 1-3. Pint is still riding high in top spot having knocked over every challenger thus far.

ST MARY’S | 3.1 | 7.2 | 9.8 | 11.10 (76)
NIGHTCLIFF | 1.2 | 2.2 | 4.2 | 5.2 (32)

GOALS:

St Mary’s: J. Anderson 3, A. Coombes 3, M. Long 2, J. Bryant, C. Whitfort, D. Ponter
Nightcliff: J. Anyon-Smith 3, L. Gooden, E. Wolsey

BEST:

St Mary’s: A. Coombes, D. Ponter, M. Williamson, S. Peris, J. Anderson, C. Whitfort
Nightcliff: K. Simmons, L. Gooden, J. Anyon-Smith

Finals ramifications were in play when St Mary’s and Nightcliff went to battle at TIO Stadium on Saturday morning, and it was the Saints who gained a big boost by becoming the first side to defeat the Tigers this season. The 44-point victory saw St Mary’s jump its opponent into second spot, with both sides currently boasting 3-1 records within the top five. A five-goal to one second term in favour of the victors did most of the damage, as Nightcliff failed to match the Saints’ firepower and fast ball movement throughout the contest.

Jasmine Anderson and Alana Coombes snared three goals apiece for the green and gold, with Michaela Long (two goals) rounding out St Mary’s multiple goalkickers. Up the other end, Jacqueline Anyon-Smith spearheaded the Tigers’ attack with three majors, as fellow goal-getter Lauren Gooden was named among the best behind Katrina Simmons. Coombes was adjudged St Mary’s best afield in front of Adelaide Crows AFLW livewire Danielle Ponter, as well as the likes of Megan Williamson and Claudia Whitford, who have enjoyed strong starts to the season among others.

WARATAH | 1.0 | 4.4 | 5.4 | 6.7 (43)
DARWIN | 2.3 | 4.4 | 5.8 | 7.8 (50)

GOALS:

Waratah: L. Miceli 5, L. Roberts
Darwin: J. Dodsworth 2, A. Bush, D. Ah Wang, S. Henry, M. Gargan, Z. Anderson

BEST:

Waratah: N/A
Darwin: M. Roberts, T. Hart-Aluni, K. Kurnoth, K. Hazlett, J. Iacono

Another top five clash rounded out the weekend proceedings, as Darwin defeated Waratah by seven points in by far the closest game of the round. Tahs’ were simply unable to catch the Buffettes back up after drawing level at half time, with a two-goal to one final term sealing the 7.8 (50) to 6.7 (43) win for Darwin. The result sees the Double Blues return to the winners list and gain a positive record, while Waratah slides to 1-2-1 and has not won since the opening round. However, the Warriors remain fifth having clinched a draw last time out.

It was not all bad for Waratah, especially given Lisa Miceli bagged an equal round-high five goals, with Lisa Roberts their side’s only other goalkicker. A more even spread saw Johanna Dodsworth (two goals) finish as Darwin’s lone multiple goalkicker, as five more Buffettes’ found the big sticks across the day. Unsurprisingly, Machaelia Roberts and Tayla Hart-Aluni fronted Darwin’s best players, with Jemma Iacono also instrumental in the win from defence. After the hotly-contested match, Waratah will look to rebound on the back of a bye next week.

Featured Image: Action from the NTFL Women’s Premier League clash between Darwin and Waratah | Credit: Celina Whan/AFLNT Media

2020 AFLW Draft review: Gold Coast Suns

NOW the AFL Women’s Draft is over, we take a look at each club, who they picked and what they might offer to their team next year. We continue our countdown with Gold Coast, a side that added the most draftees of any team, with a mix of youth and experience coming into the program for 2021 after reaching finals in their inaugural year.

Gold Coast:

#7 – Annise Bradfield (Southport/Queensland)
#23 – Sarah Perkins (Hawthorn VFLW)
#50 – Maddison Levi (Bond University/Queensland)
#54 – Janet Baird (Palmerston Magpies)
#57 – Lucy Single (Bond University)
#58 – Elizabeth Keaney (Southern Saints VFLW)
#60 – Daisy D’Arcy (Hermit Park/Queensland)
#61 – Wallis Randell (Bond University)

The Suns were able to make the most of a giant draft hall by picking up three AFL Women’s Academy members, a couple of mature-agers and even a forward with AFL Women’s experience by the time they had finished on draft night.

Annise Bradfield ended up being the Suns’ first selection with the talented midfielder one of the three AFL Women’s Academy members. Bradfield is capable of also playing forward and looks up to Katie Brennan as a similar player through both roles and their journeys – featuring setbacks. She will be one who can slot straight in if required.

Another player who can slot straight in is former Adelaide and Melbourne AFL Women’s forward, Sarah Perkins. Playing in her third state in as many years, Perkins nominated for Queensland and landed at the Suns’ with their second selection. She could provide that extra spark inside 50 and energy around a group of younger players, not to mention a key forward target.

Also inside 50, expect to see top-age AFL Women’s Academy key forward Maddison Levi alongside Perkins. With strong hands and a powerful kick, she represents a bargain at Pick 50, in the first of six selections by the Suns that were uninterrupted by their Queensland rivals, Brisbane.

Up the other end, is former Southern Saints defender Elizabeth Keaney. The 28-year-old will play off half-back and provide some drive for the Suns, while providing crucial experience from her time at the Saints and Melbourne University over the past few years.

A midfielder who has been known to role through defence, teenager Lucy Single hails from New Zealand having tried a number of sports including rugby sevens. An elite athlete, Single is readymade to come into the line-up after a huge season with Bond University in 2020.

The third and final AFL Women’s Academy member selected by the Suns is elite runner, Daisy D’Arcy. Capable of reaching the elite level in any sport she put her mind to, the midfielder can play in attack or defence as well. Whilst small in stature, D’Arcy could outrun and outwork just about any opponent with her ridiculous fitness base.

Janet Baird is a mature-age prospect who has been in draft calculations for a few years, but after some consistent form in the NTFL Women’s competition, has earned a place on the Suns’ list. She has clean hands at ground level or in the air, and some tricks up her sleeve making her a tricky player to contain whether it be through midfield, attack or defence.

Finally the eighth selection in the draft was Mackay’s Wallis Randell who has come through the Suns’ Academy. Another defender possessing great speed and neat decision making, Randell has transitioned from basketball to football. An over-ager who represented Bond University, she has come on quickly in a couple of years.

Overall the Suns picked up a bit of everything and will have even better depth coming into the 2021 AFL Women’s season.

Picture: Tertius Pickard/Gold Coast Bulletin

2020 AFL Women’s Draft preview: The next crop of young stars to find homes tonight

TONIGHT up to 61 players will live out their AFL Women’s dreams when the 14 clubs select the players to fill out the 2021 lists at the 2020 AFL Women’s Draft. Like most years, the AFL Women’s Draft still has state-based selections with Adelaide (South Australia) and GWS GIANTS (New South Wales) having sole priority to players that nominate that state. In Queensland (Brisbane and Gold Coast) and Western Australia (Fremantle and West Coast) the teams will split the players, whilst the remaining 10 teams will fight over the Victorian pool. The one major change is that there is only a Victorian pool, not split into Metropolitan and Geelong, so the Cats do not have priority on those from the region.

Richmond holds the all-important first pick in the draft which is expected to kick off from 7pm. There are a number of players the Tigers could select, but the frontrunner is Northern Knights’ star Ellie McKenzie, an inside midfielder who can play just about anywhere on the field and has been a proven talent for a number of years now.

[ … Ellie McKenzie feature … ]

Western Bulldogs traded up from Pick 3 to Pick 2 to ensure they could nab the second best player in the draft, with Tyanna Smith high up there in contention. The Dandenong Stingrays’ star has very few flaws in her game and has elite acceleration and a match-winning ability. The other one in contention if the Dogs opt to go tall could be another Northern Knights’ star in Alyssa Bannan as another forward option, as she can play tall or small and even push up into the midfield.

[ … Tyanna Smith feature … ] | [ … Alyssa Bannan feature … ]

Also in the mix for the top Victorian picks are Sandringham Dragons’ Sarah Hartwig, a rebounding defender who could fill the need at Melbourne with Pick 5. Whichever player is left of the trio, expect the Saints to pounce on with Pick 6 in what showcases the elite top-end talent of this year’s group. Another possibility for the pick could be Northern Knights’ Jess Fitzgerald if the Saints choose to add extra midfield class to their side.

[ … Sarah Hartwig feature … ] | [ … Jess Fitzgerald One to Watch  … ]

West Coast and Adelaide also have top five picks coming in at picks three and four, with the Eagles having a decision to make whether they go high-flying Shanae Davison from their own aligned-Academy or if they look at someone like Sarah Verrier, a Peel Thunder talent with a great blend of inside-outside traits or Bella Lewis a hardened midfielder who has been sensational this year. The Crows are expected to be a little more predictable, with Teah Charlton the standout prospect, though given they have a monopoly on the South Australian nominees, they can select anyone in any order.

[ … Shanae Davison feature … ] | [ … Sarah Verrier feature … ] | [… Bella Lewis … ] | [ … Teah Charlton feature … ]

Gold Coast becomes the first Queensland team into the draft at Pick 7, and with players still able to nominate the Gold Coast and Brisbane zones, a Suns Academy member such as Annise Bradfield, Daisy D’Arcy, Maddison Levi or Beth Pinchin could be among those in consideration. For the Lions a pick later, Zimmorlei Farquharson looms as the standout youngster in the group.

[ … Annise Bradfield … ] | [ … Daisy D’Arcy feature … ] | [ … Maddison Levi feature … ] | [ … Zimmorlei Farquharson feature … ]

The final pick inside the top 10 is Geelong and they have the most interesting selection with the top group likely off the board, it is an even balance of players they could choose from. If they opt to go local – knowing they do not have priority – then perhaps the skill and class of Falcons’ Darcy Moloney could be an option. If they want to go a little taller, then Isabelle Pritchard could head down the highway from the Western Jets and provide a strong inside presence, or they could look to a proven big-game performer in Northern Knights’ Fitzgerald.

[ … Darcy Moloney feature … ] | [ … Isabelle Pritchard feature … ]

Western Bulldogs become the first team to make their second selection at Pick 11, which is effectively Pick 6 from the Victorian draft. If they went Smith in the first selection, they could look to go taller here and look to someone like Bulldogs’ supporter Pritchard or perhaps consider Murray Bushrangers’ key forward Olivia Barber. If they went for Bannan with their second selection, perhaps Fitzgerald is one to join the ranks as yet another Knight, whilst the likes of classy forward Bella Eddey or outside mover Mimi Hill could come into consideration through the first round.

[ … Olivia Barber feature … ] | [ … Bella Eddey feature … ] | [ … Mimi Hill feature … ]

Carlton enter the draft at Pick 12, and the names already raised in Fitzgerald, Hill and Eddey could be around the mark, though if they want to add an inside midfielder, then perhaps Falcons’ Laura Gardiner could be a suggestion. North Melbourne are next up and will also be keen to add another midfielder to the ranks, and try and predict what Melbourne (Picks 15 and 17) and Western Bulldogs (Pick 16) are going to do. If the Dees did not end up with Hartwig, then they could look at Dandenong Stingrays’ Zoe Hill with a selection, or if Pritchard has somehow slid, she is another defensive option.

[ … Laura Gardiner feature … ] | [ … Zoe Hill feature … ]

The West Australian teams squeeze in between the Victorian ones, with Fremantle likely to grab one of Verrier or Bella Lewis at the pick. Both are Fremantle-aligned and the Dockers know they can have an immediate impact in last year’s unbeaten side. The Eagles could look to Davison – if not already taken – or the classy Mikayla Morrison with this selection, or go for the ready-made Nyra Anderson at Pick 18.

[ … Bella Lewis feature … ] | [ … Mikayla Morrison feature … ] | [ … Nyra Anderson feature … ]

The last team to enter the draft is Collingwood with Pick 19 the Magpies’ first selection. Expect that to be Tarni Brown because on talent alone she is a top 10 pick, so the black and white army will gladly use their first pick on the Eastern Ranges’ jet. They will look to add some more midfield options, and she adds some extra speed and class to the team. Expect Alice Burke to be read out at the Saints’ Pick 24 – again great value – otherwise anything else is a bargain.

[ … Tarni Brown feature … ] | [ … Alice Burke feature … ]

The draft crop becomes so even outside of that top 20, with so many talented players fighting for spots on AFL Women’s lists. Ash Woodland and Georgia Nanscawen are readymade prospects who can impact immediately at AFL Women’s level, whilst Alana Barba, Shanara Notman, Nikia Webber, Amber Ward and Mattea Breed are all talls who have an extra year of experience as over-agers. Not holding a Draft Combine invite per say, South Australian duo Rachelle Martin and Matilda Zander would be a couple of others on clubs radars as ones who can make an immediate impact.

Some former basketballers who have crossed to football in the last 12-18 months are Amelia Velardo, Annabel Strahan and Carly Remmos, whilst Jess Matin (cricket) and Charlie Vandenberg (hockey) are among others who have forced high-level careers in other sports. Queenslanders, Christine Okesene, Brooke Spence, Laura Blue and Lucy Single are others who have transferred from various codes over the years.

From a Victorian perspective, among other names in various midfield positions are outside midfielder, Abbey Jordan and Joanna Lin, inside midfielders, Brooke Hards, Olivia Meagher and Winnie Laing, balanced midfielders Eliza McNamara, Megan Fitzsimon and Maeve Chaplin. Meanwhile the standout ruck is Maggie Caris.

Up forward, Renee Saulitis is the most dangerous small forward, whilst Isabella Simmons is a taller option, and Abbi Moloney a rapidly improving player. In defence, Ash Snow has great speed, while the likes of Jemma Finning, Mietta Kendall and Amber Micallef have all produced great seasons. As some raw talents, Alice O’Loughlin and Alice Astbury have had glimpses in the few games they have played, whilst Grace McRae and Daisy Walker have been valuable across multiple positions though predominantly in the middle.

From South Australia, Indy Tahau is the other star top-ager who is likely to join her South Adelaide teammate Charlton at the Crows, whilst for NSW/ACT,  Murray Bushrangers’ Abby Favell, midfielder-defender Emily Pease and surprise packet Kiara Beesley were among the Draft Combine invites. From the Northern Territory, top-ager Stephanie Williams leads the charge and has nominated Victoria, while Freda Puruntatameri – who played some games for Calder Cannons – and mature-ager Janet Baird have all caught the eye.

Out west, mature-agers Sarah Wielstra (25 years-old) and 20-year-olds, Ella Smith, Rosie Walsh and Jess Low all earned combine invites. Meanwhile from the top-age group, twins Brianna and Mikayla Hyde have impressed moving into the midfield this season, while leading forward Maggie MacLachlan is another player in contention to be drafted.

[ … FOR FULL FEATURES ON MORE THAN 80 PLAYERS HEAD TO OUR AFLW FEATURES PAGE … ]

TEAM-BY-TEAM PICKS:

Adelaide: 4, 45, 47
Brisbane: 8, 37, 38
Carlton: 12, 28, 36
Collingwood: 19, 25, 26, 31, 33
Fremantle: 14, 30, 46
Geelong: 10, 20, 21, 27, 39
Gold Coast: 7, 23, 50, 54, 57, 58, 60, 61
GWS: 9, 29, 42
Melbourne: 5, 15, 17, 35, 41, 48
North Melbourne: 13, 22, 44, 49, 55
Richmond: 1, 43, 52
St Kilda: 6, 24, 34, 40, 51
West Coast: 3, 18, 32, 53, 56, 59
Western Bulldogs: 2, 11, 16

Ponter claims impressive win in NT All-Stars match

DOMINIQUE Carbone celebrated her 19th birthday in style with an impressive performance that helped Team Ponter record a 28-point victory over Team Hewett in humid conditions for the Northern Territory AFL Women’s All-Star game on Friday night. The over-ager won plenty of the ball and was prolific throughout the four quarters, and clearly one of the best on ground. Top-age forward Ashanti Bush deserved that honour, looking ever dangerous, booting a goal and almost having a few more as the inaccurate Ponter dominated for most of the contest to record an inaccurate, but effective 5.11 (41) to 2.1 (13) win.

The age of talent on display was a real mix from mature-age players who have already tasted AFL Women’s football in Jasmyn Hewett – who captained the team named after her – to the 15-year-old Maria Rioli who certainly caught the eye as a future Richmond father-daughter selection. But it was the work of Bush, Carbone and the classy Janet Baird who caught the eye, as well as future stars Grace Whittaker and Annabel Kievet who are in the Under 16s and Under 15s respectively.

For Hewett, it was the work of middle-age talent Georgia Johnson alongside Morgan Johnston who provided good dash from the back half and through the midfield. Hewett did all she could with some contested ball-winning ability in each third of the ground. Along with the experienced AFL Women’s talent, Freda Puruntatameri showed why she earned an AFL Women’s Draft Combine invitation, kicking a second quarter goal and then going into defence and showing class.

Aside from the first half of the opening term where Team Hewett had a number of attacking players, it was predominantly Team Ponter, with a broken tackle by Katie Streader at half-forward helping lead to a Baird goal on the fun despite the best efforts of Hewett in defence. It was the only major of the term, with Kyanne Campbell kicking a behind for Hewett not long after, but missed a set shot, as did Hewett, who could have edged the margin closer than the seven points at quarter time.

Carbone was ever prolific and soon it was Kievet who added to the lead in the opening minute when she was awarded a free kick and an opposition player ran straight through the mark. On the back of a 50m penalty she made no mistake and put it straight through, and then Sarah Ingram made it two majors for the term. Johnston had a highlight passage of play five minutes in by dancing around not one, not two but three opponents and kicking forward, while Johnson continually mopped up in defence. Soon the hard work on defence resulted in a goal for Hewett as Puruntatameri intercepted a ball at half-forward, sold some candy and sidestepped an opponent to kick her side’s first major on the run.

Whittaker was really stepping up through the midfield with some great athleticism, with her and Kievet trying to break the game open. The experience of Hewett and former Western Bulldogs VFL Women’s captain Mickayla Ward was telling in the back half, stemming the flow and reducing the scoreboard impact for Ponter.

The game was all but put to bed early in the third with back-to-back goals to Team Ponter as Bush took a strong mark out in front, then after missing a target, ran hard forward, roved the pack and kicked it to the square where Molly Althouse did the rest on the line. After an assist, Bush went it alone, read the ball of the bounce perfectly inside 50, running goalside, took it cleanly and put it home. Another chance by the exciting top-ager just missed to the right in what could have been a huge performance from her. While Hewett was unable to score in the term, Ponter missed a number of opportunities after kicking 2.0 to start the term, then kicking 0.6 for the rest of it.

Nonetheless, Ponter was all but home with a 33-point lead at the final break. Baird’s class in patches was telling and with the work of Whittaker and Carbone still have an influence, Ponter was able to hold on despite just kicking the one behind in the final term. J’Noemi Anderson – sister of North Melbourne’s Jed – showed class with a clever spin and kick forward early in the last, but it was Campbell who kicked the easiest of goals off the back of great work from Kaitey Whittaker who got it goalside for her teammate.

Just one behind was scored in the last 10 minutes of the game, but the likes of Johnston and Ward in defence, and Hewett across the ground was important. Team Ponter had plenty of winners across the field, with Bella Clarke another one who had a couple of opportunities playing forward, unfortunately dropping a mark a split second before the siren and as she went to play on and snap for goal in the forward pocket, the siren sounded. In the end, Team Ponter had got up, 5.11 (41) to 2.1 (13) in a showcase of the Northern Territory’s best talent.

TEAM PONTER 1.2 | 3.4 | 5.10 | 5.11 (41)
TEAM HEWETT 0.1 | 1.1 | 1.1 | 2.1 (13)

GOALS:

Ponter: J. Baird, A. Kievet, S. Ingram, M. Althouse, A. Bush.
Hewett: F. Puruntatameri, K. Campbell.

ADC BEST:

Ponter: A. Bush, D. Carbone, J. Baird, G. Whittaker, A. Kievet
Hewett: M. Johnston, G. Johnson, J. Hewett, F. Puruntatameri, M. Ward

Picture credit: AFL Photos

NTFL Women’s Premier League: Week 1 Finals – Crocs look to recreate Waratah upset as four teams face elimination

AFTER a long season in the Northern Territory Football League (NTFL) Women’s Premier League, just six teams remain in the competition, with back-to-back premiers Waratah favourites, though they face a team that has toppled them twice. Darwin and Nightcliff have beaten the top two teams at different points, while Palmerston have the depth to challenge any team and Pint will relish the underdog status.

PALMERSTON MAGPIES vs. PINT
Elimination Final 2
Saturday, February 2, 12.30pm
TIO Stadium

Opening up a huge day at TIO Stadium from the Women’s Premier League perspective, third placed Palmerston Magpies go head-to-head with sixth placed Pint. The Queen Ants only just squeezed into the finals on percentage, having won one less game than the seventh placed Wanderers, but drew one and benefited from Big River Hawks’ being removed from the league to earn the rights to sixth spot. The lower ranked side comes win with some solid form, having won three of its last four games, albeit two of those wins came against teams not in the top six. The Queen Ants’ victory against Darwin Buffettes last week would give them confidence heading into this encounter, considering the last time these sides faced, it ended up a 39-point win to the Magpies. In their Round 1 encounter, Palmerston also got up, but by just two points on the same ground. The Magpies also enter the game on the back of some strong form, smashing fifth placed Nightcliff by 48 points, pummelling St Mary’s by 142, and then comfortably keeping Wanderers out of the finals race with a 36-point victory in Round 18. Heading into this do-or-die elimination final, Pint will hope to repeat the upset win over Darwin last week, which saw Kristen Smits and Jessie Baumer both boot two goals in the 6.7 (43) to 3.1 (19) triumph. With star player, Jasmyn Hewett now back in the AFL Women’s the Queen Ants have relied upon their next tier of players to stand up. Among those who could be ones to watch in the upcoming match are Erin Hetherington and Amy Pennefather, while Jacqueline Downey also hit the scoreboard last week, her ninth goal from 14 games. For the Magpies, they have a stacked team that can challenge anyone on their day, but also need a bit of luck to take down the top two sides. Billie Byers has been the star through the season, named in the best 11 times from 16 games, while Iesha Ronberg and Janet Baird are also impressive talents. Led by a host of teenagers in Arthurina Moreen (36 goals) and Freda Puruntatameri (24) – who will play for Calder Cannons in the NAB League Girls competition this season – they will look to use all the firepower they can to knock Pint out of contention and move themselves one win away from a Grand Final place.

DARWIN BUFFETTES vs. NIGHTCLIFF
Elimination Final 1
Saturday, February 22, 2.30pm
TIO Oval No. 2

Darwin will be kicking itself after its loss last week to Pint, robbing the Buffettes of third spot and a guaranteed chance at a Grand Final spot with a win in the elimination final. The Buffettes can still set up a likely clash with Waratah if they win, but need the Queen Ants to cause an upset in the other semi-final to ensure the state’s capital side is the highest ranked elimination final winner. It will not be an easy feat against Nightcliff however, with the Tigers only finishing a couple of wins behind, though granted their percentage was the worst of any side in the top six, and the only team under 100 per cent. These teams both come into this clash with less-than-ideal form, having lost their last two. The most recent win for Nightcliff – who had a bye in Round 18 last week – came against Darwin back in Round 15, when they booted 4.6 (30) to the Buffettes’ 4.3 (27). There was not much in the game, and it turned the tables on the two teams’ earlier result which saw the Buffettes run away with a 31-point victory after restricting the Tigers to just one goal in the match back in Round 5. Nightcliff has a couple of players who have been ultra-consistent throughout the season, with Eliza Morrison and Emma-Lou Wolsey both named among their side’s best on 11 occasions. VFL Women’s Grand Final captain, Western Bulldogs’ Mickayla Ward has also been a welcome addition to the NTFL Women’s Premier League, booting 11 goals from 10 games and named in the best on seven occasions. Laura De Hommel and Shantel Miskin-Ripia are other talents who have been consistent performers throughout the 2019/20 season. The Buffettes have an array of depth across their team, with youngster Dominique Carbone really taking her game to the next level this season, combining with fellow teenager, Tayla Hart-Aluni and the experienced Kylie Duggan across the ground. Hart-Aluni leads the side’s goalkicking with 17 majors from 16 games, while Delsey Ah Wang has a goal a game from 13 matches. Throw in the likes of Jemma Iacono and Bianca Stokes, and the Buffettes have such a strong side that they will be keen to take the next step and bounce back from back-to-back losses with a win in the elimination final.

WARATAH vs. SOUTHERN DISTRICTS
Qualifying Final
Saturday, February 22, 2.30pm
TIO Stadium

Whilst the elimination final between the Buffettes and Tigers takes place on TIO Oval No 2, the all-important qualifying final clash between Waratah and Southern Districts follows on from the Palmerston-Pint elimination final match on TIO Stadium. These sides are no stranger to going deep in the finals series, playing off in last year’s decider. While it was the Crocs’ first grand final in the competition, the ‘Tahs have been the dominant side of the past decade. Since the 2012/13 season, Waratah has won six of a possible seven flags, often with comfortable margins in the Grand Final. They have dropped just the one decider – to Darwin in 2016/17, where they went down in a shock 18-point defeat. Now heading for a three peat and seven from a possible eight, the minor premiers will be hard to stop in this game. If there is a side to do it, then it is arguably the Crocs who have inflicted two defeats against the top side, though one of those was reversed back in Round 1 for having two extra players on the bench. They copped it back-to-back for the same offence in the opening two Rounds, so despite winning those games, two of the Crocs’ five losses have come from forfeits. The other three have come against Darwin twice – who appear to be the Crocs’ danger side – and Nightcliff by two points. For Waratah, the loss to Southern Districts in Round 11 will be fresh in the minor premiers’ mind, but so will the defeat to the Tigers a week later in what was a forgettable fortnight. Given that the Crocs completely outplayed them in Round 1 even with the extra couple of rotations, Waratah would be well aware of just how dangerous this game is. They come in off the back of an easy 100-point win over Tracy Village, but challenging contests against Darwin and Pint in the lead-up to that final round clash will have hardened the team for battle here. Both of these teams have plenty of stars running around, with Lisa Roberts arguably the standout player in the top side, having been named in the best 10 times from 17 games and booting 20 goals in that time. Rebecca Pryer is also a consistent player, while Claudia Fabris and Isabella Rapson-Staropoli have well supported them at the top-end. Lauren O’Shea (21 goals) leads the team’s goalkicking, while Jenna Singh (19) makes it three players with a combined 60 goals between them. The key for Waratah will be to stop goalkicking machine, Ebony Miller who has simply been unstoppable this season for the Crocs, booting 59 goals from 14 games. The next highest goal kicker for Southern Districts is Kelsey Patterson with 10, meaning if Miller can be stopped, so too can the Crocs. With three bags of 10 – granted against the bottom three sides – Evans certainly padded her total, but still managed to kick multiple goals in every game bar two this season. From the team perspective, Tahlia Holtze and April Lewis are aiming the consistently strong players, as are young guns, Bella Clarke and Lateesha Jeffrey and Mattea Breed, with Clarke and Breed now running out in the SANFL Women’s competition which has begun. Waratah will start favourites, but Southern Districts have the recipe to win, which makes this a tantalising contest.

NTFL Women’s Premier League: Round 18 – Waratah and Southern District put on scintillating performance

THE final round of the Northern Territory Football League Women’s (NTFLW) saw the top teams such as Waratah and Southern District once again flex their muscles, while it also featured a surprise upset with the Buffettes stunned in their clash. It marked the final game of the home and away season for Tracy Village, St Mary’s and Wanderers who will all be looking ahead to a bigger and better 2020/21 season.

TRACY VILLAGE 0.0 | 0.1 | 0.1 | 0.1 (1)
WARATAH 4.9 | 6.11 | 10.12 | 14.17 (101)

GOALS:

Tracy Village: N/A.
Waratah: L. Roberts 5, M. Hunter 3, A. Chittick 2, G. Cusack, M. Gissing, T. O’Hehir, B. Martin.

BESTS:

Tracy Village: N/A
Waratah: C. Fabris, M. Hunter, T. O”Hehir, B. Martin, I. Rapson-Staropoli

It was a convincing performance from Waratah who dismantled Tracy Village to run out 100-point victors. The Tahs’ were on from the get-go establishing an early lead and not looking back gradually adding to the margin. Tracy Village’s only score came in the second quarter with most of the game one way traffic heading towards Waratahs forward. They proved too strong across the board putting up a wall in defence and simply attacking the scoreboard any time an opportunity came their way. Waratah managed four goals each quarter apart from the second when it only recorded two majors but suffered from inaccuracy with 17 points to its name. Lisa Roberts was a real live wire up forward for Waratah helping herself to five goals, while Monet Hunter also chipped in with three majors of her own, keeping her strong form in front of goal well and truly alive. Amy Chittick also made an impact inside the forward arc with two majors while Tarryn O’Heir and Breanna Martin were both named in the bests for their impressive efforts. Isabella Rapson-Staropoli shone bright once again with her ability to find the footy. It was a disappointing outing for Tracy Village with the likes of Alex Lang, Catherine White and Aeysha Angel digging deep but unfortunately it was not enough to trouble the scoreboard with Waratah simply unstoppable in every aspect.

SOUTHERN DISTRICT 5.5 | 8.8 | 13.10 | 19.17 (131)
ST MARYS 0.0 | 0.0 | 0.0 | 0.0 (0)

GOALS:

Southern Districts: E. Miller 10, K. Marsden 2, G. Mulvahil 2, T. Holtze, D. Lee-Feeney, M. Craufurd, M. Clarke, G. Stiles.
St Mary’s: N/A.

BESTS:

Southern Districts: E. Miller, M. Nankervis, T. Thornton, K. Waterbury, K. Marsden
St Mary’s: N/A

Southern District pummelled St Mary’s by a whopping 131 points in what was a complete and utter one-sided affair. The Southern Districts win never really looked in doubt with the home team quickly asserting themselves on their opponents. A five-goal first quarter set the tone for the match, and although they had a quieter second term, they picked up the pace after half-time with accuracy proving no real issue. St Mary’s failed to stop the forward momentum of District consistently outnumbered at the contest and unable to move out of their back half. In the past three games Ebony Miller, has nailed a staggering 22 goals 10 of which came in this performance highlighting just how much of a presence she has up forward and her goal sense. Miller provided a constant option inside 50 but she was not the only one to get on the board with debutante Kasey Marsden managing two goals and Grace Mulvahil also nailing two majors to extend her sides lead. The scoring load was further spread across a host of players with Tahlia Holtze, Megan Craufurd and Maili Clarke getting amongst the action with a goal apiece while Malory Nankervis made her way into the bests for a second consecutive week. Aaliyah Bailey and Ashlee Harris combined well for St Mary’s but it was not enough to quell the constant onslaught from Southern District.

PINT 4.3 | 5.5 | 5.6 | 6.7 (43)
DARWIN BUFFETTES 0.0 | 0.1 | 1.1 | 3.1 (19)

GOALS:

Pint: K. Smits 2, J. Baumer 2, J. Downey, C. Henderson.
Darwin Buffettes: C. Browne, T. Bullen, B. Stokes.

BESTS:

Pint: N/A
Darwin Buffettes: J. Dodsworth, D. Carbone, K. Duggan, B. Stokes, C. Boyd

The biggest upset of the round came at the hands of Pint downing the fourth placed Darwin Buffettes in convincing fashion. Pint got the early ascendancy leaving the Buffettes stunned and unable to get their usual ball movement up and running. Darwin were rendered goalless in the opening half credit to Pint’s extreme pressure, while the home side piled on five goals to all but end any chance of a comeback. Pint had answers for everything their opposition threw at them and while they were slightly inaccurate in front of the big sticks they did enough to get over the line and limit the Buffettes from getting a real run at it. Kristen Smits and Jessie Baumer both hit the scoreboard once again for Pint with four goals collectively while Cassie Henderson rounded out the scoring contingent with a goal of her own.  For Darwin, Crystal Browne, Tameka Bullen and Bianca Stokes shared the load but their efforts fell short unable to register enough opportunities to hit the scoreboard and turn the tables. Youngster Dominique Carbone worked diligently for each and every ball that came her way named in the bests for the third consecutive week with teammate Kylie Duggan also plying her trade across the ground.

PALMERSTON 2.5 | 3.6 | 5.9 | 9.9 (63)
WANDERERS 0.0 | 3.1 | 3.2 | 4.3 (27)

GOALS:

Palmerston: L. Motlap 3, J. Brock 2, A. Moreen, M. Frank, I. Ronberg, W. Barlow.
Wanderers: N/A.

BESTS:

Palmerston: J. Brock, J. Baird, T. May, L. Motlap, C. Delacoeur, K. White
Wanderers: N/A

The final game of the round saw Palmerston once again showcase their strength against the seventh placed Wanderers with a solid 36-point win. The Magpies were in complete control from the first whistle but were plagued with inaccuracy scoring five behinds. Things evened up in the second term with the Wanderers piling on the pressure and getting back within a mere five points thanks to three goals. But that did not last long with Palmerston hitting back after half time and running away with the game and keeping the Wanderers to just one major. Palmerston’s attacking 50 was dictated by Laquioya Motlap with the forward booting three goals with teammate Jessie Brock also chiming in with two goals of her own. Arthurina Moreen continued her hot form in front of goal recording yet another major while Iesha Ronberg also contributed to the winning score line with a goal. Cammie Delacoeur plied her trade for the Magpies with Janet Baird also making her presence felt in the victory. Muk Muks duo Lucille Motlop and Shekeine De Stage worked tirelessly but ultimately could not stop the Magpies from powering on.

NTFL Women’s Premier League: Round 17 – Magpies and Wanderers flex muscles

ROUND 17 of the Northern Territory Football League Women’s (NTFLW) marked another mixed bag of results with two blowout games and a tight battle between one and two on the ladder. There were plenty of stellar individual performances in front of goal with two players finishing the round with seven and eight goals respectively.

PALMERSTON MAGPIES 5.4 | 11.7 | 17.11 | 21.16 (142)
ST MARYS 0.0 | 0.0 | 0.0 | 0.0 (0)

GOALS:

Magpies: F. Puruntatameri 8, A. Moreen 3, J. Brock 3, N. Medbury 3, M. Brown 2, L. Motlap, T. May.
St Mary’s: N/A.

BESTS:

Magpies: F. Puruntatameri, J. Brock, B. Joran, T. May, B. Byers, J. Baird
St Mary’s: N/A

The Palmerston Magpies were in complete control from the get-go and kept their foot on the throat throughout all four quarters, ultimately pummelling the lowly Saints. The Magpies were simply unstoppable beating St Mary’s at every contest and most importantly capitalising on their opportunities despite kicking 16 behinds. Their physical pressure was intense, blocking the Saints’ every opportunity to push forward and using their attacking play to run rampant and continuously pepper the goals. Freda Puruntatameri was in a league of her own inside forward 50 for the Magpies, finding the big sticks with ease to walk away with an eight-goal haul and take her season tally to 24 goals, while Arthurina Moreen showcased her goal sense in bagging three majors. Moreen was not alone with Jessie Brock and Natasha Medbury also nailing three goals apiece to rub insult into wounds. St Mary’s failed to register a single point such was the Magpies’ pressure and hunt on the footy. Tabitha May and Janet Baird were prominent across the board for the Magpies consistently finding the pill and using it to full effect while St Mary’s duo Rachel Ponter and Sharna Edwards were consistent despite the thumping.

NIGHTCLIFF 0.0 | 0.1 | 0.1 | 0.4 (4)
SOUTHERN DISTRICTS 1.5 | 3.7 | 6.9 | 7.10 (52)

GOALS:

Nightcliff: N/A/
Southern Districts: E. Miller 2, B. Clarke 2, T. Holtze, G. Mulvahil, A. Lewis.

BESTS:

Nightcliff: L. de Hommel, E. Wolsey, K. Hill-Carter
Southern Districts: L. Jeffrey, M. Nankervis, B. Clarke, T. Holtze, R. Busch

The clash between fourth and fifth did not live up to the hype with the Southern Districts making light work of Nightcliff and rendering them goalless. Although it was a slow start for Districts they steadily built into the game but were plagued by inaccuracy, recording more points than goals (7.10). But that did not seem to deter the outcome with the Districts running out quite comfortably against Nightcliff who simply could not get going. Nightcliff did not manage a score in the opening term credit to Southern Districts’ extreme pressure which they applied throughout the match. Ebony Miller led from the front once again for Southern Districts finding the big sticks and converting, finishing with two goals to her name while Bella Clarke also troubled the scorers with two majors to her name. Grace Mulvahil returned to the goal kickers list in her sides’ win while Tahlia Holtze also nailed a goal in what was a complete performance by Districts. Although they struggled to get on the scoreboard, the trio of Laura De Hommel, Emma-Lou Wolsey and Kirra Hill-Carter worked tirelessly to add some respectability to the outcome of the game.

WANDERERS 6.5 | 10.8 | 14.12 | 20.18 (138)
TRACY VILLAGE 0.0 | 1.0 | 1.0 | 1.1 (7)

GOALS:

Wanderers: T. Davern 7, J. Chevalier 3, P. Koulakis 2, I. Schober, A. Lee, K. De Satge.
Tracy Village: N/A.

BESTS:

Wanderers: S. Mauboy, T. Davern, S. De Satge, D. Peckham, P. Koulakis
Tracy Village: N/A

Wanderers trounced the out of-form Tracy Village with a whopping 131-point victory. The Eagles got off to a flying start piling on six goals in the opening term – the equal highest of the game – showcasing their ability to turn and just go bang. Tracy Village struggled to find any synergy across the field credit to Wanderers’ pressure and strength around the coal face to win the ball and bomb it forward. Tishara Davern was in blistering form with the 19-year-old lighting it up in front of goal with seven majors. Davern gobbled up anything that came her way inside forward 50 while Jaylene Chevalier made her presence felt with three goals and Pierre-Angelique Koulakis also hit the scoreboard with two majors of her own. Keyona De Satge and Sophie Mauboy showed their worth being named in the bests for their efforts for Wanderers. In what has been a trying season for Tracy Village Lisa-Maree Toner and Zhoe Clarke notched up their 16th game of the season to highlight their durability, reliability and consistency.

DARWIN BUFFETTES 0.0 | 0.2 | 1.4 | 3.4 (22)
WARATAH 1.1 | 2.2 | 2.5 | 4.6 (30)

GOALS:

Darwin Buffettes: T. Hart-Aluni 2, J. Iacono.
Waratah: M. Yarran 2, M. Hunter, L. O”Shea.

BESTS:

Darwin Buffettes: B. Stokes, M. Turner, D. Carbone, J. Iacono, T. Hart-Aluni
Waratah: L. Roberts, S. Nalder, G. Cusack, M. Gault, P. Cox

The top of the table clash brought plenty of excitement with only eight points separating the teams at the final siren. Waratah drew on every bit of class and composure in the dying stages of the game to prevail and really stamp their authority on the competition heading into finals. The Buffettes struggled to get on the board early, going scoreless in the first quarter but a fourth quarter comeback almost gifted them that all-elusive win against the top of the table Waratah. Youngster Tayla Hart-Aluni led the way in attack for the Buffettes slotting two timely goals to keep her side in the hunt while Jemma Iacono also played her role in the attacking 50 with a major. Dominique Carbone continues to get better as time goes on for the ‘Tahs while Meredith Turner was named in the best for the second time in three weeks highlighting her hot form. Despite their best efforts the Warriors seemed to have all the answers with Madison Yarran doing damage on the scoreboard with two goals, while Lauren O’Shea and Monet Hunter also chipped in to get their side over the line. Sue Nalder backed up her strong performance from last week with another solid outing while Pippa Cox made her presence felt for Waratah.

BYE: Pint

NTFL Women’s Premier League preview: Round 12 – Top four clash to set the tone for second half of the season

ROUND 12 is the first round back for the 2019/20 season after Christmas with a number of big matches on the cards this week. With that comes the first Friday night match of the season on top of a number of close encounters that could see the ladder change drastically.

Palmerston Magpies v. Darwin Buffettes
Round 12 – 3/1/20
7:00pm
TIO Oval 2

The opening match between Palmerston Magpies and Darwin Buffettes is set to be the top four matchup of the round, with third taking on second in what is likely to be a close encounter. It was inaccuracy that let the Magpies down last time the sides met with the Buffs trailing until the final quarter, booting three goals nil to finish the match. Tabitha May and Bianca Stokes were the top players for their respective sides while Arthurina Moreen and Michelle Ellis booted two apiece. Billie Byers, Iesha Ronberg and Janet Baird have been among the top performers for the Magpies while Moreen leads the goalkicking tally with 20 goals from nine matches. For the Buffettes, the loss of Machaelia Roberts certainly put a spanner in the works through early patches of the season, though the likes of Kylie Duggan, Jemma Iacono and Tayla Hart-Aluni have  well and truly picked up the slack alongside a further 20 multiple goalkickers.

Tracy Village v. Big River Hawks
Round 12 – 4/1/20
12:00pm
Gardens Oval

Tracy Village will look for their second win of the season in this match while Big River Hawks are in ultimately the best position to win their first match for the season to start 2020 on a high. While both sides have struggled this season, often rendered scoreless, the two sides went toe-to-toe last time they met with the Razorbacks only just running over the Hawks in a close see-sawing encounter. Tracy Village’s Nickesha Jones was the topscorer for the afternoon with two goals to her name but hasn’t been able to string consistent matches this season, though she still sits even for goalkicking in the side with Bonnie McDougall also sitting on two goals from 10 games. Alexandra Biggs, Gabrielle Young and Tara Everett have also proved consistent throughout the season. For Hawks, Crystal Brown, Cammie Delacoeur, Deanna Peckham and Jayde De La Coeur have been the key performers all season despite the side not managing to put any wins on the board.

St Mary’s v. Wanderers
Round 12 – 4/1/20
2:30pm
TIO Oval 2

The last encounter between these two sides saw Wanderers get over the line against St Mary’s in a close battle, with the Wanderers going scoreless in the first term before sparking a final quarter comeback, booting three goals to nil to win the game and keep St Mary’s goalless after halftime. While the two sides sit apart on ladder standings in eighth and fifth respectively, they are only separated by one win meaning this will be a very interesting battle with plenty to work for. Both sides come into this match off the back of wins last round with key players around the ground, with the Eagles’ Morgan Johnston, Sophia Mauboy and Shekeine De Satge consistent to a ‘T’ with De Satge leading the goalkicking tally for the side on 10 for the season. Meanwhile at St Mary’s, not one player has taken the field in every single game, with Sharna Edwards one of four who has played 10 of 11 for the season with plenty of young talent and inexperience being tested every week.

Southern Districts v. Pint
Round 12 – 4/1/20
5:00pm
TIO Oval 2

A second high-stakes match for the round will see Southern Districts in fourth take on Pint in sixth, with Pint only one win and a draw behind Districts after 11 rounds despite a massive 73 point Round 3 loss to the Crocs. Ebony Miller well and truly opened her account for the Crocs last time these two sides met, booting five alongside Mickaela Derschow who booted two but hasn’t put consistent games together. Tahlia Holtze and Charles Deegan have been among the most consistent for the side with four and three times in best respectively, while Miller has well and truly proved herself as the key player to stop up forward with 31 goals to her name from nine matches. For the Queen Ants, Emma Greaves and Erin Hetherington have been among the most consistent having taken the field for every match this season while Jasmyn Hewett is the side’s leading goalkicker with 10 to her name from eight games.

Nightcliff v. Waratah
Round 12 – 5/1/20
5:00pm
TIO Stadium

Nightcliff got away easy last time they took on the reigning premiers, with Waratah disappointingly inaccurate in front of goal and only managing four goals despite the 40 point margin. Jenna Singh and Jordan Smyth impressed for Waratah last time these sides met while Lisa Roberts and Rebecca Pryer have been named in the best seven times since then, while Lauren O’Shea is the current leading goalkicker for the side with 16 goals from 10 matches. For Nightcliff, Laura de Hommel and Hannah Turnbull were among the best in Round 3 despite the side being rendered goalless, while Emma-Lou Wolsey, Mickayla Ward and Shantel Miskin-Ripia have been consistent performers across the season combining for 20 goals across their combined 19 best-on-ground listings. This match between seventh and top of the ladder is set to be an interesting one, with both sides looking for a win this week after respective defeats in Round 11.