Tag: jasmyn hewett

2020 AFLW Preview: Round 6 – Dees and Blues face off in conference-defining clash

ROUND 6 of AFL Women’s 2020 begins the race to finals with only two rounds to follow and still plenty of changes that could take place on both conference ladders. A few key wins are up for grabs with Richmond still hoping for an inaugural win while North Melbourne and Fremantle will both want to keep top spot on their respective leaderboards. Meanwhile, Melbourne and Carlton will battle it out in what looks like the match of the round.

Geelong v. North Melbourne
Friday 13 March, 7:10pm
GMHBA Stadium

Taylah Melki

The Cats host North Melbourne under lights on Friday night. Geelong currently sit fourth on the ladder while the Kangaroos have first spot locked up. North are on a four game winning streak and will be hoping to extend their run of hot form against a trying Geelong side who have won their past two games.

Although Geelong do not have a host of big name recruits, it is their brigade of young guns that is the most damaging aspect of their side. In her first uninterrupted season, Nina Morrison has enjoyed her time out on the park with her natural ball winning ability, game sense and dynamism on full display. Fellow second year player Olivia Purcell will also be hoping to continue her dominant form in the hotly contested match while the bull-like Richelle Cranston has impressed so far this season with her dash across the ground. Renee Garing has been another consistent performer for the Cats while Aasta O’Connor will once again be hoping to show her aerial strength with her marking ability. A livewire up forward, Phoebe McWilliams will be another to keep an eye on given her ability to bob up and hit the scoreboard while Anna Teague will be hoping to add to their goalkicking tally.

North Melbourne have gone from strength to strength so far this season with Emma Kearney leading the way with her contested ball work. Kearney is in a league of her own, constantly working hard to win the footy at the coalface while also showcasing her impressive defensive efforts laying strong tackles. Jenna Bruton is another key contributor for the Roos with her brute force while the likes of Ash Riddell and Jasmine Garner have upped their intensity throughout the season to round out a formidable side. Garner not only increased her influence around the footy but her presence in front of goal too, making her a key component to the Roos’ forward line. Kaitlyn Ashmore is coming off a four goal haul, an effort she will be hoping to repeat this round while Sophie Abbatangelo is also handy in front of the big sticks. Ruck Emma King is also key to the North Melbourne outfit. If King can have a dominant impact out of the middle with her clever taps and ruckwork it will put her side in a good position. Although she is still a young developing player, Mia King is another one to watch out for given her ability to find the footy and most importantly use it effectively.

Tip: 

GEELONG

B: M.Brown 19 M.McMahon 24
HB: M.Keryk 45 M.McDonald 11 M.Hickey – C 18
C: N.Morrison 9 R.Webster 21 S.Van De Heuvel 27
HF: R.Garing 12 P.McWilliams 23 D.Higgins 2
F: R.Cranston 30 J.Ivey 5
Foll: A.O’Connor 14 J.Crockett-Grills 6 O.Purcell 16
I/C: K.Darby 8 G.Rankin 10 A.McDonald 3 A.Teague 40 C.Blakeway 4

Emerg: N.Garner 22 R.Goring 44

In: J.Ivey, C.Blakeway
Out: R.Goring (Omitted), G.Clarke (Omitted)

NORTH MELBOURNE

B: N.Bresnehan 12 T.Randall 16
HB: S.Wright 17 D.Hardiman 31 A.Gilroy 8
C: J.Grierson 19 E.Kearney – C 9 J.Bruton 35
HF: S.Abbatangelo 1 B.Gibson 18 D.Bateman 11
F: E.King 60 K.Ashmore 10
Foll: V.Saad 39 A.Riddell 7 J.Garner 25
I/C: K.Gillespie-Jones 5 J.Trend 21 E.Gavalas 22 M.King 23 T.Nestor 24

Emerg: D.Bannister 2 E.Humphries 6

In: None
Out: None

Brisbane v. Collingwood
Saturday, 14 March, 2.10pm 
Hickey Park

Sophie Taylor 

Brisbane lost top spot in Conference A last round so are sure to be back with a vengeance this week when they host Collingwood on Saturday afternoon. While Brisbane have shone for the most part this season, a few blips in the radar have left them wanting and this chance against the Magpies is one they will want to take with both hands. But while the Magpies have had a hard time on the injury front this season, a solid win last week will have left them confident and ready for a tough slog this week when they travel up the east coast.

Brisbane have a host of talent that they aren’t afraid to put out on the field, with forward Jesse Wardlaw up there in the goal count across the competition and a keen eye in front of goal, able to have an impact inside 50 with her clever movement and tenacity going for the ground ball. Wardlaw has booted at least one goal per game this season and was knocked off the goalkicking perch last round so will want to continue her consistency with another bag this week. Emily Bates and Alex Anderson continue to be real threats across the field, averaging 22.6 and 20.8 disposals respectively, and creating a formidable opposition. Meanwhile, the side will rely on the likes of Catherine Svarc and Sophie Conway to continue their tackling ways and maintain possession. Young gun Lily Postlethwaite has had a solid few weeks on the track so will want to replicate that form while Jess Wuetschner booted two goals last round to prove she’s back with a vengeance.

For Collingwood, this is ultimately a make or break game. A win here would see them slot in nicely in the top four of Conference B and set up a good run home, but a loss could see the Magpies miss out on finals contention once more. Jaimee Lambert has continued her impeccable form in recent rounds, leading the way and proving a key cog in attack. Chloe Molloy has an ability to impact wherever she is on the field, creating an exciting contest with her intensity and clean hands. Meanwhile, Sharni Layton leads the hitout tally for the season so far and has had a breakout season in the ruck, with her strength, height and ability to get first to the footy making her a tough opponent to come across. Layton has been named across half back in the absence of Ash Brazill to injury, so will work with the likes of Stacey Livingstone to hold down the fort in defence. Britt Bonnici and Bri Davey have continued their consistent form, backing up Molloy and Lambert in their efforts.

Tip: Brisbane by 14 points.

BRISBANE

B: S.Webb 4 S.Campbell 20
HB: C.Svarc 25 K.Lutkins 13 E.Zielke – C 8
C: R.Lugg 11 A.Anderson 18 S.Conway 12
HF: L.Arnell 16 J.Wardlaw 30 J.Wuetschner 23
F: D.Davidson 14 I.Dawes 17
Foll: J.Keeffe 27 B.Koenen 3 E.Bates 1
I/C: N.Grider 10 O.O’Dwyer 9 L.Postlethwaite 6 M.Moloney 28 L.Bellinger 26

Emerg: J.Zanchetta 2 S.Priest 19

In: L.Bellinger
Out: G.Bodey (Injured)

COLLINGWOOD

B: A.Porter 9 S.Livingstone 12
HB: L.Butler 23 S.Casey 22 S.Layton 1
C: S.Rowe 7 M.Cann 25 S.Chiocci – C 17
HF: S.Alexander 24 S.D’Arcy 4 B.Davey 3
F: J.Lambert 13 C.Molloy 2
Foll: A.Sheridan 14 B.Bonnici 8 E.Fowler 15
I/C: E.Hynes 11 M.Shevlin 35 J.Allen 6 J.Membrey 21 E.O’Dea 50

Emerg: K.Stratton 41 S.Dargan 46

In: None
Out: None

St Kilda v. Richmond
Saturday, 14 March, 5.10pm AEDT
RSEA Park

Sophie Taylor

This match pits two lower ranked sides against each other, with both St Kilda and Richmond sitting at the bottom of their respective conferences. While St Kilda have at least gotten a win on the board, this match is a real opportunity for Richmond to get an inaugural victory before the season is up. Both teams omitted a plethora of names heading into this match, leaving both sides with fresh bodies out on the field in hope of getting a win on the board.

St Kilda are sure to put up a big fight against the ailing Tigers, with some solid form throughout the season despite not necessarily getting the wins. The side has continued to compete throughout the season, going close but no cigar with difficulty putting goals on the board a real issue. Caitlin Greiser will want to continue her solid form which sees her as the leading goalkicker for the Saints with seven majors for the season. Her ability to use her body to find the footy and follow up going for the ground ball is what makes her a real excitement machine for the side, and having booted two goals on three occasions this season, expect her to go one better this week. Georgia Patrikios and Olivia Vesely have been real ball magnets for the side throughout the season while Tilly Lucas-Rodd has been a machine off the half back with 36 intercept possessions and Nat Exon is averaging 6.2 tackles per game, applying solid pressure.

The Tigers will miss Katie Brennan again this week with the captain sidelined once more with concussion, making this a tough battle for Richmond as they continue to fight for their first win of the season. While the side has struggled to stop goals this season, they have also had a tough time putting goals on the board which is the real catch, unable to reduce the margin and ultimately putting in all the effort downfield but getting no return. Monique Conti has been a shining light throughout the season with the 20-year-old proving a constant threat while Sabrina Frederick has been left wanting forward, not having the desired impact but ultimately not getting the footy much inside 50. Kodi Jacques and Phoebe Monahan have continued to ply their trade and apply pressure while the loss of Lauren Tesoriero to precautionary coronavirus isolation is a frustrating blow to an already struggling side.

Tip: St Kilda by 29 points.

ST KILDA

B: T.Luke 22 C.Fitzpatrick 24
HB: H.Priest 14 A.Brown 2 T.Lucas-Rodd 18
C: N.Exon 15 R.Dillon 25 M.McDonald 1
HF: D.Guttridge 5 J.Sedunary 10 C.Greiser 17
F: K.Shierlaw 12 O.Vesely 23
Foll: R.Watt – C 7 N.Xenos 27 C.Phillips 35
I/C: C.Whitfort 4 P.Kelly 16 G.Patrikios 21 A.Drennan 8 I.Shannon 11

Emerg: E.Mackie 3 K.O’Neill 20

In: T.Luke, J.Sedunary, C.Whitfort
Out: K.O’Neill (Omitted), E.Mackie (Omitted), S.Johnson (Omitted)

RICHMOND

B: A.Makur Chuot 34 G.Seymour 28
HB: H.Whitford 20 I.Ross 21 P.Monahan 2
C: C.Bernardi – C 6 S.Molan 1 K.Dempsey 19
HF: M.Brancatisano 5 S.Frederick 14 R.Miller 15
F: C.Wakefield 8 T.Stahl 24
Foll: A.Edmonds 11 M.Conti 4 G.Campbell 43
I/C: C.Fitzgerald 26 K.Jacques 10 H.Burchell 9 N.Butler 22 A.Woodward 13

Emerg: L.Bailey 12 E.Wood 17

In: I.Ross, C.Wakefield, C.Fitzgerald, N.Butler, A.Woodward
Out: L.Bailey (Omitted), E.Wood (Omitted), L.McClelland (Suspension), L.Tesoriero (Illness), S.Sansonetti (Rested)

Melbourne v Carlton
Saturday, 14 March, 7.40pm AEST
TIO Traeger Park

Sophie Taylor

Melbourne and Carlton head into Round 6 unchanged from last round, with both sides having put impressive wins on the board last week and only separated by percentage heading into the run home. Likely to be the best match of the round, the battle between the Dees and Blues is set to be a close one with both sides boasting a number of key players across the field.

Karen Paxman has been a ball magnet for the Dees in 2020, making her mark with clean hands, good run and carry and an ability to hit targets with ease, while the defensive pressure of Libby Birch, Daisy Pearce and Harriet Cordner down back has been a real task to be reckoned with, with the work off the half back relieving plenty of pressure close to goal. But while the Dees have a smattering of key players in the mix, they had a rough start last week against West Coast and they just can’t afford that this week against the Blues. Eden Zanker has had a breakout season for the Demons in the ruck and heading forward, booting four goals and ultimately a solid threat wherever she is on the field with her aerial ability and clean hands – traits she shares with fellow joint-leading goalkicker Kate Hore.

An even spread of talent across Carlton’s lineup is what will ultimately worry the Demons this round, with consistency and an ability to score quickly both real threats to a Melbourne victory. Maddy Prespakis has thus far backed up a stellar first season of footy, averaging 22 touches per game this season and providing a key run down the field for the Blues. Off the half back, Kerryn Harrington and Vaomua Laloifi have applied some solid pressure with the duo working well to crowd the play and bring the footy to ground, enabling Prespakis and fellow young gun Grace Egan to clear the footy. Tayla Harris continues to be a big threat up forward, having booted at least one goal every match this season and a great target up forward.

Tip: Melbourne by five points.

MELBOURNE

B: H.Cordner 21 L.Birch 9
HB: S.Lampard 8 D.Pearce – C 6 S.Goldrick 23
C: C.Sherriff 18 T.Hanks 28 C.Emonson 11
HF: K.Hore 10 A.Newman 16 S.Scott 12
F: T.Cunningham 1 N.McEvoy 17
Foll: E.Zanker 29 K.Paxman 4 M.Gay 3
I/C: J.Parry 19 E.O’Dea 5 S.Perkins 33 B.Tarrant 20 L.Mithen 14

Emerg: K.Petrevski 31 G.Colvin 32

In: None
Out: None

CARLTON

B: G.Pound 6 C.Wilson 20
HB: K.Harrington 9 V.Laloifi 8 J.Edwards 25
C: L.Brazzale 12 C.Dalton 15 S.Hosking 10
HF: N.Stevens 21 T.Harris 7 D.Vescio 3
F: A.Downie 30 L.McEvoy 13
Foll: B.Moody 16 G.Egan 1 M.Prespakis 4
I/C: N.Plane 32 K.Loynes – C 2 B.Walker 14 G.Gee 19 J.Hosking 11

Emerg: B.Vernon 31 J.Doonan 26

In: None
Out: None

Western Bulldogs v. Fremantle
Sunday, 15 March, 1.10pm AEDT
VU Whitten Oval

Michael Alvaro

Fremantle’s undefeated record is once again on the line as it travels to Melbourne for a second time this season, taking on the battling Western Bulldogs at Whitten Oval. The Dockers stamped their authority as the league’s leading side with an impressive win over Brisbane last time out to take their record to 5-0, and will fancy their chances against a developing Dogs lineup. But in front of an adoring home crowd in Footscray, the young pups will be keen to arrest a four-game losing streak and showcase the promise their list reverberates on paper.

Another member of the class of 2019 is set to debut for the home side, with top 10 pick Nell Morris-Dalton beating out former Northern Knights teammate Britney Gutknecht for the final spot in the Dogs’ lineup to join her Under 18 skipper, Gabby Newton at the top level. Nicole Callinan was the other player in contention to replace the omitted Hannah Scott, but fell just short of returning for her first game since Round 2. Morris-Dalton should add some strength in the air for the Bulldogs inside forward 50, with fellow 2019 draftee Gemma Lagioia swapping defensive duties to lineup at her feet in the pocket. The midfield trio of Ellie Blackburn, Kirsty Lamb, and Aisling McCarthy will take their form into this clash, with their work set to be cut out for them against a strong Fremantle following set.

The Dockers are set to come in with just one change of their own, resting electric draftee Roxy Roux with Mia-Rae Clifford, Sarah Garstone, and Bianca Webb lined up to take the vacant spot. Fremantle will look to stretch the Bulldogs up forward, as is the case most weeks, with the match-up between Gemma Houghton and Isabel Huntington set to catch the eye. The Dockers’ dynamism with Sabreena Duffy – coming off four goals – and Ebony Antonio at ground level makes them hard to stop, and midfield service from Kiara Bowers and Kara Antonio constantly sets the tone for their success.

Expect the Dockers’ weapons from midfield to forward to be too much for the developing Bulldogs, but the travel factor may come into effect later on in the contest, with the Dogs a chance to snatch an unlikely win if they can stay in the contest for long enough.

Tip: Fremantle by 21

WESTERN BULLDOGS

B: A.Guest 19 L.Spark 11
HB: E.Brown 9 I.Huntington 4 N.Ferres 16
C: B.Hunt 21 K.Lamb 27 B.Lochland 1
HF: G.Newton 5 K.Rennie 24 K.McLeod 6
F: N.Morris-Dalton 25 G.Lagioia 12
Foll: C.Moody 13 E.Blackburn – C 2 A.McCarthy 15
I/C: K.Herron 31 D.Berry 7 E.Georgostathis 17 D.Marshall 26 H.Munyard 20 B.Gutknecht 18 N.Callinan 10

In: N.Morris-Dalton, B.Gutknecht, N.Callinan
Out: H.Scott (Omitted)

FREMANTLE

B: L.Mascall 14 J.Cuthbertson 29
HB: E.O’Driscoll 3 P.Seth 18 L.Pugh 32
C: K.Antonio – C 15 H.Miller 19 J.Stewart 7
HF: E.Antonio 12 A.Sharp 1 G.O’Sullivan 22
F: G.Houghton 27 S.Duffy 6
Foll: M.Strom 21 K.Bowers 2 K.Grieve 13
I/C: K.Flood 44 A.Stannett 24 E.Gooch 8 L.Rohde 11 S.Garstone 16 B.Webb 26 M.Clifford 4

In: B.Webb, S.Garstone, M.Clifford
Out: R.Roux (Rested)

Adelaide v. Greater Western Sydney
Sunday, 15 March, 3.10pm AEST
Hisense Stadium

Michael Alvaro

Adelaide will be out to make good on a two-game losing run when it hosts GWS at Hisense Stadium on Sunday. The reining premiers have endured an indifferent first half to their flag defence, holding a negative 2-3 record on the back of an injury-hit campaign to date and bearing the brunt of a tricky draw over the last fortnight. On the other hand, the 3-2 GIANTS have taken full advantage of the games they were expected to win – albeit with each one coming over three of the four 2020 expansion teams. The step-up in competition has proven difficult for the Sydneysiders, and Adelaide will provide as tough a test as any team despite its shortcomings this season.

Four inclusions are set to make the Crows side that bit more formidable this week, with dual AFL Women’s best and fairest Erin Phillips headlining the quartet of returnees. The Adelaide champ comes in alongside fellow midfielder Najwa Allen, while Deni Varnhagen and Eloise Jones also crack the extended squad. Coming the other way in terms of omissions will be Madison Newman and ruck Rhiannon Metcalfe, with 2019 draftee Montana McKinnon impressing in the tri-colours on debut last week and retaining her spot. The Crows’ midfield looks to be running smoothly with the combination of Ebony Marinoff and Anne Hatchard winning plenty of ball, so the additional target of Phillips will hopefully aid them in terms of fluency going forward.

A trio of inclusions will be vying for one spot in the GIANTS’ side as Nicola Barr finds herself hamstrung, with Taylah Davies, Georgia Garnett, and Emily Goodsir all up for selection in the 23-player squad. The GIANTS’ wealth of experience will definitely match that of the Crows, with stand-in skipper Jess Dal Pos heading a team which is capable of returning consistent performances. Alyce Parker and Rebecca Beeson make up a dynamic midfield duo in the continued absence of Alicia Eva, with Beeson also set to rotate forward alongside Haneen Zreika. It may be fitting that the injury blows finally benefit Adelaide, and the fortnight of key casualties for GWS will really test its depth, but that experience should see the GIANTS through to a competitive result.

Speaking of depth, Adelaide’s wealth of genuine options to run through the middle of the ground should prove to be a vital factor as it comes into the game as favourite on home turf, with Phillips adding that third prong despite likely playing predominantly forward. The hard-nosed nature of Hatchard and Marinoff should hold up very well against the more athletic pairing of Parker and Beeson, with McKinnon’s job in the ruck crucial against GWS’ Jessica Allan. Count the GIANTS out at your own peril, but the Crows’ hard edge and top-end talent should see them over the line in front of home fans, with a win able to draw the two sides level on points in Conference A.

Tip: Adelaide by 18

ADELAIDE

B: D.Cox 31 S.Allan 39
HB: A.Foley 3 M.Rajcic 32 S.Li 19
C: J.Mules 23 E.Marinoff 10 A.Considine 16
HF: E.Jones 2 E.Phillips – C 13 S.Thompson 14
F: D.Ponter 15 C.Gum 5
Foll: M.McKinnon 21 A.Hatchard 33 N.Gore 7
I/C: N.Campbell 20 N.Allen 8 R.Forth 27 J.Tabb 28 C.Biddell 12 D.Varnhagen 9 C.Gould 1

In: E.Jones, E.Phillips, N.Allen, D.Varnhagen
Out: M.Newman (Omitted), R.Metcalfe (Omitted)

GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY

B: P.Randall 21 T.Hetherington 9
HB: L.Steane 20 E.Bennetts 22 A.Lister 14
C: J.Dal Pos – C 7 B.Tully 36 A.Schmidt 11
HF: S.Halvorsen 30 R.Privitelli 19 J.Hicks 5
F: C.Staunton 13 J.Barclay 34
Foll: J.Allan 39 A.Parker 3 R.Beeson 6
I/C: H.Zreika 24 E.McKinnon 23 T.Mackrill 32 L.Stephenson 12 T.Davies 16 E.Goodsir 1 G.Garnett 17

In: E.Goodsir, T.Davies, G.Garnett
Out: N.Barr (Hamstring)

West Coast v. Gold Coast
Sunday, 15 March, 5.10pm AEST
Mineral Resources Park

Michael Alvaro

Two sides coming off losses meet to round out the weekend’s action, with West Coast set to host Gold Coast in a battle of 2020 expansion clubs. The Eagles were hauled back down to earth with a thud in Round 5 after picking up their maiden AFL Women’s win the week before, copping a 59-point thumping at the hands of Melbourne. Gold Coast, only half a game to the better of its weekend opponent, has suffered consecutive losses for the first time in its short history, but the SUNS’ competitive spirit should put them in good stead for an improved performance in this clash.

The visitors are set to welcome back Hannah Dunn after a week on the sidelines, slotting straight back into the SUNS’ midfield to boost their ball winning stocks. Debutant Sally Riley also comes into the lineup as the second confirmed inclusion, with Tori Groves-Little and Jasmyn Hewett the two unlucky omissions while Maddy Roberts and Taylor Smith find their way onto an extended bench. Gold Coast’s engine room has been a highlight in its inaugural campaign, with Dunn adding to the likes of Jacqui Yorston and the red-hot Jamie Stanton this week, while Leah Kaslar and Lauren Aherns heading up a promising back five which features three 2019 draftees.

West Coast’s changes are a touch more forced, with McKenzie Dowrick and Emily Bonser both ruled out through illness, with Melissa Caulfield attached to the managed tag this week. Chantella Perera, the player to be managed in Round 5, returns to her customary full back role in a boost for the Eagles, with Mhicca Carter the second inclusion for the hosts. On an extended bench, Tarnee Tester, Katherine Orme, and Danika Pisconeri are all chances to sneak their way into the side should any more disruptions arise. While the midfield pairing of Dana Hooker and Emma Swanson has worked admirably for the Eagles, they have struggled to find a consistent spread across the field in 2020. The competition’s least potent attack and second most leaky defence are titles which do not bode well against any side, especially given the SUNS’ strength and competitiveness in the back five.

While both teams can only boast one win in their maiden campaigns, the SUNS have arguably made the bigger inroads and have been able to keep each game competitive on the scoreboard. Their better spread of contributors across the field, and an especially stingy defence in this game should carry them to a second AFL Women’s victory. But on home turf, the Eagles will be sure to put up a better fight than the previous week, though the travel factor may be lessened given West Coast is coming off a game in Melbourne.

Tip: Gold Coast by 13

WEST COAST

B: S.McDonald 35 C.Perera 27
HB: C.Davidson 33 B.Smith 14 C.Guard 4
C: M.Bowen 1 N.Kelly 12 K.Gibson 2
HF: M.Collier 8 G.Kelly 15 I.Cameron 19
F: A.Atkins 9 M.Carter 21
Foll: P.Laurie 25 D.Hooker 17 E.Swanson – C 13
I/C: T.Tester 23 E.McGuire 31 H.Bullas 24 K.Orme 32 B.Devlyn 7 D.Pisconeri 11 T.Radan 26

In: C.Perera, M.Carter, T.Tester, K.Orme, D.Pisconeri
Out: M.Caulfield (Managed), M.Dowrick (Illness), E.Bonser (Illness)

GOLD COAST

B: J.Pregelj 42 S.Watson 14
HB: L.Kaslar – C 11 L.Ahrens 7 E.Hampson 21
C: T.Ernst 19 J.Stanton 17 P.Parker 1
HF: K.Surman 26 B.Perry 16 K.Howarth 23
F: T.Smith 13 S.Riley 8
Foll: L.Bella 2 H.Dunn 24 J.Yorston 5
I/C: C.Hammond 29 D.Heslop 25 J.Hickey 4 M.Ritson 12 M.Roberts 10 T.Thorn 15 S.Virgo 22

In: T.Smith, S.Riley, H.Dunn, M.Roberts
Out: T.Groves-Little (Omitted), J.Hewett (Omitted)

ROUND 6 TIPS: [Total tips in brackets]

Michael Alvaro [27]: North Melbourne, Brisbane, St Kilda, Melbourne, Fremantle, Adelaide, Gold Coast
Taylah Melki [27]: North Melbourne, Collingwood, St Kilda, Carlton, Fremantle, Adelaide, Gold Coast
Sophie Taylor [26]: North Melbourne, Brisbane, St Kilda, Melbourne, Fremantle, GIANTS, Gold Coast
Peter Williams [24]: North Melbourne, Collingwood, St Kilda, Carlton, Fremantle, GIANTS, West Coast

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.

AFL Women’s Round 1 preview: Four new teams begin elite journey

AFTER nine months of waiting, AFL Women’s 4.0 is here and four more teams enter the fray in a bid to take home the 2020 premiership. Adelaide won its second title in three years last season, with the Western Bulldogs the only other premiership winner in the competition. With the Crows wounded and plenty of movement over the off-season for the four news side – Gold Coast, Richmond, St Kilda and West Coast – this round is set to answer quite a few questions.

Friday, February 7

Richmond v Carlton at Ikon Park, 7.45pm AEDT

Peter Williams

The opening night of AFL Women’s 4.0 is under lights at Ikon Park with a familiar feel, but a bit of a twist. Yet again, Carlton opens the season, but instead of Collingwood (as it was in the first two seasons), it will now be Richmond – mirroring the AFL Men’s competition season opener. A lot can change in 12 months, and this time last year Carlton was coming off a wooden spoon with a new coach in charge looking for some respect in the competition. Now looking ahead to 2020, the Blues are fresh off a Grand Final appearance and hungry to go one better.

The big question mark for the Blues in this match will be how they go without their inaugural captain in Brianna Davey who switched to Collingwood for a war chest of draft picks. They should not have to look too far for a replacement with Geelong Falcons premiership skipper, Lucy McEvoy immediately entering the fray for her debut alongside Richmond VFLW and former Murray Bushrangers’ utility, Grace Egan. Both provide a hard edge to the side and crack into a team that is hard to find a spot. Their defence is still relatively inexperienced compared to others, so Kerryn Harrington will be crucial in settling them down back there. Interestingly, exciting forward Darcy Vescio has been named in the centre, which makes for a dynamic contest against fellow traditional forward, Katie Brennan.

The Tigers have a tonne of debutants which does not come as a surprise considering it is Richmond’s inaugural match. First year draftees, Sophie Molan (GWV Rebels), Sarah Sansonetti (Northern Knights) and Laura McClelland (Eastern Ranges) headline the young talent, but the depth of the midfield from the likes of Kodi Jacques (Bendigo Pioneers) and Maddy Brancatisano (Northern Knights via Melbourne AFLW) will be great to see. Monique Conti and Christina Bernardi are the class players, and Carlton will need to find a way to limit their influence. In saying that, with Madison Prespakis and Sarah Hosking in midfield, expect the Blues to get on top through the middle with that extra hard edge. Carlton should win this game based on experience and more readymade players, but Richmond should show some fight and give their fans something to smile about for 2020.

Tip: Carlton by 15.

RICHMOND

B: R.Miller 15 G.Seymour 28
HB: S.Sansonetti 18 P.Monahan 2 A.Makur Chuot 34
C: S.Molan 1 K.Brennan – C 3 H.Burchell 9
HF: S.Frederick 14 C.Bernardi 6 T.Stahl 24
F: C.Wakefield 8 L.McClelland 16
Foll: A.Edmonds 11 M.Conti 4 A.Woodward 13
I/C: L.Tesoriero 7 L.Bailey 12 K.Jacques 10 M.Brancatisano 5 H.Whitford 20
Emerg: C.Fitzgerald 26 E.Wood 17

CARLTON

B: N.Plane 32 C.Wilson 20
HB: K.Harrington – C 9 V.Laloifi 8 J.Van Dyk 36
C: S.Hosking 10 D.Vescio 3 C.Dalton 15
HF: N.Stevens 21 T.Harris 7 J.Doonan 26
F: A.Downie 30 B.Walker 14
Foll: B.Moody 16 K.Loynes 2 M.Prespakis 4
I/C: L.Brazzale 12 G.Pound 6 G.Egan 1 L.McEvoy 13 G.Gee 19
Emerg: J.Edwards 25 A.McKay 5

Saturday, February 8

Greater Western Sydney v Gold Coast, Blacktown International Sportspark, 1.10pm AEDT

Peter Williams

While these two sides are the newest teams in AFL Men’s, GWS GIANTS are the far more experienced team in AFL Women’s. One of eight inaugural sides in the competition, they welcome the Gold Coast SUNS to the league at Blacktown in a Saturday afternoon blockbuster. While most Victorian fans might be more focused on games either side of his match, the game is expected to answer a lot of questions, particularly about Gold Coast and where they might be at in their preparation for their inaugural season.

The SUNS on paper have talent, it is just trying to piece it all together and gel, which might take some time for it to work. Jamie Stanton remarkably plays in her third inaugural game for a side, having previously represented Brisbane (2017) and North Melbourne (2019). She will need to use all of her experience to lead a young team into battle, with essentially Tiarna Ernst in midfield, Leah Kaslar down forward and Sam Virgo in defence as the others who can provide that extra experience. Former Crows, Sally Riley and Jasmyn Hewett will no doubt give insight into their last club’s success, but the ones to watch are more so the young talent. Alexia Hamilton is a high-flying tall who can take a grab, Lauren Bella is a developing tap ruck, and both Serene Watson and Dee Heslop are talented young defenders who will only get better with more exposure. You cannot discount Hannah Dunn either, with the former Norwood ball winner thrown straight into the midfield.

Bella will have her work cut out for her against arguably the best pure ruck in the competition – Erin McKinnon. She leads a loaded midfield of Rebecca Beeson, new captain Alicia Eva, young gun Alyce Parker, Jes Dal Pos and Nicola Barr. Despite the last minute retirement of Amanda Farrugia, the GIANTS look as strong as ever on paper, with just the question marks coming over whether they can continue their form from last season on a more consistent basis. Pepa Randall is a great asset to have off half-back, and their experienced defence should be able to contain the SUNS like it did against Brisbane in the practice match not long ago. Cora Staunton continues to be a dangerous option wherever she plays, while Haneen Zreika showed promising signs in her games last year. You would imagine the GIANTS will kick their season off with a strong win here, as the SUNS are young and while they will get there, are not quite in the same window as the GIANTS – but watch out when they are fully developed.

Tip: GWS by 35.

GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY

B: L.Stephenson 12 T. Hetherington 9
HB: P.Randall 21 E.Brush 10 E.Bennetts 22
C: J.Dal Pos 7 A.Eva – C 2 N.Barr 8
HF: H. Zreika 24 C.Staunton 13 A.Schmidt 11
F: J.Hicks 5 R. Privitelli 19
Foll: E.McKinnon 23 R. Beeson 6 A.Parker 3
I/C: Y.Bonner 27 I.Nielsen 25 J.Allan 39 A.Lister 14 B.Tully 36
Emerg: L. Steane 20 T. Mackrill 32

GOLD COAST

B: J.Pregelj 42 J.Hickey 4
HB: S.Virgo 22 L.Ahrens 7 C.Hammond 29
C: T.Ernst 19 J.Stanton 17 M.Ritson 12
HF: B.Perry 16 A.Hamilton 30 P.Parker 1
F: L.Kaslar – C 11 K.Surman 26
Foll: L.Bella 2 J.Yorston 5 H.Dunn 24
I/C: S.Watson 14 J.Hewett 20 S.Riley 8 D.Heslop 25 K.Howarth 23
Emerg: T.Thorn 15 M.Roberts 10

Melbourne v North Melbourne, Casey Fields, 3.10pm AEDT

Michael Alvaro

Two of last season’s most unlucky finals absentees meet in a cross-conference grudge match, as Melbourne and North Melbourne go head-to-head at Casey Fields. One of the inaugural AFLW sides, the Demons will be seeking to add ultimate glory to an already storied history this year, but an opening fixture against one of the flag favourites makes for a tough initiation. While the Dees’ four wins were only good enough for fourth place in Conference A, the Roos’ can count themselves even more unfortunate as two losses at the end of their maiden campaign saw them heartbreakingly miss finals. Still, with a stacked squad and added depth, North Melbourne have a great opportunity to bounce back in 2020 – starting here.

Scott Gowans‘ side fared well in the off-season to bare no major changes, losing only three players to newly-established clubs and bringing in some mature-aged depth come draft time to hint at a real flag tilt. Sarah Wright and Ellie Gavalas are two VFL Women’s standouts who landed on the Roos’ list and are set to debut off the bench on Saturday, adding some grunt to the already hardened North Melbourne midfield led by skipper, Emma Kearney. There may be some goals to make up inside attacking 50 given 2019 equal-leading goalkicker Mo Hope was unceremoniously delisted, but ruck-forward Emma King has shown her worth in front of the big sticks, while Kate Gillespie-Jones is a capable tall foil and Kaitlyn Ashmore could rotate through the forward line from midfield alongside Jasmine Garner. With the midfield battle a relative stalemate, depth across the ground will be key to the cause of either side.

The Dees will be buoyed by the long-awaited return of captain and women’s football pioneer, Daisy Pearce, who is set to be eased in off half-back given her side’s strength through the middle. Her presence in the back five alongside boom recruit, Libby Birch will be important given the danger North’s forward flankers present, with her trademark ball use sure to make a difference. Further afield, and Melbourne is one of the few sides which boasts an engine room to match the grunt of North’s, with Karen Paxman set to lead the line next to Elise O’Dea and young gun, Tyla Hanks while further depth lies on the bench. The forward half was seldom an issue for the Dees last year too, so their even spread points toward a cracking contest. While Melbourne will come in as a slight underdog, the Demons’ experienced movers and the fact they managed just one fewer win than North during last campaign without Pearce means they stand a real chance here, and could become an instant frontrunner in Conference B with a win. But North Melbourne has proven had to look past despite struggling against the top sides, so should come up trumps.

Tip: North Melbourne by 7.

MELBOURNE

B: L.Birch 9 M.Downie 2
HB: G.Colvin 32 S.Goldrick 23 D.Pearce – C 6
C: C.Sherriff 18 T.Hanks 28 C.Emonson 11
HF: K.Hore 10 E.Zanker 29 S.Scott 12
F: T.Cunningham 1 A.Newman 16
Foll: H.Cordner 21 K.Paxman 4 E.O’Dea 5
I/C: S.Heath 30 M.Gay 3 M.Guerin 22 A.Kemp 36 S.Lampard 8
Emerg: B.Tarrant 20 K.Petrevski 31

NORTH MELBOURNE

B: T.Randall 16 B.Gibson 18
HB: T.Nestor 24 D.Hardiman 31 B.Lynch 20
C: J.Trend 21 A.Riddell 7 J.Bruton 35
HF: S.Abbatangelo 1 K.Gillespie-Jones 5 El.King 4
F: Em.King 60 K.Ashmore 10
Foll: V.Saad 39 J.Garner 25 E.Kearney – C 9
I/C: D.Bannister 2 A.Gilroy 8 D.Bateman 11 S.Wright 17 E.Gavalas 22
Emerg: N.Bresnehan 12 J.Grierson 19

Brisbane v Adelaide, Hickey Park, 4.10pm AEST

Michael Alvaro

Inaugural AFLW sides and Conference A rivals, Brisbane and Adelaide are primed to kick off their seasons in the Sunshine State, with the visiting reigning premiers out to defend their 2019 flag in 2020. The Crows were nothing short of dominant during last year’s campaign, going down only in the first regular season round before deservedly being crowned premiers in front of an adoring Adelaide Oval crowd – packed to the brim, no less. Adelaide has only added to its already deep squad over the off-season, despite being dealt a cruel blow weeks out with star defender Chelsea Randall ruled out for the year, but will come as the clear competition benchmark. On the other hand, Brisbane struggled throughout 2019 to notch just two wins having been repeatedly depleted throughout the off-season, but can lean on a reliable spine despite another 15-player coming out of its squad.

The Lions will field eight debutants in its Round 1 side, with top draftees and Academy graduates Lily Postlethwaite and Belle Dawes set to make theirs off the interchange bench. The 2018 best and fairest, Kate Lutkins leads the back six alongside mature-age recruit, Cathy Svarc, while skipper and stalwart Emma Zielke lines up on the wing outside of midfield jets, Ally Anderson and Emily Bates. Recent lightning strike survivor Jess Wuetschner will lead the forward line with Sophie Conway bringing some youthful exuberance and Lauren Arnell, the hard-edged experience. The Lions’ inability to put massive scores on the board will need to be rectified given Adelaide’s strength in that area, with added midfield strength – albeit through draftees – key to ensuring the forwards are given enough opportunity.

The Crows have had to adjust heavily, naming five debutants of their own with further injuries seeing the magnets shuffled before Round 1. Angela Foley and Marijana Rajcic will hold up the defence as Ebony Marinoff moves into midfield to replace recovering reigning MVP Erin Phillips, with Randall’s absence leaving a gaping hole in the back five. Stand-in skipper Jessica Foley is set to ruck with Montana McKinnon also unavailable, while a couple of late changes see emergencies Jaimi Tabb and Caitlin Gould slot in as Sophie Li and Courtney Cramey come out. It is a lot to make good for and while if any side has the depth to cover such losses, it is the Crows, Adelaide proved slow starters against a team it would normally beat last year – making for a bad omen. But even so, the Crows’ depth seems enough to overcome the changes, with a wealth of experience and the confidence of a premiership side holding up their chances. The Lions may struggle this season, but expect them to give it a red hot crack early on.

Tip: Adelaide by 30

BRISBANE

B: N.Grider 10 S.Campbell 20
HB: R.Lugg 11 K.Lutkins 13 C.Svarc 25
C: E.Zielke – C 8 B.Koenen 3 S.Webb 4
HF: L.Arnell 16 J.Tawhiao-Wardlaw 30 S.Conway 12
F: D.Davidson 14 J.Wuetschner 23
Foll: J.Keeffe 27 A.Anderson 18 E.Bates 1
I/C: G.Bodey 15 M.Moloney 28 I.Dawes 17 O.O’Dwyer 9 L.Postlethwaite 6
Emerg: J.Zanchetta 2 G.Collingwood 7

ADELAIDE

B: D.Cox 31 S.Allan 39
HB: A.Foley 3 M.Rajcic 32 N.Campbell 20
C: R.Forth 27 E.Marinoff 10 J.Mules 23
HF: D.Ponter 15 C.Gum 5 C.Gould 1
F: S.Thompson 14 E.Jones 2
Foll: J.Foley – C 24 A.Hatchard 33 N.Allen 8
I/C: 22 M.Newman 17 A.Considine 16 C.Biddell 12 N.Gore 7 J.Tabb
Emerg: R. Martin, C. Cavouras

Sunday, February 9

Collingwood v West Coast, Victoria Park, 1.10pm AEDT

Peter Williams

Heading back to Collingwood’s traditional home, the Magpies will no doubt give one of the AFL Women’s newest sides a hostile environment from which to make their debut in the competition. Fresh in supporters minds will be the Eagles’ men’s side triumph a couple of years ago in the AFL Grand Final, and with the new kids on the block entering the Magpies nest, it will certainly be a match to watch. Collingwood has been far from successful so far in its short history, failing to make finals and picking up a wooden spoon each year, leading to a coach change in Steve Symonds. West Coast join Fremantle in the west and picked up a host of recycled players to try and get them off to the best possible start.

For the first time in some time, the Magpies head into a match as favourites, having finished the year on a high last year following a victory over Brisbane. They came close against a number of sides, but showed they were gradually working as a cohesive unit following a massive upheaval over the previous off-season. After targeting youth the year before, the Magpies picked up the recruit of the off-season in Davey, who immediately adds grunt and class to an onball group that lacked a bit of pizazz. Sharni Layton‘s improvement in the ruck has been phenomenal, and along with VFL Women’s leading goal kicker and disposal winner, Jaimee Lambert, the Magpies will back themselves to win against most midfields. The only possibly bigger name to don the black and white this round is Chloe Molloy who returns after missing the entire 2019 season due to injury. The 2018 AFL Women’s Rising Star has been named in attack after making her name in defence during that season. With Ash Brazill‘s stunning transformation from netballer to footballer, it has allowed Molloy to play in attack and along with Sarah D’Arcy create some scoring opportunities. Oakleigh Chargers’ speedster Alana Porter makes her debut in the side, so watch for her set of wheels as along with the likes of Sarah Rowe and captain Steph Chiocci, give the Magpies some outside run.

While the Magpies will start favourites, the Eagles have gone about recruiting some important players to their line-up. Former Fremantle star Dana Hooker is every bit an equal to the Magpies’ Davey, while former GIANTS’ onballer Emma Swanson and Lambert will have an equally important head-to-head. Kellie Gibson and Ashlee Atkins will be looked upon to provide some goals, while Talia Radan will try to hold down the defence, with the former Adelaide and Melbourne player amongst a host of young stars. McKenzie Dowrick will be better for last year crossing back to her home state from Queensland, while Mikayla Bowen is as talented as any other player entering the AFL Women’s from the Under 18s last year. Former hockey player, Sophie McDonald has been thrown in the deep end to hold down centre half-back, while former Hawthorn VFL Women’s premiership player and best on ground in the premiership, Chantella Perera also has been named on an extended interchange to make her potential debut. The Eagles will give the Magpies a run for their money, and it would not be a complete shock to see the new side get a win, but the Magpies have built more depth, have more experience and are at home, so expect them to get up in a close one.

Tip: Collingwood by 12.

COLLINGWOOD

B: A.Porter 9 S.Livingstone 12
HB: L.Butler 23 A.Brazill 10 S.Casey 22
C: M.Shevlin 35 B.Bonnici 8 S.Chiocci – C 17
HF: C.Molloy 2 S.D’Arcy 4 S.Dargan 46
F: M.Cann 25 J.Allen 6
Foll: S.Layton 1 B.Davey 3 J.Lambert 13
I/C: E.O’Dea 50 E.Fowler 15 S.Alexander 24 J.Membrey 21 S.Rowe 7 E.Hynes 11 A.Sheridan 14

WEST COAST

B: B.Smith 14 T.Radan 26
HB: M.Dowrick 5 S.McDonald 35 A.Hill 16
C: M.Bowen 1 I.Cameron 19 N.Kelly 12
HF: K.Gibson 2 A.Atkins 9 M.Collier 8
F: G.Kelly 15 D.Pisconeri 11
Foll: P.Laurie 25 D.Hooker 17 E.Swanson – C 13
I/C: T.Tester 23 C.Guard 4 H.Bullas 24 B.Devlyn 7 C.Perera 27 E.Bonser 6 K.Orme 32

St Kilda v Western Bulldogs, RSEA Park, 3.10pm AEDT

Michael Alvaro

St Kilda is set to become the fourth of the expansion clubs to take centre stage in Round 1, facing a tough Conference B initiation against inaugural AFLW club, Western Bulldogs. Fielding a side which combines plenty of experience and a blooding of exciting youth, the Saints will have to work for their maiden elite-level win with the Bulldogs a potential season 2020 climber. Under the guidance of new coach, Nathan Burke and with a number one pick in tow, the Bulldogs are primed to rectify the two-win season which saw them finish last in Conference A.

There could be as many as six Western Bulldogs debutants with draftees Gemma Lagioia and Hannah Munyard among seven players named on an extended bench. Confirmed in the starting line-up are star draftee Gabby Newton and internally-hyped Western product Elizabeth Georgostathis; both primed to initially make an impact up forward, with the potential to move further afield – somewhat in the place or mould of now-Tigers, Katie Brennan and Monique Conti. The pair will join stalwarts Bonnie Toogood and Deanna Berry inside forward 50, with Ellie Blackburn and Isabel Huntington making up the remainder of a very strong spine. The Dogs will lean on those experienced movers to keep themselves in games, but a much-welcomed injection of youth will make them a team which proves easy on the eye.

For the Saints, all three co-captains in Cat PhillipsKate Shierlaw and Rhiannon Watt have been named to lead out the new team, with plenty of recognisable names to keep an eye on among each line. Top five draftee Georgia Patrikios has been named up forward, but will likely drift up to a wing or into the midfield given her undeniable class on the ball, while pre-listed draftee Molly McDonald takes up one of those starting wing spots. With an extended bench of seven also set to be narrowed down, there could be even more pace and young stars to come into the fold immediately. An unknown entity, the Saints should come in with nothing to lose and throw caution to the wind with most expecting the Bulldogs to salute in this fixture. We are in that boat.

ST KILDA

B: T.White 29 C.Fitzpatrick 24
HB: H.Priest 14 C.Phillips 35 T.Lucas-Rodd 18
C: K.O’Neill 20 J.Sedunary 10 M.McDonald 1
HF: N.Exon 15 K.McCarthy 9 C.Greiser 17
F: K.Shierlaw 12 G.Patrikios 21
Foll: R.Watt – C 7 O.Vesely 23 E.Mackie 3
I/C: N.Von Bertouch 28 P.Kelly 16 R.Dillon 25 A.Drennan 8 C.Whitfort 4 N.Xenos 27 A.Brown 2

WESTERN BULLDOGS

B: A.Gogos 36 L.Spark 11
HB: E.Gamble 14 I.Huntington 4 N.Ferres 16
C: B.Hunt 21 K.Lamb 27 N.Callinan 10
HF: G.Newton 5 B.Toogood 8 K.McLeod 6
F: E.Georgostathis 17 D.Berry 7
Foll: C.Moody 13 E.Blackburn – C 2 A.McCarthy 15
I/C: D.Marshall 26 K.Rennie 24 G.Lagioia 12 H.Scott 22 K.Herron 31 E.Brown 9 H.Munyard 20

Tip: Western Bulldogs by 20.

Fremantle v Geelong, Fremantle Oval, 2.10pm AWST

Peter Williams

In the final game of the AFL Women’s Round 1, last year’s preliminary final losers go head-to-head at Fremantle Oval. The Dockers host Geelong with a renewed optimism that they can match it with the top sides in the competition, and it will be a good test to see how they have recovered after being pillaged by West Coast in the off-season. The Cats were up and down last season, but have remained relatively untouched, and should go in as favourites based on the list changes. In a quirk, Mia-Rae Clifford will run out in the purple against her former side following her delisting and then free agency acquirement.

The home side will thrive on running out in front of a home crowd, and have named a number of young stars in the team who will drive the team forward over the next few years. Kara Antonio (nee Donnellan) will captain the side, and alongside partner, Ebony Antonio will try and maintain some balance to a team that has lost a number of quality players, led by the departure of star talent, Hooker. Tackling machine, Kiara Bowers and goal sneak Ashlee Sharp still remain as dangers to any opposition, while Gemma Houghton will have big shoes to fill with Parris Laurie leaving for the Eagles among a number of rucks departing the club. Sabreena Duffy got used to the level by season’s end in 2019, and is a future leader of the club, and now she is joined by a number of talented Under 18s stars. Roxanne Roux is a high-flying forward who will provide plenty of highlights over the next few years, while Mim Strom is an athletic ruck who has developed rapidly. While the Dockers side might have lost some star talent, they have also headed to the draft to pick up some more, and you can imagine they will be competitive in 2020.

Geelong might have stayed relatively untouched over the off-season, but have welcomed back a rising star in Nina Morrison. The number one pick in the 2018 AFL Women’s Draft was unbelievable on debut against Collingwood 12 months ago, but then injured her knee and missed the next 12 months. She returns to the Round 1 side and has been named on a wing, hoping to repeat the effort from 2019. She is joined in the midfield by fellow 2018 draftees, Sophie Van De Heuvel and Olivia Purcell. Denby Taylor, Rebecca Webster and debutant, Millie Brown are all in the back five, held down by experienced skipper, Mel Hickey. Richelle Cranston has that X-factor about her in midfield, and Georgia Clarke looks set for a role change up forward with the former GWV Rebels’ defender named there with goalkicking machine, Phoebe McWilliams. The Cats will be confident heading into this match, with coach Paul Hood no doubt having them ripe and ready to go after a finals appearance in their inaugural season last year. The road trip can be a challenge, but if you are going to do it, at least they have it first up off a long break.

Tip: Geelong by 2 points.

FREMANTLE

B: J.Cuthbertson 29 L.Pugh 32
HB: A.Stannett 24 E.Gooch 8 E.Antonio 12
C: S.Cain 20 L.Rohde 11 K.Flood 44
HF: K.Grieve 13 A.Sharp 1 H.Miller 19
F: G.O’Sullivan 22 S.Duffy 6
Foll: G.Houghton 27 K.Bowers 2 K.Antonio – C 15
I/C: P.Seth 18 L.Mascall 14 B.Webb 26 R.Roux 17 J.Stewart 7 M.Strom 21 M.Clifford 4

GEELONG

B: M.Brown 19 M.McMahon 24
HB: D.Taylor 28 M.Hickey – C 18 R.Webster 21
C: S.Van De Heuvel 27 R.Cranston 30 N.Morrison 9
HF: D.Higgins 2 G.Clarke 17 R.Garing 12
F: P.McWilliams 23 J.Ivey 5
Foll: A.O’Connor 14 J.Crockett-Grills 6 O.Purcell 16
I/C: A.McDonald 3 G.Rankin 10 A.Teague 40 R.Goring 44 R.Caris 1 M.Maguire 7 M.Keryk 45

ROUND 1 TIPS:

Michael Alvaro [0]: Carlton / GWS / North Melbourne / Adelaide / Collingwood / Western Bulldogs / Fremantle
Taylah Melki [0]: Carlton / GWS / North Melbourne / Adelaide / Collingwood / Western Bulldogs / Fremantle
Sophie Taylor [0]: Richmond / GWS / Melbourne / Adelaide / Collingwood / St Kilda / Fremantle
Peter Williams [0]: Carlton / GWS / North Melbourne / Adelaide / Collingwood / Western Bulldogs / Geelong

NTFL Women’s Premier League Preview: Round 15 – Magpies get first bye of season in race to finals

ROUND 15 of the Northern Territory Football League (NTFL) Women’s will see plenty of exciting matches, with this round ultimately heating up the race to finals with only four matches left in the season. With a relatively even ladder this season, every team from fifth to eighth on the ladder could still realistically make finals with wins to finish the season. Though still an outside chance, with fifth and sixth only two wins ahead of seventh and three ahead of eighth, the likes of Nightcliff and Wanderers will need to take every opportunity they have to ensure they don’t get forced out of finals contention. 

Big River Hawks have unfortunately withdrawn from the competition after player unavailability lead to three successive forfeits, breaching AFLNT regulations. All teams scheduled to take on the Hawks over the next four rounds will receive byes, with Palmerston Magpies sitting out this week.

Tracy Village v. Southern Districts
Round 15 – 25/1/20
12:00pm
Tracy Village

Tracy Village will have a tough one this week when they open the round, taking on Southern Districts at home to hopefully get their third win on the board for the season. Sitting in third, the Crocs will want to bring back some of their early-season consistency to breach the top two, only sitting one win behind the Buffettes and realistically with a good chance to rack up some more wins to end the season on a high. Last time these sides met the Crocs only conceded one behind for the match, meaning that they will look to continue that form but will also have a hungry Razorbacks outfit to contend with up forward to go one better than their Round 5 efforts. Tahlia Holtze and April Lewis will look to continue their solid form for the season, collecting six and four bests nominations respectively, while Ebony Miller is sure to make an impact with 37 goals on her tally for the season so far. Lisa-Maree Toner has been consistent for the Razorbacks despite the side’s slow season, while Gabrielle Young will hope for another solid match on the board.

Pint v. St Mary’s
Round 15 – 25/1/20
2:00pm
MCG

In the second match of the round the seventh-ranked Queen Ants will take on the eighth-placed Saints in what is the closest match of the round, with both sides needing wins over the coming weeks to catch a glimpse of finals contention. Based on their percentage Pint should get the chocolates this time around despite St Mary’s getting the win last time they met, with a better win rate and ability to put points on the board. But the Saints cannot be discounted, with some solid form this season with an ability to score quickly, making for a massive contest. For the Saints, Nikita Long will hope to continue her consistency on the field with 13 matches under her belt for the season while Sharna Edwards will want to put her best foot forward under pressure from Pint. For the Queen Ants, Jasmyn Hewett, Casey Morris and Jessie Baumer have been solid options inside 50 while the likes of Emma Greaves and Erin Hetherington have impressed throughout the season, steadying the side throughout.

Nightcliff v. Darwin Buffettes
Round 15 – 25/1/20
2:00pm
TIO Stadium

Nightcliff will need to be at their best this round when they take on the Buffettes who have returned to their early season form with impressive wins over the past two weeks. Last time they met the Buffs reigned supreme in a 31-point victory, with the side well and truly on a roll with victory making for an interesting matchup this time around given the Tigers are currently on a three game winning streak, including one against the reigning premiers and ladder-leaders, Waratah. Only sitting two wins behind Darwin and with plenty of talent at their disposal, Nightcliff will want to prove they have what it takes to go far this season with a win against the second-ranked Buffettes. Nightcliff high-flyers, Eliza Morrison and Emma-Lou Wolsey will want to continue their combined stellar form, with the pair both picking up nine best on ground nominations this season so far. The likes of Mickayla Ward and Jacqueline Anyon-Smith have some real firepower between them so will hope to put some real pressure on the scoreboard, while plenty of other forwards are also able to have an impact. The Tigers will have a hard time stopping the likes of Kylie Duggan and Tayla Hart-Aluni who are as consistent as they come, especially in a side of dominant performers. 

Waratah v. Wanderers
Round 15 – 26/1/20
2:00pm
Gardens Oval

With a week off last round, Waratah will be out for blood against sixth-ranked Wanderers who are sitting in a similar position to Nightcliff, needing wins over the next few rounds to ensure a finals berth. Last time these sides met the ‘Tahs came out on top with relative ease in a somewhat inaccurate clash, booting 12.10 (82) to Wanderers’ 5.7 (37). Waratah will want to continue their impressive form heading into the last few rounds of the season to remain at the head of the ladder and with a plethora of forward options the Wanderers will have their work cut out for them defensively to try and stem the flow long enough to get a ninth win on the board. Wanderers’ Shekeine De Satge and Morgan Johnston have been stellar throughout the season, both earning nine best on ground nominations for their efforts. De Satge is the leading goalkicker with 13 for the season so far, so will hope to add to her tally this week against a tough opponent. Waratah’s Lauren O’Shea, Jenna Singh and Lisa Roberts will look to add to their respective goal tallies for the season, having combined for 41 goals and 14 best on ground nominations this season.

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.

2019/20 AFLW off-season review: Gold Coast

IN the first of our four AFL Women’s expansion clubs off-season reviews, we take a look at the Gold Coast SUNS, the second Queensland team to join the competition. The SUNS already have a healthy rivalry with Brisbane given the Winter Series that has been a source of competition during the off-season, as well as plenty of Academy players playing alongside those from the Brisbane Academy in the AFL Women’s Under-18 Championships.

Being an expansion side, the SUNS were able to pre-list nine players prior to the AFL Women’s Draft, and as early as February, opted for Charlotte Hammans, Ellie Hampson and Kitara Whap-Farrar. All three justified their pre-listings with strong Under-18 carnivals this year, including Hampson taking out Queensland’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) award. Along with the trio, the SUNS opted for more experience in locals, Maddy Roberts, Molly Ritson and Kate Surman, whilst grabbing Lauren Aherns from Essendon and Tayla Thorn from NT Thunder after both plied their trade in the VFLW. Taylor Smith was the final pre-listed SUN after a strong performance in the Winter Series.

Gold Coast was equally busy in the pre-listing period, announcing North Melbourne’s Jamie Stanton as a signing, who was the first experienced player on the list. They then raided Brisbane across the board with plenty of talent, as names such as Sam Virgo and Leah Kaslar headed south down the highway, while Gold Coast also snapped up Jasmyn Hewett from Adelaide. Serene Watson became the first player to be selected by Gold Coast in an AFL Women’s Draft with the Under-18 All Australian defender set to line-up from Round 1. Dee Heslop was the other Queensland player to earn a spot on the list via the draft, while Alexia Hamilton and Georgia Breward are former Eastern Allies representatives and 19-year-olds.

2020 TEAM LIST:

Lauren Ahrens
Lauren Bella
Georgia Breward
Hannah Dunn
Tiarna Ernst
Tori Groves-Little
Alexia Hamilton
Charlotte Hammans
Cheyenne Hammond
Ellie Hampson
Dee Heslop
Jasmyn Hewett
Jordann Hickey
Kalinda Howarth
Leah Kaslar
Paige Parker
Brittany Perry
Emma Pittman
Jade Pregelj
Sally Riley
Molly Ritson
Maddy Roberts
Taylor Smith
Jamie Stanton
Kate Surman
Tayla Thorn
Sam Virgo
Serene Watson
Kitara Whap-Farrar
Jacqui Yorston

POTENTIAL 2020 SIDE:

B: Cheyenne Hammond – Tayla Thorn – Sam Virgo
HB: Leah Kaslar – Tiarna Ernst – Serene Watson
C: Jamie Stanton
HF: Paige Parker – Taylor Smith – Kitara Whap-Farrar
F: Jordann Hickey – Tori Groves-Little – Sally Riley
R: Lauren Bella – Hannah Dunn – Ellie Hampson
INT: Jasmyn Hewett – Brittany Perry – Jacqui Yorston – Charlotte Hammans – Kate Surman
EMG: Jade Pregelj – Dee Heslop – Molly Ritson

DEPTH: Kalinda Howarth, Maddy Roberts, Lauren Ahrens, Georgia Breward, Alexia Hamilton. Emma Pittman

All fans have to go by heading into 2020 for the Gold Coast SUNS is the Winter Series, and it was not surprising to see the magnets being thrown around to trial out players in different positions in order to find combinations that work. Expect the defence to be fairly experienced with the likes of Ernst, Virgo and Kaslar standing up back there, while Sally Riley and Jordann Hickey provide some AFL Women’s experience to an inexperienced forward half.

Teenage talents, Watson, Whap-Farrar, Hampson and Hammans should all work their way into the best 22 from early-on, while the likes of Smith, Heslop, Breward and Hamilton offer some great excitement particularly in the forward half. Stanton will likely be the leader on-field given her extensive AFL Women’s resume, and while the SUNS are a developing side and unlikely to challenge the top sides, do not be surprised if they surprise a few teams with their run and carry style that will likely come from the strengths of their playing group.

NTFL Women’s Premier League weekend preview: Round 10 – Heat to prove extra challenge

ROUND 10 is set to have some interesting battles, with a few ladder-defining matches heading up the weekend. In a change from the usual scheduling all five matches this week take place at different locations, making for potential of a real mixed bag of results especially with temperatures expected to surge over the weekend in some parts of the Northern Territory this week.

Nightcliff v. St Mary’s
7/12/19 – Round 10
12:30pm
TIO Oval 2

Nightcliff are in an unprecedented position once more this week, sitting in fifth with five wins for the season so far coming up against eighth placed St Mary’s to open Round 10. Both sides were part of high-scoring clashes last round though the Tigers certainly will come in favourites given their solid 95-point victory over Big River Hawks while St Mary’s only managed eight points against Southern Districts. Nightcliff will look to tighten up the accuracy this week after booting 23 behinds last round. Last time these sides met Nightcliff came away with a solid 11-point victory so will look to back up that effort this time around. Saints’ Sharna Edwards and Yasmin Roe have played every match so far this season well and truly earning their spots in the lineup with their consistency. Nightcliff’s Eliza Morrison, Emma-Lou Wolsey and Mickayla Ward have also proved to be consistent performers throughout the season so far. 

Tracy Village v. Pint
7/12/19 – Round 10
2:00pm
Tracy Village

Tracy Village will look to get one back this week after a disappointing display last round against Waratah while Pint will be brimming with confidence after going toe-to-toe with Darwin Buffettes and given a draw for their efforts. While not far apart on the ladder, sitting ninth and seventh respectively, Tracy Village is sitting far below Pint on percentage making this a difficult task for the Razorbacks. One thing that will go in the side’s favour however is the home ground advantage with the match taking place at Tracy Village. The two sides did battle in Round 2 with Tracy Village going scoreless, entirely run down by Pint meaning the Tigers have a lot to prove this round. Pint’s Jasmyn Hewett, Emma Greaves and Erin Hetherington will look to continue their solid form while Razorbacks have the likes of Alexandra Biggs, Gabby Young and Tara Everett up their sleeve with plenty left to prove.

Big River Hawks v. Darwin Buffettes
7/12/19 – Round 10
2:30PM
Katherine Oval

Big River Hawks have another rough one coming up this week when they take on second-ranked Darwin Buffettes. The Hawks went scoreless last time they took on the Buffettes, with the Buffs booting 19.19 for the match. While the Buffs have had a shaky past few weeks on the track, they are unlikely to have a tough time against the Hawks who have struggled to put points on the board this season. The Hawks will have some confidence on home soil but with temperatures expected to peak upwards of 40 degrees celcius only time will tell whether they are able to put up a worthy fight. Jayde De La Coeur and Crystal Browne are two of the most consistent performers for the Hawks alongside Deanna Peckham. For the Buffettes, Kylie Duggan has been solid across her eight matches with three best on ground appearances while Tikesa Docherty-Cole has booted seven goals from two matches to prove herself as a key option forward for the Buffs.

Southern Districts v. Wanderers
7/12/19 – Round 10
5:00pm
TIO Stadium

The final Saturday match of the round will see fourth and sixth do battle with both sides on the same amount of winning points though Districts arguably have the better percentage and potential to get a win on the board in round 10. The Crocs had the winning points taken off for their last battle against Wanderers back in Round 2, so the side will surely want to prove they can get away with victory this time again. For Districts, Charles Deegan is key finding the footy while Ebony Miller has the ability in front of goal to be dangerous if left unattended, already having booted 27 goals for the season. The Wanderers will look to their stalwart trio of Morgan Johnston, Shekeine De Satge and Sophia Mauboy who have continued to perform across the board this season.

Waratah v. Palmerston Magpies
8/12/19 – Round 10
12:00pm
Gardens Oval

The final match of the round is set to be the biggest with Waratah hosting Palmerston Magpies. The two sides went  toe-to-toe in Round 2, ending with a 10 point margin Waratah’s way, so the Magpies are sure to ark it up this time with accuracy and forward pressure surely on the agenda. Both sides come into this matchup off solid wins in the past few rounds so expect another tight battle between two of the top sides of the competition. Iesha Ronberg has proved her consistency across a number of matches with consistency and cleanliness to boot, unafraid to go into the contest hard and earning six best on ground appearances for her efforts. Arthurina Moreen will be key for the Magpies alongside Ronberg with a real eye for the goals while Billie Byers and Janet Baird also have plenty to offer. For the ‘Tahs Rebecca Pryer has impressed throughout the season while Lauren O’Shea is the current leading goalkicker for the side with 12 from eight matches.

2019/20 NTFL Women’s Premier League preview: Round 9 – Darwin looks to bounce back

WARATAH will be looking to extend their reign at top of the ladder with another strong performance while the Southern Districts will be wanting to keep in touch with the top four. It has been a trying season for the Big River Hawks who are yet to register a win but if they can muster up enough will power could give the seventh placed Nightcliff a run for their money.

Big River Hawks v. Nightcliff
30/11/19 – Round 9
2:30pm
Katherine Oval

Nightcliff will look to go for two wins in a row this round when it takes on the winless Big River Hawks. The side will be brimming with confidence after beating Southern Districts in a close encounter in Round 8 so are sure to go in hard to every contest this week to take their winning tally to five and hopefully move up the ladder in the process. For the Hawks, one thing they will have going for them is Nightcliff’s form in recent seasons, with consistency a real issue for the Tigers despite their good form to start the season. Youngster Shantel Miskin-Ripia has been in stellar form lighting up the field with her daring style of play for Nightcliff. Miskin-Ripia has been named in the “bests” for the past three weeks highlighting her dominance while teammate Michaela Ward is renowned for her ability to hit the scoreboard. Jade De Melo made a splash in her first game for the season and will be hoping to continue that form while River Hawks duo Sam Clarke and Zainab Mohamud have lifted their load in the past couple of matches.

Pint v. Darwin Buffettes
30/11/19 – Round 9
4:00pm
MCG

Darwin Buffettes will look to bounce back from a rough few weeks on the track, losing to Wanderers and Waratah in successive rounds to lose their undefeated status and top spot on the ladder. Two consecutive two-point losses are sure to spur the side into action, meaning Pint – who had a massive 159-point victory last round – will need to be at their best to get over the line against a tough Buffettes outfit. Pint have had some real shaky form in recent weeks, sitting in sixth with four wins from eight rounds but have a dominant percentage that could see them rocket up the ladder with a good week on the field. Coming off a bag of six goals last week expect Casey Morris to be the go to girl in the forward 50 with her uncanny ability to find the sticks while Jasmyn Hewett can find the ball and hit the scoreboard if given time and space. The Darwin Buffettes will be looking to right their wrongs of last week with the likes of Kylie Duggan and Bianca Stokes hoping to lead the way.

Waratah v. Tracy Village
30/11/19 – Round 9
5:00pm
TIO Oval 2

Waratah will look for a confidence boosting win this week when they take on Tracy Village, with the Razorbacks only having won one match for the season thus far, a close victory over cellar dwellers, Hawks. Tracy Village will need to limit Waratah’s scoring ability, with the side able to pepper the goal posts thanks to a number of players who can impact well in front of goal. For Waratah, the side once again had issues with inaccuracy last round so will need to tighten up inside 50. Joanna Kolodziej had a strong performance last week able to hit the scoreboard and have an influence across the board with her ball winning abilities while Gemma Cusack is a scoring machine and can cause a muck in the forward half. For Tracy Village, Alexandra Briggs, Gabrielle Young and Tara Everett can all band together to form a dominant trio.

Southern Districts v. St Mary’s
30/11/19 – Round 9
5:00pm
TIO Stadium

Southern Districts will look to bounce back this week after a difficult loss last round, and will certainly have a confidence boost when they take on a St Mary’s side that only put one behind on the board last round. The Saints have had an up and down season so far, unable to string multiple wins along but having some good patches along the way, making this a key match to put some goals on the board and bring back some consistency. The Southern Districts have host a key players in front of goal with the likes of Kelsey Patterson and Ebony Miller all getting on the board while first gamer Lucy Murray will be striving to keep up the good work after nailing her first goal last round. For St Mary’s Sharna Edwards has been nothing but consistent playing all eight games this season while Danielle Ponter knows how to cause an impact and will be hoping to bring some magic to the game to worry the opposition. Aaliyah Bailey is a handy player inside 50 given her scoring ability so except St Mary’s to look for her when pushing into the forward half.

Palmerston Magpies v. Wanderers
30/11/19 – Round 9
7:00pm
Palmerston Oval

Both the Magpies and Wanderers are coming off wins making this an interesting clash between the top four sides. Palmerston well and truly dismantled their opponent last round and will be looking to replicate that dominance heading into this match-up while the Wanderers will have plenty of confidence after coming from behind to clench victory. After a dominant performance in front of goal last round for the Wanderers, Shekeine De Satge will be wanting to influence the scoreboard once again if they are any chance to win. Maria Billias and Sophia Mauboy have also been key in recent weeks for the Wanderers and if can get on the board early will help to set the tone for the game. On the other hand the Magpies are not short of star-power in front of goal after nailing 16 goals last round with Arthurina Moreen and Jessica Stassi both scoring four majors apiece meaning if they can get loose in the forward 50 again they can do some serious damage. Iesha Ronberg has also been in hot form in recent weeks being named in the bests for the past three weeks.

2019/20 NTFL Women’s Premier League wrap: Round 8 – Thrillers and blow outs and not much inbetween

ROUND 8 of the Northern Territory Football League Women’s (NTFLW) was a mixed bag of results with some matches extremely close and others big blowouts highlighting the extreme level of difference within the competition.

SOUTHERN DISTRICTS 1.3 | 2.5 | 3.5 | 3.8 (26)
NIGHTCLIFF 0.1 | 2.2 | 3.5 | 4.4 (28)

GOALS
Southern Districts:
L. Murray, K. Patterson, E. Miller
Nightcliff: M. Ward 2, J. Anyon-Smith, S. Politis

BEST
Southern Districts:
N/A
Nightcliff: J. de Melo, S. Miskin-Ripia, M. Ward

After a slow start Nightcliff built its way back into the game to run out victors by two points in what was an upset win. They did not let a goalless first quarter dictate their match working hard in the second to have four shots on goal and limit the higher placed Southern Districts to three drawing within in three points at half time. Nightcliff kept plying its trade in the third before putting the nail in the coffin in the final term to notch up their fifth win of the season. It was a tight battle between the two sides with neither willing to give an inch but inaccuracy ultimately cost District. Mickayla Ward did plenty of damage on the scoreboard with two goals highlighting her impressive goal nous while teammates Jacqueline Anyon-Smith and Sophia Politis added to the match winning total. Youngster Shantel Miskin-Ripia left her mark on the game with her signature run and carry a real feature of her game while Jade De Melo was also recognised in the bests for her efforts throughout the match. Southern Districts also had a handful of key players that set the tone for its side with the likes of Kelsey Patterson converting a major along with the likes of Ebony Miller who had a quiet game in comparison to her 10 goal haul last week. In her first game of the season Lucy Murray did not muck around nailing a goal to keep her side in touch of their opponents but it was not enough to get them over the line.

WARATAH 1.5 | 2.5 | 3.6 | 4.10 (34)
DARWIN BUFFETTES 0.1 | 2.2 | 3.3 | 5.3 (33)

GOALS
Waratahs:
G. Cusack, J. Kolodziej, J. Singh, L. O’Shea.
Darwin Buffettes: N/A.

BEST
Waratahs:
G. Cusack, J. Kolodziej, C. Fabris, R. Pryer, I. Rapson-Staropoli
Darwin Buffettes: N/A

The second game of the round resulted in another nail-biter with the margin coming down to a mere one point in favour of the Waratahs. The ‘Tahs skipped out to an early lead in the first quarter but were plagued with inaccuracy unable to capitalise on their opportunities in front of goal. The Buffettes came out with a point to prove in the second term piling on two goals to reduce the margin to three points heading into the main break. The deficit remained three points up into the third before missed chances by Waratah in the last quarter almost handed their opponents the game, scoring 1.4 compared to the Buffettes straight two goals. The goal scoring was evenly spread across Waratahs with Gemma Cusack maintaining her recent consistency in front of goal making it three consecutive weeks in which she has scored a major. Jenna Singh, Joanna Kolodziej and Lauren O’Shea rounded out the goal scorers while teammate Isabella Rapson-Staropoli was influential across the ground.

PINT 7.5 | 12.8 | 17.14 | 23.21 (159)
BIG RIVER HAWKS 0.0 | 0.0 | 0.0 | 0.0 (0)

GOALS
Pint:
C. Morris 6, J. Baumer 3, J. Hewett 3, E. Ryan 3, K. Smits 2, R. Fecht, E. Markussen, J. Downey, C. Evans.
Big River Hawks: N/A.

BEST
Pint:
N/A
Big River Hawks: S. Clarke, Z. Mohamud, J. Daniels, F. Joshua, C. Browne, C. Delacoeur

It was a complete and utter demolition with Pint simply running rampant for a full four quarters against their last placed opposition. Big River Hawks had no answers for Pint who outclassed them at every turn using their clever ball movement, speed and accuracy to really punish the Hawks. It is fair to say it was game on from the opening bounce with Pint piling on seven goals to set the tone and highlight their intent. They did not let up throughout the match not conceding a single point credit to their extreme defensive pressure paired with their attacking prowess. Casey Morris caused havoc in the forward half with her six goals while Ellie Ryan, Jasmyn Hewett and Jessie Baumer contributed three goals apiece to add further pain to the already struggling Hawks side. Kristen Smits clearly did not want to miss out on the goal scoring action with two majors of her own while an additional four players got on the scoreboard. Despite things not going their way throughout the match Sam Clarke, Zainab Mohamud and Johanna Daniels worked gallantly to try and give their side a fighting chance.

PALMERSTON MAGPIES 7.4 | 11.9 | 12.10 | 16. 14 (110)
ST MARY’S 0.0 | 0.0 | 0.1 | 0.1 (1)

GOALS:
Palmerston Magpies:
A. Moreen 4, J. Stassi 4, N. Medbury 2, I. Ronberg, W. Barlow, J. Brock, B. Byera.
St Marys: N/A.

BEST:
Palmerston Magpies:
A. Moreen, B. Byers, J. Baird, I. Ronberg, M. Singh, G. Garling
St Mary’s: N/A

Despite scores drying up in the third term, the Palmerston Magpies had things all their own way for much of the match thanks to a dominant start to the game. The Magpies kept St Mary’s scoreless in the first half thanks to their intense pressure and own goal scoring ability to simply deny their opponents any opportunity to push forward. Palmerston showed why they are in the top four claiming their fifth win of the season sitting on equal points with the Wanderers meaning the percentage boost could not have come at a better time. Arthurina Moreen and Jessica Stassi led the way in attack for the Magpies nailing four goals apiece with the duo proving to be a real thorn in their oppositions side. Natasha Medbury, Iesha Ronberg, Billie Byers, Jessie Brock and Wynona Barlow could not be denied in front of goal adding to the total. Unfortunately, the same could not be said for St Mary’s who failed to trouble the scoreboard.

TRACY VILLAGE 1.0 | 3.1 | 3.2 | 3.3 (21)
WANDERERS 1.2 | 1.3 | 3.3 | 6.6 (42)

GOALS
Tracy Village: N/A.
Wanderers: S. De Satge 2, M. Billias, P. Koulakis, T. Bush, K. White.

BEST
Tracy Village: N/A
Wanderers: M. Johnston, T. Davern, S. Mauboy, S. De Satge, M. Billias, L. Motlop

A mere two points separated the ninth placed Tracy Village and fourth placed Wanderers at quarter time before the tables quickly turned. Tracy took control of the game to make the most of their opportunities and open up a handy lead heading into half time. But the Wanderers refused to back down, kicking it up a gear to get the game back on their terms and eventually run out 21 point victors thanks to a final quarter blitz. Shekeine De Stage threw her weight around in the forward half to boot two majors while Maria Billias made no mistake in front of goal nailing one goal for the game. Sophia Mauboy featured in the bests for the second consecutive week along with Morgan Johnston who made her presence felt on the footy field with her damaging style of play. In her second game of the round Karita White continued her merry goal scoring way, with another major to help get her side over the line.

NTFL Women’s Premier Division: Round 8 – Waratah and Buffettes go head-to-head for top spot

IN Round 8 of Northern Territory Football League (NTFL) Women’s Premier Division expect plenty of action, with the headlining match the table-topping clash between 2018/2019 premiers, Waratah and this season’s dominant force in Darwin Buffettes. Meanwhile, the ladder will be well and truly changed up again this round, with wins to teams in the top five likely to provide plenty of separation to the ladder for the first time this season.

Southern Districts v. Nightcliff
23/11/19 – Round 8
12:30pm
Norbuilt Oval

Nightcliff is in for a tough slog this week, only one win behind Southern Districts according to the ladder, but it is worth taking into consideration that the Crocs have had points taken off them on two occasions for fielding extra players, meaning the side cannot be underestimated. While Nightcliff have had some fairly good form to start the season, they have scored a lot less points than Districts have to start the season so will need to either put on some serious firepower or apply a lot of defensive pressure to get over the line in this match. Crocs’ Ebony Miller will be one to watch this round, booting 10 goals last week to take her season tally to 24 while the likes of Charles Deegan and Lateesha Jeffrey can provide solid options wherever needed on the field. For the Tigers, Emma-Lou Wolsey and Eliza Morrison have proved to be two of the side’s most consistent players, going in hard to every contest. Nightcliff will require at least one of their key forward options to front up, with Shantel Miskin-Ripia and Jacqueline Anyon-Smith both impressive performers in front of goal when given the chance.

Waratah v. Darwin Buffettes
23/11/19 – Round 8
2:30pm
TIO Oval 2

Ultimately the biggest match of the round will see an early battle between first and second on the ladder, with both sides dominating majority of their contests to start the season. With the match played on neutral territory in the first of a double header at TIO Oval 2, either team could realistically run away with this one but also com down to a close encounter, given the strength in both the respective forward and defensive 50s. The Buffettes will need to take advantage of Waratah’s inaccuracy in this match to get a win on the board, and with both sides having a number of players who can impact the scoreboard, it is vital they shut down as many options as possible. With 17 and 18 individual goalkickers respectively, both sides have proven time and time again that they have the firepower to get the job done, with Kylie Duggan and Dominique Carbone among the Buffettes’ most consistent, while Waratah will look to Lisa Roberts and Madeline Gault.

Pint v. Big River Hawks
23/11/19 – Round 8
5:00pm
TIO Oval 2

Big River Hawks will look to take control in this match, with a relatively achievable contest this round against Pint. While the Bullants have won three games of seven, they have only defeated lower sides and only one by a solid margin. While the Hawks will still have a tough time against them, if they can lock down their defence and keep possession of the footy they may actually have a good chance of putting goals on the board. Emma Greaves and Erin Hetherington have been solid for Pint in the early stages of the season so are sure to team up once more with Jacqueline Downey and Jasmyn Hewett to impact on the board. For Hawks, Crystal Browne, Jayde De La Couer and Deanna Peckham have proved time and time again that they will not stop regardless of the margin.

Palmerston Magpies v. St Mary’s
23/11/19 – Round 8
7:30pm
Palmerston Oval

Another interesting match will play out between sides only one win apart, with Palmerston Magpies on four wins in third while St Mary’s is in sixth on three wins. The Magpies have been fortunate in a few of their games, winning off the back of some solid defence rather than firepower forward, so will need to really unleash forward to ensure a good match against St Mary’s. For the Saints the main issue will be the Magpies’ impressive run through the midfield, making them tough to stop when heading forward. Iesha Ronberg has had a solid start to the season for the Magpies alongside Billie Byers and Janet Baird, while Arthurina Moreen has kicked true early with 12 goals to her name making her a key option inside 50 for the Saints to stop. For St Mary’s, Danielle Ponter and Sharna Edwards have been relatively consistent and the real core of the side, so will need to be those solid players who stand up if the Magpies take control.

Tracy Village v. Wanderers
24/11/19 – Round 8
2:30pm
Tracy Village

The final match of the round will see two of last season’s bottom sides go head to head, but ultimately with their positions switched as Wanderers come into this game with four wins under their belt to the Razorbacks’ one. However, with the match played at Tracy Village the Razorbacks will have a much-needed home ground advantage, meaning the Wanderers will need to well and truly bring their A-game. For Tracy Village, the likes of Tara Everett and Zhoe Clarke will need to stand up, and with only two players in Bonnie McDougall and Nickesha Jones on multiple goals for the season the side will really want to spark up forward to make this a contested match. For the Wanderers, Shekeine De Satge and Morgan Johnston will want to continue their respective strong form starting the season with a real chance this match to continue the Eagles’ great ladder position.