Tag: Jemma Finning

NAB League Girls Round 8 wash-up: Knights rise while Ranges book finals spot

THIS round brought plenty of excitement with the top of the table clash between the Northern Knights and Geelong Falcons headlining the round, while Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels potentially ended Oakleigh Chargers’ finals campaign, as Calder Cannons put themselves in the best position possible, winning over Bendigo Pioneers. Eastern Ranges booked a finals spot with an impressive win, while other victors were the Dandenong Stingrays and Western Jets, the latter of whom won their second consecutive match.

Calder Cannons 4.6 (30) defeated Bendigo Pioneers 1.3 (9)
By: Taylah Melki

GOALS:

Calder: A. Magri, Z. Hardiman, G. Patrikios, F. Theodore
Bendigo: E. Snell

BEST:

Calder: L. Cocomello, T. Crook, K. Petrevski, I. Young, G. Patrikios, N. Crowley
Bendigo: K. Douglass, B. Hards, D. Villiva, J. Finning, B. Heiden, T. Coad

It was a slow start for both sides with neither team able to score a goal in the opening term. Heading into half time the Bendigo Pioneers held a six-point margin scoring the only major for the term. But the goals seemed to be easier to find in the second half for the Calder Cannons who kicked into gear and applied strong pressure. Laura Cocomello impressed across the ground for the Cannons working hard at the contest and winning a heap of the ball with 17 touches. Georgia Patrikios and Georgie Prespakis led the way once again racking up 27 and 30 possessions respectively. Both were clean with the footy in hand with Patrikios making the most of her accuracy by foot with a game high 23 kicks and one goal for her efforts. Alana Barba applied good physical pressure laying nine tackles and did the little things well to worry her opponent out of the contest, while Krstel Petrevski was clever with ball in hand and made each possession count. For the Pioneers Brooke Hards put on a tackling masterclass with a whopping 16 showcasing her physicality and intent to win the ball. Jemma Finning also won plenty of footy for her side and fought hard throughout the game with the likes of Dakota Villiva also doing a wealth of work. Elizabeth Snell displayed her attacking flair with three inside 50s and the only goal for her side.

Dandenong Stingrays 6.4 (40) defeated Murray Bushrangers 3.9 (27)
By: Peter Williams

GOALS:

Dandenong: I. Shannon, A. Liddle, J. Guy-Toogood, J. Anthony, G. Grimmer, T. Smith
Murray: T. Verhoeven, A. Favell, A. Morphett

BEST:

Dandenong: B. Vernon, T. Smith, I. Shannon, J. Guy-Toogood, G. Howes, Z. Hill
Murray: A. Favell, M. Brown, K. Skepper, T. Brett, M. Jones, K. Adams

Dandenong Stingrays have held off a determined Murray Bushrangers outfit on their way to a 13-point win at Shepley Oval on Saturday. The Stingrays led by 11 points at quarter time, but the Bushrangers booted the only two goals of the second term to hit the front by four points. Dandenong hit back in the third term with a couple of majors, and led for the rest of the game as Murray missed a few chances in front of goal. A late goal to Abby Favell saw the Bushrangers draw to within a goal, but a Tyanna Smith major in the last minute sealed the win, 6.4 (40) to 3.9 (27). Brooke Vernon finished as Dandenong’s best with 19 disposals, two marks, two tackles and 12 rebounds, while Isabella Shannon finished with 14 disposals, five inside 50s and a goal. Smith stood up in the second half with her match-winning goal, while Molly McDonald continued her consistent form with 13 disposals, three marks and five inside 50s. Favell was the standout player on the field, racking up 26 disposals, four marks, five tackles, three inside 50s and four rebounds in the defeat. Millie Brown was also strong in defence, finishing the game with 24 disposals and seven rebounds.

Western Jets 3.1 (19) defeated Sandringham Dragons 1.3 (9)
By: Peter Williams

GOALS:

Western: J. Goodman 2, M. Ham.
Sandringham: A. Moloney.

BEST:

Western: P. Ozols, E. Georgostathis, I. Pritchard, R. Tripodi, A. Anthony, C. Singleton
Sandringham: S. Hartwig, D. Walker, A. Burke, A. Moloney, M. Purcell, L. de Gleria Cade

Western Jets have celebrated back-to-back wins after downing Sandringham Dragons at Avalon Airport Oval. The Jets hit the front in the second term after trailing by two points at the first break, booting 2.3 to 0.1 in the final three quarters to secure the win. Despite keeping them to one behind for three quarters, the Jets never looked entirely safe, holding strong in the final term despite the Dragons doing all the attacking in the quarter. Opposite centre half-backs Isabelle Pritchard (18 disposals, four marks and four rebounds) and Sarah Hartwig (17 disposals, four marks and five rebounds) were standouts on the day, rebounding and marking everything that came in their path. For the winners, Elisabeth Georgostathis had a game-high 22 touches as well as five marks and eight rebounds coming off half-back, while Payton-Ani Ozols was also impressive with 11 disposals, three marks and two tackles running on the outside and providing some drive for the Jets. For the Dragons, Alice Burke was strong again with 17 disposals, two marks and three tackles, while Daisy Walker had 16 disposals, three inside 50s and laid seven tackles in her best game this season.

Gippsland Power 2.1 (13) defeated by Eastern Ranges 9.10 (64)
By: Peter Williams

GOALS:

Gippsland: N. Williams, M. Van Berkel.
Eastern: S. Gibbs 3, B. Deed, S. Collard, M. Church, T. Brown, R. O”Dwyer, J. Richardson.

BEST:

Gippsland: M. Fitzsimon, C. Bird, M. Shaw, C. Abrahams , N. Webber, G. McRae
Eastern: J. Richardson, T. Brown, S. Gibbs, M. Di Cosmo, T. Flintoff, L. McClelland

Eastern Ranges produced their most commanding win of the year, defeating Gippsland Power by 51 points at Morwell Recreation Reserve. The Ranges looked impressive throughout the game on their way to the big win to cement a finals spot. It took until the tenth minute of the first term for Eastern to put through its first goal, but by quarter time they had three goals from seven scoring shots to lead by 22 points. Gippsland booted one goal in the second term, but the Ranges added a further two, extending their lead to 31 by the main break. By three quarter time the Ranges led by 44 points, and the margin got out to as much as 57 at one stage before the Power booted the final goal of the game through Matilda Van Berkel. Emma Horne picked up a game-high 28 touches, while Jenna Richardson was named the Ranges best for her 16 disposals, six marks, five inside 50s and a goal. Tarni Brown and Tess Flintoff were again busy with a combined 45 disposals, 11 inside 50s and 12 tackles, while Serena Gibbs slotted 3.4 from 18 disposals and six marks. For Gippsland, Megan Fitzsimon had 16 disposals, four rebounds and six tackles, while Grace McRae was again strong in the midfield with 17 disposals and three rebounds. Charlize Bird had 12 disposals, two marks and six tackles, while Chandra Abrahams was strong defensively, laying five tackles.

GWV Rebels 3.2 (20) defeated Oakleigh Chargers 2.7 (19)
By: Peter Williams

GOALS:

GWV: L. Condon, S. Molan, Z. Larkins.
Oakleigh: M. Bertuna, A. Porter.

BEST:

GWV: N. Dojiok, M. Caris, R. Saulitis, C. Willis, E. Wood, L. Condon
Oakleigh: K. Kearns, G. Lagioia, A. Porter, A. van Oosterwijck, J. Lin, A. Micallef

Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels spoiled Oakleigh Chargers’ finals campaign, kicking a goal in the dying minutes to win by a point. Trailing for most of the contest after holding a one-point lead at quarter time, the Rebels kept the Chargers to just five behinds in the second half as teamwork and cohesion across the field from the underdogs was terrific. In the end, it was a Lilli Condon goal that separated the sides, as the Rebels held on for dear life in the last 90 seconds with the ball deep in their defence. They held strong and partied after the siren, with much jubilation and elation across the ground having toppled a highly fancied side. Sophie Molan was unsurprisingly the dominant ball winner for the Rebels, picking up 20 disposals, having five tackles and kicking a great goal. Ella Wood and Nekaela Butler were both good out of defence moving up the ground, while Nyakoat Dojiok was superb collecting 12 disposals, five marks, five tackles and two inside 50s. For the Chargers, Joanna Lin racked up 21 disposals, three marks, four tackles, two inside 50s, while Mimi Hill had 20 touches, five marks, two tackles and four inside 50s were busy. Alana Porter was terrific with her speed across the ground, and Kalarni Kearns named best for the losing side for her work in the ruck.

Geelong Falcons 0.7 (7) defeated by Northern Knights 6.7 (43)

GOALS:
Geelong: Nil
Northern: A. Bannan 2, N. Morris-Dalton, J. Fitzgerald, C. Linssen, M. Appleby

BEST:
Geelong: P. Sheppard, L. Gardiner, L. McEvoy, A. Chapman, L. Lesosky-Hay, M. Skinner
Northern: E. McKenzie, G. Newton, S. Sansonetti, A. Bannan, T. Smart, J. Nelson

The Northern Knights inflicted Geelong Falcons’ first defeat since Round 4 2017, winning by 36 points in a dominant display to snatch top spot and remain undefeated.

The Knights looked on and meant business from the get-go at Deakin University, throwing star trio Gabby Newton, Ellie McKenzie, and Britney Gutknecht into the first centre bounce. On the other side, Falcons coach Jason Armistead had shuffled the magnets heavily, with skipper Lucy McEvoy a notable starter across half-back. After a tense opening few minutes, the Knights broke away in a flash with three goals in as many minutes mid-way through the first term. As expected, the hosts threw everything back at their opponents to start the following quarter, dictating general play in the first 10 minutes and narrowly missing chances to open their goal account. It was to no avail though, as Northern applied smothering pressure and held on to keep the term goalless, taking a 15-point advantage into the main break.

With Geelong lacking a spark after seeing its efforts go unrewarded, the Knights continued to break open an unassailable lead in the third stanza on the back of a Jess Fitzgerald goal – the only goal for the term. Armistead did his best to rally his side at the final change, referring to Superbowl comeback victories and encouraging his side to take the game on. The Falcons needed a spark, and hedged their bets on winning the first centre clearance – hopefully kicking into the hands of McEvoy at centre half-forward. It was not to be as the ball found its way up the other end, and the Knights delivered two more crushing blows to seal the win.

The game ended on a sour note, with Northern’s Gulia Ceravolo downed unintentionally by a hard Renee Tierney tackle, forcing an early stoppage of the contest mid-way through the final term as she received treatment. It proved to be a bruising encounter for both sides, with Poppy Schapp sporting an ice pack and sling after a solid bump from McKenzie.

McKenzie and Newton were outstanding for Northern, providing a point of difference as cool heads in the hotly contested opening stages. Fitzgerald, Maykaylah Appleby, and Alyssa Bannan proved handfuls with their forward running and managed to hit the scoreboard alongside focal point, Nell Morris-Dalton. Up the other end, Sarah Sansonetti played a sensational role on Mia Skinner to quell Geelong’s main scoring threat. On a tough day for the Falcons, Paige Sheppard was combative as ever through the midfield alongside Laura Gardiner, while Abbey Chapman stood up under enormous pressure down back. McEvoy’s selfless role across each line was also fantastic, with her rebound and overhead marking a feature early on.

Scouting notes: NAB League Girls – Round 8

ROUND 8 saw some big clashes with the Northern Knights handing the Geelong Falcons their first loss in two years in the NAB League Girls. We took note of some of the top performers that respective Female Talent Managers highlighted at the start of the season as ones to watch. We attended five games live and noted the final game at the bottom. All notes are the opinion of the individual writer.

Calder Cannons 4.6 (30) defeated Bendigo Pioneers 1.3 (9)
By: Taylah Melki

Calder 

#2 Felicity Theodore

She had a relatively quiet first half, not finding much of the footy but well and truly worked her way into the game in the second half. She kicked a good crumbing goal in the third after picking the ball up out the back of the pack and taking a couple of steps to dribble it through for a goal. Theodore also showcased her good vision and attacking mind set to push her side forward.

#21 Georgia Patrikios

She was involved early, getting hands to the ball at the stoppages and showing good spatial awareness to dish the ball out to teammates. She had good strong hands to take a solid grab in the first quarter and showcased her ability to read the play. Patrikios consistently attacked the ball hard, sets up play for her teammates and had really good hands. She showed great control of the ball while on the run and kicked a good crumbing goal in the third quarter to stay down and cleanly pick the ball up and then turn and kick. She used her long booming kick to propel the ball into the forward 50 and knew where to position the ball to her teammates advantage. She was clean around the stoppages working hard to extract the footy and ran hard both ways making her presence felt across the field.

#31 Krstel Petrevski

After a quiet start Petrevski came alive in the second half. She had a good passage of play receiving a handball and steaming forward to kick to a teammate in the third term and used her booming kick to move the ball forward on multiple occasions. Her hands in close were also impressive and applied strong pressure across the ground. She was creative with ball in hand and worked hard to move the ball into an attacking position throughout the game.

#41 Georgie Prespakis 

Prespakis continued her dominant form and seemed to have plenty of time and space with ball in hand. Her ability to sidestep her opponents and then dish it off to a teammate was second to none and she consistently pushed hard to create attacking options. She showed good courage to go back with the flight of the ball while second efforts were impressive working hard to try and win the ball back for her side. Prespakis never seemed far from the footy winning plenty of it both at the coalface and across the ground for the Cannons. She read the tap out of the ruck exceptionally well, used her beautiful long booming kick to her sides advantage and provided repeat entries into forward 50. Won a heap of the ball in the third and had an impressive passage of play with a tunnel ball handball while getting tackled out to a teammate in space.

Bendigo 

#1 Maeve Tupper

Tried hard throughout the game to impact the contest. Good read of the flight of the ball to take a big intercept mark in the middle of the ground and propel her team forward, good smother in the second quarter showcasing her ability to track the ball and apply strong defensive pressure on the ball carrier.

#3 Elizabeth Snell

Good clean grab of the footy and pushed hard to move the ball forward. She showed some good evasive skills to break free at the contest and go forward. Snell displayed good vision to hit up teammates in space and identify passages of play. She was not afraid to put her body on the line and go for a big mark against her taller opponent and tried hard throughout game to keep her side in it. She also used her body well around the stoppages to try and out manoeuvre her opponent and get free. 

#4 Brooke Hards 

Made an impact from the get go, tackling hard and was ferocious at the contest. Good read of the flight of the ball and took an intercept mark showcasing her strength. Hards had clean hands at ground level to crumb and then pass it off and tracked the ball well at ground level. She was strong in the contest not afraid to put her body on the line and take a bump. She kept her arms free and dished off a clever handball to a teammate in a better position in the second term credit to her spatial awareness and general footy smarts. Hards also laid some good strong tackles throughout the game.

#19 Jemma Finning

Good lead up at the footy, and well weighted kick to an opponent on the lead in the forward 50 in the first quarter. Her second efforts were good, worked hard to win the ball and had good support run to provide an option for her teammates. She got busy in the second quarter around the contest and was strong to push off an opponent and maintain possession. Finning used her booming kick to propel the ball forward and keep the ball moving in attack. 

Dandenong Stingrays 6.4 (40) defeated Murray Bushrangers 3.9 (27)
By: Peter Williams

Dandenong:

#10 Abbey Jordan

Played on a wing and had some nice plays throughout the game, putting pressure on defenders at half-forward and also getting back to assist at half-back. On a number of occasions, she was able to nullify contests through a quick kick before being tackled or bumped, or was able to impact opposition players while in possession, forcing mistakes.

#12 Molly McDonald

The captain played on the ball and provided good strength at ground level. She continually put her body on the line and while a lot of the good work she did would not find its way onto a stats sheet, her defensive pressure and one percenters were very impressive. She is a team-orientated player and showed good vision on the inside to find teammates free on the outside.

#26 Isabella Shannon

Kicked an important goal in the third term when they needed it, and roamed around the forward half, playing midfield and inside 50. She exited stoppages well, moving around opposition players and was able to get boot to ball while being brought down in tackles. After kicking the goal, Shannon won the next clearance from the midfield and put it inside 50 to a teammates’ advantage.

#28 Tyanna Smith

Smith stood up when it counted late, turning it on with a great running clearance late in the final term, then booted the winning goal coming out of a forward stoppage on the run, negotiating the breeze perfectly. Still had moments of strength and grace throughout the game, but it was the last quarter which stood out.

#31 Brooke Vernon

Played her reliable game in defence, tasked with the kick-outs and pushing up the ground when required. She was able to have a number of forward 50 entries when going inside, and also ran hard to lay a good tackle on the last line of defence in the third term to force a throw-in and save a potential goal.

#51 Zoe Hill

Often rebounded and pushed up the ground to provide an extra number at a contest at half-back. Hill won a number of free kicks for her fierce tackling and was composed under pressure in the back half.

Murray:

#6 Chelsea Hargreaves

The NSW/ACT representative played in defence and was able to move the ball quickly in transition. She showed a nice few quick steps before clearing the ball long and was able to get through a couple of players backing herself in, late in the game but her handball was intercepted. It was still promising to see her take the game on, which she tried to do with another strong run and kick out of defence going long down the field.

#7 Kate Adams

Played a pressure role through the midfield and forward end, just doing team things but chasing opponents and forcing them to dispose of the ball quicker than they would have liked. She took a nice steady mark under pressure at half-back at one stage, and in another instance was able to win the ball at ground level, handball it off and then apply a shepherd for a teammate to run with it.

#8 Abby Favell

Had the ball on a string throughout the game, particularly in the first quarter. Just ran and ran all day long. Not only was her accumulation on point, but her defensive pressure was superb as well. She laid a great goal-saving tackle in the first term and while some of her kicks were intercepted, she followed up with strong second efforts and just kept running, bringing her teammates into the game through handballs. She forced a number of turnovers through her tackling, and also showed off a clean set of heels by sidestepping an opponent at half-back and taking off. Kicked a late goal in the final term after sneaking 20m out from goal, wasting no time slotting the set shot and bring the Bushrangers back within six points. Best afield despite being in a losing side.

#19 Millie Brown

Another standout player for the Bushrangers, what impressed me most about Brown’s game was her last term. While the defence was under siege she was able to maintain her composure and just keep it going forward. She intercepted a number of kicks inside defensive 50 and worked hard throughout the match to keep her team in the game. She would often bring a teammate into the play with one-two handballs, but her interceptions on the wing and long bombs inside 50 were among the crucial plays that kept the game alive for the visitors.

#45 Olivia Barber

Barber is a raw talent that once she can convert her opportunities into goals, it will make her an incredibly damaging. The tall forward works hard for her leads and creates space well, and can also clunk a lot of marks. She just missed some gettable shots, which is something that can be easily fixed, just adjusting the kicking style. Continues to impress and is one to watch as she develops, and more so her field kicking is also sound, so just ironing it out in front of goal.

Western Jets 3.3 (21) defeated Sandringham Dragons 1.3 (9)
By: Peter Williams

Western:

#13 Isabella Grant

Returning to the side, Grant rotated between forward and midfield, having a good battle with Sarah Hartwig early. Both players impressed with Grant winning the battle with her smarts at ground level, while Hartwig impressed with her ability in the air. Grant used her body well around the ground to knock opponents off the ball and give off quick handballs to teammates running by. In one instance in the second term she bumped an opponent away, picked up the ball, spun around and kicked long down the wing. In the third term she had a couple of shots on goal with one fading to the right and the next going to the opposite pocket out on the full. Overall had her moments through the midfield in transition.

#17 Elisabeth Georgostathis

The captain played her usual consistent game coming out of half-back, winning the ball at ground level and looking to run down the middle to get her team forward. She cracked in hard throughout four quarters and showed strength in tackles by getting her hands free. Led the team well and stepped up late in the game to nullify a few contests.

#23 Isabelle Pritchard

A standout for the Jets throughout the game, intercepting inside 50s at will, positioning herself well in marking contests and kicking long to midfield. She laid a goal-saving tackle at one stage close to the boundary line, earning herself a free. Pritchard won a number of free kicks as well for chopping of the arms or holding because of her dominance in defence. She weighed up between pushing up and dropping back, taking a couple of crucial marks late in the game to settle the team.

Sandringham:

#25 Sarah Hartwig

The clear best for Sandringham on the day, Hartwig was ultra-impressive at centre half-back spending time on Isabella Grant and then other opponents while focusing maintaining her line. She copped a knock in the first term on the wing but got up and became one of the Dragons most influential players, winning a number of one-on-one contests by reading the ball in flight well. Such was her impact when she was taken off for a rest last in the third term, Western booted a goal. Had plenty of marks and rebounds as well as one percenters.

#28 Alice Burke

Hunted the football and while she did not win as much of it as she has before, she just kept getting her hands in at ground level and feeding the ball out to teammates. Won a free kick late in the game for being bumped high and kept cracking in with either tackles or hardball gets on the inside of the contest.

#42 Marguerite Purcell

Roamed along the wing and was another player who copped a hard bump early in the fourth term, but returned to play on. She moved well out of stoppages and was able to kick long down the middle, buzzing around the midfield and providing an option for her teammates to run and carry the ball forward.

Greater Western Victoria 3.2 (20) defeated Oakleigh Chargers 2.7 (19)
By: Peter Williams

GWV:

#9 Renee Saulitis

Played a different role to her usual smart forward role many have become accustomed to, but still was able to use her smarts and foot skills to advantage. If anything, she was able to have a greater impact on the contest because of her footy IQ and ability to dish off the ball quickly under pressure. She uses the ball well and one of her best moments was actually a defensive one – laying a run-down tackle on Mimi Hill on the wing, earning a free kick.

#10 Ella Wood

Spent time off half-back and pushing up through the midfield, Wood was strong throughout the four quarters with her defensive work and hard running. She forced a number of turnovers and pushed up to win the ball and bring teammates into the game, working well with a one-two handball combination with a teammate on the wing in the second term as an example of where she was able to get the ball moving forward. Was involved in the final goal with good strength at the stoppage.

#24 Sophie Molan

Never plays a bad game and Molan just kept consistent throughout the four quarters, booting the opening goal of the game and winning the footy at will. She missed a snap on goal initially but made up for it with a goal on the run, and then spread around the ground providing good strength at ground level or in the air. Molan executed the perfect handball out of the stoppage to Lilli Condon for the winning goal in the final term.

#30 Nyakoat Dojiok

One of the Rebels best, providing run and carry across the ground from half-back to the wing. She primarily was stationed on the wing and was often used in transition. On some occasions she might have done a bit too much, but she was still able to get the ball free even when under pressure. Most promising sign was the fact she continually tried to break the lines and create something for the Rebels and her burst of speed worried the opposition. Also has quick hands and was able to dispose of the ball quickly when being tackled.

#35 Maggie Caris

Provided her midfielders with first hands more often than not continuing her good season. What separates Caris from many other rucks is her cleanliness at ground level, and her ability to control the ball once in her hands. She is a one-touch player and has a long kick that can hit targets.

Oakleigh:

#1 Gemma Lagioia

The silky midfielder showed off her slick skills primarily off half-back, winning the ball and then executing 45-degree kicks opening up angles and avenues for her team to go forward. While the game was scrappy at times, Lagioia was able to add a touch of class with her foot skills and hit-up targets repetitively and keep the ball moving. She was also not afraid to take the opposition on, sidestepping an opponent and kicking long to the wing in the second term.

#2 Mimi Hill

Worked hard for four quarters and was influential early pushing up the ground and getting some important inside 50s for her teammates. Provided an option in the back half of the ground, combining with Lagioia at one stage, getting the ball forward. Hill had a flying shot on goal in the second term but just missed to the right while on a tight angle.

#8 Alana Porter

One of Oakleigh’s best throughout and just missed out on finishing off in front of goal. Kicked a major from a set shot, but missed a couple of opportunities to add to her tally in the third term. Not only did Porter use her trademark burst of speed to good effect, but she also applied plenty of defensive pressure, laying some big tackles and bumps on opponents to force turnovers. When tackled herself, Porter stood up in tackles and was able to get her hands free.

Geelong Falcons 0.7 (7) defeated by Northern Knights
By: Michael Alvaro

Geelong:

#1 Elise Vella

It was not Vella’s most productive day as the Falcons struggled for goals, but the diminutive forward took on her usual role of creating pressure around the contest and looked dangerous forward of centre. Had a nice passage where she took her opponent on and carried the ball through the middle of the ground, and also spent some time in the midfield during the second half.

#8 Paige Sheppard

Was in the thick of everything early, proving Geelong’s most productive player at stoppages and in the game overall. Sheppard accumulated a good amount of ball and tried her best to push the Falcons forward, but often saw her kicks smothered or compensated for distance given the wealth of contested situations she found herself in. Was particularly impressed with her combativeness, and Sheppard looked unfazed in physical battles against much taller midfield opponents.

#12 Laura Gardiner

The middle-ager was outstanding in one of her better performances for the year, and was one of the few Falcons midfielders to show composure in heavy traffic. Often a damaging driver forward on the outside, Gardiner won a fair amount of the ball at stoppages around the ground and looked to weave her way out of trouble instead of blazing away. While that inevitably happened at times anyway, Gardiner has plenty of time to refine her already strong skill base.

#18 Darcy Moloney

Moloney was one who seemed to struggle at times amidst the Knights’ pressure around the ball, but dug in hard as she typically does. Could have had a better return had she not missed a tough snapped chance, with some of her second half minutes spent inside the forward 50. Was often swamped when in possession, but showed good strength in tackles trying to break away.

#21 Abbey Chapman

Chapman stood up in an under-siege defence, providing a cool head and cutting off as many Northern forward forays as she could. Showed her high-level reading of the play with a couple of nice intercept marks, and backed them up with neat kicks and sharp decision making. While the ball often came right back, Chapman was hardly beaten one-on-one despite Northern finding most of their goals from marks at close range.

#24 Mia Skinner

Often the leader of Geelong’s attack, Skinner was quelled well by Northern defender Sarah Sansonetti. Playing as a lead-up centre half-forward, Skinner’s effort could not be faulted as she worked her opponent over with runs up to the wing and then hard back towards goal. Missed a couple of difficult chances in the first half which would have really boosted Geelong’s chances of staying in the game, but is usually a clinical finisher.

#38 Lucy McEvoy

McEvoy was central to coach Jason Armistead’s heavy shuffling of the magnets – starting off half-back, moving into the midfield as the Knights got on top, and then being thrown forward at the start of the last term as Geelong looked to find her with the first clearance for a quick goal. Used her long and penetrating kick to good effect from defence to rebound, and played the role of a general well. Her overhead marking was also outstanding, and probably would have stood out more if it was not so expected of her. Most of them came as McEvoy positioned herself a kick off the ball when it was inside the Falcon’s forward arc, with her attempt against two Knights opponents in the second term the best of the lot. Continues to show she can play anywhere, and is a true leader in that sense as she can sacrifice her own game for the benefit of the team.

#39 Renee Tierney

Had some really impressive moments across the match, but was ultimately unable to find the goal as she often does. Her best chance was a stray snap, but a lot of her possessions were found up the ground as she looked to work with Skinner as a link forward. Tierney’s clean hands both overhead on leads and below her knees at speed were fantastic, and allowed the Falcons to create chances to move forward quickly with much of the game played in dispute. Showed good defensive intentions with a crunching tackle on Northern’s Gulia Ceravolo in the final term which unfortunately ended the match.

Northern:

#3 Nell Morris-Dalton

Morris-Dalton was a force inside 50, playing one of her better games for the year. The key forward booted the first goal of the game after a one-on-one mark, setting the tone for a game where she intelligently found space inside 50 and worked hard to do so. A couple of impressive loose ball gets allowed Morris-Dalton to find Alyssa Bannan inside 50 just as impressively, and she picked out targets well to give Northern good looks at goal.

#6 Alyssa Bannan

Bannan was another Knight who proved dangerous in the forward half, and benefitted from the smart work of Morris-Dalton to combine for Northern’s second goal in the first term. Bannan was persistent around the contests early on and tackled hard, but proved most damaging when the ball was delivered to her over the back as she streamed forward and delivered inside 50. Could have added another goal in the third term but missed on the run in an otherwise impressive performance.

#14 Jess Fitzgerald

Like Bannan, Fitzgerald was fantastic going forward with lightning runs to set the Knights into attack. Seemed to be doing everything right early on with a neat kick and an overhead mark on the forward 50 arc both catching the eye. Fitzgerald continued her form in the second term with a clever passage to combine with Britney Gutknecht, and pressed to find the goals with multiple snaps from deep in the pocket either falling short or missing to the narrow side. She managed to find the big sticks in the third quarter with a set shot conversion, and her best moment came with a weaving break through three opponents through the middle of the ground to cap off a promising display.

#18 Sarah Sansonetti

Fulfilled one of the most important roles for the Knights, wearing Mia Skinner like a glove in a fantastic defensive effort. While her kicking at times was a little off, Sansonetti was hardly beaten one-on-one and looked a force in the air as she chimed in with spoils and contested marking attempts. In one of the best plays of the game, she laid a crunching bump on Paige Sheppard to force a spillage and followed up by winning the ball to the applause of her coaches on the bench.

#21 Ellie McKenzie

Named the Knights’ best on the day, and it is hardly any wonder why. McKenzie was a step above with her decision making and ability to remain composed on the ball, finding targets by hand and foot with ease. While constantly looking to wheel onto her left side could have sold her into trouble, McKenzie was good enough to bide her time and escape being caught. Playing through the midfield, perhaps the most pleasing part of McKenzie’s game was her physicality – as she laid a huge bump off the back of her own kick forward, as well as another on Poppy Schapp which unfortunately saw the diminutive Falcon forced off through injury. Scary to think McKeznie has another year left in the system, and showed she can dominate in the middle just as much as she does up forward.

#22 Britney Gutknecht

Employed in the midfield for much of the game, Gutknecht looked like having a big one after winning a running clearance at the very first centre bounce. While her output was slightly down across the day, Gutknecht had some good moments and managed to find the ball around the ground. She often looked to take the game on, but sometimes came unstuck in the back half when playing on after marks – which could be a product of her natural forward tendencies. Almost took a courageous mark late on, with the impressive effort catching the eye as the result was beyond doubt.

#23 Gabby Newton

Newton was productive as ever through the midfield, providing a point of difference in the frantic opening stages with calm use at the stoppages and impressive moves through traffic. Newton often handed the ball out effectively to her outside runners, and while she overdid it at times, was great to watch as others blazed away by foot. Much like McEvoy did for the Falcons, Newton positioned herself a kick off the play while the ball was disputed inside either 50 arc, taking a couple of high marks as she so often does. Newton’s understanding of the game was on full show in such positions, and she played a huge part in not allowing Geelong clean inside 50 entries.

In the other game over the weekend…

Gippsland Power 2.1 (13) defeated by Eastern Ranges 9.10 (64)

Gippsland:

#8 Chandra Abrahams – Named in the best laying five tackles from eight disposals and continued her strong defensive pressure.
#9 Maddison Shaw – Again busy through the midfield and getting back in defence with 13 disposals, two rebounds and six tackles.
#12 Megan Fitzsimon – Named best by the Power for her 16 disposals, six tackles and four rebounds.
#26 Grace McRae – Had 17 disposals, two tackles and three rebounds in a hard working effort.

Eastern:

#26 Tarni Brown – Classy with 24 touches, eight tackles and seven inside 50s, pumping the ball long and setting up her teammates while finishing with a goal.
#33 Tess Flintoff – Returned and was impressive again with 21 touches, seven marks, four tackles and four inside 50s.
#39 Laura McClelland – Named among the best again with 12 disposals, two marks and five tackles in the win.
#46 Serena Gibbs – Had seven shots on goal, booting 3.4 from 18 disposals, six marks and six inside 50s, while also having five hitouts in the ruck in another impressive performance.

Scouting notes: NAB League Girls – Round 5

OVER the weekend we managed to get to all of the NAB League Girls games and took some notes on some of the players to watch highlighted by respective Talent Managers. All views are the opinion of the individual writer.

 

Calder Cannons 9.7 (61) defeated Murray Bushrangers 5.4 (34)
By: Taylah Melki

Calder:

#2 Felicity Theodore

She applied good defensive pressure and worked hard to trap the ball throughout the game in her attacking half. Theodore showed good speed, tracked the ball well at ground level and consistently ran hard to win the footy. Really good read of the play and used her footy smarts and speed to break away from her opponent and kick to a teammate. She was clever around the stoppages to position well and read the tap to get into an attacking spot and set up a forward thrust for Calder. 

#21 Georgia Patrikios

Patrikios led the way for the Cannons with her good hands out of congestion and impressive spatial awareness to clear the mess. She took a few strong marks and displayed her ability to read the play well. Patrikios backed herself in at the contest and used her clean hands at the stoppages to dish off to teammates. She had a beautiful passage of play in the second picking the ball up off the deck fending off a player and then kicking to a teammate. Patrikios showcased her good evasive side step to shake off an opponent and really built into the game come second quarter. She read the flight of the ball well, provided some repeat forward 50 entries and offered a good lead in the forward 50 to glove the mark and then slot a goal. She showcased her speed going for a run through the middle and bombing the ball long into the forward 50 and provided plenty of good link up play through the middle.

#41 Georgie Prespakis

Good one on one contests and made her opponent work for it throughout the game. She contested everything that came her way and laid a strong tackle in the second quarter. Prespakis worked her way into the game more in the second quarter and moved forward in the second half slotting a goal in the opening minutes of the third term. She showcased her clean slick hands around the stoppages and read the play well to impact the contest. Credit to her footy smarts she stayed down and got a good crumbing goal in the third breaking away from the pack and slotting it through the middle for her second for the quarter. Her quick hands helped to set up a shot at goal for her teammate by tapping the ball to her teammate running into the open goal. She presented up at the footy continuously throughout the game and ran hard to create space in the forward 50. She impressed with one passage of play running down the wing taking a couple of bounces burning off opponents and dishing off a handball to a teammate.

Murray:

#8 Abby Favell

She was in everything and was a real bull around the contest for Murray. She laid a couple of strong tackles and applied good pressure. Favell led up at the kicker, contested well in the air and constantly worked hard around the stoppages. She bodied up on her opponents proving she was not afraid to put her body on the line. Favell showcased her good booming kick and took an impressive intercept mark coming out of Murray’s attacking 50. She was quick in transition and went for a run but just could not get enough on the kick to score a goal. She showed great courage to take a big mark in the third quarter and worked hard both in attack and defence for the Bushrangers.

#10 Sophie Locke

Locke applied heaps of defensive pressure on the ball carrier laying some strong tackles across the ground. She was not afraid to put her body on the line and worked tirelessly to try and win the contest or extract the ball at stoppages. She impressed with her ability to read the flight of the ball and impact the contest when the ball came her way.

#19 Millie Brown

Brown showed her good evasive skills to break through the middle of the ground and kick long to her attacking 50. She was composed under pressure and used her long booming kick to push the ball forward for the Bushrangers. She had good spatial awareness and worked hard throughout the game tracking the ball well at ground level. Brown offered some good leads into space to help open up at the game for the Bushrangers.

 

Sandringham Dragons 5.7 (37) defeated Oakleigh Chargers 5.1 (31)
By: Michael Alvaro

Sandringham:

#25 Sarah Hartwig

The middle-age prospect was instrumental in her key defensive post once again, dominating the air and cutting off many of Oakleigh’s forward forays. Hartwig’s intercept and overhead marking is outstanding for a player who is not yet top-age, and she was so composed in possession when rebounding. While her hands overhead are strong, Hartwig slid for a few marks in the second half which did not quite stick, but still highlighted her superior reading of the game from behind the ball. Hartwig already looks like a complete and dynamic defender, and it will be interesting to see if she can transfer her marking ability when tried up forward.

#28 Alice Burke

Burke was again the Dragons’ key player through the midfield, showing her trademark tenacity to pry the ball clear and tackle hard in the clinches. Her crunching early tackle on the stronger Emily Harley was an example of that, as was her constant pushing forward of the ball from stoppages. Burke’s steady mark under a high ball to send the Dragons inside 50 was another good moment, and it just seemed that she played a key part in setting the tone for her side.

#30 Winnie Laing

Working in tandem with Burke and following her lead well, Laing won a good amount of ball with second efforts by following up her possessions. Another to push the ball forward from congestion, Laing had a nice clearance in the third term to enter Sandringham’s forward 50, while also taking a sharp mark in attack to set up a set shot deep when the game was in the balance.

#42 Margie Purcell

Purcell was in the mix early with some nice possessions to start the game, but somewhat faded in the second half. Positioned on her customary wing, Purcell provided a good amount of outside run and was influential between the arcs. A good overhead mark in the second term and a composed read of a high ball in the same stanza showed Purcell’s versatility, and it would be good to see her display those flashes more often.

Oakleigh:

#2 Mimi Hill

Oakleigh’s best ball winner on the day, Hill contributed a wealth of work throughout the game. She seemed to be involved in everything, taking the game on and accumulating well with clean touches around stoppages. Her hands overhead early on were impressive, as was her efficiency by foot with short kicks to teammates in space. A bursting clearance in the second term caught the eye, and Hill was unlucky overall not to have helped her team to the win.

#4 Emily Harley

The strong utility was tried in the midfield, and did well to make her presence felt in tight spaces. While she could not quite collect the ball with one touch and burst away, Harley won a good amount of contested possessions and was not deterred by being caught holding the ball in the second term. Harley looked to be learning as the game went on and did the basics well as her midfield time wore on, but was thrown into defence in the final term to add solidity to the back six. A mark in defensive 50 late on looked to be a crucial contribution, but a Sandringham goal not long after denied the Chargers a draw.

#8 Alana Porter

Porter was Oakleigh’s only multiple goalkicker, and boy were both of them impressive. Her first came in the second quarter, using her electric speed to take on and burn an opponent and finish into an open goal. Porter’s second goal was from long range, coming out of seemingly nowhere as she booted the ball from the arc and bounced it home. The speedster was dangerous around the ball, competing well and attacking it hard whenever given the opportunity. Porter also attended a heap of centre bounces in the second half, and looks a versatile type who is damaging in strong bursts.

#12 Amelia Peck

Spending a fair amount of time in the ruck, Peck won her share of hitouts and followed up well to win the ball at ground level. While she looks raw at this stage, Peck showed glimpses of her potential with a nice sliding mark in the third term and a neat kicking action to send the Chargers inside 50.

 

Bendigo Pioneers 8.15 (63) defeated Gippsland Power 0.1 (1)
By: Peter Williams

Bendigo:

#3 Elizabeth Snell

The star of the show up forward, booting 5.2 and looking dangerous whenever the ball went near her. She had a couple more chances to add to her tally, but could not quite convert, though with the blustery conditions, goals were difficult to come by as shown in the 8.15 scoreline. Snell has a great goal sense to be able to turn opponents inside out and snap the ball through the big sticks with very little time. Great composure from her inside 50.

#4 Brooke Hards

Along with Annabel Strahan, was the key playmaker behind getting the ball inside 50 to create opportunities for Snell and the other forwards. She was often winning the contested ball and extracting it out of a stoppage via handballs to teammates. She laid tackle after tackle, applying terrific defensive pressure to her opponents, and set up the first goal to Snell through a fend off and great kick to her at half-forward. Hards’ first steps out of a stoppage can burn off an opponent and she has a great first touch. Had a chance on goal herself in the second term but just missed.

#14 Annabel Strahan

Backed up last week’s impressive game with another good effort. Working with Hards in midfield, Strahan was able to keep the ball going forward and is able to sum up a situation quickly and get boot to ball under pressure. She set up a goal to Snell in the second term with a quick kick, and would often win the ball on the outside or receive the handball and pump it long inside 50. In the fourth term she had a long-range shot on goal from outside 50 but the breeze just went to the left and it bounced into the post.

#19 Jemma Finning

Did a few nice things around the ground, missing a set shot early in the game but continually went in to find the ball. She showed good core strength in the second term to handball while being tackle, and was able to kick well on the left to a leading forward. She had another good play in the final term by kicking around the body into midfield, repelling a Gippsland Power attack.

#40 Tara Slender

Did not always see much of it such was the Pioneers’ dominance early, but when required, Slender peeled off her opponent and would fill the hole in defence. She has really clean hands at ground level and was able to pick-up off the deck and kick long along the wing. Her body position one-on-one and vision to kick to a free teammate was noticeable. Considering she is a bottom-ager, she already has the game smarts of a more experience player and knows when to keep the ball live without taking possession. She is also quick to get boot to ball under pressure.

Gippsland:

#8 Chandra Abrahams

One of Gippsland’s more impressive players through the midfield, she just refused to give up, constantly attacking the ball and the ball carrier. She showed good smarts to cleverly tap the ball along the ground in the first term and was unlucky not to be paid a mark in the final term when she flew for a specky. Her long kicking was a help in the swirly conditions and even with the game out of reach, Abrahams continued to crack in hard and win the ball.

#9 Maddison Shaw

Tried hard throughout the day and her powerful kicking was on show when she was able to win the footy. Not a huge possession winner in the loss, she provided great defensive pressure and tried to kick long at every opportunity.

#12 Megan Fitzsimon

Battled hard through the midfield and half-back, attacking the ball and using quick hands under pressure. One of the better Power players on the day, she laid a number of big tackles and was mostly right at the coalface trying to get the ball out.

#13 Holly Andrews

Her defensive efforts were noticeable in a game that was highly contested at times. She had a quick gather at half-back and able to kick out of trouble in the first term, and then led up at the football along the wing in the second term, unfortunately just slipping from her grasp. Andrews was another Power player who showed a fierce attack on the ball carrier and had good second efforts, taking a good intercept mark late in the game and kicking long.

#27 Nikia Webber

It was a tough day to be a forward in these conditions, especially with how impressive the Bendigo midfield was in this match. Webber did get to show off her versatility after quarter time, playing through the midfield and even full-back.

 

Western Jets 6.7 (43) defeated Greater Western Victoria Rebels 3.3 (21)
By: Sophie Taylor

Western:

#13 Isabella Grant

Grant put her clean hands on show, worked well with Isabelle Pritchard down back to create scoring opportunities for the Jets. Grant also caused great difficulty for the Rebels with her ability to apply constant pressure on the ball and ball carrier and some well-executed tackles through the midfield.

#17 Elisabeth Georgostathis

Georgostathis was great among the action, and seemed to be everywhere on the field. Put on her best performance in the final quarter when she showed off her two-way running ability to be constantly around the ground ball and creating opportunities up forward. Some fancy footwork and speed led to a brilliant forward 50 entry and goal assist in the final term, putting the ball in the perfect position for a strong mark in front of goal. Had a snap on goal with five minutes left in the match but registered a behind, but showed off some footy smarts in the way she wheeled around and got the ball off the boot under pressure.

#23 Isabelle Pritchard

Pritchard was one of the most influential players on the field, and was a constant buffer off half back with her readiness for every contest and ability to mark under pressure. Some great marks taken by Pritchard in the second half helped to keep the ball trapped forward to create scoring opportunities, while also demonstrating a good understanding of ball placement when running back for a goal-saving mark. Worked well with teammates to put constant pressure around stoppages off half back, and also kept the likes of Isabella Simmons from having too much on an influence on the match.

GWV:

#9 Renee Saulitis

Saulitis showed off her ability to run both ways in this match but was unfortunately unable to convert for the Rebels after a beautiful kick over the top saw her given an opportunity for a running goal in the goal square early in the first term, but hit the post for a behind. Did not have much of an opportunity to receive the ball inside 50 after the first quarter and at times was double teamed to prevent her access to the ball at stoppages.

#10 Ella Wood

Wood put her running and stamina on show with some great movement around the ground. Showed some good footy smarts with a clever punch to the advantage of a teammate at a stoppage on the wing, instinctively getting the ball out of a pocket of Jets players. Had a good understanding of where teammates were when under pressure to scoop up the ground ball and handball out of the pack, while also working well with Sophie Molan to move the ball to advantage.

#24 Sophie Molan

Molan had some really good moments early, put a great deal of pressure on the air ball and going for the mark, and really exerting some influence on the field. Spoiled some opportunities for the Jets, showing some good instincts in a pack scenario, but missed a few marks early under pressure. In the second half she showed her commitment to the footy, putting her body on the line to spoil a kick that was almost certainly an inside 50 opportunity for the Jets.

#30 Nyakoat Dojiok

Dojiok was dominant in the first half on return, showcasing her clean hands and presence around the ball off half back and causing the Jets to rethink their movement into their forward 50. Dropped a big mark inside 50 in the second quarter, but took on the ground ball with a second try at the footy, earning a ball up for her efforts and causing chaos for the Jets. Dojiok showcased her ability to read the play well defensively but needs some work moving back into attack. Some iffy decisions when it came to kicking off half-back into the forward line saw her not always kick to the advantage of teammates, meaning some forward opportunities for the Rebels turned to grappling for the ground ball. Did not take part in a chunk of the second half after limping off midway through the third term and did not take the field to start the final quarter, but eventually came back on at full forward.

 

Northern Knights 7.8 (50) defeated Eastern Ranges 4.2 (26)
By: Michael Alvaro

Northern:

#3 Nell Morris-Dalton

Morris-Dalton just always seems to find the goals and this game was no different as the forward contributed two majors. Her vision and execution by foot up the ground was pleasing to see, but Morris-Dalton’s best traits come out inside 50 as her anticipation, positioning and goal sense all helped her snare her goals. An opportunist, Morris-Dalton’s clever dribble goal through a bit of traffic in the fourth term was the better of the two.

#14 Jess Fitzgerald

Positioned mostly on the wing, Fitzgerald comes in and out of the game with exciting passages of play, hitting the ball at speed and delivering it inside 50. Her break and pass to Ellie McKenzie in the second term was impressive, and Fitzgerald is one of the better movers in a stacked Northern side. She shows glimpses, but Fitzgerald can sharpen up her finish product in front of goal to make her a more complete and damaging outside player.

#21 Ellie McKenzie

McKenzie is such a classy player, and showed her best traits when it mattered for Northern. While she was caught holding the ball early on, McKenzie bounced back well in her customary deep forward position, snapping a classy goal on her stronger left foot and taking an impressive one-on-one overhead mark to slot another goal in the second term. McKenzie’s evasiveness while looking for options up the field was great to watch, as she summed up all the options ahead of her and used the ball cleverly going forward. Her kick to Britney Gutknecht deep inside 50 was a prime example of that, but McKenzie arguably works best as the deepest forward – highlighted by how she worked her opponent under the ball in the final term and almost snared her third. A reliable target, McKenzie looks to be converting her skills well to playing further up the ground.

#22 Britney Gutknecht

Tried again in the midfield, Gutknecht was clean early on but showed the most when she lifted after quarter time. She looked to get on the move more at stoppages, winning a clearance which led to goals from Nell Morris-Dalton and Mia Papachristos. She chimed in with a goal in the third term while resting deep forward, but was thrown back into the midfield with the game in the balance and really stood up alongside Northern’s prime movers to seal the win. While her possessions are damaging, Gutknecht also hurt Eastern with her second efforts and tackling, with a key one on Ranges star Tarni Brown capping off a good day.

#23 Gabby Newton

Newton is an out-and-out star, and seemed to be everywhere for Northern. She started well with the first clearance of the game, following up well to accumulate over the first term. A mark overhead from the kickout in the same quarter was impressive, as was her ability to keep her hands up and flick out handballs around stoppages. Perhaps the most impressive of Newton’s traits proved to be her leadership, with the Knights skipper standing up well in the second half to help her side get over the line. Spending time in the ruck, Newton palmed down well to find Britney Gutknecht on one occasion and has an unbelievable leap, but also looked more like a fourth midfielder at the centre bounces which was invaluable. A crazy good prospect, Newton’s versatility and skill makes her a close to complete player.

#32 Ash Snow

While she is not as consistent a ball-winner, Snow was a terrific competitor throughout the day and fought hard from defence. While Snow looked to have bitten of more than she could chew as she was caught by Tarni Brown early on after an attempted ‘don’t argue’, she continued to take the game on and drive the Knights forward. Snow’s burst and second efforts were important to the team’s cause, with her competitiveness an attack on the ball making her a valuable team player.

Eastern:

#21 Olivia Meagher

Meagher is a zippy type in the midfield and did well to find space around the ground. Buzzing around her opponents with good speed, Meagher is hard to miss under her helmet and her opponents clearly looked for her in open areas. Meagher often picked up the scraps well and found the ball inside 50 having spent some time in attack in the third term.

#26 Tarni Brown

Brown was one of Eastern’s best as its second-highest possession earner. A smooth mover through midfield, Brown looked every bit the natural footballer as her pedigree would suggest, while also showing smarts in her positioning. Brown’s tenacity and willingness to work hard for her disposals was good to see, but was still secondary to her class on the ball. Brown’s awareness in traffic and evasion really aided her clearance game on the weekend, and she should get Collingwood supporters excited as a potential father-daughter selection.

#39 Laura McClelland

McClelland did not win huge amounts of the ball, but was dangerous when she found it. Spending the bulk of her time up forward, McClelland was a good presence around the forward 50 arc and was one who really attracted the ball as it came in long. While she seemed to fade out of the game late, the Ranges co-captain has something about her and catches the eye when around the goals.

#46 Serena Gibbs

A prolific netballer, Gibbs was tried as a key forward and in the ruck – showing glimpses of skill conversion throughout the day. She took a nice overhead mark and looked to have judged the ball well when sitting under high kicks. As Gibbs grew into the game, she won a handy clearance from the ruck late on, and could have snared a goal with her set shot in the third term.

 

Dandenong Stingrays 4.7 (31) defeated by Geelong Falcons 7.5 (47)
By: Brandon Hutchinson

Dandenong:

#12 Molly McDonald

Remained prolific in the loss, delivering the ball effectively inside 50 and rebounding well down back. Her impact dwindled slightly from previous weeks, but she made good use of the footy and continued to utilise her supreme kicking ability. For the day she had 13 disposals, 11 kicks, four marks, four tackles, two rebounds and five inside 50s.

#26 Isabella Shannon

Shannon was arguably Dandenong’s most impactful player, zoning off well in defence and charging clean at the loose ball. She was remarkably effective at gathering the ground ball given her height and approaches her opponents with confidence, rewarded for two strong tackles in defence and ripping the ball from an opponent’s hands inside 50. Her ability to gather off Dandenong’s backline created opportunities going forward and caught plenty Geelong Falcons midfielders out of position. She finished with 13 disposals, 11 kicks, two marks, six tackles and two inside 50s.

#28 Tyanna Smith

Smith brought a real fighting spirit to the Dandenong midfield when the game started slipping from their grasp. She gathered well out of the stoppage and found space in congestion. As with last week (seven inside 50s), Smith remained pivotal in the centre, repeatedly sending the ball inside 50. In the third she was awarded a free kick after following up her smothered kick with a tackle, taking back some momentum for her side. She finished with 17 disposals, four tackles and four inside 50s.

#31 Brooke Vernon

Stood up well defensively despite a three-quarter onslaught from the Falcons. Exited well up the guts and picked her targets well. Proved reliable by foot, finishing with 11 disposals, eight kicks and two rebound 50s.

Geelong:

#8 Paige Sheppard

Alongside Tierney, Sheppard completely tore up the midfield, attacking the hard ball and breaking free from congestion. She kicked the first goal of the fourth to further their lead and led the game in inside 50s (seven). She earned two free kicks for her efforts and tied with Tierney for a game-high 22 disposals. She also accumulated two marks, seven tackles and two rebounds.

#18 Darcy Moloney

Moloney remained a tough utility for the Falcons, standing up in the win. Brought repeat efforts to the contest and cleared well from the stoppage. She was dropped in a hard tackle midway through the fourth but returned for a third effort following the head knock, assisting the footy clear. Works hard on the inside and looks comfortable in front of goals. Moloney finished with Falcon’s first goal, 18 disposals, three marks and two inside 50s.

#24 Mia Skinner

Fought hard for the contest and worked her opponent on the ball. Found a lot of the footy and was one of Geelong’s better users for the day. She kicked a goal to open the third, putting her team within five points and delivered the ball well to her forwards. She had 11 disposals on the day, nine kicks, three marks, five tackles and five inside 50s.

#38 Lucy McEvoy

A good worker on the inside, McEvoy finds the contested ball well and delivers well by hand and foot. She worked the ball carrier well and had her efforts rewarded with six strong tackles and finished among the top three for disposals (20). She also finished with three marks and four inside 50s.

#39 Renee Tierney

A powerhouse with the football, Tierney finished one of the most impactful players across both sides. Strong overhead and a good mover with the ball. She delivered well by foot and kicked the goal which put them in front for the first time in the third quarter, seeming impossible to contain once their lead increased. She also had a game-high 22 disposals with 16 kicks, seven marks, three tackles and three inside 50s.

Scouting notes: NAB League Girls – Round 1

IN the opening round of the NAB League Girls season, our writers took a look at all six games and some of the players that the respective Female Talent Managers regarded as ones to watch throughout the season. All notes are opinion-based on the individual writer.

Calder Cannons vs. Western Jets


Calder:

By: Peter Williams

#2 Felicity Theodore

The small midfielder with good pace continually cracked in hard throughout the game. Her hard effort was best exemplified by her mark in the third term, going back with the flight with pressure coming from behind. She showed good core strength and smarts at times to keep the ball in front of her, whether by paddling along the ground, or getting it to a teammate in a better position. She showed clean hands throughout the contest and won a fair chunk of the ball early in the final term, perhaps the next step is more penetration on kicks. Overall a hardworking performance.

#11 Alana Barba

Had a few nice plays with a quick handball off the deck to Makeisha Muller in the second term to create a scoring opportunity, as well as a good kick to a teammate’s advance. In the final quarter, Barba created some run off half-back and cleanly handballed to Theodore.

#22 Makeisha Muller

Muller made things happen up forward, and while she hit and miss when going for goal – rushed at times – she had some eye-opening moments. After missing a snap on goal in the second term, Muller had another chance moments later with a shot sailing through using the breeze perfectly. She continued to present throughout the contest and almost had another goal but it was rushed across the line by an opponent.

#41 Georgie Prespakis

The standout best on ground, it is hard to believe Prespakis is yet to turn 16 years of age. Much like her sister Madison, some of the things she does cannot be ignored. The way she positions herself at stoppages and moves through traffic is a highlight and she has a booming kick that is used to put opposition defenders under pressure by putting it deep inside 50. Prespakis moves well and has good composure and made what was one of the goals of the day look simple. She won the ball, turned, shrugged off an opponent and snapped one home. She is a natural kick of the football and also worked back defensively to take an uncontested mark in defence later in the game. Prespakis had a chance for a second goal but missed to the left.

Western:

By: Taylah Melki

#13 Isabella Grant

Beautiful evasive skills to work her way through traffic and kick a goal in the first quarter. She broke a few tackles throughout the game and showed good spatial awareness. Grant ran hard both offensively and defensively and contested well both in the air and at ground level to win the ball back for her side. Had a really good passage of play where she worked her player inside and out to shrug off a tackle and try and kick to a teammate highlighting her impressive footy IQ.

# 17 Elisabeth Georgostathis

Georgostathis impressed with her speed and ability to opens up space across the ground. She provided plenty of good forward momentum with her clever use of the ball to hit up teammates cleanly. She showcased her good evasive skills, sidestepping opponents with ease and was calm solid under pressure highlighting her ability to think her way through tricky situations. The midfielder got her hands to plenty of the ball, proving how deadly she can be with ball in hand. She was really good in the contest and displayed her footy smarts throughout the game with her clever kicks to her teammates advantage. Georgostathis was not afraid to break out of packs, extracted the ball cleanly from congestion, read the play well and constantly got involved in the passage of play. She hunted both the ball and player throughout the game, laid good strong tackles. In the final term of the match she took an impressive contested mark against two opponents, proving to be a real playmaker for her side credit to her skill and commitment.

#23 Isabelle Pritchard

Pritchard went in hard for the ball all game and worked tirelessly at the contest. She had quick hands, was good in close, and used her strong kick to try and clear congestion. At times, she could improve her composure, but she had moments of brilliance especially in the last quarter where she laid a goal saving tackle, lunging to stop her Calder Cannons opponent from scoring. Pritchard applied good defensive pressure throughout the match.

#25 Cleo Saxon-Jones

She took a good strong mark in the first quarter and used her long booming kick to help set up play in the forward half on more than one occasion. Saxon-Jones provided a good option in the attacking 50, contested hard to win the footy both in the air and on the ground and cleared the ball well throughout the course of the game.

Bendigo Pioneers vs. Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels

Bendigo:

By: Peter Williams

#4 Brooke Hards

One of Bendigo’s best, Hards did not take a backwards step. Occasionally she would be pinged for holding the ball, but her attack and desire on the ball is what you like to see. She constantly put her body on the line, but also managed to find space on a wing and at half-forward. At one stage she won the intercept ball, fended off an opponent and kicked inside 50. Clean at ground level and a long kick, it was a solid performance from the number four.

#19 Jemma Finning

Was not a huge ball winner, but her kicking was a standout. She had a piercing kick from half-back to the wing in the first term, not only hitting its target, but being low to avoid a spoil from an opposition defender. She can turn out of trouble and also run both ways, intercepting the ball at half-back and kicking long to the wing.

#28 Eloise Gretgrix

Played a real team-orientated role in the middle of the ground and regularly went in hard at the coalface. Along with Hards provided some great inside support, replacing the work that Megan Williamson did last year. Was one of the most consistent Pioneers players on the day and won more one-on-ones than she lost.

#36 Kate Douglass

Played at full-back and certainly teamed well with Tara Slender in the key defensive posts. She is strong one-on-one and just clears the ball from danger every chance she gets. Douglass held her ground under immense pressure on a number of occasions and if not able to dispose of it long by foot, looked to release a running defender.

#44 Jordyn Jolliffe

Kicked a couple of goals and showed enough to suggest the over-ager will add an important element to the Pioneers’ attack. Having missed last season due to injury, she played out of the goalsquare and looked dangerous in the air, then pushed into the midfield at times and also had an inside 50. A mark running back with the flight about 25 metres out showed great courage.

GWV:

By: Taylah Melki

# 9 Renee Saulitis:

She attacked the goal face early on narrowly missing then backed up her efforts in front of goal scoring a freakish goal in the first quarter. Saulitis was on a tricky angle she turned, took a few steps and slotted it straight through the middle. The party tricks did not stop there for the talented forward nailing another impressive goal in the third, showcasing her ability to read the play well. She roved the ball off the back of the pack turned around and nailed a goal from just outside the goal square highlighting her footy smarts and good goal sense to position well and score.

# 10 Ella Wood:

Showed good attack on the ball and was not afraid to hunt the player to win the contested ball. Wood worked hard to win the footy for her team and had a good presence around stoppages to makes herself available. She got into clever positioning across the ground and showed good dash through the middle. At times her execution was slightly off, but the endeavour and intent to attack the play was there, helping to set up many forward thrusts.

# 24 Sophie Molan:

Good strong spearing kick and knows how to use the footy to maximize her impact per possession. She is clean with ball in hand, helps to set up good attacking play and worked hard in the attacking 50. The captain scrapped well to try and win the loose ball at ground level and showcased her pin point precision with timely and accurate passes. Molan has good spatial awareness and used her clever sidestep to avoid traffic and shrug off opponents. She roved well off the pack and tried to clear space with her long kick over the top. Molan displayed her good hands under pressure to take a big mark coming out of defence and willed herself to the contest on a few occasions. She proved to be a good option up forward and continued to present time and time again.

# 30 Nyakoat Dojiok:

Dojiok was really quick off the mark and showed good closing speed to shut down her opponents. She went in hard at ground level to try and trap the footy and marked her player closely showing good defensive pressure. Dojiok highlighted her good evasive skills to get in and under the tackler then dash through the centre. In one passage of play she put the afterburners on and tried to hit up a teammate in the forward 50. She broke the game open in the third with her impressive speed and run through the middle of the ground, taking a bounce and kicking the ball long inside 50, creating a half chance at goal for her teammates.

# 32 Isabella Simmons

Scored a good goal in the opening term and took a few solid marks. Simmons provided some good strong leads in the opening quarter and kicked her second goal for the first quarter. She was cool, calm and composed under pressure with a shot after the siren in the first and showed good spatial awareness. Simmons showcased her footy smarts to evade players and then run through the middle of the ground and provided some good link up play through the middle.

# 35 Maggie Caris

Caris impressed with her clever use of the ball to open up space and set up a scoring opportunity for her teammates. She was solid in the ruck with some clever taps to advantage to her teammates and used her height to try and dominate the opposition. She moved well across the ground evading opposition after winning the footy in the air, proving her versatility and class.

Northern Knights vs. Murray Bushrangers


Northern:

By: Taylah Melki

# 3 Nell Morris-Dalton

Hit the post early on but showed good goal sense throughout the game to be a viable option up forward, later scoring a goal. Morris-Dalton impressed with her ability to read the play and showed good footy smarts to body up and control the footy. She had solid hands under pressure and at times looked to have plenty of time and space with ball in hand. Morris-Dalton also helped to set up good attacking play for the Knights.

# 6 Alyssa Bannan

Bannan displayed a good use of footy to kick the ball into the forward half and mount some forward pressure. She nailed an impressive goal in the last quarter quickly turning and finding the goals credit to her clean use of the footy and general goal sense. Bannan took a good intercept in the forward 50 and worked hard to apply pressure, ride the tackle and keep her arms free to release a handball.

# 7 Abigail Bennett

Beautiful kick of the footy kicking a goal in the second term and showed good hands under pressure. Bennett applied good tackling pressure to try and trap the footy in the Knights forward half and displayed good awareness to avoid the tackler and tap the ball back into play. ??

# 14 Jess Fitzgerald

Fitzgerald had clean hands under pressure and impressed in one passage of play with an easy pick up off the deck, followed up by a clever kick toward to trap the ball inside forward 50. She showed good speed to break away from the pack and handball out of stoppage to a passing teammate to try and set up a shot at goal.

# 18 Sarah Sansonetti

Sansonetti took a good strong mark back in defence and showcased her kicking ability with a long kick over the congestion into space. She displayed good body positioning on her opponent to win the footy and attacked the footy hard. She proved she was not afraid to go in hard to meet the contest.

# 21 Ellie McKenzie

McKenzie was clean out of the centre, had good ball skills, showed good control with the footy and hits targets up on the lead. She took a strong contested mark, and highlighted her impressive aerial abilities along with her impressive spatial awareness to hit up teammates on the wing. She starred in one passage of play with a strong intercept mark and then propelled the ball forward. McKenzie displayed her clever sidestep out of traffic, fended off two players and kept arms free to release ball to teammate proving her class. She racked up the clearances credit to her clean hands in and around the footy and opened up space across the ground. McKenzie highlighted her football skill in the second quarter receiving a handball and going for a run, fending off two players and almost delivering the ball inside 50 to a teammate.

# 22 Britney Gutknecht

She slotted any early goal credit to her clever snap. Gutknecht accumulated plenty of touches with a good pick up off her toes and proved to be a real play maker through the middle. She ran hard across the field to try and interfere with the play and slotted an impressive goal from 50 thanks to beautiful long kick. She strikes the ball well, showed good spatial awareness and impressive footy smarts. Her composure under pressure was second to none slotting an impressive four goals for the game. She took a heap of strong contested marks across the ground and was a real presence across the field. Gutknecht seemed to have the ball on a string in the last term racking up the possessions.??

# 23 Gabby Newton

Clever play in the forward half and showed an impressive goal sense and ability to get boot to ball. She was clean around the ground scooping the ball up in one hand. Newton took a really good mark in the forward 50 and showcased her footy smarts with a clever chip kick to hit up teammate in a better position. She tackled hard to try and win back possession for her side and impressed with her follow up play across the field. Was not afraid to accelerate forward and open up space and showed good presence around the stoppages.

# 32 Ash Snow

Snow was not afraid to go in hard and extract the footy from the stoppages, getting down low. She tackled hard throughout the game and had clean hands in close. She highlighted her footy smarts with a good chip kick in the middle of the field to open up the forward 50 and create a scoring opportunity for her side. Snow took a few strong marks and was clean with ball in hand with a good hit up kick to teammate in the forward 50.

Murray:

By: Peter Williams

#7 Kate Adams

Adams rotated between midfield and defence, playing half-back, on. a wing and onball, using the ball consistently, and was able to use short kicks to hit-up targets on the wing. Against the bigger bodies she got pushed around a little, but never gave in, winning an important one-on-one late in the game.

#8 Abby Favell

Favell showed some promising signs around the ground, both offensively and defensively. Early on she took a good mark on the lead at half-forward and delivered a low pass inside 50 to a teammate. She ran down an opponent in a tackle and seemed to just keep running throughout the day, trying to get the Bushrangers moving in transition.

#10 Sophie Locke

Like many players, did not win a heap of the ball, but she constantly put pressure on the opposition. She cracked in hard and laid a great tackle on her opponent in the second term to force a turnover. In the final quarter, she laid another terrific tackle that was rewarded with a free kick. Her defensive efforts were very good and she helped out a defence that was under siege at times.

#45 Olivia Barber

Showed some nice signs throughout the four quarters in the air and at ground level. She made a number of strong second efforts and was able to use the ball well. She laid a great running tackle later in the game to earn a free kick, and was able to fire a handball off to a teammate while Barber was still on the ground.

Dandenong Stingrays vs. Eastern Ranges

By: Peter Williams

Dandenong:

#10 Abbey Jordan

Playing on a wing and half-forward, Jordan had a quieter first term before getting into the match more from the second term. She pressed up from half-forward when the ball was in defence and provided an option out wide. She kept running to find space and took a huge grab in the final term to put the ball in the path of Tyanna Smith to run onto towards goal only to just miss.

#26 Isabella Shannon

The Saints’ AFL Women’s recruit kicked the first goal of the game for the Stingrays with a snap in traffic. She kept presenting at half-forward taking a. number of marks, but also won the ball off the deck. In the third term she won a few possessions at half-back, and showed a few quick steps out of a centre clearance to bomb the ball long and deep inside. 50.

#28 Tyanna Smith

Smith worked hard for the Stingrays in the midfield and kept running all day long. She showed off her clearance ability time and time again, being a danger around the stoppages and just attacking the ball hard. She gave away a few free kicks throughout the game, but constantly harassed opponents with frantic tackling or implied pressure. She had clean hands and smart thinking to use the ball by hand out of a. stoppage, and had the chance to give Dandenong a huge shot running into goal in the final term, but it just missed to the right.

#31 Brooke Vernon

An underrated performance from the defender in a role that can be unforgiving, but Vernon was terrific on the last line. She saved at least two goals that Eastern would have otherwise kicked, which included a goal-saving smother in the second term, and then bumping her opponent off the ball in the goalsquare as she tried to soccer it home. While the Stingrays did not win, Vernon’s actions kept them in it, and she was so calm and composed under pressure, and has a long kick that clears the defence. The best from the Stingrays.

#51 Zoe Hill

The Stingrays full-back is a rebounding machine, who just is as consistent as they come. She is a good mover in traffic, and a long raking kick. She is one that tends to have Velcro hands at times and can win a contested ball at ground level too. Still a bottom-ager, but she has quite a few nice traits and consistency on her side.

Eastern:

#21 Olivia Meagher

A huge first half by Meagher set the tone for Eastern, winning a number of intercept possessions as well as contested ball at the bottom of packs. She won the ball in all thirds of the ground, and either kicked forward or looked for the quick handpass to a running teammate. She showed good smarts throughout the game and had a few nice touches and applied pressure to opponents.

#26 Tarni Brown

Classy. It is the easiest way to describe Brown who has unbelievable agility, speed and technique, it is just ironing out areas such as assessing her options at times which would make her go to the next level. She can kick it long and has no issues finding space, and when she does have space in front of her, it is hard to stop her. The daughter of former Magpie captain, Gavin Brown, the smooth mover showed just how much speed she had in the final term with a blistering run, quick handball to a teammate, receive and then kick inside 50 which covered about 40 metres. Her metres gained would be remarkable, and while she does need to just build that consistency by foot, the technique is there.

#39 Laura McClelland

The AFL Women’s Academy member took some huge grabs, including a ridiculous contested mark where she read the flight perfectly despite being in the middle of two opponents. She kicked a terrific goal in the second term after intercepting the ball at half-forward, taking a few steps and never looked. Like missing. She showed clean hands off the deck and spreads well, it is just cleaning up the kicking at times that would be the next step, but McClelland has a lot of tricks.

#46 Serena Gibbs

The netballer showed some serious talent, and while consistency in finding the ball is an area to build upon, her kicking was surprisingly impressive for a code-crosser. Gibbs lead at the football and by bringing the ball to ground created a goal to Mietta Kendall in the second term. Then she speared a pass into another teammate despite being hugged on the boundary line, and was finally rewarded in the last term with a goal for her efforts from a nice snap.

Oakleigh Chargers vs. Gippsland Power

Oakleigh:

By: Peter Williams

#1 Gemma Lagioia

The classy mover did her thing throughout the match and spread across the ground to win the ball on the outside. She got her side on the board with less than 30 seconds remaining by side-stepping an opponent, straightening up and putting though a major just before quarter time. A one-grab player who is clean by hand or foot, she knows how to weight her kicks and angle them.

#2 Mimi Hill

The Chargers’ captain won a lot of the ball, particularly in the first half. She played off half-back and was the general in defence, clearing a lot of Gippsland’s attacks. As the Chargers had more control in the second half, she was needed less, but she still found a way to be involved, pushing up the ground and winning the ball. Showed nice vision and neat foot skills.

#4 Emily Harley

The difference between the teams as the key forward target inside 50. After a quiet first term where she gave away a free kick or two, she became the one that forced the opposition defenders to infringe on her. She was pushed out of a contest in the second term, earned the free and made no mistake with. The set shot. She had another shot early in the third after protecting the drop zone, marking on her chest and setting sail for goal. It fell short but was marked by Kalarni Kearns who slotted it. Another chance for a major off a huge pack mark resulted in a poster, but Harley quickly rectified the missed with a loose ball get and snap goal. She nailed her third goal after a dominant one-on-one after almost converting another chance moments earlier on the run. She capped off a dominant, best on ground performance with her fourth goal early in the final term.

#8 Alana Porter

The speedy midfielder showed some great signs throughout the match and had one really impressive play in the second term. She. Won the ball at half-back, ran along the wing burning off an opponent and then hit a teammate at half-forward while at top speed. Earlier in the game she missed a chance for goal after going back with the flight then receiving a 50m penalty. Often being held trying to get out of a stoppage, Porter was able to buzz around and use her speed to clear the ball throughout the game.

Gippsland:

#8 Chandra Abrahams

Abrahams has always had the offensive ability to pull down a massive contested mark – which she did a couple of times during the game. But her tackling pressure and defensive work against Oakleigh was very impressive. While the consistency is still there to be built, her work in the middle and on a wing was really solid, and laid a crunching tackle on the strong Emily Harley in the first term. A team contributor throughout the match.

#9 Maddison Shaw

Played off half-back and applied pressure to the ball carrier at times, earning some free kicks for her troubles. In the first term she was hurt as she won a free for a run-down tackle then as she played on was tackled herself and got up ginger. She came off but returned to still play an important role.

#27 Nikia Webber

Looked in for a big game when her first touch saw her win it at ground level, turn around with a snap and slam it home for the opening goal of the game. After the first term the forwards were limited and Webber spent most of her time in the midfield where she used her strength to win contested ball. The attribute that sets Webber apart from the rest of her peers is her elite kicking which not only hits targets, but can do so over long distances. Her tackling is fierce, and while she gave away a number of free kicks, Webber continually tried to win the ball back for her team. An example of a second effort came in the second term where she dropped a mark, followed it up, won the contested ball and then moved clear and kicked it long.

Sandringham Dragons vs. Geelong Falcons

By: Peter Williams

Sandringham:

#25 Sarah Hartwig

Played on Lucy McEvoy early and the two had an entertaining battle. Well suited to the role as she is strong one-on-one, Hartwig held her own and took some strong marks against tough opponents. A couple of times she was beaten when opponents had front position, but she was often able to either get the hands up or spoil it to keep the ball alive. She took a number of important intercept marks, enjoying the freedom of being able to still hold a defensive role, while attacking from half-back, once McEvoy moved into the middle. Hartwig won a big one-on-one contest from the back position in the final term as the Falcons were charging home.

#28 Alice Burke

Playing an inside midfield role, Burke just went in hard from the first to final sirens. She covered the ground well and laid some really hard tackles throughout the contest. She has that outside ability, but her willingness and ability to extract a ball from a contest saw her remain in that onball group. Burke got to show off her skill in the final term with a nice weighted kick to Winnie Laing in defence.

#42 Marguerite Purcell

Showed some nice speed on the wing and was able to get a few quick kicks out of the stoppage. Roamed around and moved in transition, she was one of Sandringham’s better midfielders and was the outside mover to many of the Dragons’ inside brigade.

Geelong:

#7 Paige Sheppard

Played along a wing and just fights for the ball. Her decision making and vision was good on the day, and was able to hit-up Lucy McEvoy between a couple of opponents in the second term. Always likes to keep the ball moving, Sheppard beat two opponents on the wing in the final term to kick forward and let the Falcons maintain possession.

#14 Darcy Moloney

A bit like the energiser bunny with ball in hand, Moloney just keeps it moving. She is one of those players that immediately looks to play on wherever possible, and has the athletic traits to be able to do so. Moloney has lightning first few steps and is able to dance around an opponent. In the third term she had one of the plays of the weekend, when she was one-on-one, handballed over her opponent, ran onto it, burnt off her opponent and kicked the goal on the run taking into account the wind. It was a very impressive moment.

#21 Lucy McEvoy

Started in the middle then moved forward with Sarah Hartwig for company. She just willed herself to contest after contest, and continued to do so throughout the match as she then moved back into the midfield. With McEvoy on the ball, the Falcons were able to get the ball forward courtesy of her long booming kick. She was constantly involved and her follow-up work and work ethic are an example of what every player can aspire to. Even if she loses a contest, she will be laying the next tackle or putting her body on the line every chance she gets.

#23 Renee Tierney

Copped a knock to her shin early in the second term, Tierney started higher up the ground then went back deeper to where she is more familiar. Kicked a good goal, but also missed a couple of opportunities. Continued to present as you would expect from your forwards, and she applied some defensive pressure as well.

NAB League Girls weekend preview: Round 1

TWO triple headers headline the first ever round of NAB League Girls as the 12 teams begin their 2019 campaigns hoping to get their season off on the right foot.

CALDER CANNONS v. WESTERN JETS


Round 1 – 02/03/2019
9:15am
Rams Arena – Craigieburn

In what is predicted to be a sweltering day at RAMS Arena, the first match in the triple header is the Calder Cannons taking on the Western Jets. Both sides are bringing in some strong depth making it an interesting game to see which team can kickstart its season first. The Cannons will be without Georgia Patrikios, but have the likes of Alana Barba, Felicity Theodore and former Gippsland Power player, Makeisha Muller. Georgie Prespakis is one to watch for the future, and while older sister Madison is no longer there to lead the team, the Cannons will have Krstel Petrevski coming off half-back and is a player the Cannons are excited to develop throughout the season. For the Jets, they have a number of top prospects who are members of the AFL Women’s Academy at both the top and middle-age brackets. Isabella Grant and Cleo Saxon-Jones are strong overhead and can kick goals when forward, while Isabelle Pritchard still has two years in the system and is shaping as a highly talented key defender. Elisabeth Georgostathis is the other player who put in a consistent 2018 season, named onball like she was last year where she won the Jet’s best and fairest award.

BENDIGO PIONEERS v. GREATER WESTERN VICTORIA REBELS


Round 1 – 02/03/2019
11:00am
Rams Arena – Craigieburn

The second game sees two country neighbours battling it out in what could be a thrilling contest. The teams have had productive pre-seasons and the Pioneers had no trouble scoring in their practice match against the Bushrangers, while the Rebels were pleased with their efforts against the Falcons. The defensive duo of Kate Douglass and Tara Slender will be one to watch and assist in restricting opposition teams from scoring, while Jordyn Jolliffe‘s return from injury – she missed all of last season’s TAC Cup Girls competition – will be welcome and she starts at full-forward. The midfield group of the Pioneers is quite strong and will have benefited from another year, with the likes of Brooke Hards – who played some roles in defence last season – Eloise Gretgrix and Jemma Finning, while Maeve Tupper was predominantly a forward pocket last season and will spend more time in the midfield. Sophie Molan and Ella Wood will lead a deep Rebels midfield in what will be the battle of the midfields within the match. Isabella Simmons developed strongly as the season went on last year, while Renee Saulitis and Isabella Robson are other middle-age talents in the team.

NORTHERN KNIGHTS v. MURRAY BUSHRANGERS


Round 1 – 02/03/2019
12:45pm
Rams Arena – Craigieburn

In the final game of Saturday’s triple header with the temperatures expected to be high 30s by the final siren, the two teams who finished second in the first two years face off from 12.45pm. The Knights head into the game as strong favourites based on the form they showed last season, and they have a number of talented players in each third of the ground. The midfield features Ellie McKenzie, Jess Fitzgerald and Britney Gutknecht, with the likes of Gabby Newton and Abigail Bennett rotating between the midfield and forward. Sarah Sansonetti and Ash Snow are a couple of defenders who impressed last season, while Alyssa Bannan developed rapidly in 2018. For the Bushrangers, Olivia Barber has been named at centre half-back and could be the one to try and quell Newton, while forwards, Sophie Locke and Kate Adams could do some damage if given time and space. Mikaela Trethowan is a 19-year-old prospect who will provide good support in the midfield, while Emily Nicholson is another player who played every game last season and will be well prepared for the first round match. The game is a huge challenge for the Bushrangers against the likely premiership favourites, but it will be a good test to see where they are at, and how the Knights have changed with players tested in other positions.

DANDENONG STINGRAYS v. EASTERN RANGES


Round 1 – 03/03/2019
10:30am
SkyBus Stadium – Frankston

In the first game of a triple header at Frankston on Sunday, Dandenong Stingrays will be looking for their fifth straight win after finishing the season in a blaze of glory following four early season losses. Recent St Kilda recruit, Isabella Shannon has been named at centre half-forward and will be a player to watch for any Saints fans who head down to the game. While fellow Saints teammate, Molly McDonald will not be out there, Brooke Vernon, Tyanna Smith and Grace Hodder will lead the charge in the middle. Zoe Hill stands tall at centre half-back and while partner-in-crime Lucy Cripps will not be out there, Hill will aim to try and nullify one of Eastern’s talls. That could be netballer, Serena Gibbs or AFL Women’s Academy member, Laura McClelland who could rotate between midfield and forward. The forward line and particularly midfield looks solid for the Ranges, with Olivia Meagher and Tahni Brown among the middle-agers who still have a couple of seasons to develop. Both teams are likely to create a lively contest.

OAKLEIGH CHARGERS v. GIPPSLAND POWER


Round 1 – 03/03/2019
12:15pm
SkyBus Stadium – Frankston

The middle game on Sunday will see two teams that faced off in Round 1 last year do battle once again with Oakleigh Chargers facing Gippsland Power. The Chargers won easily 12 months ago and will be hoping to serve a repeat dose, while the Power feel more prepared to tackle the Chargers this time around. Middle-age captain, Mimi Hill leads a band of quick defenders who like to move the ball well, as Chloe O’Malley and Nicola Xenos showed last season. Gemma Lagioia and Emily Harley inside 50 will provide any opposition coach problems, as would Alana Porter‘s speed through the middle of the ground. The club is excited to release Amelia Peck on the competition with the 19-year-old named at centre half-back. Gippsland will miss Tyla Hanks in the middle, but have been able to supply a number of players with a season of experience and now there are top and middle-agers with a taste of the competition already. Nikia Webber and Matilda Van Berkel line up in the key forward posts, while Chandra Abrahams, Megan Fitzsimon and Grace McRae fill out the midfield. Maddi Shaw and Shanara Notman are others who could be key players in the game, providing strength and run from defence.

SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS v. GEELONG FALCONS


Round 1 – 03/03/2019
2:00pm
SkyBus Stadium – Frankston

In the final game of the round, Sandringham Dragons face Geelong Falcons on Sunday afternoon. The reigning premiers will test themselves against a danger side in the 2019 competition. Both teams are in the form of their lives having not lost a game in the past six regular season rounds – and even longer for the Falcons. The midfield battle will be one to savour with Dragons’ captain Molly Denahy Maloney, Alice Burke and Eliza McNamara tackling the likes of Falcons’ captain Lucy McEvoy, Luka Lesosky-Hay and Paige Sheppard. Both sides have a highly touted key defender in Sarah Hartwig (Sandringham) and Abbey Chapman (Geelong), have speedy wingers in Marguerite Purcell (Sandringham) and Elise Vella (Geelong) and forwards who can take big grabs, Sophia Rothfield (Sandringham) and Renee Tierney (Geelong). With both sides having a high amount of talent coming through at middle and bottom-age level, they are going to be teams to watch this season. Round 1 may well have saved the best until last, and the final game of the new NAB League Girls will likely be a match to remember.

Team Selection: Under 18 Girls – Round 1

AFTER a long off-season, the Under 18 Girls competition returns to Victoria, with the 12 teams reset for 2019. Geelong Falcons went undefeated in 2018, while the Northern Knights fell short of upsetting the Falcons in the Grand Final having impressed throughout the competition as well. There is plenty of future talent on show over the weekend with fans treated to two triple headers on Saturday and Sunday respectively. Six sides make the journey to RAMS Arena in Craigieburn on Saturday with the games moved forward to allow the girls to escape the heat of the day with predicted temperatures reaching the high 30s. On Sunday, the remaining six sides head to Skybus Stadium in Frankston to kickstart their campaigns for the new season.

CALDER CANNONS v. WESTERN JETS

Round 1 – 02/03/2019
9:15am
Rams Arena – Craigieburn

CALDER CANNONS

B: 24. K. Delia, 6. K. Reid, 4. K. Lennox
HB: 15. M. McLeod, 35. I. Young, 31. K. Petrevski
C: 8. Z. Friswell, 11. A. Barba, 32. T. Fry
HF: 34. Z. Hardiman, 42. T. Crook, 3. E. Yassir
F: 22. M. Muller, 44. I. McNeill-Wren, 2. F. Theodore
R: 17. G. Sampson, 38. L. Cocomello, 41. G. Prespakis
Int: 12. J. Andrighetti, 5. N. Crowley, 46. G. Elarmaly, 43. C. Leahy, 25. A. Magri, 36. Z. Penno, 19. P. Poultney

WESTERN JETS

B: 10. T. Evans, 19. A. Anthony, 11. K. O’Keefe
HB: 47. C. Sargent, 23. I. Pritchard, 15. N. Wright
C: 3. L. Andrews-Quinn, 9. R. Tripodi, 18. P. Ozols
HF: 32. S. Asciak, 25. C. Saxon-Jones, 5. I. Cavka
F: 20. T. Kolevski, 26. C. Weston-Sirett, 14. L. Wright
R: 22. C. Singleton, 17. E. Georgostathis, 13. I. Grant
Int: 36. K. Bays, 6. E. Kiely, 24. J. Mwaka, 21. E. Robinson
Emg: 30. T. Kotoski, 51. J. Wilson

The first game of the year sees the Cannons taking on the Jets, with Calder missing star midfielder/forward, Georgia Patrikios. A familiar name can be found in the midfield, with Georgie Prespakis replacing her sister Madison in the onball brigade, while Felicity Theodore is another name to watch, named in the forward pocket. Western has a number of strong talls in the team with Isabella Grant, Cleo Saxon-Jones and Isabelle Pritchard able to hold down key roles, with Grant also running through the midfield with last year’s best and fairest winner, Elisabeth Georgostathis.

BENDIGO PIONEERS v. GREATER WESTERN VICTORIA REBELS

Round 1 – 02/03/2019
11:00am
Rams Arena – Craigieburn

BENDIGO PIONEERS

B: 25. K. Hazlett, 36. K. Douglass, 49. C. McGillivray
HB: 46. K. Mitchell, 40. T. Slender, 41. E. Peacock
C: 3. E. Snell, 28. E. Gretgrix, 1. M. Tupper
HF: 14. A. Strahan, 30. H. Stewart, 20. D. Villiva
F: 50. M. Barton, 44. J. Jolliffe, 9. T. Miaoudis
R: 24. S. Oliver, 19. J. Finning, 4. B. Hards
Int: 22. G. Barton, 8. T. Coad, 48. D. Kelly-Guthrie, 37. G. Sladden

GREATER WESTERN VICTORIA REBELS

B: 12. V. Jewell, 27. G. Pidgeon, 16. L. Sykes
HB: 5. N. Butler, 30. N. Dojiok, 19. C. Summers
C: 32. I. Simmons, 24. S. Molan, 3. A. Trigg
HF: 1. L. Condon, 34. K. Harris, 11. L. Donegan
F: 6. M. Ciavarella, 23. I. Rustman, 9. R. Saulitis
R: 35. M. Caris, 10. E. Wood, 15. C. Leonard
Int: 14. G. Douhadji, 28. I. Robson, 13. B. Thompson, 4. K. Tomkins
Emg: 25. G. Henderson, 21. A. Stevens

In the second game, Bendigo Pioneers are coming off a promising practice match win over Murray Bushrangers and have a strong spine with Kate Douglass and Jordyn Jolliffe holding down key positions at either end, while Tara Slender was impressive in the V/Line Cup last year and will slot into centre half-back. Jemma Finning, Brooke Hards, Maeve Tupper and Eloise Gretgrix make up a young but promising midfield core, which will make for an entertaining contest against GWV Rebels’ Ella Wood, Chloe Leonard, Sophie Molan and Isabella Simmons. Renee Saulitis and Nyakoat Doijiok are others who impressed at times last season and will add some speed to the side that will hope to get off with a win after such a strong finish to the year last season.

NORTHERN KNIGHTS v. MURRAY BUSHRANGERS


Round 1 – 02/03/2019
12:45pm
Rams Arena – Craigieburn

NORTHERN KNIGHTS

B: 24. J. Nursey, 2. S. Fell, 34. M. Uwland
HB: 10. P. Chisholm, 18. S. Sansonetti, 20. C. Linssen
C: 6. A. Bannan, 21. E. McKenzie, 9. M. Chaplin
HF: 7. A. Bennett, 23. G. Newton, 29. T. Pulcino
F: 11. M. Appleby, 3. N. Morris-Dalton, 25. T. Mills
R: 1. J. Nelson, 14. J. Fitzgerald, 22. B. Gutknecht
Int: 8. G. Ceravolo, 16. Z. Flanigan, 26. M. Papachristos, 30. M. Plunkett, 32. A. Snow
Emg: 19. I. Hammond, 38. L. Picioane, 5. A. Ward

MURRAY BUSHRANGERS

B: 11. T. Brett, 43. A. Williams, 24. H. Doohan
HB: 33. E. Mifka, 45. O. Barber, 40. K. Whitehead
C: 20. S. Lang, 8. A. Favell, 46. S. McCarthy
HF: 10. S. Locke, 14. C. Boschetti, 41. L. Sharp
F: 16. M. Jones, 39. A. Morphett, 22. A. Richardson
R: 34. E. McPherson, 18. Z. Spencer, 31. M. Trethowan
Int: 7. K. Adams, 26. E. Nicholson, 21. C. Styan , 27. J. Ward
Emg: 3. A. McMillan, 44. M. Quade

In the final game of the Saturday triple header, grand finalists Northern Knights face the Murray Bushrangers. The Bushrangers will be without top prospect, Millie Brown, but have the likes of Sophie Locke, Olivia Barber and Kate Adams who all add different elements to the side in a team that looks different to the one that ran out in 2018. The Knights are a formidable side and with Gabby Newton, Ellie McKenzie, Alyssa Bannan, Abigail Bennett, Britney Gutknecht, Jess Fitzgerald and Sarah Sansonetti all named, it will take a strong performance to knock the Knights off.

DANDENONG STINGRAYS v. EASTERN RANGES

Round 1 – 03/03/2019
10:30am
SkyBus Stadium – Frankston


DANDENONG STINGRAYS

B: 40. R. Clancy – Dillon, 51. Z. Hill, 17. M. Layfield
HB: 14. L. Grocock, 50. A. Nagtzaam, 32. J. Radford
C: 4. J. Guy-Toogood, 31. B. Vernon, 10. A. Jordan
HF: 48. A. Carroll, 26. I. Shannon, 55. H. Thomas
F: 24. A. Liddle, 49. K. McKenzie, 2. S. Stratton
R: 58. G. Howes, 28. T. Smith, 21. G. Hodder
Int: 13. S. Gammaldi, 60. T. Jones, 30. P. Swayn, 39. N. Taylor
Emg: 9. C. Bell, 34. A. Richards

EASTERN RANGES

B: 29. M. Di Cosmo, 51. S. Zappia, 54. E. Odria
HB: 11. M. Edwards, 49. C. Wilsmore, 17. M. Kendall
C: 20. J. Richardson, 39. L. McClelland, 1. C. Smith
HF: 16. E. Horne, 41. T. Merrett, 18. T. Kelly
F: 48. I. Khoury, 46. S. Gibbs, 12. M. Taverna
R: 25. J. Grace, 21. O. Meagher, 26. T. Brown
Int: 44. S. Bowden, 31. S. Collard, 33. T. Flintoff, 35. L. Hilton
Emg: 34. M. Hardy, 19. S. Humm

Heading down the Peninsula on Sunday, Dandenong Stingrays host Eastern Ranges in the first of three matches at Frankston. One half of St Kilda’s newest recruits will be playing in the match, with Isabella Shannon named at centre half-forward, while the Stingrays will miss Molly McDonald. Tyanna Smith is a bottom-ager to watch throughout 2019, as is key defender, Zoe Hill. For Eastern, Laura McClelland is the key top-age player to watch, named in the middle, while Olivia Meagher and Tahni Brown make the Ranges’ midfield a tough proposition for any side, and with Tahlia Merrett and netballer, Serena Gibbs up forward, there are no shortage of tall targets inside 50.

OAKLEIGH CHARGERS v. GIPPSLAND POWER

Round 1 – 03/03/2019
12:15pm
SkyBus Stadium – Frankston


OAKLEIGH CHARGERS

B: 21. S. Reid, 26. A. Micallef, 17. N. Xenos
HB: 2. M. Hill, 12. A. Peck, 18. C. O’Malley
C: 33. E. Chamberlain, 7. J. D’Amato, 22. J. Lin
HF: 1. G. Lagioia, 10. T. Cowan, 5. A. van Oosterwijck
F: 14. G. Byrne, 15. C. Russell, 4. E. Harley
R: 3. K. Kearns, 8. A. Porter, 32. E. James
Int: 6. S. Cato, 20. B. Fox, 9. E. Jackson, 38. D. Lloyd, 23. A. Mayne, 31. S. Morley, 13. T. Morton, 29. C. Rowbottom

GIPPSLAND POWER

B: 2. S. Beaton, 47. E. Williams, 19. H. Booth
HB: 40. C. Robinson, 33. S. Notman, 9. M. Shaw
C: 30. A. Rippon, 12. M. Fitzsimon, 17. S. Trewin
HF: 13. H. Andrews, 45. M. Van Berkel, 3. M. Gilmour
F: 50. G. Matser, 27. N. Webber, 11. S. Walker
R: 49. G. Radford, 8. C. Abrahams , 26. G. McRae
Int: 20. J. Chila, 48. C. Prestidge, 7. L. Raymond , 34. S. Symes
Emg: 1. S. Brisbane, 16. A. Hardwick, 24. N. Williams

In the second game, Oakleigh Chargers takes on Gippsland Power in a repeat of the same fixture 12 months earlier. In that game the Chargers were far too good, but after a strong pre-season, the Power hopes to start the season off on the right note. Gemma Lagioia will be a player to watch off half-forward, while Emily Harley is a key target inside 50. Alana Porter provides the dash, while Chloe O’Malley and Nicola Xenos are defenders who know how to use the ball going forward. Gippsland has named Nikia Webber at full-forward for the opening game, but she could rotate with bottom-age tall Chandra Abrahams who will start in the midfield. Holly Andrews and Maddi Shaw will be others to watch off their respective flanks, while Shanara Notman has good potential having returned to football after a year off.

SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS v. GEELONG FALCONS

Round 1 – 03/03/2019
2:00pm
SkyBus Stadium – Frankston


SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS

B: 45. E. Stuber, 24. N. Borg, 44. D. Walker
HB: 38. G. Strangio, 25. S. Hartwig, 7. R. Woods
C: 42. M. Purcell, 17. B. Arnold, 26. C. Saultry
HF: 33. I. Eddey, 2. S. Rothfield, 40. A. Moloney
F: 3. C. Murphy, 15. C. Cody, 29. I. Stutt
R: 1. M. Denahy Maloney, 28. A. Burke, 22. E. McNamara
Int: 13. T. Grasso, 30. W. Laing, 50. P. Staltari, 58. T. Tysoe
Emg: 65. E. Angelopoulos, 47. K. Lynch, 18. J. Stolz

GEELONG FALCONS

B: 27. E. Dowling, 16. A. Chapman, 6. M. Holdsworth
HB: 11. E. Mahoney, 19. K. Haustorfer , 8. D. Smith
C: 9. L. Gardiner, 7. P. Sheppard, 1. E. Vella
HF: 14. D. Moloney, 13. L. Ryan, 18. A. Sanderson
F: 12. M. Skinner, 23. R. Tierney, 26. L. Were
R: 25. A. McKee, 21. L. McEvoy, 17. L. Lesosky-Hay
Int: 10. Z. Garth, 15. S. Hovey, 20. A. Lee, 2. P. Schaap
Emg: 28. T. Hassett, 22. S. Milsome, 24. J. Robinson

Wrapping up the first round of action is arguably the match of the round with reigning premiers, Geelong taking on Sandringham Dragons. The Dragons have a good bottom-age contingent who will look for guidance from new captain, Molly Denahy Maloney, with Alice Burke and Eliza McNamara forming a strong inside midfield. Marguerite Purcell provides the outside pace, while Isabella Eddey will cause headaches inside 50. Down back, Sarah Hartwig looks to hold down the defence. For the Falcons, captain Lucy McEvoy and Luka Lesosky-Hay will team up in midfield, while Renee Tierney is the main target inside forward 50 among a number of players who have made the transition into the side. Abbey Chapman and Kaitlyn Haustorfer are very solid key defenders, while Elise Vella is a winger who could be a point of difference.

U18 Girls season preview: Bendigo Pioneers

AFTER a strong start to the 2018 TAC Cup Girls season by defeating the Western Jets in Round 1, Bendigo Pioneers were unable to capitalise for the rest of the season as they failed to register another win. However there were still positives to take from the season, with Pioneers’ Talent Manger Steve Sharp highlighting the fact they were able to get games into bottom-agers and 16 year olds.

“That was a good positive start to the season, it’s hard yards if you don’t get any positive stuff until later in the season, you’re sort of dragging the chain because you lose interest so the engagement levels were up,” he said. “It’s all learning for the girls and particularly with the infancy of the competition it’s just getting their teeth into it and starting to get some development through.”

There were no Pioneers players drafted in 2018, though Sharp notes that coming from a smaller area means the talent pool is not necessarily comparable to the metropolitan areas where talent is in abundance.

“We’re still a bit depleted as far as our depth goes and our numbers across the board, we’re probably similar to Gippsland where we both don’t have a huge talent pool compared to metropolitan areas where they have a lot of girls to pick from,” he said.

Despite the lack of players drafted to the AFLW, Sharp says Pioneers 2018 top agers, Kody Jacques and Megan Williamson, who played in the Victorian Football League Women’s (VFLW) competition, gained valuable experience that could give them further opportunities to break into AFLW in 2019.

“ I think Kody might be doing it (VFLW) at Richmond,” he said. “I think Megan will stay at Williamstown, she was happy there and she played really well there. “Though I suppose Williamstown aren’t going to have an AFLW side, but Richmond are in 2020, so I would say she would be on the radar there I would think. “Kody certainly is a beautiful kick of the footy, so she just needs to understand that she needs to get into that environment where she is living it and breathing it. I think she’ll put herself in a good position.”

The Pioneers took on the Murray Bushrangers in a practice match in Shepparton in the weeks prior to the season, beating the Bushrangers in a ten goals to five game.

“The practice match on the weekend – if that’s any indication we think we improved a bit… It was a ten goals to five game, so that’s a positive indicator, but that was one game,” he said. “You just don’t know where the girls will be at.”

Looking ahead to the 2019 season, Sharp says that player development is key, with a lot to look forward to. An increased number on the playing list is a change from 2018, while development of the playing list has been adapted to cater for what the AFLW may need in coming years to make the players as draftable as possible.

“We’re pretty happy, we think there has been a bit of development with some of these girls over the summer,” he said. “We haven’t had to do a lot of cuts to our list this year and even similarly last year we had an even smaller list of about 40 so we’ve increased it to about 50 this year just to make sure that we have enough numbers for our futures games. “We didn’t have a lot of top end, top age girls last year, we sort of concentrated and we’ve developed our list based on talent irrespective of their age.

“We can sit and go through all the theories, you speculate on how the individuals might develop and where they might be placed from a drafting point of view, then you’ve got to pull the whole team together to play a team game, but we’re hopeful. “It changes every day in the women’s space, particularly with the different styles of body composition. “I suppose they’re looking for more of that athletic running profile toward more of what the AFLW was like in the first year, so I think there is going to be a lot more emergence of these young girls coming through.”

Sharp said the Pioneers have some good young talent coming through, with versatility and skill off the boot key features of the squad in 2019.

“We just recently nominated some girls for the initial clubs for Vic Country, so for the powers at be to have a look at,” he said. Kate Douglass would be one of those girls, she’s 18 this year and is a key defender but can play forward, she’s a beautiful kick of the footy, left footer, so we’re looking for some good things from her this year. “We did push her forward, you want it in her hands from within 40, no one else. So you’ve got to play people in positions while we don’t have the depth to play two of them.

“We have a younger girl that will probably play half-back this year and probably go forward, Tara Slender. “She’ll be 17 in November, key forward or key back, pretty smart player and is a beautiful kick of the footy, good intercept mark and quite tall. “Tara is a really good player and Kate is just a really beautiful kick of the footy. “We see some further opportunities for Kate and I think we have a bit more depth this year, so Kate won’t necessarily have to shoulder all a lot of that, she’s a year older too, so she might be more mature to do that. She’s a good kid, she’s got a bit of a cricket background, regional sort of cricket person, so she’d certainly be one.

“We’ve got Jemma (Finning) – she’s a good young midfielder or half-back player, she turned 17 in March, she’s a really good kid. “We’ve got a girl by the name of Brooke Hards, she’s a 17-year-old in February, she’s a midfielder – a real hard-running player, she’d be the best performed athlete in our program we think. “She’d be under eight minutes or low sevens in regards to her 2km stuff so she’d show up some of the boys, so we’re looking for some exciting things from her. “There’s another young girl, hardly played any footy – Annabel Strahan, been a netballer or basketballer but she’s got some really raw talent and she’d played really well against Murray last week, that’s the first real opportunity I’ve gotten to see her play and she was really excellent. Then Elizabeth Snell, she’s another March birthday, good running midfield or half-forward but she’s got some real plusses in her game, she’s got some real attributes so we think she’ll be a good player for us.”

When it comes to the Pioneers, it is hard to ignore the distances these girls travel to give themselves opportunities in football.

“They’ve got no choice, our girls,” Sharp said. “I think we’ll have possibly six that are on the list that come from Sunraysia, Mildura and it’s four-and-a-half hours here, then you’ve got another two hours to Melbourne so they’ve really got no choice. “I think they’re conditioned to the travel earlier than just the playing footy bit because they’ve always had to travel to go to Melbourne to do things so we don’t have the privilege to just come in three nights a week and train from half an hour or forty minutes away. “These kids aren’t getting home until half past ten at night from training and have to go to school the next morning, it’s just the way it is – they’re a bit more resilient I think.

Maddie Baldwin, a girl from Cohuna, played Vic Country U16 and played really well. “She’s coming back from a bit of an injury, she had a meniscus issue with her knee. “So she’s not quite there yet, but maybe in the latter part of the season, so we hope that she will show some and get an opportunity to play free and show her ability,” he said. “There’s another girl, Hannah Stewart. Hannah’s a girl from Hay sort of up on the Murrumbidgi River about 3 hours from here (Bendigo), so that’s where she lives with about 3000 people. She set the standard in the Swan Hill training base because she comes across from Hay – she’s going to battle to get to training a bit, she might do her own training and get down every two or three weeks to train. she might play NSW, I don’t know what their spots and squads look like but she played on the weekend and was really impressive, beautiful kick of the footy, good mark, played centre half forward for us. She’s good athletically, ran an 8 minute or under 2km time trial on Monday which is pretty good. But she’s a pretty exciting prospect.”

Jordyn (Jollis) is coming back, but we’re watching her slowly. “She was All-Australian Under 16 so she’s got a bit of talent, but again, she’s on the Murrumbidgi River in Balranald and that’s probably still three hours away. “She’s a 19-year-old, she’s been approved because she was part of the GWS Academy – she’s certainly not match-fit at the moment because she’s had a back issue but she’s in pretty good nick, she plays netball and that now and she’s been doing conditioning to get her fitter, she’s got to get through that next stage. But we’re hopeful, we’ll probably play her deep forward early to build her up a bit to play in other spots.

“The girls need to understand that you do have to play a defensive role when the opposition have got the footy, but it is a development program and we want to showcase their skills so it’s about if you want to take the game on and you want to try run-and-bouncing, we’re going to encourage that. Take the game on and show us what you got, really. “There’s an accountability to your opponents that the girls have to learn, but we think we’ve got some girls there that we think will showcase a bit. “Show your skills and take the game on and don’t worry about making any mistakes, let’s just try and develop your game.”

The Bendigo Pioneers will take on the Eastern Ranges in Round 1 of the Under 18 Girls Competition at RAMS Arena in Craigieburn on March 2.

Scouting notes: National AFLW Under 16s Championships

IN what was a great opportunity for the most talented Under 16s girls, Vic Country took on Vic Metro at GMHBA Stadium on Saturday morning as a curtain raiser to their Under 18s counterparts. Vic Metro got the job done in an entertaining contest, and Peter Williams (Vic Country) and Julia Montesano (Vic Metro) took notes on each of the players who took part. Note all reviews are opinion-based.

Vic Country:

#1 Jerusha Devarakonda

Throughout the match she showed a fierce attack on the footy, particularly in the third term where she was involved in a number of plays. She was often deep in defence or running off the half-back flank, she had quick hands and did not take a backwards step. She gave away a free kick to Tarni Brown in the third quarter, but it was her attack to win the footy that was most impressive.

#2 Leila Raymond

Raymond showed great defensive pressure in the back half, laying a number of strong tackles. It was almost déjà vu for the Gippsland Power player, who had no problems burying her opponent in a fantastic tackle in both the third and fourth quarters. She also saved a goal with a great tackle as an opponent ran towards the big sticks.

#3 Holly Andrews

Attacked the contest hard and had a good first term where she laid a couple of great tackles – unfortunately giving away a free for holding on too long. She created run out of defence in the second term, and was reliable with her disposal, including a good kick from half-back to the wing in the third term.

#4 Elizabeth Snell

Had a couple of nice passages of place including a good handball at ground level under pressure in the first term, and quick hands out of a stoppage in the third term.

#5 Megan Fitzsimon

Fitzsimon showed quick hands under pressure and a cleanliness at ground level to collect and go. She had a good kick to the wing after picking the footy up cleanly off the deck in the second half. She continued to stay involved along the wing.

#6 Renee Saulitis

Along with Tyanna Smith, was a driving force in the midfield. She won the footy throughout the four quarters and put in a really consistent effort. She did the defensive things well, laying tackles and providing bumps, while taking a courageous mark on the wing in the second term. She kicked well off half-back and had a fantastic run-down tackle on Ellie McKenzie after copping a don’t argue in the third term and earned a free kick for her troubles. She covered the ground well, also winning possessions in the forward half of the ground.

#7 Jemma Finning

Unfortunately Finning was injured early in the second term and did not get to play the game out.

#8 Kate Adams

Took a lovely mark at half-back in the final term and had a good centering pass to a teammate. She also showed a quick kick out of a stoppage late in the game.

#9 Emily Nicholson

Played in defence and constantly went in hard. She took a good one-on-one mark early and was able to quickly dispose of the ball under pressure. Nicholson had a highlight laying a strong tackle on Olivia Meagher, not fooled by Meagher’s attempt to sidestep her inside 50.

#10 Abbey Jordan

Jordan stood under a high ball in defence and despite contact coming did not waiver. She was unlucky not to get a free, showing good courage. In the third term she had a piercing kick inside 50 after moving through traffic, and then took a good intercept mark on the wing. Jordan laid a fierce bump on her opponent in the final term.

#11 Brooke Hards

Hards showed a willingness to back herself at all times coming off half-back. She got caught a couple of times, but for the run and ability to crash through opponents, it was worth it. She charged out of defence a number of times and was often under pressure. She laid a great tackle at half-back early in the game and hit-up Maggie Caris on the wing.

#12 Tyanna Smith

The Vic Country captain was one of the best with Renee Saulitis. Smith spread well to the outside and worked hard back into defence to help out. On a number of occasions, Smith read the loose ball in the air superbly, sticking out a hand and grabbing it cleanly before disposing of it by hand. She showed great acceleration out of a stoppage and kicked a goal on the run in the second term, really starting to dominate through the midfield. She laid some strong tackles and also took intercept marks at half-back.

#13 Chloe Leonard

Played in defence and had a number of kicks from half-back to the wing, rebounding where possible. She showed a good long kick and took a great mark dropping back in the first term to intercept.

#16 Sharmaine Reilly

Showed good courage going back with the flight at half-back to impact a contest despite copping body contact. She also applied good defensive pressure at half-back, applying a good shepherd to allow a teammate to run on.

#17 Sophie Milsome

A quieter first half, but took a great mark on the lead 35m out for a set shot in the third term. The shot drifted right, but she was presenting to the midfielders. She also laid a great smother at half-forward to put the ball out of bounds in the final term and force a throw in.

#18 Zoe Hill

Had a very nervous start to the day with some fumbles and caught holding the ball once for Alyssa Bannan to goal. Once she settled in she got back to what we have come to expect from her with a couple of strong intercept marks and was reliable by foot.

#19 Matilda Van Berkel

A quiet game, but always attacked the contest hard. She had a fantastic kick in the third quarter with a perfect pass to Sophie Milsome on the lead.

#20 Stephanie Glover

Busy early in the game, showing good vision to handball to a teammate at half-back through a couple of opponents. She has really good evasion and is able to step around opponents well. She threw it on the boot once, but is often more composed with the ball, and is quite athletic.

#21 Isabella Robson

Had a good moment to knock Ellie McKenzie off balance and drop the ball as she streamed towards 50 in the first half.

#22 Renee Tierney

Just continues to pop up at times despite not having a lot of opportunities. She had a clean pick-up off an awkward bounce at half-forward and was able to maintain composure to give it off to a teammate while she was under pressure. Tierney’s highlight came in the third term with the goal of the match after picking it up, snapping quickly from the boundary and dribbling it home. She also took a huge contested grab in the forward 50 later in the term, clunking the mark and looking dangerous.

#23 Isabella Simmons

When the ball went in her forward zone she showed good defensive pressure and was able to lock the ball up with a good tackle.

#24 Olivia Barber

Barber’s second efforts are noticeable in her ruck work, often winning her own ball from the taps. She laid a number of fierce tackles at ground level and continued to work hard. She snapped at goal off a couple of steps but just missed to the left.

#25 Maggie Caris

A raw but talented ruck who is smart with her hitout work. She was strong overhead and often marked at the highest point. A learning curve for her would be the game smarts when Alyssa Bannan was having a set shot from 40m and she stood at the top of the goal square instead of on the line and it bounced through with no-one to stop it. A really solid game all round, however.

VIC METRO:

#1 Olivia Meagher

Meagher was really lively up forward and was not afraid to take the game on. This was shown when she kicked a long bomb from just inside 50 that sailed through the goals. Before that, she read the ball well out of a stoppage and snapped through a goal from just outside the goal square. She was able to generate good acceleration and cleared the ball well after tackling a Country player. Meagher was not afraid to run the ball through the corridor and used her long kick to advantage on multiple occasions. Hacked a kick nicely out of a stoppage. Meagher kicked her third goal with a beautiful pick-up and snap and utilised excellent closing speed to chase down the Country player and earn a free kick. 

#2 Mietta Kendall

Chased the ball well in defence, as she attempted to tackle three players. Nicked one of the jumpers and won a dropping the ball free kick, thanks to her desperation at back half. Laid a goal-saving tackle and always gets involved in the right moments.

#3 Taylah Morton

Morton followed the footy with purpose and intent throughout the day. She was able to trap the footy well and often used the ball well by foot. She also displayed great clean hands while being tackled, showing her strength in the contest.

#5 Mary Daw

Took a nice mark in defence to stop Country running forward and then hit a target with her kick.

#6 Abigail Bennett

Bennett competed hard throughout the match and displayed some great work inside 50. Kicked two goals for the day. Her first was a snap from an angle while being slung to the ground, which got the momentum swinging in Metro’s favour after a slow first quarter. Bennett has great composure with the ball in hand and when she does not have it, she follows it up well, laying strong tackles to prevent any opposition forward movement.

#7 Jessica Fitzgerald

Fitzgerald followed the footy nicely throughout the match and got plenty of it, which was a credit to her efforts around the stoppages. Executed a good pick-up and laid off a nice handball out of a stoppage while on hands and knees. The Northern Knights product always followed up her efforts well, through tackling hard.

#8 Bella Eddey

Gave off a nice quick-fire handball out of a stoppage inside 50. Picked the ball up with ease off the deck and got a quick handball away to Alyssa Bannan. Played well on the wing considering her normal spot is up forward while playing for the Dragons.

#9 Winnie Laing

Laing read the play well and hunted the footy with intent. She got a lot of the ball and did everything she could to get the ball out of a stoppage. Often used her speed to break away and get the ball forward for Metro.

#10 Ashleigh Snow

Snow had great hands out of stoppages and showed good strength while doing so. While being pursued by two players, she got a clean handball out to a teammate on the outside. Snow got the ball away while being tackled multiple times, giving her teammates first opportunity to get onto the football.

#11 Eliza McNamara

Executed many nice kicks to the top of the square, giving them good height and allowing her forwards to jump at the footy. Also had the ability to pinpoint kicks, displaying good all-round footwork throughout the day. McNamara accelerated well with the ball in hand, clearing it out of the centre square in one instance. Also did well defensively when she laid a strong wrap-around tackle on a Vic Country player then followed it up with another aggressive tackling effort.

#12 Tarni Brown

Had a sensational first half for Metro then played consistently for the rest of the game. Brown created so many scoring opportunities for Vic Metro with her clean hands and accurate kicking. She was able to boot the ball forward when needed to or she would get the play started with a strong handball out of a stoppage. Brown did nicely to find space and utilised it with lovely acceleration. Her blind turns were a highlight of her game, as one ended up in a handball to Abigail Bennett on the outside, who kicked her second major of the day as a result. Brown also demonstrated a high footy IQ when she lowered her eyes to spot Alyssa Bannan on the outer side, who then kicked a goal while being tackled. 

#13 Alice Burke

Took a good leading mark on the wing and read the ball well off a tap. She then moved the ball well with a nice clearing kick out a stoppage.

#15 Mimi Hill

Gave off a good handball on hands and knees to get the ball out of congestion.

#16 Alice O’Loughlin

O’Loughlin laid a great tackle that prevented a Vic Country breakaway. Did most of her hard work up forward with a good kick towards goal that was on line but just didn’t make the distance. O’Loughlin’s defensive efforts were sound as she laid a strong tackle to earn a free kick. She then pinpointed the pass perfectly to Olivia Meagher for a set shot, giving her prime opportunity to kick a goal.

#17 Alisa Magri

Magri displayed strong hands throughout the day. She took a great mark off an Alice O’Loughlin kick inside 50, but she just missed the set shot. Took another miraculous mark inside 50 in a one-on-one contest, grabbing the ball with one hand and moving it forward. She is an exciting player with the ball in hand.

#18 Amber Micallef

Micallef pursued the ball with intent and then kicked it well around her body towards the boundary line. This showed great composure as it helped to slow the play down for Vic Metro.

#19 Sarah Hartwig

Hartwig gave off a good handball while being tackled strongly. Also took a strong contested mark and followed it up with a pinpointed a kick to Bennett at half-forward.

#20 Ellie McKenzie

McKenzie played a blinder of a game, particularly showing off her strong hands and exciting dash. She often found herself on the wing and created excitement when she fended off a player and streamed towards the forward 50. She did this in two separate points in the game, displaying her X factor and strength with the ball in hand. In many instances, she showed good situational awareness, as she knew she had space and used it to her advantage. In the forward half, she laid a good smother and attempted an almighty speccy. McKenzie leapt for every ball that came her way, and was fearless in attack. Demonstrated excellent run and carry when she streamed inside 50 to get the ball towards goal and creates a scoring opportunity. Showed class when she executed a great one-two with Alice O’Loughlin.

#21 Tamsin Crook

Crook did well in the ruck and followed up her work. She showed good intent to keep the ball moving when she dribbled the ball on the ground instead of just diving on it. This was smart play by her to keep it moving and then pick it up when she had the space to do so. Crook also tackled well on the day.

#22 Isabelle Pritchard

Ball didn’t go down her end that much but showed good intent when it came her way. At one point, she displayed good use of the body to shrug the tackle then executed a good second effort to create a stoppage.

#23 Jess Grace

Grace played in the ruck and contested well with Maggie Caris.

#24 Alyssa Bannan

Bannan was prolific in the forward line, demonstrating her high footy IQ. Took a good mark lace-out and then executed a perfect kick for goal from about 40 metres out. At this point, she backed herself and the ball bounced through. Bannan even had a stint in the ruck and competed well thanks to her height and footy smarts. A highlight of her game was when she punched the ball forward in the air to prevent a stoppage, then got the ball back off her punch and gave off a quick handball to Ellie McKenzie. Bannan also displayed clean hands throughout the game. Her kicking was on display too when she kicked a brilliant centering ball to Jessica Fitzgerald, giving Fitzgerald’s opponent no chance to compete. The Northern Knights forward finished with two majors for the day. 

#25 Isabel Young

Young tackled well and displayed good strength to stand up in the stoppage and get a handball away over the top.

Victorian Under 16s Girls prepare for National Championships

VICTORIA’S top Under 16s footballers from the TAC Cup Girls competition will converge on country venues this weekend in a couple of matches to test themselves against the best from other states. Vic Metro takes on South Australia in Horsham on Sunday, while Vic Country heads to the border to face NSW/ACT in Albury. The following week, Vic Metro will face off against Vic Country at GMHBA Stadium in a curtain raiser to the Under 18 Girls’ sides. For those wondering, the Under 16s are made up of players born in 2002 and are not eligible to be drafted until 2020.

Vic Metro squad:

No Name Ht DOB TAC Region
1 Olivia Meagher 151 10/12/02 Eastern Ranges
2 Mietta Kendall 154 3/9/02 Eastern Ranges
3 Taylah Morton 157 23/7/02 Oakleigh Chargers
4 Leah Spargo 157 28/1/02 Western Jets
5 Mary Daw 159 11/3/02 Western Jets
6 Abigail Bennett 160 18/10/02 Northern Knights
7 Jessica Fitzgerald 161 8/3/02 Northern Knights
8 Bella Eddey 163 11/2/02 Sandringham Dragons
9 Winnie Laing 164 25/5/02 Sandringham Dragons
10 Ashleigh Snow 156 23/10/02 Northern Knights
11 Eliza McNamara 166 19/4/02 Sandringham Dragons
12 Tarni Brown 166 26/3/02 Eastern Ranges
13 Alice Burke 168 3/10/02 Sandringham Dragons
15 Mimi Hill 167 4/10/02 Oakleigh Chargers
16 Alice O’Loughlin 169 8/7/02 Oakleigh Chargers
17 Alisa Magri 170 19/3/02 Calder Cannons
18 Amber Micallef 170 21/2/02 Oakleigh Chargers
19 Sarah Hartwig 173 12/4/02 Sandringham Dragons
20 Ellie McKenzie 174 17/10/02 Northern Knights
21 Tamsin Crook 176 3/10/02 Calder Cannons
22 Isabelle Pritchard 176 8/3/02 Western Jets
23 Jess Grace 176 25/12/02 Eastern Ranges
24 Alyssa Bannan 177 13/4/02 Northern Knights
25 Isabel Young 179 13/7/02 Calder Cannons

Some names to watch:

Isabelle Pritchard
Key Position Defender | 176cm | Western Jets

Strong overhead, great leader and rarely beaten one-on-one. Her game knowledge and awareness is ahead of her years. A standout performer this season for the Jets.

Ellie McKenzie
Tall Utility | 174cm | Northern Knights

Unbelievable impact so far this season, named in the best every game she played. Can play forward, midfield or back, and is strong in the air. Sister of Vic Metro boys’ representative, Tom. Strong in the air, can kick goals at will, shown by her huge day out against Bendigo Pioneers.

Alyssa Bannan
Key Position Forward | 175cm | Northern Knights

Lit up Beaconsfield earlier in the year with three goals in three minutes and provides a good target up forward. Mobile tall who can kick goals and very few players her height are quicker once she gets goal side.

Sarah Hartwig
Key Position Defender | 173cm | Sandringham Dragons

Good one-on-one defender, quick on the lead to spoil and provides good rebounds out of the back half. Will create a strong 1-2 partnership with Pritchard in the back half.

Alice Burke
General Defender | 168cm | Sandringham Dragons

A good user of the footy, can play up the ground but is really settled in the back half. Daughter of St Kilda champion, Nathan. Crossed over from soccer and has been a revelation at the Dragons.

Abigail Bennett
Small Forward | 160cm | Northern Knights

Another Knights player who has had some impressive moments at half-forward. Can push into the midfield as well.

Tarni Brown
General Forward | 166cm | Eastern Ranges

Very raw, but clearly talented. Has a very nice sidestep and can create something out of nothing. Daughter of Gavin and sister to Callum and Tyler.

Olivia Meagher
Small Forward/Midfielder | 151cm | Eastern Ranges

Seemed to get better as the season went on, plays a link-up role at half-forward, and can kick goals or win the footy through the midfield.

Mimi Hill
Outside Midfielder | 167cm | Oakleigh Chargers

Winger who provides good run in transition and played some impressive games throughout the season, especially in the absence of the Chargers top-age midfielders.

Jess Fitzgerald
Small Utility | 161cm | Northern Knights

Tends to play forward, but can play through midfield as well. A creative player who can kick goals from tight angles.

Winnie Laing
Inside Midfielder | 164cm | Sandringham Dragons

As tough as they come on the inside, loves the contest and does not take a backwards step.

Bella Eddey
General Forward | 163cm | Sandringham Dragons

Another creative forward who is good in the air or at ground level and just got better as the season went on.

Alice O’Loughlin
General Forward | 169cm | Oakleigh Chargers

Starred late in the season at half-forward and can push up the ground as well. Creative and a good user of the football going inside 50.

Ashleigh Snow
Small Defender | 156cm | Northern Knights

Was one of the Knights’ best in the grand final and plays taller than her 156cm. Good overhead and creates some great drive out of defence.

Alisa Magri
Tall Forward | 170cm | Calder Cannons

Was a mainstay of the Cannons forward line this season and managed to get on the end of a few goals throughout. Another tall target inside 50 for Metro.

Eliza McNamara
Inside Midfielder | 166cm | Sandringham Dragons

Had a blistering start to the season and had the ball on a string early. A crucial part of the inside midfield at the Dragons, she showed good strength and an ability to move out of traffic.

Vic Country squad:

No Name DOB Ht TAC Region
1 Jerusha Devarakonda 3/3/02 158 Geelong Falcons
2 Leila Raymond 9/3/02 158 Gippsland Power
3 Holly Andrews 15/8/02 160 Gippsland Power
4 Elizabeth Snell 14/3/02 161 Bendigo Pioneers
5 Megan Fitzsimon 10/8/02 162 Gippsland Power
6 Renee Saulitis 14/8/02 163 GWV Rebels
7 Jemma Finning 19/3/02 165 Bendigo Pioneers
8 Kate Adams 15/3/02 165 Murray Bushrangers
9 Emily Nicholson 19/3/02 165 Murray Bushrangers
10 Abbey Jordan 8/9/02 165 Dandenong Stingrays
11 Brooke Hards 19/7/02 166 Bendigo Pioneers
12 Tyanna Smith 29/10/02 166 Dandenong Stingrays
13 Chloe Leonard 1/2/02 167 GWV Rebels
15 Chandra Abrahams 24/3/02 169 Gippsland Power
16 Sharmaine Reilly 8/11/02 170 Bendigo Pioneers
17 Sophie Milsome 23/4/02 172 Geelong Falcons
18 Zoe Hill 13/5/02 173 Dandenong Stingrays
19 Matilda Van Berkel 6/9/02 174 Gippsland Power
20 Stephanie Glover 11/11/02 176 GWV Rebels
21 Isabella Robson 26/4/02 176 GWV Rebels
22 Renee Tierney 23/5/02 168 Geelong Falcons
23 Isabella Simmons 19/4/02 181 GWV Rebels
24 Olivia Barber 14/7/02 184 Murray Bushrangers
25 Maggie Caris 21/12/02 188 GWV Rebels

Renee Tierney
Tall Forward | 168cm | Geelong Falcons

Has had a really consistent season for the Falcons. Good overhead, booted a bag of goals against Oakleigh at Warrawee Park earlier in the season.

Jemma Finning
Balanced Midfielder | 165cm | Bendigo Pioneers

After the two top-age girls in Megan Williamson and Kodi Jacques, Finning was one of the more consistent midfielders at the Pioneers, regularly named in the best.

Brooke Hards
General Defender | 166cm | Bendigo Pioneers

A rebounding defender who can play forward, Hards is good in the air and reads the play well.

Renee Saulitis
Small Forward | 163cm | GWV Rebels

Talented small forward who can kick some great goals from tight angles. Very quick and can pounce on a spillage from a marking contest.

Isabella Simmons
Key Position Forward | 181cm | GWV Rebels

Tall target up forward who pushes up the ground and provides a contest. Raw but has shown some good signs.

Zoe Hill
Key Position Defender | 173cm | Dandenong Stingrays

One of the more consistent 15-16 year-old defenders in the league. Worked well with Lucy Cripps to ensure the Stingrays had good defensive strength in the air.

Olivia Barber
Ruck/Key Position Forward | 184cm | Murray Bushrangers

Rotated between ruck and key forward and was named in the Bushrangers best a number of times. Could rotate with Maggie Caris through the ruck or up forward.

Chandra Abrahams
Tall Utility | 169cm | Gippsland Power

Has played a mixture of forward and back, and while the consistency is still building, she has tricks that not many players have, such as a penetrating kick from 50m on the run from a couple of steps.

Kate Adams
General Forward | 165cm | Murray Bushrangers

Buzzes around the forward line and can push up into the midfield. Fairly clean and clearly talented, will be a player to watch at the Bushies over the next couple of years.

Maggie Caris
Ruck | 188cm | GWV Rebels

With her sister Rene in the AFLW Academy, Maggie followed her into the Rebels program and looked good in the final game of the season against Oakleigh. Already 188cm, Caris will likely play ruck, but could be tried in key position positions as well.

Tyanna Smith
Balanced Midfielder | 166cm | Dandenong Stingrays

Another player who seemed to get better as the season went on, Smith played through the midfield and won her own ball as well as created run in transition.

Jerusha Devarakonda
Small Defender | 158cm | Geelong Falcons

Raw, but talented defender who pushed up to the wing for the Falcons. Got involved a number of times in the grand final and has plenty of scope for the future. Quick and fierce.

Stephanie Glover
Key Position Utility | 176cm | GWV Rebels

Impressed down back, but also showed she could go forward and kick a goal for the Rebels. Good overhead and nimble, she provides plenty of rebound out of the back half.

Holly Andrews
Outside Midfielder/Small Forward | 160cm | Gippsland Power

Played all nine games this season and was named among the best a couple of times for the Power. Had some nice moments within games.

Chloe Leonard
General Forward | 167cm | GWV Rebels

Booted four goals in eight games, including two against Calder Cannons. Was named in the Rebels’ best a number of times and provided a target inside 50.

Emily Nicholson
General Defender | 165cm | Murray Bushrangers

Played every game this season for the Bushrangers and became a regular in the back six. She was named among the best on a couple of occasions.

U16 Fixtures:

June 10 – Vic Metro vs. South Australia in Horsham & Vic Country vs. NSW/ACT in Albury
June 16 – Vic Country vs Vic Metro at GMHBA Stadium, Geelong

Season reviews: TAC Cup Girls – Bendigo Pioneers

BENDIGO Pioneers might have finished on the bottom of the TAC Cup Girls ladder, but after a round one win and a competitive effort against top four side Eastern Ranges, there was plenty to like about the Pioneers season, including a number of future stars showing they were capable of matching it with more experienced players at the elite junior level.

Position: 12th
Win-loss: 1-8
Percentage: 34%

Results:

R1: defeated Western Jets by 38 points
R2: lost to Murray Bushrangers by 40 points
R3: lost to GWV Rebels by 33 points
R4: lost to Eastern Ranges by 17 points
R5: lost to Gippsland Power by 12 points
R6: lost to Oakleigh Chargers by 61 points
R7: lost to Northern Knights by 71 points
R8: lost to Sandringham Dragons by 71 points
R9: lost to Dandenong Stingrays by 60 points

Key players:

Megan Williamson: A spiritual leader who lead by example on an off the field. Along with Kodi Jacques in the midfield, Williamson continued to battle hard throughout the season and was consistently named in the bests for her performances. She earned a place in the AFL Draft Central TAC Cup Girls’ Team of the Year, and the Swan Hill local will now take to senior football with Williamstown in the Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s. A tough and uncompromising inside midfielder, Williamson was a strong presence in the midfield and will also represent Vic Country at the National Under 18 Championships.

Kodi Jacques: Similar to Williamson, Jacques was consistently named among the Pioneers’ best and was a strong one-two combination in the midfield with her captain. Another player who won plenty of contested ball and would also get to the outside, Jacques was a player to watch throughout the season. Like Williamson, Jacques earned a spot in the AFL Draft Central TAC Cup Girls’ Team of the Year for her efforts and has been working closely with the Richmond VFL Women’s side too.

Kate Douglass: Primarily stationed at centre half-back, Douglass also had stints up forward at times and provided a target. She had a raking long kick and was good one-on-one with great strength and desire to compete with any opponent. A bottom-ager, Douglass still has another year to go and will look to assert herself as one of the leaders at the Pioneers next season.

Maddie Baldwin: An exciting midfielder who added the pace to the Pioneers’ grunt work, and provided good acceleration along a wing at times.

Jemma Finning: 16 year-old midfielder who was named among the Pioneers’ best on a number of occasions and like Baldwin, added key depth to the Bendigo midfield.

Brooke Hards: A talented 15 year-old defender who showed on multiple occasions she was capable of standing up and playing a role in the back half. She provided good rebound and often intercepted forward charges.

Season summary:

Bendigo Pioneers started off the season in the best possible way – with a win over the Western Jets. Over the next month they were competitive against most sides but could not get the win, as the young side mostly featuring 15-17 year-olds tired and dropped their last four games by more than 10 goals. The talent shown in the 2001 and 2002 born players gave fans a glimpse that the future is bright, while the likes of Megan Williamson and Kodi Jacques led the way this season and will compete against senior bodies in the VFL Women’s. While the win-loss ratio is not what they might have hoped, the fight and dedication from the players to often travel hours on end to play, is to be commended and will only hold them in good stead for the future.