Tag: Jess Edwards

2020 AFL Women’s Round 2 preview: Expansion sides to face off as inaugural sides do battle under lights tonight

ROUND 2 of the AFL Women’s is sure to bring plenty of big clashes and ignite old rivalries with Collingwood and Carlton set to do battle on Sunday while Fremantle and West Coast will take place in their inaugural Western Derby.

Friday, February 14

Western Bulldogs v. Melbourne at Whitten Oval, 7:40pm, AEDT

Taylah Melki

With one win on the board each expect a high intensity battle from the opening bounce in search of each teams’ respective second win. The Demons announced themselves to the rest of the competition last round, downing premiership favourites North Melbourne by two points and will be riding a wave of confidence heading into their Round 2 match-up. Similarly, the Dogs inflicted their fair share of pain on newcomers St Kilda with an impressive 25-point win. The Bulldogs were slick from the beginning, exploiting their oppositions’ inexperience and making them pay while the Dees fought hard to just get over the line and set up the makings of what could be a strong season.

After waiting 693 days the return of Daisy Pearce was exactly what the doctor ordered for Melbourne and their fans. The talented midfielder-turned-defender was right back in the mix, throwing her weight around and winning plenty of the pill around the contest, something that was sorely missed last season. Karen Paxman is as experienced as they come, able to sense the moment and have an impact while the likes of Elise O’Dea and Lily Mithen could prove a handful for the Dogs who lost a couple of key players during the off-season. Forward, Tegan Cunningham will be looking to have a big game after failing to trouble the scorers last round, only registering a point. But if Cunningham and Kate Hore get going the two could pose a dominant force inside forward 50, plus throw in the likes of Eden Zanker and the Dees have a lot to work with.

With Katie Brennan and Monique Conti both departing the kennel, the likes of Ellie Blackburn and Kirsty Lamb have taken their game to another level and will be hoping to have the same dominant impact as last round. Blackburn is a class act, able to read the play, apply strong tackles and consistently get involved while Hannah Scott has upped the ante. Number one draft pick Gabby Newton did not look out of place in Round 1 with her contested ball work and cleanliness, but will be keen to prove it was not a one-off with a strong showing against Melbourne. Up forward, Bonnie Toogood will have to deliver for the Dogs if they are to apply scoreboard pressure and get over the line.

Tip: Melbourne by 15.

WESTERN BULLDOGS

B: A.Gogos 36 L.Spark 11
HB: K.Herron 31 E.Gamble 14 N.Ferres 16
C: B.Hunt 21 K.Lamb 27 G.Lagioia 12
HF: G.Newton 5 B.Toogood 8 K.McLeod 6
F: E.Georgostathis 17 D.Berry 7
Foll: K.Rennie 24 E.Blackburn – C 2 A.McCarthy 15
I/C: E.Brown 9 D.Marshall 26 N.Callinan 10 H.Scott 22 A.Van Oosterwijck 28
Emerg: N.Morris-Dalton 25 H.Munyard 20

In: E.Brown, A.Van Oosterwijck
Out: I.Huntington (concussion), C.Moody (ankle)

MELBOURNE

B: L.Birch 9 M.Downie 2
HB: S.Lampard 8 S.Goldrick 23 D.Pearce – C 6
C: S.Heath 30 T.Hanks 28 C.Emonson 11
HF: K.Hore 10 E.Zanker 29 S.Scott 12
F: T.Cunningham 1 A.Newman 16
Foll: H.Cordner 21 K.Paxman 4 M.Gay 3
I/C: G.Colvin 32 C.Sherriff 18 N.McEvoy 17 A.Kemp 36 E.O’Dea 5
Emerg: B.Tarrant 20 M.Guerin 22

In: N.McEvoy
Out: M.Guerin

Saturday, February 15 

North Melbourne v. GWS GIANTS at University of Tasmania Stadium, 3:10pm AEDT

Michael Alvaro

North Melbourne will be looking to make good on a shock Round 1 loss when it hosts the GWS GIANTS in Launceston. Premiership points may soon become a premium for Scott Gowans‘ side as it looks to top a tricky Conference A, and the pre-season premiership fancies will expect to pick up their first set in this clash. But the GIANTS are one of the few sides which can match the ‘Roos for experience throughout their squad, and already ground out a win against league newcomer, Gold Coast in an opening round thriller. While North’s home ground advantage paid dividends in its inaugural season, the GIANTS were already made to endure tough conditions last time out, which should put them in good stead to tackle the often-windy Launceston afternoons. Last year’s result – which swung convincingly to the way of the ‘Roos – will also be in the back of players’ minds, but North knows it cannot take anything for granted.

The debut of Lisa Steane looms as one of the stories of the weekend, with the 24-year-old teacher surprised mid-week with news of her inclusion while working. Steane’s replacement of Ellie Brush in the side is the only change for GWS, with its strong and experienced core remaining for what should be a tough test. The midfield combination of skipper Alicia Eva and young gun Alyce Parker will again look to lead from the engine room, and their work will be cut out for them given the depth and strength of North’s midfield. The Kangaroos have made two changes as Daria Bannister (collarbone) and Bethany Lynch come out of the side for Jas Grierson and local girl, Abbey Green, whose inclusion could free up Emma King to play a more permanent key forward role. It makes the North Melbourne forward line one to behold, with a couple of capable tall targets and the likes of Daisy Bateman and Katlyn Ashmore at their feet.

Given how deep the hosts’ talent runs through midfield and around the ground, they are rightly fancied to bounce back to more typical form. The ‘Roos should also take solace in the feats of reigning premier Adelaide, as the Crows overcame a surprise first round loss in 2019 to go undefeated throughout the rest of the season. While last week’s outcome should drive North Melbourne to better results, the pressure will be on given not many would expect GWS to trouble them a whole lot. Nonetheless, the Kangaroos should fare much better in this clash against a side which looks like battling for mid-conference status, so do not be surprised if a statement is made.

NORTH MELBOURNE

B: T.Randall 16 B.Gibson 18
HB: T.Nestor 24 D.Hardiman 31 A.Gilroy 8
C: J.Trend 21 E.Kearney – C 9 A.Riddell 7
HF: S.Abbatangelo 1 K.Gillespie-Jones 5 K.Ashmore 10
F: E.King 60 D.Bateman 11
Foll: V.Saad 39 J.Garner 25 J.Bruton 35
I/C: E.King 4 S.Wright 17 J.Grierson 19 E.Gavalas 22 A.Green 26
Emerg: M.King 23 B.Lynch 20

In: J.Grierson, A.Green
Out: D.Bannister (collarbone), B.Lynch

GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY

B: P.Randall 21 T.Hetherington 9
HB: R.Beeson 6 L.Stephenson 12 A.Lister 14
C: E.Bennetts 22 A.Eva – C 2 N.Barr 8
HF: H.Zreika 24 C.Staunton 13 J.Hicks 5
F: R.Privitelli 19 I.Nielsen 25
Foll: E.McKinnon 23 J.Dal Pos 7 A.Parker 3
I/C: Y.Bonner 27 L.Steane 20 J.Allan 39 A.Schmidt 11 B.Tully 36
Emerg: T.Mackrill 32 S.Halvorsen 30

In: L.Steane
Out: E.Brush (unavailable)

Tip: North Melbourne by 20 points

Gold Coast v. Richmond at Metricon Stadium, 5:10pm AEDT

Taylah Melki

Two expansion teams are set to face off in an exciting clash at Metricon Stadium, the Suns’ first home game of the season. Both teams will be looking for their inaugural AFLW win, meaning there is plenty at stake for each side. The Suns were highly competitive over the weekend, narrowly edged out by the Giants by a mere one point while the Tigers simply had no answers for the rampaging Blues. Gold Coast went down in trying conditions with rain and wind impacting their ability to handle the ball cleanly and hit the scoreboard. On the other hand, Richmond were simply outclassed – unable to combat the torrential storm that was Carlton credit to their onslaught of pressure in the forward 50. But the girls in yellow and black know how to fight, not willing to be bullied across the field and will be hoping to assert themselves on a relatively young and inexperienced Gold Coast Suns outfit.

Richmond has a plethora of star power across the footy field, none bigger than captain Katie Brennan who has showcased her ability to turn a game on its head. Brennan will have to push up through the midfield, more to give players a chop out and provide added support despite her best work being done inside forward 50 with her leading patterns and strong hands. Full forward Sabrina Frederick could prove to be a handful for the Suns given her strength around the contest and ability to gobble up anything that comes her way while the nifty Monique Conti has shown she is all class with ball in hand, able to hit a target from a mile away. Phoebe Monahan was a ball magnet last round along with Christina Bernardi. The two will have to combine once again if they are to trouble the Suns.

Despite not being top-loaded in a-list class the Suns have a wealth of young up and coming stars that can do damage anywhere on the field. Youngsters in Serene Watson and Ellie Hampson offer plenty of excitement for the Suns’ line-up which could give them that upper hand thanks to their raw talent and unpredictability. Lauren Aherns led from the front last round, recording an equal team-high 15 touches running around ragged and burrowing in hard while Jamie Stanton was strong across the ground for the Suns. Captain Leah Kaslar will have her work cut out for her up against a strong Tigers side.

Tip: Richmond by 5.

GOLD COAST

B: J.Pregelj 42 J.Hickey 4
HB: S.Virgo 22 L.Ahrens 7 S.Watson 14
C: T.Ernst 19 J.Stanton 17 C.Hammond 29
HF: P.Parker 1 K.Surman 26 L.Kaslar – C 11
F: E.Hampson 21 B.Perry 16
Foll: L.Bella 2 J.Yorston 5 H.Dunn 24
I/C: J.Hewett 20 M.Ritson 12 S.Riley 8 D.Heslop 25 K.Howarth 23
Emerg: T.Thorn 15 T.Groves-Little 3

In: E.Hampson
Out: A.Hamilton

RICHMOND

B: R.Miller 15 G.Seymour 28
HB: S.Sansonetti 18 P.Monahan 2 A.Makur Chuot 34
C: K.Jacques 10 K.Brennan – C 3 H.Burchell 9
HF: S.Frederick 14 C.Wakefield 8 T.Stahl 24
F: L.McClelland 16 C.Bernardi 6
Foll: A.Edmonds 11 M.Conti 4 A.Woodward 13
I/C: L.Tesoriero 7 L.Bailey 12 S.Molan 1 M.Brancatisano 5 G.Campbell 43
Emerg: E.Wood 17 C.Fitzgerald 26

In: G.Campbell
Out: H.Whitford (injured)

West Coast Eagles v. Fremantle Dockers at Optus Stadium 7:10pm AEDT

Peter Williams

The Western Derby is the pride of Western Australia and for the first time ever at AFL Women’s level, the two sides can continue the tradition. West Coast and Fremantle go head-to-head in a Saturday night blockbuster with both teams coming off varying form. Last week, West Coast looked strong up against Collingwood at Victoria Park, booting the first goal and holding the Magpies scoreless in the opening term, before Collingwood took control and ran away comfortable victors in the end. Fremantle on the other hand did finish the job, knocking over fellow finalist Geelong in Western Australia in an effort that saw youngster, Sabreena Duffy win Most Valuable Player (MVP) for the week with four of her side’s six goals in the win. Both in Conference B – the more competitive conference – every win is absolutely crucial and neither side will want to relent against its biggest rival.

West Coast is the new kid on the block and they showed last week that they will be competitive, it will just be for how long. Dana Hooker plays her former side this week and it will unlikely faze the star who booted the club’s inaugural – and in the end, only – goal last week with a clever snap out of the pack. She was simply sensational across the four quarters, while Emma Swanson was also impressive with the pair leading from the front as vice-captain and captain respectively. Mikayla Bowen brought her tackling pressure from the Under 18s up to the elite level, while Imahra Cameron showed she has a nice set of wheels to burst away from stoppages and cause headaches for the opposition. Add in the smooth skills of McKenzie Dowrick coming off half-back and the reliability of Chantella Perera and Talia Radan on the last line and the Eagles are strong defensively. The Eagles have made just the one change for the this game, with the club’s social media coordinator Kate Orme making her debut for the injured Ashton Hill.

The expansion side will need to be strong defensively against a forward line that has plenty of excitement and X-factor, including Roxanne Roux, who showed exactly why she was the first West Australian taken last year with her high leaping and booming kick. She is a franchise player at centre half-forward, and with fellow teenage talent Mim Strom, the Dockers have a couple of gems they can build a side around through the ruck and key forward spots. Also up forward is Duffy who was simply sensational, and Ebony Antonio, who with partner and captain Kara and tackling machine Kiara Bowers rotating inside 50, there is no shortage of scoring options. The Dockers have made two changes for the team in Round 2 with Leah Mascall and debutant Bianca Webb coming in for Steph Cain – who unfortunately did her anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) – and Mia-Rae Clifford. The question this season will be around the Dockers’ defence given the young rucks have already earned their stripes, but against an Eagles side still looking to gel, they should be able to contain their yellow and blue state-based rivals. In order to win they will want to shut down Hooker and restrict the flow forward while putting plenty of pressure on the opposition defence. Given many of the Eagles have come from the Dockers, the remaining Fremantle players would love nothing more than to get one-up on them early in the season and it will likely happen.

Tip: Fremantle by 35.

WEST COAST

B: C.Perera 27 T.Radan 26
HB: B.Smith 14 S.McDonald 35 M.Dowrick 5
C: M.Collier 8 I.Cameron 19 N.Kelly 12
HF: A.Atkins 9 K.Gibson 2 M.Bowen 1
F: G.Kelly 15 D.Pisconeri 11
Foll: P.Laurie 25 D.Hooker 17 E.Swanson – C 13
I/C: T.Tester 23 C.Guard 4 H.Bullas 24 B.Devlyn 7 K.Orme 32
Emerg: E.Bonser 6 C.Davidson 33

In: K.Orme
Out: A.Hill (knee)

FREMANTLE

B: J.Cuthbertson 29 L.Pugh 32
HB: A.Stannett 24 E.Gooch 8 L.Mascall 14
C: L.Rohde 11 H.Miller 19 J.Stewart 7
HF: E.Antonio 12 R.Roux 17 S.Duffy 6
F: G.O’Sullivan 22 G.Houghton 27
Foll: M.Strom 21 K.Bowers 2 K.Antonio – C 15
I/C: K.Flood 44 B.Webb 26 P.Seth 18 K.Grieve 13 A.Sharp 1
Emerg: E.O’Driscoll 3 M.Clifford 4

In: L.Mascall, B.Webb
Out: S.Cain (knee), M.Clifford

Sunday, February 16

Geelong Cats v. Brisbane Lions at GMHBA Stadium, 1:10pm AEDT

Peter Williams

This Conference A clash on Sunday looms as one of the more intriguing contests of the weekend. The teams head into the match with differing results from Round 1, as Brisbane toppled the Crows at home while the Cats fell to a Duffy-inspired Dockers outfit in the west. Heading into the clash, Geelong will start favourites against the current conference leaders, playing at home and with more experience in the line-up. For the Lions, they have youthful excitement about them and will worry a few teams. They will not win every game in the manner they did in Round 1, but you get the feeling they will push most teams and show that they are building something special for the future.

The Cats have not had to make any major changes to its line-up that fell to the Dockers last Sunday evening, bringing in Rene Caris and Maddy Boyd to their extended squad. Last week it was the developing midfield of Olivia Purcell and Rebecca Webster, teaming with fellow 19-year-olds, Sophie Van De Heuvel and Nina Morrison, while Julia Crockett-Grills found plenty of the ball as well. They are still missing All Australian defender, Meg McDonald from their back five, but the Cats have the reliable Mel Hickey and Maddy McMahon helping youngsters Millie Brown and Denby Taylor. Geelong is growing a great culture of youth all coming through together, and with Phoebe McWilliams and Richelle Cranston bringing experience to the forward half, there is a nice balance of talent that should get the job done in this match.

Brisbane does not necessarily have the names on paper that Geelong has, but some of the players will become household names sooner rather than later. Jess Wuetschner is a big loss for the Lions, having been rested after being struck by lightning on the eve of the season. While she got through the first game, the Lions have erred on the side of caution for a game-by-game basis. Coming into the side on an extended bench are Gabby Collingwood, Jordan Zanchetta and Jade Ellenger. Of the trio, Ellenger has played just the two games and is one of a number of teenagers who are in the Lions line-up alongside recent draftees, Lily Postlethwaite and Isabel Dawes, and second year players, Nat Grider and Jesse Tawhiao-Wardlaw. Sophie Conway made a successful return from a long term knee injury last round, and along with Ally Anderson and Emily Bates providing plenty of run and hardness through the midfield. Throw in the impenetrable Kate Lutkins at centre half-back and they have enough about them to worry the Cats.

Tip: Geelong by 15.

GEELONG

B: M.Brown 19 M.McMahon 24
HB: M.Keryk 45 M.Hickey – C 18 D.Taylor 28
C: S.Van De Heuvel 27 R.Cranston 30 N.Morrison 9
HF: J.Crockett-Grills 6 M.Maguire 7 R.Garing 12
F: P.McWilliams 23 J.Ivey 5
Foll: A.O’Connor 14 R.Webster 21 O.Purcell 16
I/C: A.McDonald 3 D.Higgins 2 G.Rankin 10 R.Goring 44 G.Clarke 17 R.Caris 1 M.Boyd 26

In: R.Caris, M.Boyd
Out: None

BRISBANE

B: N.Grider 10 S.Campbell 20
HB: R.Lugg 11 K.Lutkins 13 C.Svarc 25
C: E.Zielke – C 8 B.Koenen 3 S.Webb 4
HF: L.Arnell 16 J.Tawhiao-Wardlaw 30 S.Conway 12
F: D.Davidson 14 G.Bodey 15
Foll: J.Keeffe 27 A.Anderson 18 E.Bates 1
I/C: I.Dawes 17 M.Moloney 28 G.Collingwood 7 O.O’Dwyer 9 L.Postlethwaite 6 J.Zanchetta 2 J.Ellenger 5

In: G.Collingwood, J.Zanchetta, J.Ellenger
Out: J.Wuetschner (managed)

Carlton v. Collingwood at Ikon Park, 3:10pm AEDT

Michael Alvaro

Traditional rivals and Conference B hopefuls Carlton and Collingwood are set to do battle at Ikon Park for a four time in their histories, in what promises to be a test of either sides’ true credentials. Both teams come in having feasted on competition newcomers in their opening fixtures, both running out on home turf in comfortable starts to the season. Bizarrely, last week’s season opener was an away match for Carlton, but the Blues once again hold home status against the ‘Pies in this match-up. While the extended history between these two powerhouse clubs is storied, their AFLW meetings have been much more one-sided – with Carlton taking out all three fixtures but the Magpies getting closer to a win every year. The Blues also fared much better in season 2019, embarking on a grand final run while Collingwood floundered and took out the Conference B wooden spoon. But with marked improvement already shown, Collingwood has the elite talent to take it to the Blues.

Much of the off-season talk and narrative coming in to the match surrounded ex-Carlton skipper and new Magpie, Bri Davey. Unfortunately for both neutrals and ‘Pies fans, the 2017 All Australian is set to miss this game after picking up a lower leg injury in Round 1. Davey’s sole omission opens the door for one of Kristy Stratton, Eliza Hynes, or Ebony O’Dea to enter the winning lineup, which has struggled at times to fill out depth outside of its formidable spine. With Davey out, the emphasis down back will be firmly placed on the pairing of Stacey Livingstone and Ash Brazill, while Brittany Bonnici and skipper Stephanie Chiocci will have to dig in hard to combat a powerhouse Carlton midfield. The ruck battle between Sharni Layton and Carlton’s pairing of Breann Moody and Alison Downie will also be one to watch, with Layton’s ability to provide use to her midfielders potentially key to shutting down a usually dominant Carlton engine room.

Twins Sarah and Jess Hosking will take the field together for the first time this year in navy blue, as the latter slots in on the wing while Jess Edwards and Abbie McKay help make up an extended bench. The Carlton core of Madison Prespakis, co-captain Katie Loynes, Grace Egan, and Georgia Gee remains, while the forward targets of Tayla Harris, Darcy Vescio, and Nicola Stevens should also work to stretch the aerial capabilities of Collingwood’s back five. Round 1 Rising Star nominee Lucy McEvoy is also primed to back up an eye-catching debut performance as part of the midfield-forward rotation, only adding to the hardness of Carlton’s overall unit. The only potential concern for the Blues may come down back as Jayde Van Dyk exits the side through injury, but the half back line of Kerryn Harrington, Lauren Brazzale, and popular mature-age draftee Vaomua Laloifi has already proven solid and will have to be as much against the likes of Chloe Molloy and Sarah Dargan. While this fixture has been somewhat of a mismatch in previous years, the increasing number of intriguing match-ups on across the field suggests this one should be a corker, with the Pies looking to elevate their game against the better-established Blues.

CARLTON

B: G.Pound 6 C.Wilson 20
HB: K.Harrington – C 9 V.Laloifi 8 L.Brazzale 12
C: C.Dalton 15 G.Gee 19 J.Hosking 11
HF: N.Stevens 21 T.Harris 7 L.McEvoy 13
F: A.Downie 30 J.Doonan 26
Foll: B.Moody 16 G.Egan 1 M.Prespakis 4
I/C: S.Hosking 10 N.Plane 32 B.Walker 14 K.Loynes 2 D.Vescio 3 J.Edwards 25 A.McKay 5

In: J.Hosking, J.Edwards, A.McKay
Out: J.Van Dyk (injured)

COLLINGWOOD

B: A.Porter 9 S.Livingstone 12
HB: L.Butler 23 A.Brazill 10 E.Fowler 15
C: S.Rowe 7 B.Bonnici 8 S.Chiocci – C 17
HF: C.Molloy 2 S.D’Arcy 4 S.Dargan 46
F: M.Cann 25 J.Allen 6
Foll: S.Layton 1 A.Sheridan 14 J.Lambert 13
I/C: S.Casey 22 K.Stratton 41 S.Alexander 24 J.Membrey 21 M.Shevlin 35 E.Hynes 11 E.O’Dea 50

In: K.Stratton, E.Hynes, E.O’Dea
Out: B.Davey (shin)

Adelaide Crows v. St Kilda at Hisense Stadium, 5:10pm AEDT

Peter Williams

This is expected to be an exciting show of talent for the future, with one side having been there and done it all – twice – while the other is still looking to find its feet in the new league as part of the expansion. A wounded Adelaide Crows side welcomes back some troops for the Round 2 clash against St Kilda with this match considered a must-win contest for the reigning premiers. The Crows were well beaten by a hungry Brisbane Lions side in Queensland, showing how tight the competition has become. Not even a record-breaking disposal count from Anne Hatchard (35) was enough to help the Crows get up in Round 1, and they will want to get a win on the board before the top sides in their conference get too far away. The benefit for the Crows was that fellow premiership contender, North Melbourne also lost, while last year’s finalist Geelong went down too. For the Saints, there are no expectations on their season with such a young list, but being competitive is the bare minimum expected, and after a nervous first quarter last week, the Saints settled and seemed to match it with the Western Bulldogs for large parts of the second half.

The Crows are still missing a host of names heading into this game led by Erin Phillips and Chelsea Randall – the latter of whom will play no further part in the season – but have brought in a couple of debutants in Caitlin Gould and Montana McKinnon. Gould hails from Glenelg and provides a tall presence up either end, while McKinnon is a dual All-Australian at Under 18s level, and could genuinely start ruck if they required her to. Expect her to spend time as a forward however, a role she played in South Adelaide’s premiership side, while rotating through the ruck and providing some strong contested marking ability around the ground. Ebony Marinoff, Hatchard and SANFL Women’s best and fairest winner Najwa Allen form a strong onball brigade and with former MVP, Courtney Gum in the team up forward alongside Danielle Ponter and Stevie-Lee Thompson, they still have the firepower to get the job done. Sophie Li has also come into the side for the Crows, as the only omission was Rachelle Martin – a top-up player who was brought on due to Adelaide’s expansive injury list.

The Saints have made three confirmed changes, with South Australian Nadia Von Bertouch – missing a return to the state where she captained North Adelaide last season – while Kelly O’Neill and Emma Mackie have been omitted. Coming into the side is a mix of youth and experience with former Collingwood talent, Darcy Guttridge and ex-North Melbourne players Alison Drennan and Courteney Munn named in the extended side. Also in to potentially make their debuts are ruck, Poppy Kelly and tall utility, Isabella Shannon who continue the trend of youth at the club. Georgia Patrikios starred in Round 1 with a Rising Star nomination, and expect her to show just as much excitement out on Hisense Stadium. Teaming up with the likes of Molly McDonald, Nicola Xenos and Tarni White, the youth of the Saints will come good in time. They still have experience on the list, with former Crow Jess Sedunary set to make her return to the AFL Women’s having kicked one of the Saints’ two goals last week. While the Saints have plenty to like, expect the Crows to do enough to win in a tight one, even with a few still out. They are desperate, hungry and at home, so a win is non-negotiable when it comes to their premiership aspirations.

ADELAIDE

B: D.Cox 31 C.Biddell 12
HB: A.Foley 3 S.Allan 39 M.Rajcic 32
C: S.Li 19 E.Marinoff 10 J.Mules 23
HF: E.Jones 2 C.Gum 5 R.Forth 27
F: D.Ponter 15 S.Thompson 14
Foll: J.Foley – C 24 A.Hatchard 33 N.Allen 8
I/C: C.Gould 1 A.Considine 16 M.Newman 17 N.Campbell 20 N.Gore 7 M.McKinnon 21 J.Tabb 28

In: S.Li, C.Gould, M.McKinnon
Out: R.Martin (ineligible)

ST KILDA

B: T.White 29 C.Fitzpatrick 24
HB: H.Priest 14 C.Phillips 35 T.Lucas-Rodd 18
C: D.Guttridge 5 J.Sedunary 10 M.McDonald 1
HF: N.Exon 15 K.McCarthy 9 C.Greiser 17
F: K.Shierlaw 12 G.Patrikios 21
Foll: R.Watt – C 7 O.Vesely 23 R.Dillon 25
I/C: I.Shannon 11 A.Brown 2 C.Munn 13 N.Xenos 27 C.Whitfort 4 A.Drennan 8 P.Kelly 16

In: D.Guttridge, I.Shannon, C.Munn, A.Drennan, P.Kelly
Out: K.O’Neill, N.Von Bertouch (knee), E.Mackie

ROUND 2 TIPS: [Total tips in brackets]

Michael Alvaro [5]: Melbourne / North Melbourne / Richmond / Fremantle / Geelong / Carlton / Adelaide
Taylah Melki [5]: Melbourne / North Melbourne / Richmond / Fremantle / Brisbane / Collingwood / Adelaide
Sophie Taylor [4]: Melbourne / North Melbourne / Richmond / Fremantle / Brisbane / Carlton / Adelaide
Peter Williams [4]: Melbourne / North Melbourne / Richmond / Fremantle / Geelong / Carlton / Adelaide

2019/20 AFLW off-season review: Carlton

CARLTON might have had the most talked about departure of the off-season, but as a whole, the Blues retained the majority of their list, whilst heading to the AFL Women’s Draft in a really strong position to pick up a heap of youth prospects for the future. The Blues lost captain Brianna Davey to Collingwood, but in doing so received a bounty full of picks to position themselves in a great spot to pick up natural-born leader Lucy McEvoy from the Geelong Falcons with their first selection at Pick 2.

They also picked up fellow NAB League Girls’ players Brooke Vernon and Serena Gibbs, while selecting a trio of players just a year out of the Under 18s pathway following strong seasons at VFL Women’s level. Grace Egan, Sharnie Whiting and Courtney Jones all earned places on the Blues’ list, with Vaomua Laloifi the exception as the once listed Collingwood defender gained a second chance at the elite level following an impressive year for a Western Bulldogs VFLW side that reached the grand final. Aside from six delistings, Amelia Mullane retired, proving even further the Blues’ need for an inside midfield replacement – and Rhiannon Watt headed back to her roots at St Kilda. Carlton was savvy enough to pick up players with a hard edge and uncompromising ability to win the football, while Gibbs will be that ruck depth replacement who can also play forward.

OFF-SEASON CHANGES:

IN: Joanne Doonan (Gaelic football), Katie Harrison (Rugby sevens), Lucy McEvoy (Geelong Falcons), Grace Egan (Richmond VFLW), Brooke Vernon (Dandenong Stingrays), Sharnie Whiting (Williamstown VFLW), Serena Gibbs (Eastern Ranges), Vaomua Laloifi (Western Bulldogs VFLW), Courtney Jones (Southern Saints VFLW)
OUT: Rhiannon Watt (St Kilda), Brianna Davey (Collingwood), Shae Audley, Kirby Bentley, Reni Hicks, Bridie Kennedy, Tilly Lucas-Rodd, Courtney Webb (delisted), Amelia Mullane (retired)

2020 TEAM LIST:

Lauren Brazzale
Chloe Dalton
Alison Downie
Jess Edwards
Grace Egan
Georgia Gee
Serena Gibbs
Kerryn Harrington
Tayla Harris
Jess Hosking
Sarah Hosking
Courtney Jones
Vaomua Laloifi
Katie Loynes
Lucy McEvoy
Abbie McKay
Breann Moody
Natalie Plane
Gabriella Pound
Madison Prespakis
Nicola Stevens
Jayde Van Dyk
Brooke Vernon
Darcy Vescio
Brooke Walker
Sharnie Whiting
Charlotte Wilson
Emerson Woods

Rookies: Joanne Doonan, Katie Harrison

POTENTIAL 2020 SIDE:

B: Jayde Van Dyk – Kerryn Harrington – Nicola Stevens
HB: Chloe Dalton – Charlotte Wilson – Gabriella Pound
C: Lucy McEvoy
HF: Lauren Brazzale – Breann Moody – Georgia Gee
F: Darcy Vescio – Tayla Harris – Brooke Walker
R: Alison Downie – Madison Prespakis – Sarah Hosking
INT: Jess Edwards – Jess Hosking – Katie Loynes – Grace Egan – Abbie McKay
EMG: Vaomua Laloifi – Natalie Plane – Emerson Woods

DEPTH: Serena Gibbs, Courtney Jones, Brooke Vernon, Sharnie Whiting, Joanne Doonan*, Katie Harrison*

After making a grand final last season, Carlton do not need to adjust too much to the side for it to be potent again in 2020. They have lost Davey and Mullane from the best 22, with McEvoy and Egan slotting into those roles with a shuffling of magnets around the board. Tilly Lucas-Rodd is the third player to be gone from the side that ran out in last year’s grand final, and expect the likes of Abbie McKay to step up and get more games in season 2020, as will Emerson Woods in that half-forward role which could free up Georgia Gee for her run and carry further up the ground.

Laloifi is a readymade option to add to the defensive half, but can play forward as well, while Natalie Plane showed she can come in and complete a role if required. The depth is filled with young talent in four of this year’s draftees, as Gibbs, Jones, Vernon and Whiting could add something across the ground if injury strikes. Overall, the Blues surprised many with their ability to step up despite being a relatively young side, and with Daniel Harford at the helm, anything is possible next year.

VFLW weekend wash-up: Hope tears it up as Bulldogs, Tigers and Pies continue good form

ROUND 5 is done and dusted with two teams still sitting undefeated from five rounds of action, meaning the ladder has almost fully shaped up with the teams to beat well and truly sorted. Carlton were pipped at the post once more, going down by only seven points to remain winless, while the Magpies came away with their fourth win on the trot over the Demons. Meanwhile, Mo Hope showed the competition why she was an AFL Women’s marquee player.

CARLTON: 1.2 | 3.3 | 5.4 | 7.4 (46)
NT THUNDER 2.1 | 2.3 | 6.4 | 8.5 (53)

By: James Halley

GOALS:

Carlton: B. Moody, N. Plane, N. Stevens, M. Clifford, M. Jarvis, T. Cassar, S. Wright.
NT Thunder: T. Holtze 2, K. Irvine 2, S. Riley 2, M. Roberts, S. Hoogeveen-Hill.

BEST:

NT Thunder: K. Irvine, C. Randall, N. Gore, K. Streader, M. Roberts, S. Miskin-Ripia
Carlton: A. McKay, M. Prespakis, J. Hosking, N. Stevens, T. Cassar

Carlton went down to the Northern Territory in their home away from home at La Trobe University by seven points. There was a strong wind going towards the left side of the ground all day, which Carlton were not able to fully capitalise on in the last quarter. The first quarter was hotly contested which resulted in many turnovers for both sides, but Northern Territory was able to edge ahead by five points at the first break. The Blues dominated the second term, keeping the Thunder goalless while kicking two themselves. Thunder’s Tayla Thorn tried her hardest in defence but the volume of entries was too much to handle. The third quarter belonged to the Thunder as they were able to wrestle the momentum back their way, kicking four goals to one to regain the lead heading into the final term. In the last quarter both teams went goal for goal, until Northern Territory’s Machaelia Roberts was able to shrug off two tacklers and stream inside 50 and kick the winning goal for the Thunder with less than two minutes left on the clock. Maddy Prespakis and Breann Moody were instrumental for the Blues in the midfield, while Fremantle AFLW recruit Mia-Rae Clifford was a focal point for Carlton in the forward line. Thorn was massive for the Thunder on the last line of defence, while Chelsea Randall was very classy, using her speed and agility to make the Blues look second rate. The Thunder were very dangerous up forward with Sally Riley, Tahlia Holtze and Kristy Irvine all kicking two goals apiece. To make the loss worse for Carlton, defender Jess Edwards looked to have seriously injured herself in the dying minutes of the match, needing medical assistance long after the final siren sounded.

WILLIAMSTOWN 1.1 | 1.4 | 3.5 | 4.8 (32)
MELBOURNE UNI 0.5 | 2.7 | 5.7 | 6.7 (43)

By: Peter Williams

GOALS:

Williamstown: S. Whiting 2, G. Anderson, J. Heard.
Melbourne Uni: N. Bresnehan, H. Whitford, D. Bannister, K. Angelis, K. Cox, B. Gibson.

BEST:

Williamstown: M. Hope, A. Newman, M. Williamson, S. Whiting, J. Reid, R. Dardengo
Melbourne Uni: B. Gibson, T. Mesiti, E. Hay, A. Runnalls, K. Cox, D. Bannister

A massive game from former Collingwood and North Melbourne AFL Women’s player, Mo Hope was not enough to get Williamstown across the line against Melbourne University on Saturday. The Seagulls led at the first break by two points courtesy of an inaccurate quarter by the Mugars who went goalless with five behinds on the board. The visitors hit the front in the second term, delivering the only two goals of the term to head into half-time with a nine-point advantage. They then extended the lead to 14 points in a high scoring third term which saw five goals kicked, before both teams managed a goal in the final stanza for the Mugars to win and ensure the Seagulls remained winless to start the season. Hope was the talking point in the game, amassing a mind-boggling 39 disposals, two marks, three tackles and a behind, while Melbourne AFLW livewire Aliesha Newman had 22 touches, one mark and four tackles in the defeat. The Mugars on the other hand had an even team effort, with Jess Trend (19 disposals, six marks, one tackle), Sophie Abbatangelo (15 disposals, four marks, four tackles and three behinds) and Daria Bannister (15 disposals, one mark, eight tackles and a goal) all impressive. Sharnie Whiting continued her good form this season for the Seagulls with 2.3 from 14 touches and two marks to be the only multiple goal kicker in the game.

WESTERN BULLDOGS 1.0 | 3.2 | 3.3 | 5.6 (36)
DAREBIN FALCONS 0.0 | 0.0 | 1.0 | 1.2 (8)

By: Peter Williams

GOALS:

Western Bulldogs: M. Ward, S. Jolly, H. Wildes, M. Sandral, E. Gavalas.
Darebin: S. David.

BEST:

Western Bulldogs: K. McLeod, S. Jolly, B. Hunt, E. Gavalas, B. Lochland, B. Toogood
Darebin: B. Patterson, C. Byrne, G. Colvin, S. David, R. Hibbert, A. Lister

Western Bulldogs piled on more pain to Darebin Falcons to remain one of the teams to beat after five rounds, winning four consecutive games to start the season, while Darebin remains winless. The Bulldogs have proven to do it in low-scoring slogs, being only the eighth highest scoring side, but are far and away the number one defensive team, and this weekend was no different, restricting Darebin to just one goal for the match. The Bulldogs had 11 scoring shots throughout the game, starting slowly, and were outscored in the third term when they were held goalless, but steadied to kick the final two goals of the match to win by 28 points. Ellie Gavalas was impressive with 23 disposals, two marks, three tackles and a goal, while Katelyn Betts also played well, notching up 20 touches, one mark and laying a massive nine tackles. Western Bulldogs listed players, Kirstie Lamb and Bonnie Toogood found plenty of the ball too, registering 18 touches each and sharing in 12 marks. For Darebin, the experienced names stood up despite the loss, with Melbourne AFLW ruck, Lauren Pearce helping herself to 22 touches, six marks, three tackles and 23 hitouts, while Gold Coast’s Jamie Stanton finished with 18 touches, one mark and three tackles.

RICHMOND 2.1 | 7.1 | 7.3 | 8.7 (55)
GEELONG 3.2 | 3.3 | 4.3 | 5.3 (33)

By: Peter Williams

GOALS:

Richmond: J. Colwell 2, K. Jacques 2, E. Gunn, T. Stahl, C. Wakefield , J. Kennedy.
Geelong: M. Maguire 2, J. Crockett-Grills, O. Purcell, R. Webster.

BEST:

Richmond: M. Conti, G. Campbell, K. Jacques, L. Davie, A. Makur Chuot, G. Egan
Geelong: J. Crockett-Grills, M. Maguire, O. Purcell, R. Goring, R. Webster, M. Keryk

The high-scoring Tigers remain undefeated in season 2019 after another big win, this time over last year’s grand finalists Geelong. The Cats raced out of the blocks to lead by seven points at the first break, before Richmond clicked into gear with five straight majors to the Cats’ one behind. It was Geelong’s turn to take the advantage in the premiership quarter, booting the only goal of the term while restricting Richmond to two behinds, before the Tigers held firm in the final quarter with a goal each, but extending the final margin to 22 points. The Tiger recruits in Monique Conti and Katie Brennan were sensational, as Conti picked up a game-high 29 disposals, three marks and five tackles, while Brennan had 22 disposals, five marks, five tackles and booted two behinds. Of the non AFLW-listed players, Grace Campbell (16 disposals, four marks and 11 tackles) and Grace Egan (13 disposals, one mark) were busy, while Jenna Colwell and Kobi Jacques both snagged two majors. For the Cats, young gun Olivia Purcell was terrific with 23 disposals, one mark, seven tackles and a goal, while Madeline Keryk helped herself to 15 touches, two marks and three tackles. Rene Caris had a tough task in the ruck against Alice Edmonds as her opponent had 12 touches and 30 hitouts, but Caris was always involved, having 11 touches and 13 hitouts, while Madisen Maguire booted two majors for the Cats.

CASEY DEMONS 2.1 | 2.1 | 4.1 | 5.1 (31)
COLLINGWOOD 1.0 | 4.4 | 4.5 | 5.5 (35)

By: Peter Williams

GOALS:

Casey: M. Guerin 2, K. Smith, A. Kemp, H. Cordner.
Collingwood: S. Dargan 2, S. Chiocci 2, G. Buchan.

BEST:

Casey: H. Cordner, E. Birch, N. Garner, G. McLean, T. Hanks, B. Winbanks
Collingwood: B. Davey, J. Allen, B. Bonnici, R. Schleicher, P. Nash, K. Lee

Collingwood has held on in a thriller to make it four consecutive wins, while handing Casey its second consecutive loss for season 2019. The victory pushed the Magpies into third spot just behind the Bulldogs and Tigers, and marked the return of AFLW captain, Steph Chiocci. The Demons led early with a seven-point advantage at quarter time, but the Magpies capitalised in the second term with three goals from seven scoring shots while strangling the life out of the home side. Casey hit back in the third term to hold the Magpies goalless and cut the deficit to just four points, but a steadying goal in the final term extended the lead to 10, before Harriet Cordner cut the deficit to four once again, but the time ran out for Casey. Chiocci made a successful return with two goals from 13 touches, one mark and three tackles, while Bri Davey had a massive second game back through the middle with 24 disposals, four marks and nine tackles. Sarah Dargan (19 disposals, four marks, 10 tackles and two goals) was sensational, while Maddie Shevlin won 13 touches, one mark and two tackles against her former side. For the Demons, Libby Birch remains a solid investment with another 20 disposals and whopping 13 tackles, while Tyla Hanks goes from strength to strength with 19 disposals and nine tackles. Cordner also had 15 touches, five marks, four tackles and six hitouts in the loss, while Maddy Guerin added another two majors to her total for the year, as well as 14 disposals, two marks and four tackles.

AFLW Team Selection: Preliminary Finals

WITH the preliminary finals set to commence this weekend all four sides have pulled out the big guns in the hope to secure a ticket to the grand final.

Shock waves were sent through the Dockers camp last week after Dana Hooker went down against North Melbourne but many will be happy to see her take the field after being cleared of any injury. Teammate Sabreena Duffy has been named in the team but under a big injury cloud after also going down last week.

There were also injury concerns around Adelaide co-captain, Chelsea Randall but the hard-nosed defender is set to pull on the jersey on Sunday, making her a big in for the Crows. Adelaide will be pleased to welcome back deadly forward, Jess Sedunary and defender, Nikki Gore who offer great value to the side.

After a controversial few days off the field, star Carlton forward, Tayla Harris will be set to make her mark on the competition and forge her side into AFLW history, while only one change was made with Jess Edwards named in the squad.

Unfortunately, the Cats will be without damaging forward, Phoebe McWilliams who is set to have surgery on her hand, but they will welcome back the likes of Anna Teague, Rebecca Webster and Georgia Clarke for their inaugural finals push.

CARLTON v. FREMANTLE
Prelim final: Ikon Park, 2.45pm AEDT
Saturday, March 23

CARLTON
B: J.Van Dyk 36 K.Harrington 9 N.Stevens 21
HB: C.Dalton 15 C.Wilson 20 G.Pound 6
C: B.Davey 1
HF: L.Brazzale 12 B.Moody 16 T.Lucas-Rodd 18
F: D.Vescio 3 T.Harris 7 B.Walker 14
Foll: A.Downie 30 M.Prespakis 4 S.Hosking 10
I/C: G.Gee 19 J.Edwards 25 K.Loynes 2 A.Mullane 8 J.Hosking 11
Emerg: N.Plane 32 R.Hicks 24

In: J.Edwards
Out: A.McKay (Omitted)

FREMANTLE
B: P.Laurie 11 T.Bresland 5 A.Stannett 24
HB: K.Donnellan – C 15 E.Gooch 8 P.Seth 18
C: K.Bowers 2
HF: A.Atkins 37 E.Antonio 12 H.Miller 19
F: K.Gibson 21 G.Houghton 27 A.Sharp 1
Foll: A.Janz 30 D.Hooker 17 S.Cain 20
I/C: L.Mascall 14 S.Duffy 6 G.O’Sullivan 22 M.Sergeant 23 M.Caulfield 10 
Emerg: L.Pugh 32 K.Grieve 13

In: –
Out: –

ADELAIDE v. GEELONG
Preliminary Final: Adelaide Oval, 12.40pm
ACDT Sunday, March 24

ADELAIDE
B: D.Cox 31 S.Allan 39 C.Cramey 22
HB: D.Varnhagen 9 C.Randall 26 A.Foley 3
C: E.Phillips 13
HF: J.Mules 23 M.Rajcic 32 D.Ponter 15
F: E.Jones 2 C.Scheer 4 S.Thompson 14
Foll: J.Foley 24 E.Marinoff 10 A.Hatchard 33
I/C: J.McCormick 5 A.Considine 16 J.Sedunary 17 S.Li 19 R.Forth 27 H.Martin 6 N.Gore 7

In: J.Sedunary, N.Gore
Out: –

GEELONG
B: A.Teague 40 R.Goring 44 M.McMahon 24
HB:M.Hickey – C 18 M.McDonald 11 D.Taylor 28
C: R.Cranston 30
HF: S.Van De Heuvel 27 M.Boyd 26 J.Crockett-Grills 6
F: J.Ivey 5 K.Darby 8 A.O’Connor 14
Foll: E.Hoare 46 R.Garing 12 O.Purcell 16
I/C: D.Orr 2 M.Clifford 7 H.Burchell 3 R.Webster 21 C.Blakeway 4 M.Keryk 45 G.Clarke 17

In: A.Teague, R.Webster, G.Clarke
Out: P.McWilliams (Injured)

Draftee Watch: AFLW Round 5

IN Round 5 of the AFLW, Carlton’s Madison Prespakis continued to show her dynamic form on field, while a few new names made it onto this week’s list of budding stars.

Adelaide: Jessica Foley
The SANFLW star was sensational in Adelaide’s win over North Melbourne. Despite not winning most of the ruck duels, Foley found ways to impact elsewhere, notching up 16 disposals, four marks, and three tackles on her way to 84 AFL Fantasy Points. She currently sits as the league’s most impressive ruckman – leading in hitouts, marks and tackles, and second only to Erin McKinnon (14) with an average of 13.6 disposals.

Brisbane: McKenzie Dowrick
Dowrick remains a clear standout among Brisbane’s debutants. Her numbers have endured despite the occasional issues with team cohesion and challenging opponents, offering valued consistency. Against the Cats, she earned 11 disposals, four marks and two tackles on her way to 51 AFL Fantasy Points. The future looks bright for Dowrick if she remains consistent and reliable.

Carlton: Madison Prespakis
Once again, Prespakis has exceeded the expectations of any first-year player as she notches up another leading performance for Carlton. Averaging 19 disposals, the Carlton rookie finished Round 5 with a game-high 21 disposals, four marks and a goal on her way to 70 AFL Fantasy Points. Prespakis looks on her way to receiving All-Australian selection if she keeps with her strong showings. Teammates, Jayde Van Dyke (12 disposals, four marks and three tackles) and Jess Edwards (10 disposals and two tackles) were other debutants who enjoyed the narrow win.

Collingwood: Sarah Rowe
Collingwood’s young stars are beginning to hit their strides as Sarah Dargan proved last week with a Rising Star nomination, and Rowe followed this week with her own strong performance against Carlton. The 23-year-old emerged strong with her best performance yet. With it being her first time cracking over 10 disposals, Rowe impressed with 13 possessions, five marks, one tackle and her first career goal on her way to 57 AFL Fantasy Points.

Fremantle: Sabreena Duffy
Fremantle’s resident goal sneak continued to impress in front of goals in the win over the Western Bulldogs. Duffy surpassed her average (nine) with 10 disposals and kicked two final quarter goals to shut the door on the Bulldogs’ comeback. She also earned two inside 50s, one goal assist and seven contested possessions.

Geelong: Olivia Purcell
Geelong’s newest hardball winner has again shown that she has other levels to reach before hitting her ceiling. Throughout the midfield, Purcell is a tackling and contested ball winning machine. Following a 14-disposal game in Round 4, Purcell impressed with a season-high 20 disposals, one mark, 10 tackles and a goal – kicked towards the end of the third. The rookie also had a game-high 102 AFL Fantasy Points ahead of teammate, Kate Darby (94), who kicked three goals. Purcell enjoyed her first win away with the Cats as she looks to be ramping up her season.

GWS GIANTS: Alyce Parker
Parker remained productive and present in the loss to Melbourne, hitting a new season-high. The Thurgoona product earned a game and season-high 20 disposals, tied with teammate, Alicia Eva. She also snagged three marks, two tackles and 63 AFL Fantasy Points, edging her average up to 16 disposals with a 63 per cent disposal efficiency.

Melbourne: Chantel Emonson
The former cricketer and Casey Demons player has shown decent form recently and held up well in the win over GWS. Emonson is showing great potential as a high-pressure player with her tackling ability and awareness in congestion. In the win she picked up 11 disposals and six tackles with 58 AFL Fantasy Points.

North Melbourne: Jessica Trend
Trend was among a few players who lifted their efforts in hope to keep North Melbourne’s winning streak alive. In her first year of AFLW, the 27-year-old had a season-high 13 disposals, five marks and three tackles with 59 AFL Fantasy Points. Teammate Sophie Abbatangelo (13 disposals and six marks) also held up in the loss but struggled to hit the board with two behinds.

Western Bulldogs: Aisling McCarthy
The Irish native remained impressive in the Western Bulldogs’ loss to Fremantle. She found the goals for the third time this season, nearly averaging a goal a game, and earned eight disposals, two marks and one tackle on her way to 38 AFL Fantasy Points.

Weekend preview: SANFL Women’s – Round 1

THE opening round of the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Statewide Super Women’s League is completed tomorrow with four games across two double headers. Two new sides – Central District and Woodville-West Torrens are making their league debuts, while reigning premiers South Adelaide begin its campaign to go back-to-back.

WOODVILLE-WEST TORRENS vs. GLENELG
Friday, February 15, 5.20pm
Flinders University Stadium

The opening game of Round 1 for the 2019 season sees last year’s wooden spooners taking on one of the new sides of the competition. Woodville-West Torrens will hope to kick off their SANFL Women’s League campaign with a win against Glenelg, who have won four games from their 16 matches played. With plenty of changes at the Tigers, and a number of experienced players departing the club, Glenelg will hope the likes of Morphettville Park duo, Chelsea Packer and Ellen Fauser can step up and help new coach, Jason Fairall gain an early win for season 2019. The Tigers won three of their first four games in 2017, but have won just one game since March, 2017 which was a five-point victory over West Adelaide. With the two new teams up first, the Tigers hope to start their 2019 campaign like they did in 2017. Tigers’ captain, Cass Hartley, vice-captain Elle Hellock, Sheridan Howell and Bonnie Wells are the only four players on the list who played all 10 games last season. Last year’s leading goal kicker, Lexia Edwards retired and the visitors will hope to find a new target in attack this season. The Eagles are harder to gauge given they are a brand new team to the competition, but coach Tess Baxter has brought in some seriously talented youth, which means one can expect they will have plenty of run in their legs. Jaimi Tabb – who booted five goals for West Adelaide last season – and Rachel Dunstan have both headed to the Eagles, while former GWS GIANT, Stephanie Walker looms as the key player in the side. Add in Kiana Lee and the young Eagles will challenge plenty of teams.

NORWOOD vs. NORTH ADELAIDE
Friday, February 15, 6.00pm
City Mazda Stadium

Two of the original SANFL Women’s League sides, Norwood and North Adelaide clash for the seventh time in the clubs’ histories, with Norwood holding a 4-2 win-loss record against the Roosters. The Redlegs have a premiership in the bank having defeated their Round 1 opponents in the inaugural grand final, before going down to South Adelaide last year. Norwood have bade farewell to a number of players who have left to play AFL Women’s or VFL Women’s competitions. They need to find a way to replace GWS GIANT, Ebony O’Dea who was drafted last season, however Monique Hollick and Rhiannon Busch – who combined for 293 possessions in season 2018 – will be looking to start off strongly this season. The Redlegs’ lowest score in their history came against North Adelaide last year when Norwood failed to score, but two other wins – including the preliminary final victory – meant they ended the year with a positive win-loss ratio. For North Adelaide, the loss of former captain, Jess Edwards, young ball winner, Esther Boles and Adelaide AFL Women’s players, Katelyn Rosenzweig and Chloe Scheer who were both rezoned, means like the Redlegs, the Roosters will have a vastly different line-up. With GWS GIANT, Britt Perry also out for most of the season, the Roosters will look to assistant coach Emma Sampson who has returned to the playing field, as well as a host of players stepping up to the league. Paige Allan, Kelly Baltrop, Lauren Daniel, Sarah Ellis, Nadia Von Bertouch and Amber Ward all played every game last season and provide some consistency across the field.

SOUTH ADELAIDE vs. STURT
Friday, February 15, 7.00pm
Flinders University Stadium

The Round 1 clash between South Adelaide and Sturt is the third time the two teams have clashed, with the Panthers emerging victorious on both previous occasions. Both new teams to last year’s competition, South Adelaide triumphed in Round 2 by 46 points and Round 8 by a thumping 86 points, en-route to the 2018 premiership. Sturt used the third last game of its season to turn the form around, upsetting eventual grand finalists, Norwood by six points, then backing it up with a win over wooden spooners, Glenelg by 16. The Panthers have a number of talented young players who have the potential to cause damage to their opposition, including top-age Under-18 South Australian ruck, Montana McKinnon, and Under 18 representatives from last season, bottom-ager Teah Charlton, now top-ager Hannah Munyard, and Madison Bennett and Jaslynne Smith. Elysse Haussen was one of the more prominent ball winners for the Panthers last season, averaging 15.3 possessions per game, third behind the departed Nikki Gore (19.5) and Czenya Cauvorous (17.3). For Sturt, they have regained Georgia Bevan for the full season after the Crows’ AFL Women’s player averaged 16.8 disposals last season from four games. Once the AFL Women’s season is over, the return of Jess Foley will be handy having averaged 18 touches from her nine games for the Double Blues. Sturt’s test will be finding targets up forward, with Becchara Palmer heading interstate leaving Shae Gundlach as the sole leading goal kicker from last season, having booted four majors. South Adelaide will head into this game as strong favourites, but it will be interesting to see how they shape up.

WEST ADELAIDE vs. CENTRAL DISTRICT
Friday, February 15, 7.45pm
City Mazda Stadium

In the final game of the round, West Adelaide hosts Central District in the Bulldogs’ first ever SANFL Women’s League game. Last season the Bloods finished just outside the top three, and will be keen to get an early win over the newcomers to the competition. They have some seriously talented young players at the Westies, with Rachelle Martin impressing for South Australia at the AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships last year, and proving herself to be a ball magnet in this competition, averaging 18 disposals from her 10 games. With older sister Hannah drafted by the Crows, Rachelle will be keen to put in another great season and follow in her footsteps down the track. Abbie Ballard is another player to watch out for as the bottom-ager has shown plenty of talent in her career at the level, and could take her game to the next step ahead of the 2019 AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships. Add in top-ager, Maddi Newman and a couple of basketball recruits in Leah Swain and Alice Gee, and the Westies have some potentially untapped talent. Looking at the Bulldogs’ list, no doubt the club will be carefully monitoring Adelaide’s AFL Women’s team selection since securing Chloe Scheer and Katelyn Rosenzweig from North Adelaide. While Scheer is now seemingly a lock inside Adelaide’s best 22, Rosenzweig is yet to be selected, although many expect a debut not too far away. Last year’s leading goal kicker in the competition would be a huge target inside 50 for the Bulldogs. Former netballer, Nicola Biagi has been named as captain and is a testament to her impact off the field over the pre-season for her to lead the club in 2019. While how Central District performs is a bit of an unknown, they did win a couple of practice games over the summer giving them hope they can match it with the sites this season.

SANFL Women’s: 2019 season preview

IN 2019, the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Statewide Super Women’s League will feel fully complete for the South Australian fans with the introduction of the final two non AFL-aligned clubs in Central District and Woodville-West Torrens. The Bulldogs and Eagles kick-off their 2019 campaigns with the other six clubs on Friday night with double-headers at Flinders University Stadium and City Mazda Stadium. We take a look at how each of the eight teams went last year and who might influence their campaigns in 2019.

CENTRAL DISTRICT

Last year: DNP
Coach: Shaun Ribbons

The first of the new clubs entering the SANFL Women’s League in 2019 has had no trouble bringing in some young AFL Women’s talent, with Crows’ pair, Katelyn Rosenzweig and Chloe Scheer both joining the club from North Adelaide. While Scheer was recovering from injury last year, she is no stranger to league best and fairest awards and when the AFL Women’s season is over, expect her to have a big impact. Rosenzweig won the league goal kicking last season, and is yet to be named in Adelaide’s best 21, although there is little doubt she will squeeze her way in there soon. They also picked up Jayme-Lee Sonnerman from West Adelaide who will join the pair in the forward line after three goals in two matches last year, while fellow former Bloods player, Shannen Solly managed six matches, named in the best twice. Sonnerman will play alongside sister, Demi who also lands at the Bulldogs. Three cross-coders in netballers, Nicola Biagi – who has been named inaugural captain – Taryn Wills, and cricketer, Sarah-Jane Jameson join the side in what will be a largely unknown team outside the top couple of Crows’ stars.

GLENELG

Last year: 6th – Wooden spooners
Coach: Jason Fairall

The bottom-placed side last season will be keen to build on their performance, but will need to find a way to cover for the injured Angela Moritz. The assistant coach has undergone a knee reconstruction and will miss the season, which will hurt the Tigers considering her impressive performances last season. Moritz joins Sam Allan in recovering from a knee injury, while Brianna Walling has headed to the sunshine state. The trio combined for a total of 19 times in the club’s bests last season, and with leading goal kicker, Lexi Edwards retiring the Tigers will have to fill the holes left by the departing experience. They do have renewed enthusiasm with Jason Fairall taking the reigns at the club for the 2019 season. Given the loss in experience, the Tigers will hope the likes of Morphettville Park duo, Chelsea Packer and Ellen Fauser will help spur the side back up the ladder.

NORTH ADELAIDE

Last year: 3rd – Lost in Preliminary Final
Coach: Matt Slade

While last year’s season ultimately ended in heartbreak with an eight-point loss to Norwood in the preliminary final after finishing second on the home and away season ladder, the Roosters would be thrilled with the amount of talent that reached AFL Women’s level. Former leader, Jess Edwards went to Carlton, Ashleigh Woodland landed at Melbourne, Brittany Perry became a GIANT, and talented forward duo, Katelyn Rosenzweig and Chloe Scheer were recruited by the Crows. With the latter two rezoned to Central District, all of those players will be unable to pull on a North Adelaide jumper in 2019, much like state under 18s captain, Esther Boles who is taking a chance with Richmond’s VFL Women’s side in a bid to be picked up by the Tigers ahead of the 2020 AFL Women’s season. The ins do not match the outs in terms of SANFL Women’s experience, with the exception of Emma Sampson, the assistant coach who has opted to pull on the boots again. Among the inclusions are Andie Zbierski and Amy Reid, while netballer, Elysha Willis is taking a chance on football.

NORWOOD

Last year: 2nd – Lost in Grand Final
Coach: Steve Symonds

In 2019, the Redlegs made a huge run to push South Adelaide all the way in the decider, falling five points short of a premiership. Ebony O’Dea heads the departures after she was recruited to the GIANTS’ AFL Women’s side, and four players – Tess Baxter, Adele Gibson (playing eight games in 2019), Aajiah Jerico and Georgia Taylor – all headed to new club, Woodville-West Torrens. Key players Nicole Campbell and Alana Browne have crossed to reigning premiers, South Adelaide while Nicola Burns has headed to Victoria to try her luck with Carlton’s VFL Women’s side. It means the likes of Monique Hollick and Rhiannon Busch will be among plenty of fresh faces when they kick-off this Friday. Adelaide’s Sophie Armitstead has joined the club and will be available when not selected, while former GIANTS, Hannah Dunn and Najwah Allen will fill the voids left by some of the departing players. Morphettville Park trio, Erika Sporn, Thalia Meyer and Hannah Priest will also be keen to impress in the step up in competition.

SOUTH ADELAIDE

Last year: 1st – Premiers
Coach: Rick Watts

New Panthers’ coach Rick Watts will lead a vastly different team to the one that Krissie Steen lead to a premiership last season, with a number of players recruited into the AFL Women’s and testing themselves in the VFL Women’s. Young gun, Nikki Gore was recruited by the Crows after another sensational season last year, while Lisa Whiteley joined the GIANTS. Versatile tall, Kristi Harvey opted to stay in Victoria with Carlton’s VFL Women’s side, joined by Jorja Rowe and Louella McCarthy. The Panthers should not be taken lightly however, with Norwood duo, Nicole Campbell and Alana Browne joining the club, as did promising bottom-age junior, Teah Charlton. Cross-coders, Jess Kirk (soccer) and Emma Gryczewski (netball) add an element of the unknown, while the expected inclusion of Courtney Gum late in the season could be huge in the Panthers’ hopes for back-to-back flags. Anne Hatchard, Cheyenne Hammond and Elyse Haussen remain at the club and will be as hungry as ever to repeat the success of 2018.

STURT

Last year: 5th
Coach: Danijel Herbert

The big inclusion for last year’s fifth placed side is Georgia Bevan, with the Adelaide AFL Women’s player signing on for the Double Blues and named co-captain with Caitlyn Swanson. Bevan replaces fellow young talent, Rachel Dunstan who has headed to her home club, Woodville-West Torrens now the Eagles have a side in the competition. Jess Foley has been a crucial player for Adelaide already in the ruck this AFL Women’s season and will be sorely missed by Sturt supporters, while Becchara Palmer has headed to New South Wales. Sturt is relatively untouched in terms of departures, with a number of inclusions from across the state, including Zoe Prowse, Isobel Kuiper and Hannah Dreckow. Bottom-ager Alex Ballard – sister of Gold Coast’s Charlie – will be one to watch over the next couple of years.

WEST ADELAIDE

Last year: 4th
Coach: Shane Moon

West Adelaide is a side that has been relatively quiet over the off-season, picking up a few players, while a number departed to various clubs. Hannah Martin‘s recruitment to AFL Women’s is a big loss for the Bloods, while sister, Rachelle Martin will be keen to drive the team forward to improve on its 5-5 win-loss record from 2018. Fellow youngster, Jaimi Tabb has headed to new club, Woodville-West Torrens, while Taylah Gordon has joined St Kilda’s VFL Women’s side in the hope she can move through the ranks to AFL Women’s when the Saints join the league in 2020. Sophie Armitstead (Norwood) and Shannen Solly (Central District) are others who have departed the club, while South Adelaide’s Helen Maidment and basketballers, Leah Swain and Alice Gee also head to the Westies. Teenager, Abbie Ballard is expected to have a big impact in season 2019 as she develops, while Chelsea Biddell and Allison Evans will be keen to recreate the form they showed in 2018.

WOODVILLE-WEST TORRENS

Last year: DNP
Coach: Tess Baxter

The other new side in the 2019 SANFL Women’s League is Woodville-West Torrens, a side which targeted youth for its upcoming campaign. South Australian Under 18s vice-captain, Rachel Dunstan joined the Eagles, as did fellow Central Allies’ representative, Jaimi Tabb, and up-and-coming talent, Kiana Lee. Adele Gibson leads a list of four players who have crossed to the Eagles from grand finalists, Norwood, while former GWS GIANT, Stephanie Walker headlines the club’s recruits. The Eagles recruitment staff have gone outside the box in forming the side, also looking to ice hockey player, Tash Farrier and Mount Lofty’s Maddie Dufek. Both Gibson and Farrier have been named to lead the club in season 2019, with inaugural coach Tess Baxter knowing what it takes to reach the final game of the season having done so as an assistant at Norwood.

Draftee Watch: Round 1

IN our new weekly series Draftee Watch, we take a look at the top performing 2018 draftee from each AFL Women’s side to see how they have made the step up to the elite level. In Round 1, Geelong’s Nina Morrison and GWS GIANTS’ Alyce Parker won the Rising Star nominations.

Adelaide: Chloe Scheer

Scheer came into the competition as a great unknown coming off a 12-month knee injury. Her junior career is nothing short of accolade-ridden with multiple league best and fairests, renowned for her high footy IQ and goal sense up forward. She booted Adelaide’s only goal on the weekend and looked lively in a game that was tight defensively. Hannah Martin, Maisie Nankivell and Jess Foley were other Crows who ran out onto Norwood Oval for their first games.

Brisbane: McKenzie Dowrick

The West Australian utility started her AFL Women’s career off strongly, notching up nine disposals in a solid first hit-out in Lions colours. She was one of many Brisbane debutants on the day, and along with the likes of Paige Parker, Jesse Tawhaio-Wardlaw and Lauren Bella, enjoyed the narrow win over GWS GIANTS.

Carlton: Madison Prespakis

The clear standout for the Navy Blues in a game they would like to move on from quicker rather than later. The top five selection had 13 disposals and laid five tackles in an imposing performance, regarded by the commentary team as the Blues’ top midfielder on the day. She had her work cut out for her, but there is no doubting her potential in the future. Former VFL Women’s players, Collingwood captain Jess Edwards (eight disposals, five tackles and a goal) and Hawthorn Rising Star Award winner, Jayde Van Dyk were others who held their own in the heavy loss to the Roos.

Collingwood: Erica Fowler

Mature-age draftee stories are often just as impressive as teenagers entering the AFL Women’s, and with Eliza Hynes out, Fowler shared the load with Sharni Layton in the ruck. Fowler notched up seven disposals. three marks and eight tackles on her way to 75 AFL Fantasy Points. Eastern Ranges’ speedster, Mikala Cann and Dandenong Stingrays’ captain, Jordyn Allen were among other Magpies who stood up in the loss to Geelong.

Fremantle: Parris Laurie

The 24 year-old Laurie was impressive in the heat across four quarters for the Dockers in their upset win over Melbourne at Casey Fields. Laurie notched up 10 disposals, one mark, six tackles and 66 AFL Fantasy Points to be the top performing Dockers debutant. If starts are anything to go by, the first quarter by Sabreena Duffy was out of this world, booting 1.1 and setting up another goal in what was a dominant first term, before finishing with nine disposals and 42 AFL Fantasy Points.

Geelong: Nina Morrison

Geelong had no shortage of young stars coming through the side, but Morrison produced a terrific performance worthy of her number one selection. Of the debutants in Round 1, Morrison recorded the most disposals and equal most tackles, with 22 and eight. She kicked what would become the winning poster on her way to 92 AFL Fantasy Points. Olivia Purcell (15 disposals, two marks and six tackles), Rebecca Webster (11 disposals and three marks) and Denby Taylor (eight disposals and one tackle) were others who stood out throughout the win over Collingwood.

GWS GIANTS: Alyce Parker

The Thurgoona product was sensational on the weekend in GWS GIANTS’ narrow loss to the Brisbane Lions. Behind Morrison, Parker was the next highest disposal winner of the draftees, and moved around the field like a veteran, amassing 18 touches, four marks and three tackles on her way to 63 AFL Fantasy Points. Haneen Zreika, a teammate of Parker’s at junior level, also impressed on debut with 15 disposals, one mark and three tackles, while Yvonne Bonner booted a goal in the loss.

Melbourne: Tyla Hanks

The Gippsland Power co-captain was the sole Melbourne debutant in the Dees’ loss to Fremantle at Casey Fields on Sunday. Having booted two goals in Gippsland’s first ever Under 18s win at the ground 12 months prior, Hanks played up forward and amassed seven disposals and two tackles in a solid first-up performance.

North Melbourne: Nicole Bresnehan

It was fitting that Bresnehan was the top performing North Melbourne Tasmanian Kangaroos player, with the Clarence local standing out at North Hobart. Bresnehan notched up seven disposals, two marks and two tackles in the Kangaroos’ huge win over Carlton, while former Oakleigh Chargers’ goal sneak, Daisy Bateman also had a taste of AFL Women’s action in the opening round.

Western Bulldogs: Eleanor Brown

The former Sandringham Dragons and Vic Metro winger played her role in the Western Bulldogs’ thrilling interstate win over Adelaide. Brown had five disposals, three marks and two tackles in the defeat, while Celine Moody – the sister of Carlton ruck, Breann – also enjoyed her first win.

Weekend preview: AFLW – Round 1

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

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

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

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

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

Last time they met: N/A

Fun facts:

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fun facts:

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

 

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

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

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

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

Last time they met: N/A

Fun facts:

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fun facts:

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fun facts:

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

AFLW season previews: Carlton

THE Blues did not see much success last season, finishing on the bottom of the ladder for the first time in their AFLW history. However, this result gave them some high-end picks in the draft, and they recruited quite well to fix the gaps of players lost. With new coach, Daniel Harford at the helm, Carlton is set for a big year, testing out its new-look line-up and coaching panel.

Last season: 8th – two wins, five losses.

Changes:

In: Amelia Mullane (nee Barden), Madison Prespakis, Abbie McKay, Jayde Van Dyk, Charlotte Wilson, Emerson Woods, Rhiannon Watt, Jess Edwards, Kirby Bentley, Brooke Walker, Chloe Dalton

Out: Maddison Gay, Lauren Arnell, Danielle Hardiman, Kate Gillespie-Jones, Maddy Keryk, Sarah Last, Laura Attard, Kate Shierlaw, Tiahna Cochrane, Katie Jayne-Grieve

Carlton’s defence was dealt a big blow with experienced trio, Lauren Arnell, Danielle Hardiman and Kate Gillespie-Jones all departing the Blues. They also made the interesting decision to let go of talented midfielder, Madeline Keryk, which could come back to bite them. Inaugural Best First Year player, Maddison Gay has also left a hole in the midfield with her departure to Melbourne. But Carlton has seemed to sew up those gaps in its midfield, picking up Vic Metro gun duo, Madison Prespakis and Abbie McKay. Prespakis was the equal winner of the AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships Most Valuable Player (MVP) and TAC Cup Girls’ Best and Fairest, while McKay was pre-selected by the Blues due to a interest from other clubs. In defence, Charlotte Wilson and Jayde Van Dyk help fill the void of Gillespie-Jones, Hardiman and Arnell. Wilson was the co-captain of the Eastern Ranges in the TAC Cup Girls competition while Van Dyk won the Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s Rising Star award and Hawthorn’s Best and Fairest after a stellar 2018 campaign.

Area of strength: Midfield

Carlton’s midfield depth is quite threatening, as at any given time, it could contain the likes of Prespakis, McKay, Amelia Mullane, Sarah Hosking, Jess Hosking, Katie Loynes, Tilly Lucas-Rodd, Georgia Gee, Shae Audley and Natalie Plane. Not only does it contain plenty of talent, but the Blues have also managed to combine its experience and youth quite well. Coming across from Collingwood, Mullane should be a great addition as she has already worked under Daniel Harford, and adds valuable experience. Loynes will be raring to go after her Best and Fairest year last year, while Jess Hosking and Lucas-Rodd both enjoyed some key minutes in the Blues’ VFLW midfield.

Area of weakness: Forward line

It is hard to imagine that a forward line containing Darcy Vescio and Tayla Harris could be an area of weakness for the Blues, but it certainly was last season. Carlton finished miles below any other team in percentage, racking up just 54.1 per cent, with the next worst being Fremantle with 89.8. While Vescio and Harris are dangerous, they will require more support in the 2019 season if Carlton is to surge up the ladder. Emerson Woods is one player who could provide assistance, as she floated up forward and through the midfield for both the Eastern Ranges and the Hawks in the VFLW season. Being a member of the AFLW Academy, Woods has had plenty of experience at a high level, and is also an athletic machine. Carlton may also utilise Alison Downie up forward, as she can take a big mark and is an accurate kick. Thanks to the ruck support of Breann Moody and Rhiannon Watt, she may not be required in the middle as much, and can make herself a target inside 50.

Players to watch:

Madison Prespakis

If players were not able to select which region they wanted to go to, Prespakis would have seriously contended Nina Morrison for the number one pick. Prespakis led the Calder Cannons this year and also had a stint captaining Vic Metro in its rotating captaincy during the AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships. She is a fantastic on-field leader, as she demonstrates ferocity and a desire to win the ball. Prespakis has one of the most damaging kicks from the Under-18 draftees and is a genuine ball magnet. Carlton supporters should be excited to see her in the navy blue.

Jayde Van Dyk

Van Dyk had an outstanding year for Hawthorn in 2018. Not only did she take out Hawthorn’s Best and Fairest and the VFLW Rising Star award, she was also named in the VFLW Team of the Year and played in the Hawks’ historic premiership. She was a mainstay in the Hawks’ backline, often taking the most dangerous opposition forward. Her run and carry is something to be excited by and her football smarts are second to none. Strong in the air and on foot, Van Dyk should provide some serious presence in the Blues’ defensive 50.

Natalie Plane

A player who has gone under the radar in the last two seasons, Plane is a pretty consistent player and can play a team role when required. She had a solid year for Carlton in the 2018 VFLW season, coming fourth in Carlton’s Best and Fairest. Plane achieved this feat on the back of just eight games out of a possible 14. She averaged 13.4 disposals and six tackles from those games, demonstrating her ability to make an impact in the middle of the ground.

2019 prediction: 4th in Conference B

Improving from last to a finals berth in a year is a hard feat for any team, and it is hard to see Carlton storm into the finals in its conference, considering only the top two teams go through. The Blues will certainly improve with a potent midfield and defence, but their forward line will continue to come into question if Vescio and Harris are left to do all the work inside 50. It will be interesting to see the Blues in Round 1, as they face the Kangaroos, who seem to have one of the most dangerous line-ups in the competition. If they can get the win over in Hobart, they could be set for a big turnaround from 2018. But if they don’t get the win that game, they could be in for a losing streak to start their season, with their next three games coming against Adelaide, Greater Western Sydney (GWS) and Geelong. A good start will be crucial if Carlton is any chance to surge up the ladder in 2019.

2019 AFLW Carlton Fixture

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North Hobart OvalRound 1
Ikon ParkRound 2
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Blacktown International SportsparkRound 3
GMHBA StadiumRound 4
Ikon ParkRound 5
Ikon ParkRound 6
Whitten OvalRound 7
Ikon ParkPreliminary Finals
Adelaide OvalGrand Final