Tag: Jess Hosking

All Gee for Carlton in another finals triumph

CARLTON won through to a would-be AFL Women’s preliminary final after toughing out a 29-point win against Brisbane on Sunday afternoon, but will have to settle for a second-consecutive top four berth on the back of its 6.8 (44) to 2.3 (15) triumph. Renowned for their ability to adjust gameplans mid-match, the Blues eventually got their running game going in the face of Brisbane’s early pressure to coast home on the turf of their Princes Park fortress.

The hosts did not have it all their own way throughout the contest, as the Lions dominated much of the early proceedings on the back of some fierce tackling and a sound set-up behind the ball. The footy was red hot, meaning Carlton could only turn the ball back over from its defensive half, while Brisbane was seldom afforded a straightforward avenue to goal. Despite the Lions’ control of the territory, they were unable to translate it to scoreboard pressure, with Jess Wuetschner’s snap coming only after her side boasted nine of the first 10 inside 50 entries. But her six-pointer was cancelled out at the other end by ex-Lion Tayla Harris, who was also attacking aerial balls with intent and gave the Blues a target to kick to on the rebound. Carlton’s overuse made it difficult to fully utilise her though, even if the Blues were hanging in the contest.

With the wind favouring one end of the ground, the second term saw a complete role-reversal as Carlton shifted the tide in its favour – only, the Blues were also able to keep the Lions scoreless in snatching a one-goal lead at the main break. Harris’ ability to bring the ball to ground worked wonders for the Blues’ smalls, as they got to work in mopping up the spillages to prove more effective inside forward 50. Darcy Vescio’s early goal to edge the Blues ahead looked to be a catalyst for her side, but the Lions’ defence held up well. Brisbane was largely a non-threat going the other way though, with the majority of its numbers occupying the defensive half in what seemed to be a damage-limitation tactic while Carlton owned the scoring end.

A bruising first half looked to have produced casualties for either side, but defenders Vaomua Laloifi (Carlton) and Shannon Campbell (Brisbane) both took the field in the third term after coming off worse for wear in heavy collisions. Key moments came early in the third stanza with the first goal key in deciding which way the momentum would shift. A 50-metre penalty helped Carlton dissipate the wind disadvantage, and it should have yielded the Blues a goal as Maddy Prespakis’ snap sailed through the big sticks – only to be wrongly adjudged as being touched off the boot. But it mattered little after another 50-metre penalty gifted Georgia Gee her first major after the running machine laid a big tackle on Campbell just outside of the arc. Gee was in the action again as the Blues began to take over on the outside with pace, and a long Harris bomb saw Gee covert a second major over the back to put the Blues three goals to the good. The frustrated Lions looked out of the hunt, only to be buoyed in the final minute as Jesse Wardlaw was infringed despite being outnumbered three-to-one, allowing the youngster to cut the margin to 15 points heading into the final break.

After some tense tussling in the early goings-on, Gee’s third goal from another snare close to goal sealed the deal with over eight minutes left on the clock. That left the ultra-impressive Lucy McEvoy to put the cherry on top of the Blues’ sweet win, snapping home in the final minute as Carlton again kept the Lions scoreless for the entire term. The toll continued to tell on the players with Prespakis recovering from an ankle knock, while Sophie Conway’s troublesome shoulder gave her some grief amid the gruelling contest. It would have mattered little as the Lions were set to bow out, but Prespakis’ recovery would have been a sticking point should the Blues’ meeting with North Melbourne have been scheduled to go ahead. Harris’ impending report could also have spawned a talking point, but the key forward’s sling tackle on Emily Bates looked to have been safe enough.

While a typically even team performance gave Carlton the edge, individuals took hold of certain periods to help the Blues gain the ascendancy. Arguably the most important of the lot was Gee’s three-goal contribution, with the pacy forward’s electric second half at the forefront of Carlton’s greater fortunes. Prespakis was at her usual best, covering the ground well for a game-high 18 disposals, while Grace Egan capped off a memorable debut season with 15 touches. The sweeping defensive trio of Kerryn Harrington (16 disposals, three marks), Jess Hosking (15 disposals, seven marks), and Laloifi (10 disposals, two marks) was outstanding, with the leading options of Harris (eight disposals, one goal), Vescio (12 disposals, one goal), and Nicola Stevens (six disposals) all playing roles which exceeded their statlines.

In a losing effort, it was most of Brisbane’s ‘foundation eight’ which stood up to keep their side in with a fighting chance. Kate Lutkins headed the effort in defence with 16 disposals, three marks, and three tackles, while the engine room workers in Ally Anderson (17 disposals, four marks), Bates (15 disposals, five tackles), Conway (13 disposals, four marks, five tackles) and Catherine Svarc (12 disposals) all gave it everything. Wuetschner (11 disposals, one goal) and ex-Blue Lauren Arnell (10 disposals, four tackles) both put in shifts from half forward with admirable running both ways, unfortunately to no avail.

CARLTON 1.0 | 2.2 | 4.6 | 6.8 (44)
BRISBANE 1.2 | 1.2 | 2.3 | 2.3 (15)

GOALS:

Carlton: G. Gee 3, T. Harris, D. Vescio, L. McEvoy.
Brisbane: J. Wuetschner, J. Wardlaw.

ADC BEST:

Carlton: K. Harrington, M. Prespakis, G. Egan, G. Gee, T. Harris, J. Hosking
Brisbane: K. Lutkins, E. Bates, A. Anderson, S. Conway, C. Svarc, E. Zielke

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.

Pearce takes home Lambert-Pearce Medal

DAREBIN Falcons’ ruck Lauren Pearce has claimed the 2019 Lambert-Pearce Medal for the Swisse Wellness VFL Women’s best and fairest player at the competition’s awards night last night. The 26-year-old had a stellar season despite her side being unable to register many wins.

The Melbourne AFLW-listed player became the third Darebin player to win the Lambert-Pearce Medal in the four-year history, following on from former Falcons, Daisy Pearce (2016) and Katie Brennan (2017) as past winners. Brennan herself featured early on the leaderboard, equal second with Tigers’ teammate Monique Conti after eight rounds, just two behind Casey Demons’ Bianca Jakobsson. While Brennan ended up finishing on those eight votes, Conti became Pearce’s – who was on six votes after eight rounds – biggest challenger.

After 13 rounds, Pearce was on 15 votes and lead Melbourne University’s Ash Riddell by three, with Conti and Jakobsson back five. In an unusual quirk at that stage, both Hosking sisters – Jess and Sarah were on identical votes with nine apiece alongside Essendon’s Celia McIntosh and one of the pre-night favourites, Collingwood’s Jaimee Lambert.

Heading into the last two rounds, Pearce held a five-vote gap on Conti with the Falcons’ ruck missing the final couple of matches, while Conti earned votes in both. But to the Falcons’ camp delight, it would not be enough with the dynamo Tiger making up just three of the six votes required to win, allowing Pearce to claim the victory.

Pearce’s win came off the back of five best-on-ground performances, including all four of Darebin’s wins. She picked up a further three votes to take her tally to 18, two clear of Conti, with McIntosh (14), Riddell (12) and Jakobsson (10) next in line. The Hosking sisters and Lambert remained on nine votes at the conclusion of the night.

*Picture credit: VFL.com.au

In other awards:

VFL Women’s Team of the Year

ELEVEN of the 13 VFL Women’s teams were represented in the 2019 Team of the Year, with reigning premiers Hawthorn, and semi-finalists Melbourne University recording a league-high four players each in the 24-player side. Preliminary finalists, Southern Saints had three, the same number as finalists, Richmond, while minor premiers Collingwood, as well as Geelong and Casey Demons both had two apiece. Darebin Falcons, Williamstown, Essendon and Western Bulldogs all had the one player in the Team of the Year, leaving Carlton and Northern Territory Thunder as the only teams without a representative.

Richmond’s Tom Hunter was named the Coach of the Year after an outstanding season, guiding the Tigers to a finals series and earning the senior job at the club when it enters the AFL Women’s competition next season.

Southern Saints’ Olivia Vesely took out the Debbie Lee Medal – the VFL Women’s Rising Star Award. The former Sandringham Dragons’ player was recently pre-listed on St Kilda’s AFL Women’s list for 2020, following on from last year’s winner Jayde Van Dyke who was picked up by Carlton in the AFL Women’s Draft. Other nominees were Geelong’s Amy McDonald, Melbourne Uni’s Kate Angelis and Richmond’s Grace Campbell.

Collingwood’s Jaimee Lambert won the Rohenna Young Medal – VFL Women’s leading goalkicker – for her 21 goals in season 2019.

Western Bulldogs’ Caroline Kilmartin earned the Ann Rulton Award for her volunteer work at the club.

VFLW weekly wrap: Round 16 – Magpies minor premiers for second year running

COLLINGWOOD Magpies found themselves with a second consecutive minor premiership in Round 16 of VFL Women’s, leaping the Southern Saints and allowing Geelong to jump into the top six for the first time this season for the last finals spot. Meanwhile, Richmond beat the highly touted Saints and Essendon slaughtered the lowly Williamstown Seagulls in a win that came too little, too late.

ESSENDON 3.0 | 5.4 | 10.8 | 11.12 (78)
WILLIAMSTOWN 0.1 | 0.1 | 0.1 | 0.1 (1)

GOALS:

Essendon: F. Frew 2, A. Quigley 2, M. DeMatteo 2, K. Petrevski, R. Svarc, E. Gogerly, S. Audley, L. Stepnell.
Williamstown: Nil.

BEST:

Essendon: G. Patrikios, L. Ahrens, M. Collier, F. Frew, A. Barba, A. Quigley
Williamstown: D. Pedersen, M. Williamson, K. Douglass, S. Whiting, J. Kawa, J. Heard

Essendon made it back-to-back wins to close out the season after thrashing Williamstown by 77 points at Windy Hill. The Bombers restricted the Seagulls to a solitary behind for the match, piling on 11 goals from 23 scoring shots on their way to their biggest win of the season. It meant they improved from their one-win season last year to now sit ninth on the table with six wins from 14 games. Under-18 talent Georgia Patrikios topped the disposal count with 22, while Lauren Ahrens picked up 20 disposals, four marks and four tackles. Georgia Nanscawen (17 disposals, three marks and six tackles) was again prominent onball, while Calder Cannons young gun Krstel Petrevski had 16 touches, three marks, two tackles and a goal. For the Seagulls, Danica Pedersen was a clear standout with 26 touches, while Sharnie Whiting (14 disposals, two marks and three tackles) and Jasmine Kawa (11 disposals, four marks and four tackles) were the others to reach double figures. Williamstown finished the season with the one win from 14 games, just behind Carlton on the table.

DAREBIN FALCONS 3.1 | 3.1 | 3.5 | 3.5 (23)
WESTERN BULLDOGS 0.2 | 3.5 | 3.5 | 5.8 (38)

GOALS:

Darebin: K. Roe, N. Morris-Dalton, S. Simpson.
Western Bulldogs: E. Wood, S. Jolly, K. Betts, M. Sandral, D. Marshall.

BEST:

Darebin: A. Lister, K. Roe, S. Sansonetti, S. Simpson, B. Patterson, E. McLaughlin
Western Bulldogs: B. Hunt, D. Marshall, A. Gogos , S. Ruedin, A. Guest, E. Mackay

The Western Bulldogs showed why they sit third on the table heading into finals after seeing off Darebin Falcons in a 15-point victory. Darebin burst out of the blocks to lead by 17 points at quarter time, but the Bulldogs took control after that, booting 5.6 to 0.4 in the remaining three quarters to secure the 5.8 (38) to 3.5 (23) win. Ellie Gavalas earned 20 touches for the Dogs while laying five tackles, while Emma Mackay (15 disposals, two marks and four tackles) and Danielle Marshall (15 disposals, six marks, five tackles, four hitouts and one goal) were also influential in the win. Under-18 stars Ella Wood (13 disposals, two tackles and a goal) and Elisabeth Georgostathis (10 disposals, two marks and six tackles) again looked like they belonged, while the experienced head of Hayley Wildes (13 disposals, three marks and one tackle) was important. For the Falcons, Kathleen Roe stood tall with 22 disposals, two marks, five tackles and a goal, as Annalyse Lister (20 disposals, 10 tackles) was fierce around the stoppages, and Lauren Arnell (21 disposals, three marks) showed off all of her AFLW experience. Northern Knights’ duo Nell Morris-Dalton and Sarah Sansonetti also looked strong in the game.

HAWTHORN 1.2 | 1.3 | 3.6 | 4.8 (32)
COLLINGWOOD 1.0 | 4.2 | 6.2 | 7.4 (46)

GOALS:

Hawthorn: S. Perkins 3, M. Hutchins.
Collingwood: K. Lee 2, M. Shevlin 2, J. Lambert, R. Grant, M. Cann.

BEST:

Hawthorn: S. Perkins, L. McClelland, R. Beeson, E. Nixon, O. Flanagan, R. Dillon
Collingwood: S. Livingstone, N. Xenos, G. Buchan, M. Shevlin, B. Bonnici, S. Layton

Collingwood regained top spot on the VFLW ladder, taking home its second successive minor premiership in the process after downing Hawthorn by 14 points at Box Hill City Oval. The Magpies knocked the Hawks out of the finals race with the result, as the Pies now prepare for the Southern Saints next weekend. The return of Collingwood’s experience was crucial in the 7.4 (46) to 4.8 (32) victory, as competition leading goalkicker Jaimee Lambert booted a goal from 17 touches, five marks and 11 tackles to take out the award, while Brittany Bonnici returned to rack up a team-high 19 disposals and lay three tackles. Grace Buchan (18 disposals, four marks and four tackles) and Sarah Dargan (18 disposals, one mark and one tackle) were busy around the ground, while Maddie Shevlin and Katelyn Lee were the multiple goalkickers for the Pies. Rebecca Beeson was the Hawks’ biggest ball winner with 19 disposals, one mark and eight tackles, while Georgia Bevan (16 disposals, seven tackles) and Rosie Dillon (16 disposals, five tackles) won plenty of the ball. Up forward, Sarah Perkins booted three of the Hawks’ four goals and clunked four marks from 11 touches, while Lou Wotton and Tamara Luke were strong through the ruck, combining for 38 hitouts from 19 disposals.

SOUTHERN SAINTS 0.2 | 2.3 | 4.6| 4.6 (30)
RICHMOND 0.1 | 3.1 | 3.2 | 5.6 (36)

GOALS

Southern Saints: H. Stuart, J. Vogt, C. Greiser, T. Bohanna.
Richmond: S. Frederick 2, T. Stahl, J. Colwell, M. Conti.

BEST

Southern Saints: S. Johnson, T. Lucas-Rodd, O. Vesely, F. Steiert, C. Greiser, K. Shierlaw
Richmond: G. Egan, J. Colwell, S. Frederick, M. Conti, G. Seymour, K. Dempsey

The Southern Saints were knocked out of top spot in the final round of the season after finally taking the lead last round, going down by one goal to Richmond in what could potentially be a finals match up. While the Saints have had a mostly unblemished season, the Tigers have had a couple sloppy weeks so were well and truly ready to come out and prove themselves against the top side. With a 10-point lead at the final break it seemed that Saints had control after a see-sawing first half, before a dominant final stanza from the Tigers saw the Saints go scoreless to finish the match. For Richmond, Monique Conti found plenty of the footy with 23 touches to lead the Tiger’s disposal count, also collecting one goal and five tackles while the likes of Grace Egan (17 disposals, nine tackles) and Sabrina Frederick (two goals from five kicks) also had some good form in what could have been their final match of the year. For the Saints, Cat Philips racked up 17 disposals, providing a solid option moving the ball up the field but to no avail with little other players able to have an impact. Samantha Johnson (10 disposals, eight tackles) and Tilly Lucas-Rodd (12 disposals, six tackles) were named among the best with four individual goalkickers thanks to the pressing defensive pressure of the Tigers, limiting regular Saints goalkickers to low impact possessions.

GEELONG 4.1 | 4.3 | 6.6 | 7.6 (48)
CARLTON 2.0 | 2.0 | 2.0 | 2.3 (15)

GOALS

Geelong: G. Clarke 3, S. Van De Heuvel, R. Cranston, K. Darby, J. Ivey.
Carlton: M. Clifford, B. Gurr.

BEST

Geelong: J. Ivey, D. Taylor, R. Cranston, G. Clarke, R. Webster, R. Garing
Carlton: B. Gutknecht, G. Wright, S. Wright, G. Pound, J. Hosking, M. Neill

In a match that went vastly different to their reverse fixture back in Round 8, Geelong well and truly pushed for their last ditch effort of finals contention, defeating the Blues by 33 points and jumping the Hawks to land themselves in sixth. While Carlton have put up some solid performances this season to contend with quality teams, they couldn’t compete with the Cats on a mission, only putting two goals on the board to finish their season second from the bottom. While the Cats took an early lead Carlton still looked like they were in it, kicking two goals to Geelong’s four in the first half, however were unable to compete in the second half conceding three goals and only kicking three behinds. Rene Caris impressed in the ruck, collecting 30 hitouts and 17 disposals while sharing the load with Kate Darby (12 hitouts, 11 disposals, one goal). Jordan Ivey and Renee Garing collected 25 and 24 disposals respectively, with Ivey kicking her fourth goal of the season while Garing managed 12 tackles to apply plenty of pressure on the Blues. Georgia Clarke was a big target forward in a solid outing, kicking three goals from eight touches while 18-year-old Lucy McEvoy collected 18 disposals and five tackles in her first win at the Cats. For the Blues, Jess Hosking and Sarah Wright were among the best around the ground, collecting 19 touches apiece and a combined 11 marks and eight tackles. Also impressive was young gun Gabby Newton (17 disposals, 15 tackles), while Mia-Rae Clifford (one goal, seven tackles) and Britney Gutknecht (nine touches, six tackles) applied valuable pressure on and around the ball.

MELBOURNE UNI 1.4 | 2.4 | 5.6 | 6.10 (46)
NT THUNDER 0.1 | 2.5 | 3.5 | 4.5 (29)

GOALS

Melbourne Uni: S. Abbatangelo 2, C. Daniec, C. Saxon-Jones, K. Angelis, E. Kearney.
NT Thunder: D. Ponter 2, L. Jeffrey, M. Ellis.

BEST

Melbourne Uni: S. Abbatangelo, J. Trend, E. Kearney, B. Gibson, J. Bruton, V. Saad
NT Thunder: D. Varnhagen, S. Riley, J. Baird, D. Ponter, L. Roberts, C. Deegan

Melbourne Uni well and truly finished their season on a high, defeating NT Thunder by 17 points despite a mostly inaccurate affair. While Uni put plenty of goals on the board after taking control early in the second half, their kicking in front of goal left something to be desired with the likes of Katie Angelis kicking 1.4 from her nine kicks and six marks. While Thunder took advantage of their opportunities in front of goal, applying scoreboard pressure in every quarter bar the first, their chances were limited thanks to the defensive pressure of the Mugars on the brink of finals. Emma Kearney (29 disposals, six tackles, one goal) and Sophie Abbatangelo (27 disposals, 10 marks, five tackles, two goals) starred for Uni, while Vivien Saad was solid in the ruck with 29 hitouts, finding her teammates with ease as they dominated stoppages. Kate Gillespie-Jones was consistent as ever with 24 touches, nine marks and eight tackles. For Thunder, Stevie-Lee Thompson put in the hard yards with 22 touches, four marks and two behinds, attempting to push forward to create opportunities forward while Deni Varnhagen did a wealth of work behind the ball to finish with 27 disposals and five marks. Meanwhile, young gun Danielle Ponter kicked two of Thunder’s four goals, providing a solid target forward collecting 14 touches and three marks.

VFLW Preview: Round 16 – Fight to finals

IN the final round of the VFL Women’s home and away season Collingwood Magpies will look to regain top spot while the Southern Saints will be hoping to maintain their hot form heading into finals. Up the other end of the ladder, Williamstown and Carlton will be hoping to end their season on a high with one last win on the board.

ESSENDON v. WILLIAMSTOWN

Round 16 – 24/8/19
11:00
Windy Hill

Coming off a surprise win last week against the ladder leaders, Essendon will be looking to build on their form and notch up their sixth win of the season. The Bombers have had a relatively up and down season showing glimpses of brilliance but have been unable to do so consistently. Young gun Georgia Patrikios has been a revelation for the side with her ball winning ability, explosiveness and skill across the ground while Georgia Nanscawen has been crucial for the side. If the Bombers can pull out a similar performance to last week it will go a long way in getting them across the line against a desperate Williamstown outfit. Although they are sitting at the bottom of the ladder and have suffered plenty of big losses throughout the season the Seagulls will be wanting to end their year on a high. Emily Gardner has shown that she can hit the scoreboard making her a valuable asset if she is named while Sharnie Whiting is not afraid to go in hard at the contest.

HAWTHORN v. COLLINGWOOD

Round 16 – 24/8/19
11:30
Box Hill City Oval

After suffering their first loss since Round 1 the Magpies will be wanting to get back on the winners list ahead of their finals campaign. They have been the in form team of the competition thanks to their strong structures, clever game play and talented list so expect them to come out all guns blazing in hope to reclaim top spot. Jaimee Lambert has proven to be a sharp shooter for the Magpies line-up, leading the goal kicking tally with 20 goals for the season and will be a welcomed addition into the side if named this week to take on the Hawks. Stacey Livingstone and Brit Bonnici have also made their way back into the side for the final round of the season with their strength and leadership a key aspect of the Pies’ game plan. If the Hawks win they could climb up the ladder and really assert themselves on the competition with the likes of Phoebe McWilliams (named as emergency however) and Rebecca Beeson steering the ship. If both are able to break free against the Magpies they could pose a dominant threat given their ability to hit the scoreboard and win plenty of ball.

DAREBIN v. WESTERN BULLDOGS

Round 16 – 24/8/19
12:00
La Trobe University, Bundoora

After a relatively lacklustre season the Darebin Falcons will be hoping to go out with a bang whereas the Bulldogs will be wanting to iron out all the creases ahead of finals. The Falcons have pushed teams to their limit this season, contesting hard and putting up a strong fight but their inability to put out a four quarter performance has been their Achilles heel. Lauren Arnell has been a handy player for the Falcons and will be wanting to have her usual impact on the game in the final round of the season. Annalyse Lister and Reni Hicks have both been major ball winners for Darebin and if left unattended could pose a dominant threat for the finals-bound Dogs. The Western Bulldogs have shown that they have plenty of game changers but will need to overcome the losses of Ellie Blackburn and Brooke Lochland in order to find victory. The addition of youngsters Elisabeth Georgostathis and Ella Wood has also paid dividends for the side which will be hoping to maintain third spot on the ladder with a win against the 11th placed Falcons.

SOUTHERN SAINTS v. RICHMOND

Round 16 – 24/8/19
12:00
Trevor Barker Beach Oval

The Southern Saints have gone from strength to strength throughout the season, only losing the two games for the year. The Saints currently sit in top spot while the Tigers are hot on their tail in fourth making for an exciting and intense battle. Both sides have plenty of star power and will want to hit their straps heading into the finals in hope to claim the coveted premiership. After coming off a disappointing loss last round the Tigers will be hoping to rectify their issues across the ground and impose themselves as competition front-runners. Tayla Stahl has been a focal point in the Tigers forward line giving her accuracy in front of goal and ability to bring ball down with 17 goals for the season while Sabrina Frederick has had a hot and cold season with only a number of games under her belt but definitely can turn a game on its head. Monique Conti has been a real ball magnet for Richmond but could be rivalled by Saints star Alison Drennan who has had the ball on a string in the past couple of games. Up forward, Kate McCarthy and Molly McDonald could create havoc for the Tigers defenders given their ability to hit the scoreboard and take strong contested marks.

GEELONG v. CARLTON

Round 16 – 24/8/19
1:45
GMHBA Stadium

Geelong have plenty to play for with ladder position and finals up the grabs. The Cats put out an impressive performance last round to keep their opponents to one goal while showcasing their ability to hit the scoreboard. With a home ground advantage the Cats will be hoping to put together a strong performance and notch up another win ahead of finals. Rene Caris was crucial last round finding both the goals and ball with ease making her a huge asset heading into this round against Carlton. Richelle Cranston and Amy McDonald have both proven that they can tear games open with their ball winning abilities for the Cats. Although the Blues have not had the season they would have wanted, only managing three wins, they will be wanting to end on a positive note. A hard fought win last round will fill them with some confidence heading into the clash with Katie Loynes and Abbie McKay coming off match winning performances. Lauren Brazzale and Jess Hosking could both play a big role in the match if named credit to their strength and general football nous.

MELBOURNE UNI v. NT Thunder

Round 16 – 25/8/19
12:00
Ardern Street, North Melbourne

In a disappointing season for the Thunder they will be wanting to go out with a bang while Melbourne Uni will be fighting to claim ascendancy heading into finals. The Mugars are fresh off the bye but on the other hand Thunder are coming off a big loss last round unable to get their clever ball movement and game style up and running. With a week off expect Jasmine Garner and Katie Angelis to be hungry for ball in front of goal with both players proving they know how to score sitting third and fourth respectively on the goal kicking tally. If Jenna Bruton and Emma Kearney can find plenty of ball for Melbourne Uni it will go a long way in helping to set their side up for a victory given their class and vision with ball in hand. Thunder speedster Danielle Ponter has showcased her class and goal smarts in recent weeks and will want to encapsulate that form in the final round while Lisa Roberts has led the way in regards to disposals.

VFLW Preview: Round 15 – Third and fourth do battle

IN the penultimate round of VFL Women’s for 2019 a number of big matches take centre stage, with the biggest seeing Richmond take on Western Bulldogs in a battle for third on the ladder. Meanwhile, Southern Saints and Collingwood will look to continue their winning ways after a bye last week as Casey hope for one last win to finish the season with a bye next week.

CARLTON v. DAREBIN

Round 15 – 17/8/19
11.00
La Trobe University, Bundoora

This will be an interesting tussle between two lower placed teams on the ladder, with both putting some good efforts in but for the most part unable to play a four quarter game. For Carlton, this is ultimately their best opportunity to get another win on the board for the season, with a talented side that has thus far has struggled to finish matches but have come close on more than one occasion. But while Carlton has the drive to get the job done, Darebin currently have the momentum after a massive win over Williamstown last week while the Blues fell to a classy Tigers outfit. Darebin’s Reni Hicks has been a tackling machine this season, averaging 10.7 tackles per game – and 17 alone last week against Williamstown. Meanwhile, Lauren Pearce has really come into her own this season, finding plenty of the footy as well as leading competition hit-outs and putting a couple goals on the board, but will be missed in this game. For Carlton, Jess Hosking has been a big target across the field when she is listed, meaning her inclusion could see the Blues get another win on the board.

COLLINGWOOD v. ESSENDON

Round 15 – 17/8/19
12.00
Victoria Park

After a bye last week, Collingwood has rested the majority of its AFL Women’s talent against the Bombers, who despite some good form in Round 13, found themselves struggling in last week’s weather conditions. The Bombers fought hard against Southern Saints to prove themselves as fighters in the competition, getting within two points of victory before falling at the last hurdle. While the Pies are still more likely to get a win on the board these factors make for an interesting match. Sarah Dargan is the most experienced AFLW Magpie out there, one of only five listed players to be named in the side. For Essendon, Georgia Patrikios has been vital in recent weeks despite only taking the field for two matches, while Georgia Nanscawen has been one of the more consistent players all season for Essendon.

RICHMOND v. WESTERN BULLDOGS

Round 15 – 17/8/19
12.30
Swinburne Centre

It is a battle for control of the ladder in this match, with both Richmond and Western Bulldogs on relatively even pegging sitting on eight wins and four losses apiece, with the Tigers only ahead on percentage. While Richmond had a big confidence boosting win last round after a slow few weeks, the Dogs were the side that handed the Tigers their first loss of the season back in Round 9 that ultimately saw the side then go winless for four rounds straight. While both sides have plenty of firepower, the Bulldogs have found their form in recent weeks with two massive wins elevating them up the ladder. Last time they met Sabrina Frederick took the field for the first time in her new colours, booting a goal and going on to kick at least one major in every match since except Round 14, proving to be a massive target forward for the Dogs to focus on. Meanwhile, Ellie Gavalas and Tayla Dinuccio both provided a massive threat credit to their tackling efforts.

CASEY DEMONS v. NT THUNDER

Round 15 – 18/8/19
11.30
SkyBus Stadium

Last time these two sides met the Dees came away with a massive win in the Northern Territory to spark the side into action, but have barely scraped through matches in recent weeks making this game a very interesting contest for all involved. Despite a dominant start to the season Thunder have been one of the more inconsistent teams in the competition this year, having issues stringing winning margins together. However the side comes into this round off the back of a bye last week, meaning the Dees will need to watch themselves against them. On the other hand, Casey have a bye next week to finish the season, meaning this is their final opportunity to get a win on the board. Eden Zanker was a massive threat in their last encounter, booting three goals from 20 touches while Sarah Lampard was dominant last round, meaning the Dees have some options to take charge and drive the ball forward. Meanwhile NT’s Anne Hatchard racked up 31 disposals and two goals to easily be Thunder’s best back in Round 11, but with Hatchard and Zanker missing, it makes for a very intriguing match to open Sunday’s fixture. The Thunder continue to blood young players with NT Under-18 co-captains Bella Clarke and Dominique Carbone coming into the side.

SOUTHERN SAINTS v. HAWTHORN

Round 15 – 18/8/19
12.00
Trevor Barker Beach Oval

After a bye last week the Saints will be shaping up for a big match against the Hawks, who they only beat by three points when they last met in Round 7. While having a slightly slower season than the Saints, Hawthorn are shaping up to play finals sitting fifth on the ladder and have challenged a number of teams so could be a massive threat this week. That being said, Southern will take confidence in the Hawks being challenged by Casey last week and will want to have a hard and fast start to get on top early. Only two players on the field collected more than 20 touches last time they met, showcasing the closeness of the contest. Both rucks in Lou Wotton and Poppy Kelly are in ripping form, shaping up for an interesting ruck contest, while Bec Beeson has been exceptional for the Hawks so will look to continue her dominance.

WILLIAMSTOWN v. GEELONG CATS

Round 15 – 18/8/19
2.40
Downer Oval

Williamstown had another big loss last week, meaning they will come into this match with a fire in the belly as they take on the Cats. While Geelong are only sitting outside the top six by the barest margin, they have not been great at scoring big totals this season, only racking up three scores over 33 points for the season. While scoring this amount of points can certainly still win games, it still leaves something to be desired if teams can get on top of their defensive pressure. Geelong went down to Darebin a few rounds back, making this match an achievable win for the Seagulls if they get the momentum going. That being said, Geelong still have a slim chance of making finals if they win both Round 15 and 16 matches by strong margins with the top sides losing, meaning the side will certainly be up for a fight. For Williamstown, Sharnie Whiting and Rubi Tripodi both had big matches again last week despite the loss, while the likes of Richelle Cranston and Olivia Purcell have been consistent all season for Geelong.

BYE: Melbourne Uni

VFLW preview: Round 14 – Top sides have bye round as battle for top six continues

TOP two of VFL Women’s have byes this week and while a number of sides are scrabbling for a position come finals, neither Collingwood nor Southern Saints need to worry about their position on the ladder with no chance of moving down regardless of this week’s results. A big match will see sixth placed Melbourne Uni take on Geelong in seventh, with both sides in dire need of a win this week to keep their respective seasons alive and plenty of teams still on the chase for finals chances. Meanwhile, it will be up to Richmond and Western Bulldogs to pull out solid wins this round to remain in control of third and fourth.

CARLTON v. RICHMOND

Round 14 – 10/8/19
11.00
La Trobe University, Bundoora

While Richmond are mostly safe in the top four at this point in the season, their four match losing streak will be right in the front of Carlton’s minds with plenty of firepower in the Blues side if they can drive the ball forward. The Blues may be sitting at the bottom with only two wins for the season but have well and truly put it all on the line a number of times this season with five of their matches resulting in margins less than 10 points. Richmond will be hoping their midseason slump was just that, ready to jump right into finals in the coming weeks. Maddy Prespakis has been impressive in recent weeks so will hope for another solid performance to lift the Blues, and with massive names in Sabrina Frederick and Katie Brennan two potentials up forward for the Tigers this week Carlton will certainly need to lift their game to get over the line or at least put up a fight. Meanwhile, twins Jess and Sarah Hosking were missing from the Blues lineup last week so the side will hope for their return and consistency this week.

WILLIAMSTOWN v. DAREBIN

Round 14 – 10/8/19
11.30
Downer Oval

It will be an interesting match between the two sides, with their last battle in Round 7 lifting Darebin off the bottom of the ladder with a 20 point victory. While both Darebin and Williamstown have improved this season, the Falcons have been able to convert their improvement to wins so are likely to come out of this round with another win on the board. However, the Seagulls do certainly have the talent and drive to get the job done, so Darebin cannot afford to let this one slip away. While the Seagulls are unlikely to lift off the bottom of the ladder with a win, it would be a massive boost for a mostly disappointing season. Lauren Pearce put on a show again last week against the Demons so will look to replicate her phenomenal Round 13 form, while Nell Morris-Dalton has been a great young player for the side adding plenty of firepower to the Darebin lineup. For Williamstown, Sharnie Whiting has stepped up in recent weeks to be a leader in the side while the side will hope for the return of Mo Hope‘s experience.

HAWTHORN v. CASEY

Round 14 – 10/8/19
1.00
Box Hill City Oval

This will be an interesting battle, with Hawthorn sitting toward the top of the ladder but Casey, thanks to a great winning tally at the beginning of the season, only sitting behind by one win and one draw. But while Casey have a chance to redeem themselves after a midseason slump, the Hawks will likely be too strong at home for the inconsistent Demons to get over the line. Hawthorn also have a big opportunity to elevate to a higher position on the ladder with two rounds left after this week so will want to capitalise to set themselves up for finals. Casey’s Kate Hore was fantastic last week kicking the side’s only two goals while Libby Birch and Lily Mithen provided plenty of run against the firing Falcons, so the side will look to maintain possession and push forward against the Hawks. Sarah Perkins and Tamara Luke kicked three goals apiece last round so if left undefended Hawthorn have plenty of players who can pose a dominant force up forward.

GEELONG v. MELBOURNE UNI

Round 14 – 10/8/19
1.00
Deakin University, Geelong

For Geelong, this matchup will be a do or die contest given they are hanging out of the top six by the tiniest of threads. For Uni, a win this week could lock away a finals spot with a bye next week and a final round clash against the wildly talented but inconsistent NT Thunder to end the season. But while Uni have a high scoring ability in their favour the Cats will have the home field advantage and plenty of experienced players ready to take it to the Mugars. Kate Gillespie-Jones is sure to once again be right up in the action after being one of the go-to players for Uni this season, while Katie Angelis also put in a solid performance again last week applying plenty of scoreboard pressure. Richelle Cranston‘s ability to find the ball is impressive so will be a big threat to the Mugars while Danielle Orr had one of her best performance for the season last week despite collecting four behinds so is sure to look to put on a similar but more accurate performance this round.

WESTERN BULLDOGS v. ESSENDON

Round 14 – 10/8/19
4.00
Whitten Oval, Victoria University

While an interesting matchup between two relatively traditional rivals, this game will be an opportunity for the Bulldogs to cement their finals chances with the Bombers putting in some solid performances this season but mostly yet to back it up on a weekly basis. That being said, the Bulldogs are coming into this round off the bye while the Bombers took it to the Southern Saints last round so there is definitely potential for the Bombers to come away with a shock win to finish up the round. For the Bulldogs, Tayla Dinuccio has been one of the most consistent for the side credit to her adaptability in the contest and impressive tackling pressure, aided by the likes of Kirsty Lamb who has been reliable when on the field. Meanwhile, Georgia Nanscawen has been similarly consistent with the likes of Simone Nalder providing plenty of ball from the ruck contest.

BYE: Southern Saints, Collingwood, NT Thunder

VFLW preview: Round 13 – Collingwood look to consolidate good form

ROUND 13 of VFL Women’s will pit a number of close ladder positions against each other, with half the sides taking on close opposition while the other half are more likely to be big blowouts. The final match of the round will ultimately be the biggest in terms of ladder positions with Melbourne Uni hosting Hawthorn in a match that could shake up the ladder big time.

ESSENDON v. SOUTHERN SAINTS

Round 13 – 3/8/19
11.30
Windy Hill

An impressive season for the Saints has seen the side almost fly under the radar across the past 12 rounds, only dropping two matches and putting up impressive scores every week on their way to finals contention. The side has had the least points scored against them, only conceding a combined 195 points all season, showing their ability to control their opposition defensively and apply enough scoreboard pressure to win consistently meaning Essendon will have to pull out all the stops to get over the line. Simone Nalder has been in fine form for the Bombers this season in the ruck while young gun Georgia Patrikios had an instant impact on debut last round. For the Saints, Caitlin Greiser will be hard to stop given her ability to find plenty of ball inside 50 and apply pressure on the ground ball, while the side’s ability to play a team game has proven to be a real match-winner this season.

RICHMOND v. WILLIAMSTOWN

Round 13 – 4/8/19
11.00
Swinburne Centre

This match is likely to be an easy win for the Tigers, who despite dropping four games in a row still have a massively talented and experienced side ready to catapult back into the top four. The Seagulls have had a mostly unsuccessful season, only managing one win from 10 matches so are in dire need of some good news to finish the season. Williamstown have struggled getting points on the board this season, averaging only 19 points per game so will be in for a big test this week against the Tigers who have players like Tayla Stahl and Katie Brennan who can rack up similar tallies alone. While Mo Hope and Sharnie Whiting have been shining lights for the Seagulls this season, the side will need to put up a full field and four quarter performance to have any chance of matching the Tigers.

COLLINGWOOD v. CARLTON

Round 13 – 4/8/19
11.00
Victoria Park

This will be a real test for a feisty Carlton side, who have really taken it to some teams this season but not really to the calibre of the highly talented Magpies. While the Pies were tested last week by Richmond, the Blues will need to up their game to get a third win on the board this week with Collingwood proving again and again that they are the best team in the competition this season. Jaimee Lambert has proven to be a massive threat time and time again for the Magpies so if in the side again this week will be sure to wreak havoc on the side’s traditional rivals, while Gemma Lagioia was impressive in her second match last week to finish with 20 touches only behind the ever dominant Bri Davey. Maddy Prespakis was Carlton’s best last round to put herself in good stead to finish the season well, while Jess and Sarah Hosking have been among the most consistent for the Blues all season.

CASEY DEMONS v. DAREBIN

Round 13 – 4/8/19
11.30
Casey Fields

This is a must-win match for the Demons, who despite having a solid start to the season have fallen into the bottom half of the ladder with Darebin only one win behind after a late resurgence in recent weeks. For Darebin, a win this week will mean an almost certain chance at redeeming their average form to finish off the season strong. Both sides have struggled with inconsistency during the season, so will want to come in strong to assert their dominance and get another win on the board. Darebin’s aim will be to apply pressure on every ball, with the likes of Reni Hicks averaging 10 tackles per game and able to put immense pressure on both the player and ground ball, while Lauren Pearce sits second in hitouts, averaging 30.8 for the season so will look for another big match against her AFL Women’s side in the Demons. For Casey, Libby Birch has made a big impact in the side while the ever reliable Bianca Jakobsson and Eden Zanker continue to perform having both played 10 of a possible 11 games.

GEELONG v. NT THUNDER

Round 13 – 4/8/19
1.00
GMHBA Stadium

This will be an interesting matchup, with both sides coming into Round 13 off the back of highly disappointing losses last week. While Geelong had an average day out, losing by 16 points to now eleventh-ranked Darebin, Thunder suffered a complete blowout against the Bulldogs, going down by 78 points. Sitting at seventh and eighth on the ladder, the sides are sitting equal for wins with five apiece while Thunder only sit lower based on percentage and having played one more game. While both sides are unlikely to make finals based on percentage, they have multiple sides hot on their tail that have the potential to make their way up the ladder so are sure to fight tooth and nail for another win on the board. With only two players who have played every match this season, Geelong’s consistency has suffered. However, players like Richelle Cranston have provided valuable bolstering this season and could prove necessary against the likes of Thunder’s experience in Lateesha Jeffrey and Lisa Roberts.

MELBOURNE UNI v. HAWTHORN

Round 13 – 4/8/19
2.30
Melbourne University Main Oval

Coming into this round off the back of a bye last round could prove crucial for the Hawks this week as they take on a Uni side that slaughtered Carlton last week – the side that Hawthorn drew with back in Round 10. The Mugars are averaging almost 50 points per game this season despite losing five of their 11 matches, meaning that the side has plenty of firepower forward to win games with ease as long as their defensive setup holds up. The Hawks have a number of players who have dominated in turn, with the likes of Bec Beeson, Rosie Dillon and Lou Wotton putting on solid performances throughout the season. For Uni, Kate Gillespie-Jones has been a star playing 10 of 11 games and one of the most consistent players for the side, while the impact of Jasmine Garner and Katie Angelis has been felt in front of goal all season, combining for 23 goals.

BYE: Western Bulldogs

VFLW preview: Round 12 – Top-of-the-table clash for Magpies and Tigers

ROUND 12 of VFL Women’s is set to be a big one, with two of the top three facing off in what could set the tone for the rest of the season. Meanwhile, Hawthorn have their second bye as sides begin to prepare for the final five rounds of the season.

WILLIAMSTOWN v. ESSENDON

Round 12 – 27/7/19
11.30
Downer Oval

With both sides sitting towards the bottom of the ladder, this match will certainly be an interesting one as both sides put their foot on the pedal in the hopes for another win on the board. While Essendon have form on their side coming off a win and securing three victories for the season, Williamstown have the drive for another win since being leapfrogged once again by Darebin. Both sides are coming up against tough opposition in Round 13, so will need a strong performance regardless of the scores this week to be able to hold up against their respective opposition next week. Williamstown’s Mo Hope is currently leading the competition for kicks with 140 so the key for the Bombers will be to shut down Hope and apply pressure to deny easy kicks, while Simone Nalder will be crucial in the ruck to keep the ball in the Bombers’ possession as much as possible.

DAREBIN v. GEELONG

Round 12 – 27/7/19
11.30
Preston City Oval

Geelong come into Round 12 off the back of a bye, so will be ready to go against Darebin who are still sitting towards the bottom of the ladder. The Falcons are in dire need of another win on the board to ensure they do not finish the season at the bottom. However, the Cats are on the brink of a finals spot if they can capitalise in the last five rounds so will be a tough competitor for the relatively inexperienced Falcons side despite having some big names back in the mix. A win for eighth-ranked Geelong could shoot the Cats up to as high as fourth, while a loss could mean a struggle to the finish line. Despite some better performances in recent weeks from the Falcons, the best they can hope for from the rest of the season is a better end than their start. Reni Hicks has applied some great pressure with an average of 10 tackles from eight games for the Falcons this season so is sure to put in the hard yards once more if she takes the field.

MELBOURNE UNI v. CARLTON

Round 12 – 27/7/19
11.50
Arden St North Melbourne

This match has the potential to be a game changer with Uni having a largely impressive few weeks while Carlton, despite sitting in the lower half of the ladder, have taken it to a few teams. The Blues have proved they have the talent and drive to make an impact on the competition, but have so far been mostly unable to execute. While Carlton certainly have the ability to compete with the Mugars, the side’s consistency has been questionable making Uni wildly unpredictable and a potential threat to top sides. From six losses, the Blues have only conceded an average of 15 points, with two margins under 10 points, a draw and a 33 point win in the past four rounds after the bye, showing the side’s steady improvement throughout the season. Carlton will have in-form leading disposal winner Kate Gillespie-Jones to contend with, however they have a solid team lead by Sarah and Jess Hosking that can back up across the board to deny goals, with the Blues’ main problem an issue of getting a winning score on the board.

WESTERN BULLDOGS v. NT THUNDER

Round 12 – 27/7/19
2.00
MARS Stadium

NT Thunder will be looking to bounce back this round, taking on top four side Western Bulldogs in what will be a real test for the side after two tough losses in a row. But while the Bulldogs are up there on the ladder with six wins from 10 games, they have four teams hot on their tail with five wins and higher percentage ready to leap up the ladder with a win – NT being one of them. Despite a bumpy season, both sides will be ready for a win this week after losing in Round 11 to keep their respective sides in finals contention and bring back some consistency in the run home. Bulldogs’ Tayla Dinuccio (97 tackles) and Nicole McMahon (219 hitouts) are leading their respective stats while Danielle Ponter has proved to be a key target for Thunder with two bags of three in her past two matches for the side.

RICHMOND v. COLLINGWOOD

Round 12 – 28/7/19
11.00
Swinburne Centre

In arguably the most interesting match of the round, top of the ladder Collingwood take on third-ranked Richmond. While Collingwood is unbeaten in nine of their 10 matches for the season, Richmond’s impeccable start to the season has been soured in recent weeks with three losses in a row – including a 68 point slaughter in Round 10. The Magpies have been the most convincing team in the competition this season, posting big scores relatively consistently and despite coming close to losses they have kept ahead to continue their winning ways, beating teams by an average of 30 points. Despite Richmond’s average few rounds, the side still sits high on the ladder thanks to their impressive percentage and strong start to the season. A Tigers loss this week could mean they go down a rung on the ladder despite their percentage, while the Magpies will want a win with Southern Saints hot on their tail and only two losses on the board. Collingwood leading goalkicker, Jaimee Lambert sat out last week so could have a massive impact if back in the side this week, while Sabrina Frederick-Traub has the ability to be a big threat if fed well by her Tigers midfield.

SOUTHERN SAINTS v. CASEY

Round 12 – 28/7/19
2.40
Trevor Barker Beach Oval

The final match of the round sees the Saints host Casey in what could ultimately be the make or break match for the Demons’ season. While the Dees got a much needed win on the board last round, their six losses did not do them many favours and to be in with a chance to make finals they need to both win every single match to finish the season and rely on the top sides to falter at the final hurdles – Southern Saints included. While the Saints have been sat comfortable in second for a few weeks, the side will want to capitalise on their early success this season and get a win back after a loss to Collingwood last week. Caitlin Greiser is yet to finish a game without a score on the board this season, so is sure to be a big target once again for the Saints credit to her ability to find space and kick truly. For Casey, Bianca Jakobsson is having a consistent season across the board while getting a few goals on the board, while also sitting second on the board for marks across the season with 45, averaging five per game.

BYE: Hawthorn