Tag: Jess Sedunary

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

AFL Women’s Round 1 review: Pies win opening round as Lions upset reigning premiers

BRISBANE’s youth stepped up downing reigning premiers Adelaide at home, as Collingwood claimed its first win in Round 1 from four tries. All four expansion sides suffered defeats, with the Gold Coast SUNS getting within one point of victory against the GIANTS. We recap the remaining six games after our Match of the Round saw Melbourne topple North Melbourne at Casey Fields.

RICHMOND 0.0 | 0.2 | 0.2 | 2.2 (14)
CARLTON 1.5 | 1.8 | 5.9 | 6.12 (48)

By: Michael Alvaro

Richmond’s induction into the AFLW proved a baptism of fire as Carlton outclassed the Tigers to come up 34-point winners in Friday night’s season opener. The Blues looked at home on the Ikon Park turf, outmuscling the league newcomers through the engine room and having all the territory in the 6.12 (48) to 2.2 (14) drubbing. Signs were ominous early despite the scoreline not suggesting as much, with Katie Loynes’ first term major the only one in the opening half as Carlton failed to translate its dominance to scoreboard pressure. Even still, the Blues’ midfield trio of Loynes, Madison Prespakis, and Sarah Hosking brutalised that of the Tigers, setting the tone with their work rate, punishing pressure, and superior contested ball winning to get well on top.

The 2019 Rising Star, Prespakis then took over after the main break, inspiring her side to a game-breaking four-goal to nil third term as things began to look ugly. But things were not all bad for the Tigers, with boom forward recruit Sabrina Frederick making history as she slotted Richmond’s first ever AFLW goal three minutes into the final quarter, receiving a good pop from the adoring crowd. Fellow tall target Courtney Wakefield also joined in on the goalkicking action, getting on the end of a fantastic bit of transitional play to give fans a glimpse of what the Tigers may be capable of in time. Monique Conti (13 disposals, four tackles) was arguably the best in a losing side, combining through midfield with skipper, Katie Brennan (10 disposals) but lacking the grunt to turn the game around. Phoebe Monahan and Christina Bernardi also stood up in the yellow and black, while Akec Makur Chuot was terrific in an under-siege defence, positioning expertly to intercept and rebound assuredly.

For the Blues, Prespakis picked up from where she left off in 2019, collecting 21 disposals and laying five tackles on her way to best afield honours. Hosking worked like the Energizer bunny in the first half to finish with 17 touches, while captain Loynes had it 13 times and Lucy McEvoy debuted impressively with 12 disposals and five marks. The dynamic forward targets of Tayla Harris and Darcy Vescio proved troublesome inside 50, while ruck Breann Moody showed improvement from the middle. The Blues will again feature at Ikon Park up next, set to face another traditional rival and bunny side in Collingwood, while the Tigers travel up to Queensland to face fellow newcomer, Gold Coast on Saturday night.

GOALS:

Richmond: C. Wakefield, S. Frederick.
Carlton:
T. Harris, M. Prespakis, D. Vescio, A. Downie, K. Loynes, B. Walker.

ADC BEST:

Richmond: M. Conti, A. Makur Chuot, C. Bernardi, C. Wakefield, P. Monahan, S. Frederick
Carlton:
M. Prespakis, L. McEvoy, S. Hosking, K. Loynes, T. Harris, B. Moody

GWS GIANTS 0.1 | 0.2 | 1.3 | 1.3 (9)
GOLD COAST 1.0 | 1.2 | 1.2 | 1.2 (8)

By: Nikki Jamieson

GWS narrowly avoided a loss in torrential weather to the Suns in Blacktown doing just enough to limp over the line. The match favourites had to work hard for their victory while the Suns looked to kick off their 2020 campaign with a fairy-tale beginning, taking advantage of the conditions to show that they should not be underestimated. Gold Coast denied any easy access to goals for the GIANTS only registering two points up until half time before the gears started to kick in, in the third term to apply scoreboard pressure. Both sides worked tirelessly, not willing to give an inch and scrapping hard to win the slippery footy but in the end it was the experience of GWS that prevailed.

Gold Coast’s Brittany Perry made history, kicking the team’s debut AFLW goal in the early in the match resulting in an early lead. The experienced co-captains, in Sam Virgo and Leah Kaslar, were able to keep the young team under control. Breakout stars for the Suns included ex-Lion Jacqui Yorston who proved she was a tackling machine with a whopping 12 tackles to her name along with 13 disposals while Jamie Stanton also made an impact with 15 disposals and five tackles.

Thankfully for the home side, they gained their lead back through a goal late in the third term by Aimee Schmidt. GWS’ experience proved to be the decider, as outstanding second and third efforts by Alyce Parker led the way racking up 22 disposals and five tackles. Re-listed Rebecca Privitelli was a key factor in the GIANTS narrow win, with 14 disposals and a potentially match winning behind. New captain Alicia Eva had a similarly influential game, with 17 disposals and six tackles.

In Round 2 both teams play on the Saturday again, with GWS taking on North Melbourne in Tasmania and the Suns have their first home match against Richmond at Metricon Stadium.

GOALS:

GIANTS: A. Schmidt.
Gold Coast: B. Perry.

ADC BEST:

GIANTS: A. Parker, A. Eva, B. Tully, C. Staunton, H. Zreika, R. Privitelli.
Gold Coast: J. Stanton, S. Virgo, J. Yorston, H. Dunn, B. Perry, L. Ahrens.

COLLINGWOOD 0.0 | 2.2 | 3.4 | 5.8 (38)
WEST COAST EAGLES 1.2 | 1.2 | 1.4 | 1.5 (11)

By: Taylah Melki

It was a history making performance for both sides with Eagles captain Dana Hooker scoring the first goal in her club’s inaugural match while also racking up 18 touches. But that was where the fairytale ended for West Coast, with Collingwood securing their first win in Round 1 in AFLW history. It was a sluggish start to the match for the Magpies who went scoreless in the opening term thanks to the Eagles mountain load of defensive pressure applying strong bumps and tackles. But the tables slowly turned in favour of the Pies with Collingwood peppering the forward 50 and capitalising on their opportunities.

After 693 days out of the game, fan favourite and former Rising Star, Chloe Molloy made her presence felt across the footy field nailing the Pies opening goal of the match and racking up 10 touches. Captain, Steph Chiocci also starred in the black and white leading from the front and slotting a nice goal on the run to get her sides nose in front. Former Diamonds goal keeper, Sharni Layton followed suit with a history making performance kicking her first AFLW goal, while Jaimee Lambert and Sarah D’Arcy also found the big sticks with ease. Defensively the Collingwood duo of Ash Brazill and Stacey Livingstone seemed impossible to break through with the two reading the play with ease and picking off passes willy nilly. Brazill made the most of her speed and dynamic movement while Livingstone showcased her strong set of hands. But their victory was soured by a suspected lower leg injury to star recruit Bri Davey who went down midway through the third quarter.

The Eagles had glimpses of magic with Emma Swanson a ball magnet across the ground with her 18 disposals, while teammate Imahra Cameron was a real live wire tackling hard and running the ground with ease. Youngster Mikayla Bowen was also a tackling machine collecting a game-high 10 tackles and while she did not win a heap of the ball, her off the ball pressure was through the roof. Despite a dominant first quarter, West Coast simply could not maintain that high intensity pace allowing Collingwood to wear them down and poke holes in their defence to claim first spot on the ladder.

GOALS:

Collingwood: S. D’Arcy, C. Molloy, S. Layton, J. Lambert, S. Chiocci
West Coast: D. Hooker

ADC BEST: 

Collingwood: J. Lambert, S. Chiocci, C. Molloy, S. Livingstone, B. Bonnici.
West Coast: D.Hooker, E. Swanson, M. Bowen, I. Cameron, M. Dowrick.

BRISBANE 2.2 | 3.3 | 5.3 | 5.4 (34)
ADELAIDE 0.0 | 1.2 | 1.2 | 3.3 (21)

By: Taylah Melki

The Brisbane Lions kicked off their 2020 campaign in style defeating the reigning premiers in style. The Lions got the jump on the Crows early opening up a two-goal lead and did not look back steadily building their attacking momentum and only allowing Adelaide to score one goal up until the fourth quarter. Adelaide fought back in the last quarter to add some respectability to the score line and prove they still have what it takes to score freely despite being well held for majority of the match.

Lauren Arnell was electric for the Lions using her physicality and go get it attitude to win the ball at the coal face while also hitting the scoreboard. Arnell led the way for Brisbane with two majors while reliable defender Kate Lutkins was up to her usual tricks with 17 disposals 14 of which were kicks. In her debut game, Lily Postlethwaite plied her trade across the field amassing nine touches and showcasing her physical intent laying five tackles. Ally Anderson was in hot form racking up the touches across the field with 16, while Emma Zielke did not muck around collecting 15 touches.

Although it was not the Crows day, Anne Hatchard made history with a whopping 35 touches in what was a complete performance from the talented midfield. In the absence of Erin Phillips and Chelsea Randall, Hatchard stood up and seemed to have the ball on a string while also controlling both the forward and defensive 50. Teammate Ebony Marinoff also played a major role for the Crows with the 22-year-old amassing 21 disposals and throwing her weight around with six tackles. Marinoff was not afraid to go in hard at the contest and extract the footy, using her awareness and vision to sight players in space. New recruit Courtney Gum hit the scoreboard in her first outing as a Crow while Angela Foley also added a major. Sarah Allan showcased her skill set to cover the ground well and win the ball at the coal face with 18 disposals but unfortunately it was not enough to get them over the line, with Brisbane running out comfortably.

GOALS:

Brisbane: (2) L. Arnell, O. O’Dwyer, G. Bodey, J. Tawhiao-Wardlaw.
Adelaide: C.Gum, N.Gore, A. Foley.

ADC BEST:

Brisbane: L. Arnell, K. Lutkins, A. Anderson, E. Zielke, L. Postlethwaite
Adelaide: A. Hatchard, E. Marinoff, S. Allan, A. Foley, C. Gum

ST KILDA 1.0 | 1.1 | 1.1 | 2.2 (14)
WESTERN BULLDOGS 4.1 | 5.1 | 5.2 | 6.3 (39)

By: Peter Williams

A fast-starting Western Bulldogs team has outclassed St Kilda in its inaugural game, playing the role of party poopers at the Saints’ homecoming to RSEA Park, Moorabbin. The Bulldogs booted the first three goals of the game, including two to Bonnie Toogood and one to Danielle Marshall – who broke history becoming the first American to kick a goal in the AFL Women’s competition. With the game starting to slip by, the Saints gave the crowd something to cheer about with Georgia Patrikios combining with Molly McDonald to slot through the latter’s first in her AFL Women’s career.

The Dogs headed into the the break with a three-goal lead, and while the Saints were never able to head them, it was a much closer contest in the remaining three quarters. St Kilda stepped up and lifted its defensive pressure and used the ball better, booting a last quarter goal to Jess Sedunary – the final one of the match to counter the Western Bulldogs’ only goal of the half – to Kirsty Lamb – which ended any hope of the home side coming back and put it out to a game-high 32 points. The final 25-point margin was an accurate representation of the game, with the Bulldogs a bit too slick and too experienced for the young Saints.

Patrikios looked at home in the competition on debut, racking up 18 touches, two marks, three inside 50s and five tackles, while setting up the Saints’ opening goal with a lovely kick across 50 to hit-up a free McDonald, using her elite vision to find her in space. McDonald herself was very impressive with 12 touches – all kicks – four marks, three tackles, two rebounds, one inside 50 and a goal, while Olivia Vesely also stood out with the second most disposals of anyone in the red, white and black, picking up 14 disposals, one mark and four tackles.

For the Dogs, Ellie Blackburn showed just how elite she is with a standout performance of 17 touches, four marks, five tackles and a poster that caused a premature celebration from the captain believing it had split the big sticks. Hannah Scott and Lamb also picked up 17 disposals each, recording a combined five marks and 10 tackles, while number one draft pick, Gabby Newton had 13 disposals and eight tackles, playing off half-forward and having stints on-ball.

GOALS: 

St Kilda: M. McDonald, J. Sedunary.
Bulldogs: B. Toogood 2, D. Marshall, B. Hunt, K. Lamb, B. Hunt.

ADC BEST:

St Kilda: G. Patrikios, M. McDonald, O. Vesely, H. Priest, K. McCarthy, N. Exon
Bulldogs: E. Blackburn, B. Hunt, K. Lamb. H. Scott, A. McCarthy, K. Rennie

FREMANTLE 1.0 | 3.3 | 4.4 | 6.8 (44)
GEELONG 1.2 | 3.2 | 4.4 | 4.4 (28)

By: Michael Alvaro

Fremantle made the ideal start in its quest to go one better than its preliminary final-making 2019 campaign, kicking away late to topple Geelong by 16 points on home turf. Fremantle young gun Sabreena Duffy played a starring role, booting more than half of her side’s score with four goals in the 6.8 (44) to 4.4 (28) triumph.

While the Dockers enjoyed plenty of time in their forward half with 48 inside 50s to 13, the Cats controlled the uncontested ball and transitioned well while making better use of their opportunities up forward. It meant the visiting side had an answer for each challenge, with the two sides going goal-for-goal in the first three terms with the margin not breaching seven points either way. But Duffy’s fourth goal and one followed by Gemma Houghton sealed the deal for Fremantle late in the final term, with the winners made to earn their first set of premiership points.

Duffy was the spearhead up forward, but had good support in the form of Houghton (17 disposals, five tackles, 1.3) and star debutant Roxanne Roux (seven disposals, 1.2), while Kiara Bowers took on a mammoth workload with 22 touches and 14 tackles from midfield. The Cats’ top end was made to work hard, with promising youngster Olivia Purcell racking up a game-high 27 disposals, while Julia Crockett-Grills (22 disposals, five marks), Rebecca Webster (21 disposals, seven marks), and Madeline Keryk (20 disposals, four marks) stood up in Geelong’s defensive half. Richelle Cranston had arguably the highlight of the day with her second term goal, handballing to herself on the break and slamming the ball home, while Nina Morrison made a steady return to action with a goal from nine touches. A home fixture is up next for the Cats as the Lions come to town, while Fremantle is set to play out in the inaugural AFLW Western derby on Saturday night.

GOALS:

Fremantle: S. Duffy 4, G. Houghton, R. Roux.
Geelong: G. Clarke, R. Cranston, M. Maguire, N. Morrison.

ADC BEST:

Fremantle: S. Duffy, K. Bowers, G. Houghton, R. Roux, H. Miller, K. Antonio
Geelong: O. Purcell, J. Crockett-Grills, R. Cranston, R. Webster, M. Keryk, D. Taylor

2019/20 AFLW off-season review: St Kilda

IN the next of our expansion club AFL Women’s off-season reviews, we take a look at St Kilda. The Saints are a side that was able to secure a number of former Southern Saints VFL Women’s players that managed to earn places on other AFL Women’s lists, whilst picking up some talent from other sides, and plenty of local youth in the process.

Prominent midfielder, Alison Brown was the first official signing, which was followed by pre-listing teenagers, Molly McDonald and Isabella Shannon from the Dandenong Stingrays. Southern Saints quartet, Kate Shierlaw – formerly of Carlton – Olivia Vesely, Caitlin Grieser and Sammie Johnson all earned places on the list. Former Southern Saints players, Alison Drennan, Rhiannon Watt, Courteney Munn and Selena Karlson all returned to Moorabbin, complemented by the recruitment of Collingwood’s Darcy Guttridge, Brisbane’s Nat Exon, Melbourne’s Cat Phillips and Adelaide’s Jessica Sedunary.

The Saints were also able to add further experience to the list, willing to trade Pick 11 in the AFL Women’s Draft for Kate McCarthy from the Lions, while departing with Pick 9 for Emma Mackie and a couple of top 30 selections. Claudia Whitfort was the final player to join the Saints during the trade period, crossing from the Dees, before adding veterans, Melissa Kuys and Tilly Lucas-Rodd in free agency. Clara Fitzpatrick and Poppy Kelly crossed from Gaelic football and basketball respectively to line-up for the Saints’ VFLW team this season, and then with four selections in the top 30, picked up the incredibly classy Georgia Patrikios, experienced Hawk Rosie Dillon, speedy Nicola Xenos, and Under-18 All Australian at age 16, Queenslander Tarni White. Rounding out the team, the Saints selected veteran ruck Tamara Luke, and experienced Norwood midfielder Hannah Priest, before passing in the AFL Women’s Draft to snap up North Adelaide captain, Nadia von Bertouch.

2020 TEAM LIST:

Alison Brown
Rosie Dillon
Alison Drennan
Nat Exon
Clara Fitzpatrick
Caitlin Greiser
Darcy Guttridge
Sammie Johnson
Selena Karlson
Poppy Kelly
Melissa Kuys
Tilly Lucas-Rodd
Tamara Luke
Emma Mackie
Kate McCarthy
Molly McDonald
Courteney Munn
Kelly O’Neill
Georgia Patrikios
Cat Phillips
Hannah Priest
Jess Sedunary
Isabella Shannon
Kate Shierlaw
Olivia Vesely
Nadia von Bertouch
Rhiannon Watt
Tarni White
Claudia Whitfort
Nicola Xenos

POTENTIAL 2020 SIDE:

B: Claudia Whitfort – Clara Fitzpatrick – Melissa Kuys
HB: Darcy Guttridge – Selena Karlson – Nicola Xenos
C: Molly McDonald
HF: Georgia Patrikios – Kate Shierlaw – Nat Exon
F: Kate McCarthy – Courteney Munn – Caitlin Greiser
R: Rhiannon Watt – Alison Brown – Alison Drennan
INT: Jess Sedunary – Tilly Lucas-Rodd- Isabella Shannon – Olivia Vesely – Tarni White

EMG: Sammie Johnson – Emma Mackie – Rosie Dillon

DEPTH: Poppy Kelly, Cat Phillips Tamara Luke, Kelly O’Neill, Hannah Priest, Nadia von Bertouch

St Kilda seem to have gone with a real youth and experience approach, with players nearing the end of their careers, as well as a lot who are just starting. They used the AFL Women’s expansion period to fill holes in the mid-range age bracket area, but it will be the excitement of their youth coming through that will be the eye-catching area of their side. Much like any of the expansion clubs, it is hard to work out how they will front up in Round 1 and play out throughout the year, but expect them to pile in the youth where possible, with Patrikios, Xenos, McDonald and Shannon all getting plenty of games, and White is another player who should get a crack early on upside alone.

The Saints will rely a lot on the experience of their smaller players in Kuys and Lucas-Rodd to hold down the fort in defence in what is either an inexperienced or young defence that will come good with a full season. Guttridge could be a huge inclusion for the Saints off half-back, while up forward, McCarthy is an underrated pick. Their spine might not have a huge name attached, but a lot of the hard working midfielders will make sure to get the ball out to the youthful runners adding that X-factor.

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)

AFL Draft Central’s VFLW Team of the Year

PICKING the AFL Draft Central Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s Team of the Year was very difficult as there has been numerous terrific performers throughout the year. We compiled the best 22 players at the end of the VFLW home and away season, which takes into account the standout performers from the 16 rounds of VFLW this season.

Jess Duffin starts in the centre due to her outstanding season for Williamstown. She was picked in the AFL Draft Central VFLW Team of the Week five times during the season, showing how dominant she was in the competition. She had a wonderful VFLW season and will hope to continue her great form with North Melbourne in the upcoming AFL Women’s season. Darcy Vescio is rightfully named at full forward after winning the VFLW goalkicking award, with 26 goals from nine matches. Nine of these goals were kicked against the Bombers in Round 16.

The back line is headlined by Hawthorn gun defender, Jayde Van Dyk. Van Dyk has been a revelation this season with her consistency and ability to lock down key players. Richmond’s Jacqueline Graham, who was also great down back for her side, accompanies Van Dyk in the back line. She featured in the AFL Draft Central VFLW Team of the Week eight times, which is only beaten by Jayde Van Dyk and Jess Duffin’s nine appearances.

The midfield is littered with some of the competition’s superstars. Ashleigh Riddell was outstanding for Melbourne University across the wing, while Alison Drennan was extremely reliable for the Southern Saints. She appeared in the Team of the Week seven times this season. Darebin’s Lauren Pearce got the nod to be the starting ruck as she was one of the standout rucks in the competition alongside Rhiannon Watt (Southern Saints) and Alice Edmonds (Richmond). Pearce just edged out the latter duo to make the AFL Draft Central VFLW Team of the Year.

The forward line has plenty of fire-power and is easily capable of kicking a winning score. On the left half-forward flank is NT’s Jess Sedunary, who finished third in the goalkicking tally. Alongside her at centre-half forward is North Melbourne recruit, Jasmine Garner, who kicked 10 goals in nine games for the Seagulls.

The bench consists of midfield pair, Richelle Cranston (Geelong) and Jenna Bruton (Williamstown) as well as utility, Katherine Gillespie-Jones (Melbourne University). Rounding out the AFL Draft Central VFLW Team of the Year is Thunder captain, Angela Foley. Foley was able to provide outstanding leadership while simultaneously playing some consistent football.

Due to only 22 making the final cut, there was destined to be many unlucky players. Falcons forward, Hannah Mouncey can consider herself unlucky as she kicked the second-most goals in the competition. But as we saw with Tom Hawkins in the AFL, who did not make the 2018 All Australian side, goals sometimes are not enough. Hawthorn midfielder, Melissa Kuys is also unlucky as she had a great season leading from the front. Former Calder Cannons pair, Chloe Molloy and Madison Prespakis are two more who had an argument to be included in the Team of the Year, but will definitely be featuring prominently in the future.

Team Selection: VFLW – Week 1 Finals

As this week is the first week of finals, all of the remaining teams are making numerous changes in an attempt to find their best team when it counts. Audiences will be treated to two great games this weekend as the four best teams remain. It all starts will Collingwood and Hawthorn on Saturday morning.

 

VFLW Semi-Final 1

Collingwood v Hawthorn
Saturday September, 10.15am
Stannards Stadium

Hawthorn

B: Kim Ebb, Pepa Randall, Dianna Haines
HB: Jess Sibley, Melissa Kuys, Jayde Van Dyk
C: Meg Hutchins, Emma  Mackie, Tahni  Nestor
HF: Rebecca Beeson, Mikala Cann, Clare O’Donnell
F: Tamara Luke, Sarah Perkins, Phoebe McWilliams
R: Lou Wotton, Chantella Perera, Julia Crockett-Grills
Int: Steph Carroll, Rosie Dillon, Sarah Kendall, Ebony Nixon, Claire Dyett, Emily Gilder, Kara Henderson, Ellie Macdonald
23P: Emerson Woods

In: Emily Gilder, Melissa Kuys, Kara Henderson, Emerson Woods, Sarah Kendall
Out: Nicky Cormack

Hawthorn still has a selection dilemma on their hands with three further players to miss out on the final team that takes on Collingwood on Saturday. The Hawks will be ecstatic that they are regaining midfield superstar Melissa Kuys for the massive match against the Pies. Nicky Cormack is the unlucky one to miss out so far, but she will be waiting in the wings as an emergency for her chance to play on the big stage.

Collingwood

B: Katelyn Lee, Ruby Schleicher, Iilish Ross
HB: Sophie Casey, Hannah McLaren, Nicole Hales
C: Grace Buchan, Jamiee Lambert, Shayla Marsh
HF: Holly Whitford, Sophie Alexander, Brittany Bonnici
F: Chloe Molloy, Erica Fowler, Nicole Hildebrand
Foll: Eliza Hynes, Jessica Edwards, Kristy Stratton
Int: Sarah D’Arcy, Hillary Grubb, Emma Grant, Paige Nash
23P: Daisy Bateman

IN: Hannah McLaren, Sophie Alexander, Brittant Bonnici, Erica Fowler, Hillary Grubb, Sarah D’Arcy, Paige Nash, Emma Grant
OUT: Stacey Livingstone, Ally Bild, Carle Rooks, Amy Malander, Katie Lynch, Chloe Leighton, Julia Halaseh-Russo, Sarah King

Collingwood have made eight changes for their first final, with the hope that their inclusions will make the difference come game day. Hannah McLaren should help sure up their key back stocks while Collingwood are hoping Sophie Alexander can make a difference up forward. The Pies have lost AFLW star Sophie Livingstone, although they will be hoping to regain her later in the finals series.

 

VFLW Semi-Final 2

NT Thunder vs Geelong Cats
Sunday September, 9, 11.45am
Stannards Stadium, Port Melbourne

NT Thunder:

B: Samantha Barnett, Sarah Allan, Lisa Roberts
HB: Jenna McCormick, Tayla Thorn, Stevie-Lee Thompson
C: Katie Streader, Angela Foley, Jessica Sedunary
HF: Sally Riley, Anne Hatchard, Marijana Rajcic
F: Renee Forth, Jordann Hickey, Machaelia Roberts
FOLL: Jasmyn Hewett, Ebony Marinoff, Emma Swanson
INT: Sharona Bishop*, Lauren O’Shea, Sue Nalder, Kylie Duggan, Lateesha Jeffrey

IN: Sarah Allan, Sharona Bishop, Kylie Duggan, Anne Hatchard, Lauren O’Shea, Machaelia Roberts, Jessica Sedunary, Stevie-Lee Thompson
OUT:  Jessica Allan, Janet Baird, Georgia Bevan, Courtney Cramey, Abbey Holmes, Tahlia Holtze, Kristy Irvine, Madeline Keeble

Northern Territory has continued to make numerous changes with an unprecedented eight changes for the first week of the finals. Their inclusions are headlined by five AFLW players some big names who will make a difference in seeing NT making the grand final. Jess Sedunary has been a revelation up forward this VFLW season kicking 15 goals, which has her third in the competition. NT will be hoping that Stevie-Lee Thompson can light up the half back line and use her pace to set up attacks for NT.

Geelong Cats

B: Rebecca Pearce, Rebecca Goring, Anna Teague
HB: Amy McDonald, 25. Elise Coventry, Jamie Woollett
C: Cassandra Blakeway, Maighan Fogas, Hannah Burchell
HF: Nina Morrison, Jordan Ivey, Danielle Orr
F: Maddy Boyd, Mia Rae Clifford, Kate Darby
R: Erin Hoare, Madeline Keryk, Richelle Cranston
Int: Hannah Mangan, Maddy McMahon, Courtney Stevens, Hayley Trevean
23P: Olivia Purcell

In: E. Hoare, H. Trevean, N. Morrison, M. McMahon, M. Fedele, O. Purcell
Out: T. Love

Tarryn Love would be heartbroken to miss out in her first taste of finals football. While Hayley Trevean will add some added experience and leadership as she is apart of the team’s leadership group. Erin Hoare‘s inclusion will give them an advantage in the air, as her 194cm frame should dominate for Geelong.

Weekend wash-up: VFLW – Round 15

HAWTHORN has spoiled the party for the Northern Territory (NT) Thunder in Round 15 of the Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s, knocking them back to second on the ladder after a 25-point win at TIO Stadium. Collingwood regained top spot on the ladder with a big win over the Southern Saints, while the other top-four side, Geelong secured a big win over the Casey Demons.

 

Western Bulldogs 2.2 (14) defeated by Melbourne Uni 7.5 (47)

Melbourne Uni is ending its season on an emphatic high, winning its last two games. In the process, the Mugars defeated the once top-four favourites, the Western Bulldogs. The Bulldogs were held scoreless for the first half of this game, with Melbourne University piling on 5.1 to take a handy 31-point halftime lead. The home side finally got that coveted goal in the third quarter but it wasn’t enough, as Melbourne University’s early lead proved to be too big to overcome.

Kaitlyn Ashmore led the way for the Mugars inside 50, kicking two goals from her nine disposals. The North Melbourne recruit also laid six tackles, and was complemented in that department by Maddison Smith, who laid seven. Captain, Ashleigh Riddell also laid six tackles for the day and led the way with a game-high 26 disposals and three marks. Vic Metro midfielder, Madison Prespakis wasn’t far behind with one goal, 25 disposals and two tackles.

For the Bulldogs, Sarah Jolly led the way in disposals with 19 for the day. Ashleigh Guest also contributed well in that department, with 18 disposals as well as four marks and eight tackles. Tayla Dinuccio went one better, laying nine tackles for the day and making an impact, despite recording only three disposals. Premiership players, Kirsten McLeod (one goal, 13 disposals, five tackles) and Hannah Scott (one goal, 17 disposals, five tackles) were the goal kickers for the Dogs.

 

Collingwood 6.6 (42) defeated Southern Saints 0.4 (4)

Collingwood has returned to form very quickly this week, bouncing back from last week’s loss with a 38-point win over the Southern Saints. The Pies got out of the blocks quickly, kicking the first three goals of the match to go on and kick six unanswered majors. After no goals were kicked in the second quarter, Collingwood fought back with two majors in the third, extending its margin to 36 points at the last break. Unfortunately, inaccuracy hurt the Saints, kicking just four behinds for the match.

Vic Metro forward, Daisy Bateman led the way inside 50, kicking three of her team’s six goals as well as gathering nine disposals and laying six tackles. Her Vic Metro and Oakleigh Chargers teammate, Katie Lynch was also a pivotal player with 24 disposals, two marks and three tackles. Sophie Alexander was able to back up her solid game last week with a game-high 27 disposals. Erica Fowler led the way in tackles with a whopping 13 to go with her six disposals. AFLW ruck, Eliza Hynes led the way in marks for the Pies, taking four grabs to go with her one goal and 13 disposals.

Alison Brown was dominant for the Saints, gathering 24 disposals and laying five tackles in another good midfield performance from her. She was complemented by good delivery from ruck, Rhiannon Watt, who racked up 21 disposals, three marks and five tackles. Jas Rolland took four marks for the day and also laid four tackles to go with her six disposals. TAC Cup Girls players, Shelley Heath (12 disposals, two tackles), Gabriella De Angelis (10 disposals, three tackles), Ashleigh Allsopp (eight disposals, five tackles), Jemma Owen (eight disposals, four tackles) and Courtney Jones (seven disposals, two tackles) all contributed well on the day.

 

Essendon 1.3 (9) defeated by Williamstown 5.7 (37)

By: James Halley

Williamstown was able to outlast Essendon in terrible winter conditions, kicking away in the last term to win by 28 points. For the second time this year, the two sides have played in terrible conditions, yet last time was worse as play had to be halted for five minutes due to hail.

Jasmine Garner was huge for Williamstown up forward, kicking two fourth-quarter goals. She was a threat up forward all day but in the second term was when she managed to convert. Williamstown’s engine room was once again outstanding with Jess Duffin and Jenna Bruton leading the way. Duffin ended up being an obstacle in the air for Essendon, taking numerous intercept marks. A highlight for the game was Emily Paterno’s impossible goal on the boundary in the last quarter, which was a kick of high difficulty and capped of a great day for Williamstown. 

Simone Nalder can hold her head up high, as she won the ruck for the Bombers. Due to the conditions, they were not able to capitalise on her dominance. Valerie Moreau was also a shinning light for Essendon on a dark day, kicking the side’s only goal and being lively all day. In Round 16, the Seagulls face Melbourne University while Essendon will take on Carlton at home to finish the home and away season.

 

NT Thunder 4.4 (28) defeated by Hawthorn 8.5 (53)

In the second game of the year at Alice Springs, Hawthorn secured a big win over flag favourites, NT Thunder. The Hawks got out of the blocks early, kicking the first goal of the game and piling on another three in the second quarter to take a comfortable lead into half time. The trend continued in the third quarter when the away side kicked another three goals, making it very difficult for the Thunder to make a comeback.

Greater Western Sydney (GWS) forward, Phoebe McWilliams returned to form with three majors for the day, taking her season tally to five goals from five games. McWilliams’ GWS teammate, Rebecca Beeson continued her good form with a best-on-ground performance at TIO Traeger Stadium. She was complemented by a player who has been in consistent form in Sarah Perkins, who kicked two goals to take her tally to 12 goals from 10 games. Skipper, Emma Mackie also got on the board with two majors and has been solid ever since returning from injury.

It was all single goal kickers for the Thunder with Jordann Hickey, Sue Nalder, Jasmyn Hewett and Angela Foley all kicking one major each. Hickey is closing in on her teammate, Jess Sedunary on the goal kicking tally, as she has kicked 14 goals from 13 games while Sedunary has kicked 15 goals from 10 games. Foley was also named best-on-ground for the Thunder in another blistering performance from her. She was complemented by AFLW contingent, Ebony Marinoff and Emma Swanson, as well as Katie Streader, Kristy Irvine and Tayla Thorn.

 

Darebin 1.3 (9) defeated by Carlton 4.10 (34)

Carlton nearly lost this game with its inaccuracy, kicking five behinds to start the first quarter. Darebin then kicked its first and only goal in the second quarter while the Blues kicked three more behinds to take their score to 0.8.8 at half time. They then kicked into gear in the third quarter, kicking two goals to none and wrestling back the lead. The Blues did the same in the fourth quarter, ultimately earning them a surprise 24-point win against one of the better sides in the competition.

Northern Knights captain, Madeline Brancatisano was named best afield for the Blues in a breakout game for her at Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s level. She was aided by good performances from AFLW players, Alison Downie, Tilly Lucas-Rodd and former Dandenong Stingrays winger, Georgia Gee. Nicola Burns and Celine Moody were also solid contributors in the win, with Moody kicking one of the Blues’ four goals. Gee was one of the other goal kickers and was joined by Bailey Schultz and Darcy Vescio on the scoreboard. Vescio now sits one major behind VFLW leading goal kicker, Hannah Mouncey. Mouncey has kicked 18 goals from 11 games while Vescio has kicked 17 goals from eight games, with an average of 2.12 goals per game.

There was not much happening on the goal kicking side of things for the Falcons, with Stephanie Simpson the only one getting on the board. That goal took her tally to 11 goals from 10 games in what has been a good season inside 50 for her. Simpson also earned a spot among the best players for Darebin on the day. Melbourne AFLW ruck, Lauren Pearce played another blinder of a game, being named best-on-ground for her side. Melbourne teammate, Lily Mithen also continued her solid season by being named among the best as well. Gabrielle Colvin, Meghan McDonald and Kathleen Roe also contributed well at Bill Lawry Oval.

 

Casey Demons 2.4 (16) defeated by Geelong Cats 8.5 (53)

The Casey Demons jumped the Cats early, kicking the first two goals of the game to take an eight-point lead into quarter time. Geelong responded immediately though, kicking the next two goals in the second quarter to wrestle back the lead at the main break. The goal kicking continued in the third quarter, as the Cats outscored the Demons three goals to none. After the first quarter, Casey could not register a major, giving the Cats licence to secure a big win as they approach the finals.

Two of Geelong’s eight goals came from Mia-Rae Clifford, who has had a solid season for the Cats. Clifford has kicked 13 goals from 13 games and continues to be a vital player for her side. She shares the same goal kicking tally as Danielle Orr, who was also able to get on the board with a major, and equal her goal kicking tally with Clifford’s. Millie Klingbeil, Courtney Stevens, Kate Darby, Jordan Ivey and Geelong Falcons midfielder, Nina Morrison were the other goal kickers on the day. Ivey was also named best-on-ground for the Cats, while Morrison and Darby also featured in the best. Morrison was complemented by Vic Country duo, Olivia Purcell and Georgia Clarke, who played great games for the Cats. Richelle Cranston also continued her marvellous season with another appearance in Geelong’s best players.

Another player who has had a marvellous season is Maddie Shevlin, who kicked one of Casey’s two goals on Sunday. New Melbourne AFLW recruit, Maddison Gay was the other goal kicker for the Demons, booting a major late in the first quarter. Kaila Bentvelzen was named as the Demons’ best, continuing a solid season in the red and blue. Former Gippsland defender, Darcy Guttridge and former Bendigo forward, Eden Zanker also stood out for Casey. Georgia McLean and Melbourne AFLW recruit, Shae Sloane were the other players named in Casey’s best, contributing well in the loss.

Team of the Week: VFLW – Round 13

THIS round’s Team of the Week is evenly spread out, with no team having more than two representatives in the best 22. After their disappointing losses on the weekend, Williamstown and the Western Bulldogs are the only two teams to only have one player represented. Every other team has two players who made the cut in a week with many solid performances.

Eden Zanker had a breakout game for Casey up forward in its win against Carlton. She kicked three goals and had a real presence up forward all game. Anne Hatchard was also superb up forward for the Northern Territory, kicking four goals from 15 disposals in its big win over Williamstown. These two were locks in the Team of the Week after their stellar performances.

In the midfield, Alison Brown dominated for the Saints with 28 disposals. As well as Brown, the Thunder’s Emma Swanson was also a lock in this week’s midfield as she kicked one goal from 27 disposals. In the back line, Hawthorn’s Jayde Van Dyk and Richmond’s Jacqueline Graham once again held their spots after 18 and 20 disposals each, respectively. Tanya Hetherington from Essendon and Iilish Ross from Collingwood both managed to get forward and kick goals from the back line as well as racking up a number of disposals each. The back line was easy picking this week with performances like these.

Jess Sedunary can count herself as unlucky not to be in the best 22 this week after a really good game for NT on the weekend. She kicked 21 disposals from the half forward flank and also managed to kick a goal in a really positive performance. Jenna Bruton is also in the same position, as Bruton and Jess Duffin were fighting for the same spot and Bruton unluckily missed out. She lit up the midfield for the Seagulls with 22 disposals in a losing effort to the Thunder.

Team of the Week: VFLW – Round 11

GEELONG has the most representatives in the Round 11 Team of the Week, with five players making the cut after their side’s massive win over Casey. Similarly, NT Thunder and the Western Bulldogs have four and three representatives respectively, headlined by midfield bull, Ebony Marinoff with her 28 disposals against Richmond

After their 41-point loss to Geelong, the Demons failed to register a player in the best 22 this week with Kaila Bentvelzen’s two goals not quite enough to get into the forward six.

Marinoff was a lock in this week’s best 22 after dominating in the midfield against Richmond. In just her second game in the Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s competition, she is starting to hit her strides at the right time of the season. In the same game, Courtney Wakefield starred for Richmond up forward with three goals and an everlasting presence in the forward 50.

Jasmyn Hewett has been dominating in the ruck for the Thunder and once again has claimed her credentials for the VFLW Team of the Year. Madison Prespakis also slots straight back into the VFLW Team of the Week after finishing her Under 18 representative duties. She will be hoping to keep her spot and help drive Melbourne University out of the bottom three.

Geelong’s Kate Darby was unlucky to miss out this week with two goals and 16 disposals against Casey.

Scouting notes: VFLW – Round 7

IT was a cracking weekend of Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s football where the ladder-leaders went down and TAC Cup Girls players shone in their respective games. We watched three games on the weekend and took notes on who performed well in each outing.

 

Southern Saints vs. NT Thunder

By: Peter Williams 

Southern Saints:

#8 Alison Drennan

It’s clear she is a big ball winner through the midfield, covering ground with ease and getting to contest after contest. She lays plenty of tackles and burrows in under the packs. Drennan also has a nice first few steps to charge away from a contest and kick forward.

#10 Lauren Arnell

The former Blues skipper now Lion, was one of the Saints’ best early on, booting a goal late in the first quarter leading to space and kicking truly for a long range set shot. She had another in the second term but it was touched on the line. Provided some important nous up forward.

#15 Tara Bohanna

Booted a great goal off a step from a loose ball in the second term, and finished the game with three majors to be the dominant forward on the ground. Put an end to the contest with her two majors in the final quarter within a few minutes of each other to hand the Saints a vital win.

#24 Kayla Ripari

Played up forward and I thought immediately ‘her stats won’t look good but she is doing everything right’. The kind of forward who hunts the ball, hunts her opponents and just continues to play the brand of football teammates love. She crashes packs, gives off handballs, applies shepherds, does all the one percenters and thought she did a terrific job.

#30 Charlotte Wilson

The Eastern Ranges defender was really impressive on debut, particularly in the first term where she often got in front of her opponent, won the ball with clean hands and handballed clear. She was courageous and not afraid to switch play when she had a chance. Took a few strong marks back there too.

#33 Jemma Owen

Good defensive pressure up forward and along the wing, showing good vision on her knees to handball into space to a teammate without her breaking stride in the opening term. In the second quarter she was agressive and laid a shepherd so Ripari could get a clear kick to Bohanna in the second quarter for a goal.

#35 Gabriella De Angelis

A hard-working, clever player who had a couple of real highlights. In the opening term she had a smart pick-up near the boundary line and had the composure to kick in-board to the leading Lauren Arnell who goaled. Then in the second term, De Angelis showed off her work rate by receiving the pass on the wing from Shelley Heath, then kicked to half-forward, sprinted hard into the forward line and was involved in the next pass deep inside 50.

#39 Eleanor Brown

Can find the ball with ease and moves well for a taller player. Clean and just got involved around the ground, playing in her preferred wing position. She showed quick hands on both the inside and outside to keep it moving. The one improvement I would give to her is to not get too sucked in to the play because I noticed her opponent would drift out into space behind her while she ran towards the contest. Another solid performance though.

#42 Courtney Jones

Started on the bench and came on to have an immediate impact. Her first pass was a perfectly weighted kick to Lauren Arnell on the wing. She showed good hands at ground level to handball to a teammate in space and applied some good hip-and-shoulders. Jones took a strong intercept mark in defence and kicked long to Shelley Heath.

#43 Shelley Heath

The best of the TAC Cup Girls and looked natural at the level. Despite being smaller than her opponents, she never stopped running and generally used the ball pretty well. She was not afraid to back into a contest and won a free kick in one instance because she was pushed in the back doing so. Reads the ball well in the air or at ground level and showed great hands in close. A huge cheer came in the second term when she stood strongly in a marking contest to spoil, her opponent recovered, picked up the ball, ran off, but Heath did not give up and ran her down, earning a free kick.

#49 Ashleigh Allsopp

Kicked the opening goal of the game, roving forward to read the ball drop off hands.

 

NT Thunder:

#3 Angela Foley

Just wins so much of the ball and works hard on the inside. She is a strong tackler and a piercing kick of the football. She showed great vision and smarts to chop off a Gabriella De Angelis pass and kick forward, cutting short a potential goal surge from the Saints. Foley is a powerful kick and was NT’s best early, winning the ball in all thirds of the ground.

#5 Machaelia Roberts

Put her body on the line in the opening term, had a running shot on goal but was tackled doing so and it just missed. Worked hard in the forward line, providing a strong body and pressure to her opponents down there.

#12 Jasmine Anderson

A big contributor through the midfield, she often played on some of the talented TAC Cup Girls in Eleanor Brown or Shelley Heath, and won her fair share of the footy. She worked well with Angela Foley and Emma Swanson in the middle and spread out to the wings, winning it on the outside and kicking forward.

#17 Emma Swanson

A really strong tackler. Just fierce with the way she went about it, making sure her opponents earned every touch and won a number of frees for holding the ball. She worked hard on the inside and applied plenty of defensive pressure to the ball carrier so the Saints midfielders knew to be wary of her around the stoppages.

#25 Jess Allan

A superb job in the ruck, I thought she was one of their best. Her hands were good and she was mobile with her second efforts. She often won the tap, then roved her own work, but the most noticeable thing was her spread around the ground. She would take the important contested mark or intercept grab at half-forward or half-back, and ran hard to get to positions to impact.

#31 Jess Sedunary

Had a highlight moment in the first term, booting a goal off the ground in the goal square, just pouncing on the loose ball and using her smarts to get the Thunder on the board. It was not a day for forwards, but Sedunary kept trying throughout.

 

Casey Demons vs. Western Bulldogs

By: Peter Williams 

Casey:

#7 Bianca Jakobsson

Donning the long sleeves, Jakobsson took some great overhead marks and just kept getting involved across the four quarters. A contributor without being dominant, Jakobsson was a good link in the chain from defence to midfield, pushing up the ground and influencing the contest.

#13 Katherine Smith

A big game from Smith who was one of Casey’s best in the wet. She laid some fantastic tackles, including one on the opposition ruck in the final term. Buzzed around the stoppages and won it on the inside or out, and also did all the defensive things right. Played what you would call a wet weather brand of footy and led by example.

#16 Casey Sheriff

Really liked her game because she never took a backwards step. Just so strong in close, and the amount of times she would extract the ball from a tight situation was amazing. On one occasion she ripped the ball from an opposition player and got it out of the zone. She also showed her smarts by being able to have a deft kick avoiding her opponent who was about to pounce.

#21 Harriet Cordner

Had a shot on goal on the edge of three quarter time and just nailed it – it was perfect in the wet and luckily it just cleared the line. Got more involved in the final term, producing a thumping kick off half-back while standing up in the tackle. Pumped the ball long inside 50 in the final term too.

#22 Kasey Guthridge

Showed some promising signs, just needs to build confidence. Won a few frees and threatened to break the lines, but sometimes stop-started. Took some good marks around the ground and had a good long kick.

#29 Eden Zanker

The key forward was enormous in conditions that were not suited for taller players, taking several strong grabs, or bringing the ball down in front and working hard with second efforts to pass to teammates in space. She took a great mark sliding on her knees in the opening term, and was unlucky not to have a goal earlier with a snap just being rushed through. A second quarter set shot just missed, with the kick travelling 50 metres, showing her ability to fire from long range. She presented up the ground throughout the game, making leads out of the forward 50, and assisted with rucking when up forward, showing a good vertical leap. A very impressive performance, unlucky not to be rewarded with at least a goal or two.

#34 Darcy Guttridge

Really good early on, has that great acceleration and fearlessness through the contest. She has quick hands and once she sees an opening she takes it. Her power through acceleration is great, and she has a lovely long penetrating kick. She has the smarts when under pressure at ground level to punch it clear, using good vision to spot a teammate free on the outside. Works well through traffic and is really suited to the half-back role with the way she attacks the contest and kicks cleanly.

#38 Jordyn Allen

Played a role similar to the one we have become accustomed to at half-back in the TAC Cup Girls competition. She would win the football in the defensive half and kick long to the wing. Often her kicks are more to the advantage of her teammates rather than directly to them, but she has good decision making which helps. She was clean despite the conditions, and worked hard up the ground to win possessions on the wing as well.

#49 Brooke Struylaart

The Dandenong Stingrays’ AFL Women’s Academy member kicked a great opportunistic goal from a snap out of nothing, showing her great goal sense.

 

Western Bulldogs

#1 Brooke Lochland

A severely underrated player in the whole scheme on things. She has that great balance between offence and defence, and can hurt the opposition in a number of ways – kicking goals and running them down in bone-crunching tackles. She looked dangerous from the get-go with a number of chances early, hitting the post from a 20 metre set shot. But she worked hard, laying some fierce tackles, and pushed up the ground, then worked back, tiring her opponents. She took a great mark dropping back inside 50 in the third term and slotted the goal from 20 metres out on a slight angle. One of the Dogs best.

#2 Ellie Blackburn

In her debut game, Blackburn only lasted a half before coming off after a hard hit late in the second term. She played her usual game, winning plenty of it on the inside and running to the outside, and the opposition let her know they were there, with Blackburn drawing a number of free kicks. A true warrior, hopefully it is not a major injury.

#6 Kirsten McLeod

The forward ended up being the most damaging for the winners on the scoreboard, slotting two goals, including the first of the game with a quick pick-up and snap off a step. She made it two with another snap in the third term and had a chance for a third in the final term, but her shot went across the face. She laid a number of tackles and put pressure on her opponents both up forward and through the midfield.

#12 Jessica Francke

The Bulldogs forward took a good mark deep in the pocket in the second term, but her shot just missed. She did not manage to kick a major after a good game last week, but showed a good set of mits in the wet weather and led at the football, taking some strong grabs and using her body well one-on-one.

#17 Hayley Wildes

A smart player who pounced on a loose ball and ran into an open goal for the Dogs’ second goal. She was instrumental throughout the game, stepping up particularly when Ellie Blackburn went off, and refused to give in, putting in a four-quarter effort and covering the ground well.

18 Libby Birch

The important rebounder off half-back, Birch continued to remain involved throughout the four quarters. She has that smart sense to know when to push up the ground, and when to drop back. She would have recorded plenty of metres gained as she often intercept marks and takes off down the wing. She had a good deep kick inside 50 in the third term and worked hard throughout the game with good running.

#32 Alyssa Mifsud

Another Dogs forward who provides the dual-edge sword of offensive and defensive pressure on the opposition. She harasses the ball carrier and has great second and third efforts, never giving in and eventually laying a strong tackle on the possessor of the pill. Did not end up with a goal, but continually pressed hard in the attacking end.

#51 Katarina Rebuffo

The Western Jets player did not look out of place in the contest when the ball came in her zone. She showed a willingness to lay tackles and put pressure on the ball carrier.

 

Hawthorn vs. Essendon

By: Julia Montesano

Hawthorn:

#8 Rebecca Beeson

Beeson did not disappoint. She went in hard for every ball that she could, demonstrated when she went head-first into a contest. Although she came off groggy, she still got straight back up and prepared for the next incoming contest. She bobbed up in a lot of spots for the Hawks throughout the day, taking some lovely marks and using her speed and smarts to move play on quickly. She delivered some nice kicks on the day as well, proving to be a vital link in the chain. Was lively in the forward line as well where she has had so much success for Greater Western Sydney (GWS).

#22 Tamara Luke

Luke was damaging in the first quarter, booting the opening goal of the game in a matter of seconds, prompting an opening of the floodgates for the Hawks. After spending most of last year in defence, she looked right at home up forward at Box Hill, kicking two goals for the day. Her work rate was exceptional as she didn’t just sit back in the goal square. She made her direct opponent for most of the game, Tanya Hetherington work hard as Luke often found herself taking big grabs at the top of the 50 metre arc, creating scoring opportunities with her booming kick. Hetherington and teammate, Lauren Morecroft had to rotate playing on Luke because of her domination in the forward line. Great game from the experienced player.

#25 Meg Hutchins

Hutchins was composed with the ball in hand and provided fantastic outside run. Her kicks were penetrating and precise, giving her teammates prime opportunity to run a mock up forward. She was often the spare player in a contest, always ready to receive a handball or kick on the outside, demonstrating her exquisite positioning throughout the day. Loves to wheel around and go.

#37 Jade Barnden

Yet another debutant who impressed in her first outing for the Hawks. A classy runner that knew how to find the footy, Barnden used it well and was always there to help a teammate out. Her pressure around the ball was good and resulted in her getting a lot of it. She often generated good outside run and had solid hands throughout the day.

#45 Mikala Cann

Cann was superb in her Hawthorn debut. There was a never a moment where she did not go in hard for the footy, showing constant hunger and determination. After two early behinds, Cann got on the board with a running goal, being rewarded for her hard work in the contest. Usually it is her hands that are exceptional when she plays for the Eastern Ranges, but at Box Hill, her kicks were just as good. What stood out for me was her follow up work, as she proved how impressive her endurance is by running through after the kick and getting into a good position to receive the ball again.

 

Essendon:

#1 Jessica Trend

Trend was a key cog in defence, penetrating the ball well in the back line. Her kicks were long and she used them to effect to rebound the ball whenever she could. She positioned herself well against bigger bodies and did whatever she could to win the ball. Even floated up forward to kick Essendon’s second goal. Pressured well in defence to ensure that Hawthorn only scored five goals from 16 scoring shots.

#17 Tanya Hetherington

Hetherington was dealt with a big task in her first game for the Bombers, having to play on Tamara Luke. Hetherington competed well and was great aerially, bringing down some strong marks. She brought vital experience and footy smarts to the back line which the Bombers are in need of. Never did too much with the ball in hand and always tried her best to create slingshot footy from the defensive 50. Was thrown up forward in the last quarter to provide a target for the Bombers, which is a move that could occur throughout the season.

#32 Tait Mackrill

Just like in round one, Mackrill was one of Essendon’s best players. She crashed in hard at the contests, often bollocking her way through two or three players to surge the ball forward. Her marking was spectacular and was often in a contested situation, demonstrating good composure in congestion. Her kicks were long and strong, often getting the Bombers out of trouble. She was a big part of Essendon’s manic pressure game. Was thrown forward to try and steer the ship for the Bombers and competed well.

#35 Valerie Moreau

The Canadian jet competed hard at Box Hill, bollocking her way through contests. She kicked Essendon’s first goal of the day and was lively inside 50. Her kicking was sound and she worked hard to get the ball both on the inside and outside. Faded in and out of the game but overall she did well to keep Essendon in the game throughout the second and third quarters, applying plenty of pressure on her opponent.

#44 Maddy Collier

I thought Collier was Essendon’s best player on the day. She worked immensely hard to get the ball and created run and drive. While the Bombers struggled with the ball inside 50, Collier was always there to mop up errors. She had great hands and kicked the ball just as well, demonstrating composure with the ball in hand. Never seemed rushed to get a kick away and held the fort down well for the Bombers throughout the second and third quarter, where they pressured the opposition hard.