Tag: jordan zanchetta

Weekend wash-up: AFLW – Round 4

ROUND 4 was packed to the brim with exciting matches, with three teams winning by less than 10 points to close out the midway point of the season. North Melbourne got a shock this week when they took on a fighting Melbourne side at home, but are now the only team that has not dropped a game this season. Brisbane pulled a big win out in the final quarter against Bulldogs, while Collingwood has now lost four on the trot, essentially out of the running for finals with three rounds to go.

Geelong 2.7 (19) defeated Carlton 1.8 (14)
By: Michael Alvaro

A first half shut-out and Carlton’s blues in front of goal were the difference as Geelong pounced onto another win to climb into Conference B’s top two.

The Cats showed their typical guile in defence, keeping the star-studded Blues forward line to just two points at the main break, while opening up a 14-point buffer thanks to goals from Phoebe McWilliams and Sophie Van de Heuvel. While they kept the clamps on to see Carlton only manage one goal for the game’s entirety, it was not without unintended aid from the travelling side – encapsulated by two close-range misses from Tayla Harris in the third term that could have otherwise turned the tide of the game. Veteran Katie Loynes had no such trouble as she got Carlton on the board in the same stanza as the Blues pushed to snatch the lead. While Carlton managed to reverse the shut-out and restrict Geelong to three points in the second half, it was to no avail as the home side held on for its second win at GMHBA Stadium in as many tries.

Despite close attention from Blues skipper Bri Davey in the first half, McWilliams was one of the Cats’ best alongside the engine room prowess of Renee Garing and Maddy Keryk. Davey was thrown into the middle to combat their dominance after half time, and led the way from leading ball winners, Madison Prespakis and Kerryn Harrington – who stood up down back. Having leapfrogged their weekend opponents in Conference B, the Cats travel north in a top of the table clash against Brisbane, while the Blues host a winless Collingwood side on the same day.

Bulldogs 2.5 (17) defeated by Brisbane 7.7 (49)
By: Carly McClen

In the 2018 grand final rematch, it was Brisbane’s time for reckoning. With momentum, belief and energy, the Lions not only beat a Conference A side, they made it clear they’re in with a real shot at this year’s flag.

Playing at home with the breeze behind them, the Bulldogs set forth very differently to last year’s brand of footy. Though they had plenty of the ball and won clearances, they were kept goalless in the first and second terms due to inefficiency. They could not apply their characteristic short chip game under the Lions’ precise attack on the ball and the ball carrier.

The action was fierce, with bodies on the line, but it was scrappy from both teams until the second term when the Lions made good use of the breeze, broke out of the congestion and started to convert. Close to half time, and 21 points down, it got desperate for the Dogs. They put Katie Brennan deep down back and the whole side in defence to stop the haemorrhaging and reset in the main break.

First half goals went to Jordan Zanchetta in the first term, along with Jess Wuetschner and Breanna Koenen in the second.

The Dogs tried to rally early in the third and looked to have upped the intensity. Yet even with a strengthening wind behind them, they were unable to make a different statement or post scoreboard pressure.

Opportunities for the Dogs went by in the second half. Monique Conti missed an easy goal and there were multiple poor deliveries into key forward Katie Brennan. Just when those opportunities looked to have really sailed and Nat Exon celebrated a huge goal for the Lions, the Dogs got their first, with a clever intercept from Aisling McCarthy and and easy goal.

As Bulldogs’ prime midfield mover Ellie Blackburn was taken down the race with a knock to the head, Brisbane finished out the match as though being in front at three quarter time is a regular thing.

They take on the Cats at home next week.

Adelaide 9.11 (65) defeated Fremantle 3.5 (23)
By: Sophie Taylor

For the first time in 2019 a game was played at TIO Stadium in Darwin as Adelaide hosted Fremantle for the battle of Conference A. With a spectacular goal apiece for both teams in the first term and relatively even second and third quarters it looked like it was going to be a close match, however a final quarter onslaught from the Crows proved not only their strength in the competition, but their determination under pressure.

The Crows managed a convincing win over their fellow Conference A side, beating the Dockers 9.11 (65) to 3.5 (23), and delivering Fremantle’s first loss for the season.

Despite the loss, Fremantle’s Kiara Bowers and Dana Hooker put on a tackling show, picking up a combined 18 tackles of the Dockers’ 55. Bowers and Hooker were dominant for the Dockers, also picking up 19 and 16 touches respectively, while Evangeline Gooch picked up 17 touches and four marks.

Ashlee Atkins, Ebony Antonio and Kellie Gibson kicked a goal apiece, with Gibson kicking the opening goal of the match for the second week running.

Erin Phillips was dominant for the Crows, managing 25 touches, two goals and a behind to her name. Anne Hatchard and Ebony Marinoff were not far behind with 22 and 20 touches, respectively, while Eloise Jones, Stevie-Lee Thompson and Danielle Ponter each kicked another two goals to add to the tally. Thompson’s goal opened the scoring for the Crows, knocking down the goal umpire in what fortunately did not foreshadow the end result.

Adelaide dominated the hitouts, with Jessica Foley managing 24 of the 29 for her side alongside her five marks. Meanwhile teammate, Deni Varnhagen, and opposition, Stephanie Cain and Bowers also picked up five marks.

Collingwood 4.3 (27) defeated by GWS 5.6 (36)
By: Nikki Jamieson

Round 4 proved to be do-or-die for both the Giants and the Pies as they each were without a win all season. The GIANTS were able to hold Collingwood down for majority of the game, keeping them from scoring in both the first and third quarters. This very well means the end for the Pies’ 2019 campaign, whereas GWS just holds on in conference pool B.

In an almost fairytale start for the Giants, Tait Mackrill opened the scoring with her first career goal 30 seconds into the game, with a terrific goal that dribbled through Collingwood’s backline. The Giants continued to take advantage of the strong winds, kicking another two goals within the first 8 minutes of play.

GWS were more than able to out play Collingwood on the ball throughout the game, having far greater possession. Key players like Rebecca Beeson and Alicia Eva were most reflective of this, both players having equal highest disposals (22). Beeson’s dominance in the fourth quarter as well as early in the game proved to be a foil for Collingwood’s forwardline.

Collingwood tried in earnest to make a late-comeback in the fourth, leading to a 27-36 deficit and keeping GWS scoreless for the quarter. For Collingwood, key players like Jaimee Lambert and Sarah Dargan were able to stand out despite the loss. Lambert (21 disposals and 7 tackles) and Dargan (six tackles and 1 goal) were both influential in Collingwood’s final dig at a win, but nevertheless it proved too little too late.

Next Sunday, Giants will host the Dees in their second conference cross-over match back in their home stadium. Whereas Collingwood face their all-time rivals, Carlton at the historical Ikon Park on the Saturday.

Melbourne 5.4 (34) defeated by North Melbourne 6.2 (38)
By: Peter Williams

North Melbourne has survived its biggest threat yet in the AFL Women’s competition, to remain the only undefeated team from four rounds. The Kangaroos were challenged throughout the match, and were trailing as late as up until the seventh minute of the final term, before Emma King‘s third goal of the game put the visitors back in front to record a four-point win. Mo Hope converted the first goal of the game for North Melbourne, but the Dees through the unlikely goalkicker of Catherine Phillips, responded to trail by a point at quarter time. The second term belonged to the Roos as they piled on three goals, including two to King who was too tall at full-forward. After half-time, Melbourne booted the first two goals of the half including a running beauty to speedster, Aliesha Newman, and then a snap from former Gippsland Power co-captain, Tyla Hanks to hit the front momentarily. Hope’s second goal handed the Roos back the lead and while Newman’s second major in the final term gave the Dees a huge sniff, it was fitting that King was to eventually boot the winning goal.

Melbourne could consider itself very unlucky not to walk away with the points, having 45 more disposals, seven more marks and broke even in the clearances. Karen Paxman was terrific with 25 disposals, two marks and three tackles to be the Demons’ best alongside Lily Mithen (22 disposals, five marks and four tackles). Newman’s two goals up forward, and Tegan Cunningham‘s work rate inside 50 early was a treat, while Kate Hore was also impressive with 18 touches, three marks and three tackles. For North Melbourne, King was the clear difference between the teams with 3.1 from eight disposals and three marks, while Hope was lively throughout with the two goals from 10 touches and three marks. Jess Duffin was superb in the back half with 20 disposals and seven marks, while Jamie Stanton stood up on a wing with 21 touches, two marks and two tackles.

Scoreboard Sweep: AFLW, SANFLW

IN this weekend’s Scoreboard Sweeo, we take a look at how Round 3 in the AFL Women’s went down, as well as the SANFL Women’s League kicking off.

AFLW results:

North Melbourne 8.5 (53) defeated Western Bulldogs 3.4 (22)
GWS GIANTS 5.6 (36) defeated by Carlton 10.5 (65)
Fremantle 7.9 (51) defeated Collingwood 2.6 (18)
Adelaide 10.6 (66) defeated Geelong 6.1 (37)
Brisbane 3.3 (21) defeated by Melbourne 9.6 (60)

  • North Melbourne’s premiership dream in its inaugural season look massively on track after destroying the reigning premiers by 31 points
  • The Kangaroos’ ball use was superb, averaging 68 per cent compared to the Dogs’ 54 per cent.
  • Former Dog, Jenna Bruton recorded a game-high 22 touches, six marks and six tackles, while Jamie Stanton had 20 disposals, seven marks and three tackles in the win.
  • Monique Conti was the sole Bulldog over 15 touches, with 16 disposals, three marks and three tackles, while Katie Brennan had 14 disposals and booted a goal.
  • Carlton won its first game in more than a year, defeating the GWS GIANTS at Blacktown – ironically the last opponent the Blues defeated.
  • The Blues looked a completely different team to a fortnight ago, running at a massive 70 per cent disposal efficiency, while winning the inside 50 count, 33-21.
  • Madison Prespakis put in a stunning performance, booting three goals from 21 disposals, four marks and two tackles, while Tayla Harris also booted three goals in arguably her best AFL Women’s game.
  • Rebecca Beeson had the most GIANTS disposals with 17, while Courtney Gum and Alyce Parker worked hard, racking up 15 touches each in the loss.
  • Fremantle looks the most likely challenger to the Kangaroos, after dominating Collingwood in the first half to post a 33-point win and remain undefeated.
  • Fremantle simply dominated for three quarters, and finished the game with 43-23 inside 50s. Had it not being for the last term, the differential would have been greater. An 11 tackles to two inside forward 50 also showed the pressure in attack by the Dockers.
  • While ball magnet Dana Hooker was relatively held to 12 disposals, Kara Donnellan went on her merry way, racking up 19 touches, while Kiara Bowers was lively again inside 50 with 15 touches, eight tackles and a goal.
  • Sarah D’Arcy looked to Collingwood’s most influential player with 15 disposals and a goal, while there were some nervous times late in the game when the Magpies’ best player so far this season, Ash Brazill came off after being sandwiched by two Dockers.
  • It was a tough game all round, but the strength of the Crows’ resolve up forward was too much for the Cats.
  • Crow Ebony Marinoff broke a disposal record, racking up 33 touches in the win.
  • Richelle ‘Rocky’ Cranston and Mel Hickey took the field as Cats for the first time, with Rocky picking up 18 touches and leading her side in the tough loss.
  • Melbourne’s five second term goals set up the big win, with Aliesha Newman bagging three in the first half and Bianca Jakobsson kicking two. Karen Paxman also kicked a goal to go with her 24 touches and four tackles.
  • Harriet Cordner held Sabrina Frederick-Traub at bay, with the dominant forward only managing four touches to go with her four tackles for the game.
  • Nat Exon and Jordan Zanchetta were dominant, picking up six tackles apiece while Ally Anderson generated 21 touches and five tackles to her name.

SANFLW results:

Woodville-West Torrens 2.4 (16) defeated by Glenelg 7.9 (51)
Norwood 2.10 (22) defeated North Adelaide 1.5 (11)
South Adelaide 6.10 (46) defeated Sturt 2.2 (14)
West Adelaide 6.7 (43) defeated Central District 3.5 (23)

  • Last year’s wooden spooners, Glenelg start the season off with a big win over newcomers, Woodville-West Torrens.
  • Glenelg record 33 inside 50s to 18 in a complete performance forward of centre
  • Kiana Lee boots 2.2 for the Eagles, showing the talent that the teenager has inside 50 despite the loss.
  • Lucy Bellinger has a day out with 23 touches, 10 marks, four inside 50s, five tackles and two goals.
  • Norwood overcomes inaccuracy in the first three terms, going from 0.9 to 2.10 in a term to secure the win over Sturt.
  • Sturt dominated the hitouts 24-14, while Norwood had 30 inside 50s to 17.
  • Norwood’s Hannah Dunn amassed a massive 29 disposals, four marks and five inside 50s for the Redlegs, while Najwah Allen booted two goals from 20 disposals
  • Roosters defender, Amber Ward had a game-high nine rebounds to go with her 17 touches and two marks
  • South Adelaide put in early claim for its premiership defence with big win over Sturt.
  • The Panthers racked up 34 inside 50s to 10, and had 16 scoring shots to four.
  • Panthers young gun Teah Charlton was damaging up forward booting three goals from 14 disposals and four marks, while Nikki Gore and Hannah Munyard both racked up plenty of the ball with 19 disposals apiece.
  • Double Blues’ former AFL Women’s player, Georgia Bevan was gallant in defeat with 12 touches, six tackles and six rebounds.
  • West Adelaide start season on high by downing newcomers, Central District.
  • The teams were evenly matched on the stats sheet, but the Bloods had the upperhand at the stoppages with 27 hitouts to 14.
  • Madison Newman and Rachelle Martin combined for 49 disposals, seven inside 50s and 10 rebounds in a dominating display for West Adelaide.
  • Jayme-Lee Sonneman topped the Bulldogs’ disposal winners in the club’s first game, notching up 16 touches and three marks.

AFLW H2H Battle: Early 90s v Late 90s

IN our first AFL Women’s Head-to-Head Battle, we have created teams of 24 players to determine which end of the 90s might prevail in a head-to-head clash. For the early 90s team, we have those AFL Women’s players born between 1990-1994, and for the late 90s, we have the 1995-1999 births. We have not included any player that made their debut in season 2019. As you will see from the two different sides, the early 90s is stacked through the forward line with a strong defence, while the late 90s midfield is very deep with strong players up both ends. It made for a very difficult task of picking just 24 players for each side, and picking a winner is just as difficult.

Early 90s – 1990-1994:

B: Nicola Stevens – Chelsea Randall – Hannah Scott
HB: Bianca Jakobsson – Elise O’Dea – Ebony Antonio
C: Alicia Eva – Kara Donnellan – Kaitlyn Ashmore
HF: Christina Bernardi – Katie Brennan – Jasmine Garner
F: Jess Wuetschner – Darcy Vescio – Brooke Lochland
R: Emma King – Dana Hooker – Jessica Dal Pos
INT: Nat Exon – Sarah D’Arcy – Jaimee Lambert –  Kate McCarthy – Sarah Perkins – Deni Varnhagen

The Early 90s team features the best of the best from 1990-1994 births, with a forward line that is All Australian quality, and an enviable spine that would win one-on-ones galore. In defence, captains, Adelaide’s Chelsea Randall and Melbourne’s Elise O’Dea hold down key spots, with Hannah Scott taking the third tall role, and the likes of Nicola Stevens, Bianca Jakobsson and Ebony Antonio providing run from the back half.

In the midfield, the early 90s team features some seriously underrated players. Fremantle duo, Kara Donnellan and Dana Hooker, GWS GIANTS’ duo Jessica Dal Pos and Alicia Eva, and North Melbourne’s Kaitlyn Ashmore fill out the starting five, with Nat Exon, Jaimee Lambert and Deni Varnhagen able to rotate through there, as would O’Dea and Jakobsson who push up the ground. With Emma King in the ruck, the early 90s would have a strong chance to win the hitouts, although the opposition midfield would be hard to combat.

Up forward, it is littered with stars from start to finish, in what is an unbelievably powerful front six. Katie Brennan and Darcy Vescio as a one-two combo would bring the crowds alone, but throw in goal machines, Jess Wuetschner and Brooke Lochland, as well as great playmakers, Christina Bernardi and Jasmine Garner who provide both defensive and offensive pressure respectively, and add a different element to the mix. Add in the likes of Sarah D’Arcy, Nat Exon, Kate McCarthy and Sarah Perkins, and the forward rotation would be the envy of any side.

Even those who missed out could consider themselves incredibly unlucky, with Rhiannon MetcalfeStevie-Lee ThompsonAmelia MullaneMeghan McDonald, Aimee Schmidt, Jacinda Barclay, Lauren Pearce, Catherine Phillips, Kate Gillespie-Jones, Brittany Gibson and Hayley Wildes among some seriously talented depth for the five years.

VS

Late 90s – 1995-1999:

B: Nicola Barr – Libby Birch – Chloe Molloy
HB: Brianna Davey – Tahlia Randall – Emma Swanson
C: Emily Bates – Ebony Marinoff – Ally Anderson
HF: Ashley Sharp – Sabrina Frederick-Traub – Monique Conti
F: Aliesha Newman – Tayla Harris – Rebecca Beeson
R: Erin McKinnon – Ellie Blackburn – Lily Mithen
INT: Deanna Berry – Brittany Bonnici – Jenna Bruton – Sarah Hosking – Breann Moody – Jamie Stanton

The late 90s team has a deep midfield that would worry any opposition midfield with its uncompromising attack on the ball and ball carrier. Around the ground the side has good options in attack and defence, and while they might not be as experienced as their early 90s counterparts, they show the future of the game over the next five to 15 years. In defence, Tahlia Randall and Libby Birch are the two key backs, with Chloe Molloy capable of playing tall or small. Nicola Barr, Brianna Davey and Emma Swanson provide the fierce attack out of the back half, with the ability to roam through the midfield too.

In the middle, talented young ruck Erin McKinnon leads a massively inside midfield brigade, with Ellie Blackburn, Lily Mithen and Ebony Marinoff likely to lay a record amount of tackles in a game between them. Brisbane pair, Emily Bates and Ally Anderson will provide support on the wings, while Sarah Hosking, Brittany Bonnici, Jenna Bruton and Jamie Stanton are able to also rotate off the bench into the team. Breann Moody would be McKinnon’s back-up ruck, and also allows Randall to purely focus on her defensive match-ups.

Up front, Sabrina Frederick-Traub and Tayla Harris join forces inside 50 as the key targets. Around their, feet speed demons, Ashley Sharp, Monique Conti and Aliesha Newman will always have defenders worried, while Rebecca Beeson is consistent as they come. Deanna Berry will add to the pace inside 50 and will add some extra running off the bench.

Among those unlucky, injured talents Jess Hosking and Isabel Huntington would make the team with some luck in the future, while Jasmine GriersonBonnie ToogoodEden ZankerEloise JonesJordan ZanchettaHayley Miller, Stephanie Cain and Maddison Gay are among those in contention for a spot in the 24-player team.

Weekend previews: AFLW – Round 2

AFTER an exhilarating first round, which saw four of the five matches go down to the wire, teams prepare to tweak game styles or mix up team sheets in order to get an advantage over their opponents. Four of the first round losers face off, with Melbourne heading to Victoria Park on Saturday to face the Magpies, while Carlton hosts Adelaide at Ikon Park on Sunday. The two sides who head home without any points face an uphill battle in the race for finals action. The fifth losing side from Round 1, GWS GIANTS has its own mammoth effort – trying to take down North Melbourne who simply blitzed Carlton. A maximum of three sides can remain undefeated after Round 2 with first round winners, Geelong and Western Bulldogs, and Fremantle and Brisbane facing off over the weekend.

GWS GIANTS vs. NORTH MELBOURNE
Friday, February 8, 7.15pm
Drummoyne Oval

In the opening game of the round, new side North Melbourne fresh off a huge victory over Carlton, head to Drummoyne Oval to face the GIANTS. The GIANTS are playing just their second game at the venue, following a loss to the Blues this time last year. The battle within the contest is the All-Australian rucks going head-to-head with Kangaroos’ Emma King and GIANTS’ Erin McKinnon. North Melbourne’s midfield has great depth to it, lead by last year’s League Best and Fairest winner, Emma Kearney, Jamie Stanton, Jess Duffin and Ash Riddell, of whom the latter was ultra-impressive on debut. North Melbourne’s dynamic forward line features former Magpies, Jasmine Garner and Mo Hope, premiership-winning Bulldog Jenna Bruton, and former Lion Kaitlyn Ashmore. With the strength around the ground, it will be hard to contain the Roos if they win the midfield battle.

The one area the GIANTS could get an upper hand is through rebounding forward with an equally impressive, albeit underrated forward line. Jess Dal Pos, former Magpie Christina Bernardi and defender-turned-forward Cora Staunton are all capable of multiple goals, while Haneen Zreika was impressive on debut last week. The midfield simply has to win its fair share of head-to-heads, with Courtney Gum, Rebecca Beeson, Alicia Eva and Alyce Parker leading the way, while Amanda Farrugia, Emma Swanson and Tanya Hetherington will have big jobs coming out of defence. The Kangaroos took a massive 56 marks in last week’s huge win over Carlton, while still laying 66 tackles. The GIANTS laid just the 42 and only five in the forward 50, and will need to show more pressure inside 50 against a side capable of hurting you on the scoreboard really quickly. Both teams are generally good ball users and make the most of their opportunities so it will be fascinating to see which team can take the early advantage and put it on the scoreboard. North Melbourne will head in as favourites, but it is far from completely clear cut, and this will be a huge win for the GIANTS if they can get the job done at home.

H2H: GWS GIANTS 0 | North Melbourne 0 | Draws 0
Venue: GWS GIANTS 0-1-0 | North Melbourne 0-0-0

Last time they met: N/A

Fun facts:

  • Emma Kearney averages 20 disposals, 6.5 tackles, 4.5 clearances, four inside 50s and a goal against the GIANTS from two clashes.
  • Both AFL Women’s All Australian rucks are set to go head-to-head with Emma King taking on Erin McKinnon. In the battle between the pair last year, King won convincingly with 11 disposals and 18 hitouts to McKinnon’s three disposals and 14 hitouts.
  • GWS GIANTS’ only game at the venue resulted in a loss to Carlton last year, while North Melbourne looks to back up its only game – a huge win over Carlton last week.
  • The GIANTS have won two, drawn two and lost three games in New South Wales and Australian Capital Territory.

 

COLLINGWOOD vs. MELBOURNE
Saturday, February 9, 4.45pm
Victoria Park

At one of the homes of traditional football, Collingwood hosts Melbourne in what has become a must-win for both sides. After heart-breaking losses in Round 1 despite leading at the final change, neither team can afford to go 0-2, with the reality that teams need at least four wins to secure a finals berth. A second loss means they must win four of their final five games as a minimum and with both still to play their respective conference favourites, it would spell trouble for their post-season hopes. However, for the winner, it is a chance to balance the ledger and get back on track early in the season. Collingwood has been a slow starter in year’s gone by, and has been overhauled with youth since last season, while Melbourne has also brought a number of young players into the team, furthering the development of players who got their starts last season. With both teams defensively capable, it will make for a great clash. The sides also sit at one win each in the head-to-head, funnily enough after the losing side in each game got a head start, but was run over the top of in the second halves.

Both teams have made two changes, with a debutant and a return from a long-term injury headlining the selection moves. Oakleigh Chargers’ tall, Katie Lynch comes into the side after Sophie Alexander’s concussion last week ruled her out of the game. Kristy Stratton was also ruled out through injury, with the Magpies opting to go tall by bringing in Eliza Hynes to try and stretch the Melbourne defence when forward, while rotating with Sharni Layton and Eliza Fowler. Melbourne have brought in Ainslie Kemp who has not played since 2017 due to an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tear – sadly replacing Shae Sloane who suffered the exact same injury. The Dees have also brought in Ashleigh Guest for Claudia Whitfort. The key to victory for the Demons is restricting the run of Collingwood’s defence, which helped the Magpies hold up against Geelong last week with Ash Brazill causing all sorts of headaches, while Jordyn Allen was equally as impressive. They also need to clamp down on Jaimee Lambert who has the ability to turn a game with great plays, while Catherine Phillips could be the one asked to restrict Sarah D’Arcy from dominating in the air. For the Magpies, they need to be wary of Melbourne’s firepower with Tegan Cunningham and Eden Zanker likely to stretch the defence, while Aliesha Newman has pace to burn and both Kate Hore and Maddison Gay are capable of getting over the back and hurting teams on the rebound. Elise O’Dea, Karen Paxman and Lily Mithen are up there with the best midfields in the competition, and will look to control the stoppages around the ground and give their forwards early opportunities.

H2H: Collingwood 1 | Melbourne 1 | Draws 0
Venue: Collingwood 0-0-0 | Melbourne 0-0-0

Last time they met: Collingwood 9.4 (58) defeated Melbourne 3.6 (24) at TIO Traeger Park, Round 4, 2018

After booting the opening two goals of the match and keeping Collingwood goalless in the opening term, the Demons only managed 1.4 for the rest of the match as the Magpies piled on 9.4 to run away with the match by 34 points. Magpies captain, Steph Chiocchi played one of her best games under lights, booting a goal from 17 disposals, two marks, four clearances and three inside 50s, while Jaimee Lambert had a team-high 19 disposals as well as three inside 50s and two rebounds. Caitlyn Edwards and Mo Hope both booted two goals in the victory, but arguably the best performance was that of Brittany Bonnici who tagged Melbourne captain, Daisy Pearce and restricted her to a career-low nine disposals. For the Demons, Elise O’Dea was the top performer with 19 disposals, two clearances, three inside 50s and a goal, while Karen Paxman had 18 touches and three rebounds.

Fun facts:

  • Of the 42 players to take the field in last year’s clash in the Top End, just 24 players remain available for selection in season 2019. Even more remarkably, just eight players from Collingwood’s first match against the Demons – two years ago – remain on the list.
  • Elise O’Dea (17 disposals) and Karen Paxman (16.5 disposals) average the most disposals against the Magpies from their two clashes.
  • Sarah D’Arcy and Emma Grant average the most disposals against the Demons, with 10 touches apiece.
  • Both sides were in the lead at three quarter time after holding their opponent scoreless in the third term last week only to go on to lose the game in heartbreaking circumstances.

 

WESTERN BULLDOGS vs. GEELONG
Saturday, February 9, 7.15pm
VU Whitten Oval

H2H: Western Bulldogs 0 | Geelong 0 | Draws 0
Venue: Western Bulldogs 4-3-0 | Geelong 0-0-0

In the other game that will be the first time these teams go head-to-head is between reigning premiers, Western Bulldogs and new side, Geelong. Both teams had a win in Round 1 and this weekend marks the first home game for the Bulldogs, which means they will unfurl the 2018 AFL Women’s flag in front of what is predicted to be a strong crowd at VU Whitten Oval. The winner will most certainly get an early advantage given the strength of their opponent, and it marks the first game for the sides which sees them pitted against a non-conference rival. Both teams also know how to close out tight games, having survived one-point thrillers in the opening round to secure the four points. Given their experience and depth across the field, Western Bulldogs will head in as favourites, but Geelong are expected to throw down a challenge with a couple of key players returning.

The Cats have welcomed back key forward, Phoebe McWilliams and ruck, Erin Hoare to bolster their side against the reigning premiers. Georgie Rankin and Maighan Fogas have been the two unlucky players omitted from the victorious side last Saturday night, with Fogas and key defender, Georgia Clarke named as emergencies for the clash. The Dogs will unveil Irish debutant, Aisling McCarthy who comes into the side, replacing the omitted Belinda Smith. The enticing battle will see which defence holds up the best as both sides proved to have their respective opposition’s measure last week. Co-captain, Katie Brennan booted the Bulldogs’ two goals against the Crows, while Meg McDonald, Rebecca Goring and Madeline Keryk were among the Cats’ best under pressure when the Magpies were attacking. While the heartbreaking story of Nina Morrison doing her ACL at training will dominate headlines, Geelong still has a huge core of youth including Denby Taylor, Olivia Purcell and Sophie Van De Heuvel who will face established young talents in Monique Conti and Bonnie Toogood, and first round draftee, Eleanor Brown. Co-captain Ellie Blackburn is always a crucial player for the Dogs and will look to take control in the midfield, while the Dogs’ defence of Lauren Spark, Libby Birch and Hannah Scott will provide plenty of rebound.

Last time they met: N/A

Fun facts:

  • The Western Bulldogs lost three consecutive matches at VU Whitten Oval in 2017, but have since won all three games they have played there, and is the Dogs’ first home game since winning the 2018 AFL Women’s flag.
  • Aasta O’Connor will play against her old side for the first time, lining up in the ruck to face Kim Rennie, while sharing the ruck duties with Erin Hoare in the blue and white hoops.
  • Ellie Blackburn averaged 16.9 disposals, 2.9 marks, 3.25 tackles and 3.25 clearances last season, the most of any current Western Bulldogs player.
  • With Brooke Lochland injured for the season, Phoebe McWilliams will be the leading goal kicker from last season in the match, booting seven goals for the GIANTS.

 

CARLTON vs. ADELAIDE
Sunday, February 10, 4.05pm
Ikon Park

H2H: Carlton 0 | Adelaide 2 | Draws 0
Venue: Carlton 4-1-2 | Adelaide 0-0-0

For the first time in 2019, Ikon Park hosts a match with the Blues heading back home to welcome the Crows in a Sunday evening game. The ground has traditionally been the host of the opening game of the year between bitter rivals, Carlton and Collingwood but that has changed in 2019. These teams are both heading into the match off the back of a loss, with Carlton’s heavy defeat to North Melbourne not the ideal start to the season following a wooden spoon, while the Crows will rue missed opportunities in front of goal after booting 1.11 against the Bulldogs at Norwood Oval. Adelaide is yet to play at Ikon Park, while Carlton has made it somewhat of a fortress winning four and drawing a fifth game from its seven matches at the venue. Considering they have only won one match outside Ikon Park, it has been a comfort zone and the Crows cannot afford to take them lightly. With Adelaide in the tougher conference, they would not want to drop this game and go 0-2 to start the season, while Carlton will look for its first win under Daniel Harford who would have learnt plenty from the round one defeat.

Looking at the Round 1 matches, efficiency inside 50 looks to be key, with Adelaide having a 75 per cent scoring efficiency with 18 shots from 24 attempts, while Carlton had just 10 shots from 29 attempts – 35 per cent scoring efficiency. Both sides have impressive forward lines on paper, but they will need to convert their opportunities. Any forward 50 with Darcy Vescio, Tayla Harris and Brianna Davey – who has actually been named in defence – is going to worry opposition defenders, while Erin Phillips is as good as anyone one-on-one and is lining up at full-forward, while Chloe Scheer is a young star who will only get better. Speaking of young stars, Madison Prespakis carried the weight of the midfield on her shoulders last week and was ultra-impressive on debut, so the Crows will need to be aware of her presence. The Adelaide midfield has greater depth and the Blues should look to limit the influence of Ebony Marinoff who racked up 23 disposals and laid 11 tackles in Round 1. If Carlton can restrict her influence on the inside and win the contested ball – with the likes of Jess Hosking and Katie Loynes getting on top, it will go a long way to causing an upset. Chelsea Randall leads the defence, while the experience of Renee Forth through the midfield will be important. Carlton will need to control the ruck contest through Breann Moody, and break even in the middle, while the Crows will focus on clearance domination to give their forwards first opportunity and more importantly, those forwards need to convert.

Last time they met: Adelaide 8.7 (55) defeated Carlton 2.8 (20) at Norwood Oval, Round 5, 2018.

Adelaide flexed their muscles against the Blues when the sides were heading in opposite directions. The Crows at home booted six goals to one after quarter time to run away from the Blues, but counted the cost of the win with injuries to Erin Phillips and Courtney Cramey. Ruth Wallace booted three goals, while Eloise Jones finished with two, as Ebony Marinoff and Chelsea Randall shared 31 disposals. Breann Moody was dominant in the ruck for the Blues with 29 hitouts from 11 disposals and four clearances, while Tayla Harris had 11 disposals, three marks and booted a goal.

Fun facts:

  • Despite winning the wooden spoon last season, Carlton has a strong record at Ikon Park, having won four and drawn one from seven attempts.
  • If Carlton lose the match, it will mark more than a year since they won their last match.
  • While she picked up an injury in the second game, Erin Phillips was everywhere in the Crows’ first win over the Blues, racking up 21 disposals and eight clearances. In the same game, Ebony Marinoff laid 14 tackles from 16 disposals, her exact disposal average against Carlton.
  • Of the Carlton players to play against Adelaide in both games, the omitted Tilly Lucas-Rodd averages the most disposals with 13.5, while Darcy Vescio averages two goals per game against the Crows.

 

FREMANTLE vs. BRISBANE
Sunday, February 10, 3.05pm
Fremantle Oval

H2H: Fremantle 0 | Brisbane 2 | Draws 0
Venue: Fremantle 2-3-0 | Brisbane 1-0-0

Both sides won against the odds in Round 1, with Fremantle toppling Melbourne in scorching weather at Casey Fields after being 14 points down at the final break, while Brisbane knocked off GWS GIANTS a fortnight after succumbing to the GIANTS in a heavy practice match loss. Both sides had plenty to be positive about last week, most importantly securing an early four points, while also having plenty to improve upon for this week. Fremantle are back at home in Western Australia, but at their only other clash at the venue, Brisbane took home the points, though it was two years ago. Both teams look to be very different to that clash, with the Lions having a host of youth coming through, as do the Dockers while also filtering in some experienced local talent. Brisbane will go in as favourites given their history in the competition, but Fremantle’s performance last week certainly raised eyebrows and showed that everyone could be underrating the Dockers.

Both sides play a different brand of football which is really exciting for this clash. In Round 1, Fremantle battered and bruised their way to an impressive contested ball style, getting the pull forward to record a huge 11 marks inside 50, while laying 10 tackles in the arc. They harassed and pressured the Demons into making uncharacteristic mistakes, laying 77 tackles in the process. The Lions have tall targets up forward, but opted for a balanced possession game and spread well around the ground. They intercepted the GIANTS 51 times and took the game on, trying to unsettle the defence with possession football, but going when required. This game could well be a combination of both styles and sets up for a huge clash. The Lions forward line is severely underrated with Sabrina Frederick-Traub the dominant key position player, while McKenzie Dowrick and Jess Wuetschner are incredibly clever and dangerous around goals. Throw in Jordan Zanchetta, Emma Zielke and the defensively-minded but strong, Lauren Arnell and the Lions front six is as good as any. Ebony Antonio and Tayla Bresland were strong in defence last week, while the midfield of Dana Hooker and Kara Donnellan are not huge ball winners, but always effective. They tackle the biggest ball-winning duo of Emily Bates and Ally Anderson who had the ball on a string last week, while the potential match-up of Kiara Bowers and Sam Virgo could be entertaining based on Round 1 form. Both teams have immensely talented youth coming through, and both teams’ first round picks, Sabreena Duffy and Paige Parker, have been named in the side.

Last time they met: Brisbane 3.4 (22) defeated Fremantle 2.3 (15) at South Pine Sports Complex, Round 4, 2018.

In a low-scoring affair that saw just one goal kicked in the first half, Brisbane held on in a thriller to win by seven points and remain on track for a grand final berth. Dynamic forward, Jess Wuetschner booted two goals from 18 disposals, three marks and four inside 50s, while Kate Lutkins and Ally Anderson both had 18 touches in the win. For the Dockers, Lara Filocamo had 18 disposals and laid five tackles. Kara Donnellan laid a whopping 10 tackles and had five clearances and 15 disposals.

Fun facts:

  • In their only clash at the venue, Brisbane defeated Fremantle by 13 points in Round 2, 2017. Fremantle has a 100 per cent winning ratio at Fremantle Oval over Victorian sides, but a zero per cent winning ratio over non-Victorian sides.
  • Jess Wuetschner has been the dominant goal kicker in the matches between these sides, averaging two goals per game.
  • Lara Filocamo averages the most disposals between the sides, with 17.5 per match.
  • Both sides won their opening round matches by less than a kick, with Fremantle getting a dress rehearsal for the scorching West Australian heat, winning at Casey Fields in 38 degrees Celcius.

 

DRAFT CENTRAL TIPPING

Leaderboard:

Eq. 1st : Sophie Taylor, Matthew Cocks [ 3 ]
Eq. 3rd : Peter Williams, Taylah Melki, Michael Alvaro [ 2 ]

 

Peter Williams

Chief Editor

Last week: 2

Round 2 selections:

North Melbourne
Collingwood
Western Bulldogs
Adelaide
Brisbane

 

Taylah Melki

Assistant Chief Editor

Last week: 2

Round 2 selections:

North Melbourne
Melbourne
Western Bulldogs
Adelaide
Brisbane

 

Sophie Taylor

Women’s Football Editor

Last week: 3

Round 2 selections:

North Melbourne
Melbourne
Western Bulldogs
Adelaide
Brisbane

 

Michael Alvaro

Men’s Football Editor

Last week: 2

Round 2 selections:

North Melbourne
Melbourne
Western Bulldogs
Adelaide
Brisbane

 

Matthew Cocks

Guest Tipster

Last week: 3

Round 2 selections:

GWS GIANTS
Collingwood
Western Bulldogs
Adelaide
Brisbane

AFLW season previews: Brisbane

THE Brisbane Lions have come so close to winning an AFLW premiership, being runners-up in both years of the AFLW. They would love to go one step further in 2019, but it will be hard considering the mass exit of players to North Melbourne. They will field a new-look side in 2019 dominated by exciting youth rather than experienced guns, which has been the theme of the Brisbane line-up in the 2017 and 2018 seasons.

Last season: 2nd- four wins, three losses.

Changes:

In: Lauren Arnell, Paige Parker, Natalie Grider, McKenzie Dowrick, Lauren Bella, Tori Groves-Little, Jesse Tawhiao-Wardlaw, Jacqueline Yorston, Jade Ellenger.

Out: Kaitlyn Ashmore, Brittany Gibson, Tahlia Randall, Jamie Stanton, Nicole Hildebrand, Renee Cowan, Kalinda Howarth, Molly Ritson.

Brisbane was dealt with a mass exit of players with the introduction of expansion team, North Melbourne. The Lions saw four of their players head down south, as Kaitlyn Ashmore, Brittany Gibson, Tahlia Randall and Jamie Stanton opted to don the blue and white in 2019. On top of that, Nicole Hildebrand jetted down to the Pies, spending the 2018 Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s season with them, leaving a massive hole in Brisbane’s defence. But the Lions had a big advantage heading into the draft, with coach, Craig Starcevich coaching the Queensland Under-18 representative side and identifying the top talent that could slot into the Brisbane line-up. Six players from the Under 18 side made their way onto the Lions’ list after a successful Under 18 Championships campaign in which the side beat Vic Metro for the first time in its history. In addition, gun Western Australian, McKenzie Dowrick made the decision to take her footy up north, presenting a huge boost for the Brisbane line-up in 2019.

Area of strength: Midfield

Despite the loss of Ashmore, Gibson and Stanton in the middle of the ground, Brisbane drafted well enough to cover the loss. Tori Groves-Little is a clever footballer that is guaranteed to go hard at every contest. Her tackling is quite impressive, as is her run and carry. Jacqueline Yorston is likely to complement her well in the middle of the ground, as she is a natural ball-winner. Expect Jade Ellenger to also contribute, as her speed is quite impressive and will help her to burn opponents. Combine these exciting youth prospects with the experience of players like Nat Exon and Ally Anderson and Brisbane’s midfield looks quite potent. Exon had a wonderful VFLW campaign for Darebin, being named either the first or second best player on the ground in six of her seven games. Expect her to continue to turn it on for the Lions in 2019.

Area of weakness: Forward line

The Lions’ forward line still remains a problem in 2019. They’ve based their game in the past two seasons around their strong defence, which has managed to work considering the form of players like Kate Lutkins and Leah Kaslar. But they might find it difficult to play this style of football this year, with other clubs such as North Melbourne boasting potent forward lines. Sabrina Frederick-Traub has been the focal point up forward for the Lions in the past two seasons, but if she had a bad game, it would often spell trouble for her side. She will need some more assistance in 2019 if the Lions are to score more. Bella Ayre will need to return to the form that saw her get nominated for the Rising Star in 2017, while Kate McCarthy’s X factor will be even more important than ever in AFLW 3.0. The loss of the exciting Sophie Conway for the 2019 season hurts the forward line even more, as she had a sensational 2018 campaign inside 50.

Players to watch:

McKenzie Dowrick

Craig Starcevich and his coaching group would have been licking their lips when McKenzie Dowrick nominated to play her 2019 football in Queensland. Dowrick is originally from Western Australia and has played all her junior football there. A member of the AFL Women’s Academy, Dowrick hardly puts a foot wrong when she sweeps across the backline and through the midfield, as her booming left foot kick and reliable hands often got her side out of trouble. She has been a star for Western Australia in the Under 18 Championships, being named in the All-Australian side at half-back for the past two years. Expect her to add composure and class to Brisbane’s defence in 2019.

Nat Exon

Nat Exon is coming into the 2019 season off the back of some scintillating form for Darebin in the VFLW season. She came second in the Falcons’ best and fairest count despite only playing half of the season. She impressed with her ferocity at the contest for Darebin, averaging 5.9 tackles in her seven games. Her disposal average was also impressive in the VFLW, racking up an average of 18.4 disposals per game. She should be a key ball winner for the Lions in 2019, and will add some aggression to the midfield.

Jordan Zanchetta

Zanchetta showed promise in the 2018 AFLW season for the Lions after missing the inaugural season with an ACL tear. She showed good intent through the midfield and was a strong tackler. If she can match her aggression with disposals, she could be a dangerous player for Brisbane in 2019.

2019 prediction: 2nd in Conference B

The conference system becomes an interesting situation in this instance, because Brisbane certainly have the easier conference group. If the Lions were in conference A alongside teams like the Bulldogs, Demons and Crows, it would be likely that they would miss the finals. But in conference B, they sit alongside 2018 bottom side, Carlton, a depleted Collingwood outfit as well as the unknown side in Geelong. Greater Western Sydney (GWS) is likely to be Brisbane’s biggest challenge this year, with the GIANTS finishing 2018 strongly. Brisbane still has the line-up to be a strong side in 2019, despite the loss of experience.

2019 Brisbane AFLW Fixture

DateEventTime/ResultsVenueArticleMatch Day
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
Moreton Bay Sporting ComplexRound 1
Fremantle OvalRound 2
-
Hickey ParkRound 3
Whitten OvalRound 4
Moreton Bay Sporting ComplexRound 5
Ikon ParkRound 6
Victoria ParkRound 7

QWAFL weekly wrap: Round 16

IN Round 16, Yeronga South Brisbane, Coorparoo and University of Queensland all came out on top in the Queensland Women’s Australian Football League (QWAFL). Wilston Grange remain on top of the ladder despite having a bye this weekend. With only one round to go in the competition, three teams sit on six wins and seven losses so they have everything to play for next week.

 

BOND UNIVERSITY 0.0 | 1.0 | 2.0 | 5.1 (31)
YERONGA SOUTH BRISBANE 2.3 | 6.3 | 7.3 | 9.3 (57)

GOALS:

Bond University: C. Hammans 2, T. Perry, X. Cerutti, R. Saliadarre .
Yeronga South Brisbane: D. Leach 3, J. Zanchetta 2, K. Howarth 2, J. Banks, J. Ransfield.

BEST:

Bond University: T. Perry, A. Clarke, E. Sundstrom, R. Saliadarre, K. Scherer, X. Cerutti
Yeronga South Brisbane: E. Bliss, E. Bates, D. Leach, J. Banks, J. Keeffe, J. Zanchetta

Yeronga South Brisbane claimed a 26-point victory over Bond University in a clash that saw fourth and sixth go head-to-head. Yeronga South Brisbane’s win meant it went up to fifth place while Bond University was knocked out of the top four and sits in sixth place after the loss. Demi Leach had a great game up forward with three majors for the away side while AFLW players, Jordan Zanchetta and Kalinda Howarth also got on the board. Leach and Zanchetta also earned a spot among Yeronga South Brisbane’s best and were joined by AFLW teammates, Emily Bates and Jessy Keeffe as well as Emily Bliss and Jade Banks. For Bond University, Queensland Under 18 representative, Charlotte Hammans led the way up forward with two majors. Tamsin Perry, Xanthe Cerutti and Rihanna Saliadarre also kicked a goal on the day and were named in the best as well.

 

COORPAROO 2.1 | 3.10 | 7.12 | 12.15 (87)
MAROOCHYDORE 1.0 | 1.0 | 1.0 | 1.1 (7)

GOALS:

Coorparoo: J. Govan 5, J. Wuetschner 2, M. Forbes 2, J. Ellenger, T. Groves-Little, M. Ingram
Maroochydore: L. Barklimore

BEST:

Coorparoo: S. Young, J. Ellenger, J. Wuetschner, T. Groves-Little, E. Mckenzie, G. Paulsen
Maroochydore: C. Croyden, R. Crack, T. Day, J. Sills, K. Sills, J. Epstein

In a game where second took on seventh, Coorparoo got the job done fairly easily on the day against Maroochydore. Jenae Govan was the star up forward with five majors, taking her season goal kicking tally to 30 goals from 11 games. AFLW forward, Jessica Wuetschner and Maili Forbes also got on the board with two goals. Queensland Under 18 representatives, Jade Ellenger and Tori Groves-Little performed well on the day, with both players also kicking a major each and being named in the best for Coorparoo. Maroochydore’s only goal kicker was Laura Barklimore, who kicked her first major in 11 games. The Roos’ best players on the day were Claire Croyden, Rachel Crack, Taylah Day, Jesse Sills, Kelsee Sills and Jya Epstein.

 

UNIVERSITY OF QUEENSLAND 4.2 | 5.3 | 7.5 | 8.7 (55)
COOLANGATTA TWEED 0.0 | 0.0 | 0.1 | 0.2 (2)

GOALS:

University of Queensland: S. Frederick-Traub 3, K. McCarthy, M. McGorm, E. Pericic, J. Childes, N. Grider.
Coolangatta Tweed: Nil.

BEST:

University of Queensland: N. Grider, M. Moloney, A. McNabb, M. Beaven.
Coolangatta Tweed: L. Turney, Z. Wood, E. Hagan, M. Roberts, Z. Lattanzi, B. Pinchin.

University of Queensland got a convincing win against Coolangatta Tweed, running out victors by 53 points on Saturday. AFLW stars, Sabrina Frederick-Traub and Kate McCarthy both got among the goals, kicking three and one respectively. Queensland Under 18 captain, Natalie Grider also got a major on the board and was named best on ground for her side on the day. Despite having no goal kickers, there were still plenty of good performers for Coolangatta Tweed on Saturday. Lucy Turney, Zoe Wood, Emily Hagan, Maddy Roberts, Zoe Lattanzi and Bethany Pinchin were all named in the best for their side on the day.

 

QWAFA Division 1:

Burleigh 10.11 (71) defeated Coolangatta Tweed 1.1 (7)
Yeronga South Brisbane 2.1 (13) defeated by Moreton Bay 8.9 (57)
Wilston Grange 2.2 (14) defeated by Kedron 3.5 (23)
Coorparoo 21.17 (143) defeated Maroochydore 0.1 (1)
University of Queensland 0.0 (0) defeated by Broadbeach 4.5 (29)

Coorparoo took advantage of Aspley Hornets’ bye to claim top spot in the best possible way, belting Maroochydore by 142 points. The Blues had 38 scoring shots to one, which included just a casual 15 majors to Meg Pullinger in a clear best on ground performance. Rachael Grech was named the Roos’ best in the defeat. Burleigh also had an impressive win, defeated Coolangatta Tweed by 64 points at home. Rebecca Fitton booted three goals while Lauren Theodore was named best on ground in the win.

Third placed Moreton Bay kept in touch with the top two following a 44-point victory over Yeronga South Brisbane. Queensland young gun Lily Postlethwaite was named best on ground once again, while Richelle Reeves booted two goals to be amongst seven individual goal kickers for the Lions. Ngatai Alapaki continued her good form for Yeronga South Brisbane in the loss. Broadbeach held onto its fourth spot with an important 29-point victory over University of Queensland. The Cats held the home side scoreless in the match, with Rebecca Goodwin named best on ground in the win. In the closest game of the round, Kedron held off Wilston Grange in a nine-point victory. Felicity Angliss booted two goals, while Jacinta King was named the winning teams’ best. Mica Cubis was judged the Gorillas best in the defeat.

Scouting notes: AFLW – Round 4

DEFENSIVE efforts headlined a massive round four, where players were pushed to their limits by the unusual weather conditions. Melbourne’s Daisy Pearce was kept quiet by young gun, Brittany Bonnici, while GWS’ Pepa Randall nullified Erin Phillips’ impact at Blacktown. But all the talk surrounded Friday night’s Pride Match, where Brooke Lochland lit up the forward line, while Hannah Scott held down the back line, in a bid to prove that the Bulldogs are the real deal this year. 

Western Bulldogs vs. Carlton

#1: Brooke Lochland- Western Bulldogs

SEVEN GOALS! The most goals ever scored by an AFLW player in one game! Need I say more? Lochland was everywhere. Her reading of the footy was exquisite, and she always got into the perfect position in front of goal.

#2: Emma Kearney- Western Bulldogs

Acceleration was second-to-none.  Was able to consistently burst through the pack with the footy. Gets and goes.

#3: Hannah Scott- Western Bulldogs

Everybody wanted to see her play well and she did. What a great game for an inspiration like her to be a part of. Stalwart in defence. Great spoiling and great composure throughout the night.

#4: Bonnie Toogood- Western Bulldogs

Played deep in the forward line and was able to get herself into good scoring positions throughout the night. Her and Lochland were such a dangerous duo inside 50.

#5: Monique Conti- Western Bulldogs

Her start was electric, you just knew she was going to play a ripper of  a game. She was zipping around the footy all night. Great ball-handling, but would have been spewing that she didn’t get on the scoreboard. Deserved reward for all her hard work.

#6: Libby Birch- Western Bulldogs

Very reliable when matching up on small, dangerous forwards. Kept Vescio quiet, whilst working up the ground as well. Always attacked the footy, and came to the ball rather than waited for it.  

#7: Ellie Blackburn- Western Bulldogs

Self-confidence is growing. Got right in Arnell’s face when her turnover resulted in Blackburn kicking a goal. Racked up plenty of the footy. Got a lot of it in the forward line, compared to getting more in the heart of the contest in the midfield in recent weeks. Able to mop up deep in defence.

#8: Sarah Hosking- Carlton

Got a lot of the footy as usual. Perfect replacement for Brianna Davey – went in extremely hard at the footy. Ran through players of all sizes.

#9: Kirsty Lamb- Western Bulldogs

Stood up for her team as usual. Got plenty of touches again in a stellar performance.

#10: Madeline Keryk- Carlton

Put in the hard yards for the Blues. Was able to stream through the corridor at multiple times, and has a long, booming kick.

#11: Lauren Arnell – Carlton

Desperately tried hard for the Blues. Made two crucial errors in a matter of seconds, which resulted in a Blackburn goal. Finally converted late in the third quarter, with two deserving goals in quick succession.

#12: Aisling Utri- Western Bulldogs

Went in hard at the footy. Was able to get it in the heart of the contest, and use her quick hands to dish it off to her teammates.

#13: Breann Moody- Carlton

Tried really hard in the ruck contest throughout the night. Got some of the footy as well. Was troubled by calf soreness in the second half. Hopefully it is not anything serious.

#14: Angelica Gogos- Western Bulldogs

Tackling was on display again. Laid 10 tackles, and was able to do the little things all night.

#15: Jenna Bruton- Western Bulldogs

Solid game in the middle, including a long, booming kick that floated through the goals!

#16: Aasta O’Connor- Western Bulldogs

Long, penetrating kick was vital throughout the night. Made a solid contribution in the ruck as usual. Such an important on-field leader for the Dogs.

#17: Tilly Lucas-Rodd- Carlton

Was able to move the footy quickly throughout the game. Fell away at times though.

#18: Kate Shierlaw- Carlton

Great agility. Started one-out in the forward line in the third quarter, and did her best. Would’ve liked to see her snag a major.

#19: Alison Downie- Carlton

Put in the hard yards for her side, particularly in the second half. Stepped up where she could.

#20: Shae Audley- Carlton

Played another solid game in navy blue. Becoming a very reliable player that always performs.

 

Brisbane vs. Fremantle 

By Taylah Melki

#1: Kate Lutkins- Brisbane

Once again dominated across the ground. Got plenty of touches and used the ball cleanly and efficiently. Fought hard to win contested ball and tried hard to set up scoring opportunities, pressing hard into the forward 50.

#2: Jess Wuetschner- Brisbane

Continued her excellent form. Slotted another impressive two goals and showed her skill, class and general football know-how to get herself into damaging scoring positions. Dominated possession and got plenty of touches in the forward line.

#3: Kara Donnellan- Fremantle

The captain stood tall once again for the Dockers. Had clean hands and used the footy well, racking up plenty of touches. The majority of them were kicks that helped send Fremantle forward.

#4: Nicole Hilderbrand- Brisbane

Proved her fitness showing no sign of her injury concern. Showed plenty of courage going back with the flight of the ball on many occasions.

#5: Lara Filocamo- Fremantle

Was the leading ball-winner for the Dockers and used the footy well. Great on-field leader.

#6: Nat Exon- Brisbane

She was her ever-reliable self and laid an impressive nine tackles. Hit the packs hard and imposed her physical presence while scrapping for the footy.

#7: Ally Anderson- Brisbane

Imposed herself on the contest and racked up plenty of touches. Long penetrating kick.

#8: Emily Bates- Brisbane

She was efficient with the footy, hit targets and used the ball cleanly. Had plenty of touches and was busy across the ground.

#9: Jamie Stanton- Brisbane

Racked up 16 touches with 15 of those being kicks. Set up play for the Lions and hit her targets. Tackled hard and applied plenty of pressure

#10: Brittany Gibson- Brisbane

In difficult weather conditions, she used the footy well and looked lively with ball in hand. Stood up well throughout the game.

#11: Gabby O’Sullivan- Fremantle

Fought hard in the first quarter. Took plenty of contested marks and applied heaps of forward pressure.

#12: Tahlia Randall- Brisbane

Took plenty of contested and intercept marks for the Lions. Dominated in the ruck, getting plenty of hit-outs to advantage for Brisbane. Good elevation in ruck contests.

#13: Ashlee Atkins- Fremantle

 Started well in the first quarter, was in everything. Good tackling pressure. Bagged an important goal to keep her team in the game.

#14: Dana Hooker- Fremantle

Long penetrating kick. Was in every contest and scrummed well. Was not afraid to get down and dirty to try and win the footy to propel her team forward.

#15: Lisa Webb- Fremantle

Stood up under pressure and had good tackling pressure. Imposed herself on the contest and wasn’t afraid to scrap for the footy.  

#16: Sabrina Frederick-Traub- Brisbane

She was influential up forward though she didn’t hit the scoreboard. Created plenty of scoring opportunities for teammates and applied plenty of forward pressure to help trap the ball in Brisbane’s forward 50.

#17: Emma Zielke- Brisbane

She was in everything in the first quarter, scrumming hard to win the contested footy. Showed good on-field leadership for the Lions.

#18: Hayley Miller- Fremantle

Went down with a suspected finger injury but came back out firing. Contested hard for the footy, racking up 14 touches. Applied physical pressure with five tackles.  

#19: Jordan Zanchetta- Brisbane

Racked up 11 touches for the match in difficult conditions. Played her role well and did not over-complicate things.

#20: Leah Mascall- Fremantle

Played well and fulfilled her role to the best of her ability. Laid plenty of tackles and hit the pack hard.

 

Melbourne vs. Collingwood

By Connor Ferris 

#1: Christina Bernardi- Collingwood

Continues to be a force in the forward line. Great ability to find space. Gathered several uncontested marks and converted them into scores.

#2: Stephanie Chiocci- Collingwood

Reliable as usual through the midfield. Tallied up 17 possessions with good ball use, setting up several scoring chances. Scored a goal herself which took the game out of Melbourne’s reach in the last quarter. 

#3: Karen Paxman- Melbourne

Played a great game. Reliable with ball in hand and threw her body around in the contest well. A standout in an otherwise disappointing game for the Dees.

#4: Jaimee Lambert- Collingwood

Leading possession-getter on the ground with 19. Provided great run and carry for the Pies all day, and laid four tackles to polish off her efforts.

#5: Elise O’Dea- Melbourne

Early goal to really establish control of the game. One of Melbourne’s best, ended up being the leading possession-getter on the ground amongst both teams.

#6: Amelia Barden- Collingwood 

Most of her possessions came as a result of hard work and determination, with a majority of them being contested. Kicked a well-deserved goal in the last quarter.

#7: Jasmine Garner- Collingwood

Moved down back in the second quarter and was instrumental in holding the Dees scoreless for the quarter. Could be a permanent position for her.

#8: Emma King- Collingwood

Once again moved well around the ground getting plenty of the ball. Outplayed Melbourne’s Erin Hoare in the ruck contest

#9: Caitlyn Edwards- Collingwood

Kicked back-to-back goals in the third quarter to help Collingwood extend the lead, and remained threatening inside 50 throughout the match.

#10: Brittany Bonnici- Collingwood

Ran with Daisy Pearce to nullify her impact and did a terrific job. Held Pearce to nine possessions, while registering 13 herself.

#11: Harriet Cordner- Melbourne

Spent a bit of the game in the ruck, but was beaten by King when she was. However, she did display high levels of pressure throughout the match, laying six tackles.

#12: Moana Hope- Collingwood

The Melbourne defence applied great pressure on Hope, making her earn every possession. Two holding the ball decisions went against her early because she simply tried to do too much. But bounced back well, kicking two goals in the second quarter.

#13: Daisy Pearce- Melbourne

Struggled to break away from Bonnici, who battled her hard all day. Had a quiet day with just the nine possessions, but applied great pressure with six tackles.

#14: Richelle Cranston- Melbourne

Great pair of hands, and was able to read the ball really well in the air. Used her physicality to her advantage.

#15: Emma Grant- Collingwood

Very good game. Read the ball incredibly well down in defence, and showed great composure.  Has become an intercept-mark specialist.

#16: Meg Downie- Melbourne

Good defensive work on Moana Hope early. Tried hard all game despite Melbourne’s defence being under constant pressure.

#17: Iilish Ross- Collingwood

Ross’ impact was not defined by numbers. She displayed great efforts in defence, really shutting down the Melbourne forward line. Laid a team-high five tackles.

#18: Bianca Jakobsson- Melbourne

Good effort down in defence. Took a number of marks and stood up well under the Collingwood pressure. 

#19: Kate Hore- Melbourne

Kicked the first goal of the day for the Dees, but was kept quiet after that. This was mainly due to the limited scoring opportunities that Melbourne had.

#20: Shelley Scott- Melbourne

Had some early opportunities in front of goal but was unable to convert. However, she was involved in a great unselfish play to set up O’Dea’s first-quarter goal.

 

GWS vs. Adelaide

By James Halley 

#1: Alicia Eva- GWS

Despite the conditions she still managed to keep her skills pristine on most occasions. She was the best midfielder on the ground throughout the day, finishing with 23 possessions.

#2: Ebony Marinoff- Adelaide 

She set an all-time record in tackles, laying 21 of them. A tackling machine that was in-and-under all day. Used her size to her advantage at times- good to see some physicality from the youngster.

#3: Chelsea Randall- Adelaide

Her courage was immense when she took a mark running back with the flight, even though McWilliams was coming full of steam in the opposite direction. She kept a cool head at countless times, and her composure was paramount throughout the match. She was able to steady the flow and take plenty of important intercept marks.

#4: Jessica Dal Pos- GWS

Controlled her kicking really well in the heavy rain. Her desperation was pinnacle in saving many goals throughout the day.

#5: Angela Foley- Adelaide

Managed to have an impact on the game across half-back. She had sticky hands on a day where marks weren’t easy to come by, which was a positive for the Crows in the tough conditions. She is an integral cog in the Adelaide back-line.

#6: Amanda Farrugia- GWS

Her captaincy was on show throughout the day. Her ferocious tackling was a highlight, and her courage to constantly be in and around the contest was remarkable.

#7: Cora Staunton- GWS

Executed a snap from straight in front, which was a little bit strange. But she made it work despite the higher level of difficulty on the kick that she chose. It amounted in the Giants’ second goal of the game in the second quarter. Her Gaelic skills were evident, as it was easy for her to kick the ball to advantage in the wet. Managed to keep her feet all day, which showed her strong core.

#8: Courtney Cramey- Adelaide

After being awarded a free kick in the first quarter, she kicked the Crows’ first major of the day in hard goal-kicking conditions, which was impressive for a defender. But she couldn’t capitalise on a late shot at goal after a 50 metre penalty, which could have won Adelaide the game.

#9: Emma Swanson- GWS

The vice-captain showed great courage with a huge mark late in the third quarter, going back with the flight of the ball. Played her most impressive game of the year. 

#10: Rebecca Beeson- GWS

She capitalised on a set shot early in the first quarter to kick the Giants’ first goal of the game. It was impressive that her technique kept intact in the trying conditions.

#11: Pepa Randall- GWS

Played a great game, nullifying the impact of Erin Phillips. Played her role for the Giants.

#12: Justine Mules- Adelaide

Eight huge tackles to complement Ebony Marinoff’s immense pressure. Consistent throughout the afternoon. 

#13: Nicola Barr- GWS

Didn’t stop trying throughout the game. Twelve disposals is impressive enough, but her one percenters were what caught the eye of the fans. Did some wonderful things with the ball in hand. 

#14: Erin Phillips- Adelaide

Although the conditions were not ideal, she still managed to show why she is a major force in the AFLW with her vital leads in the forward line. She managed to take marks out in front with her hands, which most players were afraid to do.

#15: Eloise Jones- Adelaide

She was one of the better players for the Crows throughout the day. Looked proactive in the forward line, and is cementing her spot up there. 

#16: Deni Vernhagen- Adelaide

She played her role for the team. She also took some influential intercept possessions late in the game.

#17: Britt Tully- GWS

Was able to slow the play down in the conditions and apply pressure on the Adelaide forward line. Laid seven tackles for the game. 

#18: Ruth Wallace- Adelaide

Her pace was evident and got her into trouble sometimes, not knowing how much time she had and consequently, losing her feet. Halfway through the third quarter she was able to take an impressive mark in the wet, but couldn’t finish the job with an accurate shot for goal. However, she kicked an unbelievable banana-goal early in the last quarter, and was exciting all day with her evasive skills on show.

#19: Elle Bennetts- GWS

Hit the post with a shot on goal in the second quarter, which could’ve been avoided if she didn’t rush. However, she did manage 10 disposals and laid some fierce tackles. 

#20: Rhiannon Metcalfe- Adelaide  

She was off the field for a small amount of time in the second quarter with an eye injury, but came back on and seemed fine afterwards. She laid a great tackle on Erin McKinnon in the third quarter, which awarded her a free kick for holding the ball.

AFLW previews: Round 2

AFTER an interesting first round of matches, AFLW sides are looking for ways to either improve or consolidate on their efforts from week one. Each week AFL Draft Central will preview the weekend’s matches and look ahead to what is set to be an entertaining sequel to the inaugural 2017 season.

GWS vs. Carlton

Friday February 9, 7.05pm at Drummoyne Oval

Last week Carlton once again claimed the four points in round one against the Pies in the season opener, while the Giants came up short against an experienced Melbourne line-up, after dominating for most of the match. 2017 AFLW leading goal-kicker, Darcy Vescio will be hoping for a big performance in navy blue, after she was kept quiet by the round one Rising Star nominee, Chloe Molloy. But at the other end, expect fireworks from exciting GWS forward, Phoebe McWilliams, who booted three goals to keep her side in the game when it began to slip away from them. Dandenong recruit Georgia Gee will get her chance in the midfield for Carlton, but former Stingrays teammate, Bridie Kennedy, will once again sit on the sidelines. This comes after an impressive performance by the Blues’ ruck, Alison Downie, who booted a goal against the Pies, and was lively throughout the game. The GWS recruits shined at Casey Fields last week, and expect no different this week. Despite being 36 years-old, Courtney Gum kept up with the 19-year-olds and was an efficient ball-user, while Irishwoman, Cora Staunton had some real X-factor with the ball in hand. Watch out for her in front of goal, in what will be a tight contest between two rapidly-improving sides.

 

Melbourne vs. Adelaide

Saturday February 10, 5.05pm at Casey Fields

Melbourne put its hand up for premiership contention with a come-from-behind win over the Giants last week, but it was not good news for the reigning premiers at Norwood Oval. The Crows unfurled their flag in their season opener, but came up short of last year’s runner-up, Brisbane. Expect a much better performance from the Crows, with the experienced Abbey Holmes slotting into their line-up. The goal-sneak will be able to help out Sarah Perkins in the forward line, who struggled against Brisbane’s Leah Kaslar’s  wonderful shut-down performance. But without the reigning AFLW MVP Erin Phillips in the midfield, it may mean that experienced spearheads, Daisy Pearce and Karen Paxman can run free in the middle of the ground. Paxman dominated early last week but was slowed by a lower-back injury, so a full game from her will cause huge issues for the Crows. Norwood recruit Ruth Wallace was up-and-about in the forward line last week, and even kicked a goal to complement her energy. Watch out for her and Glenelg product, Eloise Jones, who both had a solid run in the forward 50 last week. The second-gamers will be hoping to help their side secure its first win of the season, and get them back to the status that saw them claim the 2017 AFLW premiership.

 

Fremantle vs. Collingwood

Saturday February 10, 7.10pm at Optus Stadium

It has been the most talked-about game throughout the week, as a sell-out crowd is expected at Perth’s new Optus Stadium. Despite a lacklustre performance from the Dockers, their fans have stayed loyal and purchased tickets to what is expected to be a much better performance from the women in purple. However, they will be without experienced campaigner, Lara Filocamo, after she was left out of the side for the round two blockbuster. That was not even the most controversial omission of the week though. Collingwood star forward, Moana Hope, will not board the flight to Perth joined on the sidelines by suspended forward, Sarah D’Arcy. Hope did not score in the season-opener last week, and seemed frustrated at times throughout the night. But instead of redeeming herself this week on the field, she will have to sit back and watch as her team fights for its first win of the season. With TAC Cup joint Best and Fairest winner, Chloe Molloy in the backline, it gives the Pies every chance to claim the four points. At the other end, expect a huge debut from Cranbourne product, Holly Whitford, who looks set to light up the forward line for the Pies. But she will have to overcome the determined Dockers, who will be looking to put on a show for their home crowd. Coastal Titans recruit Amy Lavell was the shining light for Fremantle last week, and will be hoping to continue her good form this week to get the Dockers over the line.

 

Brisbane vs. Western Bulldogs

Sunday February 11, 4.35pm at South Pine Sports Complex

You know you are watching an entertaining competition when you get to witness a top-of-the-table clash in round two! The Bulldogs and Lions both got to enjoy impressive wins in their season-openers, but only one can win at South Pine Sports Complex. Brisbane will be hoping to silence the doubters again, with recruits Sophie Conway and Jordan Zanchetta raring to impress in round two. But they will come up against the Bulldogs’ brilliant Melbourne Uni duo Isabel Huntington and Monique Conti, who both starred on debut at VU Whitten Oval last week. Another Melbourne Uni product who had a stellar game was Ellie Blackburn, as she racked up plenty of possessions in her side’s thumping win over the Dockers. But all eyes will be on each side’s forward line, with Sabrina Frederick-Traub and Katie Brennan lining up at either end of the ground. Frederick-Traub starred for the Lions last week with a whopping 10 marks, but could not convert any into goals. But it was the opposite story for Katie Brennan, who slotted three first-half goals for the Dogs at VU Whitten Oval. Will it be Brennan who continues on her merry way or will Frederick-Traub hit the scoreboard in a big way for the first time in 2018?

Young talent on show in AFLW

Julia Montesano & Taylah Melki 

WITH the second AFLW season kicking off; more hype, talent and excitement surrounds the competition. The marquee players will play their role once again, but this year it is all about showcasing the young talent of the league. This AFLW preview looks at some of the top stars in the competition with an eye on the best youngsters to cast your eye over throughout AFLW 2.0.

Adelaide Crows

With the inaugural premiership under their belt, the Crows will look to continue their success in 2018. With a star-studded line-up, such as goal-kicking machine Sarah Perkins and the AFLW Best and Fairest winner Erin Phillips, the Crows could easily find their way into another grand final. Through the recruitment of talented up-and-coming youngsters, the Crows have further bolstered their highly talented team. Keep an eye out for Jasmyn Hewett, who showed her athleticism at the AFLW Draft Combine. Former Salisbury jet, Jess Allan could dominate the ruck role, and is known to take an impressive contested mark. Allan represented the Allies in the U18 National Championship and was the vice- captain in the U18 All Australian Team in 2017, making her a huge threat in the competition.

Young player to watch: Jasmyn Hewett

At pick 16, the Adelaide Crows have secured the damaging utility/ruck Jasmyn Hewett. With an impressive 2017 season, winning the 2016/2017 NTFL Women’s Rising Star Award and being the runner up in the Northern Territory Football League (NTFL) Women’s Most Valuable Player Award, the Crows would have been silly not to snap Hewett up. The former NTFL St Mary’s player showed her extreme athleticism at the AFLW Draft Combine, placing within the top 10 in all physical tests. More impressively though, standing at 184cm, Hewett came second in the Yo-Yo test, vertical jump and the 2km time trial.

Predicted ladder position: 1st

 

Brisbane Lions

With the premiership in sight in the 2017 season, the Brisbane Lions fell marginally short, losing to Adelaide in a close encounter. The Lions claimed top spot on the ladder, winning six out of the first seven games, and drawing the final game of the home and away season. But with the likes of star forward, Tayla Harris leaving the club, the Lions may be in for a more challenging year, as shown in their shock 50-point loss to GWS in January’s practice match. The news of a fully fit Jordan Zanchetta, who recovered from a devastating ACL injury could help add to the depths of the Brisbane midfield, with her evasive skills and clean ball use. Sophie Conway also made an impressive statement in the practice match, showing her good skills, and even slotted through a goal.

Young player to watch: Kalinda Howarth

Kalinda Howarth’s football talents range from her clean ball use and strong hands, to her explosive speed. Howarth is a talented medium-sized forward who uses her damaging pace to get herself into strong scoring positions. Recruited from the Coolangatta Bluebirds, Howarth starred in the National Under 18 Championships for Queensland and went on to make the All-Australian Under 18 team, thanks to her impressive all-round skills.

Predicted ladder position: 7th

 

Carlton Blues

After their sell-out win over Collingwood, the Blues were touted as early premiership favourites, and set up for a big year. But tough losses against Melbourne and Fremantle crushed Carlton’s hopes of being crowned as the inaugural AFLW champions. 2017 leading goal kicker and Darebin Falcon gun, Darcy Vescio will be a hot favourite to turn her team’s fate around, after kicking three goals in the Blues’ practice match against the Bulldogs. But the recruitment of 2017 TAC Cup Girls Best and Fairest joint-winner, Bridie Kennedy could revolutionise the ruck role in the competition. The former Dandenong Stingrays vice-captain impressed with her athletic rucking and killer endurance in what was a tough TAC Cup season.

Young player to watch: Georgia Gee

Former Beaconsfield junior, Georgia Gee was snapped up by the Blues at pick 12, after a stellar season with the Dandenong Stingrays in the TAC Cup last year. The impressive midfielder has a huge advantage to continue on her merry way, having the opportunity to play alongside a familiar face in fellow Stingrays teammate, Bridie Kennedy. Gee is no stranger to success, after winning three premierships in a row with her junior club, Beaconsfield. She first represented Vic Metro in 2014, and hasn’t looked back since, donning the big V again in 2016, and playing in the AFLW U18 State of Origin match last year.

Predicted ladder position: 3rd

 

Collingwood Magpies

The Magpies got off to a rocky start in 2017, after a disappointing loss to arch-rivals Carlton on the opening night. Losses in the next two games stopped Collingwood from making the finals, but they will be hoping to come back with a vengeance in season 2018. With the loss of Nicola Stevens to Carlton, Alicia Eva to GWS and young gun Darcy Guttridge to injury, the Magpies will be hoping that the depth of their list will stand up. The recruitment of talented netballer, Ashleigh Brazill, who is renowned for her speed, defensive pressure and clean hands will be a good inclusion for the team. Keep an eye out for the pairing of goal-kicking dynamo, Moana Hope, and the 2017 VFL Women’s joint leading goal-scorer, Chloe Molloy, who could help spark a more dynamic and accurate forward line for the club. Medium defender Iilish Ross is sure to turn heads with her excellent rebounding ability.

Player to watch: Chloe Molloy

Chloe Molloy impressed with her accuracy in front of goal and her ability to turn the game on its head in last year’s TAC Cup Girls competition. The former Calder Cannon and Diamond Creek forward made her early draft selection easy through winning multiple awards after her stellar season. She claimed the VFL Women’s Rising Star Award and was a joint winner of the TAC Cup Girls Best and Fairest. Molloy also won the VFL Women’s goal kicking award in the 2017 season, making her a player to watch in the upcoming season. At the age of 19, Molloy’s skills in front of goals could help gift Collingwood with the finals berth they desire, after falling short in the inaugural season.

Predicted ladder position: 5th

 

Fremantle Dockers

Fremantle was a team that surprised many, after somehow going in as premiership favourites prior to the inaugural AFLW season. But despite being under the leadership of former Melbourne assistant coach, Michelle Cowan, Fremantle’s first and only win didn’t come until Round 6, in a shock win over the Blues. The news gets worse for the Dockers, as former Ellenbrook Dockers junior, Kellie Gibson, is likely to miss the entire AFLW season after playing at Adelaide as a marquee last year. Other notable misses include former Bullcreek Leeming junior, Beatrice Devlyn (4-6 weeks) and Kirby Bentley (season), who appeared for the Allies in a 2016 State of Origin match.

Young player to watch: Emily McGuire

Emily McGuire was one of three players to be recruited from the Swan Districts, after a standout 2016/ 17 season. The 19-year-old represented Western Australia as an U18 representative, and was a part of the Western Australia Women’s Football League (WAWFL) premiership team. McGuire, a versatile forward, is a much-needed coup for the Dockers, after the side had a disappointing 2017 season in front of goals.

Predicted ladder position: 8th

 

GWS Giants

The luckless Giants finished at the bottom of the table in 2017, after securing just one win against Melbourne in Round 5. Although former Sydney University midfielder, Nicola Barr and Mosman Swans recruit, Erin McKinnon impressed with Rising Star nominations, they couldn’t carry the Giants over the line. But GWS have gotten to work in the off-season, bolstering its list with Calder Cannons premiership coach, and Melbourne University’s 2017 Best and Fairest winner, Alicia Eva. Eva has already snapped up the role as the GWS vice-captain, giving her an opportunity to display her leadership on the field, and allow the Giants to have a better run at the premiership cup in 2018.

Young player to watch: Pippa Smyth

Standing at 180cm tall, Pippa Smyth will be a hard woman to bring down! The versatile ruck-forward was recruited from the Nelson Bay Marlins, after giving up netball to have a go at dominating with the Sherrin. After topping the 20m sprint with her blistering speed in the AFLW draft combine, the 22 year-old showed what sets her apart from the typical ruckman. Smyth will give GWS a much-needed boost in the height department, after the Giants’ small-sized team struggled to break through the corridor and project the ball into the forward line in 2017.

Predicted ladder position: 6th

 

Melbourne Demons

After finishing third in the AFLW inaugural season, the Demons could be in for another successful year, with the likes of Darebin Falcons trio, Daisy Pearce, Mel Hickey and Karen Paxman raring to go. Former Mornington life-saver, Claudia Whitfort will be hoping to help the Demons surpass the five wins they achieved in 2017. Whitfort has shown that she’s got oodles of talent, displaying her great speed and athleticism. The trade period also allowed for former Carlton forward Bianca Jakobsson to cross over to the Demons. The addition of Jakobsson could help bolster the club’s forward line with her strong marking ability and versatility.

Player to watch: Eden Zanker

After an impressive 12 months, the Melbourne Demons would have been thrilled to pick up Eden Zanker at pick six. The big key forward from the Bendigo Pioneers can take a strong mark, and was one of the leading goal kickers in the National Under 18 Championships. Zanker was also named in the AFLW U18 All- Australian team due to her accuracy in front of goal. Living in a small town, Natya, roughly 60km from Swan Hill, Zanker’s dedication and love for the sport is undoubted as she travels kilometres on a weekly basis just to make it to games.

Predicted ladder position: 2nd

 

Western Bulldogs

The Western Bulldogs’ 2017 season didn’t exactly go to plan, as they only came away with two wins for the season. Star marquee and Darebin Falcon, Katie Brennan struggled with injury throughout the year, but if there’s a change of fate this year, Brennan could give Carlton’s Darcy Vescio a real run for her money in front of goals, after being the joint leading goal kicker in last year’s VFLW season. The Bulldogs are probably one of the most experienced teams in the AFLW, with the likes of Melbourne University midfielder, Ellie Blackburn and Darebin defender, Aasta O’Connor playing in the side since the days of the AFL Women’s exhibition matches. Expect these experienced players to play a huge role in developing former Sandringham Dragon and number one draft pick, Isabel Huntington, as well as dual-code former Calder Cannon, Monique Conti.

Young player to watch: Monique Conti

For the sports fanatics out there, Monique Conti is a name you might well be familiar with already. The former Calder Cannon not only dominates the midfield on the footy field, but also dominates on the basketball court. At 16 years of age, Conti played in the Australian FIBA U17 basketball world championship team, and currently represents the Melbourne Boomers, who just fell short of the Townsville Fire in the WNBL Grand Final series. But now, she has a chance to bounce back on the footy field, and complement the likes of Ellie Blackburn and fellow dual-code athlete, Emma Kearney in the midfield. The 18-year-old has an innate ability to linger around the contest, and burst through the pack at key moments, which is the X-factor that could project the Bulldogs into the top half of the ladder.

Predicted ladder position: 4th