Tag: katie brennan

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

Number Crunching: AFLW – Round 1

THERE are plenty of individual stats to put under the microscope after Round 1 of the Australian Football League Women’s (AFLW) competition, with a handful of players starring on the sheet across multiple lines – including a gun draftee, former rising star, and high-profile tradee.

Adelaide’s Ebony Marinoff was the talk of the town after her round-leading 23 disposal performance in a losing effort against the ‘Dogs. It was an incredible game from the hard-working midfielder, who topped the fantasy charts at 107 points having also laid 11 tackles and spread her load at almost an even 50 per cent between contested and uncontested possessions. Not to be outdone by the former rising star, Geelong’s number one draft pick, Nina Morrison starred in the season-opener to be the equal-second leading disposal winner for the round with 22. The midfielder showed her balance in the craft with 14 contested possessions and six clearances, while also providing her trademark run with three inside 50’s. Meanwhile, Emily Bates and Ally Anderson had 22 disposals each in the Lions’ midfield to match Morrison as they overcame GWS.

Anderson’s 14 contested possessions were enough for equal-second best alongside Morrison, but Melbourne’s Karen Paxman was the boss of the engine room for Round 1, with a whopping 18 contested possessions from her 21 disposals at a rate of 85 per cent. Stepping up in the absence of stalwart, Daisy Pearce, Paxman also earned a round-high nine clearances to lead in the stat from Fremantle’s Dana Hooker (eight) and Adelaide superstar, Erin Phillips (seven). While Paxman and co won the contested ball in spades, a current and a former Magpie won all of their touches in the clinches. Collingwood’s Sarah Dargan (11 disposals) and Kangaroo ruck recruit, Emma King (10 disposals) both had contested possession rates of 100 per cent in impressively gritty displays. Geelong’s Maddy Keryk was the only player bar-Paxman with over 15 disposals to also have had a rate of over 80 per cent contested possessions. On the other end of the scale, Bates and new-Roo Jess Duffin won the most uncontested ball with 13 apiece, with Duffin’s teammate, Emma Kearney working in tandem for her tally of 10 – matched by GWS draftee Alyce Parker on debut.

The Fremantle duo of Hooker and Kiara Bowers topped the tackle count with 12 each as they put the clamps on Melbourne, with Hooker’s hard work also translating to ball-winning as she had 15 disposals. But it was again the efforts of Marinoff which attracted the headlines, as the premiership Crow laid 11 tackles to bring her career tally to 169 – the only AFLW player to have cracked the ton at the time of writing. Despite all that, Marinoff was amazingly still down on her 2018 tackle average of 11.7. In a sign of things to come, Morrison (eight tackles) was also not far behind as the teenager with the highest count.

Moving from the ground to the air, Lauren Spark reeled in the most marks with her effort of 11 – finding space well to have 13 kicks amongst her 14 disposals (nine uncontested). Spark’s Bulldogs teammate, Ellie Blackburn had six but was narrowly beaten out to second-best honours by Duffin’s seven. She may have only had three, but Carlton’s dynamic forward star, Tayla Harris took an absolute screamer to claim mark of the round. Melbourne’s Lauren Pearce dominated the air in a different fashion with her round-high of 32 hit-outs, while Giant, Erin McKinnon won 31 taps. Carlton’s tall duo of Breann Moody and Alison Downie combined for 29 against the otherwise dominant King in their loss to the ‘Roos.

Brisbane goalsneak Jess Wuetschner bagged the highest goal tally for the week, booting three of the Lions’ four goals as seven others claimed hauls of two. Amongst the group of multiple goal kickers was returning Bulldog gun, Katie Brennan – who came up clutch for her side – as well as arguably the player of the round, King. The worst offenders in front of goal collectively were the Crows with 1.11, however Phillips was the only player in that game to miss more than once. She was not alone though as eight others registered multiple behinds in their respective outings – four of them from the Kangaroos/Carlton game.

Weekend wash-up: AFLW – Round 1

WITH a new look 10 team competition, Round 1 of AFL Women’s 2019 was set to be a cracker. Two new sides in North Melbourne Tasmanian Kangaroos and Geelong Cats took the field for the first time in AFLW history, both nabbing a historic win to start the season. Four of the five games were down to the wire, with less than five points margin at the final siren. Only the Kangaroos managed to pull away for a dominant win, with resilient Geelong and Fremantle sides coming from behind to win their respective matches.

 

Geelong 3.6 (24) defeated Collingwood 3.5 (23)
By: Taylah Melki

In a Round 1 thriller it came down to the wire with Geelong sealing the deal with a one-point victory over Collingwood, who are yet to win a first round match in the AFLW. The Magpies dominated the first quarter of play but Geelong fought back hard to take ascendancy going into the half time break. But the fight did not stop there with Collingwood coming back hard to fall agonisingly short come the final siren.

In their inaugural match, Geelong showed they have plenty of stars with the likes of number one draft pick, Nina Morrison tearing up the field. The youngster left her mark on the game with her silky skills, brute force to shrug off tackles and clean hands in traffic to hit up teammates. Other draftees such as Olivia Purcell, Denby Taylor and Sophie Van De Heuvel also showed their worth getting involved in the play. Darebin VFLW star, Meghan McDonald dominated down back taking a heap of marks and stopping the attacking flow of Collingwood with her clever positioning, strong overhead marks and quick recovery making her an integral player in the Cats lineup. Up the other end in the absence of Phoebe McWilliams, Madeleine Boyd made history nailing Geelong’s first goal. The former Melbourne and GWS GIANTS player made her presence felt up forward scoring two goals and getting her hands to plenty of the ball, giving Geelong fans plenty to cheer about.

With a host of stars gone, Collingwood proved they have plenty of depth and are versatile when it comes to positioning with the likes of Cecilia McIntosh moving into a more attacking forward role. But it was the likes of Ash Brazill and Jaimee Lambert that dominated across the field for the Pies. Brazill showed her extreme athleticism with her impressive vertical leap and good sidestep to work her way through traffic and deliver the ball to a teammate. Lambert sent scares through the Collingwood camp after going down with what seemed to be a leg injury, to only return and score an impressive dribble goal to keep the Pies in the game. Youngsters, Jordyn Allen and Mikala Cann also did their part, while the likes of code-crosser Sharni Layton worked well in the ruck. Sophie Alexander looked ominous up forward scoring 1.2 in the opening quarter but suffered a concussion later in the match.

 

Adelaide 1.11 (17) defeated by Western Bulldogs 2.6 (18)
By: Taylah Melki

In another close encounter it was the Western Bulldogs that came away with a one point victory over Adelaide. It is the first time two premiers have gone head-to-head in AFLW history and the match up did not disappoint with it all coming down to the final minutes of the game. The Crows had plenty of the play, but inaccuracy ultimately cost them game, with players unable to capitalise on their opportunities.

Bulldogs captain, Katie Brennan made her presence felt up forward slotting the only two majors for her side. While the likes of Ellie Blackburn starred once again getting her hands on the ball and using her elite skill to move the ball cleanly and quickly through traffic. Blackburn proved she is a real force to be reckoned with, highlighting her dash and general football smarts to hit Brennan up in the goal square with a perfectly weighted kick. Hannah Scott also dominated across the field for the Dogs racking up plenty of marks and using her clever kicks to try and alleviate pressure.

Tackling machine, Ebony Marinoff once again starred for Adelaide going in hard and laying a whopping 11 tackles for the match. Marinoff also accumulated plenty of touches thanks to her clean hands and hard work to go in and win the footy at the contest. Youngster, Eloise Jones showed plenty of courage going back with flight of the ball and taking an impressive mark while also highlighting her footy smarts trying to set up a chance at goal for her teammate.  In her debut match, Chloe Scheer also had her moments of brilliance nailing the Crows only major and showed she has good goal sense attacking the goal face on multiple occasions and taking some impressive marks in the forward 50. Veteran, Erin Phillips also starred thanks to her good hands in close and ability to open up space.

 

North Melbourne 7.10 (52) defeated Carlton 2.4 (16)
By: Carly McClen

The Kangaroos introduced themselves into the competition head on and with force, prevailing to start the second half of round 1 on Sunday, with a dominating 36-point win over the Carlton Blues. It was an ominous memo for every club in the competition, stating that the Roos are a gelled and composed outfit and have made capital of their pre season.

The great start by the Roos was a skilled show of star-studded players who came together, showed mutual respect, made the most of opportunities and played their individual roles. They followed process without dropping off throughout the four quarters and they got results. To win games, you have to kick goals. For Carlton, having Brianna Davey in the forward line meant that she wasn’t around the ball, getting it into the forward line and assisting her team to more inside 50 possessions. Carlton’s star players appeared to go missing throughout the game, reappearing for solid patches but unable to cement any scoring opportunities.

Although the Blues won the hit-outs, the North Melbourne midfielders were winning the possessions, providing the run and carry while haggling and stopping the Blues from penetrating and playing their game. The Blues got pushed under the ball, lacked structure and didn’t appear to have time to lower their eyes to hit targets, largely due to the relentless pressure from the Kangaroos. Ex-Collingwood player Emma King dominated in the Kangaroos colours and was likely the best on ground in her role as a versatile ruck playing forward, kicking two goals, tackling and taking marks. Another ex-Pie, Jasmine Garner also had a great day out, collecting 17 disposals and a goal in her first outing as a Kangaroo. 

Though Roos captain, Emma Kearney was tagged for the game, she collected a solid 18 disposals for her first game out of Bulldogs colours. The evenness and the spread of the side without reliance on their captain to dominate makes them a real threat to the competition in 2019. North Melbourne coach, Scott Gowans appears to be admired and well respected by his newly formed playing group. He was happy to enjoy some celebration post debut, but keen to get back to business and focus on the next encounter, the GWS GIANTS, for the quick turnaround Friday night match.

 

Melbourne 8.7 (55) defeated by Fremantle 9.5 (59)
By: Peter Williams

Fremantle claimed its first AFL Women’s interstate win over Melbourne in scorching temperatures at Casey Fields yesterday. With the maximum heat reaching more than 38 degrees, both sides took advantage of their respective change rooms at each break. The Demons kicked the first two goals of the game, before Fremantle – led by teenager Sabreena Duffy, booted the last three goals of the quarter to take the lead at quarter time. Just to show it was not a once-off, Fremantle piled on another three goals to one, opening up a 20-point lead by the main break.

It did not take long for a different, more direct Melbourne side to come out in the second half, as they banged home five goals to zero – including three in two minutes. Tegan Cunningham was rewarded for her hard running inside 50 with a perfect snap from the tightest of angles, Eden Zanker also snapped truly off a step, while Maddison Gay ran into an open goal for the easiest of six-pointers. By that stage they lead by eight, and when Bianca Jakobsson slotted home the side’s final major of the term, Melbourne fans found themselves 14 points in front.

Against the odds, the West Australian side showed they had plenty of fight left, with tackling machine, Kiara Bowers booting a goal on debut in the sixth minute to draw within eight points. When Ashley Sharp found the big sticks for the second time, Fremantle were just two points adrift midway through the final term. A minute later, Gemma Houghton booted what would be the match winning goal as Melbourne struggled with the breeze to get it out of the defensive 50 in the dying stages, allowing the Dockers to hold on to a terrific four-point win.

Despite the loss, Melbourne had plenty of big ball winners in the absence of Daisy Pearce, as Karen Paxman (21 disposals), Lily Mithen (18) and Elise O’Dea (17) all got amongst it. Zanker and Cunningham were dangerous up forward, but it was the speed and dare of the Dockers that got them over the line. Dana Hooker (15 disposals and 12 tackles) was a standout, as was Bowers who had 13 disposals and 12 tackles, as well as a goal. Ebony Antonio (14 disposals and a goal) and Melissa Caulfield (12 disposals, three marks and a goal).

 

Brisbane Lions 4.5 (29) defeated GWS GIANTS 4.3 (27)
By: Brandon Hutchinson

Capping off Round 1 of the AFL Women’s third season, fans bared witness to another tight finish with the Lions winning over the GIANTS at home. In the first half, however the Lions were a different side. They struggled to capitalise on their opportunities and failed to penetrate the GIANTS’ defence. Come the third term, the game flipped as Brisbane kicked three consecutive goals with Jess Wuetschner at the helm. The GIANTS attempted a comeback in the fourth, but could not free the ball in the dying minutes.

Lions star, Emily Bates impressed with a strong 22 disposals, two marks and four tackles. She showed great awareness and delivered effectively (77 per cent). Alexandra Anderson also picked up 22 possessions, exhibiting her talents more in her contested work, earning four marks and a game-high seven tackles. Up forward, Sabrina Frederick-Traub and Wuetschner led the charge. Frederick-Traub’s goal in the third secured the lead which won them the game, while Wuetschner kicked the remaining three with unmatched goal sense.

The GIANTS had stars in Cora Staunton, Alyce Parker and Rebecca Beeson. Parker and Beeson both picked up 18 disposals at 72 and 78 per cent efficiency respectively, with Parker also taking four marks and landing three tackles. Staunton remained a pillar up forward, kicking two goals with 14 disposals, two marks and two tackles. She did her best to keep her team in it, but alone could not withstand Brisbane’s pressure.

Scoreboard Sweep: AFLW

FOR those just wanting the basics, we bring you a new piece at the end of each round of football, Scoreboard Sweep which recaps the scores and key dot points in each game ahead of our weekly weekend wash-up tomorrow.

AFL Women’s:

Geelong 3.6 (24) defeated Collingwood 3.5 (23)
Adelaide 1.11 (17) defeated by Western Bulldogs 2.6 (18)
North Melbourne 7.10 (52) defeated Carlton 2.4 (16)
Melbourne 8.7 (55) defeated by Fremantle 9.5 (59)
Brisbane 4.5 (29) defeated GWS GIANTS 4.3 (27)

  • Cats celebrate inaugural victory in a one-point thriller in front of home fans at GMHBA Stadium.
  • Nina Morrison the biggest ball-winner with 22 disposals and eight tackles, leading a number of young stars who turned it on under lights.
  • Pies’ highlights included a run-down tackle by draftee, Jordyn Allen, and a terrific dribbling goal from Jaimee Lambert.
  • Crows’ inaccuracy hurts as quick goals before half-time see Dogs’ home.
  • Katie Brennan‘s intercept mark and goal in second quarter, and Eloise Jones‘ back-with-the-flight mark among the highlights.
  • Ebony Marinoff puts in a vintage defensive display with 11 tackles to go with her 24 touches, in the loss.
  • North far too good in competitions statement win over Blues in first AFL Women’s game, in Hobart.
  • Emma King plays a blinder with two goals and more than 200 AFL Fantasy points.
  • Tayla Harris takes a huge hanger to give Blues fans something to smiles about.
  • Melbourne boot 5.4 to 0.0 in the third term to come from 20 points down at half-time to lead by 14 points at the final break, only for the Dockers to boot the last three goals of the game to celebrate their first interstate win.
  • Eden Zanker and Tegan Cunningham look to be an ominous key forward duo, while Ashley Sharp and Sabreena Duffy looked dangerous up forward.
  • Kiara Bowers has a round-high 12 tackles on debut, also collecting 13 disposals and two marks and the match-winning goal.
  • Both GIANTS and Lions struggled to take charge of the game, with both sides only managing to get seven points ahead in the tight contest.
  • Jess Wuetschner starred kicking three goals, while Emily Bates and Alexandra Anderson finished with 21 disposals apiece.
  • Cora Staunton and Emma Swanson were dominant for the visitors, collecting a combined 30 disposals and five marks in the tough slog, while debutant Alyce Parker also had 18 touches.

Weekend preview: AFLW – Round 1

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

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

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

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

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

Last time they met: N/A

Fun facts:

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fun facts:

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

 

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

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

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

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

Last time they met: N/A

Fun facts:

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fun facts:

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fun facts:

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

AFLW Draft review: Western Bulldogs

THE reigning premiers have chosen to defend their premiership title by bolstering their forward line stocks. While the Bulldogs lost star players such as Emma Kearney, Jenna Bruton and Aasta O’Connor, they don’t seem to be too worried, recruiting some young, experienced and international talent into their 2019 side.

 

What they needed:

  • Midfielders to replace Emma Kearney, Daria Bannister and Jenna Bruton
  • Ruck/ versatility to fill the void of Aasta O’Connor
  • Defenders to cover the loss of Rachel Ashley, Laura Bailey and Kim Ebb

 

Players selected:

Eleanor Brown – Sandringham Dragons

Eleanor Brown will be a fitting replacement for Emma Kearney in the midfield. She possesses elite ball-use, especially by hand, often disposing of the ball quickly and cleanly to escape congestion. Brown also has a long and powerful kick, and can make an influence all over the ground. She spent some time at half-back during the AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships, racking up numerous disposals. She can also mark the ball well, making her a good fit to replace the loss of an important premiership trio.

Aisling McCarthy – Tipperary (Ireland)

Coming from the Crosscoders program, McCarthy impressed the Bulldogs, who took the forward with their 23rd pick. McCarthy played in the forward line for her Gaelic football side, and has now crossed over to Australian Rules to display her speed and agility in the competition. She will be a great addition to one of the most exciting forward lines in the league, which contains the likes of Katie Brennan, Isabel Huntington, Bonnie Toogood and Brooke Lochland.

Kate Bartlett – Peel Thunderbirds

The Bulldogs have further bolstered their inside 50 stocks with the addition of 19 year-old Kate Bartlett. Bartlett missed out on being drafted last year but will get her chance in the red, white and blue this season. It was hard to look past her at the AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships, as she dominated inside 50 for Western Australia, kicking six goals in five games and creating plenty of scoring opportunities. She earned a place in the All Australian team as a result, and will now fly across the country to join the Bulldogs.

Selena Karlson – Southern Saints

Selena Karlson will help aid the loss of Bailey, Ebb and Ashley, who departed the club in the off-season. She is a smart defender who played 12 games for the Southern Saints this season and finished in the top 10 of their Best and Fairest. Karlson was also named in the best three times.

Jessie Davies – Western Bulldogs

Jessie Davies is no stranger to the Western Bulldogs outfit, having spent time with them during the VFLW. She is a versatile utility who will add some depth to the side. Davies played seven games for the Bulldogs this season and is also a member of the VU Western Spurs. Having a player that can be used all over the ground will help the Bulldogs cover their off-season losses, especially that of Aasta O’Connor, who can be used in different areas of the ground.

 

How they went:

Instead of replacing their losses, the Bulldogs went in a different direction for the draft, opting to boost their already powerful forward line. This isn’t a bad strategy at all, as more firepower inside 50 gives them more of a chance to defend their premiership title. But in the midfield, they could struggle, as the loss of Emma Kearney, Jenna Bruton and Daria Bannister will be hard to replace. Thankfully, Eleanor Brown will fill a part of this void, thanks to her brilliant hands and strong kicking. Selena Karlson will also fill part of the absence of Ebb, Bailey and Ashley in defence, after playing for the Southern Saints this year. Having a versatile player like Jessie Davies will also be valuable to add support roles into different sections of the field. Despite a stellar inside 50 line-up, the Bulldogs could struggle through the midfield and in defence, with the loss of some key players. Aasta O’Connor’s void in the ruck has also not been filled, making the ruck situation an interesting one.

Bat or ball, Rebels’ dual sport athlete keen to impress

DESPITE always having a bat and ball in her hands, an oblong shaped Sherrin was never too far out of reach in Sophie Van De Heuvel‘s household.

Growing up, Van De Heuvel was always a talented cricketer, but her family’s love for all things Australian Rules helped inspire her to give the sport a go. Since she took it up five years ago, Van De Heuvel has never looked back, and progressed from juniors through to Youth Girls and is a member of the AFLW Academy, playing a vital role with her TAC Cup club, the Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels. Van De Heuvel said her family’s passion made her juggle between the two sports.

“It came from my brother and dad,” she said. “I just kind of got it from them. “Their skills and kind of being brought up from that; from Auskick and yeah straight into Youth Girls and Boys.”

Van De Heuvel said cricket has always been a part of her life, and as she approaches the nitty gritty top-age year of football, she hopes to follow in the footsteps of other dual-sport athletes such as Western Bulldogs premiership player Monique Conti, who has switched the Sherrin for a basketball as she heads back for the Women’s National Basketball League (WNBL) season with the Melbourne Tigers.

“Cricket’s probably been all the way through,” Van De Heuvel said. “I’ve just got to find that balance between the two. Obviously mentally and physically, it’s just finding that balance. “I’m going to try and do both if I can, I guess whatever is thrown at me; any opportunity I’ll take. “Cricket training for me will start around July, June,” she said. “Then that will go all the way through to about March next year. “So yeah, it will be straight from footy to cricket.”

The TAC Cup Girls season has just two rounds left for the Rebels, who after a slow start, have strung some wins together over the past month and are firing on all cylinders. Like many top prospects, Van De Heuvel will try her hand against the experienced bodies in the Victorian Football League Women’s (VFLW), when she dons the yellow and blue with the Seagulls.

“I’ve just signed with Williamstown, so I’ll play out there for the season, see how I go,” she said. “It will be really exciting. “Obviously it’s a great experience playing against the likes of Katie Brennan, people like that. “Hopefully I learn a lot.”

Van De Heuvel admitted she has learnt a lot in her time with the Rebels and AFLW Academy, thanking AFL Women’s Female Talent Operations Manager Aasta O’Connor and the rest of the team for passing on their knowledge.

“[It’s been] Really good,” she said. “Aasta’s taken us through that, (I’ve) learnt a lot from them and the other girls, and how well they’ve played.”

The versatile player has rotated between midfield and forward this season, preferring roaming through the centre, but also enjoying kicking goals in the forward half. Van De Heuvel said her main strengths were her ball skills, contested marking and tackling, with reading the play improving but still a focus, as was providing more leadership to younger players.

“I’ve played mostly in the midfield, but tend to get dropped for a lot,” Van De Heuvel said. “I prefer probably midfield, but I like both. “Both roles are good.”

With the end of the TAC Cup Girls season nearing, the National Under 18 Championships will begin, with Van De Heuvel tipped to be a key member of the Vic Country squad. It will be a full-on 12 months for the mid/forward, but she is ready for whatever may come as she juggles her two sporting loves.

Team Selection: VFLW – Round 1

IN what will be a groundbreaking round of football, the brand new Victorian Football League Women’s (VFLW) will see just three sides from the 2017 season take the field, while so many others have changed sides. Northern Territory (NT) Thunder and Hawthorn are two teams with strong line-ups in round one, while the least experienced side in Southern Saints will be hoping to match it with Carlton in both teams’ first games in the league to kick off the first round of action.

SOUTHERN SAINTS v. CARLTON
Round 1 – Saturday, May 5, 11.15am
Skybus Stadium, Frankston

In the opening game of the round, the Southern Saints have a real challenge on their hands, fronting up against a Carlton side which has plenty of AFLW talent. The Saints are the least experienced team in terms of AFLW games, but they will be hoping it adds an element of unpredictability to their line-up. The Saints have the home ground advantage in Frankson, and the likes of former Collingwood youngster Georgia Walker, and ex-Sandringham Dragons talents in Georgia Ricardo and Isabel Quintal will be able to get their season off on the right foot. It will not be easy however, with the opposition posting a strong line-up including marquee forward Darcy Vescio who has crossed from Diamond Creek, and Sarah Hosking who makes the move from Seaford. Other Carlton players to watch include Gabriella Pound, Maddison Gay and Tilly Lucas-Rodd. Named as an emergency, ex-Seaford player Katelyn Cox is one to watch in the coming weeks.

Southern Saints

B: 11. T. Annear, 45. S. Binder, 26. A. Ryan
HB: 29. M. Macdonald, 17. L. Olsen, 31. G. Walker
C: 38. S. Karlson, 2. A. Brown, 19. A. Silver
HF: 27. K. Macqueen, 15. T. Bohanna, 24. K. Ripari
F: 21. D. Lawrence, 23. J. Rolland, 13. C. Munn
R: 28. R. Watt, 8. A. Drennan, 32. S. Johnson
Int: 36. S. Bolding, 34. S. Casey, 12. J. Hull, 40. M. Maitland
Emg: 9. S. Long, 7. M. Supple, 16. K. Thompson, 6. J. Vissenjoux
23P: 22. D. Smith

Carlton

B: 23. B. Kennedy, 50. J. Borg, 4. M. Keryk
HB: 35. S. Li, 34. A. Chuot, 90. B. Walker
C: 56. C. Williams , 10. S. Hosking, 8. M. Gay
HF: 45. R. King, 36. C. Moody, 17. T. Lucas-Rodd
F: 20. C. Bromage, 42. C. Hardeman, 3. D. Vescio
R: 16. B. Moody, 82. N. Burns, 6. G. Pound
Int: 40. K. Harvey, 32. N. Plane, 66. T. Plowman, 63. O. Vesely
Emg: 27. K. Cox, 41. K. Cunico, 33. G. Green, 38. L. McCarthy
23P: 37. B. Schultz

 

DAREBIN v. NT THUNDER
Round 1 – Saturday, May 5, 12pm
Preston City Oval, Preston

Reigning premiers Darebin Falcons kick off their season at their new home of Preston City Oval against new side Northern Territory Thunder on Saturday. With the Thunder likely to be a premiership favourite, the Falcons will need all their experience at state level to counter the AFLW experience of their opposition. Darebin has picked up Melbourne youngster Maddy Guerin, who will be familiar with the ground having come through the ranks as a Northern Knight, while all eyes will be on full-forward recruit Hannah Mouncey. The tall forward was dominant in Canberra last season and was a hot topic of conversation over the summer, but now she will be hoping her football can do the talking in this game. She will likely be opposed to Adelaide Crows defender Sarah Allan, one of 22 players in the NT Thunder outfit yet to play a VFLW game. But Adelaide co-captain Chelsea Randall, young guns Ebony Jones and Jessica Allan, GWS vice captain, Emma Swanson, and Adelaide stars, Rhiannon Metcalfe and Jasmyn Hewett, the NT Thunder outfit is star-studded. With no Jessica Dal Pos, Karen Paxman or Elise O’Dea this week, and Daisy Pearce taking a 12-month sabbatical, the Falcons will be looking to their less experienced players to do the damage.

Darebin

B: 27. S. Hogan, 10. G. Lawson-Tavan, 48. L. Jacobs
HB: 1. E. Honybun, 49. R. Hibbert, 11. K. Tyndall
C: 32. G. Colvin, 9. M. Eastman, 15. A. Lister
HF: 20. M. Guerin, 14. M. McDonald, 29. S. Normington – Dickens
F: 22. G. Hammond, 43. H. Mouncey, 17. S. Simpson
R: 34. S. Egan, 26. T. Olcorn, 36. C. Byrne
Int: 37. J. Bertoni, 44. S. Fairchild, 31. E. Gardner, 28. A. Morrow
Emg: 5. K. McNiece, 41. A. O’Connor, 24. B. Patterson, 21. K. Roe
23P: 35. L. Skipper

NT Thunder

B: 10. S. Barnett, 37. S. Allan, 44. M. Johnston
HB: 33. D. Cox, 35. T. Thorn, 13. L. Roberts
C: 2. E. Jones, 26. C. Randall, 40. D. Varnhagen
HF: 29. M. Rajcic, 30. R. Metcalfe, 17. E. Swanson
F: 16. S. Armitstead, 20. J. Hewett, 11. J. Hickey
R: 25. J. Allan, 5. M. Roberts, 3. A. Foley
Int: 1. L. Adam, 12. J. Anderson, 18. T. Holtze, 7. L. O’Shea
Emg: 6. L. Motlop
23P: 39. J. Baird

 

COLLINGWOOD v. WILLIAMSTOWN
Round 1 – Saturday, May 5, 2.30pm
Warrawee Park, Oakleigh

In a game likely to attract a crowd, two new sides battle it out in a traditional Saturday afternoon game at Warrawee Park. Collingwood takes on Williamstown at Oakleigh, with the Magpies and Chargers holding close alignment in the competition. But it will be a match that pits some familiar faces against each other, with two of Collingwood’s most in-form players of the 2018 AFLW season in Jasmine Garner and Jess Duffin on the opposition side. Along with the pair, Williamstown has also recruited Western Bulldogs midfield Jenna Bruton, who has crossed the West Gate Bridge after playing in Box Hill last season. Along with Garner, other former St Kilda Sharks players in Georgia Harris and Rachel Achampong will provide much needed support and team chemistry in key position players. For the Magpies, Sarah D’Arcy, Sarah Dargan, Emma Grant and Jamiee Lambert are just a handful of AFLW names everyone has become familiar with, while West Australian youngster Ruby Schleicher and Gippsland Power talent Holly Whitford also had glimpses throughout the AFLW season.

Collingwood

B: 49. S. Alexander, 73. G. Biedenweg-Webster, 50. G. Buchan
HB: 22. S. Casey, 4. S. D’Arcy, 46. S. Dargan
C: 56. P. Davey, 47. J. Edwards, 75. E. Fowler
HF: 55. L. French, 5. E. Grant, 54. H. Grubb
F: 52. N. Hales, 11. E. Hynes, 81. B. Jones
R: 93. V. Laloifi, 13. J. Lambert, 61. A. Malander
Int: 99. S. Marsh, 63. P. Nash, 18. R. Schleicher, 28. H. Whitford
Emg: 48. A. Bild , 53. R. Grant, 57. G. Knox, 77. C. Leighton
23P: 65. E. Browning

Williamstown

B: 19. E. Meade, 32. B. Stevens, 34. J. Reid
HB: 1. R. Dardengo, 24. A. Saxton, 3. S. Murphy-Burke
C: 4. E. Paterno, 17. S. Chapman, 44. I. Porter
HF: 16. A. Cameron, 12. G. Harris, 5. A. Walsh
F: 21. S. Dixon, 25. J. Garner, 22. M. Lowe
R: 9. R. Achampong, 35. J. Bruton, 2. J. Duffin
Int: 10. B. Hateley, 26. J. Heard, 30. A. Melnikas, 8. C. Portelli
Emg: 14. C. Balshaw, 28. J. Kile, 20. S. Seabrook, 13. N. Wallace
23P: 29. K. Koropeckyj

 

WESTERN BULLDOGS v. RICHMOND
Round 1 – Saturday, May 5, 4pm
VU Whitten Oval, Footscray

The reigning AFLW premier and a future AFLW side clash in an evening game in Footscray, with the Western Bulldogs not unleashing much of their AFLW talent across the ground, while the Tigers bring in a vastly unknown side to the competition. Hayley Wildes has crossed from Cranbourne to continue her work with her AFLW club, but the exciting talents of Brooke Lochland, Ellie Blackburn, Katie Brennan and Deanna Berry among others are not in the side for a multitude of reasons. Experienced VFLW campaigners Jessica Francke and Kylie Nicolaci will continue their work at the VU Western Spurs and hope to get the Bulldogs off to a winning start. For the Tigers, they must have an omen about jumper numbers under 50, with players represented between 51 and 89. Of those named in the side, Jess Gardner and Jenna Colwell will use their partnership at the St Kilda Sharks to help gel the side, while Jessica Kennedy has crossed from Bendigo Thunder.

Western Bulldogs

B: 9. T. Dinuccio, 14. E. Gamble, 5. R. Martinuzzo
HB: 15. R. Ashley, 42. N. Paul, 12. J. Francke
C: 25. R. Gastin, 27. K. Nicolaci, 34. E. Mackay
HF: 39. K. Clarke, 30. A. Tessari, 6. K. McLeod
F: 38. C. O’Brien, 46. T. Moss, 17. H. Wildes
R: 45. E. McLaughlin, 10. S. Jolly, 31. A. Gunn
Int: 37. L. Murphy, 48. A. Rooth, 41. A. Scott, 47. N. McMahon
Emg: 24. K. Rennie
23P: 43. A. Goldring

Richmond

B: 84. L. Bieniara, 77. J. Hocking, 69. E. Burry
HB: 73. L. Davie, 63. J. Graham, 70. E. Findlay
C: 60. K. Dempsey, 76. E. Ross, 58. C. Musico
HF: 53. K. Dixon, 64. E. Gunn, 56. E. Hogan
F: 86. N. Clarke, 81. E. George, 80. J. Louttit
R: 68. A. Edmonds, 61. J. Colwell, 52. J. Kennedy
Int: 83. J. Gardner, 62. T. Muller, 78. V. Tonin , 59. A. Woodward
Emg: 82. G. Bibby, 85. N. Clarke, 74. G. Fisher, 79. L. Tesoriero
23P: 75. B. Lynch

 

GEELONG CATS v. MELBOURNE UNI
Round 1 – Sunday, May 6, 12.30pm
GMHBA Stadium, Geelong

Kicking off the Sunday games, Geelong hosts Melbourne University at GMHBA Stadium after a promising pre-season. On the Cats list is some AFLW talent led by Richelle Cranston, the exciting midfielder/forward from Melbourne, and Mia-Rae Clifford who has crossed from the St Kilda Sharks to don the blue and white hoops. Kate Darby booted six goals in a pre-season match to announce herself as a key target up forward, while Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels Female Talent Manager Krista Woodroffe has made the 22, lining up for the Cats a day after guiding her TAC Cup club in their round eight match against Gippsland Power. Melbourne University have recruited well from Diamond Creek, picking up Sophie Abbatangelo and Ashleigh Riddle, both players who came into draft consideration last year. Throw in ex-Bendigo Pioneers pocket rocket Aisling Tupper and casually slotting the AFLW Best and Fairest winner Emma Kearney onto the bench, and Melbourne University have plenty of firepower through the midfield.

Geelong Cats

B: 19. E. Ramsay, 44. R. Goring, 16. L. Williams
HB: 25. E. Coventry, 26. R. Pearce, 34. A. McDonald
C: 3. H. Burchell, 12. R. Garing, 7. M. Clifford
HF: 17. H. Mangan, 2. D. Orr, 21. E. Oliver
F: 28. M. Fedele, 8. K. Darby, 32. A. Habib
R: 41. C. Stevens, 30. R. Cranston, 33. H. Trevean
Int: 23. I. Currenti, 13. M. Fogas, 15. M. Janssen, 35. K. Woodroffe
Emg: 22. B. Cheever, 36. E. Dhamarrandji, 10. L. Taylor
23P: 24. M. McMahon

Melbourne Uni

B: 20. L. Belza, 29. K. Klatt, 43. L. Munday
HB: 25. S. De Bortoli, 27. J. Anderson, 3. L. Walsh
C: 45. M. McDonald, 22. D. Edward, 32. I. Milford
HF: 1. S. Abbatangelo, 9. K. Price, 24. S. Wilson
F: 11. P. Cordes, 10. A. Price, 36. L. Watkin
R: 8. C. Fitzpatrick, 7. A. Riddell, 2. H. Ibrahim
Int: 12. M. Cantwell, 5. A. Gittings , 6. E. Keaney, 18. A. Tupper
Emg: 33. C. Adams, 19. L. Ahrens, 44. A. Runnalls, 4. A. Saundry
23P: 35. M. Shone

 

ESSENDON v. HAWTHORN
Round 1 – Sunday, May 6, 1pm
Windy Hill, Essendon

In the final game of the round, Essendon takes on Hawthorn at the Bombers’ traditional home of Windy Hill. If the traditional rivalry is anything like that of the AFL one, expect there to be fireworks. Much has been talked about Hawthorn’s star-studded line-up, and they have gone out of their way to pick up some experienced players, but Essendon will be hoping to get a win on their home soil. Led by Lisa Williams, the Bombers have some VFLW experience in centre-half back Kirby Hicks and Western Bulldogs stopper Lauren Morecroft who has crossed from Diamond Creek. Hayley Bullas is one to keep an eye on through the midfield, while Kendra Heil – named as an emergency – is a name some Pies fans might be familiar with, after the Canadian signed with the club only to suffer a horrific knee injury and miss the chance at playing in the inaugural AFLW season. Turning to Hawthorn, a spine of Meg Hutchins, Sarah Perkins and Phoebe McWilliams is unbelievable experience for the side, while Emma Mackie will lead the Hawks after a strong season with Box Hill last year. Olivia Flanagan, Melissa Kuys and Lou Wotton are a mix of youth and experience and are others to watch for in this match.

Essendon

B: 14. J. Barker, 16. L. Morecroft, 27. A. Morcom
HB: 26. A. Madden, 7. K. Hicks, 25. R. Neaves
C: 1. J. Trend, 8. H. Bullas, 9. L. Williams
HF: 35. V. Moreau, 6. A. Quigley, 43. D. Ponter
F: 3. M. DeMatteo, 30. S. Nalder, 4. N. Hardy
R: 12. B. Kearney, 32. T. Mackrill, 37. I. Malliaras
Int: 20. J. Anwyl, 40. G. Golds, 21. K. McFadyen, 10. D. Pedersen
Emg: 49. E. Bult, 18. K. Heil, 22. N. MacDonald, 46. C. Ugle
23P: 15. L. Caruso

Hawthorn

B: 21. P. Randall, 22. T. Luke, 31. J. Sibley
HB: 13. E. Nixon, 25. M. Hutchins, 36. J. Van Dyk
C: 14. O. Flanagan, 1. E. Mackie, 9. M. Kuys
HF: 6. J. Crockett-Grills, 28. S. Perkins, 35. C. O’Donnell
F: 33. E. Gilder, 7. P. McWilliams, 12. T. Nestor
R: 19. L. Wotton, 17. S. David, 4. S. Carroll
Int: 24. R. Dillon, 34. A. Dowler, 16. C. Papadopoulos, 15. S. Yule
Emg: 18. J. Foster, 11. D. Haines, 39. S. McNamara, 29. A. Tanner
23P: 26. C. Dyett

BYE – CASEY DEMONS