Tag: Kira Phillips

Swan Districts maintain perfect record with strong win over Claremont

SWAN Districts have cruised to their ninth West Australian Football League Women’s (WAFLW) win of the season from nine games, delivering a solid performance against Claremont, breaking away in the second half to triumph by 19 points at Revo Fitness Stadium on Sunday afternoon. A four goal to one second half saw the competition’s top side continue their unbeaten streak through 10 rounds.

Following the cancellation of last week’s round of action across Western Australia due to a COVID-19 scare, WAFLW action returned for round 10 as Claremont hosted the powerhouse of the competition in Swan Districts. The first quarter began in typical Swan Districts fashion, as the game was tightly contested with an extremely hot footy. Both teams battled to burst their way through packs and scoring was pushed aside in exchange for a territory battle. Claremont kicked the first goal through Tessa Doumanis, as they shot out to an early lead. This lead did not last long though, as Swan Districts responded shortly after through Bianca Webb, and following another goal for the term, they began to gain control of the game, which they would never surrender from then on. The second quarter saw two goals from each team, as both teams consistently peppered the ball inside 50, with inaccuracy interrupting Swan Districts’ momentum. Claremont trailed by 11 points at the main break, with plenty to improve on as Swan Districts snatched control of the game but just could not deliver scoreboard punishment.

The third quarter saw more of the same, with the poor scoring accuracy of Swan Districts keeping Claremont within striking distance. The fatigue of players began to set in during the third term, with a solitary Swan Districts goal the only major of the quarter. The backlines of both sides found themselves working overtime with poor inside 50 entries resulting in plenty of intercept possessions for the term. With Swan Districts holding a 17-point lead going into the final term, Claremont found themselves still in the game, but it would require a bigger effort than the first three quarters. However, their opponents were simply too good to close out the game, kicking two goals to seal the game early in the term. Finishing the game with a win by just over three goals, Swan Districts became the first game in WAFLW history to win nine games in a row. They will prove hard to stop.

For the victors, Hyde was exceptional with her work on the wing. She ran hard all day from contest to contest as her wing was where the ball was often found. Her first quarter goal was a fantastic reward for effort, and she never dropped her intensity for the remainder of the game. Teammate Dana East was just as good, displaying her fantastic ability to maintain clean hands when the ball is in dispute. For Claremont, Ella Smith fought hard all day to keep her side in the game, and put her body on the line all day, demonstrated by the hard hit she wore late in the final term. Doumanis was also prominent with her two goals.

Around the leagues, Peel Thunder kicked away to finish the round with a 29-point triumph over East Fremantle at David Grays Arena on Saturday evening. Despite only five points separating the teams at half time, Peel Thunder proved too good and kicked six goals to three in the second half to secure the win. For Peel Thunder, Kate Bartlett kicked three goals, while Ella Roberts and Aisha Wright added two apiece, and Kira Phillips threatened to have a big day, kicking 1.6. Courtney Rowley and Sabreena Duffy were named the side’s best. For East Fremantle, Roxanne Roux, Sharon Wong, Madeline Ross and Gabrielle O’Sullivan each booted one goal. Laura Mcclelland and Phillipa Seth were named in the bests for the side.

A strong final term from Subiaco saw them burst away with a 25-point victory against a brave South Fremantle side at Leederville Oval on Sunday night. South Fremantle trailed by only three points at the final break, but Subiaco were able to flick the switch and nail the game shut with a three goal to nil final term to seal the win. For Subiaco, Madizen Wilkens, Amy Hunt, Tarnica Gosliano, Abbey Dowrick and Jamie Rust were the goalkickers while Jayme Harken was best afield. For South Fremantle, Liusaidh Gilchrist kicked a goal and was her side’s strongest performer, while Zoe Huggett kicked the other goal for the team.

2021 WAFL Women’s Round 10 preview: Sides return after forced cancellation

AFTER Round 9 matches were unable to go ahead due to the state lockdown, the Round 10 teams – which saw the return of the State Academy talents and more AFL Women’s players – were largely left the same with a few odd movements.

Up first is Peel Thunder taking on East Fremantle with the former stacked with returning talent and the latter also including some serious excitement. The reigning premiers have been able to bring their State Academy talent in recently named Most Valuable Player (MVP) Ella Roberts, with Courtney Rowley, Jaide Britton, Bella Mann, Beth Schilling and Aisha Wright all back in the side. Add in AFL Women’s talents in Sabreena Duffy, Sarah Verrier and Katie Jayne Grieve and the home team is absolutely stacked. Nel Baxter is another to return and slot straight onto a wing opposite Rowley as Chloe Wrigley has been named onball, while Roberts joins Grieve, Kira Phillips and Kate Bartlett inside 50, and Verrier is named off half-back with Cassie Davidson, Tanisha Anderson and Ebony Dowson among the players back there.

The Sharks have been able to add their two State Academy talents back into the side after the AFL Women’s Under 19 Championships in Chloe Reilly and Mylee Leitch, while Anjelique Raison is another young gun returning for the match. Gabby O’Sullivan will be a massive boost to the Sharks in the second half of the season, as will Philipa Seth up the other end, with the pair coming in alongside experienced forward Sara Lewis. The Sharks had to make six changes last week with Rachel Ashley and Gabby Radojkovich among the outs, though one name who has quietly snuck into a forward pocket is Roxanne Roux, who is a tall target that might just worry the Peel Thunder defence. If she can get off the chain with her athleticism and AFLW experience, then watch out.

The match of the round has to be the top of the table battle between the undefeated Swan Districts and one of the Swans’ biggest threats in Claremont. The Tigers have added in their State Academy players with Emily Bennett and Matilda Dyke going straight back into defence, and Amy Franklin named in her preferred position up forward. Matilda Sergeant and Jasmin Stewart come back to state level with captain Ella Smith returning alongside ruck Matilda Husband. The midfield featuring Jess Low, Sasha Goranova and Hayley Bullas is a major strength for the Tigers, while Dyke and Sophie McDonald holding the key position defence roles alongside Bennett, Rachel Ortlepp and Laura Pugh, while Amy Fortescue is one out from Round 9 to 10 selection sheet named as an emergency. Claremont have the talent to win the ball in the midfield and give their forwards first chance, but the Swans lineup is absolute A-grade and are the premiership favourites right now.

Swan Districts has also been able to roll out the welcome mat for plenty of inclusions as the State Academy members return for Round 9. Dana East, Nyra Anderson, Melisha Hardy, Sarah Lakay, Emma Nanut and Tara Stribley are all back into the side which has an extended bench, as AFL Women’s-listed players Kellie Gibson and Bianca Webb all return as well, Caitlyn Appleford is the other including of the 11 changes to the Swans, with the entirely new midfield of Lakay, East, Webb and Gibson will flank the damaging Mikayla and Brianna Hyde on the wings. The reliable Emily McGuire is at half-back, with young gun Jaime Henry also there while Jess Cox and Kloe Taylor are among the other young talents coming through the team, and Sarah Wielstra named up forward. The Swans will be keen to have a win over the Tigers and all but lock up top spot this season.

In the final game of the round, Subiaco hosts South Fremantle in a battle of  fourth against sixth. South Fremantle has also allowed for a ton of chances, as Makaela Tuhakaraina and Lauren Wakfer return from State Academy duties, with Sarah Wright also back on the extended interchange. Lauren Vecchio has come in to provide some extra experience, and Lara Rodin-Zimdahl, Cali Hunt and Ashleigh Little are the others to be coming back into the team. The Bulldogs will be heavy underdogs against an unbelievably strong ladder leaders lineup, though the forward line of Little, Wakfer, Ebony Clarkson and Tuhakaraina combining with Zoe Huggett, and then through the midfield Pia Durk, Kiara Templeman and Aaliyah Ugle will be one to watch, and particularly great experience for the younger South Fremantle players.

The Lions have not been forced to make any changes back in Round 9, and have instead recalled some experience in Hayley Miller, Ange Stannett, Beatrice Devlyn and Ashtyn Cowie. The midfield battle will be fascinating with Jess Ritchie in the ruck as Tarnica Golisano, Abbey Dowick and Lara Filocamo will look to win first possession. Kia Buckley, Jamie Rust and Madi Wilkins are among the talents forward of centre for the Lions, and Claire Ortlepp and Jayme Harken those holding up in defence. Maggie MacLachlan has been named on an extended interchange, and the depth of the Lions is clear in a game they should win to create separation from the bottom two sides and look towards finals footy.

WAFL WOMEN’S ROUND 10 FIXTURES:

Peel Thunder vs. East Fremantle
Claremont vs. Swan Districts
Subiaco vs. South Fremantle

Ruthless Claremont run riot against East Fremantle

CLAREMONT has displayed a clinical performance against East Fremantle on Sunday afternoon, running out winners 10.6 (66) to 1.1 (7). On a very warm day at New Choice Homes Park, the victors were able to withstand the heat as they dominated possession for most of the day. East Fremantle struggled to string together solid passages of play as the constant pressure from Claremont was consistently looming. The Tigers were able to do as they pleased on their way to a convincing victory to take second spot on the ladder after eight rounds of action.

Looking back, it is now clear that the first quarter was a sign of things to come. Claremont forward Amber Goodwin-Wissink kicked the opening two goals of the game to give her side the perfect start. From the first bounce, Claremont gained midfield ascendency, led by Sasha Goranova, who put in a best on ground performance. The Tigers kicked their third through Tessa Doumanis, but it was set up through some exceptional play from teammate Adele Arnup. Taking the game on, Arnup burned off her opponents, took a bounce, remarkably handballed over an approaching defender before regathering the ball and handballing to an open Doumanis. It was play that summed up the high that Claremont were playing on. The second quarter showed more warning signs for East Fremantle, as their opponents kicked two goals in the opening minutes of the quarter. While the rest of the quarter had both sides remaining goalless, it was still a clear one-sided affair.

The third quarter started with similar signs to the first half, with Claremont owning the ball and keeping their opponents on the back foot. An excellent inboard kick from Doumanis set up Brooke Whyte to kick her first for the day as the Tigers extended the lead. With Arnup also joining in on the scoring later in the quarter, suddenly it was seven goals to none. Despite this, East Fremantle showed some fight to end the quarter, laying some hard tackles and kicking their first goal through Kahra Sprylan’s conversion of an intercept mark. The last quarter saw Claremont regain control over the game, and goals to Whyte, Goodwin-Wissink and Kate Orme saw the Tigers finish with a 59-point win.

Goranova was as good as they come on the day. Her strength through the midfield was on display as she burst through packs and pushed the ball forward for her team. She ran hard all day to not only get to the ball whenever it was on the deck but also to provide an option for teammates up the field. Goodwin-Wissink led the way up forward with three goals, and Doumanis showed her class with her clean disposals setting up teammates while finishing with two goals herself. For East Fremantle, Paisley Prentice ran tirelessly all day while Sharon Wong was physical in the midfield in what was a tough day at the office.

Claremont will look to keep their winning streak alive as they take on Peel Thunder on Saturday in what should be an exciting clash. East Fremantle will look to bounce back against Subiaco on the same day.

In other games this round, Peel Thunder dominated all day as they defeated South Fremantle 10.8 (68) to 3.3 (21) at Pingelly Oval on Saturday. For Peel Thunder, Kate Bartlett had a day out kicking four goals, while Kaitlyn Hayes kicked two herself. Bailey Molloy, Ebony Dawson, Kira Phillips, Hannah Church each kicked one goal. Their best players were Tanisha Anderson, Ebony Bilcich, Gracie Fenton, Bartlett and Cassie Davidson. For South Fremantle, Tahlia Holtze kicked two goals, while Chae-Lee Sabie added one. Their best players were Holtze, Breanne Spencer, Liusaidh Gilchrist, Ella Ward and Sabie.

At Steel Blue Oval, Swan Districts took down Subiaco in a thriller, running out winners 7.6 (48) to 6.4 (40) on Saturday afternoon. Swan Districts kicked the first five goals of the game and survived a Subiaco comeback to take home the points. The Swan Districts goal kickers were Sarah Wielstra with two and Imahra Cameron, Stephanie Graskoski, Kloe Taylor, Fiona Boucher and Taylah Edwards with one each. Their best players were Jessica Cox, Eliza Gelmi, Edwards, Wielstra and Jaime Henry. For Subiaco, Amy Hunt kicked a bag of three while Lara Filocamo, Holly Hyder, Kate Pocsidio each kicked one goal. Their best players were Jayme Harken, Jessica Ritchie, Kia Buckley, Caitlin Walker and Claire Ortlepp.

2021 WAFL Women’s Round 8 preview: Swans load up on AFLW talent to continue winning streak

A CLEAR divide has developed in the West Australian Football League (WAFL) Women’s competition, as the top three sides – led by the undefeated Swan Districts – are at least 12 points clear of the bottom three sides. The Swans have not dropped a game in seven outings and sit pretty eight points clear at the top of the ladder, with a massive percentage of 263.7. Peel Thunder and Claremont are separated by less than six per cent thanks to five wins from seven matches, before East Fremantle and Subiaco appear to be fighting it out for the last finals spot. The Sharks have the superior percentage – by 9.67 per cent, while South Fremantle hold up the table as the only side yet to win a game in 2021.

The opening game of the round sees reigning premiers Peel Thunder hitting the road to take on reigning wooden spooner and a side yet to register a win in the club’s short history, in South Fremantle. The Thunder will welcome back Demi Liddle who slots straight into the midfield group alongside Chloe Rigley, Gracie Fenton and Ebony Bilcich. The loss of the likes of Courtney Rowley, Jaide Britton and Ella Roberts to the State Academy has not impacted the Thunder, and they are expected to get the job done here with the damaging forward line of Kira Phillips, Bailey Molloy and Kate Bartlett all able to hit the scoreboard, and Tanisha Anderson, Ebony Dowson and Cassie Davidson at the back.

The Bulldogs on the other hand have a steady midfield group of Tahlia Holtze, Lauren Vecchio and Liudsaidh Gilchrist, though will be missing the likes of Makaela Tuhakaraina, Ash Reidy and Lauren Wakfer from the side who will return next week from their State Academy duties. Pia Durk, Kiara Templeman and Zoe Huggett are important components of the side, with Hunter Cronin and Aaliyah Ugle others to keep an eye on forward of centre for the league’s cellar dwellers.

Just when it looked like Swan Districts could not get any stronger without its contingent of youth stars, the Swans have brought back the Hyde twins, with Mikayla and Brianna Hyde both in the team. Mikayla has already played this season at state level, but is expected to feature more heavily now Fremantle’s AFL Women’s campaign is over. Brianna on the other hand was co-captain of the State Academy squad, but fell a week short of recovering from injury to play, and will look to have an impact in this game. Chanel Jetta will join the likes of AFL Women’s listed talents Kellie Gibson and Imahra Cameron back into the side. They also have the in-form Jess Cox, along with fellow youngsters Jaime Henry, Kloe Taylor and Danielle Wright, while Emily McGuire has been named at full-forward in a change of ends.

Subiaco have not opted to name any outs just yet, with Ellie Blackmore an important inclusion back in the side on a wing, whilst Taylisha Brown, Maud-Annie Foley and Dahna Lee have all been added to the extended interchange. Jess Ritchie, Tarnica Golisano, Lara Filocamo and Abbey Dowrick are a strong midfield group, as Claire Ortlepp and Jayme Harken provide the defensive impact, and youngsters Kia Buckley and Jamie Rust will benefit once again alongside Tarnee Tester at half-forward. The Swans will be strong favourites to go 8-0, but Subiaco are forming a more solid team to attack the second half of the year.

In the final game of the round, East Fremantle will look to cause an upset against Claremont with both teams making some changes at the selection table. The Tigers have welcomed back AFL Women’s listed Eagles, Hayley Bullas and Sophie McDonald, alongside Adele Arnup, Ayesha Razvi and Mackenzie Thompson, with Melissa Mettam, Emily Pickett and Julia Uhe coming out but remaining at emergencies. Bullas will team up with Sasha Goranova and Jess Low in the midfield which will cause some headaches for the sharks, whilst McDonald will join forces with consistent defenders, Rachel Ortlepp and Amy Fortescue in the back half.

East Fremantle welcome back Kahra Sprylan into that midfield mix, as well as full-forward Stephanie Dalton who replaces Sara Lewis, defender Rachel Ashley, and then Doma Fedele and youngster Gabby Radojkovich coming onto the bench. Alli Nokes, Samara Pluschke and Torrens Revell were among the outs for the home team ahead of the clash. Rosie Walsh remains at full-back for the Sharks, with Hayley O’Donnell, Ashleigh Gomes and Madeline Ross creating some run on the outside, and clever Larissa Versaci up forward. Sharon Wong and Kate Inglis-Hodge will look to take control with Sprylan in a massive midfield battle against the equally-talented Tigers onball brigade.

WAFL WOMEN’S ROUND 8 FIXTURES:

South Fremantle vs. Peel Thunder
Swan Districts vs. Subiaco
East Fremantle vs. Claremont

Picture credit: WAFL

Swan Districts maintain reputation as benchmark in big win over Claremont

IF you want to win the West Australian Football League (WAFL) Women’s flag this year, you will have to get through Swan Districts. Heading into the top of the table clash, it was evident we would find out which team is the real deal, and now we know for sure. Despite Claremont heading into the game only one win behind their opponents, they were convincingly beaten by the Swans in what turned out to be a somewhat one-sided affair. The first quarter was as even as it gets, with both teams heading into the first break tied. The final three quarters belonged to the Districts as they put their opponents under immense pressure, as they ran out victors 7.4 (46) to 2.1 (13).

The two best teams in the competition heading into the match unfortunately played each other on the same weekend as a representative competition. This meant both sides put a significantly weaker side than previous weeks, but this didn’t matter. Both teams went into the game with talent all over the ground and this showed in the first quarter. The game was even all over the ground, with physical contests and hard-won clearances going either way. The Swans kicked the first goal through Hayley Cole, who was the recipient of some terrific hands in traffic from the home team. The lead was short-lived however, as Claremont responded immediately through Ella Smith, who capped off her blistering start to the game with a major of her own.

The armwrestle continued as neither side could gain an advantage, with the Swan Districts’ second goal followed up by another immediate response from the Tigers. At quarter time, it looked as if the match would be a closely fought contest. This all changed in the second quarter though, when Swan Districts were able to break away, tackling hard and forcing their opponents into turnovers, all the while hitting the scoreboard themselves. The third quarter saw Claremont raise the fight to their opposition but failed to capitalise on the scoreboard. Meanwhile, the Swans took their chances inside 50, and the quarter ended with two goals to nil in their favour. Two more goals to Swan Districts in the fourth sealed the win as their undefeated streak continues, and will be hopeful regarding the availability of Aimee Ralph, who was replaced on report. The Tigers slipped to third following the loss, and will be monitoring the wellbeing of Madeleine Scanlon, who was concussed during the match.

For the Swan Districts, the backline duo of Lauren Osbourne and Emily McGuire were remarkable in not only consistently thwarting the forward 50 entries of the Tigers, but also generating some key run from the backline. At different stages, both displayed composure under pressure, and were able to extract the ball from the backline and rebound out of the defensive 50 to find a teammate up the ground. In typical fashion, Jessica Cox was fantastic around the stoppages, and Ralph continued to dominate in the ruck. Taylah Edwards kicked two goals, while Cole, Ralph, Mikayla Morrison, Hope Ugle-Hayward and Chanel Jetta kicked one each. For Claremont, Rachel Ortlepp was exceptional in a losing side, taking plenty of intercept marks and generating some much-needed ball movement out of the backline. Katherine Bennett battled bravely through the midfield, despite the constant pressure. The goal kickers were Smith and Brooke Whyte.

In Round 7, Swan Districts will travel to take on East Fremantle on Sunday as they look to keep their undefeated streak alive. Meanwhile, Claremont will be looking to bounce back against South Fremantle on Saturday morning, who are still searching for their first win.

In the other games across the round, Subiaco smashed the struggling South Fremantle on Saturday afternoon 11.12 (78) to 1.0 (6). For Subiaco, the goal kickers were Kia Buckley and Tarnee Tester with three goals each, Amy Hunt and Kate Pocsidio with two goals each and Abbey Dowrick with one goal. The best players were Buckley, Dowrick, Tester, Ellie Blackmore and Jessica Ritchie. For South Fremantle, Hunter Cronin kicked the only goal for her side. The best players were Kiara Templeman, Ebony Clarkson, Casey Byrne, Tahlia Holtze and Liusaidh Gilchrist.

At New Choice Homes Park, Peel Thunder made easy work of their opponents, defeating East Fremantle 9.5 (59) to 2.7 (19). For Peel Thunder, the goal kickers were Kira Phillips with three goals, Bailey Molloy and Kate Bartlett with two goals apiece, and Ebonee Hardie and Katie Jayne Grieve with one goal each. The best players were Ebony Bilcich, Greta Mckinley, Abby Barnden, Molloy and Skipper Van Peer. For East Fremantle, the goal kickers were Stephanie Dalton and Kahra Sprylan with one goal each. The best players were Madeline Ross, Larissa Versaci, Sprylan, Nadya Browne and Ashleigh Gomes.

Picture credit: WAFL

2021 WAFL Women’s Round 6 preview: Wholesale changes as young guns head to South Australia

MOST sides – but particularly Swan Districts and Peel Thunder – will be heavily depleted in Round 6 of the West Australian Football League (WAFL) competition. Both sides have built a reputation on their abundance of young talent coming through the teams, and now they will need to work around the amount of forced changes in their respective games, with the Swans forced for eight changes due to the AFL Women’s Under U19s matchup between South Australia and Western Australia, and five of six changes for Peel. South Fremantle (two), East Fremantle (one) and Subiaco (none) have fewer forced changes due to the game, but a number of switches at the selection table have still occurred.

Swan Districts will be without Nyra Anderson, Naomi Baker, Dana East, Melisha Hardy, Sarah Lakay, Emma Nanut, Tara Stribley and Bella Edgley for the huge top of the table clash against Claremont, meaning a number of other talents will need to step up. They regain some key position options in the likes of Sarah Wielstra – who missed last week – and Fiona Boucher, while Hayley Cole and Olivia Cripps are among other inclusions for the Swans. They still have a young onball brigade with teenagers Jessica Cox and Kloe Taylor in there, whilst Mikayla Hyde has been named at full-forward alongside the dangerous Mikayla Morrison and Taylah Edwards. Young guns Jaime Henry and Danielle Wright are also in there, too young for the AFL Women’s Under 19s selection.

Claremont on the other hand also have quite a few outs, with five changes including Matilda Dyke heading to South Australia. Sasha Goranova, Kate Orme, Andie Payne and Mikayla Western are also out of the match, though the Tigers do regain the likes of Sarah Garstone and Emma Lendrum among others. Emily Bennett is another player out of the Tigers’ lineup due to her commitments in South Australia, but was not named as an out given she missed the Round 5 clash as well. Amy Fortescue and Rachel Ortlepp will hop to hold down the defensive fort this week, whilst the midfield of Jess Low, Tessa Doumanis and Ella Smith is quality, and former State representatives in Garstone and Jacinta Valentini will look to make the most of their chances against a steadfast defence. This game is a huge chance for Claremont to knock off the undefeated Swans.

At the other end of the ladder, the bottom two sides in Subiaco and South Fremantle lock horns in a must-win game for both teams. The Lions only have the one forced change in Tarnee Tester out of the side, while Maggie MacLachlan replaces that AFL Women’s experience by coming back into the side alongside Holly Hyder, Maud-Annie Foley and Kate Pocsidio. The Lions have a largely unchanged lineup heading into the clash, with Jamie Rust looking strong last week, and Tarnica Golisano, Lara Filocamo and Ellie Blackmore working around Jessica Ritchie at the stoppages. Youngsters Kia Buckley and Abbey Dowrick have the capacity to be game-changes, while Madi Wilkins was impressive, and Claire Ortlepp a reliable source of rebound from the back half.

For South Fremantle, they have lost Makaela Tuhakaraina and Lauren Wakfer to State Academy duties against South Australia, whilst last week’s debutant Bella Clarke is also among six outs this week. Coming into the side are a few important talents in ruck/forward Ella Ward, and midfielder Kiara Templeman, while Shakira Pickett is an excitement machine. Liusaidh Gilchrist and Pia Durk are always dangerous for the red and whites through the middle, whilst the forward trio of Hunter Cronin, Zoe Huggett and Lauren Vecchio is threatening. They will need to be at their best given the outs for the Bulldogs, but will enjoy the challenge taking on a side they narrowly fell short of in Round 1.

In the final match of the round, reigning premiers Peel Thunder – who are coming off two losses in three games – will look to bounce back against East Fremantle. The Thunder have been gutted – in a good way – at the selection table, with their enviable amount of young guns all heading to South Australia. Jaide Britton will co-captain her state at the championships – and as the only fit captain for the first clash against South Australia will toss the coin at Flinders University Stadium – while Jade Briggs, Bella Mann, Ella Roberts and Courtney Rowley will also miss the Thunder’s game. Into the side comes another Rowley in Angel Rowley, whilst Ebonee Hardy is the other player coming in that is named in an extended team. The Thunder will have plenty of talent across the ground, with Kate Bartlett, Bailey Molloy and Kira Phillips all capable of dominating inside 50, while Tanisha Anderson, Cassie Davidson and Ebony Dowson are rock solid up the other end.

East Fremantle have only lost one player to the Academy game in Chloe Reilly, but have lost a ton of experience elsewhere, as full-back Kimberley Boulton, experienced midfielders Sharon Wong and Ann McMahon, as well as Kate Inglis-Hodge are among the outs in the match. It opens the door for a number of other Sharks to come back in, with Evie Gooch the big name returning for Round 6. She joins Cadian Lodge, Nikki Phillips and Stephanie Dalton in slotting straight into the starting side. The Sharks will lack experience, but still have youth, as Anjelique Raison and Gabby Radojkovich are forward talents, and Alli Nokes providing the physicality in defence. Ashleigh Gomes, Kahra Sprylan and Larissa Versaci have the experience to overcome the Thunder midfield, whilst Alex Williams and Hayley O’Donnell are still in the backline, and Madeline Ross up forward meaning the home team could cause an upset and string their third win together and join the Thunder on 3-3.

WAFL WOMEN’S ROUND 6 FIXTURES:

Swan Districts vs. Claremont
Subiaco vs. South Fremantle
East Fremantle vs. Peel Thunder

Picture credit: Owen Davies / Peel Thunder

2021 WAFL Women’s Round 5 preview: Tigers and Thunder to do battle in huge top three clash

THREE games across three days means there is plenty of West Australian Football League (WAFL) Women’s action for fans to check out in a big weekend for the league. The highly anticipated clash is between top three sides, Peel Thunder up against Claremont, whilst at the other end of the table, South Fremantle will search for its first win against East Fremantle, and top-of-the-table Swan Districts will host Subiaco to try and increase their unbeaten streak to five this year.

The opening game of the round pits the winless Bulldogs up against the 1-3 Sharks in what is a crucial match in terms of the respective sides’ season aspirations. South Fremantle has shown it can take it up to sides each week and this could be its best chance of a win to-date, whilst the Sharks have been a touch inconsistent, which can be attributed to bringing through a lot of talented youth into the League side. Both teams will have an abundance of young guns running around which should make it a tight contest.

Makayla Cocking and Ash Little are into the side with Ash Reidy out of the team for the Bulldogs, while for the Sharks, Evie Gooch‘s three majors last week were enough for Trent Cooper to recall her to Fremantle’s AFL Women’s side. Into the team comes Kate Inglis-Hodge, Paisley Prentice and Georgia Bett, with Inglis-Hodge hoping to provide that spark in the midfield alongside Ann McMahon, Kahra Sprylan, Sharon Wong and captain Ashleigh Gomes. That East Fremantle midfield is rock solid, and the battle with the likes of Liusaidh Gilchrist, Tahlia Holtze, Pia Durk, Lauren Vecchio and Aaliyah Ugle will be a huge test within the overall scheme of things.

In terms of youth, South’s Hunter Cronin and East’s Alli Nokes might find themselves opposed to each other in what would be a great battle, whilst Chloe Reilly really stamped her authority last week, teaming up in a young forward line with Gabby Radojkovich and Anjelique Raison. Up the other end, Makaela Tuhakaraina and Lauren Wakfer are ones to watch – with the latter also rolling through the ruck, while Ebony Clarkson continues to show promising signs wherever she plays.

Two teams with very different hands at the selection table do battle in a clash of the 3-1 sides. Reigning premiers Peel Thunder have just added four players to an extended team in what remains one of the title contenders. The Thunder have recalled dominant key forward and rotating ruck Kira Phillips, as well as young gun Aisha Wright, and Katie Jayne Greive and Nel Baxter, without having to make any forced changes. For the Tigers, Sarah Garstone, Kate Orme and Sophie McDonald are out meaning Claremont has lost a fair chunk of experience, while the likes of Emily Pickett and Adele Arnup return to the side.

The battle between the Peel attack and the Claremont defence will be a fascinating one, with competition leading goalkicker Kate Bartlett set to be watched by Amy Fortescue, while the likes of Bailey Molloy and Ella Roberts – who both kicked multiple goals last week – and youngster Jade Briggs will be closely watched by young talent Emily Bennett, as well as reliable rebounders Rachel Ortlepp and Brooke Hongell. Claremont have the stronger inside midfield with Jess Low, Sasha Goranova and Ella Smith forming a great inside presence, while Peel’s wings in Courtney Rowley and Jaide Britton provide run and carry on the outside.

In Claremont’s defence, Amy Franklin will lead the attack, and whilst Cassie Davidson will likely get first crack at the talented teenager, it will be quite the matchup if the equally athletic Beth Schilling is able to lock horns with Franklin at some stage. Schilling has been named in defence to take on Jacinta Valentini. Also back there, rebounding types Tanisha Anderson and Ebony Dowson, along with Bella Mann will try and contain the likes of Tessa Doumanis and Brooke Whyte.

Swan Districts will eye off a fifth straight win, this time taking on Subiaco in the final match of the round on Sunday. Unfortunately they will be without Mikayla Morrison whose seven goals in two games were enough to force a recall to the AFL Women’s. Bianca Webb is also out of the side, but the Swans have been able to bring in a couple of talented youngsters in Emma Nanut and Chanel Jetta who have been added to one of the youngest benches going around. Of the five players on the Swan Districts’ bench, the oldest is 18-year-old Naomi Baker, who will be there alongside fellow teenagers Melisha Hardy and Kloe Taylor.

Subiaco has lost some experience out of its side, with Maggie Maclachlan, Katelyn Pope and Beatrice Devlyn all out, with an extended bench added, including Taylisha Brown, Hayley Corlett and Selina Spiers among seven inclusions to the visiting side. The Lions midfield of Lara Filocamo, Tarnica Golisano and Liana Burchell will face a very young onball brigade including the in-form Dana East and Jessica Cox, while Sarah Lakay is gaining great experience in the ruck. Rotating with Sarah Wielstra up forward, Lakay has the athleticism to worry the opposition, whilst the Swans forward line – even without Morrison – is still damaging.

Bella Edgley is a sensational overhead mark, Taylah Edwards is ever-dangerous and Nyra Anderson has some of the cleanest hands out there. It will be up to the likes of Claire Ortlepp, Tayla Thorogood and Jayme Harken to try and contain them, whilst the wing battle between young gun Tara Stribley and Subiaco’s Ellie Blackmore will be one to watch. Up in the Lions’ forward line, Abbey Dowrick, Kia Buckley and Jamie Rust are developing talents, while the experience of Emily McGuire, Lauren Osborne and Aimee Ralph has made life difficult for opposition teams to score.

The round is set to be a cracker with plenty on the line for all six teams.

WAFL WOMEN’S ROUND 5 FIXTURES:

South Fremantle vs. East Fremantle
Claremont vs. Peel Thunder
Swan Districts vs. Subiaco

Picture credit: Owen Davies / Peel Thunder

2021 WAFL Women’s Round 1 preview: Reigning premiers to host Sharks in opening game

PEEL Thunder will kick-start its premiership defence against perennial challengers, East Fremantle in a blockbuster standalone Saturday evening clash at David Grays Arena tomorrow. Starting at 5pm local time on Saturday (8pm AEDST), the Thunder will be keen to start off the season on the right note, whilst the Sharks will enjoy, for the first time in a while, not being the hunted and instead having the first crack at their successor.

Speaking to Peel Thunder coach Steve Markham during the week, the team will again be incredibly strong defensively, as it was last year. Though they also have plenty of talent up forward.

“I think our backline was strong last year, we obviously lose Demi Liddle and Shannon Whale but the replacements in Kerrilee Brown and a couple coming through is going to be really strong, it’s going to be hard to score against. “So I think that will be a real strength, and with Ella Roberts up forward and KP (Kira Phillips), Jaide Briggs I think our forward line looks pretty potent, but I think our defence will be rock solid.”

For East Fremantle, talented young ruck Rosie Walsh said the team as a whole was looking on improving their skills under new coach, and former Subiaco mentor, Simon Quayle.

“Hitting those targets, working on our kicking, on our handpasses, just those really basic skills that those little things that will get you to where you want to be,” she said. “Mia Schleicher, it’s her first year playing League as well, she played Colts last year and I definitely think she is a gun to look out for.  “Mylee Leitch – she has come up from the Colts, she has gone into the League team, she’s a small forward, really kick and knows how to put the ball through the sticks, she is pretty good.”

PEEL THUNDER COACH STEVE MARKHAM:

“We’ve done a really big preseason, the girls really didn’t have much time off, they only had about six weeks, so for some of them that week was good for them,” he said. “I think we’re in a pretty good place, you never know where the opposition is at, but playing East Freo as the premiers the year before, if you can challenge East Freo at any time you’re going pretty well so we’re excited to have them first up.”

EAST FREMANTLE RUCK ROSIE WALSH:

“We’re working on switching lanes and just playing fast,” she said. “Obviously not too fast, but when we take a mark to push back and only kick it to when they know they have that separation from their defender, but everything else is working really fast. “So switching lanes, working down the corridor, and we know that Peel like to play really good body, so they will not let you get that separation, so we’re working really hard on getting that separation, especially in the forward line and keeping that body in the backline, so not letting them go.”

Both Peel Thunder and East Fremantle are strong one-on-one and like to move the ball quickly, which makes this the match of the round. While the Thunder will be missing some of their premiership talent, the Sharks will also be without crucial AFL Women’s experience. It all adds up to a fascinating battle and one not to be missed.

In the other two matches, reigning grand finalists Subiaco travel to Fremantle Community Bank Oval where they take on a vastly different looking South Fremantle. The Bulldogs did not manage to grab a win in their inaugural season last year, but they showed promise towards the end of the season, and have brought in a ton of experience for 2021. Bulldogs coach Beau McCormack said they would continue the brand of football from last year and build on it this season.

“I think our brand football we set out last year to play a brand football of high impact football and being known for a hard hitting team, and I think we, we definitely set that example last year and it’s something that we take on and have taken in again to this year, as I said, you know, tackling pressure from my point of view is a huge part of the game and we don’t have it, we get it back,” he said.

“We’ve got some really good runners, that are in the side, just trying to get it out and quick movement of the football from, one end of the ground to the other sort of fast flowing, free flowing football.”

Subiaco will head in with a new coach too after Michael Farmer took over the role from Amy Lavell this off-season. The Lions are preparing for another tilt at the flag after narrowly falling short in the 2021 decider.

Meanwhile Swan Districts will be hoping to back up a successful year where they not only made finals, but had a number of players drafted in Mikayla Morrison, Shanae Davison and Mikayla Hyde. The Swans take on Claremont in the opening round at Steel Blue Oval, with the Tigers hoping to improve on their narrow finals-missing campaign last year. With the likes of Ella Smith and Jess Low among those standing out last year, the Tigers should be another tough team in 2021.

Swan Districts will welcome a new head coach in Adam Dancey for the opening game, with team manager Jo Taylor excited about what the team could produce in 2021.

“We have a really young list again, we’ve got some more youngsters through, which is something that we’ve always sort of strived to do,” she said. “So we’re excited to see what they can do as well.”

Claremont coach Andrew Di Loreto has focused on areas that the Tigers could improve in season 2021 after narrowly missing out on finals last year.

“We had some areas we wanted to focus on in terms of evolving the way that we play,” Di Loreto said. “We’ve obviously got a bit of a shorter run up but with all that in mind I’m really happy with the commitment level and the development of our girls, I’m really keen to see them in action and obviously have a test and see where we’re at in a couple of weeks.”

WAFL ROUND 1 MATCHES:

Peel Thunder vs. East Fremantle @ David Grays Arena, Sat Feb 20, 5pm
South Fremantle vs. Subiaco @ Fremantle Community Bank Oval, Sun Feb 21, 1pm
Swan Districts vs. Claremont @ Steel Blue Oval, Sun Feb 21, 2pm

Picture credit: WAFL

Peel prepares for 2021 after “whirlwind” season

TWELVE months ago, Peel Thunder was coming off a wooden spoon with bucketloads of young talent and little expectations on them ahead of the 2020 West Australian Football League (WAFL) Women’s season. Fast forward to 2021, and the Thunder have turned from the hunter into the hunted, having experienced a “whirlwind” of a season to storm from last to first and claim their inaugural WAFL Women’s premiership.

For Peel Thunder coach Steve Markham, it has been a remarkable past 12 months, but there was little time to rest on their laurels as the reigning premiers got back to work for the new season which had been brought forward to run concurrently with the AFL Women’s.

It’s been a whirlwind to be honest, obviously we’ve had the flag and then the season was brought forward,” Markham said. “The girls really haven’t had a break but there’s the excitement and energy around the place has been unbelievable. It’s been really, really exciting.”

“We’ve got the (West Australian) State Program on and we’ve got 12 girls engaged in that at the moment. “Obviously Demi Liddle and Sarah Verrier got drafted so it’s been really successful for us and we’re building for Round 1 next week.”

Like every football team in the country, Peel Thunder was forced to alter its plans over the past 12 months, and managed to manoeuvre its way through the challenges of a global pandemic to lift the premiership cup. With the threat of COVID-19 still in the air, Markham said his side was prepared to adjust with the times and what ever was needed to evolve.

“It’s always evolving,” he said. “Obviously last year we had COVID so we went into the pods. “This year it’s been a challenge in a respect it was hard getting the whole squad together as the state girls are up at state, and the South West girls only come up once a week. “So we do have to do repetitive drills a little bit so we’re all on the same page and get to how each other’s playing.”

“Nothing too much, last week was obviously shut down with COVID. “The girls are engaged, we gave them a running plan, we have a chat group through Messenger and they’re all posting what they’re doing and the repertoire and the team harmony in there has been really, really good. “It shows that they’re all engaged and ready so they’re all in a pretty good place.”

At this stage just two players – Shannon Whale and Kate Ditchburn – from the premiership-winning side will not be around in 2021, with Aisha Wright to step up from the State Academy as a key inclusion, alongside former State 18s player Kerrilee Brown. Others who Markham has earmarked as “inclusions” are those who have either missed years through injury – such as Shantae Freeman – or those who predominantly played Rogers Cup but will have an increased role – such as Beth Schilling.

Markham said young gun Bella Mann will have a greater chance to impact this year as well, after promising signs later in the year for the Thunder, but one player expected to take another step forward in her development is top-age young star, Courtney Rowley. When asked what role the versatile Rowley could play, Markham admitted he wished he did not have to choose.

“Yeah Courtney’s an interesting one, I’d like to have four or five of her because she can play all over the ground, but I love her on the outside because she runs and spreads and delivers inside 50,” Markham said. “We’ve used her a little bit last year forward when she copped an injury and she was able to hit the scoreboard.” So at points we’ll drift her forward and she’s done some impressive things inside 50, so we’ll throw her around a little bit this year and just see what suits us best on the day.”

Coming off a flag, the overall balance of the team is clearly strong enough to be a contender, but for Markham, he said the squad prided itself on its defence, and described them as “hard to score against”.

“I think our backline was strong last year, we obviously lose Demi Liddle and Shannon Whale but the replacements in Kerrilee Brown and a couple coming through is going to be really strong, it’s going to be hard to score against. “So I think that will be a real strength, and with Ella Roberts up forward and KP (Kira Phillips), Jaide Briggs I think our forward line looks pretty potent, but I think our defence will be rock solid.”

Markham said the side had been counting down the days until Round 1 for the best part of a couple of months. Now the first match was just over a week away, and he said his team – which would face perennial challengers East Fremantle in Round 1 – was “really excited and ready to go”.

“We’ve done a really big preseason, the girls really didn’t have much time off, they only had about six weeks, so for some of them that week was good for them,” he said. “I think we’re in a pretty good place, you never know where the opposition is at, but playing East Freo as the premiers the year before, if you can challenge East Freo at any time you’re going pretty well so we’re excited to have them first up.”

Picture credit: Owen Davies / Peel Thunder

Peel Thunder complete fairytale from wooden spooners to premiers

IT was a modern day football fairytale, with the 2019 West Australian Football League (WAFL) Women’s wooden spooners Peel Thunder turning their fortunes around in 12 months and claiming a remarkable title in 2020 over minor premiers, Subiaco. The Thunder reversed two previous results against the Lions this season, losing by nine and then six points – the latter of which happened a fortnight ago in the second semi-final – to post a memorable 15-point win.

In what was a fantastic performance by the second placed Thunder, Peel weathered the early Subiaco storm aided by a strong breeze, to boot three second quarter goals, and only concede on goal in the last 75 minutes of the match. Chloe Wrigley won the Lou Knitter Medal for best on ground for her work through the middle, but it easily could have gone to any number of players such was the even team performance across the board from the Thunder.

From 15-year-old Ella Roberts‘ strong overhead marking and kicking two majors in the second term, to the defensive efforts of Tanisha Anderson, Ebony Dowson and Cassie Davidson in the back half, and the strength and nous of Kira Phillips inside 50, everything clicked for the Thunder on the big stage. Subiaco was not without its chances, and after a second goal early in the third term gave them hope, the Lions could not maximise their time with the breeze, and ultimately ran out of time as Peel’s defensive work in the second half restricted their ability to score.

It looked good early for the minor premiers who had defeated Peel just two weeks earlier, doing all the attacking. Five minutes into the contest, it was Maggie Maclachlan – who received a Draft Combine invitation a couple of weeks ago – who got her team going with a quick kick that was a wobbly floater but effective, reading the ball off hands and putting it through. Subiaco was relentless in its attack going forward, but Dowson and Anderson were holding up well.

Kia Buckley was having some sort of first term for the maroon and gold, but kept finding the ball a touch too far out, and Wrigley was beginning to work into the match. Ebony Bilcich‘s long boot off the wing pickpocketing her opponent hit up Kate Bartlett just outside 50 and Peel had its first inside 50, 16 and a half minutes into the term. Unfortunately Bailey Molloy got a cruel bounce and Subiaco cleared, but it was only for a short time as Roberts won the ball on the wing, got it to Bartlett who spotted Phillips leading out.

Her long shot from 45m was impressive given she was kicking into the wind, but sprayed it to the right. Nonetheless, Peel was gaining some crucial forward minutes against the breeze late in the quarter. Soon they would get on the board through Phillips, who wrestled a number of opponents, managed to craft it to her boot at the top of the goalsquare and bounced it home with the final kick of the quarter. Despite having to concede forward half possession for the majority of the contest, the Thunder headed into the first break with a one-point advantage.

Now kicking with the breeze, the Thunder took full advantage of the wind, booting three majors to give themselves some breathing space on the scoreboard. It was no surprise to see Roberts heavily involved with an inside 50 from Hannah Church. Her shot from 40m hardly looked like missing and Peel extended the lead in the opening minute of the contest. Subiaco had a number of forward thrusts themselves as Aimee Schmidt and Tayla Thorogood were involved, while Lions captain Hayley Miller tried to create something special.

Demi Liddle joined the likes of Anderson, Dowson and Davidson in holding firm in defence, and the Thunder used their trademark ball movement to turn defence into attack in transition. Midway through the term, it was some smart thinking from Phillips kicking with the outside of the boot close to the boundary line to spot Molloy loose and running towards goal. Her teammate marked 20m out and then made no mistake, with the lead out to 13 points.

Subiaco was showing signs of frustration with Abbey Dowrick giving away a downfield free kick for a late push, and a number of high tackles. It would be the work of Liddle again, this time further up the ground to hit up Roberts with an unbelievable mark overhead, so clean and reading it incredibly well to set up another set shot. Being 40m out, it was like she was point-blank as she coasted another one home and all of a sudden the lead was out to 19 points and the danger signs were there for Subiaco.

Able to gain some minutes inside 50 in the later stages of the term, Maclachlan had a chance to kick one against the flow, but her dribble kick went to the left and through for a behind – the first score since her goal early in the opening term. The last play of the term was a contested grab from Phillips but her long-range torpedo from 50m fell short and Subiaco was able to lock it up. Heading into half-time, the Lions trailed by 18 points.

Picture: Owen Davies/Peel Thunder

The second half would only yield one goal, but it did not stop the contest from being tight and tense throughout. Ellie Blackmore had been solid throughout the contest and tried her best through the midfield, and soon it was Maclachlan again who poped up just three minutes into the term. Leading Shannon Whale to the ball, she won a free kick for being held and then converted the goal to draw within 12 points.

Tiah Haynes had presented Maclachlan with a perfect kick inside 50, and both Haynes and Blackmore were trying to get the ball moving inside 50. Whale, Anderson and Dowson had other ideas with their fierce tackling really stemming any flow Subiaco could create. Greta McKinley was getting in on the action with some drives out of defence. Roberts was even getting back to help out, and moving through midfield taking some crucial contested marks.

Charlie Thomas had a quick kick towards goal midway through the term but could not get penetration on the kick, and every time Subiaco charged forward, the Thunder had the answers. Anderson was best-on in the third term with great position, playing in front, strong marking and kicking out from half-back really owning her defensive line. It helped Peel attack fiercely and whilst they did not manage to put a goal on the board, the likes of Bartlett and Roberts both had chances, but missed. Peel had done enough to lead by 14 points at the final break.

The final term was much of the same as the third quarter as Peel had the breeze and was still attacking to make sure they did not park the bus and allow the Lions to make all the moves. Dowson got involved with a great kick to Roberts who took another contested mark and then a huge front-on tackle from Whale forced a turnover on the wing and the Thunder went forward and locked it up. That was what the final term was all about, just keeping the ball inside forward 50.

They did that for the full 20 minutes as each time Subiaco went to attack, the Peel defence stood up. Dowson, Whale and McKinley were particularly impressive in the final term, with Roberts and Phillips again great forward of centre. Wrigley, deserving of the best on ground medal won it through the middle and Peel was able to play a perfect final term. With a few minutes left, Liddle took a strong intercept mark deep in defence and it was the final straw that broke the camel’s back. The siren sounded a few minutes later and the Thunder were victorious.

For all of Subiaco’s hard work, the consistency of Ange Stannett, Schmidt, Blackmore and Maclachlan, it would not be enough as the full team contribution from the Thunder had got them home. The fairytale was complete. Peel Thunder were the 2020 WAFL Women’s premiers.

WAFLW GRAND FINAL 

SUBIACO 1.0 | 1.1 | 2.1 | 2.1 (13)
PEEL THUNDER 1.1 | 4.1 | 4.3 | 4.4 (28)

GOALS:

Subiaco: M. Maclachlan 2.
Peel: E. Roberts 2, B. Molloy, K. Phillips.

ADC BEST:

Subiaco: E. Blackmore, M. Maclachlan, A. Schmidt, K. Buckley, A. Stannett
Peel: C. Wrigley, E. Roberts, T. Anderson, E. Dowson, C. Davidson, K. Phillips

Picture: (Retrieved from) @WAFLOfficial via Twitter