Tag: laura mcclelland

Horne opts for big switch

LIKE a number of other burgeoning AFL Women’s athletes, Emma Horne came across from another sport having not played Aussie Rules as a junior. While soccer took up plenty of her time, it was Australian rules football that caught her eye. While many NAB League players were scouted from another club, Horne got her start with the Eastern Ranges through a talent search for girls who had not played before.

“This will be my third season, but my sister played a lot of footy when she was in middle school,” Horne said. “I obviously really wanted to play as well but I never really got the opportunity because I played soccer and they always clash. “Then I found out about Eastern’s first year, they had this talent search for girls who hadn’t played footy before and my sister was part of the group that had played footy before. “There were three different sections that were going out to tryout, so I heard about it that way and then tried out for Eastern, got in and made it through to the final team and that’s when I started playing footy.”

While her sister played a vital role in Horne’s interest in football, it was a connection with fellow Ranges player Laura McClelland that pushed Horne to make the switch. While the idea of a mixed competition was not necessarily preferred and with soccer well and truly still on the radar, Horne eventually found herself thrown into the mix for footy.

“Laura McClelland went to my primary school, she played footy all through primary school and she became one of my friends so it was always a goal for me,” Horne said. “Mum wasn’t so keen as it would have been with the boys at that age, and soccer was something I was also interested in, but it eventually got to the point where I was like I really want to give footy a shot. “I still had to play soccer on Saturdays so I had to make a compromise there and switch teams so I was playing in a different soccer team, but playing footy as well so it was definitely worth it.”

Horne played in a number of sports teams throughout high school, using her telltale grit and determination to push through the Year 10 workload but spending most nights at some sort of training.

“It got pretty hard with school so when I was coming into Year 11, it was time to drop off a few teams and really focus on the sport that I thought I could pursue further in my career, so I thought footy is where I want to go with this,” she said.

While Horne is a big fan of football in general, she says the competitiveness, team spirit and sense of community at Eastern is what she loves the most. As for what she does best, Horne said her running is a real asset while her clean hands help her dish out handballs.

“The competitiveness, the team spirit, getting to know all the girls, the club is a good environment, and it’s more of a community that just a team and when we all get around each other I really enjoy coming to training as much as I do playing in the games,” she said. Being around everyone and testing myself. “Something I really want to improve is being able to use both sides of my body and inside midfield, and being able to work through the packs and utilise my kicking ability.”

Eastern finished fourth in 2019 NAB League Girls competition, going down to Northern Knights in the first final. Horne was impressed with the pre-season the side got in compared to other years, lifting the workload and taking on more running.

“This year I took on a bit more of a leadership role so … for myself I’ve had to step up and take responsibility for my own footy and helping out the other girls as well … trying to improve as a team is the greatest thing to see when you know in yourself improved throughout the season and your hard work has paid off,” Horne said.

AFL Women’s Draft Combine: Player Summaries

AFTER the 2019 AFL Women’s Draft Combine list of names were announced earlier in the week, we take a look at each player who was nominated, with a quick summary and link to their profile. Check them out below:

2019 AFLW NAB Draft Combine Nominees

NSW/ACT: [3]

Georgia Garnett (East Coast Eagles)
* Eastern Allies captain, member of the GWS GIANTS Academy and a player from the GIANTS heartland of western Sydney

Eloise Hiller-Stanbrook (Dubbo)
* Tireless ruck who averaged 14 hitouts per game at the AFL Women’s Under-18 Championships

Brenna Tarrant (East Coast Eagles)
* All-Australian in 2019 and a crucial key defender who can move up the ground, also from western Sydney heartland

QUEENSLAND: [8]

Georgia Breward (Coolangatta)+
* Suffered a season-ending injury last year but showed plenty of talent and determination

Isabel Dawes (Maroochydore)
* Classy, smart forward who made All-Australian last year in her middle-age year

Dee Heslop (Yeronga South Brisbane)
* Consistent player who has been reliable in the defensive half and uses the ball well

Tahlia Hickie (Coorparoo)+
* Ruck prospect who played as an over-ager at the championships and performed strongly

Lily Postlethwaite (Maroochydore)
* Dual All-Australian and state captain, super talented midfielder

Taylor Smith (Bond University)+
* Tall target who presented well during the championships up forward, another overage player on the list

Serene Watson (Bond University)
* Another dual All-Australian from Queensland who provided a reliable marking target in the defensive half, repelling opposition attacks time and time again

Tarni White (Coorparoo)
* Returned from an ACL injury to show some promising signs at the championships and has plenty of upside

SOUTH AUSTRALIA: [4]

Montana McKinnon (South Adelaide)
* Dual All-Australian ruck and dual Most Valuable Player (MVP), South Australian and Central Allies captain, South Adelaide premiership player… the list of accolades is unbelievable. Top ruck in the draft crop

Hannah Munyard (South Adelaide)
* Smart user of the footy with elite athletic traits, premiership player at South Adelaide predominantly through the midfield

Madison Newman (West Adelaide)
* One of the top rebounders in the draft crop, an All-Australian in 2019 and consistent as they come

Jaimi Tabb (Woodville-West Torrens)
* Tackling machine who thrives on the contest and has shown a capability to also win the ball on the outside as well

TASMANIA: [1]

Mia King (Launceston)
* Super talented mover through the midfield with burst speed, King won the Eastern Allies’ MVP for the carnival to go with her All-Australian selection. North Melbourne have first priority being Tasmanian

VIC COUNTRY: [10]

Teagan Brett (Murray Bushrangers)
* Small midfielder who came of age in the championships, playing well on the outside and getting the ball from midfield into attack

Millie Brown (Murray Bushrangers)
* Potential Geelong father-daughter selection, Brown was superb across the championships in defence until injury ruled her out of the final game. 2019 All-Australian

Luka Lesosky-Hay (Geelong Falcons)
* Accumulator who just finds the football and works hard into space, a key cog in Geelong Falcons’ midfield with Lucy McEvoy

Lucy McEvoy (Geelong Falcons)
* Hard to even begin with the accolades, but a three-time All-Australian, dual Best and Fairest, premiership captain, Vic Country MVP… just a star and unbelievable leader who has captained for three years at the Falcons

Sophie Molan (GWV Rebels)
* Natural born leader who captained the Rebels this year and is as versatile as they come, can play anywhere and was a 2019 All-Australian

Shanara Notman (Gippsland Power)
* A late bloomer after having last year off, she can play up either end and is strong in the air and very good athletically

Paige Sheppard (Geelong Falcons)
* Raised her draft stocks at the championships with a terrific carnival following on from a consistent year in the NAB League Girls

Brooke Vernon (Dandenong Stingrays)
* One of Dandenong’s best in the NAB League Girls this year, playing as a rebounding defender who is as good in the air as she is at ground level

Nikia Webber (Gippsland Power)
* Tall forward who can also play through the midfield, Webber is an elite kick of the footy, arguably the best in the draft crop with accuracy and penetration

Ella Wood (GWV Rebels)
* Uncompromising midfielder who loves the contested side of footy and relishes winning the hard ball with great courage

VIC METRO: [15]

Alana Barba (Calder Cannons)
* A tackling machine who stood up particularly later in the year, emerging as a genuine draft chance with great defensive pressure

Molly Denahy-Maloney (Sandringham Dragons)
* Athletic ruck who captained Sandringham Dragons this year and held up Vic Metro’s ruck division in 2019

Elisabeth Georgostathis (Western Jets)
* Captain of Western Jets and one who always puts her body on the line, Georgostathis was another who raised her draft stocks at the championships with important moments in big games. Can play anywhere on the field too

Isabella Grant (Western Jets)
* Potential Western Bulldogs father-daughter, she is able to play midfield or forward and can take a grab and hit the scoreboard

Britney Gutknecht (Northern Knights)
* Known for her goalkicking last year, Gutknecht became an inside midfielder this year and was a key player in the Knights’ premiership side

Gemma Lagioia (Oakleigh Chargers)
* Classy user of the football who can play anywhere on the ground, she was able to develop her inside game at the championships to add another string to her bow

Laura McClelland (Eastern Ranges)
* One of only three Vic Metro All-Australians, McClelland can play anywhere on the ground and is strong in the air and capable of kicking terrific goals

Nell Morris-Dalton (Northern Knights)
* One of the most consistent players this season, Morris-Dalton had a massive end to the NAB League Girls season and is so strong one-on-one, particularly in the air

Gabrielle Newton (Northern Knights)
* Dual All-Australian, Northern Knights premiership captain and one who is almost copied and pasted into the best every week, Newton hardly puts a foot wrong and has played literally everywhere on the field from the ruck to all thirds of the ground given her athletic talents

Georgia Patrikios (Calder Cannons)
* Overall MVP of the championships, Patrikios led her Calder side to a grand final and has the best agility of any player in the draft crop. Uses the ball well and is a dual All-Australian too

Marguerite Purcell (Sandringham Dragons)
* Speedy winger who has developed rapidly this year playing for the Dragons and earned a spot on Vic Metro’s list for the championships, holding her own there

Sarah Sansonetti (Northern Knights)
* Reliable defender who stood up in the NAB League Girls Grand Final for Northern and just does the job week-in, week-out

Cleo Saxon-Jones (Western Jets)
* Key forward who is a strong contested mark and powerful set shot at goal, she thrived on one-on-one situations at the championships

Felicity Theodore (Calder Cannons)
* Fierce tackling runner who just works hard all day and attacks the footy and ball carrier with vigour, able to play up either end and provide great defensive pressure

Nicola Xenos (Oakleigh Chargers)
* Talented running defender who uses the ball well off half-back and makes good decisions with ball-in-hand

WESTERN AUSTRALIA: [4]

Sophie McDonald (Claremont)+
* Key defender who repelled opposition attacks and was able to set up attacking plays after some goal-saving moves deep in defence

Emma O’Driscoll (Swan Districts)*
* Did not play up on the Gold Coast, but O’Driscoll is a reliable defender who has good positioning and high level smarts

Roxanne Roux (East Fremantle)
* Exciting key forward who has a massive vertical leap and could become a human highlight reel with her long kicking, goal sense and work rate; another All-Australian

Mim Strom (South Fremantle)
* Really stood out in the ruck as a key player who not only worked well at stoppages, but at ground level and around the ground, providing an impact – 2019 All-Australian too

+Overage player (ie. born 2000)

2019 AFL Women’s Draft Combine invitations announced

FORTY-five players have been invited to the 2019 AFL Women’s NAB Draft Combine, with 25 from Victoria – where eight of the 10 AFL Women’s clubs are based, with Queensland (eight) the next highest. Four players from both South Australia and Western Australia have been invited, as have three from NSW/ACT and one from Tasmania. Among the invitees are five overagers (eligible last year), as well as two father-daughter potential selections in Isabella Grant (Western Bulldogs) and Millie Brown (Geelong). Players who are already pre-listed to clubs such as Gold Coast’s Ellie Hampson, West Coast’s Mikayla Bowen and St Kilda’s Molly McDonald and Isabella Shannon were not included in the invitations.

The combine will be held from October 1-3 to align with the AFL Under-18 National Combine. Western Bulldogs hold the first pick in this year’s AFL Women’s Draft.

Extended content on the invitees will come later in the week.

2019 AFLW NAB Draft Combine Nominees

NSW/ACT: [3]
Georgia Garnett (East Coast Eagles)
Eloise Hiller-Stanbrook (Dubbo)
Brenna Tarrant (East Coast Eagles)

QUEENSLAND: [8]
Georgia Breward (Coolangatta)*
Isabel Dawes (Maroochydore)
Dee Heslop (Yeronga South Brisbane)
Tahlia Hickie (Coorparoo)*
Lily Postlethwaite (Maroochydore)
Taylor Smith (Bond University)*
Serene Watson (Bond University)
Tarni White (Coorparoo)

SOUTH AUSTRALIA: [4]
Montana McKinnon (South Adelaide)
Hannah Munyard (South Adelaide)
Madison Newman (West Adelaide)
Jaimi Tabb (Woodville-West Torrens)

TASMANIA: [1]
Mia King (Launceston)

VIC COUNTRY: [10]
Teagan Brett (Murray Bushrangers)
Millie Brown (Murray Bushrangers)
Luka Lesosky-Hay (Geelong Falcons)
Lucy McEvoy (Geelong Falcons)
Sophie Molan (GWV Rebels)
Shanara Notman (Gippsland Power)
Paige Sheppard (Geelong Falcons)
Brooke Vernon (Dandenong Stingrays)
Nikia Webber (Gippsland Power)
Ella Wood (GWV Rebels)

VIC METRO: [15]
Alana Barba (Calder Cannons)
Molly Denahy-Maloney (Sandringham Dragons)
Elisabeth Georgostathis (Western Jets)
Isabella Grant (Western Jets)
Britney Gutknecht (Northern Knights)
Gemma Lagioia (Oakleigh Chargers)
Laura McClelland (Eastern Ranges)
Nell Morris-Dalton (Northern Knights)
Gabrielle Newton (Northern Knights)
Georgia Patrikios (Calder Cannons)
Marguerite Purcell (Sandringham Dragons)
Sarah Sansonetti (Northern Knights)
Cleo Saxon-Jones (Western Jets)
Felicity Theodore (Calder Cannons)
Nicola Xenos (Oakleigh Chargers)

WESTERN AUSTRALIA: [4]
Sophie McDonald (Claremont)*
Emma O’Driscoll (Swan Districts)*
Roxanne Roux (East Fremantle)
Mim Strom (South Fremantle)

*Overage player (ie. born 2000)

2019 AFLW Under-18 All Australian side announced

VIC COUNTRY has earned the most nominations in the 2019 AFL Women’s Under-18 All Australian side with six players named in the final 22. Country’s state rival Vic Metro had four, the same amount as Queensland despite the differing results at the championships. Western Australia and Central Allies both had three players in the side, whilst Eastern Allies had the two.

Geelong Falcons’ premiership captain Lucy McEvoy was named captain of the All Australian side, and was one of a number of multiple All Australians, including fellow Most Valuable Players (MVPs), Montana McKinnon and Georgia Patrikios, as well as Serene Watson, Gabby Newton and Lily Postlethwaite all backing up their 2018 selections with 2019 jumpers. McEvoy has the rare honour of making it three consecutive All Australian jumpers, named in the side from 2017-19.

Much like last year’s side, this year’s 2019 All Australian team features a number of bottom-agers, with Vic Country’s Tyanna Smith and Olivia Barber, Vic Metro’s Ellie McKenzie, and Central Allies’ Teah Charlton all making the team despite not being eligible to be drafted until next year.

Of the first time All-Australians, the defence is held down by Queensland with MVP Ellie Hampson and running machine Kitara Whap-Farrar joining Watson in the back six. Brenna Tarrant earns a key defensive post with Vic Country’s Millie Brown alongside teammate Smith at half-back.

Through midfield, St Kilda pre-listed player Molly McDonald and West Coast pre-listed midfielder Mikayla Bowen assist McEvoy onball, while Patrikios and the versatile Sophie Molan are on the wings.

In the forward 50, Roxanne Roux and Charlton are likely to provide the highlights in the air, while McKenzie and Eastern Allies’ MVP Mia King provides the strength. Newton and Barber straighten the side up with some height in the key posts.

Postlethwaite makes the bench once again in the side, joined by players from three different states in Central Allies’ Madison Newman, Western Australia’s Mim Strom and Vic Metro’s Laura McClelland.

AFLW U18 National Championships wrap

VIC Metro had an undefeated run in the championships, dominating across the board after coming into the Queensland series with a win over Vic Country. Every other team fought hard at each contest in what was a mostly even carnival played in a variety of conditions. We recap how each side fared and shed light on some of the better performers throughout the competition.

Central Allies (2-1)

Results:
Eastern Allies 4.8 (32) def. by Central Allies 5.6 (36)
Western Australia 5.2 (32) def. Central Allies 1.4 (10)
Queensland 4.5 (29) def. by Central Allies 5.0 (30)

MVP: Montana McKinnon

The Central Allies put up a solid performance at the championships, coming away with close wins over Eastern Allies and Queensland. The only chink in the armour came from Western Australia on the Wednesday, where they struggled to find connections across the field to go down by 22 points. The players who stood up time and time again were the likes of Teah Charlton and Jaimi Tabb who both imposed themselves throughout the Championships with good marking and strong tackling. Montana McKinnon was awarded the MVP for her work across the field, defensive presence and clever use of the footy while Tayla Hart-Aluni provided plenty of excitement with her dash across the ground. Tegan Usher showcased their strength taking some strong grabs throughout the series while using the ball well by foot. There was plenty to like about the Allies who grew as the competition went on finding stronger connections and creating good space to hit each other on the lead.

Eastern Allies (0-3)

Results:
Eastern Allies 4.8 (32) def. by Central Allies 5.6 (36)
Vic Country 6.6 (42) def. Eastern Allies 2.0 (12)
Vic Metro 11.9 (75) def. Eastern Allies 0.3 (3)

MVP: Mia King

Eastern Allies lost each of their three games only kicked six goals, but were competitive in both of their first two matches. Their closest match was their opener against the Central Allies, going down by four points but putting on a solid performance in a game they could well have won given they dominated the last quarter for forward 50 entries, and clearances for the game. The likes of Abby Favell, Mia King and Georgia Garnett were exceptional for Eastern Allies across the week. Favell was solid throughout the Championships going in hard at each and every contest, laying strong tackles and winning her fair share of the ball. Meanwhile King was awarded MVP honours for her efforts across the competition credit to her get in and go mentality and clean hands around the stoppages. Jayde Hamilton worked tirelessly across the matches, while Jordyn Jolliffe also played an imposing role when on the field. Brenna Tarrant was another player who stood out across the tournament.

Queensland (0-3)

Results:
Vic Country 9.7 (61) def. Queensland 3.1 (19)
Queensland 1.5 (11) def. by Vic Metro 4.5 (29)
Queensland 4.5 (29) def. by Central Allies 5.0 (30)

MVP: Ellie Hampson

Similar to Eastern Allies, Queensland failed to put a win on the board from their three matches but were in each of their matches. An inaccurate one point loss to Central Allies was likely the most painful for the side, which had plenty of opportunities to get in front but could not capitalise, whilst they were in the game for three quarters against the undefeated Vic Metro. The Maroons had plenty of talent with the likes of Zimmorlei Farquharson providing an exciting prospect in the forward line with her athleticism, football nous and speed. Every time she went near the ball something electric happened sparking plenty of enthusiasm from the crowd. Meanwhile the likes of Lily Postlethwaite and Isabel Dawes were equally as impressive throughout the Championships. Their class and skill in and around the contest was second to none extracting the ball and using it effectively. Charlotte Hammans also displayed her ball winning abilities throughout the series to have an impact for her side along with Serene Watson who proved to be crucial for Queensland at times. Another key player for Queensland and the MVP was Ellie Hampson who imposed herself at each and every contest using her body well to win the ball and bomb it out of congestion but unfortunately it was not enough to register a win for Queensland.

Vic Country (3-0)

Results:
Vic Country 9.7 (61) def. Queensland 3.1 (19)
Vic Country 6.6 (42) def. Eastern Allies 2.0 (12)
Western Australia 3.5 (23) def. By Vic Country 3.7 (25)

MVP: Lucy McEvoy

Vic Country came away a solid contender in the Championships, notching up three wins with their best, a come-from-behind win on Friday against Western Australia while they racked up a 42-point win against Queensland earlier in the week. Country stood up when challenged backing themselves in the contest and fighting their way out of trouble thanks to the likes of MVP winner Lucy McEvoy who took the game on at every opportunity. The highly skilled player showed her versatility playing in each area of the ground and having a profound impact while the likes of Tyanna Smith and Sophie Molan also worked hard to win the ball. Middle-ager Olivia Barber was exciting for Country who valued her height and versatility throughout the Championships hitting the scoreboard more than once and constantly providing an option inside 50 with her marking strength. Renee Saulitis provided a spark up forward with her dynamic movement and goal sense while Millie Brown was also impressive across the series providing good run and carry off the back half. Shanara Notman had a number of highlights, hitting the scoreboard while Darcy Moloney also worked tirelessly for Vic Country winning the ball and creating forward forays.

Vic Metro (3-0)

Results:
Vic Metro 8.3 (51) def. Western Australia 5.4 (34)
Queensland 1.5 (11) def. by Vic Metro 4.5 (29)
Vic Metro 11.9 (75) def. Eastern Allies 0.3 (3)

MVP: Georgia Patrikios

Vic Metro were by large the most dominant of all the teams in the series, winning their first two matches by solid three-goal margins before posting a dominant 72-point victory over the Eastern Allies on Friday to close out their tournament. They oozed strength and skill across the field making them tough opponents throughout the Championship. Metro have no shortage of ball winners with the likes of Gabby Newton and Georgia Patrikios both able to burrow down and extract the hard ball credit to their clean hands, slick movement and footy awareness. Ellie McKenzie offered plenty of spark with her brute strength and speed to evade would be tacklers and move the ball down the field with ease while the likes of Nell Morris-Dalton and Cleo Saxon-Jones relished the good ball movement from the strong midfield. Morris-Dalton and Saxon-Jones hit the scoreboard more then once throughout Championships thanks to their accuracy in front of goal while Emily Harley also made her presence felt in the forward half. Laura McClelland showed her versatility throughout the series while Felicity Theodore used her speed to create good space for Metro. Alana Barba played her role for Vic Metro while the likes of Gemma Lagioia and Elisabeth Georgostathis bobbed up for patches throughout the Championships to impact the play.

Western Australia (1-2)

Results:
Vic Metro 8.3 (51) def. Western Australia 5.4 (34)
Western Australia 5.2 (32) def. Central Allies 1.4 (10)
Western Australia 3.5 (23) def. By Vic Country 3.7 (25)

MVP: Mikayla Bowen

Western Australia were one of the most exciting sides all week, producing some impressive performances but unfortunately only getting the one win on the board against the Central Allies on Wednesday. Though they put both Vic Metro and Vic Country through their paces, they lacked consistency at times which was ultimately the catalyst for their defeat. WA showed glimpses of brilliance moving the ball with pace and precision down the field but lapses such as the start of their clash with Vic Metro, and the second half against Vic Country cost them from going undefeated this year. In saying that there were plenty of star players for the Black Ducks who proved that they have what it takes to match it with the best and cause headaches for opposition teams. Roxanne Roux left her mark on the Championships taking some huge grabs and putting her body on the line time and time again to win the hard ball. Roux showed great elevation throughout the Championships to contest the ball in the air but also following up her work at ground level. Mim Strom was crucial for WA with her impressive taps and strength in the ruck providing her side with first access to the ball with the likes of MVP winner Mikayla Bowen reaping the rewards of her work. Bowen had an impressive Championship showcasing her clean hands in close while Nyra Anderson dazzled with her pace and tackling intent. Taylor Pescud, Rebecca Viney and Mikayla Morrison all had their moments for Western Australia going in hard when necessary to extract the ball.

Scouting notes: AFLW U18s – Friday, 12 July

ON the final day of the Under-18 Championships we headed down to Bond University. It was a perfect day for footy with the sun shining and not a cloud in sight allowing the action on the field to do all the talking. Vic Metro continued their dominance finishing undefeated while Vic Country and Central Allies both prevailed in their respective tight contests. Taylah Melki was on hand to provide her opinion-based notes on players from each of the six sides.

EASTERN ALLIES v. VIC METRO

Eastern Allies

#9 Jayde Hamilton

Made her presence felt across the ground with her strength and desperation to win the ball at every contest. Stood up in the tackles and used her composure to think her way through defence. Slick hands out of the stoppages to release teammates and used her long clearing kick to try and get the ball out of danger.

#10 Abby Favell

Constantly involved in the contest and working hard to win the ball at the coalface. She showcased her clean hands in close to flick the ball out of the congestion and to a player in space. Applied strong tackling pressure and put her body on the line with her clever shepherds. Favell displayed her strong set of hands taking a heap of contested marks and intercept marks. Impressive passage of play at the start of the fourth quarter with a long booming kick from just outside defensive 50 towards the attacking 50 for Allies. Was arguably one of the best on field for the Allies who struggled to combat the pressure of Vic Metro.

#11 Mia King

Good read of the tap out of the ruck and good intent to win the ball and push it forward. Constantly involved in the play credit to her football smarts and commitment to the footy, putting her body on the line time and time again. Had the ball on a string for majority of the game showcasing her slick hands in close and working her way through traffic to dish the ball out to passing teammates. Came off early in the last term with a suspected knee injury but overall had a solid performance for the Allies who struggled to penetrate through the defence of Vic Metro.

#19 Sophie Phillips

Phillips displayed her intercept marking abilities taking a wealth of marks coming inside 50. She was under constant pressure and showed great composure to think her way through traffic and move the ball down the field.

#20 Brenna Tarrant

Worked tirelessly throughout the match to nullify the influence of the Vic Metro forwards, picking off errant kicks and showcasing her strong set of hands to take mark after mark. Imposed herself on the contest and used her football nous to bang the ball forward and create some type of forward momentum.

#24 Georgia Garnett

Good clearing kick to move the ball out of congestion and down the ground. She had a relatively up and down game emulating the consistency of her team but when she featured she made her presence with her clean hands and intent to move the ball forward.

#25 Tarni Evans

Evans applied good attacking pressure and showcased her goal sense to bomb the ball from outside 50 with the footy dribbling through only for it to be touched on the line registering their first score of the game. She worked hard throughout the game to win possession for her side and went in hard at every contest showcasing her intent.

Vic Metro

#3 Gemma Lagioia

She won plenty of the footy early on using her long clearing kick to pass the mess and move the ball forward to better options. Utilised her evasive skills to zip through players and create space across the field. She found really good space in the third term and highlighted her accuracy by foot, nailing a pass lace out to a teammate inside 50. She had a flying shot at goal picking the ball up off the deck and going for a run but the ball hit the post.

#4 Nicola Xenos

Xenos showcased her footy smarts to cleanly pick the ball up off the ground and go streaming forward, sidestepping her opponents and kicking the first goal of the game. Popped in and out of the game but when she had ball in hand she made the most of it, delivering slick passes and creating forward thrusts for her side.

#14 Laura McClelland

Good intercept mark and showcased good courage to go back with the flight and stand up in a pack. Went in hard at the footy both attacking in the air and at ground level and won her fair share of the footy throughout the match credit to her tenacity. Constantly hitting the packs with good intent and displayed her footy smarts to know when to leave her player and when to stick with them. Switched forward in the second half and made her presence felt, taking a strong pack mark early in third term and turning and slotting her first goal of the game. Huge tackle in the last quarter to claim a holding the ball credit to her strength and attack on the footy while also highlighting her decision making with a clever ball into the middle channel to open up the ground. Took a huge mark with two minutes left in the last quarter at full stretch on a slight angle and banged it through for her second of the match.

#17 Georgia Patrikios

Continued her hot form to break away from the packs and stream forward with a long booming kick just drifting through for a behind. Showcased her slick hands in close and her evasive skills to manoeuvre her way around opponents and find space in the forward 50 time and time again. Patrikios impressed in the third term with a pinpoint pass to Felicity Theodore resulting in a goal credit to her slick hands and intent to take the game on, going for a run and bounce through the forward 50 and opening up space. Patrikios was in everything and impressed, racking up plenty of touches and treasuring possession when she had ball in hand.

#22 Sarah Hartwig

Really strong mark in the second quarter to take it at full flight over the top of a couple of players. She showcased good elevation and football smarts to read the flight of the footy and drop back into the spot. Goal saving mark a couple of steps out from the goal line to top off a solid performance.

#23 Nell Morris-Dalton

Kicked the first goal of the second quarter with four minutes left on the clock credit to her footy smarts to shrug off the would be tackler and step to the side, bending the ball back and nailing an impressive goal. Constantly posed a threat inside the forward 50 with her commanding presence and goal sense.

#26 Gabby Newton

Good read of the ruck tap straight out of the middle to burst through the middle and take it cleanly to bomb the ball forward into their attacking 50. Newton showcased her accuracy in front of goal winning a free kick and making no mistake to score her first major of the game in the opening term. Ran into good space throughout the game and displayed her impressive vision to kick long into the forward 50 to a one on one. Good use of the angles to slice through the ground and open it up to create space and free running for Metro. Brought out the party tricks in the fourth quarter with an over the shoulder handball to a teammate in space while also doing the one percenters well such as tackling and tracking the ball at ground level.

#29 Cleo Saxon-Jones

Imposed herself in the forward 50 taking a strong mark in the opening term and highlighting her impressive kick to nail it between the big sticks. Good tackling pressure to win a holding the ball call in the third quarter. Impressive passage of play in the third quarter with a piercing kick straight through the middle to hit Patrikios on the lead.

#34 Jessica Fitzgerald

Applied plenty of physical pressure early, contesting hard to win the footy at the coalface and using her body to out muscle other players. Showed great intent to push the ball forward and create potential scoring opportunities. Moved into the forward in the last term and made no mistake taking a strong contested mark inside the goal square and slotting her first goal of the match.

WESTERN AUSTRALIA v. VIC COUNTRY

Western Australia

#7 Taylor Pescud

Worked hard at ground level to pick the ball up off the deck and keep the ball moving in the forward 50. She won her fair share of the footy and worked tirelessly throughout the match to win the ball and extract it out of the stoppages.

#8 Rebecca Viney

Worked hard in transition throughout the match to provide options across the ground. She consistently tried to win the footy at stoppages and was cautious with ball in hand to try and hit targets on the lead.

#13 Kia Buckley

Good contested mark in the forward 50 leading up at the footy resulting in a goal. Took a huge mark in the dying minutes of the fourth quarter but was unable to capitalise with the ball tracking to the right.

#17 Mikayla Bowen

Showcased her speed and good vision to go for a run down the wing and propel the ball long inside forward 50 to create scoring opportunities for WA. Showed good intent to try and win the footy time and time again while also highlighting her clean hands off the deck to pick the ball up off the ground with ease. Bowen was constantly involved in the contest, applying strong physical pressure and covering the ground well to have an impact at the contest.

#22 Nyra Anderson

Laid a huge tackle in the second quarter to claim a holding the ball call credit to her impressive athleticism and speed to trap Sophie Molan and bring her to ground. Showed good decision making to think her way through traffic and know when to burst away from packs.

#23 Mikayla Morrison

Good run and carry to break away from the pack and stream forward to slot her first for the game. She showed good spatial awareness to dodge players and keep her composure to lower her eyes and drill the ball through the big sticks.

#29 Roxanne Roux

The bandage on her head did not slow her down, working hard to win the footy both at ground level and in the air. She showcased her long booming kick once again, bombing the ball long down into the forward line. Bodied up well at the contest and got good separation from the tackler to break free and bomb the ball long down the line into the forward 50. Huge fly in the last quarter to get up high and then work hard to bring the ball to ground.

#35 Mim Strom

Kicked the opening goal of the game credit to her goal sense and ability to work her way through traffic and go for home. Showcased her impressive elevation in the ruck getting up high to tap the ball down to her teammates’ advantage, tracking well across the field.

Vic Country

#3 Paige Sheppard

Involved in everything early in the game getting hands to ball and showcasing her evasive skills to sidestep her opponent. She tracked the ball well at ground level to extract the footy and dish it off to a teammate in a better position.

#9 Darcy Moloney

Really built into the game and had an impact in the second half leading up at the footy and using her speed to get into dangerous positions across the ground. She had a shot at goal in the early stages of the third but just missed. Moloney showcased her skill to impact the play and cause havoc with her footy smarts.

#12 Tyanna Smith

Popped up in the third quarter and injected herself into the forward 50 with an impressive goal from about 35 out, slotting it straight through the middle. She showcased her strong hands to take a good grab and made the most of her leading patterns getting into space.

#14 Abbey Chapman

Showed a good ability to read the flight of the ball and cut off WA’s forward forays with multiple intercept marks across the backline. She worked tirelessly down back to win ball and propel it back down the field while also using her physicality to impact the play.

#21 Sophie Molan

Really built into the game and showed her good hands in close to feed the ball out of congestion and into space. Displayed good footy smarts and vision in the fourth quarter to dish off a loopy handball into space and create forward momentum for Country.

#23 Lucy McEvoy

Showcased her sheer strength and understanding to find the ball and use her body effectively to out muscle opponents. Injected herself into the game in the second quarter with a huge tackle to win a holding the ball call. Dropped forward late in the second quarter and offered a good lead up at the footy taking a strong grab and converting from about 20 metres directly in front for Country’s first goal of the game. Continued to show her dominance and ability to pick holes in defence to weave the ball through and hit targets throughout the match. Her marking was second to none, taking big grabs and getting up high to pick off stray kicks.

#24 Isabella Simmons

Good crumbing goal in the third term to pick the ball up off the deck and soccer it through for her first for the afternoon. Really good lead in the forward 50 and took a juggling mark on a tight angle from about 30 out but was unable to convert only registering a behind.

#25 Olivia Barber

Imposed herself early on in the game creating good leads and attacking the footy with strong intent. She displayed her strong hands to take a couple of consecutive marks but struggled to convert registering two behinds in the opening term. Showed good courage to go back with the flight of the ball and put her hands to the test taking some good strong marks across the ground acting as the outlet player for Country. She covered the ground well and ran hard to provide constant leads. She found plenty of opportunities in front of goal with another chance in the fourth but could not capitalise.

#29 Maggie Caris

Imposing figure in the last quarter taking two big grabs in the fourth quarter to stop the quick transition play from WA and allow Country to get re-entries into their forward 50. Was solid in the midfield defensive setup, cutting off WA’s clearing ball to the midfield and drilling it back forward.

QUEENSLAND v. CENTRAL ALLIES

Queensland

#4 Lily Postlethwaite

Showcased her strength and footy smarts to win one on ones and deliver well weighted passes to teammates moving past. Her strong hands were also a key feature of her game taking good marks and competing both in the air and at ground level to win the footy. Good vision to lower her eyes and sight a free player and deliver a bullet-like kick straight to her. Displayed her football nous to work her way through traffic and then make the most of her opportunities with ball in hand using it effectively and cleverly.

#8 Isabel Dawes

Good evasive skills to dodge her way through traffic and shrug off opponents to hit an opponent lace out on the wing. She used her quick hands to work her way through traffic and create space for her teammates. Showed a good burst of speed and footy smarts in the last term to zig-zag through the pack, read the tap out of the ruck and then stream inside 50 to kick long to a contest just outside the goal square.

#16 Ellie Hampson

Good out of the middle bursting away from the pack and using her pace to bang the ball long. Stood up in the tackles using her strength to shrug opponents off and showcased her long booming kick to bang it deep inside 50. Constantly involved in the play and displayed her physical nature taking the game on and moving the ball out of dangerous positions. She showed a never say die attitude, always hunting both the ball and the player.

#19 Zimmorlei Farquharson

Impressed throughout the game with her strong intent and desire to win the footy at every occasion. Won a holding the ball call in the first quarter credit to her strong tackling pressure and kicked it deep inside forward 50 to create a scoring opportunity. Was involved in plenty of contests going in hard and using her speed to weave through traffic. Took a strong contested mark inside the forward 50 but was unable to convert, only managing a behind. Made amends for her earlier miss with a strong take and a relaxed and composed run up to slot her first goal of the game. Good read out of the ruck to rove the pack, having a flying shot at goal but the ball just drifted left. She looked electric every time the ball came near her given her goal sense and dynamic movement.

#20 Charlotte Hammans

Worked her way into the game and made her presence felt across the field with her attacking style of play. She worked tirelessly throughout the match to try and extract the ball in close and then burst away.

#21 Taylor Smith

Stood up in the last term taking a big grab directly in front and converting her first for the afternoon to draw back the margin under pressure. She showcased her strong hands to take the ball above her head and displayed great composure to think her way through the shot and nail it.

#24 Annise Bradfield

Took a strong mark in the goal square credit to her footy smarts and clever body positioning and nailed her first goal of the game at the start of the second quarter.

Central Allies

#5 Shantel Miskin-Ripia

Worked tirelessly down in defence to try and chop off any forward forays from Queensland. Consistently got hands to ball taking a couple of intercept marks and dropping into the holes to regain possession for the Allies. Showcased her long booming kick to move it out of defence and push the ball forward.

#9 Jaimi Tabb

Proved to be hard to stop when on song, making her presence felt in and around the stoppages and flicking the ball out to teammates. She was a real bull and won a couple of clearances to move the ball forward and creating scoring pressure.

#10 Madison Newman

Worked her way into the game, winning plenty of footy in the forward half and working it around to better positions. Showcased her strength around the contest to get the ball out of congestion and move it forward with pace.

#11 Teagan Usher

Good read of the flight of the ball to get into the right spots and take numerous marks throughout the game. she tackled hard and applied good physical pressure to worry her opponents out of the contest. She covered the ground well and worked hard to try and create a contest at every opportunity.

#15 Mattea Breed

Really good overhead to take a strong mark inside forward 50 after a clever lead up at the footy slotting her first goal in the opening term. Took a big contested mark in the goal square and slotted her second goal for the game credit to her accurate kicking style and composure with ball in hand.

#23 Stephanie Williams

Impressive run through the forward 50 into an open goal shrugging off the tackler and getting the Allies on the board midway through the first quarter. Used her body well to take a strong grab near the goal square and then play on taking on the tackler and slotting it through for her second. Showcased her electric speed and attacking flair, soccering the ball off the ground and gaining important metres. Her attack on the ball was second to none hunting the ball and player throughout the match.

#25 Teah Charlton

Won plenty of ball throughout the game, going in hard at the contest and using her quick hands to feed the ball out to teammates. Positioned herself well around the stoppages to read the tap and get hands to ball. Extracted the ball with ease from the contest and showed good composure and footy smarts to take a couple of steps, look inside 50 and then deliver a spearing kick into their attacking 50. Displayed her strong set of hands to take an important mark just inside the centre square and then kick long into the forward 50. She applied good tackling pressure contesting hard at every opportunity.

#26 Montana McKinnon

Displayed her strong hands and defensive mindset to slot into holes and pick off errant kicks that came her way. She was really clean below her knees to pick the ball up off the deck all in one motion and then dish it off to a teammate while getting tackled. Applied good physical pressure to lay a strong tackle and win the ball back for the Allies. Took an impressive mark in the last quarter getting up high and showcasing her aerial ability to bring the ball down in a pack. Really good elevation when in the ruck working hard to direct her taps to her teammates.

#27 Tayla Hart-Aluni

Injected herself into the game early with her quick hands and impressive vision to sight players on the lead and dish off clever passes. Hit a perfect kick late in the first quarter lace out to Breed who slotted a goal. Second efforts were second to none competing both in the air and on the ground working tirelessly to regain possession for Central. Clean hands off the deck to pick the ball up and dish it off to a teammate all in one swooping action.

Scouting notes: AFLW U18 Championships – Vic Metro vs. Vic Country

IN an impressive game of skill and pressure, Vic Metro got the better of Vic Country for the final Round 1 game of the AFL Women’s Under 18s Championships. Metro won by 44 points and now head up to Queensland full of confidence, while Country will be keen to follow last year’s lead and bounce back from the Metro loss to win against their three opponents up there. Below are Taylah Melki‘s opinion-based notes from the weekend’s match.

U18 Vic Metro

#3 Gemma Lagioia

She worked hard throughout the game and won a heap of the footy over the four quarters. Really good mover across the field and showed good football knowledge to use the ball well and think her way through defence. Always seemed to be in the right positions at half-forward or on a wing for the quick kick out of defence by Country opponents. She would often use her composure to think her way through situations and hit-up targets going forward. Playing through the inside, Lagioia also showed a different element to her usual run-and-gun skilled game with some contested ball winning ability too.
 
#5 Elisabeth Georgostathis
 
Georgostathis impressed throughout the game winning the ball time and time again. She had good positioning in the forward 50 taking a clever mark but was unable to capitalise early in the first quarter missing to the side. She continued her hot form with a very impressive goal on the fly off a few steps and slotting it right through the middle early in the second quarter. She showcased her good hands in close and was clean off the deck. She applied good physical pressure with some crunching tackles throughout the match and attacked the ball hard to win the footy and dish it off to teammates.

#14 Laura McClelland 

McClelland was busy early on and did well to try and repel the forward forays that came her way. Good user of the footy to kick lace out through the middle of the ground and find a teammate in space. She was a real bull around the contest and used her physical pressure to try and out body her opponent. McClelland seemed comfortable behind the ball and was able to push up the ground and kick long when requited.

#15 Alyssa Bannan

Bannan made her presence felt on the scoreboard for Vic Metro with a goal right on the siren in the opening term with the ball rolling through. She presented well up at the footy to take a strong mark on the lead but was unable to capitalise in front of goal in the third term. But she quickly made up for inaccuracy credit to some good body positioning and strong hands above her head to take a big mark just inside the goal square and nail her second goal. Bannan showcased some real attacking flair with a run along the wing, pushing off four opponents and working her way through traffic. She went for a bounce but the ball did not sit for her but worked hard to win the ball back. Nailed her third goal in the fourth quarter, highlighting her good movement in the forward 50 and cleanliness with ball in hand.

#17 Georgia Patrikios

Really good around the contest, clever mover through traffic to keep her arms free and release the ball to a teammate. She applied good tackling pressure to bring her opponent to ground time and time again and showcased her strong hands under pressure. Patrikios displayed her ability to read the flight of the ball and take a couple of big grabs while also appearing to have plenty of time and space to make clever decisions with ball in hand.

#21 Ellie McKenzie

Found plenty of the ball throughout the game appearing to have the ball on a string. She used the ball across the field and showcased her vision and intent to move the ball forward on multiple occasions. Used her nice long kick to penetrate through the opposition defence and took a couple of really strong marks credit to her ability to read the flight of the ball. Impressed with arguably one of the plays of the day streaming down wing and showcasing her speed with 5 bounces ending in the forward 50. McKenzie won plenty of the ball and was a real general across the ground dictating space and delivering the ball to her teammates well. Displayed all her skills and spatial awareness to run through the middle of the ground and just open up the forward 50 time and time again.

#22 Sarah Hartwig
 
Hartwig had a day out down in defence and was a real general down back controlling the forward forays. She won plenty of ball and stood up time and time again in one-on-ones. It was easy to identify what she was doing as time and time again once she knew Metro had numbers covered at the stoppages, she would drop back a kick behind play in case Country cleared the ball out of the stoppage with a bomb on the boot. Taking plenty of intercept marks, she was also able to identify targets up the field, and if she did not mark it, she would spoil her direct opponent, or peel off and come across as a third player up. One of Metro’s best and used it well on the attack.

#23 Nell Morris-Dalton
 
Good crumbing goal showcasing her goal sense and footy smarts to take a few steps around her opponent and then snap it straight through the middle after missing her first two shots at goal. Posed a dominant threat in the forward line kicking another goal in the third quarter after picking the ball up off the deck and using her body positioning to get around her opponent and slot it through the big sticks.

#24 Isabella Grant
 
Grant took a big mark in the opening term and kicked the first goal of the game squeezing it through the big sticks to kick start Metro’s campaign. She took another solid mark in the first quarter and was awarded a double 50 metre free kick and kicked truly nailing her second goal of the game in the first quarter. She consistently presented well up at the footy causing havoc in the forward line and won another double 50 metre and scored from directly out the front

#26 Gabrielle Newton

Newton had a hot start, involved in everything early. She showcased good composure to kick a perfectly weighted pass along the wing and found good space across the ground. She ran hard throughout the match to provide strong leads and options across the field. Was not afraid to get involved in the contest applying good tackling pressure and presented well up at the footy. Posed a threat in all areas of the ground offering strong leads in the forward 50 gathering the ball that popped out the back and banged it straight through the big sticks to kick her first for the game. Used her strong hands and good vision to punish the opposition.

Vic Country

#3 Paige Sheppard

Worked hard throughout the four quarters and particularly stepped up in the second half with the game slipping away from Country. Put her body on the line time and time again and ran hard to win touches through the middle and set up attacking plays. Applied great defensive pressure on the ball carrier throughout the match as well and was one of Country’s best in that area.

#4 Renee Saulitis

Relatively quiet day early given Metro’s forward half dominance, but left her mark on the game with a quick couple of steps and a goal midway through the final quarter once Country had a sniff going forward. She showed that she has what it takes to be an impact player slotting another goal in the final term credit to her goal sense and clean hands. Just finds space and is clever around goal.

#5 Luka Lesosky-Hay

Lesosky-Hay was busy early on winning a heap of the ball and working hard across the ground to get into damaging positions. She was not afraid to put her body on the line and contest for the ball both in the air and at ground level.
 
#10 Sophie Locke

A key player down in defence, read the play really well and contested hard at every occasion. Locke took a heap of big contested marks and kept her feet. She used her strong hands to win the ball back for her side and dished off a couple of well weighted kicks to teammates. She showcased her good hands under pressure and covered the ground well to consistently impose herself on the contest winning her fair share of the ball.

#12 Tyanna Smith

Provided some trademark run off half-back and along the wing, trying to break the lines going forward. It was tough for her to get too much happening with the ball camped in the Metro’s defensive half, and with Metro’s defenders, such as Sarah Hartwig and Isabelle Pritchard so well set up forward of centre. She kept trying throughout the four quarters and did have a few nice plays across the game.

#21 Sophie Molan

Molan was good in close and worked tirelessly around the contest to win the ball for Country. She showcased her strength in the air with a big contested grab and was strong overhead to go back with the flight and put the mitts up.

#22 Millie Brown

Brown had a blinder winning a heap of the footy and using it well. Really safe set of hands and played a solid role down in defence. She really controlled the defensive 50 and worked hard to try and nullify the influence of her opponents. Consistently showed good intent to move the ball forward and make her presence felt across the field. Brown highlighted her footy smarts reading the play well and floating into the right spots in the defensive 50 to regain possession for her side. She was careful and precise with ball in hand making the most of her possessions.

#23 Lucy McEvoy

McEvoy led from the front all game accumulating plenty of the ball and using it efficiently. Lowered the eyes and used the ball well to kick the ball lace out to a teammate on the lead. She showcased her strength to take a big mark despite the oncoming contact and pressure and dropped into the holes taking a good intercept mark. She used her long booming kick to move the ball forward and create scoring opportunities. McEvoy positioned well across the ground and just consistently imposed herself on the contest, involved in everything. She pushed hard in the final term to try and create a spark. She moved forward and applied good pressure to try and create shots on goal but was unable to capitalise in the last quarter only registering a minor score.

AFLW U18 Championships preview: Vic Country vs. Vic Metro

VICTORIA’S top under-age female footballers lock horns in the final game of the AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships Series One. Vic Country takes on Vic Metro at Avalon Airport Oval tomorrow, with both sides packed to the brim with talent. After facing off in the NAB League Girls competition all year, the best of the best now team up for state pride as they prepare for Series Two of the competition up on the Gold Coast in a fortnight. We take a look at both sides and analyse the key strengths of the teams.

Note: The game will be live streamed via the NAB League website with commentary from Under-18 and VFLW commentator Matthew Cocks, and Draft Central Chief Editor Peter Williams.

VIC COUNTRY

B: 10. Sophie Locke – 22. Millie Brown – 30. Daisy Smith
HB: 19. Brooke Vernon – 14. Abbey Chapman – 15 Isabella Shannon
C: 12. Tyanna Smith – 23. Lucy McEvoy – 13. Molly McDonald
HF: 3. Paige Sheppard – 27. Shanara Notman – 24. Isabella Simmons
F: 4. Renee Saulitis – 25. Olivia Barber – 9. Darcy Moloney
R: 29. Maggie Caris – 11. Brooke Hards – 5. Luka Lesosky-Hay
INT: 21. Sophie Molan – 1. Elise Vella – 28. Georgia Howes – 18. Kate Douglass – 6. Laura Gardiner – 16. Renee Tierney

Vic Country is unsurprisingly packed with 2018 premiers and 2019 finalists, Geelong Falcons, with nine of the 24 players named in the Country squad from the Falcons team. Given exciting forward Mia Skinner is injured, their representation could well have reached double figures for the Aasta O’Connor-coached side. The aspects to like about Vic Country will be their defence, hardness at the ball and the X-factor up forward.

1. Defence

The Country side has two genuine lockdown talls who can also provide some rebound in Abbey Chapman and Kate Douglass, while Millie Brown – named at full-back is an offensive defender with a terrific set of hands and can push up into the midfield to provide support. Brooke Vernon was the best rebounding medium defender this year and having her at half-back will be an asset, while seeing Isabella Shannon named in the back half is a surprise, but just shows her versatility having played mostly through midfield and up forward. She does have the capacity to drop back into the hole in defence, and no doubt she will be required to do so with the tall Metro attack likely to stretch the defence. Sophie Locke will likely lock down on a smaller opponent – perhaps Nicola Xenos or Jess Fitzgerald when forward – while Daisy Smith can do the same, although she is more likely to play tall. Given the height and marking ability of the Metro side, they might need three talls in defence to counteract Metro’s strength in the air.

2. Hardness at the ball

If you look at the starting five midfield of Brooke Hards, Luka Lesosky-Hay, Tyanna Smith, Lucy McEvoy and Molly McDonald, the first thing that comes to mind is – you would not want to be an opposition midfielder. They attack the ball hard, and will rack up the contested ball and is an area they can exploit Metro. Smith has a point of difference with her pace, as does the outside run of Elise Vella coming off the bench, but the speed that Metro possesses will trouble the Country side. It is why winning it at the coalface is so important, and McEvoy, Hards and McDonald in particular will not take a backwards step, being captains and potential future captain of their respective NAB League girls clubs. With Maggie Caris in the ruck, the midfield will get first look at it more often than not, and that midfield also includes the likes of Sophie Molan and Laura Gardiner coming off the bench, as well as Paige Sheppard and Darcy Moloney who can rotate through there, as can Shannon and Brown.

3. X-factor up forward

The named Vic Country forward line is almost one to watch for 2020, with four of the six starting forwards not eligible to be drafted until next year. The two exceptions are Shanara Notman – an exciting key position player with a huge leap and terrific hands, who has spent time in defence this year for Gippsland Power after sitting out last year – and Paige Sheppard – who is one of the better kicks in the team, setting up forward plays with great precision kicking and vision. Otherwise, the remaining four still have plenty of time to develop, with Olivia Barber one of the most exciting key forwards coming through, able to make the right leads and clunk marks, just needing to iron out her set shots at times. Isabella Simmons is a tall prospect with good athleticism who roams up to the wing and can play tall or small at ground level, while Darcy Moloney and Renee Saulitis are clever forwards who if you give them an inch will take a mile. Moloney has spent time in the midfield for the Falcons this year, while Saulitis has also proven to be a more than capable defender, so versatility is something the Country side has in spades. The forward line has the nice balance of talls and smalls, and of course chuck in Renee Tierney and Georgia Howes off the bench – Howes will also share the ruck load with Caris – and there is plenty of scoring potential there.

VIC METRO

B: 2. Felicity Theodore – 28. Isabelle Pritchard – 14. Laura McClelland
HB: 22. Sarah Hartwig – 20. Sarah Sansonetti – 12. Alice Burke
C: 8. Mimi Hill – 13. Britney Gutknecht – 17. Georgia Patrikios
HF: 26. Gabrielle Newton – 29. Cleo Saxon-Jones – 24. Isabella Grant
F: 15. Alyssa Bannan – 23. Nell Morris-Dalton – 4. Nicola Xenos
R: 27. Molly Denahy Moloney – 3. Gemma Lagioia – 21. Ellie McKenzie
INT: 19. Marguerite Purcell – 5. Elisabeth Georgostathis – 34. Jessica Fitzgerald – 10. Alana Barba – 18. Emma Horne – 9. Bella Eddey

Vic Metro will head into this game pretty confident following their win over Vic Country last year as arguable underdogs. This year they will likely go in as favourites, but it is predicted to be a tight contest. There are quite a few reasons for their favouritism, but the forward line marking ability is the number one aspect, while others include their speed, and intercept marking.

1. Marks inside 50

The Metro side has a dynamic forward line, with many incredibly athletic at ground level and can impress in the air or at ground level. The two that are the genuine key position players – Cleo-Saxon Jones and Nell Morris-Dalton – are arguably the two best contested marks in the competition this year, and throwing them into attack with Gabby Newton, Isabella Grant and Alyssa Bannan means the attack has a massive advantage for high balls coming in. The Vic Country defence will need to be on their guard with the forward line also capable of pushing up the ground and rotating through the midfield with any one of those five capable of playing as a key position player, while all have the possibility of giving a chop out in the ruck. Nicola Xenos is the sixth forward, who adds more speed at ground level and can also play out of defence or along the wing. Emma Horne, Jess Fitzgerald or Bella Eddey are all named on the bench, and the trio can add that smaller element to the forward mix, particularly Eddey who can play tall or small with plenty of X-factor.

2. Speed

Having already spoke about Vic Country’s advantage on the inside, Vic Metro’s advantage is on the outside, and particularly with speed. Most of the starting midfield has serious wheels, with Gemma Lagioia, Ellie McKenzie and Mimi Hill all capable to taking off on runs. Georgia Patrikios is the most agile player in the competition, so expect her to use her trademark sidestep to get around opponents, while Britney Gutknecht can also get herself out of trouble. While Country does have more hardness on the inside, McKenzie and Gutknecht will form the same bond they did in the Knights’ premiership side, looking to extract the ball out to their runners, or take the game on themselves. Fitzgerald is another who adds to the speed and is one of the best kicks in the side, while Marguerite Purcell also adds some outside run. Alana Barba was one of the most prolific tacklers in the NAB League Girls competition, so she will assists Gutknecht and McKenzie rotating off the bench, while Elisabeth Georgostathis will likely spend time through the midfield and rotate with Alice Burke off half-back. If the Vic Country midfield gets on top on the inside, do not be surprised to see Georgostathis and Burke thrown into the middle with Gutknecht or McKenzie to add some extra grunt. Molly Denahy Moloney will hope to counteract the leap of Caris, but does have her when it comes to around the ground, with Denahy Moloney one of the better athletes among the talls.

3. Intercept marking

We talked about the strength in the air in attack, but the embarrassment of riches down back in terms of the three tall defenders is a luxury that Vic Metro has. Sarah Hartwig and Isabelle Pritchard are arguably the two best intercept markers – along with teammate Sarah Sansonetti and Country duo Brown and Chapman – and they will likely pick off anything that comes their way. They can all play as rebounding defenders or to shut down their opponent, with Sansonetti the top shutdown tall, while Hartwig is the top rebounding tall. The mix can be swapped around depending on how games play out at the championships, but to have the three – two of which are middle-age and will form the key defensive partnership next year – is something Metro coach Nathan Burke will love. With running machine Felicity Theodore and Alice Burke also back there, the Metro team have speed and defensive pressure that can run down forwards heading into goal. Laura McClelland is more often known for her ability in the forward half, but she can mark the ball and find space well, adding to the height in defence. As mentioned, Georgostathis is another player who might rotate through the defensive mix, while Barba is also known to drop back into defence at times, allowing for some versatility for the Metro coaching staff.

AFLW U18 Championships Team Profile: Vic Metro

THE final Victoria Metropolitan squad for the Under 18 National Championships has been named, with a number of strong top-age prospects set to lead the charge from some exciting middle-age guns. After looking in-depth at the Vic Country squad last week, we take a look at how each player has stacked up statistically in this year’s NAB League season, as well as what they may bring to the Metro side come game time.

 

#1 Olivia Meagher*
Eastern Ranges | Balanced Midfielder | 158cm

The zippy midfielder is as tough as they come and mixes her line-breaking speed with clearance-winning ability. Put in an exceptional Preliminary Final performance against the Knights and while she does not always accumulate the biggest numbers, Meagher can find the goals and may feature forward of centre if given an opportunity. 

NAB League Girls

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
2019Eastern Ranges7728105140022002462711.04.015.02.00.03.10.356
Total-7728105140022002462711.04.015.02.00.03.10.356

Career Total

SeasonKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
20197728105140022002462711.04.015.02.00.03.10.356
Total7728105140022002462711.04.015.02.00.03.10.356

 

#2 Felicity Theodore
Calder Cannons | Small Defender/Forward | 159cm

The reliable Cannon is one who can play a role at either end inside the arcs, rebounding well from defence and looking dangerous around goal up forward. Will be an asset at ground level and sweeps up well under the talls.

U18 Girls Championships

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
2019Vic Metro Girls1842220060024136.01.37.30.70.02.00.327
Total-1842220060024136.01.37.30.70.02.00.327

NAB League Girls

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
2019Calder Cannons682391160022008143116.22.18.31.50.02.00.331
Total-682391160022008143116.22.18.31.50.02.00.331

VFLW

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
2019Essendon VFLW151025100100000035.03.38.30.30.03.30.023
Total-151025100100000035.03.38.30.30.03.30.023

Career Total

SeasonKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
2019101371381900380010184175.92.28.11.10.02.20.229
Total101371381900380010184175.92.28.11.10.02.20.229

 

#3 Gemma Lagioia
Oakleigh Chargers | Outside Midfielder | 160cm

A classy ball user, Lagioia is often a joy to watch. Has all the makings of a neat outside player, employed on just about every line – with time at half-forward, half-back, and through the middle. Accumulated over 15 disposals in six of her nine games.

U18 Girls Championships

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
2019Vic Metro Girls22103260060236037.33.310.72.00.02.00.041
Total-22103260060236037.33.310.72.00.02.00.041

NAB League Girls

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
2019Oakleigh Chargers100531492500130027541010.05.314.92.50.01.30.456
Total-100531492500130027541010.05.314.92.50.01.30.456

VFLW

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
2019Collingwood VFLW68421102100220000397.64.712.22.30.02.40.341
Total-68421102100220000397.64.712.22.30.02.40.341

Career Total

SeasonKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
20191901052915200410230117228.64.813.22.40.01.90.348
Total1901052915200410230117228.64.813.22.40.01.90.348

 

#4 Nicola Xenos
Oakleigh Chargers | General Defender | 161cm

Another who has spent time at either end, Xenos mixes a pressure game with ball-winning well – averaging 15.4 disposals and 5.4 tackles, while breaking each arc around two times per her eight NAB League games.

U18 Girls Championships

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
2019Vic Metro Girls211334100180344137.04.311.30.30.06.00.340
Total-211334100180344137.04.311.30.30.06.00.340

NAB League Girls

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
2019Oakleigh Chargers6261114130040001416387.87.614.31.60.05.00.451
Total-6261114130040001416387.87.614.31.60.05.00.451

VFLW

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
2019Collingwood VFLW3832701100230000175.44.610.01.60.03.30.131
Total-3832701100230000175.44.610.01.60.03.30.131

Career Total

SeasonKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
20191211062182500810318205186.75.912.11.40.04.50.341
Total1211062182500810318205186.75.912.11.40.04.50.341

 

#5 Elisabeth Georgostathis
Western Jets | Defender/Midfielder | 162cm

The Western Jets skipper most often plays as a classic rebounding half-back, finding a high amount of ball and bringing it out of the back half with line-breaking speed. She may find a home there at the Championships, but can also move into the midfield and provide pressure around the ball while also winning it herself. 

U18 Girls Championships

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
2019Vic Metro Girls19827400140182136.32.79.01.30.04.70.337
Total-19827400140182136.32.79.01.30.04.70.337

NAB League Girls

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
2019Western Jets138381762300380017440915.34.219.62.60.04.20.071
Total-138381762300380017440915.34.219.62.60.04.20.071

VFLW

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
2019Western Bulldogs VFLW362763900420000675.13.99.01.30.06.00.932
Total-362763900420000675.13.99.01.30.06.00.932

Career Total

SeasonKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
20191937326636009401254671910.23.814.01.90.04.90.451
Total1937326636009401254671910.23.814.01.90.04.90.451

 

#6 Madeline Edwards
Eastern Ranges | General Defender | 164cm

The small defender has made her mark as a pressure player, averaging almost five tackles across her nine NAB League games. Not always a high disposal winner, but disposes by foot more often than not and can rebound well.

NAB League Girls

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
2019Eastern Ranges5421758004000816096.02.38.30.90.04.40.029
Total-5421758004000816096.02.38.30.90.04.40.029

VFLW

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
Total-2.81.84.51.80.02.50.0

Career Total

SeasonKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
2019652893150050008160135.02.27.21.20.03.80.025
Total652893150050008160135.02.27.21.20.03.80.025

 

#7 Amelia Van Oosterwijck
Oakleigh Chargers | General Forward | 164cm

A tackle-happy small forward who found the goals in three of her nine NAB League games for Oakleigh, including a Round 1 haul of two. Delivered the ball inside 50 at least twice in her average of just over 11 disposals, and rarely falls below double-figures.

U18 Girls Championships

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
2019Vic Metro Girls44820060120122.02.04.01.00.03.00.520
Total-44820060120122.02.04.01.00.03.00.520

NAB League Girls

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
2019Oakleigh Chargers61399917004600190496.84.311.01.90.05.10.442
Total-61399917004600190496.84.311.01.90.05.10.442

Career Total

SeasonKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
20196543107190052012105115.93.99.71.70.04.70.538
Total6543107190052012105115.93.99.71.70.04.70.538

 

#8 Mimi Hill
Oakleigh Chargers | Midfielder/Defender | 165cm

A zippy outside player who finds plenty of the ball, making for busy work in between the arcs. Does just about everything in between delivering the ball to and from each 50, and had less than 15 disposals just twice this NAB League season. 

NAB League Girls

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
2019Oakleigh Chargers95831682800310023170109.58.316.82.80.03.10.060
Total-95831682800310023170109.58.316.82.80.03.10.060

Career Total

SeasonKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
201995831682800310023170109.58.316.82.80.03.10.060
Total95831682800310023170109.58.316.82.80.03.10.060

 

#9 Bella Eddey*
Sandringham Dragons | General Forward | 165cm

Only featured in five NAB League games this season, but the middle-ager showed enough to warrant selection. Can go inside 50 well and averages just below a dozen disposals per game, with one of her best being a successful return effort against GWV (13 disposals, one goal).

NAB League Girls

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
2019Sandringham Dragons223355700190061154.46.611.01.40.03.80.234
Total-223355700190061154.46.611.01.40.03.80.234

Career Total

SeasonKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
2019223355700190061154.46.611.01.40.03.80.234
Total223355700190061154.46.611.01.40.03.80.234

 

#10 Alana Barba
Calder Cannons | Inside Midfielder | 166cm

A tough inside midfielder who compliments her fellow Calder midfield stars well with some grunt. Has played every game for the Cannons this year, and while she can fall well below 10 disposals in some games, is more than capable of collecting over 20 in others. 

U18 Girls Championships

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
2019Vic Metro Girls14620300100106034.72.06.71.00.03.30.024
Total-14620300100106034.72.06.71.00.03.30.024

NAB League Girls

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
2019Calder Cannons7659135700780023143116.95.412.30.60.07.10.340
Total-7659135700780023143116.95.412.30.60.07.10.340

VFLW

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
2019Essendon VFLW201127300170000045.02.86.80.80.04.30.023
Total-201127300170000045.02.86.80.80.04.30.023

Career Total

SeasonKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
20191107618213001050123203186.14.210.10.70.05.80.234
Total1107618213001050123203186.14.210.10.70.05.80.234

 

#11 Tarni Brown*
Eastern Ranges | Balanced Midfielder | 166cm

The 2020 Collingwood father-daughter prospect has more than shown her worth for Eastern this season, proving to be a consistent and balanced ball winner. Has class, but is not afraid to also do the hard work as well.

NAB League Girls

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
2019Eastern Ranges1146517918005000331011011.46.517.91.80.05.00.161
Total-1146517918005000331011011.46.517.91.80.05.00.161

Career Total

SeasonKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
20191146517918005000331011011.46.517.91.80.05.00.161
Total1146517918005000331011011.46.517.91.80.05.00.161

 

#12 Alice Burke*
Sandringham Dragons | Inside Midfielder | 166cm

The durable Dragon has been a picture of consistency through the engine room, hardly straying from her average disposal count of 16.5 – with a high of 20 and a low of 13. A typical inside midfielder who also tackles hard, and wins the ball at stoppages all over the ground.

U18 Girls Championships

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
2019Vic Metro Girls131023100110622034.33.37.70.30.03.70.029
Total-131023100110622034.33.37.70.30.03.70.029

NAB League Girls

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
2019Sandringham Dragons94381321500490019140811.84.816.51.90.06.10.057
Total-94381321500490019140811.84.816.51.90.06.10.057

Career Total

SeasonKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
2019107481551600600621160119.74.414.11.50.05.50.049
Total107481551600600621160119.74.414.11.50.05.50.049

 

#13 Britney Gutknecht
Northern Knights | Midfielder/Forward | 167cm

Gutknecht has adapted well to a move into the midfield, while also reminding us of her obvious forward talents when called upon – including a four-goal haul against Murray. Is a good reader of taps and attracts the ball, but may well revert back to a forward game at the championships.

U18 Girls Championships

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
2019Vic Metro Girls2293150080520037.33.010.31.70.02.70.039
Total-2293150080520037.33.010.31.70.02.70.039

NAB League Girls

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
2019Northern Knights98681661400470028149109.86.816.61.40.04.70.960
Total-98681661400470028149109.86.816.61.40.04.70.960

VFLW

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
2019Carlton VFLW211940500220000045.34.810.01.30.05.50.029
Total-211940500220000045.34.810.01.30.05.50.029

Career Total

SeasonKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
2019141962372400770530149178.35.613.91.40.04.50.549
Total141962372400770530149178.35.613.91.40.04.50.549

 

#14 Laura McClelland
Eastern Ranges | General Forward | 169cm

McClelland can play above her height, leading up from half-forward and providing a good link to the forward 50. Only found the goals in three of her nine games, but gets involved and only fell below 10 disposals thrice.

U18 Girls Championships

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
2019Vic Metro Girls151530800105221235.05.010.02.71.73.30.742
Total-151530800105221235.05.010.02.71.73.30.742

NAB League Girls

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
2019Eastern Ranges50409011003710191595.64.410.01.20.14.10.637
Total-50409011003710191595.64.410.01.20.14.10.637

VFLW

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
2019Hawthorn VFLW15924500110000043.82.36.01.30.02.80.020
Total-15924500110000043.82.36.01.30.02.80.020

Career Total

SeasonKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
20198064144240058622127165.04.09.01.50.43.60.434
Total8064144240058622127165.04.09.01.50.43.60.434

 

#15 Alyssa Bannan*
Northern Knights | General Forward | 169cm

The Knights forward is dangerous inside 50 with good goal sense and positioning. Only failed to boot a goal in one of her eight games, while claiming multiples on five occassions. Had a day out against Bendigo with 18 disposals and three goals, and is dyamic when running over the back.

U18 Girls Championships

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
2019Vic Metro Girls1031370030010225.01.56.53.50.01.51.036
Total-1031370030010225.01.56.53.50.01.51.036

NAB League Girls

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
2019Northern Knights5632882000301102301596.23.69.82.21.23.31.749
Total-5632882000301102301596.23.69.82.21.23.31.749

Career Total

SeasonKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
2019663510127003311024017116.03.29.22.51.03.01.546
Total663510127003311024017116.03.29.22.51.03.01.546

 

#16 Emily Harley
Oakleigh Chargers | Utility | 169cm

The strong Oakleigh utility has played on every line this season, but looks most effective forward of centre having booted 13 goals this NAB League season – including four against Gippsland. Is a bullocking type through midfield, and her versatility could prove handy if required.

U18 Girls Championships

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
2019Vic Metro Girls1261830060130334.02.06.01.00.02.01.028
Total-1261830060130334.02.06.01.00.02.01.028

NAB League Girls

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
2019Oakleigh Chargers88431263400254081113108.84.312.63.40.42.51.356
Total-88431263400254081113108.84.312.63.40.42.51.356

VFLW

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
2019Collingwood VFLW000000000000000000000
Total-000000000000000000000

Career Total

SeasonKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
20191004914437003141111116137.73.811.12.80.32.41.250
Total1004914437003141111116137.73.811.12.80.32.41.250

 

#17 Georgia Patrikios
Calder Cannons | Outside Midfielder | 170cm

While the classy Calder leader has long been a standout, Patrikios has been in a partiularly rich vein of form at the back end of the year. Stands up in big games and has the ability to hit the scoreboard from midfield. Watch for her efficient short kicking, elite agility and speedy ball carrying throughout the championships.

U18 Girls Championships

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
2019Vic Metro Girls3824627001508771312.78.020.72.30.05.00.378
Total-3824627001508771312.78.020.72.30.05.00.378

NAB League Girls

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
2019Calder Cannons164452092700430044205918.25.023.23.00.04.80.689
Total-164452092700430044205918.25.023.23.00.04.80.689

VFLW

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
2019Essendon VFLW6326897002900002512.65.217.81.40.05.80.455
Total-6326897002900002512.65.217.81.40.05.80.455

Career Total

SeasonKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
20192659536041008708512781715.65.621.22.40.05.10.577
Total2659536041008708512781715.65.621.22.40.05.10.577

 

#18 Emma Horne
Eastern Ranges | Balanced Midfielder | 170cm

Has been a regular in the Eastern midfield, with only a couple of outliers bringing her usually steady disposal average down. Only fell below 10 disposals twice, and had more than 15 on six occassions – with a 28-disposal effort against Gippsland her clear best return.

U18 Girls Championships

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
2019Vic Metro Girls10142410080212033.34.78.00.30.02.70.024
Total-10142410080212033.34.78.00.30.02.70.024

NAB League Girls

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
2019Eastern Ranges8467151170025001741108.46.715.11.70.02.50.148
Total-8467151170025001741108.46.715.11.70.02.50.148

VFLW

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
2019Richmond VFLW561130020000022.53.05.51.50.01.00.018
Total-561130020000022.53.05.51.50.01.00.018

Career Total

SeasonKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
20199987186210035021861156.65.812.41.40.02.30.139
Total9987186210035021861156.65.812.41.40.02.30.139

 

#19 Marguerite Purcell
Sandringham Dragons | Wing/Outside Midfielder | 170cm

A dangerous ball winner on the outside, Purcell has made the wing her own for Sandringham. Has had one outlying game either way in an otherwise linear run of disposals, and can deliver the ball inside 50 well.

U18 Girls Championships

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
2019Vic Metro Girls841220060231032.71.34.00.70.02.00.017
Total-841220060231032.71.34.00.70.02.00.017

NAB League Girls

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
2019Sandringham Dragons6587314001400173079.31.110.42.00.02.00.041
Total-6587314001400173079.31.110.42.00.02.00.041

Career Total

SeasonKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
2019731285160020022040107.31.28.51.60.02.00.034
Total731285160020022040107.31.28.51.60.02.00.034

 

#20 Sarah Sansonetti
Northern Knights | Key Defender | 172cm

Sansonetti has thrived latter half of the season against some top opposition, holding her own in aeriel contests and with the ball in dispute. Is not the tallest key position player, so is ultra competitive at ground level and tackles hard. Likely to take the opposition’s best forward.

U18 Girls Championships

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
2019Vic Metro Girls19102950080115036.33.39.71.70.02.70.034
Total-19102950080115036.33.39.71.70.02.70.034

NAB League Girls

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
2019Northern Knights57328980038307120105.73.28.90.80.33.80.029
Total-57328980038307120105.73.28.90.80.33.80.029

VFLW

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
2019Darebin Falcons271340900190000055.42.68.01.80.03.80.027
Total-271340900190000055.42.68.01.80.03.80.027

Career Total

SeasonKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
201910355158220065318170185.73.18.81.20.23.60.029
Total10355158220065318170185.73.18.81.20.23.60.029

 

#21 Ellie McKenzie*
Northern Knights | Midfielder/Forward | 173cm

The dynamic middle-ager would have a decent highlight reel to date, and is so dangerous when positoned one-out at full forward. Stands out with her clean hands and composure, and seems to always be thereabouts. Arguably as damaging as any player to take the field at the championships.

U18 Girls Championships

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
2019Vic Metro Girls16163250070832028.08.016.02.50.03.50.064
Total-16163250070832028.08.016.02.50.03.50.064

NAB League Girls

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
2019Northern Knights101491503000244034771010.14.915.03.00.42.40.761
Total-101491503000244034771010.14.915.03.00.42.40.761

Career Total

SeasonKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
201911765182350031483797129.85.415.22.90.32.60.662
Total11765182350031483797129.85.415.22.90.32.60.662

 

#22 Sarah Hartwig*
Sandringham Dragons | Key Defender | 173cm

Another middle-ager who is sure to play a key part for Metro. Hartwig is a terrific overhead marker and has played in key positions at either end, but looks more comfortable down back. Is a composed user from defence to boot and is one to keep an eye on.

U18 Girls Championships

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
2019Vic Metro Girls731030020000023.51.55.01.50.01.00.018
Total-731030020000023.51.55.01.50.01.00.018

NAB League Girls

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
2019Sandringham Dragons734511825003720331098.15.013.12.80.24.10.047
Total-734511825003720331098.15.013.12.80.24.10.047

Career Total

SeasonKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
20198048128280039203310117.34.411.62.50.23.50.042
Total8048128280039203310117.34.411.62.50.23.50.042

 

#23 Nell Morris-Dalton
Northern Knights | Key Forward | 174cm

Has been enormous for the Knights at times this year, and found the goals in six of her last seven games. Dragged her side over the line with four Preliminary Final goals last week and looks to be coming into form at the right time. Usually efficient inside 50 on her left boot, and brings others into the game.

U18 Girls Championships

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
2019Vic Metro Girls1271940081111434.02.36.31.30.32.71.331
Total-1271940081111434.02.36.31.30.32.71.331

NAB League Girls

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
2019Northern Knights875213921003434027215117.94.712.61.93.13.11.455
Total-875213921003434027215117.94.712.61.93.13.11.455

VFLW

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
2019Darebin Falcons445491100235000458.81.09.82.21.04.60.841
Total-445491100235000458.81.09.82.21.04.60.841

Career Total

SeasonKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
20191436420736006540128323197.53.410.91.92.13.41.248
Total1436420736006540128323197.53.410.91.92.13.41.248

 

#24 Isabella Grant
Western Jets | Tall Utility | 174cm

The Bulldogs father-daughter prospect only featured in six games this season, but proved her worth in the forward half and through midfield. Marks well and can find the ball at will, with her best game a 25-disposal, five-mark effort against GWV. Can penetrate both arcs. 

U18 Girls Championships

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
2019Vic Metro Girls1492340070071134.73.07.71.30.02.30.331
Total-1492340070071134.73.07.71.30.02.30.331

NAB League Girls

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
2019Western Jets584510316001900138169.77.517.22.70.03.20.259
Total-584510316001900138169.77.517.22.70.03.20.259

Career Total

SeasonKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
2019725412620002600209298.06.014.02.20.02.90.249
Total725412620002600209298.06.014.02.20.02.90.249

 

#25 Tahlia Merrett
Eastern Ranges | Key Utility | 174cm

Merrett has proven to be a useful outlet at both ends, while also contesting in the ruck when called upon. Is not a huge disposal-getter but plays whichever role is asked of her and has plenty of upside on the back of her versatility. 

NAB League Girls

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
2019Eastern Ranges28174590027140442102.81.74.50.91.42.70.218
Total-28174590027140442102.81.74.50.91.42.70.218

VFLW

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
2019Williamstown VFLW20727500211000192.20.83.00.60.12.30.111
Total-20727500211000192.20.83.00.60.12.30.111

Career Total

SeasonKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
2019482472140048150443192.51.33.80.70.82.50.215
Total482472140048150443192.51.33.80.70.82.50.215

 

#26 Gabrielle Newton
Northern Knights | Tall Utility | 175cm

Right up there with the best of the best, Newton will be a key player for Metro. Has played almost exclusively in the midfield this year but has the hops to ruck and also moves forward well, while playing a key role behind the ball with her overhead marking. Is composed in possession and finds it with ease, with her leadership qualities also evident.

U18 Girls Championships

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
2019Vic Metro Girls2720471200121986239.06.715.74.00.34.00.773
Total-2720471200121986239.06.715.74.00.34.00.773

NAB League Girls

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
2019Northern Knights911021932800472602192109.110.219.32.82.64.70.265
Total-911021932800472602192109.110.219.32.82.64.70.265

VFLW

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
2019Carlton VFLW19726600191000129.53.513.03.00.59.50.548
Total-19726600191000129.53.513.03.00.59.50.548

Career Total

SeasonKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
201913712926646007828929155159.18.617.73.11.95.20.364
Total13712926646007828929155159.18.617.73.11.95.20.364

 

#27 Molly Denahy Moloney
Sandringham Dragons | Ruck | 175cm

Has not been a huge year for the Sandringham product over her five NAB League games, but she is a ruck who can win the hitouts and follow up with hard tackles at ground level. Not a high disposal winner, but makes her presence felt and can also spend time forward. 

U18 Girls Championships

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
2019Vic Metro Girls128201001023112034.02.76.70.37.73.30.028
Total-128201001023112034.02.76.70.37.73.30.028

NAB League Girls

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
2019Sandringham Dragons1115260001736030052.23.05.20.07.23.40.021
Total-1115260001736030052.23.05.20.07.23.40.021

VFLW

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
2019Southern Saints000000000000000000000
Total-000000000000000000000

Career Total

SeasonKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
20192323461002759142082.92.95.80.17.43.40.024
Total2323461002759142082.92.95.80.17.43.40.024

 

#28 Isabelle Pritchard*
Western Jets | Key Defender | 176cm

Collects her fair share of ball as a taller prospect, not falling below 10 touches across her seven games. Does not drop many marks and provides safe rebound out of the back half, so could be part of a solid Metro back six as a middle-ager.

U18 Girls Championships

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
2019Vic Metro Girls871520040015024.03.57.51.00.02.00.026
Total-871520040015024.03.57.51.00.02.00.026

NAB League Girls

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
2019Western Jets55521071400271901014077.97.415.32.02.73.90.052
Total-55521071400271901014077.97.415.32.02.73.90.052

Career Total

SeasonKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
201963591221600311901119097.06.613.61.82.13.40.046
Total63591221600311901119097.06.613.61.82.13.40.046

 

#29 Cleo Saxon-Jones
Western Jets | Key Forward | 181cm

A physical centre half-forward, Saxon-Jones finds her way up the ground well to impact the contest and provide a link into the forward half. Has a knack for taking strong contested marks and may even pinch-hit in the ruck.

U18 Girls Championships

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
2019Vic Metro Girls1932240068233336.31.07.31.32.72.01.039
Total-1932240068233336.31.07.31.32.72.01.039

NAB League Girls

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
2019Western Jets4513581200590143167.52.29.72.01.50.80.241
Total-4513581200590143167.52.29.72.01.50.80.241

VFLW

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
2019Melbourne Uni1071730027000333.32.35.71.02.30.71.026
Total-1071730027000333.32.35.71.02.30.71.026

Career Total

SeasonKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
20197423971900132421767126.21.98.11.62.01.10.636
Total7423971900132421767126.21.98.11.62.01.10.636

 

#30 Amelia Peck
Oakleigh Chargers | Ruck/Key Utility | 183cm

The only over-ager prospect on the Metro list, Peck has earned her spot as a standout ruck. Averages almost 12 hitouts per game and just under 10 disposals, while also being able to move forward when required having at least scored in three games.

NAB League Girls

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
2019Oakleigh Chargers42477818001611801522104.24.77.81.811.81.60.244
Total-42477818001611801522104.24.77.81.811.81.60.244

VFLW

SeasonTeamKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
2019Collingwood VFLW000000000000000000000
Total-000000000000000000000

Career Total

SeasonKHBDMCPUPTHOCLRI50R50GLGMKHDMHOTGDC
201942477818001611801522104.24.77.81.811.81.60.244
Total42477818001611801522104.24.77.81.811.81.60.244

 

* – denotes middle-ager.

Scouting notes: NAB League Girls – Preliminary Finals

FINALS fever finally hit the NAB League Girls competition and in an exciting day of action, there were certainly plenty of standout performances on the big stage. Here are Michael Alvaro‘s opinion-based scouting notes on a mix of the most outstanding players on the day, and others selected in the Victorian sides for this year’s National Championships.

Northern Knights vs. Eastern Ranges

Northern:

#3 Nell Morris-Dalton

The Knights’ forward focal point continued her scintillating end-of-season form, booting over half of her side’s goals to finish with a bag of four. Morris-Dalton’s competitiveness inside 50 both in the air and at ground level played a big part in allowing Northern to make the most of their forward entries, while also locking the ball in. The Fitzroy junior’s marking overhead has greatly improved, and she was simply on form in front of goal with clinical finishes on her left boot. While she prized a couple of goals out of nothing in open play, arguably her best came on the run with a booming kick, and she claimed two of her goals in the all-important third term as the Knights pulled away.

#6 Alyssa Bannan

Bannan is a constant threat in the forward half with her pace and smarts over the back, and while she was quiet at times, this game proved no different. Unable to consistently find her trademark forward run from half-forward, Bannan spent a lot of time inside 50, where she took a nice overhead mark in the third quarter and slotted the resultant set shot – which proved to be the difference between the sides. Bannan’s best moment came with a couple of running bounces through the corridor which made the crowd stand up.

#11 Maykaylah Appleby

One to watch for a couple of years’ time, Appleby was terrific for the Knights on the wing. At still only 15 years of age, Appleby looked more than up to the level – as she has proven in her previous eight games to date. The bottom-ager provided great forward run throughout the day and constantly looked dangerous with ball in hand. Caught the eye with a sensational running goal in the second term and loves a celebration.

#18 Sarah Sansonetti

Sansonetti’s role was always going to be important against Eastern’s tall timber, and she well and truly stood up to the task. By no means had a high-disposal output, but the key defender did most of the defensive things well while looking to thwart the influence of Serena Gibbs for large chunks of the game. Really came to life in the fourth quarter with some physical showings around the contest – tackling hard up on the wing and pushing the Knights forward with presence from one-on-one wins.

#21 Ellie McKenzie

Talk about weapons, McKenzie is one of those players coaches wish they had two of. Snapped the first goal of the game starting one-out at full-forward, and had another opportunity to hit the scoreboard in the third term, but missed her shot on the run after rounding an opponent. Proved a match-winner in the second half with a move into the midfield – seen intercepting twice on defensive 50, winning crucial clearances from the centre bounces when the Ranges were pressing late, and slowing the game down in the final two minutes with composure beyond her years. Will again prove vital in the grand final, and stands out in high-paced contested games as her clean hands allows for more time on the ball and better decisions.

#22 Britney Gutknecht

Gutknecht was an absolute bull at the stoppages, burrowing in to prize out contested possessions and tackling hard all day. The versatile midfielder-forward spent all of her time in the engine room, providing great drive with clearing kicks and short runs out of traffic. Had an outstanding second half where she seemed to be involved in everything, accumulating key possessions at important times to prove her worth as part of Northern’s star midfield trio.

#23 Gabby Newton

It is unlikely that much more can be made about how good Newton is, and she was outstanding once again here. Playing her usual role in the midfield, Newton toned down her use of handballs and belted the Knights forward on multiple occasions early on with clearing kicks from centre bounces. Accumulating at her normally high rate across the day, Newton led from the front in a consistent display. The Northern skipper’s smarts in more of an extracting role proved crucial, with Newton’s ability to keep her hands free allowing her to escape traffic and dispose of the ball effectively. Newton’s overhead marking was again also a feature, forming a one-woman wall across the forward 50 arc. A prime example of that was when she marked from an Eastern kick-out, cleverly shifting to one side before charging back into the open space to intercept and frustrate the Ranges coaches. A step above.

Eastern:

#21 Olivia Meagher

Meagher played an absolute blinder for the Ranges, showing true heart to almost drag her side over the line from midfield. Hard to miss in her helmet, Meagher caught the eye in a different way on this occasion, providing scintillating run from the stoppages and in open play. Showed her intentions early in that sense with a two-bounce dash from defensive wing, with the rest of her breakaways coming through traffic and ending with a kick forward. Won her fair share of contested ball, but was also a danger across the forward 50 arc – finding the goals on the back of a 50-metre penalty in the second term, and assisting one of Madeline Di Cosmo’s two in the second half. Her defensive plays were just as important, laying a big tackle on Ellie McKenzie to set the tone late on, while also affecting a smother which would start the chain for Riley Hall’s goal to cut the margin to six points. A great overall effort, and we can look forward to more next year.

#26 Tarni Brown

It was by no means Brown’s most prolific day, but she started on the right note. The 2020 Collingwood father-daughter prospect was good alongside Meagher in competing against a stacked Northern midfield, winning clearances and proving tough in tackles. She would lay a few of her own too, but her best moment came with a smart steal as the ball was in dispute, which she ended nicely with a clearing kick to enter forward 50. Another we will see more of next year.

#33 Tess Flintoff

Very unlucky to miss out on being named in Eastern’s best for mine, but Flintoff has another two years in the system to rack up the votes. The midfielder is one of the best marking players in the competition, and showcased her skill in that area with phenomenal reading of the play and positioning. Often employed a kick behind the ball in open play, Flintoff had a purple patch in the third term with a series of intercept possessions, while also taking an impressive diving slips catch to show off her highly-touted junior cricketing skills. Flintoff’s clearance game was also strong – particularly when you consider her opposition – and she accumulated well throughout the day.

#39 Laura McClelland

It was not a huge day out of McClelland, but she started well in her usual post at half-forward. She helped the Ranges move forward well, acting as a link in the chain towards forward 50 – often collecting the ball on the arc and wheeling around to boot towards goal. McClelland did so twice in the opening few minutes, and popped up again in the third term with some nice work up the ground.

#41 Tahlia Merrett

One of Eastern’s many tall prospects, Merrett provided good value at either end of the ground. Starting at full-forward and later pitching in through the ruck, Merrett was an important part of the Ranges’ structure and helped to keep the Knights’ defence on its toes. Missed a long-range set shot in the third term but found the goals earlier on, and was later thrown down back to show her versatility.

#46 Serena Gibbs

Touted as a key player before the game for her ability to consistently find the goals, but Gibbs was unable to do so in this game. While she was limited at times by Northern’s Sarah Sansonetti, Gibbs competed well and looked to stand up in the closing stages with a big tackle and terrific overhead mark as the Ranges surged home. The over-ager also took on some of the ruck duties inside forward 50 and looked comfortable there as well.

Geelong Falcons vs. Calder Cannons

Geelong:

#12 Laura Gardiner

Gardiner capped off a fine middle-age year with another solid display, mixing time between her customary wing position and the inside. While she got her hands on the ball well at stoppages, her usual clearing kicks forward went lateral at times, somewhat limiting her damage. Undeterred, Gardiner competed well all day and is one to keep an eye on for next year.

#18 Darcy Moloney

The middle-ager had a quiet opener but built into the game nicely, spending time on half-forward and up on the wing. Moloney became influential in the second half, starting with a nice intercept mark on the Falcons’ forward 50 arc. While she missed the resultant set shot, she followed up the kick well and was unlucky to miss again with another shot on goal – this time though a snap. Moloney’s luck continued to go against her as a long shot on goal which was on target took an unfortunate bounce in the goalsquare, but her ability to create those three chances was hugely promising. Has obvious midfield credentials, but looked very good forward of centre.

#21 Abbey Chapman

Chapman again found herself in uncharted territory as the Falcons defence came under siege, and she again stood tall despite the defeat. Her mopping up deep inside defensive 50 early on was composed, but Chapman came up short on one occasion where she spilt a mark and gifted Alana Barba her opportunistic goal. Bounced back in the second half to save another Cannons goal with a clutch tackle, and followed up with a perfectly placed kick to find touch. Will be a key part of Vic Country’s campaign in the upcoming National Championships.

#24 Mia Skinner

Playing her typical half-forward role, Skinner tried her level best to manufacture the usual chances she would get to pepper the goals. While she worked hard up the ground to provide an option and link inside forward 50, Skinner’s best work came within the arc. She converted Geelong’s only goal with a set shot in the second term, had two quick-fire chances smothered, snapped one shot out on the full, and missed another. Skinner is great at getting dangerous positions and finding the ball in all the right areas, it is just unfortunate that on this occasion, she was hardly given a clean look to duly finish off her hard work.

#38 Lucy McEvoy

The Falcons’ skipper again led from the front and was simply outstanding. Won the first clearance of the game and launched a couple of huge kicks forward as she sought to set the tone for her side through the midfield. She has shown her ability to play just about anywhere, but took it to another level in this game with stints in the ruck after quarter time – playing more like a fourth midfielder at the centre bounces as the Falcons looked to thwart the impact of Calder’s firing midfield stars. McEvoy also tackled well and rose to the occasion with some fantastic overhead marking. Her positioning behind the ball while it was inside the Falcons’ forward 50 was effective, but McEvoy also ventured inside the arc and almost scrounged a goal with a snap out of congestion. Can hold her head up high, great performance as Geelong’s clear best.

#39 Renee Tierney

Tierney started brightly, tackling hard to win a holding the ball free kick which she used to punt inside 50. Given time in the midfield, Tierney won a couple of nice clearances to set Geelong forward and got involved well in a slightly different role. Went on to spend time all around the ground and will be one of Geelong’s better top-agers next year.

Calder:

#2 Felicity Theodore

Named at half-forward, Theodore took on a role in the back half on this occasion. The top-ager competed well in defensive 50 and swept up the scraps well at ground level throughout the day. While her kicking was a little shaky in the first half, she showed her ability to hit targets more effectively in the second, finding Emelia Yassir well from a free kick. A solid performer in the sturdy Calder defence.

#3 Emelia Yassir

Yassir put in an incredible performance to be named the Cannons’ best as part of a trio of promising Calder bottom-agers. After finding the goals in the first term as her side broke to an early lead, Yassir never looked back. The bite-sized forward played well above her height, marking strongly up the ground and becoming a key link into the forward 50. Played out of her skin, but could be one to keep an eye on in the coming years.

#4 Kasey Lennox

Another outstanding Calder bottom-ager on the day, Lennox was a rock in defence. The Calder back six collectively stood tall to intercept a wealth of high balls which entered their own 50 arc, and Lennox played a key part in that factor. The 15-year-old looked unfazed by the challenge, and is already a good height to play as a key defender.

#11 Alana Barba

Barba played a fantastic game as the third prong in a dynamic Calder midfield, and made arguably the best start to the game of all three. After a previous dribbled effort fell short, the top-ager cleverly snatched a spilled mark off her Falcons opponent and snapped truly, lifting her side with a big celebration to boot. While she did not find as much room to move after half time, Barba won some nice clearances and played her role well.

#21 Georgia Patrikios

Patrikios is an out-and-out leader, and stood up when it mattered as arguably the most skilful player on the ground. Winning clearances and providing a wealth of run, Patrikios delivered the ball aptly on both sides and was one of the more effective short passers by foot on the day. She is just so clean on the ball and her searing pace means she is hardly caught in possession – if ever – making her such a damaging player. Patrikios used her pace well in a particular passage along the boundary, skipping past players as she soccered the ball forward for some valuable meterage. She also proved her smarts with a holding the ball tackle on the back of a 50-metre penalty against the Cannons, and proved tough in contested situations. Missed the chance to hit the scoreboard in the final quarter and cap off a big day, but should be proud with her effort to lead Calder to their unlikely win.

#38 Laura Cocomello

‘Coco’ was combative on the wing, helping the Cannons to both break forward and keep the ball inside attacking 50. Cocomello’s overhead marking was impressive at times, with one from behind over the smaller Elise Vella a particular highlight. The middle-ager’s ability to keep her hands up allowed her to escape tackles well, and she was usually impactful with ball in hand. Had the chance to find the goals with a long-range set shot in the final term, but fell short.

#41 Georgie Prespakis

We are running out of superlatives to describe how scarily good Prespakis is at just 16 years of age, and she looked to have thrived in the finals atmosphere. Hard to miss in her standard long-sleever, Prespakis was the anchor at each centre bounce for the Cannons, bursting forward on multiple occasions and slicing through traffic with ease, while often finishing with a long roost inside 50. Laid a huge holding the ball tackle on Geelong star Lucy McEvoy the second term to further prove Calder’s intentions, and was an unstoppable presence around the ground all day. She was simply damaging with almost every possession, and has the ability to make opponents look silly in open space as she looks to deliver forward. Is the leading prospect for 2021 at this stage, and is more than living up to her pedigree.