Tag: Laura Pugh

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

WAFL WOMEN’S ROUND 10 FIXTURES:

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

Demons book prelim spot with win over Dockers at windswept Casey Fields

MELBOURNE has earned a chance at toppling two-time AFL Women’s premiers Adelaide in the preliminary final next weekend after defeating Fremantle by 17 points at a windswept Casey Fields yesterday. The Demons kept last year’s minor premiers goalless in the first half, then held on the second half despite some inaccuracy, to win, 5.10 (40) to 3.5 (23). Despite a phenomenal effort from Kiara Bowers with a Bowers-like tackle count of 17, the Demons put together a strong team effort across four quarters to advance through to the penultimate week of the 2021 AFL Women’s season.

After a couple of behinds early in the match, the Demons’ first selection in last year’s draft Alyssa Bannan got them on the board midway through the term, and whilst the Dockers had a couple of chances late in the quarter, could not capitalise and trailed by a straight kick at the first break. Shelley Scott was quick to pile on another major for the Demons, needing just 36 seconds from the restart to slot through the home team’s second goal, and the lead was out to 12. Scott doubled up five minutes later with her second and the Demons’ third, and when Eden Zanker missed a chance, the lead was out to a game-high 19 points at the half. Fremantle was unable to add to its quarter time score of two behinds, and the danger signs were there.

Fremantle had the first chance of the second half through Gemma Houghton, but she scored her second behind of the contest two minutes into the quarter, before Ashley Sharp broke the Dockers’ drought with a crucial major in the fourth minute of the premiership quarter. That cut the deficit to 12, and it did get as low as a 11 points midway through the quarter, before Brenna Tarrant – who had kicked five majors in her VFL Women’s debut earlier in the year – snagged a goal and the Demons had one foot in the preliminary final. Sabreena Duffy had other ideas though, and just as soon as the Demons were looking comfortable, she answered with a goal of her own, and the lead was back to less than two kicks. In the dying moments of the third term, Houghton finally found her range with a great goal and the deficit was just four points heading into the final break.

The first goal of the last term was crucial, but for some reason no matter how many chances they had, the Demons could not split the big sticks. Seven consecutive behinds – including one rushed – opened the term, but the ball was effectively locked inside the Demons 50, when the Dockers needed it up the other end for a chance to win the game. Instead, all of those behinds had pushed the lead from four points to 11 with four minutes on the clock. Eventually it would be the crafty Maddi Gay who put the icing on the cake with a terrific goal in the 15th minute to seal the game for the home team and guarantee them another week in the competition. Unfortunately for the Dockers, it meant the end of the road after their premiership aspirations were cut short last year due to the league cancellation, and now they will head back to go again in 2022. For the Demons, they will take on a red-hot Adelaide in South Australia next week, with the winner to book a place in the 2021 AFL Women’s Grand Final.

Gay was sensational throughout the match, fitting that she kicked the winning goal to go with 19 touches, three marks and nine tackles in the match, while Karen Paxman (20 disposals, five tackles, two inside 50s and two rebound 50s), Lily Mithen (17 disposals, two marks, three inside 50s and two tackles) and Scott (13 disposals, two tackles and two goals) were also prolific. Jacqueline Parry (12 disposals, four marks and four tackles), Zanker (10 disposals, three marks and four tackles) and Lauren Pearce (11 disposals, two tackles, 15 hitouts and three inside 50s) were also strong, as Casey Sherriff, Sarah Lampard, Tegan Cunningham, Kate Hore and Tyla Hanks all hit double-figure disposals.

For the Dockers, Bowers continued her remarkable season with 20 disposals and 17 tackles, six more than her nearest teammates in Steph Cain (14 disposals, five marks and three tackles) and Matilda Sergeant (14 disposals, two tackles). Houghton was forever busy up forward with 1.2 from nine disposals, two marks ad thee tackles, while Philippa Seth had 13 disposals, two marks and six rebound 50s. Mim Strom (12 disposals, two marks, 12 hitouts and six tackles), Ange Stannett (12 disposals, seven tackles and two inside 50s), Hayley Miller (11 disposals, six tackles and two rebound 50s) and Laura Pugh (10 disposals, four tackles and four rebound 50s) were others who not only hit double-figure disposals, but laid plenty of tackles as well.

MELBOURNE 1.2 | 3.3 | 4.3 | 5.10 (40)
FREMANTLE 0.2 | 0.2 | 3.5 | 3.5 (23)

GOALS:

Melbourne: S. Scott 2, A. Bannan, B. Tarrant, M. Gay.
Fremantle: A. Sharp, S. Duffy. G. Houghton.

DC BEST:

Melbourne: M. Gay, K. Paxman, L. Mithen, S. Scott, T. Cunningham
Fremantle: K. Bowers, M. Sergeant, M. Strom, H. Miller, S. Cain

Picture credit: Graham Denholm/Getty Images via AFL Photos

AFL Women’s Saturday wrap: Dogs salute for four consecutive wins

FIVE consecutive goals to the Western Bulldogs after quarter time has seen them claim a fourth straight win in front of home fans at Whitten Oval. The Dogs proved too clinical up front for GWS GIANTS, with Bonnie Toogood and Isabel Huntington dominating the GIANTS’ defence – particularly in the second term with two goals apiece – to prove too much in Indigenous Round, 7.5 (47) to 3.4 (22).

The first term was an even tussle, with Toogood getting the opening goal seven minutes into the match. A Rebecca Privitelli major five minutes later put the GIANTS in front for the first and only time in the match, with a late behind to Ellie Blackburn levelling the scores at quarter time for both sides to be 1.2 (8).

The second term is where the Dogs lit it up, booting four straight goals to storm to a 24-point lead at half-time. Not conceding a single score, the Bulldogs witnessed their two big key forwards take control, with Huntington snagging two majors, and then it was Toogood’s turn, matching it with two of her own. Despite the GIANTS best efforts, they were unable to match their athleticism and power.

Blackburn was leading her side at half-time with 10 touches alongside Kirsty Lamb, while Alyce Parker was having another standout performance with 11 disposals to the main break. Rebecca Beeson (10 disposals), Naomi Ferres (eight), Alicia Eva (eight) and Cora Staunton (eight) were the other prime ball-winners in the match.

With the game firmly in the Bulldogs’ grip, the home side put through the all-important first major thanks to a brilliant piercing kick from Jess Fitzgerald to Kirsten McLeod. Luckily for the GIANTS, Britt Tully was able to respond, but then an unlucky bounce in the goalsquare off a Taylah Davies intercept at half-forward prevented the GIANTS from nailing back-to-back goals.

Instead it was Huntington who slotted her third major to match Toogood, while a towering mark from Erin McKinnon in the goalsquare helped the visitors maintain some hope heading into the break, cutting the deficit by one back to 23 points. Lamb and Beeson had strong third terms to end the quarter with 17 disposals each with Parker next on 14.

The final term was a tight tussle to start, as the Bulldogs peppered the goals with a couple of behinds. Just when it looked like the game would slowly run to its conclusion, Fitzgerald put in another highlight effort with a couple of bounces running towards inside 50. While the GIANTS manage to spoil a potential mark and clear, it was one highlight in an otherwise tight quarter.

The Western Bulldogs’ win did not come without a cost though, with a number of injuries in the final term, including captain Blackburn, but the more serious one was a knee injury to Deanna Berry who had to be helped from the field. Blackburn returned to the field and almost immediately kicked a goal in the final term, but was rushed through by Tarni Evans on the line.

WESTERN BULLDOGS 1.2 | 5.2 | 7.2 | 7.5 (47)
GWS GIANTS 1.2 | 1.2 | 3.3 | 3.4 (22)

GOALS:

Western Bulldogs: B. Toogood 3, I. Huntington 3, K. McLeod
GWS GIANTS: R. Privitelli, B. Tully, E. McKinnon

DC BEST:

Western Bulldogs: I. Huntington, B. Toogood, K. Lamb, E. Blackburn, B. Lochland
GWS GIANTS: A. Parker, R. Beeson, A. Eva, B. Tully, G. Garnett

Image Credit: Will Russell/AFL Photos

LIONS RAID FREMANTLE TO SNAP DOCKERS’ RECORD RUN

Fremantle’s record 11-game winning run has come to an end at the hands of Brisbane, as the Lions raided the Fremantle Oval fortress and took home an 11-point victory. In a low-scoring armwrestle which saw pressure and structure shine, the visitors established themselves as a bonafide premiership contender by restricting Freo to just seven behinds in the first three terms, before holding on in the clutch to win 3.7 (25) to 1.8 (14).

It took a brilliant feat from Brisbane forward Courtney Hodder to open the major scoring, as she bent home a classy checkside finish late in term one to give Brisbane the ascendancy. The disciplined Lions then structured up and absorbed plenty of pressure to deny Fremantle in the second term, before Orla O’Dwyer soccered home in the third to help set up her side’s defining two-goal buffer. It came on the back of some immense Brisbane pressure, which saw no easy outs from its forward 50.

Late drama ensued in the run home as Brisbane’s lead was threatened in the final two minutes. Fremantle had previous opportunities to cut the margin, but it was left to Roxy Roux to get the Dockers back to within a goal as she cooly sunk a set shot with 90 seconds left. Somehow, Fremantle had the opportunity to strike. The game was put to bed shortly after though, as the Lions won an all-important centre clearance and Ally Anderson finished with class to seal her side’s victory.

Brisbane’s Emily Bates led all comers with 26 disposals in a best afield performance, while the likes of Anderson and O’Dwyer proved productive moving forward and both hit the scoreboard. Hodder and Greta Bodey were others in that boat with terrific run and a bit of spark, as Kate Lutkins and Shannon Campbell were among the Lions’ key figures in the defensive setup.

Kiara Bowers continued her outstanding form in purple to record 24 touches and eight tackles in a trying effort, with the experience and class of Kara Antonio also proving important. Laura Pugh and Hayley Miller were others to contribute well for the Dockers in their first loss at Fremantle Oval since 2017.

The newly minted Round 6 fixture sees Brisbane travel again to face GWS at Manuka Oval, while Fremantle will look to reload and rebound with a second Western Derby for the season, taking on West Coast at Optus Stadium.

FREMANTLE 0.2 | 0.7 | 0.7 | 1.8 (14)
BRISBANE 1.1 | 1.2 | 2.7 | 3.7 (25)

GOALS:

Fremantle: R. Roux
Brisbane: C. Hodder, O. O’Dwyer, A. Anderson

DC BEST:

Fremantle: K. Bowers, K. Antonio, L. Pugh, H. Miller, R. Roux
Brisbane: E. Bates, A. Anderson, G. Bodey, K. Lutkins, O. O’Dwyer

Image Credit: Steve Bell/Getty Images via AFL Photos

ROOS SHAKE OFF BLUES TO BOUNCE BACK ONTO WINNERS LIST

North Melbourne returned to the winners list on Saturday night, kicking clear of Carlton to finish 22-point victors at UTAS Stadium. After two-straight losses, the Roos rebounded in style with seven goals to Carlton’s three during the second half, seeing them reclaim the lead and a momentary spot in the top six with the 9.5 (59) to 6.1 (37) result.

North skipped away to a two-goal lead thanks to snaps from Kate Gillespie-Jones and Jasmine Garner within the first three minutes, but the Blues charged back into the game in term two via Darcy Vescio. The dynamic forward booted two goals and assisted another to inspire her side to a half time lead, which would carry on late into the third stanza.

Daisy Bateman slotted a set shot chance to put the Kangaroos back in front, but Daria Bannister‘s one-on-two mark deep inside 50 proved the pivotal moment. The grab may have initially been handled by Blues defender Mua Laloifi, but that mattered little as Bannister converted and gave her side an 11-point lead at the final break.

Despite the best efforts of first year Blue Mimi Hill, who twice cut the margin in the final term, Carlton fell short of North Melbourne’s firepower and could not resist it for long enough. The absence of league best and fairest, Maddy Prespakis through suspension played an inevitable role in the Blues’ fortunes, with the Roos’ midfield strong as ever.

Garner led North’s fab four ball winners with 32 and a goal, as the quartet all managed to gather over 23 disposals. Skipper Emma Kearney, Jenna Bruton, and Ash Riddell were the other members of that group, which has overpowered many an opposition midfield. Bateman and Sophie Abbatangelo both finished on two goals, while Jess Duffin made her long-awaited return to the Roos’ defence.

Nicola Stevens was outstanding for Carlton, leading the way with 19 touches and a goal up forward. The two-goal bursts of Vescio and Hill very nearly proved game-changing, while Jess Hosking was typically reliable and Laloifi helped hold up the defence in another balanced display. Young tall Serena Gibbs had four touches and two marks in her senior debut.

North Melbourne’s fight to establish a spot within the top six continues with a clash against Richmond at Punt Road Oval in Round 6, while Carlton will fancy a bounce-back win of its own when it hosts Geelong at Princes Park next time out.

GOALS:

North Melbourne: S. Abbatangelo 2, D. Bateman 2, K. Gillespie-Jones, J. Garner, D. Bannister, G. Campbell, M. King
Carlton: D. Vescio 2, M. Hill 2, L. Brazzale, N. Stevens

DC BEST:

North Melbourne: J. Garner, E. Kearney, J. Bruton, A. Riddell, S. Abbatangelo
Carlton: N. Stevens, M. Hill, D. Vescio, J. Hosking, M. Laloifi

Peel Thunders to second spot and first finals appearance

PEEL Thunder has powered to their first finals series in the West Australian Football League (WAFL) Women’s competition, and left Claremont as the collateral damage, winning by nine points in a tight tussle on the weekend. Sitting in fifth coming into the round, but four points and percentage essentially separating second from fifth in various ways, all the teams were capable to making finals with only one to fall out. In this case, it was Peel’s 5.5 (35) to 3.8 (26) win over the then third placed Tigers to book a spot in the post-season series.

Claremont had the better start of the sides, using the wind to advantage and dominating time in forward half. By the first break, the Tigers would have six scoring shots to none on the scoreboard, but led by just 11 points, not capitalising on their chances as best they could. Both teams were missing some key players for the match, but it was Mhicca Carter who in the ninth minute of the term, got her side on the board from a free kick, playing on and snapping around her body to catch the Thunder defence off guard. It had capped off a strong first half of the term that up until that point, had not eventuated on the scoreboard.

Ella Smith was willing her team on multiple occasions, with Sasha Goranova and Brooke Whyte combining on a number of opportunities for the Tigers whilst the Thunder defence has to be given credit for holding up under heat. Tanisha Anderson was superb, particularly in the opening minutes playing off half-back, while Bella Mann on debut was lively, and the likes of Cassie Davidson and Ebony Dowson were doing well deep in defence. The Thunder were fortunate that a number of chances went begging including a late loose ball which saw the athletic Amy Franklin run onto the ball but it just escape her grasp and roll through for a behind much to the relief of Peel defender, Whitney Benson.

Turning their game around, the Thunder began to build their way back into the contest which started with a terrific Shannon Whale spoil at half-back on Whyte in opening minute. Anderson and Jade Briggs were working well in transition between defence to attack, while Laura Pugh was holding up at half-back for Claremont. On more than a number of occasions Sarah Garstone saved the day on the last line, walking it across the goalline off a tricky bounce. Soon Hannah Church got involved with a couple of shots for the Thunder missing a chance from the boundary line, but then working hard to find space 30m out on a better angle off a Tigers turnover to mark and goal at the 12-minute mark.

With Peel now on the board, it was not long before they added another with a free kick to Kira Phillips inside 50, and Kate Bartlett took the chance to play on and fire on the run to extend the lead to five points on the edge of half-time. The work of Whale, Bartlett and Ella Roberts was swinging the momentum in the home team’s favour, and while Emily Bennett and Krstel Petrevski were impressing through the midfield, it was the Thunder who were on top at the main break.

It was evident from early in the third that Peel had already adapted to kicking against the wind better in this quarter compared to the first term, and attacked from the outset. They had an early chance after an inside 50 from Chloe Wrigley to set up Krystal Carter, though the shot drifted. It turned out to be a blessing in disguise however, as Greta McKinley was paid a free kick on the line and with Bartlett hanging a couple of metres around, the AFL Women’s experienced forward knew what to do with the quick handball and snap around her body for her second.

Claremont was defending bravely, and then went on the attack, with Goranova running down Anderson at half-forward to pile on the pressure inside 50. Peel managed to clear the danger zone, but only as far as Tessa Doumanis who spotted a loose Petrevski all alone 40m straight in front. The Melbourne AFL Women’s listed player made no mistake in the eighth minute mark, kicking Claremont’s first goal since the opening term. Smith almost had a couple of chances herself close to goal after a rare Franklin set shot fell short, but a desperate Davidson rugby-tried it across the line for a rushed behind.

Peel took the momentum from the defensive efforts to again rush the ball forward and Krystal Carter had another chance from 40m which again fell short, but brought Roberts into the game with enough air to allow the talented forward to leap and pull down a grab. She made no mistake from 15 metres out and goaled for a 10-point lead. It could have been cut to less than a kick in the final moments of the term, but once again Anderson was there to save the day and cleared to safety.

Holding a handy buffer at the break it was Peel’s game to lose. The Thunder just needed to hold on for another 20 minutes and they would be through to their first ever finals series. Chewing 12 minutes of the clock by both teams defences standing up, the Thunder were gaining more confident by the minute. They just needed to create contest after contest and ensure the Tigers could not get their running game going. Whale provided another goal-saving moment when Mhicca Carter bit off a touch too much by fending off and sidestepping a number of Peel players before trying to do the same with Whale who stood her ground and won the free at half-back. It was one of those game-changing moments that summarised Peel’s efforts throughout the season.

Then despite the best efforts of Smith and Garstone in Claremont’s back 50, it was Phillips who fittingly drove the final nail in the coffin with a set shot goal in the 13th minute. Now the Tigers needed three goals in seven minutes, more than double their score to that point. They did break through with a clever snap for Mhicca Carter’s second of the day with two minutes remaining, but ultimately barring a miracle, their time had run out. Roberts had a massive run-down tackle in the final 30 seconds and when Whale charged off half-back to clear it for the Thunder it was fitting that Peel had charged into its first finals series.

PEEL THUNDER 0.0 | 2.5 | 4.5 | 5.5 (35)
CLAREMONT 1.5 | 1.6 | 2.7 | 3.8 (26)

GOALS:

Peel: K. Bartlett 2, H. Church, E. Roberts, K. Phillips.
Claremont: M. Carter 2, K. Petrevski.

ADC BEST:

Peel: S. Whale, T. Anderson, K. Bartlett, H. Church, E. Roberts
Claremont: S. Goranova, K. Petrevski, E. Smith, M. Carter, E. Bennett

In other matches, South Fremantle played out of its skin against top of the table Subiaco in what was by far its most impressive performance to date. While the Bulldogs ended the season winless, they showed great signs against the minor premiers, going down by just 14 points in the final round. They conceded just one goal in the second half whilst booting three themselves, though the Lions still got the job done, 6.11 (47) to 5.3 (33). Subiaco coach Amy Lavell made a surprise return from retirement to boot three goals in the win, with Tiah Haynes, Aimee Schmidt and Maggie Maclachlan kicking the other majors. Tarnica Golisano and Holly Hyder were nominated as the Lions best, whilst the Bulldogs had five individual goalkickers. Tahlia McRoberts, Lauren Vecchio and Kiara Templeton all impressed in the losing side, while Fremantle ruck Mim Strom got a game in before the end of the season.

In the crucial season-on-the-line clash, reigning premiers East Fremantle kept their 2020 hopes alive with the Sharks getting the job done in a three-point thriller over Swan Districts. Ironically the result meant the teams go at it next week again in a do-or-die semi-final, and the Sharks will hope to start better (goalless in the first half), whilst the Swans will hope to finish better (one goal after quarter time). Alex Williams, Katelyn Catalano and Gabby O’Sullivan all booted majors for the Sharks, as Ruby Schleicher and Maddy Ross stepped up to be named among the best. For the Swans, it was Ashley Sharp, Brianna Hyde and Mikayla Morrison who converted opportunities in front of goal, while Eliza Gelmi and Aimee Ralph were nominated as Swan Districts’ best.

WAFL Women’s weekend wrap: Sharks hold on in one-point thriller

EAST Fremantle has picked up a win in the nick of time, downing Claremont by a point in a hotly contested game yesterday to get the Sharks season back on track. The 3.6 (24) to 3.5 (23) win snapped a three-game losing streak since East Fremantle’s opening round thumping of newcomers, South Fremantle. While there were some nervous moments yesterday, the experience of the Sharks shone through in crucial moments and the reining premiers got the job done by the barest of margins.

The opening term – like most of the game – was owned by the respective half-back lines. While both teams had a number of chances with East Fremantle early, and then Claremont late in the term, no one could strike a major. The experience of Laura Pugh (Claremont) and Philipa Seth (East Fremantle) for their respective sides were rocks in defence, while Paisley Prentice saved a goal against two opponents deep in East Fremantle’s defensive 50 with a timely spoil. at quarter time, the scores read two behinds apiece.

For most of the second term it genuinely looked like the sides might go into half-time without a goal on the board. Seth and Alex Williams were trying to create moves in transition out of defence, while Ruby Schleicher was also prominent with her booming kick from the back 50. Amy Franklin had a chance for Claremont herself taking a couple of bounces in open space, but a cruel second bounce saw the chance go begging. Similarly, Bella Lewis was doing everything she could to break up the stalemate with some crucial line-breaking runs, but just bit off too much at times, run down, but the effort was there.

It took until the 17th minute of the term for a fortunate kick from Kahra Sprylan to land in the lap of Stephanie Sparke who had positioned herself in front and read the ball drop better than anyone else. After missing what could only be described as a gimme in the first term, Sparke made sure lightning did not strike twice and she put through the game’s only major of the first half. The Sharks led by seven points at the half after not allowing the Tigers to score, but were also two players down with Madeline Ross (concussion from a goal-saving tackle in the first term) and Katrina Tinson (nose) ruled out of the game.

Bodies were flying everywhere in the second half as the game opened up a little more, but neither side would concede easily. Brooke Hongell took an unbelievable mark at half-back that left her worse for wear but able to return. This time spectators did not have to wait long for a major with Sarah Garstone getting busy off half-back to bomb it forward and then Bella Lewis‘ ability to hit the contest at speed paid off with a nice placed kick over the top for Mhicca Carter to run into the goalsquare and bomb it home four and a half minutes into the half.

Both sides remained vigilant in their defensive efforts, and it took until the final few minutes for the Sharks to get a response. Chloe Reilly – who earlier had come off due to the blood rule in the first term – put it to the goalsquare where the ball came off Rosie Walsh‘s hands for Sprylan to bounce at the drop zone with a perfectly timed snap from 15m out to hand the Sharks back the lead. The goal impressed Mother Nature enough she brought down heavy rain to end the term.

It seemed as though the Sharks had done enough to lead at the final break, but some late surges by the Tigers resulted in a last-minute set shot to young gun Amy Franklin who won a free kick and nailed the goal for a narrow one-point advantage. The final term would be on for young and old as the experienced East Fremantle battled with the youth of Claremont, though both sides had their fair share of AFL Women’s talent on the day. The Sharks had early chances through Sprylan and Gabby O’Sullivan (twice) who both just missed, though the Sharks had clawed into the lead.

Claremont did not clear the defensive 50 until nine minutes into the term, and while there had been no damage done yet, that was soon to occur. A rushed kick under pressure from the Sharks at half-back went out of bounds, and on the counter attack the Sharks went deep inside 50 for Sprylan to run onto it and goal from the goalsquare and extend the lead out to a game-high eight points. Both sides were cracking in, and while the work of Schleicher and Williams looked to be enough, it would not be the final twist of the game. Claremont almost had a goal in the 14th minute, when Krstel Petrevski sidestepped and opponent and got a kick rolling towards goal only for Larissa Versaci to drag it across the line for a rushed behind and seven-point deficit.

Having missed a golden opportunity earlier through Brooke Whyte on the back of terrific running from Jess Low at half-forward to spoil a contest then run onto it and pass it perfectly for the forward, it looked like the Tigers might have missed their opportunity. But a costly 50m penalty for overrunning the mark at half-forward – with the Sharks defender hearing play on rather than the hurry up – brought Marley Simmons to within 20m out. Her set shot looked far from convincing, but it did all it needed to which was sail through the big sticks.

Claremont would continue attacking in the final few minutes with the Tigers getting the ball to half-forward, but the aggressive run of Williams to win a one-on-one contest and bomb it long to the Sharks half-forward line to be locked up, was enough to have the siren sound and East Fremantle enjoy the narrowest of wins, 3.6 (24) to 3.5 (23).

EAST FREMANTLE 0.2 | 1.3 | 2.3 | 3.6 (24)
CLAREMONT 0.2 | 0.2 | 2.4 | 3.5 (23)

GOALS:

East: K. Sprylan 2, S. Sparke.
Claremont: M. Carter, A. Franklin, M. Simmons.

ADC BEST:

East: P. Seth, G. O’Sullivan, A. Williams, K. Sprylan, R. Schleicher
Claremont: G. Pugh, B. Lewis, M. Simmons, J. Low, S. Garstone

In other WAFL Women’s results, Subiaco came from behind at three quarter time to post a narrow nine-point victory over Peel Thunder in a top of the table clash. The Lions kicked the final two goals of the game in the last term after trailing by five points at the break to win, 6.5 (41) to 5.2 (32). Aimee Schmidt booted two goals for the victors, while Jade Briggs did the same for the Thunder.

Another multiple goalkicker on the weekend was South Fremantle’s Poppy Stockwell who helped her side to its most competitive effort of the season, going down to Swan Districts by seven goals. Only trailing by eight points at quarter time and only lost the third term by two points, the Bulldogs have looked to have found their groove, though they were unable to take down Swan Districts that strung back-to-back wins together with an 8.8 (56) to 3.3 (14) victory. Fiona Boucher was the dominant force up forward for the Swans with three majors.

WAFL WOMEN’S ROUND 5 RESULTS:

Peel Thunder 5.2 (32) defeated by Subiaco 6.5 (41)
South Fremantle 2.2 (14) defeated by Swan Districts 8.8 (56)
East Fremantle 3.6 (24) defeated Claremont 3.5 (23)

2020 AFLW weekend wrap: Round 6 – GIANTS, Blues consolidate finals chances

GWS and Carlton notched huge wins against fellow AFL Women’s finals hopefuls to consolidate their own finals chances in Round 6 of the competition, with reigning premier Adelaide dealt a blow in its premiership defence. Meanwhile, both conference leaders enjoyed wins to continue on their road to the post-season, Collingwood remained in the hunt, while expansion sides Gold Coast and St Kilda both also won out convincingly. In our Match of the Round, Carlton overcame Melbourne in a crucial win in the Top End.

GEELONG 2.1 | 3.2 | 3.2 | 3.2 (20)
NORTH MELBOURNE 0.2 | 2.3 | 6.4 | 10.6 (66)

Peter Williams

North Melbourne has overcome a slow start to run over the top of Geelong in the Friday night fixture at GMHBA Stadium. As the only game allowing fans into the venue for the weekend amid growing fears with the Coronavirus, the Cats put on a show early, booting the only two goals of the first term through Phoebe McWilliams and All-Australian defender, Meg McDonald. By the time Julia Crockett-Grills had converted the Cats’ third major just 62 seconds into the second term, the home team led 3.1 to 0.2 and an upset was brewing. Little did the fans that did turn up know, the visiting team was about to click into gear. While Olivia Purcell again attacked the scoreboard for a behind in the fourth minute, that would turn out to be the last score of the game for the Cats, as the Roos piled on 10.4 to 0.0 over the next hour to completely run away with the match and win by 46 points. Jasmine Garner booted three goals and Brittany Gibson two, with the premiership favourites taking a while, but finally finding their groove in the 10.6 (66) to 3.2 (20) triumph on the road.

Garner finished with 18 disposals, six marks, six tackles and five inside 50s to go with her three goals, while Gibson made the most of her four touches, booting two goals from two marks. In terms of disposals, Ash Riddell continued her fine form with a match-high 23, as well as five marks, three inside 50s and seven tackles. Former Most Valuable Player (MVP) winner, Emma Kearney was prominent again thanks to 22 disposals, six marks, three tackles, six inside 50s and five rebounds. Jenna Bruton (21 disposals, seven tackles and three inside 50s) and Ellie Gavalas (15 disposals, two marks, four tackles and four inside 50s) were busy, while Mia King booted her first AFL Women’s career goal to go with her 12 touches and seven tackles.

For the Cats, Purcell amassed 18 disposals, five tackles and two inside 50s, McDonald had the 14 touches, five marks, three rebounds and a goal, while Amy McDonald had 13 disposals, two marks and four tackles. Also amongst the more prominent ball winners were Crockett-Grills (12 disposals, three marks and five tackles), Danielle Higgins (12 touches, three marks and four tackles) and Madeline Keryk (12 disposals, two marks, three tackles and three rebounds). Unfortunately for the Cats, the loss was further soured by a serious knee injury to Nina Morrison with fears that she had done a second anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) on the same right leg. The result meant the Roos stretched their lead out to six points a the top of Conference A, with Geelong’s finals hopes coping a knock to sit four points, percentage and a game behind the top three sides.

GOALS:

Geelong: J. Crockett-Grills, P. McWilliams, M. McDonald.
North Melbourne: J. Garner 3, B. Gibson 2, D. Bateman, S. Abbatangelo, K. Gillespie-Jones, E. King, M. King.

BEST:

Geelong: O. Purcell, J. Crockett-Grills, M. McDonald, R. Cranston, R. Garing
North Melbourne: J. Garner, A. Riddell, E. Kearney, J. Bruton, M. King

BRISBANE LIONS 0.1 | 0.1 | 2.2 | 2.2 (14)
COLLINGWOOD 2.4 | 3.7 | 3.10 | 5.13 (43)

Ryan Dundas

Although Coronavirus halted the fans, Collingwood could not be stopped as they conquered the Brisbane Lions. The last time these two sides met saw the Magpies deny Brisbane finals football and there was a sense of déjà vu for Craig Starcevich’s side as Collingwood cemented early pressure. The Pies were able to control the contested possessions, allowing their side to take an early 15-point lead in the opening term. Led by Brittany Bonnici, a bunch of Magpies were instrumental in providing inside 50s for Collingwood, while seconding to stifle the Lions’ defence. Bonnici was threatening around the contest, offering the Pies options all over the ground. Collingwood’s dictating was not stopped as they kept Brisbane scoreless in the second term.

Down by 24 points at half-time, Brisbane came out strong in the second half and rallied momentum to only trail at the final break by 14. However, the damage was already done as Collingwood controlled the final term to win 5.13 (43) to 2.2 (14). Two consecutive wins for the Magpies ensure they are still in the hunt for a finals berth in the AFLW competition. Conversely, Brisbane’s loss opens the door now for the Gold Coast Suns to obtain the final spot in Conference A.

Bonnici was outstanding in the midfield for Collingwood, recording 26 disposals, three marks and three tackles. Undoubtedly, the best player on the ground, her stocks continue to rise in the AFLW. Sarah D’Arcy‘s willingness to find opportunities in the forward line was also one of Collingwood’s vital strengths against Brisbane. Although 1.4 is not her peak, her best work came off the ball, creating openings for her teammates. Similarly, on the defensive end, Steph Chiocci’s impact against Brisbane influenced the momentum away from the Lions with 18 disposals, six marks and four tackles. For the Brisbane Lions, Rheanne Lugg (18 disposals and eight marks) stepped up in a side that was outplayed by the Collingwood Magpies. Along with her, Sophie Conway in the second half was one of the best players on the ground with 11 disposals and two marks.

GOALS:

Brisbane: D. Davidson, C. Svarc
Collingwood: S. Rowe, S. D’Arcy, C. Molloy, S. Alexander, J. Membrey

ADC BEST:

Brisbane: D. Davidson, R. Lugg, S. Conway, C. Svarc
Collingwood:
S. D’Arcy, B. Bonnici, B. Davey, S. Chiocci, C. Molloy, J. Lambert

ST KILDA 2.1 | 2.1 | 4.5 | 6.6 (42)
RICHMOND 0.0 | 0.2 | 0.2 | 0.3 (3)

Tom Cheesman

“The G-Train” Caitlin Greiser led St Kilda to a dominant 39-point victory over the struggling Richmond at RSEA Park on Saturday. Greiser was unstoppable up forward while Richmond were held to just three points for the match, the lowest score ever recorded in AFLW. It has been a disappointing debut AFLW season for the Tigers, who are yet to record their first win and sit with a lowly percentage of 35.7. St Kilda dominated all the key stats including disposals (206-144), clearances (32-15), contested possessions (106-81) and inside 50s (29-19).

Greiser got the Saints off to a dream start, earning a free kick deep in the forward 50 and kicking her side’s first major. Round 5 Rising Star nominee Olivia Vesely was clean at the clearances early, while Clara Fitzpatrick took some nice intercept marks in defence. Greiser’s second gave the Saints a two-goal lead at the first break. Both teams went goalless in the second term, as Richmond did well to lock it in their forward 50 but could not impact the scoreboard. Sabrina Frederick earned two set shots on goal but failed to convert. With fans locked out due to the coronavirus, both sides’ benches made as much noise as possible to help support their sides.

In the third, the Saints got back to applying strong forward pressure while Richmond struggled to transition the ball past the centre of the ground. Greiser kicked her third before Kate Shierlaw got on the end of some great run and carry from Georgia Patrikios to put through their fourth. St Kilda’s dominance at the contest continued in the last as they ran away to a comfortable victory. Greiser was a clear best on ground with three goals, three marks and four tackles. Meanwhile, Rosie Dillon (17 disposals, seven tackles) and Vesely (16 disposals, five tackles) were very impactful at the clearances. For Richmond, Monique Conti was far and away their strongest performer with 22 disposals, four marks and four tackles.

GOALS:

St Kilda: C. Greiser 3, D. Guttridge, K. Shierlaw, N. Xenos
Richmond: Nil

ADC BEST:

St Kilda: C. Greiser, R. Dillon, N. Xenos, C. Fitzpatrick, O. Vesely
Richmond: M. Conti, G. Campbell, S. Frederick

WESTERN BULLDOGS 2.0 | 4.1 | 7.3 | 8.3 (51)
FREMANTLE 1.2 | 4.3 | 6.5 | 10.6 (66)

Lachie Abbott

Fremantle remain undefeated after edging out the Western Bulldogs by 15 points in a high scoring contest at Whitten Oval. The Dockers trailed by four points at three-quarter-time, but rallied to kick four goals, while the Bulldogs could only manage one in the final term.

Due to the coronavirus outbreak, the Bulldogs were unable to call upon the support of their home fans to get them off to a flying start, as organisers have closed all AFLW matches from crowds. Nevertheless, the Dogs got off to a strong start with a linking chain of handballs through the centre corridor, with the run of Katy Heron eventually allowing Ellie Blackburn to kick the opening goal of the match.

Hannah Munyard added a second major on the back of a lovely checkside pass from Kirsten McLeod and it was clear the Dogs were up for the fight. However, the Dockers soon showed why they are undefeated and hit back through a strong Kara Antonio mark and set shot, set up by the run of Gemma Houghton from the wing. The Dogs were potent using handballs to drive attacks off half-back through the centre of the ground, whereas the Dockers preferred to keep the ball out of the corridor and utilised their foot skills along the boundary line.

Blackburn began the second term as she finished the first, receiving a handball and firing home from 40 metres to add the much needed classy tough to the Dogs play. The Bulldogs’ defence struggled at times to escape the pressure of Fremantle’s forwards, resulting in several opportunities for the potent Dockers attack, including one set shot for Hayley Miller to cut the margin to four points.

Also up forward for the Dockers, Ashley Sharp was a thorn in the side of the Bulldogs defence for the entirety of the game, scoring multiple opportunistic goals. Laura Pugh added another for the Dockers just before the break after a penetrating inside 50 from Antonio spilled her way. Heading into the main interval, it was the Dockers who had recovered to lead by four points and look ready to break the game open in the second half.

Yet once the second stanza got underway, it was the Dogs who broke the game open. Unfortunately for Katie-Jayne Grieve, she was completely to blame for the first goal of the Dogs’ third-quarter rally, giving away a free kick and two 50-metre penalties to allow an easy goal for the dominant Aisling McCarthy.

Later in the term, McLeod, despite only having six touches for the day, was extremely effective when she got the ball in her hands. The small forward snapped her second major midway through the term to extend the lead back to 10 points with a classy finish. Deanna Berry then added another and suddenly, it looked like the one-win Bulldogs may run away with the match. However, the Dockers roared back into life to kick the last two goals of the quarter through a dribbling Mia-Rae Clifford finish and a strong contested mark from Sharp, on the back of outstanding forward pressure.

With it all to play for at the start of the final term, Ebony Antonio stood up when she was needed most, slotting a classy goal in the early stages of the quarter. Antonio feigned to give off the handball- selling two defenders- before cutting to her right and finishing with poise on the run. Antonio continued to play an inspired final quarter, laying crunching tackles and later drifting back behind the play and taking some important contested marks.

Danielle Marshall responded for the Dogs after almost ruining a golden goal-scoring opportunity by kicking into Kiara Bowers on the mark. Luckily for Marshall, the ricochet fell back into her arms and the American managed to finish from a tight angle. But that was as good as it got for the Bulldogs, and soon after a strong mark from Clifford set up her second. Almost two minutes later, a strong contest from Grieve in the goal square allowed Kate Flood to poke home from close range and suddenly the Dockers had a two goal cushion.

With little time left, the Bulldogs pressed up the field in search of a much needed second major of the term. However, a burst forward on the wing from Houghton made use of the now vacant space in behind the Dogs defence. Sharp knocked Houghton’s kick towards goal and used blistering speed to seal the match. The Dockers defended well in the closing moments to not allow the Bulldogs any clean possession and ultimately claimed their sixth win of the season in a thrilling encounter.

GOALS:

Western Bulldogs: K. McLeod 2, E. Blackburn 2, H. Munyard, D. Marshall, A. McCarthy, D. Berry.
Fremantle: A. Sharp 3, M. Clifford 2, L. Pugh, K. Flood, E. Antonio, K. Antonio, H. Miller.

BEST:

Western Bulldogs: E. Blackburn, A. McCarthy, G. Newton, I. Huntington, H. Munyard, K. McLeod
Fremantle: E. Antonio, K. Bowers, K. Antonio, A. Sharp, H. Miller, M. Clifford

ADELAIDE 2.1 | 2.1 | 2.3 | 3.3 (21)
GWS GIANTS 1.1 | 2.2 | 3.2 | 4.2 (26)

Michael Alvaro

GWS dealt a crushing blow to Adelaide’s premiership defence on Sunday, knocking over the reigning premiers by five points in a thriller at Hisense Stadium. The GIANTS came up clutch in the low-scoring contest, quickly rectifying an early deficit and holding off the Crows’ last-ditch effort to run out 4.2 (26) to 3.3 (21) victors. Not only does the win mean GWS is in the box seat to secure a finals berth, but it was also the GIANTS’ first-ever AFLW victory over Adelaide.

Fresh off a match winning four-goal haul against Richmond, Cora Staunton picked up right from where she left off in Round 5 by floating through the game’s opening goal. But the Crows would work to even the ledger and sneak ahead late in the first term, with the impact of a returning Erin Phillips proving vital. The two-time AFLW best and fairest winner had a hand in both of her side’s goals for the term; hitting Courtney Gum lace out on the lead, and later belting a stoppage clearance towards the goalsquare to be pounced on by Marijana Rajcic and give the home side ascendancy.

Both sides’ maturity shone through as the tackling pressure and physicality of the contest lifted in response to the tightness of the scoreboard, and it showed with only two goals notched for the entire second and third quarters. They both belonged to the GIANTS, who put their noses in front as Jodie Hicks finished well on the end of a slick chain inside forward 50, and extended their lead via a 50-metre penalty to Brittany Tully in the following term. The GIANTS’ ball movement looked to have lifted, remaining composed in the face of some fierce pressure while inflicting some serious tackling of their own.

The last term began much like the first, with Staunton again earning a free kick and for the second time, wobbling home a six-pointer to lift her side. Holding a nine-point lead early in the fourth quarter, GWS ensured it would stay on top with much of the same lockdown defensive work. Adelaide’s last roll of the dice came 90 seconds from the final siren as Gum marked strongly close to goal and duly converted the set shot. But the Crows’ attempts to blow down the door came up short as the GIANTS’ defence proved just that, helping them claim a second-consecutive victory.

Alyce Parker was instrumental in GWS’ success, collecting a mammoth 30 disposals and seven marks against some seasoned opponents in midfield. Rebecca Beeson and Tait Mackrill each had 20 touches, while Staunton (12 disposals, six marks, 2.1) and Elle Bennetts (16 disposals, three marks) were terrific as the GIANTS’s bookends. For Adelaide, the midfield combination of Anne Hatchard and Ebony Marinoff again proved potent as the pair combined for 41 disposals and 17 tackles, with the pacy Justine Mules also pitching in on the tackling front. The supporting hand of Erin Phillips was also impactful early on, as the champion finished with 13 disposals and three tackles in just her second game for the season.

Sitting pretty at 4-2 and in second place among the Conference A contenders, the GIANTS are now primed for finals with games against the lower-ranked Geelong and Western Bulldogs to come. On the other hand, Adelaide faces a fight to stay alive in season 2020, sixth in Conference A but with fixtures awaiting against expansion sides, Gold Coast and Richmond.

GOALS:

Adelaide: C. Gum 2, M. Rajcic
GWS: C. Staunton 2, J. Hicks, B. Tully

ADC BEST:

Adelaide: A. Hatchard, E. Marinoff, E. Phillips, C. Gum, C. Biddell, A. Foley
GWS: A. Parker, R. Beeson, T. Mackrill, B. Tully, E. Bennetts, C. Staunton

WEST COAST EAGLES 0.0 | 0.1 | 0.2 | 1.2 (8)
GOLD COAST SUNS 1.2 | 2.2 | 4.3 | 5.3 (33)

Taylah Melki

It was a convincing performance by the Suns who had control from the get go holding the Eagles goalless for the first three quarters before finally slotting one in the last term. West Coast simply could not generate any forward ball movement mainly in part to Gold Coasts efficiency with ball in hand and ability to shut down options across the ground. Despite having more inside 50s (29-26) the Eagles could not buy a goal showing just how strong the Suns defence was, consistently standing up under pressure and working the ball out of danger areas. Gold Coast pretty much cruised to victory never really challenged on the scoreboard by their opposition and while they lost the possession count and marks tally the Suns somehow managed to assert themselves on the game and claim a 25-point win.

The inaugural captain once again led from the front bullying her way through the packs and applying a wealth of physical pressure with six tackles. Dana Hooker was head and shoulders above the rest racking up 31 touches with 22 of them kicks showcasing her ability to find a target and hit them lace out while also taking six marks in what was a complete performance from the highly talented mid. Imahra Cameron also plied her trade across the ground with 20 disposals while Belinda Smith was constantly involved in the contest with her 18 possessions, three tackles and four marks. Although Hayley Bullas did not win a heap of the footy racking up 10 touches for the game she was the sole goalscorer for the Eagles proving her influence. The reliable Kellie Gibson was up to her usual tricks with 18 disposals while Emma Swanson was not far behind with 16 and five tackles. Despite not being able to post a competitive total the Eagles have plenty of stars that have shown with more time to gel as a side could become a damaging side.

It is fair to say that the ball was relatively evenly shared across the Gold Coast side with 12 players reaching double figures however it was Kate Surman that racked up the most touches of anyone in her squad with 20. Draftee Dee Heslop highlighted her ferocity at the contest multiple times throughout the match with a game high 10 tackles. Fellow youngster Serene Watson also made a lasting impression on the Eagles racking up the touches across the ground with 15 while Jacqui Yorston also inserted herself on the match with nine tackles and 12 disposals. Jamie Stanton, Hannah Dunn and Lauren Aherns managed 16 possessions apiece with the trio creating plenty of excitement with their clever ball use. But when it came to goal kickers, Kalinda Howarth proved to be the go to girl slotting an impressive four goals with two of them coming in the third quarter. Jordann Hickey rounded out the other scorer for the day nailing a major during the second term to help set up the Gold Coast win.

GOALS:

Gold Coast: K. Howarth 4, J. Hickey
West Coast: H. Bullas

BESTS:

Gold Coast: K. Surman, K. Howarth, S. Watson, J. Yorston, J. Stanton
West Coast: D. Hooker, E. Swanson, I. Cameron, B. Smith, K. Gibson

Western Australia's Roxy Roux against Vic Metro at the AFLW U18 Championships

2019/20 AFLW off-season review: Fremantle

FREMANTLE was one of two non-Victorian clubs forced to share the state pool of players this year, with the introduction of West Coast Eagles to the AFL Women’s competition. In doing so, the Dockers lost nine players to their cross-state rivals, with Dana Hooker the most notable of the departures. Elsewhere, Maddy Collier headed to GWS GIANTS and Belinda Smith went to the Bulldogs. They used the free agency to scoop up Mia-Rae Clifford and convince the talented forward to play for her third club, whilst also looking overseas, recruiting Gaelic football duo Kate Flood and Aine Tighe, as well as netballer Lindal Rohde.

Heading into the AFL Women’s Draft, Fremantle was well placed to pick up some serious top-end talent. Roxanne Roux is an incredible talent and will be a franchise player in the future with her high leaping, contested marking and goalscoring ability. Along with Roux, Mim Strom completed her remarkable rise this season to join the club as a developing ruck – though might be thrown into the spotlight given the loss of Parris Laurie and Alicia Janz. Emma O’Driscoll, Sarah Garstone and Bianca Webb are another trio of players who have represented Western Australia at Under 18 level and have plenty of development left in them, while Ann McMahon and Janelle Cuthbertson provide some experience amongst the youth.

OFF-SEASON CHANGES:

IN: Mia-Rae Clifford (Geelong), Kate Flood, Aine Tighe (Gaelic football), Lindal Rohde (netball), Roxanne Roux, Ann McMahon (East Fremantle), Mim Strom, Emma O’Driscoll, Bianca Webb (Swan Districts), Sarah Garstone (Claremont), Janelle Cuthbertson (Perth Angels)
OUT: Dana Hooker, Ashlee Atkins, Melissa Caulfield, Kellie Gibson, Brianna Green, Courtney Guard, Parris Laurie, Cassie Davidson, Alicia Janz (West Coast), Maddy Collier (GWS GIANTS), Belinda Smith (Western Bulldogs), Ebony Dowson, Tayla McAuliffe, Brianna Moyes (delisted)

2020 TEAM LIST:

Ebony Antonio
Kara Antonio (nee Donnellan)
Kiara Bowers
Tayla Bresland
Steph Cain
Mia-Rae Clifford
Janelle Cuthbertson
Sabreena Duffy
Sarah Garstone
Evie Gooch
Katie-Jayne Grieve
Gemma Houghton
Leah Mascall
Ann McMahon
Hayley Miller
Emma O’Driscoll
Gabby O’Sullivan
Laura Pugh
Roxanne Roux
Matilda Sergeant
Philipa Seth
Ashley Sharp
Angelique Stannett
Jasmin Stewart
Mim Strom
Bianca Webb
Alex Williams

Rookies: Kate Flood, Lindal Rohde, Aine Tighe

POTENTIAL 2020 SIDE:

B: Tayla Bresland – Janelle Cuthbertson – Phillipa Seth
HB: Emma O’Driscoll – Stephanie Cain – Evie Gooch
C: Hayley Miller
HF: Sabreena Duffy – Roxanne Roux – Ebony Antonio
F: Ashley Sharp – Gemma Houghton – Mia-Rae Clifford
R: Mim Strom – Kara Antonio – Kiara Bowers
INT: Angela Stannett – Alex Williams –  Gabby O’Sullivan – Leah Mascall – Ann McMahon
EMG: Laura Pugh – Katie-Jayne Grieve – Matilda Sergeant

DEPTH: Sarah Garstone, Jasmin Stewart, Bianca Webb, Kate Flood*, Lindal Rohde*, Aine Tighe*

Fremantle is one of the most difficult clubs to predict a potential 2020 side from given its losses over the off-season. Whilst the forward half remains relatively untouched, the defensive end had some holes and the loss of a couple of rucks made it difficult for the Dockers to replace immediately. They picked up a number of key defenders in the draft, with the experienced Cuthbertson and youthful O’Driscoll potentially lining up in Round 1. Up forward, Roux is likely to be thrown in from the start, as well Strom in the ruck given the losses. McMahon is also expected to make an early debut, while the forward line packs a punch with the inclusion of Clifford.

The toughest area is predicting how the defence will line-up with Tayla Bresland, Phillipa Seth and Evie Gooch all more defensive nullifying players, while Stephanie Cain is the offensive runner. With Justin Cooper at the helm, expect a number of changes to occur for the Dockers as they look to continue building the side for the future. Kiara Bowers was a revelation last season, and will be a tackling machine around the contest once again. The Dockers are probably a year or two away from being a serious contender, but they surprised many in 2019, and with more youth added to the side, could be a dark horse in season 2020.

Team Selection: AFLW – Round 3

AFTER another big round of AFLW there have been a few changes across the board with some clubs still looking to secure their first win of the season. Geelong is set to welcome back a few big names with captain Melissa Hickey set to don the hoops for the first time and Richelle Cranston named in Geelong’s extended squad. Co-captain of the Crows, Chelsea Randall is also set to return to the side after missing last round with hamstring tightness.

The return of star forward Sarah Perkins brought the Crows plenty of joy last round, while Demons star Elise O’Dea dominated across the ground. Collingwood cross coder Ash Brazill also starred and with the Pies still winless will be looking to bring the heat once again to try and get them over the line this weekend. But after struggling the Pies have made a heap of changes with former Diamond, Sharni Layton omitted, while Sophie Alexander is set to return to the side.

GWS youngster Alyce Parker has cemented her spot in the side after another impressive performance, while the ever-reliable Maddy Prespakis has not skipped a beat since pulling on the jumper in round one for the Blues named again in the starting line-up. Carlton will be hoping to expose North Melbourne’s defence with star forward Tayla Harris returning to the side joining goal sneak Darcy Vescio up forward.

North Melbourne will be missing Ash Riddell and Sophie Abbatangelo bringing in both Chloe Haines and Courtney Munn. Other debutants are Breanna Koenen and Fremantle duo Brianna Moyes and Laura Pugh.

NORTH MELBOURNE v. WESTERN BULLDOGS

Round 3- Friday, February, 15, 7:15pm
University of Tasmania Stadium

NORTH MELBOURNE
B: J.Trend 21, B.Gibson 18, J.Grierson 19
HB: D.Hardiman 31, T.Randall 16, J.Duffin 27
C: E.Kearney (c) 9
HF: K.Ashmore 10, K.Gillespie-Jones 5, D.Bateman 11
F: M.Hope 23, J.Garner 25, C.Munn 13
Foll: Emma King 60, J.Stanton 17, J.Bruton 35
I/C: Elisha King 4, E.Humphries 6, A.Drennan 8, N.Bresnehan 12, C.Haines 29
Emg: T.Mesiti 3, G.Nanscawen 22

In: C.Munn, C.Haines
Out: S.Abbatangelo (Injured), A.Riddell (ankle)

WESTERN BULLDOGS
B: N.Ferres 16, L.Spark 11, B.Hunt 21
HB: N.Callinan 10, T.Ernst 19, H.Scott 22
C: K.Lamb 27
HF: L.Birch 18, K.Brennan (c) 3, M.Conti 8
F: A.McCarthy 15, E.Mackie 25, A.Utri 23
Foll: K.Rennie 24, A.Gogos 36, E.Blackburn 2
I/C: C.Moody 13, H.Wildes 17, B.Toogood 28, D.Berry 7, B.Smith 12
Emg: E.Brown 9, E.Gamble 14

In: E.Mackie, H.Wildes
Out: K.McLeod, E.Brown

GWS GIANTS v. CARLTON

Round 3- Saturday, February, 16, 4:45pm
Blacktown International Sports Park

GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY
B: E.Brush 10, R.Tomkins 1, P.Randall 21
HB: A.Farrugia (c), L.Stephenson 12, E.Swanson 17
C: A.Eva 2
HF: R.Beeson 6, J.Barclay 34, Y.Bonner 27
F: C.Bernardi 4, C.Staunton 13, T.Mackrill 32
Foll: E.McKinnon 23, J.Dal Pos 7, C.Gum 26
I/C: M.Collier 14, T.Hetherington 9, E.Bennetts 22, A.Parker 3, J.Hicks 5
Emg: P.Monahan 28, H.Zreika 24

In: R.Tomkins, T.Mackrill, M.Collier, J.Hicks
Out: B.Perry, H.Zreika, P.Monahan, N.Barr (suspension)

CARLTON
B: L.Brazzale 12, K.Harrington 9, J.Hosking 11
HB: N.Stevens 21, J.Van Dyk 36, G.Pound 6
C: B.Davey (c) 1
HF: M.Prespakis 4, T.Harris 7, K.Loynes 2
F: N.Plane 32, D.Vescio 3, J.Edwards 25
Foll: A.Downie 30, A.Mullane 8, B.Moody 16
I/C: K.Bentley 13, C.Dalton 15, G.Gee 19, S.Hosking 10, B.Walker 14
Emg: A.McKay 5, R.Watt 22

In: T.Harris, B.Walker
Out: R.Watt, S.Audley

FREMANTLE v. COLLINGWOOD

Round 3- Saturday, February, 16, 7:15pm
Fremantle Oval

FREMANTLE
B: E.Gooch 8, T.Bresland 5, A.Stannett 24
HB: A.Williams 9, E.Antonio 12, S.Cain 20
C: P.Seth 18
HF: K.Gibson 21, G.Houghton 27, L.Pugh 32
F: S.Duffy 6, A.Sharp 1, M.Caulfield 10
Foll: P.Laurie 11, D.Hooker 17, K.Donnellan (c) 15
I/C: H.Miller 19, K.Grieve 13, A.Atkins 37, B.Moyes 55, K.Bowers 2
Emg: L.Mascall 14, C.Stubbs 4

In: L.Pugh, B.Moyes
Out: G.O’Sullivan (suspension), L.Mascall

COLLINGWOOD
B: J.Allen 6, A.Brazill 10, I.Ross 21
HB: S.Livingstone 12, R.Schleicher 18, N.Hildebrand 3
C: B.Bonnici 8
HF: S.Dargan 46, S.D’Arcy 4, K.Lynch 16
F: S.Rowe 7, S.Alexander 24, C.McIntosh 20
Foll: E.Hynes 11, S.Chiocci (c) 17, J.Lambert 13
I/C: S.Casey 22, M.Shevlin 35, G.Gourlay 32, M.Cann 25, H.Whitford 28
Emg: S.Layton 1, J.Membrey 31

In: N.Hildebrand, S.Alexander, M.Shevlin, H.Whitford
Out: L.Butler, E.Fowler, S.Layton, E.Grant (injured)    

ADELAIDE CROWS v. GEELONG CATS

Round 3- Sunday, February, 17, 2:35pm
Norwood Oval

ADELAIDE
B: D.Cox 31, S.Allan 39, M.Rajcic 32
HB: A.Foley 3, A.Hatchard 33, C.Cramey 22
C: C.Randall 26,
HF: C.Scheer 4, D.Varnhagen 9, E.Jones 2
F: A.Considine, S.Thompson 14, R.Forth 27
Foll: J.Foley 24, E.Marinoff 10, E.Phillips (c) 13
I/C from: H.Martin 6, S.Li 19, S.Perkins 28, J.Mules 23, D.Ponter 15, J.McCormick 5, S.Riley 8

In: C.Randall, J.McCormick, S.Riley
Out: M.Nankivell (managed)

GEELONG
B: A.Teague 40, R.Goring (c) 44, G.Clarke 17
HB: M.Hickey (c), M.McDonald 11, R.Webster 21
C: R.Cranston 30
HF: D.Taylor 28, M.Boyd 26, S.Van De Heuvel 27
F: K.Darby 8, P.McWilliams 23, J.Ivey 5
Foll: E.Hoare 46, J.Crockett-Grills 6, O.Purcell 16
I/C from: D.Orr 2, M.Clifford 7, M.McMahon 24, R.Garing 12, M.Keryk 45, M.Fogas 13, C.Blakeway 4

In: M.Hickey, R.Cranston, M.Fogas
Out: A.O’Connor

BRISBANE LIONS v. MELBOURNE

Round 3- Sunday, February, 17, 5:35pm
Hickey Park, Stafford

BRISBANE
B: S.Virgo 5,L.Kaslar (c), L.Arnell 16
S.Webb 4,
HB: S.Campbell 20, K.Lutkins 13, E.Bates 1
C: N.Exon 15
HF: M.Dowrick 33, J.Tawhiao-Wardlaw 30, E.Zielke 8
F: J.Wuetschner 23, S.Frederick-Traub 14, J.Zanchetta 7
Foll: L.Bella 32, B.Koenen 3 , A.Anderson 18,
I/C from: G.Collingwood 28, J. Ellenger 29, N.Grider 17, T.Groves-Little 26, P.Parker 10, E.Pittman 19, K.McCarthy 9

In: B.Koenen, G.Collingwood, J.Ellenger, N.Grider
Out: S.Webb (injured), A.Clarke (suspension)

MELBOURNE
B:  M.Downie 2, H.Cordner 21, A.Woodland 19
HB: S.Lampard 8, C.Phillips 35, C.Emonson 11
C: E.O’Dea (c) 5
HF: M.Gay 3, S.Scott (c) 12, A.Newman 16
F: E.Zanker 29, T.Cunningham 1, K.Hore 10
Foll: L.Pearce 15, L.Mithen 14, K.Paxman 4

I/C from: B.Jakobsson 7, T.Hanks 28, A.Kemp 36, A.Guest 17, K.Smith 13, S.Heath 30. B.Patterson 24
In: S.Heath, B.Patterson
Out: –

AFLW season previews: Fremantle

PRIOR to the inaugural AFLW season, Fremantle was touted as a premiership favourite. But the Dockers have struggled in the competition, and will be hoping to improve with a new coach at the helm. They opted for experience over youth in the draft, hoping to fast-track their development and experience a taste of success.

Last season: 7th – three wins, four losses.

Changes:

In: Jasmin Stewart, Sabreena Duffy, Philipa Seth, Courtney Stubbs, Parris Laurie, Laura Pugh, Matila Sergeant, Ebony Dowson, Katie-Jayne Grieve

Out: Stacey Barr, Kirby Bentley, Jade de Melo, Beatrice Devlyn, Lara Filocamo, Tiah Haynes, Emily McGuire, Belinda Smith, Lisa Webb, Jodie White, Amy Lavell

Some tough calls were made by the Dockers at the end of the off-season, with a Rising Star-nominated player in Emily McGuire, consistent defender, Lara Filocamo and the experienced Kirby Bentley being shown the door. Fremantle also farewelled some experienced players with Amy Lavell and Lisa Webb departing for the coach’s box, after Lavell chose to hang up the boots and Webb was delisted. On the bright side, the Dockers have included two exciting young talents in Sabreena Duffy and Matilda Sergeant. Both players have represented Western Australia, with Duffy in particular making inroads as a five-time All-Australian.

Area of strength: Defence

Despite the loss of Kirby Bentley and Lara Filocamo, the Dockers still have a good enough defence that can challenge the opposition. Former Western Australian captain, Sabreena Duffy will slot straight into the backline, and as shown in the Under 18 Championships in 2018, she is able to do most of the kicking in and do it precisely as well. Expect her to be joined by Sergeant, as well as new draftee, Laura Pugh, who hails from the West Perth Falcons. Ebony Dowson will also slot into the backline after a consistent year for the Peel Thunderbirds, while the ever consistent Ebony Antonio will run around again in 2019, looking to punish forwards with her intercept marking and defensive pressure at the contest.

Area of weakness: Forward line

After delisting known goalkickers, Emily McGuire and Stacey Barr, as well as losing Amy Lavell, the Dockers did not really patch up these holes in the draft. They instead opted for midfield and defensive depth, which will hold teams in good stead, but will not win games. The delisting of Kira Phillips at the end of the 2017 season could come back and hurt the Dockers, as she was the leading goal scorer in the Western Australian Women’s Football League (WAWFL). Ashley Sharp is a player that will need to stand up if she plays forward, as she has the potential to dominate, having shown that for Swan Districts.

Players to watch:

Sabreena Duffy

Duffy is a wonderful on-field leader who leads by example. She was named the Most Valuable Player (MVP) for Western Australia in the 2018 Under 18 Championships, after having played a massive role through the midfield and the back line. A player with solid hands and composed under pressure, expect Duffy to control the back line with her finesse and precision with the ball in hand.

Matilda Sergeant

Matilda Sergeant is a hard nut who just knows how to find the football. Featuring prominently in the midfield for Western Australia, she attacked the ball hard and used her clean hands and smart kicks to get her teammates out of trouble. She can also play a support role in the defensive 50 if needed, adding versatility to the Fremantle line-up.

Dana Hooker

The club’s 2018 Best and Fairest winner will be raring to go again in 2019. She only just finished short of winning the league Best and Fairest, proving how important she is in the Dockers’ midfield. Her clean hands and precise kicking has been what has held Fremantle in good stead so far, and expect no different in 2019.

2019 prediction: 5th in Conference A  

The Dockers just do not have enough star-power to compete with the might of the other clubs in Conference A. In the first three rounds of the season, they will have to come up against two of last year’s top four teams, which will be a massive challenge. They may have a chance against the Pies in Round 3, but meet Adelaide the week after. The Dockers will also give themselves a chance at home, as they have been consistent over the past two seasons. They will play four home games this season in the hope that they can take home four wins, but the task will not be easy.

 

AFLW Draft review: Fremantle

THE Dockers were ruthless again this year with their delistings, deciding to throw all their hopes in this year’s draft. The Dockers seem to target midfielders and half-back flankers to give the team some much-wanted speed. However, some talented Western Australian players opted to travel interstate, and this lost talent would have been useful for the Fremantle rebuild.

 

What they needed

  • Forwards to replace Amy Lavell and Emily Mcguire
  • Midfielders to assist Dana Hooker and Kara Donnellan
  • Half-back flankers to replace Belinda Smith and support Ebony Antonio

 

Players selected:

Jasmin Stewart – Claremont

There were many high-profile players from Western Australia who could have been Fremantle’s first pick, however, the honours went to Jasmin Stewart. The 19 year-old left-footer has had an outstanding year for Claremont with her elite ball use and hard work ethic. This year she claimed the Tigers’ Best and Fairest award for all her efforts in the West Australian Women’s Football League (WAWFL) . Stewart could be the tag-team partner that Dana Hooker has been looking for.

Sabreena Duffy – Peel Thunder

When Belinda Smith went to play for the Western Bulldogs, it left a huge hole in the Fremantle backline. Under-18 All Australian, Sabreena Duffy is the perfect candidate to fill the gap. Duffy can play half-back or midfield, and her skills shown in the AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships saw her become the Most Valuable Player (MVP) for Western Australia. For most experts, Duffy was a no-brainer to be picked by Fremantle.

Phillipa Seth – East Fremantle

This year, the East Fremantle Sharks took home the WAWFL premiership with Phillipa Seth playing off halfback. Seth was the runner-up for the Sharks’ Best and Fairest this year and has been a heavy contributor to East Fremantle all year. Her premiership experience will be a valuable asset to the the Dockers as they bolster their defensive stocks.

Courtney Stubbs- Subiaco

The Subiaco Lions were the underdogs of the WAWFL competition but made it all the way to the Grand Final  Courtney Stubbs was part of that midfield that battled week after week. Stubbs has had the pleasure of playing with greats Hayley Miller, Lara Filocamo, and young gun, McKenzie Dowrick. Stubbs was an equal contributor among this elite midfield growing each week. Unfortunately, her teammate Filocamo was delisted by Fremantle earlier this year, and now Stubbs will be taking her place at Fremantle.

Parris Laurie – Claremont

After two years of WAWFL, Parris Laurie was promoted to captain of the Claremont Tiger in 2018. Laurie showed a lot early this season in the ruck but had to leave towards the end of the year. She is surprisingly mobile for her height and covers the ground well. Alicia Janz has been waiting for some assistance in the hit-outs, and Laurie will have no problem with that.

Laura Pugh – West Perth

After this year’s draft, Laura Pugh made history. She is the first player from the West Perth Falcons to be drafted in the AFL Women’s competition. One of the reasons for this is Pugh’s defensive intercept marking, which has been a shining light for the Falcons in a poor year. Fremantle will be eager to slot her into a back line that has been under immense pressure in previous years.

Matilda Sergeant – Claremont

Another Claremont player selected for Fremantle, and at this pick, Matilda Sergeant is a steal. Sergeant was selected in the Under 18 All Australian squad for this year. Her run and carry is similar to the likes of Sabreena Duffy. Sergeant mainly plays midfield but can play the role of flanker if she must. Her clean foot skills and strong hands could see her playing in Round 1 for the Dockers.

Ebony Dowson – Peel Thunderbirds

Ebony Downson has played well across half-back for the Thunderbirds and has shown enough talent to be drafted with Fremantle’s last pick. The Peel Thunderbirds finished minor Premieres this year in the WAWFL with Dowson an important cog in defense. Dowson could be another important cog in Fremantle’s defense.

 

How they went:

The Dockers have definitely boosted their defensive stocks and added more depth to their midfield. However, they were in desperate need of forwards, and they didn’t pick one. Under 18 representatives, Sonia Dorizzi and Kate Bartlett would have been perfect, but Bartlett was drafted to the Western Bulldogs and Dorizzi was overlooked. Another forward who was overlooked was Kira Phillips, who kicked 79 goals in the WAWFL season. With the retirement of Amy Lavell and the delisting of Emily McGuire, question marks loom as to who will kick Fremantle’s goals.