Tag: Lauren Butler

2019 VFLW Round 1a preview: Southern Saints vs. Collingwood Magpies

AS the curtain closed on another AFL Women’s season, the Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s competition gets underway this weekend as a standalone game before a further four games take place next weekend. All matches are part of the beyondblue Round with the VFL a strong supporter of the cause. In the opening game of the season, last year’s minor premiers travel to RSEA Park to face the Southern Saints in what should be an interesting match to open the season.

In the game, the Pies have plenty of AFL Women’s talent, led by reigning club best and fairest winner Jaimee Lambert, as well as the uncompromising Britt Bonnici, and young stars Lauren Butler and Mikala Cann. For the Saints, Alison Drennan was traded back to St Kilda after a year at North Melbourne and will be a crucial player in the midfield, but the Round 1 team is mostly littered with young stars who are hoping for the opportunity to be pre-listed by the Saints. Given Peta Searle coaches the VFLW side and the AFLW side when it comes in, it means all players will be determined to please the coach for a potential opportunity at the big time in 2020. Among those players who missed out on being drafted last year are cross-coder Caitlin Greiser who has come from Melbourne University and provides a strong key forward option, as well as former Sandringham Dragons captain Jemma Owen, and Eastern Ranges duo, Ashleigh Allsopp and Gabriella De Angelis.

The Magpies also have a number of VFLW listed players to keep an eye on, with one name being full-back Jess Blecher, an American keen to make a name for herself and one that could well have the job on Greiser this weekend. Along with Blecher, Emily Browning who managed to play some games last year while still completing Year 12 studies is back again, as Jasmine Ferguson who has balanced her netball and football well. Grace Buchan and Ally Bild are a couple of Caulfield Grammarians who could be key players in the Pies’ side this season, and will be keen to start the year off with a win. Collingwood heads into the game as favourites, and considering the AFLW talent, the Magpies’ season last year and the determination within the group to atone for the straight sets exit, one would expect them to get the job done. Southern Saints will put up a massive fight however, and they look to have assembled a list that should see them rise higher than their eighth placed finish this season.

TEAMS:

SOUTHERN SAINTS v. COLLINGWOOD
(Video stream / WARF Radio)
Round 1 – 05/05/2019
12:00
RSEA Park

Southern Saints

B: 41. R. Neaves, 47. F. Hocking, 26. F. Steiert
HB: 19. L. Ahrens, 30. E. Keaney, 4. G. Ricardo
C: 22. C. Jones, 2. A. Brown, 20. K. O’Neill
HF: 35. L. McCarthy, 15. T. Bohanna, 10. J. Vogt
F: 49. A. Allsopp, 43. C. Greiser, 36. J. Owen
R: 12. C. Fitzpatrick, 18. O. Vesely, 8. A. Drennan
Int: 34. G. De Angelis, 14. D. Jolliffe, 11. H. Stuart, 7. C. Phillips
Emg: 17. L. Olsen, 24. K. Ripari, 3. D. Smith, 16. K. Thompson
23P: 48. J. Kelly

Collingwood

B: 22. S. Casey, 58. J. Blecher, 41. K. Stratton
HB: 13. J. Lambert, 75. E. Bliss, 65. E. Browning
C: 23. L. Butler, 67. M. Doherty, 63. P. Nash
HF: 55. C. Bunker, 70. J. Ferguson, 52. N. Hales
F: 25. M. Cann, 61. A. Malander, 72. K. Lee
R: 92. S. King, 60. D. Calautti, 50. G. Buchan
Int: 48. A. Bild , 8. B. Bonnici, 80. S. Mastras, 49. K. Newton
Emg: 77. K. Dudley, 54. A. Dyer, 90. C. Rooks
23P: 76. A. Levin

SEASON PREVIEWS:

COLLINGWOOD MAGPIES

Coach: Penny Cula-Reid
Last year: 1st (12-1-1) Preliminary Final loss

After the harrowing AFLM Grand Final loss, the next biggest heartache for Collingwood fans was the moment Chloe Molloy limped off the ground in the preliminary final with what turned out to be a season-ending foot injury. It meant Molloy missed the entire 2019 AFLW season, and the Magpies clearly lacked that extra bit of star quality around the ground. What they showed last year was the ability to get the job done and recruit really top-end VFLW players who lead the way for the Magpies to be able to rotate their AFLW talent from week-to-week. While their AFLW talent from the 2018 season was below that of their rivals, their VFLW talent was arguably the best as a collective – leading to them finishing as minor premiers. Unfortunately for the Magpies, back-to-back losses to Geelong and Hawthorn saw them bow out in straight sets. There is no reason they cannot go a step further into the decider in 2019, with Maddie Shevlin, Georgia Gourlay and Jordyn Allen all staying at the club for the VFLW season after playing for Casey last year. Lauren Butler (Williamstown) and Mikala Cann (Hawthorn) are others who will remain in the black and white from AFLW to VFLW after being drafted from other VFLW teams. A couple of Oakleigh Chargers prospects already secured for the second half of the season are Gemma Lagioia and Emily Harley who have been impressing in the NAB League Girls competition, while Jasmine Ferguson and Emily Browning were another couple of young stars who with some more development could be AFLW options.

SOUTHERN SAINTS

Coach: Peta Searle
Last year: 8th (5-9)

In 2018, the Southern Saints had seven players drafted into the AFLW (one pre-listed) in what was arguably a better season than many predicted given they had no AFLW current talent on the list 12 months ago. Eleanor Brown went to the Western Bulldogs in the top 10, paving the way for the likes of Charlotte Wilson and Rhiannon Watt (Carlton), Alison Drennan and Courtenay Munn (North Melbourne), Serena Karlson (Western Bulldogs) and Shelley Heath (Melbourne) all moving up to the next level. Much like the Tigers, Southern Saints have the ability to attract youth with the knowledge they will be able to pre-list players ahead of their entrance into the 2020 AFLW season. Drennan, Watt, Karlson and Munn have all made their way back to the Saints, while also picking up the likes of Caitlin Greiser and Olivia Vesely who have gone through the talent pathways and are looking for an opportunity. With Dandenong Stingrays’ Molly McDonald and Isabella Shannon already on St Kilda’s list, expect them to become key players in the second half of the season, and a number of Stingrays and Sandringham Dragons to follow suit to try and get their chance at AFLW level. Any team with Peta Searle as coach has to be viewed as a danger, and expect them to improve this season, although whether or not they have enough to make the jump into finals is yet to be determined.

U18 Girls season preview: GWV Rebels

A COMPETITION-topping number of draftees and a five-game winning streak to finish the year, it’s fair to say the Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels ran out the second TAC Cup Girls season strongly. The Rebels’ Female Talent Manager, Krista Woodroffe said considering the side’s reduced contact hours compared to other clubs in the competition, she was pleased with how well they bonded and gelled towards the end of the season.

“I suppose in a whole we had a really successful season considering being a very country club and only having touching base with each girl once a week, which is quite different to a lot of the other clubs in the under 18 competition so I think the end of our season proved to show that the girls were gelling really well,” she said. “I think we won six out of the last seven rounds, so that was really pleasing and then just to finish off the year having the girls do their presentation nights and the best and fairest and everything like that. “Then roll into community football, hopefully most of them did. “Then continue on with their footy there so at the end of the year we could review where they were at, and on the most part, invite back the majority of the players.”

Woodroffe praised the four girls drafted into the AFL Women’s competition – Georgia Clarke, Sophie Van De Heuvel, Rene Caris and Lauren Butler – for their dedication to themselves and the team.

“It’s credit to those girls,” she said. “We don’t get them drafted, they get themselves drafted so that’s what we’ve got to remember, we just give them the extra little bits and pieces to help them along the way whether that’s education on how to present themselves when they have AFL club interviews and gameday preparations and those sorts of things. “I think from our perspective that’s something that we’re learning a little bit more and find those talented girls early so we can start to give them tools to give them the better opportunity to get drafted. “Four out of our 35 girls is pretty unbelievable, especially from our region. “Three of those girls going to one club is really exciting and those girls are doing a really good job, and three have had their debuts. “We’re still awaiting Rene Caris for her debut with Geelong, but definitely we’re excited for the future.”

While the girls had strong indication they would be drafted on draft day, Woodroffe said the club had tempered expectations because of the nature of the draft system.

“It does and it doesn’t (make it easier knowing you’re likely to be taken) because there was a considerable amount of girls there that potentially thought they were getting drafted and didn’t get drafted,” she said. “We explained to the girls although we’ve had really good contact with these clubs, you’ve had good contact with these clubs, it’s never 100 per cent certainly because with the draft as you know, a club could pick up a midfielder that they really want and then that changes the whole dynamic of how they draft players, so I think all the girls had a fair idea they might have been drafted but the nerves were there on draft day. “I think we were just really, really pleased and excited and they actually got picked up in the end.”

Woodroffe was also pleased the drafted players chose to test themselves at a higher level in the Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s competition following the conclusion of the TAC Cup and AFL Women’s competition.

“It’s a really good opportunity that after Rebels they have the ability to go into the VFLW program, your Vic Country and that, it all sort of overlaps so I think most of the girls got three to five games in the VFL system,” she said. “But for them it’s more about being in the presence of other girls that are potentially going to get drafted and from a Geelong perspective, I suppose playing with them as well, it’s just that eliteness in the way that they train and recover, and the resources that they have that we don’t necessarily have at Under-18 level with the Rebels. “It is really important they get that opportunity to actually see what it’s all about behind the scenes.”

The team seems to be more prepared for season 2019’s opening match this weekend compared to 12 months earlier, and Woodroffe hopes this might spark a change of fortune.

“We had a few more sessions in the pre-season,” she said. “Usually we start late November but this year we were able to start a bit earlier which is good so we’ve had 10 or 12 weeks with the girls and we’ve just finalised our squads. Our 35 main squad and 15 Futures that will play this year. “It’s been really good, the girls have taken to the conditioning and strength programs really well and their skill execution has improved considerably as well too, so we’re probably 3-4 weeks ahead of last year, which hopefully means instead of sparking Round 5 onwards, hopefully from Round 1 the girls should have a bit of good cohesion I suppose on the ground.”

Sophie Molan has emerged as one of the Rebels’ top draft prospects in 2019, and Woodroffe said the club is keen to build on her already strong development.

“Sophie’s presenting really well in terms of her football ability, but also her leadership and other areas of football so we’re definitely looking to developing her further on and off the field for this year given that the potential draft prospects are there,” she said. “We do have a handful of other girls that have that potential, it’s just a matter of whether they want to put their best forward, and how we can get them to the point where your Soph Van De Heuvels and Georgia Clarkes were last year.”

Another player to keep an eye on in season 2019 is Ella Wood. The midfielder/forward is a smart and classy user in the forward half and while her season was ended prematurely due to a shoulder injury, she is fit and ready to go for Round 1.

“Ella Wood, one of our midfield/small forwards, she hurt her shoulder at the end of last year, which that was the last four rounds that she missed I think,” Woodroffe said. “Then she missed an opportunity with Vic Country because of the injury, so I have no doubt that she has all the potential in the world, so it’s just a matter of us nurturing that and hopefully getting her through the season uninjured and putting her best foot forward to the potential of being selected as well.”

The Rebels are a different looking side to 12 months earlier, but Woodroffe believes the players are as fit as ever and have bought into the off-season training regime.

“I feel in comparison to last year, we had a handful of really top talent as you know with the girls that got drafted,” she said. “The consistency was there throughout the rest of the list. “We’ve got a lot of really good bottom-agers this year, so just getting them to that Under-18 level will be the big thing for us.” We’ve probably got a good spread of talent in terms of their positional abilities and height and size and everything. “I feel this year in terms of our fitness, the girls we have involved in the program have really worked hard in the conditioning components of the pre-season so I think that will put us in pretty good stead for the season.”

Woodroffe said while the group might be different, the coaching philosophy remained the same – work to the players’ strengths and give them the best opportunity to get drafted.

“I suppose within our playing group there’s no particular coaching style,” she said. “Our philosophy is to bring along the players as best we can and develop them as footballers and as leaders. “In terms of gamestyle, we just let them do what they do. “If they run really hard and fast and kick the footy as far as they can, then hopefully we get a goal out of it. In terms of our football philosophy, it’s about presenting those players as best we can and hopefully from that we win some games.”

The Rebels head into the season with one pre-season match under their belt, playing off against the Falcons in scorching heat – perfect for the game on the weekend where they will face similarly high temperatures. Woodroffe said it was a good hitout against the reigning premiers who are considered the “benchmark” of the competition.

“They’re our benchmark, so I think it’s really important to play games against those benchmark teams so that you can really see where you’re at,” she said. “It was a really hot day last Saturday and for the girls’ first real hitout, we were really pleased with how they went about their footy and in the end the girls were really happy with their performance as well. “Everything we’re training them in terms of their key attributes, they were starting to put into practice, so now it’s just refining their skills and refining the opportunities on gameday to help open the game with other clubs.”

Woodroffe said while the Rebels want to start the season stronger and win more games overall, the ultimate goal was individual development to try and assist as many players as possible get as far as they could in their football careers.

“I think every club wants to win some games,” Woodroffe said. “Ultimately we want the girls to continue to improve and feel confident with where they’re at. “We’d be happy with winning a few games if not, more than last year. “More so in terms of their development, from the practice matches and intraclub games, if over the course of the next nine weeks we see a high level of improvement as a team and as individuals, I think that’s most important thing for us. “Just creating that professional environment, so that’s what we want to give the girls and give them the ability and start to grow as individuals in the game.”

GWV Rebels take on Bendigo Pioneers on Saturday at RAMS Arena in the opening round of the Under 18 Girls season.

Weekend preview: AFLW – Round 1

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

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

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

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

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

Last time they met: N/A

Fun facts:

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fun facts:

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

 

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

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

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

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

Last time they met: N/A

Fun facts:

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fun facts:

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fun facts:

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

AFLW season previews: Collingwood

COLLINGWOOD has been hit the hardest by the introduction of the two expansion teams, losing a host of stars to North Melbourne. The Pies also lost the experience of Bree White and Meg Hutchins, as well as the exciting Caitlyn Edwards, as the trio retired at the end of the 2018 season. Collingwood had to capitalise on the draft pool and it did, selecting some exciting young talent and some Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s experienced players.

Last season: 6th – three wins, four losses.

Changes:

In: Nicole Hildebrand, Sarah Rowe, Sophie Alexander, Erica Fowler, Jordyn Allen, Katie Lynch, Lauren Butler, Mikala Cann, Maddie Shevlin, Georgia Gourlay, Jordan Membrey, Sharni Layton

Out: Caitlyn Edwards, Bree White, Christina Bernardi, Moana Hope, Jess Duffin, Jasmine Garner, Emma King, Amelia Mullane (nee Barden), Lauren Tesoriero, Meg Hutchins, Tara Morgan

Collingwood has lost seven of its top 10 in last year’s Best and Fairest, with Jasmine Garner, Christina Bernardi, Amelia Mullane, Jess Duffin, Emma King and Moana Hope all jetting off to other clubs. Add the loss of Chloe Molloy to injury and Caitlyn Edwards to retirement, and you have a depleted list. Thankfully, the Pies picked up one of most talented players in the Under-18 crop in Jordyn Allen. Allen is a known leader, captaining the Dandenong Stingrays and Vic Country in 2018, and is a pillar of strength through the midfield and the back line. To back that up, the Pies selected the powerful Katie Lynch, who thrives in the middle of the ground but can use her booming kick and strong hands to effect in the forward line. They also boast two of the most exciting new crosscoders in the league, with former Australian netballer, Sharni Layton and Gaelic footballer, Sarah Rowe, who broke a club record in the 2km trial, set to take the field in 2019.

Area of strength: Midfield

Out of all the areas left with holes by the departed players, the midfield is the least unscathed. The Pies still boast a potent midfield containing Jaimee Lambert, Emma Grant, Brittany Bonnici, Melissa Kuys and Kristy Stratton. They will also be able to add Eastern Ranges dynamo, Mikala Cann to the mix, who has intense tackling pressure and immense speed. The experience of Maddie Shevlin will also be a vital addition, as she starred for the Casey Demons during the VFLW season. There’s also some flexibility in the side, with Stephanie Chiocci able to move from defence to the midfield, while Katie Lynch and Sophie Casey can roam the forward line and move into the middle of the ground when needed.

Area of weakness: Defence

Collingwood’s defence has taken a big hit over the off season, waving goodbye to Jess Duffin, Meg Hutchins and Jasmine Garner. Although the Pies lost more forwards in the off season, they were able to fill the void quite well with the recruitment of Erica Fowler, Sophie Alexander, Jordan Membrey and Katie Lynch. However, their defence remains vulnerable, as the Pies will have a young defensive 50 leading the brigade. Darcy Guttridge and Georgia Gourlay are both a risk with injury troubles, but will be keen to play a big role for the Pies. Iilish Ross is still a developing player who has been in and out of the Collingwood line-up, but was convincing during the VFLW season. She does not often trouble the disposal count, so this could be an area where she seeks to improve in 2019. It will also be interesting to see how Lauren Butler fares in this defensive line-up with her light build. Expect the loss of Chloe Molloy to really be felt for the Pies this season as unpredictability surround their defensive make-up.

Players to watch:

Mikala Cann

It is hard to believe that this will be Mikala Cann’s second year of competitive football. Prior to 2018, Cann competed in athletics and basketball, and has brought those attributes over to Australian Rules. She has great acceleration and can tackle like no other, always willing to show her tenacity on the field. She was fortunate enough to represent Vic Metro in 2018, and played in Hawthorn’s VFLW premiership side, so she knows how to make an impact on the big stage. Nicknamed ‘the bull’ by her teammates, expect Cann to be one of the toughest players out there.

Sophie Alexander

A dangerous forward with a great leap, Alexander gave a lot of VFLW opposition defenders headaches. In her breakout game for the Pies, she kicked four goals against the in-form NT Thunder, showing she can make an big statement. She ended up with 14 goals from 14 games, and was named in the VFLW Team of the Year for her efforts. What makes Alexander stand out is her ability to rack up the disposals inside 50, which is something Collingwood will need in the 2019 season.

Sharni Layton

Sharni Layton has done it all in netball, winning a Commonwealth Games gold medal in 2014, and winning two Netball World Championships with Australia in 2011 and 2015. Having come from the Collingwood netball team, Layton is accustomed to the attitudes of the club and has been hitting the track hard, working on her running technique in particular. Her leap will be invaluable for the club as will her strength, so it will be interesting to see where she will line up on the field, as these assets are valuable in any zone. With unpredictability comes excitement through, and Layton is sure to put on a show, following in the footsteps of fellow netballer/footballer, Ash Brazill.

2019 prediction: 5th in Conference B

Unfortunately with a list that takes a hit like that, it’s hard to see the Pies making any inroads in Conference B. They will be looking to make a statement in Round 1 against the new kids on the block in Geelong, but it will be hard to do so away from home. They could snag wins against Carlton and Fremantle in rounds three and five, but all eyes will be on the side in Round 6. Not only will they host the first ever AFLW game at Marvel Stadium, but they will be coming up against old teammates at North Melbourne, which will definitely be a challenge. Collingwood still has the players to be a top side, but gelling what is effectively a whole new team together is no easy task.

2019 AFLW Collingwood Fixture

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GMHBA StadiumRound 1
Victoria ParkRound 2
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Fremantle OvalRound 3
Morwell Recreational ReserveRound 4
Ikon ParkRound 5
Marvel StadiumRound 6
Victoria ParkRound 7

AFLW Draft review: Collingwood

COLLINGWOOD was hit the hardest in the AFL Women’s off-season, losing many experienced players to other clubs. Moana Hope, Christina Bernardi, Jess Duffin, Jasmine Garner, Emma King and Amelia Barden will all be playing at different clubs in 2019, while retirees, Meg Hutchins, Bree White and Caitlyn Edwards will also be a big loss for the Pies. It was always going to be interesting to see how Collingwood went about its draft, but overall, versatility has been the theme as the side seeks a quick fix to its punishing off-season.

What they needed:

  • Forwards to replace Moana Hope, Lauren Tesoriero and Christina Bernardi
  • Defenders to replace Caitlyn Edwards and Tara Morgan
  • Versatility to fill the absence of Jess Duffin, Jasmine Garner and Chloe Molloy (inactive this season)
  • Experience to fill the void of Meg Hutchins and Bree White
  • Ruck to replace Emma King
  • Midfield depth to fill the void of Amelia Barden

 

Players selected:

Jordyn Allen – Dandenong Stingrays

Allen is a known leader, having captained the Dandenong Stingrays and Vic Country this year. Allen is a star off half-back with her overhead marking and unique ability to build her own wall in the defensive 50. She can also roll into the midfield and have an immediate impact there with her football smarts and long kicks. She will play a big part in helping to fill the void of Chloe Molloy and Jess Duffin.

Katie Lynch – Oakleigh Chargers

Lynch is a real X-factor player who creates excitement when she gets the ball. She has a fantastic long kick and can use it across the field. She is a tall player that plays primarily in the midfield and breaks the lines well with her strength. Despite limited game time in the TAC Cup Girls competition in the last two years, Lynch overcame injury trouble and battling school commitments to represent Vic Metro this year. She will help to fill the void of inside bull, Amelia Barden for the Pies in 2019.

Mikala Cann – Eastern Ranges

Mikala Cann is a remarkable story. In her first year of football, she represented Vic Metro, played in a premiership with Hawthorn and was named in the TAC Cup Girls Team of the Year. Known for her ferocity in the contest, Cann is a hard inside midfielder who loves to tackle. Coming from an athletics background, she is able to combine her speed and power to haunt opposition midfielders. She will be a great addition to Collingwood’s midfield, and presents a style of play similar to Brittany Bonnici, so the pair should combine well in the midfield.

Lauren Butler – Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels

The skipper of the GWV Rebels had a great year, representing Vic Country and spending some time with the Western Bulldogs in the Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s. Being a utility, she will add some much-needed versatility to the Collingwood line-up. Her endurance is perhaps one of the most impressive assets of her game and she proved it at the AFL Women’s Draft Combine, placing in the top five in the yo-yo intermittent test and the 2km time trial.

Maddie Shevlin – Casey Demons

Shevlin was perhaps a bit unlucky to get delisted by Melbourne in the off-season, But after some fantastic football for Casey, Collingwood decided to give her a second chance in the AFLW. Rotating through the forward line and the midfield, Shevlin kicked five goals from 14 games and was named in the best five times. She’s a player who knows how to rack up the disposals and uses the football cleanly both by hand or by foot. Another player who will add some versatility to the Pies’ line-up.

Sophie Alexander – Collingwood VFLW

Alexander burst onto the scene for the Pies this year in the VFLW. She kicked 14 goals from 14 games, including four majors against the NT Thunder. She was also named in the best eight times, highlighting her consistency. She is a powerful forward who can kick them from anywhere and is a great mark of the footy. She could be one of the most exciting players in the Collingwood lineup this year and could be a great replacement for Moana Hope.

Georgia Gourlay – Casey Demons VFLW

Georgia Gourlay is another great story from the Pies, as she has bounced back from two knee reconstructions in three years to earn a spot in Collingwood’s AFL Women’s side. She was a promising junior, making the Under 18 All Australian team as a 16 year-old. She is known for her precise kicking, which she uses as an asset of her game on the wing and on the half-back line. She could find a home in defence to replace the likes of Caitlyn Edwards and Tara Morgan.

Jordan Membrey – Wilston Grange

The Pies have picked up another delisted player in Jordan Membrey, who spent some time at the Lions in 2017. Her experience in an AFL Women’s line-up makes her a ready-made player for the Pies, which is a handy acquisition. Membrey got the chance to show her leadership skills this year, captaining Gold Coast in the AFL Women’s Winter series. She can rotate through the forward line and the midfield, and impresses with her clean hands.

Erica Fowler – Collingwood VFLW

Erica Fowler seems to be the solution to replace the departed Emma King. She and Hynes should combine well in the ruck to give the Collingwood midfielders first use of the ball. Fowler can also be a key target up forward, often playing a role for the Pies at full forward during the VFLW season.

 

How they went:

The Pies’ draft strategy appears to revolve around experience and versatility. With the loss of so many players in the off-season, Collingwood needed to kill two birds with one stone, and recruited versatile players such as Erica Fowler, Jordan Membrey and Jordyn Allen to provide a quick solution for the mass loss of players. A lot of midfield depth has been added through the likes of Mikala Cann and Katie Lynch, which will help the Pies get first access to the football. The forward line has also been bolstered through the recruitment of Sophie Alexander, who was one of the most exciting forwards in the VFLW competition. The Pies have a lot of options to work with for 2019, so it will be interesting to see how they fit all these versatile players into their line-up.

2018 AFLW Draft Order

2018 NAB AFLW DRAFT ORDER

FIRST ROUND
1 Geelong – Nina Morrison (Geelong Falcons/Vic Country)
2 Geelong – Sophie Van De Heuvel (GWV Rebels/Vic Country)
3 Carlton – Madison Prespakis (Calder Cannons/Vic Metro)
4 Fremantle – Jasmin Stewart (Claremont/Western Australia)
5 Collingwood – Jordyn Allen (Dandenong Stingrays/Vic Country)
6 Melbourne – Tyla Hanks (Gippsland Power/Vic Country)
7 Geelong – Rebecca Webster (Murray Bushrangers/Vic Country)
8 Adelaide – Nikki Gore (South Adelaide/South Australia/Central Allies)
9 Brisbane –  Paige Parker (Coorparoo/Queensland)
10 Western Bulldogs – Eleanor Brown (Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro)
11 Collingwood – Katie Lynch (Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro)
12 Greater Western Sydney – Alyce Parker (Thurgoona Bulldogs/NSW-ACT/Eastern Allies)

SECOND ROUND
13 Collingwood – Mikala Cann (Eastern Ranges/Vic Metro)
14 Geelong – Olivia Purcell (Geelong Falcons/Vic Country)
15 Melbourne . – Madeline Brancatisano (Northern Knights/Vic Metro)
16 Carlton – Abbie McKay (father-daughter selection – Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro)
17 Fremantle – Sabreena Duffy (Peel Thunderbirds/Western Australia)
18 Collingwood – Lauren Butler (GWV Rebels/Vic Country)
19 Collingwood – Maddie Shevlin (Casey Demons)
20 Geelong – Denby Taylor (Geelong Falcons/Vic Country)
21 Carlton – Jayde Van Dyk (Hawthorn VFLW)
22 Brisbane – Natalie Grider (University of Queensland/Queensland)
23 Western Bulldogs – Aisling McCarthy (Ireland)
24 Geelong – Georgia Clarke (GWV Rebels/Vic Country)
25 North Melbourne – Daisy Bateman (Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro)

THIRD ROUND
26 Western Bulldogs – Kate Bartlett (Peel Thunder/Western Australia)
27 Carlton – Charlotte Wilson (Eastern Ranges/Vic Metro)
28 Fremantle – Phillipa Seth (East Fremantle/Western Australia)
29 Collingwood – Sophie Alexander (compensation)
30 Adelaide – Jessica Foley (Fitzroy/South Australia)
31 Melbourne – Jordann Hickey (NT Thunder VFLW)
32 Collingwood –  Georgia Gourlay (Casey Demons VFLW)
33 Brisbane – McKenzie Dowrick (Subiaco/Western Australia)
34 Western Bulldogs – Selena Karlson (Southern Saints VFLW)
35 Geelong – Rene Caris (GWV Rebels/Vic Country)
36 North Melbourne –  Courtney Munn (Southern Saints VFLW)

FOURTH ROUND
37 Adelaide – Chloe Scheer (Central District/South Australia)
38 Carlton – Emerson Woods (Eastern Ranges/Vic Metro)
39 Fremantle – Courtney Stubbs (Subiaco/Western Australia)
40 Carlton – Rhiannon Watt (Southern Saints VFLW)
41 Adelaide – Katelyn Rosenzweig (Central District/South Australia)
42 Carlton – Jessica Edwards (Collingwood VFLW)
43 Greater Western Sydney Brittany Perry (North Adelaide/South Australia)
44 Melbourne –  Shelley Heath (Southern Saints VFLW)
45 Brisbane – Lauren Bella (Bond University/Queensland)
46 Western Bulldogs – Jessie Davies (Western Bulldogs VFLW)
47 Geelong – Maighan Fogas (Geelong VFLW)
48 Adelaide – Danielle Ponter (Northern Territory/Central Allies)

FIFTH ROUND
49 Fremantle – Parris Laurie (Claremont/Western Australia) *Carlton passed this pick
50 Collingwood – Jordan Membrey (Wilston Grange/Queensland)
51 Adelaide – Hannah Martin (West Adelaide/South Australia)
52 GWS – Lisa Whiteley (South Adelaide/South Australia)
53 North Melbourne – Chloe Haines (Burnie Dockers/ Tasmania)
54 Brisbane – Tori Groves-Little (Coorparoo/ Queensland)
55 Geelong- Elise Coventry (Geelong VFLW)
56 North Melbourne- Libby Haines (Burnie Dockers/ Tasmania)
57 Fremantle- Laura Pugh (West Perth/Western Australia)
58 Greater Western Sydney- Ingrid Nielsen (UNSW Hawks)

SIXTH ROUND
59 Brisbane – Jesse Tawhaio-Wardlaw (Bond University /Queensland)
60 Geelong – Madeline Keryk (Geelong VFLW)
61 North Melbourne – Nicole Bresnehan (Clarence Roos/Tasmania)
62 Fremantle – Matilda Sergeant (Claremont/Western Australia)
63 Greater Western Sydney – Renee Tomkins (Auburn Giants/NSW-ACT)

SEVENTH ROUND
64 Fremantle – Ebony Dowson (Peel Thunder/Western Australia)
65 Greater Western Sydney – Delma Gisu (Wilston Grange/Queensland)

EIGHTH ROUND
66 Greater Western Sydney – Haneen Zreika (Auburn Giants/NSW-ACT)
67 Collingwood – Erica Fowler (Collingwood VFLW)

NINTH ROUND
68 Fremantle – Ebony O’Dea (Adelaide University/South Australia)
69 Brisbane – Jacqueline Yorston (Wilston Grange/ Queensland) *compensation
70 Brisbane – Jade Ellenger (Coorparoo/ Queensland) *compensation

AFL Women’s Draft Combine wrap

AN Eastern Ranges duo and the potential number one pick in the Under 18 AFL Women’s Draft have emerged as the top performers from the AFL Women’s Draft Combine yesterday.

Geelong Falcons star, Nina Morrison walked away with two combine records, smashing the Yo-Yo test with an 18.2 score, as well as clocking 7:14 in the 2km time trial. Morrison remarkably finished top five in six of the possible seven events. Eastern duo, Emerson Woods and Charlotte Wilson won their respective events in the 20m sprint and standing vertical jump, with Woods easily breaking the previous record when she produced a dazzling 3.129-second sprint. Wilson achieved a 56cm standing vertical jump, two centimetres more than any other participant.

Wilson finished second in both the running vertical jumps, and finished third in the 20m sprint and Yo-Yo test. Woods finished second to Morrison in the Yo-Yo test, third in the agility and 2km time trial, and equal fifth in the standing vertical jump. Both Eastern girls produced top five finishes in five of the seven tests.

Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels’ Sophie Van De Heuvel and Murray Bushrangers’ Rebecca Webster recorded the next best overall results, finishing top five in three events, with the pair taking out the left and right running vertical jumps respectively. In the other events, Gippsland Power co-captain, Tyla Hanks clocked up 8.788 in the agility to break the record in that test ahead of Geelong Falcons onballer, Olivia Purcell.

Of those participants outside Victoria, Queensland ruck, Lauren Bella was impressive with top five finishes in the running vertical jumps, while Tasmania’s Libby Haines finished fifth in the 20m sprint with a time of 3.299 seconds, and fourth in the 2km time trial. Others who achieved top five finishes were GWV Rebels, Rene Caris, Lauren Butler and Georgia Clarke, Sandringham Dragons’ Eleanor Brown, Northern Knights’ Madeline Brancatisano and Dandenong Stingrays’ Jordyn Allen.

20m sprint:

1 Emerson Woods (Eastern Ranges/Vic Metro) 3.129 seconds
2 Sophie Van De Heuvel (GWV Rebels/Vic Country) 3.242
2 Charlotte Wilson (Eastern Ranges/Vic Metro) 3.242
4 Madeline Brancatisano (Northern Knights/Vic Metro) 3.25
5 Libby Haines (Burnie/Tasmania) 3.299

Yo-Yo Test:

1 Nina Morrison (Geelong Falcons/Vic Country) 18.2
2 Emerson Woods (Eastern Ranges/Vic Metro) 16.7
3 Charlotte Wilson (Eastern Ranges/Vic Metro) 16.5
4 Lauren Butler (GWV Rebels/Vic Country) 16.3
5 Tyla Hanks (Gippsland Power/Vic Country) 16.2

Agility:

1 Tyla Hanks (Gippsland Power/Vic Country): 8.788
2 Olivia Purcell (Geelong Falcons/Vic Country): 8.809
3 Emerson Woods (Eastern Ranges/Vic Metro): 8.859
4 Nina Morrison (Geelong Falcons/Vic Country): 8.878
5 Jordyn Allen (Dandenong Stingrays/Vic Country): 8.891

2km time trial:

1 Nina Morrison (Geelong Falcons/Vic Country) 7:14
2 Eleanor Brown (Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro) 7:29
3 Emerson Woods (Eastern Ranges/Vic Metro) 7:39
4 Libby Haines (Burnie/Tasmania) 7:51
5 Lauren Butler (GWV Rebels/Vic Country) 7:52

Standing vertical jump:

1 Charlotte Wilson (Eastern Ranges/Vic Metro) 56cm
2 Rebecca Webster (Murray Bushrangers/Vic Country) 54cm
2 Sophie Van De Heuvel (GWV Rebels/Vic Country) 54cm
4 Georgia Clarke (GWV Rebels/Vic Country) 52cm
5 Emerson Woods (Eastern Ranges/Vic Metro) 50cm
5 Nina Morrison (Geelong Falcons/Vic Country) 50cm
5 Rene Caris (GWV Rebels/Vic Country) 50cm

Running vertical jump (right):

1 Rebecca Webster (Murray Bushrangers/Vic Country) 63cm
2 Charlotte Wilson (Eastern Ranges/Vic Metro) 62
3 Rene Caris (GWV Rebels/Vic Country) 61
4 Lauren Bella (Bond University/Queensland) 59
5 Nina Morrison (Geelong Falcons/Vic Country) 59

Running vertical jump (left):

1 Sophie Van De Heuvel (GWV Rebels/Vic Country) 70cm
2 Charlotte Wilson (Eastern Ranges/Vic Metro) 68cm
3 Nina Morrison (Geelong Falcons/Vic Country) 66cm
4 Lauren Bella (Bond University/Queensland) 65cm
5 Rebecca Webster (Murray Bushrangers/Vic Country) 65cm

Butler leads by example

USING her experience to lead by example has been a cornerstone of Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels captain Lauren Butler’s game this season. While Butler said her skills and decision making are among her personal strengths on the field, she has been working hard to use her experience over years of football to guide her younger teammates throughout the TAC Cup Girls season.

“I’d like to think I lead mostly by example but then just guiding the other girls,” Butler said. “I think I’ve been playing Rebels for a few years now, I’d like to think I’m a bit more experienced and can just help all the younger girls coming through and make sure they’re doing the right things. “Inspiring them.”

Butler said she had found the group to be more gelled in 2018, with many of the players having spent more and more time together over the years and the cohesion of the side was impressive.

“I think our connectiveness as a team I feel really gelled together really well,” Butler said. “It’s been the same for the last few years, we have a really good culture which is good to see it continuing. “Of course the standard of skills and the professionalism that is expected of us and that we’re bringing to the club is rising and continues to rise.”

The Rebels utility has played everywhere on the ground and has always enjoyed a kick of the football since she was young.

“I started playing Auskick when I was about five years-old or so and I’ve always loved footy since I was little,” Butler said. “After Auskick I pretty much kicked in the backyard with my brothers and then I started playing at school in Year 7 and have been playing club footy for about four or five years now.”

Butler said she has always enjoyed the pressure part of Australian Rules football and enjoyed the mix of hardness and skill, something that has kept her in love with the sport over the years.

“I guess I’ve always been pretty competitive so I love the competitive side of it,” Butler said. “I think there’s so many different skills to master about football so yeah I just enjoy the competitive nature.”

After playing for the Western Bulldogs in the Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s, Butler has enjoyed the rise up the ranks and hopes to continue that with the AFL Women’s Draft looming next month. She has enjoyed a good carnival for Vic Country at the AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships, and has plenty to improve on going forward.

“I think I’ve still got a lot more to improve on physically, and just with my smarts around football too,” she said. “I’d like to go as high as possible.”

While her career is still young, Butler has a standout memory that she will never forget – the close bond with her school mates at Ballarat Grammar taking out the prestigious Herald Sun Shield in Melbourne.

“Last year I got to play on Etihad Stadium for my school Ballarat Grammar in the Herald Sun Shield,” Butler said. “We won that year it was a really good experience and just built really good friendships with my school friends, it was really good.”

Thirty-six invited to AFL Women’s Draft Combine

THE next wave of AFL Women’s talent will strut their stuff at Etihad Stadium in October after the 10 AFLW clubs selected the players for the AFL Women’s Draft Combine. Thirty-six players were selected from across Australia, with Victoria unsurprisingly having 22 invited – 12 from Vic Country and 10 from Vic Metro. Western Australia and Queensland both had three players picked to test, while New South Wales, South Australia and Tasmania all had two nominees. Australian Capital Territory’s Alexia Hamilton and Northern Territory’s Danielle Ponter were the sole nominees from their respective states.

Of the Victorian nominees, Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels had four invited – Rene Caris, Georgia Clarke, Sophie Van De Heuvel and Lauren Butler – ahead of Eastern Ranges, Oakleigh Chargers and Geelong Falcons who both had three. Of the other states, Tasmanian twins Chloe and Libby Haines will be at Etihad, as will South Australian duo, midfielder, Nikki Gore and forward Katelyn Rosenzweig. New South Wales’ duo Brianna McFarlane and Alyce Parker will represent their state, while Lauren Bella, Nat Grider and Jacqui Yorston will be there for Queensland. Western Australia’s trio of McKenzie Dowrick, Sabreena Duffy and Jasmin Stewart have also been invited. The only two over-age players invited are Caris and Stewart. Potential top picks Madison Prespakis, Nina Morrison and Tyla Hanks are also set to test at the combine.

The AFL Women’s Combine will be held at Etihad Stadium from October 2-3.

ACT: (1)

Alexia Hamilton (Belconnen Magpies)                           

NSW: (2)

Brianna McFarlane (Coolangatta)
Alyce Parker (Thurgoona)

NT: (1)

Danielle Ponter (St Mary’s)                                             

QLD: (3)

Lauren Bella (Bond University)
Nat Grider (University of QLD)
Jacqui Yorston (Wilston Grange)    

SA: (2) 

Nikki Gore (South Adelaide)
Katelyn Rosenzweig (Central District)       

TAS: (2)

Chloe Haines (Burnie)
Libby Haines (Burnie) 

VIC COUNTRY: (12)

Jordyn Allen (Dandenong Stingrays)
Lauren Butler (GWV Rebels)
Georgia Clarke (GWV Rebels)
Rene Caris (GWV Rebels)
Tyla Hanks (Gippsland Power)
Julia Harvey (Murray Bushrangers)
Courtney Jones (Dandenong Stingrays)
Nina Morrison (Geelong Falcons)
Olivia Purcell (Geelong Falcons)
Denby Taylor (Geelong Falcons)
Sophie Van De Heuvel (GWV Rebels)
Rebecca Webster (Murray Bushrangers)

VIC METRO: (10)

Daisy Bateman (Oakleigh Chargers)
Madeline Brancatisano (Northern Knights)
Eleanor Brown (Sandringham Dragons)
Mikala Cann (Eastern Ranges)
Katie Lynch (Oakleigh Chargers)
Abbie McKay (Sandringham Dragons)
Hannah McLaren (Oakleigh Chargers)
Madison Prespakis (Calder Cannons)
Charlotte Wilson (Eastern Ranges)
Emerson Woods (Eastern Ranges)  

WA: (3)

McKenzie Dowrick (Subiaco)
Sabreena Duffy (Peel Thunderbirds)
Jasmin Stewart (Claremont)      

Team of the Week: VFLW – Round 11

GEELONG has the most representatives in the Round 11 Team of the Week, with five players making the cut after their side’s massive win over Casey. Similarly, NT Thunder and the Western Bulldogs have four and three representatives respectively, headlined by midfield bull, Ebony Marinoff with her 28 disposals against Richmond

After their 41-point loss to Geelong, the Demons failed to register a player in the best 22 this week with Kaila Bentvelzen’s two goals not quite enough to get into the forward six.

Marinoff was a lock in this week’s best 22 after dominating in the midfield against Richmond. In just her second game in the Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s competition, she is starting to hit her strides at the right time of the season. In the same game, Courtney Wakefield starred for Richmond up forward with three goals and an everlasting presence in the forward 50.

Jasmyn Hewett has been dominating in the ruck for the Thunder and once again has claimed her credentials for the VFLW Team of the Year. Madison Prespakis also slots straight back into the VFLW Team of the Week after finishing her Under 18 representative duties. She will be hoping to keep her spot and help drive Melbourne University out of the bottom three.

Geelong’s Kate Darby was unlucky to miss out this week with two goals and 16 disposals against Casey.