FINALS fever awaits in the NAB League Girls competition, with the Northern Knights securing the minor premiership in an undefeated season. The top four order remained unchanged as three of the sides won in Round 9, with next week’s semi-final fixture locked in.
GEELONG FALCONS 1.2 | 4.3 | 5.3 | 8.7 (55)
MURRAY BUSHRANGERS 1.1 | 1.1 | 1.1 | 1.1 (7)
Geelong: M. Skinner 3, J. Hecker, L. McEvoy, P. Sheppard, D. Smith, T. Hassett
Murray: O. Barber
Geelong: L. McEvoy, P. Sheppard, L. Lesosky-Hay, M. Skinner, A. Chapman, D. Smith
Murray: M. Brown, O. Barber, C. Mailer, K. Skepper, M. Trethowan, K. Adams
By: Peter Williams
Geelong Falcons bounced back from a rare loss to post a comfortable eight-goal win over Murray Bushrangers at Avalon Airport Oval in the final round of the NAB League Girls season. The Falcons have not needed to respond to a loss for more than two years, but they did so in style on Saturday afternoon despite the plucky Bushrangers’ best efforts. Missing a number of key players due to NSW/ACT representation, Murray brought the heat early, and booted the opening goal of the game through Olivia Barber, but from then on, the game seemed like it was a matter of time before Geelong finally broke the dam wall. They did so in the second term, when Mia Skinner decided enough was enough, booting three goals for her team to lead by 20 points at the main break. While the Bushrangers restricted the Falcons to just the one major in the third term, the Falcons took advantage of the breeze in the last quarter to boot another three goals and record a strong victory ahead of finals next week. Lucy McEvoy was bordering on unstoppable in the game, often needing multiple opponents to drag her down in tackles, she bustled her way to 27 disposals, eight marks, six tackles, four inside 50s and a goal, and could have had a few more had her kicks from outside 50 carried the distance. Paige Sheppard was equally as terrific in the forward half, booting the Falcons first goal of the game, and having 23 disposals, six marks, five inside 50s, two rebounds and laying five tackles. Luka Lesosky-Hay did her own thing around the ground amassing 19 touches and laying six tackles, while Skinner also had 16 disposals and four inside 50s with her three goals, constantly looking dangerous inside the arc. For the Bushrangers, Millie Brown was far and away the best just for her work in defence which time and time again stopped the Falcons attacking movements. It was no surprise to see the potential Geelong father-daughter selection pick up 28 disposals, three marks, four tackles, two inside 50s, and crucially, five rebounds. Barber had seven hitouts, 14 disposals and three marks in defeat, while Cassidy Mailer, Keeley Skepper and Mikaela Trethowan were also named among the best, with Mindy Quade producing a number of timely spoils in defence as well.
WESTERN JETS 0.0 | 0.0 | 0.1 | 1.3 (9)
DANDENONG STINGRAYS 3.1 | 4.3 | 8.6 | 9.6 (60)
Western: L. Wright
Dandenong: T. Smith 4, E. Allen-Burns 2, H. Thomas, S. Stratton, G. Grimmer
Western: R. Tripodi, J. Woods, M. Ham, E. Georgostathis, P. Ozols, E. Kiely
Dandenong: B. Vernon, G. Grimmer, I. Shannon, M. McDonald, G. Hodder, T. Smith
By: Michael Alvaro
The Dandenong Stingrays ended their season emphatically, trouncing Western Jets by 51 points to finish a game outside of the top four. Western’s two game winning run came to a halt with another heavy defeat, but the Jets can hold their head up having picked up three wins to finish tenth after a winless first four rounds. The Stingrays were on top from the get-go, building their winning score best in the first and third terms while keeping Western goalless until Laura Wright kicked truly in the final term. Dandenong middle-ager Tyanna Smith played a blinder, racking up an equal game-high 23 disposals, while also pushing forward for a clinical four-straight goals to earn the Round 9 Draft Central Rising Star nod. Brooke Vernon was named best for the winners on the back of a solid defensive outing, while AFLW pre-listed pair Isabella Shannon and Molly McDonald were their usual selves in midfield. Elisabeth Georgostathis was one of Western’s best in defence and midfield, winning 23 disposals, but Ruby Tripodi claimed the full votes for her seven disposals and five tackles. With both sides’ seasons now over, stars from each team will now look forward to VFLW commitments, as well as potential call-ups to represent Victoria Country and Metro in July’s National Championships.
GREATER WESTERN VICTORIA REBELS 0.2 | 0.4 | 0.4 | 0.5 (5)
NORTHERN KNIGHTS 3.1 | 4.1 | 6.3 | 7.8 (50)
Northern: A. Bannan 2, N. Morris-Dalton, M. Appleby, T. Pulcino, G. Newton, B. Gutknecht
GWV: M. Ciavarella, N. Butler, S. Molan, E. Friend, E. Wood, M. Caris
Northern: N. Morris-Dalton, C. Fitzgerald, S. Sansonetti, P. Chisholm, T. Smart, G. Newton
By: Michael Alvaro
Northern Knights ensured they would end the regular season undefeated with a dominant 45-point win over the Greater Western Victoria Rebels securing them minor premiership honours. Picking up from where they left off last week, the Knights led all game, breaking it open in the first and third quarters with three goals in each to build their winning margin – all while keeping the Rebels goalless. An impressive spread of six individual Knights goal kickers was lead by Alyssa Bannan‘s two, with fellow goal-finders Nell Morris-Dalton (22 disposals) and Gabby Newton (17) also being named in the best while Ellie McKenzie (23 disposals, four marks) was their leading ball-winner and Jess Fitzgerald almost had a huge day with 21 disposals and 0.3. GWV’s Sophie Molan narrowly outdid McKenzie to rack up a game-high 26 disposals, but was beaten out by Melina Ciavarella (eight disposals, five tackles) to be the Rebels’ best. Ella Wood (15 disposals), and Lauren Sykes also won plenty of the ball to be thereabouts as the hosts’ season ended on two wins – including a memorable upset over Oakleigh just last week. Northern move on into the finals, set to play fourth-placed Eastern with the Ranges coming in off a Round 9 loss.
GIPPSLAND POWER 0.0 | 0.0 | 0.0 | 1.0 (6)
CALDER CANNONS 2.1 | 4.3 | 5.6 | 5.7 (37)
Gippsland: N. Webber
Calder: G. Patrikios 2, G. Prespakis, Z. Hardiman, M. Muller
Gippsland: C. Bird, G. McRae, M. Fitzsimon, M. Van Berkel, M. Shaw, M. Gilmour
Calder: G. Sampson, T. Fry, Z. Friswell, A. Barba, Z. Hardiman, M. Muller
By: Peter Williams
Calder Cannons booked a date with reigning premiers, Geelong Falcons next Saturday after securing a finals spot courtesy of a 31-point win over Gippsland Power at Morwell Recreation Reserve on Sunday. Despite Gippsland toiling hard in the first 10 minutes of the game, it took some magic from Calder captain, Georgia Patrikios who booted two goals and hit the post to almost have a third in the opening term as her efforts handed Calder a lead. Makeisha Muller and Georgie Prespakis added their names to the goalkickers list in the second term, with Muller on the receiving end of a perfect Prespakis kick, while Prespakis converted a set shot in windy conditions. By the time Zoe Hardiman booted the Cannons’ final goal of the game six minutes into the third term the game was done, but the Power refused to give in, strangling the scoring power from the Cannons, and deservedly finding a major of their own late in the game. Nikia Webber‘s effort in her final NAB League Girls game was symbolic of the entire team – hard working without reward – with that reward coming in the dying minutes when she won a free kick and converted the goal. The Cannons were clearly the better side on the day, but it took magic from the likes of Patrikios, Prespakis and some run and carry from Felicity Theodore off half-back in the opening half to break down the otherwise steady Gippsland defence. Patrikios finished with three marks, five tackles and two inside 50s to go with her 19 touches and two goals, while Prespakis had four marks, six tackles, nine inside 50s and 26 touches in a strong effort once again. Georgia Sampson was named Calder’s best with 15 disposals, three marks and 14 hitouts, while Alana Barba tackled hard with 10 as well as 16 disposals in the game. For Gippsland, Shanara Notman was impressive in defence, having 18 touches, five marks and seven rebounds, while Maddison Shaw (14 disposals, four tackles and three rebounds) and Grace McRae (16 disposals and three tackles) were also consistent once again.
SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS 1.2 | 2.4 | 2.5 | 3.5 (23)
EASTERN RANGES 1.0 | 1.0 | 1.1 | 3.1 (19)
Sandringham: S. Rothfield 3
Eastern: S. Gibbs, C. Wilsmore, M. Hardy
Sandringham: A. Burke, D. Walker, G. Strangio, S. Rothfield, E. McNamara, I. Stutt
Eastern: E. Horne, T. Brown, M. Edwards, T. Merrett, J. Richardson, S. Gibbs
By: Josh Ward
In a game which had finals ramifications, the Sandringham Dragons prevailed what was a close contest. In a low-scoring game with rarely any easy possession throughout, the real breakout performer was surprise packet Sophia Rothfield up forward for Sandringham, scoring their only three goals, whilst providing that extra bit of pressure as well. The first two quarters were closely fought, with Sandy dominating the inside 50 game, putting on heaps of pressure up forward whilst not letting the Ranges getting any easy exits, going into the half time break with a deserved 10-point lead (2.4 16 to 1.0 6). However, it could have been more had it not been for the many missed opportunities. The second half was again closely fought, with their only being two points scored during the third quarter. But when Rothfield kicked her third, the game became a bit more open, with the Ranges scoring the next two goals, getting a little more exciting for the last couple of minutes. But despite the late resurgence from the Ranges, the Dragons kept their cool and won what was a really tight contest throughout. The midfield battle also lived up to its hype, with the Ranges duo of Tess Flintoff and Tarni Brown slightly winning it in the first half, but Sandy’s duo of Alice Burke and Winnie Lang winning it the second half. And in the end, it proved vital for the Dragons to pull off yet another surprise victory.
BENDIGO PIONEERS 2.0 | 2.0 | 2.0 | 4.0 (24)
OAKLEIGH CHARGERS 2.0 | 4.3 | 7.6 | 7.8 (50)
Bendigo: E. Snell 2, T. Coad, B. Hards
Oakleigh: E. Harley, J. D’Amato, E. James, G. Lagioia, M. Bertuna, J. Lin, N. Xenos
Bendigo: M. Tupper, B. Hards, E. Snell, D. Villiva, G. Barton, K. Douglass
By: Michael Alvaro
Oakleigh Chargers did all they could to secure a finals spot, but fell just short despite an impressive 26-point win over the Bendigo Pioneers to round out the regular season. With the scores locked at two-straight goals apiece at quarter time, Oakleigh took charge after the first break with 5.6 during the second and third terms while keeping their opponents scoreless over the same period. Bendigo finished well with two goals to nil in the last quarter, but it proved too little, too late as Oakleigh ensured a fifth win and more than doubled the ‘Pio’s score. Nicola Xenos (23 disposals, one goal), Emily Harley (19 and one), and Gemma Lagioia (19 and one) all found plenty of the ball while also hitting the scoreboard for the winners, with Mimi Hill (19 disposals, five marks) capping off a good year and Amelia Peck (17 disposals, 32 hitouts) also very influential. Mauve Tupper was named best for Bendigo for her team-high 15 disposals and six tackles, with Kate Douglass (11 disposals) the next highest disposal-getter, while Elizabeth Snell claimed her second haul of multiple goals with two. Brooke Hards was also named amongst the best in a low-disposal performance, laying a monster 13 tackles to finish five clear of the next-best player. Both sides’ seasons end here, but there were plenty of positives on either end with finals looking like a real possibility at different stages. All eyes will now be on the National Championships and VFLW season.