Tag: Libby Birch

Weekend wash-up: AFLW – Round 7

THE final round of the 2019 home and away season saw potential finals bound teams take each other on to determine which sides made finals. Major premiership contender, North Melbourne got knocked out by Fremantle, while Collingwood managed their first win of 2019 to ruin Brisbane’s finals chances.

GWS GIANTS 6.5 (41) defeated Geelong (1.4) 10
By: Sophie Taylor

The GWS GIANTS almost denied Geelong finals chances on Friday night, running over the Conference B rivals, 6.5 (41) to 1.4 (10). Geelong were set to wait until Sunday’s clashes to find out their 2019 finals fate, while the GIANTS got the well deserved four points but were unable to make finals despite the win. Both sides wore black armbands to honour the victims of Friday’s Christchurch Massacre, while a minute of silence took place before the match began.

It was only the GIANTS’ second win for the season, dominating majority of the match and rendering the Cats goalless in the opening half. For Geelong, it was a tale of woe from the very beginning as the GIANTS took an early lead, relying on the Cats’ inaccuracy in front of goal before kicking four goals to one in the second half to snag victory. Despite Geelong’s free kick count vastly outnumbering the GIANTS (9 – 20), the Cats were unable to take advantage of their opportunities forward. Olivia Purcell and Renee Garing showed their worth to the side, as Purcell grabbed 19 disposals while Garing notched up 14 tackles to add to her season tally of 62. Mia-Rae Clifford was Geelong’s only goal kicker, showing some composure as she slotted the major in the third quarter.

The GIANTS’ Irish pair, Cora Staunton and Yvonne Bonner were exciting to watch, kicking a goal apiece and gathering 16 and 10 disposals respectively. Christina Bernardi added two goals to her season tally, while Alicia Eva and Alyce Parker continued to show their strength in the midfield as the pair racked up 36 disposals and 14 tackles between them. Haneen Zreika finished her season on a high with her first goal in AFLW, also picking up a career high 17 disposals and seven tackles. Veteran GIANTS midfielder, Courtney Gum announced her retirement following the match.

This match saw the last of the GIANTS for 2019, though the side will be able to hold their heads high come 2020. Geelong will head into finals, having finished second behind Carlton in Conference B.

Melbourne Demons 1.2 (8) defeated by Adelaide Crows 10.8 (68)
By: Brandon Hutchinson

In their last game of the home and away season, Adelaide handed Melbourne one of the biggest thrashings all season with a 60-point win at Casey Fields. Melbourne were kept completely scoreless in the first half while Adelaide opened the first quarter with 21-points – reaching 34 unanswered points by the main break. The Dees found their first score in the form of a rushed behind in the third and would not find their first goal until the final quarter. In a complete show of dominance, Adelaide rounded out the game with five more goals – kicking three in the third and two at the end of the fourth.

Erin Phillips was her usual classy self (22 disposals, three marks and three tackles) – having a season to potentially rival her 2017 Best & Fairest year. While she had some trouble hitting the scoreboard (three behinds), she combined well with Ebony Marinoff (one goal, 19 disposals and eight tackles) and first-year, Jess Foley (two goals, 16 hit-outs, 15 disposals, two marks, six tackles) to keep a firm grip of the game. Fellow first year, Ailish Considine, also impressed in front of goals with her first two career goals, seven disposals, two marks and one tackle.

Despite the heavy loss, Melbourne still had a few players who stood up to the onslaught. Lily Mithen (16 disposals, four marks and six tackles), Elise O’Dea (21 disposals and five marks) and Harriet Cordner (19 disposals and seven marks) all kept their head highs and remained prolific throughout. While bittersweet, first-year, Chantel Emonson (14 disposals and five tackles) managed to kick her first career goal as Melbourne’s only major for the day.

This marked Melbourne’s final game for the year while Adelaide head into the finals as the most successful teams across both Conferences, with a big chance of taking it all the way.

Fremantle 7.10 (52) defeated North Melbourne 4.1 (25)
By: Sophie Taylor

Fremantle knocked the predicted premiers out of finals contention on Saturday night, proving too strong for the Kangaroos at Fremantle Oval in front of a hostile 6386 strong crowd. The 27 point margin showed Fremantle’s improvement in the competition this season, and just goes to show that the two best Conference A sides in Adelaide and Fremantle are well deserving of their top two finish.

Fremantle started strong, kicking the first two goals of the game and rendering North goalless by quarter time. North Melbourne’s goalkicking once again stagnated through the second half, rendering their third quarter comeback frustrating as they were unable to take control of the match. Fremantle were fortunate for the Roos’ struggle as they were inaccurate in front of goal, kicking 2.6 in the final quarter.

Sabreena Duffy and Ashley Sharp were among the Dockers’ best up forward, kicking two goals apiece, while Ashlee Atkins and Gemma Houghton both kicked a major each but missed five goal opportunities between them. Kiara Bowers racked up 19 kicks from 23 touches, also managing 13 tackles on her way to 118 AFLW Fantasy Points. Fremantle will be sweating on the injury concerns of Duffy and Dana Hooker ahead of next week’s final after both players were helped from the ground in the second half.

Jenna Bruton (26 disposals, six tackles) paired well with Emma Kearney (24 disposals, seven tackles and a goal) in the loss, while half back, Jess Duffin was also prolific against Fremantle’s barrelling attack line with 22 disposals, five tackles and five rebound 50s. Mo Hope was also effective for the Roos, coming away with two goals and four tackles.

North Melbourne have found themselves knocked out of finals contention in 2019 despite a dominant inaugural season, while Fremantle will take on Conference B minor premiers, Carlton next week.

Collingwood 3.7 (25) defeated Brisbane 2.7 (19)
By: Taylah Melki

In the last game of the season the Magpies claimed victory over the Brisbane Lions to snatch away any hopes of finals. The upset win marked the first victory of the season for Collingwood who struggled all year after losing players to expansion clubs and injury. Both teams were inaccurate in front of goal but the Pies set the game up before half time going into the main break up by 16 points after scoring two goals in the second quarter. After making the grand final two years straight and falling agonisingly short this will be the first year the Lions will not feature in the quest for a premiership.

For the Pies, Sarah D’Arcy stood up in front of goals nailing two goals and amassed plenty of touches across the ground credit to her hard work and ability to get to the contest. Dual athlete Ash Brazill dominated once again with her clean hands, clever kicks, accuracy by foot and smothering defensive pressure. She also showcased her strong hands taking her fair share of marks and proved to be a key member of the Collingwood team thanks to her read of the play. Captain, Steph Chiocci was solid for the Pies through the middle going in hard to win the footy and applied plenty of strong tackles. Jaimee Lambert stood up again making her presence felt on the scoreboard and working hard in attack to try and create scoring opportunities for her teammates.

The Brisbane Lions failed to fire on all cylinders, with the likes of star forward Sabrina Frederick-Traub unable to capitalise on her scoring chances. Fellow forward and goal sneak Jess Wuetschner was well held for most of the game but got some separation in the first quarter slotting an important goal for the Lions. Former Carlton captain, Lauren Arnell played her part applying some strong tackles and getting her hands to plenty of ball, while youngster Jacqui Yorston impressed across the ground racking up plenty of touches.

Western Bulldogs 5.8 (38) defeated by Carlton 6.5 (41)
By: Nikki Jamieson

The 2019 home and away season of AFLW wrapped up with the Pride rematch between the Western Bulldogs and Carlton. The Blues were finally able to redeem their 76-point loss last season that also cemented them as Conference B’s finals hosts. Despite Bulldogs no longer being able to defend their premiership, they fought through the dying minutes of the match and notably kicked all five of their goals in the last quarter.

Missed opportunities proved to be the biggest downfall for the Dogs as a slow start followed with the failure to finish in front of the goals. Though dominating position in the second quarter, Bulldogs could not convert leading to five behinds instead of goals. Carlton made the Dogs pay in the third, keeping them scoreless. Alison Downie (12 disposals, three tackles) played a key role in Carlton’s defence, causing major disruptions to the Bulldogs’ play inside 50.

Brooke Walker had an impressive game, kicking three goals for the Blues. A favourite moment from the match came from Walker marking the ball 55 metres out from goal and absolutely launching it from inside centre square for a terrific goal. Skipper Brianna Davey (21 disposals, 11 tackles) was impactful for Carlton’s midfield as well as Madison Prespakis (19 disposals, four tackles).

The Bulldogs’ strongest plays came from the last 18 minutes of the match, as the side was finally able to decrease the score margin. Co-captain, Katie Brennan opened the scoring two minutes into the quarter and was followed by a goal from Libby Birch when she was awarded two 50m penalties to see the Dogs remarkably close the scoreline to be within 10 points. Monique Conti (25 disposals, three tackles) helped move the ball throughout but it still proved to be too little too late for the Bulldogs.

Carlton (4-3) will host Fremantle (6-1) in a preliminary final in Melbourne next weekend to playoff for a spot in the 2019 AFLW Grand Final.

AFLW H2H Battle: Early 90s v Late 90s

IN our first AFL Women’s Head-to-Head Battle, we have created teams of 24 players to determine which end of the 90s might prevail in a head-to-head clash. For the early 90s team, we have those AFL Women’s players born between 1990-1994, and for the late 90s, we have the 1995-1999 births. We have not included any player that made their debut in season 2019. As you will see from the two different sides, the early 90s is stacked through the forward line with a strong defence, while the late 90s midfield is very deep with strong players up both ends. It made for a very difficult task of picking just 24 players for each side, and picking a winner is just as difficult.

Early 90s – 1990-1994:

B: Nicola Stevens – Chelsea Randall – Hannah Scott
HB: Bianca Jakobsson – Elise O’Dea – Ebony Antonio
C: Alicia Eva – Kara Donnellan – Kaitlyn Ashmore
HF: Christina Bernardi – Katie Brennan – Jasmine Garner
F: Jess Wuetschner – Darcy Vescio – Brooke Lochland
R: Emma King – Dana Hooker – Jessica Dal Pos
INT: Nat Exon – Sarah D’Arcy – Jaimee Lambert –  Kate McCarthy – Sarah Perkins – Deni Varnhagen

The Early 90s team features the best of the best from 1990-1994 births, with a forward line that is All Australian quality, and an enviable spine that would win one-on-ones galore. In defence, captains, Adelaide’s Chelsea Randall and Melbourne’s Elise O’Dea hold down key spots, with Hannah Scott taking the third tall role, and the likes of Nicola Stevens, Bianca Jakobsson and Ebony Antonio providing run from the back half.

In the midfield, the early 90s team features some seriously underrated players. Fremantle duo, Kara Donnellan and Dana Hooker, GWS GIANTS’ duo Jessica Dal Pos and Alicia Eva, and North Melbourne’s Kaitlyn Ashmore fill out the starting five, with Nat Exon, Jaimee Lambert and Deni Varnhagen able to rotate through there, as would O’Dea and Jakobsson who push up the ground. With Emma King in the ruck, the early 90s would have a strong chance to win the hitouts, although the opposition midfield would be hard to combat.

Up forward, it is littered with stars from start to finish, in what is an unbelievably powerful front six. Katie Brennan and Darcy Vescio as a one-two combo would bring the crowds alone, but throw in goal machines, Jess Wuetschner and Brooke Lochland, as well as great playmakers, Christina Bernardi and Jasmine Garner who provide both defensive and offensive pressure respectively, and add a different element to the mix. Add in the likes of Sarah D’Arcy, Nat Exon, Kate McCarthy and Sarah Perkins, and the forward rotation would be the envy of any side.

Even those who missed out could consider themselves incredibly unlucky, with Rhiannon MetcalfeStevie-Lee ThompsonAmelia MullaneMeghan McDonald, Aimee Schmidt, Jacinda Barclay, Lauren Pearce, Catherine Phillips, Kate Gillespie-Jones, Brittany Gibson and Hayley Wildes among some seriously talented depth for the five years.

VS

Late 90s – 1995-1999:

B: Nicola Barr – Libby Birch – Chloe Molloy
HB: Brianna Davey – Tahlia Randall – Emma Swanson
C: Emily Bates – Ebony Marinoff – Ally Anderson
HF: Ashley Sharp – Sabrina Frederick-Traub – Monique Conti
F: Aliesha Newman – Tayla Harris – Rebecca Beeson
R: Erin McKinnon – Ellie Blackburn – Lily Mithen
INT: Deanna Berry – Brittany Bonnici – Jenna Bruton – Sarah Hosking – Breann Moody – Jamie Stanton

The late 90s team has a deep midfield that would worry any opposition midfield with its uncompromising attack on the ball and ball carrier. Around the ground the side has good options in attack and defence, and while they might not be as experienced as their early 90s counterparts, they show the future of the game over the next five to 15 years. In defence, Tahlia Randall and Libby Birch are the two key backs, with Chloe Molloy capable of playing tall or small. Nicola Barr, Brianna Davey and Emma Swanson provide the fierce attack out of the back half, with the ability to roam through the midfield too.

In the middle, talented young ruck Erin McKinnon leads a massively inside midfield brigade, with Ellie Blackburn, Lily Mithen and Ebony Marinoff likely to lay a record amount of tackles in a game between them. Brisbane pair, Emily Bates and Ally Anderson will provide support on the wings, while Sarah Hosking, Brittany Bonnici, Jenna Bruton and Jamie Stanton are able to also rotate off the bench into the team. Breann Moody would be McKinnon’s back-up ruck, and also allows Randall to purely focus on her defensive match-ups.

Up front, Sabrina Frederick-Traub and Tayla Harris join forces inside 50 as the key targets. Around their, feet speed demons, Ashley Sharp, Monique Conti and Aliesha Newman will always have defenders worried, while Rebecca Beeson is consistent as they come. Deanna Berry will add to the pace inside 50 and will add some extra running off the bench.

Among those unlucky, injured talents Jess Hosking and Isabel Huntington would make the team with some luck in the future, while Jasmine GriersonBonnie ToogoodEden ZankerEloise JonesJordan ZanchettaHayley Miller, Stephanie Cain and Maddison Gay are among those in contention for a spot in the 24-player team.

Weekend previews: AFLW – Round 2

AFTER an exhilarating first round, which saw four of the five matches go down to the wire, teams prepare to tweak game styles or mix up team sheets in order to get an advantage over their opponents. Four of the first round losers face off, with Melbourne heading to Victoria Park on Saturday to face the Magpies, while Carlton hosts Adelaide at Ikon Park on Sunday. The two sides who head home without any points face an uphill battle in the race for finals action. The fifth losing side from Round 1, GWS GIANTS has its own mammoth effort – trying to take down North Melbourne who simply blitzed Carlton. A maximum of three sides can remain undefeated after Round 2 with first round winners, Geelong and Western Bulldogs, and Fremantle and Brisbane facing off over the weekend.

GWS GIANTS vs. NORTH MELBOURNE
Friday, February 8, 7.15pm
Drummoyne Oval

In the opening game of the round, new side North Melbourne fresh off a huge victory over Carlton, head to Drummoyne Oval to face the GIANTS. The GIANTS are playing just their second game at the venue, following a loss to the Blues this time last year. The battle within the contest is the All-Australian rucks going head-to-head with Kangaroos’ Emma King and GIANTS’ Erin McKinnon. North Melbourne’s midfield has great depth to it, lead by last year’s League Best and Fairest winner, Emma Kearney, Jamie Stanton, Jess Duffin and Ash Riddell, of whom the latter was ultra-impressive on debut. North Melbourne’s dynamic forward line features former Magpies, Jasmine Garner and Mo Hope, premiership-winning Bulldog Jenna Bruton, and former Lion Kaitlyn Ashmore. With the strength around the ground, it will be hard to contain the Roos if they win the midfield battle.

The one area the GIANTS could get an upper hand is through rebounding forward with an equally impressive, albeit underrated forward line. Jess Dal Pos, former Magpie Christina Bernardi and defender-turned-forward Cora Staunton are all capable of multiple goals, while Haneen Zreika was impressive on debut last week. The midfield simply has to win its fair share of head-to-heads, with Courtney Gum, Rebecca Beeson, Alicia Eva and Alyce Parker leading the way, while Amanda Farrugia, Emma Swanson and Tanya Hetherington will have big jobs coming out of defence. The Kangaroos took a massive 56 marks in last week’s huge win over Carlton, while still laying 66 tackles. The GIANTS laid just the 42 and only five in the forward 50, and will need to show more pressure inside 50 against a side capable of hurting you on the scoreboard really quickly. Both teams are generally good ball users and make the most of their opportunities so it will be fascinating to see which team can take the early advantage and put it on the scoreboard. North Melbourne will head in as favourites, but it is far from completely clear cut, and this will be a huge win for the GIANTS if they can get the job done at home.

H2H: GWS GIANTS 0 | North Melbourne 0 | Draws 0
Venue: GWS GIANTS 0-1-0 | North Melbourne 0-0-0

Last time they met: N/A

Fun facts:

  • Emma Kearney averages 20 disposals, 6.5 tackles, 4.5 clearances, four inside 50s and a goal against the GIANTS from two clashes.
  • Both AFL Women’s All Australian rucks are set to go head-to-head with Emma King taking on Erin McKinnon. In the battle between the pair last year, King won convincingly with 11 disposals and 18 hitouts to McKinnon’s three disposals and 14 hitouts.
  • GWS GIANTS’ only game at the venue resulted in a loss to Carlton last year, while North Melbourne looks to back up its only game – a huge win over Carlton last week.
  • The GIANTS have won two, drawn two and lost three games in New South Wales and Australian Capital Territory.

 

COLLINGWOOD vs. MELBOURNE
Saturday, February 9, 4.45pm
Victoria Park

At one of the homes of traditional football, Collingwood hosts Melbourne in what has become a must-win for both sides. After heart-breaking losses in Round 1 despite leading at the final change, neither team can afford to go 0-2, with the reality that teams need at least four wins to secure a finals berth. A second loss means they must win four of their final five games as a minimum and with both still to play their respective conference favourites, it would spell trouble for their post-season hopes. However, for the winner, it is a chance to balance the ledger and get back on track early in the season. Collingwood has been a slow starter in year’s gone by, and has been overhauled with youth since last season, while Melbourne has also brought a number of young players into the team, furthering the development of players who got their starts last season. With both teams defensively capable, it will make for a great clash. The sides also sit at one win each in the head-to-head, funnily enough after the losing side in each game got a head start, but was run over the top of in the second halves.

Both teams have made two changes, with a debutant and a return from a long-term injury headlining the selection moves. Oakleigh Chargers’ tall, Katie Lynch comes into the side after Sophie Alexander’s concussion last week ruled her out of the game. Kristy Stratton was also ruled out through injury, with the Magpies opting to go tall by bringing in Eliza Hynes to try and stretch the Melbourne defence when forward, while rotating with Sharni Layton and Eliza Fowler. Melbourne have brought in Ainslie Kemp who has not played since 2017 due to an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tear – sadly replacing Shae Sloane who suffered the exact same injury. The Dees have also brought in Ashleigh Guest for Claudia Whitfort. The key to victory for the Demons is restricting the run of Collingwood’s defence, which helped the Magpies hold up against Geelong last week with Ash Brazill causing all sorts of headaches, while Jordyn Allen was equally as impressive. They also need to clamp down on Jaimee Lambert who has the ability to turn a game with great plays, while Catherine Phillips could be the one asked to restrict Sarah D’Arcy from dominating in the air. For the Magpies, they need to be wary of Melbourne’s firepower with Tegan Cunningham and Eden Zanker likely to stretch the defence, while Aliesha Newman has pace to burn and both Kate Hore and Maddison Gay are capable of getting over the back and hurting teams on the rebound. Elise O’Dea, Karen Paxman and Lily Mithen are up there with the best midfields in the competition, and will look to control the stoppages around the ground and give their forwards early opportunities.

H2H: Collingwood 1 | Melbourne 1 | Draws 0
Venue: Collingwood 0-0-0 | Melbourne 0-0-0

Last time they met: Collingwood 9.4 (58) defeated Melbourne 3.6 (24) at TIO Traeger Park, Round 4, 2018

After booting the opening two goals of the match and keeping Collingwood goalless in the opening term, the Demons only managed 1.4 for the rest of the match as the Magpies piled on 9.4 to run away with the match by 34 points. Magpies captain, Steph Chiocchi played one of her best games under lights, booting a goal from 17 disposals, two marks, four clearances and three inside 50s, while Jaimee Lambert had a team-high 19 disposals as well as three inside 50s and two rebounds. Caitlyn Edwards and Mo Hope both booted two goals in the victory, but arguably the best performance was that of Brittany Bonnici who tagged Melbourne captain, Daisy Pearce and restricted her to a career-low nine disposals. For the Demons, Elise O’Dea was the top performer with 19 disposals, two clearances, three inside 50s and a goal, while Karen Paxman had 18 touches and three rebounds.

Fun facts:

  • Of the 42 players to take the field in last year’s clash in the Top End, just 24 players remain available for selection in season 2019. Even more remarkably, just eight players from Collingwood’s first match against the Demons – two years ago – remain on the list.
  • Elise O’Dea (17 disposals) and Karen Paxman (16.5 disposals) average the most disposals against the Magpies from their two clashes.
  • Sarah D’Arcy and Emma Grant average the most disposals against the Demons, with 10 touches apiece.
  • Both sides were in the lead at three quarter time after holding their opponent scoreless in the third term last week only to go on to lose the game in heartbreaking circumstances.

 

WESTERN BULLDOGS vs. GEELONG
Saturday, February 9, 7.15pm
VU Whitten Oval

H2H: Western Bulldogs 0 | Geelong 0 | Draws 0
Venue: Western Bulldogs 4-3-0 | Geelong 0-0-0

In the other game that will be the first time these teams go head-to-head is between reigning premiers, Western Bulldogs and new side, Geelong. Both teams had a win in Round 1 and this weekend marks the first home game for the Bulldogs, which means they will unfurl the 2018 AFL Women’s flag in front of what is predicted to be a strong crowd at VU Whitten Oval. The winner will most certainly get an early advantage given the strength of their opponent, and it marks the first game for the sides which sees them pitted against a non-conference rival. Both teams also know how to close out tight games, having survived one-point thrillers in the opening round to secure the four points. Given their experience and depth across the field, Western Bulldogs will head in as favourites, but Geelong are expected to throw down a challenge with a couple of key players returning.

The Cats have welcomed back key forward, Phoebe McWilliams and ruck, Erin Hoare to bolster their side against the reigning premiers. Georgie Rankin and Maighan Fogas have been the two unlucky players omitted from the victorious side last Saturday night, with Fogas and key defender, Georgia Clarke named as emergencies for the clash. The Dogs will unveil Irish debutant, Aisling McCarthy who comes into the side, replacing the omitted Belinda Smith. The enticing battle will see which defence holds up the best as both sides proved to have their respective opposition’s measure last week. Co-captain, Katie Brennan booted the Bulldogs’ two goals against the Crows, while Meg McDonald, Rebecca Goring and Madeline Keryk were among the Cats’ best under pressure when the Magpies were attacking. While the heartbreaking story of Nina Morrison doing her ACL at training will dominate headlines, Geelong still has a huge core of youth including Denby Taylor, Olivia Purcell and Sophie Van De Heuvel who will face established young talents in Monique Conti and Bonnie Toogood, and first round draftee, Eleanor Brown. Co-captain Ellie Blackburn is always a crucial player for the Dogs and will look to take control in the midfield, while the Dogs’ defence of Lauren Spark, Libby Birch and Hannah Scott will provide plenty of rebound.

Last time they met: N/A

Fun facts:

  • The Western Bulldogs lost three consecutive matches at VU Whitten Oval in 2017, but have since won all three games they have played there, and is the Dogs’ first home game since winning the 2018 AFL Women’s flag.
  • Aasta O’Connor will play against her old side for the first time, lining up in the ruck to face Kim Rennie, while sharing the ruck duties with Erin Hoare in the blue and white hoops.
  • Ellie Blackburn averaged 16.9 disposals, 2.9 marks, 3.25 tackles and 3.25 clearances last season, the most of any current Western Bulldogs player.
  • With Brooke Lochland injured for the season, Phoebe McWilliams will be the leading goal kicker from last season in the match, booting seven goals for the GIANTS.

 

CARLTON vs. ADELAIDE
Sunday, February 10, 4.05pm
Ikon Park

H2H: Carlton 0 | Adelaide 2 | Draws 0
Venue: Carlton 4-1-2 | Adelaide 0-0-0

For the first time in 2019, Ikon Park hosts a match with the Blues heading back home to welcome the Crows in a Sunday evening game. The ground has traditionally been the host of the opening game of the year between bitter rivals, Carlton and Collingwood but that has changed in 2019. These teams are both heading into the match off the back of a loss, with Carlton’s heavy defeat to North Melbourne not the ideal start to the season following a wooden spoon, while the Crows will rue missed opportunities in front of goal after booting 1.11 against the Bulldogs at Norwood Oval. Adelaide is yet to play at Ikon Park, while Carlton has made it somewhat of a fortress winning four and drawing a fifth game from its seven matches at the venue. Considering they have only won one match outside Ikon Park, it has been a comfort zone and the Crows cannot afford to take them lightly. With Adelaide in the tougher conference, they would not want to drop this game and go 0-2 to start the season, while Carlton will look for its first win under Daniel Harford who would have learnt plenty from the round one defeat.

Looking at the Round 1 matches, efficiency inside 50 looks to be key, with Adelaide having a 75 per cent scoring efficiency with 18 shots from 24 attempts, while Carlton had just 10 shots from 29 attempts – 35 per cent scoring efficiency. Both sides have impressive forward lines on paper, but they will need to convert their opportunities. Any forward 50 with Darcy Vescio, Tayla Harris and Brianna Davey – who has actually been named in defence – is going to worry opposition defenders, while Erin Phillips is as good as anyone one-on-one and is lining up at full-forward, while Chloe Scheer is a young star who will only get better. Speaking of young stars, Madison Prespakis carried the weight of the midfield on her shoulders last week and was ultra-impressive on debut, so the Crows will need to be aware of her presence. The Adelaide midfield has greater depth and the Blues should look to limit the influence of Ebony Marinoff who racked up 23 disposals and laid 11 tackles in Round 1. If Carlton can restrict her influence on the inside and win the contested ball – with the likes of Jess Hosking and Katie Loynes getting on top, it will go a long way to causing an upset. Chelsea Randall leads the defence, while the experience of Renee Forth through the midfield will be important. Carlton will need to control the ruck contest through Breann Moody, and break even in the middle, while the Crows will focus on clearance domination to give their forwards first opportunity and more importantly, those forwards need to convert.

Last time they met: Adelaide 8.7 (55) defeated Carlton 2.8 (20) at Norwood Oval, Round 5, 2018.

Adelaide flexed their muscles against the Blues when the sides were heading in opposite directions. The Crows at home booted six goals to one after quarter time to run away from the Blues, but counted the cost of the win with injuries to Erin Phillips and Courtney Cramey. Ruth Wallace booted three goals, while Eloise Jones finished with two, as Ebony Marinoff and Chelsea Randall shared 31 disposals. Breann Moody was dominant in the ruck for the Blues with 29 hitouts from 11 disposals and four clearances, while Tayla Harris had 11 disposals, three marks and booted a goal.

Fun facts:

  • Despite winning the wooden spoon last season, Carlton has a strong record at Ikon Park, having won four and drawn one from seven attempts.
  • If Carlton lose the match, it will mark more than a year since they won their last match.
  • While she picked up an injury in the second game, Erin Phillips was everywhere in the Crows’ first win over the Blues, racking up 21 disposals and eight clearances. In the same game, Ebony Marinoff laid 14 tackles from 16 disposals, her exact disposal average against Carlton.
  • Of the Carlton players to play against Adelaide in both games, the omitted Tilly Lucas-Rodd averages the most disposals with 13.5, while Darcy Vescio averages two goals per game against the Crows.

 

FREMANTLE vs. BRISBANE
Sunday, February 10, 3.05pm
Fremantle Oval

H2H: Fremantle 0 | Brisbane 2 | Draws 0
Venue: Fremantle 2-3-0 | Brisbane 1-0-0

Both sides won against the odds in Round 1, with Fremantle toppling Melbourne in scorching weather at Casey Fields after being 14 points down at the final break, while Brisbane knocked off GWS GIANTS a fortnight after succumbing to the GIANTS in a heavy practice match loss. Both sides had plenty to be positive about last week, most importantly securing an early four points, while also having plenty to improve upon for this week. Fremantle are back at home in Western Australia, but at their only other clash at the venue, Brisbane took home the points, though it was two years ago. Both teams look to be very different to that clash, with the Lions having a host of youth coming through, as do the Dockers while also filtering in some experienced local talent. Brisbane will go in as favourites given their history in the competition, but Fremantle’s performance last week certainly raised eyebrows and showed that everyone could be underrating the Dockers.

Both sides play a different brand of football which is really exciting for this clash. In Round 1, Fremantle battered and bruised their way to an impressive contested ball style, getting the pull forward to record a huge 11 marks inside 50, while laying 10 tackles in the arc. They harassed and pressured the Demons into making uncharacteristic mistakes, laying 77 tackles in the process. The Lions have tall targets up forward, but opted for a balanced possession game and spread well around the ground. They intercepted the GIANTS 51 times and took the game on, trying to unsettle the defence with possession football, but going when required. This game could well be a combination of both styles and sets up for a huge clash. The Lions forward line is severely underrated with Sabrina Frederick-Traub the dominant key position player, while McKenzie Dowrick and Jess Wuetschner are incredibly clever and dangerous around goals. Throw in Jordan Zanchetta, Emma Zielke and the defensively-minded but strong, Lauren Arnell and the Lions front six is as good as any. Ebony Antonio and Tayla Bresland were strong in defence last week, while the midfield of Dana Hooker and Kara Donnellan are not huge ball winners, but always effective. They tackle the biggest ball-winning duo of Emily Bates and Ally Anderson who had the ball on a string last week, while the potential match-up of Kiara Bowers and Sam Virgo could be entertaining based on Round 1 form. Both teams have immensely talented youth coming through, and both teams’ first round picks, Sabreena Duffy and Paige Parker, have been named in the side.

Last time they met: Brisbane 3.4 (22) defeated Fremantle 2.3 (15) at South Pine Sports Complex, Round 4, 2018.

In a low-scoring affair that saw just one goal kicked in the first half, Brisbane held on in a thriller to win by seven points and remain on track for a grand final berth. Dynamic forward, Jess Wuetschner booted two goals from 18 disposals, three marks and four inside 50s, while Kate Lutkins and Ally Anderson both had 18 touches in the win. For the Dockers, Lara Filocamo had 18 disposals and laid five tackles. Kara Donnellan laid a whopping 10 tackles and had five clearances and 15 disposals.

Fun facts:

  • In their only clash at the venue, Brisbane defeated Fremantle by 13 points in Round 2, 2017. Fremantle has a 100 per cent winning ratio at Fremantle Oval over Victorian sides, but a zero per cent winning ratio over non-Victorian sides.
  • Jess Wuetschner has been the dominant goal kicker in the matches between these sides, averaging two goals per game.
  • Lara Filocamo averages the most disposals between the sides, with 17.5 per match.
  • Both sides won their opening round matches by less than a kick, with Fremantle getting a dress rehearsal for the scorching West Australian heat, winning at Casey Fields in 38 degrees Celcius.

 

DRAFT CENTRAL TIPPING

Leaderboard:

Eq. 1st : Sophie Taylor, Matthew Cocks [ 3 ]
Eq. 3rd : Peter Williams, Taylah Melki, Michael Alvaro [ 2 ]

 

Peter Williams

Chief Editor

Last week: 2

Round 2 selections:

North Melbourne
Collingwood
Western Bulldogs
Adelaide
Brisbane

 

Taylah Melki

Assistant Chief Editor

Last week: 2

Round 2 selections:

North Melbourne
Melbourne
Western Bulldogs
Adelaide
Brisbane

 

Sophie Taylor

Women’s Football Editor

Last week: 3

Round 2 selections:

North Melbourne
Melbourne
Western Bulldogs
Adelaide
Brisbane

 

Michael Alvaro

Men’s Football Editor

Last week: 2

Round 2 selections:

North Melbourne
Melbourne
Western Bulldogs
Adelaide
Brisbane

 

Matthew Cocks

Guest Tipster

Last week: 3

Round 2 selections:

GWS GIANTS
Collingwood
Western Bulldogs
Adelaide
Brisbane

AFLW season previews: Western Bulldogs

THE reigning premiers will come into 2019 hoping to go back-to-back for the first time in the AFLW competition, having picked up a wealth of experienced players to join their side this year. But with the loss of last year’s Best and Fairest, Emma Kearney to North Melbourne and leading goalkicker, Brooke Lochland to injury for the majority of the season, their Bulldogs’ plans could be skewed.

Last season: 1st – five wins, two losses.

Changes:

In: Belinda Smith, Eleanor Brown, Aisling McCarthy, Kate Bartlett, Selena Karlson, Jessie Davies, Tessa Boyd, Celine Moody

Out: Daria Bannister, Jenna Bruton, Emma Kearney, Aasta O’Connor, Jess Anderson, Rachel Ashley, Laura Bailey, Kim Ebb

With a lot of experience lost in the off-season, the Bulldogs opted to do a straight swap in the draft, opting for more experience over youth. Paul Groves and his assistants would’ve followed the Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s competition closely, picking up four players who had experience in that league. Classy midfielder, Eleanor Brown had the honour of adding TAC Cup Girls and Vic Metro experience to her VFLW experience last year, proving she has what it takes to shine at AFLW level. Brown can play an inside or outside role in the midfield and can roll across to the half-back line, which she did successfully in the AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships in July. Brown came up against a clever forward in Kate Bartlett during those championships, who she will now play alongside at the Dogs. Bartlett played for Western Australia as a 19 year-old last year, working hard to earn a chance to play AFLW alongside another ‘KB’ in Katie Brennan.

Area of strength: Forward line

The Bulldogs have one of the most attractive forward lines in the competition. This is of course headlined by Brennan, who is a class above with her marking and goal kicking ability. If she can stay injury and suspension free this season, she will be a key part in taking the Bulldogs to the top again. She will also have Kate Bartlett inside 50 to complement her. The Western Australian forward is also strong overhead and has a great goal sense under pressure, playing as a deep or high forward. AFLW fans were starved of seeing Isabel Huntington reach her potential last season due to her heartbreaking Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) injury. While she had another knee scare in the off-season, the 2016 number one draft pick will be ready to go in 2019, and she will certainly be one to watch with her prowess in the air and long kick. Add in the best on ground in the Grand Final, Monique Conti and the Bulldogs have a dangerous forward line that combines dominance in the air and speed on the field.

Area of weakness: Midfield

The Bulldogs lost a key midfield duo in the off-season to North Melbourne, waving goodbye to Kearney and Jenna Bruton. While Aasta O’Connor mainly plays in defence, she was often a key cog in the ruck for the Bulldogs in seasons gone by, meaning she is another loss in the middle of the ground for the reigning premiers. The Bulldogs are fortunate that Ellie Blackburn has still stuck around, as she and Kearney combined to be a lethal duo last season. Blackburn has been elevated to the club’s co-captain alongside Brennan this season, allowing her to relish her on-field leadership as well as her obvious talent. Sandringham Dragons product, Brown could be the one to combine with Blackburn this season, as Blackburn’s great hands and precise kicks have given opposition midfields headaches in past years.

Players to watch:

Isabel Huntington

Huntington’s debut game was cruelly halted in the first half when she ruptured her ACL against Brisbane, not even getting to complete a full game in her debut appearance for the side. Now having been cleared of another ACL rupture after an innocuous training incident, Huntington is on track to play her debut game for the Bulldogs in Round 1, and if last year’s glimpse is anything to go by, she will be a dominant force inside 50. Huntington’s overhead marking is elite and she is strong in the contests. Combine that with her long kick, and she is certainly one to keep an eye on.

Naomi Ferres

Ferres had a brilliant season in the VFLW for the Western Bulldogs, taking out the club’s Best and Fairest at the end of the season. Despite only playing seven matches, Ferres was named in the best in each game, averaging 17.4 disposals per game. This included finishing off her season with three consecutive games in which she racked up 20 disposals per game. Clearly, Ferres is one that knows how to find the football and is clever both by hand and by foot, which will make her a key cog in the Bulldogs’ 2019 midfield, given the loss of Bruton and Kearney.

Eleanor Brown

Brown was one of the most composed players in the TAC Cup Girls competition last year, winning the ball with ease in the midfield. She was often able to clear space with her long kick or create space with her outside running, making her one of Sandringham’s key players across the season. Brown was named in the TAC Cup Girls Team of the Year at half-forward for her efforts, highlighting her versatility across the field. In the AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships, she found herself at half-back on the last day of the Gold Coast tournament, and was a key playmaker, racking up plenty of disposals and acting as an anchor across the back line. She made the Under-18 All-Australian team because of this game and her efforts across the tournament for Vic Metro.

2019 prediction: 1st in Conference A

Despite some key losses in the off-season, the Bulldogs should still be the ones to watch when it comes to the premiership race. A forward line containing Brennan, Huntington, Conti and Bartlett, a defence containing the likes of Hannah Scott, Libby Birch and Lauren Spark and a midfield which consists of bona-fide stars in Blackburn, Brown and Ferres still makes the Bulldogs a highly talented team. Considering their success last season, they do have one of the harder draws in the 2019 season, facing off against Adelaide and the two new expansion teams in Geelong and North Melbourne, and hosting a Grand Final rematch against the Lions in the first four rounds of the season. If the Bulldogs can win at least two of those games, they will be well on track for another premiership berth, as they have an easy draw after that, facing off against Fremantle, Melbourne and Carlton in the last three rounds of the season.

2019 AFLW Western Bulldogs Fixture

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Norwood OvalRound 1
Whitten OvalRound 2
University of Tasmania StadiumRound 3
Whitten OvalRound 4
Fremantle OvalRound 5
Marvel StadiumRound 6
Whitten OvalRound 7

Season reviews: VFLW – Western Bulldogs

THE Western Bulldogs took a while to get going in the Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s season. But when they got going, they looked unstoppable, winning six consecutive games to get their season back on track. With seven wins and seven losses in their first season of VFLW, the Dogs can be happy with their 2018 campaign.

 

Position: 6th
Win-loss: 7-7
Percentage: 84%

Results:

Round 1: Lost against Richmond by 38 points
Round 2: Lost against Carlton by 46 points
Round 3: Bye
Round 4: Lost against Collingwood by eight points
Round 5: Lost against NT Thunder by 36 points
Round 6: Defeated Williamstown by 56 points
Round 7: Defeated Casey Demons by three points
Round 8: Defeated Geelong Cats by 22 points
Round 9: Defeated Melbourne University by 21 points
Round 10: Defeated Essendon by six points
Round 11: Defeated Williamstown by 40 points
Round 12: Bye
Round 13: Lost against Southern Saints by 31 points
Round 14: Lost against Hawthorn by 55 points
Round 15: Lost against Melbourne University by 33 points
Round 16: Defeated Darebin by four points

 

Key players:

#10 Sarah Jolly

Jolly impressed with her run and carry through the midfield and ability to win the ball in congestion. She played all 14 games this season and kicked six goals. Jolly was also named in the best four times, with one of her standout performances coming in Round 10 when she racked up 20 disposals.

#16 Naomi Ferres

Ferres was one of the Bulldogs’ most consistent midfielders all season, consistently going in hard for the football. She won the Western Bulldogs’ Best and Fairest count on 76 votes, highlighting her ability to capture the attention of others. Ferres had an impressive performance against the Mugars with 20 disposals, two marks and six tackles.

#18 Libby Birch

Birch continued her great AFL Women’s form in defence with the Bulldogs’ VFLW side. She was agile and great in the air and impressed with her run and carry as well as her marking. She came third in the Western Bulldogs Best and Fairest count and made the VFLW Team of the Year, which is a remarkable effort considering she only played eight games this season. One of her best games was in Round 6, when she gathered 19 disposals, took six marks and laid two tackles.

#20 Ashleigh Guest

Guest never disappointed in the midfield for the Bulldogs, impressing with her football smarts. She had clean hands under pressure and kicked the ball well too. Like Birch, she only played eight games this season, but she finished ahead of the defender in the Best and Fairest, coming second with 60 votes. Guest was named in the best five times, with one of her stellar performances coming against Darebin. In that game, she led the way on the ground with 23 disposals, and also took six marks to go along with her four tackles.

#47 Nicole McMahon

In her first year of football, McMahon looked right at home in Bulldogs colours. She was trusted with the ruck duties for the season, and did well to give her midfielders first use of the football. She was awarded the Best First Year player at the Bulldogs’ Best and Fairest after a great year.

 

Season summary:

The Bulldogs looked in trouble at the start of the season, losing their first four games. But after this, the side kicked into gear, bringing some of its AFL Women’s talent back in to score some much-needed wins. From Round 6, the Dogs won six straight games and looked like possible finals contenders at that point. But a couple of late losses gave them a sixth place finish, which is a respectable feat in their first season of VFLW.

AFL Draft Central’s VFLW Team of the Year

PICKING the AFL Draft Central Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s Team of the Year was very difficult as there has been numerous terrific performers throughout the year. We compiled the best 22 players at the end of the VFLW home and away season, which takes into account the standout performers from the 16 rounds of VFLW this season.

Jess Duffin starts in the centre due to her outstanding season for Williamstown. She was picked in the AFL Draft Central VFLW Team of the Week five times during the season, showing how dominant she was in the competition. She had a wonderful VFLW season and will hope to continue her great form with North Melbourne in the upcoming AFL Women’s season. Darcy Vescio is rightfully named at full forward after winning the VFLW goalkicking award, with 26 goals from nine matches. Nine of these goals were kicked against the Bombers in Round 16.

The back line is headlined by Hawthorn gun defender, Jayde Van Dyk. Van Dyk has been a revelation this season with her consistency and ability to lock down key players. Richmond’s Jacqueline Graham, who was also great down back for her side, accompanies Van Dyk in the back line. She featured in the AFL Draft Central VFLW Team of the Week eight times, which is only beaten by Jayde Van Dyk and Jess Duffin’s nine appearances.

The midfield is littered with some of the competition’s superstars. Ashleigh Riddell was outstanding for Melbourne University across the wing, while Alison Drennan was extremely reliable for the Southern Saints. She appeared in the Team of the Week seven times this season. Darebin’s Lauren Pearce got the nod to be the starting ruck as she was one of the standout rucks in the competition alongside Rhiannon Watt (Southern Saints) and Alice Edmonds (Richmond). Pearce just edged out the latter duo to make the AFL Draft Central VFLW Team of the Year.

The forward line has plenty of fire-power and is easily capable of kicking a winning score. On the left half-forward flank is NT’s Jess Sedunary, who finished third in the goalkicking tally. Alongside her at centre-half forward is North Melbourne recruit, Jasmine Garner, who kicked 10 goals in nine games for the Seagulls.

The bench consists of midfield pair, Richelle Cranston (Geelong) and Jenna Bruton (Williamstown) as well as utility, Katherine Gillespie-Jones (Melbourne University). Rounding out the AFL Draft Central VFLW Team of the Year is Thunder captain, Angela Foley. Foley was able to provide outstanding leadership while simultaneously playing some consistent football.

Due to only 22 making the final cut, there was destined to be many unlucky players. Falcons forward, Hannah Mouncey can consider herself unlucky as she kicked the second-most goals in the competition. But as we saw with Tom Hawkins in the AFL, who did not make the 2018 All Australian side, goals sometimes are not enough. Hawthorn midfielder, Melissa Kuys is also unlucky as she had a great season leading from the front. Former Calder Cannons pair, Chloe Molloy and Madison Prespakis are two more who had an argument to be included in the Team of the Year, but will definitely be featuring prominently in the future.

Weekend wash-up: VFLW – Round 13

BIG wins from NT Thunder and Geelong combined with a loss to Hawthorn made for a shake-up of the Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s top four in Round 13. In other games, the Casey Demons defeated the Blues, the Saints upset the Dogs and the Pies took care of business at RAMS Arena against the bottom of the table Bombers. 

 

Casey Demons 5.7 (37) defeated Carlton 3.9 (27)

By: James Halley

The Casey Demons held on to a 10-point victory against Carlton as the Blues failed to capitalise on their chances late in the final quarter at Casey Fields. Carlton was 16 points down at the final change, needing four goals in the last quarter to win. However, the Blues had only kicked three majors for the game, making for a very difficult task. They had the advantage of a major breeze in the last term but unfortunately for the Blues, they only were able to kick six behinds in the last quarter, missing crucial chances in front of goal.

The Demons’ dominant first term negated Carlton of any chance of scoring, as they locked the ball inside their forward 50 for the majority of the quarter. Their first quarter dominance was soon squandered as Carlton got its chance to attack with the breeze, as Vescio showed why she is such a star. The Blues denied Casey for a large part of the third term, as they placed a number behind the ball, but Katherine Smith broke the drought with a smart goal out a pack moments before three quarter-time, allowing the Demons to hold on for victory. 

Eden Zanker starred for the Demons up forward as she kicked two goals within the first five minutes of the game, ending up with three for the match. For Carlton, Darcy Vescio stood up when needed, taking big marks and kicking a crucial goal. She made her Demon opponents nervous whenever she was near the ball.

 

Williamstown 4.2 (26) defeated by NT Thunder 11.5 (71)

NT Thunder got another win on the board in stunning fashion, defeating the struggling Seagulls by 55 points. The Thunder led at every break and did the most damage in the third quarter. The away side kept Williamstown scoreless and kicked four unanswered goals to sit a at second on the ladder and a game ahead of Hawthorn.

In her return to the NT lineup, Anne Hatchard did not disappoint. The Adelaide AFLW forward booted four goals while Crows teammates, Jessica Sedunary and Georgia Bevan each kicked one major. Bevan was named best on ground for the Thunder and was complemented by fellow goal kicker, Emma Swanson, who has been in fine form for the Thunder this season. Tayla Thorn also played a great game for NT, kicking two goals and making her way into the best as well.

It was all single goal kickers for Williamstown, as the side only scored four majors for the day. Georgia Harris, Jess Duffin, Sarah Chapman and Sharnie Whiting were the ones who got on the board with a goal each, doing what they could to provide a contest. A standout in that area was Rebecca Dardengo, who was named best afield for the Seagulls in the loss. She was complemented by Belinda Hateley, Chloe Portelli, Jenna Bruton and Jessica Bartolo.

 

Geelong Cats 10.7 (67) defeated Richmond 1.2 (8)

In one of the biggest wins of the season, the Cats took care of the Tigers, easily beating them by 59 points. Geelong held Richmond scoreless for three quarters and used the third quarter to blow the game out of the water. In that quarter, the Cats got out to a 65-point lead, thanks to kicking six unanswered goals.

Mia-Rae Clifford had an absolute day out in the blue and white hoops, kicking four majors for the day, two of which came in the first quarter. Maddie Boyd also joined in the scoring, kicking two goals and being named best on ground for her efforts. Richelle Cranston continued her stellar season at Geelong, as she booted a goal on the weekend and contributed well around the ground. She too was named in the best Geelong players for her great game. Maighan Fogas, Erin Hoare and Cassandra Blakeway also had performances to remember, playing solid games on the day.

For Richmond, it is no surprise to see who was named best on ground. Phoebe Monahan has been an exceptional midfielder for the Tigers this season and was no different on Saturday. Despite the heavy loss, she managed to make her efforts shine through which was a positive for Richmond on a dour day. Monahan was complemented by good games from Murray Bushrangers midfielder, Tamara Smith as well as Ella Ross, Alice Edmonds, Laura Bailey and Lisa Davie. Jess Gardner was the only goal kicker for Richmond, booting through a major in the last quarter.

 

Darebin 4.5 (29) defeated Hawthorn 3.7 (25)

By: Taylah Melki

In a relatively low-scoring affair, it was the Darebin Falcons that took home the four points, knocking off the third-placed Hawks. It was a scrappy game with neither side able to capitalise on their scoring opportunities and often fumbling the ball. Both teams struggled to break away from one another with the final margin being a mere four points, making for a hotly contested match. Most of the game was played between the arcs, resulting in a lot of stoppages and very few shots on goal.

For the Falcons, the experience and class of players such as Elise O’Dea and Jessica Dal Pos stood out with their ability to open up the space and create some good run and carry through the middle. O’Dea bagged an important goal for her side, and showed great leadership in trying times to will her side back into the contest. Teammate, Kate Shierlaw also impressed for Darebin with her composure and ability to take strong marks under pressure while Meghan McDonald starred down back, taking a number of good intercept marks to stop the flow of the Hawks.

The likes of Meg Hutchins and Phoebe McWilliams continued to impress for the brown and gold with their constant intent to win the footy and impact on the contest. Jayde Van Dyk was also amongst the Hawks’ best with her clean hands in close and ability to read the play well. Teammates, Rebecca Beeson and Jessica Sibley also worked tirelessly all game, racking up the touches and imposing themselves around the contest.

 

Western Bulldogs 1.3 (9) defeated by Southern Saints 6.4 (40)

In one of the biggest upsets of the round, the Bulldogs were knocked off their high horse and came crashing back down to Earth against the Southern Saints. They kicked their only goal of the game in the first quarter, and were completely shut down by the Saints for the rest of the game. The Saints were able to increase their lead at each quarter break and ended up taking home a 31-point win.

Tara Bohanna was the focal point up forward with three majors while Courtney Munn, Amy Silver and Holly Bate all chipped in with one major a piece. Kayla Ripari continued her solid season on Sunday, being named best on ground for the winning team. Ruck, Rhiannon Watt was just as impressive and has also had a consistent season, backing it up on Sunday by being named second best. The duo were complemented by Vic Metro Under 18 pair, Eleanor Brown and Gabriella De Angelis, who also earned a spot among the best players.

For the Bulldogs, April Goldring and Libby Birch were the standouts in the loss. In her first game for the season, Hannah Scott contributed well in her first VFLW game, although she would’ve liked to have taken home the win. Fellow AFLW teammates, Angelica Gogos, Lauren Spark and Ashleigh Guest all also did well on the day.

 

Essendon 3.5 (23) defeated by Collingwood 6.13 (49)

Collingwood got off to a fast start in this match, kicking the first four majors of the game. Essendon then fought back in the second quarter, outscoring the Pies two goals to one. But Collingwood’s winning form prevailed, holding onto victory in a tight tussle at RAMS Arena.

Oakleigh Chargers skipper, Hannah McLaren was named best on ground for the Magpies in what was a memorable performance for her. Her Chargers teammate, Daisy Bateman also made an impact by kicking a goal on the day. Iilish Ross, Jessica Edwards and Sophie Casey also kicked singles while AFLW captain, Steph Chiocci booted two majors. Collingwood AFLW teammates, Brittany Bonnici and Holly Whitford also put in solid performances in the win.

Irena Malliaras, Monique DeMatteo and Tanya Hetherington were the goal kickers for the Bombers in windy conditions. Hetherington was also named in the best for Essendon for her great game but she was bettered by one player in Jessica Anwyl, who was named best on ground for the losing side. The duo were complemented solid performances from Courtney Ugle, Natalie MacDonald, Maddy Collier and Alexa Madden.

Team of the Week: VFLW – Round 8

AFTER their impressive wins over the weekend, Melbourne University and Casey have three representatives each in this week’s best 22. Meanwhile, Essendon, Williamstown and NT only have one player each who made the cut after their disappointing defeats in round eight of the Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s competition.

Jess Duffin was exceptional for the Seagulls against Darebin and was a shinning light, despite their loss on Sunday. Her 31 disposals was a massive feat and her 25 kicks were truly impressive. Joining Duffin as a lock in the Team of the Week was Collingwood forward, Sophie Alexander. She kicked a round-high four goals to accompany her 18 disposals.

The AFL Draft Central VFLW Team of the Week has seen a regular set of defenders perform well week in, week out. The likes of Meghan McDonald, Jayde Van Dyk, Jacqueline Graham and Courtney Ugle have seen their names appear in the best 22 on many occasions this season, which is reward for their defensive efforts. 

Alice Edmonds played a prolific ruck role for Richmond in the absence of AFLW North Melbourne ruck, Emma King. Edmonds gathered 17 touches as well as giving the Richmond midfield silver service. She was unlucky to miss out on selection this week, but was edged out of the team by Carlton’s Breann Moody.

Williamstown pair, Georgia Harris and Jenna Bruton are also unlucky to miss out on a place in this week’s best 22, after each of them had standout performances. Harris was a spearhead up forward with two goals while Bruton recorded 27 disposals. However, it was not enough for her to claim a spot this week with teammate, Duffin edging her out.

Weekend wash-up: VFLW – Round 8

IT was not a good weekend for the home sides in the Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s competition, as five out of the six home teams went down to the away sides in their respective matches. The only home win was perhaps the biggest win, as the Western Bulldogs knocked the Geelong Cats off the top of the VFLW ladder. But with the average round eight winning margin being 15 points, wins certainly did not come easy for those victors.

 

Essendon 3.3 (21) defeated by Casey Demons 6.11 (47)

In a morning of scattered rain and cold wind, it was the Casey Demons who recorded their second win of the season. With only one behind a piece in the opening quarter, it looked like Essendon was really going to push the Demons in the conditions. But the away side stepped up after that, kicking two goals in each quarter to record a 26-point win at RAMS Arena.

Melbourne AFLW defender, Katherine Smith is certainly enjoying her midfield role at Casey, as she continued her good form with a 22 disposal game. She was outdone by fellow AFLW defender, Bianca Jakobsson, who tore it up in the back line with 20 disposals, six marks and nine tackles. Casey’s leading goal kicker, Kaila Bentvelzen also impressed with one goal and 18 disposals and she was joined by Harriet Cordner, who almost shared identical stats with her. Cordner also kicked a major and racked up 17 disposals on the day.

Although the Bombers didn’t get the win, they sure were glad to welcome forward, Danielle Ponter into the side. Ponter kicked two goals from her four disposals and also laid two tackles. In terms of disposals, Jessica Trend led the way for Essendon with 20 touches, as well as two marks and six tackles. Speaking of tackles, Hayley Bullas was back to her ferocious best, laying 18 tackles for the second time this season. She was complemented by GWS defender, Maddy Collier who recorded a season-high herself with 14 tackles.

 

Carlton 6.6 (42) defeated by Melbourne Uni 7.6 (48)

Carlton recorded another close VFLW loss on Saturday, going down to Melbourne Uni by a goal. The Blues stormed out of the blocks with five goals in the first quarter and looked like they were going to win their first game since round three. But the Mugars fought back in the second quarter, keeping Carlton scoreless and kicking three goals themselves. It was then extremely close in the second half with Melbourne Uni scoring 2.4 to Carlton’s 1.4, which ultimately led them to a much-needed victory.

Kate Angelis starred for the Mugars, kicking three of her side’s seven majors. In the middle, it was captain, Ashleigh Riddell who led the way once again with 24 disposals and four tackles. While AFLW Best and Fairest, Emma Kearney was kept quiet with 12 disposals, she led the way for tackles on the ground, laying nine of them. Western Jets forward, Caitlin Greiser had a solid performance in her first game for Melbourne Uni, kicking a goal, racking up six touches and laying six tackles.

For the Blues, Kerryn Harrington performed well, as she kicked two goals and racked up 16 touches. She got some good delivery from AFLW teammate, Sophie Li who recorded a game-high 27 disposals. Natalie Plane was next in line with 24 disposals and also laid six tackles to complete a good all-round game. Oakleigh Chargers forward, Isabella Geitzmann also did well, kicking a goal from her five disposals.

 

Richmond 4.1 (25) defeated by Hawthorn 4.5 (29)

By: James Halley

Hawthorn has edged Richmond by four points in a tense afternoon at the Swinburne Centre in round eight of the VFLW competition. Richmond was dealt with a blow before the first whistle with several big stars out for their round eight encounter. AFLW stars Emma King, Sophie Conway, Lauren Tesoriero and Christina Bernardi were all absent from their clash with Hawthorn. But the Tigers proved their depth as they matched up to one of the most experienced teams in the league. Meanwhile, Hawthorn welcomed back spearhead Sarah Perkins after being rested last week with concussion.

Ruck, Alice Edmonds was productive for the Tigers on the day. Her contested work at stoppages and her movement around the ground were supreme. She gave the Richmond midfielders an advantage with her taps all day. Midfielder, Phoebe Monahan was one of Richmond’s best as she collected 26 disposals and topped most of Richmond’s stats for the day.

Jayde Van Dyk was everywhere for Hawthorn, amassing a game-high 26 disposals. She took numerous intercept possessions to help rebound attacks for the Hawks. She was rarely beaten one-on-one, displaying her all-round game.

 

NT Thunder 4.4 (28) defeated by Collingwood 6.8 (44)

NT succumbed to its second consecutive loss by going down to the Magpies in Darwin. The Thunder handed them top spot in the process, after Collingwood put the foot on the accelerator in the second half to overturn a half-time deficit. The Pies kicked 5.3 to NT’s 2.2, which saw them keep their undefeated streak alive.

Collingwood forward, Sophie Alexander was absolutely sensational with four goals, 18 touches, seven marks and five tackles. AFLW defender, Sarah D’Arcy joined Alexander on seven marks, with the duo leading the way in that statistic. Meanwhile Collingwood Best and Fairest winner, Chloe Molloy had the ball on a string, recording 24 touches, six marks and four tackles. She was complemented by captain, Jessica Edwards, whose form keeps improving. The skipper racked up 20 touches and laid a whopping 12 tackles at TIO Stadium.

W-League star, Jenna McCormick led the way for the Thunder with 21 touches and six marks, playing a great all-round game. She was complemented by Adelaide AFLW teammate, Sally Riley who recorded 20 touches. Jasmyn Hewett was also solid, kicking a goal from her 18 disposals and laying seven tackles. GWS forward, Renee Forth also kicked a goal and racked up 15 touches and five tackles in the process, continuing her solid form for the Thunder.

 

Williamstown 5.7 (37) defeated by Darebin 7.9 (51)

Darebin recorded its second consecutive win with a 14-point win over the Seagulls. However, Williamstown didn’t make it easy for the Falcons, reducing a 24-point quarter time deficit to an eight point margin at three quarter time.

Georgia Hammond starred for the Falcons, kicking three of her side’s seven goals. She was complemented by Lauren Pearce, Stephanie Normington-Dickens, Nat Exon and Stephanie Simpson who all kicked one goal for the day. Melbourne AFLW midfielder, Elise O’Dea was deemed the best-on-ground for the Falcons with another solid outing in the middle of the ground.

For Williamstown, Georgia Harris was the only multiple goal kicker with two majors next to her name. Bendigo Pioneers captain, Megan Williamson also got on the board with the first goal of the match, boosting her confidence in the yellow and blue. Fijian ruck, Rachel Achampong was fantastic for the Seagulls, and she was aided by great performances from Sally Seabrook and North Melbourne duo, Jasmine Garner and Jess Duffin.

 

Western Bulldogs 4.4 (28) defeated Geelong Cats 1.0 (6)

The Western Bulldogs have hit their straps at the perfect time of the season with their third consecutive win. This time, they knocked off ladder-leaders, Geelong with a stunning performance at Ballarat. The Bulldogs led at every change and kept the Cats scoreless for three quarters, handing them their first loss of the season in the process.

Mickayla Ward kicked half of her team’s goals and was joined by Elise Muller and AFLW midfielder, Ellie Blackburn on the scoreboard. AFLW trio, Ashleigh Guest, Naomi Ferres and Libby Birch also impressed for the Dogs in what was a great defensive effort on the day.

In her return to the Cats line-up, forward, Kate Darby kicked Geelong’s only goal of the match in the last quarter. She was aided by good performances from Hayley Trevean, Maighan Fogas and Maddy McMahon. Former Carlton midfielder, Maddy Keryk also continued her good form in the blue and white hoops, being named among the Cats’ best once again.

Team of the Week: VFLW – Round 7

HAWTHORN dominates the Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s round seven Team of the Week with four players, which is the most of any team, after thrashing Essendon on Sunday. On the other hand, Essendon, Carlton and Casey all only have one representative after their losses on the weekend.

Hannah Mouncey once again claimed the full forward position after another dominant three-goal performance for Darebin in its win over Melbourne University. Chloe Molloy was also instrumental up forward for Collingwood, amassing 20 disposals as well as kicking a goal in a standout game for the former Calder Cannon star.

Lauren Arnell is quickly repaying the faith after her mid-season switch from Carlton to the Southern Saints, as she was superb on Saturday. She collected 19 disposals as well as getting a goal in a real captain’s game. She was not picked in the best 22 this week, but if she can continue her form she will not find it hard to slot in next week.

As the halfway mark of the season approaches, Mouncey is really stamping her claim at full forward for the VFLW Team of the Year as she has been featured many times. Hawthorn’s Jade Van Dyk is also honing in on a key back position as she has found herself in some great form. NT captain, Angela Foley has perhaps been the most consistent of all, winning lots of the ball every week in the Thunder’s midfield.