Tag: Lily Postlethwaite

AFL Women’s Preliminary Finals preview: Final four sides set to face off for grand final spots

THE AFL Women’s competition has reached its penultimate week of action, with only the top four sides remaining in the race for the 2021 premiership. Fremantle and North Melbourne were eliminated in last weekend’s qualifying matches, setting up what should be a cracking day of football. Two sides refreshed after a week off and two sides looking to keep their momentum rolling following wins last weekend have fans around Australia ecstatic for the preliminary finals ahead. Will top two sides Adelaide and Brisbane justify their positions on the ladder, or will Collingwood and Melbourne do Victoria proud and make their first grand final?

ADELAIDE vs. MELBOURNE
Saturday April 10, 2:10pm
Norwood Oval

Following a strong finish to the season, the Crows ended the home and away season on top of the AFLW ladder. This earned them a week off and the home ground advantage in Saturday’s prelim final. Their spot on top of the ladder also comes with a target on their backs, as they are the team to beat – a feat the in-form Demons will be looking to achieve in this match, with recent history on their side. When these sides last met, the Demons upset the Crows by 28 points in a convincing win. This result will give them confidence as they enter Saturday’s match with the underdog tag.

The Crows will be looking to apply the same pressure to their opponents that was applied to them the last time these teams met. The Demons put the Crows under constant and fierce tackling pressure as they ran out 28-point winners. The Crows will be using this as motivation, and if their midfield can grab control of the game as expected, it will be hard for the Demons to repeat the result earlier this season. Either way, expect a close contest as both teams will be fighting to the final siren to secure a spot in the grand final.

Melbourne will be without Daisy Pearce who injured her medial cruciate ligament (MCL) in the Dees’ Round 9 match against Brisbane and missed her side’s qualifying final victory over the Dockers. She remained on light duties at training on Thursday and was ruled out last night to face the Crows. Apart from Pearce, both sides have no unexpected niggles or issues, with the only players ruled out being on the long-term injury list.

The midfield battle will be the key matchup, with Adelaide’s midfield famously elite amongst the competition with a combination of Ebony Marinoff, Anne Hatchard and Erin Phillips. This trio often have a large say on the result of their games, but Melbourne have proven their engine room is more than up to the task. Led by veteran on-baller Karen Paxman, the Demons have the capability to match the Crows in the middle and will be looking to do exactly that on Saturday.

Records:

Adelaide: 7-2 (1st)
Melbourne: 
7-2 (4th)

Last 5:

Adelaide: 4-1
Melbourne: 4-1

2021 meeting:

Round 9 – Melbourne by 28

Most goals:

Adelaide: Erin Phillips (12)
Melbourne: Kate Hore (11)

BRISBANE vs. COLLINGWOOD
Saturday April 10, 4:10pm
Hickey Park

Despite top four finishes, both teams finished the season in less-than-ideal form. The Lions and the Pies both lost their final game of the season, but the similarities end there. The Pies pulled off a stunning win over North Melbourne last weekend, kicking three goals in the last quarter to pull of a heist and knock the Kangaroos out of the finals series. They will be looking to keep this momentum going but face a tough task against an experienced Brisbane outfit. The Lions have been in this position before, looking to make their third grand final appearance since the competition’s birth in 2017. They have stars all over the field, and earning a home ground advantage is a massive help. Refreshed after a week’s break, this Lions team will be refreshed and hungry to advance.

Last time these teams met in round seven, it proved to be a thrilling clash that went down to the wire. Moved from Brisbane to Victoria due to COVID risk, neutral ground VU Whitten Oval delivered strong winds that made things tough for both sides. The Lions just came out winners by three points, and two Pies players were injured in the process in what proved to be a costly game. Both sides will reflect on that result and should conditions permit, improve on their performance.

Both sides are quite fortunate on the injury front, with each side only ruling out one player each. For the Lions, their relatively clean bill of health continues, with only Lily Postlethwaite unfortunately ruled out due to an ACL tear suffered earlier in the season. For the Pies, they emerge from last week’s win with no fresh injuries. While Lauren Butler will miss this week’s match, she may recover in time for next weekend should the Pies advance, while Sophie Casey has returned from a concussion.

Lions tagger Cathy Svarc will likely once again have her eye on negating the impact of star Pie Bri Davey. When the two sides faced off in round seven, Svarc held Davey to only 14 disposals, well below her usual output. Davey can have a huge impact on any game given free reign, and the Lions will be keen to prevent this from happening.

Records:

Brisbane: 7-2 (2nd)
Collingwood: 7-2 (3rd)

Last 5:

Brisbane: 4-1
Collingwood: 3-2

2021 meeting:

Round 4 – Brisbane by 3

Most goals:
Brisbane:
Dakota Davidson (13)
Collingwood: Chloe Molloy (14)

AFL Women’s Sunday wrap: Vintage Phillips drags Crows back onto winners list

A VINTAGE Erin Phillips performance propelled Adelaide back onto the winners list on Sunday, as the Crows handed Brisbane its first loss of the season to the tune of 12 points. Phillips booted the first two goals of the game and a late sealer as Adelaide won out 6.9 (45) to 5.3 (33), moving level on points with the Lions with three wins and a spot well within the top six.

Phillips’ more permanent move forward proved a masterful tactic, as the two-time league best and fairest wasted no time in setting up a defining lead for her side. Her goals were supported up the other end by a first term shutout, which set the tone for Adelaide’s win. The gap proved too far for Brisbane to bridge thereafter despite constantly chipping away and lingering within a goal for most of the final term.

While the Crows did not relinquish their lead throughout the contest, conversion rate remains an area of improvement for the victors who put up an inaccurate 6.9 from their wealth of clear-cut chances. Ashleigh Woodland was a main culprit with 1.4, but her six-pointer came at an ideal time as she reestablished Adelaide’s two-goal buffer right on the half time siren.

The Lions comes away licking their wounds in more ways than one, with a couple of potentially key injuries further scuppering their promising early-season run. Gun youngster Lily Postlethwaite and defensive leader Shannon Campbell both went down in the first half, with the seriousness of those knocks still yet to be fully confirmed.

Emily Bates finished as Brisbane’s leading ball winner with 19 disposals, two ahead of Greta Bodey. The latter also contributed two second half goals which gave the Lions every chance of snatching a victory. Orla O’Dwyer and Ally Anderson were also productive moving forward in the maroon, blue and gold, while defender Breanna Koenen proved pivotal in defence with 14 touches, four marks, and four tackles.

Phillips was far and away the best player afield; finishing with 21 disposals, eight marks, five inside 50s, and four goals. Only Ebony Marinoff saw more of the ball with 28 touches, while fellow midfield maestro Anne Hatchard notched 19 of her own. Woodland was a threat up forward despite her inaccuracy, and skipper Chelsea Randall proved her worth to the side with 13 disposals and seven marks on her return. She may come under match review scrutiny after a heavy bump on Bodey, though.

The freshly minted Round 5 fixtures see Brisbane turn around first for another crucial clash, set to face Fremantle in Western Australia on Saturday. Meanwhile, Adelaide is due to return home to take on St Kilda at Norwood Oval on the Sunday.

BRISBANE 0.0 | 3.0 | 4.1 | 5.3 (33)
ADELAIDE 2.5 | 4.6 | 5.8 | 6.9 (45)

GOALS:

Brisbane: G. Bodey 2, D. Davidson, C. Hodder, T. Smith
Adelaide: E. Phillips 4, A. Woodland, R. Forth

DC BEST:

Brisbane: G. Bodey, B. Koenen, A. Anderson, E. Bates, O. O’Dwyer, I. Dawes
Adelaide: E. Phillips, E. Marinoff, A. Hatchard, C. Randall, E. Jones, A. Woodland

Featured Image: Adelaide’s Erin Phillips celebrates one of her four goals | Credit: Glenn Hunt/Getty Images via AFL Photos

Credit: (Retrieved via) Melbourne FC

Lacklustre Dees eaten alive by hungry Dogs

It was a disastrous day for an inaccurate Melbourne, outplayed by a sharp shooting Western Bulldogs side on the prowl at VU Whitten Oval in front of a capacity 3180-strong crowd. Whilst both teams traded blows and went goal-for-goal early, it was the Bulldogs that ultimately came away with an excellent 6.1 (37) to 2.11 (23) victory to win their third match on the trot and really kickstart their season. 

The impatient Dees had their work cut out for them from the get-go, struggling to make use of their talls inside 50 and missing the ever reliable Kate Hore who was a late omission. While it was the red and blue that dominated inside 50s early, keeping the footy locked in their front half, a coast to coast flurry from the Bulldogs saw the red, white, and blue boot the first major of the day from their first inside 50 – a set shot from Kirstin McLeod – and maintained constant pressure on the Demons. Whilst a Karen Paxman goal minutes later more than evened the ledger given the Dees’ peppering of the left and right posts, minor missed opportunities became the theme of their day as they failed the apply the scoreboard pressure they so desperately needed.

Another couple of even quarters kept the match flowing up and down the field, with both sides finding the big sticks a couple of times and Izzy Huntington the first to boot two. But while Melbourne were keeping in touch with plenty of hunt on and off the ball, it was the Dogs that had the upper hand in front of a passionate home crowd, and with the Hampson-Hardeman Trophy on the line, it was the underdogs that stepped up when it counted, with the four goal to nil second half more than enough to run over the tired-looking and lacklustre Demons.

A final quarter flurry from the Dogs and a couple of gutsy plays saw the Dees rendered goalless after three quarter time and run down by the feisty Dogs who relentlessly attacked and fought tooth and nail for the footy. Rushed kicks were the side’s downfall, especially when it counted in the latter stages, as the Bulldogs manned up and disrupted the play, roving seamlessly and plucking off some unbelievable marks in an impressive victory at Whitten Oval.

Whilst she was kept quiet for much of the match, Ellie Blackburn was the star of the show in the final quarter, booting a crucial goal to go with her 16 touches – down from her typical output – and seal the deal for the Bulldogs, also leading the side for disposals in a shared team effort. Jess Fitzgerald joined Huntington in the multiple majors club, booting two of her own to go with 12 touches and eight tackles, whilst Kirsty Lamb (12 touches, six tackles) and Bonnie Toogood (seven tackles) were excellent applying physical pressure. For the Dees, Paxman stole the show with 27 touches and a goal, whilst Shelley Scott slotted the side’s second major from her 16 disposals and six marks. Maddi Gay (19 disposals, four tackles), Tyla Hanks (16 and seven) and Lily Mithen (16 and five) also proved critical around the ball but to no avail as they were eaten alive by the hungry Dogs.

The Western Bulldogs will return to the kennel once more next round, hosting GWS Giants on Saturday afternoon, while Melbourne will look to bounce back against Collingwood on Sunday at Victoria Park.

WESTERN BULLDOGS | 1.0 | 2.1 | 4.1 | 6.1 (37)
MELBOURNE 1.4 | 1.6 | 2.8 | 2.12 (24)

GOALS:

Western Bulldogs: J. Fitzgerald 2, I. Huntington 2, E. Blackburn, K. McLeod
Melbourne: K. Paxman, S. Scott 

DC BEST:

Western Bulldogs: J. Fitzgerald, K. Lamb, E. Blackburn, I. Huntington, B. Toogood
Melbourne: K. Paxman, T. Hanks, M. Gay, L. Mithen, E. Zanker

Credit: Brett Hemmings/Getty Images via AFL Photos

Staunton stunners see Giants step past Eagles

Veteran Greater Western Sydney (GWS) forward Cora Staunton proved the difference in her side’s 20-point win over West Coast on Sunday, booting four of the Giants’ seven majors to help seal their second win on the trot. With the game on the line after a goalless third term, the Irishwomen came up clutch with two goals in as many minutes during the final stanza to ultimately ice the 7.6 (48) to 4.4 (28) victory.

While Staunton’s two goals were the only majors seen in the second half, the game opened up with a flurry of scoring. A combined 7.3 (45) made for the second-highest first term total in AFLW history, setting the platform for a hotly contested match. Both sides were up to the challenge and cracked in hard as the game endured at a high pace.

But as has often been the case throughout the Eagles’ short history, scoring dried up and they fell away late to allow the Giants’ experienced heads to take control when it mattered. A fourth quarter knee injury to boom recruit Aisling McCarthy has potential to further sour West Coast’s winless season, adding to its already mounting injury toll.

Game-changer, Staunton finished with 4.2 from her 16 disposals and two marks, proving she still has it at 39 years of age. She was the lone multiple goalkicker on the day, while Alyce Parker was unsurprisingly atop the disposal charts with 25 touches. Partner-in-crime Rebecca Beeson had it 22 times and laid eight tackles, while the likes of Nicola Barr (16 disposals, six marks) and Alicia Eva (18 disposals) returned solid outings.

Young midfielder Bella Lewis led all comers for the Eagles with 16 disposals and got her hands dirty with nine tackles, as did Tayla Bresland (seven). Skipper Emma Swanson again led from the front with 15 touches, while the likes of Maddy Collier, Ashlee Atkins, and Mikayla Bowen were all productive and also snared a goal each in the loss.

West Coast’s search for win number one in 2021 lands back home next week as the Eagles host Gold Coast in another winnable fixture, while GWS takes on a red hot Western Bulldogs outfit on the road at Whitten Oval.

GWS GIANTS 4.2 | 5.3 | 5.4 | 7.6 (48)
WEST COAST 3.1 | 4.1 | 4.3 | 4.4 (28)

GOALS:

GWS: C. Staunton 4, J. Dal Pos, T. Mackrill, R. Beeson
West Coast: A. Atkins, P. Laurie, M. Bowen, M. Collier

DC BEST:

GWS: C. Staunton, A. Parker, R. Beeson, A. Eva, N. Barr
West Coast: E. Swanson, A. McCarthy, B. Lewis, T. Bresland, M. Bowen

2021 AFLW: All the practice game results

AFL WOMEN’S sides got their first taste of competitive action for 2021, with a series of scratch matches played behind closed doors around the nation and giving a glimpse into what to expect from the upcoming season. We go around the grounds to bring you the results and key points out of each game as Round 1 edges closer.

AROUND THE GROUNDS

Saturday January 16:

West Coast 4.3 (27) def. by Fremantle 5.7 (37) @ Lathlain Park

Fremantle edged local rival, West Coast in a Western Derby sighter at Mineral Resources Park, despite a hot start from the Eagles. The two sides could not have finished any further apart among Conference B in season 2020, but West Coast showed promising signs of improvement by bolting to an Aisling McCarthy-inspired lead in the first half. The former Western Bulldogs Irishwoman booted three of her side’s four goals for the match, all coming within the opening term. In the end, Freo’s experience and depth across the field won out in the 10-point victory, a result which was expected of the premiership contender. Star midfielder Kiara Bowers was at her typical best, while the Eagles looked solid through midfield as prize draftee Bella Lewis got her first taste of senior football.

Geelong 5.4 (34) def. by Melbourne 8.7 (55) @ Kardinia Park

Melbourne shook off some preseason cobwebs with a 21-point win over Geelong on the road, overcoming a hefty first term deficit to run over the top of the Cats. The home side bolted out of the gates with four-straight majors, but saw its lead quickly dissolve as Melbourne piled on five goals in the second term. Geelong only managed one more major thereafter, seeing Melbourne ride home a reasonably comfortable victory. The return of young gun Denby Taylor will buoy Cats players and fans alike, while fellow 2018 draftee Tyla Hanks starred for Melbourne as she looks to nail down a spot in midfield. Her development looms as all the more important as lynchpin Karen Paxman nurses a leg injury sustained on the day, with Meg Downie (sprained ankle) another unfortunate casualty.

Carlton 6.4 (40) def. St Kilda 5.8 (38) @ Princes Park

A late Breann Moody goal saved Carlton’s blushes against St Kilda, helping the Blues come away with a two-point victory at Princes Park. The two sides shared spurts of momentum throughout a closely-contested game, with Carlton leading by eight points at the main break before falling behind and eventually fighting back to claim a last gasp win. St Kilda’s young talent was on full show with speedy midfielders Georgia Patrikios and Tyanna Smith returning good shifts opposed to the dynamic Georgia Gee and Darcy Vescio, who will look to push into the engine room this year. Tayla Harris watched on from the sidelines, but Carlton unveiled its boom recruit in Elise O’Dea alongside Maddy Guerin and Charlotte Hammans. Bianca Jakobsson suffered a broken collarbone in a big blow to the Saints on the eve of the season, though Tarni White made a strong return from her long-term knee injury.

Richmond 3.11 (29) def. by Western Bulldogs 6.7 (43) @ Punt Road Oval

Five final term goals saw the Western Bulldogs roll Richmond by 14 points at Punt Road Oval, as the top two 2020 draftees went head-to-head in their new colours. The young pups trailed at every break before an inspired last dig produced the desired effect, with skipper Ellie Blackburn chiming in from a more forward-oriented role and prized draftee Jess Fitzgerald showing her wares through midfield. Fellow Northern Knights graduate Ellie McKenzie was also promising for the Tigers, while Bulldogs father-daughter gun Issy Grant was unleashed after missing her entire maiden season. As promised, 2020 Rising Star Izzy Huntington featured up forward in the red, white, and blue but was contained by a well-drilled Richmond defence, though there was no stopping Monique Conti as she dominated in the yellow and black.

Gold Coast 4.2 (26) def. by Brisbane 6.7 (43) @ Metricon 2

Brisbane came out on top in its preseason Q-Clash with Gold Coast, creating a greater wealth of opportunities to come away the 17-point victor. Away from home up at the Metricon Stadium facilities, the Lions’ scoring effort was led by Greta Bodey (two goals), who finished as the game’s sold multiple goalkicker. Prolific young forwards Jesse Wardlaw and Kalinda Howarth also found the big sticks for the respective sides. The Suns named surprise coup Sarah Perkins for her first game in new colours, while another former Saint in Alison Drennan also made her maiden appearance for Gold Coast. While Brisbane young gun Lily Postlethwaite was not named, exciting draftees Zimmorlei Farquharson and Indy Tahau were among the squad which took home a solid win ahead of Round 1.

Sunday January 17:

Collingwood 7.5 (47) def. North Melbourne 5.5 (35) @ Princes Park

Collingwood picked up an upset victory over North Melbourne at Princes Park on Sunday, signalling even more improvement to build on that of 2020. The Magpies were left a couple of talls short after Sharni Norder (late withdrawal, finger) and Erica Fowler (cheekbone) sustained injuries, but conjured enough fluency away from the midfield battle to run away 12-point winners. The magnets were shuffled a touch as Bri Davey spent some time up forward, where fast-developing draftee Amelia Verlardo booted two majors. Father-daughter coup Tarni Brown impressed further afield in her first outing, while usual suspects Emma Kearney and Jasmine Garner were among North’s best. Returning star Jess Duffin (adductor) was a late out for the Roos, but looms as a high-level inclusion this season.

Adelaide 2.21 (33) def. GWS 2.1 (13) @ Norwood Oval

Severe inaccuracy did little to stop Adelaide from picking up a confidence-boosting win over GWS on Sunday, with just two of the Crows’ 23 scoring shots resulting in majors. Despite finishing with an equal amount of goals, the Giants were comfortably adrift both in general play and on the scoreboard, going down by 20 points. Newly-named Crows captain Chelsea Randall made a pleasing return from injury in the win, but the game was cut short in the final term as Giants Irishwoman Brid Stack was taken to hospital with a potential spinal injury. Elsewhere, defender Sarah Allan was trialled up forward and returned one of her side’s two goals, pointing towards her potential versatility this year as the Crows look to bounce back to premiership contention.

Featured Image: St Kilda’s Tyanna Smith fights for a clearance | Graham Denholm/Getty Images via AFL Photos

Opinion: Could the AFL Women’s 2021 season be the most competitive yet?

IT is still just over two months until the first bounce of the 2021 AFL Women’s season, but the excitement is growing. The abrupt end to the 2020 season – with no premiership awarded and indeed no last two weeks of finals – left a mixture of disappointment and wondering of what could have been in many minds of AFL Women’s fans. Once the initial disappointment was over, clubs got to work on either re-signing, trading or heading to the draft in what has set up a more even competition next year.

The top sides will contend again, and whilst Fremantle and North Melbourne showed that they arguably deserved to be in the 2020 decider, they were pushed by opponents at times, and those opponents will be battling for a spot. The young pups at the Western Bulldogs and talented bunch at St Kilda will also improve, and even the cellar dwellers in Richmond and West Coast have made net gains over the off-season. Realistically the only club likely to fall next season – through design in many ways – is Melbourne, as the Dees play the long-term game as we have seen with the Dogs who are now building back up the ladder. Here are the contenders, outside chances and rebuilders:

CONTENDERS:

Fremantle

At the top of the list is the side that went unbeaten in 2020 and have no reason not go go there again. They have a really strong defensive unit, and consistent midfield, as well as an attacking front six that were able to regularly hit the scoreboard. Throw in another year of Roxy Roux and the X-factor of Mikayla Morrison and Sarah Verrier, and despite being one of the teams to beat, the West Australian team remain as one of the best in the competition.

North Melbourne:

Similarly to Fremantle, the main loss over the off-season was Jess Trend, though the Roos just continue to stock up on incredibly talented players. They went to the draft and someone like Bella Eddey will slot into an already potent forward line, which was hard to contain. The Roos were pushed by the Magpies in the elimination final, which will give them extra motivation to improve. It is hard not seeing North Melbourne up there at the pointy end of the season.

Adelaide:

The resurgence of the Crows will be swift. They might not have had the year they wanted, but it was no wonder with their two best players out on long-term injuries and a number of others having delayed preseasons. They have added readymade talents in Teah Charlton, Ashleigh Woodland and Rachelle Martin who will compete for spots from Round 1. It would not be unreasonable to think with all the inclusions and returnees, the Crows are favourites again.

Carlton:

A Grand Final two seasons ago and finals last season, the Blues were the only team to knock off North Melbourne last season. You cannot help but feel they are within touching distance of the premiership cup, and have an abundance of youth to go with their talent. Do not forget they added someone called Elise O’Dea over the off-season, and if that elite talent was not enough, they stocked up on captains in Mimi Hill and Winnie Laing from the NAB League who will stop at nothing for success.

OUTSIDE CHANCES:

Collingwood:

It seemed not that long ago that there was a mass exodus at the Pies and people were wondering what the future held. In 12 months the Pies managed to turn it around and surprise with a good 2020 season to almost stun North Melbourne in the elimination final. The loss of Sarah D’Arcy among others will hurt, but they have picked up some versatile players in the draft, and with Tarni Brown joining her brothers at the Magpies, it will be an exciting time for Magpies fans who need something to cheer for next year.

Western Bulldogs:

This might seem like a surprise, but trust me when this group has enough development, they will go through the roof. The amount of sheer X-factor, upside and versatility in the team that added to its stocks at the draft table again, the Dogs can go deep and if you like an outside chance winning the flag, the Dogs could be that bet. They added Jess Fitzgerald, Sarah Hartwig and Isabelle Pritchard to the ever-growing list of former Vic Metro stars, and they will push for spots early on. Expect them to be the most exciting team running around.

Geelong

On paper the Cats have the cattle to compete against the best sides, and added some unbelievable talents in the AFL Women’s Draft, such as Darcy Moloney and Olivia Barber. They have not lost a great deal over the off-season with Mel Hickey of course retiring with big shoes to fill in the captain’s absence. The Cats have a well-balanced list and honestly there is no reason they should not be an outside chance for the flag. Their young talents might need another year, but feel they have the jump on the other expansion sides thanks to that extra season.

Brisbane:

A little more outside than the others, but have enough talent to contend if they all click. It will be a competitive group wherever the Lions land as they will be placed with Gold Coast Suns and both should be fairly even. Zimmorlei Farquharson is the draftee to watch next season with her high-flying ability and ground level work, but let us not forget that Lily Postlethwaite, Isabel Dawes and co. will have another year of experience and ready to take the Lions back to the decider.

GWS GIANTS

Arguably the hardest team to place, because they are always competitive, but just off the pace of the top teams. With another year into the younger players such as Alyce Parker, and then adding in Tarni Evans amongst the top teenagers coming in, they should do enough to put themselves in a position to compete against anyone. Whether or not they have enough top-end talent to knock off a Fremantle or North Melbourne, it is yet to be seen, but they make it into this group.

ANOTHER YEAR NEEDED:

St Kilda

Without a doubt the Saints will be in the next bracket in 2022, but for 2021, they will be in a similar position to the Dogs last season. They might not get the wins on the board that they deserve all the time, but they have more than enough talent to worry any side on their day. Once their young guns develop – adding the likes of Tyanna Smith, Alice Burke and Renee Saulitis to an already talented list – they will be a scary proposition. They will fast-track their development in the AFL Women’s too.

Gold Coast

The other expansion team from last year that showed promising signs and made finals, the Suns might be somewhat unlucky not to be in the next bracket up, but depending on the pool they land in, and the finals structure, they still might need the extra year. They have the talent to step up again, with Annise Bradfield coming in and Sarah Perkins providing experience through the draft. It would not be a shock to see them push sides for a finals spot, but willing to give them an extra year to do it.

REBUILDERS:

Melbourne

For the first time since the start of the AFL Women’s, the Demons are in full rebuild mode. They were always thereabouts in terms of competing for a flag, but just could not get it done. Going down this route is the right avenue, particularly with the drafts always getting stronger. The Demons have added some great youth through the draft, led by Alyssa Bannan, and might suffer a few more losses next season than past years, but will reap the benefits long-term.

Richmond

The winless Tigers added some much needed experience to help Monique Conti through the midfield over the break, then grabbed Ellie McKenzie with the top pick in the draft. The Tigers opted for an immediate experience boost, and seem to have everything in place to be more competitive in 2021. In saying that, the other teams are still ahead of them, but the Tigers will not be the easy-beats of 2020 with the trio of Sarah‘s in Hosking, D’Arcy and Dargan among the inclusions next year.

West Coast

The team out west will step up next season to be more competitive in 2021, but have not been able to add as much experience as the Tigers. Bella Lewis and Shanae Davison are a couple of young guns who will have an immediate impact if given the chance, and add to the growing list of young talents like Mikayla Bowen. They are still firmly in the rebuilding phase, but the Eagles should show further signs of development in 2021 and will be one to watch in the future.

2020 AFLW Draft review: Brisbane Lions

NOW the AFL Women’s Draft is over, we take a look at each club, who they picked and what they might offer to their team next year. We continue our countdown with Brisbane Lions, one of two teams in Queensland with an illustrious history reaching two of three grand finals, but have been rebuilding the last couple of seasons.

Brisbane:

#8 – Zimmorlei Farquharson (Yeronga South Brisbane/Queensland)
#37 – Indy Tahau (South Adelaide/Central Allies)
#38 – Ruby Svarc (Essendon VFLW)

Brisbane Lions have beefed up their X-factor inside 50 with a couple of young guns who will be eye-catchers throughout their career. Zimmorlei Farquharson and Indy Tahau are both terrific in the air, strong overhead and do the work at ground level as well to make them complete players. Rounding out their third selection, the Lions picked up 27-year-old Essendon VFL Women’s talent Ruby Svarc.

The latter of the trio has a different story with the mature-age recruit the younger sister of Cathy who enjoyed a ripping 2020 season. Knowing for her ball use and athleticism off half-back, Svarc has been at the Bombers for the past couple of seasons and will suit the Lions’ fast transition game style well. Svarc’s speed and pressure is synonymous with all of Brisbane’s pickups in the draft, showing a clear desire to fill that need and fit the team plan.

Farquharson has been a name in Queensland football for some time now, and has one of the greatest X-factors of the AFL Women’s Draft crop. You only need to watch the QAFL Women’s finals series to see the damage she could do against senior opposition, kicking three goals to send her Yeronga South Brisbane team into the grand final, then kicking another crucial major on the day and one of the best on ground. Dangerous at ground level and a huge vertical leap and burst, Farquharson will be the equivalent of 2020’s Roxy Roux with her eye-catching nature.

Tahau has similar traits to the others with an elite burst you do not see coming from a 180cm player. Her acceleration off the mark is something that sets her aside from other talls, and allows the key position player to spend time in attack or on the wing. Whilst playing in a premiership for South Adelaide last year – winning best on ground in that game – and then reaching the decider in the SANFL Women’s again, Tahau has opted to head to Queensland to join her mother at the end of her schooling.

All three players have the potential to force their way into the line-up, with Farquharson and Tahau particularly fitting the mould of young, exciting and athletic talls who provide targets in the forward half of the ground. With the Lions picking up a pair of small midfielders last year in Lily Postlethwaite and Isabel Dawes, they have now picked up back-to-back talls and look a well rounded side to continue their ascent up the ladder in 2021.

QAFL Women’s Grand Final preview: Coolangatta Tweed vs. Yeronga South Brisbane

THE big day is almost here, and the two best teams in the Queensland Australian Football League (QAFL) Women’s competition are into the decider with Coolangatta Tweed and Yeronga South Brisbane to face off from 2pm tomorrow at Bond University.

The Grand Final will be a repeat of the 2016 decider, when Coolangatta Tweed – led by best on ground Leah Kaslar – won in a thriller by two points. Inaccuracy cost the Devils in that one, booting 4.11 to the Bluebirds’ 5.7 at Leyshon Park. That was Coolangatta Tweed’s first premiership, with Yeronga South Brisbane’s first of the QAFL Women’s coming a year later when the defeated Coorparoo by 18 points and Emily Bates won best on ground.

The sides have played twice this season with Coolangatta Tweed getting up on both occasions. Way back in Round 3, the Bluebirds won by 19 points, 7.9 (51) to 5.2 (32) with Georgia Breward starring, and Ahlani Eddy and Uma Brennan both booting two goals apiece. With neither side stacked with its AFL Women’s talent at that point, the Round 8 repeat on August 8 is the match to look at.

Coolangatta Tweed won 4.6 (30) to 3.8 (26) in a four-point thriller, which helped the Bluebirds secure a top two spot. A tight tussle all day, Coolangatta Tweed booted the only goal of the third term to edge ahead and then hold on in a tense final term. Four players – Kitara Farrar, Sally Riley, Paige Parker and Holly Mirfield – all booted goals for the winners, while Sam Virgo (two goals) and Adrienne Keeffe (one) were the goalkickers for the losers. Alexandra Hamlyn, Keyshia Matenga and Ebony Peterson shone in the win for the Bluebirds, whilst Lily Bougoure, Dee Heslop and Sarah Duncan were named the best for the Devils in defeat.

The Bluebirds come into the match off the back of four consecutive wins, though granted three of them were against the bottom three sides. A confidence-boosting 22-point win over Maroochydore has the second placed side primed for a title tilt, as they look to make it three wins this season against their opponents.

Lauren James was unstoppable last week slotting six goals which took her to the top of the Bluebirds’ goalkicking with 11, one ahead of Kaslar (10). Farrar (nine), Selina Priest (seven) and Riley (six) have all been prominent, while Hamlyn, Peterson and Kate Surman have been impressive players throughout the season.

For the Devils, they have won four of their past five, with only a defeat to Bond University in the penultimate round of the regular season costing themselves a top two spot. A huge win over the University of Queensland, followed up by high-scoring wins over Coorparoo (nine points) and Bond University (35 points) has them full of confidence.

Lexia Edwards has slotted 14 goals for the Devils this season, four ahead of both Lucy Bellinger (10) and Virgo (10). Courtney McDonnell has eight, while AFL Women’s Draft Combine invitees, Madison Goodwin and Zimmorlei Farquharson both have six majors to their names. Bates has been phenomenal this season, as has Jordan Zanchetta who shared in the QAFL Women’s league best and fairest. Jacqueline Yorston, Vanessa Hart and Lauren Arnell are others who have been strong for the Devils this season.

It is a tough match to call, and should go down to the wire. On our Final Siren Podcast this week previewing the clash, special guest Lily Postlethwaite predicted the Devils to win by around four goals with either Zanchetta or Bates to win best on ground.

Picture: AFL Queensland

QAFL Women’s Semi-Finals wrap: Devils cause upset to face Bluebirds in final

YERONGA South Brisbane has toppled minor premiers, Bond University to book its place in the 2020 Queensland Australian Football League (QAFL) Women’s Grand Final against Coolangatta Tweed. This year’s decider will see the second and third placed sides do battle for the ultimate prize on the weekend.

It was a memorable win for the Devils who grabbed the lead early, held off a second term fightback and then finished strongly to run out 35-point winners over the Sharkettes. Yeronga South Brisbane slotted three goals to one in the opening quarter to lead by 11 points at the first change, before Bond University hit back with three goals to two, cutting the deficit to just four points at the main break. Putting the foot down, Yeronga South Brisbane stepped up in the premiership quarter and final term to pile on six of the last seven goals to run out 11.6 (72) to 5.7 (37) victors.

Young gun Zimmorlei Farquharson slotted three goals and was named among the best for the Devils, as Sam Virgo (two goals) and Madison Goodwin (two) also hit the scoreboard multiple times. Jacqui Yorston (one) was among four single goalkickers, named in the best with Emily Bates, Jade Pregelj, Vanessa Hart and Mia Walsh. Lauren Arnell, Lexia Edwards and Lucy Bellinger were the other goalkickers in the famous win.

For Bond University, Taylor Smith kicked a couple of goals in the third term, with Casidhe Simmons, Jess Maher and Charlotte Hammans also kicking goals in the loss. Maddison Levi was outstanding in the loss, Hammans tried hard with the young brigade of Serene Watson, Lauren Bella, Lily Tarlinton and Annie Muir but could not help their side across the line.

In the Bluebirds’ win over Maroochydore, they controlled play for the most part, winning the first two terms to lead by 10 points at quarter time and 27 points at half-time. Maroochydore fought back in the third quarter to boot three goals to two and claw the deficit to within 21 points at the final break. Whilst the last term was even – both side booting a goal – Coolangatta Tweed had done enough in the first half to run out 11.4 (70) to 7.6 (48) winners.

Lauren James was massive for the winners, slamming home half a dozen goals in a huge performance up forward. She was joined by Kitara Farrar (two) as a multiple goalkicker, whilst the likes of Leah Kaslar, Leigh Alder and Hannah Martin all slotted a goal apiece. Lucy Turney, Paige Parker and Alexandra Hamlyn were all amongst the best players on the ground, with Kate Surman, Ebony Peterson and Casey Samuels also impressed in the win.

For the visitors, Shannon Campbell‘s terrific season up forward came to an end, but not without finishing on a high note of slotting three goals. Kelly Woods and Jacqueline Dupuy both kicked majors and were named among the best, whilst Tahlia Mead and Jennifer Carden-David also kicked goals in the loss. In terms of top performers, Chloe Gregory, Rachel Crack and Lily Postlethwaite all stood out, with Jessee Sills also named among the Roos’ best.

QAFL WOMEN’S SEMI-FINALS RESULTS:

Bond University 5.7 (37) defeated by Yeronga South Brisbane 11.6 (72)
Coolangatta Tweed 11.4 (70) defeated Maroochydore 7.6 (48)

Picture: Obtained via Gold Coast Bulletin (supplied by Coolangatta Tweed)

QAFL Women’s weekend preview: Semi-Finals – Top four sides remain in title hunt

IT was fitting that the two highest ranked teams in the Queensland Australian Football League (QAFL) Women’s competition won through their respective elimination finals last week, allowing the top four teams to remain in the hunt for the 2020 QAFL Women’s flag. In the two do-or-die semis, top of the table Bond University will host fourth placed Yeronga South Brisbane, while second placed Coolangatta Tweed takes on third placed Maroochydore.

You have to go all the way back to Round 1 to find the last time Bond University lost. Since then, they have strung together nine wins, as well as two COVID-related cancellations. Given one of those cancellations was against bottom two side Wilston Grange, it is fair to say the Sharkettes could have been even further ahead at the top of the table. For the Devils, they lost to Bond University back in Round 11 to effectively lose the chance at a top two spot, but have won four of their past five matches, and are coming off the back of a nine-point win against Coorparoo so they bring form into the clash.

The Round 11 battle between the sides has been the only clash thus far, with Bond University winning in a low-scoring match, 4.6 (30) to 1.5 (11). Trailing at both quarter time and half-time the Sharkettes kicked the last four goals of the game, with a three goals to zero third term being the difference. Jess Maher kicked a couple of goals for the winners, with Maddison Levi and Taylor Smith also snagging a couple, while Emily Bates kicked the opening goal of the game for the Devils.

Having had a nice rest over the first weekend of finals, the potent Sharkettes forward line returns with Smith leading the way with 15 snags in 10 matches, and being one of her side’s best throughout the season. The team has plenty of good young talent with Annie Muir and Annise Bradfield also named among the best on multiple occasions, as has been the case with Gold Coast’s Lauren Bella, and both Krystal Scott and Lucinda Pullar.

For the Devils, Lexia Edwards leads all-comers in the goalkicking with 13 majors in 11 games, ahead of Lucy Bellinger (nine), Courtney McDonnell (eight) and Sam Virgo (eight). The experience of Bates, Jordan Zanchetta, Jacqueline Yorston and Lauren Arnell has been telling this year and the quartet have been among the top players for Yeronga South Brisbane in 2020.

The Sharkettes will head in as favourites for the clash, but the Devils will hope to catch the rested Bond University off early, trying to take full advantage of the fourth placed side’s recent form.

Coolangatta Tweed comes into its semi-final clash against Maroochydore having won six of its past seven games, and having only dropped three matches for the season. No doubt avoiding Coorparoo in the finals would have been a relief for the Bluebirds, who have suffered two defeats at the hands of the Kings, whilst the other loss came against Bond University in the first match back from the restart on July 11.

Meanwhile Maroochydore is on a four-game winning streak, having had some percentage-boosting wins in the final fortnight to leap up to third, After dropping back-to-back games against Coorparoo and Yeronga South Brisbane following a COVID-19 related cancellation, Maroochydore looked to have slipped down the order after such a strong start to the season. The Roos have picked it up since and enjoyed a good run home.

The last time these sides played was on July 25, when Coolangatta Tweed got home in a five-point thriller, 3.4 (22) to 2.5 (17). It was neck-and-neck for the most past, with the Roos leading by seven points at the first change, then the Bluebirds holding a solitary point advantage at the next two breaks. Kicking the only goal of the final term, Coolangatta Tweed held on in a low-scoring win. Leah Kaslar booted one of her side’s three goals and was named among the best with Alexandra Hamlyn and Keyshia Matenga, while for the Roos, Mikayla Pauga was the best and also slotted a goal, with Sophie Bale and Maggie Harmer also named among the best.

Looking across the whole season, Kaslar won the club goalkicking for the Bluebirds with nine majors, two ahead of youngster Kitara Farrar and another AFL Women’s talent in Selina Priest. The AFL Women’s experience of Kaslar and Sally Riley has helped the Bluebirds this season, with Hamlyn, Matenga, Kate Surman and Ebony Peterson all featuring in the bests five times.

At the Roos, Shannon Campbell has been the competitions most reliable goalkicker with 18 majors in 10 games, and also been named among the best five times. Pauga is next, with 13 goals and six bests. Overall Harmer leads the way in the coaches votes, with eight bests in 12 games, one ahead of young gun Lily Postlethwaite, whilst Isabel Dawes and Ruby McDowell also feature highly.

Coolangatta Tweed will be favourites in this game, but Maroochydore is a huge chance based on recent form and will be looking to carry that form into the semi-final with no turning back for the loser.

QAFL WOMEN’S SEMI-FINALS:

Bond University vs. Yeronga South Brisbane
Coolangatta Tweed vs. Maroochydore

Picture: RF Photography

QAFL Women’s weekend wrap: Elimination Finals – Roos and Devils book spots in semis

MAROOCHYDORE and Yeronga South Brisbane are through to the semi-finals after winning their respective elimination finals on the weekend in the Queensland Australian Football League (QAFL) competition. The Roos accounted for University of Queensland by 53 points in a one-sided contest, while the Devils knocked off a title contender in Coorparoo by just nine points.

In what was a low-scoring start, Maroochydore led by just six points at the first break, then piled on four goals to zero in the second term to race out to a 31-point advantage. By the final break the margin was 51 points with a further three goals added to the total. Both sides added two goals in the final term – which included the Red Lionesses only two majors of the game – which meant Maroochydore got up 10.9 (69) to 2.4 (16).

Shannon Campbell booted five goals in the big win for the Roos, as the home side had six individual goalkickers. Also named among the Roos best were Brisbane AFL Women’s young guns, Lily Postlethwaite and Isabel Dawes, as well as Ashleigh Hales, Jacqueline Dupuy and Maggie Harmer. For the Red Lionesses, Dakota Davidson finished her season off with another two goals, while Mia Teubler, Jamie Stone and Nat Grider were all named among the visiting team’s best.

In the other game, Yeronga South Brisbane kicked five goals to zero in the third term to set up a memorable nine-point victory over Coorparoo. The Kings actually led by a point at quarter time and three points at the main break, having edged ahead when the siren sounded in each quarter. That soon changed with the Devils booting 5.2 to 0.1 in the third term to race away to a 28-point lead, and whilst they only managed 0.2 to the Kings’ 3.3, it was a big enough advantage to get home, 8.10 (58) to 7.7 (49).

Lexia Edwards snagged three goals in the win, while Jordan Zanchetta and Emily Bates both kicked a goal apiece and were named among the bests. Also named in the bests were Devils talents, Jade Pregelj, Lauren Arnell, Madison Goodwin and Emmii-Lee Zanker-Close. For the Kings, Tori Groves-Little and Jamie Stanton both snagged two majors, as Tahlia Hickie, Ally Anderson and Jess Wuetschner used their AFL Women’s experience to snag a goal apiece. Meg Muir and Charlotte Edmunds were also named among the Kings best in the loss.

Next week the Devils will face the top of the table Bond University for a spot in the grand final, while the Roos will take on second placed Coolangatta Tweed in the other semi-final.

QAFL WOMEN’S ELIMINATION FINALS RESULTS:

Maroochydore 10.9 (69) defeated University of Queensland 2.4 (16)
Yeronga South Brisbane 8.10 (58) defeated Coorparoo 7.7 (49)

Picture: AFL Queensland

QAFL Women’s weekend preview: Elimination Finals – Roos and Devils earn hosting rights

FINALS fever is here in the Queensland Australian Football League (QAFL) Women’s competition, with Maroochydore and University of Queensland facing off, before Yeronga South Brisbane and Coorparoo do battle. For the losers, it is season over, while for the winners, preliminary finals dates with Bond University and Coolangatta Tweed await.

MAROOCHYDORE vs. UNIVERSITY OF QUEENSLAND

The third placed Maroochydore hosts the sixth placed University of Queensland in the opening game of the round, with the winner set to play second place Coolangatta Tweed in the semi-finals. Finishing the season with seven wins, three losses and two draws, Maroochydore will be the clear favourite compared to the Red Lionesses who finished the QAFL Women’s season with three wins, eight losses and a draw.

Prior to the COVID-19 postponement, Maroochydore raced out of the blocks to win all three of its games – including a thriller against the Red Lionesses – then by Round 5 had four wins and a draw to its name. They stumbled a little over the next few rounds with losses to Coolangatta Tweed, Coorparoo and Yeronga South Brisbane around a precautionary draw with top of the table Bond University. A nine-point win over the Red Lionesses gave the Roos confidence again and they went on to finish the season with a three-game winning streak, smashing Aspley Hornets 95-0 to grab third spot on percentage, and then taking care of Wilston Grange, 43-9.

The University of Queensland had the opposite start to the season as Maroochydore, dropping all three games prior to the break, and losing by a narrow two points to Yeronga South Brisbane in the first game back in Round 4. They clicked into gear with impressive wins over Wilston Grange and Aspley Hornets to look like a team on the move up the ladder. Unfortunately for Red Lionesses fans, that was a false mirage as they only won one of the last six games, and that was against the Hornets by four points – the closest the Hornets came to a win. Despite this, the University of Queensland can take plenty out of two narrow losses to the Roos, knowing they match up well and would have been their preferred opponent out of the other top four teams.

Shannon Campbell finished the year with 13 goals in nine games, and was among the best on multiple occasions, Mikayla Pauga remains a huge best and fairest chance, averaging a goal a game and named in the best every second game on average from her 12 matches. Ashleigh Hales (six goals), Chloe Gregory (five), Jacqueline Dupuy (five) and Jennifer Carden-David (five) have also been consistent sources of goals this year. Maggie Harmer‘s seven bests from 11 games has her with the most consistent performances this season for the green and golds, while Brisbane Lions young gun, Lily Postlethwaite has six with Pauga. Others who have shone include Ruby McDowell (five), Bella Smith (four), Isabel Dawes (four) and Tayla Gesch (four).

Dakota Davidson has been the clear standout in front of goal, snagging 13 majors in nine games, named in the best on three occasions for the Red Lionesses. Greta Bodey has not played in a month, but prior to that she kicked eight goals in five games, while Megan Hunt – potentially leading the club’s best and fairest with seven bests – has six majors. Sophie Ure (four goals) has also been productive in her nine games. Aside from Hunt, players further up the field have also been named among the best many times, including Jane Childes and Mikayla Martin (both six). Jamie Stone has five bests ahead of Alexandra Moran, Breanna Koenen, Mia Teubler and Sara-Jane O’Grady who all have four.

Maroochydore go in as strong favourites on recent form, though University of Queensland will have confidence from pushing the Roos twice.

 

YERONGA SOUTH BRISBANE vs. COORPAROO

In the second match on Saturday, fourth placed Yeronga South Brisbane plays host to fifth placed Coorparoo for the right to take on minor premiers, Bond University in the preliminary finals. There is not much separating both these sides on the ladder, with the Devils snatching the home ground advantage in the final round with a win over the University of Queensland, whilst the Kings went went down to the Sharkettes to drop to fifth. In season 2020, the Devils finished with seven wins, three losses and two draws, while the Kings had the seven wins and five losses, just five points behind.

Yeronga South Brisbane comes into the match off the back of some pretty good form, winning three of the past four games, and that loss came against Bond University a fortnight ago. The Devils have been running hot since the break, starting with a couple of draws in Rounds 4 and 5, then narrowly avoiding a remarkable third draw in a row with a one-point win over Wilston Grange. They found their form again after Round 7’s win over Aspley Hornets, with wins over all the other sides except the top two. In the two matches with Coorparoo, they won in a high scoring Round 1 clash, 69-54, then again three weeks ago, 46-28.

Coorparoo started slowly this season, having a couple of losses in Rounds 1 and 2, then got on the board with a comprehensive 57-point win over Aspley Hornets. Upon returning to the QAFL Women’s, the Kings had the fortune of playing the last placed Hornets again and smashed them by 93 points, a record that would stand until the Roos’ 95-point shellacking over them. They easily accounted for Coolangatta Tweed and looked the team to beat, before falling to Bond University by 21 points in Round 6. From there, the Kings picked up three consecutive wins, before dropping games to both the Devils and Sharkettes in the final three rounds either side of a 40-point triumph over Wilston Grange.

Yeronga South Brisbane shares the goals around with Lexia Edwards (10 goals) averaging a goal a game to lead the Devils in goalkicking this season. Lucy Bellinger is not too far behind with eight goals – five of those in one game against the Hornets – and named among the best four times. Courtney McDonnell (seven), Sam Virgo (seven), Adrienne Keeffe (four) and Madison Goodwin (four) have also been prominent in 2020. Jordan Zanchetta has been the stand out for the Devils, named among the best five times in her 10 games, just ahead of Bellinger, Emily Bates, Jacqueline Yorston and Vanessa Hart who have all earned four bests nominations. Hart has only played the six games since the break, which makes her the in-form player.

For the Kings, the AFL Women’s experience is at the top of the table with Jamie Stanton kicking a competition-high 15 goals to share the leading goalkicker award with Bond University’s Taylor Smith. She has been named in the best on five occasions, and has clearly been the standout and one of the league’s top performers since returning to the Kings’ outfit in July. Also fantastic, Jess Wuetschner has booted 12 goals in eight games, one more than Emma McKenzie (11) and just ahead of Chelsea Chesterfield (10). Kelsey Crosbie who has remarkably not played since March, booted eight goals in three games to remain inside the top five, one ahead of Tori Groves-Little (seven). Jade Ellenger leads all-comers when it comes to bests with eight nominations from 12 games ahead of Stanton’s five, and then a host of experienced players on four such as Ally Anderson, Emma Zielke and Tahlia Hickie.

Yeronga South Brisbane have the form against Coorparoo, but the Kings can never be discounted with the stack of AFL Women’s talent on the list.