Tag: Luka Lesosky-Hay

Lesosky-Hay blessed for the opportunities

BY her own admission, Luka Lesosky-Hay has felt very lucky. The balanced midfielder has followed the women’s football pathway at the right time, moving through the system as it continually grew, picking up a premiership with the Geelong Falcons, earning Vic Country representation, and playing Victorian Football League Women’s (VFLW) for the Geelong Cats. Now Lesosky-Hay hopes she has another chapter to add at the AFL Women’s Draft.

“I started playing when I was eight-years-old,” Lesosky-Hay said. “In my hometown in Aireys (Inlet) there was a team and I was friends with lots of the boys when I was younger, so I sort of just wanted to play. “I guess I’ve sort of kept going and was playing with the boys for a while and while I’d been playing the women’s footy kept developing and I was lucky enough to get picked up by Falcons really early on and stay with them for the last three years. “Then get to do Vic Country and then with the VFL and as I said, I feel like it’s just kept progressing as I’ve been playing so I’ve been really lucky to keep going through it all.”

Her NAB League Girls season where she averaged 19.5 disposals, 2.2 marks, 2.5 inside 50s and 5.0 tackles from 10 games saw the top-age player earn a Vic Country spot to travel up to the Gold Coast for the AFL Women’s Under-18 Championships.

“It was massive because I really, really wanted it and I was super happy to get to go up to Queensland was pretty awesome,” Lesosky-Hay said. “It was also a big wake up as to how high the standard is. “I’d been playing in NAB League which is obviously a high standard but then taking it to the next level and seeing how many really, really good players there were was pretty awesome and eye-opening.”

Upon return, Lesosky-Hay also got a taste of senior football, running out for the Cats on three occasions, showing her defensive pressure with an averaged of 5.7 tackles per game to accompany her 8.7 disposals. She said it was very different to playing at Under 18s level.

“Bigger bodies, so it was also really nerve-wracking starting it all,” Lesosky-Hay said. “But they were super supportive and it was a different style of game I feel like, but also more exciting again because it’s taking it to another level where you take it against people who have been playing for even longer or who are bigger than you and so you had to really step up and I think that was really cool.”

Her season across the multiple competitions earned her enough interest from recruiters for a National Draft Combine invitation, something she said she was surprised with, not that being surprised was surprising anymore with the opportunities that were presented to her throughout her career.

“Pretty amazing,” Lesosky-Hay said of the combine invitation. “I mean I sort of with everything I keep getting really surprised and grateful for the new opportunities and this sort of stuff and I’m hoping to get the most out of this week as I can, and it’s also awesome seeing everyone from nationals again and it’s really cool.”

Lesosky-Hay has always been a dedicated worker and is determined to continue building her strengths, and improving the deficiencies in her game.

“I’m quite strong in one-on-ones contest as I play inside mid a lot,” she said. “My strength over the ball and clean hands when I’m picking it up and when I get my opportunity, my kick is generally pretty accurate and long. “I want to keep improving on my confidence and knowing how much time and space I have so I can take the game on a little bit more and also building on my repeat running and get as fit as I possibly can and keep going.”

Having had brief chats with various recruiters throughout her time, Lesosky-Hay admitted there were no guarantees when it came to the draft, and it prompted her to nominate all of Victoria for the upcoming AFL Women’s Draft, rather than just Geelong.

“They (recruiters) basically all have to say is that they can’t say anything for sure because it’s such a crazy thing on the day as well with people getting picked from everywhere, so you can’t really know at all,” Lesosky-Hay said. “I went for Vic because I personally want to come up to Melbourne as well and leave down from home as well so I thought I’d give myself the best opportunity as well to have a wider spectrum of clubs to be able to look at me. “So I went all of Victoria.”

It is not just an on-field decision to potentially move to Melbourne, but one for her future career.

“I’d love to do uni up there (in Melbourne),” Lesosky-Hay said. “Probably not straight away, but I want to study art and lots of really great art schools are in Melbourne, so if I do study it I will definitely be coming up to Melbourne.”

Lesosky-Hay said she had plenty of role models over the journey, and while many have those who have forged the path to the AFL Women’s competition, the Geelong midfielder said it was anyone involved in her journey.

“I guess it’s been hard because at the start when I was playing there wasn’t really women football players, so I guess I looked up to my teammates and now again with role models coming up,” she said. “I love the game style of people like Ellie Blackburn who I’ve watched the last few years. “But to be honest my role models have been the people around me as we’ve all been going through it and experiencing it as it comes.”

McEvoy all class and determination

THREE-time All Australian and Geelong Falcons captain, Lucy McEvoy is one of the highly touted prospects ahead of the draft and for good reason given her impressive skillset and footy brain. McEvoy has never been far from the Sherrin, playing Auskick from a young age and working her way into representative sides credit to her never say die attitude and grit across the footy field.

“I started in Auskick back with the boys when [I was] about five or six,” she said. “Then played junior footy with Collendina Cobras with the boys up until Under 14s then swapped over to the girls league after that. “Played one year at Barwon Heads then went to St Mary’s which is my local club at the moment and managed to make my way into representative sides somehow and kind of just went from there.”

The Falcons recognised her talent from an early age gifting her with the captaincy at 16 and she did not disappoint guiding her side to grand final glory and feeding off her teammates to develop her leadership qualities throughout her time at Geelong.

“It’s been a great experience working with girls that are older and also younger,” McEvoy said. “They’ve been really helpful in helping me build my leadership and really focus on that a lot more, especially this year and even just working with the other girls in the leadership group it’s been really good. “I think I’ve always been quite confident personality wise. “I think it depends who you meet sometimes. “Knowing that they’d voted for me as well gave me the confidence to know that they really did want me to be their captain and their leader. So tried to really embrace it and tried not to really think too much that I was younger than them. But yeah their support in that first season was really crucial for me.”

McEvoy has already had a highly decorated career, winning a premiership last year after going undefeated and will be looking to add to her trophy cabinet in the years to come.

“It was so good,” McEvoy said. “I thought we had a chance this year as well. “We had a really good bunch of girls and considering what we’d been through the year before with the loss of one of our teammates. “I think it made it even more special. “I’ll cherish that forever.”

With a premiership to her name McEvoy capped off her NAB League career as a three-time All Australian with each time more special than the previous.

“When I was younger I probably I took it for granted probably because I was a little immature and not as grown up and didn’t really realise the significance of it,” she said. “But as the second one I managed to get and this year, it’s quite something that I hold quite highly because a lot of the other girls don’t really get a chance to get that achievement. “So I’ve tried to really acknowledge my achievements but also not get ahead of myself and just keep on track and focus on one thing at a time.”

Often referred to as the Falcons’ footy factory, Geelong saw a wealth of talent get drafted last year leaving a gaping hole in the Falcons 2019 side. But that did not deter McEvoy with the captain standing up through the midfield to replace the likes of number one draft pick Nina Morrison along with Olivia Purcell and Denby Taylor.

“As pre-season went on we were able to create our own side and really adapt to each other’s games,” McEvoy said. “We lost some quality players in the midfield, but the girls that stepped up in Paige (Sheppard) and Luka (Lesosky-Hay) and some of the bottom-age girls was credit to them. “They really took it on board and played their role for the team this year.”

The talented footballer has a bright future ahead of her both on and off the football field with the 18-year-old hoping to get into university next year.

“I’m hoping to go into paramedicine,” McEvoy said. “I put Vic Uni as my number one preference. “Who knows whether I’ll get it or not, I’ve still got to finish exams and what not, hopefully I put my best foot forward in that and hopefully get the ATAR that I need.”

With an already solid set of skills, McEvoy is constantly looking to improve herself and develop her craft on the footy field noting her marking as one of strengths, but her short kick as a possible improvement.

“I need to definitely still improve my short kicking and accuracy in that area,” she said. “Then my fitness components which will be tested this week endurance, sprinting and agility, I’d really love to improve that side of my game.”

Throughout her time, she has been heavily influenced by her fellow teammates who have gone on to the next level with AFL clubs.

“Definitely the girls that were part of our side last year,” McEvoy said. “Nina Morrison, Liv Purcell and Denby (Taylor). “They’ve provided some of the great insight into what their experience was like and even in their first year of AFLW so I’ll continue to learn off them and admire what they do.”

2019 AFLW Draft Combine Results

WITH the AFL Women’s 2019 Draft looming ever closer, the AFLW Draft Combine is the final opportunity for young talent to prove their craft prior to the Draft on 22 October.

Victoria rated highly across all five tests, featuring in the top five in each and leading two, seeing Nicola Xenos coming in fast for the 20-metre sprint and Elisabeth Georgostathis exceeding in the agility test. Meanwhile, West Australian Roxy Roux and South Australian Hannah Munyard both placed in the top five for three of the five tests and Irish recruits Olivia Divilly and Vicki Wall proved they could match with the best of Australia’s young talent.

Below are the top five results for each test.

STANDING VERTICAL JUMP

Roxanne Roux (WA): 59cm
Molly Denahy-Maloney (VIC): 58cm
Marguerite Purcell (VIC): 53cm
Tahlia Hickie (QLD): 52cm
Hannah Munyard (SA): 51cm

20-METRE SPRINT

Nicola Xenos (VIC): 3.210 seconds
Olivia Divilly (Ireland): 3.258 seconds
Roxanne Roux (WA): 3.250 seconds
Vicki Wall (Ireland): 3.299 seconds
Hannah Munyard (SA): 3.307 seconds

AGILITY TEST

Elisabeth Georgostathis (VIC): 8.535 seconds
Isabel Dawes (QLD): 8.651 seconds
Roxanne Roux (WA): 8.654 seconds
Hannah Munyard (SA): 8.668 seconds
Tarni White (QLD): 8.696 seconds

YO-YO TEST

Olivia Divilly (Ireland): level 17.2
Georgia Garnett (NSW/ACT): level 16.8
Sophie Molan (VIC): level 16.4
Paige Sheppard (VIC): level 16.3
Gemma Lagioia (VIC): level 16.1
Luka Lesosky-Hay (VIC): level 16.1
Serene Watson (QLD): level 16.1

TWO-KILOMETRE TIME TRIAL

Hannah Hillman (QLD): 7min 41sec
Olivia Divillly (Ireland): 7min 48sec
Nicola Xenos (VIC): 7min 58sec
Gemma Lagioia (VIC): 8min 1sec
Ella Wood (VIC): 8min 9sec
Tahlia Hickie (QLD): 8min 9sec

AFL Women’s Draft Combine: Player Summaries

AFTER the 2019 AFL Women’s Draft Combine list of names were announced earlier in the week, we take a look at each player who was nominated, with a quick summary and link to their profile. Check them out below:

2019 AFLW NAB Draft Combine Nominees

NSW/ACT: [3]

Georgia Garnett (East Coast Eagles)
* Eastern Allies captain, member of the GWS GIANTS Academy and a player from the GIANTS heartland of western Sydney

Eloise Hiller-Stanbrook (Dubbo)
* Tireless ruck who averaged 14 hitouts per game at the AFL Women’s Under-18 Championships

Brenna Tarrant (East Coast Eagles)
* All-Australian in 2019 and a crucial key defender who can move up the ground, also from western Sydney heartland

QUEENSLAND: [8]

Georgia Breward (Coolangatta)+
* Suffered a season-ending injury last year but showed plenty of talent and determination

Isabel Dawes (Maroochydore)
* Classy, smart forward who made All-Australian last year in her middle-age year

Dee Heslop (Yeronga South Brisbane)
* Consistent player who has been reliable in the defensive half and uses the ball well

Tahlia Hickie (Coorparoo)+
* Ruck prospect who played as an over-ager at the championships and performed strongly

Lily Postlethwaite (Maroochydore)
* Dual All-Australian and state captain, super talented midfielder

Taylor Smith (Bond University)+
* Tall target who presented well during the championships up forward, another overage player on the list

Serene Watson (Bond University)
* Another dual All-Australian from Queensland who provided a reliable marking target in the defensive half, repelling opposition attacks time and time again

Tarni White (Coorparoo)
* Returned from an ACL injury to show some promising signs at the championships and has plenty of upside

SOUTH AUSTRALIA: [4]

Montana McKinnon (South Adelaide)
* Dual All-Australian ruck and dual Most Valuable Player (MVP), South Australian and Central Allies captain, South Adelaide premiership player… the list of accolades is unbelievable. Top ruck in the draft crop

Hannah Munyard (South Adelaide)
* Smart user of the footy with elite athletic traits, premiership player at South Adelaide predominantly through the midfield

Madison Newman (West Adelaide)
* One of the top rebounders in the draft crop, an All-Australian in 2019 and consistent as they come

Jaimi Tabb (Woodville-West Torrens)
* Tackling machine who thrives on the contest and has shown a capability to also win the ball on the outside as well

TASMANIA: [1]

Mia King (Launceston)
* Super talented mover through the midfield with burst speed, King won the Eastern Allies’ MVP for the carnival to go with her All-Australian selection. North Melbourne have first priority being Tasmanian

VIC COUNTRY: [10]

Teagan Brett (Murray Bushrangers)
* Small midfielder who came of age in the championships, playing well on the outside and getting the ball from midfield into attack

Millie Brown (Murray Bushrangers)
* Potential Geelong father-daughter selection, Brown was superb across the championships in defence until injury ruled her out of the final game. 2019 All-Australian

Luka Lesosky-Hay (Geelong Falcons)
* Accumulator who just finds the football and works hard into space, a key cog in Geelong Falcons’ midfield with Lucy McEvoy

Lucy McEvoy (Geelong Falcons)
* Hard to even begin with the accolades, but a three-time All-Australian, dual Best and Fairest, premiership captain, Vic Country MVP… just a star and unbelievable leader who has captained for three years at the Falcons

Sophie Molan (GWV Rebels)
* Natural born leader who captained the Rebels this year and is as versatile as they come, can play anywhere and was a 2019 All-Australian

Shanara Notman (Gippsland Power)
* A late bloomer after having last year off, she can play up either end and is strong in the air and very good athletically

Paige Sheppard (Geelong Falcons)
* Raised her draft stocks at the championships with a terrific carnival following on from a consistent year in the NAB League Girls

Brooke Vernon (Dandenong Stingrays)
* One of Dandenong’s best in the NAB League Girls this year, playing as a rebounding defender who is as good in the air as she is at ground level

Nikia Webber (Gippsland Power)
* Tall forward who can also play through the midfield, Webber is an elite kick of the footy, arguably the best in the draft crop with accuracy and penetration

Ella Wood (GWV Rebels)
* Uncompromising midfielder who loves the contested side of footy and relishes winning the hard ball with great courage

VIC METRO: [15]

Alana Barba (Calder Cannons)
* A tackling machine who stood up particularly later in the year, emerging as a genuine draft chance with great defensive pressure

Molly Denahy-Maloney (Sandringham Dragons)
* Athletic ruck who captained Sandringham Dragons this year and held up Vic Metro’s ruck division in 2019

Elisabeth Georgostathis (Western Jets)
* Captain of Western Jets and one who always puts her body on the line, Georgostathis was another who raised her draft stocks at the championships with important moments in big games. Can play anywhere on the field too

Isabella Grant (Western Jets)
* Potential Western Bulldogs father-daughter, she is able to play midfield or forward and can take a grab and hit the scoreboard

Britney Gutknecht (Northern Knights)
* Known for her goalkicking last year, Gutknecht became an inside midfielder this year and was a key player in the Knights’ premiership side

Gemma Lagioia (Oakleigh Chargers)
* Classy user of the football who can play anywhere on the ground, she was able to develop her inside game at the championships to add another string to her bow

Laura McClelland (Eastern Ranges)
* One of only three Vic Metro All-Australians, McClelland can play anywhere on the ground and is strong in the air and capable of kicking terrific goals

Nell Morris-Dalton (Northern Knights)
* One of the most consistent players this season, Morris-Dalton had a massive end to the NAB League Girls season and is so strong one-on-one, particularly in the air

Gabrielle Newton (Northern Knights)
* Dual All-Australian, Northern Knights premiership captain and one who is almost copied and pasted into the best every week, Newton hardly puts a foot wrong and has played literally everywhere on the field from the ruck to all thirds of the ground given her athletic talents

Georgia Patrikios (Calder Cannons)
* Overall MVP of the championships, Patrikios led her Calder side to a grand final and has the best agility of any player in the draft crop. Uses the ball well and is a dual All-Australian too

Marguerite Purcell (Sandringham Dragons)
* Speedy winger who has developed rapidly this year playing for the Dragons and earned a spot on Vic Metro’s list for the championships, holding her own there

Sarah Sansonetti (Northern Knights)
* Reliable defender who stood up in the NAB League Girls Grand Final for Northern and just does the job week-in, week-out

Cleo Saxon-Jones (Western Jets)
* Key forward who is a strong contested mark and powerful set shot at goal, she thrived on one-on-one situations at the championships

Felicity Theodore (Calder Cannons)
* Fierce tackling runner who just works hard all day and attacks the footy and ball carrier with vigour, able to play up either end and provide great defensive pressure

Nicola Xenos (Oakleigh Chargers)
* Talented running defender who uses the ball well off half-back and makes good decisions with ball-in-hand

WESTERN AUSTRALIA: [4]

Sophie McDonald (Claremont)+
* Key defender who repelled opposition attacks and was able to set up attacking plays after some goal-saving moves deep in defence

Emma O’Driscoll (Swan Districts)*
* Did not play up on the Gold Coast, but O’Driscoll is a reliable defender who has good positioning and high level smarts

Roxanne Roux (East Fremantle)
* Exciting key forward who has a massive vertical leap and could become a human highlight reel with her long kicking, goal sense and work rate; another All-Australian

Mim Strom (South Fremantle)
* Really stood out in the ruck as a key player who not only worked well at stoppages, but at ground level and around the ground, providing an impact – 2019 All-Australian too

+Overage player (ie. born 2000)

2019 AFL Women’s Draft Combine invitations announced

FORTY-five players have been invited to the 2019 AFL Women’s NAB Draft Combine, with 25 from Victoria – where eight of the 10 AFL Women’s clubs are based, with Queensland (eight) the next highest. Four players from both South Australia and Western Australia have been invited, as have three from NSW/ACT and one from Tasmania. Among the invitees are five overagers (eligible last year), as well as two father-daughter potential selections in Isabella Grant (Western Bulldogs) and Millie Brown (Geelong). Players who are already pre-listed to clubs such as Gold Coast’s Ellie Hampson, West Coast’s Mikayla Bowen and St Kilda’s Molly McDonald and Isabella Shannon were not included in the invitations.

The combine will be held from October 1-3 to align with the AFL Under-18 National Combine. Western Bulldogs hold the first pick in this year’s AFL Women’s Draft.

Extended content on the invitees will come later in the week.

2019 AFLW NAB Draft Combine Nominees

NSW/ACT: [3]
Georgia Garnett (East Coast Eagles)
Eloise Hiller-Stanbrook (Dubbo)
Brenna Tarrant (East Coast Eagles)

QUEENSLAND: [8]
Georgia Breward (Coolangatta)*
Isabel Dawes (Maroochydore)
Dee Heslop (Yeronga South Brisbane)
Tahlia Hickie (Coorparoo)*
Lily Postlethwaite (Maroochydore)
Taylor Smith (Bond University)*
Serene Watson (Bond University)
Tarni White (Coorparoo)

SOUTH AUSTRALIA: [4]
Montana McKinnon (South Adelaide)
Hannah Munyard (South Adelaide)
Madison Newman (West Adelaide)
Jaimi Tabb (Woodville-West Torrens)

TASMANIA: [1]
Mia King (Launceston)

VIC COUNTRY: [10]
Teagan Brett (Murray Bushrangers)
Millie Brown (Murray Bushrangers)
Luka Lesosky-Hay (Geelong Falcons)
Lucy McEvoy (Geelong Falcons)
Sophie Molan (GWV Rebels)
Shanara Notman (Gippsland Power)
Paige Sheppard (Geelong Falcons)
Brooke Vernon (Dandenong Stingrays)
Nikia Webber (Gippsland Power)
Ella Wood (GWV Rebels)

VIC METRO: [15]
Alana Barba (Calder Cannons)
Molly Denahy-Maloney (Sandringham Dragons)
Elisabeth Georgostathis (Western Jets)
Isabella Grant (Western Jets)
Britney Gutknecht (Northern Knights)
Gemma Lagioia (Oakleigh Chargers)
Laura McClelland (Eastern Ranges)
Nell Morris-Dalton (Northern Knights)
Gabrielle Newton (Northern Knights)
Georgia Patrikios (Calder Cannons)
Marguerite Purcell (Sandringham Dragons)
Sarah Sansonetti (Northern Knights)
Cleo Saxon-Jones (Western Jets)
Felicity Theodore (Calder Cannons)
Nicola Xenos (Oakleigh Chargers)

WESTERN AUSTRALIA: [4]
Sophie McDonald (Claremont)*
Emma O’Driscoll (Swan Districts)*
Roxanne Roux (East Fremantle)
Mim Strom (South Fremantle)

*Overage player (ie. born 2000)

Barber’s four goals helps Vic Country to victory over Queensland

A four-goal performance from Murray Bushrangers’ key forward Olivia Barber, and an impressive game across the board from Country captain Lucy McEvoy has seen Vic Country knock off Queensland in a scrappy but strong start to Round 2 of the AFLW Under 18 Championships. Country came into their match against the hosts, Queensland in wet conditions, beating the home side by 42 points following a four goals to zero first half.

With conditions making it hard to take clean possession of the footy, Country prevailed credit to their ability to use the ball in the messy conditions. An early goal from Barber saw the side gain confidence before a clearing kick over the contest from McEvoy saw Barber soccer off the turf for her second not long after. McEvoy seemed to be everywhere around the contest, racking up 24 disposals, six tackles and four inside 50s, aided well by Luka Lesosky-Hay with 20 disposals, six clearances and five tackles. Meanwhile Queensland seemed to struggle early, unable to find their forward half as Country piled onto every ball.

The second quarter saw Queensland find some better space to drive inside 50 but were unable to have much of an impact on the scoreboard, not finding much connection to link their midfielders and forwards against the pressing defence of Country across the field. While the hosts stood their ground well defensively, Country were able to extend the lead courtesy of repeated intercept marks in their forward 50. Half time saw Country extend the lead to 27 points, with Renee Saulitis finding some good space to snap around the body early, while Barber got her third on the board moments before the siren.

Zimmorlei Farquharson was in among it for Queensland, putting a goal on the board in the third and pairing well with the likes of Daisy D’Arcy who opened up the ledger for the hosts after a flat first half. The third quarter saw Queensland take back some control, with both sides kicking two goals apiece as the intensity lifted. The hosts opened up some opportunities after half time, fighting their way into the contest with some strong bodywork and finding better space through the midfield to get forward. With better entries inside 50 it looked like they were drawing back some momentum but were ultimately unable to capitalise, seeing the hosts remain 30 points down with 15 minutes to go. Serene Watson (21 disposals, three marks, seven rebounds) and Lily Postlethwaite (18 disposals, four marks, three clearances) racked up the touches in a contest that saw Vic Country dominate at every turn.

Queensland put in the hard yards in the final term, producing some fantastic passages of play but missing the polish the Victorian side had. While the hosts were missing fight in the first half, they made up for it in droves late in the match. Despite trailing by 30 points with five mins left on the clock, they fought like they had a comeback on their hands and put Vic Country through their paces. But a dominant final term from McEvoy all but sealed the deal for Country, combining with Barber to put three goals on the board and cement a convincing 42 point win.

QUEENSLAND 0.0 | 0.1 | 2.1 | 3.1 (19)
VIC COUNTRY 2.1 | 4.4 | 6.7 | 9.7 (61)

GOALS

QLD: T. Smith, D. D’Arcy, Z. Farquharson.
VC: O. Barber 4, L. McEvoy 2, R. Saulitis, I. Simmonds, D. Moloney.

ADC BEST:

QLD: S. Watson, L. Postlethwaite, E. Hampson, E. Zanker-Close, K. Whap-Farrar, I. Dawes
VC: L. McEvoy, O. Barber, S. Molan, D. Moloney, T. Smith, L. Lesosky-Hay

Scouting notes: AFLW U18 Championships – Vic Metro vs. Vic Country

IN an impressive game of skill and pressure, Vic Metro got the better of Vic Country for the final Round 1 game of the AFL Women’s Under 18s Championships. Metro won by 44 points and now head up to Queensland full of confidence, while Country will be keen to follow last year’s lead and bounce back from the Metro loss to win against their three opponents up there. Below are Taylah Melki‘s opinion-based notes from the weekend’s match.

U18 Vic Metro

#3 Gemma Lagioia

She worked hard throughout the game and won a heap of the footy over the four quarters. Really good mover across the field and showed good football knowledge to use the ball well and think her way through defence. Always seemed to be in the right positions at half-forward or on a wing for the quick kick out of defence by Country opponents. She would often use her composure to think her way through situations and hit-up targets going forward. Playing through the inside, Lagioia also showed a different element to her usual run-and-gun skilled game with some contested ball winning ability too.
 
#5 Elisabeth Georgostathis
 
Georgostathis impressed throughout the game winning the ball time and time again. She had good positioning in the forward 50 taking a clever mark but was unable to capitalise early in the first quarter missing to the side. She continued her hot form with a very impressive goal on the fly off a few steps and slotting it right through the middle early in the second quarter. She showcased her good hands in close and was clean off the deck. She applied good physical pressure with some crunching tackles throughout the match and attacked the ball hard to win the footy and dish it off to teammates.

#14 Laura McClelland 

McClelland was busy early on and did well to try and repel the forward forays that came her way. Good user of the footy to kick lace out through the middle of the ground and find a teammate in space. She was a real bull around the contest and used her physical pressure to try and out body her opponent. McClelland seemed comfortable behind the ball and was able to push up the ground and kick long when requited.

#15 Alyssa Bannan

Bannan made her presence felt on the scoreboard for Vic Metro with a goal right on the siren in the opening term with the ball rolling through. She presented well up at the footy to take a strong mark on the lead but was unable to capitalise in front of goal in the third term. But she quickly made up for inaccuracy credit to some good body positioning and strong hands above her head to take a big mark just inside the goal square and nail her second goal. Bannan showcased some real attacking flair with a run along the wing, pushing off four opponents and working her way through traffic. She went for a bounce but the ball did not sit for her but worked hard to win the ball back. Nailed her third goal in the fourth quarter, highlighting her good movement in the forward 50 and cleanliness with ball in hand.

#17 Georgia Patrikios

Really good around the contest, clever mover through traffic to keep her arms free and release the ball to a teammate. She applied good tackling pressure to bring her opponent to ground time and time again and showcased her strong hands under pressure. Patrikios displayed her ability to read the flight of the ball and take a couple of big grabs while also appearing to have plenty of time and space to make clever decisions with ball in hand.

#21 Ellie McKenzie

Found plenty of the ball throughout the game appearing to have the ball on a string. She used the ball across the field and showcased her vision and intent to move the ball forward on multiple occasions. Used her nice long kick to penetrate through the opposition defence and took a couple of really strong marks credit to her ability to read the flight of the ball. Impressed with arguably one of the plays of the day streaming down wing and showcasing her speed with 5 bounces ending in the forward 50. McKenzie won plenty of the ball and was a real general across the ground dictating space and delivering the ball to her teammates well. Displayed all her skills and spatial awareness to run through the middle of the ground and just open up the forward 50 time and time again.

#22 Sarah Hartwig
 
Hartwig had a day out down in defence and was a real general down back controlling the forward forays. She won plenty of ball and stood up time and time again in one-on-ones. It was easy to identify what she was doing as time and time again once she knew Metro had numbers covered at the stoppages, she would drop back a kick behind play in case Country cleared the ball out of the stoppage with a bomb on the boot. Taking plenty of intercept marks, she was also able to identify targets up the field, and if she did not mark it, she would spoil her direct opponent, or peel off and come across as a third player up. One of Metro’s best and used it well on the attack.

#23 Nell Morris-Dalton
 
Good crumbing goal showcasing her goal sense and footy smarts to take a few steps around her opponent and then snap it straight through the middle after missing her first two shots at goal. Posed a dominant threat in the forward line kicking another goal in the third quarter after picking the ball up off the deck and using her body positioning to get around her opponent and slot it through the big sticks.

#24 Isabella Grant
 
Grant took a big mark in the opening term and kicked the first goal of the game squeezing it through the big sticks to kick start Metro’s campaign. She took another solid mark in the first quarter and was awarded a double 50 metre free kick and kicked truly nailing her second goal of the game in the first quarter. She consistently presented well up at the footy causing havoc in the forward line and won another double 50 metre and scored from directly out the front

#26 Gabrielle Newton

Newton had a hot start, involved in everything early. She showcased good composure to kick a perfectly weighted pass along the wing and found good space across the ground. She ran hard throughout the match to provide strong leads and options across the field. Was not afraid to get involved in the contest applying good tackling pressure and presented well up at the footy. Posed a threat in all areas of the ground offering strong leads in the forward 50 gathering the ball that popped out the back and banged it straight through the big sticks to kick her first for the game. Used her strong hands and good vision to punish the opposition.

Vic Country

#3 Paige Sheppard

Worked hard throughout the four quarters and particularly stepped up in the second half with the game slipping away from Country. Put her body on the line time and time again and ran hard to win touches through the middle and set up attacking plays. Applied great defensive pressure on the ball carrier throughout the match as well and was one of Country’s best in that area.

#4 Renee Saulitis

Relatively quiet day early given Metro’s forward half dominance, but left her mark on the game with a quick couple of steps and a goal midway through the final quarter once Country had a sniff going forward. She showed that she has what it takes to be an impact player slotting another goal in the final term credit to her goal sense and clean hands. Just finds space and is clever around goal.

#5 Luka Lesosky-Hay

Lesosky-Hay was busy early on winning a heap of the ball and working hard across the ground to get into damaging positions. She was not afraid to put her body on the line and contest for the ball both in the air and at ground level.
 
#10 Sophie Locke

A key player down in defence, read the play really well and contested hard at every occasion. Locke took a heap of big contested marks and kept her feet. She used her strong hands to win the ball back for her side and dished off a couple of well weighted kicks to teammates. She showcased her good hands under pressure and covered the ground well to consistently impose herself on the contest winning her fair share of the ball.

#12 Tyanna Smith

Provided some trademark run off half-back and along the wing, trying to break the lines going forward. It was tough for her to get too much happening with the ball camped in the Metro’s defensive half, and with Metro’s defenders, such as Sarah Hartwig and Isabelle Pritchard so well set up forward of centre. She kept trying throughout the four quarters and did have a few nice plays across the game.

#21 Sophie Molan

Molan was good in close and worked tirelessly around the contest to win the ball for Country. She showcased her strength in the air with a big contested grab and was strong overhead to go back with the flight and put the mitts up.

#22 Millie Brown

Brown had a blinder winning a heap of the footy and using it well. Really safe set of hands and played a solid role down in defence. She really controlled the defensive 50 and worked hard to try and nullify the influence of her opponents. Consistently showed good intent to move the ball forward and make her presence felt across the field. Brown highlighted her footy smarts reading the play well and floating into the right spots in the defensive 50 to regain possession for her side. She was careful and precise with ball in hand making the most of her possessions.

#23 Lucy McEvoy

McEvoy led from the front all game accumulating plenty of the ball and using it efficiently. Lowered the eyes and used the ball well to kick the ball lace out to a teammate on the lead. She showcased her strength to take a big mark despite the oncoming contact and pressure and dropped into the holes taking a good intercept mark. She used her long booming kick to move the ball forward and create scoring opportunities. McEvoy positioned well across the ground and just consistently imposed herself on the contest, involved in everything. She pushed hard in the final term to try and create a spark. She moved forward and applied good pressure to try and create shots on goal but was unable to capitalise in the last quarter only registering a minor score.

AFLW U18 Championships preview: Vic Country vs. Vic Metro

VICTORIA’S top under-age female footballers lock horns in the final game of the AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships Series One. Vic Country takes on Vic Metro at Avalon Airport Oval tomorrow, with both sides packed to the brim with talent. After facing off in the NAB League Girls competition all year, the best of the best now team up for state pride as they prepare for Series Two of the competition up on the Gold Coast in a fortnight. We take a look at both sides and analyse the key strengths of the teams.

Note: The game will be live streamed via the NAB League website with commentary from Under-18 and VFLW commentator Matthew Cocks, and Draft Central Chief Editor Peter Williams.

VIC COUNTRY

B: 10. Sophie Locke – 22. Millie Brown – 30. Daisy Smith
HB: 19. Brooke Vernon – 14. Abbey Chapman – 15 Isabella Shannon
C: 12. Tyanna Smith – 23. Lucy McEvoy – 13. Molly McDonald
HF: 3. Paige Sheppard – 27. Shanara Notman – 24. Isabella Simmons
F: 4. Renee Saulitis – 25. Olivia Barber – 9. Darcy Moloney
R: 29. Maggie Caris – 11. Brooke Hards – 5. Luka Lesosky-Hay
INT: 21. Sophie Molan – 1. Elise Vella – 28. Georgia Howes – 18. Kate Douglass – 6. Laura Gardiner – 16. Renee Tierney

Vic Country is unsurprisingly packed with 2018 premiers and 2019 finalists, Geelong Falcons, with nine of the 24 players named in the Country squad from the Falcons team. Given exciting forward Mia Skinner is injured, their representation could well have reached double figures for the Aasta O’Connor-coached side. The aspects to like about Vic Country will be their defence, hardness at the ball and the X-factor up forward.

1. Defence

The Country side has two genuine lockdown talls who can also provide some rebound in Abbey Chapman and Kate Douglass, while Millie Brown – named at full-back is an offensive defender with a terrific set of hands and can push up into the midfield to provide support. Brooke Vernon was the best rebounding medium defender this year and having her at half-back will be an asset, while seeing Isabella Shannon named in the back half is a surprise, but just shows her versatility having played mostly through midfield and up forward. She does have the capacity to drop back into the hole in defence, and no doubt she will be required to do so with the tall Metro attack likely to stretch the defence. Sophie Locke will likely lock down on a smaller opponent – perhaps Nicola Xenos or Jess Fitzgerald when forward – while Daisy Smith can do the same, although she is more likely to play tall. Given the height and marking ability of the Metro side, they might need three talls in defence to counteract Metro’s strength in the air.

2. Hardness at the ball

If you look at the starting five midfield of Brooke Hards, Luka Lesosky-Hay, Tyanna Smith, Lucy McEvoy and Molly McDonald, the first thing that comes to mind is – you would not want to be an opposition midfielder. They attack the ball hard, and will rack up the contested ball and is an area they can exploit Metro. Smith has a point of difference with her pace, as does the outside run of Elise Vella coming off the bench, but the speed that Metro possesses will trouble the Country side. It is why winning it at the coalface is so important, and McEvoy, Hards and McDonald in particular will not take a backwards step, being captains and potential future captain of their respective NAB League girls clubs. With Maggie Caris in the ruck, the midfield will get first look at it more often than not, and that midfield also includes the likes of Sophie Molan and Laura Gardiner coming off the bench, as well as Paige Sheppard and Darcy Moloney who can rotate through there, as can Shannon and Brown.

3. X-factor up forward

The named Vic Country forward line is almost one to watch for 2020, with four of the six starting forwards not eligible to be drafted until next year. The two exceptions are Shanara Notman – an exciting key position player with a huge leap and terrific hands, who has spent time in defence this year for Gippsland Power after sitting out last year – and Paige Sheppard – who is one of the better kicks in the team, setting up forward plays with great precision kicking and vision. Otherwise, the remaining four still have plenty of time to develop, with Olivia Barber one of the most exciting key forwards coming through, able to make the right leads and clunk marks, just needing to iron out her set shots at times. Isabella Simmons is a tall prospect with good athleticism who roams up to the wing and can play tall or small at ground level, while Darcy Moloney and Renee Saulitis are clever forwards who if you give them an inch will take a mile. Moloney has spent time in the midfield for the Falcons this year, while Saulitis has also proven to be a more than capable defender, so versatility is something the Country side has in spades. The forward line has the nice balance of talls and smalls, and of course chuck in Renee Tierney and Georgia Howes off the bench – Howes will also share the ruck load with Caris – and there is plenty of scoring potential there.

VIC METRO

B: 2. Felicity Theodore – 28. Isabelle Pritchard – 14. Laura McClelland
HB: 22. Sarah Hartwig – 20. Sarah Sansonetti – 12. Alice Burke
C: 8. Mimi Hill – 13. Britney Gutknecht – 17. Georgia Patrikios
HF: 26. Gabrielle Newton – 29. Cleo Saxon-Jones – 24. Isabella Grant
F: 15. Alyssa Bannan – 23. Nell Morris-Dalton – 4. Nicola Xenos
R: 27. Molly Denahy Moloney – 3. Gemma Lagioia – 21. Ellie McKenzie
INT: 19. Marguerite Purcell – 5. Elisabeth Georgostathis – 34. Jessica Fitzgerald – 10. Alana Barba – 18. Emma Horne – 9. Bella Eddey

Vic Metro will head into this game pretty confident following their win over Vic Country last year as arguable underdogs. This year they will likely go in as favourites, but it is predicted to be a tight contest. There are quite a few reasons for their favouritism, but the forward line marking ability is the number one aspect, while others include their speed, and intercept marking.

1. Marks inside 50

The Metro side has a dynamic forward line, with many incredibly athletic at ground level and can impress in the air or at ground level. The two that are the genuine key position players – Cleo-Saxon Jones and Nell Morris-Dalton – are arguably the two best contested marks in the competition this year, and throwing them into attack with Gabby Newton, Isabella Grant and Alyssa Bannan means the attack has a massive advantage for high balls coming in. The Vic Country defence will need to be on their guard with the forward line also capable of pushing up the ground and rotating through the midfield with any one of those five capable of playing as a key position player, while all have the possibility of giving a chop out in the ruck. Nicola Xenos is the sixth forward, who adds more speed at ground level and can also play out of defence or along the wing. Emma Horne, Jess Fitzgerald or Bella Eddey are all named on the bench, and the trio can add that smaller element to the forward mix, particularly Eddey who can play tall or small with plenty of X-factor.

2. Speed

Having already spoke about Vic Country’s advantage on the inside, Vic Metro’s advantage is on the outside, and particularly with speed. Most of the starting midfield has serious wheels, with Gemma Lagioia, Ellie McKenzie and Mimi Hill all capable to taking off on runs. Georgia Patrikios is the most agile player in the competition, so expect her to use her trademark sidestep to get around opponents, while Britney Gutknecht can also get herself out of trouble. While Country does have more hardness on the inside, McKenzie and Gutknecht will form the same bond they did in the Knights’ premiership side, looking to extract the ball out to their runners, or take the game on themselves. Fitzgerald is another who adds to the speed and is one of the best kicks in the side, while Marguerite Purcell also adds some outside run. Alana Barba was one of the most prolific tacklers in the NAB League Girls competition, so she will assists Gutknecht and McKenzie rotating off the bench, while Elisabeth Georgostathis will likely spend time through the midfield and rotate with Alice Burke off half-back. If the Vic Country midfield gets on top on the inside, do not be surprised to see Georgostathis and Burke thrown into the middle with Gutknecht or McKenzie to add some extra grunt. Molly Denahy Moloney will hope to counteract the leap of Caris, but does have her when it comes to around the ground, with Denahy Moloney one of the better athletes among the talls.

3. Intercept marking

We talked about the strength in the air in attack, but the embarrassment of riches down back in terms of the three tall defenders is a luxury that Vic Metro has. Sarah Hartwig and Isabelle Pritchard are arguably the two best intercept markers – along with teammate Sarah Sansonetti and Country duo Brown and Chapman – and they will likely pick off anything that comes their way. They can all play as rebounding defenders or to shut down their opponent, with Sansonetti the top shutdown tall, while Hartwig is the top rebounding tall. The mix can be swapped around depending on how games play out at the championships, but to have the three – two of which are middle-age and will form the key defensive partnership next year – is something Metro coach Nathan Burke will love. With running machine Felicity Theodore and Alice Burke also back there, the Metro team have speed and defensive pressure that can run down forwards heading into goal. Laura McClelland is more often known for her ability in the forward half, but she can mark the ball and find space well, adding to the height in defence. As mentioned, Georgostathis is another player who might rotate through the defensive mix, while Barba is also known to drop back into defence at times, allowing for some versatility for the Metro coaching staff.

VFL Women’s wash-up: Round 4

ROUND 4 saw a number of big results in the VFL Women’s, with Casey losing top spot with their first loss for the season, dropping to fourth as the Bulldogs, Saints and Tigers got wins on the board. Meanwhile, three sides still sit winless, with Carlton, Williamstown and Darebin yet to secure the four points but all have had a bye.

HAWTHORN 2.1 | 3.4 | 4.8 | 4.11 (35)
WILLIAMSTOWN 2.1 | 2.1 | 2.2 | 4.2 (26)

By: Nikki Jamieson

GOALS
Hawthorn: R. Beeson 2, M. Hutchins, S. Perkins
Williamstown: S. Whiting 2, M. Hope, E. Crawford

BEST
Hawthorn: M. Hutchins, R. Dillon, T. Radan, O. Flanagan, R. Beeson, P. Randall
Williamstown: A. Melnikas, M. Williamson, L. Suleiman, N. Wallace, S. Whiting, G. Anderson

Hawthorn won their second match for the VFLW season, as Williamstown continues into round five without a win on the board. In what started as a close game with both teams tied at the end of the first quarter, Hawthorn’s defence were then able to keep Williamstown in check. The Hawks only let through one point from Williamstown before the final quarter. Williamstown was able to limit the Hawks’ strong offensive front, sparing them from a total blowout and limiting them to mostly behinds throughout the match. An impactful game from backline players such as Ashlea Melnikas and Nikki Wallace (12 disposals, six tackles) kept Hawthorn in check for most of the game. Seagulls’ Mo Hope (11 disposals, one goal) and Sharnie Whiting (18 disposals, two goals, four tackles) were also key in the final quarter comeback, kicking goals in the dying minutes.
Hawthorn’s season is starting to fare better but most would have expected a stronger performance from them against Williamstown who are at the bottom of the ladder. An important player for Hawthorn in defence was Pepa Randall (11 disposals, four tackles), helping keep the Seagulls’ forwards quiet for most of the match. Another key player for Hawthorn was Meg Hutchins (11 disposals, one goal, three tackles), consistently influencing the contest and winning the ball.Rebecca Beeson had a great match kicking two goals, and Olivia Flanagan (23 disposals, one behind, five tackles) led overall for disposals with 23. Also notable was Rosie Dillon (18 disposals, one behind, four tackles) who played tight on the ball all match.

MELBOURNE UNI 0.1 | 0.4 | 2.7 | 4.10 (34)
RICHMOND 2.3 | 3.4 | 3.5 | 5.7 (37)
By: Sophie Taylor

GOALS:
Melbourne Uni: J. Garner 3, K. Gillespie-Jones
Richmond: T. Stahl, M. Brancatisano, J. Colwell, K. Brennan, L. Bailey

BEST:
Melbourne Uni: J. Garner, K. Angelis, K. Gillespie-Jones, A. Riddell, N. Julian, J. Bruton
Richmond: K. Brennan, E. Burry, R. Miller, H. Burchell, T. Stahl, J.Colwell

A fast start from the Tigers saw the Muggars mount a comeback too little too late, as they peppered the goals without luck in an attempt to turn the tides with minutes left on the clock. Tigers were strong early, not only limiting Melbourne Uni to only four behinds by half time with no worries in front of goal as they kicked three goals four by half time. The main break sparked Uni into action, as the side put in the hard yards in an attempt to even up the ledger, only down by seven points at the final change and ready for a fight to the finish. It was the Tigers who had the last laugh however, as their pressing defence caused errors and inaccuracy in front of goal, with Uni finishing with more scoring shots on the board but going down by three credit to Richmond’s early lead and composure to fight through the momentum swing. AFLW players, Jasmine Garner (three goals, 22 disposals, eight marks) and Katie Brennan (31 disposals, nine marks, six tackles and one goal) were best on ground for their respective sides, while Uni’s Ash Riddell, Jenna Bruton and Kate Gillespie-Jones also made an impact around the ground with a combined 82 touches, 24 tackles and 14 marks between them. Tayla Stahl racked up a goal and two behinds from 15 touches, while Alice Edmonds and Jenna Colwell dominated the ruck, combining for 40 of Richmond’s 41 hitouts, compared to Uni’s 19. Richmond’s domination at centre bounce all but tells the tale of this match, with Uni’s ruck woes having a big impact on centre clearances.

ESSENDON 1.1|2.2|4.2|5.2 (32)
CARLTON 2.0|2.1|2.3|2.3 (15)

By: Brandon Hutchinson

GOALS:

ESSENDON: A. Quigley 3, H. Bullas, L. Stepnell
CARLTON: M. Clifford, N. Plane

BEST:
ESSENDON:
S. Nadler, A. Anderson, M. Collier, K. Heil, H. Bullas, A. Quigley
CARLTON: J. Hosking, N. Stevens, C. Wilson, N. Plane, G. Wright, B. Moody

Essendon proved better in the clash with their traditional rivals, the Blues, defeating the visitors by 17-points at Windy Hill. Both sides entered Round 4 winless, and though the Blues looked better in the first, Essendon’s efforts prevailed. The Bombers kept the Blues goalless for the remaining three quarters, adding four more of their own to close out the game. Despite the loss, Carlton dominated the hit-outs 51 to 23, and recorded more inside 50s (31), marks (33) and tackles (89). In the end, the Bombers’ defensive structures were too good for the Blues to penetrate – struggling to get any reward for repeat efforts. Carlton’s Breann Moody dominated in the centre with 14 disposals, four tackles and 31 hit-outs. Sarah Hosking (23 disposals, five marks and seven tackles) and Natalie Plane (25 disposals, one goal, five marks and five tackles) were also among Carlton’s best, as they impressed on-ball. For the Dons, Alex Quigley starred up forward, kicking three goals with nine disposals, four marks and two tackles, putting one away in every quarter except the second. Teammates, Simone Nalder (14 disposals, five marks and 21 hit-outs) and Hayley Bullas (28 disposals, one goal, 19 kicks and eight tackles), also starred through the midfield in Essendon’s win.

COLLINGWOOD 2.4 | 2.8 | 4.10 | 5.10 (40)
NT THUNDER 1.0 | 1.1 | 1.1 | 1.1 (7)
By: Sophie Taylor

GOALS:
Collingwood:
S. Dargan, G. Lagioia, J. Lambert, J. Allen, C. Molloy
NT Thunder: J. Hewett

BEST:
Collingwood:
B. Bonnici, B. Davey, G. Lagioia, K. Lynch, J. Allen, S. King
NT Thunder: J. Hewett, N. Gore, K. Streader, A. Sheridan, H. Martin, A. Foley

It was Brianna Davey‘s first match in her new colours and she certainly did not disappoint as the Pies well and truly dominated against the thus far high-flying Thunder. The Magpies did a great job to limit the Thunder’s options forward, and without the likes of Chelsea Randall and Ebony Marinoff to create pressure through the midfield, the visitors had a hard time maintaining possession. Davey, Britt Bonnici and Jaimee Lambert were excellent across the field, dominating possession as the Pies swooped on goal, peppering the sticks with attempts. Despite plenty of opportunities inside 50 the side struggled to convert at times, fortunate that the Thunder were cracking under pressure. Chloe Molloy was a big target forward, kicking one goal but missing a further four while Lambert and Jordyn Allen kicked 1.1 apiece. Sarah Dargan and Gemma Lagioia managed 12 touches and a goal apiece. Jasmyn Hewett was best afield for Thunder on an average day, picking up 15 touches, five marks, five tackles and kicking Thunder’s only goal. Leading the disposal count with 25 touches was Angela Foley, while Nikki Gore had low possessions but laid 14 tackles.

WESTERN BULLDOGS 1.0 | 1.0 | 1.0 | 3.1 (19)
GEELONG 0.1 | 0.2 | 1.5 | 1.6 (12)
By: Sophie Taylor

GOALS:
Western Bulldogs:
S. Jolly, D. Marshall, A. Scott
Geelong: K. Darby

BEST:
Western Bulldogs:
B. Lochland, D. Marshall, B. Toogood, S. Jolly, N. McMahon, J. Davies
Geelong: D. Taylor, J. Ivey, R. Webster, R. Goring, C. Blakeway, O. Purcell

The matchup between Geelong and Western Bulldogs was an interesting one, with both sides struggling to hit the board in the low-scoring contest before the Dogs eventually held on for a seven point victory. The Dogs had the momentum early courtesy of a goal from Danielle Marshall, and despite Geelong’s efforts the home side kept the lead for the first half. The third saw the Cats get into the contest, all but peppering the posts with four scoring shots to lead by five points by the final change thanks to a goal from Kate Darby, before the Bulldogs found some of their early offensive pressure to kick two final quarter goals to win the match. Brooke Lochland (24 disposals, six marks, three tackles), Sarah Jolly (21 disposals, five marks, one goal) and Emma Mackay (21 touches, three marks, six tackles) dominated the contest for the Dogs, while Bonnie Toogood racked up 20 touches, nine marks and six tackles. Though not a big ball winner, Nicole McMahon provided plenty of ball in the ruck with 34 hit-outs to dominate the contest. For Geelong, Jordan Ivey, Amy McDonald, Olivia Purcell and Rebecca Webster all collected 21 touches, with Ivey’s clean hands awarding her with five marks while Purcell racked up seven tackles. Geelong Falcons’ Luka Lesoksy-Hay made her mark in her first match for the side, only managing nine touches but applying plenty of pressure with her nine tackles.

CASEY DEMONS 0.1 | 0.1 | 1.1 | 1.6 (12)
SOUTHERN SAINTS 1.0 | 1.4 | 1.4 | 3.5 (23)
By: Sophie Taylor

GOALS:
Casey:
C. Emonson
Southern Saints: T. Bohanna 2, C. Greiser

BEST:
Casey:
E. Birch, S. Lampard, C. Emonson, B. Jakobsson, K. Oates, M. Guerin
Southern Saints: S. Johnson, E. Keaney, T. Bohanna, M. McDonald, F. Steiert, K. O’Neill

It was a rough day out for the Casey Demons, going down by 11 points in a low scoring affair that dropped the side from top spot to fourth. The Southern Saints were smothering from the get-go, not allowing the Demons any space to move the ball and forcing errors across the field. Yet another side with only one goalkicker for the match, it was Chantel Emonson who stepped up to the plate to boot Casey’s only goal for the match in the third term, also racking up 17 touches and seven tackles in her best performance for the season so far. Despite missing out on Round 3, Maddy Guerin did not seem to miss a beat back in the side with 20 touches, three marks and six tackles. Libby Birch (20 disposals, four marks, 10 tackles) and Bianca Jakobsson (19 touches, three marks, six tackles) were also solid, while Harriet Cordner and Tyla Hanks provided plenty of defensive pressure laying 10 and nine tackles respectively. The Saints did not have much more of the ball than the Dees did, but certainly used it better on the day with three goals on the board, two courtesy of Tara Bohanna who generated plenty of the footy. Samantha Johnson was best on for the Saints, racking up 24 touches, four marks and four tackles while Poppy Kelly dominated hitouts with 29 – the same amount as Casey’s three ruck options combined. Alison Drennan (20 disposals, two marks, four tackles) and Alison Brown (15 disposals, nine tackles) also put in the hard yards, and fortunately did enough to deny the Demons a fourth win on the trot.

Darebin Falcons: BYE

NAB League Girls Preliminary Finals wash-up: Northern and Calder to meet in decider

THE NAB League season finale is set, with the unbeaten Northern Knights qualifying first, and the Calder Cannons securing their spot with a massive upset win over reigning premiers, Geelong at Shepley Oval on Saturday.

NORTHERN KNIGHTS 2.1 | 4.3 | 7.7 | 7.7 (49)
EASTERN RANGES 2.0 | 4.0 | 5.1 | 7.1 (43)

GOALS:
Northern:
N. Morris-Dalton 4, E. McKenzie, M. Appleby, A. Bannan.
Eastern: M. Di Cosmo 2, J. Dunning, T. Flintoff, R. Hall, O. Meagher, T. Merrett.

BEST:
Northern:
N. Morris-Dalton, G. Newton, E. McKenzie, S. Sansonetti, M. Chaplin, P. Chisholm
Eastern: O. Meagher, M. Kendall, J. Richardson, S. Gibbs, M. Di Cosmo, E. Horne

Northern Knights became the first team to qualify for the 2019 NAB League Grand Final, but were made to work for it by the Eastern Ranges in a tense Preliminary Final at Shepley Oval. The sides went goal for goal in the opening term after Northern middle-ager Ellie McKenzie snapped truly to first trouble the scorers. The Knights looked like breaking away in the second stanza as Maykaylah Appleby backed up Nell Morris-Dalton‘s second goal with another major, but the Ranges would hit back with two goals of their own through midfield stars Tess Flintoff and Olivia Meagher to trail by just three points at half time. When Madeline Di Cosmo kicked the Ranges’ third-straight goal to snatch the lead at the start of the third term, an upset loomed large – right up until Morris-Dalton had her say. Two quick goals from the Knights’ forward saw Northern reclaim the lead, and an Alyssa Bannan goal ensured they would go into the final break with a 15-point buffer. Despite a late Eastern charge with two goals to nil over the quarter, and the margin cut to six points with over two minutes left, the Knights held on to remain undefeated and scrape into a second-straight Grand Final. McKenzie was outstanding in the closing stages for the winners, thrown into the midfield and contributing some vital touches when the heat was on. Her midfield partner and skipper, Gabby Newton also played a big hand, while the goals of Morris-Dalton ultimately proved the difference. Sarah Sansonetti had her hands full down back but stood tall, with Maeve Chaplin another defender to be named amongst the best. Meagher led the charge through midfield for the combative Eastern side, with Flintoff proving her partner in crime. The likes of Serena Gibbs and Tahlia Merrett caused headaches with their height and versatility, while Di Cosmo provided the scoring pressure with her two majors. Eastern showed plenty of promise and really took it to Northern at times when other sides could have given in, but the Knights proved too strong and rightly cemented their spot in the competition decider.

GEELONG FALCONS 0.0 | 1.2 | 1.4 | 1.5 (11)
CALDER CANNONS 3.2 | 4.3 | 5.3 | 7.4 (46)

GOALS:
Geelong:
M. Skinner.
Calder: Z. Hardiman 2, A. Magri 2, E. Yassir, G. Prespakis, A. Barba.

BEST:
Geelong:
L. McEvoy, A. Chapman, R. Tierney, P. Schaap, G. Featherston , L. Lesosky-Hay
Calder: E. Yassir, G. Sampson, G. Prespakis, G. Patrikios, K. Lennox, A. Barba

The Calder Cannons saved arguably their best performance for just the right occasion, scoring one of the upsets of the season as they toppled Geelong Falcons by 35 points to book a spot in the Grand Final. The underdogs came out hard, pouring the pressure on Geelong and hitting the scoreboard early to open up a three-goal quarter time lead. In a similar fashion to how their game against Northern went, the Falcons came out hard in the second term and looked to mount a comeback as Mia Skinner bagged their first goal. But when Georgie Prespakis nailed a set shot in reply, it looked more and more unlikely with the Cannons taking a 19-point lead into the main break. A Zoe Hardiman goal in the opening two minutes of the third stanza all but put the result beyond doubt, as the Cannons kept their foot on the gas with unrelenting pressure to keep the game locked up, and Geelong goalless for another quarter. Two more goals in the final term, including Hardiman’s second, cemented the win as the Falcons again could only manage a behind, with the Calder crowd in raptures on the back of their side’s big-time display. Bottom-agers Emelia Yassir and Kasey Lennox played out of their skin at either end, while fellow ’03 birth Prespakis was again phenomenal with every touch of the ball. Georgia Patrikios led the Cannons from the front with her mix of flair and toughness, with fellow midfielder Alana Barba starting well to find the goals and Alisa Magri joining Hardiman with two goals. Skinner finished as Geelong’s sole goal kicker, while skipper Lucy McEvoy a beacon of light in the tough loss through midfield and in the ruck. Abbey Chapman provided a calm head in the beaten Falcons back six, with fellow defender Liz Dowling standing up as an impressive bottom-ager alongside Poppy Schapp. Renee Tierney spent time on each line to good effect, with Luka Lesosky-Hay putting in her usual combative shift. The loss saw Geelong end its season with just one win from their last three tries after previously going unbeaten in their premiership defence, and it would be a hard one to take given they had beaten Calder just three weeks ago. Meanwhile, the Cannons look to be peaking at the right time and move on to the decider, sure to give Northern a hell of a test if this game is anything to go by.