Tag: maddie shevlin

Roos hold on in thriller against determined Magpies

A JASMINE Garner intercept mark in the last 15 seconds of the game at half-back has helped North Melbourne survive an epic fight from Collingwood to keep the Roos’ premiership hopes alive with a 5.4 (34) to 5.2 (32) semi-final win at Ikon Park.

Both teams were hot early on, providing plenty of pressure on the opposition ball carrier with the Roos’ slick kicking helping them kick an early goal through Daisy Bateman. It came from an uncharacteristic error from Stacey Livingstone who kicked straight to Garner who hit up Bateman just 20m out from goal. Moments later Livingstone again kicked it out on the full under pressure and the Roos had a chance for another, with loose checking from the defence seeing Ash Riddell take the free kick and deliver to Emma Kearney who found Sophie Abbatangelo in the pocket. The Pies were able to defend the ball over the line but North controlled the tempo.

Despite’s North Melbourne’s elite kicking above 80 per cent early in the game, the likes of Brit Bonnici and Brianna Davey refused to give in and worked their side back into the contest. Indeed it was a Bonnici tackle that helped set up the Pies for their opening quarter goal. She ran down Jess Trend whose head unfortunately hit the turf. Bonnici found Maddie Shevlin who had a crack but fell short, though a terrific tackle from Jordan Membrey allowed the former Brisbane player to kick a set shot goal from 15m out and bring the margin back to just a point at the first break. Collingwood was winning the contested ball against the Roos’ strong inside brigade, while North Melbourne was equally as surprising winning the outside ball against Collingwood’s runners.

It only took a couple of minutes for North to get an important major in the second term with Kearney creating some run through half-forward to kick to a vacant goalsquare. Kaitlyn Ashmore was the first on the scene and booted a goal from metres out and the lead was back out to seven points. Ashmore was involved again not long after, dropping inside 50 to take an uncontested mark and then putting it lace out to Brittany Gibson against the lighter built Butler, though her subsequent set shot missed. Ashmore was not done though, laying a huge tackle on Sarah Rowe to have a set shot that was deadeye, but unfortunately for the Roo forward, the only player tall enough to reach the set shot – Sharni Layton – was on the line and punched it over.

The game was back on even terms in match play with both team’s defences having an impact. Rebounding off half-back, Ashmore was again involved in the forward half kicking inside 50 but Livingston was back there and reliably rebounded to safety. That effort led the Pies to run it down the field and Mikala Cann got on the end of it with a clever snap around her body to put one through and the margin was just three points. Then came one of the plays of the season courtesy of 2018 Rising Star, Chloe Molloy. The talented utility won the ball at ground level at half-forward against three Roos, sidestepped one and managed to find her way through traffic to deliver it to the open goalsquare to bounce through and the Pies were in front for the first time.

It was a black and white wave at Ikon Park as Collingwood’s prime movers kept the pressure high, and soon it was Jaimee Lambert who at ground level just 15m out from goal kept the ball alive and it ended in the hands of the smart Sarah D’Arcy who put it on her left and slotted it through to hand her team a nine-point lead with two and a half minutes left. Everything was going right for the Magpies as Davey laid a bone-crunching tackle on Garner and Rowe ran down Trend with the defensive measures as impressive as the offensive ones. With 63 seconds left, Nicole Bresnehan did not get low enough for Lambert close to goal and the Magpies star had a chance to pile on another, but her set shot from a tight angle went to the right. A moment of madness saw the Pies almost kick a fifth goal with Molloy reading a play and intercepting it off the bounce but her next kick was well smothered in the dying seconds to ensure the top side only head into half-time with a 10-point deficit.

Layton’s return to the side was proving fruitful with back-to-back tackles on Kearney and Kate Gillespie-Jones to win a free and pump the first ball inside 50 of the second half. The former Diamonds netballer was dominant in the ruck which was a key reason for the Magpies’ dominance since quarter time with Gillespie-Jones replacing the taller Emma King in there for North Melbourne. Garner had the first chance on goal of the second half but opted to pass inboard and the short kick was dropped by Riddell and the Magpies got it to the boundary.

Midway through the term neither side had been able to impact the scoreboard with the arm-wrestle continuing through the middle, though North had more time in the forward half. Abbatangelo almost created some magic by keeping her feet from a forward 50 in a pack of four but missed to the right. From the kick out though, Sarah Wright won a 50m penalty for Eliza Hynes stepping over the mark and the former Carlton VFLW player got on the board from 15m out.

With the Roos now with the momentum, the work of the younger Magpies was crucial. Alana Porter won a great one-on-one at half-back and Cann laid a huge tackle to win the ball back on the wing. Sensing the tide turning, Molloy dropped into defence so each team had an extra number in the back half. With 30 seconds left, Rowe took a sliding mark 30m out from the defensive goal but then went for a short kick and turned it straight over to Gavalas who put it over the goal umpire’s head and as if the whole game had changed, the Roos were now up by three points.

The news went from bad to worse for the Magpies at the final break with best on ground, Bonnici coming off for a concussion test at a time when the underdogs needed an extra push on the inside. Another Collingwood turnover, this time from Layton who kicked to a one-on-two, led to the Roos running it down with an extra number and Abbatangelo marked right on the boundary line to snap and goal with a well-placed banana kick. A minute later the combination between Layton and Membrey was much better with Membrey taking a great contested mark off the boot of Layton and her unbelievable accuracy continued with another deadeye set shot goal.

The Membrey goal broke a three-straight run of majors by North Melbourne and the deficit was back to three points. North was holding up the defence to stop easy outs from the back half for the Magpies, but a strong couple of plays from D’Arcy, Molloy and Davey ensured the line was forced back. There was almost a fitting moment when Davey found a loose Bonnici who had returned to the field without the Kangaroos realising the hardnut had returned to the field. The shot fell short and a Lambert snap missed. Less than two and a half minutes remaining, the margin was just two points in favour of the Conference A winners.

With Pies fans hearts racing, captain Steph Chiocci found Molloy inside 50 who marked but her set shot fell agonisingly short. The ball was still in the Magpies’ forward half with a minute remaining on the clock. Most players were inside Collingwood’s forward 50, but North got it clear and were able to get it back into their half with seconds dying down. One last role of the dice saw the Magpies kick to a Layton-King one-on-one but it was Garner who came over the top to take a match-saving mark and win the game for her side by just two points.

Riddell picked an equal game-high 22 disposals for the Roos, as well as five marks and six tackles, while Garner (15 disposals, five marks and five tackles), Kearney (17 disposals, four tackles) and Gavalas (13 disposals, three marks, six tackles and a goal) were all impressive. For the Magpies, Bonnici was the best-on with 20 touches – all kicks – three marks and three tackles, while Lambert and Davey both combined for 44 disposals, 11 marks and 10 tackles in the loss. Membrey was he only multiple goalkicker on the day as the teams both spread the scoreboard impact around.

NORTH MELBOURNE 1.1 | 2.3 | 4.4 | 5.4 (34)
COLLINGWOOD 1.0 | 4.1 | 4.1 | 5.2 (32)
 

GOALS:

North Melbourne: S. Abbatangelo, S. Wright, K. Ashmore, E. Gavalas, D. Bateman.
Collingwood: J. Membrey 2, M. Cann, S. D’Arcy, C. Molloy.

ADC BEST:

North Melbourne: A. Riddell, E. Gavalas, E. Kearney, J. Garner, J. Bruton, K. Ashmore
Collingwood: B. Bonnici, B. Davey, J. Lambert, S. Chiocci, C. Molloy, J. Membrey

2020 AFL Women’s previews: Round 5 – Conference leaders go head to head

ROUND 4 of AFL Women’s 2020 is set to shake up the competition, with a top-of-the-tables clash to end the round coming in as the biggest match of the long weekend. Fremantle will look to go five from five, while Richmond are still aching to put a win on the board.

Friday, March 6

Gold Coast v. Geelong,
Great Barrier Reef Arena, 6.10pm AEST

Sophie Taylor

Opening Round 5 is an interesting match between two sides with only one win between them so far this season, with both sides’ victories coming against winless the Richmond; for the Suns in Round 2 and the Cats just last round. Both teams have the ability to score well and score quickly, but Geelong has a season under its belt already while their ability to improve on every week to put progressively better efforts on the board makes them a tough battle for the Suns this round. The Suns will need to draw on all the tenacity and pressure that kept them neck and neck with the Lions in Round 3 to put a win on the board against the Cats – something that is ultimately achievable, especially since it’s Geelong that is travelling up the coast for this one.

The likes of Jamie Stanton, Lauren Ahrens and Jade Pregelj will be key for Gold Coast this round, while the omission of Hannah Dunn (calf) will be a frustrating loss for the side which has really relied on Dunn’s tenacity and hunt for the ball, leading the side in both clearances and tackles. Ahrens’ ability to impact the play will be key with clean hands and vision to boot, collecting 27 intercept possessions for the season so far to go with Stanton’s 38 contested possessions, able to create something out of nothing. With the loss of Dunn a real blow, the side will need to tighten up across the field to deny Geelong easy entry inside 50 and rebound the ball.

For the Cats, this is a great opportunity to prove their growth since last season with a win on the road. Olivia Purcell has had a major impact this season as expected, averaging 20.5 touches per match so far, ultimately mostly unstoppable with an ability to not only find the footy but create opportunities for her teammates. Purcell is unafraid to enter the contest, averaging 12 contested possessions across the first four matches of the season while racking up 23 clearances, with her clean skills providing a huge bonus for the Cats. While Purcell leads many of the stats for the Cats, the likes of Rebecca Webster, Nina Morrison, Mel Hickey and Julia Crockett-Grills have been key throughout the season so far, finding plenty of ball and working well as a unit to create a formidable opposition, though the side will certainly suffer without their tackling machine in Jordan Ivey, out with suspension this week and leading the side’s tackle count with 22. Geelong ruck, Aasta O’Connor (57 hitouts) will have a tough time taking on Lauren Bella who sits third for hitouts with 78, though the Cats have the tenacity and hunt for the ball to impact off the tap regardless of who wins the ruck contest.

Tip: Geelong by 8 points.

GOLD COAST

B: J.Pregelj 42 J.Hickey 4
HB: S.Virgo – C 22 L.Ahrens 7 T.Groves-Little 3
C: T.Ernst 19 J.Stanton 17 P.Parker 1
HF: K.Surman 26 L.Kaslar 11 B.Perry 16
F: K.Howarth 23 J.Hewett 20
Foll: L.Bella 2 J.Yorston 5 D.Heslop 25
I/C: C.Hammond 29 E.Hampson 21 M.Ritson 12 T.Thorn 15 S.Watson 14

Emerg: S.Riley 8 A.Hamilton 30

In: T.Groves-Little
Out: H.Dunn (Calf)

GEELONG

B: M.Brown 19 M.McMahon 24
HB: M.Keryk 45 M.McDonald 11 M.Hickey – C 18
C: N.Morrison 9 R.Webster 21 S.Van De Heuvel 27
HF: R.Garing 12 P.McWilliams 23 D.Higgins 2
F: R.Cranston 30 K.Darby 8
Foll: A.O’Connor 14 J.Crockett-Grills 6 O.Purcell 16
I/C: R.Goring 44 G.Rankin 10 A.McDonald 3 A.Teague 40 G.Clarke 17

Emerg: N.Garner 22 C.Blakeway 4

In: G.Rankin
Out: J.Ivey (Suspension)

Saturday, March 7

North Melbourne v. Adelaide,
North Hobart Oval, 3.10pm

Troy Hanning

The Kangaroos and the Crows battle on Saturday for the second spot on the Conference A ladder. The Kangaroos, who currently second on the ladder, seek to prevent the Crows in third from snapping their four game win streak. The biggest question mark for Adelaide will be how they go into this match without Erin Phillips once more, having only one game under her belt in an understandably slow return last round and omitted with soreness coming into Round 5. Meanwhile, the Kangaroos will want to carry on from their impressive performance from last week, and lift their winning streak to five on the hop.

Being second and third on the ladder, the teams’ differences in efficiency and statistics are very minuscule, however one important distinction is that the Kangaroos average many more kicks per game. This could show that they are the more composed team, able to maintain possession by marking and not relying on their midfielders to get it back. However, that’s not much of a problem for the Crows when you have someone like Anne Hatchard in the side, who averaged 18.9 disposals last season and is still improving. Hatchard has been dangerous in the midfield all season, being strong on both the inside and the outside of packs, and this game will likely be no different. Defensively, Ebony Marinoff, who averaged 22.8 disposals and 8.3 tackles per game last season and who holds the record for both the most tackles (21) and the highest number of disposals (33), will not make it easy on the Kangaroos’ forward line.

The Kangaroos are going to rely on their superior tackling abilities this game, averaging 10 more tackles per round with 60 compared to the Crows’ 50. The Crows only had 39 while the Roos had 53 in round four, meaning they will need to really address this element of their game. Along with the Kangaroos averaging slightly more possessions, North Melbourne clearly are the much stronger forward line scoring seven goals to the Crows’ five a game. Mostly because of Emma King, the forward ruck threat standing at 187cm tall and who kicked eight goals last season. Nevertheless, all signs point towards the North Melbourne side just finding their groove, as they came off a very impressive performance last round. They smashed their handball average of 77, hitting 91, highlighting their development of moving through contests on the run. Similarly, they tallied 253 disposals while so far averaging 215. Led by stars like Jasmine Garner, North could have a real chance of spoiling the Crows’ party. 

Tip: Kangaroos by 12 points

NORTH MELBOURNE

B: N.Bresnehan 12 T.Randall 16
HB: B.Gibson 18 D.Hardiman 31 A.Gilroy 8
C: J.Grierson 19 E.Kearney – C 9 J.Bruton 35
HF: S.Abbatangelo 1 K.Gillespie-Jones 5 K.Ashmore 10
F: Em.King 60 D.Bateman 11
Foll: V.Saad 39 A.Riddell 7 J.Garner 25
I/C: S.Wright 17 J.Trend 21 E.Gavalas 22 M.King 23 T.Nestor 24

Emerg: E.Humphries 6 M.Seoighe 13
In: N.Bresnehan
Out: El.King (Knee)

ADELAIDE

B: D.Cox 31 S.Allan 39
HB: N.Allen 8 M.Rajcic 32 S.Li 19
C: A.Foley 3 E.Marinoff 10 J.Mules 23
HF: A.Considine 16 D.Ponter 15 R.Forth 27
F: J.Tabb 28 S.Thompson 14
Foll: R.Metcalfe 11 A.Hatchard 33 C.Gum 5
I/C: N.Campbell 20 C.Gould 1 M.McKinnon 21 N.Gore 7 M.Newman 17

Emerg: C.Biddell 12
In: C.Gould, M.McKinnon, M.Newman
Out: E.Jones (Shoulder), J.Foley (Foot), C.Biddell (Omitted)

GWS GIANTS v Richmond,
Robertson Oval, 5.10pm

Sophie Taylor

This clash between the GIANTS and Tigers is set to be a big one for both sides but ultimately the Tiges need a win on the board stat after a horror start to their inaugural season. The GIANTS on the other hand have had an up and down season, and while they’ve gotten two impressive wins on the board, have missed a bit of consistency. A loss last round puts them in a good position to bounce back, going off their form in earlier rounds, meaning the Tigers will have to watch out against a side that can well and truly put teams under the pump.

The GIANTS will be without the experienced Alicia Eva this week, out with a foot injury alongside Yvonne Bonner (ankle), though the impact the former has on the side is decidedly more, making it a real question mark for the side. Alyce Parker will need to step up once more, something that shouldn’t be hard for the talented 19-year-old, averaging 17.8 disposals and three tackles for the season so far. Parker is another who doesn’t shy away from the contest, getting down and dirty to ensure her side finds the footy while Jess Dal Pos and Elle Bennetts have proven handy down back aiding Parker to propel the footy forward. Jessica Allan has been a solid mainstay in the ruck, averaging 17.5 hitouts per match though has not had too much of an impact on the ground – though had her best performance for the season last round so will hope to replicate that effort. Haneen Zreika and Rebecca Privitelli will hope to flourish against the Tigers, with the classy players both able to impact both across the field and on the scoreboard.

The Tigers will hope to provide some shock value to the GIANTS this week and pull out a win, but will need to put in a shared effort with a few players putting on consistent performances but ultimately unable to have much of a team victory. The side will be without ball magnet Katie Brennan thanks to a third quarter concussion last round, making this a tough one for the side which has struggled to impact on field even with all their star players at their best, while the loss of Courtney Wakefield (also concussion) is just as impactful after a dominant three-goal performance last round put her side in real contention for an inaugural victory. Monique Conti impressed last week on the track with 28 touches so will want to put her best foot forward once more while the likes of Phoebe Monahan and Kodi Jacques have been fairly consistent, able to impact the contest and could be a real hard unit. Christina Bernardi will want to lift after a couple of rough weeks on the field, and while she booted a goal last round her four touches were just not enough.

Tip: GIANTS by 20 points

GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY

B: P.Randall 21 T.Hetherington 9
HB: J.Dal Pos – C 7 E.Bennetts 22 A.Lister 14
C: L.Steane 20 B.Tully 36 N.Barr 8
HF: H.Zreika 24 T.Mackrill 32 J.Hicks 5
F: C.Staunton 13 J.Barclay 34
Foll: J.Allan 39 A.Parker 3 R.Beeson 6
I/C: S.Halvorsen 30 E.McKinnon 23 R.Privitelli 19 L.Stephenson 12 A.Schmidt 11

Emerg: I.Nielsen 25 T.Davies 16

In: T.Mackrill, S.Halvorsen, E.McKinnon
Out: Y.Bonner (Ankle), A.Eva (Foot), I.Nielsen (Omitted)

RICHMOND

B: A.Makur Chuot 34 G.Seymour 28
HB: H.Whitford 20 P.Monahan 2 R.Miller 15
C: H.Burchell 9 S.Molan 1 K.Dempsey 19
HF: L.Bailey 12 S.Frederick 14 C.Bernardi – C 6
F: L.McClelland 16 T.Stahl 24
Foll: A.Edmonds 11 M.Conti 4 G.Campbell 43
I/C: S.Sansonetti 18 E.Wood 17 K.Jacques 10 L.Tesoriero 7 M.Brancatisano 5

Emerg: A.Woodward 13 N.Butler 22

In: K.Dempsey, T.Stahl, L.Tesoriero
Out: K.Brennan (Concussion), A.Woodward (Omitted), C.Wakefield (Concussion)

Carlton v. St Kilda
Ikon Park, 7.10pm

Sophie Taylor

The high flying Blues will want to prove their point in the competition this round when they take on St Kilda, a side with only one win under its belt but a great one at that. Carlton has had a stellar start to the season having recruited well at the end of last year, and are sure to put the Saints under the pump with their ability to apply pressure both on the footy and on the scoreboard. While the Saints have not necessarily had a bad start to the season, they are yet to really apply the scoreboard pressure that would ensure them wins, though a pressurised defensive unit against Melbourne got the job done in Round 3. The Saints also pushed Fremantle to the final seconds last round to prove they can apply phenomenal pressure when required, but will need to do a lot more up forward to give opposition sides little opportunity to come from behind and win.

For the Saints, it seems to be more of a consistency issue with the side floundering in the first few rounds before taking advantage of the likes of Caitlin Greiser, Tilly Lucas-Rodd and Darcy Guttridge who have all had some good games in the mix, while Rosie Dillon and Alison Drennan were key players in the almost-victory last week. However, the side was also shot with season-ending injuries last round forcing some changes, with Tarni White and Kate McCarthy forced to watch from the sidelines and seeing Kelly O’Neill, Samantha Johnson and Emma Mackie enter the fray. The Blues have had an impressive start to the season, and bar a loss to Collingwood in Round 2 have scarcely missed a beat in season 2020.

Darcy Vescio proved last round why she is such a key cog for Carlton and, while she missed more than she kicked (2.3), Tayla Harris had no issue finding the footy inside 50 against the reigning premiers last week in a real hark back to her 2018/19 season form. In her second season on the big stage, Maddy Prespakis is having a stellar start to 2020 with an innate ability to find the footy and the tenacity to get the job done in any scenario. Carlton have made no changes this round and ultimately they had no need to after a solid outing last week, with Kerryn Harrington and Lucy McEvoy also putting on impressive performances. While St Kilda has the defensive pressure to deny the Blues some easy goals, Carlton has a plethora of players who can have an impact forward making them hard to stop once they get going.

Tip: Carlton by 15 points.

CARLTON

B: G.Pound 6 C.Wilson 20
HB: K.Harrington 9 V.Laloifi 8 J.Edwards 25
C: K.Loynes – C 2 G.Gee 19 S.Hosking 10
HF: N.Stevens 21 T.Harris 7 D.Vescio 3
F: L.McEvoy 13 B.Moody 16
Foll: A.Downie 30 G.Egan 1 M.Prespakis 4
I/C: N.Plane 32 C.Dalton 15 B.Walker 14 L.Brazzale 12 J.Hosking 11

Emerg: B.Vernon 31 C.Jones 22
In: None
Out: None

ST KILDA

B: K.O’Neill 20 C.Fitzpatrick 24
HB: H.Priest 14 A.Brown 2 T.Lucas-Rodd 18
C: N.Exon 15 R.Dillon 25 M.McDonald 1
HF: D.Guttridge 5 S.Johnson 6 C.Greiser 17
F: K.Shierlaw 12 G.Patrikios 21
Foll: P.Kelly 16 N.Xenos 27 C.Phillips 35
I/C: E.Mackie 3 R.Watt – C 7 O.Vesely 23 A.Drennan 8 I.Shannon 11

Emerg: C.Whitfort 4 S.Karlson 26
In: K.O’Neill, S.Johnson, E.Mackie
Out: T.White (ACL), C.Munn (Omitted), K.McCarthy (Knee)

SUNDAY, MARCH 8

Collingwood v. Western Bulldogs,
Morwell Recreation Reserve, 1.10pm

Michael Alvaro

It is do-or-die for Collingwood as it takes on the Western Bulldogs in Morwell on Sunday, looking to remain in the finals hunt despite a spade of key injuries. In facing a fellow Conference B and inaugural AFLW side, the Magpies can get a true measure of their improvement this year against another developing list.

But the Pies will have to endure their finals tilt without star key defender Ash Brazill, who heartbreakingly went down last week with an ACL injury, while Ruby Schleicher has also been ruled out for the season with a wrist injury. Ringing in the changes, Collingwood have brought Ebony O’Dea and Maddie Shevlin back into the fold among the back five, while Sophie Alexander slots in up forward and Eliza Hynes has been named on an extended bench. The changes mean Sophie Livingstone will have to shoulder much of the defensive responsibility, with Bri Davey a chance to drift back to her customary defensive role.

Injuries have hit the Dogs too, with Bonnie Toogood’s knee complaint from last week ruling her out for this clash. But in a reprieve for the struggling Footscray unit comes in the form of vice-captain Brooke Lochland’s return, with ruck Celine Moody slotting straight back into the starting lineup and Deanna Berry featuring on an extended bench full of young talent. At 1-3 and equal-last in Conference B, Nathan Burke’s side will hope their current stock has enough in the tank to outgun the wounded Magpies.

The spines of both sides are a key feature, with some high-end movers making up the core of each developing squad. Ellie Blackburn has been ever-present at the heart of the Bulldogs’ side, while young guns Isabel Huntington and Gabby Newton are set to bookend the lineup, but are not locked down to just one role. On the other hand, Collingwood boasts the likes of Davey and Jaimee Lambert through midfield, while Chloe Molloy and Livingstone provide the height up either end, with the former four also all able to have their magnets shuffled.

The youth on show is also notable, with many young pups trusted with key roles. Round 4 Rising Star, Newton heads an impressive list of Under-20s including Elisabeth Georgostathis, Gemma Lagioia, Britney Gutknecht, Hannah Munyard, and Eleanor Brown, while Collingwood is set to line up with Alana Porter, Lauren Butler, Mikala Cann and Jordyn Allen among the starters. With plenty of future guns on show, this match-up should pique the interest of neutrals, especially if either side can get the free-flowing ball movement they are capable of, going. It seems more is on the line for Collingwood, but the Dogs will be in for the hunt and can never be counted out if it all clicks.

Tip: Collingwood by 10 points.

COLLINGWOOD

B: A.Porter 9 S.Livingstone 12
HB: L.Butler 23 E.O’Dea 50 M.Shevlin 35
C: S.Rowe 7 M.Cann 25 S.Chiocci – C 17
HF: S.Alexander 24 S.D’Arcy 4 B.Davey 3
F: J.Lambert 13 C.Molloy 2
Foll: S.Layton 1 B.Bonnici 8 J.Allen 6
I/C: A.Sheridan 14 E.Fowler 15 S.Casey 22 J.Membrey 21 S.Dargan 46 E.Hynes 11 K.Lynch 16

In: E.O’Dea, M.Shevlin, S.Alexander, E.Hynes
Out: A.Brazill (ACL), R.Schleicher (Wrist)

WESTERN BULLDOGS

B: E.Gamble 14 L.Spark 11
HB: K.Herron 31 I.Huntington 4 N.Ferres 16
C: B.Hunt 21 K.Lamb 27 B.Lochland 1
HF: G.Newton 5 K.Rennie 24 K.McLeod 6
F: D.Marshall 26 E.Georgostathis 17
Foll: C.Moody 13 E.Blackburn – C 2 A.McCarthy 15
I/C: E.Brown 9 D.Berry 7 G.Lagioia 12 H.Scott 22 H.Munyard 20 A.Guest 19 B.Gutknecht 18

In: B.Lochland, C.Moody, D.Berry
Out: B.Toogood (Knee)

Melbourne v. West Coast,
Casey Fields, 3.10pm

Michael Alvaro

Round 4 winners Melbourne and West Coast are primed to go head-to-head at Casey Fields, with the chance to notch consecutive victories up for grabs on Sunday afternoon. Home ground advantage should play into the Dees’ favour, unbeaten at their usually blustery fortress this season while the Eagles are yet to notch up an away win from two attempts.

Fresh off a defeating an injury-hit Collingwood side, the Demons will have to manage a string of their own forced omissions, with ruck Meg Downie ill and Lauren Pearce only lasting a week back in the side – out with knee soreness after playing predominantly forward in Round 4. But the Dees have managed to cover their losses in the tall department with youngster Eden Zanker taking up ruck duties, while Adelaide premiership forward Sarah Perkins may be in for an AFLW return having been named on an extended bench. She comes in as a supplementary player, with untried rookies Brenna Tarrant and Krstel Petrevski also again featuring as emergencies in the squad.

The Eagles will take a reasonably steady squad into this clash as they look to back up a memorable maiden AFLW win, with only one change confirmed as they too opt for an extended bench. Mature-age draftee Chantella Perera has been managed for the trip across the Nullarbor, with Melissa Caulfield set to take her spot in the starting side – not exactly as a like-for-like. The uncapped Mhicca Carter and social media coordinator Katherine Orme also slot in as inclusions as the Eagles look to maintain their winning formula on the road.

Engine room operator Karen Paxman, the only Demon to average over 20 disposals to date, will again look to outwork the opposition’s prime movers through midfield, with Dana Hooker and skipper Emma Swanson the Eagles’ key ball winners and in serious form. While Daisy Pearce has injected some drive and class to the competition’s stingiest backline, Melbourne have somewhat fallen short up the other end with a points total only good enough for ninth in the league. But given West Coast boast the lowest points total of any side, it is hard to see the Eagles boot a winning score on this long away trip – with their victorious effort of 30 last time out sticking out among a trio of totals in the teens, and no player kicking more than one goal across the board.

The Eagles will need to get creative forward of centre to break down the experienced and sturdy Dees, but the likes of Hooker, Swanson, Mikayla Bowen, and Imahra Cameron can all find the goals from further afield. In the face of those threats, the Demons will back themselves to outgun their opponent on each line and quell whatever the Eagles can produce in their own half, with a winning score of 46 last week boding well for their chances here against Conference B rivals.

Tip: Melbourne by 15

MELBOURNE

B: H.Cordner 21 L.Birch 9
HB: S.Lampard 8 D.Pearce – C 6 S.Goldrick 23
C: C.Sherriff 18 E.O’Dea 5 C.Emonson 11
HF: K.Hore 10 A.Newman 16 S.Scott 12
F: T.Cunningham 1 J.Parry 19
Foll: E.Zanker 29 K.Paxman 4 M.Gay 3
I/C: G.Colvin 32 N.McEvoy 17 L.Mithen 14 B.Tarrant 20 T.Hanks 28 K.Petrevski 31 S.Perkins 33

In: L.Mithen, B.Tarrant, K.Petrevski, S.Perkins
Out: M.Downie (Illness), L.Pearce (Knee soreness)

WEST COAST

B: C.Davidson 33 T.Radan 26
HB: S.McDonald 35 B.Smith 14 C.Guard 4
C: M.Bowen 1 I.Cameron 19 N.Kelly 12
HF: M.Collier 8 G.Kelly 15 M.Caulfield 10
F: K.Gibson 2 A.Atkins 9
Foll: P.Laurie 25 D.Hooker 17 E.Swanson – C 13
I/C: M.Dowrick 5 E.McGuire 31 H.Bullas 24 E.Bonser 6 B.Devlyn 7 K.Orme 32 M.Carter 21

In: M.Caulfield, K.Orme, M.Carter
Out: C.Perera (Managed)

Fremantle v. Brisbane,
Fremantle Oval, 5.10pm

Michael Alvaro

The two conference leaders, Fremantle and Brisbane are set to locks horns at Fremantle Oval on Sunday in a clash between the only remaining undefeated sides.

The hosts sit pretty atop Conference B with an unblemished 4-0 record, one game clear of their next best rivals and with a sizeable percentage of 167.7. Having only travelled once this season, it is fair to say the Dockers have revelled in front of adoring home fans in a successful campaign to date. But a real test on the road in Round 4 against expansion side, St Kilda got a little close for comfort, meaning the Dockers will need to lift this week to stay perfect in season 2020.

On the other hand, the Lions have been the surprise packet of the year, going from strength to strength since downing reigning premier, Adelaide in Round 1 to sit half a game clear atop Conference A. A draw against Gold Coast in the competition’s first-ever Q-Clash remains the only blemish on the Lions’ record thus far, with experienced heads and outstanding rookies helping the them to put a heavy list turnaround firmly in the past.

Both sides look set to come in unchanged, but have the potential to shuffle the magnets with two players each named on respective extended benches. The Dockers have selected Evangeline Gooch and Mia-Rae Clifford as their inclusions, with both looking to break back into a steady line-up after featuring earlier in the season. Similarly, the Lions have added Gabby Collingwood and Jordan Zanchetta to the squad, with the latter yet to get on the park this year.

Each engine room features hardened ball winners, with Fremantle standout Kiara Bowers leading her side for disposals, contested possessions, clearances, tackles, and metres gained to be one of the leading candidates for the league MVP at the mid-way point. She may well be the match-up for exciting Brisbane mature-age draftee Cathy Svarc, who is coming off a breakthrough 23-disposal and two-goal performance against GWS – all while maintaining a tag on GIANTS star, Alyce Parker. But the Lions’ options through midfield seems a touch deeper, with the pair of Emily Bates and Ally Anderson running riot of late to comfortably lead the club’s disposal count.

The area where Fremantle will look to stretch its opponent may be in the tall department, with first-year players Roxanne Roux and Mim Strom already impressing, while Gemma Houghton has been productive both in the air and at ground level – albeit sometimes lacking the finishing touch. Brisbane mainstay and defensive rock Katie Lutkins is sure to have her hands full with the trio should all three drift forward, but will be confident in her ability to intercept given she leads the league in marks, and is only second behind teammate, Svarc in intercept possessions.

The ground-level movers on either side should provide some highlights too, with Fremantle’s Sabreena Duffy and Ebony Antonio always dangerous, while Brisbane’s Lily Postlethwaite and Jess Wuetschner are as classy as any player on the ball under competition leading goalkicker, Jesse Wardlaw. With tantalising match-ups and match-winners across the ground for either side, this one looks poised to go down to the wire as one team’s 0 is set to go.

Tip: Fremantle by 6

FREMANTLE

B: E.O’Driscoll 3 J.Cuthbertson 29
HB: A.Stannett 24 P.Seth 18 L.Pugh 32
C: K.Antonio – C 15 H.Miller 19 E.Gooch 8
HF: E.Antonio 12 R.Roux 17 A.Sharp 1
F: G.Houghton 27 S.Duffy 6
Foll: M.Strom 21 K.Bowers 2 J.Stewart 7
I/C: K.Flood 44 K.Grieve 13 L.Mascall 14 L.Rohde 11 G.O’Sullivan 22 B.Webb 26 M.Clifford 4

In: E.Gooch, M.Clifford
Out: None

BRISBANE

B: N.Grider 10 S.Webb 4
HB: S.Campbell 20 K.Lutkins 13 C.Svarc 25
C: R.Lugg 11 A.Anderson 18 S.Conway 12
HF: L.Arnell 16 J.Wardlaw 30 G.Bodey 15
F: D.Davidson 14 E.Zielke – C 8
Foll: J.Keeffe 27 B.Koenen 3 E.Bates 1
I/C: I.Dawes 17 O.O’Dwyer 9 L.Postlethwaite 6 J.Wuetschner 23 M.Moloney 28 G.Collingwood 7 J.Zanchetta 2

In: G.Collingwood, J.Zanchetta
Out: None

ROUND 5 TIPS: [Total tips in brackets]

Michael Alvaro [21]: Gold Coast / North Melbourne / GWS / Carlton / Collingwood / Melbourne / Fremantle
Taylah Melki [20]: Geelong / North Melbourne / GWS / Carlton / Collingwood / Melbourne / Fremantle
Sophie Taylor [20]: Geelong / North Melbourne / GWS / Carlton / Western Bulldogs / Melbourne / Fremantle
Peter Williams [17]: Geelong / North Melbourne / GWS / Carlton / Collingwood / Melbourne / Fremantle

2019/20 AFLW off-season review: Collingwood

IT was a disappointing 2019 season for Collingwood, with a combination of rebuilding through youth and unlucky losses culminating in a Conference wooden spoon. The Magpies were competitive in all their cross-conference games and were unlucky not to potentially get an extra couple of wins, but ultimately could not match it with sides for the full four quarters. After a massive influx of youth walked into the club at the start of last season, it was a different approach 12 months later as Collingwood poached the player of the trade period by securing arch rival Carlton’s captain, Brianna Davey for most of the Magpies’ picks. With pick two and AFL Women’s Rising Star Chloe Molloy also returning after missing the entire 2019 season, the Magpies effectively have two elite talents walking into the Round 1 side.

Aside from Davey, Collingwood had a relatively quiet off-season, with Darcy Guttridge and Iilish Ross departing to expansion clubs, Cecilia McIntosh retired, while the Magpies also delisted a further five players. One of those – Jordan Membrey regained a spot on the Magpies’ list, picked up in the recent AFL Women’s Draft alongside Oakleigh Chargers’ speedster Alana Porter who spent the VFL Women’s season on Collingwood’s list, fellow speedster Machaelia Roberts, former GWS GIANTS’ player Ebony O’Dea and Casey Demons key utility, Kaila Bentveltzen. While the AFL Women’s season was fairly disastrous in terms of wins and losses, the VFL Women’s side took home the premiership, with plenty of AFLW-listed players standing out across the year. That belief, along with the vital inclusions are likely to spur the Magpies on to move up the ladder in season 2020.

OFF-SEASON CHANGES:

IN: Brianna Davey (Carlton), Aishling Sheridan (gaelic), Kaila Bentveltzen (Casey Demons VFLW), Alana Porter (Oakleigh Chargers), Ebony O’Dea (GWS GIANTS), Machaelia Roberts (NT Thunder)
OUT: Darcy Guttridge (St Kilda), Iilish Ross (Richmond), Cecilia McIntosh (retired), Nicole Hildebrand, Melissa Kuys, Georgie Parker, Holly Whitford (delisted)

2020 TEAM LIST:

Sophie Alexander
Jordyn Allen
Kaila Bentveltzen
Britt Bonnici
Ashleigh Brazill
Lauren Butler
Mikala Cann
Sophie Casey
Steph Chiocci
Sarah D’Arcy
Brianna Davey
Sarah Dargan
Erica Fowler
Emma Grant
Georgia Gourlay
Eliza Hynes
Jaimee Lambert
Stacey Livingstone
Katie Lynch
Jordan Membrey
Chloe Molloy
Ebony O’Dea
Alana Porter
Machaelia Roberts
Ruby Schleicher
Maddie Shevlin
Kristy Stratton

Rookies: Sharni Layton, Sarah Rowe, Aishling Sheridan

POTENTIAL 2020 SIDE:

B: Sophie Casey – Stacey Livinstone – Jordyn Allen
HB: Ash Brazill – Ruby Schleicher – Maddie Shevlin
C: Britt Bonnici
HF: Steph Chiocci – Sarah D’Arcy – Sarah Dargan
F: Chloe Molloy – Sophie Alexander – Katie Lynch
R: Sharni Layton* – Brianna Davey – Jaimee Lambert
INT: Eliza Hynes – Emma Grant – Mikala Cann – Georgia Gourlay – Ebony O’Dea
EMG: Sarah Rowe* – Kaila Bentvelzen – Lauren Butler

DEPTH: Erica Fowler, Jordan Membrey, Alana Porter, Machaelia Roberts, Kristy Stratton.

The Magpies’ best 21 is more stable than many other sides, with the draftees likely having to force their way into the side being later picks. Given O’Dea’s links with Steve Symonds through Norwood, the former GWS GIANTS midfielder could well play a specific role within the team and could be a Round 1 starter. The Collingwood defensive back six is pretty settled, with about the last two spots able to be rotated between a number of players, but the likes of Livingstone, Schleicher, Brazill and Casey are pretty set, with Allen and Shevlin able to fill there, or in each of the other thirds on the ground. Bentveltzen has transformed into a defender and could stake a case for a starting role, while Molloy can play at either end. We have her up forward with D’Arcy and Alexander who are the two locks inside 50, while captain Chiocci showed she can play that defensive half-forward role with scoreboard impact as well. Dargan and Lynch fill out the front six because of their upside and rotational ability on wings or through the middle.

The onball brigade is an interesting one. Given Layton’s form at VFLW level, she might well be given first crack at the ruck role, but it is expected they could play the two rucks and Collingwood’s number one ruck from last year – Hynes – will rotate both through that position and up forward. The three midfielders are fairly straight forward, with Davey, Lambert and Bonnici all offering different aspects to the team. The last five to seven spots between the bench and emergency is tough to pick, with the remainder of the list fairly even, and the newbies in Membrey and Roberts already readymade for senior football, while Porter will take some time but could get some games later in the year. Gourlay and Cann made our bench because of their continued improvement at VFLW level and the upside they have, while Grant is a terrific team player likely to be given an early crack to maintain her spot in there.

VFLW weekly wrap: Round 16 – Magpies minor premiers for second year running

COLLINGWOOD Magpies found themselves with a second consecutive minor premiership in Round 16 of VFL Women’s, leaping the Southern Saints and allowing Geelong to jump into the top six for the first time this season for the last finals spot. Meanwhile, Richmond beat the highly touted Saints and Essendon slaughtered the lowly Williamstown Seagulls in a win that came too little, too late.

ESSENDON 3.0 | 5.4 | 10.8 | 11.12 (78)
WILLIAMSTOWN 0.1 | 0.1 | 0.1 | 0.1 (1)

GOALS:

Essendon: F. Frew 2, A. Quigley 2, M. DeMatteo 2, K. Petrevski, R. Svarc, E. Gogerly, S. Audley, L. Stepnell.
Williamstown: Nil.

BEST:

Essendon: G. Patrikios, L. Ahrens, M. Collier, F. Frew, A. Barba, A. Quigley
Williamstown: D. Pedersen, M. Williamson, K. Douglass, S. Whiting, J. Kawa, J. Heard

Essendon made it back-to-back wins to close out the season after thrashing Williamstown by 77 points at Windy Hill. The Bombers restricted the Seagulls to a solitary behind for the match, piling on 11 goals from 23 scoring shots on their way to their biggest win of the season. It meant they improved from their one-win season last year to now sit ninth on the table with six wins from 14 games. Under-18 talent Georgia Patrikios topped the disposal count with 22, while Lauren Ahrens picked up 20 disposals, four marks and four tackles. Georgia Nanscawen (17 disposals, three marks and six tackles) was again prominent onball, while Calder Cannons young gun Krstel Petrevski had 16 touches, three marks, two tackles and a goal. For the Seagulls, Danica Pedersen was a clear standout with 26 touches, while Sharnie Whiting (14 disposals, two marks and three tackles) and Jasmine Kawa (11 disposals, four marks and four tackles) were the others to reach double figures. Williamstown finished the season with the one win from 14 games, just behind Carlton on the table.

DAREBIN FALCONS 3.1 | 3.1 | 3.5 | 3.5 (23)
WESTERN BULLDOGS 0.2 | 3.5 | 3.5 | 5.8 (38)

GOALS:

Darebin: K. Roe, N. Morris-Dalton, S. Simpson.
Western Bulldogs: E. Wood, S. Jolly, K. Betts, M. Sandral, D. Marshall.

BEST:

Darebin: A. Lister, K. Roe, S. Sansonetti, S. Simpson, B. Patterson, E. McLaughlin
Western Bulldogs: B. Hunt, D. Marshall, A. Gogos , S. Ruedin, A. Guest, E. Mackay

The Western Bulldogs showed why they sit third on the table heading into finals after seeing off Darebin Falcons in a 15-point victory. Darebin burst out of the blocks to lead by 17 points at quarter time, but the Bulldogs took control after that, booting 5.6 to 0.4 in the remaining three quarters to secure the 5.8 (38) to 3.5 (23) win. Ellie Gavalas earned 20 touches for the Dogs while laying five tackles, while Emma Mackay (15 disposals, two marks and four tackles) and Danielle Marshall (15 disposals, six marks, five tackles, four hitouts and one goal) were also influential in the win. Under-18 stars Ella Wood (13 disposals, two tackles and a goal) and Elisabeth Georgostathis (10 disposals, two marks and six tackles) again looked like they belonged, while the experienced head of Hayley Wildes (13 disposals, three marks and one tackle) was important. For the Falcons, Kathleen Roe stood tall with 22 disposals, two marks, five tackles and a goal, as Annalyse Lister (20 disposals, 10 tackles) was fierce around the stoppages, and Lauren Arnell (21 disposals, three marks) showed off all of her AFLW experience. Northern Knights’ duo Nell Morris-Dalton and Sarah Sansonetti also looked strong in the game.

HAWTHORN 1.2 | 1.3 | 3.6 | 4.8 (32)
COLLINGWOOD 1.0 | 4.2 | 6.2 | 7.4 (46)

GOALS:

Hawthorn: S. Perkins 3, M. Hutchins.
Collingwood: K. Lee 2, M. Shevlin 2, J. Lambert, R. Grant, M. Cann.

BEST:

Hawthorn: S. Perkins, L. McClelland, R. Beeson, E. Nixon, O. Flanagan, R. Dillon
Collingwood: S. Livingstone, N. Xenos, G. Buchan, M. Shevlin, B. Bonnici, S. Layton

Collingwood regained top spot on the VFLW ladder, taking home its second successive minor premiership in the process after downing Hawthorn by 14 points at Box Hill City Oval. The Magpies knocked the Hawks out of the finals race with the result, as the Pies now prepare for the Southern Saints next weekend. The return of Collingwood’s experience was crucial in the 7.4 (46) to 4.8 (32) victory, as competition leading goalkicker Jaimee Lambert booted a goal from 17 touches, five marks and 11 tackles to take out the award, while Brittany Bonnici returned to rack up a team-high 19 disposals and lay three tackles. Grace Buchan (18 disposals, four marks and four tackles) and Sarah Dargan (18 disposals, one mark and one tackle) were busy around the ground, while Maddie Shevlin and Katelyn Lee were the multiple goalkickers for the Pies. Rebecca Beeson was the Hawks’ biggest ball winner with 19 disposals, one mark and eight tackles, while Georgia Bevan (16 disposals, seven tackles) and Rosie Dillon (16 disposals, five tackles) won plenty of the ball. Up forward, Sarah Perkins booted three of the Hawks’ four goals and clunked four marks from 11 touches, while Lou Wotton and Tamara Luke were strong through the ruck, combining for 38 hitouts from 19 disposals.

SOUTHERN SAINTS 0.2 | 2.3 | 4.6| 4.6 (30)
RICHMOND 0.1 | 3.1 | 3.2 | 5.6 (36)

GOALS

Southern Saints: H. Stuart, J. Vogt, C. Greiser, T. Bohanna.
Richmond: S. Frederick 2, T. Stahl, J. Colwell, M. Conti.

BEST

Southern Saints: S. Johnson, T. Lucas-Rodd, O. Vesely, F. Steiert, C. Greiser, K. Shierlaw
Richmond: G. Egan, J. Colwell, S. Frederick, M. Conti, G. Seymour, K. Dempsey

The Southern Saints were knocked out of top spot in the final round of the season after finally taking the lead last round, going down by one goal to Richmond in what could potentially be a finals match up. While the Saints have had a mostly unblemished season, the Tigers have had a couple sloppy weeks so were well and truly ready to come out and prove themselves against the top side. With a 10-point lead at the final break it seemed that Saints had control after a see-sawing first half, before a dominant final stanza from the Tigers saw the Saints go scoreless to finish the match. For Richmond, Monique Conti found plenty of the footy with 23 touches to lead the Tiger’s disposal count, also collecting one goal and five tackles while the likes of Grace Egan (17 disposals, nine tackles) and Sabrina Frederick (two goals from five kicks) also had some good form in what could have been their final match of the year. For the Saints, Cat Philips racked up 17 disposals, providing a solid option moving the ball up the field but to no avail with little other players able to have an impact. Samantha Johnson (10 disposals, eight tackles) and Tilly Lucas-Rodd (12 disposals, six tackles) were named among the best with four individual goalkickers thanks to the pressing defensive pressure of the Tigers, limiting regular Saints goalkickers to low impact possessions.

GEELONG 4.1 | 4.3 | 6.6 | 7.6 (48)
CARLTON 2.0 | 2.0 | 2.0 | 2.3 (15)

GOALS

Geelong: G. Clarke 3, S. Van De Heuvel, R. Cranston, K. Darby, J. Ivey.
Carlton: M. Clifford, B. Gurr.

BEST

Geelong: J. Ivey, D. Taylor, R. Cranston, G. Clarke, R. Webster, R. Garing
Carlton: B. Gutknecht, G. Wright, S. Wright, G. Pound, J. Hosking, M. Neill

In a match that went vastly different to their reverse fixture back in Round 8, Geelong well and truly pushed for their last ditch effort of finals contention, defeating the Blues by 33 points and jumping the Hawks to land themselves in sixth. While Carlton have put up some solid performances this season to contend with quality teams, they couldn’t compete with the Cats on a mission, only putting two goals on the board to finish their season second from the bottom. While the Cats took an early lead Carlton still looked like they were in it, kicking two goals to Geelong’s four in the first half, however were unable to compete in the second half conceding three goals and only kicking three behinds. Rene Caris impressed in the ruck, collecting 30 hitouts and 17 disposals while sharing the load with Kate Darby (12 hitouts, 11 disposals, one goal). Jordan Ivey and Renee Garing collected 25 and 24 disposals respectively, with Ivey kicking her fourth goal of the season while Garing managed 12 tackles to apply plenty of pressure on the Blues. Georgia Clarke was a big target forward in a solid outing, kicking three goals from eight touches while 18-year-old Lucy McEvoy collected 18 disposals and five tackles in her first win at the Cats. For the Blues, Jess Hosking and Sarah Wright were among the best around the ground, collecting 19 touches apiece and a combined 11 marks and eight tackles. Also impressive was young gun Gabby Newton (17 disposals, 15 tackles), while Mia-Rae Clifford (one goal, seven tackles) and Britney Gutknecht (nine touches, six tackles) applied valuable pressure on and around the ball.

MELBOURNE UNI 1.4 | 2.4 | 5.6 | 6.10 (46)
NT THUNDER 0.1 | 2.5 | 3.5 | 4.5 (29)

GOALS

Melbourne Uni: S. Abbatangelo 2, C. Daniec, C. Saxon-Jones, K. Angelis, E. Kearney.
NT Thunder: D. Ponter 2, L. Jeffrey, M. Ellis.

BEST

Melbourne Uni: S. Abbatangelo, J. Trend, E. Kearney, B. Gibson, J. Bruton, V. Saad
NT Thunder: D. Varnhagen, S. Riley, J. Baird, D. Ponter, L. Roberts, C. Deegan

Melbourne Uni well and truly finished their season on a high, defeating NT Thunder by 17 points despite a mostly inaccurate affair. While Uni put plenty of goals on the board after taking control early in the second half, their kicking in front of goal left something to be desired with the likes of Katie Angelis kicking 1.4 from her nine kicks and six marks. While Thunder took advantage of their opportunities in front of goal, applying scoreboard pressure in every quarter bar the first, their chances were limited thanks to the defensive pressure of the Mugars on the brink of finals. Emma Kearney (29 disposals, six tackles, one goal) and Sophie Abbatangelo (27 disposals, 10 marks, five tackles, two goals) starred for Uni, while Vivien Saad was solid in the ruck with 29 hitouts, finding her teammates with ease as they dominated stoppages. Kate Gillespie-Jones was consistent as ever with 24 touches, nine marks and eight tackles. For Thunder, Stevie-Lee Thompson put in the hard yards with 22 touches, four marks and two behinds, attempting to push forward to create opportunities forward while Deni Varnhagen did a wealth of work behind the ball to finish with 27 disposals and five marks. Meanwhile, young gun Danielle Ponter kicked two of Thunder’s four goals, providing a solid target forward collecting 14 touches and three marks.

VFLW weekend wash-up: Hope tears it up as Bulldogs, Tigers and Pies continue good form

ROUND 5 is done and dusted with two teams still sitting undefeated from five rounds of action, meaning the ladder has almost fully shaped up with the teams to beat well and truly sorted. Carlton were pipped at the post once more, going down by only seven points to remain winless, while the Magpies came away with their fourth win on the trot over the Demons. Meanwhile, Mo Hope showed the competition why she was an AFL Women’s marquee player.

CARLTON: 1.2 | 3.3 | 5.4 | 7.4 (46)
NT THUNDER 2.1 | 2.3 | 6.4 | 8.5 (53)

By: James Halley

GOALS:

Carlton: B. Moody, N. Plane, N. Stevens, M. Clifford, M. Jarvis, T. Cassar, S. Wright.
NT Thunder: T. Holtze 2, K. Irvine 2, S. Riley 2, M. Roberts, S. Hoogeveen-Hill.

BEST:

NT Thunder: K. Irvine, C. Randall, N. Gore, K. Streader, M. Roberts, S. Miskin-Ripia
Carlton: A. McKay, M. Prespakis, J. Hosking, N. Stevens, T. Cassar

Carlton went down to the Northern Territory in their home away from home at La Trobe University by seven points. There was a strong wind going towards the left side of the ground all day, which Carlton were not able to fully capitalise on in the last quarter. The first quarter was hotly contested which resulted in many turnovers for both sides, but Northern Territory was able to edge ahead by five points at the first break. The Blues dominated the second term, keeping the Thunder goalless while kicking two themselves. Thunder’s Tayla Thorn tried her hardest in defence but the volume of entries was too much to handle. The third quarter belonged to the Thunder as they were able to wrestle the momentum back their way, kicking four goals to one to regain the lead heading into the final term. In the last quarter both teams went goal for goal, until Northern Territory’s Machaelia Roberts was able to shrug off two tacklers and stream inside 50 and kick the winning goal for the Thunder with less than two minutes left on the clock. Maddy Prespakis and Breann Moody were instrumental for the Blues in the midfield, while Fremantle AFLW recruit Mia-Rae Clifford was a focal point for Carlton in the forward line. Thorn was massive for the Thunder on the last line of defence, while Chelsea Randall was very classy, using her speed and agility to make the Blues look second rate. The Thunder were very dangerous up forward with Sally Riley, Tahlia Holtze and Kristy Irvine all kicking two goals apiece. To make the loss worse for Carlton, defender Jess Edwards looked to have seriously injured herself in the dying minutes of the match, needing medical assistance long after the final siren sounded.

WILLIAMSTOWN 1.1 | 1.4 | 3.5 | 4.8 (32)
MELBOURNE UNI 0.5 | 2.7 | 5.7 | 6.7 (43)

By: Peter Williams

GOALS:

Williamstown: S. Whiting 2, G. Anderson, J. Heard.
Melbourne Uni: N. Bresnehan, H. Whitford, D. Bannister, K. Angelis, K. Cox, B. Gibson.

BEST:

Williamstown: M. Hope, A. Newman, M. Williamson, S. Whiting, J. Reid, R. Dardengo
Melbourne Uni: B. Gibson, T. Mesiti, E. Hay, A. Runnalls, K. Cox, D. Bannister

A massive game from former Collingwood and North Melbourne AFL Women’s player, Mo Hope was not enough to get Williamstown across the line against Melbourne University on Saturday. The Seagulls led at the first break by two points courtesy of an inaccurate quarter by the Mugars who went goalless with five behinds on the board. The visitors hit the front in the second term, delivering the only two goals of the term to head into half-time with a nine-point advantage. They then extended the lead to 14 points in a high scoring third term which saw five goals kicked, before both teams managed a goal in the final stanza for the Mugars to win and ensure the Seagulls remained winless to start the season. Hope was the talking point in the game, amassing a mind-boggling 39 disposals, two marks, three tackles and a behind, while Melbourne AFLW livewire Aliesha Newman had 22 touches, one mark and four tackles in the defeat. The Mugars on the other hand had an even team effort, with Jess Trend (19 disposals, six marks, one tackle), Sophie Abbatangelo (15 disposals, four marks, four tackles and three behinds) and Daria Bannister (15 disposals, one mark, eight tackles and a goal) all impressive. Sharnie Whiting continued her good form this season for the Seagulls with 2.3 from 14 touches and two marks to be the only multiple goal kicker in the game.

WESTERN BULLDOGS 1.0 | 3.2 | 3.3 | 5.6 (36)
DAREBIN FALCONS 0.0 | 0.0 | 1.0 | 1.2 (8)

By: Peter Williams

GOALS:

Western Bulldogs: M. Ward, S. Jolly, H. Wildes, M. Sandral, E. Gavalas.
Darebin: S. David.

BEST:

Western Bulldogs: K. McLeod, S. Jolly, B. Hunt, E. Gavalas, B. Lochland, B. Toogood
Darebin: B. Patterson, C. Byrne, G. Colvin, S. David, R. Hibbert, A. Lister

Western Bulldogs piled on more pain to Darebin Falcons to remain one of the teams to beat after five rounds, winning four consecutive games to start the season, while Darebin remains winless. The Bulldogs have proven to do it in low-scoring slogs, being only the eighth highest scoring side, but are far and away the number one defensive team, and this weekend was no different, restricting Darebin to just one goal for the match. The Bulldogs had 11 scoring shots throughout the game, starting slowly, and were outscored in the third term when they were held goalless, but steadied to kick the final two goals of the match to win by 28 points. Ellie Gavalas was impressive with 23 disposals, two marks, three tackles and a goal, while Katelyn Betts also played well, notching up 20 touches, one mark and laying a massive nine tackles. Western Bulldogs listed players, Kirstie Lamb and Bonnie Toogood found plenty of the ball too, registering 18 touches each and sharing in 12 marks. For Darebin, the experienced names stood up despite the loss, with Melbourne AFLW ruck, Lauren Pearce helping herself to 22 touches, six marks, three tackles and 23 hitouts, while Gold Coast’s Jamie Stanton finished with 18 touches, one mark and three tackles.

RICHMOND 2.1 | 7.1 | 7.3 | 8.7 (55)
GEELONG 3.2 | 3.3 | 4.3 | 5.3 (33)

By: Peter Williams

GOALS:

Richmond: J. Colwell 2, K. Jacques 2, E. Gunn, T. Stahl, C. Wakefield , J. Kennedy.
Geelong: M. Maguire 2, J. Crockett-Grills, O. Purcell, R. Webster.

BEST:

Richmond: M. Conti, G. Campbell, K. Jacques, L. Davie, A. Makur Chuot, G. Egan
Geelong: J. Crockett-Grills, M. Maguire, O. Purcell, R. Goring, R. Webster, M. Keryk

The high-scoring Tigers remain undefeated in season 2019 after another big win, this time over last year’s grand finalists Geelong. The Cats raced out of the blocks to lead by seven points at the first break, before Richmond clicked into gear with five straight majors to the Cats’ one behind. It was Geelong’s turn to take the advantage in the premiership quarter, booting the only goal of the term while restricting Richmond to two behinds, before the Tigers held firm in the final quarter with a goal each, but extending the final margin to 22 points. The Tiger recruits in Monique Conti and Katie Brennan were sensational, as Conti picked up a game-high 29 disposals, three marks and five tackles, while Brennan had 22 disposals, five marks, five tackles and booted two behinds. Of the non AFLW-listed players, Grace Campbell (16 disposals, four marks and 11 tackles) and Grace Egan (13 disposals, one mark) were busy, while Jenna Colwell and Kobi Jacques both snagged two majors. For the Cats, young gun Olivia Purcell was terrific with 23 disposals, one mark, seven tackles and a goal, while Madeline Keryk helped herself to 15 touches, two marks and three tackles. Rene Caris had a tough task in the ruck against Alice Edmonds as her opponent had 12 touches and 30 hitouts, but Caris was always involved, having 11 touches and 13 hitouts, while Madisen Maguire booted two majors for the Cats.

CASEY DEMONS 2.1 | 2.1 | 4.1 | 5.1 (31)
COLLINGWOOD 1.0 | 4.4 | 4.5 | 5.5 (35)

By: Peter Williams

GOALS:

Casey: M. Guerin 2, K. Smith, A. Kemp, H. Cordner.
Collingwood: S. Dargan 2, S. Chiocci 2, G. Buchan.

BEST:

Casey: H. Cordner, E. Birch, N. Garner, G. McLean, T. Hanks, B. Winbanks
Collingwood: B. Davey, J. Allen, B. Bonnici, R. Schleicher, P. Nash, K. Lee

Collingwood has held on in a thriller to make it four consecutive wins, while handing Casey its second consecutive loss for season 2019. The victory pushed the Magpies into third spot just behind the Bulldogs and Tigers, and marked the return of AFLW captain, Steph Chiocci. The Demons led early with a seven-point advantage at quarter time, but the Magpies capitalised in the second term with three goals from seven scoring shots while strangling the life out of the home side. Casey hit back in the third term to hold the Magpies goalless and cut the deficit to just four points, but a steadying goal in the final term extended the lead to 10, before Harriet Cordner cut the deficit to four once again, but the time ran out for Casey. Chiocci made a successful return with two goals from 13 touches, one mark and three tackles, while Bri Davey had a massive second game back through the middle with 24 disposals, four marks and nine tackles. Sarah Dargan (19 disposals, four marks, 10 tackles and two goals) was sensational, while Maddie Shevlin won 13 touches, one mark and two tackles against her former side. For the Demons, Libby Birch remains a solid investment with another 20 disposals and whopping 13 tackles, while Tyla Hanks goes from strength to strength with 19 disposals and nine tackles. Cordner also had 15 touches, five marks, four tackles and six hitouts in the loss, while Maddy Guerin added another two majors to her total for the year, as well as 14 disposals, two marks and four tackles.

VFL Women’s wash-up: Round 3 – Three sides undefeated as ladder takes shape

AN interesting Round 3 of VFL Women’s ensued over the weekend with ladder positions taking shape as three sides remained undefeated, while four sides suffered big losses yet again to sit down the bottom of the ladder. NT Thunder sat out of this round with the draw in a round that saw more bigger margins than not.

GEELONG 0.2 | 0.3 | 1.3 | 2.3 (15)
COLLINGWOOD 1.1 | 1.2 | 2.4 | 3.4 (22)

GOALS

Geelong: R. Webster, J. Ivey.
Collingwood: J. Lambert 2, M. Shevlin.

BEST

Geelong: J. Ivey, R. Webster, G. Rankin, M. Maguire, R. Caris, C. Blakeway
Collingwood: J. Lambert, R. Schleicher, K. Lynch, S. King, B. Bonnici, N. Hales

Little could separate the traditional rivals in the opening match of Round 3, staying neck and neck before the Magpies held on for a seven point win. Despite the low-scoring affair, the intensity and pressure was pulpable with both sides only having managed one win on the board. However, it was the Magpies’ clean hands under pressure that was far too strong for the Cats in the end, finishing with a whopping 43 marks to 16 as they used posession to their advantage. Jaimee Lambert starred across the board, racking up an enormous 30 disposals, two goals, eight marks and six tackles as she dominated in all areas of the field. Also among the best were fellow Pie, Britt Bonnici with 22 touches and 10 tackles, while Geelong’s Amy McDonald picked up 24 and seven tackles to lead her side. Also high in the stats were Collingwood’s Mikala Cann with 17 disposals and 11 tackles, almost equalled by Geelong’s Jordan Ivey with 15 and 11 respectively. Collingwood dominated the hitouts with 48 – 39 courtesy of Sarah King – while also maintaining posession for a larger portion of the game despite the Cats’ attempts to whittle down the lead. Collingwood’s Maddie Shevlin and Geelong’s Rebecca Webster were also solid, picking up 15 touches, four tackles and a goal apiece as they cancelled the other out with their respective efforts.

 

DAREBIN 1.0 | 3.1 | 3.1 | 3.1 (19)
HAWTHORN 1.3 | 3.6 | 6.10 | 8.13 (61)

GOALS

Hawthorn: J. Sibley 2, N. Cormack , P. Peschke, M. Hutchins, E. Gilder, S. Carroll, O. Flanagan.
Darebin: E. Buckley, S. Simpson, S. David.

BEST

Hawthorn: O. Flanagan, A. Tanner, R. Dillon, N. Cormack , E. Gilder, P. Peschke
Darebin: A. Lister, L. Pearce, R. Hicks, L. Szigeti, S. Simpson, C. Byrne

The blowout of the round saw a severely depleted Falcons side go down by 42 points to the Hawks – who thus far have sat towards the bottom of the ladder with no wins on the board. This loss could be a huge wakeup call to the Falcons as they let Hawthorn run wild inside 50, with 21 scores on the board from 34 inside 50s. The Hawksd lead the stats in all but rebounds, but while Darebin took five more rebounds that their opposition they were unable to use the ball to their advantage with only ten inside 50s less than the Hawks (24) but ultimately unable to get a score on the board after half time. What looked to be a tight match in the early stages saw the Hawks take control in parts before the Falcs wrestled back some momentum, but inconsistency cost the losing side as Hawthorn played their own game to win the match. Dominant ruck, Lauren Pearce was well matched by Hawthorn’s Abbey Tanner, with the pair unable to be seperated in hitouts. Darebin looked to have a fight on their hands with some strong tackling pressure from the likes of Reni Hicks (10 tackles) and Annalyse Lister (eight), while Rachel Hibbert collected five marks and 14 touches. Ellen Buckley, Samara David and Stephanie Simpson all got goals on the board early before the Hawks tightened up and the Falcons’ defence fell apart. It was a shared effort with posession that got the Hawks over the line, with no clear standout stat separating Olivia Flanagan (17 disposals, eight tackles, one goal), Rebecca Beeson (17 disposals, three marks, three tackles) and Meg Hutchins (17 disposals, four marks, one goal). Jess Sibley was the sole multiple goalkicker with two majors to her name among 11 scorers for the Hawks.

 

RICHMOND 3.2 | 3.4 | 7.10 | 8.10 (58)
ESSENDON 1.0 | 1.0 | 2.1 | 3.5 (23)

GOALS

Richmond: L. Bailey 2, K. Brennan 2, T. Stahl, J. Colwell, E. Gunn, A. Makur Chuot.
Essendon: A. Moreen 2, M. DeMatteo.

BEST

Richmond: A. Edmonds, A. Makur Chuot, K. Brennan, J. Colwell, G. Campbell, L. Bailey
Essendon: M. Collier, A. Anderson, E. Ashley-Cooper, A. Morcom, K. Hicks, G. Nanscawen

In Katie Brennan‘s first match in the yellow and black, this match was always looking to be a confidence booster for the Tigers. True to expectations, Brennan stormed out of the blocks with 23 touches, two goals and eight tackles to lead her side to victory, working well with fellow Western Bulldogs-turned-Richmond teammate, Monique Conti (22 touches, four tackles), while Laura Bailey also switched on for two goals and four tackles. The scoreline could have been far worse with the likes of Tayla Stahl-Smith unable to kick straight, with the leading goalkicker only managing one goal from five attempts. Also among the goalkickers was Akec Makur-Chuot with one major and 17 touches, while Jenna Colwell was also solid with one goal, 12 touches, three marks and five tackles. The match was won and lost in hitouts, with Alice Edmonds a star in the ruck with 45 hitouts alone compared to the Bombers’ combined number of 14, while there was no shortage of forward 50 entries for the Tigers as they outnumbered Essendon 38 to 19, scoring from 18 entries. In a disappointing day for the Bombers, Georgia Nanscawen (14 disposals, three marks, five tackles), Alexandra Anderson (13 disposals, three marks, three tackles) and Maighan Fogas (11 disposals, nine tackles) put in the hard yards around the ground while the usual suspects in Arthurina Moreen and Monique De Matteo combined for three goals. Essendon have little to be excited about given the scoreline, but should at least be happy keeping Richmond to only one goal in the final term.

 

WESTERN BULLDOGS 0.0 | 2.1 | 2.1 | 3.4 (22)
MELBOURNE UNI 0.1 | 0.2 | 1.5 | 1.6 (12)

GOALS

Western Bulldogs: D. Marshall 2, A. Scott.
Melbourne Uni: V. Saad.

BEST

Western Bulldogs: T. Dinuccio, N. McMahon, L. Bibby, E. Mackay, B. Toogood, M. Ward
Melbourne Uni: A. Riddell, K. Gillespie-Jones, A. Runnalls, H. Whitford, K. Ebb, K. Cox

The Bulldogs brought an end to Melbourne Uni’s dominance so far this season with a 10 point win to land them second on the ladder and knock the Muggars into fourth. The Dogs were dominant across the ground, ultimately having less of the footy but doing more with it as they kicked straight under pressure. Uni lead the stats in all but two categories – hitouts and rebounds, telling a tale of the defensive structure put in place by the Bulldogs to take control and force errors from the usually composed side. Leading the stats on the day was Uni’s Ashleigh Riddell, finishing with an exceptional 34 touches, 6 marks and nine tackles, followed by fellow ball-magnet Kate Gillespie-Jones with 31 and eight tackles, putting in a valient effort that ultimately was undone by the dominance of the Western Bulldogs’ efficiency under pressure. Nicole McMahon dominated the hitouts with 30 – compared to the Muggars’ overall number of 21 – largely putting the ball in the safe hands of Eleanor Brown (20 disposals, eight tackles), Emma Mackay (20 disposals, six tackles) and Bonnie Toogood (18 disposals, eight marks). Danielle Marshall got hands to the ball well with eight touches and two goals, while Annabel Scott slotted the final major of the day with minutes left in the match. Vivien Saad slotted Uni’s only goal for the match in the third term to keep the side in reaching distance after keeping the Bulldogs scoreless in the third, before the Dogs took back control in the final quarter.

 

WILLIAMSTOWN 1.1 | 2.1 | 2.1 | 2.1 (13)
CASEY DEMONS 0.0 | 2.2 | 5.4 | 7.6 (48)

GOALS

Williamstown: J. Kawa 2.
Casey: T. Tatterson 2, K. Smith, E. Archer, E. Birch, E. Zanker , L. Davies.

BEST

Williamstown: J. Kawa, M. Hope, S. Dixon, R. Dardengo, E. Meade, A. Newman
Casey: T. Hanks, C. Emonson, K. Smith, A. McDonough, B. Winbanks, G. McLean

A slow start for Casey saw the side ultimately get up against the Seagulls to land top spot on the ladder, with an immense defensive effort leaving the home side scoreless after half time. Casey’s start to the season is still unblemished with three wins under their belts, and the side’s composure to dig deep and get the match on track in the second half should be commended. To Williamstown’s credit, they kept the Demons scoreless in the first term to scare the side into action, staying even until after half time when the Dees kicked five goals nil. Seagulls’ Jasmine Kawa was the lone goalkicker for the side with two majors to her name while Sharnie Whiting put a behind on the board. Solid defence from ther Demons saw Melbourne AFL Women’s teammate and speedster, Aliesha Newman pick up 14 touches and five tackles but kept scoreless, while Mo Hope took charge to lead the disposal count with 19 and four tackles, improving remarkably from her five touches in Round 2. The Demons all but dominated posession, largely aided by the ruck work of Bridie Winbanks (32 hitouts) and Eden Zanker (15 disposals) while the likes of Libby Birch (17 disposals, four marks and a goal), Chantel Emonson (15 disposals, 11 tackles) and Katherine Smith (14 touches, 12 tackles and a goal) found some good space to share the ball around. Tayla Tatterson had little posession but made the most of it with two goals, while six others made a dint on the scoreboard for a well deserved win.

 

SOUTHERN SAINTS 0.0 | 2.3 | 2.4 | 4.10 (34)
CARLTON 0.2 | 0.2 | 1.4 | 1.4 (10)

GOALS

Saints: J. Vogt, C. Greiser, T. Lucas-Rodd, A. Brown.
Carlton: N. Plane.

BEST

Saints: O. Vesely, C. Phillips, K. O’Neill, C. Fitzpatrick, D. Jolliffe, T. Lucas-Rodd
Carlton: G. Wright, S. Wright, A. McKay, S. Hosking, M. Clifford, N. Plane

A valiant effort by Carlton to stay in the match fell short in the final game of the round, with the Saints dominating posession in the final quarter to take home their second win for the season. Carlton spent majority of the game within touching distance of their opposition, before the Saints unleashed a final quarter peppering of the goals (2.6) to come home with a 24-point win. Natalie Plane was Carlton’s sole goalkicker with one major to her name, along with 18 touches and four tackles as she did what she could to fight her way into the match, while Jess and Sarah Hosking led the stats with a combined 41 touches, six marks and 13 tackles. In the ruck, Breann Moody and Poppy Kelly were almost split down the middle with 22 and 23 hitouts respectively, though Saints’ Cat Phillips and Alison Drennan arguably did more with and off the ball, racking up a respective 25 and 23 disposals and nine and seven tackles. Alison Brown and Jacqui Vogt kicked 1.2 apiece as two other goalkickers in Tilly Lucas-Rodd (20 touches, three marks, four tackles) and Caitlin Greiser (seven touches) made their way onto the board, while four other players registered behinds. The Saints’ inaccuracy in front of goal could be an issue next week as they take on top-of-the-table Casey Demons, whose pressing defence and ability to use the ball efficiently makes them a huge threat.

2019 VFLW weekend Round 1b preview: Eight teams begin their campagins

AFTER the Southern Saints made a statement in the opening round with a victory over last year’s minor premiers Collingwood, the other Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s sides take to the field, as four games are played across the competition. The Western Bulldogs and Carlton have the bye, as do Williamstown, however the Seagulls are facing off against GWS GIANTS in an invitational match which will see the GIANTS match-up against some of the Victorian sides. Below are the teams and season previews.

ESSENDON v. CASEY DEMONS

Round 1 – 11/05/2019
11:30
Windy Hill

Essendon

B: 7. K. Hicks, 11. M. Warburton, 29. C. Laan
HB: 18. K. Heil, 27. A. Morcom, 21. K. McFadyen
C: 28. R. Svarc, 39. M. Fogas, 1. C. Ugle
HF: 25. L. Stepnell, 23. M. Collier, 24. S. Wilson
F: 3. M. DeMatteo, 38. E. Gogerly, 40. A. Moreen
R: 30. S. Nalder, 22. N. MacDonald, 8. H. Bullas
Int: 13. S. Audley, 2. I. Currenti, 43. G. Nanscawen, 4. A. Saundry
Emg: 45. E. Ashley-Cooper, 15. L. Caruso, 33. E. Hosking, 14. T. Zagontinos
23P: 31. J. Stassi

Casey Demons

B: 50. G. McLean, 13. K. Smith, 15. T. Tatterson
HB: 34. A. Kirkwood, 7. B. Jakobsson, 8. S. Lampard
C: 23. E. Birch, 16. M. Hogg, 22. M. Guerin
HF: 42. H. Bailey, 29. E. Zanker , 11. C. Emonson
F: 24. N. Garner, 40. H. Dyson, 27. B. Winbanks
R: 38. K. Bentvelzen , 41. R. Edmeades, 47. K. Guttridge
Int: 48. E. Archer, 9. A. Johnson, 32. A. McDonough, 54. K. Oates
Emg: 57. L. Davies, 51. A. Francese, 37. T. Nash, 62. G. Speedy
23P: 46. B. Pratt

 

DAREBIN v. RICHMOND

Round 1 – 11/05/2019
12:00
Swinburne Centre

Darebin

B: 32. G. Colvin, 21. K. Roe, 19. R. Hibbert
HB: 16. B. Kennedy, 56. R. Ashley, 43. N. Wolfe
C: 1. E. Honybun, 9. M. Eastman, 28. A. Morrow
HF: 17. S. Simpson, 22. G. Hammond, 7. L. Szigeti
F: 36. E. Buckley, 31. E. Gardner, 23. M. Wilson
R: 37. E. McLaughlin, 15. A. Lister, 33. J. Stanton
Int: 18. C. Byrne, 39. S. David, 25. C. Delbridge, 20. S. Fairchild
Emg: 46. R. Coombs, 55. M. Hubbard, 49. A. Ladson, 50. M. Suzuki
23P: 57. P. Kearney

Richmond

B: 26. E. Burry, 41. S. Last, 15. R. Miller
HB: 19. K. Dempsey, 2. P. Monahan, 34. A. Makur Chuot
C: 25. G. Egan, 5. M. Brancatisano, 8. J. Graham
HF: 33. J. Colwell, 16. C. Wakefield , 36. E. Paterno
F: 17. E. Gunn, 24. T. Stahl-Smith, 46. H. Ibrahim
R: 11. A. Edmonds, 13. A. Woodward, 1. J. Kennedy
Int: 43. G. Campbell, 30. D. Edward, 37. M. Klingbeil , 22. S. Marsh
Emg: 39. M. Lindsay , 32. I. Milford, 23. T. Smith
23P: 29. K. Jacques

 

HAWTHORN v. NT THUNDER

Round 1 – 12/05/2019
11:30
Box Hill City Oval

Hawthorn

B: 25. M. Hutchins, 6. T. Radan, 31. J. Sibley
HB: 13. E. Nixon, 40. E. MacDonald, 21. P. Randall
C: 33. E. Gilder, 24. R. Dillon, 5. C. Perera
HF: 12. N. Cormack , 26. C. Dyett, 18. E. Wroe
F: 17. A. Dowler, 2. K. Henderson, 30. A. Sarec
R: 22. T. Luke, 10. P. Peschke, 8. R. Beeson
Int: 14. O. Flanagan, 11. D. Haines, 15. B. Struylaart, 29. A. Tanner
Emg: 4. S. Carroll, 35. C. O’Donnell, 27. K. Scott
23P: 23. G. Macpherson

NT Thunder

B: 37. M. Rajcic, 33. T. Thorn, 31. A. Stanley
HB: 23. E. Miller, 9. L. Jeffrey, 26. C. Randall
C: 13. L. Roberts, , 12. K. Streader
HF: 11. J. Hickey, 10. A. Chittick, 18. T. Holtze
F: 27. A. Considine, 7. M. Ellis,
R: 20. J. Hewett, 3. A. Foley, 1. M. Johnston
Int: 17. S. Bishop, 24. S. Hoogeveen-Hill, 21. K. Irvine, 5. M. Roberts, 48. K. Rosenzweig, 34. D. Varnhagen
Emg: 32. B. Byers, 29. C. Deegan
23P: 2. J. Baird

 

MELBOURNE UNI v. GEELONG CATS

Round 1 – 12/05/2019
02:30
Melbourne University Main Oval

Melbourne Uni

B: 45. A. Arundel, 3. T. Mesiti, 17. E. Hay
HB: 22. J. Anwyl, 26. N. O’Connor, 32. C. Daniec
C: 53. J. Grierson, 36. N. Julian, 14. M. McDonald
HF: 38. K. Angelis, 51. J. Tancred, 40. A. Runnalls
F: 4. E. King, 57. A. Price, 18. A. Tupper
R: 5. K. Gillespie-Jones, 25. J. Garner, 35. J. Bruton
Int: 34. K. Cox, 47. M. Hare, 46. A. Roan , 52. M. Shone
Emg: 42. L. Amelung, 44. E. Bult, 30. S. Farmer, 41. J. Thomas
23P: 39. V. Saad

Geelong Cats

B: 49. E. Ramsay, 4. C. Blakeway, 23. H. Rowe
HB: 20. R. Pearce, 44. R. Goring, 11. J. Woollett
C: 3. A. McDonald, 27. R. Webster, 10. G. Rankin
HF: 45. M. Keryk, 17. G. Clarke, 9. T. Love
F: 42. B. Beckley, 8. K. Darby, 7. R. Benham
R: 1. R. Caris, 5. J. Ivey, 41. A. Haigh
Int: 14. N. French, 33. Z. Inei, 43. M. Maguire, 13. L. Taylor
Emg: 26. M. Boyd, 15. G. Deller, 16. O. Purcell
23P: 19. S. DeGiacomi

 

SEASON PREVIEWS: (Including byes)

CARLTON BLUES

Coach: Shannon McFerran
Last year: 7th (6-8)

The entire Carlton side would be buzzing with the AFL Women’s achievement of making the Grand Final and hoping to follow in the senior side’s footsteps. Last year the Blues showed signs within games, but could not quite put together a four quarter effort. They had an enormous amount of future AFL Women’s talent on their list last season with Tyla Hanks and Madeline Brancatisano (both Melbourne), Rene Caris (Geelong) and Celine Moody (Western Bulldogs) all poached by other clubs in the draft, while Abbie McKay, Chloe Dalton and Brooke Walker made the transition up to senior football at the Blues. Darcy Vescio won the leading goalkicker award after another terrific season inside 50 and look for her to be a key player in Shannon McFerran‘s side. With the close bond between Carlton and Northern Knights – and the strength of the Knights program in 2019 – do not be surprised for the Blues to be bolstered mid-season by the likes of Gabby Newton and Britney Gutknecht among others. They have picked up Marnie Jarvis and Taylah Manson from the Knights last year, and with continued improvement and recruitment of Madison Prespakis, Emerson Woods and Charlotte Wilson – who all had TAC Cup Girls and VFLW experience prior to being drafted, the Blues are a sleeper side that is not to be taken lightly.

 

CASEY DEMONS

Coach: Damien Keeping
Last year: 10th (5-9)

Despite a disappointing season on the ladder, Casey Demons were raided at the AFL Women’s draft with six drafted on the night, and a further one (Taylor Mesiti) prelisted. Jordyn Allen, Georgia Gourlay and Maddie Shevlin all swapped red and blue for black and white, while Casey Sherriff, Chantel Emonson and Shae Sloane showed enough to be picked up the Dees. The Demons have brought in some height with the recruitment of former Oakleigh Chargers and Essendon ruck, Bridie Winbanks, while putting an emphasis on retaining Melbourne AFLW listed players, something they did not have the luxury of having with many playing at Darebin given the players history with the Falcons. Now just Elise O’Dea, Lauren Pearce and Brooke Patterson are at the Falcons, so the Demons can have a stronger link to the AFLW side. Harriet Cordner and Maddison Gay were two big improvers of the 2019 AFLW season and will be ones to watch for the Demons in the upcoming VFLW season. A couple of key pickups for the Demons include Gippsland Power duo, Nikia Webber and Shanara Notman who could provide service up opposite ends. Overall look for the Demons to improve this year.

 

DAREBIN FALCONS

Coach: Michael Ericson (NEW)
Last year: 5th (8-6)

Darebin Falcons defied odds by finishing fifth last season and on track for finals up until a couple of rounds out from the post-season series. Michael Ericson has taken over from Jane Lange at the helm, and with it faces a new challenge of keeping the side competitive. O’Dea, Pearce and Patterson loom as the keys to the team, while Jamie Stanton who moved from Melbourne University – to align with her shift from North Melbourne to Gold Coast AFLW – is another AFLW listed player. Bridie Kennedy also joins the team from Carlton after having that AFLW experience, but mostly the Falcons will be relying on the yourh of the team and experienced VFLW players. Captain Stephanie Simpson is one of six players with 30 or more VFLW games under her belt which in the scheme of the relatively new competition is vital. Northern Knights, Nell Morris-Dalton and Ciara Fitzgerald have also joined Darebin, while former Eastern Ranges’ Lauren Szigeti will have benefited from her six games last year. Overall the Falcons will still give the top teams something to think about on their day, and rack up wins against the bottom handful, but it will be a test to be a genuine contender.

 

ESSENDON BOMBERS

Coach: Brendan Major
Last year: 13th (1-13)

It was fair to say Essendon did not have the season it had hoped for, winning just the one game and taking out the wooden spoon in season 2019. With limited AFL Women’s experience, the Bombers just lacked that top-end talent that other clubs had, and while the Bombers had that tackling ferocity through best and fairest winner, Hayley Bullas and the class and skill of future Adelaide AFLW premiership player, Danielle Ponter, they did not have enough talent across the board to compete with the sides that were flushed with AFLW signatures. The one win against Richmond was terrific to see, as it meant the Bombers got some reward for effort after a long season. Along with Bullas, Courtney Ugle and Simone Nalder have returned to the club, while former Murray Bushrangers’ defender and Eastern Allies representative, Eloise Ashley-Cooper will add some class to the side. The Bombers have four players with AFLW experience, including Maddy Collier and Hayley Trevean. With NAB League Girls club, Calder Cannons having some great talent coming through the ranks, expect the likes of Georgia Patrikios to open some eyes late in the season with her agility and goal sense, while Felicity Theodore, Alana Barba, Gloria Elamaly and Krstel Petrevski will add a mix of skill and toughness to the Bombers’ team. The Bombers will still lack the star quality other AFLW experienced teams have, so the goal will be to be more competitive and try and get off the bottom of the table this season.

 

GEELONG CATS

Coach: Natalie Wood (NEW)
Last year: 4th (10-3-1) Grand final loss

Natalie Wood has taken over from Paul Hood who opted to just focus on the AFLW side in the blue and white hoops, but has inherited a genuine premiership contender. After Geelong had fewer AFLW listed players compared to others last season, they now have 20 on their VFLW books, topped up by local players including former Geelong Falcons premiership players, Tarryn Love, Zoe Inei and Sachi DeGiacomi who managed six games at VFLW level between them last season. They have not only retained the majority of the their list, but picked up teh likes of Julia Crockett-Grills (Hawthorn), Rebecca Webster (Melbourne University) and Sophie Van De Heuvel (Williamstown), keeping them in the Geelong system. It is hard not to picture a scenario where Geelong are not in finals considering the now deep and strong bond the players have and having reached the grand final, before strengthening their list even more. The Geelong AFLW side made finals in its first year and expect the VFLW side to follow suit with the same talent on its list.

 

HAWTHORN HAWKS

Coach: Patrick Hill
Last year: 2nd (12-2) Premiers

The reigning premiers had a number of players drafted including Rising Star Jayde Van Dyk, Emerson Woods and Mikala Cann in what was a perfectly timed season, finishing second, pouncing on Collingwood in the semi-final, and then making the most of their opportunities against Geelong in the decider. In great news for the Hawks, Van Dyk has returned to the club for the VFLW season, as have key forward Phoebe McWilliams (Geelong), Rebecca Beeson and Pepa Randall (both GWS GIANTS). With super coach, Patrick Hill at the reigns again, the Hawks will be predicted to be thereabouts again and a genuine premiership contender. Sarah Perkins will be primed for a big season in the brown and gold, hoping to force her way back onto an AFLW list after being delisted by the Crows following the 2019 season. The forward combination between Perkins and McWilliams is as good as it gets in the competition, and with Eastern Rangers youngsters Serena Gibbs and Laura McClelland in the side later in the year, expect the reigning premiers to have a potent forward line. Gippsland Power’s Maddison Shaw has also joined the Hawks, and is one of just two 2001-birth players on the list. A huge contender.

 

MELBOURNE UNIVERSITY MUGARS

Coach: Scott Gowans
Last year: 9th (5-9)

The Mugars were up and down at times throughout the 2018 VFLW season, finishing with five wins from 14 games, but having some great young talent come into the side last in the year, including Prepsakis and Webster who were both drafted by AFLW clubs. Sophie Abbatangelo, Ashleigh Riddell, Maddison Smith, Chloe Haines, Libby Haines and Nicole Bresnehan all stepped up to the senior side, with many showing their ability to adapt to the faster pace of the game. After a huge season that ultimately fell short of a finals berth in the AFLW, North Melbourne and Melbourne Uni coach, Scott Gowans will be keen to continue the form shown by the Kangaroos at AFLW level, into the VFLW system. Emma Kearney was terrific for the Mugars last year along with Kaitlyn Ashmore, and expect them to be key players once again. They have added experience to their list with Hawthorn duo, Tahni Nestor and Kim Ebb, as well as Essendon’s Jessica Anwyl who showed promising signs last season in the red and black. Throw in league best and fairest winner, Jess Duffin, Jasmine Garner and Jenna Bruton, and the Mugars have to be considered one of the premiership favourites. All up they have 23 AFL Women’s listed players and will be another tough team to beat.

 

NORTHERN TERRITORY THUNDER

Coach: Heidi Thompson (NEW)
Last year: 3rd (11-3) – Semi-final loss

Much was spoken about the Thunder and whether or not the experienced top-heavy side with Adelaide Crows, could be allowed to play so much talent at once. Early in the season it looked like the Thunder would skip through the season, but in the end, ultimately fell in the first week of finals to the Cats. After missing out on her AFLW dream last year, Janet Baird is the biggest junior recruit to the Thunder in season 2019, with the NTFL Women’s top player signing on at the Thunder for the upcoming season. She joins the likes of Madeline Gault, Arthurina Moreen and Tabitha May, who all played for Central Allies in 2018, but missed out on a chance in the AFLW. The top-end and upcoming talent at the Thunder is clear, with Ebony Marinoff, Stevie-Lee Thompson, Marijana Rajcic, Renee Forth, Eloise Jones and Sarah and Jess Allen among a ridiculous among of Crows talent in the side. They were arguably a premiership favourite early in 2018, and should be in that place once again given the improvement of many of the Crows through the 2019 AFLW premiership year. With Heidi Thompson now taking the reigns from Tim Weatherald, it will be interesting to see how she balances the AFLW talent throughout the season.

 

RICHMOND TIGERS

Coach: Tom Hunter
Last year: 12th (4-10)

The Tigers had a disappointing season in 2018, finishing twelfth and losing to Essendon, the only side to do so. They, like the Bombers just lacked that star quality in the 2018 VFLW season, but if their 2019 AFLW trade period is anything to go by, expect them to shoot up the ladder in season 2019. Jessica Kennedy and Jacqueline Graham were two standouts for the Tigers, it was just a case of adding depth to the obvious talent that was coming through the ranks. While some will play limited games, the likes of Monique Conti, Katie Brennan and Sabrina Frederick make for a scary forward line. With Richmond able to pre-list players this season, every player on the list will be keen to impress in front of the Tigers’ hierarchy and see what they can do to try and get an AFLW spot for the 2020 season. Overlooked Murray Bushrangers, Tamara Smith, Grace Egan and Sophie Damon are back at Punt Road, while Kodi Jacques has also joined the club with the Bendigo Pioneers’ midfielder looking to stake her claim this year. Former Magpies, Shayla Marsh and Hannah McLaren will don the yellow and black this year, making the Tigers stocked with young talent that will create run and excitement throughout the 2019 season. Expect the Tigers to rise up the ladder, and while they might lack the AFLW talent other teams have outside their forward 50, they could overtake a number of the clubs around their level in season 2018, this year.

 

WESTERN BULLDOGS

Coach: Sean Kavanagh (NEW)
Last year: 6th (7-7)

Sean Kavanagh has taken over from Debbie Lee who is now VFLW General Manager at the club, and will be looking to reshape the side that has lost some serious AFLW talent. Conti always spent the majority of the season playing basketball, while Brennan will be a big lose inside 50. However with 20 AFLW players on their list, they still have more than enough talent and experience to get them by. Their three top-age players they have picked up from NAB League Girls clubs are Sophie Molan, Ella Wood and Elisabeth Georgostathis which is arguably the best trio of pick-ups across the league. Molan will make an immediate impact, while Wood and Georgostathis can play both off half-back and through the middle. They will be unavailable during the AFLW National Championships, but expect them to show their talent. Overager Georgia Pidgeon will also provide some height for the Bulldogs, while a host of local players joins the likes of Ellie Blackburn, Brooke Lochland, Isabel Huntington and Deanna Berry as key players. When talking about experience, the Bulldogs have 14 players with 30 or more games, making them a very experienced side in the competition, and one that while they might not be in the top handful, could still challenge for finals.

 

WILLIAMSTOWN

Coach: Amy Catterall
Last year: 11th (4-10)

Williamstown finished eleventh in 2019, notching up the four wins, but had some serious top-end talent at the Gulls’ disposal. Duffin won the league best and fairest despite the team struggles, while Garner and Bruton were stars for Williamstown before emulating that for the Kangaroos at AFLW level. Big question marks remain over the Seagulls with all three departing the club. It means the load falls onto their VFLW listed players shoulders and puts them in a similar position to Essendon and Richmond last year. They had a good win over the Western Bulldogs in a pre-season practice match, and can have the continuity that teams with restricted AFLW numbers cannot. However this year is set to be a massive challenge for the Seagulls after losing so much top-end talent, with Demon, Aliesha Newman being a key signing – the only AFLW player on the list – and likely to cause headaches inside 50 for opposition defences. In doing so, there might be some serious youngsters step up and then make a case to land at an AFLW club, like former Bendigo Pioneers’ captain Megan Williamson, Eastern Ranges’ tall Tahlia Merrett and Bendigo Pioneers’ key defender Kate Douglass.

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

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

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

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

TEAMS:

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

Southern Saints

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

Collingwood

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

SEASON PREVIEWS:

COLLINGWOOD MAGPIES

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

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

SOUTHERN SAINTS

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

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

AFLW season previews: Melbourne

THE Demons have been one of the stronger sides in the AFLW during the past two seasons. But with a big loss of players in the off-season, we will see a new-look Melbourne outfit on the park in 2019. Perhaps the biggest loss of the season was losing star midfielder, Daisy Pearce, which will undoubtedly challenge Mick Stinear to change his game plan heading into 2019.

Last season: 3rd – four wins, three losses.

Changes:

In: Maddison Gay, Talia Radan, Tyla Hanks, Madeline Brancatisano, Jordann Hickey, Shelley Heath, Chantel Emonson, Shae Sloane, Casey Sherriff, Ashleigh Woodland

Out: Richelle Cranston, Melissa Hickey, Erin Hoare, Anna Teague, Jasmine Grierson, Emma Humphries, Laura Duryea, Maddie Shevlin, Alyssa Mifsud

Melbourne’s list changes have seem to go under the radar compared to the likes of the Collingwood and Brisbane lists. Geelong caused the most havoc to the Melbourne line-up, taking Richelle Cranston, Melissa Hickey, Erin Hoare and Anna Teague to Kardinia Park. The other expansion team, North Melbourne took two Tasmanian natives in Jasmine Grierson and Emma Humphries, leaving a gap in Melbourne’s defence. However, the Dees have covered this quite well with the recruitment of Talia Radan and Shelley Heath, who are handy defenders who can run or play on a key player. They have also boosted their midfield stocks with the loss of Pearce and Cranston, recruiting Under-18 representatives, Tyla Hanks and Madeline Brancatisano, who are two midfielders with great agility.

Area of strength: Midfield

Melbourne’s midfield has always been one of the strongest in the competition, but they will be without Daisy Pearce and Richelle Cranston this season. A recruit who has not been talked about much is Maddison Gay from the Blues. Gay was voted the Best First Year player when she was Carlton, and is a smart midfielder who is clever with the ball in hand. She should help to assist Elise O’Dea and Karen Paxman, who have always been consistent in the middle of the ground for the Dees. Add in Brancatisano and Hanks, and Melbourne has a good core group of midfielders. Katherine Smith and Kate Hore are also set for a good season after finding some consistency for the Casey Demons in the VFLW season.

Area of weakness: Forward line

The Demons are lacking some numbers in the forward line. While they boast the likes of Tegan Cunningham and Aliesha Newman, the list does not go much further than that. Jordann Hickey is a crucial pick-up for the Dees to rectify this issue. She will be a key target up forward thanks to her solid hands and accurate kick. Eden Zanker should be set for a good year as well, finding some form in the Casey Demons VFLW side, but she was starved of opportunity last year, so she will also be pretty new to the AFLW environment.

Players to watch:

Tyla Hanks

Tyla Hanks has made the All-Australian Under 18s side two years in a row and is a force to be reckoned with in the midfield. On the inside, she is sharp with her hands and can clear congestion with her forceful kicking. She co-captained the Gippsland Power in the TAC Cup Girls competition, so is no stranger to being an on-field leader. Hanks can also float up forward and make an impact to steady the ship for her team, highlighting her ability to be versatile in a Melbourne line-up that lacks forward depth.

Jordann Hickey

Originally from Alice Springs, Hickey made her mark on the 2018 VFLW season with 14 goals for the NT Thunder. From her 14 games, she also averaged 8.25 disposals per game, with her season-high coming against Richmond, where she racked up 16 disposals and also kicked two goals. Hickey managed to kick goals in seven of her games for the Thunder, showing great consistency across the season. She fought hard inside 50 and provides a tall target, which will be pivotal for the Demons.

Eden Zanker

Zanker got to play some consistent football again for the Casey Demons in the VFLW, after only playing three games for the Demons in the AFLW last year. She kicked nine goals from her 14 games with Casey and was named in the best four times. Zanker has a calm run-up and a precise kick, and is also great at winning the ball inside 50. She was the Demons’ first selection in the 2017 draft so Melbourne will have high hopes for her to show why she was selected so high in the draft.

2019 prediction: 4th in Conference A

Despite a strong midfield, the Demons could struggle in their 50s, making for a difficult run in a difficult conference. However, they could get off to a good start with Fremantle and Collingwood looming as their first opponents of the season. It then gets a whole lot harder with Brisbane, North Melbourne and Greater Western Sydney (GWS) to come. When the Demons’ defence comes up against a powerful forward line like North Melbourne’s, and their forwards go head-to-head against Brisbane’s A-grade defenders, it could spell trouble for them.

AFLW season previews: Collingwood

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

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

Changes:

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

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

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

Area of strength: Midfield

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

Area of weakness: Defence

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

Players to watch:

Mikala Cann

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

Sophie Alexander

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

Sharni Layton

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

2019 prediction: 5th in Conference B

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