Tag: maeve chaplin

2020 NAB League Girls team update: Northern Knights

WHILE the NAB League Girls competition is on break, we take a quick recap of each team, how the first three rounds have panned out for them and who has already stood up in the short time. In this edition we look at the Northern Knights, who have made an unblemished start to their premiership defence with wins over Calder, Geelong, and Dandenong on home turf.

2020 RESULTS:

R1: defeated Calder Cannons by 6 points
R2: defeated Geelong Falcons by 25 points
R3: defeated Dandenong Stingrays by 23 points

The 3-0 record may look ominous along with the average winning margin of 18 points, but the Knights were made to earn each of their first three victories. First up was a grand final rematch against the Calder, who looked the most direct threat to Northern’s flag defence. After holding the Cannons at bay, long-time closest rival Geelong was up next, but the Falcons hardly got close with just one goal on the board. Arguably the biggest test of Northern’s character came against another finals threat, Dandenong, where the Knights fought back from two goals down to win with a five-goal second half.

FIVE STRONG STARTERS:

Jess Fitzgerald (18.7 disposals, 1.3 marks, 3.7 tackles, 2 rebound 50s, 2.7 inside 50s, 2 goals)

Coach Marcus Abney-Hastings described Fitzgerald as his side’s most important player after last year’s grand final, and she is proving as much in her top-age season as one of the competition’s most well-rounded prospects. The Knights co-captain has stood up at critical times across all three testing games thus far, showcasing the ability to generate run while also digging in hard at the contest. Fitzgerald’s standout game came against Dandenong, where she collected 28 disposals and booted two goals.

Ellie McKenzie (19 disposals, 5 marks, 2.3 tackles, 4.7 inside 50s, 1 goal)

Arguably the front-runner to be taken first off the board come draft time at this early stage, McKenzie has lived up to the hype generated by her under-age seasons. Leading the Knights for disposals and inside 50s as it stands, the dynamic left footer showcased her ability to tear games apart when she combined with co-captain Fitzgerald to drag Northern over the line against Dandenong. As a more permanent midfield fixture, her goals from further afield have become all the more valuable. She currently leads the Draft Central Medal standings alongside Tyanna Smith.

Alyssa Bannan (14.3 disposals, 5.7 marks, 3.3 tackles, 2.3 inside 50s, 9 goals)

Another out-and-out gun along the spine of this Northern side is Bannan, who has thrived as the primary key forward in her top-age season. Leading the competition for goals (nine) and marks (17), Bannan is equally damaging at ground level with her searing pace as she is in the air with her height. A five-goal effort against Calder in Round 1 got the ball rolling, with the 177cm prospect bagging consecutive hauls of two over the next fortnight. Could well be the new key forward prototype.

Maeve Chaplin (11.7 disposals, 1 mark, 2.3 tackles, 1.3 rebound 50s, 1.3 inside 50s)

After impressing as an effective two-way defender in her middle-age year, Chaplin has transitioned into a midfield ace this season credit to her ability to find the ball and use it cleanly. Discounting her three disposals against Dandenong, Chaplin had consecutive 16-touch efforts to open the campaign, showing virtually identical numbers in a typical mark to her consistency. With game winners around her in midfield, Chaplin has proven to be the reliable rock who can perform an important role each week.

Ashleigh Snow (15.7 disposals, 2.3 marks, 3 tackles, 1 rebound 50, 3.3 inside 50s)

Another who has featured prominently in the Northern lineup over the past couple of seasons is Snow, who has stepped up her ball winning numbers in 2020. Averaging over 15 disposals per game, the nuggety utility continues to go hard at the ball an inspire her side in transition, pushing further afield to penetrate the forward 50 arc after being used in more defensive roles previously. Despite her 158cm standing, Snow is not one to be overlooked and holds her own in the contest.

Others who have stood out: Georgia Kitchell, Tarrah Delgado, Abigail Bennett, Maykaylah Appleby

There are a number of players who can stake their claim here, starting with dominant ruck Kitchell, who has handily won the hitout battle in each of Northern’s three games. Able to follow up at ground level, the middle-ager’s tackle average of five is impressive given her 180cm frame. Another middle-age tall, Delgado has also impressed with her calm work down back, while hard-edged outside movers Bennett and Appleby continue to provide that bit of spark. Bennett, an experienced top-ager, also leads the competition for tackles with 24 over her three games.

NAB League Girls preview: Round 3 – Undefeated sides clash on Saturday

A COUPLE of undefeated games open the weekend in a top three clash between Northern Knights and Dandenong Stingrays at RMIT Bundoora, before the Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels tackle the Western Jets in Ballarat. The Sunday trio of games has a couple of sides searching for their first wins of the season with Calder Cannons and Bendigo Pioneers going head-to-head and Eastern Ranges hosting Tasmania Devils, while Gippsland Power returns from a week off to face the breakeven side of Sandringham Dragons.

NORTHERN KNIGHTS v. DANDENONG STINGRAYS

Round 3 – 14/03/2020
11:00am
RMIT University Bundoora

A top three clash between the second placed Dandenong Stingrays and third ranked Northern Knights opens the round with the Stingrays having had impressive wins over Eastern Ranges (50 points) and Calder Cannons (18). The Knights also knocked off the Cannons the week before (six points) before enjoying a more comfortable win over Geelong Falcons (25). Both sides have made a number of changes, with Saige Bayne returning to the side after a long layoff, while Georgia Grimmer and Jemma Radford are also back into the side up opposite ends of the ground. The Knights have also made a number of changes to the side in anticipation for the clash with at least four confirmed changes and an additional three added to the extended bench. Already the head-to-head that could decide the result is between in-form forward, Alyssa Bannan (seven goals) and reliable defender, Zoe Hill inside the Knights’ forward half. An equally eye-catching matchup will be Knights’ co-captain Jess Fitzgerald going head-to-head against Dandenong star, Tyanna Smith with the pair sharing similar skill and footy IQ making it a must-watch clash. Abbey Jordan has been thrown around a bit this season but now the Stingrays captain is in attack to potentially lock the ball in at every opportunity, while Maeve Chaplin‘s ability at half-back should provide some good run. In the midfield, Ellie McKenzie and Ash Snow will provide power onball, while Amber Clarke and Emily Shepherd have added speed to run the ball down the field. The Knights will be favourites but the Stingrays have shown an ability to run the ball and not back down from a challenge.

GREATER WESTERN VICTORIA REBELS v. WESTERN JETS

Round 3 – 14/03/2020
11:30am
MARS Stadium

In a second game between undefeated sides, fourth placed Western Jets travel to Mars Stadium to meet the sixth placed GWV Rebels from 11.30am. Both these sides have some great young talent coming through and the Jets have had a win against Bendigo Pioneers and a draw with Murray Bushrangers over the first two rounds, whilst the Rebels’ come-from-behind victory against Sandringham Dragons in Round 1 was their only game so far this season following a bye in Round 2. Renee Saulitis proved the get-out-of-jail free card in Round 1 with a couple of last quarter goals to sink the Dragons, and she has been named back in her damaging position inside 50. Fellow AFL Women’s National Academy member, Isabella Simmons is also in the forward half, while Maggie Caris will look to take advantage of the height difference over the Jets’ smaller ruck division. Amelia Velardo has the athleticism to get the job done at ground level even if she does not win the tap and provides a “fourth midfielder” around the stoppages. Alongside her is top-age AFL Women’s National Academy member, Isabelle Pritchard who is coming off an impressive 25-disposal game last week, as is Charlotte Baskaran who plays off half-back but can push up the ground to impact the midfield. In the middle of the ground is fellow bottom-ager Montana Ham who has been the Jets’ best across the two games this season. Caitlin Sargent has been a target inside 50 for the Jets, while she will likely have Rebels’ Crystal Summers for company after the defender was a star in Round 1 for the Ballarat-based side. The Rebels’ half-back line is quite strong with Nyakoat Dojiok providing speed and dare out of defence, while Lilli Condon impacts the game through the midfield and up forward. At home the Rebels have an advantage, but both sides have an entertaining brand of end-to-end football.

GIPPSLAND POWER v. SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS

Round 3 – 15/03/2020
12:00pm
Morwell Recreation Reserve

With three games on Sunday, the first is a clash between Gippsland Power and Sandringham Dragons at Morwell Recreation Reserve after the game was moved from Churchill. The Power will be well rested after a spirited fight against Geelong Falcons in the opening round and a bye in Round 2. The Dragons on the other hand let slip a real chance in Round 1 with inaccurate kicking to go down to the GWV Rebels, before bouncing back with an impressive win over Bendigo Pioneers last week. Back at home, the Power showed their have a number of strengths through the ruck and in defence, and if they are able to quell the Dragons’ scoring or force them into making mistakes, then they are a real chance of victory. Sandringham impressed last week and have plenty of ball-winning midfielders who step up when required and if they convert their chances inside 50, then they will go a long way to taking home the points in the contest. Matilda Van Berkel was best-on for the Power in their Round 1 win over Geelong Falcons and will look to take advantage against the Dragons. The key for the Power will be to try and win the clearances against an experienced Dragons midfield, as captain Winnie Laing, Alice Burke and Bella Eddey round out a strong starting core. Megan Fitzsimon is the Power’s sole AFL Women’s Academy member, but Grace McRae is another player not afraid of winning contested ball, while Lily-Rose Williamson is a bottom-ager to watch over the coming years. Shanara Notman is a strong overhead mark and will look to chop off any Dragons forward thrusts, while Leyla Berry had a successful return in Round 1 after taking the 2019 season off. Sarah Hartwig has been named on the wing for the second successive week, while Eliza McNamara provides forward pressure inside 50, and key target Abbi Moloney booted three goals in the Dragons win last week and could be one to watch.

BENDIGO PIONEERS v. CALDER CANNONS

Round 3 – 15/03/2020
1:00pm
Epsom Huntly Reserve

Calder Cannons hits the road to face Bendigo Pioneers from 1pm at Epsom Huntly Reserve on Sunday. Last year’s grand finalists are yet to get a win on the board, but have had a tough draw to open the season, falling to reining premiers Northern Knights, and a vastly improved side, Dandenong Stingrays in the first fortnight. The Pioneers are also yet to taste victory with losses to Western Jets and Sandringham Dragons in the opening couple of rounds. Given the loss of co-captain Brooke Hards for the clash, Bendigo will be up against it taking on a determined Calder side that could well have won its two games had it had a bit more luck. The Pioneers do welcome back Elizabeth Snell into the fold with the midfielder/forward adding some class and skill to the midfield group, while Annabel Strahan has pushed up into the midfield after being a reliable source in the back 50 last week. Tara Slender and Jemma Finning provide good intercept and rebounding capabilities, while Madeline Marks has had an impact through the ruck this season. The Cannons have a strong combination named at the key defensive posts with Kasey Lennox and Tamsin Crook, while Crook is also able to rotate with AFL Women’s National Academy member, Tahlia Gillard who will start forward as both can play at either end. Georgie Prespakis, Laura Cocomello and Jessica Zakkour have all been in good form this season, while Emelia Yassir is a clever forward who can push into that midfield rotation. Calder should breakthrough for its first win, but the Pioneers do have the home ground advantage which counts for something.

EASTERN RANGES v. TASSIE DEVILS

Round 3 – 15/03/2020
1:00pm
Kilsyth Recreation Reserve

At the same time as the Bendigo game, two sides searching for their first win battle it out at the newly renovated Kilsyth Recreation Reserve. The Eastern Ranges will enjoy playing where they train and welcoming the less-familiar Tasmania Devils will give them a huge confidence boost. The Devils were overwhelmed by a rampaging Oakleigh side that could well contend for this year’s NAB League Girls flag in Round 2, marking a tough initiation to their first full-time season. The Ranges had a bye in Round 2 after a 50-point defeat at the hands of another undefeated side in Dandenong Stingrays. Given the experience the Ranges have at the NAB League level – making the finals last season and pushing the Northern Knights in the preliminary finals – they should have the wood over the competition newcomers, though the Devils’ defensive pressure was impressive despite the heavy Round 1 defeat. Olivia Meagher and Tarni Brown provide hardness and class in equal measure on the inside, while Jorja Livingstone showed impressive athleticism bursting out of stoppages in the Round 1 loss. Key target, Jess Grace has been named at full-forward, while three players will make their debut in the game for the Ranges. Amy Prokopiec could not have done much more at full-back last week, saving a number of goal-scoring opportunities for the Chargers, and she along with Camilla Taylor provided some composure in the match. Jemma Webster provided some speed out of defence in Round 2, while Kara Hennessy rotated through the ruck and could be a target inside 50 for the Apple Isle based side.

NAB League Girls preview: Round 2 – Huge clashes book-end Super Saturday

A HUGE Super Saturday takes place in the NAB League Girls competition this weekend with five games across three venues – two double-headers – including a couple of blockbusters book-ending the round and a clash between two winless sides. Tasmania Devils also make their debut in the league and host Oakleigh Chargers, whilst Western Jets could record back-to-back wins and keep in touch with the top couple of sides.

NORTHERN KNIGHTS v. GEELONG FALCONS
Saturday, March 7, 11:30am
RMIT University Bundoora

The opening game of the round pits the 2018 grand finalists against each other, with Northern Knights going one step further last year, whilst the Geelong Falcons fell in the semi-finals stage. In Round 1, the Knights held off a determined Calder Cannons outfit at this venue by a goal, whilst in the game immediate after, Geelong Falcons ran out 33-point victors over Gippsland Power. Both these teams have stars across the park and were forced to play very different gamestyles in Round 1. The Knights were impressive across the board in the way they were able to defend and then move the ball down the field to set up their forwards such as Alyssa Bannan (five goals). Led by co-captains Ellie McKenzie and Jess Fitzgerald in midfield, the Knights were able to use a nice blend of power and speed to get the ball inside 50, whilst the underrated Maeve Chaplin was tipped to have a big game by Fitzgerald in the Final Siren podcast this week. Competing against them in the midfield is an equally damaging midfield, with AFL Women’s National Academy members Laura Gardiner and Darcy Moloney making the matchups something to behold onball. Gardiner racked up 38 touches and had 14 tackles in Round 1 to be the Draft Central Player of the Week, whilst Moloney (28 disposals, six tackles) and Poppy Schaap (24 disposals, six tackles) also brought the heat. What was most impressive about the way the Falcons went about it was the fact they racked up a whopping 271 disposals, but also laid 94 tackles with their defensive pressure amongst the best in the league. They could have been more effective in front of goal, which is an area to build on, and something they cannot afford to suffer from in this clash against arguably the benchmark team this season. Expect this match to be another close one with both sides missing players from their encounters over the past couple of seasons, but the Knights deserve favouritism at home.

SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS v. BENDIGO PIONEERS
Saturday, March 7, 12pm.
RAMS Arena

From two sides looking to extend their strong starts to the season, we head to Craigieburn where two teams go head-to-head in a bid to get off the mark in season 2020. Sandringham Dragons will be ruing missed opportunities against Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels where they arguably had plenty more chances to kick a big score, but were let down close to goal. Their defensive pressure was a highlight however and is something that will be a trademark of this game. Both sides are renowned tacklers, and whilst Sandringham can play a possession style of game as well, the Dragons are more than happy to get their hands dirty in pursuit of a win. The Pioneers are not a high possession style team but look to be efficient with ball-in-hand, running the ball down in transition and getting it inside 50 as effective as possible. An area the Pioneers can get on top in this clash is in the ruck, with the Dragons having just two hitouts last week against the number one ruck in the competition, Maggie Caris. They still won their fair share of clearances though, and led by Eliza McNamara (20 disposals, eight tackles and six inside 50s) and Winnie Laing (18 disposals, five tackles and five inside 50s), were able to pump the ball inside 50 enough to suggest that if they do that consistently enough and improve their finishing ability then the results will come. The Pioneers had co-captain Brooke Hards waste no time influencing the contest off the back of her middle-age best and fairest year, winning 18 disposals and laying seven tackles. With Elizabeth Snell out of the side, the Pioneers will look to other experience around the ground, with co-captain Annabel Strahan and Jemma Finning‘s work out of the back 50 as a way of getting control of the ball. The two centre-half backs in Sarah Hartwig and Tara Slender are some of the best in their age groups and the teams cannot afford to put it down their throat too often or the ball will come straight back out. Sandringham should be favourites in this game given the amount of chances they can generate, but the Dragons must be clean around goal.

TASMANIA DEVILS v. OAKLEIGH CHARGERS
Saturday, March 7, 12.30pm
North Hobart Oval

Crossing the Bass Strait to the Apple Isle, Tasmania Devils enter the NAB League competition for the first time, taking on a red-hot Oakleigh Chargers. Whilst the Devils sat out Round 1 watching on, they would have been impressed by what they witnessed at Wangaratta when the Chargers ran wild in a 50-point win over Murray Bushrangers. The Chargers have no problem possessing the ball, and they had a massive 40 inside 50s, giving their forwards a multitude of chances inside 50. For Round 2 the Chargers have lost some of their Round 1 firepower, with Amelia James and Alice O’Loughlin both out of the side after combining for five goals between themselves. The captain Mimi Hill led from the front during the Chargers’ win, racking up 29 disposals and five inside 50s, while vice-captain Joanna Lin had 17 disposals and six inside 50s. Eliza James showed plenty of talent during the match with an impressive 18 disposals, four marks, five tackles and match-high seven inside 50s. For the Devils, it is hard to judge just where they sit in terms of the competition just yet, with plenty of developing youngsters coming through the ranks. Amy Prokopiec is the one to keep an eye out for with the middle-age defender already having experience in the NAB League Girls after playing in the Devils’ few games last season. Overager, Camilla Taylor provides height at 180cm and will look to dominate the ruck battle with her extra experience, whilst drifting forward to provide a target inside 50 for the Devils midfielders to aim at. Another overager sure to provide that added experience is Tahlia Bortignon with the 19-year-old named on a wing for this match. You would be a brave person to tip against Oakleigh given the Chargers’ Round 1 match, but this game will be more about seeing a host of new young stars living out their dreams of playing in an elite youth competition by the Devils making their debut in the competition.

WESTERN JETS v. MURRAY BUSHRANGERS
Saturday, March 7, 1.15pm
RMIT University Bundoora

Following on from the Knights-Falcons clash at Bundoora is the battle between Western Jets and Murray Bushrangers. In Round 1, the Jets triumphed for the first time in their history when they toppled Bendigo Pioneers at Queen Elizabeth Oval by 22 points. The next day, Murray succumbed to a rampaging Oakleigh side by 50 points. Though one positive that could come out of that game from a scoreboard perspective was the fact that after conceding seven consecutive goals, the home team booted the last three goals of the match to avoid it being a potentially worse scoreline. Heading into this match minus their top key forward in Olivia Barber (concussion), the Bushrangers will need to utilise their smalls to hit the scoreboard and cause havoc for a Western defence that is well drilled based on the first round. The Jets were able to balance their ball use from the back 50 to the attacking 50 with some nice running ability, and did well around the stoppages despite conceding height in the ruck and thus the hitouts. Both teams favour a kick-first gamestyle which means we could potentially witness plenty of end-to-end football in this game. Leading the way last week for the Jets were bottom-agers, Montana Ham (19 disposals, seven marks, five inside 50s and three rebounds) and Charlotte Baskaran (19 disposals, seven tackles, four inside 50s and five rebounds), while new top-ager Amelia Velardo looked impressive with her athletic ability on her way to 16 disposals and three inside 50s, as well as four hitouts going up against taller opponents. With Isabelle Pritchard playing across all thirds of the ground, she is the star prospect for the 2020 group at Western and will be hard to combat in the middle. The Bushrangers also have some AFL Women’s Academy members with top-ager Abby Favell working through the midfield and Ally Morphett switching between ruck and forward. Mindy Quade will play an important role down in defence, whilst Mikayla Jones and Zali Spencer were another couple of players who stood up in defeat last round. Western brings winning form into this match and would be a good chance to go 2-0, though the Bushrangers always find something special.

CALDER CANNONS v. DANDENONG STINGRAYS
Saturday, March 7, 1.45pm
RAMS Arena

The final game of the round is another huge clash between two sides with good form. Calder Cannons fell a goal short of victory against Northern in the first round of action, and return to their homeground, RAMS Arena to take on a Dandenong Stingrays side that was the surprise packet of Round 1. It was not necessarily the fact that the Stingrays won that was the surprise, but the fact that they did it so convincingly in the end – 50 points – against an Eastern Ranges side with plenty of talent. Stingrays coach, Dave Carden said post-game that it was important the club looked to improve from the Round 1 performance in terms of their stoppage position, but he was impressed with their clean hands and ball movement – something that will be crucial if they are to cause an upset against last year’s grand finalists. The Cannons midfield is well established, with middle-ager Georgie Prespakis and fellow 2003-born Emelia Yessir assisting captain, Laura Cocomello in the middle. Jessica Zakkour was the Cannons’ best last round with two goals from 18 touches and eight tackles, whilst the key defensive combination of Tamsin Crook and Kasey Lennox one of the best in the competition. It will also be important to combat the Stingrays’ talls with Georgia Grimmer out of this match, but Serene Vudiniabola (two goals in Round 1) able to crunch packs and bring the ball to ground for the likes of Ashleigh Richards (two goals) and Jaide Anthony (one). Tyanna Smith is the midfielder to watch on the Stingrays’ side, dominating last week and along with Abbey Jordan, provides some incredible running power out of that onball group. The Cannons have some targets inside 50 themselves with Charlotte Clayton (three goals) and Freda Puruntatameri (one) both looking dangerous last week. These teams are very evenly matched based on the first round statistics with no more than six differential between any of the major stats heading into the Round 2 clash. This is a buckle-up and get ready game because both these teams will take it right up to the other making it a real spectacle for the onlookers.

Knights claim victory in grand final rematch

IT was a thrilling opening game of NAB League Girls with reigning premiers Northern Knights snatching a one-goal victory over grand finalists Calder Cannons, 8.5 (53) to 7.5 (47). It was an even start to the game with both sides struggling to break away from each other credit to the high intensity battle and skill on show. The Cannons held the lead heading into the second quarter but the Knights ability to pepper the goals in the second term gave them the advantage at half-time, a margin which they continued to hold for the remainder of the match.

It was arguably a best on ground performance from Knights forward Alyssa Bannan who was in ripping form with the talented youngster clunking just about everything that came her way and leading up to the footy time and time again. Her accuracy in front of goal was impressive nailing a whopping five goals thanks to her goal sense while also showing her clean hands and ability below her knees to move the ball forward. Through the midfield Ellie McKenzie was on song with her gut-running and explosiveness on full display, bursting through the packs and effectively disposing of the footy. She finished with 12 touches, four inside 50s and three tackles, while teammate Jess Fitzgerald impressed by foot delivering passes lace out with 10 kicks and an overall 15 possessions. Coming out of defence Fitzgerald was red hot with three rebounds while Ashleigh Snow also displayed her defensive ability laying eight tackles. Maeve Chaplin led the troops in disposals for Northern racking up 16 disposals and working hard across the ground to hit up a target.

Although they fell agonisingly short the Cannons had a couple of star players wow in front of a strong crowd at RMIT Bundoora with 16-year-old Charlotte Clayton leaving her mark inside 50 with three majors. Clayton did not win a lot of the footy but when she got ball in hand she made the most of her opportunities while teammate Jessica Zakkour was handy in front of the big sticks with two goals and 18 disposals highlighting her influence across the ground. NTFLW Palmerston star Freda Puruntatameri generated plenty of excitement up forward with her leaping ability and strong hands not often beaten in a one on one and nailing a goal. Youngster Georgie Prespakis lit up the field once again with another strong performance thanks to her 19 disposals, three rebound 50s and three inside 50s displaying her ability to win the footy at either end of the ground. Captain Laura Cocomello and Emelia Yassir combined well with the two collecting a combined 33 touches and sending plenty of excitement through the Calder camp.

After winning the 2019 NAB League Girls grand final rematch, the Knights face Geelong Falcons at RMIT Bundoora next week in a rematch of the 2018 grand final. Meanwhile, Calder host Round 1 winners, Dandenong Stingrays at Craigieburn to try and bounce back to get on the board with a win.

NORTHERN KNIGHTS 2.0 | 4.2 | 7.2 | 8.5 (53)
CALDER CANNONS 2.2 | 3.2 | 6.2 | 7.5 (47)

GOALS:

Northern: A. Bannan 5, M. Molenberg, M. Ramsay, A. Snow.
Calder: C. Clayton 3, J. Zakkour 2, F. Puruntatameri, R. Sutton, M. Styles.

BEST:

Northern: A. Bannan, E. McKenzie, J. Fitzgerald, M. Chaplin, A. Snow
Calder: J. Zakkour, G. Prespakis, E. Yassir, K. Lennox, F. Puruntatameri.

DC Medal:

5 – Alyssa Bannan (NK)
4 – Ellie McKenzie (NK)
3 – Jessica Zakkour (CC)
2 – Jess Fitzgerald (NK)
1 – Georgie Prespakis (CC)

Knights seek sustained success after bumper draft

AN undefeated premiership-winning NAB League Girls season, the number one AFL Women’s draft pick, and five players taken overall made for an amazingly successful year in 2019, but the future is still very bright at the Northern Knights according to incoming Female Talent Coordinator, Natalie Grindal.

There is not much more the Knights could have achieved last year in as dominant a season the competition has seen, all despite the list being touted by former Female Talent Coordinator Zoe Slatter for its upcoming youth in the pre-season. Along with the five Northern draftees, three more 2019 top-agers have gone on to train with Carlton at VFLW level, while five middle and bottom-age players are now part of the 2020 AFL Women’s Academy – highlighting the younger talent Slatter was high on.

Grindal acknowledged the success of last year and while she is tapering expectations given the turnover of talent, said she is excited by what the next group of talent can bring to the table, and impressed by the way they have stepped up over the pre-season.

“Obviously for us, a measure of our success is what players go on to do afterwards whether it’s AFLW or VFLW… to be honest it’s really overwhelming to know that you’ve played a part in their journey to help them get to an AFL level,” Grindal said “I was lucky enough last week to go watch Gabby Newton (and) Sarah Sansonetti debut, and Maddy Brancatisano from the year before, so it’s really exciting that those girls have gone through this pathway and onto AFLW. “We were lucky to have a really successful season last year. “Obviously the nature of the competition is each year is a new year with the turnover of teams and players, so it’s really exciting that we had a really good year but each year is a new year for us.”

“We had some really quality players, but also quality leaders leave our program last year so I guess for our girls the challenge has been to step up to that next level and really take on those leadership opportunities and drive the standards for the girls who are new to our club as well. “I guess that’s been the really pleasing aspect for us, that the girls who were in their middle-age year last year and were playing under players like Gabby Newton, Britney Gutknecht and Sarah Sansonetti, they’ve now lifted up to that standard and are now driving the standards for the club. “I think we’ll probably end up having probably 11 or 12 top-age girls… this top-age group were actually quite a strong bottom-age group in 2018, so it’s been really exciting to see their progression through their bottom-age, having their middle-age year last year and now into their top-age year so we’re really excited,” she said.

Coming through a “really good” pre-season unscathed and maintaining positive individual development are two points checked off the list for Grindal and her Knights thus far, with her transition into a the coordinator’s chair made easier through previous connections to the Preston-based program, and a new partnership with RMIT University.

“It’s been really exciting,” Grindal said. “Obviously I was really lucky being involved at the club (over) the last two years so I guess for me transition-wise, I knew a lot of the players, I knew most of the staff and also having existing relationships with Rhy (Gieschen, Talent Manager) and Alex (Davey, Football Administration Officer) in the office, it’s made my transition quite enjoyable, but also a bit easier knowing those people. “We’ve started the partnership with RMIT so have been using the ground out there which is in incredible condition. “That’s been really exciting and we’ll play our first four games there which is really good.”

Despite boasting a couple of early standouts in Ellie McKenzie – the sister of former North Melbourne rookie, Tom – and best afield in the 2019 NAB League Grand Final, Jess Fitzgerald, the Knights are set to maintain that well-renowned spine and a good spread of top-age contributors.

“I still think we’ve got quite a handful of top-age players who will be strong contributors to the team,” Grindal said. “Girls like Ellie McKenzie and Jess Fitzgerald are spoken about a lot and they are exceptional footballers, but we’ve got other girls as well – Maeve Chaplin, Alyssa Bannan, those girls are in the AFLW Academy and who are incredible footballers. “Players like Abigail Bennett and Ashleigh Snow are really strong contributors as well and we’re excited about seeing how they progress through their top-age year this year.

“The one thing we tell our girls and we expect of them is to be willing to try different positions in the field and see where their strengths lie. “I think for us we still have a spread across the field for our top-agers, but again they’ll be challenged to try different positions and take on different opportunities within the team,” she said.

While players will be tested in their final years of junior development, Grindal says there will be no “dramatic changes” to the line-up from week to week, with a Round 1 Grand Final rematch against Calder next on the agenda after two successful practice matches.

“(It’s) really exciting to have a grand final rematch at RMIT, we’re really excited to host that match and have Calder come down,” she said. “As I said before, you don’t know what’s going to happen in the season, we had a fantastic match with them in the Grand Final and we’re excited about playing them again.”

An announcement on the leadership group is also imminent, with a heap of talent again at the Knights’ disposal and a “strong culture” with clear standards ensuring Northern is set for another big year – in both team and individual aspects.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Weekend wrap: NAB League Girls – Round 1

THE new era of Victorian Under 18s football began on the weekend with two triple headers at Craigieburn and Frankston. We wrap up how the six games played out and some of the better players on the day for each side.

Calder Cannons 1.2 | 4.3 | 5.3 | 5.7 (37)
Western Jets 1.1 | 1.3 | 1.4 | 1.4 (10)

GOALS:

Calder: G. Prespakis, N. Crowley, G. Elarmaly, M. Muller, I. McNeill-Wren.
Western: I. Grant.

BEST:

Calder: G. Prespakis, M. Muller, G. Elarmaly, K. Petrevski, A. Barba, L. Cocomello
Western: I. Grant, R. Tripodi, E. Georgostathis, I. Pritchard, C. Saxon-Jones, K. O”Keefe

Calder Cannons kicked off the new season on the right note with a 27-point win over the Western Jets in the first of three games at Craigieburn. The breeze made life difficult for both teams as they opted to use the grandstand side of the ground. The Cannons were the first on the board through Gloria Elarmaly, before a response came from the Jets through one of Western’s AFL Women’s Academy players in Isabella Grant. The Cannons headed into the first break with just a one-point lead, but then a second term burst saw Makeisha Muller and Georgie Prespakis conjure goals out of nothing, while Neve Crowley also added a major to the total. An 18-point lead soon became 23 by the final break as India McNeil-Wren booted the final goal of the match in the third quarter. Neither team could manage a goal in the final term, which suited Calder just fine, walking away with the points having restricted the Jets to just three behinds after quarter time. Prespakis was the star of the show, constantly winning possessions around stoppages and bursting away, while Muller and Alana Barba showed promising signs among what was a real team effort from the Cannons who were missing Georgia Patrikios. For the Jets, Grant was productive throughout the match, while Elisabeth Georgostathis had a massive first half and never gave in through the midfield, while Isabelle Pritchard and Cleo Saxon-Jones showed their ability up either end. In Round 2, Calder Cannons face fellow winners Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels, while Western Jets look to get on the board against other Round 1 losers, Murray Bushrangers.

Bendigo Pioneers 0.1 | 2.3 | 2.3 | 3.4 (22)
GWV Rebels 3.1 | 3.2 | 4.3 | 4.3 (27)

GOALS:

Bendigo: J. Jolliffe 2, M. Barton.
GWV: I. Simmons 2, R. Saulitis 2.

BEST:

Bendigo: M. Tupper, E. Gretgrix, K. Mitchell, B. Hards, D. Villiva, K. Douglass
GWV: B. Thompson, N. Butler, I. Simmons, E. Wood, N. Dojiok, S. Molan

In the second game of the day, spectators were treated to a tight match after quarter time. It all looked to be going pear-shaped for the Pioneers early as Isabella Simmons booted two opening term goals and was joined by fellow middle-ager, Renee Saulitis who split the middle from a tight angle to hand the GWV Rebels an 18-point quarter time lead. With the Pioneers kicking with the breeze in the second term, Madeline Barton snapped a goal off the deck for Bendigo’s first, before Jordyn Jolliffe converted from the set shot to draw within five points at the main break. After half-time, the first goal was crucial and it went to Saulitis who somehow found herself unguarded at the back of a pack close to goal, with the ball falling in her lap, turning around and snapping a goal. The Rebels extended the lead to two straight kicks at the final break having kept the Pioneers scoreless in the term, but with the breeze, Bendigo was always a chance. Jolliffe booted her second major and gave them real hope, though the end-to-end football meant both sides felt like they were close to scoring. In the end, the Rebels managed to hold firm against a gallant Pioneers outfit to win by five points. Brooke Thompson was named as the Rebels’ best, while Nekaela Butler and Nyakoat Dojiok did some of their best work out of defence. Ella Wood and Sophie Molan were a handful in the midfield, while Simmons and Saulitis were busy in the forward half. For the Pioneers, Maeve Tupper, Eloise Gretgrix and Brooke Hards all formed a resilient midfield that stood tall on the day, while Kaitlin Mitchell, Dakota Villiva and Kate Douglass were among others who impressed for the losing side. In Round 2, the GWV Rebels will meet Calder Cannons, while Bendigo Pioneers hope to record a win at home against Eastern Ranges.

Northern Knights 2.7 | 4.7 | 7.10 | 11.12 (78)
Murray Bushrangers 0.0 | 0.1 | 0.1 | 0.2 (2)

GOALS:

Northern: B. Gutknecht 4, N. Morris-Dalton, A. Bannan, G. Newton, T. Mills, C. Linssen, M. Appleby, A. Bennett.
Murray: Nil.

BEST:

Northern: B. Gutknecht, G. Newton, E. McKenzie, M. Chaplin, J. Fitzgerald, S. Sansonetti
Murray: A. Morphett, M. Quade, K. Whitehead, M. Trethowan, A. Favell, O. Barber

In the final game of the triple header at Craigieburn, there was a noticeable step-up in decision making and run as last year’s grand finalists, Northern Knights looked every bit a contender once again with a 76-point victory over Murray Bushrangers. In 2018, we saw the Knights had no trouble scoring and it looked to be the case once again, with eight individual goalkickers. Britney Gutknecht was the major beneficiary with four goals, three of which came in the second half. Throughout the day, sides struggled to kick goals into the breeze, with just two of a total 13 goals going through the big sticks up the Grand Boulevard end of RAMS Arena. The Knights found a way though, booting six goals, including four in the final term as they ran away with the contest to record 23 scoring shots to two in an impressive victory. There was no shortage of stars for the Knights with Gutknecht, Gabby Newton, Ellie McKenzie and Jess Fitzgerald all busy, while Maeve Chaplin and Sarah Sansonetti were also named in the best in what could have extended to a few more names as well. For Murray, the largely different side to last season with a lot of new or middle and bottom-age players showed some impressive signs trying to take the game on, but it was hard to get a read because of the strength of the Knights. Olivia Barber tried hard in the ruck throughout the day, while Abby Favell kept running. Ally Morphett and Mindy Quade were named the Bushrangers’ best in the big loss. Murray will have a chance to bounce back in Round 2 when they come up against the Western Jets, while the Knights will meet Oakleigh Chargers who also recorded an impressive win in Round 1.

Dandenong Stingrays 1.0 | 1.0 | 2.4 | 3.5 (23)
Eastern Ranges 0.2 | 2.4 | 3.4 | 4.8 (32)

GOALS:

Dandenong: H. Thomas, I. Shannon, J. Radford.
Eastern: S. Gibbs, L. McClelland, M. Kendall, S. Collard.

BEST:
Dandenong:
B. Vernon, I. Shannon, Z. Hill, G. Howes, J. Radford, A. Nagtzaam
Eastern: O. Meagher, T. Brown, T. Flintoff, L. McClelland, M. Kendall

By: Brandon Hutchinson

Opening the second triple header for the weekend, Eastern picked up their first win in a tight affair over Dandenong in Frankston. The game broke into the Ranges’ forward half early, but it was Dandenong who drew first blood with Isabella Shannon slotting one from congestion. A revitalised Eastern returned fire in the second with Mietta Kendall hitting the board early. Much of the second quarter continued in Eastern’s forward half with Dandenong defenders getting first hands to the ball but struggling to penetrate the forward press. Eastern were soon rewarded again with a goal from captain, Laura McClelland, while Dandenong remained scoreless for the second. The Stingrays attempted a resurgence following the main break, pushing the ball back up the centre. Jemma Radford kicked Dandenong’s second after snatching the pill mid-flight in congestion to put them within two-points. Though Shae Collard quickly replied for Eastern, snuffing out some of Dandenong’s momentum. In the final period, Harmony Thomas kicked Dandenong’s third while Serena Gibbs secured the win for Eastern in the closing minutes with a big kick from 35 metres out. Though playing without one of their best in captain, Molly McDonald, the Dandenong girls adjusted well with Alice Nagtzaam creating well up forward while Brooke Vernon and Shannon remained prolific. For the Ranges, Olivia Meagher pressured well while Tarni Brown and Tess Flintoff impressed on the move. In Round 2, Eastern Ranges face fellow Round 1 losers, Bendigo Pioneers, while Dandenong Stingrays face fellow losers, Sandringham Dragons.

Oakleigh Chargers 1.1 | 3.1 | 6.3 | 9.9 (63)
Gippsland Power 1.1 | 1.1 | 1.1 | 2.1 (13)

GOALS:

Oakleigh: E. Harley 4, A. Van Oosterwijck 2, E. James, K. Kearns, J. D’Amato
Gippsland: N. Webber, S. Walker

BEST:

Oakleigh: A. Porter, A. Van Oosterwijck, E. Harley, J. Lin, G. Lagioia, E. James
Gippsland: C. Abrahams, M. Van Berkel, N. Webber, G. Radford, G. McRae, M. Shaw

By: Brandon Hutchinson

Gippsland Power walked away from Sunday afternoon with a 50-point loss dealt by a dominant Oakleigh side at Frankston Oval. Both teams came out hard in the first, mostly locking the ball down in the midfield with repetitive stoppages. Nikia Webber kicked Gippsland’s first from a gather and snap early on, while Gemma Lagioia responded in the closing minutes for Oakleigh to tie the term. In the second, Oakleigh slowly increased their lead after trapping the ball in their forward line. Emily Harley kicked her first goal after a stray rebound found her teammate. Power tried to shift pressure through the centre, but the Chargers broke their lines and soon found their second through Amelia van Oosterwijck before entering the main break. Gippsland remained scoreless up until the final quarter as the Chargers surged on to kick six more. Kalarni Kearns kicked Oakleigh’s first for the third while Harley added two more as she and her teammates continued to dominate the airways. Harley’s fourth came in the final quarter, increasing Oakleigh’s lead early on, while Power replied with their second following a spill in defence. Van Oosterwijck hit back on the other end with her second with Eliza James soon following with Oakleigh’s final goal. Gippsland captain, Maddison Shaw, and teammates, Grace McRae, Chandra Abrahams and Matilda Van Berkel all combined well despite Oakleigh’s dominance. For Oakleigh, Harley and Van Oosterwijck were enormous in front of goals, while Joanna Lin and Lagioia starred through the centre. In Round 2, Oakleigh Chargers face fellow big winners, Northern Knights, while Gippsland Power face Round 1 winners, Geelong Falcons.

Sandringham Dragons 0.0 | 1.0 | 1.0 | 1.0 (6)
Geelong Falcons 0.0 | 2.3 | 4.5 | 4.8 (32)

GOALS:

Sandringham: C. Murphy.
Geelong: P. Schaap, R. Tierney, D. Moloney, M. Skinner.

BEST:

Sandringham: W. Laing, M. Purcell, D. Walker, T. Grasso, E. McNamara, S. Hartwig
Geelong: L. Lesosky-Hay, P. Sheppard, L. McEvoy, M. Skinner, A. Chapman, D. Moloney

Geelong Falcons overcame an early challenge from Sandringham Dragons to post a 26-point win at Frankston. Neither side managed to trouble the scorers in the first term, before Poppy Schaap and Renee Tierney both entered the goal scorers list with majors in the second quarter, while Charli Murphy booted the Dragons’ only score. An incredible goal from Darcy Moloney in the third term, which saw her handball over an opponent, run on and kick the goal,was the Dragons’ highlight of the game, before Mia Skinner extended the Falcons’ lead to 23 points at the final break. A tight third term saw the ball up the Falcons’ end for almost the entirety of the contest, with Geelong scoring the only three behinds of the term. In the end it was enough to walk away with the four points, scoring 4.8 from 12 scoring shots to Sandringham’s one. Luka Lesosky-Hay was the Falcons’ best running through the midfield and teaming up with Lucy McEvoy well, while Paige Sheppard and Skinner provided good support on the outside. For the Dragons, Winnie Laing did well through the middle on the inside, and Marguerite Purcell solid on the outside. While the Geelong midfield got on top, the Dragons’ defence held up well with Sarah Hartwig strong at centre half-back, and players like Alice Burke working hard defensively to reduce the scoring impact of the reigning premiers.

TAC Cup Girls: Team Selection – Round 8

ROUND eight marks the penultimate round of the TAC Cup Girls home and away season, intensifying the fight for a spot in the finals. Many teams have made some big changes through bringing in key players, while others have been faced with some big outs.

CALDER CANNONS v. DANDENONG STINGRAYS

Round 8 – Friday 4 May, 7.30pm
RAMS Arena, Craigieburn

The Cannons will be without Molly Hemburrow and Grace Dicker but bring in a host of other players to fill the void. After missing round seven, forward, Terira Fry will take the field and be a good option inside 50 for the Cannons. They will also be pleased to see the return of star defender, Molly Warburton who will help to boost Calder’s line-up and complement the likes of Madison Prespakis in the middle off the ground.

The Stingrays have brought in six players for their round eight clash against the Cannons, with the likes of Jess Guy-Toogood down in defence. Key forward Brooke Struylaart will also return and will offer a great target up forward for Dandenong, while Natalie Eve Taylor will also take her spot in the forward line alongside Struylaart.

Calder Cannons

 B: 41. G. Prespakis, 46. G. Elarmaly, 8. E. Vale
HB: 11. A. Barba, 48. C. Brown, 21. G. Patrikios
C: 34. Z.  Hardiman, 38. L.  Cocomello, 43. C.  Leahy
HF: 29. S. Elias, 17. E. Cornish, 37. F. Holloway
F: 32. T. Fry , 49. T. Crook, 25. A. Magri
R: 18. C. Rendelmann, 3. M. Prespakis, 2. F. Theodore
Int: 30. S. Cameron, 22. M. Muller, 6. K. Reid, 9. M. Warburton
Emg: 44. I. McNeill-Wren, 33. B. Pepper, 27. E. Woodley

In: M. Warburton, S. Cameron, K. Reid, B. Pepper, T. Fry , I. McNeill-Wren
Out: M. Hemburrow,  G. Dicker,  I. Young

Dandenong Stingrays

 B: 46. J. George, 40. R. Clancy – Dillon, 4. J. Guy-Toogood
HB: 15. J. Allen, 35. L. Cripps, 16. A. West
C: 28. T.  Smith, 12. M.  McDonald, 31. B.  Vernon
HF: 1. S. Heath, 26. I. Shannon, 29. B. Struylaart
F: 48. A. Carroll, 44. S. Ryan, 39. N. Taylor
R: 45. M. Graham, 3. C. Jones, 20. E. Wilson-Macdonald
Int: 19. B. Borchard, 10. A. Jordan, 50. A. Nagtzaam, 30. P. Swayn
Emg: 5. E. Allen-Burns, 21. G. Hodder

In: N. Taylor, A. Nagtzaam, B. Struylaart, J. Guy-Toogood, E. Allen-Burns, P. Swayn
Out: T. Giddings-Constable, S. Stratton, Z. Hill, A. O’Sullivan

 

EASTERN RANGES v. MURRAY BUSHRANGERS

Round 8 – Saturday 5 May, 11.30am
Warrawee Park, Oakleigh

After a good win last week, the Eastern Ranges have not made many changes, only bringing in a handful of players. A big inclusion for the Ranges is the return of mid/forward, Olivia Meagher who will provide an extra spark across the ground. Brittany Cubitt, Sophia Zappia and co-captain, Charlotte Wilson have also been named in the line-up.

Murray will be without key player Rebecca Webster who provides great composure and footy smarts with ball in hand but will be boosted with the return of Ada Chessor and damaging forward Julia Harvey. Another big in for the Bushrangers is Sophie Damon who is a consistent and versatile player, while Grace Kelly has also been named to start up forward.

Eastern Ranges

 B: 11. M. Edwards, 23. C. Smith, 41. J. Richardson
HB: 37. G. Macpherson, 49. C. Wilson, 48. L. Szigeti
C: 8. C.  Delbridge, 21. M.  Cann, 24. K.  Ridley
HF: 38. L. McClelland, 40. T. Merrett, 3. E. Woods
F: 18. A. Allsopp, 28. L. Kelly, 22. C. Chamberlain
R: 46. S. Kendall, 6. G. De Angelis, 39. O. Meagher
Int: 10. N. Cormack , 16. E. Horne, 47. J. Provan, 45. M. Wandin
Emg: 34. S. Bowden, 9. P. Buruma, 35. B. Cubitt, 36. J. Grace, 50. S. Zappia

 In: S. Zappia, O. Meagher, L. Kelly, B. Cubitt, C. Wilson

Murray Bushrangers

B: 14. A. Duguid, 39. H. Doohan, 26. E. Nicholson
HB: 16. E. Ashley-Cooper, 32. N. Watts, 5. C. Hargreaves
C: 6. K.  Adams, 22. T.  Smith, 3. P.  Crelley
HF: 21. C. Boschetti, 1. J. Harvey, 41. Z. Spencer
F: 11. A. Chessor, 37. S. Damon, 10. G. Kelly
R: 34. E. McPherson, 4. C. Knight, 19. M. Brown
Int: 13. E. Balaburov, 40. M. Burke , 35. M. Jones, 33. M. Trethowan
Emg: 44. M. Eze, 25. E. Freeman

 In: G. Kelly, E. Freeman, S. Damon, J. Harvey, E. Balaburov, A. Chessor, M. Jones, M. Eze
Out: S. Locke, C. Mckimmie, G. Egan, E. Jones, O. Hall, R. Webster

 

OAKLEIGH CHARGERS v. WESTERN JETS

Round 8 – Saturday 5 May, 1.00pm
Warrawee Park, Oakleigh

In hope of claiming their third win for the season, the Oakleigh Chargers have made a few changes to their line-up, bringing Elisabeth Jackson and Tricia Cowan. Speedy midfielder Alana Porter has also been named which will help to boost the midfield depth for the Chargers. Absent from the clash will be Zoe Makris and Georgia Byrne who will watch from the sidelines.

The Western Jets will be pleased to see the return of talented forward, Caitlin Greiser who is a scoring machine while Eden Cassar has also been named as an emergency for the Jets clash against the Chargers. The likes of Allison Chivell and half-forward Jasmine Goodman have been not been named in this week’s squad.

Oakleigh Chargers

B: 2. M. Hill, 45. T. Cowan, 13. T. Morton
HB: 14. H. McLaren, 68. A. Dyer, 50. C. Nancarrow
C: 30. G.  Lagioia, 19. E.  Harley, 5. A.  van Oosterwijck
HF: 3. J. D’Amato, 29. M. Bertuna, 10. A. Oloughlin
F: 38. D. Bateman, 18. I. Gietzmann, 9. E. Jackson
R: 11. B. Winbanks, 32. C. O’Malley, 16. A. Porter
Int: 70. P. Fennell, 43. E. Hastie, 31. K. Hunter-Scott, 15. A. Ling, 26. A. Micallef, 51. G. Relph

In: P. Fennell, E. Jackson, A. Ling, G. Relph, A. Porter, T. Cowan
Out: L. Mayne,  T. Nichols,  Z. Makris,  G. Byrne

 Western Jets

B: 8. E. Gardner, 31. K. Rebuffo, 2. C. Gashi
HB: 27. P. Ozols, 30. I. Pritchard, 40. S. Whiting
C: 19. O.  Forsythe, 13. C.  Jansen, 14. I.  Grant
HF: 43. C. Greiser, 39. C. Saxon-Jones, 12. K. O’Keefe
F: 34. T. Evans, 41. S. Forbes, 38. E. Hitch
R: 25. T. Kolevski, 16. E. Georgostathis, 33. L. Basto
Int: 5. M. Daw, 21. M. Fenech, 17. I. Freeman
Emg: H. Bult, E. Cassar, M. Gregory, E. Hannett

In: E. Cassar, C. Greiser, H. Bult, E. Hitch, S. Forbes, I. Freeman
Out: A. Chivell, J. Goodman, A. Bolt

 

GEELONG FALCONS v. NORTHERN KNIGHTS

Round 8 – Saturday 5 May, 1.15pm
St Mary’s Oval (Kardinia Park West Oval), Geelong

Both teams have brought in the big guns for the top-of-the-table clash. The Falcons have made five changes to their line-up in hope to keep their undefeated record in-tact. After missing round seven, star defender, Denby Taylor is set to take the field along with midfielder Tarryn Love who has been absent from the team due to injury. Jemma Dover and Eliza Shannon have also been named in Geelong’s extended squad.

The Knights have brought in the cavalry ahead of their clash against the first-placed Falcons, naming leading goal-kicker Alyssa Bannan to help cause havoc up forward for Geelong. Abigail Bennett will also return for the Knights, helping to boost their forward line while the likes of Maeve Chaplin and Sarah Moore will be watching on from the sidelines.

Geelong Falcons

B: 37. S. Dinneen, 36. A. Chapman, 21. K. Haustorfer
HB: 32. M. Sheppard, 23. L. McEvoy, 27. D. Taylor
C: 18. N.  Morrison, 39. T.  Love, 35. S.  Walmsley
HF: 10. S. Atkins, 42. S. DeGiacomi, 16. L. Gardiner
F: 31. E. Mahoney, 38. R. Tierney, 50. S. Williams
R: 33. Z. Inei, 7. O. Purcell, 6. P. Sheppard
Int: 15. J. Devarakonda, 40. E. Shannon, 20. D. Smith, 2. E. Vella
Emg: 5. J. Dover, 34. S. Hungerford, 26. M. Skinner

In: T. Love, S. Williams, D. Taylor, J. Dover, E. Shannon
Out: L. Ryan, B. Thompson

Northern Knights

B: 27. P. Kearney, 26. E. Clayton, 32. A. Snow
HB: 10. P. Chisholm, 18. S. Sansonetti, 13. M. Suzuki
C: 12. O.  Dikranis, 5. M.  Brancatisano, 2. M.  Jarvis
HF: 7. A. Bennett, 6. A. Bannan, 21. E. McKenzie
F: 1. M. Antypas, 24. A. Pronesti, 22. B. Gutknecht
R: 4. N. O’Connor, 23. G. Newton, 14. J. Fitzgerald
Int: 17. C. Fitzgerald, 20. J. McCarthy, 3. N. Morris-Dalton, 29. T. Pulcino
Emg: 8. G. Ceravolo, 33. T. Curavic, 30. M. Rodezno

In: G. Ceravolo, A. Bannan, M. Rodezno, J. McCarthy, C. Fitzgerald, A. Bennett
Out: G. Malloy, M. Chaplin, S. Moore

SANDRIGNHAM DRAGONS v. BENDIGO PIONEERS

Round 8 – Saturday 5 May, 1.15pm
Trevor Barker Beach Oval, Sandringham

Though Sandringham are going from strength to strength they have made a host of changes, bringing in key defenders Nayley Borg and Chelsea Bowen to help shut down the Pioneers forward line. Isabella Stutt has also been included for their clash against the Pioneers while Molly Denahy Maloney and Ruby Woods have been listed as omissions.

On the other hand, the Bendigo Pioneers have only made three changes to their starting line-up with Tess Goodrem returning. The Pioneers will be without Dayna Kelly Guthrie, Maeve Tupper and forward Grace Barton for the trip to Sandringham.

Sandringham Dragons

B: 40. N. Borg, 60. G. Strangio, 65. C. Saultry
HB: 23. C. Bowen, 32. S. Hartwig, 58. G. Bridges
C: 30. E.  Brown, 43. A.  McKay, 5. J.  Tait
HF: 3. S. Rothfield, 39. M. Purcell, 53. I. Stutt
F: 50. H. Bate, 1. M. Wilson, 38. M. Cairns
R: 20. A. Dalley, 36. J. Owen, 25. I. Eddey
Int: 31. B. Arnold, 46. A. Burke, 24. T. Grasso, 64. E. McNamara
Emg: 49. L. Amelung, 2. W. Laing, 13. D. Walker

In: N. Borg, L. Amelung, I. Stutt, D. Walker, M. Cairns, C. Bowen
Out: G. Cooper, M. Denahy Maloney, R. Woods

Bendigo Pioneers

B: G. Murley, 24. E. Gretgrix, 32. S. Reilly
HB: 27. B. Hards, 20. K. Douglass, 3. C. Isaac
C: 12. T. Coad, 28. M.  Williamson, 29. E.  Snell
HF: 26. L. Newton, 8. S. Knoll, T. Shepherd
F: 16. E. Cooper, 17. G. Sladden, 22. M. Ward
R: 25. T. Stewart, 2. M. Baldwin, 19. K. Jacques
Int: 6. M. Curran, 11. J. Finning, T. Goodrem, 5. E. Turnbull

 In: T. Shepherd, T. Goodrem, G. Murley
Out: D. Kelly-Guthrie, M. Tupper, G. Barton

 

GREATER WESTERN VICTORIA REBELS v. GIPPSLAND POWER

 Round 8- Saturday 5 May, 3.00pm

Trevor Barker Beach Oval, Sandringham

The Rebels rung in the changes for their match against the Power, making eight changes to their squad. The changes will see the inclusion of Chloe Leonard and Ella Bibby who will start in the forward line for Greater Western Victoria (GWV). Georgia Pidgeon and Hannah Simpson will be missing from defence but the Rebels have included the likes of Lauren Sykes to help fill the void down back.

After narrowly going down in round seven, the Gippsland Power will be pleased to see the return of forward, Nikia Webber who provides a great target inaide 50 and across the ground. Leila Raymond and Jennifer Ross are also set to take the field while Hayley Balmer and Tylah Whitehead have been named as emergencies for the match.

Greater Western Victoria Rebels

B: 11. T. Marra, 45. A. Humphries, 14. L. Sykes
HB: 15. T. Jasper, 25. G. Clarke, 4. A. Nicholson
C: 27. N.  Dojiok, 34. S.  Glover, 28. I.  Simmons
HF: 13. C. Leonard, 41. K. Harris, 18. S. Van De Heuvel
F: 44. E. Bibby, 43. M. Caris, 2. R. Saulitis
R: 35. R. Caris, 16. L. Butler, 23. S. Molan
Int: 6. N. Butler, 20. T. Heath, 5. V. Jewell, 33. I. Robson
Emg: 9. J. McAuliffe , 1. A. Trigg

In: A. Trigg, E. Bibby, A. Nicholson, L. Sykes, J. McAuliffe , C. Leonard, N. Butler, V. Jewell
Out: L. Moloney ,  G. Pidgeon,  I. Rustman,  B. Gregory,  H. Simpson,  D. Henson

 Gippsland Power

B: 17. S. Trewin, 65. J. Redmond, 45. L. Van Berkel
HB: 6. E. Haeusler , 8. C. Abrahams , 49. M. Shaw
C: 48. C.  Prestidge, 28. T.  Hanks, 30. A.  Rippon
HF: 13. H. Andrews, 27. N. Webber, 12. M. Fitzsimon
F: 1. E. Jones, 60. E. Williams, 11. S. Walker
R: 58. A. Dunn, 10. T. Dower, 57. J. Ferguson
Int: 29. C. Bray, 7. L. Raymond, 4. J. Ross, 50. M. Van Berkel
Emg: 21. H. Balmer, 9. T. Whitehead

In: J. Ross, N. Webber, L. Raymond, T. Whitehead, H. Balmer
Out: C. Bird, S. Beaton, E. Cornish

Scouting notes: TAC Cup Girls – Round 3

WITH many of the games across the weekend played at RAMS Arena, it gave any team a chance of victory. But for Murray and Gippsland, a draw prevented them from keeping their winning streaks alive. However, the Calder Cannons and Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels got to taste victory for the first time this season. Each week, we will be going out to games to take notes on some of the players that deserve recognition for their performance. 

GWV Rebels vs. Bendigo Pioneers 

By Cameron Ross 

GWV:

#25 Georgia Clarke

The defender was a pillar of strength down back and kept a quality opponent goalless. Her ability to read the play was the difference in the game. The Pioneers found it difficult to get the ball past halfway due to her ability to position herself exactly a kick behind the play. The best player on the field for the day. 

#16 Lauren Butler

In the second quarter, she laid a massive tackle in her own forward line. This lead to a free kick and earned her a shot and goal, and of course she kicked truly. Had a really big second half. In the third quarter, Butler had a nice moment where she picked the ball up cleanly, looked inside from half back, and rather than blazing away down the line, delivered the ball onto the chest of her teammate in the centre square. She also positions herself well at stoppages and was able to win a heap of contested ball.

#27 Nyakoat Dojiok

Although she did not find much of the ball, when she was in possession she was extremely eye-catching. Her long kicking put the Bendigo defenders under pressure, and she was not afraid to tuck the footy under the arm and take the game on. Almost kicked an outstanding goal in the third quarter, after reading that the ball was going over the back, pounced on the loose ball, picked it up cleanly (which was difficult in wet conditions), and had a ping from a tight angle, just shaving the post. Exciting, raw prospect.

#10 Hannah Simpson

Diminutive but remarkably strong for her size. The opposition found it very difficult to tackle her. Shrugged tackles at least four times in the game and on one of those occasions she set a goal up for her side afterwards. Potential to be a top contested on-ball winner if she gets the opportunity. Really liked her game, and thought she was one of the Rebels better players.

Others:

#2 Renee Saulitis: Beautiful kick of the ball, had a nice piece of play where she was in the right position for the handball receive, and kicked it to the hotspot. Kicked a goal and had a nice game overall.

#23 Sophie Molan: Nice kick out of the pack for a goal in the third. Had a good run and jump at the ball, marked and goaled late in the piece. Battled hard.

#28 Isabella Simmons: Laid a huge tackle in the final quarter which left her opponent sore. Kicked a nice goal in the final term.

 

Bendigo:

#28 Megan Williamson

Was outstanding throughout and did everything she possibly could to get her side over the line. When the Rebels had all the momentum in the third quarter, she almost singlehandedly kept her team in it. She was everywhere! Her third quarter efforts arguably stopped this one from being a blowout. Terrific player.

#19 Kodi Jacques

Laid an inspirational tackle on her opponent early in the game to motivate her teammates. Her tackle pressure was consistent throughout, and twice set up goals for her side from this pressure. Another outstanding tackle in the third quarter saved her side from a certain goal. Really loved her competitive and aggressive attitude

#11 Jemma Finning

Showed some glimpses of individual brilliance. Late in the game, she beautifully spun out of a tackle and set up a scoring opportunity for her side. Was quiet for large parts of the game, but when she was in possession of the ball she was extremely eye-catching. I would love to see her play on ball for a whole game, as she has the potential to be a really good player.

Others:

#2 Maddie Baldwin: Read the play really well to kick a goal in the second quarter. Had quiet moments, but did a lot of good things for her side.

#9 Dayna Kelly-Guthrie: Really consistent player, did not do anything outstanding, but was a solid contributor throughout the day.

#16 Emily Cooper: Worked really hard up forward putting pressure on the Rebels defenders. At one stage, her pressure caused a Rebels turnover and earned her side a goal.

#22 Mia Ward: Not afraid to put her head over the footy and win the ball for her side. Tough competitor.

 

Murray Bushrangers vs. Gippsland Power 

By Taylah Melki 

Murray:

 #4 Chelsea Knight

She had a good game across the middle and was quite dynamic on the field. Knight pressed hard and her work rate was up. She was not afraid to compete hard for the footy and was ferocious at ground level to try and win the footy for her team. She covered the ground well in the slippery conditions.

#17 Rebecca Webster 

She had a huge game for the Murray Bushrangers and was influential across the ground in difficult wet and slippery conditions. She took plenty of good intercept marks and hit the packs hard to win the footy. The weather did not seem to bother as it looked as if she had the ball on a string. She showed great footy awareness and was a ball magnet in the third term, bursting through contested packs. Webster tackled hard and was not afraid to get involved in the contest, she also showed off her impressive kicking ability. She was a clear standout for the Bushrangers in difficult conditions.

#22 Tamara Smith

Played a huge role in bringing the Bushrangers back into the game in the fourth quarter by creating leads and running hard to try and open up the space across the ground. She had a good clearing kick which she used to get the ball into space and was very creative with ball in hand. Smith also demonstrated her clean hands in close and around the contest even with a wet and slippery footy. She worked really hard to win the contested footy for her team and tried to give them an opportunity to push forward.

#42 Grace Egan

Egan was very influential when she helped out in the ruck contest and showcased her leap. She took a few good contested marks down back and demonstrated her clean hands around the contest. She showed good footy awareness and was able to read the play and flight of the football with ease. Egan managed to hit targets in tricky weather conditions and was one of the best on field for the Bushrangers.

#45 Olivia Barber

Barber had a huge last quarter, scoring one of the most important goals of the game to tie the scores. She was under heaps of pressure but showed great composure and skill to go back and slot the goal in the last term. Barber had strong hands and stood up when her team needed her.

 

Others:

#1 Julia Harvey: Had clean hands and took good marks under pressure which can be tricky when dealing with a wet footy.

#14 Amy Duguid: She had some good run and created dynamic leads for her teammates. Duguid worked really hard to try and open up space and used her long kick of the footy to clear congestion.

 #41 Charlotte Bevan: Laid some strong tackles and had no problem bringing down bigger-bodied girls in her bone-crunching tackles.

#16 Eloise Ashley-Cooper: She was really solid down back once again for the Bushrangers and continued her impressive ways. She won plenty of the footy and showed good awareness. 

#19 Millie Brown: Her quick use of the footy was impressive as it kept the opposition on their feet. Her quick transition play allowed for her team mates to run free. Positioned herself well to take big grabs and had strong hands in marking contests.

Gippsland:

#1 Ebony Jones

Jones had good break-away speed that helped her to open up and create space for her team mates. Her use of speed showed great footy smarts as it enabled her to burst away from packs and set up scoring opportunities for herself and others. She scored an important goal in the opening quarter thanks to her reliable kick and ability to get herself into damaging positions on the field.

#12: Megan Fitzsimon

Another player that stood out for the Power was Megan Fitzsimon, who relished her time out in the middle showing great agility and ability to read the footy. She competed hard to win the ball and showed a great work rate to get herself involved in the contest. Fitzsimon had a thumping kick on her and strong hands taking some big grabs across the ground.

 #13 Holly Andrews

Andrews was influential in setting up play for the Power and used the footy cleanly and accurately. She was able to hit her targets and pushed forward in the third quarter to help create possible scoring opportunities for her team. She applied plenty of pressure around the ground and took good contested grabs while having to contend with the slippery ball and windy conditions.

#28 Tyla Hanks

She was a key player for the Power working down back and pushing up hard into the midfield. She was not afraid to go hard at the footy, laying an impressive smother and competing hard in the scrum. Hanks showed great awareness with ball in hand and had strong hands to take important grabs across the ground. She used her penetrating kick to move the ball quickly and help set her team up. The co-captain was in everything and really opened up the game at times with her run and decision-making to help release team mates.

#58 Amy Dunn 

She showed great awareness throughout the game and laid some big tackles during the match. She played a pivotal role in the second quarter, nailing an impressive goal to get her team into a dominant position going into half time. Her goal sparked her team up.

Others:

#27 Nikia Webber” Showed a lot of desperation for the footy and competed hard to win the ball for her team. Covered the ground really well and ran hard to impact on the contest.  

#46 Laura Thompson: Had clean hands in and around the contest and was able to find targets in the wet. She also showcased her marking ability with her strong hands in challenging conditions.

#57 Jazz Ferguson: Showed her skills both offensively and defensively, laying strong tackles and coming hard through the congestion to clear the footy.

 

Western Jets vs. Calder Cannons

By: Julia Montesano and Peter Williams

Western:

#14 Isabella Grant

The talented utility had a few promising moments throughout the game and presented to a number of contests leading out of the forward line. She moved into the midfield in the second term and put pressure on the Cannons midfield, often lining up against the much smaller Madison Prespakis at stoppages. However she showed throughout the game she has good game smarts, positioning and strength, and is clean at ground level.

#16 Elizabeth Georgiostathis

Another promising performance from the winger who was strong around the clearances, winning a few free kicks. She was one the Cannons had to keep an eye on, and benefited from a 50m penalty to slot the Jets’ second goal to put them in front at one stage. Her strengths are her hands in close and a neat side-step when clearing the ball out of the middle. Consistent as ever building on from last week’s game.

#30 Isabella Pritchard

Hard to believe she is still 16 as she has a very mature approach to her football. She is a strong intercept mark and constantly rebounds opposition attacks. Pritchard laid a number of strong tackles to lock the ball up or stop opponents clearing it easily. Among her strengths are her positioning in one-on-ones and her vision, complimented by her intercept marking ability and long kicking.

#39 Cleo Saxon-Jones

Provided a real forward target for the Jets and booted two goals as the main forward in the arc. She is so strong and had a great fend off in the forward 50, and later on snapped a great goal off a step in the second term. She provides a focal point for the Jets who go long and deep, and has some impressive goal sense around the big sticks.

#43 Caitlin Greiser

A strong performance across four quarters, Greiser got amongst it regularly when the ball headed forward. She played as a high half-forward and while at times the ball was at the other end of the ground, when it was in her area she used her long kicking and strength in one-on-ones to win the ball and bomb It forward. She has a penetrating kick and used it fairly well early.

Others:

#2 Caitlin Gashi: Laid a great tackle in the middle of the ground and showed some impressive defensive attributes on the day.

#5 Mary Daw: She came in for her first game of the season and mostly played down back opposing star midfielder Madison Prespakis when she was forward. She did well in the one-on-ones but is still quite raw and her disposal can still improve. She showed off some nice athleticism at times, however.

#15 Hannah Bult: Provided some really good run and carry, and has a long kick that she was able to utilise to kick to position well.

#22 Alison Chivell: A midfielder who showed some promising signs around the clearances in the middle.

#27 Payton-Ani Ozols: Strong overhead and has courage to burn, taking a huge grab with pressure coming from behind.

#35 Chloe Weston-Sirett: Got involved in the second term with a long kick inside 50 to Cleo Saxon Jones’ advantage leading to a goal.

Calder:

#2 Felicity Theodore

A lightly built midfielder, Theodore provided some heavy defensive pressure. She did well to roll back into defence and up forward and win the ball at half-forward and keep it moving in transition. She showed off a nice set of wheels to burn off opponents when racing out of the back half and her kicking was reliable. Produced a great run-down tackle in the second term when an opponent was on the rebound.

#3 Madison Prespakis

The top prospect in the TAC Cup Girls lead from the front again with an inspiring performance. Predominantly played forward in the second half after a masterclass in the midfield early, Prespakis just found space – and the footy – everywhere she went. She was strong in the clearances, used her body to plow through opponents and remarkably barely had a hand on her when the midfields spread. She was an inside bull with a penetrating kick and was rewarded for her hard running, creating a goal out of nothing, roving a ball from a pack and snapping it through the middle. She also set up a second goal with a long kick inside 50 for the small forwards to run onto it in the goal square.

#8 Eliza Vale

Stood out with her class in trying conditions. She has great skills and worked hard off half-back before progressing into the midfield. She showed great penetration on her kick into the wind which challenged many others. Vale is still developing but has some good traits that make her stand out on the football field.

#21 Georgia Patrikios

Stood up when the game was there to be won and was the second best behind Prespakis for the Cannons. She not only had plenty of eye-catching offensive moments, but also did all the hard stuff as well with some bone-crunching tackles. She really started moving in the game in the second half, sharing the ball around with her teammates while also using her great agility to sidestep opponents. She kicked around her body to snap what would be the winning goal for Calder and just produced an outstanding game, stepping up to another level this weekend.

#23 Grace Dicker

She showed off some great acceleration and speed to burst out of a stoppage for an important clearance. With clean disposal along the wing heading forward and great run and carry, Dicker is a damaging player on her day. Her speed was a treat as she raced away from opponents and more importantly, she backs herself in and just goes. An example in the second half was her streaming down the middle of the ground and kicking forward with barely anyone getting near her. She also created the final goal for Alisa Magri to seal the result.

Others:

#18 Carla Rendelmann: Showed great run and carry out of the defensive 50. Kept the ball moving for the Cannons and was impressive in the ruck, producing the perfect tap down to Prespakis for a clearance.

#22 Makeisha Muller: Has a long kick that she used to kick deep inside 50. Is also a quick thinker with ball in hand.

#29 Stephanie Elias: Read the play really well and took an intercept mark from a 50m penalty.

#31 Krstel Petrevski: Was really clean by foot throughout the match.

#34 Zoe Hardiman: Had an early chance on goal but just missed the kick off the ground.

#37 Faith Holloway: Another Cannons player who seemed to be clean in the tough conditions, producing a good kick inside 50 early in the match.

 

Northern Knights vs. Sandringham Dragons

By: Julia Montesano and Peter Williams

#3 Nell Morris-Dalton

The midfielder was quite impressive across the four quarters and showed some quick hands both on the inside, and quick thinking on the outside. She is clean off the deck and has good acceleration and strength, fending off opponents to keep moving with momentum. She is a hard runner who covered the ground well, often found running along the wing to create space for her teammates to kick into.

#6 Alyssa Bannan

Just an enigma up forward. The tall forward is an excitement machine where you do not know what to expect. She kicked a fantastic goal off a couple of steps in Mo Hope style with a bouncing snap, and just has that unique ability to know where her opponents are, and dance around them. She is most comfortable kicking for goal or kicking long, with plenty of penetration on her kicking and is just a natural goal kicker. She has a knack of finding the football at stoppages and getting her boot to the ball. Bannan also has the composure to dispose of it well rather than hacking it forward.

#21 Ellie McKenzie

Another impressive midfielder who does very little wrong. She has a great combination of athleticism and skill, and was able to sidestep opponents and deliver the ball forward cleanly. She is able to work the ball from either side of her body and showed good composure under pressure. One of the better kicks on the day. McKenzie has a natural kicking action and is able to pin-point targets with her left foot. A great chase down tackle on Eliza McNamara in the fourth quarter was a defensive highlight.

#22 Britney Gutknecht

Was the second best player on the ground behind Newton and was just so classy on a day where the conditions challenged everyone. She showed some good spread and was clean at top speed, giving-and-going where possible to keep the ball moving at every opportunity. She provided some dash out of defence when she went back, and when forward, opened up the angle on an inside 50 kick to place it perfectly to the top of the goal square for a great contest. She kick a goal from a set shot and played across the ground, showing off her versatility.

#23 Gabby Newton

The best on ground and our AFL Draft Central Player of the Round for round three. She played through the ruck, but is so mobile she can play up forward, down back or through the midfield. She laid some fierce tackles through the middle, but also provided plenty of offensive drive out of the stoppages. She kicked a goal from a banana and was so dominant across the field with her penetrating kick and high work ethic constantly having the opposition Dragons players on high alert. She has been one of the most consistent players this season, and she even went to another level on the weekend.

Others:

#1 Magdalene Antypas: Showed neat skills in defence when the pressure was red hot.

#2 Marnie Jarvis: Zipped around the contests winning a fair bit of the footy. Kicked a well deserved goal in the last term and was strong overhead throughout the game.

#4 Neve O’Connor: Was another Knights player unlucky not to be in our overall best, but she was very impressive. Playing through the ruck, O’Connor showed good vision to hit-up targets through the midfield and execute her booming kick well, often coming out of a clearance.

#5 Maddy Bracantisano: Was an influential leader through the midfield and continued to crack in hard throughout the four quarters. She earned a few free kicks for getting to the contest first and just covers the ground so well. A real strong inside ball winner, she was also among the best despite named outside our top five.

#7 Abigail Bennett: Not as influential as last week, but those impressive traits were still there in patches. She has lovely vision and is a really good field kick, as well as having plenty of composure to control the ball before disposing of it.

#9 Maeve Chaplin: A strong mark and quick thinker. She showed good peripheral vision and spatial awareness with ball in hand and another true contributor to the Knights’ win.

#10 Phoebe Chisholm: Had a highlight reel-worthy moment at one stage, taking a great mark in defence, sidestepping an opponent and backed herself to run and carry with a nice kick down the ground.

#13 Mika Suzuki: A really speedy player who can kick it well off one step. She backs up her speed with a high work rate and showed off a great tank to burst out of the centre on multiple occasions.

#14 Jess Fitzgerald: Is a strong kick who can kick both straight and laterally, and has the composure to assess her options before disposing of it.

#17 Ciara Fitzgerald: Unlucky not to be paid a mark in one instance and was a strong set of hands in a goal square contested marking situation.

#24 Alex Pronesti: Shows her class in moments and while she was not the highest possession winner, when she gets the ball she does not waste it. An example was a beautiful centering kick to set up a straight forward set shot for Ellie McKenzie.

#27 Paije Kennedy: A strong contested mark, Kennedy was good in both contested and uncontested situations, particularly having a purple patch in the third quarter.

Sandringham:

#5 Jasmine Tait

An impressive performance from the midfielder who also spent time at half-back. She had a great spin out of a tackle to kick it forward early, and just had an added bit of flair throughout the game. She was often used as a link in transition going forward, and was a hard runner when down back. Tait accumulated a lot of the ball on the defensive 50 line and did it with style with ball in hand.

#30 Eleanor Brown

The clear best for Sandringham and hardly missed a beat. She was superb from the first siren through to the final one and just dominated through the midfield against a Knights midfield that often got their hands to the ball first. She broke the lines when behind the ball and showed good vision to kick to position. Brown is able to work hard to get to the right positions and is clean with her disposal and able to produce some advantageous kicks when going inside 50. When the Knights tightened the screws, Brown kept a level head and she just goes in hard and finds the ball. Can kick the ball long and still hit targets.

#32 Sarah Hartwig

Had an early influence in the first half, producing a few spoils one-on-one and showing her dominance in the air. The ball was often down the other end during the middle of the match as the wind favoured the Dragons in the second term. She was clean picking the ball off the deck and took a couple of great intercept marks on the wing. Dislocated her finger later in the game when the Knights took control in the final term.

#43 Abbie McKay

Started down back and moved into the midfield in the second term. Applied plenty of pressure on the inside and was one of the better Dragons by the end of the match. Quite versatile in how she can play, she has good hands in close and loves the defensive side of things. Might not stand out like some of the bigger outside ball winners, but McKay is a crucial cog in the Sandringham midfield and defence.

#64 Eliza McNamara

Very impressive performance from McNamara once again. She had a quiet first quarter but was one of the best after quarter time. She won the first clear kick after the centre bounce in the second quarter, and earned a free for getting in first. McNamara won plenty of the ball as the match went on and when having time and space, was able to pinpoint passes to her teammates. Under pressure she did make a couple of mistakes, but overall was a really strong contributor in the Dragons side.

Others:

#1 Maddi Wilson: Took a good mark inside 50 but her shot fell short.

#2 Winnie Laing: Had her moments once again, and can never doubt her courage. Wins the hardball and continually presents around the stoppages. Conditions did not make it easy for disposal, but she cracked in hard and took it to the Knights midfielders.

#25 Bella Eddey: Held good positioning at the 50m arc, protecting the ball drop and marking on her chest. She quickly handballed it off to keep the play moving.

#36 Jemma Owen: Worked hard throughout the match and won a bit of the ball down forward but just missed an opportunity to capitalise in the first term. She did kick a good goal in the second term, snapping after Eliza McNamara pinpointed her inside 50.

#39 Margie Purcell: Took off and used her speed well throughout the game.

#42 Ruby Woods: Was impressive off half-back, particularly in the first quarter, providing drive out of defence to keep the Dragons on the front foot.

#49 Laura Amelung: Has great acceleration going forward as well as good composure to side-step her opponent and kick inside 50.

#50 Holly Bate: A long kick of the football, Bate placed the ball well to the dangerous part of the goal square.

#58 Grace Bridges: Placed an impressive centering kick inside 50 to the danger zone later in the game.

 

Oakleigh Chargers vs. Eastern Ranges

By: Julia Montesano and Peter Williams

Oakleigh:

#14 Hannah McLaren

A consistent performer from the Chargers’ captain. Did not have a huge influence early, but worked into the game a little more. She has a booming kick and a hard nut attitude that saw her crash into packs and win plenty of hardballs throughout the game. She played in defence, up forward and through the midfield, showing off her versatility once again. Never said ‘die’ throughout the game and you know what to expect from her, week-in, week-out.

#16 Alana Porter

Blistering speed and one that really caught many eyes on the weekend. She has top notch acceleration and speed, and is able to balance when on the run to fend off opponents. She has a really good first few steps and took the game on with a burst through the centre to open up the play. Provided a few highlights on a blustery day.

#30 Gemma Lagioia

The classy ball winner was quiet early but gradually worked into the game. She won her fair share of the ball through the middle and showed great bursts of acceleration out of a stoppage. She stepped up in the second half and laid some strong tackles – including one on Eastern Ranges’ co-captain Emerson Woods to stop her in her tracks. Not the best conditions for ball use, but Lagioia was still slick in the trying conditions.

#41 Katie Lynch

Returned after missing round two and was Oakleigh’s star for the day. She was strong overhead, played through the midfield and hardly missed a beat. She was able to spread well to the flanks and wings, and was one of the few able to hit targets in tough conditions. Lynch is very agile for a taller player and while she is the size of a key position player, can easily play midfield and reads the game well. She took a great diving mark on the wing with players coming out at her, and is able to stand up in a tackle to get her arms free.

#70 Peggy-Sue Fennell

Was not numbered on the teamsheet, but certainly did enough to know we were not going crazy seeing #70 out there. She did a nice few things around the ground and worked hard on the inside to fire out handballs to the outside to release teammates to run going forward.

Others:

#9 Elisabeth Jackson: Showed good vision and decision making through the game, kicking into space when she had the opportunity, just needed to execute the odd pass here or there a little better, but was understandable in the conditions.

#17 Nicola Xenos: Was not as busy as the week before, but still showed off her trademark sidestep and tried to take the game on. She kicked the ball well when going forward.

#19 Emily Harley: Another hard working effort across the ground, providing some tough bumps and defensive pressure for the Chargers.

#21 Charlotte Moon: Performed strongly in the ruck.

#26 Amber Micallef: Had lightning hands in close and provided some important passes to teammates.

#32 Chloe O’Malley: Won a free kick and was able to kick the ball forward cleanly.

#33 Georgia Byrne: Kicked a consolation goal in the final term, but was well deserved for her hard running efforts.

Eastern:

#3 Emerson Woods

A consistent performance from the AFLW Academy member and arguably her best of the season having seen all three games. She was able to have an impact through the midfield and up forward, being an important ball winner in the clinches, winning plenty of one-on-ones and using her strength and quick hands to advantage. She has a penetrating kick when she can get onto it, and showed her goal nous up forward when she pounced on a loose goal and kicked truly in the first quarter.

#21 Mikala Cann

A player who continues to build, Cann really showed off her jets with some bursts of power and acceleration on the weekend. When she gets goal side of her opponent she is so damaging, but is also defensively sound in the fact she can run down her opponents when they are in possession. She was one of the best early on, getting plenty of touches, while also spreading well as the game went on, taking a great marking and setting up a goal assist.

#37 Georgia Macpherson

Barely touched it in the first quarter but was not her fault at all when the ball did not go down the Ranges’ defensive end. Once Oakleigh started to get their hands on the ball more, so did Macpherson, taking some big intercept grabs at half-back and kicking long down the wing. Macpherson took a huge contested mark in the third quarter and was one of the reasons the Ranges did not let Oakleigh get too close later in the game.

#38 Laura McClelland

An exciting forward who is strong overhead and continues to deliver inside 50. She kicked a goal in the first few minutes of the game and got her side up and about. McClelland is so good one-on-one and is solid on the lead, as well as having good awareness to intercept when inside 50. She showed off her strength during the game; in one instance, she broke away from two players and was composed enough to dispose of the ball cleanly.

#39 Olivia Meagher

Really good performance from Meagher who was arguably the Ranges’ best four quarter performer. Just continued to get her hands on it throughout the game and she provided a real spark between midfield and the forward 50. She has great speed and agility, bursts out of packs and wins the ball both on the inside and outside. Meagher is one player who backs herself in and is dangerous on the rebound.

Others:

#6 Gabrielle De Angelis: Showed off neat skills to hit up a target in the forward 50 with a well-weighted kick. She is also strong overhead and provided good spread across the ground.

#10 Nicole Cormack: Likes to move the ball and had a quick get-and-go on the outside and is quick to react from hand to foot.

#17 Mietta Kendall: A booming kick out of defence, Kendall played quite well in the defensive 50.

#35 Brittany Cubitt: On debut, she read the play well and took a great intercept mark inside 50 in the first half.

#41 Jenna Richardson: Covered the ground really well and showed some great movement.

#46 Sarah Kendall: Not as huge as her efforts in the first fortnight, but still found a bit of the ball and covered the ground well, so a solid contributor.