Tag: makeisha muller

Northern Knights soar to go one better in 2019 with 33-point premiership victory

NORTHERN Knights have capitalised on their opportunities in a memorable 33-point premiership win over Calder Cannons at Ikon Park in near-perfect conditions. While grey skies threatened to rain on the game, no one or nothing could rain on the Knights parade, who stormed to victory in a terrific team effort, deserving of the only side who could go through the 2019 season undefeated. They held Calder goalless despite the Cannons piling on the pressure in the second term, to win 6.3 (39) to 0.6 (6). Jess Fitzgerald won the best on ground medal from 15 disposals, four marks, five tackles, two inside 50s and three rebounds, while Nell Morris-Dalton starred with 10 marks and three goals. Alyssa Bannan booted the book-end goals of the game while Ellie McKenzie also converted on her opportunity in front of goal. For the Cannons, Georgie Prespakis and Georgia Patrikios were typically superb, while Alisa Magri looked damaging up front despite missing some chances. Emelia Yassir also played her role for the Cannons.

Northern booted their first goal through Bannan with the ball bouncing over her head but she cleanly grabbed it and snapped around her body for a goal a few minutes into the opening term. Fitzgerald had a couple of chances, going inside 50 but the Cannons defence was holding up. Gabby Newton started having an impact just outside 50 and produced a great kick to Fitzgerald but her shot was touched in the square and hit the post. McKenzie put the Knights’ second goal on the board from 15m out after a couple of chances, having a long-range shot, fell short and Tallia Pulcino won a free for in the back. Her shot on goal came off the side of the boot, but McKenzie was in the right spot with a terrific contested mark and goal. McKenzie was in the action shortly after, kicking perfectly after winning a free to hit up Morris-Dalton deep one-on-one who converted easily and the Knights were out to a 19-point lead at quarter time. Patrikios, Prespakis, Alana Barba and Felicity Theodore all had moments in the first term, but the Cannons struggled to get the ball and did not get it inside 50.

The second quarter was an arm-wrestle to start the term with Patrikios getting a heap of the ball, but could not capitalise with a couple of wild chances on goal. A chance from Yassir and Magri went the wrong side of the sticks. After dominating the term, Calder could only manage a couple of behinds and the first inside 50 of the term to the Knights saw Morris-Dalton run onto the ball and kick from point blank range and boot her second major. The Knights now lead by 23 points and were coming from everywhere to celebrate her goal. Patrikios had a chance to narrow the gap herself but was dragged down and the ball bounced the wrong side of the post. Makeisha Muller then had a chance from a snap set shot but it slammed into the woodwork for the Cannons’ fourth straight behind. The siren sounded shortly after and for all their effort, the Cannons had booted 0.4 to the Knights’ 1.0 to trail 4.1 (25) to 0.4 (4).

The third term started with the Knights rebounding out of defence, as Newton had a couple of deft touches in to keep the ball moving in space and heading forward. A timely intercept mark by Patrikios dropping back to half-back repelled the attack. The Knights were pressing however, and eventually the ball got free from Bannan at a stoppage over the top of a couple of opponents to Morris-Dalton who ran on and kicked her third major of the game. Trailing by 26 points, the Cannons had an attempt on goal off the ground but mistimed and went out of bound. Calder was refusing to give in and having its share of opportunities despite Northern being efficient when going forward. Prespakis went onto McKenzie in defence in a match-up that draft watchers were keen to see for the future and the first contest saw Prespakis pick up the loose ball after McKenzie slip over and kick long, then read the ball perfectly again and kicked to the wing. Bannan gave it over to McKenzie who was immediately tackled by Patrikios in defence, but was deemed to have infringed and McKenzie had a set shot which fell short in the square. The Cannons were holding up in defence, but for all the intercept marks in defence, could not push it past half-back and the Knights continued to drive hard forward. Britney Gutknecht had a chance on goal from 40m but it drifted to the right and bounced through for a behind and the Knights led 5.2 (32) to Calder 0.4 (4). The siren sounded and the Knights were 15 minutes away from the premiership glory that eluded them 12 months earlier.

Sensing the urgency in the game, Calder rushed the ball forward and Magri had a shot on goal but just missed. And the deficit was 27 points again. The Cannons continued to push forward and throw everything out on the table, with Theodore pushing forward and taking a good mark and sending it inside 50. It led to Magri winning a free for high contact and having a set shot from 25m out, which drifted to the left and all but spelled the end for Calder’s chances. McKenzie had the highlight of the match, taking a massive seven-bounce run from half-back to half-forward as the crowd got behind her. The Knights were going to hold on with seven minutes left. If the game was not already done and dusted, by the time Bannan ran onto an intercept ball and slammed it home from point blank, it was game over. The Knights were celebrating with just two minutes left as they led by 33 points. The Cannons defence had held up relatively well in a game that the Knights had control of, and were efficient with their inside 50s, but the minor premiers were just too strong, running out the game to run out 33-point winners, 5.9 (39) to 0.6 (6).

Aside from Fitzgerald and Morris-Dalton who were prominent in the forward half, Newton had 15 disposals, three marks, five tackles, two inside 50s and two rebounds, while Sarah Sansonetti had 14 disposals and three rebounds stopping multiple Cannons attacks. Gutknecht (14 dipsosals, two marks and five tackles) was also prolific for the winners, while Patrikios (24 disposals, nine tackles, six inside 50s and six rebounds) and Prespakis (20 disposals, four tackles, two inside 50s, two rebounds) both impressed.

For full game and individual player statistics click here.

NORTHERN KNIGHTS 3.1 | 4.1 | 5.2 | 5.9 (39)
CALDER CANNONS 0.0 | 0.4 | 0.4 | 0.6 (6)

GOALS:

Northern: N. Morris-Dalton 3, A. Bannan 2, E. McKenzie.
Calder: Nil.

ADC BEST:

Northern: J. Fitzgerald, G. Newton, N. Morris-Dalton, E. McKenzie, B. Gutknecht, S. Sansonetti
Calder: G. Prespakis, G. Patrikios, E. Yassir, A. Magri, A. Barba, F. Theodore

NAB League Girls Preliminary Finals preview – Grand Final spots up for grabs at Shepley

FINALS fever hits the NAB League Girls competition, with a revamped finals series set to get underway at Shepley Oval on Saturday. A spot in the grand final is on the line in both games as first does battle with fourth, and second plays third. In the weekend’s other game, Oakleigh hosts Tasmania at Windy Hill in a one-off exhibition.

NORTHERN KNIGHTS (1st, 8-0-1) vs. EASTERN RANGES (4th, 6-3)
Saturday May 18, 12:30pm
Shepley Oval, Dandenong

Round 9:
Northern Knights 7.8 (50) defeated Greater Western Victoria Rebels 0.5 (5)
Eastern Ranges 3.1 (19) defeated by Sandringham Dragons 3.5 (23)

Last Meeting:
Round 5 – Northern Knights 7.8 (50) defeated Eastern Ranges 4.2 (26) @ La Trobe University Oval

MATCH PREVIEW

The undefeated Knights came into the year as strong premiership fancies, and firmed as favourites with their 36-point Round 8 win over reigning premiers, Geelong – avenging their 2018 grand final defeat and snapping the Falcons’ two-year winning run in one fell swoop. The only hiccup in Northern’s season thus far was a Round 2 draw with Oakleigh, with the best attack in the league and a raft of stars helping them ease to eight wins – including ones over two fellow finals sides. They are only one step away from a second-consecutive grand final berth, but an exciting Eastern team stands in the way. The Ranges are one of the best marking sides in the competition, and can compete with most teams on their day, but suffered a couple of disappointing losses to lower-ranked sides and had a close encounter with Tasmania in Round 7. Their narrow margins of victory and defeat – including three wins by under a goal – make for heart-stopping games, but their more convincing wins like their 51-point one over Gippsland show why they are always a chance. Eastern’s prime movers in the middle include potential 2020 Collingwood father-daughter selection Tarni Brown, as well as gun bottom-ager Tess Flintoff, and Olivia Meagher, but their most potent threats will come through the tall duo of Laura McClelland and Serena Gibbs forward of centre. Northern key back Sarah Sansonetti has been in terrific in recent weeks, and could well find herself playing on both of those Ranges talls throughout the game. While her role will prove vital, if the likes of Gabby Newton, Britney Gutknecht, and Ellie McKenzie are thrown into the middle at the same time as we have seen recently, it may be tough for the Ranges to venture forward in the first place. The versatility of those three will make a huge difference, and one would think the range of Knights weapons could well prove too much as it did in the side’s previous meeting. With Northern getting one back on Geelong two weeks ago to come in as the top seed, and Eastern suffering a defeat in their final regular season outing, this will be a tough mountain to climb for the Ranges.

KEY PLAYERS

Northern:

Gabby Newton

The Northern skipper has been sensational throughout the year, averaging almost 20 disposals over her eight NAB League games. Much has already been made of her basketball background, with the gun midfielder showing off her hops in the ruck at times and her equally impressive composure in traffic to no end. While her starting position will most likely be at the centre bounces, Newton’s role as a general behind the ball will be key in this clash – with a potent Eastern tall duo likely to line up down forward. Her intercept marking and overall overhead prowess is profound, so look for that to be a feature in this game along with her consistent ball-winning ability – with over 20 disposals in five games this year. Versatile and damaging, Newton is key.

Eastern:

Serena Gibbs

Gibbs is one of three Eastern talls who pose an enormous risk to the Northern defence, often trading time between centre half-forward and the ruck. If she is matched up on Northern’s Sarah Sansonetti, the clash becomes one of the more important ones for the game with the likes of Laura McClelland and Tahlia Merrett also able to be freed up should they play forward at the same time. Gibbs has found the goals in seven of her nine NAB League appearances, led by a dominant 3.4 from 18 disposals against Gippsland in Round 8. While her Round 9 return saw her collect under 10 disposals for just the third time, Gibbs has been a consistently dangerous threat and will be a key focal point this time around.

GEELONG FALCONS (2nd, 8-1) vs. CALDER CANNONS (3rd, 6-3)
Saturday May 18, 2:15pm
Shepley Oval, Dandenong

Round 9:
Geelong Falcons 8.7 (55) defeated Murray Bushrangers 1.1 (7)
Calder Cannons 5.7 (37) defeated Gippsland Power 1.0 (6)

Last Meeting:
Round 7 – Geelong Falcons 3.2 (20) defeated Calder Cannons 1.0 (6) @ RAMS Arena

MATCH PREVIEW

The Geelong Falcons bounced back well from their Round 8 loss to Northern – their first since May 2017 – to secure second place with a welcome return to form, toppling Murray by 48 points after conceding the first goal. Their depth across all lines is scary good, but their premiership defence has largely been built on a typically sturdy back six and dominant midfield, with their forward structure taking greater shape across the year. Abbey Chapman has led the league’s stingiest defence all year, with the Falcons’ highest score conceded (43) coming against Northern, while the likes of skipper Lucy McEvoy, Paige Sheppard, and Luka Lesosky-Hay have been instrumental in the engine room. Pair the inside grunt of those three with the outside class of Laura Gardiner and Darcy Moloney on either wing, and you have a midfield that is hard to beat to say the least. Mia Skinner has been the spearhead forward of centre, booting a league-high 18 goals – including two bags of four – having only been held goalless on two occasions, in Rounds 7 and 8. The Cannons have some firepower of their own, which more often than not comes from star duo, Georgia Patrikios and Georgie Prespakis. Both have the ability to not only find a wealth of the ball through the middle, but to also find the goals – exemplified by Prespakis’ bag of seven in Round 2 from full forward. Prespakis, the sister of Carlton star Maddie, has averaged 23.3 disposals over her eight games with two returns of over 30 touches, while Patrikios averages just over 22 in her seven outings, and the pair should provide a dynamism that Geelong will have to pay great attention to. Include talls at either end, such as the likes of Alana Barba up forward and Krstel Petrevski, along with Makeisha Muller at ground level, and there are some interesting moving parts to the Calder line-up. Having already gotten the better of Calder as recently as in Round 7, Geelong will be confident of repeating the feat and storming into another grand final. If Calder can again keep the Falcons to under four goals though, then anything can happen. Expect fireworks either way.

KEY PLAYERS

Geelong:

Lucy McEvoy

Able to be utilised on each line, the Falcons skipper is arguably her side’s most important player. An ultra-consistent force, McEvoy has only dropped below 20 disposals once in her eight games – incidentally in the Falcons’ only loss – to average 22.2 disposals per outing. Her presence at the centre bounces in undeniable, using her size to prize the ball out and her composure to flick out effective handballs to receivers. In general play, McEvoy utilises a booming kick to rebound and enter either arc, while positioning herself a kick behind the play to act as an impenetrable wall at both ends. Her overhead marking is a feature, but expect to see her mostly in the thick of the midfield action given Calder’s strength in that area.

Calder:

Georgia Patrikios

Patrikios is all but equal to McEvoy in her disposal output, but provides a different kind of threat from midfield. Having shown how damaging she can be on the outside during her bottom-age year, Patrikios has developed into a balanced midfielder very quickly, but is still often seen bursting away from congestion and delivering forward with aplomb. The Cannons star’s best game came in Round 7 against the Falcons, collecting 31 disposals and finding the goals, so she will hope to produce more of the same here. With the strength of Geelong’s midfield obvious, Patrikios’ point of difference in her pace will be key amidst that battle.

OAKLEIGH CHARGERS vs. TASMANIA DEVILS
Sunday May 19, 11:00am
Windy Hill

Oakleigh hosts Tasmania on neutral ground for a one-off friendly game, completing a hat-trick of Devils NAB League appearances. With Oakleigh narrowly missing finals, this game poises the travelling side against the best of the rest as finals gets underway, and will be a third opportunity for them to pick up a win in the competition. Tasmania entered in Round 7 with two games over three days, going down to Western by 37 points under Friday night lights, and giving Eastern a mighty scare just two days later. Oakleigh will be keen to finish off the season with another win to make it six all up, but the Devils showed their fighting spirit already and should provide a good test for the Chargers. The game will also be a curtain raiser for the NAB League boys clash between Gippsland and Greater Western Victoria at 1:00.

NAB League Girls wash-up: Round 9 – Unbeaten Knights seal minor premiership

FINALS fever awaits in the NAB League Girls competition, with the Northern Knights securing the minor premiership in an undefeated season. The top four order remained unchanged as three of the sides won in Round 9, with next week’s semi-final fixture locked in.

GEELONG FALCONS 1.2 | 4.3 | 5.3 | 8.7 (55)
MURRAY BUSHRANGERS 1.1 | 1.1 | 1.1 | 1.1 (7)

GOALS:

Geelong: M. Skinner 3, J. Hecker, L. McEvoy, P. Sheppard, D. Smith, T. Hassett
Murray: O. Barber

BEST:

Geelong: L. McEvoy, P. Sheppard, L. Lesosky-Hay, M. Skinner, A. Chapman, D. Smith
Murray: M. Brown, O. Barber, C. Mailer, K. Skepper, M. Trethowan, K. Adams

By: Peter Williams

Geelong Falcons bounced back from a rare loss to post a comfortable eight-goal win over Murray Bushrangers at Avalon Airport Oval in the final round of the NAB League Girls season. The Falcons have not needed to respond to a loss for more than two years, but they did so in style on Saturday afternoon despite the plucky Bushrangers’ best efforts. Missing a number of key players due to NSW/ACT representation, Murray brought the heat early, and booted the opening goal of the game through Olivia Barber, but from then on, the game seemed like it was a matter of time before Geelong finally broke the dam wall. They did so in the second term, when Mia Skinner decided enough was enough, booting three goals for her team to lead by 20 points at the main break. While the Bushrangers restricted the Falcons to just the one major in the third term, the Falcons took advantage of the breeze in the last quarter to boot another three goals and record a strong victory ahead of finals next week. Lucy McEvoy was bordering on unstoppable in the game, often needing multiple opponents to drag her down in tackles, she bustled her way to 27 disposals, eight marks, six tackles, four inside 50s and a goal, and could have had a few more had her kicks from outside 50 carried the distance. Paige Sheppard was equally as terrific in the forward half, booting the Falcons first goal of the game, and having 23 disposals, six marks, five inside 50s, two rebounds and laying five tackles. Luka Lesosky-Hay did her own thing around the ground amassing 19 touches and laying six tackles, while Skinner also had 16 disposals and four inside 50s with her three goals, constantly looking dangerous inside the arc. For the Bushrangers, Millie Brown was far and away the best just for her work in defence which time and time again stopped the Falcons attacking movements. It was no surprise to see the potential Geelong father-daughter selection pick up 28 disposals, three marks, four tackles, two inside 50s, and crucially, five rebounds. Barber had seven hitouts, 14 disposals and three marks in defeat, while Cassidy Mailer, Keeley Skepper and Mikaela Trethowan were also named among the best, with Mindy Quade producing a number of timely spoils in defence as well.

WESTERN JETS 0.0 | 0.0 | 0.1 | 1.3 (9)
DANDENONG STINGRAYS 3.1 | 4.3 | 8.6 | 9.6 (60)

GOALS:

Western: L. Wright
Dandenong: T. Smith 4, E. Allen-Burns 2, H. Thomas, S. Stratton, G. Grimmer

BEST:

Western: R. Tripodi, J. Woods, M. Ham, E. Georgostathis, P. Ozols, E. Kiely
Dandenong: B. Vernon, G. Grimmer, I. Shannon, M. McDonald, G. Hodder, T. Smith

By: Michael Alvaro

The Dandenong Stingrays ended their season emphatically, trouncing Western Jets by 51 points to finish a game outside of the top four. Western’s two game winning run came to a halt with another heavy defeat, but the Jets can hold their head up having picked up three wins to finish tenth after a winless first four rounds. The Stingrays were on top from the get-go, building their winning score best in the first and third terms while keeping Western goalless until Laura Wright kicked truly in the final term. Dandenong middle-ager Tyanna Smith played a blinder, racking up an equal game-high 23 disposals, while also pushing forward for a clinical four-straight goals to earn the Round 9 Draft Central Rising Star nod. Brooke Vernon was named best for the winners on the back of a solid defensive outing, while AFLW pre-listed pair Isabella Shannon and Molly McDonald were their usual selves in midfield. Elisabeth Georgostathis was one of Western’s best in defence and midfield, winning 23 disposals, but Ruby Tripodi claimed the full votes for her seven disposals and five tackles. With both sides’ seasons now over, stars from each team will now look forward to VFLW commitments, as well as potential call-ups to represent Victoria Country and Metro in July’s National Championships.

GREATER WESTERN VICTORIA REBELS 0.2 | 0.4 | 0.4 | 0.5 (5)
NORTHERN KNIGHTS 3.1 | 4.1 | 6.3 | 7.8 (50)

GOALS:

GWV: Nil
Northern: A. Bannan 2, N. Morris-Dalton, M. Appleby, T. Pulcino, G. Newton, B. Gutknecht

BEST:

GWV: M. Ciavarella, N. Butler, S. Molan, E. Friend, E. Wood, M. Caris
Northern: N. Morris-Dalton, C. Fitzgerald, S. Sansonetti, P. Chisholm, T. Smart, G. Newton

By: Michael Alvaro

Northern Knights ensured they would end the regular season undefeated with a dominant 45-point win over the Greater Western Victoria Rebels securing them minor premiership honours. Picking up from where they left off last week, the Knights led all game, breaking it open in the first and third quarters with three goals in each to build their winning margin – all while keeping the Rebels goalless. An impressive spread of six individual Knights goal kickers was lead by Alyssa Bannan‘s two, with fellow goal-finders Nell Morris-Dalton (22 disposals) and Gabby Newton (17) also being named in the best while Ellie McKenzie (23 disposals, four marks) was their leading ball-winner and Jess Fitzgerald almost had a huge day with 21 disposals and 0.3. GWV’s Sophie Molan narrowly outdid McKenzie to rack up a game-high 26 disposals, but was beaten out by Melina Ciavarella (eight disposals, five tackles) to be the Rebels’ best. Ella Wood (15 disposals), and Lauren Sykes also won plenty of the ball to be thereabouts as the hosts’ season ended on two wins – including a memorable upset over Oakleigh just last week. Northern move on into the finals, set to play fourth-placed Eastern with the Ranges coming in off a Round 9 loss.

GIPPSLAND POWER 0.0 | 0.0 | 0.0 | 1.0 (6)
CALDER CANNONS 2.1 | 4.3 | 5.6 | 5.7 (37)

GOALS:

Gippsland: N. Webber
Calder: G. Patrikios 2, G. Prespakis, Z. Hardiman, M. Muller

BEST:

Gippsland: C. Bird, G. McRae, M. Fitzsimon, M. Van Berkel, M. Shaw, M. Gilmour
Calder: G. Sampson, T. Fry, Z. Friswell, A. Barba, Z. Hardiman, M. Muller

By: Peter Williams

Calder Cannons booked a date with reigning premiers, Geelong Falcons next Saturday after securing a finals spot courtesy of a 31-point win over Gippsland Power at Morwell Recreation Reserve on Sunday. Despite Gippsland toiling hard in the first 10 minutes of the game, it took some magic from Calder captain, Georgia Patrikios who booted two goals and hit the post to almost have a third in the opening term as her efforts handed Calder a lead. Makeisha Muller and Georgie Prespakis added their names to the goalkickers list in the second term, with Muller on the receiving end of a perfect Prespakis kick, while Prespakis converted a set shot in windy conditions. By the time Zoe Hardiman booted the Cannons’ final goal of the game six minutes into the third term the game was done, but the Power refused to give in, strangling the scoring power from the Cannons, and deservedly finding a major of their own late in the game. Nikia Webber‘s effort in her final NAB League Girls game was symbolic of the entire team – hard working without reward – with that reward coming in the dying minutes when she won a free kick and converted the goal. The Cannons were clearly the better side on the day, but it took magic from the likes of Patrikios, Prespakis and some run and carry from Felicity Theodore off half-back in the opening half to break down the otherwise steady Gippsland defence. Patrikios finished with three marks, five tackles and two inside 50s to go with her 19 touches and two goals, while Prespakis had four marks, six tackles, nine inside 50s and 26 touches in a strong effort once again. Georgia Sampson was named Calder’s best with 15 disposals, three marks and 14 hitouts, while Alana Barba tackled hard with 10 as well as 16 disposals in the game. For Gippsland, Shanara Notman was impressive in defence, having 18 touches, five marks and seven rebounds, while Maddison Shaw (14 disposals, four tackles and three rebounds) and Grace McRae (16 disposals and three tackles) were also consistent once again.

SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS 1.2 | 2.4 | 2.5 | 3.5 (23)
EASTERN RANGES 1.0 | 1.0 | 1.1 | 3.1 (19)

GOALS:

Sandringham: S. Rothfield 3
Eastern: S. Gibbs, C. Wilsmore, M. Hardy

BEST:

Sandringham: A. Burke, D. Walker, G. Strangio, S. Rothfield, E. McNamara, I. Stutt
Eastern: E. Horne, T. Brown, M. Edwards, T. Merrett, J. Richardson, S. Gibbs

By: Josh Ward

In a game which had finals ramifications, the Sandringham Dragons prevailed what was a close contest. In a low-scoring game with rarely any easy possession throughout, the real breakout performer was surprise packet Sophia Rothfield up forward for Sandringham, scoring their only three goals, whilst providing that extra bit of pressure as well. The first two quarters were closely fought, with Sandy dominating the inside 50 game, putting on heaps of pressure up forward whilst not letting the Ranges getting any easy exits, going into the half time break with a deserved 10-point lead (2.4 16 to 1.0 6). However, it could have been more had it not been for the many missed opportunities. The second half was again closely fought, with their only being two points scored during the third quarter. But when Rothfield kicked her third, the game became a bit more open, with the Ranges scoring the next two goals, getting a little more exciting for the last couple of minutes. But despite the late resurgence from the Ranges, the Dragons kept their cool and won what was a really tight contest throughout. The midfield battle also lived up to its hype, with the Ranges duo of Tess Flintoff and Tarni Brown slightly winning it in the first half, but Sandy’s duo of Alice Burke and Winnie Lang winning it the second half. And in the end, it proved vital for the Dragons to pull off yet another surprise victory.

BENDIGO PIONEERS 2.0 | 2.0 | 2.0 | 4.0 (24)
OAKLEIGH CHARGERS 2.0 | 4.3 | 7.6 | 7.8 (50)

GOALS:

Bendigo: E. Snell 2, T. Coad, B. Hards
Oakleigh: E. Harley, J. D’Amato, E. James, G. Lagioia, M. Bertuna, J. Lin, N. Xenos

BEST:

Bendigo: M. Tupper, B. Hards, E. Snell, D. Villiva, G. Barton, K. Douglass
Oakleigh: N/A

By: Michael Alvaro

Oakleigh Chargers did all they could to secure a finals spot, but fell just short despite an impressive 26-point win over the Bendigo Pioneers to round out the regular season. With the scores locked at two-straight goals apiece at quarter time, Oakleigh took charge after the first break with 5.6 during the second and third terms while keeping their opponents scoreless over the same period. Bendigo finished well with two goals to nil in the last quarter, but it proved too little, too late as Oakleigh ensured a fifth win and more than doubled the ‘Pio’s score. Nicola Xenos (23 disposals, one goal), Emily Harley (19 and one), and Gemma Lagioia (19 and one) all found plenty of the ball while also hitting the scoreboard for the winners, with Mimi Hill (19 disposals, five marks) capping off a good year and Amelia Peck (17 disposals, 32 hitouts) also very influential. Mauve Tupper was named best for Bendigo for her team-high 15 disposals and six tackles, with Kate Douglass (11 disposals) the next highest disposal-getter, while Elizabeth Snell claimed her second haul of multiple goals with two. Brooke Hards was also named amongst the best in a low-disposal performance, laying a monster 13 tackles to finish five clear of the next-best player. Both sides’ seasons end here, but there were plenty of positives on either end with finals looking like a real possibility at different stages. All eyes will now be on the National Championships and VFLW season.

Scouting notes: NAB League Girls – Round 9

THE final round of the NAB League Girls took place over the weekend with plenty of impressive efforts as the final four was decided after results were confirmed. We attended five games and noted the final game at the bottom, with players focused among those mentioned by respective Female Talent Managers as players to watch at the start of the season. All notes are the opinion of the individual writer.

 

Geelong Falcons vs. Murray Bushrangers

By: Peter Williams

Geelong:

#8 Paige Sheppard

One of Geelong’s best on the day with McEvoy and Skinner, Sheppard kicked an early goal after working hard to get into the space inside 50. She had a couple of running shots throughout the game at either end but both just fell short or drifted wide. She won plenty of the ball and produced an elite kick from the wing inside to Lucy McEvoy leading out – that perfect 45-kick. She spread to the outside and often pushed up from half-forward then kept running receiving the ball and being a key link in transition between the mids and forwards. Terrific game.

#18 Darcy Moloney

Did not win as much of it as some of her teammates but used it well by foot. She was the one who was released with a quick handball for her to kick forward inside 50. She put it to her teammates’ advantage often placing the kick in front of them running. She kicked inside 50 well to assist Mia Skinner who snapped truly for her fourth major.

#21 Abbey Chapman

Just did what she does every game and while her second half would have been pretty quiet given the ball rarely came near her she had a great rebound at top speed off half-back in the last term. Early on with the heat in the game she forced Ally Morphett to kick off the side of her boot with a great run-down tackle, and also had a lovely kick to Paige Sheppard at half-back.

#24 Mia Skinner

Got off the chain in the second term after being tightly watched in the first to be the difference with three goals and break the game open. She did use her smarts to keep the ball in front of her in the opening term and gain about 30 metres and put it deep inside 50 by kicking it multiple times along the ground. Her goals came from two snaps and a set shot, including a couple within a minute. She then kicked a goal on the run in the final term to make it four for the game.

#38 Lucy McEvoy

The captain was inspirational in the game, often met by multiple opponents when she went near it in close, she kept working hard and would rip the ball from an opponents’ grasp and kick long inside 50. She did all the defensive work too, setting the tone with a run-down tackle at half-back then won a free kick at half-forward. Had a number of opportunities from long-range that just fell short, but then kicked a great goal in the fourth term. Seemed to be everywhere and won touches from the last line of defence through to deep forward and ran all day.

#39 Renee Tierney

Played up the ground and worked hard for her touches. She took a number of good marks, including a contested mark in the second term in front of a pack. She used her strength to get the ball forward on a number of occasions and while she did not win a heap of the ball, still played an important role.

Murray:

#10 Sophie Locke

Started in defence and laid a goal-saving tackle in the first term. Locke mained composed and worked well in defence offering herself as a switch option and used the ball neatly. She did well on Skinner in a one-on-one but just got pushed off it and Skinner goaled. She went forward in the second half and was unlucky not to win a free in a marking contest for a push. Ball did not go near her much but she still worked hard.

#19 Millie Brown

The Bushrangers best out of defence and saved a number of goals with her composure and ability to drop into the hole. Spent the game back there given Geelong’s dominance in the forward half and time and time again intercepted and just bombed it out of defence. Marshalled the defence and no doubt without her the margin could have been greater. A big influence in the game.

#45 Olivia Barber

Had a few nice moments taking some strong grabs, and converting a set shot in the opening term from 35m out. Barber shared the ruck load and worked hard to drop back into defence, putting pressure on an opponent to force a spillage from a marking contest. She took a good intercept mark at half-forward in the third term as well.

 

Sandringham Dragons vs. Eastern Ranges
By: Josh Ward

Sandringham:

#1 Molly Denahy Maloney

Was a touch quiet as well in the first half, but was pretty big in second half in terms of inside 50 pressure and ball use, playing a few big roles in the lead up to each goal.  Missed a couple of chances in front of goal, but had the 10 touches and six hitouts as well as four tackles.

#22 Eliza McNamara

Played a pretty big role of half-back, getting many intercept possessions and using the ball nicely as well with a high disposal efficiency. Had five inside 50s and four tackles as well.

#28 Alice Burke

Again was a bit quiet in the first half, but got herself into the game in the second half. Was impressive in terms of contested footy and clearances and getting it inside 50 as well. Finished with 18 disposals, five tackles and three inside 50s, and was one of the Dragons’ best.

Eastern:

#26 Tarni Brown

Again similar first half to Flintoff and was critical in helping Ranges get first goal. Was quieter in the second half, but still helped out with second goal for Ranges. Brown finished with 23 disposals, three marks, four tackles, three inside 50s and two rebounds.

#33 Tess Flintoff

Good first half with a few touches and good use of the ball. A little bit quieter in the second half. Had an impressive 23 disposals, six marks, three tackles, three inside 50s and four rebounds to her name, getting around the ground well.

#46 Serena Gibbs

Was a good presence up forward and when she went through the ruck, often helping the Ranges get clearances and keep the ball at times up forward. One of the best for the Ranges, with nine touches, 11 hitouts and four marks.

 

Gippsland vs. Calder
By: Peter Williams

Gippsland:

#8 Chandra Abrahams

Not a big possession winner, but showed strength at ground level, using her body well to get a kick away while being tackled in the second term, and then in the third term, used good body strength to bump Makeisha Muller off the ball and kick forward. Laid a number of important tackles as well.

#9 Maddison Shaw

Worked tirelessly for four quarters and really led the way throughout the game playing off half-back and pushing up to the wing. Did well against Georgia Patrikios one-on-one early, laying a big tackle and then spoiling a contest and winning a free for push in the back. Then mopped up time and time again and helped out a defence under siege. She pushed up to the wing and through the middle and had a nice burst in the third term to kick forward, and had a number of effective kicks going long in the final term.

#27 Nikia Webber

Just worked her guts out for four quarters and kicked a well-earned goal in the dying minutes. She showed good strength at the stoppages, often fending off her opponents and kicking long, and drifting back into defence to help out. Went forward later in the game, having a couple of opportunities in the third term with both going across the face, and copping a knock high on one occasion. She finally booted a goal from a set shot free kick in the last few minutes much to the excitement of her and her teammates.

#33 Shanara Notman

One of Gippsland’s best across the game with a number of intercept marks and possessions, while playing on the last line. She found it difficult kicking with the breeze, and was too ambitious in the opening term trying to step around Georgia Patrikios who is the last player in the league you try and step around, but what was promising was despite getting caught it did not deter her from attempting it in the future. She did it successfully a number of times and kicked long where possible.

Calder:

#2 Felicity Theodore

Was clean out of defence and took the game on a number of times in the first half, using handballs to go from half-back to half-forward. Laid a great tackle in the first term to win a free holding the ball, but confusion with the umpires gave it to the opposition player. She did well in that first half with her run and carry.

#21 Georgia Patrikios

Clean and composed with her disposal in windy conditions, Patrikios set the game up for the Cannons with two goals and a poster in the first term. She tackled Shanara Notman who tried to take her on and then converted the set shot, before picking up the loose ball and waiting for her opponent to overrun it then kick it through from a metre out. A third snap hit the post, and a fourth attempt later in the game just drifted in the breeze, but she was ever-dangerous. Showed good movement on the outside and worked well with Georgie Prespakis in midfield.

#22 Makeisha Muller

Spent a half in attack then a half in defence, kicking a goal in the second term after a nice kick from Georgie Prespakis. Then she tried to return the favour but it bounced past her for a behind. In defence, Muller set up the ball well and had a number of impressive runs and kicks from half-back, taking some intercept grabs in the fourth term.

#41 Georgie Prespakis

Busy from the word go winning plenty of the footy in tight and set up a goal to Muller in the second term with a great kick to her running teammate at the top of the goalsquare. She won a free kick inside 50 and converted the set shot shortly after, and had a terrific kick to Patrikios inside 50 in the third term. She had another chance in the third with a snap off a step but it bounced through for a behind.

 

Western Jets vs. Dandenong Stingrays
By: Michael Alvaro

Western:

#17 Elisabeth Georgostathis

Clearly the Jets’ most prolific ball-winner and arguably their best across the day, Georgostathis gave it her all across half-back and later, in the midfield. Showed her trademark pace and willingness to take the game on from the back flank with good rebound, and was not deterred by being caught holding the ball in the second term. Her competitiveness in an under-siege defence translated well with a move into the midfield after half time, as the top-age Jet won a couple of nice bursting clearances. The cherry on top of a solid last month of form.

#23 Isabelle Pritchard

It was by no means Pritchard’s best outing, but she was definitely kept busy and tried her best to hold up a defence under immense pressure at times. While she overran a couple of long balls which she would usually cut off, Pritchard did some good work in the clinches and in particular, made a brave smother in the final term which caught the eye despite the result being beyond her side.

#25 Cleo Saxon-Jones

It was a hard slog for the Jets’ forward focal point, but that did not prevent Saxon-Jones from getting involved in decent patches. Started well with a nice rove at centre half-forward and followed up with a couple of inside 50 entries – albeit with high snapped kicks over a wall of opponents. Being pressured in disposal was a theme for her day at times, but Saxon-Jones chimed in with a couple of fantastic overhead marks – one from a kick-out, and the other around her defensive 50. It was a hard day for Western forwards, so she put her hand up well.

Dandenong:

#12 Molly McDonald

The St Kilda AFLW-listed gun made a good start with the first clearance of the match, and it became a consistent theme as she drove her side forward from midfield with run out of the stoppages. While her kicking inside 50 lacked a touch of penetration at times, McDonald utilised her handballs well and displayed outstanding awareness in the process. Showed good combativeness with an overhead marking attempt against two Western opponents, adding grit to her classy overall game.

#26 Isabella Shannon

McDonald’s usual partner-in-crime through midfield, Shannon built into the game well. Hard to miss with her tucked-in shirt, the top-ager looked dangerous when she pushed forward of the ball – although she missed a couple of long-range opportunities on the run, including a poster from around the arc. Was another Stingray to kick forward well, with one inside 50 leading to Shaneece Stratton’s goal. A running clearance from the stoppage late-on was a highlight, and Shannon was one of the more effective Dandenong players.

#28 Tyanna Smith

Added raw pace and excitement to the midfield, making McDonald and Shannon’s dynamic duo and terrific trio for the day. The thing that made Smith stand out was her ability to push forward and become a dangerous figure inside 50, where she was seemingly everywhere at times as she slotted multiple goals. Her best came from a forward 50 stoppage, where she broke away and kicked truly, with her streaming runs from slick roves a nice feature throughout. Had another eye-catching passage of play where she paddled the ball along the boundary on defensive wing, showing great strength to keep her feet and composure to come away with the ball. Arguably the most damaging Stingray on the day, a top game from the middle-ager.

#31 Brooke Vernon

Vernon was an absolute rock at centre half-back, playing an effective nullifying role on Saxon-Jones while also winning her own ball. Following the Jets’ key forward up the field allowed Vernon to cut off Western’s attacks and distribute forward from defensive wing. While her work up the ground was good, Vernon’s best moments came in the form of a couple of defensive 50 overhead marks – showing outstanding courage for one in the final term. Was solid as ever, great game.

#51 Zoe Hill

While Vernon caught eyes roaming up the field, Hill played the more understated role as the last line of defence. It was not a particularly busy game for Hill with Western only managing one goal, but she did all the little defensive things well and certainly played her role. Laid a potentially goal-saving tackle on Emma Quinn as she streamed towards goal, which was her highlight for the game.

 

Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels vs. Northern Knights
By: Cameron Ross

GWV:

#9 Renee Saulitis

Saulitis proved once again that her tackling ability is elite. She has a textbook tackling technique, getting in low and watches the hips. Didn’t accumulate as many possessions as she would have liked, but her pressure more than made up for it.

#10 Ella Wood

Another solid game for the industrious and tough midfielder, who is going onto bigger and better things. I have stated previously that I am a massive fan of her, and nothing has changed.

#24 Sophie Molan

In her final game for the Rebels, Molan played in the exact same manner she does every game. Crunching tackles, leading with her voice, and doing everything in her power to get the win. After a relatively quiet first quarter, Molan had a much better last three quarters.

#32 Isabella Simmons

Simmons has all of the “tools” but just has to put it all together. Simmons will be one to keep an eye on in the future due to her athletic ability alone, but if she can work the rest out she will be a very talented footballer for years to come.

Northern:

#3 Nell Morris-Dalton

Often plays forward, but had some midfield time today. Took a stack of intercept marks, due to her intelligent positioning a kick behind the play. Seemed to be a natural midfielder, and was a big presence in there all game.

#6 Alyssa Bannan

Kicked a goal in the opening minute of the ground after reading the crumb, and then kicked another from the set shot, 25 out after a strong mark on the lead. Bannan was the prime target up forward all game and worked tireless to give a contest.

#21 Ellie McKenzie

Went head to head with Wood early and won the battle, then was let loose after quarter time. Won a lot of her own footy, and was unlucky not to finish with a goal after hitting the post on a set shot attempt. She has a lovely kicking technique, which is sure to hold her footballing career in good stead in the future.

 

In the other game over the weekend…

Bendigo Pioneers vs. Oakleigh Chargers

Bendigo:

#1 Mauve Tupper

Tupper was solid, finishing up with 15 disposals and six tackles. Was an effective ball user for Bendigo both forward and back, picking up two inside 50s and three rebounds for the match.

#3 Elizabeth Snell

Kicked two of Bendigo’s four goals so was an excellent target forward for the Pioneers. Also picked up 10 touches, two marks and three tackles for a solid day out.

#4 Brooke Hards

Had low disposals compared to her usual haul with only four for the match, but more than made up for it with her tackling pressure (13 tackles). Also had two rebound 50s.

#36 Kate Douglass

Another player who had a solid outing, picking up 11 touches, three tackles and five rebound 50s.

#40 Tara Slender

Slender had a quieter game this week, held well by the Chargers. Finished with six touches, three tackles, two rebounds and seven hit-outs.

Oakleigh:

#1 Gemma Lagioia

A solid 19 disposals, six marks and a goal was the tale for Lagioia in Round 9, clearing the ball well with her 15 kicks and four inside 50s.

#2 Mimi Hill

Hill put in a solid effort across the board this week, collecting 19 disposals, five marks, two tackles and three rebounds.

#4 Emily Harley

Another effective ball mover, Harley also picked up 19 touches, as well as three marks and a goal for her efforts.

#8 Alana Porter

Porter had a quiet game to finish the season, with only the six disposals, three tackles and one inside 50 to her name.

#12 Amelia Peck

Peck was among the best on ground for Oakleigh in what was certainly her best match for the season, notching 17 disposals, three marks and five inside 50s. Peck also dominated hitouts with 32, 11 more alone than the Pioneers collectively.

Scouting notes: NAB League Girls – Round 3

WE attended five of the six NAB League Girls games, taking a look at some of the players raised by respective Female Talent Managers at the start of the season as those to watch. All notes are the opinion of the individual writer.

 

Sandringham Dragons vs. Calder Cannons

By: Peter Williams

 

Sandringham:

#22 Eliza McNamara

Impressed in the midfield working hard at the coalface for contested ball, and was winning a number of clearances. She had a consistent effort across the four quarters, and while it was not a flashy game, McNamara played her role, and along with Winnie Laing got the ball out to the Dragons runners on the outside.

#25 Sarah Hartwig

The standout key defender on the ground, Hartwig impressed once again with her closing speed and one-on-one ability. She laid a huge tackle in the first quarter, blindsiding her opponent and earning a free, while constantly competing in the air or at ground level. She is able to dispose of the ball laterally and had no problems putting her body on the line when required. Hartwig took a great flying intercept mark in the defensive 50 and earned a 50m penalty for her troubles, then took another great intercept mark at top speed going back with the flight in the final term.

#28 Alice Burke

The potential St Kilda father-daughter prospect had a terrific game throughout the four quarters, having her usual impact on the contest. What was particularly impressive was her defensive work, laying multiple tackles on opponents to cause turnovers or stoppages at crucial points in the game. In one instance she tackled Georgia Patrikios, forced a spilled ball and backed up by tackling Georgie Prespakis straight after. She put her body on the line and while sometimes she gave away free kicks due to her fierce nature, she continued to work hard, putting a perfect low darting ball inside 50 late in the game. Burke had a chance to goal from a tight angle on the boundary line in the third term, after a clean pick-up, but just missed. Overall a really promising performance in the midfield.

#30 Winnie Laing

Similar to McNamara, Laing worked hard around the stoppages and constantly dived on the ball and shovelled it out to teammates. While at times she can rush her disposals, Laing’s ability to extract the ball from a tight situation and get it forward to dangerous positions was quite noticeable. In one instant she got the ball forward to a teammate who won a free from a marking contest, but was unfortunately unable to convert the set shot.

#42 Marguerite Purcell

Worked well on a wing, and although her kicking at times was a little erratic, she was able to get into space and impress with her ability to move the ball. She took a number of intercept marks in midfield and showed good speed out of a stoppage to kick it forward. Had a strong first half before a quieter second half.

Calder:

#2 Felicity Theodore

Had her moments throughout the middle of the match, using her smarts to paddle the ball in front of her in the second term to keep the play alive before giving it off to Georgia Patrikios with a quick handball. She caused a free against her when running hard forward which was unlucky, but the moment her team won back possession she took off showing her high work rate. Her pressure in the forward 50 allowed the ball to spill from a tackle and for teammate Neve Crowley to boot a goal.

#21 Georgia Patrikios

Always involved, Patrikios had a mixed bag of a day. Her clean hands and ability to sidestep opponents and seemingly make time still was evident, but she uncharacteristically missed her targets by foot at times. She still had plenty of impressive passages of play however, hitting up Krstel Petrevski on the wing in the second term, and was crucial in setting up some plays late in the game, combining well with Georgie Prespakis and Felicity Theodore inside 50 to create scoring opportunities.

#31 Krstel Petrevski

One of the more impressive players in the win, Petrevski was really prominent early, kicking out of congestion to put it to Makeisha Muller‘s advantage in the first half. She pumped it in deep in the first half, and also showed quick hands out of congestion. On a number of occasions she kicked to an area where it advantaged her forwards and troubled the opposition defence. Petrevski has shown signs at times this season, but the Round 3 clash was her most consistent across four quarters thus far.

#41 Georgie Prespakis

The exciting bottom-ager spent time in midfield and defence, and was one of the biggest ball winners on the day. She showed quick thinking on the inside with slick hands, often shovelling the ball out to the likes of Georgia Patrikios. When going forward, she set up Gloria Elarmaly for a shot on goal which was unfortunately missed. She had her own chance on goal earlier in the game, and then a late set shot, but missed both opportunities. When coming out of defence, she was able to run and carry and use good skills to kick the ball forward.

 

GWV Rebels vs. Dandenong Stingrays

By: Cameron Ross

 

GWV:

#9 Renee Saultis

Tough as nails. Got cleaned up on the wing with an awful high hip and shoulder, but got straight back up and kept on going. Relatively quiet game for her lofty standards, but  was still able to get numerous inside 50s to put pressure on the Stingray’s defence.

#10 Ella Wood

She is really tough and puts her head over the ball showing she is not afraid to go in hard at the stoppages. Wood was the Rebels best midfielder, and proved that she is a contested ball winner. She showcased her football smarts throughout the game with some clever passages of play. Some of her work in the first term set her apart from the others on the field, simply due to her ability to read the play better than her opponents and teammates.

#24 Sophie Molan

It was a true captains performance, she could not have done more. Moved forward in the second quarter and looked to have single handledly brought her side back into the game. Crunched her opponent with a huge tackle in the goal square two minutes into the second quarter and converted from that opportunity, she followed that effort up minutes later with a nice set shot. Molan moved back once the Rebels started struggling, yet was still working desperately to drag her side back into it.  She worked tirelessly throughout the game to win the ball and move into good positions across the ground to create opportunities proving her value to the side. 

#32 Isabella Simmons

Had a really good first half. Her athletic ability is fantastic seeing as though she is quite tall, and proved with the amount of touches she got in the first half that she has plenty of ability. A brain fade at the end of the second quarter really hurt her confidence, and she found the second half a little more challenging not seeing the footy as well but still tried hard throughout the match. difficult. Simmons showed she has a lot of potential and with more development and exposure could be a valuable player for the Rebels.

 

Dandenong:

#12 Molly McDonald

McDonald has a booming kick. In the second quarter, she took the centre clearance, strolled out and launched from about 50. The wind got hold of it and it just faded, but it could have been goal of the year credit to her ability to strike the ball with precision. McDonald kicked 2.3 and probably had the opportunity to kick a bag of four if she was able to convert all her shots at goal. Her volley goal from the goal square sealed the Stingrays victory proving her footy smarts.

#20 Isabella Shannon

Classy player. Shannon played in many positions all over the ground, and was outstanding throughout racking up plenty of touches. She kicked a nice goal after the Rebels turned the ball over, and she finished well. Nice set shot on goal in the third and seemed to have a hand in most of the Stingrays goals in some way credit to her attacking style of play and ability to go in hard at the contest. 

#28 Tyanna Smith

Smith had so many highlights, but her best one was a silky pickup on the wing, a bounce and a long bomb to the Rebels forward 50. She had an impact all over the ground with her clean hands, quick handballs and applied plenty of pressure laying some good strong tackles. She is proving to be a talented player for Dandenong and with further game time she could develop into an even more valuable asset for her side.  

 

Northern Knights vs. Western Jets

By: Taylah Melki

 

Northern:

#6 Alyssa Bannan

Bannan displayed her good hands under pressure with clean pick-ups and a beautiful strong grab in the goal square. Her ability to read the flight of the ball allowed her to nail a good goal in the first quarter as she could get into a good scoring position and read the drop of the ball. She impressed with her good quick hands and pushed forward to create a real presence in the forward 50. Used her kicking ability to bomb it long inside the Knights attacking half and showcased her ability to hit up a target. Bannan provided a good contest in the air and with the wind behind her in the last quarter she kicked an impressive goal from about 40m out after a beautiful lead through the middle of the 50.

#18 Sarah Sansonetti

Sansonetti used her good strong kick of the footy to propel the ball out of their defensive 50. She used the ball well by foot and had good hands in close. She was not afraid to put her body on the line, laying a strong tackle to bring down her opponent. She tracked the ball well and pushed into the midfield at times, using her strength to shrug off tackles and dish off handballs. 

#21 Ellie McKenzie

McKenzie impressed with her good evasive skills, shrugging off a big tackle in the first and keeping her hands free finishing off with a good handball. She showed good spatial awareness, broke through the packs at the centre bounce and pushed forward to try and create scoring opportunities for the Knights. Even when she fumbled she recovered well, got to her feet and hit up a target showcasing her footy smarts and composure. She applied a good smother and agility to pick up the ball and dish it off out of the congestion. McKenzie highlighted her speed with a good run and bounce through the middle of the ground but will be disappointed she was unable to finish off the good piece of play. She worked hard all game both in attack and defence, opening up the middle of the ground with a good pick up and precise kick into the 50. McKenzie continued to find space throughout the game and used the footy well, creating plenty of forward thrusts for the Knights.

#22 Britney Gutknecht

The midfielder displayed her beautiful strong hands and was clean at the stoppages, able to extract the footy with ease throughout the game. She kicked an impressive long goal from about 40 out off a step going right through the middle. Gutknecht applied a strong tackle to bring her opponent to ground and trap the footy in and showed good attack on the footy. She impressed with her ability to read the flight of the ball and rode the tackles well to keep her arms free and dish off a handball. She worked hard to get in and under at the stoppages and moved into good positions around the stoppages to be that release player for the Knights.

#23 Gabby Newton

Newton impressed from the get-go racking up plenty of touches and using her footy smarts to impact the play across the ground. She attacked the footy hard and tracked the ball well at ground level. She was clean at the stoppages, composed under pressure and showed good control of the footy to hit up teammates. Newton applied her fair share of strong tackles and displayed her impressive vision to kick to a moving target. She was good off hands, read the play well, attacked the footy and impressed with her ability to read the play and get it out of congestion. The midfielder was never far from the contest and proved she was not afraid to put her body on the line, roving exceptionally well around the ball ups and reading the taps really well. She worked hard in defence as well, getting hands to ball and contesting the footy, ran hard all game and kept presenting to be an option across the ground.

 

Western Jets:

#13 Isabella Grant

Grant showcased her good hands in close and read the play well moving into strong positions across the ground. At the stoppages she flicked the ball out to her teammates and worked tirelessly to get in and win the footy. She showcased her clean hands and booming kick to help move the ball forward for the Jets.

#17 Elisabeth Georgostathis

Georgostathis attacked the ball hard and impressed with her speed across the ground. She showcased her spatial awareness to dodge players and pass off the footy with her clean hands. She highlighted her beautiful kick of the ball and worked hard in attack using her body well to out position her opponents. She competed well in the air and if she did not mark the ball she brought the ball to ground and followed up her work. Georgostathis roved the packs well and worked tirelessly all game to try and win the footy for the Jets using her quick hands and beautiful kick of the footy to find a teammate under pressure.  

#23 Isabelle Pritchard

She is a good long kick of the footy and showcased her strong hands in the contest, taking a big grab in the middle of the ground in the third quarter. Pritchard got involved across the ground, put her body on the line and was solid in the ruck winning a few taps to the advantage of her teammates. Her follow up work was impressive and used her long kick to help move the Jets forward. 

#25 Cleo Saxon-Jones

Saxon-Jones showcased her kicking ability with a long piercing kick into the forward 50. She displayed her strong hands taking a couple of big marks. Saxon-Jones impressed with her quick hands and good footy smarts to dish off a handball to a teammate in a better position. When in the ruck she won a few taps and read the flight of the ball well.

 

Geelong Falcons vs. Bendigo Pioneers

By: Michael Alvaro

Geelong:

#1 Elise Vella

The diminutive forward returned for another outstanding display of forward pressure and nous around goal, buzzing around the Falcons’ 50 to make a solid impact on proceedings. Her ability to bring the ball up from ground level is invaluable, and combined with her tackling often presents Geelong with scoring opportunities. Vella booted the only goal of the third term on the back of some slick twists and turns, but was influential throughout the day.

#12 Laura Gardiner

Arguably her side’s best, Gardiner looked slick from the get-go with some smooth side-steps and a knack for taking opponents on successfully. She showed her ability to break away from opponents with strong bursts, and pushed her side forward with real intent across the game. Gardiner’s running ability also allowed her to find space in the forward half and create clear-cut chances, much like the passage for Renee Tierney’s second quarter goal. A particular highlight was her sensational intercept mark in the third term, capping a ripping performance.

#18 Darcy Moloney

Moloney cracked in hard and showed a willingness for the contest – both at ground level and with an impressive second quarter overhead mark. She has a good leap which boded well for her aerial impact, and often kicked long to be one of many Falcons to provide some serious drive. Moloney’s smother in the fourth quarter was a fitting finish to a hard-fought shift.

#21 Abbey Chapman

Chapman did not have much to do in the first three quarters, but was solid as usual at full-back when the ball came her way. Pressing off from deep in defensive 50, Chapman did well to cut off many of Bendigo’s forward forays and push the ball back the other way, making her a key part of keeping Bendigo goalless for three quarters. She went forward in the closing term and bagged a goal deep inside 50, while also leading up well in that time.

#24 Mia Skinner

The dangerous forward went one better on her three-goal effort last time out, snagging her fourth goal in the final term to cap off an exciting display of offence. Employed both deep and in her usual high half forward role, Skinner made good use of quick-fire opportunities to snap on goal and was clinical in her finishing for the most part. She just seems to find space so easily and is always in the contest when the ball arrives in Geelong’s attacking half.

#38 Lucy McEvoy

While the skipper was followed almost everywhere by Bendigo’s Brooke Hards, she still managed to find a heap of the ball in all areas of the ground. Starting at the first centre bounce, McEvoy looked on track to continue her good form in midfield, but did not quite have the same damaging effect with her disposals. Many of her better touches were handballs from in-close and she found teammates often, which has been a pleasing feature of her game. She later moved forward, and then seemed to cover for Abbey Chapman down back later on and was solid.

#39 Renee Tierney

While she still managed to hit the scoreboard, Tierney was made to earn it throughout the day by star Bendigo defender Katie Douglass. She showed good signs at ground level and looked better when working into space on leads, rather than competing one-on-one. Still, her goal came from a mark deep inside the 50 in the second term, and she provided a nice assist to Laura Ryan later on to see out her game.

 

Bendigo:

#4 Brooke Hards

Started off in her usual midfield position and provided some good tackling presence. An early tackle on Lucy McEvoy was a sign of things to come, as Hards competed well with the Geelong skipper at most contests, while also following her to both ends of the ground. Hards was still able to showcase her dash from stoppages and won some eye-catching clearances while zipping around the packs. Was named Bendigo’s best for the day.

#28 Eloise Gretgrix

The Pioneers captain joined Hards in the midfield as expected and competed hard to set the tone for her side. She is not afraid to crack in at the stoppages, and showed her competitiveness in the third quarter with some tough efforts. Also showed strong hands against two opponents in the second when Bendigo were under the pump.

#36 Katie Douglass

Despite the Pioneers leaking nine goals, Douglass was a star down back all day and had some ultra impressive moments. Matched against Renee Tierney deep in defence for most of the day, Douglass reeled in some fantastic one-on-one marks under pressure, while also staying composed in traffic when moving the ball out with her booming left foot. She pushed hard at the ball when it came in at ground level, while also affecting spoils and smothers when the ball was otherwise in dispute. A good shift from the defender overall on a tough day for the Pios.

#40 Tara Slender

While Slender struggled at times to hold a rampant Geelong side at bay, she looked to improve in the second half with a couple of really nice overhead marks and intercepts. That is clearly a key part of her game, and is usually an eye-catching feature of her back-half partnership with Katie Douglass. Slender has plenty of time to work on her promising traits too, set for another two years in the NAB League system.

#44 Jordyn Jolliffe

The over-ager started up forward and took a nice one-on-one mark early on. Not afraid to use her body in the contest, Jolliffe tried to burst away with the ball and was even employed at times at the centre bounces. She made good on that move too with a couple of clearances.

 

Murray Bushrangers vs. Gippsland Power

By: Peter Williams

Murray:

#8 Abby Favell

A prominent midfielder on the day, the noticeable trait about Favell is her ability to somehow find space around the ground. She would often take an uncontested mark after working hard to push into open space, and then kick long inside 50. As a whole she was reliable by hand or foot and also worked hard back into defence on occasions and was able to find the ball. Overall, she was one of the more prominent players on the day and in a match without standouts, a lot of the Bushrangers shared the load and she was one of those who stood tall in the win.

#19 Millie Brown

Just did her thing around the ground and contributed through the midfield. She won a fair chunk of contested ball, and got involved early with some important touches. Brown was able to display good core strength to dispose of the ball while being tackled, and she moved well through traffic to dish off to teammates.

#10 Sophie Locke

Another Bushrangers midfielder who shared the load around, and was best on the defensive side of things, laying a number of big tackles on opponents to stop them in their tracks. Locke is strong one-on-one and gained distance going forward. Putting together a few solid performances thus far this season, and provided some strong inside ability for the Bushrangers against Gippsland.

#45 Olivia Barber

The Bushrangers’ best player on the day, Barber could have had a real day out in front of goal had she not missed a couple opportunities. But in the first half she looked the most damaging on the field, and then was rewarded for her hard work in the second half by converting a couple of goals to seal the win. Barber continually presented at the ball, and would more often than not mark the ball, or if not, bring it to ground. She showed what she was capable of with her leading and marking, and will be one to watch over the course of the next two seasons.

 

Gippsland:

#8 Chandra Abrahams

Abrahams contested strongly around the ground, playing through the midfield and always providing a target for defenders to kick to. She went up for a series of marks, and while she couldn’t bring one down, was providing an aerial contest to force opponents to go with her. At ground level, she was fierce with her tackling, defensive pressure and one percenters, indirectly forcing some turnovers. Abrahams also had a desperate smothering attempt in the first term and a great smother in the second term. While statistically her numbers would not be huge, the work she did off the ball was what was impressive.

#9 Maddison Shaw

One of a number of Gippsland defenders who stood tall in defeat, constantly stemming the flow and rebounding the ball out of the back half. Shaw showed great leadership off half-back and was able to dispose of the ball by foot under pressure, getting it out of the danger zone and up to the wing. When required, Shaw pushed up the ground to add an extra number to the contest and copped a foot to the face in the third term but shook it off to continue and continued to be involved in the play.

#27 Nikia Webber

A quieter game from Webber, but she still showed patches of strong play, laying a number of tackles and pushing up the ground to bomb the ball long inside 50. She pushed up the ground to help out her teammates, and missed a shot on goal in the third term. Took a couple of strong marks around the ground as well.

 

In the other game at Healesville, Eastern Ranges won by a goal over Oakleigh and here’s how some of the notable players performed on the day:

Eastern:

#21 Olivia Meagher – 18 disposals, one mark, two tackles, two inside 50s, one rebound

#26 Tarni Brown – 21 disposals, five marks, five tackles, three inside 50s, one rebound

#39 Laura McClelland – 10 disposals, one mark, one tackle, two inside 50s, one goal

#46 Serena Gibbs – 11 disposals, four marks, 15 hitouts, three inside 50s

Oakleigh:

#1 Gemma Lagioia – 17 disposals, one mark, one tackle, four inside 50s

#2 Mimi Hill – 19 disposals, two marks, five tackles, four rebounds

#4 Emily Harley – 14 disposals, one mark, three tackles, one inside 50, one rebound, one goal

NAB League Girls weekend preview: Round 2

AFTER a week off for fitness testing, Round 2 of the NAB League Girls competition is raring to go, with all 12 sides ready for another big weekend of footy.

BENDIGO PIONEERS v. EASTERN RANGES


Round 2 – 16/03/19
12.45pm
Epson Huntly, Bendigo

In what is looking to be another hot match for both sides, the Bendigo Pioneers will host the Eastern Ranges to start Round 2. For Bendigo, Maeve Tupper and Eloise Gretgrix were among the best in the narrow loss to Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels in Round 1, holding down the midfield and creating issues downfield. Gretgrix’ consistency and ability in one-on-one contests will prove difficult for the Ranges if not addressed. Eastern are coming off a good win against the Stingrays, but will be rueing missed opportunities in front of goal so will want to really make their mark against the Pioneers with accuracy key. Olivia Meagher and Tarni Brown stood up in the win, impressing through the midfield with their efficient ball movement and pressure around stoppages, so will want to come into this second match with confidence against a side that pushed the Rebels all the way last round.

GREATER WESTERN VICTORIA REBELS v. CALDER CANNONS


Round 2 – 16/03/19
12.45pm
MARS Stadium

The second game for Round 2 will see GWV Rebels host the Calder Cannons in a battle for a second win. With five goalkickers in Round 1, Calder have shown they have plenty of options around the ground to bring into the game at any given time, while the Rebels showed great composure to come away with a win against a pressurised Pioneers side last round. With only two named in the Draft Central Team of the WeekMakeisha Muller and Georgie Prespakis – despite a dominant win, Calder have a lot to prove coming into this round. Muller showcased her skill with the footy last round, with an intuitive snap on goal a highlight of her Round 1 output, making her a difficult player to take on around the ball. Dominant ball carrier, Georgia Patrikios has been named in the side this week on the interchange, so will be a key player regardless of her role on the field, and will pair nicely with Prespakis to build up the Cannons’ midfield. Meanwhile, GWV Rebels will come into this game also with a Round 1 win under their belt, and two standout players in Nekaela Butler and Isabella Simmons. Simmons kicked two goals and showed some good footy smarts downfield against the Pioneers last round, so will want to bump up her work ethic against the Cannons for a four quarter effort. Defensively, Butler and Nyakoat Dojiok will have their work cut out for them down back, but with their combined speed off the half-back, they will be key players on a mission to cut off Calder’s dominant goal kickers.

NORTHERN KNIGHTS v. OAKLEIGH CHARGERS


Round 2 – 17/03/19
12.45pm
RMIT Bundoora

The third game of Round 2 will see Northern Knights host the Oakleigh Chargers, with both sides sitting toward the top of the ladder after dominant Round 1 performances. Oakleigh key forward, Emily Harley kicked four goals against Gippsland Power, staking her claim as a leading goalkicker of the competition early, while fellow forward, Northern’s Britney Gutknecht, kicked four majors of her own on her side’s way to dominating Murray. With four Knights midfielders who made the Draft Central Team of the Week last round, Northern will be a challenge to combat when in possession, especially with the confidence boost of rendering Murray goalless in Round 1. Amelia van Oosterwjick kicked two majors to add to the Chargers’ tally last round, showing her value as a second tall inside 50 while midfielder, Gemma Lagioia showed her effectiveness with ball in hand on the outside, with silky precision proving she will be a difficult player to take on. Northern’s Ellie McKenzie used her clean ball movement and awareness on field to create opportunities for clearances last round, so is likely to come into this matchup with a similar process.

GEELONG FALCONS v. GIPPSLAND POWER


Round 2 – 17/03/19
12.45pm
Deakin Uni, Geelong

The reigning premiers will host Gippsland Power to open Sunday’s fixture, and will come into this matchup confident after an excellent 26 point win against the Sandringham Dragons in Round 1. Gippsland went down by a frustrating 50 points in the first round, meaning they will really have to lift their game to get over the line this week against the Falcons. Falcons’ Round 1 best on ground Luka Lesosky-Hay and Lucy McEvoy proved dominant through the midfield, pairing well and contesting the ball at every opportunity, making it difficult for opposition movement, so will want to storm through Gippsland this week to continue their successful start to the season. Gippsland’s Chandra Abraham put on a show with her tackling pressure last round and defensively was a great backup to her side, so will want to back up her Round 1 performance and prove her effectiveness when her side faces off against Geelong’s efficient and dominant midfield.

MURRAY BUSHRANGERS v. WESTERN JETS


Round 2 – 17/03/19
12.45pm
JC Lowe Oval, Yarrawonga

Two more sides face off in their campaign for a debut win for the season, with Murray hosting Western after a disappointing Round 1 matchup against 2018 grand finalists, Northern. Murray only managed to score two behinds for the game, but showed some promise with midfielders, Abby Favell and Ally Morphett standing up through the tough match, while Olivia Barber also put in the hard yards. Their determination and relentless effort will bring a lot to the side this week when they take on the Jets, who are also coming off a Round 1 loss to Calder. The Jets will look to last round’s best on ground, Isabella Grant and Elisabeth Georgostathis to get their side on the board, with Grant kicking the side’s only goal in Round 1. Georgostathis is another player who doesn’t back down from contests, so will be a key player when it comes to breaking through Murray’s midfield.

SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS v. DANDENONG STINGRAYS


Round 2 – 17/03/19
1.00pm
RSEA, Moorabbin

The final matchup of Round 2 will see the Sandringham Dragons host the Dandenong Stingrays at the revised starting time of 1pm. Both sides are chasing their first win for the season, with Dandenong coming out of Round 1 with a tight loss to Eastern, while Sandringham were beaten by reigning premiers, Geelong. Sandringham captain, Molly Denahy-Moloney is a late omission from the match with illness, meaning the side will need to push hard in the forward 50 for scoring opportunities. Sarah Hartwig had a fantastic match against Falcon, Lucy McEvoy in Round 1, so will want to replicate her efforts coming off half back to produce ball movement toward forward 50. For Dandenong, Brooke Vernon showed her strength in the backline and was dominant as the last line of defence in Round 1, so will be one to look out for when it comes to goal scoring opportunities for the Dragons. She paired well with Zoe Hill, also named in the Stingrays’ best, and the duo will certainly be ready for any forward action for Sandringham.

Team of the Week: NAB League Girls – Round 1

A COMPREHENSIVE win to the Northern Knights in Round 1 of the NAB League Girls competition has resulted in them receiving the most nominees in the Draft Central Team of the Week. The Knights had four players named in the 24-player squad, one more than Oakleigh Chargers, with eight of the 12 sides having two players, while Gippsland Power had one, and Murray Bushrangers just missed out on a player following the heavier defeat.

Northern’s 76-point victory over Murray saw equal round-high leading goalkicker, Britney Gutknecht slot into a forward pocket with Ellie McKenzie at half-forward having spent time between midfield and attack. Gabby Newton played all over the ground, but spent some time in the ruck and therefore was named there, while Jess Fitzgerald was also impressive and earned a spot on the bench. Oakleigh’s attacking duo of Emily Harley (four goals) and Amelia van Oosterwijck (two) earned their places in the forward line, while speedster Alana Porter also made the team for her performance.

The defensive end is mostly comprised of Stingrays and Dragons, and while both sides lost, Zoe Hill and Sarah Hartwig hold down the key defensive posts, while Brooke Vernon and Winnie Laing provide the run. Laing spent more time in the midfield, but can play in defence, similar to Gippsland’s sole nominee, Chandra Abrahams who played through the midfield, but has the capacity to play in defence and earned her spot in the team. Greater Western Victoria (GWV) defender, Nekaela Butler rounded out the starting back six, joined in the team by forward, Isabella Simmons.

The final forward in the starting side was Calder Cannons’ Makeisha Muller who looked lively throughout the match up forward, joined in the side by bottom-age prospect, Georgie Prespakis. Geelong Falcons and Eastern Ranges make up the rest of the midfield, with Falcons captain, Lucy McEvoy and their best on the day, Luka Lesosky-Hay both in the side with Ranges’ Tahni Brown and Olivia Meagher. On the bench are two Pioneers and Jets who, while they did not pick up the four points, earned their places in our team. Eloise Gretgrix and Maeve Tupper represented the Pioneers in the side, while Isabella Grant and Elisabeth Georgostathis stood out for the Jets.

Scouting notes: NAB League Girls – Round 1

IN the opening round of the NAB League Girls season, our writers took a look at all six games and some of the players that the respective Female Talent Managers regarded as ones to watch throughout the season. All notes are opinion-based on the individual writer.

Calder Cannons vs. Western Jets


Calder:

By: Peter Williams

#2 Felicity Theodore

The small midfielder with good pace continually cracked in hard throughout the game. Her hard effort was best exemplified by her mark in the third term, going back with the flight with pressure coming from behind. She showed good core strength and smarts at times to keep the ball in front of her, whether by paddling along the ground, or getting it to a teammate in a better position. She showed clean hands throughout the contest and won a fair chunk of the ball early in the final term, perhaps the next step is more penetration on kicks. Overall a hardworking performance.

#11 Alana Barba

Had a few nice plays with a quick handball off the deck to Makeisha Muller in the second term to create a scoring opportunity, as well as a good kick to a teammate’s advance. In the final quarter, Barba created some run off half-back and cleanly handballed to Theodore.

#22 Makeisha Muller

Muller made things happen up forward, and while she hit and miss when going for goal – rushed at times – she had some eye-opening moments. After missing a snap on goal in the second term, Muller had another chance moments later with a shot sailing through using the breeze perfectly. She continued to present throughout the contest and almost had another goal but it was rushed across the line by an opponent.

#41 Georgie Prespakis

The standout best on ground, it is hard to believe Prespakis is yet to turn 16 years of age. Much like her sister Madison, some of the things she does cannot be ignored. The way she positions herself at stoppages and moves through traffic is a highlight and she has a booming kick that is used to put opposition defenders under pressure by putting it deep inside 50. Prespakis moves well and has good composure and made what was one of the goals of the day look simple. She won the ball, turned, shrugged off an opponent and snapped one home. She is a natural kick of the football and also worked back defensively to take an uncontested mark in defence later in the game. Prespakis had a chance for a second goal but missed to the left.

Western:

By: Taylah Melki

#13 Isabella Grant

Beautiful evasive skills to work her way through traffic and kick a goal in the first quarter. She broke a few tackles throughout the game and showed good spatial awareness. Grant ran hard both offensively and defensively and contested well both in the air and at ground level to win the ball back for her side. Had a really good passage of play where she worked her player inside and out to shrug off a tackle and try and kick to a teammate highlighting her impressive footy IQ.

# 17 Elisabeth Georgostathis

Georgostathis impressed with her speed and ability to opens up space across the ground. She provided plenty of good forward momentum with her clever use of the ball to hit up teammates cleanly. She showcased her good evasive skills, sidestepping opponents with ease and was calm solid under pressure highlighting her ability to think her way through tricky situations. The midfielder got her hands to plenty of the ball, proving how deadly she can be with ball in hand. She was really good in the contest and displayed her footy smarts throughout the game with her clever kicks to her teammates advantage. Georgostathis was not afraid to break out of packs, extracted the ball cleanly from congestion, read the play well and constantly got involved in the passage of play. She hunted both the ball and player throughout the game, laid good strong tackles. In the final term of the match she took an impressive contested mark against two opponents, proving to be a real playmaker for her side credit to her skill and commitment.

#23 Isabelle Pritchard

Pritchard went in hard for the ball all game and worked tirelessly at the contest. She had quick hands, was good in close, and used her strong kick to try and clear congestion. At times, she could improve her composure, but she had moments of brilliance especially in the last quarter where she laid a goal saving tackle, lunging to stop her Calder Cannons opponent from scoring. Pritchard applied good defensive pressure throughout the match.

#25 Cleo Saxon-Jones

She took a good strong mark in the first quarter and used her long booming kick to help set up play in the forward half on more than one occasion. Saxon-Jones provided a good option in the attacking 50, contested hard to win the footy both in the air and on the ground and cleared the ball well throughout the course of the game.

Bendigo Pioneers vs. Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels

Bendigo:

By: Peter Williams

#4 Brooke Hards

One of Bendigo’s best, Hards did not take a backwards step. Occasionally she would be pinged for holding the ball, but her attack and desire on the ball is what you like to see. She constantly put her body on the line, but also managed to find space on a wing and at half-forward. At one stage she won the intercept ball, fended off an opponent and kicked inside 50. Clean at ground level and a long kick, it was a solid performance from the number four.

#19 Jemma Finning

Was not a huge ball winner, but her kicking was a standout. She had a piercing kick from half-back to the wing in the first term, not only hitting its target, but being low to avoid a spoil from an opposition defender. She can turn out of trouble and also run both ways, intercepting the ball at half-back and kicking long to the wing.

#28 Eloise Gretgrix

Played a real team-orientated role in the middle of the ground and regularly went in hard at the coalface. Along with Hards provided some great inside support, replacing the work that Megan Williamson did last year. Was one of the most consistent Pioneers players on the day and won more one-on-ones than she lost.

#36 Kate Douglass

Played at full-back and certainly teamed well with Tara Slender in the key defensive posts. She is strong one-on-one and just clears the ball from danger every chance she gets. Douglass held her ground under immense pressure on a number of occasions and if not able to dispose of it long by foot, looked to release a running defender.

#44 Jordyn Jolliffe

Kicked a couple of goals and showed enough to suggest the over-ager will add an important element to the Pioneers’ attack. Having missed last season due to injury, she played out of the goalsquare and looked dangerous in the air, then pushed into the midfield at times and also had an inside 50. A mark running back with the flight about 25 metres out showed great courage.

GWV:

By: Taylah Melki

# 9 Renee Saulitis:

She attacked the goal face early on narrowly missing then backed up her efforts in front of goal scoring a freakish goal in the first quarter. Saulitis was on a tricky angle she turned, took a few steps and slotted it straight through the middle. The party tricks did not stop there for the talented forward nailing another impressive goal in the third, showcasing her ability to read the play well. She roved the ball off the back of the pack turned around and nailed a goal from just outside the goal square highlighting her footy smarts and good goal sense to position well and score.

# 10 Ella Wood:

Showed good attack on the ball and was not afraid to hunt the player to win the contested ball. Wood worked hard to win the footy for her team and had a good presence around stoppages to makes herself available. She got into clever positioning across the ground and showed good dash through the middle. At times her execution was slightly off, but the endeavour and intent to attack the play was there, helping to set up many forward thrusts.

# 24 Sophie Molan:

Good strong spearing kick and knows how to use the footy to maximize her impact per possession. She is clean with ball in hand, helps to set up good attacking play and worked hard in the attacking 50. The captain scrapped well to try and win the loose ball at ground level and showcased her pin point precision with timely and accurate passes. Molan has good spatial awareness and used her clever sidestep to avoid traffic and shrug off opponents. She roved well off the pack and tried to clear space with her long kick over the top. Molan displayed her good hands under pressure to take a big mark coming out of defence and willed herself to the contest on a few occasions. She proved to be a good option up forward and continued to present time and time again.

# 30 Nyakoat Dojiok:

Dojiok was really quick off the mark and showed good closing speed to shut down her opponents. She went in hard at ground level to try and trap the footy and marked her player closely showing good defensive pressure. Dojiok highlighted her good evasive skills to get in and under the tackler then dash through the centre. In one passage of play she put the afterburners on and tried to hit up a teammate in the forward 50. She broke the game open in the third with her impressive speed and run through the middle of the ground, taking a bounce and kicking the ball long inside 50, creating a half chance at goal for her teammates.

# 32 Isabella Simmons

Scored a good goal in the opening term and took a few solid marks. Simmons provided some good strong leads in the opening quarter and kicked her second goal for the first quarter. She was cool, calm and composed under pressure with a shot after the siren in the first and showed good spatial awareness. Simmons showcased her footy smarts to evade players and then run through the middle of the ground and provided some good link up play through the middle.

# 35 Maggie Caris

Caris impressed with her clever use of the ball to open up space and set up a scoring opportunity for her teammates. She was solid in the ruck with some clever taps to advantage to her teammates and used her height to try and dominate the opposition. She moved well across the ground evading opposition after winning the footy in the air, proving her versatility and class.

Northern Knights vs. Murray Bushrangers


Northern:

By: Taylah Melki

# 3 Nell Morris-Dalton

Hit the post early on but showed good goal sense throughout the game to be a viable option up forward, later scoring a goal. Morris-Dalton impressed with her ability to read the play and showed good footy smarts to body up and control the footy. She had solid hands under pressure and at times looked to have plenty of time and space with ball in hand. Morris-Dalton also helped to set up good attacking play for the Knights.

# 6 Alyssa Bannan

Bannan displayed a good use of footy to kick the ball into the forward half and mount some forward pressure. She nailed an impressive goal in the last quarter quickly turning and finding the goals credit to her clean use of the footy and general goal sense. Bannan took a good intercept in the forward 50 and worked hard to apply pressure, ride the tackle and keep her arms free to release a handball.

# 7 Abigail Bennett

Beautiful kick of the footy kicking a goal in the second term and showed good hands under pressure. Bennett applied good tackling pressure to try and trap the footy in the Knights forward half and displayed good awareness to avoid the tackler and tap the ball back into play. ??

# 14 Jess Fitzgerald

Fitzgerald had clean hands under pressure and impressed in one passage of play with an easy pick up off the deck, followed up by a clever kick toward to trap the ball inside forward 50. She showed good speed to break away from the pack and handball out of stoppage to a passing teammate to try and set up a shot at goal.

# 18 Sarah Sansonetti

Sansonetti took a good strong mark back in defence and showcased her kicking ability with a long kick over the congestion into space. She displayed good body positioning on her opponent to win the footy and attacked the footy hard. She proved she was not afraid to go in hard to meet the contest.

# 21 Ellie McKenzie

McKenzie was clean out of the centre, had good ball skills, showed good control with the footy and hits targets up on the lead. She took a strong contested mark, and highlighted her impressive aerial abilities along with her impressive spatial awareness to hit up teammates on the wing. She starred in one passage of play with a strong intercept mark and then propelled the ball forward. McKenzie displayed her clever sidestep out of traffic, fended off two players and kept arms free to release ball to teammate proving her class. She racked up the clearances credit to her clean hands in and around the footy and opened up space across the ground. McKenzie highlighted her football skill in the second quarter receiving a handball and going for a run, fending off two players and almost delivering the ball inside 50 to a teammate.

# 22 Britney Gutknecht

She slotted any early goal credit to her clever snap. Gutknecht accumulated plenty of touches with a good pick up off her toes and proved to be a real play maker through the middle. She ran hard across the field to try and interfere with the play and slotted an impressive goal from 50 thanks to beautiful long kick. She strikes the ball well, showed good spatial awareness and impressive footy smarts. Her composure under pressure was second to none slotting an impressive four goals for the game. She took a heap of strong contested marks across the ground and was a real presence across the field. Gutknecht seemed to have the ball on a string in the last term racking up the possessions.??

# 23 Gabby Newton

Clever play in the forward half and showed an impressive goal sense and ability to get boot to ball. She was clean around the ground scooping the ball up in one hand. Newton took a really good mark in the forward 50 and showcased her footy smarts with a clever chip kick to hit up teammate in a better position. She tackled hard to try and win back possession for her side and impressed with her follow up play across the field. Was not afraid to accelerate forward and open up space and showed good presence around the stoppages.

# 32 Ash Snow

Snow was not afraid to go in hard and extract the footy from the stoppages, getting down low. She tackled hard throughout the game and had clean hands in close. She highlighted her footy smarts with a good chip kick in the middle of the field to open up the forward 50 and create a scoring opportunity for her side. Snow took a few strong marks and was clean with ball in hand with a good hit up kick to teammate in the forward 50.

Murray:

By: Peter Williams

#7 Kate Adams

Adams rotated between midfield and defence, playing half-back, on. a wing and onball, using the ball consistently, and was able to use short kicks to hit-up targets on the wing. Against the bigger bodies she got pushed around a little, but never gave in, winning an important one-on-one late in the game.

#8 Abby Favell

Favell showed some promising signs around the ground, both offensively and defensively. Early on she took a good mark on the lead at half-forward and delivered a low pass inside 50 to a teammate. She ran down an opponent in a tackle and seemed to just keep running throughout the day, trying to get the Bushrangers moving in transition.

#10 Sophie Locke

Like many players, did not win a heap of the ball, but she constantly put pressure on the opposition. She cracked in hard and laid a great tackle on her opponent in the second term to force a turnover. In the final quarter, she laid another terrific tackle that was rewarded with a free kick. Her defensive efforts were very good and she helped out a defence that was under siege at times.

#45 Olivia Barber

Showed some nice signs throughout the four quarters in the air and at ground level. She made a number of strong second efforts and was able to use the ball well. She laid a great running tackle later in the game to earn a free kick, and was able to fire a handball off to a teammate while Barber was still on the ground.

Dandenong Stingrays vs. Eastern Ranges

By: Peter Williams

Dandenong:

#10 Abbey Jordan

Playing on a wing and half-forward, Jordan had a quieter first term before getting into the match more from the second term. She pressed up from half-forward when the ball was in defence and provided an option out wide. She kept running to find space and took a huge grab in the final term to put the ball in the path of Tyanna Smith to run onto towards goal only to just miss.

#26 Isabella Shannon

The Saints’ AFL Women’s recruit kicked the first goal of the game for the Stingrays with a snap in traffic. She kept presenting at half-forward taking a. number of marks, but also won the ball off the deck. In the third term she won a few possessions at half-back, and showed a few quick steps out of a centre clearance to bomb the ball long and deep inside. 50.

#28 Tyanna Smith

Smith worked hard for the Stingrays in the midfield and kept running all day long. She showed off her clearance ability time and time again, being a danger around the stoppages and just attacking the ball hard. She gave away a few free kicks throughout the game, but constantly harassed opponents with frantic tackling or implied pressure. She had clean hands and smart thinking to use the ball by hand out of a. stoppage, and had the chance to give Dandenong a huge shot running into goal in the final term, but it just missed to the right.

#31 Brooke Vernon

An underrated performance from the defender in a role that can be unforgiving, but Vernon was terrific on the last line. She saved at least two goals that Eastern would have otherwise kicked, which included a goal-saving smother in the second term, and then bumping her opponent off the ball in the goalsquare as she tried to soccer it home. While the Stingrays did not win, Vernon’s actions kept them in it, and she was so calm and composed under pressure, and has a long kick that clears the defence. The best from the Stingrays.

#51 Zoe Hill

The Stingrays full-back is a rebounding machine, who just is as consistent as they come. She is a good mover in traffic, and a long raking kick. She is one that tends to have Velcro hands at times and can win a contested ball at ground level too. Still a bottom-ager, but she has quite a few nice traits and consistency on her side.

Eastern:

#21 Olivia Meagher

A huge first half by Meagher set the tone for Eastern, winning a number of intercept possessions as well as contested ball at the bottom of packs. She won the ball in all thirds of the ground, and either kicked forward or looked for the quick handpass to a running teammate. She showed good smarts throughout the game and had a few nice touches and applied pressure to opponents.

#26 Tarni Brown

Classy. It is the easiest way to describe Brown who has unbelievable agility, speed and technique, it is just ironing out areas such as assessing her options at times which would make her go to the next level. She can kick it long and has no issues finding space, and when she does have space in front of her, it is hard to stop her. The daughter of former Magpie captain, Gavin Brown, the smooth mover showed just how much speed she had in the final term with a blistering run, quick handball to a teammate, receive and then kick inside 50 which covered about 40 metres. Her metres gained would be remarkable, and while she does need to just build that consistency by foot, the technique is there.

#39 Laura McClelland

The AFL Women’s Academy member took some huge grabs, including a ridiculous contested mark where she read the flight perfectly despite being in the middle of two opponents. She kicked a terrific goal in the second term after intercepting the ball at half-forward, taking a few steps and never looked. Like missing. She showed clean hands off the deck and spreads well, it is just cleaning up the kicking at times that would be the next step, but McClelland has a lot of tricks.

#46 Serena Gibbs

The netballer showed some serious talent, and while consistency in finding the ball is an area to build upon, her kicking was surprisingly impressive for a code-crosser. Gibbs lead at the football and by bringing the ball to ground created a goal to Mietta Kendall in the second term. Then she speared a pass into another teammate despite being hugged on the boundary line, and was finally rewarded in the last term with a goal for her efforts from a nice snap.

Oakleigh Chargers vs. Gippsland Power

Oakleigh:

By: Peter Williams

#1 Gemma Lagioia

The classy mover did her thing throughout the match and spread across the ground to win the ball on the outside. She got her side on the board with less than 30 seconds remaining by side-stepping an opponent, straightening up and putting though a major just before quarter time. A one-grab player who is clean by hand or foot, she knows how to weight her kicks and angle them.

#2 Mimi Hill

The Chargers’ captain won a lot of the ball, particularly in the first half. She played off half-back and was the general in defence, clearing a lot of Gippsland’s attacks. As the Chargers had more control in the second half, she was needed less, but she still found a way to be involved, pushing up the ground and winning the ball. Showed nice vision and neat foot skills.

#4 Emily Harley

The difference between the teams as the key forward target inside 50. After a quiet first term where she gave away a free kick or two, she became the one that forced the opposition defenders to infringe on her. She was pushed out of a contest in the second term, earned the free and made no mistake with. The set shot. She had another shot early in the third after protecting the drop zone, marking on her chest and setting sail for goal. It fell short but was marked by Kalarni Kearns who slotted it. Another chance for a major off a huge pack mark resulted in a poster, but Harley quickly rectified the missed with a loose ball get and snap goal. She nailed her third goal after a dominant one-on-one after almost converting another chance moments earlier on the run. She capped off a dominant, best on ground performance with her fourth goal early in the final term.

#8 Alana Porter

The speedy midfielder showed some great signs throughout the match and had one really impressive play in the second term. She. Won the ball at half-back, ran along the wing burning off an opponent and then hit a teammate at half-forward while at top speed. Earlier in the game she missed a chance for goal after going back with the flight then receiving a 50m penalty. Often being held trying to get out of a stoppage, Porter was able to buzz around and use her speed to clear the ball throughout the game.

Gippsland:

#8 Chandra Abrahams

Abrahams has always had the offensive ability to pull down a massive contested mark – which she did a couple of times during the game. But her tackling pressure and defensive work against Oakleigh was very impressive. While the consistency is still there to be built, her work in the middle and on a wing was really solid, and laid a crunching tackle on the strong Emily Harley in the first term. A team contributor throughout the match.

#9 Maddison Shaw

Played off half-back and applied pressure to the ball carrier at times, earning some free kicks for her troubles. In the first term she was hurt as she won a free for a run-down tackle then as she played on was tackled herself and got up ginger. She came off but returned to still play an important role.

#27 Nikia Webber

Looked in for a big game when her first touch saw her win it at ground level, turn around with a snap and slam it home for the opening goal of the game. After the first term the forwards were limited and Webber spent most of her time in the midfield where she used her strength to win contested ball. The attribute that sets Webber apart from the rest of her peers is her elite kicking which not only hits targets, but can do so over long distances. Her tackling is fierce, and while she gave away a number of free kicks, Webber continually tried to win the ball back for her team. An example of a second effort came in the second term where she dropped a mark, followed it up, won the contested ball and then moved clear and kicked it long.

Sandringham Dragons vs. Geelong Falcons

By: Peter Williams

Sandringham:

#25 Sarah Hartwig

Played on Lucy McEvoy early and the two had an entertaining battle. Well suited to the role as she is strong one-on-one, Hartwig held her own and took some strong marks against tough opponents. A couple of times she was beaten when opponents had front position, but she was often able to either get the hands up or spoil it to keep the ball alive. She took a number of important intercept marks, enjoying the freedom of being able to still hold a defensive role, while attacking from half-back, once McEvoy moved into the middle. Hartwig won a big one-on-one contest from the back position in the final term as the Falcons were charging home.

#28 Alice Burke

Playing an inside midfield role, Burke just went in hard from the first to final sirens. She covered the ground well and laid some really hard tackles throughout the contest. She has that outside ability, but her willingness and ability to extract a ball from a contest saw her remain in that onball group. Burke got to show off her skill in the final term with a nice weighted kick to Winnie Laing in defence.

#42 Marguerite Purcell

Showed some nice speed on the wing and was able to get a few quick kicks out of the stoppage. Roamed around and moved in transition, she was one of Sandringham’s better midfielders and was the outside mover to many of the Dragons’ inside brigade.

Geelong:

#7 Paige Sheppard

Played along a wing and just fights for the ball. Her decision making and vision was good on the day, and was able to hit-up Lucy McEvoy between a couple of opponents in the second term. Always likes to keep the ball moving, Sheppard beat two opponents on the wing in the final term to kick forward and let the Falcons maintain possession.

#14 Darcy Moloney

A bit like the energiser bunny with ball in hand, Moloney just keeps it moving. She is one of those players that immediately looks to play on wherever possible, and has the athletic traits to be able to do so. Moloney has lightning first few steps and is able to dance around an opponent. In the third term she had one of the plays of the weekend, when she was one-on-one, handballed over her opponent, ran onto it, burnt off her opponent and kicked the goal on the run taking into account the wind. It was a very impressive moment.

#21 Lucy McEvoy

Started in the middle then moved forward with Sarah Hartwig for company. She just willed herself to contest after contest, and continued to do so throughout the match as she then moved back into the midfield. With McEvoy on the ball, the Falcons were able to get the ball forward courtesy of her long booming kick. She was constantly involved and her follow-up work and work ethic are an example of what every player can aspire to. Even if she loses a contest, she will be laying the next tackle or putting her body on the line every chance she gets.

#23 Renee Tierney

Copped a knock to her shin early in the second term, Tierney started higher up the ground then went back deeper to where she is more familiar. Kicked a good goal, but also missed a couple of opportunities. Continued to present as you would expect from your forwards, and she applied some defensive pressure as well.

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.

NAB League Girls weekend preview: Round 1

TWO triple headers headline the first ever round of NAB League Girls as the 12 teams begin their 2019 campaigns hoping to get their season off on the right foot.

CALDER CANNONS v. WESTERN JETS


Round 1 – 02/03/2019
9:15am
Rams Arena – Craigieburn

In what is predicted to be a sweltering day at RAMS Arena, the first match in the triple header is the Calder Cannons taking on the Western Jets. Both sides are bringing in some strong depth making it an interesting game to see which team can kickstart its season first. The Cannons will be without Georgia Patrikios, but have the likes of Alana Barba, Felicity Theodore and former Gippsland Power player, Makeisha Muller. Georgie Prespakis is one to watch for the future, and while older sister Madison is no longer there to lead the team, the Cannons will have Krstel Petrevski coming off half-back and is a player the Cannons are excited to develop throughout the season. For the Jets, they have a number of top prospects who are members of the AFL Women’s Academy at both the top and middle-age brackets. Isabella Grant and Cleo Saxon-Jones are strong overhead and can kick goals when forward, while Isabelle Pritchard still has two years in the system and is shaping as a highly talented key defender. Elisabeth Georgostathis is the other player who put in a consistent 2018 season, named onball like she was last year where she won the Jet’s best and fairest award.

BENDIGO PIONEERS v. GREATER WESTERN VICTORIA REBELS


Round 1 – 02/03/2019
11:00am
Rams Arena – Craigieburn

The second game sees two country neighbours battling it out in what could be a thrilling contest. The teams have had productive pre-seasons and the Pioneers had no trouble scoring in their practice match against the Bushrangers, while the Rebels were pleased with their efforts against the Falcons. The defensive duo of Kate Douglass and Tara Slender will be one to watch and assist in restricting opposition teams from scoring, while Jordyn Jolliffe‘s return from injury – she missed all of last season’s TAC Cup Girls competition – will be welcome and she starts at full-forward. The midfield group of the Pioneers is quite strong and will have benefited from another year, with the likes of Brooke Hards – who played some roles in defence last season – Eloise Gretgrix and Jemma Finning, while Maeve Tupper was predominantly a forward pocket last season and will spend more time in the midfield. Sophie Molan and Ella Wood will lead a deep Rebels midfield in what will be the battle of the midfields within the match. Isabella Simmons developed strongly as the season went on last year, while Renee Saulitis and Isabella Robson are other middle-age talents in the team.

NORTHERN KNIGHTS v. MURRAY BUSHRANGERS


Round 1 – 02/03/2019
12:45pm
Rams Arena – Craigieburn

In the final game of Saturday’s triple header with the temperatures expected to be high 30s by the final siren, the two teams who finished second in the first two years face off from 12.45pm. The Knights head into the game as strong favourites based on the form they showed last season, and they have a number of talented players in each third of the ground. The midfield features Ellie McKenzie, Jess Fitzgerald and Britney Gutknecht, with the likes of Gabby Newton and Abigail Bennett rotating between the midfield and forward. Sarah Sansonetti and Ash Snow are a couple of defenders who impressed last season, while Alyssa Bannan developed rapidly in 2018. For the Bushrangers, Olivia Barber has been named at centre half-back and could be the one to try and quell Newton, while forwards, Sophie Locke and Kate Adams could do some damage if given time and space. Mikaela Trethowan is a 19-year-old prospect who will provide good support in the midfield, while Emily Nicholson is another player who played every game last season and will be well prepared for the first round match. The game is a huge challenge for the Bushrangers against the likely premiership favourites, but it will be a good test to see where they are at, and how the Knights have changed with players tested in other positions.

DANDENONG STINGRAYS v. EASTERN RANGES


Round 1 – 03/03/2019
10:30am
SkyBus Stadium – Frankston

In the first game of a triple header at Frankston on Sunday, Dandenong Stingrays will be looking for their fifth straight win after finishing the season in a blaze of glory following four early season losses. Recent St Kilda recruit, Isabella Shannon has been named at centre half-forward and will be a player to watch for any Saints fans who head down to the game. While fellow Saints teammate, Molly McDonald will not be out there, Brooke Vernon, Tyanna Smith and Grace Hodder will lead the charge in the middle. Zoe Hill stands tall at centre half-back and while partner-in-crime Lucy Cripps will not be out there, Hill will aim to try and nullify one of Eastern’s talls. That could be netballer, Serena Gibbs or AFL Women’s Academy member, Laura McClelland who could rotate between midfield and forward. The forward line and particularly midfield looks solid for the Ranges, with Olivia Meagher and Tahni Brown among the middle-agers who still have a couple of seasons to develop. Both teams are likely to create a lively contest.

OAKLEIGH CHARGERS v. GIPPSLAND POWER


Round 1 – 03/03/2019
12:15pm
SkyBus Stadium – Frankston

The middle game on Sunday will see two teams that faced off in Round 1 last year do battle once again with Oakleigh Chargers facing Gippsland Power. The Chargers won easily 12 months ago and will be hoping to serve a repeat dose, while the Power feel more prepared to tackle the Chargers this time around. Middle-age captain, Mimi Hill leads a band of quick defenders who like to move the ball well, as Chloe O’Malley and Nicola Xenos showed last season. Gemma Lagioia and Emily Harley inside 50 will provide any opposition coach problems, as would Alana Porter‘s speed through the middle of the ground. The club is excited to release Amelia Peck on the competition with the 19-year-old named at centre half-back. Gippsland will miss Tyla Hanks in the middle, but have been able to supply a number of players with a season of experience and now there are top and middle-agers with a taste of the competition already. Nikia Webber and Matilda Van Berkel line up in the key forward posts, while Chandra Abrahams, Megan Fitzsimon and Grace McRae fill out the midfield. Maddi Shaw and Shanara Notman are others who could be key players in the game, providing strength and run from defence.

SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS v. GEELONG FALCONS


Round 1 – 03/03/2019
2:00pm
SkyBus Stadium – Frankston

In the final game of the round, Sandringham Dragons face Geelong Falcons on Sunday afternoon. The reigning premiers will test themselves against a danger side in the 2019 competition. Both teams are in the form of their lives having not lost a game in the past six regular season rounds – and even longer for the Falcons. The midfield battle will be one to savour with Dragons’ captain Molly Denahy Maloney, Alice Burke and Eliza McNamara tackling the likes of Falcons’ captain Lucy McEvoy, Luka Lesosky-Hay and Paige Sheppard. Both sides have a highly touted key defender in Sarah Hartwig (Sandringham) and Abbey Chapman (Geelong), have speedy wingers in Marguerite Purcell (Sandringham) and Elise Vella (Geelong) and forwards who can take big grabs, Sophia Rothfield (Sandringham) and Renee Tierney (Geelong). With both sides having a high amount of talent coming through at middle and bottom-age level, they are going to be teams to watch this season. Round 1 may well have saved the best until last, and the final game of the new NAB League Girls will likely be a match to remember.