Tag: marguerite purcell

Victorian AFL Women’s Under 18 Championship teams announced

REIGNING premiers, Geelong Falcons have dominated the Victorian representation with nine players in the Vic Country 29-player squad, while minor premiers Northern Knights, finalists Eastern Ranges and fifth placed Oakleigh Chargers have six apiece in the 30-player Vic Metro squad. Of the other sides, Dandenong Stingrays also has six players in the Country team, meaning more than half the squad are Falcons or Stingrays, including St Kilda pre-listed duo, Molly McDonald and Isabella Shannon. Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels and Sandringham Dragons have five players each in the Country and Metro squads respectively, while Murray Bushrangers and Western Jets have four apiece. Bendigo Pioneers and Calder Cannons have three players in their representative squad, while Gippsland Power has the two.

Vic Country has included eight middle-agers (not eligible to be drafted until next year) in its squad, while Vic Metro has seven. The two coaches will have more than their fair share of AFL and AFLW experience, with Nathan Burke taking the reigns at Vic Metro, while Aasta O’Connor will coach Vic Country. The sides face off on June 22, before squads are reduced to fly to Gold Coast for three games against other states from July 8-12. AFL Draft Central will be on the ground in Queensland providing you all the latest.

State Talent Manager Paul Hamilton said the Championships gave Victoria’s best emerging female footballers the chance to highlight their skills on a big stage.

“The NAB AFL Women’s Under-18 Championships have the potential to put our up-and-coming female players firmly on the radar of AFL Women’s clubs,” Hamilton said. “Our Vic Country and Vic Metro girls will have access to some of the best coaching resources in women’s football in order to develop their games and will be able to experience playing at elite-level venues against the best talent the rest of Australia has to offer. “Travelling to the Gold Coast in July will also provide them an extra opportunity to bond with girls who share a common goal of furthering their careers within the elite talent pathway.”

The Country vs Metro under-18 match on June 22 will be part of a double-header along with an under-16 Country vs Metro clash (commencing at 12pm), with the initial squads for those teams to be announced next week. All the non-Victorian state lists will be posted once the final team lists are completed, with some out, while others are yet to be released.

Tomorrow we will provide more details on each of those players selected in the Victorian squads.

VIC COUNTRY

NO. NAME   DOB HT NAB LEAGUE GIRLS CLUB
1 Elise Vella 05-Sep-01 156 Geelong Falcons
2 Teagan Brett 08-Feb-01 157 Murray Bushrangers
3 Paige Sheppard 23-Apr-01 158 Geelong Falcons
4 Renee Saulitis 14-Aug-02 163 GWV Rebels
5 Luka Lesosky-Hay 07-Jan-01 164 Geelong Falcons
6 Laura Gardiner 21-Nov-02 164 Geelong Falcons
7 Ella Wood 14-Feb-01 164 GWV Rebels
8 Elizabeth Snell 14-Mar-02 165 Bendigo Pioneers
9 Darcy Moloney 20-Nov-02 165 Geelong Falcons
10 Sophie Locke 24-Apr-01 166 Murray Bushrangers
11 Brooke Hards 19-Jul-02 166 Bendigo Pioneers
12 Tyanna Smith 29-Oct-02 167 Dandenong Stingrays
13 Molly McDonald 04-May-01 168 Dandenong Stingrays
14 Abbey Chapman 15-Apr-01 170 Geelong Falcons
15 Nikia Webber 29-Aug-01 170 Gippsland Power
16 Renee Tierney 23-May-02 168 Geelong Falcons
17 Mia Skinner 30-Jan-01 170 Geelong Falcons
18 Kate Douglass 19-Jul-01 171 Bendigo Pioneers
19 Brooke Vernon 20-Oct-01 172 Dandenong Stingrays
20 Zoe Hill 13-May-02 173 Dandenong Stingrays
21 Sophie Molan 24-Mar-01 175 GWV Rebels
22 Millie Brown 15-Jan-01 175 Murray Bushrangers
23 Lucy McEvoy 13-May-01 172 Geelong Falcons
24 Isabella Simmons 19-Apr-02 181 GWV Rebels
25 Olivia Barber 14-Jul-02 184 Murray Bushrangers
26 Isabella Shannon 30-Jun-01 178 Dandenong Stingrays
27 Shanara Notman 27-Jul-01 178 Gippsland Power
28 Georgia Howes 26-Jul-00 183 Dandenong Stingrays
29 Maggie Caris 21-Dec-02 188 GWV Rebels

 

VIC METRO

NO. NAME   DOB HT NAB LEAGUE GIRLS CLUB
1 Olivia Meagher 10-Dec-02 158 Eastern Ranges
2 Felicity Theodore 14-Mar-01 159 Calder Cannons
3 Gemma Lagioia 03-May-01 160 Oakleigh Chargers
4 Nicola Xenos 08-Mar-01 161 Oakleigh Chargers
5 Elisabeth Georgostathis 17-Oct-01 162 Western Jets
6 Madeleine Edwards 19-Jan-01 164 Eastern Ranges
7 Amelia Van Oosterwijck 08-Nov-01 164 Oakleigh Chargers
8 Mimi Hill 04-Oct-01 165 Oakleigh Chargers
9 Bella Eddey 02-Nov-02 165 Sandringham Dragons
10 Alana Barba 26-Sep-01 166 Calder Cannons
11 Tarni Brown 26-Mar-02 166 Eastern Ranges
12 Alice Burke 10-Mar-02 166 Sandringham Dragons
13 Britney Gutknecht 20-Apr-01 167 Northern Knights
14 Laura McClelland 03-Jul-01 169 Eastern Ranges
15 Alyssa Bannan 13-Apr-02 169 Northern Knights
16 Emily Harley 04-Dec-01 169 Oakleigh Chargers
17 Georgia Patrikios 30-Mar-01 170 Calder Cannons
18 Emma Horne 29-Nov-01 170 Eastern Ranges
19 Marguerite Purcell 27-Jul-01 170 Sandringham Dragons
20 Sarah Sansonetti 02-Aug-01 172 Northern Knights
21 Ellie McKenzie 17-Oct-02 173 Northern Knights
22 Sarah Hartwig 04-Dec-02 173 Sandringham Dragons
23 Nell Morris-Dalton 05-Apr-01 174 Northern Knights
24 Isabella Grant 21-Sep-01 174 Western Jets
25 Tahlia Merrett 08-Jan-01 174 Eastern Ranges
26 Gabrielle Newton 31-Aug-01 175 Northern Knights
27 Molly Denahy Maloney 25-Feb-01 175 Sandringham Dragons
28 Isabelle Pritchard 08-Mar-02 176 Western Jets
29 Cleo Saxon-Jones 04-Nov-01 181 Western Jets
30 Amelia Peck 13-Jan-00 183 Oakleigh Chargers

Scouting notes: NAB League Girls – Round 8

ROUND 8 saw some big clashes with the Northern Knights handing the Geelong Falcons their first loss in two years in the NAB League Girls. We took note of some of the top performers that respective Female Talent Managers highlighted at the start of the season as ones to watch. We attended five games live and noted the final game at the bottom. All notes are the opinion of the individual writer.

Calder Cannons 4.6 (30) defeated Bendigo Pioneers 1.3 (9)
By: Taylah Melki

Calder 

#2 Felicity Theodore

She had a relatively quiet first half, not finding much of the footy but well and truly worked her way into the game in the second half. She kicked a good crumbing goal in the third after picking the ball up out the back of the pack and taking a couple of steps to dribble it through for a goal. Theodore also showcased her good vision and attacking mind set to push her side forward.

#21 Georgia Patrikios

She was involved early, getting hands to the ball at the stoppages and showing good spatial awareness to dish the ball out to teammates. She had good strong hands to take a solid grab in the first quarter and showcased her ability to read the play. Patrikios consistently attacked the ball hard, sets up play for her teammates and had really good hands. She showed great control of the ball while on the run and kicked a good crumbing goal in the third quarter to stay down and cleanly pick the ball up and then turn and kick. She used her long booming kick to propel the ball into the forward 50 and knew where to position the ball to her teammates advantage. She was clean around the stoppages working hard to extract the footy and ran hard both ways making her presence felt across the field.

#31 Krstel Petrevski

After a quiet start Petrevski came alive in the second half. She had a good passage of play receiving a handball and steaming forward to kick to a teammate in the third term and used her booming kick to move the ball forward on multiple occasions. Her hands in close were also impressive and applied strong pressure across the ground. She was creative with ball in hand and worked hard to move the ball into an attacking position throughout the game.

#41 Georgie Prespakis 

Prespakis continued her dominant form and seemed to have plenty of time and space with ball in hand. Her ability to sidestep her opponents and then dish it off to a teammate was second to none and she consistently pushed hard to create attacking options. She showed good courage to go back with the flight of the ball while second efforts were impressive working hard to try and win the ball back for her side. Prespakis never seemed far from the footy winning plenty of it both at the coalface and across the ground for the Cannons. She read the tap out of the ruck exceptionally well, used her beautiful long booming kick to her sides advantage and provided repeat entries into forward 50. Won a heap of the ball in the third and had an impressive passage of play with a tunnel ball handball while getting tackled out to a teammate in space.

Bendigo 

#1 Maeve Tupper

Tried hard throughout the game to impact the contest. Good read of the flight of the ball to take a big intercept mark in the middle of the ground and propel her team forward, good smother in the second quarter showcasing her ability to track the ball and apply strong defensive pressure on the ball carrier.

#3 Elizabeth Snell

Good clean grab of the footy and pushed hard to move the ball forward. She showed some good evasive skills to break free at the contest and go forward. Snell displayed good vision to hit up teammates in space and identify passages of play. She was not afraid to put her body on the line and go for a big mark against her taller opponent and tried hard throughout game to keep her side in it. She also used her body well around the stoppages to try and out manoeuvre her opponent and get free. 

#4 Brooke Hards 

Made an impact from the get go, tackling hard and was ferocious at the contest. Good read of the flight of the ball and took an intercept mark showcasing her strength. Hards had clean hands at ground level to crumb and then pass it off and tracked the ball well at ground level. She was strong in the contest not afraid to put her body on the line and take a bump. She kept her arms free and dished off a clever handball to a teammate in a better position in the second term credit to her spatial awareness and general footy smarts. Hards also laid some good strong tackles throughout the game.

#19 Jemma Finning

Good lead up at the footy, and well weighted kick to an opponent on the lead in the forward 50 in the first quarter. Her second efforts were good, worked hard to win the ball and had good support run to provide an option for her teammates. She got busy in the second quarter around the contest and was strong to push off an opponent and maintain possession. Finning used her booming kick to propel the ball forward and keep the ball moving in attack. 

Dandenong Stingrays 6.4 (40) defeated Murray Bushrangers 3.9 (27)
By: Peter Williams

Dandenong:

#10 Abbey Jordan

Played on a wing and had some nice plays throughout the game, putting pressure on defenders at half-forward and also getting back to assist at half-back. On a number of occasions, she was able to nullify contests through a quick kick before being tackled or bumped, or was able to impact opposition players while in possession, forcing mistakes.

#12 Molly McDonald

The captain played on the ball and provided good strength at ground level. She continually put her body on the line and while a lot of the good work she did would not find its way onto a stats sheet, her defensive pressure and one percenters were very impressive. She is a team-orientated player and showed good vision on the inside to find teammates free on the outside.

#26 Isabella Shannon

Kicked an important goal in the third term when they needed it, and roamed around the forward half, playing midfield and inside 50. She exited stoppages well, moving around opposition players and was able to get boot to ball while being brought down in tackles. After kicking the goal, Shannon won the next clearance from the midfield and put it inside 50 to a teammates’ advantage.

#28 Tyanna Smith

Smith stood up when it counted late, turning it on with a great running clearance late in the final term, then booted the winning goal coming out of a forward stoppage on the run, negotiating the breeze perfectly. Still had moments of strength and grace throughout the game, but it was the last quarter which stood out.

#31 Brooke Vernon

Played her reliable game in defence, tasked with the kick-outs and pushing up the ground when required. She was able to have a number of forward 50 entries when going inside, and also ran hard to lay a good tackle on the last line of defence in the third term to force a throw-in and save a potential goal.

#51 Zoe Hill

Often rebounded and pushed up the ground to provide an extra number at a contest at half-back. Hill won a number of free kicks for her fierce tackling and was composed under pressure in the back half.

Murray:

#6 Chelsea Hargreaves

The NSW/ACT representative played in defence and was able to move the ball quickly in transition. She showed a nice few quick steps before clearing the ball long and was able to get through a couple of players backing herself in, late in the game but her handball was intercepted. It was still promising to see her take the game on, which she tried to do with another strong run and kick out of defence going long down the field.

#7 Kate Adams

Played a pressure role through the midfield and forward end, just doing team things but chasing opponents and forcing them to dispose of the ball quicker than they would have liked. She took a nice steady mark under pressure at half-back at one stage, and in another instance was able to win the ball at ground level, handball it off and then apply a shepherd for a teammate to run with it.

#8 Abby Favell

Had the ball on a string throughout the game, particularly in the first quarter. Just ran and ran all day long. Not only was her accumulation on point, but her defensive pressure was superb as well. She laid a great goal-saving tackle in the first term and while some of her kicks were intercepted, she followed up with strong second efforts and just kept running, bringing her teammates into the game through handballs. She forced a number of turnovers through her tackling, and also showed off a clean set of heels by sidestepping an opponent at half-back and taking off. Kicked a late goal in the final term after sneaking 20m out from goal, wasting no time slotting the set shot and bring the Bushrangers back within six points. Best afield despite being in a losing side.

#19 Millie Brown

Another standout player for the Bushrangers, what impressed me most about Brown’s game was her last term. While the defence was under siege she was able to maintain her composure and just keep it going forward. She intercepted a number of kicks inside defensive 50 and worked hard throughout the match to keep her team in the game. She would often bring a teammate into the play with one-two handballs, but her interceptions on the wing and long bombs inside 50 were among the crucial plays that kept the game alive for the visitors.

#45 Olivia Barber

Barber is a raw talent that once she can convert her opportunities into goals, it will make her an incredibly damaging. The tall forward works hard for her leads and creates space well, and can also clunk a lot of marks. She just missed some gettable shots, which is something that can be easily fixed, just adjusting the kicking style. Continues to impress and is one to watch as she develops, and more so her field kicking is also sound, so just ironing it out in front of goal.

Western Jets 3.3 (21) defeated Sandringham Dragons 1.3 (9)
By: Peter Williams

Western:

#13 Isabella Grant

Returning to the side, Grant rotated between forward and midfield, having a good battle with Sarah Hartwig early. Both players impressed with Grant winning the battle with her smarts at ground level, while Hartwig impressed with her ability in the air. Grant used her body well around the ground to knock opponents off the ball and give off quick handballs to teammates running by. In one instance in the second term she bumped an opponent away, picked up the ball, spun around and kicked long down the wing. In the third term she had a couple of shots on goal with one fading to the right and the next going to the opposite pocket out on the full. Overall had her moments through the midfield in transition.

#17 Elisabeth Georgostathis

The captain played her usual consistent game coming out of half-back, winning the ball at ground level and looking to run down the middle to get her team forward. She cracked in hard throughout four quarters and showed strength in tackles by getting her hands free. Led the team well and stepped up late in the game to nullify a few contests.

#23 Isabelle Pritchard

A standout for the Jets throughout the game, intercepting inside 50s at will, positioning herself well in marking contests and kicking long to midfield. She laid a goal-saving tackle at one stage close to the boundary line, earning herself a free. Pritchard won a number of free kicks as well for chopping of the arms or holding because of her dominance in defence. She weighed up between pushing up and dropping back, taking a couple of crucial marks late in the game to settle the team.

Sandringham:

#25 Sarah Hartwig

The clear best for Sandringham on the day, Hartwig was ultra-impressive at centre half-back spending time on Isabella Grant and then other opponents while focusing maintaining her line. She copped a knock in the first term on the wing but got up and became one of the Dragons most influential players, winning a number of one-on-one contests by reading the ball in flight well. Such was her impact when she was taken off for a rest last in the third term, Western booted a goal. Had plenty of marks and rebounds as well as one percenters.

#28 Alice Burke

Hunted the football and while she did not win as much of it as she has before, she just kept getting her hands in at ground level and feeding the ball out to teammates. Won a free kick late in the game for being bumped high and kept cracking in with either tackles or hardball gets on the inside of the contest.

#42 Marguerite Purcell

Roamed along the wing and was another player who copped a hard bump early in the fourth term, but returned to play on. She moved well out of stoppages and was able to kick long down the middle, buzzing around the midfield and providing an option for her teammates to run and carry the ball forward.

Greater Western Victoria 3.2 (20) defeated Oakleigh Chargers 2.7 (19)
By: Peter Williams

GWV:

#9 Renee Saulitis

Played a different role to her usual smart forward role many have become accustomed to, but still was able to use her smarts and foot skills to advantage. If anything, she was able to have a greater impact on the contest because of her footy IQ and ability to dish off the ball quickly under pressure. She uses the ball well and one of her best moments was actually a defensive one – laying a run-down tackle on Mimi Hill on the wing, earning a free kick.

#10 Ella Wood

Spent time off half-back and pushing up through the midfield, Wood was strong throughout the four quarters with her defensive work and hard running. She forced a number of turnovers and pushed up to win the ball and bring teammates into the game, working well with a one-two handball combination with a teammate on the wing in the second term as an example of where she was able to get the ball moving forward. Was involved in the final goal with good strength at the stoppage.

#24 Sophie Molan

Never plays a bad game and Molan just kept consistent throughout the four quarters, booting the opening goal of the game and winning the footy at will. She missed a snap on goal initially but made up for it with a goal on the run, and then spread around the ground providing good strength at ground level or in the air. Molan executed the perfect handball out of the stoppage to Lilli Condon for the winning goal in the final term.

#30 Nyakoat Dojiok

One of the Rebels best, providing run and carry across the ground from half-back to the wing. She primarily was stationed on the wing and was often used in transition. On some occasions she might have done a bit too much, but she was still able to get the ball free even when under pressure. Most promising sign was the fact she continually tried to break the lines and create something for the Rebels and her burst of speed worried the opposition. Also has quick hands and was able to dispose of the ball quickly when being tackled.

#35 Maggie Caris

Provided her midfielders with first hands more often than not continuing her good season. What separates Caris from many other rucks is her cleanliness at ground level, and her ability to control the ball once in her hands. She is a one-touch player and has a long kick that can hit targets.

Oakleigh:

#1 Gemma Lagioia

The silky midfielder showed off her slick skills primarily off half-back, winning the ball and then executing 45-degree kicks opening up angles and avenues for her team to go forward. While the game was scrappy at times, Lagioia was able to add a touch of class with her foot skills and hit-up targets repetitively and keep the ball moving. She was also not afraid to take the opposition on, sidestepping an opponent and kicking long to the wing in the second term.

#2 Mimi Hill

Worked hard for four quarters and was influential early pushing up the ground and getting some important inside 50s for her teammates. Provided an option in the back half of the ground, combining with Lagioia at one stage, getting the ball forward. Hill had a flying shot on goal in the second term but just missed to the right while on a tight angle.

#8 Alana Porter

One of Oakleigh’s best throughout and just missed out on finishing off in front of goal. Kicked a major from a set shot, but missed a couple of opportunities to add to her tally in the third term. Not only did Porter use her trademark burst of speed to good effect, but she also applied plenty of defensive pressure, laying some big tackles and bumps on opponents to force turnovers. When tackled herself, Porter stood up in tackles and was able to get her hands free.

Geelong Falcons 0.7 (7) defeated by Northern Knights
By: Michael Alvaro

Geelong:

#1 Elise Vella

It was not Vella’s most productive day as the Falcons struggled for goals, but the diminutive forward took on her usual role of creating pressure around the contest and looked dangerous forward of centre. Had a nice passage where she took her opponent on and carried the ball through the middle of the ground, and also spent some time in the midfield during the second half.

#8 Paige Sheppard

Was in the thick of everything early, proving Geelong’s most productive player at stoppages and in the game overall. Sheppard accumulated a good amount of ball and tried her best to push the Falcons forward, but often saw her kicks smothered or compensated for distance given the wealth of contested situations she found herself in. Was particularly impressed with her combativeness, and Sheppard looked unfazed in physical battles against much taller midfield opponents.

#12 Laura Gardiner

The middle-ager was outstanding in one of her better performances for the year, and was one of the few Falcons midfielders to show composure in heavy traffic. Often a damaging driver forward on the outside, Gardiner won a fair amount of the ball at stoppages around the ground and looked to weave her way out of trouble instead of blazing away. While that inevitably happened at times anyway, Gardiner has plenty of time to refine her already strong skill base.

#18 Darcy Moloney

Moloney was one who seemed to struggle at times amidst the Knights’ pressure around the ball, but dug in hard as she typically does. Could have had a better return had she not missed a tough snapped chance, with some of her second half minutes spent inside the forward 50. Was often swamped when in possession, but showed good strength in tackles trying to break away.

#21 Abbey Chapman

Chapman stood up in an under-siege defence, providing a cool head and cutting off as many Northern forward forays as she could. Showed her high-level reading of the play with a couple of nice intercept marks, and backed them up with neat kicks and sharp decision making. While the ball often came right back, Chapman was hardly beaten one-on-one despite Northern finding most of their goals from marks at close range.

#24 Mia Skinner

Often the leader of Geelong’s attack, Skinner was quelled well by Northern defender Sarah Sansonetti. Playing as a lead-up centre half-forward, Skinner’s effort could not be faulted as she worked her opponent over with runs up to the wing and then hard back towards goal. Missed a couple of difficult chances in the first half which would have really boosted Geelong’s chances of staying in the game, but is usually a clinical finisher.

#38 Lucy McEvoy

McEvoy was central to coach Jason Armistead’s heavy shuffling of the magnets – starting off half-back, moving into the midfield as the Knights got on top, and then being thrown forward at the start of the last term as Geelong looked to find her with the first clearance for a quick goal. Used her long and penetrating kick to good effect from defence to rebound, and played the role of a general well. Her overhead marking was also outstanding, and probably would have stood out more if it was not so expected of her. Most of them came as McEvoy positioned herself a kick off the ball when it was inside the Falcon’s forward arc, with her attempt against two Knights opponents in the second term the best of the lot. Continues to show she can play anywhere, and is a true leader in that sense as she can sacrifice her own game for the benefit of the team.

#39 Renee Tierney

Had some really impressive moments across the match, but was ultimately unable to find the goal as she often does. Her best chance was a stray snap, but a lot of her possessions were found up the ground as she looked to work with Skinner as a link forward. Tierney’s clean hands both overhead on leads and below her knees at speed were fantastic, and allowed the Falcons to create chances to move forward quickly with much of the game played in dispute. Showed good defensive intentions with a crunching tackle on Northern’s Gulia Ceravolo in the final term which unfortunately ended the match.

Northern:

#3 Nell Morris-Dalton

Morris-Dalton was a force inside 50, playing one of her better games for the year. The key forward booted the first goal of the game after a one-on-one mark, setting the tone for a game where she intelligently found space inside 50 and worked hard to do so. A couple of impressive loose ball gets allowed Morris-Dalton to find Alyssa Bannan inside 50 just as impressively, and she picked out targets well to give Northern good looks at goal.

#6 Alyssa Bannan

Bannan was another Knight who proved dangerous in the forward half, and benefitted from the smart work of Morris-Dalton to combine for Northern’s second goal in the first term. Bannan was persistent around the contests early on and tackled hard, but proved most damaging when the ball was delivered to her over the back as she streamed forward and delivered inside 50. Could have added another goal in the third term but missed on the run in an otherwise impressive performance.

#14 Jess Fitzgerald

Like Bannan, Fitzgerald was fantastic going forward with lightning runs to set the Knights into attack. Seemed to be doing everything right early on with a neat kick and an overhead mark on the forward 50 arc both catching the eye. Fitzgerald continued her form in the second term with a clever passage to combine with Britney Gutknecht, and pressed to find the goals with multiple snaps from deep in the pocket either falling short or missing to the narrow side. She managed to find the big sticks in the third quarter with a set shot conversion, and her best moment came with a weaving break through three opponents through the middle of the ground to cap off a promising display.

#18 Sarah Sansonetti

Fulfilled one of the most important roles for the Knights, wearing Mia Skinner like a glove in a fantastic defensive effort. While her kicking at times was a little off, Sansonetti was hardly beaten one-on-one and looked a force in the air as she chimed in with spoils and contested marking attempts. In one of the best plays of the game, she laid a crunching bump on Paige Sheppard to force a spillage and followed up by winning the ball to the applause of her coaches on the bench.

#21 Ellie McKenzie

Named the Knights’ best on the day, and it is hardly any wonder why. McKenzie was a step above with her decision making and ability to remain composed on the ball, finding targets by hand and foot with ease. While constantly looking to wheel onto her left side could have sold her into trouble, McKenzie was good enough to bide her time and escape being caught. Playing through the midfield, perhaps the most pleasing part of McKenzie’s game was her physicality – as she laid a huge bump off the back of her own kick forward, as well as another on Poppy Schapp which unfortunately saw the diminutive Falcon forced off through injury. Scary to think McKeznie has another year left in the system, and showed she can dominate in the middle just as much as she does up forward.

#22 Britney Gutknecht

Employed in the midfield for much of the game, Gutknecht looked like having a big one after winning a running clearance at the very first centre bounce. While her output was slightly down across the day, Gutknecht had some good moments and managed to find the ball around the ground. She often looked to take the game on, but sometimes came unstuck in the back half when playing on after marks – which could be a product of her natural forward tendencies. Almost took a courageous mark late on, with the impressive effort catching the eye as the result was beyond doubt.

#23 Gabby Newton

Newton was productive as ever through the midfield, providing a point of difference in the frantic opening stages with calm use at the stoppages and impressive moves through traffic. Newton often handed the ball out effectively to her outside runners, and while she overdid it at times, was great to watch as others blazed away by foot. Much like McEvoy did for the Falcons, Newton positioned herself a kick off the play while the ball was disputed inside either 50 arc, taking a couple of high marks as she so often does. Newton’s understanding of the game was on full show in such positions, and she played a huge part in not allowing Geelong clean inside 50 entries.

In the other game over the weekend…

Gippsland Power 2.1 (13) defeated by Eastern Ranges 9.10 (64)

Gippsland:

#8 Chandra Abrahams – Named in the best laying five tackles from eight disposals and continued her strong defensive pressure.
#9 Maddison Shaw – Again busy through the midfield and getting back in defence with 13 disposals, two rebounds and six tackles.
#12 Megan Fitzsimon – Named best by the Power for her 16 disposals, six tackles and four rebounds.
#26 Grace McRae – Had 17 disposals, two tackles and three rebounds in a hard working effort.

Eastern:

#26 Tarni Brown – Classy with 24 touches, eight tackles and seven inside 50s, pumping the ball long and setting up her teammates while finishing with a goal.
#33 Tess Flintoff – Returned and was impressive again with 21 touches, seven marks, four tackles and four inside 50s.
#39 Laura McClelland – Named among the best again with 12 disposals, two marks and five tackles in the win.
#46 Serena Gibbs – Had seven shots on goal, booting 3.4 from 18 disposals, six marks and six inside 50s, while also having five hitouts in the ruck in another impressive performance.

Weekend preview: NAB League Girls – Round 4

WITH the NAB League Girls competition ladder taking shape, some teams are looking to break away on top of the table, while others are still searching for their first victory. With the six games on the weekend across six different venues, it makes for some interesting viewing for spectators.

 

NORTHERN KNIGHTS v. SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS

Round 4 – 30/03/2019
11:15am
La Trobe University – Bundoora

The first game of the round sees the unbeaten Northern Knights taking on the winless Sandringham Dragons. The Knights were forced to share the points with Oakleigh in Round 1, but were able to secure two victories either side of the draw against Murray Bushrangers and Western Jets. Gabby Newton has been a standout performer this season, averagine 19 disposals, 2.3 marks and 3.3 tackles per game, while Britney Gutknecht has been damaging inside 50, with five goals from her three matches as well as 18.3 disposals and 3.7 tackles per game. The Dragons have been competitive for large patches of their game but have struggled to score, booting one goal in each of their three games, while missing chances they would like to take again. Their defence and midfield will match up with the best sides, with Alice Burke averaging a massive nine tackles per game as well as 16.3 disposals and 2.7 marks. Nayeley Borg and Sarah Hartwig have combined for 24 rebounds between them in their three games, while Marguerite Purcell has been crucial along the wings for Sandringham, recording 11 inside 50s, while Knights’ midfielder Ellie McKenzie has averaged 15.7 disposals, 2.3 marks and 3.3 tackles. Northern is a team to beat this season and noone has managed to secure the four points against them, so they will head in favourites, but the Dragons could apply that defensive pressure to try and force it into a slog and get the game on their terms.

 

MURRAY BUSHRANGERS v. BENDIGO PIONEERS

Round 4 – 30/03/2019
11:45am
Norm Minns Oval – Wangaratta

Up in Wangaratta, Murray Bushrangers host Bendigo Pioneers at Norm Minns Oval. The Bushrangers were badly beaten in the first round by the Knights, but have since responded with back-to-back wins against the Western Jets and Gippsland Power. Both of those sides are winless from three games, so it will be a great test to see where the Bushrangers are at against a competitive Bendigo Pioneers outfit. The Pioneers went down narrowly to the Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels in Round 1 before posting a win against Eastern Ranges in Round 2 and being outclassed by the reigning premiers, Geelong Falcons. Bendigo is a side that will bring teriffic defensive pressure, with Brooke Hards (7.7 tackles per game) and Dakota Villiva (7.3) both in the top three tacklers in the league. They are not a high possession team, but Elizabeth Snell (15.7 disposals) and Maeve Tupper (15.3) know how to find the ball, while bottom-ager Tara Slender leads the league in rebounds with 16 in her three games. For the Bushrangers, Abby Favell has been consistent in the opening three rounds, recording 4.7 marks per game – the second most of any player – as well as 11.3 disposals. Olivia Barber is not a high possession winner, but the key position player has managed 3.3 marks from seven disposals and a goal per game, while having a number of attempts as well and she will be sorely missed in the Bushrangers’ attack this weekend. Millie Brown has now played the two games after missing Round 1 and averages the most touches of any Bushranger with 16.5 per game. This is a genuine 50-50 game and the panel were split as to which way to go with the tipping as both teams are a genuine chance in this clash.

 

WESTERN JETS v. EASTERN RANGES

Round 4 – 30/03/2019
2:30pm
Rams Arena – Craigieburn

Up in Craigieburn, the Western Jets are searching for their first win, while Eastern Ranges look to make it two on the trot after going down in Round 2 to Bendigo Pioneers. In the corresponding game last year between these sides, the Jets won their only match of the competition against a highly fancied Ranges outfit, downing them in Williamstown with a super come-from-behind victory. The win derailed Eastern’s season and gave the Jets plenty of confidence going into the remaining games of the season. Both sides have some top-end talent in this match with Western captain, Elisabeth Georgostathis leading from the front this season averaging 19.7 disposals, two marks and three tackles per game, having also spent time at half-back recording 14 rebounds to be equal third in the competition for the statistic. Potential Western Bulldogs father-daughter selection, Isabella Grant has enjoyed a strong season with 15 touches, two marks and 3.3 tackles per game, while Cleo Saxon-Jones has taken 2.3 marks per game presenting as a key forward, while also recording 11 disposals and three hitouts per match. For Eastern, potential Collingwood father-daughter selection, Tarni Brown is progressing nicely with another year left in the system, averaging 19.7 disposals and two marks per game, but it is her tackling that catches the eye, laying a whopping 6.7 per match. Tess Flintoff and Olivia Meagher have also been amongst the best few each week, averaging 17 disposals per game, with Meagher also averaging 2.7 tackles, while Flintoff finds space for 3.3 inside 50s and 5.3 marks. Eastern will head into the clash as favourites having ground out two wins already this season, but the Jets showed last year they are capable of an upset on their day.

 

GREATER WESTERN VICTORIA REBELS v. GEELONG FALCONS

Round 4 – 30/03/2019
2:30pm
City Oval – Ballarat

The reigning premiers are heading up the highway to Ballarat to take on the GWV Rebels to try and extend their winning streak to four. For the Rebels, they defeated the Pioneers in Round 1 but have since gone down to Calder Cannons and Dandenong Stingrays on their home turf at MARS Stadium. With this game originally scheduled for Colac Reserve and moved to City Oval, the Rebels will enjoy a closer trip and will want to test themselves against the Falcons. Lucy McEvoy has been in unbelievable form this season for Geelong, averaging 23.3 disposals, 3.3 marks, six inside 50s and 7.7 tackles per game, topping the league in two of those stats. Luka Lesosky-Hay has been great support for McEvoy with 21.3 disposals, two marks and five tackles per game, as well as 3.6 inside 50s per game. Two Falcons who have stood up this season are Darcy Moloney and Laura Gardiner with Gardiner laying seven tackles per game as well as 18 touches through the midfield, while Moloney has got free for 19 disposals and 2.3 marks per game. The second highest disposal winner after McEvoy is her opposing captain with Sophie Molan registering 21.7 disposals per game as well as 4.3 tackles and getting forward to boot three goals this season – two last week. With Ella Wood missing this week, Chloe Leonard will become important in sharing the midfield load, having averaged 16 disposals and 4.7 tackles per game. Along with Molan, Renee Saulitis has managed to hit the scoreboard three times while Lauren Sykes has been important in defence with eight rebounds so far this season. A huge inclusion is that of Maggie Caris, averaging a competition high average of 29.5 hitouts per game, 12.5 more than her closest opponent and will sure be an asset in the ruck. The Falcons are expected to continue their winning ways in this game, but the Rebels will enjoy the challenge and aim to match them in the midfield.

 

GIPPSLAND POWER v. DANDENONG STINGRAYS

Round 4 – 30/03/2019
5:15pm
Morwell Recreation Reserve

With the sun setting in the west, Gippsland Power hosts Dandenong Stingrays in the east as the Power hopes to get on the board in season 2019, while Dandenong intend to make it three on the trot after back-to-back victories over Sandringham Dragons and GWV Rebels both away from home. In a super day of football, the game will be the fourth match of the day at Morwell, and a tough task for the Power minus Nikia Webber. They do have some great future talents with a defensive duo of Matilda Van Berkel and Maddison Shaw making life difficult for forwards, recoding 22 rebounds between them so far this season. Grace McRae and Megan Fitzsimon have been able to find the ball enough both averaging 13.7 disposals and laying 7.7 tackles per game. The Stingrays have an even squad across the park with plenty of standouts, none less talked about that St Kilda pre-listed duo of Isabella Shannon and Molly McDonald. Shannon has averaged 17.3 disposals, 2.7 marks, 6.7 tackles and 1.3 goals per game, while McDonald has laid four tackles and booted two goals to go with 12.5 disposals per game. Outside the two highly fancied top-agers, Brooke Vernon has been one of the best defenders in the competition this season, averaging 4.3 rebounds as well as 14 disposals and three marks, while Tyanna Smith has been important on the inside with 16 disposals, 4.3 tackles and 3.6 inside 50s per game. The Stingrays will be favourites in this clash to make it three consecutive wins, but the Power will have plenty of home crowd support.

 

CALDER CANNONS v. OAKLEIGH CHARGERS

Round 4 – 31/03/2019
1:45pm
Rams Arena – Craigieburn

The final match of the round is one of the best with the undefeated Calder Cannons taking on the much improved Oakleigh Chargers. The Cannons have knocked off Western Jets, GWV Rebels and Sandringham Dragons in the first three rounds, but the three sides have combined for just the one win this season so the Chargers will present a big challenge to the Cannons. Calder’s pursuit for four consecutive wins will be made harder without Georgie Prespakis who sensationally booted seven goals in Round 2 and was best on ground in the opening two rounds. Georgia Patrikios has stood tall in her two games as expected, averaging 21 disposals, four marks, two tackles and 5.5 inside 50s. She will be crucial in the Cannons quest for a third win with Oakleigh’s strength lying in their outside run. Gemma Lagioia (14.3 disposals, 3.3 inside 50s) could well be an opponent for Patrikios with the two among the best kicks in the league and are great movers around the field. Mimi Hill (15.3 disposals, 2.7 marks and 3.7 tackles) has been great off half-back and along the wing for the Chargers and could provide important rebound for the Chargers in a game where their opponents have plenty of attacking options. With Prespakis out, Emily Harley has a chance to take the outright lead in the goalkicking, booting eight goals in her three games while also getting involved up the ground with 13 touches and 3.7 marks. The Cannons have an advantage in the ruck with Georgie Sampson averaging 17 hitouts per game, the second highest in the competition. Both sides are evenly matched but the way the Chargers pushed the Knights they are capable of inflicting the Cannons’ first defeat, however Calder has just found a way each and every week even when challenged.

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 3

ROUND 3 of the NAB League Under 18 Girls competition has arrived, and with it comes another weekend of intense footy across the board. In such a short season every win matters, so every game is on the line once again as teams settle into their lists and leaders emerge.

SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS v. CALDER CANNONS

Round 3 – 23/03/19
9:30am
Trevor Barker Oval

Sandringham is in for another tough week as they take on the Calder Cannons, who are sitting in second on the ladder after two convincing wins in as many weeks. Calder will look to star bottom-ager, Georgie Prespakis again this week, after she picked up 22 disposals and kicked seven goals last week against Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels. Sandringham’s Alice Burke had a solid game through the midfield in Round 2, racking up 20 disposals and 11 tackles in the Dragons’ loss to Dandenong, making her the perfect candidate to lead the charge against the Cannons’ dominant midfield. Burke was matched by fellow mid, Eliza McNamara in her disposal tally, winning plenty of contested ball and creating clearances, while Marguerite Purcell along the wing proved her effectiveness in the first half last round, before a quieter second half lowered her influence on the match. The trio will have to watch out for Cannons midfielder, Georgia Patrikios (21 disposals, seven inside 50s), who who performed well as she returned to the side last week, while Gloria Elarmaly (nine tackles, 14 disposals) and Alana Barba (six tackles, two rebounds) both showed some good signs through the midfield and will certainly make it difficult for the Dragons to penetrate the forward 50.

GREATER WESTERN VICTORIA REBELS v. DANDENONG STINGRAYS

Round 3 – 23/03/19
11:15am
Mars Stadium, Ballarat

Round 3 will see a battle for control of the middle of the ladder as both GWV Rebels and Dandenong come into this match sitting on a win and a loss apiece. Only percentage separates the sides, so it will be a big match to determine ladder positions in such a short season. Sophie Molan worked tirelessly through the middle, racking up 24 touches for her efforts extracting the ball to create clearances, while Ella Wood was impressive throughout against the Cannons. Dandenong showed the depth of their forward line last round, with five individual goalkickers making their mark on the match, while defender, Zoe Hill will be key down back to reduce the impact of the Rebels up forward. Isabella Shannon was a tackling machine through the midfield, racking up 12 tackles to go with her team high 18 disposals. Reducing the wealth of the Stingrays’ goalkicking options will be key for the Rebels’ success, while the midfield battle is sure to be one to watch.

NORTHERN KNIGHTS v. WESTERN JETS

Round 3 – 23/03/19
12:00pm
RAMS Arena, Craigieburn

Last year’s grand finalists, Northern will come into Round 3 off the back of a draw to Oakleigh, so are sure to be raring to go against their Western counterparts, likely to pull out all the stops against the Jets, who are sitting winless in tenth. The Knights will hope for big games again from Ellie McKenzie and Alyssa Bannan, who had mirrored efforts in Round 2 with five inside 50s and kicked two goals apiece, while a shared tackling effort around the ground saw Jess Fitzgerald rack up nine, with six other Knights picking up five or more tackles each. With strengths across the field, Northern will be hard to stop once they get going, and have the ability to run over their opposition. Despite difficulty taking advantage of opportunities in the forward 50 last round against Murray, the Jets had some standout players in Elisabeth Georgostathis (28 disposals, seven rebound 50s) and Isabella Grant (19 disposals, six marks), both players who have the ability to run amok if given the opportunity.

MURRAY BUSHRANGERS v. GIPPSLAND POWER

Round 3 – 24/03/19
11:15am
RAMS Arena, Craigieburn

Sunday’s opening match will be a lower ladder brawl, seeing ninth placed Murray Bushrangers host bottom of the ladder, Gippsland Power. Murray had three players hit 20 disposals in Round 2, with Abby Favell the main culprit with 21 disposals and five marks. Zali Spencer and Millie Brown were also pivotal through the midfield, while Sophie Locke and Mikaela Trethowan dominated the tackles with eight apiece. Gippsland will need to outplay the Bushrangers’ midfield to ensure a second win on the trot, a role that will see players the likes of Nikia Webber and Chandra Abrahams put to the task. Webber racked up eight tackles and 15 disposals last round while Abrahams had a quieter match compared to her impressive Round 1 performance, but the pair are likely to put forward a strong performance against a relatively even midfield counterpart in the Bushrangers.

EASTERN RANGES v. OAKLEIGH CHARGERS

Round 3 – 24/03/19
12:00pm
Healesville Football Ground

The Eastern Ranges will host Oakleigh Chargers at midday in a match that will see ball magnets combine for an intense and relentless pressure filled contest. Eastern endured a loss in a low scoring affair against the Bendigo Pioneers last round while Oakleigh suffered a draw against Northern, so both sides will be raring for a hard and tough contest to get the four points. Tess Flintoff flexed her muscles last round, dominating the midfield with 23 touches, 11 marks and nine inside 50s, however didn’t have many opportunities or options forward to capitalise on her efforts. Tarni Brown paired well, laying a game-high eight tackles to go with her 17 disposals and four inside 50s. Flintoff and Brown will want to back up their strong performance against the Chargers, but the strength of Oakleigh’s composure with the footy is likely to get them over the line this week. Mimi Hill’s ability to clear the ball out from stoppages on her way to 17 disposals was key in last week’s match against Northern, while Amelia Van Oosterwijck’s ability to layer intensity and pressure on ball movers allowed her to notch up 10 tackles, topping her nine touches. Meanwhile, Emily Harley will want to keep her successful start to the season going, with seven goals over the first two rounds proving her strength in front of goal, meaning Eastern will have to ensure their defence is top notch.

GEELONG FALCONS v. BENDIGO PIONEERS

Round 3 – 24/03/19
1:00pm
Deakin University, Geelong

Geelong is back in top spot this week after a convincing Round 2 win over Eastern, settling back comfortably into where they sat for majority of season 2018. Lucy McEvoy’s fine 2018 form has continued into this season, racking up 26 disposals, six marks, six tackles and a goal, while Darcy Moloney and Paige Sheppard combined for 41 disposals and 14 inside 50s. The Falcons’ ball movers are backed up by two players who kicked a bag of goals apiece, the likes of Mia Skinner (three goals and eight tackles) and Renee Tierney (four goals, 15 disposals), while four other individual goalkickers last round just goes to show the extent of Geelong’s strength forward. A team effort across the board got the Pioneers the four points last week, with a smattering of players contributing through the midfield to create opportunities forward. Brooke Hards (17 disposals, five tackers) and key defender, Tara Slender (16 disposals, seven rebounds) combined well, with Slender currently top of the leaderboard for rebounds and likely to line-up on Geelong’s Skinner to try and reduce her impact forward. Fellow defender, Kate Douglass is likely to line up against Tierney. Bendigo will need to be at its best, but have shown some terrific competitiveness and will look to match the benchmark in the competition.

Team of the Week: NAB League Girls – Round 2

GEELONG Falcons’ dominant performance in Round 2 of the NAB League Girls competition has earned them the most nominations for Draft Central’s Team of the Week in an even round across the board. While the Falcons had four players in the team, Calder Cannons were not far behind with three. Of the remaining 10 teams, seven had two nominees, while Eastern Ranges, Gippsland Power and Western Jets had the one player make the side after Round 2 losses.

The reigning premiers were impressive in the forward half, and both Darcy Moloney and Renee Tierney fit into the forward 50, while Paige Sheppard slots onto a wing and Lucy McEvoy has been named on the ball. For Calder, Georgia Patrikios returned to the side and has been named on the other wing, while Georgie Prespakis booted a record seven goals up forward, and Felicity Theodore was energetic throughout the second half. Speaking of record goal hauls, one of only three other players to hold the seven-goal game record is Northern Knights’ Britney Gutknecht who is in the opposite pocket, while Ellie McKenzie’s two goals – including the all-important match winner – saw her fit into the side.

Emily Harley returns to the side for Round 2, joining Tierney in the key position spot inside 50, also in the side with Chargers’ captain Mimi Hill who was impressive on the weekend. Bendigo Pioneers had their first win and Tara Slender had an equal round-high seven rebounds to lock into the key defensive spot, along with Eloise Gretgrix who made the team once again, in a back pocket considering her influence in the defensive half of the ground. Also in defence despite mostly playing as a midfielder is Elisabeth Georgostathis, purely for the fact she had the equal round-high seven rebounds showing her work rate back into defence. In the other small defender position is Chelsea Hargreaves, who with centre Abby Favell became the first Murray players in Team of the Week for the season after impressive performances.

Dandenong’s Zoe Hill again fills out full-back, this time joined in the team by bottom-age midfielder Tyanna Smith who was one of the Stingrays’ best in their win over Sandringham. The Dragons also had two players in the side, with Marguerite Purcell and Alice Burke both on the interchange after solid games through the midfield. The other side with two players in the team is the Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels, as Sophie Molan worked tirelessly through the middle, and Maggie Caris was dominant in the ruck. The two remaining players in the side are their respective team’s representatives in Tess Flintoff (Eastern Ranges) and Nikia Webber (Gippsland Power).

Scouting notes: NAB League Girls – Round 2

ROUND 2 of the NAB League Girls competition played out on the weekend, and we were at four of the six games taking a look at the players highlighted by respective talent managers as ones to watch throughout the season and beyond. For the two games we did not get to, we recapped how some of the players performed statistically for the sides.

 

GWV Rebels vs. Calder Cannons

By: Peter Williams

GWV:

#9 Renee Saulitis

Started in attack opposed to Georgie Prespakis, and kicked a great goal in the last minute of the term. She showed great game smarts to toe tap the ball to her advantage, then get the right spin on it to kick it off the ground, and for it to dribble around the goal post for the Rebels’ first major of the day, from a tight angle. Saulitis pushed further up the ground as the game went on and played through the midfield, even winning possession at half-back and kicking cleanly to the wing. She did get bumped off the ball a little too easy in a marking contest, but once the ball hits the ground, she is in her element.

#10 Ella Wood

Impressive game through the midfield, especially early on when the game was even. Her kicking inside 50 was very solid and set up Renee Saulitis for a mark, and continued to relentlessly attack the ball throughout the match. In the second term she had two instances of great courage where she flew back into a marking contest, then if she got knocked down, got straight up again. She worked hard around the ground and presented as an option from kick-ins, and a perfect representation of her second efforts was when her kick was smothered in defence, she followed up to lay a tackle on her opponent and force a throw-in.

#24 Sophie Molan

A big game for the tireless leader who had the ball on a string for a lot of hte day. Her clearance work in particular stood out, and she won a number of free kicks for being held around the stoppages. Molan spent time at full-forward, but was most effective when in the middle extracting the ball from the coal face. She regularly put her body on the line and moved well in tight, showing great vision and football IQ in one instance to handball clear to a teammate while under pressure. Her second efrorrts in attack saw her lay a big tackle, win a free kick for holding the ball then Molan played on and kicked a great goal.

#35 Maggie Caris

A promising game from the developing ruck, who won a bit of the football around the ground as well as dominating in the ruck. She won countless hitouts, and was able to extract a ball from traffic inside 50 and kick it deep in the forward line. Caris’ standout feature is her clean hitout ability, able to get a full hand to the ball such is her height and leap ability over her opponents.

Calder:

#2 Felicity Theodore

A terrific game from the Cannons mid/forward who just got better as the game went on. While Georgie Prespakis’ name was the one to be thrown around for her seven goals, Theodore was the clear second best with some huge efforts, including multiple goal assists to Prespakis, and kicking a goal of her own. She had other chances as well but just missed out on converting late in the game. The piece of play that best exemplified her impact was where she won the ball inside 50 in the third term, but insitead of blazing away and only looking for the goals, lowered the eyes and put it to Prespakis’ advantage. She combined immediately after with a similar play, bursting out of a stoppage to pop it up above Prespakis who marked and goaled again.

#21 Georgia Patrikios

Back into the team after Round 1, Patrikios was used sparingly early, starting on the bench in the first and second terms, and then rotating across the ground on the grandstand side. She played on the outside to use her skills to advantage. Patrikios has that ability to make time stop and can turn opponents inside out and seemingly casually side step them without too much trouble. Her vision and skill execution was impressive and came as no surprise, and with a game under her belt, she will be better going forward.

#41 Georgie Prespakis

Seven goals in the second half, a match winning performance. There is not much you can say about her performance other than dominance when at full-forward. She is strong and clean in the air, quick at ground level and has an innate goal sense when to go and when to pass. She remarkably started in defence on Renee Saulitis in the first term, moved into the middle in the second, then played out of the goalsquare in the last half. Prespakis has a powerful kick and once she has front position in a marking contest, it is hard to stop her. Of her seven goals, most came from set shots, but she produced a few tricks, including one where she was being dragged down by a couple of opponents and she managed to get a kick away between a couple more for it to go in, as well as her next one where she was corralled into the boundary, but had the speed to take on her opponent run around and kick into the open goal. Prespakis had a couple of opportunities late in the game to break the record and kick a couple more goals, but seeing her teammates with the ball were in better positions, she just pointed to the goals and let her teammates get on the board.

 

Northern Knights vs. Oakleigh Chargers

By: Taylah Melki

Northern Knights:

#6 Alyssa Bannan

Bannan showed a good ability to get boot to ball and helped to propel the footy forward on multiple occasions throughout the game. She worked hard at the stoppages and displayed her strong marking ability in the 50. She provided plenty of good leads and opened up space. She impressed in one passage of play where she was taken in a tackle and stood strong while getting dragged down to throw the ball on her boot and kick into the Knights forward 50. She protected the drop of the ball and showcased her good footy smarts to read the play and get into a good position. Kicked a good goal in the third after breaking away from the pack and nailing the shot.

#18 Sarah Sansonetti

Sansonetti proved that she could read the flight of the ball well and contested hard in the air. She showed good attack on the footy and worked hard throughout the game to get to the contest and compete. Her tackling pressure was second to none bringing players to ground and hunting them to win the footy. She also displayed good spatial awareness to kick the ball into space and move the ball out of defence to a more attacking position for her side.

#21 Ellie McKenzie

She applied plenty of good strong tackles and chased hard throughout the game to try and win the ball back for her side. McKenzie attacked the footy hard and dished it off with clever passes to teammates in better positions. She showcased her strong marking skills and ability to read the play. McKenzie impressed in the last quarter credit to her good dash away from the pack to break into space and kick an important goal and then backed it up with another stellar goal from a difficult angle to get her side back on an even playing field. She showed great spatial awareness to pass off to teammates and know when to run herself and offered strong leads through the centre.

#22 Britney Gutknecht

Gutknecht was once again solid showcasing her good hands in the contest to work the ball out of stoppages and pass off to teammates. She showcased her strength while getting tackled to keep her arms free and dish to footy off while she also impressed with her acceleration and ability to break out of the centre bounce. She provided good attacking play had clean hands and ran hard continuously to get to the contest. Gutknecht also provided good link-up play through the middle of the ground thanks to her footy smarts and spatial awareness.

#23 Gabby Newton

Newton showed good spatial awareness and was composed with ball in hand even while under pressure. She used the footy well to move the ball forward and showcased her strong hands taking some solid marks across the ground. Her general football awareness was impressive and she applied good defensive pressure to worry opponents out of the kick.

#32 Ashleigh Snow

Snow applied good pressure across the field and worked hard to get to the contest. She tackled well on multiple occasions and used her beautiful kick into the forward 50 showcasing her pinpoint precision. Her good vision and acceleration was also a key part in her game and she racked up plenty of timely touches.

 

Oakleigh Chargers:

#1 Gemma Lagioia

Lagioia impressed with her follow up work across the ground especially in the forward half to try and trap the footy in the Chargers’ attacking 50. She also showcased her clever use of the footy with timely kicks to teammates and into space. She did the one percenters well chasing hard and applying pressure.

#2 Mimi Hill

Hill was strong around the contest and worked hard to try and win the footy leading the way for her side in possessions. She used her acceleration and clever kicks to push the ball forward and set up attacking bursts for the Chargers. She used her defensive pressure to try and trap the footy and was good around the stoppages extracting the footy. Her clever handballs out of traffic were efficient and allowed her teammates to run into space.

#4 Emily Harley

Harley was a real presence up forward for the Chargers with her long booming kick and good positioning in front of goals. She helped to push forward and create scoring opportunities for her teammates. She took plenty of strong contested marks and showed a good ability to read the flight of the ball. Harley impressed in the second quarter taking a strong contested mark just outside the goal square and slotting a good goal to finish off the play. She was not afraid to put her body on the line going in hard at the contest. Harley took another big mark just inside the 50 and bombed a long goal finishing the game with three majors.

#8 Alana Porter

Porter used her clever kicks to get the ball into space and showed good attack on the footy across the ground. She worked hard at the clearances to win the footy and pushed hard into the forward 50 to try and create some attacking play. Porter reads the play well, breaks away from the packs and is a good strong kick of the footy.

 

Geelong Falcons vs. Gippsland Power

By: Michael Alvaro

Geelong:

#1 Elise Vella

The bite-sized forward competed well and did contributed some really neat touches throughout the game. A courageous mark going back with the flight of the ball in the second term was a highlight, with Vella hanging on and bouncing straight back up despite a copping a tremendous knock from behind. Her tackling was also willing, and she provided some good balls inside 50.

#8 Paige Sheppard
Sheppard was close to, if not the Falcons’ best on the day, winning a wealth of the ball through the midfield. Sheppard terrific coming out of congestion and provided nice forward bursts. Her repeated ground ball gets and long kicks forward were a feature, but she truly did it all across the match.

#12 Laura Gardiner
Assuming her usual positon on the wing, Gardiner looked to take the game on and was usually clean in doing so. She showed good awareness on the last line of defence to clean up after a fumble, but was more often seen between the arcs. She capped off her day with a nice running goal in the third term – the only one scored in the quarter.

#18 Darcy Moloney
The midfielder has a good step, and used it to move around opponents when looking to break forward. She was effective by foot going inside 50, and constantly finished off runs with long kicks. Like Sheppard, she also finished off her solid display with a goal late on.

#21 Abbey Chapman
While the defence as a whole would be disappointed in letting a couple of late goals through, Chapman was solid as a rock inside defensive 50. She copped a knock in the second quarter, but bounced back well to affect a number of intercept marks and shut down many Gippsland attacks. Entrusted with the kick-outs, Chapman spent a good amount of time deep, while also moving towards the arc to cut off Gippsland’s forays.

#38 Lucy McEvoy
The star Falcon had another day out, putting in a complete shift and looking a class above at times. Utilised at the centre bounces for most of the game, McEvoy showcased her outstanding decision making at the stoppages with clean hands and neat vision to bring her teammates into the contest. Her kicking game was also typically strong, with a particular shot from 50-out hitting the post. McEvoy also tended to play a kick off the ball when it was inside the Falcons’ 50, providing a wall and relentlessly pumping the ball back in, while also being the primary kick-in target. A solid game was capped again by her final quarter goal, which she snared off a Renee Tierney kick and booted into an open goal.

#39 Renee Tierney
Together with Skinner, Tierney was the lead player up forward for Geelong and claimed four of their seven first half goals. Showing good awareness and a deft finishing touch, Tierney took full advantage of the space afforded to her inside 50. Her clever dribble goal through traffic in the second term was a highlight, and she could well have finished with five or six goals had she not missed a couple early.

Gippsland:

#8 Chandra Abrahams
The midfielder battled hard all day against a slick Geelong engine room, attending most of the stoppages and anchoring the centre bounces. Opposed to Lucy McEvoy at times, Abrahams had a good crack and won some nice clearances. Her effort against two opponents to see the ball out in the second term was a good example of her combativeness on the day.

#9 Maddi Shaw
Shaw is a leader in the Gippsland defence and despite a difficult day, she made a solid contribution. She had a good one-on-one win on defensive wing early on, and showed her potential in patches. A strong marking attempt against two Falcons in the final term with the game all but over was impressive, and Shaw has a decent boot when allowed space to use it.

#27 Nikia Webber
While Webber was arguably her side’s best, she found the going tough early on starting at centre half-forward. She pushed up the ground to find more of the ball and provide a target to link inside 50, but Geelong hardly gave her an inch when she went near it. Her marking game was solid, and a 55-metre set shot on goal turned into an assist for the Power’s first goal of the game in the final term. A run through the midfield in the second half looked to lift the Power slightly, and she fought well in the clinches.

 

Sandringham Dragons vs. Dandenong Stingrays

By: Peter Williams

Sandringham:

#2 Sophia Rothfield

Presented throughout playing forward, getting on the end of a kick inside 50 from Bryanna Arnold and converting the set shot. It would be the Dragons’ only major of the game, but Rothfield continued to cause headaches up forward for her opposition with some powerful marks. She took a great contested grab in the second term, and put her body on the line time ad time again. Rothfield had an opportunity in the final quarter for a second goal, but missed the snap.

#25 Sarah Hartwig

Played in front of her opponent most of the day and backs herself in to go for marks rather than spoils. Hartwig is clean at ground level and is able to pick up the ball at top speed and take off, which she did in the second term when she scooped up the ball on the run, fended off an opponent and kicked straight down the middle. Later on she showed her second efforts, laying a big tackle after dropping an intercept mark, to win back possession for her side. She won a free kick for a huge run-down takccle in the final term.

#28 Alice Burke

A big first half around the stoppages and her defensive pressure was very good. She is able to win the contested ball and just get enough separation to move laterally or forward to kick long. Early in the game she showed the perfect way to use your body at a stoppage, getting a low centre of gravity, protecting herself as well as the ball at ground level and buying herself time to dispose of the ball to a teammate while having the space to get rid of it if tackled. In the third term she drifted into defence on a number of occations and showed clean hands and quick disposal, as well as a lovely technique coming out of defence to the wing. A big tackle on Tyanna Smith in the final term allowed a teammate to have a long shot on goal form the subsequent spillage.

#30 Winnie Laing

Worked hard throughout the four quarters and constantly put her body on the line. Along with Alice Burke and Eliza McNamara, Laing won plenty of contested ball and clearances, even if it was just a deft tap or bump off the ball to allow a .teammate to take possession. Laing plays with fierce intend and won a few free kicks, including one in the first term for too high, but her set shot missed to the left.

#42 Marguerite Purcell

Impressive game along the wing as she has that balance between athletic capabilities and hardness at the ball and ball carrier. She roamed between the arcs and has a long, dangerous kick going inside. Purcell had a big impact in the first half and took a good intercept mark outside 50 to then send the ball back inside. A quieter second half, but she had a chance in the final quarter running into goal, but rushed a little and missed the shot on goal.

Dandenong:

#12 Molly McDonald

The captain returned for the Round 2 game and after a quieter first half, started to have a massive impact in the second term. She played on a wing and did not take a backwards step, covering the ground with ease and crashing into marking contests to impact at every chance she got. McDonald laid some big tackles and had a few chances on goal but rued missed opportunities. One went out on the full and the St Kilda recruit berating herself for the missed chance, another was on target from long range but was touched on the line. Her work rate is an obvious advantage and despite it being her first game back this year in competition, she fitted in well.

#26 Isabella Shannon

A tackling machine. Shannon played through the midfield and up forward, and her work on the ball was very good, putting her body on the line and also able to shrug off opponents with ease. Shannon has great core strength ad is able to move well when under pressure, and has a fierce attack on the ball. In one instance in the third term, Shannon was outnumbered one against two on a . forward flank, and laid a huge tackle to trap the ball and force a stoppage. She missed a chance lain the same term from long range, but then kicked the final goal in the final term to put the nail in the coffin.

#28 Tyanna Smith

The bottom-ager had another impressive game through midfield and was able to find space at times to not only hurt her opponents on the inside, but also on the outside. She loves to win the contested ball, but on a couple of occasions got free and took off, with a ‘wow’ moment in the second term, bursting off half-back and running all the way to half-forward, but just pulled the kick a little to the left. Luckily the ball spilt and the Stingrays were able to create a goal out of the opportunity. While on some occasions she was caught, you had to admire the way she attempted to continually break the game open. In the final term she set up the final goal to Isabella Shannon with great vision in the pocket to spot up her teammate and put it to her advantage rather than blazing away.

#31 Brooke Vernon

The defender found herself uncharacteristically in the goalsquare in term one after back-to-back 50-metre penalties and an easy conversion in front of goal. The major was the first of the game, and then Vernon played a solid game in the back 50. She took a great contested mark in the goal square to save a certain goal in the opening term. Often tasked with the kick-in duties, Vernon is a long, accurate kick of the ball and always provided a contest. Finished with a handful of rebounds and a solid four quarter performance.

#51 Zoe Hill

The reliable defender did her job once again, especially under fire in the final term. She did not win a heap of the ball, but when in possession, Hill is calm and composed under pressure and is able to dispose of it cleanly. She forced a rushed behind in the final term and has an ability to get a clean first in one-on-one. Earlier in the game she showed great closing speed and was able to spoil an opponent when at top speed.

 

In other games, here’s how some of the ones to watch played:

Bendigo Pioneers vs. Eastern Ranges

Brooke Hards had 17 disposals, two marks, three inside 50s, three rebounds and five tackles, while key defender, Tara Slender amassed an equal round-high seven rebounds to go with her 16 disposals, four marks and three tackles, and Eloise Gretgrix worked hard defensively for 13 touches, four marks and six rebounds. For Eastern, Tarni Brown also collected 17 disposals and had four inside 50s while laying a game-high eight tackles, Laura McClelland also found plenty of hte ball with 15 disposals, five inside 50s and six tackles, while Olivia Meagher had 16 disposals, three marks, four tackles and six inside 50s.

Murray Bushrangers vs. Western Jets

The standout performer from the match was Western’s Elisabeth Georgostathis who racked up 28 disposals – 22 kicks – two marks, five inside 50s and seven rebounds, while Abby Favell was impressive with 21 touches, five marks, four inside 50s, three rebounds and three tackles. Potential father-daughter selections, Millie Brown and Isabella Grant were impressive with Brown (20 disposals, two marks, three tackles, four inside 50s and two rebounds) and Grant (19 disposals, six marks and three inside 50s) playing important roles through midfield. Cleo Saxon-Jones was ever present with 18 touches and four marks for the Jets, while Sophie Locke (14 disposals, eight inside 50s) and Olivia Barber (13 disposals, four marks and a goal) were also good for the Bushrangers.

Weekend wash-up: NAB League Girls – Round 2

IN Round 2 of the NAB League Girls, Geelong Falcons and Calder Cannons made it two from two, while Northern Knights and Oakleigh Chargers split the points, and Eastern Ranges and Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels went down after Round 1 wins. Subsequently, Bendigo Pioneers, Murray Bushrangers and Dandenong Stingrays recorded their first wins of the year.

BENDIGO PIONEERS 1.1 | 1.1 | 2.2 | 3.3 (21)
EASTERN RANGES 0.1 | 1.2 | 1.3 | 2.6 (18)

GOALS:

Bendigo: E. Snell, C. Mitchell, J. Jolliffe.
Eastern:
J. Grace, S. Gibbs.

BEST:

Bendigo: E. Gretgrix, E. Snell, T. Slender, M. Tupper, B. Hards, H. Stewart
Eastern: 
T. Flintoff, M. Church, M. Di Cosmo, L. McClelland, J. Richardson, S. Gibbs

Bendigo Pioneers bounced back from a narrow loss to the GWV Rebels last week by knocking over Round 1 winners, Eastern Ranges in Round 2. Jordyn Jolliffe booted the only goal of the first term and the Pioneers led by her straight kick. Eastern hit back with the only goal of the second term courtesy of Jess Grace to take a one-point lead into the second half. Bendigo again found an avenue to goal with Chantelle Mitchell converting, before Serena Gibbs added a second one for Eastern in the final term. The Ranges had hit the front, with a few minutes left, before Elizabeth Snell became the hero in the final two minutes with a match-winning goal to hand the Pioneers a three-point win. Eloise Gretgrix was best on ground in the win, well assisted by the strong Bendigo midfgield inSnell, Maeve Tupper and Brooke Hards, while Tara Slender was terrific in defence. Tess Flintoff and Madison Church stood up for the Ranges, while Laura McClelland never stopped trying throughout the contest. Next week, Bendigo travels to Geelong to take on the reigning premiers, while Eastern hosts Oakleigh Chargers at Healesville.

 

GWV REBELS 1.1 | 2.1 | 2.1 | 3.3 (21)
CALDER CANNONS 2.0 | 3.2 | 7.5 | 12.7 (79)

GOALS:

GWV: R. Saulitis, L. Sykes, S. Molan.
Calder:
G. Prespakis 7, A. Magri, T. Crook, I. McNeill-Wren, F. Theodore, T. Gillard.

BEST:

GWV: L. Sykes, M. Caris, S. Molan, I. Robson, C. Leonard, K. Tomkins
Calder: 
G. Prespakis, F. Theodore, G. Patrikios, L. Cocomello, E. Yassir, G. Elarmaly

Calder Cannons made it two consecutive wins, with a 58-point victory over Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels. After a tight first half which saw the Cannons lead by just seven points at the main break, Georgie Prespakis moved to full-forward and became a dominant force in the air and at ground level. She piled on seven majors in just a half in the forward 50, equalling the goals record set by three other players. While she was the name on everyone’s lips, Felicity Theodore deserved plaudits for multiple goal assists and a goal herself in that second half, while Georgia Patrikios was also impressive as the Cannons eased her back into the contest after missing Round 1. For the Rebels, Renee Saulitis kicked a ripping goal early, while Sophie Molan continued to battle hard throughout hte contest. Maggie Caris was a dominant force in the ruck, while Lauren Sykes was named the Rebels’ best in the victory. Next week the Cannons take on the winless Sandringham Dragons, while the Rebels host the Dandenong Stingrays at MARS Stadium with both teams sitting at 1-1.

 

MURRAY BUSHRANGERS 2.2 | 5.2 | 5.2 | 6.3 (39)
WESTERN JETS 0.0 | 0.1 | 0.2 | 2.3 (15)

GOALS:

Murray: E. McPherson 2, O. Barber, T. Verhoeven, M. Trethowan, A. Morphett.
Western: N. Wright, C. Weston-Sirett.

BEST:

Murray: A. Favell, T. Brett, O. Barber, C. Hargreaves, S. Locke, K. Adams
Western: E. Georgostathis, I. Grant, N. Wright, T. Kolevski, H. Herring, E. Kiely 

Murray Bushrangers put their disappointing round 1 defeat to the Northern Knights behind them to boot five first half goals and set uop a 24-point win over Western Jets. There was no sign of the team that struggled to score against one of the competition favourites, as the home side booted two goals to zero in the opening term, then added three more by half-time to lead by 30 points at the main break. Western slowed the momentum in the third term, kicking the only score of the quarter in a behind, then booted two of the final three goals to cut the final deficit to 24 points. Emilee McPherson was the only multiple goalkicker in the game with two, as the Bushrangers shared around their majors, with Olivia Barber getting on the board and also named among the best. Abby Favell and Teagan Brett were impressive in the victory, while for Western, captain Elisabeth Georgostathis was terrific once again, as was Isabella Grant who backed up her opening round form with another strong performance. Nikita Wright booted one of Western’s two goals, and was also among the Jets’ top players on the day. Murray hosts Gippsland Power next weekend at the Swinburne Centre (Punt Road) as the two Country teams meet halfway, while Western travels to RAMS Arena to take on the Northern Knights.

 

NORTHERN KNIGHTS 2.0 | 3.1 | 4.3 | 6.3 (39)
OAKLEIGH CHARGERS  1.0| 3.0 |4.2 | 6.3 (39)

GOALS:

Northern: E. McKenzie 2, A. Bannan 2, M. Appleby, T. Pulcino
Oakleigh: E. Harley 3, M. Bertuna, N. Xenos, K. Kearns

BEST:

Northern: C. Fitzgerald, B. Gutknecht, M. Plunkett, P. Chisholm, G. Newton, G. Ceravolo
Oakleigh: M. Hill, N. Xenos, G. Larkey, G. Lagioia, E. Harley, C. RowbottoM

It was a tight contest with both the Northern Knights and Oakleigh Chargers going toe to toe for the entire match. The Knights held a narrow lead for most of the game but in the final term the Chargers came out firing to edge ahead. But in the end neither side could be separated with the Northern Knights sealing a goal in the dying minutes of the game to tie it all up, claiming the first draw of the season. Oakleigh applied plenty of pressure across the ground and stopped the attacking flow of the Knights for large parts of the game, causing some uncharacteristic errors at times. Emily Harley proved to be the key up forward for Oakleigh nailing three goals to keep her side in it, while for the Knights Alyssa Bannan and Ellie McKenzie chipped in with two goals apiece. Speedster Mimi Hill impressed throughout the game for Oakleigh with her timely touches, clever positioning and ability to break away from packs. Star midfielders Britney Gutknecht and Gabby Newton were their dominant selves racking up plenty of touches and hitting up targets. Northern Knights are set to face off with the Western Jets at RAMS Arena while the Oakleigh Chargers will make the journey to Healesville to play the Eastern Ranges.

GEELONG FALCONS 4.4 | 7.5 | 8.8 | 11.9 (75)
GIPPSLAND POWER 0.0 | 0.3 | 0.4 | 2.5 (17)

GOALS:

Geelong: R. Tierney 4, M. Skinner 3, L. McEvoy, L. Gardiner, J. Robinson, D. Moloney.
Gippsland: G. McRae, C. Robinson.

BEST:

Geelong: P. Sheppard, L. McEvoy, R. Tierney, D. Moloney, L. Lesosky-Hay, L. Gardiner
Gippsland: N. Webber, G. McRae, M. Fitzsimon, C. Abrahams, M. Van Berkel, M. Shaw

An almost flawless display across the ground saw the Geelong Falcons trounce Gippsland Power by 58 points at Deakin University, helping them soar back to the top of the table. The Falcons’ forward line was a clear feature early as Renee Tierney and Mia Skinner caused headaches for Gippsland’s defence in the first half, combing for all of Geelong’s seven first half goals in deep roles inside 50. With the attack running smoothly and the likes of Lucy McEvoy and Paige Sheppard providing unrelenting service from midfield, Geelong’s defence also stood up well to keep the Power goalless for three quarters of the game. But a final quarter lapse on Geelong’s part saw Gippsland’s Cailin Robinson take full advantage to slot through her side’s first major of the day, with Grace McRae adding to the total in the face of another three Falcons goals. Darcy Moloney and Laura Gardiner finished among a long line of Geelong standouts, with the bite-sized Elise Vella also doing a few neat things. Gippsland star Nikia Webber was her side’s clear best from half-forward and through the midfield, while McRae was another valiant trier alongside Chandra Abrahams, who fought well in the engine room, and Megan Fitzsimon. With a perfect record intact, the Falcons will now go on to face Bendigo at Deakin once again on Sunday, while the 0-2 clash with Murray in an all-country clash at the Swinburne Centre in Richmond on Saturday.

 

SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS 1.3 | 1.5 | 1.5 | 1.11 (17)
DANDENONG STINGRAYS 1.2 | 3.3 | 4.5 | 5.7 (37)

GOALS:

Sandringham: S. Rothfield.
Dandenong: B. Vernon, I. Shannon, A. Liddle, J. Radford, G. Howes.

BEST:

Sandringham: C. Cody, M. Purcell, T. Grasso, S. Hartwig, E. McNamara, E. Angelopoulos
Dandenong: M. Layfield, T. Smith, J. Radford, Z. Hill, S. Stratton, H. Thomas

Dandenong Stingrays have run out 20-point winners against an inaccurate Sandringham Dragons outfit at RSEA Park, Moorabbin. The Stingrays had the same amount of scoring shots as the Dragons, but converted five of their 12 attempts compared to the Dragons’ one. The one goal came in the first term when Soph Rothfield converted a set shot to match Brooke Vernon‘s major which came after back-to-back 50-metre penalties. Despite never having the game under control, the Stingrays booted the final four goals of the match, and when Isabella Shannon broke through to give the Stingrays a four-goal lead, it looked done and dusted. The Dragons relentlessly attacked in the final term, but missed some golden opportunites and it will be a great learning curve for them going forward. Marguerite Purcell and Eliza McNamara were huge in the midfield with Alice Burke for the Dragons, while Tyanna Smith and Shannon were tough for the Stingrays. Molly McDonald got better as the game went on, while Zoe Hill and Sarah Hartwig were consistent as ever up their respective ends. Next week the Dragons take on the undefeated Calder Cannons, while the Stingrays face the GWV Rebels at MARS Stadium.

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.

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.