Tag: mietta kendall

2020 NAB League Girls team update: Eastern Ranges

WHILE the NAB League Girls competition is on break, we take a quick recap of each team, how the first three rounds have panned out for them and who has already stood up in the short time. In this edition we look at one of the sides to have only played the two games to-date, splitting their results with a big loss and a big win, Eastern Ranges.

2020 RESULTS:

R1: lost to Dandenong Stingrays by 50 points
R2: Bye
R3: defeated Tasmania Devils by 57 points

They have not had the same amount of games as the first three team reviews, with Eastern Ranges suffering a 50-point loss at the hands of Dandenong Stingrays, before winning against Tasmania Devils by 57 to maintain a positive percentage before the season was postponed. There were plenty of positives to take out of the 2020 season so far and a number of impressive players.

FIVE STRONG STARTERS:

Olivia Meagher (21.5 disposals, 2.0 marks, 3.0 tackles, 2.0 inside 50s, 2.0 rebounds)

In Eastern’s top couple of players in both games, the relentless attitude of the captain stands out above all else. Meagher keeps cracking in regardless of the score and always puts in a four quarter effort. She is a team player who provides bumps and shepherds that will not always be recorded on a stats sheet, but help the team out immensely. A natural-born leader who sets the example for her teammates to follow.

Tarni Brown (24.0 disposals, 2.5 marks, 4.5 tackles, 2.5 inside 50s, 1.0 rebound, 1 goal)

The classy midfielder watched her brother Tyler make his debut in the AFL last weekend, and her most recent performance against Tasmania was one that was equally as exciting. She has increased her ball-winning ability in 2020 and her numbers have gone up – albeit from just the two games of data – but what sets her aside is her ability to think her way through traffic, evade opponents and pick the right option out of a stoppage. Often used as a distributor going inside 50.

Jorja Livingstone (16.5 disposals, 1.0 tackles, 4.0 inside 50s)

A real exciting player who has some nice burst speed out of a stoppage and while clearances are not a stat officially recorded, you can guarantee she would be high up in that regard. She covers the ground well and can play out of the middle or around the forward 50, having a number of chances but just not being able to make one stick early against the Devils. A middle-age player who will still be eligible to run around in the competition next year.

Bridget Deed (16.0 disposals, 2.5 marks, 2.5 tackles, 3.5 rebounds)

Another middle-age prospect who has been a reliable source in defence, but also pushing up the ground through the midfield, Deed is able to find the ball and move it on quickly in transition. She was seen finding plenty of it early against Tasmania, then went back to the last line where she aided her team in weathering the storm against the Devils. A really versatile player who will be another to watch next season.

Isabelle Khoury (10.5 disposals, 1.5 marks, 2.0 tackles, 2.5 inside 50s, 3 goals)

Without many chances in the opening game, the forward made the most of her chances against Tasmania. Khoury booted three majors against the Devils, and was providing a target up the field for her teammates. She often also pumped the ball inside 50 to provide others with a chance to score and could play deep or as a high half-forward. Another middle-age prospect, Khoury will get another chance in 2021.

Others who have stood out: Georgia Campbell, Mietta Kendall, Jess Grace, Matilda Hardy

The Ranges had plenty of talls this year, and Campbell led the ruck division with 18 hitouts from 12 touches and 3.5 tackles per game. Assisting her as one of a couple of other players in the hitouts was Grace, who showed strength at full-forward as well as through the middle, while Kendall in defence, and Hardy as a forward target in the game against Tasmania were also impressive.

2020 NAB League Girls Team of the Week: Round 3

EASTERN Ranges’ big win over Tasmania Devils has seen the side earn the most players in our Draft Central NAB League Girls’ Team of the Week with four representatives from Round 3. Other winners, Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels, Northern Knights and Sandringham Dragons had three apiece, as did the Western Jets. Calder Cannons put in an even team performance to record two players, alongside Round 4 losers, Bendigo Pioneers and Dandenong Stingrays. Gippsland Power and Tasmania Devils both had one apiece, with the latter recording their first ever player in our Team of the Week.

The Ranges’ quartet is spread across the three areas of the ground, with defender Bridget Deed, midfielders Tarni Brown and Olivia Meagher, and forward Isabella Khoury all named in this week’s team. For the opposition team in the Ranges’ win is Tasmania Devils’ Amy Prokopiec who was named at full-back in the team becoming the first Tasmanian to make the starting side. Also in the defence is Sandringham Dragons’ Sarah Hartwig, who is in the team alongside five-goal forward, Abbi Moloney and captain, Winnie Laing. Alice Burke and Eliza McNamara were both close to making it a massive five players in the side, but narrowly missed out and were named as emergencies. Gippsland Power’s AFL Women’s National Academy member, Megan Fitzsimon also made the side after an impressive performance, with Matilda Van Berkel named as the third emergency in the team.

Up in Ballarat, the game between the GWV Rebels and Western Jets had a combined six players make it into the side, with three from each team. Debutant, Alice Astbury and fellow mid-forward, Ella Friend made the 24-player side, as did ruck, Maggie Caris. Her opponent, Amelia Velardo made it into the side along with Montana Ham in defence, and Isabelle Pritchard through midfield. The last remaining team with three players represented was the Northern Knights, as co-captains, Jess Fitzgerald and Ellie McKenzie both slotted onball, while Alyssa Bannan was named at centre half-forward yet again.

The remaining six players come from the Bendigo Pioneers, Calder Cannons and Dandenong Stingrays, with Draft Central Player of the Week, Georgie Prespakis leading the way for the winning Cannons, along with teammate Grace Dicker. Pioneers’ Jemma Finning and Elizabeth Snell were named in the side, as were Stingrays, Tyanna Smith and Jessica Matin. There were a couple more Stingrays among the unlucky players to miss out, with Jemma Radford the last omission from the 27 total named, while Amber Clarke was also considered. Eastern duo, Mietta Kendall and Matilda Hardy, GWV Rebels’ Lilli Condon, Gippsland Power’s Grace McRae, Sandringham Dragons’ Daisy Walker, Calder Cannons’ Freda Puruntatameri, Bendigo Pioneers’ Dakota Villiva and Tasmania Devils’ Perri King.

BACKS:

Bridget Deed (ER) – 21 disposals, 2 marks, 3 tackles, 1 inside 50, 5 rebounds
The Eastern Ranges utility had a huge first term, picking up nine touches, before holding up the fort deep in defence and repelling a number of key attacks. Deed ended up totalling 21 disposals for the match, as well as five rebounds and was one of a number of Ranges who really impressed in their first game at Kilsyth.

Amy Prokopiec (TD) – 11 disposals, 2 tackles, 6 rebounds
The sole Tasmanian player to make the side, the AFL Women’s National Academy member held up in defence well. In a week where a lot of the top defenders were more half-backs, Prokopiec was strong on the last line, rarely losing one-on-ones and being strong at ground level. Prokopiec saved a number of goal-scoring opportunities in a Devils outfit that improved on their week one output and the middle-age defender was a vocal leader in that side.

Sarah Hartwig (SD) – 11 disposals, 2 marks, 6 tackles, 1 inside 50, 2 rebounds
Not as many disposals as in past weeks, but Hartwig played a terrific team game, laying an impressive six tackles throughout the match as she is experimented further up the ground. She still had 11 touches, a couple of marks and got back for a couple of rebounds, but was one of a number of Dragons who stood out in the win over Gippsland Power.

HALF-BACKS:

Tyanna Smith (DS) – 21 disposals, 3 marks, 6 tackles, 3 inside 50s, 7 rebounds
The Dandenong speedster makes our Team of the Week again after being another strong performer through the Dandenong Stingrays midfield against the Northern Knights. Given she was able to work back into defence and repel the ball seven times, Smith has earned a spot off half-back, and would do well in the position back there. She also set up an early goal for the Stingrays up the other end.

Montana Ham (WJ) – 19 disposals, 3 marks, 5 tackles, 2 inside 50s, 7 rebounds, 1 goal
Similar to Smith, Ham played through the midfield but often camped back a kick behind the ball at times to assist the defence on a windy day at Mars Stadium. She was a consistent four quarter performer, and also amassed a round-high seven rebounds after kicking the first goal of the game from just inside 50. A traditional utility who can slot in anywhere on the field and is still a bottom-ager.

Jemma Finning (BP) – 20 disposals, 6 marks, 6 tackles, 4 rebounds
Finning continued her promising form with another important defensive role in an under-siege Bendigo back five, positioning expertly to intercept and rebound with surety. The 165cm defender collected personal season-highs in marks, tackles, disposals, and rebounds – a good measure of the way she went about repelling Calder’s attacks. Not only did Finning compete well in the air, but she also chased hard to lay tackles at the fall of the ball, while also keeping tabs on the dangerous Freda Puruntatameri inside defensive 50.

CENTRES:

Tarni Brown (ER) – 28 disposals, 4 marks, 6 tackles, 4 inside 50s, 1 rebound, 1 goal, 1 behind
A terrific performance from Brown who was a standout from the first bounce to the final siren, the potential Collingwood father-daughter selection had a match-high 28 disposals, four marks, four inside 50s and a goal, using her skill and awareness to win the ball in close and slow time as she would sidestep opponents and hit targets going forward. A playmaker in the front half with ball-in-hand.

Jess Fitzgerald (NK) – 28 disposals, 3 marks, 4 tackles, 4 inside 50s, 1 rebound, 2 goals
A dominant player on the ground working with co-captain Ellie McKenzie, Fitzgerald shone in her best game of the year so far, racking up 28 disposals, three marks, four inside 50s and booting two goals from the midfield to really apply pressure in a tight game to be one of the key reasons the Knights were able to run away with the win in the second half.

Georgie Prespakis (CC) – 32 disposals, 8 tackles, 7 inside 50s, 2 rebounds, 2 hitouts
An absolute lock for this week’s team given she also earned a Player of the Week nod, Prespakis put on a typically brilliant display of her best skills. The 17-year-old is one of, if not the best exponent of the handball going around, but also penetrates by foot when given the space to burst clear and deliver. Her 32-disposal effort was made even more remarkable by the fact she sat out a quarter of the game after being crunched in a marking contest, which failed to deter her from getting first hands on the ball.

RUCKS:

Maggie Caris (GWV) – 15 disposals, 1 mark, 1 tackle, 4 inside 50s, 33 hitouts
The dominant GWV Rebels’ ruck racked up a round-high 33 hitouts making the most of her height advantage against her opposition rucks. She also amassed an impressive 15 disposals and had four inside 50s during the match and while she was caught holding the ball after raising it above her head, she was a class above in the air around the contest.

Isabelle Pritchard (WJ) – 25 disposals, 4 marks, 11 tackles, 2 inside 50s, 4 rebounds, 2 hitouts
One of three Jets’ midfielders to make the side, Pritchard was instrumental early and then kept up her intensity even when the scoreboard was mounting up against her side later in the game. She had 25 touches and laid a round-high 11 tackles in the game, showing her defensive approach as well, rotating with Ham a kick behind play when the Rebels were attacking. Pritchard’s work in the air and reading of the play helped her propel the ball forward.

Ellie McKenzie (NK) – 28 disposals, 6 marks, 4 tackles, 7 inside 50s, 1 hitout, 1 goal
The Knights’ co-captain was best on ground in the Knights’ come-from-behind victory over the Stingrays and makes her way into the side once again. She racked up the equal second most of any player disposals over the weekend with 28, and also had a round-high seven inside 50s and booted a goal. McKenzie has been as consistent as anyone so far this season and makes her way into the side for a third consecutive week.

HALF-FORWARDS:

Alice Astbury (GWV) – 15 disposals, 3 marks, 1 tackle, 6 inside 50s, 2 goals
Rarely does a debutant win best on ground honours, but that is exactly what Astbury did against the Western Jets at Mars Stadium. The midfielder had an influence through the middle and then spent time forward, booting two critical goals later in the game during a low-scoring contest. Astbury also had six inside 50s and created for her teammates, including one to Ella Friend late in the game to ice the match.

Alyssa Bannan (NK) – 18 disposals, 5 marks, 4 tackles, 2 inside 50s, 2 hitouts, 2 goals
Another player who has earned a place in our Team of the Week for all three rounds of the NAB League Girls season, Bannan booted another two goals to her total for 18 touches and five marks. Bannan also provided defensive pressure in the game to lay four tackles, but her work on the lead and in the air was as good as anyone’s going around on the weekend.

Megan Fitzsimon (GP) – 23 disposals, 2 marks, 6 tackles, 4 inside 50s, 2 goals, 1 behind
The AFL Women’s National Academy member was the top Gippsland Power player during their loss to Sandringham Dragons, notching up 23 touches, four inside 50s and two goals for her side. While she was solid in the first week without being outstanding, Fitzsimon lifted her game to another level in Round 3 and really made her impact felt across the ground.

FORWARDS:

Isabella Khoury (ER) – 12 disposals, 3 tackles, 3 inside 50s, 3 goals
A forward target for the Ranges during their win over Tasmania, Khoury ended up booting the second most goals of any NAB League Girls player last weekend. She had her fair share of touches working hard up the ground with 12, and pumped the ball inside three times, setting up teammates or going long, but Khoury made her most impact felt on the scoreboard with three majors.

Abbi Moloney (SD) – 12 disposals, 4 marks, 6 tackles, 2 inside 50s, 5 goals, 2 behinds
The Dragons forward backed up from her impressive game last week to boot another five goals this round and be in the top two for goalkicking behind Bannan. Her total of eight this season has been a strong start to her top-age year, and with four marks and six tackles – as well as seven shots on goal – Moloney is certainly providing a scoring target close to goal.

Jessica Matin (DS) – 19 disposals, 3 marks, 5 tackles, 5 inside 50s, 1 goal
The classy forward who roams up the ground was able to put together another strong game, kicking just the one goal, but applying five tackles and pumping the ball inside 50 on five occasions. She also won the second most touches of any Stingrays’ player during their loss to Northern, and continued to provide a presence in the forward half.

INTERCHANGE:

Alice Burke (SD) – 23 disposals, 4 marks, 10 tackles, 3 inside 50s, 4 rebounds
The potential St Kilda father-daughter selection was at her best when she laid a whopping 10 tackles laid during the Dragons’ win over Gippsland Power. Burke played through the middle and worked hard around the ground to pick up 23 touches and keep pushing throughout the game to apply pressure to the opposition.

Grace Dicker (CC) – 20 disposals, 1 mark, 3 tackles, 4 inside 50s
Second only to Prespakis in terms of impact on the weekend, Dicker set the tone from midfield with her attack on the ball and willingness to take the game on. Under a bright pink helmet, the 19-year-old was hard to miss in her clear-best game for the season to date, lighting up the corridor with bursting pace and a hard edge going the other way.

Ella Friend (GWV) – 19 disposals, 4 marks, 5 tackles, 6 inside 50s, 1 rebound, 1 goal
Provided a strong presence at half-forward and working through the middle to help set up her teammates inside 50 before finishing off with a goal of her own in the game. She clunked a number of really strong marks and was able to pump the ball into the forward 50 six times on her way to an impressive 19 disposals and four marks.

Olivia Meagher (ER) – 27 disposals, 2 marks, 2 tackles, 2 rebounds
The Eastern Ranges captain had a bruising encounter at Kilsyth on Sunday, leading from the front with her pressure and teamwork. Whilst only two tackles were attributed to her, it was Meagher’s hardness at the contest and pressure on the ball-carrier that really stood out. She laid a fair front-on bump on an opponent early in the game and then won a few frees for fierce tackles, but fought through it on her way to an impressive 27 disposals, most of which were in close.

Elizabeth Snell (BP) – 17 disposals, 2 marks, 10 tackles, 5 inside 50s, 1 rebound, 1 behind
The diminutive Pioneer is an absolute workhorse in midfield, and dug in against bigger-bodied opponents to have an impact going both ways. While her ability to find the ball – 17 times – was handy, it was Snell’s 10 tackles which truly saw her make an impact as she showcased her tenacity at the stoppages. You cannot fault her effort, and a big leap into the back of Georgie Prespakis almost put her out of the game, such is the ferocity of Snell.

Amelia Velardo (WJ) – 25 disposals, 2 marks, 8 tackles, 2 inside 50s, 4 rebounds, 5 hitouts
The Western Jets’ ruck might be undersized compared to others – and certainly compared to Caris – but her athleticism around the ground is a real danger to the opposition. Not only does she move well around the contest, but she does all the defensive things as well, laying eight tackles in the game, getting back to help out the defence and then providing an option in midfield to either kick long or open up the play with a quick handball to a teammate.

EMG:

Winnie Laing (SD) – 21 disposals, 2 marks, 2 tackles, 1 goal, 1 behind
A Dragon who earned a spot in the side amongst a host of top ball winners, the captain was outstanding with her attack on the footy and work on the inside. She led from the front and even got on the scoreboard with a major. The Dragons are not short of players to make this week’s team and her leadership is terrific.

Eliza McNamara (SD) – 15 disposals, 4 marks, 6 tackles, 4 inside 50s, 1 rebound, 2 goals
The Dragons’ small plays a perfect game at half-forward and through the midfield with her defensive pressure and ability to hit the scoreboard at the same time, a real benefit for her team. She booted two goals from 15 disposals, four marks and six tackles, while also getting the ball inside 50 four times. Having a great start to the season.

Matilda Van Berkel (GP) – 17 disposals, 5 marks, 4 tackles, 2 inside 50s, 3 rebounds, 27 hitouts
Enjoying a really strong start to the season through the ruck with another 27 hitouts from 17 disposals, five marks and four tackles. Van Berkel is a target around the ground and provides clean hands when leading or when tapping down to her teammates at stoppages. The Power tall can be utilised anywhere on the ground but is playing well through the ruck role.

DRAFT CENTRAL NAB LEAGUE GIRLS TEAM OF THE WEEK: ROUND 3

B: Bridget Deed (ER) – Amy Prokopiec (TD) – Sarah Hartwig (SD)
HB: Tyanna Smith (DS) – Montana Ham (WJ) – Jemma Finning (BP)
C: Tarni Brown (ER) – Jess Fitzgerald (NK) – Georgie Prespakis (CC)
HF: Alice Astbury (GWV) – Alyssa Bannan (NK) – Megan Fitzsimon (GP)
F: Isabella Khoury (ER) – Abbi Moloney (SD) – Jessica Matin (DS)
R: Maggie Caris (GWV) – Isabelle Pritchard (WJ) – Ellie McKenzie (NK)
INT: Alice Burke (SD) – Grace Dicker (CC) – Ella Friend (GWV) – Olivia Meagher (ER) – Elizabeth Snell (BP) – Amelia Velardo (WJ)
EMG: Winnie Laing (SD) – Eliza McNamara (SD) – Matilda Van Berkel (GP)

NAB League Girls preview: Round 1 – New talent to shine in opening round of action

NAB League Girls action is back on the agenda this weekend with a grand final rematch among a host of expected tight contests with all sides back on level pegging at 0-0 to start the season and hoping to kick-off their seasons with wins.

NORTHERN KNIGHTS v. CALDER CANNONS
Saturday, February 29, 10:15am
RMIT University Bundoora

The first game of the round is a fitting opener to the new NAB League Girls season, with Northern Knights hosting Calder Cannons at a refurbished RMIT University ground in the 2019 Grand Final rematch. The Knights had five players drafted last year, with the remainder signed up for state league level football in 2020, while the Cannons just had the two, but had a number of players on the periphery. Both these sides have plenty of talent with the Knights potentially a year ahead in development, finishing runner-up in 2018 before winning last year, while the Cannons made the grand final last season, and will be hoping to build on that this year. The Knights have five players in the National AFL Women’s Academy, led by Ellie McKenzie and last year’s grand final best on ground medallist, Jess Fitzgerald who are both amongst a strong midfield core. Fellow Academy member, Maeve Chaplin is also named onball, while Maykaylah Appleby will run down the wings as the sole middle-age Academy member. Alyssa Bannan is a leading target and strong overhead named at centre half-forward, and a battle with the likes of key backs, Tamsin Crook and Tahlia Gillard – the latter of whom is in the AFL Women’s Academy too will be a match-up to watch. The name that will always catch the eye is Georgie Prespakis, a 2021 draft prospect and sister of Carlton Rising Star, Madison. She is capable of anything and her battle with McKenzie will be intriguing. The Cannons also have some serious depth at their disposal, with Emelia Yassir and Kasey Lennox another couple of youngsters who made their debuts last season and looked at home. With Freda Puruntatameri playing with Palmerston in the NTFL Women’s competition up forward for the Cannons, there is plenty of X-factor there too.

GREATER WESTERN VICTORIA REBELS v. SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS
Saturday, February 29, 11:30am
City Oval Ballarat

Up in Ballarat, the Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels host the Sandringham Dragons in a battle between two sides who should improve on their 2019 placings. Both sides have a number of AFL Women’s Academy member with the Rebels (five) and the Dragons (three) both having some serious top-end talent. The Rebels have a strong spine with Maggie Caris likely to be the top ruck in the competition this year with her height and tap work causing problems for the opposition. Renee Saulitis has played up forward and down back, but is named in the middle, with her athleticism and ability to sidestep opponents a feature of her game. Along with Isabella Simmons who has also been named through the midfield, all three Academy members are very different and add varied elements to the game style. They will face an equally impressive midfield of Dragons’ captain Winnie Laing, potential St Kilda father-daughter selection, Alice Burke and Bella Eddey who provide a real hard edge to the onball brigade. Sarah Hartwig is one of a couple of premier rebounding defenders, reading the ball in flight so well and able to create a lot of offensive run while nullifying her opponent defensively. Playing at half-forward is Eliza McNamara who is a tackling machine and elite runner, who will work her opponent over, while Abbi Moloney lines up at full-forward to try and clunk a few grabs by outmuscling her opponent one-on-one. The Rebels will look to run the ball out of defence through Nyakoat Dojiok who is a 2021 draft prospect in the Academy, while Chloe Leonard has been named at full-forward for the Rebels who will look to have a spread of goalkickers rather than a dominant target.

GEELONG FALCONS v. GIPPSLAND POWER
Saturday, February 29, 12:00pm
RMIT University Bundoora 

After its first finals loss last season, Geelong Falcons return to the NAB League Girls with a hunger to get back to the heights of 2018, starting off the 2020 season with a clash against Gippsland Power. The Power have a lot of players who were able to run out last season and will be more experienced in 2020, so they will no doubt look to push the Falcons who have plenty of young players themselves. Geelong’s duo of Darcy Moloney and Laura Gardiner will be damaging through the midfield as the Falcons’ two AFL Women’s National Academy members. Joined in the middle by basketballer Carly Remmos, the Falcons have a strong foundation to continue the success of past years. Elizabeth Dowling is a name that will be raised over the next couple of years, and along with Renee Tierney as targets up forward and Poppy Schaap‘s defensive pressure, the Falcons are in a good shape going forward. Mia Van Dyke is one of a number of prospects who have come through the club’s V/Line Cup program and despite being just three days away from being a 2023 draft eligible prospect (only turned 15 in December), she is one of a number who have come through the pathway with some high wraps from the coaching staff. Gippsland has some familiar names in its line-up, led by midfielder and AFL Women’s Academy member, Megan Fitzsimon. She, along with Grace McRae forms a strong midfield duo in there, and will compete strongly for the contested ball. In defence, Shanara Notman returns as a 19-year-old named at centre half-back and will provide some good rebound there, right alongside Leyla Berry who played for the Power back in 2018. On the other flank is a familiar Power name with Yasmin Duursma (sister of Port Adelaide’s Xavier), while when talking about bottom-age talent, Lily-Rose Williamson is one who will be a standout along a win having starred for the club through the V/Line Cup in past years.

BENDIGO PIONEERS v. WESTERN JETS
Saturday, February 29, 12:50pm
Queen Elizabeth Oval 

Turning the attention to Bendigo, the Pioneers host Western Jets in a curtain raiser to the AFL Women’s clash between Richmond and Geelong. Bendigo has the one official AFL Women’s National Academy member in key defender Tara Slender, but have a midfield that will trouble opposition onballers. Brooke Hards and Annabel Strahan have both been named onball and the co-captains will provide a hard-edge to the midfield and be difficult to beat there. Along with Maeve Tupper who has some impressive athletic skills and great goal sense when up forward, the midfield is a strength for the Pioneers. Jemma Finning has been named at half-back to provide some run out of defence with Slender, while up forward, Hannah Stewart is a target inside 50 as a 19-year-old. The Jets have opted to throw rebounding defender, Isabelle Pritchard into the midfield to counteract the Pioneers’ onball and develop her game even further. Along with bottom-age tall, Montana Ham and Nikita Wright in the middle, the Jets have some good height and ball-winning ability in there with upside. A highly rated bottom-ager with Ham is Charlotte Baskaran who is considered elite with her foot skills and decision making, so will be one to watch coming off half-back where she has been named. Both these sides are going to go close to winning in this tight contest with a fair few bottom-agers on show, though Bendigo should be more prepared after their top-agers had consistency through the team as middle-agers last season.

DANDENONG STINGRAYS v. EASTERN RANGES
Sunday, March 1,  11:00am
Holm Park Recreation Reserve 

In a rewind to 2018, Dandenong Stingrays and Eastern Ranges return to Holm Park in Beaconsfield to open their seasons on Sunday. While both played different opponents on that day two years ago, they will both be hoping for more ideal temperatures than the 37 degrees on that day. The Stingrays are coming off a solid season in 2019. just missing out on finals, while Eastern reached the post-season series and pushed eventual premiers, Northern Knights all the way in the preliminary final clash. The Stingrays’ standout prospect in 2020 is Tyanna Smith, with the AFL Women’s National Academy member having the combination of speed and strength in the middle, which she will use to burst out of the stoppages and create scoring opportunities for her team. Abbey Jordan showed last season she can win the ball through the middle, while young talls, Jaide Anthony and Georgia Grimmer up forward provide a glimpse into the future for the Stingrays having come through the V/Line Cup program. Down back, the ever-reliable Zoe Hill is alongside Jemma Radford, while Serene Vudiniabola comes highly rated as an overager who played school footy last year and is tied to Old Haileybury. Eastern Ranges pack a punch in the midfield as well, with Olivia Meagher and Tarni Brown the club’s two AFL Women’s Academy members. With ruck, Jess Grace likely to get first hands to them more often than not, the contested ball-winning Meagher and slick Brown will give their forwards some nice feeds inside 50. Matilda Hardy has been named at half-forward as one to watch, while Mietta Kendall is a reliable source of calmness in the back pocket, and Lily Peacock named as one to watch with her run along the wing.

MURRAY BUSHRANGERS v. OAKLEIGH CHARGERS
Sunday, March 1, 1:00pm
Norm Minns Oval 

The final game of the round is another curtain raiser, this time for the Collingwood and Richmond AFL Marsh Series clash at Wangaratta. A big crowd is expected in attendance for the game, with two teams expected to improve in 2020 to battle it out. Murray Bushrangers and Oakleigh Chargers both had some superb performances last season, but had to iron out some consistency issues at times. Both having a number of talents coming through the ranks this season, the Bushrangers had a lot of middle and bottom-agers last season who have progressed through to the next year of their youth careers. The Charges had five players drafted and will be looking to replace them through a team approach. The Chargers have three players in the AFL Women’s National Academy with captain Mimi Hill and middle-ager Charlie Rowbottom named on-ball to rove the work of ruck, Kalarni Kearns. Also in the midfield is Joanna Lin on the wing, working the ball forward to an even front six. The Bushrangers have a two-pronged tall attack with AFL Women’s Academy members, Olivia Barber (top-age) and Ally Morphett (middle-age) rotating between ruck and forward. Abby Favell is a natural ball winner and will rotate between midfield and forward, while Kate Adams is another player who can be slippery around the stoppages and find the goals when inside 50. Keeley Skepper showed last season in the Under 16 Championships that she has a lot of upside, while a number of players on both teams loom as surprise packets in what could be one of the games of the round.

New-look Ranges’ coaching group ready to tackle 2020

A NEW-LOOK coaching panel at the Eastern Ranges will lead the NAB League Girls’ into the 2020 season, as a number of girls enter their top-age year having been in the program for three seasons. Female Talent Coordinator, Jessie Mulholland said it was an exciting off-season with so many returning and fresh faces adding depth to the squad.

“We trialled about 120 girls … and so to see that talent is in our area now is really exciting,” she said. “Last year we were pretty bottom-age heavy in talent and the girls that have been in the program for three years, finally get their turn to be top agers, so we look pretty good. “Staffing has changed completely as well new head coach, all of our line coaches are new into that line as well so for us at Ranges we’re really excited for the year.”

It is not just the playing group that has a new look, with line coaches and even a fresh head coach taking over the role. Chris Pope might be a new name in that role, but has been a highly valued member of the Ranges’ coaching staff for some time.

Chris has been in our program as a senior assistant for the past three seasons and is very well known within the group and obviously the Ranges community,” Mulholland said. “He has come in and taken it by the horns and is doing a really great job pulling all the girls together and the staff as well as I mentioned a few of the staff members have changed or moved on to bring us as close as we have in the three months he has done a really incredible job with the group.”

On the field, Eastern has a number of standouts including a couple of players in the AFL Women’s National Academy who have been working hard building on their already identified talent as they work towards the biggest year in their footballing journey do-date.

“We have two academy girls in Liv (Olivia) Meagher and Tarni Brown, they’re doing really well on and off the field,” Mulholland said. “Everything they are doing with the academy and with us, their football skills it’s finally their year to be top-agers, so they are really exciting to watch. “We’ve also got Mietta Kendall and Jess Grace who have been in the program three or four years as well. “Mietta down back who you know is always reliable and always willing to pick up the ball and run. “Grace with her ruck work as well and we’ve got a 19-year-old as well with Lily Peacock who played six games of senior footy last year within the region and never played any before and is an elite runner. “So we are pretty excited to have her in the squad as well.”

In the past, Eastern Ranges have been able to help develop players from other codes and help them live out their AFL Women’s dream. Two years ago, former sprinter Mikala Cann went to Collingwood, and last year it was Victorian Netball League (VNL) netballer, Serena Gibbs who landed at Carlton. In 2020, Mulholland said there were a few cross-coders in the program, including VNL netballers with plenty of development left in them, Saskia Nannes and Keeley Sherar.

“Yeah Lily with her running off the wing, at the moment trying to get all the footy IQ into her as fast as possible, but probably not with Serena’s height,” she said. “We’ve got a few VNL netballers as well but they’ve got two more years in our program. “A lot of it has to do with the girls and their mindset so they know what an elite program looks like and what is expected from them on and off the field and they are willing to learn and they want to soak it up if not more than anybody else that comes into the program. “So a lot of the credit goes to those two girls and every dual athlete that comes into our program.”

Last year the Ranges made the finals, going agonisingly close to knocking off eventual premiers, Northern Knights in the preliminary final but just falling short. While the players were naturally disappointed after the game, Mulholland said the club could not be more proud of the way they represented themselves out there on Shepley Oval.

“Yeah it was bittersweet,” Mulholland said. “It was probably the best game we played the entire year, so to go out like that we were really proud of the way that we played and the result obviously didn’t go our way but you know that’s football. “We were super proud and you know obviously they’ll (players) be upset, but looking at the vision … we played the best we could and you know it was great.”

The season is nearing this weekend and Mulholland said the club had ramped up its preparation with a practice match providing the perfect place for trialling players in various positions. The Eastern Ranges’ Female Talent Coordinator described the match as “full on” with trying to manage the workloads and even spread of the players.

“We took a full list of 50 through to last week so the rotations were pretty heavy,” she said. “For us it was more seeing where girls can play, we’ve been a big focus on the athletes so trying to give them more than one position and pigeonholing them. “For them to sort of understand that you can learn more than one position because where you play for local you might not play for us, wherever your journey takes you, you may need to learn more than one position on the field. “So we’ve been super happy with the way everything has happened on and off the field with everything that has been going on.”

Meagher will lead the squad in 2020, becoming the first sole captain at the Ranges, while Kendall will be vice-captain, as part of a six-player leadership group.

“For the past three/four seasons we’ve had dual captains so this year we’ve gone with just Liv Meagher as our captain and Mietta Kendall as our vice captain,” she said. “We’ve got Jess Grace, Eloise Chaston who’s a newbie coming into the program after having ankle surgery at the back of local season last year, Bridget Deed and Tarni Brown in the leadership group as well.”

Now with the pre-season done, Mulholland said all the players and staff were excited about tackling Round 1 on the weekend when they head to Beaconsfield to take on the Dandenong Stingrays.

I think everything we have done on and off the field at Ranges is completely different to the past three seasons,” she said. “We went to camp and worked on our culture and our values so that was something the girls probably haven’t owned for themselves and [it’s] much tighter group I think than previously, so we are just playing the week as per normal. “We have had three praccy matches leading into so it has sort of become the norm and we wont put any pressure on the girls for the win. “That’s not what we are here to do, if the girls can develop as players then we’ve done our job.”

Weekend wash-up: NAB League Girls – Round 7

THE Geelong Falcons continued their winning streak, staking their claim as genuine finals contenders while the Western Jets notched up their second win of the season. The Gippsland Power also made their way off the bottom of the ladder with a hard fought win over the Rebels at home.

 

WESTERN JETS 1.3 | 2.3 | 4.8 | 5.8 (38)
TASMANIA DEVILS 0.0 | 0.0 | 0.0 | 0.1 (1)

By: Sophie Taylor

GOALS:

Western: E. Quinn 2, J. Goodman 2, C. Saxon-Jones.
Tasmania: Nil.

BEST:

Western: E. Georgostathis, J. Goodman, L. Wright, I. Pritchard, P. Ozols, R. Tripodi
Tasmania: E. Brickhill, E. Dixon, A. Prokopiec, H. Smith, M. King, A. Clark

It was a cold and wet game on Friday night footy over the weekend as the Western Jets hosted the Tasmania Devils at RAMS Arena, registering their second win of the season with a 37 point margin. The Jets had all the momentum early, keeping the ball inside 50 for majority of the first quarter as Tasmania struggled to get boot to ball. The Devils showed some good defensive play before the Jets were able to take advantage of a dropped mark and get their first goal on the board courtesy of Jasmine Goodman (two goals, 14 disposals) for her first of the night. Jets struggled with accuracy throughout the match, wasting opportunities forward and spraying the ball across the face to register minor scores. Despite the likes of Isabelle Pritchard (18 disposals, five tackles) and Elisabeth Georgostathis (24 disposals, seven tackles) in fine form spoiling the Devils’ chances at goal, Western did themselves no favours bombing the ball inside 50, while their difficulty converting meant the Devils were able to hold onto a fighting chance if they were to get a score on the board. Mia King, Ellen Brickhill and Amy Prokopiec were among the best for Tasmania, as King racked up 16 touches off half back while Brickhill picked up 14 of her own, as well as a behind in the final quarter to get the Devils on the board. Prokopiec was prolific in defence, notching up 14 touches and eight rebound 50s. Despite only getting the one score for the match in the final term, the Devils showcased some good skill and pressure around the ball, registering 54 tackles to the Jets’ 60.

 

CALDER CANNONS 0.0 | 0.0 | 0.0| 1.0 (6)
GEELONG FALCONS 2.1 | 3.2 | 3.2 | 3.2 (20)

By: Taylah Melki

GOALS:

Calder: G. Patrikios.
Falcons: T. Lewis 2, P. Sheppard.

BEST:

Calder: G. Patrikios, P. Poultney, F. Theodore, G. Prespakis, A. Barba, T. Gillard
Falcons: A. Chapman, D. Smith, E. Dowling, P. Sheppard, S. Hovey, E. Mahoney

The Geelong Falcons claimed their seventh consecutive win of the season unfazed by the final term come back from the Cannons. They kept Calder goalless up until the fourth minute of the final term while the Falcons themselves did not manage to register a score after half time. The game was mainly played between the arcs with both sides contesting hard throughout the game. Georgie Prespakis and Georgia Patrikios combined exceptionally well across the ground for the Cannons, using their speed, spatial awareness and clean hands at the stoppages to push their side forward. Tahlia Gillard and Alana Barba were also important for the Cannons working tirelessly but it was so to no avail with the Falcons flexing their muscles around the contest. Tamika Lewis was solid up forward for the Falcons slotting two goals she was ably assisted by teammate Paige Sheppard who also chipped in on the scoreboard and around the ground. Captain Lucy McEvoy was also impressive for Geelong leading the way for her side with 12 tackles and five marks while also racking up the possessions to finish the game with a side high 23 touches. Luka Lesosky-Hay also won plenty of the ball but was unable to capitalise with ball in hand at times.

 

MURRAY BUSHRANGERS 0.1 | 3.2 | 3.2 | 5.6 (30)
SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS 1.4 | 1.6 | 1.9 | 1.11 (17)

By: Taylah Melki

GOALS:

Murray: O. Barber 3, K. Adams, M. Jones.
Sandringham: L. Enders.

BEST:

Murray: M. Brown, O. Barber, T. Brett, K. Adams, L. Sharp, M. Trethowan
Sandringham: G. Strangio, D. Walker, S. Hartwig, S. Trim, C. Cody, K. Lynch

The Sandringham Dragons were good off the mark holding a nine point lead at quarter time but were unable to maintain that intensity falling to the Bushrangers who overran them. Sandringham were inaccurate in front of goal missing multiple opportunities to secure a win. On the other hand the Bushrangers made the most of it when they went forward and applied plenty of pressure to remain in the hunt and convert when they needed to. A big second quarter from Olivia Barber spurred her team on to success nailing two crucial goals before putting the nail in the coffin in the final term to slot her third for the game. Kate Adams was equally as impressive for Murray working her way around the ground and scoring a major while the likes of Abby Favell also made her presence felt on the field laying some crunching tackles (four) and winning the ball at the coalface finishing with a game high 23 disposals. Millie Brown was also prolific for the Bushies who valued her ferocity and run and carry across the ground racking up six rebound 50s, 22 touches and four tackles. For Sandringham, Alice Burke recorded the highest touches with 16 disposals while her teammate Sarah Hartwig was influential across the ground with her 16 possessions, five rebound 50s and five tackles. Gemma Strangio was also impressive for the Dragons while Lily Enders scored her teams only goal for the game and picked up a couple of disposals around the field.

 

DANDENONG STINGRAYS 1.3 | 1.3 | 2.4 | 2.4 (16)
OAKLEIGH CHARGERS 2.2 | 4.5 | 6.5 | 7.7 (49)

By: Brandon Hutchinson

GOALS:

Dandenong: J. Anthony 2.
Oakleigh: E. James, M. Bertuna, J. Lin, A. Porter, C. O’Malley, G. Lagioia, J. D’Amato.

BEST:

Dandenong: M. Pearson, P. Swayn, M. McDonald, A. Jordan, L. Grocock, J. Anthony
Oakleigh: J. Lin, T. Morton, A. van Oosterwijck, K. Kearns (two players listed that didn’t play)

Oakleigh Chargers earn some much-needed separation from Dandenong Stingrays with a big away win at Shepley Oval on Saturday. Despite the quick response to Oakleigh’s opening goal in the first, Dandenong were unable to hold on as the Chargers surged away in the second, kicking four to one by the main break. Leading into the third, Oakleigh showed no signs of slowing, adding two more to the board with Dandenong responding late. The home side managed to defend well in the final quarter, letting through one, but ultimately conceded defeat 2.4 (16) to 7.7 (49). Emily Harley was pivotal to Oakleigh’s victory, recording 20 disposals, four marks and three rebounds, while Eliza James stood up in the midfield with 19 disposals, four marks, five inside 50s and a goal. Joanna Lin also had a season-best performance, collecting 18 disposals, three marks, six tackles, two inside 50s and a goal. Taylah Morton, Amelia Van Oosterwijck and Alana Porter were also among their team’s best, while Kalarni Kearns performed well in the ruck. For Dandenong, Lucy Grocock was among their best with 10 disposals, three marks and 10 tackles, while Molly McDonald continued to dominate off half-back. Jaide Anthony kicked two in her first game with two marks and two tackles, while Abbey Jordan remained pivotal alongside teammate’s Madeline Pearson and Piper Swayn.

 

GIPPSLAND POWER 0.1 | 1.2 | 4.4 | 5.4 (34)
GREATER WESTERN VICTORIA REBELS 1.2 | 3.3 | 3.4 | 4.4 (28)

By: Brandon Hutchinson

GOALS:

Gippsland Power: K. Te Huia 2, N. Webber 2, M. Fitzsimon
GWV Rebels: V. Jewell, I. Robson, S. Molan, E. Wood

BEST:

Gippsland Power: G. McRae, M. Van Berkel, M. Fitzsimon, C. Abrahams, N. Webber, M. Shaw
GWV Rebels: N. Butler, L. Condon, M. Caris, E. Wood, V. Jewell

In one of the tightest finishes of the season, Gippsland Power endured a fierce contest against GWV Rebels, earning a six-point victory at Shepley Oval on Sunday. With the game close to ending in a draw, both sides contested well throughout with neither team ever seeming out of the match. At the main break, GWV held a 13-point lead and were holding Gippsland off well. Though come the conclusion of the third, GWV were turned goalless and Gippsland had stolen the lead with a forward onslaught led by Nikia Webber. Come the final term, both teams added a goal each but GWV were pressing hard in their forward half. The rebels were awarded a chance for a kick after the siren with Sophie Molan tasked with the job 35 metres out. Unfortunately for GWV, the kick did not travel, and Gippsland left with a much-needed and rare victory.

 

EASTERN RANGES 1.1 | 2.1 | 2.1 | 3.3 (21)
TASMANIA DEVILS 1.2 | 1.3 | 2.4 | 2.4 (16)

By: Peter Williams

GOALS:

Eastern: S. Gibbs 2, T. Merrett.
Tasmania: H. Breward, B. Oates.

BEST:

Eastern: S. Gibbs, J. Dunning, E. Horne, J. Richardson, M. Kendall, L. McClelland
Tasmania: H. Smith, B. Oates, M. King, C. Lovell, P. King

Eastern Ranges have kept their finals hopes alive with a nail-biting five-point win over Tasmania Devils at RAMS Arena on Sunday. Following the Devils going down to Western by 37 points on Friday night, many would have predicted the fifth placed Ranges to win comfortably. However, it was far from the case with Tasmania booting the first goal of the game through Hannah Breward, leading at two of the four breaks, and competing for the full four quarters. In fact, had it not being for two clever snaps from Victorian Netball League netballer Serena Gibbs, Eastern might have headed home without any points and a sense of deja vu from last year where a tight loss ultimately saw them miss out. This time was different however, as the Ranges held firm, dominating the last term and having a number of chances, but it took until the thirteenth minute for Gibbs to put ball to boot amongst congestion and see it dribble through past the Devils defence. Gibbs was crucial around the ground and a standout player on the day, with her two majors and Tahlia Merrett‘s soccer goal in the first term showing Eastern had to get creative with their majors. Laura McClelland had a big last term, and was named among the best with Jessica Dunning, Emma Horne, Jenna Richardson and Mietta Kendall. For Tasmania, Mia King was all class throughout the day with some impressive ball-winning abilities, while Hannah Smith and Brianna Oates (one goal) were also named in the Devils’ best.

 

BENDIGO PIONEERS: 0.1 | 0.4 | 1.5 | 1.5 (11)
NORTHERN KNIGHTS: 2.4 | 4.5 | 6.8 | 9.10 (64)

By: Sophie Taylor

GOALS:

Bendigo: A. Thompson.
Northern: A. Bannan 3, G. Pirdis 2, M. Appleby 2, A. Reibelt, B. Gutknecht.

BEST:

Bendigo: M. Tupper, B. Hards, E. Snell, D. Villiva, M. Barton, K. Douglass
Northern: J. Fitzgerald, S. Sansonetti, A. Bannan, E. McKenzie, B. Gutknecht, G. Newton

Sunday’s match between the Bendigo Pioneers and Northern Knights was always shaping up to be a big one, with both sides on the higher end of the ladder. The Knights once again proved their depth and ability across the field to register another big win, still undefeated for the season and sitting in second on the ladder with two rounds to go. Clean play from the Knights saw the first two scoring shots of the game, before a goal from Maykaylah Appleby in space got the first major on the board. The Pioneers struggled under pressure from the likes of Sarah Sansonetti defensively, struggling to find avenues into their forward 50 and wasteful when opportunities came up. High, rushed kicks to the disadvantage of teammates proved ineffective as the side only managed the one major for the game. The Knights were smooth transitioning from defence through to their forward 50, with plenty of options forward and locking the ball inside 50 at turnovers. Alyssa Bannan (three goals), Georgia Purvis (two) and Appleby (two) were on song in front of goal, while Abby Thompson was Bendigo’s only goalkicker with a dribble through in the third term, courtesy of some stellar teamwork and workrate forward by the likes of Maeve Tupper and Brooke Hards.

Weekend wrap: NAB League Girls – Round 1

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

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

GOALS:

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

BEST:

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

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

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

GOALS:

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

BEST:

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

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

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

GOALS:

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

BEST:

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

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

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

GOALS:

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

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

By: Brandon Hutchinson

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

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

GOALS:

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

BEST:

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

By: Brandon Hutchinson

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

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

GOALS:

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

BEST:

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

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

Scouting notes: National AFLW Under 16s Championships

IN what was a great opportunity for the most talented Under 16s girls, Vic Country took on Vic Metro at GMHBA Stadium on Saturday morning as a curtain raiser to their Under 18s counterparts. Vic Metro got the job done in an entertaining contest, and Peter Williams (Vic Country) and Julia Montesano (Vic Metro) took notes on each of the players who took part. Note all reviews are opinion-based.

Vic Country:

#1 Jerusha Devarakonda

Throughout the match she showed a fierce attack on the footy, particularly in the third term where she was involved in a number of plays. She was often deep in defence or running off the half-back flank, she had quick hands and did not take a backwards step. She gave away a free kick to Tarni Brown in the third quarter, but it was her attack to win the footy that was most impressive.

#2 Leila Raymond

Raymond showed great defensive pressure in the back half, laying a number of strong tackles. It was almost déjà vu for the Gippsland Power player, who had no problems burying her opponent in a fantastic tackle in both the third and fourth quarters. She also saved a goal with a great tackle as an opponent ran towards the big sticks.

#3 Holly Andrews

Attacked the contest hard and had a good first term where she laid a couple of great tackles – unfortunately giving away a free for holding on too long. She created run out of defence in the second term, and was reliable with her disposal, including a good kick from half-back to the wing in the third term.

#4 Elizabeth Snell

Had a couple of nice passages of place including a good handball at ground level under pressure in the first term, and quick hands out of a stoppage in the third term.

#5 Megan Fitzsimon

Fitzsimon showed quick hands under pressure and a cleanliness at ground level to collect and go. She had a good kick to the wing after picking the footy up cleanly off the deck in the second half. She continued to stay involved along the wing.

#6 Renee Saulitis

Along with Tyanna Smith, was a driving force in the midfield. She won the footy throughout the four quarters and put in a really consistent effort. She did the defensive things well, laying tackles and providing bumps, while taking a courageous mark on the wing in the second term. She kicked well off half-back and had a fantastic run-down tackle on Ellie McKenzie after copping a don’t argue in the third term and earned a free kick for her troubles. She covered the ground well, also winning possessions in the forward half of the ground.

#7 Jemma Finning

Unfortunately Finning was injured early in the second term and did not get to play the game out.

#8 Kate Adams

Took a lovely mark at half-back in the final term and had a good centering pass to a teammate. She also showed a quick kick out of a stoppage late in the game.

#9 Emily Nicholson

Played in defence and constantly went in hard. She took a good one-on-one mark early and was able to quickly dispose of the ball under pressure. Nicholson had a highlight laying a strong tackle on Olivia Meagher, not fooled by Meagher’s attempt to sidestep her inside 50.

#10 Abbey Jordan

Jordan stood under a high ball in defence and despite contact coming did not waiver. She was unlucky not to get a free, showing good courage. In the third term she had a piercing kick inside 50 after moving through traffic, and then took a good intercept mark on the wing. Jordan laid a fierce bump on her opponent in the final term.

#11 Brooke Hards

Hards showed a willingness to back herself at all times coming off half-back. She got caught a couple of times, but for the run and ability to crash through opponents, it was worth it. She charged out of defence a number of times and was often under pressure. She laid a great tackle at half-back early in the game and hit-up Maggie Caris on the wing.

#12 Tyanna Smith

The Vic Country captain was one of the best with Renee Saulitis. Smith spread well to the outside and worked hard back into defence to help out. On a number of occasions, Smith read the loose ball in the air superbly, sticking out a hand and grabbing it cleanly before disposing of it by hand. She showed great acceleration out of a stoppage and kicked a goal on the run in the second term, really starting to dominate through the midfield. She laid some strong tackles and also took intercept marks at half-back.

#13 Chloe Leonard

Played in defence and had a number of kicks from half-back to the wing, rebounding where possible. She showed a good long kick and took a great mark dropping back in the first term to intercept.

#16 Sharmaine Reilly

Showed good courage going back with the flight at half-back to impact a contest despite copping body contact. She also applied good defensive pressure at half-back, applying a good shepherd to allow a teammate to run on.

#17 Sophie Milsome

A quieter first half, but took a great mark on the lead 35m out for a set shot in the third term. The shot drifted right, but she was presenting to the midfielders. She also laid a great smother at half-forward to put the ball out of bounds in the final term and force a throw in.

#18 Zoe Hill

Had a very nervous start to the day with some fumbles and caught holding the ball once for Alyssa Bannan to goal. Once she settled in she got back to what we have come to expect from her with a couple of strong intercept marks and was reliable by foot.

#19 Matilda Van Berkel

A quiet game, but always attacked the contest hard. She had a fantastic kick in the third quarter with a perfect pass to Sophie Milsome on the lead.

#20 Stephanie Glover

Busy early in the game, showing good vision to handball to a teammate at half-back through a couple of opponents. She has really good evasion and is able to step around opponents well. She threw it on the boot once, but is often more composed with the ball, and is quite athletic.

#21 Isabella Robson

Had a good moment to knock Ellie McKenzie off balance and drop the ball as she streamed towards 50 in the first half.

#22 Renee Tierney

Just continues to pop up at times despite not having a lot of opportunities. She had a clean pick-up off an awkward bounce at half-forward and was able to maintain composure to give it off to a teammate while she was under pressure. Tierney’s highlight came in the third term with the goal of the match after picking it up, snapping quickly from the boundary and dribbling it home. She also took a huge contested grab in the forward 50 later in the term, clunking the mark and looking dangerous.

#23 Isabella Simmons

When the ball went in her forward zone she showed good defensive pressure and was able to lock the ball up with a good tackle.

#24 Olivia Barber

Barber’s second efforts are noticeable in her ruck work, often winning her own ball from the taps. She laid a number of fierce tackles at ground level and continued to work hard. She snapped at goal off a couple of steps but just missed to the left.

#25 Maggie Caris

A raw but talented ruck who is smart with her hitout work. She was strong overhead and often marked at the highest point. A learning curve for her would be the game smarts when Alyssa Bannan was having a set shot from 40m and she stood at the top of the goal square instead of on the line and it bounced through with no-one to stop it. A really solid game all round, however.

VIC METRO:

#1 Olivia Meagher

Meagher was really lively up forward and was not afraid to take the game on. This was shown when she kicked a long bomb from just inside 50 that sailed through the goals. Before that, she read the ball well out of a stoppage and snapped through a goal from just outside the goal square. She was able to generate good acceleration and cleared the ball well after tackling a Country player. Meagher was not afraid to run the ball through the corridor and used her long kick to advantage on multiple occasions. Hacked a kick nicely out of a stoppage. Meagher kicked her third goal with a beautiful pick-up and snap and utilised excellent closing speed to chase down the Country player and earn a free kick. 

#2 Mietta Kendall

Chased the ball well in defence, as she attempted to tackle three players. Nicked one of the jumpers and won a dropping the ball free kick, thanks to her desperation at back half. Laid a goal-saving tackle and always gets involved in the right moments.

#3 Taylah Morton

Morton followed the footy with purpose and intent throughout the day. She was able to trap the footy well and often used the ball well by foot. She also displayed great clean hands while being tackled, showing her strength in the contest.

#5 Mary Daw

Took a nice mark in defence to stop Country running forward and then hit a target with her kick.

#6 Abigail Bennett

Bennett competed hard throughout the match and displayed some great work inside 50. Kicked two goals for the day. Her first was a snap from an angle while being slung to the ground, which got the momentum swinging in Metro’s favour after a slow first quarter. Bennett has great composure with the ball in hand and when she does not have it, she follows it up well, laying strong tackles to prevent any opposition forward movement.

#7 Jessica Fitzgerald

Fitzgerald followed the footy nicely throughout the match and got plenty of it, which was a credit to her efforts around the stoppages. Executed a good pick-up and laid off a nice handball out of a stoppage while on hands and knees. The Northern Knights product always followed up her efforts well, through tackling hard.

#8 Bella Eddey

Gave off a nice quick-fire handball out of a stoppage inside 50. Picked the ball up with ease off the deck and got a quick handball away to Alyssa Bannan. Played well on the wing considering her normal spot is up forward while playing for the Dragons.

#9 Winnie Laing

Laing read the play well and hunted the footy with intent. She got a lot of the ball and did everything she could to get the ball out of a stoppage. Often used her speed to break away and get the ball forward for Metro.

#10 Ashleigh Snow

Snow had great hands out of stoppages and showed good strength while doing so. While being pursued by two players, she got a clean handball out to a teammate on the outside. Snow got the ball away while being tackled multiple times, giving her teammates first opportunity to get onto the football.

#11 Eliza McNamara

Executed many nice kicks to the top of the square, giving them good height and allowing her forwards to jump at the footy. Also had the ability to pinpoint kicks, displaying good all-round footwork throughout the day. McNamara accelerated well with the ball in hand, clearing it out of the centre square in one instance. Also did well defensively when she laid a strong wrap-around tackle on a Vic Country player then followed it up with another aggressive tackling effort.

#12 Tarni Brown

Had a sensational first half for Metro then played consistently for the rest of the game. Brown created so many scoring opportunities for Vic Metro with her clean hands and accurate kicking. She was able to boot the ball forward when needed to or she would get the play started with a strong handball out of a stoppage. Brown did nicely to find space and utilised it with lovely acceleration. Her blind turns were a highlight of her game, as one ended up in a handball to Abigail Bennett on the outside, who kicked her second major of the day as a result. Brown also demonstrated a high footy IQ when she lowered her eyes to spot Alyssa Bannan on the outer side, who then kicked a goal while being tackled. 

#13 Alice Burke

Took a good leading mark on the wing and read the ball well off a tap. She then moved the ball well with a nice clearing kick out a stoppage.

#15 Mimi Hill

Gave off a good handball on hands and knees to get the ball out of congestion.

#16 Alice O’Loughlin

O’Loughlin laid a great tackle that prevented a Vic Country breakaway. Did most of her hard work up forward with a good kick towards goal that was on line but just didn’t make the distance. O’Loughlin’s defensive efforts were sound as she laid a strong tackle to earn a free kick. She then pinpointed the pass perfectly to Olivia Meagher for a set shot, giving her prime opportunity to kick a goal.

#17 Alisa Magri

Magri displayed strong hands throughout the day. She took a great mark off an Alice O’Loughlin kick inside 50, but she just missed the set shot. Took another miraculous mark inside 50 in a one-on-one contest, grabbing the ball with one hand and moving it forward. She is an exciting player with the ball in hand.

#18 Amber Micallef

Micallef pursued the ball with intent and then kicked it well around her body towards the boundary line. This showed great composure as it helped to slow the play down for Vic Metro.

#19 Sarah Hartwig

Hartwig gave off a good handball while being tackled strongly. Also took a strong contested mark and followed it up with a pinpointed a kick to Bennett at half-forward.

#20 Ellie McKenzie

McKenzie played a blinder of a game, particularly showing off her strong hands and exciting dash. She often found herself on the wing and created excitement when she fended off a player and streamed towards the forward 50. She did this in two separate points in the game, displaying her X factor and strength with the ball in hand. In many instances, she showed good situational awareness, as she knew she had space and used it to her advantage. In the forward half, she laid a good smother and attempted an almighty speccy. McKenzie leapt for every ball that came her way, and was fearless in attack. Demonstrated excellent run and carry when she streamed inside 50 to get the ball towards goal and creates a scoring opportunity. Showed class when she executed a great one-two with Alice O’Loughlin.

#21 Tamsin Crook

Crook did well in the ruck and followed up her work. She showed good intent to keep the ball moving when she dribbled the ball on the ground instead of just diving on it. This was smart play by her to keep it moving and then pick it up when she had the space to do so. Crook also tackled well on the day.

#22 Isabelle Pritchard

Ball didn’t go down her end that much but showed good intent when it came her way. At one point, she displayed good use of the body to shrug the tackle then executed a good second effort to create a stoppage.

#23 Jess Grace

Grace played in the ruck and contested well with Maggie Caris.

#24 Alyssa Bannan

Bannan was prolific in the forward line, demonstrating her high footy IQ. Took a good mark lace-out and then executed a perfect kick for goal from about 40 metres out. At this point, she backed herself and the ball bounced through. Bannan even had a stint in the ruck and competed well thanks to her height and footy smarts. A highlight of her game was when she punched the ball forward in the air to prevent a stoppage, then got the ball back off her punch and gave off a quick handball to Ellie McKenzie. Bannan also displayed clean hands throughout the game. Her kicking was on display too when she kicked a brilliant centering ball to Jessica Fitzgerald, giving Fitzgerald’s opponent no chance to compete. The Northern Knights forward finished with two majors for the day. 

#25 Isabel Young

Young tackled well and displayed good strength to stand up in the stoppage and get a handball away over the top.

Metro, Country Under 16s claim victories in National Championships

VIC Metro and Vic Country have both claimed wins over their respective opponents in the National Under 16s Championships. Ahead of the big clash between the Victorian sides on Saturday, Metro defeated South Australia by 23 points, and Country knocked off NSW/ACT by 31 points in Horsham and Albury respectively.

Metro had to overcome an early deficit, kicking just one behind in the opening half as South Australia led by six points at the main break. But an inspired Victorian side came out to boot two goals in the third term, and three goals in the final quarter to run over the top of the Croweaters with a 23-point win. Alyssa Bannan was the key up forward for Vic Metro in the second half, with the Northern Knights star booting two goals, along with teammate Ellie McKenzie (one).

McKenzie was named in the best, along with Eastern Ranges small Olivia Meagher, who was dominant across the four quarters, named best on ground ahead of Ranges teammate, Tarni Brown. Fellow Ranges player Mietta Kendall, Oakleigh Chargers’ Taylah Morton, and Calder Cannons’ small forward Alisa Magri were named among Metro’s best. Sandringham Dragons’ Bella Eddey was the other goal scorer.

For South Australia, Aisha Thomas and Elouisa Thomas were the goal kickers, as Abbie Ballard was named the losing side’s best on the day. Hannah Ewings, Jamie Parish and Teah Charlton were also named among the best, in what was a strong performance from the South Australian side.

In the other game, Vic Country had control of the contest against NSW/ACT early, booting three goals to one in the opening term. The Rams hit back with the only goal in the next two quarters, to trail by just 11 points at the final break. A dominant last quarter saw Vic Country run away with the game, booting three goals to zero and record a 31-point victory.

Murray Bushrangers’ tall Olivia Barber was too strong, booting two goals, while midfielder/forward from the Dandenong Stingrays, Tyanna Smith also finished with two majors. Geelong Falcons’ forward Renee Tierney, and Bendigo Pioneers’ Elizabeth Snell both booted goals in the win. Greater Western Victoria (GWV) small forward Renee Saulitis was named best on ground for her efforts on the weekend, ahead of Smith, Snell and Rebels’ teammate Chloe Leonard. Tierney was also impressive, as was Pioneers rebounding defender, Brooke Hards.

For NSW/ACT, Amy Sligar and Abbey Martin were the goal kickers, making history as the first Under 16s side from NSW/ACT to compete in a National Championships. Sligar and Martin were among the Rams’ best in the loss, along with Jayde Hamilton and Arizona Cross. Natalie Sligar was deemed to be the Rams best in what was a memorable day for the state despite the defeat.

RESULTS:

South Australia           1.1   1.1   1.1    2.1 (13)
Vic Metro                      0.0   0.1  2.2    5.6 (36) 

GOALS
SA: 
Aisha Thomas, Elouisa Thomas.
Vic Metro:
Alyssa Bannan 2, Olivia Meagher, Bella Eddey, Ellie McKenzie.

BEST
SA:
Abbie Ballard, Hannah Ewings, Jamie Parish, Teah Charlton, Chloe Forby, Sarah Wright.
Vic Metro: 
 Olivia Meagher, Tarni Brown, Ellie McKenzie, Mietta Kendall, Taylah Morton, Alisa Magri

 

NSW/ACT                           1.0    2.1   2.2   2.2 (14)
Vic Country                       3.2    3.6   3.7    6.9 (45) 

GOALS
NSW/ACT:
Amy Sligar, Abbey Martin.
Vic Country: 
Olivia Barber 2, Tyanna Smith 2, Elizabeth Snell, Renee Tierney.

BEST
NSW/ACT: Natalie Sligar, Jayde Hamilton, Abbey Martin, Arizona Cross, Amy Sligar
Vic Country: Renee Saultis, Tyanna Smith, Elizabeth Snell, Chloe Leonard, Renee Tierney, Brooke Hards

Victorian squads named for National AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships

VICTORIA’S top youth girl prospects have been selected to represent Vic Metro and Vic Country at the upcoming AFL Women’s Under 18 and Under 16 National Championships.

The players will begin training immediately after the TAC Cup Girls Grand Final on Saturday, May 19, with the first training session to be held at Ikon Park the following day. A second training session will be held at Windy Hill on June 3 ahead of the competition with Vic Country Under 16s hosting Vic Metro on May 27 in both Albury and Horsham. On June 16, both Under 16s and Under 18s will face off against each other at GMHBA Stadium in Geelong. The teams then fly north to compete in the AFL Women’s Under 18 National Championships with three games held on July 9, July 11 and July 13.

Murray Bushrangers’ coach Sam Ahmet and Eastern Ranges’ coach Tom Humphrey will lead Vic Country and Vic Metro respectively. Geelong Falcons’ Jason Armistead and Geelong VFLW assistant coach Natalie Wood were named as Vic Country assistants, while Northern Knights’ coach Marcus Abney-Hastings and Calder Cannons’ coach Paul Tilley will be the Vic Metro assistants.

AFL Victoria Female Talent Manager Darren Flanigan said it is pleasing to have a number of current TAC Cup Girls head coaches overseeing the U18 teams.

“Both Sam and Tom have good knowledge of the competition and the players within it,” Flanigan said. “We have been able to attract strong assistant coaching staff as well, which the players will benefit from.

“The Academy program provides players with the perfect opportunity to test themselves against the best players at this level, and start to showcase their capabilities to recruiters for the upcoming AFLW draft later in the year.

“Draftees such as Darcy Guttridge, Eden Zanker, Bridie Kennedy and Maddy Guerin all performed well at the 2017 championships, which certainly helped their draft chances later in the year. “It is a great learning experience to be part of the U18 Academy program, learning from other players and coaches in the competition.”

At Under 16 level, players selected will benefit from being mentored by current and former AFLW and VFLW players Mel Hickey, Emma Grant, Katherine Smith and Lauren Morecroft.

“The ability of these players to provide their time will only benefit the those selected in our program,” Flanigan said.

“Playing at the highest level possible, they will be able to share their experiences from the various levels of the female talent pathway, and help educate and develop these players to be ready to take the next step with their football.

In the under 18s, the Vic Metro midfield could contain the likes of top prospect Madison Prespakis, and fellow AFLW Academy teammates Emerson Woods and Gabby Newton, while the likes of Georgia Patrikios, Britney Gutknecht and Daisy Bateman add some X-factor up forward. Mikala Cann, Maddy Brancatisano, Katie Lynch and Eleanor Brown are a number of other players likely to roam through the midfield, while in defence, Georgia Macpherson, Molly Warburton and Hannah McLaren will hold up the fort.

For Vic Country, their midfield will include an AFLW Academy littered centre line featuring Tyla Hanks, Nina Morrison, Rebecca Webster and Olivia Purcell, who will rove to fellow AFLW Academy ruck Rene Caris. Lucy McEvoy, Georgia Clarke, Lucy Cripps, Denby Taylor and Jordyn Allen provide some strong numbers in defence, while up forward, Courtney Jones, Nikia Webber and Sophie Van De Heuvel will be key targets.

Under 18s:

Vic Metro:

Calder Cannons: Grace Dicker, Georgia Patrikos, Madison Prespakis, Carla Rendelmann, Felicity Theodore, Molly Warburton
Eastern Ranges: Mikala Cann, Gabriella De Angelis, Sarah Kendall, Georgia Macpherson, Laura McClelland, Jenna Richardson, Lauren Szigeti, Charlotte Wilson, Emerson Woods
Oakleigh Chargers: Daisy Bateman, Gemma Lagioia, Katie Lynch, Hannah McLaren, Bridie Winbanks, Nicola Xenos,
Northern Knights: Maddy Brancatisano, Britney Gutknecht, Marnie Jarvis, Neve O’Connor, Gabby Newton, Sarah Sansonetti
Sandringham Dragons: Holly Bate, Eleanor Brown, Molly Denahy Maloney, Abbie McKay, Jemma Owen, Jasmine Tait
Western Jets: Elisabeth Georgostathis, Isabella Grant, Cleo Saxon-Jones

Vic Country:

Bendigo Pioneers: Maddie Baldwin, Kate Douglass, Kodi Jacques, Megan Williamson
Dandenong Stingrays: Jordyn Allen, Lucy Cripps, Shelley Heath, Courtney Jones, Molly McDonald, Isabella Shannon
Geelong Falcons: Abbey Chapman, Zoe Inei, Tarryn Love, Lucy McEvoy, Nina Morrison, Olivia Purcell, Denby Taylor
Gippsland Power: Amy Dunn, Emily Haeusler, Tyla Hanks, Nikia Webber
GWV Rebels: Lauren Butler, Rene Caris, Georgia Clarke, Nyakoat Dojiok, Sophie Molan, Sophie Van De Heuvel, Ella Wood
Murray Bushrangers: Julia Harvey, Millie Brown, Tamara Smith, Rebecca Webster

The championships will begin June, with list reductions made in the lead-up to the first game.

The full Under 16s squads will be named on Wednesday.

 

Scouting notes: TAC Cup Girls- Round 5

ONLY two teams remain undefeated after round five delivered some cracking contests. The Western Jets got their first ever TAC Cup Girls win while ending Eastern’s undefeated streak in the process. Over in Bendigo, the Falcons managed to get up over Murray despite missing five AFLW players. Although the Knights were given a scare by the Chargers, they stormed home to remain undefeated after five rounds of competition. This may have been the hardest week to pick the best players, with each team showing their depth in their respective matches. Below are our opinion-based notes on each of the six TAC Cup Girls games.

Western Jets vs. Eastern Ranges 

Western:

#16 Elisabeth Georgostathis

Smothered the ball twice after giving away the free kick then gave a quick-fire handball to a teammate to set up a forward thrust. This was just one of her great plays on the day, she was simply everywhere. Displayed great run and carry after good mark and was able to clear the ball from congestion multiple times. She had an innate ability to get the ball moving whilst also doing a good job defensively with strong tackles. Georgostathis was able to display good composure to spin out of trouble on some occasions. Started to get targeted in the fourth quarter with the Eastern players trying to get in her head. Ended off a brilliant day with a big tackle in the goal square. 

#43 Caitlin Greiser

Greiser just read the ball better than her opponents and knew how to work her opponent under the ball. Eastern players did not know how to defend her. Booted two goals in the third quarter to get the Jets’ spirits up. Finished with four for the game. Continues to be a huge presence up forward. 

#19 Olivia Forsythe

Never stopped tackling the whole game. Her tackles were strong and often stopped Eastern players from playing that running game that we are so used to seeing from them. She was fierce around the contest and really got into the game in the third quarter. She tackled anyone that came near her and created so many stoppages. She was one of Western’s game-changers.

#26 Isabella Negri

Had a really good ability to move towards the ball on a long kick rather than waiting for it and trying to judge it in the air. In one instance, she took a huge contested mark inside 50 and was slow to get up. But she was brave enough to go back for the set shot, displaying incredible courage.

#40 Sharnie Whiting

Was able to snap through a nice goal after being really lively in the forward line. Was able to hunt the ball down, get it and kick it quickly to create space on the field. 

Others:

#27 Payton-Ani Ozols: Was able to burst out of stoppages a lot of times. Displayed nice acceleration and quick hands. Followed up when she missed the target with her kick, showing great determination.

#30 Isabelle Pritchard: Also displayed quick hands, was a rock in defence. Was able to provide good run and carry and was really strong in congestion. She laid a goal-saving tackle on the dangerous Laura Mcclelland in the last 30 seconds of the game.

#4 Leah Spargo: Kicked a nice ball to the top of the square which helped the tall forwards who were keen to take some contested marks. Like Georgostathis, she was lively and everywhere. Really aggressive on the wing.

#41 Savannah Forbes: Pushed off a player and kicked strongly on the run. She was aggressive all game and was right at the bottom of contest a lot of times.

#8 Emily Gardner: Another lively Jet. Laid some nice and strong tackles especially through the middle of the ground. Stepped up her game in the third quarter.

 

Eastern:

#46 Sarah Kendall

Was able to mop up well in the back-line and dominated the ruck. Played a sweeper role and did not let her team down. Kendall would often pick up the ball quickly, get it and kick it, and not just hacking it- following through for the kick to hit a target. Took a great sliding mark running at full flight towards the ball. She was a huge force especially at the top of the defensive 50, playing a great rebounding game. Nobody could get past her as she would mark everything that came her way.

#37 Georgia Macpherson

Stalwart in defence as usual! Displayed good run and carry and had a long penetrating kick. She took some great contested marks in this game and dominated. She usually takes a lot of uncontested marks but showed she is a contested marking beast as well. Read the footy really well when she took a mark right in the goal-square off a clever high kick by Caitlin Greiser. Sold the candy at one point and kicked off the other side of her body to get the ball into the middle, showing that she is one of the most clever ball-users in the competition.

#6 Gabriella De Angelis

Played a fantastic game for Eastern and just did not stop trying throughout the whole game. Took a great overhead mark under pressure, which was great to see for a small midfielder. Then she did what small midfielders do, when she took the ball and burst through the middle of the ground, hitting her target perfectly with a skillful kick. Kicked two goals to top off her hard work. They were well-deserved, she was outstanding.

#21 Mikala Cann

Really proactive in the middle of the ground. Delivered a nice kick to the middle of the ground at one point and did it on repeat occasions in other areas of the ground. At one point, she was barely looking at the ball and still hit a target. Displayed good hands under pressure and always managed to follow up her efforts with the ball in hand. She had good speed to chase the ball on the deck, showing off her impressive sprinting capabilities. Delivered a beautiful kick into the forward line and kicked a beautiful ball off one step. There was simply no other word to describe her game!  

#49 Charlotte Wilson

The co-captain made good contributions throughout the game. She kicked the ball nicely to the wing at one point and was a huge presence in the ruck. Kicked the ball well to her forwards, especially with a nice kick to Laura McClelland later in the latter stages of the game. Stepped up well in the absence of Emerson Woods. 

Others:

#48 Lauren Szigeti: Displayed nice movement throughout the game and her constant effort to fight for the footy was outstanding. Laid a huge goal-saving tackle at one point in the game. She was so aggressive throughout the game and did not ease her pressure at all.

#38 Laura McClelland: Had a good penetrating kick and kicked it well out of congestion. Took a huge contested mark and kicked it truly, already showing signs of an experiences forward. Had good eyes for the ball throughout the game.

#17 Mietta Kendall: Displayed nice hands to leap for a mark but just could not hold it on the way down. Still managed to build on her performance quarter-by-quarter. Had good quick hands.

 

Bendigo Pioneers vs. Gippsland Power

By: Peter Williams 

Bendigo:

#3 Carly Isaac

Showed off a lot of speed throughout the game, spreading to the outside and showing composure with ball-in-hand. She put in a consistent effort across the game, winning the footy and getting back to help out the defence and break the lines down the wing.

#19 Kodi Jacques

Thought she was one of the best Pioneers for her sheer work rate and ability to get to the football. She provided good pressure on the inside and a knack for quick hands. In the second term she snapped inside 50 which led to a goal to Bree Heiden. When inside 50 she was lively and took a good intercept mark from a kick out and kicked long to the square. In the third term she worked hard out of the midfield, had three possessions in a chain from the clearance through to a snap which just missed.

#27 Brooke Hards

Really liked her game off half-back, particularly early in the peace. Had it not been for Hards’ efforts then no doubt Gippsland’s lead would have been higher in the opening half. She worked really hard in the back 50 and won the footy at half-back thinking her way through her touches going forward. She also showed off a good turning circle when she managed to swing onto her preferred side to kick forward.

#28 Megan Williamson

Another consistent effort from the captain who consistently showed no fear in her attack on the ball. She buzzed around the stoppages and showed good intensity when tackling the opposition ball carrier. She organised the midfield well and won a few free kicks from going in hard, and getting to the ball first. One of the Pioneers’ most consistent on the day.

#30 Bree Heiden

Attacks the football with vigour and used her strong body to bump an opponent off the ball and win a crucial one-on-one. She earned a goal through hard running to lead into the central corridor and kick truly from the set shot.

Others:

#1 Maeve Tupper: Packs plenty of excitement and almost snapped a miraculous goal in the second quarter from a tight angle, but was dragged down and the shot just missed.

#2 Maddy Baldwin: Created some good run on the outside and was able to get into space to win the ball. Baldwin was another Pioneers midfielder who stood up when it counted and put in a consistent performance.

#8 Shelby Knoll: Provided a target inside 50, taking a couple of good marks out on the lead, including a juggling mark in the third term. She worked well with Kodi Jacques in the third term, marking the pass and then handballing back to Jacques to keep the play moving.

#9 Dayna Kelly-Guthrie: Played through the ruck and was solid in her tapouts, then got forward and kicked a great goal from a set shot in the second term.

#11 Jemma Finning: Another midfielder who was up for the fight defensively. Laid some huge tackles and worked hard with Jacques and Williamson through the midfield.

#20 Kate Douglass: Played in defence for most of the game before swinging forward. Provided a target in the final term, taking a couple of marks and kicking a long goal from 45 metres out.

#32 Sharmaine Reilly: Showed good pressure in defence, stopping a certain goal on the line in the opening quarter with a dive, and then laying a particularly memorable tackle later in the game to lock up the ball from escaping in the Power’s forward 50.

 

Gippsland:

#1 Ebony Jones

A composed user of the football, Jones played on the wing but also worked hard to get back into defence and help out. She covered the ground well and took a couple of marks in the defensive half of the ground. Jones also showed off a high defensive awareness and great speed, when in one instance she shepherded a teammate to allow them to kick inside 50, and later produced a great run-down tackle on the wing.

#6 Emily Haeusler

Her best performance of the year and put together a four quarter performance. Camped at half-back she rebounded everything, keeping a firm line between half-back and the centre of the ground. Her first interaction was a good one, side-stepping an opponent and kicking long inside 50 to a one-on-one. Moments later she took a great overhead mark one-on-one and kicked to Alana Rippon on the wing. She showed off her fleet-footedness using agility to turn her opponent inside out and showed composure while on the move. Her first term was superb but it did not stop there, consistently providing rebound for the power, intercepting anything in her area and laying some great, fierce tackles. Her mindset was also promising. In one instance in the fourth quarter where she missed a kick out of defence after winning the ball at ground level, but rather than berate herself, ran forward, bumped the opponent and locked the football up to stop the Pioneers getting it forward.

#8 Chandra Abrahams

A player who impressed with some great highlights. She laid a good tackle on the wing in the second term, and provided great forward pressure throughout the match. In the third term she showed quick thinking and goal sense to kick a goal off a step from 45m out. In the final term she laid a great goal-saving tackle, earning her a free. Her versatility to play up either end was on show on the weekend.

#27 Nikia Webber

A player who is in ripping form currently, Webber continues to provide a forward target for the Power, finishing the game with three majors and moving to second on the goal-kicking table. She kicked a huge goal from 40m out in the first term, then got her second in the second term through some hard running, and capped off with an impressive third goal just after that. Aside from hitting the scoreboard, Webber also provided strength and a keen goal sense inside 50.

#58 Amy Dunn

Played through the ruck and certainly held her own, showing good strength and giving her midfielders first use most of the time. A strong body, she assisted her teammates with good defensive efforts. The co-captain was a good leader in the absence of co-captain Tyla Hanks on game day.

Others:

#10 Tahlia Dower: Provided some good dash out of defence and got forward to kick a goal for her hard running efforts. She covered the ground really well and was one of the better Power players on the day.

#30 Alana Rippon: Worked hard through the midfield and provided some good dash. It was clear if the opposition gave her a centimetre she would take a mile. Got some quick first few steps and is able to find the ball.                     

#57 Jasmine Ferguson: Constantly applied pressure to the opposition and pumped the kick long inside 50. Ferguson took a huge grab in the middle of the ground and moves well for a taller player.

#65 Julia Redmond: Had a memorable moment in the second term, pulling down a huge pack mark on the wing.

 

Northern Knights vs. Oakleigh Chargers

By: Michael Alvaro 

Northern:

#4 Neve O’Connor

Fought valiantly all day against Bridie Winbanks in a very even ruck battle and made her presence felt. She moves really well for a player of her height and was not afraid to take her opponents on when pushing the ball forward with her booming kick. In a very strong Knights midfield, it felt like O’Connor was a fourth rover with her efforts around the ground proving valuable.

#6 Alyssa Bannan

She always finds a way to hit the scoreboard and today was no different. Starting on the wing, Bannan provided touches of class and some good run through the midfield. Her spread from the congestion proved to be damaging, and her ability to repeatedly be the option to carry the ball inside 50 is a real asset. She booted both of her goals in the final term, with one of them coming off the back of a nifty side-step to get rid of her opponent.

#18 Sarah Sansonetti

Kicked the first goal of the game but spurned the chance to kick another moments later as she could not manage to poke the ball through from the goal-square. She was ever-present inside 50 and provided a solid option all day, often acting as the link in the chain between the arc and the goals. She had the chance to kick another goal in the final quarter but gave it off, which was typical of her score involvements for the game.

#21 Ellie McKenzie

Arguably the best player on the ground, McKenzie dominated in all areas. She started the game in the centre bounce and won a stack of clearances to go with two goal assists early on. The highlight of her game also came early in the first term when she received the ball at half-back and went on a winding four-bounce run through the centre square. She lost the ball momentarily but bounced straight back up, won it back and hit up a teammate inside 50. She was thrown forward late in the last quarter and kicked three goals in as many minutes to seal the win for her side, capping off a complete and dominant display.

#24 Alexandra Pronesti

Another Knight who always seems to find the goals, Pronesti was again at her dangerous best. Her three first-half goals helped the Knights to set up a handy buffer going into the main break, and she stood up when needed. Playing as a deep-lying forward, she was able to position herself well at every contest and proved to be a real handful when working in tandem with Sarah Sansonetti.

Others:

#2 Marnie Jarvis: There is not much of her, but Jarvis was everywhere and had some nice moments. Working mainly off half-back and the wing, she looked lively with ball in hand and provided some spark going forward. Her speed and nifty sideways movement allow her to stand out.

#5 Madeline Brancatisano: The skipper was lively early as she attended most of the stoppages. She provided a cool head to go with her tough edge in the contest and burrowed in well to set the tone for her side. While she faded out later on and was caught in possession a couple of times, she showed signs of her usual accumilating best.  

#7 Abigail Bennett: Was used in varying roles around the ground but was mostly effective behind the ball and through the midfield. Her best moment came in the last quarter where she picked up the loose ball, weaved through two opponents and set on a dangerous forward run. A smooth mover, Bennett also impressed with her clean hands in a frantic contest.

 

Oakleigh:

#11 Bridie Winbanks

Was a standout as the Chargers’ best player alongside midfield bull Emily Harley with a massive contribution in both the ruck and at ground level. While the ruck battle was relatively even, it was Winbanks’ follow-up efforts and fierce tackling that were most impressive. As a mobile tall, she was able to show off her admirable work rate and strong hands in what was a physical contest. Her lone goal came at the end of the third term, which the Chargers won with three goals to zip thanks largely to her efforts. 

#16 Alana Porter

Porter spent the majority of the game in the midfield and had a few good moments. Her speed and willingness to take the game on was a highlight, and she was able to give her side a nice bit of outside drive. While her attacking style is exciting, she was caught in possession a couple of times, opting to bounce or hold the ball when she had the chance to quickly dispose of it.

#17 Nicola Xenos

Was quiet early but found her feet and a way into the game during the third quarter. She had a five minute purple patch where she showed off her speed in a mazy run, caught an opponent holding the ball, and put in a courageous effort at half forward in quick succession. Her hands are clean and she has good natural pace, proving to be quite evasive throughout the game.

#19 Emily Harley

Harley was a bullocking force through the Oakleigh midfield and provided some real grunt when they needed it. She started off the game dishing out a couple of fend-offs and doing her best to side-step opponents with her turn of pace, and continued on with much of the same. Her forward drive and competitiveness was a real standout, with many of her runs finished off with a long inside-50 ball. A highlight for her was her handy slips catch while she was thrown deep forward in the second term, which she capped off with a goal.

Others:

#41 Katie Lynch: Having started in the centre square for most of the first half, Lynch struggled to make an early impact. A move deep forward in the second half proved fruitful, as she looked to have gained some confidence and found a lot more of the ball. She looked dangerous at times and finished the game with a goal.

#38 Daisy Bateman: There were limited opportunities for the Oakleigh forwards but Bateman took advantage of the ones that fell her way, booting two of her side’s five goals for the game.

 

Dandenong Stingrays vs. GWV Rebels

By: Peter Williams 

Dandenong:

#1 Shelley Heath

One of the Stingrays prime movers through the midfield and constantly pushed back to help out the defence. Had a busy first term with a couple of eye-catching dashes in the opening minutes, and also laid some tackles later that quarter. After a quieter patch in the middle of the game, Heath picked up in the second half with a huge tackle later in the third quarter just outside 50 with the clock counting down. Her last quarter was great, winning plenty of the football pushing back at half-back and along the wing, working hard to use her pace to drive the ball forward.

#10 Abbey Jordan

Has pace to burn and constantly tried to break the lines. She worked in tandem with Heath along the wing and covered plenty of ground. In particular she moved well in the final term, driving the ball out of defence to help propel the Stingrays forward.

#18 Saige Bayne

One of the better Stingrays throughout the game, played on the outside and managed to get into ball-winning positions. I thought it was her best performance of the season and she adds a bit of pace and grunt to the outside, a solid performance across the four quarters. Just keeps battling hard and was able to get free on a number of occasions to kick the ball long.

#28 Tyanna Smith

Booted two goals for the Stingrays and was lively in the front half of the ground. Early in the third term, Smith positioned herself well in front of her opponent and protected the ball drop to mark. Not long after she kicked one of the goals of the day from long range. One of the better Stingrays on the day and a creative option inside 50.

 

#35 Lucy Cripps

As consistent as ever in defence hardly put a foot wrong and just so consistent, when the going got tough she got going. Cripps even pushed up to a wing at times in the third term to provide extra support in the midfield and drive the ball forward. Good long kick deep in the third term, as she had pushed up to half-forward at the time. Knows when to push up the ground and when to stay back. Versatile and can play anywhere on the ground.

Others:

#5 Eloise Allen-Burns: A composed defender in the back 50, Allen-Burns repelled a number of Rebels attacks with some good intercept marks and clearing kicks. Just does her job and is rarely beaten one-on-one.

#20 Eliza Wilson-Macdonald: Buried herself under packs again and laid a number of fierce tackles. She just continues to work hard and win one-on-one contests or at least put her body on the line. Earned a free kick in the final term at a crucial stage to drive her team forward.

#26 Isabella Shannon: Played forward in the third term and presented well and then started to show it on the scoreboard with a goal and then a centering pass to the square. With her leading out the Stingrays looked much more dangerous. Great long kick at half-forward to deep.

#55 Harmony Thomas: Continues to present as a forward target, just needs to capitalise on her opportunities. She took a great one-on-one mark early in the game but missed the set shot. A last quarter free for going in hard presented another opportunity but just missed. She laid a great tackle in the third term to stop a forward thrust and provided a neat kick to Shelley Heath.

 

GWV Rebels:

#2 Renee Saulitis

She has a bit of pace and class about her, kicking a goal and looking dangerous at times through the midfield. She had a good deep pass forward in the second term and is a good mover, sidestepping her opponent.

#16 Lauren Butler

Just a consistent leader in midfield, she positions her kicks well to the danger zone and has that powerful penetration. In the third term she won the ball at midfield and hit up her team-mate leading out of the forward 50. Early on with Dandenong having the breeze, Butler drifted back to help the defence and took a good intercept mark in the hole in defence.

#21 Denver Henson

Really liked her performance through the ruck and around the ground. She continued to push hard and kicked long to gain serious metres. She laid a fierce tackle in the opening quarter and showed quick hands to her runners. I think the bigger highlights were her efforts around the ground.

#23 Sophie Molan

Really consistent performance again from Molan who seemed to be everywhere. She settled down the side and was used in transition, winning the football across the midfield and being an important link in the chain going forward.

#34 Stephanie Glover

Provided some great drive out of defence, and was particularly prominent early. She showed good agility to sidestep opponents and kick long down the wing, and was one of the better Rebels across the course of the game. Seemed to have a no-frills approach of winning the ball and keeping it moving in transition, working hard to win it defensively and drive it forward.

Others:

#9 Jordie McAuliffe: A hard runner who was rewarded with a great goal in the second term. She also was a reliable kick, hitting up Isabella Simmons who lead at the football in the forward 50.

#19 Katie McAloon: Kicked a great goal off a step in the second quarter.

#27 Nyakoat Dojiok: Created some great run and carry early on in the match, and almost pulled down a high leap but just dropped it. Good acceleration and has a penetrating kick, she had some impressive plays.

#28 Isabella Simmons: Positions herself well down forward, leads for the footy and then camps under the drop zone protecting the ball drop.

#45 Alyssa Humphries: Early on in the game she was damaging up forward, booting a goal and then using her quick hands after a mark to give it off to Jordie McAuliffe for a goal. Played well out of full-forward, and almost kicked a second goal, hitting the post in the final term.

 

Sandringham Dragons vs. Calder Cannons 

Sandringham:

 

#1 Maddison Wilson

Was lively around goal, especially in the first quarter. She kicked the first two goals for the game and finished up with three. Bended it nicely around the body for a confidence-boosting goal after stoppages started to come into play more frequently. Wilson read the ball well in the goal-square, crumbing the ground balls and snapping them through. Was killing it inside 50, taking great uncontested marks and trapping to the ball deep inside 50.

#25 Bella Eddey

Her goal was a stunning pick up and snap around the body from the boundary line! This was set up by Alice Burke’s high ball, which set the small forwards up nicely to run onto the footy. Eddey displayed good work to hunt the ball down and got plenty of it. She was involved in a lot of passages of play, which was highlighted by a spearing pass to Sophia Rothfield on the lead. Even brought her teammates into the game with a good one-two to get the Dragons out of trouble.

#30 Eleanor Brown

Did all the little things right for Sandringham. Managed to kick the ball well even off a burst of acceleration. Delivered a beautiful kick into the middle of the ground to get the Dragons out of trouble. Displayed pinpoint accuracy with her kicking. Had good run and carry especially down the wing. Brown leads well towards the ball even in defence, and doesn’t wait for the ball to come to her so she can spoil. She didn’t allow opponents to lead to the footy because she always meets it first.

#36 Jemma Owen

Really starting to find some good form in these past couple of rounds. Was able to stand up in the stoppages and did some nice things to clear the ball out of congestion. Kicked a nice goal after a good assist from Georgia Emberton. Kicked two for the game which really got her confidence up.

#49 Laura Amelung

Amelung can make an impact wherever she plays. Spent some time up forward and kicked a goal courtesy of a nice snap. Had some great one percenters with some really strong tackles, some great work to run into space and even a nice attempt to thread the needle through goals! She had a nice moment where she grabbed the ball off the deck, accelerated and ran towards goal. Ended up with two majors for the day, showing her versatility.

 

Others:

#2 Winnie Laing: Was able to trap the ball well and handball it out of congestion. Displayed great work to get the ball out with three Cannons players tackling her.

#3 Sophia Rothfield: I witnessed one of the best leads to the footy I’ve seen after Rothfield burst off her opponent with immense speed when she read Bella Eddey’s spearing pass immensely well. Gave her opponent no chance to chase her down in that instance. Displayed some really good work to chase the ball down in the goal-square and kick off one step while being tackled.

#31 Bryanna Arnold: Read the footy beautifully, shown by a kick just landing into her arms after all eyes were on it. Displayed good work to hold up play while the Cannons attempted to run away out of a stoppage.

#32 Sarah Hartwig: Displayed good composure down back. Was able to kick well under pressure. She’s a good defender and a great leader in the back-line.  

#46 Alice Burke: Had plenty of score involvements throughout the match. Most memorable one was a high kick to set up a Bella Eddey goal. Delivered some really nice kicks for the forwards to run onto, and one of them ended up in a great boundary-line snap from Eddey once again.

 

Calder:

#2 Felicity Theodore

Theodore was everywhere for the Cannons and tried extremely hard to keep her side in the game. Did well to hold the dangerous Alice Burke up in stoppage to create another stoppage. Was reading Carla Rendelmann’s taps perfectly and was able to get some clearances. Even had a couple of good ‘don’t argues’ to clear the kick away from congestion. In another instance, she fended off well to evade her opponent and dashed out of the middle. Theodore was able to pick up ball with pace, making it look like the other players were just staring at it. Often got the Cannons out of trouble. Leapt and marked against two Sandringham players to send the ball straight back inside 50 after a kick-out from full-back. Really filled Prespakis’ shoes.

#32 Terira Fry

Applied great pressure to cause a stoppage with four Sandringham players around her. Laid a huge tackle in the goal-square to keep the ball alive for the Cannons inside 50. Continues to improve each game and is one of the Cannons’ best players. Caused some headaches for the Dragons thanks to her aggressive manner and hunt to penetrate the ball forward through defensive acts.

#34 Zoe Hardiman

Hardiman did some really nice things around the contest. She picked up the ball well and evaded her opponents to deliver a nice centring kick, took a really nice mark which set her up for a set shot in the second quarter,  and delivered a fantastic run-down tackle. Also read the ball well when she marked a kick that dropped short. Accelerated towards it rather than waiting for it. Was active around the half-forward flank especially.

#38 Laura Cocomello

Got heaps of kicks away and did not seem to stop trying for the Cannons. She was proactively keeping the game moving for Calder. Kept herself in the game through some good running and following up her teammates’ nice work around the contest. Was able to just grab the ball and kick it without fuss.

#42 Kellie Sutton

She was really strong in defence. She took a great mark to create a turnover and delivered a nice handball under pressure. Displayed great work to hack the ball out of inside 50 when Dragons looked dangerous. Strong tackling was also evident in one of her best games of the season.

 

 

Others:

#15 Georgia Marsland: Took a nice mark off a high kick. Kicked the Cannons’ first goal of the day.

#18 Carla Rendelmann: Was impressive in the ruck and won lots of hit-outs. Tapped the ball down well to her small midfielders, especially Felicity Theodore.

#37 Faith Holloway: Broke away from the contest well and got a kick away. Had a lively start to the game. Smothered the ball well to save a certain goal for the Dragons.

#46 Gloria Elarmaly: Did some nice work to thread through a goal for Calder. Was lively inside 50.

 

Geelong Falcons vs. Murray Bushrangers 

Geelong:

#10 Samantha Atkins

I was impressed with her performance across half-forward, providing some fierce tackles and keeping the opposition honest. Earned an important free kick in the first term when she dispossessed Grace Egan, and then worked hard inside 50 to win the ball at half-forward and centre it to a dangerous position, leading to a goal. She laid quite a few strong tackles, with one in particular in the third term causing an important turnover in the forward half.

#11 Luka Lesosky-Hay

Arguably Geelong’s most prominent midfielder, Lesosky-Hay really stood up in the absence of Olivia Purcell and Nina Morrison. She went head-to-head with Grace Egan throughout the day and had some great battles, never taking a backwards step. She went in hard and won some crucial contested possessions, shovelling the ball out to teammates in space.

#32 Mia Sheppard

I thought she was one of the better Falcons given her strong work in defence. On a couple of occasions, she positioned herself well in the marking contest, and had a desire to win the football. In the final term when Murray was attacking, Sheppard won a crucial one-on-two and locked the ball up. Had she lost that contest, Murray would have surely goaled and put the margin within a kick.

#36 Abbey Chapman

It was almost impossible to name a best player from the Falcons such was their team effort, but Chapman probably came the closest with her sensational work in defence. It was not just her consistency that was impressive, but she just had a number of “big” moments which could be considered game-changing. In the third term she saved a certain Grace Egan goal with a mark on the line, and then in the fourth term, took a huge intercept mark with five minutes to play, settling down the team as the Bushrangers attacked. Across the course of the game she was very good one-on-one.

#39 Tarryn Love

I thought she was one of the best on ground early, until injury curtailed her match in the third term. She just hunts the ball and harasses the opposition, providing pressure on the ball carrier. When in control of the football she has clean hands and a great first touch. Her awareness of her teammates’ positioning is also important and she is able to execute handballs through traffic. Love set up a goal to Paige Sheppard with a kick to her advantage up forward.

Others:

#6 Paige Sheppard: Kicked a couple of goals to spur on the Falcons with one from a set shot, and another from a snap courtesy of a Tarryn Love kick inside 50.

#16 Laura Gardiner: Seemed to cover the ground well, playing off half-back and also getting forward to kick a goal. She is a long kick who is often on the move.

#37 Sophie Dinneen: Another Falcons defender who worked hard to win the football and repel the Bushrangers attacks. She was smart with ball in hand and kicked long out of the defensive zone.

#35 Sophie Walmsley: A lively player who kicked a great goal courtesy of a snap in the pocket. She provided run on the outside, received a good handball to keep the ball moving along the wing, and showed good pace at times, highlighted by a spin around and kick long to the danger zone inside 50 in the third quarter.

#38 Renee Tierney: Did not kick a goal after a bag last week but played a team role with the way she pushed up to the wing and hit the packs hard, providing support for her teammates. She moves pretty well and is strong one-on-one. Had more of an impact up the field than closer to goal this week.

 

Murray:

#1 Julia Harvey

The pocket rocket stepped up into the midfield and had a huge opening term against the Falcons. She seemed to be everywhere, buzzing around the stoppages and weaving her way through traffic. A noticeable strength is her great hands in close and cleanliness at ground level. She is a good user of the football and quite composed with ball in hand. Was quieter later in the game – still had some impressive plays – but her first quarter was sensational.

#22 Tamara Smith

Was Murray’s best player across four quarters and the attributes that stand out are her ability to move through traffic, and her game smarts. She is good above her head and in the second term, showed the awareness while under pressure, to punch the ball forward mid-air rather than take possession and be dispossessed. Smith is a clever player who in the third term also did the team thing, going in to assist her teammate Kate Adams at a stoppage, providing a vital shepherd to allow Adams clear passage for disposal. She also assisted with a goal to Melanie Cook after a nice pass in the fourth quarter.

#37 Sophie Damon

Had a huge first half in particular, being somewhat of a playmaker through the middle with her teammates looking to her to kick long and deep. She was often on the end of handballs, and moved really well for a taller player. In one instance she calmly sidestepped an opponent and managed to kick with composure. She had a shot on goal but that just missed to the left. Her ruck work was also impressive, giving her teammates first chance at possession. She was also involved in the Melanie Cook goal, hitting up Tamara Smith with a piercing pass.

#39 Hayley Doohan

The most notable moments for me were when she won some crucial one-on-ones late in the match. She was able to win a hardball and handpass to Grace Egan under pressure, then beat her opponent late in the final term in a one-on-one contest.

#42 Grace Egan

One of the stars of the Bushrangers’ line-up, Egan was consistent across the game, but particularly picked up in the second half. She worked hard through the midfield, burrowing under packs, putting pressure on the opposition. She stands strong during tackles and found a lot of the ball in close. In the third quarter she ran forward and had a shot on goal, but it was marked on the line. She has clean hands and a one-grab player, spreading well to cover the ground. One of her best passes was in the final term when she had the ball at half-back. She sent a bullet, hitting up a teammate on the wing, switching up play and disrupting the opposition’s set-up. Really stood up as a leader in the final minutes, trying to assist in directing players.

Others:

#4 Chelsea Knight: A classy midfielder who assisted Julia Harvey, Tamara Smith and Grace Egan through the midfield. She stepped up at points and had a few good touches in the midfield, especially in the third term.

#8 Olivia Hall: Got her side up and about in the final term with a great goal to put the Bushrangers back within 10 points at the six and a half minute mark of the final term.

#40 Melanie Cook: Continually presented at the football and was often under tight watch from the opposition. She took a good mark and kicked to the danger zone in the second term to set up Mikayla Jones’ goal. In the final term, Cook got the ball rolling and the atmosphere going with a goal from a snap.