Tag: mikala cann

VFLW weekend washup: Tigers lose first match of season

ROUND 9 of Victorian Football League Women’s (VFLW) was chock full of big games, with the most surprising result seeing Richmond dealt their first loss of the season among big wins to Collingwood and Southern Saints to sit comfortable in the top two. Meanwhile, Casey had their fourth loss on the trot and Carlton almost delivered a shock win over NT Thunder.

SOUTHERN SAINTS 4.1 | 5.1 | 6.4 | 9.5 (59)
WILLIAMSTOWN 0.0 | 1.0 | 1.0 | 1.1 (7)

GOALS
Southern Saints:
C. Munn 2, J. Vogt 2, C. Greiser 2, E. Keaney, K. Shierlaw, S. Astone
Williamstown: M. Williamson

BEST
Southern Saints:
C. Phillips, S. Johnson, K. Shierlaw, M. Kuys, R. Watt, C. Jones
Williamstown: E. Straford, M. Williamson, D. Pedersen, J. Reid, R. Dardengo, J. Kawa

It seemed the Williamstown Seagulls never had a chance when they took on the Saints to open Round 9, going down by a whopping 52 points in a massive win for the Saints side. A four goal first term all but set up the win for the Saints, dominating every stoppage and denying the Seagulls any access to their forward half. The Saints were clinical in their efforts even after a slow second quarter, drilling goals home with ease as the Seagulls struggled to maintain possession. Courteney Munn, Caitlin Greiser and Jacqui Vogt kicked two apiece in the victory, aided by big matches from Alison Drennan (27 disposals, six tackles), Rhiannon Watt (21 disposals, 25 hitouts) and Cat Phillips (16 disposals, 12 tackles). Watt was evenly matched in the ruck by Williamstown’s Jedda Heard (20 hitouts, 11 touches) but the Seagulls were unable to benefit off the taps and drill forward. Mo Hope had another prolific game for the losing side, racking up 21 touches while Megan Williamson kicked the Seagulls’ only goal.

HAWTHORN 2.2 | 2.2 | 3.5 | 3.6 (24)
GEELONG 0.1 | 2.3 | 3.5 | 4.7 (31)

GOALS
Hawthorn:
C. O”Donnell, R. Dillon, T. Luke
Geelong: R. Cranston 2, S. Van De Heuvel, B. Beckley

BEST
Hawthorn:
R. Beeson, R. Dillon, T. Luke, J. Van Dyk, G. Bevan, C. O”Donnell
Geelong: R. Cranston, M. Boyd, G. Rankin, M. Maguire, M. Keryk, A. McDonald

Despite the scoreline, the closeness of this match was palpable with neither side able to maintain a lead across the four quarters. A slow quarter from Geelong saw the Hawks take an early lead, but the Cats were persistent to draw ahead by one point at half time, proving they still had plenty in them. While the third term saw both sides draw even once more, opportunities at goal were floundered as both teams had the ability to draw out the lead but ultimately both kicking more behinds than goals. Geelong’s final quarter effort was what ultimately won them the game, creating a defensive unit like that of their second quarter to make it hard for Hawthorn to score. While Geelong came out the lucky winners with a final quarter goal, the Hawks certainly put them through their paces. Hawks’ Bec Beeson was dominant as ever with 25 disposals, five marks and four tackles, while Rosie Dillon picked up 24 touches, eight tackles and a goal. Lou Wotton dominated the hitouts, racking up 33 hitouts, well aided by Abbey Tanner with 15 hitouts and five tackles. For the Cats, Richelle Cranston made her mark with 28 disposals and two goals, while Rebecca Webster managed 22 touches and eight tackles and Madeleine Boyd finished with 13 touches and six marks.

CASEY 1.2 | 1.5 | 2.7 | 4.9 (33)
MELBOURNE UNI 4.2 | 4.4 | 5.7 | 5.8 (38)

GOALS
Casey:
H. Cordner, K. Hore, E. Zanker , E. Birch
Melbourne Uni: K. Angelis 2, K. Gillespie-Jones, E. King, K. Cox

BEST
Casey:
C. Sherriff, H. Cordner, E. Birch, E. Zanker , A. McDonough, G. McLean
Melbourne Uni: J. Grierson, K. Angelis, H. Whitford, J. Duffin, K. Gillespie-Jones, N. Julian

It was a disappointing fourth loss in a row to Casey on the weekend, who despite closing out the margin in the final term were unable to get the job done against Melbourne Uni. While Uni put in the hard yards early with four goals in the first, the Demons were not going to let the Muggars get away with a win easily, showing some of the grit they displayed in the early stages of the season and only letting one major past them for the rest of the game. Casey’s bad luck continued, however, with the side inaccurate in front of goal when they had the opportunity to even up the ledger. Melbourne Uni’s Jess Duffin and Kate Gillespie-Jones dominated possession, collecting a whopping 39 and 33 disposals and collecting a combined 21 marks and 23 tackles, while Katie Angelis kicked two goals from 10 touches. For Casey, Libby Birch (24 disposals, nine tackles, one goal) and Eden Zanker (21 disposals, seven marks, 16 hitouts and one goal) paired well to provide a target inside 50.

ESSENDON 1.0 | 1.0 | 2.1 | 3.2 (20)
COLLINGWOOD 1.0 | 4.2 | 4.3 | 6.4 (40)

GOALS
Essendon:
M. Fogas, J. Stassi, L. Stepnell
Collingwood: J. Lambert 3, M. Cann, G. Buchan, C. Molloy

BEST
Essendon:
S. Nalder, M. Fogas, G. Nanscawen, S. Audley, K. Hicks, I. Currenti
Collingwood: J. Lambert, K. Lee, S. Alexander, S. Casey, S. King, R. Schleicher

Despite an even start, it seems the Bombers may have gotten ahead of themselves after the first term, letting in three goals in the second as the Pies took the footy and ran with it. While the Bombers may have become complacent, the Pies stood strong and delivered their eighth win in a row, proving they have what it takes to go all the way. Jaimee Lambert added three more goals to her season tally, shooting up to the top of the goal kicking leaderboard and causing headaches to Essendon’s defensive unit with her ability to find the ball and create something out of nothing. Lambert also racked up 25 touches (20 kicks) in her best on ground effort, while Chloe Molloy (17 disposals, one goal) and Mikala Cann (10 disposals, nine tackles) also provided valuable options around the field. For Essendon, Shae Audley (18 disposals, 10 tackles), Georgia Nanscawen (18 disposals, 13 tackles) and Maighan Fogas (11 disposals, seven marks, one goal) put in the hard yards to apply pressure on the winning side, while Simone Nalder starred in the ruck with 40 hitouts.

NT THUNDER 0.1 | 2.3 | 3.4 | 7.5 (47)
CARLTON 2.4 | 4.4 | 6.7 | 6.9 (45)

GOALS
NT Thunder:
D. Ponter 3, G. Cusack 2, C. Couch, S. Thompson
Carlton: S. Mason, S. Wright, J. Hosking, M. Clifford, N. Stevens, S. Cubasch

BEST
NT Thunder:
Not supplied
Carlton: N. Stevens, C. Wilson, N. Plane, G. Wright, S. Hosking, J. Hosking

It was a slow start for Thunder that almost saw Carlton come away with a massive win in the Northern Territory, before a four goal final quarter saw the Thunder run the Blues out of the match. While Carlton had the lead for much of the game, it was the determination of the home team to get the job done that got them over the line, leaving a disappointed Blues outfit to rue missed opportunities. While Carlton had the opportunity to seal the deal in the final minutes but couldn’t convert, Thunder had plenty of missed opportunities early that they fortunately were able to brush aside and continue on. While Carlton may have come home without a win on the board, the side does come home with a convincing effort in the back of their minds as they come into the latter end of the season and the confidence in their six Round 9 goalkickers. Anne Hatchard (36 disposals, four tackles), Danielle Ponter (three goals, four tackles) and Gemma Cusack (two goals) starred for Territory, while Gabby Pound (29 disposals, seven marks), Jess Hosking (22 disposals, five marks, five tackles) and Breann Moody (25 hitouts, 15 touches, five marks) were among Carlton’s best.

WESTERN BULLDOGS 1.1 | 2.1 | 3.2 | 4.4 (28)
RICHMOND 0.2 | 1.8 | 2.9 | 2.10 (22)

GOALS
Western Bulldogs:
K. Rennie 2, N. McMahon, E. Mackay
Richmond: T. Stahl, S. Frederick

BEST
Western Bulldogs:
B. Hunt, S. Jolly, H. Scott, V. Laloifi, M. Sandral, N. Butler
Richmond: K. Dempsey, L. Bailey, G. Seymour, A. Makur Chuot, S. Last, M. Brancatisano

It was a different looking Richmond outfit this weekend with another massive name lining up for her first in the yellow and black, with Sabrina Frederick joining the side for the first time since her departure from Brisbane Lions AFLW in 2018. However the match just didn’t go the Tigers’ way, with the Bulldogs hungry for the form they had in the early stages of the season and ready to fight for it. It was a very different side to the usually clinical Richmond over the weekend, with a disappointing loss to the Bulldogs proving no side can afford to be complacent in the competition. It was the Tigers’ first loss for the season, seeing them stay in third but lose the winning edge they have had across the board this season. However, full credit to the Bulldogs for shaking the Tigers and only letting in the one goal in the first half. The Tigers’ usually meticulously accurate forward line had massive issues across the board, kicking six behinds in the second term alone, more than the Bulldogs kicked all match. Kimberley Rennie was up in the contest with two goals to her name, while Hannah Scott (25 disposals, four marks) and Bailey Hunt (18 disposals, five tackles) used the ball freely credit to the tackling efforts of Tayla Dinuccio and Ellie Gavalas (10 tackles apiece). For the Tigers, Kate Dempsey had 21 touches and five marks, aided by Grace Campbell and Grace Egan who combined for 17 tackles.

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

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

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

GOALS

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

BEST

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

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

 

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

GOALS

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

BEST

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

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

 

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

GOALS

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

BEST

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

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

 

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

GOALS

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

BEST

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

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

 

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

GOALS

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

BEST

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

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

 

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

GOALS

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

BEST

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

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

VFLW Round 3 preview: Five undefeated teams look to keep perfect records alive

ROUND 3 of the Victorian Football League Women’s (VFLW) is up this week, with some tight clashes to come as the ladder starts to take shape. Five teams are still undefeated – though two of the five have only played one match – while NT Thunder have the bye this week.

GEELONG v. COLLINGWOOD
Round 3 – 25/05/2019
11:30
GMHBA Stadium

Round 3 opens with a clash between two of the middle ranked teams on the ladder at this early stage of the season, with both sides sitting on one win and one loss apiece after two rounds. Collingwood’s Jaimee Lambert is currently sitting in third for disposals with 51 across the opening rounds, while Geelong’s Kate Darby has kicked four goals to start the season on a strong note. Despite letting in 12 goals in Round 1, Geelong put in a solid performance last week to hold off Essendon, kicking with accuracy in front of goal with 7.2 on the board, also putting on a load of pressure through defence to deny the Bombers space to settle in front of goal. Collingwood come into this match off a solid win over Hawthorn last round, so will want to replicate the shared effort on the ball and strong tackling pressure the likes of Lambert and Mikala Cann put on last week.

DAREBIN v. HAWTHORN
Round 3 – 25/05/2019
12:00
Swinburne Centre

Both Darebin and Hawthorn have struggled so far this season, so look for a tight match for both sides as they come into Round 3 looking for an elusive first win. It makes for an interesting match, with the Hawks struggling to get goals on the board, while the Falcons have had more trouble defensively, letting in more goals – and while Hawthorn’s losing margin is lower than Darebin’s, it seems the Falcons may have the scoreboard pressure and more options forward to get a win on the board. Meg Hutchins will be one to watch out for, averaging 20.5 touches for the season so far, while Emily Gilder kicked three goals last week and Jess Sibley two in Round 1. Darebin’s Jamie Stanton is sitting at an average of 21 disposals, while Lauren Pearce sat out of Round 1 but was solid in the ruck with 28 hitouts and 17 touches last week, also making a good target forward.

RICHMOND v. ESSENDON
Round 3 – 25/05/2019
12:00
Bill Lawry Oval

Richmond take on Essendon in what will be an interesting match, with the Tigers sitting one from one after a bye last week, while Essendon are zero from two but pushed both Casey and Geelong in Rounds 1 and 2 to show they have some fight in them. That being said, the Tigers were convincing in their 35-point victory over Darebin in Round 1, proving the Bombers will need to give this match everything they’ve got to get a win on the board this week. Tayla Stahl-Smith will be one to watch, equal first in goals kicked for the season after kicking 6.2 in Round 1, while Chloe Wakefield kicked two and four other individuals also got on the board. Essendon have some strong goalkickers of their own with the likes of Monique de Matteo and Arthurina Moreen able to put ball to boot, however it will be defensive pressure that the Bombers will need to work on to put a stop to Richmond’s forward options after going down by close margins two weeks in a row.

WESTERN BULLDOGS v. MELBOURNE UNI
Round 3 – 25/05/2019
4:30
VU Whitten Oval

In what looks to be the match to watch this round, early ladder leaders in Melbourne Uni (1st) take on Western Bulldogs (4th) to close out Saturday’s matches with a bang. Melbourne Uni have dominated so far this season, kicking 11 and 12 goals across the opening rounds and setting the sideup for a big and high-scoring season. The Bulldogs had a bye in the opening round, meaning their solid win against Williamstown in Round 2 is all they have to go off on season form so far. The Mugars are currently dominating the stats with the likes of Jasmine Garner (57 disposals from two matches), Asha Price (six goals) and Kate Gillespie-Jones (16 tackles) sitting high on their respective leaderboards with two comfortable and confident wins under their belts. The Dogs will have the home field advantage, so will hope the likes of Bonnie Toogood (24 disposals, six marks, three tackles), Eleanor Brown (19 disposals, six tackles) and Mikayla Ward (four goals, nine touches) turn it on again this week to put out a good performance.

WILLIAMSTOWN v. CASEY
Round 3 – 26/05/19
11:30
Downer Oval

A strong start to Casey this season will put Williamstown under the pump, with the Demons already having proved they have the star power and players inside 50 to get the job done, while also standing up under pressure in Round 1 to get the chocolates in a close match. The Seagulls come into this match with only one game under their belt – a 47 point loss to Western Bulldogs in Round 2 – so will want to come in strong against the well-rounded Demons. Maddy Guerin (five goals from two matches) and Bianca Jakobbson (averaging 19 touches from two games) have stood up for the Demons thus far, while Sharnie Whiting and Aliesha Newman showed some good signs last week in what was a mostly forgettable start to the season, as the only two to get on the board. Newman will take on a number of her Melbourne AFLW teammates in the Casey side, making for a very interesting contest given her unrivaled speed and ability to snap at goal, while Mo Hope will want to exert some strength this round after a quiet match to start the season.

SOUTHERN SAINTS v. CARLTON
Round 3 – 26/05/19
11:50
Skybus Stadium

Both the Southern Saints and Carlton were dealt losses last week by their respective opponents, so are sure to be raring to go this round. Though Carlton sit in twelfth on the ladder, the side had a bye in Round 1 so will hope it was just a first match blip in the radar before settling into the competition. Both sides kicked a large number of behinds last round so if they can get the ball inside 50 and through the big sticks with accuracy we could have a close game on our hands. Carlton’s Natalie Plane and Abbie McKay were among the best in last week’s loss, collecting a combined 41 touches and 16 tackles, so will want to put on a similar performance as they take on the Saints, with the likes of Alison Drennan (28 disposals, five marks, six tackles) and Olivia Vesely (22, three tackles) able to create opportunities across the field. Carlton will also need to watch out for the Saints’ multiple targets forward, with four goals from eight individual attempts.

NT THUNDER: BYE

VFL Women’s wash-up: Round 2 – Demons, Thunder and Mugars go two from two

WITH all but one Victorian Football League Women’s (VFLW) team playing over the weekend, Round 2 saw some big clashes and high scoring matches across the board.

CASEY DEMONS 1.1 | 3.5 | 6.6 | 7.8 (50)
CARLTON 1.3 | 0.4 | 1.6 | 2.7 (19)

GOALS

Casey: M. Guerin 2, K. Oates, T. Tatterson, K. Smith, R. Clayton, B. Winbanks
Carlton: C. Leighton, C. Bromage

BEST

Casey: K. Bentvelzen, M. Hogg, R. Clayton, K. Smith, H. Bailey, E. Archer
Carlton: S. Mason, N. Plane, M. Clifford, C. Faulks, S. Wright, J. Hosking

Despite an even start to Carlton’s first match for 2019, Casey got the job done for their second win of the season, pulling off a spectacular 31 point victory to sit in second on the ladder. With dependable ball movers, Sarah Lampard (20 disposals) and Bianca Jakobsson (18) sharing the ball around, there was no shortage of inside 50 entries for the Demons with the likes of Maddy Guerin and Ruby Clayton on the end of some good kicks in front of goal. Guerin had another stellar match to kickstart her season, kicking two goals and picking up 16 touches and four tackles, while Clayton was solid kicking one goal from 14 touches, but missed three attempts on goal as the Dees peppered the goal square. With six individual goalkickers Casey will not yet be worried by inaccuracy, instead likely happy with the amount of opportunities for players in front of goal. For Carlton, Natalie Plane (22 disposals, nine tackles) and Abbie McKay (19 touches, seven tackles) stood up while Chloe Leighton and Courteney Bromage kicked one goal apiece.

GEELONG 3.1 | 5.1 | 7.2 | 7.2 (44)
ESSENDON 0.2 | 2.5 | 4.8 | 5.9 (39)

GOALS
Geelong:
K. Darby 4, R. Benham, J. Ivey, C. Blakeway
Essendon: A. Moreen 2, F. Puruntatameri, L. Stepnell, A. Anderson

BEST
Geelong:
J. Ivey, R. Caris, M. Boyd, R. Goring, C. Blakeway, M. Keryk
Essendon: H. Bullas, L. Stepnell, M. Fogas, S. Nalder, K. Hicks, F. Puruntatameri

The tight match between Geelong and Essendon was a close one from start to finish as Essendon put the pressure on but failed to capitalise to their full capacity in front of goal. Geelong’s Amy Mcdonald racked up 18 disposals and seven tackles in the tight clash, while Kate Darby was exceptional in front of goal, kicking 4 majors and one behind as Geelong ran away with the match. Bombers’ Arthurina Moreen kicked two goals of her own to give Essendon a leg-up, while Hayley Bullas was among the best for her side as she managed 21 touches and 10 tackles. Maighan Fogas and Maddy Collier weren’t far behind as they generated pressure on ball carriers across the field, picking up nine and eight tackles respectively, while Geelong’s Madisen Maguire (eight tackles) and Mcdonald (seven) were also solid as they forced turnovers.

COLLINGWOOD 3.0 | 6.0 | 7.3 | 8.6 (54)
HAWTHORN 1.1 | 1.2 | 2.2 | 4.2 (26)

GOALS

Collingwood: J. Lambert 2, K. Newton, K. Lynch, P. Nash, A. Curley, M. Shevlin, J. Allen
Hawthorn: E. Gilder 3, C. Perera

BEST

Collingwood: G. Gourlay, R. Schleicher, S. King, J. Allen, J. Ferguson, J. Lambert
Hawthorn: C. Perera, R. Dillon, M. Hutchins, P. Peschke, K. Henderson, A. Tanner

Collingwood bounced back from an average Round 1 effort as they dominate against the Hawks, holding the side to only two goals across the first three quarters before the opposition came back to win the final quarter. Unfortunately it was a fight back that came about far too late, as the Pies’ six straight goals in the first half all but proves. Mikala Cann and Jaimee Lambert led the way for the Magpies, collecting a combined 38 touches and 18 tackles while Lambert also found the big sticks with two goals to her name. Meg Hutchins (20 disposals, five marks) and Kara Henderson (16 and four tackles) were solid for the Hawks, while Emily Gilder kicked three of the Hawks’ four goals in a bid to keep her side in the match. Abbey Tanner dominated the ruck with 34 hitouts, however Collingwood’s Sarah King put up a tough fight with 21 and six tackles.

NT THUNDER 1.0 | 3.1 | 5.3 | 7.4 (46)
SOUTHERN SAINTS 1.3 | 3.4 | 3.5 | 4.8 (32)

GOALS

NT Thunder: D. Ponter 2, K. Rosenzweig 2, J. Hickey, J. Baird, A. Considine
Southern Saints: J. Vogt, D. Jolliffe, T. Bohanna, C. Greiser

BEST

NT Thunder: H. Martin, A. Hatchard, M. Roberts, L. Roberts, K. Streader, K. Irvine
Southern Saints: C. Phillips, R. Neaves, O. Vesely, J. Kelly, D. Jolliffe, E. Keaney

Another relatively close affair saw NT Thunder get their second win on the board for 2019, stronger in front of the big sticks than their opposition. The Saints had a solid start to lead by three points at half time, before a fantastic second half from the Thunder blew the Saints out of the water, unable to capitalise on their early lead. Northern Territory’s dominant pairing of Danielle Ponter and Katelyn Rosenzweig combined for four goals, while Ebony Marinoff racked up 23 touches and six tackles in a solid day out. For the Saints, Alison Drennan (28 disposals, five marks, six tackles) Cat Phillips (20) were good on the ball, while Deanna Jolliffe kicked a great goal to be named in the best.

WILLIAMSTOWN 0.2 | 1.2 | 1.2 | 1.3 (9)
WESTERN BULLDOGS 2.5 | 2.6 | 7.7 | 8.8 (56)

GOALS

Williamstown: S. Whiting
Western Bulldogs: M. Ward 4, D. Marshall 2, S. Jolly, M. Sandral

BEST

Williamstown: E. Meade, S. Dixon, R. Dardengo, S. Whiting, A. Shannon, A. Melinkas
Western Bulldogs: B. Toogood, N. Ferres, M. Sandral, M. Ward, K. Betts, N. McMahon

In what was the first match of the 2019 season for both sides, it was a particularly frustrating way to start the season for Williamstown, while the Western Bulldogs will be very happy with their first win for the year. A quiet and inaccurate first half saw the Dogs fail to capitalise in front of goal, however some good composure and game smarts saw the side kick 6.2 in the second half to run away with an easy win, keeping Williamstown to only the one major. In a match that didn’t see many good things for the Seagulls, Sharnie Whiting kicked the side’s only goal, also picking up 12 touches against the immense defensive pressure of the Bulldogs, while Erin Meade finished with only five touches but a solid seven tackles to her name. Dogs’ Mikayla Ward kicked four goals alone, while Danielle Marshall kicked two of her own to add to the tally as the side ran over Williamstown, relegating the Gulls to the bottom of the ladder. The likes of Bonnie Toogood (24 disposals, six marks) and Mary Sandral (14 touches, four tackles, four marks, one goal) were among the Bulldogs’ best.

MELBOURNE UNI 3.2 | 4.5 | 5.7 | 11.8 (74)
DAREBIN 0.1 | 3.1 | 3.2 | 6.2 (38)

GOALS

Melbourne Uni: J. Garner 2, K. Angelis 2, A. Price 2, V. Saad, H. Whitford, J. Grierson, A. Riddell, K. Gillespie-Jones
Darebin: G. Hammond 3, S. Simpson, J. Stanton, S. David

BEST

Melbourne Uni: A. Riddell, V. Saad, A. Runnalls, J. Bruton, J. Garner, K. Angelis
Darebin: L. Pearce, G. Colvin, R. Hicks, J. Stanton, E. Honybun, K. Roe

In the highest scoring match of the round, Melbourne Uni ran away with their second win of the season against a slow-starting Falcons outfit. Ash Riddell racked up 30 touches, six marks, nine tackles and a goal to star for Uni, putting on a show alongside the likes of Jasmine Garner (26, two goals, six tackles) and Jenna Bruton (23). Asha Price and Katie Angelis also pitched in on the scoreboard, kicking two apiece as the Muggars shared around the footy inside 50. For Darebin, Lauren Pearce was phenomenal in the ruck dominating with 28 hitouts, also picking up 17 touches. Georgia Hammond kicked three of Darebin’s six goals, while Jamie Stanton (23 disposals, four marks, two tackles and one goal) and Reni Hicks (14 touches, four marks, four tackles) also put in a valiant effort against the classy Uni side.

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

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

ESSENDON v. CASEY DEMONS

Round 1 – 11/05/2019
11:30
Windy Hill

Essendon

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

Casey Demons

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

 

DAREBIN v. RICHMOND

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

Darebin

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

Richmond

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

 

HAWTHORN v. NT THUNDER

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

Hawthorn

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

NT Thunder

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

 

MELBOURNE UNI v. GEELONG CATS

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

Melbourne Uni

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

Geelong Cats

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

 

SEASON PREVIEWS: (Including byes)

CARLTON BLUES

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

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

 

CASEY DEMONS

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

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

 

DAREBIN FALCONS

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

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

 

ESSENDON BOMBERS

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

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

 

GEELONG CATS

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

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

 

HAWTHORN HAWKS

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

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

 

MELBOURNE UNIVERSITY MUGARS

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

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

 

NORTHERN TERRITORY THUNDER

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

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

 

RICHMOND TIGERS

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

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

 

WESTERN BULLDOGS

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

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

 

WILLIAMSTOWN

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

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

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

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

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

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

TEAMS:

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

Southern Saints

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

Collingwood

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

SEASON PREVIEWS:

COLLINGWOOD MAGPIES

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

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

SOUTHERN SAINTS

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

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

AFLW Team Selection: Round 4

ROUND 3 brought plenty of drama and left some clubs still without a win to their name, forcing teams to make some changes heading into Round 4. After starring last round slotting a handful of goals and claiming the Rising Star Nomination, Courteney Munn will be missing from the Roos line-up having sustained a calf injury.

Collingwood has lost key player Ash Brazill who has not recovered from a concussion she suffered last round. Meanwhile, other players such as Mikala Cann, Ruby Schleicher and Holly Whitford have been omitted from the side, as the Pies continue to search for their first win of the season. A few big names are set to miss the weekend with Sarah Perkins out for the Crows along with youngster Chloe Scheer (suspended).

GWS is set to see the return of Nicola Barr who is making her way back into the side after her suspension. Aasta O’Connor is also set to pull on the hoops this week for Geelong, while Abbie McKay the daughter of Carlton great, Andrew is also set to make her debut. A number of others are set to debut in Round 4 with the likes of Taylah Davies, Jordan Hickey, Taylor Mesiti and Beth Lynch all named in their respective extended squads. Lynch, the the sister of Richmond’s Tom will bring plenty of excitement while Taylah Davies is another example of a cross-coder making her way from the netball court to the footy field.

GEELONG v. CARLTON

Round 4- Saturday, February 23
GMHBA Stadium, 4.45pm AEDT

GEELONG 
B: A.Teague 40, R.Goring (c) 44, M.McMahon 24
HB: M.Hickey (c), M.McDonald 11, D.Taylor 28
C: R.Cranston 30
HF: D.Orr 2, M.Boyd 26, S.Van De Heuvel 27
F: R.Garing 12, , P.McWilliams 23, J.Ivey 5
Foll: A.Connor 14, M.Keryk 45, O.Purcell 16
I/C: E.Hoare 46 , M.Clifford 7, G.Clarke 17, J.Crockett-Grills 6, C.Blakeway 4
Emg: G.Rankin 10, K.Darby 8

In: A.O’Connor, C.Blakeway
Out: K.Darby, R.Webster (injured) 

CARLTON 
B: J.Edwards 25, J.Van Dyk 36, S.Hosking 10
HB: N.Stevens 21, K.Harrington 9, G.Pound 6
C: K.Loynes 2
HF: M.Prespakis 4, R.Watt 22, T.Harris 7
F: D.Vescio 3, B.Davey (c) 1, G.Gee 19
Foll: A.Downie 30, A.Mullane 8, C.Dalton 15
I/C: A.McKay 5, N.Plane 32, L.Brazzale 12, J.Hosking 11, B.Walker 14
Emg: R.Hicks 24, T.Lucas-Rodd 18

In: R.Watt, A.McKay
Out: B.Moody, K.Bentley 

WESTERN BULLDOGS v. BRISBANE

Round 4- Saturday, February 23
Whitten Oval, 7.10pm AEDT 

WESTERN BULLDOGS 
B: N.Ferres 16, L.Spark 11, S.Karlson 26
HB: L.Birch 18, T.Ernst 19, H.Scott 22
C: K.Lamb 27
HF: A.Utri 23, E.Gamble 14, B.Toogood 28
F: A.McCarthy 15, K.Brennan (c), E.Mackie 25,
Foll: K.Rennie 24, E.Blackburn 2 (c), M.Conti 8
I/C: C.Moody 13, N.Callinan 10, A.Gogos 36, D.Berry 7, K.McLeod 6
Emg: E.Brown 9, B.Smith 12

In: S.Karlson, E.Gamble, K.McLeod
Out: H.Wildes, B.Hunt, B.Smith

BRISBANE
B: M.Dowrick 33, L.Kaslar (c) 11, S.Campbell 20
HB: S.Virgo 5, K.Lutkins 13, E.Bates 1
C: J.Zanchetta 7
HF: L.Arnell 16, J.Tawhiao-Wardlaw 30, E.Zielke 8
F: J.Wuetschner 23, J.Keeffe 27, N.Exon 15
Foll: S.Frederick-Traub 14, B.Koenen 3 , A.Anderson 18
I/C: A.Clarke 21, G.Collingwood 28, J.Yorston 25, M.Hunt 6, K.McCarthy 9
Emg: N.Grider 17, J.Ellenger 29

In: J.Keeffe, A.Clarke, J.Yorston, M.Hunt
Out: P.Parker, E.Pittman, T.Groves-Little (injured), L.Bella (rested)

ADELAIDE v FREMANTLE

Round 4- Saturday, February 23
TIO Stadium, 8.05pm ACST

ADELAIDE 
B: D.Cox 31, S.Allan 39, C.Randall 26
HB: D.Varnhagen 9, M.Rajcic 32, J.Mules 23
C: E.Marinoff 10
HF: A.Foley 3, C.Cramey 22, A.Considine 16
F: E.Jones 2, E.Phillips (c) 13, R.Forth 27
Foll: J.Foley 24, A.Hatchard 33, S.Thompson 14
I/C: J.McCormick 5, S.Li 19, H.Martin 6, S.Riley 8, D.Ponter 15
Emg: N.Gore 7, S.Perkins 28 

In: J.McCormick, H.Martin
Out: C.Scheer (suspension), S.Perkins 

FREMANTLE
B: E.Gooch 8, L.Pugh 32, A.Stannett 24
HB: A.Williams 9, E.Antonio 12, K.Donnellan (c) 15
C: P.Seth 18
HF: G.Houghton 27, A.Sharp 1, G.O’Sullivan 22
F: K.Bowers 2, K.Gibson 21, M.Caulfield 10
Foll: P.Laurie 11, D.Hooker 17, S.Cain 20
I/C: T.Bresland 5, K.Grieve 13, A.Atkins 37, C.Stubbs 4, S.Duffy 6
Emg: L.Mascall 14, J.Stewart 7

In: G.O’Sullivan, C.Stubbs
Out: H.Miller (suspension), B.Moyes (injured)

COLLINGWOOD v. GWS

Round 4- Sunday, February 24
Morwell Recreation Reserve, 2.05pm AEDT 

COLLINGWOOD 
B: J.Allen 6, S.Casey 22, I.Ross 21
HB: G.Parker 19, S.Livingstone 12, N.Hildebrand 3
C: B.Bonnici 8
HF: M.Kuys 9, S.D’Arcy 4, M.Shevlin 35
F: S.Rowe 7, S.Alexander 24, C.McIntosh 20
Foll: E.Hynes 11, S.Chiocci (c) 17, J.Lambert 13
I/C: S.Layton 1, K.Lynch 16, S.Dargan 46, K.Stratton 41, E.Grant 5, E.Fowler 15, J.Membrey 31

In: G.Parker, M.Kuys, S.Layton, K.Stratton, E.Fowler, E.Grant, J.Membrey
Out: R.Schleicher, G.Gourlay, M.Cann, H.Whitford, A.Brazill (injured) 

GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY 
B: E.Brush 10, P.Randall 21, N.Barr 8
HB: A.Farrugia (c), L.Stephenson 12, T.Hetherington 9
C: A.Eva 2
HF: E.Bennetts 22, Y.Bonner 27, J.Dal Pos 7
F: C.Bernardi 4, C.Staunton 13, T.Davies 16
Foll: E.McKinnon 23, R.Beeson 6, C.Gum 26
I/C: J.Hicks 5, M.Collier 14, J.Barclay 34, B.Perry 19, T.Mackrill 32, H.Zreika 24, A.Parker 3 

In: N.Barr, T.Davies, B.Perry, H.Zreika
Out: R.Tomkins, P.Monahan

MELBOURNE v. NORTH MELBOURNE

Round 4- Sunday, February 24
Casey Fields, 4.05pm AEDT 

MELBOURNE
B:  M.Downie 2, H.Cordner 21, A.Kemp 36
HB: S.Lampard 8, C.Phillips 35, C.Emonson 11
C: E.O’Dea (c) 5
HF: M.Gay 3, S.Scott (c) 12, A.Newman 16
F: E.Zanker 29, T.Cunningham 1, K.Hore 10
Foll: L.Pearce 15, L.Mithen 14, K.Paxman 4
I/C: B.Jakobsson 7, T.Hanks 28, A.Woodland 19, A.Guest 17, K.Smith 13, J.Hickey 31, B.Patterson 24  

In: J.Hickey, B.Patterson
Out: – 

NORTH MELBOURNE
B: B.Gibson 18, D.Hardiman 31, J.Trend 21
HB: J.Duffin 27, T.Randall 16, J.Grierson 19
C: E.Kearney (c) 9
HF: K.Gillespie-Jones 5, J.Garner 25, S.Abbatangelo 1
F: D.Bateman 11, M.Hope 23, K.Ashmore 10
Foll: Emma King 60, J.Stanton 17, J.Bruton 35
I/C: T.Mesiti 3, Elisha King 4, E.Humphries 6, A.Drennan 8, C.Haines 29, B.Lynch 20, G.Nanscawen 22       

In: S.Abbatangelo, T.Mesiti, B.Lynch, G.Nanscawen
Out: C.Munn (calf), N.Bresnehan (injured)

U18 Girls season preview: Eastern Ranges

EASTERN Ranges will field a virtually new side in the Under 18 Girls competition this year after 17 top-age players left at the end of last season. Now the Ranges will look to their next crop of youngsters to stand tall and follow on from the impressive first couple of seasons.

Female Talent Manager, Jessie Mulholland said the Ranges were pleased with the amount of girls who made Vic Metro squads, and played in the Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s competition.

“We thought that we had a really successful year, we had I think overall 11 girls between the 16’s and Under 18 Metro teams. We then had 13 girls on VFLW lists and then obviously the three drafted in Charlotte (Wilson), Emerson (Woods), and Mikala (Cann). So, for us and as a talent manager coming in for the first year, I don’t think we had as much success as the first year, but we were pretty wrapped with the girls but we also had a lot of talent – we had 17 top-agers, whereas this year we’re looking at about eight so we’ve lost a lot of talent coming into this year, we’re a lot younger. You can definitely tell with the skills but also how quiet it is around the group, obviously losing 17 18-year olds it’s a big drop off so we were really happy with last year and really excited for this season to start.”

The Ranges were keeping touch with the top two sides early in the season, but a shock loss to the previously winless Western Jets put a dint in their season. It did however teach the side plenty of important lessons.

“I agree (it somewhat derailed the season),” Mulholland said. “In saying that I think it was a good eye-opener for the girls – a lot were really disappointed, but they (Western Jets) obviously beat us on the day and they deserved the win, and to see how upset the girls were you obviously knew how much they wanted it. “They can’t win every game so I think for us mentally it was a good game to lose, to think you can’t just come in thinking and assuming that because you’re higher on the ladder that you’re going to win if you don’t show up on the day. “For the girls to be as upset as they were took us a few days to get over, but they came out the week after and obviously our next loss was against Calder in the rain.”

The Calder loss provided the Ranges with a lesson in wet weather football, as a future AFL Women’s star ran the side ragged.

“It was pouring down rain, it was probably our first game in the rain,” Mulholland said. “They beat us on the day too and (Madison) Prespakis was all over the ground so look, we can only get better and obviously we learn from the losses but in saying that, the girls should learn what a loss feels like because they’re not going to win every single game for the rest of their careers so for us that was probably the bigger lesson that we learnt than anything else.”

Looking ahead to 2019, AFL Women’s Academy top-age talent, Laura McClelland is the one to watch.

“She’s looking great, we’ve sort of got a kicking coach with her at the moment – that’s probably one of her weaknesses and she knows that, so we’re making sure that that’s ready to go and she’s confident in that,” Mulholland said. “She’s really excited about the season and we’re just sort of really getting ready to start and dying for this month to just fly through so we can start playing some games.”

Mulholland said McClelland will rotate between the midfield and forward as she looks to give her the greatest exposure to AFL Women’s recruiters.

“For the top-agers we try and look at where AFL clubs would want them to play so some of our top-agers may play in positions that they probably didn’t play in last year,” she said. “There’s a few girls that are coming in that haven’t played with us before and they’ll play in positions that we can see AFL or VFLW clubs looking at them for – looking at their strengths and weaknesses and where they’re going to be drafted. “‘Mac’ will play forward, but have a run in the midfield at some point as well.”

As well as McClelland, Mulholland named Tahlia Merrett and Victorian Netball League (VNL) netballer, Serena Gibbs as other top-age players to watch, while bottom-age talents Olivia Meagher and Tahni Brown are those with high potential for the future.

“They’re really exciting,” Mulholland said. “It’s shocking to see that we have still have another two years with them – their draft year will be next year so you sort of have parents or clubs talking to you about them, so you can’t actually tell that they’re still so young and middle-age for us. “Olivia’s really pumped up, she’s been with Collingwood through the Academy for the past few months so she’s learning a lot from them and they’ve shown up to every training session, they’ve loved it and they’re just ready to go. “They’re probably starting mids and they’re really exciting to watch – to think that we have them for another two years is just unbelievable.”

Mulholland said 19 year-old Gibbs would provide a tall target with plenty of development throughout the season.

“She’s probably the tallest player on our list and is as I said, really raw like Mikala (Cann) – obviously not as short as Mikala but she’ll be exciting,” Mulholland said. “We can teach her and shell soak everything up and we’re really excited just to watch her play some practice matches and see what she can do.”

Mulholland said she was hopeful about what the season could produce but knew it would have its challenges considering the youth of the side.

“We’re really excited,” she said. “We are very young, so we sort of look at ourselves like the Knights did last year and they were absolutely babies and got into a grand final so we’re obviously not writing ourselves off. “We’re very raw, but we’re really excited – we’ve got about eight bottom-agers where the majority could be picked into the Vic Metro squad, so what’s coming through in years to come is really exciting for us and our top-agers are really exciting as well. “We would’ve thought last year we were going to be closer to the top than what we were but obviously the Jets and Calder games didn’t do us many favours. “But yeah, we’re really excited and happy with our lists and what this region provides for these girls – it’s exciting and we’re just raring to go.”

Eastern Ranges begin their season on March 3 with a clash against Dandenong Stingrays at Skybus Stadium in Frankston.

Draftee Watch: Round 2

IN Round 2 of the AFL Women’s season, some familiar faces and other new young stars stood tall as teams backed up their first matches of the summer with commanding performances from Conference A teams, while Conference B sides all suffered losses.

Adelaide: Hannah Martin

Drafted at pick 53, Adelaide’s recruit breaks lines off the wing with her elite speed. Martin did exactly that with a great second appearance for Adelaide, picking up 13 disposals, three marks and three tackles for the day. Bringing clean hands to every contest, Martin was treated to her first AFLW win in a stellar effort against Carlton. She adds a lot of polish to Adelaide, boasting a 71 per cent disposal efficiency and great break away speed out of stoppages.

Brisbane: Lauren Bella

As with a lot of last week’s debutants, Bella greatly improved and showed why she’s an integral part of the side. Dominating in the ruck with 23 hit-outs, the Brisbane tall topped the combined total (20 hit-outs) of her opponents alone. In Round 1 she had some trouble competing with GWS ruckman, Erin McKinnon, but has since corrected, recording 11 disposals and two tackles for the game.

Carlton: Madison Prespakis

As with Round 1, Prespakis was Carlton’s greatest utility come gameday, leading her team for disposals (20) and putting through a goal. This performance followed her 13 disposals from last week, keeping hopes high for greater numbers in future rounds. Despite the loss, Prespakis kept Carlton in contention and showed the rest of the competition that the Blues are here to compete.  

Collingwood: Mikala Cann

Round 2 was underwhelming for Collingwood, but that didn’t slow Cann down. She recorded seven disposals and a game-high 11 tackles, continuing to apply pressure despite the odds. In the end, Melbourne controlled the ball better, but Collingwood still fought where they could.

Fremantle: Sabreena Duffy

In Fremantle’s first ever win over Brisbane’s AFLW side, Duffy starred. She recorded 11 disposals, one mark and two tackles, and showed great goal sense under pressure, adding two more to her season total. She was among the best on ground for Fremantle, along with four others who kicked multiple goals.

Geelong: Olivia Purcell

With Star, Nina Morrison, out with a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), it seemed time for some other debutants to pick up the slack. Purcell stood up in Geelong’s loss with 17 disposals, 10 kicks, three marks and four tackles, making her the fifth best accumulator for the day, and second for Geelong. Denby Taylor (10 disposals and four tackles) and Sophie Van De Heuvel were also impressive.

GWS Giants: Alyce Parker

Despite the Round 2 loss, the GIANTS recruit continues to catch eyes with her abilities. Parker recorded 14 disposals, one mark, seven tackles, five inside 50s and two clearances, but continues to have trouble with her disposal efficiency (42 per cent). Regardless of that, Parker remains a contested ball winner and an exciting prospect for GWS.

Melbourne: Tyla Hanks

After narrowly missing out on her first win in Round 1, Hanks tasted victory following a comfortable victory over Collingwood at Victoria Park. Despite the low scoring affair, the young forward slotted through one of Melbourne’s three goals, had a direct score involvement and amassed 11 disposals and three tackles in a strong second appearance.

North Melbourne: Daisy Bateman

Despite low disposal numbers, Bateman still had a huge impact. North Melbourne’s recruit kicked two goals with only four disposals, improving greatly from her two disposals the week prior. She also applied great forward pressure with three tackles, maintaining her Round 1 average.

Western Bulldog: Celine Moody

The reigning premiers drafted well in Moody. In their second win the Bulldogs’ tall amassed 11 hitouts, five disposals, two contested possessions, two marks and two tackles. Bulldogs fans picked up a great prospect in Moody. She’s shown her talents in multiple roles and is incredibly strong overhead.

Weekend wash-up: AFLW – Round 1

WITH a new look 10 team competition, Round 1 of AFL Women’s 2019 was set to be a cracker. Two new sides in North Melbourne Tasmanian Kangaroos and Geelong Cats took the field for the first time in AFLW history, both nabbing a historic win to start the season. Four of the five games were down to the wire, with less than five points margin at the final siren. Only the Kangaroos managed to pull away for a dominant win, with resilient Geelong and Fremantle sides coming from behind to win their respective matches.

 

Geelong 3.6 (24) defeated Collingwood 3.5 (23)
By: Taylah Melki

In a Round 1 thriller it came down to the wire with Geelong sealing the deal with a one-point victory over Collingwood, who are yet to win a first round match in the AFLW. The Magpies dominated the first quarter of play but Geelong fought back hard to take ascendancy going into the half time break. But the fight did not stop there with Collingwood coming back hard to fall agonisingly short come the final siren.

In their inaugural match, Geelong showed they have plenty of stars with the likes of number one draft pick, Nina Morrison tearing up the field. The youngster left her mark on the game with her silky skills, brute force to shrug off tackles and clean hands in traffic to hit up teammates. Other draftees such as Olivia Purcell, Denby Taylor and Sophie Van De Heuvel also showed their worth getting involved in the play. Darebin VFLW star, Meghan McDonald dominated down back taking a heap of marks and stopping the attacking flow of Collingwood with her clever positioning, strong overhead marks and quick recovery making her an integral player in the Cats lineup. Up the other end in the absence of Phoebe McWilliams, Madeleine Boyd made history nailing Geelong’s first goal. The former Melbourne and GWS GIANTS player made her presence felt up forward scoring two goals and getting her hands to plenty of the ball, giving Geelong fans plenty to cheer about.

With a host of stars gone, Collingwood proved they have plenty of depth and are versatile when it comes to positioning with the likes of Cecilia McIntosh moving into a more attacking forward role. But it was the likes of Ash Brazill and Jaimee Lambert that dominated across the field for the Pies. Brazill showed her extreme athleticism with her impressive vertical leap and good sidestep to work her way through traffic and deliver the ball to a teammate. Lambert sent scares through the Collingwood camp after going down with what seemed to be a leg injury, to only return and score an impressive dribble goal to keep the Pies in the game. Youngsters, Jordyn Allen and Mikala Cann also did their part, while the likes of code-crosser Sharni Layton worked well in the ruck. Sophie Alexander looked ominous up forward scoring 1.2 in the opening quarter but suffered a concussion later in the match.

 

Adelaide 1.11 (17) defeated by Western Bulldogs 2.6 (18)
By: Taylah Melki

In another close encounter it was the Western Bulldogs that came away with a one point victory over Adelaide. It is the first time two premiers have gone head-to-head in AFLW history and the match up did not disappoint with it all coming down to the final minutes of the game. The Crows had plenty of the play, but inaccuracy ultimately cost them game, with players unable to capitalise on their opportunities.

Bulldogs captain, Katie Brennan made her presence felt up forward slotting the only two majors for her side. While the likes of Ellie Blackburn starred once again getting her hands on the ball and using her elite skill to move the ball cleanly and quickly through traffic. Blackburn proved she is a real force to be reckoned with, highlighting her dash and general football smarts to hit Brennan up in the goal square with a perfectly weighted kick. Hannah Scott also dominated across the field for the Dogs racking up plenty of marks and using her clever kicks to try and alleviate pressure.

Tackling machine, Ebony Marinoff once again starred for Adelaide going in hard and laying a whopping 11 tackles for the match. Marinoff also accumulated plenty of touches thanks to her clean hands and hard work to go in and win the footy at the contest. Youngster, Eloise Jones showed plenty of courage going back with flight of the ball and taking an impressive mark while also highlighting her footy smarts trying to set up a chance at goal for her teammate.  In her debut match, Chloe Scheer also had her moments of brilliance nailing the Crows only major and showed she has good goal sense attacking the goal face on multiple occasions and taking some impressive marks in the forward 50. Veteran, Erin Phillips also starred thanks to her good hands in close and ability to open up space.

 

North Melbourne 7.10 (52) defeated Carlton 2.4 (16)
By: Carly McClen

The Kangaroos introduced themselves into the competition head on and with force, prevailing to start the second half of round 1 on Sunday, with a dominating 36-point win over the Carlton Blues. It was an ominous memo for every club in the competition, stating that the Roos are a gelled and composed outfit and have made capital of their pre season.

The great start by the Roos was a skilled show of star-studded players who came together, showed mutual respect, made the most of opportunities and played their individual roles. They followed process without dropping off throughout the four quarters and they got results. To win games, you have to kick goals. For Carlton, having Brianna Davey in the forward line meant that she wasn’t around the ball, getting it into the forward line and assisting her team to more inside 50 possessions. Carlton’s star players appeared to go missing throughout the game, reappearing for solid patches but unable to cement any scoring opportunities.

Although the Blues won the hit-outs, the North Melbourne midfielders were winning the possessions, providing the run and carry while haggling and stopping the Blues from penetrating and playing their game. The Blues got pushed under the ball, lacked structure and didn’t appear to have time to lower their eyes to hit targets, largely due to the relentless pressure from the Kangaroos. Ex-Collingwood player Emma King dominated in the Kangaroos colours and was likely the best on ground in her role as a versatile ruck playing forward, kicking two goals, tackling and taking marks. Another ex-Pie, Jasmine Garner also had a great day out, collecting 17 disposals and a goal in her first outing as a Kangaroo. 

Though Roos captain, Emma Kearney was tagged for the game, she collected a solid 18 disposals for her first game out of Bulldogs colours. The evenness and the spread of the side without reliance on their captain to dominate makes them a real threat to the competition in 2019. North Melbourne coach, Scott Gowans appears to be admired and well respected by his newly formed playing group. He was happy to enjoy some celebration post debut, but keen to get back to business and focus on the next encounter, the GWS GIANTS, for the quick turnaround Friday night match.

 

Melbourne 8.7 (55) defeated by Fremantle 9.5 (59)
By: Peter Williams

Fremantle claimed its first AFL Women’s interstate win over Melbourne in scorching temperatures at Casey Fields yesterday. With the maximum heat reaching more than 38 degrees, both sides took advantage of their respective change rooms at each break. The Demons kicked the first two goals of the game, before Fremantle – led by teenager Sabreena Duffy, booted the last three goals of the quarter to take the lead at quarter time. Just to show it was not a once-off, Fremantle piled on another three goals to one, opening up a 20-point lead by the main break.

It did not take long for a different, more direct Melbourne side to come out in the second half, as they banged home five goals to zero – including three in two minutes. Tegan Cunningham was rewarded for her hard running inside 50 with a perfect snap from the tightest of angles, Eden Zanker also snapped truly off a step, while Maddison Gay ran into an open goal for the easiest of six-pointers. By that stage they lead by eight, and when Bianca Jakobsson slotted home the side’s final major of the term, Melbourne fans found themselves 14 points in front.

Against the odds, the West Australian side showed they had plenty of fight left, with tackling machine, Kiara Bowers booting a goal on debut in the sixth minute to draw within eight points. When Ashley Sharp found the big sticks for the second time, Fremantle were just two points adrift midway through the final term. A minute later, Gemma Houghton booted what would be the match winning goal as Melbourne struggled with the breeze to get it out of the defensive 50 in the dying stages, allowing the Dockers to hold on to a terrific four-point win.

Despite the loss, Melbourne had plenty of big ball winners in the absence of Daisy Pearce, as Karen Paxman (21 disposals), Lily Mithen (18) and Elise O’Dea (17) all got amongst it. Zanker and Cunningham were dangerous up forward, but it was the speed and dare of the Dockers that got them over the line. Dana Hooker (15 disposals and 12 tackles) was a standout, as was Bowers who had 13 disposals and 12 tackles, as well as a goal. Ebony Antonio (14 disposals and a goal) and Melissa Caulfield (12 disposals, three marks and a goal).

 

Brisbane Lions 4.5 (29) defeated GWS GIANTS 4.3 (27)
By: Brandon Hutchinson

Capping off Round 1 of the AFL Women’s third season, fans bared witness to another tight finish with the Lions winning over the GIANTS at home. In the first half, however the Lions were a different side. They struggled to capitalise on their opportunities and failed to penetrate the GIANTS’ defence. Come the third term, the game flipped as Brisbane kicked three consecutive goals with Jess Wuetschner at the helm. The GIANTS attempted a comeback in the fourth, but could not free the ball in the dying minutes.

Lions star, Emily Bates impressed with a strong 22 disposals, two marks and four tackles. She showed great awareness and delivered effectively (77 per cent). Alexandra Anderson also picked up 22 possessions, exhibiting her talents more in her contested work, earning four marks and a game-high seven tackles. Up forward, Sabrina Frederick-Traub and Wuetschner led the charge. Frederick-Traub’s goal in the third secured the lead which won them the game, while Wuetschner kicked the remaining three with unmatched goal sense.

The GIANTS had stars in Cora Staunton, Alyce Parker and Rebecca Beeson. Parker and Beeson both picked up 18 disposals at 72 and 78 per cent efficiency respectively, with Parker also taking four marks and landing three tackles. Staunton remained a pillar up forward, kicking two goals with 14 disposals, two marks and two tackles. She did her best to keep her team in it, but alone could not withstand Brisbane’s pressure.