Tag: mikayla hyde

2021-22 AFLW early look: Fremantle

IN an early look at the upcoming AFL Women’s 2022 season, Draft Central checks out each of the 14 clubs over the next three weeks ahead of preseason commencing. Next up is Fremantle, a team that after going undefeated in 2020 was unlucky not to be rewarded with a chance to win a premiership, however the Dockers still made finals in 2021 with an impressive percentage.

LAST SEASON:

Position: 5th
Wins: 6
Losses: 3
Draws: 0
Points For: 374 (6th)
Points Against: 202 (3rd)

Fremantle fans might have rued what could have been in 2020, with the undefeated Dockers cruelly denied a chance at a flag after being the standout team through the regular season. But the Dockers picked themselves back up and remained a contender in 2021, winning six of nine games and being a stingy defensive side. Boasting the fourth highest percentage, the Dockers went down to Melbourne in the first week of finals, but leader Kiara Bowers continued her meteoric rise in the AFL Women’s by sharing the league’s best and fairest award. They blooded some new players and were an exciting team to watch, particularly when going forward, and with their defensive intensity through midfield led by Bowers.

OFF-SEASON:

Ins: Amy Franklin, Jessica Low (Claremont), Dana East, Sarah Wielstra (Swan Districts), Makaela Tuhakaraina (South Fremantle), Airlie Runnalls (North Melbourne VFLW)
Outs: Evie Gooch (West Coast), Leah Mascall (retired), Katie-Jayne Grieve, Tarnee Tester, Jess Trend, Alex Williams (delisted)
Inactive: Sabreena Duffy, Ash Sharp

Fremantle might not have done too much in the way of players for the AFL Women’s Draft, but they positioned themselves to pick up an equal competition-high six players in the draft. Showing their win-now mentality, the Dockers only picked up two 18-year-olds in Amy Franklin and Makaela Tuhakaraina, who will provide plenty of excitement in the forward half. They also selected top-ager Dana East after a sensational year, and her Swan Districts teammate Sarah Wielstra who came on in leaps and bounds as a key forward. Jess Low earned her spot after a second consistent season for Claremont, whilst Airlie Runnalls opted to cross from the east coast to the west coast, to be picked up by the Dockers following a great season with North Melbourne’s VFL Womens’ side as a running midfielder. Given the loss of Sabreena Duffy and Ash Sharp (pregnancy) for the 2022 season, and Evie Gooch heading to West Coast, the readymade recruits will be important for the Dockers to remain among the top sides in the competition.

2021-22 TEAM LIST:

Ebony Antonio
Kara Antonio
Kiara Bowers
Steph Cain
Janelle Cuthbertson
Dana East
Amy Franklin
Mikayla Hyde
Gemma Houghton
Jessica Low
Maggie MacLachlan
Ann McMahon
Hayley Miller
Mikayla Morrison
Emma O’Driscoll
Gabby O’Sullivan
Laura Pugh
Airlie Runnalls
Roxy Roux
Matilda Sergeant
Philipa Seth
Ange Stannett
Jasmin Stewart
Mim Strom
Aine Tighe
Tiah Toth (nee Haynes)
Makaela Tuhakaraina
Sarah Verrier
Bianca Webb
Sarah Wielstra

KEY QUESTIONS:

  • Could Fremantle have the most exciting one-two punch of key forwards in the competition with Roxy Roux and Amy Franklin?
  • If the Dockers can find more of the ball (ranked 13th for disposals) and run at the same efficiency to still play finals, just how far can they go?
  • Will the Dockers maintain their massive kick-to-handball gamestyle (where they ranked first in the competitions for kicks, and last for handballs)?

PREDICTION:

Fremantle is well-coached unit that makes the most of its opportunities. They run and gun down the ground with a clear gamestyle of play, using disposal by foot to cover ground and catch the opposition off guard. They have been able to bring in a raft of talent, both readymade and for the future, as they are already planning for when the older midfielders eventually retire, even though many are still in their prime. Given their recent form, it would be folly to suggest that Fremantle could not go all the way in 2022, though both Duffy and Sharp will be big losses as key members of their best 21.

Picture credit: Paul Kane/AFL Photos

Peel Thunders to back-to-back WAFL Women’s flags

PEEL Thunder have added another chapter in their resurrection story, backing up their fairytale maiden premiership in 2020 with a second consecutive West Australian Football League (WAFL) Women’s flag. The Thunder defeated Swan Districts by 21 points in the decider, accounting for the minor premiers for the third time in six weeks, with a fourth quarter flurry of two goals to zero securing the win. Fremantle AFL Women’s talent Sabreena Duffy won the Lou Knitter Medal for best on ground in the Thunder’s triumph.

In one of the more strange scoring trends, the first four goals of the match went into the breeze, before the final three went the way of the wind-assisted team. Key targets inside 50 Kira Phillips and Kate Bartlett slotted all five majors for the Thunder, as Peel had the majority of the play for the day, though it was the defence, combined with the midfield work of Duffy and Sarah Verrier that saw the home team get up and claim their second consecutive flag.

Bartlett slotted her first just 90 seconds into the game, winning a free kick for too much holding on and made no mistake from just outside the goalsquare. Despite having the two weeks off due to the bye and then the state lockdown, Peel showed no signs of rustiness into the breeze, with Phillips shrugging off a tackle inside 50 and snapped around her body for her side’s second. Tara Stribley had her side’s best chance in between the two majors, but her kick which looked perfect off the boot showed just how strong the breeze was, violently tugged to the right for a behind. Fellow youngster Abbygail Bushby, and Swans captain Emily McGuire both had chances inside 50, with Bushby’s kick going into the player on the mark, and McGuire’s swaying out on the full.

Already the likes of Duffy and Bartlett were looking dangerous, with Ella Roberts competing hard but often having a defender wearing her at every contest. McGuire, Eliza Gelmi and Lauren Osborne were holding up well, restricting the Thunder to just four behinds with the breeze in the second term, as Bianca Webb returned serve on the reigning premiers with a set shot 25m out off a 50m penalty to stab home a goal. Roberts and Bartlett both had rushed chances but could not going on target, with Phillips’ shot in line with the behind post curling too thin.

Teenage talent Jaime Henry was tasked with the huge job on Phillips, but was far from overawed in the one-on-ones. The breeze was so tricky even the deadeye Roberts missed a set shot from 30m out with it tugged late and into the post. A late chance to Taylah Edwards inside 50 was marked safely in the square by Verrier, and the Thunder headed into half-time with a nine-point advantage.

Swan Districts had the breeze again and had several chances early, with Steph Cain and McGuire both having chances inside 50. Demi Liddle took a strong mark in the goalsquare and settled the team down on the last line, as the Thunder defence – along with Cassie Davidson and Tanisha Anderson – were continually intercepting and driving the ball down the field. McGuire’s chance also caught up in the breeze as she spent the quarter forward, and then Bartlett made it sting with a clever kick around her body one-on-one with Gelmi at the top of the quarter to extend the lead out to 14 points.

The final five minutes of the premiership quarter were spent in the Swans attacking half, as Mikayla Hyde began asserting herself inside 50 after a strong first half. She missed her first chance with a snap towards goal in the 14th minute, but then got goalside off a back and dribbled one home to cut the deficit back to seven points at the final break. It was the first goal with the breeze, and whilst the Swans were within striking distance, the Thunder now had the wind, and the home crowd to try and drive them home.

It did not take long for Phillips to match Bartlett with two majors, winning a fortunate free kick against a very unlucky Jess Cox in the tackle, to slot the set shot and extend the lead out to 13 points just three minutes into the final term. The final stanza was highly contested as both defences refused to yield, though the ball was exactly where Peel wanted it – in the Thunder’s forward half. Phillips was asserting herself on the contest with a massive contested grab midway through the quarter, but she kept the door ajar for the Swans with a miss to the left.

Off the subsequent kickout, Bartlett ran down an unsuspecting Aimee Ralph to earn a set shot, but that too missed, and the lead was out to 15 points. With the time winding down, Peel was able to really lock the ball inside the forward half for long periods of time, and as if it was a fitting exclamation mark on the win, a dangerous inside 50 from youngster Gracie Fenton put to the advantage of Phillips who snapped with the last kick of the day for a goal to seal the 21-point win, 5.6 (36) to 2.3 (15).

There was a great mix of youth and experience on show, with Duffy, Phillips and Bartlett clearly the three best on the ground, as Roberts looked dangerous at high half-forward, Verrier covering plenty of ground, and Davidson and Anderson in the back 50. Fenton found a heap of the ball through midfield, and whilst she did bite off more than she could chew at times, was willing to take the game on. For the Swans, Mikayla Hyde was a standout with Gelmi, Cain and McGuire all among the best, and Henry holding up in defence, and Stribley looking to run off limited chances. Sarah Lakay also really impressed in the opening half with her work through the ruck.

PEEL THUNDER 2.0 | 2.4 | 3.4 | 5.6 (36)
SWAN DISTRICTS 0.1 | 1.1 | 2.3 | 2.3 (15)

GOALS:

Peel Thunder: K. Phillips 3, K. Bartlett 2.
Swan Districts: B. Webb, M. Hyde.

BEST:

Peel Thunder: S. Duffy, K. Phillips, K. Bartlett, E. Roberts, C. Davidson, S. Verrier
Swan Districts: M Hyde, T. Stribley, E. Gelmi, S. Cain, E. McGuire

 

Picture credit: WAFL

2021 WAFLW Grand Final Preview

SECOND time’s a charm in the WAFL Women’s, as Peel Thunder and Swan Districts are finally set to square off in this year’s Grand Final. Having been rescheduled from last week due to West Australia’s lockdown, Saturday afternoon’s decider will see crowds allowed in attendance to watch this season’s top two ranked sides battle it out for premiership glory.

We run you through all the key players, figures, and fixtures in our Grand Final preview.

2021 WAFLW GRAND FINAL

Peel Thunder vs. Swan Districts
Saturday June 11, 3:15pm
David Grays Arena, Mandurah

Records:
Peel – 2nd, 10-5, 154.64%
Swans – 1st 14-1, 211.83%

Finals:
Peel (1-0) – def. Swan Districts by 5
Swans (1-1) – def. by Peel Thunder by 5 | def. Subiaco by 38

Last 5:
Peel – 3-2
Swans – 3-2

2021 H2H:
Round 3 – Peel Thunder 5.8 (38) def. by Swan Districts 10.6 (66)
Round 11 – Swan Districts 6.6 (42) def. Peel Thunder 6.5 (41)
Round 14 – Peel Thunder 6.3 (39) def. Swan Districts 2.6 (18)
Finals Wk 1 – Swan Districts 0.11 (11) def. by Peel Thunder 2.4 (16)

Saturday’s clash marks the fifth time Peel and Swans have met in season 2021, with the ledger squared at 2-2. Swan Districts, the minor premiers, got the wood over the reigning premiers early with wins in Rounds 3 and 11, before the Thunder proved they could peak at the right team with redemptive victories in Round 14 and the first week of finals.

The latter result saw Peel advance straight to the big dance, with the club seeking to win consecutive premierships from second place. Meanwhile, Swans made good on their second chance, qualifying for the season’s final game after a 38-point win over Subiaco.

Looking at either sides’ last five outings, and the only blemish on Swans’ latest efforts have been made by their weekend opponents. In fact, the Black Ducks’ sole loss of the regular season came at the hands of Peel. The Thunder, also 3-2 over their last five games, have suffered those losses to fellow finalists Subiaco and Claremont. While the defending champions look ominous at their best, Leigh MatthewsPredator-inspired adage goes “if it bleeds, we can kill it” – and Swan Districts will likely have that in mind.

Both sides have also proven they can score big this year. Only confirming just how evenly matched they are, both finished the season with 716 points-for – almost 200 points more than the next best team. Needless to say, whichever set of forwards can better capitalise on their opportunities will have a massive say on this contest, though neither side can be counted out given the class afield and quick-scoring potential.

THE EXPERIENCE SPECTRUM

As has been the case all year, these two teams will be littered with players on both ends of the experience spectrum. AFLW-listed stars and Under 19 state squad members headline some of the high-end talent afield, making for intriguing team dynamics and versatile structures.

Peel boasts an all-Fremantle AFLW centreline, with star midfielder Sabreena Duffy at the heart of the side while Sarah Verrier and Katie Jayne Grieve line up on either wing. The extended Swans squad also features a trio of Dockers, namely Stephanie Cain (half-forward), Bianca Webb (rover), and Mikayla Hyde (wing). Brianna Hyde has been named on the opposite wing, as one of the many promising Under 19 state representatives to watch.

It is hard to look past Peel powerhouse Ella Roberts as the main event in that department, given she is already a proven finals match-winner at WAFLW level. The 16-year-old was also named her state’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) during this year’s national carnival, and will spearhead her side’s attack alongside Kate Bartlett. The speedy Aisha Wright has been named alongside Roberts at half-forward, while AFLW Draft Combine invitee Beth Schilling features on the interchange with Jaide Britton.

Bella Mann and Emily Gunton (both emergencies) are other youngsters to have rolled through the Thunder’s line-up, while All Australian midfielder Courtney Rowley is set to miss through injury. Tajah Griffiths, Jade Briggs, Naomi Wilson are Peel’s remaining Under 19 squad members to miss.

The Swans squad is littered with young talent, and bookended by Sarah Lakay (full forward) and Isabella Edgley (full back). Melisha Hardy and Nyra Anderson join Edgley in defence, while Dana East takes her spot in the centre in a tricky match-up with Duffy. The Under 19 crop is rounded out by Emma Nanut, Tara Stribley, and Naomi Barker, who will all hope to make the cut from a nine-player extended bench.

Image Credit: @WAFLOfficial via Twitter

Swan Districts book rematch with Thunder after reaching 2021 WAFLW Grand Final

SWAN Districts have utilised their double chance to secure a rematch with reigning premiers Peel Thunder in the 2021 West Australian Football League (WAFL) Women’s Grand Final after defeating Subiaco by 38 points in yesterday’s preliminary final. The Swans only led by a point at quarter time and four points at the main break, but booted five goals to zero after half-time, restricting Subiaco’s chances with a strong defence, then being able to capitalise on the scoreboard during the 7.8 (50) to 1.6 (12) win.

After not scoring a major last week, it was crucial that the minor premiers got on the board in a big way early, and they did that through goalsneak Nyra Anderson who was calm and composed from close range. It came after some neat play down the field from Bella Edgley to Bianca Webb to set up the goal, and the home team were on the board. Not long after, Hayley Corlett got on the end of a similarly impressive team play, to put one through with an open goalsquare.

Both teams had their chances early with McKenzie Dowrick and Dana East impacting through the midfield for their respective sides, and Mikayla Hyde looking classy in the forward half. Edgley was providing a target at half-forward and Tara Stribley almost added her name to the goalkickers list running back to goal, but a huge defensive effort from Taylisha Brown – who earlier set up the Corlett goal – forced a rushed behind and the favourites heading into the break with a one-point lead.

Dowrick continued her form into the second quarter, thumping it inside 50, but the likes of Lauren Osborne, Eliza Gelmi and captain Emily McGuire were a wall in defence. It almost looked like the Hyde sisters – Mikayla and Brianna – Anderson and Edgley were going to create something out of nothing, as the latter sold some candy to Claire Ortlepp but just missed the quick kick after. Soon it was Taylah Edwards that created something out of nothing from a stoppage with a snap around her body bouncing home midway through the quarter to hand her side a buffer at the break. The Lions almost had a chance to level the scores off the boot of Dowrick on the side, but it missed to the left.

The Subiaco forward line had looked good in the first half, with debutant Madison Dodd playing deep and the likes of Kia Buckley and Jamie Rust in the vicinity. But the experience of the Swan Districts defence was always going to come to the fore, and it did so in the second half, when they ramped up the pressure. Mikayla Hyde set the tone in the opening 30 seconds, going for a mark knowing she was going to get crunched, and then having a snap on goal not long after. The pressure was overwhelming and soon Anderson had her second on the run with a clever goal thanks to some quick thinking from youngsters Stribley and Abbygail Bushby inside 50.

With the forward half dominance, Swans captain McGuire pushed up to create an extra number, and produced an uncharacteristic wobbler off the boot, but it proved effective, sailing home midway through the term. She returned to centre half-back after the goal, but continued to look dangerous around the forward 50 when her team was in possession. Subiaco had a golden chance to score a major through Buckley at the top of the square, but the young talent missed under pressure. Hayley Miller was trying to will her side on, and the defence through Ortlepp was holding up. Though the Lions still found themselves three goals down at the break and needing a spark.

Swan Districts could smell blood in the final term, as a costly 50m penalty for the Lions handed the home team and McGuire another goal, this time the easiest of the lot from the top of the square. When Sarah Wielstra got on the end of one from a clever East kick deep, the margin was out to 30 points and the game was done and dusted. Bushby had a chance herself nine minutes into the term but just missed the set shot to the left, though by this stage it was all inside Swan Districts forward line. The Swans held Subiaco scoreless in the final term, as McGuire bombed her remarkable third goal from 50m out to put a final nail in the coffin.

A shot in the final minute from Steph Cain, and then a thumping kick from Osborne tried to get their names on the goalkicking list after seeing McGuire’s heroics, but they were not to be. In the end, the siren sounded with the minor premiers winning by 38 points. McGuire was a standout at both ends, with Aimee Ralph, Gelmi and Osborne being steadfast back there. Cain was also instrumental, whilst the work of Edgley and Anderson inside 50 and the run of East and Stribley was noticeable. The Lions looked to Dowrick, Corlett and Miller as their standouts, though Brown and Dodd both had some nice moments in the game.

SWAN DISTRICTS 1.3 | 2.4 | 4.6 | 7.8 (50)
SUBIACO 1.2 | 1.5 | 1.6 | 1.6 (12)

GOALS: 

Swan Districts: E. McGuire 3, N. Anderson 2, S. Wielstra, T. Edwards.
Subiaco: H. Corlett.

BEST:

Swan Districts: A. Ralph, E. McGuire E. Gelmi, L. Osborne, S. Cain
Subiaco: M. Dowrick, H. Corlett, H. Miller, M. Dodd, T. Brown

 

Picture credit: Nick Cambridge Photography via Swan Districts

WAFLW preview – Preliminary Final: Swans and Lions to battle it out for grand final spot

TWO teams are one win away from reaching the 2021 West Australian Football League (WAFL) Women’s Grand Final. The top of the table Swan Districts went down to Peel Thunder for the second time in a fortnight, forcing the Swans to utilise their double chance against a Subiaco side that turned the tables on Claremont a fortnight earlier. Now the Lions will hope to reach another grand final on the back of peaking at the right time of year and try and seek revenge on the Thunder who claimed their maiden premiership last year.

Focusing on Swan Districts first, the minor premiers will be keen to make sure they capitalise on a strong regular season, and have named an extended bench for Sunday’s clash. Fi Boucher adds extra experience to the team, with Naomi Baker a talent to keep an eye on also named back in the side. Shannon Matthews, Abbygail Bushby and Renee Holwill round out the five names in consideration for the final side, with only Imahra Cameron out of the team for the clash. For Subiaco, Kia Buckley is an important in, joining Tiah Toth and Madison Dodd as the other inclusions, with no omissions to speak of yet.

The midfield battle will be a fascinating one with young ruck Sarah Lakay testing herself up against Jessica Ritchie, whilst a couple of AFL Women’s players in Bianca Webb and Hayley Miller could go head-to-head. Dana East and Jessica Cox round out the Swan Districts’ onball brigade, looking to lock horns with their more experienced opponents in Tarnica Golisano and Lara Filocamo. The Swans’ midfield is star-studded with the experience of Mikayla Hyde and Steph Cain on the wings, whilst Maggie MacLachlan is another elite level player running around for the Lions.

Inside 50 for the Lions, Amy Hunt, McKenzie Dowrick and Jamie Rust are targets teammates can look for, up against the likes of Emily McGuire, Aimee Ralph and Eliza Gelmi. With young guns Melisha Hardy and Jaime Henry also back there, the Swans’ defence is mighty impressive. Similarly up forward, Sarah Wielstra and Taylah Edwards know how to hit the scoreboard, with the run of Tara Stribley and class of Nyra Anderson also providing different dynamics in there. For Subiaco, Caitlin Walker did a good job on Ella Roberts last week and will be up for another big job in the preliminary final, whilst Jayme Harken, Claire Ortlepp and Tayla Thorogood are ever-reliable.

The depth coming off the bench could feature teenagers Brianna Hyde and Kloe Taylor for the Swans, with Buckley the one to watch for Subiaco. With reliable defender Lauren Osborne also capable of locking down on an opponent, the Swans have no shortage of players to call upon to do jobs. Based on the sides, whilst Subiaco have a strong team and are deserving to be in the final three, Swan Districts have stars across every line, and it is hard to see them dropping this game based on their regular season form.

Picture credit: WAFL

WAFLW preview – Round 15: Final round takes place

AFTER an interrupted 2020 season, the West Australian Football League (WAFL) Women’s competition had a relatively unscathed year, with only a round missed and previously a brief lockdown in preseason stopping them from having a complete run at it. Now the teams are suiting up for the final regular season round, with the four finalists decided, but plenty still on the line in terms of pride as well as a mental advantage heading into finals.

The match of the round is two finalists up against each other with second placed Peel Thunder travelling to third placed Claremont in what could be a preview of a finals head-to-head at some point. The Tigers are coming off a one-point loss to Subiaco, whilst the Thunder became the first team to topple Swan Districts this year last weekend. Despite the different form lines from the penultimate round, expect this clash to go down to the wire.

Both Katherine Bennett and Emily Bennett are among those unavailable from the Claremont lineup, as Sophie McDonald and Kate Orme return to provide some extra experience. For the Thunder, Sabreena Duffy is out of the game with Demi Liddle, whilst an extended bench comes in, which includes the likes of Hannah Church and Tajah Griffiths. With plenty of great head-to-heads across the field, it will be fantastic to see just how the match goes down.

Tessa Doumanis and Amy Franklin starred up forward for the Tigers booting two goals each for Claremont’s entire goals haul, and will have to be tightly watched this week. The Thunder defence which includes the likes of Beth Schilling, Ebony Dowson and Cassie Davidson is remarkably hard to score against, and the forward line of Ella Roberts, Kate Bartlett and Kira Phillips is even more potent. Claremont has an equally reliable defence thanks to McDonald, Sarah Garstone and Rachel Ortlepp back there. Through the middle, the head-to-head of Mikayla Western and Sarah Verrier could be huge, with Orme taking on Western Australia’s Under 19s co-captain Jaide Britton on the other wing.

The sole Saturday game sees fourth placed Subiaco and fifth placed East Fremantle do battle, but because Subiaco toppled Claremont last week, the result is effectively a dead rubber in terms of finals calculations. Roxy Roux and Gabby Radojkovich are crucial inclusions for the Sharks, as the Lions are keeping everyone guessing with an extended bench that features Taylisha Brown and Dahna Lee among others. Roux has been named in the centre against Tarnica Golisano which is a massive battle, whilst the Sharks’ forward line of Rosie Walsh, Alex Wiliams, Chloe Reilly, Madeline Ross and Radojkovich is a dangerous one. The Sharks have an incredibly strong midfield in Lara Filocamo, Tiah Toth, Maggie MacLachlan and Golisano in what should make for a fascinating close battle.

The final match of the round features a top-against-bottom clash, with the minor premiers Swan Districts coming off its first loss of the season to Peel Thunder, whilst South Fremantle is yet to taste victory in two seasons. The Swans will be without the likes of Mikayla Hyde, Steph Cain, Mel Hardy, Bianca Webb and Emma Nanut for the clash, with Naomi Baker, Tara Stribley and Nyra Anderson among the young talents coming into the Swans’ outfit. South Fremantle has named an extended bench with Kiara Templeman, Nikita Hart, Nikita Little and Melissa Silcock on it.

The Swans do not have a weakness across the ground and expect the midfield of Jess Cox, Dana East and Brianna Hyde to take control, with Sarah Lakay rucking. A huge battle between Lakay and next year’s draftable talent Lauren Wakfer could be huge around the stoppages, with Wakfer and fellow ruck Mim Strom named up forward with other young talents, Makaela Tuhakaraina and Ashleigh Little. Jaime Henry is fresh off an impressive Under 17s couple of clashes with the State Academy, and joins Emily McGuire and Aimee Ralph in that reliable back five.

Picture credit: WAFL

WAFLW Wrap: Claremont back on track with big win

CLAREMONT have found themselves back on the West Australian Football League (WAFL) Women’s winners list, following their 29-point triumph over a struggling South Fremantle side at Fremantle Community Bank Oval on Sunday afternoon. Claremont found themselves on a shock losing streak that stretched to four games, and heading into the game, there were concerns that an upset could have been brewing. This would have sent shockwaves through the league, given South Fremantle are yet to register their first win of the season, heading into this matchup with a 0-12 record. These concerns were all but thrown out early into the second half, with Claremont gaining a strong lead in the third term, and never turning back.

The game started in scrappy fashion, with the wet conditions playing a big part in this. The centre circle was turned into a mud pile, and the style of play reflected this. Hard tackles came from both sides, and it took some time for Claremont to find their groove. As the quarter progressed, Claremont began to be cleaner with the ball, as players such as Jessica Low and Tessa Doumanis slicing their way through packs, and it was Amy Franklin who reaped the rewards on the scoreboard. Claremont headed into the first break with a healthy 10-point lead, thanks to a late goal from Amber Goodwin-Wissink. South Fremantle started the second term with some promising signs, such as a great run-down tackle from Aaliyah Ugle that likely saved a goal. Unfortunately, all the hard work they put in defensively went to waste when they couldn’t move the ball up the field successfully. Towards the end of the quarter, the rain began to have a big effect on the game, with the heavy downfall resulting in slower play. Franklin booted her second for the half, as Claremont’s lead extended to 15 at half time.

The third term saw quite a standoff, with the first score not registering until there were just seven minutes to go in the term, as Low’s set shot pushed to the right. Shortly after, a nice set shot from Doumanis saw the lead extend, and suddenly South Fremantle players began to drop their heads. The game began to get away from them, and once again, the bottom-placed side struggled to get the ball past the wing. Their backline was put under constant pressure and while they repelled many attacks, Franklin’s third goal of the match and Doumanis’ second sealed the result, as Claremont finally got their season back on track with a much-needed win.

For the victors, Franklin was a constant threat in the forward-50, with her three majors proving vital on a day where scoring was tough to come by at times. Doumanis was also a standout, with her agility on display, despite the slippery conditions. Her ability to sidestep opponents and zip through packs was fantastic to watch. For South Fremantle, Ashleigh Little battled hard through the middle, laying solid tackles and gathering plenty of contested possessions.

Around the grounds, Swan Districts have continued their remarkable undefeated run, getting the better of East Fremantle and running out 49-point victors at Steel Blue Oval on Saturday afternoon. Mikayla Hyde booted three goals for the winning side, while teammate Abbygail Bushby added two goals, and Stephanie Cain impressed. For East Fremantle, Phillipa Seth battled hard all day.

The final game of the round saw Subiaco live up to their title as the most improved team in the competition with an impressive 15-point triumph over Peel Thunder at Leederville Oval. Subiaco midfielder Hayley Miller was her side’s best, driving the ball inside 50 plenty of times, while teammate Lara Filocamo also performed strongly. For Peel Thunder, Sabreena Duffy was the standout.

Picture credit: WAFL

Leader Britton aims to maximise potential

NOT everyone has the honour of representing their state at an AFL Women’s Under 19 Championships carnival, let alone be named as a captain. For Peel Thunder’s Jaide Britton, that honour was bestowed upon her, sharing the role with Swan Districts’ Brianna Hyde. Unfortunately for Hyde, injury ruled her out of the 2021 championships, which meant Britton took the full reigns on-field leading Western Australia to a big win over the Allies, and competitive efforts against South Australia and Vic Metro.

“I’ve been with the State Academy for a couple of years now and it’s always been the perfect environment to grow and mature as a player,” Britton said. “It’s a real honour to be co-captain with Bri (Hyde) this year. “It’s just been really exciting for me because I feel like this has been a year of growth and being a co-captain has really enabled me to grow as my character as well as my player.”

Britton has not always played Australian rules football, having preferred the rounder ball on a court rather than out in the open fields.

“I used to play basketball and netball,” Britton said. “That was pretty much all that I played until a friend asked me to fill in for her team once. “Then from there I really loved it. “I started playing a bit of local club footy and then from there, is where I started playing for Peel Thunder and here I am now.”

The fact she played on a condensed space in those sports makes it somewhat ironic her favoured position is the wing, a role she has thrived with during her West Australian Football League (WAFL) career with the reigning premiers.

“I’m comfortable on the wing, it’s where I’ve learnt my positioning really well and it’s where I’m comfortable playing, but I don’t mind playing a bit off half-back, being thrown inside, playing wherever I am happy to play as long as I’m out there playing some footy,” Britton said.

“I really liked the physicality and the quick pace because it really suited me and how I liked to play, and I really loved the really big team environment, it was really good fun for me.”

Britton was a key member of the Thunder side that under new coach Steve Markham, rose from wooden spooners in 2019 to premiers in 2020, in one of the most remarkable turnarounds in sport. Like anyone involved in the team over the period, Britton has fond memories of the recent success.

“That was just one of the most surreal feelings,” Britton said. “It was really tough for us to bounce back from being the wooden spooners because it’s really hard to keep playing and stay united as a team when you’re just getting smashed every week. “But I was really happy lots of our older girls stuck with us and it was Steve Markham, real credit to him, he turned our team right around and I think once we started winning a couple of games, that fire really ignited within us and we started working well as a team and then from there it was just onwards and upwards, seeing how much potential we really had.”

Having come through the State Academy program, Britton has witnessed a number of past players and friends go on to reach the top level and provide the inspiration she needs with her football.

“I’ve had lots of people who I really look up to, but at the moment lots of AFL players that have come through the Academy too, Mikki (Mikayla) Hyde, Roxy (Roux), Mikayla Bowen, all those girls, it really inspiring to see them come through the same pathway as us and have such a good success in the leagues now,” Britton said.

As for her own personal game, Britton rates her athleticism and endurance having entered the code as a fairly fit player, whilst she is just building little areas of her game to constantly improve.

“I think my biggest strengths are my speed, endurance and agility,” Britton said. “I think that’s what were my biggest strengths when I started playing footy because I obviously wasn’t very skilled but I think that transferred over from my other sports. I think I’m pretty clean on the ground and in the air.”

“I’m really working on my left foot at the moment, especially at training, just trying to use it whenever I can because it is going to be handy in the games. “I’m really working on my long-distance handballs getting it to my teammates out in space and getting them on the run.”

As for her future goal, Britton understands the competitive nature of getting on and AFL Women’s list and said she would be more than happy to play for any club if need be, but the main focus would be to maximise the potential in her game.

“I think my goal in general is just to reach my potential, see how far I can really go,” Britton said. “Obviously the dream is to be drafted to any club, but if that’s not for me then playing good footy at WAFL I’ll be happy, as long as I’m still playing footy, still healthy and fit, I think that’s just the main goal long-term.”

2021 WAFL Women’s Round 10 preview: Sides return after forced cancellation

AFTER Round 9 matches were unable to go ahead due to the state lockdown, the Round 10 teams – which saw the return of the State Academy talents and more AFL Women’s players – were largely left the same with a few odd movements.

Up first is Peel Thunder taking on East Fremantle with the former stacked with returning talent and the latter also including some serious excitement. The reigning premiers have been able to bring their State Academy talent in recently named Most Valuable Player (MVP) Ella Roberts, with Courtney Rowley, Jaide Britton, Bella Mann, Beth Schilling and Aisha Wright all back in the side. Add in AFL Women’s talents in Sabreena Duffy, Sarah Verrier and Katie Jayne Grieve and the home team is absolutely stacked. Nel Baxter is another to return and slot straight onto a wing opposite Rowley as Chloe Wrigley has been named onball, while Roberts joins Grieve, Kira Phillips and Kate Bartlett inside 50, and Verrier is named off half-back with Cassie Davidson, Tanisha Anderson and Ebony Dowson among the players back there.

The Sharks have been able to add their two State Academy talents back into the side after the AFL Women’s Under 19 Championships in Chloe Reilly and Mylee Leitch, while Anjelique Raison is another young gun returning for the match. Gabby O’Sullivan will be a massive boost to the Sharks in the second half of the season, as will Philipa Seth up the other end, with the pair coming in alongside experienced forward Sara Lewis. The Sharks had to make six changes last week with Rachel Ashley and Gabby Radojkovich among the outs, though one name who has quietly snuck into a forward pocket is Roxanne Roux, who is a tall target that might just worry the Peel Thunder defence. If she can get off the chain with her athleticism and AFLW experience, then watch out.

The match of the round has to be the top of the table battle between the undefeated Swan Districts and one of the Swans’ biggest threats in Claremont. The Tigers have added in their State Academy players with Emily Bennett and Matilda Dyke going straight back into defence, and Amy Franklin named in her preferred position up forward. Matilda Sergeant and Jasmin Stewart come back to state level with captain Ella Smith returning alongside ruck Matilda Husband. The midfield featuring Jess Low, Sasha Goranova and Hayley Bullas is a major strength for the Tigers, while Dyke and Sophie McDonald holding the key position defence roles alongside Bennett, Rachel Ortlepp and Laura Pugh, while Amy Fortescue is one out from Round 9 to 10 selection sheet named as an emergency. Claremont have the talent to win the ball in the midfield and give their forwards first chance, but the Swans lineup is absolute A-grade and are the premiership favourites right now.

Swan Districts has also been able to roll out the welcome mat for plenty of inclusions as the State Academy members return for Round 9. Dana East, Nyra Anderson, Melisha Hardy, Sarah Lakay, Emma Nanut and Tara Stribley are all back into the side which has an extended bench, as AFL Women’s-listed players Kellie Gibson and Bianca Webb all return as well, Caitlyn Appleford is the other including of the 11 changes to the Swans, with the entirely new midfield of Lakay, East, Webb and Gibson will flank the damaging Mikayla and Brianna Hyde on the wings. The reliable Emily McGuire is at half-back, with young gun Jaime Henry also there while Jess Cox and Kloe Taylor are among the other young talents coming through the team, and Sarah Wielstra named up forward. The Swans will be keen to have a win over the Tigers and all but lock up top spot this season.

In the final game of the round, Subiaco hosts South Fremantle in a battle of  fourth against sixth. South Fremantle has also allowed for a ton of chances, as Makaela Tuhakaraina and Lauren Wakfer return from State Academy duties, with Sarah Wright also back on the extended interchange. Lauren Vecchio has come in to provide some extra experience, and Lara Rodin-Zimdahl, Cali Hunt and Ashleigh Little are the others to be coming back into the team. The Bulldogs will be heavy underdogs against an unbelievably strong ladder leaders lineup, though the forward line of Little, Wakfer, Ebony Clarkson and Tuhakaraina combining with Zoe Huggett, and then through the midfield Pia Durk, Kiara Templeman and Aaliyah Ugle will be one to watch, and particularly great experience for the younger South Fremantle players.

The Lions have not been forced to make any changes back in Round 9, and have instead recalled some experience in Hayley Miller, Ange Stannett, Beatrice Devlyn and Ashtyn Cowie. The midfield battle will be fascinating with Jess Ritchie in the ruck as Tarnica Golisano, Abbey Dowick and Lara Filocamo will look to win first possession. Kia Buckley, Jamie Rust and Madi Wilkins are among the talents forward of centre for the Lions, and Claire Ortlepp and Jayme Harken those holding up in defence. Maggie MacLachlan has been named on an extended interchange, and the depth of the Lions is clear in a game they should win to create separation from the bottom two sides and look towards finals footy.

WAFL WOMEN’S ROUND 10 FIXTURES:

Peel Thunder vs. East Fremantle
Claremont vs. Swan Districts
Subiaco vs. South Fremantle

2021 WAFL Women’s Round 8 preview: Swans load up on AFLW talent to continue winning streak

A CLEAR divide has developed in the West Australian Football League (WAFL) Women’s competition, as the top three sides – led by the undefeated Swan Districts – are at least 12 points clear of the bottom three sides. The Swans have not dropped a game in seven outings and sit pretty eight points clear at the top of the ladder, with a massive percentage of 263.7. Peel Thunder and Claremont are separated by less than six per cent thanks to five wins from seven matches, before East Fremantle and Subiaco appear to be fighting it out for the last finals spot. The Sharks have the superior percentage – by 9.67 per cent, while South Fremantle hold up the table as the only side yet to win a game in 2021.

The opening game of the round sees reigning premiers Peel Thunder hitting the road to take on reigning wooden spooner and a side yet to register a win in the club’s short history, in South Fremantle. The Thunder will welcome back Demi Liddle who slots straight into the midfield group alongside Chloe Rigley, Gracie Fenton and Ebony Bilcich. The loss of the likes of Courtney Rowley, Jaide Britton and Ella Roberts to the State Academy has not impacted the Thunder, and they are expected to get the job done here with the damaging forward line of Kira Phillips, Bailey Molloy and Kate Bartlett all able to hit the scoreboard, and Tanisha Anderson, Ebony Dowson and Cassie Davidson at the back.

The Bulldogs on the other hand have a steady midfield group of Tahlia Holtze, Lauren Vecchio and Liudsaidh Gilchrist, though will be missing the likes of Makaela Tuhakaraina, Ash Reidy and Lauren Wakfer from the side who will return next week from their State Academy duties. Pia Durk, Kiara Templeman and Zoe Huggett are important components of the side, with Hunter Cronin and Aaliyah Ugle others to keep an eye on forward of centre for the league’s cellar dwellers.

Just when it looked like Swan Districts could not get any stronger without its contingent of youth stars, the Swans have brought back the Hyde twins, with Mikayla and Brianna Hyde both in the team. Mikayla has already played this season at state level, but is expected to feature more heavily now Fremantle’s AFL Women’s campaign is over. Brianna on the other hand was co-captain of the State Academy squad, but fell a week short of recovering from injury to play, and will look to have an impact in this game. Chanel Jetta will join the likes of AFL Women’s listed talents Kellie Gibson and Imahra Cameron back into the side. They also have the in-form Jess Cox, along with fellow youngsters Jaime Henry, Kloe Taylor and Danielle Wright, while Emily McGuire has been named at full-forward in a change of ends.

Subiaco have not opted to name any outs just yet, with Ellie Blackmore an important inclusion back in the side on a wing, whilst Taylisha Brown, Maud-Annie Foley and Dahna Lee have all been added to the extended interchange. Jess Ritchie, Tarnica Golisano, Lara Filocamo and Abbey Dowrick are a strong midfield group, as Claire Ortlepp and Jayme Harken provide the defensive impact, and youngsters Kia Buckley and Jamie Rust will benefit once again alongside Tarnee Tester at half-forward. The Swans will be strong favourites to go 8-0, but Subiaco are forming a more solid team to attack the second half of the year.

In the final game of the round, East Fremantle will look to cause an upset against Claremont with both teams making some changes at the selection table. The Tigers have welcomed back AFL Women’s listed Eagles, Hayley Bullas and Sophie McDonald, alongside Adele Arnup, Ayesha Razvi and Mackenzie Thompson, with Melissa Mettam, Emily Pickett and Julia Uhe coming out but remaining at emergencies. Bullas will team up with Sasha Goranova and Jess Low in the midfield which will cause some headaches for the sharks, whilst McDonald will join forces with consistent defenders, Rachel Ortlepp and Amy Fortescue in the back half.

East Fremantle welcome back Kahra Sprylan into that midfield mix, as well as full-forward Stephanie Dalton who replaces Sara Lewis, defender Rachel Ashley, and then Doma Fedele and youngster Gabby Radojkovich coming onto the bench. Alli Nokes, Samara Pluschke and Torrens Revell were among the outs for the home team ahead of the clash. Rosie Walsh remains at full-back for the Sharks, with Hayley O’Donnell, Ashleigh Gomes and Madeline Ross creating some run on the outside, and clever Larissa Versaci up forward. Sharon Wong and Kate Inglis-Hodge will look to take control with Sprylan in a massive midfield battle against the equally-talented Tigers onball brigade.

WAFL WOMEN’S ROUND 8 FIXTURES:

South Fremantle vs. Peel Thunder
Swan Districts vs. Subiaco
East Fremantle vs. Claremont

Picture credit: WAFL