Tag: nab league girls

Team Selection: NAB League Girls – Round 3

TWO rounds down and for some teams wins are becoming important in a nine-game season, with the ladder already starting to take some shape. Just Geelong Falcons and Calder Cannons remain undefeated in season 2019, while Northern Knights and Oakleigh Chargers have collected six of a possible eight points so far this year. For Sandringham Dragons, Gippsland Power and Western Jets, it is an opportunity to grab their first points of the year. Some teams have made multiple changes with Futures Games occuring either side of their respective Under 18s games, meaning those future stars are able to play in either team, with some only eligible for the Futures sides.

Among the big inclusions for the NAB League Girls Under 18s are Western Jets’ key defender Isabelle Pritchard who returns to centre-half back, GWV Rebels’ Nyakoat Dojiok and Isabella Simmons who impressed up either end and running through the midfield in Round 1. The round kicks off bright and early with Sandringham Dragons and Calder Cannons going head-to-head at Trevor Barker Beach Oval.


Round 3 – 23/03/2019
Wilson Storage Trevor Barker Beach Oval – Sandringham


B: 38. G. Strangio, 24. N. Borg, 44. D. Walker
HB: 30. W. Laing, 25. S. Hartwig, 2. S. Rothfield
C: 42. M. Purcell, 28. A. Burke, 26. C. Saultry
HF: 65. E. Angelopoulos, 15. C. Cody, 40. A. Moloney
F: 39. C. Ryan, 3. C. Murphy, 29. I. Stutt
R: 13. T. Grasso, 22. E. McNamara, 17. B. Arnold
Int: 57. C. Bowen, 47. K. Lynch, 45. E. Stuber, 7. R. Woods
Emg: 55. L. Enders, 23. S. Peacock, 8. S. Trim

In: C. Ryan
Out: T. Tysoe, P. Staltari, E. Turner


B: 32. T. Fry, 6. K. Reid, 4. K. Lennox
HB: 31. K. Petrevski, 35. I. Young, 41. G. Prespakis
C: 8. Z. Friswell, 24. K. Delia, 21. G. Patrikios
HF: 46. G. Elarmaly, 43. C. Leahy, 3. E. Yassir
F: 22. M. Muller, 42. T. Crook, 2. F. Theodore
R: 17. G. Sampson, 11. A. Barba, 38. L. Cocomello
Int: 1. H. Cooke, 5. N. Crowley, 34. Z. Hardiman, 25. A. Magri, 15. M. McLeod, 44. I. McNeill-Wren, 36. Z. Penno

In: G. Sampson, K. Lennox, N. Crowley, M. McLeod
Out: T. Gillard



Round 3 – 23/03/2019
Mars Stadium – Ballarat


B: 16. L. Sykes, 27. G. Pidgeon, 4. K. Tomkins
HB: 5. N. Butler, 30. N. Dojiok, 2. Z. Denahy
C: 32. I. Simmons, 24. S. Molan, 13. B. Thompson
HF: 20. E. Friend, 29. P. Metcalfe, 15. C. Leonard
F: 28. I. Robson, 34. K. Harris, 9. R. Saulitis
R: 23. I. Rustman, 12. V. Jewell, 10. E. Wood
Int: 6. M. Ciavarella, 18. K. Hawker, 19. C. Summers, 7. C. Willis
Emg: 17. L. Fitzgibbon, 26. L. Pfitzner

In: K. Hawker, N. Dojiok, C. Willis, L. Fitzgibbon, I. Simmons, C. Summers
Out: A. Stevens, L. Condon, G. Henderson, L. Donegan, M. Caris


B: 14. L. Grocock, 51. Z. Hill, 17. M. Layfield
HB: 32. J. Radford, 50. A. Nagtzaam, 31. B. Vernon
C: 21. G. Hodder, 28. T. Smith, 10. A. Jordan
HF: 48. A. Carroll, 55. H. Thomas, 20. P. Wilson-Macdonald
F: 9. C. Bell, 24. A. Liddle, 2. S. Stratton
R: 58. G. Howes, 12. M. McDonald, 26. I. Shannon
Int: 23. D. Fennell, 4. J. Guy-Toogood, 16. S. Hosking, 53. O. Mauerhofer, 46. K. McKenzie, 34. A. Richards

In: C. Bell, S. Hosking
Out: R. Clancy-Dillon



Round 3 – 23/03/2019
Rams Arena – Craigieburn


B: 8. G. Ceravolo, 2. S. Fell, 34. M. Uwland
HB: 14. J. Fitzgerald, 21. E. McKenzie, 32. A. Snow
C: 17. C. Fitzgerald, 23. G. Newton, 16. Z. Flanigan
HF: 6. A. Bannan, 3. N. Morris-Dalton, 7. A. Bennett
F: 11. M. Appleby, 18. S. Sansonetti, 29. T. Pulcino
R: 1. J. Nelson, 10. P. Chisholm, 22. B. Gutknecht
Int: 9. M. Chaplin, 30. M. Plunkett, 31. M. Ramsay, 36. T. Smart
Emg: 26. M. Papachristos, 38. L. Picioane, 35. J. Simpson

In: M. Ramsay, M. Chaplin, M. Papachristos, L. Picioane
Out: C. Linssen


B: 16. H. Herring, 19. A. Anthony, 11. K. O’Keefe
HB: 17. E. Georgostathis, 23. I. Pritchard, 22. C. Singleton
C: 1. M. Huta, 13. I. Grant, 8. O. Millar
HF: 47. C. Sargent, 25. C. Saxon-Jones, 15. N. Wright
F: 40. T. Hooper, 29. J. Goodman, 14. L. Wright
R: 20. T. Kolevski, 12. E. Quinn, 9. R. Tripodi
Int: 6. E. Kiely, 30. T. Kotoski, 48. T. Skenderis
Emg: 32. S. Asciak, 36. K. Bays, 45. T. Meiers

In: T. Hooper, I. Pritchard, K. Bays, J. Goodman, C. Sargent, T. Skenderis, S. Asciak
Out: I. Cavka, J. Mwaka, T. Evans, C. Weston-Sirett, E. Robinson



Round 3 – 24/03/2019
Rams Arena – Craigieburn


B: 14. C. Boschetti, 43. A. Williams, 24. H. Doohan
HB: 6. C. Hargreaves, 44. M. Quade, 10. S. Locke
C: 7. K. Adams, 19. M. Brown, 8. A. Favell
HF: 2. O. Antonello, 21. C. Styan , 37. T. Verhoeven
F: 45. O. Barber, 34. E. McPherson, 26. E. Nicholson
R: 39. A. Morphett, 31. M. Trethowan, 11. T. Brett
Int: 33. E. Mifka, 22. A. Richardson, 41. L. Sharp, 18. Z. Spencer
Emg: 28. C. Dorrity, 27. J. Ward

In: L. Sharp, E. Nicholson
Out: K. Whitehead


B: 2. S. Beaton, 47. E. Williams, 16. A. Hardwick
HB: 9. M. Shaw, 45. M. Van Berkel, 17. S. Trewin
C: 19. H. Booth, 8. C. Abrahams , 30. A. Rippon
HF: 13. H. Andrews, 40. C. Robinson, 11. S. Walker
F: 22. T. Angwin, 27. N. Webber, 3. M. Gilmour
R: 49. G. Radford, 26. G. McRae, 12. M. Fitzsimon
Int: 15. C. Bailey, 1. S. Brisbane, 20. J. Chila, 50. G. Matser
Emg: 21. C. Prestidge, 24. N. Williams

In: S. Brisbane, T. Angwin
Out: L. Raymond


Round 3 – 24/03/2019
Healesville Football Ground – Healesville


B: 43. B. Deed, 51. S. Zappia, 17. M. Kendall
HB: 11. M. Edwards, 41. T. Merrett, 1. C. Smith
C: 29. M. Di Cosmo, 21. O. Meagher, 35. L. Hilton
HF: 48. I. Khoury, 49. C. Wilsmore, 39. L. McClelland
F: 8. R. Hall, 25. J. Grace, 16. E. Horne
R: 46. S. Gibbs, 26. T. Brown, 33. T. Flintoff
Int: 23. M. Church, 36. R. O’Dwyer, 54. E. Odria, 20. J. Richardson

In: R. Hall, R. O’Dwyer, B. Deed
Out: S. Collard, M. Taverna, S. Bowden


B: 2. M. Hill, 26. A. Micallef, 21. S. Reid
HB: 33. E. Chamberlain, 29. C. Rowbottom, 9. E. Jackson
C: 34. G. Larkey, 17. N. Xenos, 22. J. Lin
HF: 7. J. D’Amato, 10. T. Cowan, 5. A. van Oosterwijck
F: 11. M. Bertuna, 3. K. Kearns, 4. E. Harley
R: 12. A. Peck, 1. G. Lagioia, 8. A. Porter
Int: 20. B. Fox, 38. D. Lloyd, 23. A. Mayne, 31. S. Morley, 13. T. Morton, 18. C. O’Malley, 15. C. Russell

In: B. Fox, S. Reid, D. Lloyd, J. D’Amato, A. Mayne
Out: E. James, G. Byrne



Round 3 – 24/03/2019
Deakin University – Geelong


B: 35. G. Featherston , 21. A. Chapman, 7. M. Holdsworth
HB: 49. E. Dowling, 32. K. Haustorfer , 11. D. Smith
C: 12. L. Gardiner, 23. L. Lesosky-Hay, 16. E. Mahoney
HF: 18. D. Moloney, 46. A. McKee, 1. E. Vella
F: 14. Z. Garth, 39. R. Tierney, 24. M. Skinner
R: 20. S. Hovey, 38. L. McEvoy, 8. P. Sheppard
Int: 6. T. Hassett, 34. S. Milsome, 25. L. Ryan, 4. P. Schaap
Emg: 5. J. Dover, 17. I. Long, 31. B. O’Brien

In: I. Long, E. Dowling, G. Featherston , T. Hassett, J. Dover, B. O’Brien
Out: J. Robinson, A. Lee, A. Sanderson


B: 22. G. Barton, 36. K. Douglass, 24. S. Oliver
HB: 25. K. Hazlett, 40. T. Slender, 46. K. Mitchell
C: 3. E. Snell, 28. E. Gretgrix, 1. M. Tupper
HF: 44. J. Jolliffe, 30. H. Stewart, 14. A. Strahan
F: 12. E. Bell, 50. M. Barton, 26. C. Mitchell
R: 37. G. Sladden, 20. D. Villiva, 4. B. Hards
Int: 8. T. Coad, 34. E. Cooper, 38. M. Marks , 7. M. Ward

In: E. Bell, T. Coad, G. Barton, M. Ward, M. Marks
Out: E. Peacock, B. Heiden, T. Miaoudis, D. Kelly-Guthrie, J. Finning

Draft Central Rising Star: NAB League Girls – Round 2

IT was a tough round to pick the NAB League Girls Rising of the Week, but up in Yarrawonga Western Jets’ midfielder, Elisabeth Georgostathis had the ball on a string. While Murray Bushrangers got on the board with their first win, Georgostathis did everything she could to prevent the loss.

In the four-goal loss, Georgostathis amassed 28 disposals – 22 of which were kicks – as well as two marks and a tackle. Most impressively, Georgostathis had five inside 50s and seven rebounds in the game, exemplifying the fact she has an ability to cover the ground with ease. She was one of the Jets’ best in Round 1, and the 2018 Best and Fairest winner and 2019 captain was a clear standout up north. She had more than one third of her team’s rebounds showing a willingness to help out in defence, while still getting the ball in midfield and pumping it long.

Georgostathis had seven more disposals than anyone else in the match, and had a round high disposals, kicks and rebounds in the loss. She also would have been noticed by the umpires a fair bit, involved in seven free kicks, two in her favour and five against. Her fierce attack on the ball and ability to not only find the ball in midfield, but up either end as well, has earned her the Draft Central Rising Star for Round 2. Georgostathis joins Georgie Prespakis who was the Round 1 nominee and impressed again with seven goals.

Rising Star of the Week:

Round 1 – Georgie Prespakis (Calder Cannons)

Team Selection: NAB League Girls – Round 2

TEAMS have brought in a number of talented players for Round 2 of the NAB League Girls competition as sides strive to either back up strong performances from Round 1, or hope to bounce back from losses in the opening round. Georgia Patrikios (Calder Cannons) has been named on the bench having missed the first round, while Millie Brown (Murray Bushrangers) and Molly McDonald (Dandenong Stingrays) are also back into their respective sides, certain to boost the team’s chances of victory.

After two triple headers in Round 1, the six games are spread across six different venues, from Bendigo to Ballarat, Geelong to Yarrawonga, Moorabbin to Bundoora in a chance for spectators across the state to take in some terrific football action. Below are how the 12 teams have been named for the weekend’s action.


Round 2 – 16/03/2019
Epsom Huntly Reserve – Bendigo


B: 25. K. Hazlett, 36. K. Douglass, 24. S. Oliver
HB: 28. E. Gretgrix, 40. T. Slender, 46. K. Mitchell
C: 3. E. Snell, 33. B. Heiden, 1. M. Tupper
HF: 14. A. Strahan, 30. H. Stewart, 20. D. Villiva
F: 50. M. Barton, 44. J. Jolliffe, 9. T. Miaoudis
R: 37. G. Sladden, 19. J. Finning, 4. B. Hards
Int: 34. E. Cooper, 48. D. Kelly-Guthrie, 26. C. Mitchell, 41. E. Peacock


B: 17. M. Kendall, 51. S. Zappia, 54. E. Odria
HB: 11. M. Edwards, 49. C. Wilsmore, 1. C. Smith
C: 29. M. Di Cosmo, 39. L. McClelland, 20. J. Richardson
HF: 26. T. Brown, 41. T. Merrett, 48. I. Khoury
F: 31. S. Collard, 46. S. Gibbs, 12. M. Taverna
R: 25. J. Grace, 33. T. Flintoff, 21. O. Meagher
Int: 44. S. Bowden, 23. M. Church, 35. L. Hilton, 16. E. Horne


Round 2 – 16/03/2019
Mars Stadium – Ballarat


B: 2. Z. Denahy, 16. L. Sykes, 11. L. Donegan
HB: 5. N. Butler, 27. G. Pidgeon, 12. V. Jewell
C: 13. B. Thompson, 24. S. Molan, 3. A. Trigg
HF: 29. P. Metcalfe, 34. K. Harris, 28. I. Robson
F: 6. M. Ciavarella, 23. I. Rustman, 9. R. Saulitis
R: 35. M. Caris, 10. E. Wood, 15. C. Leonard
Int: 1. L. Condon, 20. E. Friend, 21. A. Stevens, 4. K. Tomkins


B: 24. K. Delia, 6. K. Reid, 36. Z. Penno
HB: 32. T. Fry, 35. I. Young, 41. G. Prespakis
C: 8. Z. Friswell, 31. K. Petrevski, 3. E. Yassir
HF: 46. G. Elarmaly, 18. T. Gillard, 34. Z. Hardiman
F: 22. M. Muller, 44. I. McNeill-Wren, 2. F. Theodore
R: 49. T. Crook, 11. A. Barba, 38. L. Cocomello
Int: 1. H. Cooke, 43. C. Leahy, 25. A. Magri, 21. G. Patrikios


Round 2 – 17/03/2019
La Trobe University – Bundoora


B: 32. A. Snow, 2. S. Fell, 34. M. Uwland
HB: 10. P. Chisholm, 18. S. Sansonetti, 17. C. Fitzgerald
C: 6. A. Bannan, 21. E. McKenzie, 9. M. Chaplin
HF: 7. A. Bennett, 23. G. Newton, 29. T. Pulcino
F: 20. C. Linssen, 3. N. Morris-Dalton, 25. T. Mills
R: 1. J. Nelson, 14. J. Fitzgerald, 22. B. Gutknecht
Int: 11. M. Appleby, 16. Z. Flanigan, 30. M. Plunkett, 36. T. Smart
Emg: 8. G. Ceravolo, 24. J. Nursey, 26. M. Papachristos, 35. J. Simpson


B: 2. M. Hill, 26. A. Micallef, 29. C. Rowbottom
HB: 33. E. Chamberlain, 12. A. Peck, 18. C. O’Malley
C: 34. G. Larkey, 17. N. Xenos, 22. J. Lin
HF: 1. G. Lagioia, 10. T. Cowan, 5. A. van Oosterwijck
F: 11. M. Bertuna, 15. C. Russell, 4. E. Harley
R: 3. K. Kearns, 8. A. Porter, 32. E. James
Int: 14. G. Byrne, 9. E. Jackson, 38. D. Lloyd, 31. S. Morley, 13. T. Morton, 21. S. Reid


Round 2 – 17/03/2019
Deakin University – Geelong


B: 7. M. Holdsworth, 21. A. Chapman, 44. J. Robinson
HB: 16. E. Mahoney, 32. K. Haustorfer , 11. D. Smith
C: 12. L. Gardiner, 23. L. Lesosky-Hay, 28. A. Sanderson
HF: 24. M. Skinner, 8. P. Sheppard, 1. E. Vella
F: 34. S. Milsome, 39. R. Tierney, 25. L. Ryan
R: 20. S. Hovey, 38. L. McEvoy, 18. D. Moloney
Int: 14. Z. Garth, 37. A. Lee, 46. A. McKee, 4. P. Schaap
Emg: 36. M. Featherston , 6. T. Hassett, 45. T. Lewis


B: 19. H. Booth, 47. E. Williams, 7. L. Raymond
HB: 26. G. McRae, 45. M. Van Berkel, 9. M. Shaw
C: 13. H. Andrews, 8. C. Abrahams , 30. A. Rippon
HF: 2. S. Beaton, 27. N. Webber, 40. C. Robinson
F: 3. M. Gilmour, 50. G. Matser, 11. S. Walker
R: 49. G. Radford, 12. M. Fitzsimon, 17. S. Trewin
Int: 15. C. Bailey, 20. J. Chila, 16. A. Hardwick, 21. C. Prestidge
Emg: 1. S. Brisbane, 24. N. Williams


Round 2 – 17/03/2019
J.C. Lowe Oval – Yarrawonga


B: 24. H. Doohan, 44. M. Quade, 6. C. Hargreaves
HB: 14. C. Boschetti, 43. A. Williams, 10. S. Locke
C: 7. K. Adams, 19. M. Brown, 8. A. Favell
HF: 31. M. Trethowan, 45. O. Barber, 37. T. Verhoeven
F: 18. Z. Spencer, 34. E. McPherson, 40. K. Whitehead
R: 39. A. Morphett, 22. A. Richardson, 11. T. Brett
Int: 2. O. Antonello, 33. E. Mifka, 21. C. Styan , 27. J. Ward
Emg: 16. M. Jones, 20. S. Lang, 41. L. Sharp


B: 19. A. Anthony, 11. K. O’Keefe, 20. T. Kolevski
HB: 1. M. Huta, 23. I. Pritchard, 15. N. Wright
C: 13. I. Grant, 9. R. Tripodi, 16. H. Herring
HF: 6. E. Kiely, 25. C. Saxon-Jones, 8. O. Millar
F: 5. I. Cavka, 26. C. Weston-Sirett, 14. L. Wright
R: 22. C. Singleton, 12. E. Quinn, 17. E. Georgostathis
Int: 10. T. Evans, 30. T. Kotoski, 24. J. Mwaka, 21. E. Robinson


Round 2 – 17/03/2019
RSEA Park – Moorabbin


B: 57. C. Bowen, 24. N. Borg, 44. D. Walker
HB: 38. G. Strangio, 25. S. Hartwig, 7. R. Woods
C: 42. M. Purcell, 17. B. Arnold, 26. C. Saultry
HF: 33. I. Eddey, 2. S. Rothfield, 40. A. Moloney
F: 65. E. Angelopoulos, 1. M. Denahy Maloney, 29. I. Stutt
R: 13. T. Grasso, 22. E. McNamara, 28. A. Burke
Int: 15. C. Cody, 30. W. Laing, 21. E. Turner , 58. T. Tysoe
Emg: 47. K. Lynch, 3. C. Murphy, 50. P. Staltari


B: 14. L. Grocock, 51. Z. Hill, 17. M. Layfield
HB: 32. J. Radford, 50. A. Nagtzaam, 31. B. Vernon
C: 21. G. Hodder, 28. T. Smith, 10. A. Jordan
HF: 48. A. Carroll, 24. A. Liddle, 20. P. Wilson-Macdonald
F: 2. S. Stratton, 49. K. McKenzie, 55. H. Thomas
R: 58. G. Howes, 12. M. McDonald, 26. I. Shannon
Int: 40. R. Clancy – Dillon, 23. D. Fennell, 4. J. Guy-Toogood, 53. O. Mauerhofer, 34. A. Richards

Team of the Week: NAB League Girls – Round 1

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

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

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

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

U18 Girls season preview: Sandringham Dragons

DEALT a tough draw to open season 2018, Sandringham Dragons were 1-2 after going down to both of the eventual grand finalists in their first three games. Come the end of the regular season, the Dragons were unlucky to have just missed out on a grand final berth as they built some serious momentum and finished in third at 7-2. Girls Head Coach, Tamara Hyett said her side was unfortunate not to meet those teams with some form under its belt, but built into the season well and marks it as a success given the immense personal development shown by individual players.

“You try and develop a really good rapport amongst the players and it just took us a couple of rounds to get going but I think ideally you try and compete against the best when you’re at your best and unfortunately we weren’t in the first couple of rounds,” she said. But I think we proved that we were a good side by season’s end. “From where we came from, from day one and especially Round 1 to how all of our players developed throughout the season, I think it was good reward with the finishing result, just missing out on the grand final. I think the pleasing thing was that every girl improved throughout the season – you measure success by individual improvement, well at least we do, and so it was a successful year.”

The respective journeys of the Dragons’ two eventual draftees serve as evidence of that individual improvement, as both Eleanor Brown and Abbie McKay now boast AFL Women’s experience. Brown grew on and off the field throughout the year and made the wing her own on the back of pure dedication – something Hyett says the Dragons staff were deeply impressed by.

“Eleanor had a stand-out year on the wing and every game she just grew in confidence – from someone who was quite reserved and shy, to then becoming quite vocal, backing herself going for marks and things like that was great to see and I think she’s someone that we probably had to hold back a bit because she wanted to work and wanted it so bad that she was doing probably too much with extra sessions and things like that. But it was just rewards for the effort and improvement that she showed across the year,” she said.

A more natural footballer with the pedigree to suggest so, McKay has gone on to become the AFLW’s first ever father-daughter draftee, as well as the first father-daughter pick to grace the field as she ran out for Carlton in Round 4. Given talent aside, Hyett said McKay showed great determination to improve once she realised how far she could go.

“(Abbie) is a natural footballer so if she wanted to get drafted, she’d get drafted, and she did. I think she realised how good she could be, especially playing for Victoria at the championships – she’s just a natural footballer. A pretty driven girl internally, doesn’t show much externally but internally she’s pretty driven and we saw on the weekend that she made a seamless transition really into AFLW so that’s a credit to her and her ability to want to improve and want to be out there,” she said.

In a team sense, Hyett is not looking to change much heading into the new season – sighting fundamental skills as a key area for fast-tracking the development of each player, while also giving them the freedom to express themselves on-field.

“We’re probably focused a little bit more on the fundamentals because we have had a whole new batch basically and I don’t think you can do enough skills work. As far as the structure of the program, it’s very similar, we’re very lucky we’re well resourced with our strength and conditioning department and also the physios and things like that,” Hyett said. “I think from a pure footy sense that something we’ve focussed more on is the fundamentals and we want the girls to play with flair – I think that’s one thing that we’ve changed since we’ve just given the girls license to go off and show us what you can do, we want to see them at their best, not playing a defensive style at all.”

Should the new top four finals structure have been in place last year, the Dragons may have been better poised to challenge Geelong and Northern than they were earlier in the season, but they are set to face a similar fate as a clash with the reigning premiers awaits in Round 1. Hyett is not fazed by the challenge though, with promising players coming on across each age group set to put them in good stead for the early-season bout.

“I think it’s the best thing (playing Geelong), you want to see where you’re at early in the season and playing the defending champions is an ideal first round match-up for us and it’ll be a good gauge. Hopefully the work we’ve done in the off-season and from last year has been good and you never know but success is not really measured in wins and losses but I think a lot of our girls have grown and hopefully that’ll show up on Sunday,” she said.

Leading the pack are three outstanding top-age talents, with a raft of middle-agers also set to poise Sandringham as one of the competition’s stronger sides. A solid pre-season has built on the already admirable fitness base of those leaders, with each Dragon looking to keep standards at a relative high.

“I think the pleasing thing was that the girls that are backing up from last year have, as of day one of pre-season, come back improved physically – fitness-wise and also the fundamentals skill-wise,” she said. “Then we’ve got a really good balance of new young players as well as some top-age players who have come in so I think it’s a really balanced squad and hopefully we can all gel together and go really well.

Skipper Molly Denahy Maloney is one who sets the tone for her teammates in training and on matchday.

“I think our captain leads by example. She just grows and grows every session, she’s a fantastic leader who sets the standard physically and vocally as well,” Hyett said. “On and off the field when she speaks, everyone listens and her skills and determination I think will set her up for a really good year.”

Fellow top-agers, Margie Purcell and Sophie Rothfield are also coming on strong, impressing Hyett with their mix of grit and class while taking their games to the next level.

“Someone like Margie was pretty raw last year – started half-forward and ended up rotating on a wing,” she said. “Her game’s gone to the next level, her skills, her outside run and she’s really tough.
“She’s a really great pressure player, uses her speed without the ball but when she gets the ball in hand she takes off and adds a little bit of flair and toughness at the same time,” she said. “Then you’ve got someone like Soph’ who’s just got natural talent and if she puts it all together, anything’s possible – she’s got raw talent.”

A raft of middle-age talent is also something Hyett is excited by, with a range of players filling out the core of the team and looking to make a real impact.

“Girls like Alice Burke who won our best and fairest, they’re just constantly improving and learning about footy,” Hyett said. “So, footy IQ and their game sense is increasing, as well as the foot skills so I think Alice is in for a good year, she’s part of our leadership group as well. “Someone like Eliza McNamara has unbelievable speed, she’s just an athlete… I think she wears bruises with pride but also her skills have improved out of sight – the same with Winnie Laing, tough as nails and her skills have improved as well.”

Sarah Hartwig is also one who has impressed, holding down a spot in the side as a 16-year-old last year. Hyett said her continual progress has been impressive in the back half, epitomising the overall squad growth shown in the skill stakes.
“Probably our number one defender, Sarah Hartwig who has still got two years in the program and she takes a key forward, backs herself and very rarely gets beaten,” she said. “So those girls have all gone to a new level too as far as skills go which is what we want them to improve on. They’re all really good athletes and just constantly improving on skills and footy IQ and game smarts.”

With a practice match win over the Knights to build on, Sandringham looks a contender once again and may well be a side to benefit from the new finals structure with a host of talent across the field set to hold them in good stead for 2019.