Tag: nikita wright

2020 NAB League Girls team update: Western Jets

WHILE the NAB League Girls competition is on break, we take a quick recap of each team, how the first three rounds have panned out for them and who has already stood up in the short time. In this edition we look at the final side in our series, the Western Jets who filled each of the won-lost-drawn columns with a mixed bag start to the season.

2020 RESULTS:

R1: defeated Bendigo Pioneers by 22 points
R2: drew with Murray Bushrangers
R3: lost to GWV Rebels by 25 points

The Jets got to experience the highs, lows and everything in between across the opening three rounds of the season. Western started off with an impressive win over Bendigo Pioneers, could not be split when they faced Murray Bushrangers, and then after a strong start, were just overrun in the second half against Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels.

FIVE STRONG STARTERS:

Isabelle Pritchard (22.7 disposals, 3.3 marks, 1.7 hitouts, 7.3 tackles, 3.5 inside 50s, 3.3 rebounds)

The top age AFL Women’s National Academy member was her side’s leading ball winner over the first three rounds and seemed to be everywhere on the ground. After becoming a really consistent half-back in 2019, Pritchard showed she can play through the midfield and used her taller and stronger frame to win the ball at stoppages and get it forward for her teammates to score. A prominent tackler as well.

Montana Ham (20.3 disposals, 5.0 marks, 2.7 tackles, 4.0 inside 50s, 3.7 rebounds, 1 goal)

One of a number of bottom agers, Ham looked more than capable of matching it against her older peers, having a number of highlight reel moments in the opening few rounds. She finished the three games with plenty of stats across the board, including more than 20 touches and five marks per game, having some of the strongest hands going around. Her goal from 50m against the Rebels in Round 3 was one of the best of the competition.

Amelia Velardo (18.0 disposals, 5.0 hitouts, 4.7 tackles, 2.7 inside 50s, 2.0 rebounds)

Playing the tough gig of undersized ruck, the new top ager seemed to take everything in her stride and was one of the Jets’ top four performers across the first two rounds. She did her best in the ruck, but then would dominate her opponent once the ball hit the ground, showing off great athleticism and the ability to cover ground and offer herself as a target around the field.

Charlotte Baskaran (20.3 disposals, 2.0 marks, 6.0 tackles, 3.7 inside 50s, 2.7 rebounds)

One of the best ball users and decision makers in the competition, the bottom age talent still has a couple of years to run in the system and will be one to watch in the future. She often comes off half-back and takes the game on, and more often than not is able to hit targets in situations very few can. A player expected to rotate around the ground in coming years, but once she has time and space, can do some real damage to the opposition.

Caitlin Sargent (9.7 disposals, 3.0 marks, 4.0 tackles, 1.7 inside 50s, 4 goals)

The forward getting on the end of the most opportunities from her teammates, Sargent booted four goals in her three games, and then would also work hard up the field to create opportunities for others. She would go on searching leads and then apply pressure to the opposition, and as a middle ager still has a year to run in the program. She played eight games last season, but has already made noticeable improvement from her few games in 2020, so another to keep an eye on in 2021.

Others who have stood out: Nikita Wright, Ciara Singleton, Jemima Woods, Sarah Golding

A top ager in Wright and an overager in Singleton come into the list after strong starts to the season, with Wright working hard through the midfield and Singleton being a reliable option in defence, whilst pushing up the ground to pump the ball inside 50 on a number of occasions too. Woods and Golding are both middle agers who have another year to run in the system, and both showed good signs to start 2020.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Weekend wash-up: NAB League Girls – Round 2

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

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

GOALS:

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

BEST:

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

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

 

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

GOALS:

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

BEST:

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

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

 

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

GOALS:

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

BEST:

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

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

 

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

GOALS:

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

BEST:

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

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

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

GOALS:

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

BEST:

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

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

 

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

GOALS:

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

BEST:

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

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