Tag: Nina Morrison

Patrikios overcomes initial pressure to flourish at championships

IT has been a whirlwind 12 months for Calder Cannons’ and Vic Metro star, Georgia Patrikios. After telling us her journey into football last year, Draft Central caught up with Patrikios at the AFL Women’s Draft Combine where she described what the experience had been like in her top-age year with so much expectation around herself and her peers.

“Footy’s been pretty full-on actually,” Patrikios said. “We started off early November with the Cannons and that sort of lead up to earlier this year it finished off. “Then we went through to Metro, to the carnival and then after that I had Essendon VFL and it’s lead me to here.”

The year began with Patrikios captaining the Cannons into a Grand Final, but falling one win short of repeating the premiership effort from two years ago, albeit then without a grand final. But given the age demographic of her side compared to many others, Patrikios said it was a terrific year for the club.

“We had a few of those younger girls in our program the year before and they’ve got a few games into them,” she said. “Coming into this year they all had a few games under their belt and their confidence grew a bit so that helped them playing the year before, but we did have a better performance, it’s just a better result for us I think.”

Just making it into the Grand Final was “unreal” with the Cannons finishing third and having to upset reigning premiers Geelong Falcons to book a spot in the decider at Ikon Park the following week. While Calder went down to the Knights, Patrikios recalls the feeling following the preliminary final win.

“It was an unreal feeling,” Patrikios said. “You could just tell with all the girls how happy we all were. We did have belief that we could have gone and won the grand final the next week, but it just wasn’t meant to be. “Everyone was really happy with our performance and for being the underdogs to actually beating Geelong was just a great effort and I was proud of the group.”

To captain the side into a Grand Final was a moment Patrikios is sure not to forget anytime soon.

“It was just surreal,” she said. “I didn’t even have words to explain. “The group of girls we had was just amazing and it just showed, we did have a young side and we made it to the grand final. “That was a really good effort and really honoured to be given that label (captaincy), but at the end of the day it was just a label and I’m just like everyone else in the team.”

On the individual front, Patrikios went from strength-to-strength once she donned the navy blue and white ‘V’ at the AFL Women’s Under-18 Championships. The winger earned the Most Valuable Player (MVP) award not only from her own side, but the overall tournament, following in the footsteps of close friend, Madison Prespakis 12 months earlier.

“Probably Metro’s one of the best carnivals I’ve had, playing through the past three years and even playing through NAB I’ve shown the most at this nationals that just passed,” Patrikios said. “But even going into VFL, I feel like I played pretty well and I’m just trying to continue to build onto that hopefully into AFLW.”

“It was actually a surprise (to be named MVP),” she said. “I was actually looking around to see who I thought was going to win it, I was looking across and then I heard my name get called out and it was just a surreal feeling and was just a real honour and a player of the championships and to see the girls that had won it previously such as Nina Morrison and Maddy (Madison Prespakis) last year and see where they are now, it’s just a real honour.”

The potential top five pick said while the year was a success, she admits she struggled with the weight of expectations early in the year, not necessarily from external sources, but from within.

“I think at the start I put a lot of pressure on myself, coming through NAB League and I think that’s when I wasn’t playing my best when I was putting that pressure on myself,” Patrikios said. “If you think about it, I’m the only one who puts pressure, so that was sort of what happened during NAB, and then I got my confidence back coming into the championships, that I was cut out to play at that level so yeah, just ensuring that I was trying to play my best and put my best foot forward.”

This year Patrikios has been working on building her endurance to improve her two-kilometre time trial time, as well as her overhead marking, something she hoped would hold her in good stead for the future. While she has played in numerous roles, Patrikios said a wing and eventually the inside midfield – once she added size to her lighter frame – would be her preference.

With the Western Bulldogs holding the top pick and Carlton holding pick two, plenty has been speculated about who might go where, with Patrikios already having links to the Blues through university.

“With Carlton I’m there at uni two times a week and sometimes I run into the recruiters or Ash Brown (General Manager of Women’s Football) and we just have a little chat,” Patrikios said. “There’s not too much that happens but we do chat if I happen to run into him, but we’ve just got to wait and see.”

Not to mention one of her inspirations was a revelation in the 2019 AFL Women’s season, taking out the Rising Star Award in the navy blue. But Patrikios admitted she has a number of inspirations over the journey.

“I have a couple (of inspirations),” she said. “Inside footy, it would be Maddy Prespakis. “We’re really close inside and outside of footy and she gives me a lot of advice and helps me out if I need anything, if something’s wrong. “She’s obviously been through it so she knows how to go about it and stuff. “Outside of footy, probably my brother and my parents. “My brother plays footy, he sort of knows what I’m going through.”

While Patrikios could end up at one of a number of clubs, it is expected it will not take too long to hear her name read out, and whatever colours they might be in, she is determined to make an impact at pre-season training immediately.

“I’m a hard worker and I want to earn the respect of all my teammates as you do going into a new club and just put your best foot forward for all of them to see,” she said.

McEvoy all class and determination

THREE-time All Australian and Geelong Falcons captain, Lucy McEvoy is one of the highly touted prospects ahead of the draft and for good reason given her impressive skillset and footy brain. McEvoy has never been far from the Sherrin, playing Auskick from a young age and working her way into representative sides credit to her never say die attitude and grit across the footy field.

“I started in Auskick back with the boys when [I was] about five or six,” she said. “Then played junior footy with Collendina Cobras with the boys up until Under 14s then swapped over to the girls league after that. “Played one year at Barwon Heads then went to St Mary’s which is my local club at the moment and managed to make my way into representative sides somehow and kind of just went from there.”

The Falcons recognised her talent from an early age gifting her with the captaincy at 16 and she did not disappoint guiding her side to grand final glory and feeding off her teammates to develop her leadership qualities throughout her time at Geelong.

“It’s been a great experience working with girls that are older and also younger,” McEvoy said. “They’ve been really helpful in helping me build my leadership and really focus on that a lot more, especially this year and even just working with the other girls in the leadership group it’s been really good. “I think I’ve always been quite confident personality wise. “I think it depends who you meet sometimes. “Knowing that they’d voted for me as well gave me the confidence to know that they really did want me to be their captain and their leader. So tried to really embrace it and tried not to really think too much that I was younger than them. But yeah their support in that first season was really crucial for me.”

McEvoy has already had a highly decorated career, winning a premiership last year after going undefeated and will be looking to add to her trophy cabinet in the years to come.

“It was so good,” McEvoy said. “I thought we had a chance this year as well. “We had a really good bunch of girls and considering what we’d been through the year before with the loss of one of our teammates. “I think it made it even more special. “I’ll cherish that forever.”

With a premiership to her name McEvoy capped off her NAB League career as a three-time All Australian with each time more special than the previous.

“When I was younger I probably I took it for granted probably because I was a little immature and not as grown up and didn’t really realise the significance of it,” she said. “But as the second one I managed to get and this year, it’s quite something that I hold quite highly because a lot of the other girls don’t really get a chance to get that achievement. “So I’ve tried to really acknowledge my achievements but also not get ahead of myself and just keep on track and focus on one thing at a time.”

Often referred to as the Falcons’ footy factory, Geelong saw a wealth of talent get drafted last year leaving a gaping hole in the Falcons 2019 side. But that did not deter McEvoy with the captain standing up through the midfield to replace the likes of number one draft pick Nina Morrison along with Olivia Purcell and Denby Taylor.

“As pre-season went on we were able to create our own side and really adapt to each other’s games,” McEvoy said. “We lost some quality players in the midfield, but the girls that stepped up in Paige (Sheppard) and Luka (Lesosky-Hay) and some of the bottom-age girls was credit to them. “They really took it on board and played their role for the team this year.”

The talented footballer has a bright future ahead of her both on and off the football field with the 18-year-old hoping to get into university next year.

“I’m hoping to go into paramedicine,” McEvoy said. “I put Vic Uni as my number one preference. “Who knows whether I’ll get it or not, I’ve still got to finish exams and what not, hopefully I put my best foot forward in that and hopefully get the ATAR that I need.”

With an already solid set of skills, McEvoy is constantly looking to improve herself and develop her craft on the footy field noting her marking as one of strengths, but her short kick as a possible improvement.

“I need to definitely still improve my short kicking and accuracy in that area,” she said. “Then my fitness components which will be tested this week endurance, sprinting and agility, I’d really love to improve that side of my game.”

Throughout her time, she has been heavily influenced by her fellow teammates who have gone on to the next level with AFL clubs.

“Definitely the girls that were part of our side last year,” McEvoy said. “Nina Morrison, Liv Purcell and Denby (Taylor). “They’ve provided some of the great insight into what their experience was like and even in their first year of AFLW so I’ll continue to learn off them and admire what they do.”

U18 Girls season preview: Geelong Falcons

WITH as many premierships as losses over the past two seasons, Geelong Falcons have certainly set the benchmark in the Under 18 Girls competition. In 2019, the Falcons are the reigning premiers, having gone undefeated in 2018, and having a narrow two-point loss in 2017 as the only blemish on an otherwise perfect start to the underage female talent competition. Geelong Falcons Female Talent Manager, Katie Geerings said it was hard to fault what was ultimately a “perfect season”.

“It was pretty much the perfect season to be honest,” she said. “Going through undefeated and winning the grand final is one part of it, but the other side was the way the girls trained, the way they were as a group and the way they bonded and just all the effort they put in – that was really nice. “So yeah, it wasn’t just the success on the field, it was all the other aspects of it that made it a really good season.

The success of the Falcons girls in season 2018 had extra motivation with one of their closest friends and teammates Amy Gorell tragically killed in a car accident over the off-season the previous year. Geerings said the club addressed the playing group at the start of the season, but held off until half-time in the grand final to bring up their teammate.

“We actually spoke about it early on in the season and how we were going to approach that,” she said. “We spoke about the fact that we wanted just to let the girls deal with it in their own way, so at the very beginning we spoke about remembering her in their own way and they asked about wearing her number – so most of the girls every week had the number 30 on their hand which was really nice. “I mean, it honestly wasn’t really until the grand final at half-time where it actually got brought up – which we had pre-spoken about, that that would be the time we brought it up and used it as a motivation. “We said ‘all season you’ve been playing with Amy’s number on your hand, so if you need a little bit of extra bit of motivation just look down at your hand,’ but that was all that was said and we had pre-organised it. “It was always there at the back of the girls’ minds but that was the one time we used it as motivation.”

While the Falcons enjoyed premiership success, they also had three players drafted, with Nina Morrison, Olivia Purcell and Denby Taylor drafted to Geelong’s AFL Women’s side – Morrison with the first pick. While the talented speedster has devastatingly injured her knee and will miss the rest of the season, what she showed in the opening game was promising.

“I think they all played really great games for their first AFLW game,” Geerings said. “Nina (Morrison) obviously had a really outstanding game and so we’re pretty devastated for her around doing her knee but I think she showed in her first game that she’s more than capable of being there and I think throughout the game all three of the girls showed that they’re more than capable of being there – they played really great and were some of the better players out there, so it’s pretty exciting and I think it’s something to show for the what’s going to come through into the future and the game’s only going to get more skilful and a bit faster. ”

Seeing their teammates run out on television gives the now top-agers extra incentive to believe they too can achieve their dream of playing at the elite level in AFL Women’s.

“I think (seeing draftees play AFLW) is definitely inspiration, to see that pathway’s actually there and they can get there but I think it’s also given them a reality check of how hard you need to work to get there because we often talk about the extra work that those girls did, not just at training, but away from training to get to the point that they got to,” Geerings said. “So I think that’s the reality check for the girls to say ‘well if I want to get there I actually need to put in a lot of effort and have a really good mindset.’ “I think that’s the best part, it shows them what’s actually required to get there, they’ve seen it first hand and we obviously keep talking to them about it. “Now they’ve seen them out there playing so it’s inspiration, it’s motivation, and it’s a reality check for them.”

While the Falcons are reigning premiers, they said goodbye to a majority of their 2018 premiership team over the off-season and look a very different outfit heading into 2019. Geerings said the pre-season had been “really good” with plenty of fresh faces learning the game and developing along the way.

“We’ve got 50 girls in our squad but they’re looking really good – I think because we lost a lot of our top-agers last year with some of the girls getting drafted, we’ve got a lot of younger girls coming in this year and girls that have only been playing for one or two years and never been at Falcons before so it’s been different at the start, just having all those new girls that haven’t been around footy and just learning what they need to do to be at this level,” she said. “But they’re coming along really well. “I think we’ve just got a lot more (players new to football) now. “It’s just about helping them fit in, I think we have a pretty good culture so they just needed to work out how to fit into that and what’s expected of them. “Every time I watch them I’m like ‘oh, they’re looking pretty good’ so it’s a different squad from last year, different levels, but it’s good that it’s different anyway because you can’t just be the same all the time.”

Captain Lucy McEvoy enters the season as her third year in charge, with the now top-ager able to play anywhere on the field. She starred in defence for the Falcons last year, but then played exclusively forward at the AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships for Vic Country. Geerings said she will likely mix between the two, but do not be surprised to see the fearless leader thrown into the middle as well.

“I guess (playing defence and forward) is an advantage, she can actually play anywhere across the ground,” she said. “It’s also been thrown around a bit that she could be playing in the midfield a bit as well, so I think it will just be – Lucy will play where she needs to play on the day depending on who we’re playing and how the game’s going. “I don’t think there’ll necessarily be a set role for her, she will step up and play where she needs to depending on how the day’s going.”

A defender who could stand up and take that number one defensive role was a player who improved across the 2018 season and now stands as one of Geelong’s most important players this year in Abbey Chapman.

“She’s someone that’s had a really good pre-season, she’s worked really hard to get fit and worked on her running so she’s obviously a key part of our defence and has played that role really well in the past few years so it’ll be exciting to see her out there again,” Geerings said.

Up the other end, key forward Renee Tierney is another who is likely to cause headaches for opposition coaches.

“Renee played up forward for us last year and she’ll be up forward again,” Geerings said. “We’ve worked hard to get the girls fit or fitter over summer and pre-season so Renee’s definitely looking pretty fit. “She’ll be like a key forward for us; she’s a good strong mark and a good kick so I think that’s probably as a team where we’ve lacked in the past – up forward – we were talking about it the other week, all of a sudden we’ve got all these forward players coming through.”

If the bottom-age talent already on show was not enough, the Falcons’ stunning performance at the V/Line Cup was enough to show they have no shortage of future players set to run out in Futures games going forward, and in the coming years.

“We’ve got six Under 15’s within the group, so they’re obviously our development players and aren’t eligible to play in Under 18’s games, they’ll just play in the Under 15’s but all six of them are pretty great – not just talent wise, but the effort they put in and they’re really motivated,” Geerings said. “If they keep working like that, the standard is just going to keep on improving so between Mia (Van Dyke) and a few of the other girls, they’re looking amazing and honestly, if you could play them in the Under 18’s they’d fit in pretty well because they played amazingly at V-Line Cup. “That team, it was exciting to see them at V-Line Cup and know what’s coming through.”

Two exciting cross-coders Geerings is looking forward to unveiling this season are former basketballer, Zoe Garth and netballer, Alannah Sanderson.

“Zoe Garth’s been playing representative basketball so she’s crossed over to play footy,” Geerings said. “I just went and watched the local school footy last year and she played her first ever game of footy and stood out so I was like ‘who is that girl?’ and had a chat to her. “She’s looking really good for someone whose never played the game before, I think the girls who play basketball seem to cross over to football really easily, so she’s looking really good. “Until you get her out there in a game it’s hard to know but she’s training really well, she’s been working really hard, has worked heaps on her kicking and is a pretty good runner so I think it’ll be exciting to see how she goes. “Alannah plays representative netball as well in Geelong, she’s a really good netballer but she’s looking really good out there too. “She might be another one to just see how she goes, but most of the other girls are just footy-based.”

As for the premiership effect on the playing squad, Geerings said it was not really a topic of conversation as the Falcons wanted to take a new year, new challenge approach to 2019.

“To be honest, we haven’t really spoken about it very much,” she said. “It came up once last week and that was the first time we’d actually really spoken about it, it was sort of like ‘that was last season, it was great’ and we really only talk about it as in the fact that the girls worked so hard and they had each others’ backs and our strength was our tackling pressure so that’s the only time it’s really come up.

“We showed a bit of footage and just said the reason they came back and won was their tackling pressure which was really great and they never gave up, so use that as motivation – if this is where you want to get to, these are the things you have to do.”

This year, the Falcons are very different and while the names might change the goal is the same. Development is key and getting players drafted is the goal.

“I feel like it’s really unknown because with so many girls, they look really great out there but I know every region’s going to be strong,” Geerings said. “It’s exciting though, I would never expect that they would go out necessarily and win the premiership, I just want to see them work together and develop and improve – I guess winning a premiership at the end is just a bonus.”

Geelong Falcons begin their season against Sandringham Dragons on March 3 at Skybus Stadium, Frankston.

U18 Girls season preview: Dandenong Stingrays

DANDENONG Stingrays have their sights set on fast, attacking football this year, following the recruitment of former Carlton AFL Women’s interim coach, Nick Rutley to coach the side. Rutley coached two games in Damien Keeping‘s absence through illness, and will look to bring that experience at the elite level to the Stingrays. He has teamed up with Female Talent Manager, Matthew Crozier for the year as the Stingrays hope to kick-off how they finished off the season – with four straight wins.

Crozier himself came into the role for the first time last year and said it was fantastic to achieve two draftees – captain Jordyn Allen and Shelley Heath heading to Collingwood and Melbourne respectively via the draft.

“It was a good experience, it was a bit surreal,” Crozier said. “I’ve been in the role for 12 months and watching those girls that played in our team last year that were standout girls – seeing ‘Jordy’ run out there and strut her stuff and look to be a bit of a leader out there amongst the back six was really pleasing to see.”

Crozier said the club looked forward to the girls returning at times to motivate the next crop of AFL Women’s hopefuls.

“We’re looking to (have Allen and Heath return), Jordy has enquired about coming back down to training and maybe speaking to a couple of girls who lead the group,” he said. “We have our camp on the 24th of Feb on Sunday so hopefully we can get her down with a couple of the AFLW girls that Nick’s organised through his connections at Carlton. “But yeah, Jordy’s really a pioneer for what a leader should look like amongst the TAC Cup girls, so hopefully what Jordy’s instilled in the group as a top-ager last year is really going to transcend into our 17 year-olds and top-agers this year.”

The 2018 season saw the Stingrays lose the first five games of the year – often in tight games – before breaking through with a victory against Western Jets at Shepley Oval. That win was followed by three more to end the season with a 4-5 win-loss record.

“I think we knew we had a strong list from underneath, it was just a matter of trying to put all the bits of the puzzle together – we felt that if we had another three games left in the season we’d be pushing for top four,” Crozier said. Obviously it’s not about winning games but as a coaching group and talent coordinator sometimes you get that white-line fever. We felt that we did what we could with the group we had, our main priority was getting as many girls exposed to AFL(W) clubs and recruiters as possible and I feel that we did that the best we could – we look after that and the results took care of themselves towards the end of the year.”

Crozier said the shorter seasons allowed girls to test themselves at senior level in the Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s competition.

“It was good because it was a short sort of season and we could really attack it hard, but it was hard with injuries – if you’ve got a soft tissue injury you’re out for half the season,” he said. “I think going forward with the amount of exposure and the expanding of AFLW in the coming years hopefully it will be a stand-alone competition with the TAC Cup boys. “But at the moment for what it is, it’s a really good program. “We’re trying to get the girls back a couple of months after the season to brush up on their skills and make sure that they’re not falling behind – the ones who are coming around next year, the bottom-agers, just so once they go back to local footy their standards are still at a high level and elite level.”

Rutley said he has enjoyed getting back to a grassroots level and adapting to the different styles of the playing group.

“It’s been really good, they’re an enthusiastic bunch which is usually what you get in the female space – they love their footy or their sport in general,” he said. “It’s just getting them to get used to some different terminology, some different ways of coaching – we’ve brought in a little bit of a different look in terms of some different assistants but also, the people that wanted to be involved from last year have stayed on board which is really important to me, so we’ve got a nice little group together and pre-season so far has been good.”

Rutley said adapting into the Stingrays’ program has not been hard thanks to the tireless efforts of boys’ senior coach, Nick Cox and Male Talent Manager, Darren Flanigan.

“Nick Cox has been really good, he’s the boy’s new under 18 coach and he’s been fantastic just as a sort of reference point for me to ring up and talk about coaching, and in terms of integrating programs, all the intentions are there,” Rutley said. “Sometimes it just doesn’t work like that but we’ve had a couple of sessions where we’ve been able to do some warm-ups and just some basic craft which is great. “Throughout the year we intend as coaches and maybe some players just to integrate a little bit more, especially with our top-end talent with the girls if we look to have some Vic Country representation potentially they might train on with the boys which I reckon would be a great initiative and is something that Nick spoke about. “I know with Darren Flanigan and Matty’s (Crozier) guidance we’ll be fine.”

Rutley said he could see plenty of talented players who were the future of AFL Women’s.

“This is my first year as a head coach but last year being in the AFLW space with Carlton and seeing girls ranging from 17 to 30 or even older, it’s really evident that the younger girls that have had the privilege of talent pathway programs are now benefitting from that massively,” he said. “Then you just look at the Round 1 games – we spoke about Jordy Allen, (Monique) Conti second year in, (Madison) Prespakis first game, (Nina) Morrison obviously, and there’s a list of many others. “These first or second year girls are showing by being privileged enough to have a pathway to come through, unlike our 30 plus year-old or those from other sports, it’s really telling and beneficial, and we’re only going to see a better product in years to come.”

Dandenong Stingrays are in the unique position of having two guaranteed future AFL Women’s players on their list, with top-agers, Molly McDonald and Isabella Shannon both pre-listed by the Saints who were able to do so as part of the league expansion.

“Molly was one that towards the end of last year we thought was going to be a high draft commodity in 2019 and she’s really turned herself around and started pre-season with Nick (Rutley) coming on board, she’s really taken what Jordy left and run with it and owned it herself in the sense that she doesn’t really need the coach’s direction and really wants to have this group under her own,” Crozier said. “I think from an expansion point of view, the pre-selections give three girls the Sandringham region and the Dandenong Stingrays region a really good opportunity to cement their future and be put on an AFLW list before the season starts.”

For Rutley, he hoped to adapt the fast nature of the AFL Women’s game to his side in order to better prepare the girls for the rigours of the elite league.

“The big thing for me having spoken to AFLW coaches is that they’ve stripped it right back and brought it back to its purest form in skill craft. “If you look at the women’s space and the female game, it hasn’t been alive for that long. It’s growing rapidly and it’s great and really exciting but we need to take a breath as coaches and bring it back and make sure we’re teaching the initial fundamental skills. So we’ve had a really high emphasis on that in terms of” our craft, which is every session and it’s a non-negotiable, then we entered into a bit of a game sense phase just before Christmas and we’ve really started to ramp that up now.”

Rutley said the balance between skills and fitness was something that all clubs had to manage carefully.

“It’s an absolute balance,” he said. “The words marathon and sprint get thrown around in footy, well this is a sprint – 100 per cent. We don’t have a lot of time even in our pre-season phase and we don’t have a lot of time in season so Kelly Fallon has been fantastic in setting up a really good fitness program ranging, not just on the track but also in the gym with their core strength and stability training so we’re pretty happy at the moment that we’ve got a good balance which is important.”

Dandenong had a number of strong defenders last year and it looks to be a similar case this year, with the likes of Lucy Cripps and Zoe Hill potentially being key talls in the back half, having played for Vic Country in their respective age groups in 2018.

“I hope (the defence will be a strength),” Crozier said. “We’re pretty lucky to have those sort of girls coming through the program – it’s pretty rare you get a girl like Lucy Cripps who can mark and kick the footy really well and defend really. This year we have a bit of an emphasis on defence – defence turns into attack so we try and nurture that area of the game pretty well. “But as we said, we want to throw these girls around to different positions and really expose them for the recruiters so you might see Lucy Cripps playing full forward or on-ball or somewhere where she’s not accustomed to and hopefully thrives and catches the eye of AFL(W) recruiters. “Zoe Hill is still a raw talent, only a 17 year-old so hopefully she’ll be better for it this year and next year in 2020 as well she’ll really develop under the coaching group we’ve got at the moment.”

Crozier said the club was lucky to welcome back former female football talent manager, Darren Flanigan who has replaced Mark Wheeler as the Male Talent Manager – with Wheeler moving on to Sandringham Dragons.

“It’s been good because he’s (Flanigan) sort of left us to our own devices in a sense as to it’s our program and how we want to run it, he hasn’t come in over the top which has been good but he’s always been there for myself and Nick to question him about certain things,” Croier said. “The good thing about this year is that Darren’s come back and has been able to give the girls a bit more exposure and love into matching up with the boys program. “In the past, logistically it just hasn’t been able to happen due to not having him in-house but we’re very fortunate to have him and now we have such a great facility (at Seaford), we’ve been able to use the pools and stuff like that similar to the boys so Darren has been fantastic and take no credit away from Mark Wheeler who was the previous talent manager – he was fantastic for the girls and has been a guidance for me over 12 months so they’ve both been great. “Even since Mark left he’s been on the phone giving me advice so they’ve both been great.”

Rutley said he wanted to see as many girls drafted as possible, and therefore would be playing fast, attacking football to catch the attention of recruiters.

“We just want to be exciting and fast,” he said. “I just want the girls to take risks, make lots of mistakes and enjoy their footy. “We won’t be looking to save games and hold possession or play ultra-defensive footy – we will attack on the back of our defence but I just want them to be exciting, take risks and just showcase – at the end of the day they’ve got a real want to win and that’s normal at their age and where they’re at, being competitive, and it’s our job to get a balance of development. “Success will be a by-product of that so if that happens it’s all well and good and if they’re able to do that then they’ll get extra games – if you make finals you get extra games to showcase and that’s important if you’re trying to get to the next level.”

Dandenong Stingrays kick off the season on March 3 against Eastern Ranges at Skybus Stadium, Frankston.

Draftee Watch: Round 2

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

Adelaide: Hannah Martin

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

Brisbane: Lauren Bella

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

Carlton: Madison Prespakis

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

Collingwood: Mikala Cann

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

Fremantle: Sabreena Duffy

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

Geelong: Olivia Purcell

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

GWS Giants: Alyce Parker

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

Melbourne: Tyla Hanks

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

North Melbourne: Daisy Bateman

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

Western Bulldog: Celine Moody

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

Weekend previews: AFLW – Round 2

AFTER an exhilarating first round, which saw four of the five matches go down to the wire, teams prepare to tweak game styles or mix up team sheets in order to get an advantage over their opponents. Four of the first round losers face off, with Melbourne heading to Victoria Park on Saturday to face the Magpies, while Carlton hosts Adelaide at Ikon Park on Sunday. The two sides who head home without any points face an uphill battle in the race for finals action. The fifth losing side from Round 1, GWS GIANTS has its own mammoth effort – trying to take down North Melbourne who simply blitzed Carlton. A maximum of three sides can remain undefeated after Round 2 with first round winners, Geelong and Western Bulldogs, and Fremantle and Brisbane facing off over the weekend.

GWS GIANTS vs. NORTH MELBOURNE
Friday, February 8, 7.15pm
Drummoyne Oval

In the opening game of the round, new side North Melbourne fresh off a huge victory over Carlton, head to Drummoyne Oval to face the GIANTS. The GIANTS are playing just their second game at the venue, following a loss to the Blues this time last year. The battle within the contest is the All-Australian rucks going head-to-head with Kangaroos’ Emma King and GIANTS’ Erin McKinnon. North Melbourne’s midfield has great depth to it, lead by last year’s League Best and Fairest winner, Emma Kearney, Jamie Stanton, Jess Duffin and Ash Riddell, of whom the latter was ultra-impressive on debut. North Melbourne’s dynamic forward line features former Magpies, Jasmine Garner and Mo Hope, premiership-winning Bulldog Jenna Bruton, and former Lion Kaitlyn Ashmore. With the strength around the ground, it will be hard to contain the Roos if they win the midfield battle.

The one area the GIANTS could get an upper hand is through rebounding forward with an equally impressive, albeit underrated forward line. Jess Dal Pos, former Magpie Christina Bernardi and defender-turned-forward Cora Staunton are all capable of multiple goals, while Haneen Zreika was impressive on debut last week. The midfield simply has to win its fair share of head-to-heads, with Courtney Gum, Rebecca Beeson, Alicia Eva and Alyce Parker leading the way, while Amanda Farrugia, Emma Swanson and Tanya Hetherington will have big jobs coming out of defence. The Kangaroos took a massive 56 marks in last week’s huge win over Carlton, while still laying 66 tackles. The GIANTS laid just the 42 and only five in the forward 50, and will need to show more pressure inside 50 against a side capable of hurting you on the scoreboard really quickly. Both teams are generally good ball users and make the most of their opportunities so it will be fascinating to see which team can take the early advantage and put it on the scoreboard. North Melbourne will head in as favourites, but it is far from completely clear cut, and this will be a huge win for the GIANTS if they can get the job done at home.

H2H: GWS GIANTS 0 | North Melbourne 0 | Draws 0
Venue: GWS GIANTS 0-1-0 | North Melbourne 0-0-0

Last time they met: N/A

Fun facts:

  • Emma Kearney averages 20 disposals, 6.5 tackles, 4.5 clearances, four inside 50s and a goal against the GIANTS from two clashes.
  • Both AFL Women’s All Australian rucks are set to go head-to-head with Emma King taking on Erin McKinnon. In the battle between the pair last year, King won convincingly with 11 disposals and 18 hitouts to McKinnon’s three disposals and 14 hitouts.
  • GWS GIANTS’ only game at the venue resulted in a loss to Carlton last year, while North Melbourne looks to back up its only game – a huge win over Carlton last week.
  • The GIANTS have won two, drawn two and lost three games in New South Wales and Australian Capital Territory.

 

COLLINGWOOD vs. MELBOURNE
Saturday, February 9, 4.45pm
Victoria Park

At one of the homes of traditional football, Collingwood hosts Melbourne in what has become a must-win for both sides. After heart-breaking losses in Round 1 despite leading at the final change, neither team can afford to go 0-2, with the reality that teams need at least four wins to secure a finals berth. A second loss means they must win four of their final five games as a minimum and with both still to play their respective conference favourites, it would spell trouble for their post-season hopes. However, for the winner, it is a chance to balance the ledger and get back on track early in the season. Collingwood has been a slow starter in year’s gone by, and has been overhauled with youth since last season, while Melbourne has also brought a number of young players into the team, furthering the development of players who got their starts last season. With both teams defensively capable, it will make for a great clash. The sides also sit at one win each in the head-to-head, funnily enough after the losing side in each game got a head start, but was run over the top of in the second halves.

Both teams have made two changes, with a debutant and a return from a long-term injury headlining the selection moves. Oakleigh Chargers’ tall, Katie Lynch comes into the side after Sophie Alexander’s concussion last week ruled her out of the game. Kristy Stratton was also ruled out through injury, with the Magpies opting to go tall by bringing in Eliza Hynes to try and stretch the Melbourne defence when forward, while rotating with Sharni Layton and Eliza Fowler. Melbourne have brought in Ainslie Kemp who has not played since 2017 due to an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tear – sadly replacing Shae Sloane who suffered the exact same injury. The Dees have also brought in Ashleigh Guest for Claudia Whitfort. The key to victory for the Demons is restricting the run of Collingwood’s defence, which helped the Magpies hold up against Geelong last week with Ash Brazill causing all sorts of headaches, while Jordyn Allen was equally as impressive. They also need to clamp down on Jaimee Lambert who has the ability to turn a game with great plays, while Catherine Phillips could be the one asked to restrict Sarah D’Arcy from dominating in the air. For the Magpies, they need to be wary of Melbourne’s firepower with Tegan Cunningham and Eden Zanker likely to stretch the defence, while Aliesha Newman has pace to burn and both Kate Hore and Maddison Gay are capable of getting over the back and hurting teams on the rebound. Elise O’Dea, Karen Paxman and Lily Mithen are up there with the best midfields in the competition, and will look to control the stoppages around the ground and give their forwards early opportunities.

H2H: Collingwood 1 | Melbourne 1 | Draws 0
Venue: Collingwood 0-0-0 | Melbourne 0-0-0

Last time they met: Collingwood 9.4 (58) defeated Melbourne 3.6 (24) at TIO Traeger Park, Round 4, 2018

After booting the opening two goals of the match and keeping Collingwood goalless in the opening term, the Demons only managed 1.4 for the rest of the match as the Magpies piled on 9.4 to run away with the match by 34 points. Magpies captain, Steph Chiocchi played one of her best games under lights, booting a goal from 17 disposals, two marks, four clearances and three inside 50s, while Jaimee Lambert had a team-high 19 disposals as well as three inside 50s and two rebounds. Caitlyn Edwards and Mo Hope both booted two goals in the victory, but arguably the best performance was that of Brittany Bonnici who tagged Melbourne captain, Daisy Pearce and restricted her to a career-low nine disposals. For the Demons, Elise O’Dea was the top performer with 19 disposals, two clearances, three inside 50s and a goal, while Karen Paxman had 18 touches and three rebounds.

Fun facts:

  • Of the 42 players to take the field in last year’s clash in the Top End, just 24 players remain available for selection in season 2019. Even more remarkably, just eight players from Collingwood’s first match against the Demons – two years ago – remain on the list.
  • Elise O’Dea (17 disposals) and Karen Paxman (16.5 disposals) average the most disposals against the Magpies from their two clashes.
  • Sarah D’Arcy and Emma Grant average the most disposals against the Demons, with 10 touches apiece.
  • Both sides were in the lead at three quarter time after holding their opponent scoreless in the third term last week only to go on to lose the game in heartbreaking circumstances.

 

WESTERN BULLDOGS vs. GEELONG
Saturday, February 9, 7.15pm
VU Whitten Oval

H2H: Western Bulldogs 0 | Geelong 0 | Draws 0
Venue: Western Bulldogs 4-3-0 | Geelong 0-0-0

In the other game that will be the first time these teams go head-to-head is between reigning premiers, Western Bulldogs and new side, Geelong. Both teams had a win in Round 1 and this weekend marks the first home game for the Bulldogs, which means they will unfurl the 2018 AFL Women’s flag in front of what is predicted to be a strong crowd at VU Whitten Oval. The winner will most certainly get an early advantage given the strength of their opponent, and it marks the first game for the sides which sees them pitted against a non-conference rival. Both teams also know how to close out tight games, having survived one-point thrillers in the opening round to secure the four points. Given their experience and depth across the field, Western Bulldogs will head in as favourites, but Geelong are expected to throw down a challenge with a couple of key players returning.

The Cats have welcomed back key forward, Phoebe McWilliams and ruck, Erin Hoare to bolster their side against the reigning premiers. Georgie Rankin and Maighan Fogas have been the two unlucky players omitted from the victorious side last Saturday night, with Fogas and key defender, Georgia Clarke named as emergencies for the clash. The Dogs will unveil Irish debutant, Aisling McCarthy who comes into the side, replacing the omitted Belinda Smith. The enticing battle will see which defence holds up the best as both sides proved to have their respective opposition’s measure last week. Co-captain, Katie Brennan booted the Bulldogs’ two goals against the Crows, while Meg McDonald, Rebecca Goring and Madeline Keryk were among the Cats’ best under pressure when the Magpies were attacking. While the heartbreaking story of Nina Morrison doing her ACL at training will dominate headlines, Geelong still has a huge core of youth including Denby Taylor, Olivia Purcell and Sophie Van De Heuvel who will face established young talents in Monique Conti and Bonnie Toogood, and first round draftee, Eleanor Brown. Co-captain Ellie Blackburn is always a crucial player for the Dogs and will look to take control in the midfield, while the Dogs’ defence of Lauren Spark, Libby Birch and Hannah Scott will provide plenty of rebound.

Last time they met: N/A

Fun facts:

  • The Western Bulldogs lost three consecutive matches at VU Whitten Oval in 2017, but have since won all three games they have played there, and is the Dogs’ first home game since winning the 2018 AFL Women’s flag.
  • Aasta O’Connor will play against her old side for the first time, lining up in the ruck to face Kim Rennie, while sharing the ruck duties with Erin Hoare in the blue and white hoops.
  • Ellie Blackburn averaged 16.9 disposals, 2.9 marks, 3.25 tackles and 3.25 clearances last season, the most of any current Western Bulldogs player.
  • With Brooke Lochland injured for the season, Phoebe McWilliams will be the leading goal kicker from last season in the match, booting seven goals for the GIANTS.

 

CARLTON vs. ADELAIDE
Sunday, February 10, 4.05pm
Ikon Park

H2H: Carlton 0 | Adelaide 2 | Draws 0
Venue: Carlton 4-1-2 | Adelaide 0-0-0

For the first time in 2019, Ikon Park hosts a match with the Blues heading back home to welcome the Crows in a Sunday evening game. The ground has traditionally been the host of the opening game of the year between bitter rivals, Carlton and Collingwood but that has changed in 2019. These teams are both heading into the match off the back of a loss, with Carlton’s heavy defeat to North Melbourne not the ideal start to the season following a wooden spoon, while the Crows will rue missed opportunities in front of goal after booting 1.11 against the Bulldogs at Norwood Oval. Adelaide is yet to play at Ikon Park, while Carlton has made it somewhat of a fortress winning four and drawing a fifth game from its seven matches at the venue. Considering they have only won one match outside Ikon Park, it has been a comfort zone and the Crows cannot afford to take them lightly. With Adelaide in the tougher conference, they would not want to drop this game and go 0-2 to start the season, while Carlton will look for its first win under Daniel Harford who would have learnt plenty from the round one defeat.

Looking at the Round 1 matches, efficiency inside 50 looks to be key, with Adelaide having a 75 per cent scoring efficiency with 18 shots from 24 attempts, while Carlton had just 10 shots from 29 attempts – 35 per cent scoring efficiency. Both sides have impressive forward lines on paper, but they will need to convert their opportunities. Any forward 50 with Darcy Vescio, Tayla Harris and Brianna Davey – who has actually been named in defence – is going to worry opposition defenders, while Erin Phillips is as good as anyone one-on-one and is lining up at full-forward, while Chloe Scheer is a young star who will only get better. Speaking of young stars, Madison Prespakis carried the weight of the midfield on her shoulders last week and was ultra-impressive on debut, so the Crows will need to be aware of her presence. The Adelaide midfield has greater depth and the Blues should look to limit the influence of Ebony Marinoff who racked up 23 disposals and laid 11 tackles in Round 1. If Carlton can restrict her influence on the inside and win the contested ball – with the likes of Jess Hosking and Katie Loynes getting on top, it will go a long way to causing an upset. Chelsea Randall leads the defence, while the experience of Renee Forth through the midfield will be important. Carlton will need to control the ruck contest through Breann Moody, and break even in the middle, while the Crows will focus on clearance domination to give their forwards first opportunity and more importantly, those forwards need to convert.

Last time they met: Adelaide 8.7 (55) defeated Carlton 2.8 (20) at Norwood Oval, Round 5, 2018.

Adelaide flexed their muscles against the Blues when the sides were heading in opposite directions. The Crows at home booted six goals to one after quarter time to run away from the Blues, but counted the cost of the win with injuries to Erin Phillips and Courtney Cramey. Ruth Wallace booted three goals, while Eloise Jones finished with two, as Ebony Marinoff and Chelsea Randall shared 31 disposals. Breann Moody was dominant in the ruck for the Blues with 29 hitouts from 11 disposals and four clearances, while Tayla Harris had 11 disposals, three marks and booted a goal.

Fun facts:

  • Despite winning the wooden spoon last season, Carlton has a strong record at Ikon Park, having won four and drawn one from seven attempts.
  • If Carlton lose the match, it will mark more than a year since they won their last match.
  • While she picked up an injury in the second game, Erin Phillips was everywhere in the Crows’ first win over the Blues, racking up 21 disposals and eight clearances. In the same game, Ebony Marinoff laid 14 tackles from 16 disposals, her exact disposal average against Carlton.
  • Of the Carlton players to play against Adelaide in both games, the omitted Tilly Lucas-Rodd averages the most disposals with 13.5, while Darcy Vescio averages two goals per game against the Crows.

 

FREMANTLE vs. BRISBANE
Sunday, February 10, 3.05pm
Fremantle Oval

H2H: Fremantle 0 | Brisbane 2 | Draws 0
Venue: Fremantle 2-3-0 | Brisbane 1-0-0

Both sides won against the odds in Round 1, with Fremantle toppling Melbourne in scorching weather at Casey Fields after being 14 points down at the final break, while Brisbane knocked off GWS GIANTS a fortnight after succumbing to the GIANTS in a heavy practice match loss. Both sides had plenty to be positive about last week, most importantly securing an early four points, while also having plenty to improve upon for this week. Fremantle are back at home in Western Australia, but at their only other clash at the venue, Brisbane took home the points, though it was two years ago. Both teams look to be very different to that clash, with the Lions having a host of youth coming through, as do the Dockers while also filtering in some experienced local talent. Brisbane will go in as favourites given their history in the competition, but Fremantle’s performance last week certainly raised eyebrows and showed that everyone could be underrating the Dockers.

Both sides play a different brand of football which is really exciting for this clash. In Round 1, Fremantle battered and bruised their way to an impressive contested ball style, getting the pull forward to record a huge 11 marks inside 50, while laying 10 tackles in the arc. They harassed and pressured the Demons into making uncharacteristic mistakes, laying 77 tackles in the process. The Lions have tall targets up forward, but opted for a balanced possession game and spread well around the ground. They intercepted the GIANTS 51 times and took the game on, trying to unsettle the defence with possession football, but going when required. This game could well be a combination of both styles and sets up for a huge clash. The Lions forward line is severely underrated with Sabrina Frederick-Traub the dominant key position player, while McKenzie Dowrick and Jess Wuetschner are incredibly clever and dangerous around goals. Throw in Jordan Zanchetta, Emma Zielke and the defensively-minded but strong, Lauren Arnell and the Lions front six is as good as any. Ebony Antonio and Tayla Bresland were strong in defence last week, while the midfield of Dana Hooker and Kara Donnellan are not huge ball winners, but always effective. They tackle the biggest ball-winning duo of Emily Bates and Ally Anderson who had the ball on a string last week, while the potential match-up of Kiara Bowers and Sam Virgo could be entertaining based on Round 1 form. Both teams have immensely talented youth coming through, and both teams’ first round picks, Sabreena Duffy and Paige Parker, have been named in the side.

Last time they met: Brisbane 3.4 (22) defeated Fremantle 2.3 (15) at South Pine Sports Complex, Round 4, 2018.

In a low-scoring affair that saw just one goal kicked in the first half, Brisbane held on in a thriller to win by seven points and remain on track for a grand final berth. Dynamic forward, Jess Wuetschner booted two goals from 18 disposals, three marks and four inside 50s, while Kate Lutkins and Ally Anderson both had 18 touches in the win. For the Dockers, Lara Filocamo had 18 disposals and laid five tackles. Kara Donnellan laid a whopping 10 tackles and had five clearances and 15 disposals.

Fun facts:

  • In their only clash at the venue, Brisbane defeated Fremantle by 13 points in Round 2, 2017. Fremantle has a 100 per cent winning ratio at Fremantle Oval over Victorian sides, but a zero per cent winning ratio over non-Victorian sides.
  • Jess Wuetschner has been the dominant goal kicker in the matches between these sides, averaging two goals per game.
  • Lara Filocamo averages the most disposals between the sides, with 17.5 per match.
  • Both sides won their opening round matches by less than a kick, with Fremantle getting a dress rehearsal for the scorching West Australian heat, winning at Casey Fields in 38 degrees Celcius.

 

DRAFT CENTRAL TIPPING

Leaderboard:

Eq. 1st : Sophie Taylor, Matthew Cocks [ 3 ]
Eq. 3rd : Peter Williams, Taylah Melki, Michael Alvaro [ 2 ]

 

Peter Williams

Chief Editor

Last week: 2

Round 2 selections:

North Melbourne
Collingwood
Western Bulldogs
Adelaide
Brisbane

 

Taylah Melki

Assistant Chief Editor

Last week: 2

Round 2 selections:

North Melbourne
Melbourne
Western Bulldogs
Adelaide
Brisbane

 

Sophie Taylor

Women’s Football Editor

Last week: 3

Round 2 selections:

North Melbourne
Melbourne
Western Bulldogs
Adelaide
Brisbane

 

Michael Alvaro

Men’s Football Editor

Last week: 2

Round 2 selections:

North Melbourne
Melbourne
Western Bulldogs
Adelaide
Brisbane

 

Matthew Cocks

Guest Tipster

Last week: 3

Round 2 selections:

GWS GIANTS
Collingwood
Western Bulldogs
Adelaide
Brisbane

Team Selection: AFLW – Round 2

AFTER a blockbuster opening round, Round 2 will be looking to live up to all the hype with big names such as Phoebe McWilliams and Sarah Perkins hoping to take the field for the first time this season. Not only will Adelaide fans be pleased to see the return of Perkins but also excited about youngster Danielle Ponter who has been named in the extended squad. Ponter is the niece of AFL great Michael Long and cousin of Hawthorn hero Cyril Rioli. 18-year-old Elisha King is set to make her debut for the Kangaroos, while Collingwood forward Katie Lynch will also pull on the jumper for the first time. Nina Morrison has cemented her place in Geelong’s side after an impressive debut match, while Alyce Parker is another starter having dominated in Round 1 for GWS.

North Melbourne did not make many changes after putting out a dominant performance last week thanks to their firepower across the field with Jess Duffin, Moana Hope, Emma King, Emma Kearney and co set to take the field once again.

After going down with an injury, Collingwood goal sneak Sophie Alexander has been ruled out to take on the Dees at Victoria Park while Melbourne defender Shae Sloane will also miss the rest of the season after injuring her ACL. The Dees will look to the likes of Karen Paxmen, Lily Mithen and Elise O’Dea to secure a win for Melbourne.

GWS GIANTS v. NORTH MELBOURNE
Round 2 – Friday, February, 8, 7:15pm
Drummoyne Oval, NSW

GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY

B: P.Randall 21, E.Swanson 17, P.Monahan 28
HB: A.Farrugia (c), 18 T.Hetherington 9, E.Brush 10
C: A.Eva 2
HF: J.Dal Pos 7, J.Barclay 34, H.Zreika 24
F: C.Bernardi 4, C.Staunton 13, Y.Bonner 27
Foll: E.McKinnon 23, C.Gum 26, R.Beeson 6
I/C: N.Barr 8, L.Stephenson 12, E.Bennetts 22, A.Parker 3, B.Perry 19
Emg: M.Collier 14, T.Mackrill 32

In: E.Brush, J.Barclay, B.Perry
Out: J.Hicks, A.Schmidt (injured), M.Collier

NORTH MELBOURNE

B: T.Randall 16, J.Grierson 19, E.Humphries 6
HB: B.Gibson 18, D.Hardiman 31, J.Duffin 27
C: E.Kearney (c) 9
HF: K.Gillespie-Jones 5, J.Garner 25, J.Bruton 35
F: S.Abbatangelo 1, M.Hope 23, K.Ashmore 10
Foll: Emma King 60, J.Stanton 17, A.Riddell 7
I/C: N.Bresnehan 12, J.Trend 21, Elisha King 4, A.Drennan 8, D.Bateman 11
Emg: C.Munn 13, C.Haines 29

In: Elisha King
Out: G.Nanscawen

 

COLLINGWOOD v. MELBOURNE
Round 2 – Saturday, February, 9, 4:45pm
Victoria Park, Melbourne

COLLINGWOOD

B: J.Allen 6, A.Brazill 10, I.Ross 21
HB: S.Livingstone 12, S.Casey 22, E.Grant 5
C: E.Hynes 11
HF: G.Gourlay 32, S.D’Arcy 4, K.Lynch 16
F: S.Rowe 7, M.Cann 25, C.McIntosh 20
Foll: S.Layton 1, S.Chiocci (c) 17, J.Lambert 13
I/C: R.Schleicher 18, L.Butler 23, S.Dargan 46, B.Bonnici 8, E.Fowler 15
Emg: H.Whitford 28, M.Shevlin 35

In: E.Hynes, K.Lynch
Out: K.Stratton (injured), S.Alexander (injured)

MELBOURNE

B:  M.Downie 2, H.Cordner 21, C.Emonson 11
HB: S.Lampard 8, C.Phillips 35, K.Smith 13
C: E.O’Dea (c) 5
HF: M.Gay 3, S.Scott 12, A.Newman 16
F: E.Zanker 29, T.Cunningham 1, K.Hore 10
Foll: L.Pearce 15, L.Mithen 14, K.Paxman 4
I/C: B.Jakobsson 7, T.Hanks 28, A.Kemp 36, A.Guest 17, A.Woodland 19
Emg: M.Guerin 22, B.Patterson 24

In: A.Kemp, A.Guest
Out: S.Sloane (injured), C.Whitfort

 

WESTERN BULLDOGS v. GEELONG CATS
Round 2- Saturday, February, 9, 7:15pm
Whitten Oval, Footscray

WESTERN BULLDOGS

B: L.Birch 18, L.Spark 11, B.Hunt 21
HB: N.Ferres 16, T.Ernst 19, H.Scott 22
C: K.Lamb 27
HF: N.Callinan 10, K.Brennan 3, B.Toogood 28
F: K.McLeod 6, E.Mackie 25, A.Utri 23
Foll: K.Rennie 24, M.Conti 8, E.Blackburn (c) 2
I/C: C.Moody 13, E.Brown 9, A.Gogos 36, D.Berry 7, A.McCarthy 15
Emg: B.Smith 12, S.Karlson 26

In: A.McCarthy
Out: B.Smith

GEELONG

B: A.Teague 40, R.Goring (c) 44, C.Blakeway 4
HB: D.Taylor 28, M.McDonald 11, R.Webster 21
C: R.Garing 12
HF: N.Morrison 9, M.Boyd 26, S.Van De Heuvel 27
F: K.Darby 8, P.McWilliams 23, J.Ivey 5
Foll: A.O’Connor 14, J.Crockett-Grills 6, O.Purcell 16
I/C: E.Hoare 46, M.Clifford 7, M.McMahon 24, D.Orr 2, M.Keryk 45
Emg: M.Fogas 13, G.Clarke 17

In: P.McWilliams, E.Hoare
Out: G.Rankin, M.Fogas

 

CARLTON v. ADELAIDE CROWS
Round 2- Sunday, February, 10, 4:05pm
Princes Park, Carlton

CARLTON

B: S.Hosking 10, K.Harrington 9, N.Stevens 21
HB: G.Pound 6, B.Davey (c) 1, L.Brazzale 12
C: G.Gee 19
HF: M.Prespakis 4, T.Harris 7, D.Vescio 3
F: K.Bentley 13, A.Downie 30, N.Plane 32
Foll: B.Moody 16, K.Loynes 2, C.Dalton 15
I/C from: J.Hosking 11, J.Van Dyk 36, S.Audley 26, A.Barden 8, J.Edwards 25, B.Walker 14, R.Watt 22

In: G.Gee, B.Walker, R.Watt
Out: T.Lucas-Rodd

ADELAIDE

B: A.Foley 3, S.Allan 39, S.Thompson 14
HB: D.Cox 31, C.Randall 26, C.Cramey 22
C: E.Marinoff 10
HF: M.Rajcic 32, A.Hatchard 33, A.Considine 16
F: C.Scheer 4, E.Phillips (c) 13, J.Mules 23
Foll: J.Foley 24, D.Varnhagen 9, R.Forth 27
I/C from: H.Martin 6, M.Nankivell 12, S.Perkins 28, E.Jones 2, S.Li 19, S.Riley 8, D.Ponter 15

In: S.Perkins, S.Riley, D.Ponter
Out: J.McCormick (managed)

 

FREMANTLE v. BRISBANE LIONS
Round 2- Sunday, February, 10, 6:05pm
Fremantle Oval, Fremantle

FREMANTLE

B: E.Gooch 8, T.Bresland 5, A.Stannett 24
HB: A.Williams 9, E.Antonio 12, P.Seth 18
C: S.Cain 20
HF: K.Gibson 21, G.Houghton 27, G.O’Sullivan 22
F: H.Miller 19, A.Sharp 1, K.Bowers 2
Foll: P.Laurie 11, D.Hooker 17, K.Donnellan (c) 15
I/C from: S.Duffy 6, K.Grieve 13, L.Pugh 32, L.Mascall 14, M.Caulfield 10, A.Atkins 37, B.Moyes 55

In: A.Atkins, B.Moyes
Out: 

BRISBANE

B: S.Virgo 5, S.Webb 4, N.Exon 15
HB: S.Campbell 20, L.Kaslar (c) 11, K.Lutkins 13
C: E.Pittman 19
HF: L.Arnell 16, M.Dowrick 33, E.Zielke 8
F: J.Wuetschner 23, S.Frederick-Traub 14, J.Zanchetta 7
Foll: J.Tawhiao-Wardlaw 30, E.Bates 1, A.Anderson 18
I/C from: A.Clarke 21, P.Parker 10, L.Bella 32, N.Grider 17, K.McCarthy 9, T.Groves-Little 26, G.Collingwood 28

In: N.Grider, T.Groves-Little
Out: –

Number Crunching: AFLW – Round 1

THERE are plenty of individual stats to put under the microscope after Round 1 of the Australian Football League Women’s (AFLW) competition, with a handful of players starring on the sheet across multiple lines – including a gun draftee, former rising star, and high-profile tradee.

Adelaide’s Ebony Marinoff was the talk of the town after her round-leading 23 disposal performance in a losing effort against the ‘Dogs. It was an incredible game from the hard-working midfielder, who topped the fantasy charts at 107 points having also laid 11 tackles and spread her load at almost an even 50 per cent between contested and uncontested possessions. Not to be outdone by the former rising star, Geelong’s number one draft pick, Nina Morrison starred in the season-opener to be the equal-second leading disposal winner for the round with 22. The midfielder showed her balance in the craft with 14 contested possessions and six clearances, while also providing her trademark run with three inside 50’s. Meanwhile, Emily Bates and Ally Anderson had 22 disposals each in the Lions’ midfield to match Morrison as they overcame GWS.

Anderson’s 14 contested possessions were enough for equal-second best alongside Morrison, but Melbourne’s Karen Paxman was the boss of the engine room for Round 1, with a whopping 18 contested possessions from her 21 disposals at a rate of 85 per cent. Stepping up in the absence of stalwart, Daisy Pearce, Paxman also earned a round-high nine clearances to lead in the stat from Fremantle’s Dana Hooker (eight) and Adelaide superstar, Erin Phillips (seven). While Paxman and co won the contested ball in spades, a current and a former Magpie won all of their touches in the clinches. Collingwood’s Sarah Dargan (11 disposals) and Kangaroo ruck recruit, Emma King (10 disposals) both had contested possession rates of 100 per cent in impressively gritty displays. Geelong’s Maddy Keryk was the only player bar-Paxman with over 15 disposals to also have had a rate of over 80 per cent contested possessions. On the other end of the scale, Bates and new-Roo Jess Duffin won the most uncontested ball with 13 apiece, with Duffin’s teammate, Emma Kearney working in tandem for her tally of 10 – matched by GWS draftee Alyce Parker on debut.

The Fremantle duo of Hooker and Kiara Bowers topped the tackle count with 12 each as they put the clamps on Melbourne, with Hooker’s hard work also translating to ball-winning as she had 15 disposals. But it was again the efforts of Marinoff which attracted the headlines, as the premiership Crow laid 11 tackles to bring her career tally to 169 – the only AFLW player to have cracked the ton at the time of writing. Despite all that, Marinoff was amazingly still down on her 2018 tackle average of 11.7. In a sign of things to come, Morrison (eight tackles) was also not far behind as the teenager with the highest count.

Moving from the ground to the air, Lauren Spark reeled in the most marks with her effort of 11 – finding space well to have 13 kicks amongst her 14 disposals (nine uncontested). Spark’s Bulldogs teammate, Ellie Blackburn had six but was narrowly beaten out to second-best honours by Duffin’s seven. She may have only had three, but Carlton’s dynamic forward star, Tayla Harris took an absolute screamer to claim mark of the round. Melbourne’s Lauren Pearce dominated the air in a different fashion with her round-high of 32 hit-outs, while Giant, Erin McKinnon won 31 taps. Carlton’s tall duo of Breann Moody and Alison Downie combined for 29 against the otherwise dominant King in their loss to the ‘Roos.

Brisbane goalsneak Jess Wuetschner bagged the highest goal tally for the week, booting three of the Lions’ four goals as seven others claimed hauls of two. Amongst the group of multiple goal kickers was returning Bulldog gun, Katie Brennan – who came up clutch for her side – as well as arguably the player of the round, King. The worst offenders in front of goal collectively were the Crows with 1.11, however Phillips was the only player in that game to miss more than once. She was not alone though as eight others registered multiple behinds in their respective outings – four of them from the Kangaroos/Carlton game.

Team of the Week: AFLW – Round 1

NORTH Melbourne Tasmanian Kangaroos’ big win has seen them rewarded with four players in the Draft Central AFL Women’s Team of the Week for Round 1, the most of any club. Other winners, Geelong, Brisbane and Western Bulldogs had three nominees, while Melbourne had three players in the best 24 despite a loss to Fremantle.

Fremantle won in a thriller and have two nominees each in the Team of the Week, as do other close losers, Adelaide, Collingwood and GWS GIANTS. Carlton had a match to forget and while Tayla Harris and Madison Prespakis were both close to making the team, just missed out.

North Melbourne’s Emma King was the standout ruck across the competition in Round 1, earning the starting spot in the followers, joined in the team by fellow former Magpies, Jasmine Garner and Jess Duffin, as well as debutant Ash Riddell. Brisbane midfield duo, Emily Bates and Ally Anderson both squeeze into the starting line-up, as does the competition’s leading goal kicker, Jess Wuetschner who booted three on the weekend.

Western Bulldogs’ heroic victory in South Australia resulted in defenders, Lauren Spark and Hannah Scott making the team, as did co-captain, Ellie Blackburn who slots into the centre position. Despite their narrow loss, Melbourne veterans, Karen Paxman and Elise O’Dea fill the half-back line, while key forward, Eden Zanker was impressive inside 50 and leading up the ground.

Geelong’s victory on Saturday night saw Nina Morrison emerge, with the number one pick collecting 22 disposals and eight tackles, joining teammate Meg McDonald from Darebin Falcons and Madeline Keryk – both on debut – in our Team of the Week. Ebony Marinoff‘s ball-winning efforts of 24 touches and 11 tackles was the most of the round, and earned her the remaining place in the midfield, while 2017 League Best and Fairest, Erin Phillips slots into half-forward.

Of the three remaining teams, dual sport athlete Ash Brazill and Magpies’ teammate, Jaimee Lambert were named in the side, as were Fremantle forwards, Kiara Bowers and Dana Hooker. Young gun GIANTS’ midfielder, Alyce Parker and the versatile, Cora Staunton round out the team of 24.

Draftee Watch: Round 1

IN our new weekly series Draftee Watch, we take a look at the top performing 2018 draftee from each AFL Women’s side to see how they have made the step up to the elite level. In Round 1, Geelong’s Nina Morrison and GWS GIANTS’ Alyce Parker won the Rising Star nominations.

Adelaide: Chloe Scheer

Scheer came into the competition as a great unknown coming off a 12-month knee injury. Her junior career is nothing short of accolade-ridden with multiple league best and fairests, renowned for her high footy IQ and goal sense up forward. She booted Adelaide’s only goal on the weekend and looked lively in a game that was tight defensively. Hannah Martin, Maisie Nankivell and Jess Foley were other Crows who ran out onto Norwood Oval for their first games.

Brisbane: McKenzie Dowrick

The West Australian utility started her AFL Women’s career off strongly, notching up nine disposals in a solid first hit-out in Lions colours. She was one of many Brisbane debutants on the day, and along with the likes of Paige Parker, Jesse Tawhaio-Wardlaw and Lauren Bella, enjoyed the narrow win over GWS GIANTS.

Carlton: Madison Prespakis

The clear standout for the Navy Blues in a game they would like to move on from quicker rather than later. The top five selection had 13 disposals and laid five tackles in an imposing performance, regarded by the commentary team as the Blues’ top midfielder on the day. She had her work cut out for her, but there is no doubting her potential in the future. Former VFL Women’s players, Collingwood captain Jess Edwards (eight disposals, five tackles and a goal) and Hawthorn Rising Star Award winner, Jayde Van Dyk were others who held their own in the heavy loss to the Roos.

Collingwood: Erica Fowler

Mature-age draftee stories are often just as impressive as teenagers entering the AFL Women’s, and with Eliza Hynes out, Fowler shared the load with Sharni Layton in the ruck. Fowler notched up seven disposals. three marks and eight tackles on her way to 75 AFL Fantasy Points. Eastern Ranges’ speedster, Mikala Cann and Dandenong Stingrays’ captain, Jordyn Allen were among other Magpies who stood up in the loss to Geelong.

Fremantle: Parris Laurie

The 24 year-old Laurie was impressive in the heat across four quarters for the Dockers in their upset win over Melbourne at Casey Fields. Laurie notched up 10 disposals, one mark, six tackles and 66 AFL Fantasy Points to be the top performing Dockers debutant. If starts are anything to go by, the first quarter by Sabreena Duffy was out of this world, booting 1.1 and setting up another goal in what was a dominant first term, before finishing with nine disposals and 42 AFL Fantasy Points.

Geelong: Nina Morrison

Geelong had no shortage of young stars coming through the side, but Morrison produced a terrific performance worthy of her number one selection. Of the debutants in Round 1, Morrison recorded the most disposals and equal most tackles, with 22 and eight. She kicked what would become the winning poster on her way to 92 AFL Fantasy Points. Olivia Purcell (15 disposals, two marks and six tackles), Rebecca Webster (11 disposals and three marks) and Denby Taylor (eight disposals and one tackle) were others who stood out throughout the win over Collingwood.

GWS GIANTS: Alyce Parker

The Thurgoona product was sensational on the weekend in GWS GIANTS’ narrow loss to the Brisbane Lions. Behind Morrison, Parker was the next highest disposal winner of the draftees, and moved around the field like a veteran, amassing 18 touches, four marks and three tackles on her way to 63 AFL Fantasy Points. Haneen Zreika, a teammate of Parker’s at junior level, also impressed on debut with 15 disposals, one mark and three tackles, while Yvonne Bonner booted a goal in the loss.

Melbourne: Tyla Hanks

The Gippsland Power co-captain was the sole Melbourne debutant in the Dees’ loss to Fremantle at Casey Fields on Sunday. Having booted two goals in Gippsland’s first ever Under 18s win at the ground 12 months prior, Hanks played up forward and amassed seven disposals and two tackles in a solid first-up performance.

North Melbourne: Nicole Bresnehan

It was fitting that Bresnehan was the top performing North Melbourne Tasmanian Kangaroos player, with the Clarence local standing out at North Hobart. Bresnehan notched up seven disposals, two marks and two tackles in the Kangaroos’ huge win over Carlton, while former Oakleigh Chargers’ goal sneak, Daisy Bateman also had a taste of AFL Women’s action in the opening round.

Western Bulldogs: Eleanor Brown

The former Sandringham Dragons and Vic Metro winger played her role in the Western Bulldogs’ thrilling interstate win over Adelaide. Brown had five disposals, three marks and two tackles in the defeat, while Celine Moody – the sister of Carlton ruck, Breann – also enjoyed her first win.