Tag: Olivia Barber

2020 NAB League Girls team update: Murray Bushrangers

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 Murray Bushrangers, who despite losing the first round match to Oakleigh Chargers by 50 points, bounced back to weather a huge number of inside 50s and draw with Western Jets.

2020 RESULTS:

R1: lost to Oakleigh Chargers by 50 points
R2: drew with Western Jets
R3: Bye.

They came away from the first two rounds with a couple of points, but the improvement from the first week to the second was noticeable, and the Bushrangers would have liked to keep the momentum going for the rest of the season. They put together an even team effort and we have highlighted a number of players who stood out throughout the matches.

FIVE STRONG STARTERS:

Mikayla Jones (12.5 disposals, 2.5 marks, 2.5 tackles, 4.5 inside 50s)

The top ball winner across the matches, Jones was impressive in the midfield, averaging the 12.5 disposals and 4.5 inside 50s to ensure her team could get service in the forward line. She worked hard across the ground to win the ball and feed it forward, and while many of her teammates were on the defensive end getting it to midfield, Jones was the leading player getting it inside 50.

Grace Hay (11.5 disposals, 4.0 marks, 1.5 tackles, 1.0 inside 50s, 4.5 rebounds)

Had a best on ground performance in Round 2 against Western Jets with a remarkable defensive effort deep in defence. In just her second game with the Bushrangers, Hay had 19 disposals, seven marks and eight rebounds in a huge effort to defend the continual forward thrusts by the Jets. She is still a bottom-ager with two years left in the pathway, but that did not stop her influence so far, recording 11.5 disposals, 4.0 marks and 4.5 rebounds from her two games.

Kate Adams (12.0 disposals, 1.5 marks, 3.0 tackles, 1.0 inside 50s, 2.0 rebounds, 1 goal)

The clever forward showed she can play just about anywhere on the ground, winning the ball through midfield and also playing in defence at times to assist her teammates. She managed to get on the scoreboard herself with a major, but it was her work up the ground, and particularly her defensive running that stood out across the games as her versatility was a real highlight in season 2020.

Ally Morphett (7.0 disposals, 1.5 marks, 13.5 hitouts, 1.0 tackles, 1.0 inside 50s, 2.0 rebounds)

In the absence of Olivia Barber in Round 2, Morphett became the leading tall on the ground as the other key position AFL Women’s National Academy member for the Bushrangers. Playing predominantly through the ruck, Morphett had the 15 hitouts on the day, and averaged 13.5 for the season thus far, using her strength and size to get it down to her midfielders. Still a middle-ager, Morphett has another season to perfect her ruck craft and spend more time forward as well.

Zali Spencer (11.0 disposals, 1.0 marks, 1.5 hitouts, 3.0 tackles, 1.0 inside 50s, 2.0 rebounds)

A really consistent player across the two games and deserving of a spot in the five. While there could have been a number of players to slot in here, her performance, particularly in the second game, was quite impressive and she finished with an average of 11 disposals, three tackles and two rebounds. Able to play through the midfield or drift around the ground, Spencer certainly contributed in the shorter season and was a great team player.

Others who have stood out: Keeley Skepper, Mindy Quade, Lily Sharp, Olivia Barber

As one of the most impressive bottom-agers in the crop, Skepper followed on from her strong performance at the Under 16 Championships match against Vic Metro last season with a strong start to the season. She still has two more years in the system and will be one to watch over that time, while defender, Quade was relentless in the back 50 picking up eight rebounds in Round 1, while Sharp was fierce at the contest and in close. Barber only played the one game but was worth mentioning because of her impact, booting a goal and making the most of her starved opportunities with seven touches and three marks.

Bushrangers defenders praised amid last quarter “onslaught”

MURRAY Bushrangers Female Talent Coordinator, Briana Cossar has praised the efforts of her young back six in a frantic fourth quarter last weekend which saw the Bushrangers hold on to two points against a fast-finishing Western Jets outfit. While it was not the full four and a win, Cossar said had it not been for the efforts of the defence under pressure then the result surely would have only gone one way. In particular she highlighted Grace Hay as a star on the day for her work “repelling so many inside 50 attacks, we couldn’t believe it”.

“I think the Western Jets they threw absolutely everything at us, especially in that last quarter,” Cossar said. “Grace Hay was absolutely instrumental in the backline, she held us together pretty much. “If we didn’t have her and the likes of (India) Lehman and (Kristy) Whitehead, (Keeley) Skepper and (Mindy) Quade, it could have been an onslaught of a lot of goals I think. “Their inside 50s were quite high.”

The inside 50 count was in fact 36-16, with a large portion of the Jets fierce attacking coming in the final term where they came from seven points down at the final break to draw level with five minutes remaining. Despite also having the lion’s share of the disposals (246-180), the Jets could not get another score on the board after an important Caitlin Sargent goal at the nine and a half minute mark of the term. What made the feat even more impressive was the Bushrangers’ defence was primarily comprised of 16-year-olds (and 15 in Skepper’s case). Whilst credit must be given to the Bushrangers for their efforts in the final term, the work of the Jets to present with so many entries should also be praised.

More importantly for the Bushrangers, it was pleasing for Cossar and the rest of the coaching and development staff to see marked improvements from Round 1 where they suffered a 50-point loss to Oakleigh Chargers in Wangaratta.

“The Round 2 game on the weekend was really pleasing for all the coaching staff,” Cossar said. “Obviously compared to Round 1, the girls gelled a lot better, the forward structure was a lot more open which gave us a lot more room for players to present and provide an option, which is what we had worked on at training. “Also I just think across the ground everyone they knew their role so the coaches, there was two things that the coaches wanted on the weekend. “One was to bring intensity for four quarters which we did, and the other one was the awareness of locating your opponent which we probably lacked in Round 1. “We chased tail a lot, whereas on the weekend, we were first to the footy, we attacked the footy really well. “We had plenty of outside runners as well. I think everything sort of worked really well together as a team unit and hence the scoreboard.”

Despite coming away with two points, Cossar said it was still a work in progress to focus on positioning in midfield to try and stem the flow of inside 50s after conceding an average of 38 per game in the first two rounds.

“I think the position of our wings and midfield is really, really important. Because once it gets through the middle of the ground or off a half-forward flank, that ball gets to the middle and we’re not front and centre and we don’t attack the footy and it goes to the opposition then you’re chasing tail and it makes it really hard for our back six to then work tirelessly in defence to repel that ball out of defence and then give our midfielders another opportunity to push the ball forward. “Really pleasing after the weekend, a lot of things still to work on, and those types of things, but we actually put four quarters together. “We probably took our foot off the pedal a little bit in each of the quarters, but then we quickly regrouped and then had our mindset on our two focus points that the coaches asked of them so it was really pleasing.”

Cossar said the Bushrangers had been working on that area of their game and “tweaking” players in different positions, but with such a short season and limited interaction with the entire group during the season, it was difficult to go into finer details outside of the key focuses on conditioning and fundamental skills.

“You have a Christmas break, you’re back into training, you have a couple of practice matches and then all of a sudden it’s Round 1,” she said. “We don’t have a lot of time with the players and that’s one of the challenges we face as a country region, we only do see the players in preseason twice a week and then obviously in-season it’s just once a week. “The travel time is massive for some of our players, like a lot of them travel in excess of two, two and a half hours one way to training. “It’s a big challenge for us, but in saying that, Metro club face different challenges. “We all have different challenges, but for us, the travel time is a big one and fatigue we need to manage that too.”

The other challenge the Bushrangers had to address prior to Round 2 clash was the loss of Olivia Barber to concussion. A Vic Country representative at bottom-age level last year and a key target inside 50, the talented basketballer forced a rethink of the front six, which while it might have missed her presence in the air, gave other players a chance to step up. Cossar said while the club would love to have had her in the side, it actually provided them with a different looking forward line based around more speed than height.

“It also allowed us to open up the forward 50, because we have girls that are quite quick as well, so instead of having one target, we thought that we would have three or four that would present at the football to give our ball carriers a few more options and I think that, that works really well as well. In terms of structure I think we changed the structure a bit and it seemed to work well. Hopefully Liv will come back Round 4 and be another target up forward, but depending on the structure and how we go about that, whether we play her as a deep forward or play her as a high forward, we’ll obviously work that out.”

While some might come to the conclusion that having Barber in the side may have altered the drawn result, Cossar said the forward line structure worked more effectively than the first week so it may not have had the same impact. Either way, the Bushrangers coaching staff were pleased with the way the players had performed and Cossar was looking forward to having Barber back in the side who would only “bolster our opportunities at goal” for the Round 4 clash against Gippsland Power in a couple of weeks.

The Bushrangers earn a break this weekend with a scheduled bye, before heading down to Trevor Barker Oval to take on Gippsland Power on Saturday, March 21. Murray then takes on Bendigo at Deakin Reserve in Round 5, then Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels at Epsom Huntly in Round 6. The players will be given a home program to do over the break to try and reduce the travel load ahead of the heavy schedule coming up.

NAB League Girls preview: Round 2 – Huge clashes book-end Super Saturday

A HUGE Super Saturday takes place in the NAB League Girls competition this weekend with five games across three venues – two double-headers – including a couple of blockbusters book-ending the round and a clash between two winless sides. Tasmania Devils also make their debut in the league and host Oakleigh Chargers, whilst Western Jets could record back-to-back wins and keep in touch with the top couple of sides.

NORTHERN KNIGHTS v. GEELONG FALCONS
Saturday, March 7, 11:30am
RMIT University Bundoora

The opening game of the round pits the 2018 grand finalists against each other, with Northern Knights going one step further last year, whilst the Geelong Falcons fell in the semi-finals stage. In Round 1, the Knights held off a determined Calder Cannons outfit at this venue by a goal, whilst in the game immediate after, Geelong Falcons ran out 33-point victors over Gippsland Power. Both these teams have stars across the park and were forced to play very different gamestyles in Round 1. The Knights were impressive across the board in the way they were able to defend and then move the ball down the field to set up their forwards such as Alyssa Bannan (five goals). Led by co-captains Ellie McKenzie and Jess Fitzgerald in midfield, the Knights were able to use a nice blend of power and speed to get the ball inside 50, whilst the underrated Maeve Chaplin was tipped to have a big game by Fitzgerald in the Final Siren podcast this week. Competing against them in the midfield is an equally damaging midfield, with AFL Women’s National Academy members Laura Gardiner and Darcy Moloney making the matchups something to behold onball. Gardiner racked up 38 touches and had 14 tackles in Round 1 to be the Draft Central Player of the Week, whilst Moloney (28 disposals, six tackles) and Poppy Schaap (24 disposals, six tackles) also brought the heat. What was most impressive about the way the Falcons went about it was the fact they racked up a whopping 271 disposals, but also laid 94 tackles with their defensive pressure amongst the best in the league. They could have been more effective in front of goal, which is an area to build on, and something they cannot afford to suffer from in this clash against arguably the benchmark team this season. Expect this match to be another close one with both sides missing players from their encounters over the past couple of seasons, but the Knights deserve favouritism at home.

SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS v. BENDIGO PIONEERS
Saturday, March 7, 12pm.
RAMS Arena

From two sides looking to extend their strong starts to the season, we head to Craigieburn where two teams go head-to-head in a bid to get off the mark in season 2020. Sandringham Dragons will be ruing missed opportunities against Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels where they arguably had plenty more chances to kick a big score, but were let down close to goal. Their defensive pressure was a highlight however and is something that will be a trademark of this game. Both sides are renowned tacklers, and whilst Sandringham can play a possession style of game as well, the Dragons are more than happy to get their hands dirty in pursuit of a win. The Pioneers are not a high possession style team but look to be efficient with ball-in-hand, running the ball down in transition and getting it inside 50 as effective as possible. An area the Pioneers can get on top in this clash is in the ruck, with the Dragons having just two hitouts last week against the number one ruck in the competition, Maggie Caris. They still won their fair share of clearances though, and led by Eliza McNamara (20 disposals, eight tackles and six inside 50s) and Winnie Laing (18 disposals, five tackles and five inside 50s), were able to pump the ball inside 50 enough to suggest that if they do that consistently enough and improve their finishing ability then the results will come. The Pioneers had co-captain Brooke Hards waste no time influencing the contest off the back of her middle-age best and fairest year, winning 18 disposals and laying seven tackles. With Elizabeth Snell out of the side, the Pioneers will look to other experience around the ground, with co-captain Annabel Strahan and Jemma Finning‘s work out of the back 50 as a way of getting control of the ball. The two centre-half backs in Sarah Hartwig and Tara Slender are some of the best in their age groups and the teams cannot afford to put it down their throat too often or the ball will come straight back out. Sandringham should be favourites in this game given the amount of chances they can generate, but the Dragons must be clean around goal.

TASMANIA DEVILS v. OAKLEIGH CHARGERS
Saturday, March 7, 12.30pm
North Hobart Oval

Crossing the Bass Strait to the Apple Isle, Tasmania Devils enter the NAB League competition for the first time, taking on a red-hot Oakleigh Chargers. Whilst the Devils sat out Round 1 watching on, they would have been impressed by what they witnessed at Wangaratta when the Chargers ran wild in a 50-point win over Murray Bushrangers. The Chargers have no problem possessing the ball, and they had a massive 40 inside 50s, giving their forwards a multitude of chances inside 50. For Round 2 the Chargers have lost some of their Round 1 firepower, with Amelia James and Alice O’Loughlin both out of the side after combining for five goals between themselves. The captain Mimi Hill led from the front during the Chargers’ win, racking up 29 disposals and five inside 50s, while vice-captain Joanna Lin had 17 disposals and six inside 50s. Eliza James showed plenty of talent during the match with an impressive 18 disposals, four marks, five tackles and match-high seven inside 50s. For the Devils, it is hard to judge just where they sit in terms of the competition just yet, with plenty of developing youngsters coming through the ranks. Amy Prokopiec is the one to keep an eye out for with the middle-age defender already having experience in the NAB League Girls after playing in the Devils’ few games last season. Overager, Camilla Taylor provides height at 180cm and will look to dominate the ruck battle with her extra experience, whilst drifting forward to provide a target inside 50 for the Devils midfielders to aim at. Another overager sure to provide that added experience is Tahlia Bortignon with the 19-year-old named on a wing for this match. You would be a brave person to tip against Oakleigh given the Chargers’ Round 1 match, but this game will be more about seeing a host of new young stars living out their dreams of playing in an elite youth competition by the Devils making their debut in the competition.

WESTERN JETS v. MURRAY BUSHRANGERS
Saturday, March 7, 1.15pm
RMIT University Bundoora

Following on from the Knights-Falcons clash at Bundoora is the battle between Western Jets and Murray Bushrangers. In Round 1, the Jets triumphed for the first time in their history when they toppled Bendigo Pioneers at Queen Elizabeth Oval by 22 points. The next day, Murray succumbed to a rampaging Oakleigh side by 50 points. Though one positive that could come out of that game from a scoreboard perspective was the fact that after conceding seven consecutive goals, the home team booted the last three goals of the match to avoid it being a potentially worse scoreline. Heading into this match minus their top key forward in Olivia Barber (concussion), the Bushrangers will need to utilise their smalls to hit the scoreboard and cause havoc for a Western defence that is well drilled based on the first round. The Jets were able to balance their ball use from the back 50 to the attacking 50 with some nice running ability, and did well around the stoppages despite conceding height in the ruck and thus the hitouts. Both teams favour a kick-first gamestyle which means we could potentially witness plenty of end-to-end football in this game. Leading the way last week for the Jets were bottom-agers, Montana Ham (19 disposals, seven marks, five inside 50s and three rebounds) and Charlotte Baskaran (19 disposals, seven tackles, four inside 50s and five rebounds), while new top-ager Amelia Velardo looked impressive with her athletic ability on her way to 16 disposals and three inside 50s, as well as four hitouts going up against taller opponents. With Isabelle Pritchard playing across all thirds of the ground, she is the star prospect for the 2020 group at Western and will be hard to combat in the middle. The Bushrangers also have some AFL Women’s Academy members with top-ager Abby Favell working through the midfield and Ally Morphett switching between ruck and forward. Mindy Quade will play an important role down in defence, whilst Mikayla Jones and Zali Spencer were another couple of players who stood up in defeat last round. Western brings winning form into this match and would be a good chance to go 2-0, though the Bushrangers always find something special.

CALDER CANNONS v. DANDENONG STINGRAYS
Saturday, March 7, 1.45pm
RAMS Arena

The final game of the round is another huge clash between two sides with good form. Calder Cannons fell a goal short of victory against Northern in the first round of action, and return to their homeground, RAMS Arena to take on a Dandenong Stingrays side that was the surprise packet of Round 1. It was not necessarily the fact that the Stingrays won that was the surprise, but the fact that they did it so convincingly in the end – 50 points – against an Eastern Ranges side with plenty of talent. Stingrays coach, Dave Carden said post-game that it was important the club looked to improve from the Round 1 performance in terms of their stoppage position, but he was impressed with their clean hands and ball movement – something that will be crucial if they are to cause an upset against last year’s grand finalists. The Cannons midfield is well established, with middle-ager Georgie Prespakis and fellow 2003-born Emelia Yessir assisting captain, Laura Cocomello in the middle. Jessica Zakkour was the Cannons’ best last round with two goals from 18 touches and eight tackles, whilst the key defensive combination of Tamsin Crook and Kasey Lennox one of the best in the competition. It will also be important to combat the Stingrays’ talls with Georgia Grimmer out of this match, but Serene Vudiniabola (two goals in Round 1) able to crunch packs and bring the ball to ground for the likes of Ashleigh Richards (two goals) and Jaide Anthony (one). Tyanna Smith is the midfielder to watch on the Stingrays’ side, dominating last week and along with Abbey Jordan, provides some incredible running power out of that onball group. The Cannons have some targets inside 50 themselves with Charlotte Clayton (three goals) and Freda Puruntatameri (one) both looking dangerous last week. These teams are very evenly matched based on the first round statistics with no more than six differential between any of the major stats heading into the Round 2 clash. This is a buckle-up and get ready game because both these teams will take it right up to the other making it a real spectacle for the onlookers.

NAB League Girls Team Selection: Round 2 – 2018 grand finalists lock horns

AFTER a week of exciting action last round, the NAB League Girls take to the field again with five games played across three venues and a brand new side entering the competition. Tasmania Devils play their first official game in the competition as a full-time side, welcoming Oakleigh Chargers to North Hobart Oval. In other big games, Northern Knights and Geelong Falcons face off at RMIT Bundoora, while Sandringham Dragons and Bendigo Pioneers will kick off a double-header at Craigieburn to try and achieve their first wins for season 2020. A number of talls are out due to injury or unavailability with the likes of Renee Tierney (Geelong), Olivia Barber (Murray) and Georgia Grimmer (Dandenong), as well as smart small Elizabeth Snell (Bendigo) among the key omissions. A number of players will make their debuts this round with the inclusions, while the Devils will have plenty of players to watch led by middle-age talent and AFL Women’s National Academy member, Amy Prokopiec.

NORTHERN KNIGHTS v. GEELONG FALCONS

Round 2 – 07/03/2020
11:30am
RMIT University Bundoora

Northern Knights

B: 8. G. Ceravolo, 15. T. Delgado, 5. G. Wake
HB: 9. M. Chaplin, 2. S. Fell, 30. M. Plunkett
C: 11. M. Appleby, 32. A. Snow, 4. B. Plummer
HF: 7. A. Bennett, 6. A. Bannan, 19. M. Molenberg
F: 25. T. Mills, 31. M. Ramsay, 37. A. Woodward
R: 20. G. Kitchell, 14. J. Fitzgerald, 21. E. McKenzie
Int: 33. M. Barnes, 40. T. Hurst, 1. P. Nelson, 35. J. Simpson, 22. E. Smallacombe
Emg: 27. O. Bandera, 29. T. Pulcino

In: T. Hurst, T. Pulcino, M. Barnes
Out: J. Nursey

Geelong Falcons

B: 20. A. McKeegan, 46. A. McKee, 33. T. Morrow
HB: 16. E. Mahoney, 37. A. Lee, 29. M. Van Dyke
C: 13. M. Courtney, 3. D. Moloney, 11. T. Craven
HF: 14. Z. Garth, 23. E. Dowling, 4. P. Schaap
F: 1. C. Bottomley, 42. G. Cotter, 27. L. Were
R: 43. J. Gray, 10. C. Remmos, 12. L. Gardiner
Int: 17. I. Barter, 15. G. Featherston , 38. K. Hardingham, 26. I. Houtsma, 9. A. Van Loon
Emg: 2. C. Hardy, 6. T. Hassett

In: K. Hardingham, G. Featherston , C. Hardy
Out: R. Tierney

 

SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS v. BENDIGO PIONEERS

Round 2 – 07/03/2020
12:00pm
Highgate Reserve

Sandringham Dragons

B: 46. L. de Gleria Cade, 18. J. Stolz, 29. L. Mitchell
HB: 50. P. Staltari, 8. S. Trim, 44. D. Walker
C: 25. S. Hartwig, 30. W. Laing, 26. C. Saultry
HF: 47. K. Lynch, 10. B. Hipwell, 22. E. McNamara
F: 15. S. Hurley, 24. N. Borg, 40. A. Moloney
R: 35. K. Smyth, 28. A. Burke, 33. I. Eddey
Int: 55. L. Enders, 11. T. Jones, 41. N. Morris, 3. C. Murphy, 45. E. Stuber
Emg: 6. T. Pastore, 27. B. Wallace

In: C. Murphy, E. Stuber, L. de Gleria Cade
Out: M. Mottram, C. Ryan

Bendigo Pioneers

B: 16. D. Crighton, 33. J. Oborne, 38. D. Villiva
HB: 15. L. den Houting, 32. T. Slender, 25. J. Finning
C: 22. T. Hopkins, 14. B. Hards, 42. N. Mafi
HF: 40. T. Davidge, 34. J. Richardson, 13. A. Thompson
F: 46. N. Kelly, 44. H. Stewart, 23. B. Reidy
R: 37. M. Marks , 2. A. Strahan, 11. M. Tupper
Int: 19. E. Bell, 39. O. Di Donato, 30. A. Donnelly, 18. S. Orritt, 24. M. Elliott
Emg: 43. R. Stubbings

In: R. Stubbings, T. Davidge, M. Elliott
Out: E. Snell, M. Pianta

 

TASSIE DEVILS v. OAKLEIGH CHARGERS

Round 2 – 07/03/2020
12:30pm
North Hobart Oval

Tassie Devils

B: 23. C. Dennis, 24. A. Prokopiec, 1. C. Lovell
HB: 16. E. Maurer, 29. J. Blair, 15. J. Webster
C: 6. T. Bortignon, 22. A. Clark, 7. M. Gaffney
HF: 31. A. Auton, 18. H. Baldwin, 11. P. King
F: 10. K. Mills, 26. K. Hennessy, 5. B. Oates
R: 21. C. Taylor, 27. A. Crooks, 4. R. Mitchell
Int: 3. A. Bissett, 12. Z. Bourne, 25. L. Freestone, 9. C. Ransom, 13. O. Smith
Emg: 14. S. Griffiths, 19. C. Thomas

Oakleigh Chargers

B: 4. E. Chamberlain, 25. M. Cowan, 19. J. McCormack
HB: 17. A. Mayne, 15. O. Barton, 30. B. Vickers
C: 1. L. Boyd singer, 11. A. Micallef, 22. J. Lin
HF: 9. E. Jackson, 10. S. Reid, 18. R. Thiele
F: 31. S. Morley, 14. E. James, 13. T. Morton
R: 7. L. Edmanson, 2. M. Hill, 8. C. Rowbottom
Int: 3. K. Kearns, 29. A. Ling, 23. C. Matthews, 21. A. McCulloch, 27. C. Taylor
Emg: 5. M. Clift

In: C. Matthews, A. McCulloch, L. Edmanson, M. Clift
Out: Z. O’Sullivan, A. James, A. Oloughlin

 

WESTERN JETS v. MURRAY BUSHRANGERS

Round 2 – 07/03/2020
1:15pm
RMIT University Bundoora

Western Jets

B: 40. N. Ajaimy, 37. A. Anthony, 45. E. Lavanda
HB: 9. C. Baskaran, 46. C. Singleton, 32. A. Strathairn
C: 11. S. Asciak, 38. M. Ham, 10. P. Trajkovski
HF: 19. O. Forsythe, 27. C. Sargent, 4. T. Skenderis
F: 24. L. Elliott, 42. J. Woods, 7. A. Gray
R: 39. A. Velardo, 22. I. Pritchard, 41. N. Wright
Int: 44. S. Golding, 25. M. Huta, 43. K. Maxwell, 8. P. Ryan, 3. C. Tyrrell
Emg: 2. S. Cutajar, 29. K. Leare

In: L. Elliott, P. Ryan
Out: M. Klaumanns-Moller

Murray Bushrangers

B: 28. I. Lehman, 9. M. Foubister, 17. K. Skepper
HB: 22. G. Hay, 32. M. Quade, 14. M. Kennedy
C: 8. A. Favell, 18. Z. Spencer, 5. S. Pritchard
HF: 16. M. Jones, 25. S. McCarthy, 29. C. Locke
F: 1. O. Cicolini, 6. L. Sharp, 21. J. Elias
R: 33. A. Morphett, 26. E. Nicholson, 7. K. Adams
Int: 20. S. Lang, 30. S. Lange-Richards, 4. C. Mailer, 2. A. Smith, 19. K. Whitehead
Emg: 24. M. Gray, 27. T. Gray

In: K. Whitehead, M. Foubister, S. Lang
Out: O. Barber

 

CALDER CANNONS v. DANDENONG STINGRAYS

Round 2 – 07/03/2020
1:45pm
Highgate Reserve

Calder Cannons

B: 24. K. Delia, 4. K. Lennox, 15. M. McLeod
HB: 5. N. Crowley, 11. T. Crook, 23. G. Dicker
C: 16. M. Briedis, 38. L. Cocomello, 8. Z. Friswell
HF: 22. S. Meyers, 18. T. Gillard, 31. F. Puruntatameri
F: 32. C. Clayton , 17. G. Sampson, 3. E. Yassir
R: 19. P. Poultney, 41. G. Prespakis, 1. J. Zakkour
Int: 25. A. Magri, 10. O. Manfre, 43. I. Rowland , 9. M. Styles, 2. R. Sutton
Emg: 36. M. Ford, 35. I. Young

In: I. Young, A. Magri

Dandenong Stingrays

B: 35. W. Argus, 52. Z. Hill, 17. M. Layfield
HB: 10. A. Jordan, 70. M. Eardley, 59. B. Smith
C: 26. C. Blair, 21. T. Smith, 61. E. Shepherd
HF: 47. A. Carroll, 30. P. Swayn, 71. J. Matin
F: 44. J. Anthony, 32. S. Vudiniabola, 20. P. Wilson-Macdonald
R: 28. P. Canning, 5. J. Smith , 49. A. Clarke
Int: 33. R. Clemow, 1. Z. Mayall, 34. A. Richards, 65. O. Robinson, 27. C. Ryan
Emg: 2. K. Byrne, 64. G. Chapman

In: K. Byrne, O. Robinson, W. Argus
Out: G. Grimmer, J. Radford

Oakleigh charges home with seven consecutive goals

THE opening round of the 2020 NAB League Girls saw Oakleigh Chargers produce a stellar win to start the season on the ultimate high, defeating Murray Bushrangers by 50 points, 11.9 (75) to 4.1 (25). While it was a fairly even contest between the arcs, the Bushrangers were unable to stop the Chargers inside 50 with a plethora of goalkickers peppering the posts throughout. Oakleigh had a much bigger presence on field, seeming to have more numbers around the footy and using the ball well inside 50 to find good space and put goals on the board.

It was a fast and convincing start from the Chargers who were quick to get on the board, with Alice O’Loughlin booting her first of the day. While the Bushies put in a solid effort defensively, with Mindy Quade leading the way with eight rebounds and nine disposals, they could not stop the Chargers’ numbers forward and were outmarked by Oakleigh’s clean hands with the side combining for 27. The Chargers impressed in their forward half when they turned to defence, shutting down the Bushrangers as they attempted to transition through the midfield and rendering the side unable to cleanly enter their forward 50. Oakleigh’s O’Loughlin and Mimi Hill lead the charge, collecting seven and six disposals respectively, while Murray’s Mikayla Jones collected a solid pack mark toward the end of the quarter to prove the Bushies had plenty left in the tank. 

Another goal from O’Loughlin started the second quarter on a high, with a step to the right and kick around the body straight through the posts. The Chargers continued to apply pressure on every ball from the Bushrangers, forcing the Bushies to bomb kicks inside 50 in hope of finding forward options. While they shanked a few opportunities in front of the big sticks, Sophia McCarthy aimed true, booting Murray’s first of the match. The Chargers seemed to be second guessing themselves in the second quarter, with the Bushrangers disrupting the Chargers’ transition down field a lot better and and pressuring better up the ground – though Oakleigh still booted three goals for the quarter in a solid display of forward pressure, leading all stats at half-time with Hill on 17 touches by the main change.

A massive third quarter from the Chargers  saw the side well and truly run away with the match. While the Bushrangers entered the second half with new vigour, the third quarter was all for the Chargers, booting five goals nil and well and truly controlling the match. With the defensive pressure still on and Quade snatching up an impressive smother, the Chargers had to work hard for the footy inside 50. Amelia James (19 disposals, six hitouts, two goals) booted her first of two within the first five minutes of the quarter, with Chargers forming a solid connection and chain of events downfield after a missed opportunity from the Bushrangers. James was on the end of the chain, evading defenders for an impressive goal. Stella Reid also put in a solid effort in front of goal, adding two more goals to the tally. Both sides brought the physicality in the third, with the Bushrangers leading the tackle count at three quarter time.

Oakleigh was poised for a dominant finish against the Bushrangers coming into the final quarter, but the Bushies were not to be disregarded, proving they still had plenty left in the tank and bringing a new intensity to the fray, shutting down their back 50 in the final quarter to reduce the margin and deny the Chargers any more goals. The Bushrangers had a lucky start to the quarter with a set shot inside 50 converted to a 50m penalty and kick in the goalsquare for Olivia Cicolini. The goals well and truly set the Bushies in motion, and while the Chargers continued to show the same great forward pressure they just kept missing the mark but still did what they could to mark it hard for the Bushrangers to stay clean. A solid goal from Olivia Barber kept the Bushies pushing forward though she was helped off the field by trainers moments later, having suffered concussion. Barber did not re-enter the field for the rest of the match, and a goal from Chloe Locke to finish out the game saw Murray come away with some semblance of victory, well and truly winning the final quarter despite going scoreless in the first and third.

Overall, Oakleigh was far too good on the day with plenty of standout performers getting the job done. Hill (29 disposals, five inside 50s, three tackles and two marks) and O’Loughlin (three goals, 18 disposals, three marks) were the clear bests, while Eliza James collected 18 touches, five tackles, seven inside 50s and booted a goal in a solid outing. Murray’s Zali Spencer (nine disposals, seven tackles, two rebounds) and Jones (12 disposals, five inside 50s) also put up solid efforts while Quade impressed down back. Murray were well and truly blown away in the possession count but otherwise finished well in the tackles and hitout stats, only one down in both by the end of the game. 

MURRAY BUSHRANGERS: 0.0 | 1.1 | 1.1 | 4.1 (25)
OAKLEIGH CHARGERS: 2.2 | 5.5 | 11.7 | 11.9 (75)

GOALS:

Murray: S. McCarthy, O. Cicolini, O. Barber, C. Locke.
Oakleigh: A. O’Loughlin 3, A. James, S. Reid 2, E. James, S. Morley, J. Lin, R. Thiele.

BEST:

Murray: Z. Spencer, M. Jones, M. Quade, O. Barber, A. Morphett
Oakleigh: M. Hill, A. O’Loughlin, E. James, A. James, J. Lin

DC Medal:

5 – Mimi Hill (OC)
4 – Alice O’Loughlin (OC)
3 – Eliza James (OC)
2 – Amelia James (OC)
1 – Zali Spencer (MB)

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.

Bushrangers buoyant on improved depth and internal growth

MURRAY Bushrangers have been able to reduce the player-to-coach ratio ahead of the 2020 season thanks to the determination of their NAB League Girls playing group, and additional development coaches. Ahead of the 2020 season, Female Talent Manager Briana Cossar said she was excited about a number of players coming through the program – not just for top-age talent, but middle-age and bottom-age talent as well.

The girls’ enthusiasm, dedication and commitment to the program has resulted in a solid pre-season,” Cossar said. “They’ve really come together as one unit which is a testament to their characters and with a revamped coaching group, which has included additional staff, the player-to-coach ratio has been reduced, playing a pivotal role in increased rate of development compared to last season which we see as vital for continued development and growth of the program. “We’ve got a lot more depth and some really good 14, 15 and 16-year-old players coming through which will be exciting to see their development over the next few years. 

The Bushrangers have three players in the 2020 AFL Women’s National Academy, with top-age talents Abby Favell and Olivia Barber, as well as bottom-age tall, Ally Morphett. Favell starred as a natural ball winner for the Bushrangers, NSW-ACT Rams and the Eastern Allies last season, looking sharp as an outside runner who stands up in big moments.

“Abby has the ability to break the lines and her run and carry are elite,” Cossar said. “Her leadership qualities are second to none.”

Barber had a breakout National AFL Women’s Under-18 carnival after a solid season in the NAB League Girls as a key forward who could also play ruck. The then middle-ager was able to create all sorts of headaches for defenders, not just with her ability to clunk grabs overhead, but her ground work and recovery were also impressive on the Gold Coast.

“Olivia is a tall target up forward and a strong overhead mark,” Cossar said. “She’s got a great attack on the football and has an ability to create separation using her strength.”

Morphett is still a year away from being draft-eligible, with the 186cm player likely to predominantly play ruck, though she could also rotate forward and provide a marking presence.

“Ally plays mainly ruck, but can play key position forward,” Cossar said. “She has a great kicking technique and is very good overhead.”

Other players to watch from a top-age perspective include Sam Pritchard – who according to Cossar is “training the house down” – and smart small, Kate Adams. Pritchard recorded an impressive sub-eight minute 2km time trial and plays as a small forward who has a nice blend of pace and endurance. Among her other strengths are her elite kicking ability and clean hands. Adams has been a player who has impressed over the past couple of seasons coming through the Bushrangers’ program, playing in a number of roles, but similarly is a silky small who has natural footballing ability. Cossar said Adams’ reading of the play, awareness and decision making are engrained, while she is a great on and off-field leader.

Anyone who watched the Under 16s all-Victorian clash last year would have remembered Keely Skepper who starred in that match and while she is a bottom-age talent, the rebounding defender is one to keep in mind for the future. “She is a natural footballer in every aspect of the game,” Cossar said, describing her left foot as “elite” and has a great ability to find the ball and rebound it out of the back half. Other middle and bottom-age talents to watch for in 2020 include Aurora Smith – who has the ability to break the game open with her run and carry, credit her speed – India Lehman who Cossar describes as a natural footballer who is also a great on-field leader, bringing others into the game, and Mindy Quade who has great positioning in one-on-one contests and takes the game on at every opportunity.

While the core base of talent is there, Murray also has a couple of players who have been building nicely over the off-season and have been touted by Cossar as ones to watch.

Lily Sharp and Mikayla Jones are both looking to take their games to the next level,” she said. “Their fitness and fundamental skill efficiency have improved, and both have a good game sense.”

Murray takes on both the Bendigo Pioneers (Saturday, February 8) and Calder Cannons (Saturday, February 15) at JC Lowe Oval in Yarrawonga. Cossar said in 2020, the team just want to play as naturally as they could.

“We want to be instinctive, creative and take the game on at every opportunity, and be competitive for four quarters,” she said.

The Bushrangers host Oakleigh Chargers in the opening round of the season on March 1 at 1pm, before travelling to Bundoora for a clash against Western Jets as part of a NAB League Girls double header on March 7 at 1.15pm.

2019 NAB League Girls Team of the Year announced

THE 2019 NAB Under 18 Girls Team of the Year was announced with five Northern Knights players named in the squad. The premiership side saw Sarah Sansonetti, Gabby Newton, Nell Morris-Dalton, Britney Gutknecht and Ellie McKenzie all make the team, while coach Marcus Abney-Hastings was named Coach of the Year after guiding his side to victory in the grand final.

The defence end of the Cannons impressed with Felicity Theodore and Georgie Prespakis both making the team while Georgia Patrikios also made her way into the side after a stellar 2019 performance. She was accompanied by Western Jets’ Elisabeth Georgostathis and Dandenong Stingrays’ Molly McDonald in the midfield thanks to their clever ball use and class across the field.

Western Bulldogs father-daughter prospect Isabella Grant was named at half forward for her efforts throughout the season for the Western Jets. Olivia Meagher and Murray Bushrangers’ youngster Olivia Barber also got named in the team of the season credit to their work in the forward 50 and ability to find the goals when their side needed them.

Molly Denahy-Maloney was named in the ruck with Geelong captain Lucy McEvoy and GWV Rebels player Sophie Molan earning a spot in the Team of the Year.

BP – 1 – M. TUPPER
CC – 3 – G. PRESPAKIS, G. PATRIKIOS, F. THEODORE
DS – 3 – I. SHANNON, T. SMITH, M. MCDONALD
ER – 2 – L. MCCLELLAND, O. MEAGHER
GF – 2 – L. MCEVOY, L. LESOSKY-HAY
GP – 1 – M. SHAW
GWV – 1 – S. MOLAN
MB – 2 – M. BROWN, O. BARNER
NK – 5 – S. SANSONETTI, E. MCKENZIE, G. NEWTON, N. MORRIS-DALTON, B. GUTKNECHT
OC – 1 – J. LIN
SD – 1 – M. DENAHY MALONEY
WJ – 2 – I. GRANT, E. GEORGOSTATHIS

2019 AFLW Under-18 All Australian side announced

VIC COUNTRY has earned the most nominations in the 2019 AFL Women’s Under-18 All Australian side with six players named in the final 22. Country’s state rival Vic Metro had four, the same amount as Queensland despite the differing results at the championships. Western Australia and Central Allies both had three players in the side, whilst Eastern Allies had the two.

Geelong Falcons’ premiership captain Lucy McEvoy was named captain of the All Australian side, and was one of a number of multiple All Australians, including fellow Most Valuable Players (MVPs), Montana McKinnon and Georgia Patrikios, as well as Serene Watson, Gabby Newton and Lily Postlethwaite all backing up their 2018 selections with 2019 jumpers. McEvoy has the rare honour of making it three consecutive All Australian jumpers, named in the side from 2017-19.

Much like last year’s side, this year’s 2019 All Australian team features a number of bottom-agers, with Vic Country’s Tyanna Smith and Olivia Barber, Vic Metro’s Ellie McKenzie, and Central Allies’ Teah Charlton all making the team despite not being eligible to be drafted until next year.

Of the first time All-Australians, the defence is held down by Queensland with MVP Ellie Hampson and running machine Kitara Whap-Farrar joining Watson in the back six. Brenna Tarrant earns a key defensive post with Vic Country’s Millie Brown alongside teammate Smith at half-back.

Through midfield, St Kilda pre-listed player Molly McDonald and West Coast pre-listed midfielder Mikayla Bowen assist McEvoy onball, while Patrikios and the versatile Sophie Molan are on the wings.

In the forward 50, Roxanne Roux and Charlton are likely to provide the highlights in the air, while McKenzie and Eastern Allies’ MVP Mia King provides the strength. Newton and Barber straighten the side up with some height in the key posts.

Postlethwaite makes the bench once again in the side, joined by players from three different states in Central Allies’ Madison Newman, Western Australia’s Mim Strom and Vic Metro’s Laura McClelland.

Draft Central Team of the Week: AFLW U18 Championships – Round 2

AFTER a massive week on the Gold Coast, we at Draft Central have named our Team of the Week for the AFL Women’s Under-18 Championships. For the exercise, the 24-player team does not include form from Round 1 (ie. prior to the Gold Coast matches) and only includes players who played all three matches, therefore a number of middle-agers such as Ellie McKenzie are ineligible having played just the two games as it is such a short tournament. Across the breakdown, Central Allies actually had the most individual standouts with five players named in our Team of the Week, followed by Vic Metro, Vic Country, Queensland and Western Australia all on four, and Eastern Allies on three after even team performances.

BACKS:

Madison Newman (CENTRAL ALLIES) – The rebounding defender had the equal second most rebounds at the carnival and averaged 15.3 disposals and 2.7 marks out of defence.
Shantel Miskin-Ripia (CENTRAL ALLIES) – The NT Thunder defender was far and away the most dominant rebounder, averaging almost seven per game, and was a crucial key in getting the ball out of defence when under siege against other opponents in tight games.
Kitara Whap-Farrar (QUEENSLAND) – Was an excitement machine with X-factor and one of a number of pre-listed AFL Women’s players who stepped up at the carnival, averaging 12.0 disposals and 2.7 tackles per game.

HALF-BACKS:

Ellie Hampson (QUEENSLAND) – The Queensland MVP was a huge ball winner for the home side and was deserving of the honour in a side that failed to win a game. The pre-listed Gold Coast SUNS player averaged 20.3 disposals, 4.0 marks, 4.3 tackles, 3.3 inside 50s and 2.0 rebounds.
Serene Watson (QUEENSLAND) – Another member of the impressive Queensland defence, Watson was crucial in getting the ball out of danger and still winning the footy. She dropped into the hole to intercept and rebound, averaging 14.7 disposals, 3.7 rebounds and 3.7 tackles.
Georgia Patrikios (VIC METRO) – Probably a little cheeky to have the winger here, but Patrikios averaged more than two rebounds per game on her way to having the equal sixth most of any player in the carnival. She played across all three thirds and also averaged 20.7 disposals, 2.3 marks and 5.0 tackles on her way to the overall MVP.

CENTRES:

Sophie Molan (VIC COUNTRY) – The versatile utility was consistent across all three games for Vic Country, averaging 17.0 disposals, 5.7 tackles and 2.0 clearances and earned her spot on the wing in the side.
Lily Postlethwaite (QUEENSLAND) – Backed up her dominant carnival last year with another great effort as a top-ager this year. The Queensland captain averaged 16.0 disposals, 3.3 marks, 2.0 clearances, 2.0 inside 50s and 2.0 tackles.
Lucy McEvoy (VIC COUNTRY) – The Vic Country MVP and Geelong Falcons premiership skipper was a ray of consistency through good and bad, and was the biggest ball winner at the carnival, averaging 21.0 disposals, 3.3 clearances, 2.0 marks and 5.0 tackles whilst booting three goals.

HALF-FORWARDS:

Teah Charlton (CENTRAL ALLIES) – The middle-age forward looms as a top talent for next year after roaming up the ground and causing defensive half headaches for the opposition. She averaged a massive 7.0 tackles to go with her 14.3 disposals, 2.3 marks, 3.3 inside 50s and booted a goal.
Gabby Newton (VIC METRO) – A standout for the Metro side and no doubt a shade behind eventual MVP Georgia Patrikios, standing up in each of the three games with great consistency. Newton averaged 15.7 disposals, 4.0 marks, 4.0 tackles and 3.0 clearances.
Tyanna Smith (VIC COUNTRY) – Another player who is not eligible to be drafted until next year, Smith kept getting better as the championships rolled on, providing dash and hardness between the arcs. She averaged 16.0 disposals, 4.3 inside 50s – ranked equal first – and 6.3 tackles.

FORWARDS:

Olivia Barber (VIC COUNTRY) – Led the overall goalkicking for the week with five majors, proving to be a threat up forward. While the majority came in the opening match, Barber provided a great target in the air and at ground level and worked hard inside 50.
Cleo Saxon-Jones (VIC METRO) – Stepped up as a key target inside 50 for Metro and gave a chop out in the ruck, booting the three goals, but assisting in a number of others and providing a presence in attack.
Roxanne Roux (WESTERN AUSTRALIA) – The high-flying West Australian forward was dominant at her best and still looking dangerous when she was being held. Showed off her leap on the opening day chopping out in the ruck, and continued to present throughout the week with a high ceiling for improvement.

RUCKS:

Montana McKinnon (CENTRAL ALLIES) – The captain and MVP was terrific in the ruck, but she earns the spot for her work around the ground. While Mim Strom had more hitouts, McKinnon took a number of strong grabs throughout the week at crucial times, averaging 11.7 disposals. 3.7 marks and 16.3 hitouts per game.
Mia King (EASTERN ALLIES) – The Tasmanian and vice-captain of the Eastern Allies was one of the most consistent players across the carnival using her burst and ability to do all the defensive things right. King averaged 5.3 clearances – ranked first – as well as 18.0 disposals, 6.7 tackles and 2.3 inside 50s.
Mikayla Bowen (WESTERN AUSTRALIA) – The West Australian leader and pre-listed West Coast player lived up to expectations with a sensational carnival, winning her state’s MVP. She averaged 8.0 tackles and 5.0 clearances per game – ranked second in both – as well as 17.7 disposals.

INT:

Nyra Anderson (WESTERN AUSTRALIA) – Underrated West Australian midfielder who finished the carnival with two big games, averaging 13.3 disposals, 4.0 clearances and 5.0 tackles.
Abby Favell (EASTERN ALLIES) – Murray Bushrangers’ middle-age midfielder who continued her ball-winning form to have an impact in the Eastern Allies’ midfield. She finished with 11.0 disposals, 2.7 marks and 2.7 tackles per game.
Elisabeth Georgostathis (VIC METRO) – Worked hard and stepped up in big moments for Vic Metro, having more impact than her 9.0 disposals per game might suggest, also laying 4.7 tackles and booting the match sealer against Queensland at Southport.
Jayde Hamilton (EASTERN ALLIES) – Another Eastern Allies midfielder who was fierce in her attack on the ball, laying 5.7 tackles per game to go with her 11.3 disposals, 3.3 clearances and 2.7 inside 50s per game.
Mim Strom (WESTERN AUSTRALIA) – The dominant ruck of the carnival who only misses out on the spot due to McKinnon’s dominance around the ground and her MVP achievement. Strom racked up 27.7 hitouts per game – 10 more than her nearest rival – as well as 9.3 disposals and 2.3 tackles.
Jaimi Tabb (CENTRAL ALLIES) – The number one tackler at the carnival, Tabb cracked in and won the hard ball whilst keeping opposition players looking over their shoulders. She laid 8.7 tackles per game to go with her 11.3 disposals.