Tag: Olivia Purcell

Weekend wash-up: AFLW – Preliminary Finals

THE past weekend saw the first ever AFL Women’s Preliminary Finals, and with it came surprise results that prove the intensity of the 2019 AFLW season and finals campaigns. Fremantle went down to Carlton in a surprising turn of events at Ikon Park, while Adelaide safely cemented themselves as the best side in the 2019 competition.

Carlton Blues 9.10 (64) defeated Fremantle Dockers 4.4 (28)
By: Brandon Hutchinson

Carlton earn their first AFLW Grand Final appearance with an impressive win over a formidable Fremantle. The Blues led the first but struggled to convert (five behinds), only hitting their strides in the second by adding four goals to their tally, while holding Fremantle to a goalless second quarter. The Blues surged away in the second half, kicking two more in the third, and the same in the fourth. Fremantle managed to kick consecutive goals in the fourth but by this time the Blues were already out of reach.

First year player, Madison Prespakis put on another outstanding performance, amassing 19 disposals, three marks, six tackles and a goal toward the end of the second on her way to a game-high 90 AFLW Fantasy Points. Alison Downie (13 disposals, three marks and three tackles), Brianna Davey (16 disposals, four marks and five tackles) and Lauren Brazzale (22 disposals, 16 kicks and two marks) were also pivotal in the win. Tayla Harris also kicked a goal in the win and amassed 10 disposals, four marks and four tackles with 56 AFLW Fantasy Points. Dana Hooker stood up in the loss for her side with 12 disposals, two marks and five tackles on her way to 63 AFLW Fantasy Points. Kiara Bowers (13 disposals, three marks and six tackles) and Ashley Sharp (10 disposals, one mark and four tackles) also impressed through the middle, while Gabby O’Sullivan kicked well with two goals.

This signals the end of Fremantle’s year after thoroughly impressing throughout the 2019 season. Carlton now face league favourites, Adelaide, at their home ground for a chance to make AFLW history.

Adelaide 11.7 (73) defeated Geelong 1.1 (7)
By: Nikki Jamieson

Adelaide has easily cruised into the 2019 AFLW Grand Final after thrashing Geelong by 66 points over the weekend. The Crows proved to be the stronger team, dominating in possessions and holding the Cats scoreless until 12 minutes into the final quarter. Geelong now hold the unfortunate title for lowest ever score in AFLW, with only seven points for the whole match. The odds were always stacked against Geelong, who had the lowest percentage in the competition, competing against an electric Adelaide team who only lost one game all season.

The Cats battled to get the ball early, but it was clear that the Crows’ experience outmatched even skilled players the likes of Richelle Cranston (one goal, 12 disposals) and young midfielder Olivia Purcell (14 disposals, four tackles). Captain, Mel Hickey (15 disposals) fought valiantly, while defenders, Meghan McDonald (16 disposals) and Anna Teague (nine disposals) worked hard against Adelaide’s overwhelming forward push, but it all was dismal for a not-quite-ready Geelong side.

The Crows displayed ultimate class throughout the match, showing off their best assets effortlessly in front of their home crowd. Co-captains, Erin Phillips (23 disposals, six tackles) and Chelsea Randall (15 disposals, one goal) were influential, but Ebony Marinoff (two goals, 27 disposals, 10 tackles) was the clear star of the show. Marinoff exemplified why she is a common name surrounding this year’s Best and Fairest, as one of the league’s best ball-winners and clearance players. Danielle Ponter (three goals) and Chloe Scheer (two goals) were absolutely damaging to Geelong, erupting in offence.

Adelaide is now to host Carlton in the 2019 AFLW Grand Final next Sunday 31 March at Adelaide Oval, 1pm (AEDST).

Weekend wash-up: AFLW – Round 7

THE final round of the 2019 home and away season saw potential finals bound teams take each other on to determine which sides made finals. Major premiership contender, North Melbourne got knocked out by Fremantle, while Collingwood managed their first win of 2019 to ruin Brisbane’s finals chances.

GWS GIANTS 6.5 (41) defeated Geelong (1.4) 10
By: Sophie Taylor

The GWS GIANTS almost denied Geelong finals chances on Friday night, running over the Conference B rivals, 6.5 (41) to 1.4 (10). Geelong were set to wait until Sunday’s clashes to find out their 2019 finals fate, while the GIANTS got the well deserved four points but were unable to make finals despite the win. Both sides wore black armbands to honour the victims of Friday’s Christchurch Massacre, while a minute of silence took place before the match began.

It was only the GIANTS’ second win for the season, dominating majority of the match and rendering the Cats goalless in the opening half. For Geelong, it was a tale of woe from the very beginning as the GIANTS took an early lead, relying on the Cats’ inaccuracy in front of goal before kicking four goals to one in the second half to snag victory. Despite Geelong’s free kick count vastly outnumbering the GIANTS (9 – 20), the Cats were unable to take advantage of their opportunities forward. Olivia Purcell and Renee Garing showed their worth to the side, as Purcell grabbed 19 disposals while Garing notched up 14 tackles to add to her season tally of 62. Mia-Rae Clifford was Geelong’s only goal kicker, showing some composure as she slotted the major in the third quarter.

The GIANTS’ Irish pair, Cora Staunton and Yvonne Bonner were exciting to watch, kicking a goal apiece and gathering 16 and 10 disposals respectively. Christina Bernardi added two goals to her season tally, while Alicia Eva and Alyce Parker continued to show their strength in the midfield as the pair racked up 36 disposals and 14 tackles between them. Haneen Zreika finished her season on a high with her first goal in AFLW, also picking up a career high 17 disposals and seven tackles. Veteran GIANTS midfielder, Courtney Gum announced her retirement following the match.

This match saw the last of the GIANTS for 2019, though the side will be able to hold their heads high come 2020. Geelong will head into finals, having finished second behind Carlton in Conference B.

Melbourne Demons 1.2 (8) defeated by Adelaide Crows 10.8 (68)
By: Brandon Hutchinson

In their last game of the home and away season, Adelaide handed Melbourne one of the biggest thrashings all season with a 60-point win at Casey Fields. Melbourne were kept completely scoreless in the first half while Adelaide opened the first quarter with 21-points – reaching 34 unanswered points by the main break. The Dees found their first score in the form of a rushed behind in the third and would not find their first goal until the final quarter. In a complete show of dominance, Adelaide rounded out the game with five more goals – kicking three in the third and two at the end of the fourth.

Erin Phillips was her usual classy self (22 disposals, three marks and three tackles) – having a season to potentially rival her 2017 Best & Fairest year. While she had some trouble hitting the scoreboard (three behinds), she combined well with Ebony Marinoff (one goal, 19 disposals and eight tackles) and first-year, Jess Foley (two goals, 16 hit-outs, 15 disposals, two marks, six tackles) to keep a firm grip of the game. Fellow first year, Ailish Considine, also impressed in front of goals with her first two career goals, seven disposals, two marks and one tackle.

Despite the heavy loss, Melbourne still had a few players who stood up to the onslaught. Lily Mithen (16 disposals, four marks and six tackles), Elise O’Dea (21 disposals and five marks) and Harriet Cordner (19 disposals and seven marks) all kept their head highs and remained prolific throughout. While bittersweet, first-year, Chantel Emonson (14 disposals and five tackles) managed to kick her first career goal as Melbourne’s only major for the day.

This marked Melbourne’s final game for the year while Adelaide head into the finals as the most successful teams across both Conferences, with a big chance of taking it all the way.

Fremantle 7.10 (52) defeated North Melbourne 4.1 (25)
By: Sophie Taylor

Fremantle knocked the predicted premiers out of finals contention on Saturday night, proving too strong for the Kangaroos at Fremantle Oval in front of a hostile 6386 strong crowd. The 27 point margin showed Fremantle’s improvement in the competition this season, and just goes to show that the two best Conference A sides in Adelaide and Fremantle are well deserving of their top two finish.

Fremantle started strong, kicking the first two goals of the game and rendering North goalless by quarter time. North Melbourne’s goalkicking once again stagnated through the second half, rendering their third quarter comeback frustrating as they were unable to take control of the match. Fremantle were fortunate for the Roos’ struggle as they were inaccurate in front of goal, kicking 2.6 in the final quarter.

Sabreena Duffy and Ashley Sharp were among the Dockers’ best up forward, kicking two goals apiece, while Ashlee Atkins and Gemma Houghton both kicked a major each but missed five goal opportunities between them. Kiara Bowers racked up 19 kicks from 23 touches, also managing 13 tackles on her way to 118 AFLW Fantasy Points. Fremantle will be sweating on the injury concerns of Duffy and Dana Hooker ahead of next week’s final after both players were helped from the ground in the second half.

Jenna Bruton (26 disposals, six tackles) paired well with Emma Kearney (24 disposals, seven tackles and a goal) in the loss, while half back, Jess Duffin was also prolific against Fremantle’s barrelling attack line with 22 disposals, five tackles and five rebound 50s. Mo Hope was also effective for the Roos, coming away with two goals and four tackles.

North Melbourne have found themselves knocked out of finals contention in 2019 despite a dominant inaugural season, while Fremantle will take on Conference B minor premiers, Carlton next week.

Collingwood 3.7 (25) defeated Brisbane 2.7 (19)
By: Taylah Melki

In the last game of the season the Magpies claimed victory over the Brisbane Lions to snatch away any hopes of finals. The upset win marked the first victory of the season for Collingwood who struggled all year after losing players to expansion clubs and injury. Both teams were inaccurate in front of goal but the Pies set the game up before half time going into the main break up by 16 points after scoring two goals in the second quarter. After making the grand final two years straight and falling agonisingly short this will be the first year the Lions will not feature in the quest for a premiership.

For the Pies, Sarah D’Arcy stood up in front of goals nailing two goals and amassed plenty of touches across the ground credit to her hard work and ability to get to the contest. Dual athlete Ash Brazill dominated once again with her clean hands, clever kicks, accuracy by foot and smothering defensive pressure. She also showcased her strong hands taking her fair share of marks and proved to be a key member of the Collingwood team thanks to her read of the play. Captain, Steph Chiocci was solid for the Pies through the middle going in hard to win the footy and applied plenty of strong tackles. Jaimee Lambert stood up again making her presence felt on the scoreboard and working hard in attack to try and create scoring opportunities for her teammates.

The Brisbane Lions failed to fire on all cylinders, with the likes of star forward Sabrina Frederick-Traub unable to capitalise on her scoring chances. Fellow forward and goal sneak Jess Wuetschner was well held for most of the game but got some separation in the first quarter slotting an important goal for the Lions. Former Carlton captain, Lauren Arnell played her part applying some strong tackles and getting her hands to plenty of ball, while youngster Jacqui Yorston impressed across the ground racking up plenty of touches.

Western Bulldogs 5.8 (38) defeated by Carlton 6.5 (41)
By: Nikki Jamieson

The 2019 home and away season of AFLW wrapped up with the Pride rematch between the Western Bulldogs and Carlton. The Blues were finally able to redeem their 76-point loss last season that also cemented them as Conference B’s finals hosts. Despite Bulldogs no longer being able to defend their premiership, they fought through the dying minutes of the match and notably kicked all five of their goals in the last quarter.

Missed opportunities proved to be the biggest downfall for the Dogs as a slow start followed with the failure to finish in front of the goals. Though dominating position in the second quarter, Bulldogs could not convert leading to five behinds instead of goals. Carlton made the Dogs pay in the third, keeping them scoreless. Alison Downie (12 disposals, three tackles) played a key role in Carlton’s defence, causing major disruptions to the Bulldogs’ play inside 50.

Brooke Walker had an impressive game, kicking three goals for the Blues. A favourite moment from the match came from Walker marking the ball 55 metres out from goal and absolutely launching it from inside centre square for a terrific goal. Skipper Brianna Davey (21 disposals, 11 tackles) was impactful for Carlton’s midfield as well as Madison Prespakis (19 disposals, four tackles).

The Bulldogs’ strongest plays came from the last 18 minutes of the match, as the side was finally able to decrease the score margin. Co-captain, Katie Brennan opened the scoring two minutes into the quarter and was followed by a goal from Libby Birch when she was awarded two 50m penalties to see the Dogs remarkably close the scoreline to be within 10 points. Monique Conti (25 disposals, three tackles) helped move the ball throughout but it still proved to be too little too late for the Bulldogs.

Carlton (4-3) will host Fremantle (6-1) in a preliminary final in Melbourne next weekend to playoff for a spot in the 2019 AFLW Grand Final.

Draftee Watch: AFLW – Round 6

SOME different names feature in this week’s AFL Women’s Draftee Watch for Round 6, including a number of crosscoders who impressed in the penultimate round.

Adelaide: Jessica Foley
Foley again proved why she’s been so highly regarded this year with another impressive performance for Adelaide. Despite coming up against the most successful ruck this year in Erin McKinnon, who averages a league-high 26 hitouts, Foley had the edge and beat her 18 to 17 with much more impact around the ground. Against the GIANTS she notched up 15 disposals, three marks and two tackles with 75 AFL Fantasy Points. With her year, Foley should receive an All-Australian honours and a chance at a Grand Final.

Brisbane: Jacqui Yorston
In her third game for the season, Yorston impressed in front of her fellow debutantes with a season-high 12 disposals, seven kicks, one mark and eight tackles. Consistently bringing pressure around the ball in her last two games, recording six and nine tackles respectively, Yorton is showing no signs of slowing as she betters with each game.

Carlton: Madison Prespakis
In her first year, Prespakis has once again led her team on the pitch and the stat sheet with a game-high 27 disposals, 15 kicks, six clearances, two rebounds, three inside 50s and two tackles with 69 AFL Fantasy Points. In her first year, Prespakis is already one of Carlton’s best and an absolute star in the making. Sitting atop Conference B her team looks to take on finals, where we are likely to see her reach another level.

Collingwood: Sarah Rowe
After reaching new heights last week, the 23-year-old continues to exceed expectations with a new set of season-highs in the loss to North Melbourne. Having kicked her first goal in the game prior, Rowe wasted no time in putting through her second to help keep Collingwood’s hope alive before the main break. She notched up 17 disposals, five marks and three tackles on her way to 74 AFL Fantasy Points for the day.

Fremantle: Parris Laurie
The Claremont product remained impressive over the weekend in Fremantle’s big win against Geelong. With more confidence to explore different areas of her game, Laurie notched up 11 disposals, nine hit-outs, three marks and two tackles on her way to 52 AFL Fantasy Points – boosting her season average for marks in one game. Teammate, Sabreena Duffy (seven disposals, two marks and three tackles), also impressed in the win.

Geelong: Olivia Purcell
The Geelong Falcons best and fairest winner remained prolific in her side’s loss to Fremantle, punctuating a perfect performance last week with another strong showing. Purcell notched up 15 disposals and seven tackles on her way to 66 AFL Fantasy Points in possibly her second-best performance of the year. Purcell is likely to carry this form into the final round, hoping to keep her team in contention as they enter the finals.

GWS GIANTS: Alyce Parker
The Thurgoona product stood up in the loss against the league’s best, amassing 16 disposals, 11 kicks, three marks and four tackles on her way to 66 AFL Fantasy Points. The 18-year-old was rated highly alongside Cora Staunton and Ellie Brush as she remains veteran-like throughout the ground. The GIANTS rookie may be a real chance for the Rising Star Award.

Melbourne: Chantel Emonson
Emonson got treated to one of the tightest games of the season as her team prevailed over the reigning premiers. After finding some solid form last week, the 25-year-old followed up well with some impressive numbers for the Dees. She notched up 12 disposals, one mark and two tackles with 41 AFL Fantasy Points and a 73 per cent disposal efficiency.

North Melbourne: Alison Drennan
Drennan was among North Melbourne’s best in their win over a competitive Collingwood outfit. She looked more confident by foot and, despite missing, had two shots at goal in her best game yet. For the day, she notched up 14 disposals and six tackles on her way to 67 AFL Fantasy Points and managed to double her season total in kicks with eight to her name. As North look to set to go deep into the finals, Drennan has a unique opportunity to mould herself against some of the league’s best.

Western Bulldogs: Aisling McCarthy
Despite coming across from her native game of Gaelic Football, McCarthy remains poised and impactful for the Bulldogs. Kicking a goal in all but one of her games, her goal sense is just one of the things that has translated well across codes, this week kicking a goal to give her side a six-point lead come the main break. She also notched up 11 disposals and two tackles with 45 AFL Fantasy Points.

Number Crunching: AFLW – Round 5

IN the Round 5 edition of number crunching we reveal who fared best in each stat, including a nod to regular gamebreakers, Emma Kearney and Ebony Marinoff, and a number of other players who managed to dominate multiple areas.

Kearney dominated the midfield for North Melbourne, picking up 31 disposals and 16 contested possessions, also hitting above her average in tackles, with eight. Kearney can still hold her head high after North Melbourne’s first lost of the season, as she also topped the kick count for the weekend with 24 kicks.

Fremantle’s Kellie Gibson, Geelong’s Kate Darby and Melbourne’s Tegan Cunningham all topped the scoresheet in Round 5, kicking three goals apiece. Meanwhile, Carlton’s Darcy Vescio was dominant up forward, but couldn’t make the most of her skill in front of goal, kicking 1.3 in the Round 5 match against Collingwood.

Cunningham was also a threat in the air for Melbourne, taking five strong marks with her basketball background coming into full effect, while the best Round 5 marker was North Melbourne backliner, Jess Duffin, who picked up 11 marks to go with her 23 disposals.

Brisbane’s Jessy Keeffe topped the hitout count among the ruck in Round 5, collecting 27 hit outs, two ahead of next best, Kimberley Rennie of the Western Bulldogs.

Fremantle’s Kiara Bowers really impressed with her pressure with 16 tackles, six more than Adelaide’s Ebony Marinoff (22 disposals, 10 tackles), who was second best in Round 5. Bowers was also able to kick a goal from her personal best 23 disposals, picking up 157 AFLW Fantasy Points while she was at it.

Bulldog, Monique Conti had an impressive performance despite her side’s loss to Fremantle. She gathered a season best of 20 disposals and had 15 handballs, the most of any player over the weekend.

Though only picking up nine touches, GWS GIANTS’ Pepa Randall was prolific and efficient with the ball, coming away with 100% disposals efficiency. Carlton’s Jayde Van Dyke amassed 12 disposals, also sitting at 100% effectiveness this week against Collingwood.

Fremantle pair Dana Hooker and Gabby O’Sullivan were instrumental for the Dockers, with O’Sullivan making the most running bounces. Meanwhile, Hooker had the most clearances of the weekend with seven, playing out the match to finish with 21 disposals and nine tackles.

Round 5’s Rising Star nominations went to Geelong’s Olivia Purcell and Adelaide’s Chloe Scheer, making it two nominees apiece to each club in 2019. Purcell picked up ten tackles, three clearances, a goal and a career high 20 disposals in the Cats’ big win over Brisbane. Scheer was relentless in the Crows’ win over North Melbourne, with seven contested possessions from 12 disposals, three marks and goal to her name.

Finally, it was the Crows who were most effective with the ball in Round 5, with the side collecting 237 disposals at 69 per cent disposal efficiency, while Melbourne had the highest inside-50 efficiency at 62 per cent, with 18 shots from 29 inside-50s.

Team of the Week: AFLW – Round 5

ADELAIDE and Geelong make up a third of the Round 5 Draft Central Team of the Week for AFL Women’s, with several individual performances helping them to crucial wins in Conference A and B respectively. Fellow winners, Fremantle and Carlton have three representatives each after impressive displays over conference rivals, while Melbourne surprisingly only have two players featuring, despite owning the round’s biggest winning margin. The Dees join a pack of three others with two nominees, while Brisbane and GWS each have a sole player included after comprehensive losses.

Emma Kearney cracked the 30-disposal mark with an outstanding 31 possession, 10 clearance and eight mark game to headline the individual feats this week. Incredibly, her and Jess Duffin’s standout games came in a losing effort. That came at the hands of the Crows, with Erin Phillips (23 disposals, seven inside 50s, six clearances, two goals) again leading the way for a surging Adelaide side as Ebony Marinoff and Chelsea Randall followed suit in terms of ball-winning, and Danielle Ponter proved dangerous up forward to make it four Crows in the starting 18.

Geelong was another big winner, with the standout being Richelle Cranston’s 22 disposal game in the engine room, while Kate Darby impressed inside 50 for three goals. 2018 draftee, Olivia Purcell was unlucky to be relegated to the bench in this side, with her 20 disposal and 10 tackle performance another highlight. Jessy Keeffe was Brisbane’s sole representative from that game, shining in the ruck despite the Lions managing the lowest ever team score in AFLW history.
Carlton skipper, Brianna Davey had arguably the most influential game of the round, willing her side on to victory in an incredible all-round display that yielded a perfect 10 from the coaches. Fellow Blues midfielder, Madison Prespakis kept up her terrific form to also be named, with the much-improved Pies pair of Jaimee Lambert and Ash Brazill also named. Melbourne’s Maddison Gay was another to crack a perfect 10, with teammate Tegan Cunningham’s three goals crucial to their win, much like Kellie Gibson for Fremantle. The Dockers overcame the Dogs despite the best efforts of nominees, Katie Brennan and Monique Conti, with Dana Hooker and Kiara Bowers putting in monumental shifts.

Draftee Watch: AFLW Round 5

IN Round 5 of the AFLW, Carlton’s Madison Prespakis continued to show her dynamic form on field, while a few new names made it onto this week’s list of budding stars.

Adelaide: Jessica Foley
The SANFLW star was sensational in Adelaide’s win over North Melbourne. Despite not winning most of the ruck duels, Foley found ways to impact elsewhere, notching up 16 disposals, four marks, and three tackles on her way to 84 AFL Fantasy Points. She currently sits as the league’s most impressive ruckman – leading in hitouts, marks and tackles, and second only to Erin McKinnon (14) with an average of 13.6 disposals.

Brisbane: McKenzie Dowrick
Dowrick remains a clear standout among Brisbane’s debutants. Her numbers have endured despite the occasional issues with team cohesion and challenging opponents, offering valued consistency. Against the Cats, she earned 11 disposals, four marks and two tackles on her way to 51 AFL Fantasy Points. The future looks bright for Dowrick if she remains consistent and reliable.

Carlton: Madison Prespakis
Once again, Prespakis has exceeded the expectations of any first-year player as she notches up another leading performance for Carlton. Averaging 19 disposals, the Carlton rookie finished Round 5 with a game-high 21 disposals, four marks and a goal on her way to 70 AFL Fantasy Points. Prespakis looks on her way to receiving All-Australian selection if she keeps with her strong showings. Teammates, Jayde Van Dyke (12 disposals, four marks and three tackles) and Jess Edwards (10 disposals and two tackles) were other debutants who enjoyed the narrow win.

Collingwood: Sarah Rowe
Collingwood’s young stars are beginning to hit their strides as Sarah Dargan proved last week with a Rising Star nomination, and Rowe followed this week with her own strong performance against Carlton. The 23-year-old emerged strong with her best performance yet. With it being her first time cracking over 10 disposals, Rowe impressed with 13 possessions, five marks, one tackle and her first career goal on her way to 57 AFL Fantasy Points.

Fremantle: Sabreena Duffy
Fremantle’s resident goal sneak continued to impress in front of goals in the win over the Western Bulldogs. Duffy surpassed her average (nine) with 10 disposals and kicked two final quarter goals to shut the door on the Bulldogs’ comeback. She also earned two inside 50s, one goal assist and seven contested possessions.

Geelong: Olivia Purcell
Geelong’s newest hardball winner has again shown that she has other levels to reach before hitting her ceiling. Throughout the midfield, Purcell is a tackling and contested ball winning machine. Following a 14-disposal game in Round 4, Purcell impressed with a season-high 20 disposals, one mark, 10 tackles and a goal – kicked towards the end of the third. The rookie also had a game-high 102 AFL Fantasy Points ahead of teammate, Kate Darby (94), who kicked three goals. Purcell enjoyed her first win away with the Cats as she looks to be ramping up her season.

GWS GIANTS: Alyce Parker
Parker remained productive and present in the loss to Melbourne, hitting a new season-high. The Thurgoona product earned a game and season-high 20 disposals, tied with teammate, Alicia Eva. She also snagged three marks, two tackles and 63 AFL Fantasy Points, edging her average up to 16 disposals with a 63 per cent disposal efficiency.

Melbourne: Chantel Emonson
The former cricketer and Casey Demons player has shown decent form recently and held up well in the win over GWS. Emonson is showing great potential as a high-pressure player with her tackling ability and awareness in congestion. In the win she picked up 11 disposals and six tackles with 58 AFL Fantasy Points.

North Melbourne: Jessica Trend
Trend was among a few players who lifted their efforts in hope to keep North Melbourne’s winning streak alive. In her first year of AFLW, the 27-year-old had a season-high 13 disposals, five marks and three tackles with 59 AFL Fantasy Points. Teammate Sophie Abbatangelo (13 disposals and six marks) also held up in the loss but struggled to hit the board with two behinds.

Western Bulldogs: Aisling McCarthy
The Irish native remained impressive in the Western Bulldogs’ loss to Fremantle. She found the goals for the third time this season, nearly averaging a goal a game, and earned eight disposals, two marks and one tackle on her way to 38 AFL Fantasy Points.

Weekend wash-up: AFLW – Round 5

ROUND 5 of the AFL Women’s competition saw some huge wins and some firsts, with Brisbane recording the lowest score and Adelaide handing North Melbourne the Roos’ first defeat.

Brisbane 1.2 (8) defeated by Geelong 5.5 (35)
By: James Halley

Geelong defeated Brisbane by 27 points in their Round 5 encounter to earn themselves top spot in Conference B. With only two rounds remaining, Geelong is one game clear on top of Conference B and has a great chance to qualify for the finals.

After a tense first half, Geelong hit the front moments before the siren due to a goal from Mia-Rae Clifford, sparking a dominant second half by the Cats and keeping Brisbane to the lowest AFLW score in the league’s short history, winning 5.5 (35) to 1.2 (8).

Richelle Cranston starred for Geelong in the midfield, amassing 22 disposals, while Olivia Purcell was equally as dominant, picking up 20 disposals and a whopping ten tackles. Cats forward Kate Darby kicked three of Geelong’s five goals, after being axed from the side in Round 4. This performance should give her some confidence to keep her spot going forward.

The Cats’ manic pressure was astounding, and will be hard to beat leading into the finals if they can sustain it in the coming weeks.

Carlton 4.10 (34) defeated Collingwood 4.5 (29)
By: Sophie Taylor

It was a scorching evening for footy at Ikon Park, but that didn’t stop a crowd forming for the Round 5 matchup between traditional rivals Carlton and Collingwood. It was a do or die match for both sides, as Collingwood worked to get a victory for the first time in 2019, while Carlton were pushing for a top 2 position in Conference B. There was plenty of action in the low scoring affair, as Carlton overcame a mid-match slump to beat the Magpies 4.10 (34) to 4.5 (29).

It was Carlton that came to play in the opening quarter, kicking the first goal after five minutes of play. It was an unfortunate night for goal kicking, however, as the Blues struggled with inaccuracy, kicking 1.5 in the first quarter but keeping the Magpies scoreless. Despite their speedy start it was the Magpies that jumped into action in the second quarter, kicking 2.4 to 0.1 to be up by four points at half time, thanks to a goal apiece to Katie Lynch and Jordyn Allen. Some on the line defence work from the Blues kept them in the game throughout the middle quarters as inaccuracy continued to be an issue all over the field. Collingwood remained in control throughout the third term, kicking two more goals in the hopes of keeping their 2019 season alive, while Carlton kicked another goal and behind to stay in the match.

Despite lighting issues plaguing the Carlton forward pocket in the final term, a two goal, three behind final quarter to nil brought the Blues’ second win of the season, turning the tides and bringing back the confident start they had in the first term. Despite her three behinds in the first quarter, Darcy Vescio finally got a major on the board and kicked her only goal of the game to put the Blues ahead in the dying minutes. Madison Prespakis starred for the Blues, leading the disposal count with 21 touches and a goal, while captain, Brianna Davey dominated across the ground with 20 disposals and four tackles. Along with Vescio and Prespakis, Tayla Harris and Alison Downie also managed a major each in what was an inaccurate day out in front of goal.

For the Blues, Gabriella Pound and Kerryn Harrington impressed with 31 disposals between them, along with their eight and seven respective marks. Jaimee Lambert led the tackle count with seven tackles to go with her 18 disposals, while Britt Bonnici and Kristy Stratton weren’t far behind on six and five tackles respectively. Sarah Rowe and debutant, Darcy Guttridge also both made it onto the scoreboard, kicking a debut goal apiece for the Pies.

GWS Giants 2.6 (18) defeated by Melbourne 8.9 (57)
By: Michael Alvaro

Melbourne earned four points and a crucial percentage boost against GWS as the Demons push for a spot in the Conference A top two. The home side was not able to match it with the surging Dees for long, as the winners broke a quarter time deadlock to open up a 16-point lead at the main break – all while keeping the Giants goalless in the second stanza. With the third term spoils shared at an even 1.2 apiece, there was still a chance for the hosts to snatch a victory with one final push. That was not to be though, as a clinical Melbourne outfit again kept its opponent goalless after the last break and piled on another four majors to run out 39-point victors.

Tegan Cunningham was the star Dee inside forward 50 as she put 3.2 on the board to be the game’s lone multiple goal kicker. Melbourne midfielders Maddison Gay and Karen Paxman also found the goals, and were their side’s best ball winners with 19 and 17 disposals respectively. Not to be outdone, Giants star, Alicia Eva had 20 of her own and was matched by 2018 draftee, Alyce Parker who continued her outstanding debut season to date.

Looking forward, Melbourne is set to play part in a Marvel Stadium double-header on Saturday against the battling Bulldogs in a Conference A clash, while GWS will look to keep its finals hopes alive as it travels to face the red-hot Adelaide Crows at Unley Oval.

North Melbourne 4.5 (29) defeated by Adelaide 10.4 (64)
By: Nikki Jamieson

In the blockbuster match between the top-two conference A teams, Adelaide proved that the new North Melbourne side could be stopped by making their winning streak come to a crashing end. The Crows were able to thump the Roos by 35 points, throwing a spanner into the premiership race for North Melbourne.

The Roos started out strong, with performances by Moana Hope and Kaitlyn Ashmore leading to the first two goals on the board. However, it didn’t take long for Adelaide to strike back by the thirteenth minute, from which point onward the Crows were able to maintain the lead for the rest of the match.

An impressive competition took place in the midfield between the Crows’ Erin Phillips and the Roos’ Emma Kearney. Naturally, Phillips had an excellent game with 2 goals and 23 disposals, but it was Kearney who took out the disposal count with 31.

As the game continued, Adelaide were responsible for ten of the last 12 goals, comfortably placing them far in front of North Melbourne, who were only able to put up 8 points in the entire second half. This was exemplified through the work of Stevie-Lee Thompson who was able to easily brush past a dormant North Melbourne defence and kick two goals and one behind.

Next round on the Saturday, North Melbourne face off against a winless Collingwood at Marvel Stadium in a double header and on the Sunday Adelaide return home to play GWS at Unley Oval.

Fremantle 8.4 (52) defeated Western Bulldogs 5.4 (34)
By: Carly McClen

It was a crucial 18-point win for a much improved 2019 Fremantle Dockers outfit on their home turf over the reigning premiers. The Bulldogs flew to Fremantle to get back to their brand of football and play with heart, which they accomplished, and they’d be rightly satisfied with achieving that. Also on the flight was 2017 number one draft pick, Isabel Huntington and 2018 leading goal kicker, Brooke Lochland, both returning from injury. Both played their roles well, as did Katie Brennan, Aisling Utri and Aisling McCarthy. The Dogs were out there on the day against a better side with a bigger hunger to win the footy and more grunt and poise to get it done.

It was a tight game throughout the four terms, with the Dockers kicking clear halfway through the final term. Sabreena Duffy was pivotal late on her home track with two crucial goals, showing the depth Freo have in their forward line. Fremantle gun, Kiara Bowers was a consistent standout all day with 23 disposals, 16 tackles and a goal for her side.

The Dockers had a few of these above-the-rest individual efforts from the usual suspects in Dana Hooker, Kellie Gibson, Kara Donnellan and Gemma Houghton. The well-rounded Dockers had the whole team to fall back on, making them a polished side to contend with. Every time the Bulldogs were looking to get in front, the Freo midfield would form a wall, tackling fiercely head on and taking Bulldogs to the turf. Bowers really lead that charge with her 16 tackles.

Conference A is tight right now. Today’s win positions the Dockers to be level with leaders North Melbourne and Adelaide. A win against Geelong next week and a jump on percentage will flag the Dockers as a real and present danger to qualify for the top two.

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.

Draftee Watch: AFLW – Round 4

IN Round 4 of the AFL Women’s, Adelaide’s Danielle Ponter and Collingwood’s Sarah Dargan joined the list of growing Rising Stars in the competition after impressive performances on the weekend.

Adelaide: Danielle Ponter
Ponter was well deserving of her Round 4 Rising Star nomination in Adelaide’s victory over Fremantle. As Adelaide’s first nomination this season, Ponter took centre stage with two majors and a 90 per cent disposal efficiency on her home turf in Darwin. She also secured eight disposals and a mark in her first stint up forward. Teammate, Jess Foley (24 hit-outs, 13 disposals, five marks, two clearances and five inside 50s), also continued her elite form as she finishes second in the league for hit-outs.

Brisbane: McKenzie Dowrick
The Grand Final rematch went well in Brisbane’s favour as they kept the Bulldogs goalless in the first half. Along with teammate, Jesse Tawhaio-Wardlaw (12 disposals and six marks), Dowrick was both dominant in the air and in the contest. For the day she had 12 disposals, four marks and three tackles on her way to 58 AFL Fantasy Points. If Brisbane’s recruits continue to combine well, they could be the difference for a successful 2019 finals campaign.

Carlton: Madison Prespakis
Prespakis continues to be one of Carlton’s most dominant utilities, impressing in the loss. With both teams underwhelming on the scoreboard, the No. 3 pick showed she’s nothing if not consistent as she picked up a game-high 19 disposals, one mark and three tackles along the way to 67 AFL Fantasy Points. At the rate she’s progressing, it might be possible for her to snag the Rising Star Award and the AFLW Best and Fairest trophy in consecutive years. She is easily the frontrunner for the latter, but also shouldn’t be ruled out for either as the continues to put up great numbers.

Collingwood: Sarah Dargan
The hardnut midfielder is getting better by the week, and in Round 4, she was handed a Rising Star nomination. Against the GWS GIANTS, Dargan racked up 16 disposals, two marks, six tackles and booted an important Collingwood goal. She was the second highest disposal winner from the Pies and has been a shining light in a disappointing season thus far.

Fremantle: Sabreena Duffy
With a final quarter blitz shaking Fremantle to their core, Duffy and Parris Laurie were treated to their first loss as Fremantle players. Of the two, Duffy had the most impact. Despite recording her lowest numbers of the season, Duffy endeavoured with seven disposals, three marks and two tackles. She tried her luck at a goal in the fourth but failed to find the middle. Laurie (eight disposals, two marks and one tackle) remained efficient in the loss.

Geelong: Olivia Purcell
Geelong’s hard ball winner continues to impress in Nina Morrison’s absence, propping up numbers all over the stat sheet. In the Round 4 victory she secured 14 possessions (nine contested), three clearances, three tackles and four inside 50s. Her work on the inside continues to impress, but her disposal efficiency (42 per cent) could improve.

GWS GIANTS: Yvonne Bonner
Not only has Bonner proven to be the GIANTS’ most dominant new prospect, at times she warrants comparisons with some of the league’s best. She is yet to be goalless this season, kicking her fourth career goal with elite goal sense. As a forward, she possesses a lot of the footy as she combines well in chains and hits up teammates in space. For the game she snagged nine disposals, one mark and one tackle. While not her most impressive game, she still deserves her place on this list.

Melbourne: Tyla Hanks
Hanks might have been one goal short of a Rising Star Nomination this week as she turned it on for Melbourne in a tight loss. The former Gippsland co-captain decisively made her case for Rising Star consideration with 12 disposals, one goal, two marks and three tackles on her way to 51 AFL Fantasy Points. This marks Hanks’ second goal and third consecutive game with over 10 disposals.

North Melbourne: Georgia Nanscawen
There was not a lot of first-year influence in North Melbourne’s fourth consecutive win, with most players recording under four disposals with low disposal efficiency. Nanscawen was the best of the crop with four disposals, one mark and one tackle. In her first year, the 26-year-old is still yet to breakout, though with a solid team around her, it could still happen this season.

Western Bulldogs: Aisling McCarthy
The Irish-born Bulldog was one of the few pillars who remained in their heavy loss. McCarthy had 12 disposals, two marks, two tackles and kicked her second career goal on her way to 53 AFL Fantasy Points. The change in codes has not seem to have dwindled her impact as she continues to get more comfortable in front of the sticks.

Draftee Watch – AFLW: Round 3

IN Round 3, forward Courteney Munn booted four goals on debut and highlighted a number of impressive draftee performances across the round.

Adelaide: Chloe Scheer
The South Australian champion exceeded her Round 1 performance in a big win over Geelong. She kicked two goals, with her last comfortably shutting the Cats out of the race in the final quarter. Her work overhead remains consistent as she leads well into space. She also displays an uncanny goal sense that makes her dangerous around the sticks. For the day, she tallied up 13 disposals, four marks and three inside 50s, as well as finishing as Adelaide’s second leading goal kicker behind Erin Phillips (three goals).

Brisbane: Jesse Tawhiao-Wardlaw
After missing her first shot on goal against Fremantle, Tawhiao-Wardlaw found her first in her side’s loss to Melbourne, coming at the end of a first quarter which seemed to be keeping Brisbane in contention. Unfortunately, those hopes were quickly quashed as Melbourne returned five consecutive goals in the second. For the day, Tawhiao-Wardlaw had eight disposals, three marks and two tackles.

Carlton: Madison Prespakis
A contender for the MVP, Prespakis has somehow smashed expectations with possibly a league-best performance against GWS GIANTS. After earning a Rising Star nomination in Round 2, the Carlton recruit took things up a notch with a game-high 21 disposals and three goals. She boasted an excellent goal sense and found her forwards well, combining well with Tayla Harris (three goals) on several occasions to hit the board. Her individual performance saw Carlton to their first win and possibly a revitalised season with a new brand of attacking football.

Collingwood: Jordyn Allen
Allen continues to improve despite Collingwood’s struggles. The former Dandenong Stingrays captain received her first shot on goal and a career-high 10 disposals alongside one mark and two tackles on her way to 33 AFL Fantasy Points.

Fremantle: Parris Laurie
After a shaky second round performance, Laurie doubled her efforts with a 17 disposal game, smashing her previous highest. The 24 year-old made waves throughout Fremantle’s midfield, assisting attacking chains and dishing the ball off effectively. She finished as the second highest accumulator behind teammate, Kara Donnellan, and currently sits at a 77 per cent disposal efficiency, looking set to take the game on more in the coming rounds.

Geelong: Olivia Purcell
Despite some issues with her disposal efficiency (37 per cent), Purcell currently sits as Geelong’s best young asset after Nina Morrison suffered her anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury. In her junior career she was selected for both TAC Cup Team of the Year and the All-Australian team and received the Geelong Falcons best and fairest during her under 18’s year. She brings Geelong a new level of intensity on the inside, dishing the ball out from congestion and bringing players to the ground. Against Adelaide she had nine disposals, one goal, one mark and two tackles. This was Purcell’s first score for the season and hopefully leads in many more.

GWS Giants: Yvonne Bonner
In only her fourth game of AFL, Bonner is playing like a veteran. In their loss against Carlton she remained a pillar in the forward line, marking everything that came her way and setting up multiple goals for her teammates. She also earned herself an early nod at the goal of the year with a gather and round the body snap from the boundary line. She assisted Christina Bernardi twice in front of goal and kept up the intensity despite Carlton’s dominance. For the day she tallied up 13 disposals and eight marks.

Melbourne: Tyla Hanks
The Gippsland Power and Carlton VFL gun was pivotal in Melbourne’s interstate win over Brisbane, with a career-high 12 disposals, four marks and three tackles. She dropped the ball in well to her forwards (three inside 50s), helping to assist Melbourne’s relentless goal pressure. She currently averages 10 disposals and 57 per cent disposal efficiency, but those numbers have only climbed since her debut.

North Melbourne: Courteney Munn
The debutant just showed another string to North Melbourne’s impressive forward bow, booting four goals in North Melbourne’s big win over the reigning premiers. Munn had 11 touches, four marks and two tackles in the victory, but it was her four goals, some of which were very impressive and showed maturity beyond her years. Her elite 91 per cent disposal efficiency was also a highlight and Munn certainly cemented her spot for Round 4.

Western Bulldogs: Celine Moody
Moody continues to prove herself a dominant ruckman as she beat out her Roos opponent, Emma King, in the weekend’s loss. With 15 hit-outs to 11, Moody has shown she knows how to scrap with the best, notching her average up to 11 after a weaker performance in Round 1. In the loss, she picked up four disposals, one inside 50 and two clearances. Moody is well on her way to a big career if she keeps improving like this.