Tag: poppy schaap

2020 NAB League Girls team update: Geelong Falcons

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 one of the sides to have only played the two games to-date, splitting their results with a win and a loss, Geelong Falcons.

2020 RESULTS:

R1: defeated Gippsland Power by 33 points
R2: lost to Northern Knights by 25 points
R3: Bye

Much like Eastern Ranges in our most recent team review, Geelong Falcons have only played the two games for one win and one loss. There are plenty of positives to take out of the 2020 season so far and a number of impressive players for the 2018 premiers who had a middle and bottom-age heavy list.

FIVE STRONG STARTERS:

Laura Gardiner (34.5 disposals, 2.0 marks, 11.5 tackles, 5.0 inside 50s, 3.0 rebounds, 1 goal)

Far and away the dominant ball winner in the NAB League Girls competition, Gardiner racked up more than 30 disposals twice and averaged 34.5 per game from her two matches. She was strong on the inside with a league-leading 11.5 tackles per game as well, along with five inside 50s and three rebounds in really impressive start to the season. It would have been great to see how far she could have gone this season with a full few months of action.

Darcy Moloney (26.5 disposals, 1.0 marks, 3.5 tackles, 2.0 inside 50s, 1.0 rebounds)

Forming a damaging duo with Gardiner in the midfield, Moloney had her own impressive numbers to start the year, working hard on the outside for an average of 26.5 disposals per game. She also laid almost four tackles and managed to win the ball in all thirds of the ground. Predominantly she used her clean hands to open up space with teammates, or take the game on and force an opposition player to approach her in order to release a teammate going forward.

Poppy Schaap (18.0 disposals, 2.0 marks, 3.5 tackles, 2.0 inside 50s, 1 goal)

The tenacious small just never gives in and puts out a four quarter performance. Whether or not it’s in-and-under through midfield or locking the ball inside forward 50, her teammates can rely on Schaap to give it her all throughout the match. She averaged 18 touches in her own right and provides that experience to a young list alongside her Vic Country capped teammates. Loves the contest and just a huge work rate.

Annie Lee (12.5 disposals, 4.0 marks, 1.5 tackles, 4.5 rebounds)

Speaking of younger prospects, Lee still has another year to perform in the competition and was already showing promising signs of improvement after three games last season. She had a ripping game in the Round 2 loss to Northern Knights, and has averaged 4.5 rebounds from 12.5 disposals – predominantly kicks – playing a key role in Geelong’s defence this season.

Carly Remmos (15.0 disposals, 1.5 marks, 5.0 tackles, 1.5 inside 50s, 1 goal)

It is a frustrating time for most, but certainly for the top-ager who came into the program with an elite basketball background. Remmos did not look out of place in a midfield with a lot more experience around her, and she finished the two games averaging 15 touches and five tackles a game. Remmos even got to celebrate a goal prior to the season being cancelled, and no doubt her talent across both sports will see her continue to improve regardless of where she ends up playing.

Others who have stood out: Mia Van Dyke, Keeley Hardingham, Ashleigh Van Loon, Elizabeth Dowling

The Falcons always have good depth and 2020 is no exception with a lot of young stars coming through the group. Hardingham held up well in the ruck, averaging 13 touches, 10 hitouts and five tackles, while Van Dyke is a highly rated prospect who excelled in the V/Line Cup and remarkably only turned 15 on the third-last day of 2019. Throw in Dowling who is a strong mark leading out of the forward 50 and can rotate through midfield, and Van Loon who along with Dowling combined for 14.5 tackles, while running hard between the arcs.

Smith and McKenzie lead DC Medal count in postponed NAB League Girls

WHILE the NAB League Girls competition players, staff and families wait for confirmation on whether or not any more football will go ahead due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Draft Central thought it would update the leaderboard of the DC Medal count we have been taking throughout the first three rounds of the season. While we had hoped that this would end up being a full season count, there are two clear leaders who have emerged from the pack. It might have been difficult with some teams only playing two games compared to three, but no player that played two games could have caught the equal leaders even with a full five votes in a hypothetical third game.

Dandenong Stingrays’ Tyanna Smith and Ellie McKenzie lead all-comers in what could realistically be the end result of the Medal count, which means in the inaugural DC Medal, two players will share the award. Both players polled 14 votes in their first three games, including two best-on-grounds and one four-vote game to ensure that no one else could catch them. If the season is potentially called off in the future, then both the players will be announced winners. Two of the stars of the competition, Smith has helped Dandenong Stingrays to a ripping start in the NAB League Girls season, with her side winning its first two games against Eastern Ranges and Calder Cannons, before running into a McKenzie-inspired Northern Knights outfit in Round 3. The Knights’ co-captain was sensational and picked up her second best on ground to tie with Smith in the same game after the Stingrays speedster picked up the four votes.

After the two clears in McKenzie and Smith clears is another Northern Knights player, and a couple of Sandringham Dragons. McKenzie’s teammate and forward, Alyssa Bannan sits three votes behind in third with 11 to her name and the player responsible for picking up the best on ground votes back in Round 1 against Calder Cannons for McKenzie to receive the four. Rounding out the top five are Sandringham Dragons’ duo, Sarah Hartwig (10 votes) and Alice Burke (nine) who were both enjoying terrific starts to the season. Behind the top five are a pack of players all on eight votes, including Western Jets’ duo, Montana Ham and Isabella Pritchard, Eastern Ranges’ Olivia Meagher and the only player who has played the two games inside the top 10 – Laura Gardiner. Calder Cannons’ Georgie Prespakis and Sandringham Dragons’ Winnie Laing sit on seven and six votes respectively.

DC Medal:

[14] Tyanna Smith (DS), Ellie McKenzie (NK)

[11] Alyssa Bannan (NK)
[10] Sarah Hartwig (SD)
[9] Alice Burke (SD)

[8] Laura Gardiner (GF), Montana Ham (WJ), Isabelle Pritchard (WJ), Olivia Meagher (ER)
[7] Georgie Prespakis (CC)
[6] Winnie Laing (SD)

[5] Jess Fitzgerald (NK), Charlotte Baskaran (WJ), Tarni Brown (ER), Alice Astbury (GWV), Grace Hay (MB), Charlie Rowbottom (OC), Bella Eddey (SD), Mimi Hill (OC)
[4] Grace Dicker (CC), Abbi Moloney (SD), Maggie Caris (GWV), Amber Micallef (OC), Kasey Lennox (CC), Alice O’Loughlin (OC), Brooke Hards (BP), Darcy Moloney (GF), Nyakoat Dojiok (GWV)
[3] Amelia Velardo (WJ), Jemma Finning (BP), Isabella Khoury (WJ), Taylah Morton (OC), Zoe Hill (DS), Eliza James (OC), Mackenzie Eardley (DS), Poppy Schaap (GF), Jessica Zakkour (CC)
[2] Elizabeth Snell (BP), Megan Fitzsimon (GP), Matilda Hardy (ER), Ella Friend (GWV), Rianna Thiele (OC), Annabel Strahan (BP), Tarrah Delgado (NK), Emily Shepherd (DS), Amelia James (OC), Georgia Grimmer (DS), Matilda Van Berkel (GP), Eliza McNamara (SD)
[1] Freda Puruntatameri (CC), Perri King (TD), Amber Clarke (DS), Kate Adams (MB), Amanda Ling (OC), Annie Lee (GF), Zali Spencer (MB), Jorja Livingstone (ER), Shanara Notman (GP), Renee Saulitis (GWV)

 

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.

2020 NAB League Girls Team of the Week: Round 1

IN a new-look amalgamation of Draft Central‘s Team of the Week and player notes, we name our Round 1 NAB League Girls’ Team of the Week and explain why each player has been chosen. The 24-player team returns with three emergencies this year, and it was an even spread across the board. All notes are opinion-based of the individual Draft Central writer. Round 1 winners, Oakleigh Chargers, Northern Knights and Geelong Falcons all had three players in the Team of the Week, while fellow winners, Dandenong Stingrays, Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels and Western Jets had two apiece. Narrow losers in Round 1, Calder Cannons and Sandringham Dragons had two each as well, as did Gippsland Power, while Bendigo Pioneers, Eastern Ranges and Murray Bushrangers had the one representative. Factoring in emergencies, Oakleigh Chargers had the most players overall with four, while Sandringham and Western moved up to three.

BACKS:

Crystal Summers (GWV Rebels) – 13 disposals, 5 marks, 3 tackles, 1 inside 50, 6 rebounds
The rebounding defender was lively throughout the contest, being a constant threat coming off half-back and pushing up the ground to be a key reason behind the Rebels’ success on the weekend. She was calm and composed with ball-in-hand and generally made the right decisions as one of the standouts.

Mindy Quade (Murray Bushrangers) – 9 disposals, 2 marks, 1 tackle, 1 inside 50, 8 rebounds
Her vision off half-back and spotting the ball in transition was a highlight, as she stood up under fierce pressure from the Chargers during the Bushrangers’ loss. She was often the first to intercept and disrupted the offensive flow inside defensive 50.

Nyakoat Dojiok (GWV Rebels) – 10 disposals, 3 marks, 7 tackles, 2 inside 50s, 2 rebounds
Always having more impact than the statistics might suggest, Dojiok had a number of impressive runs down the ground and took the game on with eye-catching speed and evasion. She still has plenty of development left in her, but has clearly improved over the past couple of seasons and is hard to stop when she gets going.

HALF-BACKS:

Sarah Hartwig (Sandringham Dragons) – 14 disposals, 5 marks, 1 tackle, 2 inside 50s, 4 rebounds
The standout player on the day despite being on the losing side, Hartwig was a force in defence with a number of intercept marks and rebounds, with one passage of play in particular standing out where she hit the ball at full speed, collected it cleanly, sidestepped an opponent and kicked neatly inside 50.

Mackenzie Eardley (Dandenong Stingrays) – 9 disposals, 2 marks, 5 tackles, 4 rebounds
The centre half-back certainly stood tall in the back six despite being a bottom-ager, taking a number of contested grabs, or providing a contest where she was able to calmly clear the ball under pressure. She also laid a massive tackle to win a free kick and it led to her side kicking a goal off that chain of possessions.

Charlotte Baskaran (Western Jets) – 19 disposals, 1 mark, 7 tackles, 4 inside 50s, 5 rebounds
A clean user of the ball, Baskaran would roam up and down the ground providing great service between the arcs and dropping back to help her defenders with the natural half-back another bottom-ager in the side.

CENTRES:

Darcy Moloney (Geelong Falcons) – 28 disposals, 6 tackles, 2 inside 50s
She was a force in midfield for the Falcons during their win, often releasing teammates in space with her run and carry and quick handballs to open up passages of play down the field. A dominant player early, Moloney finds space where very few can and is quick to release by hand or foot, and equally as damaging defensively, laying some big tackles.

Tyanna Smith (Dandenong Stingrays) – 26 disposals, 4 marks, 5 tackles, 6 inside 50s, 2 rebounds, 1 goal
Absolutely outstanding performance, particularly in the second quarter where she constantly attacked going inside 50, then snapped one of the goal’s of the round close to the boundary line. Also did a number of defensive things right with some big tackles around the ground.

Mimi Hill (Oakleigh Chargers) – 29 disposals, 2 marks, 3 tackles, 5 inside 50s
The captain starred in her side’s big win over Murray with a second-high round of 29 disposals, and was often seen pumping the ball inside 50, showing clean hands and precision disposal. One of the top performers across the entire weekend.

HALF-FORWARDS:

Jessica Zakkour (Calder Cannons) – 18 disposals, 2 marks, 8 tackles, 2 inside 50s, 3 rebounds, 2 goals
Rotated between midfield and forward, often sneaking out the back to find space and capitalise, whilst showing some terrific defensive pressure. Was arguably Calder’s best in the narrow loss to Northern, and found plenty of the football while laying eight tackles.

Montana Ham (Western Jets) – 19 disposals, 7 marks, 2 tackles, 5 inside 50s, 3 rebounds
Got our full votes for her performance in Western’s win over Bendigo, looking impressive across the ground with her movement and ability to drive the ball forward in transition. She seemed to be everywhere on the ground and despite being a bottom-ager racked up a game-high 19 touches, and had the play of the game with a multiple-bounce effort down the wing kicking forward which almost led to a goal.

Eliza McNamara (Sandringham Dragons) – 20 disposals, 3 marks, 8 tackles, 6 inside 50s
Played between midfield and half-forward, McNamara had the most disposals on the ground in Sandringham’s loss to the Rebels. Her defensive pressure and running ability is elite, and she just keeps pushing throughout the four quarters to try and do everything she can for her side. She worked tirelessly for the Dragons applying tackles and looking inside 50.

FORWARDS:

Alice O’Loughlin (Oakleigh Chargers) – 18 disposals, 3 marks, 1 inside 50, 3 goals
Her timing and speed off the mark caught the eye inside 50, making the most of her opportunities in front of goal. She used the space around her well to find the football and took advantage of the loose ball inside 50 to capitalise with three majors.

Alyssa Bannan (Northern Knights) – 11 disposals, 4 marks, 1 tackle, 2 inside 50s, 5 goals
Kicked a round-high five goals and looks a good candidate for one of the top goalkickers this season, taking a number of good grabs with her vertical leap and athleticism the highlight. It was clear that defenders cannot allow Bannan to get goalside or she will create something out of nothing with a couple of clever snaps close to goal adding to her tally on the day.

Poppy Schaap (Geelong Falcons) – 24 disposals, 3 marks, 6 tackles, 4 inside 50s, 1 goal
Started forward and roamed up the ground to be the third highest disposal winner with her ability to lay some strong tackles and show a high work rate. She just pushes time and time again across four quarters, and was rewarded with a goal, while setting up a number of teammates with scoring opportunities.

RUCKS:

Matilda Van Berkel (Gippsland Power) – 15 disposals, 6 marks, 4 tackles, 3 inside 50s, 2 rebounds, 28 hitouts
The standout Gippsland Power player in the loss to Geelong Falcons, Van Berkel had to step up to play ruck and was ultra-impressive with a round-high 28 hitouts, as well as finding plenty of the football around the ground with strength overhead and an ability to cover the ground well with hard running.

Brooke Hards (Bendigo Pioneers) – 18 disposals, 4 marks, 7 tackles, 4 inside 50s, 2 rebounds
The Pioneers’ co-captain picked up where she left off last season, being a shining light in her side’s loss to the Jets. Hards was constantly getting involved either offensively or defensively, and was fierce around the stoppages. She had a team-high 18 touches and as she has become known for, laid a truckload of tackles in the process.

Laura Gardiner (Geelong Falcons) – 38 disposals, 1 mark, 14 tackles, 5 inside 50s, 1 rebound, 1 goal
Our Draft Central Player of the Week for Round 1, Gardiner was simply unstoppable with a ridiculous 38 touches and 14 tackles, pumping the ball in time and time again, and helping free up her teammates around the ground. She ran at a 50 per cent balance between kicks and handballs, and while most of her touches were often in possession chains, her work rate showed just how much she works around the ground.

INTERCHANGE:

Jess Fitzgerald (Northern Knights) – 15 disposals, 1 mark, 2 tackles, 4 inside 50s, 3 rebounds
Last year’s best-on in the grand final started her 2020 year with a strong performance, moving well around the ground and showing off her speed in close and precision kicking. She possesses good footy IQ and was one of the best Knights on the day during their win over the Cannons.

Eliza James (Oakleigh Chargers) – 18 disposals, 4 marks, 5 tackles, 7 inside 50s, 1 goal
Showed clean hands and vision by propelling the ball inside 50 and finding targets in there with a massive seven inside 50s. She also provided plenty of defensive pressure with strong tackling and forcing errors from the Bushrangers, working well through the midfield to drive the ball in transition.

Olivia Meagher (Eastern Ranges) – 16 disposals, 2 marks, 4 tackles, 4 inside 50s, 2 rebounds
It was not a great day for Eastern, but Meagher never gave in as she battled and bruised her way through four quarters for her side. She showed great leadership and tried to will her side on, laying crunching tackles and bumps, often bouncing straight up or off opponents with a hungry desire to win the ball. Meagher also tried getting the ball down the field to set up scoring opportunities and was a standout for her team.

Ellie McKenzie (Northern Knights) – 12 disposals, 4 marks, 3 tackles, 4 inside 50s
Another player who had a great impact that stats might suggest, McKenzie kept battling on the inside and then going forward with her strength and power a highlight during Round 1. She adds a great dimension to the Knights’ midfield and she was able to win the ball in tight, extract it and get the ball out, going on a couple of short runs to try and break down the opposition defensive structures.

Shanara Notman (Gippsland Power) – 11 disposals, 3 marks, 2 tackles, 1 inside 50, 5 rebounds, 2 hitouts
The Gippsland Power overager showed why she was a terrific choice to come back as a 19-year-old player this year, standing tall in the face of a wave of Falcons attacks, with great strength in the air and ability to move the ball out of defence. She sold a bit of candy in the process and was rock solid back there in defeat.

Georgie Prespakis (Calder Cannons) – 19 disposals, 1 mark, 3 tackles, 3 inside 50s, 3 rebounds
The highly-touted prospect had a solid game to start the season, not often getting too much free space, but still finding her fair share of the ball through the midfield. She was thrown around into different positions but still had an impact, and her work rate between the arcs was really impressive.

EMERGENCIES:

Alice Burke (Sandringham Dragons) – 15 disposals, 2 marks, 3 tackles, 3 rebounds
The potential St Kilda father-daughter selection stood up in big moments and makes the trio of most unlucky to miss players after a solid performance. She can play just about anywhere and is able to break up the play with her ability to find space and short kick to teammates on angles to disrupt the opposition’s zones.

Amelia James (Oakleigh Chargers) – 19 disposals, 1 tackle, 3 inside 50s, 6 hitouts, 2 goals
We could have included a heap of Oakleigh Chargers and James was the next one in line after an impressive two-goal performance inside 50. She is in her top-age year and showed she can pinch-hit in the ruck as well.

Amelia Velardo (Western Jets) – 16 disposals, 3 inside 50s, 1 rebound, 4 hitouts
An eye-catching player across the ground and new into the team, Velardo showed some good athleticism coming out of the ruck at times and had a really busy start to the game in Western’s win against Bendigo. She was able to drive the ball forward and be amongst it in close, often firing out quick handballs to teammates in space.

DRAFT CENTRAL’S NAB LEAGUE GIRLS TEAM OF THE WEEK: ROUND 1

B: Crystal Summers (GWV) – Mindy Quade (MB) – Nyakoat Dojiok (GWV)
HB: Sarah Hartwig (SD) – Mackenzie Eardley (DS) – Charlotte Baskaran (WJ)
C: Darcy Moloney (GF) – Tyanna Smith (DS) – Mimi Hill (OC)
HF: Jessica Zakkour (CC) – Montana Ham (WJ) – Eliza McNamara (SD)
F: Alice O’Loughlin (OC) – Alyssa Bannan (NK) – Poppy Schaap (GF)
R: Matilda Van Berkel (GP) – Brooke Hards (BP) – Laura Gardiner (GF)
INT: Jess Fitzgerald (NK) – Eliza James (OC) – Olivia Meagher (ER) – Ellie McKenzie (NK) – Shanara Notman (GP) – Georgie Prespakis (CC)
EMG: Alice Burke (SD) – Amelia James (OC) – Amelia Velardo (WJ)

OTHERS CONSIDERED:

It was a really even round of performances this weekend, with a number of players making the shortlist for the team but just missing out. Among them were Calder Cannons’ duo Tamsin Crook and Emelia Yassir, Sandringham Dragons’ duo Winnie Laing and Pia Staltari, GWV Rebels’ duo Renee Saulitis and Lilli Condon, Northern Knights’ Ash Snow, Geelong Falcons’ Elizabeth Dowling, Bendigo Pioneers’ Jemma Finning, Eastern Ranges’ Jorja Livingston and Dandenong Stingrays’ Georgia Grimmer.

Falcons down Power in strong showing

IN a relatively one-sided affair, Geelong Falcons defeated Gippsland Power by 33 points at RMIT Bundoora in the first round of the NAB League Girls competition. Though inaccuracy plagued the Falcons at times who struggled to make the most of their opportunities in front of goal with 10 behinds, credit must be given to the Power’s defence, for the most part holding up across three quarters. Seven scoring shots to none in the final term extended the winning margin out to 33, but it was a strong hitout for both teams this early in the season.

It did not take long for Geelong to get on the board, and although it was a point at the hands of Renee Tierney it helped to set in motion what was to come – a barrage of scoring opportunities. Poppy Schaap kicked off her 2020 campaign in style with the opening goal for the Falcons and while the Falcons seemed to control the flow of play, over-ager Shanara Notman was a calming influence down back. Notman was everywhere in the first 15 minutes of the game popping up here there and everywhere to stop any forward forays and using her football nous to try and propel the ball back down the field. Despite her best efforts, Notman could not contain the Falcons forwards, with Zoe Garth bobbing up for her first major thanks to her ability to get out the back and bang one through the middle helping to extend Geelong’s lead.

The Power failed to register a score in the opening half, but strong efforts from the likes of Megan Fitzsimon and Matilda Van Berkel did not fall by the wayside. Fitzsimon was a real workhorse across the ground winning plenty of the footy and using her tackling ability to disrupt the flow of Geelong. Although the Falcons had their chances in front of goal they were unable to capitalise and punish their opposition with the likes of Elizabeth Dowling showing her skill inside 50 bringing down a big mark but just missing. Dowling was not afraid to put her body on the line going in hard to rip the ball out of congestion and plough it forward. With points aplenty, Carly Remmos made her set shot count, converting an important goal to add to the Falcons’ tally. Laura Gardiner continued to find her groove with her high intensity out of the middle, hunt for the footy and clean hands all on display. She was never far from the pack, constantly lurking around the footy and using it effectively while her read out of the ruck was second to none getting on the move and banging it forward credit to her skill and general smarts.

With pride on the line, the Power came out with a different intensity and hunger for the footy shutting down any easy ball movement by the Falcons and instead looking to change the course of the game. Only three goals down, Gippsland hit the scoreboard thanks to a big goal from Grace McRae, with players running from everywhere to join in on the celebration. The Power seemed to dominate the play in the third holding the ball inside their attacking 50 and searching for opportunities to create more chances. Leyla Berry was running hot in the third working hard at the contest and using her hands to flick the ball out to teammates. Darcy Moloney continued her merry way for the Falcons throwing her weight around and using her quick hands in tight to dish off to teammates in space. Although Geelong failed to hit the scoreboard throughout the third, the work they did defensively to only limit their opponent to a goal was impressive with bottom ager Ashleigh Van Loon leading from the front with her physicality and desperation with 10 tackles for the match. Mia Van Dyke also had a strong quarter for the Falcons highlighting her clean hands with a couple of marks.

Thanks to a relatively slow third term the Falcons turned it on in the fourth to nail two goals and ultimately seal the deal against a trying Gippsland side. Ingrid Houtsma was the first to add six points to the Falcons total in the final term and while she did not find a heap of the footy she struck it nicely. Gardiner capped off a stellar performance in the last term with a big goal to end the stream of points and well and truly romp the win home for the Falcons. She starred from the opening minute of the game winning a heap of the footy and showcasing her versatility in terms of disposals with an even split of 19 kicks and 19 handballs to finish with a whopping 38 touches. It was a stats filling outing for Gardiner who also showcased her physicality laying 14 tackles and recording five inside 50s. Schaap finished with 1.2 in front of goal along with 24 touches while Moloney recorded 28 disposals. Top performers from Gippsland included Fitzsimon with 16 touches, six tackles and four inside 50s with Berry and McRae collecting 14 possessions apiece.

GEELONG FALCONS 2.2 | 3.5 | 3.5 | 5.10 (40)
GIPPSLAND POWER 0.0 | 0,0 | 1.1 | 1.1 (7)

GOALS:

Geelong: P. Schaap, Z. Garth, C. Remmos, I. Houtsma, L. Gardiner.
Gippsland: G. McRae.

BEST:

Geelong: L. Gardiner, D. Moloney, P. Schaap, E. Dowling, M. Van Dyke
Gippsland: M. Van Berkel, S. Notman, G. McRae, M. Fitzsimon, A. Guy-Toogood

DC Medal:

5 – Laura Gardiner (GF)
4 – Darcy Moloney (GF)
3 – Poppy Schaap (GF)
2 – Matilda Van Berkel (GP)
1 – Shanara Notman (GP)

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.

Scouting notes: AFLW U16 Championships – Vic Country vs. Vic Metro

THE Under 16 Girls national carnival wrapped up over the weekend, and Vic Country managed to get one-up on their Metro counterparts in a hard-fought 14-point win. We were on hand to take note on players who caught the eye. All notes are opinion-based of the individual writer.

Vic Country

By: Taylah Melki

#3 Poppy Schaap (Geelong Falcons)

Good long booming kick to push the ball forward and was good in close to try and win the ball for Vic Country. She was not afraid to put her body on the line and get involved in the contest going in hard at every opportunity. Showcased great footy smarts with a clever tip out the contest to try and flick the ball out to a teammate. Schaap won a free kick but was unable to capitalise in front of goal just missing but ran hard all game to open up the forward line and laid some big tackles throughout the match.

#5 Gabbi Featherson (Geelong Falcons)

Featherson worked tirelessly in defence and used her strength and speed to break away from the pack and push the ball forward. She showed good courage to stand under the ball and take a good contested grab. She was composed with ball in hand, displayed a strong set of hands throughout the match and highlighted her ability to read of the flight of the ball to position well and take it cleanly. Her kicks out of the goal square showed good footy smarts to kick to a player on the lead and make sure they were perfectly weighted to her teammates advantage.

#14 Tara Slender (Bendigo Pioneers)

Slender worked her way into the game taking a good pack mark that showed her impressive elevation to get over the back of her opponent and propel the ball back forward for Vic Country. She had strong hands under pressure and showed great intent to continuously push the ball forward and provide scoring opportunities for her team. Slender did not back down from the contest applying good strong physical pressure laying tackle after tackle highlighting her intent to win the ball.

#18 Analea McKee (Geelong Falcons)

McKee led the way in Vic Country’s forward 50 kicking their first goal of the second quarter and presenting well up at the footy. She had clean hands and good leading patterns to create space in the forward 50 on multiple occasions. Good read of the play snatching the ball out of her opponents hand and kicking the ball long down the line. She was barely beaten in a one on one using her body well and strength to outmuscle her opponent and win the ball for Vic Country.

#19 Ella Friend (GWV Rebels)

She was electric and at times seemed to have the ball on a string gaining plenty of touches and always near the footy. Friend contested hard and used her quick hands to dish the ball out of traffic and onto a teammate. She worked tirelessly to win the ball in close and offered up at the footy to take a good mark. Friend displayed her clever decision making, to move the ball into a better position in the forward 50 with a carefully weighted kick inboard and took a very strong mark in the final quarter to lift her side. She pushed up hard to trap the ball in Vic Country’s attacking 50 and showed good composure to stand under the ball and control the mark.

#20 Elizabeth Dowling (Geelong Falcons)

She was a lynchpin down in defence and stood up under the pressure throughout the match. She worked tirelessly in defence and used her quick hands to move the ball out of dangerous positions on multiple occasions throughout the game. Dowling displayed her general footy smarts and ability to make good decisions when under pressure not get flustered or blazing away. She tried to repel the attacking forays of Vic Metro dropping back into gaps and taking a few big marks to stop their forward momentum.

#22 Nyakoat Dojiok (GWV Rebels)

Had a bit of a slow start but worked her way into the game in the second quarter with her clean hands and clever body positioning to out position her opponent. At times she was unable to capitalise doing all the ground work but missing the finishing touches with a couple of dropped marks but her intent and skill were certainly there. Dojiok showed her talent below her knees with a good pick up off the deck. She had a good passage of play showcasing her speed to break away from the pack in the defensive 50 and drill the ball forward. Almost claimed goal of the game in the final quarter surging forward but was unable to capitalise with the ball sliding through the point post.

#24 Keeley Skepper (Murray Bushrangers)

Skepper played a huge role down in defence for Vic Country winning plenty of the ball proving to be a dominant force down back. She repelled plenty of ball that came her way sending it back down the line and bodied up well on her opponent to make sure they did not get an easy shot at goal. She held her own in one on one contests and showcased her good vision to kick to a teammate in space while also highlighting her intent to apply attacking pressure to move the ball out of defence.

Vic Metro:

By: Michael Alvaro

#3 Ebony Angelopoulos (Sandringham Dragons)

Started brightly with her work inside 50, and booted Metro’s first goal of the game after out-bodying her opponent to mark and converting into the open goal. Looked lively and kept busy in the forward half, keeping relevant without the ball as she caught an opponent holding the ball on her offensive arc. Faded out of the game somewhat as Country got on top, but has some good spark.

#4 Emilia Yassir (Calder Cannons)

Looked very Madison Prespakis-like in her Metro #4, and plays a bit like her as a nuggety Cannons midfielder who does just about everything through the engine room. While her contested ball winning ability is obvious and damaging, Yassir really made an impact with her pressure around the ball – laying some crunching tackles and crashing her opponents in aerial contests. Just kept on hunting the ball at stoppages and proved hard to tackle, pumping her legs to break away from congestion and get a kick off. Also looked strong overhead for her size and isn’t afraid to compete in the air, which can be put down to her aggression and clean hands. Contributed a couple of neat touches with an accurate kick to find Charli Murphy inside 50, as almost got on the board by ultimately sprayed her shots on goal. One of Metro’s clear best.

#6 Emma Stuber (Sandringham Dragons)

Another who made a good start, Stuber looked a handy intercept and rebound half-back flanker. The Dragons product got to a wealth of ground-ball contests coming off the defensive 50 arc after centre bounces, mopping up and disposing of the ball quickly. She played a key role in keeping Country relatively quiet in the first half, but was not as prevalent after the main break.

#9 Matilda Hardy (Eastern Ranges)

Was named Metro’s best and rightly so, as she built into the game nicely and seemed to be everywhere at times. Made a bit of a slow start in the first half, but really came to life off the wing after the main break with some key touches moving forward. Worked really well on the outside to receive handballs from the likes of Yassir, and gained some good meterage on the back of it. Showed her class in traffic early in the last quarter with a stop and prop as opponents ran past, while also competing well twice in one-on-one marking contests. Look for her to be a very handy link between the arcs in the future.

#11 Maykaylah Appleby (Northern Knights)

The premiership Knight assumed her typical role on the opposite wing to Hardy, working hard forward to make an impact. Is most prominent on the run, most often finishing with long kicks down the line, but also looks dangerous inside 50 – as she showed with a spin at pace and checkside shot on goal in the final term. While that shot fell short, Appleby had already hit the scoreboard in the first quarter from a free kick. She loves a celebration, and always seems to be a vocal member of the team on-field.

#17 Kasey Lennox (Calder Cannons)

Lennox was solid as a rock in defence and while Country eventually broke through after half time, the Calder gun more than played her part in the resistance. Reads the play well and moved off her direct opponent to intercept multiple times, forming a wall for Metro. Always looked for distance with her kick-outs but lacked an option at times, and had a couple of unfortunate turnovers as Country poured the pressure on. Still looked astute deep inside the 50 and was hardly beaten, doing the defensive things well. Is obviously good in the air but also competed at ground level, running straight through the ball to mop up cleanly.

#22 Charlie Rowbottom (Oakleigh Chargers)

The sister of Sydney draftee, James, Rowbottom is a handy player in her own right. Made a particular impact in the air down back, winning one-on-one duels and proving strong on the last line to kill the ball. Was also quick to rebound once she had won possession, working actively to clear her lines. Was a little patchy as the game wore on, but made her presence known as she popped up in the final term with a solid pack mark in defensive 50.

Weekend wash-up: NAB League Girls – Round 6

ROUND 6 of the NAB League Girls saw a host players out with AFL Women’s Academy duties but that did not stop the Geelong Falcons and Northern Knights from continuing their winning ways. Geelong once again proved to be the front runners of the competition while Oakleigh also flexed their muscles with a big win over Murray. The round also saw some close clashes between the Eastern Ranges and Calder Cannons along with Greater Western Victoria Rebels and Sandringham Dragons with both games coming down to two kicks or less.

 

GIPPSLAND POWER 0.0 | 0.2 | 2.3 | 3.4 (22)
NORTHERN KNIGHTS 1.2 | 4.3 | 7.4 | 10.7 (67)

By: Peter Williams

GOALS:

Gippsland: G. McRae, N. Webber, S. Walker.
Northern: L. Picioane 3, J. Simpson 2,  J. Fitzgerald 2, N. Morris-Dalton, T. Smart, M. Ramsay.

BEST:

Gippsland: G. McRae, C. Abrahams , M. Fitzsimon, S. Walker, M. Van Berkel, N. Webber
Northern: J. Fitzgerald, P. Chisholm, N. Morris-Dalton, A. Snow, M. Chaplin, L. Picioane

After a slow start, Northern Knights pulled away from Gippsland Power to ensure they remained undefeated after six rounds and sitting just two points behind Geelong Falcons on top of the table. In the match against the Power, Northern booted nine goals to three after quarter time to secure the 10.7 (67) to 3.4 (22) win, but not without some resistance from the home side. After the match was moved from Preston City Oval to Garfield, the Knights became the visitors but looked all at home once they had settled in despite missing an number of their top stars – Gabby Newton, Britney Gutknecht, Ellie McKenzie and Sarah Sansonetti – who were all out on AFL Women’s Academy duties. The Knights’ depth stepped up in their absence, with Jess Fitzgerald being the key influencer through the midfield, collecting 16 disposals, five marks, four inside 50s and booting two goals, while Phoebe Chisholm led her side for disposals with 19, as well as two marks, four tackles and five rebounds. Ash Snow was prolific around the ground, while Nell Morris-Dalton continued her strong season rotating between ruck and forward, while Lanarose Picioane who booted three majors in an impressive performance up forward. For Gippsland, Grace McRae was named the best for her 19 disposals, three tackles and a goal, while Chandra Abrahams and Megan Fitzsimon continued their great seasons, combining for 49 disposals, 12 tackles and eight inside 50s in a losing side. Nikia Webber also had a solid performance with a goal, while Matilda Van Berkel was strong at half-back.

 

OAKLEIGH CHARGERS 2.2 | 5.3 | 8.7 | 11.8 (74)
MURRAY BUSHRANGERS 2.0 | 3.1 | 3.1 | 3.2 (20)

By: Peter Williams

GOALS:

Oakleigh: J. D”Amato 2, M. Bertuna 2, T. Morton, A. Peck, E. Harley, N. Xenos, K. Kearns, T. Cowan, A. van Oosterwijck.
Murray: C. Boschetti 2, T. Verhoeven.

BEST:

Oakleigh: C. O”Malley, M. Bertuna, M. Hill, N. Xenos, J. Lin, G. Byrne
Murray: S. Locke, L. Sharp, K. Adams, C. Boschetti, A. Smith, A. Favell

Oakleigh Chargers have bounced back from their second loss of the season to record a huge nine-goal win over Murray Bushrangers. Both sides were close in the first term with two goals apiece, before the Chargers kicked away with a three goals to one second term to open up a 14-point lead. Despite their determination in the first half, Murray was unable to restrict Oakleigh in the second half as the Chargers booted six goals to zero to run out 11.8 (74) to 3.2 (20) winners. Jasmine D’Amato and Melanie Bertuna both booted two goals for the Chargers among nine individual goalkickers in a massive team effort. Captain Mimi Hill led from the front with 20 touches, two inside 50s and three rebounds, while Chloe O’Malley was named best on ground for her 14 disposals, three tackles and two inside 50s. Nicola Xenos was influential in getting the ball inside 50 with 13 disposals, one mark, four tackles, five inside 50s and a goal, while Emily Harley booted another goal to take her season tally to 11. For Murray, Sophie Locke was named the best, collecting 13 disposals, four marks and four rebounds while laying an equal-team high eight tackles. Abby Favell was the top disposal winner once again with 14 touches, three marks, four tackles and two inside 50s, while Teagan Brett had 13 disposals and eight tackles in the defeat. Oakleigh now sits sixth after the win, just two points outside the top four, while Murray are ninth but still clear of the Rebels, Jets and Power.

 

EASTERN RANGES 0.1 | 2.1 | 3.5 | 4.5 (29)
CALDER CANNONS 1.4 | 2.5 | 2.5 | 3.7 (25)

By: Peter Williams

GOALS:

Eastern: S. Gibbs, S. Collard, T. Flintoff, J. Dunning.
Calder: G. Prespakis, T. Gillard, E. Yassir.

BEST:

Eastern: T. Flintoff, E. Horne, S. Gibbs, T. Merrett, M. Edwards
Calder: G. Prespakis, F. Theodore, N. Crowley, K. Lennox, T. Gillard, Z. Hardiman

Eastern Ranges have kept themselves in contention for finals heading into the last three rounds after an impressive four-point win over Calder Cannons. The Ranges are now within percentage of the top four, sitting just adrift of both Calder and Bendigo Pioneers who sit third and fourth respectively with 16 points apiece. It was a fairly scrappy game throughout with both sides applying plenty of defensive pressure around the ground as Eastern’s talls stood out with their strong marking at both ends. Where possible the Ranges moved the ball quickly with short, sharp passes, whereas Calder wanted to run the ball and kick long inside 50. Both methods were effective at times throughout the game, but the key defence of Eastern held strong with Tahlia Merrett taking a number of good intercept marks in defensive 50. Serena Gibbs also provided an option between half-back and half-forward, taking marks and booting the ball long to put it in front of the Eastern runners. Tahlia Gillard provided that target for Calder and early looked like breaking the game open, booting a goal and missing a couple of opportunities before the home side restricted the inside 50 entries. Georgie Prespakis and Tess Flintoff were impressive for their respective sides providing plenty of run, while Tarni Brown and Felicity Theodore assisted well through the midfield. In a see-sawing final term that almost saw Calder steal the win through Emelia Yassir, it took until the final minute for Flintoff to mark inside 50 against the boundary and calmly slotted the set shot for the four-point win.

 

WESTERN JETS 0.0 | 0.0 | 0.1 | 0.1 (1)
GEELONG FALCONS 2.1 | 7.2 | 11.3 | 12.4 (76)

By: Sophie Taylor

GOALS

Western: Nil.
Geelong: M. Skinner 4, P Schaap 2, R.Tierney 2, T. Lewis 2, J. Robinson, A. McKee

BEST

Western: J. Woods, E. Georgostathis, A. Anthony, C. Singleton, N. Wright, R. Tripodi
Geelong: P. Sheppard, M. Skinner, L. Lesosky-Hay, R. Tierney, A. McKee, G. Featherston

It was tough muck for the Western Jets on Sunday afternoon as they hosted ladder leaders, Geelong Falcons at Williamstown. Despite a relatively even first quarter the undefeated Falcons were able to pull away and deny the Jets opportunities in front of goal, running away to a 75 point win. The Jets started well defensively, crowding the Falcons and making it difficult to get a clear kick on goal, but were unable to move the ball downfield to their advantage. A beautiful kick inside 50 from Geelong debutant, Gabbi Featherston set up the first goal of the game after almost eight minutes of play, showing how well the Jets held their ground early. However, Western’s good fortune dwindled from there as the Falcons used their depth of their talent to kick away.

The Falcons proved to be dangerous up forward as the Jets struggled to contain their opposition without two of their main ball magnets in Isabella Grant and Isabelle PritchardPaige Sheppard (22 disposals, four tackles, five inside 50s) and Luka Lesosky-Hay (20 disposals, two tackles) switched on as the Falcons started to pile on the majors, with the likes of Renee TierneyTamika Lewis and Poppy Schaap kicking two goals apiece while Mia Skinner (four goals, 18 disposals) put on her best performance so far this season. Tierney’s tackling pressure was crucial, notching up eight as the Jets tried to force their way through Geelong’s defensive setup, while Lesosky-Hay showed some good footy smarts as she continuously pushed the contest back up the ground.

The Jets were unable to break through Geelong’s midfield barricade as the Falcons crowded and contested every possession, outrunning the Jets and scooping up the ground ball with precision. The Jets showed some good signs in attack in the third quarter, managing some great passages of play through the middle of the ground. Though unable to capitalise, Western’s defensive pressure inside forward 50 granted them opportunities in front of goal, gifting them their only score of the game – a rushed behind off the back of a good attempt on goal from Taya MeiersElisabeth Georgostathis (14 disposals, six tackles, six rebounds) showed her versatility in the backline, with her ability to read the play enabling her to know where the ball would be placed. Georgostathis was arguably one of the best for the Jets, putting constant pressure on her opposition, while a fantastic tackle in the final quarter saved an almost certain goal. Taylah Kolevski dominated hitouts with 23 alone, also racking up four tackles.

 

BENDIGO PIONEERS 2.0 | 3.1 | 3.2 | 4.4 (28)
DANDENONG STINGRAYS 1.0 | 1.0 | 1.4 | 1.4 (10)

By: Peter Williams

GOALS:

Bendigo: J. Jolliffe 2, E. Snell, B. Hards.
Dandenong: S. Stratton.

BEST:

Bendigo: J. Jolliffe, T. Slender, B. Hards, E. Gretgrix, A. Strahan, M. Tupper
Dandenong: Z. Hill, G. Hodder, J. Radford, G. Howes, B. Vernon, K. McKenzie

Bendigo Pioneers have given themselves a terrific shot at finals after overcoming Dandenong Stingrays by three goals at Epsom Huntly Reserve on Sunday. In a low-scoring affair, the Pioneers got the job done by restricting the Stingrays to just one goal in the game, and only four behinds after quarter time. Despite this, the game was tight throughout and it was not until the final goal of the game that the Pioneers could relax and enjoy their fourth win of the season. Jordyn Jolliffe played the best game of the season with 20 disposals, four marks, four inside 50s, two tackles and two goals in a best-on-ground effort, while Tara Slender was terrific up the other end, racking up 12 disposals, five marks, three tackles and two rounds in the win. The midfield of Brooke Hards, Eloise Gretgrix, Maeve Tupper and Annabel Strahan again took control in the absence of key Stingrays, Molly McDonald, Tyanna Smith and Isabella Shannon. Hards and Tupper both had 18 touches with Hards also laying eight tackles and having three inside 50s and four rebounds. For the Stingrays, Zoe Hill stood tall in defence with 12 disposals, three marks and three rebounds, while Brooke Vernon‘s super season continued, amassing 18 touches, four marks, five inside 50s and six rebounds, while Grace Hodder laid seven tackles from her 15 disposals. With Geelong Falcons, Calder Cannons and Oakleigh Chargers in the final three rounds, the finals are within the Pioneers’ control in what is a tough draw on the run home. The Stingrays can still make finals if they can topple Oakleigh Chargers next round with Murray Bushrangers and Western Jets in the final two weeks.

 

GREATER WESTERN VICTORIA REBELS 1.1 | 2.1 | 2.2 | 4.2 (26)
SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS 1.1 | 3.2 | 5.3 | 5.3 (33)

By: Taylah Melki

GOALS:

GWV: E. Friend 3, R. Saulitis.
Sandringham: E. Angelopoulos 2, C. Murphy 2, I. Eddey.

BEST:

GWV: E. Wood, N. Dojiok, N. Butler, A. Trigg, E. Friend, G. Pidgeon
Sandringham: W. Laing, C. Cody, P. Staltari, G. Strangio, I. Eddey, C. Murphy

It was a tight contest from start to finish with Sandringham Dragons claiming a seven-point victory over Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels. It was neck and neck in the first term with either side unable to pull away going into quarter time at seven points apiece. The Dragons piled on two goals in the third term, keeping GWV to just one point for the quarter. But the Rebels were not going down without a fight applying all the scoreboard pressure to come within striking distance but just falling short after a gallant effort. Without Sophie Molan and Maggie Caris, GWV looked to the likes of Renee Saulitis to lead the way. Saulitis made her presence felt on the field slotting a major, she was ably assisted by teammate Ella Friend. Friend dominated for the Rebels kicking three goals, racking up 10 disposals and laying a team high six tackles. Nyakoat Dojiok also led the way for her side with a team high 18 touches and four inside 50s showcasing the work she does across the ground. She was closely followed by Brook Thompson who also amassed four inside 50s, while 12 of her 15 disposals were kicks. Georgia Pidgeon also impressed with 14 touches while Ally Trigg took five marks to accompany her 10 disposals. Sandringham were missing some key players with Alice Burke, Eliza McNamara and Molly Denahy Maloney all out with AFL Women’s Academy duties but that did not seem to stop them from claiming the four points. Charli Murphy showed her hand up forward slotting two majors for the game while Ebony Angelopoulos also chipped in with her two goals. Through the midfield the Dragons were led by Winnie Laing who finished the afternoon with a game high 20 disposals and seven tackles. She was helped out by Chloe Saultry who amassed 16 touches with all of them kicks and a whopping six inside 50s. Bella Eddey was also impressive for Sandringham getting involved on the scoreboard, laying six tackles and racking up 13 touches for her efforts.

NAB League Girls Round 5 wash-up: Western claims first win as Geelong and Northern remain undefeated

WITH the end of the season quickly approaching Round 5 brought plenty of action with both Geelong Falcons and Northern Knights remaining undefeated. The Bendigo Pioneers also stamped their authority on the competition with a 62-point win to keep them in the hunt for a finals spot.

Western Jets 6.7 (43) defeated Greater Western Victoria Rebels 3.3 (21)
By: Sophie Taylor

WESTERN JETS 1.1 | 2.2 | 3.3 | 6.7 (43)
GWV REBELS 1.1 | 3.1 | 3.1 | 3.3 (21)

GOALS:
Western:
L. Wright 3, J. Goodman, P.Ozols, C. Sargent
GWV: S. Nolte, C. Leonard, E. Friend

BEST:
Western:
I. Grant, L. Wright, I. Pritchard, E. Georgostathis, C. Sargent, T. Kolevski
GWV: S. Molan, I. Robson, K. Harris, L. Condon, M. Ciavarella, L. Sykes

It was a tight contest between eleventh and twelfth on the ladder as the Western Jets hosted Greater Wester Victoria (GWV) Rebels on Sunday at Williamstown. It was a tough slog all round from the start but it was the Jets’ composure in the final quarter that ultimately got them their first win for the season, with a three goal to nil final term gifting them a well deserved 22 point win. Both sides started well defensively, with the likes of Nyakoat Dojiok (GWV), who returned to the side this week, and Isabelle Pritchard (Western) holding ground off half back, not allowing the ball to enter their defensive 50. Even in the early stages of the match it looked like the Jets had the upper hand, putting pressure on every stoppage and making it hard for the Rebels to clear the ball out of the pack. Some missed opportunities early saw the sides head into the first change even on 1.1 (7) apiece, proving the intensity of both sides’ backlines.

The Rebels showed some great footy smarts at ground level scooping up the footy, but were unable to hold onto it with the constant pressure applied by the Jets. Some clean kicking through the guts saw some great play but more missed opportunities from both sides, before the Rebels took a five point lead into half time with a beautiful kick after the siren. The Rebels’ good fortune ended there, unable to convert in front of goal for the second half credit to Western’s ability to trap the footy in their forward 50, with the likes of Pritchard and Isabella Grant continuously feeding the ball back. The Rebels showed great signs early, but could not compete with the intensity and pressure in their forward. Pritchard was not only a constant moving the ball back forward, but also held her ground well on GWV’s Isabella Simmons, getting the upper hand on a number of occasions and preventing her from having a big influence on the match.

Repeated forward 50 entries proved key for scoring opportunities, a tactic that clearly worked for the Jets against GWV’s punishing defensive structure. On return Rebels’ half back, Dojiok limped off midway through third term, diminishing the Rebels’ backline which had held strong for most of the match. Though Dojiok did not take the field to start the final quarter she did return midway through at full forward, however the side missed her influence defensively after a stellar first half. Despite a falcon in the final quarter, the likes of Elisabeth Georgostathis stood up to make the match count, being a constant asset through the midfield and feeding into the forward line. The Jets cemented their first win of season with a strong final quarter, kicking 3.4 (22) to 0.2 (2) to take home their first win for the season.

Calder Cannons 9.7 (61) defeated Murray Bushrangers 5. 4 (34)
By: Taylah Melki

Calder Cannons 3.1 | 4.1 | 7.4 |9.7 (61)
Murray Bushrangers 0.0 | 2.1 | 3.2 | 5.4 (34)

GOALS:
Calder: A. Barba 2, G. Prespakis 2, G. Elarmaly, M. Muller, A. Magri, T. Gillard, G. Patrikios
Murray: S. McCarthy 3, M. Quade, M. Jones

BEST:
Calder: A. Barba, G. Patrikios, G. Prespakis, Z. Hardiman, K. Delia, Z. Friswell
Murray: M. Quade, S. McCarthy, A. Smith, M. Jones, M. Brown, L. Sharp

The Calder Cannons impressed with a 27-point win against the Murray Bushrangers. The Cannons looked hot from the get go nailing three goals in the opening term and they did not look back applying plenty of attacking pressure throughout the game. Their slick ball movement and ability to hit a target while under pressure was impressive while they were able to control the flow of the game with ease. Murray had some good passages of play credit to some cleve ball movement but it was simply not enough to compete with Calder who dominated from start to finish. The Cannons were led by the likes of Georgie Prespakis and Georgia Patrikios who starred through the midfield and slotted a combined three goals. Their clean hands and ability to win one on ones allowed the Cannons to push hard throughout the game. Alana Barba was solid up forward for the Cannons finishing the afternoon with two majors and collecting her fair share of touches. For the Murray Bushrangers, Sophia McCarthy impressed with her attacking flair up forward nailing three goals to keep the Bushies in it. Meanwhile Millie Brown had some moments of magic aided by teammate Abbey Favell who used her speed, good vision and strong kick to propel her side forward. Mindy Quade also chipped in with her one goal and timely touches around the ground for Murray.

Bendigo Pioneers 8.15 (63) defeated Gippsland Power 0.1 (1)
By: Peter Williams

BENDIGO PIONEERS 1.2 | 2.13 | 5.14 | 8.15 (63)
GIPPSLAND POWER 0.0 | 0.0 | 0.0 | 0.1 (1)

GOALS:
Bendigo: E. Snell 5, H. Stewart, G. Barton, E. Bell
Gippsland: Nil.

BEST:
Bendigo:
H. Stewart, E. Snell, B. Hards, J. Jolliffe, A. Strahan, M. Tupper
Gippsland: M. Van Berkel, M. Fitzsimon, C. Abrahams , C. Robinson, S. Beaton, M. Shaw

Bendigo Pioneers made it back-to-back wins and their third victory for the season, with an impressive 62-point win over Gippsland Power at Epsom Huntly Reserve on Sunday. In what was arguably their best performance in their short history, the Pioneers controlled the game from start to finish, finally adding the scoreboard pressure in the second half that they had trouble with in the first thanks to blustery conditions. Kicking against the wind in the first term, the Pioneers could only manage the one goal, before piling on 11 behinds for one major in the second term as they headed into the break with a 25-point lead and Elizabeth Snell with both goals. Snell would finish with five for the game, as the Pioneers ran out 8.15 (63) to 0.1 (1) winners, with Gippsland scoring a late behind to ensure they got on the board, while the Pioneers manoeuvred through the strong breeze in the second half, booting 6.2. Snell was the star up forward with her five goals from 14 disposals, five marks, four inside 50s and four tackles, while the midfield combination of Brooke Hards, Annabel Strahan and Hannah Stewart was dominant across the board. For Gippsland, Matilda Van Berkel tried hard in defence with 16 disposals and two rebounds while assisting in the ruck with 13 hitouts, while Chandra Abrahams laid eight tackles from 12 disposals, always in amongst it with Megan Fitzsimon, Cailin Robinson and Maddison Shaw.

Sandringham Dragons 5.7 (37) defeated Oakleigh Chargers 5.1 (31)
By: Michael Alvaro

SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS 1.5 | 4.7 | 4.7 | 5.7 (37)
OAKLEIGH CHARGERS 1.1 | 2.1 | 4.1 | 5.1 (31)

GOALS:
Sandringham: L. Enders, P. Staltari, C. Cody, E. Angelopoulos, C. Saultry
Oakleigh: A. Porter 2, E. James, B. Fox, S. Morley

BEST:
Sandringham: A. Burke, B. Arnold, A. Moloney, W. Laing, S. Hartwig, J. Stolz
Oakleigh: T. Morton, G. Lagioia, J. Lin, A. Porter, G. Larkey, N. Xenos

A first half blitz helped Sandringham Dragons get over the line for its first win of season 2019, defeating Oakleigh Chargers by a sole goal at Trevor Barker Beach Oval. The Dragons were wasteful out of the blocks, holding a four-point lead at the first break on the back of 1.5, but they made good on their dictation of general play with a more sure 3.2 in the second term to set up the win. While there were a few nervous moments in the final stanza after a goalless third quarter, the Dragons managed to hang on for an unlikely win – sealed late by a Chloe Saultry goal after Oakleigh’s Sarah Morley had levelled the scores. Alice Burke again led the way for Sandringham in the engine room, laying nine tackles and winning a heap of contested ball in a selfless display. Winnie Laing narrowly beat her out in the ball-winning stakes with 16, while middle-ager Sarah Hartwig was a force in the air down back, reeling in five marks – many of which were interceptions. Oakleigh’s Mimi Hill was arguably the best player on the ground, collecting 26 damaging possessions and buzzing around the stoppages well to push her side forward. Fellow Chargers Alana Porter and Amelia Peck also contributed nicely, with the former booting two impressive goals in the low-scoring affair. Suffering two losses in the last three weeks, Oakleigh will hope to bounce back against Murray at home next week, while Sandringham travels to Ballarat to take on GWV, hoping to start a winning run.

Northern Knights 7.8 (50) defeated Eastern Ranges 4.2 (26)
By: Michael Alvaro

NORTHERN KNIGHTS 0.3 | 4.3 | 5.3 | 7.8 (50)
EASTERN RANGES 1.1 | 2.2 | 4.2 | 4.2 (26)

GOALS:
Northern: N. Morris-Dalton 2, E. McKenzie 2, M. Papachristos, B. Gutknecht, M. Appleby
Eastern: S. Collard 2, I. Khoury

BEST:
Northern: B. Gutknecht, G. Newton, J. Fitzgerald, A. Bennett, N. Morris-Dalton, E. McKenzie
Eastern: N/A

Northern Knights charged home to a 24-point win against Eastern Ranges on Sunday to maintain its unbeaten season thus far. The home side started shakily as Eastern took advantage of a strong wind to lead by a goal early on, but the 2018 grand finalists hit back well in the second term to snatch a 13-point half time buffer. The Ranges looked to be making a game of it as they bridged the gap to seven points at the final break, but the Knights clicked into gear as they so often do to see out the game, keeping their opponents scoreless while pouring on 2.5 to almost double Eastern’s final score. Star Knights trio Gabby Newton, Britney Gutknecht, and Ellie McKenzie all lifted late on to seal the game and threatened throughout, with Nell Morris-Dalton again finding the big sticks to join McKenzie as Northern’s multiple goal kickers. The signs were promising for Eastern, with potential Collingwood father-daughter Tarni Brown living up to her pedigree, winning a good amount of ball alongside Tess Flintoff, with Serena Gibbs a handy tall presence in the ruck. The game was somewhat soured by injuries to players on both sides, with Marina Taverna suffering a nasty dislocated finger and Tayah Kelly very proppy in the second half, while Northern’s Mia Papachristos was helped off the field with a crook right leg. With changes imminent, Eastern hosts Calder next week in search of a win to sneak back into the top four, while Northern returns to Preston City Oval to face Gippsland.

Dandenong Stingrays 4.7 (31) defeated by Geelong Falcons 7.6 (48)
By: Taylah Melki

DANDENONG STINGRAYS 3.4 |3.5| 3.6 |4.7 (31)
GEELONG FALCONS 0.0 | 2.0 | 4.4 | 7.6 (48)

GOALS
Stingrays: G. Howes 2, H. Thomas, A. Liddle
Falcons: P. Schaap 3, P. Sheppard, R. Tierney, D. Moloney, M. Skinner

BEST
Stingrays: C. Bell, B. Vernon, G. Howes, G. Grimmer, M. McDonald, J. Radford
Falcons: L. McEvoy, R. Tierney, P. Sheppard, A. Chapman, E. Vella, P. Schaap

The Geelong Falcons continued their unbeaten stretch claiming a 17-point win against the Dandenong Stingrays at Robinson Reserve, Doveton. The Falcons worked their way back into the game after a quiet start, ramming it home in the last quarter nailing three goals. Dandenong were up and about early on but credit to the pressure of the Falcons the Stingrays were unable to maintain their composure and pressure falling away in the second half. Poppy Schapp led the way for the Falcons in attack slotting three goals to get her side back in the contest while Renee Tierney was sensational across the ground. Tierney chipped in with a goal and was helped out by teammate Lucy McEvoy who impressed through the middle of the ground with her clean hands, impeccable vision and good decision making. Abbey Chapman was also important for the Falcons with Paige Sheppard making her presence felt on the ground with her one goal and laying some strong tackles. For the Stingrays Georgia Howes was solid and proved to be a real target in the forward 50, slotting two goals for her side. Georgia Grimmer and Tyanna Smith led the way for Dandenong with their slick hands and work around the contest.

Weekend wrap: NAB League Girls – Round 1

THE new era of Victorian Under 18s football began on the weekend with two triple headers at Craigieburn and Frankston. We wrap up how the six games played out and some of the better players on the day for each side.

Calder Cannons 1.2 | 4.3 | 5.3 | 5.7 (37)
Western Jets 1.1 | 1.3 | 1.4 | 1.4 (10)

GOALS:

Calder: G. Prespakis, N. Crowley, G. Elarmaly, M. Muller, I. McNeill-Wren.
Western: I. Grant.

BEST:

Calder: G. Prespakis, M. Muller, G. Elarmaly, K. Petrevski, A. Barba, L. Cocomello
Western: I. Grant, R. Tripodi, E. Georgostathis, I. Pritchard, C. Saxon-Jones, K. O”Keefe

Calder Cannons kicked off the new season on the right note with a 27-point win over the Western Jets in the first of three games at Craigieburn. The breeze made life difficult for both teams as they opted to use the grandstand side of the ground. The Cannons were the first on the board through Gloria Elarmaly, before a response came from the Jets through one of Western’s AFL Women’s Academy players in Isabella Grant. The Cannons headed into the first break with just a one-point lead, but then a second term burst saw Makeisha Muller and Georgie Prespakis conjure goals out of nothing, while Neve Crowley also added a major to the total. An 18-point lead soon became 23 by the final break as India McNeil-Wren booted the final goal of the match in the third quarter. Neither team could manage a goal in the final term, which suited Calder just fine, walking away with the points having restricted the Jets to just three behinds after quarter time. Prespakis was the star of the show, constantly winning possessions around stoppages and bursting away, while Muller and Alana Barba showed promising signs among what was a real team effort from the Cannons who were missing Georgia Patrikios. For the Jets, Grant was productive throughout the match, while Elisabeth Georgostathis had a massive first half and never gave in through the midfield, while Isabelle Pritchard and Cleo Saxon-Jones showed their ability up either end. In Round 2, Calder Cannons face fellow winners Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels, while Western Jets look to get on the board against other Round 1 losers, Murray Bushrangers.

Bendigo Pioneers 0.1 | 2.3 | 2.3 | 3.4 (22)
GWV Rebels 3.1 | 3.2 | 4.3 | 4.3 (27)

GOALS:

Bendigo: J. Jolliffe 2, M. Barton.
GWV: I. Simmons 2, R. Saulitis 2.

BEST:

Bendigo: M. Tupper, E. Gretgrix, K. Mitchell, B. Hards, D. Villiva, K. Douglass
GWV: B. Thompson, N. Butler, I. Simmons, E. Wood, N. Dojiok, S. Molan

In the second game of the day, spectators were treated to a tight match after quarter time. It all looked to be going pear-shaped for the Pioneers early as Isabella Simmons booted two opening term goals and was joined by fellow middle-ager, Renee Saulitis who split the middle from a tight angle to hand the GWV Rebels an 18-point quarter time lead. With the Pioneers kicking with the breeze in the second term, Madeline Barton snapped a goal off the deck for Bendigo’s first, before Jordyn Jolliffe converted from the set shot to draw within five points at the main break. After half-time, the first goal was crucial and it went to Saulitis who somehow found herself unguarded at the back of a pack close to goal, with the ball falling in her lap, turning around and snapping a goal. The Rebels extended the lead to two straight kicks at the final break having kept the Pioneers scoreless in the term, but with the breeze, Bendigo was always a chance. Jolliffe booted her second major and gave them real hope, though the end-to-end football meant both sides felt like they were close to scoring. In the end, the Rebels managed to hold firm against a gallant Pioneers outfit to win by five points. Brooke Thompson was named as the Rebels’ best, while Nekaela Butler and Nyakoat Dojiok did some of their best work out of defence. Ella Wood and Sophie Molan were a handful in the midfield, while Simmons and Saulitis were busy in the forward half. For the Pioneers, Maeve Tupper, Eloise Gretgrix and Brooke Hards all formed a resilient midfield that stood tall on the day, while Kaitlin Mitchell, Dakota Villiva and Kate Douglass were among others who impressed for the losing side. In Round 2, the GWV Rebels will meet Calder Cannons, while Bendigo Pioneers hope to record a win at home against Eastern Ranges.

Northern Knights 2.7 | 4.7 | 7.10 | 11.12 (78)
Murray Bushrangers 0.0 | 0.1 | 0.1 | 0.2 (2)

GOALS:

Northern: B. Gutknecht 4, N. Morris-Dalton, A. Bannan, G. Newton, T. Mills, C. Linssen, M. Appleby, A. Bennett.
Murray: Nil.

BEST:

Northern: B. Gutknecht, G. Newton, E. McKenzie, M. Chaplin, J. Fitzgerald, S. Sansonetti
Murray: A. Morphett, M. Quade, K. Whitehead, M. Trethowan, A. Favell, O. Barber

In the final game of the triple header at Craigieburn, there was a noticeable step-up in decision making and run as last year’s grand finalists, Northern Knights looked every bit a contender once again with a 76-point victory over Murray Bushrangers. In 2018, we saw the Knights had no trouble scoring and it looked to be the case once again, with eight individual goalkickers. Britney Gutknecht was the major beneficiary with four goals, three of which came in the second half. Throughout the day, sides struggled to kick goals into the breeze, with just two of a total 13 goals going through the big sticks up the Grand Boulevard end of RAMS Arena. The Knights found a way though, booting six goals, including four in the final term as they ran away with the contest to record 23 scoring shots to two in an impressive victory. There was no shortage of stars for the Knights with Gutknecht, Gabby Newton, Ellie McKenzie and Jess Fitzgerald all busy, while Maeve Chaplin and Sarah Sansonetti were also named in the best in what could have extended to a few more names as well. For Murray, the largely different side to last season with a lot of new or middle and bottom-age players showed some impressive signs trying to take the game on, but it was hard to get a read because of the strength of the Knights. Olivia Barber tried hard in the ruck throughout the day, while Abby Favell kept running. Ally Morphett and Mindy Quade were named the Bushrangers’ best in the big loss. Murray will have a chance to bounce back in Round 2 when they come up against the Western Jets, while the Knights will meet Oakleigh Chargers who also recorded an impressive win in Round 1.

Dandenong Stingrays 1.0 | 1.0 | 2.4 | 3.5 (23)
Eastern Ranges 0.2 | 2.4 | 3.4 | 4.8 (32)

GOALS:

Dandenong: H. Thomas, I. Shannon, J. Radford.
Eastern: S. Gibbs, L. McClelland, M. Kendall, S. Collard.

BEST:
Dandenong:
B. Vernon, I. Shannon, Z. Hill, G. Howes, J. Radford, A. Nagtzaam
Eastern: O. Meagher, T. Brown, T. Flintoff, L. McClelland, M. Kendall

By: Brandon Hutchinson

Opening the second triple header for the weekend, Eastern picked up their first win in a tight affair over Dandenong in Frankston. The game broke into the Ranges’ forward half early, but it was Dandenong who drew first blood with Isabella Shannon slotting one from congestion. A revitalised Eastern returned fire in the second with Mietta Kendall hitting the board early. Much of the second quarter continued in Eastern’s forward half with Dandenong defenders getting first hands to the ball but struggling to penetrate the forward press. Eastern were soon rewarded again with a goal from captain, Laura McClelland, while Dandenong remained scoreless for the second. The Stingrays attempted a resurgence following the main break, pushing the ball back up the centre. Jemma Radford kicked Dandenong’s second after snatching the pill mid-flight in congestion to put them within two-points. Though Shae Collard quickly replied for Eastern, snuffing out some of Dandenong’s momentum. In the final period, Harmony Thomas kicked Dandenong’s third while Serena Gibbs secured the win for Eastern in the closing minutes with a big kick from 35 metres out. Though playing without one of their best in captain, Molly McDonald, the Dandenong girls adjusted well with Alice Nagtzaam creating well up forward while Brooke Vernon and Shannon remained prolific. For the Ranges, Olivia Meagher pressured well while Tarni Brown and Tess Flintoff impressed on the move. In Round 2, Eastern Ranges face fellow Round 1 losers, Bendigo Pioneers, while Dandenong Stingrays face fellow losers, Sandringham Dragons.

Oakleigh Chargers 1.1 | 3.1 | 6.3 | 9.9 (63)
Gippsland Power 1.1 | 1.1 | 1.1 | 2.1 (13)

GOALS:

Oakleigh: E. Harley 4, A. Van Oosterwijck 2, E. James, K. Kearns, J. D’Amato
Gippsland: N. Webber, S. Walker

BEST:

Oakleigh: A. Porter, A. Van Oosterwijck, E. Harley, J. Lin, G. Lagioia, E. James
Gippsland: C. Abrahams, M. Van Berkel, N. Webber, G. Radford, G. McRae, M. Shaw

By: Brandon Hutchinson

Gippsland Power walked away from Sunday afternoon with a 50-point loss dealt by a dominant Oakleigh side at Frankston Oval. Both teams came out hard in the first, mostly locking the ball down in the midfield with repetitive stoppages. Nikia Webber kicked Gippsland’s first from a gather and snap early on, while Gemma Lagioia responded in the closing minutes for Oakleigh to tie the term. In the second, Oakleigh slowly increased their lead after trapping the ball in their forward line. Emily Harley kicked her first goal after a stray rebound found her teammate. Power tried to shift pressure through the centre, but the Chargers broke their lines and soon found their second through Amelia van Oosterwijck before entering the main break. Gippsland remained scoreless up until the final quarter as the Chargers surged on to kick six more. Kalarni Kearns kicked Oakleigh’s first for the third while Harley added two more as she and her teammates continued to dominate the airways. Harley’s fourth came in the final quarter, increasing Oakleigh’s lead early on, while Power replied with their second following a spill in defence. Van Oosterwijck hit back on the other end with her second with Eliza James soon following with Oakleigh’s final goal. Gippsland captain, Maddison Shaw, and teammates, Grace McRae, Chandra Abrahams and Matilda Van Berkel all combined well despite Oakleigh’s dominance. For Oakleigh, Harley and Van Oosterwijck were enormous in front of goals, while Joanna Lin and Lagioia starred through the centre. In Round 2, Oakleigh Chargers face fellow big winners, Northern Knights, while Gippsland Power face Round 1 winners, Geelong Falcons.

Sandringham Dragons 0.0 | 1.0 | 1.0 | 1.0 (6)
Geelong Falcons 0.0 | 2.3 | 4.5 | 4.8 (32)

GOALS:

Sandringham: C. Murphy.
Geelong: P. Schaap, R. Tierney, D. Moloney, M. Skinner.

BEST:

Sandringham: W. Laing, M. Purcell, D. Walker, T. Grasso, E. McNamara, S. Hartwig
Geelong: L. Lesosky-Hay, P. Sheppard, L. McEvoy, M. Skinner, A. Chapman, D. Moloney

Geelong Falcons overcame an early challenge from Sandringham Dragons to post a 26-point win at Frankston. Neither side managed to trouble the scorers in the first term, before Poppy Schaap and Renee Tierney both entered the goal scorers list with majors in the second quarter, while Charli Murphy booted the Dragons’ only score. An incredible goal from Darcy Moloney in the third term, which saw her handball over an opponent, run on and kick the goal,was the Dragons’ highlight of the game, before Mia Skinner extended the Falcons’ lead to 23 points at the final break. A tight third term saw the ball up the Falcons’ end for almost the entirety of the contest, with Geelong scoring the only three behinds of the term. In the end it was enough to walk away with the four points, scoring 4.8 from 12 scoring shots to Sandringham’s one. Luka Lesosky-Hay was the Falcons’ best running through the midfield and teaming up with Lucy McEvoy well, while Paige Sheppard and Skinner provided good support on the outside. For the Dragons, Winnie Laing did well through the middle on the inside, and Marguerite Purcell solid on the outside. While the Geelong midfield got on top, the Dragons’ defence held up well with Sarah Hartwig strong at centre half-back, and players like Alice Burke working hard defensively to reduce the scoring impact of the reigning premiers.