Tag: queensland

2021 AFLW Draft club review: Gold Coast

NOW the AFL Women’s Draft is done and dusted, Draft Central will review each club’s draft hand, and provide supporters with all the content they need to know about the latest additions to their AFL Women’s programs. We continue the club-by-club reviews with Gold Coast.

#1 Charlie Rowbottom (Midfielder/Forward)
22/01/2003 | 178cm
Oakleigh Chargers / Vic Metro

Gold Coast said it would cast a line for Victorian talent, and fittingly ended up reeling in one of the top two prospects in the draft pool with pick one. Rowbottom, who is said to love the sun and surf, nominated Queensland and was an easy choice for the Suns to open the draft. The Oakleigh Chargers premiership skipper is a rare talent, a very tall midfielder at 178cm who uses her bull-like power around the ball and can roll forward to take contested marks. Her ability to burst away from congestion, much like her brother James, is eye-catching and makes her a damaging proposition in midfield. She is still working on refining her kicking and conversion, but can boom the ball forward in a flash when everything comes together. She may well start up forward before being eased into the engine room at AFLW level, but ultimately looks ready to go.

CHARLIE ROWBOTTOM CONTENT:

>> 2021 Nationwide Power Rankings
>> NAB League Girls season review: Oakleigh Chargers

#6 Teagan Levi (Midfielder)
14/08/2003 | 169cm
Bond University / Queensland

Another terrific addition to the midfield mix is Levi, the leading Suns Academy graduate in 2021. Like her sister Maddi, she hails from a Rugby 7’s background and will look to juggle both codes going forward, again like her elder sibling. The 17-year-old is an inside midfielder with all the athletic traits you would expect, including strength over the ball and power to pull away from would-be tacklers. She has some more refined traits too, with clean hands and terrific skills making her a contested ball winner with handy points of difference. Like Rowbottom, she looks ready to go and is a class act with one of the more well-rounded skillsets of any draftee around the nation.

TEAGAN LEVI CONTENT:

>> 2021 Nationwide Power Rankings
>> Top Performers: AFLWU19s – Queensland vs. Vic Country

Teagan Levi gets a kick away for Queensland

#8 Ashanti Bush (Forward)
18/08/2002 | 162cm
Hawthorn VFLW / Darwin Buffettes / Allies

After missing out last year, Bush became the sole Northern Territory talent drafted in 2021 after a promising year of football at multiple levels. She was a noted goalkicker in the NTFL with Darwin, and went on to link up with Hawthorn in the VFLW after representing the Allies at this year’s Under 19 National Championships. Bush is the kind of forward who plays above her 162cm height and doesn’t need too many opportunities to make an impact, with her smarts and evasion inside 50 making her difficult to beat one-on-one. In a Suns side which went winless with the lowest percentage last season, she promises to add some flair and threat in front of goal.

ASHANTI BUSH CONTENT:

>> Positional Analysis: Medium/Tall Forwards
>> 2021 Top/mature-agers to watch

Ashanti Bush (right) in Allies colours

#30 Giselle Davies (Tall Defender)
17/03/2002 | 180cm
Bond University / Queensland

Another Suns Academy graduate, Davies adds some defensive solidity to the mix and already has multiple links to her new senior side. Davies has been mentored by Suns star Jamie Stanton, who teaches at her high school, and is good friends with 2020 draftee Annise Bradfield, who introduced her to Australian football. The 180cm prospect has plenty of development left, with her defensive acumen and ability to nullify direct opponents already sound, but contested marking and taking on the game areas she is looking to steadily improve.

GISELLE DAVIES CONTENT:

>> Rising Sun Davies learns from the best

DRAFT SUMMARY:

With a clear standout from their own academy always in line to land at Gold Coast, the Suns were able to mix it up with their other two top 10 selections and pick from other regions. Rowbottom was a great get as she nominated Queensland and became available with pick one, while Bush is a raw talent with plenty of upside who can add some much-needed scoring power. Levi was the standout local choice and has plenty about her as a midfielder, while fellow academy graduate Davies is another developmental kind of selection who is progressing well and bolsters the Suns’ key defensive stocks. The Suns’ regeneration will be massively buoyed by their first two picks in particular, they’re both stars in the making.

Image Credit: Michael Willson/AFL Photos

Evolving Evans interested in improving “everything”

2020 GREATER Western Sydney draftee Tarni Evans is a name you may already be familiar with. In 2021, her younger cousin Sally Evans is looking to join her in the top flight come AFLW Draft day, on Tuesday. The 17-year-old Queenslander represented her state this year, while also developing through the Gold Coast SUNS Academy and at QAFLW level.

Akin to her established cousin, Evans has good speed on the outer and moves forward well. With the similarities evident, she says Tarni has been a key source of inspiration along her own journey.

“Watching her journey from where she started to where she is now (has been inspiring),” Evans said. “She played nearly every position, they’ve thrown her around and she’s adapted so well. She had a really great season.

“I would say my speed is a strength as I predominantly play along the wing, and my ground level movement – especially crumbing in the forwardline.”

Evans started out in Australian football five years ago, playing all of her juniors at Coolangatta Tweed before eventually cracking the senior grade. After getting a couple of QAFLW games under her belt for the Blues, she transferred over to Bond University and added a few more outings before season’s end.

While Queensland was beaten handily to the tune of 54 points against Vic Country in its sole Under 19 championships match, Evans could not fault the team for effort. She was also glowing in her review of the SUNS Academy.

“Obviously we didn’t love the outcome that we received, but I think we tried our hardest,” Evans said. “We probably could’ve gone in respecting them a little bit more knowing how good of a team they were, but I think we did our best.

“I love the academy. Our head coach Sam (Iles) is awesome, he’s always wanting the best for us and always trying to give us as many opportunities as possible. All the girls are fantastic.”

Being drafted “for the SUNS or any team” is Evans’ end goal for this year, but she also has her sights on simply improving “everything” in her game. Learning game structure and sharpening her marking skills are top of the list, and would add to the promising arsenal of weapons she hopes to wield at the top level.

Rising Sun Davies learns from the best

NOT everyone gets the chance to talk footy with AFLW stars in between classes at school, but Gold Coast Academy prospect Giselle Davies is taking plenty of learnings out of that exact opportunity. The 18-year-old tall defender attends Southport State High School, where current Suns midfielder Jamie Stanton teaches.

While the two are quite different players, Davies says the mentorship of Stanton has been a valuable peek behind the curtain of what it takes to cut the AFLW grade.

“(Stanton) has been a teacher at my school for a few years now so I’ve definitely looked up to her,” Davies said. “I’m always talking to her about her games on the weekend and how she went. Obviously I watch a lot of her play and even though we don’t really play similar positions it’s good to have a mentor who you can talk to.”

The link is one of Davies’ many ties to the senior-listed Suns, having also come up through Gold Coast’s academy and initially being introduced to Australian football by a certain 2020 draftee.

“I started playing footy a few years ago, my best friend Annise Bradfield got me down to play,” she said. “I was playing heaps of touch football (and) netball, I went to a footy session and it was just a perfect mix of both of those sports. I loved it from there.

“I have loved every single part of playing with the Gold Coast Under 19s Academy. We did heaps of work in the off-season after last year – pre-season training in the heat, gym, running, just loving it.

“I’m really grateful that we have the academy that looks after us so well. There’s all this new talent coming through the pathway, it’s just amazing that they really give you a perspective on what you could have and what you’re working towards.”

Through her work in the pathway and form for Bond University in this year’s QAFLW season, Davies was also selected for Queensland representative honours in 2021. While the Maroons’ Under 19 squad went down by 54 points against Vic Country in their sole carnival outing, Davies took plenty away from what was “the highest level of footy [she’s] ever played.”

“It was probably the best weekend I’ve ever had,” she said. “Just playing with a bunch of girls that you don’t usually play with, people who want to be there and played as hard as they could. Despite the loss, it was such a good game of footy to be a part of and see the different ways that Vic play their game and how I can improve mine. It was really good.”

At 180cm, Davies is aware of her strengths and areas for improvement, with her decision making by foot already sound and her ability to utilise said size on the incline. Clunking more contested marks and having the confidence to take the game on are among the next steps to take, by her own assessment.

She is one of many Queensland talent hoping to end up on an AFLW list in just a few days, with the 2021 draft set to go down on Tuesday, July 27.

Draft hopeful Harmer looks to find “the best of both worlds”

IN the air and on the ground. Intercept marking combined with run-and-carry. That’s the kind of impact Maroochydore prospect Maggie Harmer aims to make across half-back. The versatile talent is in line to become one of the first Brisbane Lions Academy products called out on draft night, and has a pair of senior defenders to look up to.

Come July 27, Kate Lutkins and Nat Grider could go from idols to teammates for Harmer, who is hoping to harness their respective strengths in order to get “the best of both worlds” as a player.

“Kate has such a good intercept mark and Nat has also got that run-and-carry which is really good, so it’s the best of both worlds between them,” Harmer said.

With the long-term goal of simply improving as a player in mind, the 18-year-old recognises her strengths, but also her areas for improvement.

“Across half-back, (my strengths are) reading the play and taking intercept marks when the opposition is looking for those forward 50 entries and trying to cut off those long kicks,” Harmer said.

“I’m more of an (aerial) player, so my ground balls are always something I’ve wanted to work on, just clean pick-ups. Also my one-on-one contests, holding my own up against those bigger girls.”

Harmer has earned a raft of opportunities since being introduced to Australian football in her final years of primary school, culminating in AFLW Academy honours, Under 19 All Australian selection, and the opportunity to represent her state throughout 2021.

Harmer kicks Queensland forward during this year’s National Championships

Above all else, Harmer says the opportunity to test her skills and be challenged by the nation’s best talent provided some valuable tests and lessons.

“I didn’t think it was going to be that much of a flogging (against Vic Country),” she said. “But the score didn’t really represent the contest.

“(AFLW Academy training) is big challenge because it’s another step to what we’re used to at club training and even academy. But I think it really pushes you to be the best player you can be and try to keep up with those older girls that are playing at such a high level.”

In their only National Championships dig for 2021, Queensland’s Under 19s went down to Vic Country by 54 points down in Melbourne, but Harmer was able to showcase some of her best traits with 15 disposals, five marks and five tackles.

Her ability to turn attack into defence with that aforementioned intercept game, as well as positive forward running makes Harmer a productive type. Queensland talent manager Mark Browning also gave a glowing review, boding well not just for draft night, but for her impact on the game in years to come.

“She’s probably the one that excites me the most when she trains,” Browning said. “It hasn’t quite transpired to games yet, but I think she’s got the most natural running out of all of them.”

Smith taking things “week by week”

POWERFUL prospect Bella Smith has proven herself as one of Queensland’s top draft chances in 2021, but is taking a steady mindset into next week’s big day. The Maroochydore midfielder has been aligned with the Brisbane Lions Academy and there are plenty of former ‘Roos to look towards for inspiration in the same pathway.

“At this point in time I’m just taking everything week by week and just trying to play well in my QAFL games,” Smith said during the season. “But the end goal is definitely to get drafted.”

As a member of this year’s AFLW Academy intake, Smith has picked up plenty of elite standards along the way and got the chance to meet up with her fellow academy members earlier in the year. Queensland’s Under 19 Championships clash with Vic Country also served as a handy “experience”, with Smith notching 14 disposals and five marks despite her side’s 54-point loss.

“It was an interesting game,” she said. “I was very excited for it all, but at the end of the day they were definitely a better side than us. It was still a great experience and good to see friends that we’ve known from the (AFLW) Academy as well.

“(The Academy) is awesome. It’s such a good experience to get around girls that are like-minded. We got to catch up all together not too long ago down in Melbourne.”

At that point in time, Smith had hoped the national academy would be able to play their then-postponed game together, though it never came to fruition. Instead, she honed her craft back home with Maroochydore in a QAFLW campaign which yielded a finals win.

Described by Queensland Talent Manager Mark Browning as a “very, very tough inside mid (who) loves the contest”, Smith says strength and power are her go-to traits. While she is a terrific handler and distributor on the inside, she is still working on her outside game and improving the all-important fundamentals of kicking.

“(I’m looking to improve on) everything really,” Smith said. ” But I’ve been working a lot on my kicking. I’ve been doing work outside of training with Enhanced Football, he’s been helping me over the season on my kicking.”

Cracking the next level would mark another great chapter in Smith’s footballing story, which began at eight years old when she topped up for her brother’s local side.

The likes of Belle Dawes and Lily Postlethwaite have already stepped up from Maroochydore to the Brisbane Lions’ AFLW squad, can Smith be the next Roo to bounce to the bigtime?

Pauga overcomes injuries and adapts to change ahead of AFLW Draft

AFL Women’s Academy member Mikayla Pauga admits she is in a unique situation. The 18-year-old moved to Bond University for the start of the year to continue her studies, and therefore resides on the heart of the Gold Coast. Despite being around plenty of Gold Coast Suns, Pauga is a Brisbane Lions Academy member and one who has enjoyed coming through the program.

“It’s been pretty good I’ve recently moved to the Gold Coast, so it’s been a bit of an odd experience being in the Gold Coast region but playing for the Lions but I think it’s been really good,” she said.

Compared to many other aspiring footballers, Pauga describes her footballing journey as “quite short”. She first tasted it playing in high school and decided to take it up more seriously at Maroochydore, where she played for a couple of years in the seniors. There, she caught the eye of the Queensland talent pathway, not only running around for the Lions, but being selected in the AFLW Academy. With the move to university, Pauga had to switch Queensland Australian Football League (QAFL) Women’s clubs from the Roos to the Sharkettes.

Ahead of a clash against her former teammates at her old stomping ground at Maroochydore, Pauga said she was excited and a little nervous, but told Draft Central it was great to catch up with some former teammates pre-game.

“I’m actually kind of excited, I haven’t seen the girls since probably Round 1, so getting to play with them again, will be a bit harder because they know how I play and I know them well, but excited for the clash today,” she said.

Pauga’s journey has not only involved making the switch south from the Sunshine Coast to the Gold Coast, but she had to overcome two separate spinal fractures and also had surgery to insert plates into her hand and wrist. The injuries did not deter the pocket rocket who came back bigger and stronger than ever.

“It was a bit difficult, I had two quite similar injuries six months apart so it was just working that fitness back up and the mindset mentality back was a bit hard, but I feel like I’ve come a long way since then so it doesn’t really bother me now,” she said.

Pauga can play high or deep forward, or roll through the midfield, but admitted she hopes to increase her fitness to play more minutes up the ground, and also continue developing her overall game.

“I think I play like a small forward, so I’m close to the ground and pick up the crumbs a little bit and just little explosion plays I’d say,” she said. “I’d like to be able to run around a little more, and just reading the play.”

Over the journey, Pauga identified a former teammate and now Brisbane Lions youngster as a player she has looked up to as an inspiration and role model.

“I would say one of my role models, which would be a bit weird as I played with her for a few years, would be Lily Postlethwaite,” Pauga said. “Just seeing her journey, how hard she’s worked through the years and obviously she’s had her fair share of injuries doing her ACL this year, but yeah just seeing how hard she works and just because you have an injury doesn’t mean you can’t keep going.”

Now with the AFL Women’s Draft approaching, Pauga has her sights set on reaching the elite level, but also has some long-term goals to go with her more immediate future.

“Short-term would probably be drafted, and the draft is really close, they’ve pushed it a lot earlier this year, so definitely working towards that,” she said. “And just helping build the club reputation and the AFL Women’s in general.”

Queensland Academy Watch | Lions learn, Suns caught in COVID chaos

DESPITE losing in Thursday night footy in the seniors to the Brisbane Lions, Geelong’s reserves have given their club some consolation with a cracking 118-point away win on Friday.

As was to be expected in a contest between mostly AFL listed players, the early going was willing and scores remained close into the second quarter, but Geelong’s exceptional midfield began to exert its dominance and booted the final four goals to go into half time with a lead that would extend through the second half, as they went on an 18-goal rampage until the Lions fought to retain some respectability in junk time.

For the Lions, Academy player Tom Triffett topped the tackle count with 11 and added a goal to his 14 disposals, while James Langbourne again got forward to hit the scoreboard and mid-season draftee Kalin Lane backed up his debut with a goal and 11 hit-outs.

Brisbane again fielded 10 top-up players, with the late decision to cancel the Allies camp due to Sydney’s worsening COVID crisis, so Saxon Crozier, Tahj Abberley, Jack Briskey and Triffett were drafted into the VFL side at the last minute, against a Geelong outfit with mature-bodied ex-AFL players included, and the result showed the imbalance.

2019 second round draft pick Francis Evans kicked 4.2 for the victors, while 2020 second round tall Shannon Neale kicked 4.1, but it was Charlie Constable with 44 disposals who starred with the big-bodied inside midfielder putting in a great audition in a contract year.

Spare a thought for Gold Coast Suns Academy players in the Allies squad, who after their camp was cancelled were selected to play VFL, only for the Southport vs. Suns fixture to be postponed as well. Will Bella, Max Pescud, Bailey Reeves, Jack Johnston and Bodhi Uwland subsequently missed out on playing football altogether.

However, Finn Brown turned in a best on ground performance for Broadbeach for the third game straight as he and Austin Harris ran through the midfield in the Cats’ loss to Sherwood. Meanwhile, Jed Foggo and Brinn Little turned out for Palm Beach Currumbin in their loss to Maroochydore, as top-age ruck Thomas Hofert joined junior club Labrador for their thumping win over Noosa.

Gold Coast prospect Jye Lockett played his fourth senior game for North Ballarat, bagging a couple of goals to bring his tally to a total of seven for the season in the Ballarat League.

Image Credit: RF Photography

State Leagues wrap: Dramatic grand final replay headlines Victorian return

POST-SIREN drama capped off a memorable Grand Final rematch in the VFL this weekend, as Victorian sides returned to the fold. While South and West Australian fans took in slightly condensed fixtures, it was business as usual in Tasmania as a new all-time games record was achieved. We run you through all the results and outstanding performances in this week’s state league wrap.

NSW-ACT / Queensland / Victoria (VFL):

A draw in Sunday’s 2019 Grand Final replay between Richmond and Williamstown highlighted Round 10’s action, with post-siren drama ensuring the rulebook was given a workout. Gun Seagull Mitch Hibberd sent a 50m free kick to the line which was initially slapped down by Richmond’s Garrett McDonough, only for Williamstown captain Adam Marcon to punch it back through the behinds. But given the final siren had sounded, Marcon’s touch was void and scored were left locked at 74 points apiece.

There were two other games decided by a goal or less, both occurring on Saturday. North Melbourne snared its second win of the season in a three-point thriller against Coburg, doing just enough in term four after scores were tied at three-quarter time. Ben Speight‘s fourth major came with just over two minutes left, putting the Roos back ahead for the game’s decisive lead change.

Gold Coast claimed victory in the day’s second thriller, coming back from 41 points down at half time to edge Aspley by one straight kick in a Graham Road Oval shootout. Competition leading goalkicker Matthew Hammelmann snared another six majors for the Hornets, while Josh Corbett (five goals) and Ben Ainsworth (four) proved impactful for the Suns. Table topper, Southport also won out on Saturday, thumping the Brisbane Lions by 107 points as Billy Gowers took full toll of the Sharks’ midfield domination with eight goals.

In the round’s sole top four clash, Footscray kept its perfect record in tact with a 33-point triumph over Geelong on the road. The Bulldogs were spearheaded by Josh Schache‘s six goals, with Patrick Lipinski (36 disposals, three goals) was also dominant. Frankston snuck into the top eight with a 29-point win over Northern Bullants, with Mitch Cox (28 disposals, five goals) and Josh Begley (25 and three) waxing nicely. Carlton, Werribee, Box Hill were the other sides to register Round 10 wins, with the latter two sitting clear in the top eight.

South Australia (SANFL):

Only two games were played in Round 11 of the SANFL, with Central District and Sturt kicking out to wins which see them move clear of the ladder’s bottom rung. Nicholas Gillard stepped up to boot half of Centrals’ goals (five) in their win over West Adelaide on Saturday, with the Bulldogs maintaining a three-goal buffer at each of the final three breaks. Travis and Jarrod Schiller combined for 52 disposals in red, white and blue, while Shay Linke notched 12 touches on his League debut. Elliot Dunkin racked up a game-high 35 touches for Westies, aided well by the reliable Kaine Stevens (31 disposals, one goal) and Thomas Keough (21 and two).

Meanwhile, Sturt snapped a four-game losing run to also claim its third win of the season, downing Port Adelaide by 41 points on Sunday. Senior-listed forward Dylan Williams booted six of Port’s seven goals in the loss, with skipper Cam Sutcliffe bagging the other major on his return. Joshua Hone snagged three for the Double Blues, who had a much more even spread of 11 individual goalkickers. Tom Lewis topped their disposal charts, collecting 26 en route to victory – only outdone by Port’s Sam Mayes (27).

Tasmania (TSL):

Launceston marked a record-breaking weekend of TSL football in style, thumping Glenorchy by 113 points on Saturday to move clear atop the table. The Blues were celebrating Jay Blackberry taking over the league’s games record, running out for the 213th time to move past former Magpies stalwart, Jaye Bowden. Blackberry marked the occasion with two goals, while competition leader Dylan Riley bagged five in another standout forward display.

Tigers also picked up a significant win among the top four picture, setting up a handy buffer to weekend opponent, Clarence on Saturday. The result was all but wrapped up by half time as Tigers led by 45 points on the back of nine goals to Clarence’s two, before the Roos claimed some consolation scores to see the final margin sit at 31 points. Marcus Gardner was adjudged best afield for the victors, contributing a game-high three goals.

Lauderdale was another side to create some separation in terms of ladder position, leaving North Hobart on the bottom rung after beating the Demons by 67 points away from home. The Bombers’ two wins in 2021 have both come against North Hobart, with this one set up by the goalkicking combination of Edward Stanley (five goals) and Harry Richmond (four). Full of confidence, Lauderdale will have to wait to perform again with its bye coming in Round 13.

Western Australia (WAFL):

Another condensed round of WAFL action saw three games played on Saturday, with away sides West Coast, West Perth, and East Fremantle all picking up valuable victories. The most remarkable of the lot went to West Coast, as the Eagles notched their first win for the season and spurned Subiaco’s quest to reclaim top spot in the process. Mark Hutchings (32 disposals, one goal) and Nathan Vardy (17 disposals, 26 hitouts, two goals) were terrific for the unlikely six-point victors, while Ben Sokol piled on six goals in an attempt to drag Subiaco over the line.

West Perth moved above Swan Districts with a 46-point win at Steel Blue Oval, in which the Falcons lead at every break. While the pair still sits clear among the top five, both East Fremantle and Perth are not far behind. The Sharks moved to within a game of the finals spots with their 26-point win over the Demons, overtaking their weekend rivals in the process. The race for finals qualification looms as a tight one with just under half of the regular season left to play.

Image Credit: Michael Willson/AFL Photos

Academy Watch | Lions prospects endure tough loss, Suns earn late call-ups

THE Brisbane Lions reserves returned to the scene of their 2019 NEAFL Grand Final victory at Fankhauser Oval to face their opponents from that day, 2018 NEAFL premiers, the Southport Sharks. However, the 2021 version of the Lions, unlike the undefeated side of two years ago, is injury depleted with 10 Lions Academy players topping up the team, while Southport’s lineup is now studded with ex-AFL talent including 10 former Gold Coast Suns, so it was the Sharks who dominated this contest from start to finish.

Mid-season rookie Kalin Lane debuted for the Lions, with the West Australian recruit scoring his maiden VFL goal and tapping a respectable 13 hit-outs in Brisbane’s three-man ruck battery.

Saxon Crozier and Toby Triffett each had 21 disposals through the midfield and were among the Lions’ leading on-ballers, but were outclassed by an all ex-AFL Sharks midfield that is leading the VFL in most statistics, and has their team sitting on top of the ladder.

Recent academy graduate Bruce Reville once again showed his quality, consistently breaking through the middle of the ground with speedy run and carry, having multiple shots on goal on the rare occasions the Lions went into forward fifty to finish with 2.3 from 19 disposals.

Athletic tall utility Jack Briskey played loose in defence, but with the Sharks deploying a mozzie fleet in their forwardline and the ball continually coming in hot, the lanky key defender battled.

Jacob Langbourne provided a strong marking outlet on the flanks and had a nice set shot goal late, while Charlie Bowes was stoic in defence as he weathered some crunching contests.

Tahj Abberley was starved of opportunity, but with six marks and four tackles he made his 15 touches count, while Will Tasker and Hugh Fidler each had goals as the young Lions never stopped trying throughout the 107-point hiding.

Southport now sit a game clear at the top of the table with seven wins from eight games, while the Lions drop a game and percentage out of the top eight.

The Gold Coast Suns reserves fielded only the two academy top-up players, with top-ager Jack Johnston coming in to provide a strong body against a prolific Aspley attack, while Bodhi Uwland answered a late call up to be part of the Suns’ 40-point second half comeback.

Meanwhile, AFL Academy Sun, Austin Harris, was among the best on ground on debut in his senior QAFL appearance for Broadbeach. However, the Cats fell to Labrador in a top of the table clash, with Tigers and Allies player Bailey Reeves scoring a goal in his side’s victory.

Passed over for the Allies squad, Jed Foggo came out and scored four goals for Palm Beach Currumbin (PBC) in a performance sure to soon win him a place in the Suns’ side. Teammates Will Bella and Brinn Little were major contributors to the win as they now pack their bags for next week’s Allies camp in Sydney.

Jye Lockett, who has previously linked with the Suns Academy, was another to be overlooked for Allies selection but had an impressive outing for GWV Rebels in the NAB League with 17 touches and a goal.

Image Credit: RF Photography

State leagues preview: Victorian teams set for return to action

THE Victorian Football League (VFL) will be bolstered this weekend with the return of Victorian teams, after sides from New South Wales and Queensland shouldered the load amid the state’s lockdown. South Australia and Western Australia will experience condensed rounds in their respective 11th sets of fixtures, while it is business as usual down in Tasmania for Round 12. That, and more in our state league preview.

New South Wales / Queensland / Victoria (VFL):

The return of Victorian sides sees Round 10 of the VFL extended back out to nine fixtures, stretched from Friday evening across to Sunday afternoon. Arguably the game of the round kicks off proceedings, as Geelong (fourth, 4-1) hosts Footscray (third, 5-0) at GMHBA Stadium. With both sides sitting pretty in the top four and in top form heading into the unforeseen break, it will be intriguing to see who dusts off the cobwebs quicker and returns to their previous peaks.

On the same night, standalone sides Frankston and the Northern Bullants battle it out at Skybus Stadium, with the Dolphins looking to crack a top eight spot. Conversely, the Bullants remain on the hunt for win number one and have a good opportunity to do so in a prime time setting.

Headlining Saturday’s action is a Queensland double-header, with ladder leader Southport in action against Brisbane Lions. The other Sunshine State bout sees Aspley host Gold Coast, with all four northern teams remaining in action after a busy couple of weeks competing between themselves.

Among the round’s other highlights, Richmond and Williamstown lock horns at Downer Oval in another top eight clash. The Tigers are currently clinging onto eighth spot with plenty of challengers rising, while the standalone Seagulls sit fifth, boasting one more win than their weekend adversaries.

Crowds are still not allowed to attend games in Victoria, though three of the state’s seven fixtures will be streamed for free on Kayo. The full set of fixtures can be found below.

South Australia (SANFL):

Only four teams will be in action during Round 11 of the South Australian National Football League (SANFL), with lone fixtures on Saturday and Sunday making up the extent of the weekend’s play.

Central Districts and West Adelaide throw down on Saturday afternoon at X Convenience Oval, in what should be a tight bottom-two clash. Both sides have the opportunity to move clear of the bottom wrung, laying claim to only two wins each thus far.

Promising youngster Shay Linke is set to make his debut for the Bulldogs among three changes, replacing the suspended Justin Hoskin. Westies are set to be bolstered by the inclusion of Kieran Lovell, while speedy Northern Territory native Ronald Fejo Jnr comes in for his League debut on the wing.

In Sunday’s game, Sturt will also look to claim its third win for the year when it takes on Port Adelaide at Alberton Oval. Double Blues junior Jed McEntee faces an odd predicament, debuting for Port against his old side having been selected in the AFL mid-season draft.

Port also regains skipper Cam Sutcliffe, while Lachlan Burrows is among the inclusions for Sturt, who lose Tasmanian tall Hamish Allan to injury. The Magpies’ four-game winning run came to an emphatic end last week, so they should fancy a bounce-back result in this outing.

Tasmania (TSL):

The opportunity to move clear atop the Tasmanian State League (TSL) ladder looms for Launceston, as the Blues open Round 12 against Glenorchy on Saturday afternoon. Currently level on eight wins with North Launceston, the Blues will look to create some breathing space this weekend as the Northern Bombers have the bye. They’ve bounced back well with two wins after their own bye, and Glenorchy will be in for a tough test to overturn the 148-point trouncing it experienced against Launceston in Round 5.

In the day’s 2pm fixtures, Tigers and Clarence meet for a top four clash, while Lauderdale and North Hobart lock horns for a bottom-two showdown. Tigers should carry some confidence from its 22-point win over Glenorchy last week, which made it three victories in four weeks. Clarence took the chocolates in their Round 5 battle though, serving as a handy mental edge coming in off the bye.

Both Lauderdale and North Hobart have only saluted once in 2021, and can move clear of the bottom rung with a second victory on the Demons’ home patch. The Bombers’ sole win of the season came all the way back in Round 1, and one of their nine losses came at the hands of North Hobart – in Round 5. It should be a tight and tense battle with rare points up for grabs.

Western Australia (WAFL):

Another slightly condensed round of West Australian Football League (WAFL) action will see three games played, all on Saturday afternoon. Kicking off proceedings, Subiaco will look to bounce right back to top spot when it hosts the winless West Coast at Leederville Oval, with all sides fresh off a bye round.

A top five clash sees Swan Districts (fourth, 5-3) and West Perth (fifth, 4-4) throw down at Steel Blue Oval, in potentially the game of the round. The Falcons need a win to hold onto fifth, pending results in the day’s other fixture.

That fixture in question sees Perth take on East Fremantle. The Demons are level with West Perth on four wins, and could potential jump the Falcons with a win over East Freo, who sit in eighth at 3-5.

Image Credit: Morgan Hancock/AFL Photos