Tag: Renee Forth

Weekend previews: AFLW – Round 2

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

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

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

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

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

Last time they met: N/A

Fun facts:

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fun facts:

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

 

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

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

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

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

Last time they met: N/A

Fun facts:

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fun facts:

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fun facts:

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

 

DRAFT CENTRAL TIPPING

Leaderboard:

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

 

Peter Williams

Chief Editor

Last week: 2

Round 2 selections:

North Melbourne
Collingwood
Western Bulldogs
Adelaide
Brisbane

 

Taylah Melki

Assistant Chief Editor

Last week: 2

Round 2 selections:

North Melbourne
Melbourne
Western Bulldogs
Adelaide
Brisbane

 

Sophie Taylor

Women’s Football Editor

Last week: 3

Round 2 selections:

North Melbourne
Melbourne
Western Bulldogs
Adelaide
Brisbane

 

Michael Alvaro

Men’s Football Editor

Last week: 2

Round 2 selections:

North Melbourne
Melbourne
Western Bulldogs
Adelaide
Brisbane

 

Matthew Cocks

Guest Tipster

Last week: 3

Round 2 selections:

GWS GIANTS
Collingwood
Western Bulldogs
Adelaide
Brisbane

Weekend preview: AFLW – Round 1

FOOTY is back and for the first time, 10 AFL Women’s clubs are preparing to achieve the ultimate glory. Each week we will preview and review the games, provide a Team of the Week, Draftee Watch piece and analyse the week’s statistics, as well as plenty more for the third season of the competition. Stay tuned on Draft Central for all the coverage.

GEELONG vs. COLLINGWOOD
Saturday, February 2, 6.40pm
GMHBA Stadium, Geelong

The opening game of the AFL Women’s season has a massive question mark for both sides. On one side of the head-to-head is a brand new team with no historical data at the elite level, aside from some of the players who have crossed from other clubs. On the other side is a team that has been gutted in terms of experience, especially in the forward half, but has picked up a number of elite young kids as well as players who can have an impact in the short-term. Playing in front of a home crowd will help the Cats in their inaugural clash,  while the Magpies will be keen to finally get a good start to their season after two losses in opening round games. Both teams are deemed to be in the “weaker” conference – by means of avoiding both past premiers and the heavily stacked North Melbourne – and a win against a conference rival is vitally important in the stakes for securing a top four place. The advantage both these teams have is the fact much of their core group played VFL Women’s together, and therefore in terms of team chemistry over a 12-month period are well adjusted.

Both teams head into the clash with key personnel out, as Collingwood’s Best and Fairest and 2018 AFLW Rising Star winner, Chloe Molloy unavailable for the season, while Richelle Cranston will miss the first two rounds through suspension.  When talking about key youth, it is hard to look past some of the talent both clubs picked up in the draft. Geelong looked to its TAC Cup affiliate to select number one pick, Nina Morrison, as well as premiership teammates, Olivia Purcell and Denby Taylor. Add in talented GWV Rebels, Sophie Van De Heuvel and Georgia Clarke, as well as Murray Bushrangers’ inside midfielder and defender, Rebecca Webster, and the future is very bright at the Cats. The Magpies also heavily invested in the draft, picking up two first rounders in Dandenong Stingrays’ captain, Jordyn Allen and Oakleigh Chargers’ tall, Katie Lynch. Expected to play up opposite ends, they are well complemented by Eastern Ranges’ speedster, Mikala Cann who 12 months ago was yet to play a competitive match of football. Versatile youngster, Lauren Butler is also expected to become a key feature in the Magpies’ side. With Geelong having the likes of Bec Goring, Madeline Keryk, Julia Crockett-Grills and Meghan McDonald among their contingent of impressive VFLW performers last season, they have a cohesive unit. The Magpies will look to the experience of captain Stephanie Chiocchi, Emma Grant, Sarah D’Arcy and Jaimee Lambert to lead the young side this season.

H2H: Geelong 0 | Collingwood 0 | Draws 0
Venue: Geelong 0-0-0 | Collingwood 0-0-0

Last time they met: N/A

Fun facts:

  • The game marks the first ever AFL Women’s game at GMHBA Stadium, the first time Geelong’s AFL Women’s side will play a match for premiership points, but the third consecutive year Collingwood will be involved in the opening match of the season.
  • Unfortunately for the Magpies, the opening match of the season has not been kind for them, losing both games to Carlton at Ikon Park, albeit in a much closer game in 2018.
  • The last time these two teams played in any form was the VFL Women’s Preliminary Final, which saw the Cats upset the minor premiers to bundle the Magpies out in straight sets and head into the decider against Hawthorn. Collingwood’s loss was compounded by an injury to 2018 Rising Star winner, Chloe Molloy that would keep her out of the 2019 AFL Women’s season.
  • Collingwood booted 42 goals in season 2018. Players that contributed 36 of them are now either no longer on the Magpies’ list, or injured (Chloe Molloy – one).

 

ADELAIDE vs. WESTERN BULLDOGS
Saturday, February 2, 8.10pm
Norwood Oval, Adelaide

The game of the round is surely the match between the two AFL Women’s premiers. The 2017 champions, Adelaide take on the reigning premiers, Western Bulldogs in an evening game at Norwood Oval. Last season was a remarkable story for the Bulldogs, who overcame some key injuries, and the suspension of captain, Katie Brennan to topple Brisbane in the 2018 AFL Women’s decider. Adelaide would have been disappointed to not make the decider, but considering their injuries at different times, it was worth applauding their never-say-die attitude. A loss to Collingwood in the final round knocked them out of the race to go back-to-back, but they are now hungry as ever and keen to make amends in this match.

Both teams lost key players to long-term injuries in practice games a fortnight ago, with Adelaide’s number one ruck, Rhiannon Metcalfe and Western Bulldogs’ league leading goalkicker, Brooke Lochland both out. While the Crows will look to try and fill the void in the ruck, the Dogs certainly showed they have no shortage of forwards who can step up, and could turn to the likes of West Australian, Kate Bartlett who comes into the team with great forward nous at Under 18s level. Adelaide do have some serious firepower returning to the team with a fully fit Erin Phillips, and a dangerous youngster by the name of Chloe Scheer causing headaches inside 50. Adelaide could have the edge in the midfield given its depth with Phillips, Ebony Marinoff and Chelsea Randall all running through there, but the Dogs’ key position players could stretch the Crows’ defence. If the Crows can keep it from the Dogs talls getting supply, then it will go a long way to deciding the match, but if the Dogs get on top of the Crows’ highly rated midfield, then they will be able to put on some serious scoreboard pressure. In saying that, the Dogs’ midfield is far from shabby itself with Ellie Blackburn and Monique Conti among the most talented in the competition. It all adds up to being a cracker of a match.

H2H: Adelaide 2 | Western Bulldogs 0 | Draws 0
Venue: Adelaide 2-2-0 | Western Bulldogs 0-1-0

Last time they met: Adelaide 6.5 (41) defeated Western Bulldogs 5.4 (34) at Norwood Oval, Round 3, 2018

Trailing the entire game, the Crows found something special in the final term to overrun the Bulldogs at home by just seven points. Chelsea Randall picked up 24 disposals (15 contested), had five rebounds and laid six tackles, while Ebony Marinoff laid a whopping 15 tackles on her way to 21 disposals, four inside 50s and five rebounds. But the inspiration was inaugural league best and fairest winner, Erin Phillips. The star played exclusively forward and had 15 disposals, but booted four of the Crows’ six goals to single-handedly dominate up forward and show Crows fans that there was going to be no second year blues – until injury unfortunately struck. Jenna McCormick booted the other two goals for the Crows, while for the Bulldogs, Katie Brennan was the multiple goalkicker with two from nine touches and three marks. Emma Kearney (20 disposals, three marks, three clearances, three inside 50s, five rebounds and six tackles) was everywhere, as was Ellie Blackburn (17 disposals, five clearances, five tackles and four inside 50s).

Fun facts:

  • Ebony Marinoff averages 19.5 disposals, four clearances, 10.5 tackles and four inside 50s against the Western Bulldogs from two clashes, the most of any Crow.
  • Now North Melbourne skipper, Emma Kearney averaged the most touches against the Crows in both meetings, with Ellie Blackburn set to take over the mantle, averaging 18 touches, four clearances, four tackles and five inside 50s from two games.
  • It is the first time two AFL Women’s Premiers have met in the history of the competition.
  • Western Bulldogs are yet to lose an opening round match in the AFL Women’s season.

 

NORTH MELBOURNE vs. CARLTON
Sunday, February 3, 1.05pm
North Hobart Oval, Hobart

The second history making match for Round 1 sees one of the premiership favourites, North Melbourne take on last year’s wooden spooners, Carlton. Both head into the game with relative different looking sides. The Kangaroos strategically targeted experience, picking up players from other AFL Women’s sides as part of the free agency and expansion period, while Carlton headed to the draft. As such, the Kangaroos head into the game as strong favourites in the clash, and their pre-season victory over Melbourne did nothing to sway opinions from the fact they will be a contender this season. Carlton took it up to Geelong at times in the practice game, but much like at times last season, it is just finding some four quarter consistency. The strong football state of Tasmania will get around the clash which is the first of the AFL Women’s competition, and with a number of local talents wearing blue and white, expect there to be a strong contingent of home support.

With no past head-to-head clashes to go by, there are plenty of questions leading into this clash. The biggest question mark is that of the Kangaroos and how they will gel with so many players from other teams. They brought over key Magpies, Emma King, Jess Duffin, Jasmine Garner and Mo Hope to supply their forward line and ruck division with power, while securing the biggest name from the 2018 season in Emma Kearney – the league best and fairest winner – to come across from the Dogs. Carlton has the potential to have the best one-two forward combination in the league with Darcy Vescio and Tayla Harris, but it is just getting the talented duo to click. With the midfield and forward half boosted by young guns, Madison Prespakis, Abbie McKay and Emerson Woods, and the defence sured up by Collingwood VFLW captain, Jess Edwards, as well as Charlotte Wilson and Jayde Van Dyk, Carlton’s future is looking bright. Realistically, it will take an unbelievable effort to knock off North Melbourne, but Blues fans will be keen to see what new coach, Daniel Harford can do to create more scoring opportunities – something the Blues lacked last season. A four-goal practice game by returning captain, Brianna Davey gave fans a hint of what to expect, creating all sorts of headaches for opposing teams.

H2H: North Melbourne 0 | Carlton 0 | Draws 0
Venue: North Melbourne 0-0-0 | Carlton 0-0-0

Last time they met: N/A

Fun facts:

  • The match marks the first official match to be played in Tasmania, with the North Melbourne Tasmanian Kangaroos opening their season in the Apple Isle, and of course marking their first match in the competition.
  • Carlton’s Brianna Davey has averaged 21 disposals, five rebounds and 2.5 inside 50s in her two opening round clashes, as Carlton beat arch-rivals Collingwood under lights on both occasions.
  • Darcy Vescio booted four goals in the inaugural AFL Women’s match in 2017, before being held goalless by debutant, Chloe Molloy last year, who would go on to win the Rising Star Award.
  • North Melbourne captain, Emma Kearney has averaged 22 disposals, six marks, five clearances and six inside 50s in her two matches against Carlton.

 

MELBOURNE vs. FREMANTLE
Sunday, February 3, 3.05pm
Casey Fields, Cranbourne

With predicted temperatures around the south-eastern suburbs predicted to be mid-to-late thirties, fans heading to the clash between Demons and Fremantle are recommended to stay hydrated. The game at Melbourne’s spiritual home, has become a fortress of late, winning five of a possible six games, including a thrashing victory over their Round 1 opponents back in 2017. Last year the Dockers got the better of Melbourne over in the west, using straight goalkicking to get the job done early in the season and chalk up a win against a premiership contender. The Demons have always been thereabouts, just missing out on the deciders, while Fremantle has had disappointing starts to the seasons which have ultimately cost them. With a new coaching panel and new-look side, Fremantle will be keen to topple the Demons at their home ground, especially a Demons side minus Daisy PearceMel Hickey and Richelle Cranston, among others.

Both teams are bringing in some serious young talent this season, with the Demons looking to the likes of Gippsland Power co-captain, Tyla Hanks and Northern Knights captain, Maddy Brancatisano. Both have incredible work ethics and a desire to just hunt the footballer and play their role, potentially being future leaders at the club. Throw in Dandenong Stingrays’ speedster, Shelley Heath and Casey Demons slick ball user, Casey Sherriff and the Dees have added some speed and skills to their inside grunt and contested ball-winning ability. The Dockers have also added some great local talent to their stocks, led by West Australian Under 18s state captain, Sabreena Duffy as well as overagers, Matilda Sergeant and Jasmin Stewart. The big question mark regarding Fremantle is how they will line-up as the off-season seemed to be a clean-out of sorts through their own choosing, whereas Melbourne lost players due to free agency and expansion. The difference in this game could well be the top-end star factor of the Demons, with Karen Paxman, Lily Mithen, Bianca Jakobsson and Elise O’Dea all roaming through the midfield at times. With Eden Zanker providing a target up forward, they have good depth across the ground, The Dockers have Kara Donnellan and Dana Hooker amongst their arsenal, but with a relatively new-looking side, it will be fascinating to see how they perform.

H2H: Melbourne 1 | Fremantle 1 | Draws 0
Venue: Melbourne 5-1-0 | Fremantle 0-0-0

Last time they met: Fremantle 6.0 (36) defeated Melbourne 4.7 (31) at Fremantle Oval, Round 3, 2018

Fremantle had to come from behind twice as they held Melbourne to a combined one behind in the second and fourth quarters, kicking the only two goals of the final term. In a display of precision accuracy, the Dockers did not kick a behind all game, and after not scoring in the opening term, booted six straight goals to secure a win at Fremantle Oval. Kara Donnellan and Lisa Webb both picked up 17 disposals, while Emily McGuire booted two goals. For the Dees, Daisy Pearce had another day out with 24 disposals, three marks, five clearances and four inside 50s, while Tegan Cunningham booted two majors in the loss.

Fun facts:

  • Since losing their inaugural AFL Women’s Round 1 clash to Brisbane at Casey Fields, Melbourne has not lost a game, winning five consecutive matches at the venue, including a nine-goal win over Fremantle in 2017.
  • Both sides are likely to head into the clash very different to the previous encounter with a maximum of 13 players each from their sides of 21 just 12 months ago, still on their respective lists.
  • Dana Hooker averaged 17 disposals (11 contested) and 5.5 tackles in her two matches for the Dockers against the Demons, and was Fremantle’s best player in the disastrous 54-point belting back in 2017.
  • Melbourne will need to find a way to replace the influence of Daisy Pearce, who has been a headache for the Dockers in the past, averaging 25 disposals, five tackles, four clearances and 3.5 inside 50s.

 

BRISBANE vs. GWS GIANTS
Sunday, February 3, 4.05pm
Moreton Bay Sporting Complex, Moreton Bay

The final game of the round pits back-to-back grand finalist, Brisbane against the team they knocked out of the decider contention in the final round last year, GWS GIANTS. The quirky fact between these teams is they have played each other four times – twice in the pre-season and twice in the regular season. On both occasions, GWS has triumphed in the pre-season practice matches, while Brisbane has got the job done – and convincingly so – when playing for premiership points. The GIANTS average just two goals per game against the Lions during the season, and they will be keen to repeat the effort of a fortnight ago when they were too good for the young Lions. Brisbane has played just the one game at Moreton Bay Sporting Complex – the Lions new home for 2019 – which was a disappointing and almost season-defining loss to Collingwood, whereas the GIANTS are yet to run out at the venue.

Both teams have young line-ups coming through with the teams losing players such as Kaitlyn Ashmore, Jamie Stanton and Tahlia Randall (Brisbane), and Phoebe McWilliams and Renee Forth (GIANTS). They have also picked up some experience with Brisbane scooping up Lauren Arnell from Carlton and the GIANTS adding Magpie, Christina Bernardi to its forward mix. Heading to the draft, the GIANTS picked up one of the most decorated and talented juniors in Alyce Parker who will slot straight into the midfield and undoubtedly be a key cog in that onball division. Former netballer, Taylah Davies is already looking like a valuable pick-up for the GIANTS, while Haneen Zreika hit the scoreboard in the practice match as well. Any team with Alicia Eva, Jessica Dal Pos and Amanda Farrugia has to be respected. Brisbane’s forward power with Sabrina Frederick-Traub and Jess Wuetschner is always going to be a key consideration for opposition coaches, while Lions coach Craig Starcevich has the luxury of bringing up his Queensland Under 18 young guns into the senior team at draft time. All Australian ruck Lauren Bella, state captain Natalie Grider and key Queensland players Jesse Tawhaio-Wardlaw, Jade Ellenger, Tori Groves-Little and Jacqui Yorston join West Australian, McKenzie Dowrick as the future of the Lions.

H2H: Brisbane 2 | GWS 0 | Draws 0
Venue: Brisbane 0-1-0 | GWS 0-0-0

Last time they met: Brisbane 10.4 (64) defeated GWS GIANTS 3.6 (24) at Blacktown ISP, Round 7, 2018.

With an AFL Women’s Grand Final spot on the line, it was the Brisbane Lions who were all over the GIANTS, running out 40-point winners to keep their premiership dreams alive – albeit with their fate in Collingwood’s hands. The GIANTS had improved remarkably from the inaugural season, but fell short of a grand final place, and will have rued that final game over the summer. Ally Anderson and Emily Bates had days out against the GIANTS, collecting a combined 46 disposals, seven marks and eight clearances. Up forward, Sabrina Frederick-Traub was unstoppable with four goals to go with 18 disposals, five marks and five hitouts. Jess Wuetschner was equally as impressive with three majors from 11 touches, doing all the damage at ground level. For the GIANTS, Alicia Eva tried her best with a team-high 18 disposals, three marks, six tackles and five inside 50s, while Jessica Dal Pos and Amanda Farrugia were the next highest ball winners with 14 apiece.

Fun facts:

  • Brisbane has played just the one match at Moreton Bay Sporting Complex, and unfortunately it was one to forget, losing to Collingwood in Round 6, 2018. It put their premiership aspirations in serious doubt, before ironically the Magpies knocked off the Crows in the final round to hand the Lions a second consecutive Grand Final berth.
  • The Lions bounced back from the above loss with that 40-point win over GWS in the last round, knocking out the GIANTS from Grand Final contention, and replacing them in the decider.
  • In the two games against the GIANTS, Sabrina Frederick-Traub has booted five goals, whereas the entire GIANTS team have booted just the four.
  • Emma Swanson averages the most disposals for a GIANT against the Lions, at 15, while Jessica Dal Pos averages 13 touches per game.

AFLW season previews: GWS GIANTS

THE GIANTS had a consistent season in 2018, going from finishing eighth in the AFLW’s first season to fourth last year. The side will again be led by Amanda Farrugia in 2019 as she sets her sights on being the longest serving AFLW captain. The new recruits will also be looking to make a big impact in the new conference system.

Last season: 4th – three wins, three losses.

Changes:

In: Christina Bernardi, Alyce Parker, Brittany Perry, Lisa Whiteley, Ingrid Nielsen, Renee Tomkins, Delma Gisu, Haneen Zreika, Ebony O’Dea, Yvonne Bonner, Taylah Davies

Out: Maddy Boyd, Phoebe McWilliams, Renee Forth, Melissa Freckleton, Rebecca Privitelli, Alex Saundry, Pippa Smyth

The GIANTS lost three of their most experienced players in Maddy Boyd, Phoebe McWiliams and Renee Forth over the off-season, which left a gap in key positions on the field for the GIANTS. But to fill the hole in the ruck, Greater Western Sydney (GWS) picked up Ingrid Nielsen, who is a premiership played with the UNSW-ES Bulldogs in the AFL Sydney competition. To cover the X-factor of McWilliams, the GIANTS picked up Christina Bernardi, who is almost a straight swap for McWilliams, as both players possess smarts inside 50 as well as accurate kicks. Renee Forth has been a harder one to replace for the GIANTS, as her versatility was pivotal for them during the last two seasons. Given she can rotate through the midfield and the forward line, Alyce Parker is probably the closest player in terms of position to Forth, as she can play a role in the forward line if her team is on the back foot. The Thurgoona midfielder is as exciting as it gets, with a booming kick and a set of football smarts that are second to none, meaning she is a very important pick-up for the GIANTS.

Area of strength: Midfield

The GIANTS have incredible midfield depth heading into 2019, with the usual stars in Alicia Eva, Courtney Gum, Jessica Dal Pos and Rebecca Beeson being joined by the likes of Alyce Parker, Brittany Perry, Haneen Zreika and Phoebe Monahan. Parker had a standout Under-18 year last year, being named captain of the All-Australian team and the Most Valuable Player (MVP) for both New South Wales and the Eastern Allies in the AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships on the Gold Coast. Monahan had a similar influence for Richmond in the Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s season, being among the highest disposal-getters each week for the Tigers. Zreika is likely to add that X-factor that the midfield needs, as she has speed to burn and is a tenacious midfielder that should excite all GWS fans. She was on the GIANTS’ rookie list last season but has now been moved into the primary list for 2019.

Area of weakness: Defence

There’s not too much to worry about here for the GIANTS, as they have skilful defenders that can all play a role on dangerous forwards. With new recruits coming in, Alan McConnell will have to decide who fits where, as he has an extensive list of defenders on his hands. Renee Tomkins is likely to take the opposition’s leading forward, with Pepa Randall and Tanya Hetherington there to assist with other forward targets. Amanda Farrugia, Ellie Brush and Elle Bennetts will play as a running defenders. The problem comes into the equation if one of these players has to sit out a game, as the depth doesn’t expand much further than that in the GIANTS’ defensive 50.

Players to watch:

Haneen Zreika

Zreika was on the rookie list last season for the GIANTS and did not get to make her AFLW debut, but she will be a good chance to do so in 2019. She has exciting breakaway speed that is vital in a clogged midfield. Zreika is also a player that can break the lines and tackle aggressively, making her a complete player in the midfield. She played for Auburn-Penrith in the AFL Sydney competition during the off-season, being named in the best nine times from 12 games.

Phoebe Monahan

Monahan was one of Richmond’s leading players in the VFLW season, finishing equal third in the Tigers’ Best and Fairest count. She is a ball magnet and uses it well both by hand and by foot. Monahan played 11 games for the Tigers and was named in the best five times. She averaged 20 disposals per game last season and stood out amongst a struggling Richmond side.

Alyce Parker

Alyce Parker is one of the most talented players out of last year’s Under-18 crop. Just last year, she was named the All-Australian captain, the MVP for the Central Allies and New South Wales, played in a premiership for the Thurgoona Bulldogs and was named the best on ground in their victory. She’s received all these accolades because she is a smart midfielder who has a long clearing kick, giving her an advantage in the clearances. She tackles hard and has good hands as well, making her an all-round talent. Parker matched it with the bigger bodies when playing for Thurgoona, so she should fit right in to the AFLW.

2019 prediction: 1st in Conference B

This may be the GIANTS’ year, as they boast a strong list with plenty of depth. They are also in the easier conference, and with Brisbane losing a lot of talent over the off-season, GWS should be favourites heading in. Geelong may also be another team to contend with, but the GIANTS’ experience from the first two seasons should hold them in good stead. They have a couple of big tests in the first two rounds of the season, taking on Brisbane and North Melbourne. However, if they are to drop any of those games, they have an opportunity to bounce back against the Pies and Blues. If the GIANTS’ list can stay healthy, they will definitely be a side to watch in 2019.

2019 GWS AFLW Fixture

DateEventTime/ResultsVenueArticleMatch Day
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Moreton Bay Sporting ComplexRound 1
Drummoyne OvalRound 2
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Blacktown International SportsparkRound 3
Morwell Recreational ReserveRound 4
Blacktown International SportsparkRound 5
Unley OvalRound 6
UNSW Canberra OvalRound 7

AFLW season previews: Adelaide

THE inaugural AFL Women’s (AFLW) premiers have seen a swift change to their side this season, with a new coach at the helm and a host of exciting draftees getting the opportunity to pull on the Crows guernsey. They experienced heartbreak last season by just missing out on the finals in the last match of the season, but will be willing to turn their fortunes around in 2019.

Last season: 5th – three wins, three losses, one draw.

Changes:

In: Renee Forth, Nikki Gore, Jess Foley, Chloe Scheer, Katelyn Rosenzweig, Danielle Ponter, Hannah Martin, Ailish Considine, Sophie Li, Maisie Nankivell.

Out: Talia Radan, Sophie Armitstead, Georgia Bevan, Calista Boyd, Abbey Holmes, Rachael Killian, Becchara Palmer, Brianna Walling, Ruth Wallace, Jess Allan.

Prior to the draft, Adelaide’s outs looked like they were going to really impact the Crows’ season. But they have recruited brilliantly, adding to their midfield stocks through the likes of Nikki Gore, and boosting their forward line through picking up players such as Katelyn Rosenzweig and Danielle Ponter. Renee Forth is another huge addition, adding another important boost of experience to the side. The NT Thunder had a successful season in the Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s season on the back of the cohesion of Adelaide players in the side, so expect them to continue to gel in the AFLW.

Area of strength: Forward line

Adelaide’s forward line looks like one of the most dangerous in the competition. Along with All Australian, Sarah Perkins and AFLW season one Most Valuable Player (MVP), Erin Phillips, who can sometimes push up forward from the midfield, the Crows have some young stars to complement them well. Katelyn Rosenzweig was the leading goal kicker in the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s league at just 18, and also came second in the South Australian Women’s Football League (SAWFL) in the same year. Joining her will be Northern Territory Under-18 representative, Danielle Ponter, who knows how to find the goals. Ponter spent some time in Essendon’s VFLW side this year and kicked six goals from six games, finishing in the top three for the side’s goal kicking. Add the talented forward/ midfielder, Chloe Scheer, and the high-flying Jessica Sedunary, and you have one dangerous contingent inside 50.

Area of weakness: Ruck department

Not too much to be concerned about for Crows fans, as Rhiannon Metcalfe has dominated the last two seasons in the ruck, but they will look to build depth in the position. The departure of Jess Allan does hurt, but will open up the opportunity for Jasmyn Hewett to shoulder some of the duties. But in the VFLW, Hewett was often found up forward kicking goals, so the Crows may utilise her inside 50 or in defence, due to her versatility as a utility player. New recruit, Jess Foley will be key in the ruck department, as she looks to use her basketball background to advantage to assist Metcalfe.

Players to watch:

Chloe Scheer

Scheer was highly likely to get drafted in 2018, but an ACL injury held her back. Since recovering from her injury, she has spent some time in the Northern Territory, kicking four goals in her first game of the season for Nightcliff in the Northern Territory Football League (NTFL) Women’s competition. In that same game, she helped secure Nightcliff’s first win for the season, highlighting how much of an impact she can make immediately. She has been awarded the Best and Fairest four times (three junior, one senior) in her career at the Adelaide Footy League/ SAWFL, highlighting her immense talent.

Jessica Sedunary

Sedunary had a stellar season for the NT Thunder in the VFLW, finishing fifth in the competition’s goal kicking and first in the club’s. She kicked 15 goals in 11 games, including a four-goal haul against the Cats. Sedunary has great take-off speed and is a fitness machine, making her a weapon up forward. She is also a great reader of the play, as she can often play sneakily behind the ball when the defenders crash the packs. Expect her to be a headache for opposition sides this season.

Marijana Rajcic

Like Sedunary, Rajcic also starred in the NT Thunder line-up during the VFLW season. She was named in the best in three of her seven games, and was utilised inside 50. In the forward line, she managed 11 goals for the season, averaging 1.57 majors per game. The Crows usually played Rajcic in defence last year, but after her breakout season with the Thunder, she could feature prominently as a high half-forward. She also has the ability to rack up the disposals, averaging 9.6 last year and 13.4 in the VFLW. Rajcic racked up more than 10 disposals in all but one of her appearances for the Thunder, making her a player to certainly keep an eye on.

2019 prediction: 2nd in Conference A

The Crows have a line-up that will really threaten the competition, with the forward line being the focal point. The midfield continues to boast the excitement of the previous seasons, with players like Ebony Marinoff, Erin Phillips and Angela Foley sticking at the club for what is set to be another successful year. It will be interesting to see what new coach, Matthew Clarke does with his strong side and whether he will go in a different direction to Bec Goddard, in terms of player positioning. It’s hard to see Adelaide miss the finals with such a strong side and the envy of missing finals last year. Their main challenges will be the Western Bulldogs and Melbourne in their conference, and those teams happen to be the bookends of their season, and if anyone knows how crucial it is to start and finish the season off well, it’s the Crows. They do have a tough run home with the the Kangaroos, Giants and Demons standing in their way, so Adelaide will want to be securing early wins, and that window for potential will be in rounds two, three and four, when the Crows face the Blues, Cats and Dockers. The Crows will want to time their run to the finals better than they did in 2018 to secure a finals berth in the AFLW’s third season.

 

2019 Adelaide AFLW Fixture

DateEventTime/ResultsVenueArticleMatch Day
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Norwood OvalRound 1
Ikon ParkRound 2
Norwood OvalRound 3
TIO StadiumRound 4
Avalon Airport OvalRound 5
Unley OvalRound 6
Casey FieldsRound 7

AFLW Draft preview: GWS GIANTS

GREATER Western Sydney (GWS) Giants came so close to a Grand Final last season, with their fate up in the air up until the last round. With some key losses like Maddie Boyd, Phoebe McWilliams and Renee Forth ahead of the 2019 AFL Women’s season, the Giants will need some young talent to go one step further this year.

 

Last season: 4th

In: Christina Bernardi, Yvonne Bonner (rookie), Taylah Davies (rookie)
Out: Maddy Boyd, Phoebe McWilliams, Renee Forth, Melissa Freckleton, Rebecca Privitelli, Alex Saundry, Pippa Smyth, Renee Tomkins, Haneen Zreika (rookie)

GWS AFLW LIST (24/30)

  • Jacinda Barclay
  • Nicola Barr
  • Rebecca Beeson
  • Eleanor Bennetts
  • Christina Bernardi
  • Yvonne Bonner
  • Ellie Brush
  • Maddy Collier
  • Jess Dal Pas
  • Taylah Davies
  • Alicia Eva
  • Amanda Farrugia
  • Courtney Gum
  • Tanya Hetherington
  • Jodie Hicks
  • Tait Mackrill
  • Erin McKinnon
  • Phoebe Monahan
  • Pepa Randall
  • Aimee Schmidt
  • Cora Staunton
  • Louise Stephenson
  • Emma Swanson
  • Britt Tully

DRAFT PICKS

12, 42, 52, 59, 64, 69, 72, 75

POTENTIAL DRAFT PROSPECTS

The Giants are likely to take New South Wales (NSW) Most Valuable Player (MVP) at this year’s AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships, Alyce Parker. Parker has been one of NSW’s most dominant players throughout her whole Under 18s career, playing through the midfield and up forward when needed to. A midfield trio of Parker, Courtney Gum and Amanda Farrugia could be a threatening prospect for the rest of the competition. Murray Bushrangers defender, Eloise Ashley-Cooper is another player who could earn a spot at GWS. Ashley-Cooper spent some time in the TAC Cup Girls playing for Murray but has represented NSW at a representative level. She is a classy defender who could complement the likes of Tanya Hetherington and Pepa Randall. Alexia Hamilton is another one who will likely be on the minds of the GWS recruiters. She is a known goalkicker and a smart footballer who can play consistently well over a stretch of games.  

Season reviews: VFLW – NT Thunder

THE NT Thunder was one of the most dominant sides of the Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s season. The Thunder suffered a shock exit in the finals but nonetheless should be proud of a remarkable debut season in the VFLW.

 

Position: 3rd
Win-loss: 11-3
Percentage: 193%

Results:

Round 1: Defeated Darebin by 54 points
Round 2: Bye
Round 3: Defeated Essendon by 72 points
Round 4: Defeated Melbourne University by 69 points
Round 5: Defeated Western Bulldogs by 36 points
Round 6: Defeated Carlton by 36 points
Round 7: Lost against Southern Saints by 20 points
Round 8: Lost against Collingwood by 16 points
Round 9: Defeated Geelong Cats by 65 points
Round 10: Defeated Darebin by 40 points
Round 11: Defeated Richmond by 23 points
Round 12: Defeated Casey Demons by 12 points
Round 13: Defeated Williamstown by 45 points
Round 14: Defeated Collingwood by 10 points
Round 15: Lost against Hawthorn by 25 points
Round 16: Bye

 

Key players:

#3 Angela Foley

The NT Thunder captain was a dominant force in the midfield and was rewarded for her efforts. She came third in the VFLW Best and Fairest and earned a spot in the Team of the Year. Foley consistently racked up high number of disposals, highlighting her ability to find plenty of the footy during the season. She had an impressive game in Round 1 when she gathered 30 disposals, kicked a goal, took five marks and laid three tackles.

#17 Emma Swanson

The Greater Western Sydney (GWS) forward was a key player for the Thunder this season. She was able to out-muscle opponents in the forward line and could also float into the midfield to gather some key possessions. This versatility earned her a spot on the interchange bench in the VFLW Team of the Year. She too had a standout game in Round 1 with 31 disposals, two goals, five marks and three tackles.   

#28 Renee Forth

Forth’s excellent season in Thunder colours saw her move over to the Adelaide Crows for the 2019 season. She impressed with her high football IQ and ability to get in the right spots to get the ball. Like Swanson, she was a versatile player who played consistent football throughout her 12 games. One of her best games was in Round 11 when she racked up 18 disposals, five marks and three tackles.

#29 Marijana Rajcic

Rajcic was a player that dominated all over the ground for the Thunder this season. Her marking was quite impressive, as was her long kick. Her run and carry was also a key attribute of her game. Rajcic kicked 11 goals from her seven games for NT. One of her standout games was in Round 1, when she kicked 3.4, gathered 25 disposals and took eight marks.

#31 Jessica Sedunary

Sedunary came fifth in the VFLW goal kicking tally with 15 goals from 11 games. She also earned a spot in the VFLW Team of the Year thanks to her liveliness in the forward line and her excellent goal sense. Sedunary’s strength and fitness stood out as she inflicted her powerful run and carry on opposition sides. She was the star of the day against Geelong, kicking four goals, gathering 17 disposals and laying three tackles.

 

Season summary:

The Thunder recorded the biggest percentage of the VFLW season after some big winning margins throughout the season. The side was one of the most dominant outfits of the season with plenty of AFLW contingent suiting up in the VFLW season. Homegrown talent like Tayla Thorn, Lateesha Jeffrey, Tahlia Holtze, Kylie Duggan and Kristy Irvine also showed good signs during the year, signalling a bright future for the side.

AFLW Draft preview: Adelaide

ADELAIDE heads into the 2018 AFL Women’s Draft with six available spots on its list. The Crows have retained the majority of their side, and have added GWS GIANTS’ Renee Forth and Carlton’s Sophie Li, the latter of whom has returned to South Australia for work. They have also picked up two cross-coders in Ailish Considine and Maisie Nankivell who slot in as international rookies. With 2017 AFL Women’s League Best and Fairest, Erin Phillips to be back at full fitness, the Crows loom as a dark horse in the premiership race, but could still do with filling some important spots in their 22.

Last year: Fifth

IN: Renee Forth, Sophie Li, Ailish Considine, Maisie Nankivell
OUT: Jess Allan, Sophie Armistead, Georgie Bevan, Abbey Holmes, Rachael Killian, Talia Radan, Ruth Wallace, Calista Boyd (rookie), Becchara Palmer (rookie), Brianna Walling (rookie),

ADELAIDE AFLW list (24/30):

  • Sarah Allan
  • Ailish Considine**
  • Dayna Cox
  • Courtney Cramey
  • Angela Foley
  • Renee Forth
  • Anne Hatchard
  • Jasmyn Hewett
  • Eloise Jones
  • Sophie Li
  • Rheanne Lugg
  • Ebony Marinoff
  • Jenna McCormick
  • Rhiannon Metcalfe
  • Justine Mules
  • Maisie Nankivell**
  • Sarah Perkins
  • Erin Phillips
  • Marijana Rajcic
  • Chelsea Randall
  • Sally Riley
  • Jess Sedunary
  • Stevie-Lee Thompson
  • Deni Varnhagen

**International rookies

DRAFT PICKS

8, 30, 37, 41, 48, 53.

POSSIBLE DRAFT PROSPECTS

Georgia Bevan was delisted due to minimum numbers needing to be upheld prior to the off-season movement period, but having played all bar two matches since the first game of AFL Women’s, she is one who would have to come into consideration to be re-drafted. From those invited to the AFL Women’s Draft Combine, midfielder Nikki Gore looms as the obvious selection for the Crows, having had an outstanding season at state level, and represented Central Allies at the AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships. Her state teammate, Katelyn Rosenzweig has been prominent in front of the big sticks with multiple leading goal kicker awards, and expect her to work in tandem with Sarah Perkins up forward. Northern Territory product and exciting forward, Danielle Ponter is another player who earned a National Draft Combine invite, and it will be interesting to see where she nominates, having played for Essendon in the Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s, but falls under the Crows’ zone. Likewise, Janet Baird is a Northern Territory talent who has had experience playing for NT Thunder in the VFL Women’s. A potential option raised by Women’s Australian Rules Football (WARF) Radio’s Peter Holden, was Chloe Scheer, who similar to Gore, was no stranger to awards before injury struck. Now an over-ager, Scheer could be an out of the box option if she has recovered and chooses to pursue the career.

Team selection: VFLW – Round 15

WITH only two weeks left of the Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s Competition, teams are fighting for a chance to play in the finals. Most teams have made minimal changes this week and are trying to create some momentum to finish the home and away season off strongly. Round 15 looks like another important week in the VFLW competition, kicking off with the Western Bulldogs taking on Melbourne Uni.

 

WESTERN BULLDOGS v. MELBOURNE UNI

Round 15 – 18/08/2018

02:00PM

Victoria University Whitten Oval

The Western Bulldogs take on Melbourne Uni this weekend and have made four changes for the occasion. After their disappointing loss to Hawthorn last weekend, the Dogs have brought in AFLW premiership player, Hannah Scott to help guide the team to victory. Also included this week are Rachel Ashley and Nicole Paul. Coming in as the 23rd player this week, the Dogs have also named the young Aleshia Bettels to make her debut in the red, white and blue.

The Dogs might have brought home the win in their last encounter, but this week Melbourne Uni will be hoping to back up its Round 14 victory to turn the tables. The Mugars have also made four changes ahead of the clash, bringing in Bendigo Pioneers graduate, Aisling TupperMietta McDonald and debutant, Jacinta Limbrick. Limbrick comes into the VFLW side after being part of North Melbourne’s Tasmanian Senior State Academy and impressing in the Tasmania State League (TSL) Women’s competition. She kicked 24 goals from 12 games this season.

Western Bulldogs

B: 5. R. Martinuzzo, 40. N. Gills, 42. N. Paul
HB: 29. J. Davies, 11. L. Spark, 12. J. Francke
C: 19. T.  Ernst, 9. T.  Dinuccio, 21. B.  Hunt
HF: 20. A. Guest, 32. A. Mifsud, 10. S. Jolly
F: 15. R. Ashley, 6. K. McLeod, 43. A. Goldring
R: 47. N. McMahon, 22. H. Scott, 28. B. Toogood
Int: 31. A. Gunn, 35. S. Ruedin, 41. A. Scott, 30. A. Tessari
23P: 39. A. Bettels

In: A. Bettels, R. Ashley, N. Paul, H. Scott
Out: R. Gastin,  D. Berry,  C. O’Brien

Melbourne Uni

B: 12. M. Cantwell, 29. K. Klatt, 9. K. Price
HB: 4. A. Saundry, 54. J. Limbrick, 55. M. Smith
C: 19. L.  Ahrens, 18. A.  Tupper, 45. M.  McDonald
HF: 22. D. Edward, 6. E. Keaney, 17. E. Hay
F: 38. K. Angelis, 27. J. Anderson, 7. A. Riddell
R: 8. C. Fitzpatrick, 3. K. Ashmore, 46. M. Prespakis
Int: 1. S. Abbatangelo, 20. L. Belza, 26. C. Greiser, 2. H. Ibrahim
23P: 21. R. Webster

In: A. Tupper, M. Smith, M. McDonald, J. Limbrick
Out: K. Gillespie-Jones, L. Haines, D. Hardiman, E. Humphries

 

COLLINGWOOD v. SOUTHERN SAINTS

Round 15 – 18/08/2018

02:00PM

Ted Summerton Reserve, Moe

The Magpies continue to make plenty of changes in the final weeks of the home and away season. After their narrow loss to the formidable NT Thunder outfit in Round 14, they will be desperate to stay in second spot on the ladder with a couple of teams on their toes. AFLW talent comes in and out of their side this week with Emma Grant and Steph Chiocci taking to the sidelines while Eliza Hynes and Chloe Molloy fill their shoes. Also named in are Gabrielle Biedenweg-Webster, Amy Malander, Elise Korteman and Erica Fowler.

Coming up against the Pies this week, the Saints have made three changes going into Round 15. Vic Metro representative, Gabriella De Angelis has been selected to play this week, alongside Meg McDonald and TAC Cup Girls leading goal kicker, Holly Bate, who has been named as the 23rd player. Coming out of the side this week are Keely FitzgeraldJasmine Tait and Selena Karlson.

Collingwood

B: 72. K. Lee, 18. R. Schleicher, 12. S. Livingstone
HB: 22. S. Casey, 67. H. McLaren, 52. N. Hales
C: 50. G.  Buchan, 2. C.  Molloy, 99. S.  Marsh
HF: 8. B. Bonnici, 66. D. Bateman, 28. H. Whitford
F: 75. E. Fowler, 49. S. Alexander, 3. N. Hildebrand
R: 11. E. Hynes, 54. H. Grubb, 41. K. Stratton
Int: 73. G. Biedenweg-Webster, 70. J. Ferguson, 62. E. Korteman, 61. A. Malander
23P: 59. K. Lynch

In: G. Biedenweg-Webster, E. Hynes, E. Korteman, C. Molloy, A. Malander, E. Fowler
Out: S. King,  P. Nash,  E. Grant,  I. Ross,  S. Chiocci,  J. Edwards

Southern Saints

B: 4. G. Ricardo, 23. J. Rolland, 30. C. Wilson
HB: 45. S. Binder, 29. M. Macdonald, 17. L. Olsen
C: 39. E.  Brown, 2. A.  Brown, 43. S.  Heath
HF: 21. D. Lawrence, 15. T. Bohanna, 24. K. Ripari
F: 36. S. Bolding, 13. C. Munn, 35. G. De Angelis
R: 28. R. Watt, 8. A. Drennan, 32. S. Johnson
Int: 42. C. Jones, 40. M. Maitland, 19. A. Silver, 16. K. Thompson
23P: 3. H. Bate

In: M. Macdonald, G. De Angelis, H. Bate
Out: K. Fitzgerald, J. Tait, S. Karlson

 

ESSENDON  v. WILLIAMSTOWN

Round 15 – 18/08/2018

03:00PM

Windy Hill

Former Diamond Creek player, Maddy Collier and Oakleigh Chargers ruck, Bridie Winbanks are the only inclusions in Essendon’s side going into Round 15. Their side will face Williamstown this week where three new VFLW rules will feature.

Williamstown will be looking for back-to-back wins after its triumph against Richmond last weekend. The Seagulls have made two changes for the clash at Windy Hill, welcoming back Rachel Achampong and Erin Meade who have both recovered from injury. Ashlea Melnikas has also been named as part of the interchange. Belinda Hateley and Jamilla Cranny have both been sidelined due to injury.

Essendon

B: 20. J. Anwyl, 17. T. Hetherington, 41. M. Warburton
HB: 27. A. Morcom, 7. K. Hicks, 25. R. Neaves
C: 18. K.  Heil, 22. N.  MacDonald, 9. L.  Williams
HF: 35. V. Moreau, 16. L. Morecroft, 1. J. Trend
F: 28. C. Portlock, 3. M. DeMatteo, 6. A. Quigley
R: 30. S. Nalder, 8. H. Bullas, 46. C. Ugle
Int: 15. L. Caruso, 44. M. Collier, 26. A. Madden, 19. B. Winbanks
23P: 10. E. Cornish

In: M. Collier, B. Winbanks

Williamstown

B: 19. E. Meade, 20. S. Seabrook, 8. C. Portelli
HB: 1. R. Dardengo, 24. A. Saxton, 34. J. Reid
C: 22. M.  Lowe, 2. J.  Duffin, 11. K.  Smith
HF: 4. E. Paterno, 25. J. Garner, 33. S. Van De Heuvel
F: 16. A. Cameron, 39. S. Whiting, 12. G. Harris
R: 9. R. Achampong, 17. S. Chapman, 35. J. Bruton
Int: 30. A. Melnikas, 44. I. Porter, 13. N. Wallace, 36. M. Williamson
23P: 15. E. Gardner

In: E. Meade, A. Melnikas, R. Achampong
Out: J. Cranny, B. Hateley

 

NT THUNDER v. HAWTHORN

Round 15 – 18/08/2018

04:30PM (AEST)

TIO Stadium

The NT Thunder will be celebrating its last home game for the 2018 season in Round 15, and a host of local talent has been brought back into the side. AFLW talents take over the Thunder’s line up, with Renee Forth, Abbey Holmes, Marijana Rajcic, Courtney Cramey, Jessica Allan and Emma Swanson all being selected to play. Midfielder, Kristy Irvine has also been named in the squad this week, alongside Northern Territory Under 18 representative, Janet Baird, Lateesha Jeffrey and Tahlia Holtze.

Hawthorn has made only one change going into Round 15, bringing in Mikala Cann for Emily McIlvena. Cann was named as one of the 36 players invited to the AFL Women’s Draft Combine, and will be a key cog in the midfield for this exciting battle.

NT Thunder

B: 8. S. Riley, 10. S. Barnett, 13. L. Roberts
HB: 14. C. Cramey, 55. T. Thorn, 22. J. McCormick
C: 24. G.  Bevan, 3. A.  Foley, 32. K.  Streader
HF: 4. S. Nalder, 29. M. Rajcic, 17. E. Swanson
F: 25. J. Allan, 26. A. Holmes, 11. J. Hickey
R: 20. J. Hewett, 52. E. Marinoff, 28. R. Forth
Int: 18. T. Holtze, 21. K. Irvine, 9. L. Jeffrey, 38. M. Keeble
Emg: 12. J. Anderson, 46. S. Bishop, 7. L. O’Shea, 45. K. Rosenzweig
23P: 39. J. Baird

In: T. Holtze, J. Baird, C. Cramey, G. Bevan, A. Holmes, M. Rajcic, E. Swanson, K. Irvine,  R. Forth, J. Allan, L. Jeffrey
Out: G. Cusack,  A. Hatchard,  J. Mules,  J. Sedunary,  K. Duggan,  S. Armitstead, M. Gault,  S. Thompson,  S. Allan,  M. Roberts

Hawthorn

B: 5. C. Perera, 32. K. Ebb, 31. J. Sibley
HB: 13. E. Nixon, 25. M. Hutchins, 36. J. Van Dyk
C: 4. S.  Carroll, 6. J.  Crockett-Grills, 12. T.  Nestor
HF: 14. O. Flanagan, 8. R. Beeson, 33. E. Gilder
F: 22. T. Luke, 28. S. Perkins, 7. P. McWilliams
R: 19. L. Wotton, 45. M. Cann, 1. E. Mackie
Int: 24. R. Dillon, 11. D. Haines, 35. C. O’Donnell, 43. E. Woods
23P: 44. S. Kendall

In: M. Cann
Out: E. Mcilvena

 

DAREBIN  v. CARLTON

Round 15 – 19/08/2018

12:00PM

Bill Lawry Oval

Darebin, who is sitting just outside the top four, has made some important changes ahead of its match-up with Carlton this weekend. Some big names have been called to the sidelines in Jessica Dal Pos, Hannah Mouncey and Nicole Callinan. However, plenty of talented fresh legs will be taking their place. Vic Metro defender, Lauren Szigeti comes in this week alongside Anna Morrow, Lena Skipper and Esther HonybunChelsea Delbridge has been named as the 23rd player.

Returning from its Round 14 bye, Carlton has made three changes to this weekend’s line-up. Former St Kilda Shark, Danica Pedersen returns to the side this week and she will be joined by TAC Cup Girls duo, Isabella Gietzmann (Oakleigh Chargers) and Mika Suzuki (Northern Knights).

Darebin

B: 31. E. Gardner, 10. G. Lawson-Tavan, 21. K. Roe
HB: 32. G. Colvin, 14. M. McDonald, 49. R. Hibbert
C: 15. A.  Lister, 9. M.  Eastman, 11. K.  Tyndall
HF: 28. A. Morrow, 45. N. Deiter, 13. K. Shierlaw
F: 44. S. Fairchild, 17. S. Simpson, 46. L. Szigeti
R: 40. L. Pearce, 20. M. Guerin, 7. L. Mithen
Int: 22. G. Hammond, 1. E. Honybun, 24. B. Patterson, 35. L. Skipper
23P: 50. C. Delbridge

In: L. Szigeti, A. Morrow, L. Skipper, C. Delbridge, E. Honybun
Out: H. Mouncey,  J. Dal Pos,  N. Callinan

Carlton

B: 50. J. Borg, 25. T. Morgan, 24. R. Hicks
HB: 34. A. Chuot, 12. S. Last, 6. G. Pound
C: 55. C.  Dalton, 8. M.  Brancatisano, 90. B.  Walker
HF: 18. T. Lucas-Rodd, 5. D. Pedersen, 36. C. Moody
F: 20. C. Bromage, 3. D. Vescio, 27. K. Cox
R: 30. A. Downie, 19. G. Gee, 66. O. Vesely
Int: 82. N. Burns, 31. R. Caris, 15. I. Gietzmann, 37. B. Schultz
23P: 11. M. Suzuki

 

CASEY DEMONS v. GEELONG CATS

Round 15 – 19/08/2018

01:00PM

Casey Fields

The Casey Demons will be looking to bounce back after their loss in Round 14 but will be faced with the hard task of taking on the in-form Geelong Cats, who are sitting just inside top four. For the clash, the Demons have named six key ins including Shelley Scott, Amy Harrison, Kasey Guttridge, Shae Sloane, Marlee Tatham and Holly Bailey. On the other hand, AFLW trio, Katherine Smith, Kate Hore and Catherine Phillips alongside Jemma Turner and Lorianne Lowerson have all been named out.

Geelong, who is sitting just within finals contention, will be fighting hard for two straight wins in the final weeks of the regular season. Coming off last week’s big win over Essendon, the Cats have only named three changes to their squad. Vic Country key defender, Georgia Clarke will be a welcome addition to the side this week, as will Jordan Ivey and Courtney Stevens.

Casey Demons

B: 18. K. Bentvelzen , 27. A. Harrison, 26. S. Sloane
HB: 34. D. Guttridge, 41. T. Mesiti, 16. C. Sherriff
C: 7. B.  Jakobsson, 47. M.  Hogg, 9. A.  Johnson
HF: 38. J. Allen, 29. E. Zanker , 22. K. Guttridge
F: 31. H. Bailey, 12. G. McLean, 8. M. Tatham
R: 14. T. Orgill, 28. M. Gay, 17. S. Scott
Int: 3. R. Clayton, 23. G. Gourlay, 25. M. Shevlin, 20. C. Whitfort
23P: 50. A. Dunn

In: S. Scott, A. Harrison, K. Guttridge, S. Sloane, M. Tatham, H. Bailey
Out: J. Turner,  L. Lowerson,  K. Smith,  C. Phillips,  K. Hore

Geelong Cats

B: 26. R. Pearce, 44. R. Goring, 40. A. Teague
HB: 25. E. Coventry, 1. J. Woollett, 34. A. McDonald
C: 3. H.  Burchell, 45. M.  Keryk, 20. N.  Morrison
HF: 5. J. Ivey, 2. D. Orr, 33. H. Trevean
F: 7. M. Clifford, 6. M. Boyd, 13. M. Fogas
R: 8. K. Darby, 4. C. Blakeway, 30. R. Cranston
Int: 55. G. Clarke, 11. M. Klingbeil , 41. C. Stevens, 10. L. Taylor
23P: 16. O. Purcell

In: J. Ivey, G. Clarke, C. Stevens
Out: H. Mangan, Z. Inei

Scouting notes: VFLW – Round 9

ESSENDON has finally recorded its first Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s victory, getting over the line against Richmond in Round 9. At the other end of the table, Geelong suffered its second consecutive loss, this time at the hands of a rejuvenated NT Thunder outfit. This leaves the red-hot Collingwood remaning at the top of the ladder, looking unstoppable at the minute. James Halley and Carly McClen watched two of the big games on the weekend.

NT Thunder vs. Geelong 

By: James Halley 

NT Thunder:

#3 Angela Foley

She was able to cap off a good game with two goals late in the last term, which were both great majors on the run. She had a wonderful captains game as she led from the front with 18 touches of her own as well.

#20 Jasmyn Hewett

She convincingly won her ruck duel against Maddy McMahon. She scored a goal in the last quarter after being able to penetrate a long kick out of a pack on the arc.

#22 Jenna McCormick

McCormick was a presence up forward with three goals. Her second goal was a monster of a kick with a set shot from 50 metres out making the distance. Her third was a case of her being in the right place at the right time, highlighting her good positioning on the day.

#28 Renee Forth

Forth was instrumental in the back line with many intercept possessions and beating her opponent convincingly. This was evident as she was able to pick up 17 disposals and with 14 of them being kicks, It shows that the team trusts her to distribute the ball from the back half.

#31 Jessica Sedunary

Sedunary was the difference between the two sides with her brilliance up forward. She kicked three first-half goals and one final term major with all differing difficulty. Her fourth was a real highlight as she managed to stream down the centre and kick a beautiful running goal.

 

Geelong Cats:

#2 Danielle Orr

After a 50 metre penalty, she was able to convert from a set shot for Geelong’s first goal of the game. She has really strong hands and presented hard all day at the midfielders distributing the ball forward.

#6 Maddie Boyd

Boyd fought really hard in the guts along side Keryk. She was serviceable and got her hands to the ball 16 times. She could have been a multiple goal scorer but could not manage to score a major with two behinds to her name

#30 Richelle Cranston

Cranston was able to finish with a goal in a passage of play in which she took the initial clearance. She was able to use her football smarts and dribble the kick along the ground to avoid oncoming opponents. She gathered her fair share of the ball as well as she finished with 20 disposals.

#36 Evelyn Dhamarrandji

Her leg speed was utilised over and over by Geelong, as she was not afraid to take the game on time after time. Being the 23rd player will give her some experience and confidence that she will hopefully be able to build on in the future.

#51 Madeline Keryk

Keryk was Geelong’s best midfielder for the match finishing with 23 disposals. She was at the bottom of packs all day trying to win the ball for Geelong.

 

Collingwood vs. Darebin 

By: Carly McClen 

Collingwood:

#2 Chloe Molloy

Became the first Collingwood women’s player to kick a goal at Victoria Park in the opening minutes of the match. A class above player with often two players on her; her ability to dart past them easily and do what she wants to do makes her look head and shoulders above the rest. Had a solid performance in the black and white

#3 Nicole Hildebrand

Shone in her club debut with two goals in the second half. Showed poise in losing her opponent to take strong marks and nail a set shot that never looked like missing from a difficult angle. Set up a goal with a clever pass to half forward, Gabrielle Biedenweg-Webster for the Pies’ final goal.

#4 Sarah D’Arcy

Took strong marks at the right times and was able to read the movement of play well. Got into good defensive positions to block the many inside fifty attempts by the Falcons.

#5 Emma Grant 

A strong player who took marks at crucial times when Darebin were pressing hard in the first quarter. Made an impact to hold Falcons scoreless in second term.

#11 Eliza Hynes

Played a solid ruck role. Delivered a goal from just inside 50.

#13 Jaimee Lambert

Talented player to watch. Read the play well and got space to take important marks and hit targets in kicking.

#18 Ruby Schleicher

Took important marks and was pivotal in absorbing Darebin’s pressure, particularly in first half.

#50 Grace Buchan

Hunted the footy all day and was pivotal in her role in stopping the Falcons movement, particularly in first half.

 

Darebin:

#1 Esther Honybun

Kicked a goal late in the first quarter and is a talent to watch. Was well held by Pies defence.

#8 Nat Exon

She was busy in the first half and able to absorb pressure from Collingwood to hold them scoreless in second term.

#11 Kate Tyndall

Kicked a goal late in the third quarter. Played her role well under immense pressure from Collingwood.

#20 Maddy Guerin

Busy for four quarters and played her role well.

#30 Elise O’Dea

Won a lot of the ball by applying consistent pressure and chasing all day

#40 Lauren Pearce 

Another player who was pivotal in holding back the Pies’ attack in first half.

Scouting notes: VFLW – Round 8

THE Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s competition has a new ladder-leader, as Geelong succumbed to its first loss of the season to lose the privilege. This gave top spot to Collingwood, who in the process handed the NT Thunder its second consecutive loss. At the halfway mark of the season, the competition is starting to take shape, and we watched three games on the weekend to see how some of the action panned out.

 

Essendon vs. Casey

Essendon:

#4 Natasha Hardy

Led well to the footy and took a great mark lace-out on the chest. Her on-field leadership is evident.

#28 Carlee Portlock

Portlock had some good moments in the red and black. She did well to smother the ball off her opponent’s boot. Portlock was good defensively as she bumped her opponent and contested well with another running opponent to send the ball out of bounds.

#32 Tait Mackrill

Laid an excellent bump on Katherine Smith, showing that she’s not afraid to go against experience. Mackrill showed courage again when she took on her opponent and did it well, kicking the ball long down the line and penetrating it forward.

#25 Rebecca Neaves

Showed great awareness to spot her opponent playing on quickly, as she then won the ball back for her side by laying a great tackle. Neaves also laid a great smother while being held by an opponent to send the ball out of bounds.

#18 Kendra Heil

Laid a great tackle while her opponent was off and running and was awarded a free kick for her efforts. Her forward pressure was outstanding as she still managed to push her opponent under the ball and put pressure on Aliesha Newman when she was ducking and weaving. The ball eventually spilt to Danielle Ponter who got her second goal of the day, thanks to Heil’s efforts.

#35 Valerie Moreau

Showed a ‘never say die’ attitude when she tapped the ball along, chasing it through the whole 50 metre arc. Moreau got reward for her effort in the next passage of play with a soccer off the ground in the goal square, converting Essendon’s first of the day. Also delivered a nice kick to Courtney Ugle on the outside, showing good awareness of her teammates.

#43 Danielle Ponter

Good return to the side with two goals, which were both snaps. Ponter was lively in the forward line and read the play well.

 

Casey:

#13 Katherine Smith

Smith got three early touches in the space of a minute, and you just knew she was in for another big game. She was able to deliver a good handball while being tackled, demonstrating strength in the contest. Smith showed nice run and carry and followed it up by executing a good effective kick to hit up a teammate. Brilliantly picked up a loose ball that bounced over her head and then ran into the space. Also did well defensively, which was shown when she laid an excellent tackle to stop Essendon captain, Lisa Williams on the run.  

#21 Harriet Cordner

Took a good mark and then delivered a nice kick down the line. She contested well wherever she was, shown by her taking a great intercept mark at the top of the 50 metre arc to send the ball back forward for Casey.

#7 Bianca Jakobsson

Jakobsson marked everything that came her way at RAMS Arena, clearly not fazed by the wet and slippery conditions. Her intercept marking was a highlight as usual and her overhead marking was superb. Delivered a good underground handball in a contest, showing her determination to get the footy forward. Jakobsson executed a great spin and kick while she was right near the boundary line, which I thought was a highlight of her game. Laid an excellent tackle to stop Courtney Ugle in her tracks in what was a great defensive performance by the Melbourne AFLW player.

#35 Catherine Phillips

Phillips displayed good run and carry throughout the game, always looking to play on with the ball in hand. Executed a great follow-up after she dropped the mark by getting a quick handball out to a teammate on the outside. Displayed great acceleration with the ball in hand on the boundary line.

#25 Madelaine Shevlin

I thought Shevlin was one of Casey’s best players on the day. She delivered a nice kick to the top of the square that set up Casey’s first goal of the day, which allowed her forwards to run onto the loose ball. She also beautifully pinpointed a kick out of the centre square that traveled all the way to the forward pocket into the hands of Taylor Mesiti, showing her ability to create forward thrusts for the Demons. Shevlin got a lot of the footy and used it well, demonstrated when she gave off a great handball while being tackled. A highlight of her game was when she kept running hard after she received a handball to take a great overhead mark down the line.

#41 Taylor Mesiti

Attacked the ball well and leapt very high for each forward marking attempt. Was proactive up forward, demonstrated through a quick snap out of a contest. Although she was unlucky to miss, she read the flight of the ball well. Mesiti displayed great hands throughout the day and was one of the most dangerous forwards on the ground. Did well when she lowered her eyes instead of going for goal, finding a better option which ensured it a certain major for Casey,

#18 Kaila Bentvelzen

Bentvelzen took some great marks inside 50 and did well to assist her teammates, as she often drifted up the ground. Took a mark about 45 metres out and lowered her eyes, spotting a great option in Eden Zanker and spearing it perfectly towards her lead.

 

Richmond vs. Hawthorn 

By: James Halley

Richmond:

#88 Phoebe Monahan

She wasn’t afraid to push back to defence and help out when needed. She was the Tigers’ best midfielder in my opinion with 26 possessions.

#80 Jacinta Louttit

After claiming a kick that found itself out of bounds on the full, she kicked a great set shot from the boundary in one of the goals of the day.

#68 Alice Edmonds

Dominated in the ruck and around the ground. She was also a threat in the air and managed to take five marks for the day.

#64 Emma Gunn

After receiving a handpass from Kate Dixon, she found herself in some space and kicked a goal on the run from 20 metres out. She has pace to burn and she used it to her advantage to dispose of her opponents out of a ball up and have a shot on goal, which hit the post.

#77 Justine Hocking

She manages to get a fist in many contests and halve the contest. She saved a goal in a one-on-one battle in the second term on the goal line, which was a highlight of her game.

 

Hawthorn:

#9 Melissa Kuys

After taking the advantage from a holding the ball decision, she burst inside 50 and scored an easy goal for Hawthorn. In this instance, she displayed her elite game awareness. Although she didn’t have as much ball as she has had in the past, she had important moments and touches that were vital for the Hawks.

#36 Jayde Van Dyk

She is a rock down back and took many intercept marks. She had a very nice kick and was able to pinpoint passes through the middle. She read the ball better than her opponents on many occasions.

#35 Clare O’Donnell

She has really good hands, shown when she took a one-handed mark in the first term. After a great pass from Jade Barnden, she was able to snap a goal in congestion.

#25 Meg Hutchins

A highlight of Hutchins’ game was when she kicked a wonderful goal from the boundary in a display of class. She was also really prolific for Hawthorn with 22 disposals.

#33 Emily Gilder

She was able to kick the first goal of the game through getting the ball out of the back in the goal square, using her speed to her advantage. 

 

NT Thunder vs. Collingwood

NT:

#20 Jasmyn Hewett

Took a great leading mark inside 50 and was unlucky to miss a long range shot at goal. Also showed nice hands in defence when she took a good intercept mark in defence. Hewett ran well on the boundary line in a passage of play in defence, which got the ball out of danger for her side.

#8 Sally Riley

Riley played a team role on the day, often playing the role as the link in the chain. Came and helped out a teammate who had to deal with a ducking and weaving Sarah D’Arcy. Riley came in and put pressure on D’Arcy and caused her to turn it over. Also picked up the ball well off the deck and ran into space nicely. Always wanted to keep the ball moving throughout the game, shown through nice kicks and good running.

#2 Eloise Jones

Executed great run and carry with the ball in hand and then did well to keep running after her efforts to win it, demonstrating good second efforts. Jones delivered an excellent long kick down the line, and followed this up with a great flying attempt for a mark. Did well to trap it in a stoppage and win a free kick for a shot on goal.

#28 Renee Forth

Read the ball well on the day. She was able to get a great clearance through the middle of the ground and tried to create a lively presence up forward.

#14 Courtney Cramey

Accelerated well and had a great clearance. Cramey was able to move the ball well through the ground and made an impact in the middle. She did well on many instances to keep the play calm in the most dangerous spot of the ground, avoiding turning the ball over in the corridor. Cramey also shared the ball well with her teammates on the day with her quick and clean hands.

#22 Jenna McCormick

McCormick was lively up forward and loved to take the game on. Laid a couple of great tackles, showing her intent to win the footy, Her kicking was good on the day, often hitting a teammate or finding space for them to run into.

 

Collingwood:

#2 Chloe Molloy

Molloy was a star for Collingwood and if it was not for Sophie Alexander’s four goals, she was best on ground in my opinion. Picked the ball up off the deck swiftly and kicked it well into space. Was able to fend off a couple of players and accelerate into space in the back line then kicked it into space for her teammates to utilise it. Delivered an excellent kick out of the middle of the ground that landed right in the hands of Cecilia McIntosh. Molloy showed good initiative to kick the ball off the ground after a string of handballs caused congestion, demonstrating her high footy IQ. A highlight of her game was when she took a sensational intercept mark in defensive 50, as she hid herself behind the ball in the goal square and claimed the mark cleanly. Read a kick out of full back brilliantly and took a fantastic overhead intercept mark. She followed this up by delivering a perfect centering kick after that slipped through her teammates’ hands. Molloy also gave off a great handball under pressure, showing that she was able to use the ball well almost every time she got it.

#28 Holly Whitford

Delivered a lovely kick down the line and took a good intercept mark in a matter of seconds later. Whitford executed a nice centering kick off one step under pressure, showing her knack of getting the ball and just kicking it when she needs to. Took a good mark and followed it up with a nice long range kick to find a teammate in the middle of the ground.

#20 Cecilia McIntosh

I thought McIntosh had the best set of hands on the ground. Whether it was a contested mark or letting the ball float into her chest, she always put herself in good positions to mark the footy. Did well in general defensively, which was shown by a great tackle that set up Collingwood’s first goal of the day. Also displayed excellent run and carry and followed this up with a great kick to the top of the square.

#21 Iilish Ross

Ross took a good one-on-one mark and did well to lower her eyes and find Leah French in space inside 50. Her side-step was a highlight of her game, and she used it to effect on two occasions in particular. In the first instance, this display of agility found a teammate inside 50 and on the second instance, it helped to calm down play for the Pies. Pushed her opponent under the ball later in the game, demonstrating an excellent ability to get it into space.

#41 Kristy Stratton

Delivered a great kick down the line to slow down play for the Pies. Had a great snap at goal, and was generally lively with the ball on hand. Stratton also took a great one-on-one mark and did well to play on quickly and get it forward for her side.

#49 Sophie Alexander

Sophie Alexander was best-on-ground for the Pies in my opinion, as her four goals were game-changing. She also did the little things such as when she took a great contested intercept mark to make up for her missed attempt at goal. In another instance, she initially shepherded an opponent for her teammate to run onto the ball, but then did the hard work herself. Alexander did really well to push her opponent under the ball, and followed it up by kicking a goal from outside 50 off one step. She showed that she can certainly kick the ball a long way as nearly all of her goals were from just inside 50! Her best goal was when she remarkably kicked a major from the boundary line from about 50 metres out. Alexander was never afraid to take it on and did the team thing whenever she was needed to. This was shown when she led well to a Chloe Molloy kick from outside 50 and was rewarded for her efforts with a goal. Also demonstrated good agility when she executed a great spin around her opponent and centering kick to Iilish Ross in the middle of the forward 50.

#47 Jessica Edwards

Edwards was solid for Collingwood throughout the day and never seemed to over-use the ball. Demonstrated excellent acceleration when she took the ball under her arm and kicked it long into inside 50 space from the centre square. Also delivered a great handball in space under pressure in defence. A highlight of Edwards’ game was when she ducked and side-stepped around her opponent to get the ball free. Followed that effort up with another great spin with the ball in hand to buy herself some more time, which shows how smart of a footballer she is.