Tag: Sarah Dargan

Draftee Watch: AFLW Round 5

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Draftee Watch: AFLW – Round 4

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Weekend wash-up: AFLW – Round 4

ROUND 4 was packed to the brim with exciting matches, with three teams winning by less than 10 points to close out the midway point of the season. North Melbourne got a shock this week when they took on a fighting Melbourne side at home, but are now the only team that has not dropped a game this season. Brisbane pulled a big win out in the final quarter against Bulldogs, while Collingwood has now lost four on the trot, essentially out of the running for finals with three rounds to go.

Geelong 2.7 (19) defeated Carlton 1.8 (14)
By: Michael Alvaro

A first half shut-out and Carlton’s blues in front of goal were the difference as Geelong pounced onto another win to climb into Conference B’s top two.

The Cats showed their typical guile in defence, keeping the star-studded Blues forward line to just two points at the main break, while opening up a 14-point buffer thanks to goals from Phoebe McWilliams and Sophie Van de Heuvel. While they kept the clamps on to see Carlton only manage one goal for the game’s entirety, it was not without unintended aid from the travelling side – encapsulated by two close-range misses from Tayla Harris in the third term that could have otherwise turned the tide of the game. Veteran Katie Loynes had no such trouble as she got Carlton on the board in the same stanza as the Blues pushed to snatch the lead. While Carlton managed to reverse the shut-out and restrict Geelong to three points in the second half, it was to no avail as the home side held on for its second win at GMHBA Stadium in as many tries.

Despite close attention from Blues skipper Bri Davey in the first half, McWilliams was one of the Cats’ best alongside the engine room prowess of Renee Garing and Maddy Keryk. Davey was thrown into the middle to combat their dominance after half time, and led the way from leading ball winners, Madison Prespakis and Kerryn Harrington – who stood up down back. Having leapfrogged their weekend opponents in Conference B, the Cats travel north in a top of the table clash against Brisbane, while the Blues host a winless Collingwood side on the same day.

Bulldogs 2.5 (17) defeated by Brisbane 7.7 (49)
By: Carly McClen

In the 2018 grand final rematch, it was Brisbane’s time for reckoning. With momentum, belief and energy, the Lions not only beat a Conference A side, they made it clear they’re in with a real shot at this year’s flag.

Playing at home with the breeze behind them, the Bulldogs set forth very differently to last year’s brand of footy. Though they had plenty of the ball and won clearances, they were kept goalless in the first and second terms due to inefficiency. They could not apply their characteristic short chip game under the Lions’ precise attack on the ball and the ball carrier.

The action was fierce, with bodies on the line, but it was scrappy from both teams until the second term when the Lions made good use of the breeze, broke out of the congestion and started to convert. Close to half time, and 21 points down, it got desperate for the Dogs. They put Katie Brennan deep down back and the whole side in defence to stop the haemorrhaging and reset in the main break.

First half goals went to Jordan Zanchetta in the first term, along with Jess Wuetschner and Breanna Koenen in the second.

The Dogs tried to rally early in the third and looked to have upped the intensity. Yet even with a strengthening wind behind them, they were unable to make a different statement or post scoreboard pressure.

Opportunities for the Dogs went by in the second half. Monique Conti missed an easy goal and there were multiple poor deliveries into key forward Katie Brennan. Just when those opportunities looked to have really sailed and Nat Exon celebrated a huge goal for the Lions, the Dogs got their first, with a clever intercept from Aisling McCarthy and and easy goal.

As Bulldogs’ prime midfield mover Ellie Blackburn was taken down the race with a knock to the head, Brisbane finished out the match as though being in front at three quarter time is a regular thing.

They take on the Cats at home next week.

Adelaide 9.11 (65) defeated Fremantle 3.5 (23)
By: Sophie Taylor

For the first time in 2019 a game was played at TIO Stadium in Darwin as Adelaide hosted Fremantle for the battle of Conference A. With a spectacular goal apiece for both teams in the first term and relatively even second and third quarters it looked like it was going to be a close match, however a final quarter onslaught from the Crows proved not only their strength in the competition, but their determination under pressure.

The Crows managed a convincing win over their fellow Conference A side, beating the Dockers 9.11 (65) to 3.5 (23), and delivering Fremantle’s first loss for the season.

Despite the loss, Fremantle’s Kiara Bowers and Dana Hooker put on a tackling show, picking up a combined 18 tackles of the Dockers’ 55. Bowers and Hooker were dominant for the Dockers, also picking up 19 and 16 touches respectively, while Evangeline Gooch picked up 17 touches and four marks.

Ashlee Atkins, Ebony Antonio and Kellie Gibson kicked a goal apiece, with Gibson kicking the opening goal of the match for the second week running.

Erin Phillips was dominant for the Crows, managing 25 touches, two goals and a behind to her name. Anne Hatchard and Ebony Marinoff were not far behind with 22 and 20 touches, respectively, while Eloise Jones, Stevie-Lee Thompson and Danielle Ponter each kicked another two goals to add to the tally. Thompson’s goal opened the scoring for the Crows, knocking down the goal umpire in what fortunately did not foreshadow the end result.

Adelaide dominated the hitouts, with Jessica Foley managing 24 of the 29 for her side alongside her five marks. Meanwhile teammate, Deni Varnhagen, and opposition, Stephanie Cain and Bowers also picked up five marks.

Collingwood 4.3 (27) defeated by GWS 5.6 (36)
By: Nikki Jamieson

Round 4 proved to be do-or-die for both the Giants and the Pies as they each were without a win all season. The GIANTS were able to hold Collingwood down for majority of the game, keeping them from scoring in both the first and third quarters. This very well means the end for the Pies’ 2019 campaign, whereas GWS just holds on in conference pool B.

In an almost fairytale start for the Giants, Tait Mackrill opened the scoring with her first career goal 30 seconds into the game, with a terrific goal that dribbled through Collingwood’s backline. The Giants continued to take advantage of the strong winds, kicking another two goals within the first 8 minutes of play.

GWS were more than able to out play Collingwood on the ball throughout the game, having far greater possession. Key players like Rebecca Beeson and Alicia Eva were most reflective of this, both players having equal highest disposals (22). Beeson’s dominance in the fourth quarter as well as early in the game proved to be a foil for Collingwood’s forwardline.

Collingwood tried in earnest to make a late-comeback in the fourth, leading to a 27-36 deficit and keeping GWS scoreless for the quarter. For Collingwood, key players like Jaimee Lambert and Sarah Dargan were able to stand out despite the loss. Lambert (21 disposals and 7 tackles) and Dargan (six tackles and 1 goal) were both influential in Collingwood’s final dig at a win, but nevertheless it proved too little too late.

Next Sunday, Giants will host the Dees in their second conference cross-over match back in their home stadium. Whereas Collingwood face their all-time rivals, Carlton at the historical Ikon Park on the Saturday.

Melbourne 5.4 (34) defeated by North Melbourne 6.2 (38)
By: Peter Williams

North Melbourne has survived its biggest threat yet in the AFL Women’s competition, to remain the only undefeated team from four rounds. The Kangaroos were challenged throughout the match, and were trailing as late as up until the seventh minute of the final term, before Emma King‘s third goal of the game put the visitors back in front to record a four-point win. Mo Hope converted the first goal of the game for North Melbourne, but the Dees through the unlikely goalkicker of Catherine Phillips, responded to trail by a point at quarter time. The second term belonged to the Roos as they piled on three goals, including two to King who was too tall at full-forward. After half-time, Melbourne booted the first two goals of the half including a running beauty to speedster, Aliesha Newman, and then a snap from former Gippsland Power co-captain, Tyla Hanks to hit the front momentarily. Hope’s second goal handed the Roos back the lead and while Newman’s second major in the final term gave the Dees a huge sniff, it was fitting that King was to eventually boot the winning goal.

Melbourne could consider itself very unlucky not to walk away with the points, having 45 more disposals, seven more marks and broke even in the clearances. Karen Paxman was terrific with 25 disposals, two marks and three tackles to be the Demons’ best alongside Lily Mithen (22 disposals, five marks and four tackles). Newman’s two goals up forward, and Tegan Cunningham‘s work rate inside 50 early was a treat, while Kate Hore was also impressive with 18 touches, three marks and three tackles. For North Melbourne, King was the clear difference between the teams with 3.1 from eight disposals and three marks, while Hope was lively throughout with the two goals from 10 touches and three marks. Jess Duffin was superb in the back half with 20 disposals and seven marks, while Jamie Stanton stood up on a wing with 21 touches, two marks and two tackles.

U18 Girls season preview: Calder Cannons

NEW Calder Cannons Female Talent Manager, Russell Humphrey is buoyant about the future of the Cannons after a strong pre-season with plenty of standouts. After taking out the inaugural 2017 premiership with future AFL Women’s young guns, Chloe Molloy, Monique Conti and Sarah Dargan on the list, the Cannons had a lot of bottom-agers in 2018, winning only the two games but getting better with every match. Now with another season under their belts, the Cannons are expected to improve again and with plenty of Under 16s forcing their way into the line-up, the next few years are looking good for the Craigieburn-based side.

Humphrey said while new to the role, he was a familiar face around the club, having worked with the premiership-winning girls side in 2017, before assisting the boys last season.

“I was involved in the year before so 2017 when I coached the forward line, and then last year I was moved into a different role with the boys,” Humphrey said. “From afar obviously last season wasn’t as good as the year before. “I think we noticed and we’ve have rectified it with the shape of our bodies so you’ll notice this year hopefully. We’re a different shape; we’re a little bit taller, a little bit more athletic – the competition became like that.”

Humphrey said looking at the practice game against Western Jets, and the clash between Northern Knights and Sandringham Dragons, he felt the Cannons were in a good position.

“We had some games here on Sunday and I noticed we’re a lot closer to the other sides this year than we were last year, so we’re hoping that will help us get some results going our way. “Not that it’s a result-driven competition or things like that, but when you’re playing well that’s when you get a chance to get someone drafted. “The deeper we go in the season, if we can finish in the top four, and no doubt every other club is thinking the same thing, you give your players more of an opportunity, performing in front of recruiters and list managers and everything else that goes with it. “I think we’ll improve.”

This year, Madison Prespakis has joined Conti, Molloy and Dargan in the AFL Women’s competition and already showed why she was taken as the first Victorian metropolitan pick.

“She had a great year,” Humphrey said. “She had a good year the year before as well, we always knew she was a talent. “She’s proven that already in the three games she’s played at AFLW. “Much like Monique Conti and Chloe Molloy and even Sarah Dargan this year has really showed her improvement in the AFLW, which I find quite pleasing to see Sarah going so well. “Obviously we would have liked someone else get drafted but that didn’t happen. “Maybe this year we might get a couple, but Madi’s obviously doing the work and the reward is the way she is playing her AFLW footy at the moment which is fantastic. “Especially from our end.”

While the Cannons will be minus Prespakis in 2019, Humphrey hopes the ball magnet has left a legacy with the now top-age group. Humphrey said the Futures squad of Under 16s were already promising signs for the future.

“You hope that the older girls now being in the system for three years. They’ve gone through the system … and hopefully they can lead this next group coming though. I think every club will agree their under 16s are better than what their under 16s were two years ago and probably better than the under 16s were last year. That’s what I’ve found anyway.”

Stepping up into Prespakis’ shoes is never going to be easy, but AFL Women’s Academy member and All-Australian in her bottom-age year, Georgia Patrikios has been the clear standout over the past few years.

“I think that Georgia’s attributes and her willingness to improve over the three years shows her coachability, her understanding of what needs to be done, her skill up-skilling right across the board,” Humphrey said. “It gives her a great opportunity to be in the top five. “I think if it was an open draft she could go one or two. I’m not sure how that’s going to work next year.”

Humphrey said Patrikios has plenty of tricks that will attract AFL Women’s recruiters throughout the year.

“She does a couple of things that are little bit of a ‘wow factor’. She’ll get the ball out and not kick a high ball but kick a flat ball forward to their advantage which I think is how AFLW is going to head. They are going to look for players who can do that, similar to how the men do it. I think Georgia is on the right track for that.”

Having mixed between midfield and forward last year, Humphrey hopes to use Patrikios’ agility and pace as a run-and-carry player to create a “60-metre player”.

“I can see her playing both in the mid but on the wing as well,” Humphrey said. “I think she plays her best footy on the wing so she can use her agility to get out and her leg speed to get out. “I think that one of her major assets is her leg speed. “Being inside sometimes you don’t quite see that. “But on the outside if we can get it out to her quick enough, we know she’s going to carry it 20, we know she can kick it 40, so she becomes automatically a 60m player so if we can do that, for us that is a massive, massive bonus. “We may have missed that a little bit last year because we didn’t get it out as clean as we might have liked to, but hopefully this year we can.”

Other than Patrikios, Humphrey said the Cannons had a few other players to keep an eye on throughout the season.

Krstel Petrevski has got some good attributes,” he said. “She uses the ball well, she can get it … she needs to tidy up below her knees on ground balls, but she’s getting better at it, she just needs to keep improving. “Makeisha Muller is one we got from Gippsland last year who moved into the area. I think she’s draftable, she’s an X-factor player. “She’s worked really hard in the pre-season. “We’ve tracked her with the GPS pretty much the whole pre-season because she wanted that, she wanted to know how hard she was working.

“My smokey from our point of view is Alana Barba who can play in the middle, half-back and can go forward and probably even on the wing. “I see how hard she’s working, her kick’s not elite, but it’s better than okay. “Her leg speed and ability to get out of a pack is probably second to Patrikios at times. She seems to now understand that she’s got to run both ways … I think her playing down back has helped that too.

Felicity Theodore‘s another one who’s got good leg speed. “Her only downside may be her size, but apart from that, she’s in-and-under, she doesn’t get bumped off the ball a lot, she gets it a lot, her kicking needs a little bit more depth. “But having said that, the coaching staff have been working on that at training.”

Humphrey said the coaching staff was pleased with how the girls had prepared for the upcoming season, which begins on March 2 at RAMS Arena. The Cannons face Western Jets, a side they played on the weekend.

“The preparation so far has been pretty good,” Humphrey said. “They’ve bought in what Paul‘s (Tilley, head coach) tried to teach them and what all the coaching staff is trying to teach them, which is three quarters of the battle. “We had a practice match against Western on the weekend, I know they had a few girls out and we played everyone. “The coaching staff were happy with the way we played, so that was a bonus. “We played 18 (players) one quarter, 18 for a half and 18 for the last quarter, so it was a little bit different but we were all a bit closer to our list than what they are, I think they’re another week away and that’s okay.”

One thing to expect is plenty of Futures making their way into the Cannons squad, with Humphrey naming Tahlia Gillard – a 187cm centre half-back – and Georgie Prespakis – sister of Madison but with different attributes – among a host of Under 16s to watch this year.

“When we looked at our list this year, we looked at our under 16 girls as top-age players,” Humphrey said. “What are they going to be like in 2021? “How will they go there as top-age players rather than the now. “I know everyone says it, but you like to think of this Under 16 group we could get two or three drafted again. “Which is a possibility because it will be a bigger pool with other AFL clubs coming in other years.

“Our Under 16 group is a fairly talented group … if I was to have a guess, of the nine or 10 under 16s, eight could play Round 1. “Comfortably play Round 1. “We’re not going to go overboard in it, we’ll be smart about it. “We could quite easily have six under 16s play their first game in under 18 footy in Round 1 and be confident in them doing what they’ve shown at local level.”

Weekend wash-up: AFLW – Round 2

ROUND 2 of AFLW 2019 is done and dusted, with Melbourne and Adelaide entering the winners list for the first time this year. North Melbourne continued their dominant start to the season, while Collingwood struggled and Carlton were unlucky to come away with a loss to Adelaide. Three matches recorded high scores in Round 2, showing good signs for the rest of the season.

North Melbourne 7.6 (48) defeated GWS GIANTS 2.11 (23)
By: James Halley

North Melbourne continued its perfect start to the AFL Women’s, defeating GWS GIANTS by 25 points in treacherous conditions. Two weather delays could not stop the flag favourites from proving their worth. The midfield duo of Emma Kearney and Jess Duffin, alongside dominating ruck, Emma King led the way for the Kangaroos. The formidable trio will prove hard to beat deep into the season.

Alicia Eva kicked the opening goal of the match for the GIANTS, but once Jasmine Garner and Kate Gillespie-Jones found the big sticks for North Melbourne, the Roos maintained their lead for the rest of the match. A third quarter flurry from GIANT, Yvonne Bonner gave the Kangaroos a scare, however GWS did not capitalise on its opportunities, finishing the game with two goals and 11 behinds. At the final break, the GIANTS only trailed by eight points, giving them hope of snatching the match at the death. All hope was lost when Roos ruck, King was pushed forward early and kicked two quick goals proving too much for GWS defender, Louise Stephenson. Kangaroos’ captain, Kearney leads her team out in Tasmania against her former side, 2018 Premiers the Western Bulldogs next Friday night. GWS hosts Carlton in Blacktown next Saturday.

 

Collingwood 1.3 (9) defeated by Melbourne 3.8 (26)
By: Sophie Taylor

In gusty conditions Melbourne battled it out against traditional rivals, Collingwood at Victoria Park in Abbotsford, marking a historic day at the ground as it hosted a women’s game for the first time in park history. With over 7000 faithful turning up to see the two teams battle it out, the match was looking to be a big one.

Melbourne’s Harriet Cordner was the seventh Cordner and third-generation Melbourne player to take the field, marking the occasion with a win her family name is sure to be proud of. Ainsley Kemp was an exciting returnee to the Dees, having sat out the 2018 season with an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury.

An inaccurate first term from both sides saw the scores sit at 2-all at the end of the first change. Though Melbourne had opportunities on goal and options forward, the side was kicking into the wind and unlucky on the scoreboard.
Collingwood were unlucky early, unable to capitalise on their opportunities inside 50, and losing Emma Grant to a suspected AC-joint injury midway through the first term.

Melbourne’s tight defence was commendable, with a constant body-on-body making it hard for the Pies to get boot to ball. The Magpies struggled with their forward structure throughout the game, having difficulty making it through Melbourne’s strong backline. However, a shining light for the Pies was Mikala Cann, providing a constant blockade on the wing and preventing Melbourne’s run downfield. Cann picked up 11 tackles, highest on field. Cross-coder, Ash Brazill was dominant for the losing side, proving her ability on the field picking up 23 touches and three tackles to her name, one of which stopped an opportunity at goal for Demon, Tegan Cunningham (five tackles, four marks).

The Dees were around every contest, but were unable to capitalise on their midfield performance with a goal until late in the second quarter, courtesy of co-captain and best on ground, Elise O’Dea. O’Dea was dominant in the match, picking up 26 disposals for the game with 18 by half time. Melbourne draftee, Tyla Hanks was impressive in her second game for the red and blue with 11 touches and a goal to her name, as well as a perfectly placed kick to tall, Lauren Pearce, setting up Melbourne’s second goal of the game.

Collingwood remained scoreless through the second and third term, despite constant pressure preventing Melbourne’s attack from running away with an easy win. The third quarter was highly contested, with neither team managing to get a goal on the board. The wind was once again not in the Dees’ favour, kicking three behinds for the quarter.

Karen Paxman looked dangerous early for the Dees, however finished out the match with four behinds to her name to go with her 18 touches. Sarah Rowe (eight tackles), Jaimee Lambert (seven tackles) and captain, Steph Chiocci (11 disposals, five tackles) were also effective for the Pies, getting around the ball at pivotal points of the match and making it difficult for Melbourne to take advantage of the midfield.

The Pies looked like a different side in the final term, smothering the ball to get as many opportunities forward as possible. With a three quarter time score of 0.2 (2), the Pies needed a goal to ensure they didn’t come away with the lowest AFLW score in the league’s three year history, finally managing a goal midway through the final term, courtesy of Sarah Dargan. Melbourne’s clean game play through the second half paved the way for the 17 point win, marking a historic occasion at Victoria Park.

Western Bulldogs 5.4 (34) defeated Geelong 2.4 (16)
By: Peter Williams

The night game between reigning premiers, Western Bulldogs, and newcomers, Geelong was expected to be a thrilling contest, and the final 18-point margin did not do the match justice. In a polar opposite to the earlier game at Victoria Park, both sides backed their running ability, while also winning one-on-ones in their defensive ends. Space opened up inside 50 at times for the likes of Phoebe McWilliams and Katie Brennan to run into and clunk marks for their respective sides. In fact it took just 110 seconds for McWilliams to get on the board much to the satisfaction of the visiting fans who an hour earlier witnessed the Bulldogs unfurling their 2018 premiership flag.

The Cats knew the Dogs would be a tougher challenge than the week before, especially under lights at Whitten Oval, and when Deanna Berry put on the after burners inside and open 50 to slam home the Dogs’ second right in front of the Footscray faithful, the crowd sensed the reigning premiers were starting to click. Bonnie Toogood put her hand up for a Goal of the Year nomination with a terrific snap under immense pressure, and then a longe-range conversion from co-captain, Ellie Blackburn had the Dogs up by 16 points at the main break.

Geelong debutant Georgia Clarke showed why she earned a spot in the team, playing strong in defence while drifting forward to be on the end of fellow draftees’ Denby Taylor and Olivia Purcell handballs to give the Cats a sniff early in the third. Less than two minutes later, Bulldogs debutant Aisling McCarthy kicked a goal and handed the Dogs a 16-point buffer again. McWilliams could have been the hero as she had two very gettable chances but squandered both, as did Bulldogs sharp shooter, Brennan. Neither team kicked a goal in the final term as the Dogs took out the game, ad the four points in a three-goal win.

Blackburn was unbelievable in leading her Bulldogs’ team through the midfield, bashing and crashing her way to 18 disposals, eight tackles and that crucial goal in the second term. Kirsty Lamb also had 18 touches, two marks and five tackles, while Monique Conti buzzed around for 19 disposals, two marks and five tackles. For the Cats, Meg McDonald had another inspired performance with 21 disposals and four marks, while Julia Crockett-Grills laid eight tackles to go with her 13 touches. Teenager, Purcell had 17 disposals, three marks and four tackles in the midfield, while VFL Women’s captain, Renee Garing led the way defensively with 12 tackles.

 

Carlton 7.2 (44) defeated by Adelaide 9.3 (57)
By: Sophie Taylor

After a less than perfect start to 2019, the Blues were looking to claim a position on the winners list in round two. Hosting interstaters, Adelaide at Ikon Park, the clash was looking to be an interesting one, with an intense start to the match setting the tone for the afternoon. The Blues certainly put up a fight on home turf, but unfortunately for the local fans, could not get the job done against the Crows’ ruthless forward line, going down by 13 points.

Though the Blues had a good run out of defence, there was no one forward to receive the ball allowing turnovers by a clinical and offence-driven Crows side. However, with the Blues relentlessly pressing forward, some goals were bound to break through the Crows’ backline, allowing for spurts of Carlton greatness up forward. Carlton took the lead midway through the second term, looking to be in control of the ball and maintaining a four-point lead come the main break. With an intense face off for the lead come half-time, the only score of the second term was a goal courtesy of Carlton’s Natalie Plane, who kicked two for the day.

A dominant third quarter effort by the Blues looked to seal the game, leading by 17 points midway through the third term. Seven goals were kicked in the third, with Adelaide forward and game breaker Stevie-Lee Thompson kicking two of her career-high four goals for the match in the third quarter. However 2017 premiers, Adelaide were not to be ruled out of the match, with late third quarter goals from captain Erin Philips and returnee, Sarah Perkins taking the Crows back into the lead ahead of the final quarter.

A three goals to one burst in the final quarter gave Adelaide their second win of the season, with Anne Hatchard and Philips steaming home to finish with 22 and 21 disposals respectively. Crows midfielder, Ebony Marinoff came away with a confidence-boosting eight tackles. Blues’ fan favourite, Tayla Harris was a shock late omission from the side, replaced by newbie Rhiannon Watt on her AFLW debut. Madison Prespakis showed off her footy smarts, picking up a casual 20 disposals and a goal in only her second game of AFLW, while Kerryn Harrington (20 disposals) and Shae Audley (eight tackles) were also impressive in the loss.

Despite Carlton’s hungry four quarter effort, they could not beat the efficient Crows side on a mission, losing by a margin much less telling than the intensity of the game itself.

 

Fremantle 10.7 (67) defeated Brisbane 6.4 (59)
By: Brandon Hutchinson

Local fans were treated to a thriller on Sunday evening as Fremantle secured their first win against Brisbane since the league’s launch in 2017. The match opened in Brisbane’s favour as they outscored Fremantle three goals to one.

Fremantle found their footing in the second, keeping Brisbane scoreless and adding three majors to the board. They went into the main break with a 13-point lead and multiple goal kickers, dominating the overhead contest, disputed and firing hard off momentum.

Brisbane’s Jess Wuetschner opened the third with her second goal, but Fremantle quickly replied with a penetrating run into their forward 50 and a subsequent goal from Ashley Sharp. Ebony Antonio followed up with a second soon after and increased their lead to 14 as they opened the final quarter. Despite kicking multiple goals for the first time since the first quarter, Brisbane were greatly outscored by Fremantle in the closer, kicking two goals to four.

First year player, Sabreena Duffy added two more goals to her stat sheet in an outstanding performance for Fremantle. Teammates, Gabby O’Sullivan and Sharp were also among their multiple goal kickers, each having two apiece. Dana Hooker followed up a phenomenal Round 1 performance with a team-high 24 disposals and five tackles. Kiara Bowers also impressed (15 disposals, four marks and five tackles) alongside Kara Donnellan (14 disposals, three marks and three tackles).

Nat Exon (15 disposals, two marks and four tackles) and Wuetschner (nine disposals and three marks) also kicked two apiece for Brisbane. Alexandra Anderson (26 disposals, one goal, four marks and five tackles) dominated the midfield while Kate Lutkins (13 disposals and six marks) remained a pillar with excellent disposal efficiency (77 per cent).

Number Crunching: AFLW – Round 1

THERE are plenty of individual stats to put under the microscope after Round 1 of the Australian Football League Women’s (AFLW) competition, with a handful of players starring on the sheet across multiple lines – including a gun draftee, former rising star, and high-profile tradee.

Adelaide’s Ebony Marinoff was the talk of the town after her round-leading 23 disposal performance in a losing effort against the ‘Dogs. It was an incredible game from the hard-working midfielder, who topped the fantasy charts at 107 points having also laid 11 tackles and spread her load at almost an even 50 per cent between contested and uncontested possessions. Not to be outdone by the former rising star, Geelong’s number one draft pick, Nina Morrison starred in the season-opener to be the equal-second leading disposal winner for the round with 22. The midfielder showed her balance in the craft with 14 contested possessions and six clearances, while also providing her trademark run with three inside 50’s. Meanwhile, Emily Bates and Ally Anderson had 22 disposals each in the Lions’ midfield to match Morrison as they overcame GWS.

Anderson’s 14 contested possessions were enough for equal-second best alongside Morrison, but Melbourne’s Karen Paxman was the boss of the engine room for Round 1, with a whopping 18 contested possessions from her 21 disposals at a rate of 85 per cent. Stepping up in the absence of stalwart, Daisy Pearce, Paxman also earned a round-high nine clearances to lead in the stat from Fremantle’s Dana Hooker (eight) and Adelaide superstar, Erin Phillips (seven). While Paxman and co won the contested ball in spades, a current and a former Magpie won all of their touches in the clinches. Collingwood’s Sarah Dargan (11 disposals) and Kangaroo ruck recruit, Emma King (10 disposals) both had contested possession rates of 100 per cent in impressively gritty displays. Geelong’s Maddy Keryk was the only player bar-Paxman with over 15 disposals to also have had a rate of over 80 per cent contested possessions. On the other end of the scale, Bates and new-Roo Jess Duffin won the most uncontested ball with 13 apiece, with Duffin’s teammate, Emma Kearney working in tandem for her tally of 10 – matched by GWS draftee Alyce Parker on debut.

The Fremantle duo of Hooker and Kiara Bowers topped the tackle count with 12 each as they put the clamps on Melbourne, with Hooker’s hard work also translating to ball-winning as she had 15 disposals. But it was again the efforts of Marinoff which attracted the headlines, as the premiership Crow laid 11 tackles to bring her career tally to 169 – the only AFLW player to have cracked the ton at the time of writing. Despite all that, Marinoff was amazingly still down on her 2018 tackle average of 11.7. In a sign of things to come, Morrison (eight tackles) was also not far behind as the teenager with the highest count.

Moving from the ground to the air, Lauren Spark reeled in the most marks with her effort of 11 – finding space well to have 13 kicks amongst her 14 disposals (nine uncontested). Spark’s Bulldogs teammate, Ellie Blackburn had six but was narrowly beaten out to second-best honours by Duffin’s seven. She may have only had three, but Carlton’s dynamic forward star, Tayla Harris took an absolute screamer to claim mark of the round. Melbourne’s Lauren Pearce dominated the air in a different fashion with her round-high of 32 hit-outs, while Giant, Erin McKinnon won 31 taps. Carlton’s tall duo of Breann Moody and Alison Downie combined for 29 against the otherwise dominant King in their loss to the ‘Roos.

Brisbane goalsneak Jess Wuetschner bagged the highest goal tally for the week, booting three of the Lions’ four goals as seven others claimed hauls of two. Amongst the group of multiple goal kickers was returning Bulldog gun, Katie Brennan – who came up clutch for her side – as well as arguably the player of the round, King. The worst offenders in front of goal collectively were the Crows with 1.11, however Phillips was the only player in that game to miss more than once. She was not alone though as eight others registered multiple behinds in their respective outings – four of them from the Kangaroos/Carlton game.

Future is bright for women’s football

IF anyone ever had any doubts about the future of AFL Women’s, then they need look no further than this week’s V/Line Cup. The best 14-16 year-olds from across regional and rural Victoria tackled each other in Gippsland in the annual tournament held at Moe, Morwell and Traralgon. Walking away from the event, I was blown away by the quality of the competitors, not just in terms of skill development, but in terms of game smarts and decision making.

Put it down to coaching, natural development or other factors, the women’s game is growing, fast. Having watched the inaugural TAC Cup Girls competition in 2017, you had your absolute standouts like Chloe Molloy and Monique Conti tearing it up for Calder Cannons, and everyone had been talking about Isabel Huntington for years. Then there were the next group of talented players that made their way onto AFL Women’s lists such as Maddy Guerin, Sarah Dargan, Iilish Ross, Bridie Kennedy and Georgia Gee, plus others.

Fast forward 12 months, and attending the TAC Cup Girls competition in 2018, I attended 26 matches in the nine round season, and instead of having two or three unbelievable players, that had grown into double figures – that is, of players who could seriously impact at senior level almost immediately. Geelong Falcons duo Nina Morrison and Olivia Purcell were outstanding against their peers, and had no troubles finding the ball at higher levels. Mikala Cann is a perfect example of how players from other sports can adapt in such a short amount of time, while Emerson Woods joined Cann as a premiership player at senior level.

Even at the AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships, having witnessed all the games on the Gold Coast, you saw those players who had starred at TAC Cup Girls level, go up to face the best players from across the country. Talents like Alyce Parker, McKenzie Dowrick, Nikki Gore, Nat Grider, and Chloe and Libby Haines showed why they had been held in such high regard in their respective states. All of the above earned invites to the National Draft Combine.

But what was just as pleasing at those championships, was the development of the bottom-age players who shone through. It is hard to believe the likes of Georgia Patrikios, Gabby Newton, Lucy McEvoy, Lily Postlethwaite, Montana McKinnon, Mia King and Mikayla Bowen should all be running around on the Gold Coast for their respective states again next year. Remarkably, the 2020 draft crop already has names that are worthy of representing their state, as Abbey Dowrick, Abbie Ballard, Netty Garlo and Zimmorlei Farquharson were among those double bottom-agers who still matched it with more experienced players. Add in the likes of Ellie McKenzie, Isabelle Pritchard, Renee Saulitis and Tyanna Smith who were all impressive for the Victorian Under 16s outfits, and the foundations for the future are certainly there. An extra element will be the possible father-daughter selections, with Abbie McKay (Carlton) being the first possible case study this year, while Tarni Brown (Collingwood) and Alice Burke (St Kilda) loom as two more.

While we will go into more detail about the V/Line Cup recap next week, the overall standard of the competition was arguably equal to or even better than the 2017 TAC Cup competition. Or in other words, the players are two to three years more advanced than their predecessors. In the Geelong Falcons game against Bendigo Pioneers, there were two players that were worth highlighting even early on in the game. In one instance, a player was against two opponents just inside 50 and the easiest option would have been to bring the ball out and cause a forward stoppage. Instead, she tapped the ball in front of her, not taking possession, but maintaining speed, and kept dribbling it ahead of her pursuing opponents, then without even taking possession, managed to kick it off the ground into the goal square, where a teammate soccered it through.

The second example was even better, and exemplified the game sense that players have developed over time. A player had the ball tight against the boundary line under pressure not far from the behind post. In year’s gone by, regardless of competition, most young players, especially at the age where goals are usually the only statistical measure you can brag about to your mates on the league website, would blaze away and go for the miracle snap. With so many opposition players inside 50, it would have been the easy option, and no-one would have blamed her for doing so. Instead, she calmly assessed her options and spotted a teammate amongst the chaos about 25m out, sending a nice kick to her advantage, setting up an easy shot on goal. Without being their live, you do not see these things, but it is little moments like that, which make all the difference.

Another example, just to show it was not just one game, was on the second day when a Western Bulldogs Next Generation Academy (GWV Rebels region) player won the ball at half-back. She won the ball in defence, had an opponent chasing her from a 45-degree angle to close her down, and backed her speed to take her on and get around her. She did just that, but looking ahead, the opposition had blocked up the easiest option along the wing. She would have to kick long to a contest, probably outnumbered. Instead she briefly glanced inside and in one of the toughest kicks to do, managed to hit that kick around her body to the defensive 50 where a teammate marked, and not only was it an effective kick, but it opened up the corridor, and the game, with the opponents already set in running towards the wing.

Aside from the few examples, there was more contested marking, more protecting of ball drops and ground balls, more fend-offs, more deft taps to teammates. Areas in which players generally do not always think of as first options. But the past week, it was happening more and more. There is no doubt there has been some serious critics of women’s football, and no doubt that will continue, but if you can stop and look hard enough, you do not have to look too far to see the game is blossoming, and I for one, am excited for what 2019 and beyond holds.

Prespakis overcomes initial pressure for impressive top-age year

THERE are plenty of talented players who have followed the Youth Girls pathways, but the name Madison Prespakis is one that has been frequently mentioned within the pathways. With accolades that include TAC Cup Girls Best and Fairest, two-time Vic Metro Most Valuable Player, joint overall Most Valuable Player at the National Under 18 Championships and Calder Cannons Best and Fairest – all of that coming in the past 18 months, Prespakis is building a CV that is equal to any junior footballer, boy or girl. But just where did it all begin for the talented Cannons captain?

“It all really started when I was about four years old,” Prespakis said. “I started playing Auskick and I was always going down there and hanging out with all the boys and some of the girls who were playing. “I started from there and then when I was seven, I went and started playing Under 9s for Romsey Football Club with the boys and I think my dad really got me into footy from there. “He was a big footballer when he was young and he loved footy and I think the pathway I’m going, I’m trying to be that one step ahead of him. “I think my dad’s had the biggest influence on me and after starting Auskick and junior footy I just haven’t looked back, I’m just looking ahead to future now.”

With the passion for football always around her in the household, Prespakis said there were very few moments where she was not analysing some part of her footballing life.

“There’s not really that describes football to me, it’s kind of everything to me really,” she said. “When I go to school in the morning and all that, I don’t think about anything else throughout the day, I just think about what I’m going to do at footy training tonight and who we’re playing on the weekend and things like that. “For me, I just love footy and there’s nothing that would not make me not love it.”

In the two years of the TAC Cup Girls, Prespakis has experienced both the highs of a premiership, and the rebuilding stage in 2018, leading a number of talented bottom-agers this season.

“It’s been a lot different having a younger side and obviously being the top-age, one of the top-age girls, for me, I’ve found it a little bit hard at the start of the year,” Prespakis said. “I felt a little bit of pressure at the start of the year because we were such a young side, but to get the opportunity to captain the girls, I really took on board and I really took that opportunity well and for those girls I think for them, to have a role model in myself and a few other of the top-age girls was something for them really special to have for the first year so when they go on they can hopefully be role models to younger girls. “I think as well, not so much on-field, but off-field having a younger side the girls just gelled better. “Everyone was friends and as soon as we got onto the field, everyone just wanted to improve and hopefully by the end of the year we’d win a few games. “By the end of the year we did, we showed improvement. “We did win two games overall, but we did bring it up to top sides and I think the girls are really proud of themselves throughout the year. “Obviously we didn’t get wins on the scoreboard, but we got individual wins as a team, so that was the highlight.”

Prespakis has as much humility as she does natural talent, and for the tough onballer, winning the Vic Metro MVP in her bottom-age year was a learning curve in regards to external noise.

“Yeah for me, obviously I wasn’t expecting awards like that to be won at Nationals last year, I wasn’t going into that thinking that,” Prespakis said. “Then coming out of that, there was a lot of pressure I found on myself. “I did have to try and deal with it after a while because there was a lot of speculation in the media and that sort of stuff, so I unfollowed a lot of pages to get away from that because it was putting a lot of stress on me in my pre-season and how I have to perform this year. “So going into Nationals there has been that bit of speculation as well, coming off with that award last year, but like I said I just don’t put pressure on myself. “I don’t think about that stuff, i just think about the team things.”

The Vic Metro captain had put expectations to the back of her mind ahead of this year’s AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships, so much so she was just taking it one step at a time.

“(The) goal this year is probably hopefully make the squad,” Prespakis said. “Just wait for that to be announced, and if so, head off to Gold Coast and then just play good footy. “(I) don’t really put too much pressure on myself or anything like that, just play good footy.”

Unsurprisingly, Prespakis did more than just make the squad, she shared the captaincy, and took out both the Vic Metro and tournament MVP awards, standing out across the midfield and going forward when required. Across all levels, Prespakis felt more prepared for what was coming, as did the other girls on her respective teams.

“It’s definitely lifted,” Prespakis said. “I remember the last few years it’s definitely lifted heaps. “The girls know what to expect when they come into pre-season and they know how to deal with pre-season, get themselves fit and right for the games. “Even VFL and all that, the girls are just getting better every year and the standard’s just lifting and lifting, it’s really good for female footy.”

Prespakis also stood out against the senior players in the Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s competition, learning a lot at Melbourne Uni and being named in the best every game she played.

“I loved it, something I can’t wait to do again,” she said. “I’ve trained with them for the last couple of years in that team has been great. “Learning off some of the best like Emma Kearney, Ellie Blackburn, all those sorts of girls has helped me be a better footballer. “I think I adapted well to the bigger bodies, but definitely a lot of room for improvement but I can’t wait to keep playing senior footy.”

Last season the Calder Cannons had three players drafted – Chloe Molloy, Monique Conti and Sarah Dargan – all of whom tasted AFL Women’s action in season 2018, with Molloy taking out the Rising Star award, while Conti was best on ground in the grand final.

“I definitely went to a few games and watched either Sarah, Chloe or Monique play to support them after playing with them for a few years,” Prespakis said. “Watching them for a few years, it was just crazy to think I was playing with them last year and look where they are, playing AFLW. “I definitely speak to Monique more about the way she balances. “I just watch the way she balances both her basketball and footy and she did Year 12 last year as well. “If she can do it, then I suppose I can balance it to, she’s a good athlete and someone that I look up to in that perspective.”

Prespakis described her key strengths as her power through stoppages and her kicking – something that was evident in season 2018 across all competitions.

“Some of my strengths are my actual strength, I’m a pretty powerful player, I’ve got a lot of strength in me,” Prespakis said. “I work hard, I like to think i work hard running both ways, doing anything to lift the team. “Room for improvement obviously just keep working on fitness, overall fitness, getting myself right for every game, recovering right. “Just keep improving that the coaches say, but definitely a strength for me is my disposal and power through packs.”

Like most girls, Prepakis has balanced her football with study and work, something she has got the hang of the past few years. With October’s National AFL Women’s Draft approaching, Prespakis is hoping to live out her ultimate dream.

“I was actually talking to my parents about it and ever since I was a little girl, I said I wanted to play AFL footy and now that us girls have that pathway, we have that spot in AFL footy, it’s definitely a dream and if my name does get called out on the draft day, it will probably be the most overwhelming thing,” Prespakis said. “I will just be so excited for a start.”

Team Selection: VFLW – Round 4

ROUND four sees many TAC Cup Girls stars come into line-ups for their first ever stint in the Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s. The Western Bulldogs, Williamstown, Casey and Essendon are the teams without wins at the moment and would be keen to get on the board this weekend. 

 

MELBOURNE UNI  v. NT THUNDER

Round 4 – Saturday, May 26, 11:50AM
Avalon Airport Oval (Chirnside Park), Werribee

Melbourne Uni take on NT Thunder to kick off round four. Coming off the bye, Melbourne Uni have made no team changes with all players well rested after their round three bye. Calder Cannons’ jet Madison Prespakis has been named as the 23rd player and will no doubt be one to watch throughout the season.

On the other hand, Thunder have made seven changes to their side. They have called upon five debutants to take to the field including Sally Riley, Kylie Duggan, Jemma Iacono, Sophia Mauboy and Sue Nalder. Also pulling on the Thunder jumper for the second time this season will be Adelaide AFLW players, Sophie Armitstead and Marijana Rajcic. However, the Thunder do lose Palmerston Magpies talent, Janet Baird. Lucy Adam, Michelle Ellis, Tahlia Holtze, Rhiannon Metcalfe and Deni Varnhagen will all be rested while Eloise Jones is out with illness.

Melbourne Uni

B: 20. L. Belza, 29. K. Klatt, 11. P. Cordes
HB: 6. E. Keaney, 27. J. Anderson, 24. S. Wilson
C: 19. L.  Ahrens, 15. E.  Kearney, 44. A.  Runnalls
HF: 1. S. Abbatangelo, 9. K. Price, 45. M. McDonald
F: 13. R. Green, 28. A. Dalley, 2. H. Ibrahim
R: 41. K. Gillespie-Jones, 43. L. Munday, 7. A. Riddell
Int: 12. M. Cantwell, 25. S. De Bortoli, 32. I. Milford, 18. A. Tupper
Emg: 10. A. Price, 35. M. Shone, 36. L. Watkin, 16. T. Watson
23P: 46. M. Prespakis

 

NT Thunder

B: 16. S. Armitstead, 37. S. Allan, 19. J. Iacono
HB: 23. S. Mauboy, 20. J. Hewett, 13. L. Roberts
C: 10. S.  Barnett, 26. C.  Randall, 24. G.  Bevan
HF: 5. M. Roberts, 29. M. Rajcic, 17. E. Swanson
F: 8. S. Riley, 11. J. Hickey, 31. J. Sedunary
R: 25. J. Allan, 3. A. Foley, 28. R. Forth
Int: 12. J. Anderson, 43. K. Duggan, 44. M. Johnston, 4. S. Nalder
Emg: 18. T. Holtze
23P: 35. T. Thorn

In: M. Rajcic, J. Iacono, S. Riley, K. Duggan, S. Armitstead, S. Mauboy, S. Nalder
Out: M. Ellis, D. Varnhagen, R. Metcalfe, J. Baird, E. Jones, L. Adam

 

DAREBIN  v. CASEY DEMONS

Round 4 – Saturday, May 26, 12pm
Bill Lawry Oval, Northcote

Darebin also go into round four unchanged after its bye last weekend, however have named Eastern Ranges defender Lauren Szigeti as the Falcons’ 23rd player. Casey Demons have made a few changes after their narrow loss to the Saints in round three. Lorianne Lowerson, Sally Fyfield, and Dandenong Stingrays captain, Jordyn Allen have secured spots in the round four side while Lucy Rutter, Georgia McLean and Stingrays forward and AFLW Academy member, Brooke Struylaart will be awaiting their opportunity, named as emergencies. The Demons have named star defender, Katherine Smith out alongside fellow Melbourne teammates, Jasmine Grierson and Aliesha Newman.

Darebin

B: 32. G. Colvin, 14. M. McDonald, 35. L. Skipper
HB: 2. N. Callinan, 27. S. Hogan, 15. A. Lister
C: 26. T.  Olcorn, 9. M.  Eastman, 4. K.  Paxman
HF: 31. E. Gardner, 43. H. Mouncey, 11. K. Tyndall
F: 29. S. Normington – Dickens, 22. G. Hammond, 17. S. Simpson
R: 40. L. Pearce, 8. N. Exon, 20. M. Guerin
Int: 37. J. Bertoni, 44. S. Fairchild, 1. E. Honybun, 7. L. Mithen
Emg: 49. R. Hibbert, 48. L. Jacobs, 28. A. Morrow
23P: 46. L. Szigeti

 

Casey Demons

B: 21. H. Cordner, 27. A. Harrison, 16. C. Sheriff
HB: 38. J. Allen, 11. L. Duryea, 34. D. Guttridge
C: 4. C.  Emonson, 8. M.  Tatham, 25. M.  Shevlin
HF: 1. R. Guglielmino, 29. E. Zanker , 6. A. McDonough
F: 22. K. Guttridge, 18. K. Bentvelzen , 15. S. Phillips
R: 14. T. Orgill, 10. K. Hore, 5. S. Poke
Int: 44. N. Fullwood, 48. S. Fyfield, 9. A. Johnson, 37. L. Lowerson
Emg: 30. A. Marshall, 12. G. McLean, 33. L. Rutter, 49. B. Struylaart
23P: 3. R. Clayton

In: L. Lowerson, S. Fyfield, J. Allen, L. Rutter, G. McLean, B. Struylaart
Out: A. Newman, K. Smith, J. Grierson

 

WESTERN BULLDOGS v. COLLINGWOOD

Round 4 – Saturday, May 26, 2:00pm
Victoria University Whitten Oval, Footscray

The Western Bulldogs, who are also coming off last weeks bye, have followed suit with Darebin and Melbourne Uni, naming an unchanged side. Their opposition will be looking for their third win of the season after last week’s pumping against Richmond. Collingwood AFLW defender, Sarah D’Arcy will be a big out for the Magpies, however the addition of Collingwood’s AFLW vice-captain, Brittany Bonnici should bring experience back to the side. Collingwood also look to bring in Bianca Jones, Grace Knox, Ally Bild, as well as Oakleigh Chargers’ pair Hannah McLaren and Daisy Bateman in place of Paris Davey and AFLW players, Ruby Schleicher and Sarah Dargan.

Western Bulldogs

B: 18. E. Birch, 30. A. Tessari, 9. T. Dinuccio
HB: 15. R. Ashley, 13. L. Bailey, 38. C. O’Brien
C: 25. R.  Gastin, 21. B.  Hunt, 34. E.  Mackay
HF: 31. A. Gunn, 12. J. Francke, 10. S. Jolly
F: 1. B. Lochland, 47. N. McMahon, 41. A. Scott
R: 24. K. Rennie, 33. B. White, 16. N. Ferres
Int: 49. L. Butler, 5. R. Martinuzzo, 42. N. Paul, 48. A. Rooth
Emg: 14. E. Gamble, 46. T. Moss, 37. L. Murphy
23P: 27. E. Muller

 

Collingwood

B: 22. S. Casey, 47. J. Edwards, 52. N. Hales
HB: 93. V. Laloifi, 72. K. Lee, 61. A. Malander
C: 49. S.  Alexander, 50. G.  Buchan, 13. J.  Lambert
HF: 73. G. Biedenweg-Webster, 8. B. Bonnici, 54. H. Grubb
F: 57. G. Knox, 77. C. Leighton, 51. G. Ploegsma
R: 11. E. Hynes, 63. P. Nash, 28. H. Whitford
Int: 65. E. Browning, 81. B. Jones, 99. S. Marsh, 67. H. McLaren
Emg: 48. A. Bild , 88. M. Brown, 53. R. Grant, 92. S. King
23P: 66. D. Bateman

In: B. Jones, B. Bonnici, G. Knox, D. Bateman, A. Bild , H. McLaren
Out: P. Davey, S. Dargan, S. D’Arcy, R. Schleicher

 

GEELONG CATS v. CARLTON

Round 4 – Saturday, May 26, 4:30pm
GMHBA Stadium, Geelong

After last weeks big win against Williamstown, the Cats have made a number of changes to their list, bringing in Madison Maguire, Hannah Mangan and Cassie Blakeway. GWV Rebels defender, Georgia Clarke has been named as 23rd player, replacing Bianca Cheever. Lara Williams, Emily Ramsay and Maddison Janssen have also been named out for round four.

Carlton have made six bold changes to their line-up. The biggest of them all is perhaps Gippsland Power co-captain, Tyla Hanks making her debut for the side. She has been part of the AFLW Academy and will hopefully bring the Blues the class they missed against Hawthorn last week. Also coming in is newly appointed vice-captain, Katelyn Cox and AFLW players, Sarah Hosking, Kerryn Harrington and Lauren Brazzale. Jorja Borg has also been recalled to the side as 23rd player.

Geelong Cats

B: 26. R. Pearce, 44. R. Goring, 35. K. Woodroffe
HB: 34. A. McDonald, 25. E. Coventry, 10. L. Taylor
C: 4. C.  Blakeway, 12. R.  Garing, 3. H.  Burchell
HF: 23. I. Currenti, 2. D. Orr, 21. E. Oliver
F: 36. E. Dhamarrandji, 8. K. Darby, 32. A. Habib
R: 24. M. McMahon, 30. R. Cranston, 7. M. Clifford
Int: 28. M. Fedele, 13. M. Fogas, 18. M. Maguire, 17. H. Mangan
Emg: 37. T. Andree-Jansz, 20. L. Brancatisano, 11. M. Klingbeil
23P: 41. G. Clarke

In: M. Klingbeil , M. Maguire, G. Clarke, T. Andree-Jansz, H. Mangan, C. Blakeway, L. Brancatisano
Out: E. Ramsay,  M. Janssen,  B. Cheever,  L. Williams

 

Carlton

B: 40. K. Harvey, 9. K. Harrington, 24. R. Hicks
HB: 2. M. Keryk, 5. L. Brazzale, 90. B. Walker
C: 55. C.  Dalton, 27. K.  Cox, 45. R.  King
HF: 20. C. Bromage, 36. C. Moody, 37. B. Schultz
F: 41. K. Cunico, 3. D. Vescio, 15. I. Gietzmann
R: 16. B. Moody, 10. S. Hosking, 38. L. Arnell
Int: 82. N. Burns, 30. T. Hanks, 42. C. Hardeman, 11. J. Hosking
Emg: 35. S. Li, 17. T. Lucas-Rodd, 32. N. Plane, 31. K. Shierlaw
23P: 50. J. Borg

In: S. Hosking, T. Hanks, L. Brazzale, K. Cox, K. Harrington, J. Borg
Out: C. Williams, S. Last

 

SOUTHERN SAINTS v. ESSENDON

Round 4 – Sunday, May 27, 11:30am
Trevor Barker Beach Oval, Sandringham

The Saints and Essendon will take to Trevor Barker Beach Oval this Sunday, and both teams have named a few changes. After their clutch win to the Demons last week, the Saints have named two outs including Sophie Bolding and Jennifer Vissenjoux. Sandringham Dragons duo, Eleanor Brown and captain, Jemma Owen have been named to fill their shoes at their home ground, and will be joined by Eastern Ranges midfielder, Gabriella De Angelis in the line-up. Dandenong Stingrays defender, Shelley Heath has been named as an emergency. 

Essendon’s ins include an exciting TAC Cup Girls product in Oakleigh Chargers ruck, Bridie Winbanks. Winbanks has been named as the 23rd player and would be hopeful of a debut at Sandringham. However, there is a massive out in the side with key forward, Danielle Ponter taking to the sidelines.

Southern Saints

B: 11. T. Annear, 14. I. Quintal, 26. A. Ryan
HB: 34. S. Casey, 38. S. Karlson, 17. L. Olsen
C: 40. M.  Maitland, 2. A.  Brown, 31. G.  Walker
HF: 12. J. Hull, 15. T. Bohanna, 21. D. Lawrence
F: 27. K. Macqueen, 13. C. Munn, 33. J. Owen
R: 28. R. Watt, 8. A. Drennan, 32. S. Johnson
Int: 35. G. De Angelis, 24. K. Ripari, 22. D. Smith, 7. M. Supple
Emg: 49. A. Allsopp, 43. S. Heath, 9. S. Long, 16. K. Thompson
23P: 39. E. Brown

In: E. Brown, J. Owen, G. De Angelis, K. Thompson, S. Heath, S. Long
Out: S. Bolding,  J. Vissenjoux

 

Essendon

B: 14. J. Barker, 16. L. Morecroft, 15. L. Caruso
HB: 27. A. Morcom, 7. K. Hicks, 25. R. Neaves
C: 44. M.  Collier, 8. H.  Bullas, 46. C.  Ugle
HF: 18. K. Heil, 47. A. Ward, 6. A. Quigley
F: 4. N. Hardy, 12. B. Kearney, 35. V. Moreau
R: 30. S. Nalder, 9. L. Williams, 20. J. Anwyl
Int: 22. N. MacDonald, 26. A. Madden, 37. I. Malliaras, 1. J. Trend
Emg: 49. E. Bult, 40. G. Golds, 21. K. McFadyen, 28. C. Portlock
23P: 19. B. Winbanks

In: G. Golds, E. Bult, C. Portlock, K. McFadyen, B. Winbanks
Out: D. Ponter

 

WILLIAMSTOWN v. RICHMOND

Round 4 – Sunday, May 27, 2pm
Williamstown Football Ground, Williamstown

After three winless rounds, Williamstown will be hungry for the win this week and they have brought in some fresh talent to take on the Tigers. Maddison James, Jessica Kile, Kaitlin Smith and Sharni Dixon will miss out this week, leaving room for Georgia Harris, Stacey Cross and Rebecca Dardengo. On the AFLW side of things, we’ll see new North Melbourne duo, Jenna Bruton and Jasmine Garner return to the line-up. The side also has no shortage of TAC Cup Girls talent with Bendigo Pioneers captain, Megan Williamson and GWS forward, Sophie Van De Heuvel making their debut for the Seagulls.

Richmond have made four changes in the lead up to their contest against Williamstown. Ruck, Jenna Colwell and Bethany Lynch have been named out while Courtney Wakefield, Grace Bibby and Collingwood AFLW talent, Amelia Barden will pull on the yellow and black guernsey. 

Williamstown

B: 19. E. Meade, 10. B. Hateley, 34. J. Reid
HB: 3. S. Murphy-Burke, 1. R. Dardengo, 32. B. Stevens
C: 17. S.  Chapman, 13. N.  Wallace, 2. J.  Duffin
HF: 16. A. Cameron, 8. C. Portelli, 6. S. Cross
F: 25. J. Garner, 12. G. Harris, 22. M. Lowe
R: 9. R. Achampong, 44. I. Porter, 4. E. Paterno
Int: 35. J. Bruton, 26. J. Heard, 20. S. Seabrook, 33. S. Van De Heuvel
Emg: 15. J. Malouf, 30. A. Melnikas, 24. A. Saxton, 27. L. Suleiman
23P: 36. M. Williamson

In: A. Melnikas, G. Harris, M. Williamson, J. Bruton, S. Cross, J. Garner, S. Van De Heuvel, R. Dardengo
Out: M. James,  J. Kile,  K. Smith,  S. Dixon

 

Richmond

B: 84. L. Bieniara, 77. J. Hocking, 69. E. Burry
HB: 73. L. Davie, 63. J. Graham, 70. E. Findlay
C: 60. K.  Dempsey, 76. E.  Ross, 55. C.  Wakefield
HF: 53. K. Dixon, 64. E. Gunn, 56. E. Hogan
F: 66. A. Barden, 79. L. Tesoriero, 86. N. Clarke
R: 88. P. Monahan, 83. J. Gardner, 52. J. Kennedy
Int: 82. G. Bibby, 80. J. Louttit, 62. T. Muller, 59. A. Woodward
Emg: 74. G. Fisher, 81. E. George, 57. E. King, 78. V. Tonin
23P: 89. G. Deller

In: C. Wakefield , G. Fisher, E. King, E. George, A. Barden, N. Clarke, G. Bibby, G. Deller
Out: J. Colwell, L. Stephenson, C. Musico, B. Lynch

BYE – HAWTHORN

Weekend previews: VFLW – Round 4

THE Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s season rolls along into round four with a number of huge games throughout the weekend. The Hawks enjoy the bye after a huge win over Carlton, helping further establish them as league leaders. The Thunder, Cats and Pies all look to build on impressive starts, while the Bombers and Seagulls desperately try to notch up their first wins.

 

Melbourne Uni vs NT Thunder

Saturday May 26, 11:50AM, Avalon Airport Oval

The NT Thunder sent another huge message last week in its demolition of the Bombers, moving to 2-0 for the season with both wins being dominant. Terrific performances from captain, Angela Foley with 28 possessions and two goals, alongside Emma Swanson, who also added two goals herself, contributed to the big win in Darwin. The Thunder look to continue its unbelievable run against a rested and ready Melbourne Uni, who is fresh off the bye. The Mugars will need a huge game from AFLW MVP winner and North Melbourne recruit, Emma Kearney through the middle of the ground if they wish to stop the prolific offence of the Thunder and improve on their 1-1 beginning to the season.

 

Darebin vs Casey Demons

Saturday May 26, 12 Midday, Bill Lawry Oval

The Demons come off a disappointing loss to the Saints last week, where poor goal kicking, along with a poor last quarter ultimately did them in. Despite the loss, Casey was impressive throughout the game and showed great signs without getting the four points. Former Bendigo Pioneer, Eden Zanker was particularly impressive as she works to continue developing throughout the competition. AFLW teammate, Kate Hore also had a terrific game in her own right. Big performances from these two could help the Demons to get back on track. The Falcons on the other hand come off a bye and will look to establish dominance early on after having two weeks of preparation. Hannah Mouncey will look to continue her spectacular start to the season, building off her three-goal effort in the Falcons’ last encounter.

 

Western Bulldogs vs Collingwood

Saturday May 26, 2PM, Victoria University Whitten oval

Collingwood is looking to continue their great run of form in round four in a clash against the Western Bulldogs. Undefeated from their three games (two wins, one draw), the Magpies have built quite the impressive squad to begin the season. Jaimee Lambert found form last week in a two goal, 24 possession effort to lead the Pies to a comfortable win. This came alongside another impressive performance from former Calder Cannon, Sarah Dargan, who continues to grow in leaps and bounds. The Bulldogs come into the contest in desperate need of a win to get their season going, having lost their first two encounters, and rested with a bye last week. Hayley Wildes has been off to a great start in the opening two games for the Bulldogs, tallying up a high amount of possessions and using the ball extremely well. They will need another great game from Wildes, as well as a step up overall from the team at large if they wish to notch up their first win.

 

Geelong vs Carlton

Saturday May 26, 4:30PM, GMHBA Stadium

The Cats come into round four in a great run of form, having smashed Williamstown by 53 points last week. A terrific effort saw the Cats hold Williamstown to just four behinds for the entire game, with relentless effort down in defence, led by their captain, Rebecca Goring, who was spectacular. The emergence of NT recruit, Evelyn Dhamarrandji  in round three just added to Geelong’s dominance in the competition so far. The supporting cast such as Richelle Cranston have also stepped up and been great for the Cats in the first three weeks and will be pivotal again against a Carlton side who also find themselves in good form. Despite a loss to the Hawks last week, the Blues still come in with a great deal of hope against Geelong. Last week was a classic ‘’burn the tape’’ game for the Blues as they were beaten in all areas by a determined Hawthorn side who were firing on all cylinders. If the Blues are able to find their form from the first two games with players such as Darcy Vescio, Jess Hosking and Lauren Arnell continuing their good stretch, it will go a long way towards getting a rebound win.

 

 

Southern Saints vs Essendon

Sunday May 27, 11:30AM, Trevor Barker Beach Oval

The Saints fought their way to a well-earned victory last week, placing them at 2-1 heading into their clash against the bottom of the ladder Bombers. Alison Drennan continued her fantastic start to the season with another great outing of 22 possessions and a goal, and was instrumental in the Saints fourth quarter run to get them over the line in a close finish. Four goals in the final term showcased the Saints’ firepower, which they will look to put to great use in overwhelming an Essendon defence which has given up big scores throughout the early rounds. Essendon enter the round winless and are in desperate need of a big game to kick-start their season. For this to happen, they must put together a full four-quarter effort, something that has eluded them thus far. After being held scoreless from quarter time onwards last week, they will be looking to take control early and maintain that pressure to the end this time.

 

 

Williamstown vs Richmond

Sunday May 27, 2PM, Williamstown Football Ground

What a difference two weeks makes! After a terrific outing in round one, the Tigers come in off the back of two blowout losses and will look to get back on track against the equally struggling Williamstown. The Tigers had a strong performance last week from Jacqueline Graham in defence but struggled to get any other meaningful contributions down back, which resulted in an overall poor performance. With just two goals in the last two weeks the Tigers will also be looking for better results from the forwards.  A four goal game from co vice-captain, Kate Dixon propelled them to victory in round one and a similar effort from her or another Tigers player would go a long way towards a win. Williamstown, similar to Essendon find themselves winless from three games and will be doing everything they can to avoid going 0-4. An incredibly disappointing performance last week saw them fall to the Cats by nine goals, with them being dominated in all areas. Jess Duffin, however continues to be a shining light for the team, despite their poor performance overall. A better team effort could do wonders for the Seagulls and potentially yield their first win.