Tag: Shelley Heath

2019/20 AFLW off-season review: Melbourne

THE 2019 AFLW season was an interesting one for the Demons, who found themselves in a difficult conference playing against premiers, Adelaide and flag favourites, North Melbourne, winning four of their seven matches and ultimately would have made finals in the alternate conference. However, the Dees have proved they have consistency over the first three seasons, finishing mid-range on the ladder every season. Melbourne were one of the lucky teams heading out of the 2019 AFL Women’s season, managing to retain a large portion of their lineup while adding some impressive names to the list. Ultimately one of the biggest ins to the side is the return of Daisy Pearce following a season out of the sport with pregnancy, something that will surely bolster the Demons’ already impressive midfield. The addition of Western Bulldogs defender, Libby Birch will kick Melbourne’s defensive pressure up a notch, while the core side sticking together will ensure Melbourne continue their consistency and hopefully go one better in 2020.

With Birch the key cog and retaining Pearce key, the Demon’s had a mostly uneventful off-season, delisting four players and picking up four late picks in the AFL Women’s Draft. Interstaters Jacqueline Parry (Canberra) and Brenna Tarrant (East Coast Eagles) join the side alongside Calder Cannons’ Krstel Petrevski, while Darebin Falcons’ Gabby Colvin will have the chance to prove herself at the top level after three seasons at VFL Women’s. The Dees will also benefit from the addition of Irish recruits, Sinead Goldrick and Niamh McEvoy who join the rookie list for 2020.

OFF-SEASON CHANGES:

IN: Libby Birch (Western Bulldogs), Brenna Tarrant (East Coast Eagles), Gabby Colvin (Darebin Falcons), Krstel Petrevski (Calder Cannons), Jacqueline Parry (Canberra), Shae Sloane (promoted from rookie list to primary), Sinead Goldrick (gaelic), Niamh McEvoy (gaelic)
OUT: Maddy Brancatisano (Richmond), Ashleigh Guest (Western Bulldogs), Cat Phillips (St Kilda), Claudia Whitfort (St Kilda), Jordann Hickey, Talia Radan, Brooke Patterson, Ashleigh Woodland (delisted)

2020 TEAM LIST:

Libby Birch
Gabrielle Colvin
Harriet Cordner
Tegan Cunningham
Meg Downie
Maddison Gay
Madeleine Guerin
Tyla Hanks
Shelley Heath
Kate Hore
Bianca Jakobsson
Ainslie Kemp
Sarah Lampard
Lily Mithen
Aliesha Newman
Elise O’Dea
Jacqueline Parry
Karen Paxman
Daisy Pearce
Lauren Pearce
Krstel Petrevski
Shelley Scott
Casey Sherriff
Shae Sloane
Katherine Smith
Brenna Tarrant
Eden Zanker

Rookies: Chantel Emonson, Sinead Goldrick, Niamh McEvoy

POTENTIAL 2020 SIDE:

B: Meg Downie, Harriet Cordner, Chantel Emonson
HB: Sarah Lampard, Libby Birch, Karen Paxman
C: Elise O’Dea
HF: Maddison Gay, Kate Hore, Shelley Scott
F: Eden Zanker, Tegan Cunningham, Aliesha Newman
R: Lauren Pearce, Lily Mithen, Daisy Pearce
INT: Bianca Jakobsson – Tyla Hanks – Katherine Smith – Maddy Guerin – Ainslie Kemp
EMG: Jacqueline Parry – Shae Sloane – Shelley Heath

DEPTH: Gabby Colvin, Krstel Petrevski, Casey Sherriff, Brenna Tarrant, Sinead Goldrick, Niamh McEvoy

It will likely be difficult for some of the new recruits to break into the 2020 lineup, with the Demons maintaining a number of key combinations across the field. Harriet Cordner proved her dominance defensively last season and with the addition of Birch they could form a real formidable trio down back. Through the midfield, look to key ruck, Lauren Pearce who had a fantastic run in the 2019 season. She followed up her form awarded with the VFL Women’s Lambert-Pearce Medal over the off-season. Pearce’s ability to find co-captains Elise O’Dea and Shelley Scott plays a massive role in making headway down the field, with key ball movers the likes of Lily Mithen and Daisy Pearce able to have an impact both in the air and at ground level, while young gun Tyla Hanks found her form in a similar manner, playing up the ground with ball magnets Aliesha Newman, Eden Zanker and Kate Hore.

Melbourne’s first draft pick in Jacqueline Parry is a relatively unknown quantity with plenty of class traits but will have to fight her way into the side, while the likes of Krstel Petrevski, Gabby Colvin and Brenna Tarrant will also provide good support and try and force their way in.

VFLW Round 8 preview: Tigers host Demons in country outing

IT is a big round of VFLW action with the only team not in the thick of it this round, Collingwood, sitting in top spot on the ladder with percentage to boot.

CARLTON v. GEELONG

Round 8- 29/6/19
11:00
Ikon Park

This Saturday be prepared for a tight tussle between the ninth place Geelong Cats and tenth place Carlton Blues, with the Cats last week getting their second win for the season and the Blues coming off the Round 7 bye but having the win in Round 6. The two teams are coming into finer form with the sides bringing back two guns in Madison Prespakis for the Blues, averaging 28.5 disposals after her two 28 and 29 disposal games, and Danielle Orr for the Cats after kicking three of their eight goals after their win over the Casey last week. Carlton this week is looking to get their second win on the board with a home ground advantage while the Cats will be looking for their third win of the season.

WILLIAMSTOWN v. NT THUNDER

Round 8- 29/6/19
11:30
Downer Oval

The NT Thunder are coming off a dominant win against Essendon in Round 7 and with Williamstown still winless at the bottom the ladder they will be looking to inflict some more pain. Thunder’s slick ball movement and accuracy in front of goal makes them hard to stop when they are on song with the likes of Jasmyn Hewett and Jade De Melo hitting the scoreboard with ease. Nikki Gore will be hoping to back up her stellar performance and impose herself around the contest with her bone crunching tackles and intent to win the ball at the stoppages while expect excitement machine Danielle Ponter to bring her bag of tricks against Williamstown. But the Seagulls should not be underestimated with the likes of Moana Hope up forward and Sharnie Whiting who can hold her own. Williamstown will have a real fire in the belly after coming off a narrow loss to the Falcons last round.

WESTERN BULLDOGS v. HAWTHORN

Round 8- 29/6/19
12:00
Whitten Oval

With only game separating the two sides expect a close contest with both wanting to prove their dominance and claim ascendancy over the competition. Hawthorn went down to the Southern Saints in a tight battle while the Bulldogs will be hoping to bounce back after getting smashed by Collingwood. In recent weeks the Dogs and Hawks have struggled to transition down the field and get ball into their forward 50 but will want to turn the tables in this match-up. Hawthorn will look to the likes of Phoebe McWilliams who has plenty of class and good goal sense to get the ball rolling in their forward 50 while Sarah Perkins is renowned for her star power. Youngster Serena Gibbs also has plenty to offer along with Rebecca Beeson making them a real force to be reckoned with when on song. The Bulldogs will be hoping that Bonnie Hunt brings her hot form into the match-up along with Emma Mackay.

SOUTHERN SAINTS v. DAREBIN

Round 8- 29/6/19
12:00
Trevor Barker Beach Oval

The Falcons will be riding high after a good win against the Seagulls last round, their first of the season after a rough start to the year. On the other hand, the Southern Saints will be hoping to build on their momentum and keep pushing for a finals spot, currently sitting second on the ladder. The Saints have been emphatic, running hard and using the ball well across the field to hit targets and convert in front of goal making them a hard obstacle to overcome. Kate Shierlaw and Tilly Lucas-Rodd have been key players for the Saints, racking up the possessions while Darcy Guttridge has been a handy inclusion. After a hard fought win Darebin will be hoping that Lauren Pearce brings her hot form both in front of goal and across the ground. Meanwhile, expect Annalyse Lister to bring her tackling intensity and physicality into the match in hope to spark the Falcons.

RICHMOND v. CASEY DEMONS

Round 8- 30/6/19
1:00
Queen Elizabeth Oval

Richmond have worked their way up the ladder claiming third spot while the Demons are caught in the mid logjam hoping to cause a big upset and work their way out of the congestion. The Tigers will be hoping to muster up another win and keep their opponents at bay given their recent accuracy in front of goal. Although they are coming off the bye expect the Tigers to be hungry, competing hard for the ball in and around the contest while Katie Brennan provides an imposing threat up forward. Monique Conti also poses an ominous threat across the field while youngsters Madeline Brancatisano, Grace Egan and Kodi Jacques all offer plenty of excitement. Casey should not to be underestimated with the likes of Shelley Heath, Harriet Cordner and Bianca Jakobsson all able to win plenty of ball and dispose of it effectively, while they will be hoping that Maddy Guerin brings her kicking boots again this weekend.

MELBOURNE UNI v. ESSENDON

Round 8- 30/6/19
2:30
Melbourne University Main Oval

Melbourne Uni will be searching for their fourth win of the season while Essendon will be hoping to propel themselves further off the bottom with a second victory of the season. It has been an inconsistent start for the Muggars but coming off the bye expect them to be fresh while the Bombers will be wanting to restore some respectability after a big loss. The Bombers will be looking to Georgia Nanscawen to win plenty of ball once again along with Lauren Aherns to really control the midfield and think their way through traffic if they are to prevail against Melbourne Uni. Hayley Bullas also proved her physicality and will be wanting to maintain that form coming into this match up. For the Muggars, Kate Gillespie-Jones and Jasmine Garner are the go-to girls with their composure and ball winning ability a real feature of their game.

2019 VFLW Round 1a preview: Southern Saints vs. Collingwood Magpies

AS the curtain closed on another AFL Women’s season, the Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s competition gets underway this weekend as a standalone game before a further four games take place next weekend. All matches are part of the beyondblue Round with the VFL a strong supporter of the cause. In the opening game of the season, last year’s minor premiers travel to RSEA Park to face the Southern Saints in what should be an interesting match to open the season.

In the game, the Pies have plenty of AFL Women’s talent, led by reigning club best and fairest winner Jaimee Lambert, as well as the uncompromising Britt Bonnici, and young stars Lauren Butler and Mikala Cann. For the Saints, Alison Drennan was traded back to St Kilda after a year at North Melbourne and will be a crucial player in the midfield, but the Round 1 team is mostly littered with young stars who are hoping for the opportunity to be pre-listed by the Saints. Given Peta Searle coaches the VFLW side and the AFLW side when it comes in, it means all players will be determined to please the coach for a potential opportunity at the big time in 2020. Among those players who missed out on being drafted last year are cross-coder Caitlin Greiser who has come from Melbourne University and provides a strong key forward option, as well as former Sandringham Dragons captain Jemma Owen, and Eastern Ranges duo, Ashleigh Allsopp and Gabriella De Angelis.

The Magpies also have a number of VFLW listed players to keep an eye on, with one name being full-back Jess Blecher, an American keen to make a name for herself and one that could well have the job on Greiser this weekend. Along with Blecher, Emily Browning who managed to play some games last year while still completing Year 12 studies is back again, as Jasmine Ferguson who has balanced her netball and football well. Grace Buchan and Ally Bild are a couple of Caulfield Grammarians who could be key players in the Pies’ side this season, and will be keen to start the year off with a win. Collingwood heads into the game as favourites, and considering the AFLW talent, the Magpies’ season last year and the determination within the group to atone for the straight sets exit, one would expect them to get the job done. Southern Saints will put up a massive fight however, and they look to have assembled a list that should see them rise higher than their eighth placed finish this season.

TEAMS:

SOUTHERN SAINTS v. COLLINGWOOD
(Video stream / WARF Radio)
Round 1 – 05/05/2019
12:00
RSEA Park

Southern Saints

B: 41. R. Neaves, 47. F. Hocking, 26. F. Steiert
HB: 19. L. Ahrens, 30. E. Keaney, 4. G. Ricardo
C: 22. C. Jones, 2. A. Brown, 20. K. O’Neill
HF: 35. L. McCarthy, 15. T. Bohanna, 10. J. Vogt
F: 49. A. Allsopp, 43. C. Greiser, 36. J. Owen
R: 12. C. Fitzpatrick, 18. O. Vesely, 8. A. Drennan
Int: 34. G. De Angelis, 14. D. Jolliffe, 11. H. Stuart, 7. C. Phillips
Emg: 17. L. Olsen, 24. K. Ripari, 3. D. Smith, 16. K. Thompson
23P: 48. J. Kelly

Collingwood

B: 22. S. Casey, 58. J. Blecher, 41. K. Stratton
HB: 13. J. Lambert, 75. E. Bliss, 65. E. Browning
C: 23. L. Butler, 67. M. Doherty, 63. P. Nash
HF: 55. C. Bunker, 70. J. Ferguson, 52. N. Hales
F: 25. M. Cann, 61. A. Malander, 72. K. Lee
R: 92. S. King, 60. D. Calautti, 50. G. Buchan
Int: 48. A. Bild , 8. B. Bonnici, 80. S. Mastras, 49. K. Newton
Emg: 77. K. Dudley, 54. A. Dyer, 90. C. Rooks
23P: 76. A. Levin

SEASON PREVIEWS:

COLLINGWOOD MAGPIES

Coach: Penny Cula-Reid
Last year: 1st (12-1-1) Preliminary Final loss

After the harrowing AFLM Grand Final loss, the next biggest heartache for Collingwood fans was the moment Chloe Molloy limped off the ground in the preliminary final with what turned out to be a season-ending foot injury. It meant Molloy missed the entire 2019 AFLW season, and the Magpies clearly lacked that extra bit of star quality around the ground. What they showed last year was the ability to get the job done and recruit really top-end VFLW players who lead the way for the Magpies to be able to rotate their AFLW talent from week-to-week. While their AFLW talent from the 2018 season was below that of their rivals, their VFLW talent was arguably the best as a collective – leading to them finishing as minor premiers. Unfortunately for the Magpies, back-to-back losses to Geelong and Hawthorn saw them bow out in straight sets. There is no reason they cannot go a step further into the decider in 2019, with Maddie Shevlin, Georgia Gourlay and Jordyn Allen all staying at the club for the VFLW season after playing for Casey last year. Lauren Butler (Williamstown) and Mikala Cann (Hawthorn) are others who will remain in the black and white from AFLW to VFLW after being drafted from other VFLW teams. A couple of Oakleigh Chargers prospects already secured for the second half of the season are Gemma Lagioia and Emily Harley who have been impressing in the NAB League Girls competition, while Jasmine Ferguson and Emily Browning were another couple of young stars who with some more development could be AFLW options.

SOUTHERN SAINTS

Coach: Peta Searle
Last year: 8th (5-9)

In 2018, the Southern Saints had seven players drafted into the AFLW (one pre-listed) in what was arguably a better season than many predicted given they had no AFLW current talent on the list 12 months ago. Eleanor Brown went to the Western Bulldogs in the top 10, paving the way for the likes of Charlotte Wilson and Rhiannon Watt (Carlton), Alison Drennan and Courtenay Munn (North Melbourne), Serena Karlson (Western Bulldogs) and Shelley Heath (Melbourne) all moving up to the next level. Much like the Tigers, Southern Saints have the ability to attract youth with the knowledge they will be able to pre-list players ahead of their entrance into the 2020 AFLW season. Drennan, Watt, Karlson and Munn have all made their way back to the Saints, while also picking up the likes of Caitlin Greiser and Olivia Vesely who have gone through the talent pathways and are looking for an opportunity. With Dandenong Stingrays’ Molly McDonald and Isabella Shannon already on St Kilda’s list, expect them to become key players in the second half of the season, and a number of Stingrays and Sandringham Dragons to follow suit to try and get their chance at AFLW level. Any team with Peta Searle as coach has to be viewed as a danger, and expect them to improve this season, although whether or not they have enough to make the jump into finals is yet to be determined.

U18 Girls season preview: Dandenong Stingrays

DANDENONG Stingrays have their sights set on fast, attacking football this year, following the recruitment of former Carlton AFL Women’s interim coach, Nick Rutley to coach the side. Rutley coached two games in Damien Keeping‘s absence through illness, and will look to bring that experience at the elite level to the Stingrays. He has teamed up with Female Talent Manager, Matthew Crozier for the year as the Stingrays hope to kick-off how they finished off the season – with four straight wins.

Crozier himself came into the role for the first time last year and said it was fantastic to achieve two draftees – captain Jordyn Allen and Shelley Heath heading to Collingwood and Melbourne respectively via the draft.

“It was a good experience, it was a bit surreal,” Crozier said. “I’ve been in the role for 12 months and watching those girls that played in our team last year that were standout girls – seeing ‘Jordy’ run out there and strut her stuff and look to be a bit of a leader out there amongst the back six was really pleasing to see.”

Crozier said the club looked forward to the girls returning at times to motivate the next crop of AFL Women’s hopefuls.

“We’re looking to (have Allen and Heath return), Jordy has enquired about coming back down to training and maybe speaking to a couple of girls who lead the group,” he said. “We have our camp on the 24th of Feb on Sunday so hopefully we can get her down with a couple of the AFLW girls that Nick’s organised through his connections at Carlton. “But yeah, Jordy’s really a pioneer for what a leader should look like amongst the TAC Cup girls, so hopefully what Jordy’s instilled in the group as a top-ager last year is really going to transcend into our 17 year-olds and top-agers this year.”

The 2018 season saw the Stingrays lose the first five games of the year – often in tight games – before breaking through with a victory against Western Jets at Shepley Oval. That win was followed by three more to end the season with a 4-5 win-loss record.

“I think we knew we had a strong list from underneath, it was just a matter of trying to put all the bits of the puzzle together – we felt that if we had another three games left in the season we’d be pushing for top four,” Crozier said. Obviously it’s not about winning games but as a coaching group and talent coordinator sometimes you get that white-line fever. We felt that we did what we could with the group we had, our main priority was getting as many girls exposed to AFL(W) clubs and recruiters as possible and I feel that we did that the best we could – we look after that and the results took care of themselves towards the end of the year.”

Crozier said the shorter seasons allowed girls to test themselves at senior level in the Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s competition.

“It was good because it was a short sort of season and we could really attack it hard, but it was hard with injuries – if you’ve got a soft tissue injury you’re out for half the season,” he said. “I think going forward with the amount of exposure and the expanding of AFLW in the coming years hopefully it will be a stand-alone competition with the TAC Cup boys. “But at the moment for what it is, it’s a really good program. “We’re trying to get the girls back a couple of months after the season to brush up on their skills and make sure that they’re not falling behind – the ones who are coming around next year, the bottom-agers, just so once they go back to local footy their standards are still at a high level and elite level.”

Rutley said he has enjoyed getting back to a grassroots level and adapting to the different styles of the playing group.

“It’s been really good, they’re an enthusiastic bunch which is usually what you get in the female space – they love their footy or their sport in general,” he said. “It’s just getting them to get used to some different terminology, some different ways of coaching – we’ve brought in a little bit of a different look in terms of some different assistants but also, the people that wanted to be involved from last year have stayed on board which is really important to me, so we’ve got a nice little group together and pre-season so far has been good.”

Rutley said adapting into the Stingrays’ program has not been hard thanks to the tireless efforts of boys’ senior coach, Nick Cox and Male Talent Manager, Darren Flanigan.

“Nick Cox has been really good, he’s the boy’s new under 18 coach and he’s been fantastic just as a sort of reference point for me to ring up and talk about coaching, and in terms of integrating programs, all the intentions are there,” Rutley said. “Sometimes it just doesn’t work like that but we’ve had a couple of sessions where we’ve been able to do some warm-ups and just some basic craft which is great. “Throughout the year we intend as coaches and maybe some players just to integrate a little bit more, especially with our top-end talent with the girls if we look to have some Vic Country representation potentially they might train on with the boys which I reckon would be a great initiative and is something that Nick spoke about. “I know with Darren Flanigan and Matty’s (Crozier) guidance we’ll be fine.”

Rutley said he could see plenty of talented players who were the future of AFL Women’s.

“This is my first year as a head coach but last year being in the AFLW space with Carlton and seeing girls ranging from 17 to 30 or even older, it’s really evident that the younger girls that have had the privilege of talent pathway programs are now benefitting from that massively,” he said. “Then you just look at the Round 1 games – we spoke about Jordy Allen, (Monique) Conti second year in, (Madison) Prespakis first game, (Nina) Morrison obviously, and there’s a list of many others. “These first or second year girls are showing by being privileged enough to have a pathway to come through, unlike our 30 plus year-old or those from other sports, it’s really telling and beneficial, and we’re only going to see a better product in years to come.”

Dandenong Stingrays are in the unique position of having two guaranteed future AFL Women’s players on their list, with top-agers, Molly McDonald and Isabella Shannon both pre-listed by the Saints who were able to do so as part of the league expansion.

“Molly was one that towards the end of last year we thought was going to be a high draft commodity in 2019 and she’s really turned herself around and started pre-season with Nick (Rutley) coming on board, she’s really taken what Jordy left and run with it and owned it herself in the sense that she doesn’t really need the coach’s direction and really wants to have this group under her own,” Crozier said. “I think from an expansion point of view, the pre-selections give three girls the Sandringham region and the Dandenong Stingrays region a really good opportunity to cement their future and be put on an AFLW list before the season starts.”

For Rutley, he hoped to adapt the fast nature of the AFL Women’s game to his side in order to better prepare the girls for the rigours of the elite league.

“The big thing for me having spoken to AFLW coaches is that they’ve stripped it right back and brought it back to its purest form in skill craft. “If you look at the women’s space and the female game, it hasn’t been alive for that long. It’s growing rapidly and it’s great and really exciting but we need to take a breath as coaches and bring it back and make sure we’re teaching the initial fundamental skills. So we’ve had a really high emphasis on that in terms of” our craft, which is every session and it’s a non-negotiable, then we entered into a bit of a game sense phase just before Christmas and we’ve really started to ramp that up now.”

Rutley said the balance between skills and fitness was something that all clubs had to manage carefully.

“It’s an absolute balance,” he said. “The words marathon and sprint get thrown around in footy, well this is a sprint – 100 per cent. We don’t have a lot of time even in our pre-season phase and we don’t have a lot of time in season so Kelly Fallon has been fantastic in setting up a really good fitness program ranging, not just on the track but also in the gym with their core strength and stability training so we’re pretty happy at the moment that we’ve got a good balance which is important.”

Dandenong had a number of strong defenders last year and it looks to be a similar case this year, with the likes of Lucy Cripps and Zoe Hill potentially being key talls in the back half, having played for Vic Country in their respective age groups in 2018.

“I hope (the defence will be a strength),” Crozier said. “We’re pretty lucky to have those sort of girls coming through the program – it’s pretty rare you get a girl like Lucy Cripps who can mark and kick the footy really well and defend really. This year we have a bit of an emphasis on defence – defence turns into attack so we try and nurture that area of the game pretty well. “But as we said, we want to throw these girls around to different positions and really expose them for the recruiters so you might see Lucy Cripps playing full forward or on-ball or somewhere where she’s not accustomed to and hopefully thrives and catches the eye of AFL(W) recruiters. “Zoe Hill is still a raw talent, only a 17 year-old so hopefully she’ll be better for it this year and next year in 2020 as well she’ll really develop under the coaching group we’ve got at the moment.”

Crozier said the club was lucky to welcome back former female football talent manager, Darren Flanigan who has replaced Mark Wheeler as the Male Talent Manager – with Wheeler moving on to Sandringham Dragons.

“It’s been good because he’s (Flanigan) sort of left us to our own devices in a sense as to it’s our program and how we want to run it, he hasn’t come in over the top which has been good but he’s always been there for myself and Nick to question him about certain things,” Croier said. “The good thing about this year is that Darren’s come back and has been able to give the girls a bit more exposure and love into matching up with the boys program. “In the past, logistically it just hasn’t been able to happen due to not having him in-house but we’re very fortunate to have him and now we have such a great facility (at Seaford), we’ve been able to use the pools and stuff like that similar to the boys so Darren has been fantastic and take no credit away from Mark Wheeler who was the previous talent manager – he was fantastic for the girls and has been a guidance for me over 12 months so they’ve both been great. “Even since Mark left he’s been on the phone giving me advice so they’ve both been great.”

Rutley said he wanted to see as many girls drafted as possible, and therefore would be playing fast, attacking football to catch the attention of recruiters.

“We just want to be exciting and fast,” he said. “I just want the girls to take risks, make lots of mistakes and enjoy their footy. “We won’t be looking to save games and hold possession or play ultra-defensive footy – we will attack on the back of our defence but I just want them to be exciting, take risks and just showcase – at the end of the day they’ve got a real want to win and that’s normal at their age and where they’re at, being competitive, and it’s our job to get a balance of development. “Success will be a by-product of that so if that happens it’s all well and good and if they’re able to do that then they’ll get extra games – if you make finals you get extra games to showcase and that’s important if you’re trying to get to the next level.”

Dandenong Stingrays kick off the season on March 3 against Eastern Ranges at Skybus Stadium, Frankston.

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: Melbourne

THE Demons have been one of the stronger sides in the AFLW during the past two seasons. But with a big loss of players in the off-season, we will see a new-look Melbourne outfit on the park in 2019. Perhaps the biggest loss of the season was losing star midfielder, Daisy Pearce, which will undoubtedly challenge Mick Stinear to change his game plan heading into 2019.

Last season: 3rd – four wins, three losses.

Changes:

In: Maddison Gay, Talia Radan, Tyla Hanks, Madeline Brancatisano, Jordann Hickey, Shelley Heath, Chantel Emonson, Shae Sloane, Casey Sherriff, Ashleigh Woodland

Out: Richelle Cranston, Melissa Hickey, Erin Hoare, Anna Teague, Jasmine Grierson, Emma Humphries, Laura Duryea, Maddie Shevlin, Alyssa Mifsud

Melbourne’s list changes have seem to go under the radar compared to the likes of the Collingwood and Brisbane lists. Geelong caused the most havoc to the Melbourne line-up, taking Richelle Cranston, Melissa Hickey, Erin Hoare and Anna Teague to Kardinia Park. The other expansion team, North Melbourne took two Tasmanian natives in Jasmine Grierson and Emma Humphries, leaving a gap in Melbourne’s defence. However, the Dees have covered this quite well with the recruitment of Talia Radan and Shelley Heath, who are handy defenders who can run or play on a key player. They have also boosted their midfield stocks with the loss of Pearce and Cranston, recruiting Under-18 representatives, Tyla Hanks and Madeline Brancatisano, who are two midfielders with great agility.

Area of strength: Midfield

Melbourne’s midfield has always been one of the strongest in the competition, but they will be without Daisy Pearce and Richelle Cranston this season. A recruit who has not been talked about much is Maddison Gay from the Blues. Gay was voted the Best First Year player when she was Carlton, and is a smart midfielder who is clever with the ball in hand. She should help to assist Elise O’Dea and Karen Paxman, who have always been consistent in the middle of the ground for the Dees. Add in Brancatisano and Hanks, and Melbourne has a good core group of midfielders. Katherine Smith and Kate Hore are also set for a good season after finding some consistency for the Casey Demons in the VFLW season.

Area of weakness: Forward line

The Demons are lacking some numbers in the forward line. While they boast the likes of Tegan Cunningham and Aliesha Newman, the list does not go much further than that. Jordann Hickey is a crucial pick-up for the Dees to rectify this issue. She will be a key target up forward thanks to her solid hands and accurate kick. Eden Zanker should be set for a good year as well, finding some form in the Casey Demons VFLW side, but she was starved of opportunity last year, so she will also be pretty new to the AFLW environment.

Players to watch:

Tyla Hanks

Tyla Hanks has made the All-Australian Under 18s side two years in a row and is a force to be reckoned with in the midfield. On the inside, she is sharp with her hands and can clear congestion with her forceful kicking. She co-captained the Gippsland Power in the TAC Cup Girls competition, so is no stranger to being an on-field leader. Hanks can also float up forward and make an impact to steady the ship for her team, highlighting her ability to be versatile in a Melbourne line-up that lacks forward depth.

Jordann Hickey

Originally from Alice Springs, Hickey made her mark on the 2018 VFLW season with 14 goals for the NT Thunder. From her 14 games, she also averaged 8.25 disposals per game, with her season-high coming against Richmond, where she racked up 16 disposals and also kicked two goals. Hickey managed to kick goals in seven of her games for the Thunder, showing great consistency across the season. She fought hard inside 50 and provides a tall target, which will be pivotal for the Demons.

Eden Zanker

Zanker got to play some consistent football again for the Casey Demons in the VFLW, after only playing three games for the Demons in the AFLW last year. She kicked nine goals from her 14 games with Casey and was named in the best four times. Zanker has a calm run-up and a precise kick, and is also great at winning the ball inside 50. She was the Demons’ first selection in the 2017 draft so Melbourne will have high hopes for her to show why she was selected so high in the draft.

2019 prediction: 4th in Conference A

Despite a strong midfield, the Demons could struggle in their 50s, making for a difficult run in a difficult conference. However, they could get off to a good start with Fremantle and Collingwood looming as their first opponents of the season. It then gets a whole lot harder with Brisbane, North Melbourne and Greater Western Sydney (GWS) to come. When the Demons’ defence comes up against a powerful forward line like North Melbourne’s, and their forwards go head-to-head against Brisbane’s A-grade defenders, it could spell trouble for them.

2019 Melbourne AFLW Fixture

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Casey FieldsRound 1
Victoria ParkRound 2
Hickey ParkRound 3
Casey FieldsRound 4
Blacktown International SportsparkRound 5
Marvel StadiumRound 6
Casey FieldsRound 7

AFLW Draft review: Melbourne

MELBOURNE will field a new-look line-up in 2019, suffering a loss of players to expansion clubs, North Melbourne and Geelong. With only five spots (they passed one pick) in the draft, the Demons had to pick their players carefully.

 

What they needed:

  • Midfielders to aid the loss of Daisy Pearce (inactive) and Richelle Cranston
  • Rucks to replace Erin Hoare and Alyssa Mifsud
  • Defenders to support Talia Radan and cover the loss of Laura Duryea and Anna Teague

 

Players selected:

Tyla Hanks – Gippsland Power

Hanks was one of the hardest and most skillful midfielders in the TAC Cup Girls competition. She plays very similarly to Madison Prespakis through her clean ball-use and long kicking. She can also head up forward when her side is in trouble, making her a very valuable asset for the Demons. Hanks was awarded with a place in the TAC Cup Girls Team of the Year and the AFL Women’s Under 18 All Australian side, after being a co-captain of the Gippsland Power this year. She will be a key player in helping to aid the loss of Daisy Pearce.

Madeline Brancatisano – Northern Knights

Like Hanks, Brancatisano also had a leadership role this year, leading her Northern Knights to a TAC Cup Girls Grand Final. Brancatisano is a smart inside midfielder who has clean hands and a consistent desire to win the ball in congestion. She can also add valuable defensive pressure in the middle, proving how much of a role player she is. Brancatisano earned a spot in the TAC Cup Girls Team of the Year and also spent some time with Carlton in the VFLW, adding some valuable experience to her game ahead of her AFL Women’s debut in 2019.

Jordann Hickey – NT Thunder

Jordann Hickey covers the loss of Alyssa Mifsud, who was delisted by the Demons in the AFL Women’s off-season. Hickey was consistent up forward for the NT Thunder this season, kicking 14 goals from 14 games. She played 14 matches and was named in the best three times. Hickey’s overhead marking and accurate kicking will be quite valuable in the Demons’ line-up, and she can also act as a back-up ruck.

Shelley Heath – Dandenong Stingrays

Shelley Heath is a great addition to the Melbourne line-up, thanks to her exciting run and carry out of the back pocket. She will inject some speed into the defensive 50, and could burn off a lot of players with that pace. Heath is also clever with the ball in hand, thanks to her clean hands and long kicks. She should do well to cover the losses of Anna Teague and Laura Duryea in the back line.

 

How they went:

Melbourne definitely needed midfielders in this draft and the Demons took two great ones in Hanks and Brancatisano. The duo will be great additions to a potent midfield that contains the likes of Karen Paxman and Elise O’Dea. Up forward, Tegan Cunningham will combine with Jordann Hickey, giving the Demons a powerful line-up inside 50. The Demons might struggle in defence, as the loss of bigger bodies such as Anna Teague could hurt them. It will be interesting to see how Melbourne approaches its ruck situation after losing Erin Hoare and Alyssa Mifsud. The Demons could have picked up a designated ruck in the draft but elected not to.

2018 AFLW Draft Order

2018 NAB AFLW DRAFT ORDER

FIRST ROUND
1 Geelong – Nina Morrison (Geelong Falcons/Vic Country)
2 Geelong – Sophie Van De Heuvel (GWV Rebels/Vic Country)
3 Carlton – Madison Prespakis (Calder Cannons/Vic Metro)
4 Fremantle – Jasmin Stewart (Claremont/Western Australia)
5 Collingwood – Jordyn Allen (Dandenong Stingrays/Vic Country)
6 Melbourne – Tyla Hanks (Gippsland Power/Vic Country)
7 Geelong – Rebecca Webster (Murray Bushrangers/Vic Country)
8 Adelaide – Nikki Gore (South Adelaide/South Australia/Central Allies)
9 Brisbane –  Paige Parker (Coorparoo/Queensland)
10 Western Bulldogs – Eleanor Brown (Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro)
11 Collingwood – Katie Lynch (Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro)
12 Greater Western Sydney – Alyce Parker (Thurgoona Bulldogs/NSW-ACT/Eastern Allies)

SECOND ROUND
13 Collingwood – Mikala Cann (Eastern Ranges/Vic Metro)
14 Geelong – Olivia Purcell (Geelong Falcons/Vic Country)
15 Melbourne . – Madeline Brancatisano (Northern Knights/Vic Metro)
16 Carlton – Abbie McKay (father-daughter selection – Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro)
17 Fremantle – Sabreena Duffy (Peel Thunderbirds/Western Australia)
18 Collingwood – Lauren Butler (GWV Rebels/Vic Country)
19 Collingwood – Maddie Shevlin (Casey Demons)
20 Geelong – Denby Taylor (Geelong Falcons/Vic Country)
21 Carlton – Jayde Van Dyk (Hawthorn VFLW)
22 Brisbane – Natalie Grider (University of Queensland/Queensland)
23 Western Bulldogs – Aisling McCarthy (Ireland)
24 Geelong – Georgia Clarke (GWV Rebels/Vic Country)
25 North Melbourne – Daisy Bateman (Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro)

THIRD ROUND
26 Western Bulldogs – Kate Bartlett (Peel Thunder/Western Australia)
27 Carlton – Charlotte Wilson (Eastern Ranges/Vic Metro)
28 Fremantle – Phillipa Seth (East Fremantle/Western Australia)
29 Collingwood – Sophie Alexander (compensation)
30 Adelaide – Jessica Foley (Fitzroy/South Australia)
31 Melbourne – Jordann Hickey (NT Thunder VFLW)
32 Collingwood –  Georgia Gourlay (Casey Demons VFLW)
33 Brisbane – McKenzie Dowrick (Subiaco/Western Australia)
34 Western Bulldogs – Selena Karlson (Southern Saints VFLW)
35 Geelong – Rene Caris (GWV Rebels/Vic Country)
36 North Melbourne –  Courtney Munn (Southern Saints VFLW)

FOURTH ROUND
37 Adelaide – Chloe Scheer (Central District/South Australia)
38 Carlton – Emerson Woods (Eastern Ranges/Vic Metro)
39 Fremantle – Courtney Stubbs (Subiaco/Western Australia)
40 Carlton – Rhiannon Watt (Southern Saints VFLW)
41 Adelaide – Katelyn Rosenzweig (Central District/South Australia)
42 Carlton – Jessica Edwards (Collingwood VFLW)
43 Greater Western Sydney Brittany Perry (North Adelaide/South Australia)
44 Melbourne –  Shelley Heath (Southern Saints VFLW)
45 Brisbane – Lauren Bella (Bond University/Queensland)
46 Western Bulldogs – Jessie Davies (Western Bulldogs VFLW)
47 Geelong – Maighan Fogas (Geelong VFLW)
48 Adelaide – Danielle Ponter (Northern Territory/Central Allies)

FIFTH ROUND
49 Fremantle – Parris Laurie (Claremont/Western Australia) *Carlton passed this pick
50 Collingwood – Jordan Membrey (Wilston Grange/Queensland)
51 Adelaide – Hannah Martin (West Adelaide/South Australia)
52 GWS – Lisa Whiteley (South Adelaide/South Australia)
53 North Melbourne – Chloe Haines (Burnie Dockers/ Tasmania)
54 Brisbane – Tori Groves-Little (Coorparoo/ Queensland)
55 Geelong- Elise Coventry (Geelong VFLW)
56 North Melbourne- Libby Haines (Burnie Dockers/ Tasmania)
57 Fremantle- Laura Pugh (West Perth/Western Australia)
58 Greater Western Sydney- Ingrid Nielsen (UNSW Hawks)

SIXTH ROUND
59 Brisbane – Jesse Tawhaio-Wardlaw (Bond University /Queensland)
60 Geelong – Madeline Keryk (Geelong VFLW)
61 North Melbourne – Nicole Bresnehan (Clarence Roos/Tasmania)
62 Fremantle – Matilda Sergeant (Claremont/Western Australia)
63 Greater Western Sydney – Renee Tomkins (Auburn Giants/NSW-ACT)

SEVENTH ROUND
64 Fremantle – Ebony Dowson (Peel Thunder/Western Australia)
65 Greater Western Sydney – Delma Gisu (Wilston Grange/Queensland)

EIGHTH ROUND
66 Greater Western Sydney – Haneen Zreika (Auburn Giants/NSW-ACT)
67 Collingwood – Erica Fowler (Collingwood VFLW)

NINTH ROUND
68 Fremantle – Ebony O’Dea (Adelaide University/South Australia)
69 Brisbane – Jacqueline Yorston (Wilston Grange/ Queensland) *compensation
70 Brisbane – Jade Ellenger (Coorparoo/ Queensland) *compensation

Weekend wash-up: VFLW – Round 16

MANY teams had pride on the line this week and were able to end their seasons in style, with struggling teams, Williamstown and Richmond getting victories. Meanwhile at Box Hill, a huge clash between traditional rivals, Hawthorn and Geelong saw the Hawks claim a coveted top-two spot, and a valuable double chance.

 

Southern Saints 3.4 (22) defeated by Richmond 4.1 (25)

This game was a tight one throughout with the biggest margin being nine points. At the first break, the scores were even with both sides kicking a goal each to open up the match. Only a point was scored in the second quarter, which gave the Southern Saints the slim one-point margin at halftime. The closeness continued in the third term, with both teams kicking a goal each. In the last quarter, the Saints and the Tigers both upped the ante, but it was Richmond who did it better, outscoring the Saints two goals to one to win the quarter, and the game.

The Tigers managed to win their first game in six rounds with just two goal kickers on the day. Kate Dixon and Christina Bernardi managed to each get two majors on the board, with Dixon’s second goal giving her side the biggest lead of the game. Bernardi also found a lot of the footy with 24 disposals, seven marks and eight tackles. It is no surprise to see that her teammate, Phoebe Monahan topped the disposal count for the Tigers, as she has been doing so for most of the season. In her side’s last game of the year, she racked up 28 disposals and laid six tackles, capping off an excellent year.

The Saints too had a multiple goal kicker, with Courtney Munn kicking two goals from her 12 disposals. Vic Metro representative, Gabriella De Angelis was the other goal kicker with one goal from her seven disposals. In the midfield, it was the Alisons who dominated with Alison Brown and Alison Drennan each racking up 28 disposals. Brown also took five marks and laid three tackles while Drennan laid four. TAC Cup Girls trio, Eleanor Brown (19 disposals, four marks and four tackles), Ashleigh Allsopp (16 disposals, four marks and four tackles) and Shelley Heath (15 disposals, two marks and seven tackles) were also prominent contributors in this game.

 

Hawthorn 6.5 (41) defeated Geelong 3.7 (25)

In the biggest match of the round, it was Hawthorn who got the early breakaway after an even first quarter. The Hawks kicked three goals to Geelong’s one in the second quarter, giving them a 14-point lead at the main break. They were able to extend their lead in the third with one goal, while keeping Geelong goalless. The Cats had a chance to fight back in the last quarter, but kicked 1.4, which gave Hawthorn the win.

AFLW duo, Sarah Perkins and Rebecca Beeson each kicked two majors on the day while Claire Dyett and Rosie Dillon booted through one each. Beeson had a dominant game with 22 disposals, five marks and six tackles and was complemented by fellow goal kicker, Rosie Dillon, who racked up 17 disposals and eight tackles. Skipper, Emma Mackie was huge on the day with 20 disposals and five tackles while Jayde Van Dyk was as resilient as ever down back with 18 disposals, four marks and five tackles.

Despite her side’s loss, Richelle Cranston was the leading disposal-getter on the ground with 25 touches as well as three marks and five tackles. Maddy Keryk wasn’t far off though with one goal, 24 disposals and nine tackles in another great game in the blue and white hoops. Kate Darby and Mia-Rae Clifford also got on the scoreboard with one major each. Darby gathered 12 disposals, three marks and eight tackles while Clifford was kept quiet with six disposals.

 

Casey Demons 4.5 (29) defeated by Collingwood 9.7 (61)

By: Carly McClen

In a blizzard of sun at Casey Fields, the combination of the return of captain, Jessica Edwards, the Nicole Hildebrand factor on the half-back line, a hungry-for-goals Jaimee Lambert, Ruby Schleicher loving the forward line, and the usual class-above performance by Chloe Molloy was more than enough to seal the minor premiership for the Collingwood Magpies. In its inaugural 2018 VFLW season the Pies have dropped just one game against NT Thunder. They have consistently held off growing-in-stature sides such as the Demons and Saturday was no different.  

The Demons were gallantly effective until half-time with the backline displaying a strong collective effort, absorbing the Pies’ forward attacking. For the third week in a row, the Demons’ first goal kicker was Maddie Shevlin. With solid forward pressure, she was able to snap an early goal, keeping the chase within eight points at quarter time.

In the second quarter, the Demons outscored Collingwood with goals to Bianca Jakobsson and Shelley Scott. But the game’s momentum changed in the second half when Pies coach, Penny Cula-Reid made a game-changing move which the Demons were simply unable to respond to. Eliza Hynes came out of the forward half and into the ruck. The Pies then quickly began dominating clearances and the move created crucial space for Lambert and Molloy to do their thing. The Pies comfortably played their style of game from that point on, keeping the Demons to just one major score.

Hildebrand was an ominous presence on the half-back line and continued to send the ball back into Collingwood’s forward half. Hildebrand intercepted an early burst in the third quarter from the centre clearance and the ball rarely made into the Demons’ attacking zone for the quarter. Hildebrand was lethal at pushing up and getting to the ball first with strong marks and defensive kicking. It showed her versatility and multiple vital roles she can play for her team. Cula-Reid’s message to the Magpies was ‘it’s there if you want it’ and they took it, booting 3.4 in the final term to seal another clinical victory.

 

Darebin 6.6 (42) defeated by Western Bulldogs 6.10 (46)

After being held goalless in the second quarter, the Bulldogs came from behind and ended their season on a high against Darebin. They were down by 18 points at the main break before kicking two goals to one in the third quarter to reduce the deficit. The Bulldogs then managed to clinch the lead for the first time in remarkable fashion, with premiership hero, Hannah Scott kicking the sealer after the siren to end the Bulldogs’ season on a high note.

Scott also booted a goal earlier in the game and was sensational throughout with 17 disposals, three marks and ten tackles. She was complemented by Ashleigh Guest, who was the leading disposal-getter on the ground with 23 touches to go with her six marks and four tackles. Sarah Jolly, Brittany Wunhym, Mary Sandral and Kirsten McLeod each got a major on the board for the Bulldogs. Jolly was the pick of the bunch with 12 disposals and five tackles while McLeod was not far off with 10 disposals and five tackles.

Melbourne AFLW duo, Lauren Pearce and Lily Mithen led the way for the Falcons, continuing to play consistent football for their side. Pearce gathered 14 disposals and took seven marks while Mithen led the way in disposals for Darebin with 18 touches to go with her six marks and six tackles. She also kicked a goal for the Falcons and was joined on the scoreboard by Kate Shierlaw, Kate Tyndall, Lauren Szigeti, Cherelle Byrne and Hannah Mouncey. Annalyse Lister led the way in tackles for Darebin with seven for the game to go with her 11 disposals.

 

Essendon 2.5 (17) defeated by Carlton 14.8 (92)

Carlton saved its best until last in this game, storming out of the blocks early to kick four first-quarter goals, giving Essendon a minimal chance to fight back. The onslaught continued in the second quarter with the Blues piling on another four majors to take their halftime lead to 49 points. Carlton’s eight goals all came off the boot of Darcy Vescio, who also saved her best until last. She ended up with nine goals for the day while the Bombers themselves could only manage two in the 75-point loss.

Not only did Darcy Vescio kick nine goals, but she also gathered 18 touches and seven marks in a dominant all-round game. She wasn’t alone inside 50, with Vic Metro’s Abbie McKay, Vic Country’s Rene Caris, Oakleigh’s Isabella Gietzmann, skipper, Kristi Harvey and former Williamstown player, Jess Malouf all kicking a goal at Windy Hill. Caris was the shining light with 20 disposals while Harvey racked up 10 touches to go with her six marks and four tackles. Gabriella Pound was the leading disposal-getter on the ground with 25 disposals to go with her four marks.

Although it was a miserable day for the Bombers, Kendra Heil and Alex Quigley both kicked a goal for their side. Quigley was also named in the best with 13 disposals, six marks and five tackles. She was not too far behind Essendon’s leading disposal-getter, Courtney Ugle, who gathered 19 disposals, four marks and four tackles. Hayley Bullas also racked up the disposals with 17 touches to go with her four tackles, which is a stat that she has been dominating in this season.

 

Melbourne Uni 4.5 (29) defeated by Williamstown 10.7 (67)

By: Taylah Melki

In what was a one-way affair after quarter time, Williamstown dominated against Melbourne University. The Seagulls made the most of their scoring opportunities with their crisp ball movement and two-way running. Melbourne University started off hot, showing good intent but struggled to combat both the offensive and defensive pressure that Williamstown applied after the first quarter.

For Williamstown, Jess Duffin had a day out, bagging three goals and gathering plenty of the footy. Her hands in close were second to none, dishing off handballs into space and running hard to create forward play for the Seagulls. Jasmine Garner was also among the Seagulls’ best, amassing a heap of touches and hitting the scoreboard. Rebecca Dardengo backed up her impressive performance from last week, applying plenty of pressure, while Emily Gardner was also busy across the ground imposing herself on the contest.

Gardner’s Western Jets teammate, Caitlin Greiser starred for Melbourne University, positioning well and booting two majors for the game. Teammates, Emma Humphries and Kaitlyn Ashmore were also instrumental for the Mugars, winning plenty of the ball and using the footy effectively and efficiently. In her first game of the season, Tasmanian Under 18 representative, Chloe Haines impressed with her ability to impact the contest and hit targets while under pressure.

Weekend wash-up: VFLW – Round 15

HAWTHORN has spoiled the party for the Northern Territory (NT) Thunder in Round 15 of the Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s, knocking them back to second on the ladder after a 25-point win at TIO Stadium. Collingwood regained top spot on the ladder with a big win over the Southern Saints, while the other top-four side, Geelong secured a big win over the Casey Demons.

 

Western Bulldogs 2.2 (14) defeated by Melbourne Uni 7.5 (47)

Melbourne Uni is ending its season on an emphatic high, winning its last two games. In the process, the Mugars defeated the once top-four favourites, the Western Bulldogs. The Bulldogs were held scoreless for the first half of this game, with Melbourne University piling on 5.1 to take a handy 31-point halftime lead. The home side finally got that coveted goal in the third quarter but it wasn’t enough, as Melbourne University’s early lead proved to be too big to overcome.

Kaitlyn Ashmore led the way for the Mugars inside 50, kicking two goals from her nine disposals. The North Melbourne recruit also laid six tackles, and was complemented in that department by Maddison Smith, who laid seven. Captain, Ashleigh Riddell also laid six tackles for the day and led the way with a game-high 26 disposals and three marks. Vic Metro midfielder, Madison Prespakis wasn’t far behind with one goal, 25 disposals and two tackles.

For the Bulldogs, Sarah Jolly led the way in disposals with 19 for the day. Ashleigh Guest also contributed well in that department, with 18 disposals as well as four marks and eight tackles. Tayla Dinuccio went one better, laying nine tackles for the day and making an impact, despite recording only three disposals. Premiership players, Kirsten McLeod (one goal, 13 disposals, five tackles) and Hannah Scott (one goal, 17 disposals, five tackles) were the goal kickers for the Dogs.

 

Collingwood 6.6 (42) defeated Southern Saints 0.4 (4)

Collingwood has returned to form very quickly this week, bouncing back from last week’s loss with a 38-point win over the Southern Saints. The Pies got out of the blocks quickly, kicking the first three goals of the match to go on and kick six unanswered majors. After no goals were kicked in the second quarter, Collingwood fought back with two majors in the third, extending its margin to 36 points at the last break. Unfortunately, inaccuracy hurt the Saints, kicking just four behinds for the match.

Vic Metro forward, Daisy Bateman led the way inside 50, kicking three of her team’s six goals as well as gathering nine disposals and laying six tackles. Her Vic Metro and Oakleigh Chargers teammate, Katie Lynch was also a pivotal player with 24 disposals, two marks and three tackles. Sophie Alexander was able to back up her solid game last week with a game-high 27 disposals. Erica Fowler led the way in tackles with a whopping 13 to go with her six disposals. AFLW ruck, Eliza Hynes led the way in marks for the Pies, taking four grabs to go with her one goal and 13 disposals.

Alison Brown was dominant for the Saints, gathering 24 disposals and laying five tackles in another good midfield performance from her. She was complemented by good delivery from ruck, Rhiannon Watt, who racked up 21 disposals, three marks and five tackles. Jas Rolland took four marks for the day and also laid four tackles to go with her six disposals. TAC Cup Girls players, Shelley Heath (12 disposals, two tackles), Gabriella De Angelis (10 disposals, three tackles), Ashleigh Allsopp (eight disposals, five tackles), Jemma Owen (eight disposals, four tackles) and Courtney Jones (seven disposals, two tackles) all contributed well on the day.

 

Essendon 1.3 (9) defeated by Williamstown 5.7 (37)

By: James Halley

Williamstown was able to outlast Essendon in terrible winter conditions, kicking away in the last term to win by 28 points. For the second time this year, the two sides have played in terrible conditions, yet last time was worse as play had to be halted for five minutes due to hail.

Jasmine Garner was huge for Williamstown up forward, kicking two fourth-quarter goals. She was a threat up forward all day but in the second term was when she managed to convert. Williamstown’s engine room was once again outstanding with Jess Duffin and Jenna Bruton leading the way. Duffin ended up being an obstacle in the air for Essendon, taking numerous intercept marks. A highlight for the game was Emily Paterno’s impossible goal on the boundary in the last quarter, which was a kick of high difficulty and capped of a great day for Williamstown. 

Simone Nalder can hold her head up high, as she won the ruck for the Bombers. Due to the conditions, they were not able to capitalise on her dominance. Valerie Moreau was also a shinning light for Essendon on a dark day, kicking the side’s only goal and being lively all day. In Round 16, the Seagulls face Melbourne University while Essendon will take on Carlton at home to finish the home and away season.

 

NT Thunder 4.4 (28) defeated by Hawthorn 8.5 (53)

In the second game of the year at Alice Springs, Hawthorn secured a big win over flag favourites, NT Thunder. The Hawks got out of the blocks early, kicking the first goal of the game and piling on another three in the second quarter to take a comfortable lead into half time. The trend continued in the third quarter when the away side kicked another three goals, making it very difficult for the Thunder to make a comeback.

Greater Western Sydney (GWS) forward, Phoebe McWilliams returned to form with three majors for the day, taking her season tally to five goals from five games. McWilliams’ GWS teammate, Rebecca Beeson continued her good form with a best-on-ground performance at TIO Traeger Stadium. She was complemented by a player who has been in consistent form in Sarah Perkins, who kicked two goals to take her tally to 12 goals from 10 games. Skipper, Emma Mackie also got on the board with two majors and has been solid ever since returning from injury.

It was all single goal kickers for the Thunder with Jordann Hickey, Sue Nalder, Jasmyn Hewett and Angela Foley all kicking one major each. Hickey is closing in on her teammate, Jess Sedunary on the goal kicking tally, as she has kicked 14 goals from 13 games while Sedunary has kicked 15 goals from 10 games. Foley was also named best-on-ground for the Thunder in another blistering performance from her. She was complemented by AFLW contingent, Ebony Marinoff and Emma Swanson, as well as Katie Streader, Kristy Irvine and Tayla Thorn.

 

Darebin 1.3 (9) defeated by Carlton 4.10 (34)

Carlton nearly lost this game with its inaccuracy, kicking five behinds to start the first quarter. Darebin then kicked its first and only goal in the second quarter while the Blues kicked three more behinds to take their score to 0.8.8 at half time. They then kicked into gear in the third quarter, kicking two goals to none and wrestling back the lead. The Blues did the same in the fourth quarter, ultimately earning them a surprise 24-point win against one of the better sides in the competition.

Northern Knights captain, Madeline Brancatisano was named best afield for the Blues in a breakout game for her at Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s level. She was aided by good performances from AFLW players, Alison Downie, Tilly Lucas-Rodd and former Dandenong Stingrays winger, Georgia Gee. Nicola Burns and Celine Moody were also solid contributors in the win, with Moody kicking one of the Blues’ four goals. Gee was one of the other goal kickers and was joined by Bailey Schultz and Darcy Vescio on the scoreboard. Vescio now sits one major behind VFLW leading goal kicker, Hannah Mouncey. Mouncey has kicked 18 goals from 11 games while Vescio has kicked 17 goals from eight games, with an average of 2.12 goals per game.

There was not much happening on the goal kicking side of things for the Falcons, with Stephanie Simpson the only one getting on the board. That goal took her tally to 11 goals from 10 games in what has been a good season inside 50 for her. Simpson also earned a spot among the best players for Darebin on the day. Melbourne AFLW ruck, Lauren Pearce played another blinder of a game, being named best-on-ground for her side. Melbourne teammate, Lily Mithen also continued her solid season by being named among the best as well. Gabrielle Colvin, Meghan McDonald and Kathleen Roe also contributed well at Bill Lawry Oval.

 

Casey Demons 2.4 (16) defeated by Geelong Cats 8.5 (53)

The Casey Demons jumped the Cats early, kicking the first two goals of the game to take an eight-point lead into quarter time. Geelong responded immediately though, kicking the next two goals in the second quarter to wrestle back the lead at the main break. The goal kicking continued in the third quarter, as the Cats outscored the Demons three goals to none. After the first quarter, Casey could not register a major, giving the Cats licence to secure a big win as they approach the finals.

Two of Geelong’s eight goals came from Mia-Rae Clifford, who has had a solid season for the Cats. Clifford has kicked 13 goals from 13 games and continues to be a vital player for her side. She shares the same goal kicking tally as Danielle Orr, who was also able to get on the board with a major, and equal her goal kicking tally with Clifford’s. Millie Klingbeil, Courtney Stevens, Kate Darby, Jordan Ivey and Geelong Falcons midfielder, Nina Morrison were the other goal kickers on the day. Ivey was also named best-on-ground for the Cats, while Morrison and Darby also featured in the best. Morrison was complemented by Vic Country duo, Olivia Purcell and Georgia Clarke, who played great games for the Cats. Richelle Cranston also continued her marvellous season with another appearance in Geelong’s best players.

Another player who has had a marvellous season is Maddie Shevlin, who kicked one of Casey’s two goals on Sunday. New Melbourne AFLW recruit, Maddison Gay was the other goal kicker for the Demons, booting a major late in the first quarter. Kaila Bentvelzen was named as the Demons’ best, continuing a solid season in the red and blue. Former Gippsland defender, Darcy Guttridge and former Bendigo forward, Eden Zanker also stood out for Casey. Georgia McLean and Melbourne AFLW recruit, Shae Sloane were the other players named in Casey’s best, contributing well in the loss.