Tag: Sophie Locke

Team of the Week: NAB League Girls – Round 6

WITH so many new players entering NAB League Girls sides as plenty missed out due to AFL Women’s Academy duties, there are few new faces in the Draft Central Team of the Week for Round 6. There are also plenty of regulars who stepped up in the absence of teammates, but now there are no players who have made the side every single week, showing a great diversity of talent among the competition. Bendigo Pioneers, Geelong Falcons and Northern Knights all enjoyed impressive wins, sitting in the top four of the NAB League Girls ladder. Those three sides all had three players in the Team of the week, with six sides having two players and the remaining three sides – Calder Cannons, Murray Bushrangers and Western Jets all having the one nominee in the team.

Geelong Falcons’ undefeated streak continued on the weekend and Paige Sheppard and Mia Skinner‘s terrific seasons continued, named in the Team of the Week again, along with midfielder Luka Lesosky-Hay. Northern Knights also remained undefeated with just a draw as the only blemish on an otherwise top season so far. The Knights had to overcome a number of key personnel losses to post a big win over Gippsland Power, with Jess Fitzgerald, Phoebe Chisholm and Nell Morris-Dalton crucial in that win at Garfield. Their opposition had a number of impressive players with Chandra Abrahams being a tackling machine and flowing well between the arcs, while Megan Fitzsimon had a round-high 28 touches.

The other team with three players in the Team of the Week was Bendigo Pioneers, who enjoyed a hard-fought win over Dandenong Stingrays. Brooke Hards was named in the midfield yet again continuing her top season, along with Tara Slender at centre half-back and Jordyn Jolliffe in attack. All three players are in three different birth years showing the vast impact that talented girls of all ages can have on the competition. Their opponents had a couple of familiar faces in the Team of the Week with Brooke Vernon and Zoe Hill slotting into the side for yet another week. Also in defence are a couple of individual team nominees in Murray Bushrangers’ Sophie Locke and Calder Cannons’ Georgie Prespakis who while predominantly midfielders, drift back and help their defences.

Rounding out the Team of the Week midfield is Sandringham Dragons’ ruck Celia Cody making her debut in the team, along with Winnie Laing who was best on ground in the Dragons’ win over the Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels. The Rebels had two players in the Team of the Week as well, with Ella Wood returning to the side along with Nyakoat Dojiok who has been impressing across the ground. In attack, Eastern Ranges’ Serena Gibbs has been named at full-forward after a strong show of marking and long kicking against the Cannons, as well as teammate Tess Flintoff who was named the Draft Central Rising Star of the Week. Rounding out the side are Oakleigh Chargers’ captain Mimi Hill and her teammate, Chloe O’Malley, as well as Western Jets’ captain Elisabeth Georgostathis who has been a regular in the Team of the Week this season. It was a tough week to decide on just 24 players with Gippsland’s Grace McRae, Calder’s Felicity Theodore and Eastern’s Tahlia Merrett among those very close to making the team this week.

Weekend wash-up: NAB League Girls – Round 6

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

 

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

By: Peter Williams

GOALS:

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

BEST:

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

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

 

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

By: Peter Williams

GOALS:

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

BEST:

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

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

 

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

By: Peter Williams

GOALS:

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

BEST:

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

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

 

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

By: Sophie Taylor

GOALS

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

BEST

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

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

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

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

 

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

By: Peter Williams

GOALS:

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

BEST:

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

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

 

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

By: Taylah Melki

GOALS:

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

BEST:

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

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

Scouting notes: NAB League Girls – Round 5

OVER the weekend we managed to get to all of the NAB League Girls games and took some notes on some of the players to watch highlighted by respective Talent Managers. All views are the opinion of the individual writer.

 

Calder Cannons 9.7 (61) defeated Murray Bushrangers 5.4 (34)
By: Taylah Melki

Calder:

#2 Felicity Theodore

She applied good defensive pressure and worked hard to trap the ball throughout the game in her attacking half. Theodore showed good speed, tracked the ball well at ground level and consistently ran hard to win the footy. Really good read of the play and used her footy smarts and speed to break away from her opponent and kick to a teammate. She was clever around the stoppages to position well and read the tap to get into an attacking spot and set up a forward thrust for Calder. 

#21 Georgia Patrikios

Patrikios led the way for the Cannons with her good hands out of congestion and impressive spatial awareness to clear the mess. She took a few strong marks and displayed her ability to read the play well. Patrikios backed herself in at the contest and used her clean hands at the stoppages to dish off to teammates. She had a beautiful passage of play in the second picking the ball up off the deck fending off a player and then kicking to a teammate. Patrikios showcased her good evasive side step to shake off an opponent and really built into the game come second quarter. She read the flight of the ball well, provided some repeat forward 50 entries and offered a good lead in the forward 50 to glove the mark and then slot a goal. She showcased her speed going for a run through the middle and bombing the ball long into the forward 50 and provided plenty of good link up play through the middle.

#41 Georgie Prespakis

Good one on one contests and made her opponent work for it throughout the game. She contested everything that came her way and laid a strong tackle in the second quarter. Prespakis worked her way into the game more in the second quarter and moved forward in the second half slotting a goal in the opening minutes of the third term. She showcased her clean slick hands around the stoppages and read the play well to impact the contest. Credit to her footy smarts she stayed down and got a good crumbing goal in the third breaking away from the pack and slotting it through the middle for her second for the quarter. Her quick hands helped to set up a shot at goal for her teammate by tapping the ball to her teammate running into the open goal. She presented up at the footy continuously throughout the game and ran hard to create space in the forward 50. She impressed with one passage of play running down the wing taking a couple of bounces burning off opponents and dishing off a handball to a teammate.

Murray:

#8 Abby Favell

She was in everything and was a real bull around the contest for Murray. She laid a couple of strong tackles and applied good pressure. Favell led up at the kicker, contested well in the air and constantly worked hard around the stoppages. She bodied up on her opponents proving she was not afraid to put her body on the line. Favell showcased her good booming kick and took an impressive intercept mark coming out of Murray’s attacking 50. She was quick in transition and went for a run but just could not get enough on the kick to score a goal. She showed great courage to take a big mark in the third quarter and worked hard both in attack and defence for the Bushrangers.

#10 Sophie Locke

Locke applied heaps of defensive pressure on the ball carrier laying some strong tackles across the ground. She was not afraid to put her body on the line and worked tirelessly to try and win the contest or extract the ball at stoppages. She impressed with her ability to read the flight of the ball and impact the contest when the ball came her way.

#19 Millie Brown

Brown showed her good evasive skills to break through the middle of the ground and kick long to her attacking 50. She was composed under pressure and used her long booming kick to push the ball forward for the Bushrangers. She had good spatial awareness and worked hard throughout the game tracking the ball well at ground level. Brown offered some good leads into space to help open up at the game for the Bushrangers.

 

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

Sandringham:

#25 Sarah Hartwig

The middle-age prospect was instrumental in her key defensive post once again, dominating the air and cutting off many of Oakleigh’s forward forays. Hartwig’s intercept and overhead marking is outstanding for a player who is not yet top-age, and she was so composed in possession when rebounding. While her hands overhead are strong, Hartwig slid for a few marks in the second half which did not quite stick, but still highlighted her superior reading of the game from behind the ball. Hartwig already looks like a complete and dynamic defender, and it will be interesting to see if she can transfer her marking ability when tried up forward.

#28 Alice Burke

Burke was again the Dragons’ key player through the midfield, showing her trademark tenacity to pry the ball clear and tackle hard in the clinches. Her crunching early tackle on the stronger Emily Harley was an example of that, as was her constant pushing forward of the ball from stoppages. Burke’s steady mark under a high ball to send the Dragons inside 50 was another good moment, and it just seemed that she played a key part in setting the tone for her side.

#30 Winnie Laing

Working in tandem with Burke and following her lead well, Laing won a good amount of ball with second efforts by following up her possessions. Another to push the ball forward from congestion, Laing had a nice clearance in the third term to enter Sandringham’s forward 50, while also taking a sharp mark in attack to set up a set shot deep when the game was in the balance.

#42 Margie Purcell

Purcell was in the mix early with some nice possessions to start the game, but somewhat faded in the second half. Positioned on her customary wing, Purcell provided a good amount of outside run and was influential between the arcs. A good overhead mark in the second term and a composed read of a high ball in the same stanza showed Purcell’s versatility, and it would be good to see her display those flashes more often.

Oakleigh:

#2 Mimi Hill

Oakleigh’s best ball winner on the day, Hill contributed a wealth of work throughout the game. She seemed to be involved in everything, taking the game on and accumulating well with clean touches around stoppages. Her hands overhead early on were impressive, as was her efficiency by foot with short kicks to teammates in space. A bursting clearance in the second term caught the eye, and Hill was unlucky overall not to have helped her team to the win.

#4 Emily Harley

The strong utility was tried in the midfield, and did well to make her presence felt in tight spaces. While she could not quite collect the ball with one touch and burst away, Harley won a good amount of contested possessions and was not deterred by being caught holding the ball in the second term. Harley looked to be learning as the game went on and did the basics well as her midfield time wore on, but was thrown into defence in the final term to add solidity to the back six. A mark in defensive 50 late on looked to be a crucial contribution, but a Sandringham goal not long after denied the Chargers a draw.

#8 Alana Porter

Porter was Oakleigh’s only multiple goalkicker, and boy were both of them impressive. Her first came in the second quarter, using her electric speed to take on and burn an opponent and finish into an open goal. Porter’s second goal was from long range, coming out of seemingly nowhere as she booted the ball from the arc and bounced it home. The speedster was dangerous around the ball, competing well and attacking it hard whenever given the opportunity. Porter also attended a heap of centre bounces in the second half, and looks a versatile type who is damaging in strong bursts.

#12 Amelia Peck

Spending a fair amount of time in the ruck, Peck won her share of hitouts and followed up well to win the ball at ground level. While she looks raw at this stage, Peck showed glimpses of her potential with a nice sliding mark in the third term and a neat kicking action to send the Chargers inside 50.

 

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

Bendigo:

#3 Elizabeth Snell

The star of the show up forward, booting 5.2 and looking dangerous whenever the ball went near her. She had a couple more chances to add to her tally, but could not quite convert, though with the blustery conditions, goals were difficult to come by as shown in the 8.15 scoreline. Snell has a great goal sense to be able to turn opponents inside out and snap the ball through the big sticks with very little time. Great composure from her inside 50.

#4 Brooke Hards

Along with Annabel Strahan, was the key playmaker behind getting the ball inside 50 to create opportunities for Snell and the other forwards. She was often winning the contested ball and extracting it out of a stoppage via handballs to teammates. She laid tackle after tackle, applying terrific defensive pressure to her opponents, and set up the first goal to Snell through a fend off and great kick to her at half-forward. Hards’ first steps out of a stoppage can burn off an opponent and she has a great first touch. Had a chance on goal herself in the second term but just missed.

#14 Annabel Strahan

Backed up last week’s impressive game with another good effort. Working with Hards in midfield, Strahan was able to keep the ball going forward and is able to sum up a situation quickly and get boot to ball under pressure. She set up a goal to Snell in the second term with a quick kick, and would often win the ball on the outside or receive the handball and pump it long inside 50. In the fourth term she had a long-range shot on goal from outside 50 but the breeze just went to the left and it bounced into the post.

#19 Jemma Finning

Did a few nice things around the ground, missing a set shot early in the game but continually went in to find the ball. She showed good core strength in the second term to handball while being tackle, and was able to kick well on the left to a leading forward. She had another good play in the final term by kicking around the body into midfield, repelling a Gippsland Power attack.

#40 Tara Slender

Did not always see much of it such was the Pioneers’ dominance early, but when required, Slender peeled off her opponent and would fill the hole in defence. She has really clean hands at ground level and was able to pick-up off the deck and kick long along the wing. Her body position one-on-one and vision to kick to a free teammate was noticeable. Considering she is a bottom-ager, she already has the game smarts of a more experience player and knows when to keep the ball live without taking possession. She is also quick to get boot to ball under pressure.

Gippsland:

#8 Chandra Abrahams

One of Gippsland’s more impressive players through the midfield, she just refused to give up, constantly attacking the ball and the ball carrier. She showed good smarts to cleverly tap the ball along the ground in the first term and was unlucky not to be paid a mark in the final term when she flew for a specky. Her long kicking was a help in the swirly conditions and even with the game out of reach, Abrahams continued to crack in hard and win the ball.

#9 Maddison Shaw

Tried hard throughout the day and her powerful kicking was on show when she was able to win the footy. Not a huge possession winner in the loss, she provided great defensive pressure and tried to kick long at every opportunity.

#12 Megan Fitzsimon

Battled hard through the midfield and half-back, attacking the ball and using quick hands under pressure. One of the better Power players on the day, she laid a number of big tackles and was mostly right at the coalface trying to get the ball out.

#13 Holly Andrews

Her defensive efforts were noticeable in a game that was highly contested at times. She had a quick gather at half-back and able to kick out of trouble in the first term, and then led up at the football along the wing in the second term, unfortunately just slipping from her grasp. Andrews was another Power player who showed a fierce attack on the ball carrier and had good second efforts, taking a good intercept mark late in the game and kicking long.

#27 Nikia Webber

It was a tough day to be a forward in these conditions, especially with how impressive the Bendigo midfield was in this match. Webber did get to show off her versatility after quarter time, playing through the midfield and even full-back.

 

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

Western:

#13 Isabella Grant

Grant put her clean hands on show, worked well with Isabelle Pritchard down back to create scoring opportunities for the Jets. Grant also caused great difficulty for the Rebels with her ability to apply constant pressure on the ball and ball carrier and some well-executed tackles through the midfield.

#17 Elisabeth Georgostathis

Georgostathis was great among the action, and seemed to be everywhere on the field. Put on her best performance in the final quarter when she showed off her two-way running ability to be constantly around the ground ball and creating opportunities up forward. Some fancy footwork and speed led to a brilliant forward 50 entry and goal assist in the final term, putting the ball in the perfect position for a strong mark in front of goal. Had a snap on goal with five minutes left in the match but registered a behind, but showed off some footy smarts in the way she wheeled around and got the ball off the boot under pressure.

#23 Isabelle Pritchard

Pritchard was one of the most influential players on the field, and was a constant buffer off half back with her readiness for every contest and ability to mark under pressure. Some great marks taken by Pritchard in the second half helped to keep the ball trapped forward to create scoring opportunities, while also demonstrating a good understanding of ball placement when running back for a goal-saving mark. Worked well with teammates to put constant pressure around stoppages off half back, and also kept the likes of Isabella Simmons from having too much on an influence on the match.

GWV:

#9 Renee Saulitis

Saulitis showed off her ability to run both ways in this match but was unfortunately unable to convert for the Rebels after a beautiful kick over the top saw her given an opportunity for a running goal in the goal square early in the first term, but hit the post for a behind. Did not have much of an opportunity to receive the ball inside 50 after the first quarter and at times was double teamed to prevent her access to the ball at stoppages.

#10 Ella Wood

Wood put her running and stamina on show with some great movement around the ground. Showed some good footy smarts with a clever punch to the advantage of a teammate at a stoppage on the wing, instinctively getting the ball out of a pocket of Jets players. Had a good understanding of where teammates were when under pressure to scoop up the ground ball and handball out of the pack, while also working well with Sophie Molan to move the ball to advantage.

#24 Sophie Molan

Molan had some really good moments early, put a great deal of pressure on the air ball and going for the mark, and really exerting some influence on the field. Spoiled some opportunities for the Jets, showing some good instincts in a pack scenario, but missed a few marks early under pressure. In the second half she showed her commitment to the footy, putting her body on the line to spoil a kick that was almost certainly an inside 50 opportunity for the Jets.

#30 Nyakoat Dojiok

Dojiok was dominant in the first half on return, showcasing her clean hands and presence around the ball off half back and causing the Jets to rethink their movement into their forward 50. Dropped a big mark inside 50 in the second quarter, but took on the ground ball with a second try at the footy, earning a ball up for her efforts and causing chaos for the Jets. Dojiok showcased her ability to read the play well defensively but needs some work moving back into attack. Some iffy decisions when it came to kicking off half-back into the forward line saw her not always kick to the advantage of teammates, meaning some forward opportunities for the Rebels turned to grappling for the ground ball. Did not take part in a chunk of the second half after limping off midway through the third term and did not take the field to start the final quarter, but eventually came back on at full forward.

 

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

Northern:

#3 Nell Morris-Dalton

Morris-Dalton just always seems to find the goals and this game was no different as the forward contributed two majors. Her vision and execution by foot up the ground was pleasing to see, but Morris-Dalton’s best traits come out inside 50 as her anticipation, positioning and goal sense all helped her snare her goals. An opportunist, Morris-Dalton’s clever dribble goal through a bit of traffic in the fourth term was the better of the two.

#14 Jess Fitzgerald

Positioned mostly on the wing, Fitzgerald comes in and out of the game with exciting passages of play, hitting the ball at speed and delivering it inside 50. Her break and pass to Ellie McKenzie in the second term was impressive, and Fitzgerald is one of the better movers in a stacked Northern side. She shows glimpses, but Fitzgerald can sharpen up her finish product in front of goal to make her a more complete and damaging outside player.

#21 Ellie McKenzie

McKenzie is such a classy player, and showed her best traits when it mattered for Northern. While she was caught holding the ball early on, McKenzie bounced back well in her customary deep forward position, snapping a classy goal on her stronger left foot and taking an impressive one-on-one overhead mark to slot another goal in the second term. McKenzie’s evasiveness while looking for options up the field was great to watch, as she summed up all the options ahead of her and used the ball cleverly going forward. Her kick to Britney Gutknecht deep inside 50 was a prime example of that, but McKenzie arguably works best as the deepest forward – highlighted by how she worked her opponent under the ball in the final term and almost snared her third. A reliable target, McKenzie looks to be converting her skills well to playing further up the ground.

#22 Britney Gutknecht

Tried again in the midfield, Gutknecht was clean early on but showed the most when she lifted after quarter time. She looked to get on the move more at stoppages, winning a clearance which led to goals from Nell Morris-Dalton and Mia Papachristos. She chimed in with a goal in the third term while resting deep forward, but was thrown back into the midfield with the game in the balance and really stood up alongside Northern’s prime movers to seal the win. While her possessions are damaging, Gutknecht also hurt Eastern with her second efforts and tackling, with a key one on Ranges star Tarni Brown capping off a good day.

#23 Gabby Newton

Newton is an out-and-out star, and seemed to be everywhere for Northern. She started well with the first clearance of the game, following up well to accumulate over the first term. A mark overhead from the kickout in the same quarter was impressive, as was her ability to keep her hands up and flick out handballs around stoppages. Perhaps the most impressive of Newton’s traits proved to be her leadership, with the Knights skipper standing up well in the second half to help her side get over the line. Spending time in the ruck, Newton palmed down well to find Britney Gutknecht on one occasion and has an unbelievable leap, but also looked more like a fourth midfielder at the centre bounces which was invaluable. A crazy good prospect, Newton’s versatility and skill makes her a close to complete player.

#32 Ash Snow

While she is not as consistent a ball-winner, Snow was a terrific competitor throughout the day and fought hard from defence. While Snow looked to have bitten of more than she could chew as she was caught by Tarni Brown early on after an attempted ‘don’t argue’, she continued to take the game on and drive the Knights forward. Snow’s burst and second efforts were important to the team’s cause, with her competitiveness an attack on the ball making her a valuable team player.

Eastern:

#21 Olivia Meagher

Meagher is a zippy type in the midfield and did well to find space around the ground. Buzzing around her opponents with good speed, Meagher is hard to miss under her helmet and her opponents clearly looked for her in open areas. Meagher often picked up the scraps well and found the ball inside 50 having spent some time in attack in the third term.

#26 Tarni Brown

Brown was one of Eastern’s best as its second-highest possession earner. A smooth mover through midfield, Brown looked every bit the natural footballer as her pedigree would suggest, while also showing smarts in her positioning. Brown’s tenacity and willingness to work hard for her disposals was good to see, but was still secondary to her class on the ball. Brown’s awareness in traffic and evasion really aided her clearance game on the weekend, and she should get Collingwood supporters excited as a potential father-daughter selection.

#39 Laura McClelland

McClelland did not win huge amounts of the ball, but was dangerous when she found it. Spending the bulk of her time up forward, McClelland was a good presence around the forward 50 arc and was one who really attracted the ball as it came in long. While she seemed to fade out of the game late, the Ranges co-captain has something about her and catches the eye when around the goals.

#46 Serena Gibbs

A prolific netballer, Gibbs was tried as a key forward and in the ruck – showing glimpses of skill conversion throughout the day. She took a nice overhead mark and looked to have judged the ball well when sitting under high kicks. As Gibbs grew into the game, she won a handy clearance from the ruck late on, and could have snared a goal with her set shot in the third term.

 

Dandenong Stingrays 4.7 (31) defeated by Geelong Falcons 7.5 (47)
By: Brandon Hutchinson

Dandenong:

#12 Molly McDonald

Remained prolific in the loss, delivering the ball effectively inside 50 and rebounding well down back. Her impact dwindled slightly from previous weeks, but she made good use of the footy and continued to utilise her supreme kicking ability. For the day she had 13 disposals, 11 kicks, four marks, four tackles, two rebounds and five inside 50s.

#26 Isabella Shannon

Shannon was arguably Dandenong’s most impactful player, zoning off well in defence and charging clean at the loose ball. She was remarkably effective at gathering the ground ball given her height and approaches her opponents with confidence, rewarded for two strong tackles in defence and ripping the ball from an opponent’s hands inside 50. Her ability to gather off Dandenong’s backline created opportunities going forward and caught plenty Geelong Falcons midfielders out of position. She finished with 13 disposals, 11 kicks, two marks, six tackles and two inside 50s.

#28 Tyanna Smith

Smith brought a real fighting spirit to the Dandenong midfield when the game started slipping from their grasp. She gathered well out of the stoppage and found space in congestion. As with last week (seven inside 50s), Smith remained pivotal in the centre, repeatedly sending the ball inside 50. In the third she was awarded a free kick after following up her smothered kick with a tackle, taking back some momentum for her side. She finished with 17 disposals, four tackles and four inside 50s.

#31 Brooke Vernon

Stood up well defensively despite a three-quarter onslaught from the Falcons. Exited well up the guts and picked her targets well. Proved reliable by foot, finishing with 11 disposals, eight kicks and two rebound 50s.

Geelong:

#8 Paige Sheppard

Alongside Tierney, Sheppard completely tore up the midfield, attacking the hard ball and breaking free from congestion. She kicked the first goal of the fourth to further their lead and led the game in inside 50s (seven). She earned two free kicks for her efforts and tied with Tierney for a game-high 22 disposals. She also accumulated two marks, seven tackles and two rebounds.

#18 Darcy Moloney

Moloney remained a tough utility for the Falcons, standing up in the win. Brought repeat efforts to the contest and cleared well from the stoppage. She was dropped in a hard tackle midway through the fourth but returned for a third effort following the head knock, assisting the footy clear. Works hard on the inside and looks comfortable in front of goals. Moloney finished with Falcon’s first goal, 18 disposals, three marks and two inside 50s.

#24 Mia Skinner

Fought hard for the contest and worked her opponent on the ball. Found a lot of the footy and was one of Geelong’s better users for the day. She kicked a goal to open the third, putting her team within five points and delivered the ball well to her forwards. She had 11 disposals on the day, nine kicks, three marks, five tackles and five inside 50s.

#38 Lucy McEvoy

A good worker on the inside, McEvoy finds the contested ball well and delivers well by hand and foot. She worked the ball carrier well and had her efforts rewarded with six strong tackles and finished among the top three for disposals (20). She also finished with three marks and four inside 50s.

#39 Renee Tierney

A powerhouse with the football, Tierney finished one of the most impactful players across both sides. Strong overhead and a good mover with the ball. She delivered well by foot and kicked the goal which put them in front for the first time in the third quarter, seeming impossible to contain once their lead increased. She also had a game-high 22 disposals with 16 kicks, seven marks, three tackles and three inside 50s.

Scouting notes: NAB League Girls – Round 3

WE attended five of the six NAB League Girls games, taking a look at some of the players raised by respective Female Talent Managers at the start of the season as those to watch. All notes are the opinion of the individual writer.

 

Sandringham Dragons vs. Calder Cannons

By: Peter Williams

 

Sandringham:

#22 Eliza McNamara

Impressed in the midfield working hard at the coalface for contested ball, and was winning a number of clearances. She had a consistent effort across the four quarters, and while it was not a flashy game, McNamara played her role, and along with Winnie Laing got the ball out to the Dragons runners on the outside.

#25 Sarah Hartwig

The standout key defender on the ground, Hartwig impressed once again with her closing speed and one-on-one ability. She laid a huge tackle in the first quarter, blindsiding her opponent and earning a free, while constantly competing in the air or at ground level. She is able to dispose of the ball laterally and had no problems putting her body on the line when required. Hartwig took a great flying intercept mark in the defensive 50 and earned a 50m penalty for her troubles, then took another great intercept mark at top speed going back with the flight in the final term.

#28 Alice Burke

The potential St Kilda father-daughter prospect had a terrific game throughout the four quarters, having her usual impact on the contest. What was particularly impressive was her defensive work, laying multiple tackles on opponents to cause turnovers or stoppages at crucial points in the game. In one instance she tackled Georgia Patrikios, forced a spilled ball and backed up by tackling Georgie Prespakis straight after. She put her body on the line and while sometimes she gave away free kicks due to her fierce nature, she continued to work hard, putting a perfect low darting ball inside 50 late in the game. Burke had a chance to goal from a tight angle on the boundary line in the third term, after a clean pick-up, but just missed. Overall a really promising performance in the midfield.

#30 Winnie Laing

Similar to McNamara, Laing worked hard around the stoppages and constantly dived on the ball and shovelled it out to teammates. While at times she can rush her disposals, Laing’s ability to extract the ball from a tight situation and get it forward to dangerous positions was quite noticeable. In one instant she got the ball forward to a teammate who won a free from a marking contest, but was unfortunately unable to convert the set shot.

#42 Marguerite Purcell

Worked well on a wing, and although her kicking at times was a little erratic, she was able to get into space and impress with her ability to move the ball. She took a number of intercept marks in midfield and showed good speed out of a stoppage to kick it forward. Had a strong first half before a quieter second half.

Calder:

#2 Felicity Theodore

Had her moments throughout the middle of the match, using her smarts to paddle the ball in front of her in the second term to keep the play alive before giving it off to Georgia Patrikios with a quick handball. She caused a free against her when running hard forward which was unlucky, but the moment her team won back possession she took off showing her high work rate. Her pressure in the forward 50 allowed the ball to spill from a tackle and for teammate Neve Crowley to boot a goal.

#21 Georgia Patrikios

Always involved, Patrikios had a mixed bag of a day. Her clean hands and ability to sidestep opponents and seemingly make time still was evident, but she uncharacteristically missed her targets by foot at times. She still had plenty of impressive passages of play however, hitting up Krstel Petrevski on the wing in the second term, and was crucial in setting up some plays late in the game, combining well with Georgie Prespakis and Felicity Theodore inside 50 to create scoring opportunities.

#31 Krstel Petrevski

One of the more impressive players in the win, Petrevski was really prominent early, kicking out of congestion to put it to Makeisha Muller‘s advantage in the first half. She pumped it in deep in the first half, and also showed quick hands out of congestion. On a number of occasions she kicked to an area where it advantaged her forwards and troubled the opposition defence. Petrevski has shown signs at times this season, but the Round 3 clash was her most consistent across four quarters thus far.

#41 Georgie Prespakis

The exciting bottom-ager spent time in midfield and defence, and was one of the biggest ball winners on the day. She showed quick thinking on the inside with slick hands, often shovelling the ball out to the likes of Georgia Patrikios. When going forward, she set up Gloria Elarmaly for a shot on goal which was unfortunately missed. She had her own chance on goal earlier in the game, and then a late set shot, but missed both opportunities. When coming out of defence, she was able to run and carry and use good skills to kick the ball forward.

 

GWV Rebels vs. Dandenong Stingrays

By: Cameron Ross

 

GWV:

#9 Renee Saultis

Tough as nails. Got cleaned up on the wing with an awful high hip and shoulder, but got straight back up and kept on going. Relatively quiet game for her lofty standards, but  was still able to get numerous inside 50s to put pressure on the Stingray’s defence.

#10 Ella Wood

She is really tough and puts her head over the ball showing she is not afraid to go in hard at the stoppages. Wood was the Rebels best midfielder, and proved that she is a contested ball winner. She showcased her football smarts throughout the game with some clever passages of play. Some of her work in the first term set her apart from the others on the field, simply due to her ability to read the play better than her opponents and teammates.

#24 Sophie Molan

It was a true captains performance, she could not have done more. Moved forward in the second quarter and looked to have single handledly brought her side back into the game. Crunched her opponent with a huge tackle in the goal square two minutes into the second quarter and converted from that opportunity, she followed that effort up minutes later with a nice set shot. Molan moved back once the Rebels started struggling, yet was still working desperately to drag her side back into it.  She worked tirelessly throughout the game to win the ball and move into good positions across the ground to create opportunities proving her value to the side. 

#32 Isabella Simmons

Had a really good first half. Her athletic ability is fantastic seeing as though she is quite tall, and proved with the amount of touches she got in the first half that she has plenty of ability. A brain fade at the end of the second quarter really hurt her confidence, and she found the second half a little more challenging not seeing the footy as well but still tried hard throughout the match. difficult. Simmons showed she has a lot of potential and with more development and exposure could be a valuable player for the Rebels.

 

Dandenong:

#12 Molly McDonald

McDonald has a booming kick. In the second quarter, she took the centre clearance, strolled out and launched from about 50. The wind got hold of it and it just faded, but it could have been goal of the year credit to her ability to strike the ball with precision. McDonald kicked 2.3 and probably had the opportunity to kick a bag of four if she was able to convert all her shots at goal. Her volley goal from the goal square sealed the Stingrays victory proving her footy smarts.

#20 Isabella Shannon

Classy player. Shannon played in many positions all over the ground, and was outstanding throughout racking up plenty of touches. She kicked a nice goal after the Rebels turned the ball over, and she finished well. Nice set shot on goal in the third and seemed to have a hand in most of the Stingrays goals in some way credit to her attacking style of play and ability to go in hard at the contest. 

#28 Tyanna Smith

Smith had so many highlights, but her best one was a silky pickup on the wing, a bounce and a long bomb to the Rebels forward 50. She had an impact all over the ground with her clean hands, quick handballs and applied plenty of pressure laying some good strong tackles. She is proving to be a talented player for Dandenong and with further game time she could develop into an even more valuable asset for her side.  

 

Northern Knights vs. Western Jets

By: Taylah Melki

 

Northern:

#6 Alyssa Bannan

Bannan displayed her good hands under pressure with clean pick-ups and a beautiful strong grab in the goal square. Her ability to read the flight of the ball allowed her to nail a good goal in the first quarter as she could get into a good scoring position and read the drop of the ball. She impressed with her good quick hands and pushed forward to create a real presence in the forward 50. Used her kicking ability to bomb it long inside the Knights attacking half and showcased her ability to hit up a target. Bannan provided a good contest in the air and with the wind behind her in the last quarter she kicked an impressive goal from about 40m out after a beautiful lead through the middle of the 50.

#18 Sarah Sansonetti

Sansonetti used her good strong kick of the footy to propel the ball out of their defensive 50. She used the ball well by foot and had good hands in close. She was not afraid to put her body on the line, laying a strong tackle to bring down her opponent. She tracked the ball well and pushed into the midfield at times, using her strength to shrug off tackles and dish off handballs. 

#21 Ellie McKenzie

McKenzie impressed with her good evasive skills, shrugging off a big tackle in the first and keeping her hands free finishing off with a good handball. She showed good spatial awareness, broke through the packs at the centre bounce and pushed forward to try and create scoring opportunities for the Knights. Even when she fumbled she recovered well, got to her feet and hit up a target showcasing her footy smarts and composure. She applied a good smother and agility to pick up the ball and dish it off out of the congestion. McKenzie highlighted her speed with a good run and bounce through the middle of the ground but will be disappointed she was unable to finish off the good piece of play. She worked hard all game both in attack and defence, opening up the middle of the ground with a good pick up and precise kick into the 50. McKenzie continued to find space throughout the game and used the footy well, creating plenty of forward thrusts for the Knights.

#22 Britney Gutknecht

The midfielder displayed her beautiful strong hands and was clean at the stoppages, able to extract the footy with ease throughout the game. She kicked an impressive long goal from about 40 out off a step going right through the middle. Gutknecht applied a strong tackle to bring her opponent to ground and trap the footy in and showed good attack on the footy. She impressed with her ability to read the flight of the ball and rode the tackles well to keep her arms free and dish off a handball. She worked hard to get in and under at the stoppages and moved into good positions around the stoppages to be that release player for the Knights.

#23 Gabby Newton

Newton impressed from the get-go racking up plenty of touches and using her footy smarts to impact the play across the ground. She attacked the footy hard and tracked the ball well at ground level. She was clean at the stoppages, composed under pressure and showed good control of the footy to hit up teammates. Newton applied her fair share of strong tackles and displayed her impressive vision to kick to a moving target. She was good off hands, read the play well, attacked the footy and impressed with her ability to read the play and get it out of congestion. The midfielder was never far from the contest and proved she was not afraid to put her body on the line, roving exceptionally well around the ball ups and reading the taps really well. She worked hard in defence as well, getting hands to ball and contesting the footy, ran hard all game and kept presenting to be an option across the ground.

 

Western Jets:

#13 Isabella Grant

Grant showcased her good hands in close and read the play well moving into strong positions across the ground. At the stoppages she flicked the ball out to her teammates and worked tirelessly to get in and win the footy. She showcased her clean hands and booming kick to help move the ball forward for the Jets.

#17 Elisabeth Georgostathis

Georgostathis attacked the ball hard and impressed with her speed across the ground. She showcased her spatial awareness to dodge players and pass off the footy with her clean hands. She highlighted her beautiful kick of the ball and worked hard in attack using her body well to out position her opponents. She competed well in the air and if she did not mark the ball she brought the ball to ground and followed up her work. Georgostathis roved the packs well and worked tirelessly all game to try and win the footy for the Jets using her quick hands and beautiful kick of the footy to find a teammate under pressure.  

#23 Isabelle Pritchard

She is a good long kick of the footy and showcased her strong hands in the contest, taking a big grab in the middle of the ground in the third quarter. Pritchard got involved across the ground, put her body on the line and was solid in the ruck winning a few taps to the advantage of her teammates. Her follow up work was impressive and used her long kick to help move the Jets forward. 

#25 Cleo Saxon-Jones

Saxon-Jones showcased her kicking ability with a long piercing kick into the forward 50. She displayed her strong hands taking a couple of big marks. Saxon-Jones impressed with her quick hands and good footy smarts to dish off a handball to a teammate in a better position. When in the ruck she won a few taps and read the flight of the ball well.

 

Geelong Falcons vs. Bendigo Pioneers

By: Michael Alvaro

Geelong:

#1 Elise Vella

The diminutive forward returned for another outstanding display of forward pressure and nous around goal, buzzing around the Falcons’ 50 to make a solid impact on proceedings. Her ability to bring the ball up from ground level is invaluable, and combined with her tackling often presents Geelong with scoring opportunities. Vella booted the only goal of the third term on the back of some slick twists and turns, but was influential throughout the day.

#12 Laura Gardiner

Arguably her side’s best, Gardiner looked slick from the get-go with some smooth side-steps and a knack for taking opponents on successfully. She showed her ability to break away from opponents with strong bursts, and pushed her side forward with real intent across the game. Gardiner’s running ability also allowed her to find space in the forward half and create clear-cut chances, much like the passage for Renee Tierney’s second quarter goal. A particular highlight was her sensational intercept mark in the third term, capping a ripping performance.

#18 Darcy Moloney

Moloney cracked in hard and showed a willingness for the contest – both at ground level and with an impressive second quarter overhead mark. She has a good leap which boded well for her aerial impact, and often kicked long to be one of many Falcons to provide some serious drive. Moloney’s smother in the fourth quarter was a fitting finish to a hard-fought shift.

#21 Abbey Chapman

Chapman did not have much to do in the first three quarters, but was solid as usual at full-back when the ball came her way. Pressing off from deep in defensive 50, Chapman did well to cut off many of Bendigo’s forward forays and push the ball back the other way, making her a key part of keeping Bendigo goalless for three quarters. She went forward in the closing term and bagged a goal deep inside 50, while also leading up well in that time.

#24 Mia Skinner

The dangerous forward went one better on her three-goal effort last time out, snagging her fourth goal in the final term to cap off an exciting display of offence. Employed both deep and in her usual high half forward role, Skinner made good use of quick-fire opportunities to snap on goal and was clinical in her finishing for the most part. She just seems to find space so easily and is always in the contest when the ball arrives in Geelong’s attacking half.

#38 Lucy McEvoy

While the skipper was followed almost everywhere by Bendigo’s Brooke Hards, she still managed to find a heap of the ball in all areas of the ground. Starting at the first centre bounce, McEvoy looked on track to continue her good form in midfield, but did not quite have the same damaging effect with her disposals. Many of her better touches were handballs from in-close and she found teammates often, which has been a pleasing feature of her game. She later moved forward, and then seemed to cover for Abbey Chapman down back later on and was solid.

#39 Renee Tierney

While she still managed to hit the scoreboard, Tierney was made to earn it throughout the day by star Bendigo defender Katie Douglass. She showed good signs at ground level and looked better when working into space on leads, rather than competing one-on-one. Still, her goal came from a mark deep inside the 50 in the second term, and she provided a nice assist to Laura Ryan later on to see out her game.

 

Bendigo:

#4 Brooke Hards

Started off in her usual midfield position and provided some good tackling presence. An early tackle on Lucy McEvoy was a sign of things to come, as Hards competed well with the Geelong skipper at most contests, while also following her to both ends of the ground. Hards was still able to showcase her dash from stoppages and won some eye-catching clearances while zipping around the packs. Was named Bendigo’s best for the day.

#28 Eloise Gretgrix

The Pioneers captain joined Hards in the midfield as expected and competed hard to set the tone for her side. She is not afraid to crack in at the stoppages, and showed her competitiveness in the third quarter with some tough efforts. Also showed strong hands against two opponents in the second when Bendigo were under the pump.

#36 Katie Douglass

Despite the Pioneers leaking nine goals, Douglass was a star down back all day and had some ultra impressive moments. Matched against Renee Tierney deep in defence for most of the day, Douglass reeled in some fantastic one-on-one marks under pressure, while also staying composed in traffic when moving the ball out with her booming left foot. She pushed hard at the ball when it came in at ground level, while also affecting spoils and smothers when the ball was otherwise in dispute. A good shift from the defender overall on a tough day for the Pios.

#40 Tara Slender

While Slender struggled at times to hold a rampant Geelong side at bay, she looked to improve in the second half with a couple of really nice overhead marks and intercepts. That is clearly a key part of her game, and is usually an eye-catching feature of her back-half partnership with Katie Douglass. Slender has plenty of time to work on her promising traits too, set for another two years in the NAB League system.

#44 Jordyn Jolliffe

The over-ager started up forward and took a nice one-on-one mark early on. Not afraid to use her body in the contest, Jolliffe tried to burst away with the ball and was even employed at times at the centre bounces. She made good on that move too with a couple of clearances.

 

Murray Bushrangers vs. Gippsland Power

By: Peter Williams

Murray:

#8 Abby Favell

A prominent midfielder on the day, the noticeable trait about Favell is her ability to somehow find space around the ground. She would often take an uncontested mark after working hard to push into open space, and then kick long inside 50. As a whole she was reliable by hand or foot and also worked hard back into defence on occasions and was able to find the ball. Overall, she was one of the more prominent players on the day and in a match without standouts, a lot of the Bushrangers shared the load and she was one of those who stood tall in the win.

#19 Millie Brown

Just did her thing around the ground and contributed through the midfield. She won a fair chunk of contested ball, and got involved early with some important touches. Brown was able to display good core strength to dispose of the ball while being tackled, and she moved well through traffic to dish off to teammates.

#10 Sophie Locke

Another Bushrangers midfielder who shared the load around, and was best on the defensive side of things, laying a number of big tackles on opponents to stop them in their tracks. Locke is strong one-on-one and gained distance going forward. Putting together a few solid performances thus far this season, and provided some strong inside ability for the Bushrangers against Gippsland.

#45 Olivia Barber

The Bushrangers’ best player on the day, Barber could have had a real day out in front of goal had she not missed a couple opportunities. But in the first half she looked the most damaging on the field, and then was rewarded for her hard work in the second half by converting a couple of goals to seal the win. Barber continually presented at the ball, and would more often than not mark the ball, or if not, bring it to ground. She showed what she was capable of with her leading and marking, and will be one to watch over the course of the next two seasons.

 

Gippsland:

#8 Chandra Abrahams

Abrahams contested strongly around the ground, playing through the midfield and always providing a target for defenders to kick to. She went up for a series of marks, and while she couldn’t bring one down, was providing an aerial contest to force opponents to go with her. At ground level, she was fierce with her tackling, defensive pressure and one percenters, indirectly forcing some turnovers. Abrahams also had a desperate smothering attempt in the first term and a great smother in the second term. While statistically her numbers would not be huge, the work she did off the ball was what was impressive.

#9 Maddison Shaw

One of a number of Gippsland defenders who stood tall in defeat, constantly stemming the flow and rebounding the ball out of the back half. Shaw showed great leadership off half-back and was able to dispose of the ball by foot under pressure, getting it out of the danger zone and up to the wing. When required, Shaw pushed up the ground to add an extra number to the contest and copped a foot to the face in the third term but shook it off to continue and continued to be involved in the play.

#27 Nikia Webber

A quieter game from Webber, but she still showed patches of strong play, laying a number of tackles and pushing up the ground to bomb the ball long inside 50. She pushed up the ground to help out her teammates, and missed a shot on goal in the third term. Took a couple of strong marks around the ground as well.

 

In the other game at Healesville, Eastern Ranges won by a goal over Oakleigh and here’s how some of the notable players performed on the day:

Eastern:

#21 Olivia Meagher – 18 disposals, one mark, two tackles, two inside 50s, one rebound

#26 Tarni Brown – 21 disposals, five marks, five tackles, three inside 50s, one rebound

#39 Laura McClelland – 10 disposals, one mark, one tackle, two inside 50s, one goal

#46 Serena Gibbs – 11 disposals, four marks, 15 hitouts, three inside 50s

Oakleigh:

#1 Gemma Lagioia – 17 disposals, one mark, one tackle, four inside 50s

#2 Mimi Hill – 19 disposals, two marks, five tackles, four rebounds

#4 Emily Harley – 14 disposals, one mark, three tackles, one inside 50, one rebound, one goal

NAB League Girls weekend preview: Round 3

ROUND 3 of the NAB League Under 18 Girls competition has arrived, and with it comes another weekend of intense footy across the board. In such a short season every win matters, so every game is on the line once again as teams settle into their lists and leaders emerge.

SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS v. CALDER CANNONS

Round 3 – 23/03/19
9:30am
Trevor Barker Oval

Sandringham is in for another tough week as they take on the Calder Cannons, who are sitting in second on the ladder after two convincing wins in as many weeks. Calder will look to star bottom-ager, Georgie Prespakis again this week, after she picked up 22 disposals and kicked seven goals last week against Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels. Sandringham’s Alice Burke had a solid game through the midfield in Round 2, racking up 20 disposals and 11 tackles in the Dragons’ loss to Dandenong, making her the perfect candidate to lead the charge against the Cannons’ dominant midfield. Burke was matched by fellow mid, Eliza McNamara in her disposal tally, winning plenty of contested ball and creating clearances, while Marguerite Purcell along the wing proved her effectiveness in the first half last round, before a quieter second half lowered her influence on the match. The trio will have to watch out for Cannons midfielder, Georgia Patrikios (21 disposals, seven inside 50s), who who performed well as she returned to the side last week, while Gloria Elarmaly (nine tackles, 14 disposals) and Alana Barba (six tackles, two rebounds) both showed some good signs through the midfield and will certainly make it difficult for the Dragons to penetrate the forward 50.

GREATER WESTERN VICTORIA REBELS v. DANDENONG STINGRAYS

Round 3 – 23/03/19
11:15am
Mars Stadium, Ballarat

Round 3 will see a battle for control of the middle of the ladder as both GWV Rebels and Dandenong come into this match sitting on a win and a loss apiece. Only percentage separates the sides, so it will be a big match to determine ladder positions in such a short season. Sophie Molan worked tirelessly through the middle, racking up 24 touches for her efforts extracting the ball to create clearances, while Ella Wood was impressive throughout against the Cannons. Dandenong showed the depth of their forward line last round, with five individual goalkickers making their mark on the match, while defender, Zoe Hill will be key down back to reduce the impact of the Rebels up forward. Isabella Shannon was a tackling machine through the midfield, racking up 12 tackles to go with her team high 18 disposals. Reducing the wealth of the Stingrays’ goalkicking options will be key for the Rebels’ success, while the midfield battle is sure to be one to watch.

NORTHERN KNIGHTS v. WESTERN JETS

Round 3 – 23/03/19
12:00pm
RAMS Arena, Craigieburn

Last year’s grand finalists, Northern will come into Round 3 off the back of a draw to Oakleigh, so are sure to be raring to go against their Western counterparts, likely to pull out all the stops against the Jets, who are sitting winless in tenth. The Knights will hope for big games again from Ellie McKenzie and Alyssa Bannan, who had mirrored efforts in Round 2 with five inside 50s and kicked two goals apiece, while a shared tackling effort around the ground saw Jess Fitzgerald rack up nine, with six other Knights picking up five or more tackles each. With strengths across the field, Northern will be hard to stop once they get going, and have the ability to run over their opposition. Despite difficulty taking advantage of opportunities in the forward 50 last round against Murray, the Jets had some standout players in Elisabeth Georgostathis (28 disposals, seven rebound 50s) and Isabella Grant (19 disposals, six marks), both players who have the ability to run amok if given the opportunity.

MURRAY BUSHRANGERS v. GIPPSLAND POWER

Round 3 – 24/03/19
11:15am
RAMS Arena, Craigieburn

Sunday’s opening match will be a lower ladder brawl, seeing ninth placed Murray Bushrangers host bottom of the ladder, Gippsland Power. Murray had three players hit 20 disposals in Round 2, with Abby Favell the main culprit with 21 disposals and five marks. Zali Spencer and Millie Brown were also pivotal through the midfield, while Sophie Locke and Mikaela Trethowan dominated the tackles with eight apiece. Gippsland will need to outplay the Bushrangers’ midfield to ensure a second win on the trot, a role that will see players the likes of Nikia Webber and Chandra Abrahams put to the task. Webber racked up eight tackles and 15 disposals last round while Abrahams had a quieter match compared to her impressive Round 1 performance, but the pair are likely to put forward a strong performance against a relatively even midfield counterpart in the Bushrangers.

EASTERN RANGES v. OAKLEIGH CHARGERS

Round 3 – 24/03/19
12:00pm
Healesville Football Ground

The Eastern Ranges will host Oakleigh Chargers at midday in a match that will see ball magnets combine for an intense and relentless pressure filled contest. Eastern endured a loss in a low scoring affair against the Bendigo Pioneers last round while Oakleigh suffered a draw against Northern, so both sides will be raring for a hard and tough contest to get the four points. Tess Flintoff flexed her muscles last round, dominating the midfield with 23 touches, 11 marks and nine inside 50s, however didn’t have many opportunities or options forward to capitalise on her efforts. Tarni Brown paired well, laying a game-high eight tackles to go with her 17 disposals and four inside 50s. Flintoff and Brown will want to back up their strong performance against the Chargers, but the strength of Oakleigh’s composure with the footy is likely to get them over the line this week. Mimi Hill’s ability to clear the ball out from stoppages on her way to 17 disposals was key in last week’s match against Northern, while Amelia Van Oosterwijck’s ability to layer intensity and pressure on ball movers allowed her to notch up 10 tackles, topping her nine touches. Meanwhile, Emily Harley will want to keep her successful start to the season going, with seven goals over the first two rounds proving her strength in front of goal, meaning Eastern will have to ensure their defence is top notch.

GEELONG FALCONS v. BENDIGO PIONEERS

Round 3 – 24/03/19
1:00pm
Deakin University, Geelong

Geelong is back in top spot this week after a convincing Round 2 win over Eastern, settling back comfortably into where they sat for majority of season 2018. Lucy McEvoy’s fine 2018 form has continued into this season, racking up 26 disposals, six marks, six tackles and a goal, while Darcy Moloney and Paige Sheppard combined for 41 disposals and 14 inside 50s. The Falcons’ ball movers are backed up by two players who kicked a bag of goals apiece, the likes of Mia Skinner (three goals and eight tackles) and Renee Tierney (four goals, 15 disposals), while four other individual goalkickers last round just goes to show the extent of Geelong’s strength forward. A team effort across the board got the Pioneers the four points last week, with a smattering of players contributing through the midfield to create opportunities forward. Brooke Hards (17 disposals, five tackers) and key defender, Tara Slender (16 disposals, seven rebounds) combined well, with Slender currently top of the leaderboard for rebounds and likely to line-up on Geelong’s Skinner to try and reduce her impact forward. Fellow defender, Kate Douglass is likely to line up against Tierney. Bendigo will need to be at its best, but have shown some terrific competitiveness and will look to match the benchmark in the competition.

Scouting notes: NAB League Girls – Round 2

ROUND 2 of the NAB League Girls competition played out on the weekend, and we were at four of the six games taking a look at the players highlighted by respective talent managers as ones to watch throughout the season and beyond. For the two games we did not get to, we recapped how some of the players performed statistically for the sides.

 

GWV Rebels vs. Calder Cannons

By: Peter Williams

GWV:

#9 Renee Saulitis

Started in attack opposed to Georgie Prespakis, and kicked a great goal in the last minute of the term. She showed great game smarts to toe tap the ball to her advantage, then get the right spin on it to kick it off the ground, and for it to dribble around the goal post for the Rebels’ first major of the day, from a tight angle. Saulitis pushed further up the ground as the game went on and played through the midfield, even winning possession at half-back and kicking cleanly to the wing. She did get bumped off the ball a little too easy in a marking contest, but once the ball hits the ground, she is in her element.

#10 Ella Wood

Impressive game through the midfield, especially early on when the game was even. Her kicking inside 50 was very solid and set up Renee Saulitis for a mark, and continued to relentlessly attack the ball throughout the match. In the second term she had two instances of great courage where she flew back into a marking contest, then if she got knocked down, got straight up again. She worked hard around the ground and presented as an option from kick-ins, and a perfect representation of her second efforts was when her kick was smothered in defence, she followed up to lay a tackle on her opponent and force a throw-in.

#24 Sophie Molan

A big game for the tireless leader who had the ball on a string for a lot of hte day. Her clearance work in particular stood out, and she won a number of free kicks for being held around the stoppages. Molan spent time at full-forward, but was most effective when in the middle extracting the ball from the coal face. She regularly put her body on the line and moved well in tight, showing great vision and football IQ in one instance to handball clear to a teammate while under pressure. Her second efrorrts in attack saw her lay a big tackle, win a free kick for holding the ball then Molan played on and kicked a great goal.

#35 Maggie Caris

A promising game from the developing ruck, who won a bit of the football around the ground as well as dominating in the ruck. She won countless hitouts, and was able to extract a ball from traffic inside 50 and kick it deep in the forward line. Caris’ standout feature is her clean hitout ability, able to get a full hand to the ball such is her height and leap ability over her opponents.

Calder:

#2 Felicity Theodore

A terrific game from the Cannons mid/forward who just got better as the game went on. While Georgie Prespakis’ name was the one to be thrown around for her seven goals, Theodore was the clear second best with some huge efforts, including multiple goal assists to Prespakis, and kicking a goal of her own. She had other chances as well but just missed out on converting late in the game. The piece of play that best exemplified her impact was where she won the ball inside 50 in the third term, but insitead of blazing away and only looking for the goals, lowered the eyes and put it to Prespakis’ advantage. She combined immediately after with a similar play, bursting out of a stoppage to pop it up above Prespakis who marked and goaled again.

#21 Georgia Patrikios

Back into the team after Round 1, Patrikios was used sparingly early, starting on the bench in the first and second terms, and then rotating across the ground on the grandstand side. She played on the outside to use her skills to advantage. Patrikios has that ability to make time stop and can turn opponents inside out and seemingly casually side step them without too much trouble. Her vision and skill execution was impressive and came as no surprise, and with a game under her belt, she will be better going forward.

#41 Georgie Prespakis

Seven goals in the second half, a match winning performance. There is not much you can say about her performance other than dominance when at full-forward. She is strong and clean in the air, quick at ground level and has an innate goal sense when to go and when to pass. She remarkably started in defence on Renee Saulitis in the first term, moved into the middle in the second, then played out of the goalsquare in the last half. Prespakis has a powerful kick and once she has front position in a marking contest, it is hard to stop her. Of her seven goals, most came from set shots, but she produced a few tricks, including one where she was being dragged down by a couple of opponents and she managed to get a kick away between a couple more for it to go in, as well as her next one where she was corralled into the boundary, but had the speed to take on her opponent run around and kick into the open goal. Prespakis had a couple of opportunities late in the game to break the record and kick a couple more goals, but seeing her teammates with the ball were in better positions, she just pointed to the goals and let her teammates get on the board.

 

Northern Knights vs. Oakleigh Chargers

By: Taylah Melki

Northern Knights:

#6 Alyssa Bannan

Bannan showed a good ability to get boot to ball and helped to propel the footy forward on multiple occasions throughout the game. She worked hard at the stoppages and displayed her strong marking ability in the 50. She provided plenty of good leads and opened up space. She impressed in one passage of play where she was taken in a tackle and stood strong while getting dragged down to throw the ball on her boot and kick into the Knights forward 50. She protected the drop of the ball and showcased her good footy smarts to read the play and get into a good position. Kicked a good goal in the third after breaking away from the pack and nailing the shot.

#18 Sarah Sansonetti

Sansonetti proved that she could read the flight of the ball well and contested hard in the air. She showed good attack on the footy and worked hard throughout the game to get to the contest and compete. Her tackling pressure was second to none bringing players to ground and hunting them to win the footy. She also displayed good spatial awareness to kick the ball into space and move the ball out of defence to a more attacking position for her side.

#21 Ellie McKenzie

She applied plenty of good strong tackles and chased hard throughout the game to try and win the ball back for her side. McKenzie attacked the footy hard and dished it off with clever passes to teammates in better positions. She showcased her strong marking skills and ability to read the play. McKenzie impressed in the last quarter credit to her good dash away from the pack to break into space and kick an important goal and then backed it up with another stellar goal from a difficult angle to get her side back on an even playing field. She showed great spatial awareness to pass off to teammates and know when to run herself and offered strong leads through the centre.

#22 Britney Gutknecht

Gutknecht was once again solid showcasing her good hands in the contest to work the ball out of stoppages and pass off to teammates. She showcased her strength while getting tackled to keep her arms free and dish to footy off while she also impressed with her acceleration and ability to break out of the centre bounce. She provided good attacking play had clean hands and ran hard continuously to get to the contest. Gutknecht also provided good link-up play through the middle of the ground thanks to her footy smarts and spatial awareness.

#23 Gabby Newton

Newton showed good spatial awareness and was composed with ball in hand even while under pressure. She used the footy well to move the ball forward and showcased her strong hands taking some solid marks across the ground. Her general football awareness was impressive and she applied good defensive pressure to worry opponents out of the kick.

#32 Ashleigh Snow

Snow applied good pressure across the field and worked hard to get to the contest. She tackled well on multiple occasions and used her beautiful kick into the forward 50 showcasing her pinpoint precision. Her good vision and acceleration was also a key part in her game and she racked up plenty of timely touches.

 

Oakleigh Chargers:

#1 Gemma Lagioia

Lagioia impressed with her follow up work across the ground especially in the forward half to try and trap the footy in the Chargers’ attacking 50. She also showcased her clever use of the footy with timely kicks to teammates and into space. She did the one percenters well chasing hard and applying pressure.

#2 Mimi Hill

Hill was strong around the contest and worked hard to try and win the footy leading the way for her side in possessions. She used her acceleration and clever kicks to push the ball forward and set up attacking bursts for the Chargers. She used her defensive pressure to try and trap the footy and was good around the stoppages extracting the footy. Her clever handballs out of traffic were efficient and allowed her teammates to run into space.

#4 Emily Harley

Harley was a real presence up forward for the Chargers with her long booming kick and good positioning in front of goals. She helped to push forward and create scoring opportunities for her teammates. She took plenty of strong contested marks and showed a good ability to read the flight of the ball. Harley impressed in the second quarter taking a strong contested mark just outside the goal square and slotting a good goal to finish off the play. She was not afraid to put her body on the line going in hard at the contest. Harley took another big mark just inside the 50 and bombed a long goal finishing the game with three majors.

#8 Alana Porter

Porter used her clever kicks to get the ball into space and showed good attack on the footy across the ground. She worked hard at the clearances to win the footy and pushed hard into the forward 50 to try and create some attacking play. Porter reads the play well, breaks away from the packs and is a good strong kick of the footy.

 

Geelong Falcons vs. Gippsland Power

By: Michael Alvaro

Geelong:

#1 Elise Vella

The bite-sized forward competed well and did contributed some really neat touches throughout the game. A courageous mark going back with the flight of the ball in the second term was a highlight, with Vella hanging on and bouncing straight back up despite a copping a tremendous knock from behind. Her tackling was also willing, and she provided some good balls inside 50.

#8 Paige Sheppard
Sheppard was close to, if not the Falcons’ best on the day, winning a wealth of the ball through the midfield. Sheppard terrific coming out of congestion and provided nice forward bursts. Her repeated ground ball gets and long kicks forward were a feature, but she truly did it all across the match.

#12 Laura Gardiner
Assuming her usual positon on the wing, Gardiner looked to take the game on and was usually clean in doing so. She showed good awareness on the last line of defence to clean up after a fumble, but was more often seen between the arcs. She capped off her day with a nice running goal in the third term – the only one scored in the quarter.

#18 Darcy Moloney
The midfielder has a good step, and used it to move around opponents when looking to break forward. She was effective by foot going inside 50, and constantly finished off runs with long kicks. Like Sheppard, she also finished off her solid display with a goal late on.

#21 Abbey Chapman
While the defence as a whole would be disappointed in letting a couple of late goals through, Chapman was solid as a rock inside defensive 50. She copped a knock in the second quarter, but bounced back well to affect a number of intercept marks and shut down many Gippsland attacks. Entrusted with the kick-outs, Chapman spent a good amount of time deep, while also moving towards the arc to cut off Gippsland’s forays.

#38 Lucy McEvoy
The star Falcon had another day out, putting in a complete shift and looking a class above at times. Utilised at the centre bounces for most of the game, McEvoy showcased her outstanding decision making at the stoppages with clean hands and neat vision to bring her teammates into the contest. Her kicking game was also typically strong, with a particular shot from 50-out hitting the post. McEvoy also tended to play a kick off the ball when it was inside the Falcons’ 50, providing a wall and relentlessly pumping the ball back in, while also being the primary kick-in target. A solid game was capped again by her final quarter goal, which she snared off a Renee Tierney kick and booted into an open goal.

#39 Renee Tierney
Together with Skinner, Tierney was the lead player up forward for Geelong and claimed four of their seven first half goals. Showing good awareness and a deft finishing touch, Tierney took full advantage of the space afforded to her inside 50. Her clever dribble goal through traffic in the second term was a highlight, and she could well have finished with five or six goals had she not missed a couple early.

Gippsland:

#8 Chandra Abrahams
The midfielder battled hard all day against a slick Geelong engine room, attending most of the stoppages and anchoring the centre bounces. Opposed to Lucy McEvoy at times, Abrahams had a good crack and won some nice clearances. Her effort against two opponents to see the ball out in the second term was a good example of her combativeness on the day.

#9 Maddi Shaw
Shaw is a leader in the Gippsland defence and despite a difficult day, she made a solid contribution. She had a good one-on-one win on defensive wing early on, and showed her potential in patches. A strong marking attempt against two Falcons in the final term with the game all but over was impressive, and Shaw has a decent boot when allowed space to use it.

#27 Nikia Webber
While Webber was arguably her side’s best, she found the going tough early on starting at centre half-forward. She pushed up the ground to find more of the ball and provide a target to link inside 50, but Geelong hardly gave her an inch when she went near it. Her marking game was solid, and a 55-metre set shot on goal turned into an assist for the Power’s first goal of the game in the final term. A run through the midfield in the second half looked to lift the Power slightly, and she fought well in the clinches.

 

Sandringham Dragons vs. Dandenong Stingrays

By: Peter Williams

Sandringham:

#2 Sophia Rothfield

Presented throughout playing forward, getting on the end of a kick inside 50 from Bryanna Arnold and converting the set shot. It would be the Dragons’ only major of the game, but Rothfield continued to cause headaches up forward for her opposition with some powerful marks. She took a great contested grab in the second term, and put her body on the line time ad time again. Rothfield had an opportunity in the final quarter for a second goal, but missed the snap.

#25 Sarah Hartwig

Played in front of her opponent most of the day and backs herself in to go for marks rather than spoils. Hartwig is clean at ground level and is able to pick up the ball at top speed and take off, which she did in the second term when she scooped up the ball on the run, fended off an opponent and kicked straight down the middle. Later on she showed her second efforts, laying a big tackle after dropping an intercept mark, to win back possession for her side. She won a free kick for a huge run-down takccle in the final term.

#28 Alice Burke

A big first half around the stoppages and her defensive pressure was very good. She is able to win the contested ball and just get enough separation to move laterally or forward to kick long. Early in the game she showed the perfect way to use your body at a stoppage, getting a low centre of gravity, protecting herself as well as the ball at ground level and buying herself time to dispose of the ball to a teammate while having the space to get rid of it if tackled. In the third term she drifted into defence on a number of occations and showed clean hands and quick disposal, as well as a lovely technique coming out of defence to the wing. A big tackle on Tyanna Smith in the final term allowed a teammate to have a long shot on goal form the subsequent spillage.

#30 Winnie Laing

Worked hard throughout the four quarters and constantly put her body on the line. Along with Alice Burke and Eliza McNamara, Laing won plenty of contested ball and clearances, even if it was just a deft tap or bump off the ball to allow a .teammate to take possession. Laing plays with fierce intend and won a few free kicks, including one in the first term for too high, but her set shot missed to the left.

#42 Marguerite Purcell

Impressive game along the wing as she has that balance between athletic capabilities and hardness at the ball and ball carrier. She roamed between the arcs and has a long, dangerous kick going inside. Purcell had a big impact in the first half and took a good intercept mark outside 50 to then send the ball back inside. A quieter second half, but she had a chance in the final quarter running into goal, but rushed a little and missed the shot on goal.

Dandenong:

#12 Molly McDonald

The captain returned for the Round 2 game and after a quieter first half, started to have a massive impact in the second term. She played on a wing and did not take a backwards step, covering the ground with ease and crashing into marking contests to impact at every chance she got. McDonald laid some big tackles and had a few chances on goal but rued missed opportunities. One went out on the full and the St Kilda recruit berating herself for the missed chance, another was on target from long range but was touched on the line. Her work rate is an obvious advantage and despite it being her first game back this year in competition, she fitted in well.

#26 Isabella Shannon

A tackling machine. Shannon played through the midfield and up forward, and her work on the ball was very good, putting her body on the line and also able to shrug off opponents with ease. Shannon has great core strength ad is able to move well when under pressure, and has a fierce attack on the ball. In one instance in the third term, Shannon was outnumbered one against two on a . forward flank, and laid a huge tackle to trap the ball and force a stoppage. She missed a chance lain the same term from long range, but then kicked the final goal in the final term to put the nail in the coffin.

#28 Tyanna Smith

The bottom-ager had another impressive game through midfield and was able to find space at times to not only hurt her opponents on the inside, but also on the outside. She loves to win the contested ball, but on a couple of occasions got free and took off, with a ‘wow’ moment in the second term, bursting off half-back and running all the way to half-forward, but just pulled the kick a little to the left. Luckily the ball spilt and the Stingrays were able to create a goal out of the opportunity. While on some occasions she was caught, you had to admire the way she attempted to continually break the game open. In the final term she set up the final goal to Isabella Shannon with great vision in the pocket to spot up her teammate and put it to her advantage rather than blazing away.

#31 Brooke Vernon

The defender found herself uncharacteristically in the goalsquare in term one after back-to-back 50-metre penalties and an easy conversion in front of goal. The major was the first of the game, and then Vernon played a solid game in the back 50. She took a great contested mark in the goal square to save a certain goal in the opening term. Often tasked with the kick-in duties, Vernon is a long, accurate kick of the ball and always provided a contest. Finished with a handful of rebounds and a solid four quarter performance.

#51 Zoe Hill

The reliable defender did her job once again, especially under fire in the final term. She did not win a heap of the ball, but when in possession, Hill is calm and composed under pressure and is able to dispose of it cleanly. She forced a rushed behind in the final term and has an ability to get a clean first in one-on-one. Earlier in the game she showed great closing speed and was able to spoil an opponent when at top speed.

 

In other games, here’s how some of the ones to watch played:

Bendigo Pioneers vs. Eastern Ranges

Brooke Hards had 17 disposals, two marks, three inside 50s, three rebounds and five tackles, while key defender, Tara Slender amassed an equal round-high seven rebounds to go with her 16 disposals, four marks and three tackles, and Eloise Gretgrix worked hard defensively for 13 touches, four marks and six rebounds. For Eastern, Tarni Brown also collected 17 disposals and had four inside 50s while laying a game-high eight tackles, Laura McClelland also found plenty of hte ball with 15 disposals, five inside 50s and six tackles, while Olivia Meagher had 16 disposals, three marks, four tackles and six inside 50s.

Murray Bushrangers vs. Western Jets

The standout performer from the match was Western’s Elisabeth Georgostathis who racked up 28 disposals – 22 kicks – two marks, five inside 50s and seven rebounds, while Abby Favell was impressive with 21 touches, five marks, four inside 50s, three rebounds and three tackles. Potential father-daughter selections, Millie Brown and Isabella Grant were impressive with Brown (20 disposals, two marks, three tackles, four inside 50s and two rebounds) and Grant (19 disposals, six marks and three inside 50s) playing important roles through midfield. Cleo Saxon-Jones was ever present with 18 touches and four marks for the Jets, while Sophie Locke (14 disposals, eight inside 50s) and Olivia Barber (13 disposals, four marks and a goal) were also good for the Bushrangers.

Scouting notes: NAB League Girls – Round 1

IN the opening round of the NAB League Girls season, our writers took a look at all six games and some of the players that the respective Female Talent Managers regarded as ones to watch throughout the season. All notes are opinion-based on the individual writer.

Calder Cannons vs. Western Jets


Calder:

By: Peter Williams

#2 Felicity Theodore

The small midfielder with good pace continually cracked in hard throughout the game. Her hard effort was best exemplified by her mark in the third term, going back with the flight with pressure coming from behind. She showed good core strength and smarts at times to keep the ball in front of her, whether by paddling along the ground, or getting it to a teammate in a better position. She showed clean hands throughout the contest and won a fair chunk of the ball early in the final term, perhaps the next step is more penetration on kicks. Overall a hardworking performance.

#11 Alana Barba

Had a few nice plays with a quick handball off the deck to Makeisha Muller in the second term to create a scoring opportunity, as well as a good kick to a teammate’s advance. In the final quarter, Barba created some run off half-back and cleanly handballed to Theodore.

#22 Makeisha Muller

Muller made things happen up forward, and while she hit and miss when going for goal – rushed at times – she had some eye-opening moments. After missing a snap on goal in the second term, Muller had another chance moments later with a shot sailing through using the breeze perfectly. She continued to present throughout the contest and almost had another goal but it was rushed across the line by an opponent.

#41 Georgie Prespakis

The standout best on ground, it is hard to believe Prespakis is yet to turn 16 years of age. Much like her sister Madison, some of the things she does cannot be ignored. The way she positions herself at stoppages and moves through traffic is a highlight and she has a booming kick that is used to put opposition defenders under pressure by putting it deep inside 50. Prespakis moves well and has good composure and made what was one of the goals of the day look simple. She won the ball, turned, shrugged off an opponent and snapped one home. She is a natural kick of the football and also worked back defensively to take an uncontested mark in defence later in the game. Prespakis had a chance for a second goal but missed to the left.

Western:

By: Taylah Melki

#13 Isabella Grant

Beautiful evasive skills to work her way through traffic and kick a goal in the first quarter. She broke a few tackles throughout the game and showed good spatial awareness. Grant ran hard both offensively and defensively and contested well both in the air and at ground level to win the ball back for her side. Had a really good passage of play where she worked her player inside and out to shrug off a tackle and try and kick to a teammate highlighting her impressive footy IQ.

# 17 Elisabeth Georgostathis

Georgostathis impressed with her speed and ability to opens up space across the ground. She provided plenty of good forward momentum with her clever use of the ball to hit up teammates cleanly. She showcased her good evasive skills, sidestepping opponents with ease and was calm solid under pressure highlighting her ability to think her way through tricky situations. The midfielder got her hands to plenty of the ball, proving how deadly she can be with ball in hand. She was really good in the contest and displayed her footy smarts throughout the game with her clever kicks to her teammates advantage. Georgostathis was not afraid to break out of packs, extracted the ball cleanly from congestion, read the play well and constantly got involved in the passage of play. She hunted both the ball and player throughout the game, laid good strong tackles. In the final term of the match she took an impressive contested mark against two opponents, proving to be a real playmaker for her side credit to her skill and commitment.

#23 Isabelle Pritchard

Pritchard went in hard for the ball all game and worked tirelessly at the contest. She had quick hands, was good in close, and used her strong kick to try and clear congestion. At times, she could improve her composure, but she had moments of brilliance especially in the last quarter where she laid a goal saving tackle, lunging to stop her Calder Cannons opponent from scoring. Pritchard applied good defensive pressure throughout the match.

#25 Cleo Saxon-Jones

She took a good strong mark in the first quarter and used her long booming kick to help set up play in the forward half on more than one occasion. Saxon-Jones provided a good option in the attacking 50, contested hard to win the footy both in the air and on the ground and cleared the ball well throughout the course of the game.

Bendigo Pioneers vs. Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels

Bendigo:

By: Peter Williams

#4 Brooke Hards

One of Bendigo’s best, Hards did not take a backwards step. Occasionally she would be pinged for holding the ball, but her attack and desire on the ball is what you like to see. She constantly put her body on the line, but also managed to find space on a wing and at half-forward. At one stage she won the intercept ball, fended off an opponent and kicked inside 50. Clean at ground level and a long kick, it was a solid performance from the number four.

#19 Jemma Finning

Was not a huge ball winner, but her kicking was a standout. She had a piercing kick from half-back to the wing in the first term, not only hitting its target, but being low to avoid a spoil from an opposition defender. She can turn out of trouble and also run both ways, intercepting the ball at half-back and kicking long to the wing.

#28 Eloise Gretgrix

Played a real team-orientated role in the middle of the ground and regularly went in hard at the coalface. Along with Hards provided some great inside support, replacing the work that Megan Williamson did last year. Was one of the most consistent Pioneers players on the day and won more one-on-ones than she lost.

#36 Kate Douglass

Played at full-back and certainly teamed well with Tara Slender in the key defensive posts. She is strong one-on-one and just clears the ball from danger every chance she gets. Douglass held her ground under immense pressure on a number of occasions and if not able to dispose of it long by foot, looked to release a running defender.

#44 Jordyn Jolliffe

Kicked a couple of goals and showed enough to suggest the over-ager will add an important element to the Pioneers’ attack. Having missed last season due to injury, she played out of the goalsquare and looked dangerous in the air, then pushed into the midfield at times and also had an inside 50. A mark running back with the flight about 25 metres out showed great courage.

GWV:

By: Taylah Melki

# 9 Renee Saulitis:

She attacked the goal face early on narrowly missing then backed up her efforts in front of goal scoring a freakish goal in the first quarter. Saulitis was on a tricky angle she turned, took a few steps and slotted it straight through the middle. The party tricks did not stop there for the talented forward nailing another impressive goal in the third, showcasing her ability to read the play well. She roved the ball off the back of the pack turned around and nailed a goal from just outside the goal square highlighting her footy smarts and good goal sense to position well and score.

# 10 Ella Wood:

Showed good attack on the ball and was not afraid to hunt the player to win the contested ball. Wood worked hard to win the footy for her team and had a good presence around stoppages to makes herself available. She got into clever positioning across the ground and showed good dash through the middle. At times her execution was slightly off, but the endeavour and intent to attack the play was there, helping to set up many forward thrusts.

# 24 Sophie Molan:

Good strong spearing kick and knows how to use the footy to maximize her impact per possession. She is clean with ball in hand, helps to set up good attacking play and worked hard in the attacking 50. The captain scrapped well to try and win the loose ball at ground level and showcased her pin point precision with timely and accurate passes. Molan has good spatial awareness and used her clever sidestep to avoid traffic and shrug off opponents. She roved well off the pack and tried to clear space with her long kick over the top. Molan displayed her good hands under pressure to take a big mark coming out of defence and willed herself to the contest on a few occasions. She proved to be a good option up forward and continued to present time and time again.

# 30 Nyakoat Dojiok:

Dojiok was really quick off the mark and showed good closing speed to shut down her opponents. She went in hard at ground level to try and trap the footy and marked her player closely showing good defensive pressure. Dojiok highlighted her good evasive skills to get in and under the tackler then dash through the centre. In one passage of play she put the afterburners on and tried to hit up a teammate in the forward 50. She broke the game open in the third with her impressive speed and run through the middle of the ground, taking a bounce and kicking the ball long inside 50, creating a half chance at goal for her teammates.

# 32 Isabella Simmons

Scored a good goal in the opening term and took a few solid marks. Simmons provided some good strong leads in the opening quarter and kicked her second goal for the first quarter. She was cool, calm and composed under pressure with a shot after the siren in the first and showed good spatial awareness. Simmons showcased her footy smarts to evade players and then run through the middle of the ground and provided some good link up play through the middle.

# 35 Maggie Caris

Caris impressed with her clever use of the ball to open up space and set up a scoring opportunity for her teammates. She was solid in the ruck with some clever taps to advantage to her teammates and used her height to try and dominate the opposition. She moved well across the ground evading opposition after winning the footy in the air, proving her versatility and class.

Northern Knights vs. Murray Bushrangers


Northern:

By: Taylah Melki

# 3 Nell Morris-Dalton

Hit the post early on but showed good goal sense throughout the game to be a viable option up forward, later scoring a goal. Morris-Dalton impressed with her ability to read the play and showed good footy smarts to body up and control the footy. She had solid hands under pressure and at times looked to have plenty of time and space with ball in hand. Morris-Dalton also helped to set up good attacking play for the Knights.

# 6 Alyssa Bannan

Bannan displayed a good use of footy to kick the ball into the forward half and mount some forward pressure. She nailed an impressive goal in the last quarter quickly turning and finding the goals credit to her clean use of the footy and general goal sense. Bannan took a good intercept in the forward 50 and worked hard to apply pressure, ride the tackle and keep her arms free to release a handball.

# 7 Abigail Bennett

Beautiful kick of the footy kicking a goal in the second term and showed good hands under pressure. Bennett applied good tackling pressure to try and trap the footy in the Knights forward half and displayed good awareness to avoid the tackler and tap the ball back into play. ??

# 14 Jess Fitzgerald

Fitzgerald had clean hands under pressure and impressed in one passage of play with an easy pick up off the deck, followed up by a clever kick toward to trap the ball inside forward 50. She showed good speed to break away from the pack and handball out of stoppage to a passing teammate to try and set up a shot at goal.

# 18 Sarah Sansonetti

Sansonetti took a good strong mark back in defence and showcased her kicking ability with a long kick over the congestion into space. She displayed good body positioning on her opponent to win the footy and attacked the footy hard. She proved she was not afraid to go in hard to meet the contest.

# 21 Ellie McKenzie

McKenzie was clean out of the centre, had good ball skills, showed good control with the footy and hits targets up on the lead. She took a strong contested mark, and highlighted her impressive aerial abilities along with her impressive spatial awareness to hit up teammates on the wing. She starred in one passage of play with a strong intercept mark and then propelled the ball forward. McKenzie displayed her clever sidestep out of traffic, fended off two players and kept arms free to release ball to teammate proving her class. She racked up the clearances credit to her clean hands in and around the footy and opened up space across the ground. McKenzie highlighted her football skill in the second quarter receiving a handball and going for a run, fending off two players and almost delivering the ball inside 50 to a teammate.

# 22 Britney Gutknecht

She slotted any early goal credit to her clever snap. Gutknecht accumulated plenty of touches with a good pick up off her toes and proved to be a real play maker through the middle. She ran hard across the field to try and interfere with the play and slotted an impressive goal from 50 thanks to beautiful long kick. She strikes the ball well, showed good spatial awareness and impressive footy smarts. Her composure under pressure was second to none slotting an impressive four goals for the game. She took a heap of strong contested marks across the ground and was a real presence across the field. Gutknecht seemed to have the ball on a string in the last term racking up the possessions.??

# 23 Gabby Newton

Clever play in the forward half and showed an impressive goal sense and ability to get boot to ball. She was clean around the ground scooping the ball up in one hand. Newton took a really good mark in the forward 50 and showcased her footy smarts with a clever chip kick to hit up teammate in a better position. She tackled hard to try and win back possession for her side and impressed with her follow up play across the field. Was not afraid to accelerate forward and open up space and showed good presence around the stoppages.

# 32 Ash Snow

Snow was not afraid to go in hard and extract the footy from the stoppages, getting down low. She tackled hard throughout the game and had clean hands in close. She highlighted her footy smarts with a good chip kick in the middle of the field to open up the forward 50 and create a scoring opportunity for her side. Snow took a few strong marks and was clean with ball in hand with a good hit up kick to teammate in the forward 50.

Murray:

By: Peter Williams

#7 Kate Adams

Adams rotated between midfield and defence, playing half-back, on. a wing and onball, using the ball consistently, and was able to use short kicks to hit-up targets on the wing. Against the bigger bodies she got pushed around a little, but never gave in, winning an important one-on-one late in the game.

#8 Abby Favell

Favell showed some promising signs around the ground, both offensively and defensively. Early on she took a good mark on the lead at half-forward and delivered a low pass inside 50 to a teammate. She ran down an opponent in a tackle and seemed to just keep running throughout the day, trying to get the Bushrangers moving in transition.

#10 Sophie Locke

Like many players, did not win a heap of the ball, but she constantly put pressure on the opposition. She cracked in hard and laid a great tackle on her opponent in the second term to force a turnover. In the final quarter, she laid another terrific tackle that was rewarded with a free kick. Her defensive efforts were very good and she helped out a defence that was under siege at times.

#45 Olivia Barber

Showed some nice signs throughout the four quarters in the air and at ground level. She made a number of strong second efforts and was able to use the ball well. She laid a great running tackle later in the game to earn a free kick, and was able to fire a handball off to a teammate while Barber was still on the ground.

Dandenong Stingrays vs. Eastern Ranges

By: Peter Williams

Dandenong:

#10 Abbey Jordan

Playing on a wing and half-forward, Jordan had a quieter first term before getting into the match more from the second term. She pressed up from half-forward when the ball was in defence and provided an option out wide. She kept running to find space and took a huge grab in the final term to put the ball in the path of Tyanna Smith to run onto towards goal only to just miss.

#26 Isabella Shannon

The Saints’ AFL Women’s recruit kicked the first goal of the game for the Stingrays with a snap in traffic. She kept presenting at half-forward taking a. number of marks, but also won the ball off the deck. In the third term she won a few possessions at half-back, and showed a few quick steps out of a centre clearance to bomb the ball long and deep inside. 50.

#28 Tyanna Smith

Smith worked hard for the Stingrays in the midfield and kept running all day long. She showed off her clearance ability time and time again, being a danger around the stoppages and just attacking the ball hard. She gave away a few free kicks throughout the game, but constantly harassed opponents with frantic tackling or implied pressure. She had clean hands and smart thinking to use the ball by hand out of a. stoppage, and had the chance to give Dandenong a huge shot running into goal in the final term, but it just missed to the right.

#31 Brooke Vernon

An underrated performance from the defender in a role that can be unforgiving, but Vernon was terrific on the last line. She saved at least two goals that Eastern would have otherwise kicked, which included a goal-saving smother in the second term, and then bumping her opponent off the ball in the goalsquare as she tried to soccer it home. While the Stingrays did not win, Vernon’s actions kept them in it, and she was so calm and composed under pressure, and has a long kick that clears the defence. The best from the Stingrays.

#51 Zoe Hill

The Stingrays full-back is a rebounding machine, who just is as consistent as they come. She is a good mover in traffic, and a long raking kick. She is one that tends to have Velcro hands at times and can win a contested ball at ground level too. Still a bottom-ager, but she has quite a few nice traits and consistency on her side.

Eastern:

#21 Olivia Meagher

A huge first half by Meagher set the tone for Eastern, winning a number of intercept possessions as well as contested ball at the bottom of packs. She won the ball in all thirds of the ground, and either kicked forward or looked for the quick handpass to a running teammate. She showed good smarts throughout the game and had a few nice touches and applied pressure to opponents.

#26 Tarni Brown

Classy. It is the easiest way to describe Brown who has unbelievable agility, speed and technique, it is just ironing out areas such as assessing her options at times which would make her go to the next level. She can kick it long and has no issues finding space, and when she does have space in front of her, it is hard to stop her. The daughter of former Magpie captain, Gavin Brown, the smooth mover showed just how much speed she had in the final term with a blistering run, quick handball to a teammate, receive and then kick inside 50 which covered about 40 metres. Her metres gained would be remarkable, and while she does need to just build that consistency by foot, the technique is there.

#39 Laura McClelland

The AFL Women’s Academy member took some huge grabs, including a ridiculous contested mark where she read the flight perfectly despite being in the middle of two opponents. She kicked a terrific goal in the second term after intercepting the ball at half-forward, taking a few steps and never looked. Like missing. She showed clean hands off the deck and spreads well, it is just cleaning up the kicking at times that would be the next step, but McClelland has a lot of tricks.

#46 Serena Gibbs

The netballer showed some serious talent, and while consistency in finding the ball is an area to build upon, her kicking was surprisingly impressive for a code-crosser. Gibbs lead at the football and by bringing the ball to ground created a goal to Mietta Kendall in the second term. Then she speared a pass into another teammate despite being hugged on the boundary line, and was finally rewarded in the last term with a goal for her efforts from a nice snap.

Oakleigh Chargers vs. Gippsland Power

Oakleigh:

By: Peter Williams

#1 Gemma Lagioia

The classy mover did her thing throughout the match and spread across the ground to win the ball on the outside. She got her side on the board with less than 30 seconds remaining by side-stepping an opponent, straightening up and putting though a major just before quarter time. A one-grab player who is clean by hand or foot, she knows how to weight her kicks and angle them.

#2 Mimi Hill

The Chargers’ captain won a lot of the ball, particularly in the first half. She played off half-back and was the general in defence, clearing a lot of Gippsland’s attacks. As the Chargers had more control in the second half, she was needed less, but she still found a way to be involved, pushing up the ground and winning the ball. Showed nice vision and neat foot skills.

#4 Emily Harley

The difference between the teams as the key forward target inside 50. After a quiet first term where she gave away a free kick or two, she became the one that forced the opposition defenders to infringe on her. She was pushed out of a contest in the second term, earned the free and made no mistake with. The set shot. She had another shot early in the third after protecting the drop zone, marking on her chest and setting sail for goal. It fell short but was marked by Kalarni Kearns who slotted it. Another chance for a major off a huge pack mark resulted in a poster, but Harley quickly rectified the missed with a loose ball get and snap goal. She nailed her third goal after a dominant one-on-one after almost converting another chance moments earlier on the run. She capped off a dominant, best on ground performance with her fourth goal early in the final term.

#8 Alana Porter

The speedy midfielder showed some great signs throughout the match and had one really impressive play in the second term. She. Won the ball at half-back, ran along the wing burning off an opponent and then hit a teammate at half-forward while at top speed. Earlier in the game she missed a chance for goal after going back with the flight then receiving a 50m penalty. Often being held trying to get out of a stoppage, Porter was able to buzz around and use her speed to clear the ball throughout the game.

Gippsland:

#8 Chandra Abrahams

Abrahams has always had the offensive ability to pull down a massive contested mark – which she did a couple of times during the game. But her tackling pressure and defensive work against Oakleigh was very impressive. While the consistency is still there to be built, her work in the middle and on a wing was really solid, and laid a crunching tackle on the strong Emily Harley in the first term. A team contributor throughout the match.

#9 Maddison Shaw

Played off half-back and applied pressure to the ball carrier at times, earning some free kicks for her troubles. In the first term she was hurt as she won a free for a run-down tackle then as she played on was tackled herself and got up ginger. She came off but returned to still play an important role.

#27 Nikia Webber

Looked in for a big game when her first touch saw her win it at ground level, turn around with a snap and slam it home for the opening goal of the game. After the first term the forwards were limited and Webber spent most of her time in the midfield where she used her strength to win contested ball. The attribute that sets Webber apart from the rest of her peers is her elite kicking which not only hits targets, but can do so over long distances. Her tackling is fierce, and while she gave away a number of free kicks, Webber continually tried to win the ball back for her team. An example of a second effort came in the second term where she dropped a mark, followed it up, won the contested ball and then moved clear and kicked it long.

Sandringham Dragons vs. Geelong Falcons

By: Peter Williams

Sandringham:

#25 Sarah Hartwig

Played on Lucy McEvoy early and the two had an entertaining battle. Well suited to the role as she is strong one-on-one, Hartwig held her own and took some strong marks against tough opponents. A couple of times she was beaten when opponents had front position, but she was often able to either get the hands up or spoil it to keep the ball alive. She took a number of important intercept marks, enjoying the freedom of being able to still hold a defensive role, while attacking from half-back, once McEvoy moved into the middle. Hartwig won a big one-on-one contest from the back position in the final term as the Falcons were charging home.

#28 Alice Burke

Playing an inside midfield role, Burke just went in hard from the first to final sirens. She covered the ground well and laid some really hard tackles throughout the contest. She has that outside ability, but her willingness and ability to extract a ball from a contest saw her remain in that onball group. Burke got to show off her skill in the final term with a nice weighted kick to Winnie Laing in defence.

#42 Marguerite Purcell

Showed some nice speed on the wing and was able to get a few quick kicks out of the stoppage. Roamed around and moved in transition, she was one of Sandringham’s better midfielders and was the outside mover to many of the Dragons’ inside brigade.

Geelong:

#7 Paige Sheppard

Played along a wing and just fights for the ball. Her decision making and vision was good on the day, and was able to hit-up Lucy McEvoy between a couple of opponents in the second term. Always likes to keep the ball moving, Sheppard beat two opponents on the wing in the final term to kick forward and let the Falcons maintain possession.

#14 Darcy Moloney

A bit like the energiser bunny with ball in hand, Moloney just keeps it moving. She is one of those players that immediately looks to play on wherever possible, and has the athletic traits to be able to do so. Moloney has lightning first few steps and is able to dance around an opponent. In the third term she had one of the plays of the weekend, when she was one-on-one, handballed over her opponent, ran onto it, burnt off her opponent and kicked the goal on the run taking into account the wind. It was a very impressive moment.

#21 Lucy McEvoy

Started in the middle then moved forward with Sarah Hartwig for company. She just willed herself to contest after contest, and continued to do so throughout the match as she then moved back into the midfield. With McEvoy on the ball, the Falcons were able to get the ball forward courtesy of her long booming kick. She was constantly involved and her follow-up work and work ethic are an example of what every player can aspire to. Even if she loses a contest, she will be laying the next tackle or putting her body on the line every chance she gets.

#23 Renee Tierney

Copped a knock to her shin early in the second term, Tierney started higher up the ground then went back deeper to where she is more familiar. Kicked a good goal, but also missed a couple of opportunities. Continued to present as you would expect from your forwards, and she applied some defensive pressure as well.

NAB League Girls weekend preview: Round 1

TWO triple headers headline the first ever round of NAB League Girls as the 12 teams begin their 2019 campaigns hoping to get their season off on the right foot.

CALDER CANNONS v. WESTERN JETS


Round 1 – 02/03/2019
9:15am
Rams Arena – Craigieburn

In what is predicted to be a sweltering day at RAMS Arena, the first match in the triple header is the Calder Cannons taking on the Western Jets. Both sides are bringing in some strong depth making it an interesting game to see which team can kickstart its season first. The Cannons will be without Georgia Patrikios, but have the likes of Alana Barba, Felicity Theodore and former Gippsland Power player, Makeisha Muller. Georgie Prespakis is one to watch for the future, and while older sister Madison is no longer there to lead the team, the Cannons will have Krstel Petrevski coming off half-back and is a player the Cannons are excited to develop throughout the season. For the Jets, they have a number of top prospects who are members of the AFL Women’s Academy at both the top and middle-age brackets. Isabella Grant and Cleo Saxon-Jones are strong overhead and can kick goals when forward, while Isabelle Pritchard still has two years in the system and is shaping as a highly talented key defender. Elisabeth Georgostathis is the other player who put in a consistent 2018 season, named onball like she was last year where she won the Jet’s best and fairest award.

BENDIGO PIONEERS v. GREATER WESTERN VICTORIA REBELS


Round 1 – 02/03/2019
11:00am
Rams Arena – Craigieburn

The second game sees two country neighbours battling it out in what could be a thrilling contest. The teams have had productive pre-seasons and the Pioneers had no trouble scoring in their practice match against the Bushrangers, while the Rebels were pleased with their efforts against the Falcons. The defensive duo of Kate Douglass and Tara Slender will be one to watch and assist in restricting opposition teams from scoring, while Jordyn Jolliffe‘s return from injury – she missed all of last season’s TAC Cup Girls competition – will be welcome and she starts at full-forward. The midfield group of the Pioneers is quite strong and will have benefited from another year, with the likes of Brooke Hards – who played some roles in defence last season – Eloise Gretgrix and Jemma Finning, while Maeve Tupper was predominantly a forward pocket last season and will spend more time in the midfield. Sophie Molan and Ella Wood will lead a deep Rebels midfield in what will be the battle of the midfields within the match. Isabella Simmons developed strongly as the season went on last year, while Renee Saulitis and Isabella Robson are other middle-age talents in the team.

NORTHERN KNIGHTS v. MURRAY BUSHRANGERS


Round 1 – 02/03/2019
12:45pm
Rams Arena – Craigieburn

In the final game of Saturday’s triple header with the temperatures expected to be high 30s by the final siren, the two teams who finished second in the first two years face off from 12.45pm. The Knights head into the game as strong favourites based on the form they showed last season, and they have a number of talented players in each third of the ground. The midfield features Ellie McKenzie, Jess Fitzgerald and Britney Gutknecht, with the likes of Gabby Newton and Abigail Bennett rotating between the midfield and forward. Sarah Sansonetti and Ash Snow are a couple of defenders who impressed last season, while Alyssa Bannan developed rapidly in 2018. For the Bushrangers, Olivia Barber has been named at centre half-back and could be the one to try and quell Newton, while forwards, Sophie Locke and Kate Adams could do some damage if given time and space. Mikaela Trethowan is a 19-year-old prospect who will provide good support in the midfield, while Emily Nicholson is another player who played every game last season and will be well prepared for the first round match. The game is a huge challenge for the Bushrangers against the likely premiership favourites, but it will be a good test to see where they are at, and how the Knights have changed with players tested in other positions.

DANDENONG STINGRAYS v. EASTERN RANGES


Round 1 – 03/03/2019
10:30am
SkyBus Stadium – Frankston

In the first game of a triple header at Frankston on Sunday, Dandenong Stingrays will be looking for their fifth straight win after finishing the season in a blaze of glory following four early season losses. Recent St Kilda recruit, Isabella Shannon has been named at centre half-forward and will be a player to watch for any Saints fans who head down to the game. While fellow Saints teammate, Molly McDonald will not be out there, Brooke Vernon, Tyanna Smith and Grace Hodder will lead the charge in the middle. Zoe Hill stands tall at centre half-back and while partner-in-crime Lucy Cripps will not be out there, Hill will aim to try and nullify one of Eastern’s talls. That could be netballer, Serena Gibbs or AFL Women’s Academy member, Laura McClelland who could rotate between midfield and forward. The forward line and particularly midfield looks solid for the Ranges, with Olivia Meagher and Tahni Brown among the middle-agers who still have a couple of seasons to develop. Both teams are likely to create a lively contest.

OAKLEIGH CHARGERS v. GIPPSLAND POWER


Round 1 – 03/03/2019
12:15pm
SkyBus Stadium – Frankston

The middle game on Sunday will see two teams that faced off in Round 1 last year do battle once again with Oakleigh Chargers facing Gippsland Power. The Chargers won easily 12 months ago and will be hoping to serve a repeat dose, while the Power feel more prepared to tackle the Chargers this time around. Middle-age captain, Mimi Hill leads a band of quick defenders who like to move the ball well, as Chloe O’Malley and Nicola Xenos showed last season. Gemma Lagioia and Emily Harley inside 50 will provide any opposition coach problems, as would Alana Porter‘s speed through the middle of the ground. The club is excited to release Amelia Peck on the competition with the 19-year-old named at centre half-back. Gippsland will miss Tyla Hanks in the middle, but have been able to supply a number of players with a season of experience and now there are top and middle-agers with a taste of the competition already. Nikia Webber and Matilda Van Berkel line up in the key forward posts, while Chandra Abrahams, Megan Fitzsimon and Grace McRae fill out the midfield. Maddi Shaw and Shanara Notman are others who could be key players in the game, providing strength and run from defence.

SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS v. GEELONG FALCONS


Round 1 – 03/03/2019
2:00pm
SkyBus Stadium – Frankston

In the final game of the round, Sandringham Dragons face Geelong Falcons on Sunday afternoon. The reigning premiers will test themselves against a danger side in the 2019 competition. Both teams are in the form of their lives having not lost a game in the past six regular season rounds – and even longer for the Falcons. The midfield battle will be one to savour with Dragons’ captain Molly Denahy Maloney, Alice Burke and Eliza McNamara tackling the likes of Falcons’ captain Lucy McEvoy, Luka Lesosky-Hay and Paige Sheppard. Both sides have a highly touted key defender in Sarah Hartwig (Sandringham) and Abbey Chapman (Geelong), have speedy wingers in Marguerite Purcell (Sandringham) and Elise Vella (Geelong) and forwards who can take big grabs, Sophia Rothfield (Sandringham) and Renee Tierney (Geelong). With both sides having a high amount of talent coming through at middle and bottom-age level, they are going to be teams to watch this season. Round 1 may well have saved the best until last, and the final game of the new NAB League Girls will likely be a match to remember.

Team Selection: Under 18 Girls – Round 1

AFTER a long off-season, the Under 18 Girls competition returns to Victoria, with the 12 teams reset for 2019. Geelong Falcons went undefeated in 2018, while the Northern Knights fell short of upsetting the Falcons in the Grand Final having impressed throughout the competition as well. There is plenty of future talent on show over the weekend with fans treated to two triple headers on Saturday and Sunday respectively. Six sides make the journey to RAMS Arena in Craigieburn on Saturday with the games moved forward to allow the girls to escape the heat of the day with predicted temperatures reaching the high 30s. On Sunday, the remaining six sides head to Skybus Stadium in Frankston to kickstart their campaigns for the new season.

CALDER CANNONS v. WESTERN JETS

Round 1 – 02/03/2019
9:15am
Rams Arena – Craigieburn

CALDER CANNONS

B: 24. K. Delia, 6. K. Reid, 4. K. Lennox
HB: 15. M. McLeod, 35. I. Young, 31. K. Petrevski
C: 8. Z. Friswell, 11. A. Barba, 32. T. Fry
HF: 34. Z. Hardiman, 42. T. Crook, 3. E. Yassir
F: 22. M. Muller, 44. I. McNeill-Wren, 2. F. Theodore
R: 17. G. Sampson, 38. L. Cocomello, 41. G. Prespakis
Int: 12. J. Andrighetti, 5. N. Crowley, 46. G. Elarmaly, 43. C. Leahy, 25. A. Magri, 36. Z. Penno, 19. P. Poultney

WESTERN JETS

B: 10. T. Evans, 19. A. Anthony, 11. K. O’Keefe
HB: 47. C. Sargent, 23. I. Pritchard, 15. N. Wright
C: 3. L. Andrews-Quinn, 9. R. Tripodi, 18. P. Ozols
HF: 32. S. Asciak, 25. C. Saxon-Jones, 5. I. Cavka
F: 20. T. Kolevski, 26. C. Weston-Sirett, 14. L. Wright
R: 22. C. Singleton, 17. E. Georgostathis, 13. I. Grant
Int: 36. K. Bays, 6. E. Kiely, 24. J. Mwaka, 21. E. Robinson
Emg: 30. T. Kotoski, 51. J. Wilson

The first game of the year sees the Cannons taking on the Jets, with Calder missing star midfielder/forward, Georgia Patrikios. A familiar name can be found in the midfield, with Georgie Prespakis replacing her sister Madison in the onball brigade, while Felicity Theodore is another name to watch, named in the forward pocket. Western has a number of strong talls in the team with Isabella Grant, Cleo Saxon-Jones and Isabelle Pritchard able to hold down key roles, with Grant also running through the midfield with last year’s best and fairest winner, Elisabeth Georgostathis.

BENDIGO PIONEERS v. GREATER WESTERN VICTORIA REBELS

Round 1 – 02/03/2019
11:00am
Rams Arena – Craigieburn

BENDIGO PIONEERS

B: 25. K. Hazlett, 36. K. Douglass, 49. C. McGillivray
HB: 46. K. Mitchell, 40. T. Slender, 41. E. Peacock
C: 3. E. Snell, 28. E. Gretgrix, 1. M. Tupper
HF: 14. A. Strahan, 30. H. Stewart, 20. D. Villiva
F: 50. M. Barton, 44. J. Jolliffe, 9. T. Miaoudis
R: 24. S. Oliver, 19. J. Finning, 4. B. Hards
Int: 22. G. Barton, 8. T. Coad, 48. D. Kelly-Guthrie, 37. G. Sladden

GREATER WESTERN VICTORIA REBELS

B: 12. V. Jewell, 27. G. Pidgeon, 16. L. Sykes
HB: 5. N. Butler, 30. N. Dojiok, 19. C. Summers
C: 32. I. Simmons, 24. S. Molan, 3. A. Trigg
HF: 1. L. Condon, 34. K. Harris, 11. L. Donegan
F: 6. M. Ciavarella, 23. I. Rustman, 9. R. Saulitis
R: 35. M. Caris, 10. E. Wood, 15. C. Leonard
Int: 14. G. Douhadji, 28. I. Robson, 13. B. Thompson, 4. K. Tomkins
Emg: 25. G. Henderson, 21. A. Stevens

In the second game, Bendigo Pioneers are coming off a promising practice match win over Murray Bushrangers and have a strong spine with Kate Douglass and Jordyn Jolliffe holding down key positions at either end, while Tara Slender was impressive in the V/Line Cup last year and will slot into centre half-back. Jemma Finning, Brooke Hards, Maeve Tupper and Eloise Gretgrix make up a young but promising midfield core, which will make for an entertaining contest against GWV Rebels’ Ella Wood, Chloe Leonard, Sophie Molan and Isabella Simmons. Renee Saulitis and Nyakoat Doijiok are others who impressed at times last season and will add some speed to the side that will hope to get off with a win after such a strong finish to the year last season.

NORTHERN KNIGHTS v. MURRAY BUSHRANGERS


Round 1 – 02/03/2019
12:45pm
Rams Arena – Craigieburn

NORTHERN KNIGHTS

B: 24. J. Nursey, 2. S. Fell, 34. M. Uwland
HB: 10. P. Chisholm, 18. S. Sansonetti, 20. C. Linssen
C: 6. A. Bannan, 21. E. McKenzie, 9. M. Chaplin
HF: 7. A. Bennett, 23. G. Newton, 29. T. Pulcino
F: 11. M. Appleby, 3. N. Morris-Dalton, 25. T. Mills
R: 1. J. Nelson, 14. J. Fitzgerald, 22. B. Gutknecht
Int: 8. G. Ceravolo, 16. Z. Flanigan, 26. M. Papachristos, 30. M. Plunkett, 32. A. Snow
Emg: 19. I. Hammond, 38. L. Picioane, 5. A. Ward

MURRAY BUSHRANGERS

B: 11. T. Brett, 43. A. Williams, 24. H. Doohan
HB: 33. E. Mifka, 45. O. Barber, 40. K. Whitehead
C: 20. S. Lang, 8. A. Favell, 46. S. McCarthy
HF: 10. S. Locke, 14. C. Boschetti, 41. L. Sharp
F: 16. M. Jones, 39. A. Morphett, 22. A. Richardson
R: 34. E. McPherson, 18. Z. Spencer, 31. M. Trethowan
Int: 7. K. Adams, 26. E. Nicholson, 21. C. Styan , 27. J. Ward
Emg: 3. A. McMillan, 44. M. Quade

In the final game of the Saturday triple header, grand finalists Northern Knights face the Murray Bushrangers. The Bushrangers will be without top prospect, Millie Brown, but have the likes of Sophie Locke, Olivia Barber and Kate Adams who all add different elements to the side in a team that looks different to the one that ran out in 2018. The Knights are a formidable side and with Gabby Newton, Ellie McKenzie, Alyssa Bannan, Abigail Bennett, Britney Gutknecht, Jess Fitzgerald and Sarah Sansonetti all named, it will take a strong performance to knock the Knights off.

DANDENONG STINGRAYS v. EASTERN RANGES

Round 1 – 03/03/2019
10:30am
SkyBus Stadium – Frankston


DANDENONG STINGRAYS

B: 40. R. Clancy – Dillon, 51. Z. Hill, 17. M. Layfield
HB: 14. L. Grocock, 50. A. Nagtzaam, 32. J. Radford
C: 4. J. Guy-Toogood, 31. B. Vernon, 10. A. Jordan
HF: 48. A. Carroll, 26. I. Shannon, 55. H. Thomas
F: 24. A. Liddle, 49. K. McKenzie, 2. S. Stratton
R: 58. G. Howes, 28. T. Smith, 21. G. Hodder
Int: 13. S. Gammaldi, 60. T. Jones, 30. P. Swayn, 39. N. Taylor
Emg: 9. C. Bell, 34. A. Richards

EASTERN RANGES

B: 29. M. Di Cosmo, 51. S. Zappia, 54. E. Odria
HB: 11. M. Edwards, 49. C. Wilsmore, 17. M. Kendall
C: 20. J. Richardson, 39. L. McClelland, 1. C. Smith
HF: 16. E. Horne, 41. T. Merrett, 18. T. Kelly
F: 48. I. Khoury, 46. S. Gibbs, 12. M. Taverna
R: 25. J. Grace, 21. O. Meagher, 26. T. Brown
Int: 44. S. Bowden, 31. S. Collard, 33. T. Flintoff, 35. L. Hilton
Emg: 34. M. Hardy, 19. S. Humm

Heading down the Peninsula on Sunday, Dandenong Stingrays host Eastern Ranges in the first of three matches at Frankston. One half of St Kilda’s newest recruits will be playing in the match, with Isabella Shannon named at centre half-forward, while the Stingrays will miss Molly McDonald. Tyanna Smith is a bottom-ager to watch throughout 2019, as is key defender, Zoe Hill. For Eastern, Laura McClelland is the key top-age player to watch, named in the middle, while Olivia Meagher and Tahni Brown make the Ranges’ midfield a tough proposition for any side, and with Tahlia Merrett and netballer, Serena Gibbs up forward, there are no shortage of tall targets inside 50.

OAKLEIGH CHARGERS v. GIPPSLAND POWER

Round 1 – 03/03/2019
12:15pm
SkyBus Stadium – Frankston


OAKLEIGH CHARGERS

B: 21. S. Reid, 26. A. Micallef, 17. N. Xenos
HB: 2. M. Hill, 12. A. Peck, 18. C. O’Malley
C: 33. E. Chamberlain, 7. J. D’Amato, 22. J. Lin
HF: 1. G. Lagioia, 10. T. Cowan, 5. A. van Oosterwijck
F: 14. G. Byrne, 15. C. Russell, 4. E. Harley
R: 3. K. Kearns, 8. A. Porter, 32. E. James
Int: 6. S. Cato, 20. B. Fox, 9. E. Jackson, 38. D. Lloyd, 23. A. Mayne, 31. S. Morley, 13. T. Morton, 29. C. Rowbottom

GIPPSLAND POWER

B: 2. S. Beaton, 47. E. Williams, 19. H. Booth
HB: 40. C. Robinson, 33. S. Notman, 9. M. Shaw
C: 30. A. Rippon, 12. M. Fitzsimon, 17. S. Trewin
HF: 13. H. Andrews, 45. M. Van Berkel, 3. M. Gilmour
F: 50. G. Matser, 27. N. Webber, 11. S. Walker
R: 49. G. Radford, 8. C. Abrahams , 26. G. McRae
Int: 20. J. Chila, 48. C. Prestidge, 7. L. Raymond , 34. S. Symes
Emg: 1. S. Brisbane, 16. A. Hardwick, 24. N. Williams

In the second game, Oakleigh Chargers takes on Gippsland Power in a repeat of the same fixture 12 months earlier. In that game the Chargers were far too good, but after a strong pre-season, the Power hopes to start the season off on the right note. Gemma Lagioia will be a player to watch off half-forward, while Emily Harley is a key target inside 50. Alana Porter provides the dash, while Chloe O’Malley and Nicola Xenos are defenders who know how to use the ball going forward. Gippsland has named Nikia Webber at full-forward for the opening game, but she could rotate with bottom-age tall Chandra Abrahams who will start in the midfield. Holly Andrews and Maddi Shaw will be others to watch off their respective flanks, while Shanara Notman has good potential having returned to football after a year off.

SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS v. GEELONG FALCONS

Round 1 – 03/03/2019
2:00pm
SkyBus Stadium – Frankston


SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS

B: 45. E. Stuber, 24. N. Borg, 44. D. Walker
HB: 38. G. Strangio, 25. S. Hartwig, 7. R. Woods
C: 42. M. Purcell, 17. B. Arnold, 26. C. Saultry
HF: 33. I. Eddey, 2. S. Rothfield, 40. A. Moloney
F: 3. C. Murphy, 15. C. Cody, 29. I. Stutt
R: 1. M. Denahy Maloney, 28. A. Burke, 22. E. McNamara
Int: 13. T. Grasso, 30. W. Laing, 50. P. Staltari, 58. T. Tysoe
Emg: 65. E. Angelopoulos, 47. K. Lynch, 18. J. Stolz

GEELONG FALCONS

B: 27. E. Dowling, 16. A. Chapman, 6. M. Holdsworth
HB: 11. E. Mahoney, 19. K. Haustorfer , 8. D. Smith
C: 9. L. Gardiner, 7. P. Sheppard, 1. E. Vella
HF: 14. D. Moloney, 13. L. Ryan, 18. A. Sanderson
F: 12. M. Skinner, 23. R. Tierney, 26. L. Were
R: 25. A. McKee, 21. L. McEvoy, 17. L. Lesosky-Hay
Int: 10. Z. Garth, 15. S. Hovey, 20. A. Lee, 2. P. Schaap
Emg: 28. T. Hassett, 22. S. Milsome, 24. J. Robinson

Wrapping up the first round of action is arguably the match of the round with reigning premiers, Geelong taking on Sandringham Dragons. The Dragons have a good bottom-age contingent who will look for guidance from new captain, Molly Denahy Maloney, with Alice Burke and Eliza McNamara forming a strong inside midfield. Marguerite Purcell provides the outside pace, while Isabella Eddey will cause headaches inside 50. Down back, Sarah Hartwig looks to hold down the defence. For the Falcons, captain Lucy McEvoy and Luka Lesosky-Hay will team up in midfield, while Renee Tierney is the main target inside forward 50 among a number of players who have made the transition into the side. Abbey Chapman and Kaitlyn Haustorfer are very solid key defenders, while Elise Vella is a winger who could be a point of difference.

U18 Girls season preview: Murray Bushrangers

A new season, new coach and new mindset is driving the Murray Bushrangers Girls’ into 2019 as they look to repeat their previous two seasons starts, while finishing the nine-game competition strongly. Helping lead the charge is new coach, Tim Madden – who has taken over from inaugural coach Sam Ahmet – and high performance manager, Aidan Edwards. Bushrangers’ Female Talent Manager, Briana Cossar said the training regime, intensity and extra input from the girls was clear on the track.

“We’ve got a new coach, he’s been super,” she said. “We’ve also got a futures coach and a couple of different assistant coaches as well so they fitted right in, and we’ve also got a specific high-performance guy for the girls so between Tim (Madden) and Aidan (Edwards), they do an amazing job.

“I think that by implementing the different phases at training and in workload, I think that that’s shown out on the track from the start of November and again in January when we came back, there’s been a marked improvement and we’ve also introduced some skill-based programs as well, so the skill has definitely improved to much better than what it was at this time last year.”

In the inaugural season of the TAC Cup Girls, Murray won all five of its games, but finished second overall given Calder’s percentage was higher, therefore handing the Cannons a maiden premiership. Twelve months later, the Bushrangers started the season with three wins and a draw in the first four games, but slipped in the back-end of the year as the top few sides stood out and Murray finished seventh.

AFL Women’s Academy member, Rebecca Webster was the standout for recruiters landing at Geelong in October’s draft, and has played all three games for the Cats in the AFL Women’s competition this year. Cossar said Webster showed she belonged after just one game, standing out in Geelong’s win over Collingwood under lights at GMHBA Stadium.

“Having ‘Becky’ get drafted was a dream of hers come true,” she said. “It’s obviously a testament to the elite program that we do via the players and the talent pathway. So we’re all really excited for Becky and she played quite well on the weekend, to get a game under her belt I think the future is really bright going forward for Becky.”

Like any side in the Under 18 competition, Cossar said the club would have loved more draftees but having seen the amount of mature-age talent coming through the draft, knows the draft dream is not lost for the top-age players who missed out last year, with a number of Bushrangers continuing their football pathway in the VFL Women’s competition with Richmond.

“We had a handful of girls who we though were draftable but unfortunately they didn’t get drafted,” she said. “But I think the good thing with the VFLW is that we’re aligned with Richmond, so I think giving those girls an opportunity to play VFLW, and also the National Championships like Eloise Ashley-Cooper, puts them in good stead because Richmond go into the AFLW next year. “This year they’re list building so I know the likes of Tamara Smith and Grace Egan are down at Richmond training and they’ll play there again this season so hopefully they manage to get on that list and going forward, play AFLW.”

Looking ahead to 2019, a fellow Bushranger could join Webster at the Cattery at year’s end, with Mille Brown – daughter of Geelong’s Paul Brown – eligible under the father-daughter rule. While Paul played 84 games – not enough to qualify under the father-son rule – the minimum amount for the father-daughter rule is just one game. Along with bottom-ager, Olivia Barber, the pair is a part of the AFL Women’s Academy this year. Brown is a versatile utility who would be stationed off half-back or on a wing, while Barber rotated between ruck and forward last season.

“We’ve got Millie Brown as a top-ager, part of the Academy – so this is her second year in the Academy,” Cossar said. “We’ve also got Olivia Barber, this is her first year in the Academy. Her background is basketball, she’s a really talented basketballer… We’re fortunate to have her as part of our program as well and hopefully we’ll see a few more games from Olivia this season which would be great.”

Cossar said the amount of bottom-agers from 2018 that returned for the 2019 pre-season was really promising and testament to the club’s program. It did however leave the coaches and list managers with some tough decisions. The Bushrangers’ Female Talent Manager is not only excited about the year ahead, but the next few years, with glimses of future talent on display at training.

“Most of them (bottom-agers from 2018) did come back, we had 150 girls nominate for our trial day back in September (2018) and then obviously we had to cut that, so we cut that back to 75, we took 75 into pre-season and just recently cut again to take a squad of 52 for the season,” she said. “It’s really exciting and it was a difficult selection process because there were so many talented youngsters out there so we’ve gone for a few more futures, a few more Under 16s, we’ve got some absolute ripping 2004-born girls and honestly, they could play Under 18s this year if the age limit allowed – we would have them in our Round 1 side. “So, exciting times going forward and we just can’t wait for Round 1 – Northern Knights at RAMS Arena on the 2nd of March – that’ll be a really tough game, we may think that they’re the team to beat throughout the season.”

As for those tearing up the track, Cossar named talented forward, Kate Adams, vice-captain Sophie Locke – who played four games in 2018 – and phenomenal athlete, Abby Favell (one game in 2018) as players who have impressed thus far.

“Kate Adams smashed 1:27 off her 500s which was really impressive,” Cossar said. “Sophie Locke has been really impressive on the track – Kate’s a 17 year-old, Sophie’s top-age this year. “Abby Favell, who’s a 17 year-old – she’s from Griffith, so she makes a three-and-quarter-hour trek one-way to training on Wednesdays and Sundays and she’s an absolute jet. “She’s quick, she’s got endurance, she ticks all the boxes. “She can kick on either side of her body, her awareness and decision making is really good – I could mention 10 other players to be honest and I could mention 10 futures.”

Murray Bushrangers kick off their campaign on March 2 at RAMS Arena against grand finalists, Northern Knights and in the nine game season, face off against every side except Eastern Ranges and Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels.