Tag: Southern Saints

VFLW weekly wrap: Preliminary Final – Magpies surge into decider with strong finish

A FEROCIOUS Collingwood Magpies swooped into the 2019 Victorian Football League Women’s (VFLW) Grand Final producing a scintillating lesson in forward pressure. The Magpies knocked off the Southern Saints for the second time in three weeks as they advanced to play the Western Bulldogs in next Sunday’s decider. In a tight contest that was see-sawing at times, the Magpies held form in the final term to kick two of the last three goals of the game to run out 7.5 (47) to 5.3 (33) winners. While the Saints’ defence was up to the task, they were ultimately overwhelmed in the end as the Magpies piled on 27 more inside 50s, 19 more tackles and 35 more disposals to send an ominous sign to their opponent next week.

It was the Southern Saints who were first on the board, keen to atone for the loss to the Magpies a fortnight prior, with former Blue, Kate Shierlaw putting through a major just 54 seconds into the contest. Her major was soon equaled out by Katelyn Lee, but again the Saints struck back midway through the term thanks to recent recruit, Caitlin Greiser who extended the margin to eight. A crucial goal to Oakleigh Chargers’ graduate Nicola Xenos got the Magpies up and about with the margin eventually cut to one by the first break. Bri Davey‘s return in the black and white after injury was proving to be a huge factor through the midfield, while up forward, competition leading goalkicker Jaimee Lambert was about to get to work. She booted two goals in 15 minutes, joined by slick Chargers’ utility Gemma Lagioia who added a major in between Lambert’s goals to extend the lead out to 17, which would be the largest of the match. With the momentum fully with the Magpies, former Pie, Darcy Guttridge booted a much-needed major on the edge of half-time for her side to head into the break with a more manageable 11-point deficit.

Neither side could seem to break through in the third term, with it taking a late goal from Emma Mackie to bring the game back to life heading into the final break. The Magpies lead by just five points at the final change, and with the Saints having booted the last two, needed someone to stand up early. That someone was AFL Women’s Rising Star winner, Chloe Molloy who made the most of an opportunity to give the Magpies breathing space, but no sooner had she done that and Southern Saints’ Molly McDonald brought the margin back to a straight kick two minutes later. It would prove to be the last score for the Saints however, as some desperate defending by their back end forced a couple of rushed behinds. The pressure from the Magpies was intense and eventually it won the game, with a fitting goal to Lambert putting the margin out to a match-winning 14 points surging them into the grand final.

Davey finished the match with 30 disposals, three marks and four tackles through the midfield, working well with Lambert who amassed 28 touches herself, as well as six marks, four tackles and three goals. Brit Bonnici had 17 disposals, two marks and four tackles, while Molloy picked up 15 disposals, laid four tackles and booted a crucial major to reignite the Pies. Chargers’ young guns Xenos and Lagioia combined for 27 disposals, six marks, 16 tackles and two goals to show they belong at the level and more. For the Saints, Tilly Lucas-Rodd had a team-high 16 disposals and laid three tackles, while Guttridge (15 disposals, one tackle and a goal) and Olivia Vesely (15 disposals, two marks and four tackles) were both big ball winners. Dandenong Stingrays and future St Kilda AFL Women’s players, McDonald and Isabella Shannon also put in strong performances with a combined 24 touches, five tackles and a goal in defeat. Among those playing underrated team roles were Sharni Layton and Stacey Livingstone, with Layton strong through the ruck with 18 hitouts, 14 disposals and four tackles, while Livingstone had eight touches and was really impressive in the defensive 50. For the Saints, Catherine Phillips was named the Saints’ best with 10 touches and six tackles.

Collingwood faces Western Bulldogs at Ikon Park on Sunday from 11.35am.

Collingwood 2.1 | 5.1 | 5.3 | 7.5 (47)
Southern Saints 2.2 | 3.2 | 4.2 | 5.3 (33)

GOALS:
Collingwood:
J. Lambert 3, N. Xenos, K. Lee, G. Lagioia, C. Molloy.
Southern Saints: K. Shierlaw, K. Greiser, Guttridge, E. Mackie, M. McDonald.

BEST:
Collingwood:
J. Lambert, B. Davey, G. Lagioia, S. Layton, S. Livingstone, B. Bonnici
Southern Saints: C. Phillips, C. Fitzpatrick, M. McDonald, E. Mackie, K. O’Neill, I. Shannon

Future Saint already making waves at VFLW level

SINCE earlier this year, Dandenong Stingrays’ Isabella Shannon has known her fate for the 2020 AFL Women’s season. Unlike many of her peers, Shannon was pre-listed by the St Kilda side set to come into the top-level competition at the beginning of next season. Joined by Stingrays’ teammate and captain Molly McDonald, Shannon has followed the same pathway this year, graduating from the Stingrays, to Vic Country, to the Southern Saints’ VFL Women’s side to acquaint herself with the coaching staff and many teammates who will run out in the red, black and white next year.

Shannon initially got into football after having a kick with her father and brother, and once her local club in Mount Eliza started a girls program, the tall utility jumped at the prospect. While her talent is undeniable – pre-listed prior to her top-age year to an expansion AFLW club speaks to that – it is the close bond she has through the sport that keeps her driven to reach her goals.

“Definitely like the friendships that you make, that’s what so good about footy,” Shannon said. “There’s like 25 girls in a team so you get to make so many friends and through the rep stuff, you just know people from all over the country which is awesome.”

An area Shannon has worked on this year is her repeat sprints to try and push hard across four quarters and continually develop her game. As a player who has played in attack, midfield and defence, she has seemed to settle into the back half since taking up her role at the Southern Saints in the back-end of the season. She said the professionalism of being a member of an AFLW club and experiencing that side of sport was “awesome” and she looked forward to building her confidence throughout the season.

Shannon’s coach at the Saints, Peta Searle said the improvement shown by the 18-year-old to not only come in and play a role, but cement her spot in the side was remarkable.

“I’ve really loved watching the growth in her this year,” Searle said. “She’s come into our side and she’s now been picked as part of our best seven defenders and all the girls are now getting picked on, not what we’ve got to achieve in 2020, but what we can achieve in this finals series and definitely Isabella and Molly (McDonald) have earned their spots in our side.”

In season 2019, Shannon averaged 15.7 disposals, 2.0 marks, 4.4 tackles and 3.7 inside 50s per game for the Stingrays, predominantly playing through the midfield. She then pushed further back for Vic Country, where she averaged 11.3 disposals and 2.7 tackles per game on the Gold Coast for the AFL Women’s Under-18 Championships. While her numbers are lower at VFLW level – just the 4.5 disposals and 1.3 tackles, she has answered the call each week and played her role for the side.

With the Saints still in contention for a VFLW flag, Shannon could experience success with her new teammates before making the step up to the elite level next year.

Young Saints look to take down Magpies

SOUTHERN Saints missed out on the Victorian Football League Women’s (VFLW) minor premiership after going down in the final round of the home and away season, but with a win in their only clash against eventual minor premiers Collingwood, the Saints know they are a huge chance to claim the victory in the huge qualifying final. Coach Peta Searle said the group had achieved everything they wanted to in the regular season for 2019, adjusting goals as they met the next requirement.

“Obviously it was a little bit disappointing to lose last week and potentially finish off the year on top is a good end to the year isn’t it?” she said. “But our goal coming into the season was to play finals, but once we reassured that up, well then we want a bit more than that so the goal was to finish top two to get the double chance so to be able to do that, is a tick … but I wouldn’t say there’s been very minor hiccups for me, we’ve won some games that we probably could have lost. “Then we’ve lost some games we probably could have won, but that’s football.”

While the Magpies are the only side with the home final this weekend due to finishing on top of the table, Searle said they were far from the only side to worry about, when asked about which side was the biggest threat to her team’s flag campaign.

“That’s a hard question because any of the teams are good enough to win,” she said. “You know you’ve got Melbourne Uni … you have a look at their list and now Emma Kearney‘s in the side running out, it’s just like any team can win it. “Obviously Collingwood hold a bit of pole position finishing the year strongly. “Any team is more than capable, every team is a threat.”

But before the Saints can dream of a maiden premiership, they have to get over the line against Collingwood this weekend and move to just two wins away from the title.

“I think what we’ll do is this week, we’ll build our positivity in our group, look at things we do well, look at things we need to do to try and beat Collingwood,” Searle said. “Collingwood are a class outfit, their midfield is A-Grade elite AFLW class. “Like every game has been for us, it’s an opportunity for our girls to compete with elite people or against elite people and grow and learn something about themselves.”

The Saints are preparing for life in the AFLW next season, and have brought a number of players back to the club after stints with AFLW sides in 2019, while also pre-listing a number of talented Under-18 players. With access to the Dandenong Stingrays and Sandringham Dragons programs to pre-list players ahead of the draft, it was a duo of Stingrays that caught the eye for the Saints.

Isabella Shannon and Molly McDonald have been fantastic,” Searle said. “We would have loved to have them longer, loved to have them for more footy, I think that would have been more beneficial too for them going into AFLW but we understand the requirements around it and we understand too that they should play with their own age group. “But they’ve slotted into the team great, obviously Molly’s had a really good hitout on the wing, she was almost close to one of our best on ground two weeks ago. “A couple of weeks in a row she’s kicked some amazing goals, and Isabella Shannon, I’ve really loved watching the growth in her this year. “She’s come into our side and she’s now been picked as part of our best seven defenders and all the girls are now getting picked on, not what we’ve got to achieve in 2020, but what we can achieve in this finals series and definitely Isabella and Molly have earned their spots in our side.”

Southern Saints travel to Magpies’ heartland on Saturday, August 31 to face Collingwood. The game at Victoria Park kicks off from 12pm with free entry for those keen to check out the top two sides going head-to-head in a qualifying final.

Season reviews: VFLW – Southern Saints

THE Southern Saints were one of the surprise packages of the season, finishing eighth with only two AFL Women’s player on their list in Lauren Arnell and Laura Attard. Many would have expected the new team to finish on the bottom of the ladder but the Saints snuck away with a few crucial wins, including handing NT Thunder its first defeat of the season.

 

Position: 8th
Win-loss: 5-9
Percentage: 92%

Results:

Round 1: Lost against Carlton by 22 points
Round 2: Defeated Williamstown by 30 points
Round 3: Defeated Casey Demons by eight points
Round 4: Defeated Essendon by 36 points
Round 5: Bye
Round 6: Lost against Hawthorn by 33 points
Round 7: Defeated NT Thunder by 20 points
Round 8: Bye
Round 9: Lost against Casey Demons by 11 points
Round 10: Lost against Geelong by 38 points
Round 11: Lost against Melbourne University by three points
Round 12: Lost against Hawthorn by nine points
Round 13: Defeated Western Bulldogs by 31 points
Round 14: Lost against Darebin by four points
Round 15: Lost against Collingwood by 38 points
Round 16: Lost against Richmond by three points

 

Key players:

#8 Alison Drennan

Drennan was one of the Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s premier midfielders, constantly racking up the touches week-in, week-out. She was classy with the ball-in-hand and strong in congestion. She took out the Southern Saints’ Best and Fairest, along with Rhiannon Watt, and made the VFLW Team of the Year in what was a stellar season for her. Her season earned her an AFL Women’s contract with North Melbourne. One of her standout games was in Round 2, when she gathered 35 disposals to go along with seven tackles and a goal.

#15 Tara Bohanna

Tara Bohanna was a star up forward for the Southern Saints, kicking 15 goals from 14 matches. She presented well at the football and was able to peel off players inside 50. Bohanna finished inside the top 10 in the Southern Saints’ Best and Fairest and finished equal third in the VFLW goal kicking tally. Bohanna had two three-goal hauls during the season, highlighting her impressive ability to hit the scoreboard.

#17 Leah Olsen

Leah Olsen was an extremely reliable defender for the Southern Saints. Often playing on a half-back flank, Olsen could match up on key players and produce exciting run and carry. She finished fourth in the Southern Saints’ Best and Fairest with 86 votes. Olsen was a key contributor in almost every game for the Saints. She played a great game in Round 9, when she gathered 18 disposals and laid four tackles.

#24 Kayla Ripari

Ripari excited with her dash across half-forward and her clever ball-use. She was often calm with the ball in hand and aggressive without it, laying some bone-crunching tackles during the season. Ripari finished seventh in the Southern Saints’ Best and Fairest after playing every game and making solid contributions. One of her more impressive games was against the NT Thunder when she was named best-on-ground for her side with 14 disposals and two tackles.

#28 Rhiannon Watt

Watt was arguably the best ruck in the VFLW competition, using her height to advantage to give her midfielders prime use of the ball. She was agile at ground level as well, as she was able to rack up the numbers during the season as well. She won the Southern Saints’ Best and Fairest, along with Alison Drennan, and made the VFLW Team of the Year as the leading ruck. She had a standout game in Round 12, with 20 disposals, four marks and seven tackles.

 

Season summary:

The Southern Saints should be extremely proud of their season, having hardly any AFL Women’s players on their list. They trusted their young talent to pull through and they did, recording a respectable five wins this season. While the losses outweighed the wins, it wasn’t by much, as five of their nine losses were under 10 points. The Saints are building their list along nicely for an AFL Women’s berth in 2020, and could be a key contender in the VFLW next year if they get some more AFL Women’s talent on their list.

Number Crunching: VFLW – Round 14

AS the Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s competition begins to wrap up, patterns are clearly seen as powerful players dominate in the round-leading stats. In this week’s edition of Number Crunching, we look into those players who lead in goals, disposals, handballs, tackles and marks in Round 14.

Hawthorn has had a fantastic debut season, currently sitting third on the ladder on 40 points. This can be mainly due to great performances from players like Sarah Perkins. Perkins was the leading goal kicker for Round 14 with three in Hawthorn’s big win against the Dogs.

NT Thunder’s Jenna McCormick lead the round in disposals. McCormick’s key role in the blockbuster match-up between first and second was a vital and match-winning one. With 31 disposals in total, the half-back’s presence in NT’s comeback and eventual win in the tight 38-28 game against Collingwood was one to remember.

Saints midfielder, Alison Drennan led the way in handballs. For Round 14, Drennan recorded 22 handballs in the Saints’ clash against Darebin. The Falcons have had a great season thus far, despite her team’s below-average ranking at seventh on the ladder.

Hayley Bullas of Essendon leads this round in tackles. Bullas laid a whopping 17 tackles in the match, but Essendon still conceded to the stronger Geelong side. Bullas continues to be a strong player for Essendon, constantly being top ranked in tackles for her team.

Finally for most marks, two players take out the top position. Hawthorn’s Ebony Nixon as well as previously mentioned round leader, McCormick lead with an equal seven marks. Nixon’s command as a half-back for Hawthorn allowed her to have plenty of space to get six out of seven marks uncontested, assisting her team in another vital win. McCormick’s ability to do the same in difficult conditions against her team’s major competition proved to be also exactly what NT needed.

Round 14: Most individual disposals

Player

Team

Disposals

Jenna McCormick

NT Thunder

31

Jess Duffin

Williamstown

30

Alison Drennan

Southern Saints

30

Angela Foley

NT Thunder

29

Ebony Marinoff

NT Thunder

28

 

Round 14: Most individual handballs

Player

Team

Handballs

Alison Drennan

Southern Saints

22

Eleanor Brown

Southern Saints

15

Maighan Fogas

Geelong Cats

14

Sophie Alexander

Collingwood

13

Hayley Trevean

Geelong Cats

13

 

Round 14: Most individual marks 

Player

Team

Marks

Jenna McCormick

NT Thunder

7

Ebony Nixon

Hawthorn

7

Lauren Spark

Western Bulldogs

6

Meghan McDonald

Darebin Falcons

6

Nicole Callinan

Darebin Falcons

6

 

Father’s influence inspired Jemma Owen’s love for Aussie Rules

BEING the daughter of a man that has played and coached over 500 games in Melbourne’s south east region is no easy feat to live up to.

Throw in an uncle who is a former Victorian Football Association (VFA) player for Oakleigh, and you have one talented football family. But perhaps the most talented of them all is Sandringham Dragons captain, Jemma Owen.

Owen’s name became well-known when she booted a bag of 16 goals for her local team, Highett, and since that moment, has grown in leaps and bounds. The 18 year-old credits her improvement to the dedication of her late father, Kevin.

“So I got into footy through my dad,” Owen said. “My dad coached and played over 500 games. “Just going down to the ground with him and watching the boys play, I was like that’s what I want to do when I grow up, I want to play footy.”

Owen first picked up a football in a competitive environment at Auskick, where many TAC Cup Girls players discovered their love for the game. After playing with the boys for many years, the Sandringham skipper grasped the rising opportunities for females at the time, and reflected on how the pathway has grown over the years.

“Definitely coming through the ranks and going through Auskick and everything to playing with the boys, they’re kind of like oh there’s a girl!,” Owen said. “Now seeing that there’s so many girls playing and having the opportunity to come through is really great.”

Before she started to take her opportunities in football, Owen did athletics for 11 years. She competed in discus and loved playing that sport, as well as many other sports, but football was always in the back of her mind.

“I wanted to do every sport under the sun,” Owen said. “Athletics was always there and I wasn’t bad at it, my thing was discus. “Obviously as I got older, the body started to get bigger and I was still small, and so I couldn’t compete at that level so definitely footy was the big thing for me.”

This year, Owen has been able to grasp an opportunity that not many players get to have. After four years playing in Dragons colours, she led the side in 2018 and was thrilled to do so.

“I’m very honoured to be picked as captain,” Owen said. “I’ve been playing with Sandringham for four years and finally getting the chance to captain them and playing under awesome captains is definitely a proud moment for me and definitely one I’ll remember.”

Another memorable moment for Owen came this year when she was selected in Vic Metro’s AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships squad. Owen featured in Metro’s match against Vic Country at GMHBA Stadium and was just glad to be selected in the first place.

“It’s definitely a massive honour (being selected),” the Dragons captain said. “I’ve probably worked for four years to have this opportunity and to be selected to play. “It’s an amazing opportunity and something I’ve wished for for a long time.”

The hard work has paid off as Owen is now a member of the Southern Saints’ Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s team. The 18 year-old has played six games for the Saints this season and has thoroughly enjoyed the transition to VFLW.

“It’s been an awesome opportunity,” Owen said. “The girls down there have been really great. “They’re really supportive of the TAC girls coming down. “It’s been an awesome opportunity to play at that elite level.”

Number Crunching: VFLW – Round 13

IN this week’s edition of Number Crunching, we look at which teams have been the most damaging in this year’s Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s competition. While it is easy to look at the ladder and see who is doing well, we decided to take a look at which teams have recorded the biggest winning margins and the biggest average winning margins this season.

The top three biggest winning margins all belong to the dominant NT Thunder outfit. The Thunder defeated the Bombers, Melbourne University and even the fourth-placed Cats all by more than 60 points. It is easy to see why the Thunder have the highest percentage in the VFLW, sitting on 219.20 after Round 13.

These three big wins, among many others, have helped contribute to NT’s average winning margin. This margin sits at 45.2 points after 13 rounds, but it could get reduced by the season’s end, as the Thunder faces the Pies and Hawks in the closing rounds of the competition. Surprisingly sitting behind the Thunder in second is Carlton, who has an average winning margin of 34.5 points. Although the Blues have only won four games this season, they have been able to beat teams convincingly, with their biggest winning margin of the season being 46 points. One team that has had to work hard for its wins is Melbourne University. The Mugars have won three games this season with an average winning margin of 5.67 points, and are therefore no stranger to close encounters.

 

Biggest winning margins (Rounds 1-13)

Round

Score

Margin

3

NT 14.12.96 def Ess 4.0.24

72 points

4

NT 13.10.88 def Melb Uni 3.1.19

69 points

9

NT 13.7.85 def Geel 2.8.20

65 points

13

Geel 10.7.67 def Rich 1.2.8

59 points

6

WB 12.11.83 def Will 4.3.27

56 points

1

NT 12.14.86 def Darebin 5.2.32

54 points

2

Carlton 9.7.61 def WB 2.3.15

46 points

11

Geel 10.8.68 def Casey 4.3.27

41 points

12

Carl 7.10.52 def Rich 1.5.11

41 points

10

NT 7.8.50 def Darebin 1.4.10

40 points

5

NT 13.5.83 def WB 7.5.47

36 points

7

Coll 8.5.53 def Carl 2.5.17

36 points

8

Casey 6.11.47 def Ess 3.3.21

26 points

 

Highest average winning margins

Rank

Team

Average winning margin

1

NT Thunder

45.2

2

Carlton

34.5

3

Richmond

33.67

4

Geelong Cats

31.62

5

Williamstown*

31

6

Darebin

29.86

7

Western Bulldogs

24.67

8

Collingwood

21.9

9

Hawthorn

19.89

10

Southern Saints

19.4

11

Casey Demons

15.4

12

Essendon*

8

13

Melbourne University

5.67

 

*These teams have only recorded one win this season.

Love of the game inspires De Angelis to chase AFLW dream

LAST year, Eastern Ranges midfielder, Gabriella De Angelis used football as a method of stress relief to calm her nerves.

Now, the 17 year-old has instilled the belief in herself to try and achieve her ultimate goal, thanks to her love of the sport.

“I do (have my sights set on AFLW),” she said. “Since about last year… I said I was just going to play and just go back to loving the game because I’ve always played because I love the game. “So now I’m just going to give it my best shot and see how I go.”

De Angelis discovered her love of the game at a very young age when she began playing Auskick. Even after taking a hiatus from the game, she admits that she still loved playing and was glad that she picked up the sport again.  

“I was playing Auskick at Donvale and then moved with the boys in under 11s and under 12s I think for two or three seasons, and then I stopped because I didn’t think there was anything, I didn’t know there was a girls competition,” De Angelis said. “So I had a break for a season and a bit and then someone told me they were playing footy. “I joined Whitehorse and stayed there ever since and I’ve just loved it.”

Along with Whitehorse, the 17 year-old also played with the Eastern Ranges, represented Vic Metro at the AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships and now pulls on the boots for the Southern Saints in the Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s competition.

When she was approached to play for the Saints, she was in shock. De Angelis also experienced a feeling that she has become accustomed to in Aussie Rules, feeling the nerves before her first hit-out with the side. But she admits that after she overcame that hurdle, she has enjoyed being a Saints player.

“When they said St Kilda wants to talk to you, I didn’t believe it,” De Angelis said. “I love the game but I never thought it would really go anywhere. “I was really nervous at the start (of my first game) and then I got into the game, I kicked a goal. “I’m really enjoying it there.”

The opportunity to play with the Saints comes after she finished playing with the Eastern Ranges this year. While she admits it’s sad to finish off at the club, this season in particular was one to remember.

“It was my favourite Academy season,” De Angelis said. “I don’t know if that’s just because it’s my last one but I really, really loved it. “I felt I improved a lot more so yeah I really enjoyed it.”

She attributes this improvement to learning off both the older and younger players in the side. De Angelis admits that she often turns to them for advice on her game, which shows the camaraderie of the TAC Cup Girls side.

“I love playing with them because they push me to do better things. “I can look up to even the ones that are younger than me, their skill, their knowledge. “I just love learning from them.”

De Angelis got the opportunity to play with some of her Eastern Ranges teammates in the “Big V”, as they travelled up to the Gold Coast to face off against the best female footballers in the country. The 17 year-old overcame some heartache last year to make the side, but is glad she got to represent her state this year.

“I didn’t make Metro last year, didn’t really expect to and I didn’t really expect it this year so I’m over the moon to get another opportunity,” she said.

Not only has De Angelis played representative football, but she also used to play representative basketball. Like many other TAC Cup Girls players, she juggled basketball and football for many years. After some deep thought, she decided to make football her sole sport.

“It was a very tough decision (to give up basketball),” she said. “In Year 11, I was playing rep basketball and footy and they got a bit too much so mum said ‘you have to choose’. “I’ve stopped playing basketball now to focus on footy.”

Now in Year 12, footy is still the focus for De Angelis, but she also has another career path in mind for the future.

“Eventually, I’d like to go into the police force but I’ve just got to work out what I really want,” the Vic Metro representative said.

At the moment, De Angelis is enjoying her time at the Southern Saints and has excelled in both Eastern Ranges and in Vic Metro colours. In her most recent game for the Saints, De Angelis recorded 10 disposals and laid three tackles. Her side next plays Hawthorn on Saturday at Trevor Barker Beach Oval.

Number Crunching: VFLW – Round 10

WHEN it comes to Australian Rules, if kicks are the bread, then surely handballs are the butter. In keeping with last weeks’ theme, we are continuing with taking a deeper look into disposal stats in the Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s competition. This time we specifically are looking at most handballs in round ten and all throughout the season. Round ten saw a outstanding effort from all teams, proving that despite the season drawing to a close, no team has the dream of finals out of its sight.

Alison Drennan of the Southern Saints topped with 69 per cent handball efficiency as well as having the most handballs in the league with 115 in eight games. Bulldog’s Naomi Ferres and Sarah Jolly both made the top 10 with their win over Essendon (35-2), with 80 per cent and 83 per cent efficiency respectfully. Geelong also saw three of its team making the list. Midfielder Richelle Cranston showed a dominant performance against the Saints with 79 per cent efficiency and topping disposals for that game. Following Cranston was Madaleine McMahon with 62 per cent and Kate Darby 80 per cent efficiency.

In the season so far, Drennan once again has shown clear command as far as individual handballs go. Drennan has three separate positions in the top 10, taking out both the first, second and seventh spots. Other honourable mentions include Renee Garing who feature three times on the list too, as well as keen utility player Kate Gillespie-Jones with two spots also. There is a clear distribution among the list where players of teams that are high and low on the ladder are presented, which really shows how spectacular the talent in the VFL Women’s really is.

Most Handballs: Round Ten

Player Team Handballs in Round 10
Alison Drennan Southern Saints 16
Naomi Ferres Western Bulldogs 15
Richelle Cranston Geelong 14
Madaleine McMahon Geelong 13
Tahni Nestor Hawthorn 13
Sarah Jolly Western Bulldogs 12
Lauren Tesoriero Richmond 11
Emily Paterno Williamstown 11
Clara Fitzpatrick Melbourne Uni 11
Kate Darby Geelong 10

Most Individual Handballs: Season so Far

Player Team Number of Handballs Round
Alison Drennan Southern Saints 22 4
Alison Drennan Southern Saints 20 2
Renee Garing Geelong 18 5
Lily Mithen Darebin 17 4
Renee Garing Geelong 16 1
Kate Gillespie-Jones Melbourne Uni 16 5
Alison Drennan Southern Saints 16 10
Renee Garing Geelong 15 2
Kate Gillespie-Jones Melbourne Uni 15 4
Bianca Jakobsson Casey Demons 15 9
Emma Mackie Hawthorn 15 9
Naomi Ferres Western Bulldogs 15 10

Weekend wash-up: VFLW – Round 9

AFTER nine rounds of Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s action, all teams now have a win under their belt. The only winless team to date, Essendon recorded its first ever VFLW win while the Cats stumbled again for their second loss in a row.

 

Casey Demons 3.3.21 defeated Southern Saints 1.4.10

After defeating the red-hot NT Thunder two weeks ago, the Southern Saints slumped to the ninth-placed Casey Demons. The Demons kept the Saints goalless for three terms and managed to add on three themselves in a low-scoring affair.

In her return to the Casey line-up, Taryn Orgill played a blinder of a game in the ruck. She was complemented by midfielder, Madelaine Shevlin who backed up last week’s promising performance against the Bombers with another solid outing. Defender, Georgia McLean and forward, Melanie Hogg also played well in their side’s 11-point win. Hogg was complemented in the forward line with goals from Kaila Bentvelzen, Sophie Phillips and Taylor Mesiti.

For the Saints, it was up to the defenders to keep the Demons to a low score. They did this successfully and it was thanks to the likes of new Brisbane recruit, Lauren Arnell and Eastern Ranges gun, Ashleigh Allsopp. They were complemented by midfielder, Amy Silver who played a solid game for the Saints. Up forward, Danielle Lawrence kicked the side’s only goal while Kayla Ripari gave her all, earning her the best on ground accolade from her coaches.

 

NT Thunder 13.7.85 defeated Geelong Cats 2.8.20

By: James Halley

An aggressive mindset has helped lift NT Thunder to a massive 65-point win over Geelong. Geelong was down two on the bench after half time, losing Lara Williams (knee) and Anna Teague (shoulder) to injury. The Thunder’s manic pressure just did not give Geelong a chance from the first bounce until the last.

Thunder forward, Jessica Sedunary kicked the first three goals of the match, which demonstrated pure supremacy up forward. AFLW teammate, Jenna McCormick kicked another just after 19 minutes which was ultimately match over. Unable to score a major in the first term, the drought would continue for the Cats in the second. It was not through a lack of trying or possession though. They had the first four scoring shots of the term for the return of three behinds and an out of bounds on the full. Sally Riley profited from a 50 metre penalty to extend NT’s lead to 33 points at half-time and what started out as a positive quarter for the visitors had just got a lot worse. Minutes into the third term, Geelong was able to kick its first through Danielle Orr after a mark and a 50-metre penalty. Only one more major would be scored for the term to Thunder’s Emma Swanson, which was a great snap from the boundary.

The last term was not so even as the Thunder were hungry for goals and a percentage boost. McCormick and captain, Angela Foley kicked two each to take their side’s goal kickers to an impressive spread of seven. Sedunary and McCormick were real standouts for NT up forward, combining for seven goals. Angela Foley played a captains game with 20 disposals and two goal. Richelle Cranston was a real standout for the Cats in the midst of their hiding from the NT. She kicked one of Geelong’s two goals as well as finishing with 20 disposals, highlighting that she didn’t stop trying all day. Teammate, Madeline Keryk was a workhorse in the midfield, leading everyone in disposals with 23.

 

Hawthorn 6.6.42 defeated Williamstown 6.2.38

Hawthorn was given an almighty scare by the 12th-placed Seagulls on Sunday. Williamstown kicked four straight goals in the first quarter to open up an early 16-point lead, which shocked the Hawks from the get-go. The Seagulls’ lead narrowed at each of the breaks, and it ultimately turned into a deficit at full-time, as Hawthorn’s experience prevailed and slowly edged the margin in its favour.

Two goals from former Eastern Ranges forward, Olivia Flanagan and Greater Western Sydney (GWS) forward, Rebecca Beeson were extremely handy for the Hawks. The two goals from Beeson in particular were crucial, as she kicked them both in succession in the last quarter, with the second one giving her side the match-winning lead. The pair were complemented by majors from Samara David and Clare O’Donnell. In defence, Jayde Van Dyk stood up as usual while Ellie Macdonald tore it up in the midfield.

Williamstown was able to share its goal kicking around on the day, with Emily Paterno being the only multiple goal-kicker. Isabelle Porter, Western Jets star, Sharnie Whiting and North Melbourne duo, Jess Duffin and Jasmine Garner also got a major on the board. Meanwhile, Rebecca Dardengo and Jamilla Cranny held the fort down well in the back line, enabling the Seagulls to keep their lead for the majority of the game.

 

Essendon 5.4.34 defeated Richmond 3.8.26

It took them nine rounds to get a win, but the Bombers have finally got one on the board, defeating Richmond by eight points at their spiritual home, Windy Hill. Essendon kicked the first goal of the game before the Tigers fought back and kicked three second-term goals to wrestle the lead back. However, Essendon’s resilience and Richmond’s inaccuracy proved to be a recipe for disaster for the away side.

GWS talent, Maddy Collier played a fantastic game in the midfield for the Bombers, as she continues to play some wonderful football for her side. She was aided by good delivery from Simone Nalder in the ruck, who has not let her team down this season. Tait Mackrill also continued her good form in the middle of the ground while Rebecca Neaves was solid as always in defence. Up forward, Monique DeMatteo starred with two majors while Sunbury Lions duo, Natasha Hardy and Alex Quigley, and Canadian star, Kendra Heil were able to get solitary goals on the day.

Nalder’s opposite ruck also starred, with Alice Edmonds having another blinder for the Tigers. She was complemented by her back-up ruck in Murray Bushrangers star, Sophie Damon, who was also able to get a goal on the board to back up her solid debut in the yellow and black. On the receiving end of the duo’s solid ruck work was the likes of captain, Jessica Kennedy and Bethany Lynch, who were able to make the most of the tap work. Up forward, Lauren Tesoriero impressed while Courtney Wakefield did well in defence.

 

Melbourne Uni 6.3.39 defeated by Western Bulldogs 9.6.60

The Western Bulldogs kept their red-hot winning streak alive with a win over Melbourne Uni. The Bulldogs came out of the blocks early with the first four goals of the match before the Mugars fought back with two goals in the second term. They were then held scoreless in the third term before mounting a mini comeback in the fourth, ultimately falling short to a rejuvenated Bulldogs outfit.

AFLW leading goalkicker, Brooke Lochland starred for the Bulldogs, kicking three goals and being a workhorse for her side. Bulldogs AFLW teammate, Naomi Ferres was also impressive with another solid outing in the midfield in this VFLW season. This time, it was ruck, Nicole McMahon and winger, Rachel Ashley who joined the party, with each player having a solid outing in the red, white and blue. Inside 50, full forward, Mickayla Ward performed well, kicking a goal for her side and demonstrating a high work rate.

It was a strange situation for Emma Kearney on Sunday, as the new Kangaroos recruit went head-to-head against her former Bulldogs teammates for the first time since making the move over to Arden Street. She did not seemed fazed by the occasion though, playing another great game for the Mugars in the midfield. Bendigo Pioneers graduate, Aisling Tupper also performed well in the middle of the ground, as she continues to impress this season. Up forward, it was Western Jets forward, Caitlin Greiser who led the way, kicking three majors for the day. She was complemented by two goals from new North Melbourne recruit, Kaitlyn Ashmore who played a magnificent game for the Mugars.

 

Collingwood 7.3.45 defeated Darebin 2.3.15

By: Carly McClen

It was the first time a Collingwood women’s football team came out to play on the spiritual home ground of the mighty Magpies, the iconic Victoria Park. With star Brisbane Lions recruit, Nicole Hildebrand playing a fantastic game, and a usual class-above performance from Chloe Molloy, the Pies won convincingly and continued their undefeated run. 

In the first half, the teams matched up evenly providing a tough contested game to watch, with both teams applying consistent pressure and causing missed targets in kicking.  The rain favoured the Darebin Falcons but the talent and ball use of the Magpies and sheer pressure for four quarters made inside 50’s rare for the Falcons and it showed on the scoreboard. 

Important marks in defence by Magpie, Ruby Schleicher, and Grace Buchan’s consistent hunting of the footy all day helped keep Darebin to one straight shot in the first half when Esther Honybun was able to convert.  The Falcons applied consistent pressure on Collingwood with Elise O’Dea winning a lot of the ball. The first half majors Collingwood scored were from Molloy and Eliza Hynes

The third quarter was a different story and Collingwood was able to get away and play their game.  Emma Grant was strong and did her job well. Sarah D’Arcy took strong marks in defence right when Darebin were using more initiative with the ball and even a bigger presence and dominance from Aasta O’Connor did not hold back the Pies. 

Falcon, Kate Tyndall converted from a 50 metre penalty with 25 seconds to go in the third quarter but it was Collingwood’s second half. Nicole Hildebrand let loose, taking some strong marks and kicking two goals including one set shot from a 45 degree angle that never looked like missing when she peeled a little to the left and threaded it cleanly. Hildebrand then set up a goal passing cleverly to Gabrielle Biedenweg-Webster who played on and kicked their final goal in the last quarter.

There were two players taken off the ground with injuries. Shevaun Hogan was taken off for Darebin and Magpie, Kristy Stratton was taken off on a stretcher with a suspected knee injury.