Tag: tahlia gillard

2020 AFL Women’s Academy Announced

THE 2020 AFL Women’s Academy was announced yesterday, with Victoria metropolitan regions continuing their dominance in contributing to the nation’s high-end talent pool in the biggest intake yet. As is the standard, the Academy is split into Level 1 (Under-17) and Level 2 (Under-18) squads, with each state and territory having at least one representative across the 52 players chosen.

NSW/ACT, Queensland, and Western Australia each have four members in the top-age Level 2 Academy, headlined by the likes of Abby Favell (Murray Bushrangers/NSW/ACT), Zimmorlei Farquharson (Calamvale/Yeronga/QLD), and Mikayla Morrison (East Perth Royals/WA), while South Adelaide pair Teah Charlton and Indy Tahau are South Australia’s representatives, and Stephanie Williams (Darwin Buffaloes) is the lone Northern Territory selection.

Northern Knights’ undefeated premiership season has translated to contributing four of the 12 Vic Metro members, with early first pick contender Ellie McKenzie leading the pack. Sandringham had two products picked, while Eastern and Oakleigh had two each and Isabelle Pritchard was the lone Western Jet to get a nod. Eight Vic Country representatives also made the squad, with a trio of Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels leading the line from a Geelong Falcons pairing and single selections from Dandenong, Murray and Gippsland.

The Level 1 squad features four representatives each from Queensland, Vic Metro, and Vic Country, with 2019 NAB League best and fairest winner Georgie Prespakis (Calder) headlining the list from the likes of Cannons teammate Tahlia Gillard and Tara Slender. Queenslander Tegan Levi (Broadbeach) joins sister Maddison (Level 2) in the academy, while Charlie Rowbottom (Oakleigh) – sister of Sydney’s James – also makes the list. Promising Tasmanian Amy Prokopiec (Clarence) is her state’s sole selection, with Ally Morphett (Murray Bushrangers) the same for NSW/ACT, and Zoe Prowse (Sturt) for South Australia, while Western Australia has two representatives.

Academy members will all have the chance to train with AFLW clubs across December and January, while also attending high performance training camps in January, April, and August.

Level 2 Squad:

Tarni Evans Queanbeyan Tigers NSW/ACT
Abby Favell Murray Bushrangers NSW/ACT
Emily Pease Belconnen Magpies NSW/ACT
Jayde Hamilton Queanbeyan Tigers NSW/ACT
Stephanie Williams Darwin Buffaloes NT
Annise Bradfield Southport QLD
Zimmorlei Farquharson Calamvale/Yeronga QLD
Daisy D’Arcy Hermit Park QLD
Maddison Levi Bond University QLD
Teah Charlton South Adelaide SA
Indy Tahau South Adelaide SA
Tyanna Smith Dandenong Stingrays Vic Country
Darcy Moloney Geelong Falcons Vic Country
Laura Gardiner Geelong Falcons Vic Country
Maggie Caris GWV Rebels Vic Country
Isabella Simmons GWV Rebels Vic Country
Renee Saulitis GWV Rebels Vic Country
Olivia Barber Murray Bushrangers Vic Country
Megan Fitzsimon Gippsland Power Vic Country
Alyssa Bannan Northern Knights Vic Metro
Tarni Brown Eastern Ranges Vic Metro
Alice Burke Sandringham Dragons Vic Metro
Jessica Fitzgerald Northern Knights Vic Metro
Sarah Hartwig Sandringham Dragons Vic Metro
Mimi Hill Oakleigh Chargers Vic Metro
Ellie McKenzie Northern Knights Vic Metro
Olivia Meagher Eastern Ranges Vic Metro
Isabelle Pritchard Western Jets Vic Metro
Joanna Lin Oakleigh Chargers Vic Metro
Isabella Eddey Sandringham Dragons Vic Metro
Maeve Chaplin Northern Knights Vic Metro
Sarah Verrier Peel Thunder WA
Shanae Davison Swan Districts WA
Isabella Lewis Claremont Tigers WA
Mikayla Morrison East Perth Royals WA

Level 1 Squad:

Amy Prokopiec Clarence TAS
Ally Morphett Murray Bushrangers NSWACT
Teagan Levi Broadbeach QLD
Bella Smith Maroochydore QLD
Maggie Harmer Maroochydore QLD
Mikayla Pauga Maroochydore QLD
Zoe Prowse Sturt SA
Tara Slender Bendigo Pioneers Vic Country
Nyakoat Dojiok GWV Rebels Vic Country
Ella Friend GWV Rebels Vic Country
Jaide Anthony Dandenong Stingrays Vic Country
Tahlia Gillard Calder Cannons Vic Metro
Georgie Prespakis Calder Cannons Vic Metro
Charlie Rowbottom Oakleigh Chargers Vic Metro
Maykaylah Appleby Northern Knights Vic Metro
Charlotte Thomas Subiaco Lions WA
Courtney Rowley Peel Thunder WA

Vic Country run out narrow winners after impressive final term

VIC Country’s Under-16 side has triumphed in the final game of the AFL Women’s Under 16 Championships, running over the top of a fast-starting Metro side with a final quarter burst. Murray Bushrangers’ Keeley Skepper starred, roaming around the ground and having an influence across four quarters, while Matilda Hardy and Emelia Yassir were equally impressive through the midfield for the Metro side.

Metro dominated the opening term but it was Geelong Falcons’ Analea McKee who hit the scoreboard first with great body position one-on-one to run onto a loose ball over the back and put her side on the board. It did not take long for Metro to apply the possession dominance to the scoreboard, with Sandringham Dragons’ Ebony Angelopoulos putting the Metro team back in front, followed by majors to Calder Cannons’ Tahlia Gillard and Northern Knights’ Maykaylah Appleby.

Trailing by 14 points at the first break, it was Country’s turn to control possession but not impact the scoreboard, until McKee slotted her second at a crucial time to pump up her side. Luckily for Country, Metro could only manage the one behind, as the likes of Geelong Falcons’ Elizabeth Dowling and Bendigo Pioneers’ Tara Slender were rebounding everything out of the back half, while Gippsland Power’s Macie Gilmour was strong around the ground, taking a huge mark late in the term, coming off worse for wear before returning after the long break.

When Sandringham Dragons’ Charli Murphy converted her set shot after a strong mark inside 50 early in the third, and Metro was looking dangerous, the signs were ominous for Country. Little did the crowd expect, Country was about to take complete control with the four last goals of the game. Murray Bushrangers’ small forward, Cassidy Mailer converted, as did Gippsland Power tall, Tyla Angwin to draw level by the final break.

With the game evenly poised, Country was the team that took the game on and Gilmour and Tahlia Meier both converted goals to put the result beyond doubt, holding Metro scoreless in the final term to run out 6.8 (44) to 4.6 (30) winners. Grace Matser‘s work in the ruck was impressive with the Gippsland Power tall having an influence around the ground, while Calder Cannons duo, Kasey Lennox and Peppa Poultney were also impressive across the four quarters.

The victory was well deserved for a Country side that controlled play after quarter time, booting five of the last six goals of the match to enjoy a victory over the short series of matches. While Metro could not take home the chocolates, they celebrated a win previously against NSW/ACT Rams, while Country went down to South Australia. For the Under-16 players, they now head back to their local clubs as they keep an eye on their Under-18 teammates on the Gold Coast, aspiring to be in their shoes in 12 and 24 months time.

VIC COUNTRY 1.0 | 2.4 | 4.6 | 6.8 (44)
VIC METRO 3.2 | 3.3 | 4.6 | 4.6 (30)

GOALS:

Vic Country: A. McKee (Geelong) 2, C. Mailer (Murray), T. Angwin (Gippsland), M. Gilmour (Gippsland), T. Meier (GWV)
Vic Metro: E. Angelopoulos (Sandringham), T. Gillard (Calder), M. Appleby (Northern), C. Murphy (Sandringham)

BEST:

Vic Country: K. Skepper (Murray), A. McKee, M. Gilmour, T. Slender (Bendigo), E. Dowling (Geelong), G. Matser (Gippsland)
Vic Metro: M. Hardy (Eastern), E. Yassir (Calder), K. Lennox (Calder), S. Reid (Oakleigh), P. Poultney (Calder), J. Woods (Western)

AFLW U16 Championships preview: Vic Country vs. Vic Metro

IN the first game of a Victorian double-header, the Under 16s go head-to-head with Vic Country hosting Vic Metro at Avalon Airport Oval on Saturday. The AFL Women’s Under 16s Championships are a shorter series to that of the Under 18s, and male Under 16s, with the Victorian derby being the final match of the series. Both sides had hitouts against other opposition, with Metro triumphing over a gallant New South Wales/Australian Capital Territory (NSW/ACT), while South Australia downed Vic Country in a bit of an upset.

Given the results, Metro would head in as favourites, but are missing two of their top stars with Georgie Prespakis and Tess Flintoff not in the side. It opens up possibilities for others, with the likes of Emelia Yassir, Matilda Hardy and Makaylah Appleby to stand up, having shown impressive signs in Metro’s win over the Rams. Kasey Lennox was impressive in the NAB League Girls Grand Final for Calder Cannons, while Charlie Rowbottom – sister of Sydney’s James – knows how to find the football and put it through the big sticks. Likewise, Charli Murphy will provide a tall target inside 50, while Calder’s Tahlia Gillard is already 187cm despite being 15.

Looking at the Vic Country side, Tara Slender is a player who immediately stands out, holding down a key position defence role at Bendigo Pioneers after an impressive V/Line Cup carnival last year. Dandenong’s Jemma Radford and Geelong’s Elizabeth Dowling are others who have shown terrific signs in their first year at NAB League Girls level following V/Line Cup success, while Gippsland’s Grace Matser is in a similar boat to Gillard, standing at 186cm having just turned 16 earlier in the year. Jaide Anthony is a forward to watch having booted multiple goals on debut in the NAB League Girls competition, while Nyakoat Dojiok has been a developing talent the last couple of seasons.

The game is likely to be an exciting one, and being a curtain raiser to the Under-18 equivalent, it gives the Under 16s an idea of the level they strive to get to, and the pathway in place for them in the future. Last year, a Metro side led by Ellie McKenzie and Alyssa Bannan won the clash over Country at GMHBA Stadium, while Renee Saulitis and Tyanna Smith were among the best for Country. All four of those players are now representing Victoria at Under-18 level. The talented pathway is ever-growing, so expect the level of football to be even higher than that of last year with so many evenly talented players running around in the ‘Big V’.

UNDER-16 VIC COUNTRY

NO. NAME   DOB HT NAB LEAGUE CLUB
1 Tahlia Meier 19-Oct-03 TBC GWV Rebels
2 Cassidy Mailer 02-Feb-04 153 Murray Bushrangers
3 Poppy Schaap 28-Jul-03 154 Geelong Falcons
4 Grace Matser 03-Jan-03 186 Gippsland Power
5 Gabbi Featherston 12-Nov-03 163 Geelong Falcons
7 Jaide Anthony 20-Nov-03 TBC Dandenong Stingrays
8 Jemma Radford 31-Jul-03 167 Dandenong Stingrays
9 Melina Ciavarella 24-Jan-03 161 GWV Rebels
10 Kate Tomkins 17-Jun-03 161 GWV Rebels
11 Alannah Sanderson 19-Sep-03 166 Geelong Falcons
13 Lilli Condon 25-Nov-03 154 GWV Rebels
14 Tara Slender 11-Mar-03 174 Bendigo Pioneers
15 Drew Ryan 11-Apr-03 172 Bendigo Pioneers
16 Macie Gilmour 03-Jan-03 158 Gippsland Power
17 Holly Booth 11-Sep-03 169 Gippsland Power
18 Analea McKee 06-Jul-03 174 Geelong Falcons
19 Ella Friend 30-Dec-03 172 GWV Rebels
20 Elizabeth Dowling 31-Jul-03 168 Geelong Falcons
21 Jayda Richardson 04-Nov-03 175 Bendigo Pioneers
22 Nyakoat Dojiok 07-Jan-03 180 GWV Rebels
23 Madeline Marks 26-Feb-03 173 Bendigo Pioneers
25 Tyla Angwin 24-Jul-03 172 Gippsland Power
26 Keeley Skepper 15-Mar-04 163 Murray Bushrangers

 

UNDER-16 VIC METRO

NO. NAME   DOB HT NAB LEAGUE CLUB
1 Mia Papachristos 06-Apr-03 157 Northern Knights
2 Teleah Smart 02-May-03 160 Northern Knights
3 Ebony Angelopoulos 26-Nov-03 160 Sandringham Dragons
4 Emelia Yassir 25-Sep-03 161 Calder Cannons
5 Stephanie Asciak 18-Sep-03 162 Western Jets
6 Emma Stuber 10-Jul-03 164 Sandringham Dragons
7 Aurora Smith 13-Dec-03 163 Murray Bushrangers
8 Alisha Liddle 30-Sep-03 175 Dandenong Stingrays
9 Matilda Hardy 24-Apr-03 170 Eastern Ranges
10 Ruby O’Dwyer 04-Oct-03 170 Eastern Ranges
11 Maykaylah Appleby 18-Jul-03 170 Northern Knights
12 Eliza James 01-Oct-03 170 Oakleigh Chargers
13 Stella Reid 10-Sep-03 170 Oakleigh Chargers
14 Jemima Woods 28-May-03 170 Western Jets
15 Caitlin Sargent 22-Dec-03 170 Western Jets
17 Kasey Lennox 07-Aug-03 174 Calder Cannons
18 Charli Murphy 26-Nov-03 174 Sandringham Dragons
19 Jessica Simpson 28-Mar-03 175 Northern Knights
21 Cassy Wilsmore 28-Mar-03 178 Eastern Ranges
22 Charlie Rowbottom 22-Jan-03 178 Oakleigh Chargers
23 Peppa Poultney 05-Apr-03 181 Calder Cannons
24 Neve Crowley 23-Jun-03 181 Calder Cannons
25 Tahlia Gillard 12-Dec-03 187 Calder Cannons

Weekend wash-up: NAB League Girls – Round 7

THE Geelong Falcons continued their winning streak, staking their claim as genuine finals contenders while the Western Jets notched up their second win of the season. The Gippsland Power also made their way off the bottom of the ladder with a hard fought win over the Rebels at home.

 

WESTERN JETS 1.3 | 2.3 | 4.8 | 5.8 (38)
TASMANIA DEVILS 0.0 | 0.0 | 0.0 | 0.1 (1)

By: Sophie Taylor

GOALS:

Western: E. Quinn 2, J. Goodman 2, C. Saxon-Jones.
Tasmania: Nil.

BEST:

Western: E. Georgostathis, J. Goodman, L. Wright, I. Pritchard, P. Ozols, R. Tripodi
Tasmania: E. Brickhill, E. Dixon, A. Prokopiec, H. Smith, M. King, A. Clark

It was a cold and wet game on Friday night footy over the weekend as the Western Jets hosted the Tasmania Devils at RAMS Arena, registering their second win of the season with a 37 point margin. The Jets had all the momentum early, keeping the ball inside 50 for majority of the first quarter as Tasmania struggled to get boot to ball. The Devils showed some good defensive play before the Jets were able to take advantage of a dropped mark and get their first goal on the board courtesy of Jasmine Goodman (two goals, 14 disposals) for her first of the night. Jets struggled with accuracy throughout the match, wasting opportunities forward and spraying the ball across the face to register minor scores. Despite the likes of Isabelle Pritchard (18 disposals, five tackles) and Elisabeth Georgostathis (24 disposals, seven tackles) in fine form spoiling the Devils’ chances at goal, Western did themselves no favours bombing the ball inside 50, while their difficulty converting meant the Devils were able to hold onto a fighting chance if they were to get a score on the board. Mia King, Ellen Brickhill and Amy Prokopiec were among the best for Tasmania, as King racked up 16 touches off half back while Brickhill picked up 14 of her own, as well as a behind in the final quarter to get the Devils on the board. Prokopiec was prolific in defence, notching up 14 touches and eight rebound 50s. Despite only getting the one score for the match in the final term, the Devils showcased some good skill and pressure around the ball, registering 54 tackles to the Jets’ 60.

 

CALDER CANNONS 0.0 | 0.0 | 0.0| 1.0 (6)
GEELONG FALCONS 2.1 | 3.2 | 3.2 | 3.2 (20)

By: Taylah Melki

GOALS:

Calder: G. Patrikios.
Falcons: T. Lewis 2, P. Sheppard.

BEST:

Calder: G. Patrikios, P. Poultney, F. Theodore, G. Prespakis, A. Barba, T. Gillard
Falcons: A. Chapman, D. Smith, E. Dowling, P. Sheppard, S. Hovey, E. Mahoney

The Geelong Falcons claimed their seventh consecutive win of the season unfazed by the final term come back from the Cannons. They kept Calder goalless up until the fourth minute of the final term while the Falcons themselves did not manage to register a score after half time. The game was mainly played between the arcs with both sides contesting hard throughout the game. Georgie Prespakis and Georgia Patrikios combined exceptionally well across the ground for the Cannons, using their speed, spatial awareness and clean hands at the stoppages to push their side forward. Tahlia Gillard and Alana Barba were also important for the Cannons working tirelessly but it was so to no avail with the Falcons flexing their muscles around the contest. Tamika Lewis was solid up forward for the Falcons slotting two goals she was ably assisted by teammate Paige Sheppard who also chipped in on the scoreboard and around the ground. Captain Lucy McEvoy was also impressive for Geelong leading the way for her side with 12 tackles and five marks while also racking up the possessions to finish the game with a side high 23 touches. Luka Lesosky-Hay also won plenty of the ball but was unable to capitalise with ball in hand at times.

 

MURRAY BUSHRANGERS 0.1 | 3.2 | 3.2 | 5.6 (30)
SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS 1.4 | 1.6 | 1.9 | 1.11 (17)

By: Taylah Melki

GOALS:

Murray: O. Barber 3, K. Adams, M. Jones.
Sandringham: L. Enders.

BEST:

Murray: M. Brown, O. Barber, T. Brett, K. Adams, L. Sharp, M. Trethowan
Sandringham: G. Strangio, D. Walker, S. Hartwig, S. Trim, C. Cody, K. Lynch

The Sandringham Dragons were good off the mark holding a nine point lead at quarter time but were unable to maintain that intensity falling to the Bushrangers who overran them. Sandringham were inaccurate in front of goal missing multiple opportunities to secure a win. On the other hand the Bushrangers made the most of it when they went forward and applied plenty of pressure to remain in the hunt and convert when they needed to. A big second quarter from Olivia Barber spurred her team on to success nailing two crucial goals before putting the nail in the coffin in the final term to slot her third for the game. Kate Adams was equally as impressive for Murray working her way around the ground and scoring a major while the likes of Abby Favell also made her presence felt on the field laying some crunching tackles (four) and winning the ball at the coalface finishing with a game high 23 disposals. Millie Brown was also prolific for the Bushies who valued her ferocity and run and carry across the ground racking up six rebound 50s, 22 touches and four tackles. For Sandringham, Alice Burke recorded the highest touches with 16 disposals while her teammate Sarah Hartwig was influential across the ground with her 16 possessions, five rebound 50s and five tackles. Gemma Strangio was also impressive for the Dragons while Lily Enders scored her teams only goal for the game and picked up a couple of disposals around the field.

 

DANDENONG STINGRAYS 1.3 | 1.3 | 2.4 | 2.4 (16)
OAKLEIGH CHARGERS 2.2 | 4.5 | 6.5 | 7.7 (49)

By: Brandon Hutchinson

GOALS:

Dandenong: J. Anthony 2.
Oakleigh: E. James, M. Bertuna, J. Lin, A. Porter, C. O’Malley, G. Lagioia, J. D’Amato.

BEST:

Dandenong: M. Pearson, P. Swayn, M. McDonald, A. Jordan, L. Grocock, J. Anthony
Oakleigh: J. Lin, T. Morton, A. van Oosterwijck, K. Kearns (two players listed that didn’t play)

Oakleigh Chargers earn some much-needed separation from Dandenong Stingrays with a big away win at Shepley Oval on Saturday. Despite the quick response to Oakleigh’s opening goal in the first, Dandenong were unable to hold on as the Chargers surged away in the second, kicking four to one by the main break. Leading into the third, Oakleigh showed no signs of slowing, adding two more to the board with Dandenong responding late. The home side managed to defend well in the final quarter, letting through one, but ultimately conceded defeat 2.4 (16) to 7.7 (49). Emily Harley was pivotal to Oakleigh’s victory, recording 20 disposals, four marks and three rebounds, while Eliza James stood up in the midfield with 19 disposals, four marks, five inside 50s and a goal. Joanna Lin also had a season-best performance, collecting 18 disposals, three marks, six tackles, two inside 50s and a goal. Taylah Morton, Amelia Van Oosterwijck and Alana Porter were also among their team’s best, while Kalarni Kearns performed well in the ruck. For Dandenong, Lucy Grocock was among their best with 10 disposals, three marks and 10 tackles, while Molly McDonald continued to dominate off half-back. Jaide Anthony kicked two in her first game with two marks and two tackles, while Abbey Jordan remained pivotal alongside teammate’s Madeline Pearson and Piper Swayn.

 

GIPPSLAND POWER 0.1 | 1.2 | 4.4 | 5.4 (34)
GREATER WESTERN VICTORIA REBELS 1.2 | 3.3 | 3.4 | 4.4 (28)

By: Brandon Hutchinson

GOALS:

Gippsland Power: K. Te Huia 2, N. Webber 2, M. Fitzsimon
GWV Rebels: V. Jewell, I. Robson, S. Molan, E. Wood

BEST:

Gippsland Power: G. McRae, M. Van Berkel, M. Fitzsimon, C. Abrahams, N. Webber, M. Shaw
GWV Rebels: N. Butler, L. Condon, M. Caris, E. Wood, V. Jewell

In one of the tightest finishes of the season, Gippsland Power endured a fierce contest against GWV Rebels, earning a six-point victory at Shepley Oval on Sunday. With the game close to ending in a draw, both sides contested well throughout with neither team ever seeming out of the match. At the main break, GWV held a 13-point lead and were holding Gippsland off well. Though come the conclusion of the third, GWV were turned goalless and Gippsland had stolen the lead with a forward onslaught led by Nikia Webber. Come the final term, both teams added a goal each but GWV were pressing hard in their forward half. The rebels were awarded a chance for a kick after the siren with Sophie Molan tasked with the job 35 metres out. Unfortunately for GWV, the kick did not travel, and Gippsland left with a much-needed and rare victory.

 

EASTERN RANGES 1.1 | 2.1 | 2.1 | 3.3 (21)
TASMANIA DEVILS 1.2 | 1.3 | 2.4 | 2.4 (16)

By: Peter Williams

GOALS:

Eastern: S. Gibbs 2, T. Merrett.
Tasmania: H. Breward, B. Oates.

BEST:

Eastern: S. Gibbs, J. Dunning, E. Horne, J. Richardson, M. Kendall, L. McClelland
Tasmania: H. Smith, B. Oates, M. King, C. Lovell, P. King

Eastern Ranges have kept their finals hopes alive with a nail-biting five-point win over Tasmania Devils at RAMS Arena on Sunday. Following the Devils going down to Western by 37 points on Friday night, many would have predicted the fifth placed Ranges to win comfortably. However, it was far from the case with Tasmania booting the first goal of the game through Hannah Breward, leading at two of the four breaks, and competing for the full four quarters. In fact, had it not being for two clever snaps from Victorian Netball League netballer Serena Gibbs, Eastern might have headed home without any points and a sense of deja vu from last year where a tight loss ultimately saw them miss out. This time was different however, as the Ranges held firm, dominating the last term and having a number of chances, but it took until the thirteenth minute for Gibbs to put ball to boot amongst congestion and see it dribble through past the Devils defence. Gibbs was crucial around the ground and a standout player on the day, with her two majors and Tahlia Merrett‘s soccer goal in the first term showing Eastern had to get creative with their majors. Laura McClelland had a big last term, and was named among the best with Jessica Dunning, Emma Horne, Jenna Richardson and Mietta Kendall. For Tasmania, Mia King was all class throughout the day with some impressive ball-winning abilities, while Hannah Smith and Brianna Oates (one goal) were also named in the Devils’ best.

 

BENDIGO PIONEERS: 0.1 | 0.4 | 1.5 | 1.5 (11)
NORTHERN KNIGHTS: 2.4 | 4.5 | 6.8 | 9.10 (64)

By: Sophie Taylor

GOALS:

Bendigo: A. Thompson.
Northern: A. Bannan 3, G. Pirdis 2, M. Appleby 2, A. Reibelt, B. Gutknecht.

BEST:

Bendigo: M. Tupper, B. Hards, E. Snell, D. Villiva, M. Barton, K. Douglass
Northern: J. Fitzgerald, S. Sansonetti, A. Bannan, E. McKenzie, B. Gutknecht, G. Newton

Sunday’s match between the Bendigo Pioneers and Northern Knights was always shaping up to be a big one, with both sides on the higher end of the ladder. The Knights once again proved their depth and ability across the field to register another big win, still undefeated for the season and sitting in second on the ladder with two rounds to go. Clean play from the Knights saw the first two scoring shots of the game, before a goal from Maykaylah Appleby in space got the first major on the board. The Pioneers struggled under pressure from the likes of Sarah Sansonetti defensively, struggling to find avenues into their forward 50 and wasteful when opportunities came up. High, rushed kicks to the disadvantage of teammates proved ineffective as the side only managed the one major for the game. The Knights were smooth transitioning from defence through to their forward 50, with plenty of options forward and locking the ball inside 50 at turnovers. Alyssa Bannan (three goals), Georgia Purvis (two) and Appleby (two) were on song in front of goal, while Abby Thompson was Bendigo’s only goalkicker with a dribble through in the third term, courtesy of some stellar teamwork and workrate forward by the likes of Maeve Tupper and Brooke Hards.

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.

Weekend wash-up: NAB League Girls – Round 4

WITH Round 4 of the NAB League Girls complete the Geelong Falcons have continued their winning streak while the Northern Knights have moved into second spot on the ladder after a convincing victory over Sandringham. Up the other end of the table the Jets, Dragons and Power are yet to win a game.

NORTHERN KNIGHTS 1.2 | 2.4 | 5.4 | 5.6 (36)
SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS 0.0 | 1.1 | 1.2 | 2.3 (15)

By: Michael Alvaro

GOALS:

Northern: N. Morris-Dalton 2, B. Gutknecht, E. McKenzie, M. Papachristos.
Sandringham: S. Rothfield 2.

BEST:

Northern: G. Newton, N. Morris-Dalton, S. Sansonetti, E. McKenzie, T. Smart, P. Chisholm
Sandringham: W. Laing, C. Saultry, B. Arnold, C. Cody, T. Grasso, D. Walker

Northern Knights remain undefeated in 2019 after an impressive 21-point win over Sandringham Dragons to open the round. After a tight first half under intermittent rain, the Knights could only manage a nine-point buffer at the main break, but broke the game open as prime movers Britney Gutknecht and Ellie McKenzie stood up to hit the scoreboard. Nell Morris-Dalton was another to score in the third term, putting through her second to be the Knights’ only multiple goal kicker, while Sophia Rothfield booted both of the Dragons’ majors. While Gabby Newton was the prime ball-winner for Northern on top of McKenzie and Gutknecht, Winnie Laing and Alice Burke were constants in the engine room for Sandringham and tried hard all day. Bottom-ager Sarah Hartwig was also important for the Dragons having played at both ends, and took a couple of important intercept marks while in defence. With two wins on the trot after a draw to Oakleigh, the Knights moves on to another clash at La Trobe University with the 3-1 Eastern Ranges, who are coming off a big win over Western. Meanwhile, Sandringham faces a tough task to back up this one, set to do battle with Oakleigh at home on Saturday.

MURRAY BUSHRANGERS 0.1 | 0.1 | 1.3 | 1.3 (9)
BENDIGO PIONEERS 1.1 | 1.4 | 1.4 | 3.5 (23)

By: Peter Williams

GOALS:

Murray: E. McPherson.
Bendigo: A. Strahan, E. Gretgrix, J. Jolliffe.

BEST:

Murray: M. Quade, H. Doohan, A. Morphett, C. Gogoll, M. Brown, A. Favell
Bendigo: A. Strahan, K. Douglass, B. Hards, J. Jolliffe, M. Tupper, R. Stubbings

Bendigo Pioneers balanced their season ledger with a terrific 14-point win over Murray Bushrangers at Deakin Reserve in Shepparton on Saturday, The Pioneers booted the first goal of the game through captain, Eloise Gretgrix, but it was a tough struggle after that as both teams refused to give an inch. The Bushrangers got on the board through Emilee McPherson in the third term. It wasn’t until the final term when Annabel Strahan and Jordyn Jolliffe put the final nails in the coffin to see the visitors hold Murray scoreless and take home an important four points. Strahan was terrific, picking up more disposals (20) in the game than she had in her first three, while also laying seven tackles, having five inside 50s, two rebounds and booted that all important second goal. Brooke Hards was strong again with a game-high 11 tackles as well as 17 disposals, three marks, four inside 50s and three rebounds. Maeve Tupper was prominent in the midfield with 16 disposals, while up either end, Jolliffe and Kate Douglass were solid. For the Bushrangers, Millie Brown had her best game of the season with a game-high 27 touches as well as two marks, while Abby Favell had another 22 disposals and eight tackles. Mindy Quade and Hayley Doohan were named among the Bushrangers’ best in the defeat.

WESTERN JETS 0.1 | 0.3 | 0.3 | 0.3 (3)
EASTERN RANGES 1.0 | 2.2 | 5.3 | 7.4 (46)

By: Taylah Melki

GOALS:

Western: Nil.
Eastern: S. Gibbs 2, L. McClelland 2, R. Hall, J. Richardson.

BEST:

Western: N. Wright, R. Tripodi, E. Georgostathis, S. Asciak, L. Wright, I. Pritchard
Eastern: S. Gibbs, L. McClelland, R. Hall, J. Grace, O. Meagher, M. Edwards

It was a close start but in the end, it was the Eastern Ranges who pulled away in the third term kicking three goals to the Jets one point. The Ranges seemed to look more composed with ball in hand and hit up targets across the field, while the Jets had moments of brilliance but they were unable to sustain a four-quarter performance. Elisabeth Georgostathis impressed once again for the Jets but was down on her usual standards. Teammates Ruby Tripodi and Stephanie Asciak were dominant with their timely touches and smooth movement across the ground. While for the Ranges Laura McClelland proved to be hard to stop both in front of goals and across the ground. McClelland nailed two majors while teammate Serena Gibbs also chimed in with two majors to her name. Olivia Meagher also impressed for the Ranges going in hard at the contest and putting her body on the line more than once throughout the game.

GWV REBELS 0.2 | 0.3 | 0.3 | 0.5 (5)
GEELONG FALCONS 0.4 | 1.9 | 3.15 | 4.17 (41)

By: Cameron Ross

GOALS:

GWV: Nil.
Geelong: M. Skinner 2, P. Schaap, D. Moloney.

BEST:

GWV: M. Caris, S. Molan, C. Leonard, N. Butler, E. Friend, A. Stevens
Geelong: L. Lesosky-Hay, L. McEvoy, A. Chapman, E. Vella, D. Smith, M. Skinner

Geelong Falcons took another scalp on their journey towards back-to-back Premierships, defeating the GWV Rebels at City Oval in Ballarat on Saturday. In cold and wet conditions, the Rebels took it up to the Falcons who had the wind in the first quarter. Neither side could kick a goal in the first quarter, and the Rebels took a surprising one-point lead into the first break. The second quarter was wildly frustrating for the Falcons girls, as they simply couldn’t convert on a plethora of opportunities. The Falcons missed five opportunities that should have been kicked, including a magical piece of play from Lucy McEvoy where she turned her opponent inside out, and hit the post from point blank range. At half-time, the Falcons had kicked 1.9 and the Rebels were still in the game. Falcons coach Jason Armistead was fantastic at half-time, reminding the Falcons girls that the game was a four quarter game, and used a finance analogy that “interest accumulates” and to continue to invest in the team and that they will be rewarded like millionaires. Armistead was right, and the Falcons girls looked like millionaires in the third term, absolutely dominating the game. The Falcons did not allow the Rebels one inside 50 in the third term. Rebels coach Rhys Cahir tried desperately to spark his young Rebels into action in the final term, urging them that “team football is your way back into this game”. Captain Sophie Molan did what all good captains should do, putting into action the coaches demands with an outstanding chase down tackle at the start of the final term. Unfortunately, for the Rebels, the Falcons were far too good, and when Mia Skinner kicked a nice goal off a turnover in the third minute, the game was all but over. The Falcons winners by 36 points, 4.17.41 to 0.5.5. Despite his side not kicking a goal, Cahir stated that it was the best four quarter performance for effort he has seen this season from his side. “They just won some cleaner footy, and when the scoreboard pressure came, we struggled to get back into it,” he said. The Rebels will hope to bounce back next week against the Western Jets, while the Falcons look to maintain their impressive form against the Stingrays.

GIPPSLAND POWER 0.1 | 1.1 | 1.1 | 4.2 (26)
DANDENONG STINGRAYS 1.4 | 3.11 | 5.12 | 6.12 (48)

By: Peter Williams

GOALS:

Gippsland: C. Turner, J. Chila, M. Fitzsimon, M. Gilmour.
Dandenong: G. Howes 2, C. Bell, T. Smith, L. Grocock, S. Stratton.

BEST:

Gippsland: M. Fitzsimon, M. Shaw, S. Beaton, H. Andrews, C. Abrahams , C. Turner
Dandenong: A. Carroll, B. Vernon, G. Howes, Z. Hill, T. Smith, L. Grocock

Dandenong Stingrays made it three consecutive wins after seeing off a late Gippsland Power challenge to record a 22-point victory at Morwell Recreation Reserve. In challenging conditions, Georgia Howes kicked the first two goals of the game, before Shaneece Stratton made it three and the Stingrays were off and away. Jaime Chila pulled the margin back with her first goal for the Power, but a couple more majors in the third term to Caitlin Bell and Lucy Grocock saw the margin out to 35 points by the final break. When Tyanna Smith converted in the third minute of the final term, the Stingrays led by 41 points. To the Power’s credit, they never stopped fighting and made the margin respectable thanks to goals from Macie Gilmour, Chloe Turner and Megan Fitzsimon. The Stingrays were terrific throughout, with Amie Carroll named their best, while Brooke Vernon‘s phenomenal season continued with a strong performance in defence. Full-back Zoe Hill and bottom-age midfielder Tyanna Smith were again named in the best, while Isabella Shannon had a team-high 17 disposals. For the Power, Fitzsimon backed up her effort last week with an even better performance on Saturday, collecting 26 disposals, five marks, four tackles, six inside 50s, five rebounds and a goal. Captain Maddison Shaw was again impressive in defence with six rebounds to go with 17 disposals, while Chandra Abrahams also stood tall in the win.

CALDER CANNONS 0.0 | 1.1 | 3.2 | 5.4 (34)
OAKLEIGH CHARGERS 2.1 | 4.1 | 6.2 | 7.2 (44)

By: Peter Williams

GOALS:

Calder: T. Gillard 2, A. Magri, F. Theodore, G. Elarmaly.
Oakleigh: E. Harley 2, T. Morton, A. van Oosterwijck, M. Bertuna, G. Lagioia, K. Kearns.

BEST:

Calder: E. Yassir, A. Barba, K. Lennox, M. McLeod, T. Gillard, T. Fry
Oakleigh: A. van Oosterwijck, E. Harley, J. Lin, N. Xenos, K. Kearns, D. Lloyd

Oakleigh Chargers handed Calder Cannons their first defeat of the season, with a strong 10-point victory in wet conditions up at RAMS Arena. The Cannons came into the match without dropping any points thus far this season, but Oakleigh looked prepared from the first bounce, holding the Cannons scoreless in the opening term, and by the 13th minute, led 4.1 (25) to 0.1 (1) and it was beginning to look like a one-sided contest. Emily Harley had already converted two goals and looked the dominant goalkicker on the ground. Gloria Elarmaly finally got the Cannons on the board and when Alisa Magri converted early in the third term, the margin was back to 11 points. The Chargers booted the next two goals of the game to give themselves some breathing space before Tahlia Gillard found the big sticks with 21 seconds remaining in the term to give the home side some hope heading into the final break. Just 96 seconds into the final term, Gillard made it two consecutive goals and when Felicity Theodore added another at the six and a half minute mark, the deficit was just six points and it looked like all the momentum was with the Cannons. Amelia Van Oosterwijck settled for the Cannons to five them a two-goal buffer, as a couple of missed opportunities late for Calder meant the Cannons fell short of a fourth consecutive victory. Gemma Lagioia had a team-high 21 disposals and a goal, while Van Oosterwijck was named Oakleigh’s best for her pressure work and match-winning goal. Harley’s attack up forward to set the game up with two majors as well as 14 disposals and five marks was solid, while Mimi Hill and Nicola Xenos both had 17 touches in continued good form. For the Cannons, Emelia Yassir had a team-high 14 disposals and was named in the Cannons’ best, while Alana Barba and Kasey Lennox were also among their side’s top players in the loss.

U18 Girls season preview: Calder Cannons

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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