Tag: tahlia merrett

Team of the Week: NAB League Girls – Round 6

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

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

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

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

Weekend wash-up: NAB League Girls – Round 6

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

 

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

By: Peter Williams

GOALS:

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

BEST:

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

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

 

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

By: Peter Williams

GOALS:

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

BEST:

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

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

 

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

By: Peter Williams

GOALS:

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

BEST:

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

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

 

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

By: Sophie Taylor

GOALS

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

BEST

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

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

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

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

 

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

By: Peter Williams

GOALS:

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

BEST:

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

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

 

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

By: Taylah Melki

GOALS:

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

BEST:

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

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

Team Selection: Under 18 Girls – Round 1

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

CALDER CANNONS v. WESTERN JETS

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

CALDER CANNONS

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

WESTERN JETS

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

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

BENDIGO PIONEERS v. GREATER WESTERN VICTORIA REBELS

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

BENDIGO PIONEERS

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

GREATER WESTERN VICTORIA REBELS

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

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

NORTHERN KNIGHTS v. MURRAY BUSHRANGERS


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

NORTHERN KNIGHTS

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

MURRAY BUSHRANGERS

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

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

DANDENONG STINGRAYS v. EASTERN RANGES

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


DANDENONG STINGRAYS

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

EASTERN RANGES

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

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

OAKLEIGH CHARGERS v. GIPPSLAND POWER

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


OAKLEIGH CHARGERS

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

GIPPSLAND POWER

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

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

SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS v. GEELONG FALCONS

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


SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS

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

GEELONG FALCONS

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

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

U18 Girls season preview: Eastern Ranges

EASTERN Ranges will field a virtually new side in the Under 18 Girls competition this year after 17 top-age players left at the end of last season. Now the Ranges will look to their next crop of youngsters to stand tall and follow on from the impressive first couple of seasons.

Female Talent Manager, Jessie Mulholland said the Ranges were pleased with the amount of girls who made Vic Metro squads, and played in the Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s competition.

“We thought that we had a really successful year, we had I think overall 11 girls between the 16’s and Under 18 Metro teams. We then had 13 girls on VFLW lists and then obviously the three drafted in Charlotte (Wilson), Emerson (Woods), and Mikala (Cann). So, for us and as a talent manager coming in for the first year, I don’t think we had as much success as the first year, but we were pretty wrapped with the girls but we also had a lot of talent – we had 17 top-agers, whereas this year we’re looking at about eight so we’ve lost a lot of talent coming into this year, we’re a lot younger. You can definitely tell with the skills but also how quiet it is around the group, obviously losing 17 18-year olds it’s a big drop off so we were really happy with last year and really excited for this season to start.”

The Ranges were keeping touch with the top two sides early in the season, but a shock loss to the previously winless Western Jets put a dint in their season. It did however teach the side plenty of important lessons.

“I agree (it somewhat derailed the season),” Mulholland said. “In saying that I think it was a good eye-opener for the girls – a lot were really disappointed, but they (Western Jets) obviously beat us on the day and they deserved the win, and to see how upset the girls were you obviously knew how much they wanted it. “They can’t win every game so I think for us mentally it was a good game to lose, to think you can’t just come in thinking and assuming that because you’re higher on the ladder that you’re going to win if you don’t show up on the day. “For the girls to be as upset as they were took us a few days to get over, but they came out the week after and obviously our next loss was against Calder in the rain.”

The Calder loss provided the Ranges with a lesson in wet weather football, as a future AFL Women’s star ran the side ragged.

“It was pouring down rain, it was probably our first game in the rain,” Mulholland said. “They beat us on the day too and (Madison) Prespakis was all over the ground so look, we can only get better and obviously we learn from the losses but in saying that, the girls should learn what a loss feels like because they’re not going to win every single game for the rest of their careers so for us that was probably the bigger lesson that we learnt than anything else.”

Looking ahead to 2019, AFL Women’s Academy top-age talent, Laura McClelland is the one to watch.

“She’s looking great, we’ve sort of got a kicking coach with her at the moment – that’s probably one of her weaknesses and she knows that, so we’re making sure that that’s ready to go and she’s confident in that,” Mulholland said. “She’s really excited about the season and we’re just sort of really getting ready to start and dying for this month to just fly through so we can start playing some games.”

Mulholland said McClelland will rotate between the midfield and forward as she looks to give her the greatest exposure to AFL Women’s recruiters.

“For the top-agers we try and look at where AFL clubs would want them to play so some of our top-agers may play in positions that they probably didn’t play in last year,” she said. “There’s a few girls that are coming in that haven’t played with us before and they’ll play in positions that we can see AFL or VFLW clubs looking at them for – looking at their strengths and weaknesses and where they’re going to be drafted. “‘Mac’ will play forward, but have a run in the midfield at some point as well.”

As well as McClelland, Mulholland named Tahlia Merrett and Victorian Netball League (VNL) netballer, Serena Gibbs as other top-age players to watch, while bottom-age talents Olivia Meagher and Tahni Brown are those with high potential for the future.

“They’re really exciting,” Mulholland said. “It’s shocking to see that we have still have another two years with them – their draft year will be next year so you sort of have parents or clubs talking to you about them, so you can’t actually tell that they’re still so young and middle-age for us. “Olivia’s really pumped up, she’s been with Collingwood through the Academy for the past few months so she’s learning a lot from them and they’ve shown up to every training session, they’ve loved it and they’re just ready to go. “They’re probably starting mids and they’re really exciting to watch – to think that we have them for another two years is just unbelievable.”

Mulholland said 19 year-old Gibbs would provide a tall target with plenty of development throughout the season.

“She’s probably the tallest player on our list and is as I said, really raw like Mikala (Cann) – obviously not as short as Mikala but she’ll be exciting,” Mulholland said. “We can teach her and shell soak everything up and we’re really excited just to watch her play some practice matches and see what she can do.”

Mulholland said she was hopeful about what the season could produce but knew it would have its challenges considering the youth of the side.

“We’re really excited,” she said. “We are very young, so we sort of look at ourselves like the Knights did last year and they were absolutely babies and got into a grand final so we’re obviously not writing ourselves off. “We’re very raw, but we’re really excited – we’ve got about eight bottom-agers where the majority could be picked into the Vic Metro squad, so what’s coming through in years to come is really exciting for us and our top-agers are really exciting as well. “We would’ve thought last year we were going to be closer to the top than what we were but obviously the Jets and Calder games didn’t do us many favours. “But yeah, we’re really excited and happy with our lists and what this region provides for these girls – it’s exciting and we’re just raring to go.”

Eastern Ranges begin their season on March 3 with a clash against Dandenong Stingrays at Skybus Stadium in Frankston.

Scouting notes: TAC Cup Girls – Round 2

THE TAC Cup Girls competition continued to produce many highlights across round two, headlined by Gippsland Power securing its first TAC Cup Girls victory. Round two also produced a new ladder-leader, as the Northern Knights sealed top spot with a big win over the Cannons. The Knights join Geelong, Murray and the Eastern Ranges, who are all undefeated after two rounds of an exciting 2018 season. 

Eastern Ranges vs. Dandenong Stingrays

Eastern:

#3 Emerson Woods

Had a quiet start to the game, but was one of the better Ranges players in the second half. Her first clear possession in the second half was a handball out of congestion to a teammate in space on the outside. She continued to win plenty of contested possessions in close and executed some crucial handballs to the outside. Started to stand out in the second half and took a good mark outside 50 and played on quickly to kick long.

#26 Tarni Brown

One of Eastern’s better players at times, it is just getting her consistency through matches built up. She was impressive with good speed, acceleration, agility, footy smarts and defensive pressure. She has that touch of class, and does the defensive things right as well. You get that sense she has a lot of natural football ability and it is just a case of getting more miles in the legs and thus consistency will come because the talent is there.

#37 Georgia Macpherson

If stats were recorded she would go close to breaking the marks and intercept marks record. Just does not drop anything and rebounds anything in her vicinity. The opposition began trying to avoid kicking it anywhere near her because of her consistency overhead and her drive out of defence. She is a powerful kick who more often than not hits her target and pushes up the ground too which helps with her team’s forward press. So smart and composed under pressure, put together another four-quarter performance.

#38 Laura McClelland

The dominant forward of the day, she booted three majors in the first half and could have had five. She found space well inside the forward 50, took some strong marks overhead and was a powerful set shot. McClelland showed off her versatility by snapping a goal to go with her set shots. Also provided defensive pressure when out of position and showed good strength on one occasion to fend off a would-be tackler.

#46 Sarah Kendall

One of Eastern’s best across the four quarters, played predominantly ruck but covered the ground really well. For a taller player she moves well and this helps her get in the best position in the ruck contests, forcing her way to the front. She won possessions in each third of the ground and when down forward, she presented well leading out. She took a really strong contested mark on the wing in the fourth quarter and just had that presence throughout the game to back-up from another strong day out.

Others:

#6 Gabriella De Angelis: Was composed inside 50 under pressure and weighted her kicks well.

#10 Nicole Cormack: Showed good vision in transition when she marked and weighted a perfectly timed pass to Tarni Brown inside 50.

#21 Mikala Cann: She has that lightning few steps out of a stoppage which can burn off her opponent, but also does all the defensive things right as well with some fierce tackling. She had a couple of snaps and kicked a major on the three quarter time siren. Still building to put in a four-quarter performance, but she has some eye-catching moments at times.

#39 Olivia Meagher: Only turned 15 a few months ago, but she is one to watch over the coming years. She rushed her shots on goal a bit, but laid some bone-crunching tackles – including one on Lucinda Cripps – to lock the ball inside 50. She has great acceleration inside 50 and strength, breaking a tackle, but she sprayed the shot. Would have been in the top couple on the ground had she finished the few shots off.

#40 Tahlia Merrett: Played up forward and rotated through the ruck with Sarah Kendall. Merrett is a strong mark of the football, kicked a couple of goals early and seemed a reliable set shot. She also worked well at ground level so the bottom-age player showed some good signs on the weekend.

#47 Jess Provan: Took a great contested mark in front in the third quarter, but missed the goal attempt. Found space later on and took a good mark, so was providing a target up forward.

#48 Lauren Szigeti: Took a few contested marks in the first quarter and was a rock in defence. She fended off an opponent in the third term charging out of the defensive 50 and cleared the ball inside her team’s own forward arc with a lovely kick inside 50 to Olivia Meagher.

#49 Charlotte Wilson: Had a great highlight with a strong intercept mark and kicked it clear from defence.

 

Dandenong:

#1 Shelley Heath

Heath had a quiet first quarter before working more into the game after quarter time. She did not have as much time and space as last week, so used her high work ethic and running ability to work harder to get into space. She peeled off her opponent a couple of times and managed to get free to be an option on the wing. An accurate kick of the football, Heath backs herself when heading towards goal and has some quick first few steps out of a stoppage. Had a great smother in the final term, then laid a tackle backing up, to lock the ball up.

#15 Jordyn Allen

Like many teammates, the first quarter or so, Allen was not as influential as the week before.. But by the time she walked off the ground at the end of the game, Allen was one of the better players on the ground. Early on her defensive work was top, laying some important tackles and when she did have the ball, she was composed. It was the second half where she began to have a huge influence on the game. With the game slipping away, Allen played on from a kick-out, booted it to a teammate outside 50, received the handball from that teammate and kicked to half-forward. What showed her smarts was rather than just bombing long to a predictable area, Allen saw Georgia Macpherson ahead who had taken a multitude of intercept marks. So Allen readjusted her running and kicked to the other flank, using it as another avenue to goal. She did that a couple of times, using her fantastic penetrating kick to find targets up forward and just worked hard throughout the game. A high football IQ.

#26 Isabella Shannon

One of the Stingrays best early on, she stood up in the first half. She showed good speed out of the stoppage and tried to make something out of nothing charging through a few opponents. Unfortunately for her she was brought down and got pinged for holding the ball. She kicked the Stingrays’ first goal courtesy of a 50m penalty, but worked in tandem with Heath through the midfield and used it well by foot. Had a quieter second half, but still did some nice things.

#35 Lucinda Cripps

Like many of her teammates, Cripps had a quieter first half and worked into it in the second half. She was caught a couple of times with quicker forwards opposing her, but she continually tried to repel attacks out of the back 50. The biggest attribute to notice with Cripps is her ability to stay calm under pressure and never take her eyes off the contest. She took a huge back-with-the-flight mark in the final term putting her body on the line to stop a forward througst. She also used her strength to fend off opponents and had a big final term.

#44 Samantha Ryan

The tall forward was one the Stingrays’ best across the four quarters, because she did everything you could ask of a forward – she led, presented, took grabs and provided defensive pressure. Early on she was taking plenty of marks inside 50 and just got the better of her opponent on the lead. She laid a great hip and shoulder on Sarah Kendall in the second quarter, and was always buzzing around the forward 50.

Others:

#4 Jess Guy-Toogood: Has nice skills which she showed with ball in hand, moving in transition from the midfield to the forward 50.

#18 Saige Bayne: Still only 15 years-old and popping up with some good highlights through the match. She goes in hard to the contest and is able to hit targets when looking forward with good vision.

#20 Eliza Wilson-Macdonald: Came into the side this week and played on the inside with some great defensive efforts. She worked hard throughout the game and nearly all of her touches were under pressure. The left-footer spun out of a contest to get the ball forward at one stage, and later on won a one-on-one contest against Mikala Cann to get the ball clear, so some good signs.

#28 Tyanna Smith: Another 15 year-old who has a superb first touch. In one instance there was a high bouncing ball in the middle of the ground, and Smith took it cleanly, ran forward and produced a lace-out kick to Samantha Ryan leading out.

#55 Harmony Thomas: Looks dangerous at times given she is strong overhead and finds space, just needs to nail her shots on goal for a more complete performance.

 

Sandringham Dragons vs. Oakleigh Chargers

Sandringham:

#2 Winnie Laing

Laing started in defence and was quiet, but moved into the midfield later in the second term and began to build. Her second half was as good as anyone else on the ground, and to start the third term, she won about five disposals in just a few minutes. She is a tough inside midfielder who constantly hit the packs hard and once moving back to the back-line in the fourth quarter, had moved into more ball-winning positions. She moved up the ground and peeled off her opponent more to impact the contest. Laing showed off some top acceleration in the final term, taking a shot on goal after bursting away from an opponent, but the shot just went wide.

#30 Eleanor Brown

She was super impressive throughout the first three quarters off half-back. She has a long raking kick and her bodywork was great. She not only won the hardball, but backed herself in and took the opposition on coming out of defence. She teamed up well with Winnie Laing and Sarah Hartwig to provide plenty of drive out of the back 50. She linked up in transition with her midfield and while she did not see as much of it later when Sandringham had it up the other end, she was still an important contributor when required.

#32 Sarah Hartwig

In the end, probably best on the ground in my eyes. She played a pivotal role off half-back, taking some crucial intercept marks and providing plenty of rebound. Had a huge run-down tackle on Jasmine D’Amato saving a potential goal in the first half, and was really composed with ball in hand, executing the quick-fire handball when required. Hartwig showed her speed on the lead when she made up ground to spoil an opponent, and also worked her way to a contest in the third term to kill off a ball and put it out of bounds for a stoppage. Her best effort came in the third term when she won a on-on-one at ground level and executed a clean handpass to a teammate who was running by. Had she lost the one-on-one, the Dragons back 50 would have opened up and Oakleigh kicked a major. She took a great contested mark in the fourth quarter and used her good foot skills and agility to sidestep an opponent.

#43 Abbie McKay

Carlton fans will no doubt be keen to keep track of Abbie – daughter of Andrew – and on the weekend she was quite impressive. Just had some little moments of brilliance as she played inside and was quick with her hands in close, and had some good strength and power to burst from a stoppage. She worked her way to the front in a marking contest after initially being out of position, and earned herself a free kick.

#64 Eliza McNamara

Still a few years off being top-age, but McNamara is certainly a talented junior. She has a good mix of offensive and defensive traits, and has both the ability to impact a contest on the inside or outside. McNamara went in hard on one instant, won the ball, sprinted away and kicked a goal from just inside 50. People talk about levels of ability and I think her best is very high level and the fact she has a couple of years still left in her development, she will be a very exciting prospect come 2020.

Others:

#3 Sophia Rothfield: A clean midfielder who has a good first touch off the deck and is able to hit targets going forward. She showed some strong hands when marking inside 50 and almost kicked a goal in the third term before it was smothered, but a moment later she snapped truly and earned the six-pointer.

#5 Jasmine Tait: Top-age player with a fair bit of pace. She stopped Gemma Lagioia in her tracks early with a great tackle, and she was winning her fair share of the ball through the midfield. Did not do too much wrong and seemed to be a smart and clean user by hand or foot particularly in tight, handballing clear.

#11 Taylah Tysoe: Showed some electrifying dash off a wing going forward in transition.

#13 Daisy Walker: A clean user with ball in hand, Walker was impressive off half-back and composed under pressure. She also provided plenty of defensive pressure on the ball carrier to unsettle them going forward.

#20 Alanna Dalley: The tall ruck held her own against Bridie Winbanks and showed some good bodywork. She did well to protect the ball on the occasions she took it clean out of the ruck, providing a block on her opponent to allow her teammates some extra space.

#31 Bryanna Arnold: Had an amazing highlight when she kicked a goal later in the game. Her long booming kick inside 50 was reminiscent of Leigh Brown’s bouncer against Geelong in the preliminary final, when it looked to have missed the goals entirely with a defender chasing it, then it took a right angle turn to bounce back into the goals.

#33 Molly Denahy Maloney: Presented up forward and kicked a great goal on the run in the second term.

#46 Jemma Owen: The Dragons captain showed off a penetrating kick and ability to hit targets inside 50 with a perfect pass to Isabella Stutt late in the game. When up forward she was rewarded for a great lead, marking the ball through a desperate dive. Unfortunately for Owen, her shot went wide.

#46 Alice Burke: Read the opposition taps perfectly and has some serious wheels sprinting away from the contest. In another instant she showed her strength by stealing the ball out of an opponents’ hands and clearing it from the coal face.

#49 Laura Amelung: Another Dragons defender who provided good run off half-back and showed composure under pressure. She took a good contested mark early despite being undersized in the one-on-one, and also looked dangerous when forward, taking a good mark on the ground in the final term but her shot went wide.

#50 Holly Bate: Just a clever forward who managed to goal from a snap off a second’s notive in the second term. She did it again in the third term, casually picking it off the deck and kicking a goal off a step to hand her goal number two. She also laid a bone-crunching tackle on Charlotte Moon late in the game.

#53 Isabella Stutt: Presented as a dangerous forward option, just could not finish off her hard work. Took a great mark but her shot hit the post, and another snap from a stoppage just missed, but she showed some impressive signs.

 

Oakleigh:

#3 Jasmine D’Amato

Showed signs last round, but stepped up her game this week I felt because she was crucial coming out of defence and through the midfield. She wins the ball both inside and out, has clean disposal and does not panic. By the end of the day I felt she was in Oakleigh’s top couple of players because of her ability to keep a level head while Sandringham was applying the pressure. One notable attribute she had was her ability to break through tackles and still remain balanced while kicking. She had a huge last quarter off half-back.

#14 Hannah McLaren

Started like a house on fire and was just consistent throughout the game. McLaren started in the midfield and worked her way to half-back where she held up well charging out of defence. She even had a shot on goal after fending off an opponent at half-back and kicking long, but it was stopped on the goal line. She took a huge contested mark at full-back and just continually repelled the Dragons attacks. She played up the ground at times and kicked the ball well inside 50, but went a little quiet later in the game when Sandringham was in control.

#17 Nicola Xenos

A player I thought had a number of good moments, particularly after quarter time. She won the ball along the wing and had the smarts to dispose of it quickly when under pressure. She laid a goal-saving smother and added great tackling pressure in defence. Her last quarter was outstanding, linking up with Jasmine D’Amato coming out of the back 50, and provided good drive to help the Chargers stem some of the Dragons’ flow inside their attacking zone.

#32 Chloe O’Malley

O’Malley just had a really consistent four-quarter effort. She won plenty of the ball early when the game was hot, and she worked hard in transition through the midfield. She continued to work throughout the match and while others might have stood out at times with their zip, O’Malley was just a workhorse through the centre of the ground and one of the better Chargers on the day.

#30 Gemma Lagioia

Another top performance from Lagioia, backing up her round one efforts. She certainly stands out with her cleanness and athletic ability. She has the smarts to win her own ball or receive it on the outside, and a strong athletic profile which sees her use her agility and acceleration to dance around opponents. She also has the tendency to release teammates with quick fire handballs when she is under pressure, waiting for the precise moment to give it off. She took a great mark in the first half and spun out of traffic to kick long to the goal square. Lagioia is a smooth mover who managed to juggle a mark in front of her opponent keeping it away so her defender could not spoil the ball. I stand by my rare use of the word “elite” when discussing her foot skills.

Others:

#2 Mimi Hill: Really good hands in close, got plenty of touches early and just fired out handballs left, right and centre to teammates to keep the play moving. One of Oakleigh’s best in the first half, covering great ground across the field. Did quieten towards the end, but still a solid performance.

#11 Bridie Winbanks: Had a huge battle in the ruck and at the very least broke even. Uses her strong frame well and has a penetrating kick. Hits targets more often than not, and found Gemma Lagioia leading out from the goal square with a dart pass.

#19 Emily Harley: Had a quiet first half, but stepped up after the main break. She was playing forward after her stint in defence in round one, and did a few nice things. Harley had the smarts to kick along the ground in the fourth term rather than pick up the ball and be caught holding it. She laid her own run down tackle in third term, and crashed through a few packs. Did give away a few frees but her intent was good.

#21 Charlotte Moon: Won a crucial one-on-one against Eliza McNamara late in the game and buzzed around the contest.

#38 Daisy Bateman: Was not allowed the same time and space as round one and had her work cut out for her against the strong Dragons defence. She still managed to snare a few overhead marks and has that penetrating kick for goal. Earned a free kick after a strong tackle, but missed the shot on the three quarter time sirem.

#43 Emily Hastie: Had a few good highlights throughout, showing her strength in the air. Laid a tough tackle after dropping the mark, showing her second efforts.

#52 Lily Harris: Laid a huge tackle to win a holding-the-ball free on a tight angle in the pocket, just unfortunately missed the shot to capitalise on her defensive effort.

#68 Allysha Dyer: The overager used her frame well to win contested ball around the stoppages. She played at full-forward and therefore did not see a heap of action, but played her part when she got involved.

 

Western Jets vs. Gippsland Power

Western:

#14 Isabella Grant

Given the Power’s dominance early, Grant was quiet. But after quarter time you could see the influence she can have when up and about. While she did not dominate in the forward 50 arc, her running power to get up the ground and crash packs or win the ball at ground level on the wing and release a teammate, was clear. She is so strong in the tackle and gets her arms free, with the unique ability to stand up in a tackle and fire out a handball to keep the play moving in transition. Grant was a player constantly watched by the opposition, and while she did not have the game on her terms, she found a way to still help influence the match through her teammates.

#16 Elizabeth Georgiostathis

A hard nut inside midfielder who also has outside pace. Still a bottom-ager, Georgiostathis is strong and powerful, but showed some toe when she tucked the ball under her arm, took a few bounces and used the space along the wing to kick forward. Later on, she took on a couple of opponents, backed herself and kicked cleanly under pressure. Took a good intercept mark late just inside 50 but just missed the target. Overall she was a standout through the midfield.

#19 Olivia Forsythe

One of the Jets’ best midfielders with Elizabeth Georgiostathis, winning plenty of ball at the coal face. She continually applied the pressure through the midfield, laying a multitude of tackles and earned herself free kicks, including one that saw her force an opponent to kick the ball out on the full. Forsythe showed off her strength in the air, taking a strong contested mark about 30m out under pressure, and kicked a vital goal for the Jets.

#30 Isabella Pritchard

The 16 year-old might be two and a half years away from being draft-eligible, but she is already standing out down back for the Jets. She is strong overhead, backs herself in and puts on pressure against the Power forwards. Pritchard has a penetrating kick that is reliable coming out of the back 50, and is also not rushed when under pressure. She executed a handball off the deck to a teammate without fuss and just generally stood up against the onslaught when the power were taking control.

#31 Katrina Rebuffo

Rebuffo teamed up well with Pritchard in defence and after initially being flooded with inside 50s in the first term, shored up the defensive team and made a number of one percenters. She dove across the goal line in the second term to save a potential Tyla Hanks goal. After half-time, Rebuffo began impacting offensively, running off half-back and charging out of defence. She became one of the better Jets across the game and produced a crucial goal-saving tackle late. One of the big reasons the Power did not kick a goal after quarter time.

Others:

#2 Caitlin Gashi: Showed good agility and speed around the stoppages, one of the best Western Jets early. Was clean with her possessions in close or on the outside.

#4 Leah Spargo: Great defensive efforts, laid a huge tackle to stop a rebound and had the quick thinking to move the ball on quickly.

#6 Laura Wright: Laid a huge tackle on Tyla Hanks in the opening minute of the third term, and continued to apply plenty of defensive pressure to the opposition, winning a number of frees through holding the ball or getting the pill first.

#8 Emily Gardner: A clean user of the ball, won a free kick for a great tackle, but missed the set shot.

#21 Maddison-Eve Fenech: Went in hard from start to finish laying a number of bone-crunching tackles in defence. Made her opponents earn every touch and never stopped fighting for her side.

#25 Taylah Kolevski: Played in the ruck and covered the ground really well.

#26 Isabella Negri: Has a unique combination of speed and power. Fended off a number of players under pressure and then used her jets to burst away and kick forward.

#27 Payton-Ani Ozlos: Tough customer who loves the physical side, laying a number of huge tackles.

#39 Cleo Saxon-Jones: Kicked an opportunistic goal in the square, with smart thinking to be in the right place at the right time. She kicked her second goal in the second quarter with another good snap and looked to be the Jets’ most damaging forward in the first half.

#40 Sharnie Whiting: A powerful kick of the football and strong overhead. Fended off an opponent when running with the pill.

#43 Caitlyn Greiser: A powerful player with a great turning circle. Took the mark just inside 50 and turned her opponent inside out to get onto her preferred side to kick to the danger area inside 50.

 

Gippsland:

#6 Emily Hauesler

Hauesler played out of defence and the role really suited her considering her strengths of disposal and defensive pressure. She was clean by hand or foot, provided some great dash off half-back and had excellent vision and a low, penetrating kick. I thought she was the next best behind Tyla Hanks because of the drive and rebound she gave her side. She also applied great tackling pressure, and helped direct the defence.

#27 Nikia Webber

Another player who stood out for Gippsland, covering the ground well, but mostly playing as a damaging forward. She kicked one of the goals of the day in the first term with a snap from the pocket and then backed it up with a second goal on the run. She took a huge mark overhead and showed off her good vertical leap. Webber just looked to be getting into dangerous areas and also has the strength to go with it, fending off opponents at times, and winning the contested ball. Her work ethic was obvious when she took a mark in the centre square, the kick was smothered but she backed it up and won the hard ball to have a second chance and kick it forward.

#28 Tyla Hanks

Another polished performance from Hanks who looked like she enjoyed the freedom of some time up forward early. She booted two goals and almost had a third if it had not been smothered on the line. It was just a typical performance many fans have come to expect from her, winning contested ball, winning clearances and then getting to the outside and hurting teams in transition. She reads the play so well that she runs off her opponents at stoppages and can be found in space, which is how she kicked her first goal. Later on in the match she was also providing some run out of half-back when the game was slowing down. Copped a knee to the back in a marking contest but got back up and took the free. Hanks probably suffered leather poisoning from the match and you would be forgiven for thinking she brought her own football.

#30 Leyla Berry

Last week she worked into the match in the second half and it seemed she kept the momentum going this week. I thought she was one of the best Power players, winning the ball in close and applying plenty of defensive pressure. She laid a huge tackle in the third term, but was unlucky to be pinged for in the back. She stepped up to another level in the second half, winning plenty of the football and being impressive in close, as well as on the outside. A really promising performance.

#57 Jazz Ferguson

Another top Power player who I ranked behind Hanks and Haeusler such was her impact on the game. She played through the ruck and also up forward, creating a highlight in the first term with her goal. She fended off an opponent and continued to run, kicking a goal and getting the crowd up and about. She really got amongst it early, winning hitouts and covering the ground well for a taller player. Built on her first round performance and seemed settled in the second round.

Others:

#2 Samara Beaton: After a quieter first half, Beaton really began to get involved in the second half, laying a great smother and getting amongst it.

#4 Jennifer Ross: The overager played her role in the forward line, taking a good intercept mark in the pocket.

#8 Chandra Abrahams: Still quite young but there’s talent there, seems to have a fair bit of footy smarts. Just a couple of times I noticed she had the IQ to tap the ball on or have a deft touch to a teammate which would not have been recorded as a disposal, but still clever. Playing up forward but would not be surprised to see her develop into a tall midfielder down the track.

#12 Megan Fitzsimon: Spread really well from the stoppages and has a thumping kick on her. She penetrated through the opposition defence on one occasion, pumping it deep into the danger zone.

#58 Amy Dunn: Had an influence up forward and assisted Ferguson in the ruck. She looked to be a damaging forward with the way she lead into space and took some strong contested marks. She also set up her teammates and provided a real target down forward, particularly in the second quarter. Unfortunately the wind stopped her from adding a few majors to her day.

#65 Julia Redmond: Liked her game down back, she was a rock on the last line and just did everything right defensively. She broke two tackles deep in defence and backed herself to bomb to safety. She also took a couple of huge marks to save potential goals when the game was on the line.

 

Calder Cannons vs. Northern Knights 

By Julia Montesano 

Calder: 

#3 Madison Prespakis:

Had an electric start to the game and was probably the standout in the first quarter. She was able to penetrate the ball forward with ease, even in the midst of a strong tackle or getting chased down by the Knights midfielders. The Calder captain took everything that came her way- you could see she was being targetted by the Knights players. Prespakis was a ball magnet and did all the little things to help her team out as they struggled through the contest. In one instance, she followed up in the ball when it was in a tiny hole of space, picked it up cleanly, trapped the ball and side-stepped her opponent when she began to move the ball forward. She is such a strong player. 

#9 Molly Warburton: 

Warburton put in the hard yards for the Cannons in defence. In a young back-line, she brought a steady hand to the defensive line-up, and was able to slow the ball down and act composed when the Knights quickly burst forward. The defender displayed some great second efforts, which was really useful in a game where Calder did not give up, despite the Knights’ constant pressure. She will be one of Calder’s best on-field leaders as the season progresses.

#29 Stephanie Elias:

She was very brave on the last line of defence. The Knights forwards did not stop attacking all day, but she held herself with composure when the ball reached her. Elias took some great marks and also laid some wonderful tackles. In one instance, she laid a strong, goal-saving tackle just before the goal-line, and cleared the ball out with a booming kick when she received a free kick for holding the ball. She is only a small player but she is very skilful, and without her, the margin could have been much worse for the Cannons.  

#23 Grace Dicker:

Grace Dicker was one of the fastest players out there. She was able to use her acceleration to her advantage multiple times, especially when running away from opponents. She was particularly influential on the wing, where she was able to use the space to burst free from any pressure from her opponent trying to chase her down. Dicker also impressed with some great run-down tackles, showing that she could utilise her speed both in offence and in defence.

#21 Georgia Patrikios:

Patrikios showed composure with the ball in hand and her football skills looked a class above. She uses the ball incredibly well and has quick hands. Patrikios was able to bring her teammates into the game thanks to her footy smarts and unselfish attitude with the ball in hand. She is a good reader of the footy, and can accelerate well when she gets her hands on it. She also laid some aggressive tackles, which is an element of her game that she continues to improve on, and will hold her in good stead for the rest of the year. 

 

Northern:

#7: Abigail Bennett

Bennett consistently displayed quick and clean hands throughout the contest at RAMS Arena. She was always able to spot up a target, thanks to her wonderful peripheral vision. Bennett would often find the ball in congestion and pick it up cleanly – a skill which really highlighted her footy smarts. She was able to get on the scoreboard herself when she read the ball brilliantly off the contest to snap it through for a goal. Bennett was everywhere on the day, and is proving to be a very important player for the Knights. 

#23: Gabby Newton

Gabby Newton was a huge force in the ruck, winning almost every hit-out. She managed to do this against one of the best rucks in the competition in Calder’s Carla Rendelmann. Newton’s impact was not just felt in the ruck though, as her impact was felt with strong marks, aggressive tackles and clean hands. In one instance, she won a two-on-one convincingly, which showed not only her strength, but also her smarts. 

#14 Jess Fitzgerald

Jess Fitzgerald caught my eye when she burst through the middle of the ground in Paddy Dow fashion to boot the ball forward. She is definitely an impact player, highlighted by a perfect tackling technique where she wraps both arms strongly around her opponent, leaving them nowhere to go. I was super impressed by Fitzgerald’s ability to get and go because it showed that she has confidence in herself to make the right choice with the ball in hand. She was in everything and when the she got the ball in hand, she could not be stopped. 

#6 Alyssa Bannan

Provided a fantastic target for the Knights inside 50. Bannan has really strong hands and can work up the 50 really well. She was able to kick two goals on the day, and was involved in plenty of scores. What stood out to me was her second efforts. In one instance, her kick was smothered but she had the awareness and reflexes to pick the ball up off the ricochet and boot it forward – a class act. I thought her third quarter was really influential, as she started to impose on the contest with her marking prowess and proactivity in front of goal. 

#3 Nell Morris-Dalton

Nell Morris-Dalton was the strongest player out there. In one instance, she broke away from a contest with two players tackling her. She was able to penetrate the ball forward magnificently, as her kick was not only long and booming, but it consistently found space for the Knights forwards to run into. This was crucial, as most of Northern’s goals were from players running into goal, or picking up and snapping the ball inside 50. Morris-Dalton looked like an on-field leader for the Knights, and showed poise with the ball in hand. 

Others: 

#5 Maddy Brancatisano: Simply brilliant in the midfield. Was in and under every contest and continued to push hard for the Knights despite their comfortable lead. A fantastic leader for the club. 

#22 Britney Gutknecht: Her strong kick helped the Knights continue to pile the pressure onto the Cannons. In the third quarter, she delivered a magnificent kick onto the chest of Alyssa Bannan in the forward line, then burst forward to follow up the kick, as Bannan elected not to go for goal. She not only knows her own game well, but she also has knowledge about the way her teammates play. 

#17 Ciara Fitzgerald: Good marking and composed kicking from Fitzgerald. Was able to deliver a great centering kick into the forward line in the third quarter, and continued to step up her game in the fourth.

#37 Faith Holloway: She is the personification of speed and endurance combined. Holloway highlighted this through a great run-down tackle in the first quarter, in which she accelerated hard and fast to win a free kick. 

#24 Alex Pronesti: Pronesti is such an aggressive player, making her a really dangerous target up forward. But once she gets the ball in hand, she is very composed and uses it well. This was highlighted when she kicked her second goal of the day, as she was able to gather herself and run into goal while being surrounded by Cannons players running towards her. 

Pic: Trevor Ryan, Twitter

Future AFLW stars shine in V/Line Cup

FUTURE Bendigo Pioneers and GWV Rebels’ TAC Cup Girls’ sides were the standout performers in the under 16s V/Line Cup. The Pioneers had a dominant carnvial, registering two huge wins and finish with a percentage of 514.29 ahead of Western Bulldogs NGA (GWV Rebels catchment) on 485 per cent. Geelong Falcons maintained its unbeaten streak across all age groups at the V/Line Cup to finish third after two close victories.

Peninsula Stingrays and Gippsland Power both recorded wins, while the Yarra Ranges, and the split Murray Bushrangers’ sides of Goulburn Murray and North East Border got a good feel for high level football. For many of the players, they will head into the TAC Cup sides as bottom-agers, or will experience TAC Cup football in the coming years as the competition continues to grow.

Bendigo Pioneers’ big wins came over Goulburn Murray (38 points) and North East Border (49 points). Madeline Marks won the leading goal kicker for the Pioneers’ booting four goals, while Gemmi Morrell, Elizabeth Snell and Mia Ward all booted three goals across the two games. Snell was a shining light along with Morell, Maeve Tupper and Sharmaine Reilly who were named in the best in both games, while Grace Barton was dubbed best on ground for her performance in the Pioneers’ win over Goulburn Murray.

Western Bulldogs NGA had an equally impressive carnival, claiming a 38-point win over North East Border, before restricting Yarra Ranges to one behind in a 39-point victory. Chloe Leonard starred up forward in the win over North East Border, booting five goals, while Renee Saulitis backed up a promising performance in that game to boot three goals in the second match. Across both games, Nyakoat Dojiok, Sophie Molan and Nekaela Butler were named in the Bulldogs’ best and they are no doubt names that will pop up in Rebels’ colours soon.

Geelong Falcons had much tougher matches with a two-point victory over Peninsula Stingrays before a seven-point win over Yarra Ranges. Madeline Chandler‘s three goals against Eastern Ranges helped the Falcons get home in an accurate performance, leading the side’s goal kicking from Emmalyn Nekrep who finished the carnival two majors. Daisy Smith, Poppy Schaap, Luka Lesoksy-Hay and Jerusha Devakonda showed off their consistency, with the quartlet named in the best in both games.

After a bitterly disappointing narrow two-point win against the Falcons, Peninsula Stingrays showed what they were capable of against Gippsland Power, recording a five-goal win. Amie Carroll and Alisha Kelly booted team-high three goals each, while Lucy Cripps, Saige Bayne, Darcy Fennell and Abbey Jordan might be names to keep an eye out for in future years for the Dandenong Stingrays – all of whom were named in the best in both games.

Gippsland Power had a mixed carnival with one big 38-point victory, before suffering a 30-point loss in the second game. Lily-Rose Williamson booted three goals in a best-on-ground performance against Goulburn Murray, while Isabella Hodder managed two majors in the win. Across both games, Hodder, Holly Andrews and Chandra Abrahams were named in the Power’s best.

Yarra Ranges, Goulburn Murray and North East Border all finished the carnival without a win, but showed signs they were capable of matching it with teams throughout patches. For Yarra Ranges, Tahlia Merrett was the sole goal kicker with two majors, while Paige Buruma, Stephanie Williams and Alice Smith were named among the best in both games. For Goulburn Murray, Lakeea Charles and Aurora Smith booted a goal each, with both girls consistent across the two games, as were Georgia Gall, Kate Adams and Elle Brooks who were named in the best twice. For North East Border, Keeley Skepper finished with two goals against the Western Bulldogs, while Emily Nicholson booted the side’s other major. Skepper and Mikaela Shepherd were the side’s best across the two games with Vashti Miller.

Full results:

Gippsland Power 6.4 (40) defeated Goulburn Murray 0.2 (2)

Gippsland goals: Lily-Rose Williamson 3, Isabella Hodder 2, Megan Fitzsimon.
Goulburn Murray goals: Nil.
Gippsland best: Lily-Rose Williamson, Chandra Abrahams, Isabella Hodder, Holly Andrews, Maddison Shaw, Shanara Notman.
Goulburn Murray best: Georgia Gall, Kate Adams, Lakeea Charles, Ellie Mifka, Elle Brooks, Aurora Smith.

Geelong Falcons 3.3 (21) defeated Peninsula Stingrays 3.1 (19)

Geelong goals: Tess Craven, Emmalyn Nekrep, Laura Ryan.
Peninsula goals: Amie Carroll 2, Alisha Kelly.
Geelong best: Luka Lesosky-Hay, Ella Mahoney, Poppy Schaap, Charlotte Simpson, Daisy Smith, Jerusha Devarakonda.
Peninsula best: Lucy Cripps, Saige Bayne, Lucy Grocock, Amie Carroll, Darcy Fennell, Abbey Jordan.

Bendigo Pioneers 8.8 (56) defeated Goulburn Murray 2.6 (18)

Bendigo goals: Mia Ward 2, Madeline Marks 2, Gemmi Morrell, Elizabeth Snell, Rachael Stubbings, Tiana Shepherd.
Goulburn Murray goals: Lakeea Charles, Aurora Smith.
Bendigo best: Grace Barton, Sharmaine Reilly, Maeve Tupper, Elizabeth Snell, Gemmi Morrell, Olivia Taverna.
Goulburn Murray best: Aurora Smith, Kelsey Moylan, Kate Adams, Lakeea Charles, Georgia Gall, Elle Brooks.

Western Bulldogs NGA 8.9 (57) defeated North East Border 3.1 (19)

Western Bulldogs goals: Chloe Leonard 5, Laura Fitzgibbon, Isabella Simmons, Lucy Moloney.
North East Border goals: Keeley Skepper 2, Emily Nicholson.
Western Bulldogs best: Nyakoat Dojiok, Chloe Leonard, Sophie Molan, Renee Saulitis, Nekaela Butler, Victoria Jewell.
North East Border best: Keeley Skepper, Mikaela Shepherd, Vashti Muller, Jessica Ward, Chelsea Hargreaves, Samantha Pritchard.

Peninsula Stingrays 5.8 (38) defeated Gippsland Power 1.2 (8)

Peninsula goals: Alicia Kelly 2, Lucy Cripps, Keala Kennedy, Amie Carroll.
Gippsland goals: Shanara Notman.
Peninsula best: Keely Byrne, Darcy Fennell, Sylvie Repellin, Abbey Jordan, Saige Bayne, Lucy Cripps.
Gippsland best: Holly Andrews, Chandra Abrahams, Bella Brown, Megan Fitzsimon, Isabella Hodder, Samara Beaton.

Geelong Falcons 4.0 (24) defeated Yarra Ranges 2.5 (17)

Geelong goals: Madeline Chandler 3, Emmalyn Nekrep.
Yarra Ranges goals: Tahlia Merrett 2.
Geelong best: Daisy Smith, Laura Gardiner, Jerusha Devarakonda, Poppy Schaap, Luka Lesosky-Hay, Sophie Milsome.
Yarra Ranges best: Paige Buruma, Stephanie Williams, Jasmine McNair, Alice Smith, Savannah Bowden.

Bendigo Pioneers 8.4 (52) defeated North East Border 0.0 (3)

Bendigo goals: Gemmi Morrell 2, Elizabeth Snell 2, Madeline Marks 2, Mia Ward, Grace Barton.
North East Border goals: Nil.
Bendigo best: Elizabeth Snell, Jemma Finning, Maeve Tupper, Gemmi Morrell, Sharmaine Reilly, Kate Douglass.
North East Border best: Georgia Moorman, Vashti Muller, Keeley Skepper, Mikaela Shepherd, Chloe Frost, Charlotte Beavan.

Western Bulldogs NGA 5.10 (40) defeated Yarra Ranges 0.1 (1)

Western Bulldogs goals: Renee Saulitis 3, Isabella Simmons, Lucy Moloney.
Yarra Ranges goals: Nil.
Western Bulldogs best: Renee Saulitis, Sophie Molan, Nyakoat Dojiok, Nekaela Butler, Isabella Simmons, Jordie Mcauliffe.
Yarra Ranges best: Alice Smith, Mietta Kendall, Stephanie Williams, Paige Buruma, Catherine Chamberlain, Tahlia Merrett.