Tag: Tayla Thorn

AFL Women’s preview: Round 3 – Make or break games set the scene for third round of action

IT is now or never for a number of teams who sit on a knifes-edge when it comes to their finals aspirations. While some sides will finish the round undefeated with three wins, other teams will head into Monday doing the maths as to how many wins they need to make finals. With many teams at 1-1, this is the earliest junction in the season where sides can make a getaway from the sides around them, or fall back and have to play catch-up football in the run home.

Friday, February 21

St Kilda v. Melbourne at RSEA Park, 7:10pm, AEDT

Taylah Melki

With St Kilda still looking for their first win in AFLW history, Melbourne will be hoping to keep the good times rolling and make it three from three. it has been a tricky initiation for the Saints who have been competitive for large chunks of time but lack that little bit of finesse and experience in the crucial moments as opposed to the Demons. Melbourne have been in hot form downing premiership favourites North Melbourne in Round 1 and dismissing the Dogs by 20 points last round proving just how damaging they can be when on song.

It is hard to deny that Melbourne look like a much better side with Daisy Pearce back in the mix. The skilful footballer can extract the footy out of congestion and use the ball efficiently by hand or foot adding that touch of class to an already strong side. Teammates, Karen Paxman and Elise O’Dea provide an experienced head across the field something they will be hoping to use against a relatively young and inexperienced Saints side. Libby Birch is a ball magnet and will be hoping to once again have a profound impact across the ground with her silky skills. In their second year of AFLW youngsters Tyla Hanks and Shelley Heath have been building into some hot form with their tackling pressure the key aspect of their game play.

Despite taking it to the Crows last round, St Kilda let it slip when it counted and will be hoping for a more rounded four quarter performance against some tough opposition. The Saints have plenty of young talent with Rising Star nominee Georgia Patrikios leading the pack with her cleanliness below her knees, quick hands and spatial awareness. Patrikios has made a seamless transition into AFLW with fellow draftee Tarni White also making a splash with an impressive 18 disposals last round while Molly McDonald and Nicola Xenos will be hoping to leave a lasting imprint this round. Expect the young guns to look to the likes of Tilly Lucas-Rodd, Jessica Sedunary and Rhiannon Watt to lead the way and provide some guidance given their experience and high footy nous.

Tip: Melbourne by 22 points.

ST KILDA

B: T.White 29 T.Luke 22
HB: H.Priest 14 A.Brown 2 T.Lucas-Rodd 18
C: N.Exon 15 J.Sedunary 10 M.McDonald 1
HF: C.Munn 13 K.McCarthy 9 C.Greiser 17
F: K.Shierlaw 12 G.Patrikios 21
Foll: R.Watt – C 7 O.Vesely 23 C.Phillips 35
I/C: D.Guttridge 5 R.Dillon 25 A.Drennan 8 N.Xenos 27 I.Shannon 11

Emerg: S.Johnson 6 P.Kelly 16

In: T.Luke, I.Shannon
Out: C.Fitzpatrick (concussion), C.Whitfort

MELBOURNE

B: L.Birch 9 M.Downie 2
HB: S.Lampard 8 S.Goldrick 23 D.Pearce – C 6
C: S.Heath 30 T.Hanks 28 C.Emonson 11
HF: K.Hore 10 E.Zanker 29 S.Scott 12
F: T.Cunningham 1 A.Newman 16
Foll: H.Cordner 21 K.Paxman 4 M.Gay 3
I/C: G.Colvin 32 C.Sherriff 18 N.McEvoy 17 M.Guerin 22 E.O’Dea 5

Emerg: B.Tarrant 20 K.Petrevski 31

In: M.Guerin
Out: A.Kemp (knee)

Saturday, February 22

Western Bulldogs v. Carlton at Whitten Oval, 3:10pm, AEDT

Taylah Melki

The Western Bulldogs will be hoping to take advantage of their home ground and inflict pain on the Blues who were well and truly shocked last round by Collingwood. The Dogs have had an up and down start to the 2020 season getting an easy win in the opening round and then well held in Round 2 much like their opposition making for an interesting battle on Saturday. Both sides will be vying for their second win and given it is a short season a win here means everything. But after a seething comment last round expect the Blues to come out firing on all cylinders.

After a relatively disappointing outing the Dogs will be hoping to right their wrongs and get back on the winners list. Once again Bonnie Toogood provided the pressure up forward and will have to keep that going if they are to topple the Blues. The likes of Aisling McCarthy and Naomi Ferres have stepped up to the plate with their ball winning ability on full display while the likes of best and fairest winner Ellie Blackburn is in ripping form. Blackburn is a machine in the midfield able to dig deep and provide a constant threat. Both Elisabeth Georgostathis and Gemma Lagioia still have plenty to develop but have shown promising signs with their physical pressure and ability to hunt the footy.

Carlton have a plethora of stars across the ground, none bigger than ball magnet and bull Maddy Prespakis with the 20-year-old not afraid to burrow in. She struggled at times throughout Round 2 given the heavy tag but has shown that she has the class, strength and smarts to think her way through challenges pairing with the likes of fellow youngster Grace Egan. The two proved to be a dominant force last round and will be seeking to replicate their form again this round. After an early goal Tayla Harris faded out of the game against Collingwood something that she won’t let happen twice with the talented footballer able to pluck balls from the sky and kick truly. Another one in the forward brigade that will be seeking retribution is Darcy Vescio who failed to find the big sticks but has shown that she is a force to be reckoned with her goal sense and forward pressure.

Tip: Carlton by 14.

WESTERN BULLDOGS

B: A.Gogos 36 L.Spark 11
HB: K.Herron 31 E.Gamble 14 N.Ferres 16
C: B.Hunt 21 K.Lamb 27 G.Lagioia 12
HF: G.Newton 5 B.Toogood 8 K.McLeod 6
F: E.Georgostathis 17 D.Berry 7
Foll: K.Rennie 24 E.Blackburn – C 2 A.McCarthy 15
I/C: E.Brown 9 D.Marshall 26 I.Huntington 4 H.Scott 22 B.Lochland 1

Emerg: N.Callinan 10 H.Munyard 20

In: I.Huntington, B.Lochland
Out: N.Callinan, A.Van Oosterwijck

CARLTON

B: G.Pound 6 C.Wilson 20
HB: K.Harrington – C 9 V.Laloifi 8 N.Stevens 21
C: C.Dalton 15 K.Loynes 2 S.Hosking 10
HF: B.Walker 14 T.Harris 7 N.Plane 32
F: A.Downie 30 D.Vescio 3
Foll: B.Moody 16 G.Egan 1 M.Prespakis 4
I/C: J.Hosking 11 L.McEvoy 13 L.Brazzale 12 G.Gee 19 J.Edwards 25

Emerg: B.Vernon 31 C.Jones 22

In: J.Edwards
Out: J.Doonan

Gold Coast v Brisbane, Metricon Stadium, 4.10pm AEST

Tom Cheesman

The first ever AFLW Q Clash will be played on Saturday in the Sunshine State, as expansion side Gold Coast look to topple their undefeated Conference A rival Brisbane. The Lions are sitting pretty on top of the table thanks to a dominant round one victory over Adelaide and a come-from-behind win on the road against Geelong. Meanwhile, the Suns evened their ledger at 1-1 last weekend with an 11-point victory over fellow newcomers Richmond. Both sides have strong percentages to work with and are building momentum heading into round three, so this contest should be a belter.

Ex-North Melbourne and Brisbane midfielder Jamie Stanton has been Gold Coast’s most reliable player through the opening two rounds, rated best for the SUNS by Draft Central in both matches. She averages 18 disposals, four tackles and two marks so far this season. Leah Kaslar was great last week with 15 disposals and four tackles, while Kate Surman is proving to be an excitement machine for the Suns up forward. Northern Territory recruit Tayla Thorn will look to make an impact in defence for the hosts in what will be her first match of the season.

Brisbane NAB rising star nominee Jesse Tawhiao-Wardlaw plans on replicating last week’s entertaining three-goal performance. She trails Fremantle’s Sabreena Duffy by one in the race for the AFLW Leading Goalkicker award and would love to take the lead through a dominant performance against the Suns. Lion midfielders Emily Bates and Ally Anderson led from the front in Geelong with 38 disposals between them, while Lily Postlethwaite is showing plenty of physicality early in her debut season. She has amassed 11 tackles over the first two rounds and with a physical clash set to take place on Saturday, this number should continue to rise.

Tip: Brisbane by 9.

GOLD COAST

B: J.Pregelj 42 J.Hickey 4
HB: S.Virgo – C 22 L.Ahrens 7 S.Watson 14
C: T.Ernst 19 H.Dunn 24 C.Hammond 29
HF: B.Perry 16 L.Kaslar 11 K.Surman 26
F: E.Hampson 21 K.Howarth 23
Foll: L.Bella 2 J.Yorston 5 J.Stanton 17
I/C: J.Hewett 20 D.Heslop 25 P.Parker 1 M.Ritson 12 T.Thorn 15

Emerg: S.Riley 8 A.Hamilton 30

In: T.Thorn
Out: S.Riley

BRISBANE

B: C.Svarc 25 S.Webb 4
HB: R.Lugg 11 K.Lutkins 13 S.Campbell 20
C: E.Zielke – C 8 B.Koenen 3 N.Grider 10
HF: L.Arnell 16 J.Wardlaw 30 G.Bodey 15
F: D.Davidson 14 S.Conway 12
Foll: J.Keeffe 27 A.Anderson 18 E.Bates 1
I/C: I.Dawes 17 O.O’Dwyer 9 L.Postlethwaite 6 G.Collingwood 7 M.Moloney 28

Emerg: J.Ellenger 5 J.Zanchetta 2

In: None
Out: None

Fremantle v. Collingwood at Fremantle Oval, 7:10pm

Taylah Melki

The top of the table clash will bring plenty of excitement with both sides undefeated and looking to make it three straight wins. It is fair to say that both the Dockers and Collingwood have shocked the competition with just how well they are going with Fremantle romping it home last round against cross-town rivals. Collingwood have found a new lease on life with their running style of play paying dividends and often giving them first purchase on the footy whereas the Dockers have a more attacking style.

Scoring has proven no issue for the Dockers posting some hefty totals already this season with the likes of leading goal kicker Sabreena Duffy doing a wealth of damage on the scoreboard. Both Kara Antonio and Ebony Antonio have proven to be a deadly duo with their tackling pressure and intensity a constant feature of their game. Roxy Roux bounded into Rising Star contention last week with a couple of impressive grabs and two goals to her name an effort she will want to repeat again this week while Mim Strom is continuing to ply her trade. Kiara Bowers had a best on field performance last week getting her hands to ball with ease and disposing of it cleanly with teammates Evangeline Gooch and Katie-Jayne Greive others who can inflict pain on the Pies if left unattended.

The return of Magpies star Chloe Molloy has been everything the club could have asked for with her running ability, hard edge and cleanliness along with her versatility a key aspect to the line-up. Molloy is a real excitement machine while livewire Jaimee Lambert has gone from strength to strength already and it is only entering Round 3. The potential return of the injured Bri Davey could further bolster Collingwood’s midfield stocks making them an ominous threat for the Dockers. Defensively the Pies have stood up to the task with damaging duo Stacey Livingstone and Ash Brazill acting as a wall down back and propelling anything that comes their way while in the ruck Sharni Layton has taken her craft to a whole other level. Brittany Bonnici and Mikayla Cann have been in ripping form for the black and white army and will be hoping to front up once again to get their side over the line.

Tip: Fremantle by 10.

FREMANTLE

B: J.Cuthbertson 29 E.Gooch 8
HB: A.Stannett 24 P.Seth 18 L.Mascall 14
C: K.Grieve 13 H.Miller 19 B.Webb 26
HF: E.Antonio 12 R.Roux 17 A.Sharp 1
F: S.Duffy 6 G.Houghton 27
Foll: M.Strom 21 K.Bowers 2 K.Antonio – C 15
I/C: K.Flood 44 J.Stewart 7 L.Pugh 32 L.Rohde 11 G.O’Sullivan 22

Emerg: E.O’Driscoll 3 M.Clifford 4

In: None
Out: None

COLLINGWOOD

B: A.Porter 9 S.Livingstone 12
HB: L.Butler 23 A.Brazill 10 C.Molloy 2
C: S.Rowe 7 S.Casey 22 S.Chiocci – C 17
HF: A.Sheridan 14 J.Lambert 13 B.Bonnici 8
F: M.Cann 25 R.Schleicher 18
Foll: S.Layton 1 E.Fowler 15 S.D’Arcy 4
I/C: S.Dargan 46 B.Davey 3 J.Allen 6 J.Membrey 21 K.Stratton 41

Emerg: M.Shevlin 35 E.O’Dea 50

In: R.Schleicher, B.Davey, K.Stratton
Out: E.O’Dea, S.Alexander, M.Shevlin

Sunday, February 23

Greater Western Sydney v West Coast, Blacktown International Stadium, 1.10pm AEDT

Peter Williams

Kicking off proceedings on Sunday, one of the expansion clubs makes its longest trip yet when West Coast crosses the country to face GWS GIANTS at Blacktown. The Eagles have shown signs in their opening two games, but have ultimately been overwhelmed, while the GIANTS survived an almighty scare in Round 1 to just get the points against Gold Coast, before going down to North Melbourne last week. It was lucky the GIANTS did get the win against the SUNS, or they could be all but out of the finals race if they dropped this match as well. As it stands, that is the predicament facing West Coast, with realistically three losses the maximum a team could have and still make finals, though not many would expect West Coast to make the post-season series in its first season. The GIANTS on the otherhand are desperate to get there having not yet tasted finals action in three seasons.

The GIANTS have a consistent list across the board with a lot of underrated stars. Alicia Eva and Alyce Parker are a damaging duo in the competition, with Parker one of the top few talents in her second year. She has worked well winning the hard ball out of the middle and using her skills, while Eva’s evasion and speed make her a damaging prospect out of congestion or in space on a wing. The GIANTS have an experienced defence that just nullifies opposition forwards, with Tanya Hetherington and Pepa Randall back on the last line, and Jess Dal Pos providing the touch of class off half-back. Up forward, Cora Staunton is always a player you have to watch out for as an opposition defender, while Rebecca Privitelli is enjoying career-best form. Also in good form is ex-Crow Jess Allen, who becomes even more crucial in this clash in the absence of All-Australian ruck Erin McKinnon.

Parris Laurie will look to continue her great form through the middle as the leading tap ruck, amassing more than 20 hitouts a game so far. She has a very strong midfield at her feet, with Dana Hooker a top five player in the league, and captain Emma Swanson a real talent with ball-in-hand. Imahra Cameron has genuinely lit up moments in games with her breakaway speed and has been a huge inclusion into the side as a mature-age recruit. Mikayla Bowen provides the toughness around the contest, and McKenzie Dowrick adds the class and skill playing off half-back. While the Eagles forward line is still learning to function as a unit, former Dockers, Kellie Gibson and Ashlee Atkins make a damaging duo, and once the midfield and forward lines can link-up regularly, they will be a strong force.

Tip: GWS by 20.

GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY

B: P.Randall 21 T.Hetherington 9
HB: J.Dal Pos 7 E.Bennetts 22 A.Lister 14
C: Y.Bonner 27 A.Eva – C 2 R.Beeson 6
HF: A.Schmidt 11 C.Staunton 13 J.Hicks 5
F: I.Nielsen 25 R.Privitelli 19
Foll: J.Allan 39 B.Tully 36 A.Parker 3
I/C: N.Barr 8 L.Steane 20 J.Barclay 34 L.Stephenson 12 H.Zreika 24 T.Mackrill 32 S.Halvorsen 30

In: J.Barclay, T.Mackrill, S.Halvorsen
Out: E.McKinnon

WEST COAST

B: C.Perera 27 T.Radan 26
HB: B.Smith 14 S.McDonald 35 M.Dowrick 5
C: M.Bowen 1 I.Cameron 19 N.Kelly 12
HF: A.Atkins 9 K.Gibson 2 M.Collier 8
F: G.Kelly 15 T.Tester 23
Foll: P.Laurie 25 D.Hooker 17 E.Swanson – C 13
I/C: B.Devlyn 7 C.Guard 4 H.Bullas 24 E.Bonser 6 K.Orme 32 C.Davidson 33 D.Pisconeri 11

In: E.Bonser, C.Davidson
Out: None

Richmond v North Melbourne, Ikon Park, 3.10pm AEDT

Peter Williams

The Sunday mid-afternoon game pits an expansion side against one of last year’s expansion teams when Richmond plays host to North Melbourne at Ikon Park. The Tigers enter this game without a win on the board just yet, and suffered defeats at the hands of Carlton and Gold Coast SUNS who are also 1-1 having lost their other respective matches. North Melbourne also sits at 1-1 from its two games, having gone down to Melbourne in a tight one out at Casey Fields, before bouncing back with a win over the GIANTS in Tasmania last week. It is fair to say the star-studded talent of North Melbourne will head in as strong favourites for this game, but with a number of fresh faces coming into Richmond’s team, it will be interesting to see how they line-up.

Joining Richmond’s extended squad in the game are debutant Ella Wood – with the former Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels midfielder named on the wing – as well as potential debutants, Ciara Fitzgerald and surprise non-listed call-up, Hannah McLaren. Both have been named on the extended bench in case of any injuries, while Tayla Stahl misses with a hamstring problem. The Tigers have a strong top-end with Monique Conti and Katie Brennan leading the midfield. Brennan copped flak throughout the week in the media and is likely to come out firing to silence the critics, which the North Melbourne midfield will have to be aware of for this game. Up forward, Sabrina Frederick provides a tall marking target, while Christina Bernardi and Kodi Jacques have been in good form this season. In defence, Akec Makur Chuot and Phoebe Monahan are just quietly going about their business but are statistically the top one-two duo when thinking about marks and rebounds. Wood adds extra hardness at the contest, and joins GWV teammate Sophie Molan, and a number of other youngsters, such as Laura McClelland and Sarah Sansonetti in the team.

North Melbourne’s depth is one of the envies of the competition and there is a reason the Roos headed into the 2020 season as the premiership favourites. With a strong list despite missing one of its stars in Jess Duffin (maternity leave), North Melbourne has more players that stand up in big moments than any other side. Emma Kearney is a Most Valuable Player (MVP) winner a couple of seasons ago and well heralded, but the work of Jenna Bruton and recently, Ash Riddell should not be underestimated. With Jasmine Garner in career-best form – which is saying something – and Kaitlyn Ashmore roving at the feet of Emma King up forward, the Roos have plenty of scoring options.They are missing that Duffin-type role off half-back, though Tahlia Randall and Danielle Hardiman have provided good strength in the air for the midfielders who drop back and help out to run the ball down the field. Overall, this North Melbourne side on paper should win this game fairly easily, but as we know with any match, games are not won on paper.

Tip: North Melbourne by 28.

RICHMOND

B: S.Sansonetti 18 A.Makur Chuot 34
HB: L.McClelland 16 P.Monahan 2 G.Seymour 28
C: E.Wood 17 K.Brennan – C 3 R.Miller 15
HF: S.Frederick 14 K.Jacques 10 C.Bernardi 6
F: C.Wakefield 8 M.Brancatisano 5
Foll: A.Edmonds 11 M.Conti 4 G.Campbell 43
I/C: L.Tesoriero 7 L.Bailey 12 S.Molan 1 A.Woodward 13 H.Burchell 9 H.McLaren 29 C.Fitzgerald 26

In: E.Wood, H.McLaren, C.Fitzgerald
Out: T.Stahl (hamstring)

NORTH MELBOURNE

B: T.Randall 16 B.Gibson 18
HB: T.Nestor 24 D.Hardiman 31 J.Grierson 19
C: J.Trend 21 A.Riddell 7 E.Kearney – C 9
HF: S.Abbatangelo 1 K.Gillespie-Jones 5 E.King 4
F: E.King 60 K.Ashmore 10
Foll: V.Saad 39 J.Garner 25 J.Bruton 35
I/C: A.Gilroy 8 D.Bateman 11 S.Wright 17 B.Lynch 20 E.Gavalas 22 M.King 23 A.Green 26

In: B.Lynch, M.King
Out: None

Geelong v Adelaide, GMHBA Stadium, 5.10pm AEDT

Peter Williams

The final game of the round might well be the best of the lot, perhaps barring the top of the table clash between the Dockers and Magpies. Geelong is hungry for a win, sitting at 0-2 despite statistically looking pretty good across the board and plenty of their teenage talents stepping up already in season 2020. Adelaide has been the walking wounded, having to bring in a top-up player back in Round 1 due to the multitude of injuries, and then bouncing back with a win – albeit not entirely convincing – over newcomers St Kilda. This feels like a game that could make or break both these side’s seasons. Geelong win, and the Cats are back in contention, while they lose and it is pretty much curtains for season 2020 unless they really get on a roll. Adelaide win, and the Crows are flying high on confidence and can sustain it long enough to receive some extra troops in the run home to finals, while they lose and the reigning premiers will be in a bit of trouble for their title defence aspirations.

Geelong lost at home last week to Brisbane, and will want to give the home fans who turn up for the second week in a row something to cheer about. The Cats have lost promising youngster, Denby Taylor to an ankle injury, but have regained All-Australian defender Meg McDonald, which would be a huge relief for coach Paul Hood. Maddy Boyd and Rebecca Goring have been added to the squad as well for the clash, as Geelong understands the importance of a win here for its finals calculations. The core group of second year players in the blue and white hoops have been simply sensational and a blueprint for clubs going forward. Olivia Purcell is in the top five ball winners across the league, while Rebecca Webster has been a marking machine and is the most improved player in the competition. Along with Sophie Van De Heuvel and 2018 AFL Women’s number one draft pick Nina Morrison, the Cats have a plethora of talent across the board. They still have more to get out of some of the depth around the ground, but with McDonald back, it releases some of the pressure off captain Mel Hickey, while Phoebe McWilliams will enjoy having Boyd back in the side as another target up forward.

The Crows go in with top selection from last year’s draft, Montana McKinnon – who dominated in the SANFL Women’s competition last week – and Courtney Cramey of whom both have been added to the extended side. The midfield duo of Anne Hatchard and Ebony Marinoff is ranked first and second in terms of disposals won, while Eloise Jones have gained some important minutes in the absence of star, Erin Phillips. Up forward, Nikki Gore and Danielle Ponter have improved in their second year, adding extra dimensions to the side, while Courtney Gum‘s new role as a deep forward has been important in providing leadership around the young players. The midfield battle between these teams will be fascinating, and if the Crows can continue their ball-winning and stoppage ways, then expect their forwards to have a good day in Geelong. But if the Cats can neutralise the midfield, then they will also have a huge chance of taking out the contest.

Tip: Geelong by 4.

GEELONG

B: M.Brown 19 M.McMahon 24
HB: M.Keryk 45 M.McDonald 11 M.Hickey – C 18
C: S.Van De Heuvel 27 R.Webster 21 N.Morrison 9
HF: J.Crockett-Grills 6 P.McWilliams 23 J.Ivey 5
F: M.Boyd 26 R.Garing 12
Foll: A.O’Connor 14 R.Cranston 30 O.Purcell 16
I/C: M.Maguire 7 D.Higgins 2 G.Rankin 10 R.Caris 1 G.Clarke 17 R.Goring 44 A.McDonald 3

In: M.McDonald, M.Boyd, R.Goring
Out: D.Taylor (ankle)

ADELAIDE

B: D.Cox 31 S.Allan 39
HB: S.Li 19 M.Rajcic 32 C.Cramey 22
C: A.Foley – C 3 A.Hatchard 33 J.Mules 23
HF: N.Gore 7 C.Gould 1 S.Thompson 14
F: C.Gum 5 D.Ponter 15
Foll: J.Foley 24 E.Marinoff 10 E.Jones 2
I/C: A.Considine 16 M.McKinnon 21 C.Biddell 12 N.Allen 8 M.Newman 17 N.Campbell 20 R.Forth 27

In: C.Cramey, M.McKinnon
Out: None

ROUND 3 TIPS: [Total tips in brackets]

Michael Alvaro [10]: Melbourne / Carlton / Brisbane / Fremantle / GWS / North Melbourne / Adelaide
Taylah Melki [12]: Melbourne / Carlton / Brisbane / Collingwood / GWS / North Melbourne / Adelaide
Sophie Taylor [10]: Melbourne / Carlton / Brisbane / Fremantle / GWS / North Melbourne / Adelaide
Peter Williams [9]: Melbourne / Carlton / Brisbane / Fremantle / GWS / North Melbourne / Geelong

2019/20 AFLW off-season review: Gold Coast

IN the first of our four AFL Women’s expansion clubs off-season reviews, we take a look at the Gold Coast SUNS, the second Queensland team to join the competition. The SUNS already have a healthy rivalry with Brisbane given the Winter Series that has been a source of competition during the off-season, as well as plenty of Academy players playing alongside those from the Brisbane Academy in the AFL Women’s Under-18 Championships.

Being an expansion side, the SUNS were able to pre-list nine players prior to the AFL Women’s Draft, and as early as February, opted for Charlotte Hammans, Ellie Hampson and Kitara Whap-Farrar. All three justified their pre-listings with strong Under-18 carnivals this year, including Hampson taking out Queensland’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) award. Along with the trio, the SUNS opted for more experience in locals, Maddy Roberts, Molly Ritson and Kate Surman, whilst grabbing Lauren Aherns from Essendon and Tayla Thorn from NT Thunder after both plied their trade in the VFLW. Taylor Smith was the final pre-listed SUN after a strong performance in the Winter Series.

Gold Coast was equally busy in the pre-listing period, announcing North Melbourne’s Jamie Stanton as a signing, who was the first experienced player on the list. They then raided Brisbane across the board with plenty of talent, as names such as Sam Virgo and Leah Kaslar headed south down the highway, while Gold Coast also snapped up Jasmyn Hewett from Adelaide. Serene Watson became the first player to be selected by Gold Coast in an AFL Women’s Draft with the Under-18 All Australian defender set to line-up from Round 1. Dee Heslop was the other Queensland player to earn a spot on the list via the draft, while Alexia Hamilton and Georgia Breward are former Eastern Allies representatives and 19-year-olds.

2020 TEAM LIST:

Lauren Ahrens
Lauren Bella
Georgia Breward
Hannah Dunn
Tiarna Ernst
Tori Groves-Little
Alexia Hamilton
Charlotte Hammans
Cheyenne Hammond
Ellie Hampson
Dee Heslop
Jasmyn Hewett
Jordann Hickey
Kalinda Howarth
Leah Kaslar
Paige Parker
Brittany Perry
Emma Pittman
Jade Pregelj
Sally Riley
Molly Ritson
Maddy Roberts
Taylor Smith
Jamie Stanton
Kate Surman
Tayla Thorn
Sam Virgo
Serene Watson
Kitara Whap-Farrar
Jacqui Yorston

POTENTIAL 2020 SIDE:

B: Cheyenne Hammond – Tayla Thorn – Sam Virgo
HB: Leah Kaslar – Tiarna Ernst – Serene Watson
C: Jamie Stanton
HF: Paige Parker – Taylor Smith – Kitara Whap-Farrar
F: Jordann Hickey – Tori Groves-Little – Sally Riley
R: Lauren Bella – Hannah Dunn – Ellie Hampson
INT: Jasmyn Hewett – Brittany Perry – Jacqui Yorston – Charlotte Hammans – Kate Surman
EMG: Jade Pregelj – Dee Heslop – Molly Ritson

DEPTH: Kalinda Howarth, Maddy Roberts, Lauren Ahrens, Georgia Breward, Alexia Hamilton. Emma Pittman

All fans have to go by heading into 2020 for the Gold Coast SUNS is the Winter Series, and it was not surprising to see the magnets being thrown around to trial out players in different positions in order to find combinations that work. Expect the defence to be fairly experienced with the likes of Ernst, Virgo and Kaslar standing up back there, while Sally Riley and Jordann Hickey provide some AFL Women’s experience to an inexperienced forward half.

Teenage talents, Watson, Whap-Farrar, Hampson and Hammans should all work their way into the best 22 from early-on, while the likes of Smith, Heslop, Breward and Hamilton offer some great excitement particularly in the forward half. Stanton will likely be the leader on-field given her extensive AFL Women’s resume, and while the SUNS are a developing side and unlikely to challenge the top sides, do not be surprised if they surprise a few teams with their run and carry style that will likely come from the strengths of their playing group.

NTFL Women’s Premier League wrap: Round 9 – First draw of season as Waratah continue winning streak

ROUND 9 of the Northern Territory Football League Women’s (NTFLW) saw a mixed bag of results ranging from blowouts to narrow defeats making it an exciting round of action. It also marked the first draw of the season with Pint and Darwin Buffettes tied while top of the table Waratah continued their strong showing and pushed two and a half games ahead of the second placed Buffettes.

BIG RIVER HAWKS 0.0 | 1.0 | 1.0 | 1.0 (6)
NIGHTCLIFF 2.5 | 4.12 | 8.16 | 13.23 (101)

By: Taylah Melki

GOALS:

Big River Hawks: N/A.
Nightcliff: K. Simmons 3, E. Wolsey 3, J. Anyon-Smith 3, M. Ward 2, B. Richards, S. Miskin-Ripia.

BEST:

Big River Hawks: N/A
Nightcliff: M. Ward, S. Miskin-Ripia, E. Wolsey

It was another week of domination on behalf of Nightcliff who inflicted a wealth of pain on their opposition. Despite inaccuracy plaguing them throughout the entire game, Nightcliff still posted a hefty total and kept the Big River Hawks at bay denying them any opportunity to push forward and have a scoring shot. The Hawks were kept goalless in the opening quarter before nailing their sole major in the second term while Nightcliff continued to pile on the scoreboard pain. Shantel Miskin-Ripia imposed herself across the field once again nailing a goal and winning the ball time and time again while Katrina Simmons hit the scoreboard with three goals. Emma-Lou Wolsey and Jacqueline Anyon-Smith also converted three goals apiece with Mickayla Ward also popping up to contribute to the tally and being named in the bests once again. For the Hawks Zainab Mohamud and Crystal Browne were solid but could not do enough to quell the influence of their dominant opponents.

PINT 2.1 | 3.2 | 3.2 | 4.4 (28)
DARWIN BUFFETTES 1.0 | 3.0 | 3.0 | 4.4 (28)

By: Taylah Melki

GOALS:

Pint: J. Baksh, E. Greaves, J. Baumer, A. Pennefather.
Darwin Buffettes: N/A

BEST:

Pint: N/A
Darwin Buffettes: N/A

Neither side could be separated, ending with 28 points apiece in a match filled with half chances and plenty of excitement. Pint got off to a hot start establishing an early lead before the Buffettes fought back to get within striking distance but fell agonisingly short to come up with the first draw of the season. Neither the Buffettes nor Pint added to their half time total in the third quarter instead leaving the flurry of scoring opportunities until the final term thanks to the ball ping-ponging back and forth down the field. Jessie Baumer picked up where she left off from last round adding another goal to her growing tally, while teammates Emma Greaves and Amy Pennefather also contributed to the goal column. Kylie Duggan and Bianca Stokes were crucial for the Buffettes once again helping to lead their side back into contention. Youngsters, Dominique Carbone and Tayla Hart-Aluni were strong in their respective roles pushing hard across the ground to create options and pose a threat for the opposition.

WARATAH 4.4 | 6.10 | 9.14 | 14.18 (102)
TRACY VILLAGE 0.2 | 0.2 | 0.2 | 1.3 (9)

By: Sophie Taylor

GOALS

Waratah: L. O’Shea 5, T. O’Hehir 4, M. Campbell, M. Cooper, L. Roberts, A. Chittick, J. Singh.
Tracy Village: N/A.

BEST

Waratah: L. O’Shea, R. Pryer, I. Rapson-Staropoli, C. Fabris, M. Cooper
Tracy Village: N/A

Waratah proved once again they are the team to beat this season, defeating Tracy Village by a whopping 93 points. The ‘Tahs had the lead from the get-go against Tracy Village, with the Razorbacks ultimately unable to find their form against the top of the ladder. Waratah were clinical, peppering the posts with their number of forward options and once again proving that they do not need to be accurate as long as they have a volume of players forward. Lauren O’Shea earned best on ground honours for Waratah with a bag of five on Saturday, plying her trade inside 50 and creating opportunities for a further six players to get on the board – with Tarryn O’Hehir booting four goals to take her season tally to six. Rebecca Pryer and Isabella Rapson-Staropoli impressed also for Waratah, propelling the ball well down the field. 

SOUTHERN DISTRICTS 1.3 | 4.7 | 8.8 | 10.14 (74)
ST MARY’S 0.2 | 0.2 | 1.2 | 1.2 (8)

By: Sophie Taylor

GOALS

Southern Districts: T. Thorn 3, I. Hickling 2, C. Tielen , T. Maddock, C. Deegan, L. Niven, K. Patterson.
St Mary’s: N/A.

BEST

Southern Districts: C. Deegan, T. Holtze, T. Thorn, I. Hickling, M. Craufurd
St Mary’s: N/A

While Southern Districts did not have the best start in this matchup the second and third quarters saw the Crocs well and truly run away with their fifth win of the season, pulling into fifth and jumping ahead of Nightcliff with the victory. The side also got a nice percentage booster with the 66 point win. While St Mary’s had a slow start there was no excuse for their lacklustre performance, with the usual performers quiet and unable to spark the side into action against a strong Districts defensive unit. Tayla Thorn impressed once more with three goals this round after two last week, while Indianna Hickling put two on the board in her first match for the season. Charles Deegan was solid as ever with her kicking ability on show, cleanly finding the footy and putting a goal on the board of her own while aided by Tahlia Holtze who was also named among the best.

PALMERSTON MAGPIES 2.4 | 5.5 | 6.8 | 7.9 (51)
WANDERERS 0.0 | 1.1 | 3.3 | 3.4 (22)

By: Sophie Taylor

GOALS 

Palmerston Magpies: W. Barlow 2, S. Leedie, T. May, N. Medbury.
Wanderers: T. Davern, T. Bush, G. Halkitis.

BEST

Palmerston Magpies: T. Jeffrey, S. Kris, F. Puruntatameri, J. Brock, Y. Roe
Wanderers: S. Mauboy, L. Motlop, G. Halkitis, D. Totham, K. Anderson, M. Johnston

Despite a second-half effort from the Wanderers the Magpies were just far too good, putting on goals early and backing it up when the Eagles got back into the game to run home with a solid 29 point victory. For the Wanderers this is a frustrating chink in their so-far strong start to the season, however their second half effort proved the side has the capacity to build from this match where they may not have last season. Eagles’ Sophia Mauboy and Georgia Halkitis impressed with Halkitis booting one of the side’s goals alongside Tedisha Bush and Tishara Davern, while Wynona Barlow booted two for the Magpies in a solid effort up forward. Tulaha Jeffrey proved once more she has the capacity to carry a side with another key performance on the books, aided by Sodyla Kris in her first match of the season and Freda Puruntatameri who did not kick any goals in this outing but proved she can have an impact away from the posts.

2019/20 NTFL Women’s Premier League season preview

A NEW season of NTFL Women’s Premier League is set to begin this weekend, with a new team added to the mix and plenty of excitement as we head into the 2019/2020 season.

Waratah

The 2018/19 premiers well and truly held their own in convincing fashion, defeating Southern Districts in the grand final to be premiers for the seventh time in eight years. The side had a plethora of talent up forward, with Amy Chittick the leading goalkicker for the season with 27 goals, closely followed by Lisa Miceli (24) and Lauren O’Shea (21) to round out the side’s impressive forward onslaught. Defensively, the efforts of Lisa Roberts were key throughout the season to rebound the footy and propel it forward. With a massive percentage and three 20-plus goalkickers to boot, Waratah are sure to be back for another bit of silverware this season.

2018/2019 Season
Position: 1st (Premiers)
Percentage: 411.84
Win-loss: 13-2-1

Palmerston Magpies

Though the Magpies were frontrunners for majority of the season, they unfortunately went down to Southern Districts in the semi-final to be knocked out of flag contention. Despite a much lower percentage than the top side in Waratah, the Magpies kept in touch with dominant goalkickers of their own as well as a smattering of high impact players that could well and truly change the game when required. Rounding out the goalkicking leaderboard for the season were Magpies’ Freda Puruntatameri (20 goals) and Natasha Medbury (17) while key players Tabitha May and Billie Byers proved their importance on the field time and time again.

2018/2019 Season
Position: 2nd
Percentage: 193.72
Win-loss: 13-3

Southern Districts

The grand finalists may not have been good enough on the day, but they certainly proved their ability to impact the contest time and time again to make it to the big dance with huge wins over St Marys and Palmerston during the finals. With impact players the likes of Tahlia Holtze, Tayla Thorn and Lateesha Jeffrey in the mix the side had plenty left in the tank, however just could not compete in the wet weather against Waratah. A solid percentage and plenty of goalkickers gave Districts the push they needed to make it to the grand final last season but an inability to compete in wet-weather footy was their downfall, meaning they will be back and raring to go once more this season.

2018/2019 Season
Position: 3rd
Percentage: 238.28
Win-loss: 11-5

Pint

Pint will be frustrated by their season-ending elimination final against Darwin Buffettes, knocked out well before they had an opportunity to prove their fourth place finish was deserved. With the likes of Cassie Henderson, Erin Hetherington, Kristen Smits and Danielle Suddaby among the side there was plenty of talent across the field, however it was not enough against powerhouse sides despite their form in the home and away season. It was the side’s inability to impact against teams higher on the ladder early on that kept them out of the top of the ladder, so Pint are likely to push even harder this season to get out of the rut of fourth position and contest against the hard-hitting sides.

2018/2019 Season
Position: 4th
Percentage: 95.24
Win-loss: 11-5

Darwin Buffettes

Another side with a wealth of talent, the Buffettes made it to the semi-final before being knocked out by the soon-to-be premiers at the final hurdle. With the likes of Machaelia Roberts, Celina Whan, Kylie Duggan and young gun Dominique Carbone in the mix there was plenty to be excited about for Darwin, however a confidence boosting win in the elimination final was not enough to get the side into the grand final. Having gone close to cracking 100 points on numerous occasions last season, the Buffettes will want to one-up their 2018/19 form this season and keep their eyes on finals contention once more.

2018/2019 Season
Position: 5th
Percentage: 191.58
Win-loss: 9-7

St Mary’s

Unfortunate to be bumped out in the early stage of finals footy last season, St Mary’s is sure to be back with a vengeance this season, especially safe in the knowledge that the Saints drew even with ladder-topping Waratah back in Round 5 last season – though not much to boast about with the match was called off due to weather conditions. The side had a smattering of big names, with Alana Coombes, Katherine Dann and Marlee Gunderson sharing the load inside 50. Defensively, the likes of Lori Niven and Courtney Webb held up well during the season, unshakeable in their task however were unable to hold up defensively against sides that had a number of goalkicking options in their midst.

2018/2019 Season
Position: 6th
Percentage: 57.56
Win-loss: 5-10-1

Tracy Village

With a seventh place finish last season, Tracy Village just missed out on finals contention. Now the side will surely be ready this season to go that extra mile and ensure a finals berth. While it was only the washout and split points that got St Mary’s over the line last season, Tracy Village just did not do enough in the second half of the season to push past St Mary’s and allow themselves an opportunity in the finals. Kristy Irvine was the side’s leading goalkicker last season closely followed by Rachael Bull, with a number of other players able to have an impact on the scoreboard if it wasn’t for the side being plagued with inaccuracy at inopportune times. Meanwhile, Zhoe Clarke proved key around the ground week in and week out.

2018/2019 Season
Position: 7th
Percentage: 55.78
Win-loss: 5-11

Wanderers

Finishing in eighth, the Wanderers were fortunate to come out of the season off the bottom of the ladder only by percentage. Arthurina Moreen (nine goals from 11 matches) was key for the Wanderers last season, with the side unable to capitalise in front of goal without as key target forward. That being said, Pierre-Angelique Koulakis and Lauren Motlop proved time and time again that they had what it took to get the ball back down the ground, just unfortunately not working in their favour against teams with key figures across the field.

2018/2019 Season
Position: 8th
Percentage: 37.23
Win-loss: 2-14

Nightcliff

Last season’s wooden spooners, Nightcliff will be back with a vengeance this season after falling again and again. Despite rarely finishing games with more than 15 points on the board early in the season, Nightcliff proved they have the capacity to improve and put up a fight to finish out the season much better than they started. Emma-Lou Wolsey, Hannah Turnbull and Sophie Hatzismalis did not give up regardless of the match quality, while young gun Shantel Miskin-Ripia played less than half the season but kicked nine goals from her seven games proving the key position player has plenty in the tank if the ball comes to her and that the side has plenty to prove this season.

2018/2019 Season
Position: 9th
Percentage: 32.88
Win-loss: 2-14

Big River Hawks

The newest side to the NTFL Women’s League for the 2019/2020 season, the Big River Hawks will have plenty to prove when they take on last season’s finalists St Mary’s in Round 1. With little form to go off, the side will be raring to go and put the Hawks on the map this season, especially when taking on two of last year’s finalists in the opening rounds.

VFLW weekend wrap: Round 13 – Top teams remain on the hunt for big wins

ROUND 13 of Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s saw a number of big results, with two close matches and two blowouts all but predicting the final match of the round being a close but high scoring affair. With the top three once again putting away wins they are unlikely to slip out of finals contention, though percentage will certainly play a big role coming into the final rounds with a number of teams hoping to make the cut.

ESSENDON 4.0 | 5.0 | 7.1 | 7.2 (44)
SOUTHERN SAINTS 0.3 | 3.4 | 4.4 | 7.4 (46)

GOALS
Essendon:
J. Stassi 2, A. Quigley 2, M. Collier, M. DeMatteo, L. Stepnell.
Southern Saints: K. Shierlaw 3, E. Mackie, T. Bohanna, O. Vesely, C. Greiser.

BEST
Essendon:
A. Quigley, G. Nanscawen, M. Collier, K. Heil, F. Frew, J. Stassi
Southern Saints: K. Shierlaw, E. Mackie, R. Watt, T. Lucas-Rodd, S. Johnson, O. Vesely

The first match of the round was a down to the wire clash between two sides at completely different ends of the ladder, with the Bombers pushing the Saints at every turn and coming so close to a massive upset. Essendon came out strong, kicking four goals nil in the first to set up a solid lead, however were unable to consolidate their lead in the second, conceding 19 points as the game started to shape up to be an eight-point contest at the main change. The Bombers had another good quarter after the break, finding plenty of the footy and limiting the Saints access, before a massive final quarter from the Saints saw them snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. While Southern Saints fought hard for the victory to continue their winning ways, full credit to the Bombers side keeping the Saints on their toes with accuracy on their side. Jess Stassi and Alexandra Quigley impressed in front of goal, kicking two apiece as the Bombers sought to control the contest. Also right in the action was Georgia Nanscawen, collecting 23 touches and racking up 10 tackles, joined by Shae Audley (22 touches, 10 tackles) and Simone Nalder (30 hitouts). Kate Shierlaw was the sole multiple goalkicker for the Saints with three majors from 15 disposals and five marks, while Tilly Lucas-Rodd and Emma Mackie (21 disposals, four marks apiece) made their presence felt and Samantha Johnson, Alison Drennan and Fiona Steiert combined for 25 tackles.

RICHMOND 1.4 | 2.12 | 6.15 | 7.16 (58)
WILLIAMSTOWN 0.0 | 0.0 | 0.1 | 1.4 (10)

GOALS
Richmond:
S. Frederick 2, M. Conti 2, G. Egan, M. Brancatisano, J. Colwell.
Williamstown: S. Whiting.

BEST
Richmond:
M. Conti, K. Dempsey, M. Brancatisano, S. Frederick, A. Woodward, K. Jacques
Williamstown: J. Kawa, S. Whiting, J. Heard, A. Melnikas, I. Porter, E. Straford

It took a dominant performance by the Tigers to jump back into the top four after an average few weeks on the turf, beating a struggling Williamstown by a convincing 48-point margin. But while Richmond well and truly were in control from the get-go, there was little to be happy about with only a 24-point margin at half-time. Granted, the Seagulls had as yet been unable to put a score on the board, however the Tigers’ inaccuracy was a massive issue with 12 behinds and only two goals on the board at the main change – if it were not for the Tigers’ missed opportunities, they would have had a much bigger percentage boosting margin on their hands. The Tigers lifted their game in the second half, kicking five goals to one to cement a convincing win, however the side will be concerned with their accuracy – or lack thereof – heading into the last few rounds before finals. Monique Conti took the field for the first time since early June to bolster the side, kicking two goals on return and collection 18 disposals, five marks and five tackles on her way to best on ground for Richmond. Alice Edmonds was prolific in the ruck with 35 hitouts while Sabrina Frederick kicked two goals from 10 touches in her first win at the club and Alana Woodward collected a whopping 20 tackles. Despite a disappointing overall performance, the likes of Sharnie Whiting (24 disposals, five marks, one goal) and Gemma Anderson (12 disposals, seven tackles) were among the best for the Seagulls.

COLLINGWOOD 1.2 | 3.4 | 4.4 | 5.5 (35)
CARLTON 0.3 | 0.3 | 2.3 | 4.4 (28)

GOALS
Collingwood:
J. Lambert 2, S. Alexander, N. Hales, S. Chiocci.
Carlton: D. Vescio, C. Leighton, B. Gurr, C. Wilson.

BEST
Collingwood:
B. Davey, J. Lambert, G. Lagioia, A. Porter, S. Casey, G. Buchan
Carlton: C. Dalton, D. Vescio, K. Loynes, L. Brazzale, G. Parker, C. Wilson

It was another close match following Saturday’s battle, with Carlton well and truly taking it to the ladder-leading Magpies to only go down by seven points. The Blues struggled in the first half to put goals on the board, before a four goal to two late resurgence showed some of the impressive intent and intensity this Carlton side can apply. However it was a case of too little and too late with the Magpies just too strong this time around. Once again a match saving goal from Sophie Alexander was what the Pies needed to get over the line, leaving little opportunity for the Blues to claw back. For Collingwood Jaimee Lambert was impressive as ever, kicking another two goals to add to her tally while also picking up 23 touches as she used her footy smarts to both set up clever plays and put goals on the board. Steph Chiocci (20 disposals, seven tackles, one goal) continued her good form with another consistent performance while Bri Davey collected 19 touches against her former side despite being ruled out with injury in the final term. For the Blues, Maddy Prespakis was solid with 22 disposals and four marks while Katie Loynes (17 disposals, eight tackles) and Chloe Dalton (16 disposals, 10 tackles) were also right up in the contest.

CASEY 1.0 | 1.1 | 1.2 | 2.6 (18)
DAREBIN 0.0 | 1.2 | 1.3 | 2.5 (17)

GOALS
Casey:
K. Hore 2.
Darebin: S. Fairchild, N. Morris-Dalton.

BEST
Casey:
T. Hanks, K. Smith, H. Cordner, G. McLean, M. Downie, A. McDonough
Darebin: L. Pearce, E. O’Dea, V. Blackwood, S. David, A. Lister, K. Roe

In yet another match that kept players on their toes down to the final siren, Darebin gave Casey a scare in a one point thriller at Casey Fields. With two Falcons playing their AFL Women’s side there was a lot on the line for both teams in the relatively low scoring affair, with neither side able to capitalise in front of goal. The Demons started well defensively, keeping the Falcons scoreless in the first but having plenty of issues getting on the board with only one goal in the first half, before the Falcons shot back with one of their own midway through the second to even up the ledger, sitting ahead by one point at half-time. A highly contested third quarter came next, with neither team able to find the goals before a 1.4 final term from the Dees just barely got them over the line after trailing by one at the final change. Kate Hore was Casey’s saving grace, kicking both Demons goals and collecting nine tackles – only behind Shelley Scott with 11 tackles, while Lily Mithen (26 disposals, six marks, seven tackles) and Libby Birch (17 disposals, four tackles) combined well across the field. Meanwhile, Darebin’s Lauren Pearce showcased her versatility to finish with a whopping 35 hitouts, 25 touches, six marks and six tackles, aided by Elise O’Dea who continued her fine form with 24 touches and 10 tackles while Nell Morris-Dalton impressed in her second outing for the side with one goal from 12 touches and six tackles.

GEELONG 4.1 | 6.3 | 7.7 | 9.8 (62)
NT THUNDER 1.1 | 2.1 | 2.1 | 3.1 (19)

GOALS
Geelong:
S. Van De Heuvel 2, G. Clarke 2, R. Caris 2, J. Woollett, M. Maguire, R. Benham.
NT Thunder: T. Thorn, M. Roberts, C. Whan.

BEST
Geelong:
R. Webster, R. Cranston, T. Love, R. Caris, G. Clarke, S. Van De Heuvel
NT Thunder: E. Marinoff, M. Breed, T. Thorn, K. Streader, J. Baird, C. Deegan

In the second blowout margin of the round, Geelong got a convincing win over Thunder to put themselves in a position to push for a top-six finish. A convincing first half all but set up the victory, with six goals to two at the main change giving the Cats plenty of confidence coming into the second half. A more inaccurate second half saw the Cats unable to replicate their strong start, however their defensive effort left little to be desired with only one score on the board to Thunder in the second half. Sophie Van De Heuvel, Georgia Clarke and Rene Caris kicked two goals apiece in a shared effort, collecting a combined 36 touches while Caris followed up her effort in the ruck with 31 hitouts against young gun, Mattea Breed with 18 hitouts and 10 touches. Richelle Cranston racked up 24 touches and 11 tackles in an impressive effort, while Danielle Orr picked up 25 touches and four behinds. For Thunder, Ebony Marinoff made her triumphant return having sat out since Round 2, collecting 25 touches and a phenomenal 19 tackles to be best on ground. Lisa Roberts also put in the hard yards with 15 disposals and seven tackles while Tayla Thorn had 13 touches, five tackles and a goal for her best and most consistent performance this season.

MELBOURNE UNI 2.0 | 6.2 | 7.4 | 8.4 (52)
HAWTHORN 3.0 | 5.0 | 11.0 | 12.3 (75)

GOALS
Melbourne Uni:
K. Angelis 2, K. Gillespie-Jones 2, K. Ashmore, L. Walsh, H. Whitford, J. Garner.
Hawthorn: T. Luke 3, S. Perkins 3, S. Gibbs 2, O. Flanagan 2, P. McWilliams, R. Beeson.

BEST
Melbourne Uni:
K. Gillespie-Jones, J. Garner, J. Bruton, K. Ashmore, H. Whitford, B. Gibson
Hawthorn: S. Perkins, T. Luke, C. O’Donnell, S. Gibbs, O. Flanagan, J. Sibley

The highest scoring match of the round was always set to be the final game of the weekend with a big battle between fourth and sixth – only separated by percentage. A win to the Hawks sees the two sides all but swap their ladder positions, with Hawthorn jumping into fifth while Uni slip into sixth with Geelong hot on their tail. It was a relatively close affair up to half time with both sides finding patches of good form, before Hawthorn took hold of the lead in the third and refused to let go against a gallant Mugars outfit. The Hawks’ composure and cleanliness impressed, with the side kicking straight for the most part and 11 straight goals by three quarter time to well and truly control the contest. To Uni’s credit they stayed in the match with their tenacity going for the footy, but were unable to consolidate their halftime lead with only two goals after the main break. With six multiple goal kickers spread across the two teams it was an impressive contest, while both sides shared the load well across the field with no dominant standouts. The ruck match between Lou Wotton (34 hitouts, 10 touches, five tackles) and Vivien Saad (28 hitouts, 11 touches, four tackles) was relatively even, making for a very interesting contest with plenty of players getting good access to the footy. Sarah Perkins and Tamara Luke both kicked three for the Hawks, closely followed by Serena Gibbs and Olivia Flanagan with two apiece. For the Mugars, Kate Gillespie-Jones was consistent as ever with 21 disposals and two goals followed by Katie Angelis with another two goals and 14 touches, while Jasmine Garner had another strong performance with 19 touches and a goal.

VFLW weekend wash-up: Hope tears it up as Bulldogs, Tigers and Pies continue good form

ROUND 5 is done and dusted with two teams still sitting undefeated from five rounds of action, meaning the ladder has almost fully shaped up with the teams to beat well and truly sorted. Carlton were pipped at the post once more, going down by only seven points to remain winless, while the Magpies came away with their fourth win on the trot over the Demons. Meanwhile, Mo Hope showed the competition why she was an AFL Women’s marquee player.

CARLTON: 1.2 | 3.3 | 5.4 | 7.4 (46)
NT THUNDER 2.1 | 2.3 | 6.4 | 8.5 (53)

By: James Halley

GOALS:

Carlton: B. Moody, N. Plane, N. Stevens, M. Clifford, M. Jarvis, T. Cassar, S. Wright.
NT Thunder: T. Holtze 2, K. Irvine 2, S. Riley 2, M. Roberts, S. Hoogeveen-Hill.

BEST:

NT Thunder: K. Irvine, C. Randall, N. Gore, K. Streader, M. Roberts, S. Miskin-Ripia
Carlton: A. McKay, M. Prespakis, J. Hosking, N. Stevens, T. Cassar

Carlton went down to the Northern Territory in their home away from home at La Trobe University by seven points. There was a strong wind going towards the left side of the ground all day, which Carlton were not able to fully capitalise on in the last quarter. The first quarter was hotly contested which resulted in many turnovers for both sides, but Northern Territory was able to edge ahead by five points at the first break. The Blues dominated the second term, keeping the Thunder goalless while kicking two themselves. Thunder’s Tayla Thorn tried her hardest in defence but the volume of entries was too much to handle. The third quarter belonged to the Thunder as they were able to wrestle the momentum back their way, kicking four goals to one to regain the lead heading into the final term. In the last quarter both teams went goal for goal, until Northern Territory’s Machaelia Roberts was able to shrug off two tacklers and stream inside 50 and kick the winning goal for the Thunder with less than two minutes left on the clock. Maddy Prespakis and Breann Moody were instrumental for the Blues in the midfield, while Fremantle AFLW recruit Mia-Rae Clifford was a focal point for Carlton in the forward line. Thorn was massive for the Thunder on the last line of defence, while Chelsea Randall was very classy, using her speed and agility to make the Blues look second rate. The Thunder were very dangerous up forward with Sally Riley, Tahlia Holtze and Kristy Irvine all kicking two goals apiece. To make the loss worse for Carlton, defender Jess Edwards looked to have seriously injured herself in the dying minutes of the match, needing medical assistance long after the final siren sounded.

WILLIAMSTOWN 1.1 | 1.4 | 3.5 | 4.8 (32)
MELBOURNE UNI 0.5 | 2.7 | 5.7 | 6.7 (43)

By: Peter Williams

GOALS:

Williamstown: S. Whiting 2, G. Anderson, J. Heard.
Melbourne Uni: N. Bresnehan, H. Whitford, D. Bannister, K. Angelis, K. Cox, B. Gibson.

BEST:

Williamstown: M. Hope, A. Newman, M. Williamson, S. Whiting, J. Reid, R. Dardengo
Melbourne Uni: B. Gibson, T. Mesiti, E. Hay, A. Runnalls, K. Cox, D. Bannister

A massive game from former Collingwood and North Melbourne AFL Women’s player, Mo Hope was not enough to get Williamstown across the line against Melbourne University on Saturday. The Seagulls led at the first break by two points courtesy of an inaccurate quarter by the Mugars who went goalless with five behinds on the board. The visitors hit the front in the second term, delivering the only two goals of the term to head into half-time with a nine-point advantage. They then extended the lead to 14 points in a high scoring third term which saw five goals kicked, before both teams managed a goal in the final stanza for the Mugars to win and ensure the Seagulls remained winless to start the season. Hope was the talking point in the game, amassing a mind-boggling 39 disposals, two marks, three tackles and a behind, while Melbourne AFLW livewire Aliesha Newman had 22 touches, one mark and four tackles in the defeat. The Mugars on the other hand had an even team effort, with Jess Trend (19 disposals, six marks, one tackle), Sophie Abbatangelo (15 disposals, four marks, four tackles and three behinds) and Daria Bannister (15 disposals, one mark, eight tackles and a goal) all impressive. Sharnie Whiting continued her good form this season for the Seagulls with 2.3 from 14 touches and two marks to be the only multiple goal kicker in the game.

WESTERN BULLDOGS 1.0 | 3.2 | 3.3 | 5.6 (36)
DAREBIN FALCONS 0.0 | 0.0 | 1.0 | 1.2 (8)

By: Peter Williams

GOALS:

Western Bulldogs: M. Ward, S. Jolly, H. Wildes, M. Sandral, E. Gavalas.
Darebin: S. David.

BEST:

Western Bulldogs: K. McLeod, S. Jolly, B. Hunt, E. Gavalas, B. Lochland, B. Toogood
Darebin: B. Patterson, C. Byrne, G. Colvin, S. David, R. Hibbert, A. Lister

Western Bulldogs piled on more pain to Darebin Falcons to remain one of the teams to beat after five rounds, winning four consecutive games to start the season, while Darebin remains winless. The Bulldogs have proven to do it in low-scoring slogs, being only the eighth highest scoring side, but are far and away the number one defensive team, and this weekend was no different, restricting Darebin to just one goal for the match. The Bulldogs had 11 scoring shots throughout the game, starting slowly, and were outscored in the third term when they were held goalless, but steadied to kick the final two goals of the match to win by 28 points. Ellie Gavalas was impressive with 23 disposals, two marks, three tackles and a goal, while Katelyn Betts also played well, notching up 20 touches, one mark and laying a massive nine tackles. Western Bulldogs listed players, Kirstie Lamb and Bonnie Toogood found plenty of the ball too, registering 18 touches each and sharing in 12 marks. For Darebin, the experienced names stood up despite the loss, with Melbourne AFLW ruck, Lauren Pearce helping herself to 22 touches, six marks, three tackles and 23 hitouts, while Gold Coast’s Jamie Stanton finished with 18 touches, one mark and three tackles.

RICHMOND 2.1 | 7.1 | 7.3 | 8.7 (55)
GEELONG 3.2 | 3.3 | 4.3 | 5.3 (33)

By: Peter Williams

GOALS:

Richmond: J. Colwell 2, K. Jacques 2, E. Gunn, T. Stahl, C. Wakefield , J. Kennedy.
Geelong: M. Maguire 2, J. Crockett-Grills, O. Purcell, R. Webster.

BEST:

Richmond: M. Conti, G. Campbell, K. Jacques, L. Davie, A. Makur Chuot, G. Egan
Geelong: J. Crockett-Grills, M. Maguire, O. Purcell, R. Goring, R. Webster, M. Keryk

The high-scoring Tigers remain undefeated in season 2019 after another big win, this time over last year’s grand finalists Geelong. The Cats raced out of the blocks to lead by seven points at the first break, before Richmond clicked into gear with five straight majors to the Cats’ one behind. It was Geelong’s turn to take the advantage in the premiership quarter, booting the only goal of the term while restricting Richmond to two behinds, before the Tigers held firm in the final quarter with a goal each, but extending the final margin to 22 points. The Tiger recruits in Monique Conti and Katie Brennan were sensational, as Conti picked up a game-high 29 disposals, three marks and five tackles, while Brennan had 22 disposals, five marks, five tackles and booted two behinds. Of the non AFLW-listed players, Grace Campbell (16 disposals, four marks and 11 tackles) and Grace Egan (13 disposals, one mark) were busy, while Jenna Colwell and Kobi Jacques both snagged two majors. For the Cats, young gun Olivia Purcell was terrific with 23 disposals, one mark, seven tackles and a goal, while Madeline Keryk helped herself to 15 touches, two marks and three tackles. Rene Caris had a tough task in the ruck against Alice Edmonds as her opponent had 12 touches and 30 hitouts, but Caris was always involved, having 11 touches and 13 hitouts, while Madisen Maguire booted two majors for the Cats.

CASEY DEMONS 2.1 | 2.1 | 4.1 | 5.1 (31)
COLLINGWOOD 1.0 | 4.4 | 4.5 | 5.5 (35)

By: Peter Williams

GOALS:

Casey: M. Guerin 2, K. Smith, A. Kemp, H. Cordner.
Collingwood: S. Dargan 2, S. Chiocci 2, G. Buchan.

BEST:

Casey: H. Cordner, E. Birch, N. Garner, G. McLean, T. Hanks, B. Winbanks
Collingwood: B. Davey, J. Allen, B. Bonnici, R. Schleicher, P. Nash, K. Lee

Collingwood has held on in a thriller to make it four consecutive wins, while handing Casey its second consecutive loss for season 2019. The victory pushed the Magpies into third spot just behind the Bulldogs and Tigers, and marked the return of AFLW captain, Steph Chiocci. The Demons led early with a seven-point advantage at quarter time, but the Magpies capitalised in the second term with three goals from seven scoring shots while strangling the life out of the home side. Casey hit back in the third term to hold the Magpies goalless and cut the deficit to just four points, but a steadying goal in the final term extended the lead to 10, before Harriet Cordner cut the deficit to four once again, but the time ran out for Casey. Chiocci made a successful return with two goals from 13 touches, one mark and three tackles, while Bri Davey had a massive second game back through the middle with 24 disposals, four marks and nine tackles. Sarah Dargan (19 disposals, four marks, 10 tackles and two goals) was sensational, while Maddie Shevlin won 13 touches, one mark and two tackles against her former side. For the Demons, Libby Birch remains a solid investment with another 20 disposals and whopping 13 tackles, while Tyla Hanks goes from strength to strength with 19 disposals and nine tackles. Cordner also had 15 touches, five marks, four tackles and six hitouts in the loss, while Maddy Guerin added another two majors to her total for the year, as well as 14 disposals, two marks and four tackles.

Waratah in seventh heaven after premiership victory

FOR the seventh time in eight years, Waratah was crowned premiers in the Northern Territory Football League (NTFL) Women’s Premier League. The Warriors battled it out on a wet day for footy in a tight matchup against Southern Districts, who failed to kick a major through the downpour. With bad weather only the beginning for the Southern Districts, Waratah managed to work through the onslaught, outlasting the Crocs in a low-scoring affair.

WARATAH: 2.1 | 2.3 | 2.3 | 3.3 (21)
SOUTHERN DISTRICTS: 0.1 | 0.2 | 0.3 | 0.3 (3)

GOALS:

Waratah: S. Nalder, J. De Melo, M. Gault.
Southern Districts: Nil.

BEST:

Waratah: L.Roberts, A.Stanley, M.Gault, S.Bishop, J.Kolodziej, A.Healy
Southern Districts: E.Miller, T.Thorn, M.Moussa, R.Busch, I.Sleeth, T.Holtze

The Warriors kicked off the game with a bang. Madeline Gault got plenty of the ball early and hit up Sue Nalder, who slotted her first goal for the day. Jade De Melo was next to hit the scoreboard, with a contested mark in the goal square and a simple set shot that had the Southern Districts rattled early on. Lisa Roberts was dominant in defence as she rebounded everything from the defensive 50, while Joanna Kolodziej held her own in the ruck.

With the Crocs’ situation dire, Ebony Miller was placed in defense while Indy Sleeth took over the ruck responsibilities. In the second term, Sleeth was getting the upper hand over Kolodziej while Tayla Thorn was getting busy. The Crocs soon found themselves in front of goal with Amelia Bartlem winning a free kick. However, Bartlem shanked the kick and Waratah piled on the pressure. Some missed opportunities by the Warriors kept the Southern Districts in the game, but nobody was prepared for the storm that came.

At the beginning of the third quarter, the rain hit TIO Stadium hard. Experienced players had trouble controlling the ball in the extreme weather and pressurised conditions. It was here that the Crocs started to fight hard and gain momentum. The wet weather seemed to suit the Crocs as Thorn had a breakaway snap at goal but failed to convert. Continuation of the match was called into question with sightings of lightning, causing a break five minutes into the quarter and breaking the Crocs’ momentum. Eventually the game went on as both teams fought to a standstill heading into the final quarter.

Waratah’s defense was a wall that held strong in the last term. In the end, the margin that seemed so close was impossible for the Crocs to match. Gault managed to put some icing on the cake in the final moments, as a poor lapse in judgment by Thorn in defense had Gault capitalise for her first major. After that it was official, as Waratah were named the 2018/2019 premiers. Roberts won the medal for Best on Ground, while Lateesha Jeffrey praised her girls for their performance in a tough game. As for the Tahs, it’s just another Grand Final victory for a superb side.

Weekend preview: NTFL Women’s – Grand Final

IT has been a long journey for both Waratah and Southern Districts. Waratah is a powerhouse which holds a dominant winning record over the past seven years. They were defeated in the 2016/2017 season but now are looking for back to back premierships as they head into Saturday. The Crocs, on the other hand, will be making their first Grand Final appearance in history.

The Crocs entered the women’s competition in the 2013/2014 season but have not seen a finals series until now. After years of underwhelming seasons, the Crocs enlisted coach Tarmon Elliott to turn the team around. Elliot has delivered in spades by bringing a strong culture, new recruits, and possibly their first flag. After defeating Palmerston, Southern Districts could not be more ready to face Waratah for the ultimate prize.

WARATAH V SOUTHERN DISTRICTS
TIO Stadium
Saturday, March 5 4:30pm

This match will be like a game of chess. What makes Waratah and Southern Districts different than other teams is their players have the ability to shift into different roles. This makes matchups hard to predict in this battle of tactics. Tayla Thorn was elite down back but can also play in the midfield or forward. However, considering the dangers of Amy Chittick and Lauren O’Shea, she will most likely stay in defence. She will be well supported though by Maria Moussa, who had a blinder last weekend with the most defensive rebounds for Districts.

In the Warriors defence Rebecca Pryer, Isabelle Rapson, and Lisa Roberts will make it difficult for the Crocs to score. Kelsie Patterson kicked three majors last week but it could have been more if she kicked straight. Tahlia Holtze had a very quiet game last week, but the Districts will need her to have her kicking boots on to breach the Tah’s defensive wall.

The fight in the ruck contest may have Waratah at a disadvantage. Ebony Miller and Indy Sleeth might as well be tall midfielders as they cover the ground exceptionally well and are proven goal kickers. Joanna Kolodziej and Julianna Kerinaiua will have a tough fight in this contest.

As for the midfield battle, there could be as many as twelve different rovers rotating throughout the game. Lateesha Jeffrey and Bella Clarke may push up or back from the centre, but Megan Craufurd is the constant tagger that shuts down key midfielders. She may have the job on Sharona Bishop who is in fine form. Madeline Gault is similar to Craufurd but plays more of a run-with role rather than a shutdown tagger. Gault would be a perfect opponent for Jeffrey if she plays in the midfield.

Waratah has the advantage in this match as many players on their list have seen at least one premiership. Lisa Roberts and O’Shea have been in this position six times for five flags. The Crocs are a very different story, unlike their opponent, this level of competition is completely new to them having qualified for the first time. They were the underdog last week and beat the odds, and defeated Waratah in their last outing. They just need to dig in one more time and given it is the Grand Final, and anything can happen.

TEAMS:

Waratah

B: 18.Molly Cooper 6.Rebecca Pryer 19.Alicia Stanley
HB: 15.Isabelle Rapson 10.Alysha Healy 13.Lisa Roberts
C: 3.Peita Starcevic 2.Madeline Gault 23.Pippa Cox
HF: 17.Tarryn O’Hehir 4.Sue Nalder 5.Breanna Martin
F: 9.Amy Chittick 22.Lauren O’Shea 12.Sherayn Puruntatameri
R: 7.Joanna Kolodziej 28.Trish Muller 8.Sharona Bishop
Int: 29.Madeline Campbell 14.Jade De Melo 16.Julieanna Kerinaiua
24.Alexandra Harrison-Wolff 20.Amie Love 1.Angela Perkins

Southern Districts

B: 22.Rachele Mchugh 8.Maria Moussa 28.Tess Hanna
HB:14.Tessa W 2.Tayla Thorn 6.Charles Deegan
C: 30.Donna Reed 9.Lateesha Jeffrey 25.Chelsea Pember
HF:17.Chiarah Corpos 20.Holly Engelhardt 11.Maili Clarke
F: 5.Tahlia Holtze 4.Indy Sleeth 35.Kelsey Patterson
R: 3.Ebony Miller 10.Megan Craufurd 15.Bella Clarke
Int:21.Tyler Thornton 26.Rhiannon Busch 19.Danielle Opperman
32.Nicole Paterson 1.Kimberley Mccouat 27.Samantha Hoogeveen-Hill

Weekend wash ups: NTFL Women’s – Week 2 finals

THERE is no greater build up for this year’s Grand Final. Southern Districts outworked Palmerston and the reigning premiers smashed their old rivals, Darwin. This weekend Waratah will look to win back to back premierships, while the Southern Districts will play their first Grand Final in NTFL Women’s history.

PALMERSTON MAGPIES 2.2 | 3.3 | 5.3 | 5.3 (33)
SOUTHERN DISTRICTS 2.1 | 3.2 | 4.4 | 7.9 (51)

GOALS:

Palmerston Magpies: F. Puruntatameri 2, Shenaida Bush, Michaeline Brown
Southern Districts: K. Patterson 3, T. Holtze, E. Miller, T. Thorn, L. Jeffrey

BEST:

Palmerston Magpies: B. Byers, F.Puruntatameri, J. Baird, J. Stassi, J. Misob, J. Brock
Southern Districts: T.Thorn, M. Moussa, E. Miller, I. Sleeth, C. Deegan, R. Busch

During the home and away season, the Southern Districts met the Pies twice and lost twice. This time was different as they raised their intensity to block the superior speed of Palmerston and win the game.

The Magpies drew first blood, but the Crocs quickly responded through Kelsey Patterson and Lateesha Jeffrey who snuck forward. Ebony Miller was controlling the hit-outs, but Jessica Stassi kept finding the ball despite the ruck dominance. Shenaida Bush struck back for the Pies by booting a goal late to finish the first term. Down back, Billie Byers was impressive with her run and carry, as she ran around seemingly unchecked by her opposition. However, on the other side of the field, Tayla Thorn was the difference for the Crocs. Thorn’s clearance ability and second efforts at the contest were second to none in the Districts back line.

The second quarter saw a great pack mark by Michaeline Brown inside attacking 50. Dead in front, she made no mistake extending the Pies’ lead to seven points. The Crocs answered quickly as Miller took a mark 40 meters from goal. Miller had no problem making the distance, her goal ending the term. Freda Puruntatameri had been busy for most of the game, but in the premiership quarter she gave Palmerston a touch of magic with a pack mark in the goal-square to kick her first goal of the match. The Crocs bounced back with a quick snap by Patterson, but Puruntatameri kicked an inspirational goal off the burst to head into the final quarter.

The Pies had a five-point buffer but Southern Districts would not be denied. Thorn, Rhiannon Busch, and Charles Deegan were chucked into the centre of the ground. It was the smartest move for the side, as the trio proved their skill in the competition. The clearances and tackles were dominated by the Districts, while the Magpies seemed to be running on empty fumes. Patterson kicked her third to put the Crocs in front, but it was Tayla Thorn’s booming goal that put the game beyond doubt. Tahlia Holtze ended the game with a free kick after the siren to end the well-fought victory for the Southern Districts.

WARATAH: 2.4 | 4.6 | 8.8 | 8.8 (56)
DARWIN BUFFETTES: 1.0 | 2.1 | 3.2 | 3.3 (21)

GOALS:

Waratah: A. Chittick 4, J. De Melo 2, S. Prunntatemeri, S. Nalder.
Darwin Buffettes: M. Roberts 2, M. Breed.

BEST:

Waratah: A. Chittick, L. Roberts, A. Healy, T. O’Hehir, M. Gault
Darwin Buffettes: M. Roberts, K. Duggan, N. Dunn, A. Bryan, C. Whan

A game of missed opportunities and bad mistakes saw Waratah walk away comfortable winners over Darwin.

The game opened up with Machaelia Roberts kicking the first, pushing into the forward line and making an immediate impact. Waratah hit back but only managed four behinds due to inaccuracy. Lisa Roberts was sent to defense, proving a class above the rest with her intercept marking and disposal efficiency. Kylie Duggan, on the other hand, was working hard around the ground. Duggan seemed to be working overtime again for the Buffs, getting plenty of the ball early. Jade de Melo broke the ice for the Warriors, booting their first goal. Amy Chittick was soon to follow with her first to end the term.

Darwin began the second quarter with a positive start. Nicolette Dunn kicked her first goal for the Buffs, keeping her team’s momentum up. It was quickly shattered when Zoe Anderson missed the perfect opportunity to run into an open goal and put the Buffs in front. Waratah responded in kind with Sue Nalder kicking her first for the day, before Sherayn Paruntatameri was next to extend the margin to 17 points and end the first half.

Machaelia Roberts lifted her team in the third quarter by booting the first goal of the term. Mattea Breed was next to snap a goal for the Buffs, bringing the deficit back to 10 points. Unfortunately, Amy Chittick had an instant response for Waratah, kicking two majors. De Melo would add to Darwin’s pain kicking her second, followed by Chittick booted her fourth shortly after, meaning Waratah headed into the final quarter with a heavy lead.

Only one behind was scored in the final quarter as both teams were out on their feet. Waratah simply proved too powerful for the Buffs, and will now head into their seventh consecutive Grand Final.

Weekend previews: NTFL Women’s – Week 2 finals

THIS week’s semi-finals will undoubtedly see the best of the best duel one last time before the ultimate battle. Palmerston’s loss against Waratah was painful, but now they face the Southern Districts. The Pies have beaten the Crocs twice this season, but the Crocs are coming off a high after smashing the Saints. In the afternoon, Waratah will meet Darwin for another classic bout. The Warriors are heavy favourites for this match, and with the Buffs’ extended injury list, it is easy to see why.

PALMERSTON MAGPIES V SOUTHERN DISTRICTS
Saturday, March 2 12:30pm
TIO Stadium

Southern Districts somehow find themselves in St Marys’ shoes at the moment, having met Palmerston twice this season and lost on both occasions. For the Crocs to win they must use every opportunity and advantage they have to deny the Pies the ball. the Districts’ first advantage lies in their ruck stocks. Ebony Miller and Indy Sleeth will make sure their hit-outs give their midfielders first use of the ball. Meanwhile, Jessica Stassi and Natasha Medbury will help to control the clearances. If things get dire, Miller and Sleeth can simply punch the ball forward to gain ground.

Crocs forwards must put Billie Byers inside 50 or she will rebound the ball like it was never there. If Tayla Thorn can get off to the start she had last week, it may set the perfect foundation for the Districts to rise from. Rhiannon Busch is a proven goal kicker and has had a stellar couple of weeks, while Charles Deegan, though recently getting extra attention from defenders, is always dangerous around goals.

On the other side of the field, Shenaida Bush and Freda Puruntatameri are starting to click. This could prove very damaging to the Crocs as both are very quick and deadly accurate. Lateesha Jeffrey and the Districts backline will have a tough task keeping this pair quiet. If they can, it could prove the difference between victory and defeat.

Palmerston will walk into this match favorites, but Southern Districts may give the Pies a shock in this heavyweight bout of the Semi-Finals.

TEAMS

Palmerston Magpies
B: 32. Jess Leamey 15. Charmaine Marshall 20.Ellie Misob
HB: 2.Jessie Brock 13. Billie Byers 10.Jacintha Misob
C: 3.Hayley Davey 24. Tabitha May 33.Janet Baird
HF: 31 Karlee King 1.Nicole Simons 7.Shenaida Bush
F: 28.Tanisha Garling 25.Wynonna Barlow 8.Freda Puruntatameri
R: 18. Bianca Mayo 5.Natasha Medbury 26.Jessica Stassi
Int: 31.Celina Lloyd 12.Joanne Huddleston 14.Tania Parriman
23.Tiffany Parriman 22.Vanessa Mouncy

Southern Districts
B: 17.Chiarah Corpos 30.Donna Reed 21.Tyler Thornton
HB: 14.Maili Clarke 20.Holly Engelhardt 9.Lateesha Jeffrey
C: 10.Megan Craufurd 35.Kelsey Patterson 19.Danielle Opperman
HF: 26.Rhiannon Busch 2.Tayla Thorn 8. Maria Moussa
F: 15.Bella Clarke 4.Indy Sleeth 6.Charles Deegan
R: 3.Ebony Miller 5. Tahlia Holtze 25.Chelsea Pember
Int: 28.Tess Hanna 14.Tessa W 22.Rachele Mchugh
32.Kiarah Jackson 1.Kimberley Mccouat 12.Karina Brink

WARATAH V DARWIN BUFFETTES
Saturday, March 2 2:30pm
TIO Stadium

Darwin’s tactics last week may have beaten Pint, but it will not do against Waratah. The Warriors have 15 premiership players returning for this match and no amount of waiting this team out will help the Buffs. The Buffettes have to go for broke and, missing key players in the midfield and forward line, they may have to mix it up. If Dominique Carbone starts in the centre of the ground, it will free up Machaelia Roberts to push forward. Darwin’s forward line looks completely different when Roberts has the opportunity to cause defenders headaches. This leaves Carbone, Jemma Iacono, and Kylie Duggan to tackle Lisa Roberts, Madeline Gault and Alysha Healy in the midfield, which could go either way.

The Buffettes cannot allow Waratah to dominate the clearances. Amy Chittick is the league’s leading goal kicker and now has Lauren O’Shea for assistance. If the Warriors’ forwards get a taste of blood, they will swarm the Buffs’ backline and devastate the scoreboard.

Waratah also has a player similar to Roberts in Sherayn Puruntatameri. She pushed out from half-back last week to bag three majors. Puruntatameri is an X-factor player, which makes her a difficult match-up for Darwin. Celina Whan might be the Buffs’ best choice for Puruntatameri if she plays down back.

Waratah could easily turn this into an ugly game, but perhaps the rivalry will spur the Buffs to challenge the champions.

TEAMS

Waratah
B: 8.Sharona Bishop 6.Rebecca Pryer 19.Alicia Stanley
HB: 15.Isabelle Rapson 16.Julieanna Kerinauia 12.Sherayn Puruntatameri
C: 3.Peta Starcevic 13.Lisa Roberts 2.Madeline Gault
HF: 17.Tarryn O’Hehir 4.Sue Nalder 5.Breanna Martin
F: 9.Amy Chittick 22.Lauren O’Shea 18.Molly Cooper
R: 7.Joanna Kolodziej 23.Pippa Cox 10.Alysha Healy
Int: 28.Trish Muller 29.Madeline Campbell 14.Jade De Melo
24.Alexandra Harrison-Wolff

Darwin Buffettes
B: 25.Chevaune Fewings 15.Delsey Ah Wang 19.Louise Johnstone
HB: 8.Keisha Tinley 12.Dominique Carbone 11.Nicole Schmitt
C: 13. Alexander Bryan 3.Machaelia Roberts 21.Zoe Anderson
HF: 22.Tamika Bullen 17.Melinda Taylor 1.Mattea Breed
F: 10.Meridith Turner 6.Celina Whan 14.Bianca Stokes
R: 30.Tania Dhu 4.Kylie Duggan 5.Jemma Iacono
Int: 27.Demi Cubillo 16.Nicolette Dunn 7.Rachel Henderson
24.Jaala Alley 9.Eliza Keaney 18.Danielle Totham