Tag: Taylor Smith

Smith hurdling her way to success

TAYLOR Smith quite literally made the jump into footy after dedicating a large portion of her life to heptathlons. Only having played footy for a short amount of time, Smith is still learning all the intricacies of the sport and transitioning away from her previous life of athletics.

“I transitioned from athletics – I was a heptathlete,” Smith said. “I represented Queensland in the heptathlon a couple of years ago and then after that I fell into the injury trap. “Had a year off and the played a school footy game and found myself scattered from there.”.

The training schedule for heptathlons was highly demanding with the budding footballer committed to certain hours and days to preparing for her events in order to fine tune her skills.

“So it’s [heptathlons] lots of training and pretty much six days a week so you kind of had to adjust your training sessions to all the different events,” Smith said. “You wouldn’t just come on Monday and say I’m doing hurdling, it’s come on a Monday do a half hour warm-up, do a bit of high jump in that time, come over to the hurdles do the hurdles, maybe go over and do some shot put and that’s the end of your night. “Then come back Tuesday long jump, javelin, a bit of 800 at the end of that. “It’s a very demanding schedule.”

The change from heptathlons to footy was big for Smith both on and off the field with Smith having to get accustomed to the different training requirements and new environment. Smith was used to a relatively flexible, but demanding training schedule with her heptathlon commitments compared to a more physically demanding football regiment.

“Its honestly just been as demanding but in a completely different way,” Smith said. “So athletics was a little bit more of take your time, walk between your events and stuff but you come to footy and your two hours is very intense you warm-up, you work hard, you cool down you go home and that two hours is very structured. “A little bit more free-flowing through the athletics I feel.”

The footy environment is another major change for Smith who noted how it is more inclusive and has that family vibe as opposed to athletics.

“I think the community around the football environment is outstanding and the support staff we have is just unreal,” Smith said. “But in the football environment you’ve got your team around you 24/7 especially on trips like this (Under-18 Championships). “You’re with your team for a week and the environment is just amazing, love it, wouldn’t change it for the world.

But it has not been all smooth sailings for Smith who was struck down with piriformis syndrome and subsequently was forced to take time off sports in order to get her body back on track.

“Basically what happened is I started getting some really odd symptoms down my right side of my body and it got to a stage when I was at stage championships for athletics and I was running a hurdle race and half way through the hurdle race it was almost like I couldn’t pick up my left leg,” Smith said. “It was just bizarre.”

Despite all of their best efforts it took doctors some time to figure out what the exact cause of Smith’s symptoms were, with the youngster subjected to six months of investigation to decipher the issue.

“Sometimes I would just walk and I would fall over for no reason it was just bizarre,” Smith said. “It took a big toll on me mentally as well because since I was a very young child I’ve always done sports and then I’ve gone a year and a half off. “I struggled a bit like I didn’t know what to do with my time. “I was obviously still in school I was in year 12 so it was a big year anyway and having that burden sort of on top of that made it a little bit more difficult.”

Unable to participate in sport, and going through Year 12 at the time, Smith struggled at times but credited her family for helping her get through it and helping her discover her new love for footy.

“Parents for sure (were my biggest supporters) and I think that the biggest thing for me was coming out of that stage and I think finding footy was something that really helped me through that,” Smith said. “Tim Searle who is one of the AFL Gold Coast talent managers he was the one who got me into the sport but I’ve developed a really good friendship with him from there. “He has been a great mentor, someone I’ve been able to talk to about a lot of things and I’ve really appreciated having his support through everything as well.”

A fluke game of school footy spiralled to a whole other level for Smith, with the 18-year-old delving deeper into the footy world and becoming a key member joining the state sides and rising up the ranks.

“Yeah that was pretty unexpected,” Smith said of the rise to state representation. “I played in the Under-17 state championships that was from the carnival I went straight from that one footy game. “Then from there to the Suns Academy, Queensland Winter Series and then I’ve been lucky enough to come back overage and do it again. “It’s been very fast moving, very intense, completely unexpected but I’ve enjoyed every step of the way and I wouldn’t take it for granted.”

With her ultimate goal to be drafted Smith is aware there are a few things she needs to work on such as her cleanliness across the field, while a clear strength is her vertical leap given her extensive training with heptathlons

“I think I definitely need to get cleaner on the ground being a bit taller it’s a bit hard to get down to that ground level,” she said. Otherwise I think working back and just being a bit more clean, fine-tuning some skills and just I guess footy smarts as well I think that will just come with time because I’ve been in it for such a short amount of time. The footy smarts thing will come with experience,” she said. “My old goal when I was doing heptathlon was to make the Olympics or make some type of Australian team but now for me it I would love nothing more than to get drafted.”

AFL Women’s Draft Combine: Player Summaries

AFTER the 2019 AFL Women’s Draft Combine list of names were announced earlier in the week, we take a look at each player who was nominated, with a quick summary and link to their profile. Check them out below:

2019 AFLW NAB Draft Combine Nominees

NSW/ACT: [3]

Georgia Garnett (East Coast Eagles)
* Eastern Allies captain, member of the GWS GIANTS Academy and a player from the GIANTS heartland of western Sydney

Eloise Hiller-Stanbrook (Dubbo)
* Tireless ruck who averaged 14 hitouts per game at the AFL Women’s Under-18 Championships

Brenna Tarrant (East Coast Eagles)
* All-Australian in 2019 and a crucial key defender who can move up the ground, also from western Sydney heartland

QUEENSLAND: [8]

Georgia Breward (Coolangatta)+
* Suffered a season-ending injury last year but showed plenty of talent and determination

Isabel Dawes (Maroochydore)
* Classy, smart forward who made All-Australian last year in her middle-age year

Dee Heslop (Yeronga South Brisbane)
* Consistent player who has been reliable in the defensive half and uses the ball well

Tahlia Hickie (Coorparoo)+
* Ruck prospect who played as an over-ager at the championships and performed strongly

Lily Postlethwaite (Maroochydore)
* Dual All-Australian and state captain, super talented midfielder

Taylor Smith (Bond University)+
* Tall target who presented well during the championships up forward, another overage player on the list

Serene Watson (Bond University)
* Another dual All-Australian from Queensland who provided a reliable marking target in the defensive half, repelling opposition attacks time and time again

Tarni White (Coorparoo)
* Returned from an ACL injury to show some promising signs at the championships and has plenty of upside

SOUTH AUSTRALIA: [4]

Montana McKinnon (South Adelaide)
* Dual All-Australian ruck and dual Most Valuable Player (MVP), South Australian and Central Allies captain, South Adelaide premiership player… the list of accolades is unbelievable. Top ruck in the draft crop

Hannah Munyard (South Adelaide)
* Smart user of the footy with elite athletic traits, premiership player at South Adelaide predominantly through the midfield

Madison Newman (West Adelaide)
* One of the top rebounders in the draft crop, an All-Australian in 2019 and consistent as they come

Jaimi Tabb (Woodville-West Torrens)
* Tackling machine who thrives on the contest and has shown a capability to also win the ball on the outside as well

TASMANIA: [1]

Mia King (Launceston)
* Super talented mover through the midfield with burst speed, King won the Eastern Allies’ MVP for the carnival to go with her All-Australian selection. North Melbourne have first priority being Tasmanian

VIC COUNTRY: [10]

Teagan Brett (Murray Bushrangers)
* Small midfielder who came of age in the championships, playing well on the outside and getting the ball from midfield into attack

Millie Brown (Murray Bushrangers)
* Potential Geelong father-daughter selection, Brown was superb across the championships in defence until injury ruled her out of the final game. 2019 All-Australian

Luka Lesosky-Hay (Geelong Falcons)
* Accumulator who just finds the football and works hard into space, a key cog in Geelong Falcons’ midfield with Lucy McEvoy

Lucy McEvoy (Geelong Falcons)
* Hard to even begin with the accolades, but a three-time All-Australian, dual Best and Fairest, premiership captain, Vic Country MVP… just a star and unbelievable leader who has captained for three years at the Falcons

Sophie Molan (GWV Rebels)
* Natural born leader who captained the Rebels this year and is as versatile as they come, can play anywhere and was a 2019 All-Australian

Shanara Notman (Gippsland Power)
* A late bloomer after having last year off, she can play up either end and is strong in the air and very good athletically

Paige Sheppard (Geelong Falcons)
* Raised her draft stocks at the championships with a terrific carnival following on from a consistent year in the NAB League Girls

Brooke Vernon (Dandenong Stingrays)
* One of Dandenong’s best in the NAB League Girls this year, playing as a rebounding defender who is as good in the air as she is at ground level

Nikia Webber (Gippsland Power)
* Tall forward who can also play through the midfield, Webber is an elite kick of the footy, arguably the best in the draft crop with accuracy and penetration

Ella Wood (GWV Rebels)
* Uncompromising midfielder who loves the contested side of footy and relishes winning the hard ball with great courage

VIC METRO: [15]

Alana Barba (Calder Cannons)
* A tackling machine who stood up particularly later in the year, emerging as a genuine draft chance with great defensive pressure

Molly Denahy-Maloney (Sandringham Dragons)
* Athletic ruck who captained Sandringham Dragons this year and held up Vic Metro’s ruck division in 2019

Elisabeth Georgostathis (Western Jets)
* Captain of Western Jets and one who always puts her body on the line, Georgostathis was another who raised her draft stocks at the championships with important moments in big games. Can play anywhere on the field too

Isabella Grant (Western Jets)
* Potential Western Bulldogs father-daughter, she is able to play midfield or forward and can take a grab and hit the scoreboard

Britney Gutknecht (Northern Knights)
* Known for her goalkicking last year, Gutknecht became an inside midfielder this year and was a key player in the Knights’ premiership side

Gemma Lagioia (Oakleigh Chargers)
* Classy user of the football who can play anywhere on the ground, she was able to develop her inside game at the championships to add another string to her bow

Laura McClelland (Eastern Ranges)
* One of only three Vic Metro All-Australians, McClelland can play anywhere on the ground and is strong in the air and capable of kicking terrific goals

Nell Morris-Dalton (Northern Knights)
* One of the most consistent players this season, Morris-Dalton had a massive end to the NAB League Girls season and is so strong one-on-one, particularly in the air

Gabrielle Newton (Northern Knights)
* Dual All-Australian, Northern Knights premiership captain and one who is almost copied and pasted into the best every week, Newton hardly puts a foot wrong and has played literally everywhere on the field from the ruck to all thirds of the ground given her athletic talents

Georgia Patrikios (Calder Cannons)
* Overall MVP of the championships, Patrikios led her Calder side to a grand final and has the best agility of any player in the draft crop. Uses the ball well and is a dual All-Australian too

Marguerite Purcell (Sandringham Dragons)
* Speedy winger who has developed rapidly this year playing for the Dragons and earned a spot on Vic Metro’s list for the championships, holding her own there

Sarah Sansonetti (Northern Knights)
* Reliable defender who stood up in the NAB League Girls Grand Final for Northern and just does the job week-in, week-out

Cleo Saxon-Jones (Western Jets)
* Key forward who is a strong contested mark and powerful set shot at goal, she thrived on one-on-one situations at the championships

Felicity Theodore (Calder Cannons)
* Fierce tackling runner who just works hard all day and attacks the footy and ball carrier with vigour, able to play up either end and provide great defensive pressure

Nicola Xenos (Oakleigh Chargers)
* Talented running defender who uses the ball well off half-back and makes good decisions with ball-in-hand

WESTERN AUSTRALIA: [4]

Sophie McDonald (Claremont)+
* Key defender who repelled opposition attacks and was able to set up attacking plays after some goal-saving moves deep in defence

Emma O’Driscoll (Swan Districts)*
* Did not play up on the Gold Coast, but O’Driscoll is a reliable defender who has good positioning and high level smarts

Roxanne Roux (East Fremantle)
* Exciting key forward who has a massive vertical leap and could become a human highlight reel with her long kicking, goal sense and work rate; another All-Australian

Mim Strom (South Fremantle)
* Really stood out in the ruck as a key player who not only worked well at stoppages, but at ground level and around the ground, providing an impact – 2019 All-Australian too

+Overage player (ie. born 2000)

2019 AFL Women’s Draft Combine invitations announced

FORTY-five players have been invited to the 2019 AFL Women’s NAB Draft Combine, with 25 from Victoria – where eight of the 10 AFL Women’s clubs are based, with Queensland (eight) the next highest. Four players from both South Australia and Western Australia have been invited, as have three from NSW/ACT and one from Tasmania. Among the invitees are five overagers (eligible last year), as well as two father-daughter potential selections in Isabella Grant (Western Bulldogs) and Millie Brown (Geelong). Players who are already pre-listed to clubs such as Gold Coast’s Ellie Hampson, West Coast’s Mikayla Bowen and St Kilda’s Molly McDonald and Isabella Shannon were not included in the invitations.

The combine will be held from October 1-3 to align with the AFL Under-18 National Combine. Western Bulldogs hold the first pick in this year’s AFL Women’s Draft.

Extended content on the invitees will come later in the week.

2019 AFLW NAB Draft Combine Nominees

NSW/ACT: [3]
Georgia Garnett (East Coast Eagles)
Eloise Hiller-Stanbrook (Dubbo)
Brenna Tarrant (East Coast Eagles)

QUEENSLAND: [8]
Georgia Breward (Coolangatta)*
Isabel Dawes (Maroochydore)
Dee Heslop (Yeronga South Brisbane)
Tahlia Hickie (Coorparoo)*
Lily Postlethwaite (Maroochydore)
Taylor Smith (Bond University)*
Serene Watson (Bond University)
Tarni White (Coorparoo)

SOUTH AUSTRALIA: [4]
Montana McKinnon (South Adelaide)
Hannah Munyard (South Adelaide)
Madison Newman (West Adelaide)
Jaimi Tabb (Woodville-West Torrens)

TASMANIA: [1]
Mia King (Launceston)

VIC COUNTRY: [10]
Teagan Brett (Murray Bushrangers)
Millie Brown (Murray Bushrangers)
Luka Lesosky-Hay (Geelong Falcons)
Lucy McEvoy (Geelong Falcons)
Sophie Molan (GWV Rebels)
Shanara Notman (Gippsland Power)
Paige Sheppard (Geelong Falcons)
Brooke Vernon (Dandenong Stingrays)
Nikia Webber (Gippsland Power)
Ella Wood (GWV Rebels)

VIC METRO: [15]
Alana Barba (Calder Cannons)
Molly Denahy-Maloney (Sandringham Dragons)
Elisabeth Georgostathis (Western Jets)
Isabella Grant (Western Jets)
Britney Gutknecht (Northern Knights)
Gemma Lagioia (Oakleigh Chargers)
Laura McClelland (Eastern Ranges)
Nell Morris-Dalton (Northern Knights)
Gabrielle Newton (Northern Knights)
Georgia Patrikios (Calder Cannons)
Marguerite Purcell (Sandringham Dragons)
Sarah Sansonetti (Northern Knights)
Cleo Saxon-Jones (Western Jets)
Felicity Theodore (Calder Cannons)
Nicola Xenos (Oakleigh Chargers)

WESTERN AUSTRALIA: [4]
Sophie McDonald (Claremont)*
Emma O’Driscoll (Swan Districts)*
Roxanne Roux (East Fremantle)
Mim Strom (South Fremantle)

*Overage player (ie. born 2000)

Scouting notes: AFLW U18s – Friday, 12 July

ON the final day of the Under-18 Championships we headed down to Bond University. It was a perfect day for footy with the sun shining and not a cloud in sight allowing the action on the field to do all the talking. Vic Metro continued their dominance finishing undefeated while Vic Country and Central Allies both prevailed in their respective tight contests. Taylah Melki was on hand to provide her opinion-based notes on players from each of the six sides.

EASTERN ALLIES v. VIC METRO

Eastern Allies

#9 Jayde Hamilton

Made her presence felt across the ground with her strength and desperation to win the ball at every contest. Stood up in the tackles and used her composure to think her way through defence. Slick hands out of the stoppages to release teammates and used her long clearing kick to try and get the ball out of danger.

#10 Abby Favell

Constantly involved in the contest and working hard to win the ball at the coalface. She showcased her clean hands in close to flick the ball out of the congestion and to a player in space. Applied strong tackling pressure and put her body on the line with her clever shepherds. Favell displayed her strong set of hands taking a heap of contested marks and intercept marks. Impressive passage of play at the start of the fourth quarter with a long booming kick from just outside defensive 50 towards the attacking 50 for Allies. Was arguably one of the best on field for the Allies who struggled to combat the pressure of Vic Metro.

#11 Mia King

Good read of the tap out of the ruck and good intent to win the ball and push it forward. Constantly involved in the play credit to her football smarts and commitment to the footy, putting her body on the line time and time again. Had the ball on a string for majority of the game showcasing her slick hands in close and working her way through traffic to dish the ball out to passing teammates. Came off early in the last term with a suspected knee injury but overall had a solid performance for the Allies who struggled to penetrate through the defence of Vic Metro.

#19 Sophie Phillips

Phillips displayed her intercept marking abilities taking a wealth of marks coming inside 50. She was under constant pressure and showed great composure to think her way through traffic and move the ball down the field.

#20 Brenna Tarrant

Worked tirelessly throughout the match to nullify the influence of the Vic Metro forwards, picking off errant kicks and showcasing her strong set of hands to take mark after mark. Imposed herself on the contest and used her football nous to bang the ball forward and create some type of forward momentum.

#24 Georgia Garnett

Good clearing kick to move the ball out of congestion and down the ground. She had a relatively up and down game emulating the consistency of her team but when she featured she made her presence with her clean hands and intent to move the ball forward.

#25 Tarni Evans

Evans applied good attacking pressure and showcased her goal sense to bomb the ball from outside 50 with the footy dribbling through only for it to be touched on the line registering their first score of the game. She worked hard throughout the game to win possession for her side and went in hard at every contest showcasing her intent.

Vic Metro

#3 Gemma Lagioia

She won plenty of the footy early on using her long clearing kick to pass the mess and move the ball forward to better options. Utilised her evasive skills to zip through players and create space across the field. She found really good space in the third term and highlighted her accuracy by foot, nailing a pass lace out to a teammate inside 50. She had a flying shot at goal picking the ball up off the deck and going for a run but the ball hit the post.

#4 Nicola Xenos

Xenos showcased her footy smarts to cleanly pick the ball up off the ground and go streaming forward, sidestepping her opponents and kicking the first goal of the game. Popped in and out of the game but when she had ball in hand she made the most of it, delivering slick passes and creating forward thrusts for her side.

#14 Laura McClelland

Good intercept mark and showcased good courage to go back with the flight and stand up in a pack. Went in hard at the footy both attacking in the air and at ground level and won her fair share of the footy throughout the match credit to her tenacity. Constantly hitting the packs with good intent and displayed her footy smarts to know when to leave her player and when to stick with them. Switched forward in the second half and made her presence felt, taking a strong pack mark early in third term and turning and slotting her first goal of the game. Huge tackle in the last quarter to claim a holding the ball credit to her strength and attack on the footy while also highlighting her decision making with a clever ball into the middle channel to open up the ground. Took a huge mark with two minutes left in the last quarter at full stretch on a slight angle and banged it through for her second of the match.

#17 Georgia Patrikios

Continued her hot form to break away from the packs and stream forward with a long booming kick just drifting through for a behind. Showcased her slick hands in close and her evasive skills to manoeuvre her way around opponents and find space in the forward 50 time and time again. Patrikios impressed in the third term with a pinpoint pass to Felicity Theodore resulting in a goal credit to her slick hands and intent to take the game on, going for a run and bounce through the forward 50 and opening up space. Patrikios was in everything and impressed, racking up plenty of touches and treasuring possession when she had ball in hand.

#22 Sarah Hartwig

Really strong mark in the second quarter to take it at full flight over the top of a couple of players. She showcased good elevation and football smarts to read the flight of the footy and drop back into the spot. Goal saving mark a couple of steps out from the goal line to top off a solid performance.

#23 Nell Morris-Dalton

Kicked the first goal of the second quarter with four minutes left on the clock credit to her footy smarts to shrug off the would be tackler and step to the side, bending the ball back and nailing an impressive goal. Constantly posed a threat inside the forward 50 with her commanding presence and goal sense.

#26 Gabby Newton

Good read of the ruck tap straight out of the middle to burst through the middle and take it cleanly to bomb the ball forward into their attacking 50. Newton showcased her accuracy in front of goal winning a free kick and making no mistake to score her first major of the game in the opening term. Ran into good space throughout the game and displayed her impressive vision to kick long into the forward 50 to a one on one. Good use of the angles to slice through the ground and open it up to create space and free running for Metro. Brought out the party tricks in the fourth quarter with an over the shoulder handball to a teammate in space while also doing the one percenters well such as tackling and tracking the ball at ground level.

#29 Cleo Saxon-Jones

Imposed herself in the forward 50 taking a strong mark in the opening term and highlighting her impressive kick to nail it between the big sticks. Good tackling pressure to win a holding the ball call in the third quarter. Impressive passage of play in the third quarter with a piercing kick straight through the middle to hit Patrikios on the lead.

#34 Jessica Fitzgerald

Applied plenty of physical pressure early, contesting hard to win the footy at the coalface and using her body to out muscle other players. Showed great intent to push the ball forward and create potential scoring opportunities. Moved into the forward in the last term and made no mistake taking a strong contested mark inside the goal square and slotting her first goal of the match.

WESTERN AUSTRALIA v. VIC COUNTRY

Western Australia

#7 Taylor Pescud

Worked hard at ground level to pick the ball up off the deck and keep the ball moving in the forward 50. She won her fair share of the footy and worked tirelessly throughout the match to win the ball and extract it out of the stoppages.

#8 Rebecca Viney

Worked hard in transition throughout the match to provide options across the ground. She consistently tried to win the footy at stoppages and was cautious with ball in hand to try and hit targets on the lead.

#13 Kia Buckley

Good contested mark in the forward 50 leading up at the footy resulting in a goal. Took a huge mark in the dying minutes of the fourth quarter but was unable to capitalise with the ball tracking to the right.

#17 Mikayla Bowen

Showcased her speed and good vision to go for a run down the wing and propel the ball long inside forward 50 to create scoring opportunities for WA. Showed good intent to try and win the footy time and time again while also highlighting her clean hands off the deck to pick the ball up off the ground with ease. Bowen was constantly involved in the contest, applying strong physical pressure and covering the ground well to have an impact at the contest.

#22 Nyra Anderson

Laid a huge tackle in the second quarter to claim a holding the ball call credit to her impressive athleticism and speed to trap Sophie Molan and bring her to ground. Showed good decision making to think her way through traffic and know when to burst away from packs.

#23 Mikayla Morrison

Good run and carry to break away from the pack and stream forward to slot her first for the game. She showed good spatial awareness to dodge players and keep her composure to lower her eyes and drill the ball through the big sticks.

#29 Roxanne Roux

The bandage on her head did not slow her down, working hard to win the footy both at ground level and in the air. She showcased her long booming kick once again, bombing the ball long down into the forward line. Bodied up well at the contest and got good separation from the tackler to break free and bomb the ball long down the line into the forward 50. Huge fly in the last quarter to get up high and then work hard to bring the ball to ground.

#35 Mim Strom

Kicked the opening goal of the game credit to her goal sense and ability to work her way through traffic and go for home. Showcased her impressive elevation in the ruck getting up high to tap the ball down to her teammates’ advantage, tracking well across the field.

Vic Country

#3 Paige Sheppard

Involved in everything early in the game getting hands to ball and showcasing her evasive skills to sidestep her opponent. She tracked the ball well at ground level to extract the footy and dish it off to a teammate in a better position.

#9 Darcy Moloney

Really built into the game and had an impact in the second half leading up at the footy and using her speed to get into dangerous positions across the ground. She had a shot at goal in the early stages of the third but just missed. Moloney showcased her skill to impact the play and cause havoc with her footy smarts.

#12 Tyanna Smith

Popped up in the third quarter and injected herself into the forward 50 with an impressive goal from about 35 out, slotting it straight through the middle. She showcased her strong hands to take a good grab and made the most of her leading patterns getting into space.

#14 Abbey Chapman

Showed a good ability to read the flight of the ball and cut off WA’s forward forays with multiple intercept marks across the backline. She worked tirelessly down back to win ball and propel it back down the field while also using her physicality to impact the play.

#21 Sophie Molan

Really built into the game and showed her good hands in close to feed the ball out of congestion and into space. Displayed good footy smarts and vision in the fourth quarter to dish off a loopy handball into space and create forward momentum for Country.

#23 Lucy McEvoy

Showcased her sheer strength and understanding to find the ball and use her body effectively to out muscle opponents. Injected herself into the game in the second quarter with a huge tackle to win a holding the ball call. Dropped forward late in the second quarter and offered a good lead up at the footy taking a strong grab and converting from about 20 metres directly in front for Country’s first goal of the game. Continued to show her dominance and ability to pick holes in defence to weave the ball through and hit targets throughout the match. Her marking was second to none, taking big grabs and getting up high to pick off stray kicks.

#24 Isabella Simmons

Good crumbing goal in the third term to pick the ball up off the deck and soccer it through for her first for the afternoon. Really good lead in the forward 50 and took a juggling mark on a tight angle from about 30 out but was unable to convert only registering a behind.

#25 Olivia Barber

Imposed herself early on in the game creating good leads and attacking the footy with strong intent. She displayed her strong hands to take a couple of consecutive marks but struggled to convert registering two behinds in the opening term. Showed good courage to go back with the flight of the ball and put her hands to the test taking some good strong marks across the ground acting as the outlet player for Country. She covered the ground well and ran hard to provide constant leads. She found plenty of opportunities in front of goal with another chance in the fourth but could not capitalise.

#29 Maggie Caris

Imposing figure in the last quarter taking two big grabs in the fourth quarter to stop the quick transition play from WA and allow Country to get re-entries into their forward 50. Was solid in the midfield defensive setup, cutting off WA’s clearing ball to the midfield and drilling it back forward.

QUEENSLAND v. CENTRAL ALLIES

Queensland

#4 Lily Postlethwaite

Showcased her strength and footy smarts to win one on ones and deliver well weighted passes to teammates moving past. Her strong hands were also a key feature of her game taking good marks and competing both in the air and at ground level to win the footy. Good vision to lower her eyes and sight a free player and deliver a bullet-like kick straight to her. Displayed her football nous to work her way through traffic and then make the most of her opportunities with ball in hand using it effectively and cleverly.

#8 Isabel Dawes

Good evasive skills to dodge her way through traffic and shrug off opponents to hit an opponent lace out on the wing. She used her quick hands to work her way through traffic and create space for her teammates. Showed a good burst of speed and footy smarts in the last term to zig-zag through the pack, read the tap out of the ruck and then stream inside 50 to kick long to a contest just outside the goal square.

#16 Ellie Hampson

Good out of the middle bursting away from the pack and using her pace to bang the ball long. Stood up in the tackles using her strength to shrug opponents off and showcased her long booming kick to bang it deep inside 50. Constantly involved in the play and displayed her physical nature taking the game on and moving the ball out of dangerous positions. She showed a never say die attitude, always hunting both the ball and the player.

#19 Zimmorlei Farquharson

Impressed throughout the game with her strong intent and desire to win the footy at every occasion. Won a holding the ball call in the first quarter credit to her strong tackling pressure and kicked it deep inside forward 50 to create a scoring opportunity. Was involved in plenty of contests going in hard and using her speed to weave through traffic. Took a strong contested mark inside the forward 50 but was unable to convert, only managing a behind. Made amends for her earlier miss with a strong take and a relaxed and composed run up to slot her first goal of the game. Good read out of the ruck to rove the pack, having a flying shot at goal but the ball just drifted left. She looked electric every time the ball came near her given her goal sense and dynamic movement.

#20 Charlotte Hammans

Worked her way into the game and made her presence felt across the field with her attacking style of play. She worked tirelessly throughout the match to try and extract the ball in close and then burst away.

#21 Taylor Smith

Stood up in the last term taking a big grab directly in front and converting her first for the afternoon to draw back the margin under pressure. She showcased her strong hands to take the ball above her head and displayed great composure to think her way through the shot and nail it.

#24 Annise Bradfield

Took a strong mark in the goal square credit to her footy smarts and clever body positioning and nailed her first goal of the game at the start of the second quarter.

Central Allies

#5 Shantel Miskin-Ripia

Worked tirelessly down in defence to try and chop off any forward forays from Queensland. Consistently got hands to ball taking a couple of intercept marks and dropping into the holes to regain possession for the Allies. Showcased her long booming kick to move it out of defence and push the ball forward.

#9 Jaimi Tabb

Proved to be hard to stop when on song, making her presence felt in and around the stoppages and flicking the ball out to teammates. She was a real bull and won a couple of clearances to move the ball forward and creating scoring pressure.

#10 Madison Newman

Worked her way into the game, winning plenty of footy in the forward half and working it around to better positions. Showcased her strength around the contest to get the ball out of congestion and move it forward with pace.

#11 Teagan Usher

Good read of the flight of the ball to get into the right spots and take numerous marks throughout the game. she tackled hard and applied good physical pressure to worry her opponents out of the contest. She covered the ground well and worked hard to try and create a contest at every opportunity.

#15 Mattea Breed

Really good overhead to take a strong mark inside forward 50 after a clever lead up at the footy slotting her first goal in the opening term. Took a big contested mark in the goal square and slotted her second goal for the game credit to her accurate kicking style and composure with ball in hand.

#23 Stephanie Williams

Impressive run through the forward 50 into an open goal shrugging off the tackler and getting the Allies on the board midway through the first quarter. Used her body well to take a strong grab near the goal square and then play on taking on the tackler and slotting it through for her second. Showcased her electric speed and attacking flair, soccering the ball off the ground and gaining important metres. Her attack on the ball was second to none hunting the ball and player throughout the match.

#25 Teah Charlton

Won plenty of ball throughout the game, going in hard at the contest and using her quick hands to feed the ball out to teammates. Positioned herself well around the stoppages to read the tap and get hands to ball. Extracted the ball with ease from the contest and showed good composure and footy smarts to take a couple of steps, look inside 50 and then deliver a spearing kick into their attacking 50. Displayed her strong set of hands to take an important mark just inside the centre square and then kick long into the forward 50. She applied good tackling pressure contesting hard at every opportunity.

#26 Montana McKinnon

Displayed her strong hands and defensive mindset to slot into holes and pick off errant kicks that came her way. She was really clean below her knees to pick the ball up off the deck all in one motion and then dish it off to a teammate while getting tackled. Applied good physical pressure to lay a strong tackle and win the ball back for the Allies. Took an impressive mark in the last quarter getting up high and showcasing her aerial ability to bring the ball down in a pack. Really good elevation when in the ruck working hard to direct her taps to her teammates.

#27 Tayla Hart-Aluni

Injected herself into the game early with her quick hands and impressive vision to sight players on the lead and dish off clever passes. Hit a perfect kick late in the first quarter lace out to Breed who slotted a goal. Second efforts were second to none competing both in the air and on the ground working tirelessly to regain possession for Central. Clean hands off the deck to pick the ball up and dish it off to a teammate all in one swooping action.

Scouting notes: AFLW U18s – Monday, July 8

ON the opening day of the AFL Women’s Under-18 Championships, there were wins to both Victorian sides over Queensland and Western Australia, while Central Allies got over the line against Eastern Allies. We were there and took notes on some of the players that impressed us throughout the day at Metricon Stadium. All notes are opinion-based of the individual writer.

Queensland

By: Peter Williams

#4 Lily Postlethwaite

Was prominent throughout the midfield as we have come to expect from the Queensland captain. She produced a four-quarter effort and in wet conditions when many others were struggling to be clean, Postlethwaite added a touch of class to the game and was able to win the ball in every third of the field. She was able to hit targets more often than not with her ability to kick across her body or on the move. Postlethwaite also applied good defensive pressure, laying a nice bump to allow a teammate to win the footy. She mopped up in defence at times and then got forward to hit-up Taylor Smith who marked inside 50 and goaled in the final term.

#11 Tiarna Ahwang

Ahwang showed some very nice glimpses with some clear scope for the future. She has great acceleration which she used at times to keep the ball in front of her, and she did so late in the game where she was unable to take the ball cleanly on the wet surface at first, but then got hold of it and then kicked it forward well.

#13 Dee Heslop

Cracked in and got the hands up to handball out of the contest on a number of occasions. Heslop was able to position her body well when sliding in or approaching an opponent to fairly bump and go to win the contested ball. A nice mover around the ground, Heslop found space under pressure and kicked long to the wing in the second term in what was a nice piece of play.

#14 Serene Watson

The reliable defensive general, Watson was solid all game in a defence that was under siege at times. She was able to use the ball fairly well and read an errant kick from Isabella Simmons in the second term to mark on the last line and settle the team down. Watson has great composure with ball-in-hand and proved a strong intercept mark and a player who stopped quite a few Country forward forays. In the final term she took an unbelievable mark, pushed under the ball but was able to get hands to it to keep it in front of her and pull it down. Unfortunately, she played on and had to rush a handball after slipping, but overall a really impressive game.

#16 Elle Hampson

Copped a number of knocks throughout the first half but kept bouncing back and playing an important role through midfield. She continually hit the opponent hard with fierce tackles, and even fended off a couple of players to win an important contested ball in midfield. Hampson took a big grab at half-back in the second term, but her subsequent kick was smothered. Her first half was terrific and continued her good work after the break, with some neat kicks along the wing. Did get pinged for a high tackle late in the game.

#20 Charlotte Hammans

Reliable as ever, Hammans was strong in defence, getting back to take the ball and clear it up the field on a number of occasions. At times she pushed up the ground to try and get the ball deeper down the ground, and played a good team role throughout the game, doing the hard stuff in the back half of the ground.

#21 Taylor Smith

Smith had a couple of set shots on goal, one in the third term and one in the fourth. The first one was a good attempt but fell short to the right, the second went through however. She provided a tall target inside 50 in the game and was able to capitalise with the last quarter major.

#27 Kitara Whap-Farrar

One of the cleanest players out there, Farrar was able to control the wet pill at ground level by protecting the zone and handballing out to teammates. On a number of occasions, she stepped around opponents like it was a dry track and set up teammates up the ground by opening the game up with her agility. She also showed good hands in close.

Vic Country

By: Taylah Melki

#4 Renee Saulitis

Impressive goal in the second quarter with a clever snap from the pocket. She showcased her goal sense to turn and bang it through the middle. She worked hard to pose a threat up forward running hard and winning a free kick but was unable to add another major to her name with the ball just dropping short.

#7 Ella Wood

Proved that she was not afraid to go hard at the footy and apply strong physical pressure with tackles and bumps to put her opponents off balance. She showcased her long strong kick and ability to sight players in space.

#9 Darcy Moloney

Worked well through the midfield to win the ball and dispose of it cleanly and cleverly, won a free kick in the first term in the forward 50 and moved the ball quickly. Broke free in the forward 50 and found good space to create opportunities. Moloney worked hard at ground level to win the ball and force contests. Kicked an impressive goal off a step and around the body in the third quarter working hard to use her feet and body to out position her opponent.

#12 Tyanna Smith

Clean hands and good vision to move through the packs and create forward thrusts. She worked hard to use the ball well and covered the ground with ease laying off a pass and then receiving it back in the forward 50 in the second quarter. She tracked the ball well at ground level given the tricky slippery conditions. Good hands under pressure and good direction to work the ball through traffic. Really good run and carry through the middle of the ground to open the forward 50 up.

#21 Sophie Molan

Really good strong hands and clever ability to read the play. Kicked the ball well supplying cleverly weighted kicks to teammates on the lead. She showcased her strength to hold up in the tackle and shake her opponent off to then dish a handball off to a passing teammate. Worked herself into the game in the last term roving the packs and getting involved at the stoppages.

#23 Lucy McEvoy

Long penetrating kick into the forward 50 and applied good pressure. She showcased her strong hands to win the ball cleanly and used her good hands at the stoppages to feed the ball out of the contest and to a free teammate. McEvoy was not afraid to apply strong physical pressure putting her body on the line to win the ball in the air and on the ground. Used her body well throughout the game to barge through congestion and deliver the ball to teammates. Showcased her general footy smarts to create forward opportunities for Vic Country. She is a real bull in and around the contest and showcased her spatial awareness to lay the ball out to teammates in advantage. Topped off her impressive performance with a snap in the last quarter credit to her goal sense and strength to break free and win the ball. McEvoy kicked her second goal moments later reading the tap out of the ruck and snapping truly.

#24 Isabella Simmons

Simmons worked hard to get into the right place at the right time nailing her first for the morning with a goal right on the goal line. Simmons used her body well and showcased her general footy smarts to work her way to the goal line and capitalise on her opportunities.

#25 Olivia Barber

Kicked the opening goal for Vic Country credit to her strong hands to take a contested mark and then back it up with a strong kick. She quickly followed that up slotting her second goal in the first quarter off the deck after a booming kick from McEvoy into the forward 50. Barber continued her goal kicking form nailing her third in the dying minutes of the second quarter. Continued to be an imposing force in the forward 50 create scoring opportunities but was unable to capitalise scoring two points straight. Barber proved to be a force to be reckoned with in the forward 50 slotting her fourth goal in the opening few minutes in the last term.

VIC METRO VS. WESTERN AUSTRALIA

Western Australia:

Peter Williams

#9 Isabella Lewis

Got the first inside 50 for Western Australia with a quick kick, and kept battling in the forward half with some fierce tackles. She was often trying to win the hardball and feed it out, and whilst Lewis did give away a few free kicks in the process, showed great attack on the ball.

#10 Mikayla Hyde

A human highlight reel in the air, Hyde had a number of high-flying attempts throughout the match. Hyde reads the play well and was able to chop off a kick in-board to the middle in the second term, and then handball quickly to a teammate quickly. She has great strength overhead and while she did not take every mark she flew for, still created a presence in the air. A damaging player in the forward half and still a year to go in her development.

#13 Kia Buckley

Played in the forward half and showed some nice offensive and defensive traits. Buckley was able to use her body well in on-on-one contests, taking a strong mark while being held at one stage, then took another good mark on a lead just outside the 50. Her kick inside set up a goal for her team.

#14 Sarah Verrier

One of the important inside midfielders, Verrier was superb with her tackling and clearance ability in a role often understated in a hard slog. She continually fought hard in the middle to win the footy and then kick long, getting it out of congestion and into the forward 50. She gave away a few free kicks, but her use with the ball was telling in the conditions, just looking to kick rather than handball.

#17 Mikayla Bowen

An outstanding game from Bowen who showed once again why West Coast made the decision to pre-list her ahead of next season. She was everywhere, using the ball well, playing the team role and leading from the front. When her side was down early, she was cracking in trying to win the ball and thump it forward. Her tackling was not just often, but fierce and made her opponents earn every possession. Her clearance work was the best on the ground and she never stopped running. Bowen’s smarts should also not be underrated, kicking off the ground to gain distance in congestion and give her side a chance to run onto it early in the game. Brought down Elle McKenzie in a tackle too which is no easy feat.

#23 Mikayla Morrison

Not a huge amount of ball, but she was classy in the big moments late. Her last quarter in particular was a highlight, winning the ball tight in the pocket and getting the ball by hand over to Lily Bird who converted a goal, then got on the end of one herself after marking terrifically under pressure and nailing the set shot from 35m – bringing the deficit to just 11 points.

#29 Roxanne Roux

Along with Bowen, Roux was a standout player, with a dominating presence in the air and capitalising on the scoreboard. She booted two goals during the game – both from set shots – and could have had a third. She booted a goal early in the second which was Western Australia’s first major, then launched from long range in the third quarter for a huge goal. Her contested marking was a treat, and while she did not take as many marks as she has in the past, she fly a number of times, almost bringing down a cracker at half-forward in the second term. She then moved into the ruck in the final term, having a huge game and finishing with 18 hitouts to complement her game further, and had a massive leap that was too hard for the opposition to combat.

#35 Mim Strom

Really impressive throughout the day because while Strom was clearly the number one ruck on the ground, it was her work around the ground that also looked good. She worked within usual ruck limitations of aiming to handball to running teammates, but did not mind doing the hard stuff, laying a terrific tackle on Elisabeth Georgostathis who tried to evade her, and winning a free on the wing. Worked hard in close and became like a fourth midfielder at times.

Vic Metro:

By: Sophie Taylor

#2 Felicity Theodore

Great clearing kick down ground. Right in the contest when needed, putting in the hard yards especially in the late stages of the match to apply constant pressure on the scrap and be the crumbing player to clear back out of the contest. She may not have had the influence on the ball that she wanted, but produced plenty of stoppages credit to her tackling pressure and ability to force her opposition to be unsure about the contest.

#17 Georgia Patrikios

Patrikios was one of the best on ground for the afternoon, if not best for Metro in an altogether successful match. Showcased her skill to produce a great clearing kick from the midfield toward the forward, and was right up in every contest from the get-go. Had a great read of the play, finding the ball with ease and producing some impressive marks in among the contest. Had a run on goal in the first that was punched on the line but showed good intent and ability to find space to line up in front, following it up with a successful goal moments into the second after a 50m penalty. Also showed off some of her game smarts late, proving her great read of play as she spotted Saxon-Jones one on one inside 50, leading to a goal.

#21 Ellie McKenzie

Put on a solid performance credit to her ability to take the game on but was stopped in her tracks by a hungry WA side on a number of occasions, unable to find the space to run free with the ball. Produced some great crunching tackles, while also creating play credit to her ability to find a loose player and clear the ball out of the contest in their direction.

#23 Nell Morris-Dalton

Kicked one goal in a mostly successful hitout. Spent a lot of the first term further up the ground than usual, not hanging inside 50 as accustomed to and giving some room to the likes of Cleo Saxon-Jones and Emily Harley. Showcased some of her good marking ability, providing great option inside 50 and taking a great mark right in front of goal in the second, putting an easy goal on the board.

#26 Gabby Newton

Newton was impressive off the stoppage, finding teammates with ease and using her ability to play with smarts to not only create play across the field but use her teammates’ position to advantage as she made opportunities arise. Her booming kick was effective on multiple occasions, while her pressure both on and off the ball forced her opposition to second guess around the footy and rethink their options.

#29 Cleo Saxon-Jones

Early took a good contested mark off the boot of Morris-Dalton, finishing with a snap around the body from the pocket and goal. Wasn’t able to take advantage of sitting alone in the goal square but set up well for open goal if it came to her. Hit the post on second try minutes later but made up for it by putting her body on the line at every opportunity. Kicked a sensational goal in the final term to keep Metro in the contest when WA was hot on their heels, taking a great running mark one on one for a set shot well within her range, straight through the middle for her third goal.

#20 Sarah Sansonetti

Applied very good physical pressure, nullifying influence of her opponent with her one on one play. Read the play well and was able to cherry pick passes. Was both good at ground level and aerially, producing some good linkup play with the likes of Newton and McKenzie. Fumbled a mark late in the game but recovered well, also producing a great clearing kick from a 50m penalty that finished in a goal to Metro.

EASTERN ALLIES VS. CENTRAL ALLIES

Eastern Allies:

By: Taylah Melki

#10 Abby Favell

Clean hands in and around the contest to feed the ball out of congestion and to teammates streaming past. She used her long booming kick to move the ball down the field and push hard forward. Favell worked tirelessly to win the ball and showcased her vision to flick the ball out to teammates in better positions across the ground. Was a real bull at the stoppages bursting through to gain possession and tackled hard.

#11 Mia King

Good intent and attack on the footy at all times. She tracked the ball well in the air and used the footy cleverly delivering well weighted passes across the field. Good burst of speed through the midfield to open up the forward 50. King displayed her strength and courage standing under the high ball and just taking the knock while also applying strong tackles across the ground. Really good kick and ability to measure her passes to hit her teammates on the chest. Stood up in the tackles time and time again and showcased her strength to still dispose of the ball with players hanging off her. Displayed good evasive skills to sidestep her opponents and work through the traffic. Consistently kept her feet in the contest and led up at the footy creating space across the ground.

#14 Jessica Whelan

Hot start to the game finding plenty of the ball early on. Good hands at ground level to pick the ball up off the deck and then follow up her efforts with a lead in the forward 50. Proved that she was not afraid to take the game on laying a big crunching tackle and winning a dropping the ball call. Good read of the flight of the ball to take a running intercept grab and propel the ball forward.

#17 Lillian Doyle

Slotted the first goal of the game on a tricky angle. She presented well up at the footy and showcased her strength to take a big mark under pressure. Doyle was composed under pressure and made the most of her opportunities in front of goal.

#15 Emily Pease

Really took the game on in the last quarter bursting through the middle and chasing her opponents to force turnovers. Went in hard at the contests and showcased her clean set of hands to work the ball out of the congestion time and time again.

#20 Brenna Tarrant

Won plenty of the footy and showcased her footy smarts to read the play. Worked hard throughout the match and applied good physical pressure to try ad regain possession for the Eastern Allies. Presented well up at the footy and showcased her strength to take the mark on her chest. Showcased a good urgency to move the ball on and create attacking pressure in the forward half.

#21 Olivia O’Donnell

Good read out the middle to get the ball cleanly out of the ruck contest and punch the ball forward. She covered the ground well and provided a spark up forward for the Allies. Good hands in close to dish off handballs to teammates and think her way through traffic.

#22 Hannah Stewart

Really good strong mark above her head stretching the mitts out and taking it cleanly in the opening term. Used her body to position well against her opponent and hold her ground. She was unfazed by the physical contest and rose to the occasion multiple times.

#25 Tarni Evans

Hot start to the second half bursting out of the blocks and showcasing her goal sense to kick her first major for the game. Applied good attacking pressure streaming inside forward 50 and using the space to her advantage to go for goal only for the ball to be cut off at the line.

#27 Emily Hurley

The defender tried hard throughout the game to nullify the influence of her opponent. Took a big intercept mark in the second term to try and repel the attacking forays of Central Allies. She had her work cut out for her with the ball entering with great speed and at high volumes but she held her own on a couple of occasions.

#30 Jordyn Jolliffe

She kicked a goal on the siren to keep the Eastern Allies in the game after taking a big contested mark just outside the goal square. She showcased her strong hands and ability to read the flight of the ball to drop back into the space and take the grab.

Central Allies:

By: Peter Williams

Central Allies:

#2 Madisyn Freeman

A tough player who roamed up and down the ground with the wing and provided an option, kicking well down the wing to hit-up Teah Charlton in the first term. Freeman then went forward and took a good mark inside 50 despite fierce contact coming front-on, converting the set shot. Took another great mark under duress from front on contact at half-forward, showing her strong hands above her head.

#6 Hannah Munyard

One of those players that just does not waste a disposal. Seemed like she had 20-plus touches but only recorded the eight such is her impact on the game. Whilst her first quarter was quiet, she stepped up and hit a lovely kick inside 50 to set up Tayla Hart-Aluni on the lead. She had her own chance on goal in the third term after a nice side-step but her shot went to the right. She worked into the game well in the second half, being a playmaker in the forward half, but also laying a couple of strong tackles. Her only mistake was a missed set shot which went out on the full after a good mark inside 50. Overall one of the classier users by foot in the game.

#9 Jaimi Tabb

One of Central Allies’ best throughout the game, particularly having a massive third term and finishing off stronger in the fourth. She was a tackling machine who time and time again locked the ball up and nullified contests. She began to win more of the ball as the game went on and set up attacking plays in the third term, then was rewarded with a goal making the most of a half chance in the goalsquare late in the third term for a crucial goal and one that would prove to be the match winner. In the dying last couple of minutes, Tabb laid some big tackles to lock the ball up, and when not tackling won the footy and was able to keep it locked away in her clutches so the Eastern Allies could not have an easy exit going forward.

#10 Madison Newman

A prominent player throughout the match, Newman won plenty of the ball in the back half, using her foot skills to kick it outside defensive 50 with some nice rebounding. Often able to get back and take a good mark, flying high at one stage and being able to pull down the grab, Newman showed a kick-first mentality out of the defence. She was often the one teammates found to move the ball in transition.

#13 Kiana Lee

A strong mark and hard worker, Lee took an early grab one-on-one 30m out, but just missed the set shot. She then pushed up to the wing and took a great mark there, kicking further down the ground. Lee kept presenting as a marking target going forward and worked hard with great leading patterns.

#23 Stephanie Williams

Had a couple of nice highlights throughout the game with a burst down the middle and kick inside 50 in the first term the best of them. Williams had another interesting moment at one stage at half-back, winning the footy, paddling it to herself in the air and then punching it forward along the wing after not taking possession to avoid being tackled.

#25 Teah Charlton

A dominant player throughout, but particularly the first half, Charlton was pulling down everything with some terrific marks after long leads up the ground. She did miss a couple of targets by foot with her first couple of kicks, but then used it well thereafter, laying some big tackles including a front-on tackle on the wing to win a free kick. Charlton did not hit the scoreboard as she has in the past games, but her work rate and movement in traffic was terrific, really having an impact on the game.

#26 Montana McKinnon

Presented around the ground and was a steadying influence during frantic moments. She flew high to pull down a number of strong marks, including a couple of contested grabs under pressure. Her best were one at half-forward in the second term coming in from the side, and then a huge intercept mark deep in defence late in the game when the Eastern Allies were attacking. She did well around the ground in the ruck with some nice hitouts, and was able to pump the ball forward, using it well by foot. It was her presence that was the most important thing, always looking to be involved and stepping up when her side needed her.

#27 Tayla Hart-Aluni

Had a busy first term by kicking a set shot goal after a lead, then setting up Kiana Lee for a scoring opportunity inside 50. She had another couple of chances, but could not convert on those occasions, finishing with two behinds. Hart-Aluni managed to push up the ground late in the game and ran hard off half-back to keep the ball moving. A clean player who was noticeable throughout.

QWAFL: The run home

AFTER looking at both Western Australia and South Australia’s top female competitions, we delve into Queensland’s highest grade, with the Queensland Women’s Australian Football League (QWAFL) and also take a glimpse into the first division.

QWAFL:

1 Wilston Grange (11 wins, 1 loss | 381.14% | 44 points)

After a near perfect season, Wilston Grange had a shock loss to sixth placed University of Queensland in the last round, going down by 18 points at home. Prior to that, they had answered every challenge thrown at them and still sit in pole position for the overall premiership favouritism. They face Coolangatta Tweed and Yeronga South Brisbane in the final three rounds, either side of a bye. Courtney Daniec has been the star player for the ladder leaders, named in the best seven times of a possible 10 matches, whilst booting nine goals for the season. Catherine Svarc has been equally as impressive with four goals in 10 games and named in the best six times, but the future of Queensland football has been on show with talented bottom-ager Isabel Dawes who has been named among the best in every game she has played – six matches – and continued that form at the AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships. Jacqueline Yorston (seven goals in six games) is another youngster who has stood out, while the experience of Kate Lutkins and Jamie Stanton – before her move to Victoria – has proved invaluable. The Gorillas are well placed heading into the final few rounds.

 

2 Coorparoo (8 wins, 4 losses | 181.92% | 32 points)

Heading into its third and final bye for the season, Coorparoo have locked away second spot with a superior percentage to Coolangatta Tweed. The byes have proven to come at opportune times, with the second placed side losing three of its matches leading into them. They lost two consecutive games early in the season, including one to Bond University in Round 3, have lost both games to Wilston Grange, and went down to Yeronga South Brisbane in its most recent encounter just last weekend. The team has had an even contribution of stars, with Charlotte Edmunds named in the best five times from 11 matches, while Hayley Moore (nine matches), Kayla Geddes (11) and Maili Forbes (11) have all found their way into the team bests four times. Jenae Goven has started up forward with an impressive 25 goals in 10 games, including a haul of eight goals against Bond University. Brisbane Lions’ AFL Women’s player Jessica Wuetschner has made an impact in limited appearances, booting 23 goals in six games, named in the best three times. In terms of youth, Coorparoo has top talents Jesse Tawhiao-Wardlaw and Tori Groves-Little playing important roles in the side. Both players stood out at the AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships, and in their combined nine appearances, they have booted 13 goals.

 

3 Coolangatta Tweed (6 wins, 5 losses | 123.12% | 24 points)

The Blues had an initial shaky start to the season, losing three of its first six games, but two of its three wins were by a combined 165 points, restricting their opponents to just two goals total. In a remarkable fixture, they played just one game in three rounds with byes either side of the match, and played blocks of six and seven games throughout the season. They come up against the top team Wilston Grange this weekend, as well as Coorparoo in the final round. Maddy Roberts has played just the seven games, but her talent has been evident, named in the best on six occasions, likewise Georgia Breward with five bests from five games. Lauren James has been the dominant goal kicker for the side, booting 16 goals in 11 matches and named in the best four times. Talented youngster and NSW/ACT All-Australian player Brianna McFarlane has booted nine goals in six games and been impressive up forward. Selina Goodman and Tayla Jay Daly have also booted six goals this season.

 

4 Yeronga South Brisbane (5 wins, 6 losses | 56.03% | 20 points)

Yeronga South Brisbane have a game in hand compared to Bond University and hold a narrow percentage advantage over their nearest rivals. They take them on in the penultimate round of the season, after University of Queensland next week and the ladder leaders, Wilston Grange in the final round. Emily Bliss has been the standout player for Yeronga, named in the best an impressive eight times from 10 games. Assisting Bliss are young stars, the small but talented top-age Georgia Brehmer, and bottom-age tall utility Dee Heslop. Both players have been named in their sides’ best in five of the six games they have played. They do not have a dominant goal kicker, with Courtney McDonnell (nine goals), Jade Ransfield (seven), Demi Leach (six) and Kaitlyn Cantrell (five) the leading goal kickers. Brisbane AFL Women’s player Emily Bates has also stood out from five games, booting two goals and named in the best four times.

 

5 Bond University (5 wins, 7 losses | 50.35% | 20 points)

Bond University has a bye in the final round of the season, with games against bottom-placed Maroochydore and fourth placed Yeronga South Brisbane ahead. Their five wins have come against Coolangatta Tweed (two), University of Queensland (one), Maroochydore (one) and an upset win over Coorparoo in Round 3. Kristyl Smith has been the standout player for Bond Uni so far this season, named in the team bests nine of a possible 11 times. Alexandra Evanshas also been a standout performer, named in the best six of a possible 12 matches, while Arianna ClarkeErin Sundstrom and Tamsin Perry have been consistent players as well. Teenage ruck Lauren Bella has played six games and named in the best five times, while bottom-agers Charlotte HammansEmmii-Lee Zanker CloseGeorgia Ellerand Serene Watson have stepped up in the senior side and continued their form at the national carnival. Fellow state representative Taylor Smith has also managed six games and was named in the best twice.

 

6 University of Queensland (4 wins, 7 losses | 87.82% | 16 points)

Whilst the University of Queensland has had just the four wins this season, but their game of the year came last round when they toppled the premiership favourites, Wilston Grange. It was a memorable away match which saw the sixth placed side head home with an 18-point victory. They have also beaten each of the bottom four sides once so far this season. Breanna Koenen has not missed a beat this year in her six games – named best in all of them – while also booting four goals. Megan Hunt has found her way into the best five times from nine games and also booted three goals. But with an eye to the future, Queensland Most Valuable Player (MVP) in the recent AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships, and All-Australian squad member, Natalie Grider has been a promising up-and-coming talent, playing eight games, booting four goals and has been named in the best five times. Dakota Davidson is the only goal kicker in double figures with 10 majors, while Sabrina Frederick-Traub has booted seven goals in just three games when not playing for Brisbane in the Winter Series. Gabby Collingwood and Kate McCarthy are other Brisbane AFL Women’s Players who have played limited games with the club.

 

7 Maroochydore (1 win, 10 losses | 36.42% | 4 points)

The bottom-placed Maroochydore started the season with a bang, defeating University of Queensland by 12 points. In that match they booted 10 goals and showed what they are capable of, but have just managed the maximum of three goals a game since. They pushed both Yeronga South Brisbane and Bond University all the way in rounds six and seven, and have restricted their opposition to less than 10 goals in all but three matches showing a good defensive effort. The Roos have also had the benefit of some stability at the top end, with Rachel Crack (10 games), Tayla Gesch (11), Tiffany Dale (11) and Kate Surman (10) all named in the best a total of 27 of a possible 43 times between them. Up forward, Isabella Freeman leads the goal kicking with eight majors, courtesy of a bag of five in the opening round win over University of Queensland. Georgia Doherty has booted seven goals in nine matches, while Marybeth Banks has five in nine. The Roos face Bond University and University of Queensland either side of Coorparoo in the final three rounds, and will be hoping to finish the season off on a high note.

 

QWFA Division 1:

In the 11-team, division one grade, Coorparoo, Aspley Hornets and Moreton Bay lead all comers, with massive percentages to be the clear flag favourites in a three-team race. Broadbeach is fourth with seven wins and a draw from 12 matches, while Burleigh and Kedron are ready to pounce six points behind. Wilston Grange and University of Queensland trail with five wins from 12 matches, while Coolangatta Tweed and Yeronga South Brisbane have two wins apiece ahead of the winless Maroochydore.

In the leading goal kicker stakes, Aspley Hornets’ Chloe Macdonald looks to be a class above the grade with 37 majors in 13 matches, including bags of nine, seven and six. Meg Pullinger is a clear second with the Coorparoo product averaging three goals a game from her eight matches, having booted 24 majors for the season. Aspley Hornets have two more goal kickers in the top five, with Sarah Madden (19) and Shaye Easton (15) either side of Moreton Bay’s Cassandra Chamings with 17. Wilston Grange’s Tamika Hansen (14), Kedron’s Lisiti Asimcdonald (12), Broadbeach’s Talena Irvine (11), Burleigh’s Wendy Bristow (eight), Yeronga South Brisbane’s Erin Sargeant (seven), University of Queensland’s Katherine Heliotis (seven) and Coolangatta Tweed’s Macey-Leigh Gore (seven) as their respective club’s leading goal kickers, while Abbey Main and Jessica Champion are the two multiple goal kickers for Maroochydore.

Sargeant and Moreton Bay’s Amy Higgins are the two leading players so far this season, named in the best 10 times from 12 games, while University of Queensland’s Jessica Middleton has had a perfect start to the season with nine bests from nine games. Teammate, Philomena Stephen, Yeronga South Brisbane’s Charmaine Hass and Coorparoo’s Amy Duxfield have also made their way into their respective team’s best. Looking at the top youth in the grade, Queensland bottom-ager Lily Postlethwaite has been named in the best five times in seven matches, booting eight goals in the process for Moreton Bay.

Queensland backs up history-making win with victory over Eastern Allies

QUEENSLAND finished their strong Championships off with a hard-fought 17-point win over the Eastern Allies.

It was an even start to the game as the sides went goal for goal in a contested arm-wrestle. Eastern Allies’ Alexia Hamilton broke the deadlock with her first goal from a set shot, but Queensland started to wrestle back momentum as Jesse Tawhiao-Wardlaw struck with a six-pointer coming off a strong lead. Hamilton then took a big mark deep inside forward as the clock ran down and duly converted to have the Allies up by five points at quarter time, with her efficiency helping her to stand out.

The arm-wrestle continued early in the second term with the ball swinging from arc to arc, but Queensland made breakthroughs with goals from Georgia Eller and Tawhiao-Wardlaw giving them the lead. Midfield gun, Lily Postlethwaite continued her good championship form, while Zimmorlei Farquharson came into the game with some good touches at half-forward as Queensland took an eight-point buffer into the main break. For the Eastern Allies, Alyce Parker did her best to quell Queensland’s threat going forward as she worked hard to plug gaps in defensive 50, while Netty Garlo tried hard in the midfield.

With the lead within a straight kick at goal away, Eastern fought tooth and nail to snatch it from the home side. Parker was inspirational from the midfield, but was unfortunately one of four Allies players to miss chances during the quarter as they remained goalless. In the final five minutes of the term, Taylor Smith converted a set shot inside 50 up the other end to really hurt the visitors after a quarter where they were well on top. Smith’s goal saw Queensland 11 points to the good at the final break, and Eastern had it all to do.

With the pressure on, Queensland wrestled back the momentum in the final term and the only goal came from Charlotte Hammans to seal the win for the home side. Parker was near best-on, collecting the ball just about everywhere for Eastern Allies with stoppage dominance and strong overhead marking. Hamilton was another to impact the contest with her two first quarter goals, while Garlow was also solid. For the Maroons, Postlethwaite could well have picked up her third consecutive best-afield honour, while Ellie Hampson was damaging with her agility off half-back and Farquharson stood up again in the forward line.

Final scores:

QUEENSLAND: 1.2 | 3.4 | 4.5 | 5.5 (35)
EASTERN ALLIES: 2.1 | 2.2 | 2.6 | 2.6 (18)

GOALS:

QUEENSLAND: Jesse Tawhiao-Wardlaw 2, Charlotte Hammans, Georgia Eller, Taylor Smith.
EASTERN ALLIES: Alexia Hamilton 2.

ADC BEST:

QUEENSLAND: Lily Postlethwaite, Ellie Hampson, Serene Watson, Chloe Gregory, Jade Ellenger, Zimmorlei Farquharson
EASTERN ALLIES: Alyce Parker, Netty Garlo, Lauren Stevenson, Alexia Hamilton, Mia King, Alice Mitchell

AFLW U18 Championships previews: Queensland

DESPITE losing its first two matches in the AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships, Queensland has a promising list of players that are likely to perform well in the carnival. We took a look at the side’s key players and its upcoming fixture ahead of round two of the National Championships on the Gold Coast.

Key players:

Dee Heslop

Heslop was named best-on-ground in both Queensland’s matches against Western Australia in round one of the Championships. At just 16 years of age, she is already showing the maturity of a senior player with some solid football across the first two games. Heslop is a member of the Gold Coast Suns Academy and plays for the Gold Coast Suns in the AFLW Winter Series, which gives her some key experience ahead of the National Championships.

Lauren Bella

Lauren Bella is the vice-captain of the Queensland side and is one of the tallest players in the Championships. She is a Bond University student who gave up a promising netball career to devote her time to football. Bella also plays for the Gold Coast Suns in the AFLW Winter Series and Bond in the QWAFL. She is a part of the Gold Coast Suns Academy and will bring that experience to the Under 18 Championships. Originally from Mackay, Bella has moved to Bond to pursue her football career further and it has paid dividends, as she was the side’s MVP last year and earned a spot in the All Australian team.

Lily Postlethwaite

Postlethwaite is a member of the AFLW Academy and was named second best in Queensland’s first game against Western Australia. She was an impressive performer for Queensland in last year’s championships, and was named in the Brisbane Lions Academy Youth squad. She has been shining in the game since she was as young as 15, as she was named in the All Australian side at that age. Postlethwaite is an exciting midfielder who has also represented her state at the School Sport Australia National AFL Championships.

Tori Groves-Little

Like Postlethwaite, Tori Grove-Little is also a member of the AFLW Academy. The 17 year-old hails from Coorparoo and just three years ago, she was named as the joint MVP and All Australian at the 2015 Under 15 National Schoolgirls Championships. Groves-Little plays for the Gold Coast Suns in the AFLW Winter Series, and is also a member of their Academy, meaning that she gets to develop her football at two different football academies. This will prove invaluable as she looks to help her side record a win in the tournament.

Kitara Farrar

Kitara Farrar is a South Cairns local who has found herself in the AFLW Academy on the back of some stellar form for her local side. Farrar took out the South Cairns Best and Fairest, Rising Star and best-on-ground in her side’s grand final win. She has had a good start to this year’s Championships, as she was named amongst the best in Queensland’s narrow three-point loss against Western Australia.

Zimmorlei Farquharson

Farquharson is the youngest player in the side, but this has not seemed to faze the 16 year-old, who has got her Nationals campaign to a good start. She was named amongst the best in both of Queensland’s first-round matches against Western Australia and comes into the competition with an impressive array of accolades next to her name. In 2017, she was awarded the MVP and Player of the Series accolades for her efforts in U16 Queensland Academy Championships. In the previous year, she was named as the co-captain of the Queensland All Nations team at the AFL National Diversity Championships and was selected for the Australian Medleys team.

 

Fixture:

Game 1: vs. Victoria Country

Monday July 9 at Metricon Stadium

An intriguing battle will be set up when 2017 All Australian, Lauren Bella goes up against AFLW Academy member, Rene Caris. Bella is four centimetres taller than Caris and has a netball background that could hold her in good stead in this match. It will be exciting to see the likes of Lily Postlethwaite go head-to-head against Country stars such as Tyla Hanks, Nina Morrison and Olivia Purcell, who have been tearing it up at the TAC Cup Girls level.

Game 2: vs. Victoria Metro

Wednesday July 11 at Broadbeach

Plenty of young talent will be on display here as Zimmorlei Farquharson and Dee Heslop will get to showcase their skills against some of Victoria’s finest female footballers. Young guns, Gabby Newton and Isabella Grant have already showed plenty of promise in the big ‘V’ but could be challenged by the speed and excitement that the Queensland duo can demonstrate.

Game 3: vs. Eastern Allies

Friday July 13 at Bond University  

The Queensland side will come up against two states full of female talent in this match but some players will feel right at home. Georgia Eller, Charlotte Hammans, Serene Watson, Emmii-Lee Zanker-Close, Taylor Smith and Lauren Bella all play for Bond and are likely to know the ground well. Hammans has already scored a goal in each of her outings for Queensland so far in the tournament and will be keen to get some more majors on the board. However, Eastern Allies defender, Eloise Ashley-Cooper will be hard to get past on the day, thanks to her TAC Cup Girls and state representative experience.