Tag: tess flintoff

Number Crunching: NAB League Girls – Falcons swoop to lead possession stakes

THE Geelong Falcons have dominated the NAB League throughout an unbeaten run extending over a year, and a raft of ball-winners have ensured that the first six rounds of this season have been no different. This edition of Number Crunching looks at which players are dominating each key statistic, while touching on the areas where teams have been most effective.

As the competition benchmark, reigning premiers Geelong pride themselves on a stingy defence, robust midfield and dynamic forward line. To this point, statistics show that the engine room has been most productive, with the Falcons able to claim four of the top five leading possession winners as their own.

Midfield bull Luka Lesosky-Hay leads all-comers with a whopping 132 disposals, but is beaten out by her skipper Lucy McEvoy‘s average of 22.4. Dynamic middle-ager Darcy Moloney ties with Paige Sheppard on 111, with Eastern bottom-ager Tess Flintoff (116) remarkably the only non-Falcon to make the top five. It is no surprise then that the ladder-leaders are the only side to average over 200 disposals (229), with Oakleigh’s average of 199 the next best.

The Falcons’ dominance is also reflected on the scoreboard with a competition-high team total of 330 points, which combined with their competition-low of just 70 conceded, sees their percentage sit at a pretty 471.4 per cent. Versatile forward Mia Skinner heads the attacking front with a league-high 15 goals – including two bags of four – with partner-in-crime Renee Tierney claiming nine to sit fourth.

Northern, the only other undefeated team to this point, is Geelong’s closest competitor in both departments with 307 points scored and 116 conceded, but hosts a more even spread of goals. While the versatile forward and midfielder Britney Gutknecht boasts seven majors after booting four in Round 1, Nell Morris-Dalton (six), Ellie McKenzie and Alyssa Bannan (both five) have also all managed at least five goals as part of Northern’s multi-pronged attacking force. While the aforementioned stars have only managed to claim hauls of four at best, Calder’s Georgie Prespakis‘ bag of seven goals against Greater Western Victoria (GWV) remains a season-high, with Bendigo’s Elizabeth Snell the only player to kick five and no player able to find the scoreboard in every game.

Despite Geelong and Northern’s heavy scoreboard dominance, sixth-placed Oakleigh has proven to be one of the more efficient sides inside-50. While the Chargers’ average of 26 inside 50s is good enough for just fourth-best in the competition, they score with 56 per cent of those entries to register 1.7 points from each. Northern is the only side to better that 1.7 average (1.8), with Geelong losing out due to its pure volume of entries.

All three sides have impressive inside 50 to rebound 50 ratios, with Geelong’s (35/14) showcasing its dominance of field position. Having most of the possession bodes well for not having to come out of defensive 50 very often, but Eastern (31/16) and Oakleigh’s (26/15) ratios are also impressive for sides outside of the top four with lesser possession counts.

Much of Eastern’s linkage towards forward 50 entries comes through bottom-aged midfielder, Flintoff, who leads the competition in both marks (36) and kicks (93). As one of the league’s more effective runners, Flintoff incredibly reels in almost a whole fifth of her side’s league-leading average of 33 marks each match.

On the topic of hard workers, Bendigo’s Brooke Hards is the clear leader in tackles with a total of 49 seeing her average 8.2 per game. Sandringham’s Alice Burke and Dandenong’s Grace Hodder are next-best with 40 at eight per game, but only the Dragons feature in the top four pressure sides. Geelong and Northern, two of the most dominant possession sides, also tackle at the greatest volume to win the ball back with a total of 68 and 64 respectively.

With one side featuring heavily across almost every stat line, there is hardly any secret as to why they continue to go from strength to strength. The best of the best have not just led the competition thus far, but they have been far and away the competition stand-outs – as the stats would suggest.

Team of the Week: NAB League Girls – Round 6

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

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

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

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

Draft Central Rising Star: NAB League Girls – Round 6

A MATCH-WINNING goal and best on ground performance from Tess Flintoff has earned the Eastern Ranges midfielder our Rising Star of the Week for Round 6. Flintoff was instrumental in Eastern’s narrow four-point win over Calder Cannons, picking up 22 disposals – 21 kicks – as well as taking nine marks, laying four tackles and recording three inside 50s. Her biggest moment came with a minute to play as Tayah Kelly found Flintoff inside 50 with a short kick. With her 22nd disposal, Flintoff split the middle from a tight angle to win the game for Eastern and ensure their finals hopes remain well and truly alive.

Flintoff has been on of the more consistent players this season, averaging 19.3 disposals, 6.0 marks, 2.7 tackles, 4.7 inside 50s and 2.5 rebounds from her six games. Remarkably, Flintoff only turned 16 last month and still has another two years in the NAB League system, showing plenty of promise for the future. The Eastern Ranges ball winner becomes the fourth metropolitan player to earn the weekly nomination.

Rising Star of the Week:

Round 1 – Georgie Prespakis (Calder Cannons)
Round 2 – Elisabeth Georgostathis (Western Jets)
Round 3 – Gabby Newton (Northern Knights)
Round 4 – Luka Lesosky-Hay (Geelong Falcons)
Round 5 – Elizabeth Snell (Bendigo Pioneers)
Round 6 – TESS FLINTOFF (EASTERN RANGES)

Weekend wash-up: NAB League Girls – Round 6

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

 

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

By: Peter Williams

GOALS:

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

BEST:

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

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

 

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

By: Peter Williams

GOALS:

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

BEST:

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

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

 

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

By: Peter Williams

GOALS:

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

BEST:

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

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

 

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

By: Sophie Taylor

GOALS

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

BEST

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

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

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

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

 

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

By: Peter Williams

GOALS:

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

BEST:

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

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

 

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

By: Taylah Melki

GOALS:

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

BEST:

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

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

NAB League Girls Round 6 preview: The race for finals spots heats up

A BUMPER weekend of NAB League girls football will have onlookers having to choose which games to keep an eye on, with fixtures spread across the state in the 12:45pm timeslot on both Saturday and Sunday. In arguably the game of the round, Bendigo hosts Dandenong for an outcome crucial to their finals aspirations, while some sides will suffer from forced changes on the back of AFL Academy games.

GIPPSLAND POWER v. NORTHERN KNIGHTS

Round 6 – 13/04/2019
12:45pm
Garfield Football Ground

A late fixture change sees Northern Knights travel to Garfield to meet Gippsland Power and open Round 6. After a minor hiccup in the form of a draw against Oakleigh in Round 2, the Knights have hit form once again and rolled on to three-consecutive wins. The travelling side’s depth will be tested though as four of their star players come out of the side due to Academy commitments, but the likes of Jess Fitzgerald and Abigail Bennett should thrive of an extended run in the midfield and deliver well to perennial forward target Nell Morris-Dalton. It has been a much different season for Gippsland, still searching for its first win in season 2019 and coming off a 62-point thumping at the hands of Bendigo. Still, developing talents in the form of Nikia Webber and Chandra Abrahams amongst others continue to show promise in a tough year and should have a good opportunity to shine this week.

OAKLEIGH CHARGERS v. MURRAY BUSHRANGERS

Round 6 – 13/04/2019
12:45pm
Warrawee Park – Oakleigh

Both the Oakleigh Chargers and Murray Bushrangers will be hoping to bounce back from Round 5 losses when they do battle on the metro side’s home turf. After toppling a dangerous Calder side, Oakleigh were upset last week as Sandringham notched its first win for the year, while Murray has suffered consecutive defeats after a big wins over Western and Gippsland in Rounds 2 and 3. With wins on the board for both sides, this will be a tough ask for Oakleigh as it looks to charge back into a top four spot – and can do so if other results go its way. Murray hang on the other side of that chasing pack, and will look to the likes of Millie Brown and Abby Favell to regain their form, while Sophia McCarthy is set to back up her three-goal Round 5 haul. For Oakleigh, Mimi Hill was electric last week, and will be a key player again with Gemma Lagioia one who can build on her Round 5 performance and Alana Porter another in good form. While it will prove a test for the home side, the Charger will be confident of bouncing back onto the winners list here.

BENDIGO PIONEERS v. DANDENONG STINGRAYS

Round 6 – 14/04/2019
12:45pm
Epsom Huntly Reserve – Bendigo

Bendigo Pioneers faces an uphill battle in its push for a finals berth, faced with a Dandenong Stingrays side also poised on 12 premiership points. The Stingrays went down narrowly to the dominant Geelong Falcons last time out, but certainly showed their credentials as a genuine premiership contender with an eye-catching first half. The Pioneers are also staking their claim with three wins from their last four outings, headlined by a standout 62-point drubbing of Gippsland last week. With the sides poised evenly and the race for finals spots heating up, this is shaping to be the game of the round. Brooke Vernon and Zoe Hill have been consistent features for Dandenong thus far, and will have to stand up with Academy prospects Isabella Shannon, Molly McDonald and Tyanna Smith all out this week. The Pioneers managed to keep a relatively steady lineup, with Elizabeth Snell coming off a five-goal haul and Brooke Hards their key ball winner, while Kate Douglass has been immense down back. It will be a good opportunity for Bendigo to prove themselves further, with the home ground advantage in tow.

EASTERN RANGES v. CALDER CANNONS

Round 6 – 14/04/2019
12:45pm
Bayswater Football Ground

Another exciting match-up with finals ramifications is set to take place on Sunday, with Eastern Ranges playing host to Calder Cannons in Bayswater. Both sides experienced losses over the last couple of weeks, with Calder falling to Oakleigh in Round 4 and Eastern going down to Northern last week. With Calder currently holding the edge over their weekend opponents on four wins as opposed to three, this will prove to be a classic ‘eight-pointer’ in the race for a top four spot. Tarni Brown remains in a weakened Ranges side on the back of Academy selections, with Tess Flintoff another who has recently benefitted from the ruckwork of Serena Gibbs. While Calder faces a similar situation with the loss of Georgia Patrikios, Georgie Prespakis remains alongside Alana Barba in a tight-knit midfield. With plenty on the line, expect these sides to throw everything but the kitchen sink at getting a result here, with either team capable of kicking big scores.

GREATER WESTERN VICTORIA REBELS v. SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS

Round 6 – 14/04/2019
12:45pm
Mars Stadium – Ballarat

A second win is up for grabs for both Greater Western Victoria and Sandringham Dragons as they do battle in Ballarat on Sunday. The Rebels have not quite been able to recapture the form that earned them a Round 1 win over Bendigo, since falling in every game coming into this clash on the back of an upset loss to Western. Conversely, the Dragons look to finally be playing themselves into some form after knocking off Oakleigh last week for their first win of the season. Rebels midfield ace Ella Wood will be important in the engine room alongside Chloe Leonard, with Sophie Molan out of the side, while Sandringham will look to Winnie Laing to shoulder most of the midfield load as Alice Burke goes out. With the form of either side differing at this point of the season despite their identical record, the Dragons will be confident of making it two-straight in a tight tussle.

WESTERN JETS v. GEELONG FALCONS

Round 6 – 14/04/2019
12:45pm
Downer Oval – Williamstown

In the round’s last listed fixture, Western Jets faces a tall order in building on last week’s winning effort, as a meeting with the undefeated reigning premiers awaits. The Falcons found themselves behind for the first time in a long time last week against the Stingrays, but rallied in the second half to keep their perfect record in tact. Western will be hoping for more of the same in that respect, as the Jets looked the best they have all year in Round 5 as it overcame GWV for win number one. They will have to do so without the prolific Isabella Grant, leaving a heap of heavy lifting for fellow midfielder Elisabeth Georgostathis. In a testament to their depth, the Falcons will only be without skipper Lucy McEvoy due to Academy duties, with the likes of Luka Lesosky-Hay, Paige Sheppard, and Darcy Moloney able to fill the void in midfield. With the Falcons’ forward line clicking into gear, their defence sturdy as ever, and everything in between up to scratch, it is always hard to look past the undefeated unit in any game.

NAB League Girls Round 5 wash-up: Western claims first win as Geelong and Northern remain undefeated

WITH the end of the season quickly approaching Round 5 brought plenty of action with both Geelong Falcons and Northern Knights remaining undefeated. The Bendigo Pioneers also stamped their authority on the competition with a 62-point win to keep them in the hunt for a finals spot.

Western Jets 6.7 (43) defeated Greater Western Victoria Rebels 3.3 (21)
By: Sophie Taylor

WESTERN JETS 1.1 | 2.2 | 3.3 | 6.7 (43)
GWV REBELS 1.1 | 3.1 | 3.1 | 3.3 (21)

GOALS:
Western:
L. Wright 3, J. Goodman, P.Ozols, C. Sargent
GWV: S. Nolte, C. Leonard, E. Friend

BEST:
Western:
I. Grant, L. Wright, I. Pritchard, E. Georgostathis, C. Sargent, T. Kolevski
GWV: S. Molan, I. Robson, K. Harris, L. Condon, M. Ciavarella, L. Sykes

It was a tight contest between eleventh and twelfth on the ladder as the Western Jets hosted Greater Wester Victoria (GWV) Rebels on Sunday at Williamstown. It was a tough slog all round from the start but it was the Jets’ composure in the final quarter that ultimately got them their first win for the season, with a three goal to nil final term gifting them a well deserved 22 point win. Both sides started well defensively, with the likes of Nyakoat Dojiok (GWV), who returned to the side this week, and Isabelle Pritchard (Western) holding ground off half back, not allowing the ball to enter their defensive 50. Even in the early stages of the match it looked like the Jets had the upper hand, putting pressure on every stoppage and making it hard for the Rebels to clear the ball out of the pack. Some missed opportunities early saw the sides head into the first change even on 1.1 (7) apiece, proving the intensity of both sides’ backlines.

The Rebels showed some great footy smarts at ground level scooping up the footy, but were unable to hold onto it with the constant pressure applied by the Jets. Some clean kicking through the guts saw some great play but more missed opportunities from both sides, before the Rebels took a five point lead into half time with a beautiful kick after the siren. The Rebels’ good fortune ended there, unable to convert in front of goal for the second half credit to Western’s ability to trap the footy in their forward 50, with the likes of Pritchard and Isabella Grant continuously feeding the ball back. The Rebels showed great signs early, but could not compete with the intensity and pressure in their forward. Pritchard was not only a constant moving the ball back forward, but also held her ground well on GWV’s Isabella Simmons, getting the upper hand on a number of occasions and preventing her from having a big influence on the match.

Repeated forward 50 entries proved key for scoring opportunities, a tactic that clearly worked for the Jets against GWV’s punishing defensive structure. On return Rebels’ half back, Dojiok limped off midway through third term, diminishing the Rebels’ backline which had held strong for most of the match. Though Dojiok did not take the field to start the final quarter she did return midway through at full forward, however the side missed her influence defensively after a stellar first half. Despite a falcon in the final quarter, the likes of Elisabeth Georgostathis stood up to make the match count, being a constant asset through the midfield and feeding into the forward line. The Jets cemented their first win of season with a strong final quarter, kicking 3.4 (22) to 0.2 (2) to take home their first win for the season.

Calder Cannons 9.7 (61) defeated Murray Bushrangers 5. 4 (34)
By: Taylah Melki

Calder Cannons 3.1 | 4.1 | 7.4 |9.7 (61)
Murray Bushrangers 0.0 | 2.1 | 3.2 | 5.4 (34)

GOALS:
Calder: A. Barba 2, G. Prespakis 2, G. Elarmaly, M. Muller, A. Magri, T. Gillard, G. Patrikios
Murray: S. McCarthy 3, M. Quade, M. Jones

BEST:
Calder: A. Barba, G. Patrikios, G. Prespakis, Z. Hardiman, K. Delia, Z. Friswell
Murray: M. Quade, S. McCarthy, A. Smith, M. Jones, M. Brown, L. Sharp

The Calder Cannons impressed with a 27-point win against the Murray Bushrangers. The Cannons looked hot from the get go nailing three goals in the opening term and they did not look back applying plenty of attacking pressure throughout the game. Their slick ball movement and ability to hit a target while under pressure was impressive while they were able to control the flow of the game with ease. Murray had some good passages of play credit to some cleve ball movement but it was simply not enough to compete with Calder who dominated from start to finish. The Cannons were led by the likes of Georgie Prespakis and Georgia Patrikios who starred through the midfield and slotted a combined three goals. Their clean hands and ability to win one on ones allowed the Cannons to push hard throughout the game. Alana Barba was solid up forward for the Cannons finishing the afternoon with two majors and collecting her fair share of touches. For the Murray Bushrangers, Sophia McCarthy impressed with her attacking flair up forward nailing three goals to keep the Bushies in it. Meanwhile Millie Brown had some moments of magic aided by teammate Abbey Favell who used her speed, good vision and strong kick to propel her side forward. Mindy Quade also chipped in with her one goal and timely touches around the ground for Murray.

Bendigo Pioneers 8.15 (63) defeated Gippsland Power 0.1 (1)
By: Peter Williams

BENDIGO PIONEERS 1.2 | 2.13 | 5.14 | 8.15 (63)
GIPPSLAND POWER 0.0 | 0.0 | 0.0 | 0.1 (1)

GOALS:
Bendigo: E. Snell 5, H. Stewart, G. Barton, E. Bell
Gippsland: Nil.

BEST:
Bendigo:
H. Stewart, E. Snell, B. Hards, J. Jolliffe, A. Strahan, M. Tupper
Gippsland: M. Van Berkel, M. Fitzsimon, C. Abrahams , C. Robinson, S. Beaton, M. Shaw

Bendigo Pioneers made it back-to-back wins and their third victory for the season, with an impressive 62-point win over Gippsland Power at Epsom Huntly Reserve on Sunday. In what was arguably their best performance in their short history, the Pioneers controlled the game from start to finish, finally adding the scoreboard pressure in the second half that they had trouble with in the first thanks to blustery conditions. Kicking against the wind in the first term, the Pioneers could only manage the one goal, before piling on 11 behinds for one major in the second term as they headed into the break with a 25-point lead and Elizabeth Snell with both goals. Snell would finish with five for the game, as the Pioneers ran out 8.15 (63) to 0.1 (1) winners, with Gippsland scoring a late behind to ensure they got on the board, while the Pioneers manoeuvred through the strong breeze in the second half, booting 6.2. Snell was the star up forward with her five goals from 14 disposals, five marks, four inside 50s and four tackles, while the midfield combination of Brooke Hards, Annabel Strahan and Hannah Stewart was dominant across the board. For Gippsland, Matilda Van Berkel tried hard in defence with 16 disposals and two rebounds while assisting in the ruck with 13 hitouts, while Chandra Abrahams laid eight tackles from 12 disposals, always in amongst it with Megan Fitzsimon, Cailin Robinson and Maddison Shaw.

Sandringham Dragons 5.7 (37) defeated Oakleigh Chargers 5.1 (31)
By: Michael Alvaro

SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS 1.5 | 4.7 | 4.7 | 5.7 (37)
OAKLEIGH CHARGERS 1.1 | 2.1 | 4.1 | 5.1 (31)

GOALS:
Sandringham: L. Enders, P. Staltari, C. Cody, E. Angelopoulos, C. Saultry
Oakleigh: A. Porter 2, E. James, B. Fox, S. Morley

BEST:
Sandringham: A. Burke, B. Arnold, A. Moloney, W. Laing, S. Hartwig, J. Stolz
Oakleigh: T. Morton, G. Lagioia, J. Lin, A. Porter, G. Larkey, N. Xenos

A first half blitz helped Sandringham Dragons get over the line for its first win of season 2019, defeating Oakleigh Chargers by a sole goal at Trevor Barker Beach Oval. The Dragons were wasteful out of the blocks, holding a four-point lead at the first break on the back of 1.5, but they made good on their dictation of general play with a more sure 3.2 in the second term to set up the win. While there were a few nervous moments in the final stanza after a goalless third quarter, the Dragons managed to hang on for an unlikely win – sealed late by a Chloe Saultry goal after Oakleigh’s Sarah Morley had levelled the scores. Alice Burke again led the way for Sandringham in the engine room, laying nine tackles and winning a heap of contested ball in a selfless display. Winnie Laing narrowly beat her out in the ball-winning stakes with 16, while middle-ager Sarah Hartwig was a force in the air down back, reeling in five marks – many of which were interceptions. Oakleigh’s Mimi Hill was arguably the best player on the ground, collecting 26 damaging possessions and buzzing around the stoppages well to push her side forward. Fellow Chargers Alana Porter and Amelia Peck also contributed nicely, with the former booting two impressive goals in the low-scoring affair. Suffering two losses in the last three weeks, Oakleigh will hope to bounce back against Murray at home next week, while Sandringham travels to Ballarat to take on GWV, hoping to start a winning run.

Northern Knights 7.8 (50) defeated Eastern Ranges 4.2 (26)
By: Michael Alvaro

NORTHERN KNIGHTS 0.3 | 4.3 | 5.3 | 7.8 (50)
EASTERN RANGES 1.1 | 2.2 | 4.2 | 4.2 (26)

GOALS:
Northern: N. Morris-Dalton 2, E. McKenzie 2, M. Papachristos, B. Gutknecht, M. Appleby
Eastern: S. Collard 2, I. Khoury

BEST:
Northern: B. Gutknecht, G. Newton, J. Fitzgerald, A. Bennett, N. Morris-Dalton, E. McKenzie
Eastern: N/A

Northern Knights charged home to a 24-point win against Eastern Ranges on Sunday to maintain its unbeaten season thus far. The home side started shakily as Eastern took advantage of a strong wind to lead by a goal early on, but the 2018 grand finalists hit back well in the second term to snatch a 13-point half time buffer. The Ranges looked to be making a game of it as they bridged the gap to seven points at the final break, but the Knights clicked into gear as they so often do to see out the game, keeping their opponents scoreless while pouring on 2.5 to almost double Eastern’s final score. Star Knights trio Gabby Newton, Britney Gutknecht, and Ellie McKenzie all lifted late on to seal the game and threatened throughout, with Nell Morris-Dalton again finding the big sticks to join McKenzie as Northern’s multiple goal kickers. The signs were promising for Eastern, with potential Collingwood father-daughter Tarni Brown living up to her pedigree, winning a good amount of ball alongside Tess Flintoff, with Serena Gibbs a handy tall presence in the ruck. The game was somewhat soured by injuries to players on both sides, with Marina Taverna suffering a nasty dislocated finger and Tayah Kelly very proppy in the second half, while Northern’s Mia Papachristos was helped off the field with a crook right leg. With changes imminent, Eastern hosts Calder next week in search of a win to sneak back into the top four, while Northern returns to Preston City Oval to face Gippsland.

Dandenong Stingrays 4.7 (31) defeated by Geelong Falcons 7.6 (48)
By: Taylah Melki

DANDENONG STINGRAYS 3.4 |3.5| 3.6 |4.7 (31)
GEELONG FALCONS 0.0 | 2.0 | 4.4 | 7.6 (48)

GOALS
Stingrays: G. Howes 2, H. Thomas, A. Liddle
Falcons: P. Schaap 3, P. Sheppard, R. Tierney, D. Moloney, M. Skinner

BEST
Stingrays: C. Bell, B. Vernon, G. Howes, G. Grimmer, M. McDonald, J. Radford
Falcons: L. McEvoy, R. Tierney, P. Sheppard, A. Chapman, E. Vella, P. Schaap

The Geelong Falcons continued their unbeaten stretch claiming a 17-point win against the Dandenong Stingrays at Robinson Reserve, Doveton. The Falcons worked their way back into the game after a quiet start, ramming it home in the last quarter nailing three goals. Dandenong were up and about early on but credit to the pressure of the Falcons the Stingrays were unable to maintain their composure and pressure falling away in the second half. Poppy Schapp led the way for the Falcons in attack slotting three goals to get her side back in the contest while Renee Tierney was sensational across the ground. Tierney chipped in with a goal and was helped out by teammate Lucy McEvoy who impressed through the middle of the ground with her clean hands, impeccable vision and good decision making. Abbey Chapman was also important for the Falcons with Paige Sheppard making her presence felt on the ground with her one goal and laying some strong tackles. For the Stingrays Georgia Howes was solid and proved to be a real target in the forward 50, slotting two goals for her side. Georgia Grimmer and Tyanna Smith led the way for Dandenong with their slick hands and work around the contest.

NAB League Girls preview: Round 5

THE halfway point of the inaugural NAB League Girls is up this weekend, with Round 5 shaping up to have a host of interesting matchups. The Calder Cannons will be looking to maintain their high position on the ladder with another win this week, while two other matches will include the other four sides in the top five of the competition.

CALDER CANNONS v. MURRAY BUSHRANGERS

Round 5 – 6/4/19
12pm
Rams Arena, Craigieburn

The Calder Cannons will have the home advantage when they take on the Murray Bushrangers to open Round 5, and will come in needing a burst of confidence after a 10 point loss to the Oakleigh Chargers last week disrupted their fantastic start to the season. The third placed Cannons will take on Murray in eighth, sitting on two and two, with a disappointing loss to the Bendigo Pioneers last round likely to spark them into action this week. This week’s Murray lineup has seen a lot of changes, but Round 4 best on, Millie Brown was not one of them after a phenomenal performance last week saw her pick up 27 touches, six rebound 50s and two marks. Abby Favell also put on a great effort last round with 22 disposals, five marks and eight tackles, so will want to replicate her fine season form again this week to propel Murray to a better result than last week. Calder bottom-ager, Georgie Prespakis is back in the side this week after missing Round 4, so the Cannons will be hoping for another influential performance from her with Krstel Petrevski missing from this week’s lineup. To beat the Cannons the Bushrangers will have to boost their opportunities in front of goal, or otherwise suffer a fate similar to last week.

DANDENONG STINGRAYS v. GEELONG FALCONS

Round 5 – 6/4/19
1pm
Robinson Reserve, Doveton

The second match of Round 5 will be one to watch, with fourth placed Dandenong Stingrays hosting table toppers, Geelong Falcons. Both sides registered big wins in Round 4, so will be looking for another opportunity to get a win on the board. However, both sides seemed to have an issue with accuracy, with Geelong kicking poorly in front of goal, finishing with 17 behinds in their win against Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels. If the Stingrays can put on the pressure in their defence they may have an opportunity to stop the Falcons’ strong forward line in its tracks and come out on top. That being said, the Stingrays posted 12 behinds against the Gippsland Power in Round 4, so will want to make sure their kicking is on when they take on the reigning premiers. With at least 6 confirmed changes to the Stingrays’ lineup since last round, it will be interesting to see how the side takes the field against the Falcons at full strength. Luka Lesosky-Hay will be looking to replicate her strong Round 4 effort (31 disposals, eight marks) this week after being a standout performer across the board last round, but in front of goal will need to double down after three behinds contributed to Geelong’s frustrating winning margin last week. Maeve Skinner is another one who will want to boost her accuracy this round, with two goals from six kicks last week after a dominant four goal haul in Round 3. The Stingrays had five individual goalkickers against the Power, with Georgia Howes booting two, so the side will need to keep up their team effort in front of the big sticks if they want to get on top of Geelong this round.

SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS v. OAKLEIGH CHARGERS

Round 5 – 6/4/19
2:45pm
Trevor Barker Oval

The Oakleigh Chargers are sitting in sixth at this point of the competition, and with such a short season every point matters, so will want to win this one against the Sandringham Dragons in tenth. The Chargers have only dropped one game and drawn with Northern this year, so are shaping up to be real contenders if they keep up this good form, while the Dragons have yet to win a game. For Oakleigh, Amelia Van Oosterwijck is out of the side this week, so it will be interesting to see how they perform without one of their main targets forward. Gemma Lagioia was strong last week, with 21 touches and a goal, so will look to continue her form to get another win for her side. Meanwhile for Sandringham, Bryanna Arnold put on a good performance last week with 17 disposals and six tackles, so will want to put the pressure onto Oakleigh to aim for their first win of the season. The Dragons only managed to get two majors on the board last round, both through Sophia Rothfield, so will want to double down on that effort this week to create a strong team effort against the Chargers.

BENDIGO PIONEERS v. GIPPSLAND POWER

Round 5 – 7/4/19
11am
Epsom Huntly Reserve

Sunday’s first match will see seventh placed Bendigo Pioneers host eleventh placed Gippsland Power, with Bendigo needing a win if they want to stay in touch with the leading sides in the competition. The Pioneers had a good win against the Bushrangers last week, kicking two final quarter goals to cement their second win for the season. Tackling pressure seemed to be a major focus in that match with seven players registering five or more, while Brooke Hards alone racked up a massive 11 tackles to go with her 17 touches. The Pioneers will have to bump up their attacking pressure and volume in front of goal to combat the Power down back, with Megan Fitzsimon racking up 26 touches, five marks, four tackles and five rebounds last round while Nikia Webber was out. Webber will be back this round, so it’s likely we will see Hards and Webber line up alongside each other in this matchup. Missing from the Power this week is ball magnet, Grace McRae, while her Pioneers counterpart, Elizabeth Snell is a big inclusion for the home side.

WESTERN JETS v. GREATER WESTERN VICTORIA REBELS

Round 5 – 7/4/19
1pm
Downer Oval, Williamstown

Cellar dwellers, Western Jets will host ninth place GWV Rebels in the penultimate match for Round 5. Both sides will be looking toward a win this week after a winless Round 4, but the Jets will want to take advantage of their opponent also sitting low on the ladder.The Rebels had a disappointing match when rendered goalless against ladder leaders, Geelong last week, though Nekaela Butler was impressive despite the loss, with 21 touches, four marks and six rebounds. Lauren Sykes put up her best performance for the season so far, with 16 disposals (15 kicks), seven rebound 50s and three tackles. The pair will be bolstered this week with the return of Ella Woods and Nyakoat Doijok, though dominant ruck, Maggie Caris has not been listed for Round 5. Isabella Grant (17 disposals, seven tackles) and Elisabeth Georgostathis (13 disposals, two rebounds) were best on for the Jets last round, however the loss of Cleo Saxon-Jones will surely be an issue through the midfield. All in all, it should be an interesting match with both sides chomping at the bit for a win.

NORTHERN KNIGHTS v. EASTERN RANGES

Round 5 – 7/4/19
2pm
La Trobe University, Bundoora

In the final match of Round 5, second and fifth on the ladder will face off in another game that could be one to watch. Both Northern Knights and Eastern Ranges come into this round off the back of two wins in a row, so it’s likely to be a close one if Eastern put in the hard yards against last year’s grand finalists. The Ranges will want to take advantage of Alyssa Bannan being out for the Knights, however will still have the likes of Round 4 performers, Britney Gutknecht (19 disposals, six tackles, one goal) and Gabby Newton (19 disposals, five marks, five tackles) to worry about, while Nell Morris-Dalton was strong forward with two goals, 15 touches and 11 tackles in a season best performance. A second-half goal blitz from the Ranges saw them jump up the ladder last round, with Serena Gibbs and Laura McClelland kicking two goals apiece, while Tess Flintoff was also dominant, picking up 23 touches and six marks.The Knights have a number of options forward who have the ability to kick goals, so that will be the big task for Eastern this week as they aim to do what Oakleigh managed in Round 2, stifling the ball, stopping it from moving forward and going in hard at ground ball opportunities. Both teams have the ability to produce high scores and quickly, so it will certainly be an interesting match to finish up the round.

Weekend preview: NAB League Girls – Round 4

WITH the NAB League Girls competition ladder taking shape, some teams are looking to break away on top of the table, while others are still searching for their first victory. With the six games on the weekend across six different venues, it makes for some interesting viewing for spectators.

 

NORTHERN KNIGHTS v. SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS

Round 4 – 30/03/2019
11:15am
La Trobe University – Bundoora

The first game of the round sees the unbeaten Northern Knights taking on the winless Sandringham Dragons. The Knights were forced to share the points with Oakleigh in Round 1, but were able to secure two victories either side of the draw against Murray Bushrangers and Western Jets. Gabby Newton has been a standout performer this season, averagine 19 disposals, 2.3 marks and 3.3 tackles per game, while Britney Gutknecht has been damaging inside 50, with five goals from her three matches as well as 18.3 disposals and 3.7 tackles per game. The Dragons have been competitive for large patches of their game but have struggled to score, booting one goal in each of their three games, while missing chances they would like to take again. Their defence and midfield will match up with the best sides, with Alice Burke averaging a massive nine tackles per game as well as 16.3 disposals and 2.7 marks. Nayeley Borg and Sarah Hartwig have combined for 24 rebounds between them in their three games, while Marguerite Purcell has been crucial along the wings for Sandringham, recording 11 inside 50s, while Knights’ midfielder Ellie McKenzie has averaged 15.7 disposals, 2.3 marks and 3.3 tackles. Northern is a team to beat this season and noone has managed to secure the four points against them, so they will head in favourites, but the Dragons could apply that defensive pressure to try and force it into a slog and get the game on their terms.

 

MURRAY BUSHRANGERS v. BENDIGO PIONEERS

Round 4 – 30/03/2019
11:45am
Norm Minns Oval – Wangaratta

Up in Wangaratta, Murray Bushrangers host Bendigo Pioneers at Norm Minns Oval. The Bushrangers were badly beaten in the first round by the Knights, but have since responded with back-to-back wins against the Western Jets and Gippsland Power. Both of those sides are winless from three games, so it will be a great test to see where the Bushrangers are at against a competitive Bendigo Pioneers outfit. The Pioneers went down narrowly to the Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels in Round 1 before posting a win against Eastern Ranges in Round 2 and being outclassed by the reigning premiers, Geelong Falcons. Bendigo is a side that will bring teriffic defensive pressure, with Brooke Hards (7.7 tackles per game) and Dakota Villiva (7.3) both in the top three tacklers in the league. They are not a high possession team, but Elizabeth Snell (15.7 disposals) and Maeve Tupper (15.3) know how to find the ball, while bottom-ager Tara Slender leads the league in rebounds with 16 in her three games. For the Bushrangers, Abby Favell has been consistent in the opening three rounds, recording 4.7 marks per game – the second most of any player – as well as 11.3 disposals. Olivia Barber is not a high possession winner, but the key position player has managed 3.3 marks from seven disposals and a goal per game, while having a number of attempts as well and she will be sorely missed in the Bushrangers’ attack this weekend. Millie Brown has now played the two games after missing Round 1 and averages the most touches of any Bushranger with 16.5 per game. This is a genuine 50-50 game and the panel were split as to which way to go with the tipping as both teams are a genuine chance in this clash.

 

WESTERN JETS v. EASTERN RANGES

Round 4 – 30/03/2019
2:30pm
Rams Arena – Craigieburn

Up in Craigieburn, the Western Jets are searching for their first win, while Eastern Ranges look to make it two on the trot after going down in Round 2 to Bendigo Pioneers. In the corresponding game last year between these sides, the Jets won their only match of the competition against a highly fancied Ranges outfit, downing them in Williamstown with a super come-from-behind victory. The win derailed Eastern’s season and gave the Jets plenty of confidence going into the remaining games of the season. Both sides have some top-end talent in this match with Western captain, Elisabeth Georgostathis leading from the front this season averaging 19.7 disposals, two marks and three tackles per game, having also spent time at half-back recording 14 rebounds to be equal third in the competition for the statistic. Potential Western Bulldogs father-daughter selection, Isabella Grant has enjoyed a strong season with 15 touches, two marks and 3.3 tackles per game, while Cleo Saxon-Jones has taken 2.3 marks per game presenting as a key forward, while also recording 11 disposals and three hitouts per match. For Eastern, potential Collingwood father-daughter selection, Tarni Brown is progressing nicely with another year left in the system, averaging 19.7 disposals and two marks per game, but it is her tackling that catches the eye, laying a whopping 6.7 per match. Tess Flintoff and Olivia Meagher have also been amongst the best few each week, averaging 17 disposals per game, with Meagher also averaging 2.7 tackles, while Flintoff finds space for 3.3 inside 50s and 5.3 marks. Eastern will head into the clash as favourites having ground out two wins already this season, but the Jets showed last year they are capable of an upset on their day.

 

GREATER WESTERN VICTORIA REBELS v. GEELONG FALCONS

Round 4 – 30/03/2019
2:30pm
City Oval – Ballarat

The reigning premiers are heading up the highway to Ballarat to take on the GWV Rebels to try and extend their winning streak to four. For the Rebels, they defeated the Pioneers in Round 1 but have since gone down to Calder Cannons and Dandenong Stingrays on their home turf at MARS Stadium. With this game originally scheduled for Colac Reserve and moved to City Oval, the Rebels will enjoy a closer trip and will want to test themselves against the Falcons. Lucy McEvoy has been in unbelievable form this season for Geelong, averaging 23.3 disposals, 3.3 marks, six inside 50s and 7.7 tackles per game, topping the league in two of those stats. Luka Lesosky-Hay has been great support for McEvoy with 21.3 disposals, two marks and five tackles per game, as well as 3.6 inside 50s per game. Two Falcons who have stood up this season are Darcy Moloney and Laura Gardiner with Gardiner laying seven tackles per game as well as 18 touches through the midfield, while Moloney has got free for 19 disposals and 2.3 marks per game. The second highest disposal winner after McEvoy is her opposing captain with Sophie Molan registering 21.7 disposals per game as well as 4.3 tackles and getting forward to boot three goals this season – two last week. With Ella Wood missing this week, Chloe Leonard will become important in sharing the midfield load, having averaged 16 disposals and 4.7 tackles per game. Along with Molan, Renee Saulitis has managed to hit the scoreboard three times while Lauren Sykes has been important in defence with eight rebounds so far this season. A huge inclusion is that of Maggie Caris, averaging a competition high average of 29.5 hitouts per game, 12.5 more than her closest opponent and will sure be an asset in the ruck. The Falcons are expected to continue their winning ways in this game, but the Rebels will enjoy the challenge and aim to match them in the midfield.

 

GIPPSLAND POWER v. DANDENONG STINGRAYS

Round 4 – 30/03/2019
5:15pm
Morwell Recreation Reserve

With the sun setting in the west, Gippsland Power hosts Dandenong Stingrays in the east as the Power hopes to get on the board in season 2019, while Dandenong intend to make it three on the trot after back-to-back victories over Sandringham Dragons and GWV Rebels both away from home. In a super day of football, the game will be the fourth match of the day at Morwell, and a tough task for the Power minus Nikia Webber. They do have some great future talents with a defensive duo of Matilda Van Berkel and Maddison Shaw making life difficult for forwards, recoding 22 rebounds between them so far this season. Grace McRae and Megan Fitzsimon have been able to find the ball enough both averaging 13.7 disposals and laying 7.7 tackles per game. The Stingrays have an even squad across the park with plenty of standouts, none less talked about that St Kilda pre-listed duo of Isabella Shannon and Molly McDonald. Shannon has averaged 17.3 disposals, 2.7 marks, 6.7 tackles and 1.3 goals per game, while McDonald has laid four tackles and booted two goals to go with 12.5 disposals per game. Outside the two highly fancied top-agers, Brooke Vernon has been one of the best defenders in the competition this season, averaging 4.3 rebounds as well as 14 disposals and three marks, while Tyanna Smith has been important on the inside with 16 disposals, 4.3 tackles and 3.6 inside 50s per game. The Stingrays will be favourites in this clash to make it three consecutive wins, but the Power will have plenty of home crowd support.

 

CALDER CANNONS v. OAKLEIGH CHARGERS

Round 4 – 31/03/2019
1:45pm
Rams Arena – Craigieburn

The final match of the round is one of the best with the undefeated Calder Cannons taking on the much improved Oakleigh Chargers. The Cannons have knocked off Western Jets, GWV Rebels and Sandringham Dragons in the first three rounds, but the three sides have combined for just the one win this season so the Chargers will present a big challenge to the Cannons. Calder’s pursuit for four consecutive wins will be made harder without Georgie Prespakis who sensationally booted seven goals in Round 2 and was best on ground in the opening two rounds. Georgia Patrikios has stood tall in her two games as expected, averaging 21 disposals, four marks, two tackles and 5.5 inside 50s. She will be crucial in the Cannons quest for a third win with Oakleigh’s strength lying in their outside run. Gemma Lagioia (14.3 disposals, 3.3 inside 50s) could well be an opponent for Patrikios with the two among the best kicks in the league and are great movers around the field. Mimi Hill (15.3 disposals, 2.7 marks and 3.7 tackles) has been great off half-back and along the wing for the Chargers and could provide important rebound for the Chargers in a game where their opponents have plenty of attacking options. With Prespakis out, Emily Harley has a chance to take the outright lead in the goalkicking, booting eight goals in her three games while also getting involved up the ground with 13 touches and 3.7 marks. The Cannons have an advantage in the ruck with Georgie Sampson averaging 17 hitouts per game, the second highest in the competition. Both sides are evenly matched but the way the Chargers pushed the Knights they are capable of inflicting the Cannons’ first defeat, however Calder has just found a way each and every week even when challenged.

NAB League Girls weekend preview: Round 3

ROUND 3 of the NAB League Under 18 Girls competition has arrived, and with it comes another weekend of intense footy across the board. In such a short season every win matters, so every game is on the line once again as teams settle into their lists and leaders emerge.

SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS v. CALDER CANNONS

Round 3 – 23/03/19
9:30am
Trevor Barker Oval

Sandringham is in for another tough week as they take on the Calder Cannons, who are sitting in second on the ladder after two convincing wins in as many weeks. Calder will look to star bottom-ager, Georgie Prespakis again this week, after she picked up 22 disposals and kicked seven goals last week against Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels. Sandringham’s Alice Burke had a solid game through the midfield in Round 2, racking up 20 disposals and 11 tackles in the Dragons’ loss to Dandenong, making her the perfect candidate to lead the charge against the Cannons’ dominant midfield. Burke was matched by fellow mid, Eliza McNamara in her disposal tally, winning plenty of contested ball and creating clearances, while Marguerite Purcell along the wing proved her effectiveness in the first half last round, before a quieter second half lowered her influence on the match. The trio will have to watch out for Cannons midfielder, Georgia Patrikios (21 disposals, seven inside 50s), who who performed well as she returned to the side last week, while Gloria Elarmaly (nine tackles, 14 disposals) and Alana Barba (six tackles, two rebounds) both showed some good signs through the midfield and will certainly make it difficult for the Dragons to penetrate the forward 50.

GREATER WESTERN VICTORIA REBELS v. DANDENONG STINGRAYS

Round 3 – 23/03/19
11:15am
Mars Stadium, Ballarat

Round 3 will see a battle for control of the middle of the ladder as both GWV Rebels and Dandenong come into this match sitting on a win and a loss apiece. Only percentage separates the sides, so it will be a big match to determine ladder positions in such a short season. Sophie Molan worked tirelessly through the middle, racking up 24 touches for her efforts extracting the ball to create clearances, while Ella Wood was impressive throughout against the Cannons. Dandenong showed the depth of their forward line last round, with five individual goalkickers making their mark on the match, while defender, Zoe Hill will be key down back to reduce the impact of the Rebels up forward. Isabella Shannon was a tackling machine through the midfield, racking up 12 tackles to go with her team high 18 disposals. Reducing the wealth of the Stingrays’ goalkicking options will be key for the Rebels’ success, while the midfield battle is sure to be one to watch.

NORTHERN KNIGHTS v. WESTERN JETS

Round 3 – 23/03/19
12:00pm
RAMS Arena, Craigieburn

Last year’s grand finalists, Northern will come into Round 3 off the back of a draw to Oakleigh, so are sure to be raring to go against their Western counterparts, likely to pull out all the stops against the Jets, who are sitting winless in tenth. The Knights will hope for big games again from Ellie McKenzie and Alyssa Bannan, who had mirrored efforts in Round 2 with five inside 50s and kicked two goals apiece, while a shared tackling effort around the ground saw Jess Fitzgerald rack up nine, with six other Knights picking up five or more tackles each. With strengths across the field, Northern will be hard to stop once they get going, and have the ability to run over their opposition. Despite difficulty taking advantage of opportunities in the forward 50 last round against Murray, the Jets had some standout players in Elisabeth Georgostathis (28 disposals, seven rebound 50s) and Isabella Grant (19 disposals, six marks), both players who have the ability to run amok if given the opportunity.

MURRAY BUSHRANGERS v. GIPPSLAND POWER

Round 3 – 24/03/19
11:15am
RAMS Arena, Craigieburn

Sunday’s opening match will be a lower ladder brawl, seeing ninth placed Murray Bushrangers host bottom of the ladder, Gippsland Power. Murray had three players hit 20 disposals in Round 2, with Abby Favell the main culprit with 21 disposals and five marks. Zali Spencer and Millie Brown were also pivotal through the midfield, while Sophie Locke and Mikaela Trethowan dominated the tackles with eight apiece. Gippsland will need to outplay the Bushrangers’ midfield to ensure a second win on the trot, a role that will see players the likes of Nikia Webber and Chandra Abrahams put to the task. Webber racked up eight tackles and 15 disposals last round while Abrahams had a quieter match compared to her impressive Round 1 performance, but the pair are likely to put forward a strong performance against a relatively even midfield counterpart in the Bushrangers.

EASTERN RANGES v. OAKLEIGH CHARGERS

Round 3 – 24/03/19
12:00pm
Healesville Football Ground

The Eastern Ranges will host Oakleigh Chargers at midday in a match that will see ball magnets combine for an intense and relentless pressure filled contest. Eastern endured a loss in a low scoring affair against the Bendigo Pioneers last round while Oakleigh suffered a draw against Northern, so both sides will be raring for a hard and tough contest to get the four points. Tess Flintoff flexed her muscles last round, dominating the midfield with 23 touches, 11 marks and nine inside 50s, however didn’t have many opportunities or options forward to capitalise on her efforts. Tarni Brown paired well, laying a game-high eight tackles to go with her 17 disposals and four inside 50s. Flintoff and Brown will want to back up their strong performance against the Chargers, but the strength of Oakleigh’s composure with the footy is likely to get them over the line this week. Mimi Hill’s ability to clear the ball out from stoppages on her way to 17 disposals was key in last week’s match against Northern, while Amelia Van Oosterwijck’s ability to layer intensity and pressure on ball movers allowed her to notch up 10 tackles, topping her nine touches. Meanwhile, Emily Harley will want to keep her successful start to the season going, with seven goals over the first two rounds proving her strength in front of goal, meaning Eastern will have to ensure their defence is top notch.

GEELONG FALCONS v. BENDIGO PIONEERS

Round 3 – 24/03/19
1:00pm
Deakin University, Geelong

Geelong is back in top spot this week after a convincing Round 2 win over Eastern, settling back comfortably into where they sat for majority of season 2018. Lucy McEvoy’s fine 2018 form has continued into this season, racking up 26 disposals, six marks, six tackles and a goal, while Darcy Moloney and Paige Sheppard combined for 41 disposals and 14 inside 50s. The Falcons’ ball movers are backed up by two players who kicked a bag of goals apiece, the likes of Mia Skinner (three goals and eight tackles) and Renee Tierney (four goals, 15 disposals), while four other individual goalkickers last round just goes to show the extent of Geelong’s strength forward. A team effort across the board got the Pioneers the four points last week, with a smattering of players contributing through the midfield to create opportunities forward. Brooke Hards (17 disposals, five tackers) and key defender, Tara Slender (16 disposals, seven rebounds) combined well, with Slender currently top of the leaderboard for rebounds and likely to line-up on Geelong’s Skinner to try and reduce her impact forward. Fellow defender, Kate Douglass is likely to line up against Tierney. Bendigo will need to be at its best, but have shown some terrific competitiveness and will look to match the benchmark in the competition.

Number Crunching: NAB League Girls – Round 2

AFTER two rounds of competition, some impressive performers are already starting to emerge, from top-agers to middle-agers and even bottom-agers are impressing. From players in their debut NAB League Girls season, to those earmarked as potential top players over the past few years, we look at some of the interesting statistics across the first couple of weeks.

Find full statistics from NAB League competition here

Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels captain, Sophie Molan leads all-comers with 50 disposals in two weeks, while also covering the ground with ease, averaging two marks, five tackles, four inside 50s and three rebounds per game. Molan’s Geelong Falcons counterpart, Lucy McEvoy is second, averaging 24 disposals, four marks, seven tackles, 5.5 inside 50s and 2.5 rebounds. After a Round 2 competition high of 28 disposals, Elisabeth Georgostathis ranks in the top five with 20 disposals, two marks, 3.5 tackles and 3.5 inside 50s. She also has the highest kick-to-handball ratio of 0.8. In third place and the other player over 40 disposals is Calder Cannons’ Georgie Prespakis who averages 20.5 disposals thus far this season, and after seven goals last round, has booted eight for the season so far to be ranked at the top of the goalkicking chart. Teammate and Calder captain, Georgia Patrikios had 21 disposals on the weekend in her first game back this season, also recording seven inside 50s which is a stat she is likely to have plenty of playing on a wing and high half-forward.

When discussing bottom-agers, one player who has held up in defence so far is Bendigo Pioneers’ Tara Slender, recording seven rebounds in both her games thus far, while still averaging 16.5 disposals, 3.5 marks, 2.5 hitouts and 2.5 tackles. Gippsland Power’s Matilda Van Berkel and Geelong Falcons’ Abbey Chapman have registered 11 rebounds thus far in season 2019, while Slender’s key defensive partner, Kate Douglass has 10 rebounds to go with her 20 disposals.

Another player coming off a top performance from Round 2 is Tess Flintoff who heads into Round 3 averaging 18.5 disposals and 7.5 marks – the leading marker in the competition thus far. Oakleigh Chargers’ Emily Harley is averaging five marks per game to go with her 12.5 disposals and 3.5 goals – ranked second on the leading goalkicker charts. Flintoff also averages the most inside 50s of any player with seven per game, three more than McEvoy and Northern Knights bottom-ager, Ellie McKenzie.

Looking at the defensive side of the game, Dandenong Stingrays’ Isabella Shannon has laid a league-high 18 tackles following her six-tackle performance in the Stingrays’ win over Sandringham Dragons. An opponent in that game was Alice Burke, who ranks second with 17 tackles from her two games. Bendigo Pioneers’ Brooke Hards is third, averaging eight tackles per game, as well as 15 disposals and three inside 50s.

The final statistic to look at is the hitouts which is dominated by bottom-ager, Maggie Caris. The younger sister of Geelong AFL Women’s ruck, Rene Caris has already recorded 59 hitouts – a massive 30 more than any other player. She averages 29.5 per game, ahead of Oakleigh Chargers’ Kalarni Kearns (14.5) and Northern Knights’ Jaime Nelson (14).