Tag: tyla hanks

2019/20 AFLW off-season review: Melbourne

THE 2019 AFLW season was an interesting one for the Demons, who found themselves in a difficult conference playing against premiers, Adelaide and flag favourites, North Melbourne, winning four of their seven matches and ultimately would have made finals in the alternate conference. However, the Dees have proved they have consistency over the first three seasons, finishing mid-range on the ladder every season. Melbourne were one of the lucky teams heading out of the 2019 AFL Women’s season, managing to retain a large portion of their lineup while adding some impressive names to the list. Ultimately one of the biggest ins to the side is the return of Daisy Pearce following a season out of the sport with pregnancy, something that will surely bolster the Demons’ already impressive midfield. The addition of Western Bulldogs defender, Libby Birch will kick Melbourne’s defensive pressure up a notch, while the core side sticking together will ensure Melbourne continue their consistency and hopefully go one better in 2020.

With Birch the key cog and retaining Pearce key, the Demon’s had a mostly uneventful off-season, delisting four players and picking up four late picks in the AFL Women’s Draft. Interstaters Jacqueline Parry (Canberra) and Brenna Tarrant (East Coast Eagles) join the side alongside Calder Cannons’ Krstel Petrevski, while Darebin Falcons’ Gabby Colvin will have the chance to prove herself at the top level after three seasons at VFL Women’s. The Dees will also benefit from the addition of Irish recruits, Sinead Goldrick and Niamh McEvoy who join the rookie list for 2020.

OFF-SEASON CHANGES:

IN: Libby Birch (Western Bulldogs), Brenna Tarrant (East Coast Eagles), Gabby Colvin (Darebin Falcons), Krstel Petrevski (Calder Cannons), Jacqueline Parry (Canberra), Shae Sloane (promoted from rookie list to primary), Sinead Goldrick (gaelic), Niamh McEvoy (gaelic)
OUT: Maddy Brancatisano (Richmond), Ashleigh Guest (Western Bulldogs), Cat Phillips (St Kilda), Claudia Whitfort (St Kilda), Jordann Hickey, Talia Radan, Brooke Patterson, Ashleigh Woodland (delisted)

2020 TEAM LIST:

Libby Birch
Gabrielle Colvin
Harriet Cordner
Tegan Cunningham
Meg Downie
Maddison Gay
Madeleine Guerin
Tyla Hanks
Shelley Heath
Kate Hore
Bianca Jakobsson
Ainslie Kemp
Sarah Lampard
Lily Mithen
Aliesha Newman
Elise O’Dea
Jacqueline Parry
Karen Paxman
Daisy Pearce
Lauren Pearce
Krstel Petrevski
Shelley Scott
Casey Sherriff
Shae Sloane
Katherine Smith
Brenna Tarrant
Eden Zanker

Rookies: Chantel Emonson, Sinead Goldrick, Niamh McEvoy

POTENTIAL 2020 SIDE:

B: Meg Downie, Harriet Cordner, Chantel Emonson
HB: Sarah Lampard, Libby Birch, Karen Paxman
C: Elise O’Dea
HF: Maddison Gay, Kate Hore, Shelley Scott
F: Eden Zanker, Tegan Cunningham, Aliesha Newman
R: Lauren Pearce, Lily Mithen, Daisy Pearce
INT: Bianca Jakobsson – Tyla Hanks – Katherine Smith – Maddy Guerin – Ainslie Kemp
EMG: Jacqueline Parry – Shae Sloane – Shelley Heath

DEPTH: Gabby Colvin, Krstel Petrevski, Casey Sherriff, Brenna Tarrant, Sinead Goldrick, Niamh McEvoy

It will likely be difficult for some of the new recruits to break into the 2020 lineup, with the Demons maintaining a number of key combinations across the field. Harriet Cordner proved her dominance defensively last season and with the addition of Birch they could form a real formidable trio down back. Through the midfield, look to key ruck, Lauren Pearce who had a fantastic run in the 2019 season. She followed up her form awarded with the VFL Women’s Lambert-Pearce Medal over the off-season. Pearce’s ability to find co-captains Elise O’Dea and Shelley Scott plays a massive role in making headway down the field, with key ball movers the likes of Lily Mithen and Daisy Pearce able to have an impact both in the air and at ground level, while young gun Tyla Hanks found her form in a similar manner, playing up the ground with ball magnets Aliesha Newman, Eden Zanker and Kate Hore.

Melbourne’s first draft pick in Jacqueline Parry is a relatively unknown quantity with plenty of class traits but will have to fight her way into the side, while the likes of Krstel Petrevski, Gabby Colvin and Brenna Tarrant will also provide good support and try and force their way in.

Webber making waves

GIPPSLAND Power product Nikia Webber has high hopes for the future with the 18-year-old in her fourth season with the club and dreaming to get drafted in the near future if everything goes to plan. After telling us her footballing story growing up, she spoke prior to the NAB League Girls season about her dreams for the year ahead.

“By the end of the year I hope to get drafted, obviously that’s every girls dream. Just go hard, show the other teams what I have,” she said.

Webber has seen first-hand how far footy can take you with former teammate and Power captain Tyla Hanks playing with the Melbourne Demons in the AFLW. The crafty forward credits a lot of her development to Hanks and the influence she has had on her footy life.

“Yeah obviously playing alongside Tyla was a really good opportunity I learnt a lot from her and to see her actually killing it on the big stage as well is really good for her,” she said.

She has drawn the eye of plenty of people in the footy world getting a call up to the Vic Country squad at a young age due to her goal sense and ability to have an impact across the ground.

“It was a pretty good experience especially because I was 16 at the time so one of the bottom-agers and actually getting to run out wearing those colours was just the best thing that could happen,” she said.

Throughout her time with the Power, Webber has learnt a great deal of things with leadership one of the key elements of her development on the field.

“Just be a good leader for all those young ones that want to come through the program and actually lead by example for those younger girls in under 13s that actually want to make something out of this,” she said.

She has added some versatility to her game play making the switch down back when needed while also perfecting her craft up forward to ensure she has a continued influence on the scoreboard.

“Yeah I’ve always played forward but last year I actually played a bit of backline as well so that was a really big change,” she said. “I didn’t know anything about that position but one game the coach was like “oh you’ve got to go into the backline” so a bit nervous going into that. “But he said I did really well which was good.”

Webber has enjoyed the opportunity to mentor and foster the new up and coming players at Gippsland while soaking in the environment at the club over the past year, especially last season.

“All the new girls that came in you sort of just have to mentor them through the program because I’ve been there for so long,” Webber said. “It was a pretty cruisey year last year, it was really good actually. “A lot of the girls you wouldn’t think stand up did so it actually made the year pretty fun and enjoyable.”

Webber is aware there is still plenty she can improve on to become the best footballer she can be with aiming to go in harder at the contest and upping her work rate to have an impact at the coalface.

“Yeah the team improved massively, obviously I improved as well,” she said. “So the few years before that I didn’t really stand out wasn’t really going for the ball or anything was just sort of laid back but last year I actually felt like I was part of the team and could actually show my skills. “There’s a lot of things to get better on and obviously because no one is perfect so everything that you don’t think’s good during the season just work on that.”

VFLW weekend washup: Tigers downed as Casey drop seven on the trot

ANOTHER massive round in the VFL Women’s competition saw premiership contenders Richmond dealt a shocking loss, while Casey made it seven losses in a row after going down to Western Bulldogs.

CARLTON 1.0 | 1.3 | 1.5 | 3.6 (24)
HAWTHORN 1.5 | 2.5 | 2.6 | 3.6 (24)

GOALS

Carlton: B. Gurr 2, S. Hosking.
Hawthorn: K. Henderson, S. Perkins, R. Dillon.

BEST
Carlton:
B. Gurr, C. Dalton, G. Pound, N. Plane, M. Clifford, S. Hosking
Hawthorn: R. Dillon, C. Dyett, J. Van Dyk, G. Bevan, P. McWilliams, K. Henderson

Round 10 saw the first draw of the season, with Hawthorn leading for much of the game before Carlton chipped away at the lead in the final term with two goals on the board. The Blues came home strong for the most part in the final quarter, taking a lead before a Hawthorn goal seconds before the siren courtesy of Kara Henderson locked the scores at 24 apiece to finish the match. It was an inaccurate but fast start to the Hawks, who got six scores on the board but only one a major by the first break to lead by five points. Bryannen Gurr was a solid target inside 50 for Carlton, booting two goals from her 10 touches while the usual suspects in Sarah Hosking (22 disposals, 12 tackles, one goal) and Jess Hosking (23 disposals, four marks) lead disposals to provide valuable options across the field. For Hawthorn, goalkicking was shared around with Sarah Perkins and Rosie Dillon kicking a goal apiece, with Dillon racking up 23 touches and five tackles to be among the Hawks’ best. Leading disposals for Hawthorn was Jayde Van Dyk with 27 and five tackles, while Georgia Bevan racked up nine tackles.

 

CASEY 1.1 | 1.2 | 1.2 | 3.2 (20)
WESTERN BULLDOGS 1.1 | 3.3 | 4.4 | 4.6 (30)

GOALS

Casey: A. Johnson, K. Hore, N. Garner.
Western Bulldogs: S. Jolly 2, A. Scott, E. Mackay.

BEST

Casey: T. Hanks, L. Mithen, E. Birch, R. Clayton, E. Zanker , G. McLean
Western Bulldogs: K. Lamb, K. Betts, R. Christgoergl, H. Scott, K. McLeod, C. Moody

Despite an even start, Casey dropped yet another game over the weekend to take the tally up to seven in a row. With a stellar team on site it looked like the Demons had it in them however the Bulldogs’ consistency and combinations across the field proved too strong. The Dees put in an impressive effort in the final quarter, kicking two goals nil but unfortunately were unable to get over the line after the Bulldogs’ convincing 20-point lead at three quarter time. In the win the Bulldogs were clinical, with Kirsty Lamb a valuable option across the field with 27 disposals and seven tackles and Sarah Jolly a great target inside 50 with 16 touches and two goals on the board. Tayla Dinuccio and Angelica Gogos provided immense pressure with their tackling intensity, laying a combined 26 tackles from 16 and 19 touches respectively. For the Demons, Lily Mithen starred in her first outing in the VFLW red and blue, racking up 23 disposals and 12 tackles and joined by Tyla Hanks (17 disposals, 15 tackles) and Libby Birch (20 disposals, five marks, five tackles) who made their mark on the contest despite not getting the win.

 

COLLINGWOOD 2.0 | 5.1 | 7.2 | 9.3 (57)
WILLIAMSTOWN 1.5 | 2.6 | 4.7 | 4.8 (32)

GOALS

Collingwood: S. Alexander 2, C. Molloy 2, J. Blecher, K. Lee, J. Lambert, M. Shevlin, S. King.
Williamstown: S. Whiting, E. Straford, J. Kawa, S. Navarro.

BEST

Collingwood: S. Casey, J. Lambert, S. Alexander, N. Hales, S. Lawry, C. Molloy
Williamstown: A. Melnikas, J. Reid, M. Williamson, R. Tripodi, I. Porter, T. Merrett

Williamstown put up a strong start against the Magpies but could not hold on after the first, going down by 25 points to the ladder leaders. But despite the margin, it was a pretty good effort for the Seagulls who have struggled with consistency all season, relying too much on one player to do all the heavy lifting. Both Sophie Alexander (15 disposals, five marks) and Chloe Molloy (21 disposals, four marks) piled two goals apiece onto the board, aided in their quest for victory with five others hot on their tail in front of the big sticks. Sophie Casey also picked up 20 touches and 11 tackles to lead the count. Williamstown may have missed some opportunities in front of goal but not for a lack of trying with a relatively shared effort across the field. With Mo Hope missing from the side the likes of Danica Pederson (19 disposals, five marks) and Jacinta Reid (14 disposals, four marks) had to step up, and were among the Seagulls’ best, while Ruby Tripodi racked up eight tackles. Sharnie Whiting put one goal on the board from her three attempts while Emma Inglis missed two that could have been a big opportunity to scare the Magpies.

 

GEELONG 1.0 | 2.3 | 2.3 | 3.7 (25)
SOUTHERN SAINTS 1.1 | 1.1 | 2.4 | 2.4 (16)

GOALS

Geelong: M. Maguire 2, B. Beckley.
Southern Saints: K. Shierlaw, C. Munn.

BEST

Geelong: R. Webster, J. Crockett-Grills, R. Cranston, A. McDonald, D. Taylor, M. Maguire
Southern Saints: F. Steiert, K. Shierlaw, L. Olsen, C. Greiser, A. Drennan, M. Kuys

It was a tug-o-war between the Saints and Cats over the weekend, with both sides finding pockets of dominance and unable to solidify a victory. However it was the Cats who came out on top, as Madisen Maguire kicked a winning goal late in the final quarter to secure the win. It was the second goal for Maguire, who also picked up 16 disposals and six tackles, joined by leading on-field disposal winner Richelle Cranston with 21 touches and four tackles. Both Kate Darby and Renee Garing racked up 19 touches, also managing a respective eight and 11 tackles. For the Saints, Alison Drennan was among the best with 20 touches and 13 tackles, while Kate Shierlaw and Courteney Munn kicked a goal apiece. Jemima Kelly had a solid performance in the ruck, racking up 31 hitouts – more than doubling Geelong’s hitouts alone, while Alison Brown provided a solid tackling option with nine tackles and 14 touches. While this loss is another chink in the Saints’ armour, they stay in second thanks to Richmond’s loss.

 

DAREBIN 0.0 | 1.0 | 4.2 | 4.4 (28)
NT THUNDER 0.0 | 2.2 | 3.4 | 3.4 (22)

GOALS

Darebin: L. Pearce, E. O’Dea, M. Wilson, L. Szigeti.
NT Thunder: E. Jones 2, J. Baird.

BEST

Darebin: E. O’Dea, L. Pearce, R. Hicks, M. Wilson, G. Colvin, V. Blackwood
NT Thunder: G. Cusack, A. Hatchard, A. Foley, S. Bishop, D. Varnhagen, S. Armitstead

Darebin Falcons finally lifted themselves off the bottom of the ladder this week with a six-point win and impressive defensive effort to deny NT Thunder a comeback late in the match. It was a slow start, with neither side able to get a goal on the board in the first before Elise O’Dea kicked the first of the match in her first game of the season early in the second. O’Dea also racked up 33 disposals in a dominant performance, aided by fellow Melbourne AFL Women’s player Lauren Pearce (23 disposals, 34 hitouts, one goal). Reni Hicks was next in line with 16 touches and seven tackles while three other Falcons got a goal on the board each in their second win of the season. Anne Hatchard had another spectacular game for Thunder, with 37 disposals, seven tackles and seven marks in a well-rounded performance while Angela Foley (26 disposal, seven marks) and Deni Varnhagen (23 disposals) found plenty of the footy. Eloise Jones was the only multiple goalkicker for the match with two to her name.

 

RICHMOND 1.0 | 1.1 | 1.3 | 1.3 (9)
MELBOURNE UNI 2.2 | 5.5 | 7.6 | 11.11 (77)

GOALS

Richmond: S. Frederick-Traub.
Melbourne Uni: J. Garner 3, B. Gibson 2, H. Whitford 2, J. Thomas, K. Angelis, K. Cox, A. Riddell.

BEST

Richmond: G. Seymour, P. Monahan, G. Egan, G. Campbell, K. Dempsey, K. Jacques
Melbourne Uni: K. Gillespie-Jones, J. Garner, K. Ashmore, N. Julian, N. Moore, E. King

In a shocking turn of events to finish the round, Richmond were dealt their second defeat in as many weeks when they fell to Melbourne Uni by 68 points. It started out as a very close affair with neither side able to pull away before a three goal nil second quarter saw Uni lead by an unprecedented 28 points at half time. With an entire second half looming there was still plenty of time for the Tigers to claw back, but while Richmond applied some good physical pressure they were still unable to score, finishing the match down by 10 goals. While Uni were phenomenal, it was only thanks to misses across the face that Richmond stayed in it for as long as they did, with the Muggars registering 11 behinds to match their 11 majors. For the Tigers, Sabrina Frederick kicked the only goal for the side but was mostly missing in action on the field credit to Uni’s zoning pressure. Grace Campbell (17 disposals, 14 tackles) and Gabrielle Seymour (11 disposals, 43 hitouts) were among the best in the losing side. Melbourne Uni’s forward-line ran wild throughout with the likes of Jasmine Garner (26 disposals, three goals, six marks, seven tackle) and Ashleigh Riddell (28 disposals, two goals, five tackles) putting on a show, aided by Katie Angelis and Brittany Gibson who both also kicked two.

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

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

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

By: James Halley

GOALS:

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

BEST:

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

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

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

By: Peter Williams

GOALS:

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

BEST:

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

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

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

By: Peter Williams

GOALS:

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

BEST:

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

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

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

By: Peter Williams

GOALS:

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

BEST:

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

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

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

By: Peter Williams

GOALS:

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

BEST:

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

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

VFL Women’s wash-up: Round 4

ROUND 4 saw a number of big results in the VFL Women’s, with Casey losing top spot with their first loss for the season, dropping to fourth as the Bulldogs, Saints and Tigers got wins on the board. Meanwhile, three sides still sit winless, with Carlton, Williamstown and Darebin yet to secure the four points but all have had a bye.

HAWTHORN 2.1 | 3.4 | 4.8 | 4.11 (35)
WILLIAMSTOWN 2.1 | 2.1 | 2.2 | 4.2 (26)

By: Nikki Jamieson

GOALS
Hawthorn: R. Beeson 2, M. Hutchins, S. Perkins
Williamstown: S. Whiting 2, M. Hope, E. Crawford

BEST
Hawthorn: M. Hutchins, R. Dillon, T. Radan, O. Flanagan, R. Beeson, P. Randall
Williamstown: A. Melnikas, M. Williamson, L. Suleiman, N. Wallace, S. Whiting, G. Anderson

Hawthorn won their second match for the VFLW season, as Williamstown continues into round five without a win on the board. In what started as a close game with both teams tied at the end of the first quarter, Hawthorn’s defence were then able to keep Williamstown in check. The Hawks only let through one point from Williamstown before the final quarter. Williamstown was able to limit the Hawks’ strong offensive front, sparing them from a total blowout and limiting them to mostly behinds throughout the match. An impactful game from backline players such as Ashlea Melnikas and Nikki Wallace (12 disposals, six tackles) kept Hawthorn in check for most of the game. Seagulls’ Mo Hope (11 disposals, one goal) and Sharnie Whiting (18 disposals, two goals, four tackles) were also key in the final quarter comeback, kicking goals in the dying minutes.
Hawthorn’s season is starting to fare better but most would have expected a stronger performance from them against Williamstown who are at the bottom of the ladder. An important player for Hawthorn in defence was Pepa Randall (11 disposals, four tackles), helping keep the Seagulls’ forwards quiet for most of the match. Another key player for Hawthorn was Meg Hutchins (11 disposals, one goal, three tackles), consistently influencing the contest and winning the ball.Rebecca Beeson had a great match kicking two goals, and Olivia Flanagan (23 disposals, one behind, five tackles) led overall for disposals with 23. Also notable was Rosie Dillon (18 disposals, one behind, four tackles) who played tight on the ball all match.

MELBOURNE UNI 0.1 | 0.4 | 2.7 | 4.10 (34)
RICHMOND 2.3 | 3.4 | 3.5 | 5.7 (37)
By: Sophie Taylor

GOALS:
Melbourne Uni: J. Garner 3, K. Gillespie-Jones
Richmond: T. Stahl, M. Brancatisano, J. Colwell, K. Brennan, L. Bailey

BEST:
Melbourne Uni: J. Garner, K. Angelis, K. Gillespie-Jones, A. Riddell, N. Julian, J. Bruton
Richmond: K. Brennan, E. Burry, R. Miller, H. Burchell, T. Stahl, J.Colwell

A fast start from the Tigers saw the Muggars mount a comeback too little too late, as they peppered the goals without luck in an attempt to turn the tides with minutes left on the clock. Tigers were strong early, not only limiting Melbourne Uni to only four behinds by half time with no worries in front of goal as they kicked three goals four by half time. The main break sparked Uni into action, as the side put in the hard yards in an attempt to even up the ledger, only down by seven points at the final change and ready for a fight to the finish. It was the Tigers who had the last laugh however, as their pressing defence caused errors and inaccuracy in front of goal, with Uni finishing with more scoring shots on the board but going down by three credit to Richmond’s early lead and composure to fight through the momentum swing. AFLW players, Jasmine Garner (three goals, 22 disposals, eight marks) and Katie Brennan (31 disposals, nine marks, six tackles and one goal) were best on ground for their respective sides, while Uni’s Ash Riddell, Jenna Bruton and Kate Gillespie-Jones also made an impact around the ground with a combined 82 touches, 24 tackles and 14 marks between them. Tayla Stahl racked up a goal and two behinds from 15 touches, while Alice Edmonds and Jenna Colwell dominated the ruck, combining for 40 of Richmond’s 41 hitouts, compared to Uni’s 19. Richmond’s domination at centre bounce all but tells the tale of this match, with Uni’s ruck woes having a big impact on centre clearances.

ESSENDON 1.1|2.2|4.2|5.2 (32)
CARLTON 2.0|2.1|2.3|2.3 (15)

By: Brandon Hutchinson

GOALS:

ESSENDON: A. Quigley 3, H. Bullas, L. Stepnell
CARLTON: M. Clifford, N. Plane

BEST:
ESSENDON:
S. Nadler, A. Anderson, M. Collier, K. Heil, H. Bullas, A. Quigley
CARLTON: J. Hosking, N. Stevens, C. Wilson, N. Plane, G. Wright, B. Moody

Essendon proved better in the clash with their traditional rivals, the Blues, defeating the visitors by 17-points at Windy Hill. Both sides entered Round 4 winless, and though the Blues looked better in the first, Essendon’s efforts prevailed. The Bombers kept the Blues goalless for the remaining three quarters, adding four more of their own to close out the game. Despite the loss, Carlton dominated the hit-outs 51 to 23, and recorded more inside 50s (31), marks (33) and tackles (89). In the end, the Bombers’ defensive structures were too good for the Blues to penetrate – struggling to get any reward for repeat efforts. Carlton’s Breann Moody dominated in the centre with 14 disposals, four tackles and 31 hit-outs. Sarah Hosking (23 disposals, five marks and seven tackles) and Natalie Plane (25 disposals, one goal, five marks and five tackles) were also among Carlton’s best, as they impressed on-ball. For the Dons, Alex Quigley starred up forward, kicking three goals with nine disposals, four marks and two tackles, putting one away in every quarter except the second. Teammates, Simone Nalder (14 disposals, five marks and 21 hit-outs) and Hayley Bullas (28 disposals, one goal, 19 kicks and eight tackles), also starred through the midfield in Essendon’s win.

COLLINGWOOD 2.4 | 2.8 | 4.10 | 5.10 (40)
NT THUNDER 1.0 | 1.1 | 1.1 | 1.1 (7)
By: Sophie Taylor

GOALS:
Collingwood:
S. Dargan, G. Lagioia, J. Lambert, J. Allen, C. Molloy
NT Thunder: J. Hewett

BEST:
Collingwood:
B. Bonnici, B. Davey, G. Lagioia, K. Lynch, J. Allen, S. King
NT Thunder: J. Hewett, N. Gore, K. Streader, A. Sheridan, H. Martin, A. Foley

It was Brianna Davey‘s first match in her new colours and she certainly did not disappoint as the Pies well and truly dominated against the thus far high-flying Thunder. The Magpies did a great job to limit the Thunder’s options forward, and without the likes of Chelsea Randall and Ebony Marinoff to create pressure through the midfield, the visitors had a hard time maintaining possession. Davey, Britt Bonnici and Jaimee Lambert were excellent across the field, dominating possession as the Pies swooped on goal, peppering the sticks with attempts. Despite plenty of opportunities inside 50 the side struggled to convert at times, fortunate that the Thunder were cracking under pressure. Chloe Molloy was a big target forward, kicking one goal but missing a further four while Lambert and Jordyn Allen kicked 1.1 apiece. Sarah Dargan and Gemma Lagioia managed 12 touches and a goal apiece. Jasmyn Hewett was best afield for Thunder on an average day, picking up 15 touches, five marks, five tackles and kicking Thunder’s only goal. Leading the disposal count with 25 touches was Angela Foley, while Nikki Gore had low possessions but laid 14 tackles.

WESTERN BULLDOGS 1.0 | 1.0 | 1.0 | 3.1 (19)
GEELONG 0.1 | 0.2 | 1.5 | 1.6 (12)
By: Sophie Taylor

GOALS:
Western Bulldogs:
S. Jolly, D. Marshall, A. Scott
Geelong: K. Darby

BEST:
Western Bulldogs:
B. Lochland, D. Marshall, B. Toogood, S. Jolly, N. McMahon, J. Davies
Geelong: D. Taylor, J. Ivey, R. Webster, R. Goring, C. Blakeway, O. Purcell

The matchup between Geelong and Western Bulldogs was an interesting one, with both sides struggling to hit the board in the low-scoring contest before the Dogs eventually held on for a seven point victory. The Dogs had the momentum early courtesy of a goal from Danielle Marshall, and despite Geelong’s efforts the home side kept the lead for the first half. The third saw the Cats get into the contest, all but peppering the posts with four scoring shots to lead by five points by the final change thanks to a goal from Kate Darby, before the Bulldogs found some of their early offensive pressure to kick two final quarter goals to win the match. Brooke Lochland (24 disposals, six marks, three tackles), Sarah Jolly (21 disposals, five marks, one goal) and Emma Mackay (21 touches, three marks, six tackles) dominated the contest for the Dogs, while Bonnie Toogood racked up 20 touches, nine marks and six tackles. Though not a big ball winner, Nicole McMahon provided plenty of ball in the ruck with 34 hit-outs to dominate the contest. For Geelong, Jordan Ivey, Amy McDonald, Olivia Purcell and Rebecca Webster all collected 21 touches, with Ivey’s clean hands awarding her with five marks while Purcell racked up seven tackles. Geelong Falcons’ Luka Lesoksy-Hay made her mark in her first match for the side, only managing nine touches but applying plenty of pressure with her nine tackles.

CASEY DEMONS 0.1 | 0.1 | 1.1 | 1.6 (12)
SOUTHERN SAINTS 1.0 | 1.4 | 1.4 | 3.5 (23)
By: Sophie Taylor

GOALS:
Casey:
C. Emonson
Southern Saints: T. Bohanna 2, C. Greiser

BEST:
Casey:
E. Birch, S. Lampard, C. Emonson, B. Jakobsson, K. Oates, M. Guerin
Southern Saints: S. Johnson, E. Keaney, T. Bohanna, M. McDonald, F. Steiert, K. O’Neill

It was a rough day out for the Casey Demons, going down by 11 points in a low scoring affair that dropped the side from top spot to fourth. The Southern Saints were smothering from the get-go, not allowing the Demons any space to move the ball and forcing errors across the field. Yet another side with only one goalkicker for the match, it was Chantel Emonson who stepped up to the plate to boot Casey’s only goal for the match in the third term, also racking up 17 touches and seven tackles in her best performance for the season so far. Despite missing out on Round 3, Maddy Guerin did not seem to miss a beat back in the side with 20 touches, three marks and six tackles. Libby Birch (20 disposals, four marks, 10 tackles) and Bianca Jakobsson (19 touches, three marks, six tackles) were also solid, while Harriet Cordner and Tyla Hanks provided plenty of defensive pressure laying 10 and nine tackles respectively. The Saints did not have much more of the ball than the Dees did, but certainly used it better on the day with three goals on the board, two courtesy of Tara Bohanna who generated plenty of the footy. Samantha Johnson was best on for the Saints, racking up 24 touches, four marks and four tackles while Poppy Kelly dominated hitouts with 29 – the same amount as Casey’s three ruck options combined. Alison Drennan (20 disposals, two marks, four tackles) and Alison Brown (15 disposals, nine tackles) also put in the hard yards, and fortunately did enough to deny the Demons a fourth win on the trot.

Darebin Falcons: BYE

2019 VFLW weekend Round 1b preview: Eight teams begin their campagins

AFTER the Southern Saints made a statement in the opening round with a victory over last year’s minor premiers Collingwood, the other Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s sides take to the field, as four games are played across the competition. The Western Bulldogs and Carlton have the bye, as do Williamstown, however the Seagulls are facing off against GWS GIANTS in an invitational match which will see the GIANTS match-up against some of the Victorian sides. Below are the teams and season previews.

ESSENDON v. CASEY DEMONS

Round 1 – 11/05/2019
11:30
Windy Hill

Essendon

B: 7. K. Hicks, 11. M. Warburton, 29. C. Laan
HB: 18. K. Heil, 27. A. Morcom, 21. K. McFadyen
C: 28. R. Svarc, 39. M. Fogas, 1. C. Ugle
HF: 25. L. Stepnell, 23. M. Collier, 24. S. Wilson
F: 3. M. DeMatteo, 38. E. Gogerly, 40. A. Moreen
R: 30. S. Nalder, 22. N. MacDonald, 8. H. Bullas
Int: 13. S. Audley, 2. I. Currenti, 43. G. Nanscawen, 4. A. Saundry
Emg: 45. E. Ashley-Cooper, 15. L. Caruso, 33. E. Hosking, 14. T. Zagontinos
23P: 31. J. Stassi

Casey Demons

B: 50. G. McLean, 13. K. Smith, 15. T. Tatterson
HB: 34. A. Kirkwood, 7. B. Jakobsson, 8. S. Lampard
C: 23. E. Birch, 16. M. Hogg, 22. M. Guerin
HF: 42. H. Bailey, 29. E. Zanker , 11. C. Emonson
F: 24. N. Garner, 40. H. Dyson, 27. B. Winbanks
R: 38. K. Bentvelzen , 41. R. Edmeades, 47. K. Guttridge
Int: 48. E. Archer, 9. A. Johnson, 32. A. McDonough, 54. K. Oates
Emg: 57. L. Davies, 51. A. Francese, 37. T. Nash, 62. G. Speedy
23P: 46. B. Pratt

 

DAREBIN v. RICHMOND

Round 1 – 11/05/2019
12:00
Swinburne Centre

Darebin

B: 32. G. Colvin, 21. K. Roe, 19. R. Hibbert
HB: 16. B. Kennedy, 56. R. Ashley, 43. N. Wolfe
C: 1. E. Honybun, 9. M. Eastman, 28. A. Morrow
HF: 17. S. Simpson, 22. G. Hammond, 7. L. Szigeti
F: 36. E. Buckley, 31. E. Gardner, 23. M. Wilson
R: 37. E. McLaughlin, 15. A. Lister, 33. J. Stanton
Int: 18. C. Byrne, 39. S. David, 25. C. Delbridge, 20. S. Fairchild
Emg: 46. R. Coombs, 55. M. Hubbard, 49. A. Ladson, 50. M. Suzuki
23P: 57. P. Kearney

Richmond

B: 26. E. Burry, 41. S. Last, 15. R. Miller
HB: 19. K. Dempsey, 2. P. Monahan, 34. A. Makur Chuot
C: 25. G. Egan, 5. M. Brancatisano, 8. J. Graham
HF: 33. J. Colwell, 16. C. Wakefield , 36. E. Paterno
F: 17. E. Gunn, 24. T. Stahl-Smith, 46. H. Ibrahim
R: 11. A. Edmonds, 13. A. Woodward, 1. J. Kennedy
Int: 43. G. Campbell, 30. D. Edward, 37. M. Klingbeil , 22. S. Marsh
Emg: 39. M. Lindsay , 32. I. Milford, 23. T. Smith
23P: 29. K. Jacques

 

HAWTHORN v. NT THUNDER

Round 1 – 12/05/2019
11:30
Box Hill City Oval

Hawthorn

B: 25. M. Hutchins, 6. T. Radan, 31. J. Sibley
HB: 13. E. Nixon, 40. E. MacDonald, 21. P. Randall
C: 33. E. Gilder, 24. R. Dillon, 5. C. Perera
HF: 12. N. Cormack , 26. C. Dyett, 18. E. Wroe
F: 17. A. Dowler, 2. K. Henderson, 30. A. Sarec
R: 22. T. Luke, 10. P. Peschke, 8. R. Beeson
Int: 14. O. Flanagan, 11. D. Haines, 15. B. Struylaart, 29. A. Tanner
Emg: 4. S. Carroll, 35. C. O’Donnell, 27. K. Scott
23P: 23. G. Macpherson

NT Thunder

B: 37. M. Rajcic, 33. T. Thorn, 31. A. Stanley
HB: 23. E. Miller, 9. L. Jeffrey, 26. C. Randall
C: 13. L. Roberts, , 12. K. Streader
HF: 11. J. Hickey, 10. A. Chittick, 18. T. Holtze
F: 27. A. Considine, 7. M. Ellis,
R: 20. J. Hewett, 3. A. Foley, 1. M. Johnston
Int: 17. S. Bishop, 24. S. Hoogeveen-Hill, 21. K. Irvine, 5. M. Roberts, 48. K. Rosenzweig, 34. D. Varnhagen
Emg: 32. B. Byers, 29. C. Deegan
23P: 2. J. Baird

 

MELBOURNE UNI v. GEELONG CATS

Round 1 – 12/05/2019
02:30
Melbourne University Main Oval

Melbourne Uni

B: 45. A. Arundel, 3. T. Mesiti, 17. E. Hay
HB: 22. J. Anwyl, 26. N. O’Connor, 32. C. Daniec
C: 53. J. Grierson, 36. N. Julian, 14. M. McDonald
HF: 38. K. Angelis, 51. J. Tancred, 40. A. Runnalls
F: 4. E. King, 57. A. Price, 18. A. Tupper
R: 5. K. Gillespie-Jones, 25. J. Garner, 35. J. Bruton
Int: 34. K. Cox, 47. M. Hare, 46. A. Roan , 52. M. Shone
Emg: 42. L. Amelung, 44. E. Bult, 30. S. Farmer, 41. J. Thomas
23P: 39. V. Saad

Geelong Cats

B: 49. E. Ramsay, 4. C. Blakeway, 23. H. Rowe
HB: 20. R. Pearce, 44. R. Goring, 11. J. Woollett
C: 3. A. McDonald, 27. R. Webster, 10. G. Rankin
HF: 45. M. Keryk, 17. G. Clarke, 9. T. Love
F: 42. B. Beckley, 8. K. Darby, 7. R. Benham
R: 1. R. Caris, 5. J. Ivey, 41. A. Haigh
Int: 14. N. French, 33. Z. Inei, 43. M. Maguire, 13. L. Taylor
Emg: 26. M. Boyd, 15. G. Deller, 16. O. Purcell
23P: 19. S. DeGiacomi

 

SEASON PREVIEWS: (Including byes)

CARLTON BLUES

Coach: Shannon McFerran
Last year: 7th (6-8)

The entire Carlton side would be buzzing with the AFL Women’s achievement of making the Grand Final and hoping to follow in the senior side’s footsteps. Last year the Blues showed signs within games, but could not quite put together a four quarter effort. They had an enormous amount of future AFL Women’s talent on their list last season with Tyla Hanks and Madeline Brancatisano (both Melbourne), Rene Caris (Geelong) and Celine Moody (Western Bulldogs) all poached by other clubs in the draft, while Abbie McKay, Chloe Dalton and Brooke Walker made the transition up to senior football at the Blues. Darcy Vescio won the leading goalkicker award after another terrific season inside 50 and look for her to be a key player in Shannon McFerran‘s side. With the close bond between Carlton and Northern Knights – and the strength of the Knights program in 2019 – do not be surprised for the Blues to be bolstered mid-season by the likes of Gabby Newton and Britney Gutknecht among others. They have picked up Marnie Jarvis and Taylah Manson from the Knights last year, and with continued improvement and recruitment of Madison Prespakis, Emerson Woods and Charlotte Wilson – who all had TAC Cup Girls and VFLW experience prior to being drafted, the Blues are a sleeper side that is not to be taken lightly.

 

CASEY DEMONS

Coach: Damien Keeping
Last year: 10th (5-9)

Despite a disappointing season on the ladder, Casey Demons were raided at the AFL Women’s draft with six drafted on the night, and a further one (Taylor Mesiti) prelisted. Jordyn Allen, Georgia Gourlay and Maddie Shevlin all swapped red and blue for black and white, while Casey Sherriff, Chantel Emonson and Shae Sloane showed enough to be picked up the Dees. The Demons have brought in some height with the recruitment of former Oakleigh Chargers and Essendon ruck, Bridie Winbanks, while putting an emphasis on retaining Melbourne AFLW listed players, something they did not have the luxury of having with many playing at Darebin given the players history with the Falcons. Now just Elise O’Dea, Lauren Pearce and Brooke Patterson are at the Falcons, so the Demons can have a stronger link to the AFLW side. Harriet Cordner and Maddison Gay were two big improvers of the 2019 AFLW season and will be ones to watch for the Demons in the upcoming VFLW season. A couple of key pickups for the Demons include Gippsland Power duo, Nikia Webber and Shanara Notman who could provide service up opposite ends. Overall look for the Demons to improve this year.

 

DAREBIN FALCONS

Coach: Michael Ericson (NEW)
Last year: 5th (8-6)

Darebin Falcons defied odds by finishing fifth last season and on track for finals up until a couple of rounds out from the post-season series. Michael Ericson has taken over from Jane Lange at the helm, and with it faces a new challenge of keeping the side competitive. O’Dea, Pearce and Patterson loom as the keys to the team, while Jamie Stanton who moved from Melbourne University – to align with her shift from North Melbourne to Gold Coast AFLW – is another AFLW listed player. Bridie Kennedy also joins the team from Carlton after having that AFLW experience, but mostly the Falcons will be relying on the yourh of the team and experienced VFLW players. Captain Stephanie Simpson is one of six players with 30 or more VFLW games under her belt which in the scheme of the relatively new competition is vital. Northern Knights, Nell Morris-Dalton and Ciara Fitzgerald have also joined Darebin, while former Eastern Ranges’ Lauren Szigeti will have benefited from her six games last year. Overall the Falcons will still give the top teams something to think about on their day, and rack up wins against the bottom handful, but it will be a test to be a genuine contender.

 

ESSENDON BOMBERS

Coach: Brendan Major
Last year: 13th (1-13)

It was fair to say Essendon did not have the season it had hoped for, winning just the one game and taking out the wooden spoon in season 2019. With limited AFL Women’s experience, the Bombers just lacked that top-end talent that other clubs had, and while the Bombers had that tackling ferocity through best and fairest winner, Hayley Bullas and the class and skill of future Adelaide AFLW premiership player, Danielle Ponter, they did not have enough talent across the board to compete with the sides that were flushed with AFLW signatures. The one win against Richmond was terrific to see, as it meant the Bombers got some reward for effort after a long season. Along with Bullas, Courtney Ugle and Simone Nalder have returned to the club, while former Murray Bushrangers’ defender and Eastern Allies representative, Eloise Ashley-Cooper will add some class to the side. The Bombers have four players with AFLW experience, including Maddy Collier and Hayley Trevean. With NAB League Girls club, Calder Cannons having some great talent coming through the ranks, expect the likes of Georgia Patrikios to open some eyes late in the season with her agility and goal sense, while Felicity Theodore, Alana Barba, Gloria Elamaly and Krstel Petrevski will add a mix of skill and toughness to the Bombers’ team. The Bombers will still lack the star quality other AFLW experienced teams have, so the goal will be to be more competitive and try and get off the bottom of the table this season.

 

GEELONG CATS

Coach: Natalie Wood (NEW)
Last year: 4th (10-3-1) Grand final loss

Natalie Wood has taken over from Paul Hood who opted to just focus on the AFLW side in the blue and white hoops, but has inherited a genuine premiership contender. After Geelong had fewer AFLW listed players compared to others last season, they now have 20 on their VFLW books, topped up by local players including former Geelong Falcons premiership players, Tarryn Love, Zoe Inei and Sachi DeGiacomi who managed six games at VFLW level between them last season. They have not only retained the majority of the their list, but picked up teh likes of Julia Crockett-Grills (Hawthorn), Rebecca Webster (Melbourne University) and Sophie Van De Heuvel (Williamstown), keeping them in the Geelong system. It is hard not to picture a scenario where Geelong are not in finals considering the now deep and strong bond the players have and having reached the grand final, before strengthening their list even more. The Geelong AFLW side made finals in its first year and expect the VFLW side to follow suit with the same talent on its list.

 

HAWTHORN HAWKS

Coach: Patrick Hill
Last year: 2nd (12-2) Premiers

The reigning premiers had a number of players drafted including Rising Star Jayde Van Dyk, Emerson Woods and Mikala Cann in what was a perfectly timed season, finishing second, pouncing on Collingwood in the semi-final, and then making the most of their opportunities against Geelong in the decider. In great news for the Hawks, Van Dyk has returned to the club for the VFLW season, as have key forward Phoebe McWilliams (Geelong), Rebecca Beeson and Pepa Randall (both GWS GIANTS). With super coach, Patrick Hill at the reigns again, the Hawks will be predicted to be thereabouts again and a genuine premiership contender. Sarah Perkins will be primed for a big season in the brown and gold, hoping to force her way back onto an AFLW list after being delisted by the Crows following the 2019 season. The forward combination between Perkins and McWilliams is as good as it gets in the competition, and with Eastern Rangers youngsters Serena Gibbs and Laura McClelland in the side later in the year, expect the reigning premiers to have a potent forward line. Gippsland Power’s Maddison Shaw has also joined the Hawks, and is one of just two 2001-birth players on the list. A huge contender.

 

MELBOURNE UNIVERSITY MUGARS

Coach: Scott Gowans
Last year: 9th (5-9)

The Mugars were up and down at times throughout the 2018 VFLW season, finishing with five wins from 14 games, but having some great young talent come into the side last in the year, including Prepsakis and Webster who were both drafted by AFLW clubs. Sophie Abbatangelo, Ashleigh Riddell, Maddison Smith, Chloe Haines, Libby Haines and Nicole Bresnehan all stepped up to the senior side, with many showing their ability to adapt to the faster pace of the game. After a huge season that ultimately fell short of a finals berth in the AFLW, North Melbourne and Melbourne Uni coach, Scott Gowans will be keen to continue the form shown by the Kangaroos at AFLW level, into the VFLW system. Emma Kearney was terrific for the Mugars last year along with Kaitlyn Ashmore, and expect them to be key players once again. They have added experience to their list with Hawthorn duo, Tahni Nestor and Kim Ebb, as well as Essendon’s Jessica Anwyl who showed promising signs last season in the red and black. Throw in league best and fairest winner, Jess Duffin, Jasmine Garner and Jenna Bruton, and the Mugars have to be considered one of the premiership favourites. All up they have 23 AFL Women’s listed players and will be another tough team to beat.

 

NORTHERN TERRITORY THUNDER

Coach: Heidi Thompson (NEW)
Last year: 3rd (11-3) – Semi-final loss

Much was spoken about the Thunder and whether or not the experienced top-heavy side with Adelaide Crows, could be allowed to play so much talent at once. Early in the season it looked like the Thunder would skip through the season, but in the end, ultimately fell in the first week of finals to the Cats. After missing out on her AFLW dream last year, Janet Baird is the biggest junior recruit to the Thunder in season 2019, with the NTFL Women’s top player signing on at the Thunder for the upcoming season. She joins the likes of Madeline Gault, Arthurina Moreen and Tabitha May, who all played for Central Allies in 2018, but missed out on a chance in the AFLW. The top-end and upcoming talent at the Thunder is clear, with Ebony Marinoff, Stevie-Lee Thompson, Marijana Rajcic, Renee Forth, Eloise Jones and Sarah and Jess Allen among a ridiculous among of Crows talent in the side. They were arguably a premiership favourite early in 2018, and should be in that place once again given the improvement of many of the Crows through the 2019 AFLW premiership year. With Heidi Thompson now taking the reigns from Tim Weatherald, it will be interesting to see how she balances the AFLW talent throughout the season.

 

RICHMOND TIGERS

Coach: Tom Hunter
Last year: 12th (4-10)

The Tigers had a disappointing season in 2018, finishing twelfth and losing to Essendon, the only side to do so. They, like the Bombers just lacked that star quality in the 2018 VFLW season, but if their 2019 AFLW trade period is anything to go by, expect them to shoot up the ladder in season 2019. Jessica Kennedy and Jacqueline Graham were two standouts for the Tigers, it was just a case of adding depth to the obvious talent that was coming through the ranks. While some will play limited games, the likes of Monique Conti, Katie Brennan and Sabrina Frederick make for a scary forward line. With Richmond able to pre-list players this season, every player on the list will be keen to impress in front of the Tigers’ hierarchy and see what they can do to try and get an AFLW spot for the 2020 season. Overlooked Murray Bushrangers, Tamara Smith, Grace Egan and Sophie Damon are back at Punt Road, while Kodi Jacques has also joined the club with the Bendigo Pioneers’ midfielder looking to stake her claim this year. Former Magpies, Shayla Marsh and Hannah McLaren will don the yellow and black this year, making the Tigers stocked with young talent that will create run and excitement throughout the 2019 season. Expect the Tigers to rise up the ladder, and while they might lack the AFLW talent other teams have outside their forward 50, they could overtake a number of the clubs around their level in season 2018, this year.

 

WESTERN BULLDOGS

Coach: Sean Kavanagh (NEW)
Last year: 6th (7-7)

Sean Kavanagh has taken over from Debbie Lee who is now VFLW General Manager at the club, and will be looking to reshape the side that has lost some serious AFLW talent. Conti always spent the majority of the season playing basketball, while Brennan will be a big lose inside 50. However with 20 AFLW players on their list, they still have more than enough talent and experience to get them by. Their three top-age players they have picked up from NAB League Girls clubs are Sophie Molan, Ella Wood and Elisabeth Georgostathis which is arguably the best trio of pick-ups across the league. Molan will make an immediate impact, while Wood and Georgostathis can play both off half-back and through the middle. They will be unavailable during the AFLW National Championships, but expect them to show their talent. Overager Georgia Pidgeon will also provide some height for the Bulldogs, while a host of local players joins the likes of Ellie Blackburn, Brooke Lochland, Isabel Huntington and Deanna Berry as key players. When talking about experience, the Bulldogs have 14 players with 30 or more games, making them a very experienced side in the competition, and one that while they might not be in the top handful, could still challenge for finals.

 

WILLIAMSTOWN

Coach: Amy Catterall
Last year: 11th (4-10)

Williamstown finished eleventh in 2019, notching up the four wins, but had some serious top-end talent at the Gulls’ disposal. Duffin won the league best and fairest despite the team struggles, while Garner and Bruton were stars for Williamstown before emulating that for the Kangaroos at AFLW level. Big question marks remain over the Seagulls with all three departing the club. It means the load falls onto their VFLW listed players shoulders and puts them in a similar position to Essendon and Richmond last year. They had a good win over the Western Bulldogs in a pre-season practice match, and can have the continuity that teams with restricted AFLW numbers cannot. However this year is set to be a massive challenge for the Seagulls after losing so much top-end talent, with Demon, Aliesha Newman being a key signing – the only AFLW player on the list – and likely to cause headaches inside 50 for opposition defences. In doing so, there might be some serious youngsters step up and then make a case to land at an AFLW club, like former Bendigo Pioneers’ captain Megan Williamson, Eastern Ranges’ tall Tahlia Merrett and Bendigo Pioneers’ key defender Kate Douglass.

NAB League Girls weekend preview: Round 1

TWO triple headers headline the first ever round of NAB League Girls as the 12 teams begin their 2019 campaigns hoping to get their season off on the right foot.

CALDER CANNONS v. WESTERN JETS


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

In what is predicted to be a sweltering day at RAMS Arena, the first match in the triple header is the Calder Cannons taking on the Western Jets. Both sides are bringing in some strong depth making it an interesting game to see which team can kickstart its season first. The Cannons will be without Georgia Patrikios, but have the likes of Alana Barba, Felicity Theodore and former Gippsland Power player, Makeisha Muller. Georgie Prespakis is one to watch for the future, and while older sister Madison is no longer there to lead the team, the Cannons will have Krstel Petrevski coming off half-back and is a player the Cannons are excited to develop throughout the season. For the Jets, they have a number of top prospects who are members of the AFL Women’s Academy at both the top and middle-age brackets. Isabella Grant and Cleo Saxon-Jones are strong overhead and can kick goals when forward, while Isabelle Pritchard still has two years in the system and is shaping as a highly talented key defender. Elisabeth Georgostathis is the other player who put in a consistent 2018 season, named onball like she was last year where she won the Jet’s best and fairest award.

BENDIGO PIONEERS v. GREATER WESTERN VICTORIA REBELS


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

The second game sees two country neighbours battling it out in what could be a thrilling contest. The teams have had productive pre-seasons and the Pioneers had no trouble scoring in their practice match against the Bushrangers, while the Rebels were pleased with their efforts against the Falcons. The defensive duo of Kate Douglass and Tara Slender will be one to watch and assist in restricting opposition teams from scoring, while Jordyn Jolliffe‘s return from injury – she missed all of last season’s TAC Cup Girls competition – will be welcome and she starts at full-forward. The midfield group of the Pioneers is quite strong and will have benefited from another year, with the likes of Brooke Hards – who played some roles in defence last season – Eloise Gretgrix and Jemma Finning, while Maeve Tupper was predominantly a forward pocket last season and will spend more time in the midfield. Sophie Molan and Ella Wood will lead a deep Rebels midfield in what will be the battle of the midfields within the match. Isabella Simmons developed strongly as the season went on last year, while Renee Saulitis and Isabella Robson are other middle-age talents in the team.

NORTHERN KNIGHTS v. MURRAY BUSHRANGERS


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

In the final game of Saturday’s triple header with the temperatures expected to be high 30s by the final siren, the two teams who finished second in the first two years face off from 12.45pm. The Knights head into the game as strong favourites based on the form they showed last season, and they have a number of talented players in each third of the ground. The midfield features Ellie McKenzie, Jess Fitzgerald and Britney Gutknecht, with the likes of Gabby Newton and Abigail Bennett rotating between the midfield and forward. Sarah Sansonetti and Ash Snow are a couple of defenders who impressed last season, while Alyssa Bannan developed rapidly in 2018. For the Bushrangers, Olivia Barber has been named at centre half-back and could be the one to try and quell Newton, while forwards, Sophie Locke and Kate Adams could do some damage if given time and space. Mikaela Trethowan is a 19-year-old prospect who will provide good support in the midfield, while Emily Nicholson is another player who played every game last season and will be well prepared for the first round match. The game is a huge challenge for the Bushrangers against the likely premiership favourites, but it will be a good test to see where they are at, and how the Knights have changed with players tested in other positions.

DANDENONG STINGRAYS v. EASTERN RANGES


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

In the first game of a triple header at Frankston on Sunday, Dandenong Stingrays will be looking for their fifth straight win after finishing the season in a blaze of glory following four early season losses. Recent St Kilda recruit, Isabella Shannon has been named at centre half-forward and will be a player to watch for any Saints fans who head down to the game. While fellow Saints teammate, Molly McDonald will not be out there, Brooke Vernon, Tyanna Smith and Grace Hodder will lead the charge in the middle. Zoe Hill stands tall at centre half-back and while partner-in-crime Lucy Cripps will not be out there, Hill will aim to try and nullify one of Eastern’s talls. That could be netballer, Serena Gibbs or AFL Women’s Academy member, Laura McClelland who could rotate between midfield and forward. The forward line and particularly midfield looks solid for the Ranges, with Olivia Meagher and Tahni Brown among the middle-agers who still have a couple of seasons to develop. Both teams are likely to create a lively contest.

OAKLEIGH CHARGERS v. GIPPSLAND POWER


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

The middle game on Sunday will see two teams that faced off in Round 1 last year do battle once again with Oakleigh Chargers facing Gippsland Power. The Chargers won easily 12 months ago and will be hoping to serve a repeat dose, while the Power feel more prepared to tackle the Chargers this time around. Middle-age captain, Mimi Hill leads a band of quick defenders who like to move the ball well, as Chloe O’Malley and Nicola Xenos showed last season. Gemma Lagioia and Emily Harley inside 50 will provide any opposition coach problems, as would Alana Porter‘s speed through the middle of the ground. The club is excited to release Amelia Peck on the competition with the 19-year-old named at centre half-back. Gippsland will miss Tyla Hanks in the middle, but have been able to supply a number of players with a season of experience and now there are top and middle-agers with a taste of the competition already. Nikia Webber and Matilda Van Berkel line up in the key forward posts, while Chandra Abrahams, Megan Fitzsimon and Grace McRae fill out the midfield. Maddi Shaw and Shanara Notman are others who could be key players in the game, providing strength and run from defence.

SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS v. GEELONG FALCONS


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

In the final game of the round, Sandringham Dragons face Geelong Falcons on Sunday afternoon. The reigning premiers will test themselves against a danger side in the 2019 competition. Both teams are in the form of their lives having not lost a game in the past six regular season rounds – and even longer for the Falcons. The midfield battle will be one to savour with Dragons’ captain Molly Denahy Maloney, Alice Burke and Eliza McNamara tackling the likes of Falcons’ captain Lucy McEvoy, Luka Lesosky-Hay and Paige Sheppard. Both sides have a highly touted key defender in Sarah Hartwig (Sandringham) and Abbey Chapman (Geelong), have speedy wingers in Marguerite Purcell (Sandringham) and Elise Vella (Geelong) and forwards who can take big grabs, Sophia Rothfield (Sandringham) and Renee Tierney (Geelong). With both sides having a high amount of talent coming through at middle and bottom-age level, they are going to be teams to watch this season. Round 1 may well have saved the best until last, and the final game of the new NAB League Girls will likely be a match to remember.

Draftee Watch: AFLW – Round 4

IN Round 4 of the AFL Women’s, Adelaide’s Danielle Ponter and Collingwood’s Sarah Dargan joined the list of growing Rising Stars in the competition after impressive performances on the weekend.

Adelaide: Danielle Ponter
Ponter was well deserving of her Round 4 Rising Star nomination in Adelaide’s victory over Fremantle. As Adelaide’s first nomination this season, Ponter took centre stage with two majors and a 90 per cent disposal efficiency on her home turf in Darwin. She also secured eight disposals and a mark in her first stint up forward. Teammate, Jess Foley (24 hit-outs, 13 disposals, five marks, two clearances and five inside 50s), also continued her elite form as she finishes second in the league for hit-outs.

Brisbane: McKenzie Dowrick
The Grand Final rematch went well in Brisbane’s favour as they kept the Bulldogs goalless in the first half. Along with teammate, Jesse Tawhaio-Wardlaw (12 disposals and six marks), Dowrick was both dominant in the air and in the contest. For the day she had 12 disposals, four marks and three tackles on her way to 58 AFL Fantasy Points. If Brisbane’s recruits continue to combine well, they could be the difference for a successful 2019 finals campaign.

Carlton: Madison Prespakis
Prespakis continues to be one of Carlton’s most dominant utilities, impressing in the loss. With both teams underwhelming on the scoreboard, the No. 3 pick showed she’s nothing if not consistent as she picked up a game-high 19 disposals, one mark and three tackles along the way to 67 AFL Fantasy Points. At the rate she’s progressing, it might be possible for her to snag the Rising Star Award and the AFLW Best and Fairest trophy in consecutive years. She is easily the frontrunner for the latter, but also shouldn’t be ruled out for either as the continues to put up great numbers.

Collingwood: Sarah Dargan
The hardnut midfielder is getting better by the week, and in Round 4, she was handed a Rising Star nomination. Against the GWS GIANTS, Dargan racked up 16 disposals, two marks, six tackles and booted an important Collingwood goal. She was the second highest disposal winner from the Pies and has been a shining light in a disappointing season thus far.

Fremantle: Sabreena Duffy
With a final quarter blitz shaking Fremantle to their core, Duffy and Parris Laurie were treated to their first loss as Fremantle players. Of the two, Duffy had the most impact. Despite recording her lowest numbers of the season, Duffy endeavoured with seven disposals, three marks and two tackles. She tried her luck at a goal in the fourth but failed to find the middle. Laurie (eight disposals, two marks and one tackle) remained efficient in the loss.

Geelong: Olivia Purcell
Geelong’s hard ball winner continues to impress in Nina Morrison’s absence, propping up numbers all over the stat sheet. In the Round 4 victory she secured 14 possessions (nine contested), three clearances, three tackles and four inside 50s. Her work on the inside continues to impress, but her disposal efficiency (42 per cent) could improve.

GWS GIANTS: Yvonne Bonner
Not only has Bonner proven to be the GIANTS’ most dominant new prospect, at times she warrants comparisons with some of the league’s best. She is yet to be goalless this season, kicking her fourth career goal with elite goal sense. As a forward, she possesses a lot of the footy as she combines well in chains and hits up teammates in space. For the game she snagged nine disposals, one mark and one tackle. While not her most impressive game, she still deserves her place on this list.

Melbourne: Tyla Hanks
Hanks might have been one goal short of a Rising Star Nomination this week as she turned it on for Melbourne in a tight loss. The former Gippsland co-captain decisively made her case for Rising Star consideration with 12 disposals, one goal, two marks and three tackles on her way to 51 AFL Fantasy Points. This marks Hanks’ second goal and third consecutive game with over 10 disposals.

North Melbourne: Georgia Nanscawen
There was not a lot of first-year influence in North Melbourne’s fourth consecutive win, with most players recording under four disposals with low disposal efficiency. Nanscawen was the best of the crop with four disposals, one mark and one tackle. In her first year, the 26-year-old is still yet to breakout, though with a solid team around her, it could still happen this season.

Western Bulldogs: Aisling McCarthy
The Irish-born Bulldog was one of the few pillars who remained in their heavy loss. McCarthy had 12 disposals, two marks, two tackles and kicked her second career goal on her way to 53 AFL Fantasy Points. The change in codes has not seem to have dwindled her impact as she continues to get more comfortable in front of the sticks.

U18 Girls season preview: Gippsland Power

AFTER not registering a win in season 2017, Gippsland Power showed marked improvement in 2018, winning three games and drawing another – against a previously unbeaten side – while remaining incredibly competitive throughout the season. Female Talent Manager, Chelsea Caple and head coach Scott Armour are teaming up again in season 2019, after what was a really promising year last year.

“I think we definitely saw improvement in the team from season 2017 to season 2018,” Caple said. “Obviously, we saw a new coaching panel from Scotty McDougal to Scotty Armour and I think Scott brought with him that idea of developing the girls as individuals, developing them as a team and really focusing on those little wins. “So not necessarily those scoreboard wins, but tackling pressure and just the girls putting in 100 per cent and I think that really showed and our progress throughout the year with the wins and the draws that we had was definitely an improvement. “Obviously being a development competition, we don’t necessarily look at the scoreboard, but we know that winning teams and successful teams breed draftable players which is what we try and get achieved as well. “We were really happy with the season, especially coming from the back of 2017, having a little more of a challenging year. “This year will be just as interesting.”

There were some nervous times early in the season, with the Power opting not to play a pre-season practice match, and then getting belted by Oakleigh in the opening game. But any nerves about how the second season might go down, lasted just a round, as the Power turned it around to defeat the Western Jets, then draw with Murray Bushrangers the following round.

“We took some learnings (from last year),” Caple said. “So in 2017 we played a practice match against another side, and it probably from our perspective gave the girls a bit of a reality check so they were ready to hit Round 1 running. However, in 2018 we had five girls make our first side that hadn’t played a game of football competitively against other people.” “… and six other debutants,” Armour added. “So we had 11 playing their first TAC game. “I think we underestimated the nerves and how that could impact, because we saw how their football could develop from that first round, and change.” “Absolutely,” Caple agreed. “You could just tell in that first quarter that our really talented players from other sports were just like ‘oh my goodness this is the pace’ and it probably took them that whole game to adjust. They were learning the game as well, but they learning the pace, learning the intensity, but by Round 2 they knew what to expect.”

Armour said dual sport athlete, Jasmine Ferguson was a perfect example of someone who took time to adjust, but when she did, she flourished.

“I think Jaz Ferguson is a good example,” he said. “She came only playing school football, and only four games of school football, and struggled a bit in Round 1. “Then she had a really consistent season and ended up playing VFL football with Collingwood. “I think it was that first game, and we’ve got a practice match this weekend (earlier in February) and hopefully we can get some of those nerves out of the newer girls. :So we can be a bit more match ready this year.”

One constant in the Gippsland Power program who will no longer run out with the girls is last year’s co-captain, Tyla Hanks who has followed on from her top-age year with some impressive performances in the AFL Women’s competition for Melbourne. Both Caple and Armour praised the impact Hanks had on the group throughout her time at the Power.

“I think Tyla’s really calm under pressure and I think her season with us and her season with Carlton in the VFLW prepared her really well for AFLW,” Caple said. She’s playing against those bigger bodies, she’s got used to the pace. “Obviously AFLW is another step, but we never had any doubts that she wouldn’t be able to do it.”

“No she, boy or girl she’s one of the best young footballers I’ve seen and I think in a few years’ time you’ll see just how good she is at AFLW level,” Armour said. “She’s a young leader, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see her in the leadership group or in some leadership role in the next few years.”

So how will Hanks’ departure affect the Power? Caple admitted while the saying goes ‘everyone is replaceable’, she conceded Hanks was hard to replace. Armour said the team was not looking to replace Hanks directly, but instead look for a range of players to step up in her absence.

Tyla Hanks and Maddy Prespakis, those types, I think they’re hard to come by and I think you really value them when they do come through,” Armour said. “But we’ve got some really talented girls and we’re happy with how they’re progressing. “Not saying that they’re going to be a Tyla Hanks. “They’re all unique and different in their own way. “Nikia Webber had a pretty good Round 1 to 5 last year I think she’d kicked nearly 10 goals. “She started off really well and I think she’s got the potential to really impact this year and getting some consistency will be what we aim for her. “She’s a very good mark, she’s very good one-on-one and she’s one of the best kicks in the league. “Already people, VFL and AFL are looking at her kicking because it’s excellent. “So we do have some strengths coming through even though we’ve lost Tyla. “Just different players.”

Caple said the amount of players who had shown more voice at training and over the pre-season compared to the year before was noticeable.

“It’s also an opportunity for other players to step up. With Tyla filling such a role – she was a vice-captain in her bottom-age year and a captain in her top-age year, we’ve seen some of the girls through pre-season really stepping up and seeing that that gap needing to be filled,” she said. “We played an intraclub … and to see the voice from some of the girls that we didn’t see last year and even the direction and the leadership on the field. “Tyla was for us, and still is, a leader on the field and a leader by example. “To really notice that those girls are stepping up, understanding what Scotty wants from them in terms of structure and being able to guide that, where previously they probably did rely on Tyla.”

Armour said the reliance on Hanks at times also worked the other way, with Hanks having an ability to create opportunities for her teammates.

“I think it works both ways too,” he said. “There might be the mindset of ‘well Tyla will do it’, but also Tyla was one of those players that would bring others into the game and help with their confidence and they can get better because of it. “That was what we tried and the angle we used with Tyla, that she can build others up. “For the other girls, Tyla will be there to support them and the girls will be there to support Tyla and hopefully they weren’t just thinking Tyla will do it all. “We knew that she would get close attention. “Not saying that she got anything illegal, but close attention which she should because she’s an awesome player, so we needed other people to step up.”

With a lot of bottom-age players now moving into their top-age year, Gippsland Power has no shortage of leaders ready to take the next step, as well as some with limited football experience.

“So we’ve already spoken about Nikia (Webber), but Maddi Shaw (is one to watch),” Armour said. “We think Maddi can have a big impact this year. “She was really consistent for us last year. “She played through the midfield and off half-back. “She reads the ball well, she learns stoppages, she holds her feet well, (is) quick, tries to break the lines when she gets the ball. “Very aggressive when tackling. “We’re hopeful she’ll take that next step up this year. “Also, we’ve got another top-ager in Shanara Notman, now she didn’t play last year but she played V/Line the year before. “Now she’s come from elite basketball background and think she will be one to watch athletically. She’s quite tall, she’d be about 183cm. “She can play forward, back, ruck, onball, wing. “She can play anywhere. “Trying to decide I guess where the best fit is for the team will be important. She reads the ball really well, she is a competitor. “I remember years ago when we played V/Line, against Lucy Cripps‘ group (Peninsula Stingrays) and Lucy Cripps was doing really well so we put Shanara down there. “Now I think Lucy still won the day but Shanara made her really earn her possessions. And then she’s had a year off footy and come back to it. “We hope she will step up and from what she’s shown with her skill progression and her kicking been really good. “We’re excited for what the year can hold for her.”

Armour is excited to watch versatile bottom-ager, Chandra Abrahams continue to develop her game and build consistency in 2019 after glimpses of some highlight-worthy moments last season.

Chandra Abrahams has a really huge upside,” Armour said. “I think when she’s firing, the team is firing. “If she’s on, she can pull down some marks that not many others in the comp can. She’s a power athlete. She comes from an athletics background when she was young, she was an athletics champion at state level at shorter distance. She’s really powerful. “For her, when she’s forward she can lead with speed and have a lot of power in her lead when she goes up for the ball. She’s also really good up around the football, she’s really strong and she’s good at clearances. So I guess for us we’d like to see her going through the midfield and down forward, but that being said we played her down back at times last year and she did quite well last year, but probably forward and midfield for Chandra this year.”

Caple said the V/Line Cup squad has a number of players coming up who would be eligible for either the Under 18s or Futures games this season. Lily-Rose Williamson might only be turning 15 this year, but already the tough midfielder is eyeing off a spot in the Futures games mid-season.

“She’s 2004 born so we’ve been able to apply to have her potentially play in some of our futures games,” Caple said. “Last year she still played with the boys and the girls so she’d swap. “She’d play under 14s one week with dad and then play with the girls with mum. “Allegedly she was the best on the field with the under 14 boys and very, very, very hard tackler and held her own. “She’ll be an interesting one to see coming up for the Futures games.”

Overall, Armour has been pleased with the Power pre-season and looks forward to hitting the season running this weekend.

“I’ve been really happy with the way it’s been going and the way they’re developing,” the coach said. “We spent a lot of time in November doing a lot of fundamental skill work and trying to get some fitness into them. “We’ve been really happy with how it’s been going and it’s just been the last few weeks because of weather and things outside our control. “Things have been thrown upside down but we can only control what we can control, so we focus on that and try and move forward as best we can.”

As for a mantra throughout season 2019, it does not change with the Gippsland sides always keen for competitiveness and 100 per cent effort.

“As a team we’d like to be, one of the values of Power is that we’re hard to play against, that we’re really competitive and we’d love every team to come away thinking ‘gee that was tough’ whether they’ve lost or won, that that was a tough game,” Armour said. “That’s ideal. “I kept saying to the girls last year I want you to walk off the ground with your head held high, and the only way you can do that is knowing within yourself that you gave 100 per cent effort so for me, it’s a lot about them just giving absolutely everything they can. “If everyone gives 100 per cent we can’t ask for more than that. “They can’t do more than that, because some days you’re going to get beaten by teams that are better than you. “But the most important thing is we give 100 per cent and that’s coaching staff as well and that we are switched on and give our absolute best all the time.”

Gippsland Power starts its 2019 campaign on Sunday, March 3 against Oakleigh Chargers at Skybus Stadium Frankston, with the Power keen to make amends for last year’s Round 1 loss.

Weekend wash-up: AFLW – Round 4

ROUND 4 was packed to the brim with exciting matches, with three teams winning by less than 10 points to close out the midway point of the season. North Melbourne got a shock this week when they took on a fighting Melbourne side at home, but are now the only team that has not dropped a game this season. Brisbane pulled a big win out in the final quarter against Bulldogs, while Collingwood has now lost four on the trot, essentially out of the running for finals with three rounds to go.

Geelong 2.7 (19) defeated Carlton 1.8 (14)
By: Michael Alvaro

A first half shut-out and Carlton’s blues in front of goal were the difference as Geelong pounced onto another win to climb into Conference B’s top two.

The Cats showed their typical guile in defence, keeping the star-studded Blues forward line to just two points at the main break, while opening up a 14-point buffer thanks to goals from Phoebe McWilliams and Sophie Van de Heuvel. While they kept the clamps on to see Carlton only manage one goal for the game’s entirety, it was not without unintended aid from the travelling side – encapsulated by two close-range misses from Tayla Harris in the third term that could have otherwise turned the tide of the game. Veteran Katie Loynes had no such trouble as she got Carlton on the board in the same stanza as the Blues pushed to snatch the lead. While Carlton managed to reverse the shut-out and restrict Geelong to three points in the second half, it was to no avail as the home side held on for its second win at GMHBA Stadium in as many tries.

Despite close attention from Blues skipper Bri Davey in the first half, McWilliams was one of the Cats’ best alongside the engine room prowess of Renee Garing and Maddy Keryk. Davey was thrown into the middle to combat their dominance after half time, and led the way from leading ball winners, Madison Prespakis and Kerryn Harrington – who stood up down back. Having leapfrogged their weekend opponents in Conference B, the Cats travel north in a top of the table clash against Brisbane, while the Blues host a winless Collingwood side on the same day.

Bulldogs 2.5 (17) defeated by Brisbane 7.7 (49)
By: Carly McClen

In the 2018 grand final rematch, it was Brisbane’s time for reckoning. With momentum, belief and energy, the Lions not only beat a Conference A side, they made it clear they’re in with a real shot at this year’s flag.

Playing at home with the breeze behind them, the Bulldogs set forth very differently to last year’s brand of footy. Though they had plenty of the ball and won clearances, they were kept goalless in the first and second terms due to inefficiency. They could not apply their characteristic short chip game under the Lions’ precise attack on the ball and the ball carrier.

The action was fierce, with bodies on the line, but it was scrappy from both teams until the second term when the Lions made good use of the breeze, broke out of the congestion and started to convert. Close to half time, and 21 points down, it got desperate for the Dogs. They put Katie Brennan deep down back and the whole side in defence to stop the haemorrhaging and reset in the main break.

First half goals went to Jordan Zanchetta in the first term, along with Jess Wuetschner and Breanna Koenen in the second.

The Dogs tried to rally early in the third and looked to have upped the intensity. Yet even with a strengthening wind behind them, they were unable to make a different statement or post scoreboard pressure.

Opportunities for the Dogs went by in the second half. Monique Conti missed an easy goal and there were multiple poor deliveries into key forward Katie Brennan. Just when those opportunities looked to have really sailed and Nat Exon celebrated a huge goal for the Lions, the Dogs got their first, with a clever intercept from Aisling McCarthy and and easy goal.

As Bulldogs’ prime midfield mover Ellie Blackburn was taken down the race with a knock to the head, Brisbane finished out the match as though being in front at three quarter time is a regular thing.

They take on the Cats at home next week.

Adelaide 9.11 (65) defeated Fremantle 3.5 (23)
By: Sophie Taylor

For the first time in 2019 a game was played at TIO Stadium in Darwin as Adelaide hosted Fremantle for the battle of Conference A. With a spectacular goal apiece for both teams in the first term and relatively even second and third quarters it looked like it was going to be a close match, however a final quarter onslaught from the Crows proved not only their strength in the competition, but their determination under pressure.

The Crows managed a convincing win over their fellow Conference A side, beating the Dockers 9.11 (65) to 3.5 (23), and delivering Fremantle’s first loss for the season.

Despite the loss, Fremantle’s Kiara Bowers and Dana Hooker put on a tackling show, picking up a combined 18 tackles of the Dockers’ 55. Bowers and Hooker were dominant for the Dockers, also picking up 19 and 16 touches respectively, while Evangeline Gooch picked up 17 touches and four marks.

Ashlee Atkins, Ebony Antonio and Kellie Gibson kicked a goal apiece, with Gibson kicking the opening goal of the match for the second week running.

Erin Phillips was dominant for the Crows, managing 25 touches, two goals and a behind to her name. Anne Hatchard and Ebony Marinoff were not far behind with 22 and 20 touches, respectively, while Eloise Jones, Stevie-Lee Thompson and Danielle Ponter each kicked another two goals to add to the tally. Thompson’s goal opened the scoring for the Crows, knocking down the goal umpire in what fortunately did not foreshadow the end result.

Adelaide dominated the hitouts, with Jessica Foley managing 24 of the 29 for her side alongside her five marks. Meanwhile teammate, Deni Varnhagen, and opposition, Stephanie Cain and Bowers also picked up five marks.

Collingwood 4.3 (27) defeated by GWS 5.6 (36)
By: Nikki Jamieson

Round 4 proved to be do-or-die for both the Giants and the Pies as they each were without a win all season. The GIANTS were able to hold Collingwood down for majority of the game, keeping them from scoring in both the first and third quarters. This very well means the end for the Pies’ 2019 campaign, whereas GWS just holds on in conference pool B.

In an almost fairytale start for the Giants, Tait Mackrill opened the scoring with her first career goal 30 seconds into the game, with a terrific goal that dribbled through Collingwood’s backline. The Giants continued to take advantage of the strong winds, kicking another two goals within the first 8 minutes of play.

GWS were more than able to out play Collingwood on the ball throughout the game, having far greater possession. Key players like Rebecca Beeson and Alicia Eva were most reflective of this, both players having equal highest disposals (22). Beeson’s dominance in the fourth quarter as well as early in the game proved to be a foil for Collingwood’s forwardline.

Collingwood tried in earnest to make a late-comeback in the fourth, leading to a 27-36 deficit and keeping GWS scoreless for the quarter. For Collingwood, key players like Jaimee Lambert and Sarah Dargan were able to stand out despite the loss. Lambert (21 disposals and 7 tackles) and Dargan (six tackles and 1 goal) were both influential in Collingwood’s final dig at a win, but nevertheless it proved too little too late.

Next Sunday, Giants will host the Dees in their second conference cross-over match back in their home stadium. Whereas Collingwood face their all-time rivals, Carlton at the historical Ikon Park on the Saturday.

Melbourne 5.4 (34) defeated by North Melbourne 6.2 (38)
By: Peter Williams

North Melbourne has survived its biggest threat yet in the AFL Women’s competition, to remain the only undefeated team from four rounds. The Kangaroos were challenged throughout the match, and were trailing as late as up until the seventh minute of the final term, before Emma King‘s third goal of the game put the visitors back in front to record a four-point win. Mo Hope converted the first goal of the game for North Melbourne, but the Dees through the unlikely goalkicker of Catherine Phillips, responded to trail by a point at quarter time. The second term belonged to the Roos as they piled on three goals, including two to King who was too tall at full-forward. After half-time, Melbourne booted the first two goals of the half including a running beauty to speedster, Aliesha Newman, and then a snap from former Gippsland Power co-captain, Tyla Hanks to hit the front momentarily. Hope’s second goal handed the Roos back the lead and while Newman’s second major in the final term gave the Dees a huge sniff, it was fitting that King was to eventually boot the winning goal.

Melbourne could consider itself very unlucky not to walk away with the points, having 45 more disposals, seven more marks and broke even in the clearances. Karen Paxman was terrific with 25 disposals, two marks and three tackles to be the Demons’ best alongside Lily Mithen (22 disposals, five marks and four tackles). Newman’s two goals up forward, and Tegan Cunningham‘s work rate inside 50 early was a treat, while Kate Hore was also impressive with 18 touches, three marks and three tackles. For North Melbourne, King was the clear difference between the teams with 3.1 from eight disposals and three marks, while Hope was lively throughout with the two goals from 10 touches and three marks. Jess Duffin was superb in the back half with 20 disposals and seven marks, while Jamie Stanton stood up on a wing with 21 touches, two marks and two tackles.