Tag: tyla hanks

Draftee Watch – AFLW: Round 3

IN Round 3, forward Courteney Munn booted four goals on debut and highlighted a number of impressive draftee performances across the round.

Adelaide: Chloe Scheer
The South Australian champion exceeded her Round 1 performance in a big win over Geelong. She kicked two goals, with her last comfortably shutting the Cats out of the race in the final quarter. Her work overhead remains consistent as she leads well into space. She also displays an uncanny goal sense that makes her dangerous around the sticks. For the day, she tallied up 13 disposals, four marks and three inside 50s, as well as finishing as Adelaide’s second leading goal kicker behind Erin Phillips (three goals).

Brisbane: Jesse Tawhiao-Wardlaw
After missing her first shot on goal against Fremantle, Tawhiao-Wardlaw found her first in her side’s loss to Melbourne, coming at the end of a first quarter which seemed to be keeping Brisbane in contention. Unfortunately, those hopes were quickly quashed as Melbourne returned five consecutive goals in the second. For the day, Tawhiao-Wardlaw had eight disposals, three marks and two tackles.

Carlton: Madison Prespakis
A contender for the MVP, Prespakis has somehow smashed expectations with possibly a league-best performance against GWS GIANTS. After earning a Rising Star nomination in Round 2, the Carlton recruit took things up a notch with a game-high 21 disposals and three goals. She boasted an excellent goal sense and found her forwards well, combining well with Tayla Harris (three goals) on several occasions to hit the board. Her individual performance saw Carlton to their first win and possibly a revitalised season with a new brand of attacking football.

Collingwood: Jordyn Allen
Allen continues to improve despite Collingwood’s struggles. The former Dandenong Stingrays captain received her first shot on goal and a career-high 10 disposals alongside one mark and two tackles on her way to 33 AFL Fantasy Points.

Fremantle: Parris Laurie
After a shaky second round performance, Laurie doubled her efforts with a 17 disposal game, smashing her previous highest. The 24 year-old made waves throughout Fremantle’s midfield, assisting attacking chains and dishing the ball off effectively. She finished as the second highest accumulator behind teammate, Kara Donnellan, and currently sits at a 77 per cent disposal efficiency, looking set to take the game on more in the coming rounds.

Geelong: Olivia Purcell
Despite some issues with her disposal efficiency (37 per cent), Purcell currently sits as Geelong’s best young asset after Nina Morrison suffered her anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury. In her junior career she was selected for both TAC Cup Team of the Year and the All-Australian team and received the Geelong Falcons best and fairest during her under 18’s year. She brings Geelong a new level of intensity on the inside, dishing the ball out from congestion and bringing players to the ground. Against Adelaide she had nine disposals, one goal, one mark and two tackles. This was Purcell’s first score for the season and hopefully leads in many more.

GWS Giants: Yvonne Bonner
In only her fourth game of AFL, Bonner is playing like a veteran. In their loss against Carlton she remained a pillar in the forward line, marking everything that came her way and setting up multiple goals for her teammates. She also earned herself an early nod at the goal of the year with a gather and round the body snap from the boundary line. She assisted Christina Bernardi twice in front of goal and kept up the intensity despite Carlton’s dominance. For the day she tallied up 13 disposals and eight marks.

Melbourne: Tyla Hanks
The Gippsland Power and Carlton VFL gun was pivotal in Melbourne’s interstate win over Brisbane, with a career-high 12 disposals, four marks and three tackles. She dropped the ball in well to her forwards (three inside 50s), helping to assist Melbourne’s relentless goal pressure. She currently averages 10 disposals and 57 per cent disposal efficiency, but those numbers have only climbed since her debut.

North Melbourne: Courteney Munn
The debutant just showed another string to North Melbourne’s impressive forward bow, booting four goals in North Melbourne’s big win over the reigning premiers. Munn had 11 touches, four marks and two tackles in the victory, but it was her four goals, some of which were very impressive and showed maturity beyond her years. Her elite 91 per cent disposal efficiency was also a highlight and Munn certainly cemented her spot for Round 4.

Western Bulldogs: Celine Moody
Moody continues to prove herself a dominant ruckman as she beat out her Roos opponent, Emma King, in the weekend’s loss. With 15 hit-outs to 11, Moody has shown she knows how to scrap with the best, notching her average up to 11 after a weaker performance in Round 1. In the loss, she picked up four disposals, one inside 50 and two clearances. Moody is well on her way to a big career if she keeps improving like this.

Weekend wash-up: AFLW – Round 3

IN a round that certainly shook up the ladder, North Melbourne continued their outstanding form for the season, sitting on a comfortable 250.8 per cent to finish Round 3. Carlton put their first win on the board for 2019 with a convincing win over GWS GIANTS, while Conference A’s bottom, Melbourne, took on Conference B’s top, Brisbane, in a match that proved the difference between the two conferences.

North Melbourne 8.5 (53) defeated Western Bulldogs 3.4 (22)
By: James Halley

North Melbourne has emerged as favourites for the 2019 AFLW flag after a great start to the season. The Kangaroos won their third straight match with a comfortable 31-point win over the Western Bulldogs. Kangaroo, Courteney Munn helped inspire the victory with a dominant debut match kicking four goals. Captain, Emma Kearney took control of the midfield against her former side, collecting 17 disposals.

It was a slow start to the match, with the first goal of the game not coming until the fourth minute of the second quarter through Roos debutant, Munn. She continued to impress, kicking a second goal mere minutes later. Munn kicked two more late goals, including one dribbled home from the boundary putting an exclamation mark on a great start to the season for the Kangaroos.

Along with Munn’s two early goals, North kicked five unanswered majors in the second term to create a thirty-point buffer against the Bulldogs, ultimately putting an end to the match. It took until the third quarter for the Bulldogs to kick their first goal of the night through Ash Utri. This spurred a more competitive second half from the Dogs, although it was too little too late as they could not overcome the first half deficit.

North Melbourne will play in Victoria for the first time next week, against Melbourne at home next Sunday afternoon. Meanwhile, the Western Bulldogs have a chance to get back on the winners list next week when they host the Brisbane Lions.

GWS GIANTS 5.6 (36) defeated by Carlton 10.5 (65)
By: Brandon Hutchinson

A revitalised Carlton leave the track victorious following a comprehensive showing at Blacktown over GWS. Both teams started Saturday without a win, but Carlton have seemingly revived their chances for finals footy as GWS slips further away. In the congestion, Carlton won a lot of the hard ball and contested well in the air with Tayla Harris on the receiving end. Their intense brand of offensive football rocked GWS and set the pace for the game early. Despite the GIANTS having a few glimpses, the Blues kept history from repeating itself and remained focused on how they wanted to play.

Carlton secured the first goal off a GWS kick-in and subsequent mark infringement. Gabriella Pound was awarded the 50m and secured her first in front of the sticks. Soon after, Harris kicked her first from an advantage call, running in on an angle to increase Carlton’s lead. The GIANTS responded by playing tighter on the football – keeping both sides goalless for seven minutes. The GIANTS hit their first major at the end of the first term with a scoop and snap by Jacinda Barclay, shortening the margin to seven-points as they entered the second.

Darcy Vescio kicked her first directly in front to start the second. She immediately followed up with a mark and kick to first-year, Madison Prespakis to get her first for the day. While Carlton quickly increased the lead, Yvonne Bonner and Cora Staunton restored the GIANTS’ momentum with a goal each in succession to return the margin to seven points. Prespakis and Harris combined twice in the final minutes to help them secure a goal each, with Prespakis first hitting Harris on the lead, while in the closing seconds Harris returned the favour, giving Prespakis a run-on goal.

In the second half, Bonner opened the forward line for the Giants, assisting Christina Bernardi with two goals, while Harris and Prespakis closed out the final quarter with their respective third goals for the game. GWS trailed for the second half but could not crack above Carlton’s scoring and compete with their numbers around the ball.

Prespakis has notched it up another level. Her performance on the track might be the best of the weekend, with a game-high 21 disposals and career-high three goals. Harris (nine disposals and six marks) was a pillar for Carlton up forward, also kicking three goals. While on the opposite end, Bonner (one goal, 13 disposals and eight marks) and Bernardi (two goals, 10 disposals and five tackles) cleaned up for the Giants.

This match marks a new beginning for Carlton and may even spark a finals campaign. For the GIANTS, there is a lot of work to be done if they plan on salvaging this season.

Fremantle 7.9 (51) defeated Collingwood 2.6 (18)
By: Michael Alvaro

Fremantle kept its undefeated streak alive with a resounding victory over the winless Magpies. The Dockers started well with the breeze at their backs as season one marquee, Kellie Gibson slotted a goal with less than 40 seconds taken from the clock, setting a ruthless tone for the encounter. Magpie vice-captain, Britt Bonnici missed the chance to hit straight back and Ebony Antonio made the Magpies pay with a clinical finish to a breakneck defensive transition.

That minute-passage was a perfect window into the game as a whole, with the Magpies getting plenty of the ball forward of centre but not being able to capitalise. That lack of a finishing touch or clear link into forward 50 was a sore spot for the travelling side despite Sophie Alexander’s inclusion, and it showed in a goalless first half. Fremantle’s 31-point half time lead was extended to 33 in a more even second half, with Sarah D’Arcy slotting Collingwood’s first goal halfway through the third stanza on the back of two 50-metre penalties.

Antonio and Gibson dealt the most damage with two goals each as the only multiple goal kickers, while D’Arcy and Jaimee Lambert were the only Pies to trouble the scorers. D’Arcy was their best, while Bonnici played a good role on Dana Hooker in the midfield and Ash Brazill continued her outstanding defensive form. Leading ball-winner, Kara Donnellan was again Freo’s best, aided by Paris Laurie and Kiara Bowers.

Collingwood now has perhaps its best opportunity to get on the board in 2019 as the Pies host fellow winless side, GWS in a game that could see them scrape off the bottom of Conference B. The Dockers hit the road to face a Crows side coming into form, hoping to maintain their flawless record and a spot in Conference A’s top two.

Adelaide 10.6 (66) defeated Geelong 6.1 (37)
By: Nikki Jamieson

Heartbreak continued for Geelong after being crushed by a superior Adelaide side. In what started as a close game, with the Crows leading by only one-point early in the second quarter, it did not take long for the elite side to end the half leading by 28.

As the match continued, the Cats could not keep up with Adelaide, going nearly 45 minutes without putting up a score. Goals by Danielle Orr and Kate Darby late in the third gave Geelong possible hope, but it proved to be too little too late.

Geelong struggled against Adelaide’s tight midfield and paid the price more than a few times against a more experienced backline. The Crows were to be too much for the newcomers, who despite putting up a good fight were no match for Adelaide’s efficiency and skill in front of the goals.

Crows captain, Erin Phillips led with a dominating performance putting 19 points (3 goals, 1 behind) on the board for her team. Tough midfielder, Ebony Marinoff was on fire breaking records within the Crows with 33 disposals. Anne Hatchard had another exceptional game with 27 touches as well as kicking a goal.

Despite the continued bad luck for Geelong, young gun, Olivia Purcell had a phenomenal moment on the ball, kicking a fantastic goal early in the second quarter by sidestepping an Adelaide defender and getting herself wide open. Richelle Cranston’s first game for the Cats wasn’t the win that was desired but she still demonstrated why she’s a high-impact player, leading her team with 18 disposals.

Brisbane 3.3 (21) defeated by Melbourne 9.6 (60)
By: Taylah Melki

Melbourne dominated from the get go, nailing seven goals in the opening half to the Lions’ one. The Demons attacked the footy with speed and intent, helping them to secure their second win for the season. Brisbane struggled to combat Melbourne’s offensive pressure with the Dees using their quick hands and clever kicks into space to create scoring opportunities.

After a dominant performance last week, Elise O’Dea starred once again for the Demons, amassing plenty of touches while her partner in crime, Karen Paxman also dominated slotting a goal and getting her hands to plenty of the ball. Young gun, Tyla Hanks also impressed on the big stage taking it up to the Lions with her clever kicks into space and clean hands. Up forward speedster, Aliesha Newman stamped her authority on the competition slotting three goals. Newman showed off her speed and impressive football smarts to evade tacklers and get into the right positions. Bianca Jakobsson also starred across the field racking up plenty of touches and contributing on the scoreboard with two majors.

Star Brisbane forward, Sabrina Frederick-Traub struggled against the defensive pressure of the Dees, while the experience of Nat Exon shone through working hard to win the footy and nailing a good goal to keep her side in the contest. Alexandra Anderson was the major ball winner for the Lions, going in hard to win the footy and laying plenty of tackles. Veteran, Kate Lutkins was also a standout for Brisbane in what was a disappointing outing, using the ball efficiently and cleverly.

Draftee Watch: Round 2

IN Round 2 of the AFL Women’s season, some familiar faces and other new young stars stood tall as teams backed up their first matches of the summer with commanding performances from Conference A teams, while Conference B sides all suffered losses.

Adelaide: Hannah Martin

Drafted at pick 53, Adelaide’s recruit breaks lines off the wing with her elite speed. Martin did exactly that with a great second appearance for Adelaide, picking up 13 disposals, three marks and three tackles for the day. Bringing clean hands to every contest, Martin was treated to her first AFLW win in a stellar effort against Carlton. She adds a lot of polish to Adelaide, boasting a 71 per cent disposal efficiency and great break away speed out of stoppages.

Brisbane: Lauren Bella

As with a lot of last week’s debutants, Bella greatly improved and showed why she’s an integral part of the side. Dominating in the ruck with 23 hit-outs, the Brisbane tall topped the combined total (20 hit-outs) of her opponents alone. In Round 1 she had some trouble competing with GWS ruckman, Erin McKinnon, but has since corrected, recording 11 disposals and two tackles for the game.

Carlton: Madison Prespakis

As with Round 1, Prespakis was Carlton’s greatest utility come gameday, leading her team for disposals (20) and putting through a goal. This performance followed her 13 disposals from last week, keeping hopes high for greater numbers in future rounds. Despite the loss, Prespakis kept Carlton in contention and showed the rest of the competition that the Blues are here to compete.  

Collingwood: Mikala Cann

Round 2 was underwhelming for Collingwood, but that didn’t slow Cann down. She recorded seven disposals and a game-high 11 tackles, continuing to apply pressure despite the odds. In the end, Melbourne controlled the ball better, but Collingwood still fought where they could.

Fremantle: Sabreena Duffy

In Fremantle’s first ever win over Brisbane’s AFLW side, Duffy starred. She recorded 11 disposals, one mark and two tackles, and showed great goal sense under pressure, adding two more to her season total. She was among the best on ground for Fremantle, along with four others who kicked multiple goals.

Geelong: Olivia Purcell

With Star, Nina Morrison, out with a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), it seemed time for some other debutants to pick up the slack. Purcell stood up in Geelong’s loss with 17 disposals, 10 kicks, three marks and four tackles, making her the fifth best accumulator for the day, and second for Geelong. Denby Taylor (10 disposals and four tackles) and Sophie Van De Heuvel were also impressive.

GWS Giants: Alyce Parker

Despite the Round 2 loss, the GIANTS recruit continues to catch eyes with her abilities. Parker recorded 14 disposals, one mark, seven tackles, five inside 50s and two clearances, but continues to have trouble with her disposal efficiency (42 per cent). Regardless of that, Parker remains a contested ball winner and an exciting prospect for GWS.

Melbourne: Tyla Hanks

After narrowly missing out on her first win in Round 1, Hanks tasted victory following a comfortable victory over Collingwood at Victoria Park. Despite the low scoring affair, the young forward slotted through one of Melbourne’s three goals, had a direct score involvement and amassed 11 disposals and three tackles in a strong second appearance.

North Melbourne: Daisy Bateman

Despite low disposal numbers, Bateman still had a huge impact. North Melbourne’s recruit kicked two goals with only four disposals, improving greatly from her two disposals the week prior. She also applied great forward pressure with three tackles, maintaining her Round 1 average.

Western Bulldog: Celine Moody

The reigning premiers drafted well in Moody. In their second win the Bulldogs’ tall amassed 11 hitouts, five disposals, two contested possessions, two marks and two tackles. Bulldogs fans picked up a great prospect in Moody. She’s shown her talents in multiple roles and is incredibly strong overhead.

Weekend wash-up: AFLW – Round 2

ROUND 2 of AFLW 2019 is done and dusted, with Melbourne and Adelaide entering the winners list for the first time this year. North Melbourne continued their dominant start to the season, while Collingwood struggled and Carlton were unlucky to come away with a loss to Adelaide. Three matches recorded high scores in Round 2, showing good signs for the rest of the season.

North Melbourne 7.6 (48) defeated GWS GIANTS 2.11 (23)
By: James Halley

North Melbourne continued its perfect start to the AFL Women’s, defeating GWS GIANTS by 25 points in treacherous conditions. Two weather delays could not stop the flag favourites from proving their worth. The midfield duo of Emma Kearney and Jess Duffin, alongside dominating ruck, Emma King led the way for the Kangaroos. The formidable trio will prove hard to beat deep into the season.

Alicia Eva kicked the opening goal of the match for the GIANTS, but once Jasmine Garner and Kate Gillespie-Jones found the big sticks for North Melbourne, the Roos maintained their lead for the rest of the match. A third quarter flurry from GIANT, Yvonne Bonner gave the Kangaroos a scare, however GWS did not capitalise on its opportunities, finishing the game with two goals and 11 behinds. At the final break, the GIANTS only trailed by eight points, giving them hope of snatching the match at the death. All hope was lost when Roos ruck, King was pushed forward early and kicked two quick goals proving too much for GWS defender, Louise Stephenson. Kangaroos’ captain, Kearney leads her team out in Tasmania against her former side, 2018 Premiers the Western Bulldogs next Friday night. GWS hosts Carlton in Blacktown next Saturday.

 

Collingwood 1.3 (9) defeated by Melbourne 3.8 (26)
By: Sophie Taylor

In gusty conditions Melbourne battled it out against traditional rivals, Collingwood at Victoria Park in Abbotsford, marking a historic day at the ground as it hosted a women’s game for the first time in park history. With over 7000 faithful turning up to see the two teams battle it out, the match was looking to be a big one.

Melbourne’s Harriet Cordner was the seventh Cordner and third-generation Melbourne player to take the field, marking the occasion with a win her family name is sure to be proud of. Ainsley Kemp was an exciting returnee to the Dees, having sat out the 2018 season with an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury.

An inaccurate first term from both sides saw the scores sit at 2-all at the end of the first change. Though Melbourne had opportunities on goal and options forward, the side was kicking into the wind and unlucky on the scoreboard.
Collingwood were unlucky early, unable to capitalise on their opportunities inside 50, and losing Emma Grant to a suspected AC-joint injury midway through the first term.

Melbourne’s tight defence was commendable, with a constant body-on-body making it hard for the Pies to get boot to ball. The Magpies struggled with their forward structure throughout the game, having difficulty making it through Melbourne’s strong backline. However, a shining light for the Pies was Mikala Cann, providing a constant blockade on the wing and preventing Melbourne’s run downfield. Cann picked up 11 tackles, highest on field. Cross-coder, Ash Brazill was dominant for the losing side, proving her ability on the field picking up 23 touches and three tackles to her name, one of which stopped an opportunity at goal for Demon, Tegan Cunningham (five tackles, four marks).

The Dees were around every contest, but were unable to capitalise on their midfield performance with a goal until late in the second quarter, courtesy of co-captain and best on ground, Elise O’Dea. O’Dea was dominant in the match, picking up 26 disposals for the game with 18 by half time. Melbourne draftee, Tyla Hanks was impressive in her second game for the red and blue with 11 touches and a goal to her name, as well as a perfectly placed kick to tall, Lauren Pearce, setting up Melbourne’s second goal of the game.

Collingwood remained scoreless through the second and third term, despite constant pressure preventing Melbourne’s attack from running away with an easy win. The third quarter was highly contested, with neither team managing to get a goal on the board. The wind was once again not in the Dees’ favour, kicking three behinds for the quarter.

Karen Paxman looked dangerous early for the Dees, however finished out the match with four behinds to her name to go with her 18 touches. Sarah Rowe (eight tackles), Jaimee Lambert (seven tackles) and captain, Steph Chiocci (11 disposals, five tackles) were also effective for the Pies, getting around the ball at pivotal points of the match and making it difficult for Melbourne to take advantage of the midfield.

The Pies looked like a different side in the final term, smothering the ball to get as many opportunities forward as possible. With a three quarter time score of 0.2 (2), the Pies needed a goal to ensure they didn’t come away with the lowest AFLW score in the league’s three year history, finally managing a goal midway through the final term, courtesy of Sarah Dargan. Melbourne’s clean game play through the second half paved the way for the 17 point win, marking a historic occasion at Victoria Park.

Western Bulldogs 5.4 (34) defeated Geelong 2.4 (16)
By: Peter Williams

The night game between reigning premiers, Western Bulldogs, and newcomers, Geelong was expected to be a thrilling contest, and the final 18-point margin did not do the match justice. In a polar opposite to the earlier game at Victoria Park, both sides backed their running ability, while also winning one-on-ones in their defensive ends. Space opened up inside 50 at times for the likes of Phoebe McWilliams and Katie Brennan to run into and clunk marks for their respective sides. In fact it took just 110 seconds for McWilliams to get on the board much to the satisfaction of the visiting fans who an hour earlier witnessed the Bulldogs unfurling their 2018 premiership flag.

The Cats knew the Dogs would be a tougher challenge than the week before, especially under lights at Whitten Oval, and when Deanna Berry put on the after burners inside and open 50 to slam home the Dogs’ second right in front of the Footscray faithful, the crowd sensed the reigning premiers were starting to click. Bonnie Toogood put her hand up for a Goal of the Year nomination with a terrific snap under immense pressure, and then a longe-range conversion from co-captain, Ellie Blackburn had the Dogs up by 16 points at the main break.

Geelong debutant Georgia Clarke showed why she earned a spot in the team, playing strong in defence while drifting forward to be on the end of fellow draftees’ Denby Taylor and Olivia Purcell handballs to give the Cats a sniff early in the third. Less than two minutes later, Bulldogs debutant Aisling McCarthy kicked a goal and handed the Dogs a 16-point buffer again. McWilliams could have been the hero as she had two very gettable chances but squandered both, as did Bulldogs sharp shooter, Brennan. Neither team kicked a goal in the final term as the Dogs took out the game, ad the four points in a three-goal win.

Blackburn was unbelievable in leading her Bulldogs’ team through the midfield, bashing and crashing her way to 18 disposals, eight tackles and that crucial goal in the second term. Kirsty Lamb also had 18 touches, two marks and five tackles, while Monique Conti buzzed around for 19 disposals, two marks and five tackles. For the Cats, Meg McDonald had another inspired performance with 21 disposals and four marks, while Julia Crockett-Grills laid eight tackles to go with her 13 touches. Teenager, Purcell had 17 disposals, three marks and four tackles in the midfield, while VFL Women’s captain, Renee Garing led the way defensively with 12 tackles.

 

Carlton 7.2 (44) defeated by Adelaide 9.3 (57)
By: Sophie Taylor

After a less than perfect start to 2019, the Blues were looking to claim a position on the winners list in round two. Hosting interstaters, Adelaide at Ikon Park, the clash was looking to be an interesting one, with an intense start to the match setting the tone for the afternoon. The Blues certainly put up a fight on home turf, but unfortunately for the local fans, could not get the job done against the Crows’ ruthless forward line, going down by 13 points.

Though the Blues had a good run out of defence, there was no one forward to receive the ball allowing turnovers by a clinical and offence-driven Crows side. However, with the Blues relentlessly pressing forward, some goals were bound to break through the Crows’ backline, allowing for spurts of Carlton greatness up forward. Carlton took the lead midway through the second term, looking to be in control of the ball and maintaining a four-point lead come the main break. With an intense face off for the lead come half-time, the only score of the second term was a goal courtesy of Carlton’s Natalie Plane, who kicked two for the day.

A dominant third quarter effort by the Blues looked to seal the game, leading by 17 points midway through the third term. Seven goals were kicked in the third, with Adelaide forward and game breaker Stevie-Lee Thompson kicking two of her career-high four goals for the match in the third quarter. However 2017 premiers, Adelaide were not to be ruled out of the match, with late third quarter goals from captain Lauren Philips and returnee, Sarah Perkins taking the Crows back into the lead ahead of the final quarter.

A three goals to one burst in the final quarter gave Adelaide their second win of the season, with Anne Hatchard and Philips steaming home to finish with 22 and 21 disposals respectively. Crows midfielder, Ebony Marinoff came away with a confidence-boosting eight tackles. Blues’ fan favourite, Tayla Harris was a shock late omission from the side, replaced by newbie Rhiannon Watt on her AFLW debut. Madison Prespakis showed off her footy smarts, picking up a casual 20 disposals and a goal in only her second game of AFLW, while Kerryn Harrington (20 disposals) and Shae Audley (eight tackles) were also impressive in the loss.

Despite Carlton’s hungry four quarter effort, they could not beat the efficient Crows side on a mission, losing by a margin much less telling than the intensity of the game itself.

 

Fremantle 10.7 (67) defeated Brisbane 6.4 (59)
By: Brandon Hutchinson

Local fans were treated to a thriller on Sunday evening as Fremantle secured their first win against Brisbane since the league’s launch in 2017. The match opened in Brisbane’s favour as they outscored Fremantle three goals to one.

Fremantle found their footing in the second, keeping Brisbane scoreless and adding three majors to the board. They went into the main break with a 13-point lead and multiple goal kickers, dominating the overhead contest, disputed and firing hard off momentum.

Brisbane’s Jess Wuetschner opened the third with her second goal, but Fremantle quickly replied with a penetrating run into their forward 50 and a subsequent goal from Ashley Sharp. Ebony Antonio followed up with a second soon after and increased their lead to 14 as they opened the final quarter. Despite kicking multiple goals for the first time since the first quarter, Brisbane were greatly outscored by Fremantle in the closer, kicking two goals to four.

First year player, Sabreena Duffy added two more goals to her stat sheet in an outstanding performance for Fremantle. Teammates, Gabby O’Sullivan and Sharp were also among their multiple goal kickers, each having two apiece. Dana Hooker followed up a phenomenal Round 1 performance with a team-high 24 disposals and five tackles. Kiara Bowers also impressed (15 disposals, four marks and five tackles) alongside Kara Donnellan (14 disposals, three marks and three tackles).

Nat Exon (15 disposals, two marks and four tackles) and Wuetschner (nine disposals and three marks) also kicked two apiece for Brisbane. Alexandra Anderson (26 disposals, one goal, four marks and five tackles) dominated the midfield while Kate Lutkins (13 disposals and six marks) remained a pillar with excellent disposal efficiency (77 per cent).

Draftee Watch: Round 1

IN our new weekly series Draftee Watch, we take a look at the top performing 2018 draftee from each AFL Women’s side to see how they have made the step up to the elite level. In Round 1, Geelong’s Nina Morrison and GWS GIANTS’ Alyce Parker won the Rising Star nominations.

Adelaide: Chloe Scheer

Scheer came into the competition as a great unknown coming off a 12-month knee injury. Her junior career is nothing short of accolade-ridden with multiple league best and fairests, renowned for her high footy IQ and goal sense up forward. She booted Adelaide’s only goal on the weekend and looked lively in a game that was tight defensively. Hannah Martin, Maisie Nankivell and Jess Foley were other Crows who ran out onto Norwood Oval for their first games.

Brisbane: McKenzie Dowrick

The West Australian utility started her AFL Women’s career off strongly, notching up nine disposals in a solid first hit-out in Lions colours. She was one of many Brisbane debutants on the day, and along with the likes of Paige Parker, Jesse Tawhaio-Wardlaw and Lauren Bella, enjoyed the narrow win over GWS GIANTS.

Carlton: Madison Prespakis

The clear standout for the Navy Blues in a game they would like to move on from quicker rather than later. The top five selection had 13 disposals and laid five tackles in an imposing performance, regarded by the commentary team as the Blues’ top midfielder on the day. She had her work cut out for her, but there is no doubting her potential in the future. Former VFL Women’s players, Collingwood captain Jess Edwards (eight disposals, five tackles and a goal) and Hawthorn Rising Star Award winner, Jayde Van Dyk were others who held their own in the heavy loss to the Roos.

Collingwood: Erica Fowler

Mature-age draftee stories are often just as impressive as teenagers entering the AFL Women’s, and with Eliza Hynes out, Fowler shared the load with Sharni Layton in the ruck. Fowler notched up seven disposals. three marks and eight tackles on her way to 75 AFL Fantasy Points. Eastern Ranges’ speedster, Mikala Cann and Dandenong Stingrays’ captain, Jordyn Allen were among other Magpies who stood up in the loss to Geelong.

Fremantle: Parris Laurie

The 24 year-old Laurie was impressive in the heat across four quarters for the Dockers in their upset win over Melbourne at Casey Fields. Laurie notched up 10 disposals, one mark, six tackles and 66 AFL Fantasy Points to be the top performing Dockers debutant. If starts are anything to go by, the first quarter by Sabreena Duffy was out of this world, booting 1.1 and setting up another goal in what was a dominant first term, before finishing with nine disposals and 42 AFL Fantasy Points.

Geelong: Nina Morrison

Geelong had no shortage of young stars coming through the side, but Morrison produced a terrific performance worthy of her number one selection. Of the debutants in Round 1, Morrison recorded the most disposals and equal most tackles, with 22 and eight. She kicked what would become the winning poster on her way to 92 AFL Fantasy Points. Olivia Purcell (15 disposals, two marks and six tackles), Rebecca Webster (11 disposals and three marks) and Denby Taylor (eight disposals and one tackle) were others who stood out throughout the win over Collingwood.

GWS GIANTS: Alyce Parker

The Thurgoona product was sensational on the weekend in GWS GIANTS’ narrow loss to the Brisbane Lions. Behind Morrison, Parker was the next highest disposal winner of the draftees, and moved around the field like a veteran, amassing 18 touches, four marks and three tackles on her way to 63 AFL Fantasy Points. Haneen Zreika, a teammate of Parker’s at junior level, also impressed on debut with 15 disposals, one mark and three tackles, while Yvonne Bonner booted a goal in the loss.

Melbourne: Tyla Hanks

The Gippsland Power co-captain was the sole Melbourne debutant in the Dees’ loss to Fremantle at Casey Fields on Sunday. Having booted two goals in Gippsland’s first ever Under 18s win at the ground 12 months prior, Hanks played up forward and amassed seven disposals and two tackles in a solid first-up performance.

North Melbourne: Nicole Bresnehan

It was fitting that Bresnehan was the top performing North Melbourne Tasmanian Kangaroos player, with the Clarence local standing out at North Hobart. Bresnehan notched up seven disposals, two marks and two tackles in the Kangaroos’ huge win over Carlton, while former Oakleigh Chargers’ goal sneak, Daisy Bateman also had a taste of AFL Women’s action in the opening round.

Western Bulldogs: Eleanor Brown

The former Sandringham Dragons and Vic Metro winger played her role in the Western Bulldogs’ thrilling interstate win over Adelaide. Brown had five disposals, three marks and two tackles in the defeat, while Celine Moody – the sister of Carlton ruck, Breann – also enjoyed her first win.

Weekend preview: AFLW – Round 1

FOOTY is back and for the first time, 10 AFL Women’s clubs are preparing to achieve the ultimate glory. Each week we will preview and review the games, provide a Team of the Week, Draftee Watch piece and analyse the week’s statistics, as well as plenty more for the third season of the competition. Stay tuned on Draft Central for all the coverage.

GEELONG vs. COLLINGWOOD
Saturday, February 2, 6.40pm
GMHBA Stadium, Geelong

The opening game of the AFL Women’s season has a massive question mark for both sides. On one side of the head-to-head is a brand new team with no historical data at the elite level, aside from some of the players who have crossed from other clubs. On the other side is a team that has been gutted in terms of experience, especially in the forward half, but has picked up a number of elite young kids as well as players who can have an impact in the short-term. Playing in front of a home crowd will help the Cats in their inaugural clash,  while the Magpies will be keen to finally get a good start to their season after two losses in opening round games. Both teams are deemed to be in the “weaker” conference – by means of avoiding both past premiers and the heavily stacked North Melbourne – and a win against a conference rival is vitally important in the stakes for securing a top four place. The advantage both these teams have is the fact much of their core group played VFL Women’s together, and therefore in terms of team chemistry over a 12-month period are well adjusted.

Both teams head into the clash with key personnel out, as Collingwood’s Best and Fairest and 2018 AFLW Rising Star winner, Chloe Molloy unavailable for the season, while Richelle Cranston will miss the first two rounds through suspension.  When talking about key youth, it is hard to look past some of the talent both clubs picked up in the draft. Geelong looked to its TAC Cup affiliate to select number one pick, Nina Morrison, as well as premiership teammates, Olivia Purcell and Denby Taylor. Add in talented GWV Rebels, Sophie Van De Heuvel and Georgia Clarke, as well as Murray Bushrangers’ inside midfielder and defender, Rebecca Webster, and the future is very bright at the Cats. The Magpies also heavily invested in the draft, picking up two first rounders in Dandenong Stingrays’ captain, Jordyn Allen and Oakleigh Chargers’ tall, Katie Lynch. Expected to play up opposite ends, they are well complemented by Eastern Ranges’ speedster, Mikala Cann who 12 months ago was yet to play a competitive match of football. Versatile youngster, Lauren Butler is also expected to become a key feature in the Magpies’ side. With Geelong having the likes of Bec Goring, Madeline Keryk, Julia Crockett-Grills and Meghan McDonald among their contingent of impressive VFLW performers last season, they have a cohesive unit. The Magpies will look to the experience of captain Stephanie Chiocchi, Emma Grant, Sarah D’Arcy and Jaimee Lambert to lead the young side this season.

H2H: Geelong 0 | Collingwood 0 | Draws 0
Venue: Geelong 0-0-0 | Collingwood 0-0-0

Last time they met: N/A

Fun facts:

  • The game marks the first ever AFL Women’s game at GMHBA Stadium, the first time Geelong’s AFL Women’s side will play a match for premiership points, but the third consecutive year Collingwood will be involved in the opening match of the season.
  • Unfortunately for the Magpies, the opening match of the season has not been kind for them, losing both games to Carlton at Ikon Park, albeit in a much closer game in 2018.
  • The last time these two teams played in any form was the VFL Women’s Preliminary Final, which saw the Cats upset the minor premiers to bundle the Magpies out in straight sets and head into the decider against Hawthorn. Collingwood’s loss was compounded by an injury to 2018 Rising Star winner, Chloe Molloy that would keep her out of the 2019 AFL Women’s season.
  • Collingwood booted 42 goals in season 2018. Players that contributed 36 of them are now either no longer on the Magpies’ list, or injured (Chloe Molloy – one).

 

ADELAIDE vs. WESTERN BULLDOGS
Saturday, February 2, 8.10pm
Norwood Oval, Adelaide

The game of the round is surely the match between the two AFL Women’s premiers. The 2017 champions, Adelaide take on the reigning premiers, Western Bulldogs in an evening game at Norwood Oval. Last season was a remarkable story for the Bulldogs, who overcame some key injuries, and the suspension of captain, Katie Brennan to topple Brisbane in the 2018 AFL Women’s decider. Adelaide would have been disappointed to not make the decider, but considering their injuries at different times, it was worth applauding their never-say-die attitude. A loss to Collingwood in the final round knocked them out of the race to go back-to-back, but they are now hungry as ever and keen to make amends in this match.

Both teams lost key players to long-term injuries in practice games a fortnight ago, with Adelaide’s number one ruck, Rhiannon Metcalfe and Western Bulldogs’ league leading goalkicker, Brooke Lochland both out. While the Crows will look to try and fill the void in the ruck, the Dogs certainly showed they have no shortage of forwards who can step up, and could turn to the likes of West Australian, Kate Bartlett who comes into the team with great forward nous at Under 18s level. Adelaide do have some serious firepower returning to the team with a fully fit Erin Phillips, and a dangerous youngster by the name of Chloe Scheer causing headaches inside 50. Adelaide could have the edge in the midfield given its depth with Phillips, Ebony Marinoff and Chelsea Randall all running through there, but the Dogs’ key position players could stretch the Crows’ defence. If the Crows can keep it from the Dogs talls getting supply, then it will go a long way to deciding the match, but if the Dogs get on top of the Crows’ highly rated midfield, then they will be able to put on some serious scoreboard pressure. In saying that, the Dogs’ midfield is far from shabby itself with Ellie Blackburn and Monique Conti among the most talented in the competition. It all adds up to being a cracker of a match.

H2H: Adelaide 2 | Western Bulldogs 0 | Draws 0
Venue: Adelaide 2-2-0 | Western Bulldogs 0-1-0

Last time they met: Adelaide 6.5 (41) defeated Western Bulldogs 5.4 (34) at Norwood Oval, Round 3, 2018

Trailing the entire game, the Crows found something special in the final term to overrun the Bulldogs at home by just seven points. Chelsea Randall picked up 24 disposals (15 contested), had five rebounds and laid six tackles, while Ebony Marinoff laid a whopping 15 tackles on her way to 21 disposals, four inside 50s and five rebounds. But the inspiration was inaugural league best and fairest winner, Erin Phillips. The star played exclusively forward and had 15 disposals, but booted four of the Crows’ six goals to single-handedly dominate up forward and show Crows fans that there was going to be no second year blues – until injury unfortunately struck. Jenna McCormick booted the other two goals for the Crows, while for the Bulldogs, Katie Brennan was the multiple goalkicker with two from nine touches and three marks. Emma Kearney (20 disposals, three marks, three clearances, three inside 50s, five rebounds and six tackles) was everywhere, as was Ellie Blackburn (17 disposals, five clearances, five tackles and four inside 50s).

Fun facts:

  • Ebony Marinoff averages 19.5 disposals, four clearances, 10.5 tackles and four inside 50s against the Western Bulldogs from two clashes, the most of any Crow.
  • Now North Melbourne skipper, Emma Kearney averaged the most touches against the Crows in both meetings, with Ellie Blackburn set to take over the mantle, averaging 18 touches, four clearances, four tackles and five inside 50s from two games.
  • It is the first time two AFL Women’s Premiers have met in the history of the competition.
  • Western Bulldogs are yet to lose an opening round match in the AFL Women’s season.

 

NORTH MELBOURNE vs. CARLTON
Sunday, February 3, 1.05pm
North Hobart Oval, Hobart

The second history making match for Round 1 sees one of the premiership favourites, North Melbourne take on last year’s wooden spooners, Carlton. Both head into the game with relative different looking sides. The Kangaroos strategically targeted experience, picking up players from other AFL Women’s sides as part of the free agency and expansion period, while Carlton headed to the draft. As such, the Kangaroos head into the game as strong favourites in the clash, and their pre-season victory over Melbourne did nothing to sway opinions from the fact they will be a contender this season. Carlton took it up to Geelong at times in the practice game, but much like at times last season, it is just finding some four quarter consistency. The strong football state of Tasmania will get around the clash which is the first of the AFL Women’s competition, and with a number of local talents wearing blue and white, expect there to be a strong contingent of home support.

With no past head-to-head clashes to go by, there are plenty of questions leading into this clash. The biggest question mark is that of the Kangaroos and how they will gel with so many players from other teams. They brought over key Magpies, Emma King, Jess Duffin, Jasmine Garner and Mo Hope to supply their forward line and ruck division with power, while securing the biggest name from the 2018 season in Emma Kearney – the league best and fairest winner – to come across from the Dogs. Carlton has the potential to have the best one-two forward combination in the league with Darcy Vescio and Tayla Harris, but it is just getting the talented duo to click. With the midfield and forward half boosted by young guns, Madison Prespakis, Abbie McKay and Emerson Woods, and the defence sured up by Collingwood VFLW captain, Jess Edwards, as well as Charlotte Wilson and Jayde Van Dyk, Carlton’s future is looking bright. Realistically, it will take an unbelievable effort to knock off North Melbourne, but Blues fans will be keen to see what new coach, Daniel Harford can do to create more scoring opportunities – something the Blues lacked last season. A four-goal practice game by returning captain, Brianna Davey gave fans a hint of what to expect, creating all sorts of headaches for opposing teams.

H2H: North Melbourne 0 | Carlton 0 | Draws 0
Venue: North Melbourne 0-0-0 | Carlton 0-0-0

Last time they met: N/A

Fun facts:

  • The match marks the first official match to be played in Tasmania, with the North Melbourne Tasmanian Kangaroos opening their season in the Apple Isle, and of course marking their first match in the competition.
  • Carlton’s Brianna Davey has averaged 21 disposals, five rebounds and 2.5 inside 50s in her two opening round clashes, as Carlton beat arch-rivals Collingwood under lights on both occasions.
  • Darcy Vescio booted four goals in the inaugural AFL Women’s match in 2017, before being held goalless by debutant, Chloe Molloy last year, who would go on to win the Rising Star Award.
  • North Melbourne captain, Emma Kearney has averaged 22 disposals, six marks, five clearances and six inside 50s in her two matches against Carlton.

 

MELBOURNE vs. FREMANTLE
Sunday, February 3, 3.05pm
Casey Fields, Cranbourne

With predicted temperatures around the south-eastern suburbs predicted to be mid-to-late thirties, fans heading to the clash between Demons and Fremantle are recommended to stay hydrated. The game at Melbourne’s spiritual home, has become a fortress of late, winning five of a possible six games, including a thrashing victory over their Round 1 opponents back in 2017. Last year the Dockers got the better of Melbourne over in the west, using straight goalkicking to get the job done early in the season and chalk up a win against a premiership contender. The Demons have always been thereabouts, just missing out on the deciders, while Fremantle has had disappointing starts to the seasons which have ultimately cost them. With a new coaching panel and new-look side, Fremantle will be keen to topple the Demons at their home ground, especially a Demons side minus Daisy PearceMel Hickey and Richelle Cranston, among others.

Both teams are bringing in some serious young talent this season, with the Demons looking to the likes of Gippsland Power co-captain, Tyla Hanks and Northern Knights captain, Maddy Brancatisano. Both have incredible work ethics and a desire to just hunt the footballer and play their role, potentially being future leaders at the club. Throw in Dandenong Stingrays’ speedster, Shelley Heath and Casey Demons slick ball user, Casey Sherriff and the Dees have added some speed and skills to their inside grunt and contested ball-winning ability. The Dockers have also added some great local talent to their stocks, led by West Australian Under 18s state captain, Sabreena Duffy as well as overagers, Matilda Sergeant and Jasmin Stewart. The big question mark regarding Fremantle is how they will line-up as the off-season seemed to be a clean-out of sorts through their own choosing, whereas Melbourne lost players due to free agency and expansion. The difference in this game could well be the top-end star factor of the Demons, with Karen Paxman, Lily Mithen, Bianca Jakobsson and Elise O’Dea all roaming through the midfield at times. With Eden Zanker providing a target up forward, they have good depth across the ground, The Dockers have Kara Donnellan and Dana Hooker amongst their arsenal, but with a relatively new-looking side, it will be fascinating to see how they perform.

H2H: Melbourne 1 | Fremantle 1 | Draws 0
Venue: Melbourne 5-1-0 | Fremantle 0-0-0

Last time they met: Fremantle 6.0 (36) defeated Melbourne 4.7 (31) at Fremantle Oval, Round 3, 2018

Fremantle had to come from behind twice as they held Melbourne to a combined one behind in the second and fourth quarters, kicking the only two goals of the final term. In a display of precision accuracy, the Dockers did not kick a behind all game, and after not scoring in the opening term, booted six straight goals to secure a win at Fremantle Oval. Kara Donnellan and Lisa Webb both picked up 17 disposals, while Emily McGuire booted two goals. For the Dees, Daisy Pearce had another day out with 24 disposals, three marks, five clearances and four inside 50s, while Tegan Cunningham booted two majors in the loss.

Fun facts:

  • Since losing their inaugural AFL Women’s Round 1 clash to Brisbane at Casey Fields, Melbourne has not lost a game, winning five consecutive matches at the venue, including a nine-goal win over Fremantle in 2017.
  • Both sides are likely to head into the clash very different to the previous encounter with a maximum of 13 players each from their sides of 21 just 12 months ago, still on their respective lists.
  • Dana Hooker averaged 17 disposals (11 contested) and 5.5 tackles in her two matches for the Dockers against the Demons, and was Fremantle’s best player in the disastrous 54-point belting back in 2017.
  • Melbourne will need to find a way to replace the influence of Daisy Pearce, who has been a headache for the Dockers in the past, averaging 25 disposals, five tackles, four clearances and 3.5 inside 50s.

 

BRISBANE vs. GWS GIANTS
Sunday, February 3, 4.05pm
Moreton Bay Sporting Complex, Moreton Bay

The final game of the round pits back-to-back grand finalist, Brisbane against the team they knocked out of the decider contention in the final round last year, GWS GIANTS. The quirky fact between these teams is they have played each other four times – twice in the pre-season and twice in the regular season. On both occasions, GWS has triumphed in the pre-season practice matches, while Brisbane has got the job done – and convincingly so – when playing for premiership points. The GIANTS average just two goals per game against the Lions during the season, and they will be keen to repeat the effort of a fortnight ago when they were too good for the young Lions. Brisbane has played just the one game at Moreton Bay Sporting Complex – the Lions new home for 2019 – which was a disappointing and almost season-defining loss to Collingwood, whereas the GIANTS are yet to run out at the venue.

Both teams have young line-ups coming through with the teams losing players such as Kaitlyn Ashmore, Jamie Stanton and Tahlia Randall (Brisbane), and Phoebe McWilliams and Renee Forth (GIANTS). They have also picked up some experience with Brisbane scooping up Lauren Arnell from Carlton and the GIANTS adding Magpie, Christina Bernardi to its forward mix. Heading to the draft, the GIANTS picked up one of the most decorated and talented juniors in Alyce Parker who will slot straight into the midfield and undoubtedly be a key cog in that onball division. Former netballer, Taylah Davies is already looking like a valuable pick-up for the GIANTS, while Haneen Zreika hit the scoreboard in the practice match as well. Any team with Alicia Eva, Jessica Dal Pos and Amanda Farrugia has to be respected. Brisbane’s forward power with Sabrina Frederick-Traub and Jess Wuetschner is always going to be a key consideration for opposition coaches, while Lions coach Craig Starcevich has the luxury of bringing up his Queensland Under 18 young guns into the senior team at draft time. All Australian ruck Lauren Bella, state captain Natalie Grider and key Queensland players Jesse Tawhaio-Wardlaw, Jade Ellenger, Tori Groves-Little and Jacqui Yorston join West Australian, McKenzie Dowrick as the future of the Lions.

H2H: Brisbane 2 | GWS 0 | Draws 0
Venue: Brisbane 0-1-0 | GWS 0-0-0

Last time they met: Brisbane 10.4 (64) defeated GWS GIANTS 3.6 (24) at Blacktown ISP, Round 7, 2018.

With an AFL Women’s Grand Final spot on the line, it was the Brisbane Lions who were all over the GIANTS, running out 40-point winners to keep their premiership dreams alive – albeit with their fate in Collingwood’s hands. The GIANTS had improved remarkably from the inaugural season, but fell short of a grand final place, and will have rued that final game over the summer. Ally Anderson and Emily Bates had days out against the GIANTS, collecting a combined 46 disposals, seven marks and eight clearances. Up forward, Sabrina Frederick-Traub was unstoppable with four goals to go with 18 disposals, five marks and five hitouts. Jess Wuetschner was equally as impressive with three majors from 11 touches, doing all the damage at ground level. For the GIANTS, Alicia Eva tried her best with a team-high 18 disposals, three marks, six tackles and five inside 50s, while Jessica Dal Pos and Amanda Farrugia were the next highest ball winners with 14 apiece.

Fun facts:

  • Brisbane has played just the one match at Moreton Bay Sporting Complex, and unfortunately it was one to forget, losing to Collingwood in Round 6, 2018. It put their premiership aspirations in serious doubt, before ironically the Magpies knocked off the Crows in the final round to hand the Lions a second consecutive Grand Final berth.
  • The Lions bounced back from the above loss with that 40-point win over GWS in the last round, knocking out the GIANTS from Grand Final contention, and replacing them in the decider.
  • In the two games against the GIANTS, Sabrina Frederick-Traub has booted five goals, whereas the entire GIANTS team have booted just the four.
  • Emma Swanson averages the most disposals for a GIANT against the Lions, at 15, while Jessica Dal Pos averages 13 touches per game.

AFLW season previews: Melbourne

THE Demons have been one of the stronger sides in the AFLW during the past two seasons. But with a big loss of players in the off-season, we will see a new-look Melbourne outfit on the park in 2019. Perhaps the biggest loss of the season was losing star midfielder, Daisy Pearce, which will undoubtedly challenge Mick Stinear to change his game plan heading into 2019.

Last season: 3rd – four wins, three losses.

Changes:

In: Maddison Gay, Talia Radan, Tyla Hanks, Madeline Brancatisano, Jordann Hickey, Shelley Heath, Chantel Emonson, Shae Sloane, Casey Sherriff, Ashleigh Woodland

Out: Richelle Cranston, Melissa Hickey, Erin Hoare, Anna Teague, Jasmine Grierson, Emma Humphries, Laura Duryea, Maddie Shevlin, Alyssa Mifsud

Melbourne’s list changes have seem to go under the radar compared to the likes of the Collingwood and Brisbane lists. Geelong caused the most havoc to the Melbourne line-up, taking Richelle Cranston, Melissa Hickey, Erin Hoare and Anna Teague to Kardinia Park. The other expansion team, North Melbourne took two Tasmanian natives in Jasmine Grierson and Emma Humphries, leaving a gap in Melbourne’s defence. However, the Dees have covered this quite well with the recruitment of Talia Radan and Shelley Heath, who are handy defenders who can run or play on a key player. They have also boosted their midfield stocks with the loss of Pearce and Cranston, recruiting Under-18 representatives, Tyla Hanks and Madeline Brancatisano, who are two midfielders with great agility.

Area of strength: Midfield

Melbourne’s midfield has always been one of the strongest in the competition, but they will be without Daisy Pearce and Richelle Cranston this season. A recruit who has not been talked about much is Maddison Gay from the Blues. Gay was voted the Best First Year player when she was Carlton, and is a smart midfielder who is clever with the ball in hand. She should help to assist Elise O’Dea and Karen Paxman, who have always been consistent in the middle of the ground for the Dees. Add in Brancatisano and Hanks, and Melbourne has a good core group of midfielders. Katherine Smith and Kate Hore are also set for a good season after finding some consistency for the Casey Demons in the VFLW season.

Area of weakness: Forward line

The Demons are lacking some numbers in the forward line. While they boast the likes of Tegan Cunningham and Aliesha Newman, the list does not go much further than that. Jordann Hickey is a crucial pick-up for the Dees to rectify this issue. She will be a key target up forward thanks to her solid hands and accurate kick. Eden Zanker should be set for a good year as well, finding some form in the Casey Demons VFLW side, but she was starved of opportunity last year, so she will also be pretty new to the AFLW environment.

Players to watch:

Tyla Hanks

Tyla Hanks has made the All-Australian Under 18s side two years in a row and is a force to be reckoned with in the midfield. On the inside, she is sharp with her hands and can clear congestion with her forceful kicking. She co-captained the Gippsland Power in the TAC Cup Girls competition, so is no stranger to being an on-field leader. Hanks can also float up forward and make an impact to steady the ship for her team, highlighting her ability to be versatile in a Melbourne line-up that lacks forward depth.

Jordann Hickey

Originally from Alice Springs, Hickey made her mark on the 2018 VFLW season with 14 goals for the NT Thunder. From her 14 games, she also averaged 8.25 disposals per game, with her season-high coming against Richmond, where she racked up 16 disposals and also kicked two goals. Hickey managed to kick goals in seven of her games for the Thunder, showing great consistency across the season. She fought hard inside 50 and provides a tall target, which will be pivotal for the Demons.

Eden Zanker

Zanker got to play some consistent football again for the Casey Demons in the VFLW, after only playing three games for the Demons in the AFLW last year. She kicked nine goals from her 14 games with Casey and was named in the best four times. Zanker has a calm run-up and a precise kick, and is also great at winning the ball inside 50. She was the Demons’ first selection in the 2017 draft so Melbourne will have high hopes for her to show why she was selected so high in the draft.

2019 prediction: 4th in Conference A

Despite a strong midfield, the Demons could struggle in their 50s, making for a difficult run in a difficult conference. However, they could get off to a good start with Fremantle and Collingwood looming as their first opponents of the season. It then gets a whole lot harder with Brisbane, North Melbourne and Greater Western Sydney (GWS) to come. When the Demons’ defence comes up against a powerful forward line like North Melbourne’s, and their forwards go head-to-head against Brisbane’s A-grade defenders, it could spell trouble for them.

2019 Melbourne AFLW Fixture

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Casey FieldsRound 1
Victoria ParkRound 2
Hickey ParkRound 3
Casey FieldsRound 4
Blacktown International SportsparkRound 5
Marvel StadiumRound 6
Casey FieldsRound 7

Young guns shine in AFLW practice matches

FOOTY is back and it was welcomed by five AFL Women’s practice games on Saturday, which allowed fans to witness how teams were shaping up ahead of the AFLW’s season. While the results were secondary, there were plenty of eye-catching moments across the country with three games in Victoria, one in Queensland and one in the Northern Territory.

We take a look at how each game went down:

 

GWS GIANTS 3.1 | 5.3 | 9.6 | 11.9 (75)
BRISBANE 1.1 | 2.3 | 3.3 | 4.4 (16)

Layshon Park, Brisbane

GOALS:

GWS: Schmidt 3, Staunton 3, Bonner, Zreika, Gisu, Collier, Bennetts,
Brisbane: Wuetschner, McCarthy, Frederick-Traub, Dowrick.

Club wraps:

GIANTS thump Lions in AFLW practice match

Key points:

1 GWS could be the dark horse of season 2019

GWS could end up being a sneaky chance for the flag in 2019 if their form in the pre-season is anything to go by. Sliding up the radar perfectly and with no Phoebe McWilliams for the upcoming season, the GIANTS went about their business in terrific fashion, manufacturing goals from multiple sources, with Aimee Schmidt and Cora Staunton booting three apiece.

2 Brisbane take long-term approach

We have seen first hand the embarrassment of riches that Brisbane has at its disposal in Queensland, albeit having to share the youngsters once the Gold Coast side enters the competition in 12 months. On the weekend there was the likes of McKenzie Dowrick – who booted a goal on debut – and fellow All Australian, Lauren Bella who started in the ruck going up against another All Australian, but that at senior level in Erin McKinnon. A terrific showing of faith from coach, Craig Starcevich.

3 Cross-coders are as impressive as ever

You need not look far, but the likes of Taylah Davies, a former GWS GIANTS netballer was really strong in the air and looked at home with the oblong ball. With Staunton already showing the success of international recruits to the game, it will be great to see how many of the former netballers, basketballers and other sporting stars, can have an impact in season 2019.

 

GEELONG 0.1 | 3.3 | 6.3 | 7.4 (46)
CARLTON 2.0 | 3.1 | 5.1 | 7.2 (44)

Ikon Park, Carlton North

GOALS:

Geelong: McWilliams 4, Ivey, Clifford, Darby.
Carlton: Davey 4, Plane 2, Audley.

Club wraps:

Cats record impressive two-point win
Blues show plenty of promise

Key points:

1 Brianna Davey is a star

In case anyone had forgotten what the Carlton captain was capable of, the star midfielder who missed the bulk of the 2018 season played forward and was a standout. She booted four goals across the game and was a lively target, shaping as a third option outside of dynamo, Darcy Vescio and tall timber, Tayla Harris inside 50 for the Blues.

2 Phoebe McWilliams will cause serious headaches

Much like Davey, McWilliams is as damaging at ground level as she is in the air, and she showed it in her first game in the blue and white hoops. Since crossing from the GWS GIANTS in the off-season, McWilliams enjoyed a VFL Women’s premiership with Hawthorn, ironically against her new teammates. She fitted in well and looms as a potential leading goal kicker now the midfield kicking to her has some serious depth.

3 Madison Prespakis and Nina Morrison showing what the fuss is about

We have promoted their abilities for the past 12 months, but Madison Prespakis and Nina Morrison let their football do the talking in the match at Ikon Park. Prespakis was judged one of the best on-field, copping a hit and bouncing back, while Morrison was exciting and enjoyed a win with her new teammates. Prespakis and Morrison could be the AFL Women’s equivalent debate of Marcus Bontempelli and Patrick Cripps – both stars in their own way and huge futures for their respective clubs.

 

MELBOURNE 0.0 | 2.3 | 2.5 | 4.10 (34)
NORTH MELBOURNE 1.1 | 1.2 | 7.2 | 9.2 (56)

Casey Fields, Cranbourne

GOALS:

Melbourne: Hore 2, Hickey, Scott.
North Melbourne: Hope 2, Abbatangelo 2, Bateman, Garner, Kearney, Riddell, C Haines.

Club wraps:

Cordner remaining positive
Report card: Practice match

Key points:

1 North Melbourne will be scary when they click

It is something the fans of the AFL Women’s competition feared when North Melbourne assembled a “dream team” of sorts, picking up reigning league best and fairest winner, Emma Kearney, and key Collingwood players in Mo Hope, Jasmine Garner, Emma King and Jess Duffin among others. While Duffin was out playing for the Renegades, the Kangaroos had no troubles kicking a winning score. At first they did not manage to find the flow, but then booted six goals in the third term to storm away with the match.

2 Melbourne will take time

The Demons have lost one of the biggest names of the AFL Women’s competition – and she never even left the club. Daisy Pearce will sit out the 2019 season while she is pregnant with twins, and the Demons will search to fill that hole with a host of young up-and-coming players. They have recruited well with Tyla Hanks and Maddy Brancatisano among those who could step up into the Dees’ midfield, but the experienced side will just take a bit of time with a number of fresh faces coming through. Fatigue was another factor, according to Harriet Cordner, but Melbourne will still be a tough assignment this season.

3 Kangaroos forward line the best in the business

They might be brand new, but the fact VFL Women’s talents, Sophie Abbatangelo and Ash Riddell stepped up and showed no fear upon their senior level debuts shows even North Melbourne’s next tier of players will provide great depth in season 2019. While much is talked about their high profile recruits, adding in those players along with young talents, Daisy Bateman – who kicked the opening Roos’ goal – and Chloe and Libby Haines, shows that the side will have the depth to cover any injuries to their top stars.

 

BULLDOGS 1.1 | 2.4 | 3.4 | 5.5 (35)
COLLINGWOOD 0.2 | 1.2 | 2.4 | 4.4 (28)

MARS Stadium, Ballarat

GOALS:

Bulldogs: Brennan, Blackburn, McLeod, Hunt, Gamble.
Collingwood: Rowe 2, McIntosh, Hildebrand.

Club wraps:

Dogs score pre-season win over Magpies
Good signs in narrow loss to Dogs

Key points:

1 Western Bulldogs will be force again

While the Magpies do not have a great deal of support in regards to their flag chances, the Western Bulldogs looked ultra-impressive in their seven-point win over the Pies, having the ability to rest co-captain Ellie Blackburn in the second half after a superb first half. They shared the goals around and used precision kicking to hurt the Magpies.

2 Baby Magpies and cross-coders stand tall

They were always going to be inexperienced compared to the reigning premiers, but the Magpies draftees were impressive throughout the loss. Dandenong Stingrays’ skipper, Jordyn Allen and Oakleigh Chargers talent, Katie Lynch were a couple of names raised by coach Wayne Siekman after the game, while cross-coders Sarah Rowe and Sharni Layton were very competitive in the forward half.

3 Dogs sweat on Lochland’s ankle

Leading goalscorer, and forward dynamo Brooke Lochland caused some worry amongst Dogs fans when she was taken from the field after a collision. While full results were yet to come at the time of publication, AFL Women’s reporter Sarah Black believed it was not as serious as first thought.

 

ADELAIDE 2.2 | 5.2 | 8.3 | 9.4 (58)
FREMANTLE 1.4 | 3.4 | 3.7 | 5.8 (38)

TIO Stadium, Darwin

GOALS:

Adelaide: Scheer 2, Thompson 2, Forth, A Foley, Varnhagen, J Foley, Phillips.
Fremantle: Antonio 2, Houghton 2, Bresland.

Club wraps:

New Crows impress in trial match victory
Freo challenged by Crows in Darwin

Key points:

1 Danielle Ponter and Chloe Scheer impact at either end

Young guns, Danielle Ponter and Chloe Scheer gave an indication they will be key players in Matthew Clarke’s Adelaide side this season, playing roles at either end. Ponter’s work out of defence using her slick skills to hit-up targets is different from her forward craft with Essendon VFL Women’s side, while Scheer was prolific up forward booting a goal and returning successfully from a knee injury that kept her from being drafted following her top-age year.

2 Fremantle will be competitive

With the amount of changes the Dockers have had, particularly with experience heading out the door and young talents walking in, it was always going to be tough against a premiership contender in challenging conditions. They looked solid early, but were outclassed in the third term before holding firm in the final stanza to avoid a blowout. The Dockers are a side that will be introducing plenty of new faces to the side in season 2019, so expect there to be some mixed results.

3 Crows talls go down

The win was somewhat soured by tall Crows, Rhiannon Metcalfe and Jasmyn Hewett, as they were forced from the field and will undergo scans during the week. It was the position that the Crows could ill-afford to lose, and will be sweating on the results. Given how strong the Crows are through the midfield, Adelaide will be keen to have a dominant force in the ruck giving the onballers first touch.

Feature Image credit: Arj Giese

AFLW Draft review: Melbourne

MELBOURNE will field a new-look line-up in 2019, suffering a loss of players to expansion clubs, North Melbourne and Geelong. With only five spots (they passed one pick) in the draft, the Demons had to pick their players carefully.

 

What they needed:

  • Midfielders to aid the loss of Daisy Pearce (inactive) and Richelle Cranston
  • Rucks to replace Erin Hoare and Alyssa Mifsud
  • Defenders to support Talia Radan and cover the loss of Laura Duryea and Anna Teague

 

Players selected:

Tyla Hanks – Gippsland Power

Hanks was one of the hardest and most skillful midfielders in the TAC Cup Girls competition. She plays very similarly to Madison Prespakis through her clean ball-use and long kicking. She can also head up forward when her side is in trouble, making her a very valuable asset for the Demons. Hanks was awarded with a place in the TAC Cup Girls Team of the Year and the AFL Women’s Under 18 All Australian side, after being a co-captain of the Gippsland Power this year. She will be a key player in helping to aid the loss of Daisy Pearce.

Madeline Brancatisano – Northern Knights

Like Hanks, Brancatisano also had a leadership role this year, leading her Northern Knights to a TAC Cup Girls Grand Final. Brancatisano is a smart inside midfielder who has clean hands and a consistent desire to win the ball in congestion. She can also add valuable defensive pressure in the middle, proving how much of a role player she is. Brancatisano earned a spot in the TAC Cup Girls Team of the Year and also spent some time with Carlton in the VFLW, adding some valuable experience to her game ahead of her AFL Women’s debut in 2019.

Jordann Hickey – NT Thunder

Jordann Hickey covers the loss of Alyssa Mifsud, who was delisted by the Demons in the AFL Women’s off-season. Hickey was consistent up forward for the NT Thunder this season, kicking 14 goals from 14 games. She played 14 matches and was named in the best three times. Hickey’s overhead marking and accurate kicking will be quite valuable in the Demons’ line-up, and she can also act as a back-up ruck.

Shelley Heath – Dandenong Stingrays

Shelley Heath is a great addition to the Melbourne line-up, thanks to her exciting run and carry out of the back pocket. She will inject some speed into the defensive 50, and could burn off a lot of players with that pace. Heath is also clever with the ball in hand, thanks to her clean hands and long kicks. She should do well to cover the losses of Anna Teague and Laura Duryea in the back line.

 

How they went:

Melbourne definitely needed midfielders in this draft and the Demons took two great ones in Hanks and Brancatisano. The duo will be great additions to a potent midfield that contains the likes of Karen Paxman and Elise O’Dea. Up forward, Tegan Cunningham will combine with Jordann Hickey, giving the Demons a powerful line-up inside 50. The Demons might struggle in defence, as the loss of bigger bodies such as Anna Teague could hurt them. It will be interesting to see how Melbourne approaches its ruck situation after losing Erin Hoare and Alyssa Mifsud. The Demons could have picked up a designated ruck in the draft but elected not to.

Hanks excited about her next football chapter

NEW Melbourne midfielder, Tyla Hanks has experienced it all coming into her first AFL Women’s season.

After enduring a winless 2017 season with the Gippsland Power, her side improved to a 3-5 season this year. Hanks also represented Vic Country and spent some time with Carlton’s Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s side, leading the way in disposals in her first match. The 18 year-old admits she knew going to Melbourne was something that could happen, but nonetheless is thrilled to be able to pull on the Demons jumper in 2019.

“I didn’t really know what was going to happen before that pick but yeah, I’m really excited to be there and definitely think it’s a place that’s going to be really good for me,” Hanks said.

Hanks was one of the first names to be called out on draft day, walking up on stage as a pick six selection for the Demons. When she realised she had got drafted, a mixture of emotions overwhelmed her.

“It’s a really amazing feeling but it’s pretty raw sometimes,” Hanks said. “It’s a lot of relief once you’re up there so really looking forward to it.”

This milestone also brings an element of sadness though, as Hanks will leave her beloved Gippsland Power to pursue an AFL Women’s career. Gippsland experienced a nice form turnaround this year, getting a couple of wins along the way. Despite being busy with the Demons, the Power midfielder hopes to come back to the club and help out its next generation.

“It was a pretty big turnaround for us but yeah I’m really excited for what they can do in the coming years,” Hanks said. “I was really happy to be a part of that and I’ll still try and keep contact with Gippsland Power and keep helping the development out there.”

Hanks also reflects on her time at Carlton and the AFL Women’s Academy, citing both as memorable and helpful experiences.

“I think playing against Geelong (in the VFLW) really helped me,” she said. “So did the AFL Academy, I think learning about the whole environment really held us in good stead.”

Now a Demon, Hanks of course admires the work of Daisy Pearce. But she also has another player in mind that she is looking forward to playing alongside.

“I think Lily Mithen’s someone that’s a really good character in the group,” Hanks said. “Even though Daisy Pearce will be out, hopefully she’ll still be around and I’ll learn a little bit off her.”