Tag: vflw

AFLW draftees: How they fared in VFLW Preliminary Final

GEELONG advanced through to the 2021 Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s Grand Final with an impressive victory over Essendon in the preliminary final. In that game, there were seven recently drafted players who will step up to AFL Women’s level next season and we took a look at how they performed. All notes are the opinion of the writer.

ESSENDON:

#24 Tahlia Gillard

Stats: 5 disposals, 2 marks, 3 tackles, 16 hitouts, 1 clearance, 3 rebounds

The towering ruck/forward predominantly provided a target inside 50, and then rotated through the ruck with Simone Nalder. On a number of occasions, Gillard showed her height through a one-on-one marking contest, able to stand over her opponents and pull down marks by snatching it over the top. She had a couple of shots from those marks inside 50, for one behind and one falling short. There was a moment she would probably like to forget where she dropped a chest mark inside defensive 50 which resulted in a tackle, subsequent throw against, set shot and goal in the third term, but Gillard kept pushing hard throughout the four quarters.

#40 Emelia Yassir

Stats: 6 disposals, 3 tackles, 1 clearance

Was a predominant handballer given a lack of space in the hot finals atmosphere, she showed good strength in the second term to rip the ball from a contest close to the line and show quick hands to dish it off well. She earned a free kick from Darcy Moloney in midfield at one stage to begin a team move in transition and set up a scoring chance in that quarter for Alana Barba to kick a behind.

#43 Georgie Prespakis

Stats: 17 disposals, 12 tackles, 7 clearances, 4 inside 50s, 3 rebound 50s, 1 goal

One of the best on the ground, and gave Cats fans some bittersweet feelings. Along with Georgia Nanscawen and Ruby Svarc, Prespakis was the key resistance for the Cats, racking up game-highs in tackles (12), clearances (seven) and inside 50s (four) to not only win it at the coalface, but drive it forward for goal-scoring opportunities. When the Bombers needed a response late in the first term, Prespakis was the one to give it with a clever snap around her body to get her side on the board. Her fierce tackling was a standout of her game, and she was able to move through clearances well, extracting it out and down the field for her teammates on the outside.

#47 Zali Friswell

Stats: 4 disposals, 1 marks, 1 tackle, 1 inside 50

Played forward and worked really hard, but once again was not in her most dominant position – onball. One passage of play which showcased Friswell’s athleticism was her gut running through the middle in the second term, and put it long inside 50 for Barba to run onto and kick the Bombers’ second goal. Whilst not able to hold some of her marking opportunities, Friswell kept presenting, though did only finish with the four touches in what was a tough day for Bomber forwards.

GEELONG:

#13 Olivia Fuller

Stats: 14 disposals, 4 marks, 6 tackles, 35 hitouts, 2 clearances, 3 inside 50s

The standout ruck on the ground amassing 35 hitouts, but it was Fuller’s spread around the field that caught the eye. She was strong overhead and was able to provide a target at both half-forward and half-back, taking a strong intercept mark early in the match and pumping it forward. At ground level, Fuller laid a number of strong tackles to be a dominant defensive player.

#42 Annabel Johnson

Stats: 16 disposals, 4 marks, 1 tackle, 1 clearance, 2 inside 50s, 1 rebound 50, 1 goal

After a slower start, Johnson got busier as the game progressed and found more of the ball around the ground. Aside from a rushed kick – after a nice spin out of trouble – on the wing which went out of bounds, Johnson hit the scoreboard with a monster goal from just inside 50. It was a terrific set shot and ignited her game and her second half was quite productive. Johnson was neat with ball-in-hand off half-back and then even did the defensive running well, marking on the goal line to stop a Barba snap from going through.

#60 Claudia Gunjaca

Stats: 19 disposals, 4 marks, 5 tackles, 1 hitout, 2 clearances, 6 inside 50s

An eye-catching performance and one of the Cats’ best on the day, Gunjaca started forward and was strong with her leading and aggressive at the ball carrier. Her aerial work matched her ground intensity, and she picked up a fair amount of disposals (19), marks (four) and tackles (five), and most importantly, was able to put plenty of passes inside 50 (six). She was great at reading the ball in flight, taking back-to-back intercept marks at half-forward in the first term. On a couple of occasions, Gunjaca also spun out of trouble to kick the ball forward and moved well in traffic.

The Graduates: 2021 VFLW – Finals Week Two

A KNOCKOUT final eliminated the Southern Saints, whilst Geelong lived to fight another day and set up a preliminary final with an unlucky Essendon, as Collingwood advanced through to another Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s Grand Final. As we have each week, Draft Central takes a look at some of the NAB League Girls graduates who have come through the state league.

In a tight, low-scoring encounter, Collingwood moved through to the 2021 VFL Grand Final with a seven-point victory over Essendon. Eastern Ranges graduate Olivia Meagher played one of her best VFL Women’s games, picking up 16 disposals and seven clearances, whilst ex-Gippsland Power tall Jasmine Ferguson continued her role in defence with 11 touches and three marks.

The Bombers had a ton of young talent who have filtered through the NAB League of late, with Georgie Prespakis stepping up to rack up 21 disposals, seven clearances, 13 tackles and two inside 50s in the loss. Ex-Cannon Alana Barba shared the spoils inside with seven clearances, 10 tackles and four rebound 50s to go with her 18 touches, while ex-Bushranger Eloise Ashley-Cooper had 10 disposals, four tackles and three rebound 50s. The other past graduates of the NAB League in Tamsin Crook and Grace Dicker also played in the semi-final.

Of the current Calder contingent with Prespakis, Emelia Yassir laid three tackles to go with four touches, Tahlia Gillard amassed 16 hitouts and five tackles with five disposals amongst quality opposition, and Zali Friswell had the six touches, seven tackles and two inside 50s. Tara Slender also ran out for her second game in the red and black.

In the other semi-final, a couple of current NAB League players and a couple of past NAB League graduates donned the blue and white hoops. Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels’ talent Chloe Leonard picked up 14 disposals, four rebound 50s and seven tackles in the long sleeves, while Geelong Falcons’ Renee Tierney also returned to the lineup to pick up the five touches and a clearance. Former Falcon Paige Sheppard booted a goal and racked up 19 disposals, six marks and five inside 50s in a lively performance, while ex-Bushranger Tamara Smith had the 11 touches, five tackles and three inside 50s in the win.

For the Southern Saints, Gabbi De Angelis booted two majors from 13 disposals, four marks, two tackles and four inside 50s, whilst ex-Oakleigh tall Amelia Peck had eight disposals, six marks and two tackles. From the current NAB League contingent, Jemma Radford had seven disposals, while the trio of Sandringham Dragons in Emma Stuber (eight disposals, three marks), Pia Staltari (four disposals, three tackles) and Charlotte Ryan (three disposals) all competed against more experienced opposition.

2021 VFLW wraps: Semi-Finals – Pies fly high as Cats claw back to victory

COLLINGWOOD became the first team into the 2021 Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s Grand Final after continuing its unbeaten record, knocking off Essendon in their semi-final, whilst the Bombers get another chance by taking on other semi-final winner Geelong in the preliminary final next week.

COLLINGWOOD 0.4 | 1.4 | 2.6 | 2.6 (18)
ESSENDON 0.3 | 0.4 | 1.4 | 1.5 (11)

Collingwood moved one win away from defending its VFL Women’s crown with a hard-fought, low-scoring seven-point win over Essendon at Victoria Park. The Magpies had eight scoring shots to six, but neither team was able to capitalise completely, kicking 3.11 between them for the match. The Magpies kicked the first major in the second term through Mikala Cann, with competition leading goalkicker Imogen Barnett putting another one through the big sticks in the third. Jessie Davies kicked the only Bombers’ goal of the match in the third term, with a late Alana Barba behind – along with some forward half possession for the Bombers – being the final score of the match.

Cann was impressive with 21 disposals, two marks, seven tackles, four clearances, four inside 50s, two rebound 50s and a goal, as youngster Olivia Meagher had an equal team-high seven clearances to go with 16 disposals, working well on the inside with Ebony O’Dea (18 disposals, seven clearances, eight tackles and three marks). Chloe Molloy had her usual impact with 16 touches, three marks, three tackles and three inside 50s, whilst fellow AFLW talents, Alana Porter, Lauren Butler, Joanna Lin and Amelia Velardo all featured heavily in the disposals. Ruck Sarah King (seven disposals, 34 hitouts and five tackles) and defender Jasmine Ferguson (11 disposals, three tackles) were among the top VFLW-listed Magpies.

The Bombers trio of Georgia Nanscawen, Georgie Prespakis and Barba took control in the midfield to share in 22 clearances between them. Nanscawen was a standout best on ground in the loss, racking up 29 disposals, two marks, 13 tackles, eight clearances, three inside 50s and four rebound 50s, while Prespakis (21 disposals, 13 tackles, seven clearances and two inside 50s) and Barba (18 disposals, 10 tackles, seven clearances and four rebound 50s) were both prolific. Eloise Ashley-Cooper (10 disposals, four tackles and three rebound 50s) and Ruby Svarc (13 disposals, four tackles, three clearances and two inside 50s) and Lauren Ahrens (22 disposals, three marks, six tackles and five rebound 50s) were also among the Bombers’ best in the loss.

Collingwood now advances through to the grand final, as the Bombers prepare to face Geelong in the preliminary final.

GOALS:

Collingwood: M. Cann, I. Barnett.
Essendon: J. Davies.

BEST:

Collingwood: S. King, C. Molloy, J. Ferguson, E. O”Dea, I. Barnett, K. Lee
Essendon: G. Nanscawen, G. Prespakis, E. Ashley-Cooper, L. Ahrens, R. Svarc, Z. Friswell

GEELONG 0.2 | 1.4 | 3.4 | 6.4 (40)
SOUTHERN SAINTS 1.2 | 3.3 | 3.3 | 5.3 (33)

Geelong kept its premiership hopes alive by accounting for the Southern Saints by seven points and advancing through to the preliminary final. In a contrasting game to the other semi-final, both matches ended with a seven-point difference and the home team booted three final term goals to secure the win. The game was evenly poised at three quarter time as the Cats lead by a solitary point, before booting 3.0 to 2.0 in the a high-scoring final term, which saw the Saints get within a point twice, but two of Georgia Clark’s four majors came in the term to win the game for her side. They had the two more scoring shots, and it was the five goals to two in the second half to secure the victory.

Clarke was named best-on four her four goals, also picking up 14 disposals, four marks and three tackles in the win. Paige Sheppard (19 disposals, five inside 50s and six marks), Rebecca Webster (21 disposals, eight tackles, six clearances and four inside 50s) and Sophie Van De Heuvel (18 disposals, six tackles, three clearances and four inside 50s) all found plenty of the ball. Annabel Johnson (17 disposals, three marks and five tackles) had her fair share of the pill, with teenager Chloe Leonard (14 disposals, three marks) holding her own in the win. Madeline Keryk (14 disposals, three marks, seven tackles and four rebound 50s) was also named in the best.

Alice Burke (23 disposals, two marks, two tackles and nine rebound 50s) was enormous in defence for the Saints, with fellow AFLW listed talent Tyanna Smith (18 disposals, eight tackles, five clearances, three inside 50s and two rebound 50s) busy through the midfield. Gabi De Angelis kicked a couple of goals with her 13 touches, four marks and four inside 50s to be voted the Saints’ best, with Alex Hynes (six disposals, 18 hitouts, four tackles and two marks) also impressing. Hannah Stuart (20 disposals, three marks and eight tackles) and Tara Bohanna (18 disposals, six hitouts and two marks) continued their consistent seasons for the red, white and black.

Whilst Southern Saints’ season came to a close at the end of the match, Geelong has a chance to reach the 2021 grand final when it takes on Essendon next week.

GOALS:

Geelong: G. Clarke 4, P. Sheppard, R. Webster.
Southern Saints: G. De Angelis 2, J. Matin, A. Peck, K. Ripari.

BEST:

Geelong: G. Clarke, P. Sheppard, R. Webster, M. Keryk, A. Johnson, C. Gunjaca
Southern Saints: G. De Angelis, A. Hynes, E. Vanderheym, A. Burke, T. Smith, H. Stuart

 

Picture credit: Essendon Twitter

Maurer thrives on Tasmanian “team bond”

RETURNING for her second season of Tasmania Devils representation in 2021, there was a rise in “enjoyment” levels for tough midfielder-forward, Ella Maurer. The 19-year-old thrived across nine NAB League outings in her top-age campaign, averaging a tick under 17 disposals and five tackles as an integral part of the starting squad. She put much of her own, and the team’s success down to a rising “team bond”.

“We’ve really come together,” Maurer said. “We’ve been really united and it’s just been really enjoyable. Sometimes in previous years I found that it was a big sluggish getting to training but this year every training was enjoyable. All the coaches, staff and girls were great to be around.

“I love team sports, just the whole vibe and being out there with the girls.”

Through a consistent and much-improved NAB League campaign, Maurer was able to bring her own strengths to the fore and lean on her senior experience to provide a hard edge. She’s a player who loves the “aggression” of the game, which shows in the traits she says are her strengths, and areas for improvement.

“[My strength] is probably my attack on the ball,” she said. “Just being able to get in and get the ball out from contests and get the hands off to a teammate… [I’m working on] being cleaner and my skills, especially when I go down forward.

“I love to play in the midfield and rotate forward, I love to play down there as well. Even in the backline, I like to play some defensive footy so a bit of everything really.”

Maurer’s 2021 form saw her selected in the Allies squad, where she remained a constant ball winner and tough competitor, averaging 18 disposals, six tackles, and three clearances per her three games. The representative honours matched Maurer’s goals constantly “improving [her] game” and playing “at the highest level” possible.

She has plenty of examples to follow too, with former North Launceston captain Jodie Clifford a particular source of inspiration for the rising teenage prospect, having been there almost every step of the way.

“[Clifford] is just a really inspiring person and player as well,” Maurer said. “She’s one of the coaches for the Devils, the midfield coach, and I got to play footy with her at North Launceston. She was our captain and best and fairest both years that we played together.”

“I started playing footy when I was 14 in the junior youth girl’s team at North Launceston Football Club. I played there for two years, then went on to play in the TSLW team for North Launceston for the two years we had that. Unfortunately that folded so now I’m at Old Scotch in the NTFA.”

A raft of Tasmanians also joined Maurer in North Melbourne’s VFLW side this year, with as many as 11 of them getting out on the park at one time in blue and white. There are certainly big things happening out of the Apple Isle and if Maurer’s development is anything to go by, the rate of improvement will be steep.

Image Credit: Dylan Burns/AFL Photos

The Graduates: 2021 VFLW – Finals Week One

FINALS time finally rolled around in the VFL Women’s, with three enthralling games played out over the weekend and even more intriguing matchups to look forward to. A raft of current and former NAB League talents continue to roll through the competition, we take a look at how they performed in the first round of finals.

>> Results: VFLW Finals Week One

Pegged as the closest matchup across all three week one fixtures, Casey and Essendon played out a belter to open proceedings. The Bombers came out on top and remain the sole standalone side left, winning 5.5 (35) to 5.2 (32) on enemy territory. A bunch of high level youngsters aided the victors’ cause, none more so than pick one contender Georgie Prespakis who notched 14 disposals and laid 10 tackles in the famous sash.

Fellow Calder players Zali Friswell (nine disposals), Tahlia Gillard (17 hit-outs), and Emelia Yassir also gained some senior finals experience, while former Cannons Alana Barba (18 disposals, 11 tackles, one goal) and Tamsin Crook were among the Bombers’ best. Top 10 candidate Tara Slender also found the big sticks for Essendon, as Murray Bushrangers graduate Eloise Ashley-Cooper managed seven touches and six tackles.

In the losing Casey side, 18-year-old Gippsland Power ruck Grace Matser contributed seven disposals and as many hit-outs in her fourth game at the level. Eastern Ranges product Mietta Kendall, who was recently delisted by Melbourne, also continued in the state league and found eight touches, while former Richmond and Eastern player Emma Horne had it seven times.

In comparison to the Casey-Essendon clash, graduates were more sparse and quiet in the qualifying final between Collingwood and Geelong. The Magpies were pushed all the way in a six-point win, with Olivia Meagher (six disposals, one goal) their only current or VFLW-listed NAB Leaguer afield.

The Cats continued to blood a key trio of graduates, starting with leadership group member Tamara Smith. She was busy with eight touches and two behinds, while also getting stuck in to lay nine tackles. Geelong Falcons graduate Paige Sheppard had it eight times for Geelong, while Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels favourite Chloe Leonard notched nine disposals.

Southern Saints caused the upset of the weekend, advancing to week two via a resounding 34-point victory over the third-ranked Port Melbourne. There was plenty of young talent fielded by both sides, starting with Saints mainstay Gabby De Angelis. She featured among her side’s best players and found the goals, while Melanie Bertuna (13 disposals, five tackles) was also productive.

Sandringham Dragons top-ager Charlotte Ryan proved a handy fold for the Saints with 11 touches in her second game, joined by NAB League teammates Emma Stuber and Pia Staltari in the side. Dandenong Stingrays defender Jemma Radford also ran out in red, white and black, playing against usual teammates Ash Richards and Jaide Anthony, who lined up for the Borough.

Oakleigh Chargers premiership stars Amanda Ling and Brooke Vickers also donned Port colours, while graduates Olivia Barton (15 disposals) and Emily Harley were among their side’s strongest contributors. Vickers and Harley both snared goals, as did AFLW Draft Combine invitee Sophie Locke. Fellow Murray graduate and combine invitee Aurora Smith was another to turn out for Port, earning eight disposals.

Image Credit: Graham Denholm/AFL Photos

PREVIEW | 2021 VFL Women’s Finals: Week One

THE 2021 VFL Women’s finals series has arrived, with the top six teams set to battle it out for premiership glory after 14 enthralling home-and-away rounds. After a year away, the competition was reformatted to see the AFLW and NAB League seasons run concurrently with Victoria’s state league, seeing players from both the aforementioned leagues filter into all 12 teams in different ways.

This year’s finals campaign sees three sides take part in their maiden finals series, with Port Melbourne among them at the pointy end of its inaugural VFLW season. Reigning premier, Collingwood remains the hot favourite to take out this year’s flag, having become just the second-ever team to go through the regular season undefeated. We preview all three of the week one fixtures, with comment from key players of each team.

>> SCROLL for the finals fixture tree

2ND ELIMINATION FINAL

Casey Demons vs. Essendon
Saturday July 3, 12:00pm
Casey Fields

Records:
Casey – 4th, 8-6, 155.96%
Essendon – 5th, 8-6, 155.95%

2021 H2H:
Round 2 – Casey Demons 3.4 (22) def. by Essendon 4.7 (31) @ Casey Fields

Last 5:
Casey – 2-3
Essendon – 2-3

It is only fitting that Casey and Essendon begin their respective maiden VFLW finals campaigns against each other, as they lock horns at Casey Fields on Saturday afternoon. This is the tightest matchup of the lot after 14 home-and-away rounds, with the two sides boasting equal 8-6 records and separated by just 0.1 per cent on the ladder. They are also both 2-3 across their last five outings, with their only previous meeting in 2021 seeing the Bombers salute to the tune of nine points at the same venue.

Plenty has changed since then, though, according to Demons midfielder Eliza West.

“[Essendon] was so physical and I think it surprised us and we weren’t ready for that level of physicality,” West said. “But now after playing for a little while we’ve obviously improved on that because we’ve had to focus on it, and I think coming into the game this week that’ll be a big point for us. We’ll go in ready to play hard and win the footy.”

Bombers skipper Georgia Nanscawen, who has enjoyed a stellar season in the engine room, says calling the matchup close is “pretty spot on.”

“Our matchup against them earlier in the year was a very close game,” Nanscawen said. “When you look at the ladder, I think there was 0.1 of a percent [difference] or something. You can’t get much closer than that so it should be a cracking game.”

While they are incredibly closely matched, there remains a key point of difference between these two adversaries. Essendon is the lone purely non-AFLW aligned team to feature among this year’s finalists, making for another landmark to be “proud” for Nanscawen and her standalone squad of Bombers.

“I’m really loving my time at the Bombers and for our first finals campaign as a club, it’s certainly special to be a part of,” she said. “To be the non-aligned club shows that we can match it with those aligned clubs and hopefully we can have a good finals series.

“We’ve come back refreshed after the break, we’ve had a really good couple of weeks and we’re feeling great so I think anything can happen on the weekend.”

While the Bombers may not be able to lean on its own group of currently senior-listed stars, its emerging crop of youngsters has plenty of fans and pundits alike eager to see how they fare. Having blazed her own trail through the NAB League pathway with Calder Cannons, Essendon forward Alana Barba is excited to see what the next generation can produce come finals time.

“It’s really exciting to see some of the prospects coming through,” Barba said. “A lot of them have done pretty well on their debuts, and going up against the bigger bodies they’ve held their ground and they’ve really come in strong. “It’s exciting to see where they go in the future, whether that’s at the Bombers or anywhere on an AFLW list, they’ll do well.

“I guess I try and take them under my wing a bit because I’ve come through the same pathway as them. But they hold their ground pretty well and they’re very keen as we all are, so it’ll be exciting to see how they go.”

Nanscawen also pointed towards an AFLW draft pick one candidate for her choice of a potential “difference maker”.

“We’ve got Georgie Prespakis who had a great game last week,” she said. “That was her second game for us and she’s improved across the two games already, so we’re pretty excited to see what she can do in a finals series.”

On the flip side, Casey will field up to 10 AFLW-listed players on Saturday and have been able to take plenty from the senior Melbourne side – including an exciting gameplan. Demon Ally Kirkwood says her side is excited for the opportunity to implement it throughout the finals campaign.

“I think the gamestyle we want to play is really exciting,” Kirkwood said. “It’s definitely something the Melbourne AFLW girls implemented and it worked for them through finals. “Unfortunately they didn’t make the grand final but I think we will. That’s what’s really exciting for us; we’re all prepared to play [the gameplan], we’ve been training it for the whole season and we’ve gotten really good at it.”

In terms of the key players to watch for Casey, Kirkwood gave West a good pump-up while standing by her side on Monday’s finals launch day. West had a player of her own in mind, and both promise to provide the sort of ball winning intent that Casey is looking for this weekend.

“Eliza West… she’s always there in those [clutch] moments and it’s really great that we have her here at the club,” Kirkwood said.

“We rely on a lot of players in all areas of the field but I really think Meg McDonald,” West followed. “Since she’s come into being an on-baller, she’s added another level of  physicality and toughness. She lays hard tackles, she plays her role really well and I think she’s helped us a lot. “She’ll be one to look out for because it’s hard to beat her – if she’s tackling you, it’s hard to break one of those tackles so good luck to whoever it is.”

QUALIFYING FINAL

Collingwood vs. Geelong
Saturday July 3, 12:00pm
Holden Centre

Records:
Collingwood – 1st, 14-0, 297.1%
Geelong – 2nd, 10-4, 174.3%

2021 H2H:
Round 1 – Geelong 6.6 (42) def. by Collingwood 7.2 (44) @ Deakin University
Round 14 – Collingwood 3.5 (23) def. Geelong 0.4 (4) @ Victoria Park

Last 5:
Collingwood – 5-0
Geelong – 3-2

Collingwood and Geelong face off for the second time in as many weeks on Saturday, opening the 2021 VFLW finals series with a top of the table clash. The two sides jostled in two close encounters during the 2021 regular season, with the Magpies coming out on top amid their 14-0 campaign. Having completed the home-and-away rounds unbeaten, the reigning premiers became the second-ever side to do so and are in the box seat to defend their crown. But the Cats have proven their credentials as a top-tier team, sneaking into second having consistently found a way to win.

Geelong deputy-vice captains Breanna Beckley and Tamara Smith both spoke towards a strong team-oriented culture which included players listed at AFLW level, the NAB League, and local competitions. With the big job of overturning two previous losses to Collingwood at hand, Smith said her side has “so much more to give.”

“We’ve just got to keep playing our way, our style of footy and back our girls in,” Smith said. “Between the start and end of the season our girls would’ve changed and they’ll probably change again going into next week.

Beckley supported the notion, and hopes it’ll be a case of third time’s a charm for the Cats heading into Saturday’s clash, putting previous results behind them.

“We dropped a couple early against really good sides but it was good to see we had the fight from the start,” Beckley said. “Now coming up against Collingwood [in Round 14], although it wasn’t the result we wanted, I think we still held our own and kept them to a pretty low score as well which was really helpful.

“One of our biggest things that we pride ourselves on is our culture. “What we as a leadership group have tried to instil in the girls is that we’re all here as one no matter where you’re coming from – whether that’s AFL, VFL or local leagues. “Culture is the biggest thing no matter how old you are or your background, and it’s something we’ll keep priding ourselves on towards finals.”

With senior, state league and junior competitions running concurrently in 2021, the Cats have also benefitted from having a number of high-level NAB League graduates filter through the team. Smith was particularly glowing in her review of them, while Beckley knows the Falcons products well having worked with the program as talent manager.

Chloe Leonard’s a big one,” Smith said. “She’s played three games for us, we love Chloe. It’s just the good vibes she brings, she’s so confident but she just asks questions and is always wanting to learn. “You give her something to do and she just does it, plays her role so well.

Annie Lee had a few games with us, she takes strong marks down back. She’s a bit quieter than Chloe but it’s the same thing, she just plays her role and slots into the team.

Renee Tierney played a couple of games as well, she played against Southern Saints in a really wet game but she just held her own, backed her skills in. “It’s awesome to have those NAB League girls through because as much as they’re there to learn, they also have so much to give so it’s a really good opportunity for them and for us.”

While the spades of talent across a good range of age groups would make it easy to individualise parts of the squad, Smith maintains the Cats will rely on a team effort, rather than look to a few to get the job done.

“Obviously we have really talented girls in the side and ones which will step up, but as a whole I think we’re all ready for the challenge,” she said. “That’s one thing, if we can all step up together it’s going to make a huge difference across the ground. “I don’t think that we should be relying on just one girl to get the job done or have an outstanding game, if we can all lift and do our part for the team that’s where you get the job done.”

Collingwood also has a raft of stars which will look to make a difference on Saturday, none more so than unbelievably timely inclusion, Chloe Molloy. The dynamic senior-listed forward qualifies for finals after playing just one game in 2021, and will be one of the (up to) 10 AFLW players afield for the Magpies. Should she line up in attack, Molloy could form a deadly partnership with competition leading goalkicker Imogen Barnett and boom recruit Matilda Zander.

Up the other end, Lauren Butler also returned just in time to qualify for finals, while Mikala Cann carries in terrific form through midfield. With such a strong senior-listed and VFLW core, promising NAB Leaguers like Stella Reid and Eliza James look to have been squeezed out, though tough midfielder Olivia Meagher has been named on the Magpies’ bench.

1ST ELIMINATION FINAL

Port Melbourne vs. Southern Saints
Sunday July 4, 2:00pm
ETU Stadium

Records:
Port Melbourne – 3rd, 10-4, 128.7%
Southern Saints – 6th, 7-7, 115.2%

2021 H2H:
Round 10 – Port Melbourne 4.4 (28) def. by Southern Saints 8.7 (55)

Last 5:
Port Melbourne – 2-3
Southern Saints – 3-2

In Sunday’s standalone finals fixture, Port Melbourne enters its maiden finals campaign against the Southern Saints having enjoyed a remarkable inaugural VFLW season. After starting the year with a blistering 7-0 run, the Borough ended their regular season at 10-4 – good enough for third spot having occupied one of the top two places for nine rounds. Most intriguingly, one of those losses came at the hands of their weekend adversaries. The Saints have gone 7-7 thus far and went 2-2 after that win against Port, but did enough to claw onto sixth spot and earn a finals berth.

Saints co-captain Deanna Jolliffe says her side is “[peaking] at the right time” after two promising wins in the run-in to Sunday, while youngster Melanie Bertuna outlined the desired approach to knocking Port off for a second time.

“I think our last two weeks of footy have really proved what we’re capable of,” Jolliffe said. “Hopefully we can just continue to play the same sort of footy that we have over the last couple of weeks and bring that in on Sunday against Port Melbourne.”

“Playing a really strong four quarters of footy [is what it takes to beat Port Melbourne],” Bertuna said. “Just not dropping off our pressure and sticking with it the whole game, sticking our heads down and getting the work done.”

The same four-quarter approach was also a theme in Borough captain Melissa Kuys‘ path to victory, as her side looks put together the high-level form they previously found on a more consistent basis. As a leader in Port’s first VFLW finals campaign, the experienced utility is also proud of how much development the competition newcomers have shown this year.

“We just need to play four quarter of good footy,” Kuys said. “We’ve been playing patches unfortunately in the last couple of weeks so we’ve just got to bring that brand of footy we know we can play for longer than them, and hopefully we’ll get the job done.”

“At the beginning of the season we probably [didn’t] think that we would’ve gotten this far, so it’s super pleasing that we are where we are. “It’s been a lot of hard work but we’re super excited to have our first finals.”

Both sides have also had a raft of promising NAB Leaguers come through the respective programs, with a bunch set to line up for either team on Sunday. Having gone through the pathway herself, first year Port Melbourne player Olivia Barton said they have been “really good contributors” overall.

“We’ve loved having the NAB League girls come through,” Barton said. “They’ve all brought something special to the team in their individual ways and obviously our senior players have been really good with teaching them the ropes.”

Jolliffe gave similar praise to the Saints’ next generation of talent, while also giving a nod to the AFLW-listed players who have “lifted” the squad in an all-round learning experience.

“I think the [NAB Leaguers] bring a lot of depth to the team,” she said. “With their young bodies and they’re able to get in and under the ball and they’re just keen to learn and always striving to do better. “I think that also brings a lot of culture to our team because we want to do better for the them, and also want to be able to teach them things.

“Since the AFLW girls have joined our training sessions the intensity has definitely lifted, there seems to be a lot more voice out on the field. “The experience they bring is second to none so we’re all just enjoying that and learning from them as much as we can.”

As the Southern squad looks to implement its ferocious and unsociable “Saints footy”, Jolliffe and Bertuna promise there won’t be any one player carrying their effort.

“The way we’ve always played is Saints footy,” Bertuna said. “Every week that’s always what we want to come back to and play our way, so we’ll come out strong, respect the team we’re going up against and bring our best.”

Kuys and Barton identified a couple of key difference-makers among the Port Melbourne squad, though the spread of contributors is set to be just as even.

“I’d probably go with Courteney Bromage,” Kuys said. “She’s a player that gets in-and-under and she really uses her body and that inspires me to go harder.”

Claire Dyett on the wing,” Barton said. “She’s always going hard at the ball and running hard for us both ways, so she’d definitely be one to step up. Her heart’s right in the team so she’d definitely do it for us.”

Via: VFL

Image Credit: Dylan Burns/AFL Photos

2021 VFLW Player Focus: Meagan Kiely

NORTH Melbourne skipper Meagan Kiely has been one of the, if not standout player in the Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s competition in 2021. Kiely has racked up an average of 24.5 disposals, 5.3 marks, 5.4 tackles, 3.6 clearances, 3.2 inside 50s and 3.2 rebound 50s in a real all-round effort for the Roos. North Melbourne might have been eliminated from the VFL Women’s title race in the last round of the season, but it did not stop Kiely putting in a record-breaking performance. We take a look at her performance in our latest Player Focus.

>> SARAH SKINNER VFLW PLAYER FOCUS

Q1:

First quarter we saw Kiely with some real leather poisoning when she gets the quick handball to the right side of who boots it into their 50m in the first 15 seconds of the game with a beautiful delivery to teammate Elisha King. With a lot of the ball early, Kiely held her space nicely and lead into space that resulted as a mark, continuing with a quick penetrated kick inside their 50m again and hit teammate, Nikki Wallace up, that viciously resulted in their first goal of the game with a hard direct kick to Sarah Skinner. Holding her space early around stoppages wanting the backwards pass, that results in a run and carry. Five minutes into the first quarter Kiely lays a very important tackle for North where it becomes a ball up inside their 50 for another chance on goal. She used her powerful legs to burst through a pack to fight to put another score on the board that was touched and was a behind. Really good footy smarts when she received the ball from the middle and straight away looked to her right side to use her winger to try to create more space.

Q2:

Second quarter with Kiely starting strongly in the midfield again who quickly got the touch early with a quick kick, that resulted into a turnover, but then we see positively slowly watch her creating and holding space to be the one who will be there to handball backwards to reset or to get the handball receive. Being hardly played on with struggling to get the same touches she was in the first quarter, Kiely stays composed. With 20 seconds left in the second term, North Melbourne have a free kick just outside their 50m, kick goes inside 50 with Kiely flying up for a specky to mark the ball and just misses, but ball hits the ground which lead to North scoring another goal.

Q3:

It is a tight game with the scores being 3.4 (22) to St Kilda’s 3.3 (21) with North being down by a point. With a kick from the left side of St Kilda’s 50, Kiely clears the ball out. The North captain trying everything she can in the third term but finding it hard to clear it out with St Kilda’s defenders being too strong. Slowly starting to slow the play down while having it in their possession, Kiely has a kick from the middle and slows the play down to keep in control.

Q4:

Fourth quarter starts with a centre clearance that goes North’s way, with North being hungry for the ball and Kiely trying her best and doing what she does best. With her endurance and speed keeping up with the play from already playing a tough fast three quarters. With St Kilda taking over not only on the score board but the ground as well, it has made it very hard for North’s skipper to continue playing her way, even though she never gave up and continued to put her best foot forward at every opportunity she could

TOTAL STATS: 36 disposals, 11 marks, 2 tackles, 3 clearances, 4 inside 50s, 6 rebound 50s

SUMMARY:

With a long day for North Melbourne’s skipper Kiely, battling all day against the strong St Kilda team, Kiely never gave up and kept pushing as a strong leader does. Sadly with the loss, there was still impressive plays brought out in this tight game, Kiely with 36 disposals, 11 marks, four inside 50s and three clearances that tells you all how much of a hard worker she is but early start of the game she was all over it with helping her team have a lot of chances to score.

2021 VFLW Player Focus: Sarah Skinner

NORTH Melbourne VFLW winger Sarah Skinner has enjoyed a stellar 2021 VFLW campaign, moving up from Tasmania to link with the Roos and put her hand up as a mature-age draft prospect. While her side went down to the Southern Saints on Sunday, Skinner was one of the best players afield with 17 disposals, seven marks, and two of her side’s three goals. We put her performance under the Player Focus microscope.

Q1:
Right from the opening minutes of the game, Skinner sprung into action as she took a mark – the first of many that the Tasmanian young gun produced throughout the game. Following on from her classy mark, Skinner booted a goal for her side to set up what would be a stellar performance. Skinner demonstrated poise as she was involved in a passage of play which saw her get possession of the ball before making her first handball for the quarter. Yet another touch for Skinner, this time through her second mark of the game. A missed opportunity emerged in the remaining minutes of the term, as the young gun attempted to gain possession of the ball was too late as it was deemed out of bounds.

Q2:
The second quarter quickly rolled around and once again, Skinner continued to dazzle. A major highlight included four marks taken in the space of a quarter, all of which were nicely executed under immense pressure. The 21-year-old made a handball over to teammate Alexia Hamilton. She also got a touch of the ball after a Southern Saints player fumbled the ball, leading to her kick made to another teammate Brooke Slaney. Skinner found a slight stumble during the game as she attempted to take a mark but was not able to hold onto it. Another handball was made to Hamilton, an important dynamic shaping up between the two players.

Q3:
The beginning of the second half was a more quiet one for the Tasmanian star. Quarter three saw Skinner get a touch of the ball as she got amongst the action of a game which was starting to intensify. She also was involved in her first tackle for the game and looked comfortable defending the ball.

Q4:
Skinner got back to her best in the final term, putting her athleticism on full display but not before a small mishap with a missed attempt at a mark. Her redeeming move came as a result of her seventh mark of the game, which was made in front of an opponent from the Southern Saints. Skinner’s involvement in a second tackle occurred in the final term. She managed to get another kick in during the quarter which ended up in the hands of an opposition player – something which wasn’t needed for North Melbourne with the scoreline steadily widening. The Tasmanian capped off a brilliant game with another kick to a teammate.

TOTAL STATS: 17 disposals, 2 goals, 2 tackles, 7 marks

SUMMARY: An impressive and overall consistent performance from the North Melbourne star, with just a quiet third quarter in the books lowering her impact. Skinner shone in the marks department as she took seven in her side’s loss. Her performance highlighted her versatility as she shown she was good with disposals, bagged a couple of goals and made a statement getting involved in the action with two tackles. Her performance against the Southern Saints in Round 14 highlights how crucial she is to her side.

The Graduates: 2021 VFLW – Round 14

IN the final round of the Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s competition, a number of NAB League graduates stood up and impressed be it via debut, or continuing their form from throughout the season. We recap how they performed.

Essendon had a plethora of Calder Cannons talents past and present, led by Georgie Prespakis who amassed a game-high 24 disposals, as well as nine tackles, seven clearances and three inside 50s. Current Cannons teammates Emelia Yassir (18 disposals, two marks, three tackles, two clearances and four inside 50s), Tahlia Gillard (nine disposals, 13 hitouts and six tackles) and Kasey Lennox all played in the game.

Ex-Cannons, Alana Barba (23 disposals, 11 tackles, six clearances and three inside 50s), Grace Dicker and Tamsin Crook. Former Murray talent Eloise Ashley-Cooper continued her form with 10 disposals four clearances and two inside 50s. For the Falcons, Trinity Mills had six touches and laid three tackles, whilst Northern Knights teammate Mikayla Plunkett also took to the field. Katelyn Hazlett amassed seven disposals, three clearances and five inside 50s in the loss, whilst the sole Cannon on the Darebin side in Peppa Poultney had four touches and three tackles.

In Collingwood’s top of the table win over Geelong, Eliza James put together another impressive performance with the Oakleigh Chargers talent picking up 13 disposals, five marks, three tackles, two clearances, three inside 50s and kicking her debut VFLW goal. Olivia Meagher also ran out again for the Magpies for seven disposals and two tackles. Current Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels player Chloe Leonard managed the nine disposals six tackles and three inside 50s to be named among the Cats’ best, whilst ex-Falcons Paige Sheppard (15 disposals, six marks, seven tackles, three clearances and two rebound 50s) and Sachi DeGiacomi (two disposals, four tackles) both played, as did ex-Bushranger Tamara Smith (seven disposals, 11 tackles).

Western Bulldogs got the chocolates over the Casey Demons in their clash, with a trio of current GWV Rebels players running around. Nyakoat Dojiok (11 disposals), Tahlia Meier (11 disposals, three marks, four tackles and two inside 50s) and Lilli Condon (10 disposals, two tackles and three inside 50s) all impressed, with Western Jets talent Trinity Skenderis having the 10 disposals, four tackles and kicking a goal. Ex-Bendigo Pioneers skipper Brooke Hards had the seven touches, six tackles, two inside 50s and three rebounds in another strong performance in the back half. Meanwhile Gippsland Power ruck Grace Matser was a standout with 11 touches, 16 hitouts, seven tackles, four clearances and two rebound 50s for the Demons.

Hawthorn’s eight-point triumph over Port Melbourne saw a ton of Eastern Ranges end their VFL Women’s season. Isabelle Khoury was the standout, named best on ground for her nine disposals, seven tackles, six clearances, three inside 50s, two rebounds and one goal. Eloise Chaston (11 disposals, two marks and two inside 50s), Keeley Sherar (nine disposals, three tackles, three clearances and two inside 50s), Bridget Deed (eight disposals, three tackles and two rebound 50s), Cadhla Schmidli, Sarah Humm and Jess Grace all played. Former Ranges talent Jenna Richardson managed the 14 touches, four marks, three tackles, two clearances and four rebound 50s, while Gippsland Power’s Grace McRae had the 13 touches, six tackles and five clearances.

Port Melbourne had a few talented youngsters running around for the Borough, with Murray Bushrangers’ Aurora Smith making her debut for nine disposals, three tackles, two clearances and three inside 50s. Oakleigh Chargers duo Amanda Ling (11 disposals, three marks, 10 tackles and four inside 50s) and Brooke Vickers (15 disposals, two tackles and two rebound 50s) also stood out, whilst Dandenong Stingrays’ Jaide Anthony managed the five touches. Ex-Murray player Sophie Locke returned to good form with 13 touches, five tackles and two goals in the game.

Southern Saints had a trio of Dragons in their win over North Melbourne, as Charlotte Ryan made her debut at VFLW level for five disposals and a couple of tackles. Emma Stuber (10 disposals, two marks and four inside 50s) impressed in her second game alongside Pia Staltari. Dandenong Stingrays’ Jemma Radford managed the six touches and four tackles in another game with the Saints, as Abbey Jordan returned to put out nine touches in a solid effort. Former Eastern forward Gabi De Angelis produced her best game of the season with 24 touches, nine marks, three tackles, eight inside 50s and two goals to be the star. For the Roos, GIANTS Academy talent Jayde Hamilton had 10 disposals, five tackles and two clearances.

In the final game of the season, Carlton got up over Williamstown with a distinct Northern Knight flavour again. Maeve Chaplin was named in the bests for her seven disposals and three tackles, as Tarrah Delgado had five touches, four marks and five tackles in the win. Ex-Knight Marnie Jarvis had the four disposals and three tackles, while form Oakleigh defender Amber Micallef managed seven touches and two marks. Williamstown handed Dandenong’s Sarah Hosking a debut, with the top-age talent having six disposals and three tackles. Former Bendigo skipper Megan Williamson was busy with nine touches, 10 tackles and five clearances, whilst current Geelong Falcons forward Zoe Garth managed five touches and five tackles. Ex-Western Jets midfielder Ruby Tripodi was clearly the standout of the graduates with 23 touches, five tackles and five clearances in the loss.

2021 VFLW Round 14 wrap: Saints clinch finals spot as Hawks end on high for Meg’s final game

IT went right down to the final day of the Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s season, but the Southern Saints clinched the sixth spot in the finals series after winning against North Melbourne, grabbing back their place which was temporarily lost after the Western Bulldogs upset Casey Demons on Saturday. Geelong almost slipped up a double chance when it lost to Collingwood, but the Hawks came to the rescue to send off veteran and football legend Meg Hutchins in style, defeating third placed Port Melbourne in a huge result.

DAREBIN 0.0 | 0.2 | 0.2 | 0.2 (2)
ESSENDON 3.3 | 5.3 | 7.9 | 7.10 (52)

Essendon finished its regular season off on a high, running away with a 50-point victory over wooden spooners Darebin. Despite the Falcons restricting the inaccurate Bombers to only the two goals in the second half, Essendon proved too strong overall, claiming a big 7.10 (52) to 0.2 (2) win at Bill Lawry Oval. Jessie Davies slotted three goals from seven disposals, whilst the midfield of the bombers dominated with 12 more clearances. Lead by Georgia Nanscawen (23 disposals, seven clearances, nine tackles and four inside 50s), second gamer and potential top AFLW Draft selection Georgie Prespakis (24 disposals, seven clearances, nine tackles and three inside 50s) and the reliable Alana Barba (23 disposals, six clearances, 11 tackles and three inside 50s), Essendon proved too strong for their opponent. Bombers debutant Tahlia Gillard also looked comfortable with nine disposals, two marks and 13 hitouts, whilst Calder teammate Emelia Yassir was amongst the best with 18 touches, four inside 50s  and three tackles. For the Falcons, Alyssa Mifsud had 15 touches, seven clearances, six hitouts and four rebound 50s in a huge effort, whilst Kathleen Roe and Nicole Callinan (both 12 disposals, five tackles and three rebound 50s) were strong in defence. Sidney Cubasch (32 hitouts, four tackles and eight disposals) was busy in the ruck.

GOALS:

Darebin: Nil.
Essendon: J. Davies 3, M. Clifford, G. Nanscawen, T. Crook, S. Nalder.

BEST:

Darebin: K. Roe, S. Cubasch, K. Hazlett, S. David, S. Padovano, E. Buckley
Essendon: A. Barba, E. Yassir, T. Gillard, G. Prespakis, S. Nalder, C. Ugle

COLLINGWOOD 0.1 | 1.2 | 2.3 | 3.5 (23)
GEELONG 0.3 | 0.3 | 0.3 | 0.4 (4)

Collingwood completed an undefeated season in the VFL Women’s competition, knocking off second placed Geelong by 19 points at Victoria Park in a curtain raiser to this weekend’s qualifying final. The Magpies won off the back of staunch defence, restricting the Cats to just four behinds for the game, whilst kicking three majors from eight scoring chances themselves. Mikala Cann was a clear best on ground performer, putting up 30 disposals, eight clearances, 11 tackles, five inside 50s, three rebound 50s and a goal in the win. Matilda Zander (20 disposals, six tackles, three marks and five rebound 50s), Georgia Ricardo (16 disposals, four tackles, three clearances and a goal), Ebony O’Dea (15 disposals, three marks, four tackles, three inside 50s and two clearances) and youngster Eliza James (13 disposals, five marks, three tackles, three inside 50s, two clearances and a goal) all impressed in the win. Olivia Fuller was named best-on for the Cats in her role through the ruck with 12 disposals, 27 hitouts, six tackles, three clearances and three inside 50s. Sophie Van De Heuvel (18 disposals, four tackles, six clearances and seven inside 50s), Renee Garing (19 disposals, 12 tackles) and Paige Sheppard (15 disposals, six marks, seven tackles and three clearances) all impressed as well, with Maddie Boyd trying hard on her way to 11 touches, three marks, five hitouts, five tackles and four rebound 50s.

GOALS:

Collingwood: M. Cann, E. James, G. Ricardo.
Geelong: Nil.

BEST:

Collingwood: I. Purcell, A. Newman, E. James, M. Zander, M. Cann, E. O’Dea
Geelong: O. Fuller, S. Van De Heuvel, M. Boyd, P. Sheppard, R. Garing, C. Leonard

WESTERN BULLDOGS 1.2 | 3.6 | 3.9 | 5.10 (40)
CASEY DEMONS 0.1 | 3.1 | 4.1 | 4.4 (28)

Whilst in hindsight the win was not enough for the Western Bulldogs to secure a finals spot, they did end their season on a high with a two-goal win over Casey Demons. The Bulldogs had a fight on their hands for the most part, with inaccuracy again plaguing the home team, but two last quarter goals saw them kick away and grab the 5.10 (40) to 4.4 (28) victory. Elisabeth Georgostathis was best-on with 24 disposals, nine clearances, five marks, five tackles and six inside 50s, whilst Britney Gutknecht had the 25 touches, five tackles, two clearances, two marks and three rebound 50s, and Gemma Lagioia booted two goals from 20 touches and four inside 50s. Danielle Marshall (18 disposals, four marks and five rebound 50s) and Brooke Hards (seven disposals, six tackles, two inside 50s and three rebounds) teamed up well in defence, and Nicole McMahon (12 disposals, two marks, 25 hitouts, three clearances and three rebound 50s) covered the field well. Eliza West topped the Demons’ disposal count with 24 touches, nine tackles, six clearances, four inside 50s and two rebounds, whilst Nicole Hales (20 disposals, seven rebound 50s) and Alison Brown (20 disposals, six rebound 50s) were both impressive in defence. up the other end, Casey Sherriff had 19 touches, eight marks, six inside 50s and a goal, whilst Jacqueline Parry snagged two goals from 17 touches and five marks.

GOALS:

Western Bulldogs: G. Lagioia 2, S. Ruedin, M. Sandral, T. Skenderis.
Casey Demons: J. Parry 2, C. Sherriff, A. Bannan.

BEST:

Western Bulldogs: E. Georgostathis, G. Lagioia, N. McMahon, D. Marshall, T. Skenderis, T. Meier
Casey Demons: C. Sherriff, N. Hales, S. Heath, E. West, G. Matser, E. Horne

HAWTHORN 1.1 | 2.2 | 6.4 | 8.4 (52)
PORT MELBOURNE 3.0 | 4.5 | 5.7 | 6.8 (44)

In one of the upsets of the season and a phenomenal performance from Hawthorn, the Hawks stepped up in Hutchins’ last game to secure a memorable eight-point victory over the third placed Port Melbourne. The stakes could not have been higher for the Borough with a double-chance on the line, but Hawthorn brought its A-game to the match and booted six goals to two in the second half to run over the visitors at Box Hill and claim an 8.4 (52) to 6.8 (44) win. Jessie Williams was the key player up forward, slotting three goals from 12 disposals, two marks and three inside 50s. Tamara Luke had 20 touches, 33 hitouts, nine clearances, six marks, five tackles, two inside 50s, three rebound 50s and a goal in a huge all-round effort, with Hutchins named best on in her final game thanks to 12 disposals, two marks and a goal. Grace McRae (13 disposals, five clearances and six tackles) and Isabelle Khoury (nine disposals, six clearances, seven tackles, three inside 50s and a goal) were among the youngsters who stepped up and had an impact around the stoppages. For the Borough, Aurora Smith made her debut and had the nine disposals, two clearances, three inside 50s and three tackles, whilst fellow NAB League Girls talents Amanda Ling (11 disposals, three marks, 10 tackles and four inside 50s) and Brooke Vickers (15 disposals, two tackles and two rebound 50s) were also impressive. Sophie Locke slotted two goals from 13 touches, as Cleo Saxon-Jones impressed in defence with five rebound 50s from 11 touches.

GOALS:

Hawthorn: J. Williams 3, I. Khoury, D. Carbone, M. Hutchins, T. Luke, S. Perkins.
Port Melbourne: S. Locke 2, C. Dyett, E. Harley, M. Kuys, A. Edmonds.

BEST:

Hawthorn: M. Hutchins, K. Sherar, I. Khoury, J. Williams, J. Richardson, T. Luke
Port Melbourne: A. Ling, C. Dyett, E. Harley, A. Edmonds, O. Barton, L. McClelland

SOUTHERN SAINTS 2.3 | 3.4 | 4.9 | 8.12 (60)
NORTH MELBOURNE 1.2 | 3.3 | 3.3 | 3.4 (22)

After a tight first half, Southern Saints kicked away to defeat North Melbourne by 38 points and book a VFL Women’s finals spot. The Saints lead by just a point at quarter time, but 5.8 to 0.1 after the main break – including four goals in the final term – resulted in the home team celebrating with an 8.12 (60) to 3.4 (22) win and securing sixth place on the table. Tara Bohanna slotted three goals from 25 disposals, eight marks, seven hitouts and three inside 50s, teaming up well with the dangerous Gabi De Angelis (24 disposals, nine marks, three tackles, eight inside 50s and two goals) for the bulk of the scoring. Tyanna Smith (23 disposals, six marks, six tackles and four inside 50s) and Hannah Stewart (22 disposals, three marks, six clearances and four inside 50s) were also busy, as Rebecca Neaves and Francesca Hocking both had 12 disposals and combined for nine rebound 50s. Capping off a simply remarkable season, North skipper Meagan Kiely might have saved her best to last. Racking up 36 disposals, 11 marks, three clearances, four inside 50s and six rebounds, Kiely was simply unstoppable around the ground. She teamed up well with Airlie Runnalls (33 disposals, nine marks, five clearances, four tackles, five inside 50s and a goal), whilst Sarah Skinner also slotted two goals returning to the team, along with 17 disposals, seven marks and four inside 50s. Jess Mourney was steadfast in defence with 17 touches, six marks and four rebound 50s.

GOALS:

Southern Saints: T. Bohanna 3, G. De Angelis 2, A. Peck, J. Matin, T. Kearns
North Melbourne: S. Skinner 2, A. Runnalls

BEST:

Southern Saints: T. Smith, H. Stuart, G. De Angelis, T. Kearns, R. Neaves, T. Bohanna
North Melbourne: A. Runnalls, M. Kiely, J. Mourney, S. Skinner, R. Hicks, A. Hamilton

WILLIAMSTOWN 1.0 | 1.2 | 2.4 | 2.4 (16)
CARLTON 2.1 | 4.2 | 6.5 | 6.7 (43)
Carlton has capped off its VFL Women’s season with a win, securing seventh place on the final ladder. Whilst it was four points out of the top six, the Blues showed they could compete with the best teams at times, and were able to account for Williamstown by 27 points. Only leading by seven points at the first break, the Blues kicked four goals to one after quarter time to win, 6.7 (43) to 2.4 (16). Jennifer Lew finished with 20 disposals, four marks, seven tackles, four inside 50s and a goal in a best on ground performances, whilst the likes of Akayla Peterson (17 disposals, three marks, six tackles, five clearances and four inside 50s) and Jorja Borg (13 disposals, 39 hitouts, four tackles) were also impressive. Olivia Madden slotted two goals in the victory, whilst young talent Maeve Chaplin was also named in the Blues’ best. Ashlea Melnikas had 24 disposals, five clearances, eight tackles, four inside 50s and two rebounds, sharing the high disposals with Ruby Tripodi (23 disposals, five clearances and five tackles) and Aimee Whelan (21 disposals, seven clearances, nine tackles and four rebound 50s. Erin Meade was once against a standout thanks to her 21 disposals, seven clearances and four rebound 50s, whilst Megan Williamson had 10 tackles and five clearances from nine disposals.
GOALS:
Williamstown: E. Meade, C. Leighton.
Carlton: O. Madden 2, S. Lawrence 2, C. Hammans, J. Lew.
BEST:
Williamstown: R. Tripodi, E. Straford, E. Meade, E. Baxter, P. Nash, A. Whelan
Carlton: J. Lew, A. Peterson, J. Borg, A. Klingbeil, O. Madden, M. Chaplin