THE Geelong Falcons remain on top of the ladder, getting revenge against Murray after a close loss last season. The Northern Knights are the other undefeated team after a clinical performance at Preston. Gippsland moved closer to the top four with a win over Bendigo while the Western Jets created history at Williamstown. Round five was one of the most eventful rounds of the season, with plenty of new standouts flexing their muscles across the weekend.
Western Jets 6.0 (36) defeated Eastern Ranges 5.1 (31)
The Western Jets got their first ever TAC Cup Girls victory in style, beating the undefeated Eastern Ranges. It was goal-for-goal throughout the whole game and only one behind was scored, which came late in the last quarter. Both teams fought incredibly hard for the victory.
Elisabeth Georgostathis was the hero for Western, making her presence known in every contest. She was able to lay strong tackles and put her head over the ball to create some impressive passages of play for the Jets. Caitlin Greiser was dominant in the forward-line once again, backing up her three-goal performance in round four with a four-goal performance in round five. Isabelle Pritchard was solid in defence one again, displaying immense strength and courage to hunt the ball and tackle the strong Eastern forwards deep in defence.
Sarah Kendall dominated for Eastern, playing in the ruck and making some nice contributions across half-back. She was like a brick wall, marking everything that came her way. She was complemented by Mikala Cann, who was always there to assist and deliver some great kicks to help her team regain control of the seesawing contest. Gabriella De Angelis was an absolute work-horse throughout the whole game, taking brave marks and moving the ball freely throughout the contest. She kicked two goals to top off her hard work, and was joined by Laura McClelland on the scoreboard, who continues to dominate inside 50.
Bendigo Pioneers 3.4 (22) defeated by Gippsland Power 5.4 (34)
By: Peter Williams
Gippsland Power continued it’s fantastic form of late, winning its third game in four starts, and collecting 14 of a possible 16 points in that time. It was a Nikia Webber three-goal haul that was the difference on the scoreboard, as the Power booted three goals to zero in the third term to lead by 20 points at the final break. A Kate Douglass goal in the final term gave Bendigo some hope, but the Power were good enough to hold on for a 12-point victory.
Emily Haeusler was outstanding off half-back for the Power, while Amy Dunn gave the Power midfielders first use at the stoppages. The likes of Ebony Jones, Chandra Abrahams, Jazz Ferguson and Maddison Shaw all impressed across the ground for Gippsland. Abrahams’ goal from long range was a highlight, as was a huge Julia Redmond pack mark on the wing.
For Bendigo, Kodi Jacques was superb in midfield, aided by usual suspect Megan Williamson, as well as Maddy Baldwin and Carly Isaac. Brooke Hards was sensational in defence, while Maeve Tupper roved to the likes of Shelby Knoll, who took a few strong grabs leading out of the forward 50. There was plenty to like about the way Bendigo played in a highly competitive and contested game.
Northern Knights 14.4 (88) defeated Oakleigh Chargers 5.7 (37)
By: Michael Alvaro
Northern Knights kept their perfect record in tact with what ended up being a comfortable win over Oakleigh Chargers at Preston City Oval. The home side burst out of the gates with three quick majors and went on to dominate the first half with seven goals to two, opening up a 30-point buffer at the main break. Oakleigh charged back in the third quarter, keeping the Knights scoreless while managing to pinch three goals of their own to set up a tense final term. It did not quite work out that way for the Chargers though, as the Knights piled on four goals to round out the game and notch up an impressive total of 88 points in the process.
For Northern, star midfielder Ellie McKenzie contributed three of her side’s last quarter goals to cap off a best afield performance. Sarah Sansonetti and Alexandra Pronesti formed a formidable partnership up forward, managing four goals between them, while Alyssa Bannan chimed in with two of her own. Neve O’Connor another key player for the Knights, battling it out with Oakleigh’s Bridie Winbanks in an enthralling ruck contest.
Winbanks was joined by bullocking midfielder Emily Harley as the Chargers’ best, while midfielders Alana Porter and Nicola Xenos provided dash all day. The undefeated Knights were again just too good for their opponents, but Oakleigh were more than worthy adversaries on the day having pushed them for the best of three quarters.
Dandenong Stingrays 3.6 (24) defeated by Greater Western Victoria Rebels 4.4 (28)
By: Peter Williams
Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels won its second consecutive game with a four-point win over Dandenong Stingrays at Epsom Huntly Recreation Reserve. The Stingrays were the only ones to score in the first term, but booted three behinds, before the Rebels found their kicking boots with a four-goal second term to race to a 20-point lead by the main break. The Stingrays clawed their way back into the game with the only three goals of the second half, but just ran out of time as the Rebels bravely defended in the last few minutes to secure the win.
It was a team effort from the Rebels, with the likes of Stephanie Glover and Nyakoat Dojiok rebounding off half-back, and Lauren Butler controlling the midfield with Denver Henson. The Rebels had four individual goal kickers on the day, while Hannah Simpson, Chloe Leonard and Lauren Sykes were other players named among the best. It was a good win for the Rebels against a defensively strong side.
For the Stingrays, Tyanna Smith booted two goals, while Shelley Heath and Abbey Jordan were prominent through midfield. Saige Bayne and Eliza Wilson-Macdonald won their fair share of the ball, while Isabella Shannon provided a target up forward. With the Stingrays missing three of their top players to the AFLW Academy game, Lucy Cripps was a rock in defence, providing good composure and stability across the ground.
Sandringham Dragons 10.11 (71) defeated Calder Cannons 2.4 (16)
With a full-strength side, the Sandringham Dragons ran amok over the Cannons. They were able to capitalise on a Cannons outfit without Madison Prespakis, Georgia Patrikios and Molly Warburton through flexing their muscles and showing the depth in their squad.
A new player seemed to step up every quarter for the Dragons, and in the first quarter it was Maddison Wilson’s three goals that set Trevor Barker Beach Oval alight. Bella Eddey and Laura Amelung also did well to chip in some goals and were proactive inside 50 throughout the whole game. But Eleanor Brown was the star of the day, making it difficult for players to defend her. She displayed great movement on the wing and became an unintentional target for the Cannons, leading up to every kick that came her way.
Despite a dour day for the Cannons, they should be extremely impressed by Felicity Theodore’s performance. Theodore seemed to be everywhere and did everything she could to help penetrate the ball forward for Calder. She had plenty of great bursts out of stoppages and even leapt over an opponent to take a memorable mark for a small midfielder. Zoe Hardiman was able to make an impact across half-forward thanks to her ability to get the ball and quickly dish it off to keep the play flowing. Georgia Marsland and Gloria Elarmaly were Calder’s goal-kickers.
Geelong Falcons 4.4 (28) defeated Murray Bushrangers 3.1 (19)
By: Peter Williams
In the final game of the round, Geelong Falcons held off a determined Murray Bushrangers with a nine-point win. The Falcons booted four of the first five goals of the game and looked seemingly home at three quarter time, holding a 22-point lead. To that point the Bushrangers had looked well and truly in the contest, winning their fair share, if not a majority of the possession. But straight out of the final break huddle the Bushrangers booted two goals in the opening six and a half minutes to suddenly come within 10 points and it was game on. But the Falcons held strong, winning crucial one-on-one contests and getting home in a contested affair.
It was hard to pick a best player for the Falcons with defenders Abbey Chapman and Sarah Hungerford putting in a superb effort in the back half, as did Sophie Walmsley, who snuck forward and booted a goal too. Luka Lesosky-Hay was the Falcons top midfielder in the absence of Olivia Purcell and Nina Morrison, while Samantha Atkins brought the tackling pressure, and Tarryn Love was impressive before going off injured in the third term.
For the Bushies, the midfield core of Tamara Smith, Grace Egan and Julia Harvey was superb, while Sophie Damon was a standout in the ruck and used as a playmaker across the ground. Chelsea Knight and Hayley Doohan were among the others named in the Bushrangers best. It was Murray’s first ever loss in the TAC Cup Girls competition, but they could be proud of the fight they put in until the very end.