Story so far: TAC Cup Girls – Country

IN the mid-season break, AFL Draft Central takes a look at the 12 TAC Cup Girls sides and see how they have performed so far, and how they are shaping up in the final month of the season. We start with the six country teams and finish with the six metro teams to tell the story so far.

Bendigo Pioneers:

Position: 8th
Win-loss: 1 win – 4 losses
Percentage: 67%

Results:

R1: defeated Western Jets by 38 points
R2: lost to Murray Bushrangers by 40 points
R3: lost to GWV Rebels by 33 points
R4: lost to Eastern Ranges by 17 points
R5: lost to Gippsland Power by 12 points

Bendigo Pioneers started the season with a fantastic win over the Western Jets, but have missed out on tasting victory in the past four rounds. They have been competitive in each game, decreasing the eventual final deficit as each round went by, losing to Gippsland by just two goals in the match at Epsom Huntly Reserve in round five. Their midfield is a clear strength, with Kodi Jacques and Megan Williamson leading the way, while Kate Douglass holds down a defensive post. Sophie Kerridge has also been damaging inside 50. Their defence is good at getting back in numbers and rebounding, which is something that will hold them in good stead going forward. With an upcoming match against the Oakleigh Chargers this weekend, the Pioneers will been keen to get their second win, before a clash against the unbeaten Northern Knights in round seven.

Fixtures:

R6: vs. Oakleigh Chargers
R7: vs. Northern Knights
R8: vs. Sandringham Dragons
R9: vs. Dandenong Stingrays

Dandenong Stingrays

Position: 12th
Win-loss: 0 win – 5 losses
Percentage: 55%

Results:

R1: lost to Northern Knights by 35 points
R2: lost to Eastern Ranges by 39 points
R3: lost to Geelong Falcons by 6 points
R4: lost to Sandringham Dragons by 15 points
R5: lost to GWV Rebels by 4 points

Dandenong Stingrays are still yet to win a game in the TAC Cup Girls competition, but it does come as a surprise considering they have been up to the challenge for at least three quarters in four of their five games. Aside from getting blown away early against Eastern – in which they held on well defensively to match it with them later in the game – the Stingrays were within a couple of goals at the final break in each of their matches. Jordyn Allen has been superb all over the field, particularly composed in defence and across midfield in transition, while Shelley Heath and Saige Bayne have provided some run through the middle. Courtney Jones and Brooke Struylaart have had some impressive moments as well, with Dandenong showing a real team effort throughout the season thus far. Looking ahead to the final four round, Dandenong is genuinely 50/50 in each of the final four matches, playing the other bottom five teams.

Fixtures:

R6: vs. Western Jets
R7: vs. Calder Cannons
R8: vs. Oakleigh Chargers
R9: vs. Bendigo Pioneers

Geelong Falcons

Position: 1st 
Win-loss: 5 win – 0 losses
Percentage: 300%

Results:

R1: defeated Sandringham Dragons by 20 points
R2: defeated GWV Rebels by 39 points
R3: defeated Dandenong Stingrays by 6 points
R4: defeated Oakleigh Chargers by 70 points
R5: defeated Murray Bushrangers by 9 points

After having just the single two-point loss last season, Geelong Falcons have lived up to expectations with a fantastic start to the TAC Cup Girls competition this season. They had a good win against Sandringham, dominated the GWV Rebels and easily accounted for a wounded Oakleigh side. Either side of that 70-point belting, the Falcons were challenged by Dandenong and Murray, winning by a combined 15 points to remain undefeated. They have a couple of really entertaining clashes coming up, with the Falcons to face Eastern Ranges this weekend and then Northern Knights in round eight, which could well be a grand final preview. There is no shortage of stars at the Falcons, with Olivia Purcell, Nina Morrison, Denby Taylor, Lucy McEvoy and Samantha Atkins all in ripping form so far in 2018, while Sachi DeGiacomi has provided a great target inside 50.

Fixtures:

R6: vs. Eastern Ranges
R7: vs. Calder Cannons
R8: vs. Northern Knights
R9: vs. Western Jets

Gippsland Power

Position: 5th
Win-loss: 3 wins – 1 loss – 1 draw
Percentage: 79%

Results:

R1: lost to Oakleigh Chargers by 67 points
R2: defeated Western Jets by 15 points
R3: drew with Murray Bushrangers
R4: defeated Calder Cannons by 3 points
R5: defeated Bendigo Pioneers by 12 points

Coming into the season, Gippsland Power were searching for their first win. Remarkably, five rounds into the season they have three wins and a draw from five matches, and had it not been for a round one loss, they could almost be unbeaten to this stage. But the young side needed time to gel, and after the first round loss to Oakleigh Chargers, they knocked off the Western Jets, Calder Cannons and Bendigo Pioneers, while drawing with premiership contender Murray Bushrangers – the first time the Bushies had not taken home the four points since the beginning of last season. They have a tough run home with four of the top seven sides in the final four rounds. Tyla Hanks has been the clear standout for Gippsland this season, but she has not been alone, with depth popping up across the field, including Nikia Webber and Emily Haeusler up either end. Jazz Ferguson, Amy Dunn and Ebony Jones have also had some great highlights throughout the season for the Power.

Fixtures:

R6: vs. Northern Knights
R7: vs. Eastern Ranges
R8: vs. GWV Rebels
R9: vs. Sandringham Dragons

GWV Rebels

Position: 7th
Win-loss: 2 wins – 3 losses
Percentage: 79%

Results:

R1: lost to Eastern Ranges by 19 points 
R2: lost to Geelong Falcons by 39 points
R3: defeated Bendigo Pioneers by 33 points
R4: lost to Northern Knights by 16 points
R5: defeated Dandenong Stingrays by 4 points

The GWV Rebels had a rough start to the season, drawing the top three sides in the opening four rounds, but were competitive in two of those games. In the other two matches, the Rebels defeated the Bendigo Pioneers in a good win, while holding on against Dandenong Stingrays courtesy of a four-goal second quarter to set them up for the win. In the next four weeks the Rebels face sides they will be confident against, with Murray Bushrangers looking to be the biggest test. Gippsland Power will also be tough, while the Rebels will be keen to come away with some good form in the final month. Georgia Clarke and Sophie Van De Heuvel have been the top stars for the Rebels, while Rene Caris returned midway through the opening part of the season, and Lauren Butler has been ever-consistent. Others in good form include Denver Henson, Sophie Glover and Nyakoat Dojiok.

Fixtures:

R6: vs. Calder Cannons
R7: vs. Murray Bushrangers
R8: vs. Gippsland Power
R9: vs. Oakleigh Chargers

Murray Bushrangers

Position: 4th
Win-loss: 3 wins – 1 loss – 1 draw
Percentage: 182%

Results:

R1: defeated Calder Cannons by 46 points
R2: defeated Bendigo Pioneers by 40 points
R3: drew with Gippsland Power
R4: defeated Western Jets by 25 points
R5: lost to Geelong Falcons by 9 points

Murray Bushrangers went undefeated last season and started the season in absolute stunning form, rolling reigning premiers Calder Cannons, and Bendigo Pioneers by a combined 86 points in the opening two rounds. A draw with Gippsland Power meant the Bushrangers slipped two points behind, before bouncing back against the Western Jets. But a loss to Geelong Falcons meant the Bushrangers are six points outside the grand final zone, but a strong percentage means they are still in with a good chance. They cannot afford to lose another game to make it, with a final round game against Northern potentially deciding their fate. The final month will be tough for the Bushrangers, but they have quality across the park. To name just a few, Rebecca Webster has been a standout, running out in a midfield containing Julia Harvey and Tamara Smith, roving to Olivia Barber and Sophie Damon, while Grace Egan has starred in multiple positions this season.

Fixtures:

R6: vs. Sandringham Dragons
R7: vs. GWV Rebels
R8: vs. Eastern Ranges
R9: vs. Northern Knights

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