Season reviews: TAC Cup Girls – Calder Cannons

THE 2017 TAC Cup Girls premiers may not have had the season they expected in 2018, but there were still some individual highlights with players like Madison Prespakis and Georgia Patrikios playing some great football throughout the year. Despite only two wins, the Cannons fought hard in many encounters, and lost by less than 10 points on three occasions out of the nine round season.

Position: 10th

Win-loss: 2-7

Percentage: 60%

Results:

R1: lost to Murray Bushrangers by 46 points
R2: lost to Northern Knights by 48 points
R3: defeated Western Jets by 12 points
R4: lost to Gippsland Power by three points
R5: lost to Sandringham Dragons by 55 points
R6: lost to Greater Western Victoria Rebels by nine points
R7: lost to Geelong Falcons by 20 points
R8: lost to Dandenong Stingrays by two points
R9: defeated Eastern Ranges by 24 points

Key players:

Madison Prespakis: A player that has done it all this season, Madison Prespakis was the best-on-ground in seven out of the eight games she played. She was also a recipient of the AFL Draft Central Player of the Week, and made the TAC Cup Girls Team of the Week in each round she played in, with a record eight nominations. Not only was she the captain of the Calder Cannons, but she was also named captain of the TAC Cup Girls Team of the Year. Prespakis was one of the best leaders in the competition, leading by example when demonstrating great strength and ball-use in the contest. She also led well off the field, helping teammates with positioning and structure set-up as well as providing general encouragement. The top-ager not only led the way in the midfield with plenty of hard-ball gets and booming kicks, but she also got up forward on multiple occasions during the season, kicking seven goals from eight games to be the Cannons’ leading goal-kicker. Prespakis now plays for Melbourne University in the Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s competition, and was awarded the best-on-ground in her first game with 23 disposals, five marks and five tackles.

Georgia Patrikios: Patrikios is an excitement machine and worked in tandem with Prespakis on multiple occasions to create inside 50 opportunities. Like her captain, Patrikios also made the TAC Cup Girls Team of the Year, with three nominations. One of her main assets was her agility, as she was able to side step opponents with class and turn her opponents inside out on multiple occasions. Patrikios was a skilfull ball-user this year, often demonstrating brilliant run and carry as well as composure to slow down play and allow her other teammates to get involved in the contest. She did her best work up forward where she slotted set-shots, goals on the run and even snapped majors from the boundary line. Every time she got the ball, you thought she was going to do something outrageous with it, demonstrating her capacity to turn a game on its head. Patrikios will be able to showcase her classy ball-use and goal sense at the National Under 18 Championships, as she pulls on the Vic Metro jumper in July, something she has done on multiple occasions.

Felicity Theodore: Another key midfielder in the Cannons brigade, Theodore was one who never gave up on the contest. She never let her size be a barrier, as she went in hard at every contest she was involved in and always managed to get up after being crunched by a tackle. Theodore displayed great ball use out of the stoppage, maneuvering the ball with quick hands and a long kick. Theodore, like Patrikios and Prespakis, also featured in the TAC Cup Girls Team of the Week, being nominated on one occasion. She particularly stood out in the round five encounter when Prespakis had to sit out the match against Sandringham due to AFLW Academy duties. Theodore took on the responsibilities and used the ball extremely well out of the midfield, doing everything she could to get the ball forward in what was a heavy loss for her side. Without Prespakis in the side next season, Theodore could be a standout player in the Cannons’ midfield.

Grace Dicker: Dicker is an exciting midfielder with wonderful pace. Her main asset was combining her speed with endurance, as she consistently ran hard throughout the season to chase the ball down. Her run and carry was blistering to watch, as she would tuck the ball under her arm and run. Dicker was brave with the ball in hand, and was not afraid to take a couple of bounces along the way to intimidate opponents with her pace. Dicker has been rewarded for her efforts with a place in the Vic Metro side for the National Under 18 Championships on the Gold Coast.

Carla Rendelmann: Rendelmann was a dominant force in the ruck during the whole year for the Cannons. She often towered above her opponents and won plenty of hitouts throughout the season. She was clever with her tap work as she usually managed to tap the ball into her midfielders’ vicinity, making it easy for them to follow up her good work and surge the ball forward. Rendelmann has been selected to play for Essendon in the VFLW and will feature in the National Under 18 Championships for Vic Metro.

Molly Warburton: The AFLW Academy member was an important player in the Cannons’ defence all season, and will hold down a place in the upcoming National Under 18 Championships for Vic Metro. She provided good drive off half-back and good leadership to a young group in defence.

Season summary:

The Calder Cannons started the season with their first ever loss in the TAC Cup Girls competition, but fought back with a win in round three against the Western Jets, who were winless at the time. After five straight losses, Calder claimed one of the biggest scalps of the season in the last home-and-away match of the year, defeating the Eastern Ranges. If the three losses under 10 points had gone the Cannons’ way, they would have been pushing for top four contention, which shows that the young side still has the potential to reach that premiership status once again in the next couple of years. With the squad featuring 12 talented 16 year-olds and one star 15 year-old in Georgie Prespakis, the Cannons can take plenty of positives going into next season.

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