COLLINGWOOD, Darebin, Richmond, NT, Casey and Geelong were the round five Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s winners. For the Magpies, Thunder and Cats, their wins extend their undefeated streaks while for the Demons, their win was their first in the competition. We watched four games on the weekend and took some notes on the standout performers from each game.
Hawthorn vs. Collingwood
By: Peter Williams
#1 Emma Mackie
The Hawthorn skipper led by example in the midfield, continually cracking in at the coal face to win a number of frees. She showed a good ability to stand up while being tackled and kick clear of the stoppage, while also being composed under pressure with ball-in-hand. She took a great intercept mark backing back in the first term in the Collingwood attack, filling the hole and showing no fear.
#5 Chantella Perera
Had the job on Chloe Molloy and had a good old fashioned scrap back there. Both players were relentless in giving it to each other and gave away free kicks for holding. Molloy finished the game with one goal – in the first term – and missed a number of set shots, but the pressure Perera put on her was good. It could have ended a lot worse on the scoreboard, but Perera did well in the one-on-ones where she did not give away the free.
#14 Olivia Flanagan
One of Hawthorn’s best over the four quarters, just wins the footy in a no-fuss approach to the game. Wins the pill on the inside or the outside, and is not afraid to take the game on. Had a really busy opening term and it set the tone for the rest of her match and the team. Worked well with Mackie on the inside and played arguably her best game of the year.
#19 Lou Wotton
Prominent early in the ruck, might not have had the athleticism that her opposition Eliza Hynes had, but Wotton had the game smarts and the strength to position herself well in the ruck contests. She had a dominant first term and worked well in tandem with Tamara Luke.
#22 Tamara Luke
Had a few clearances out of the ruck and pumped the ball forward off quick kicks. Luke worked hard to win the contested ball and taps to space for her midfielders. More importantly, her ability to get down and work hard for second efforts was another highlight of her game. Won a free kick late in the second term but her set shot just missed to the left.
#25 Meg Hutchins
Just smart and experienced playing in defence and pushing up to the wing. Uses good body contact on her opponents and knows when she needs to boot it long to safety. Hutchins had the nous to use momentum to dive forward in a Sarah D’Arcy tackle and draw a free for in the back in the third term.
#28 Sarah Perkins
Led up at the footy continually and had a set shot from a free kick on the boundary line in the third term but did not make the distance. Did not have the normal space she could be afforded to on occasions, but continued to work hard throughout the match.
#2 Chloe Molloy
Returned to the Magpies side in style worrying opposition defenders with her presence and having multiple shots on goal. Booted 1.3 in the first half alone, with the goal coming off a smart kick off the ground running goal side of her opponent. Won a number of free kicks for holding or pushing, playing a strong game. Would be disappointed she missed a couple of shots she would normally nail.
#4 Sarah D’Arcy
Just cracked in hard and won so many frees across the game. She got to the contest first on a number of occasions, and when she did not, she applied a number of crunching tackles to win holding the ball free kicks. She produced a perfect lace-out kick to Molloy in the opening term and had a great steal, blind turn and snap out of a contest in the forward 50 in the third quarter.
#13 Jaimee Lambert
Covered the ground well in all thirds and draws free kicks from getting to the contest first. She is able to fire out handballs at ground level under pressure and plays smart, often kicking for distance as she did when she was hugged up against the boundary line in the second term. Finds plenty of the football across the four quarters.
#22 Sophie Casey
Really liked her game off half-back. She took a number of marks and laid some fierce tackles to stop opponents in their tracks. In one instance in the second term, she took a good mark and kicked off half-back to a teammate who was spoiled, then she charged at the contest, won the ball back and kicked wide to a teammate on the lead who marked.
#28 Holly Whitford
The type of player who teammates love and opponents love to hate. Never takes a backwards step and wins multiple free kicks for going in hard. Had a great pass inboard to see Chloe Leighton diving into space in the second term, then won consecutive free kicks and goaled from the set shot 20 metres out. She came off early in the third term after a hard knock, then returned to have a few things to say to the opposition.
#47 Jessica Edwards
A player with a good turn of speed, able to completely change direction without losing too much momentum. Played well out of the defensive 50 providing some good rebound and showed fantastic acceleration. The captain led by example in defence and created pressure on opposition forwards.
#65 Emily Browning
Laid a great hip-and-shoulder on the wing in the opening term and then had a snap on goal in the second term but was smothered. Provided good defensive pressure up forward throughout.
#73 Gabrielle Biedenweg-Webster
Liked her attack on the contest and her ability to hunt the ball and harass the opposition. Just went in hard every chance she got.
Carlton vs. Darebin
By: Taylah Melki
#2 Madeline Keryk
Her follow up work around the ground was good for Carlton while she applied plenty of physical pressure, laying four tackles for the game. Keryk was accurate by foot and got her hands on plenty of the footy.
#10 Sarah Hosking
Hosking was a tackling machine, laying seven tackles for the game and imposing herself on the contest. She applied plenty of pressure on the ball carrier and won her fair share of the footy both in the air and at ground level.
#17 Tilly Lucas-Rodd
Lucas-Rodd was important for the Blues with her clever use of the footy and ability to impact the contest. She looked dangerous around the stoppages in the first quarter and extracted the footy well from the contest. She impressed with her pin-point passing inside the forward 50. Lucas-Rodd was a ball magnet, getting plenty of touches and using the ball effectively for Carlton.
#31 Kate Shierlaw
Shierlaw was a workhorse for Carlton and was good out of defence. She had a real give it and go attitude, hitting the contest hard and competing hard to win the footy. Shierlaw had some good strong leads, and took a strong mark which led to a goal in the third quarter.
#42 Caroline Hardeman
Hardeman put her body on the line, hitting the packs hard and picking up the ball cleanly. Her silky skills were on display, breaking a tackle and then slotting the first goal of the match for the Blues.
#44 Danica Pedersen
In her first game, Pedersen starred, amassing plenty of touches and using her physical presence, laying five tackles for the game. She worked tirelessly all game in a difficult outing for the Blues.
#50 Jorja Borg
Borg took a good mark going back with the flight of the footy and was a real general down back. She helped to control the Blues’ defence and was efficient by foot.
#8 Nat Exon
Exon had good break-away speed and opened up the middle of the field. She showcased her kicking ability with a strong kick into the forward 50. Exon used her booming kick to slot a good goal from about 40 metres out. Exon impressed with her clean pick-ups and was a real ball magnet throughout the four quarters, taking strong grabs and imposing herself on the contest laying strong tackles.
#14 Meghan McDonald
McDonald was a key player down in defence, showcasing her ability to read the play and take intercept marks. She impressed with her long booming kick and was in charge of kick outs from defence for the majority of the game, credit to her ability to hit targets.
#20 Maddy Guerin
Guerin showcased her footy smarts, dancing around her opponent on the boundary line and then kicking a centering ball. She was really good around the stoppages and had quick hands at the coal-face to release the footy to the voice of a teammate.
#22 Georgia Hammond
She impressed with her good break-away speed, going for a run and bounce through the middle and creating some forward momentum with a good long penetrating kick into the forward 50. Hammond positioned herself well and took a good mark in the goal square, going on to slot a nice goal for Darebin.
#32 Gabrielle Colvin
Colvin was really strong around the stoppages and her clean hands were invaluable for the Falcons. She showcased her footy smarts, weaving out of trouble and helping to propel them forward.
#40 Lauren Pearce
Pearce had sticky fingers from start to finish. She really imposed herself on the marking contest, competing hard in the air and at ground level. She took a heap of intercept marks and worked hard to keep her opponent out of the contest.
#43 Hannah Mouncey
Mouncey was strong in the ruck, showcasing her good jump and ability to tap the footy to advantage for her midfielders, demonstrating her versatility to play in multiple positions. She showed great attack on the footy and applied a lot of good forward pressure. She missed a few opportunities at goal but made up for it, taking a strong grab in the third quarter which resulted in a goal from about 5 metres out. Mouncey ended up with three majors for the game and provided plenty of good leads for her teammates.
Richmond vs. Essendon
By: James Halley
#53 Kate Dixon
She is clearly the focal point of the forward line for Richmond, as her teammates continue to look for her and she takes marks accordingly.
#57 Emma King
She has a clear advantage in the ruck. Her taps lead to clear stoppage break-aways for Richmond. After an uncontested grab, she kicked the Tigers’ first goal with a monster kick from 50 metres out.
#79 Lauren Tesoriero
She used her body to her advantage, using her opponents to keep her at bay and slot through two goals. She is able to rag-doll her opponents with ball in hand. Tesoriero finished with nine kicks, 13 disposals and three clearances, as the veteran midfielder provided constant support for her teammates.
#61 Jenna Colwell
She is capable of taking big contested grabs but just needs to work on the penetration of her kicking. From a free kick she kicked truly from the goal square in the last term.
#88 Phoebe Monahan
Utility Phoebe Monahan was spectacular for the Tigers, leading the team for touches (27), to go with nine inside 50s and eight clearances. She was best afield in the Dreamtime match, being announced as the recipient of the Aunty Joy Murphy Award.
#8 Hayley Bullas
She kicked the first goal of the game in a great kick from 25 metres out on the run. The midfielder played a really good game, as she got lots of the ball as well as kicking a goal.
#46 Courtney Ugle
She is very quick and nimble and is able to get around Tiger forwards at ease. Her kicking is very precise, and allows her to cut through the middle of the ground. Her tackling is superb, as she recorded four holding the ball free kicks for the match. She displayed a four-quarter performance and a well-rounded game.
#35 Valerie Moreau
She has quick hands and had a lot of inside 50s. She has a really good kick and often found targets in the forward 50, which gave Essendon shots on target.
#30 Simone Nalder
She kicked her first goal from a ruck free kick. Nalder was everywhere for Essendon with her great ball use. One of the best for the day.
#37 Irena Malliaras
She was instrumental for Bombers in the midfield. Malliaras was at the bottom of the packs all day and they relied on her a lot for good distribution.
NT Thunder vs. Western Bulldogs
By: Julia Montesano
#40 Deni Varnhagen
Her intercept marking was fantastic all day. Her contested marking also provided a highlight. Varnhagen was a great sweeper in defence and a general down back.
#27 Anne Hatchard
Came in for her first game for NT Thunder and set the field alight. Kicked four well-deserved goals, displaying her dominance inside 50. Hatchard was really proactive up forward and positioned well in the goal square. She just attacked the ball with acceleration and grit every time the ball was in her vicinity. Also displayed some great hands in a contested situation to kick some nice goals from close range.
#20 Jasmyn Hewett
Hewett played her best game for the NT Thunder. She dominated in the ruck, getting a fantastic vertical leap over her opponent. She was extremely proactive whenever the ball was in her vicinity, running hard to ensure that the ball was used effectively. Displayed this when she ran hard through a contest, got tackled, yet still got on the end of a good goal. Took an early contender for VFLW Mark of the Year with a fantastic overhead mark over a Western Bulldogs player. She sat perfectly on top of her opponent’s shoulders and had all eyes for the footy. She is becoming a really solid player for NT Thunder.
#4 Sue Nalder
Nalder’s marking was spectacular. She took a great juggling mark in one instance and then centered the ball magnificently. In another instance, she threaded the needle well to find Anne Hatchard in the goal square. Nalder’s marking was on display again when she took a great sliding mark off a Renee Forth kick. Her strong hands gave her a platform to take her time and ensure that her kicks hit targets, which was quite valuable for the Thunder.
#49 Madeline Gault
The 17 year-old NT native came in for her first match for the Thunder after playing in the National Under 18 Championships. Gault showed outstanding composure in defence, making it difficult to believe that she is only 17 years-old. There was never a moment where she didn’t attack the footy hard. In many instances, she came hard to the ball and didn’t wait for it. Spoiled the ball well which helped to move the ball forward for NT.
#3 Angela Foley
Foley was everywhere as usual, setting up the play on plenty of occasions. Whether it was in the midfield, up forward or in defence, you just knew that Foley was going to make an impact. She was targeted hard in this game by the Bulldogs midfielders but adapted to the pressure really quickly to play her natural style of footy. A highlight of her game was when she kicked a great goal while being tackled.
#16 Naomi Ferres
Ferres did not stop working for the Bulldogs all day. She was always in and around the contest, going in hard for the footy. This was shown when she dived on the ball and trapped it in the middle of the ground to create a stoppage when the Bulldogs were leading. Provided a great highlight when she laid a strong tackle on one of the hardest players to bring down in Angela Foley. Ferres continued her tackling throughout the whole game. Gave away a clever no-look handball while she on the deck. Kicked two well-deserved goals in the last quarter to top off a great individual performance.
#6 Kirsty McLeod
McLeod was a key player for the Bulldogs. She did well to get up after being spoiled in a marking contest and was involved in Bulldogs’ second goal. She troubled her opponents at multiple times, displayed when she took a good intercept mark off an Eloise Jones kick. Also had great awareness to spot Jessica Sedunary playing on after a free kick and tackled her immediately, which affected a kick inside 50.
#1 Brooke Lochland
In this game, we got to see Brooke Lochland’s courageous side. She took a couple of big hits but continued to run and battle hard in each contest. She seems to have worked on her running during the off-season, as she covered ground exceptionally well with her improved endurance. Kicked well on the day, allowing her teammates to run onto the space that she would kick it to.
#34 Emma Mackay
Mackay was another one who worked hard for the Bulldogs. She delivered a lovely spearing pass inside 50, which helped her teammates run onto the ball. She laid a great run-down tackle, and even when she got tackled, she wouldn’t give up and just kept running and working hard. Delivered a nice hack kick towards 50, doing her best work around the forward 50 mark. Was able to execute disposals well from a dangerous position.
#18 Libby Birch
Courageously got up after a big hit and still went on to kick the ball after earning a free kick. Her kicking was precise throughout the game, as she was another Bulldogs player that liked to utilise the space around her. She ran hard all game and worked particularly well on the wings where she tried and work the ball down the line. Birch has the capacity to know when to hack a kick or use it deftly, which is a really valuable trait for her and her team.