AFTER a round one loss, the Gippsland Power came out firing, winning its next game and drawing in round three. The Power endured an up and down season but showed some really good patches of play. The side was in most of their games but could not quite get across the line in their last four games of the season.
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
R6: lost to Northern Knights by 15 points
R7: lost to Eastern Ranges by 9 points
R8: lost to Greater Western Victoria Rebels by 14 points
R9: lost to Sandringham Dragons by 24 points
Tyla Hanks: She reached new levels for the Gippsland Power this season with her silky skills on display each game. Hanks led from the front and dominated throughout the season with her clean hands at the stoppages and impressive evasive skills to break away from opponents and propel her team forward. Her ability to turn her opponents inside out was impressive as it helped to create more opportunities across the field for her teammates. Hanks’ work rate was phenomenal and her ability to hit targets proved to be essential for the Power. Hanks was never phased by the pressure, showing great composure and footy smarts with ball in hand. Hanks was named as vice-captain in the AFL Draft Central Team of the Year and made an appearance in the Team of the Week line-ups every time she played, which was credit to her ability to impact on the ground. Hanks also impressed in the AFLW Academy side, starring with her impressive skill set.
Emily Haeusler: Haeusler consistently imposed herself on the contest, laying strong tackles and using her body to win the footy both in the air and at ground level. She impressed so much that she was named in the AFL Draft Central Team of the Week four times and cemented a spot in the AFL Draft Central TAC Cup Girls Team of the Year, credit to her hard work and determination. Haeusler was a key player down back for the Power and really helped to set up behind the ball. Her run off half back was instrumental for Gippsland and her safe hands provided great confidence for her teammates. Haeusler showed great composure throughout the season and was a good on-field leader.
Jazz Ferguson: Ferguson was instrumental for the Gippsland Power with her ability to tackle hard and use the footy efficiently and effectively. She flew under the radar for most of the season but was a real stand out when the going got hard, as she was not afraid to go in and win the footy at ground level. Her hands under pressure were invaluable, being able to dish out clever handballs to teammates streaming forward and taking big intercept marks to help out in defence.
Nikia Webber: She was another key player for Gippsland, posing as a scoring machine who was dynamic up forward and providing a good option inside the forward 50. Webber ended the season with 12 goals, credit to her accuracy in front of goal and work rate to lead up at the footy. She was strong to the ball and worked hard throughout the season to win the footy and create some good forward pressure by laying tackles and imposing herself on the contest. The youngster proved that she will be a serious force to be reckoned with in years to come.
Amy Dunn: The co-captain stood tall in the ruck all season and was rewarded with selection in the extended Vic Country squad. She went forward and provided target as well, and worked in tandem with Jazz Ferguson.
Chandra Abrahams: A talented utility who was named in the Under 16s Vic Country squad. Still working on consistency throughout four quarters, but she has quite a few tricks up her sleeve and her goal against Bendigo Pioneers off a couple of steps from 50m was an indication of what she is capable of. Still a couple of years off, so one to watch to see how she develops.
Gippsland Power were the feel-good story of the year. After finishing at the bottom of the ladder last year without a win, the Power triumphed to three wins this season, including one against the reigning premiers, Calder Cannons. The Power was also able to keep the Murray Bushrangers at bay, drawing with them in round three. The side was led magnificently by co-captains, Tyla Hanks and Amy Dunn, who played selfless football throughout the year. There is plenty to like about this Gippsland side after playing a season of confidence-boosting football.