THE Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels had a solid season in 2018, finishing fifth overall with six wins from nine games. They had a tough start to the season with fixuring, going down to top four sides, Eastern Ranges, Geelong Falcons and Northern Knights in the opening four rounds. A few single-digit wins followed and the Rebels built confidence as the season went on, recording good wins against Gippsland Power and Oakleigh Chargers in the final fortnight.
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 four points
R6: defeated Calder Cannons by nine points
R7: defeated Murray Bushrangers by six points
R8: defeated Gippsland Power by 16 points
R9: defeated Oakleigh Chargers by 25 points
Georgia Clarke – Won the GWV Rebels best and fairest for a reason. Clarke was one of, if not the standout defender in the competition this season. Ever consistent, Clarke was strong one-on-one and positioned herself well in the back half. She rebounded out of defence regularly, stopping opposition attacks in their tracks. She was trialled up forward in the first game early on, but went to defence and never looked back. The clear standout from the Rebels in season 2018.
Sophie Molan – Still a bottom-ager, but the versatile midfielder was one of the Rebels most consistent, particularly standing up early in the season when the Rebels needed someone. She moves well, finds plenty of the ball and can play any role from midfield to forward or back. A player with plenty of potential, and one to watch next season as she still has 2019 to develop further.
Sophie Van De Heuvel – Rotated between midfield and forward, Van De Heuvel was one of the better users by foot in the competition. While she does not win a truckload of the ball like other midfielders, she rarely wastes a disposal and is also able to kick long distances, helping her with set shots for goal. No doubt she will get plenty of VFL Women’s action for Williamstown this season.
Lauren Butler – The Rebels captain was another player who was consistently in the bests and always put in a four-quarter effort. She played through the midfield but could play forward or back, and often had roles to nullify opposition stars, or try and hurt them with her consistent effort.
Denver Henson – Playing through the midfield including ruck or roving, Henson was a solid link in the chain through transition from half-back to half-forward. She moved well for a taller player and was often underrated for the impact she had in the contest, but was valuable to the side, putting her body on the line.
Renee Saulitis – Smart small forward who made the Under 16s Vic Country side and one to watch out for in future years. Managed to kick a few miraculous goals from tight angles, and used her speed to burn off opponents or pounce on loose balls from a marking contest.
Nyakoat Dojiok – Had a consistent season on the wing and rotating through the flanks. She has speed, great agility, and clearly raw talent that will help her with the bottom-ager having plenty left to work on, but having a good core to work with going forward.
Rene Caris – Did not play a full season given a pre-season injury, but impressed when she came into the side. Still raw as most talls are, she is mobile and can play in any key position, but ruck seems to be her most preferred. Smart with the way she taps to her midfielders.
The GWV Rebels were considered one of the better teams coming into 2018, with the three AFLW Academy members and a number of bottom-age and 16 year-old talent. Led by Butler and having the rock in defence in Clarke, the Rebels overcame early losses against top sides, to finish about where they would have expected, competitive with every side, and notching up plenty more wins than losses.