THE Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s competition has a new ladder-leader, as Geelong succumbed to its first loss of the season to lose the privilege. This gave top spot to Collingwood, who in the process handed the NT Thunder its second consecutive loss. At the halfway mark of the season, the competition is starting to take shape, and we watched three games on the weekend to see how some of the action panned out.
Essendon vs. Casey
#4 Natasha Hardy
Led well to the footy and took a great mark lace-out on the chest. Her on-field leadership is evident.
#28 Carlee Portlock
Portlock had some good moments in the red and black. She did well to smother the ball off her opponent’s boot. Portlock was good defensively as she bumped her opponent and contested well with another running opponent to send the ball out of bounds.
#32 Tait Mackrill
Laid an excellent bump on Katherine Smith, showing that she’s not afraid to go against experience. Mackrill showed courage again when she took on her opponent and did it well, kicking the ball long down the line and penetrating it forward.
#25 Rebecca Neaves
Showed great awareness to spot her opponent playing on quickly, as she then won the ball back for her side by laying a great tackle. Neaves also laid a great smother while being held by an opponent to send the ball out of bounds.
#18 Kendra Heil
Laid a great tackle while her opponent was off and running and was awarded a free kick for her efforts. Her forward pressure was outstanding as she still managed to push her opponent under the ball and put pressure on Aliesha Newman when she was ducking and weaving. The ball eventually spilt to Danielle Ponter who got her second goal of the day, thanks to Heil’s efforts.
#35 Valerie Moreau
Showed a ‘never say die’ attitude when she tapped the ball along, chasing it through the whole 50 metre arc. Moreau got reward for her effort in the next passage of play with a soccer off the ground in the goal square, converting Essendon’s first of the day. Also delivered a nice kick to Courtney Ugle on the outside, showing good awareness of her teammates.
#43 Danielle Ponter
Good return to the side with two goals, which were both snaps. Ponter was lively in the forward line and read the play well.
#13 Katherine Smith
Smith got three early touches in the space of a minute, and you just knew she was in for another big game. She was able to deliver a good handball while being tackled, demonstrating strength in the contest. Smith showed nice run and carry and followed it up by executing a good effective kick to hit up a teammate. Brilliantly picked up a loose ball that bounced over her head and then ran into the space. Also did well defensively, which was shown when she laid an excellent tackle to stop Essendon captain, Lisa Williams on the run.
#21 Harriet Cordner
Took a good mark and then delivered a nice kick down the line. She contested well wherever she was, shown by her taking a great intercept mark at the top of the 50 metre arc to send the ball back forward for Casey.
#7 Bianca Jakobsson
Jakobsson marked everything that came her way at RAMS Arena, clearly not fazed by the wet and slippery conditions. Her intercept marking was a highlight as usual and her overhead marking was superb. Delivered a good underground handball in a contest, showing her determination to get the footy forward. Jakobsson executed a great spin and kick while she was right near the boundary line, which I thought was a highlight of her game. Laid an excellent tackle to stop Courtney Ugle in her tracks in what was a great defensive performance by the Melbourne AFLW player.
#35 Catherine Phillips
Phillips displayed good run and carry throughout the game, always looking to play on with the ball in hand. Executed a great follow-up after she dropped the mark by getting a quick handball out to a teammate on the outside. Displayed great acceleration with the ball in hand on the boundary line.
#25 Madelaine Shevlin
I thought Shevlin was one of Casey’s best players on the day. She delivered a nice kick to the top of the square that set up Casey’s first goal of the day, which allowed her forwards to run onto the loose ball. She also beautifully pinpointed a kick out of the centre square that traveled all the way to the forward pocket into the hands of Taylor Mesiti, showing her ability to create forward thrusts for the Demons. Shevlin got a lot of the footy and used it well, demonstrated when she gave off a great handball while being tackled. A highlight of her game was when she kept running hard after she received a handball to take a great overhead mark down the line.
#41 Taylor Mesiti
Attacked the ball well and leapt very high for each forward marking attempt. Was proactive up forward, demonstrated through a quick snap out of a contest. Although she was unlucky to miss, she read the flight of the ball well. Mesiti displayed great hands throughout the day and was one of the most dangerous forwards on the ground. Did well when she lowered her eyes instead of going for goal, finding a better option which ensured it a certain major for Casey,
#18 Kaila Bentvelzen
Bentvelzen took some great marks inside 50 and did well to assist her teammates, as she often drifted up the ground. Took a mark about 45 metres out and lowered her eyes, spotting a great option in Eden Zanker and spearing it perfectly towards her lead.
Richmond vs. Hawthorn
By: James Halley
#88 Phoebe Monahan
She wasn’t afraid to push back to defence and help out when needed. She was the Tigers’ best midfielder in my opinion with 26 possessions.
#80 Jacinta Louttit
After claiming a kick that found itself out of bounds on the full, she kicked a great set shot from the boundary in one of the goals of the day.
#68 Alice Edmonds
Dominated in the ruck and around the ground. She was also a threat in the air and managed to take five marks for the day.
#64 Emma Gunn
After receiving a handpass from Kate Dixon, she found herself in some space and kicked a goal on the run from 20 metres out. She has pace to burn and she used it to her advantage to dispose of her opponents out of a ball up and have a shot on goal, which hit the post.
#77 Justine Hocking
She manages to get a fist in many contests and halve the contest. She saved a goal in a one-on-one battle in the second term on the goal line, which was a highlight of her game.
#9 Melissa Kuys
After taking the advantage from a holding the ball decision, she burst inside 50 and scored an easy goal for Hawthorn. In this instance, she displayed her elite game awareness. Although she didn’t have as much ball as she has had in the past, she had important moments and touches that were vital for the Hawks.
#36 Jayde Van Dyk
She is a rock down back and took many intercept marks. She had a very nice kick and was able to pinpoint passes through the middle. She read the ball better than her opponents on many occasions.
#35 Clare O’Donnell
She has really good hands, shown when she took a one-handed mark in the first term. After a great pass from Jade Barnden, she was able to snap a goal in congestion.
#25 Meg Hutchins
A highlight of Hutchins’ game was when she kicked a wonderful goal from the boundary in a display of class. She was also really prolific for Hawthorn with 22 disposals.
#33 Emily Gilder
She was able to kick the first goal of the game through getting the ball out of the back in the goal square, using her speed to her advantage.
NT Thunder vs. Collingwood
#20 Jasmyn Hewett
Took a great leading mark inside 50 and was unlucky to miss a long range shot at goal. Also showed nice hands in defence when she took a good intercept mark in defence. Hewett ran well on the boundary line in a passage of play in defence, which got the ball out of danger for her side.
#8 Sally Riley
Riley played a team role on the day, often playing the role as the link in the chain. Came and helped out a teammate who had to deal with a ducking and weaving Sarah D’Arcy. Riley came in and put pressure on D’Arcy and caused her to turn it over. Also picked up the ball well off the deck and ran into space nicely. Always wanted to keep the ball moving throughout the game, shown through nice kicks and good running.
#2 Eloise Jones
Executed great run and carry with the ball in hand and then did well to keep running after her efforts to win it, demonstrating good second efforts. Jones delivered an excellent long kick down the line, and followed this up with a great flying attempt for a mark. Did well to trap it in a stoppage and win a free kick for a shot on goal.
#28 Renee Forth
Read the ball well on the day. She was able to get a great clearance through the middle of the ground and tried to create a lively presence up forward.
#14 Courtney Cramey
Accelerated well and had a great clearance. Cramey was able to move the ball well through the ground and made an impact in the middle. She did well on many instances to keep the play calm in the most dangerous spot of the ground, avoiding turning the ball over in the corridor. Cramey also shared the ball well with her teammates on the day with her quick and clean hands.
#22 Jenna McCormick
McCormick was lively up forward and loved to take the game on. Laid a couple of great tackles, showing her intent to win the footy, Her kicking was good on the day, often hitting a teammate or finding space for them to run into.
#2 Chloe Molloy
Molloy was a star for Collingwood and if it was not for Sophie Alexander’s four goals, she was best on ground in my opinion. Picked the ball up off the deck swiftly and kicked it well into space. Was able to fend off a couple of players and accelerate into space in the back line then kicked it into space for her teammates to utilise it. Delivered an excellent kick out of the middle of the ground that landed right in the hands of Cecilia McIntosh. Molloy showed good initiative to kick the ball off the ground after a string of handballs caused congestion, demonstrating her high footy IQ. A highlight of her game was when she took a sensational intercept mark in defensive 50, as she hid herself behind the ball in the goal square and claimed the mark cleanly. Read a kick out of full back brilliantly and took a fantastic overhead intercept mark. She followed this up by delivering a perfect centering kick after that slipped through her teammates’ hands. Molloy also gave off a great handball under pressure, showing that she was able to use the ball well almost every time she got it.
#28 Holly Whitford
Delivered a lovely kick down the line and took a good intercept mark in a matter of seconds later. Whitford executed a nice centering kick off one step under pressure, showing her knack of getting the ball and just kicking it when she needs to. Took a good mark and followed it up with a nice long range kick to find a teammate in the middle of the ground.
#20 Cecilia McIntosh
I thought McIntosh had the best set of hands on the ground. Whether it was a contested mark or letting the ball float into her chest, she always put herself in good positions to mark the footy. Did well in general defensively, which was shown by a great tackle that set up Collingwood’s first goal of the day. Also displayed excellent run and carry and followed this up with a great kick to the top of the square.
#21 Iilish Ross
Ross took a good one-on-one mark and did well to lower her eyes and find Leah French in space inside 50. Her side-step was a highlight of her game, and she used it to effect on two occasions in particular. In the first instance, this display of agility found a teammate inside 50 and on the second instance, it helped to calm down play for the Pies. Pushed her opponent under the ball later in the game, demonstrating an excellent ability to get it into space.
#41 Kristy Stratton
Delivered a great kick down the line to slow down play for the Pies. Had a great snap at goal, and was generally lively with the ball on hand. Stratton also took a great one-on-one mark and did well to play on quickly and get it forward for her side.
#49 Sophie Alexander
Sophie Alexander was best-on-ground for the Pies in my opinion, as her four goals were game-changing. She also did the little things such as when she took a great contested intercept mark to make up for her missed attempt at goal. In another instance, she initially shepherded an opponent for her teammate to run onto the ball, but then did the hard work herself. Alexander did really well to push her opponent under the ball, and followed it up by kicking a goal from outside 50 off one step. She showed that she can certainly kick the ball a long way as nearly all of her goals were from just inside 50! Her best goal was when she remarkably kicked a major from the boundary line from about 50 metres out. Alexander was never afraid to take it on and did the team thing whenever she was needed to. This was shown when she led well to a Chloe Molloy kick from outside 50 and was rewarded for her efforts with a goal. Also demonstrated good agility when she executed a great spin around her opponent and centering kick to Iilish Ross in the middle of the forward 50.
#47 Jessica Edwards
Edwards was solid for Collingwood throughout the day and never seemed to over-use the ball. Demonstrated excellent acceleration when she took the ball under her arm and kicked it long into inside 50 space from the centre square. Also delivered a great handball in space under pressure in defence. A highlight of Edwards’ game was when she ducked and side-stepped around her opponent to get the ball free. Followed that effort up with another great spin with the ball in hand to buy herself some more time, which shows how smart of a footballer she is.