Author: Julia Montesano

Weekend previews: NTFL Women’s – Round 7

ROUND 7 sees a top-four clash, where the Southern Districts will take on Pint. In other games, Tracy Village will take on Darwin, the Magpies host the Tigers while Pint and the Wanderers will go head-to-head. The Wanderers and Tigers will be searching for their first win of the season in this massive round of Northern Territory Football League (NTFL) Women’s.

 

TRACY VILLAGE V DARWIN BUFFETTES

Saturday 17 November, 10.30am

TIO Stadium

Tracy Village is coming off a bye, while the Buffettes have come off a tough loss to the Warriors. Darwin kept with the reigning premiers for most of the game, proving to be one of the main contenders to take on the Warriors this year. This will be a tough match for the Razorbacks, who sit fifth on the ladder with three wins and two losses. However, they will take pride in their most recent win in Round 3, where they beat Nightcliff by 95 points. The Razorbacks will really need to keep an eye on the Puruntatameri girls, who were on fire last week. Latina and Christine ruled the forward line while Sherayn ruled the whole ground, named as the best player for Darwin.

 

PALMERSTON MAGPIES V NIGHTCLIFF

Saturday 17 November, 1pm

TIO Oval No 2

Palmerston has an opportunity to secure a big percentage boosting win here. The Magpies currently sit sixth on the ladder, and will be wanting to make a big statement as they approach the midpoint of the season. Northern Territory Under 18 representatives, Janet Baird and Tabitha May have been the standouts for Palmerston, with Baird scoring seven goals and May being named in the best four times. The Tigers will need to tame this exciting Magpies duo, otherwise it could be another ugly week for them on the scoreboard. They will be desperate to cause the upset and secure their first win of the season, but Palmerston will be just as hungry to get its season back on track, which should make for a fierce battle.

 

SOUTHERN DISTRICTS V WARATAH

Sunday 18 November, 10am

Norbuilt Oval

The Crocs come into this match after kicking 12 behinds in two consecutive matches. While they scored seven goals in Round 5, they only managed four in Round 6. Southern Districts still managed to get the win last week, but that was against a weaker side in the Wanderers. Waratah, on the other hand, is a team that will punish the opposition if they kick inaccurately. The Warriors also have the power to hurt the scoreboard with their dangerous forward line, which is spearheaded by Lisa Miceli, who is leading all scorers in the competition with 13 goals from four games. This game will be decided by who dominates the forward line better, as both sides possess plenty of fire-power inside 50. For the Southern Districts, Kelsey Patterson, Tayla Thorn and Charles Deegan will be keen to get on the scoreboard while for Waratah, if Miceli is complemented by Amy Chittick and Sue Nalder up forward, it could lead to another big win for the reigning premiers.

 

PINT V WANDERERS

Sunday 18 November, 2pm

MCG

In a second versus second-last clash, Pint hosts the Wanderers on Sunday. The Queen Ants are coming off two consecutive wins, recovering well from their Round 4 bye. The Wanderers on the other hand, are coming off five consecutive losses, having not won a game yet this season. However, they will take plenty of confidence into this game, as their smallest loss came against Pint in Round 2. In that game, the Queen Ants narrowly escaped with a four-point win, so the Wanderers would be hoping to be on the other end of the tight margin this time round. Arthurina Moreen was the Wanderers’ only goal scorer in that match, so the team will need her to fire again in this clash. For the Queen Ants, they will be trusting Kristen Smits to keep up her good form inside 50, and Erin Hetherington to continue her dominance on the field.

AFLW Draft review: Western Bulldogs

THE reigning premiers have chosen to defend their premiership title by bolstering their forward line stocks. While the Bulldogs lost star players such as Emma Kearney, Jenna Bruton and Aasta O’Connor, they don’t seem to be too worried, recruiting some young, experienced and international talent into their 2019 side.

 

What they needed:

  • Midfielders to replace Emma Kearney, Daria Bannister and Jenna Bruton
  • Ruck/ versatility to fill the void of Aasta O’Connor
  • Defenders to cover the loss of Rachel Ashley, Laura Bailey and Kim Ebb

 

Players selected:

Eleanor Brown – Sandringham Dragons

Eleanor Brown will be a fitting replacement for Emma Kearney in the midfield. She possesses elite ball-use, especially by hand, often disposing of the ball quickly and cleanly to escape congestion. Brown also has a long and powerful kick, and can make an influence all over the ground. She spent some time at half-back during the AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships, racking up numerous disposals. She can also mark the ball well, making her a good fit to replace the loss of an important premiership trio.

Aisling McCarthy – Tipperary (Ireland)

Coming from the Crosscoders program, McCarthy impressed the Bulldogs, who took the forward with their 23rd pick. McCarthy played in the forward line for her Gaelic football side, and has now crossed over to Australian Rules to display her speed and agility in the competition. She will be a great addition to one of the most exciting forward lines in the league, which contains the likes of Katie Brennan, Isabel Huntington, Bonnie Toogood and Brooke Lochland.

Kate Bartlett – Peel Thunderbirds

The Bulldogs have further bolstered their inside 50 stocks with the addition of 19 year-old Kate Bartlett. Bartlett missed out on being drafted last year but will get her chance in the red, white and blue this season. It was hard to look past her at the AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships, as she dominated inside 50 for Western Australia, kicking six goals in five games and creating plenty of scoring opportunities. She earned a place in the All Australian team as a result, and will now fly across the country to join the Bulldogs.

Selena Karlson – Southern Saints

Selena Karlson will help aid the loss of Bailey, Ebb and Ashley, who departed the club in the off-season. She is a smart defender who played 12 games for the Southern Saints this season and finished in the top 10 of their Best and Fairest. Karlson was also named in the best three times.

Jessie Davies – Western Bulldogs

Jessie Davies is no stranger to the Western Bulldogs outfit, having spent time with them during the VFLW. She is a versatile utility who will add some depth to the side. Davies played seven games for the Bulldogs this season and is also a member of the VU Western Spurs. Having a player that can be used all over the ground will help the Bulldogs cover their off-season losses, especially that of Aasta O’Connor, who can be used in different areas of the ground.

 

How they went:

Instead of replacing their losses, the Bulldogs went in a different direction for the draft, opting to boost their already powerful forward line. This isn’t a bad strategy at all, as more firepower inside 50 gives them more of a chance to defend their premiership title. But in the midfield, they could struggle, as the loss of Emma Kearney, Jenna Bruton and Daria Bannister will be hard to replace. Thankfully, Eleanor Brown will fill a part of this void, thanks to her brilliant hands and strong kicking. Selena Karlson will also fill part of the absence of Ebb, Bailey and Ashley in defence, after playing for the Southern Saints this year. Having a versatile player like Jessie Davies will also be valuable to add support roles into different sections of the field. Despite a stellar inside 50 line-up, the Bulldogs could struggle through the midfield and in defence, with the loss of some key players. Aasta O’Connor’s void in the ruck has also not been filled, making the ruck situation an interesting one.

AFLW Draft review: North Melbourne

NORTH Melbourne had a solid list even before the draft started, so it was interesting to see which direction the side would take in the AFL Women’s Draft. The Kangaroos picked up an exciting young trio and complemented them with some talented state league players, making them a side to watch in 2019.

 

What they needed:

  • More forwards to support Moana Hope and Maddison Smith
  • Another defender to support Katherine Gillespie-Jones and Danielle Hardiman
  • Midfield depth

 

Players selected:

Daisy Bateman – Oakleigh Chargers

Bateman lit up the TAC Cup Girls competition in 2018, coming second in the goal kicking and averaging the most goals per game. She continued her TAC Cup Girls Team of the Year form into the AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships, kicking five goals from four games to be named in the All Australian side. She also played six games for Collingwood in the Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s competition, kicking 10 goals. That’s why it was surprising that she made the move to North Melbourne, after a successful stint with the Pies and the Chargers, who Collingwood has a strong connection with. She will be a great fit in the Kangaroos’ forward line with her ability to sneak behind the pack and out-mark bigger opponents.

Courteney Munn – Southern Saints

Courteney Munn is likely to be a focal point inside the North Melbourne arc. Standing at 182cm tall, she kicked 10 goals from 14 games with the Southern Saints this season in the VFLW. Munn was named in the best three times. She will complement the likes of Moana Hope and Maddison Smith well, providing some tall timber in what is set to be an exciting Kangaroos forward line.

Chloe Haines – Burnie Dockers

Chloe Haines was one of the Eastern Allies’ star players in the AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships, patrolling the defensive 50. She has a great set of hands and a booming kick that often sees her side escape out of trouble. While playing for Burnie, Haines proved that she could head up forward and do some damage in the front half of the ground, kicking six goals in 12 games. She was also named in the best five times for Burnie, and featured twice during the AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships. Haines will provide great support for Gillespie-Jones and Hardiman in the back half of the ground.

Libby Haines – Burnie Dockers

Libby Haines likes to roam around the midfield, using her strength to power through congestion. She uses the ball well both by hand and by foot and can take a solid mark. She was an important player for the Eastern Allies and also contributed well for the Burnie Dockers in the Tasmanian State League (TSL) Women’s competition. She played 11 games for the Dockers and was named in the best five times. For the Eastern Allies, she was named in the best on three occasions. She will be able to add to the depth of Emma Kearney, Daria Bannister and Jenna Bruton in the midfield.

Nicole Bresnehan – Clarence Roos

Nicole Bresnehan had a consistent year for the Roos in the TSL Women’s competition. She was named in the best seven times out of her 14 games, and also chipped in with two goals for the season. She also spent some time with North Melbourne’s VFLW affiliate, Melbourne University, playing one game for the Mugars. Bresnehan is also a proven leader, vice-captaining the Roos this year. She is a utility who can contribute around the ground, adding to North Melbourne’s depth in terms of versatile players. Alongside Jasmine Garner and Jess Duffin, Bresnehan could thrive in Kangaroos colours.

 

How they went:

North Melbourne had one of the strongest lists going into the AFL Women’s Draft after a remarkable off-season that saw many star players being poached from their clubs. Now with a couple of exciting young talents to top it off, the Kangaroos are looking more threatening than ever. Daisy Bateman and Courteney Munn provide a good variety of size in the forward line to complement Moana Hope and Maddison Smith, while Chloe Haines is a good addition to the back 50. Her twin sister, Libby boosts the midfield and Nicole Bresnehan tops off a long list of versatile players. With this list, North Melbourne is set to excite many in its opening season of AFL Women’s.

AFLW Draft review: Melbourne

MELBOURNE will field a new-look line-up in 2019, suffering a loss of players to expansion clubs, North Melbourne and Geelong. With only five spots (they passed one pick) in the draft, the Demons had to pick their players carefully.

 

What they needed:

  • Midfielders to aid the loss of Daisy Pearce (inactive) and Richelle Cranston
  • Rucks to replace Erin Hoare and Alyssa Mifsud
  • Defenders to support Talia Radan and cover the loss of Laura Duryea and Anna Teague

 

Players selected:

Tyla Hanks – Gippsland Power

Hanks was one of the hardest and most skillful midfielders in the TAC Cup Girls competition. She plays very similarly to Madison Prespakis through her clean ball-use and long kicking. She can also head up forward when her side is in trouble, making her a very valuable asset for the Demons. Hanks was awarded with a place in the TAC Cup Girls Team of the Year and the AFL Women’s Under 18 All Australian side, after being a co-captain of the Gippsland Power this year. She will be a key player in helping to aid the loss of Daisy Pearce.

Madeline Brancatisano – Northern Knights

Like Hanks, Brancatisano also had a leadership role this year, leading her Northern Knights to a TAC Cup Girls Grand Final. Brancatisano is a smart inside midfielder who has clean hands and a consistent desire to win the ball in congestion. She can also add valuable defensive pressure in the middle, proving how much of a role player she is. Brancatisano earned a spot in the TAC Cup Girls Team of the Year and also spent some time with Carlton in the VFLW, adding some valuable experience to her game ahead of her AFL Women’s debut in 2019.

Jordann Hickey – NT Thunder

Jordann Hickey covers the loss of Alyssa Mifsud, who was delisted by the Demons in the AFL Women’s off-season. Hickey was consistent up forward for the NT Thunder this season, kicking 14 goals from 14 games. She played 14 matches and was named in the best three times. Hickey’s overhead marking and accurate kicking will be quite valuable in the Demons’ line-up, and she can also act as a back-up ruck.

Shelley Heath – Dandenong Stingrays

Shelley Heath is a great addition to the Melbourne line-up, thanks to her exciting run and carry out of the back pocket. She will inject some speed into the defensive 50, and could burn off a lot of players with that pace. Heath is also clever with the ball in hand, thanks to her clean hands and long kicks. She should do well to cover the losses of Anna Teague and Laura Duryea in the back line.

 

How they went:

Melbourne definitely needed midfielders in this draft and the Demons took two great ones in Hanks and Brancatisano. The duo will be great additions to a potent midfield that contains the likes of Karen Paxman and Elise O’Dea. Up forward, Tegan Cunningham will combine with Jordann Hickey, giving the Demons a powerful line-up inside 50. The Demons might struggle in defence, as the loss of bigger bodies such as Anna Teague could hurt them. It will be interesting to see how Melbourne approaches its ruck situation after losing Erin Hoare and Alyssa Mifsud. The Demons could have picked up a designated ruck in the draft but elected not to.

AFLW Draft review: Geelong

THE Cats trusted in their local talent, drafting six players from either the TAC Cup Girls or Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s team ahead of their inaugural season. Two players were drafted from the Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels, while one hailed from the Murray Bushrangers. After making it to the VFLW Grand Final, coach, Paul Hood appears to have huge faith in his local ready-made talent.

 

What they needed:

  • Midfield support for Richelle Cranston and Cassie Blakeway
  • Defenders to assist Anna Teague and Melissa Hickey
  • Versatility to cover any injury troubles

 

Players selected:

Nina Morrison – Geelong Falcons

There is not much that hasn’t been said about Nina Morrison. She was long touted as the number one pick, and lived out that dream. At the AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships, Morrison also took home the Vic Country Most Valuable Player (MVP) and the overall tournament MVP with Madison Prespakis. She also shared the TAC Cup Girls Best and Fairest award with Prespakis. Now, Morrison has the opportunity to show the nation what she’s made of and undoubtedly, her electric chase-down speed and fierce tackling will be on display. Her explosiveness down the wing combined with her ability to rack up the footy will be invaluable for the Cats.

Sophie Van De Heuvel – GWV Rebels

Van De Heuvel’s versatility will be of much use to the Cats. She played mostly in the forward line during the TAC Cup Girls season but also spent some time in the midfield in the AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships, highlighting her ability to break the lines and penetrate forward. Van De Heuvel was GWV’s leading goal kicker this year with six goals from seven games and made the 2018 TAC Cup Girls and All Australian teams on the half-forward flank. She will be a great help to Kate Darby, Danielle Orr and Phoebe McWilliams inside 50.

Rebecca Webster – Murray Bushrangers

Webster is another versatile player, but thrives off running off the half-back line. She can shift into the midfield when needed as well, due to her valuable booming kick that sends her team forward. She was named at full-back in the TAC Cup Girls Team of the Year and represented Vic Country this year, making herself known in defence. Webster is a great overhead mark and has brilliant run and carry, which will really assist the smarts of Anna Teague and Melissa Hickey.

Olivia Purcell – Geelong Falcons

Purcell was one of the fiercest players in the TAC Cup Girls competition, hurting players with her clearances and aggressive tackling. Purcell’s immense power helps her break through congestion and enforce her blistering run and carry. She had a marvellous year, taking home the Geelong Falcons’ Best and Fairest, playing in a premiership with the side, playing in a Grand Final for the Cats’ VFLW side, making the TAC Cup Girls Team of the Year and All Australian team. She will provide great support for Richelle Cranston, who can also hurt players with her power, aggression and run and carry.

Denby Taylor – Geelong Falcons

Denby Taylor was one of the smartest defenders in the TAC Cup Girls season, hurting players with her solid hands and run and carry off the half-back flank. She can be rotated through any position in defence, and also proved she could dominate on the wing, winning the best on ground award in the TAC Cup Girls Grand Final while playing in that position. It will be interesting to see what Paul Hood does with her, given her capabilities, but undoubtedly, she is a very handy pick-up for the Cats.

Georgia Clarke – GWV Rebels

Another defender with solid hands, Clarke and Taylor should work together in the back half to prevent opposition scoring. The Rebels defender made centre-half back her own in the TAC Cup Girls competition, creating a wall with her strong marking and kicking. Clarke was named in the TAC Cup Girls Team of the Year as the centre-half back, represented Vic Country in this year’s AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships and also spent some time with the AFL Women’s Academy.

Rene Caris – GWV Rebels

With a ruck line-up of Erin Hoare, Aasta O’Connor, Maddy Boyd, Kate Darby and the newly added Rene Caris, the Cats should dominate the midfield. Caris not only has a great leap but is agile at ground level, thanks to her clean hands and precise kicking. She was named in the TAC Cup Girls Team of the Year and also spent some time with the AFL Women’s Academy, giving her valuable experience in the Cats line-up. Caris featured for Carlton in the VFLW season, and proved that she could match it up against the bigger bodies in the AFL Women’s competition.

Maighan Fogas – Geelong VFLW

Maighan Fogas was one of Geelong’s most consistent midfielders this year in the VFLW, thanks to her exciting run and carry, clean hands and accurate kicking. She came second in Geelong’s VFLW Best and Fairest after playing 17 matches and being named in the best seven times. Her ability to fight for the ball in congestion made her a standout during the season, and if she continues to bring this trait into the AFL Women’s season, it will prove vital in the Geelong midfield.

Elise Coventry – Geelong VFLW

Coventry is your traditional no-fuss defender that consistently gets the job done. She is a great lockdown defender, which will prove vital if the Cats are to stop dangerous attacking teams such as the Western Bulldogs. Coventry finished in the top 10 of Geelong’s Best and Fairest and played 17 games for six appearances in the best.

Madeline Keryk – Geelong VFLW

Keryk worked incredibly hard to get back onto an AFL Women’s list in the off-season, after getting delisted by the Blues. She went over to the Cats halfway through the VFLW season and made an immediate impact with her ability to consistently rack up the footy and kick or handball long to get it out of congestion. Out of her 12 games during the season, she featured in the best on eight occasions, proving how damaging she is in the midfield. Her finals series was one to remember as well, gathering double-figure disposals in each match. Keryk’s experience combined with the youth of Morrison and Purcell will be fantastic to watch.

 

How they went:

Geelong has built a fantastic AFL Women’s side ahead of its first season in the competition.The Cats’ midfield will include Morrison, Purcell, Keryk, their forward line will feature the likes of Darby, Orr and McWilliams while their defence will be stacked with Clarke, Taylor and Coventry set to make a big impact. Add the ruck stocks of Aasta O’Connor, Erin Hoare and Rene Caris, and the Cats all of a sudden look very threatening to make a big statement in their first season of AFL Women’s.

Taking opportunities pays off for Katie Lynch

IN the midst of Year 12, Katie Lynch had a lot on her plate.

She featured in the TAC Cup Girls competition, represented Vic Metro, played for Collingwood in the Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s competition and balanced school sport commitments as well. Although it was a difficult situation to be in for Lynch, she says she had no choice but to take those opportunities that came her way.

“Obviously I was a bit under the pump earlier in the year, well at least I put myself under the pump,” Lynch said. “I had the opportunities come my way and I just had to take them and I thought I did that pretty well so it’s got me here. “I’m proud of myself.”

Now, she finds herself on Collingwood’s AFL Women’s list, with the club selecting her with pick 10 in the draft. Lynch says although it was unexpected, she was relieved to hear her name being called out on draft day.

“It was obviously really exciting, probably something I didn’t expect either,” she said. “But I heard my name get read out and yeah it was just a real relieving feeling I guess but I’m excited to get started.”

Lynch has already experienced playing for the Magpies, having played with them in the VFLW, meaning she will be able to continue playing with some familiar faces. This also signals a new opportunity for Lynch to mingle with the new draftees, who she regards quite highly.

“There’s some really exciting players that we’ve drafted as well,” Lynch said. “We’ve got Jordy Allen so I’m just excited, everyone’s great, I know a lot of the faces there which will really help.”

The 18 year-old admits the VFL experience, along with the TAC Cup Girls and AFL Women’s Under 18 competitions, have helped her adapt to different game styles. This is something that she hopes will hold her in good stead for her upcoming stint in the AFL Women’s.

“TAC Cup, Metro, VFL, they all bring a different kind of game,” Lynch said. “They’re each unique in their own way so it was kind of interesting trying to adapt to each game style. “But at the end of the day, you’re just playing footy so it was good.”

Despite the simplicity of playing the game, Lynch admits she is is still coming to terms with being an AFL Women’s footballer, not accustomed to the prestigious title.

“It’s pretty surreal, hard to believe, really,” she said. “But I guess I’ll start believing it once everything really kicks off into pre-season but at the moment, it’s really surreal.”

Growing up as a Richmond supporter, Lynch has quickly adapted to the black and white, donning the stripes for both the Oakleigh Chargers and Collingwood Magpies this year. Now she will have the opportunity to continue to dominate in those colours at the highest level.

AFLW Draft review: Collingwood

COLLINGWOOD was hit the hardest in the AFL Women’s off-season, losing many experienced players to other clubs. Moana Hope, Christina Bernardi, Jess Duffin, Jasmine Garner, Emma King and Amelia Barden will all be playing at different clubs in 2019, while retirees, Meg Hutchins, Bree White and Caitlyn Edwards will also be a big loss for the Pies. It was always going to be interesting to see how Collingwood went about its draft, but overall, versatility has been the theme as the side seeks a quick fix to its punishing off-season.

What they needed:

  • Forwards to replace Moana Hope, Lauren Tesoriero and Christina Bernardi
  • Defenders to replace Caitlyn Edwards and Tara Morgan
  • Versatility to fill the absence of Jess Duffin, Jasmine Garner and Chloe Molloy (inactive this season)
  • Experience to fill the void of Meg Hutchins and Bree White
  • Ruck to replace Emma King
  • Midfield depth to fill the void of Amelia Barden

 

Players selected:

Jordyn Allen – Dandenong Stingrays

Allen is a known leader, having captained the Dandenong Stingrays and Vic Country this year. Allen is a star off half-back with her overhead marking and unique ability to build her own wall in the defensive 50. She can also roll into the midfield and have an immediate impact there with her football smarts and long kicks. She will play a big part in helping to fill the void of Chloe Molloy and Jess Duffin.

Katie Lynch – Oakleigh Chargers

Lynch is a real X-factor player who creates excitement when she gets the ball. She has a fantastic long kick and can use it across the field. She is a tall player that plays primarily in the midfield and breaks the lines well with her strength. Despite limited game time in the TAC Cup Girls competition in the last two years, Lynch overcame injury trouble and battling school commitments to represent Vic Metro this year. She will help to fill the void of inside bull, Amelia Barden for the Pies in 2019.

Mikala Cann – Eastern Ranges

Mikala Cann is a remarkable story. In her first year of football, she represented Vic Metro, played in a premiership with Hawthorn and was named in the TAC Cup Girls Team of the Year. Known for her ferocity in the contest, Cann is a hard inside midfielder who loves to tackle. Coming from an athletics background, she is able to combine her speed and power to haunt opposition midfielders. She will be a great addition to Collingwood’s midfield, and presents a style of play similar to Brittany Bonnici, so the pair should combine well in the midfield.

Lauren Butler – Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels

The skipper of the GWV Rebels had a great year, representing Vic Country and spending some time with the Western Bulldogs in the Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s. Being a utility, she will add some much-needed versatility to the Collingwood line-up. Her endurance is perhaps one of the most impressive assets of her game and she proved it at the AFL Women’s Draft Combine, placing in the top five in the yo-yo intermittent test and the 2km time trial.

Maddie Shevlin – Casey Demons

Shevlin was perhaps a bit unlucky to get delisted by Melbourne in the off-season, But after some fantastic football for Casey, Collingwood decided to give her a second chance in the AFLW. Rotating through the forward line and the midfield, Shevlin kicked five goals from 14 games and was named in the best five times. She’s a player who knows how to rack up the disposals and uses the football cleanly both by hand or by foot. Another player who will add some versatility to the Pies’ line-up.

Sophie Alexander – Collingwood VFLW

Alexander burst onto the scene for the Pies this year in the VFLW. She kicked 14 goals from 14 games, including four majors against the NT Thunder. She was also named in the best eight times, highlighting her consistency. She is a powerful forward who can kick them from anywhere and is a great mark of the footy. She could be one of the most exciting players in the Collingwood lineup this year and could be a great replacement for Moana Hope.

Georgia Gourlay – Casey Demons VFLW

Georgia Gourlay is another great story from the Pies, as she has bounced back from two knee reconstructions in three years to earn a spot in Collingwood’s AFL Women’s side. She was a promising junior, making the Under 18 All Australian team as a 16 year-old. She is known for her precise kicking, which she uses as an asset of her game on the wing and on the half-back line. She could find a home in defence to replace the likes of Caitlyn Edwards and Tara Morgan.

Jordan Membrey – Wilston Grange

The Pies have picked up another delisted player in Jordan Membrey, who spent some time at the Lions in 2017. Her experience in an AFL Women’s line-up makes her a ready-made player for the Pies, which is a handy acquisition. Membrey got the chance to show her leadership skills this year, captaining Gold Coast in the AFL Women’s Winter series. She can rotate through the forward line and the midfield, and impresses with her clean hands.

Erica Fowler – Collingwood VFLW

Erica Fowler seems to be the solution to replace the departed Emma King. She and Hynes should combine well in the ruck to give the Collingwood midfielders first use of the ball. Fowler can also be a key target up forward, often playing a role for the Pies at full forward during the VFLW season.

 

How they went:

The Pies’ draft strategy appears to revolve around experience and versatility. With the loss of so many players in the off-season, Collingwood needed to kill two birds with one stone, and recruited versatile players such as Erica Fowler, Jordan Membrey and Jordyn Allen to provide a quick solution for the mass loss of players. A lot of midfield depth has been added through the likes of Mikala Cann and Katie Lynch, which will help the Pies get first access to the football. The forward line has also been bolstered through the recruitment of Sophie Alexander, who was one of the most exciting forwards in the VFLW competition. The Pies have a lot of options to work with for 2019, so it will be interesting to see how they fit all these versatile players into their line-up.

Weekend previews: NTFL Women’s – Round 5

ROUND 5 of the Northern Territory Football League (NTFL) Women’s Premier League sees a couple of weaker sides being tested against the competition’s strongest forces. Firstly, Southern Districts will take on the Wanderers, while at Gardens Oval, Waratah will do battle against St Marys. Then, Nightcliff will take on the Buffettes and in the only Sunday game, Pint and Tracy Village go head-to-head for crucial premiership points.

 

SOUTHERN DISTRICTS V WANDERERS

Round 5- Saturday November 3, 10am

Norbuilt Oval

The Wanderers will search for their first win against the Southern Districts this weekend. The Crocs are more vulnerable following Round 4, after suffering a loss to Palmerston. But the week before, they smashed St Marys by 114 points, so it is hard to tell where the Southern Districts are at the moment. The Crocs’ forward line can be very potent at times, so if Teka Voysey, Tahlia Holtze, Charles Deegan and Kelsey Patterson can continue to kick goals, then the Wanderers may struggle. For the Wanderers, they will need to take key learning lessons out of last week’s big loss against Waratah to put up a fight in this game.

 

WARATAH V ST MARYS

Round 5- Saturday November 3, 12pm

Gardens Oval

Waratah looks primed to defend its NTFL Women’s premiership, with no losses so far to begin the season. The Warriors have also recorded big winning margins along the way, with the most recent one coming against the Wanderers in Round 4. Lisa Miceli is dominating the goal kicking so far, booting through 13 majors in three games. The next best goal kickers are on seven, making Miceli a player that St Marys must nullify. But this will be difficult, as the Saints have been struggling this season, with just the one win to date. Hopefully Isabelle Porter and Katherine Dann can build on their good form and prevent an onslaught from the Warriors on Saturday.

 

NIGHTCLIFF V DARWIN BUFFETTES

Round 5- Saturday November 3, 12pm

PSC BM Oval

Nightcliff seems to be in for another disappointing season, struggling to put in a fight in the first four games of the season. Last week wasn’t any easier, going down to Tracy Village by 95 points. The Buffettes on the other hand are going along nicely with three wins and one loss. What makes it better is Darwin has come off its biggest win to date, defeating St Marys by 70 points in Round 4. Northern Territory Under 18 representative, Machaelia Roberts has been on fire to start off her season for the Buffettes, and is coming off a five-goal performance. Meanwhile for Nightcliff, Emma-Lou Wolsey and Sophie Hatzismalis have been solid and will need to step up again in Round 5.

 

PINT V TRACY VILLAGE

Round 5- Sunday November 4, 2pm

MCG

Pint has gone from top of the table to fourth in just two rounds, after a bye and a big loss to Darwin last week. This means the Queen Ants will be raring to go in a big clash against Tracy Village, which they need to win to get their momentum back. The Razorbacks are flying though, with three wins and one loss, sitting at second on the ladder. They had a big Round 4 win against Nightcliff, so their confidence will already be high going into the clash against Pint. Jeannie Cook and Rachael Bull will be looking to build their goal-kicking tallies after they both kicked four goals last week. Erin Hetherington has been one of the standouts for Pint though, so expect her to have another solid game against Tracy Village.

Opportunity becomes a reality for Webster

REBECCA Webster first joined TAC Cup Girls side, the Murray Bushrangers as a 14 year-old.

At that point in time, Webster admits the opportunity to play in a nationwide female Australian Rules competition was looking unlikely. But four years later, the 18 year-old is living out her dream; drafted by Geelong at pick seven.

“I’m really lost for words,” Webster said. “I never thought the day would come that we’d be sitting in there, so to get my name read out with the Geelong Cats was something I’ll remember forever and cherish.”

The occasion was even more special for Webster, as she had turned 18 the day before she got drafted, prompting a perfect birthday present. Before draft day though, Webster had contact with the Cats and says they were very engaging when trying to get her to the club.

“They were really good people and I know quite a lot of girls from Geelong,” Webster said. “They were very inviting. “They just wanted regional girls that were going to produce some great use coming through and I think that they’ve really done that with the picks they’ve picked.”

Webster joins the club alongside fellow Vic Country representatives such as Nina Morrison, Sophie Van De Heuvel and Georgia Clarke. She knows all these players well and looks forward to continuing her football journey with them.

“All the girls that are going to be playing down at Geelong, they’re really good girls and they know how to play footy,” Webster said. “We’ve got a really good bond so I think playing alongside them will be really good.”

Representing Vic Country over the years has been a valuable experience for Webster, who has modelled her game off one particular teammate who is now on an AFL Women’s list.

“I think I’m quite an individual but I’d love to think that I play kind of like Darcy Guttridge, she’s quite an attacking half-back player,” she said.

Like many up and coming players do, Webster also has some football idols. While Webster’s admired female footballer is a common admired name, she looks up to one of the more interesting characters of the men’s game.

“Probably Daisy Pearce (is my football idol),” the 18 year-old said. “From the males, (I like) Jason Akermanis. “When I was younger, I just thought he was cool.”

Webster spent some time this year with Melbourne University. While it was a big step-up, she says it was a valuable experience.

“The step was more so body size to get used to but other than that, I really enjoyed it and thought I fitted in pretty well,” Webster said.

The midfielder/ defender had to balance this along with playing in other teams, going to school and working. This can be a stressful prospect for anyone, but Webster admits she learnt how to juggle these commitments through football.

“With Year 12 and studies and all that sort of stuff alongside footy and work commitments, it’s obviously a very big juggle,” she said. “But with the footy side of things, I’ve learnt a lot of time management so that’s really helped this year.”

Now looking ahead to 2019, Webster hopes to use these lessons at her new AFL Women’s club. She also hopes to utilise her strengths in her game to make the most of her time at the Cats.

“I’m quite happy playing half-back flank down there,” Webster said. “But playing in different positions is something that I look forward to trying out and definitely with senior footy, you can be chucked anywhere.”

AFLW Draft review: Carlton

AFTER finishing on the bottom of the table last season, the Blues needed to go big in the 2018 AFL Women’s Draft. That’s just what they did, acquiring the services of Madison Prespakis, Abbie McKay, Jayde Van Dyk, Charlotte Wilson, Emerson Woods, Rhiannon Watt and Jessica Edwards. To add to that, Carlton added 32 year-old former Fremantle star, Kirby Bentley to its line-up in a bid to move up the ladder in 2019.

What they needed:

  • Defenders to fill the void of Kate Gillespie-Jones, Danielle Hardiman, Lauren Arnell and Laura Attard
  • Midfielders to replace Maddison Gay and Madeline Keryk
  • Tall forward to fill the absence of Kate Shierlaw

 

Players selected:

Madison Prespakis – Calder Cannons

Prespakis was the first metropolitan player to be picked in the draft, after one of the most stellar Under-18 careers. This year alone, Prespakis won the joint Most Valuable Player (MVP) for the AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships, Vic Metro’s MVP, was the joint TAC Cup Girls Best and Fairest winner and won the Calder Cannons Best and Fairest. She is a bull in the midfield who racks up plenty of the football. Undoubtedly, she is one of the most exciting prospects for next year, as her run and carry and booming kick can break open a game for any team.

Abbie McKay – Sandringham Dragons

McKay has been long touted to go to the Blues, after her dad, Andrew played 244 games for the club. But the famous name is certainly not the only reason why the 17 year-old got drafted to the Blues. She is a skilful midfielder that was one of the standouts in the Sandringham Dragons line-up this year. She displayed quick hands and superb run and carry, not only for the Dragons but for Vic Metro as well. McKay drew plenty of interest from other clubs, so the Blues cleverly selected her early to ensure that she was their game-changer.

Jayde Van Dyk – Hawthorn

Van Dyk’s Hawthorn Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s coach, Patrick Hill touted her as a potential number one pick. So Carlton getting her in the 20s is a steal, as the defender dominated in all areas of the VFLW this year. She was the recipient of the VFLW Rising Star award, was named in the VFLW Team of the Year and won her club Best and Fairest award. Van Dyk is a classy defender who looks ready-made for AFLW. She can shut down players well and displays amazing composure on the last line of defence. Van Dyk will play a big part in preventing Carlton from enduring another season like 2018.

Charlotte Wilson – Eastern Ranges

The Eastern Ranges co-captain was a rock in defence this year with her great overhead marking and ability to shut down players. She was also able to rotate through the ruck to provide some support there, highlighting her versatility. Wilson still plays basketball now, but it could change with the addition of an AFL Women’s contract. She enjoyed representing Vic Metro this year and also tested well in the AFL Women’s Draft Combine, coming first in the standing vertical jump, and finishing in the top five in the running vertical jump (left and right), 20-metre sprint and the yo-yo intermittent test. Her athleticism will be quite valuable for the Blues this season.

Emerson Woods- Eastern Ranges

Woods had a very successful Under-18 year, representing Vic Metro, co-captaining the Eastern Ranges and winning a premiership with Hawthorn in the VFLW. Woods has the ability to go forward or play in the midfield, thanks to her elite endurance and blistering speed. She is very smart with the ball in hand and displays quick hands in congestion. She also has a great overhead mark and is agile in the air. Woods dominated the AFL Women’s Draft Combine, breaking the 20 metre sprint record with a time of 3.129 seconds. She also came in the top 10 for the vertical jump, the agility test, the yo-yo intermittent test and the 2km time trial.

Rhiannon Watt – Southern Saints

The Southern Saints ruck was quite impressive in the VFLW this year, being named as the leading ruck in the VFLW Team of the Year and winning the Southern Saints Best and Fairest alongside Alison Drennan. Watt displayed all the classic qualities of a ruck, and complemented this with her great ball-use at ground level. She will provide great support for Breann Moody, making Carlton’s ruck stocks a formidable force.

Jessica Edwards – Collingwood

The Collingwood VFLW captain was unexpectedly snapped up in the AFL Women’s Draft by traditional rivals, Carlton. Edwards is highly deserving of an AFLW contract after leading her side to a minor premiership this year in the VFLW. She is quite a smart footballer, knowing where to position herself to find space. Her hands are clean and her kicks are quite accurate, making her a handy acquisition for Carlton’s midfield.

Kirby Bentley – Fremantle

Bentley was a star for Fremantle in the first season of the AFLW, averaging 10 disposals a match in her role at half-back and through the midfield. She was named as a part of the 40-player All Australian squad. However, a knee injury suffered in that year’s State of Origin game ruled her out of AFLW 2.0, and she made the decision to retire from AFL Women’s. But now, ready to play again, Bentley has been snapped up by the Blues and will add some much-needed experience to their line-up.  

 

How they went:

Carlton has recruited exceptionally well in the AFL Women’s Draft. The Blues have been able to fill the void of Danielle Hardiman and Kate Gillespie-Jones through picking up Van Dyk, Wilson and Bentley, who will all give the opposition forwards plenty of headaches. Bentley can also provide support in the midfield, and replaces the experience of former Blues captain, Lauren Arnell. The Blues’ midfield has also received a huge boost with the acquisition of one of the best Under 18 midfielders in the country, in Madison Prespakis. Prespakis will add an element of aggression and will be able to break the lines with her football smarts. Together with Jessica Edwards, Abbie McKay and Emerson Woods, Carlton’s new-look midfield will certainly turn some heads. To add to this, the Blues’ ruck department has received a boost with Wilson able to head into the ruck alongside Rhiannon Watt and Breann Moody. Emerson Woods can also head into the forward line, and could present well like Kate Shierlaw did for Carlton last year.