Author: Peter Williams

Young Guns named for second game

A NUMBER of over-age prospects from the TAC Cup join some emerging young talent in the Victorian Football League (VFL) for the second game in the AFL Young Guns series at North Port Oval tomorrow from 11am. The program is a three-game series with the third and final match to take place on June 30.

On the Country team, Gippsland Power’s excitement machine Tyrone Hayes and big-bodied inside midfielder Austin Hodge, half-back Bailey Henderson, Murray Bushrangers key position utility Jordon Butts, Bendigo Pioneers’ ruck Daniel Keating and Dandenong Stingrays pair Angus Patterson and Lachlan Young are among the names on the list. Geelong Falcons’ premiership players Cooper Stephens and Cassidy Parish, former GWV Rebels’ midfielder Aiden Domic and ex-Gippsland Power tall Cody Henness are among the other names now on VFL lists.

For the Metro side, Calder Cannon mid/forward Dylan Landt and co-captain Mitch Podhajski, Western Jets’ Jack Papachatzakis, Oakleigh Chargers’ Matthew Day, Sandringham Dragons’ midfielder Kai Owens and forward Harry Bede, and Northern Knights’ key position defender Joel Naylor are some of the TAC Cup players in the match. Some of the names TAC Cup watches might remember from last year are Oakleigh Chargers’ trio Nathan Boucher, Charlie Thompson and Daniel Stanford, Sandringham Dragons’ duo Quintin Montanaro and Geordie Nagle and Northern Knights’ ruck Matthew Harman who have all progressed to the VFL this season.


1TyroneHayes27-Apr-9917668Gippsland Power
2MattNeagle19-Feb-9818075Wodonga Raiders
3JackBlood22-Oct-9818276Geelong (VFL)
7AidenDomic16-Jul-9918582Geelong (VFL)
9KalanHuntly18-Mar-9718588Essendon (VFL)
10BaileyHenderson20-Oct-9918978Bendigo Pioneers
12AustinHodge02-Apr-9919083Gippsland Power
13LiamWhelan16-Nov-9719485North Melbourne (VFL)
17LachlanYoung06-Apr-9919078Dandenong Stingrays
18JordonButts31-Dec-9919680Murray Bushrangers
21TomFreeman14-Feb-9619185Casey Demons
23MykeltiLefau22-Jun-9819596Casey Demons
24AngusPaterson03-Sep-9919988Dandenong Stingrays
28KieranByers05-Feb-9720399Casey Demons
30DanielKeating08-May-9919587Bendigo Pioneers



1NathanBoucher30-Apr-9917170Box Hill Hawks
2DylanLandt18-Nov-9917875Calder Cannons
3CharlieThompson15-Mar-9918380Richmond (VFL)
6WillGoss09-Nov-9817971Port Melbourne
7JackPapachatzakis21-Oct-9918680Western Jets
8MatthewDay01-Apr-9918983Oakleigh Chargers
9QuintinMontanaro20-Jan-9918774North Melbourne (VFL)
10GeordieNagle11-Nov-9918781Box Hill Hawks
14DanielStanford26-Feb-9819183Collingwood (VFL)
15KaiOwens05-Oct-9919279Sandringham Dragons
16SamSofronidis19-Aug-9919278Sandringham Dragons
17FraserCameron28-Jun-9818586North Melbourne (VFL)
20JoelNaylor20-Sep-9919087Northern Knights
21SamRalph07-Apr-9819577Collingwood (VFL)
22MitchPodhajski04-Jan-9919487Calder Cannons
23HarryBede25-Aug-9919275Sandringham Dragons
25MatthewHarman02-Jun-9820091Northern Blues

West Australian weekly wrap: Thrillers all round in WAFL Colts

THIS weekend produced the most exciting round of West Australian Football League (WAFL) Colts football so far, with every game decided by two goals or less, including three games by a combined nine points.

Peel Thunder 11.4 (70) defeated Subiaco 9.12 (66)

Peel Thunder has upset Subiaco to hand the Lions their second consecutive loss with a narrow four-point win at home. Subiaco looked on top early, booting eight goals to four in the first half, but could only manage one after the main break as the home team piled on seven, to run away with the contest and claim a vital four points and move back into the top five.

Peel’s Lachlan Riley had 23 disposals, seven marks, five inside 50s and three tackles, while Andrew Butler also managed 23 disposals, three marks, four inside 50s and five tackles. Lachlan Cullen played an important role down forward, booting 3.3 from eight disposals, while Jaxon Egan finished with two majors. Jake Howes was the other player over 20 disposals, with 21 touches, three inside 50s and seven tackles.

For the losers, Tristan Hobley topped the disposal count with 26 touches, nine marks, three inside 50s and three tackles, while Zane Shellabear Healey had 23 disposals (all kicks), four marks, seven tackles and four inside 50s, but was inaccurate up forward with three behinds. Jack Mayo was the lone hand up front with four goals from eight scoring shots, 12 disposals, seven marks and 11 hitouts, while Liam Hickmott laid 10 tackles and booted a goal from 17 touches.


Claremont 9.8 (62) defeated Perth 8.12 (60)

Claremont has held on for the upset of the round, taking down top-of-the-table Perth in a two-point thriller. The Tigers stormed out of the blocks, booting four goals to one in the first term and led by 17 points at the main break, before the Demons hit back. Perth booted three goals to one in the third term to draw within two points, but the Tigers managed to hang tough in the last term with both sides adding a goal and Claremont celebrating a memorable victory. In fairness to Perth, they were missing their top prospects who had made the Under 18 state squad.

Max Grant won plenty of the footy for the winners, racking up 25 disposals, six marks, four tackles and booted a goal. Jack Monaghan had 22 disposals, five marks and three tackles, while Angus Longmire was strong in the ruck with 34 hitouts and 14 disposals. Lewis Henry and Benjamin Clohessy both booted three majors.

For Perth, Zac Casey had the ball on a string with 31 disposals, six marks, eight tackles, five inside 50s and a goal. Maverick Hamilton (24 disposals, seven marks and four inside 50s) and Bailey Smith (21 disposals, five inside 50s) were the other big ball winners. Alan Narkle was a lone hand up forward with four goals from eight disposals, while Jarrod Schofield laid seven tackles and had four inside 50s from 12 disposals.


East Perth 9.4 (58) defeated by South Fremantle 10.10 (70)

In the battle between the bottom two sides, South Fremantle picked up an away win over East Perth – the second for the season. It was a close game for most of the contest before the Bulldogs broke away with a three goals to one third term to lead by 23 points at the final break. A two goals to zero last quarter saw the Royals edge closer, but it was not enough to get the four points.

Tom Blechynden notched up 23 disposals, two marks and four inside 50s, while Manfred Kelly was one of the Bulldogs’ best with 23 disposals, four marks, seven tackles and three inside 50s. Matthew Ward was crucial in transition with eight inside 50s and four marks from 21 disposals, while James Russell laid nine tackles to go with 18 disposals. Thomas Weston did the most damage up forward with three goals.

For the Royals, Jarrod Hamer-Mathew and Eric Bashemule both had 17 disposals, four tackles and booted goals, while Jordan Hayden also had 17 disposals and took four marks. Thomas Baulch and Rory Sparks combined for 13 tackles, while Kyle Robinson was the home side’s only multiple goal kicker with two majors from 10 disposals, four marks and five tackles.


West Perth 12.6 (78) defeated by East Fremantle 12.9 (81)

Another thrilling contest saw the game between the Falcons and Sharks decided by less than a goal. After trailing throughout the first half, the home side booted four goals to two in the third term to open up a nine-point lead with a quarter to play. East Fremantle had other ideas than to just shy away from the contest, and booted four goals of their own to the Falcons’ two in the final term, to run over the top of the home side and claim a three-point victory.

Corey Robinson was enormous throughout the game for the Sharks, notching up 29 disposals and 11 marks, while Joshua Ritchie was also impressive with 25 touches, seven marks, five inside 50s and a goal. Nicholas Watson was good in the ruck and worked hard around the ground for 21 hitouts, 17 disposals and seven marks, while his partner in crime, Dylan Curley, also had 13 disposals, 16 hitouts and booted a goal. Mitchell Anderson booted three goals to be one of three multiple goal kickers for the winners, while Jai Jackson booted two from 16 disposals and nine marks.

Nathan Murray was the round’s highest ball winner, leading the Falcons with 34 disposals, three marks, three tackles and five inside 50s. Tyron Hindmarsh was also busy with 23 disposals, three marks, six tackles and four inside 50s, while Alec Johnson (22 disposals, seven marks) and Daniel Rowe (22 disposals, six tackles) were among the best. Jack Burke made an impact up forward with two goals from 19 disposals, six marks and four tackles, while Ben Johnson had a team-high seven inside 50s from 20 disposals and a goal.

Second placed Swan Districts had the bye.

AFL Draft Central’s TAC Cup Girls Team of the Year

PREMIERS Geelong Falcons lead all-comers when it comes to the AFL Draft Central TAC Cup Girls’ Team of the Year. The Falcons have four nominations in the best 24 (extending the bench to six), including one in the midfield, one in defence and two up forward. The Team of the Year has been constructed based on nominations across the nine TAC Cup Girls’ rounds. From the nine TAC Cup Girls’ Teams of the Week, we have picked 24 of the 26 players who received three or more nominations, with the next 24 players (named in the 2nds team) receiving two nominations.

Geelong captain Lucy McEvoy has made the starting defence, with Olivia Purcell named on the wing, Nina Morrison on a half-forward flank, and Sachi DeGiacomi lining up at full-forward. The Falcons’ grand final opponents the Northern Knights had the next most with three nominees. It is no surprise that with all the firepower the Knights have, their three nominations are in the forward 50. Ellie McKenzie and Britney Gutknecht have proved to be dangerous around goals, while Gabby Newton can play anywhere and was named at centre half-forward. It is worth noting that McKenzie had the third most nominations of any player with six, just behind our teams’ co-captains Madison Prespakis (Calder Cannons) and Tyla Hanks (Gippsland Power) with eight nominations apiece.

Prespakis’ bottom-age teammate Georgia Patrikios has made it into a forward pocket, while Hanks’ teammate Emily Haeusler slots onto the half-back flank. Also in defence is Alice Burke, the daughter of St Kilda champion Nathan, making the back pocket with teammate Eleanor Brown who slotted into the best 22. On the other half-back flank is Dandenong Stingrays’ captain Jordyn Allen who made the team, while teammate and fellow AFLW Academy member Courtney Jones was named as an emergency. Murray Bushrangers’ pair Tamara Smith and Rebecca Webster were no surprises into the Team of the Year after consistent form this season.

Holding down the fort at full-back is Isabelle Pritchard, with the Western Jets’ key position defender having a fantastic season, as has her teammate and midfielder Elisabeth Georgostathis who made it onto a wing. The other team with two nominees is the Bendigo Pioneers with midfield duo Kodi Jacques and Megan Williamson both making it onto the bench. Eastern Ranges had two nominee in our Team of the Year, Sarah Kendall and Emerson Woods who slot into the ruck and interchange respectively. The other clubs with just the one nomination are GWV Rebels’ Georgia Clarke at centre half-back and Bridie Winbanks (Oakleigh Chargers) on the bench. Both the clubs had three players with two nominations who just missed out on squeezing into the Team of the Year.

The only two players to receive three nominations and miss out are Dandenong Stingrays’ Courtney Jones, and Murray Bushrangers’ Grace Egan who both had wonderful seasons.

At AFL Draft Central we also wanted to recognise those players who received at least two nominations in our Team of the Weeks this season, including the two players missing out on the starting 24 (Courtney Jones and Grace Egan) slotting into the team. Jones has been selected as the captain for the side, with a number of unbelievable talents unlucky not to make the first team. TAC Cup Girls Grand Final Best on Ground Denby Taylor is one of many top players making it into the next 22, alongside fellow AFLW Academy members Georgia Macpherson, Sophie Van De Heuvel and of course, Jones.

There are seven teams with an amazing three players nominated in the Second Team of the Year, with just Bendigo Pioneers and Calder Cannons the only sides without a nominee. The premiers have Taylor, ruck Zoe Inei and tackling machine Samantha Atkins in the side, while the runners-up Knights have Alex Pronesti, as well as two 2020-draft eligible players in Alyssa Bannan and Abigail Bennett in the team. Eastern’s depth has been critical to their success throughout the season, and along with Macpherson, they also have Mikala Cann and Gabriella De Angelis making the team. Dandenong Stingrays have Shelley Heath running off a half-back flank, joining Jones and Isabella Shannon in the side.

The GWV Rebels have Van De Heuvel up forward, talented bottom-ager Sophie Molan in the midfield, and captain Lauren Butler also in the side. The Oakleigh Chargers midfield duo of Katie Lynch and Gemma Lagioia provide the team with some class, while the dangerous Daisy Bateman slots into the forward pocket. Leading competition goal kicker Holly Bate makes it into full-forward after nominations in round eight and nine for a combined 12 goals, joined in the team by fellow forward Isabella Eddey and 16 year-old midfielder Eliza McNamara.

Eloise Ashley-Cooper made the side after a good season, named in the back pocket with fellow Murray Bushrangers defender Egan. Right next to them is Western Jets’ defender Sharnie Whiting who made the team with two nominations, as did Caitlin Greiser who proved a handful up forward and slots into the forward pocket. The final spot in the team belongs to bottom-age forward Nikia Webber who showed some great signs of what is to come from the versatile tall.


B: Eloise Ashley-Cooper (MB) – Sharnie Whiting (WJ) – Denby Taylor (GF)
HB: Shelley Heath (DS) – Georgia Macpherson (ER) – Grace Egan (MB)
C: Gemma Lagioia (OC) – Mikala Cann (ER) – Sophie Van De Heuvel (GWV)
HF: Courtney Jones (DS) (c)  – Nikia Webber (GP) – Alyssa Bannan (NK)
F: Daisy Bateman (OC) – Holly Bate (SD) – Caitlin Greiser (WJ)
R: Zoe Inei (GF) – Katie Lynch (OC) – Sophie Molan (GWV)
INT: Abigail Bennett (NK) – Samantha Atkins (GF) – Isabella Shannon (DS) – Lauren Butler (GWV) – Isabella Eddey (SD) – Gabriella De Angelis (ER) – Eliza McNamara (SD) – Alex Pronesti (NK)

NSW/ACT weekly wrap: First Nations Cup; two selected for Diversity All Stars

IT was a big week for youth footballers in NSW/ACT, with the inaugural First Nations Cup held, as well as plenty of representative football.

First Nations Cup

Sydney played host to the inaugural AFL First Nations Cup on Wednesday, with 120 high school students from Sydney, Western Sydney and as far as Dubbo taking part in the eight-team AFL 9s tournament.

The overall aim of the First Nations Cup is to bring the young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities together, while learning the origins of Australian Rules football. AFL NSW/ACT and the National Aboriginal Sporting Chance Academy (NASCA) coordinated the event, with support from the Sydney Swans and GWS GIANTS.

AFL NSW/ACT Indigenous Programs Manager, Charlee-Sue Frail told the AFL NSW/ACT website that she was thrilled by the success of the inaugural competition.

“We wanted to have a flagship gala day event in Sydney ahead of Sir Doug Nicholls Round, and we’re excited to see it succeed,” Frail said. “We’re proud to partner with an Aboriginal organisation such as NASCA, who is doing great work within our communities and with the younger generations. “It was so great to see young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander high school students meeting each other, having fun, and celebrating their cultural strengths.”

For more information, head to the AFL NSW/ACT website or Facebook page.


Two named for Diversity All Stars

Southern Power’s Sarah Heptinstall and Belconnen Magpies’ Emily Pease have been selected to represent the Diversity All Stars team for 2018 after terrific performances for the AFL NSW/ACT national Medleys and All Nations sides. Pease was also recently named in the NSW/ACT Under 16 Youth Girls’ squad.

As a part of their selection, Heptinstall and Pease will take part in a national Diversity All Stars program, focusing on leadership and football skill development. Participants will also visit AFL club facilities and gain exposure to an elite training environment, before concluding the week by playing a match.

AFL NSW/ACT Multicultural Programs Manager, Nickie Flambouras told the AFL NSW/ACT website it was exciting to see Heptinstall and Pease progress through the Diversity Pathway.

“This is a very proud moment to have two girls from New South Wales and the ACT represented in the Diversity All Stars squad,” said Flambouras. “It goes to show how our Diversity programs are getting everyone involved in our game, and we are particularly pleased to see two girls enjoying their footy so much. “We are dedicated to the development of females from Multicultural backgrounds, and integrating athletes into our female talent pathways. “We wish the girls every success and will continue supporting them through their development.”


Swans Academies soar

Sydney Swans Under 16 and Futures Academies have claimed bragging rights over their regional rival, with victories over GWS GIANTS on the weekend. The Under 16s claimed an overall series win after taking out two of the three matches against the GIANTS, while the Under 17s Futures were victorious in the one-off match.

Oscar Davis inflicted the most pain on the GIANTS in the Under 16s decider, booting three goals, while Braeden Campbell and Errol Gulden were named in the Swans’ best. Godfrey Okerenyang and Jack Cullen were named among the GIANTS’ best, contributing four goals in the loss. The NSW/ACT Under 16s squad will be released soon ahead of the National Under 16 Championships.

Sydney Swans Academy – 11.8 (74)
GIANTS Academy – 7.8 (50)

Sydney Swans Academy – Davis 3, Sheather, Westcott, Dignam, Walsh-Hall, Wright, Campbell, Gulden, Olsen
GIANTS Academy – Okerenyang 2, Cullen 2, Browning, Melksham, Ashley-Cooper

In the Under 17s Futures, Sydney was too good for the GIANTS, running away with a 75-point win. Tommy Baxter was the key goal kicker, booting four goals for the Swans, who ran riot in the second half, outscoring their opposition by eight goals. The AFL NSW/ACT squad for the 2018 Under 17s Futures Series will be announced next month.

Sydney Swans Academy – 15.13 (103)
GIANTS Academy – 4.4 (28)

Sydney Swans Academy – Baxter 4, D’Agostino 3, Ellem 3, Bird 2, Watling, Maguire, Gallen
GIANTS Academy – Hicks, Bridgland, Kendall, Grant

For more information on the Academy clashes, head to the AFL NSW/ACT website.

Team of the Week: TAC Cup – Round 7

THREE wins on the trot and flying high, the Western Jets are the big winners in this week’s AFL Draft Central TAC Cup Team of the Week for Round 7. The Jets and the Gippsland Power are the only sides with three nominees, as the best 22 is split evenly across the competition. Every other winning side, as well as Calder Cannons and Murray Bushrangers have two nominees, while the Bendigo Pioneers, Geelong Falcons, Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels and Oakleigh Chargers have a sole nominee in the team.

It is undoubtedly the tallest Team of the Week so far, and one we would probably not take into a wet weather game, but such was the results on the weekend with a number of key position players earning their spots with impressive performances. Up forward, the front six have combined for a massive 30 goals to show some serious firepower, with just the one genuine crumbing player, as well as a mix of key position and lead-up players.

The Jets’ three nominees are defender Buku Khamis – who was best on ground in the Jets’ win over Oakleigh Chargers – as well as midfielders Xavier O’Halloran and Zak Butters. O’Halloran has been a regular in the Team of the Week this season, with fellow captain Xavier Duursma another who has had his fair share of nominations. The Gippsland leaders makes the team on the wing, along with Sam Flanders who booted another four goals on the weekend, and Kyle Reid who was monumental in defence. In the centre, Braedyn Gillard slots in once again, joined by teammate Adam Carafa for the first time. The other midfield spot is taken by overager Kai Owens who stood up in Sandringham’s victory over Geelong Falcons on Sunday. Owens is joined in the Team of the Week by forward Harry Bede who also booted four goals.

The three-pronged tall attack of Murray Bushrangers’ Hudson Garoni, Dandenong Stingrays’ Corey Ellison and Eastern Ranges’ Jamieson Rossiter piled on a massive 19 goals between them and were walk-up starts in this week’s team. They are not the only talls from their teams with Bailey Williams (Dandenong) and Jordon Butts (Murray) making the side, while Ben Cardamone‘s work from defence earned him another place in the back pocket after a good start in the opening few rounds. Alongside him at centre half-back is Calder Cannons switchman Daniel Hanna, who is one of two Cannons in the team – Curtis Taylor makes the side as well.

Up forward, GWV half-forward Charlie Wilson – who finished with three majors in the Rebels’ loss to Gippsland Power – also made the team once again. The final spots in the team were taken up by the three sole members for their respective teams, half-back Trent Bianco (Oakleigh Chargers), full-back Dane Hollenkamp (Geelong Falcons) and ruck Daniel Keating (Bendigo Pioneers). Others considered for the team but just missed out due to the strength in their relative positions were Eastern’s Mitch Mellis, Murray’s Ben Kelly, GWV’s Matt Schnerring, Gippsland’s Bailey Beck and Geelong’s Oscar Brownless.

Podcast: TAC Cup Girls – Episode 11

A NEW year marks all-new content and in 2018, AFL Draft Central will be producing a weekly podcast through the TAC Cup Girls season. Hosted by women’s football editor, Julia Montesano, the podcast will be posted each Wednesday night and will review the previous round’s games and look ahead to the following weekend. For the eleventh episode, Julia is joined by AFL Draft Central chief editor Peter Williams to review the 2018 TAC Cup Girls Grand Final!

Episode 11 now embedded here:

  Episode run down:

  • Grand Final recap
  • Review each teams’ season
  • Nominate chances for club Best and Fairests

AFLW Draft: Geelong holds prized picks after initial order confirmed

GEELONG holds the two most prized picks in October’s 2018 AFL Women’s Draft ahead of the trade period kicking off. The Cats are one of two expansion sides in the competition next season, with North Melbourne adopting an experience-first mentality.

Whilst the Cats have picked up a number of experienced faces including Melbourne’s Mel Hickey and Richelle Cranston, and GWS’ Phoebe McWilliams and Maddy Boyd, North Melbourne has gone all-out in search of experienced talent with 2018 AFLW Best and Fairest winner Emma Kearney and teammate Jemma Bruton, Brisbane’s Kaitlyn Ashmore among four Lions, and four of Collingwood’s top players in Emma King, Jennifer Garner, Jess Duffin and Mo Hope among others.

North Melbourne’s ambitious title-tilt has seen the Kangaroos penalised in the draft order, moved to last (or twelfth pick in the first round) and the final pick in each round thereafter. However, excluding Adelaide, Brisbane, Fremantle and GWS GIANTS who can still only have access to players that nominate their respective state, the Kangaroos effectively have pick eight. Geelong on the other hand, have been compensated as a new side in the competition, with picks one and two, as well as picks 14 and 15 (effectively picks 10 and 11 in the Victorian draft).

The Kangaroos have also only been allocated five selections in the draft (no compensation pick), with each of the established Victorian clubs receiving a pick at the start of a round based on the quality lost from their list. Collingwood was deemed to have lost the most quality and thus received pick nine in the Victorian draft as compensation, whilst the Western Bulldogs received pick 18, Melbourne received pick 25 and Carlton received pick 33.

Effectively Geelong head into the draft with four picks inside the top 10 and six inside the top 16, while Collingwood has four inside the top 20 – the most of any established club. Wooden spooners Carlton will enter the draft with pick three. Of course, all of this can change with the re-signing and trade period kicking off today and going until June 4.

Club by club picks (Victorian draft):

Carlton: 3, 12, 19, 26, 32, 33
Collingwood: 4, 9, 13, 20, 27, 34
Geelong: 1, 2, 7, 10, 11, 16, 23, 30, 37
Melbourne: 5, 14, 21, 25, 28, 35
North Melbourne: 8, 17, 24, 31, 38
Western Bulldogs: 6, 15, 18, 22, 29, 36

Selection order for the 2018 NAB AFL Women’s Draft

1 Geelong Cats (compensation pick)
2 Geelong Cats (compensation pick)
3 Carlton
4 Fremantle
5 Collingwood
6 Adelaide
7 GWS Giants
8 Melbourne
9 Brisbane Lions
10 Western Bulldogs
11 Geelong Cats
12 North Melbourne

13 Collingwood (compensation pick)
14 Geelong Cats (compensation pick)
15 Geelong Cats (compensation pick)
16 Carlton
17 Fremantle
18 Collingwood
19 Adelaide
20 GWS Giants
21 Melbourne
22 Brisbane Lions
23 Western Bulldogs
24 Geelong Cats
25 North Melbourne

26 Western Bulldogs (compensation pick)
27 Carlton
28 Fremantle
29 Collingwood
30 Adelaide
31 GWS Giants
32 Melbourne
33 Brisbane Lions
34 Western Bulldogs
35 Geelong Cats
36 North Melbourne

37 Melbourne (compensation pick)
38 Carlton
39 Fremantle
40 Collingwood
41 Adelaide
42 GWS Giants
43 Melbourne
44 Brisbane Lions
45 Western Bulldogs
46 Geelong Cats
47 North Melbourne

48 Carlton (compensation pick)
49 Carlton
50 Fremantle
51 Collingwood
52 Adelaide
53 GWS Giants
54 Melbourne
55 Brisbane Lions
56 Western Bulldogs
57 Geelong Cats
58 North Melbourne

Fifty named in AFL Draft Central’s TAC Cup Girls’ Team of the Year squad

FIFTY players from across the TAC Cup Girls’ competition have been named in AFL Draft Central’s Team of the Year squad, with the even cut-off those who received two of more nominations in our Team of the Week. There have also been 43 players recognised by AFL Draft Central who put in an outstanding effort to be nominated once throughout the season.

Remarkably, there has been an almost even split, with 26 players receiving three or more nominations in our Team of the Week, while another 24 players made the team twice. Of the 50-player squad, Geelong Falcons received the most nominations with seven players receiving two or more nominations in the Team of the Week, while the Northern Knights (six) were next followed by Sandringham Dragons and Eastern Ranges (five each). It is no surprise that these four teams were the top four sides at the end of the TAC Cup Girls regular season.

It was an even split between the next five sides with Dandenong Stingrays, Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels, Murray Bushrangers, Oakleigh Chargers and Western Jets all having four dual nominees, while Gippsland Power had three. Bendigo Pioneers and Calder Cannons had the two standout players each who were nominated multiple times. In terms of total players nominated, the Geelong Falcons and Eastern Ranges both had an impressive 11 players nominated at least once, ahead of Northern Knights and Sandringham Dragons (10), Dandenong Stingrays and Murray Bushrangers (nine), Oakleigh Chargers (eight). GWV Rebels (seven), Western Jets (six), Bendigo Pioneers (five), Gippsland Power and Calder Cannons (three) to round out the 12 sides.

In terms of most nominations, it is no surprise to see Calder Cannons’ Madison Prespakis and Gippsland Power’s Tyla Hanks, are leading the way with a stunning eight nominations from eight games. The pair will be captain and vice-captain in the Team of the Year. Just as remarkably, 15 year-old Ellie McKenzie is outright third, with six nominations from her six games and will no doubt feature many times in the team over the next two years.

Team of the Year squad: [50]

Bendigo Pioneers [2]: Kodi Jacques, Megan Williamson
Calder Cannons [2]: Georgia Patrikios, Madison Prespakis
Dandenong Stingrays [4]: Jordyn Allen, Shelley Heath, Courtney Jones, Isabella Shannon
Eastern Ranges [5]: Mikala Cann, Gabriella De Angelis, Sarah Kendall, Georgia Macpherson, Emerson Woods
Geelong Falcons [7]: Samantha Atkins, Sachi DeGiacomi, Zoe Inei, Lucy McEvoy, Nina Morrison, Olivia Purcell, Denby Taylor
Gippsland Power [3]: Tyla Hanks, Emily Haeusler, Nikia Webber
GWV Rebels [4]: Lauren Butler, Georgia Clarke, Sophie Molan, Sophie Van De Heuvel
Murray Bushrangers [4]: Eloise Ashley-Copper, Grace Egan, Tamara Smith, Rebecca Webster
Northern Knights [6]: Alyssa Bannan, Abigail Bennett, Britney Gutknecht, Ellie McKenzie, Gabby Newton, Alex Pronesti
Oakleigh Chargers [4]: Daisy Bateman, Gemma Lagioia, Katie Lynch, Bridie Winbanks
Sandringham Dragons [5]: Holly Bate, Eleanor Brown, Alice Burke, Isabella Eddey, Eliza McNamara
Western Jets [4]: Elisbeth Georgostathis, Caitlin Greiser, Isabelle Pritchard, Sharnie Whiting

Single nominations: [43]

Bendigo Pioneers [3]: Eloise Gretgrix, Brooke Hards, Sophie Kerridge
Calder Cannons [1]: Felicity Theodore
Dandenong Stingrays [5]: Eloise Allen-Burns, Saige Bayne, Lucy Cripps, Samantha Ryan, Tyanna Smith
Eastern Ranges [6]: Ashleigh Allsopp, Tarni Brown, Olivia Meagher, Laura McClelland, Lauren Szigeti, Charlotte Wilson
Geelong Falcons [4]: Abbey Chapman, Luka Lesosky-Hay, Renee Tierney, Sophie Walmsley
Gippsland Power [1]: Jasmine Ferguson
GWV Rebels [3]: Stephanie Glover, Nyakoat Dojiok, Ella Wood
Murray Bushrangers [5]: Olivia Barber, Millie Brown, Julia Harvey, Chelsea Knight, Claudia McKimmie
Northern Knights [4]: Maddy Brancatisano, Jess Fitzgerald, Nell Morris-Dalton, Ashleigh Snow
Oakleigh Chargers [4]: Hannah McLaren, Alice O’Loughlin, Chloe O’Malley, Nicola Xenos
Sandringham Dragons [5]: Molly Denahy Maloney, Sarah Hartwig, Winnie Laing, Jemma Owen, Maddi Wilson
Western Jets [2]: Isabella Grant, Taylah Kolevski

The final AFL Draft Central TAC Cup Girls Team of the Year will be posted later in the week.

Jets’ positive focus the key to turnaround

A MONTH to this day, Western Jets players trudged off Shepley Oval on the receiving end of a 21-goal belting at the hands of Dandenong Stingrays. After a strong start to the season which yielded to wins from three games, the uncharacteristic heavy loss was not what the Jets wanted to stand for in 2018. It was no doubt hard to fathom how the match had gone so one-sided, despite feeling relatively even at the coal-face. Fast forward four days later and feeling amongst the playing group was different – there was optimism.

Captain Xavier O’Halloran remembers the weekly Thursday training night well and how Jets’ coach Torin Baker and his staff took a different approach to the post-game review than many would expect. Rather than pour over vision of everything that went wrong, Baker pointed to the statistics up on the whiteboard. Disposals were negative 10, marks were plus eight, tackles were minus one, clearances were minus two, rebounds were plus two, contested possessions negative four. All the stats with the exception of inside 50s and goals showed that Western were well and truly in the contest.

“I remember the Thursday night post-Dandenong game, we had a look at stats on the board and it wasn’t too dissimilar from each other,” O’Halloran said. “It was only obviously the score and the inside 50s so I think I personally took a lot from looking at those stats and seeing that, [I thought] yeah we can actually take it up to what we consider to be one of the best sides in the comp. “Then it’s just a matter of tweaking a few things and looking at how we’re using the footy, especially going into our forward line.”

Kicking efficiency was certainly down for the Jets, hitting targets by foot just 53.4 per cent of the time compared to the Stingrays’ 60.5 per cent. But the main message was, the Jets were winning the football and matching them on the inside, they just lacked a little bit of polish and needed to reduce the opposition’s entries inside 50.

“Personally for myself I was able to take a lot of belief from that, and especially I think the group has as well,” O’Halloran said. “I think we’ve gone from the positives of that game more so than the negatives. “I think we were able to bounce back pretty well and we’re showing that.”

Western certainly is showing that, with three wins on the trot and remarkably, the team that went down by 126 points four weeks ago, is now sitting pretty in the top four following victories over Sandringham Dragons, Geelong Falcons and Oakleigh Chargers. But did they fix their inside 50s problem? Against the Dragons, the Jets piled on a massive 58 inside 50s to 28. The Falcons? A 60-32 advantage. Against the fourth placed Chargers? The Jets won that count by 13.

In the past three weeks, Western has had 164 inside 50s to 93. A differential of 71 across rounds five to seven, or an average of 24 more inside 50s than their opponents per game. The little “tweaks” the Jets have made since have been working a treat, and now, they sit in the top four with five wins from seven matches.

Their top players have also been in strong form, with Zak Butters averaging 23 disposals, 6.3 marks, three clearances and six inside 50s from the past three rounds, while O’Halloran has averaged 20 disposals, 3.3 marks, six clearances and 5.7 inside 50s. Connor Thar has notched up 22 disposals, four marks, 3.3 clearances and 3.3 inside 50s, while in two games, Stefan Radovanovic has picked up 23 disposals, 2.5 marks, 3.5 clearances, three inside 50s and two rebounds. In defence, Buku Khamis is averaging 14.3 disposals and seven marks, providing a crucial link and acting as a brick wall stopping opposition attacks.

The Western Jets have a bye this weekend for the Development Weekend, before returning on June two for a home match against last placed Bendigo Pioneers.

Belief and resilience the key to Falcons’ turnaround: Armistead

BELIEF in the team’s system and the girls’ ability to rise up when challenged were the key reasons behind the Geelong Falcons’ come-from-behind win according to coach Jason Armistead.

The Falcons found themselves goalless at half-time, trailing by 13 points to the Northern Knights, who had made the most of their opportunities through two second quarter goals. At half-time, the mood in the rooms was relatively calm, and the message was straight forward from the coaching group – stick to the plan and the tide will turn.

“We weren’t too bad (with nerves) as a coaching group,” Armistead said. “The message at half-time was mainly around we just need to turn it back around our way and when it does turn back around our way, it will happen and just to have belief that what we’ve done all year has worked, so that was pretty much the message. “If it hadn’t have happened in the third quarter then obviously I would have been pretty nervous, but the way they responded in the third quarter was amazing.”

Armistead praised the resilience of his players to stand up in crucial moments, as they had done all year. He shuffled the magnets sending his two AFLW Academy defenders up the ground, with captain Lucy McEvoy moving forward, and Denby Taylor playing off a wing. The moves were not pre-planned according to the coach, and he said whilst they worked, it was a whole team effort to turn the deficit into a victory.

“Nah it wasn’t pre-planned,” he said. “We weren’t planning on having to make that many moves, but as much as the moves worked, I think the girls also stood up to the challenge as well. “So overall as a group, we probably let us down for about 10 minutes in that second quarter a little bit, but our group’s been awesome to rising to the challenge all year, and that’s what they did in that third quarter. “I felt like we were having a little bit of control, it just wasn’t falling our way a little bit. One of our messages at half-time was eventually if we keep at it, it will turn our way and I suppose that’s what happened. If you keep persisting, eventually it will go your way and that’s kind of what happened.”

Armistead said he was just “really excited and happy” for everyone involved in the Falcons’ program and that the smile on everyone’s faces in the rooms post-game was reward in itself. He said it was great to win and have the validation the Falcons were best side in 2018.

“That’s pretty much it at the end of the day (reward for effort),”he said. “It doesn’t really matter what happens during the season. “If you win the grand final, it’s just that final reward just to validate you were the best side. “If we hadn’t have won, it would have obviously been a little disappointing for us, but it validates that we probably were the best side for the season.”

Armistead said everyone had noticed the level of intensity had risen compared to the shorter five-game season last year and the quality of every side had improved out of sight.

“The competition overall is so much stronger,” he said. “The ball movement of all the teams is so much improved and it’s just a credit that’s been involved with it in the last two years, coaches and staff of all the different clubs. “Even the stuff we do at training, it’s really we’re just doing senior football drills and the girls understanding of the game now is just improved out of sight. “It’s going to be amazing in a couple of years time.”

Geelong Falcons will bid farewell to a number of top-agers this season including AFLW Academy members Olivia Purcell, Nina Morrison and Taylor, but Armistead is confident the future is bright with a number of talented bottom-agers coming through the ranks.

“Yeah [I’m] definitely [impressed with the quality],” he said. “Luka Lesosky-Hay is another one who is the same age as Lucy (McEvoy, captain) and she was enormous today (Saturday). “Abbey Chapman our full-back has still got another year as well, and Renee (Tierney) our full-forward still has two more years and obviously there’s other players around that as well, and Northern have got a heap of girls in that bottom-age bracket as well, so the challenge is to try and stay ahead of everyone else that is coming as well. “I know just even in the local competitions just watching over the last four or five weeks that there’s other girls out there we haven’t really found yet that you just think ‘wow, she can play as well’ so yeah we’re pretty confident that over the next couple of years the Geelong region will still have some good talent coming through.”

For the Falcons players, many will go separate ways whether it is playing for Vic Country at the National AFLW Under 18 Championships, for a Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s side, or just local football. Armistead said he hoped to see a number of Falcons players trying to cut their teeth at senior level.

“We probably need to sit down and work out what we are going to do (with the players),” he said. “We’ve got seven in the Vic Country so that will keep them going a little bit, but there’s also a few of the other girls just behind that, that might hopefully look at going down to Geelong and train with their VFL. “It might just be one day a week or whatever, but potentially they might join that list as well in the VFL. “I think they’ve still got 10 spots to put TAC Cup Girls on. “I hope that Sachi DeGiacomi, the one who was unlucky to miss out on Vic Country … I think she can step into the VFLW straight away. “That will be the opportunities we are looking for our girls.”

With an emphasis on the future, Armistead and the rest of the Geelong Falcons team will bask in the premiership glory following a perfect, undefeated season.