Category: AFLW National Championships

Ten-hour round trip to training highlights Roux’s dedication

WESTERN Australia forward, Roxanne Roux used to dedicate a full day to football training.

Living in rural Western Australia, Roux had to stay home from school every Monday to prepare for her five-hour trip to training.

Roux says this placed a lot of pressure on her single mother, who also had to make time to take care of Roux and her five brothers.

“I have two younger brothers that were left at home every Monday when I went (to training),” Roux said. “They were about seven and eight, maybe a little bit older then. “We used to have people coming over just to check on them. “It takes a fair chunk of time and you miss out a lot on your brothers and siblings, and especially for Mum, missing out on school assemblies on a Monday and they got awards, we missed out on them.”

But despite the negatives, Roux was driven by her love for the game. Her passion and dedication have combined to mould her into a footballer with a very bright future. She may also have her brothers to thank for that.

“My brothers always played footy,” Roux said. “I have five brothers, three of them are older so they all played footy and I was always at the local club and everything like that.”

One day, Roux went from being at the local club to playing for it, as she signed up to play Auskick. From there, her love for football just kept growing, and no other sport could deter her love for Australian Rules.

“I went to one of the Auskick volunteers and asked ‘can I join in?’,” she said. “So I joined in and I stuck that year out in Auskick, got moved up to super 8s. “(I) Made the state team in Year 7 when I was 12 years old and I just continued to try out for state teams since then. “I played a lot of other sports but footy has kept pulling me back.”

The 16 year-old says that the reason football may be pulling her back is because of the enjoyment factor within the sport.

“It’s just so much fun,” she said. “I can’t really put a finger on it but there’s just something about it that keeps pulling me back. “It’s just the fast pace, the intensity of everything, just enjoying a team sport as well. “I did lots of other sports that weren’t team-based sometimes but it’s just a great environment to be around.”

It’s easy to see that Roux is enjoying her football, as she had a solid outing in the AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships representing Western Australia. At local level, Roux became a premiership player with her side, East Fremantle, where she chipped in with 15 goals from 12 games. But being the dedicated player she is, Roux admits she still has room to improve.

“I definitely think (I need to improve on) not getting caught at a stoppage when people go past because there’s a couple of times in every game that you always catch yourself out no matter how switched on you think you are,” she said. “Pretty much my footy game brain needs to have switched on a bit more in the games.”

Roux is working hard to improve on these assets of the game in order to play in football’s prime competition. Of course, the 16 year-old would love to play AFL Women’s, but will still strive for the highest level of football underneath if her name isn’t called out in next year’s draft.

“That’s (AFLW) the ultimate goal and what I’ve been working towards this whole time I’ve been playing,” Roux said. “If I don’t get there then so be it, I’ll still keep going at my highest level.”

Away from football, Roux keeps is simple, and possesses a unique hobby.

“It’s a little bit embarrassing to admit that I have an interest in poetry and writing and stuff like that,” the Western Australia forward said. “I have won awards and things like that for writing.”

Roux is eligible for next year’s AFL Women’s Draft, so another exciting year beckons for her in her Under 18s career.

Future is bright for women’s football

IF anyone ever had any doubts about the future of AFL Women’s, then they need look no further than this week’s V/Line Cup. The best 14-16 year-olds from across regional and rural Victoria tackled each other in Gippsland in the annual tournament held at Moe, Morwell and Traralgon. Walking away from the event, I was blown away by the quality of the competitors, not just in terms of skill development, but in terms of game smarts and decision making.

Put it down to coaching, natural development or other factors, the women’s game is growing, fast. Having watched the inaugural TAC Cup Girls competition in 2017, you had your absolute standouts like Chloe Molloy and Monique Conti tearing it up for Calder Cannons, and everyone had been talking about Isabel Huntington for years. Then there were the next group of talented players that made their way onto AFL Women’s lists such as Maddy Guerin, Sarah Dargan, Iilish Ross, Bridie Kennedy and Georgia Gee, plus others.

Fast forward 12 months, and attending the TAC Cup Girls competition in 2018, I attended 26 matches in the nine round season, and instead of having two or three unbelievable players, that had grown into double figures – that is, of players who could seriously impact at senior level almost immediately. Geelong Falcons duo Nina Morrison and Olivia Purcell were outstanding against their peers, and had no troubles finding the ball at higher levels. Mikala Cann is a perfect example of how players from other sports can adapt in such a short amount of time, while Emerson Woods joined Cann as a premiership player at senior level.

Even at the AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships, having witnessed all the games on the Gold Coast, you saw those players who had starred at TAC Cup Girls level, go up to face the best players from across the country. Talents like Alyce Parker, McKenzie Dowrick, Nikki Gore, Nat Grider, and Chloe and Libby Haines showed why they had been held in such high regard in their respective states. All of the above earned invites to the National Draft Combine.

But what was just as pleasing at those championships, was the development of the bottom-age players who shone through. It is hard to believe the likes of Georgia Patrikios, Gabby Newton, Lucy McEvoy, Lily Postlethwaite, Montana McKinnon, Mia King and Mikayla Bowen should all be running around on the Gold Coast for their respective states again next year. Remarkably, the 2020 draft crop already has names that are worthy of representing their state, as Abbey Dowrick, Abbie Ballard, Netty Garlo and Zimmorlei Farquharson were among those double bottom-agers who still matched it with more experienced players. Add in the likes of Ellie McKenzie, Isabelle Pritchard, Renee Saulitis and Tyanna Smith who were all impressive for the Victorian Under 16s outfits, and the foundations for the future are certainly there. An extra element will be the possible father-daughter selections, with Abbie McKay (Carlton) being the first possible case study this year, while Tarni Brown (Collingwood) and Alice Burke (St Kilda) loom as two more.

While we will go into more detail about the V/Line Cup recap next week, the overall standard of the competition was arguably equal to or even better than the 2017 TAC Cup competition. Or in other words, the players are two to three years more advanced than their predecessors. In the Geelong Falcons game against Bendigo Pioneers, there were two players that were worth highlighting even early on in the game. In one instance, a player was against two opponents just inside 50 and the easiest option would have been to bring the ball out and cause a forward stoppage. Instead, she tapped the ball in front of her, not taking possession, but maintaining speed, and kept dribbling it ahead of her pursuing opponents, then without even taking possession, managed to kick it off the ground into the goal square, where a teammate soccered it through.

The second example was even better, and exemplified the game sense that players have developed over time. A player had the ball tight against the boundary line under pressure not far from the behind post. In year’s gone by, regardless of competition, most young players, especially at the age where goals are usually the only statistical measure you can brag about to your mates on the league website, would blaze away and go for the miracle snap. With so many opposition players inside 50, it would have been the easy option, and no-one would have blamed her for doing so. Instead, she calmly assessed her options and spotted a teammate amongst the chaos about 25m out, sending a nice kick to her advantage, setting up an easy shot on goal. Without being their live, you do not see these things, but it is little moments like that, which make all the difference.

Another example, just to show it was not just one game, was on the second day when a Western Bulldogs Next Generation Academy (GWV Rebels region) player won the ball at half-back. She won the ball in defence, had an opponent chasing her from a 45-degree angle to close her down, and backed her speed to take her on and get around her. She did just that, but looking ahead, the opposition had blocked up the easiest option along the wing. She would have to kick long to a contest, probably outnumbered. Instead she briefly glanced inside and in one of the toughest kicks to do, managed to hit that kick around her body to the defensive 50 where a teammate marked, and not only was it an effective kick, but it opened up the corridor, and the game, with the opponents already set in running towards the wing.

Aside from the few examples, there was more contested marking, more protecting of ball drops and ground balls, more fend-offs, more deft taps to teammates. Areas in which players generally do not always think of as first options. But the past week, it was happening more and more. There is no doubt there has been some serious critics of women’s football, and no doubt that will continue, but if you can stop and look hard enough, you do not have to look too far to see the game is blossoming, and I for one, am excited for what 2019 and beyond holds.

Prespakis, Morrison look to future after sharing TAC Cup Girls Best and Fairest

WHEREVER one of Madison Prespakis and Nina Morrison goes, the other seems to follow, with the duo backing up their AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships Most Valuable Player (MVP) award by being crowned dual winners of the TAC Cup Girls Best and Fairest.

Prespakis has long been touted as one of the best Under-18 female footballers while Morrison has had an outstanding 2018 season. This has allowed the duo to develop a strong friendship, despite being fierce competitors on the field. They played alongside in each other on a rare occasion in Adelaide on Friday night, and Prespakis admits that it would be nice to do it again. Although the Cannons captain was proud to take out the awards, she couldn’t think of a better person to do it alongside than Morrison.

“Coming off the winner of the carnival with Nina across Australia was obviously a very big honour and something you’ve sort of got to wrap your head around,” she said. “Those little wins, you’ve got to be proud of yourself at the end of the day and to do it with Nina, I couldn’t think of another person more deserving of Nina. “To come in tonight and to take it out with Nina once again was a very big honour and hopefully in the future we can play alongside each other. “I’m just excited to see where Nina goes and I’m very proud of the way she’s gone about it.”

There is a chance that Morrison could end up in her hometown, Geelong, next year with the new expansion team coming into the AFL Women’s competition. The Falcons premiership player is excited about this prospect.

“It’s obviously really exciting that an expansion club is coming in,” she said. “It’s a good opportunity for the AFLW to build and talent to expand so it’ll be exciting if I get to play down there. “I’m just looking forward to playing next year and just see what happens but yeah, it’ll be pretty exciting.”

Prespakis on the other hand is still keeping her options open in terms of what AFL Women’s club she will nominate for.

“I suppose obviously it plays on your mind a little bit when people ask you where you want to go and stuff,” the Vic Metro representative said. “I’ve sort of kept it between me and my family and one of the ladies looking after me. “Obviously, nominations do open soon and that’s when those conversations sort of come into play.”

Morrison is honoured to not only have drawn comparisons with Prespakis, but to win some prestigious awards alongside her too.

“Maddy’s obviously a very good player,” she said. “She has been all year and years past as well so I guess to be compared to her is like a big honour. “I really respect her as a player on the field and off the field, she’s a great person as well. “I’m privileged to get these awards but I think it’s just sort of an added bonus that comes with the team success.”

The talented duo have both tried their hand in the Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s competition this year and have enjoyed matching it up against some of the finest AFL Women’s players. Prespakis noted the faster pace of the game compared to TAC Cup Girls, and experienced more running in a Melbourne University jumper compared to a Calder Cannons one.

“For me, I played against NT in my first game and I thought they were amazing, they were so fit and I ran almost two k’s (kilometres) more than what I would run in a Youth Girls game so for me, the running and the speed of the game was really high,” she said.

At the Cats, Morrison identified the increased physicality of the competition as the biggest difference compared to playing in the TAC Cup Girls competition.

“I think probably the biggest difference is probably the step up in physicality,” the Falcons midfielder said. “Obviously, you’ve got a lot of bigger bodies running around so it’s always going to be a bit more physical so I think the skill level can correlate a little bit. “There’s probably a bit more depth in the VFLW and you’ve got some really quality AFLW players playing in there so it’s a great opportunity to test yourself against that next level up.”

Morrison has admired AFL Women’s players such as Daisy Pearce and Emma Kearney while Prespakis has modelled her game around Kearney, Ellie Blackburn and Karen Paxman. These players have played a huge part in AFL Women’s and Prespakis says the up and coming talent will continue to make the competition a hugely successful one.

“They’re definitely players to watch but you know, upcoming players such as Nina is another one to watch so the future’s looking bright for AFLW and it’s only just getting better,” she said.

2018 AFL Women’s Under 18 All Australians – Profiled

IT has been a stellar year of Under-18 female football across the country and it showed on Friday night when the best of the best went head-to-head at the Adelaide Oval. From the Victoria vs. All Stars clash, the initial All Australian squad of 48 was reduced to a team of 24. We describe the attributes of each player which led them to being an All Australian.

 

BACK LINE:

Serene Watson – Queensland

A member of the Gold Coast Suns Academy, Watson is an impressive player who is composed under pressure. She has strong hands in the contest and can find the ball in space. Despite not being the biggest-bodied player, Watson is able to excite with her run and carry across the defensive 50, where she was able to get her Queensland side out of trouble many times during the AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships.

Lucy Cripps – Vic Country

One of the most consistent players for the Dandenong Stingrays in the TAC Cup Girls competition, Lucy Cripps rarely missed a beat during the season. She continued her good form into the Under 18 Championships, often playing a good lock-down role on some of the star forwards from the other states. She could run the ball out of defence in a flash and was pivotal in Vic Country’s success during the tournament.

Natalie Grider – Queensland

The Queensland captain and Most Valuable Player (MVP) was very unlikely to miss the final cut of the All Australian squad after a sensational Under 18 Championships. Grider had strong hands in defence and her endurance was impressive as she was able to move up and down the ground with ease. Grider’s tackling is also a feature in her game, as it often saved crucial forward thrusts from opposition teams.

 

HALF BACKS:

Jordyn Allen – Vic Country

One of the best on-field leaders, Allen never disappointed during the TAC Cup Girls competition. She was an intercept marking machine, creating a wall of her own across half-back multiple times. She continued to do this in the AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships, and complemented her marking with great run and carry and tackling. Allen is also a versatile player who can head into the midfield when required, where she able to have the same damaging influence.

McKenzie Dowrick – Western Australia

Dowrick is one of the most talented West Australian (WA) Under 18 players and is no stranger to making the All Australian team. A member of the AFL Women’s Academy, Dowrick has been able to show what she has learnt from the academy with slick skills and smart ball-use. She is a clever left-footer who can kick precisely to hit any target, and like Allen, can make an impact in any position. Dowrick’s footy smarts are elite as she is able to read the play and execute the one percenters to get the ball forward for her side.

Sabreena Duffy – Western Australia

Like Grider, Sabreena Duffy was unlikely to miss the final All Australian cut due to her great performance as WA captain during the AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships. She was named WA’s MVP of the tournament due to being a rock in defence. Duffy’s hands were solid as she was able to mark the ball well and give off quick handballs to running teammates, opening up the game for her side. She was one that her team relied on, as she would often kick the ball out of full-back and steady the ship for her side with her precise kicking. This is Duffy’s fifth All Australian jumper in what has been an amazing career for her in Under 18s football.

 

CENTRE LINE:

Georgia Patrikios – Vic Metro

Another player who can make an impact in any position, the All Australian selectors could have put Patrikios in any position on the field. During her time at the Calder Cannons, Patrikios played mostly in the forward line and creates excitement when combining her great run and carry with her elite agility. During the AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships, she often floated back into defence where she was able to use her quick hands and accurate kicking to get the ball forward for Metro. The AFL Women’s Academy member arguably does her best work on the wing though and the selectors have recognised that. This is due to her outside speed and long kicks creating forward momentum for her team.

Madison Prespakis – Vic Metro

What a year it has been for Madison Prespakis. She was awarded the Calder Cannons’ captaincy, won the Best and Fairest for her club, was named MVP for Vic Metro in the AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships, as well as joint MVP of the tournament, and she now has an All Australian spot under her belt. It’s hard to fault Prespakis’ year as she has dominated across all competitions with her high footy IQ. Her kicks are booming, her hands are clean and swift and her tackling is ferocious. She is also an accurate kick for goal, and often made an impact up forward both for the Cannons and Vic Metro. In her last Under 18 game, she racked up 21 disposals, five clearances and four inside 50s to cap off an unbelievable year. She was also the joint TAC Cup Girls best and fairest.

Nina Morrison – Vic Country

Nina Morrison can be talked about on the same level as Prespakis, as she too was the joint MVP of the AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships and was named as the MVP of Vic Country. Morrison has made the wing her own during the TAC Cup Girls season, providing blistering speed and aggressive tackling to stop any player in their tracks. Her football smarts allowed her to use quick hands and long kicks to get the ball forward for her side. She is an exciting player to watch and is one of the most promising draft prospects this year. She was also the joint TAC Cup Girls best and fairest.

 

HALF FORWARDS:

Sophie Van De Heuvel – Vic Country

A cricketer, an AFL Women’s Academy member, a Vic Country representative and now an All Australian – Sophie Van De Heuvel’s year has been a solid one. Van De Heuvel played a great role up forward for the Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels this season, taking some strong marks and kicking six goals from seven games. Her role was more dynamic in the Under 18 Championships as she was able to rack up plenty of the football as well as get the goals on the board. She was named in the best in all three matches on the Gold Coast, highlighting her consistency in the ‘Big V’.

Gabrielle Newton – Vic Metro

She is only 17, but Gabrielle Newton is already tearing the TAC Cup Girls competition to shreds. Newton is a versatile player who does her best work in the midfield, but finds herself up forward on plenty of occasions. She has one of the cleanest sets of hands in the TAC Cup Girls competition and when she’s on, she is one of the most influential players as she can turn the game on its head. She was one of Vic Metro’s most consistent players across the Under 18 Championships as she consistently racked up high disposals and complemented this with goals, making her an exciting prospect next year.

Belle Dawes – Queensland

Dawes is an exciting forward who provides plenty of X-factor with the ball in hand. She applied sensational forward pressure during the AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships, highlighted by her strong tackling. She’s a player that loves to get amongst the goals and is a versatile mover inside 50. Dawes is a member of the AFL Women’s Academy as well as the Brisbane Lions Academy, and is eligible for the draft next year, meaning she will be able to go to Brisbane or the Gold Coast Suns if she elects to stay in Queensland. She also became a premiership player for Wilston Grange, playing a key role through the midfield.

 

FORWARDS:

Daisy Bateman – Vic Metro

If there’s a game with Daisy Bateman in it, you can almost be certain that she will kick a goal. She kicked 14 goals from seven games in the TAC Cup Girls season this year and five goals from four games in the AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships. She has also been kicking goals with Collingwood’s Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s team, showing that she has been able to match it up against the bigger bodies. Bateman is a great mark of the footy and is a great leading target. She can also crumb the footy off the back of the pack, sneaking in plenty of goals to make her one of the most dangerous draft-eligible forwards.

Lucy McEvoy – Vic Country

Lucy McEvoy played as a defender in the TAC Cup Girls competition, but led the way in goals during the AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships. The Geelong premiership captain ended up with nine goals from four games, including a five-goal haul to kick-start her Gold Coast tournament. McEvoy is known for her strong hands and smart kicking under pressure. She can also bring her teammates into the game with quick hands, making herself known as a great team player. At just 17 years-old, McEvoy captained the Falcons to a premiership this year and still has one more year to show what she is made of before she is eligible to be drafted.

Montana McKinnon – South Australia

A well-deserved addition in the side, McKinnon was extremely impressive during the AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships. She had arguably the best hands in the tournament, marking everything that came her way. McKinnon could make an impact at either end of the ground and also worked hard in the ruck when needed. She is a player with a high footy IQ, as her kicks and smooth hands are second to none. Her tackling pressure was also high throughout the tournament and as a result of all these attributes, she backed up her MVP award with an All Australian spot.

 

FOLLOWERS:

Lauren Bella – Queensland

It is no surprise to see Lauren Bella in the All Australian ruck position, as she carried the load in style for Queensland. She gave her midfielders prime use of the football with her clever taps and she also was able to rove her own ball, giving off quick hands to running teammates. Bella is a member of the AFL Women’s Academy and the Gold Coast Suns Academy. She also made the 2017 Under 18 AFL Women’s All Australian team, highlighting her consistency in the ruck position.

Alyce Parker – NSW/ACT

A proficient ball-winner and a bonafide star, it is hard to look past Alyce Parker when watching her play. She is an inside brute, as she is able to extract the ball out of tight contests and boot it out of trouble, opening up the ground for her teammates. She also provides great run and carry with the ball in hand and can float up forward to get some goals on the board too. She was named as NSW/ACT’s MVP after the AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships and backed up her All Australian appearance last year with another spot this year. Parker is also a member of the AFL Women’s Academy and she has most recently become a premiership player at her local club, Thurgoona. She was named best on ground in the Grand Final and kicked 18 goals from her six games.

Tyla Hanks – Vic Country

Hanks was the dominant player for the Gippsland Power this year, with the co-captain being named in the best in every game she played this year. A member of the AFL Women’s Academy and a 2017 All Australian, Hanks has now backed up her good form in the perfect way with another All Australian jumper. She is a class above with her clean hands and long kicks, which was a huge reason why the Power experienced plenty of success this season. Her tackling pressure is immense and she can also float up forward to put some scores on the board, showing how versatile she is.

 

INTERCHANGE:

Jacqueline Yorston – Queensland

Jacqueline Yorston impressed in the Under 18 Championships with her precise kicking and tackling pressure. Her hands were also clean on the inside and she was able to extract the ball out of tight contests and create space with her run and carry. She also can match it up with the bigger bodies, playing with Wilston Grange in the Queensland Women’s Australian Football League (QWAFL) and enjoying a premiership alongside fellow Queensland All Australian Belle Dawes.

Lily Postlethwaite – Queensland

Lily Postlethwaite could have also received the MVP award for Queensland at the end of the AFL Women’s Championships, as she was named as best-on-ground in each of the three matches at Gold Coast. Her run and carry in the midfield was exquisite as she was able to clear the ball out of congestion and break away from opponents. Her clean hands and accurate kicks were also a highlight of her game and were pivotal in Queensland’s success in the AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships. Postlethwaite is just 17 and a member of the AFL Women’s Academy, making her eligible for next year’s draft.

Olivia Purcell – Vic Country

The Geelong premiership player is a midfield star who knows how to continually rack up the possessions. She was one of the strongest tacklers in the TAC Cup Girls competition, running down opponents with ease and aggression. Her hands on the inside were elite and her kicks allows teammates to find space. Purcell is also a great clearance player and can get the ball out of trouble for her side. She has most recently won the Geelong Falcons’ top award, being named the Best and Fairest.

Eleanor Brown – Vic Metro

Rounding out the side is Sandringham’s Eleanor Brown, who has been a revelation for the Dragons this season. Brown’s run and carry in the midfield has been elite and her kicks were long and created plenty of space. Her quick hands made an impact on both the inside and the outside and she loved to use the space she had to run. Brown played mostly in the midfield during the TAC Cup Girls season but floated back to defence during the AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships, where she was still able to make an impact with her strong hands and precise kicking. She has already had a taste at a high level, playing VFLW with the Southern Saints in the TAC Cup Girls off-season.

Victoria claims 16-point win over All Stars in AFLW Under 18 State of Origin

VICTORIA has emerged triumphant from a low-scoring thriller against the All Stars in an AFL Women’s Under 18 State of Origin exhibition match. The top players from Vic Metro and Vic Country combined to form Victoria, while those who had stood out from the rest of the nation donned the All Stars jumpers in a clash at Adelaide Oval last night.

Victoria led all game, booting the opening goal of the match and then extending its lead to by 12 points at the main break. Much like the first term, both sides had one scoring shot, but Victoria’s was a major compared to the All Stars’ behind. The All Stars had the best chance to clinch a come-from-behind victory in the final term with four scoring shots, while Victoria had the two. When McKenzie Dowrick, who had been one of the most prominent All Stars players all game, nailed a major at the five and a half minute mark, her side drew within 11 points. Alexia Hamilton and Jaimi Tabb both had a couple of chances in the final term but registered behinds to reduce the deficit to nine points with a few minutes to play. A Nina Morrison goal in the dying minutes put the game to rest and guaranteed a Victorian win.

The Victorian onball brigade proved too strong in the midfield despite Tyla Hanks sitting out the match and the strong Alyce Parker also missing from the action. Kitara Farrar and Denby Taylor were the other two talents who sat out on the night from the original 24-player squads that were named. Victoria dominated the clearances despite a clear advantage in the ruck to Lauren Bella, who amassed 25 hitouts to Rene Caris‘ 12, however Caris won the points around the ground with a midfielder-like effort of 13 disposals and three tackles, displaying the two different types of ruck talent in action

Madison Prespakis starred on the night, racking up game-high disposals (21) and clearances (five), while also laying three tackles and having four inside 50s and two rebounds. Fellow AFL Women’s Under 18 Most Valuable Player (MVP), Nina Morrison was equally as effective, racking up 19 disposals, three marks, four clearances, five inside 50s, three tackles, two rebounds and that final quarter goal. Mikala Cann was again ferocious with a massive 14 tackles – six more than any other player on the field – to go with her 15 touches, two marks, two clearances and two inside 50s. Olivia Purcell (17 disposals, seven tackles and four clearances) and Katie Lynch (15 disposals, two rebounds and one goal) were impressive, while Abbie McKay worked hard with three clearances and three inside 50s from 11 disposals and four tackles. Sophie Van De Heuvel had nine touches and laid five tackles, while the standout bottom-ager was Calder Cannons’ Georgia Patrikios who shone with 17 disposals, three clearances, two inside 50s and two rebounds. Exciting forward, Daisy Bateman was the only multiple goal kicker on the ground, finishing with two majors from five disposals, two marks and two tackles.

For the All Stars, Dowrick was the top ball winner, amassing 18 disposals along with three marks, three clearances, three tackles, one goal and a team-high four rebounds. Her West Australian teammates were also prominent across the ground, with Matilda Sergeant (15 disposals and three marks), Mikayla Bowen (13 disposals, six tackles and two inside 50s) and Sabreena Duffy (12 disposals and two rebounds) among the All Stars’ best. Kate Bartlett also booted a goal from eight disposals, five marks and three tackles, while bottom-age prospects, Queenslander Lily Postlethwaite and Tasmanian, Mia King were also very impressive. Postlethwaite finished with 12 disposals, two marks, six tackles, and equal team-high three clearances, and three inside 50s, while King had 10 disposals, two clearances and laid six tackles as well.

VICTORIA 1.0 | 3.2 | 4.3 | 5.4 (34)
ALL STARS 0.1 | 1.2 | 1.3 | 2.6 (18)

GOALS:

Victoria: Daisy Bateman 2, Nina Morrison, Mikala Cann, Katie Lynch.
All Stars: McKenzie Dowrick, Kate Bartlett.

BEST:

Victoria: Madison Prespakis, Nina Morrison, Georgia Patrikios, Mikala Cann, Olivia Purcell, Sophie Van De Heuvel.
All Stars: McKenzie Dowrick, Mikayla Bowen, Matilda Sergeant, Lily Postlethwaite, Mia King, Kate Bartlett.

AFL Women’s Under 18 All Australian Team announced

MORE than one third of the 2018 AFL Women’s Under 18 All Australian side is still more than 12 months away from being drafted onto and AFL Women’s list. The 22-player team was announced at the conclusion of the State of Origin match last night, with Victoria making up more than half of the team, while Queensland’s unbelievable talent was rewarded with the most of any non-Victorian state.

Queensland’s six was one more than Vic Metro, while Vic Country had the most of any state side with seven All Australians. Western Australia (two), NSW-ACT (one) and South Australia (one) made up the remaining four places in the side. Of the All Australian side, defenders Lucy Cripps and Serene Watson, forwards Gabrielle Newton, Belle Dawes, Lucy McEvoy, Montana McKinnon, and midfielders Georgia Patrikios and Lily Postlethwaite are all bottom-agers and not eligible to be drafted until next year.

The midfield is star-studded with AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships’ Most Valuable Players (MVPs) Madison Prespakis, Nina Morrison and Alyce Parker making the side, while Western Australia’s Sabreena Duffy made the team alongside the versatile McKenzie Dowrick. South Australia’s MVP, McKinnon was named in the forward pocket and would no doubt share the ruck load with Queensland’s Lauren Bella. Natalie Grider (Queensland MVP) was named in the back pocket after a really consistent season, joined in the side by state teammate Jacqueline Yorston.

Others who made the side include AFL Women’s Academy members Jordyn Allen, Sophie Van De Heuvel, Tyla Hanks and Olivia Purcell. Daisy Bateman and Eleanor Brown are the other two players who have impressed not only at TAC Cup Girls level, but at Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s level as well for their respective sides, Collingwood and Southern Saints.

Straight into state; Madison Bennett’s incredible transition into football

JUST last year, Madison Bennett gave up a promising career in soccer and discovered her passion for Australian Rules football.

She saw a link for the South Australia Under 18 trials and tried out, having never played competitive football before. Not only had she never played competitive football before, but Bennett was not even aware that there was a women’s Australian Rules league. Since she found out, she has discovered a passion for a new sport that does not look like it will die down anytime soon.

“I didn’t realise there was a women’s league at all so as soon as I found out there was a women’s league, I knew footy was my passion and I went straight to it,” Bennett said. “I did love soccer, I played in the state team. “But I don’t know, as soon as I started playing footy, I just found that passion was a lot bigger because I’ve always had a passion for sport and football was a great environment. “It’s an uncommon sport for girls so I think the passion for it is huge and I like that.”

In her first year of playing football, Bennett was successful in making the South Australian and Central Allies Under 18 sides, and played her first football game in one of the most daunting environments imaginable.

“My first ever state game was pretty much my first game,” the 19 year-old said. “It was straight into it with a very wide talent so I’ve come a long way since then. “I knew it was a state team and that had a lot of competition and talent around me so I took that on board and I just did what I could.”

Bennett also plays for South Adelaide in the South Australia National Football League (SANFL) Women’s competition and Christies Beach in the South Australian Women’s Football League (SAWFL). While playing in these leagues, the 19 year-old believed she has improved and benefitted from the experience and advice from other players.

“I feel like playing SANFLW was a good opportunity because it’s that next step higher than local level,” Bennett said. “I really enjoyed playing against the older women and getting a lot of feedback from them and improving. “I think I improved in my kicking, like if you watch my first ever state game from a SANFLW game now, I think there’s a big improvement there so I got to learn off the girls and I’m really fortunate to get the opportunity to do it.”

Before, Bennett represented her state in soccer, having played since she was a teenager. She has been awarded a Player of the Tournament award before at a tournament in Sydney, but now has her sights set on achieving new heights in Australian Rules.

“As an individual, I would love to get drafted,” Bennett said. “Ever since I’ve started playing footy, it has been my goal. “I have looked up to the Adelaide Crows and seeing them and all the other teams, I’ve watched their games and it’d be an amazing feeling to represent one of those teams one day. “I’m not sure when that time will come but hopefully in my coming years, I’ll be able to play for one of those AFLW teams.”

In order to achieve this goal, Bennett has been keeping a close eye on some of the star players of the AFL Women’s competition.

Erin Phillips does stand out really for me,” the 19 year-old said. “Chelsea Randall, even though I don’t play her position, her aggression towards the ball has really driven me to have more aggression to tackle the player and to keep going. “Daisy Pearce, because she’s quite small and I’m really small, I look up to her and go if she can do it, I can do it too.”

WAWFL weekly wrap: Round 16

IN the last round of the Western Australian Women’s Football League (WAWFL), controversy ensued as the Peel Thunderbirds lost top spot on the ladder after a loss against the third-placed Swan Districts. The Sharks’ 129-point thrashing of South Fremantle meant that they were able to swoop right in and snatch top spot at the last minute.

 

2018 League

SUBIACO 11.16 (82)
PERTH ANGELS 0.2 (2)

GOALS:

Subiaco: M. Dowrick 4, S. Lewis 2, A. Renshaw, H. Miller, K. Rogers, T. Lake, T. Haynes.
Perth Angels: Nil.

It was a one-way street in this game, as the fourth-placed Subiaco took care of the seventh-placed Perth Angels. AFL Women’s Academy member, McKenzie Dowrick starred in this match, kicking four goals for the Titans on Saturday. She was complemented by two majors from Sara Lewis, which took her goal kicking tally to 17 goals from 16 games in what has been a consistent year from her. Fremantle AFLW players, Hayley Miller and Tiah Haynes also got on the board with singles. The win gave the Titans a percentage boost, jumping from 139.69 in Round 15 to 154.75 at the end of Round 16.

 

CLAREMONT 7.8 (50)
WEST PERTH 3.5 (23)

GOALS:

Claremont: L. Kenyon 2, C. Lewis, A. Hayward, I. Zadnik, C. Colegate, P. Laurie
West Perth: C. Metcalf 2, L. Pugh

In a fifth versus sixth clash, sixth was able to get over the line as Claremont convincingly defeated West Perth by 27 points. Lindsey Alana Kenyon booted two goals on the day, while Caitlin Lewis, Angel Hayward, Isabella Zadnik, Chloe Colegate and Parris Laurie all kicked singles. Western Australia Under-18 representatives, Matilda Sergeant and Sarah Garstone also featured in the win. They came up against fellow state representative, Jacinta Valentini, who was on the loser’s side. Chloe Metcalf was the shining light up forward for West Perth with two goals while Laura Pugh contributed with one. Metcalf’s two goals meant she finished third in the goal kicking tally for the home and away season and led the way in terms of West Perth players. She ended up kicking 26 goals from 14 games.

 

SOUTH FREMANTLE 0.0 | 0.0 | 0.0 | 0.1 (1)
EAST FREMANTLE 6.5 | 8.8 | 15.9 | 20.10 (130)

GOALS:

South Fremantle: Nil
East Fremantle: B. Smith 5, K. Tinson 4, S. Sparke 4, M. Caulfield 3, A. Atkins 2, R. Roux, T. Doumanis

East Fremantle ended its season on a massive high, defeating cellar-dwellers, South Fremantle by 129 points. Everything seemed to go right for the Sharks, as the top-of-the-table Peel Thunderbirds suffered a shock loss against Swan Districts while they piled on 130 points to give themselves a huge win and percentage boost to take top spot ahead of finals. Former Fremantle AFLW player and now Western Bulldogs player, Belinda Smith starred inside 50, kicking five goals on the day. She finished the season leading the goal kicking for the Sharks after booting through 25 goals in 15 games this season. Against South Fremantle, she was complemented inside 50 by fellow AFLW players, Melissa Caulfield (three goals) and Ashlee Atkins (two goals). Western Australia Under-18 representative, Roxanne Roux also pitched in with a major.

 

SWAN DISTRICTS 2.3 | 4.3 | 5.3 | 8.4 (52)
PEEL THUNDERBIRDS 3.1 | 3.2 | 4.3 | 4.3 (27)

GOALS:

Swan Districts: G. Houghton 3, E. McGuire 2, R. Williams , A. Sharp, E. Bonser
Peel Thunderbirds: K. Phillips 2, K. Bartlett 2

This was the biggest upset of the round as ladder-leaders, Peel Thunderbirds were defeated by third-placed Swan Districts, who played magnificently. The Swans were behind at quarter time but regained the lead by half-time, thanks to a two goals to one quarter. After that, they did not look back and put the foot down in the last term especially, kicking three goals and keeping the Thunderbirds scoreless to record a memorable 25-point win. Fremantle AFLW duo, Gemma Houghton and Emily McGuire did all the damage up forward, combining for five goals between them. Dockers teammate, Ashley Sharp also contributed to the scoring with one major. There was also no shortage of Western Australian Under 18 stars with Rikkiesha Carling, Mikayla Bowen, Taylor Pescud and Emma O’Driscoll all featuring in the win. They came up against fellow state representative, Kate Bartlett, who kicked two of her side’s four goals on the day. WAWFL leading goal kicker, Kira Phillips kicked the other two majors, bringing her season tally to a remarkable 78 goals from 16 games. Western Australia Under 18s captain, Sabreena Duffy and ruck, Sonia Dorizzi also featured in the loss.

 

2018 Reserves

Claremont’s 129-point thrashing of West Perth was headlined by a remarkable performance up forward from Amy Smeding. Smeding kicked 14 of her team’s 20 goals and ended up finishing second on the goal kicking tally for the season with 39 goals from 10 games. She finished just one goal short of leader, Narelle McIntyre with 40 goals from 13 games. At Fremantle Community Bank Oval, East Fremantle was able to get the job done over South Fremantle by 63 points. Kymberley Lavell and Katelyn Catalano each kicked three majors for the Sharks. In a close encounter, Subiaco just got over the line against the Perth Angels, winning by 15 points. Kaley Cornell and Vanessa Letts each kicked two goals for the Titans. In the final game of the round, Swan Districts recorded a comfortable win over East Perth. Shannon Matthews kicked two majors while Emily Stott, Tayah Reed, Renee Holwill, Elizabeth Tuohy and Mackenzie Huggins all contributed with singles.

 

2018 Rogers Cup

In the first match of the round, Claremont got a convincing victory over West Perth, winning by 73 points. An accurate 12.4 meant that the Tigers were hard to tame at Claremont Oval. At Fremantle Oval, second and third went head-to-head, and it was the third-placed East Fremantle who came out on top, defeating South Fremantle by a goal. Jenna Bantick kicked a major in the loss, but equaled the leading goal kicker with that major, taking her home and away tally to 24 goals from 14 games. East Fremantle’s Gabriella Radojkovich was the only multiple goal kicker for the game in a tight battle. Over at Grenville Reserve, accurate kicking kept the Perth Angels in the hunt against the eighth-placed Subiaco, kicking six straight goals for the match. However, the cellar-dwellers went down by 22 points in the end. Shakira and Madelyn Kickett each kicked two majors for the Angels. In Swan Districts’ match-up against East Perth, Western Australia Under-18 representative, Mikayla Hyde got on the board with a major in her side’s 29-point win. She was complemented by two goals from equal leading goal kicker, Aimee Hiscock. Hyde came up against fellow state representative, Tanisha Anderson, who continued her goal kicking streak with a major for East Perth in the loss. Anderson finished the season with 22 goals from 10 games.

Thirty-six invited to AFL Women’s Draft Combine

THE next wave of AFL Women’s talent will strut their stuff at Etihad Stadium in October after the 10 AFLW clubs selected the players for the AFL Women’s Draft Combine. Thirty-six players were selected from across Australia, with Victoria unsurprisingly having 22 invited – 12 from Vic Country and 10 from Vic Metro. Western Australia and Queensland both had three players picked to test, while New South Wales, South Australia and Tasmania all had two nominees. Australian Capital Territory’s Alexia Hamilton and Northern Territory’s Danielle Ponter were the sole nominees from their respective states.

Of the Victorian nominees, Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels had four invited – Rene Caris, Georgia Clarke, Sophie Van De Heuvel and Lauren Butler – ahead of Eastern Ranges, Oakleigh Chargers and Geelong Falcons who both had three. Of the other states, Tasmanian twins Chloe and Libby Haines will be at Etihad, as will South Australian duo, midfielder, Nikki Gore and forward Katelyn Rosenzweig. New South Wales’ duo Brianna McFarlane and Alyce Parker will represent their state, while Lauren Bella, Nat Grider and Jacqui Yorston will be there for Queensland. Western Australia’s trio of McKenzie Dowrick, Sabreena Duffy and Jasmin Stewart have also been invited. The only two over-age players invited are Caris and Stewart. Potential top picks Madison Prespakis, Nina Morrison and Tyla Hanks are also set to test at the combine.

The AFL Women’s Combine will be held at Etihad Stadium from October 2-3.

ACT: (1)

Alexia Hamilton (Belconnen Magpies)                           

NSW: (2)

Brianna McFarlane (Coolangatta)
Alyce Parker (Thurgoona)

NT: (1)

Danielle Ponter (St Mary’s)                                             

QLD: (3)

Lauren Bella (Bond University)
Nat Grider (University of QLD)
Jacqui Yorston (Wilston Grange)    

SA: (2) 

Nikki Gore (South Adelaide)
Katelyn Rosenzweig (Central District)       

TAS: (2)

Chloe Haines (Burnie)
Libby Haines (Burnie) 

VIC COUNTRY: (12)

Jordyn Allen (Dandenong Stingrays)
Lauren Butler (GWV Rebels)
Georgia Clarke (GWV Rebels)
Rene Caris (GWV Rebels)
Tyla Hanks (Gippsland Power)
Julia Harvey (Murray Bushrangers)
Courtney Jones (Dandenong Stingrays)
Nina Morrison (Geelong Falcons)
Olivia Purcell (Geelong Falcons)
Denby Taylor (Geelong Falcons)
Sophie Van De Heuvel (GWV Rebels)
Rebecca Webster (Murray Bushrangers)

VIC METRO: (10)

Daisy Bateman (Oakleigh Chargers)
Madeline Brancatisano (Northern Knights)
Eleanor Brown (Sandringham Dragons)
Mikala Cann (Eastern Ranges)
Katie Lynch (Oakleigh Chargers)
Abbie McKay (Sandringham Dragons)
Hannah McLaren (Oakleigh Chargers)
Madison Prespakis (Calder Cannons)
Charlotte Wilson (Eastern Ranges)
Emerson Woods (Eastern Ranges)  

WA: (3)

McKenzie Dowrick (Subiaco)
Sabreena Duffy (Peel Thunderbirds)
Jasmin Stewart (Claremont)