Category: TAC Cup Girls

Mounting a case: Shelley Heath hopes to follow in fellow Stingrays draftees’ footsteps

WHEN girls football returned to the Mornington Peninsula, Mount Martha’s Shelley Heath took up the love she had for the sport when she was a child. Since then, the running half-back/wing has been an important part of the Dandenong Stingrays line-up since coming into the team with its inception in the TAC Cup Girls last season.

“I started Auskick when I was about six and I stopped for a while,” Heath said. said. “Then I started back up in 2015 when the girls league down in Mornington started to come about which was really exciting.”

Heath said the social aspect of being a part of a football club, as well as the physicality on the field, were the key reasons she decided to forge a football career.

“I really love the tackling side of it all,” she said. “The physicality is one of the biggest things I enjoy and I just enjoy meeting new people and enjoy my teammates.”

Since joining the Stingrays, Heath said her game has come a long way thanks to the work by the coaches and staff at Dandenong.

“It’s (the Stingrays program is) really good,” she said. “I’ve been there for two years and I’ve just developed so much through that program, the coaches have been amazing. “The whole program has really helped me with my football.”

Her clear strength is her speed and endurance, which she said helps when she is running up and down a wing, mowing down opponents in strong tackles. She is still learning how to position herself around the field better, but is pleased with how she has developed thus far.

Having been working hard with Southern Saints on the track in the Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s competition, Heath spoke of her desire to play seniors, a dream that will come true tomorrow at Skybus Stadium when the Saints face the unbeaten Northern Territory Thunder. Her dream is clear – getting drafted into the AFLW at some stage.

“The St Kilda VFL (Southern Saints) have picked me up and I’ve been training with them so hopefully I’m on the verge of getting a game with them which should be good,” she said. “After that if not getting drafted, just keep with St Kilda and hopefully get drafted there in 2020.”

The recent top 10 draftees Jacob Weitering and Hunter Clark, as well as Tom De Koning – who went at pick 30 last year – both hail from Heath’s junior club, affectionately known as the ‘Mounties’. She said the drafting of players she knew gave her inspiration for her own football journey.

“It’s kind of pushed me along thinking that I have a chance to get drafted this year which is exciting,” she said.

In fact, her favourite football memory comes from her time at the Mounties, kicking a goal in the grand final in 2017. Outside of football she is keen to become a physiotherapist and said the balance between football and school has been a challenge, but one she is willing to take up.

“Yeah Year 12 is pretty stressful, pretty big,” she said. “Especially with all the football around it. “But I’m keeping on top of things which is good.”

Heath said the stronger bodies at Southern Saints training had helped her confidence and she was hoping to put her best foot forward for Vic Country on the Gold Coast in a couple of weeks.

“It’s really good (training with the Saints),” she said. “I’ve learnt a heap through training and the girls are so much more confident with everything and the bigger bodies have really helped out my footy as well. “I just want to make the (Vic Country) team and just play as best as I can to get looked at, and that’s probably the biggest thing.”

Committed Dunn has AFLW in her sights

GIPPSLAND Power co-captain, Amy Dunn balances Year 12, works three times a week, plays footy and does her own training to improve her game. This is on top of long hours of travelling and homework, but Dunn reiterates that balancing all these things is something she has to do in order to pursue her football career further.

Dunn came into the Gippsland program as a timid young player, but has ended the program as the Power’s 2018 co-captain. She admits that she has come a long way since walking through the doors at the Power.

“I didn’t really know what it (Gippsland Power) was,” the Power ruck said. “I just enjoyed my footy and I thought maybe I could try out there. “I didn’t know what to expect. “I guess I just tried my hardest and had no expectations for myself and just watched my development continue.”

Coming into the program, Dunn had already been playing Aussie Rules for a while, but was keen to develop her skills further. She says that once she got to the Power, she didn’t look back.

“So I started (playing footy) when I was seven in Auskick,” the Gippsland co-captain said. “I started pretty young and played with the boys through until U10s, 12s, 14s and then I played for the Youth Girls at my local club. “I then found the Power and watched them develop and just stayed with Power since then.”

Once she got to know the older players in the program, Dunn desired to follow in their footsteps. Seeing them play and train made her want to improve as a footballer.

“I was probably the quietest girl there and I kind of looked up to them,” the 17 year-old said. “I aspired to be like them so that’s what drove me to be better.”

In her final year of the program, Dunn still applies that same determination to her football, putting in extra runs to try and better her endurance. Getting up in the morning and going for a run can often be a struggle for anyone, but for Dunn, it’s something she has fitted into her busy routine to fulfill her aspiration to become an AFLW player.

She is also committed to her studies, admitting that she stays behind on a Friday afternoon at school to catch up on homework. On top of that, instead of having a lazy Sunday, Dunn gets up early to do some homework before she heads off to work.

For now, she earns an income by working at her local IGA, with the self-proclaimed “checkout chick” admitting she would like to make money and enjoy her future by doing two things that she has her sights set on.

“Something I want to do in my future is to study at university and play AFLW or VFLW in Melbourne,” Dunn said. “I still want to continue playing footy.”

Even though her time at the Power is over, Dunn is currently training with Vic Country ahead of the AFL Women’s National Under 18 Championships. She featured in the side’s first game of the tournament against Vic Metro, and kicked a blinder of a goal from the boundary line, proving that hard work does indeed pay off.

Season reviews: TAC Cup Girls – Western Jets

THE Western Jets came into this season without a TAC Cup Girls win and with a full focus of development. Getting a win, especially against one of the top sides in the Eastern Ranges, is a bonus for the Jets this season, as their players have developed remarkably from just nine games.

Position: 11th
Win-loss: 1-8
Percentage: 39%

Results:

R1: lost to Bendigo Pioneers by 37 points
R2: lost to Gippsland Power by 15 points
R3: lost to Calder Cannons by 12 points
R4: lost to Murray Bushrangers by 25 points
R5: defeated Eastern Ranges by 5 points
R6: lost to Dandenong Stingrays by 54 points
R7: lost to Sandringham Dragons by 50 points
R8: lost to Oakleigh Chargers by 15 points
R9: lost to Geelong Falcons by 55 points

Key players:

Elisabeth Georgostathis: Georgostathis was the star of the Jets midfield, with her impressive acceleration and magnificent ball-use creating plenty of excitement. Her kicks too were precise and generated forward movement. She was a fantastic all-round player for the Jets this season, summed up by her aggressive tackling. It seemed as if Georgostathis had the ball on a string at times during the season, as she had an innate ability to find and win the footy at the heart of the contest. She will now have the opportunity to continue to display her impressive style of football at the AFL Women’s National Under 18 Championships, as she is in the star-studded Vic Metro line-up. Georgostathis’ consistency throughout the season was highlighted by her earning a place in the midfield in the AFL Draft Central TAC Cup Girls Team of the Year.

Isabelle Pritchard: Pritchard was a star defender throughout the year. She competed well in one-on-one battles and her strong marking was an asset of her game. Pritchard always went in hard for the football and her tackling stopped opponents in their tracks. She was able to stand up in tough contests, showing her ability to win the hard ball. Pritchard got to stand up as captain of the Vic Metro U16 side in the National Championships, which was credit to a fantastic season in defence.  

Caitlin Greiser: Greiser provided plenty of highlights throughout the season. She was vital in her side’s first win, as she kicked four goals to take her tally to seven goals from two games. She ended up with a season total of 10 goals from eight games, demonstrating her ability to position herself well in one-on-one contests and take strong marks. Greiser’s strong hands were needed all over the ground and she was able to play roles in defence to steady the ship for the Jets, demonstrating her versatility in the Jets line-up. She now has the opportunity to line up for Melbourne University in the VFLW, after being named in the Mugars’ squads at the start of the year.

Isabella Grant: A versatile player who could make an impact in any position, Grant was a vital player for the Jets this season. Her best work was done at half-forward as she would take strong marks and move the ball well in the forward line to create scoring opportunities for her side. She was also able to move the ball well through the midfield with her long kicks and clean hands, giving her teammates prime opportunities to penetrate the ball forward. Her positioning was also a highlight of her game as she could outmuscle opponents with ease, only having eyes for the football. Grant was rewarded for a great season with a place in Vic Metro’s U18 squad in the National Championships.

Cleo Saxon-Jones: Saxon-Jones was fantastic in the ruck and rotating forward for the Jets this season. She not only gave her midfielders opportunity to run onto the ball but she would do it herself, showing her hunger to win the footy. She could often back up a solid stint in the ruck with a stint at half-forward, where she would use her stature to outmuscle opponents and take strong marks. Her kicking throughout the season was outstanding, as they were often precise and long, giving her teammates the chance to surge forward. Saxon-Jones contributed six goals for the season and will be hoping to contribute some more in this year’s AFL Women’s National Under 18 Championships.

Season summary:

Although it was another tough season for the Jets, they had a variety of players named in the best throughout the season. A solid season for the likes of Payton-Ani Ozols, Leah Spargo and Sharnie Whiting has ensured that the Jets have a bright future ahead of them. Most of their top players are young so they have time to build their skills in the program and hopefully deliver the team a few more wins in the next couple of years to reward them for their hard work and commitment to winning the footy.

Brancatisano relishes Knights’ captaincy role

NORTHERN Knights captain, Maddy Brancatisano enjoyed her leadership role throughout the TAC Cup Girls season, as she led her side to the inaugural TAC Cup Girls Grand Final.

Her sister, Lily captained the Knights last year and now plays for Geelong in the Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s competition. But despite the family name, Brancatisano did not expect to be handed the captaincy this year.

“I just did not think about it (being captain), it didn’t even come to my mind,” she said. “Then I got asked, I was so flattered. “It was awesome to lead those girls.”

The Knights midfielder ultimately led her side to a near perfect record, winning against every team except the Geelong Falcons. Leading a young side, the 18 year-old was initially focused on their development, but admits that she was able to develop her leadership as well.

“Being able to lead everyone and just direct them around, it helps also my confidence too,” Brancatisano said.

This certainly showed on the field, as the 18 year-old led by example with her clean hands, fierce tackling and elite ball-use. Not only did she benefit from the captaincy, but she also benefited from bonding with her teammates. Brancatisano says there was rarely a moment that she didn’t enjoy in their company. 

“I don’t think there was a session where we didn’t have fun or enjoy it,” the Knights midfielder said. “We got so close, it was like family.”

She believes that her captaincy role enabled her to showcase her own skills, which was well-recognised throughout the season. Brancatisano was named in the best four times and was rewarded with a place in the Vic Metro squad for the National AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships. Amidst her TAC Cup journey, the 18 year-old admits that playing for Vic Metro never really crossed her mind.

“You don’t really think about it (playing Nationals) in TAC Cup, it’s more just about the winning and developing,” Brancatisano said.  “When I got the invitation, I was rapt.”

With nationals football now on her busy plate, Brancatisano is prioritising Aussie Rules over her second love, basketball. But despite being in Year 12 this year, the Knights captain was reluctant to give up the sport she has been playing since she was a child.

“I’ve been doing it (basketball) my whole life and I’ve just grown up around it,” Brancatisano said. “I’ve never really been selected for many state things or anything so I’ve just been enjoying it and playing because I love it. “But at the moment, playing SEABL (South East Australian Basketball League), it’s such a high level so I’m rapt to be able to do that, even if I sit on the bench and play a few minutes. “Not sure if I’ll do it next year with football, but I’ll just see where that goes.”

She has a lot of football ahead of her, as she is training with Carlton’s Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s side and is about to hop on a plane to the Gold Coast to play for Vic Metro.

Even though she loves her sport, Brancatisano still has her sights set on university next year, but would love to continue to pursue her bright football career.

Season reviews: TAC Cup Girls – Sandringham Dragons

THE Sandringham Dragons nearly earned themselves a grand final berth with a strong run home. They won six straight games to end their season on a high note, with half of those wins being more than 50 points. The Dragons only lost to the two teams above them on the ladder, demonstrating their ability to put away weaker sides and show their strength in the competition.

Position: 3rd
Win-loss: 7-2
Percentage: 208%

Results:

R1: lost to Geelong Falcons by 20 points
R2: defeated Oakleigh Chargers by 33 points
R3: lost to Northern Knights by 30 points
R4: defeated Dandenong Stingrays by 15 points
R5: defeated Calder Cannons by 55 points
R6: defeated Murray Bushrangers by 15 points
R7: defeated Western Jets by 50 points
R8: defeated Bendigo Pioneers by 71 points
R9: defeated Gippsland Power by 24 points

Key players:

Eleanor Brown: Brown was a prolific ball-user throughout the season, with her clean hands and long kicks allowing swift ball movement. She was a ball magnet in the midfield and could cover ground really well to back up her work in key areas of the ground. Her strong hands were also key in the season, as she took many intercept marks to help penetrate the ball forward for her teammates. Brown has had a busy off-season already, playing a game for both Vic Metro and the Southern Saints in the VFLW, excelling in both matches.

Bella Eddey: Eddey was a great user of the footy in the forward line, often getting on the end of a lot of goals throughout the season. She worked hard in and under the contests to win the footy and also presented well at forward entries to ensure that she could contribute to the Dragons’ fierce attacking. Has a huge tank and can run up and down the ground with the same intensity and effort throughout the game. Eddey was rewarded for her six goals from seven games in the TAC Cup Girls season with a spot in the Vic Metro U16 side in the AFL Women’s National Under 16 Championships.

Jemma Owen: Owen was a great leader for the Dragons and seemed to improve as the season went on. She played every game for Sandringham and was versatile in her approach to winning the football. Traditionally an inside midfielder, Owen always went in hard for the footy and tackled strongly. But she could also work up the ground and make an impact up forward, as she kicked six goals for the season. A hard runner, Owen always did her best to ensure she was first at the footy, which put immense pressure on the opposition. The Dragons captain has already had the opportunity to show off her skills on the big stage, as she lined up for Vic Metro at GMHBA Stadium in Series One of the AFL Women’s National Under 18 Championships.

Abbie McKay: A midfielder that loved to take the game on, McKay was a vital member in the Dragons’ squad. She had the ability to move the ball swiftly through the corridor, which was testament to her clean hands and precise kicking. Had the ability to float into defence where she would use those same attributes as well as strong hands to mop up the footy well for Sandringham. McKay often demonstrated good power to burst out of a stoppage and her work in close was an asset of her game. She was able to display her signature style of football in Vic Metro’s win over Vic Country at GMHBA Stadium, and is training with Carlton’s VFLW side in a bid to play with the club that her father played for.

Eliza McNamara: An exciting young midfielder that showed class and skill on the field. McNamara showed impressive endurance and great ball movement throughout the season, and was a key cog in the Sandringham midfield. She often provided excellently delivered kicks to her teammates and her hands in close were exceptional. It was difficult to identify that McNamara was a bottom-ager as her ball-use and ability to fight hard for the footy against a bigger body displayed extreme maturity on her behalf. Testament to this, she got to pull on the big ‘V’ and run out with Vic Metro in the AFL Women’s National Under 16 Championships.

Holly Bate: Bate was the TAC Cup Girls leading goal kicker of the season, booting through 18 goals from nine games. She particularly hit her straps inside 50 towards the end of the season, where she backed up a five goal performance with a seven goal performance in two consecutive weeks. Bate provided a good target up forward for the Dragons, as she often positioned herself well against an opponent or did enough to put pressure on them to turn the ball over. Her season was capped off with a spot in the Vic Metro side in the AFL Women’s National Under 18 Championships.

Alice Burke: Playing in defence, the Vic Metro Under 16s representative became one of the shining lights throughout a positive season, making the switch from the round ball game to seem natural in the back half. She rebounded well and pushed up the ground when required, named among the best on a number of occasions. One of a number of Under 16s that will continue to develop at the club holding out hope for sustained success.

Season summary:

The Dragons had a strong season where they were able to record some big winning margins and some narrow losing ones. With a long list of players, the Dragons had plenty of options to choose from each week and used young players like Winnie Laing, Sarah Hartwig and Alice Burke to create some excitement in their line-up. With a strong 2018 season, they are right in the mix for a top two spot next year.

Season reviews: TAC Cup Girls – Oakleigh Chargers

THE Oakleigh Chargers often had to change their side throughout the season, due to school commitments, injuries and rotation. But this enabled plenty of players to get a chance to experience football at TAC Cup Girls level. Despite only three wins for the season, two were by massive margins and the other was a tough slog near the end of the season.

Position: 9th
Win-loss: 3-6
Percentage: 77%

Results:

R1: defeated Gippsland Power by 67 points
R2: lost to Sandringham Dragons by 33 points
R3: lost to Eastern Ranges by 28 points
R4: lost to Geelong Falcons by 70 points
R5: lost to Northern Knights by 51 points
R6: defeated Bendigo Pioneers by 67 points
R7: lost to Dandenong Stingrays by 28 points
R8: defeated Western Jets by 15 points
R9: lost to Greater Western Victoria Rebels by 25 points

Key players:

Hannah McLaren: The Oakleigh captain led by example throughout the season with aggressive tackling, clean hands and good ball-use in general. McLaren is also a strong marker of the footy, as she could intercept and control the play for her side. She could play anywhere throughout the season, often playing behind the ball to counteract opposition scoring. Her best work was arguably done in the midfield, where she would burrow into contests and also provide good run on the outside to assist her teammates. She is currently playing for Vic Metro in the AFL Women’s U18 National Championships.

Gemma Lagioia: Lagioia often worked in tandem with McLaren to put pressure on the opposition midfield, tackling hard and winning the ground balls. She demonstrated a high footy IQ throughout the season, reading the play well and taking some nice intercept marks. Her long kick was crucial, as it gave her teammates chances to create scoring opportunities. Lagioia showed consistent hunger for the footy, demonstrated by her ability to go hard at the footy and win it cleanly.

Daisy Bateman: Bateman was an exciting forward who came equal second in the TAC Cup Girls goal kicking tally. She had the highest average of the season, averaging two goals per game to register 14 goals from seven games. The highlight of her season was when she kicked five majors against the Bendigo Pioneers, being her dominant self inside 50. Bateman often demonstrated strong hands and her positioning inside 50 was outstanding. Her forward pressure was an asset of her game as was her ball movement. She booted a goal in Vic Metro’s first game of the AFL Women’s National Championships, getting her Nationals campaign off to a good start.

Bridie Winbanks: Was not only a standout ruck for the Chargers, but was also a standout in the competition. Winbanks did well aerially to win the ball and also fought hard for the ground ball, showing constant fight to win the footy. She was able to tackle hard and used her long kick to get her teammates out of trouble. She has already had an opportunity to feature in Essendon’s VFLW side, competing hard in the ruck in new colours. Winbanks also made the AFL Draft Central Team of the Year, which was reward for a consistent year in the ruck.

Katie Lynch: Lynch was a game-changer for the Chargers when she had the opportunity to play, often dominating through the midfield. Her strong hands were a huge asset in her game, as she was able to intercept or mark overhead which helped to open up play for her teammates. Her long kick can clear the ball out of congestion while her tackling is fierce and can give opposition midfields headaches. Lynch had a blistering start to the AFL Women’s National Under 18 Championships, displaying her eite ball use and high footy IQ which we became so accustomed to seeing during the season.

Season summary:

A three-win season would not dishearten the Chargers, as they got the opportunity to unveil some wonderful young talent that will hold them in good stead for years to come. With just two of its six losses being over 50 points, it shows that Oakleigh have been able to keep in the contest for the majority of its games. With players like Alana Porter, Nicola Xenos and Alice O’Loughlin playing exciting footy and the side having a solid connection with Collingwood, the Chargers have a bright future ahead of them.

Scouting notes: National AFLW Under 18s Championships

VIC Metro made it two from two when it backed up its U16s victory with a win against Vic Country. It was a tight and heated battle throughout, but Metro prevailed thanks to some magic from captain, Maddy PrespakisPeter Williams (Country) and Julia Montesano (Metro) were there to witness the action, and took notes on the players, based on their opinions.

 

Vic Country: 

#1 Shelley Heath

The speedster showed off her trademark running game along the wing and half-back, often picking up the loose ball, taking the game on and booting long inside 50. She particularly came alive in the fourth quarter with a couple of long kicks after runs, but the Metro defence was up to the task, with Georgia Macpherson intercepting a good kick deep.

#2 Julia Harvey

Looked busy early and worked hard across the game, noticeable in bright green boots. She tried to have a shot on goal inside 50 in the first term but was run down and caught holding the ball. Just found space inside 50 and had a shot which dropped short in the second term, and a snap which missed. While she did not kick a goal, she was having shots on goal and just buzzing around. She laid a number of good tackles as well, applying good defensive pressure, before copping a knock in the final term on the wing.

#3 Kodi Jacques

Went in very hard early, hitting the packs, and copped a knock but got up. Continued to battle hard on the inside.

#5 Emily Haeusler

Won a hard ball at half-back in the second term and nullified the contest by forcing a throw-in. She then laid a great run-down tackle on Marnie Jarvis in the third term to win a free inside defensive 50.

#6 Tyla Hanks

Played to expectations and put in a four quarter effort. She was often played down forward as others were tried in the midfield roles, but led up the ground and impacted at half-forward. Moved onto the wing and had a number of touches and worked hard, winning the ball on a wing and then somehow receiving it back inside 50. Had a great kick to Julia Harvey in the second term inside 50, and took a good contested mark under pressure in the third term and delivered it lace out to a leading Rebecca Webster inside 50. Her one set shot from 45 metres missed to the right.

#7 Olivia Purcell

By the end of the game she was one of Country’s highest possession winners with Jordyn Allen. Worked really hard on the inside and continually copped a few hard knocks burrowing under the packs or diving on the footy. She charged out of the midfield and would pump the ball long, turning it over a few times, but was putting it to dangerous areas inside 50. She had a set shot from 40 metres and delivered late in the game after taking a contested mark. One of Country’s better players in the end who consistently put pressure on the ball carrier.

#8 Sophie Van De Heuvel

Had a big run-down tackle in the first term but was found to have caught her opponent high. She used the ball well when she won it, and took a good mark at half-forward in the final term with a kick inside 50.

#9 Nina Morrison

One of the more influential Country players in the first half, constantly putting on the jets and sprinting away through midfield. She showed quick hands and dished off to teammates on the outside, and took a good mark in the second term and not breaking stride, kicked long inside 50. She also produced a fantastic smother on Madison Prespakis at half-forward and let her know about it. Laid a great tackle in the fourth term to win a free kick.

#10 Nikia Webber

Played a good balance of offence and defence, unlucky not to kick a goal. Had a couple of shots with one snap in the final term missing to the left, and an early shot smothered, with a follow-up kick to the goal square. She provided forward pressure on the ball carrier throughout the match.

#11 Lauren Butler

A hard worker for four quarters, she ran throughout the game just covering a lot of ground and putting pressure on her opponents. She was good one-on-one in defence, punching it away, and also showed nice agility to sidestep an opponent and move through traffic. In the fourth term she harassed multiple ball carriers on the wing, forcing them to handball quickly with less time to decide on an option.

#14 Jordyn Allen

One of the best Country players on the day, Allen stood up throughout the game and took some really good intercept marks in the middle of the ground. She used the ball fairly well under pressure and looked to kick long to half-forward or deep inside 50. Her decision making was good and when many others went quiet in the second half, she was still plugging along. Captain of Vic Country, you can see why with the amount of work she displayed throughout the match.

#16 Molly McDonald

Started in the midfield and had some impressive kicks in the opening term. She linked up well in the chain from midfield to half-forward and won a number of possessions.

#19 Tarryn Love

Ran hard in the second term and was involved in a couple of possessions towards goal in the second term, but could not get enough space to kick so had to give off a quick handball. Continued to tackle hard and put pressure on her opponents.

#20 Isabella Shannon

Played predominantly forward and up on the wing, Shannon won a free kick 35 metres out, but her set shot just drifted to the left. She played a good pressure game up the field, laying a couple of tackles on the wing.

#21 Rene Caris

An impressive performance from the ruck. She showed good mobility both in the air and at ground level and played a consistent game throughout. She took a couple of strong marks and provided a target around the ground. Caris was clean at ground level and provided good second efforts after the ruck contest. Smart with her tap placements.

#22 Rebecca Webster

Had a great chase and run-down tackle on an opponent to stop a shot on goal early, and worked into it through the middle of the game winning some crucial touches in all areas of the ground. Took a good mark dropping into space inside the forward 50 but her shot went to the left. She won the ball on the wing later in the game but was pushed as she was kicked, the ball went out on the full but she got a free kick for her efforts.

#23 Lucy McEvoy

Easily Country’s best early and was consistent throughout the four quarters. Played in defence then moved forward late, she rebounded everything she could get her hands to in the opening half. She took.a number of intercept marks, including contested ones, and laid some good tackles. She was tasked with the kick-in duties and kicked long to defensive 50 when possible. McEvoy showed her strength by shrugging off an opponent and kicking cleanly out of the back 50, and laid a good tackle on Prespakis in defence late in the game.

#24 Millie Brown

Brown showed quick hands when winning it in the air and covered ground between midfield and forward.

#25 Georgia Clarke

Played well in defence early, then was moved forward. Pushed up the ground and won a vital one-on-one at high half-back but the kick was intercepted. She had another kick long to the wing but it just missed its target and bounced out. Clarke pulled down a great intercept mark in the second term despite copping front-on contact. Almost took a mark in the forward pocket in the final term but was spoiled.

#26 Amy Dunn

Dunn had the highlight of the game with an amazing set shot from the pocket. Tucked up against the boundary line 30 metres out, she had a dead-eye set shot that split the middle. She put pressure on her opponents throughout the match.

#32 Courtney Jones

Jones played off half-back and pushed up the ground, winning a number of possessions in the defensive half of the ground. She had a nice pick-up clean off the ground on the wing and used good vision to find the running Jordyn Allen in midfield. She showed exceptionally quick hands in the final term to give it to Tyla Hanks on the wing.

#35 Lucinda Cripps

Did not see a lot of it in defence, keeping her opponents tightly guarded. She provided a good highlight with a run-down tackle in the second term for a holding the ball free kick.  

 

Vic Metro: 

#1 Marnie Jarvis

Attempted to pick up a ground ball and when it didn’t work out for her, she followed her efforts up with a nice tackle. Was good in a one-on-one contest and still always tried to push through the bigger bodies, showing great strength. Jarvis’ aggressive tackling was a highlight of her game, which helped Metro to gain a defensive advantage. Also took a nice intercept mark to finish off a good day out for her.

#2 Jemma Owen

Tackled a Country forward then followed up her work with another tackle to stop inside 50 penetration by the opposition. Was versatile across the ground.

#3 Emerson Woods

Woods started the game really well, getting a few early touches. Won herself a free kick in the middle of the ground which got the momentum going for Metro. She also created the first inside 50 of the game with a nicely delivered kick to teammate, Katie Lynch. Her kicking in general was fantastic, demonstrating a nice follow through on her kicking action. This ensured that she got optimal penetration on her kicks, giving them height and precision. Also gave off a good handball while being tackled, often standing up in the contest when she was required to do so.

#6 Maddy Prespakis

Prespakis was the game-changer for Metro, kicking two goals in two minutes to turn the game on its head. Her first goal was from a free kick in the goal square while her second was a work of art, as she picked the ball up off the deck, spun around, and snapped a brilliant goal over her shoulder. She improved as each quarter went on, damaging Country with her elite strength and ball use. In one instance, she hacked a lovely booming kick out of defensive 50 to get the ball forward for Metro and shortly after, she bullocked through a stoppage, backing up so many on-field efforts. Her kicking out of the back half was vital for Metro, as they went long to the centre square and opened up the floodgates for her teammates. Prespakis also demonstrated great agility when she sold a bit of candy, dodged two players then streamed out of defensive 50. Laid a good tackle that affected a forward entry for Country, and ended up straight in teammate, Katie Lynch’s hands. Clearance work was fantastic as she got two in a minute. Her marking was also strong, highlighted by a great contested mark in defensive 50. Prespakis played everywhere and had an impact wherever she went.

#7 Mikala Cann

Cann was another player who showed strong defensive presence in the midfield with plenty of tackles. Laid a strong tackle on Jordyn Allen to create a stoppage, halting Country’s momentum. She then created momentum for Vic Metro when she laid a good tackle that won her a free kick, which started a chain that ended in a Metro goal. Also showed good desperation to win the footy when she dived into the contest to save the ball from going into Country’s forward 50.

#8 Georgia Patrikios

Executed her signature sidestep when she followed up a good passage of run and carry followed by a lovely sidestep to get the ball out of defensive 50. Patrikios’ hands were strong and clean, and was able to use her marking to effect. This was demonstrated when she took a solid grab and bravely played on under pressure, which was effective for Metro and kept the ball moving. Did the little things throughout the game such as when she smothered a Tyla Hanks kick towards goal. Delivered a nice long kick into the centre square off one step, demonstrating her impressive kicking skills. I thought she was a lifesaver in defence, especially when she laid a great tackle on Isabella Shannon that won her a free kick. In the middle of the ground, she gave off a nice handball to a teammate on the outside and when it didn’t work out, she followed it up, showing great second efforts throughout the day.

#9 Daisy Bateman

Bateman created lots of opportunities inside 50, leading well to the ball drop of her teammates’ kicks. She deserved her third quarter goal as she was on the receiving end of every scoring opportunity. Also displayed good forward pressure when she caused her opponent to kick the ball out of bounds on the full.

#10 Maddy Brancatisano

Brancatisano stood up in a tackle multiple times, showing her strength in the contest. Followed these efforts up with quick, clean hands, often finding her teammates running on the outside. Also demonstrated good running when she accelerated well towards the centre of the ground.

#13 Molly Warburton

Held the fort down in defence well when she got a kick away to get it out of congestion. Followed up her efforts when she dropped a mark, as she kept hunting the footy and created a handy stoppage. Got Metro out of trouble when she hacked a kick out of defensive 50. Her kicks out of the back half were good overall.

#14 Isabella Grant

Ball did not come near her that often but played the role she needed to on the day. Her defensive efforts were pivotal and she excelled in that area. Grant tackled an opponent well to stop a forward movement for Country and also laid a good smother in defensive 50.

#15 Hannah McLaren

McLaren took a nice intercept mark, demonstrating her capabilities as a defensive midfielder. She had a brilliant moment when she gave away a free kick for a high tackle then had good awareness to chase down the Country player and win the free kick back for holding the ball.

#17 Georgia Macpherson

Without Macpherson, Country would have had two or three more goals on the board and won the game. This is because she smothered a Country kick for goal and then laid a good bump on an opponent to save another goal. Macpherson also took a great mark running back with the flight of the ball which saved an easy set shot in the goal square for Country. Demonstrated strong body work throughout, getting handballs away while being tackled and bumping opponents to rid them of the ball. As usual, her intercept marking was superb.

#18 Abbie McKay

Had a flying start and looked comfortable in the big ‘V’. Did some good work to run and get a kick away while being tackled. Followed this off by taking a nice mark off a Katie Lynch kick. McKay often created forward run with efforts like these. She then got in the forward line herself when she got the ball from long range and kicked a goal, backing herself to do so. Also did well defensively when she laid a great tackle that affected a Country kick inside 50 as well as chase-down tackle that earned her a free kick. McKay’s hands were sound, as she calmly picked the ball up off the deck, avoiding a rushed movement.  

#19 Laura McClelland

McClelland showed strong hands when she took a lovely juggling mark in a contested situation. Executed great body work to take a mark coming into the side of the contest. Followed this up with a nice kick to the top of the square.

#20 Gabby Newton

A highlight of Newton’s game was when she demonstrated great closing speed to chase down Julia Harvey and win a dropping the ball free kick. Also showed clean hands throughout the game, especially when she executed a good one-two with Knights teammate, Maddy Brancatisano. As usual, Newton’s kicking was great, as she got a kick away while being tackled and executed a nice deft kick that hit Katie Lynch perfectly.

#21 Eleanor Brown

Took a nice one-on-one mark on the wing and centered it nicely to Katie Lynch. As usual, she executed good run and carry, getting the ball forward with some nice kicks as a result of this momentum. Brown also took a great intercept mark to rebound the ball defensively, demonstrating her hard running into various positions on the ground.  She nearly took two intercept marks in a row but when she dropped the second mark, she followed up her efforts with a handball on the outside to Georgia Patrikios, showing good composure. Had a clever moment when she tapped the ball out of her opponent’s hands and trapped it well afterwards.

#22 Katie Lynch

Lynch was on the end of everything, presenting to the ball at every chance she got. Got involved early by getting plenty of the footy and using it well. She executed a nice long kick towards the middle of the ground, which opened up the play for Metro. Lynch’s endurance was on display, as she played forward and then backed up her work in the back line. A highlight of her game was when she had the ball in one hand and fended off strongly with another, getting the ball forward for Metro. Laid a great tackle to win a holding the ball free kick and followed this effort up with a spearing pass to Oakleigh teammate, Daisy Bateman which hit her perfectly on the chest. Lynch’s marking was outstanding as she took a great one-on-one mark and a good intercept mark, following this up with good awareness to handball to a running player behind her. Complemented her strong hands with good run and carry, topping off a great all-round performance.

#23 Sarah Kendall

Kendall did well in the ruck when she was required to go in there, competing well aerially. Was another one who displayed great second efforts, which was shown when she dropped a mark but still tried to win the footy.

#24 Charlotte Wilson

Wilson was a solid rock in defensive 50, controlling the back line well. Her one percenters were particularly a highlight, as she held the ball up well in defensive 50 and created a stoppage to prevent Country from streaming forward. Also did well under pressure, demonstrated when she trapped the ball on the boundary line and found a teammate with a handball over her shoulder. Completed her great defensive efforts by laying a solid tackle that stopped her opponent in her tracks.

#32 Lauren Szigeti

Szigeti was solid on the last line of defence, often saving the ball from going towards goal. This was shown when she took a good juggling intercept mark to halt Country’s momentum going forward. Also laid a great tackle on Olivia Purcell while she was streaming inside 50 which gave her nowhere to go. Szigeti did well to mop up kicks inside defensive 50, hacking the ball out of the back half with purpose.

#35 Carla Rendelmann

As usual, Rendelmann was solid in the ruck, giving her midfielders prime opportunity to run onto the footy. Often punched the ball into space, showing good situational awareness. I thought she showed a hint of versatility when she chased fast midfielders hard when they had the ball in hand.

#36 Holly Bate

Bate was lively inside 50, giving herself a chance to get on the scoreboard. Delivered a nice kick to the top of the square from outside 50, giving it nice height. Always tried to get involved in the inside 50 contests.

Prespakis the game-changer in Metro’s U18 victory

TWO goals in two minutes from Vic Metro captain, Maddy Prespakis opened the floodgates for her side to run away with that exact game-changing margin. Prespakis had been playing in the midfield in the first half but shifted her classy ball-use to the forward line, using her long kicks and strong hands to put the game away in an instant for Vic Metro.

The Sunbury Lions product was complemented by her Cannons teammate, Georgia Patrikios, who was agile across the ground. Her signature side-step was a highlight of her game, and she used it to effect to weave her way out of trouble.

Oakleigh midfielder, Katie Lynch also had an outstanding day, presenting well to the footy at every opportunity she could. Lynch displayed strong hands throughout the contest and used her long kick to penetrate the ball forward. Chargers teammate, Daisy Bateman was also a solid performer, getting a goal on the board in the third quarter. Up the other end, Georgia Macpherson was superb late in the game, marking everything directed at her as Country attacked.

In the middle of the ground, it was Sandringham products, Abbie McKay and Eleanor Brown who stood out on the day. McKay ran hard throughout the match, laying strong tackles on opponents and demonstrating clean hands to get the ball forward for Metro. Teammate, Brown improved as the game went on with her strong hands and clever one percenters that allowed her to pounce on the ball.

To begin the match, Vic Country’s Tyla Hanks was running with Metro’s Prespakis in an intriguing match-up. Hanks then started to come into her own as the game went on, as she ran hard on the outside to penetrate the ball forward for her side. Fellow Gippsland co-captain, Amy Dunn was on the end of such forward movement, as she produced the highlight of the day through kicking a goal from the boundary line.

Vic Country captain, Jordyn Allen had a superb game, never giving up on the day. She worked hard throughout the match, taking some great intercept marks and making good decisions with the ball in hand.

Geelong Falcons premiership captain, Lucy McEvoy looked right at home at GMHBA Stadium, shining for her side early in the contest. She took some great marks, laid some strong tackles and even had a stint in the forward line in what was a great all-round game for her. Murray Bushrangers star Bec Webster showed off her versatility at both ends in a solid performance, while Julia Harvey threatened to take the game by storm early, just missing a couple of shots, but constantly putting pressure on the opposition.

The match was good preparation for both sides, who take off to the Gold Coast for Series Two of the National AFLW U18 Championships. Vic Country will be taking on Queensland while Metro will go head-to-head against Western Australia on Monday, July 9 in what will be a series of three matches for the teams across five days.

 

VIC METRO 1.3 | 1.4 | 4.5 | 4.5 (29)
VIC COUNTRY 1.0 | 1.3 | 1.4 | 2.5 (17)

GOALS:

Metro: Maddy Prespakis 2, Abbie McKay, Daisy Bateman.
Country: Amy Dunn, Olivia Purcell.

ADC BEST:

Metro: Maddy Prespakis, Georgia Macpherson, Katie Lynch, Abbie McKay, Georgia Patrikios, Eleanor Brown, Emerson Woods.
Country: Jordyn Allen, Lucy McEvoy, Tyla Hanks, Rene Caris,Nina Morrison, Olivia Purcell, Bec Webster, Julia Harvey.

Scouting notes: National AFLW Under 16s Championships

IN what was a great opportunity for the most talented Under 16s girls, Vic Country took on Vic Metro at GMHBA Stadium on Saturday morning as a curtain raiser to their Under 18s counterparts. Vic Metro got the job done in an entertaining contest, and Peter Williams (Vic Country) and Julia Montesano (Vic Metro) took notes on each of the players who took part. Note all reviews are opinion-based.

Vic Country:

#1 Jerusha Devarakonda

Throughout the match she showed a fierce attack on the footy, particularly in the third term where she was involved in a number of plays. She was often deep in defence or running off the half-back flank, she had quick hands and did not take a backwards step. She gave away a free kick to Tarni Brown in the third quarter, but it was her attack to win the footy that was most impressive.

#2 Leila Raymond

Raymond showed great defensive pressure in the back half, laying a number of strong tackles. It was almost déjà vu for the Gippsland Power player, who had no problems burying her opponent in a fantastic tackle in both the third and fourth quarters. She also saved a goal with a great tackle as an opponent ran towards the big sticks.

#3 Holly Andrews

Attacked the contest hard and had a good first term where she laid a couple of great tackles – unfortunately giving away a free for holding on too long. She created run out of defence in the second term, and was reliable with her disposal, including a good kick from half-back to the wing in the third term.

#4 Elizabeth Snell

Had a couple of nice passages of place including a good handball at ground level under pressure in the first term, and quick hands out of a stoppage in the third term.

#5 Megan Fitzsimon

Fitzsimon showed quick hands under pressure and a cleanliness at ground level to collect and go. She had a good kick to the wing after picking the footy up cleanly off the deck in the second half. She continued to stay involved along the wing.

#6 Renee Saulitis

Along with Tyanna Smith, was a driving force in the midfield. She won the footy throughout the four quarters and put in a really consistent effort. She did the defensive things well, laying tackles and providing bumps, while taking a courageous mark on the wing in the second term. She kicked well off half-back and had a fantastic run-down tackle on Ellie McKenzie after copping a don’t argue in the third term and earned a free kick for her troubles. She covered the ground well, also winning possessions in the forward half of the ground.

#7 Jemma Finning

Unfortunately Finning was injured early in the second term and did not get to play the game out.

#8 Kate Adams

Took a lovely mark at half-back in the final term and had a good centering pass to a teammate. She also showed a quick kick out of a stoppage late in the game.

#9 Emily Nicholson

Played in defence and constantly went in hard. She took a good one-on-one mark early and was able to quickly dispose of the ball under pressure. Nicholson had a highlight laying a strong tackle on Olivia Meagher, not fooled by Meagher’s attempt to sidestep her inside 50.

#10 Abbey Jordan

Jordan stood under a high ball in defence and despite contact coming did not waiver. She was unlucky not to get a free, showing good courage. In the third term she had a piercing kick inside 50 after moving through traffic, and then took a good intercept mark on the wing. Jordan laid a fierce bump on her opponent in the final term.

#11 Brooke Hards

Hards showed a willingness to back herself at all times coming off half-back. She got caught a couple of times, but for the run and ability to crash through opponents, it was worth it. She charged out of defence a number of times and was often under pressure. She laid a great tackle at half-back early in the game and hit-up Maggie Caris on the wing.

#12 Tyanna Smith

The Vic Country captain was one of the best with Renee Saulitis. Smith spread well to the outside and worked hard back into defence to help out. On a number of occasions, Smith read the loose ball in the air superbly, sticking out a hand and grabbing it cleanly before disposing of it by hand. She showed great acceleration out of a stoppage and kicked a goal on the run in the second term, really starting to dominate through the midfield. She laid some strong tackles and also took intercept marks at half-back.

#13 Chloe Leonard

Played in defence and had a number of kicks from half-back to the wing, rebounding where possible. She showed a good long kick and took a great mark dropping back in the first term to intercept.

#16 Sharmaine Reilly

Showed good courage going back with the flight at half-back to impact a contest despite copping body contact. She also applied good defensive pressure at half-back, applying a good shepherd to allow a teammate to run on.

#17 Sophie Milsome

A quieter first half, but took a great mark on the lead 35m out for a set shot in the third term. The shot drifted right, but she was presenting to the midfielders. She also laid a great smother at half-forward to put the ball out of bounds in the final term and force a throw in.

#18 Zoe Hill

Had a very nervous start to the day with some fumbles and caught holding the ball once for Alyssa Bannan to goal. Once she settled in she got back to what we have come to expect from her with a couple of strong intercept marks and was reliable by foot.

#19 Matilda Van Berkel

A quiet game, but always attacked the contest hard. She had a fantastic kick in the third quarter with a perfect pass to Sophie Milsome on the lead.

#20 Stephanie Glover

Busy early in the game, showing good vision to handball to a teammate at half-back through a couple of opponents. She has really good evasion and is able to step around opponents well. She threw it on the boot once, but is often more composed with the ball, and is quite athletic.

#21 Isabella Robson

Had a good moment to knock Ellie McKenzie off balance and drop the ball as she streamed towards 50 in the first half.

#22 Renee Tierney

Just continues to pop up at times despite not having a lot of opportunities. She had a clean pick-up off an awkward bounce at half-forward and was able to maintain composure to give it off to a teammate while she was under pressure. Tierney’s highlight came in the third term with the goal of the match after picking it up, snapping quickly from the boundary and dribbling it home. She also took a huge contested grab in the forward 50 later in the term, clunking the mark and looking dangerous.

#23 Isabella Simmons

When the ball went in her forward zone she showed good defensive pressure and was able to lock the ball up with a good tackle.

#24 Olivia Barber

Barber’s second efforts are noticeable in her ruck work, often winning her own ball from the taps. She laid a number of fierce tackles at ground level and continued to work hard. She snapped at goal off a couple of steps but just missed to the left.

#25 Maggie Caris

A raw but talented ruck who is smart with her hitout work. She was strong overhead and often marked at the highest point. A learning curve for her would be the game smarts when Alyssa Bannan was having a set shot from 40m and she stood at the top of the goal square instead of on the line and it bounced through with no-one to stop it. A really solid game all round, however.

VIC METRO:

#1 Olivia Meagher

Meagher was really lively up forward and was not afraid to take the game on. This was shown when she kicked a long bomb from just inside 50 that sailed through the goals. Before that, she read the ball well out of a stoppage and snapped through a goal from just outside the goal square. She was able to generate good acceleration and cleared the ball well after tackling a Country player. Meagher was not afraid to run the ball through the corridor and used her long kick to advantage on multiple occasions. Hacked a kick nicely out of a stoppage. Meagher kicked her third goal with a beautiful pick-up and snap and utilised excellent closing speed to chase down the Country player and earn a free kick. 

#2 Mietta Kendall

Chased the ball well in defence, as she attempted to tackle three players. Nicked one of the jumpers and won a dropping the ball free kick, thanks to her desperation at back half. Laid a goal-saving tackle and always gets involved in the right moments.

#3 Taylah Morton

Morton followed the footy with purpose and intent throughout the day. She was able to trap the footy well and often used the ball well by foot. She also displayed great clean hands while being tackled, showing her strength in the contest.

#5 Mary Daw

Took a nice mark in defence to stop Country running forward and then hit a target with her kick.

#6 Abigail Bennett

Bennett competed hard throughout the match and displayed some great work inside 50. Kicked two goals for the day. Her first was a snap from an angle while being slung to the ground, which got the momentum swinging in Metro’s favour after a slow first quarter. Bennett has great composure with the ball in hand and when she does not have it, she follows it up well, laying strong tackles to prevent any opposition forward movement.

#7 Jessica Fitzgerald

Fitzgerald followed the footy nicely throughout the match and got plenty of it, which was a credit to her efforts around the stoppages. Executed a good pick-up and laid off a nice handball out of a stoppage while on hands and knees. The Northern Knights product always followed up her efforts well, through tackling hard.

#8 Bella Eddey

Gave off a nice quick-fire handball out of a stoppage inside 50. Picked the ball up with ease off the deck and got a quick handball away to Alyssa Bannan. Played well on the wing considering her normal spot is up forward while playing for the Dragons.

#9 Winnie Laing

Laing read the play well and hunted the footy with intent. She got a lot of the ball and did everything she could to get the ball out of a stoppage. Often used her speed to break away and get the ball forward for Metro.

#10 Ashleigh Snow

Snow had great hands out of stoppages and showed good strength while doing so. While being pursued by two players, she got a clean handball out to a teammate on the outside. Snow got the ball away while being tackled multiple times, giving her teammates first opportunity to get onto the football.

#11 Eliza McNamara

Executed many nice kicks to the top of the square, giving them good height and allowing her forwards to jump at the footy. Also had the ability to pinpoint kicks, displaying good all-round footwork throughout the day. McNamara accelerated well with the ball in hand, clearing it out of the centre square in one instance. Also did well defensively when she laid a strong wrap-around tackle on a Vic Country player then followed it up with another aggressive tackling effort.

#12 Tarni Brown

Had a sensational first half for Metro then played consistently for the rest of the game. Brown created so many scoring opportunities for Vic Metro with her clean hands and accurate kicking. She was able to boot the ball forward when needed to or she would get the play started with a strong handball out of a stoppage. Brown did nicely to find space and utilised it with lovely acceleration. Her blind turns were a highlight of her game, as one ended up in a handball to Abigail Bennett on the outside, who kicked her second major of the day as a result. Brown also demonstrated a high footy IQ when she lowered her eyes to spot Alyssa Bannan on the outer side, who then kicked a goal while being tackled. 

#13 Alice Burke

Took a good leading mark on the wing and read the ball well off a tap. She then moved the ball well with a nice clearing kick out a stoppage.

#15 Mimi Hill

Gave off a good handball on hands and knees to get the ball out of congestion.

#16 Alice O’Loughlin

O’Loughlin laid a great tackle that prevented a Vic Country breakaway. Did most of her hard work up forward with a good kick towards goal that was on line but just didn’t make the distance. O’Loughlin’s defensive efforts were sound as she laid a strong tackle to earn a free kick. She then pinpointed the pass perfectly to Olivia Meagher for a set shot, giving her prime opportunity to kick a goal.

#17 Alisa Magri

Magri displayed strong hands throughout the day. She took a great mark off an Alice O’Loughlin kick inside 50, but she just missed the set shot. Took another miraculous mark inside 50 in a one-on-one contest, grabbing the ball with one hand and moving it forward. She is an exciting player with the ball in hand.

#18 Amber Micallef

Micallef pursued the ball with intent and then kicked it well around her body towards the boundary line. This showed great composure as it helped to slow the play down for Vic Metro.

#19 Sarah Hartwig

Hartwig gave off a good handball while being tackled strongly. Also took a strong contested mark and followed it up with a pinpointed a kick to Bennett at half-forward.

#20 Ellie McKenzie

McKenzie played a blinder of a game, particularly showing off her strong hands and exciting dash. She often found herself on the wing and created excitement when she fended off a player and streamed towards the forward 50. She did this in two separate points in the game, displaying her X factor and strength with the ball in hand. In many instances, she showed good situational awareness, as she knew she had space and used it to her advantage. In the forward half, she laid a good smother and attempted an almighty speccy. McKenzie leapt for every ball that came her way, and was fearless in attack. Demonstrated excellent run and carry when she streamed inside 50 to get the ball towards goal and creates a scoring opportunity. Showed class when she executed a great one-two with Alice O’Loughlin.

#21 Tamsin Crook

Crook did well in the ruck and followed up her work. She showed good intent to keep the ball moving when she dribbled the ball on the ground instead of just diving on it. This was smart play by her to keep it moving and then pick it up when she had the space to do so. Crook also tackled well on the day.

#22 Isabelle Pritchard

Ball didn’t go down her end that much but showed good intent when it came her way. At one point, she displayed good use of the body to shrug the tackle then executed a good second effort to create a stoppage.

#23 Jess Grace

Grace played in the ruck and contested well with Maggie Caris.

#24 Alyssa Bannan

Bannan was prolific in the forward line, demonstrating her high footy IQ. Took a good mark lace-out and then executed a perfect kick for goal from about 40 metres out. At this point, she backed herself and the ball bounced through. Bannan even had a stint in the ruck and competed well thanks to her height and footy smarts. A highlight of her game was when she punched the ball forward in the air to prevent a stoppage, then got the ball back off her punch and gave off a quick handball to Ellie McKenzie. Bannan also displayed clean hands throughout the game. Her kicking was on display too when she kicked a brilliant centering ball to Jessica Fitzgerald, giving Fitzgerald’s opponent no chance to compete. The Northern Knights forward finished with two majors for the day. 

#25 Isabel Young

Young tackled well and displayed good strength to stand up in the stoppage and get a handball away over the top.

Knights, Ranges lead the way for Metro U16s win

IMPRESSIVE performances from the Northern Knights and Eastern Ranges contingent in the Vic Metro Under 16s side has paved the way for a dominant 41-point victory over Vic Country. Ranges’ forward Olivia Meagher booted three goals and was kicking them from everywhere in another stunning performance, backing up from her best on ground against South Australia a week earlier. Northern Knights duo Alyssa Bannan and Abigail Bennett were also superb up forward, booting two goals and looking dangerous inside 50.

Northern Knights’ Ellie McKenzie and Eastern Ranges’ live-wire Tarni Brown were busy through the midfield, with McKenzie’s brute strength and Brown’s unbelievable class setting a tone for the match and giving spectators an idea of what the future of the AFL Women’s competition would look like. Sandringham’s Eliza McNamara was also busy through the midfield, as Metro booted five goals to one in the second half, including three goals to zero in the final term to run away with the contest.

For Vic Country, it was hard to look past the work of GWV Rebels’ mid/forward Renee Saulitis who seemed to be everywhere on the day, one of the best again as she was the week prior against NSW/ACT, along with Country captain Tyanna Smith. Smith booted the first goal of the game and moved well through stoppages, leading by example throughout the four quarters. Maggie Caris dominated in the ruck with her height, giving midfielders first opportunity to get their hands on the ball. Up forward, Geelong Falcons’ Renee Tierney never stopped presenting, kicking a miraculous goal in the third term and clunking a great mark shortly after. It was an even contribution after that, with defenders Holly Andrews and Emily Nicholson among the better players for their defensive pressure and four quarter effort. Similarly, Chloe Leonard played an important role in defence for the Country side taking a number of strong marks.

From the outset it looked like Vic Metro were the more consistent side, keeping Vic Country scoreless in the first term, and to just two goals and four scoring shots for the match. The defenders from Vic Metro – including Isabelle Pritchard and Sarah Hartwig, held down the fort as the smaller runners made the most of any entries into the defensive half. Up forward, the dynamic trio of Meagher, Bannan and Bennett caused all sorts of headaches for Country, making the most of their opportunities. Metro’s Tasmin Crook scored the last goal of the game, while small utility Ashleigh Snow was also impressive throughout the match. Other Vic Country players who showed a great attack on the ball included Jerusha Devarakonda, Leila Raymond and Abbey Jordan.

While the National Under 16s Championships are more a way of giving the 15 and 16 year-old TAC Cup Girls a chance to play representative football and allow just top-age and bottom-age players in the Under 18s, it gave everyone involved a sense of pride and excitement about what is to come for the future with the girls who will lead the TAC Cup in the next couple of seasons.

VIC METRO 1.1 |  3.4 | 5.4 | 8.7 (55)
VIC COUNTRY 0.0 | 1.1 |  2.2 | 2.2 (14)

GOALS:
Metro: Olivia Meagher 3, Alyssa Bannan 2, Abigail Bennett 2, Tasmin Crook.
Country: Tyanna Smith, Renee Tierney.

ADC BEST:
Metro: Olivia Meagher, Ellie McKenzie, Tarni Brown, Alyssa Bannan, Eliza McNamara, Abigail Bennett, Ashleigh Snow
Country: Renee Saulitis, Tyanna Smith, Maggie Caris, Renee Tierney, Holly Andrews, Emily Nicholson, Chloe Leonard