ROUND two saw a new ladder-leader emerge, a drought-breaking victory and a winning streak kept intact. The Northern Knights recorded a 48-point win over the Cannons and soared to the top of the ladder. Over at Casey Fields, the Power came home with their first win in the TAC Cup Girls Competition, after beating the Western Jets by 15 points. The Bushrangers are used to this winning feeling, and experienced it on Saturday against Bendigo to remain undefeated in the TAC Cup Girls Competition.
Eastern Ranges 8.8 (56) defeated Dandenong Stingrays 2.5 (17)
By: Effie Caloutas
Eastern Ranges reaffirmed their status as a serious TAC Cup Girls premiership contender following an impressive 39-point win over Dandenong Stingrays at Healesville Sporting Complex on the weekend. The home side started strongly in the first quarter, with a 24-point lead heading into quarter time courtesy of two goals to Laura McClelland. The Ranges kept the Stingrays to one goal in the second quarter, and held a 32-point lead heading into half-time. In a sluggish third quarter, The Ranges were able to extend their lead to 37 points at three quarter time, led by Olivia Meagher. Mikaela Cann received a fortunate bounce on her kick at goal seconds before the siren in the last quarter, as the Eastern Ranges ran out 39-point winners over the Dandenong Stingrays.
Georgia Macpherson was simply sensational for Eastern Ranges, rebounding everything and creating plenty of drive off half-back which earned her the title of AFL Draft Central TAC Cup Girls Player of the Week for round two. Tarni Brown, the daughter of Collingwood legend Gavin and sister of current Magpies Callum and Tyler, was also impressive, as was Sarah Kendall and Cann who continued their good form from round one.
For the Stingrays, Samantha Allen bounced back from a quiet outing in round one to be an important target up forward, while Jordyn Allen played her captain’s role down back and through the midfield. Many of the Stingrays were well held in the first half, but the likes of Allen and Shelley Heath came alive in the second half, while Isabella Shannon was another player who stood out with her classy ball use. Lucinda Cripps was a rock in defence, particularly in slowing the Eastern attack in the second half.
Sandringham Dragons 6.7 (43) defeated Oakleigh Chargers 1.4 (10)
Sandringham Dragons bounced back from a round one loss to the Geelong Falcons to record a big 33-point victory over ladder-leaders, Oakleigh Chargers. The Chargers gained top spot after a thumping win over Gippsland Power, but despite a good defensive first quarter, were eventually knocked off by the Dragons who relentlessly attacked for three quarters, booting six goals in the second and third term, while Daisy Bateman‘s sole major for Oakleigh came in the third quarter.
There was no shortage of contributors for Sandringham in the win, but it was hard to look past the superb half-back line, led by Sarah Hartwig and ably assisted by Eleanor Brown and Winnie Laing, both of whom also gained vital midfield minutes. The trio provided drive off half-back and caused headaches for Oakleigh, while Eliza McNamara was crucial in the midfield. Famous surnames Alice Burke and Abbie McKay were also key contributors in the Dragons’ victory.
Oakleigh might have had a down week compared to the previous round, but Gemma Lagioia‘s class still shone through, while Jasmine D’Amato, Nicola Xenos and Hannah McLaren were also amongst the best. The Chargers worked hard through midfield but struggled to penetrate the impressive Dragons defence. However their own defence held up well on transition, and they will back themselves to beat quite a few teams with their defensive efforts on the weekend.
Murray Bushrangers 8.12 (60) defeated Bendigo Pioneers 3.2 (20)
After a huge win over reigning premiers Calder Cannons last round, Murray Bushrangers continued their strong form into round two with a 40-point victory over Bendigo Pioneers. The Pioneers were fresh off an equally impressive win over Western Jets, but with a bottom-age dominant squad, were beaten by the more experienced and polished side. A positive to come out of the game was the continued good form of Kodi Jacques, while outscoring the Bushrangers three goals to zero in the final term.
For Murray, Rebecca Webster starred again through the midfield, while Eloise-Ashley Cooper was important in defence. Claudia McKimmie was the target up forward, finishing with three goals, while last week’s heroes Sophie Damon and Julia Harvey were among the single goal kickers. Tahli Verhoeven and Amy Duguid were others that impressed in the Bushrangers victory.
For the Pioneers, aside from the consistent Jacques, Megan Williamson and Carly Isaac were named in the best, while Kate Douglass and Sophie Kerridge booted final-quarter goals along with Jacques. Bendigo will be buoyed by its final quarter stand and hope to carry its form into round three next weekend.
Gippsland Power 5.5 (35) defeated Western Jets 3.2 (20)
After going six games, one season and a round without a win, Gippsland Power broke its winless drought with a 15-point win over Western Jets. The win meant the Jets are the only side without a victory, but given they held the Power goalless in the final three quarters, their defensive structures are sure to see their first victory in the near future. The Power booted all of their five goals in the first term and then held on as the Jets tried to force their way in front. A huge gale caused issues for the players when kicking for goal, and often resulted in the defenders of both sides having an advantage.
Gippsland’s star midfielder Tyla Hanks put in another polished performance, with the co-captain leading the way along with defender/midfielder Emily Hauesler, and ruck/forward duo Jazz Ferguson and co-captain Amy Dunn. The Power also had plenty of other contributors throughout the day, and celebrated in style after the final siren with the win a long time coming. They will look to build on the victory going forward, with the Murray Bushrangers confronting them next week.
Western Jets’ defender Isabella Pritchard again stood out down back, teaming up with Katrina Rebuffo to repel the Power’s attacks. In the midfield, Elizabeth Georgiostathis, Olivia Forsythe and Maddison-Eve Fenech were crucial, while down forward, Isabella Grant continually provided an option roaming up the ground, while Cleo Saxon-Jones stayed closer to home, booting two goals.
Geelong Falcons 6.4 (40) defeated GWV Rebels 0.1 (1)
By: Damien Berry
Geelong Falcons remain unbeaten after defeating the Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels by 39 points in Sebastopol. The windy conditions on the day were not conducive to effective kicking, as balls kicked into the wind fell short, and many kicks on the outer side of the ground ended up out of bounds. The forward pressure, especially in the second half by the Falcons was excellent. Also on the few occasions GWV did end up deep in attack, the Falcons defenders’ pressure and work ethic was excellent, repelling the Rebels’ forward thrusts, thus keeping them goalless.
In a lop-sided contest, the majority of the best players were from the winning Falcons unit, and of these, Olivia Purcell was best afield. Her pace at the ball and ability to run and carry was a standout, and she also kicked a major late in the second quarter. Samantha Atkins and Nina Morrison both collected plenty of ball across the half-forward line and were dangerous any time they had the ball in their hands, plus Atkins’ tackling pressure was also excellent. Up forward, Sachi DeGiacomi delivered two goals, kicking accurately in the process, and Renee Tierney also added two majors while also providing plenty of forward pressure. Also noteworthy was the Falcons’ defence as a unit, but Abbey Chapman did an excellent job on her own merit as well.
For the Rebels, Ella Wood hunted the ball well early on, although she did fade out of the game as the Falcons took control. Nyakoat Dojiok showed plenty of run, backing herself to take on opponents, but at times struggled to hit targets with her kicking. Sophie Molan was certainly one of the Rebels’ best, and she tried all afternoon, while Lauren Butler and Georgia Clarke also did some nice things.
Calder Cannons 0.2 (2) defeated by Northern Knights 7.8 (50)
By: Julia Montesano
A low-scoring first quarter set up an appetizing contest at RAMS Arena. Madison Prespakis got off to an electric start, despite being targeted by the Knights midfielders. The Calder captain took everything that came her way, and showed her strength in the contest. She was able to penetrate the ball inside 50, but the Cannons forwards just could not get on the end of her kicks, ending up scoreless for the first term.
From then on, the Knights got on a roll, with Ciara Fitzgerald doing everything right around the contest. Like Prespakis’ heroics in the first quarter, she too was able to penetrate the ball forward with her big kick. She was complemented by Abigail Bennett who was everywhere on the day. Bennett used the ball extremely well both by hand and by foot, and did some fantastic work around the middle of the ground, winning a lot of the footy for her teammates. Gabby Newton was also a stand-out, winning the ruck battle convincingly and booming the ball out of the centre for the Knights’ small forwards to run onto. She was a strong presence around the contest.
Nell Morris-Dalton and Jess Fitzgerald also contributed solid performances in the Northern Knights’ 48-point win. Morris-Dalton flexed her muscles and showed her strength through the contest with a couple of hard-hitting tackles and big, long kicks. Fitzgerald was proactive in all areas of the ground, and impressed with a centre clearance where she burst through a host of potent Cannons midfielders to boot the ball forward. One of these midfielders was Grace Dicker, who impressed with her electric speed and acceleration, and showed some good signs for the Cannons on the day.