Tag: Andrew McKay

Abbie McKay’s football family inspires her success in Aussie Rules

SANDRINGHAM Dragons midfielder, Abbie McKay might the daughter of former Carlton player, Andrew McKay, but she is making a name of her own in football.

McKay starred in the middle of the ground for the Dragons this year, being named among the best players five times during the nine-round season.

With a father who played 244 games for the Carlton Football Club, footy was always in McKay’s veins. Her early memories of the game were not watching her dad play, but simply kicking the footy with him at the park.

“My dad played 240 games or something like that so I always grew up with it (footy),” she said. “I had to go and kick the footy at the park with my brother and him so that’s how I got into it.”

Despite his illustrious career, McKay admits she was oblivious to her dad’s role at the Blues.

“He was just my dad so to be honest, I probably didn’t realise he played for Carlton,” she said.

After a couple of Auskick stints, McKay turned her attention to basketball, netball and tennis. Then at 15 years of age, she found her love for football, but this time, she had her mum to thank.

“When I was about 15, my mum just thought it would be fun to start up a team at the local club,” the now 17 year-old said. “So we got together with lots of school friends and my love grew from there. I just got out there and I was like this is so much fun, I get to tackle!”

In her short football career, McKay has already achieved so much. When she was asked to play for the Sandringham Dragons in the TAC Cup Girls competition, she was given the belief that she needed to pursue her footballing career further.

“I got asked to join Sandy Dragons and I was like ‘oh maybe I actually have a shot at this’,” McKay recalled. “I thought I may as well give it a go. I didn’t really know what it was so I just got asked about it and thought I’ll just go down and see what it’s like. Then people told me about how big it actually is. I was like that’s pretty cool!”

After a solid season at the TAC Cup Girls club, McKay received the shock of her life when she was named in the Vic Metro squad for this year’s AFL Women’s National Under 18 Championships. The 17 year-old says she didn’t see the selection coming, but is thankful for the opportunity.

“Never in a million years!,” she said about her thoughts on ever being selected for Vic Metro. “I got asked and I was like ‘really? You want me?’ It’s so cool and getting to know all the girls is really nice.”

On top of that, she is keeping the McKay name alive at Carlton, as she is currently training with the Blues’ VFL Women’s side. But above all, McKay is a role model to her younger sister, who loves the game and wants to be just like her big sister when she grows up.

“She is obsessed (with football),” McKay said. “Every time I get back from Vic Metro she asks ‘are you going to become a footy player yet?’ I’m like ‘don’t get your hopes up too soon!’ But no she loves it, she wants to be the same when she’s older.”

Arnell heads north as part of three-way trade

BRISBANE has landed an experienced leader as part of the first AFL Women’s trade to drop in the 2018 Re-signing and Trade Period.

The Lions have brought in former Carlton skipper Lauren Arnell, in a three-way trade which saw Nicole Hildebrand head to the Magpies, and Collingwood’ pick 40 traded to Carlton. Arnell was the inaugural skipper of the Blues, and played 11 games in the first two seasons at Ikon Park. After missing out on selection in a number of games last season, Carlton’s Head of Football Andrew McKay told the Carlton website Arnell was keen for more senior opportunities.

“We are tremendously grateful to Lauren. She played an instrumental role in establishing our women’s football program and will always be acknowledged as an integral contributor to the Carlton Football Club,” McKay said. “With an eye on the future, Lauren was looking for more opportunity in an on-field capacity, so we fully supported her decision to pursue the opportunity up north and believe this deal is a win for all involved. “We wish her well for the coming season as she continues her career at the Lions.”

Brisbane Lions Womens’ Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Breanna Brock is excited about the experience Arnell brings to the young Lions list.

“Lauren will provide great mentoring for our young group and new players coming on to the list,” Brock said. “She’s an outstanding person and has done so much for the women’s game. We look forward to working with such an experienced campaigner and can’t wait to see her pull on the Lions colours.”

Collingwood’s Strategy and Performance Manager Marcus Wagner said Hildebrand would fit in well, slotting into defence.

“We’re thrilled to have Nicole join the Pies. She’s a tough defender whose AFL Women’s knowledge will be a welcome addition to our backline,” Wagner said. “Trading for Nicole in exchange for pick 40 leaves us in a strong position. We’re really excited to have been able to secure an experienced player without compromising our draft position.”

Team selection: TAC Cup Girls – Round 2

Continue reading “Team selection: TAC Cup Girls – Round 2”

TAC Cup Girls previews: Round 1

FOR many aspiring AFLW players, the start of the TAC Cup Girls season could not have come fast enough. But for those who have put their minds and bodies to the test over the summer will now be able to get stuck into actual matches with round one kicking off tomorrow. Each week we will preview the upcoming games and name some players you might like to keep an eye out for.

GEELONG FALCONS v. SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS

Round 1 – Saturday, March 3, 11am

Deakin University – Geelong

The Falcons come into round one with the hope of adding a TAC Cup Girls premiership to its already decorated club rooms. The boys side was successful in the TAC Cup final last year, and the girls have every chance to follow suit in 2018. Geelong has a whopping five AFLW Academy members (Lucy McEvoy, Denby Taylor, Olivia Purcell, Nina Morrison and Eliza Shannon), who will be huge role models for the younger players who are coming into the side for the first time. This week, keep an eye out for Sophie Walmsley, who is debuting for the Falcons after only starting her footballing career last year. Walmsley comes from an athletics background and has been touted as a great runner.

Sandringham finished with three wins last year and would be hoping to challenge the Falcons at Deakin University. Famous football relations, Alice Burke (daughter of former St Kilda player, Nathan Burke) and Abbie McKay (daughter of former Carlton player, Andrew McKay) will suit up in defence in the round one clash. Coming from an athletics background, Eleanor Brown has been given free reign to take charge in the midfield. The top-age player will play on the wing, where she will be able to utilise her impressive endurance, and perhaps cause some headaches for the Geelong midfield.

 

DANDENONG STINGRAYS v. NORTHERN KNIGHTS

Round 1 – Saturday, March 3, 11am

Holm Park Recreation Reserve, Beaconsfield

Dandenong boasts a 2017 TAC Cup Girls Team of the Year selection in Jordyn Allen in its round one side. Allen is in the AFLW Academy and will play in the midfield in a bid to tackle the Knights’ strong line-up in the middle of the ground. Allen has been sent into the midfield after playing in defence during 2017, but she is not the only one who will change positions for round one. Courtney Jones kicked five goals in her four games last year, but will play across the half-back line, in order to combat the fierce Knights forwards, such as leader, Jess Fitzgerald.

The Northern Knights secured an impressive four wins last year, and have packed its midfield with leaders in the hope of securing a round-one win. Four of the Knights’ five leaders in Madeline Brancatisano (captain), Maggie Antypas (vice-captain), Britney Gutknecht, and Gabby Newton will be looking to cause havoc in the middle of the ground, and showcase their on-field leadership to the young girls in the group.

 

EASTERN RANGES v. GREATER WESTERN VICTORIA REBELS

Round 1 – Saturday, March 3, 12:45pm

Holm Park Recreation Reserve, Beaconsfield

AFLW Academy member, Emerson Woods will be hoping to continue her excellent 2017 form in round one, when she suits up for the Eastern Ranges at Beaconsfield. She will be able to assist first-gamer Mikala Cann, who will play on-ball in the round one clash. Cann has not played football before, and will work well in tandem with Woods, using her elite athletic ability to burst away from the stoppages. Defender Georgia Macpherson is another one to watch coming off the half-back flank.

The Greater Western Victoria Rebels are well aware of the firepower in the Eastern Ranges outfit, and have included a host of stars in the round one side.  Captain Lauren Butler will line up alongside draft prospects, Rene Caris and Sophie Van De Heuvel  in the midfield, in what looks to be an intriguing battle at Beaconsfield. Caris and Van De Heuvel will go head-to-head with fellow AFLW Academy member, Emerson Woods, in a battle that could be the difference between a win or loss for either side. Top prospect Georgia Clarke will line-up at half-forward.

 

BENDIGO PIONEERS v. WESTERN JETS

Round 1 – Saturday, March 3, 1pm

Epsom Huntly Reserve, Bendigo

Bendigo would be hoping to kick off 2018 with a win, after the side only tasted victory once last season. Jordyn Joliffe is one player who could be the difference for the Pioneers. Joliffe will play at centre half-forward, where she will be looking to get her side on the scoreboard early. At the other end of the ground will be Sophie Kerridge (sister of Carlton midfielder, Sam Kerridge), who would be hopeful of cementing a spot in the backline for Bendigo,

The Western Jets have also named some famous football relations of its own for the round one clash at Epsom Huntly Reserve. Isabella Grant is the daughter of former Western Bulldogs player, Chris Grant, and will feature in the Jets’ forward-line. The bottom-age player is also in the AFLW Academy, so she will be one to keep an eye on throughout the season. We will also see sister of North Melbourne ruckman, Majak Daw, Mary Daw line up for the Jets in round one. Daw has been touted as a great runner, and will be looking to impress in the Jets’ first game of 2018.

 

GIPPSLAND POWER v. OAKLEIGH CHARGERS

Round 1 – Sunday, March 4, 11.30am

Moe Recreation Reserve, Moe

The match between the Power and the Chargers will be played as a curtain-raiser to the AFLW clash between Collingwood and the Western Bulldogs. Gippsland will be hoping that the coaches of the AFLW sides will be keeping an eye on exciting draft prospect, Tyla Hanks. The AFLW Academy player was named in the 2017 TAC Cup Girls Team of the Year, and will play a key role in the Power’s midfield. Up forward, former netballer and gymnast, Leyla Berry will be one to watch, while Jazz Ferguson is set to impress at centre half-back.

The Chargers will be hoping the trip to Moe will be a worthwhile one, as they aim to kick off 2018 with a win. Daughter of AFL Umpire Scott McLaren, Hannah McLaren is set to be an X-factor in the Oakleigh midfield, and will be joined by top-age player, Bridie Winbanks. Winbanks has been touted as a hard worker, and would be likely to dig in deep through the middle of the ground throughout the match for the Chargers.

 

MURRAY BUSHRANGERS v. CALDER CANNONS

Round 1 – Sunday, March 4, 1pm

JC Lowe Oval, Yarrawonga

In perhaps the most anticipated clash of the year, the Bushrangers and Cannons will be aiming to keep their winning streaks intact at JC Lowe Oval. Murray finished second on the ladder last year, and would be hoping to hand Calder its first loss in the TAC Cup Girls competition. AFLW Academy member, Rebecca Webster will play in the midfield in the round one clash, instead of playing in defence. Webster starred in the back-line last year and was named in the 2017 TAC Cup Girls Team of the Year as a result of that. In the forward-line, 2017 best and fairest, Millie Brown will suit up for Murray, and will be joined by under-16 national basketballer, Olivia Barber. The duo could certainly challenge the Calder defence on Sunday.

The Calder Cannon enjoyed a successful 2017, winning the TAC Cup Girls competition, and having three players drafted to AFLW sides (Chloe Molloy, Sarah Dargan and Monique Conti). But 2018 is a new year, and the Cannons face their biggest challenge yet in the TAC Cup Girls competition. To combat the Murray midfield, Calder has chosen AFLW Academy members, Madison Prespakis and Georgia Patrikios to go head-to-head with the Bushrangers in the middle of the ground. Calder has slotted its other AFLW Academy member, Molly Warburton into the back-line, making for a very formidable Cannons outfit.

Team selection: TAC Cup Girls – Round 1

THE TAC Cup Girls teams have not mucked around in round one of the 2018 competition, stacking their sides with experienced players, exciting debutants, and hot draft prospects.

GEELONG FALCONS v. SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS

Round 1 – Saturday, March 3, 11am
Deakin University – Geelong

All three of Geelong’s 2017 TAC Cup Team of the Year members in Lucy McEvoy, Denby Taylor and Olivia Purcell will pull on the Falcons’ jumper to face off against the Dragons. McEvoy was named as a defender in last year’s Team of the Year, but in round one, she will start in the forward line, in what could be a permanent positional change in 2018.

Geelong’s opponents in Sandringham will have a host of famous football relations in its round one side. Fifteen year-old Alice Burke is the daughter of former St Kilda player, Nathan Burke. Burke will debut in the Dragons’ backline, and will be looking to stop the likes of Lucy McEvoy in Geelong’s forward line. Teammate, Abbie McKay will also join Burke in the backline. McKay is the daughter of former Carlton player and current Head of Football at the club, Andrew McKay.

Geelong Falcons

B: 15. J. Devarakonda, 36. A. Chapman, 24. K. Gleeson
HB: 32. M. Sheppard, 21. K. Haustorfer , 27. D. Taylor
C: 18. N.  Morrison, 11. L.  Lesosky-Hay, 35. S.  Walmsley
HF: 10. S. Atkins, 42. S. DeGiacomi, 26. M. Skinner
F: 6. P. Sheppard, 23. L. McEvoy, 4. B. Thompson
R: 33. Z. Inei, 7. O. Purcell, 39. T. Love
Int: 44. C. Elsworth, 19. I. Long, 20. D. Smith, 2. E. Vella
Emg: 37. S. Dinneen, 34. S. Hungerford, 29. S. Milsome

Sandringham Dragons

B: 21. A. Burke, 17. C. Bowen, 3. J. Owen
HB: 15. A. McKay, 2. S. Rothfield, 13. D. Walker
C: 9. E.  Brown, 8. N.  Amiet, 45. S.  Hartwig
HF: 37. N. Borg, 25. T. Grasso, 1. I. Stutt
F: 57. L. Amelung, 11. H. Bate, 55. M. Wilson
R: 18. A. Dalley, 7. E. McNamara, 5. W. Laing
Int: 43. B. Arnold, 53. G. Bridges, 35. M. Denahy Maloney, 47. E. Harkin, 65. P. Hobday, 63. G. Strangio, 67. J. Tait, 49. T. Tysoe

DANDENONG STINGRAYS v. NORTHERN KNIGHTS

Round 1 – Saturday, March 3, 11am
Holm Park Recreation Reserve, Beaconsfield

On Saturday, Northern Knights captain, Madeline Brancatisano will lead her side out against the Stingrays. Brancatisano will play in a stacked midfield that contains fellow leaders, Britney Gutknecht, Maggie Antypas, and Gabby Newton, which will be a dangerous prospect for their opponents.

Dandenong is welcoming a positional change for 2017 Team of the Year member, Jordyn Allen. Allen played in defence throughout last year, but will suit up in the midfield in round one, in order to challenge the exciting Northern Knights leadership group in the middle of the ground.

Dandenong Stingrays

B: 5. E. Allen-Burns, 51. Z. Hill, 19. B. Borchard
HB: 3. C. Jones, 35. L. Cripps, 29. B. Struylaart
C: 4. J.  Guy-Toogood, 15. J.  Allen, 1. S.  Heath
HF: 18. S. Bayne, 31. B. Vernon, 28. T. Smith
F: 46. J. George, 44. S. Ryan, 55. H. Thomas
R: 39. N. Taylor, 26. I. Shannon, 12. M. McDonald
Int: 40. R. Clancy – Dillon, 45. M. Graham, 10. A. Jordan, 41. S. Repellin
Emg: 42. A. O’Sullivan, 30. P. Swayn

Northern Knights

B: 32. A. Snow, 26. E. Clayton, 13. M. Suzuki
HB: 10. P. Chisholm, 18. S. Sansonetti, 27. P. Kearney
C: 1. M.  Antypas, 5. M.  Brancatisano, 2. M.  Jarvis
HF: 12. O. Dikranis, 6. A. Bannan, 16. T. Manson
F: 14. J. Fitzgerald, 3. N. Morris-Dalton, 24. A. Pronesti
R: 4. N. O’Connor, 22. B. Gutknecht, 23. G. Newton
Int: 7. A. Bennett, 9. M. Chaplin, 17. C. Fitzgerald, 25. T. Mills
Emg: 8. G. Ceravolo, 35. M. Rodezno, 34. M. Uwland, 11. A. Williams

EASTERN RANGES v. GREATER WESTERN VICTORIA REBELS

Round 1 – Saturday, March 3, 12:45pm
Holm Park Recreation Reserve, Beaconsfield

The Greater Western Victoria Rebels are fielding a full-strength team for round one, stacking up the midfield with its captain, and two AFLW Academy members. Lauren Butler, Rene Caris and Sophie Van De Heuvel will really challenge the Eastern Ranges midfield with their impressive skills and leadership traits. In the backline, look out for Tara Jasper, who comes from an athletics and netball background. It is the 19 year-old’s last year in the program, so she would be looking to go out with a bang.

A player who would be nervous for Saturday’s match is Mikala Cann, who will start on ball in her first game for the Eastern Ranges. Cann comes from an athletics background, and the club is hoping to utilise her running power to burst through the corridor. She will be joined by AFLW Academy player, Emerson Woods, who will play on the wing for her first appearance in the TAC Cup Girls competition this year.

Eastern Ranges

B: 18. A. Allsopp, 44. H. Tucker, 17. M. Kendall
HB: 37. G. Macpherson, 43. A. Tognazzini, 48. L. Szigeti
C: 41. J.  Richardson, 16. E.  Horne, 3. E.  Woods
HF: 26. T. Brown, 40. T. Merrett, 19. I. Ball
F: 9. P. Buruma, 42. M. Taverna, 47. J. Provan
R: 46. S. Kendall, 21. M. Cann, 6. G. De Angelis
Int: 22. C. Chamberlain, 8. C. Delbridge, 39. O. Meagher
Emg: 10. N. Cormack , 35. B. Cubitt, 50. S. Zappia

Greater Western Victoria Rebels

B: 34. S. Glover, 14. L. Sykes, 23. S. Molan
HB: 15. T. Jasper, 27. N. Dojiok, 19. K. McAloon
C: 2. R.  Saulitis, 44. E.  Bibby, 10. H.  Simpson
HF: 25. G. Clarke, 28. I. Simmons, 8. E. Wood
F: 41. K. Harris, 45. A. Humphries, 13. C. Leonard
R: 35. R. Caris, 18. S. Van De Heuvel, 16. L. Butler
Emg: 6. N. Butler, 26. G. Pidgeon, 17. A. Astbury , 21. D. Henson, 7. A. McAuliffe, 33. I. Robson

BENDIGO PIONEERS v. WESTERN JETS

Round 1 – Saturday, March 3, 1pm
Epsom Huntly Reserve, Bendigo

At Epsom Huntly Reserve, Sophie Kerridge will get to suit up for the Pioneers. The 19 year-old is the sister of Carlton player, Sam Kerridge, and has been touted as a player to watch this year. In the forward line, the Pioneers’ hot draft prospect, Jordyn Joliffe will be hoping to pick up where she left off last year in Bendigo colours, which could cause havoc for the Jets’ defenders.

The Western Jets have selected cousins, Payton Ozols and Savannah Forbes in their round one side. The girls come from a netball background, but enjoyed a great year for the VU Western Spurs in the Essendon District Football League. Forbes was awarded as the joint best and fairest in the Youth Girls competition, along with Spurs and now Jets teammate, Elisabeth Georgostathis, who will play across half back.

Bendigo Pioneers

B: 25. T. Stewart, 32. S. Reilly, 5. E. Turnbull
HB: 24. E. Gretgrix, 20. K. Douglass, 21. H. Spencer
C: 11. J.  Finning, 28. M.  Williamson, 3. C.  Isaac
HF: 30. B. Heiden, 4. J. Jolliffe, 23. G. Murrell
F: 27. B. Hards, 17. G. Sladden, 1. M. Tupper
R: 9. D. Kelly-Guthrie, 19. K. Jacques, 2. M. Baldwin
Int: 12. T. Coad, 13. S. Kerridge , 26. L. Newton, 14. O. Taverna, 22. M. Ward

Western Jets

B: 2. C. Gashi, 31. K. Rebuffo, 25. T. Kolevski
HB: 8. E. Gardner, 30. I. Pritchard, 16. E. Georgostathis
C: 22. A.  Chivell, 10. M.  Cooper, 6. L.  Wright
HF: 3. A. Lowe, 14. I. Grant, 4. L. Spargo
F: 7. L. Eustace, 39. C. Saxon-Jones, 40. S. Whiting
R: 43. C. Greiser, 19. O. Forsythe, 27. P. Ozols
Int: 26. L. Basto, 29. E. Cassar, 5. M. Daw, 21. M. Fenech, 41. S. Forbes, 1. M. Gregory, 12. K. O’Keefe

GIPPSLAND POWER v. OAKLEIGH CHARGERS

Round 1 – Sunday, March 4, 11.30am
Moe Recreation Reserve, Moe

The Power will be hoping to get its 2018 campaign off to a great start, and have included AFLW Academy member, Tyla Hanks in the midfield. Hanks is a top draft prospect for Gippsland, and will be hoping to follow the footsteps of former teammates, Darcy Guttridge and Holly Whitford, who have earned spots on Collingwood’s AFLW list.

For the Chargers, daughter of AFL umpire, Scott McLaren, Hannah, will start on-ball. McLaren has joined Oakleigh as a defender, but will be looking to put pressure on the likes of Tyla Hanks in the Gippsland midfield. However, we will not be seeing cricketer, Isabella Gietzmann in the round one hit-out, but she is sure to appear later on in the season for the Chargers.

Gippsland Power

B: 2. S. Beaton, 45. L. Van Berkel, 17. S. Trewin
HB: 65. J. Redmond, 57. J. Ferguson, 27. N. Webber
C: 1. E.  Jones, 28. T.  Hanks, 30. A.  Rippon
HF: 13. H. Andrews, 8. C. Abrahams, 31. L. Berry
F: 47. E. Cornish , 50. M. Van Berkel, 12. M. Fitzsimon
R: 58. A. Dunn, 10. T. Dower, 6. E. Haeusler
Int: 32. C. Bird, 29. C. Bray, 7. L. Raymond , 49. M. Shaw
Emg: 48. C. Prestidge, 9. T. Whitehead, 60. E. Williams

Oakleigh Chargers

B: 13. T. Morton, 45. T. Cowan, 5. A. van Oosterwijck
HB: 19. E. Harley, 39. T. Nichols, 26. A. Micallef
C: 2. M.  Hill, 14. H.  McLaren, 30. G.  Lagioia
HF: 33. G. Byrne, 68. A. Dyer, 3. J. D’Amato
F: 29. M. Bertuna, 21. C. Moon, 17. N. Xenos
R: 11. B. Winbanks, 16. A. Porter, 41. K. Lynch
Int: 43. E. Hastie, 50. C. Nancarrow, 32. C. O’Malley
Emg: 9. E. Jackson, 15. A. Ling, 69. L. Mayne, 28. G. Wyett

MURRAY BUSHRANGERS v. CALDER CANNONS

Round 1 – Sunday, March 4, 1pm
JC Lowe Oval, Yarrawonga

Consistent stars, Grace Egan and Rebecca Webster headline Murray Bushrangers’ round one side. Egan will be looking to hold down the fort in defence, while AFLW Academy member, Webster will be hopeful of a day out in the midfield. But perhaps the biggest story comes from the forward line, where under-16 national basketballer, Olivia Barber will battle it out at full forward.

The Calder Cannons has stacked its midfield ahead of its blockbuster clash on Sunday, weary of the Bushrangers’ fire-power in that area of the ground. Hot draft prospect and Calder captain, Madison Prespakis will lead from the front in the middle of the ground. She will be joined by fellow Vic Metro representative, Georgia Patrikios, who are a dangerous duo in the midfield.

Murray Bushrangers

B: 14. A. Duguid, 10. G. Kelly, 32. N. Watts
HB: 16. E. Ashley-Cooper, 42. G. Egan, 26. E. Nicholson
C: 11. A.  Chessor, 17. R.  Webster, 3. P.  Crelley
HF: 19. M. Brown, 5. C. Hargreaves, 1. J. Harvey
F: 37. S. Damon, 45. O. Barber, 8. O. Hall
R: 43. T. Verhoeven, 22. T. Smith, 4. C. Knight
Int: 6. K. Adams, 44. M. Eze, 36. C. Mckimmie, 33. M. Trethowan
Emg: 39. H. Doohan, 25. E. Freeman, 31. S. Locke, 34. E. McPherson

Calder Cannons

B: 24. K. Delia, 48. C. Brown, 32. T. Fry
HB: 29. S. Elias, 46. G. Elarmaly, 9. M. Warburton
C: 1. H.  Cooke, 23. G.  Dicker, 21. G.  Patrikios
HF: 34. Z. Hardiman, 17. E. Cornish, 22. M. Muller
F: 10. M. Hemburrow, 16. C. Hodgson, 2. F. Theodore
R: 18. C. Rendelmann, 3. M. Prespakis, 11. A. Barba
Int: 49. T. Crook, 25. A. Magri, 8. E. Vale, 27. E. Woodley
Emg: 30. S. Cameron, 37. F. Holloway, 35. I. Young

TAC Cup Girls preview: Sandringham Dragons

THE Sandringham Dragons had an okay inaugural TAC Cup Girls competition, winning two of their five games and had a number of standout players including Team of the Year selection Georgia Ricardo, and best and fairest winner OIivia Vesely.

Without a doubt the Dragons would have loved to have had Isabel Huntington out on the park in 2017 – with the AFLW National Draft top pick missing the entire year through an ACL rupture. Her talent was obvious from a young age and did not deter the Western Bulldogs from pouncing on the key utility with the first pick. One thing that stood out about the Dragons in 2017 is that they had 16 players who played every game of the season, and just four players in the squad that took part in three or less games, enabling some continuity within the team.

In 2018, the Dragons will be guided by Tamara Hyett who will lead them into battle against the Geelong Falcons on Saturday, before facing Oakleigh Chargers on March 17 and Northern Knights a week later. The Dragons had an early pre-season hit-out with the Chargers recently, culminating in a strong victory to give them plenty to be excited about for the year ahead.

Sandringham also announced its leadership group ahead of the season, with Jemma Owen named captain, alongside Chelsea Bowen, Maddi Wilson and Alana Dalley. Owen played all five games last season, named in the best on two occasions, and was one of the few who stood up against the onslaught of GWV Rebels in the final round.

Dalley is one to watch in 2018 with the over-age ruck a notable performer over the pre-season, after looking good last season. Another top-ager worth keeping track of is Eleanor Brown who shone in the Dragons’ loss to the Northern Knights last season, and was named Sandringham’s best. She causes headaches for the opposition and has a strong endurance base stemming from her athletics background.

Sandringham also has a number of players still a year or two off being drafted with Eliza McNamara one that is likely to catch the eye after being a standout for Melbourne Girls Grammar in the Herald Sun Shield Division 1 Senior Girls Grand Final last season. Despite being 15 years-old at the time, the talented junior was consistently named among the best throughout the tournament, even in the school’s 23-point loss to Ballarat Grammar in the final.

A teammate of McNamara’s during that grand final was Abbie McKay, who also stood out as one of the best across the tournament, with the daughter of former Blue Andrew, playing five games for the Dragons in 2017. McKay was another one who stood tall in the Dragons’ loss to the Rebels and will be one to watch as a potential father-daughter selection for the Blues at the end of the year.

Another famous name to carry on the football tradition at the Dragons is Burke, with sisters Molly and Alice to run out for Sandringham in 2018. The daughters of St Kilda star Nathan, Molly is eligible to be drafted this season, with Alice a couple of years away. It will be interesting to see how the soccer-converts take to the field, with Burke recently putting pen to paper in Inside Footy telling of his experiences with coaching female footballers.