Tag: Chloe Molloy

AFLW Draft review: Collingwood

COLLINGWOOD was hit the hardest in the AFL Women’s off-season, losing many experienced players to other clubs. Moana Hope, Christina Bernardi, Jess Duffin, Jasmine Garner, Emma King and Amelia Barden will all be playing at different clubs in 2019, while retirees, Meg Hutchins, Bree White and Caitlyn Edwards will also be a big loss for the Pies. It was always going to be interesting to see how Collingwood went about its draft, but overall, versatility has been the theme as the side seeks a quick fix to its punishing off-season.

What they needed:

  • Forwards to replace Moana Hope, Lauren Tesoriero and Christina Bernardi
  • Defenders to replace Caitlyn Edwards and Tara Morgan
  • Versatility to fill the absence of Jess Duffin, Jasmine Garner and Chloe Molloy (inactive this season)
  • Experience to fill the void of Meg Hutchins and Bree White
  • Ruck to replace Emma King
  • Midfield depth to fill the void of Amelia Barden

 

Players selected:

Jordyn Allen – Dandenong Stingrays

Allen is a known leader, having captained the Dandenong Stingrays and Vic Country this year. Allen is a star off half-back with her overhead marking and unique ability to build her own wall in the defensive 50. She can also roll into the midfield and have an immediate impact there with her football smarts and long kicks. She will play a big part in helping to fill the void of Chloe Molloy and Jess Duffin.

Katie Lynch – Oakleigh Chargers

Lynch is a real X-factor player who creates excitement when she gets the ball. She has a fantastic long kick and can use it across the field. She is a tall player that plays primarily in the midfield and breaks the lines well with her strength. Despite limited game time in the TAC Cup Girls competition in the last two years, Lynch overcame injury trouble and battling school commitments to represent Vic Metro this year. She will help to fill the void of inside bull, Amelia Barden for the Pies in 2019.

Mikala Cann – Eastern Ranges

Mikala Cann is a remarkable story. In her first year of football, she represented Vic Metro, played in a premiership with Hawthorn and was named in the TAC Cup Girls Team of the Year. Known for her ferocity in the contest, Cann is a hard inside midfielder who loves to tackle. Coming from an athletics background, she is able to combine her speed and power to haunt opposition midfielders. She will be a great addition to Collingwood’s midfield, and presents a style of play similar to Brittany Bonnici, so the pair should combine well in the midfield.

Lauren Butler – Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels

The skipper of the GWV Rebels had a great year, representing Vic Country and spending some time with the Western Bulldogs in the Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s. Being a utility, she will add some much-needed versatility to the Collingwood line-up. Her endurance is perhaps one of the most impressive assets of her game and she proved it at the AFL Women’s Draft Combine, placing in the top five in the yo-yo intermittent test and the 2km time trial.

Maddie Shevlin – Casey Demons

Shevlin was perhaps a bit unlucky to get delisted by Melbourne in the off-season, But after some fantastic football for Casey, Collingwood decided to give her a second chance in the AFLW. Rotating through the forward line and the midfield, Shevlin kicked five goals from 14 games and was named in the best five times. She’s a player who knows how to rack up the disposals and uses the football cleanly both by hand or by foot. Another player who will add some versatility to the Pies’ line-up.

Sophie Alexander – Collingwood VFLW

Alexander burst onto the scene for the Pies this year in the VFLW. She kicked 14 goals from 14 games, including four majors against the NT Thunder. She was also named in the best eight times, highlighting her consistency. She is a powerful forward who can kick them from anywhere and is a great mark of the footy. She could be one of the most exciting players in the Collingwood lineup this year and could be a great replacement for Moana Hope.

Georgia Gourlay – Casey Demons VFLW

Georgia Gourlay is another great story from the Pies, as she has bounced back from two knee reconstructions in three years to earn a spot in Collingwood’s AFL Women’s side. She was a promising junior, making the Under 18 All Australian team as a 16 year-old. She is known for her precise kicking, which she uses as an asset of her game on the wing and on the half-back line. She could find a home in defence to replace the likes of Caitlyn Edwards and Tara Morgan.

Jordan Membrey – Wilston Grange

The Pies have picked up another delisted player in Jordan Membrey, who spent some time at the Lions in 2017. Her experience in an AFL Women’s line-up makes her a ready-made player for the Pies, which is a handy acquisition. Membrey got the chance to show her leadership skills this year, captaining Gold Coast in the AFL Women’s Winter series. She can rotate through the forward line and the midfield, and impresses with her clean hands.

Erica Fowler – Collingwood VFLW

Erica Fowler seems to be the solution to replace the departed Emma King. She and Hynes should combine well in the ruck to give the Collingwood midfielders first use of the ball. Fowler can also be a key target up forward, often playing a role for the Pies at full forward during the VFLW season.

 

How they went:

The Pies’ draft strategy appears to revolve around experience and versatility. With the loss of so many players in the off-season, Collingwood needed to kill two birds with one stone, and recruited versatile players such as Erica Fowler, Jordan Membrey and Jordyn Allen to provide a quick solution for the mass loss of players. A lot of midfield depth has been added through the likes of Mikala Cann and Katie Lynch, which will help the Pies get first access to the football. The forward line has also been bolstered through the recruitment of Sophie Alexander, who was one of the most exciting forwards in the VFLW competition. The Pies have a lot of options to work with for 2019, so it will be interesting to see how they fit all these versatile players into their line-up.

Collingwood draftee, Jordyn Allen “couldn’t think of a better club to be at”

JORDYN Allen had been in contact with a couple of clubs heading into the AFL Women’s Draft.

But she had no idea which club would pick her up. The Pies ended up selecting Allen at pick five, and the 18 year-old is overwhelmed about her opportunity to pull on the black and white.

“I kind of just burst into tears when my name got called out,” Allen said. “I didn’t expect to have that sort of reaction but I honestly couldn’t think of a better club to be at and absolutely stoked to be in the black and white.”

Allen plays a similar role to Collingwood’s reigning Best and Fairest winner, Chloe Molloy. Both are attacking half-backs, but offer versatility through the midfield as well. The Dandenong Stingrays captain hopes she can make a similar impact to Molloy.

“I offer the half-back, a bit of attacking so I look up to Chloe in terms of her versatility,” Allen said. “So just like she got put forward and through the midfield, I hope that I can perform the same role for Collingwood.”

Allen led the Stingrays this year in the TAC Cup Girls competition and was named in the best in seven out of the eight games she played. She says Dandenong has played a huge part in helping her get to where she is today.

“The Stingrays have given me so much support,” Allen said. “It’s been phenomenal. “It’s sad to leave them I guess but I’ll always be connected to the Stingrays and always be a Stingray girl at heart.”

Being the club captain enabled Allen to add a new element to her game. She developed her leadership skills remarkably and was rewarded with a chance to captain Vic Country this year. Now, she has the opportunity to one day be a leader at the Pies.

“Being a leader’s definitely another aspect of my game that you have to kind of bring beyond your footy skills and it’s been awesome, you get to know people really well,” Allen said. “You get to see a different side of people that you don’t get to really see and create those bonds you don’t usually get to make so it’s been awesome and the footy’s been amazing this year. “We’ve had some really awesome opportunities and couldn’t be more thankful for all of the people who got me here.”

At Collingwood, Allen has the opportunity to play alongside former Vic Country representative, Darcy Guttridge. The 18 year-old is looking forward to playing alongside one of her favourite teammates at an elite level.

“I played a fair bit of junior football with her and watched her get drafted last year,” Allen said. “She didn’t play due to injury but played a bit of VFL (Victorian Football League) with her this year and she’s probably one of the best teammates I could have. “She’s definitely someone I look up to and I can’t wait to play with her again.”

As a junior, Allen knew that she was always going to do whatever her brother did. So when he picked up a football, so too did Allen. Now, she will be picking up a football in the highest level of female football in Australia, in what is truly a dream come true for the talented leader.

Season reviews: VFLW – Collingwood

THE Magpies took the Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s competition by storm, winning 13 straight excluding the draw in Round 2. Unfortunately, they fell short when it counted, which was in the finals. The Magpies would be happy with their season but so too disappointed they could not take home the silverware.

 

Position: 1st
Win-loss: 12-1-1
Percentage: 185%

Results:

Round 1: Defeated Williamstown by 18 points
Round 2: Drew with Geelong
Round 3: Defeated Richmond by 43 points
Round 4: Defeated Bulldogs by eight points
Round 5: Defeated Hawthorn by seven points
Round 6: Bye
Round 7: Defeated Carlton by 36 points
Round 8: Defeated Northern Territory by 16 points
Round 9: Defeated Darebin by 29 points
Round 10: Bye
Round 11: Defeated Carlton by 17 points
Round 12: Defeated Melbourne Uni by 19 points
Round 13: Defeated Essendon by 26 points
Round 14: Lost against Northern Territory by 10 points
Round 15: Defeated Southern Saints by 38 points
Round 16: Defeated Casey by 32 points

 

Key players:

#2 Chloe Molloy

Molloy proved to be one of Collingwood’s greatest assets throughout the VFLW season. In the AFLW, the youngster claimed the Rising Star Award, made the All-Australian team and won Collingwood’s best and fairest credit to her class, skill and high footy IQ. Molloy carried on in the VFLW, and was an absolute machine on the footy field, going in hard at the contest. She offered great run and carry and more importantly a safe set of hands across the ground. Unfortunately, she is set for a long stint on the sidelines next season after getting injured in the preliminary final, which will be a huge loss for the Pies.

#4 Sarah D’Arcy 

D’Arcy was one of Collingwood’s most consistent players across the board. She was able to play her role without fail in many games across the season and she was hard to stop when she did. D’Arcy was one of the Pies’ most solid performers in the finals, and was a key reason why the side experienced so much success during the home and away season. Against Hawthorn in the first week of finals, D’Arcy gathered 20 disposals, took six marks and laid five tackles in a great all-round game.

#13 Jaimee Lambert

Lambert’s experience and class around the contest was a focal point of her game. She proved to be a real play-maker and goal sneak for the Magpies, ending the season with 10 goals from her 12 matches. The new recruit slotted right into the Collingwood line-up and was a real bull around the contest, applying plenty of forward pressure. Round 16 was a standout for the 24 year-old, who had the footy on a string. She racked up 15 touches, laid four tackles and bagged three goals, causing havoc across the ground.

#21 Iilish Ross

Ross had a consistent season for the Pies, attacking the ball hard and hitting the packs strongly. She starred in Round 13, laying a whopping 12 tackles, amassing 18 touches and nailing a goal to prove her versatility and skill. Throughout the VFLW season, Ross was clean with ball in hand and showed good composure to think her way through tricky situations. The youngster provided plenty of run and carry and showed a strong pair of hands while under pressure. Her ball use was clean and precise, drawing her teammates to the space and the footy.

#47 Jessica Edwards

Captained the side after crossing from South Australia and did a terrific job. Often coming off half-back or along the wing, Edwards was able to impact the contest regularly and gain her team serious ground. She put her body on the line and brought her teammates into the game. A strong leader and one that would be looked at by AFL Women’s clubs for her impact on and off the field.

#49 Sophie Alexander

Alexander’s tackling pressure was intense, showing she was not afraid to put her body on the line. Her intent was fierce and she consistently helped to lock the ball in the Pies’ attacking half. She also displayed good bursts of speed to help open up space across the ground and provide overlap run for her teammates to get into damaging positions. More importantly though she proved to be a handful in the forward line with her accuracy in front of goal causing havoc for her opponents. She was the club’s leading goal kicker managing 14 goals from her 14 games.

 

Season summary:

After an impressive start to the season, Collingwood was left ruing its early exit from the finals series, bowing out in the preliminary final. The Pies finished on top of the ladder with only one loss to their name, but they failed to make the most of their position in the finals. They proved to be the benchmark of the VFLW competition with their fierce intent and willingness to take the game on but will be wanting to go one match better next season and take home the premiership. The Magpies showed great composure with ball in hand and showcased their ability to pick sides apart, credit to their patience and solid structure.

Future is bright for women’s football

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Prespakis overcomes initial pressure for impressive top-age year

THERE are plenty of talented players who have followed the Youth Girls pathways, but the name Madison Prespakis is one that has been frequently mentioned within the pathways. With accolades that include TAC Cup Girls Best and Fairest, two-time Vic Metro Most Valuable Player, joint overall Most Valuable Player at the National Under 18 Championships and Calder Cannons Best and Fairest – all of that coming in the past 18 months, Prespakis is building a CV that is equal to any junior footballer, boy or girl. But just where did it all begin for the talented Cannons captain?

“It all really started when I was about four years old,” Prespakis said. “I started playing Auskick and I was always going down there and hanging out with all the boys and some of the girls who were playing. “I started from there and then when I was seven, I went and started playing Under 9s for Romsey Football Club with the boys and I think my dad really got me into footy from there. “He was a big footballer when he was young and he loved footy and I think the pathway I’m going, I’m trying to be that one step ahead of him. “I think my dad’s had the biggest influence on me and after starting Auskick and junior footy I just haven’t looked back, I’m just looking ahead to future now.”

With the passion for football always around her in the household, Prespakis said there were very few moments where she was not analysing some part of her footballing life.

“There’s not really that describes football to me, it’s kind of everything to me really,” she said. “When I go to school in the morning and all that, I don’t think about anything else throughout the day, I just think about what I’m going to do at footy training tonight and who we’re playing on the weekend and things like that. “For me, I just love footy and there’s nothing that would not make me not love it.”

In the two years of the TAC Cup Girls, Prespakis has experienced both the highs of a premiership, and the rebuilding stage in 2018, leading a number of talented bottom-agers this season.

“It’s been a lot different having a younger side and obviously being the top-age, one of the top-age girls, for me, I’ve found it a little bit hard at the start of the year,” Prespakis said. “I felt a little bit of pressure at the start of the year because we were such a young side, but to get the opportunity to captain the girls, I really took on board and I really took that opportunity well and for those girls I think for them, to have a role model in myself and a few other of the top-age girls was something for them really special to have for the first year so when they go on they can hopefully be role models to younger girls. “I think as well, not so much on-field, but off-field having a younger side the girls just gelled better. “Everyone was friends and as soon as we got onto the field, everyone just wanted to improve and hopefully by the end of the year we’d win a few games. “By the end of the year we did, we showed improvement. “We did win two games overall, but we did bring it up to top sides and I think the girls are really proud of themselves throughout the year. “Obviously we didn’t get wins on the scoreboard, but we got individual wins as a team, so that was the highlight.”

Prespakis has as much humility as she does natural talent, and for the tough onballer, winning the Vic Metro MVP in her bottom-age year was a learning curve in regards to external noise.

“Yeah for me, obviously I wasn’t expecting awards like that to be won at Nationals last year, I wasn’t going into that thinking that,” Prespakis said. “Then coming out of that, there was a lot of pressure I found on myself. “I did have to try and deal with it after a while because there was a lot of speculation in the media and that sort of stuff, so I unfollowed a lot of pages to get away from that because it was putting a lot of stress on me in my pre-season and how I have to perform this year. “So going into Nationals there has been that bit of speculation as well, coming off with that award last year, but like I said I just don’t put pressure on myself. “I don’t think about that stuff, i just think about the team things.”

The Vic Metro captain had put expectations to the back of her mind ahead of this year’s AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships, so much so she was just taking it one step at a time.

“(The) goal this year is probably hopefully make the squad,” Prespakis said. “Just wait for that to be announced, and if so, head off to Gold Coast and then just play good footy. “(I) don’t really put too much pressure on myself or anything like that, just play good footy.”

Unsurprisingly, Prespakis did more than just make the squad, she shared the captaincy, and took out both the Vic Metro and tournament MVP awards, standing out across the midfield and going forward when required. Across all levels, Prespakis felt more prepared for what was coming, as did the other girls on her respective teams.

“It’s definitely lifted,” Prespakis said. “I remember the last few years it’s definitely lifted heaps. “The girls know what to expect when they come into pre-season and they know how to deal with pre-season, get themselves fit and right for the games. “Even VFL and all that, the girls are just getting better every year and the standard’s just lifting and lifting, it’s really good for female footy.”

Prespakis also stood out against the senior players in the Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s competition, learning a lot at Melbourne Uni and being named in the best every game she played.

“I loved it, something I can’t wait to do again,” she said. “I’ve trained with them for the last couple of years in that team has been great. “Learning off some of the best like Emma Kearney, Ellie Blackburn, all those sorts of girls has helped me be a better footballer. “I think I adapted well to the bigger bodies, but definitely a lot of room for improvement but I can’t wait to keep playing senior footy.”

Last season the Calder Cannons had three players drafted – Chloe Molloy, Monique Conti and Sarah Dargan – all of whom tasted AFL Women’s action in season 2018, with Molloy taking out the Rising Star award, while Conti was best on ground in the grand final.

“I definitely went to a few games and watched either Sarah, Chloe or Monique play to support them after playing with them for a few years,” Prespakis said. “Watching them for a few years, it was just crazy to think I was playing with them last year and look where they are, playing AFLW. “I definitely speak to Monique more about the way she balances. “I just watch the way she balances both her basketball and footy and she did Year 12 last year as well. “If she can do it, then I suppose I can balance it to, she’s a good athlete and someone that I look up to in that perspective.”

Prespakis described her key strengths as her power through stoppages and her kicking – something that was evident in season 2018 across all competitions.

“Some of my strengths are my actual strength, I’m a pretty powerful player, I’ve got a lot of strength in me,” Prespakis said. “I work hard, I like to think i work hard running both ways, doing anything to lift the team. “Room for improvement obviously just keep working on fitness, overall fitness, getting myself right for every game, recovering right. “Just keep improving that the coaches say, but definitely a strength for me is my disposal and power through packs.”

Like most girls, Prepakis has balanced her football with study and work, something she has got the hang of the past few years. With October’s National AFL Women’s Draft approaching, Prespakis is hoping to live out her ultimate dream.

“I was actually talking to my parents about it and ever since I was a little girl, I said I wanted to play AFL footy and now that us girls have that pathway, we have that spot in AFL footy, it’s definitely a dream and if my name does get called out on the draft day, it will probably be the most overwhelming thing,” Prespakis said. “I will just be so excited for a start.”

Weekend previews: VFLW – Week 2 Finals

A do-or-die clash will take place at Stannards Stadium this weekend where one team will be hoping to secure its spot in the Grand Final. After the minor premiers stumbled against the Hawks last week, they will be keen to make amends on Sunday. But the Cats come into this clash with the confidence that they can knock off another strong team, after they defeated the Thunder in week one of the Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s finals.

 

Collingwood vs. Geelong

Sunday September 16, Stannards Stadium, 11.45am

This should be a highly entertaining clash between two strong sides with stars all-round. The midfield duo of Richelle Cranston, and Olivia Purcell will seriously threaten the Magpies brigade after all three had stellar performances against NT last week. Cranston came away with 19 disposals and two goals while Purcell racked up the same amount of disposals and also got on the scoreboard. However, they will have to come up against an in-form Chloe Molloy, who is extremely damaging at her best. She kicked two of her side’s three goals in the first week of finals and has been a key player for the Pies all season. Her Collingwood AFL Women’s teammate, Sarah D’Arcy also comes into this game off some good form, being the Pies’ leading disposal-getter on the weekend with 20. She complemented that effort with six marks and five tackles. Nicole Hildebrand and Stacey Livingstone will be key bookends for the Pies and will have to contend with the likes of Mia-Rae Clifford up forward and Rebecca Goring down back for the Cats. Both were recently named in the VFL Women’s Team of the Year and would be keen to do some damage in their respective 50s. Geelong and Collingwood both have strong defences so expect a tight clash between two formidable sides who are hungry to make history.

Number Crunching: VFLW – Week 1 Finals

WEEK one of the 2018 Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s finals series went off with a bang, with two favourites beaten in blockbuster matches. With the Hawks claiming victory over Collingwood, they advance to the Grand Final in two weeks’ time whereas the Pies have this weekend to decide their fate in the preliminary final. A surprise, but well-fought, win against NT has also bolstered Geelong into the preliminary final. The Cats found themselves trailing for most of the game, but with a magnificent fourth quarter, they were able to snatch the victory in the end.

Hawthorn’s dominance on Saturday was attributed to the excellent game and leadership of captain, Emma Mackie. Mackie was the player to disrupt the goal-for-goal game, kicking two unanswered majors against the Pies. She kicked a total of three goals for her team. Similarly, Hawthorn’s Rosie Dillon had an amazing game, moving the ball across the field with 20 disposals. Dillon’s ability wasn’t only in moving the ball through the Pies’ defence, but also up forward, as she kicked a goal.

Despite losing, Collingwood showed serious promise. Hawthorn’s defence was far too tight for the Pies, but a solid performance from Chloe Molloy attempted to keep the team afloat. Molloy kicked two of the Pies’ three goals for the match, showing her determination to win, especially with her final goal in the dying minutes of the match. Molloy’s drive showed potential for a Collingwood comeback, but Hawthorn still persisted with its strong backline.

Despite a ‘rocky’ start to the Cats’ semi-final, they displayed more and more determination as the game went on. Richelle Cranston was a major catalyst in this, being able to win even the toughest contests, with five marks and two goals. Due to Cranston’s resilience, she was able to kick an absolute screamer of a goal from more than 50 metres out to seal the game for her side. Another important player for Geelong was TAC Cup Girls Best and Fairest, Nina Morrison. Morrison showed keen skill, being able to link the ball through NT’s defence and into the goal square. Morrison’s disposals aided in Geelong’s dominance in the final quarter. She will be a key player against Collingwood in the preliminary final.  

Kicking half of her team’s goals, Marijana Rajcic was a powerhouse for NT in the first half. Rajcic’s ability to consistently mark the ball and kick goals was a main factor in NT leading for the majority of the game. With Rajcic’s third goal coming at the start of the fourth term, it was thought that she would have won NT the game. Similarly, Jenna McCormick was a primary reason for NT’s success earlier in the game. McCormick moved the ball all around the field, usually being the key connection to a goal for Rajcic.

Top player stats: VFLW Finals Week 1

PLAYERTEAMGBHDKEKIEHEHIEHRCMUMMKSTKS
Emma MackieHawthorn304011340004
Rosie DillonHawthorn10387291124
Chloe MolloyCollingwood30343021238
Richelle CranstonGeelong Cats211123320556
Nina MorrisonGeelong Cats01744330117
Marijana RajcicNT Thunder30415011343
Jenna McCormickNT Thunder101074390220

AFL Draft Central’s VFLW Team of the Year

PICKING the AFL Draft Central Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s Team of the Year was very difficult as there has been numerous terrific performers throughout the year. We compiled the best 22 players at the end of the VFLW home and away season, which takes into account the standout performers from the 16 rounds of VFLW this season.

Jess Duffin starts in the centre due to her outstanding season for Williamstown. She was picked in the AFL Draft Central VFLW Team of the Week five times during the season, showing how dominant she was in the competition. She had a wonderful VFLW season and will hope to continue her great form with North Melbourne in the upcoming AFL Women’s season. Darcy Vescio is rightfully named at full forward after winning the VFLW goalkicking award, with 26 goals from nine matches. Nine of these goals were kicked against the Bombers in Round 16.

The back line is headlined by Hawthorn gun defender, Jayde Van Dyk. Van Dyk has been a revelation this season with her consistency and ability to lock down key players. Richmond’s Jacqueline Graham, who was also great down back for her side, accompanies Van Dyk in the back line. She featured in the AFL Draft Central VFLW Team of the Week eight times, which is only beaten by Jayde Van Dyk and Jess Duffin’s nine appearances.

The midfield is littered with some of the competition’s superstars. Ashleigh Riddell was outstanding for Melbourne University across the wing, while Alison Drennan was extremely reliable for the Southern Saints. She appeared in the Team of the Week seven times this season. Darebin’s Lauren Pearce got the nod to be the starting ruck as she was one of the standout rucks in the competition alongside Rhiannon Watt (Southern Saints) and Alice Edmonds (Richmond). Pearce just edged out the latter duo to make the AFL Draft Central VFLW Team of the Year.

The forward line has plenty of fire-power and is easily capable of kicking a winning score. On the left half-forward flank is NT’s Jess Sedunary, who finished third in the goalkicking tally. Alongside her at centre-half forward is North Melbourne recruit, Jasmine Garner, who kicked 10 goals in nine games for the Seagulls.

The bench consists of midfield pair, Richelle Cranston (Geelong) and Jenna Bruton (Williamstown) as well as utility, Katherine Gillespie-Jones (Melbourne University). Rounding out the AFL Draft Central VFLW Team of the Year is Thunder captain, Angela Foley. Foley was able to provide outstanding leadership while simultaneously playing some consistent football.

Due to only 22 making the final cut, there was destined to be many unlucky players. Falcons forward, Hannah Mouncey can consider herself unlucky as she kicked the second-most goals in the competition. But as we saw with Tom Hawkins in the AFL, who did not make the 2018 All Australian side, goals sometimes are not enough. Hawthorn midfielder, Melissa Kuys is also unlucky as she had a great season leading from the front. Former Calder Cannons pair, Chloe Molloy and Madison Prespakis are two more who had an argument to be included in the Team of the Year, but will definitely be featuring prominently in the future.

Scouting notes: VFLW – Collingwood vs Hawthorn

HAWTHORN has won its way through to the Grand Final after defeating minor premiers, Collingwood. AFL Draft Central‘s Carly McClen was there to witness the action. The notes for the NT Thunder vs Geelong game will be online tomorrow.

 

Collingwood vs Hawthorn

Collingwood: 

#2 Chloe Molloy

Collingwood AFLW star Chloe Molloy was in impressive form, in the second quarter after being on the ground a minute and a half she kicked the first goal for the Pies to level the scores. She kicked another in the last, a 40 metre goal on the run that bounced through. It was a rare individual effort and she laid eight strong tackles.

#3 Nicole Hildebrand

Played a steady defensive role, crucial to keeping the margin within two goals. She read the ball better than her opponent and was often prepared to play on and kick long out of defence to clear her team from danger. She was crucial in holding up the momentum of the Hawks.

#4 Sarah D’Arcy

Her speed and slick ball movement was a sharp contrast to the Collingwood outfit on the day. She had 17 kicks, her work rate was high for four quarters.

#8 Brittany Bonnici

Had 12 disposals and laid seven tackles. She was gutsy and attacked hard but found it difficult to break the lines of the Hawks defence.

 

Hawthorn:

#1 Emma Mackie

Continued her strong form with three goals and 18 possessions. Excellent captain’s game. Her influence set the tone for the Hawks and backed it up for four quarters.

#19 Lou Wotton

She outmuscled her in-form opponent Eliza Hynes, generating more positive outcomes from stoppages.

#21 Pepa Randall

Was a dominant force in the backline. She smashed packs for the contested ball and took three good marks.

#24 Rosie Dillon

She broke through traffic to boot the first major and set the tone for the Hawks. She racked up 11 kicks, nine handballs and four tackles and consistently troubled Collingwood’s trademark defensive pressure with her pace and agility at both ends of the ground.

#28 Sarah Perkins

A real team lifter on the day. The one percenters were paramount by Perkins. Her hard chase and run-down tackle followed by an overhead mark and goal before half time really lifted the Hawks.

#32 Kim Ebb

Provided plenty of run down the wing, ran all day and created opportunities for her team and consistently troubled her opponent.

#45 Mikala Cann

A force on the half back line. She had 21 disposals and laid eight tackles for the Hawks. Kept her opponent scoreless and hardly with the ball.

Weekend wash-up: VFLW – Week 1 finals

BOTH favourites suffered losses in a cracking first week of Victorian Football League (VFL) finals. Collingwood went down to the Hawks on Saturday, giving Hawthorn the first spot in the decider. Meanwhile, Geelong managed to knock out the high-scoring outfit, NT Thunder on Sunday, setting up a mouth-watering clash between the Pies and the Cats on Sunday.

 

Collingwood 3.3 (21) defeated by Hawthorn 5.2 (32) 

By: Carly McClen 

Led by captain Emma Mackie, Hawthorn capitalised on its double-chance by booking in a well-earned place in the VFLW Grand Final with a semi-final win over the Collingwood Magpies.

The Hawks despatched Collingwood with their characteristic spread game and run and carry that could not be interfered with, despite the Pies’ best defensive pressure attempts on the day.  Hawthorn leader, Meg Hutchins, who played 12 games for Collingwood across the 2017 and 2018 AFL Women’s seasons, was impressive with her pace and composure and showed her experience and leadership against her old side. The Hawks had 19 more handballs than the opposition, they stuck to their game plan, and created forward opportunities that converted on the scoreboard. Hawthorn applied consistent pressure, causing uncharacteristic turnovers and wasted opportunities in attack by the Magpies. Although it was an 11-point margin to the Hawks at half-time, the Pies had not found what would galvanise the group to lift and getting the job done looked out of their hands.  

The Hawks had team-lifters across the ground such as Sarah Perkins with her hard chase and run-down tackle followed by an overhead mark and goal. Rosie Dillon had 20 disposals and was dangerous at both ends. Lou Wotton was dominant with her ruck work, muscling out Eliza Hynes and winning in hitouts. The three goals by skipper, Emma Mackie, one being a long bomb from centre half forward to bounce through, proved the combination of these individual efforts was too lethal and most damaging in securing the upset victory.

The Pies needed team-lifters and there was the usual class from Chloe Molloy early in the second quarter when she cleverly collected the ball and easily ran past a defender to kick straight and bounce a goal through. Molloy was solid in her role throughout but some real magic was on display in the last quarter when she kicked a 40-metre goal on the run that bounced through. The steady defensive work from Nicole Hildebrand and the high disposals and hard hitting from Sarah D’Arcy impacted the game, but these efforts did not ignite the Collingwood mindset to play their game, and they were unable to hold up the momentum of the Hawks. Both teams stepped up their physical presence on the day, but it was the Hawks who put it on the scoreboard and were unperturbed by the off-the-ball chat from the Pies.

 

NT Thunder 6.6 (42) defeated by Geelong 7.9 (51)

By: Connor Ferris

Sunday’s elimination final saw a thrilling contest from start to finish. The Thunder got the jump at the start, benefiting from a strong breeze as they dominated time in forward half. Despite the dominance, the Thunder were only able to register one goal on the scoreboard, squandering several opportunities en route to kicking five behinds.

Geelong failed to take advantage of the wind in the second quarter as the Thunder extended their quarter time lead from nine points to 15 at the main break. As the wind died down in the third quarter, it was the Cats who took control of the game, kicking three goals to one and cutting the Thunder lead to just one point heading into the final term, setting up a grandstand finish.

In the end it was Geelong who came out on top with a dominant fourth quarter to run out nine-point winners and book their place in the preliminary final against Collingwood next week.

Richelle Cranston was spectacular all day long with two goals and 19 possessions as she willed her side to victory. Fellow midfielder, Olivia Purcell also impressed, kicking one goal to go along with 19 possessions. For the Thunder, Marijana Rajcic was dangerous up forward kicking three goals, while captain, Angela Foley led from the front with a terrific game. The loss signals the end of the Thunder’s season, which had incredible promise. They’ll look to re-group and return even stronger in 2019. For Geelong, their victory gives them the opportunity to take on Collingwood in another do-or-die contest for a position in the Grand Final against Hawthorn in two weeks’ time.