Tag: Courtney Gum

AFLW Draft preview: GWS GIANTS

GREATER Western Sydney (GWS) Giants came so close to a Grand Final last season, with their fate up in the air up until the last round. With some key losses like Maddie Boyd, Phoebe McWilliams and Renee Forth ahead of the 2019 AFL Women’s season, the Giants will need some young talent to go one step further this year.

 

Last season: 4th

In: Christina Bernardi, Yvonne Bonner (rookie), Taylah Davies (rookie)
Out: Maddy Boyd, Phoebe McWilliams, Renee Forth, Melissa Freckleton, Rebecca Privitelli, Alex Saundry, Pippa Smyth, Renee Tomkins, Haneen Zreika (rookie)

GWS AFLW LIST (24/30)

  • Jacinda Barclay
  • Nicola Barr
  • Rebecca Beeson
  • Eleanor Bennetts
  • Christina Bernardi
  • Yvonne Bonner
  • Ellie Brush
  • Maddy Collier
  • Jess Dal Pas
  • Taylah Davies
  • Alicia Eva
  • Amanda Farrugia
  • Courtney Gum
  • Tanya Hetherington
  • Jodie Hicks
  • Tait Mackrill
  • Erin McKinnon
  • Phoebe Monahan
  • Pepa Randall
  • Aimee Schmidt
  • Cora Staunton
  • Louise Stephenson
  • Emma Swanson
  • Britt Tully

DRAFT PICKS

12, 42, 52, 59, 64, 69, 72, 75

POTENTIAL DRAFT PROSPECTS

The Giants are likely to take New South Wales (NSW) Most Valuable Player (MVP) at this year’s AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships, Alyce Parker. Parker has been one of NSW’s most dominant players throughout her whole Under 18s career, playing through the midfield and up forward when needed to. A midfield trio of Parker, Courtney Gum and Amanda Farrugia could be a threatening prospect for the rest of the competition. Murray Bushrangers defender, Eloise Ashley-Cooper is another player who could earn a spot at GWS. Ashley-Cooper spent some time in the TAC Cup Girls playing for Murray but has represented NSW at a representative level. She is a classy defender who could complement the likes of Tanya Hetherington and Pepa Randall. Alexia Hamilton is another one who will likely be on the minds of the GWS recruiters. She is a known goalkicker and a smart footballer who can play consistently well over a stretch of games.  

Rosenzweig getting closer to achieving childhood dream

SOUTH Australian forward, Katelyn Rosenzweig has always dreamed of pulling on an Adelaide Crows jumper.

Ever since she filled in for her local Under 11 boys side, the 18 year-old has not looked back, and is taking every opportunity she can to achieve every young footballer’s ultimate dream.

“Growing up, I always wanted to play for the Crows,” Rosenzweig said. “It’s so weird that it could be a reality soon.”

She was always determined even as a young Under 11s player, as she describes her initial discovery of the sport.

“I started playing football when I was about nine,” Rosenzweig said. “The reason I started was the Under 11 boys needed a spare player instead of forfeiting for the game and I just jumped in for a week and just haven’t stopped putting the guernsey on week by week since then.”

Not only has she been pulling on the guernsey for many years, the young forward has achieved monumental milestones in it too. Just last month, Rosenzweig was kicking goals for the Central Allies side in the AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships, and was named in the 48-player All Australian squad for her efforts inside 50. She said she was thrilled to have received the opportunity to represent the dual-state side.

“(I feel) pretty privileged (to get selected for Central Allies) because I know how hard everyone from SA had worked to get into the state team, let alone to come to Central Allies,” the forward said. “I just didn’t take the opportunity for granted. “I’m trying my best up here regardless of injuries or what not.”

Kicking goals is not something the 18 year-old has always being accustomed to, admitting that she spent her junior years at the other end of the ground.

“I’d been playing back line for the last three years and then my coach, Matthew Slade (North Adelaide South Australian National Football League Women’s coach) chucked me down forward for a game and I got a few on the board and he just kept putting me down there for the season,” she said. “I’m pretty happy with the improvement of my game this year compared to previous years.”

This year, Rosenzweig dominated the goal kicking for her SANFL Statewide Super Women’s team, North Adelaide. She kicked 15 goals from 11 games, four majors clear of Greater Western Sydney (GWS) midfielder, Courtney Gum, who finished in second place.  The forward admits that this is a memorable moment for her in her football career.

Rosenzweig has also improved in other areas of her game to complement her goal kicking, but is still set on improving her all-round game in order to pull on that coveted AFLW jumper.

“I’ve been told my marking ability and obviously my kick’s pretty good but definitely need to get fitter and maybe just read the play a bit earlier than I have been lately,” she said.

Playing against bigger bodies is something that Rosenzweig has had experience in, as she moved straight into a senior women’s side after finishing off playing with the boys.

“When I stopped playing, they just brought a team to Angle Vale for girls but I had to play with the senior women and get a permit to play up because I was too young,” she said.

Just last week, Rosenzweig experienced a similar feeling, running out with the NT Thunder in its  Round 12 Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s match against Casey. The 18 year-old got on the board with two goals and also racked up 14 disposals as well as five marks in the historic clash in Alice Springs.

Highly committed to her craft, Rosenzweig travels about an hour and a half from school to football, and only rests on Monday and Fridays. With this commitment instilled on her, Rosenzweig is on the right path to achieving her lifelong dream to play Australian Rules football.

AFLW U18 Championships previews: Central Allies

SOUTH Australia and Northern Territory’s top footballers will form the Central Allies in a formidable outfit for the AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships. In the first series, South Australia won both its clashes against Northern Territory, but the top-end talent in both sides is clear. We took a look at the side’s key players and its upcoming fixture ahead of round two of the National Championships on the Gold Coast.

Key players:

Nikki Gore

An unbelievable young talent who took out the SANFL Women’s Rising Star award after a terrific season. The 17 year-old South Adelaide midfielder was named in the best a massive seven times out of a possible nine for her side, five of which she was deemed to be in the best two players in the side. Considering her team won the premiership and had the likes of GWS GIANTS star Courtney Gum in the side, it was a massive achievement for Gore to standout and expect her to be a shining light for the Central Allies in the upcoming national carnival. Not surprisingly, she made the SANFL Statewide Super Women’s League Team of the Year. In what was not a surprise to anyone, Gore was named South Australia’s top player from the first series against Northern Territory. Also joined NT Thunder for the Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s competition and made her debut on the weekend, booting a goal against Collingwood.

Danielle Ponter

Already shining in the VFL Women’s competition for Essendon, Ponter has become a reliable mid/forward who predominantly spends time at half-forward while pinching minutes through the middle at times. A member of the AFL Women’s Academy, Ponter is looking to carry over her good form from the Victorian state league to be a crucial key up forward for the Central Allies. She has represented Northern Territory on 11 occasions so far and has won the Sharyn Smith Medal (best and fairest) every year in the Youth Girls. Ponter has famous bloodlines being a niece of Essendon legend Michael Long.

Katelyn Rosenzweig

The dominant goal kicker in the side, Katelyn Rosenzweig is the fifth tallest player in the Central Allies squad, and uses her height to advantage in the forward line. Against Northern Territory, she was the main target, booting three goals in both games to cause all sorts of headaches. Now in an even stronger team, expect her to work well with Ponter in the forward half. At senior level in the SANFL Statewide Women’s League, Rosenzweig booted a massive 15 goals from 11 games, including bags of four (Sturt) and three (Glenelg and South Adelaide). It will take a good defender to stop her and she will be one of the contenders for leading goal kicker in the carnival next week.

Janet Baird

Like Gore, Baird is an NT Thunder player in the VFL Women’s, making her debut earlier in the season against Darebin Falcons where she recorded 11 disposals, two marks and laid six tackles. Her defensive pressure is a highlight of her game and one of the key Northern Territory players to watch. She has great speed and is an exciting youngster who is a December-born player meaning still plenty of development left in her. At 160cm, she will be a pocket rocket around the ground that opposition sides will need to watch.

Esther Boles

A standout for North Adelaide this season, Boles was voted captain of the Croweaters ahead of the two-game series with the Northern Territory. In the SANFL Statewide Super Women’s League, Boles booted eight goals in 11 games, including six goals across four matches, named in the best on a couple of occasions. She has been know in the South Australian youth girls system since booting three goals against Norwood in the Under 16s competition back in 2015.

Abbie Ballard

If there is one South Australian girl to keep an eye on for the 2020 National AFL Women’s draft, it is Abbie Ballard. Before her 16th birthday, Ballard was already standing out in the SANFL Statewide Super Women’s League for West Adelaide, booting two goals in the final game of the season to be named best by her coaches. It was the fourth consecutive game she was named among the bests for West Adelaide, including two majors the week before. She might be the second youngest in the squad – born nine days earlier than fellow Croweater Teah Charlton – but she is expected to make a big contribution at the national carnival.

Rachel Dunstan

The vice-captain of the South Australian team played for Sturt in the SANFL Statewide Super Women’s League given her aligned club of Woodville-West Torrens were yet to have a side. She managed nine games with the Double Blues, named in the best on a couple of occasions and booting a goal. Her leadership will be important, as will her height in a side which is predominantly smaller – Dunstan is 168cm with 19 players below 165cm. In 2017, she played at the National Championships at half-back and is one of the better playmakers in the side, with impressive skills that hurt opposing sides.

 

Fixture:

Game 1: vs. Eastern Allies

Monday July 9 at Metricon Stadium

The first day will see the Central Allies take on fellow combined side Eastern Allies in a game they will go in confident they can win. The Eastern Allies have some serious top-end talent in Alyce Parker, as well as Chloe and Libby Haines, but the likes of Janet Baird and Abbie Ballard will look to counteract the taller side and use pace to run them off their legs. If they can control the ball through the midfield it gives their strong forward line a huge chance to kick a winning score on the big ground at Metricon Stadium.

Game 2: vs. Victoria Country

Wednesday July 11 at Broadbeach

Heading over to Broadbeach, the game against Vic Country will prove to be a challenging one. The likes of Tyla Hanks, Nina Morrison and Olivia Purcell in the middle will always cause headaches for opposition sides, and the good defensive outfit will be touch to kick a score against. Danielle Ponter could find herself lining up against Emily Haeusler – a defender who’s strength is in her one-on-ones and is quick, while Katelyn Rosenzweig might find Lucy McEvoy wears her like a glove. To beat Vic Country, you just have to be smart with the ball and make the most of your opportunities.

Game 3: vs. Victoria Metro

Friday July 13 at Bond University  

The final game of the week does not get any easier, with likely title favourites Vic Metro standing in the Central Allies’ way at Bond University. Madison Prespakis vs. Nikki Gore should be a thrilling midfield battle, while the Metro side is littered with class such as Georgia Patrikios up forward – who could well be a great head-to-head with Rachel Dunstan. The speed of Metro through Mikala Cann and Marnie Jarvis is sure to be a big consideration in team selection for the Central Allies, with perhaps Tabitha May and Janet Baird among those looking to cause havoc with speed the other way.

Fantastic Five: Memorable moments from the weekend

NOW the AFLW is done and dusted, the AFL takes centre stage, while the TAC Cup and TAC Cup Girls competitions continue to throw up some sensational matches and moments.

GWV Rebels bounce back

After the GWV Rebels blew a 20-point lead to lose by a point to Bendigo Pioneers in the first match of the season, they came out with a point to prove in round two. A jaw-dropping first half saw them pile on 10 goals to zero and leave the reigning premiers in their dust. They had a bigger fight in the second half, but held on strongly to record their opening win of the season on the back of some fantastic play throughout four quarters.

A performance fit for a King

There is no secret that Sandringham Dragons’ Max King is a player of interest this season, with one half of the King Twins plying his trade up forward as one of the most imposing key position players in the draft crop. He has battled with injury over the pre-season, and if anyone forgot what he is capable of, they need not look far. King booted 8.5 and took nine marks, six of which were contested, to single-handedly tear Oakleigh’s defence to shreds and send an ominous warning to the rest of the competition. Luckily for TAC Cup defenders, King will spend the majority of 2018 lining up for Haileybury.

Gippsland Power continue their run

It took them a season and two matches to record their first win, but now they have the taste, they are not letting go. had it not been for a late Murray Bushrangers goal in round two, the Gippsland Power could have strung three wins together having lost their first six in the TAC Cup Girls competition. Since the first round, the Power have knocked off the Western Jets, drawn with the unbeaten Bushrangers, and taken down the Calder Cannons in a thriller. They face the Bendigo Pioneers this weekend and regardless of results, there is no question the development of the group has skyrocketed this year.

Gum success

Okay, so it might not be from the weekend, but the Courtney Gum story is a feel-good story that just keeps on getting better. The mature-age first-year player won the AFLW Players MVP Award, was announced All-Australian and finished on the podium in a host of other awards across the Players’ and W Awards nights. In a season where so many young players stood up and gave us a glimpse of the future, Gum reminded us that age is just a number and was one of the best talents throughout the entire 2018 AFLW season.

Port the real deal?

They were criticised last year for not beating a top eight side despite making the finals, but it has not taken them long to stamp themselves as a potential premiership contender. Eyebrows were raised at times over the off-season with the recruitment of so many free agents, but the likes of Tom Rockliff, Jack Watts and Steven Motlop will only strengthen the Power and if their win over Sydney is anything to go by, we are set for an impressive season for the men at Alberton.

NSW/ACT weekly wrap: Gum recognised, support swells for Tathra bushfires

FROM award-winning Giants, to bushfire relief donations and the announcement of the Kickstart and All Nations squads for the upcoming National Diversity Championships; it has been a big week in NSW/ACT football.

Tathra bushfires donations

Donations are still being taken to support the township of Tathra after recent bushfires tore through the area. The Bega Valley Shire Council has set up a Mayoral Appeal Fund from which people are able to donate, in order to raise much-needed funds for the victims and town. Local football club Tathra Sea Eagles will hold a raffle/auction at the Tathra Bowling Club on April 7 with all money raised going to the appeal. Additionally, AFL Sapphire Coast are encouraging spectators at the Sapphire Coast Junior Lightning Premiership on April 7 in Bega and Bermagui to dig deep, with all donations also going towards the appeal.

Much like the GWS GIANTS at last week’s match in Canberra, the Sydney Swans will also be collecting money at this Sunday’s match at the SCG.

For more information on how to donate, head to the AFL NSW/ACT website on the Tathra Bushfires page.

Gum takes out AFL Players MVP

GWS Giants first-year player Courtney Gum was voted by her peers as the Most Important Player in the AFLW for season 2018. Gum polled 219 votes in the award to win comfortably from Melbourne’s Karen Paxman (150) and Adelaide’s Chelsea Randall (128). Gum also just fell short of winning the Best First Year Player, edged out by Collingwood young gun Chloe Molloy, 84 votes to 79. Gum finished 10 votes clear of Brisbane’s Sophie Conway in third. The GWS midfielder also finished second in the Most Courageous Award behind Randall. Giants captain Amanda Farrugia was also recognised by the AFLW Players for her efforts, finishing second behind Melbourne’s Daisy Pearce in the Best Captain Award.

Just a day later, Gum was selected in the 2018 AFLW All-Australian team as ruck rover. She joined ruck Erin McKinnon and speedy midfielder Alicia Eva as the other Giants recognised with the honour. On the night, Gum also finished equal second in the AFLW Best and Fairest award, six votes behind winner Western Bulldogs midfielder Emma Kearney. Gum polled nine votes to share runner-up with Molloy and Fremantle’s Dana Hooker. Sydney youngster Rebecca Beeson was also nominated for the 2018 National Rising Star Award, nominated for her round one performance against Melbourne this season.

Eva honoured with Best and Fairest

GWS Giants star Alicia Eva was recognised for her consistent 2018 season last night, taking out the Gabrielle Trainor Medal at the GWS Giants Best and Fairest Awards Night. The NSW/ACT Youth Girls Head Coach wasted no time making her mark in Western Sydney since crossing from Collingwood at the end of the inaugural AFLW season. Eva finished the count on 79 votes, 10 clear of Courtney Gum, while Amanda Farrugia claimed third place. In other awards, Elle Bennetts took out the 2018 Rising Star Award, Erin McKinnon claimed the Community Award, Gum won the Members’ Choice Award, and Britt Tully was presented with the Coaches Award.

Phoebe McWilliams claimed both the Leading Goal Kicker Award for her seven goals in season 2018, while also recognised with the 2018 Mark of the Year for her hanger against Collingwood in round 3. Cora Staunton‘s amazing goal in round six against the Western Bulldogs saw the goal sneak claim the Goal of the Year Award.

NSW/ACT Kickstart and All Nations squads announced

The AFL NSW/ACT Kickstart and All Nations squads for the upcoming 2018 AFL National Diversity Championships were announced last week. More than 300 players from across Australia will descend on Blacktown for the five-day tournament. The Kickstart squad is comprised of Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander players aged 14 and 15 years old, while the All Nations side contains players from 16 different multicultural backgrounds. Canberra’s Gerrit Wanganeen will coach the Kickstart side at the championships, while AFL Multicultural Ambassador Kynan Kilpatrick will take the reigns of the All Nations team.

To view the full squads, head to the AFL NSW/ACT page.

AFL Draft Central Team of the Year: AFLW

SEASON 2018 in the AFLW has seen consistent players back up their efforts in the inaugural AFLW season, such as Daisy Pearce and Chelsea Randall. It has also unearthed some brilliant young players, such as NAB Rising Star Chloe Molloy and Dogs gun, Libby Birch.

The dominance of the Western Bulldogs in season 2018 was exemplified as they have four players making the final 21. Adelaide also has four representatives including co-captain, Chelsea Randall. Meanwhile Carlton is the only team to not be represented in the Team of the Year.

The back-line was settled for most of the season with the likes of Chloe Molloy and Kate Lutkins being named in the Team of the Week five times apiece. Their seasons were beyond consistent and it is easy to see why they are the best two key backs in the league.

Emma Kearney headlines the midfield after having an outstanding 2018, which was reflected by her winning the AFLW Best and Fairest as well as finishing first in metres gained and overall disposals for the season. AFLW Players’ MVP Courtney Gum who at 36, had a tantalising first season, also demanded a spot in the starting line-up as she was a consistent inside midfielder for the GWS Giants.

The forward line is spearheaded by Brisbane key forward and contested-mark specialist Sabrina Frederick-Traub as well as league leading goalkicker Brooke Lochland who’s move from the midfield to the forward line was a master stroke, as she went from kicking one goal in 2017 to 12 in 2018. She was a major reason why the Bulldogs were able to win a historic premiership in season 2018 with performances such as her seven-goal haul in round four.

Every player on the interchange has earned their spot on the team with big names such as Daisy Pearce and Alicia Eva managing to claim a spot. The 2017 Rising Star Ebony Marinoff deserves her spot as she broke all tackling records that were to be broken in the AFLW and AFL. She amassed 21 tackles in round four, which was the most ever; the previous record was 19 held by Tom Liberatore, Jude Bolton and Jack Ziebell.

The Crows co-captain Chelsea Randall is the 2018 captain of the AFL Draft Central Team of the Year thanks to her impressive performances every week. She was picked in the best 21 every week, and was the only player to achieve this feat. The vice-captain is Daisy Pearce who lead the Demons from the front every week, and always put her body on the line. 

FB: Libby Birch (WB), Kate Lutkins (Bris), Angela Foley (Adel)

HB: Chelsea Randall (Adel), Chloe Molloy (Coll), Ebony Antonio (Frem)

C: Emma Kearney (WB)

HF: Brooke Lochland (WB), Tegan Cunnigham (Melb), Christina Bernardi (Coll)

FF: Jess Wuetschner (Bris), Sabrina Frederick-Traub (Bris), Ruth Wallace (Adel)

R: Erin McKinnon (GWS), Courtney Gum (GWS), Dana Hooker (Frem)

I/C: Ebony Marinoff (Adel), Daisy Pearce (Melb), Ellie Blackburn (WB) Alicia Eva (GWS), Jasmine Garner (Coll)

Bulldogs dominate AFLW Awards

SOME of the league’s most aggressive football players rolled up to the AFLW Awards almost unrecognisable. Hair done, tanned and frocked up, the players were recognised following the conclusion of a memorable AFLW season. The Western Bulldogs were the big winners on the night, taking home plenty of awards after their inaugural AFLW premiership.

AFLW Premiers

Western Bulldogs 4.3 (27) def. Brisbane 3.3 (21)

The Bulldogs premiership side was recognised on stage for their efforts against the Brisbane Lions on Saturday. Ellie Blackburn captained the side on the day and was the leading disposal-getter for the Dogs with 17. Captain, Katie Brennan missed the game due to suspension, but it did not seem to faze the Dogs, who got home by a goal. Coached by Paul Groves, the Bulldogs toughed it out in wet conditions and took home the premiership cup.

AFLW Grand Final Best on Ground award

Former Calder Cannon, Monique Conti was the star of the Bulldogs’ premiership win. Conti kicked an important goal in the third quarter to extend the Dogs’ lead and also racked up 13 disposals. After being a part of the Melbourne Boomers, who were runners-up of the WNBL grand final, Conti got straight into business in the red, white and blue. The 18 year-old was also a Rising Star nominee after a consistent year for the Dogs.

AFL Women’s Rising Star Award

No surprises here, with Collingwood’s Chloe Molloy taking home the Rising Star award. Molloy revolutionised her game this year, after being the TAC Cup Girls leading goalkicker last year. The 19 year-old took her forward prowess into the backline and looked right at home, marking everything that came her way and clearing the ball out of congestion with ease. The former Calder Cannon polled 50 votes after averaging 14 disposals this season.

AFL Women’s Best and Fairest Trophy

Western Bulldogs star midfielder Emma Kearney took home the AFL Women’s Best and Fairest trophy after a wonderful year for the red, white and blue. She led Molloy and GWS’ Courtney Gum by two votes, but polled three votes in the final round to take home the coveted medal. She finished on 14 votes while Molloy, Gum and Fremantle’s Dana Hooker all finished equal second on nine votes. After playing cricket in the summer, Kearney pulled on the footy and averaged a remarkable 19 disposals this year.

AFL Women’s Leading Goalkicker award

Western Bulldogs gun forward Brooke Lochland earned the women’s leading goalkicker award. Upon getting up on stage, she walked right past her medal but had it wrapped around her neck soon after. Lochland’s seven-goal performance against Carlton put her well in front of the pack, and in the process, she set a record, scoring the most goals in one game by an AFLW player. The former ice-skater kicked a goal in five of the seven home and away matches this year.

AFLW Mark of the Year

Carlton’s Tayla Harris only took one game to make her presence known in navy blue. The former Brisbane forward took a courageous goal-line mark against Collingwood in round one to take home the AFLW Mark of the Year. She soared over Collingwood’s Chloe Molloy and landed flat on her back after having all eyes on the ball. Teammate Darcy Vescio won the award last year, making it two from two for the Blues.

AFLW Goal of the Year

Aliesha Newman’s running goal in round two earned her the AFLW Goal of the Year. The Melbourne forward accelerated past Adelaide’s Talia Radan at Casey Fields to kick a memorable major. The former soccer player used her incredible foot skills to slot the goal through on the outside of her boot. Crows co-captain, Erin Phillips won the award last year.

AFL Women’s All-Australian team

Four Western Bulldogs received All-Australian honours after their premiership win on Saturday. Defender, Hannah Scott and Lochland were named for the first time while midfielders, Blackburn and Kearney became dual All-Australians. Molloy rounded off a great night with All-Australian honours and was joined by teammate, Christina Bernardi. Adelaide’s Chelsea Randall was named as the centre half-back and also received the captaincy honours while Melbourne midfielder, Daisy Pearce was named vice-captain. GWS fared well in the midfield with Gum and Alicia Eva receiving spots. Brisbane had two players in the forward line with Sabrina Frederick-Traub and Jess Wuetschner each being selected as goalkickers.

FB: C.Molloy (Coll), K. Lutkins (Bris)

HB: H. Scott (WB), C. Randall (Adel), E. Antonio (Frem)

C: D. Hooker (Frem), E. Kearney (WB), A. Eva (GWS)

HF: E. O’Dea (Melb), S. Frederick-Traub (BL), B. Lochland (WB)

FF: J. Wuetschner (Bris), C. Bernardi (Coll)

FOLL: E. McKinnon (GWS), C. Gum (GWS), D. Pearce (Melb)

I/C: E. Bates (Bris), T. Harris (Carl), K. Paxman (Melb), E. Blackburn (WB), M. Downie (Melb)

Captain: Chelsea Randall
Vice-captain: Daisy Pearce

Stars to shine at AFLW Awards night

AFLW 2.0 saw a new crop of players rise to the surface and put on some wonderful displays. Meanwhile the superstars of last year’s inaugural competition got straight down to business and had consistent performances throughout this year’s season. The AFLW Awards comprise of eight categories, with some categories having predetermined results, such as the AFL Women’s Premiers and AFL Women’s leading goalkicker award. Having watched every game of the year and attending plenty of them, we will give you the lowdown on who we think will take home some coveted awards tonight.

AFL Women’s Rising Star Award

This award will come down to a battle of the Calder Cannons, as Collingwood’s Chloe Molloy and Western Bulldogs’ Monique Conti seem to be the favourites.

Molloy was nominated for the award in round one, when she surprised us all and played in defence, after playing forward in her TAC Cup career. Molloy never looked back after round one, continuing to tear it up in defence for the Pies. She was able to get more than 15 disposals on three occasions during the season, displaying her ability to find the footy at all times.

Monique Conti was nominated for the Rising Star award in round four, alongside teammate, Aisling Utri. Conti was a prolific ball-user for the Dogs and was unmissable with her trademark orange mouthguard. The basketball star showed that she could kick it up a notch in pressure moments, and was rewarded for her efforts in the grand final, being named as the Player of the Match.

AFL Women’s Best and Fairest Trophy

There are plenty of worthy winners who could take away the trophy, but five stand out in particular.

Courtney Gum took home the AFLW Players’ MVP yesterday after a wonderful debut season for the Giants. Gum was able to prove that age does not matter, tearing it up in the midfield on multiple occasions. Gum racked up 15 disposals or more in seven out of nine matches, which is an incredible feat for a first-year player.

Emma Kearney won the AFL Coaches Association Player of the Year award recently, after a wonderful season in the red, white and blue. Kearney had the joint most kicks (65) and marks (20) for the season, showing her all-round skills with the ball in hand. The Bulldogs’ good form may be a contributor to her getting the nod at the AFLW Awards.

Chelsea Randall could not put a foot wrong all season for the Crows. She was an incredible on-field leader and displayed immense courage. The Adelaide co-captain went back with the flight of the ball many times and stood tall in defence on multiple occasions. Randall had the most rebound 50s of the season, with 18 of them, three ahead of Brisbane’s Kate Lutkins.

You cannot go past Melbourne’s Daisy Pearce when thinking of the AFLW Best and Fairest. Pearce was a fierce competitor all season and lead from the front in every game she played. The Melbourne captain dominated all the stats for the season, getting the most disposals (93), contested possessions (56) and clearances (26).

A smoky could be Fremantle’s Dana Hooker. Hooker is the reigning best and fairest at the club, and continued to play some damaging footy in 2018. She was nominated twice for the AFL Players’ AFLW Player of the Round on two occasions, one in which she tore Carlton a part in the last round of the season. Hooker was not only able to rack up the disposals throughout the season, but she even found herself in front of goal on many occasions and took some gutsy defensive grabs, highlighting her versatile style of football.

AFL Women’s All-Australian team

So many consistent performances across the season has meant that picking an All-Australian team would be an incredibly hard task for the selectors. Here is who we think will feature in the All-Australian team:

Defenders: Kate Lutkins has been a star for the Lions, and does her best work on the last line of defence. She was a ball magnet and managed to rack up the possessions on multiple occasions. Chloe Molloy could cameo as the Rising Star and an All-Australian defender, after a wonderful season in the back line. Molloy displayed solid hands throughout the season, and was a strong tackler, stopping her opposing forwards in their tracks.

Midfield: Emma Kearney could be an All-Australian midfielder and AFLW MVP by the end of the night. Kearney was a fierce competitor all season and racked up plenty of touches through the middle of the ground. Courtney Gum is also likely to get a spot in the midfield, after she tore it to shreds this season. She worked in tandem with Alicia Eva throughout the season to give the Giants a real chance at making the grand final.

Forwards: An obvious favourite is the competition’s leading goal-kicker, Brooke Lochland. Lochland’s seven-goal performance against the Blues propelled her into the lead and from then on, she continued to be a dangerous weapon inside 50. It would be very hard to look past Brisbane’s Sabrina Frederick-Traub, who took her contested marking inside 50 to another level this season. Her four-goal performance against the Giants almost single-handedly earned the Lions a grand final spot.

Interchange: While Emma Kearney edged out Ellie Blackburn stats-wise, Blackburn still had a wonderful season. The dangerous duo worked in tandem together to give the opposition headaches and Blackburn lead from the front on multiple occasions. It would be difficult to look past tackling machine, Ebony Marinoff, who broke the tackling record this year for a single match (AFL and AFLW), laying 21 of them. Marinoff was an aggressive competitor all season and always put her body on the line.

AFLW Mark of the Year

Tayla Harris’ round one goal-line mark, Phoebe McWilliams’ huge pack mark and Chelsea Randall’s courageous defensive mark all received nominations for the AFLW Mark of the Year. Although are three are spectacular marks, Randall’s mark stands out that little bit more.

Randall’s round six mark took place in the defensive 50, where the co-captain does her best work. She had her sights set firmly on the footy as it soared into her territory. Without blinking an eye, she went back with the flight of the ball and crashed into a pack of Fremantle forwards and a couple of Crows defenders. Her courage was on show and it was spectacular.

AFLW Goal of the Year

Steph Chiocci’s Darwin stunner, Aliesha Newman’s burst inside 50 and Erin Phillips’ boundary-line bender all received nominations for the AFLW Goal of the Year. It is hard to go past Newman’s running goal, which generated the most hype and reaction.

In this goal, Newman picks the ball up off the deck about 70 metres out from goal. She then tucks it under her arm and bursts away from Adelaide’s Talia Radan. She takes three bounces towards goal and her legs are moving so fast they almost look blurry. When she approaches the 35-metre mark, Newman ends her run along the boundary with a check-side goal off the outside of the boot!

Queensland Weekly wrap: Preseason Cup continues; AFLW Lions advance to the big dance

IT has been a memorable week in Queensland football circles, with the AFLW Lions again qualifying for the grand final, while the Alpha Sport Preseason Cup rolls on, with the competition set to conclude next weekend.

Alpha Sport Preseason Cup | Round Two

Round two of the Alpha Sport Preseason competition was held across the South East on Saturday and Sunday the 17th-18th. The twelve remaining teams squared off against their pool rivals for a spot in their pool grand final next weekend.  All pool winners will receive an Alpha Sport Sports Taping Starter Pack, valued at over $1000 and a trophy.

Pool A Results:

Maroochydore AFC 7.14 (56) defeated Aspley Hornets AFC 6.8 (44)

Cooparoo AFC 13.5 (83) defeated University of Queensland AFC 8.4 (52)

Cooparoo will face Maroochydore in the Pool A final at Leyshon Park Yeronga, Saturday, March 24 at 1:15pm.

Pool B:

Coomera AFC 14.14 (98) defeated Kenmore AFC 4.5 (29)

Bond University AFC 11.3 (69) defeated Burleigh AFC 9.12 (66)

Pool B final will be Coomera against Bond University at Leyshon Park Yeronga, Saturday, March 24 at 9:00am

Pool C:

Beenleigh AFC 17.7 (109) defeated Kedron AFC 6.6 (42)

Alexandra Hills AFC 16.13 (109) defeated Redcliffe Tigers AFC 4.4 (28)

Pool C final will be Alexandra Hills against Beenleigh at Leyshon Park Yeronga, Saturday, March 24 at 11:15am.

AFLW Round 7 | Brisbane Lions vs. GWS Giants

With their eyes set on qualifying for the grand final, the Lions required a win over the Giants and a wealth of other results to go their way. In unlikely circumstances, the Lions had tremendous luck in the final round of the season by booking a spot in the AFLW grand final for the second straight year. The Lions will take on the Western Bulldogs at 1.05pm AEDT next Saturday, March 24 at Ikon Park. The Bulldogs beat Melbourne on Saturday night to remain in first place and book their Grand Final spot, while the Magpies upset Adelaide at Olympic Park Oval on Sunday to open the door for the Lions.

In their own match, The Lions thrashed the Giants by 40 points. Down 7-0 early, the Lions slammed on the next seven goals, with six of them coming in the first quarter. Brisbane kicked the highest score in its history, booting more than six goals in a game for the first time. Sabrina Frederick-Traub and Jess Wuetschner cut the Giants’ defence to shreds. The Giants stemmed the tide after the first quarter, but Brisbane kicked the only goal of the second and third terms to extend its lead.

Courtney Gum kicked a goal for GWS in the opening minute of the third quarter to briefly revive the home fans’ hopes. But the Giants could not get the deficit below four goals and Brisbane booted the last two majors to boost its percentage. And thus, the Lions will again be vying for AFLW supremacy when they play in the Grand Final next Saturday March 24.

Final Scores:

GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY     1.1     1.3     3.5     3.6        (24)
BRISBANE                                       6.2     7.3     8.4     10.4     (64)

Goals:

Greater Western Sydney: Tully, Gum, Staunton
Brisbane: Frederick-Traub 4, Wuetschner 3, Conway, McCarthy, Webb

Best:

Greater Western Sydney: Eva, Farrugia, Bennetts, Dal Pos, Tully, Swanson
Brisbane: Frederick-Traub, Anderson, Bates, Zielke, Wuetschner, Lutkins

AFLW Previews: Round 7

AS we head into the final round of the home and away season, there is still plenty of jostling to be done for positions. Top spot is up for grabs in the game between Melbourne and the Western Bulldogs on Saturday night, with the winner through to the grand final and the loser having to rely on results going their way. Adelaide and Brisbane will also be holding their breath for results to fall their way, while the Giants largely control their own destiny in the hope of securing their spot in the Grand Final. Collingwood are coming off a great win against Brisbane last week will have the opportunity to play spoiler once again as they take on the reigning premiers, whilst Carlton and Fremantle will be looking to end their campaigns on a high as they battle it out on Saturday afternoon.

Greater Western Sydney vs Brisbane

Friday March 16, 7:05pm at Blacktown International Sportspark

The round kicks off with two grand-final hopefuls going head-to-head under Friday night’s lights in Sydney. For the Giants, a win will likely secure them a spot in the grand final, as they possess a slightly better percentage than the Crows, who also sit on 14 points. The Giants will look to continue their terrific form over the past four games and cap off a spectacular home and away season which has seen significant improvement from last year. They will be riding high after a very strong performance last week against the ladder-leading Western Bulldogs. Erin McKinnon continues to be dominant in the ruck and has been instrumental in the team’s resurgence after they dropped the first two games. Keep an eye out for star midfielder, Courtney Gum who is likely to continue her quest for AFLW MVP. GWS captain, Amanda Farrugia is also likely to once again stand up when needed, this time in a quest to lead her team to a grand final. Brisbane on the other hand, will be looking to avenge a poor performance to the previous bottom-of-the-table Collingwood last week, and must win in order to give themselves any chance of playing off in the grand final. The midfield battle will be crucial, so expect Brisbane’s Emily Bates and Emma Zielke to really challenge the Giants midfielders if the Lions are to pull off the win.

Fremantle vs Carlton

Saturday March 17 at Fremantle Oval

Although it has not been the seasons that both teams would have intended, the Dockers and the Blues head into the game on Saturday with a chance to finish on a high. With both teams eliminated from grand-final contention, it opens up an opportunity for individual players to prove that they deserve to remain on the list moving into next season.  A strong team performance can provide fans hope moving into next year. As the Bulldogs and Giants proved, a turnaround from cellar dwellers to premiership contenders is a real possibility. For Fremantle, expect Dana Hooker to be dangerous once again. Her fantastic performance of 20 possessions and two goals last week almost lead the Dockers to a win against Adelaide, but ultimately it was not enough. After conceding six goals in the first quarter last week, Carlton’s defence was able to hold the Demons in-check for the remainder of the game and in the process, deny them that all-important percentage. If they are able to put that effort together for 60 minutes, it will give them a great chance to get a win and avoid the wooden spoon. Last week saw Darcy Vescio move up into the midfield for periods of the game, which will be interesting to watch and could help add another facet to her game whilst also assisting Carlton’s midfield, which has struggled as of late.

Western Bulldogs vs Melbourne

Saturday March 17, 7:05pm at VU Whitten Oval

The battle for top spot takes centre-stage on Saturday night, as the Western Bulldogs play host to Melbourne. For both teams, the equation is rather simple- winner secures top spot and a grand final berth, whilst the loser will have to rely on other results going their way to secure their spot. The Bulldogs come off a hard-fought game against the Giants last week which unfortunately did not go their way. After looking a certainty to make the grand final a week ago, the Dogs now face their biggest test of the year. They will get a huge boost this week, as captain and key forward Katie Brennan makes her return to the line-up, after missing the last three games due to injury. She will look to have a big impact on a depleted Melbourne defence, who will sadly be without Melissa Hickey, who suffered an ACL injury last week. This will make it extremely difficult for them, with the Bulldogs possessing a dangerous forward-line which includes the likes of Brooke Lochland and Rising Star, Monique Conti. Perhaps the most exciting head-to-head match-ups come in the midfield, with the Demons trio of Daisy Pearce, Elise O’Dea and Karen Paxman going head-to-head against the Bulldogs’ dynamic duo of Ellie Blackburn and Emma Kearney. These exciting match-ups across the board should make for an extremely entertaining contest, and one which will have a huge impact on which teams will face off the following week in the grand final.

Collingwood vs Adelaide

Sunday March 18, 2:35pm at Olympic Park Oval

It is the classic case of too little, too late for Collingwood. The Pies have been in fantastic form over the past month, but as was the case last season, a poor start to the season will see them on the outside looking in. Despite the final margin being only 13 points, they were extremely dominant last week in the win against the Lions, which threw a wrench into their finals hopes. The Magpies find themselves in a similar situation this week, as another win here would send the Crows packing. This will allow them to play with an all-out, nothing to lose, attacking game style- something that has been serving them well. Collingwood has made several changes heading into the game, with youngsters Holly Whitford and Sarah Dargan receiving an opportunity. The young team that will front up this week will give Pies fans a glimpse into what looks to be a very promising future for the football club. Adelaide enter the game unbeaten in the last four games, and have a golden opportunity to get back to the grand final and defend its crown. Sitting slightly behind the Giants on percentage, the Crows may find themselves having to win the game by a large margin in order to leapfrog the Giants (provided they defeat Brisbane) and take second place. Adelaide will look for another huge game from Chelsea Randall, who has been fantastic of late, and will hope that their inspirational leader, Erin Phillips can continue to fight through the pain and lead them to another victory.