Tag: Eliza McNamara

Season reviews: TAC Cup Girls – Sandringham Dragons

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

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

Results:

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

Key players:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Season summary:

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

Scouting notes: National AFLW Under 16s Championships

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

Vic Country:

#1 Jerusha Devarakonda

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

#2 Leila Raymond

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

#3 Holly Andrews

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

#4 Elizabeth Snell

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

#5 Megan Fitzsimon

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

#6 Renee Saulitis

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

#7 Jemma Finning

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

#8 Kate Adams

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

#9 Emily Nicholson

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

#10 Abbey Jordan

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

#11 Brooke Hards

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

#12 Tyanna Smith

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

#13 Chloe Leonard

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

#16 Sharmaine Reilly

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

#17 Sophie Milsome

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

#18 Zoe Hill

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

#19 Matilda Van Berkel

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

#20 Stephanie Glover

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

#21 Isabella Robson

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

#22 Renee Tierney

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

#23 Isabella Simmons

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

#24 Olivia Barber

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

#25 Maggie Caris

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

VIC METRO:

#1 Olivia Meagher

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

#2 Mietta Kendall

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

#3 Taylah Morton

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

#5 Mary Daw

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

#6 Abigail Bennett

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

#7 Jessica Fitzgerald

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

#8 Bella Eddey

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

#9 Winnie Laing

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

#10 Ashleigh Snow

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

#11 Eliza McNamara

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

#12 Tarni Brown

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

#13 Alice Burke

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

#15 Mimi Hill

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

#16 Alice O’Loughlin

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

#17 Alisa Magri

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

#18 Amber Micallef

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

#19 Sarah Hartwig

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

#20 Ellie McKenzie

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

#21 Tamsin Crook

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

#22 Isabelle Pritchard

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

#23 Jess Grace

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

#24 Alyssa Bannan

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

#25 Isabel Young

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

Knights, Ranges lead the way for Metro U16s win

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

AFL Draft Central’s TAC Cup Girls Team of the Year

PREMIERS Geelong Falcons lead all-comers when it comes to the AFL Draft Central TAC Cup Girls’ Team of the Year. The Falcons have four nominations in the best 24 (extending the bench to six), including one in the midfield, one in defence and two up forward. The Team of the Year has been constructed based on nominations across the nine TAC Cup Girls’ rounds. From the nine TAC Cup Girls’ Teams of the Week, we have picked 24 of the 26 players who received three or more nominations, with the next 24 players (named in the 2nds team) receiving two nominations.

Geelong captain Lucy McEvoy has made the starting defence, with Olivia Purcell named on the wing, Nina Morrison on a half-forward flank, and Sachi DeGiacomi lining up at full-forward. The Falcons’ grand final opponents the Northern Knights had the next most with three nominees. It is no surprise that with all the firepower the Knights have, their three nominations are in the forward 50. Ellie McKenzie and Britney Gutknecht have proved to be dangerous around goals, while Gabby Newton can play anywhere and was named at centre half-forward. It is worth noting that McKenzie had the third most nominations of any player with six, just behind our teams’ co-captains Madison Prespakis (Calder Cannons) and Tyla Hanks (Gippsland Power) with eight nominations apiece.

Prespakis’ bottom-age teammate Georgia Patrikios has made it into a forward pocket, while Hanks’ teammate Emily Haeusler slots onto the half-back flank. Also in defence is Alice Burke, the daughter of St Kilda champion Nathan, making the back pocket with teammate Eleanor Brown who slotted into the best 22. On the other half-back flank is Dandenong Stingrays’ captain Jordyn Allen who made the team, while teammate and fellow AFLW Academy member Courtney Jones was named as an emergency. Murray Bushrangers’ pair Tamara Smith and Rebecca Webster were no surprises into the Team of the Year after consistent form this season.

Holding down the fort at full-back is Isabelle Pritchard, with the Western Jets’ key position defender having a fantastic season, as has her teammate and midfielder Elisabeth Georgostathis who made it onto a wing. The other team with two nominees is the Bendigo Pioneers with midfield duo Kodi Jacques and Megan Williamson both making it onto the bench. Eastern Ranges had two nominee in our Team of the Year, Sarah Kendall and Emerson Woods who slot into the ruck and interchange respectively. The other clubs with just the one nomination are GWV Rebels’ Georgia Clarke at centre half-back and Bridie Winbanks (Oakleigh Chargers) on the bench. Both the clubs had three players with two nominations who just missed out on squeezing into the Team of the Year.

The only two players to receive three nominations and miss out are Dandenong Stingrays’ Courtney Jones, and Murray Bushrangers’ Grace Egan who both had wonderful seasons.

At AFL Draft Central we also wanted to recognise those players who received at least two nominations in our Team of the Weeks this season, including the two players missing out on the starting 24 (Courtney Jones and Grace Egan) slotting into the team. Jones has been selected as the captain for the side, with a number of unbelievable talents unlucky not to make the first team. TAC Cup Girls Grand Final Best on Ground Denby Taylor is one of many top players making it into the next 22, alongside fellow AFLW Academy members Georgia Macpherson, Sophie Van De Heuvel and of course, Jones.

There are seven teams with an amazing three players nominated in the Second Team of the Year, with just Bendigo Pioneers and Calder Cannons the only sides without a nominee. The premiers have Taylor, ruck Zoe Inei and tackling machine Samantha Atkins in the side, while the runners-up Knights have Alex Pronesti, as well as two 2020-draft eligible players in Alyssa Bannan and Abigail Bennett in the team. Eastern’s depth has been critical to their success throughout the season, and along with Macpherson, they also have Mikala Cann and Gabriella De Angelis making the team. Dandenong Stingrays have Shelley Heath running off a half-back flank, joining Jones and Isabella Shannon in the side.

The GWV Rebels have Van De Heuvel up forward, talented bottom-ager Sophie Molan in the midfield, and captain Lauren Butler also in the side. The Oakleigh Chargers midfield duo of Katie Lynch and Gemma Lagioia provide the team with some class, while the dangerous Daisy Bateman slots into the forward pocket. Leading competition goal kicker Holly Bate makes it into full-forward after nominations in round eight and nine for a combined 12 goals, joined in the team by fellow forward Isabella Eddey and 16 year-old midfielder Eliza McNamara.

Eloise Ashley-Cooper made the side after a good season, named in the back pocket with fellow Murray Bushrangers defender Egan. Right next to them is Western Jets’ defender Sharnie Whiting who made the team with two nominations, as did Caitlin Greiser who proved a handful up forward and slots into the forward pocket. The final spot in the team belongs to bottom-age forward Nikia Webber who showed some great signs of what is to come from the versatile tall.

SECOND TEAM OF THE YEAR:

B: Eloise Ashley-Cooper (MB) – Sharnie Whiting (WJ) – Denby Taylor (GF)
HB: Shelley Heath (DS) – Georgia Macpherson (ER) – Grace Egan (MB)
C: Gemma Lagioia (OC) – Mikala Cann (ER) – Sophie Van De Heuvel (GWV)
HF: Courtney Jones (DS) (c)  – Nikia Webber (GP) – Alyssa Bannan (NK)
F: Daisy Bateman (OC) – Holly Bate (SD) – Caitlin Greiser (WJ)
R: Zoe Inei (GF) – Katie Lynch (OC) – Sophie Molan (GWV)
INT: Abigail Bennett (NK) – Samantha Atkins (GF) – Isabella Shannon (DS) – Lauren Butler (GWV) – Isabella Eddey (SD) – Gabriella De Angelis (ER) – Eliza McNamara (SD) – Alex Pronesti (NK)

Fifty named in AFL Draft Central’s TAC Cup Girls’ Team of the Year squad

FIFTY players from across the TAC Cup Girls’ competition have been named in AFL Draft Central’s Team of the Year squad, with the even cut-off those who received two of more nominations in our Team of the Week. There have also been 43 players recognised by AFL Draft Central who put in an outstanding effort to be nominated once throughout the season.

Remarkably, there has been an almost even split, with 26 players receiving three or more nominations in our Team of the Week, while another 24 players made the team twice. Of the 50-player squad, Geelong Falcons received the most nominations with seven players receiving two or more nominations in the Team of the Week, while the Northern Knights (six) were next followed by Sandringham Dragons and Eastern Ranges (five each). It is no surprise that these four teams were the top four sides at the end of the TAC Cup Girls regular season.

It was an even split between the next five sides with Dandenong Stingrays, Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels, Murray Bushrangers, Oakleigh Chargers and Western Jets all having four dual nominees, while Gippsland Power had three. Bendigo Pioneers and Calder Cannons had the two standout players each who were nominated multiple times. In terms of total players nominated, the Geelong Falcons and Eastern Ranges both had an impressive 11 players nominated at least once, ahead of Northern Knights and Sandringham Dragons (10), Dandenong Stingrays and Murray Bushrangers (nine), Oakleigh Chargers (eight). GWV Rebels (seven), Western Jets (six), Bendigo Pioneers (five), Gippsland Power and Calder Cannons (three) to round out the 12 sides.

In terms of most nominations, it is no surprise to see Calder Cannons’ Madison Prespakis and Gippsland Power’s Tyla Hanks, are leading the way with a stunning eight nominations from eight games. The pair will be captain and vice-captain in the Team of the Year. Just as remarkably, 15 year-old Ellie McKenzie is outright third, with six nominations from her six games and will no doubt feature many times in the team over the next two years.

Team of the Year squad: [50]

Bendigo Pioneers [2]: Kodi Jacques, Megan Williamson
Calder Cannons [2]: Georgia Patrikios, Madison Prespakis
Dandenong Stingrays [4]: Jordyn Allen, Shelley Heath, Courtney Jones, Isabella Shannon
Eastern Ranges [5]: Mikala Cann, Gabriella De Angelis, Sarah Kendall, Georgia Macpherson, Emerson Woods
Geelong Falcons [7]: Samantha Atkins, Sachi DeGiacomi, Zoe Inei, Lucy McEvoy, Nina Morrison, Olivia Purcell, Denby Taylor
Gippsland Power [3]: Tyla Hanks, Emily Haeusler, Nikia Webber
GWV Rebels [4]: Lauren Butler, Georgia Clarke, Sophie Molan, Sophie Van De Heuvel
Murray Bushrangers [4]: Eloise Ashley-Copper, Grace Egan, Tamara Smith, Rebecca Webster
Northern Knights [6]: Alyssa Bannan, Abigail Bennett, Britney Gutknecht, Ellie McKenzie, Gabby Newton, Alex Pronesti
Oakleigh Chargers [4]: Daisy Bateman, Gemma Lagioia, Katie Lynch, Bridie Winbanks
Sandringham Dragons [5]: Holly Bate, Eleanor Brown, Alice Burke, Isabella Eddey, Eliza McNamara
Western Jets [4]: Elisbeth Georgostathis, Caitlin Greiser, Isabelle Pritchard, Sharnie Whiting

Single nominations: [43]

Bendigo Pioneers [3]: Eloise Gretgrix, Brooke Hards, Sophie Kerridge
Calder Cannons [1]: Felicity Theodore
Dandenong Stingrays [5]: Eloise Allen-Burns, Saige Bayne, Lucy Cripps, Samantha Ryan, Tyanna Smith
Eastern Ranges [6]: Ashleigh Allsopp, Tarni Brown, Olivia Meagher, Laura McClelland, Lauren Szigeti, Charlotte Wilson
Geelong Falcons [4]: Abbey Chapman, Luka Lesosky-Hay, Renee Tierney, Sophie Walmsley
Gippsland Power [1]: Jasmine Ferguson
GWV Rebels [3]: Stephanie Glover, Nyakoat Dojiok, Ella Wood
Murray Bushrangers [5]: Olivia Barber, Millie Brown, Julia Harvey, Chelsea Knight, Claudia McKimmie
Northern Knights [4]: Maddy Brancatisano, Jess Fitzgerald, Nell Morris-Dalton, Ashleigh Snow
Oakleigh Chargers [4]: Hannah McLaren, Alice O’Loughlin, Chloe O’Malley, Nicola Xenos
Sandringham Dragons [5]: Molly Denahy Maloney, Sarah Hartwig, Winnie Laing, Jemma Owen, Maddi Wilson
Western Jets [2]: Isabella Grant, Taylah Kolevski

The final AFL Draft Central TAC Cup Girls Team of the Year will be posted later in the week.

Scouting notes: TAC Cup Girls – Round 7

THE Geelong Falcons and Northern Knights have proven themselves as powerhouses of the TAC Cup Girls competition, with both teams keeping their winning streaks intact. Dandenong also made it two consecutive wins, getting the job done over Oakleigh. While the top two has already been determined, the two sides will go head-to-head in round eight in a season that continues to deliver. As with last week, we narrowed our focus on a number of players who had been consistent over the past month.

GWV Rebels vs. Murray Bushrangers

GWV Rebels:

#2 Renee Saulitis

An exciting player who uses her outside run to good advantage off a wing and down forward. She just bursts away with a few quick steps and seems to know where to crumb the ball down forward. She snapped a goal off the side of the boot in the second quarter and showed a clean pair of hands picking the ball up at speed but just rushed her snap on goal a little. She took a good mark later in the game but her set shot just dropped short, however continued to buzz around though there was not much action deep inside 50 in the final term for the Rebels.

#16 Lauren Butler

Butler seems to pop up at the right times and get to positions where she can switch play or drive momentum forward. She is quick to dispose of the ball when under pressure, raising her arms in a tackle and handballing clear. Butler drifted into defence at one stage, took a strong intercept mark and kicked long to Saulitis on the wing. With ball in hand, she looks composed and in one instance, took a mark and just calmly side-stepped her opponent with good agility to kick deep inside 50. She defended well through the middle of the ground in the final term, pumping the ball long into the forward line, and took an important intercept mark at half-forward from a kick-out but unfortunately her set shot drifted to the left.

#18 Sophie Van De Heuvel

Across the first three quarters I thought she was best on ground because of the damage she was causing up forward and her ability to bring teammates into the game. The first memorable moment for Van De Heuvel was a great kick in the opening quarter tight against the boundary under pressure. The AFLW Academy member had the composure to hit-up Alyssa Humphries leading out at her. The most noticeable trait about Van De Heuvel is her ability to not waste a possession and she is also strong overhead. She finished the game with two goals, had another from close range in the third term which just missed, and a set shot later on that hit the post. She did kick one of her goals from a powerful set shot. Laid some good tackles as well which was good to see.

#23 Sophie Molan

I have not seen her play a bad game to date, Molan is just that consistent midfielder who is still bottom-age but stands out with or without her AFLW Academy teammates. Molan is clean at ground level with a good burst of acceleration, kicking a great goal after hard running out of midfield. She set up another goal to Saulitis with a fantastic smother on Rebecca Webster, winning the ball and kicking long to the forward. In the third term she found herself all alone inside forward 50 for an uncontested mark, but her set shot just missed. Finished a great game with a lovely kick on the run to hit-up Saulitis again.

#25 Georgia Clarke

The centre half-back was enormous in the first half, pushing up into the midfield when required and winning some crucial one-on-one battles. She laid a couple of tackles to stop Bushrangers in their tracks, and she just reads the ball so well from the half-back line. She positions herself in dangerous positions to both intercept and rebound, and just keeps running all day. She picked up three disposals in one chain of possession in the third term, running from half-back to half-forward.

#35 Rene Caris

Caris had a solid game, particularly standing out early. Her ruckwork is very good, knowing where her midfielders are, and palming down to them with effect. She has quick hands in close and moves well for a taller player, offering up as an option across the ground.

Murray Bushrangers:

#16 Eloise Ashley-Cooper

Returned to the Bushrangers side and had a few solid moments throughout the game. Playing off half-back, she was opposed to Van De Heuvel at times and created some run out of defence. She put pressure on her opponent and is able to defend in the air or at ground level. She moved up into the midfield at times, providing an inside presence at the stoppages.

#17 Rebecca Webster

A typical hard working performance from the AFLW Academy member. She continually hit the packs hard and never took a backwards step. She was often accompanied by a crowd of Rebels, but still stood out with her good vision and quick hands. She was particularly involved heavily early and she reads the game so well through the midfield. Webster’s strength was underlined at one stage in the third term, fending off two players consecutively. She had a thumping shot on goal from outside 50 but her attempt just fell short. She kicked an important goal in the final term, evading an opponent inside 50 with a feint snap before actually snapping on her other side and nailing the goal.

#22 Tamara Smith

A tireless worker throughout the game, Smith just continued to work hard over four quarters. Early on she won a good one-on-one contest against Molan, showing good body work, but her kick forward was intercepted by Clarke. Smith was composed under pressure and moved well through traffic, laying a good smother to start the third term which saw her win the footy, kick forward and lead to a goal to Claudia McKimmie. A great piece of defensive play was a huge rundown tackle in the fourth term, winning the football moments later on the wing, taking a couple of bounces and kicking forward. Overall, Smith has a good balance of inside and outside traits, showing fantastic closing speed with some bone-crunching rundown tackles.

#25 Grace Egan

Wore a different number in the clash strip to her traditional #42, and was solid, particularly through the middle patches of the game. She often looks for the quick handball off half-back and laid a few great tackles pushing up the ground or as a wall at half-back. She rebounded well and looked to switch play on different occasions. Moved forward in the last term and laid a bruising hip-and-shoulder in the final play when the ball was deep inside 50 and the Bushrangers almost got a score-levelling goal.

 

Eastern Ranges vs. Gippsland Power 

By: Taylah Melki 

Eastern Ranges:

#3 Emerson Woods

She was one of the best on field for the Ranges with her clean hands in and around the stoppages and her ability to compete well in the air. Even when she did not win the footy in the air she competed hard and brought the ball to ground to give her teammates the chance to win the footy. She took a few strong marks and provided a good option when coming out of defence for the Ranges. Woods was not afraid to go in hard for the footy and scrap for it at ground level to win the ball credit to her courage and commitment to the game.

#37 Georgia Macpherson

She had some really good patches throughout the game laying an impressive smother in the third quarter that stopped her opponent from banging the ball inside their forward 50. Macpherson applied plenty of physical pressure in and around the contest and was clean at ground level, helping to release the run and carry of her teammates.  

 #38 Laura McClelland

Her physical pressure was really good, harassing players and trying hard to win the footy. She laid plenty of strong tackles and used her body well to set up play. McClelland also showcased her ability to read the play and create an option for the Ranges to kick to up forward.

Gippsland Power:

#6 Emily Haeusler

She worked really hard throughout the match for Gippsland and was probably one of the best for the Power. She was very clean across the ground and consistently imposed herself on the contest. Haeusler was very agile and good in tight spaces, helping to release her teammates. She used her good strong kick and running ability to help propel her team forward especially in the fourth quarter. Her follow-up efforts in the last quarter helped to inspire her teammates.

#28 Tyla Hanks

She was a clear standout for Gippsland once again. She dominated across the ground, taking plenty of strong marks and creating space to help release her teammates into space. Her clean hands in and around the contest were invaluable along with her ability to run and carry. Hanks laid plenty of strong tackles and copped plenty of attention from her opponents, but that did not seem to bother her as she went on to slot an important goal on a tight angle. She showcased her footy smarts and her ability to turn and hit a target, credit to her good kicking ability. Her work at stoppages and clean pick-ups helped to propel the Power forward.

 

Sandringham Dragons vs. Western Jets 

By: Carly McClen 

Sandringham Dragons:

#50 Hannah Bate

Dominant in her role at half-forward. Nobody could get near her. Strong marking and delivery into attacking 50. Great third-quarter goal from 30 metres out, threading it straight though the middle. Kicked another good goal in the last quarter. She kicked the ball into the mark from 20 metres out early on but recomposed and took her time to secure goals for her team. Good marking at half-forward and delivery into attacking 50.

#25 Isabella Eddey

Strong tacking all day and hustling at half-forward. Huge impact in keeping the ball in the attack for the Dragons. 

#30 Eleanor Brown

Good marking and setting up opportunities for goal. Good team play in shepherding and following through. Great running and kept her feet, showing good agility. 

#64 Eliza McNamara

Played the roving position well. Ran all day with quick hands and following up, pushing the ball forward for her team. Creative inside midfielder who showed great attack on the ball.

#43 Abbie McKay

Good running to collect the ball on the run and jab it through for goal. Played her centre role convincingly. 

 Western Jets:

#16 Elisabeth Georgostathis

Strong tackling creating turnarounds in defence and nice left-foot kicking on the run. Laid a great tackle in the last quarter against the running Eleanor Brown, who is tough to catch.

#30 Isabelle Pritchard

Strong kicking out of defence and pressure on forwards particularly in the last quarter. Great long kick left-foot kick.

#39 Cleo Saxon-Jones

Good direct kicking and was dominant in the ruck. 

#40 Sharnie Whiting

Strong and long kicking out of half-back.

 

Northern Knights vs. Bendigo Pioneers 

By: James Halley 

Northern Knights:

#23 Gabrielle Newton

She is very good at picking up the footy below her knees. She was playing out of full-forward at stages and won herself a shot on goal with a great lead, but pulled the kick to the right-hand side.

#4 Neve O’Connor

Dominated the ruck taps all day convincingly. She had a big presence on the field.

#24 Alex Pronesti

She showed great footy knowledge to set up Britney Gutknecht for a goal when she had a set shot on an acute angle. Early in the last quarter she was unselfish once again to set up Gutknecht for a centering pass. Pronesti is becoming a well-rounded player.

#5 Madeline Brancatisano

She is a smooth mover, and dangerous in the small forward role. In the third term she got through two opponents to kick her first goal on the run, in what was a very impressive passage of play.

#22 Britney Gutknecht

Gutknecht was dangerous all day, presented well and was very influential. She capitalised perfectly from a set shot straight in front in the second term from a wonderful Alex Pronesti pass. She kicked her second for the term when she played on from a set shot in a lack of concentration from Bendigo’s defence. This allowed her to ease the pressure and create an easier shot on goal for herself. Late in the third term she kicked her third major from a scrimmage in the goal-square. Pronesti and Gutknecht combined for the second time, where a selfless act from Pronesti displayed the epitome of putting the team first. Gutknecht absolutely dominated the last quarter, finishing off with adding another two goals to her total of six.

Bendigo Pioneers: 

#11 Jemma Finning

She played a role on Northern’s Ellie McKenzie and was beaten, but was able to curb her influence at times, such as winning a holding-the-ball decision in the last quarter.

#19 Kodi Jaques

Won a high free kick in the third term and kicked truly for Bendigo’s first goal since the first quarter. She played in the midfield and laid countless tackles. Jacques recorded numerous pressure acts, as the Knights had the ball most of the time. She was amongst the best for Bendigo, and was often found at the bottom of the pack all day, trying her heart out for her side. 

 

Calder Cannons vs. Geelong Falcons

Calder Cannons:

#3 Madison Prespakis

Dominant game as usual by the Cannons star midfielder. What impressed me most during this game was her leadership. When she went off in the first quarter, she was pacing up and down the boundary line and following the play. She yelled out spirited instructions to teammates and even the runner. Prespakis is a player who not only knows her own game but also knows her teammates’ games. She has a great ability to execute structures and can play anywhere. This was shown when she was moved to full forward in the second half and had an immediate impact, kicking two goals. It was the first time I’ve seen her in a one-on-one role and you guessed it- she can do that as well!

#21 Georgia Patrikios

Patrikios was her usual aggressive self. She ran hard all game and worked well up the ground. She kicked a great goal at start of the third quarter which gave Calder some momentum. Patrikios worked hard up forward and got deep into the contest at times. Took a good mark running back with the flight of the ball and cleverly kicked it to the top of the square. Demonstrated her high footy IQ with a really smart kick to hack the ball out of a tight stoppage. Patrikios of course executed her famous side-step wonderfully, continuing to demonstrate her impressive agility. She got to play on-ball at times, which suits her. This gave Patrikios the opportunity to find some space and dominate.

#18 Carla Rendelmann

Played her best game for the Cannons this season. Has an incredible leap in the ruck and won plenty of hit-outs. She also had an impact around the ground, using her body to keep the Falcons away from the ball. Took a huge mark later in the game and demonstrated great hands throughout the day. Had good awareness to be on the goal-line inside defensive 50 when Geelong was pressing forward.

 

 Geelong Falcons:

#7 Olivia Purcell

Purcell’s gut-running was really impressive against Calder. This was shown when she sprinted forward to assist Renee Tierney, who tripped in a one-on-one in the goal-square, keeping the ball in the hot zone for Geelong. Delivered nice kicks into space and demonstrated good run and carry. Purcell moved across the ground well and when she couldn’t pick up the footy, she provided a good defensive effort through a shepherd or a tackle. In one instance, she cleverly side-stepped her opponent to buy her some time and find an option.

#23 Lucy McEvoy

McEvoy’s handballing was on display against Calder. She gave away plenty of quick-fire handballs and at times, gave stronger, loopier handballs to create the run and carry for the Falcons. The highlight of her game was when she laid a goal-saving smother in the defensive goal-square, which demonstrated huge courage and simultaneously halted the momentum that the Cannons had in the third quarter. In one instance, McEvoy did really well to trap the ball with her feet rather than bend down and pick it up. She was really calm and composed on last line of defence, shown when she still got a handball away while being tackled.

#18 Nina Morrison

Morrison took a composed chest mark and perfectly hit a target inside 50, something she has been able to do consistently throughout the season. Had good run and carry throughout the game and was speedy with the ball in hand as usual. Had good agility and picked the ball up cleanly off the deck when she needed to. Morrison consistently stopped Cannons midfielders in their tracks while hunting the ball herself. Always completed one effort then followed up with another. Took a great contested grab where she just snatched it out of her opponent’s hands. Morrison is ball magnet and a fantastic reader of the footy. She consistently provided an option for her teammates.

Weekend wash-up: TAC Cup Girls – Round 7

ROUND seven confirmed the two grand finalists for the TAC Cup Girls competition. The Geelong Falcons and Northern Knights have now won seven games in a row, and sit two games ahead of Sandringham and Eastern at third and fourth (respectively). All four teams had a win on the weekend and were joined by Greater Western Victoria (GWV) and Dandenong on the winners’ list.

Greater Western Victoria Rebels  5.8.38 defeated Murray Bushrangers 5.2.32

By: Peter Williams

The Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels continued their fantastic form with their third straight win, following a thrilling six-point victory over the Murray Bushrangers. The Bushrangers have found themselves on the opposite side of the formline, with the loss making it three consecutive defeats since going nine games without a loss in the first season and a half of TAC Cup Girls football. Both sides were impressive throughout with a number of AFLW Academy stars putting on a show.

For the winners, Georgia Clarke was immense at centre-half back in the first half, rebounding all the Murray attacks, while up the other end, Sophie Van De Heuvel booted two goals and could have had a couple more had it not been for a few unlucky misses, or unselfish plays. Sophie Molan continued her fantastic form through the midfield and around the ground, while up forward, the exciting Renee Saulitis booted a goal and almost had a second, just looking dangerous every time she went near it. Captain Lauren Butler was another consistent player across four quarters playing all across the ground.

The Bushrangers’ midfield was the shining loss in the defeat, with Rebecca Webster leading the way despite being closely watched by her opponents, while Tamara Smith, Chelsea Knight and Millie Brown all threw themselves into the contest. Kate Adams was lively between midfield and forward, while Grace Egan was solid off half-back, producing some good rebounds and run-and-carry.

Oakleigh Chargers 4.4.28 defeated by Dandenong Stingrays 8.8.56

The Dandenong Stingrays backed up their first win of the season last week with a clinical 28-point win over the Oakleigh Chargers. The Stingrays led all day but in a positive for the Chargers, they outscored the away side by a point in the last quarter.

Alice O’Sullivan was the best afield for the Stingrays and was joined by usual suspect, Jordyn Allen among the top Dandenong players. The Stingrays captain has been a consistent performer in the back line all season and Saturday was no different. Isabella Shannon backed up her two-goal performance last week with another two goals against the Chargers. Amie Carroll was one of seven goal-kickers for the Stingrays, and also found her name in the best for the away side.

Playing without last week’s best-on-ground, Katie Lynch was always going to be a big challenge for Oakleigh. But the Chargers had plenty of players who stepped up in her place, including Chloe O’Malley, Melanie Bertuna and captain, Hannah McLaren. Bridie Winbanks was named the best player for Oakleigh after having another dominant performance in the black and white. Cricketer Isabella Gietzmann got on the board with a goal and also featured among Oakleigh’s best.

Eastern Ranges 4.5.29 defeated Gippsland Power 3.2.20

By: Taylah Melki

In a close encounter, it was the Eastern Ranges that came away with a nine-point win over the Gippsland Power. Both teams brought their a-game and competed hard throughout the game, with plenty of good match-ups across the ground. The Power threw everything at the Ranges in the last quarter but the Ranges showed great composure and held on to claim their fifth win for the season.

For the Ranges, Emerson Woods impressed both in the air and at ground level, going in hard to win the footy. Woods took a few good strong marks and consistently provided an option for her teammates. Nicole Cormack also played a big role in the Ranges win, slotting an important goal in the dying minutes to help secure the victory for Eastern. Georgia Macpherson applied plenty of pressure and was clean in and around the contest while Catherine Chamberlain imposed herself on the scoreboard, slotting a major.

Tyla Hanks was in impressive form yet again for the Power, slotting a big goal to keep them in the game and racking up plenty of touches. Her ability to read the play allowed her to release her teammates into space and propel her team forward. Jazz Ferguson also had a stellar game for the Power, laying plenty of strong tackles and taking a heap of intercept marks. Ferguson was really strong around the contest and showed her clean hands in tight. Emily Haeusler was in fine form once again winning plenty of the footy while teammate Chelsea Bray slotted an important goal for the Power.  

Sandringham Dragons 8.9.57 defeated Western Jets 1.1.7

By: Carly McClen and Julia Montesano

Sandringham kept the Western Jets goalless until late in the last quarter, making more noise on the ground than ever before and proving it near impossible for the Jets to get the ball- not just into their attacking 50, but across the halfway line. Nobody could get near Dragons forward Holly Bate, who kicked five majors for the day while Kaitlyn O’Keefe kicked the only goal for the Jets late in the last quarter.

Midfielder, Eliza McNamara was among the standouts on the weekend, continuing to show how much of an asset she is to the Dragons line-up. Alice Burke and Bryanna Arnold stood up in defence and had solid performances. But it was Holly Bate who stole the show for Sandringham, kicking five goals in a dominant performance inside 50. Abbie McKay also got on the board with two majors, and was named among the Dragons’ best players. 

For the Jets, Elisabeth Georgostathis had another fine day through the middle of the ground and never gave up throughout the match. Isabelle Pritchard was solid once again in defence and continues to trouble opposition forwards. Cleo Saxon-Jones had another commendable performance while Isabella Grant found her name in Western’s best once again, proving how valuable she is to the side. 

Northern Knights 14.7.91 defeated Bendigo Pioneers 3.2.20

By: James Halley

After an even first quarter, it was all the Knights from then on as they piled on 12 goals to two to stay undefeated after seven rounds. At quarter time, the match could have gone either way, but the Knights flicked the switch and kicked five goals to none in the second term to give themselves a game winning 35-point lead at half time.

Britney Gutknecht was enormous with six goals, jumping to second on the league’s top goal kickers list. Ellie McKenzie was influential in the middle of the ground, and was assisted by Neve O’Connor dominating the ruck and getting plenty of hit-outs throughout the game.

Kodi Jacques was clearly the best for the Pioneers, digging in deep in the midfield all day while also kicking a goal. Captain, Megan Williamson and Dayna Kelly-Guthrie were among the other leading performers for the Pioneers. 

The Knights will look to claim top spot in round eight against Geelong Falcons in a top-of-the-table clash, while Bendigo will face another tough game against third-placed Sandringham.

Calder Cannons 4.2.26 defeated by Geelong Falcons 7.4.46

At the end of the first quarter, the Cannons were leading the Falcons, prompting them to go bang with a six-goal second quarter. Calder fought back in the third quarter with three goals but Geelong’s second quarter was dominant enough to secure the victory at RAMS Arena.

Sophie Walmsley had a dominant performance for the Falcons, kicking two goals for the day and having a strong presence around the ground. Ella Mahoney also got on the board with two majors in her first game of the season. Nina Morrison continued her stellar season in the midfield with a high work ethic throughout the match, and was complemented by Zoe Inei in the ruck.

Madison Prespakis again starred for the Cannons, playing in the midfield and contributing at full forward. Prespakis kicked two goals for the day and her on-field leadership was second-to-none. Carla Rendelmann starred in the ruck and absolutely dominated, winning plenty of hit-outs. Midfielders, Felicity Theodore and Grace Dicker were among the best for the Cannons, providing important run throughout the day.

Weekend wrap: TAC Cup Girls – Round 6

GEELONG Falcons and Northern Knights have continued to dominate the TAC Cup Girls competition, with each side making it six wins from six games this week. The Bushrangers were hot on their heels prior to round six, but fell to the Sandringham Dragons, who are playing some fantastic football at the moment. Meanwhile for the Stingrays, they got on the winners’ list this round with a dominant display against the Western Jets. It means all teams now have a win in the TAC Cup Girls competition, making the competition even across the board.

 

Geelong Falcons 4.11 (35) defeated Eastern Ranges 0.4 (4) 

At the start of the year, this was one of the most highly anticipated matches of the TAC Cup Girls competition. But after Eastern lost to the Western Jets a week prior, the in-form Falcons were able to capitalise at Belmont, with a 31-point win, keeping the usually solid scoring Ranges goalless.

Geelong’s Sachi DeGiacomi was a force in the forward line once again, kicking half of her side’s goals. While the Falcons were inaccurate, their AFLW Academy stars stood up on their return to TAC Cup Girls football. Lucy McEvoy was named as Geelong’s best player, while Olivia Purcell got on the scoreboard for the home side. AFL Draft Central’s round one TAC Cup Girls’ Player of the Week, Zoe Inei had a wonderful game for the Falcons, and was complemented by the likes of Paige Sheppard, Sophie Walmsley and Kaitlyn Haustorfer. 

Eastern co-captain Charlotte Wilson was the Ranges’ best player for the second week in a row. This time, she had fellow co-captain Emerson Woods back in the side to complement her, after Woods was missing last week due to the AFLW Academy match. Versatile forward Olivia Meagher also returned to the side this week and was prominent at Belmont, being named in Eastern’s best players. Midfielder Gabriella De Angelis was able to continue her sublime form at Belmont and although Laura McClelland did not get on the scoreboard, she still had a solid outing. 

 

Gippsland Power 4.4 (28) defeated by Northern Knights 6.7 (43)

By: Peter Williams 

In a game between two of the most in-form sides of the competition, the unbeaten Northern Knights kept their winning streak alive with a 15-point victory over Gippsland Power in Morwell on Saturday. The Knights had it most of their own way in the first three quarters, booting six goals to one and looking like they were going to run away with a huge victory as they had done on so many other occasions. But to the Power’s credit, they ripped up the script and booted 3.3, charging home to fall short in a gallant effort. Since round one the Power have been ultra-competitive in every game they played and it continued on the weekend.

Britney Gutknecht was the difference between the two teams in the first half, booting two goals for the game and covering the ground sensationally. Captain Maddy Brancatisano kept Tyla Hanks at bay, particularly early on with some good body work around the stoppages. Alyssa Bannan and Alexandra Pronesti both hit the scoreboard, while Gabrielle Newton, Marnie Jarvis and Sarah Sansonetti were all among the best. Coming into the game it was the Knights incredible depth that looked to be the difference, and in the first half it was, with so many contributors it was hard to pick the best players.

For Gippsland, Emily Haeusler continued her great recent form off half-back rebounding tirelessly against the Knights attacks, while Tyla Hanks got better as the game wore on and was a huge impact in the final term. Along with those two, Chandra Abrahams, Tahlia Dower and Lily Van Berkel all performed well for the Power and further indicated the increased depth that Gippsland has built this season.

 

Murray Bushrangers 3.4 (22) defeated by Sandringham Dragons 6.1 (37) 

The Sandringham Dragons are making a late charge towards the top two, having won their last three games in the TAC Cup Girls competition. The Dragons claimed their biggest scalp yet in round six, defeating the Murray Bushrangers, who only had one loss in the TAC Cup Girls competition going into the match. 

Molly Denahy Maloney was the star of the day for the Dragons and was complemented by Sandringham’s usual suspects. Eleanor Brown, Alice Burke and Maddison Wilson were all named in the Dragons’ best, and continue to be dominant forces in the Sandringham line-up. Midfielder Eliza McNamara managed to etch her name onto the scoreboard, and had two other multiple goal-kickers to complement her. Sophia Rothfield was able to kick two majors for the day, while Isabella Eddey continued her great form inside 50 with three goals. 

The Bushrangers also had a multiple goalkicker with Claudia McKimmie booting two majors for the day. Emilee McPherson chipped in with the other goal. Grace Egan was Murray’s best on the day, continuing to dominate in her side through playing a role wherever she is needed. This week, she was complemented by her partner-in-crime, Rebecca Webster who returned from AFLW Academy duties. Tali Verhoeven, Hayley Doohan and Sophie Locke were the other standouts in the Murray line-up. 

 

Greater Western Victoria Rebels 5.9 (39) defeated Calder Cannons 5.0 (30) 

By: Cameron Ross 

An inspirational four-quarter performance from Calder captain Madison Prespakis was not enough, as the Rebels ran out nine-point victors in the TAC Cup Girls match at MARS Stadium on Sunday. 

Although the Rebels could not kick a goal in the first quarter, they had the majority of the possession and the inside 50s. The midfield battle was key, as Rebels captain Lauren Butler and fellow onballer Ella Wood were pivotal in not only the first quarter, but for the game. Wood had a ton of possession and was extremely important for the Rebels, who were struggling to move the ball and retain possession. The classy midfielder showed composure while she was one and was one of the top GWV players. Sophie Van De Heuvel kicked an important goal for the Rebels at the end of the second term to make it a one-point game at half-time, which gave the Rebels important momentum heading into the second half. 

Assisting Madison Prespakis in the midfield battle was fellow AFLW Academy member, Georgia Patrikios, who kicked a contender for TAC Cup Girls Goal of the Year. Patrikios’ goal was a drop-punt that got a kind bounce from outside 50, and drew applause from the MARS Stadium crowd. The goal proved to be one of the most exciting pieces of play for the whole day and will be remembered by all who witnessed it. Butler had to battle hard, going head-to head against Prespakis. The Calder Cannons midfielder did everything she could for her side, winning contested possessions, clearances and even kicking a goal.

 

Bendigo Pioneers 1.2 (8) defeated by Oakleigh Chargers 11.9 (75) 

Both sides headed into this game without experiencing a win since round one. But on Sunday, it was the Chargers who were hungrier for victory, getting a big win over the Pioneers at Golden Square Oval. 

Daisy Bateman had an absolute day out, bagging five majors for the day in a clinical display inside 50. Emily Harley was the other multiple goal-kicker for Oakleigh, adding three goals next to her name. Midfielder, Katie Lynch was named the Chargers’ best, kicking a goal to complement her dominance in the middle of the ground. Captain, Hannah McLaren and midfielder, Gemma Lagioia returned to the side this week after being sidelined by injury. The duo made their presence known immediately, and were named in Oakleigh’s best as the side ran rampage against the Pioneers. 

For Bendigo, it was captain, Megan Williamson who stood up for her side once again. Williamson kicked Bendigo’s only goal of the day and continued to provide wonderful on-field leadership. Usual suspects, Maddy Baldwin and Kodi Jacques played their role throughout the day, and were named in the Pioneers’ best. But it was Eloise Gretgix who provided a shining light for Bendigo, after being named the Pioneers’ best player in their 67-point loss. 

 

Dandenong Stingrays 9.14 (68) defeated Western Jets 2.2 (14) 

It was a glorious day for the Stingrays, who were able to sing their song for the first time this season. Dandenong have been winless up until round six, but won their first game in style with a 54-point win over the Western Jets. 

The Stingrays welcomed back captain, Jordyn Allen this week and while there was not much for her to do in the first half, she worked her way into the game in the second half by moving from defence into the midfield. All the damage was done in the forward line though, with Isabella Shannon and AFLW Academy member, Courtney Jones each kicking two majors for the day. Tyanna Smith was involved in plenty of forward thrusts on the day and was rewarded for her efforts with a place in Dandenong’s best. But it was Brooke Vernon who was the star of the day, booting through a goal to go with her consistent effort across the ground. 

The Western Jets gladly welcomed Isabella Grant back into their line-up, after she missed round five due to AFLW Academy duties. Grant made an impact on the game immediately and her composure throughout the day was a shining light for the Jets. Caitlin Greiser was kept quiet on Sunday but still managed to kick a major, despite the ruthless Dandenong pressure. Sister of Majak Daw, Mary Daw played a wonderful game, always following her opponent closely and moving swiftly across the ground. Jasmine Goodman was the other goal-kicker for the Jets, and was named in the best for her efforts, alongside Carle Myors-Moore and Allison Chivell. 

Story so far: TAC Cup Girls – Metro

THE Story so far continues on from the Country sides, with a review of the TAC Cup Girls Metro sides. There have been plenty of impressive players and team performances across the first five rounds, with one metro team sitting second on the ladder. If the first five rounds are anything to go by, the next four rounds will be full of fantastic battles.

Calder Cannons

Position: 11th
Win-loss: 1 win – 4 losses
Percentage: 43%

Results:

R1: lost to Murray Bushrangers by 46 points
R2: lost to Northern Knights by 48 points
R3: defeated Western Jets by 12 points
R4: lost to Gippsland Power by 3 points
R5: lost to Sandringham Dragons by 55 points

The Calder Cannons enjoyed a premiership last season so coming into this year, they would have been hoping to continue their hot run of form. Unfortunately, they did not get off to the start that they would have liked, with heavy defeats against Murray Bushrangers and Northern Knights. But the competition was high as both are top four sides, and Calder were without draftees, Monique Conti, Chloe Molloy and Sarah Dargan, who were integral to their 2017 program. But this year, being the Calder captain has allowed the already talented Madison Prespakis to spread her wings. Prespakis has been unstoppable in the midfield and has really been able to lift her team when needed. She has been complemented by some great young talent in Felicity Theodore, Zoe Hardiman and Grace Dicker, who have all shown great signs throughout the season. The next four weeks could be tough for the Cannons, but with a young side willing to throw everything on the line, expect some close contests to finish off their 2018 campaign.  

Fixtures:

R6: vs. GWV Rebels
R7: vs. Geelong Falcons
R8: vs. Dandenong Stingrays
R9: vs. Eastern Ranges

Eastern Ranges

Position: 3rd
Win-loss: 4 wins – 1 loss
Percentage: 189%

Results:

R1: defeated GWV Rebels by 19 points
R2: defeated Dandenong Stingrays by 39 points
R3: defeated Oakleigh Chargers by 28 points
R4: defeated Bendigo Pioneers 17 points
R5: lost to Western Jets by 5 points

The Eastern Ranges’ season has been spectacular, despite a round five loss against the Jets. The TAC Cup Girls competition is all about development, meaning losses are often a good learning curve for the players. This is particularly good for the Ranges, who face ladder-leaders, Geelong in round six, where they would love to fix their mistakes from round five and claim a win. Players like Georgia Macpherson and Emerson Woods have been fantastic for Eastern and are showing no signs of slowing down. Forward Laura McClelland is the joint leading goalkicker in the competition with 11 majors, and has been prolific inside 50. In the midfield, it has been Gabriella De Angelis’ quick hands and Mikala Cann’s explosive speed that have been the catalyst behind the Ranges’ admired ability to swiftly penetrate the ball forward.

Fixtures:

R6: vs. Geelong Falcons
R7: vs. Gippsland Power
R8: vs. Murray Bushrangers
R9: vs. Calder Cannons

Northern Knights

Position: 2nd
Win-loss: 5 wins – 0 losses
Percentage: 268%

Results:

R1: defeated Dandenong Stingrays by 35 points
R2: defeated Calder Cannons by 48 points
R3: defeated Sandringham Dragons by 30 points
R4: defeated GWV Rebels by 16 points
R5: defeated Oakleigh Chargers by 51 points

The Northern Knights have been a surprise packet this year, going undefeated so far from five rounds. The wins have been extremely convincing, winning four out of five games by over 30 points. The Knights have an innate ability to burst the game open through one quarter of blistering footy, and leaders such as Madeline Brancatisano, Gabrielle Newton and Britney Gutknecht have been pivotal in these electric passages of play. Abigail Bennett has shown her versatility for the Knights with impressive stints both in the forward-line and in the midfield. Alex Pronesti and Alyssa Bannan have been a dangerous duo inside 50, kicking eight and 11 goals for the season, respectively. The Knights’ lesser-known players have also been standouts, with Ellie McKenzie running amok in each of her three games for the Knights, while Marnie Jarvis has provided fantastic speed throughout the season. Northern’s talent has stood up so far, and will need to continue to do so, as they face their fellow top-four sides in the last rounds of the season. These next four rounds could significantly shape the Knights’ season.

Fixtures:

R6: vs. Gippsland Power
R7: vs. Eastern Ranges
R8: vs. Geelong Falcons
R9: vs. Murray Bushrangers

Oakleigh Chargers

Position: 10th
Win-loss: 1 win – 4 losses
Percentage: 55%

Results:

R1: defeated Gippsland Power by 67 points
R2: lost to Sandringham Dragons by 33 points
R3: lost to Eastern Ranges by 28 points
R4: lost to Geelong Falcons by 70 points
R5: lost to Northern Knights by 51 points

The Oakleigh Chargers enjoyed a magnificent win in round one to open their season, however the next four rounds have not been ideal for the Chargers. They have not won a game since, but their development has been good. Gemma Lagioia, Alana Porter and Katie Lynch have been important in the midfield and have stood up when the side has been down. Captain Hannah McLaren has shown great leadership throughout Oakleigh’s 2018 campaign, demonstrating her versatility across the backline and through the middle of the ground. Players like Chloe O’Malley, Mimi Hill and Nicola Xenos have also had convincing performances in patches throughout the season. The Chargers play four of the bottom six teams coming up, in which they can prove a point to the rest of the competition.

Fixtures:

R6: vs. Bendigo Pioneers
R7: vs. Dandenong Stingrays
R8: vs. Western Jets
R9: vs. GWV Rebels

Sandringham Dragons

Position: 6th
Win-loss: 3 wins – 2 losses
Percentage: 136%

Results:

R1: lost to Geelong Falcons by 20 points
R2: defeated Oakleigh Chargers by 33 points
R3: lost to Northern Knights by 30 points
R4: defeated Dandenong Stingrays by 15 points
R5: defeated Calder Cannons by 55 points

The Sandringham Dragons have plenty of talent in their side, with players like Sarah Hartwig holding up the backline, Eliza McNamara dominating in the midfield, and Maddison Wilson playing well up forward. Eleanor Brown has been damaging all over the ground and has proved that she can have an impact in any position, while captain Jemma Owen has been in fine form of late. The Dragons have now won two consecutive games and have a chance to keep their momentum going against a Murray side who experienced its first loss in the TAC Cup Girls competition in round five. Despite no AFLW Academy members in the side, Sandringham still has the firepower to match it up against the sides that do.

Fixtures:

R6: vs. Murray Bushrangers
R7: vs. Western Jets
R8: vs. Bendigo Pioneers
R9: vs. Gippsland Power

Western Jets

Position: 9th
Win-loss: 1 win – 4 losses
Percentage: 57%

Results:

R1: lost to Bendigo Pioneers by 37 points
R2: lost to Gippsland Power by 15 points
R3: lost to Calder Cannons by 12 points
R4: lost to Murray Bushrangers by 25 points
R5: defeated Eastern Ranges by 5 points

It was extremely pleasing to see the Western Jets get their first win of the TAC Cup Girls competition as their development has been positive throughout the season. Isabelle Pritchard has been solid in defence, Isabella Grant can make an impact wherever she plays, and Elisabeth Georgostathis has been sensational through the middle of the ground. Despite four losses to start the season, the losses were not heavy, with the biggest loss coming in round one against Bendigo. But in the last two weeks in particular, we have seen the emergence of forward, Caitlin Greiser. Greiser has kicked seven goals in two rounds and will continue to be a key cog inside 50 as the Jets approach the Stingrays in round six, who are yet to win a game in 2018.

Fixtures:

R6: vs. Dandenong Stingrays
R7: vs. Sandringham Dragons
R8: vs. Oakleigh Chargers
R9: vs. Geelong Falcons

Team of the Week: TAC Cup Girls Mid-Season Edition

GEELONG Falcons and Northern Knights dominate the extended AFL Draft Central TAC Cup Girls’ Mid-Season Team, emphasising their strong start to the season.

The team of 24 players was selected based on the amount of times players were picked in our AFL Draft Central Team of the Week, with a total of 27 players selected two or more times. We extended the team out to 24 players with three emergencies to ensure each player with multiple nominations made the side.

Geelong and Northern make up a combined third of the team, with four representatives from each side. Falcons defender Denby Taylor, and mid/forwards Olivia Purcell, Samantha Atkins and Nina Morrison all made the squad, while from Northern, the versatile Ellie McKenzie, ruck/forward Gabby Newton and dangerous forwards Alex Pronesti and Alyssa Bannan made the final team.

Gippsland Power and Murray Bushrangers have the next highest amount of representatives with Power centre-half forward Nikia Webber and half-back Emily Haeusler both joining midfield dynamo Tyla Hanks in the team.

Bendigo Pioneers, Eastern Ranges, Murray Bushrangers and Western Jets make up a quarter of the final 24-player squad. For the Pioneers, midfield duo Kodi Jacques and Megan Williamson have made the cut, while for the Jets, bookends Isabelle Pritchard and Caitlin Greiser have been impressive this season. It was a surprise to see Eastern only have two nominees, but it spoke of their depth given the amount of nominees they have had over the season. Consistent half-back Georgia Macpherson and ruck Sarah Kendall start on the field for the side. It was equally as surprising to see the Bushrangers with just two nominees with the reliable Grace Egan and consistent midfielder Tamara Smith join gun centre Rebecca Webster in the final squad.

Of the remaining sides who had a representative, Eleanor Brown (Sandringham Draogns) starts at half-back, now doubt moving up onto a wing; Madison Prespakis (Calder Cannons) will look to influence the midfield; Georgia Clarke (GWV Rebels) will position herself at centre-half back; and Gemma Lagioia (Oakleigh Chargers) will look to have an impact from the bench.

Western Jets’ Elisabeth Georgostathis, Murray Bushrangers’ Tamara Smith and Sandringham Dragons’ Eliza McNamara were the only three players to have made two AFL Draft Central Team of the Weeks, named as emergencies in our Mid-Season Team.