Tag: Eliza McNamara

Team Selection: TAC Cup Girls – Round 3

AS we enter round three of the TAC Cup Girls, we are beginning to see the ladder take shape. There are four undefeated sides – Northern Knights, Geelong Falcons, Eastern Ranges and Murray Bushrangers – while four sides – GWV Rebels, Dandenong Stingrays, Western Jets and Calder Cannons – are yet to taste victory; at least one of which will do so, with the Jets and Cannons clashing on Sunday.


Round 3 – Saturday, March 24, 10.30am
Mars Stadium, Ballarat

The Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels head into their clash with Bendigo Pioneers yet to taste victory after a tough couple of matches against Eastern Ranges and Geelong Falcons. Now back at their home stadium, the Rebels will look to take full advantage of their familiar blustery conditions to knock off Bendigo and claim the win. Georgia Clarke will start at centre-half back, possibly to curb the influence of Kate Douglass who was impressive for the Pioneers last week. Rebels captain Lauren Butler could go head-to-head with Kodi Jacques, while Sophie Molan will face off against Pioneers captain Megan Williamson in the middle.

Bendigo will be keen to bounce back from its loss to Murray, kicking the last three goals of the game but still going down to one of the benchmark teams this season. If they can carry their form into the round three game, they are every chance to get the result. Sophie Kerridge will line up at full-forward alongside Maeve Tupper, while possibly opposed to Georgia Pidgeon and Nekaela Butler respectively. Without the classy Sophie Van De Heuvel in the Rebels midfield, the Pioneers will look to take control and assert themselves through the corridor.

Greater Western Victoria Rebels

B: 6. N. Butler, 26. G. Pidgeon, 14. L. Sykes
HB: 44. E. Bibby, 25. G. Clarke, 34. S. Glover
C: 27. N.  Dojiok, 23. S.  Molan, 10. H.  Simpson
HF: 13. C. Leonard, 28. I. Simmons, 2. R. Saulitis
F: 4. A. Nicholson, 41. K. Harris, 8. E. Wood
R: 22. I. Rustman, 21. D. Henson, 16. L. Butler
Int: 15. T. Jasper, 5. V. Jewell, 9. J. McAuliffe , 7. A. McAuliffe

Bendigo Pioneers

B: 12. T. Coad, 32. S. Reilly, 5. E. Turnbull
HB: 23. G. Murrell, 3. C. Isaac, 25. T. Stewart
C: 11. J.  Finning, 28. M.  Williamson, 15. T.  Goodrem
HF: 27. B. Hards, 20. K. Douglass, 30. B. Heiden
F: 17. G. Sladden, 13. S. Kerridge , 1. M. Tupper
R: 9. D. Kelly-Guthrie, 19. K. Jacques, 2. M. Baldwin
Int: 6. M. Curran, 18. I. Gould, 14. O. Taverna, 22. M. Ward



Round 3 – Saturday, March 24, 2.45pm
RAMS Arena, Craigieburn

Murray Bushrangers are running hot at the moment and will look to use their experience against the young Gippsland Power side. One of the most exciting battles of the day has to be Rebecca Webster going head-to-head with Tyla Hanks. Both players are among the top echelon in the competition and have been in super form this season. Up forward, the dangerous pocket rocket Julia Harvey or teammate Claudia McKimmie could have Power defender Emily Haeusler stand them, all three of whom are in good form.

Eloise Ashley-Cooper and Grace Egan represent some pretty potent half-back flankers and Holly Andrews and Nikia Webber will be looking to quell their influence. Julia Redmond has been a rock in defence, but she will be tested against Sophie Damon or Olivia Barber this weekend. Murray will head into the match as strong favourites, but with nothing to lose and plenty of speed, Gippsland has every chance of taking it up to one of the top sides in the competition.

Murray Bushrangers

B: 14. A. Duguid, 21. C. Boschetti, 32. N. Watts
HB: 16. E. Ashley-Cooper, 34. E. McPherson, 42. G. Egan
C: 11. A.  Chessor, 17. R.  Webster, 3. P.  Crelley
HF: 19. M. Brown, 6. K. Adams, 1. J. Harvey
F: 37. S. Damon, 45. O. Barber, 36. C. Mckimmie
R: 43. T. Verhoeven, 22. T. Smith, 4. C. Knight
Int: 8. O. Hall, 31. S. Locke, 26. E. Nicholson, 33. M. Trethowan

Gippsland Power

B: 29. C. Bray, 65. J. Redmond, 17. S. Trewin
HB: 6. E. Haeusler , 45. L. Van Berkel, 49. M. Shaw
C: 12. M.  Fitzsimon, 28. T.  Hanks, 30. A.  Rippon
HF: 13. H. Andrews, 8. C. Abrahams, 27. N. Webber
F: 4. J. Ross, 57. J. Ferguson, 60. E. Williams
R: 58. A. Dunn, 31. L. Berry, 10. T. Dower
Int: 1. E. Jones, 48. C. Prestidge, 50. M. Van Berkel, 11. S. Walker



Round 3 – Sunday, March 25, 11am
RAMS Arena, Craigieburn

In the battle of the winless teams, Western and Calder will look to kick-start their 2018 campaign on Sunday. Western have been drawn as the “home” team given the fixture was originally scheduled for Avalon Airport Oval, but a late change to RAMS Arena hands the Cannons the homeground advantage. On the field, Isabella Pritchard and Katarina Rebuffo form a strong defensive duo, while Isabella Grant and Cleo Saxon-Jones are among the targets up forward for the Jets. Through the midfield, Olivia Forsythe and Elizabeth Georgostathis will be hoping to continue their form from last round against a strong Cannons midfield.

For the Cannons, all eyes will be on Madison Prespakis through the midfield as the star playmaker in the team. Down back, Molly Warburton and Eleanor Cornish will combine to provide some drive off half-back, while Georgia Patrikios is a skilful player in the forward half. With the likes of Faith Holloway and Felicity Theodore coming off the bench, the Cannons will have plenty of youthful run in the side.

Western Jets

B: 33. L. Basto, 31. K. Rebuffo, 2. C. Gashi
HB: 21. M. Fenech, 44. C. Myors-Moore, 30. I. Pritchard
C: 22. A.  Chivell, 4. L.  Spargo, 25. T.  Kolevski
HF: 8. E. Gardner, 36. J. Goodman, 14. I. Grant
F: 26. I. Negri, 39. C. Saxon-Jones, 40. S. Whiting
R: 43. C. Greiser, 19. O. Forsythe, 16. E. Georgostathis
Int: 5. M. Daw, 34. T. Evans, 17. I. Freeman, 27. P. Ozols

Calder Cannons

B: 29. S. Elias, 48. C. Brown, 44. I. McNeill-Wren
HB: 22. M. Muller, 17. E. Cornish, 9. M. Warburton
C: 32. T.  Fry , 31. K.  Petrevski, 8. E.  Vale
HF: 21. G. Patrikios, 28. R. Love, 11. A. Barba
F: 34. Z. Hardiman, 49. T. Crook, 25. A. Magri
R: 18. C. Rendelmann, 23. G. Dicker, 3. M. Prespakis
Int: 37. F. Holloway, 45. C. Macumber, 2. F. Theodore, 35. I. Young



Round 3 – Sunday, March 25, 11am
Deakin University, Geelong

The unbeaten Geelong Falcons welcome the determined Dandenong Stingrays to Deakin University on Sunday morning. The Falcons midfield which includes guns Olivia Purcell and Nina Morrison will go head-to-head with the lines of Jordyn Allen and Isabella Shannon, while Lucy McEvoy will have the job on dangerous Stingrays forward Samantha Ryan. Shelley Heath is another nimble Stingrays player who might face off against the Falcons’ Demby Taylor.

Brooke Struylaart will go forward for the Stingrays, while Lucinda Cripps will hold down the fort – and for her sake hopefully Sachi DeGiacomi, with the Geelong Falcons centre-half forward in ripping form. Samantha Atkins and Molly McDonald played well last week and might go head-to-head in what should be a fascinating contest. The Falcons will naturally be favourites heading into the clash, but the Stingrays are strong defensively and will be hoping to nullify some of Geelong’s key ball winners.

Geelong Falcons

B: 22. K. Haustorfer , 37. A. Chapman, 33. M. Sheppard
HB: 38. S. Dinneen, 24. L. McEvoy, 28. D. Taylor
C: 18. N.  Morrison, 15. J.  Devarakonda, 36. S.  Walmsley
HF: 10. S. Atkins, 42. S. DeGiacomi, 2. E. Vella
F: 20. T. Love, 39. R. Tierney, 27. M. Skinner
R: 34. Z. Inei, 11. L. Lesosky-Hay, 7. O. Purcell
Int: 25. K. Gleeson, 46. E. Lawson, 31. S. Milsome, 6. P. Sheppard

Dandenong Stingrays

B: 19. B. Borchard, 51. Z. Hill, 47. L. Metcalfe
HB: 5. E. Allen-Burns, 35. L. Cripps, 12. M. McDonald
C: 46. J.  George, 26. I.  Shannon, 28. T.  Smith
HF: 1. S. Heath, 44. S. Ryan, 3. C. Jones
F: 42. A. O’Sullivan, 29. B. Struylaart, 31. B. Vernon
R: 45. M. Graham, 15. J. Allen, 21. G. Hodder
Int: 40. R. Clancy – Dillon, 10. A. Jordan, 2. S. Stratton, 39. N. Taylor



Round 3 – Sunday, March 25, 12.45pm
RAMS Arena, Craigieburn

In arguably the match of the round, the unbeaten Northern Knights take on the impressive Sandringham Dragons. The Dragons bounced back from a round one loss to Geelong Falcons, to run all over Oakleigh Chargers last week. The rebound off half-back from the likes of Winnie Laing, Sarah Hartwig and Eleanor Brown was telling, while Eliza McNamara and Abbie McKay were prime movers in the middle. Up forward, Laura Amelung and Sophia Rothfield could be dangerous, but the Dragons key to scoring lies in their ability to share the goals around.

For the Knights, they have one of the most potent forward lines in the league, with leading goal kicker Alyssa Bannan alongside other goal kickers Abigail Bennett, Alex Pronesti and Olivia Dikranis. Through the midfield, Nell Morris-Dalton, Maddy Bracantisano and Gabby Newton will look to take control, while Magdelene Antypas and Britney Gutknecht are other names to look out for. The battle in the ruck between Knight Neve O’Connor and Dragon Alanna Dalley will be another fantastic battle.

Northern Knights

B: 1. M. Antypas, 27. P. Kearney, 13. M. Suzuki
HB: 10. P. Chisholm, 18. S. Sansonetti, 21. E. McKenzie
C: 2. M.  Jarvis, 5. M.  Brancatisano, 23. G.  Newton
HF: 7. A. Bennett, 6. A. Bannan, 12. O. Dikranis
F: 17. C. Fitzgerald, 24. A. Pronesti, 11. A. Williams
R: 4. N. O’Connor, 14. J. Fitzgerald, 3. N. Morris-Dalton
Int: 8. G. Ceravolo, 26. E. Clayton, 22. B. Gutknecht, 16. T. Manson

Sandringham Dragons

B: 40. N. Borg, 42. R. Woods, 46. A. Burke
HB: 2. W. Laing, 32. S. Hartwig, 13. D. Walker
C: 30. E.  Brown, 43. A.  McKay, 5. J.  Tait
HF: 49. L. Amelung, 3. S. Rothfield, 31. B. Arnold
F: 25. I. Eddey, 50. H. Bate, 1. M. Wilson
R: 20. A. Dalley, 36. J. Owen, 64. E. McNamara
Int: 48. N. Amiet, 58. G. Bridges, 33. M. Denahy Maloney, 15. P. Hobday, 65. C. Saultry, 60. G. Strangio, 53. I. Stutt, 11. T. Tysoe



Round 3 – Sunday, March 25, 2.30pm
RAMS Arena, Craigieburn

In the final game of the round, Oakleigh Chargers will test themselves against Eastern Ranges at RAMS Arena. Oakleigh has some fantastic ball winners – lead by the classy Gemma Lagioia – and some huge inclusions for the clash, with Katie Lynch – who missed the round two loss – returning, as is Isabella Gietzmann, the dual sports athlete who has returned from cricket season. The forward line for the Chargers looks more potent with captain Hannah McLaren down at full-forward, while Melanie Bertuna will play off a flank. A big omission is that of goal sneak Daisy Bateman, who was quiet last week after starring in round one. Jasmine D’Amato, Nicola Xenos and Emily Harley are other players who have impressed so far this season.

For Eastern, it is harder to find a line without a star than one with it. Georgia Macpherson, Charlotte Wilson and Lauren Szigeti provide plenty of rebound, Laura McClelland, Tahlia Merrett and Emerson Woods will be a damaging half-forward set-up, while the speed machines in Mikala Cann and Olivia Meagher will look to outrun the Chargers midfield. An interesting head-to-head will be that of rucks Sarah Kendall and Bridie Winbanks, with both smart players when it comes to positioning at stoppages.

Oakleigh Chargers

B: 26. A. Micallef, 45. T. Cowan, 17. N. Xenos
HB: 6. T. Johnson, 39. T. Nichols, 32. C. O’Malley
C: 2. M.  Hill, 50. C.  Nancarrow, 30. G.  Lagioia
HF: 29. M. Bertuna, 21. C. Moon, 52. L. Harris
F: 33. G. Byrne, 14. H. McLaren, 18. I. Gietzmann
R: 11. B. Winbanks, 16. A. Porter, 41. K. Lynch
Int: 3. J. D’Amato, 68. A. Dyer, 19. E. Harley, 15. A. Ling, 22. Z. Makris, 5. A. van Oosterwijck, 70. P. Fennell

Eastern Ranges

B: 18. A. Allsopp, 50. S. Zappia, 17. M. Kendall
HB: 37. G. Macpherson, 49. C. Wilson, 48. L. Szigeti
C: 16. E.  Horne, 39. O.  Meagher, 41. J.  Richardson
HF: 38. L. McClelland, 40. T. Merrett, 3. E. Woods
F: 26. T. Brown, 42. M. Taverna, 22. C. Chamberlain
R: 46. S. Kendall, 21. M. Cann, 10. N. Cormack
Int: 34. S. Bowden, 35. B. Cubitt, 6. G. De Angelis, 47. J. Provan

Team of the Week: TAC Cup Girls – Round 2

TWO rounds in and players are starting to stand out, while clubs are assessing and reassessing their season to date. The competitive nature of the competition made making the AFL Draft Central Team of the Week very difficult. Each week, AFL Draft Central will attempt to compile the best 22 players from the week of footy in the TAC Cup Girls competition, which is sure to become harder as the weeks go on with all the standout talent in the competition this year.

Of the 22 players who made the team, nine made it two in a row after winning a place in the round one side a fortnight ago. Big wins to Eastern Ranges, Geelong Falcons, Murray Bushrangers and Sandringham Dragons saw those clubs have a week-high three representatives each, while Northern Knights and Gippsland Power had two representatives. The six losing clubs had the one representative in the Round 2 Team of the Week.

Eastern Ranges’ Georgia Macpherson and Sarah Kendall made the side for the second consecutive week, this time joined by teammate Tarni Brown, who impressed on the weekend up forward. Sandringham Dragons had three brand new representatives with defenders Sarah Hartwig and Eleanor Brown, and midfielder Eliza McNamara making the team.

Geelong Falcons also had three new representatives to the team, with three smaller players representing them in the AFL Draft Central Team of the Week, following the three talls slotting in there in round one. Olivia Purcell, Samantha Atkins and Nina Morrison all made the side after impressive performances, while GWV Rebels’ defender Nyakoat Dojiok made the team following her efforts against the Falcons.

For Murray Bushrangers, Rebecca Webster made the team for the second consecutive week, this time joined by Claudia McKimmie and Eloise Ashley-Cooper, the latter of whom was one of the unlucky omissions from the round one team. Gippsland Power’s Tyla Hanks made the team again, joined by teammate Emily Haeusler after her efforts in defence against the Western Jets. Northern Knights’ Abigail Bennett and Nell Morris-Dalton also line-up next to each other in our Team of the Week.

Western Jets’ defender Isabella Pritchard, Bendigo Pioneers’ midfielder Kodi Jacques, Oakleigh Chargers’ Gemma Lagioia and Calder Cannons’ Maddison Prespakis made the team for the second consecutive week with strong performances in their respective club losses. Tall forward Samantha Ryan was the other new addition to the team, named as the best player for the Dandenong Stingrays in their loss to Eastern Ranges.

Naturally you cannot have a Team of the Week without some unlucky omissions and there was no shortage of unlucky players in round two. Eastern Ranges’ Laura McClelland, Sandringham Dragons’ Winnie Laing, Dandenong Stingrays’ Jordyn Allen, Western Jets’ Elizabeth Georgiostathis, Northern Knights’ Maddy Bracantisano and Geelong Falcons’ pair Sachi DeGiacomi and Lucy McEvoy were all among those that were on the fringe but we could not quite squeeze in, such was the impressive games over the weekend.

Team constructed by Peter Williams, Julia Montesano and Damien Berry:

Weekend Wash-up: TAC Cup Girls – Round 2

ROUND two saw a new ladder-leader emerge, a drought-breaking victory and a winning streak kept intact. The Northern Knights recorded a 48-point win over the Cannons and soared to the top of the ladder. Over at Casey Fields, the Power came home with their first win in the TAC Cup Girls Competition, after beating the Western Jets by 15 points. The Bushrangers are used to this winning feeling, and experienced it on Saturday against Bendigo to remain undefeated in the TAC Cup Girls Competition. 

Eastern Ranges 8.8 (56) defeated Dandenong Stingrays 2.5 (17)

By: Effie Caloutas

Eastern Ranges reaffirmed their status as a serious TAC Cup Girls premiership contender following an impressive 39-point win over Dandenong Stingrays at Healesville Sporting Complex on the weekend.  The home side started strongly in the first quarter, with a 24-point lead heading into quarter time courtesy of two goals to Laura McClelland. The Ranges kept the Stingrays to one goal in the second quarter, and held a 32-point lead heading into half-time. In a sluggish third quarter, The Ranges were able to extend their lead to 37 points at three quarter time, led by Olivia Meagher. Mikaela Cann received a fortunate bounce on her kick at goal seconds before the siren in the last quarter, as the Eastern Ranges ran out 39-point winners over the Dandenong Stingrays.

Georgia Macpherson was simply sensational for Eastern Ranges, rebounding everything and creating plenty of drive off half-back which earned her the title of AFL Draft Central TAC Cup Girls Player of the Week for round two. Tarni Brown, the daughter of Collingwood legend Gavin and sister of current Magpies Callum and Tyler, was also impressive, as was Sarah Kendall and Cann who continued their good form from round one.

For the Stingrays, Samantha Allen bounced back from a quiet outing in round one to be an important target up forward, while Jordyn Allen played her captain’s role down back and through the midfield. Many of the Stingrays were well held in the first half, but the likes of Allen and Shelley Heath came alive in the second half, while Isabella Shannon was another player who stood out with her classy ball use. Lucinda Cripps was a rock in defence, particularly in slowing the Eastern attack in the second half.

Sandringham Dragons 6.7 (43) defeated Oakleigh Chargers 1.4 (10)

Sandringham Dragons bounced back from a round one loss to the Geelong Falcons to record a big 33-point victory over ladder-leaders, Oakleigh Chargers. The Chargers gained top spot after a thumping win over Gippsland Power, but despite a good defensive first quarter, were eventually knocked off by the Dragons who relentlessly attacked for three quarters, booting six goals in the second and third term, while Daisy Bateman‘s sole major for Oakleigh came in the third quarter.

There was no shortage of contributors for Sandringham in the win, but it was hard to look past the superb half-back line, led by Sarah Hartwig and ably assisted by Eleanor Brown and Winnie Laing, both of whom also gained vital midfield minutes. The trio provided drive off half-back and caused headaches for Oakleigh, while Eliza McNamara was crucial in the midfield. Famous surnames Alice Burke and Abbie McKay were also key contributors in the Dragons’ victory.

Oakleigh might have had a down week compared to the previous round, but Gemma Lagioia‘s class still shone through, while Jasmine D’Amato, Nicola Xenos and Hannah McLaren were also amongst the best. The Chargers worked hard through midfield but struggled to penetrate the impressive Dragons defence. However their own defence held up well on transition, and they will back themselves to beat quite a few teams with their defensive efforts on the weekend.

Murray Bushrangers 8.12 (60) defeated Bendigo Pioneers 3.2 (20)

After a huge win over reigning premiers Calder Cannons last round, Murray Bushrangers continued their strong form into round two with a 40-point victory over Bendigo Pioneers. The Pioneers were fresh off an equally impressive win over Western Jets, but with a bottom-age dominant squad, were beaten by the more experienced and polished side. A positive to come out of the game was the continued good form of Kodi Jacques, while outscoring the Bushrangers three goals to zero in the final term.

For Murray, Rebecca Webster starred again through the midfield, while Eloise-Ashley Cooper was important in defence. Claudia McKimmie was the target up forward, finishing with three goals, while last week’s heroes Sophie Damon and Julia Harvey were among the single goal kickers. Tahli Verhoeven and Amy Duguid were others that impressed in the Bushrangers victory.

For the Pioneers, aside from the consistent Jacques, Megan Williamson and Carly Isaac were named in the best, while Kate Douglass and Sophie Kerridge booted final-quarter goals along with Jacques. Bendigo will be buoyed by its final quarter stand and hope to carry its form into round three next weekend.

Gippsland Power 5.5 (35) defeated Western Jets 3.2 (20)

After going six games, one season and a round without a win, Gippsland Power broke its winless drought with a 15-point win over Western Jets. The win meant the Jets are the only side without a victory, but given they held the Power goalless in the final three quarters, their defensive structures are sure to see their first victory in the near future. The Power booted all of their five goals in the first term and then held on as the Jets tried to force their way in front. A huge gale caused issues for the players when kicking for goal, and often resulted in the defenders of both sides having an advantage.

Gippsland’s star midfielder Tyla Hanks put in another polished performance, with the co-captain leading the way along with defender/midfielder Emily Hauesler, and ruck/forward duo Jazz Ferguson and co-captain Amy Dunn. The Power also had plenty of other contributors throughout the day, and celebrated in style after the final siren with the win a long time coming. They will look to build on the victory going forward, with the Murray Bushrangers confronting them next week.

Western Jets’ defender Isabella Pritchard again stood out down back, teaming up with Katrina Rebuffo to repel the Power’s attacks. In the midfield, Elizabeth Georgiostathis, Olivia Forsythe and Maddison-Eve Fenech were crucial, while down forward, Isabella Grant continually provided an option roaming up the ground, while Cleo Saxon-Jones stayed closer to home, booting two goals.

Geelong Falcons 6.4 (40) defeated GWV Rebels 0.1 (1)

By: Damien Berry

Geelong Falcons remain unbeaten after defeating the Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels by 39 points in Sebastopol. The windy conditions on the day were not conducive to effective kicking, as balls kicked into the wind fell short, and many kicks on the outer side of the ground ended up out of bounds. The forward pressure, especially in the second half by the Falcons was excellent. Also on the few occasions GWV did end up deep in attack, the Falcons defenders’ pressure and work ethic was excellent, repelling the Rebels’ forward thrusts, thus keeping them goalless.

In a lop-sided contest, the majority of the best players were from the winning Falcons unit, and of these, Olivia Purcell was best afield. Her pace at the ball and ability to run and carry was a standout, and she also kicked a major late in the second quarter. Samantha Atkins and Nina Morrison both collected plenty of ball across the half-forward line and were dangerous any time they had the ball in their hands, plus Atkins’ tackling pressure was also excellent. Up forward, Sachi DeGiacomi delivered two goals, kicking accurately in the process, and Renee Tierney also added two majors while also providing plenty of forward pressure. Also noteworthy was the Falcons’ defence as a unit, but Abbey Chapman did an excellent job on her own merit as well.

For the Rebels, Ella Wood hunted the ball well early on, although she did fade out of the game as the Falcons took control. Nyakoat Dojiok showed plenty of run, backing herself to take on opponents, but at times struggled to hit targets with her kicking. Sophie Molan was certainly one of the Rebels’ best, and she tried all afternoon, while Lauren Butler and Georgia Clarke also did some nice things.

Calder Cannons 0.2 (2) defeated by Northern Knights 7.8 (50) 

By: Julia Montesano 

A low-scoring first quarter set up an appetizing contest at RAMS Arena. Madison Prespakis got off to an electric start, despite being targeted by the Knights midfielders. The Calder captain took everything that came her way, and showed her strength in the contest. She was able to penetrate the ball inside 50, but the Cannons forwards just could not get on the end of her kicks, ending up scoreless for the first term.

From then on, the Knights got on a roll, with Ciara Fitzgerald doing everything right around the contest. Like Prespakis’ heroics in the first quarter, she too was able to penetrate the ball forward with her big kick. She was complemented by Abigail Bennett who was everywhere on the day. Bennett used the ball extremely well both by hand and by foot, and did some fantastic work around the middle of the ground, winning a lot of the footy for her teammates. Gabby Newton was also a stand-out, winning the ruck battle convincingly and booming the ball out of the centre for the Knights’ small forwards to run onto. She was a strong presence around the contest.

Nell Morris-Dalton and Jess Fitzgerald also contributed solid performances in the Northern Knights’ 48-point win. Morris-Dalton flexed her muscles and showed her strength through the contest with a couple of hard-hitting tackles and big, long kicks. Fitzgerald was proactive in all areas of the ground, and impressed with a centre clearance where she burst through a host of potent Cannons midfielders to boot the ball forward. One of these midfielders was Grace Dicker, who impressed with her electric speed and acceleration, and showed some good signs for the Cannons on the day. 

Scouting notes: TAC Cup Girls – Round 2

THE TAC Cup Girls competition continued to produce many highlights across round two, headlined by Gippsland Power securing its first TAC Cup Girls victory. Round two also produced a new ladder-leader, as the Northern Knights sealed top spot with a big win over the Cannons. The Knights join Geelong, Murray and the Eastern Ranges, who are all undefeated after two rounds of an exciting 2018 season. 

Eastern Ranges vs. Dandenong Stingrays


#3 Emerson Woods

Had a quiet start to the game, but was one of the better Ranges players in the second half. Her first clear possession in the second half was a handball out of congestion to a teammate in space on the outside. She continued to win plenty of contested possessions in close and executed some crucial handballs to the outside. Started to stand out in the second half and took a good mark outside 50 and played on quickly to kick long.

#26 Tarni Brown

One of Eastern’s better players at times, it is just getting her consistency through matches built up. She was impressive with good speed, acceleration, agility, footy smarts and defensive pressure. She has that touch of class, and does the defensive things right as well. You get that sense she has a lot of natural football ability and it is just a case of getting more miles in the legs and thus consistency will come because the talent is there.

#37 Georgia Macpherson

If stats were recorded she would go close to breaking the marks and intercept marks record. Just does not drop anything and rebounds anything in her vicinity. The opposition began trying to avoid kicking it anywhere near her because of her consistency overhead and her drive out of defence. She is a powerful kick who more often than not hits her target and pushes up the ground too which helps with her team’s forward press. So smart and composed under pressure, put together another four-quarter performance.

#38 Laura McClelland

The dominant forward of the day, she booted three majors in the first half and could have had five. She found space well inside the forward 50, took some strong marks overhead and was a powerful set shot. McClelland showed off her versatility by snapping a goal to go with her set shots. Also provided defensive pressure when out of position and showed good strength on one occasion to fend off a would-be tackler.

#46 Sarah Kendall

One of Eastern’s best across the four quarters, played predominantly ruck but covered the ground really well. For a taller player she moves well and this helps her get in the best position in the ruck contests, forcing her way to the front. She won possessions in each third of the ground and when down forward, she presented well leading out. She took a really strong contested mark on the wing in the fourth quarter and just had that presence throughout the game to back-up from another strong day out.


#6 Gabriella De Angelis: Was composed inside 50 under pressure and weighted her kicks well.

#10 Nicole Cormack: Showed good vision in transition when she marked and weighted a perfectly timed pass to Tarni Brown inside 50.

#21 Mikala Cann: She has that lightning few steps out of a stoppage which can burn off her opponent, but also does all the defensive things right as well with some fierce tackling. She had a couple of snaps and kicked a major on the three quarter time siren. Still building to put in a four-quarter performance, but she has some eye-catching moments at times.

#39 Olivia Meagher: Only turned 15 a few months ago, but she is one to watch over the coming years. She rushed her shots on goal a bit, but laid some bone-crunching tackles – including one on Lucinda Cripps – to lock the ball inside 50. She has great acceleration inside 50 and strength, breaking a tackle, but she sprayed the shot. Would have been in the top couple on the ground had she finished the few shots off.

#40 Tahlia Merrett: Played up forward and rotated through the ruck with Sarah Kendall. Merrett is a strong mark of the football, kicked a couple of goals early and seemed a reliable set shot. She also worked well at ground level so the bottom-age player showed some good signs on the weekend.

#47 Jess Provan: Took a great contested mark in front in the third quarter, but missed the goal attempt. Found space later on and took a good mark, so was providing a target up forward.

#48 Lauren Szigeti: Took a few contested marks in the first quarter and was a rock in defence. She fended off an opponent in the third term charging out of the defensive 50 and cleared the ball inside her team’s own forward arc with a lovely kick inside 50 to Olivia Meagher.

#49 Charlotte Wilson: Had a great highlight with a strong intercept mark and kicked it clear from defence.



#1 Shelley Heath

Heath had a quiet first quarter before working more into the game after quarter time. She did not have as much time and space as last week, so used her high work ethic and running ability to work harder to get into space. She peeled off her opponent a couple of times and managed to get free to be an option on the wing. An accurate kick of the football, Heath backs herself when heading towards goal and has some quick first few steps out of a stoppage. Had a great smother in the final term, then laid a tackle backing up, to lock the ball up.

#15 Jordyn Allen

Like many teammates, the first quarter or so, Allen was not as influential as the week before.. But by the time she walked off the ground at the end of the game, Allen was one of the better players on the ground. Early on her defensive work was top, laying some important tackles and when she did have the ball, she was composed. It was the second half where she began to have a huge influence on the game. With the game slipping away, Allen played on from a kick-out, booted it to a teammate outside 50, received the handball from that teammate and kicked to half-forward. What showed her smarts was rather than just bombing long to a predictable area, Allen saw Georgia Macpherson ahead who had taken a multitude of intercept marks. So Allen readjusted her running and kicked to the other flank, using it as another avenue to goal. She did that a couple of times, using her fantastic penetrating kick to find targets up forward and just worked hard throughout the game. A high football IQ.

#26 Isabella Shannon

One of the Stingrays best early on, she stood up in the first half. She showed good speed out of the stoppage and tried to make something out of nothing charging through a few opponents. Unfortunately for her she was brought down and got pinged for holding the ball. She kicked the Stingrays’ first goal courtesy of a 50m penalty, but worked in tandem with Heath through the midfield and used it well by foot. Had a quieter second half, but still did some nice things.

#35 Lucinda Cripps

Like many of her teammates, Cripps had a quieter first half and worked into it in the second half. She was caught a couple of times with quicker forwards opposing her, but she continually tried to repel attacks out of the back 50. The biggest attribute to notice with Cripps is her ability to stay calm under pressure and never take her eyes off the contest. She took a huge back-with-the-flight mark in the final term putting her body on the line to stop a forward througst. She also used her strength to fend off opponents and had a big final term.

#44 Samantha Ryan

The tall forward was one the Stingrays’ best across the four quarters, because she did everything you could ask of a forward – she led, presented, took grabs and provided defensive pressure. Early on she was taking plenty of marks inside 50 and just got the better of her opponent on the lead. She laid a great hip and shoulder on Sarah Kendall in the second quarter, and was always buzzing around the forward 50.


#4 Jess Guy-Toogood: Has nice skills which she showed with ball in hand, moving in transition from the midfield to the forward 50.

#18 Saige Bayne: Still only 15 years-old and popping up with some good highlights through the match. She goes in hard to the contest and is able to hit targets when looking forward with good vision.

#20 Eliza Wilson-Macdonald: Came into the side this week and played on the inside with some great defensive efforts. She worked hard throughout the game and nearly all of her touches were under pressure. The left-footer spun out of a contest to get the ball forward at one stage, and later on won a one-on-one contest against Mikala Cann to get the ball clear, so some good signs.

#28 Tyanna Smith: Another 15 year-old who has a superb first touch. In one instance there was a high bouncing ball in the middle of the ground, and Smith took it cleanly, ran forward and produced a lace-out kick to Samantha Ryan leading out.

#55 Harmony Thomas: Looks dangerous at times given she is strong overhead and finds space, just needs to nail her shots on goal for a more complete performance.


Sandringham Dragons vs. Oakleigh Chargers


#2 Winnie Laing

Laing started in defence and was quiet, but moved into the midfield later in the second term and began to build. Her second half was as good as anyone else on the ground, and to start the third term, she won about five disposals in just a few minutes. She is a tough inside midfielder who constantly hit the packs hard and once moving back to the back-line in the fourth quarter, had moved into more ball-winning positions. She moved up the ground and peeled off her opponent more to impact the contest. Laing showed off some top acceleration in the final term, taking a shot on goal after bursting away from an opponent, but the shot just went wide.

#30 Eleanor Brown

She was super impressive throughout the first three quarters off half-back. She has a long raking kick and her bodywork was great. She not only won the hardball, but backed herself in and took the opposition on coming out of defence. She teamed up well with Winnie Laing and Sarah Hartwig to provide plenty of drive out of the back 50. She linked up in transition with her midfield and while she did not see as much of it later when Sandringham had it up the other end, she was still an important contributor when required.

#32 Sarah Hartwig

In the end, probably best on the ground in my eyes. She played a pivotal role off half-back, taking some crucial intercept marks and providing plenty of rebound. Had a huge run-down tackle on Jasmine D’Amato saving a potential goal in the first half, and was really composed with ball in hand, executing the quick-fire handball when required. Hartwig showed her speed on the lead when she made up ground to spoil an opponent, and also worked her way to a contest in the third term to kill off a ball and put it out of bounds for a stoppage. Her best effort came in the third term when she won a on-on-one at ground level and executed a clean handpass to a teammate who was running by. Had she lost the one-on-one, the Dragons back 50 would have opened up and Oakleigh kicked a major. She took a great contested mark in the fourth quarter and used her good foot skills and agility to sidestep an opponent.

#43 Abbie McKay

Carlton fans will no doubt be keen to keep track of Abbie – daughter of Andrew – and on the weekend she was quite impressive. Just had some little moments of brilliance as she played inside and was quick with her hands in close, and had some good strength and power to burst from a stoppage. She worked her way to the front in a marking contest after initially being out of position, and earned herself a free kick.

#64 Eliza McNamara

Still a few years off being top-age, but McNamara is certainly a talented junior. She has a good mix of offensive and defensive traits, and has both the ability to impact a contest on the inside or outside. McNamara went in hard on one instant, won the ball, sprinted away and kicked a goal from just inside 50. People talk about levels of ability and I think her best is very high level and the fact she has a couple of years still left in her development, she will be a very exciting prospect come 2020.


#3 Sophia Rothfield: A clean midfielder who has a good first touch off the deck and is able to hit targets going forward. She showed some strong hands when marking inside 50 and almost kicked a goal in the third term before it was smothered, but a moment later she snapped truly and earned the six-pointer.

#5 Jasmine Tait: Top-age player with a fair bit of pace. She stopped Gemma Lagioia in her tracks early with a great tackle, and she was winning her fair share of the ball through the midfield. Did not do too much wrong and seemed to be a smart and clean user by hand or foot particularly in tight, handballing clear.

#11 Taylah Tysoe: Showed some electrifying dash off a wing going forward in transition.

#13 Daisy Walker: A clean user with ball in hand, Walker was impressive off half-back and composed under pressure. She also provided plenty of defensive pressure on the ball carrier to unsettle them going forward.

#20 Alanna Dalley: The tall ruck held her own against Bridie Winbanks and showed some good bodywork. She did well to protect the ball on the occasions she took it clean out of the ruck, providing a block on her opponent to allow her teammates some extra space.

#31 Bryanna Arnold: Had an amazing highlight when she kicked a goal later in the game. Her long booming kick inside 50 was reminiscent of Leigh Brown’s bouncer against Geelong in the preliminary final, when it looked to have missed the goals entirely with a defender chasing it, then it took a right angle turn to bounce back into the goals.

#33 Molly Denahy Maloney: Presented up forward and kicked a great goal on the run in the second term.

#46 Jemma Owen: The Dragons captain showed off a penetrating kick and ability to hit targets inside 50 with a perfect pass to Isabella Stutt late in the game. When up forward she was rewarded for a great lead, marking the ball through a desperate dive. Unfortunately for Owen, her shot went wide.

#46 Alice Burke: Read the opposition taps perfectly and has some serious wheels sprinting away from the contest. In another instant she showed her strength by stealing the ball out of an opponents’ hands and clearing it from the coal face.

#49 Laura Amelung: Another Dragons defender who provided good run off half-back and showed composure under pressure. She took a good contested mark early despite being undersized in the one-on-one, and also looked dangerous when forward, taking a good mark on the ground in the final term but her shot went wide.

#50 Holly Bate: Just a clever forward who managed to goal from a snap off a second’s notive in the second term. She did it again in the third term, casually picking it off the deck and kicking a goal off a step to hand her goal number two. She also laid a bone-crunching tackle on Charlotte Moon late in the game.

#53 Isabella Stutt: Presented as a dangerous forward option, just could not finish off her hard work. Took a great mark but her shot hit the post, and another snap from a stoppage just missed, but she showed some impressive signs.



#3 Jasmine D’Amato

Showed signs last round, but stepped up her game this week I felt because she was crucial coming out of defence and through the midfield. She wins the ball both inside and out, has clean disposal and does not panic. By the end of the day I felt she was in Oakleigh’s top couple of players because of her ability to keep a level head while Sandringham was applying the pressure. One notable attribute she had was her ability to break through tackles and still remain balanced while kicking. She had a huge last quarter off half-back.

#14 Hannah McLaren

Started like a house on fire and was just consistent throughout the game. McLaren started in the midfield and worked her way to half-back where she held up well charging out of defence. She even had a shot on goal after fending off an opponent at half-back and kicking long, but it was stopped on the goal line. She took a huge contested mark at full-back and just continually repelled the Dragons attacks. She played up the ground at times and kicked the ball well inside 50, but went a little quiet later in the game when Sandringham was in control.

#17 Nicola Xenos

A player I thought had a number of good moments, particularly after quarter time. She won the ball along the wing and had the smarts to dispose of it quickly when under pressure. She laid a goal-saving smother and added great tackling pressure in defence. Her last quarter was outstanding, linking up with Jasmine D’Amato coming out of the back 50, and provided good drive to help the Chargers stem some of the Dragons’ flow inside their attacking zone.

#32 Chloe O’Malley

O’Malley just had a really consistent four-quarter effort. She won plenty of the ball early when the game was hot, and she worked hard in transition through the midfield. She continued to work throughout the match and while others might have stood out at times with their zip, O’Malley was just a workhorse through the centre of the ground and one of the better Chargers on the day.

#30 Gemma Lagioia

Another top performance from Lagioia, backing up her round one efforts. She certainly stands out with her cleanness and athletic ability. She has the smarts to win her own ball or receive it on the outside, and a strong athletic profile which sees her use her agility and acceleration to dance around opponents. She also has the tendency to release teammates with quick fire handballs when she is under pressure, waiting for the precise moment to give it off. She took a great mark in the first half and spun out of traffic to kick long to the goal square. Lagioia is a smooth mover who managed to juggle a mark in front of her opponent keeping it away so her defender could not spoil the ball. I stand by my rare use of the word “elite” when discussing her foot skills.


#2 Mimi Hill: Really good hands in close, got plenty of touches early and just fired out handballs left, right and centre to teammates to keep the play moving. One of Oakleigh’s best in the first half, covering great ground across the field. Did quieten towards the end, but still a solid performance.

#11 Bridie Winbanks: Had a huge battle in the ruck and at the very least broke even. Uses her strong frame well and has a penetrating kick. Hits targets more often than not, and found Gemma Lagioia leading out from the goal square with a dart pass.

#19 Emily Harley: Had a quiet first half, but stepped up after the main break. She was playing forward after her stint in defence in round one, and did a few nice things. Harley had the smarts to kick along the ground in the fourth term rather than pick up the ball and be caught holding it. She laid her own run down tackle in third term, and crashed through a few packs. Did give away a few frees but her intent was good.

#21 Charlotte Moon: Won a crucial one-on-one against Eliza McNamara late in the game and buzzed around the contest.

#38 Daisy Bateman: Was not allowed the same time and space as round one and had her work cut out for her against the strong Dragons defence. She still managed to snare a few overhead marks and has that penetrating kick for goal. Earned a free kick after a strong tackle, but missed the shot on the three quarter time sirem.

#43 Emily Hastie: Had a few good highlights throughout, showing her strength in the air. Laid a tough tackle after dropping the mark, showing her second efforts.

#52 Lily Harris: Laid a huge tackle to win a holding-the-ball free on a tight angle in the pocket, just unfortunately missed the shot to capitalise on her defensive effort.

#68 Allysha Dyer: The overager used her frame well to win contested ball around the stoppages. She played at full-forward and therefore did not see a heap of action, but played her part when she got involved.


Western Jets vs. Gippsland Power


#14 Isabella Grant

Given the Power’s dominance early, Grant was quiet. But after quarter time you could see the influence she can have when up and about. While she did not dominate in the forward 50 arc, her running power to get up the ground and crash packs or win the ball at ground level on the wing and release a teammate, was clear. She is so strong in the tackle and gets her arms free, with the unique ability to stand up in a tackle and fire out a handball to keep the play moving in transition. Grant was a player constantly watched by the opposition, and while she did not have the game on her terms, she found a way to still help influence the match through her teammates.

#16 Elizabeth Georgiostathis

A hard nut inside midfielder who also has outside pace. Still a bottom-ager, Georgiostathis is strong and powerful, but showed some toe when she tucked the ball under her arm, took a few bounces and used the space along the wing to kick forward. Later on, she took on a couple of opponents, backed herself and kicked cleanly under pressure. Took a good intercept mark late just inside 50 but just missed the target. Overall she was a standout through the midfield.

#19 Olivia Forsythe

One of the Jets’ best midfielders with Elizabeth Georgiostathis, winning plenty of ball at the coal face. She continually applied the pressure through the midfield, laying a multitude of tackles and earned herself free kicks, including one that saw her force an opponent to kick the ball out on the full. Forsythe showed off her strength in the air, taking a strong contested mark about 30m out under pressure, and kicked a vital goal for the Jets.

#30 Isabella Pritchard

The 16 year-old might be two and a half years away from being draft-eligible, but she is already standing out down back for the Jets. She is strong overhead, backs herself in and puts on pressure against the Power forwards. Pritchard has a penetrating kick that is reliable coming out of the back 50, and is also not rushed when under pressure. She executed a handball off the deck to a teammate without fuss and just generally stood up against the onslaught when the power were taking control.

#31 Katrina Rebuffo

Rebuffo teamed up well with Pritchard in defence and after initially being flooded with inside 50s in the first term, shored up the defensive team and made a number of one percenters. She dove across the goal line in the second term to save a potential Tyla Hanks goal. After half-time, Rebuffo began impacting offensively, running off half-back and charging out of defence. She became one of the better Jets across the game and produced a crucial goal-saving tackle late. One of the big reasons the Power did not kick a goal after quarter time.


#2 Caitlin Gashi: Showed good agility and speed around the stoppages, one of the best Western Jets early. Was clean with her possessions in close or on the outside.

#4 Leah Spargo: Great defensive efforts, laid a huge tackle to stop a rebound and had the quick thinking to move the ball on quickly.

#6 Laura Wright: Laid a huge tackle on Tyla Hanks in the opening minute of the third term, and continued to apply plenty of defensive pressure to the opposition, winning a number of frees through holding the ball or getting the pill first.

#8 Emily Gardner: A clean user of the ball, won a free kick for a great tackle, but missed the set shot.

#21 Maddison-Eve Fenech: Went in hard from start to finish laying a number of bone-crunching tackles in defence. Made her opponents earn every touch and never stopped fighting for her side.

#25 Taylah Kolevski: Played in the ruck and covered the ground really well.

#26 Isabella Negri: Has a unique combination of speed and power. Fended off a number of players under pressure and then used her jets to burst away and kick forward.

#27 Payton-Ani Ozlos: Tough customer who loves the physical side, laying a number of huge tackles.

#39 Cleo Saxon-Jones: Kicked an opportunistic goal in the square, with smart thinking to be in the right place at the right time. She kicked her second goal in the second quarter with another good snap and looked to be the Jets’ most damaging forward in the first half.

#40 Sharnie Whiting: A powerful kick of the football and strong overhead. Fended off an opponent when running with the pill.

#43 Caitlyn Greiser: A powerful player with a great turning circle. Took the mark just inside 50 and turned her opponent inside out to get onto her preferred side to kick to the danger area inside 50.



#6 Emily Hauesler

Hauesler played out of defence and the role really suited her considering her strengths of disposal and defensive pressure. She was clean by hand or foot, provided some great dash off half-back and had excellent vision and a low, penetrating kick. I thought she was the next best behind Tyla Hanks because of the drive and rebound she gave her side. She also applied great tackling pressure, and helped direct the defence.

#27 Nikia Webber

Another player who stood out for Gippsland, covering the ground well, but mostly playing as a damaging forward. She kicked one of the goals of the day in the first term with a snap from the pocket and then backed it up with a second goal on the run. She took a huge mark overhead and showed off her good vertical leap. Webber just looked to be getting into dangerous areas and also has the strength to go with it, fending off opponents at times, and winning the contested ball. Her work ethic was obvious when she took a mark in the centre square, the kick was smothered but she backed it up and won the hard ball to have a second chance and kick it forward.

#28 Tyla Hanks

Another polished performance from Hanks who looked like she enjoyed the freedom of some time up forward early. She booted two goals and almost had a third if it had not been smothered on the line. It was just a typical performance many fans have come to expect from her, winning contested ball, winning clearances and then getting to the outside and hurting teams in transition. She reads the play so well that she runs off her opponents at stoppages and can be found in space, which is how she kicked her first goal. Later on in the match she was also providing some run out of half-back when the game was slowing down. Copped a knee to the back in a marking contest but got back up and took the free. Hanks probably suffered leather poisoning from the match and you would be forgiven for thinking she brought her own football.

#30 Leyla Berry

Last week she worked into the match in the second half and it seemed she kept the momentum going this week. I thought she was one of the best Power players, winning the ball in close and applying plenty of defensive pressure. She laid a huge tackle in the third term, but was unlucky to be pinged for in the back. She stepped up to another level in the second half, winning plenty of the football and being impressive in close, as well as on the outside. A really promising performance.

#57 Jazz Ferguson

Another top Power player who I ranked behind Hanks and Haeusler such was her impact on the game. She played through the ruck and also up forward, creating a highlight in the first term with her goal. She fended off an opponent and continued to run, kicking a goal and getting the crowd up and about. She really got amongst it early, winning hitouts and covering the ground well for a taller player. Built on her first round performance and seemed settled in the second round.


#2 Samara Beaton: After a quieter first half, Beaton really began to get involved in the second half, laying a great smother and getting amongst it.

#4 Jennifer Ross: The overager played her role in the forward line, taking a good intercept mark in the pocket.

#8 Chandra Abrahams: Still quite young but there’s talent there, seems to have a fair bit of footy smarts. Just a couple of times I noticed she had the IQ to tap the ball on or have a deft touch to a teammate which would not have been recorded as a disposal, but still clever. Playing up forward but would not be surprised to see her develop into a tall midfielder down the track.

#12 Megan Fitzsimon: Spread really well from the stoppages and has a thumping kick on her. She penetrated through the opposition defence on one occasion, pumping it deep into the danger zone.

#58 Amy Dunn: Had an influence up forward and assisted Ferguson in the ruck. She looked to be a damaging forward with the way she lead into space and took some strong contested marks. She also set up her teammates and provided a real target down forward, particularly in the second quarter. Unfortunately the wind stopped her from adding a few majors to her day.

#65 Julia Redmond: Liked her game down back, she was a rock on the last line and just did everything right defensively. She broke two tackles deep in defence and backed herself to bomb to safety. She also took a couple of huge marks to save potential goals when the game was on the line.


Calder Cannons vs. Northern Knights 

By Julia Montesano 


#3 Madison Prespakis:

Had an electric start to the game and was probably the standout in the first quarter. She was able to penetrate the ball forward with ease, even in the midst of a strong tackle or getting chased down by the Knights midfielders. The Calder captain took everything that came her way- you could see she was being targetted by the Knights players. Prespakis was a ball magnet and did all the little things to help her team out as they struggled through the contest. In one instance, she followed up in the ball when it was in a tiny hole of space, picked it up cleanly, trapped the ball and side-stepped her opponent when she began to move the ball forward. She is such a strong player. 

#9 Molly Warburton: 

Warburton put in the hard yards for the Cannons in defence. In a young back-line, she brought a steady hand to the defensive line-up, and was able to slow the ball down and act composed when the Knights quickly burst forward. The defender displayed some great second efforts, which was really useful in a game where Calder did not give up, despite the Knights’ constant pressure. She will be one of Calder’s best on-field leaders as the season progresses.

#29 Stephanie Elias:

She was very brave on the last line of defence. The Knights forwards did not stop attacking all day, but she held herself with composure when the ball reached her. Elias took some great marks and also laid some wonderful tackles. In one instance, she laid a strong, goal-saving tackle just before the goal-line, and cleared the ball out with a booming kick when she received a free kick for holding the ball. She is only a small player but she is very skilful, and without her, the margin could have been much worse for the Cannons.  

#23 Grace Dicker:

Grace Dicker was one of the fastest players out there. She was able to use her acceleration to her advantage multiple times, especially when running away from opponents. She was particularly influential on the wing, where she was able to use the space to burst free from any pressure from her opponent trying to chase her down. Dicker also impressed with some great run-down tackles, showing that she could utilise her speed both in offence and in defence.

#21 Georgia Patrikios:

Patrikios showed composure with the ball in hand and her football skills looked a class above. She uses the ball incredibly well and has quick hands. Patrikios was able to bring her teammates into the game thanks to her footy smarts and unselfish attitude with the ball in hand. She is a good reader of the footy, and can accelerate well when she gets her hands on it. She also laid some aggressive tackles, which is an element of her game that she continues to improve on, and will hold her in good stead for the rest of the year. 



#7: Abigail Bennett

Bennett consistently displayed quick and clean hands throughout the contest at RAMS Arena. She was always able to spot up a target, thanks to her wonderful peripheral vision. Bennett would often find the ball in congestion and pick it up cleanly – a skill which really highlighted her footy smarts. She was able to get on the scoreboard herself when she read the ball brilliantly off the contest to snap it through for a goal. Bennett was everywhere on the day, and is proving to be a very important player for the Knights. 

#23: Gabby Newton

Gabby Newton was a huge force in the ruck, winning almost every hit-out. She managed to do this against one of the best rucks in the competition in Calder’s Carla Rendelmann. Newton’s impact was not just felt in the ruck though, as her impact was felt with strong marks, aggressive tackles and clean hands. In one instance, she won a two-on-one convincingly, which showed not only her strength, but also her smarts. 

#14 Jess Fitzgerald

Jess Fitzgerald caught my eye when she burst through the middle of the ground in Paddy Dow fashion to boot the ball forward. She is definitely an impact player, highlighted by a perfect tackling technique where she wraps both arms strongly around her opponent, leaving them nowhere to go. I was super impressed by Fitzgerald’s ability to get and go because it showed that she has confidence in herself to make the right choice with the ball in hand. She was in everything and when the she got the ball in hand, she could not be stopped. 

#6 Alyssa Bannan

Provided a fantastic target for the Knights inside 50. Bannan has really strong hands and can work up the 50 really well. She was able to kick two goals on the day, and was involved in plenty of scores. What stood out to me was her second efforts. In one instance, her kick was smothered but she had the awareness and reflexes to pick the ball up off the ricochet and boot it forward – a class act. I thought her third quarter was really influential, as she started to impose on the contest with her marking prowess and proactivity in front of goal. 

#3 Nell Morris-Dalton

Nell Morris-Dalton was the strongest player out there. In one instance, she broke away from a contest with two players tackling her. She was able to penetrate the ball forward magnificently, as her kick was not only long and booming, but it consistently found space for the Knights forwards to run into. This was crucial, as most of Northern’s goals were from players running into goal, or picking up and snapping the ball inside 50. Morris-Dalton looked like an on-field leader for the Knights, and showed poise with the ball in hand. 


#5 Maddy Brancatisano: Simply brilliant in the midfield. Was in and under every contest and continued to push hard for the Knights despite their comfortable lead. A fantastic leader for the club. 

#22 Britney Gutknecht: Her strong kick helped the Knights continue to pile the pressure onto the Cannons. In the third quarter, she delivered a magnificent kick onto the chest of Alyssa Bannan in the forward line, then burst forward to follow up the kick, as Bannan elected not to go for goal. She not only knows her own game well, but she also has knowledge about the way her teammates play. 

#17 Ciara Fitzgerald: Good marking and composed kicking from Fitzgerald. Was able to deliver a great centering kick into the forward line in the third quarter, and continued to step up her game in the fourth.

#37 Faith Holloway: She is the personification of speed and endurance combined. Holloway highlighted this through a great run-down tackle in the first quarter, in which she accelerated hard and fast to win a free kick. 

#24 Alex Pronesti: Pronesti is such an aggressive player, making her a really dangerous target up forward. But once she gets the ball in hand, she is very composed and uses it well. This was highlighted when she kicked her second goal of the day, as she was able to gather herself and run into goal while being surrounded by Cannons players running towards her. 

TAC Cup Girls previews: Round 2

AFTER a week off due to TAC Cup testing, the TAC Cup Girls are set to run out for round two of the competition this weekend. There are expected to be a number of tight contests this weekend as sides try and either consolidate or turnaround the form from the first week. Each week we will preview the upcoming games and name some players you might like to keep an eye out for.


Round 2 – Saturday, March 17, 10am

Healesville Sporting Complex, Healesville

The first game of the round is expected to be a cracker, with Eastern Ranges taking on Dandenong stingrays in the first of a double-header at the Healesville Sporting Complex. In round one, Eastern enjoyed a strong victory over the GWV Rebels, while Dandenong took it up to the Northern Knights for three quarters, before an Alyssa Bannan inspired Knights’ outfit overran the Stingrays.

Georgia Macpherson will look to continue her round one form from the back half, as will fellow AFLW Academy member, Emerson Woods in the midfield. Tarni Brown was an excitement machine at half-forward and could cause some headaches for the Stingrays, while ruck/forward Sarah Kendall and the lightning-quick Mikala Cann are others that stood out in round one and will be keen to follow-on in round two.

For the Stingrays, Shelley Heath was the best in round one and she has been named on the ball for round two, hoping to team up with captain Jordyn Allen, and Isabella Shannon in the midfield. Samantha Ryan was well-held in round one, but could still be a danger up forward, while Lucinda Cripps will lead the defence from centre-half back.


Round 2 – Saturday, March 17, 11.45am

Healesville Sporting Complex, Healesville

In the second game at Healesville, Sandringham Dragons face Oakleigh Chargers, a side fresh off its first win in the TAC Cup Girls competition. Sandringham went down to a strong Geelong outfit, but not without a fight, while the Chargers dominated for three quarters against Gippsland Power to secure top spot on the ladder after one round. The sides did face off in the pre-season with Sandringham coming out winners, whether that occurs tomorrow is yet to be seen.

Sandringham’s half-back line looks strong with Winnie Laing and Sarah Hartwig among the best in the Dragons’ round-one loss. The Dragons midfield is also strong, with Jemma Owen, Abbie McKay and 15 year-old Eliza McNamara likely to try and control the ball through the corridor, while up forward, Maddi Wilson and Holly Bate will try and provide the firepower requited.

For Oakleigh, the Chargers midfield was very impressive in round one, with Hannah McLaren, Gemma Lagioia, Katie Lynch and Melanie Burtuna all impressing both through the centre and up forward. Daisy Bateman and Jasmine D’Amato were damaging inside 50, while Emily Harley provided plenty of rebound off half-back, intercepting plenty of Power forward thrusts.


Round 2 – Saturday, March 17, 12pm

Epsom Huntly Reserve, Epsom

Two sides that were ultra-impressive in round one were the Bendigo Pioneers and Murray Bushrangers who both secured strong victories. Bendigo will play its second consecutive game at Epsom Huntly Reserve, after coming away with a big win over Western Jets. For Murray, round one was an ominous warning to its rivals, easily defeating reigning premiers Calder Cannons, albeit with the Cannons two players down in the last quarter.

Bendigo will look to Kodi Jacques in the midfield to get things moving, teaming up with captain Megan Williamson. Up forward, Sophie Kerridge will play at full-forward after a three-goal effort in round one. Along side her, Shelby Knoll will look to be a target, while Maeve Tupper and Brooke Hards – both 15 year-olds – will provide the ground support.

Murray had no shortage of contributors in its big victory, with captain Rebecca Webster dominating through the midfield, racking up clearances and ensuring her team kept its momentum rolling. In defence, Grace Egan rebounded everything off centre-half back. Alongside her was Eloise Ashley-Cooper, while up forward, tall target Sophie Damon and small forward Julia Harvey teamed up well to dominate the forward 50 arc.


Round 2 – Saturday, March 17, 3pm

Casey Fields, Cranbourne

Later on Saturday, the two sides yet to record a win in the TAC Cup Girls competition take to the field in Cranbourne from 3pm. In round one, the Western Jets went down to Bendigo Pioneers, while Gippsland Power could not contain Oakleigh Chargers’ firepower. This weekend will give one team a relieving win, in what is expected to be a fantastic clash of developing clubs with a number of talented bottom-age prospects.

For the Jets, Isabella Pritchard was impressive off centre-half back and is still 16 years-old, while up the other end, the other Isabella – Isabella Grant – will look to lead the attack. Through the midfield, the Jets will look to Payton-Ani Ozols and Elizabeth Georgiostathis. Caitlyn Greiser is a 19 year-old tall forward who will look to dominate the air with fellow forward Cleo Saxon-Jones.

Gippsland will rely on star and co-captain Tyla Hanks through the midfield, with the likes of Leyla Berry and Alana Rippon to provide some support and speed through the centre. In defence, Emily Haeusler was a clean ball user, while Nikia Webber and Julia Redmond will look to steady the attack. Up forward, Jazz Ferguson and Chandra Abrahams will be the main targets, while co-captain Amy Dunn will rotate forward through the ruck.


Round 2 – Sunday, March 18, 1pm

Marty Busch Reserve, Sebastapol

In the first game on Sunday, Geelong Falcons will look to back up their efforts from their round one win over Sandringham Dragons, while the Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels will hope to bounce back from a loss to Eastern Ranges. Both sides are littered with AFLW Academy stars in what is predicted to be a highly entertaining contest.

For the Rebels, Georgia Clarke will start at centre-half back after playing forward last week, swapping with Sophie Molan who was the lynchpin in defence against the Ranges. Sophie Van De Heuvel and captain Lauren Butler will provide a strong one-two combo in the midfield, assisted by the likes of Renee Saulitis and Ella Bibby.

Geelong has a star-studded midfield of Olivia Purcell, Nina Morrison and Sophie Walmsley, with AFL Draft Central Player of the Week, Zoe Inei, giving the Falcons midfielders first touch at the stoppages. In defence, Lucy McEvoy will team up with Denby Taylor after the former played inside 50 against the Dragons, while Sachi DeGiacomi will hope to continue her strong efforts leading up in attack.


Round 2 – Sunday, March 18, 4pm

RAMS Arena, Craigieburn

In the final game of the round two action, Calder Cannons will hope to bounce back in front of a home crowd against an impressive Northern Knights outfit. The Cannons were the walking wounded against Murray Bushrangers in round one, but have pulled up well with a week off, while the Knights pulled away from the Stingrays in the final term to celebrate a good win at Beaconsfield.

Calder’s midfield is its strength, with Madison Prespakis, Georgia Patrikios and Faith Holloway likely to run all day long, while Molly Warburton will provide some much-needed run off half-back. Others to keep an eye on include Felicity Theodore up forward, after she recovered from an ankle injury, and Eleanor Cornish who will come off the bench to have an impact.

Northern have enough firepower up forward to match Calder, led by four-goal hero Alyssa Bannan, and classy forward Alex Pronesti. Nell Morris-Dalton will be a tall target coming out of the square, with the Knights’ midfield of captain Maddy Brancatisano, Britney Gutknecht and bottom-age star Gabby Newton likely to go head-to-head with the impressive Cannons on-ball brigade.

Team of the Week: TAC Cup Girls – Round 1

THERE were plenty of players who produced impressive performances in the first round of the TAC Cup Girls competition, making our Team of the Week selections very difficult. Each week, AFL Draft Central will compile the best 22 players from the week of footy in the TAC Cup Girls competition, which is sure to become harder as the weeks go on with all the standout talent in the competition this year.

The success story of the round was arguably the Murray Bushrangers getting a big win over the Calder Cannons, and in the process, handing the Cannons their first loss in the TAC Cup Girls competition. So in light of this victory, three Bushrangers are named in this week’s best 22, with stars shining across the ground in the match at JC Lowe Oval. Calder captain, Madison Prespakis still made it into the best 22 despite the loss, and is joined by Murray’s Rebecca Webster in the midfield.

But fellow Bushrangers teammates, Tamara Smith and Eloise Ashley-Cooper just missed out on a place in the star-studded round one Team of the Week.

The Oakleigh Chargers also fared well this week, getting their first win in the competition and sitting on top of the ladder. Half-forward Daisy Bateman and midfielder Gemma Lagioia are their representatives in the Team of the Week. But Katie Lynch was unlucky to miss out on this week’s best 22, after a fantastic all-round performance as a utility. Despite their opposition coming off a loss, Gippsland draft prospect, Tyla Hanks still made her way into the side after a stellar performance.

At Beaconsfield, the Northern Knights were given a scare by the Dandenong Stingrays. But thanks to goal-kicking hero, Alyssa Bannan, the Knights were able to get over the line. Bannan kicked three goals in the first few minutes of the last quarter, and therefore was a lock in the Team of the Week. For the Stingrays, their half-back line was a standout, with two of their defenders named in this week’s best 22. But one defender that missed out was Lucinda Cripps, after being edged out due to a wonderful performance from Geelong’s Denby Taylor.

Taylor was joined by Falcons teammates, Zoe Inei and Sachi DeGiacomi in the Team of the Week. But midfielder, Tarryn Love was unable to break into the side, due to some classy midfielders producing great performances across the board. One of these midfielders was Sandringham’s Winnie Laing, who was lucky enough to make the best 22 after a gritty performance in the middle of the ground.

A few AFLW Academy members in Eastern Ranges’ Emerson Woods and GWV’s Georgia Clarke were unlucky to miss out on making into the Team of the Week, with plenty of young talent in show in round one. However, their teammates fared well, as Georgia Macpherson slotted into the back pocket for the Eastern Ranges, while Sophie Molan and Lauren Butler each earned a spot to represent the Rebels.

In light of Bendigo’s round-one win, Sophie Kerridge earned a spot in the forward-line, after booting three goals. Isabelle Pritchard was lucky enough to make it in for the Jets, despite succumbing to a loss at the hands of the Pioneers. 

Team constructed by Peter Williams and Julia Montesano:

FB: Georgia Macpherson (ER), Sophie Molan (GWV), Grace Egan (MB)
HB: Shelley Heath (DS), Denby Taylor (GF), Jordyn Allen (DS)
C: Gemma Lagioia (OC), Kodi Jacques (BP), Rebecca Webster (MB)
HF: Daisy Bateman (OC), Sachi DeGiacomi (GF), Sophie Kerridge (BP)
F: Julia Harvey (MB), Sarah Kendall (ER), Alyssa Bannan (NK)
R:  Zoe Inei (GF), Madison Prespakis (CC), Tyla Hanks (GP)
INT: Isabelle Pritchard (WJ), Winnie Laing (SD), Lauren Butler (GWV), Gabby Newton (NK)

Weekend Wash-up: TAC Cup Girls – Round 1

THE opening round of the TAC Cup Girls competition was exactly what we expected it to be. The games were competitive, and the stars of last year continued to shine. There were also some new players on the horizon, making names for themselves at their new teams. Northern Knight, Alyssa Bannan almost single-handedly won the game for her side, with three goals in the first few minutes of the last quarter. Meanwhile at Deakin, Geelong’s Lucy McEvoy enjoyed her new role up forward, contributing two goals to her side’s win. But perhaps the sweetest victory was at JC Lowe Oval, where the Murray Bushrangers secured a huge win over reigning premiers, Calder Cannons, making them the only undefeated team in the TAC Cup Girls Competition.  

Geelong Falcons 7.3 (45) defeated Sandringham Dragons 4.1 (25)

By Julia Montesano

Deakin University provided the perfect ground for the Falcons to execute their running game, as many players were able to kick the ball into space on the large field. Ruckman Zoe Inei excelled, playing the role of a rover at multiple times to get the ball forward. She was accompanied by explosive midfielder, Nina Morrison, whose speed stood out on the day. Morrison chased down players of all sizes, with her excellent closing speed and aggression in the heart of the contest. These two players were vital in the middle of the ground, helping the Falcons claim a 20-point win in their first game of the year.

Geelong’s Lucy McEvoy had a shaky start in her new role up forward, which was evident in the first quarter. The former defender missed two set shots on goal, but was presented with some great kicks by half-forward, Sachi DeGiacomi. The Geelong captain did get the hang of it as the game went on, and lead from the front inside 50, converting two goals at crucial moments in the game. Meanwhile, her partner-in-crime, DeGiacomi was involved in plenty of the Falcons’ scoring shots, and got three majors on the board off her own boot.

Winnie Laing and Eliza McNamara were Sandringham’s best, winning the ball multiple times in the middle of the ground. The two midfielders complemented each other’s ball use, and were crucial when Sandringham tried to push the Falcons. Sophie Rothfield also had a few good moments, particularly when she followed up a good kick with an important shepherd on the wing, allowing her teammate to run forward into space. Holly Bate was a clear target up forward, kicking two of Sandringham’s four goals. But with the lack of company, and amazing pressure by Geelong’s Denby Taylor and Abbey Chapman in defence, the Dragons were just not able to get over the line in a hard-fought contest under the sun.

Dandenong Stingrays 3.2.20 defeated by Northern Knights 8.7.55

A stunning three-minute purple patch by Northern Knights’ forward Alyssa Bannan turned the game on its head, booting three goals in as many minutes to ice the game for the Knights against the momentum. Dandenong had controlled the game in the third term and looked to be coming hard, booting three of the last four goals to get within three points at the final break. Enter Bannan, who stunned the crowd and lifted her teammates as the Knights booted five goals to zero in the final term to run away with the contest.

Northern had plenty of contributors on the day, with bottom-age star Gabby Newton, captain Maddy Bracantisano and small midfielder Abigail Bennett among them. Bennett booted the fourth goal of the Knights’ final quarter rush to put the final nail in the Stingrays’ coffin. Others that stood up for the Knights included Britney Gutknecht and Alex Pronesti, who both showed their class at times during the 35-point victory.

For the Stingrays, midfielder/defender Shelley Heath was enormous, playing a huge four-quarter game and was best on ground before Bannan’s heroics. Heath was a lynchpin the defensive half, and worked well in tandem with captain Jordyn Allen who marked everything from half-back to the midfield, doing everything in her power to haul her team over the line. Others that impressed included book-ends Isabella Shannon (who played through the midfield as well as up forward) and Lucinda Cripps, who played a staunch defensive game, rarely letting her opponent have an inch.  

Eastern Ranges 7.5.47 defeated Greater Western Victoria Rebels 4.4.28

One of the premiership fancies, the Eastern Ranges had a strong opening round performance against another solid side in the Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels. The Ranges led from start to finish, but could never quite feel comfortable. They led by 19 points at half-time and weathered the best the Rebels had to offer in the third term to still extend the lead to 26 by the final break. While Eastern did not score in the final term, the Rebels managed just the one goal which resulted in the Ranges saluting by 19 points.

Ruck/forward Sarah Kendall starred for the Ranges, providing a target around the field and standing tall among her teammates. At the other end of the ground, Georgia Macpherson produced a performance many have come to expect, with the AFLW Academy member rebounding everything she could get her hands to on the weekend. Others that impressed were fellow Academy member Emerson Woods, and sprinter Mikala Cann. Potential Collingwood father-daughter selection Tarni Brown was another who had a few tricks up her sleeve.

For GWV Rebels, the AFLW Academy duo of Georgia Clarke and Sophie Van De Heuvel impressed with their obvious class on show. Captain Lauren Butler put together a great four-quarter performance roaming the entire field and named among the Rebels best by her coaches. Defender Sophie Molan was a rock in the back fifty, while Denver Henson had some impressive moments between midfield and the forward 50.  

Bendigo Pioneers 8.12.60 defeated Western Jets 3.5.23

By Julia Montesano

At Epsom Huntly Reserve, it was the Pioneers who were able to start their season off with a win. The Western Jets were competitive at times, but ultimately could not keep up with Bendigo’s scoring. This was particularly evident in the last quarter, where the Jets went scoreless, compared to Bendigo’s three majors.

Sophie Kerridge was a standout for the Pioneers, kicking three goals for the day. Kerridge is the sister of Carlton midfielder, Sam Kerridge, and looks like she could match him in front of goals. Draft prospect, Kodi Jacques also impressed with two goals to follow up her hard work in the midfield. Megan Williamson’s leadership was on show for Bendigo, as she played a vital role in the Pioneers’ 37-point victory.

For the Jets, Essendon and District Football League (EDFL) Youth Girls best and fairest, Elisabeth Georgostathis made a promising start to her season. She was complemented by VU Western Spurs teammate, Payton Ozols, whose speed was a positive sign for the Jets. The Western Jets’ experienced players also dug in deep, with Cleo Saxon-Jones and AFLW Academy member, Isabella Grant each kicking a goal.  

Gippsland Power 1.2.8 defeated by Oakleigh Chargers 11.9.75

Oakleigh Chargers won their first game in the TAC Cup Girls’ competition, defeating Gippsland Power by 67 points to sit atop the ladder after the first round. The Chargers moved the ball with speed and were slick with their ball skills to show they have improved rapidly on last year with a number of contributors throughout the four quarters. They were tested in the second term when the Power booted 1.1 to the Chargers’ 1.1 but Oakleigh held the Power scoreless in the second half, storming away in the final term to win by a large margin.

Forward, Daisy Bateman booted three goals and was as dangerous as any forward could be, snapping goals from the pocket, set shots and handing them off to teammates, finishing the day with three majors. Gemma Lagioia was sensational through the midfield, using her elite footskills to hit up targets inside the forward 50. Others that were impressive were the versatile Katie Lynch, defender Emily Harley and captain Hannah McLaren who played in every area of the ground.

For the Power, there was a clear standout in AFLW Academy member Tyla Hanks. At just 158cm, the inside midfielder stood tall throughout the four quarters, constantly willing herself to every contest and bringing her teammates into the match. Classy midfielder, Emily Haeusler was impressive by hand or foot, while Nikia Webber, Chandra Abrahams and Jazz Ferguson showed promising signs.  

Murray Bushrangers 10.13.73 defeated Calder Cannons 4.3.27

Murray Bushrangers have made an early statement about their premiership aspirations after defeating reigning premiers Calder Cannons by 46 points. The Bushrangers managed to break clear in the second half as their midfield took control to run away with a strong victory. Calder became the walking wounded with star and captain Maddi Prespakis off with concussion and an ankle injury, while Felicity Theodore was also ruled out of the rest of the game after an ankle injury in the third term.

For the Bushrangers it was a vintage display from stars Rebecca Webster in the midfield and Grace Egan in defence, while Sophie Damon and Julia Harvey stretched the Calder defence with a strong tall-small one-two combo. They might not have won the flag last season, but the Bushies have found plenty of depth over the off-season and are now the only club to remain undefeated in the TAC Cup Girls competition since its inception.

For the Cannons, Prespakis was the star before sitting out the last quarter, while fellow AFLW prospects, Georgia Patrikios and Molly Warburton – who had played a combined half of match practice over the pre-season due to injury – got valuable minutes in their legs. Calder will assess the injury damage and look to rebound in a fortnight.

Scouting notes: TAC Cup Girls – Round 1

THE opening round of the TAC Cup Girls competition had it all. Draft prospects kick-started their season in a big way, debutants shone on the big stage, and while one team enjoyed their first win, another endured their first loss. The Oakleigh Chargers’ first win was a big one, as they sit on the top of the ladder after one round of action. Meanwhile for the Cannons, they sit unfamiliarly towards the bottom of the ladder, after being defeated by the Murray Bushrangers at Yarrawonga. The AFL Draft Central scouts were able to attend four games this week, and we took detailed notes on who we thought were the standouts in each game.


By Julia Montesano

Geelong Falcons:

#27: Denby Taylor

So composed in the back-line, and was able to take a mark running back with the flight of the ball. Laid some great tackles in the second quarter especially, when Sandringham was putting the Falcons under the pump. Her speed was a factor in defence, particularly when she chased down and tackled a Dragons forward. This really changed the momentum of the game, as Sandringham was pushing the Geelong defence. Taylor was able to clear the ball out quickly at multiple times, thanks to her quick thinking and quick hands.

#39: Tarryn Love

Love’s acceleration stood out on the day, as she was able to get away from her opponent when they were attempting to lay a tackle on her. She was able to move the ball quickly and well. Her run and carry off half-back was exceptional, nobody could stop her. She not only made some great defensive efforts, but she was able to run into the middle of the ground and make an impact. One of the fastest players on the ground that was able to stand up at multiple times throughout the game.

#33: Zoe Inei

Inei did all the hard work in the ruck, but her impact was felt more so around the ground. Showed great intent to chase down players, especially in the middle of the ground, where the ball was won and lost. Was able to clear the ball into space, allowing her teammates to run onto the ball and execute a running style of footy that proved successful. Got plenty of the ball in the middle of the ground where it mattered. Simply monstered through her opponents, with her aggression and size. A massive force across the ground that helped the Falcons penetrate the ball into their forward line.

#18: Nina Morrison

Great speed out of the pack and in the middle of the ground. Good tackling and run-down chasing was evident early, and only improved throughout the game. Was able to take a great mark while her opponent pushed her under the ball, showing her strength in the contest. Quick thinker, and used her footy smarts to hack the ball onto her boot and clear it into space. Morrison was always zipping around the contest, and was able to chase down players of any size especially in the heart of the contest. Did well to accelerate away from the Dragons midfielders at multiple times.

#42: Sachi DeGiacomi

Played a great role down forward, not only kicking goals but providing plenty of assists. DeGiacomi was able to kick the ball right onto the chest of Lucy McEvoy at multiple times, and both combined for some great highlights in the forward line. To me, she was the link in the chain in the forward 50, getting plenty of score involvements throughout the afternoon. She had quick hands and quick feet, particularly when she elected to kick the ball off the ground to move it deeper into the forward line. Displayed good strength to break away from the play and push away two players while running into goal. Ended up with three majors herself- a reward for a good day inside 50.


#6: Paige Sheppard

Sheppard’s endurance was the most impressive on the ground. She was able to cover all areas of the ground, despite playing in the forward pocket. Was able to accumulate a lot of the footy in the back-line, and executed some great kicks under pressure. At one point, she was wrestled off the ball but kept her feet, showing her great core strength.

#7: Olivia Purcell

Purcell started off her day with a strong tackle in the middle of the ground, and from then I just knew she was going to be unstoppable. Tackling was on-show all day, and to me she looked like a mini Ebony Marinoff! Always put her head over the footy, and got it out of the contest, whether it was a kick, handball or a simple tap. Was able to follow up on her efforts around the ground. She dropped a mark, then quickly picked the ball up and kicked it around her body.

#36: Abbey Chapman

Great run and carry off half-back. Was able to back herself and clear the ball into space. Evident in the third quarter when she backed her speed, took a few bounces and sent the ball into the middle of the ground. Was able to take plenty of great marks, and stood tall in the defensive 50 multiple times.

#23: Lucy McEvoy

The Geelong captain worked extremely well with Sachi DeGiacomi in the forward 50. Was able to capitalise on some great assists, and slotted in well into her new role up forward. Missed two set shots but was still able to get two majors on the board for her side. Teared it up in the forward line, and will only improve as the season goes on.

#26: Mia Skinner

Kicked a great goal in the first quarter to start off her day. Protected the footy really well when she marked the ball. Had a good day up forward, where she was able to complement the bigger bodies of Lucy McEvoy and Sachi DeGiacomi. Skinner was zipping around the ball deep in the forward line, putting pressure on the Dragons defenders.


Sandringham Dragons:

#5: Winnie Laing

Laing was able to put her head over the footy in the heart of the contest. Was always around the contest and attacking the ball. She got plenty of the ball through the middle of the ground, and was an integral part of Sandringham’s fight-back late in the game. Used her footy smarts to wrestle the ball from the Geelong midfielders at crucial times throughout the game.

#7: Eliza McNamara

McNamara was able to burst out of the pack, especially in the middle of the ground. Was able to fight hard for the ball on numerous occasions, and combine her speed and power to penetrate the ball forward for the Dragons. Worked well with Laing around the contest, and together, they orchestrated the Sandringham fight-back in the midfield.

#2: Sophie Rothfield

Had plenty of good moments during the game, and was the best-on-ground when it came to one percenters. She displayed some good work to push Geelong’s Mia Skinner under the ball, after Rothfield followed up her dropped mark. She ensured that the Falcons didn’t get their hands on the ball at crucial parts of the ground. Good kick and shepherd to allow her teammate to run forward. Executed all the little things during the day

#43: Bryanna Arnold

Scrapped in hard for the footy throughout the day. Good clearing kick out of the back line, creating space for her teammates to run onto the ball and penetrate it forward. She even did this in the forward line, when she got a free kick at the top of the 50, and booted it to the goal square. Was able to work towards the front of the ground, highlighting her impressive endurance. Has a long kick for a small player!

#1: Isabella Stutt

Was pivotal in the forward line for the Dragons, kicking two of her side’s four majors. Dug in deep for her side when Geelong was starting to take control. Used all of her energy to run onto the footy when it was kicked into space, but was unlucky that two Falcons were there to mop it up. Read the footy really well, particularly when she was delivered a magnificent centering kick from her teammate. Was able to convert in front of goal, and will be able hit the scoreboard frequently throughout the season.


#15: Abbie McKay

Displayed great acceleration out of the back-line. But also did some great work in the middle of the ground. She had quick hands and was able to clear the ball out of congestion. Her endurance was fantastic.

#9: Eleanor Brown

Was able to kick the ball into space plenty of times throughout the match. What impressed me most was that she kept running after she kicked the ball, following up on every effort she performed on the ground.

#45: Sarah Hartwig

Broke through the contest with some impressive clearances. Her strength in the contest was very impressive, and was one of the stars in the middle of the ground.

#8: Nicole Amiet

Managed to kick the ball into the right area at multiple times throughout the game. Her ability to find space was remarkable, and she was able to use it to advantage to get her team forward.

#18: Alanna Dalley

Tried hard in the ruck against Geelong’s Zoe Inei. Got the ball down to her midfielders plenty of times. Has a great leap that could be damaging against the smaller sides of the competition.



Dandenong Stingrays:

#1: Shelley Heath

Heath played in defence and up until three quarter time was best on ground in my opinion, despite her team losing. She started strongly with a great run-down tackle at half-forward and set the tone for the rest of her teammates. She stopped a certain goal with an outreached hand on the goal line and produced some of the best defensive pressure on the field. Heath not only showed defensive attributes, but was strong offensively, running down the wing and breaking the game open. She also was proactive in defence, rebounding nearly everything that came her way, absorbing Northern’s pressure like a sponge. She teamed up well with captain Jordyn Allen, who was often on the receiving end of Heath’s rebounds.

#3: Courtney Jones

Jones was not a huge possession winner, but she was one I was interested to watch given the high wraps on her heading into the match. In the few glimpses I saw, I was impressed with her composure under pressure and her ability to weigh up her options before disposing of the football. She kicked out on occasion early on and that gives an indication of the expectations placed upon her kicking skills.

#15: Jordyn Allen

The Dandenong Stingrays’ captain was everywhere and certainly one of the best. She is a strong overhead mark, intercepts nearly anything that comes her way, and she opens up the game for her teammates. Her vision and ability to see teammates before they have even seen her is a real asset to her game. She loves to fend off players and almost always tries to spin out of trouble. I did notice a couple of times she spun to a left-dominant side yet still kicked with her right foot, so this is something that she might work on over time. Sometimes she can over kick the ball a little, but on most occasions she puts the ball into space to demand a teammate to run onto it. Overall a really impressive game.

#26: Isabella Shannon

I was quite impressed with Shannon’s game up forward. She moves well and snapped a couple of goals at important times when the game was in the Knights’ favour. She also moved up the ground and won possessions in the midfield and she just has that knack of moving smoothly through traffic. She is a hunter of the football just getting to every contest she could and having eyes for the ball. At times her disposal could be tidied up a little, but as an inside midfielder/forward she certainly stood out.

#35: Lucinda Cripps

The Stingrays’ full-back was a rock of consistency. She is strong one-on-one, rarely gets beaten overhead and is a reliable kick by foot. At times under pressure her disposal by hand was not as clean, but her defensive attributes, particularly one-on-one and the one percenters were a joy to watch and she could be one to keep an eye on throughout the season.


#18: Saige Bayne

Laid a great tackle in the second half to earn a free kick.

#19: Brooke Borchard

Produced a great smother on the goal line to stop a certain goal.

#31: Brooke Vernon

I was impressed with her clean hands off a volley from the deck and turned around to dispose of it cleanly.

#51: Zoe Hill

Another player who worked hard to stop a certain goal in the second term.

#55: Harmony Thomas

Was quiet early but took a huge contested grab in the final term which indicates there’s a lot more to come from her this season.


Northern Knights:

#5: Maddy Brancatisano

The Northern Knights captain is a pure inside midfielder who just crashes into the contest with no regard for her own safety. She lays fierce tackles and does all the right one percenters to assist her teammates and bring them into the game. Her first touch could improve, but her inside work burrowing under packs and forcing the ball free really adds a strong dimension to the Knights’ inside brigade.

#6: Alyssa Bannan

At three quarter time I thought she had been a really solid contributor. Three minutes later she was best on ground. Bannan booted three goals in the opening few minutes of the final term and broke the game open, shutting the door on any chance of a Stingrays revival. It is hard not to award her best on ground honours purely for that three minute purple patch as it won Northern the game. But it was not just her last quarter heroics that impressed me. Earlier on in the first quarter, she showed fantastic composure to pick up the ball cleanly, take a bounce running inside 50 and then take a shot on the run from 20m out. 

#7: Abigail Bennett

The lightly-framed Bennett is a quick thinker with good skills. She played through the midfield and up forward, using pinpoint kicking to hit up targets over short distances. When inside 50, she positioned herself well under the drop zone and protected the ball making it hard for opponents to spoil. Her hard work to get into space paid off in the last term when she capped off her performance with a goal. One of the better Knights on the day for sure.

#23: Gabby Newton

The top star for mine from the Knights. She was the one I was most interested to see given the high wraps around the bottom-age star and she did not disappoint. I do not use the word lightly, but she has “elite” hands in traffic, reminding a bit of Matt Crouch when he was playing at the Rebels a few years ago. Newton seems to slot in everywhere, but she is a really balanced player, both offensively and defensively and that player you can use in transition. She even spent time in the ruck, winning a clean hitout to a teammate. Her tackling is immense, laying a number of bone-crunching tackles, so I think inside midfield is the way to go, with stints up forward where she could hit the scoreboard as well.

#24: Alex Pronesti

Pronesti did not win as much of the footy as her teammates, playing up forward in a strong team effort, but when she did, she did not waste a disposal. She became the first goal kicker in the team for the season, using great composure to sidestep an opponent, straighten up and goal from 30 metres out. She just has the air of class and she does not need to win a heap of the football to have a damaging influence on the contest.


#3: Nell Morris-Dalton

Really strong overhead, became a target up forward early and took a good contested mark. Her shot on goal missed, but she has a good presence there.

#12: Olivia Dikranis

Took the game on at one stage coming out of defence, was caught and pinged but earned the trust back with a smother from the resulting free kick.

#22: Britney Gutknecht

Had a few very nice highlights coming out of the middle, using great speed and agility to boot the ball forward.

#32: Ashley Snow

Showed a good sidestep out of traffic in defence and her agility shone.



Eastern Ranges:

#3: Emerson Woods

The AFLW Academy member had no trouble exerting her influence on the game and was one of the more consistent four-quarter performers on the day. Woods’ strengths lie in her ability to cover ground and do all the defensive things right. She tackles, lays bumps, sets up her teammates and is really strong one-on-one. This strength was emphasised late in the game when she took a huge contested mark at half-back. She just kept popping up around the ground and if you tracked her distance covered, it would be considerably high. A few times her kicks would be a little errant, but as an overall game she was certainly one of the better performers in a good team effort.

#21: Mikala Cann

Another player who I had heard big wraps about crossing from an athletics background, and did not disappoint. I expected the speed and athleticism, but Cann also provided plenty of defensive pressure as well, laying a number of strong tackles. In close, Cann was really strong with clean hands and danced around opponents as if she was working in a telephone box. Managed to save a certain goal with a touch on the line too. Cann also showed off her great acceleration in the third term, burning off opponents by sprinting away from the centre stoppage. Later on she sprinted forward, grabbed the ball off the deck, snapped but just missed. A top performer on the day.

#26: Tarni Brown

Brown is one player who really caught my eye on the weekend because of her super speed and agility. The amount of times she tucked the ball under her arm and put on the afterburners and just left players in her dust was quite phenomenal. In one passage of play later in the game, she sidestepped a couple of opponents, weaved through traffic, straightened up and hit-up a target inside 50. She also sold a fair bit of candy on the day, showing she has confidence in spades and it is no surprise given she is the daughter of Collingwood legend Gavin Brown, and brother to Collingwood-listed pair Callum and Tyler Brown.

#37: Georgia Macpherson

One of the players that just picked up where she left off last year – as a damaging rebound defender. Macpherson started her day playing on opposing AFLW Academy member Georgia Clarke, but played on a multitude of opponents, moving from half-back to a wing at times. She is one of the best marks in the competition, rarely beaten one-on-one and rarely dropping the pill in the air. She is also a really strong kick and hits up targets over short, medium or long distances. To go with this, Macpherson also has top vision and can open up the play with her decision making. In one instance she actually tried to make a play happen before her teammates were ready and the ball was intercepted given Clarke read the play first, but more often than not she was able to really get the run going from half-back. An instance that was one of the plays of the day was in the final term, where she intercepted a ball in front of her at half-back, received a shepherd from a teammate and did not break stride as she sprinted down the wing, producing a pinpoint kick to her teammate.

#46: Sarah Kendall

One player who I thought covered a fair bit of ground and was one of the better performers on the day was Sarah Kendall. She seemed to slot into defence, midfield and up forward because of her ability to stand tall in a marking contest and clunk a grab. Kendall is a booming kick and as the game went on it seemed to improve in terms of accuracy and depth. She had a couple of kicks early clearing the area, then showed that she can size up her options with more time and space. When forward she was a clear target, taking a few grabs and being the figurehead inside the forward 50.


#9: Paige Buruma

In one instance she tucked the ball under her arm and at full speed, managed to find a target up forward.

#16: Emma Horne

I liked her defensive ability one-on-one, winning a number of crucial contests.

#22: Catherina Chamberlain

She did not win a heap of it, but used her speed to set up a goal and her attack on the ball inside forward 50 was a real highlight.

#42: Marina Taverna

The Ranges’ multiple goal-scorer is a good focal point up forward. She leads to the hole inside forward 50 and protects the drop zone to mark in front of her opponent. She kicked a couple and earned them because of her smarts around goal.

#47: Jess Proven

Like Taverna, booted two goals but both came in the first term., She worked incredibly hard sprinting from the midfield to run onto the ball and kick the opening goal of the game, then kicked another inside 50 shortly after. Proven was a bit rushed in her field kicking, but strong overhead and strong standing up in a tackle to get her hands free.



#16: Lauren Butler

The GWV Rebels captain was consistent throughout the match, playing her part through the midfield and down back. She is composed with the ball in hand, a trait which shone when under pressure. Butler weighed up her options before disposing of the football and did not put a foot wrong. There were others who might have stood out more, but defensively Butler was a star, laying quite a few tackles to keep the opposition guessing every time they were nearby.

#18: Sophie Van De Heuvel

One of three AFLW Academy members, Van De Heuvel started slowly for mine but worked her way into being one of the better players on the day. She played up forward a bit and then through the midfield, with a knack of positioning herself well, taking a strong mark and then using her foot skills to hurt opposing players. She is one of the better kicks in the competition and she has that vision to hit up teammates who might be running laterally, mixing things up and keeping the game flowing rather than stop-starting or predictably kicking long. Given how she finished the game, particularly in the third term, it will be great to see how she follows on from this performance with the round one cobwebs out of the way.

#21: Denver Henson

The midfielder caught my eye early reading the ball off the first hit-out and taking a first few quick steps before kicking long inside 50. Henson has clean hands and works hard to win the footy, while also taking the game on. In one instance she picked up the ball on the wing, had a run and used her composure to deliver the ball well inside forward 50. Another player who might sneak under opposition guard given her highly regarded teammates, but certainly is capable of doing some damage.

#23: Sophie Molan

Molan’s work at full-back was really impressive. Her key attributes are her strength and ability to position herself well one-on-one, rarely losing a contest. In one scenario she was on the wrong side of her opponent (because an opposition player had naturally kicked to direct opposition’s favour), but she worked hard to reposition herself and get a fist on it, then back up with a rebound to clear for her side. Additionally, her rebounding and disposal by foot was quite good and she consistently applied pressure in the defensive 50.

#25: Georgia Clarke

Heading into the match, I suspected she might be the one to watch given the high wraps and she lived up to expectations. She is a really smart player who anticipates situations before they happen and is a key link in the Rebels’ transition movement. Clarke is someone who ideally would play forward because of her contested marking, positioning and ability to read the play. But you get the feeling she will also spend a fair bit of time through the midfield in order to open the game up and use her good foot skills to advantage. She seems like a player who is constantly switched on, intercepting a pass inside forward 50 and then having the smarts to deliver the short pass to an open teammate in the pocket. Hardly put a foot wrong all day.


#27: Nyakoat Dojiok

Her football skills were off, but her acceleration and agility was bordering on unbelievable. She would grab the ball and seemingly glide past multiple players without them laying a hand on her at times. If she can sharpen up her disposal, she has the athletic tools to be a wildcard in the team.

#28: Isabella Simmons

Worked really hard, running on inside forward 50 and kicking a good goal.

#41: Kayetlan Harris

For a taller player, Harris’ agility and turning circle was quite impressive.




#6: Emily Haeusler

I was ultra impressed with Haeusler’s game because for mine, she was the next best after Tyla Hanks for the Power. The reason being, while others might win more of the ball, each time I saw her dispose of it, she used it really well. More importantly, she was able to dispose of it under pressure, both by hand or foot. The attributes she showed certainly suggested there’s talent there and she also has that defensive side to her game, laying a number of fierce tackles and burrowing in defensively. It just means she can play inside or outside and hit targets regardless of her role or pressure she might be under.

#8: Chandra Abrahams

Abrahams’ positioning seems to be her greatest strength because she played at half-forward and positioned herself well to protect the ball drop. One-on-one she is solid and clearly has smarts in that area, so will be good to see how she progresses through the season. Playing up forward she did not get a heap of looks, but presented on multiple occasions which was promising for a leading forward.

#27: Nikia Webber

A reliable defensive effort from Webber who held her own more often than not. One-on-one she is strong and took a really good defensive mark going back with the flight. Along with her strength and good one-on-one body work, Webber showed a high work rate by her efforts at the defensive end. She was one of the better and more consistent Power players on the day and certainly helped stall the Chargers’ attack somewhat.

#28: Tyla Hanks

The clear standout for Gippsland and it’s no surprise why the Power co-captain is one player who will be carefully watched by clubs over the course of the year. Hanks might only be 158cm, but she has impressive offensive and defensive attributes. She has a huge work rate which sees her win possessions in each third of the ground, primarily playing as an inside midfielder. She is a reliable kick of the football, but her greatest strength is her quick hands and smart thinking which can release a teammate on the outside. She often looks for the give-and-go, trying to break open the game from half-back or along the wing. More often than not, Hanks just willed herself to the contest and it was clear the opposition was aware of her influence, keeping an eye on her throughout the match. She intercepted a number of Oakleigh attacking movements and got the ball back on her terms. No doubt she is the kind of player Gippsland would love to have in spades because she just produces over four quarters.

#57: Jazz Ferguson

Ferguson played in the ruck and off half-back and battled hard throughout the game. She is not as quick as others, but she is strong and looked to break the game open through brute strength and fend-offs. While she might not have been considered one of the best on the day, you could see there is a bit to work with there, and having not come from a footballing background, there were at least some promising signs. She always had a crack and had a few extra smarts, which included a couple of deft taps forward when she knew she was unable to take possession cleanly. In one instance, Ferguson charged off half-back, won the ball and and hit up a target through the midfield. I felt she got better as the game went on, which is something to look forward to in future games.


#7: Leila Raymond

Laid some good tackles and earned a free kick for going in hard.

#17: Seanen Trewin

Copped a couple of hard knocks later in the game, but worked into the match well, laying a goal-saving tackle in the final term.

#30: Alana Rippon

Positioned herself well in marking contests and showed good running through the middle.

#31: Leyla Berry

Had a real glimpse of her speed with the athletics state medallist racing away from a contest.

#50: Matilda Van Berkel

On multiple occasions Van Berkel showed super quick hands in close, which was promising.

#58: Amy Dunn

Took a strong mark in the second quarter and kicked the Power’s only goal. Also performed admirably in the ruck, often against taller opponents.

#65: Julia Redmond

Took a few strong goal-saving marks in defence.


Oakleigh Chargers:

#14 Hannah McLaren

McLaren started the day as an inside midfielder, progressed up forward and then settled into the defence. She showed off her versatility and ability to play anywhere, in particular her strength both above her head and at ground level. She has a tendency to clunk a mark and continue her motion moving forward, which can unsettle the opposition because of her ability to not let them break and set up defensively. At half-forward, McLaren took a strong overhead mark and looked a lively target, while in defence, she read the play well and timed her leads right to either spoil or clunk a contested mark in front of her opponent. In one instance she took the grab, kept running but unfortunately got pinged for holding the ball. Sometimes she rushes her kicks a little, but the endeavour and her play-reading ability is certainly there.

#19 Emily Harley

A solid rock in defence. She was rarely beaten one-on-one and just took intercept mark after intercept mark, backing back into the contest and playing her opponent under the ball to put herself in best position to mark. In one instance she marked on the goal line to stop a Gippsland goal and cleared it back out of the defensive 50. Along with her marking, her body work and ability to back herself coming out of defence was good.

#30 Gemma Lagioia

Lagioia is a player I had not heard much about coming into the match, but for me she was the most damaging midfielder for the Chargers. It is a big call, but she might be one of the best kicks in the TAC Cup competition, with her ability to not only penetrate over long distances, but spear a pass to a leading forward. The amount of times she teamed up with Daisy Bateman to impact the scoreboard was amazing. Along with her elite foot skills, she is really good one-on-one in the air and also brings her teammates into the match. In one instance deep inside her forward 50, Lagioia was under pressure and allowed a couple of opponents to come at her so she could time a handball to release Melanie Burtuna on the outside to snap a goal. A real talent here.

#38 Daisy Bateman

The star up forward who is equally athletically talented as she is skilful. She booted a couple of goals in the first term, including an amazing goal from the boundary line, then proceeded to be the most damaging forward on the field. She won a one-on-one against a bigger defender, showing off her strength and more important, balance, in the contest. Bateman also has super acceleration and agility which was seen by her ability to back herself against an opponent hugged up against the boundary line, weave around them and sprint into the corridor leaving them in her wake. Not only did she crumb, but she lead up at teammates and just ran into the open space which her teammates honoured her leads. Bateman set up Melanie Burtuna with a goal, and had a number of other impressive plays deep inside 50, showing off her good vision and football IQ.

#41 Katie Lynch

A real utility, Lynch covered ground well across the four quarters. Early on she had an attempt on goal which just missed, then marked the kick back out from the opposition defender, negotiated the breeze perfectly and slotted it through the middle. The next stoppage she was in the centre square, won the clearance and sprinted away, showing off some good pace and movement through traffic. Lynch also worked hard throughout the game, got free and found herself all alone in the goal square later on to mark and goal, a reward for her hard running.


#2 Jasmine D’Amato

D’Amato had really good pace and agility, sprinting away from the contest and was one of the Chargers’ better players in the win, linking up the midfield into the forward 50.

#11 Bridie Winbanks

The dominant ruck on the day, Winbanks towered over her opponents and was effective in her hitouts, with the opposition trying to read it off her hands. She used her strength on a couple of occasions to fend off her opponents and boot the ball forward.

#16 Alana Porter

The pacy midfielder sprinted away from a stoppage and looked to have set her sights on goal in the first term, but was taken down in a fierce tackle.

#17 Nicola Xenos

Another Oakleigh player who covered the ground well and won possessions in all thirds of the ground. She won a crucial hard ball at ground level through the midfield and got the ball moving in the Chargers’ direction, found space inside 50 and took an uncontested mark, and moments later won a free kick inside defensive 50.

#29 Melanie Burtuna

Burtuna is your stereotypical dangerous small forward. She constantly buzzed around the packs and was rewarded with three goals. Burtuna also set up a goal with a nice lateral kick to Georgia Byrne.

TAC Cup Girls preview: Sandringham Dragons

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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