Tag: ellie mckenzie

Future is bright for women’s football

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Scouting notes: National AFLW Under 16s Championships

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

Vic Country:

#1 Jerusha Devarakonda

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

#2 Leila Raymond

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

#3 Holly Andrews

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

#4 Elizabeth Snell

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

#5 Megan Fitzsimon

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

#6 Renee Saulitis

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

#7 Jemma Finning

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

#8 Kate Adams

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

#9 Emily Nicholson

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

#10 Abbey Jordan

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

#11 Brooke Hards

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

#12 Tyanna Smith

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

#13 Chloe Leonard

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

#16 Sharmaine Reilly

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

#17 Sophie Milsome

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

#18 Zoe Hill

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

#19 Matilda Van Berkel

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

#20 Stephanie Glover

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

#21 Isabella Robson

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

#22 Renee Tierney

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

#23 Isabella Simmons

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

#24 Olivia Barber

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

#25 Maggie Caris

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

VIC METRO:

#1 Olivia Meagher

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

#2 Mietta Kendall

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

#3 Taylah Morton

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

#5 Mary Daw

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

#6 Abigail Bennett

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

#7 Jessica Fitzgerald

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

#8 Bella Eddey

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

#9 Winnie Laing

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

#10 Ashleigh Snow

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

#11 Eliza McNamara

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

#12 Tarni Brown

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

#13 Alice Burke

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

#15 Mimi Hill

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

#16 Alice O’Loughlin

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

#17 Alisa Magri

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

#18 Amber Micallef

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

#19 Sarah Hartwig

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

#20 Ellie McKenzie

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

#21 Tamsin Crook

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

#22 Isabelle Pritchard

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

#23 Jess Grace

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

#24 Alyssa Bannan

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

#25 Isabel Young

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

Knights, Ranges lead the way for Metro U16s win

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

AFLW U16 Championships: Vic Metro vs. Vic Country

VICTORIA’S top Under 16 Girls will do battle from 11.15am tomorrow morning in a curtain raiser to the National AFL Women’s Under 18s Championships at GMHBA Stadium. Both Vic Metro and Vic Country had wins against their respective opponents last week, with Vic Metro toppling South Australia and Vic Country defeating NSW/ACT.

Eastern Ranges’ Olivia Meagher and Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels’ Renee Saulitis were named their sides’ best in the first round and will hoping to back up their efforts this weekend. In defence, Isabelle Pritchard and Sarah Hartwig could line up on Olivia Barber and Renee Tierney, while up the other end, Stephanie Glover and Zoe Hill could have the jobs on Alyssa Bannan and Ellie McKenzie – who will also rotate through the midfield. It is expected to be a very close game, with Vic Metro having plenty of top-end talent both tall and small, while Vic Country has talent across each third of the ground.

Read the preview to the Championships here.

Read the results from Round 1 here.

VIC METRO

Coach: Lauren Morecroft / Melissa Hickey

1Olivia Meagher15110/12/2002Eastern Ranges
2Mietta Kendall1543/09/2002Eastern Ranges
3Taylah Morton15723/07/2002Oakleigh Chargers
4Leah Spargo15728/01/2002Western Jets
5Mary Daw15911/03/2002Western Jets
6Abigail Bennett16018/10/2002Northern Knights
7Jessica Fitzgerald1618/03/2002Northern Knights
8Bella Eddey16311/02/2002Sandringham Dragons
9Winnie Laing16425/05/2002Sandringham Dragons
10Ashleigh Snow15623/10/2002Northern Knights
11Eliza McNamara16619/04/2002Sandringham Dragons
12Tarni Brown16626/03/2002Eastern Ranges
13Alice Burke1683/10/2002Sandringham Dragons
15Mimi Hill1674/10/2002Oakleigh Chargers
16Alice O’Loughlin1698/07/2002Oakleigh Chargers
17Alisa Magri17019/03/2002Calder Cannons
18Amber Micallef17021/02/2002Oakleigh Chargers
19Sarah Hartwig17312/04/2002Sandringham Dragons
20Ellie McKenzie17417/10/2002Northern Knights
21Tamsin Crook1763/10/2002Calder Cannons
22Isabelle Pritchard1768/03/2002Western Jets
23Jess Grace17625/12/2002Eastern Ranges
24Alyssa Bannan17713/04/2002Northern Knights
25Isabel Young17913/07/2002Calder Cannons

 

VIC COUNTRY

Coach: Emma Grant / Katherine Smith

1Jerusha Devarakonda3/03/2002158Geelong Falcons
2Leila Raymond9/03/2002158Gippsland Power
3Holly Andrews15/08/2002160Gippsland Power
4Elizabeth Snell14/03/2002161Bendigo Pioneers
5Megan Fitzsimon10/08/2002162Gippsland Power
6Renee Saulitis14/08/2002163GWV Rebels
7Jemma Finning19/03/2002165Bendigo Pioneers
8Kate Adams15/03/2002165Murray Bushrangers
9Emily Nicholson19/03/2002165Murray Bushrangers
10Abbey Jordan8/09/2002165Dandenong Stingrays
11Brooke Hards19/07/2002166Bendigo Pioneers
12Tyanna Smith29/10/2002166Dandenong Stingrays
13Chloe Leonard1/02/2002167GWV Rebels
15Chandra Abrahams24/03/2002169Gippsland Power
16Sharmaine Reilly8/11/2002170Bendigo Pioneers
17Sophie Milsome23/04/2002172Geelong Falcons
18Zoe Hill13/05/2002173Dandenong Stingrays
19Matilda Van Berkel6/09/2002174Gippsland Power
20Stephanie Glover11/11/2002176GWV Rebels
21Isabella Robson26/04/2002176GWV Rebels
22Renee Tierney23/05/2002168Geelong Falcons
23Isabella Simmons19/04/2002181GWV Rebels
24Olivia Barber14/07/2002184Murray Bushrangers
25Maggie Caris21/12/2002188GWV Rebels

Season reviews: TAC Cup Girls – Northern Knights

THE Northern Knights were one of the most impressive TAC Cup Girls teams this season, executing a near-perfect win-loss record in 2018. The Knights defeated every team except for the Geelong Falcons, who beat them in their home-and-away encounter as well as the Grand Final. But the Knights certainly did not waste their season, showcasing their young talent and fierce scoring power not just against the Falcons, but against every team.

Position: 2nd
Win-loss: 8-1
Percentage: 243%

Results:

R1: defeated Dandenong Stingrays by 35 points
R2: defeated Calder Cannons by 48 points
R3: defeated Sandringham Dragon by 30 points
R4: defeated Greater Western Victoria Rebels by 16 points
R5: defeated Oakleigh Chargers by 51 points
R6: defeated Gippsland Power by 15 points
R7: defeated Bendigo Pioneers by 71 points
R8: lost to Geelong Falcons by 8 points
R9: defeated Murray Bushrangers by 30 points

Key players:

Maddy Brancatisano: The captain led from the front this season, playing a team role whenever she was needed to do so. Brancatisano played her midfield role in a defensive style, laying plenty of strong tackles and nullifying her direct opponent’s influence. The top-ager was included in the AFL Draft Central Team of the Week in round six, when she nullified the influence of Gippsland Power co-captain, Tyla Hanks. Brancatisano now has the opportunity to represent Vic Metro at the AFL Women’s National Under 18 Championships, thanks to a stellar season in Knights colours. The basketballer has also been training with Carlton’s VFL Women’s side in a bid to further boost her credentials as a fantastic player.

Ellie McKenzie: The 15 year-old took the competition by storm, being named amongst the best in each of the six games that she featured in during the season. McKenzie was particularly dangerous in the forward line as her height, good body-work and strong hands combined for 10 goals from seven games (including the Grand Final). McKenzie was also able to float into the back line or in the midfield, where she would use those same strengths as well as her incredible running power to trouble opposition sides. Her versatility earned her a spot in the AFL Draft Central Team of the Year on a half-forward flank. She is also representing Vic Metro in the Under 16 squad in the AFL Women’s National Championships.

Marnie Jarvis: One of the most impressive wingers in the competition, Jarvis provided X-Factor every time she got the ball in hand. She was able to move the ball swiftly by hand and by foot, and always tried to impact the contest. For a small player, she had a big kick and used it to effect to boot the ball forward for the Knights. She is currently representing Vic Metro in the National Under 18 Championships and will play VFL Women’s for the Darebin Falcons.

Gabby Newton: Newton was one of the most influential players in the competition, impressing in every position she played in. She made the AFL Draft Central Team of the Week four times in a different position on each occasion. Arguably her best work was done in the ruck and at half-forward, as she was named as the centre-half forward in the AFL Draft Central Team of the Year. Newton used the ball well both by hand and by foot, often being the catalyst behind the onslaught of the Knights’ scoring that became so common throughout the season.

Neve O’Connor: Carried most of the ruck duties for the Knights throughout the season and could impact a contest with a simple tap. Displayed good body-work on her opponents and had strong hands. She has been selected to play for Vic Metro in the National Under 18 Championships.

Alyssa Bannan: Bannan was a goal kicking machine during the season, finishing second in the TAC Cup Girls goal kicking tally. The 16 year-old booted 14 goals from nine matches and did so with poise, booting majors from all angles. A highlight was when she booted a few goals in a matter of minutes to turn the game in Northern’s favour in round one, which was a pivotal kickstart to the Knights’ season.

Britney Gutknecht: Gutknecht was a great swing player for the Knights, utilising her strength and high footy IQ to make an impact both across half-forward and half-back. However, her main strengths were on show in the forward line, as she booted 12 goals from 10 games, including a bag of seven to be named the AFL Draft Central Player of the Week for that effort. She was also nominated for the AFL Draft Central Team of the Year in the forward line after being nominated three times throughout the year.

Season summary:

The Northern Knights season is one that coach, Marcus Abney-Hastings should be proud of, as the players not only developed but also got plenty of confidence-boosting wins along the way. The Knights bravely took it right up to the Falcons in the grand final, imposing their attacking game on their top-of-the-table opponent. With an average winning margin of 34 points, the Knights were a scary prospect in the competition and with a young side at the helm, they could be in for lots of success in the upcoming years of the TAC Cup Girls competition.

Metro, Country Under 16s claim victories in National Championships

VIC Metro and Vic Country have both claimed wins over their respective opponents in the National Under 16s Championships. Ahead of the big clash between the Victorian sides on Saturday, Metro defeated South Australia by 23 points, and Country knocked off NSW/ACT by 31 points in Horsham and Albury respectively.

Metro had to overcome an early deficit, kicking just one behind in the opening half as South Australia led by six points at the main break. But an inspired Victorian side came out to boot two goals in the third term, and three goals in the final quarter to run over the top of the Croweaters with a 23-point win. Alyssa Bannan was the key up forward for Vic Metro in the second half, with the Northern Knights star booting two goals, along with teammate Ellie McKenzie (one).

McKenzie was named in the best, along with Eastern Ranges small Olivia Meagher, who was dominant across the four quarters, named best on ground ahead of Ranges teammate, Tarni Brown. Fellow Ranges player Mietta Kendall, Oakleigh Chargers’ Taylah Morton, and Calder Cannons’ small forward Alisa Magri were named among Metro’s best. Sandringham Dragons’ Bella Eddey was the other goal scorer.

For South Australia, Aisha Thomas and Elouisa Thomas were the goal kickers, as Abbie Ballard was named the losing side’s best on the day. Hannah Ewings, Jamie Parish and Teah Charlton were also named among the best, in what was a strong performance from the South Australian side.

In the other game, Vic Country had control of the contest against NSW/ACT early, booting three goals to one in the opening term. The Rams hit back with the only goal in the next two quarters, to trail by just 11 points at the final break. A dominant last quarter saw Vic Country run away with the game, booting three goals to zero and record a 31-point victory.

Murray Bushrangers’ tall Olivia Barber was too strong, booting two goals, while midfielder/forward from the Dandenong Stingrays, Tyanna Smith also finished with two majors. Geelong Falcons’ forward Renee Tierney, and Bendigo Pioneers’ Elizabeth Snell both booted goals in the win. Greater Western Victoria (GWV) small forward Renee Saulitis was named best on ground for her efforts on the weekend, ahead of Smith, Snell and Rebels’ teammate Chloe Leonard. Tierney was also impressive, as was Pioneers rebounding defender, Brooke Hards.

For NSW/ACT, Amy Sligar and Abbey Martin were the goal kickers, making history as the first Under 16s side from NSW/ACT to compete in a National Championships. Sligar and Martin were among the Rams’ best in the loss, along with Jayde Hamilton and Arizona Cross. Natalie Sligar was deemed to be the Rams best in what was a memorable day for the state despite the defeat.

RESULTS:

South Australia           1.1   1.1   1.1    2.1 (13)
Vic Metro                      0.0   0.1  2.2    5.6 (36) 

GOALS
SA: 
Aisha Thomas, Elouisa Thomas.
Vic Metro:
Alyssa Bannan 2, Olivia Meagher, Bella Eddey, Ellie McKenzie.

BEST
SA:
Abbie Ballard, Hannah Ewings, Jamie Parish, Teah Charlton, Chloe Forby, Sarah Wright.
Vic Metro: 
 Olivia Meagher, Tarni Brown, Ellie McKenzie, Mietta Kendall, Taylah Morton, Alisa Magri

 

NSW/ACT                           1.0    2.1   2.2   2.2 (14)
Vic Country                       3.2    3.6   3.7    6.9 (45) 

GOALS
NSW/ACT:
Amy Sligar, Abbey Martin.
Vic Country: 
Olivia Barber 2, Tyanna Smith 2, Elizabeth Snell, Renee Tierney.

BEST
NSW/ACT: Natalie Sligar, Jayde Hamilton, Abbey Martin, Arizona Cross, Amy Sligar
Vic Country: Renee Saultis, Tyanna Smith, Elizabeth Snell, Chloe Leonard, Renee Tierney, Brooke Hards

Victorian Under 16s Girls prepare for National Championships

VICTORIA’S top Under 16s footballers from the TAC Cup Girls competition will converge on country venues this weekend in a couple of matches to test themselves against the best from other states. Vic Metro takes on South Australia in Horsham on Sunday, while Vic Country heads to the border to face NSW/ACT in Albury. The following week, Vic Metro will face off against Vic Country at GMHBA Stadium in a curtain raiser to the Under 18 Girls’ sides. For those wondering, the Under 16s are made up of players born in 2002 and are not eligible to be drafted until 2020.

Vic Metro squad:

NoNameHtDOBTAC Region
1Olivia Meagher15110/12/02Eastern Ranges
2Mietta Kendall1543/9/02Eastern Ranges
3Taylah Morton15723/7/02Oakleigh Chargers
4Leah Spargo15728/1/02Western Jets
5Mary Daw15911/3/02Western Jets
6Abigail Bennett16018/10/02Northern Knights
7Jessica Fitzgerald1618/3/02Northern Knights
8Bella Eddey16311/2/02Sandringham Dragons
9Winnie Laing16425/5/02Sandringham Dragons
10Ashleigh Snow15623/10/02Northern Knights
11Eliza McNamara16619/4/02Sandringham Dragons
12Tarni Brown16626/3/02Eastern Ranges
13Alice Burke1683/10/02Sandringham Dragons
15Mimi Hill1674/10/02Oakleigh Chargers
16Alice O’Loughlin1698/7/02Oakleigh Chargers
17Alisa Magri17019/3/02Calder Cannons
18Amber Micallef17021/2/02Oakleigh Chargers
19Sarah Hartwig17312/4/02Sandringham Dragons
20Ellie McKenzie17417/10/02Northern Knights
21Tamsin Crook1763/10/02Calder Cannons
22Isabelle Pritchard1768/3/02Western Jets
23Jess Grace17625/12/02Eastern Ranges
24Alyssa Bannan17713/4/02Northern Knights
25Isabel Young17913/7/02Calder Cannons

Some names to watch:

Isabelle Pritchard
Key Position Defender | 176cm | Western Jets

Strong overhead, great leader and rarely beaten one-on-one. Her game knowledge and awareness is ahead of her years. A standout performer this season for the Jets.

Ellie McKenzie
Tall Utility | 174cm | Northern Knights

Unbelievable impact so far this season, named in the best every game she played. Can play forward, midfield or back, and is strong in the air. Sister of Vic Metro boys’ representative, Tom. Strong in the air, can kick goals at will, shown by her huge day out against Bendigo Pioneers.

Alyssa Bannan
Key Position Forward | 175cm | Northern Knights

Lit up Beaconsfield earlier in the year with three goals in three minutes and provides a good target up forward. Mobile tall who can kick goals and very few players her height are quicker once she gets goal side.

Sarah Hartwig
Key Position Defender | 173cm | Sandringham Dragons

Good one-on-one defender, quick on the lead to spoil and provides good rebounds out of the back half. Will create a strong 1-2 partnership with Pritchard in the back half.

Alice Burke
General Defender | 168cm | Sandringham Dragons

A good user of the footy, can play up the ground but is really settled in the back half. Daughter of St Kilda champion, Nathan. Crossed over from soccer and has been a revelation at the Dragons.

Abigail Bennett
Small Forward | 160cm | Northern Knights

Another Knights player who has had some impressive moments at half-forward. Can push into the midfield as well.

Tarni Brown
General Forward | 166cm | Eastern Ranges

Very raw, but clearly talented. Has a very nice sidestep and can create something out of nothing. Daughter of Gavin and sister to Callum and Tyler.

Olivia Meagher
Small Forward/Midfielder | 151cm | Eastern Ranges

Seemed to get better as the season went on, plays a link-up role at half-forward, and can kick goals or win the footy through the midfield.

Mimi Hill
Outside Midfielder | 167cm | Oakleigh Chargers

Winger who provides good run in transition and played some impressive games throughout the season, especially in the absence of the Chargers top-age midfielders.

Jess Fitzgerald
Small Utility | 161cm | Northern Knights

Tends to play forward, but can play through midfield as well. A creative player who can kick goals from tight angles.

Winnie Laing
Inside Midfielder | 164cm | Sandringham Dragons

As tough as they come on the inside, loves the contest and does not take a backwards step.

Bella Eddey
General Forward | 163cm | Sandringham Dragons

Another creative forward who is good in the air or at ground level and just got better as the season went on.

Alice O’Loughlin
General Forward | 169cm | Oakleigh Chargers

Starred late in the season at half-forward and can push up the ground as well. Creative and a good user of the football going inside 50.

Ashleigh Snow
Small Defender | 156cm | Northern Knights

Was one of the Knights’ best in the grand final and plays taller than her 156cm. Good overhead and creates some great drive out of defence.

Alisa Magri
Tall Forward | 170cm | Calder Cannons

Was a mainstay of the Cannons forward line this season and managed to get on the end of a few goals throughout. Another tall target inside 50 for Metro.

Eliza McNamara
Inside Midfielder | 166cm | Sandringham Dragons

Had a blistering start to the season and had the ball on a string early. A crucial part of the inside midfield at the Dragons, she showed good strength and an ability to move out of traffic.

Vic Country squad:

NoNameDOBHtTAC Region
1Jerusha Devarakonda3/3/02158Geelong Falcons
2Leila Raymond9/3/02158Gippsland Power
3Holly Andrews15/8/02160Gippsland Power
4Elizabeth Snell14/3/02161Bendigo Pioneers
5Megan Fitzsimon10/8/02162Gippsland Power
6Renee Saulitis14/8/02163GWV Rebels
7Jemma Finning19/3/02165Bendigo Pioneers
8Kate Adams15/3/02165Murray Bushrangers
9Emily Nicholson19/3/02165Murray Bushrangers
10Abbey Jordan8/9/02165Dandenong Stingrays
11Brooke Hards19/7/02166Bendigo Pioneers
12Tyanna Smith29/10/02166Dandenong Stingrays
13Chloe Leonard1/2/02167GWV Rebels
15Chandra Abrahams24/3/02169Gippsland Power
16Sharmaine Reilly8/11/02170Bendigo Pioneers
17Sophie Milsome23/4/02172Geelong Falcons
18Zoe Hill13/5/02173Dandenong Stingrays
19Matilda Van Berkel6/9/02174Gippsland Power
20Stephanie Glover11/11/02176GWV Rebels
21Isabella Robson26/4/02176GWV Rebels
22Renee Tierney23/5/02168Geelong Falcons
23Isabella Simmons19/4/02181GWV Rebels
24Olivia Barber14/7/02184Murray Bushrangers
25Maggie Caris21/12/02188GWV Rebels

Renee Tierney
Tall Forward | 168cm | Geelong Falcons

Has had a really consistent season for the Falcons. Good overhead, booted a bag of goals against Oakleigh at Warrawee Park earlier in the season.

Jemma Finning
Balanced Midfielder | 165cm | Bendigo Pioneers

After the two top-age girls in Megan Williamson and Kodi Jacques, Finning was one of the more consistent midfielders at the Pioneers, regularly named in the best.

Brooke Hards
General Defender | 166cm | Bendigo Pioneers

A rebounding defender who can play forward, Hards is good in the air and reads the play well.

Renee Saulitis
Small Forward | 163cm | GWV Rebels

Talented small forward who can kick some great goals from tight angles. Very quick and can pounce on a spillage from a marking contest.

Isabella Simmons
Key Position Forward | 181cm | GWV Rebels

Tall target up forward who pushes up the ground and provides a contest. Raw but has shown some good signs.

Zoe Hill
Key Position Defender | 173cm | Dandenong Stingrays

One of the more consistent 15-16 year-old defenders in the league. Worked well with Lucy Cripps to ensure the Stingrays had good defensive strength in the air.

Olivia Barber
Ruck/Key Position Forward | 184cm | Murray Bushrangers

Rotated between ruck and key forward and was named in the Bushrangers best a number of times. Could rotate with Maggie Caris through the ruck or up forward.

Chandra Abrahams
Tall Utility | 169cm | Gippsland Power

Has played a mixture of forward and back, and while the consistency is still building, she has tricks that not many players have, such as a penetrating kick from 50m on the run from a couple of steps.

Kate Adams
General Forward | 165cm | Murray Bushrangers

Buzzes around the forward line and can push up into the midfield. Fairly clean and clearly talented, will be a player to watch at the Bushies over the next couple of years.

Maggie Caris
Ruck | 188cm | GWV Rebels

With her sister Rene in the AFLW Academy, Maggie followed her into the Rebels program and looked good in the final game of the season against Oakleigh. Already 188cm, Caris will likely play ruck, but could be tried in key position positions as well.

Tyanna Smith
Balanced Midfielder | 166cm | Dandenong Stingrays

Another player who seemed to get better as the season went on, Smith played through the midfield and won her own ball as well as created run in transition.

Jerusha Devarakonda
Small Defender | 158cm | Geelong Falcons

Raw, but talented defender who pushed up to the wing for the Falcons. Got involved a number of times in the grand final and has plenty of scope for the future. Quick and fierce.

Stephanie Glover
Key Position Utility | 176cm | GWV Rebels

Impressed down back, but also showed she could go forward and kick a goal for the Rebels. Good overhead and nimble, she provides plenty of rebound out of the back half.

Holly Andrews
Outside Midfielder/Small Forward | 160cm | Gippsland Power

Played all nine games this season and was named among the best a couple of times for the Power. Had some nice moments within games.

Chloe Leonard
General Forward | 167cm | GWV Rebels

Booted four goals in eight games, including two against Calder Cannons. Was named in the Rebels’ best a number of times and provided a target inside 50.

Emily Nicholson
General Defender | 165cm | Murray Bushrangers

Played every game this season for the Bushrangers and became a regular in the back six. She was named among the best on a couple of occasions.

U16 Fixtures:

June 10 – Vic Metro vs. South Australia in Horsham & Vic Country vs. NSW/ACT in Albury
June 16 – Vic Country vs Vic Metro at GMHBA Stadium, Geelong

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SECOND TEAM OF THE YEAR:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Team of the Year squad: [50]

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

Single nominations: [43]

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

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

Scouting notes: TAC Cup Girls – Grand Final

IT was the first ever grand final in the TAC Cup Girls competition, with Geelong Falcons claiming the premiership with an 11-point win over Northern Knights. We took notes on some of those girls in the Vic Metro and Vic Country sides, in a match that was jam-packed full of talent for both this year’s draft and the next two drafts.

Geelong:

#7 Olivia Purcell

Had a strong battle with Knights’ captain Maddy Brancatisano in the midfield and continued to fight throughout the four quarters. Was probably at her most damaging when she found time and space, accelerating out of a contest or executing the quick handball to teammates on the outside. Always watched because of the danger she posed to the opposition, Purcell played her role in close in that midfield.

#18 Nina Morrison

One of the Falcons best across the four quarters, Morrison continued to provide run and carry through the midfield into the forward line. She played against Marnie Jarvis on a wing for the most part and had a highlight in the opening term where she streamed down the middle of the field and placed a kick in front of Elise Vella inside 50. Unfortunately the shot on goal missed, but Morrison’s influence was being felt early. 

#23 Lucy McEvoy

A consistent four quarter effort and certainly in the Falcons’ best for her work in defence in the first half. She always provided a contest in the air and was constantly mopping up in defence along with Denby Taylor. Switched forward in the second half and while she did not manage to hit the scoreboard, crashed a pack or two and provided a target inside 50. A courageous captain’s game.

#27 Denby Taylor

Deservedly best on ground after an unbelievable performance at both ends. Was one of the best in the first half with McEvoy and Morrison, and then shot to the top with an imposing performance on the wing for the Falcons. She laid several run-down tackles including one on the speedster Marnie Jarvis. A crucial inside 50 in the third term eventuated in the Tarryn Love goal from a stoppage, then in the fourth quarter she became the ultimate interceptor, roaming up to half-forward. Took several marks on the attacking 50, had shots on goal and nailed one after a 50 metre penalty. Just gave the Knights plenty of headaches in that second half and was superb both offensively and defensively.

#35 Sophie Walmsley

Kicked the third goal of the Falcons’ third quarter goals and the way she did it was outstanding in context. Twice in the first half Walmsley had used her trademark burst to try and break the game open, but had been caught or run down. This time, she marked the ball about 45 metres out from goal, and sensing the clock was running down and she would kick from outside her range, she boldly took off, fended off her opponent and kicked a goal from the run about 35 metres out to hand the Falcons a remarkable six-point lead at the final change.

#36 Abbey Chapman

Really impressed with her defensive game, taking a number of intercept marks on the last line of the defence and was strong at full-back. Held up the fort in the second half when Taylor and McEvoy were moved up the ground too, working well with Laura Gardiner when the Knights were attacking late. Chapman had a goal-saving spoil on the line in the second term when Ellie McKenzie snapped on goal. Chapman also took a really strong defensive mark leaning backwards in the third quarter to stop a Knights attack.

#38 Renee Tierney

Provided a target up forward for the Falcons and had a couple of shots on goal. Did not manage to nail one, but almost made history when her shot on goal just clipped the post on the way through. Her poster did become the first score of a TAC Cup Girls Grand Final. Given she still has another two years in the competition, the forward showed promising signs for the years ahead.

#39 Tarryn Love

Played a crucial role in that third term that got the Falcons going and her subsequent work to be the difference in-and-under in the forward half was a reason I had her as the Falcons’ second best. Whilst others won more of the football, Love set up the first goal to Sachi DeGiacomi, drawing the opponent in a tackle and handballing whilst being brought down, for DeGiacomi to kick the goal on the run. Moments later, Love snapped out of a pack to kick truly and create something out of nothing. Those two pieces of play gained the Falcons two vital goals late in the third term when the Knights were still in control.

 

Northern:

#2 Marnie Jarvis

Had her as one of the Knights best for the line-breaking speed she brought to the team and did it consistently over four quarters. She took the game on and also moved well between attack and defence, and was used in transition for Northern. She showed quick hands and darted around the field, being the Knights best outside midfielder for the day and teamed well with the likes of Maddy Brancatisano and Gabby Newton through that midfield.

#5 Maddy Brancatisano

Opposed to Olivia Purcell, she managed to nullify her a little at stoppages and while Purcell did well on the outside at times, Brancatisano was able to match her at the coal-face. She put in a hard-working effort and was often found burrowing under packs or executing the quick handball. Read the ruck taps well and did not win a heap of easy ball, but made it count with quick hands to the outside.

#6 Alyssa Bannan

Was matched up by Lucy McEvoy early in the game and often pushed up quite high in the opening half. She won a number of possessions on the wing and used her long kick to move the ball long when the Knights were on, early in the match.

#7 Abigail Bennett

Had a purple patch in the second term which saw Bennett make history when she kicked the first goal in a TAC Cup Girls Grand Final. It was a well-placed kick from Jarvis which found its way to Bennett inside 50 who turned around and kicked truly. Moments later Walmsley tried to step around an opponent and was blindsighted by Bennett coming from a 45 degree angle behind her. Bennett wrapped her up well and won the free kick for holding the ball.

#18 Sarah Sansonetti

Was one of the better Knights out of defence and stood up in the final term when the Falcons were attacking. By the end of the game she had provided drive and effected some good spoils in the air, working in tandem with Ashleigh Snow out of defence.

#21 Ellie McKenzie

Became a force in the second term in particular, but was seemingly present throughout. She uncharacteristically dropped a mark early in the second quarter, then clunked one moments later with strong hands and a good vertical leap. Did not kick a goal, but had a couple of snaps which went close, and led up at the football playing off half-forward throughout the match.

#22 Britney Gutknecht

Became the Knights second goal kicker with a right-time, right-place goal. She had positioned herself a few metres off the pack inside 50 and when the ball bobbled out, Gutknecht snapped around her body truly and gave Northern an 11-point lead in what was a low-scoring game. Looked dangerous with Bennett and McKenzie in that second term.

#23 Gabby Newton

Unbelievable game and had the Knights won, I reckon she would have been given the best on ground. Just won the football in the middle, in defence and up forward, then rotated through the ruck and won some clean hit-outs. Had one of the highlights of the day in the third term when she pick-pocketed Tarryn Love who was running into goal. Newton stuck her hand out, cleanly stole it and kicked out of defensive 50. Won numerous clearances as both a ruck and midfielder, showing her versatility that we have all come to know.