Tag: emerson woods

AFLW Draft review: Carlton

AFTER finishing on the bottom of the table last season, the Blues needed to go big in the 2018 AFL Women’s Draft. That’s just what they did, acquiring the services of Madison Prespakis, Abbie McKay, Jayde Van Dyk, Charlotte Wilson, Emerson Woods, Rhiannon Watt and Jessica Edwards. To add to that, Carlton added 32 year-old former Fremantle star, Kirby Bentley to its line-up in a bid to move up the ladder in 2019.

What they needed:

  • Defenders to fill the void of Kate Gillespie-Jones, Danielle Hardiman, Lauren Arnell and Laura Attard
  • Midfielders to replace Maddison Gay and Madeline Keryk
  • Tall forward to fill the absence of Kate Shierlaw

 

Players selected:

Madison Prespakis – Calder Cannons

Prespakis was the first metropolitan player to be picked in the draft, after one of the most stellar Under-18 careers. This year alone, Prespakis won the joint Most Valuable Player (MVP) for the AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships, Vic Metro’s MVP, was the joint TAC Cup Girls Best and Fairest winner and won the Calder Cannons Best and Fairest. She is a bull in the midfield who racks up plenty of the football. Undoubtedly, she is one of the most exciting prospects for next year, as her run and carry and booming kick can break open a game for any team.

Abbie McKay – Sandringham Dragons

McKay has been long touted to go to the Blues, after her dad, Andrew played 244 games for the club. But the famous name is certainly not the only reason why the 17 year-old got drafted to the Blues. She is a skilful midfielder that was one of the standouts in the Sandringham Dragons line-up this year. She displayed quick hands and superb run and carry, not only for the Dragons but for Vic Metro as well. McKay drew plenty of interest from other clubs, so the Blues cleverly selected her early to ensure that she was their game-changer.

Jayde Van Dyk – Hawthorn

Van Dyk’s Hawthorn Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s coach, Patrick Hill touted her as a potential number one pick. So Carlton getting her in the 20s is a steal, as the defender dominated in all areas of the VFLW this year. She was the recipient of the VFLW Rising Star award, was named in the VFLW Team of the Year and won her club Best and Fairest award. Van Dyk is a classy defender who looks ready-made for AFLW. She can shut down players well and displays amazing composure on the last line of defence. Van Dyk will play a big part in preventing Carlton from enduring another season like 2018.

Charlotte Wilson – Eastern Ranges

The Eastern Ranges co-captain was a rock in defence this year with her great overhead marking and ability to shut down players. She was also able to rotate through the ruck to provide some support there, highlighting her versatility. Wilson still plays basketball now, but it could change with the addition of an AFL Women’s contract. She enjoyed representing Vic Metro this year and also tested well in the AFL Women’s Draft Combine, coming first in the standing vertical jump, and finishing in the top five in the running vertical jump (left and right), 20-metre sprint and the yo-yo intermittent test. Her athleticism will be quite valuable for the Blues this season.

Emerson Woods- Eastern Ranges

Woods had a very successful Under-18 year, representing Vic Metro, co-captaining the Eastern Ranges and winning a premiership with Hawthorn in the VFLW. Woods has the ability to go forward or play in the midfield, thanks to her elite endurance and blistering speed. She is very smart with the ball in hand and displays quick hands in congestion. She also has a great overhead mark and is agile in the air. Woods dominated the AFL Women’s Draft Combine, breaking the 20 metre sprint record with a time of 3.129 seconds. She also came in the top 10 for the vertical jump, the agility test, the yo-yo intermittent test and the 2km time trial.

Rhiannon Watt – Southern Saints

The Southern Saints ruck was quite impressive in the VFLW this year, being named as the leading ruck in the VFLW Team of the Year and winning the Southern Saints Best and Fairest alongside Alison Drennan. Watt displayed all the classic qualities of a ruck, and complemented this with her great ball-use at ground level. She will provide great support for Breann Moody, making Carlton’s ruck stocks a formidable force.

Jessica Edwards – Collingwood

The Collingwood VFLW captain was unexpectedly snapped up in the AFL Women’s Draft by traditional rivals, Carlton. Edwards is highly deserving of an AFLW contract after leading her side to a minor premiership this year in the VFLW. She is quite a smart footballer, knowing where to position herself to find space. Her hands are clean and her kicks are quite accurate, making her a handy acquisition for Carlton’s midfield.

Kirby Bentley – Fremantle

Bentley was a star for Fremantle in the first season of the AFLW, averaging 10 disposals a match in her role at half-back and through the midfield. She was named as a part of the 40-player All Australian squad. However, a knee injury suffered in that year’s State of Origin game ruled her out of AFLW 2.0, and she made the decision to retire from AFL Women’s. But now, ready to play again, Bentley has been snapped up by the Blues and will add some much-needed experience to their line-up.  

 

How they went:

Carlton has recruited exceptionally well in the AFL Women’s Draft. The Blues have been able to fill the void of Danielle Hardiman and Kate Gillespie-Jones through picking up Van Dyk, Wilson and Bentley, who will all give the opposition forwards plenty of headaches. Bentley can also provide support in the midfield, and replaces the experience of former Blues captain, Lauren Arnell. The Blues’ midfield has also received a huge boost with the acquisition of one of the best Under 18 midfielders in the country, in Madison Prespakis. Prespakis will add an element of aggression and will be able to break the lines with her football smarts. Together with Jessica Edwards, Abbie McKay and Emerson Woods, Carlton’s new-look midfield will certainly turn some heads. To add to this, the Blues’ ruck department has received a boost with Wilson able to head into the ruck alongside Rhiannon Watt and Breann Moody. Emerson Woods can also head into the forward line, and could present well like Kate Shierlaw did for Carlton last year.

2018 AFLW Draft Order

2018 NAB AFLW DRAFT ORDER

FIRST ROUND
1 Geelong – Nina Morrison (Geelong Falcons/Vic Country)
2 Geelong – Sophie Van De Heuvel (GWV Rebels/Vic Country)
3 Carlton – Madison Prespakis (Calder Cannons/Vic Metro)
4 Fremantle – Jasmin Stewart (Claremont/Western Australia)
5 Collingwood – Jordyn Allen (Dandenong Stingrays/Vic Country)
6 Melbourne – Tyla Hanks (Gippsland Power/Vic Country)
7 Geelong – Rebecca Webster (Murray Bushrangers/Vic Country)
8 Adelaide – Nikki Gore (South Adelaide/South Australia/Central Allies)
9 Brisbane –  Paige Parker (Coorparoo/Queensland)
10 Western Bulldogs – Eleanor Brown (Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro)
11 Collingwood – Katie Lynch (Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro)
12 Greater Western Sydney – Alyce Parker (Thurgoona Bulldogs/NSW-ACT/Eastern Allies)

SECOND ROUND
13 Collingwood – Mikala Cann (Eastern Ranges/Vic Metro)
14 Geelong – Olivia Purcell (Geelong Falcons/Vic Country)
15 Melbourne . – Madeline Brancatisano (Northern Knights/Vic Metro)
16 Carlton – Abbie McKay (father-daughter selection – Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro)
17 Fremantle – Sabreena Duffy (Peel Thunderbirds/Western Australia)
18 Collingwood – Lauren Butler (GWV Rebels/Vic Country)
19 Collingwood – Maddie Shevlin (Casey Demons)
20 Geelong – Denby Taylor (Geelong Falcons/Vic Country)
21 Carlton – Jayde Van Dyk (Hawthorn VFLW)
22 Brisbane – Natalie Grider (University of Queensland/Queensland)
23 Western Bulldogs – Aisling McCarthy (Ireland)
24 Geelong – Georgia Clarke (GWV Rebels/Vic Country)
25 North Melbourne – Daisy Bateman (Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro)

THIRD ROUND
26 Western Bulldogs – Kate Bartlett (Peel Thunder/Western Australia)
27 Carlton – Charlotte Wilson (Eastern Ranges/Vic Metro)
28 Fremantle – Phillipa Seth (East Fremantle/Western Australia)
29 Collingwood – Sophie Alexander (compensation)
30 Adelaide – Jessica Foley (Fitzroy/South Australia)
31 Melbourne – Jordann Hickey (NT Thunder VFLW)
32 Collingwood –  Georgia Gourlay (Casey Demons VFLW)
33 Brisbane – McKenzie Dowrick (Subiaco/Western Australia)
34 Western Bulldogs – Selena Karlson (Southern Saints VFLW)
35 Geelong – Rene Caris (GWV Rebels/Vic Country)
36 North Melbourne –  Courtney Munn (Southern Saints VFLW)

FOURTH ROUND
37 Adelaide – Chloe Scheer (Central District/South Australia)
38 Carlton – Emerson Woods (Eastern Ranges/Vic Metro)
39 Fremantle – Courtney Stubbs (Subiaco/Western Australia)
40 Carlton – Rhiannon Watt (Southern Saints VFLW)
41 Adelaide – Katelyn Rosenzweig (Central District/South Australia)
42 Carlton – Jessica Edwards (Collingwood VFLW)
43 Greater Western Sydney Brittany Perry (North Adelaide/South Australia)
44 Melbourne –  Shelley Heath (Southern Saints VFLW)
45 Brisbane – Lauren Bella (Bond University/Queensland)
46 Western Bulldogs – Jessie Davies (Western Bulldogs VFLW)
47 Geelong – Maighan Fogas (Geelong VFLW)
48 Adelaide – Danielle Ponter (Northern Territory/Central Allies)

FIFTH ROUND
49 Fremantle – Parris Laurie (Claremont/Western Australia) *Carlton passed this pick
50 Collingwood – Jordan Membrey (Wilston Grange/Queensland)
51 Adelaide – Hannah Martin (West Adelaide/South Australia)
52 GWS – Lisa Whiteley (South Adelaide/South Australia)
53 North Melbourne – Chloe Haines (Burnie Dockers/ Tasmania)
54 Brisbane – Tori Groves-Little (Coorparoo/ Queensland)
55 Geelong- Elise Coventry (Geelong VFLW)
56 North Melbourne- Libby Haines (Burnie Dockers/ Tasmania)
57 Fremantle- Laura Pugh (West Perth/Western Australia)
58 Greater Western Sydney- Ingrid Nielsen (UNSW Hawks)

SIXTH ROUND
59 Brisbane – Jesse Tawhaio-Wardlaw (Bond University /Queensland)
60 Geelong – Madeline Keryk (Geelong VFLW)
61 North Melbourne – Nicole Bresnehan (Clarence Roos/Tasmania)
62 Fremantle – Matilda Sergeant (Claremont/Western Australia)
63 Greater Western Sydney – Renee Tomkins (Auburn Giants/NSW-ACT)

SEVENTH ROUND
64 Fremantle – Ebony Dowson (Peel Thunder/Western Australia)
65 Greater Western Sydney – Delma Gisu (Wilston Grange/Queensland)

EIGHTH ROUND
66 Greater Western Sydney – Haneen Zreika (Auburn Giants/NSW-ACT)
67 Collingwood – Erica Fowler (Collingwood VFLW)

NINTH ROUND
68 Fremantle – Ebony O’Dea (Adelaide University/South Australia)
69 Brisbane – Jacqueline Yorston (Wilston Grange/ Queensland) *compensation
70 Brisbane – Jade Ellenger (Coorparoo/ Queensland) *compensation

2018 AFL Women’s Draft Preview

TOMORROW marks another chapter in the rise of AFL Women’s with the third draft since the competition’s inception, and this year is likely to be littered with primarily youth players as the talent numbers increase at junior ranks. We take a look at tomorrow’s draft and answer some key questions you might have.

What time does it start?

The AFL website will stream the AFL Women’s Draft from 11.45am, with the official proceedings to get underway from midday. After initial speeches and welcoming, Geelong coach, Paul Hood will have the first two chances to read out the names of players to run out in the blue and white hoops.

Who will be pick one?

It was a race to the finish between Nina Morrison andMadison Prespakis – with a number of others putting their hands up – but expect the tackling machine from the Falcons, Morrison to be the first name called out after nominating Geelong as her region of choice, whereas Prespakis nominated Vic Metro.

Which players can teams select?

For the first time, there will be six Victorian sides heading to the draft, with Geelong and North Melbourne joining the league. Given it’s regional base, the fact AFL Women’s players are still on part-time contracts and the costs associated with committing to the competition, the Cats have the ability to select any player that picked the “Geelong only” region, or the “All of Victoria” region. The other five teams may select players from the “Vic Metro” region, or the “All of Victoria” region. For the interstate clubs, they select players that have nominated their state. With only one side in each state, it means they will head to the draft knowing which players they will add to their list – but still hold suspense for their fans!

Who are the names to look out for?

Aside from Morrison and Prespakis, who will likely be off the board early, other Victorians to keep in mind are Olivia Purcell (Geelong only), who will come into consideration at Pick 2, as will cricketer/footballer, Sophie Van De Heuvel, who has had interest from multiple clubs, including the Cats. Given Geelong is guaranteed to lock away Purcell, the Cats have the ability to select Van De Heuvel with Pick 2, and then secure her for 2019 before the other Victorian sides enter the draft. Dandenong Stingrays skipper, Jordyn Allen, and Gippsland Power’s Tyla Hanks are the other two who have come into consideration in the first round early, with Collingwood and Melbourne waiting on exactly what Geelong will do with Pick 2, and Carlton with Pick 3. For Geelong fans, other names to look out for a bit later on are Georgia Clarke and Rebecca Webster, who both primarily play off half-back, with Webster also able to fill a role on the inside.

Across the country, Sabreena Duffy is the name that will be the big one for Fremantle fans, with the West Australian captain leading the team throughout her accolade-littered junior career and will join the purple army. Nikki Gore has been the name whispered throughout South Australia this year, and the Crows will be very excited to have her on board, while Alyce Parker is the steal of the draft at Pick 12, with the Thurgoona Bulldogs star right up with the top couple of players in the draft crop. The Brisbane Lions have an interesting dilemma on their hands with both ruck, Lauren Bella, and utility, McKenzie Dowrick, worthy first round picks after the latter chose to leave Western Australia and nominate for Queensland. North Melbourne also has first access to Tasmanian players as part of their arrangement coming into the league, so twin sisters, Libby and Chloe Haines will be high on their radar, as could Lauren Stevenson as the three players from the Apple Isle who have stood out the most this year.

What about mature-agers?

There are still plenty of mature-agers floating about that will slot into AFL Women’s sides at the draft. Jayde Van Dyk is a young star who took out the Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s Rising Star Award. There was talk of her potentially going Pick 1, and while it is hard to see Geelong not choosing the Falcons poster girl, Van Dyk could well come into consideration at Pick 2, or perhaps Pick 7 depending on the level of interest from other clubs. While the list of region choices is not publicly available, the fact the talk about her potentially going Pick 1, meant there is a hint she might have selected the “All of Victoria” region.

Outside of Van Dyk, others who have shone in the VFL Women’s who were not already picked up are Essendon hardnut, Hayley Bullas, who was a tackling machine, and named in the VFL Women’s Team of the Year. She is sure to attract interest from clubs after her superb season, as is Richmond’s Alice Edmonds who was also named in the Team of the Year on the bench. Collingwood’s Jess Edwards comes with high regard for her leadership and versatility, with the South Australian recruit sure to be another coming into consideration for clubs, including the Magpies.

Who is already drafted prior to the draft?

There are three players who have already been selected in the AFL Women’s Draft after being subjected to a bidding process. Abbie McKay, the first ever father-daughter selection was picked up by Carlton with Pick 16, after matching a bid for the tough, inside midfielder. Meanwhile, Collingwood has picked up two of it’s VFL Women’s players in Team of the Year representative, Sophie Alexander and Erica Fowler. Alexander drew a bid from Melbourne at Pick 31 – the only Victorian team between Collingwood’s two picks – that has cost the Magpies Pick 29. Fowler did not draw a bid and was penciled in Round 9, with the final selection of the AFL Women’s Draft – Pick 70.

Some players worth keeping an eye on their names throughout the draft?

The first place to look is the AFL Women’s Academy, which holds the players who have been identified as some of the top talents prior to this season. Emerson Woods blitzed the testing at the AFL Women’s Draft Combine and will be one that might come into consideration in the early stages of the draft, while ruck, Rene Caris is the standout tall from Victoria, and Georgia Macpherson is a rebounding defender who can play tall or small. Courtney Jones has shown an ability to play at either end or through the middle, while Denby Taylor will not stray too far from the Falcons homebase when she lands at Geelong.

There are those teenagers who have impressed more at senior level, including Collingwood’s Daisy Bateman, Katie Lynch and Hannah McLaren, Williamstown’s Megan Williamson, Carlton’s Maddy Brancatisano, Hawthorn’s Mikala Cann and Southern Saints’ Eleanor Brown. For South Australia, Janet Baird and Danielle Ponter are classy players who could be Crows players by the end of tomorrow, while Courtney Hodder (Fremantle) whose AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships were ruined by injury, and Tori Groves-Little (Brisbane) are other AFL Academy players who will be considered.

Where can I find out more information about the players?

We have conducted 60 interviews with top-age players, including every Victorian representative in 2018. To hear their story in their own words, head to our AFLW Draft Features page.

AFLW Draft Preview: Western Bulldogs

THE reigning premiers have suffered some losses already, losing AFL Women’s Best and Fairest, Emma Kearney as well as Jenna Bruton and Aasta O’Connor ahead of their 2019 AFL Women’s campaign. However, the Bulldogs have signed three exciting players in Fremantle’s Belinda Smith, Tom Boyd’s sister, Tessa and Breann Moody’s sister and Carlton Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s player, Celine. If they can secure some up and coming stars to go along with this solid list, they could be a chance to defend their title.

 

Last season: 1st – Premiers

IN: Belinda Smith, Tessa Boyd (rookie), Celine Moody (rookie)
OUT: Daria Bannister, Jenna Bruton, Emma Kearney, Aasta O’Connor, Jess Anderson, Rachel Ashley, Laura Bailey, Kim Ebb

WESTERN BULLDOGS AFLW LIST (25/30)

  • Deanna Berry
  • Libby Birch
  • Ellie Blackburn
  • Katie Brennan
  • Tessa Boyd
  • Nicole Callinan
  • Monique Conti
  • Tiarna Ernst
  • Naomi Ferres
  • Elise Gamble
  • Angelia Gogos
  • Bailey Hunt
  • Isabel Huntington
  • Kristy Lamb
  • Brooke Lochland
  • Emma Mackie
  • Kristen McLeod
  • Celine Moody
  • Kimberley Rennie
  • Hannah Scott
  • Belinda Smith
  • Lauren Spark
  • Bonnie Toogood
  • Aisling Utri
  • Hayley Wildes

 

DRAFT PICKS

10, 23, 26, 34, 45, 55

POSSIBLE DRAFT PROSPECTS

With the loss of Jenna Bruton and Emma Kearney in the midfield, the Bulldogs will be looking for some up and coming talent to fill the gap. The Bulldogs could land either Mikala Cann or Emerson Woods from the Eastern Ranges if any of them are still available after nine picks. Their TAC Cup Girls teammate, Charlotte Wilson is also a potential prospect for the Bulldogs. Wilson tested well in the AFL Women’s Draft Combine and is a great one-on-one defender who can go into the ruck when needed. With the loss of Aasta O’Connor in the ruck department, Wilson will be a big help, as will Vic Metro’s leading ruck, Carla RendelmannRendelmann dominated in the ruck for the Cannons this season in the TAC Cup Girls and has consistently been doing so over the years. She would be a very handy addition to the Bulldogs’ ruck stocks. If Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels star, Rene Caris nominates for all of Victoria or metropolitan Victoria, expect the Bulldogs to keep a close eye on her, as the AFL Women’s Academy member has the capacity to match up against bigger bodies and dominate at ground level. Eleanor Brown is another name who could come into the mix for the Bulldogs, with the Dragons midfielder proving to have an impact wherever she plays.

AFLW Draft preview: Collingwood

COLLINGWOOD has been hit hard in the AFL Women’s off-season, losing plenty of stars including Christina Bernardi, Jess Duffin, Jasmine Garner, Emma King and Meg Hutchins. Luckily, the Pies have gained some exciting prospects in former netballer, Sharni Layton and former Gaelic footballer, Sarah Rowe, while Brisbane defender, Nicole Hildebrand will add some experience to the line-up.

 

Last season: 6th

In: Nicole Hildebrand, Sharni Layton, Sarah Rowe
Out: Caitlyn Edwards, Bree White, Christina Bernardi, Moana Hope, Jess Duffin, Jasmine Garner, Emma King, Amelia Barden, Lauren Tesoriero, Meg Hutchins, Tara Morgan

COLLINGWOOD AFLW LIST (22/30)

  • Brittany Bonnici
  • Ash Brazill
  • Sophie Casey
  • Stephanie Chiocci
  • Sarah D’Arcy
  • Sarah Dargan
  • Emma Grant
  • Darcy Guttridge
  • Nicole Hildebrand
  • Eliza Hynes
  • Melissa Kuys
  • Jaimee Lambert
  • Sharni Layton
  • Stacey Livingstone
  • Cecilia McIntosh
  • Chloe Molloy
  • Georgie Parker
  • Iilish Ross
  • Sarah Rowe  
  • Ruby Schleicher
  • Kristy Stratton
  • Holly Whitford

DRAFT PICKS

5, 11, 13, 18, 19, 29, 32, 51

POSSIBLE DRAFT PROSPECTS

Given Collingwood’s connection with Oakleigh, it is hard to look past Chargers trio, Hannah McLaren, Daisy Bateman and Katie Lynch. The trio all represented Vic Metro and played for Collingwood’s Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s side. Bateman would be a great replacement for Moana Hope, as she positions well in the forward line, and is an solid mark and accurate kick. McLaren will boost the defensive stocks of the Pies while Lynch is a dominant force in the midfield. If Madison Prespakis isn’t taken in the draft yet, the Pies could have her on their radar as well. Eastern Ranges duo, Mikala Cann and Emerson Woods could also be thrown into the mix, as Cann impresses with her explosiveness and Woods is extremely athletic. Others they may consider include Gippsland Power co-captain, Tyla Hanks or Dandenong Stingrays captain, Jordyn Allen. They could provide support to captain, Stephanie Chiocci and vice-captain, Brittany Bonnici in Collingwood’s midfield.

AFL Women’s Draft Combine wrap

AN Eastern Ranges duo and the potential number one pick in the Under 18 AFL Women’s Draft have emerged as the top performers from the AFL Women’s Draft Combine yesterday.

Geelong Falcons star, Nina Morrison walked away with two combine records, smashing the Yo-Yo test with an 18.2 score, as well as clocking 7:14 in the 2km time trial. Morrison remarkably finished top five in six of the possible seven events. Eastern duo, Emerson Woods and Charlotte Wilson won their respective events in the 20m sprint and standing vertical jump, with Woods easily breaking the previous record when she produced a dazzling 3.129-second sprint. Wilson achieved a 56cm standing vertical jump, two centimetres more than any other participant.

Wilson finished second in both the running vertical jumps, and finished third in the 20m sprint and Yo-Yo test. Woods finished second to Morrison in the Yo-Yo test, third in the agility and 2km time trial, and equal fifth in the standing vertical jump. Both Eastern girls produced top five finishes in five of the seven tests.

Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels’ Sophie Van De Heuvel and Murray Bushrangers’ Rebecca Webster recorded the next best overall results, finishing top five in three events, with the pair taking out the left and right running vertical jumps respectively. In the other events, Gippsland Power co-captain, Tyla Hanks clocked up 8.788 in the agility to break the record in that test ahead of Geelong Falcons onballer, Olivia Purcell.

Of those participants outside Victoria, Queensland ruck, Lauren Bella was impressive with top five finishes in the running vertical jumps, while Tasmania’s Libby Haines finished fifth in the 20m sprint with a time of 3.299 seconds, and fourth in the 2km time trial. Others who achieved top five finishes were GWV Rebels, Rene Caris, Lauren Butler and Georgia Clarke, Sandringham Dragons’ Eleanor Brown, Northern Knights’ Madeline Brancatisano and Dandenong Stingrays’ Jordyn Allen.

20m sprint:

1 Emerson Woods (Eastern Ranges/Vic Metro) 3.129 seconds
2 Sophie Van De Heuvel (GWV Rebels/Vic Country) 3.242
2 Charlotte Wilson (Eastern Ranges/Vic Metro) 3.242
4 Madeline Brancatisano (Northern Knights/Vic Metro) 3.25
5 Libby Haines (Burnie/Tasmania) 3.299

Yo-Yo Test:

1 Nina Morrison (Geelong Falcons/Vic Country) 18.2
2 Emerson Woods (Eastern Ranges/Vic Metro) 16.7
3 Charlotte Wilson (Eastern Ranges/Vic Metro) 16.5
4 Lauren Butler (GWV Rebels/Vic Country) 16.3
5 Tyla Hanks (Gippsland Power/Vic Country) 16.2

Agility:

1 Tyla Hanks (Gippsland Power/Vic Country): 8.788
2 Olivia Purcell (Geelong Falcons/Vic Country): 8.809
3 Emerson Woods (Eastern Ranges/Vic Metro): 8.859
4 Nina Morrison (Geelong Falcons/Vic Country): 8.878
5 Jordyn Allen (Dandenong Stingrays/Vic Country): 8.891

2km time trial:

1 Nina Morrison (Geelong Falcons/Vic Country) 7:14
2 Eleanor Brown (Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro) 7:29
3 Emerson Woods (Eastern Ranges/Vic Metro) 7:39
4 Libby Haines (Burnie/Tasmania) 7:51
5 Lauren Butler (GWV Rebels/Vic Country) 7:52

Standing vertical jump:

1 Charlotte Wilson (Eastern Ranges/Vic Metro) 56cm
2 Rebecca Webster (Murray Bushrangers/Vic Country) 54cm
2 Sophie Van De Heuvel (GWV Rebels/Vic Country) 54cm
4 Georgia Clarke (GWV Rebels/Vic Country) 52cm
5 Emerson Woods (Eastern Ranges/Vic Metro) 50cm
5 Nina Morrison (Geelong Falcons/Vic Country) 50cm
5 Rene Caris (GWV Rebels/Vic Country) 50cm

Running vertical jump (right):

1 Rebecca Webster (Murray Bushrangers/Vic Country) 63cm
2 Charlotte Wilson (Eastern Ranges/Vic Metro) 62
3 Rene Caris (GWV Rebels/Vic Country) 61
4 Lauren Bella (Bond University/Queensland) 59
5 Nina Morrison (Geelong Falcons/Vic Country) 59

Running vertical jump (left):

1 Sophie Van De Heuvel (GWV Rebels/Vic Country) 70cm
2 Charlotte Wilson (Eastern Ranges/Vic Metro) 68cm
3 Nina Morrison (Geelong Falcons/Vic Country) 66cm
4 Lauren Bella (Bond University/Queensland) 65cm
5 Rebecca Webster (Murray Bushrangers/Vic Country) 65cm

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.

Zero players, coaches and support staff becomes one premiership

HAWTHORN Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s premiership coach, Patrick Hill had to build the club up from scratch when he first walked through the doors.

He had no players, coaches or support staff on board, and was all of a sudden thrown into the deep end to create a team. After the club’s first trial day and training session, Hill admits he was worried. But now after an exciting blend of experience and youth culminating in a premiership, he says he couldn’t be happier.

“(In) the first training session, I didn’t know what I’d gotten myself into,” Hill said.

“It wasn’t great but we built slowly and slowly then just added some experience this year which has just changed our team around. “They played a great style last year and they were very compliant in what they wanted to do but we just needed the mature heads and some more physical bodies out there.”

The premiership also required some work behind the scenes from the coach himself, who is now 16 years into his coaching career.

“I remember working on a game style that would work on this ground (Etihad Stadium) all year and even last year,” he said. “To get here and be able to do it, I’m rapt.”

Another person who is rapt is Hawthorn President, Jeff Kennett. Hill says Kennett has been his side’s number one supporter all year.

“He really gets around the girls, he loves them as I do and it’s great to see someone of his age and where he’s come from to really embrace women’s footy for what it is and it’s beautiful,” the Hawthorn VFLW coach said.

Together, Hill and Kennett are out to prove a point that the Hawthorn Football Club is completely invested in women’s football.

“I still see on social media, there’s this thought process out there that we don’t care and we haven’t cared about women’s footy and we’re sort of late to the party and we don’t really care anyway,” Hill said. “Nothing could be further from the truth, we really wanted to come out here today and show that not only do we care about women’s footy, but we care about women’s issues. “We really want to excel in this as well.”

The players have also played a part in caring for each other, with Hill admitting that forward, Phoebe McWilliams has been one of the players who has bonded with the younger girls in the side. This has benefited the likes of Eastern Ranges duo, Mikala Cann and Emerson Woods, and former Vic Metro representative, Olivia Flanagan, who Hill says have been outstanding this season.

“Young Mikala Cann, we call her the bull and she just loves the contest,” he said. “She’s an extremely coachable player and she slotted straight into our midfield. “Emerson Woods just runs all day and even Liv Flanagan, we were able to get her up today after doing a hammy in Darwin, she re-twinged it again a couple of weeks ago and we thought the dream was over. “But for her to get up and get through and play an important role for us was fantastic. “They had youthful exuberance, they had some real vibe around the group. “Phoebe McWilliams has really taken to them and they’ve really taken to her. “It’s been fantastic to watch those relationships develop.”

Of course, it was hard to go past Chantella Perera’s game on the day, with the defender taking home the Lisa Hardeman medal for the best on ground. Hill was not only impressed with her game at Etihad Stadium, but also praises her consistent efforts throughout the year.

“She was fantastic last year, she played on all the best players in the league and never got beaten once,” he said. “Maybe Chloe Molloy at the start of this year kicked some nice goals, but today I thought she added the offensive side to her game. “She’s really cool and composed with the ball, her skills were great and she’s just a great athlete. “She’s been a champion WNBL player and now she’s a VFLW premiership player. “It just shows how good women are when you give them the opportunity.”

From Eastern to Hawthorn, Ranges duo celebrate flag

EASTERN Ranges duo Mikala Cann and Emerson Woods have basked in the glory of a Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s premiership yesterday. The Ranges and now Hawthorn midfielder/forwards just “played their role” as they said, in Hawthorn’s 13-point victory over Geelong. Cann finished the game with 14 disposals, one mark and a team-high nine tackles, while Woods’ defensive pressure saw her also lay five tackles to go with two touches.

Both players were thrilled after the game, hardly believing the moment.

“It’s just surreal,” Woods said. “I definitely wasn’t expecting this, just coming at such a young age as well coming into the team, just to get a spot (is good) I suppose.” Cann was equally as excited. “You can’t describe it,” she said. “Winning a premiership with the best group of girls, it’s indescribable”

Woods said the speed of the game was the crucial difference between the TAC Cup Girls and VFL Women’s.

“It’s much faster, quick ball movement, pretty hard to keep up at times, but it’s good,” Woods said. Cann said she felt the bigger presence of opponents out there and stronger bodies. “(It’s) a lot more physical, the bodies are larger, but I guess you want to be playing at the highest level so this is one step closer.”

The last quarter saw the game on a knife’s edge and Geelong was attacking fiercely throughout the second half. Cann said the team knew the Cats would come at them, and had prepared for the momentum swing.

“We prepared what we had to do at training with our composure,” she said. “We just knew what we had to do and we implemented it.”

Woods said the most amazing feeling was with the clock counting down, knowing they would soon be premiership players.

“Yeah towards the end of the game, it was a bit of a surreal feeling with 30 seconds to go knowing that we’d won it,” she said.

Now both draft-eligible players will prepare for the AFL Women’s Draft Combine next week ahead of the AFL Women’s Draft in late October.

Weekend previews: VFLW – Grand Final

THE stage is set for traditional rivals, Hawthorn and Geelong to make history in the inaugural Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s Grand Final. The Hawks and Cats have been even all season on the ladder and will get to show what they’re made of in the first game played at Marvel Stadium.

 

HAWTHORN  v. GEELONG CATS

Sunday, September 23, 12.30pm
Etihad Stadium, Docklands

Form line:

Hawthorn:

Ladder position: 2nd
Wins: 12
Losses: 2
Percentage: 180%

Geelong:

Ladder position: 4th
Wins: 10
Losses: 3
Draws: 1
Percentage: 163%

 

Last time they met:

Hawthorn 6.5 (41) defeated Geelong 3.7 (25)

In the biggest match of the round, it was Hawthorn who got the early breakaway after an even first quarter. The Hawks kicked three goals to Geelong’s one in the second quarter, giving them a 14-point lead at the main break. They were able to extend their lead in the third with one goal, while keeping Geelong goalless. The Cats had a chance to fight back in the last quarter, but kicked 1.4, which gave Hawthorn the win.

AFLW duo, Sarah Perkins and Rebecca Beeson each kicked two majors on the day while Claire Dyett and Rosie Dillon booted through one each. Beeson had a dominant game with 22 disposals, five marks and six tackles and was complemented by fellow goal kicker, Rosie Dillon, who racked up 17 disposals and eight tackles. Skipper, Emma Mackie was huge on the day with 20 disposals and five tackles while Jayde Van Dyk was as resilient as ever down back with 18 disposals, four marks and five tackles.

Despite her side’s loss, Richelle Cranston was the leading disposal-getter on the ground with 25 touches as well as three marks and five tackles. Madeline Keryk wasn’t far off though with one goal, 24 disposals and nine tackles in another great game in the blue and white hoops. Kate Darby and Mia-Rae Clifford also got on the scoreboard with one major each. Darby gathered 12 disposals, three marks and eight tackles while Clifford was kept quiet with six disposals.

GOALS

Hawthorn: R. Beeson 2, S. Perkins 2, C. Dyett, R. Dillon
Geelong: M. Clifford, M. Keryk, K. Darby

BEST

Hawthorn: J. Van Dyk, R. Dillon, K. Ebb, S. Perkins, E. Mackie, M. Cann
Geelong: R. Cranston, A. Teague, E. Coventry, R. Goring, M. Keryk, K. Darby

 

Players to watch:

Hawthorn:

#1 Emma Mackie

Mackie has been outstanding this season and has managed to find her form from the start of the year in the last couple of weeks. Last time she faced the Cats, she racked up 20 disposals and five tackles, then followed this up with three goals, 18 disposals and four tackles in the qualifying final against the Pies.

#6 Julia Crockett-Grills

Crocket-Grills is an interesting situation, playing against the team that she has recently been recruited to in the AFL Women’s. An agile midfielder, Crockett-Grills can burst the game open with her speed and footy smarts. Against the Pies two weeks ago, she gathered 10 disposals and laid five tackles.

#8 Rebecca Beeson

Rebecca Beeson has been one of Hawthorn’s most consistent players throughout the season, playing roles in both the forward line and in the midfield. Lately, she has been in the midfield and has made a huge impact. She was dominant against Geelong in Round 16 where she gathered 22 disposals, five marks, six tackles and kicked two goals.   

#24 Rosie Dillon

Dillon has strung together a couple of good games in the lead-up to this match. She arguably played her best game of the season against Collingwood in week one of the finals, as she gathered 20 disposals, two marks and four tackles to go along with her major. Against Geelong in the home and away season, she was again one of the star players for the Hawks with one goal, 17 disposals, three marks and eight tackles.

#36 Jayde Van Dyk

Jayde Van Dyk well and truly deserved the VFLW Rising Star award after a breakout season in the brown and gold. Van Dyk was a lock in the backline each week and shut down her opponents extremely well. Her agile frame also allowed her to get involved in the contest with great run and carry. She got heavily involved against the Cats in Round 16 where she racked up 18 disposals, took four marks and laid five tackles.

#45 Mikala Cann

The Eastern Ranges midfielder has only played a handful of games for the Hawks, but they have all been of a high quality. Cann is an inside bull who tackles hard and runs hard in and out of stoppages. She’s one who can turn a game on its head with her explosive impact. Cann was the leading disposal-getter on the ground against Collingwood with 21 disposals, three marks and eight tackles.

 

Geelong:

#6 Maddie Boyd

Maddie Boyd’s aerial ability is really going to trouble the Hawks. Her contested and uncontested marking has been superb this season and has played a big part in getting the Cats to Marvel Stadium on Sunday. Against the Pies, she kicked two goals and took seven marks. Last time she faced the Hawks, she gathered 11 disposals and took five marks.

#7 Mia-Rae Clifford

Mia-Rae Clifford’s move into the forward line has been a revelation, as she has kicked 15 goals from 16 games. Clifford also made the VFLW Team of the Year thanks to her consistency with the ball in hand. She didn’t kick a goal against the Pies last week, so she would come into this game hungry for a couple of majors. Clifford still managed to rack up 11 disposals and lay six tackles in the fierce contest.

#16 Olivia Purcell

Olivia Purcell comes into this game with a chance to win her second premiership this season. She has rightfully earned her spot in the team with some great inside work and ferocity around the contest. This was highlighted last week when she laid 14 tackles against the Pies, not giving their midfielders an inch of space. Against the Northern Territory (NT), she got plenty of the ball, racking up 19 disposals and kicking a goal.

#20 Nina Morrison

Purcell’s premiership teammate, Nina Morrison is in the same situation as her, vying for her second premiership this season. There’s not much Morrison hasn’t won this season, winning both the AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships Most Valuable Player (MVP) and the TAC Cup Girls Best and Fairest alongside Madison Prespakis. Morrison missed last week’s game against the Pies after she was named best-on-ground in the Cats’ win over NT. In that game, she gathered 18 disposals and laid seven tackles. She is a key inclusion in this match.

#30 Richelle Cranston

Richelle Cranston will be a worrying prospect for Hawthorn with her strength around the contest. Cranston has the tenacity to bullock through packs and win the hard ball to get it out of congestion, which has played a big part in Geelong’s success this year. Her finals campaign has been outstanding with two goals, 19 disposals, five marks and six tackles against the NT. Against Collingwood, she racked up 15 disposals and laid seven tackles.

#45 Madeline Keryk

Madeline Keryk gets better as each week goes on, dominating the midfield with her tenacity and footy smarts. Keryk hits the packs hard and her kicking and handballing is precise. She is a ball magnet and has demonstrated this in her last two games. Against the Thunder, Keryk gathered 16 disposals and laid nine tackles. She bettered this when she faced the Pies, with 24 disposals and four tackles.

 

Preview:

These two teams have been evenly poised throughout the season, with both teams always in contention for the premiership flag. Both have knocked off minor premiers, Collingwood, and Geelong has had the added bonus of knocking out the NT. Hawthorn comes into this game off a break, giving a chance for players such as Olivia Flanagan to return from injury and slot back into the side. Geelong has kept it simple in the lead-up to the Grand Final, bringing in star draft prospect, Nina Morrison to impose her outside run on the Hawks’ midfield.

The midfield will be littered with Under 18 Victorian representatives, with Morrison, Olivia Purcell, Mikala Cann and Emerson Woods to all play a role on the day. Experienced players, Rebecca Beeson and Emma Mackie could go up against Richelle Cranston and Rosie Dillon in what should be an enthralling battle. In the 50s, Geelong captain, Rebecca Goring could see eye-to-eye with Adelaide Crows forward, Sarah Perkins while Jayde Van Dyk could match up on Mia-Rae Clifford.

It’s also a match-up of two of the best coaches, with Patrick Hill and Paul Hood matching up tactics against tactics. Geelong coach, Hood believes his side can get revenge on the Hawks after an improvement of form since their last meeting.

“We’re quietly confident we can improve our performance after that day,” he said. “Obviously we learn a bit from playing against the Hawks, they put in a really powerful performance. “It’s no great surprise to us that we’re here but obviously we needed a bit of luck along the way.  “We’re really grateful to get the opportunity to play this weekend.”

Patrick Hill is also grateful to grace Marvel Stadium with his Hawthorn players, admitting that he didn’t see a Grand Final berth coming so fast.

“If you told me I’d be here two years ago in a Grand Final, I probably would’ve laughed at you,” Hill said. “We’re incredibly well supported by our club. “I think it shows how many great athletes there are in women’s sport. “It’s not like men’s sport where they’ve already been through trials and a lot of development programs thrown at them since they were seven years old, they’ve had to sort of fight to be involved. “Once we opened up the doors to all our women in, you see how many amazing athletes there are out there, they’re extremely coachable and a delight to work with.”

Hawthorn has been one of the best offensive sides this year while Geelong has been one of the best defensive outfits, so if the game is played on the Hawks’ terms, it could be a fast-paced game. But if the game is played on the Cats’ terms, it could be a defensive, hard-fought slug which Geelong has been accustomed to this year. Either way, this will be a tight contest with both teams desperate to lift up the first ever VFLW premiership cup on Sunday.