Tag: Jemma Owen

TAC Cup Girls previews: Round 3

FOUR teams go into round three undefeated, and will be hoping to keep their undefeated streaks alive. Meanwhile at RAMS Arena, two winless teams in Calder Cannons and Western Jets will go head-to-head to register their first win of the season. Each week, we will preview all the upcoming action in the round of TAC Cup Girls football, giving you a comprehensive insight into the compelling competition that we have on our hands this year.


Round 3- Saturday, March 24, 10.30am

MARS Stadium, Ballarat

The Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels and Bendigo Pioneers have an amazing opportunity to play at a prestigious stadium on the weekend. The Rebels will be searching for their first win of the season, after coming up against two premiership contenders in the first two rounds. Meanwhile, the Pioneers got off to a winning start in round one, and will be hoping to bounce back after last week’s loss.

Sophie Kerridge has kicked four goals so far for the Pioneers this season, and will look to continue her great form deep in the forward line. However, she will have to come across the likes of GWV AFLW Academy member, Georgia Clarke who will start at half-back to combat Kerridge and teammate, Kate Douglass.

Expect a great captain’s battle in the middle between GWV’s Lauren Butler and Bendigo’s Megan Williamson. Both players had solid outings last week and are sure to put on a cracking contest in the depths of the contest. Nyakoat Dojiok showed some impressive signs last week, and will join Butler in the middle of the ground to challenge the Rebels, who will be missing AFLW Academy member Sophie Van De Heuvel this week.


Round 3- Saturday, March 24, 2.45pm

RAMS Arena- Craigieburn

The two teams will have to travel further down the highway this week, after their hit-out at Swinburne Centre was moved to RAMS Arena. This is not likely to faze either team, who both enjoyed round two victories.

Murray has been unstoppable so far and we are only two rounds into the competition. Rebecca Webster has been a dominant force in the midfield, while Eloise Ashley-Cooper and Olivia Barber have been holding down the fort at either end of the ground.

Webster may have her work cut out for her this week, as she is set to come up against Gippsland star, Tyla Hanks. Hanks has not put a foot wrong for the Power so far, and played a pivotal role in getting her side over the line for the first time in the TAC Cup Competition.


Round 3- Sunday, March 25, 11am

Deakin University Oval, Geelong

The Geelong Falcons are one of the undefeated teams in the league so far and will return back home to take on a formidable Stingrays outfit. Dandenong on the other hand fell short to hard-hitting side, Eastern Ranges in round two. But captain, Jordyn Allen has been as consistent as ever, and is likely to continue her great form in Stingrays colours.

However she will have to come across tackling machine, Olivia Purcell in the Geelong midfield, who has been a hard player to combat in the first two rounds. Expect a great battle between Sandringham half-back, Lucinda Cripps and Geelong half-forward, Sachi DeGiacomi.

DeGiacomi is running a muck in the forward line, and is the joint leading goal-kicker, along with Northern Knights’ Alyssa Bannan. Tarryn Love will also play inside 50 for the Falcons, and will be one that applies plenty of forward pressure to trouble the Dandenong defence.


Round 3- Sunday, March 25, 11am

RAMS Arena, Craigieburn

The Cannons would not have expected to find themselves undefeated after two rounds. The Jets have come up against some formidable opponents so far and have not registered their first win of the season. But at RAMS Arena, both teams will have the chance to get a win on the board on what is set to be a rainy encounter.

Madison Prespakis has unsurprisingly been in sensational form, and will be keen to take on a talented Western Jets midfield this week. Prespakis would be familiar with impressive Jets midfielder, Elizabeth Georgiostathis, as they played in the same Youth Girls competition last year in the Essendon District Football League.

Isabella Pritchard has been a key player for the Jets so far, and will slot onto the half-back flank. She and Katarina Rebuffo will have to team up in defence to nullify the impact of Calder AFLW Academy member, Georgia Patrikios and Zoe Hardiman, who was named in the Cannons’ best last week.


Round 3- Sunday, March 25, 12.45pm

RAMS Arena, Craigieburn

The Northern Knights have charged out of the blocks this year, recording convincing wins in the first two rounds of the competition. The Dragons too have been competitive and have made significant inroads to developmental improvement. Sandringham recorded a confidence-boosting win against the Chargers last week, knocking them off the top of the ladder and preparing themselves appropriately for arguably the game of the round.

Abigail Bennett has been a star for the Knights, making an impact both in the middle of the ground and in the forward 50. She has been well complemented by Nell Morris-Dalton, who has used her strength to perfection to double up in the forward line and in the midfield.

The Knights’ dynamic mid/ forward combinations will undoubtedly be a challenging prospect for the Dragons, but Abbie McKay and captain, Jemma Owen are up to the task. Both are coming off wonderful performances last week, and were well complemented by Winnie Laing, who played a Chelsea Randall type role. Laing played in defence and through the midfield, and could play that role again to nullify the impact of Northern’s versatile outfit.


Round 3- Sunday, March 25, 2.30pm

RAMS Arena, Craigieburn

The last of the triple-headers at Craigieburn sees the Chargers taking on the Ranges to bounce back from last week’s loss. Oakleigh had some time on top of the ladder after a big win in round one, while the Eastern Ranges are on the march to take top spot off the Knights.

Oakleigh has been boosted by the return of Katie Lynch, who sat out the round two loss. She had a wonderful performance in round one and can certainly take it up to the Ranges midfield. It will be interesting to see her and Gemma Lagioia go head-to-head against Eastern’s Mikala Cann and Sarah Kendall. Cann has been tearing it up with her explosive speed while Kendall has shown poise through the middle of the ground in her first two outings of the season.

Plenty of attention will be given to AFL Draft Central Player of the Week, Georgia Macpherson, who marked everything that came her way last week. Players would simply avoid kicking it in her vicinity, which is something that Oakleigh will definitely take into consideration this week.

Scouting notes: TAC Cup Girls – Round 2

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

Eastern Ranges vs. Dandenong Stingrays


#3 Emerson Woods

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

#26 Tarni Brown

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

#37 Georgia Macpherson

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

#38 Laura McClelland

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

#46 Sarah Kendall

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



#1 Shelley Heath

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

#15 Jordyn Allen

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

#26 Isabella Shannon

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

#35 Lucinda Cripps

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

#44 Samantha Ryan

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


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

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

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

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

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


Sandringham Dragons vs. Oakleigh Chargers


#2 Winnie Laing

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

#30 Eleanor Brown

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

#32 Sarah Hartwig

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

#43 Abbie McKay

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

#64 Eliza McNamara

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



#3 Jasmine D’Amato

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

#14 Hannah McLaren

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

#17 Nicola Xenos

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

#32 Chloe O’Malley

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

#30 Gemma Lagioia

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Western Jets vs. Gippsland Power


#14 Isabella Grant

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

#16 Elizabeth Georgiostathis

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

#19 Olivia Forsythe

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

#30 Isabella Pritchard

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

#31 Katrina Rebuffo

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



#6 Emily Hauesler

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

#27 Nikia Webber

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

#28 Tyla Hanks

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

#30 Leyla Berry

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

#57 Jazz Ferguson

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


Calder Cannons vs. Northern Knights 

By Julia Montesano 


#3 Madison Prespakis:

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

#9 Molly Warburton: 

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

#29 Stephanie Elias:

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

#23 Grace Dicker:

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

#21 Georgia Patrikios:

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



#7: Abigail Bennett

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

#23: Gabby Newton

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

#14 Jess Fitzgerald

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

#6 Alyssa Bannan

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

#3 Nell Morris-Dalton

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


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

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

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

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

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

TAC Cup Girls gaining momentum

THE TAC Cup was once a pathway for young boys to fulfil their childhood dreams of playing AFL, but now the elite Australian Rules junior program is gaining momentum among women’s footy. Now in its second season, the TAC Cup Girls program which includes all 12 TAC Cup clubs, has provided a pathway to give females aged 16-18 the best chance to fulfil their dreams of playing in the AFLW competition.

Many players are embracing the TAC Cup including the club captains. Eastern Ranges star Emerson Woods, who is also in her first year as club captain, is excited with the prospect of the TAC Cup and what it brings for female footballers. In her second season playing for the Eastern, Woods smiles as she begins to talk about the positive aspects of playing women’s footy.

“I think it is really good,” she said. “Obviously a lot of the boys are drafted from the TAC Cup. “My first season wasn’t great, but I went through a lot of pathways which was pretty good.“It’s really good that we get the same opportunities as the boys, and show our talents just like the boys do. “I think it is really good to get it running. “I think it is really good because it gives women the chance to play for AFL teams.”

The talented midfielder’s smile widens as she talks about her experiences as co-captain.

“I am enjoying my time as captain,” Woods said. “I am now co-captain alongside Charlotte Wilson which is pretty awesome. “It was a bit of a surprise for me. “Last year I wasn’t much of a leader…Growing up to be a leader, and showing my leadership has been really good. ”It is not something that I would have expected.”

Woods praised the professionalism of the women’s game including the physios and the trainers that attend every match.

“It is pretty good,” she said. “If something is wrong, they have our backs straight away. They look after us really well… I think there will need to be improvements as the game gets bigger.”

The female players elected in the TAC Cup competition are scouted during the season and invited to the Eastern Ranges trials at the end of the year. A TAC Cup squad of 35 and a Futures squad of 15, is selected.

In her fourth year playing at the Sandringham Dragons, Jemma Owen says the opportunity to be a club captain this year has been memorable.

“It is an amazing experience, it is growing experience, a way to improve my footy,” she said.

Owen beams with excitement as she discusses the growth of the TAC Cup.

‘It is pretty awesome to see the growth of the competition, she said. “From a couple of years ago playing in the TAC to what it is now with the new teams coming in this year especially, it is a pretty good feeling to be playing in the TAC.”

Despite the growing interest in the TAC Cup, there are some concerns over the competition which include knee injuries, muscle injuries and concussions. However, Eastern Ranges Female Talent Coordinator Jessie Mullholland cannot express enough the benefits of the competition and what it means for young females.

“It allows a pathway for young females to develop their skills in an elite environment,” she said. “It gives them the opportunity to pursue their football career and exposes them to different resources. Additionally, it allows them to make new friends in a new environment.”

The Grand Final will be held on May 9.

TAC Cup Girls previews: Round 2

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


Round 2 – Saturday, March 17, 10am

Healesville Sporting Complex, Healesville

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

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

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


Round 2 – Saturday, March 17, 11.45am

Healesville Sporting Complex, Healesville

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

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

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


Round 2 – Saturday, March 17, 12pm

Epsom Huntly Reserve, Epsom

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

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

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


Round 2 – Saturday, March 17, 3pm

Casey Fields, Cranbourne

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

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

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


Round 2 – Sunday, March 18, 1pm

Marty Busch Reserve, Sebastapol

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

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

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


Round 2 – Sunday, March 18, 4pm

RAMS Arena, Craigieburn

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

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

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

TAC Cup Girls preview: Sandringham Dragons

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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