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.
EASTERN RANGES v. DANDENONG STINGRAYS
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.
SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS v. OAKLEIGH CHARGERS
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.
BENDIGO PIONEERS v. MURRAY BUSHRANGERS
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.
WESTERN JETS v. GIPPSLAND POWER
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.
GREATER WESTERN VICTORIA REBELS v. GEELONG FALCONS
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.
CALDER CANNONS v. NORTHERN KNIGHTS
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.