Tag: mikala cann

AFLW Draft review: Collingwood

COLLINGWOOD was hit the hardest in the AFL Women’s off-season, losing many experienced players to other clubs. Moana Hope, Christina Bernardi, Jess Duffin, Jasmine Garner, Emma King and Amelia Barden will all be playing at different clubs in 2019, while retirees, Meg Hutchins, Bree White and Caitlyn Edwards will also be a big loss for the Pies. It was always going to be interesting to see how Collingwood went about its draft, but overall, versatility has been the theme as the side seeks a quick fix to its punishing off-season.

What they needed:

  • Forwards to replace Moana Hope, Lauren Tesoriero and Christina Bernardi
  • Defenders to replace Caitlyn Edwards and Tara Morgan
  • Versatility to fill the absence of Jess Duffin, Jasmine Garner and Chloe Molloy (inactive this season)
  • Experience to fill the void of Meg Hutchins and Bree White
  • Ruck to replace Emma King
  • Midfield depth to fill the void of Amelia Barden

 

Players selected:

Jordyn Allen – Dandenong Stingrays

Allen is a known leader, having captained the Dandenong Stingrays and Vic Country this year. Allen is a star off half-back with her overhead marking and unique ability to build her own wall in the defensive 50. She can also roll into the midfield and have an immediate impact there with her football smarts and long kicks. She will play a big part in helping to fill the void of Chloe Molloy and Jess Duffin.

Katie Lynch – Oakleigh Chargers

Lynch is a real X-factor player who creates excitement when she gets the ball. She has a fantastic long kick and can use it across the field. She is a tall player that plays primarily in the midfield and breaks the lines well with her strength. Despite limited game time in the TAC Cup Girls competition in the last two years, Lynch overcame injury trouble and battling school commitments to represent Vic Metro this year. She will help to fill the void of inside bull, Amelia Barden for the Pies in 2019.

Mikala Cann – Eastern Ranges

Mikala Cann is a remarkable story. In her first year of football, she represented Vic Metro, played in a premiership with Hawthorn and was named in the TAC Cup Girls Team of the Year. Known for her ferocity in the contest, Cann is a hard inside midfielder who loves to tackle. Coming from an athletics background, she is able to combine her speed and power to haunt opposition midfielders. She will be a great addition to Collingwood’s midfield, and presents a style of play similar to Brittany Bonnici, so the pair should combine well in the midfield.

Lauren Butler – Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels

The skipper of the GWV Rebels had a great year, representing Vic Country and spending some time with the Western Bulldogs in the Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s. Being a utility, she will add some much-needed versatility to the Collingwood line-up. Her endurance is perhaps one of the most impressive assets of her game and she proved it at the AFL Women’s Draft Combine, placing in the top five in the yo-yo intermittent test and the 2km time trial.

Maddie Shevlin – Casey Demons

Shevlin was perhaps a bit unlucky to get delisted by Melbourne in the off-season, But after some fantastic football for Casey, Collingwood decided to give her a second chance in the AFLW. Rotating through the forward line and the midfield, Shevlin kicked five goals from 14 games and was named in the best five times. She’s a player who knows how to rack up the disposals and uses the football cleanly both by hand or by foot. Another player who will add some versatility to the Pies’ line-up.

Sophie Alexander – Collingwood VFLW

Alexander burst onto the scene for the Pies this year in the VFLW. She kicked 14 goals from 14 games, including four majors against the NT Thunder. She was also named in the best eight times, highlighting her consistency. She is a powerful forward who can kick them from anywhere and is a great mark of the footy. She could be one of the most exciting players in the Collingwood lineup this year and could be a great replacement for Moana Hope.

Georgia Gourlay – Casey Demons VFLW

Georgia Gourlay is another great story from the Pies, as she has bounced back from two knee reconstructions in three years to earn a spot in Collingwood’s AFL Women’s side. She was a promising junior, making the Under 18 All Australian team as a 16 year-old. She is known for her precise kicking, which she uses as an asset of her game on the wing and on the half-back line. She could find a home in defence to replace the likes of Caitlyn Edwards and Tara Morgan.

Jordan Membrey – Wilston Grange

The Pies have picked up another delisted player in Jordan Membrey, who spent some time at the Lions in 2017. Her experience in an AFL Women’s line-up makes her a ready-made player for the Pies, which is a handy acquisition. Membrey got the chance to show her leadership skills this year, captaining Gold Coast in the AFL Women’s Winter series. She can rotate through the forward line and the midfield, and impresses with her clean hands.

Erica Fowler – Collingwood VFLW

Erica Fowler seems to be the solution to replace the departed Emma King. She and Hynes should combine well in the ruck to give the Collingwood midfielders first use of the ball. Fowler can also be a key target up forward, often playing a role for the Pies at full forward during the VFLW season.

 

How they went:

The Pies’ draft strategy appears to revolve around experience and versatility. With the loss of so many players in the off-season, Collingwood needed to kill two birds with one stone, and recruited versatile players such as Erica Fowler, Jordan Membrey and Jordyn Allen to provide a quick solution for the mass loss of players. A lot of midfield depth has been added through the likes of Mikala Cann and Katie Lynch, which will help the Pies get first access to the football. The forward line has also been bolstered through the recruitment of Sophie Alexander, who was one of the most exciting forwards in the VFLW competition. The Pies have a lot of options to work with for 2019, so it will be interesting to see how they fit all these versatile players into their line-up.

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.

Future is bright for women’s football

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Scouting notes: VFLW Grand Final

HAWTHORN’S Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s side claimed the premiership on the weekend with a hard-fought victory over Geelong at Etihad Stadium. We took note of some of the impressive players on the day.

 

Hawthorn vs. Geelong

Hawthorn:

#1 Emma Mackie

Went for a ride on Anna Teague on the wing but was pinged for unrealistic attempt. Then had a crack with a clever snap on goal which bounced past three running Geelong defenders, before unluckily bouncing into the post. Made her chance count when she got another one in the second term with an attempt off a step and kicked it through the middle to hand Hawthorn an 11-point lead in the 13th minute.

#5 Chantella Perera

With Geelong attacking early with momentum, it was Perera’s tackle on a Geelong opponent that earned an important free kick and rebound down the other end. Then had another impressive defensive moment with an intercept mark then pass to Pepa Randall who found a target inside 50. Her drive off half-back and ability to take the game on earned her Best on Ground honours.

#6 Julia Crockett-Grills

Kept her feet in a one-on-one contest and gained some vital meterage for her team going forward. Did a lot of work that might have gone unnoticed on the stats sheet, but really contributed to the on-ball brigade.

#7 Phoebe McWilliams

Good one-one one mark just inside 50, then delivered the ball on a platter to Tamara Luke leading out from the square. Had a golden chance from 15 metres out in the second term almost identical to Clifford in the first term, and McWilliams also missed. She started to have a real impact in the second despite the miss, leading out and taking another strong mark then kicking to the danger zone 20 metres out from goal. Had a chance in the fourth quarter and decided to pass it off but it fell short.

#8 Rebecca Beeson

Worked hard at the coal face with a big opening term, collecting five disposals and laying a tackle. Cracked in hard and won a one-on-one contest in the second term on the wing. Beeson led all-comers by half-time with 11 disposals and three tackles to be a key reason why the Hawks were on top. Almost bit off more than she could chew on the wing but got out of the tackle. Won a holding the ball free against Nina Morrison on the wing.

#13 Ebony Nixon

Massive cheer rang out across the Hawks’ defensive end when Nixon cleanly picked up a ball and kicked to a teammate on defensive 50 to stop a potential Geelong goal.

#14 Olivia Flanagan

Just attacked the contested hard and showed cleanliness at ground level. Could not quite keep it in on the wing early in the game, but buried herself at any contest she could throughout the opening stanza. Had a shot on goal in the second term from the set shot but it fell short and was rushed across the line. Always busy around the stoppages.

#21 Pepa Randall

Made her presence felt early, stopping Maddy McMahon from running into the 50 with a front on bump. Then delivered a lovely ball inside 50 to a teammate on the lead. Took a strong grab in the middle intercepting to send it back inside 50.

#22 Tamara Luke

Took a strong one-on-one mark leading out and converted the set shot. Impressive second term saw Luke win a number of free kicks for getting to the ball first.

#24 Rosie Dillon

Sold a bit of candy at half-forward to kick inside 50 and force a stoppage.

#25 Meg Hutchins

A rock in the back half, was quiet early, but had a good kick in the second term along the wing. Drifted forward and then had a quick snap which missed. Headed back down the other end and then took a big intercept mark on the last line. Showed good power to dash off half-back and kick long along the wing. Stood tall with a strong intercept mark off a Nina Morrison kick going inside 50.

#28 Sarah Perkins

Had an early shot on goal from a quick snap, which went through for a behind. Had a second chance off a split second, missing the shot as she was pushed down and it went out on the full in the second quarter. Got the Hawthorn faithful up and about with a snap 15 metres out after juggling the mark, playing on and kicking around her body – was the first Hawthorn inside 50.

#31 Jess Sibley

Big grab in defence to intercept and clear to the defensive 50 in the final term with the game on the line.

#32 Kim Ebb

Won a free kick for copping head-high contact at ground level inside 50, showing courage.

#33 Emily Gilder

Had a set shot from 30 metres out which nailed the game and put it beyond doubt with seven minutes remaining in the final term.

#36 Jayde Van Dyk

Goal-saving tackle one-on-one on her opponent, Michele Fedele when she was running into an open 50 and the bounce went astray. Unbelievable chase and stopped a certain goal. Laid another strong tackle just out from goal when her opponent tried to turn around and Van Dyk wrapped her up. A terrific effort in the third term when Geelong was doing all the attacking, standing up strong and kicking clear, while taking a number of marks.

#40 Ellie MacDonald

Won a free kick for being held after going in for the ball at half-back when Geelong was attacking and kicked along the wing. Forced a ball-in on the wing with a big grab.

#45 Mikala Cann

Took a really strong intercept grab at half-forward, then showed off her tackling prowess late in the first term with a massive tackle to force a throw-in inside the Hawks forward 50. Just attacks the contest and does not take a backwards step.

 

Geelong:

#1 Jamie Woollett

Provided a big front on bump to Ellie MacDonald in the first term, but helped her opponent up in a show of good spirit. Had a few nice touches on the wing. Continued showing her physicality with a strong tackle on the wing.

#2 Danielle Orr

Fell into the hole and took a good uncontested grab, but like so many others, missed the chance with the wind from the doors being opened at the Lockett end pushing it to the left.

#3 Hannah Burchell

Had a chance to kick an early goal in the second term but just missed and it was knocked across the line for a behind.

#4 Cassie Blakeway

Showed courage in the last term sliding in to mark the ball and copped front on contact.

#6 Maddie Boyd

Showed great defensive pressure on her opponents early, laying an important tackle 15 metres out and then slotting the set shot with a neat stab kick. Took what looked to be a strong mark on the 50 but it was not paid. Used her body well.

#7 Mia-Rae Cllifford

Took a huge grab at the top of the square, but missed from 20 metres out. Had a chance in the third term but was rushed across the line for another behind.

#8 Kate Darby

Gave Mia-Rae Clifford silver service after winning a free and then delivering her kick inside 50 on a platter to Clifford, who unfortunately missed the set shot. Was unlucky not to be paid a mark in the second term on the wing, and then Hawthorn cleared it, leading to a Phoebe McWilliams goal. Won a free kick in a forward ruck contest for being pushed in the back, but missed her attempt. Nailed her third chance in the final term, taking a mark under a high ball and kicking truly.

#16 Olivia Purcell

Won an important one-on-one clearance and got her hands on the ball early. She was the equal highest disposal winner on the ground at quarter time with six, firing out five handballs to teammates outside the stoppage. Massive on the inside throughout the game, not only winning the ball but laying 10 tackles. Really important on the inside just getting to the right positions and giving it off cleanly to teammates on the outside.

#20 Nina Morrison

Looked all class in the first term when she spun around and fired out a handball to a teammate in traffic in forward 50. Morrison was putting good defensive pressure on her opponents, spending time on the more experienced Meg Hutchins at times. Just kept winning the football with important touches, racking up 10 disposals by half-time, and also laying three tackles. Won a hardball at a contest in the third term at half-forward then kicked inside 50. Morrison had a massive impact in the final term and continued to rack up the ball at will with some big inside 50s.

#24 Maddy McMahon

Copped a big front-on bump early in the first term but bounced straight back up and was one of the Cats’ best with six touches (four kicks) in the quarter. Had another big moment in the final term with a nice kick inside 50 to the the hot spot early which resulted in a Kate Darby goal.

#30 Richelle Cranston

Almost kicked a miracle goal from 50 metres around her body but the ball bounced up and was taken away. Fended off an opponent in the second term and kicked forward, got more involved with a couple of powerful kicks to try and inspire her team.

#40 Anna Teague

Showed courage and strength at ground level in the first term to go in hard while protecting herself to pick up a contested ball and hold it up.

#45 Madeline Keryk

Had a big first half, often kicking out of defence with nine kicks from 10 disposals and mopping up for the Cats.

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.

Hawthorn claims VFLW premiership

THE Hawks have made history in the Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s league after an 11-point win over Geelong in the Grand Final.

Not only did the team lift up its first ever VFLW premiership cup, but it was also stalwarts of female football, Meg Hutchins, Lou Wotton and Phoebe McWilliams who got to experience premiership success for the first time.

Basketball convert, Chantella Perera was the deserving recipient of the Lisa Hardeman medal with 13 disposals, four marks and five tackles in defence. Greater Western Sydney (GWS) forward, Rebecca Beeson (24 disposals, three marks, four tackles), VFLW rising star, Jayde Van Dyk (19 disposals, four marks, six tackles) and Eastern Ranges midfielder, Mikala Cann (14 disposals, nine tackles) also impressed for the Hawks.

If Geelong had won, Vic Country duo, Olivia Purcell and Nina Morrison would have been hot favourites to claim the best-on-ground accolade, and could have claimed it even though their side lost. Purcell gathered 19 disposals and a game-high 11 tackles while Morrison racked up 20 disposals and laid five tackles.

New Geelong AFL Women’s forward, McWilliams was up and about early, creating the first goal for her side. She marked the ball just outside 50 and kicked it to the top of the square where Tamara Luke marked and kicked truly for the Hawk’s first of the day. Geelong fought back with a strong goal-line tackle provided by ruck/forward, Maddie Boyd. Boyd dispossessed Hawthorn defender, Jessica Sibley and then booted through the Cats’ first major from a tough angle just outside the goal square. Despite a dominant first quarter for the Hawks, they matched their goal with four behinds, giving them a slim two-point lead at quarter time.

After two behinds from McWilliams and Meg Hutchins to kick off the second quarter, it was unsurprisingly captain, Emma Mackie who steadied the ship with a goal halfway through the term. At the other end, the Hawks’ defence kept Geelong scoreless for the quarter, giving them an 11-point lead at the main break.

The Cats tried to bounce back in the third term but wasted their opportunities. They finished the term goalless, with behinds from Hannah Burchell, Maighan Fogas, Danielle Orr and Mia-Rae Clifford. These wasted opportunities hurt more when Sarah Perkins kicked a major in the dying stages of the game. In the Hawks’ only inside 50 of the quarter, McWilliams was again involved with a long kick inside 50 ending up with Perkins. Perkins gathered the ball with two opponents hanging off her, yet still managed to grab it cleanly and snap it through for the Hawks’ third goal. This gave them a lead of 13 points at the last break, leaving Geelong with a lot of work to do in the last 20 minutes of the game.

The Cats responded immediately though, with a long kick from ruck/forward, Maddy McMahon ending up in the reliable hands of new Geelong AFL Women’s recruit, Kate Darby at the top of the square. She made no mistake from directly in front, reducing the deficit to seven points. But not long after, it was Hawthorn forward, Emily Gilder who kicked the sealer with a set-shot goal from about 25 metres out.

This ended the scoring for both sides, and meant that Hawthorn claimed one of the most historic 11-point wins in female football.

HAWTHORN 1.3 | 2.6 | 3.6 | 4.6 (30)
GEELONG 1.1 | 1.1 | 1.5 | 2.7 (19)

GOALS:

Hawthorn: S. Perkins, T. Luke, E. Mackie, E. Gilder.
Geelong: M. Boyd, K. Darby.

BEST:

Hawthorn: C. Perera, P. McWilliams, M. Hutchins, R. Beeson, T. Luke, J. Van Dyk
Geelong: H. Burchell, N. Morrison, M. McMahon, M. Keryk, C. Blakeway, O. Purcell