Tag: Nikia Webber

Webber rises to success against the odds

AS a youngster who loved to watch her brother play football, Nikia Webber asked her dad if she could do the same.

He was against the idea because he perceived football as a masculine sport at the time. But after persistence from a young Webber, she got the opportunity to kick a footy around in a local team.

“Dad wouldn’t let me play because I was a girl,” she said. “Then I sort of just kept asking and asking and he sort of just gave in so then I played my first game in under 12s and then from there on, I just loved the game.”

Webber concedes that her father was not happy with the idea of his little princess playing football, but came around to it eventually.

“Because I’m his little princess, obviously he was pretty upset when I said I wanted to play footy, it wasn’t a girls sport at the time,” she said. “But now that he’s seen how far I’ve gone, he sort of agrees with what I’m doing now so that’s probably a positive out of that one.”

Her Dad also now takes time out of his weekend, along with her Mum, to take her wherever she needs to be, helping her to achieve her dream of playing AFL Women’s. Webber said that representing Vic Country at this year’s AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships made her want to seriously chase this dream and make it a reality.

“That experience made me want to pursue my dream and play AFLW,” the 17 year-old said. “It was a really good confidence-builder.”

She also admits that the experience was surreal, as she got to play with and against some of the most talented female footballers in the country.

“It was overwhelming up there” the Gippsland forward said. “It didn’t feel real until I was actually up there playing in those colours against all the other teams. “It was a really good experience because I’m such a young age so it was really good.”

Despite being a young age, Webber found herself stepping up as a leader in the Gippsland Power side. Although it was a big step-up, she benefited from being able to pass on her knowledge to the young, up-and-coming players.

“This year was a big step-up,” she said. “Obviously I was one of the older ones so all the new girls that we had come into the program, I sort of got to show them around, (show them) what I did and where I started from. “It gave them an opportunity and gave them an open mindset to be who I am.”

She realised she had leadership capabilities thanks to a stellar year in the forward line where she kicked 12 goals in eight games.

“In previous years, I was sort of quiet and now this year, I sort of realised that I can be one of those players who stands up and obviously kick a few goals and be a team leader, even though I wasn’t in the leadership group,” the 17 year-old said.

Webber has certainly come a long way since her first year in the Power program as a 14 year-old. She admits that it was pretty daunting to start playing for an elite side, but is thankful that she had an older player, who was her mentor, to show her the ropes.

“In that environment with the older girls, I didn’t know what to do or what I was in for,” the Vic Country representative said. “It was pretty weird. “I had a mentor so one of the older girls took me under their wing and sort of showed me around, what to do, what not to do. “It was really good. “If I didn’t have the mentor, I would be lost. “I was so nervous going in through those doors, seeing all those high-skilled girls and they were all older than me, so yeah I was pretty nervous.”

Before receiving this opportunity, Webber was a dedicated basketballer, venturing off to the sport after her Dad said she couldn’t take up football. She says her training was intense, and after getting sick of the high-pressure environment, she decided to pursue a career in football instead.

“I was training for that (basketball) non-stop,” Webber said. “I had a personal trainer, I went into all the basketball camps and then decided that I didn’t want to play basketball anymore so that’s when I took on footy.”

She has not looked back since then, and has had a breakout year in 2018. After being the Power’s leading goal kicker during the TAC Cup Girls season, she went on to represent Vic Country up on the Gold Coast to cap off a wonderful football season. 

Van De Heuvel’s three helps Country make it three from three on the Gold Coast

VIC Country have finished their AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships carnival with a relatively comfortable 37-point win over a persistent Western Australian side on the final day of competition today. Sophie Van De Heuvel was the star with three majors, finding her accuracy in the final game, and being a damaging player up forward for the winners.

Country came out strong with two early goals to set up a handy 13-point buffer which was cut to 10 going into the first break. Nikia Webber slotted the first, converting from a nice one-on-one mark in the 50, while Van De Heuvel threaded the eye in the pocket to claim her major. For Country, Shelley Heath and Olivia Purcell had a heap of the ball with Lucy McEvoy providing a good target forward, while Abbey Dowrick accumulated plenty of the ball for WA alongside Sabreena Duffy, with Mikayla Hyde dangerous up forward.

The Black Swans managed to sneak in their first major late in the second term via a Savannah Ahearn soccer goal, but it did not change the margin at half-time, as it came after Country’s six behinds. Amy Dunn’s identical misses from the pocket made up two of them as she was influential up forward, while Purcell continued to motor away and Nina Morrison came into the game from the wing. For Western Australia, Duffy continued to impress out of defence, while Emma O’Driscoll did her bit in the back half with her one-percenters keeping the pressure on Country’s forwards.

The Victorian side were less wasteful in the third term as Van De Heuvel dominated, picking up plenty of the ball and bagging her side’s two goals. Purcell was again influential, carrying the ball forward and narrowly missing her chance to hit the scoreboard. Meanwhile, WA managed to maintain touch with Mikayla Hyde converting the easiest of chances from the goal square to set the margin at 17 points and give her side a chance. Her twin, Brianna Hyde was also good, nipping around the contests.

With it all to play for, Vic Country remained strong and stormed home with three final quarter goals seeing them out with a good win to end their carnival. Stars McEvoy and Morrison finally hit the scoreboard in the last quarter, along with Courtney Jones, while Western Australia were kept to a sole behind. Van De Heuvel was instrumental in the second half and finished with three goals, while Purcell racked it up through the middle and Morrison found her way into the game to have an impact. For Western Australia, Duffy started off solidly in defence and kept up the pace through the midfield alongside McKenzie Dowrick. Mikayla Hyde was their most dangerous forward, and perhaps deserved more than her one goal.

Final Scores:

VIC COUNTRY 2.1 | 2.7 | 4.9 | 7.11 (53)
WESTERN AUSTRALIA 0.3 | 1.3 |  2.4 | 2.5 (17)

GOALS:

VIC COUNTRY: Sophie Van de Heuvel 3, Nikia Webber, Lucy McEvoy, Courtney Jones, Nina Morrison.
WESTERN AUSTRALIA: Mikayla Hyde, Savannah Ahearn.

ADC BEST:

VIC COUNTRY: Sophie Van De Heuvel, Olivia Purcell, Nina Morrison, Courtney Jones, Georgia Clarke, Rebecca Webster
WESTERN AUSTRALIA: Sabreena Duffy, Emma O’Driscoll, Mikayla Hyde, McKenzie Dowrick, Sonia Dorizzi, Brianna Hyde

Scouting notes: AFLW U18 Championships – Wednesday, July 11

THE story of the day was Queensland getting an upset win over Vic Metro in the AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships in a wonderful performance. The other winners of the day were in-form teams, Vic Country and Western Australia. Julia Montesano and Peter Williams were there to take notes on all the action that unfolded.

 

Queensland vs. Vic Metro

Queensland: 

By: Julia Montesano 

#5 Lily Postlethwaite

Played a fantastic game for Queensland and was one of their key players during the game. Delivered a nice composed kick to a teammate in the back half, showing composure with the ball in hand. Also demonstrated great run and carry which was highly effective in the fast-paced game. Her tackling was particularly a highlight as she laid an excellent run-down tackle to win herself the opportunity to create a scoring shot for Queensland.

#6 Zimmorlei Farquharson

Farquharson was the game-changer for Queensland, kicking the last two goals of the game to seal the upset win for her side. One goal was truly wonderful, as she kicked it from a difficult angle near the boundary line on the run. Her second goal bought the house down, as it proved to be the match-winner and was reward for her hard work during the day. She ran hard inside 50 and showed good acceleration when she needed to.

#7 Isabel Dawes

Displayed excellent run and carry through the forward line and was a jet inside 50. Her tackling was aggressive and it paid off, as she was able to put forward pressure on the Metro defenders. Displayed great agility to kick a goal, which was a highlight of her game.

#10 Jacqueline Yorston

Delivered a nice kick into the forward line to a player on the lead and laid a good tackle inside 50 to dispossess the ball of her opponent in a danger zone. Followed this up with another great tackle on Maddy Brancatisano, stopping her in her tracks. Delivered a perfect centering kick to a player in the forward line, demonstrating her great kicking. Also combined it with her agility when she executed a clean pick up off the deck and delivered a nice kick down the line.

#14 Tori Groves-Little

Laid a lovely run-down tackle in middle of the ground in the first quarter and won a free kick for efforts. Groves-Little did some clever things throughout the game such as executing a great slide to trap the ball. Did well to execute a great pick-up off the deck and followed this up by displaying wonderful running down the win. When she aimed to spoil and it didn’t work out for her, she immediately tackled her opponent, displaying a good second effort.

#18 Ellie Hampson

Displayed nice agility to dodge around her opponents and get the handball away. Backed this up with a great pick-up off the deck, followed by a clever spin around her opponents and a nice kick while being held. Also took a great mark running back with the flight of the ball, demonstrating her good intercept work.

#20 Natalie Grider

Provided good run and carry for Queensland and ran into space well. Took a great contested mark and also took a fantastic intercept diving mark, demonstrating strong hands. A highlight of her game was when she emerged out of a park and accelerated well with the ball in hand.

#24 Charlotte Hammans

Executed a great side step around two opponents to run into a goal just outside the goal square, which was Queensland’s first major of the day. Executed a great kick around her body inside 50 and gave off a great quick-fire handball to Zimmorlei Farquharson who was streaming into goal, being the catalyst for that game-changing passage of play. Led well and took a great mark lace-out. Also showed good composure to lower her eyes and spot up Serene Watson on the wing.

#26 Serene Watson

Took a nice mark in the centre of the ground. Although she knew she had space, she didn’t blaze away, showing good composure. Laid a great tackle to put the pressure on Metro in a stoppage. Demonstrated great reading of the footy when she trapped it behind the back the back of the pack. A great role player for Queensland.

#27 Tiarna Ahwang

Executed a good pick-up off the deck and a nice kick down the line. Delivered a nice high kick inside 50 and showed great run and carry before she disposed of the ball, highlighting her exciting pace. Gave her teammates the opportunity to attack footy in space with these kicks, proving to be very important in terms of forward 50 entries. Did well to trap the ball after she dropped the mark and executed a nice kick around her body, showing her clever footwork.

#35 Lauren Bella

Bella fought hard in the ruck and did extremely well, bringing the ball down well for her midfielders. She took a good intercept mark in the middle of the ground to send it back forward for Queensland, displaying good composure under pressure. Competed hard all day and is having a really consistent tournament.

 

Vic Metro: 

By: Peter Williams

#3 Emerson Woods

Had a really promising start to the game, working in close and using her superior vision to find teammates on the outside. Her agility and ability to move swiftly through traffic was on show, and she covered the ground well.

#6 Madison Prespakis

Another impressive game from the Calder Cannons skipper who just keeps on performing at a high level. She won plenty of the ball, often running into space and using her high work rate to work over her opponents and win the footy on the wing or in holes around the field. Prespakis kicked the final goal of the game, and while it was not enough to change the result, she finished the game with a terrific 20 disposals. She dropped back into defence and helped out, mopping up on a number of occasions.

#8 Georgia Patrikios

Clean, classy and versatile, Patrikios spent some time at half-back as she did in game one, then would push up the ground and use her foot skills to advantage in the front half. Just goes about her business well and rarely wastes a touch, kicking over all distances and having the perfect balance between inside and outside.

#17 Georgia Macpherson

One of Metro’s best in the game and was a rock at half-back intercepting everything she could. Macpherson took some fantastic intercept marks and rebounded out of the back 50, making the Queensland side have to pick their way through the set-up and put more pressure on her back there. Really strong one-on-one in the air and ground level.

#18 Abbie McKay

Another solid performance from the Sandringham Dragons midfielder who was often found in the middle of a contest, right at the coal face. In the opening term she took a strong mark and also won an important one-on-one along the wing. In a midfield full of stars, she was important on the inside.

#20 Gabby Newton

Newton played a really inside game and was often found handballing to teammates in space more so than her traditional long kicking. She still had a number of long bombs going forward, but covered the ground really well, winning the football in each third. A good four-quarter performance overall.

#21 Eleanor Brown

Stood out across half-back and through the middle, particularly in the second half. She mopped up everything in defence best she could, and just found the ball with ease. Ended up with the second most disposals behind Prespakis and won the majority of them in a contest. Took some vital marks and spent plenty of time through the midfield.

#22 Katie Lynch

A really prominent opening term, Lynch was often the player her teammates released to on the outside as she ran past. A long kick of the football, she was not as influential as the first game, but still managed to find the football and use it fairly well.

#27 Gabby De Angelis

The exciting forward was strong and clean throughout the game and while she does not win a heap of the football, she uses it pretty well. In the second term she used her goal nous to pounce on a loose ball in the goal square and kick Metro’s first major of the game.

#32 Lauren Szigeti

An important defender for Metro, she had a really nice run along the wing in the second term and was able to rebound plenty in the second half. Thought her way through her kicks and stood tall when the defence was under siege in the final term.

#36 Holly Bate

Did not win a heap of it, but booted a goal and set up another. She took a good running mark in the second term and had a crack from long range, where it was spilt and Gabriella De Angelis managed to boot the goal. In the final term, a 50m penalty saw Bate kick the easiest of goals from the square.

 

Vic Country vs. Central Allies

Vic Country:

By: Peter Williams

#1 Shelley Heath

Used her trademark dash to create some run and carry down the field across the four quarters. She was strong in the contest in the final term, taking a good mark under pressure, and kept running with a series of handball receives and kicking forward to break through the opposition defensive zones.

#3 Kodi Jacques

Always battled away hard, using her body underneath packs and laid some strong tackles. Courageously went up for a mark in the final term, backing back with danger coming from all sides, and despite not holding it, backed it up with second efforts.

#6 Tyla Hanks

Just worked hard across four quarters rotating between midfield and up forward. Early on she had some great bursts out of congestion and was strong overhead and at ground level. In the second term, Hanks produced a great snap from the boundary line and she delivered a good pass to the advantage of Lucy McEvoy who won a free and goaled. A consistent, four-quarter effort.

#7 Olivia Purcell

Played a really strong inside game, winning the ball at the coal face, then spreading into space where she was able to provide an option. Purcell also laid some strong tackles and linked up well in transition, often winning the ball at half-back or in the middle and sent it forward with interest.

#8 Sophie Van De Heuvel

One of Country’s best, just needed to finish a little better. Had numerous opportunities and kicked four behinds. Despite this, she had the opportunities to hurt the opposition and was constantly involved in the play. Van De Heuvel created good run in the forward half and used her long kick to advantage.

#9 Nina Morrison

One of Vic Country’s top midfielders, Morrison backed up her top performance in the opening game with another sensational effort in the second match. She showed good vision and speed throughout, and had multiple bounces along the wing in the fourth term. Threw herself into contest after contest with little regard for her safety and took a really strong mark in the air, clunking it cleanly with pressure from behind.

#10 Nikia Webber

Almost like a defensive forward’s game, Webber was able to provide a target, while also working hard to lock the ball inside the forward 50. On paper she might not have won a lot of possessions, but every time she went near it, she was either putting pressure on an opponent, or opening up space for a teammate. She was rewarded for her hard work in the third term with a good mark on a lead and goal from a set shot. A really underrated performance and once that was worthy of being in the best. 

#14 Jordyn Allen

A strong captain’s game from the midfielder who managed to cover ground really well and find plenty of the football. She used her thumping kick to clear the defensive zone and go deep inside 50, and also took a number of intercept marks in the middle of the ground. Had a shot on goal from 50m after taking a bounce, but her shot had an unlucky bounce and bounced back into play.

#21 Rene Caris

The ruck showed off her versatility by also playing forward and back, winning a lot of the ball in midfield, then taking some important grabs around the ground. Her last quarter was really important in defence, clunking a couple of contested intercept marks and clearing the zone when Central Allies attacked vigorously.

#22 Rebecca Webster

Played on the inside and predominantly used her body to shield opponents from winning the easy clearance, particularly working hard against Nikki Gore when Gore was starting to take control in the middle. She laid a strong tackle in the third term to force a turnover, and continued to present around the ground.

#23 Lucy McEvoy

Another match-winning performance up forward from the bottom-ager who is so strong and smart inside 50. She booted her first goal in the second term, and then had an opportunistic moment in the moments later off the deck, while winning a freekkick and converting from 15m out in the third term, then running into an open goal in the final term. Just a dominant performance up forward.

#35 Lucy Cripps

Worked her opponent well and restricted her direct opposition too much opportunity to do damage. Was outmarked by Katelyn Rosenzweig on one occasion giving away the free kick, but otherwise did really well. She charged out of defence, peeling off her opponent and providing a contest up the ground, and took some good intercept marks.

 

Central Allies:

By: Julia Montesano

#7 Janet Baird

Displayed great run and carry through the middle of the ground, as she just loves to get and go. She also did well defensively when she caught her opponent in a tackle and did well to dispose her of the ball.

#8 Danielle Ponter

Made a real impact in this game with two of her side’s three goals. Kicked a great goal from just inside the boundary line to kickstart her day. Displayed great reading of the play to run onto the ball for her second major. I thought her hands were also strong and were handy up forward for the Allies.

#10 Hannah Munyard

Munyard for me was one of the Allies’ key players and was also a good role player in Monday’s match. Plays a real team role and shows great hunger to win the ball. Did well during the game to show clean hands when picking the ball up off the deck, following this up with getting a kick away. Delivered a nice composed centering kick to an opponent in another instance, showing composure when she gets the ball on her foot. Also showed her aggressive side when she laid a great run-down tackle on Sophie Van De Huevel to stop her in her tracks.

#20 Rachel Dunstan

Dunstan’s hands were superb on the day as she used great body work to take a defensive mark. Followed this up with a good lead-up mark in defensive 50 to stop Country from penetrating forward. Used her body well to take a lovey contested mark, using her strong hands to effect. Also demonstrated nice kicking when she executed a good kick down the line.

#22 Jaslynne Smith

Kicked a long ball out of defence that gave her teammates opportunity to run onto it. Showed courage when she ran back with the flight of the ball and got a kick away. Did well to trap the footy and cause a stoppage after some good run and carry from Vic Country was showing worrying signs for Queensland.

#23 Teah Charlton

Took a nice lead out mark, displaying great hands. Followed this up with a good lead out mark on the chest, repeating her efforts effectively to get the ball forward for the Allies. Did well to get a kick away while being tackled

#24 Amber Ward

Trapped the ball well and followed it up by smothering Tyla Hanks’ kick towards goal. Took a great mark and displayed good run and carry to stream away immediately, showing great footy smarts and acceleration. Demonstrated good strength in a one-on-one defensive contest and also when she was able to fend-off a player and get the handball away. A highlight of her game was when she laid an excellent smother on the last line of defence to save a certain Rene Caris goal.

#25 Bella Clarke

Executed a great spoil that prevented a mark inside 50 for Country’s Rene Caris. She then took a great mark on the last line of defence to prevent a goal, showing her defensive prowess. Used good body work on Amy Dunn as well, demonstrating that she is talented in many defensive areas.

 

Western Australia vs. Eastern Allies 

Western Australia 

By: Julia Montesano 

#5 Mikayla Hyde

Hyde came to life in the second half, kicking all three of her goals in that period. Nothing is to be taken away from her first half though as she showed consistent hunger to win the footy. Displayed nice run and carry throughout the match and also good composure, such as when she handballed the footy backwards to create time inside 50 rather than blaze into the goals. Hyde kept running after the ball even when she got tackled, showing her intent to go hard at the footy and take heavy hits. Her leading towards the footy was superb and she blew me away when explosively led to the ball to kick her first major of the game. For her second goal, she got on the end of a downfield free kick and kicked the goal from a difficult angle. Ran in for her third major of the day in a great forward display.

#8 Ella Smith

Laid a great tackle to dispossess her opponent of the footy. Also delivered a nice kick towards the centre of the ground. Showed great agility when she executed a nice pick up and quick kick out of the pack. A very agile player who runs well across the ground.

#9 Sabreena Duffy

Duffy is one of the most composed players I have seen and is great to watch. Took a great one-on-one intercept mark from a full back kick in and then executed a great pick-up in defence. This was followed by lovely run and carry down the wing of the ground, displaying her exciting speed. Read the play well when it came off a pack and composed herself well with a kick to the wing. I thought she did really well on the last line of defence when she was there. Did well to take the game on out of full back when she played on to herself and provided great run and carry. Kicked a bullet of a ball to Mikayla Hyde which was outstanding, as it displays the variety of kicks she can pull off. Took a great intercept mark and displayed wonderful run and carry once again to create a chance for Western Australia up forward.

#10 Matilda Sergeant

Like Duffy, Sergeant is another composed player who is a great user of the footy. Her intercept marking was amazing, and she was often in the right spots to send the ball straight back inside 50 for Western Australia. Sergeant also read the play well and showed excellent desperation to get the handball out to Ella Smith while she was falling over near the boundary line.

#14 Rikkiesha Carling

Carling was buzzing around the contest and tackling hard all day. She picked up the ball well and showed agility when she performed a good spin inside 50. A highlight of her game was when she laid a great tackle to dispossess her opponent of the ball.

#17 McKenzie Dowrick

Dowrick was influential as always, being a playmaker in her side’s victory. She took a good mark down the line and also delivered a great long kick towards inside 50. Used this long kick again down the line, which gave her teammates the opportunity to win the ball aerially. Accelerated well out of a pack and followed it up with a good quick-fire handball to Sabreena Duffy. Showed her kicking prowess again when she excellently pinpointed kick down the line to Ella Smith. Did well defensively too when she laid a great smother to save a kick for goal inside 50.

#20 Abbey Dowrick

Dowrick is one of the most aggressive players I’ve seen which is a fantastic trait of hers. Blew me away when she executed an excellent pick-up off the deck and had a great long range punt at goal that sailed through. Displayed good hands when handballing and also marking, such as when she executed a great lead up mark in the forward line. Laid a clever tackle late in the match where she didn’t exactly dispossess her opponent of the ball, instead simply snatching it out of her hand. Dowrick goes hard at every ball and is always hungry to win it.

#23 Emma O’Driscoll

O’Driscoll was solid all day for Western Australia, simply playing her role and not overdoing it. She showed a great burst of acceleration with the ball in hand out of defensive 50. Also laid a great tackle on Chloe Haines to save a certain goal, which was a fantastic effort.

 

Eastern Allies 

By: Peter Williams

#1 Alyce Parker

A smooth mover who was once again among the Eastern Allies’ best. She thinks her way through situations and has a nice blend of pace, acceleration and agility to get out of trouble. Wins plenty of the ball and has a high work rate, laying strong tackles. Parker knows how to extract the ball out of a stoppage and always puts in a consistent four quarter effort.

#8 Georgia Garnett

A classy player who is a quick thinker and has a smart sidestep. She used good pace and nous to trap the ball in the air and keep it in front of her during the third term, and just won the football in and around the contest, spreading to the outside.

#11 Eliza Cumming

A real strong outside player who can also win the ball on the inside. Not as consistent across the four quarters as some, but the tools she has show her talent is untapped. She has good hands in traffic, a lovely burst of acceleration and a strong frame she uses to outmuscle and out-body her opponents.

#14 Mia King

King was busy early and is one player who has great agility and can win a one-on-one. Still a couple of years away from being draftable, King has class and can kick long to dangerous areas. Really classy player who used a neat sidestep to kick long and set up a goal

#16 Lauren Stevenson

One of Eastern Allies’ top defenders on the day, she kicked long out of the back 50 and was really consistent in her defensive efforts across the four quarters. The highlight was a fantastic goal-saving tackle on the last line on the red-hot Mikayla Hyde in the second term to deny her an easy goal.

#17 Netty Garlo

Just has that raw talent and X-factor, while the consistency is not there yet, you get the sense with time and development it will piece together. She has elite acceleration and her ability to close down opponents in short spaces of time is exciting. Garlo also hunts the opposition when they have the ball and is a strong pressure player. In the opening term she used her acceleration to lock the ball in at a contest against two opposition players and did well not to be caught holding the ball.

#20 Alexia Hamilton

Hamilton was another piece in the defensive puzzle for the Eastern Allies who was strong overhead and positioned herself at half-back. She took a number of good intercept marks and looked downfield to kick long and open up the game for her teammates. She was one of the top performers on the day and put pressure on her opponents throughout the match.

#21 Chloe Haines

One of Eastern Allies’ top players on the day, Chloe Haines was terrific across the ground, finding space on the wing, kicking long and then getting back and helping out the defence. She laid some great tackles to win a free kick in the midfield, then kicked the ball off the ground for a goal in the third term. She capped off her game with an important smother inside 50 in the final quarter to lock the ball in there.

#24 Brea Quinlivan

Was the main target up forward for the Eastern Allies across the four quarters and just missed opportunities to put it on the scoreboard early. She kicked a couple of behinds, but finally was rewarded for effort with a great goal on the run near the boundary line in the third term just before the siren. Constantly involved in the play up forward and made multiple leads, working hard to double back towards goal.

#25 Libby Haines

Played primarily in defence and moved up the ground at times, Libby Haines was another in the Eastern Allies best. In the first term she laid two fantastic smothers showing a great defensive intent, then laid a great tackle on the wing in the second term to dispossess her opponent and kick long. She took a strong one-on-one mark in the third term and kicked clear, then showed good vision at half-back to handball to a teammate in space.

McEvoy stars again for Country in win over Central Allies

GEELONG Falcons’ Lucy McEvoy was again the shining light in Vic Country’s second victory up on the Gold Coast. The defender has made the move up forward for this tournament with great success, following up a five-goal performance with a bag of four in her side’s 23-point win over the Central Allies.

Vic Country kicked off the scoring with a goal from Dandenong Stingrays’ Molly McDonald, whose long range kick rolled through the goals for her first major of the tournament. But some good defensive efforts from Central Allies’ Rachel Dunstan and Bella Clarke really challenged Country, limiting their scoring to 1.1 (7) for the quarter.

While the Allies didn’t manage to get a score on the board in the first quarter, gun forward, Katelyn Rosenzweig responded instantly with the first goal of the second quarter in the opening minutes. She converted a set shot from about 35 metres out which brought the Allies within a point of Country. It didn’t take long for the side to wrestle the lead back, as Essendon Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s star Danielle Ponter converted a wonderful set shot from a difficult angle near the boundary line. Ponter has kicked five goals from five games for the Bombers and kicked her first for the AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships in the second quarter of the fast-paced clash. After this, it then took some quick transition from Country to get it back into the hands of their match-winner on Monday, as McEvoy ran in to kick her first goal of the day and her sixth goal of the tournament to swing the momentum back in their favour. The Geelong defender continued to show her dominance in the forward line, running into goal from close range to register her second consecutive major just before the half-time sire, giving Country a 3.2 (20) to 2.0 (12) lead at the main break.

In the third quarter, McEvoy picked up where she left off, winning a free kick right in front of goal and slotting it through for her third of the match. It was then Nikia Webber’s turn to join the party, kicking her first goal of the tournament in her first game in the ‘Big V’. This extended Country’s lead to 21 points early in the third quarter, prompting the Allies to get a move on if they wanted to avoid handing Country their second consecutive big win. Amber Ward provided a highlight in defence for the Central Allies when she smothered what would have been a certain goal from Rene Caris on the goal line. Jordyn Allen’s long bomb from outside 50 got the ball to the hot spot for Country but from there, it was all Amber Ward, giving her side the opportunity to rebound out of defence. Unfortunately, the Allies couldn’t get that crucial score on the board in the third quarter, trailing Vic Country 2.0 (12) to 5.4 (34) at three quarter time.

To begin the last term, the same culprit continued to cause havoc for the Central Allies. McEvoy ran in for her fourth goal of the game, showing determination that she wanted another bag of five next to her name. But the Allies wanted to provide a highlight of their own, and that came from Jaimi Tabb, who provided an explosive run down the boundary line, taking a few bounces and sending it forward. This allowed star forward, Ponter to run onto the ball that came off the back of the pack, running in for her second goal of the day. But that ended the scoring for the Allies, as Vic Country ran out victors with a score line of 6.6 (42) to 3.1 (19). This is Country’s second consecutive win of the Gold Coast tournament, which will give them huge confidence going into their next game on Friday against the dangerous Western Australian outfit.

VIC COUNTRY: 1.1 | 3.2 | 5.4 | 6.6 (42)
CENTRAL ALLIES: 0.0 | 2.0 | 2.0 | 3.1 (19)

GOALS
VIC COUNTRY: Lucy McEvoy 4, Molly McDonald, Nikia Webber.
CENTRAL ALLIES: Danielle Ponter 2, Katelyn Rosenzweig.

ADC BEST
VIC COUNTRY: Lucy McEvoy, Nina Morrison, Jordyn Allen, Olivia Purcell, Nikia Webber, Sophie Van De Heuvel
CENTRAL ALLIES: Danielle Ponter, Amber Ward, Nikki Gore, Rachel Dunstan, Esther Boles, Hannah Munyard

Scouting notes: National AFLW Under 18s Championships

VIC Metro made it two from two when it backed up its U16s victory with a win against Vic Country. It was a tight and heated battle throughout, but Metro prevailed thanks to some magic from captain, Maddy PrespakisPeter Williams (Country) and Julia Montesano (Metro) were there to witness the action, and took notes on the players, based on their opinions.

 

Vic Country: 

#1 Shelley Heath

The speedster showed off her trademark running game along the wing and half-back, often picking up the loose ball, taking the game on and booting long inside 50. She particularly came alive in the fourth quarter with a couple of long kicks after runs, but the Metro defence was up to the task, with Georgia Macpherson intercepting a good kick deep.

#2 Julia Harvey

Looked busy early and worked hard across the game, noticeable in bright green boots. She tried to have a shot on goal inside 50 in the first term but was run down and caught holding the ball. Just found space inside 50 and had a shot which dropped short in the second term, and a snap which missed. While she did not kick a goal, she was having shots on goal and just buzzing around. She laid a number of good tackles as well, applying good defensive pressure, before copping a knock in the final term on the wing.

#3 Kodi Jacques

Went in very hard early, hitting the packs, and copped a knock but got up. Continued to battle hard on the inside.

#5 Emily Haeusler

Won a hard ball at half-back in the second term and nullified the contest by forcing a throw-in. She then laid a great run-down tackle on Marnie Jarvis in the third term to win a free inside defensive 50.

#6 Tyla Hanks

Played to expectations and put in a four quarter effort. She was often played down forward as others were tried in the midfield roles, but led up the ground and impacted at half-forward. Moved onto the wing and had a number of touches and worked hard, winning the ball on a wing and then somehow receiving it back inside 50. Had a great kick to Julia Harvey in the second term inside 50, and took a good contested mark under pressure in the third term and delivered it lace out to a leading Rebecca Webster inside 50. Her one set shot from 45 metres missed to the right.

#7 Olivia Purcell

By the end of the game she was one of Country’s highest possession winners with Jordyn Allen. Worked really hard on the inside and continually copped a few hard knocks burrowing under the packs or diving on the footy. She charged out of the midfield and would pump the ball long, turning it over a few times, but was putting it to dangerous areas inside 50. She had a set shot from 40 metres and delivered late in the game after taking a contested mark. One of Country’s better players in the end who consistently put pressure on the ball carrier.

#8 Sophie Van De Heuvel

Had a big run-down tackle in the first term but was found to have caught her opponent high. She used the ball well when she won it, and took a good mark at half-forward in the final term with a kick inside 50.

#9 Nina Morrison

One of the more influential Country players in the first half, constantly putting on the jets and sprinting away through midfield. She showed quick hands and dished off to teammates on the outside, and took a good mark in the second term and not breaking stride, kicked long inside 50. She also produced a fantastic smother on Madison Prespakis at half-forward and let her know about it. Laid a great tackle in the fourth term to win a free kick.

#10 Nikia Webber

Played a good balance of offence and defence, unlucky not to kick a goal. Had a couple of shots with one snap in the final term missing to the left, and an early shot smothered, with a follow-up kick to the goal square. She provided forward pressure on the ball carrier throughout the match.

#11 Lauren Butler

A hard worker for four quarters, she ran throughout the game just covering a lot of ground and putting pressure on her opponents. She was good one-on-one in defence, punching it away, and also showed nice agility to sidestep an opponent and move through traffic. In the fourth term she harassed multiple ball carriers on the wing, forcing them to handball quickly with less time to decide on an option.

#14 Jordyn Allen

One of the best Country players on the day, Allen stood up throughout the game and took some really good intercept marks in the middle of the ground. She used the ball fairly well under pressure and looked to kick long to half-forward or deep inside 50. Her decision making was good and when many others went quiet in the second half, she was still plugging along. Captain of Vic Country, you can see why with the amount of work she displayed throughout the match.

#16 Molly McDonald

Started in the midfield and had some impressive kicks in the opening term. She linked up well in the chain from midfield to half-forward and won a number of possessions.

#19 Tarryn Love

Ran hard in the second term and was involved in a couple of possessions towards goal in the second term, but could not get enough space to kick so had to give off a quick handball. Continued to tackle hard and put pressure on her opponents.

#20 Isabella Shannon

Played predominantly forward and up on the wing, Shannon won a free kick 35 metres out, but her set shot just drifted to the left. She played a good pressure game up the field, laying a couple of tackles on the wing.

#21 Rene Caris

An impressive performance from the ruck. She showed good mobility both in the air and at ground level and played a consistent game throughout. She took a couple of strong marks and provided a target around the ground. Caris was clean at ground level and provided good second efforts after the ruck contest. Smart with her tap placements.

#22 Rebecca Webster

Had a great chase and run-down tackle on an opponent to stop a shot on goal early, and worked into it through the middle of the game winning some crucial touches in all areas of the ground. Took a good mark dropping into space inside the forward 50 but her shot went to the left. She won the ball on the wing later in the game but was pushed as she was kicked, the ball went out on the full but she got a free kick for her efforts.

#23 Lucy McEvoy

Easily Country’s best early and was consistent throughout the four quarters. Played in defence then moved forward late, she rebounded everything she could get her hands to in the opening half. She took.a number of intercept marks, including contested ones, and laid some good tackles. She was tasked with the kick-in duties and kicked long to defensive 50 when possible. McEvoy showed her strength by shrugging off an opponent and kicking cleanly out of the back 50, and laid a good tackle on Prespakis in defence late in the game.

#24 Millie Brown

Brown showed quick hands when winning it in the air and covered ground between midfield and forward.

#25 Georgia Clarke

Played well in defence early, then was moved forward. Pushed up the ground and won a vital one-on-one at high half-back but the kick was intercepted. She had another kick long to the wing but it just missed its target and bounced out. Clarke pulled down a great intercept mark in the second term despite copping front-on contact. Almost took a mark in the forward pocket in the final term but was spoiled.

#26 Amy Dunn

Dunn had the highlight of the game with an amazing set shot from the pocket. Tucked up against the boundary line 30 metres out, she had a dead-eye set shot that split the middle. She put pressure on her opponents throughout the match.

#32 Courtney Jones

Jones played off half-back and pushed up the ground, winning a number of possessions in the defensive half of the ground. She had a nice pick-up clean off the ground on the wing and used good vision to find the running Jordyn Allen in midfield. She showed exceptionally quick hands in the final term to give it to Tyla Hanks on the wing.

#35 Lucinda Cripps

Did not see a lot of it in defence, keeping her opponents tightly guarded. She provided a good highlight with a run-down tackle in the second term for a holding the ball free kick.  

 

Vic Metro: 

#1 Marnie Jarvis

Attempted to pick up a ground ball and when it didn’t work out for her, she followed her efforts up with a nice tackle. Was good in a one-on-one contest and still always tried to push through the bigger bodies, showing great strength. Jarvis’ aggressive tackling was a highlight of her game, which helped Metro to gain a defensive advantage. Also took a nice intercept mark to finish off a good day out for her.

#2 Jemma Owen

Tackled a Country forward then followed up her work with another tackle to stop inside 50 penetration by the opposition. Was versatile across the ground.

#3 Emerson Woods

Woods started the game really well, getting a few early touches. Won herself a free kick in the middle of the ground which got the momentum going for Metro. She also created the first inside 50 of the game with a nicely delivered kick to teammate, Katie Lynch. Her kicking in general was fantastic, demonstrating a nice follow through on her kicking action. This ensured that she got optimal penetration on her kicks, giving them height and precision. Also gave off a good handball while being tackled, often standing up in the contest when she was required to do so.

#6 Maddy Prespakis

Prespakis was the game-changer for Metro, kicking two goals in two minutes to turn the game on its head. Her first goal was from a free kick in the goal square while her second was a work of art, as she picked the ball up off the deck, spun around, and snapped a brilliant goal over her shoulder. She improved as each quarter went on, damaging Country with her elite strength and ball use. In one instance, she hacked a lovely booming kick out of defensive 50 to get the ball forward for Metro and shortly after, she bullocked through a stoppage, backing up so many on-field efforts. Her kicking out of the back half was vital for Metro, as they went long to the centre square and opened up the floodgates for her teammates. Prespakis also demonstrated great agility when she sold a bit of candy, dodged two players then streamed out of defensive 50. Laid a good tackle that affected a forward entry for Country, and ended up straight in teammate, Katie Lynch’s hands. Clearance work was fantastic as she got two in a minute. Her marking was also strong, highlighted by a great contested mark in defensive 50. Prespakis played everywhere and had an impact wherever she went.

#7 Mikala Cann

Cann was another player who showed strong defensive presence in the midfield with plenty of tackles. Laid a strong tackle on Jordyn Allen to create a stoppage, halting Country’s momentum. She then created momentum for Vic Metro when she laid a good tackle that won her a free kick, which started a chain that ended in a Metro goal. Also showed good desperation to win the footy when she dived into the contest to save the ball from going into Country’s forward 50.

#8 Georgia Patrikios

Executed her signature sidestep when she followed up a good passage of run and carry followed by a lovely sidestep to get the ball out of defensive 50. Patrikios’ hands were strong and clean, and was able to use her marking to effect. This was demonstrated when she took a solid grab and bravely played on under pressure, which was effective for Metro and kept the ball moving. Did the little things throughout the game such as when she smothered a Tyla Hanks kick towards goal. Delivered a nice long kick into the centre square off one step, demonstrating her impressive kicking skills. I thought she was a lifesaver in defence, especially when she laid a great tackle on Isabella Shannon that won her a free kick. In the middle of the ground, she gave off a nice handball to a teammate on the outside and when it didn’t work out, she followed it up, showing great second efforts throughout the day.

#9 Daisy Bateman

Bateman created lots of opportunities inside 50, leading well to the ball drop of her teammates’ kicks. She deserved her third quarter goal as she was on the receiving end of every scoring opportunity. Also displayed good forward pressure when she caused her opponent to kick the ball out of bounds on the full.

#10 Maddy Brancatisano

Brancatisano stood up in a tackle multiple times, showing her strength in the contest. Followed these efforts up with quick, clean hands, often finding her teammates running on the outside. Also demonstrated good running when she accelerated well towards the centre of the ground.

#13 Molly Warburton

Held the fort down in defence well when she got a kick away to get it out of congestion. Followed up her efforts when she dropped a mark, as she kept hunting the footy and created a handy stoppage. Got Metro out of trouble when she hacked a kick out of defensive 50. Her kicks out of the back half were good overall.

#14 Isabella Grant

Ball did not come near her that often but played the role she needed to on the day. Her defensive efforts were pivotal and she excelled in that area. Grant tackled an opponent well to stop a forward movement for Country and also laid a good smother in defensive 50.

#15 Hannah McLaren

McLaren took a nice intercept mark, demonstrating her capabilities as a defensive midfielder. She had a brilliant moment when she gave away a free kick for a high tackle then had good awareness to chase down the Country player and win the free kick back for holding the ball.

#17 Georgia Macpherson

Without Macpherson, Country would have had two or three more goals on the board and won the game. This is because she smothered a Country kick for goal and then laid a good bump on an opponent to save another goal. Macpherson also took a great mark running back with the flight of the ball which saved an easy set shot in the goal square for Country. Demonstrated strong body work throughout, getting handballs away while being tackled and bumping opponents to rid them of the ball. As usual, her intercept marking was superb.

#18 Abbie McKay

Had a flying start and looked comfortable in the big ‘V’. Did some good work to run and get a kick away while being tackled. Followed this off by taking a nice mark off a Katie Lynch kick. McKay often created forward run with efforts like these. She then got in the forward line herself when she got the ball from long range and kicked a goal, backing herself to do so. Also did well defensively when she laid a great tackle that affected a Country kick inside 50 as well as chase-down tackle that earned her a free kick. McKay’s hands were sound, as she calmly picked the ball up off the deck, avoiding a rushed movement.  

#19 Laura McClelland

McClelland showed strong hands when she took a lovely juggling mark in a contested situation. Executed great body work to take a mark coming into the side of the contest. Followed this up with a nice kick to the top of the square.

#20 Gabby Newton

A highlight of Newton’s game was when she demonstrated great closing speed to chase down Julia Harvey and win a dropping the ball free kick. Also showed clean hands throughout the game, especially when she executed a good one-two with Knights teammate, Maddy Brancatisano. As usual, Newton’s kicking was great, as she got a kick away while being tackled and executed a nice deft kick that hit Katie Lynch perfectly.

#21 Eleanor Brown

Took a nice one-on-one mark on the wing and centered it nicely to Katie Lynch. As usual, she executed good run and carry, getting the ball forward with some nice kicks as a result of this momentum. Brown also took a great intercept mark to rebound the ball defensively, demonstrating her hard running into various positions on the ground.  She nearly took two intercept marks in a row but when she dropped the second mark, she followed up her efforts with a handball on the outside to Georgia Patrikios, showing good composure. Had a clever moment when she tapped the ball out of her opponent’s hands and trapped it well afterwards.

#22 Katie Lynch

Lynch was on the end of everything, presenting to the ball at every chance she got. Got involved early by getting plenty of the footy and using it well. She executed a nice long kick towards the middle of the ground, which opened up the play for Metro. Lynch’s endurance was on display, as she played forward and then backed up her work in the back line. A highlight of her game was when she had the ball in one hand and fended off strongly with another, getting the ball forward for Metro. Laid a great tackle to win a holding the ball free kick and followed this effort up with a spearing pass to Oakleigh teammate, Daisy Bateman which hit her perfectly on the chest. Lynch’s marking was outstanding as she took a great one-on-one mark and a good intercept mark, following this up with good awareness to handball to a running player behind her. Complemented her strong hands with good run and carry, topping off a great all-round performance.

#23 Sarah Kendall

Kendall did well in the ruck when she was required to go in there, competing well aerially. Was another one who displayed great second efforts, which was shown when she dropped a mark but still tried to win the footy.

#24 Charlotte Wilson

Wilson was a solid rock in defensive 50, controlling the back line well. Her one percenters were particularly a highlight, as she held the ball up well in defensive 50 and created a stoppage to prevent Country from streaming forward. Also did well under pressure, demonstrated when she trapped the ball on the boundary line and found a teammate with a handball over her shoulder. Completed her great defensive efforts by laying a solid tackle that stopped her opponent in her tracks.

#32 Lauren Szigeti

Szigeti was solid on the last line of defence, often saving the ball from going towards goal. This was shown when she took a good juggling intercept mark to halt Country’s momentum going forward. Also laid a great tackle on Olivia Purcell while she was streaming inside 50 which gave her nowhere to go. Szigeti did well to mop up kicks inside defensive 50, hacking the ball out of the back half with purpose.

#35 Carla Rendelmann

As usual, Rendelmann was solid in the ruck, giving her midfielders prime opportunity to run onto the footy. Often punched the ball into space, showing good situational awareness. I thought she showed a hint of versatility when she chased fast midfielders hard when they had the ball in hand.

#36 Holly Bate

Bate was lively inside 50, giving herself a chance to get on the scoreboard. Delivered a nice kick to the top of the square from outside 50, giving it nice height. Always tried to get involved in the inside 50 contests.

AFLW U18 National Championships: Vic Country vs. Vic Metro

THIS year’s Vic Country side may be one of the strongest Vic Country sides ever, with many premiership players set to take the field in their home territory on Saturday. The side consists of 17 and 18 year-olds, with the 18 year-olds having a chance to be drafted by an AFLW side in the AFLW Draft later this year. The TAC Cup Girls sides who feature in the Country line-up are the Bendigo Pioneers, Dandenong Stingrays, Geelong Falcons, Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels and Murray Bushrangers.

The finest Victorian metropolitan female footballers will face Vic Country in the side’s first hit-out in the AFL Women’s Under 18 National Championships. The game will take place at GMHBA Stadium in Geelong on Saturday at 1pm. Players featured are born in the years 2000 and 2001, with those born in 2000 being eligible for this year’s AFLW Draft. The TAC Cup Girls sides featured in the Vic Metro squad are the Calder Cannons, Eastern Ranges, Northern Knights, Oakleigh Chargers, Sandringham Dragons and Western Jets.

Vic Country:

B: 35. Lucinda Cripps – 23. Lucy McEvoy – 11. Lauren Butler
HB: 5. Emily Haeusler – 25. Georgia Clarke – 22. Bec Webster
C: 8. Sophie Van De Heuvel – 16. Molly McDonald – 9. Nina Morrison
HF: 10. Nikia Webber – 24. Millie Brown – 20. Isabella Shannon
F: 2. Julia Harvey – 26. Amy Dunn – 7. Olivia Purcell
R: 21. Rene Caris – 14. Jordyn Allen – 6. Tyla Hanks
INT: 3. Kodi Jacques – 1. Shelley Heath – 32. Courtney Jones – 19. Tarryn Love
EMG: 13. Tamara Smith – 33. Sophie Molan

Vic Country squad:

Kodi Jacques
Balanced Midfielder | 163cm | Bendigo Pioneers

Jacques is the definition of never giving up. She always applies herself to every contest and has a beautiful deft kick, quick hands and an ability to enforce plenty of pressure acts to trouble opponents.

Courtney Jones
Inside Midfielder/General Forward | 168cm | Dandenong Stingrays

A powerful player with good body work, which allows her to win the ball plenty of times in dangerous positions. Her kick is one of the longest in the competition, and when she uses it inside 50, it is quite damaging.

Isabella Shannon
Inside Midfielder/Tall Forward | 169cm | Dandenong Stingrays

Shannon’s strong hands and long kicking allows her to create scoring opportunities for her side. She was able to put away a couple of goals for the Stingrays during the TAC Cup Girls season, kicking 11 goals from nine games.

Jordyn Allen
Inside Midfielder/Tall Defender | 174cm | Dandenong Stingrays

Allen has one of the best sets of hands in the TAC Cup Girls competition, intercepting everything that comes her way. She also has a very accurate kick that allows her to pinpoint opponents, demonstrating her ability to always find the right option.

Lucinda Cripps
Key Position Utility | 175cm | Dandenong Stingrays

Cripps has a really clever kick and utilises it to spear passes to teammates perfectly. She also runs hard and displays good movement in space to penetrate the ball forward.

Molly McDonald
Outside Midfielder/General Defender | 167cm | Dandenong Stingrays

McDonald’s versatility held her in good stead throughout the Stingrays season. This was recognised by her coaches as she was named in the best four times throughout the season.

Shelley Heath
Outside Midfielder/General Defender | 160cm | Dandenong Stingrays

Has immense speed that can break a game open. Bobs up at every contest and uses her quick hands to get teammates out of trouble.

Lucy McEvoy
Tall Utility | 172cm | Geelong Falcons

McEvoy’s strong hands and long kicking combined for plenty of forward thrusts for the Falcons during the season. Her quick hands on the inside are invaluable and she is a player that can play solid footy throughout the game, never seeming to drop off in effort and stamina.

Nina Morrison
Balanced Midfielder | 167cm | Geelong Falcons

One of the best chase-down tacklers in the TAC Cup Girls competition, Morrison always put on the afterburners to cause turnovers and headaches for the opposition. Her precision kicking and quick hands on the outside also provided an opportunity for her teammates to run into space and create scoring opportunities.

Olivia Purcell
Inside Midfielder | 161cm | Geelong Falcons

Purcell is one of the strongest tacklers in the TAC Cup Girls competition, as she can stop an opponent in their tracks instantly. Her work on the inside can often be game-changing, as she uses her long penetrating kick to create movement or her slick handballing to gradually build up a scoring opportunity.

Tarryn Love
Balanced Midfielder | 165cm | Geelong Falcons

Love has a huge tank as her running on the outside seems to never stop. She always goes in hard for the footy and can utilise space with speed and power when she gets it.

Amy Dunn
Ruck | 180cm | Gippsland Power

Has really strong hands and isn’t afraid to take powerful contested marks. Presents a valuable target for her teammates as she is able to use the ball well both by hand and by foot.  

Emily Hauesler
General Defender | 163cm | Gippsland Power

Hauesler seemed to improve in each TAC Cup Girls game, patrolling the back line with hard running and strong hands. Her kicking is an asset in her game as her rebound out of defensive 50 provides teammates with the opportunity to move forward.

Nikia Webber
General Forward | 169cm | Gippsland Power

An exciting forward who hunts the footy well inside 50. Webber managed to kick 12 goals from eight games and complemented this with a high level of forward pressure.

Tyla Hanks
Balanced Midfielder | 157cm | Gippsland Power

Hanks is one of the most influential players in the TAC Cup Girls competition, demonstrated through being named in the best in each game that she played throughout the season. Her quick hands and clearing kicks were invaluable for the Power, and her strong tackling complemented this, never allowing her opponents to have an inch of space.

Georgia Clarke
Key Position Defender | 177cm | GWV Rebels

Clarke was one of the best defenders in the TAC Cup Girls competition, as her strong hands and ability to win one-on-one contests is second to none. She always positions herself well across half-back and can rebound the ball fiercely out of defensive 50, giving the opposition no chance to slingshot the ball back inside 50.

Lauren Butler
Balanced Midfielder | 170cm | GWV Rebels

One of the most consistent players in the competition, Butler hurts opponents with her ability to nullify their impact through great defensive efforts in the midfield. Always plays the team role and applies herself at every contest.

Rene Caris
Ruck | 184cm | GWV Rebels

An agile ruck that has a great vertical leap, but can also work around the ground to get herself in dangerous offensive and defensive positions. Matched it up with a mature ruck in the AFLW Academy’s hit-out against Geelong VFLW.

Sophie Van De Heuvel
Inside Midfielder/ General Forward | 171cm | GWV Rebels

Had one of the best kicks in the TAC Cup Girls competition, and used it well wherever she played. She is especially lively in the forward line, where she was able to kick six goals this season.

Rebecca Webster
Inside Midfielder/General Defender | 172cm | Murray Bushrangers

A player that wins the hard ball on plenty of occasions in the depths of congestion. Has a really long kick that is useful both in the midfield and in defence, where she would often play to steady the ship for the Bushrangers.

Julia Harvey
Inside Midfielder/General Forward | 164cm | Murray Bushrangers

A tough inside midfielder that is not afraid to go in hard for the footy. Can also rotate up forward where she uses her precise kicking to create scoring opportunities.

Millie Brown
Tall Utility | 176cm | Murray Bushrangers

Provides penetration with her kicking and strength in marking contests. Can also move into the ruck, using her strong overhead ability to her advantage.

Emergencies:

Tamara Smith
Inside Midfielder | 161cm | Murray Bushrangers

Has great agility and can move well laterally. Also has a good set of hands and always applies herself at the contest.

Sophie Molan
Tall Utlity | 176cm | GWV Rebels

Although her best work is done on the outside, Molan can play in other positions on the field, demonstrating her versatility. Wherever she plays, she moves the ball well and finds plenty of it, allowing her to showcase her consistency during the TAC Cup Girls season.

Vic Metro:

B: 13. Molly Warburton – 24. Charlotte Wilson – 32. Lauren Szigeti
HB: 17. Georgia Macpherson – 20. Gabby Newton – Hannah McLaren
C: Emerson Woods – 7. Mikala Cann – 21. Eleanor Brown
HF: 14. Isabella Grant – 19. Laura McClelland – 9. Daisy Bateman
F: 14. Maddy Brancatisano – 36. Holly Bate – 23. Sarah Kendall
R: 35. Carla Rendelmann – 6. Madison Prespakis – 22. Katie Lynch
INT: 1. Marnie Jarvis – 2. Jemma Owen – 8. Georgia Patrikios -18. Abbie McKay

Vic Metro squad:

Carla Rendelmann
Ruck | 182cm | Calder Cannons

Really powerful in the ruck and is able to manipulate her taps to her midfielders. Can get good penetration on her taps and is a good ball-user, especially by foot.

Georgia Patrikios
General Forward | 171cm | Calder Cannons

An exciting forward who knows where the goals are. Her agility is arguably the most impressive in the TAC Cup Girls competition, as she would easily side-step opponents and surge forward with her lovely kicking.

Madison Prespakis
Balanced Midfielder | 164cm | Calder Cannons

Prespakis is arguably the most damaging player in the TAC Cup Girls competition. She was named best-on-ground by her coaches in seven of the eight games she played, thanks to her brilliant long kicking, strong tackling and outstanding leadership, allowing herself to make an impact both in the midfield and in the forward line.

Molly Warburton
Tall Defender | 174cm | Calder Cannons

A strong defender who excels at playing a lock-down role. Warburton has strong hands and can penetrate the ball forward with her long kick out of defence.

Charlotte Wilson
Ruck/Key Position Defender | 177cm | Eastern Ranges

Wilson holds up the fort immensely well in defence, often creating a wall of her own to block opposition forwards from surging inside 50. The Ranges co-captain can also double up in the ruck and make an impact thanks to her impressive endurance and high footy IQ.

Emerson Woods
General Forward/Inside Midfielder | 171cm | Eastern Ranges

Woods is a forward who can be extremely damaging once she gets on a roll. She has strong hands and gets good penetration on her kicks.

Georgia Macpherson
Tall Defender | 173cm | Eastern Ranges

One of the strongest sets of hands in the TAC Cup Girls competition, Macpherson is a contested and uncontested marking beast. Her high level of endurance enables her to patrol the back line and divert opposition players from kicking the ball near her, as she mops up the footy immediately.

Laura McClelland
Tall Forward | 175cm | Eastern Ranges

McClelland booted 11 goals from nine games this season, including a bag of four against the Oakleigh Chargers. She is dangerous whenever she gets the ball in hand and is an accurate kick for goal.

Lauren Szigeti
Small Defender | 162cm | Eastern Ranges

An aggressive defender who applied herself to every contest, the Ranges players sure enjoyed having Szigeti around their side. She always goes in hard for the footy and is usually found at the bottom of every contest, showing her desperation to win the footy.

Mikala Cann
Balanced Midfielder | 173cm | Eastern Ranges

A speedy midfielder who has incredibly good hands. Cann’s aggressive tackling was also a highlight of her TAC Cup Girls season, which she used to complement her smart kicking.

Sarah Kendall
Ruck | 178cm | Eastern Ranges

Kendall is a dangerous ruck who makes an impact whenever she gets the ball in hand. Her ruck-work is impressive but it’s her follow-up work that makes all the difference, as she hunts the ball down and manages to hit targets, whether it’d be through a quick-fire handball or a booming kick.

Gabby Newton
Tall Utility | 178cm | Northern Knights

At just 16, Newton is immensely talented and one of the most influential players in the TAC Cup Girls competition. She can turn a game on its head thanks to her powerful kicking and swift ball-use, whether it’d be in the ruck or in the midfield.

Maddy Brancatisano
Inside Midfielder | 169cm | Northern Knights

Brancatisano is a hard inside midfielder that has an outstanding defensive game. Not only can she move the ball well through the contest, but she can also play a shut-down role on an opposition player and tackles hard, not giving her opponent an inch of space.

Marnie Jarvis
Outside Midfielder | 160cm | Northern Knights

Jarvis’ outside run provided plenty of X factor for the Knights this year. She was able to move the ball quickly on the wing and either utilised or created space whenever she had the opportunity to do so.

Daisy Bateman
General Forward | 166cm | Oakleigh Chargers

Bateman is a goal-kicking machine, kicking 14 goals from seven games which included a bag of five in round six. She has a high footy IQ and positions herself really well deep in the forward line.

Hannah McLaren
Tall Utility | 176cm | Oakleigh Chargers

McLaren’s strong hands are a huge asset in her game. She also has a long kick that gets her teammates out of trouble, and can back up her work behind the ball to stop any forward penetration by the opposition.

Katie Lynch
Balanced Midfielder | 179cm | Oakleigh Chargers

Lynch is a ball magnet and can use it well when she accumulates it. She can clear the ball out of a stoppage in an instant and her tackling is fierce.

Abbie McKay
Inside Midfielder | 171cm | Sandringham Dragons

McKay has a high work ethic in the middle of the ground and uses her clean hands to get the ball forward. She is strong overhead and provides some great X factor moments that can influence the game.

Eleanor Brown
Outside Midfielder | 176cm | Sandringham Dragons

Brown is one of the most classy and mature players in the TAC Cup Girls competition. Her ability to find space is second-to-none and she can even create space for her teammates with her long kick and strong hands on the outside.

Holly Bate
Key Position Forward | 180cm | Sandringham Dragons

The leading goal kicker of the TAC Cup Girls competition with 18 goals from nine games, including seven goals in round eight. Bate is a mobile forward who positions herself well against an opponent and applies great forward pressure.

Jemma Owen
Inside Midfielder | 165cm | Sandringham Dragons

A hard-nosed midfielder who tackles strongly and moves the ball well both by hand and by foot. Owen can also float up forward and make an impact inside 50, showcasing her impressive endurance and high work ethic.

Isabella Grant
Tall Utility | 176cm | Western Jets

A key player for the Western Jets this year, Grant was an impact player that utilised her powerful marking and long kicking to surge her side forward. She always knows where to position herself on the ground and often sees the opportunity to play on into space and move the ball quickly.

Emergencies:

Gabriella De Angelis
Inside Midfielder/Small Forward | 155cm | Eastern Ranges

De Angelis is a pint-sized pocket rocket, as her speed and endurance enable her to apply herself at every contest. She is a clever ball-user, and can get a few goals on the board when she gets the chance.

Britney Gutknecht
General Forward/Inside Midfielder | 167cm | Northern Knights

Gutknecht is a versatile player that can make an impact in any position. She excels at both being a midfielder and being a forward, shown by her booming kick from the stoppage and her bag of seven goals against the Bendigo Pioneers.

Season reviews: TAC Cup Girls – Gippsland Power

AFTER a round one loss, the Gippsland Power came out firing, winning its next game and drawing in round three. The Power endured an up and down season but showed some really good patches of play. The side was in most of their games but could not quite get across the line in their last four games of the season.

Position: 8th
Win-loss: 3-5-1
Percentage: 69%

Results:

R1: lost to Oakleigh Chargers by 67 points
R2: defeated Western Jets by 15 points
R3: drew with Murray Bushrangers
R4: defeated Calder Cannons by 3 points
R5: defeated Bendigo Pioneers by 12 points
R6: lost to Northern Knights by 15 points
R7: lost to Eastern Ranges by 9 points
R8: lost to Greater Western Victoria Rebels by 14 points
R9: lost to Sandringham Dragons by 24 points

Key players:

Tyla Hanks: She reached new levels for the Gippsland Power this season with her silky skills on display each game. Hanks led from the front and dominated throughout the season with her clean hands at the stoppages and impressive evasive skills to break away from opponents and propel her team forward. Her ability to turn her opponents inside out was impressive as it helped to create more opportunities across the field for her teammates. Hanks’ work rate was phenomenal and her ability to hit targets proved to be essential for the Power. Hanks was never phased by the pressure, showing great composure and footy smarts with ball in hand. Hanks was named as vice-captain in the AFL Draft Central Team of the Year and made an appearance in the Team of the Week line-ups every time she played, which was credit to her ability to impact on the ground. Hanks also impressed in the AFLW Academy side, starring with her impressive skill set.

Emily Haeusler: Haeusler consistently imposed herself on the contest, laying strong tackles and using her body to win the footy both in the air and at ground level. She impressed so much that she was named in the AFL Draft Central Team of the Week four times and cemented a spot in the AFL Draft Central TAC Cup Girls Team of the Year, credit to her hard work and determination. Haeusler was a key player down back for the Power and really helped to set up behind the ball. Her run off half back was instrumental for Gippsland and her safe hands provided great confidence for her teammates. Haeusler showed great composure throughout the season and was a good on-field leader.

Jazz Ferguson: Ferguson was instrumental for the Gippsland Power with her ability to tackle hard and use the footy efficiently and effectively. She flew under the radar for most of the season but was a real stand out when the going got hard, as she was not afraid to go in and win the footy at ground level. Her hands under pressure were invaluable, being able to dish out clever handballs to teammates streaming forward and taking big intercept marks to help out in defence.

Nikia Webber: She was another key player for Gippsland, posing as a scoring machine who was dynamic up forward and providing a good option inside the forward 50. Webber ended the season with 12 goals, credit to her accuracy in front of goal and work rate to lead up at the footy. She was strong to the ball and worked hard throughout the season to win the footy and create some good forward pressure by laying tackles and imposing herself on the contest. The youngster proved that she will be a serious force to be reckoned with in years to come.

Amy Dunn: The co-captain stood tall in the ruck all season and was rewarded with selection in the extended Vic Country squad. She went forward and provided target as well, and worked in tandem with Jazz Ferguson.

Chandra Abrahams: A talented utility who was named in the Under 16s Vic Country squad. Still working on consistency throughout four quarters, but she has quite a few tricks up her sleeve and her goal against Bendigo Pioneers off a couple of steps from 50m was an indication of what she is capable of. Still a couple of years off, so one to watch to see how she develops.

Season summary: 

Gippsland Power were the feel-good story of the year. After finishing at the bottom of the ladder last year without a win, the Power triumphed to three wins this season, including one against the reigning premiers, Calder Cannons. The Power was also able to keep the Murray Bushrangers at bay, drawing with them in round three. The side was led magnificently by co-captains, Tyla Hanks and Amy Dunn, who played selfless football throughout the year. There is plenty to like about this Gippsland side after playing a season of confidence-boosting football.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SECOND TEAM OF THE YEAR:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Team of the Year squad: [50]

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

Single nominations: [43]

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

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

Weekend wash-up: TAC Cup Girls – Round 9

THE TAC Cup Girls 2018 season came to an end on Saturday, with all 12 teams playing out games at RAMS Arena. The Northern Knights secured a grand final spot with a win against the Bushrangers, joining Geelong in the grand final on Saturday. The Falcons themselves as well as Dandenong got big wins on the day while the Cannons got their first win since round three. 

 

Northern Knights 6.9 (45) defeated Murray Bushrangers 1.9 (15)

By: Julia Montesano 

The Northern Knights eradicated all mathematical grand final probabilities with a 30-point win over Murray Bushrangers in the first game of the day. Although the Bushrangers applied good attacking pressure, they were plagued by inaccuracy thanks to a strong breeze at RAMS Arena. The win sees the Knights claim a grand final spot on Saturday against Geelong.

Fifteen year-old Ellie McKenzie was the star of the day for Northern. She booted three goals and was a proactive presence in the forward line. Nell Morris-Dalton, Alex Pronesti and Alyssa Bannan were the other goal kickers for the Knights. Northern also had a strong presence in the ruck with Gabby Newton and Neve O’Connor rotating throughout the day. The duo won plenty of hit-outs, allowing Knights midfielders such as Madeline Brancatisano and Abigail Bennett to display good ball-use in the convincing win.

The Bushrangers tried desperately to keep themselves in the game with relentless pressure. They were stunned when Northern got out to an early 30-point lead at quarter time but fought hard in the remaining quarters. Unfortunately, they just couldn’t convert in front of goal, demonstrated by kicking 0.7 in the last quarter. Olivia Barber was the only goal-scorer for Murray and provided a good presence around the ground. Usual suspects in the midfield, Tamara Smith, Julia Harvey and Rebecca Webster were once again the stars for Murray, with all of them having good stints in the heart of the contest.

 

Greater Western Victoria Rebels 5.8 (38) def. Oakleigh Chargers 2.1 (13)

By: Taylah Melki 

In difficult conditions the Rebels were off to a quick start, scoring the first two goals of the match. They applied a lot of defensive pressure across the ground and kept that momentum up throughout the game, winning by 25 points over the Chargers. The blustery conditions did not seem to favour either side but the Rebels made the most of it and competed hard to win the footy. On the other hand, Oakleigh struggled to match the intensity applied by the Rebels, only managing to score two majors for the match.

Sophie Molan starred for Greater Western Victoria (GWV) with her ability to win the footy at ground level and impact on the contest. She was rewarded for her hard work, slotting a goal in the second term and impressed with her footy smarts to set up her teammates.  The likes of Lauren Butler and Sophie Van De Heuvel also played important roles in the Rebels win, applying plenty of forward pressure and opening up space with their clever leads. AFLW Academy player Rene Caris starred down back for GWV, controlling the play and imposing herself on the contest.

In the last quarter, the likes of Daisy Bateman and Gemma Lagioia really lifted their intensity around the ball and tried hard to create a contest both in the air and at the ground. Alana Porter also provided some good run and carry and was clean at stoppages for the Chargers, helping to propel them forward. Meanwhile Emily Harley kick-started the Chargers’ account, bagging the first major for them in the second quarter.

 

Gippsland Power 2.6 (18) def. by Sandringham Dragons 6.6 (42)

By: Taylah Melki 

Gippsland and Sandringham came to play in the last game of the season with only three points separating them at three quarter time. Both teams were evenly poised, making for a tight tussle across the ground. The Power dominated the play in the third term but were unable to capitalise on their scoring opportunities. But the tables turned in the fourth with the Dragons coming out firing and bagging four unanswered goals to claim victory by 24 points.

The ever-reliable Tyla Hanks starred once again for the Power with her ability to turn opponents inside out and hit targets even while she’s under immense pressure. Hanks’ composure with ball in hand allowed her to set up play for teammates and create forward thrusts for Gippsland. Nikia Webber also played an important role, slotting the first goal of the match and applying plenty of pressure, while Emily Hauesler and Jazz Ferguson continued their hot form, taking big grabs and competing hard for the footy.

For the Dragons, the likes of Jemma Owen stood tall, bagging two last quarter goals within minutes of each other, showcasing her ability to read the play and hit the scoreboard. In their last quarter berth, Isabella Eddey stood up, taking charge in the forward line to score her first major of the game and get the Dragons back in front. Teammate, Eleanor Brown also starred for Sandringham with her impressive work rate across the ground and willingness to compete hard and win the footy.

 

Western Jets 1.2 (8) defeated by Geelong Falcons 9.9 (63)

By: Peter Williams 

A four goals to one first term into the breeze set minor premiers Geelong Falcons up for a comfortable win over Western Jets. Despite the wind heavily favouring the Jets in the opening quarter, it was the Falcons that put the scores on the board, led by Nina Morrison (two goals) who played exclusively forward and was dominant in the air. Caitlin Greiser kicked the Jets’ only goal of the game in the first term, but in a positive, Western restricted Geelong to just five more goals for the game, including three when the Falcons had the breeze.

Olivia Purcell put in another top performance to be best on ground, her work around the stoppages was a real highlight. Denby Taylor showed she is capable of playing up either end, while Sachi DeGiacomi booted two majors to work well with Morrison (three goals). Renee Tierney also slotted two majors, while Tarryn Love and Lucy McEvoy were others who impressed throughout the contest.

For the Jets, it was Elisabeth Georgostathis who was everywhere, producing plenty of strong tackles, including a rundown one on Purcell, and always fighting hard for the losing side. Taylah Kolevski‘s efforts in the ruck against Zoe Inei were superb, while Olivia Forsythe and Sharnie Whiting were others who stood out for Western.

 

Calder Cannons 5.2 (32) defeated Eastern Ranges 1.2 (8)

By: Peter Williams 

In what was probably considered an upset given ladder positions and form, Calder Cannons proved too good for Eastern Ranges, courtesy of a fast start. The Cannons booted three goals in the first term and then held on well against the Ranges in a dour, wet weather affair. Mikala Cann booted the Ranges’ only goal from a free kick, as Georgia Patrikios put her hat in the ring for one of the goals of the year with a snap from the boundary line in the third term. While neither side could make the Grand Final, Calder got the four points and claimed its second win of the season.

Madison Prespakis was best on ground again after a performance everyone has come to expect from the top star. She was everywhere and just dominated at ground level or in the air, booting a great goal in the first term from an intercept mark inside forward 50. Patrikios was also electric up forward, while Carla Rendelmann and Madison’s sister, Georgie Prespakis were also good in the wet. AFLW Academy member, Molly Warburton was named in the best for her work in defence.

For Eastern, Cann showed clean hands throughout the contest, while Emerson Woods produced another hard-working effort around the stoppages. Laura McClelland tried to be creative up forward and worked hard throughout the match, while Sarah Kendall put pressure on her opponents around the stoppages and down back. Co-captain, Charlotte Wilson took a few strong intercept marks in defence.

 

Dandenong Stingrays 10.8 (68) defeated Bendigo Pioneers 1.2 (8)

By: Julia Montesano 

The Dandenong Stingrays finished their season with their biggest win of the year, defeating the Bendigo Pioneers by 60 points. The rain did not seem to bother the Stingrays, who managed to kick 10 goals in the slippery conditions.

AFLW Academy forward, Courtney Jones was sensational for the Stingrays, kicking three goals and laying some strong tackles. Brooke Borchard also got three majors on the board, working in tandem with Jones to cause some headaches for the Pioneers. Regular contributors, Isabella Shannon and Jordyn Allen also got on the scoreboard. Shannon applied fantastic pressure throughout the afternoon while Allen continued to play her signatory composed style of football to get Dandenong over the line.

It was a hard slog for the Pioneers, but there was no shortage of shining lights. Midfielder Kodi Jacques was outstanding for the Pioneers, with her innate ability to clear the ball out of a stoppage. Jacques handled herself with composure during the match and used the ball extremely well. She was complemented as usual by captain, Megan Williamson who has not put a foot wrong all season. Williamson displayed hard running on the day and was a brilliant leader on the field.