Tag: Paige Sheppard

Weekend previews: TAC Cup Girls – Grand Final

THE big day has finally arrived. The Geelong Falcons and the Northern Knights have been the two in-form teams of the TAC Cup Girls competition and will play out the first ever TAC Cup Girls Grand Final. We decided to take an in-depth look at both of the teams ahead of the historic day set to take place at Avalon Airport Oval on Saturday.

 

GEELONG FALCONS v. NORTHERN KNIGHTS

2018 TAC Cup Girls Grand Final – Saturday, May 19, 12.30pm

Avalon Airport Oval, Werribee

Form line

Geelong Falcons:

Ladder position: 1st
Wins: 9
Losses: 0
Percentage: 294%

Northern Knights:

Ladder position: 2nd
Wins: 8
Losses: 1
Percentage: 243%

 

Last time they met

Geelong Falcons 4.7 (31) defeated Northern Knights 3.5 (23)

The Geelong Falcons made it eight from eight against fellow undefeated team, Northern Knights with an eight-point win. The Falcons came out of the blocks with a three goal to none first half, then the Knights fought back with a three goal to one second half.

AFLW Academy members, Lucy McEvoy, Denby Taylor, Olivia Purcell and Nina Morrison were some of the best players on the ground yet again. McEvoy and Taylor held down the fort well in defence while Purcell and Morrison chased and tackled in the midfield. They were complemented by Zoe Inei in the ruck, who delivered some nice taps towards her gut-runners. In the forward line, it was Sachi DeGiacomi who put in all the hard yards to keep her side’s undefeated streak alive.

For Northern, midfielder, Marnie Jarvis found herself up forward on a couple of occasions, slotting through two of the Knights’ three majors. Gabrielle Newton was a star, this time in defence, proving she can play just about anywhere on the field. Young gun, Ellie McKenzie had another standout performance for the Knights, as did Nell Morris-Dalton. Other solid contributors included Paije Kearney and Ashleigh Snow.

GOALS

Geelong Falcons: S. DeGiacomi, S. Walmsley, R. Tierney, P. Sheppard

Northern Knights: M. Jarvis 2, A. Bannan

BEST

Geelong Falcons: L. McEvoy, D. Taylor, O. Purcell, S. DeGiacomi, Z. Inei, N. Morrison

Northern Knights: G. Newton, E. McKenzie, P. Kearney, N. Morris-Dalton, A. Snow, M. Jarvis

 

Players to watch

Geelong Falcons:

#18 Nina Morrison

Times in Best: 6

Morrison is one of the most hard-working midfielders in the competition. She has electric speed and is a brilliant ball-user. She often gets the ball on the outside and clears it into space, but can also find the ball in the heart of the contest.

#42 Sachi DeGiacomi

Times in Best: 5

DeGiacomi has been pivotal for the Falcons at centre half-forward. She has kicked 13 goals from nine games and if stats were taken for TAC Cup Girls, they would say that she has also had plenty of assists. She is an unselfish player that knows how to find the goals when needed, and she also has a fantastic set of hands.

#23 Lucy McEvoy

Times in Best: 5

The Geelong captain has been remarkable this season. McEvoy does her best work in defence, but can also play a role as a tall midfielder when required. She is a versatile player that has a booming kick, and always goes in hard at the contest.

#7 Olivia Purcell

Times in Best: 4

Olivia Purcell is one of the toughest inside midfielders in the competition. She is an aggressive tackler and a good clearance player, thanks to her innate ability to find space. Her acceleration is a huge asset for the Falcons and will serve her in good stead on Saturday.

Northern Knights:

#21 Ellie McKenzie

Times in Best: 6

Ellie McKenzie is the most exciting 15 year-old in the competition. She has been amongst Northern’s best players in every game she has played, and has kicked 10 goals to go along with it. McKenzie is a vital forward for the Knights and can work some magic with the ball in hand.

#23 Gabrielle Newton

Times in Best: 5

Newton has been a star in the ruck, up forward, in defence, or basically wherever she is needed. She plays any role that she is asked to play and does it with class. Newton is a wonderful ball-user and knows how to find the right option.

#5 Madeline Brancatisano

Times in Best: 4

The Knights captain has been outstanding in the midfield this season. What stands out about Brancatisano is her defensive efforts, as she lays some strong tackles and can also play a shutdown role on the opposition when needed. She has displayed quick hands throughout the season and is an unselfish player.

#18 Sarah Sansonetti

Times in Best: 4

Sarah Sansonetti has been a key player in defence for Northern this season. She often finds the ball at the heart of the contest and can clear the ball out of defensive 50 with ease. Sansonetti is an agile player who can move off her opponent well to create a contest.

 

Preview

The two most-deserving teams will face off in the inaugural TAC Cup Girls Grand Final on Saturday. The teams last met in round eight, where only eight points separated the sides.

Geelong Falcons coach, Jason Armistead is all too aware of the Knights’ fire-power and knows that his side must combat their high-scoring if they are to win the historic game.

“They’re the highest-scoring team in the competition and their ability to score quickly has been a strength,” Armistead said. “We need to be mindful of stopping their momentum if they get on a roll.”

Their high-scoring has come in the form of some big last quarters, where the Knights have piled on the goals to ensure a big percentage-boosting win. In fourth quarters alone, Northern has outscored its opposition 159-46. The 46 points is the combined total of each of the nine teams that the Knights have played, which is a remarkable feat.

Northern coach, Marcus Abney-Hastings has been really impressed with his host of players this season, who have worked together to achieve some big wins.

“Our captain Maddy Brancatisano has had a really good year and really led from the front,” Abney-Hastings said. “Gabby Newton has been playing in a range of positions and is also a good leader on the field. “Neve O’Connor will be really important in the ruck; she gives our midfielders first use of the ball. Marnie Jarvis has been really important with her run and carry on a wing and Britney Gutknecht has also been important for us going forward.”

But Geelong’s defence has been a highlight for them this season, with the trio of Denby Taylor, Lucy McEvoy and Abbey Chapman playing some fantastic footy in the defensive half. Their depth, like Northern’s, is also phenomenal, with players such as Mia Sheppard, Tarryn Love and Sophie Walmsley stepping up on various occasions.

Expect a high level of skill, talent and class on display at Avalon Airport Oval, as the best of the best in this magnificent competition battle it out for ultimate glory.

 

GEELONG FALCONS:

NORTHERN KNIGHTS:

Weekend wrap: TAC Cup Girls – Round 6

GEELONG Falcons and Northern Knights have continued to dominate the TAC Cup Girls competition, with each side making it six wins from six games this week. The Bushrangers were hot on their heels prior to round six, but fell to the Sandringham Dragons, who are playing some fantastic football at the moment. Meanwhile for the Stingrays, they got on the winners’ list this round with a dominant display against the Western Jets. It means all teams now have a win in the TAC Cup Girls competition, making the competition even across the board.

 

Geelong Falcons 4.11 (35) defeated Eastern Ranges 0.4 (4) 

At the start of the year, this was one of the most highly anticipated matches of the TAC Cup Girls competition. But after Eastern lost to the Western Jets a week prior, the in-form Falcons were able to capitalise at Belmont, with a 31-point win, keeping the usually solid scoring Ranges goalless.

Geelong’s Sachi DeGiacomi was a force in the forward line once again, kicking half of her side’s goals. While the Falcons were inaccurate, their AFLW Academy stars stood up on their return to TAC Cup Girls football. Lucy McEvoy was named as Geelong’s best player, while Olivia Purcell got on the scoreboard for the home side. AFL Draft Central’s round one TAC Cup Girls’ Player of the Week, Zoe Inei had a wonderful game for the Falcons, and was complemented by the likes of Paige Sheppard, Sophie Walmsley and Kaitlyn Haustorfer. 

Eastern co-captain Charlotte Wilson was the Ranges’ best player for the second week in a row. This time, she had fellow co-captain Emerson Woods back in the side to complement her, after Woods was missing last week due to the AFLW Academy match. Versatile forward Olivia Meagher also returned to the side this week and was prominent at Belmont, being named in Eastern’s best players. Midfielder Gabriella De Angelis was able to continue her sublime form at Belmont and although Laura McClelland did not get on the scoreboard, she still had a solid outing. 

 

Gippsland Power 4.4 (28) defeated by Northern Knights 6.7 (43)

By: Peter Williams 

In a game between two of the most in-form sides of the competition, the unbeaten Northern Knights kept their winning streak alive with a 15-point victory over Gippsland Power in Morwell on Saturday. The Knights had it most of their own way in the first three quarters, booting six goals to one and looking like they were going to run away with a huge victory as they had done on so many other occasions. But to the Power’s credit, they ripped up the script and booted 3.3, charging home to fall short in a gallant effort. Since round one the Power have been ultra-competitive in every game they played and it continued on the weekend.

Britney Gutknecht was the difference between the two teams in the first half, booting two goals for the game and covering the ground sensationally. Captain Maddy Brancatisano kept Tyla Hanks at bay, particularly early on with some good body work around the stoppages. Alyssa Bannan and Alexandra Pronesti both hit the scoreboard, while Gabrielle Newton, Marnie Jarvis and Sarah Sansonetti were all among the best. Coming into the game it was the Knights incredible depth that looked to be the difference, and in the first half it was, with so many contributors it was hard to pick the best players.

For Gippsland, Emily Haeusler continued her great recent form off half-back rebounding tirelessly against the Knights attacks, while Tyla Hanks got better as the game wore on and was a huge impact in the final term. Along with those two, Chandra Abrahams, Tahlia Dower and Lily Van Berkel all performed well for the Power and further indicated the increased depth that Gippsland has built this season.

 

Murray Bushrangers 3.4 (22) defeated by Sandringham Dragons 6.1 (37) 

The Sandringham Dragons are making a late charge towards the top two, having won their last three games in the TAC Cup Girls competition. The Dragons claimed their biggest scalp yet in round six, defeating the Murray Bushrangers, who only had one loss in the TAC Cup Girls competition going into the match. 

Molly Denahy Maloney was the star of the day for the Dragons and was complemented by Sandringham’s usual suspects. Eleanor Brown, Alice Burke and Maddison Wilson were all named in the Dragons’ best, and continue to be dominant forces in the Sandringham line-up. Midfielder Eliza McNamara managed to etch her name onto the scoreboard, and had two other multiple goal-kickers to complement her. Sophia Rothfield was able to kick two majors for the day, while Isabella Eddey continued her great form inside 50 with three goals. 

The Bushrangers also had a multiple goalkicker with Claudia McKimmie booting two majors for the day. Emilee McPherson chipped in with the other goal. Grace Egan was Murray’s best on the day, continuing to dominate in her side through playing a role wherever she is needed. This week, she was complemented by her partner-in-crime, Rebecca Webster who returned from AFLW Academy duties. Tali Verhoeven, Hayley Doohan and Sophie Locke were the other standouts in the Murray line-up. 

 

Greater Western Victoria Rebels 5.9 (39) defeated Calder Cannons 5.0 (30) 

By: Cameron Ross 

An inspirational four-quarter performance from Calder captain Madison Prespakis was not enough, as the Rebels ran out nine-point victors in the TAC Cup Girls match at MARS Stadium on Sunday. 

Although the Rebels could not kick a goal in the first quarter, they had the majority of the possession and the inside 50s. The midfield battle was key, as Rebels captain Lauren Butler and fellow onballer Ella Wood were pivotal in not only the first quarter, but for the game. Wood had a ton of possession and was extremely important for the Rebels, who were struggling to move the ball and retain possession. The classy midfielder showed composure while she was one and was one of the top GWV players. Sophie Van De Heuvel kicked an important goal for the Rebels at the end of the second term to make it a one-point game at half-time, which gave the Rebels important momentum heading into the second half. 

Assisting Madison Prespakis in the midfield battle was fellow AFLW Academy member, Georgia Patrikios, who kicked a contender for TAC Cup Girls Goal of the Year. Patrikios’ goal was a drop-punt that got a kind bounce from outside 50, and drew applause from the MARS Stadium crowd. The goal proved to be one of the most exciting pieces of play for the whole day and will be remembered by all who witnessed it. Butler had to battle hard, going head-to head against Prespakis. The Calder Cannons midfielder did everything she could for her side, winning contested possessions, clearances and even kicking a goal.

 

Bendigo Pioneers 1.2 (8) defeated by Oakleigh Chargers 11.9 (75) 

Both sides headed into this game without experiencing a win since round one. But on Sunday, it was the Chargers who were hungrier for victory, getting a big win over the Pioneers at Golden Square Oval. 

Daisy Bateman had an absolute day out, bagging five majors for the day in a clinical display inside 50. Emily Harley was the other multiple goal-kicker for Oakleigh, adding three goals next to her name. Midfielder, Katie Lynch was named the Chargers’ best, kicking a goal to complement her dominance in the middle of the ground. Captain, Hannah McLaren and midfielder, Gemma Lagioia returned to the side this week after being sidelined by injury. The duo made their presence known immediately, and were named in Oakleigh’s best as the side ran rampage against the Pioneers. 

For Bendigo, it was captain, Megan Williamson who stood up for her side once again. Williamson kicked Bendigo’s only goal of the day and continued to provide wonderful on-field leadership. Usual suspects, Maddy Baldwin and Kodi Jacques played their role throughout the day, and were named in the Pioneers’ best. But it was Eloise Gretgix who provided a shining light for Bendigo, after being named the Pioneers’ best player in their 67-point loss. 

 

Dandenong Stingrays 9.14 (68) defeated Western Jets 2.2 (14) 

It was a glorious day for the Stingrays, who were able to sing their song for the first time this season. Dandenong have been winless up until round six, but won their first game in style with a 54-point win over the Western Jets. 

The Stingrays welcomed back captain, Jordyn Allen this week and while there was not much for her to do in the first half, she worked her way into the game in the second half by moving from defence into the midfield. All the damage was done in the forward line though, with Isabella Shannon and AFLW Academy member, Courtney Jones each kicking two majors for the day. Tyanna Smith was involved in plenty of forward thrusts on the day and was rewarded for her efforts with a place in Dandenong’s best. But it was Brooke Vernon who was the star of the day, booting through a goal to go with her consistent effort across the ground. 

The Western Jets gladly welcomed Isabella Grant back into their line-up, after she missed round five due to AFLW Academy duties. Grant made an impact on the game immediately and her composure throughout the day was a shining light for the Jets. Caitlin Greiser was kept quiet on Sunday but still managed to kick a major, despite the ruthless Dandenong pressure. Sister of Majak Daw, Mary Daw played a wonderful game, always following her opponent closely and moving swiftly across the ground. Jasmine Goodman was the other goal-kicker for the Jets, and was named in the best for her efforts, alongside Carle Myors-Moore and Allison Chivell. 

Scouting notes: TAC Cup Girls- Round 5

ONLY two teams remain undefeated after round five delivered some cracking contests. The Western Jets got their first ever TAC Cup Girls win while ending Eastern’s undefeated streak in the process. Over in Bendigo, the Falcons managed to get up over Murray despite missing five AFLW players. Although the Knights were given a scare by the Chargers, they stormed home to remain undefeated after five rounds of competition. This may have been the hardest week to pick the best players, with each team showing their depth in their respective matches. Below are our opinion-based notes on each of the six TAC Cup Girls games.

Western Jets vs. Eastern Ranges 

Western:

#16 Elisabeth Georgostathis

Smothered the ball twice after giving away the free kick then gave a quick-fire handball to a teammate to set up a forward thrust. This was just one of her great plays on the day, she was simply everywhere. Displayed great run and carry after good mark and was able to clear the ball from congestion multiple times. She had an innate ability to get the ball moving whilst also doing a good job defensively with strong tackles. Georgostathis was able to display good composure to spin out of trouble on some occasions. Started to get targeted in the fourth quarter with the Eastern players trying to get in her head. Ended off a brilliant day with a big tackle in the goal square. 

#43 Caitlin Greiser

Greiser just read the ball better than her opponents and knew how to work her opponent under the ball. Eastern players did not know how to defend her. Booted two goals in the third quarter to get the Jets’ spirits up. Finished with four for the game. Continues to be a huge presence up forward. 

#19 Olivia Forsythe

Never stopped tackling the whole game. Her tackles were strong and often stopped Eastern players from playing that running game that we are so used to seeing from them. She was fierce around the contest and really got into the game in the third quarter. She tackled anyone that came near her and created so many stoppages. She was one of Western’s game-changers.

#26 Isabella Negri

Had a really good ability to move towards the ball on a long kick rather than waiting for it and trying to judge it in the air. In one instance, she took a huge contested mark inside 50 and was slow to get up. But she was brave enough to go back for the set shot, displaying incredible courage.

#40 Sharnie Whiting

Was able to snap through a nice goal after being really lively in the forward line. Was able to hunt the ball down, get it and kick it quickly to create space on the field. 

Others:

#27 Payton-Ani Ozols: Was able to burst out of stoppages a lot of times. Displayed nice acceleration and quick hands. Followed up when she missed the target with her kick, showing great determination.

#30 Isabelle Pritchard: Also displayed quick hands, was a rock in defence. Was able to provide good run and carry and was really strong in congestion. She laid a goal-saving tackle on the dangerous Laura Mcclelland in the last 30 seconds of the game.

#4 Leah Spargo: Kicked a nice ball to the top of the square which helped the tall forwards who were keen to take some contested marks. Like Georgostathis, she was lively and everywhere. Really aggressive on the wing.

#41 Savannah Forbes: Pushed off a player and kicked strongly on the run. She was aggressive all game and was right at the bottom of contest a lot of times.

#8 Emily Gardner: Another lively Jet. Laid some nice and strong tackles especially through the middle of the ground. Stepped up her game in the third quarter.

 

Eastern:

#46 Sarah Kendall

Was able to mop up well in the back-line and dominated the ruck. Played a sweeper role and did not let her team down. Kendall would often pick up the ball quickly, get it and kick it, and not just hacking it- following through for the kick to hit a target. Took a great sliding mark running at full flight towards the ball. She was a huge force especially at the top of the defensive 50, playing a great rebounding game. Nobody could get past her as she would mark everything that came her way.

#37 Georgia Macpherson

Stalwart in defence as usual! Displayed good run and carry and had a long penetrating kick. She took some great contested marks in this game and dominated. She usually takes a lot of uncontested marks but showed she is a contested marking beast as well. Read the footy really well when she took a mark right in the goal-square off a clever high kick by Caitlin Greiser. Sold the candy at one point and kicked off the other side of her body to get the ball into the middle, showing that she is one of the most clever ball-users in the competition.

#6 Gabriella De Angelis

Played a fantastic game for Eastern and just did not stop trying throughout the whole game. Took a great overhead mark under pressure, which was great to see for a small midfielder. Then she did what small midfielders do, when she took the ball and burst through the middle of the ground, hitting her target perfectly with a skillful kick. Kicked two goals to top off her hard work. They were well-deserved, she was outstanding.

#21 Mikala Cann

Really proactive in the middle of the ground. Delivered a nice kick to the middle of the ground at one point and did it on repeat occasions in other areas of the ground. At one point, she was barely looking at the ball and still hit a target. Displayed good hands under pressure and always managed to follow up her efforts with the ball in hand. She had good speed to chase the ball on the deck, showing off her impressive sprinting capabilities. Delivered a beautiful kick into the forward line and kicked a beautiful ball off one step. There was simply no other word to describe her game!  

#49 Charlotte Wilson

The co-captain made good contributions throughout the game. She kicked the ball nicely to the wing at one point and was a huge presence in the ruck. Kicked the ball well to her forwards, especially with a nice kick to Laura McClelland later in the latter stages of the game. Stepped up well in the absence of Emerson Woods. 

Others:

#48 Lauren Szigeti: Displayed nice movement throughout the game and her constant effort to fight for the footy was outstanding. Laid a huge goal-saving tackle at one point in the game. She was so aggressive throughout the game and did not ease her pressure at all.

#38 Laura McClelland: Had a good penetrating kick and kicked it well out of congestion. Took a huge contested mark and kicked it truly, already showing signs of an experiences forward. Had good eyes for the ball throughout the game.

#17 Mietta Kendall: Displayed nice hands to leap for a mark but just could not hold it on the way down. Still managed to build on her performance quarter-by-quarter. Had good quick hands.

 

Bendigo Pioneers vs. Gippsland Power

By: Peter Williams 

Bendigo:

#3 Carly Isaac

Showed off a lot of speed throughout the game, spreading to the outside and showing composure with ball-in-hand. She put in a consistent effort across the game, winning the footy and getting back to help out the defence and break the lines down the wing.

#19 Kodi Jacques

Thought she was one of the best Pioneers for her sheer work rate and ability to get to the football. She provided good pressure on the inside and a knack for quick hands. In the second term she snapped inside 50 which led to a goal to Bree Heiden. When inside 50 she was lively and took a good intercept mark from a kick out and kicked long to the square. In the third term she worked hard out of the midfield, had three possessions in a chain from the clearance through to a snap which just missed.

#27 Brooke Hards

Really liked her game off half-back, particularly early in the peace. Had it not been for Hards’ efforts then no doubt Gippsland’s lead would have been higher in the opening half. She worked really hard in the back 50 and won the footy at half-back thinking her way through her touches going forward. She also showed off a good turning circle when she managed to swing onto her preferred side to kick forward.

#28 Megan Williamson

Another consistent effort from the captain who consistently showed no fear in her attack on the ball. She buzzed around the stoppages and showed good intensity when tackling the opposition ball carrier. She organised the midfield well and won a few free kicks from going in hard, and getting to the ball first. One of the Pioneers’ most consistent on the day.

#30 Bree Heiden

Attacks the football with vigour and used her strong body to bump an opponent off the ball and win a crucial one-on-one. She earned a goal through hard running to lead into the central corridor and kick truly from the set shot.

Others:

#1 Maeve Tupper: Packs plenty of excitement and almost snapped a miraculous goal in the second quarter from a tight angle, but was dragged down and the shot just missed.

#2 Maddy Baldwin: Created some good run on the outside and was able to get into space to win the ball. Baldwin was another Pioneers midfielder who stood up when it counted and put in a consistent performance.

#8 Shelby Knoll: Provided a target inside 50, taking a couple of good marks out on the lead, including a juggling mark in the third term. She worked well with Kodi Jacques in the third term, marking the pass and then handballing back to Jacques to keep the play moving.

#9 Dayna Kelly-Guthrie: Played through the ruck and was solid in her tapouts, then got forward and kicked a great goal from a set shot in the second term.

#11 Jemma Finning: Another midfielder who was up for the fight defensively. Laid some huge tackles and worked hard with Jacques and Williamson through the midfield.

#20 Kate Douglass: Played in defence for most of the game before swinging forward. Provided a target in the final term, taking a couple of marks and kicking a long goal from 45 metres out.

#32 Sharmaine Reilly: Showed good pressure in defence, stopping a certain goal on the line in the opening quarter with a dive, and then laying a particularly memorable tackle later in the game to lock up the ball from escaping in the Power’s forward 50.

 

Gippsland:

#1 Ebony Jones

A composed user of the football, Jones played on the wing but also worked hard to get back into defence and help out. She covered the ground well and took a couple of marks in the defensive half of the ground. Jones also showed off a high defensive awareness and great speed, when in one instance she shepherded a teammate to allow them to kick inside 50, and later produced a great run-down tackle on the wing.

#6 Emily Haeusler

Her best performance of the year and put together a four quarter performance. Camped at half-back she rebounded everything, keeping a firm line between half-back and the centre of the ground. Her first interaction was a good one, side-stepping an opponent and kicking long inside 50 to a one-on-one. Moments later she took a great overhead mark one-on-one and kicked to Alana Rippon on the wing. She showed off her fleet-footedness using agility to turn her opponent inside out and showed composure while on the move. Her first term was superb but it did not stop there, consistently providing rebound for the power, intercepting anything in her area and laying some great, fierce tackles. Her mindset was also promising. In one instance in the fourth quarter where she missed a kick out of defence after winning the ball at ground level, but rather than berate herself, ran forward, bumped the opponent and locked the football up to stop the Pioneers getting it forward.

#8 Chandra Abrahams

A player who impressed with some great highlights. She laid a good tackle on the wing in the second term, and provided great forward pressure throughout the match. In the third term she showed quick thinking and goal sense to kick a goal off a step from 45m out. In the final term she laid a great goal-saving tackle, earning her a free. Her versatility to play up either end was on show on the weekend.

#27 Nikia Webber

A player who is in ripping form currently, Webber continues to provide a forward target for the Power, finishing the game with three majors and moving to second on the goal-kicking table. She kicked a huge goal from 40m out in the first term, then got her second in the second term through some hard running, and capped off with an impressive third goal just after that. Aside from hitting the scoreboard, Webber also provided strength and a keen goal sense inside 50.

#58 Amy Dunn

Played through the ruck and certainly held her own, showing good strength and giving her midfielders first use most of the time. A strong body, she assisted her teammates with good defensive efforts. The co-captain was a good leader in the absence of co-captain Tyla Hanks on game day.

Others:

#10 Tahlia Dower: Provided some good dash out of defence and got forward to kick a goal for her hard running efforts. She covered the ground really well and was one of the better Power players on the day.

#30 Alana Rippon: Worked hard through the midfield and provided some good dash. It was clear if the opposition gave her a centimetre she would take a mile. Got some quick first few steps and is able to find the ball.                     

#57 Jasmine Ferguson: Constantly applied pressure to the opposition and pumped the kick long inside 50. Ferguson took a huge grab in the middle of the ground and moves well for a taller player.

#65 Julia Redmond: Had a memorable moment in the second term, pulling down a huge pack mark on the wing.

 

Northern Knights vs. Oakleigh Chargers

By: Michael Alvaro 

Northern:

#4 Neve O’Connor

Fought valiantly all day against Bridie Winbanks in a very even ruck battle and made her presence felt. She moves really well for a player of her height and was not afraid to take her opponents on when pushing the ball forward with her booming kick. In a very strong Knights midfield, it felt like O’Connor was a fourth rover with her efforts around the ground proving valuable.

#6 Alyssa Bannan

She always finds a way to hit the scoreboard and today was no different. Starting on the wing, Bannan provided touches of class and some good run through the midfield. Her spread from the congestion proved to be damaging, and her ability to repeatedly be the option to carry the ball inside 50 is a real asset. She booted both of her goals in the final term, with one of them coming off the back of a nifty side-step to get rid of her opponent.

#18 Sarah Sansonetti

Kicked the first goal of the game but spurned the chance to kick another moments later as she could not manage to poke the ball through from the goal-square. She was ever-present inside 50 and provided a solid option all day, often acting as the link in the chain between the arc and the goals. She had the chance to kick another goal in the final quarter but gave it off, which was typical of her score involvements for the game.

#21 Ellie McKenzie

Arguably the best player on the ground, McKenzie dominated in all areas. She started the game in the centre bounce and won a stack of clearances to go with two goal assists early on. The highlight of her game also came early in the first term when she received the ball at half-back and went on a winding four-bounce run through the centre square. She lost the ball momentarily but bounced straight back up, won it back and hit up a teammate inside 50. She was thrown forward late in the last quarter and kicked three goals in as many minutes to seal the win for her side, capping off a complete and dominant display.

#24 Alexandra Pronesti

Another Knight who always seems to find the goals, Pronesti was again at her dangerous best. Her three first-half goals helped the Knights to set up a handy buffer going into the main break, and she stood up when needed. Playing as a deep-lying forward, she was able to position herself well at every contest and proved to be a real handful when working in tandem with Sarah Sansonetti.

Others:

#2 Marnie Jarvis: There is not much of her, but Jarvis was everywhere and had some nice moments. Working mainly off half-back and the wing, she looked lively with ball in hand and provided some spark going forward. Her speed and nifty sideways movement allow her to stand out.

#5 Madeline Brancatisano: The skipper was lively early as she attended most of the stoppages. She provided a cool head to go with her tough edge in the contest and burrowed in well to set the tone for her side. While she faded out later on and was caught in possession a couple of times, she showed signs of her usual accumilating best.  

#7 Abigail Bennett: Was used in varying roles around the ground but was mostly effective behind the ball and through the midfield. Her best moment came in the last quarter where she picked up the loose ball, weaved through two opponents and set on a dangerous forward run. A smooth mover, Bennett also impressed with her clean hands in a frantic contest.

 

Oakleigh:

#11 Bridie Winbanks

Was a standout as the Chargers’ best player alongside midfield bull Emily Harley with a massive contribution in both the ruck and at ground level. While the ruck battle was relatively even, it was Winbanks’ follow-up efforts and fierce tackling that were most impressive. As a mobile tall, she was able to show off her admirable work rate and strong hands in what was a physical contest. Her lone goal came at the end of the third term, which the Chargers won with three goals to zip thanks largely to her efforts. 

#16 Alana Porter

Porter spent the majority of the game in the midfield and had a few good moments. Her speed and willingness to take the game on was a highlight, and she was able to give her side a nice bit of outside drive. While her attacking style is exciting, she was caught in possession a couple of times, opting to bounce or hold the ball when she had the chance to quickly dispose of it.

#17 Nicola Xenos

Was quiet early but found her feet and a way into the game during the third quarter. She had a five minute purple patch where she showed off her speed in a mazy run, caught an opponent holding the ball, and put in a courageous effort at half forward in quick succession. Her hands are clean and she has good natural pace, proving to be quite evasive throughout the game.

#19 Emily Harley

Harley was a bullocking force through the Oakleigh midfield and provided some real grunt when they needed it. She started off the game dishing out a couple of fend-offs and doing her best to side-step opponents with her turn of pace, and continued on with much of the same. Her forward drive and competitiveness was a real standout, with many of her runs finished off with a long inside-50 ball. A highlight for her was her handy slips catch while she was thrown deep forward in the second term, which she capped off with a goal.

Others:

#41 Katie Lynch: Having started in the centre square for most of the first half, Lynch struggled to make an early impact. A move deep forward in the second half proved fruitful, as she looked to have gained some confidence and found a lot more of the ball. She looked dangerous at times and finished the game with a goal.

#38 Daisy Bateman: There were limited opportunities for the Oakleigh forwards but Bateman took advantage of the ones that fell her way, booting two of her side’s five goals for the game.

 

Dandenong Stingrays vs. GWV Rebels

By: Peter Williams 

Dandenong:

#1 Shelley Heath

One of the Stingrays prime movers through the midfield and constantly pushed back to help out the defence. Had a busy first term with a couple of eye-catching dashes in the opening minutes, and also laid some tackles later that quarter. After a quieter patch in the middle of the game, Heath picked up in the second half with a huge tackle later in the third quarter just outside 50 with the clock counting down. Her last quarter was great, winning plenty of the football pushing back at half-back and along the wing, working hard to use her pace to drive the ball forward.

#10 Abbey Jordan

Has pace to burn and constantly tried to break the lines. She worked in tandem with Heath along the wing and covered plenty of ground. In particular she moved well in the final term, driving the ball out of defence to help propel the Stingrays forward.

#18 Saige Bayne

One of the better Stingrays throughout the game, played on the outside and managed to get into ball-winning positions. I thought it was her best performance of the season and she adds a bit of pace and grunt to the outside, a solid performance across the four quarters. Just keeps battling hard and was able to get free on a number of occasions to kick the ball long.

#28 Tyanna Smith

Booted two goals for the Stingrays and was lively in the front half of the ground. Early in the third term, Smith positioned herself well in front of her opponent and protected the ball drop to mark. Not long after she kicked one of the goals of the day from long range. One of the better Stingrays on the day and a creative option inside 50.

 

#35 Lucy Cripps

As consistent as ever in defence hardly put a foot wrong and just so consistent, when the going got tough she got going. Cripps even pushed up to a wing at times in the third term to provide extra support in the midfield and drive the ball forward. Good long kick deep in the third term, as she had pushed up to half-forward at the time. Knows when to push up the ground and when to stay back. Versatile and can play anywhere on the ground.

Others:

#5 Eloise Allen-Burns: A composed defender in the back 50, Allen-Burns repelled a number of Rebels attacks with some good intercept marks and clearing kicks. Just does her job and is rarely beaten one-on-one.

#20 Eliza Wilson-Macdonald: Buried herself under packs again and laid a number of fierce tackles. She just continues to work hard and win one-on-one contests or at least put her body on the line. Earned a free kick in the final term at a crucial stage to drive her team forward.

#26 Isabella Shannon: Played forward in the third term and presented well and then started to show it on the scoreboard with a goal and then a centering pass to the square. With her leading out the Stingrays looked much more dangerous. Great long kick at half-forward to deep.

#55 Harmony Thomas: Continues to present as a forward target, just needs to capitalise on her opportunities. She took a great one-on-one mark early in the game but missed the set shot. A last quarter free for going in hard presented another opportunity but just missed. She laid a great tackle in the third term to stop a forward thrust and provided a neat kick to Shelley Heath.

 

GWV Rebels:

#2 Renee Saulitis

She has a bit of pace and class about her, kicking a goal and looking dangerous at times through the midfield. She had a good deep pass forward in the second term and is a good mover, sidestepping her opponent.

#16 Lauren Butler

Just a consistent leader in midfield, she positions her kicks well to the danger zone and has that powerful penetration. In the third term she won the ball at midfield and hit up her team-mate leading out of the forward 50. Early on with Dandenong having the breeze, Butler drifted back to help the defence and took a good intercept mark in the hole in defence.

#21 Denver Henson

Really liked her performance through the ruck and around the ground. She continued to push hard and kicked long to gain serious metres. She laid a fierce tackle in the opening quarter and showed quick hands to her runners. I think the bigger highlights were her efforts around the ground.

#23 Sophie Molan

Really consistent performance again from Molan who seemed to be everywhere. She settled down the side and was used in transition, winning the football across the midfield and being an important link in the chain going forward.

#34 Stephanie Glover

Provided some great drive out of defence, and was particularly prominent early. She showed good agility to sidestep opponents and kick long down the wing, and was one of the better Rebels across the course of the game. Seemed to have a no-frills approach of winning the ball and keeping it moving in transition, working hard to win it defensively and drive it forward.

Others:

#9 Jordie McAuliffe: A hard runner who was rewarded with a great goal in the second term. She also was a reliable kick, hitting up Isabella Simmons who lead at the football in the forward 50.

#19 Katie McAloon: Kicked a great goal off a step in the second quarter.

#27 Nyakoat Dojiok: Created some great run and carry early on in the match, and almost pulled down a high leap but just dropped it. Good acceleration and has a penetrating kick, she had some impressive plays.

#28 Isabella Simmons: Positions herself well down forward, leads for the footy and then camps under the drop zone protecting the ball drop.

#45 Alyssa Humphries: Early on in the game she was damaging up forward, booting a goal and then using her quick hands after a mark to give it off to Jordie McAuliffe for a goal. Played well out of full-forward, and almost kicked a second goal, hitting the post in the final term.

 

Sandringham Dragons vs. Calder Cannons 

Sandringham:

 

#1 Maddison Wilson

Was lively around goal, especially in the first quarter. She kicked the first two goals for the game and finished up with three. Bended it nicely around the body for a confidence-boosting goal after stoppages started to come into play more frequently. Wilson read the ball well in the goal-square, crumbing the ground balls and snapping them through. Was killing it inside 50, taking great uncontested marks and trapping to the ball deep inside 50.

#25 Bella Eddey

Her goal was a stunning pick up and snap around the body from the boundary line! This was set up by Alice Burke’s high ball, which set the small forwards up nicely to run onto the footy. Eddey displayed good work to hunt the ball down and got plenty of it. She was involved in a lot of passages of play, which was highlighted by a spearing pass to Sophia Rothfield on the lead. Even brought her teammates into the game with a good one-two to get the Dragons out of trouble.

#30 Eleanor Brown

Did all the little things right for Sandringham. Managed to kick the ball well even off a burst of acceleration. Delivered a beautiful kick into the middle of the ground to get the Dragons out of trouble. Displayed pinpoint accuracy with her kicking. Had good run and carry especially down the wing. Brown leads well towards the ball even in defence, and doesn’t wait for the ball to come to her so she can spoil. She didn’t allow opponents to lead to the footy because she always meets it first.

#36 Jemma Owen

Really starting to find some good form in these past couple of rounds. Was able to stand up in the stoppages and did some nice things to clear the ball out of congestion. Kicked a nice goal after a good assist from Georgia Emberton. Kicked two for the game which really got her confidence up.

#49 Laura Amelung

Amelung can make an impact wherever she plays. Spent some time up forward and kicked a goal courtesy of a nice snap. Had some great one percenters with some really strong tackles, some great work to run into space and even a nice attempt to thread the needle through goals! She had a nice moment where she grabbed the ball off the deck, accelerated and ran towards goal. Ended up with two majors for the day, showing her versatility.

 

Others:

#2 Winnie Laing: Was able to trap the ball well and handball it out of congestion. Displayed great work to get the ball out with three Cannons players tackling her.

#3 Sophia Rothfield: I witnessed one of the best leads to the footy I’ve seen after Rothfield burst off her opponent with immense speed when she read Bella Eddey’s spearing pass immensely well. Gave her opponent no chance to chase her down in that instance. Displayed some really good work to chase the ball down in the goal-square and kick off one step while being tackled.

#31 Bryanna Arnold: Read the footy beautifully, shown by a kick just landing into her arms after all eyes were on it. Displayed good work to hold up play while the Cannons attempted to run away out of a stoppage.

#32 Sarah Hartwig: Displayed good composure down back. Was able to kick well under pressure. She’s a good defender and a great leader in the back-line.  

#46 Alice Burke: Had plenty of score involvements throughout the match. Most memorable one was a high kick to set up a Bella Eddey goal. Delivered some really nice kicks for the forwards to run onto, and one of them ended up in a great boundary-line snap from Eddey once again.

 

Calder:

#2 Felicity Theodore

Theodore was everywhere for the Cannons and tried extremely hard to keep her side in the game. Did well to hold the dangerous Alice Burke up in stoppage to create another stoppage. Was reading Carla Rendelmann’s taps perfectly and was able to get some clearances. Even had a couple of good ‘don’t argues’ to clear the kick away from congestion. In another instance, she fended off well to evade her opponent and dashed out of the middle. Theodore was able to pick up ball with pace, making it look like the other players were just staring at it. Often got the Cannons out of trouble. Leapt and marked against two Sandringham players to send the ball straight back inside 50 after a kick-out from full-back. Really filled Prespakis’ shoes.

#32 Terira Fry

Applied great pressure to cause a stoppage with four Sandringham players around her. Laid a huge tackle in the goal-square to keep the ball alive for the Cannons inside 50. Continues to improve each game and is one of the Cannons’ best players. Caused some headaches for the Dragons thanks to her aggressive manner and hunt to penetrate the ball forward through defensive acts.

#34 Zoe Hardiman

Hardiman did some really nice things around the contest. She picked up the ball well and evaded her opponents to deliver a nice centring kick, took a really nice mark which set her up for a set shot in the second quarter,  and delivered a fantastic run-down tackle. Also read the ball well when she marked a kick that dropped short. Accelerated towards it rather than waiting for it. Was active around the half-forward flank especially.

#38 Laura Cocomello

Got heaps of kicks away and did not seem to stop trying for the Cannons. She was proactively keeping the game moving for Calder. Kept herself in the game through some good running and following up her teammates’ nice work around the contest. Was able to just grab the ball and kick it without fuss.

#42 Kellie Sutton

She was really strong in defence. She took a great mark to create a turnover and delivered a nice handball under pressure. Displayed great work to hack the ball out of inside 50 when Dragons looked dangerous. Strong tackling was also evident in one of her best games of the season.

 

 

Others:

#15 Georgia Marsland: Took a nice mark off a high kick. Kicked the Cannons’ first goal of the day.

#18 Carla Rendelmann: Was impressive in the ruck and won lots of hit-outs. Tapped the ball down well to her small midfielders, especially Felicity Theodore.

#37 Faith Holloway: Broke away from the contest well and got a kick away. Had a lively start to the game. Smothered the ball well to save a certain goal for the Dragons.

#46 Gloria Elarmaly: Did some nice work to thread through a goal for Calder. Was lively inside 50.

 

Geelong Falcons vs. Murray Bushrangers 

Geelong:

#10 Samantha Atkins

I was impressed with her performance across half-forward, providing some fierce tackles and keeping the opposition honest. Earned an important free kick in the first term when she dispossessed Grace Egan, and then worked hard inside 50 to win the ball at half-forward and centre it to a dangerous position, leading to a goal. She laid quite a few strong tackles, with one in particular in the third term causing an important turnover in the forward half.

#11 Luka Lesosky-Hay

Arguably Geelong’s most prominent midfielder, Lesosky-Hay really stood up in the absence of Olivia Purcell and Nina Morrison. She went head-to-head with Grace Egan throughout the day and had some great battles, never taking a backwards step. She went in hard and won some crucial contested possessions, shovelling the ball out to teammates in space.

#32 Mia Sheppard

I thought she was one of the better Falcons given her strong work in defence. On a couple of occasions, she positioned herself well in the marking contest, and had a desire to win the football. In the final term when Murray was attacking, Sheppard won a crucial one-on-two and locked the ball up. Had she lost that contest, Murray would have surely goaled and put the margin within a kick.

#36 Abbey Chapman

It was almost impossible to name a best player from the Falcons such was their team effort, but Chapman probably came the closest with her sensational work in defence. It was not just her consistency that was impressive, but she just had a number of “big” moments which could be considered game-changing. In the third term she saved a certain Grace Egan goal with a mark on the line, and then in the fourth term, took a huge intercept mark with five minutes to play, settling down the team as the Bushrangers attacked. Across the course of the game she was very good one-on-one.

#39 Tarryn Love

I thought she was one of the best on ground early, until injury curtailed her match in the third term. She just hunts the ball and harasses the opposition, providing pressure on the ball carrier. When in control of the football she has clean hands and a great first touch. Her awareness of her teammates’ positioning is also important and she is able to execute handballs through traffic. Love set up a goal to Paige Sheppard with a kick to her advantage up forward.

Others:

#6 Paige Sheppard: Kicked a couple of goals to spur on the Falcons with one from a set shot, and another from a snap courtesy of a Tarryn Love kick inside 50.

#16 Laura Gardiner: Seemed to cover the ground well, playing off half-back and also getting forward to kick a goal. She is a long kick who is often on the move.

#37 Sophie Dinneen: Another Falcons defender who worked hard to win the football and repel the Bushrangers attacks. She was smart with ball in hand and kicked long out of the defensive zone.

#35 Sophie Walmsley: A lively player who kicked a great goal courtesy of a snap in the pocket. She provided run on the outside, received a good handball to keep the ball moving along the wing, and showed good pace at times, highlighted by a spin around and kick long to the danger zone inside 50 in the third quarter.

#38 Renee Tierney: Did not kick a goal after a bag last week but played a team role with the way she pushed up to the wing and hit the packs hard, providing support for her teammates. She moves pretty well and is strong one-on-one. Had more of an impact up the field than closer to goal this week.

 

Murray:

#1 Julia Harvey

The pocket rocket stepped up into the midfield and had a huge opening term against the Falcons. She seemed to be everywhere, buzzing around the stoppages and weaving her way through traffic. A noticeable strength is her great hands in close and cleanliness at ground level. She is a good user of the football and quite composed with ball in hand. Was quieter later in the game – still had some impressive plays – but her first quarter was sensational.

#22 Tamara Smith

Was Murray’s best player across four quarters and the attributes that stand out are her ability to move through traffic, and her game smarts. She is good above her head and in the second term, showed the awareness while under pressure, to punch the ball forward mid-air rather than take possession and be dispossessed. Smith is a clever player who in the third term also did the team thing, going in to assist her teammate Kate Adams at a stoppage, providing a vital shepherd to allow Adams clear passage for disposal. She also assisted with a goal to Melanie Cook after a nice pass in the fourth quarter.

#37 Sophie Damon

Had a huge first half in particular, being somewhat of a playmaker through the middle with her teammates looking to her to kick long and deep. She was often on the end of handballs, and moved really well for a taller player. In one instance she calmly sidestepped an opponent and managed to kick with composure. She had a shot on goal but that just missed to the left. Her ruck work was also impressive, giving her teammates first chance at possession. She was also involved in the Melanie Cook goal, hitting up Tamara Smith with a piercing pass.

#39 Hayley Doohan

The most notable moments for me were when she won some crucial one-on-ones late in the match. She was able to win a hardball and handpass to Grace Egan under pressure, then beat her opponent late in the final term in a one-on-one contest.

#42 Grace Egan

One of the stars of the Bushrangers’ line-up, Egan was consistent across the game, but particularly picked up in the second half. She worked hard through the midfield, burrowing under packs, putting pressure on the opposition. She stands strong during tackles and found a lot of the ball in close. In the third quarter she ran forward and had a shot on goal, but it was marked on the line. She has clean hands and a one-grab player, spreading well to cover the ground. One of her best passes was in the final term when she had the ball at half-back. She sent a bullet, hitting up a teammate on the wing, switching up play and disrupting the opposition’s set-up. Really stood up as a leader in the final minutes, trying to assist in directing players.

Others:

#4 Chelsea Knight: A classy midfielder who assisted Julia Harvey, Tamara Smith and Grace Egan through the midfield. She stepped up at points and had a few good touches in the midfield, especially in the third term.

#8 Olivia Hall: Got her side up and about in the final term with a great goal to put the Bushrangers back within 10 points at the six and a half minute mark of the final term.

#40 Melanie Cook: Continually presented at the football and was often under tight watch from the opposition. She took a good mark and kicked to the danger zone in the second term to set up Mikayla Jones’ goal. In the final term, Cook got the ball rolling and the atmosphere going with a goal from a snap.

TAC Cup Girls previews: Round 5

WITH the AFLW Academy stars out of TAC Cup Girls action this week, it will undoubtedly be a test of depth for all sides across the board. Headlining the round five action is the battle between two undefeated teams in Murray and Geelong. This will be the last of a triple-header at Bendigo in what is set to be a huge day, and round, of TAC Cup Girls football.

WESTERN JETS V. EASTERN RANGES

Round 5 – Saturday April 7, 12.15pm
Williamstown Football Ground, Williamstown

In the first true home match for the Jets, they go into the game relatively unscathed with Isabella Grant being the only AFLW Academy member for Western. But they come up against the Eastern Ranges who remain undefeated after four rounds of TAC Cup Girls football.

This will be an opportunity for Western’s defence to mimic the efforts of the Pioneers last week, who kept Eastern to four goals. Katarina Rebuffo has been one of the standouts for the Jets this season and could play a big role on the weekend. Caitlin Greiser has been named in the ruck, but could assert her dominance up forward after being the sole goal-kicker for the Jets last round.

For the Eastern Ranges who have to travel to the other side of town, it will no doubt be a big test for them to get a win. Although they are undefeated, Western is hungry for a victory and Eastern’s depth will have to match the pace of the young Jets. The Ranges can trust in Lauren Szigeti who played a wonderful game against Bendigo in defence. They will also have the speedy Mikala Cann in the midfield to provide some inside run and speed.

 

BENDIGO PIONEERS V. GIPPSLAND POWER

Round 5 – Sunday April 8, 11am
Epsom Huntly Reserve, Epsom

This will be an intriguing battle between two young sides. The Pioneers boast the likes of Megan Williamson and Kodi Jacques in the midfield while the Power have plenty of depth to fill Tyla Hanks’ absence this week.

Co-captain Amy Dunn will have the opportunity to take the reigns on her own at Epsom and will undoubtedly be complemented by Jazz Ferguson and Alana Rippon, who have been among Gippsland’s best players each week. The Power also have a strong defensive set-up this week with Julia Redmond and Emily Haeusler floating across half-back.

Bendigo comes into the game with an unchanged side after restricting top side Eastern Ranges to just four goals last week. Keep an eye out for Jemma Finning and Maddie Baldwin who have been playing some wonderful footy for the Pioneers. Kate Douglass has been outstanding in defence and will look to minimise the impact of Chandra Abrahams and Nikia Webber, who booted two goals in a row last week in a match-winning performance.

 

NORTHERN KNIGHTS V. OAKLEIGH CHARGERS

Round 5 – Sunday April 8, 12.15pm
Preston City Oval, Preston

All eyes will be on Oakleigh in this game as gun players Hannah McLaren and Gemma Lagioia will sit out the match at Preston this week after being involved in a head clash in round four. The story is not any better for the Knights as they will be without versatile leader, Gabby Newton who is in the AFLW Academy.

However Northern has a strong line-up of players and they will certainly step up in Newton’s absence. Abigail Bennett played another stellar game last week and would be keen to get on the scoreboard in this match, starting on the half-forward flank. A key name on the team sheet is Ellie McKenzie in the midfield. McKenzie has been playing fantastic in defence since her round three debut, and will be tested against Oakleigh’s Alana Porter and Mimi Hill .

One of the biggest ins for the Chargers is star midfielder, Katie Lynch who will undoubtedly provide some firepower through the middle of the ground. Lynch was one of the best performers in her last TAC Cup game in round three and she is likely to be up there again at Preston. Daisy Bateman and Melanie Bertuna also come into the side and will be looking to tear it up in the forward-line against a formidable Northern backline.

 

DANDENONG STINGRAYS V. GREATER WESTERN VICTORIA REBELS

Round 5 – Sunday April 8, 12.45pm
Epsom Huntly Reserve, Epsom

In the second game of a triple-header at Bendigo, the Stingrays and the Rebels will go head-to-head with some key players missing from the game. For Dandenong, Jordyn Allen, Courtney Jones and Brooke Struylaart will sit out the round five clash while Sophie Van De Huevel, Rene Caris and Georgia Clarke will watch from the sidelines for Greater Western Victoria (GWV).

But the Rebels still have plenty of firepower in their side, with Lauren Butler likely to dominate in the midfield. Nyakoat Dojiok has hardly put a foot wrong this season and will be looking to put the pressure on the Stingrays with her pace. Sophie Molan will also be a huge presence in the midfield alongside Butler and Dojiok, getting shifted there in the absence of Caris in the ruck.

Shelley Heath will line up for the Stingrays in the midfield as she always does and could go head-to-head with the likes of Butler and Molan, which should be an intriguing battle. Also keep an eye out for Eloise Allen-Burns and Lucinda Cripps, who have been as consistent as ever in defence. Samantha Ryan will start at full-forward for the Stingrays and will be hungry to kick some goals to lead her side to their first win of the season.

 

SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS V. CALDER CANNONS

Round 5 – Sunday April 8, 1.15pm
Trevor Barker Beach Oval, Sandringham

The Sandringham Dragons are arguably one of the strongest sides going into this round with no AFLW Academy absentees holding them back. It is a different story for the Cannons though as captain, Madison Prespakis as well as Georgia Patrikios and Molly Warburton will have to sit out the match.

Prespakis has been Calder’s best player in pretty much every match they have played this season so her loss will be a massive test for the Cannons. To soften the blow of her absence, the Cannons have the speed and acceleration of Grace Dicker as well as the endurance of Faith Holloway to provide some run through the middle of the ground. Zoe Hardiman will line up forward alongside Georgia Marsland, who was proactive inside 50 last week.

But Hardiman and Marsland could have a battle on their hands with Sarah Hartwig, Alice Burke and Laura Amelung in great form across the back-line. Eliza McNamara and Jasmine Tait will look to nullify the impact of Dicker and Holloway in the midfield, and could also float around the ground to add some versatility to the Dragons line-up. Jemma Owen played a true captain’s game against Dandenong and will be looking to lead her side to a win at home.

 

GEELONG FALCONS V. MURRAY BUSHRANGERS

Round 5 – Sunday April 8, 2.30pm
Epsom Huntly Reserve, Epsom

Round five has saved the best until last with two undefeated teams going head-to-head at Epsom. But both teams have quite a lengthy list of outs. Geelong will be without Lucy McEvoy, Olivia Purcell, Denby Taylor, Eliza Shannon and Nina Morrison. The Bushrangers will be without Rebecca Webster, Eloise Ashley-Cooper and Millie Brown.

But Murray still has star player Grace Egan, who will start forward after playing in defence throughout the season. Julia Harvey and Tamara Smith will also still be running around for the Bushrangers, and will be looking to continue their red-hot form against Geelong. Chelsea Knight and Sophie Damon will be key players in the midfield as they aim to combat the Falcons who are fresh off a 70-point victory.

Despite the absence of five key players, Geelong’s side still looks strong as Sophie Walmsley, Paige Sheppard and Tarryn Love headline the midfield. Abbey Chapman and Mia Sheppard will look to hold down the fort in defence in the absence of Denby Taylor. The Geelong forward-line is still strong with Sachi DeGiacomi dominating at half-forward while Renee Tierney is coming off a four-goal performance last week.

Scouting notes: TAC Cup Girls – Round 1

THE opening round of the TAC Cup Girls competition had it all. Draft prospects kick-started their season in a big way, debutants shone on the big stage, and while one team enjoyed their first win, another endured their first loss. The Oakleigh Chargers’ first win was a big one, as they sit on the top of the ladder after one round of action. Meanwhile for the Cannons, they sit unfamiliarly towards the bottom of the ladder, after being defeated by the Murray Bushrangers at Yarrawonga. The AFL Draft Central scouts were able to attend four games this week, and we took detailed notes on who we thought were the standouts in each game.

GEELONG FALCONS VS. SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS

By Julia Montesano

Geelong Falcons:

#27: Denby Taylor

So composed in the back-line, and was able to take a mark running back with the flight of the ball. Laid some great tackles in the second quarter especially, when Sandringham was putting the Falcons under the pump. Her speed was a factor in defence, particularly when she chased down and tackled a Dragons forward. This really changed the momentum of the game, as Sandringham was pushing the Geelong defence. Taylor was able to clear the ball out quickly at multiple times, thanks to her quick thinking and quick hands.

#39: Tarryn Love

Love’s acceleration stood out on the day, as she was able to get away from her opponent when they were attempting to lay a tackle on her. She was able to move the ball quickly and well. Her run and carry off half-back was exceptional, nobody could stop her. She not only made some great defensive efforts, but she was able to run into the middle of the ground and make an impact. One of the fastest players on the ground that was able to stand up at multiple times throughout the game.

#33: Zoe Inei

Inei did all the hard work in the ruck, but her impact was felt more so around the ground. Showed great intent to chase down players, especially in the middle of the ground, where the ball was won and lost. Was able to clear the ball into space, allowing her teammates to run onto the ball and execute a running style of footy that proved successful. Got plenty of the ball in the middle of the ground where it mattered. Simply monstered through her opponents, with her aggression and size. A massive force across the ground that helped the Falcons penetrate the ball into their forward line.

#18: Nina Morrison

Great speed out of the pack and in the middle of the ground. Good tackling and run-down chasing was evident early, and only improved throughout the game. Was able to take a great mark while her opponent pushed her under the ball, showing her strength in the contest. Quick thinker, and used her footy smarts to hack the ball onto her boot and clear it into space. Morrison was always zipping around the contest, and was able to chase down players of any size especially in the heart of the contest. Did well to accelerate away from the Dragons midfielders at multiple times.

#42: Sachi DeGiacomi

Played a great role down forward, not only kicking goals but providing plenty of assists. DeGiacomi was able to kick the ball right onto the chest of Lucy McEvoy at multiple times, and both combined for some great highlights in the forward line. To me, she was the link in the chain in the forward 50, getting plenty of score involvements throughout the afternoon. She had quick hands and quick feet, particularly when she elected to kick the ball off the ground to move it deeper into the forward line. Displayed good strength to break away from the play and push away two players while running into goal. Ended up with three majors herself- a reward for a good day inside 50.

Others:

#6: Paige Sheppard

Sheppard’s endurance was the most impressive on the ground. She was able to cover all areas of the ground, despite playing in the forward pocket. Was able to accumulate a lot of the footy in the back-line, and executed some great kicks under pressure. At one point, she was wrestled off the ball but kept her feet, showing her great core strength.

#7: Olivia Purcell

Purcell started off her day with a strong tackle in the middle of the ground, and from then I just knew she was going to be unstoppable. Tackling was on-show all day, and to me she looked like a mini Ebony Marinoff! Always put her head over the footy, and got it out of the contest, whether it was a kick, handball or a simple tap. Was able to follow up on her efforts around the ground. She dropped a mark, then quickly picked the ball up and kicked it around her body.

#36: Abbey Chapman

Great run and carry off half-back. Was able to back herself and clear the ball into space. Evident in the third quarter when she backed her speed, took a few bounces and sent the ball into the middle of the ground. Was able to take plenty of great marks, and stood tall in the defensive 50 multiple times.

#23: Lucy McEvoy

The Geelong captain worked extremely well with Sachi DeGiacomi in the forward 50. Was able to capitalise on some great assists, and slotted in well into her new role up forward. Missed two set shots but was still able to get two majors on the board for her side. Teared it up in the forward line, and will only improve as the season goes on.

#26: Mia Skinner

Kicked a great goal in the first quarter to start off her day. Protected the footy really well when she marked the ball. Had a good day up forward, where she was able to complement the bigger bodies of Lucy McEvoy and Sachi DeGiacomi. Skinner was zipping around the ball deep in the forward line, putting pressure on the Dragons defenders.

 

Sandringham Dragons:

#5: Winnie Laing

Laing was able to put her head over the footy in the heart of the contest. Was always around the contest and attacking the ball. She got plenty of the ball through the middle of the ground, and was an integral part of Sandringham’s fight-back late in the game. Used her footy smarts to wrestle the ball from the Geelong midfielders at crucial times throughout the game.

#7: Eliza McNamara

McNamara was able to burst out of the pack, especially in the middle of the ground. Was able to fight hard for the ball on numerous occasions, and combine her speed and power to penetrate the ball forward for the Dragons. Worked well with Laing around the contest, and together, they orchestrated the Sandringham fight-back in the midfield.

#2: Sophie Rothfield

Had plenty of good moments during the game, and was the best-on-ground when it came to one percenters. She displayed some good work to push Geelong’s Mia Skinner under the ball, after Rothfield followed up her dropped mark. She ensured that the Falcons didn’t get their hands on the ball at crucial parts of the ground. Good kick and shepherd to allow her teammate to run forward. Executed all the little things during the day

#43: Bryanna Arnold

Scrapped in hard for the footy throughout the day. Good clearing kick out of the back line, creating space for her teammates to run onto the ball and penetrate it forward. She even did this in the forward line, when she got a free kick at the top of the 50, and booted it to the goal square. Was able to work towards the front of the ground, highlighting her impressive endurance. Has a long kick for a small player!

#1: Isabella Stutt

Was pivotal in the forward line for the Dragons, kicking two of her side’s four majors. Dug in deep for her side when Geelong was starting to take control. Used all of her energy to run onto the footy when it was kicked into space, but was unlucky that two Falcons were there to mop it up. Read the footy really well, particularly when she was delivered a magnificent centering kick from her teammate. Was able to convert in front of goal, and will be able hit the scoreboard frequently throughout the season.

Others:

#15: Abbie McKay

Displayed great acceleration out of the back-line. But also did some great work in the middle of the ground. She had quick hands and was able to clear the ball out of congestion. Her endurance was fantastic.

#9: Eleanor Brown

Was able to kick the ball into space plenty of times throughout the match. What impressed me most was that she kept running after she kicked the ball, following up on every effort she performed on the ground.

#45: Sarah Hartwig

Broke through the contest with some impressive clearances. Her strength in the contest was very impressive, and was one of the stars in the middle of the ground.

#8: Nicole Amiet

Managed to kick the ball into the right area at multiple times throughout the game. Her ability to find space was remarkable, and she was able to use it to advantage to get her team forward.

#18: Alanna Dalley

Tried hard in the ruck against Geelong’s Zoe Inei. Got the ball down to her midfielders plenty of times. Has a great leap that could be damaging against the smaller sides of the competition.

 

DANDENONG STINGRAYS VS. NORTHERN KNIGHTS

Dandenong Stingrays:

#1: Shelley Heath

Heath played in defence and up until three quarter time was best on ground in my opinion, despite her team losing. She started strongly with a great run-down tackle at half-forward and set the tone for the rest of her teammates. She stopped a certain goal with an outreached hand on the goal line and produced some of the best defensive pressure on the field. Heath not only showed defensive attributes, but was strong offensively, running down the wing and breaking the game open. She also was proactive in defence, rebounding nearly everything that came her way, absorbing Northern’s pressure like a sponge. She teamed up well with captain Jordyn Allen, who was often on the receiving end of Heath’s rebounds.

#3: Courtney Jones

Jones was not a huge possession winner, but she was one I was interested to watch given the high wraps on her heading into the match. In the few glimpses I saw, I was impressed with her composure under pressure and her ability to weigh up her options before disposing of the football. She kicked out on occasion early on and that gives an indication of the expectations placed upon her kicking skills.

#15: Jordyn Allen

The Dandenong Stingrays’ captain was everywhere and certainly one of the best. She is a strong overhead mark, intercepts nearly anything that comes her way, and she opens up the game for her teammates. Her vision and ability to see teammates before they have even seen her is a real asset to her game. She loves to fend off players and almost always tries to spin out of trouble. I did notice a couple of times she spun to a left-dominant side yet still kicked with her right foot, so this is something that she might work on over time. Sometimes she can over kick the ball a little, but on most occasions she puts the ball into space to demand a teammate to run onto it. Overall a really impressive game.

#26: Isabella Shannon

I was quite impressed with Shannon’s game up forward. She moves well and snapped a couple of goals at important times when the game was in the Knights’ favour. She also moved up the ground and won possessions in the midfield and she just has that knack of moving smoothly through traffic. She is a hunter of the football just getting to every contest she could and having eyes for the ball. At times her disposal could be tidied up a little, but as an inside midfielder/forward she certainly stood out.

#35: Lucinda Cripps

The Stingrays’ full-back was a rock of consistency. She is strong one-on-one, rarely gets beaten overhead and is a reliable kick by foot. At times under pressure her disposal by hand was not as clean, but her defensive attributes, particularly one-on-one and the one percenters were a joy to watch and she could be one to keep an eye on throughout the season.

Others:

#18: Saige Bayne

Laid a great tackle in the second half to earn a free kick.

#19: Brooke Borchard

Produced a great smother on the goal line to stop a certain goal.

#31: Brooke Vernon

I was impressed with her clean hands off a volley from the deck and turned around to dispose of it cleanly.

#51: Zoe Hill

Another player who worked hard to stop a certain goal in the second term.

#55: Harmony Thomas

Was quiet early but took a huge contested grab in the final term which indicates there’s a lot more to come from her this season.

 

Northern Knights:

#5: Maddy Brancatisano

The Northern Knights captain is a pure inside midfielder who just crashes into the contest with no regard for her own safety. She lays fierce tackles and does all the right one percenters to assist her teammates and bring them into the game. Her first touch could improve, but her inside work burrowing under packs and forcing the ball free really adds a strong dimension to the Knights’ inside brigade.

#6: Alyssa Bannan

At three quarter time I thought she had been a really solid contributor. Three minutes later she was best on ground. Bannan booted three goals in the opening few minutes of the final term and broke the game open, shutting the door on any chance of a Stingrays revival. It is hard not to award her best on ground honours purely for that three minute purple patch as it won Northern the game. But it was not just her last quarter heroics that impressed me. Earlier on in the first quarter, she showed fantastic composure to pick up the ball cleanly, take a bounce running inside 50 and then take a shot on the run from 20m out. 

#7: Abigail Bennett

The lightly-framed Bennett is a quick thinker with good skills. She played through the midfield and up forward, using pinpoint kicking to hit up targets over short distances. When inside 50, she positioned herself well under the drop zone and protected the ball making it hard for opponents to spoil. Her hard work to get into space paid off in the last term when she capped off her performance with a goal. One of the better Knights on the day for sure.

#23: Gabby Newton

The top star for mine from the Knights. She was the one I was most interested to see given the high wraps around the bottom-age star and she did not disappoint. I do not use the word lightly, but she has “elite” hands in traffic, reminding a bit of Matt Crouch when he was playing at the Rebels a few years ago. Newton seems to slot in everywhere, but she is a really balanced player, both offensively and defensively and that player you can use in transition. She even spent time in the ruck, winning a clean hitout to a teammate. Her tackling is immense, laying a number of bone-crunching tackles, so I think inside midfield is the way to go, with stints up forward where she could hit the scoreboard as well.

#24: Alex Pronesti

Pronesti did not win as much of the footy as her teammates, playing up forward in a strong team effort, but when she did, she did not waste a disposal. She became the first goal kicker in the team for the season, using great composure to sidestep an opponent, straighten up and goal from 30 metres out. She just has the air of class and she does not need to win a heap of the football to have a damaging influence on the contest.

Others:

#3: Nell Morris-Dalton

Really strong overhead, became a target up forward early and took a good contested mark. Her shot on goal missed, but she has a good presence there.

#12: Olivia Dikranis

Took the game on at one stage coming out of defence, was caught and pinged but earned the trust back with a smother from the resulting free kick.

#22: Britney Gutknecht

Had a few very nice highlights coming out of the middle, using great speed and agility to boot the ball forward.

#32: Ashley Snow

Showed a good sidestep out of traffic in defence and her agility shone.

 

EASTERN RANGES VS. GWV REBELS

Eastern Ranges:

#3: Emerson Woods

The AFLW Academy member had no trouble exerting her influence on the game and was one of the more consistent four-quarter performers on the day. Woods’ strengths lie in her ability to cover ground and do all the defensive things right. She tackles, lays bumps, sets up her teammates and is really strong one-on-one. This strength was emphasised late in the game when she took a huge contested mark at half-back. She just kept popping up around the ground and if you tracked her distance covered, it would be considerably high. A few times her kicks would be a little errant, but as an overall game she was certainly one of the better performers in a good team effort.

#21: Mikala Cann

Another player who I had heard big wraps about crossing from an athletics background, and did not disappoint. I expected the speed and athleticism, but Cann also provided plenty of defensive pressure as well, laying a number of strong tackles. In close, Cann was really strong with clean hands and danced around opponents as if she was working in a telephone box. Managed to save a certain goal with a touch on the line too. Cann also showed off her great acceleration in the third term, burning off opponents by sprinting away from the centre stoppage. Later on she sprinted forward, grabbed the ball off the deck, snapped but just missed. A top performer on the day.

#26: Tarni Brown

Brown is one player who really caught my eye on the weekend because of her super speed and agility. The amount of times she tucked the ball under her arm and put on the afterburners and just left players in her dust was quite phenomenal. In one passage of play later in the game, she sidestepped a couple of opponents, weaved through traffic, straightened up and hit-up a target inside 50. She also sold a fair bit of candy on the day, showing she has confidence in spades and it is no surprise given she is the daughter of Collingwood legend Gavin Brown, and brother to Collingwood-listed pair Callum and Tyler Brown.

#37: Georgia Macpherson

One of the players that just picked up where she left off last year – as a damaging rebound defender. Macpherson started her day playing on opposing AFLW Academy member Georgia Clarke, but played on a multitude of opponents, moving from half-back to a wing at times. She is one of the best marks in the competition, rarely beaten one-on-one and rarely dropping the pill in the air. She is also a really strong kick and hits up targets over short, medium or long distances. To go with this, Macpherson also has top vision and can open up the play with her decision making. In one instance she actually tried to make a play happen before her teammates were ready and the ball was intercepted given Clarke read the play first, but more often than not she was able to really get the run going from half-back. An instance that was one of the plays of the day was in the final term, where she intercepted a ball in front of her at half-back, received a shepherd from a teammate and did not break stride as she sprinted down the wing, producing a pinpoint kick to her teammate.

#46: Sarah Kendall

One player who I thought covered a fair bit of ground and was one of the better performers on the day was Sarah Kendall. She seemed to slot into defence, midfield and up forward because of her ability to stand tall in a marking contest and clunk a grab. Kendall is a booming kick and as the game went on it seemed to improve in terms of accuracy and depth. She had a couple of kicks early clearing the area, then showed that she can size up her options with more time and space. When forward she was a clear target, taking a few grabs and being the figurehead inside the forward 50.

Others:

#9: Paige Buruma

In one instance she tucked the ball under her arm and at full speed, managed to find a target up forward.

#16: Emma Horne

I liked her defensive ability one-on-one, winning a number of crucial contests.

#22: Catherina Chamberlain

She did not win a heap of it, but used her speed to set up a goal and her attack on the ball inside forward 50 was a real highlight.

#42: Marina Taverna

The Ranges’ multiple goal-scorer is a good focal point up forward. She leads to the hole inside forward 50 and protects the drop zone to mark in front of her opponent. She kicked a couple and earned them because of her smarts around goal.

#47: Jess Proven

Like Taverna, booted two goals but both came in the first term., She worked incredibly hard sprinting from the midfield to run onto the ball and kick the opening goal of the game, then kicked another inside 50 shortly after. Proven was a bit rushed in her field kicking, but strong overhead and strong standing up in a tackle to get her hands free.

 

GWV:

#16: Lauren Butler

The GWV Rebels captain was consistent throughout the match, playing her part through the midfield and down back. She is composed with the ball in hand, a trait which shone when under pressure. Butler weighed up her options before disposing of the football and did not put a foot wrong. There were others who might have stood out more, but defensively Butler was a star, laying quite a few tackles to keep the opposition guessing every time they were nearby.

#18: Sophie Van De Heuvel

One of three AFLW Academy members, Van De Heuvel started slowly for mine but worked her way into being one of the better players on the day. She played up forward a bit and then through the midfield, with a knack of positioning herself well, taking a strong mark and then using her foot skills to hurt opposing players. She is one of the better kicks in the competition and she has that vision to hit up teammates who might be running laterally, mixing things up and keeping the game flowing rather than stop-starting or predictably kicking long. Given how she finished the game, particularly in the third term, it will be great to see how she follows on from this performance with the round one cobwebs out of the way.

#21: Denver Henson

The midfielder caught my eye early reading the ball off the first hit-out and taking a first few quick steps before kicking long inside 50. Henson has clean hands and works hard to win the footy, while also taking the game on. In one instance she picked up the ball on the wing, had a run and used her composure to deliver the ball well inside forward 50. Another player who might sneak under opposition guard given her highly regarded teammates, but certainly is capable of doing some damage.

#23: Sophie Molan

Molan’s work at full-back was really impressive. Her key attributes are her strength and ability to position herself well one-on-one, rarely losing a contest. In one scenario she was on the wrong side of her opponent (because an opposition player had naturally kicked to direct opposition’s favour), but she worked hard to reposition herself and get a fist on it, then back up with a rebound to clear for her side. Additionally, her rebounding and disposal by foot was quite good and she consistently applied pressure in the defensive 50.

#25: Georgia Clarke

Heading into the match, I suspected she might be the one to watch given the high wraps and she lived up to expectations. She is a really smart player who anticipates situations before they happen and is a key link in the Rebels’ transition movement. Clarke is someone who ideally would play forward because of her contested marking, positioning and ability to read the play. But you get the feeling she will also spend a fair bit of time through the midfield in order to open the game up and use her good foot skills to advantage. She seems like a player who is constantly switched on, intercepting a pass inside forward 50 and then having the smarts to deliver the short pass to an open teammate in the pocket. Hardly put a foot wrong all day.

Others:

#27: Nyakoat Dojiok

Her football skills were off, but her acceleration and agility was bordering on unbelievable. She would grab the ball and seemingly glide past multiple players without them laying a hand on her at times. If she can sharpen up her disposal, she has the athletic tools to be a wildcard in the team.

#28: Isabella Simmons

Worked really hard, running on inside forward 50 and kicking a good goal.

#41: Kayetlan Harris

For a taller player, Harris’ agility and turning circle was quite impressive.

 

GIPPSLAND POWER VS. OAKLEIGH CHARGERS

Gippsland:

#6: Emily Haeusler

I was ultra impressed with Haeusler’s game because for mine, she was the next best after Tyla Hanks for the Power. The reason being, while others might win more of the ball, each time I saw her dispose of it, she used it really well. More importantly, she was able to dispose of it under pressure, both by hand or foot. The attributes she showed certainly suggested there’s talent there and she also has that defensive side to her game, laying a number of fierce tackles and burrowing in defensively. It just means she can play inside or outside and hit targets regardless of her role or pressure she might be under.

#8: Chandra Abrahams

Abrahams’ positioning seems to be her greatest strength because she played at half-forward and positioned herself well to protect the ball drop. One-on-one she is solid and clearly has smarts in that area, so will be good to see how she progresses through the season. Playing up forward she did not get a heap of looks, but presented on multiple occasions which was promising for a leading forward.

#27: Nikia Webber

A reliable defensive effort from Webber who held her own more often than not. One-on-one she is strong and took a really good defensive mark going back with the flight. Along with her strength and good one-on-one body work, Webber showed a high work rate by her efforts at the defensive end. She was one of the better and more consistent Power players on the day and certainly helped stall the Chargers’ attack somewhat.

#28: Tyla Hanks

The clear standout for Gippsland and it’s no surprise why the Power co-captain is one player who will be carefully watched by clubs over the course of the year. Hanks might only be 158cm, but she has impressive offensive and defensive attributes. She has a huge work rate which sees her win possessions in each third of the ground, primarily playing as an inside midfielder. She is a reliable kick of the football, but her greatest strength is her quick hands and smart thinking which can release a teammate on the outside. She often looks for the give-and-go, trying to break open the game from half-back or along the wing. More often than not, Hanks just willed herself to the contest and it was clear the opposition was aware of her influence, keeping an eye on her throughout the match. She intercepted a number of Oakleigh attacking movements and got the ball back on her terms. No doubt she is the kind of player Gippsland would love to have in spades because she just produces over four quarters.

#57: Jazz Ferguson

Ferguson played in the ruck and off half-back and battled hard throughout the game. She is not as quick as others, but she is strong and looked to break the game open through brute strength and fend-offs. While she might not have been considered one of the best on the day, you could see there is a bit to work with there, and having not come from a footballing background, there were at least some promising signs. She always had a crack and had a few extra smarts, which included a couple of deft taps forward when she knew she was unable to take possession cleanly. In one instance, Ferguson charged off half-back, won the ball and and hit up a target through the midfield. I felt she got better as the game went on, which is something to look forward to in future games.

Others:

#7: Leila Raymond

Laid some good tackles and earned a free kick for going in hard.

#17: Seanen Trewin

Copped a couple of hard knocks later in the game, but worked into the match well, laying a goal-saving tackle in the final term.

#30: Alana Rippon

Positioned herself well in marking contests and showed good running through the middle.

#31: Leyla Berry

Had a real glimpse of her speed with the athletics state medallist racing away from a contest.

#50: Matilda Van Berkel

On multiple occasions Van Berkel showed super quick hands in close, which was promising.

#58: Amy Dunn

Took a strong mark in the second quarter and kicked the Power’s only goal. Also performed admirably in the ruck, often against taller opponents.

#65: Julia Redmond

Took a few strong goal-saving marks in defence.

 

Oakleigh Chargers:

#14 Hannah McLaren

McLaren started the day as an inside midfielder, progressed up forward and then settled into the defence. She showed off her versatility and ability to play anywhere, in particular her strength both above her head and at ground level. She has a tendency to clunk a mark and continue her motion moving forward, which can unsettle the opposition because of her ability to not let them break and set up defensively. At half-forward, McLaren took a strong overhead mark and looked a lively target, while in defence, she read the play well and timed her leads right to either spoil or clunk a contested mark in front of her opponent. In one instance she took the grab, kept running but unfortunately got pinged for holding the ball. Sometimes she rushes her kicks a little, but the endeavour and her play-reading ability is certainly there.

#19 Emily Harley

A solid rock in defence. She was rarely beaten one-on-one and just took intercept mark after intercept mark, backing back into the contest and playing her opponent under the ball to put herself in best position to mark. In one instance she marked on the goal line to stop a Gippsland goal and cleared it back out of the defensive 50. Along with her marking, her body work and ability to back herself coming out of defence was good.

#30 Gemma Lagioia

Lagioia is a player I had not heard much about coming into the match, but for me she was the most damaging midfielder for the Chargers. It is a big call, but she might be one of the best kicks in the TAC Cup competition, with her ability to not only penetrate over long distances, but spear a pass to a leading forward. The amount of times she teamed up with Daisy Bateman to impact the scoreboard was amazing. Along with her elite foot skills, she is really good one-on-one in the air and also brings her teammates into the match. In one instance deep inside her forward 50, Lagioia was under pressure and allowed a couple of opponents to come at her so she could time a handball to release Melanie Burtuna on the outside to snap a goal. A real talent here.

#38 Daisy Bateman

The star up forward who is equally athletically talented as she is skilful. She booted a couple of goals in the first term, including an amazing goal from the boundary line, then proceeded to be the most damaging forward on the field. She won a one-on-one against a bigger defender, showing off her strength and more important, balance, in the contest. Bateman also has super acceleration and agility which was seen by her ability to back herself against an opponent hugged up against the boundary line, weave around them and sprint into the corridor leaving them in her wake. Not only did she crumb, but she lead up at teammates and just ran into the open space which her teammates honoured her leads. Bateman set up Melanie Burtuna with a goal, and had a number of other impressive plays deep inside 50, showing off her good vision and football IQ.

#41 Katie Lynch

A real utility, Lynch covered ground well across the four quarters. Early on she had an attempt on goal which just missed, then marked the kick back out from the opposition defender, negotiated the breeze perfectly and slotted it through the middle. The next stoppage she was in the centre square, won the clearance and sprinted away, showing off some good pace and movement through traffic. Lynch also worked hard throughout the game, got free and found herself all alone in the goal square later on to mark and goal, a reward for her hard running.

Others:

#2 Jasmine D’Amato

D’Amato had really good pace and agility, sprinting away from the contest and was one of the Chargers’ better players in the win, linking up the midfield into the forward 50.

#11 Bridie Winbanks

The dominant ruck on the day, Winbanks towered over her opponents and was effective in her hitouts, with the opposition trying to read it off her hands. She used her strength on a couple of occasions to fend off her opponents and boot the ball forward.

#16 Alana Porter

The pacy midfielder sprinted away from a stoppage and looked to have set her sights on goal in the first term, but was taken down in a fierce tackle.

#17 Nicola Xenos

Another Oakleigh player who covered the ground well and won possessions in all thirds of the ground. She won a crucial hard ball at ground level through the midfield and got the ball moving in the Chargers’ direction, found space inside 50 and took an uncontested mark, and moments later won a free kick inside defensive 50.

#29 Melanie Burtuna

Burtuna is your stereotypical dangerous small forward. She constantly buzzed around the packs and was rewarded with three goals. Burtuna also set up a goal with a nice lateral kick to Georgia Byrne.