Tag: Penny Cula-Reid

Duffin headlines successful VFLW Best and Fairest night

THE Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s Best and Fairest took place on Monday night and recognised the standout players from a successful inaugural season. We recap the main award winners, as well as the VFLW Team of the Year.

 

Lambert-Pearce Medal

Williamstown midfielder, Jess Duffin has become the first league best and fairest winner to come from a team that did not make the finals. Her Seagulls finished eleventh with a record of four wins and 10 losses.

The former Collingwood AFL Women’s player polled 23 votes, which was six ahead of Darebin ruck, Lauren Pearce. NT Thunder captain, Angela Foley came third with 16 votes while Carlton forward, Darcy Vescio and Hawks captain, Emma Mackie rounded out the top five with 15 votes a piece.

Duffin ranked first in the VFLW this year for total disposals, uncontested possessions, marks and rebounds. She was also ranked third for contested possessions and inside 50s, while also kicking 13 goals from her 13 matches.

The North Melbourne AFL Women’s recruit held the lead (either outright or shared) from Round 6 to Round 12. After falling behind Angela Foley in Round 12, the Melbourne Renegades cricketer finished strong with three consecutive best-on-ground performances to win the Best and Fairest with one round to go.

Duffin polled in 12 of her 13 matches this season with five three-vote performances, one two-vote and six one-vote efforts.

 

Rohenna Young Medal/ Choose Tap leading goalkicker

Carlton forward, Darcy Vescio capped off her stellar season inside 50, receiving the Rohenna Young Medal.

Vescio kicked 26 goals from nine games, averaging 2.89 goals per game. This was highlighted by a nine-goal performance against Essendon in Round 16.

Vescio finished seven goals ahead of Darebin’s Hannah Mouncey (19 goals from 12 games), and 11 goals ahead of NT’s Jessica Sedunary (15 goals from 11 games), who finished third. The Carlton forward won the AFL Women’s inaugural leading goal kicker award in 2017, kicking 14 goals, and has now backed it up with the VFLW leading goalkicker award.

 

Debbie Lee Medal/ VFLW Rising Star

Hawthorn defender, Jayde Van Dyk capped off a remarkable year in the brown and gold with an individual accolade to reward her for her efforts.

Van Dyk averaged 15 disposals this year and was named in the best in 11 of her 15 games. She was also named in the VFLW Team of the Year in the back pocket.

Van Dyk now has a an opportunity to become a premiership player after the Hawks defeated the Pies on Saturday to win through to the decider.

 

VFLW Coach of the Year

Collingwood VFLW coach, Penny Cula-Reid has won the VFLW Coach of the Year award after taking her side to a minor premiership.

In her first year of coaching, she took the Pies to a near-perfect season tally, with 12 wins, one loss and one draw. Cula-Reid formerly played for Collingwood in the AFL Women’s competition and represented the St Kilda Sharks in the Victorian Women’s Football League (VWFL).

 

VFLW Team of the Year

B: Jayde Van Dyk (Hawthorn), Bec Goring (Geelong), Kate Gillespie-Jones (Melbourne Uni)

HB: Ashleigh Riddell (Melbourne Uni), Meghan McDonald (Darebin), Bianca Jakobsson (Casey)

C: Alison Drennan (Southern Saints), Jess Duffin (Williamstown), Rebecca Beeson (Hawthorn)

HF: Sarah D’Arcy (Collingwood), Jasmine Garner (Williamstown), Jessica Sedunary (NT)

FF: Hayley Bullas (Essendon), Darcy Vescio (Carlton), Mia-Rae Clifford (Geelong)

F: Rhiannon Watt (Southern Saints), Richelle Cranston (Geelong), Angela Foley (NT)

I/C: Emma Swanson (NT), Sophie Alexander (Collingwood), Alice Edmonds (Richmond), Libby Birch (Western Bulldogs), Lauren Pearce (Darebin), Emma Mackie (Hawthorn)

 

Hawthorn and Geelong lead the way in the VFLW Team of the Year with three representatives a piece.

Hawks skipper, Emma Mackie and Greater Western Sydney’s (GWS) Rebecca Beeson made their way into the sides after stellar years in the midfield.

Geelong’s had stars across the field in the Team of the Year, with Bec Goring leading the way down back, Richelle Cranston being selected in the midfield and Mia-Rae Clifford being named in the forward line.

Melbourne University, Darebin, Southern Saints, NT Thunder, Williamstown and Collingwood each had two members in the Team of the Year.

North Melbourne AFL Women’s duo, Ashleigh Riddell and Kate Gillespie-Jones were both selected in the back line for the Mugars and were joined by Darebin’s Meghan McDonald. Runner-up Best and Fairest, Lauren Pearce made her way onto the interchange best for the Falcons.

She was joined by NT’s Emma Swanson, who averaged 19 disposals in her 11 matches. Swanson’s Thunder teammate, Jessica Sedunary made her way into the forward line after kicking 15 goals from 11 games this season.

The Southern Saints had two members in the midfield with Rhiannon Watt getting the main ruck spot while Alison Drennan took up a position on the wing.

As expected, Jess Duffin got a spot in the middle for the Seagulls while Jasmine Garner was named at centre-half forward.

For the minor premiers, it was Sarah D’Arcy and Sophie Alexander who led the way, with D’Arcy getting a spot on the half-forward flank while Alexander was named on the bench.

Darcy Vescio, Hayley Bullas (Essendon), Libby Birch (Western Bulldogs), Bianca Jakobsson (Casey) and Alice Edmonds (Richmond) were the sole representatives for their sides in the Team of the Year.

Weekend wash-up: VFLW – Round 16

MANY teams had pride on the line this week and were able to end their seasons in style, with struggling teams, Williamstown and Richmond getting victories. Meanwhile at Box Hill, a huge clash between traditional rivals, Hawthorn and Geelong saw the Hawks claim a coveted top-two spot, and a valuable double chance.

 

Southern Saints 3.4 (22) defeated by Richmond 4.1 (25)

This game was a tight one throughout with the biggest margin being nine points. At the first break, the scores were even with both sides kicking a goal each to open up the match. Only a point was scored in the second quarter, which gave the Southern Saints the slim one-point margin at halftime. The closeness continued in the third term, with both teams kicking a goal each. In the last quarter, the Saints and the Tigers both upped the ante, but it was Richmond who did it better, outscoring the Saints two goals to one to win the quarter, and the game.

The Tigers managed to win their first game in six rounds with just two goal kickers on the day. Kate Dixon and Christina Bernardi managed to each get two majors on the board, with Dixon’s second goal giving her side the biggest lead of the game. Bernardi also found a lot of the footy with 24 disposals, seven marks and eight tackles. It is no surprise to see that her teammate, Phoebe Monahan topped the disposal count for the Tigers, as she has been doing so for most of the season. In her side’s last game of the year, she racked up 28 disposals and laid six tackles, capping off an excellent year.

The Saints too had a multiple goal kicker, with Courtney Munn kicking two goals from her 12 disposals. Vic Metro representative, Gabriella De Angelis was the other goal kicker with one goal from her seven disposals. In the midfield, it was the Alisons who dominated with Alison Brown and Alison Drennan each racking up 28 disposals. Brown also took five marks and laid three tackles while Drennan laid four. TAC Cup Girls trio, Eleanor Brown (19 disposals, four marks and four tackles), Ashleigh Allsopp (16 disposals, four marks and four tackles) and Shelley Heath (15 disposals, two marks and seven tackles) were also prominent contributors in this game.

 

Hawthorn 6.5 (41) defeated Geelong 3.7 (25)

In the biggest match of the round, it was Hawthorn who got the early breakaway after an even first quarter. The Hawks kicked three goals to Geelong’s one in the second quarter, giving them a 14-point lead at the main break. They were able to extend their lead in the third with one goal, while keeping Geelong goalless. The Cats had a chance to fight back in the last quarter, but kicked 1.4, which gave Hawthorn the win.

AFLW duo, Sarah Perkins and Rebecca Beeson each kicked two majors on the day while Claire Dyett and Rosie Dillon booted through one each. Beeson had a dominant game with 22 disposals, five marks and six tackles and was complemented by fellow goal kicker, Rosie Dillon, who racked up 17 disposals and eight tackles. Skipper, Emma Mackie was huge on the day with 20 disposals and five tackles while Jayde Van Dyk was as resilient as ever down back with 18 disposals, four marks and five tackles.

Despite her side’s loss, Richelle Cranston was the leading disposal-getter on the ground with 25 touches as well as three marks and five tackles. Maddy Keryk wasn’t far off though with one goal, 24 disposals and nine tackles in another great game in the blue and white hoops. Kate Darby and Mia-Rae Clifford also got on the scoreboard with one major each. Darby gathered 12 disposals, three marks and eight tackles while Clifford was kept quiet with six disposals.

 

Casey Demons 4.5 (29) defeated by Collingwood 9.7 (61)

By: Carly McClen

In a blizzard of sun at Casey Fields, the combination of the return of captain, Jessica Edwards, the Nicole Hildebrand factor on the half-back line, a hungry-for-goals Jaimee Lambert, Ruby Schleicher loving the forward line, and the usual class-above performance by Chloe Molloy was more than enough to seal the minor premiership for the Collingwood Magpies. In its inaugural 2018 VFLW season the Pies have dropped just one game against NT Thunder. They have consistently held off growing-in-stature sides such as the Demons and Saturday was no different.  

The Demons were gallantly effective until half-time with the backline displaying a strong collective effort, absorbing the Pies’ forward attacking. For the third week in a row, the Demons’ first goal kicker was Maddie Shevlin. With solid forward pressure, she was able to snap an early goal, keeping the chase within eight points at quarter time.

In the second quarter, the Demons outscored Collingwood with goals to Bianca Jakobsson and Shelley Scott. But the game’s momentum changed in the second half when Pies coach, Penny Cula-Reid made a game-changing move which the Demons were simply unable to respond to. Eliza Hynes came out of the forward half and into the ruck. The Pies then quickly began dominating clearances and the move created crucial space for Lambert and Molloy to do their thing. The Pies comfortably played their style of game from that point on, keeping the Demons to just one major score.

Hildebrand was an ominous presence on the half-back line and continued to send the ball back into Collingwood’s forward half. Hildebrand intercepted an early burst in the third quarter from the centre clearance and the ball rarely made into the Demons’ attacking zone for the quarter. Hildebrand was lethal at pushing up and getting to the ball first with strong marks and defensive kicking. It showed her versatility and multiple vital roles she can play for her team. Cula-Reid’s message to the Magpies was ‘it’s there if you want it’ and they took it, booting 3.4 in the final term to seal another clinical victory.

 

Darebin 6.6 (42) defeated by Western Bulldogs 6.10 (46)

After being held goalless in the second quarter, the Bulldogs came from behind and ended their season on a high against Darebin. They were down by 18 points at the main break before kicking two goals to one in the third quarter to reduce the deficit. The Bulldogs then managed to clinch the lead for the first time in remarkable fashion, with premiership hero, Hannah Scott kicking the sealer after the siren to end the Bulldogs’ season on a high note.

Scott also booted a goal earlier in the game and was sensational throughout with 17 disposals, three marks and ten tackles. She was complemented by Ashleigh Guest, who was the leading disposal-getter on the ground with 23 touches to go with her six marks and four tackles. Sarah Jolly, Brittany Wunhym, Mary Sandral and Kirsten McLeod each got a major on the board for the Bulldogs. Jolly was the pick of the bunch with 12 disposals and five tackles while McLeod was not far off with 10 disposals and five tackles.

Melbourne AFLW duo, Lauren Pearce and Lily Mithen led the way for the Falcons, continuing to play consistent football for their side. Pearce gathered 14 disposals and took seven marks while Mithen led the way in disposals for Darebin with 18 touches to go with her six marks and six tackles. She also kicked a goal for the Falcons and was joined on the scoreboard by Kate Shierlaw, Kate Tyndall, Lauren Szigeti, Cherelle Byrne and Hannah Mouncey. Annalyse Lister led the way in tackles for Darebin with seven for the game to go with her 11 disposals.

 

Essendon 2.5 (17) defeated by Carlton 14.8 (92)

Carlton saved its best until last in this game, storming out of the blocks early to kick four first-quarter goals, giving Essendon a minimal chance to fight back. The onslaught continued in the second quarter with the Blues piling on another four majors to take their halftime lead to 49 points. Carlton’s eight goals all came off the boot of Darcy Vescio, who also saved her best until last. She ended up with nine goals for the day while the Bombers themselves could only manage two in the 75-point loss.

Not only did Darcy Vescio kick nine goals, but she also gathered 18 touches and seven marks in a dominant all-round game. She wasn’t alone inside 50, with Vic Metro’s Abbie McKay, Vic Country’s Rene Caris, Oakleigh’s Isabella Gietzmann, skipper, Kristi Harvey and former Williamstown player, Jess Malouf all kicking a goal at Windy Hill. Caris was the shining light with 20 disposals while Harvey racked up 10 touches to go with her six marks and four tackles. Gabriella Pound was the leading disposal-getter on the ground with 25 disposals to go with her four marks.

Although it was a miserable day for the Bombers, Kendra Heil and Alex Quigley both kicked a goal for their side. Quigley was also named in the best with 13 disposals, six marks and five tackles. She was not too far behind Essendon’s leading disposal-getter, Courtney Ugle, who gathered 19 disposals, four marks and four tackles. Hayley Bullas also racked up the disposals with 17 touches to go with her four tackles, which is a stat that she has been dominating in this season.

 

Melbourne Uni 4.5 (29) defeated by Williamstown 10.7 (67)

By: Taylah Melki

In what was a one-way affair after quarter time, Williamstown dominated against Melbourne University. The Seagulls made the most of their scoring opportunities with their crisp ball movement and two-way running. Melbourne University started off hot, showing good intent but struggled to combat both the offensive and defensive pressure that Williamstown applied after the first quarter.

For Williamstown, Jess Duffin had a day out, bagging three goals and gathering plenty of the footy. Her hands in close were second to none, dishing off handballs into space and running hard to create forward play for the Seagulls. Jasmine Garner was also among the Seagulls’ best, amassing a heap of touches and hitting the scoreboard. Rebecca Dardengo backed up her impressive performance from last week, applying plenty of pressure, while Emily Gardner was also busy across the ground imposing herself on the contest.

Gardner’s Western Jets teammate, Caitlin Greiser starred for Melbourne University, positioning well and booting two majors for the game. Teammates, Emma Humphries and Kaitlyn Ashmore were also instrumental for the Mugars, winning plenty of the ball and using the footy effectively and efficiently. In her first game of the season, Tasmanian Under 18 representative, Chloe Haines impressed with her ability to impact the contest and hit targets while under pressure.

VFL Women’s 2018 season preview

THE new-look VFL Women’s season features 10 new teams in a 13 team competition. The sides feature plenty of elite AFLW, TAC Cup and local talent in what is shaping up to be a fascinating season of the state league. We have looked at each side’s players in the lead-up to the season’s commencement on Saturday.

 

Carlton Blues

The Carlton Blues have one of the most exciting TAC Cup Girls players joining their new team in 2018.

Gippsland Power co-captain and gun midfielder, Tyla Hanks will pull on the navy blue to test her skills against some bigger bodies. Hanks has been named in the best players in each game she has played for the Power this season and is a member of the AFLW Academy. Hanks will be joined by fellow AFLW Academy member, Rene Caris. Caris has been a solid force in the ruck for the Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels this season and has been awarded with a navy blue jumper. Oakleigh’s Isabella Gietzmann will also suit up for the Blues this season. Gietzmann plays cricket as well as footy and could be a potent player for Carlton.

The Blues have also secured the services of their AFLW players including 2017 AFLW leading goal-kicker, Darcy Vescio, 2018 club best and fairest, Breann Moody, 2017 TAC Cup Girls best and fairest, Bridie Kennedy, 2018 Carlton captain, Sarah Hosking and 2017 Carlton captain, Lauren Arnell.

 

Casey Demons

The Casey Demons have combined Melbourne stars with Dandenong guns in their inaugural VFL Women’s side.

Coach and former Melbourne defender, Colin Garland will be able to work with plenty of AFLW talent, including Aliesha Newman, Bianca Jakobsson, Kate Hore, Katherine Smith and Shelley Scott. Two well-known former TAC Cup Girls players will also join the Melbourne brigade, with Eden Zanker and Darcy Guttridge donning the red and blue in this VFL Women’s season. Zanker hails from the Bendigo Pioneers and starred in her late appearances for the Demons in the AFLW. Guttridge on the other hand is a former Gippsland Power player who suited up for the Pies in the AFLW season, and will now get an opportunity to combine her skills with a new group of players in the VFL Women’s season.

In terms of TAC Cup players, the Demons have gone with two talented Dandenong Stingrays to fill their side. Captain, Jordyn Allen is a key acquisition for the club, as she is a talented defender who oozes composure and class. She will be joined by forward, Brooke Struylaart, who knows how to find the goals and provides plenty of assists along the way.

 

Collingwood Magpies

Collingwood’s VFL Women’s coach is a pioneer in female football.

Penny Cula-Reid was instrumental in getting the Youth Girls competition up and running. After being told at the age of 14 that she could not play football with the boys anymore, she took the case to the Victorian and Civil and Administrative Tribunal, and AFL Victoria created the competition for the young female footballers. Although Cula-Reid only played two games for Collingwood, she played in excess of 150 games at the St Kilda Sharks VFL Women’s club and has a brilliant footy mind.

Collingwood will have a very strong line-up with plenty of its AFLW players joining the Magpie brigade in the VFL Women’s season. 2018 Collingwood best and fairest, Chloe Molloy will be joined by AFLW captain, Stephanie Chiocci, former Calder Cannon, Sarah Dargan, and plenty more. The club also has a strong connection to TAC Cup Girls club, Oakleigh Chargers, signing three players for its inaugural VFL Women’s campaign. Oakleigh captain, Hannah McLaren is the most notable of the signings. McLaren has been one of the Chargers’ most important players this year, demonstrating her versatility in the side’s line-up. Other Oakleigh signings include former players, Julia Halaseh-Russo and Sarah Cameron, who will be players to watch throughout the VFL Women’s season.

 

Darebin Falcons

The Darebin Falcons are the most successful VFL Women’s side, having won five consecutive premierships.

The Falcons have lost Melbourne AFLW captain, Daisy Pearce, who will take a year off from VFL Women’s. However, they have plenty of players from local roots, with all but three coming from Darebin. These include AFLW players, Karen Paxman, Elise O’Dea, Lauren Pearce and Maddy Guerin. But that’s just from Melbourne. The Falcons will also have the services of Greater Western Sydney star, Jessica Dal Pos, as well as Aasta O’Connor and Nicole Callinan from the Western Bulldogs. Perhaps the most notable signing is Ainslie’s Hannah Mouncey. The transgender footballer was ineligible for the 2017 AFLW draft, but will be keen to play some good football for Darebin.

Darebin has also recruited the services of three TAC Cup Girls stars. Northern Knights forward, Alex Pronesti will pull on the Falcons jumper this year, after kicking nine goals for the undefeated Knights so far. She will be joined by teammate, Marnie Jarvis, who has been a valuable player for the Knights with her agility and speed around the contest. Eastern Ranges defender, Lauren Szigeti also has the opportunity to pull on the Darebin jumper in the VFL Women’s season. Szigeti has been a solid asset in defence for the Ranges, and could have the same impact for the Falcons.

 

Essendon Bombers

The Essendon Bombers have recruited a number of Calder Cannons and Diamond Creek players to join the newly-formed VFL Women’s side.

Current Calder players, Carla Rendelmann and Molly Warburton have earned a spot on the Bombers’ list this year. Rendelmann is a dominant force in the ruck and has represented Vic Metro while Warburton is a hard-working defender who boasts a place in the AFLW Academy squad. Premiership Cannons captain, Lauren Caruso also has an opportunity to pull on the footy boots again after not playing as an over-ager in the TAC Cup Girls this season. Caruso was a fantastic on-field leader in the midfield and 2018 is likely not to be any different. The Calder trio will be joined by another solid ruck presence in Bridie Winbanks from the Oakleigh Chargers. In the upcoming VFL Women’s season, Winbanks will have an opportunity to go head-to-head against Chargers teammate, Hannah McLaren, who will play for Collingwood.

The Bombers have also poached 17 (14 VFL Women’s players and three development players) Diamond Creek players, including the face of their AFLW bid, Michaela Long, who is the daughter of Essendon legend, Michael Long. Essendon has also recruited some local talent, including Natasha Hardy, who hails from the Sunbury Lions in the Essendon District Football League (EDFL). Hardy is a fantastic on-field leader and adds a mature presence in the Bombers’ VFL Women’s line-up. She will be joined by another experienced player in GWS defender, Tanya Hetherington, who often matched up on the damaging key forwards in the AFLW this year.

 

Geelong Cats

The Geelong Cats boast a number of AFLW players as well as some TAC Cup talent, but not who you may think.

GWV Female Talent Manager, Krista Woodroffe will line up for the cats in 2018, having an opportunity to do battle against Rebels ruck, Rene Caris, who will don the navy blue in the VFL Women’s competition. She will be joined by GWV defender, Georgia Clarke, who has been fantastic in the Rebels backline this seasonGeelong’s Mia-Rae Clifford will be another player who will be involved in an intriguing battle. Clifford, who is a former Melbourne AFLW player will play against the side that her partner, Penny Cula-Reid coaches, in the Collingwood Magpies.

Speaking of Melbourne, Geelong boasts two current AFLW Demons players on its VFL Women’s list. Powerful forward, Richelle Cranston and agile ruck, Erin Hoare will line up for the Cats in 2018. Hoare, who is a former Melbourne Vixen, got the opportunity to play AFLW this year for the Demons after being a rising star for the Cats last year.

 

Hawthorn Hawks

Hawthorn boasts a very experienced VFL Women’s list, with a host of AFLW players donning the brown and gold for the upcoming season.

Recently retired Pie, Meg Hutchins was one of the club’s first signings, and will provide a level head in defence. The forward line on the other hand, will be explosive with Adelaide’s Sarah Perkins and Greater Western Sydney’s (GWS) Phoebe McWilliams headlining the Hawks forward 50 line-up. Perkins was named as an AFLW All-Australian forward in 2017 while McWilliams was the Giants’ leading goal-kicker in 2018. Perkins grew up in Waverley and was a Hawthorn supporter growing up. The club also welcomes back Collingwood AFLW mid/ forward, Melissa Kuys, who captained Box Hill in 2017.

There is also no shortage of TAC Cup talent, with 2017 TAC Cup Girls Team of the Year member, Olivia Flanagan suiting up for the Hawks. Flanagan played for Box Hill last year and was also a key cog in the forward line for the Eastern Ranges. She will be joined by current Eastern Ranges players, Emerson Woods, Georgia Macpherson, Mikala Cann and Sarah Kendall. Woods is the co-captain of the Ranges side this year and is a member of the AFLW Academy. Macpherson is also a member of the Academy, and has been a key cog in Eastern’s defence this year with one some of the best hands in the TAC Cup Girls competition. Cann is a basketballer, and has showed her immense speed in the midfield this year for Eastern. Kendall has been dominant in the ruck and can also play a sweeping role in defence.

 

Melbourne University

There is plenty of TAC Cup Girls talent in the Melbourne University lineup this year, including one Calder Cannon who has been tearing up the competition so far.

Calder captain Madison Prespakis will have the opportunity to play VFL Women’s for the first time this year, and could be a key cog in the Melbourne University midfield. She will be joined by fellow AFLW Academy member, Rebecca Webster, who has been a versatile player across the midfield and in defence for the Murray Bushrangers this year. Up forward, Western Jet Caitlin Greiser will have an opportunity to continue her solid goal-kicking form into the VFL Women’s competition, after kicking eight goals for the Jets so far this season. Former Bendigo Pioneer, Aisling Tupper will be one to keep an eye out for, as the small and powerful midfielder starred for the Pioneers last season. Sandringham’s Alanna Dalley and Nicole Amiet round out the elite list of TAC Cup Girls players in the Melbourne University side.

As far as AFLW players go, Melbourne University only has one. But it is the best of the lot, as 2018 AFLW best and fairest, Emma Kearney will suit up for Melbourne University this season. After dominating in the midfield for the Bulldogs in 2018, Kearney will be a North Melbourne player in 2019, as the club prepares to enter AFLW for the first time.

 

Northern Territory Thunder

The Northern Territory (NT) Thunder unsurprisingly has a number of Adelaide AFLW players in its VFL Women’s side.

The club has a strong connection to the Crows, and could be a surprise package in the VFL Women’s competition. This is because the club has acquired the services of Adelaide co-captain, Chelsea Randall, Adelaide United’s Jenna McCormick, leading ruck, Rhiannon Metcalfe and exciting forward, Ruth Wallace. Defenders, Marijana Rajcic, Deni Vernhagen, Jasmyn Hewett and Angela Foley are among the other notable inclusions for the side.

The Thunder outfit also features two GWS players in Renee Forth and Emma Swanson. Forth was a solid presence for the Giants in the AFLW season, and is a mentor in the AFLW Academy program. Swanson is the GWS vice-captain and was a fantastic on-field leader for the side in 2018.

 

Richmond Tigers

Richmond have poached some Collingwood AFLW players ahead of its first season in the VFL Women’s competition.

Emma King, Lauren Tesoriero and Amelia Barden will swap the black and white for yellow and black, as they prepare to suit up as Tigers for the 2018 VFL Women’s season. All three players were key contributors to Collingwood’s AFLW outfit, with King dominating in the ruck, Barden having some nice moments in the forward line while Tesoriero was a lively player around the ground.

The Tigers have also acquired two Murray Bushrangers, Grace Egan and Sophie Damon. Egan has been a star in defence for the Bushrangers this season, and has also proven her versatility through stints in the midfield. Damon has been solid in the ruck for Murray and has been one of the most valuable players for the side in the TAC Cup Girls season. Eastern Ranges’ Jess Provan will also pull on a yellow and black jumper this season, after formerly playing at Diamond Creek.

 

Southern Saints

The Southern Saints are one of the new sides in the VFL Women’s competition, and have a diverse line-up.

The line-up will feature two Sandringham Dragons stars in Eleanor Brown and Jemma Owen. Brown has been a key cog in the midfield and has produced plenty of fantastic performances throughout the TAC Cup Girls season. Owen, who is the Dragons captain, has been leading from the front, as she has been dominant in the midfield and has even found herself up forward a couple of times, proving her versatility. Dandenong midfielder, Shelley Heath also joins the Saints side, and may have an opportunity to match up against TAC Cup Girls teammates, Jordyn Allen and Brooke Struylaart, who will suit up for Casey this season.

While the Saints have no AFLW players, they have a combination of players from Cranbourne, Seaford, and Mornington, recruiting local talent to boost their side’s chances in 2018.

 

Western Bulldogs

The Western Bulldogs have a host of AFLW premiership players in their VFL Women’s side.

Players include 2018 leading goal-kicker, Brooke Lochland, captain, Katie Brennan, and Rising Star nominees, Monique Conti, Aisling Utri and Bonnie Toogood. Star midfielder, Ellie Blackburn has also joined the side after making the move from Melbourne University. The club has also acquired the services of Bree White, who retired from AFLW in 2018 after playing for the Pies.

Three TAC Cup Girls players will also feature for the Bulldogs’ VFL Women’s outfit. GWV Rebels captain, Lauren Butler has been a wonderful leader for the Rebels this season, after making solid contributions in the midfield. Also joining the Bulldogs is Western Jets, Lauren Basto and Katarina Rebuffo. Rebuffo has been a key cog in defence for the Jets and will look to continue her form into the VFL Women’s season. Basto played for the Jets last season and would be keen to make an impact at the Bulldogs. 

 

Williamstown Seagulls

Williamstown has an even mix of local, AFLW and TAC Cup talent in its inaugural VFL Women’s side.

Bendigo captain Megan Williamson will play for the Seagulls this year, after being a shining light for the Pioneers in the midfield this season. She will be joined by AFLW Academy forward, Sophie Van De Heuvel. Van De Heuvel has kicked five goals in five games for the GWV Rebels this season, and has been a key link in the chain in the Rebels forward line. Western Jets defender, Sharnie Whiting will also have the opportunity to stay close to home, after doing a wonderful job in the Jets’ backline during the TAC Cup Girls season.

The Seagulls have one of the leading AFLW defenders lining up for their side this year. Collingwood’s Jess Duffin was dominant in the back line, and was able to show composure and class at all times. She will be joined by teammate, Jasmine Garner, who revolutionised her game through moving from the forward line to the back line. Garner showed that she can dominate in both roles, which is a dangerous prospect in the VFL Women’s competition. Bulldogs premiership player, Jenna Bruton rounds out the AFLW players who are featuring in the Seagulls outfit.