Tag: western australia

From being the only girl to one of thousands: Smith enjoys rapid rise of female football

WHEN Ella Smith began playing football, she was playing in a three-team competition.

Prior to this, she was the only girl kicking the footy around with the boys in a small town in Western Australia (WA). It is safe to say that Smith did not predict being on the verge of an opportunity to play AFL Women’s as an 18 year-old.

“It’s so crazy how fast it’s happened,” Smith said about the development of the AFL Women’s competition. “We literally had three teams in my comp (competition). “I didn’t think by this time, we would have AFL Women’s, like I think it’s something to motivate us, something to look forward to at the next level.”

Before the AFL Women’s came about, Smith did athletics for a long period of time, but wanted a change. The change spurred her love for football and since then, she has grown in leaps and bounds in the sport.

“I did athletics since I was like 11 then just kind of progressed and it was just athletics and basketball,” Smith said. “But I kind of got a bit tired of it so I went over to play footy. “I don’t know, it just kind of got repetitive. “I just wanted to do something different so I found footy.”

When she found footy, she headed straight off to her local Youth Girls competition and progressed from there into representing her state at the AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships. Smith said her father and older brothers have had a big influence on her decision to take up the sport competitively.

“Growing up with older brothers and my dad had a big influence so I kind of just got into it when I first started high school,” she said. “I just started out at Youth Girls down at a small town in WA away from Perth. “So I played at Souths (South Bunbury) there for probably three years doing juniors and then moved up to Perth and started playing for a WAFL (Western Australian Football League) club called South Fremantle. “Now I’m playing league down in Bunbury for Souths (South Bunbury) again. “This is my second year of 18s as well.”

When Smith first got selected to play for Western Australia, she was overcome with many different feelings. Once the tournament was over, she realised it was one of the most memorable experiences in her life.

“Last year was probably the best thing I’ve done in my whole life,” Smith said. “I can say for all the girls, we all worked so hard and then to finally find out that you’re going to Queensland, it was crazy. “I can’t even explain it really, it was just a wave of all emotions.”

Smith continues to work hard outside of the Championships, using football to relieve the stress of Year 12 studies.

“I get up early and go to the gym some days and then go straight to school, come home and study, and then go training or go gym or go to work,” she said. “I’ve got no time, no social life but social life is my footy. “In a way, it’s kind of good, it keeps you really focused. “I think with school being so hard, footy’s my outlet. “I think it’s healthy for anyone with any sport, it’s a healthy thing to do outlet-wise. “Even though it’s really busy, I think it’s really good for me that I am busy.”

Smith hopes to develop both in her studies and her football as she gets older. Once she finishes high school, she would like to study early childhood teaching. In terms of football, she just wants to keep learning in order to make her name known within elite footy circles.

“I’m 18, but just because I’m still developing a lot and I think playing with a bunch of girls that are all just really really good, I think it brings me up as well,” the West Australian said. “I’m learning so much still. “I’m in my second year and I’ve learnt so much more than I had last year, being a first-timer. “Learning how elite programs work, it’s kind of a little taste of AFLW, like something to look forward to. “It keeps you motivated by just learning heaps and continuing to develop. “You can’t not get better if that makes sense, you’ve just got so much to still develop.”

For now, Smith will continue playing for South Bunbury in the South West Football League, where she has kicked 10 goals from nine games. Her side plays in the semi-final this weekend against Bunbury.

From not trying out for state to being a key player: Sergeant flourishes in football

LAST year, Western Australia’s (WA) Matilda Sergeant did not try out for the state side, despite coming up the ranks in Auskick, Youth Girls and League football.

Sergeant was instead asked to be a part of the side, and is so glad that she was approached to do so.

“I did not actually try out (for the WA state side) because I just thought I wasn’t really ready for that,” she said. “But I had a couple of coaches that I knew that were part of it and they said we really want you to come down. “I was like I may as well give it a shot and I’m so glad I did. “Last year’s carnival was so much fun. “The jump from last year to this year has just been huge and if I hadn’t done it last year, I wouldn’t have been here today I don’t reckon.”

In just her second year of the state program, Sergeant already sees the opportunity to progress further with the sport. She attributes this belief to the booming state of the AFL Women’s competition, admitting that it gives her and many others motivation to perform well in the sport.

“I feel like we have so much opportunity,” the top-ager said. “I feel like now’s the time to really pursue it. “I was just playing footy for fun and there wasn’t a league. “Then when it got to be the AFLW a couple of years ago, I was like this is something that I can actually really have a crack at and have a go.”

This has meant that Sergeant has been able to get closer to achieving her childhood dream.

“When they ask you want you want to be when you grow up in Grade 6, I always used to say I want to do a sport professionally,” she said. “I thought footy was something you could take to the next level.”

Sergeant did not think the same about basketball, a sport which she has played since she was a five years old. Although she played at a high level, she sees more of an opportunity to play Australian Rules professionally.

“I played almost 15 years of basketball,” the Western Australian said. “I played at a reasonably high level but then once I got into footy, I’ve always loved footy, and I just thought there was a bit more opportunity with footy. “It was just something exciting and new. “I think basketball’s just a really fun hobby but footy is something that I want to do for a while.”

Despite this, Sergeant is still playing basketball and coaches a team. She still does enjoy the sport, but it certainly puts a lot on her plate.

“I don’t have a day off basically,” the 19 year-old said. “So basically my life is just wake up, uni (university), work, footy and then repeat. “It’s alright, I really really enjoy both sports and I feel like both complement each other. “I think to see the next level and an end goal, it just keeps you motivated.”

Not only is the Western Australian focused on football, but she is also working hard to be a physical education teacher, currently studying at The University of Notre Dame in Fremantle. Although she admits the balance between football and studies can be stressful sometimes, she overcomes that because she is really committed to being a teacher.

“I’m second year uni (university), I’m doing a Bachelor of Health and Phys Ed (physical education) so I want to be a teacher,” Sergeant said. “It’s really good actually, it can be a bit stressful with footy and uni work but it’s alright, it’s something I really want to do.”

Sergeant also wanted to get her name out at the AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships. She did so successfully, earning a place in the All Australian squad after a consistent tournament. The 19 year-old not only had personal goals, but was committed to getting the results as a team.

“I just hope to get my name out there,” Sergeant said. “I think it’s a really good opportunity for a lot of guys to watch you and watch what you can do. “I mean obviously we want to win games, we’ve worked really hard as a team. “I think our team this year has been one of the strongest, like it’s been a really cohesive team. “Personally for me, I just want to get my name talking amongst people really. “I just want to show what I can do on the footy field and how I can help the team.”

Family-oriented Sonia Dorizzi goes from shock to success in football career

WEST Australian (WA) ruck, Sonia Dorizzi started playing football when she was 15 years old.

She would spend lots of time with her family kicking a football around or smashing a cricket ball, and she was all ears when she found out her cousin was playing for a local club, wanting to try out her first competitive sport.

“I think in replacing of sports, we were just with family instead,” the WA ruck said. “We played sport altogether but not at a club level. “I always loved footy, I always wanted to play but just didn’t really have the opportunity. “A lot of girls play Auskick but I didn’t so I found out about my cousin playing at a club level, that was when I was 15, so I went down, looked at myself then got into that along with my sister and started playing for South Fremantle Women’s Football Club.”

Dorizzi continued to play with her sister in WA’s KickStart squad, which is a program where Indigenous players get to experience being in an elite AFL environment. She admits she was initially shocked about getting selected for the squad at such a young age.

“So playing football in my first year, everyone’s kind of like where have you come from?,” Dorizzi said. “Me and my sister, we both didn’t really know. “Initially, we made the KickStart team back in 2014, that was in our first year of football, and then from that, we just had so much people say to us ‘you should try out for 18s’ and sort of doing all this stuff that we didn’t know about at all. “I felt like I just wasn’t supposed to be there, I felt like I was too young. “I was 16 and there was other 16 year-olds and a couple of people that were a year younger than me but I just felt like it was kind of like a shock. “Like you didn’t expect yourself to be there and now you’re there, you’re kind of just like woah.”

Ever since then, her football career has grown in leaps and bounds, as she has gone from not realising how much of an honour playing for her state was to immersing herself in the privilege.

“It was such an honour (playing for WA) and I didn’t really grasp that whole concept until much later when I was like it actually is an honour to play for your state,” Dorizzi said. “I was kind of just like yeah, we’re playing for our state, cool, when I was younger. “But now I’m realising that it actually is an honour and a big thing. “I probably didn’t get that a lot when I was younger. “I kind of just played just for fun really.”

She cannot put her finger on just one memorable moment in her career, but has just loved playing for WA overall, as she has made everlasting friendships.

“I always love playing for WA to be honest,” Dorizzi said. “Making it a good memory, a lot of things contribute to it. “For example, Danielle Ponter from the Northern Territory, I met her back when I played KickStart in 2014 and from then, I didn’t see her and I rucked against her back then and coming to now, I had national academy with her and then my All Stars programs and stuff. “Them things, like seeing the girls, is what makes it better. “Yeah you have your WA team but it’s also good to know girls from Victoria and Queensland and New South Wales and Tasmania, you know, wherever else the girls are from. “I think all them different academies and All Star matches is what contributes to having good footy moments.”

Her good footy moments began right from her first year of football because she knew straight away that this was the sport for her, and she never wanted to leave.

“I always did want to play sport but I never just really had the opportunity to,” the 19 year-old said. “My mum and dad never really put me into a sport back when I was younger. “So playing football, when I was playing my first year, I was like I love it, I’m playing again next year. “I was kind of stuck there, they wouldn’t let me go. “I had no choice but to stay there I guess.”

Dorizzi now feels comfortable in the elite environment and has AFLW on her mind as a realistic goal.

“I do see it as a real goal,” she said. “Growing up, I was finding it hard where I could fit it but I definitely want to be there and go there as a goal.”

Young leader tackles challenges head-on

WEST Australian, Shannon Whale knows how to deal with fresh challenges. Since starting her football career at Pinjarra Tigers, Whale has played for four local clubs, captaining two of them, and winning two flags in the process. Her story, which includes making the cross-country trek to Victoria in search of improvement – is one of a teenager who has adapted to change. Now, in her top-age year, Whale is hoping all her hard work can pay off with a spot on an AFL Women’s list.

“I started my football down in Pinjarra Tigers,” Whale said. “I ended up being captain for it as well. “We won the premiership, and then the next year I was asked to join Peel Thunderbirds where I played there for that year. “Then we got to the premiership and won that.”

Determined to improve further, the West Australian teenager found an opportunity. It would mean a lot of travel and dedication, but it was an opportunity that was too good to pass up. 

“Mum found a site called Rookie Me and went and I did a bit of training with Rookie Me,” she said. “They moved to Melbourne … and I went there four times a year and then after Peel Thunderbirds, I moved to East Perth just to get away from it a bit. “I played half a year there and then due to family stuff I had to move to South Fremantle which was closer to home, less of a travel. “The next year I went to Rookie Me again, got more training, a lot more. “It helped so much, Robbie Campbell and ‘Goughy’ (Lachlan Gough) and all of them, they’re just so good. “It’s a great thing; Rookie Me is so good.”

Whale is still at South Fremantle this year, but is now captain of the side. She earned a place in the West Australian team for the AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships, playing an impressive opening game before fracturing a small part in her right wrist early in the second match, ending her carnival. Whale said it was a great experience to play against the most talented players in the country, and enjoyed tackling Vic Metro on Metricon Stadium.

“It was a bit harder because they were a lot taller than us,” she said. “But it was good to compete in something that was so hard. “They put up a good fight, obviously we lost, but not by much (eight points). “It was good to be able to be in it, knowing what the next step is going to be, how hard it’s going to be, but it’s just working towards it and having fun while you do it.”

Whale said the enjoyment she gained out of playing football was something special and always looked forward to going to training.

“It’s just fun,” she said. “Doing something you love every weekend and being able to take it further into a career. “It’s just enjoyable, every part of it’s enjoyable. “I actually love going to training because your friends are there as well and you’re all doing something you love and it’s great.”

The full pathway for young girls to transition into a national competition is something that Whale is glad has arrived and has her even more determined to play at the highest level.

“I’m actually quite happy that it’s come up and it’s still rising because it’s something that I can work towards and hopefully I’ll get in one day,” she said. “It’s just a good thing for all the young girls to start, knowing that there’s something in the end of their career for them to do.”

According to Whale, her coaches have been impressed with her ability to read the play, and position herself in marking situations. She was able to use these strengths when playing in defence at the AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships. But it also gave her a new improvement to focus on.

“I want to get more into it,” Whale said. “At the moment I’m playing backline so I don’t really get much touch of the ball unless it’s down there a lot. “But I’m always working towards trying to keep my player out of it.”

As for her ultimate goal?

“Obviously I want to get drafted into a team, if that doesn’t work then well I want to do something with coaching,” Whale said. “Then help everyone out, all the little kids out.”

Whale returned to South Fremantle in their preliminary final extra time loss to East Fremantle, managing to play the one game since her injury before the end of the season.

School fill-in to Black Swans skipper; Duffy’s “smooth transition” pays dividends

FROM filling in at school to captaining her state, Sabreena Duffy’s football development has been rapid.

After coming from a soccer background, she pulled on the Aussie Rules jumper to make up the numbers for the school footy team. Duffy only needed to play one game of school football to get noticed, receiving an offer that she didn’t see coming.

“I played just for school just because they needed a fill in and then I played one Western Australian Football League (WAFL) game the next week that they found me and I just never went back to soccer. “I just loved it (Aussie Rules).”

Despite the rapid rise in standard, the 18 year-old admits her transition into the elite level was “smooth”, thanks to a couple of friends and a natural gift to play the game.

“I knew a couple of school girls,” Duffy said. “I was naturally good at the sport so I didn’t have to learn how to kick or anything like that so that was a bonus.”

Duffy attributes her natural kicking ability to having a kick with the neighbours in her younger years. Back then, the Western Australian midfielder did not even know there was a pathway available for her in the sport, so she stuck to the round ball game.

“(Playing) with the neighbours down the street, that’s all I knew,” Duffy said. “I didn’t know there was women’s footy, nothing. “I only knew soccer. Mainly with footy, I would just mess around with my best friend.”

Fast forward to 2018 and Duffy’s development in Australian Rules has gone through the roof. The Black Swans midfielder was rewarded for her efforts in the AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships, where she was awarded Western Australia’s Most Valuable Player (MVP). Duffy is aware of the strengths in her game but would also like to make improvements, displaying her determination as a footballer.

“I’m more of a runner and a clearance player I’d say,” she said. “I can hit the scoreboard as well, being a midfielder. “I’m more looking to improve on when I get the ball, I tend to bounce it after three or four steps, just instinct, so I need to just hit the speed and then bounce it after like 14 steps.”

On top of being awarded the state MVP, Duffy was named in the 48-player All Australian squad, and could be on her way to making the final 22 and earning a fifth All Australian accolade. The Western Australia captain says this is a memorable moment in her career, and she is on her way to creating many more.

“I’ve gotten four All Australian jumpers and I’m pretty proud of that,” she said.

The 18 year-old reflected back to the first time she received an All Australian jumper, and admits the emotion got to her on the day.

“It was my first year, Under 16s, and it was my first competition,” Duffy said. “I was just overwhelmed, I wasn’t expecting it and I was just speechless really. “Lucky my mum was there because I was a bit upset, it was cool.”

But for Duffy, captaining her state made her just as privileged, as it was a role she never thought she would be chosen for.

“I’ve played in the team for four years and I could never imagine being a captain, being my last year,” the 18 year-old said. “I was honoured to be able to lead this group.”

Duffy says the playing group was extremely positive, even after losing against Vic Metro in their first match on the Gold Coast.

“The girls are so good, they’re so positive,” the Black Swans skipper said. “We bond so well so it didn’t really hit us. “We thought about it for the period we needed to think about it and then it’s over. “They were so good, no down moments, nothing. “It’s just been really great.”

Like many up and coming players, Duffy has her sights set on AFLW, having finished her Technical And Further Education (TAFE) certificate and looking for a job.

“My next level is really AFLW so hopefully I get drafted and then see where it goes,” Duffy said.

The 18 year-old is well on her way, having been one of three Western Australians to be invited to the AFL Women’s Draft Combine in October.

AFLW U18 Championships reviews: Western Australia

WESTERN Australia might have just had the one win throughout the week, but had one of the toughest draws, coming up against both Victorian teams. They pushed Vic Metro all the way on day one, then matched it with Vic Country for the most part on the final day, while defeating Eastern Allies in the final game at Broadbeach on the Wednesday. They not only had impressive top-agers, but bottom-agers and 15/16 year-olds which will hold them in good stead for the future. We take a look at some of the key players, and results of the championships.

 

Key players:

Sabreena Duffy

The team captain and West Australian Most Valuable Player (MVP), Duffy was a rock of consistency across the three games, just doing everything she could on the field through the midfield. Duffy continually worked hard on the inside, ran on the outside and had a number of crucial inside 50s to her leading forwards. Has a nice balance between inside and outside, and is versatile as well. One of six West Australians in the All-Australian squad.

Mikayla Bowen

Really impressed with her work in midfield and in terms of consistency, would have been my top three for Western Australia across the carnival for the MVP stakes. Just burrows in through the midfield, bursts away and does everything right defensively as well as offensively. Bowen seems to cover ground really well and wins it in all thirds of the ground. Seems to play an underrated role through midfield, but she leads by example and is a really important player in there.

McKenzie Dowrick

The AFL Women’s Academy member was another who had a consistent carnival and just kept working hard through midfield. Just has that extra touch of class compared to most players, and is a lovely kick of the football. One of those players you want with ball-in-hand if you are a leading forward. Dowrick also does the defensive things right, laying strong tackles and throwing herself into smothers to ensure her team regains possession. Can play anywhere, but looks a real impressive midfielder and is a good height that can play tall or small around the ground. Just an eye-catching player overall.

Kate Bartlett

The overage forward looked damaging inside 50, particularly on the open spaces at Metricon Stadium. She clunks marks, leads hard and is a penetrating kick of the football. One of the standouts up forward from all teams, she is able to pick the right gaps to lead into, and then finish off with scores on the board. Booted just the three goals for the carnival, but showed glimpses of what she is capable of when given an inch.

Matilda Sergeant

Playing through the midfield, Sergeant was well deserving of her All-Australian nomination. She won the ball in midfield, moved well and would have one of the highest inside 50 counts across the competition. She has the smarts to stand a kick behind play when dropping back and ensure the ball is constantly pumped forward, and is able to change direction cleanly. A composed user of the football who is another overage player in the West Australian side who stood up and performed well.

Rikki Ryan-Carling

A nimble and determined player, Carling hunts the ball carrier and is clean at ground level. She is one of a number of impressive top-agers and while she is not a huge accumulator compared to others, she just adds that element of class, and is able to dance around her opponents with grace and poise. Carling has great closing speed and is able to run down the ball carrier before they even know they are in trouble, and her ability to use the ball well was on show on the second day, when she managed to extract the ball from a stoppage, spin around and dispose of it before anyone could touch her.

Roxanne Roux

A bottom-ager who really had a profound impact up forward, and her work rate was enormous running up to the wing to provide a target. So strong at ground level or in the air, Roux clunks the marks she has to take, and is a really hard worker at ground level if she does not take the grab. Able to apply blocks and lay tackles, Roux is one to keep an eye on at next year’s carnival after an impressive series this year.

Abbey Dowrick

For a 15 year-old, Dowrick really stood out and gave West Australian fans a glimpse into the next few years. She played through the midfield and loved going in hard and then spreading well to balance the load on the other midfielders. She was by far the loudest on the ground, often having a cheeky dig at opposition players going for goal, and seems like one of those players that teammates love to play alongside. Just so hungry to win the ball at every opportunity, and attacks the contest with a natural ferocity that not all players have, which was fantastic to see.

Mikayla Hyde

A goal sneak who finished the carnival as the only West Australian to boot a goal in every game, as well as lead the goal kicking for the state with five majors. She was the difference in game two against the Eastern Allies, booting three second half goals to close the door when the opposition was pushing hard. Hyde has a really keen goal sense and loves to run into open space, tricking her opponents by leading up then doubling back, with teammates often booting the ball in front of her, and letting her run onto the pill and give her the space out the back. Like Abbey Dowrick, Hyde has another two years of development, which is really exciting for West Australian football.

Emma O’Driscoll

A team player who was rarely beaten in defence, she played a great solid role back there, intercepting and rebounding throughout the carnival. Strong overhead and smart with her positioning, O’Driscoll was a rock and had great closing speed on the lead. Most importantly, she was often clean at ground level and did not panic under pressure. A top-ager who stood out in defence and was a shining light back there for the Black Swans.

 

Results:

Monday, July 9

VIC METRO: 3.2 | 5.2 | 7.5 | 7.9 (51)
WESTERN AUSTRALIA: 1.1 | 4.4 | 4.5 | 6.7 (43)

GOALS:
Vic Metro: Daisy Bateman 2,Gabby Newton 2, Georgia Macpherson, Britney Gutknecht, Cleo Saxon-Jones.
Western Australia: Kate Bartlett 2, Mikayla Hyde, Tanisha Anderson, Sabreena Duffy, Roxanne Roux.

ADC BEST:
Vic Metro: Mikala Cann, Gabby Newton, Madison Prespakis, Abbie McKay, Katie Lynch, Georgia Patrikios.
Western Australia: McKenzie Dowrick, Kate Bartlett, Matilda Sergeant, Rikkiesha Carling, Mikayla Bowen, Roxanne Roux.

 

Wednesday, July 11

WESTERN AUSTRALIA: 1.1 | 3.2 | 4.3 | 7.3 (45)
EASTERN ALLIES: 0.0. | 0.1 | 2.3 | 2.3 (15)

GOALS:
Western Australia: Mikayla Hyde 3, Caitlin Hill, Kate Bartlett, Abbey Dowrick, Sarah Verrier.
Eastern Allies: Chloe Haines, Brea Quinlivan.

ADC BEST:
Western Australia: Sabreena Duffy, McKenzie Dowrick, Mikayla Hyde, Matilda Sergeant, Abbey Dowrick, Emma O’Driscoll.
Eastern Allies: Chloe Haines, Alyce Parker, Brea Quinlivan, Libby Haines, Alexia Hamilton, Georgia Garnett.

 

Friday, July 13

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

GOALS:
Vic Country: Sophie Van de Heuvel 3, Nikia Webber, Lucy McEvoy, Courtney Jones, Nina Morrison.
Western Australia: Mikayla Hyde, Savannah Ahearn.

ADC BEST:
Vic Country: Sophie Van De Heuvel, Olivia Purcell, Nina Morrison, Courtney Jones, Georgia Clarke, Rebecca Webster.
Western Australia: Sabreena Duffy, Emma O’Driscoll, Mikayla Hyde, McKenzie Dowrick, Sonia Dorizzi, Brianna Hyde.

WA Women’s Football League: The run home

WITH the AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships done, the West Australian contingent of talented players return to the Western Australia Women’s Football League (WAWFL) where we take a look at how the eight teams are shaping up heading into the last few weeks of the season, including how some of the youngsters are faring. We also take a quick look at the Reserves and Rogers Cup and see which other players are impressing for their respective clubs.

League:

1 East Fremantle (12 wins, 1 loss | 351.08% | 48 points)

East Fremantle lead the competition after 13 rounds, with just a Round 11 loss to Peel Thunderbirds, the only blemish. The four-point defeat in a low-scoring contest was a thriller to watch, especially after just a week earlier, the Sharks had smashed Perth Angels by 151 points. Of the leading goal kickers, Belinda Smith has booted 19 goals in 12 games, while Ashlee Atkins (11 in 11) and Kahra Sprlyan (11 in 13) are next in line. Teenager Roxanne Roux impressed at the AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships for Western Australia, and built on her great form of eight goals in seven appearances. The Sharks head into the last month of the season as premiership favourites alongside Peel Thunderbirds, with experience that will prove invaluable come season’s end.

 

2 Peel Thunderbirds (12 wins, 1 loss | 342.63% | 48 points)

The other top two side in the WAWFL is Peel Thunderbirds, who like the Sharks, have only lost the one game. They went down to East Fremantle by 27 points in Round 4, but have since won nine on the trot, including atonement against the ladder leaders with a thrilling four-point victory away. Far and away the X-factor at the Thunderbirds is Kira Phillips who has dominated the season with 60 goals in 13 matches – 36 goals more than any other player. Phillips has booted a goal in every game, and her hauls include nine and 10 goals against South Fremantle, and eight majors against Perth Angels. Others who have been prominent are Bailey Molloy and overager Kate Bartlett who have booted 18 and 16 goals apiece. The team has a high contingent of talented youth prospects including Western Australia captain Sabreena Duffy, the now-injured Courtney Hodder, Bartlett and ruck Sonia Dorizzi.

 

3 Swan Districts (9 wins, 3 losses, 1 draw | 196.02% | 38 points)

Swan Districts had back-to-back losses in rounds two and three to the top two sides, and then went down to East Fremantle in Round 8. They have a tough run home with the other top three sides in the final three weeks, but have done enough to secure third, even with three losses. They had a great win against West Perth in Round 10, winning by 29 points. Ashley Sharp and Rhonda Williams share the leading goal kicking stakes with 14 goals apiece, while AFL Women’s Rising Star nominee Emily McGuire has been impressive with eight goals from 10 appearances. They also have a high contingent of talented youngsters with Rikki Ryan-Carling, Mikayla Bowen, Emma O’Driscoll and Caitlin Hill in the team. They will need to be at their best to topple the bet two sides in the finals.

 

4 West Perth (6 wins, 7 losses | 124.58%  | 24 points)

After the top three, the middle ladder log-jam is clear and makes things interesting. After being smashed in the opening round by Peel Thunderbirds, the Falcons won the next three games by a combined 284 points. A second loss to the Thunderbirds and then-unbeaten East Fremantle was followed by two wins and then and then three consecutive losses – including two to Subiaco. They knocked off South Fremantle before a third loss to the Thunderbirds, and face Swan Districts, South Fremantle and Claremont in the final three rounds. Chloe Metcalf leads all-comers with 24 goals this season ahead of Tyhara Garlett (17) and Ellie Hansen (15). Jacinta Valentini – the sole West Australian Under 18s state member in the side – has been one of the top contributors in her seven games, booting four goals.

 

5 Subiaco (5 wins, 8 losses | 108.83% | 20 points)

Sitting just one win clear of Claremont is Subiaco having five wins from 13 rounds, having defeated Claremont and West Perth twice, and South Fremantle once. In a quirk to the feature, the Lions face Perth Angels twice in the final three rounds, which should see them make finals, while also facing Claremont for a third time. They could well overtake West Perth in fourth spot. Amy Lavell has been impressive up forward, booting 20 goals in nine games, while Sara Lewis has averaged a goal a game so far this season. Of the young stars in the side, AFL Women’s academy member McKenzie Dowrick is the top prospect, booting six goals in her seven games.

 

6 Claremont (4 wins, 8 losses, 1 draw | 93.08% | 18 points)

Claremont has a solid percentage despite winning just four games this season, which has helped due to big wins to open the season against Perth Angels and South Fremantle. They had a fantastic draw with Swan Districts at home in Round 11 and will look to upset the Lions in Round 15, in between of top four teams East Fremantle and West Perth. Amanda Robertson leads the goal kickers with 10 goals in 11 games, while Emily Johnston has booted six majors in four matches. Overager Sarah Garstone and the talented Matilda Sergeant are the two young prospects who made the West Australian state side after impressive starts to the season.

 

7 Perth Angels (2 wins, 11 losses | 17.15% | 8 points)

The bottom two sides have had tough starts to the season, but a highlight for the Angels was a nine-goal performance against South Fremantle to win by 19 points in Round 11. They also toppled the cellar dwellers in round six with a 23-point victory for their two wins of the season. In other solid defensive efforts, they kept South Fremantle to just seven goals in round eight and West Perth to nine goals a week earlier. The goal kickers have been shared around, with Heidi Thompson, Imahra Cameron and Tamika Watterston booting four goals each. They have also had four players play every game and will be looking to finish off the season strongly in the final three rounds.

 

8 South Fremantle (1 win, 11 losses | 25.69% | 4 points)

The sole win for the bottom of the ladder team came against Perth Angels in Round 8, winning by 19 points away. They have been fairly strong defensively, keeping their opposition to less than 100 points on all bar three occasions – hence the stronger percentage. Tough losses against Perth in Round 6 and Round 11 will hurt, but they have shown good signs throughout the year. Tarnee Tester has booted eight goals from nine matches, while Olivia Hunt is the other major goal kicker with six majors. Of the West Australian state side, Shannon Whale is the sole member, having polayed the one game so far this season in the League competition.

##

Reserves:

In the Reserves competition, all nine teams are represented, with Peel Thunderbirds having won 11 of the 12 games played, one win ahead of Claremont in second. East Fremantle and Swan Districts are strong in the top four, while East Perth – its highest competitive side – and Subiaco are battling it out for fifth spot. West Perth, Perth Angels and South Fremantle are the three sides in the bottom of the table with four wins between them. In terms of the leading goal kickers, Peel Thunderbirds’ Narelle McIntyre has booted 29 goals in 11 games, 10 goals clear of Claremont’s Amy Smeding (19 goals in eight games), and Swan Districts’ Contessa Finlay (18 goals in nine games).

Rogers Cup:

The Peel Thunderbirds are dominant once again in this competition, unbeaten in 12 games with a mammoth percentage of 1060.27. It dwarfs a normally mind-boggling percentage of 398.56 from South Fremantle who have plenty of talented youngsters coming through, while Swan Districts and East Fremantle round out the clear top four. East Perth and Claremont are battling it out for fifth, while West Perth, Perth Angels and Subiaco are the bottom three sides. In terms of the leading goal kickers, South Fremantle’s Jenna Bantick has booted 22 goals from 11 games, while Aimee Hiscock has nailed 21 majors from 12 games. The Thunderbirds prefer and even approach, with eight of the top 26 goal kickers hailing from the club. Among the top youngsters who stood out at the AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships, Tanisha Anderson (East Perth, 10 goals from seven games), Mikayla Hyde (Swan Districts, nine from eight) and Abbey Dowrick (Subiaco, six from eight) and Savannah Ahearn (six from eight) are all in the top 25.

Scouting notes: AFLW U18 Championships – Wednesday, July 11

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

 

Queensland vs. Vic Metro

Queensland: 

By: Julia Montesano 

#5 Lily Postlethwaite

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

#6 Zimmorlei Farquharson

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

#7 Isabel Dawes

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

#10 Jacqueline Yorston

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

#14 Tori Groves-Little

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

#18 Ellie Hampson

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

#20 Natalie Grider

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

#24 Charlotte Hammans

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

#26 Serene Watson

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

#27 Tiarna Ahwang

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

#35 Lauren Bella

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

 

Vic Metro: 

By: Peter Williams

#3 Emerson Woods

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

#6 Madison Prespakis

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

#8 Georgia Patrikios

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

#17 Georgia Macpherson

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

#18 Abbie McKay

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

#20 Gabby Newton

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

#21 Eleanor Brown

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

#22 Katie Lynch

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

#27 Gabby De Angelis

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

#32 Lauren Szigeti

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

#36 Holly Bate

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

 

Vic Country vs. Central Allies

Vic Country:

By: Peter Williams

#1 Shelley Heath

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

#3 Kodi Jacques

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

#6 Tyla Hanks

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

#7 Olivia Purcell

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

#8 Sophie Van De Heuvel

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

#9 Nina Morrison

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

#10 Nikia Webber

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

#14 Jordyn Allen

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

#21 Rene Caris

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

#22 Rebecca Webster

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

#23 Lucy McEvoy

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

#35 Lucy Cripps

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

 

Central Allies:

By: Julia Montesano

#7 Janet Baird

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

#8 Danielle Ponter

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

#10 Hannah Munyard

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

#20 Rachel Dunstan

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

#22 Jaslynne Smith

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

#23 Teah Charlton

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

#24 Amber Ward

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

#25 Bella Clarke

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

 

Western Australia vs. Eastern Allies 

Western Australia 

By: Julia Montesano 

#5 Mikayla Hyde

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

#8 Ella Smith

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

#9 Sabreena Duffy

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

#10 Matilda Sergeant

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

#14 Rikkiesha Carling

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

#17 McKenzie Dowrick

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

#20 Abbey Dowrick

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

#23 Emma O’Driscoll

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

 

Eastern Allies 

By: Peter Williams

#1 Alyce Parker

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

#8 Georgia Garnett

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

#11 Eliza Cumming

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

#14 Mia King

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

#16 Lauren Stevenson

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

#17 Netty Garlo

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

#20 Alexia Hamilton

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

#21 Chloe Haines

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

#24 Brea Quinlivan

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

#25 Libby Haines

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

Metro remains undefeated in Champs after hard-fought win against WA

VIC Metro has made it two from two in the AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships, after backing up their defeat of Vic Country with a narrow eight-point win over Western Australia. In a seesawing contest, the Black Swans made Metro work hard for the victory. Eastern Ranges midfielder, Mikala Cann and Northern Knights Best and Fairest winner, Gabby Newton were some of Metro’s shining lights but they had to contend hard against the likes of Kate Bartlett and McKenzie Dowrick, who fought hard during the game for Western Australia.

The West Australian piled the pressure on the Victorians with manic tackling and exciting running. It was then counteracted by some quick transition football from Metro, which started with a burst of acceleration from Madison Prespakis on the boundary line. Once it got forward, it took the quick thinking of Georgia Macpherson to snap it through the middle for Metro’s first goal of the day, evening out the contest early in the piece. It seemed that Vic Metro was keeping an eye on the FIFA World Cup, as a header landed in the hands of Daisy Bateman in the goal square, which opened up a seven-point lead late in the first term. Then right on the siren, Northern Knights utility, Britney Gutknecht kicked a major to help Metro to a 3.2 (20) to 1.1 (7) buffer at quarter time.

The second quarter started similarly to the first, as Western Australia again opened up the goal kicking. This was thanks to AFLW Academy member, Sabreena Duffy composing herself while running into goal and banging it through, edging the Black Swans within six points of the lead. Moments later, the Black Swans got what they wanted, as a 50 metre penalty to McKenzie Dowrick provided the perfect platform for Bartlett to take a fantastic contested mark in the goal square. Making no mistake, Bartlett slotted through her fourth goal of the carnival, and simultaneously gave her side a two-point lead with five minutes to go before half time. Before they had a chance to continue to hunt Metro down, the Victorians bounced back with two goals, courtesy of Eastern Ranges forward, Gabriella De Angelis and Oakleigh Chargers gun, Bateman.Both goals came in similar fashion, as the players outlasted the pressure and had quick instincts to snap the ball out of a contest. In a true goal for goal contest, Roxanne Roux cut back Metro’s lead to four points thanks to a goal after the siren. This still meant Vic Metro had a 5.2 (32) to 4.4 (28) lead, but they would have liked to keep their 10-point margin that they had opened up not long before.

In the third quarter, the tempo slowed, as both teams upped the anti with pressure all over the ground. It took 11 minutes for the first goal of the quarter to be scored, which was courtesy of Metro, who began to take the upper hand in the seesawing contest. It took a brilliant burst of speed from Eastern Ranges co-captain, Emerson Woods down the ground to create a forward play for Metro, which ended up in the hands of Cleo Saxon-Jones, who led brilliantly to the ball inside 50. The Western Jets ruck/forward booted it through to give Metro a 13-point lead. In quick succession, Newton got involved up forward, missing a shot at goal then following it up with a mark off a turnover inside 50. She made no mistake on her second chance, extending her side’s lead to 19 points. Western Australia again had an opportunity to reduce the deficit after the siren, but this time, it was a miss from Sonia Dorizzi, leaving Metro with a 7.5 (47) to 4.5 (29) lead heading into the final term.

The Black Swans immediately made amends for the miss after the three quarter time siren, with Bartlett running in for her second goal of the day in the opening minute of the last term. Inaccuracy hurt Metro in the last quarter, kicking five behinds and no majors in the fourth quarter. Meanwhile, Western Australia was able to get another goal on the board late in the piece, with Mikayla Hyde running into goal from close range. However, the late fightback wasn’t enough as Vic Metro came out with a hard-fought 7.9 (51) to 6.7 (43) win. Matilda SergeantRikkiesha Carling and Mikayla Bowenwere among the best with the McKenzie Dowrick and Bartlett who stood out, while Roux was terrific around the ground. For Metro, Abbie McKay and Katie Lynch were also among the best in what was a strong performance.

VIC METRO: 3.2 | 5.2 | 7.5 | 7.9 (51)
WESTERN AUSTRALIA: 1.1 | 4.4 | 4.5 | 6.7 (43)

GOALS
VIC METRO: Daisy Bateman 2,Gabby Newton 2, Georgia Macpherson, Britney Gutknecht, Cleo Saxon-Jones.
WESTERN AUSTRALIA: Kate Bartlett 2, Mikayla Hyde, Taneisha Anderson, Sabreena Duffy, Roxanne Roux

BESTS 

VIC METRO: Mikala Cann, Gabby Newton, Madison Prespakis, Abbie McKay, Katie Lynch, Georgia Patrikios
WESTERN AUSTRALIA: McKenzie Dowrick, Kate Bartlett, Matilda Sergeant, Rikkiesha Carling, Mikayla Bowen, Roxanne Roux

Western Australia hold on against Allies to claim third

WESTERN Australia has held on in the final round of the National Under 18 Championships to finish third on the overall tally with two wins from four games. The Black Swans looked like having an impressive victory following a huge first half, which saw them pile on eight goals to four and open up a 27-point lead at half-time. Most of the work was on the back of fantastic rebounding from Jordan Clark, as well as Sydney Stack on the inside and Luke English on the outside.

At the same time, the Allies prime movers in Nick Blakey and Tarryn Thomas were quieter, but that changed in the second half when Blakey moved into the midfield. He started to turn the game in the Allies favour, winning multiple clearances and using his big frame to dominate in the middle. He missed a set shot he should have nailed – but he was far from alone as time and time again the Allies missed gettable opportunities. They had managed to stop Western Australia, and were almost exclusively attacking the goals, but booted 10 behinds in the second half, having 16 scoring shots to six.

Up forward for Western Australia, Mitch Georgiades had a big first half and continued to lead strongly, while Tom Medhat was proving a handful, booting three goals and keeping the Black Swans ahead with some breathing space. Dillon O’Reilly likewise popped up for a couple of goals, one showing off his athleticism with a nice snap. While for the Allies, it was the running Fraser Turner who booted two great goals in the second half, both running into goal.

With Blakey controlling the midfield, the Allies forward 50 marks were shared around as Connor McFadyen took a great contested grab on the line and converted, while Bailey Scott and Thomas also got moving with great goals. Kieren Briggs in the centre was enormous through the ruck, continually getting to contests and laying some bone-crunching tackles and putting pressure on the opposition. Bottom-ager Mitch O’Neill continues to show why he will have plenty of eyes on him next year, able to play anywhere on the field, converting a great long-range goal courtesy of some quick hands from McFadyen.

For Western Australia, things got a little too close for comfort when the Allies closed to within seven points with a few minutes remaining, but the Black Swans defence held up in spite of plenty of inside 50s, with Regan Spooner defending well and Clark having a best on ground performance, racking up a whopping 11 rebounds to go with his 29 disposals and improve his draft stocks. Luke English‘s consistency throughout the carnival shone through and he was unlucky not to win the MVP, pipped by Clark in the end it would seem. Stack ended up among the best, as did overage midfielder Luke Foley who looked the goods, while Spooner and Medhat both played their roles up the respective ends.

The loss might have been disappointing for the Allies, but they threw everything at the West Australians, but could not capitalise on their forward 50 entries. Scott was the clear star with Blakey by the time the final siren sounded, stepping up in the second half to lead the team fantastically. Turner was busy all around the ground and his gut running was on show, while Briggs earned the Allies’ MVP award and was the standout ruck across the carnival. Jones and O’Neill were also deservedly named in the bests for their efforts. Mathew Walker‘s hands and work rate up the field were also admirable, particularly in the second half.

ALLIES                                               1.1         4.1          7.5        10.11 (71)               
WESTERN AUSTRALIA                    3.3         8.4          10.4       12.6 (78)

GOALS:
Allies: Turner 2, Blakey, Reinhard, McFayden, Quint, Walker, Scott, O’Neill, Thomas
Western Australia: Medhat 3, Georgiades 2, Moore 2, O’Reilly 2, Oldfield 2, Stack 

BEST:
Allies: Scott, Blakey, Turner, Jones, Briggs, O’Neill.
Western Australia: Clark, English, Oldfield, Stack, Foley, Spooner, Medhat.