ROUND four gave us a new ladder-leader with the Geelong Falcons taking top spot off the Northern Knights. It also saw the Stingrays move off the bottom of the ladder with a commendable performance against the Sandringham Dragons. Meanwhile Gippsland continued its great run of form with a three-point win against reigning premiers, Calder Cannons. This competition just keeps on giving with plenty of great performances on an action-packed Tuesday. Our scouts attended four games from the round.
Dandenong Stingrays vs. Sandringham Dragons
By: Peter Williams
#3 Courtney Jones
I thought it was the best four-quarter performance I have seen from her this season. She played well inside 50 and just consistently worked her way to the front in marking contests. Jones has a good game sense and knew when to time her leads and use her body to wedge herself between her opponent and the pass coming inside 50. Just kicked the one goal after marking from an Eliza Wilson-Macdonald snap, then missed a chance to make it two after a great lead and mark. Overall a really strong performance.
#15 Jordyn Allen
The captain played a typical consistent game, and when called upon, stood up and made it count. She seemed to be everywhere on Tuesday, intercepting and rebounding early, then went forward in the final term and took a huge contested mark, converting the goal and giving the Stingrays a real sniff at victory late in the game. She reads the play so well and is pivotal off half-back. She just knows how to get to the right positions and uses her great vision to not only chop off opposition passes, but open up angles for teammates and find space for them with neat passes.
#26 Isabella Shannon
Arguably the Stingrays best across four quarters, her contested work was top notch on Tuesday. You would often find her at the bottom of a pack, shovelling the ball out and no doubt her contested numbers and one percenters would be high from her efforts in the match. Shannon also has good composure with ball-in-hand and is able to stand up in a mark with pressure coming from around her. She took a great intercept mark early in the fourth term, and also had a chance to draw the team within five points late in the match after a quick handball from Lucinda Cripps, but her snap missed.
#29 Brooke Struylaart
Struylaart kicked the first goal of the game and continually presented up forward. Her game tended to flow like the Stingrays, but when they needed a target inside 50, she was there. Her positioning in the first marking contest was smart, reading the ball’s flight better than her opponent to position herself at the back and take an easy uncontested mark and slot the goal from the goal square. She had a shot in the second term but her snap did not bend back enough. Struylaart also cut the margin back in the fourth term with the opening goal to get the Stingrays up and about.
#35 Lucinda Cripps
I am yet to see her play a bad game, such is the consistency Cripps has throughout matches. Even when she is not winning the ball, she is contesting and putting her body on the line via blocks, tackles or shepherding – a real team player. She gets to the right positions in the defensive 50 and puts pressure on her opponents, and intercept marks, spoils or just puts her opponents off balance enough to slow play. In the last term Cripps went forward and while she did not win a heap of it, almost changed the game with a lightning handpass to Isabella Shannon as she ran by, but unfortunately the proceeding snap was missed.
#1 Shelley Heath: Quieter early, but had some really classy moments. The most noticeable trait for me is her ability to dispose of the ball really quickly. It is hard for opponents to get a hand on her, because she either fires out the handball or puts the ball to boot in record time. A clean user of the ball across the game and clean at ground level.
#5 Eloise Allen-Burns: A consistent game playing in defence, taking a crucial intercept mark late in the game and being a rock alongside Cripps in that back 50.
#20 Eliza Wilson-Macdonald: A good mover who just cracks in hard at the contest. Had an entertaining battle with Winnie Laing throughout the day when the pair matched up in the midfield with neither player taking a backwards step. Wilson-Macdonald laid a few bone-crunching tackles, and also set up a Courtney Jones goal with a neat turn and snap to the danger zone.
#21 Grace Hodder: I was impressed with her game just showing a few signs here and there, laying a huge tackle on the wing and taking a good intercept mark at half-forward. Started to win a bit of the ball through the midfield and was fairly clean too.
#28 Tyanna Smith: Had an eye-catching play in the second term, marking and not breaking stride and she bombed long inside 50 to hit up Brooke Struylaart. She then laid a great run down tackle on Abbie McKay later in the match to lock up the ball.
#36 Jemma Owen
The best performance I have seen the Dragons captain put out for the season, she was just everywhere. She not only did all the hard stuff that you are used to with her in-and-under work and fierce tackling, but she broke the lines and made the grandstand wing her own with a couple of daring dashes to burn off opponents and gain serious meterage. She created run off half-back and then seemingly iced the game late in the third term with a huge goal from about 40m out with the kick never looking like missing. She copped a knock in the final term but got back up.
#43 Abbie McKay
A consistent performer across the game, not as noticeable as some, but looking carefully she plays a vital role in the contest. She laid a great goal-saving tackle in the third term, but unfortunately for her the ball spilled free and another opponent kicked truly. Nonetheless her effort in the contest was indicative of her desire at the coal face and produced a strong team player game.
#46 Alice Burke
I thought her game was the most noticeable I had seen from her despite having some impressive performances this season. She created good drive off half-back and did a few things that indicated her game sense and footy IQ was high – deft taps or knock ons that advantaged either herself or her teammates for the next possession or contest. She also kicked a great goal when all the momentum was with the Stingrays, nailing a shot inside 50 after drifting down there and putting the Dragons nine points up with five minutes remaining in the match.
#49 Laura Amelung
A damaging game from the versatile utility who does not need a lot of space to hurt her opponents. She has a trademark sidestep that opens up space and only needs a split second to compose herself and zero in on the goals. Amelung showed great vision to be able to pick out teammates in pockets of space, and finished the game with two goals – one on the run from 40m out in the first quarter and another from bouncing on a loose ball in the pocket. She also set up a great goal assist to Jemma Owen in the third term who nailed the shot from 40m out.
#56 Georgia Emberton
Emberton played up forward and I was impressed with her ability to balance between offensive and defensive mindsets. She would find space and become an option for her teammates going forward, but also put pressure on her opponents so they knew they were being hunted inside their defensive 50. Emberton laid a great run down tackle in the first term for a free kick late, then nailed the set shot from a 45 degree angle. She missed the opportunity to make it two later on, marking in front but the set shot just missed. Emberton moved into the midfield late in the game and found a bit of the ball.
#1 Maddison Wilson: Copped a knock in the first term from a tackle, but got back up to compete at the next contest. She reads the play well and is a clean user of the football, and also clean at ground level.
#2 Winnie Laing: A contested game from Laing, going head-to-head with Eliza Wilson-Macdonald at times through the midfield, she continued to battle and force her way to contests throughout the match.
#25 Isabella Eddey: Kicked a great goal from a snap in the third term to put the Dragons 12 points up. Also had a vital contest backing back into defence in the final term, doing enough to put body contact on Lucinda Cripps to spoil her attempt at a mark, then won the proceeding one-on-one and cleared it out of the danger zone. Zipped around and played her role throughout the game.
#32 Sarah Hartwig: Hartwig provided great drive and kept one of the competition’s key goal-scorers – Samantha Ryan – goalless. She has a great ability to change direction and lay some strong tackles, and also provided a crucial intercept midway through the last term, striding out of defence to clear it to the wing.
#64 Eliza McNamara: Played even more of an inside role on Tuesday than other matches and looked comfortable. She had to earn every possession this round and did so, well. She has a good turning circle and can work her way out of a stoppage, and almost kicked a great goal in the second half after sidestepping a couple, but was dragged down at the last second and the kick fell short.
Murray Bushrangers vs. Western Jets
By: Taylah Melki
#1 Julia Harvey
Harvey was a standout for the Bushrangers, competing hard for the footy and slotting an impressive goal from a tricky angle. She used the footy cleanly and hit her targets. Harvey showcased her fight and desperation for the footy, and took a few really strong marks under heaps of pressure.
#16 Eloise Ashley-Cooper
She was really strong down back and through the middle for the Bushrangers once again. Ashley-Cooper took plenty of strong marks and showed good hustle to win the footy at ground level. She was very clean around the contest and used the footy effectively, showing great awareness with ball in hand.
#17 Rebecca Webster
Webster backed up her impressive form again this week gathering plenty of touches and imposing herself on the contest. She was never far from the footy and was a huge influence on her teammates, imposing herself on the stoppages. She had clean hands in and around the contest and used the footy well. Webster laid plenty of strong tackles and showcased her ability to run and carry with the footy. Not only did she tackle well but she used her strength to burst away from the packs and help set up forward play for her team. She showed great awareness with ball in hand and demonstrated her long penetrating kick, scoring a goal herself in another strong performance for the Bushrangers.
#19 Millie Brown
Brown had a huge first quarter for the Bushrangers. She showcased her class and footy skill nailing two big goals in the opening term and demonstrated good awareness with ball in hand. Brown used her evasive skills to get into damaging positions and used her booming kick to propel her team forward. She also took big grabs throughout the match.
#22 Tamara Smith
Smith showed some good fight and competed hard to win the footy. She was never far from the contest and laid plenty of good strong tackles throughout the match. Smith applied good forward pressure to lock the ball in their forward 50 and used the footy cleanly, hitting targets with pin-point accuracy. In and around stoppages she was really clean and helped to open up the space with her dash.
#4 Chelsea Knight: Knight showcased her marking ability and competed hard for the footy throughout the match. She ran hard and was not afraid to impose herself on the contest.
#5 Chelsea Hargreaves: Hargreaves took plenty of good intercept marks and had really strong hands under heaps of pressure.
#11 Ada Chessor: Chessor showcased her clean hands around the contest and used her break-away speed to open up the field. Her ability to win the in and under ball allowed her to use skills to burst away from the pack.
#26 Emily Nicholson: Nicholson laid a huge tackle in the third quarter and took a few good intercept marks throughout the match.
#37 Sophie Damon: Damon was really solid down back for the Bushrangers and competed hard at the contest. She laid an impressive smother and helped to propel her team forward multiple times from defence.
#42 Grace Egan: Egan backed up her strong performance last week with another consistent game, taking plenty of strong intercept marks and impressing with her ability to read the flight of the footy and the play of the game.
#45 Olivia Barber: Barber took plenty of good contested marks and rucked really well for the Bushrangers. She won plenty of the ruck contests and took a strong good grab. Barber nailed an impressive goal in the third quarter.
#2 Caitlin Gashi
Gashi was a standout for the Jets showcasing her impressive speed and evasive skills. She was very clever with ball in hand and used the footy effectively and efficiently. Her run and carry was important to help propel her team forward and she used her strong kicking ability to set her team up.
#8 Emily Gardner
Gardner was good around the contest and competed hard to win the footy for her team. She was never far from the contest and was not afraid to get involved in the thick of it. She had clean hands and picked up the footy with ease.
#14 Isabella Grant
Grant showed some good dash across the ground and took a few running bounces to try and open up space for her team. She set up plenty of play in the forward 50 and competed hard for the footy at ground level.
#26 Isabella Negri
She took a big mark in the second quarter and competed hard for the ball throughout the whole match. Negri was a key presence up forward for the Jets and used the ball relatively well. Negri was not afraid to go hard at the footy. Her quick release with ball in hand helped her team mates and allowed them to run into space.
#43 Caitlin Greiser
She was the sole goal-kicker for the Jets bagging three majors. Greiser impressed with her accuracy in front of goal and showed good composure with ball in hand. She moved well across the ground and got herself into damaging positions in order to set up shots at goal. Greiser was a key figure on the ground and looked dangerous in front of goal.
#19 Olivia Forsythe: Forsythe laid some good strong tackles and used her long penetrating kick to help her team get out of trouble. She showed great awareness and helped to set up some forward play for the Jets.
#21 Maddison-Eve Fenech: She applied some good tackling pressure and fought hard to win the footy.
#40 Sharnie Whiting: She was effective down back for the Jets and had a beautiful long kick which she used to help propel her team forward. She set up play defensively and was able to hit targets on the kick in.
#44 Carle Myors-Moore: She was really strong down back for the Jets and soaked up a lot of pressure from the Bushrangers. She used her long clearing kick to get the ball out of their defensive 50.
Northern Knights vs. GWV Rebels
By: James Halley
#7 Abigail Bennett
She is quite classy in tight and has time when her opposition has none. She has good hands for and can hold her marks when under heavy duress. She is really trustworthy on the last line of defence when needed to mark under pressure. Her ability to play anywhere on the field is a strength.
#14 Jessica Fitzgerald
She seemed to be everywhere in the first quarter. She had a presence on the ground which the Rebels could not contain early on. She kicked an impressive goal late in the third term as she was getting tackled, which shows great composure.
#24 Alexandra Pronesti
She played as the main target for the Knights in the forward line, presented well and was rewarded for constant hard work in the first quarter with a goal, which she converted from a set shot 20m out. She converted her second from a similar distance moments later, as she stamped her authority on the game. Her hands did not falter as the game went on.
#27 Paije Kearney
She managed to hold her own as a key position back and took impressive marks when the team needed her. She is often the player that her teammates look to when distributing the ball.
#3 Nell Morris-Dalton: She has great hands and leads very well.
#10 Phoebe Chisolm: Chisolm displayed her tackling power with a great chase-down tackle in the first term.
#17 Ciara Fitzgerald: She seems a class above with her speed out of the stoppages.
#23 Gabby Newton: Newton was a key interceptor for the Knights in the backline, continuing her form this season.
#22 Britney Gutknecht: She is a quality on-baller who disposes the ball well out of the contest.
#15 Tara Jasper
For a backline player, she was able to convert from a long distance after she was a awarded a free and 50m penalty for rough conduct, which illustrates great flexibility for the 18-year-old. Definitely one of the Rebels’ best on the day.
#18 Sophie Van De Heuvel
She snapped through a very nice goal from the boundary which showed great promise as a small forward. Afterwards she showed a bit of character which was good to see, as she brought her team within one point of the Knights in the second term. She was lively throughout the whole game and a real standout for the Rebels.
#23 Sophie Molan
Molan is a very accurate shot for a goal as she converted from 30m out in the second term after being awarded a free kick for holding. She continues to improve as the season goes on, being one of GWV’s most consistent players. Molan was a strong defender early in the season but has made her mark in attack the last few weeks.
#25 Georgia Clarke
Her dash and accurate kicking across half-back was instrumental in attacks for the Rebels. Her pressure on the ball-carrier was immense. She proved this by winning multiple frees. Clarke backed up her best-on-ground efforts last week with another sterling game in defence.
#27 Nyakoat Dojiok
She has really good pace and runs all day up and down the wing. Late in the last quarter she sprinted away and kicked her first goal for the match in a good quarter of forward athleticism.
#13 Chloe Leonard: She was able to finish nicely in front of goal as she kicked truly for her second-term major.
Oakleigh Chargers vs. Geelong Falcons
#2 Mimi Hill
Did some really nice things on the day and was one of the Chargers players who never gave up. At times, she would pick the ball up quickly and kick it out of congestion, displaying her great spatial awareness. She also displayed clean hands throughout the day. Was a key link in the chain for the Chargers throughout the day.
#16 Alana Porter
Has a great long and penetrating kick, which was even executed well on the run. She had great balance to kick the ball well and keep her feet while Geelong players were chasing her down. Had the ability to get and go throughout the whole game to try and hack the ball forward for her side. Took a great in and under mark, laid a goal-saving tackle, and completed a huge run-down tackle to save Geelong running forward. A complete game from her.
#17 Nicola Xenos
Made the clubroom end her own by always getting the ball in that area and hacking it out of congestion off the half-back line. Often marked, and kicked towards the wing to create space. She was proactive in finding other ways to get her team moving forward. In one instance she had the awareness to kick across the ground to allow her team control the footy. Was able to accelerate and kick on the run. Read the game really well.
#32 Chloe O’Malley
Got plenty of the footy on the day. Dug in deep for the side, trying to hold down the fort in defence then presenting herself in one instance in the forward line. Had good agility to evade a tackle at one point and kept trying to surge forward. Constantly went in hard for the footy and when she got it, she had the composure to go back, look for a target and allow her teammates to get into position.
#21 Charlotte Moon
Another commendable performance from Moon, she is a very consistent player. She showed her strength with a good pick-up off the deck while she had a player on her back. She is proving to be very important for Oakleigh. She was one of their better players on the day and seems to be improving as each week goes on.
#70 Peggy-Sue Fennell
In one instance she burst from the last line of defence, cleared the ball from goal-square congestion and took it to the wing. Backed up last week’s solid performance.
#14 Hannah McLaren: Penetrating kick and was getting plenty of the footy in the first quarter. Went off with a head knock towards the end of the term and did not come back on which was a shame. Looked like she was going to have a solid performance.
#11 Bridie Winbanks: Did well in the ruck to minimise Inei’s influence. Kicked the ball nice and high at times to allow her smaller teammates to run onto the ball. Got plenty of air on her kicks.
#30 Gemma Lagioia: Started the game incredibly well before an unfortunate head clash with Hannah McLaren. Won plenty of the ball and kept it moving in the short time she was out there.
#39 Tayla Nichols: Took a good intercept mark and laid a goal-saving tackle on the last line of defence to prevent a Geelong goal.
#43 Emily Hastie: Laid an excellent rundown tackle and took a good mark from a defensive kick inside 50.
#7 Olivia Purcell
Was everywhere throughout the day. Had a good clearance out of the centre and was able to burst through congestion multiple times. Was able to pick up the ball cleanly and it paid dividends when she did it inside 50 and slotted through a goal. Her marking power was remarkable for such a small player. Took a good leap over a player’s back and took a mark with an opponent on her back, showing she could do it all. Was another Falcon who had a wonderful goal sense. She was Geelong’s best player on the day.
#10 Nina Morrison
Displayed electric speed throughout the game. She is such a composed player. Morrison is also a confident player, shown when she ran along the boundary line and kicked a brave snap. She has a good kick off one step, and has one of the most diverse kicks I’ve seen this year. Can kick it high, low, or spear a pass. In one instance, she kicked a low ball into the forward line, as she picked a target rather than just hacking it to the top of the goal square. So good at finding targets and has an innate ability to lower her eyes to control the flow of the game for the Falcons.
#15 Lucy McEvoy
Flexed her muscles against the Chargers. She plucked many marks out of contests and was able to clear the ball, whether it was by giving the ball off or running into space herself. Took a huge contested mark with a contest of players behind her. At one point she had good game sense to cleverly tap the ball in a contest which allowed her to run forward. She displayed good kicking up forward and had a strong presence inside 50. Kicked a nice goal to solidify her dominance. Always knew how to bring her teammates into the game with quick-fire handballs. In one instance, she got a kick away even though she was being tackled.
#17 Denby Taylor
Good acceleration. Got heaps of the footy throughout the day. Has a long kick which got Geelong out of trouble deep in defence. Had a great knack to pick up the footy and kick off one step to boot it forward.
#25 Renee Tierney
Kicked four brilliant goals for the day. Always ran into the right spots to run onto the end of some long kicks inside 50. For one of her goals, she read McEvoy’s quick pick-up, grabbed the ball off the deck and snapped it around her body. Kicked a good goal off a free kick with a nice calm run up. Took an excellent pack mark at the top of the square. She was really lively inside 50 throughout the whole game but her influence was especially felt in the third quarter when she kicked two goals. Has a remarkable goal sense.
#9 Luka Lesosky-Hay: Had a nice long kick into the forward line and created a couple of forward thrusts. Kicked to the ball beautifully to the perfect spot, the goal square, to allow the small forwards to run onto a loose ball. Kicked a goal herself to polish off a nice day out.
#11 Kaitlyn Haustorfer: In one instance she cleverly tapped the ball under pressure to get it out of the congested stoppage. Laid a great tackle and got straight back up to continue chasing.
#14 Tarryn Love: Great mark and good ability to play on.
#19 Zoe Inei: Nice goal from a free kick, curled it nicely.
#22 Mia Sheppard: Good effort to get the ball, kick it then follow up her kick. Kept her feet well throughout the game.
#30 Emily Allan: Read the play well to get the ball out the back off a big kick inside 50. Kicked a nice goal to finish it off.