ROUND 2 of the NAB League Girls competition played out on the weekend, and we were at four of the six games taking a look at the players highlighted by respective talent managers as ones to watch throughout the season and beyond. For the two games we did not get to, we recapped how some of the players performed statistically for the sides.
GWV Rebels vs. Calder Cannons
By: Peter Williams
#9 Renee Saulitis
Started in attack opposed to Georgie Prespakis, and kicked a great goal in the last minute of the term. She showed great game smarts to toe tap the ball to her advantage, then get the right spin on it to kick it off the ground, and for it to dribble around the goal post for the Rebels’ first major of the day, from a tight angle. Saulitis pushed further up the ground as the game went on and played through the midfield, even winning possession at half-back and kicking cleanly to the wing. She did get bumped off the ball a little too easy in a marking contest, but once the ball hits the ground, she is in her element.
#10 Ella Wood
Impressive game through the midfield, especially early on when the game was even. Her kicking inside 50 was very solid and set up Renee Saulitis for a mark, and continued to relentlessly attack the ball throughout the match. In the second term she had two instances of great courage where she flew back into a marking contest, then if she got knocked down, got straight up again. She worked hard around the ground and presented as an option from kick-ins, and a perfect representation of her second efforts was when her kick was smothered in defence, she followed up to lay a tackle on her opponent and force a throw-in.
#24 Sophie Molan
A big game for the tireless leader who had the ball on a string for a lot of hte day. Her clearance work in particular stood out, and she won a number of free kicks for being held around the stoppages. Molan spent time at full-forward, but was most effective when in the middle extracting the ball from the coal face. She regularly put her body on the line and moved well in tight, showing great vision and football IQ in one instance to handball clear to a teammate while under pressure. Her second efrorrts in attack saw her lay a big tackle, win a free kick for holding the ball then Molan played on and kicked a great goal.
#35 Maggie Caris
A promising game from the developing ruck, who won a bit of the football around the ground as well as dominating in the ruck. She won countless hitouts, and was able to extract a ball from traffic inside 50 and kick it deep in the forward line. Caris’ standout feature is her clean hitout ability, able to get a full hand to the ball such is her height and leap ability over her opponents.
#2 Felicity Theodore
A terrific game from the Cannons mid/forward who just got better as the game went on. While Georgie Prespakis’ name was the one to be thrown around for her seven goals, Theodore was the clear second best with some huge efforts, including multiple goal assists to Prespakis, and kicking a goal of her own. She had other chances as well but just missed out on converting late in the game. The piece of play that best exemplified her impact was where she won the ball inside 50 in the third term, but insitead of blazing away and only looking for the goals, lowered the eyes and put it to Prespakis’ advantage. She combined immediately after with a similar play, bursting out of a stoppage to pop it up above Prespakis who marked and goaled again.
#21 Georgia Patrikios
Back into the team after Round 1, Patrikios was used sparingly early, starting on the bench in the first and second terms, and then rotating across the ground on the grandstand side. She played on the outside to use her skills to advantage. Patrikios has that ability to make time stop and can turn opponents inside out and seemingly casually side step them without too much trouble. Her vision and skill execution was impressive and came as no surprise, and with a game under her belt, she will be better going forward.
#41 Georgie Prespakis
Seven goals in the second half, a match winning performance. There is not much you can say about her performance other than dominance when at full-forward. She is strong and clean in the air, quick at ground level and has an innate goal sense when to go and when to pass. She remarkably started in defence on Renee Saulitis in the first term, moved into the middle in the second, then played out of the goalsquare in the last half. Prespakis has a powerful kick and once she has front position in a marking contest, it is hard to stop her. Of her seven goals, most came from set shots, but she produced a few tricks, including one where she was being dragged down by a couple of opponents and she managed to get a kick away between a couple more for it to go in, as well as her next one where she was corralled into the boundary, but had the speed to take on her opponent run around and kick into the open goal. Prespakis had a couple of opportunities late in the game to break the record and kick a couple more goals, but seeing her teammates with the ball were in better positions, she just pointed to the goals and let her teammates get on the board.
Northern Knights vs. Oakleigh Chargers
By: Taylah Melki
#6 Alyssa Bannan
Bannan showed a good ability to get boot to ball and helped to propel the footy forward on multiple occasions throughout the game. She worked hard at the stoppages and displayed her strong marking ability in the 50. She provided plenty of good leads and opened up space. She impressed in one passage of play where she was taken in a tackle and stood strong while getting dragged down to throw the ball on her boot and kick into the Knights forward 50. She protected the drop of the ball and showcased her good footy smarts to read the play and get into a good position. Kicked a good goal in the third after breaking away from the pack and nailing the shot.
#18 Sarah Sansonetti
Sansonetti proved that she could read the flight of the ball well and contested hard in the air. She showed good attack on the footy and worked hard throughout the game to get to the contest and compete. Her tackling pressure was second to none bringing players to ground and hunting them to win the footy. She also displayed good spatial awareness to kick the ball into space and move the ball out of defence to a more attacking position for her side.
#21 Ellie McKenzie
She applied plenty of good strong tackles and chased hard throughout the game to try and win the ball back for her side. McKenzie attacked the footy hard and dished it off with clever passes to teammates in better positions. She showcased her strong marking skills and ability to read the play. McKenzie impressed in the last quarter credit to her good dash away from the pack to break into space and kick an important goal and then backed it up with another stellar goal from a difficult angle to get her side back on an even playing field. She showed great spatial awareness to pass off to teammates and know when to run herself and offered strong leads through the centre.
#22 Britney Gutknecht
Gutknecht was once again solid showcasing her good hands in the contest to work the ball out of stoppages and pass off to teammates. She showcased her strength while getting tackled to keep her arms free and dish to footy off while she also impressed with her acceleration and ability to break out of the centre bounce. She provided good attacking play had clean hands and ran hard continuously to get to the contest. Gutknecht also provided good link-up play through the middle of the ground thanks to her footy smarts and spatial awareness.
#23 Gabby Newton
Newton showed good spatial awareness and was composed with ball in hand even while under pressure. She used the footy well to move the ball forward and showcased her strong hands taking some solid marks across the ground. Her general football awareness was impressive and she applied good defensive pressure to worry opponents out of the kick.
#32 Ashleigh Snow
Snow applied good pressure across the field and worked hard to get to the contest. She tackled well on multiple occasions and used her beautiful kick into the forward 50 showcasing her pinpoint precision. Her good vision and acceleration was also a key part in her game and she racked up plenty of timely touches.
#1 Gemma Lagioia
Lagioia impressed with her follow up work across the ground especially in the forward half to try and trap the footy in the Chargers’ attacking 50. She also showcased her clever use of the footy with timely kicks to teammates and into space. She did the one percenters well chasing hard and applying pressure.
#2 Mimi Hill
Hill was strong around the contest and worked hard to try and win the footy leading the way for her side in possessions. She used her acceleration and clever kicks to push the ball forward and set up attacking bursts for the Chargers. She used her defensive pressure to try and trap the footy and was good around the stoppages extracting the footy. Her clever handballs out of traffic were efficient and allowed her teammates to run into space.
#4 Emily Harley
Harley was a real presence up forward for the Chargers with her long booming kick and good positioning in front of goals. She helped to push forward and create scoring opportunities for her teammates. She took plenty of strong contested marks and showed a good ability to read the flight of the ball. Harley impressed in the second quarter taking a strong contested mark just outside the goal square and slotting a good goal to finish off the play. She was not afraid to put her body on the line going in hard at the contest. Harley took another big mark just inside the 50 and bombed a long goal finishing the game with three majors.
#8 Alana Porter
Porter used her clever kicks to get the ball into space and showed good attack on the footy across the ground. She worked hard at the clearances to win the footy and pushed hard into the forward 50 to try and create some attacking play. Porter reads the play well, breaks away from the packs and is a good strong kick of the footy.
Geelong Falcons vs. Gippsland Power
By: Michael Alvaro
#1 Elise Vella
The bite-sized forward competed well and did contributed some really neat touches throughout the game. A courageous mark going back with the flight of the ball in the second term was a highlight, with Vella hanging on and bouncing straight back up despite a copping a tremendous knock from behind. Her tackling was also willing, and she provided some good balls inside 50.
#8 Paige Sheppard
Sheppard was close to, if not the Falcons’ best on the day, winning a wealth of the ball through the midfield. Sheppard terrific coming out of congestion and provided nice forward bursts. Her repeated ground ball gets and long kicks forward were a feature, but she truly did it all across the match.
#12 Laura Gardiner
Assuming her usual positon on the wing, Gardiner looked to take the game on and was usually clean in doing so. She showed good awareness on the last line of defence to clean up after a fumble, but was more often seen between the arcs. She capped off her day with a nice running goal in the third term – the only one scored in the quarter.
#18 Darcy Moloney
The midfielder has a good step, and used it to move around opponents when looking to break forward. She was effective by foot going inside 50, and constantly finished off runs with long kicks. Like Sheppard, she also finished off her solid display with a goal late on.
#21 Abbey Chapman
While the defence as a whole would be disappointed in letting a couple of late goals through, Chapman was solid as a rock inside defensive 50. She copped a knock in the second quarter, but bounced back well to affect a number of intercept marks and shut down many Gippsland attacks. Entrusted with the kick-outs, Chapman spent a good amount of time deep, while also moving towards the arc to cut off Gippsland’s forays.
#38 Lucy McEvoy
The star Falcon had another day out, putting in a complete shift and looking a class above at times. Utilised at the centre bounces for most of the game, McEvoy showcased her outstanding decision making at the stoppages with clean hands and neat vision to bring her teammates into the contest. Her kicking game was also typically strong, with a particular shot from 50-out hitting the post. McEvoy also tended to play a kick off the ball when it was inside the Falcons’ 50, providing a wall and relentlessly pumping the ball back in, while also being the primary kick-in target. A solid game was capped again by her final quarter goal, which she snared off a Renee Tierney kick and booted into an open goal.
#39 Renee Tierney
Together with Skinner, Tierney was the lead player up forward for Geelong and claimed four of their seven first half goals. Showing good awareness and a deft finishing touch, Tierney took full advantage of the space afforded to her inside 50. Her clever dribble goal through traffic in the second term was a highlight, and she could well have finished with five or six goals had she not missed a couple early.
#8 Chandra Abrahams
The midfielder battled hard all day against a slick Geelong engine room, attending most of the stoppages and anchoring the centre bounces. Opposed to Lucy McEvoy at times, Abrahams had a good crack and won some nice clearances. Her effort against two opponents to see the ball out in the second term was a good example of her combativeness on the day.
#9 Maddi Shaw
Shaw is a leader in the Gippsland defence and despite a difficult day, she made a solid contribution. She had a good one-on-one win on defensive wing early on, and showed her potential in patches. A strong marking attempt against two Falcons in the final term with the game all but over was impressive, and Shaw has a decent boot when allowed space to use it.
#27 Nikia Webber
While Webber was arguably her side’s best, she found the going tough early on starting at centre half-forward. She pushed up the ground to find more of the ball and provide a target to link inside 50, but Geelong hardly gave her an inch when she went near it. Her marking game was solid, and a 55-metre set shot on goal turned into an assist for the Power’s first goal of the game in the final term. A run through the midfield in the second half looked to lift the Power slightly, and she fought well in the clinches.
Sandringham Dragons vs. Dandenong Stingrays
By: Peter Williams
#2 Sophia Rothfield
Presented throughout playing forward, getting on the end of a kick inside 50 from Bryanna Arnold and converting the set shot. It would be the Dragons’ only major of the game, but Rothfield continued to cause headaches up forward for her opposition with some powerful marks. She took a great contested grab in the second term, and put her body on the line time ad time again. Rothfield had an opportunity in the final quarter for a second goal, but missed the snap.
#25 Sarah Hartwig
Played in front of her opponent most of the day and backs herself in to go for marks rather than spoils. Hartwig is clean at ground level and is able to pick up the ball at top speed and take off, which she did in the second term when she scooped up the ball on the run, fended off an opponent and kicked straight down the middle. Later on she showed her second efforts, laying a big tackle after dropping an intercept mark, to win back possession for her side. She won a free kick for a huge run-down takccle in the final term.
#28 Alice Burke
A big first half around the stoppages and her defensive pressure was very good. She is able to win the contested ball and just get enough separation to move laterally or forward to kick long. Early in the game she showed the perfect way to use your body at a stoppage, getting a low centre of gravity, protecting herself as well as the ball at ground level and buying herself time to dispose of the ball to a teammate while having the space to get rid of it if tackled. In the third term she drifted into defence on a number of occations and showed clean hands and quick disposal, as well as a lovely technique coming out of defence to the wing. A big tackle on Tyanna Smith in the final term allowed a teammate to have a long shot on goal form the subsequent spillage.
#30 Winnie Laing
Worked hard throughout the four quarters and constantly put her body on the line. Along with Alice Burke and Eliza McNamara, Laing won plenty of contested ball and clearances, even if it was just a deft tap or bump off the ball to allow a .teammate to take possession. Laing plays with fierce intend and won a few free kicks, including one in the first term for too high, but her set shot missed to the left.
#42 Marguerite Purcell
Impressive game along the wing as she has that balance between athletic capabilities and hardness at the ball and ball carrier. She roamed between the arcs and has a long, dangerous kick going inside. Purcell had a big impact in the first half and took a good intercept mark outside 50 to then send the ball back inside. A quieter second half, but she had a chance in the final quarter running into goal, but rushed a little and missed the shot on goal.
#12 Molly McDonald
The captain returned for the Round 2 game and after a quieter first half, started to have a massive impact in the second term. She played on a wing and did not take a backwards step, covering the ground with ease and crashing into marking contests to impact at every chance she got. McDonald laid some big tackles and had a few chances on goal but rued missed opportunities. One went out on the full and the St Kilda recruit berating herself for the missed chance, another was on target from long range but was touched on the line. Her work rate is an obvious advantage and despite it being her first game back this year in competition, she fitted in well.
#26 Isabella Shannon
A tackling machine. Shannon played through the midfield and up forward, and her work on the ball was very good, putting her body on the line and also able to shrug off opponents with ease. Shannon has great core strength ad is able to move well when under pressure, and has a fierce attack on the ball. In one instance in the third term, Shannon was outnumbered one against two on a . forward flank, and laid a huge tackle to trap the ball and force a stoppage. She missed a chance lain the same term from long range, but then kicked the final goal in the final term to put the nail in the coffin.
#28 Tyanna Smith
The bottom-ager had another impressive game through midfield and was able to find space at times to not only hurt her opponents on the inside, but also on the outside. She loves to win the contested ball, but on a couple of occasions got free and took off, with a ‘wow’ moment in the second term, bursting off half-back and running all the way to half-forward, but just pulled the kick a little to the left. Luckily the ball spilt and the Stingrays were able to create a goal out of the opportunity. While on some occasions she was caught, you had to admire the way she attempted to continually break the game open. In the final term she set up the final goal to Isabella Shannon with great vision in the pocket to spot up her teammate and put it to her advantage rather than blazing away.
#31 Brooke Vernon
The defender found herself uncharacteristically in the goalsquare in term one after back-to-back 50-metre penalties and an easy conversion in front of goal. The major was the first of the game, and then Vernon played a solid game in the back 50. She took a great contested mark in the goal square to save a certain goal in the opening term. Often tasked with the kick-in duties, Vernon is a long, accurate kick of the ball and always provided a contest. Finished with a handful of rebounds and a solid four quarter performance.
#51 Zoe Hill
The reliable defender did her job once again, especially under fire in the final term. She did not win a heap of the ball, but when in possession, Hill is calm and composed under pressure and is able to dispose of it cleanly. She forced a rushed behind in the final term and has an ability to get a clean first in one-on-one. Earlier in the game she showed great closing speed and was able to spoil an opponent when at top speed.
In other games, here’s how some of the ones to watch played:
Bendigo Pioneers vs. Eastern Ranges
Brooke Hards had 17 disposals, two marks, three inside 50s, three rebounds and five tackles, while key defender, Tara Slender amassed an equal round-high seven rebounds to go with her 16 disposals, four marks and three tackles, and Eloise Gretgrix worked hard defensively for 13 touches, four marks and six rebounds. For Eastern, Tarni Brown also collected 17 disposals and had four inside 50s while laying a game-high eight tackles, Laura McClelland also found plenty of hte ball with 15 disposals, five inside 50s and six tackles, while Olivia Meagher had 16 disposals, three marks, four tackles and six inside 50s.
Murray Bushrangers vs. Western Jets
The standout performer from the match was Western’s Elisabeth Georgostathis who racked up 28 disposals – 22 kicks – two marks, five inside 50s and seven rebounds, while Abby Favell was impressive with 21 touches, five marks, four inside 50s, three rebounds and three tackles. Potential father-daughter selections, Millie Brown and Isabella Grant were impressive with Brown (20 disposals, two marks, three tackles, four inside 50s and two rebounds) and Grant (19 disposals, six marks and three inside 50s) playing important roles through midfield. Cleo Saxon-Jones was ever present with 18 touches and four marks for the Jets, while Sophie Locke (14 disposals, eight inside 50s) and Olivia Barber (13 disposals, four marks and a goal) were also good for the Bushrangers.