AFLW Practice match previews: Teams to unveil new recruits
IT might be beginning to feel a little like Christmas for AFL Women’s fans, as the first practice matches of the season get underway over the weekend. Given the earlier start to the season on January 7, sides have done the hard yards on the training track, and are ready to unveil some of the plans – and new players – they have implemented over the last few months. Whilst the Fremantle and West Coast game takes place Tuesday evening, we take a look at the five other matches – the Adelaide and GWS contest was cancelled due to a COVID-19 scare – taking place over the next 48 hours.
Gold Coast vs. Brisbane
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 17 @ 6PM
LEYSHON PARK | OPEN TO PUBLIC
The standalone Q-Clash will be livestreamed and the match kicking off from 6pm at Leyshon Park. It will be the first time the reigning premiers run out in a competitive match since lifting the cup aloft earlier this year. It was a completely different story for Gold Coast, who have not won a game since the 2020 AFL Women’s season. Though Brisbane head in as heavy favourites, it will be more about the Suns adapting their new players into the line-up.
Number one pick Charlie Rowbottom is the natural attraction for fans, providing hope for the Suns going forward. She is joined by fellow draftees Giselle Davies and Ashanti Bush, as well as late call-up Alana Barba. The Essendon VFLW talent played more recently than most, recent the VFLW finals series.
For the Lions, they unveil some of the fresh faces as well, with their Academy draftees in Maggie Harmer, Bella Smith and Mikayla Pauga all naed in the side, as well as mature-age draftees Luka Yoshida-Martin and Lucinda Pullar. The Lions have not held back with a full-strength squad, and one other to watch could be ex-Tiger Phoebe Monahan.
2. Lauren Bella, 3. Tori Groves-Little, 4. Claudia Whitfort, 8. Charlie Rowbottom, 9. Shannon Danckert, 12. Tara Bohanna, 14. Serene Watson, 15. Wallis Randell, 16. Britt Perry, 17. Jamie Stanton, 18. Janet Baird, 19. Ashanti Bush, 20. Daisy D’Arcy, 21. Alana Barba, 22. Giselle Davies, 23. Kalinda Howarth, 24. Hannah Dunn, 25. Dee Heslop, 26. Kate Surman, 28. Sarah Perkins, 29. Cheyenne Hammond, 30. Bess Keaney, 33. Ali Drennan, 39. Vivian Saad, 42. Jade Pregelj
1. Emily Bates, 3. Breanna Koenen, 4. Sharni Webb, 5. Jade Ellenger, 7. Gabby Collingwood, 8. Maggie Harmer, 9. Orla O’Dwyer, 10. Natalie Grider, 11. Phoebe Monahan, 12. Sophie Conway, 13. Kate Lutkins, 14. Dakota Davidson, 15. Greta Bodey, 16. Bella Smith,17. Isabelle Dawes, 18. Ally Anderson, 19. Luka Yoshida-Martin, 20. Shannon Campbell, 21. Courtney Hodder, 22. Zimmorlei Farquharson, 23. Jessica Wuetschner, 24. Lucinda Pullar, 27. Mikayla Pauga, 28. Maria Moloney, 29. Ruby Svarc, 30. Jesse Wardlaw, 31. Taylor Smith, 32. Lilly Pearce
Melbourne vs. Collingwood
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 18 @ 10AM
CASEY FIELDS | OPEN TO PUBLIC
Two premiership contenders go head-to-head at Casey Fields on Saturday morning, with both sides putting out strong sides. Melbourne has named its entire list minus new recruit Olivia Purcell (recovering from an anterior cruciate ligament injury) and Isabella Simmons. That means the Dees will blood Tayla Harris who could renew her rivalry with Magpies defender Stacey Livingstone. The home side has also been training ex-Calder tall Tahlia Gillard in defence, whilst fellow teenager Georgia Campbell could be up the other end. A player familiar with the ground and club in rookie Eliza West will step up to the next level after being listed by the Dees, joining Alison Brown as mature-age fresh faces in Demons colours.
Collingwood will also welcome a host of fresh faces, with teenage drafteees Eliza James and Eloise Chaston both named in the side. Imogen Barnett is in a similar position to West, having played for the Magpies’ VFLW side and will now step into the senior team. Winning the league goalkicking at state level, Barnett will look to combine with Sophie Alexander and Sabrina Frederick inside 50. Frederick will don her new colours for the first time, as will ex-Carlton ruck Alison Downie, who will face a combination of Lauren Pearce, Maggie Caris and Eden Zanker.
1. Georgia Campbell, 3. Maddison Gay, 4. Karen Paxman, 5. Tyla Hanks, 6. Daisy Pearce, 7. Tayla Harris, 8. Sarah Lampard, 9. Libby Birch, 10. Kate Hore, 11. Eliza West, 12. Shelley Scott, 14. Lily Mithen, 15. Lauren Pearce, 16. Alyssa Bannan, 17. Tahlia Gillard, 18. Casey Sherrif, 19. Jacqueline Parry, 20. Brenna Tarrant, 21. Maggie Caris, 22. Eliza McNamara, 23. Sinead Goldrick, 24. Megan Fitzsimons, 26. Lauren Magee, 28. Ali Brown, 29. Eden Zanker, 30. Shelley Heath, 31. Krstel Petrevski, 32. Gabrielle Colvin
1. Sabrina Frederick, 2. Chloe Molloy, 3. Brianna Davey, 4. Imogen Barnett, 5. Amelia Velardo, 6. Jordyn Allen, 7. Sarah Rowe, 8. Brittany Bonnici, 9. Alana Porter, 11. Imogen Purcell, 12. Stacey Livingstone, 13. Jaimee Lambert, 14. Aishling Sheridan, 15. Erica Fowler, 16. Aliesha Newman, 17. Steph Chiocci, 18. Ruby Schleicher, 19. Bella Smith, 20. Eliza James, 21. Alison Downie, 22. Sophie Casey, 23. Lauren Butler, 24. Sophie Alexander, 25. Mikala Cann, 26. Tarni Brown, 40. Abbi Moloney, 41. Eloise Chaston, 50. Ebony O’Dea
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 18 @ 11AM
IKON PARK | CLOSED TO PUBLIC
The first of two games to be closed to the public is between Carlton and St Kilda at Ikon Park, with both teams looking vastly different compared to last season. The Blues lost a heap of experience over the off-season with the likes of Loynes, Dalton, Harris and Downie all departing, but receiving Jessica Dal Pos as that mature-age talent. They were able to bring in a number of talented teenagers, with Geelong Falcons teammates Annie Lee and Poppy Schaap, Eastern Ranges’ Keeley Sherar and Oakleigh Chargers’ Brooke Vickers all named to run out in the navy blue. Similarly, Imogen Milford will appear in new colours after a second placed finish in the VFLW leading goalkicker with Casey.
For the Saints, they will have to reshape the midfield, losing the likes of Tyanna Smith (injury) and Georgia Patrikios (vaccine mandate ruling), which gives opportunities for others to step up. Molly McDonald could be one such player to do so, with Ashleigh Richards, Ella Friend and Leah Cutting all having entered the club with different stories. Friend could be the target inside 50 alongside Caitlin Greiser, while Cutting is a readymade replacement ruck for Poppy Kelly who headed to the Tigers, and fascinatingly could clash against former SANFL opponent, Jess Good. She could share the duties with Rhiannon Watt, while Alana Woodward is another fresh face with a second chance after her stint at Richmond. Lucy Burke steps up from VFLW level as another inclusion into the Saints’ lineup.
1. Grace Egan, 2. Jess Dal Pos, 3. Darcy Vescio, 4. Madison Prespakis, 5. Abbie McKay, 6. Gab Pound, 7. Brooke Walker, 9. Kerryn Harrington, 11. Annie Lee, 12. Lauren Brazzale, 13. Lucy McEvoy, 15. Jess Good, 16. Breann Moody, 17. Charlotte Hammans, 18. Maddy Guerin, 19. Georgia Gee, 20. Charlotte Wilson, 21. Nicola Stevens, 22. Courtney Jones, 23. Daisy Walker, 24. Brooke Vickers, 25. Keeley Sherar, 26. Paige Trudgeon, 28. Imogen Milford, 31. Brooke Vernon, 32. Nat Plane, 35. Poppy Schaap, 46. Elise O’Dea
1. Molly McDonald, 2. Ella Friend, 3. Alice Burke, 4. Alana Woodward, 5. Darcy Guttridge, 6. Ash Richards, 7. Rhiannon Watt, 8. Bianca Jakobsson, 9. Kate McCarthy, 11. Isabella Shannon, 12. Kate Shierlaw, 13. Renee Saulitis, 14. Hannah Priest, 17. Caitlin Greiser, 18. Tilly Lucas-Rodd, 19. Jess Matin, 20. Rebecca Ott, 23. Olivia Vesely, 25. Rosie Dillon, 26. Leah Cutting, 27. Nicola Xenos, 28. Lucy Burke, 29. Tarni White, 34. Tahlia Meyer, 35. Cat Phillips, 36. Jayde Van Dyk
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 18 @ 1PM
WHITTEN OVAL | OPEN TO PUBLIC
In the heat of the day, the Western Bulldogs will host North Melbourne, being one of only two sides to have top-up players this weekend. The Bulldogs have dug into their VFLW programs to welcome leaders Riley Christgoergl and Eliza Morrison, as well as teenage goalkicker Jemima Woods. They have a lengthy injury list to open the season, but will have the opportunity to unleash the likes of Amanda Ling and Aurora Smith alongside the already established great young talent of Jessica Fitzgerald, Isabella Grant and Nell Morris-Dalton. Having being picked up as a delisted free agent, Richelle Cranston will play for her third AFLW club, whilst ex-Tiger Alice Edmonds takes up a spot in the west. Ex-GWS GIANTS utility Elle Bennetts is the other fresh face in the lineup.
The Kangaroos have gone more experience than youth, though have given opportunitis to some players looking to force their way into the starting lineup for Round 1. Ex-Geelong Falcons ball-winner Tess Craven makes her way into the side, whilst mature-age defender out of the Magpies’ VFLW program in Jasmine Ferguson is also set to make her unofficial debut. Other than the duo, the side is largely the same as last season, with the elite talents of Emma Kearney, Jess Duffin, Jasmine Garner and Ash Riddell all named for the preseason practice match.
1. Brooke Lochland, 2. Ellie Blackburn, 3. Isabella Grant, 5. Jemima Woods, 6. Eliza Morrison, 8. Bonnie Toogood, 9. Eleanor Brown, 11. Elle Bennetts, 13. Celine Moody, 14. Ellyse Gamble, 16. Naomi Ferres, 17. Riley Christgoergl, 18. Britney Gutknecht, 19. Ashleigh Guest, 20. Isabelle Pritchard, 22. Hannah Scott, 23. Jess Fitzgerald, 24. Aurora Smith, 25. Nell Morris-Dalton, 27. Kirsty Lamb, 29. Amanda Ling, 30. Richelle Cranston, 33. Alice Edmonds, 35. Annabel Strahan
2. Daria Bannister, 3. Bella Eddey, 5. Tess Craven, 6. Alice O’Loughlin, 7. Ash Riddell, 8. Aileen Gilroy, 9. Emma Kearney, 10. Kaitlyn Ashmore, 11. Daisy Bateman, 12. Nicole Bresnehan, 15. Amy Smith, 16. Tahlia Randall, 17. Sarah Wright, 20. Jasmine Ferguson, 22. Ellie Gavalas, 23. Mia King, 25. Jasmine Garner, 26. Kim Rennie, 27. Jess Duffin, 31. Danielle Hardiman, 35. Jenna Bruton, 36. Brooke Brown, 43. Grace Campbell, 60. Emma King
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 18 @ 2PM
SWINBURNE CENTRE | CLOSED TO PUBLIC
Rounding out the weekend’s matches, Richmond and Geelong’s clash at Punt Road will also be closed to the public. Both sides will unleash some outstanding teenagers, but fans will have to wait until Round 1 to see them live. The Tigers are the other side to bring in a top-up player in the face of injury, with their VFLW-listed talent in Sophie Locke named to play for the Tigers. She will join ex-Saint Poppy Kelly and ex-Blue Jess Hosking as mature-age recruits, while teenage talents Emelia Yassir, Stella Reid and Ingrid Houtsma offer versatility in the team having stepped out of the NAB League program. The other inclusion to the side is ex-North VFLW captain Meagan Kiely who has also been named for her first game in the yellow and black.
For the Cats, they will finally get the chance to unleash their top pick in Georgie Prespakis, though she is only one of the big stories coming out of the Cattery. Former pick one, Nina Morrison makes her long-awaited return from injury, whilst ex-Crow Chloe Scheer will add a touch of class to the forward half for the blue and white hoops. The Cats also have some mature-age players stepping up from their VFLW program, with Claudia Gunjaca, Olivia Fuller and Annabel Johnson all named in the side. Other draftees to be named include ex-Geelong Falcons talents Zali Friswell and Gabbi Featherston, while Chantel Emonson has crossed from Melbourne to play at the Cattery.
1. Sophie Molan, 3. Katie Brennan, 4. Monique Conti, 5. Maddy Brancatisano, 6. Christina Bernardi, 8. Courtney Wakefield, 9. Hannah Burchell, 10. Kodi Jacques, 11. Jess Hosking, 12. Sarah D’Arcy, 14. Poppy Kelly, 15. Rebecca Miller, 16. Laura McClelland, 17. Sarah Dargan, 18. Sarah Sansonetti, 19. Kate Dempsey, 21. Sophie Locke, 23. Harriet Cordner, 24. Tayla Stahl, 25. Stella Reid, 27. Emelia Yassir, 28. Gabby Seymour, 31. Meagan Kiely, 36. Ingrid Houtsma
1. Rene Caris, 2. Danielle Higgins, 3. Amy McDonald, 4. Darcy Moloney, 5. Jordan Ivey, 6. Julia Crockett-Grills, 7. Madisen Maguire, 8. Kate Darby, 9. Nina Morrison, 10. Georgie Rankin, 11. Meg McDonald, 13. Liv Fuller, 14. Chloe Scheer, 16. Chantel Emonson, 17. Georgia Clarke, 18. Laura Gardiner, 20. Zali Friswell, 21. Becky Webster, 22. Rachel Kearns, 23. Phoebe McWilliams, 24. Maddy McMahon, 25. Stephanie Williams, 26. Claudia Gunjaca, 27. Sophie Van De Heuvel, 29. Carly Remmos, 30. Annabel Johnson, 32. Gabbi Featherston, 41. Georgie Prespakis, 45. Maddy Keryk