2022 NAB League Girls: Round 1 wrap

AFTER a quick turnaround from preseason, the 2022 NAB League Girls season proper got underway over the weekend with six fixtures played across two days and states. A couple of country and metro regions each flexed their muscle, while Sandringham held on to beat Tasmania by three points in easily the closest contest of the round. We recap the action from each game in this week’s wrap.

  • Team
  • Eastern Ranges
  • Calder Cannons

By: Declan Reeve

THE opening match of the 2022 NAB League Girls season saw the Eastern Ranges overcome the Calder Cannons in an impressive 23-point victory that ended 5.8 (38) to 2.3 (15), with the Ranges leading at all breaks. Despite a relatively congested start to the game, both sides managed to show off their impressive ball movement and intent at the contest. The Ranges’ volume of inside 50s led to their scoreboard dominance, winning the stat 44 to 18.

Eastern had an all round team performance, but it was returning over-ager Bridget Deed who stole the show, with 36 disposals and a goal going a long way to helping the Ranges win. Deed was the standout, but the work of Mia Busch, Scarlett Potter, Isabelle Khoury and 2021 leading goalkicker Alyssia Pisano can’t be understated in what was an even team effort.

Despite the loss, over-ager Mali McLeod impressed for Calder on the wing, with Tahlia Read and Abbey McDonald also working hard all day to give the Cannons drive going forward. 2005-born Amy Gaylor also provided plenty from defence and through the midfield, and Reese Sutton laying an impressive 12 tackles.

The Cannons next come up against the Northern Knights in Round 2 at Highgate Recreation Reserve on Saturday, whilst the Ranges have a bye round after their opening win.

EASTERN RANGES 2.2 | 3.2 | 4.4 | 5.8 (38)
CALDER CANNONS 0.0 | 0.2 | 2.2 | 2.3 (15)


Eastern: A. Pisano, B. Deed, G. Wilson, M. Kelly, J. Hose
Calder: C. Prpic, A. Trindale


Eastern: B. Deed, M. Busch, A. Pisano, I. Khoury, S. Potter
Calder: M. Mcleod, T. Read, A. McDonald, A. Gaylor, R. Sutton

RMC Medal Votes:

5 – Bridget Deed (Eastern Ranges)
4 – Mia Busch (Eastern Ranges)
3 – Mali McLeod (Calder Cannons)
2 – Alyssia Pisano (Eastern Ranges)
1 – Tahlia Read (Calder Cannons)

Alyssia Pisano
Eastern’s Alyssia Pisano gets a handball away
  • Team
  • Tasmania Devils
  • Sandringham Dragons

By: Michael Alvaro

Sandringham Dragons stormed the Apple Isle and snatched four points in a tense three-point win over Tasmania Devils on Saturday afternoon. The visitors, who themselves lay claim to a blustery home ground, endured a run of nine behinds during terms two and three, conceding the lead but taking it back through Pia Staltari early in the final quarter. Despite having all the play with over 15 minutes left to play, the Devils could not find a reply and went down 2.13 (25) to 3.4 (22).

With partner-in-crime Bridie Hipwell missing the clash, Sandringham ace Sofia Hurley (23 disposals, seven tackles, six inside 50s) lead all comers, with Keely Coyne (18) not far behind. The likes of Georgia Foran and Ella Sciberras held down the defensive fort, while Rebecca Thompson almost had a remarkable day out, but ended with five behinds from her 12 touches.

Leading Tasmanian prospect Claire Ransom enjoyed a strong start to the season as the only Devil to tip 20 touches, while Candice Belbin was among four to notch 18. Among a side which got its hands dirty in a defensive sense, Meghan Gaffney laid eight tackles and Charlotte Dennis registered seven rebound 50s. Bottom-age gun Brooke Barwick was also important to Tasmania’s cause.

The Devils have another chance at home to open their 2022 account, hosting the Western Jets at Prospect Park on Saturday while Sandringham hosts the Oakleigh Chargers in Sunday afternoon’s lone fixture.

TASMANIA DEVILS 1.1 | 2.1 | 3.2 | 3.4 (22)
SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS 1.4 | 1.11 | 1.13 | 2.13 (25)


Tasmania: B. Parker, M. Edwards, G. Clark
Sandringham: P. Staltari, C. Millias


Tasmania: C. Ransom, C. Belbin, B. Barwick, M. Gaffney, C. Dennis
Sandringham: S. Hurley, G. Foran, R. Thompson, K. Coyne, E. Sciberras

RMC Medal Votes:

5 – Sofia Hurley (Sandringham Dragons)
4 – Claire Ransom (Tasmania Devils)
3 – Georgia Foran (Sandringham Dragons)
2 – Candice Belbin (Tasmania Devils)
1 – Rebecca Thompson (Sandringham Dragons)

  • Team
  • Murray Bushrangers
  • Bendigo Pioneers

By: Michael Alvaro

Murray Bushrangers defeated the Bendigo Pioneers by 37 points in Yarrawonga’s all-country clash, with both sides combining for one of the highest scoring games in the league’s history. The Bushies trailed at quarter time and were pushed to within two goals in term three, but rallied with the last five goals of the game to run out 13.10 (88) to 7.9 (51) winners.

Zarlie Goldsworthy returned a remarkable performance on debut, with the top-aged Bushranger notching 33 disposals, 10 inside 50s, and 4.4 to spearhead her side’s victory. Zara Hamilton also found plenty of the ball and pumped it inside 50 12 times, while Cassidy Mailer showed her wares and India Lehman proved efficient with four majors from eight touches.

For the Pioneers, Lou Painter got stuck in with a team-high 19 disposals and eight tackles, also notching multiple minor scores alongside Tia Davidge. Conversely, Drew Ryan found the target with two goals, and bottom-ager Lila Keck also hit the scoreboard from her 12 touches.

Both sides will take part in the Round 2 double-header at Epsom Huntly Reserve on Saturday, with Murray playing host to Geelong Falcons, while Bendigo takes on the red hot Greater Western Victoria Rebels.

MURRAY BUSHRANGERS 3.1 | 7.4 | 10.5 | 13.10 (88)
BENDIGO PIONEERS 4.1 | 4.2 | 7.5 | 7.9 (51)


Murray: Z. Goldsworthy 4, I. Lehman 4, M. Quade 2, D. Dodd, S. Peppler, B. Browne
Bendigo: D. Ryan 2, T. Williams, A. Gregor, M. Pianta, L. Keck, D. Greenwood


Murray: Z. Goldsworthy, Z. Hamilton, C. Mailer, I. Lehman, K. Skepper
Bendigo: L. Painter, D. Ryan, T. Daviage, T. Williams, O. Di Donato

RMC Medal Votes:

5 – Zarlie Goldsworthy (Murray Bushrangers)
4 – Zara Hamilton (Murray Bushrangers)
3 – Cassidy Mailer (Murray Bushrangers)
2 – Lou Painter (Bendigo Pioneers)
1 – India Lehman (Murray Bushrangers)

  • Team
  • GWV Rebels
  • Gippsland Power

By: Peter Williams

Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels have kick-started their season with a bang, easily accounting for Gippsland Power by 59 points in hot conditions. The Rebels piled on six goals in the first half, and despite a spirited third term from the Power, GWV kicked all nine goals in the match to run away with a 9.7 (61) to 0.2 (2) victory. Though the scoreline might reflect a one-sided game, the Power not without their chances, laying 22 more tackles (75-53) and having four more inside 502 (28-24) as well as only six less disposals (213-219).

GWV Rebels used the ball more by foot and found open space, with a whopping 24 more marks (38-14). Captain Lilli Condon lead the way with 21 disposals, four marks, two tackles and five rebound 50s, teaming up well with fellow over-ager Tahlia Meier, who kicked the opening goal of the game off a kickout turnover, and finished with 17 disposals, two marks, three tackles and four inside 50s. Ruby Stephens played an outstanding game between the midfield and forward, slotting two goals from 14 disposals and three marks, while Tyla Crabtree (15 disposals, four marks, four tackles and a goal) also caught the eye.

In what was an even performance across the board, AFLW Academy member Paige Scott always looked damaging but had a mixed bag in front of goal. The talented forward slotted 2.3 from 12 disposals and three marks, spending time further afield alongside former defender Molly Walton who picked up 14 disposals, three marks and four tackles in the win.

Sunday Brisbane found plenty of the ball with an equal game-high 21 disposals, often trying to use her run in transition to advantage her side. The 2006-born Ash Centra caught the eye across the ground, amassing 20 disposals and laying four tackles, whilst Indiana Makai (19 disposals, seven tackles and four inside 50s) and Shanae Hawker (18 disposals, four inside 50s) also found their fair share of the ball. Alisha Molesworth was fierce with seven tackles and 15 touches, while Ella Stoddart was another tall debutant who caught attention with her ball movement.

GWV Rebels tackle Bendigo Pioneers at Epsom Huntly Reserve on Saturday, whilst Gippsland Power host Dandenong Stingrays at Churchill on the same day.

GWV REBELS 3.2 | 6.3 | 8.4 | 9.7 (61)
GIPPSLAND POWER 0.1 | 0.2 | 0.2 | 0.2 (2)


GWV Rebels: P. Scott 2, P. Glover 2, R. Stephens 2, T. Meier, T. Crabtree, D. Landrigan
Gippsland: Nil.


GWV Rebels: R. Stephens, T. Meier, L. Condon, T. Crabtree, P. Scott
Gippsland: A. Centra, S. Brisbane, A. Molesworth, E. Stoddart

RMC Medal Votes:

5 – Ruby Stephens (GWV Rebels)
4 – Tahlia Meier (GWV Rebels)
3 – Lilli Condon (GWV Rebels)
2 – Tyla Crabtree (GWV Rebels)
1 – Ash Centra (Gippsland Power)

GWV’s Paige Scott (left) congratulates Paige Glover on a goal
  • Team
  • Northern Knights
  • Oakleigh Chargers

By: Michael Alvaro

Reigning premiers, the Oakleigh Chargers opened their 2022 account at the first time of asking, slamming home seven of their eight goals at one end to run out 26-point winners at La Trobe University. A hard-working Knights outfit lead at quarter time and fought back hard in term three, but were blown away in the second and fourth periods as Oakleigh kicked into gear. The end result, a 8.6 (54) to 4.4 (28) scoreline.

The Chargers’ engine room rotation was dynamic and damaging, lead by the efforts of Charlotte Taylor (20 disposals, nine tackles), Jasmine Fleming (24 disposals, five inside 50s), and Lily Hart (16 disposals). Down back, a 2003-born brigade of Alexandra McCulloch, Caitlin Matthews, and Erin Woodford was rock solid, while debutant Kristen Smith snagged four ideally timed goals.

Knights bottom-ager Ava Jordan again impressed with her vision and ball winning ability through midfield, and the energy of Rylie Wilcox proved troublesome at half-forward. Elsewhere, skipper Jess Nursey provided good drive along with winger Brooke Plummer, and Tannah Hurst stood up in defence. Another 2004-born debutant, Grace Robinson, also showed promise with a couple of goals.

Both sides again take on Metro opponents in Round 2, with the Chargers travelling for the second-straight week to face Sandringham at Trevor Barker Beach Oval on Sunday, while Northern prepares to face Calder at Highgate Recreation Reserve on Saturday.

NORTHERN KNIGHTS 2.0 | 2.1 | 4.2 | 4.4 (28)
OAKLEIGH CHARGERS 1.2 | 5.4 | 5.4 | 8.6 (54)


Northern: G. Robinson 2, A. Sciacca, E. Smallacombe
Oakleigh: K. Smith 4, A. Smith 2, K. James, A. Libertone


Northern: A. Jordan, R. Wilcox, B. Plummer, J. Nursey, G. Robinson
Oakleigh: C. Taylor, K. Smith, J. Fleming, A. McCulloch, C. Matthews

RMC Medal Votes:

5 – Charlotte Taylor (Oakleigh Chargers)
4 – Ava Jordan (Northern Knights)
3 – Kristen Smith (Oakleigh Chargers)
2 – Jasmine Fleming (Oakleigh Chargers)
1 – Rylie Wilcox (Northern Knights)

  • Team
  • Geelong Falcons
  • Dandenong Stingrays

By: Declan Reeve

The Dandenong Stingrays have started their 2022 campaign in impressive fashion, pushing aside 2021 grand finalist, Geelong Falcons with a 49-point victory at Deakin University Oval. The Stingrays were dominant from the start and didn’t look like they had missed a beat with their ball movement impressing onlookers, and quick movement in transition looking like it’ll trouble a lot of teams this season. It wasn’t all one way though, with the Falcons producing a valiant effort in the final quarter when their younger players had gotten more used to the speed of the game, seeing the final score read 10.10 (70) to 3.3 (21).

Despite the heavy loss, the Falcons had impressive moments in the second half thanks to the efforts of Ashleigh Van Loon and Charlotte Simpson on the inside of the contest, and bottom-agers Sara Howley and Mekah Morrissy on the outside. Debutant Grace Purcell was an electrifying presence in the forward half, whilst Mackenzie McGrath controlled the defensive 50 as much as possible.

The Stingrays naturally had a lot of strong contributors in the win, but a five-goal and 23 disposal effort saw Amber Clarke come out as BOG. She was well assisted by Felicity Crank, who did well to get the ball forward from the midfield, whilst Taylah Gatt and Mikayla Williamson added some class on the wings. Jemma Ramsdale and Mackenzie Eardley were reliable figures in the back half when called upon, whilst Emily Shepherd and Jaide Anthony put in good shifts rotating between the forwardline and midfield. 

Round 2 will see Dandenong travel to Churchill Football Ground to take on the Gippsland Power on Saturday, with the Falcons traveling to Epsom Huntly Reserve to take on Murray Bushrangers on the same day.

GEELONG FALCONS 0.1 | 1.1 | 1.2 | 3.3 (21)
DANDENONG STINGRAYS 3.4 | 7.6 | 9.9 | 10.10 (70)


Geelong: E. Dowling 2, L. Maresuk
Dandenong: A. Clarke 5, A. Liddle 2, E. Shepherd, J. Anthony, H. Monk


Geelong: M. McGrath, G. Purcell, M. Morrissy, C. Simpson, A. Van Loon
Dandenong: A. Clarke, M. Williamson, O. Robinson, F. Crank, T. Gatt

RMC Medal Votes:

5 – Amber Clarke (Dandenong Stingrays)
4 – Mikayla Williamson (Dandenong Stingrays)
3 – Mackenzie McGrath (Geelong Falcons)
2 – Olivia Robinson (Dandenong Stingrays)
1 – Felicity Crank (Dandenong Stingrays)

Dandenong’s Mikayla Williamson skips away with ball in hand


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