QUEENSLAND academies entered the fray in Round 7 of the 2022 NAB League Girls season, with the Gold Coast Suns nabbing an impressive win over the competition’s reigning premiers. We recap how all seven of matches went down across a bumper three days of action in this week’s wrap.
By: Declan Reeve
The Dandenong Stingrays have continued their unbeaten run for the season, knocking off the Sandringham Dragons in less than favourable conditions on Friday. The Dragons started the game looking strong, kicking the opening two goals of the game and leading at quarter time. Their fortunes wouldn’t continue though, and despite their best efforts the Stingrays came out on top of the encounter by 20 points, seeing the game finish 5.7 (37) to 9.3 (57).
With the wet conditions, it was hard for many players to stand out as players struggled to hold onto the ball or use it damagingly going forward, with the added difficulty of the contested nature of the game making it even harder. For the victors, Mackenzie Eardley (23 disposals, seven marks) made the most of her opportunities, constantly intercepting in Dandenong’s defensive half. Midfielders Olivia Robinson (20 disposals, nine tackles), Charlotte Blair (19 disposals, eight tackles) and Felicity Crank (15 disposals, seven tackles) all looking ominous throughout the game. Playing with knee strapping after a scare last week, Amber Clarke (15 disposals, one goal) was still influential in the contest.
The Dragons had regular performers Keely Coyne (21 disposals), Sofia Hurley (19 disposals, 15 tackles) and Bridie Hipwell (14 disposals, four tackles) battle hard in the midfield all day, with over-agers Pia Staltari (12 disposals, one goal), Charlie Anderson (12 disposals) and Emma Stuber (11 disposals, two goals) putting in strong performances as well.
Both of these sides will be playing over the Labour Day weekend, with the Stingrays hosting the Oakleigh Chargers on Friday night at Casey Fields, whilst the Dragons will come up against Northern Knights at Parade College on Monday.
SANDRINGHAM DRAGONS 2.1 | 3.3 | 3.4 | 5.7 (37)
DANDENONG STINGRAYS 1.2 | 4.3 | 6.3 | 9.3 (57)
Sandringham: E. Stuber 2, S. Farrell, P. Staltari, Z. Barbakos
Dandenong: R. Murdoch 2, S Butterworth 2, A. Clarke, M. Williamson, M. Otto, H. Monk
Sandringham: K. Coyne, S. Hurley, B. Hipwell, E. Stuber, P. Staltari
Dandenong: M. Eardley, O. Robinson, C. Blair, C. Ryan, F. Crank
RMC MEDAL VOTES:
5 – Mackenzie Eardley (Dandenong Stingrays)
4 – Olivia Robinson (Dandenong Stingrays)
3 – Keely Coyne (Sandringham Dragons)
2 – Sofia Hurley (Sandringham Dragons)
1 – Charlotte Blair (Dandenong Stingrays)
By: Peter Williams
Fresh off pushing the ladder leaders Dandenong Stingrays last week, Eastern Ranges decided to rest some of their players – and give VFLW opportunities to others – taking on the much younger, and winless, Gippsland Power. In what was a scrappy affair, the Ranges kicked the first goal within 46 seconds as debutant Haylee Brebner kicked truly. They would not kick another until the final three minutes of the second term – to Charli Granville – as the Ranges took a seven-point lead into half-time.
Gippsland’s only goalkicker from the game – Ash Centra – was not sighted after half-time, making life difficult for the Power without the dynamic midfielder/forward, as the Ranges slotted 3.4 to 0.2, and came away with the 5.6 (36) to 1.3 (9) win. The victory was a great chance for Eastern’s younger players to stand up, given the likes of Bridget Deed and Isabelle Khoury (VFLW), Alyssia Pisano (injured) and Mia Busch (rested and running water) were all out of the match.
Bottom-ager Laura Stone continued her great form for the Ranges to be best on ground with 20 disposals, three marks, four tackles, two inside 50s and five rebound 50s. Alongside her, Granville looked to be the most dangerous forward, slotting 2.1 from 11 disposals and three marks, whilst acting skipper Ava Campbell rebounded well out of defence, Molly Paterson (16 disposals, five tackles) also found her fair share of the ball, whilst Jacinta Hose, Mia Austin and Jess Vukic dominated the ruck.
Gippsland had an even spread across the team with Centra having a good first half of nine touches and a goal, whilst Amber Schutte and Alisha Molesworth both finished with match-highs of 21 disposals. Molesworth also laid a ridiculous 18 tackles in the wet, with Schutte laying seven and having four inside 50s. Sunday Brisbane (21 disposals, three marks, two tackles and three rebound 50s) and Jemma Birss (20 disposals, two marks and seven tackles) both worked hard, whilst Yasmin Duursma (13 disposals, two marks and seven tackles) showed her class at times.
Gippsland Power has the bye next round, whilst Eastern Ranges head back to Kilsyth Recreation Reserve, where they take on Tasmania Devils from 1pm on Sunday, March 13.
GIPPSLAND POWER 1.1 | 1.1 | 1.1 | 1.3 (9)
EASTERN RANGES 1.0 | 2.2 | 4.5 | 5.6 (36)
Gippsland: A. Centra
Eastern: C. Granville 2, J. Hose, H. Brebner, G. Belloni
Gippsland: J. Birss, A. Schutte, S. Brisbane, A. Molesworth, Y. Duursma
Eastern: L. Stone, C. Granville, A. Campbell, J. Hose, M. Paterson
RMC MEDAL VOTES:
5 – Laura Stone (Eastern Ranges)
4 – Charlie Granville (Eastern Ranges)
3 – Jemma Birss (Gippsland Power)
2 – Amber Schutte (Gippsland Power)
1 – Ava Campbell (Eastern Ranges)
By: Toby Mew
The Calder Cannons ground out their fifth win of the season against a determined Tasmania Devils squad, as they continue to pressure the top two metro regions. The Devils were unable to match the Cannons’ ability to get good looks on goals inside 50. It was an aggressive, attacking contest, with the game being decided by each teams’ ability to get the ball out of the contest cleanly.
The Cannons were again helped by another all-round performance, with many solid contributors across the board. Amy Gaylor was a strong influence in the midfield and defensive 50, whilst Reese Sutton continued her form with a strong tackling performance. Abbey McDonald looked strong down back aerially and at ground level in her return to the fold, while fellow midfielders Mali McLeod and Tahlia Read also racked up possessions.
Neither of Brooke Barwick’s aggression nor Claire Ransom’s clean ball use were enough to get the Devils across the line. They were helped by Meghan Gaffney, Priya Bowering and Madison Brazendale, who each stepped up and provided important contributions in the middle of the ground.
Looking to next week, Round 8 sees Calder take on the Western Jets under lights on a Thursday night, in a game which may decide the second metro spot. Meanwhile, Tasmania will look to bounce on the mainland when it takes on the Eastern Ranges on Sunday.
TASMANIA DEVILS 2.0 | 2.0 | 4.3 | 4.3 (27)
CALDER CANNONS 1.3 | 3.4 | 3.4 | 4.7 (31)
Tasmania: B. Parker 2, G. Clark, L. Freestone
Calder: H. Woodley, M. Ford, M. McLeod, C. Prpic
Tasmania: C. Ransom, B. Barwick, M. Brazendale, M. Gaffney, P. Bowering
Calder: R. Sutton, A. Gaylor, A. McDonald, M. McLeod, T. Read
RMC MEDAL VOTES:
5 – Claire Ransom (Tasmania Devils)
4 – Brooke Barwick (Tasmania Devils)
3 – Reese Sutton (Calder Cannons)
2 – Madison Brazendale (Tasmania Devils)
1 – Amy Gaylor (Calder Cannons)
By: Michael Alvaro
The Geelong Falcons picked up a crucial win in the scheme of their top two hopes, downing the Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels by 35 points in Ballarat on Sunday. A five-goal to one third quarter proved the difference, with the Rebels only down by a combined 11 points across the other three quarters. In the end, the Falcons were too strong and ran out 9.9 (63) to 4.4 (28) victors on the road, going 2-0 against the Rebels in 2022.
With star forward Paige Scott sidelined, over-ager Tahlia Meier stepped up for the Rebels to boot three of their four goals. Skipper Lilli Condon kicked the other and was solid, while top-ager Molly Walton racked up 29 touches for the second week running, matching Chloe Stevens for seven rebound 50s.
For Geelong, ruck Keeley Hardingham continued her strong form with team-high numbers of 25 disposals, six inside 50s and 13 hitouts. Advancing the ball up the ground, Johanna Sunderland (24 disposals, six rebound 50s) and Sara Howley were also terrific, while the welcome return of Ash Van Loon helped the Falcons midfield get on top. The visitors’ endeavour was also outstanding, as they laid 93 tackles.
Both sides will get an extra week to recover as they undertake a bye in Round 8. The Rebels will then open up Round 9 with a home clash against Western Jets, while Geelong also turns out on its home deck when the Eastern Ranges come to town.
GWV REBELS 1.1 | 1.3 | 2.3 | 4.4 (28)
GEELONG FALCONS 2.4 | 2.7 | 7.7 | 9.9 (63)
GWV: T. Meier 3, L. Condon
Geelong: K. Stacey 2, L. Owens 2, S. White, K. Hardingham, S. Mallon, L. Maresuk, S. Huxtable
GWV: M. Walton, T. Meier, L. Condon, C. Stevens, J. Rentsch, L. Jordan
Geelong: K. Hardingham, J. Sunderland, S. Howley, C. Adams, L. Owens
RMC MEDAL VOTES:
5 – Keeley Hardingham (Geelong Falcons)
4 – Johanna Sunderland (Geelong Falcons)
3 – Molly Walton (GWV Rebels)
2 – Tahlia Meier (GWV Rebels)
1 – Sara Howley (Geelong Falcons)
By: Michael Alvaro
The Murray Bushrangers bounced back onto the winners list in emphatic fashion, defeating the Bendigo Pioneers by an even six goals at Epsom Huntly on Sunday afternoon. In a game where a single behind was scored at one end of the ground, the Pioneers could only manage nine points (all minors), while Murray kicked clear with three goals in the first and third terms to win 6.9 (45) to 0.9 (9).
Another sensational shift from Zarlie Goldsworthy saw the Murray star lead all comers with 27 disposals, and she also hit the scoreboard alongside Cassidy Mailer. Usual suspects Keeley Skepper and Zara Hamilton again found plenty of the ball, while Grace Hay was assured in defence, Mindy Quade booted three goals up forward, and Molly Kennedy resumed her ruck duties with strength.
The Pioneers were served well by some usual suspects of their own. Drew Ryan found the most ball with 22 touches, while under-ager Lucia Painter continued her remarkable form and Octavia Di Donato again stood up against stiff opposition. Inside forward 50, Tegan Williams snared a third of her side’s overall score with three behinds, and also took three marks.
Both sides can put their feet up in Round 8 in a shortened set of fixtures, with their next outings on Sunday March 20. Murray will front up against the winless Gippsland Power on neutral ground, while Bendigo is set to travel to Tasmania to take on the Devils for a second time this season.
BENDIGO PIONEERS 0.0 | 0.4 | 0.4 | 0.9 (9)
MURRAY BUSHRANGERS 3.6 | 3.7 | 6.9 | 6.9 (45)
Murray: M. Quade 3, Z. Goldsworthy, C. Mailer, E. Hall
Bendigo: L. Painter, O. Di Donato, D. Ryan, L. Keck, T. Williams
Murray: Z. Goldsworthy, C. Mailer, K. Skepper, Z. Hamilton, G. Hay
RMC MEDAL VOTES:
5 – Zarlie Goldsworthy (Murray Bushrangers)
4 – Lucia Painter (Bendigo Pioneers)
3 – Cassidy Mailer (Murray Bushrangers)
2 – Octavia Di Donato (Bendigo Pioneers)
1 – Mindy Quade (Murray Bushrangers)
By: Michael Alvaro
The Brisbane Lions Academy became the second team to go goalless in Round 7, as they managed two behinds in a 36-point defeat to the Western Jets on Sunday. Western’s addition of 2.5 in term two was the biggest dent either side made in the scoreboard, and it came after a goalless opening quarter. The Jets then put on the afterburners, soaring to a 4.14 (38) to 0.2 (2) victory.
It was no surprise to see Jets standouts Montana Ham and Charlotte Baskaran get on top in midfield as both players were the top two ball winners afield. The likes of Stephanie Asciak and Trinity Skenderis provided good fold at the contest, while Caitlin Sargent (two goals) again spearheaded the attack and Laura Elliott was reliable when required in defence.
Much like Ham and Baskaran, it was no surprise to see AFLW Academy member Ella Smith lead the way for Brisbane with 22 disposals and eight tackles. Fellow top-agers Charlotte Mullins and Ava Seton were also solid on a tough day for the Lions, who brought some good heat early. Personifying the visitors’ pressure was bottom-ager Laura Roy, who laid 13 tackles in the loss.
While Brisbane’s NAB League stint is over for another year, the Queenslanders will back up to play the Gold Coast Suns on Sunday. Western faces a shorter turnaround, looking to make it five wins on the trot when it faces the Calder Cannons on Thursday night.
WESTERN JETS 0.2 | 2.7 | 3.9 | 4.14 (38)
BRISBANE LIONS ACADEMY 0.1 | 0.1 | 0.2 | 0.2 (2)
Western: C. Sargent 2, C. Baskaran, S. Grieves
Lions Academy: Nil.
Western: M. Ham, C. Baskaran, C. Sargent, L. Elliott, S. Asciak
Lions Academy: E. Smith, A. Seton, C. Mullins, F. Davies, L. Roy
RMC MEDAL VOTES:
5 – Montana Ham (Western Jets)
4 – Charlotte Baskaran (Western Jets)
3 – Ella Smith (Lions Academy)
2 – Caitlin Sargent (Western Jets)
1 – Laura Elliott (Western Jets)
By: Peter Williams
Despite flying down the same morning after a flood-affected past week, the Gold Coast Suns Academy came away with an impressive 15-point win over Oakleigh Chargers in the Suns’ sole NAB League Girls match for 2022. After earning a win over Brisbane Lions Academy a couple of weeks ago, the Suns were on fire from the get-go, winning the toss and utilising the Highgate Recreation Reserve breeze that anyone who has ventured down there can relate to. Captain Imogen Evans got the Suns on the board in the first term, with AFLW Academy member Fleur Davies also hitting the scoreboard.
The Sunshine State side had the play for the majority of the first half, with a late goal from Maggie Mahony cutting the deficit to nine points at half time. Another couple of important goals after the main break – including a Litonya Cockatoo-Motlap special that bounced home from tight on the boundary – saw the Suns skip away to a 15-point lead at the final break. Though Jorja Jackson kicked the only goal of the final term for the home team, it would not be enough, as the Suns saluted, 4.5 (29) to 2.2 (14).
Alana Gee was a clear best on ground in the match, racking up the ball with will and standing up against fellow top 10 potential players Jasmine Fleming and Charlotte Taylor well. Gee amassed 34 disposals, four marks, five tackles, seven inside 50s and two rebounds in a mammoth effort. Both Fleming (29 disposals, two marks, 10 tackles, three inside 50s and four rebound 50s) and Taylor (17 disposals, two marks and two inside 50s) tried hard, and worked into the game, but could not have the same influence as they often have. Evans was a standout alongside Gee, picking up 22 touches, five marks, five tackles and five inside 50s, whilst Jasmyn Smith fitted in a treat against the Victorian side, recording 23 disposals, three marks, two tackles and four inside 50s. Davies (11 disposals, three marks, six tackles and 26 hitouts) also shone brightly.
For the Chargers, Maggie Mahony continued her form to be the best of the Chargers with 20 disposals, two marks, six tackles, two inside 50s and three rebound 50s. Fleming and Taylor still were amongst the Chargers’ best, with captain for the day Charlotte van der Vlies (13 disposals, two marks, seven tackles and three rebound 50s) and Jorja Jackson (12 disposals, two marks, four tackles and one goal) also among the better Chargers.
Oakleigh’s draw does not get any easier, or their grounds get any less windy next week, with the Chargers set to take on the competition benchmark Dandenong Stingrays next Friday night at Casey Fields, whilst the Suns Academy locks horns with the Lions Academy again on Sunday, in a rescheduled clash for the sides.
OAKLEIGH CHARGERS 0.0 | 1.2 | 1.2 | 2.2 (14)
GOLD COAST SUNS ACADEMY 2.3 | 2.5 | 4.5 | 4.5 (29)
Oakleigh: M. Mahony, J. Jackson
GC Suns: I. Evans, F. Davies, C. Miller, L. Cockatoo-Motlap
Oakleigh: M. Mahony, J. Fleming, C. Taylor, C. Van der Vlies, J. Jackson
GC Suns: A. Gee, I. Evans, J. Smith, F. Davies, S. McMullin
RMC MEDAL VOTES:
5 – Alana Gee (Gold Coast Suns)
4 – Imogen Evans (Gold Coast Suns)
3 – Jasmyn Smith (Gold Coast Suns)
2 – Maggie Mahony (Oakleigh Chargers)
1 – Fleur Davies (Gold Coast Suns)