IT was a big Round 4 of NAB League Girls action with some of the key players really dominating across the ground. We managed to get to three games across the weekend with notes taken on some of the players outlined by respective Female Talent Managers in the pre-season. All notes are opinions based on the writer.
Northern Knights 5.6 (36) defeated Sandringham Dragons 2.3 (15)
By: Michael Alvaro
#25 Sarah Hartwig
Employed at both ends of the ground, Hartwig showed strong hands overhead in either role, but fell a little short by foot up forward in the tough conditions. A promising prospect, Hartwig has plenty of time to work on that, as well as her strengths. With two intercept marks in the third term in defence, marking is clearly one of them.
#28 Alice Burke
Burke was one of Sandringham’s key ball winners, digging the ball out from stoppages all day. While breaking away proved tough for most at the stoppages, the Dragons midfielder improvised well at times with kicks off the ground to move forward and won a couple of nice clearances – the most notable coming in the second term.
#30 Winnie Laing
Arguably the Dragons’ best, Laing was combative against stiff competition in the Knights’ midfield and showed a willingness for repeat efforts. Snaring the ball at ground level, Laing often threw the ball onto her boot and pushed her side inside 50 of a couple of occasions on the back of breaking tackles. A mainstay in the midfield, Laing can hold her head up despite a tough loss.
#42 Margie Purcell
Positioned on the outside, Purcell took time to get her running game going but was effective late on as the Dragons scrapped to keep the margin tight. A missed chance in the first quarter could have otherwise provided a nice start to the game, but Purcell was not deterred and tried taking the game on with twists and turns through traffic.
#3 Nell Morris-Dalton
A constant up forward, Morris-Dalton built into the game slowly. She read the ball better than three Sandringham defenders to run onto a dropped high ball and slot her first major from the goalsquare, while later claiming one over the back in the third term to finish with two goals in a strong performance.
#6 Alyssa Bannan
Employed on the outside and moving forward well, Bannan continues to be a key Knights ball carrier. A nice pick up and shrug of her opponent was a particular highlight, but she missed the resultant shot on goal in the first term.
#7 Abigail Bennett
Bennett was another good forward mover alongside Bannan, providing a key link between the wing and forward 50. Her clean hands were a particular feature throughout the day, with her running game proving damaging as she found space at will. Bennett’s mark under a high defensive clearance in the second term was most impressive, as was her clean break and kick to Ellie McKenzie inside 50.
#14 Jessica Fitzgerald
Another good runner from midfield, Fitzgerald drove the Knights forward as one of the only players who effectively broke away from traffic. She kept her hands up and flicked the ball out well in tackles when caught, and bar two misses from gettable chances on the run in the first half, put in a solid shift as part of the Northern engine room rotation.
#18 Sarah Sansonetti
While she did not have too much to do in her key post down back, Sansonetti was a solid part of the sturdy Knights defence. Entrusted with kick-outs, she made good decisions with and without ball in hand – including a calm spoil for a rushed behind when one-on-one deep in defence during the third term.
#21 Ellie McKenzie
The versatile middle-ager was again terrific, looking dangerous inside forward 50 throughout the game. While she found limited opportunities early on while playing out of the goalsquare, McKenzie was competitive at the forward stoppages and came into the game that way. Her highlights included moving cleanly around an opponent to then provide Jess Fitzgerald with a shot at goal, as well as her clean hands and a holding the ball tackle in the final term to give Britney Gutknecht a chance inside 50.
#22 Britney Gutknecht
Another who can trade forward duties for the midfield, Gutknecht hunted the ball well through the middle and was often the best reader of taps. Breaking away was a tougher task, but her tackling and intent around the stoppages gave her a real presence. Moving deep forward in the second half, Gutknecht slotted a set shot goal in the third term and was unlucky not to add to it later on as she looked lively inside 50.
#23 Gabby Newton
Newton again lead the way for the Knights, finding a good amount of the ball through midfield and showing her undeniable class. While the damage on her disposal was not as obvious as usual in tough conditions, Newton’s superior vision and reading of the game was a feature. She took advantage of a 50 metre penalty to gift Gutknecht a goal in the third term, and took a nice intercept mark in defence early on.
Western Jets 0.3 (3) defeated by Eastern Ranges 7.4 (46)
By: Taylah Melki
#21 Olivia Meagher:
Meagher proved that she was a real hard nut throughout the course of the game. She was not afraid to get in and under at the contest and bodied up well against her opponent consistently. She showcased her clean hands with a good pick up in the opening term and used her long booming kick to bomb into the forward 50. She won plenty of the ball in the first term, working hard at the stoppages. Meagher displayed her ability to run both ways working hard in both offense and defence. Out of the centre she was really clean dishing off clever handballs to passing teammates. She worked tirelessly at the stoppages to win the ball and run through the middle of the ground and kick it forward. Meagher kicked a good crumbing goal in the dying seconds of the last quarter to well and truly seal the deal for the Ranges.
#26 Tarni Brown:
She had a relatively quiet game by her standards but when she won the ball she used it well and made her presence felt across the ground. She impressed in one passage of play with a beautiful pick up off the ground in the first quarter and vision to use the ball well. She showcased her clean hands in close and highlighter her good turn of speed to break away from the pack and push the ball forward for Eastern. She applied good pressure in the middle of the ground to worry her opponents out of the ball and laid a good strong tackle in the third term. Brown worked hard in transition across the ground and showed a good burst through the centre going for a bounce and opening up the forward 50 but got wrapped up in a good tackle before she could dispose of the ball.
#39 Laura McClelland:
McClelland ran hard across the ground with good follow up work and helped her teammates out providing support play numerous times throughout the game. She had good hands under pressure taking a strong contested mark. She applied a good strong attack on the footy and impressed with a clean pick up given the soggy conditions. McClelland was not afraid to put her body on the line to win the footy, impacting the contest and working hard to try and bring the ball to ground. To go with her handy touches around the ground she impressed in front of the big sticks kicking two majors.
#46 Serena Gibbs:
Gibbs was strong in the ruck, reading the flight of the ball well and getting hands to ball with ease. She was able to win the taps and knock it to her teammates advantage creating space across the ground. She consistently impacted the contest and if she could not take the mark worked hard to bring the call to ground and provide a scrumming opportunity for her teammates. She proved to be handy in front of goals as well nailing two majors
#13 Isabella Grant:
Grant was clean at the stoppages and got into some strong positions across the ground to provide some link up play. Laid a really strong smother in the second quarter but was unable to finish off the play. She did well to keep the arms free in the tackle and dish off a handball to teammates and showcased her ability to read the flight of the ball and took a strong mark throughout the course of the game. Grant applied plenty of physical pressure with some big tackles to bring down her opponents, leading the way for her side.
#17 Elisabeth Georgostathis:
Down on her average output Georgostathis was still solid when she did win the ball. She was strong around the contest going in hard to win the ground ball and ran hard to make space. She was clever with ball in hand, showed good spatial awareness and worked hard to try and set up attacking play for the Jets. Displayed good run and bounce through the middle of the ground in the second quarter then used her strong kick to set up an attacking thrust for the Jets. She managed to keep her arms free and get boot to ball when tackled and laid a strong tackle that got her a holding the ball call proving her hunt for the ball. She sent a scare through the camp coming off in the last quarter with a possible arm injury.
#25 Cleo Saxon-Jones:
She read the flight of the ball well, was good under pressure and attacked the footy hard. Saxon-Jones used her strong hands to take a few contested marks and worked hard around the contest to try and extract the ball. She made her presence felt with a few good strong bumps, good quick hands but seemed to hurt her shoulder in the last quarter coming from the ground.
Greater Western Victoria Rebels 0.5 (5) defeated by Geelong Falcons 4.17 (41)
By: Cameron Ross
#9 Renee Saultis
Quiet game from Saultis, but was more effective than her stats suggest. Played in a forward line that saw only 1-2 inside 50s in a half of football, which needs to be taken into account.
#24 Sophie Molan
Another game from Molan where she tried desperately hard to get her side over the line. Highlight of the day was her chase down tackle in the final quarter when the game was all but won. Sums her up as a player, ultra competitive, willing to do the team thing, and a terrific leader.
#32 Isabella Simmons
Simmons is extremely raw. You can see the underlying talent and athleticism, but her game awareness still has question marks. Can’t wait to see her break open a game one day, but will need more footy experience to do so. She did some nice things against the Falcons without being outstanding.
Missed this game with a thumb injury, and her absence was sorely felt. Wood might be just about my favourite player in the NAB League Girls, due to her ferocity at the ball, and ability to win contested possessions on her own. Coach Rhys Cahir said “Ella was 50-50 this week, but the physios thought it best she sits out this one”. Let’s hope for the Rebels sake she’s back next week!
#8 Paige Sheppard
Dangerous and intelligent forward. Really liked her playing as a high half forward, as she is a beautiful kick, and was able to get into some space for a shot at goal. Great awareness, not a lot of players at this level have the vision to bring the ball back inside, and at a huge ground like City Oval, you can’t continually kick down the wings. The option was there, she took it, and broke the Rebels open.
#18 Darcy Moloney
Not quite sure where she was playing. I thought she was playing as a second forward, as she was up forward and got herself a goal, but then I saw her dashing off half back rebounding the ball a couple of times too! Either way, she’s versatile and proved that she can play at both ends.
#38 Lucy McEvoy
Had the ball on a string and was absolutely dominant. She was too strong, too physical and her aggressiveness was really important in the tough Ballarat conditions. McEvoy vs Molan was always going to be interesting, as they are both quite similar players, but McEvoy took the points on this occasion.
#39 Renee Tierney
Tackle machine. Played a really good in an under game at half forward. Unlucky not too kick a couple of goals, and in better conditions she just might have. Great four quarter performance.
In other games, here’s how some of the top performers stood tall:
Murray Bushrangers 1.3 (9) defeated by Bendigo Pioneers 3.5 (23)
#7 Kate Adams – 15 disposals, three marks, five tackles, one inside 50, one rebound
#8 Abby Favell – 22 disposals, five marks, eight tackles, three inside 50s, two rebounds
#10 Sophie Locke – 12 disposals, three marks, six tackles, one rebound
#19 Millie Brown – 27 disposals, two marks, one tackle, one inside 50, six rebounds
#4 Brooke Hards – 17 disposals, three marks, four inside 50s, three rebounds, 11 tackles
#14 Annabel Strahan – 20 disposals, seven tackles, five inside 50s, two rebounds, one goal
#19 Jemma Finning – 15 disposals, one mark, three tackles, one inside 50, one rebound
#44 Jordyn Jolliffe – 13 disposals, one mark, three tackles, 1.3
Gippsland Power 4.2 (26) defeated by Dandenong Stingrays 6.12 (48)
#8 Chandra Abrahams – 16 disposals, one mark, five tackles, six inside 50s, one rebound
#9 Maddison Shaw – 17 disposals, one mark, four tackles, one inside 50, six rebounds
#12 Megan Fitzsimon – 26 disposals, five marks, four tackles, six inside 50s, five rebounds
#10 Abbey Jordan – 12 disposals, two tackles, four inside 50s, two rebounds,
#12 Molly McDonald – 11 disposals, one mark, two tackles, two inside 50s, one rebound, 0.3
#26 Isabella Shannon – 17 disposals, one mark, two tackles, four inside 50s, one rebound, 0.2
#28 Tyanna Smith – 15 disposals, two marks, one tackle, seven inside 50s, one goal
#31 Brooke Vernon – 13 disposals, one tackle, two inside 50s, two rebounds
Calder Cannons 5.4 (34) defeated by Oakleigh Chargers 7.2 (44)
#11 Alana Barba – 12 disposals, one mark, two tackles, three inside 50s, one rebound
#21 Georgia Patrikios – 13 disposals, three marks, five tackles, four inside 50s, two rebounds, 0.1
#31 Krstel Petrevski – Six disposals, three tackles, one goal
#1 Gemma Lagioia – 21 disposals, two marks, one inside 50, one rebound, one goal
#2 Mimi Hill – 17 disposals, three marks, three tackles, three inside 50s, one rebound
#4 Emily Harley – 14 disposals, five marks, two tackles, one inside 50, two rebounds
#8 Alana Porter – Nine disposals, one mark, five tackles, two inside 50s, one rebound