Round two of the Wrest Point Tasmanian State League Women’s season saw UTAS Stadium host a bumper triple-header.
With fresh faces and teams making big statements, Olivia Clayton takes a look at the key talking points from each game.
North Launceston 16.15 (111) def. Lauderdale 0.0 (0)
North Launceston – E. McKinnell 3, E. Maurer 3, M. Cuthbertson 3, B. Farrell 2, M. Carins, H. Grima, J. Brain, S. Radford, H. Breward
Lauderdale – C. Stewart, C. Edmand, C. McManus, C. van Breda, K. Teders, B. Goward
North Launceston – M. Cuthbertson, J. Clifford, H. Breward, E. Maurer, M. Carins
1. North Launceston shocks with strong start to the season
With both teams being newbies to the TSLW no one really knew what to expect, so when Lauderdale failed to score, and North Launceston got 111 points, it shocked many.
Lauderdale played in the SFLW in 2018, finished fourth on the ladder, but were knocked out in the preliminary final against North Hobart, with Claire McManus and Captain Katie Teders two players that you should keep an eye out for.
North Launceston also do house some players with experience, such as Captain Jodie Clifford who played with Launceston last year. Hayley Breward, Ella Maurer, Kara Hennessy, Bonnie Farrell and Briana Hinkley all play for the Tasmanian under 18 Devils.
With North Launceston starting strong and controlling every facet of this contest, it will be interesting to see what they, and Lauderdale, showcase in the upcoming rounds.
2. North Launceston players to watch
North Launceston player Maggie Cuthbertson was one of many who dominated play and is one to watch this season.
Coach, Dean Smith was full of praise for Cuthbertson’s efforts.
“Cuthbertson again showed everyone what she is capable of and it would astound me if she doesn’t come under notice from AFLW clubs this season. She is fitter than ever before due to her application both at training and outside of training as well as taking on board areas to improve her game when she’s given feedback,” he said.
Smith also highlighted other players from the side that played well in round two.
“Jodie Clifford showed exactly why she’s our Captain, she leads by example on and off the field and we are rapt to have her.
“Hayley Breward, Sophie Townsend, Sarah Radford, Emily McKinnel and Ebony Barrenger are all experienced players “despite their young age” that played very well and Ella Maurer clearly led all of our young teenage brigade that played very well in their first game on State football’s big stage, embracing their nerves,” he said.
3. North Launceston and Lauderdale both cop injuries
North Launceston suffered a major injury in the third quarter after Ebony Barrenger was stretchered off with an ankle injury.
“Barrenger’s injury was a big blow to our team as up until that point she was clearly one of our best players. She has a fractured ankle and hopefully with rehab she’ll only be out for the minimum weeks,” Smith said.
Cruelly, Barrenger broke her opposite ankle in round one of last season.
Lauderdale defender Amy Park also suffered a concussion in the fourth quarter.
4. The scoreboard didn’t reflect Lauderdale’s efforts
Despite the extremely lopsided scoreboard, Lauderdale continued to give their all, taking down players in strong tackles and generating opportunities to score, but failing to capitalise.
Lauderdale show signs of promise despite not hitting the scoreboard, so it will be interesting to see how the team responds against other sides in the competition.
Clarence 13.10 (88) def. Tigers FC 1.0 (6).
Clarence – J. Williams 6, M. Smith 3, M. Westland 2, B. Oats, A. Prokopiec
Tigers – P. Flakemore
Clarence – J. Williams, N. Bresnehan, M. Westland, D. Elliston, A. Prokopiec, B. Oates
Tigers – H. Baldwin, P. Odwogo, E. Doyle, T. Clifford, M. Absolom, M. Polley
1. Jessie Williams shines
Switching from soccer to AFLW, Jessie Williams, a former Young Matilda, decided to make the shift and was signed up by North Melbourne in the AFLW and after not breaking through for a game in her first AFLW season, Williams made her TSLW debut in round two against the Tigers and made a big impact.
Williams kicked six goals in a dynamic display, but as coach Andy Smith says, she could’ve had an even bigger impact.
“Jessie had a really good second half and was able to hit the scoreboard. She probably could of finished up with eight goals to her name [after missing some early chances],” he said.
Williams looked to play with great freedom, and with a natural knack for finding the big sticks in the early stages of her football journey, Williams looms as an X-Factor for the ‘Roos moving forward.
2. Clarence players to watch
In addition to Clarence’s three AFLW players, others to watch this season are highlighted by coach Andy Smith.
“Academy players Amy Prokopiec and Bri Oates played well for the first game on senior footy. Maddie Westland was a surprise packet in her first game of footy. I also should acknowledge the efforts of Darcy Elliston’s effort to compete all day in ruck after our number one ruckman went down in the warm up.”
Smith also highlighted Clarence Captain, Grace Mitchell’s, improvement.
“Grace’s leadership off the field during the pre-season has been sensational. It was an easy decision to give her the captaincy role this year. She has always been a solid contributor to the team. I thought she led by her grown confidence in her football ability on the weekend,” he said.
3. Maddy Smith and Priscila Odwogo match up
Clarence player, and North Melbourne recruit, Maddy Smith came out and kicked five goals against the Tigers last time they played each other in round 16 last year.
Tigers coach, Brad Willis, decided to put Tasmania Devils player Priscilla Odwogo on the star forward this time around, with a fascinating duel unfolding.
Although Smith kicked three goals, Odwogo was one of the Tigers’ better performers, performing well with the Tigers’ defence under immense pressure.
Tigers coach Brad Willis has nothing but admiration for Smith as a player and identified her as a player to keep a close eye on.
“When she’s on, Maddy Smith is the toughest match-up in the competition. She is very strong and hits the contest at speed and very few defenders can match those qualities.
“As far as I was concerned Priscilla was [an] ideal match up. She is a strong athlete and has learned a great deal about defensive play in her time with the Devils and we knew Maddy would spend most of her time forward.
“Through experience, Maddi got her a couple of times over the back, but in general play when they were higher up the ground. Priscilla more than held her own.”
4. The Tigers house emerging talent
The Tigers showed strong improvement since their 2018 season, even if this wasn’t fully reflected on the scoreboard. Coach Willis identified the development of emerging talent as a key area that will help the side moving forward.
“Devils captain, Hailee Baldwin was outstanding in the midfield, breaking the lines and laying heaps of tackles,” Smith said.
“Our Cygnet trio of Ellie Doyle, Tayla Clifford and Ella Brereton worked tirelessly and are already proving to be valuable recruits. Mikayla Absolom competed well in the ruck and Paige Flakemore deserves mention for her double figure tackle count”.
Paige Flakemore is also the only Tigers player to hit the scoreboard so far this season, kicking their only two goals after booting one against Glenorchy in round one.
Tasmania Devils’s player Maci Polley is showing signs of promise after having quite an impact in Sunday’s game.
“Maci is an emerging talent, having recently been included in the Devil’s squad. She is very quick and can sustain her running all game. She is very versatile and can play forward, through the middle of the ground or down back as she was required to do on Sunday. Once she fully commits to senior football and believes she can compete with the best, there will be no stopping”.
5. Both teams suffer major injuries
Clarence copped an injury pre-game with ruck Eliza Westland, dislocating her collarbone. Clarence coach Andy Smith says Westland will have “scans during the week and then we will know how long she is sidelined for”.
Tigers captain Kristy Baker also suffered a concussion and will need a clearance to play in round four against North Launceston.
Tigers coach Brad Willis states that “the major concern is Olivia McGow, who courageously went back with the flight and in the ensuing collision, may have re-fractured the shoulder she broke last year, ironically also against Clarence. She sees the surgeon on Thursday to assess the outcome.”
Glenorchy 4.3 (27) def. by Launceston 9.3 (57)
Glenorchy – J. Tate Turvey 2, N. Lynch, N. Daniels
Launceston – C. Haines 2, D. Bannister 2, B. Rattray 2, M. Hillier 2, A. Green
Glenorchy – M. Sutcliffe, B. Barwick, G. Sullivan, N. Lynch, R. Siely, S. Skinner
Launceston – A. Green, C. Haines, L. Stevenson, G. Hill, D. Taylor, M. Sinclair
1. Launceston looks to be premiership favourite after beating reigning premiers
The Blues delivered a blistering opening term on Sunday, kicking five goals to one in an impressive display.
Against the reigning premiers, Launceston were swift in ball movement, hard around the contest and slick moving the ball inside 50; a dangerous combination on a big ground like UTAS Stadium.
With plenty of experienced players and a core group that remains the same from last season’s finals campaign, the Blues look likely to be a genuine flag threat if early form is anything to go by.
2. Launceston’s Abbey Green is a high flyer
Abbey Green flew in the second quarter, taking a spectacular mark that left Glenorchy players Jemma Webster and Madison Shaw a bit worse for wear.
Green had a stellar game and finished as the Blues best on ground, with her efforts around the ground impressing coach Ange Dickson.
“Abbey has worked extremely hard over the preseason and it showed with her game on Sunday. Abbey did exactly what we required of her plus more.
“Her contested ball efforts were fantastic and she was dominant in the ruck all game. She gave our midfield first option to the ball and it paid off with us kicking the six goals in the first quarter.”
3. Even contributions for the Blues
While Abbey Green impressed as best afield, the Blues were well serviced by a host of strong contributors.
Daria Bannister was one such player, kicking two goals and competing well.
“Daria is still working back in to things after her ACL injury,” Dickson said.
“With Daria we just wanted her to present to footy and bring that natural aggression that she has and Daria ticked those boxes for us. She took some fantastic contested marks, kicked two goals for the game and contributed around the ground and we were happy with that.”
Lauren Stevenson, Dearne Taylor, Chloe Haines and Brooke Thurlow were also standouts for the Blues, with the capacity for so many players to fire making the Blues a dangerous proposition moving forward.
4. Glenorchy stem the flow after quick start
While a five-goal loss to start a premiership defence is far from the ideal start, the Magpies showed enough to indicate that they will again be a team to beat in 2019.
The Blues got the early jump on the Magpies, kicking six goals to one in the opening term.
This buffer proved to be enough for the Blues to hold on to for the remainder of the game, with both sides kicking three goals apiece for the remainder of the game.
The Magpies showed great defensive intent and physicality to limit the scoreboard impact and make the game an arm wrestle from thereon out, with Nietta Lynch one player spending more time behind the ball than usual.
Although the reigning premiers couldn’t hit the scoreboard the way they would’ve liked, they should still be buoyed by their defensive efforts.
If the Magpies get their attacking game going, keep your eyes peeled.