Published on June 20, 2019 3:51 pm

AFLW U18 CHAMPS PREVIEW: Country vs Metro

We preview Saturday’s first match of the 2019 NAB AFL Women’s Under-18 Championships for Vic Country and Vic Metro at Avalon Airport Oval, revealing the team line-ups for that clash and the squads for the curtain-raising under-16 Country vs Metro game.

* CLICK HERE to watch a live video stream of both the Under-16 (from 12pm) and Under-18 (2pm) Vic Country vs Vic Metro games this Saturday.



Saturday June 22, 2pm @ Avalon Airport Oval



Vic Country lost to Vic Metro by 12 points at GMHBA Stadium last year but went undefeated through its three later games in Queensland to finish as the carnival’s top-placed team. Former Geelong Falcons ball-winner Nina Morrison – the subsequent top pick by Geelong at the NAB AFLW Draft – was named the team’s MVP and also shared the Championships MVP award with Metro’s Madison Prespakis. In 2017 – the first year of the carnival being held in its current format – Country won all four of its matches.

Vic Metro defeated Vic Country, Western Australia and the Central Allies at the 2018 Championships but lost to Queensland, with Carlton’s 2019 NAB AFLW Rising Star winner Madison Prespakis (ex-Calder Cannons) taking home the team MVP award and jointly winning the overall carnival MVP award alongside Country’s Nina Morrison. The 2017 Championships saw Metro win two games and lose two – including a 27-point loss at the hands of Country at GMHBA Stadium.


* CLICK HERE to see the full Vic Country and Vic Metro squads for the 2019 NAB AFL Women’s Under-18 Championships.




Vic Country head coach Aasta O’Connor: “We’ve been training hard over the last five weeks with a big focus on our fundamental skills. We’re looking to play a clean brand of footy that’s fast, hard and attacking but understanding that everything starts in and around the contest. We have a really flexible group with a lot of girls who can play multiple positions; our job is to put them in the position where they’ll shine but also in a role that will suit the team.

“It’s going to be a great contest with Metro, as both teams have some really good players running around. There’ll be nerves, but I think it’ll come down to which team takes their opportunities in front of goal. We see that often in women’s footy – if you can get goals on the board early, the momentum can build from there.”


Vic Metro head coach Nathan Burke: “We’ve been working with the girls on a very attacking style of play where they can really take the game on and use their skills when they can. It’s all about showcasing their immense talents and we want to put a game plan in place that allows them to do that.

“We don’t have an overly tall group in general. We have a couple of tall players and some really good medium-sized players, but we do have a lot of smaller, nippy players who watchers can expect to play a big role in the game on Saturday.”



Aasta O’Connor: “We have some strong leaders that have been involved in the program over the last couple of years. Watching the likes of Millie Brown (Murray Bushrangers), Molly McDonald (Dandenong Stingrays), Sophie Molan (GWV Rebels) and Lucy McEvoy (Geelong Falcons) take ownership of the group and empower each other has been really impressive.

“Molly, for example, is at St Kilda now as a pre-listed AFLW player and the confidence she’s showing at training and her ability to help her teammates has been really impressive. All of them are just very authentic and true to themselves. They’re very inclusive and make sure everybody feels like they have a space to be themselves too. They’ve sort of said: ‘It’s about team over talent’, which is good to hear.”


Nathan Burke: “A few of the girls played for Vic Metro last year and have also been in the AFL Women’s Academy. Isabella Grant (Western Jets) is (former Western Bulldogs champion) Chris Grant’s daughter and she’s an outstanding young lady. She’s not your yell-and-scream-type leader but she has a real ability to show that she cares for her teammates, and she’s the type of player that all of them would love playing behind.

Gabby Newton (Northern Knights) is similar. She’s an outstanding player but also just a wonderful person. All the girls have leadership qualities because they have empathy and mix well with the other girls.”



AO: “There are a few names that spring to mind, like Shanara Notman (Gippsland Power), who didn’t play a lot of NAB League footy this year due to a knee injury. She’s going really well now as a strong-leaping, half-forward who’s tall and athletic. She’s relatively new to the game but has plenty to offer. I think a couple of our bottom-agers will impress a few people too, like Tyanna Smith (Dandenong Stingrays), who’s really clever and plays as an outside running type with plenty of pace, and Darcy Moloney (Geelong Falcons), who has great goal sense and is really clean below her knees.

Millie Brown will play as our key defender and anchor who helps set everything up, which is a role I personally think she was born to play. Molly McDonald, Sophie Molan and Lucy McEvoy should be important running through the midfield at times.”


NB: “Georgia Patrikios (Calder Cannons) will play on a wing and she’s a very smart footballer who finds the ball and uses it extremely well. Nell Morris-Dalton (Northern Knights) will play up forward, and while she’s still learning to play in that role, if you give her enough opportunities she’ll kick a lot of goals.

“We have seven bottom-age players in our squad and one of the standouts would be Ellie McKenzie (Northern Knights). She could play in the midfield or across half-back and half-forward, and I wish I could kick the footy like she does on her left foot. If we can give those bottom-agers a taste of playing at this level before their top-age years, that’s going to help the overall development of girls’ footy.”




B: 10. Sophie Locke 22. Millie Brown 30. Daisy Smith
Murray Bushrangers Murray Bushrangers Geelong Falcons
HB: 19. Brooke Vernon 14. Abbey Chapman 15. Isabella Shannon
Dandenong Stingrays Geelong Falcons Dandenong Stingrays
C: 12. Tyanna Smith 23. Lucy McEvoy 13. Molly McDonald
Dandenong Stingrays Geelong Falcons Dandenong Stingrays
HF: 3. Paige Sheppard 27. Shanara Notman 24. Isabella Simmons
Geelong Falcons Gippsland Power GWV Rebels
F: 4. Renee Saulitis 25. Olivia Barber 9. Darcy Moloney
GWV Rebels Murray Bushrangers Geelong Falcons
R: 29. Maggie Caris 11. Brooke Hards 5. Luka Lesosky-Hay
GWV Rebels Bendigo Pioneers Geelong Falcons
21. Sophie Molan 1. Elise Vella 28. Georgia Howes
GWV Rebels Geelong Falcons Dandenong Stingrays
18. Kate Douglass 6. Laura Gardiner 16. Renee Tierney
Bendigo Pioneers Geelong Falcons Geelong Falcons



B: 2. Felicity Theodore 28. Isabelle Pritchard 14. Laura McClelland
Calder Cannons Western Jets Eastern Ranges
HB: 22. Sarah Hartwig 20. Sarah Sansonetti 12. Alice Burke
Sandringham Dragons Northern Knights Sandringham Dragons
C: 8. Mimi Hill 13. Britney Gutknecht 17. Georgia Patrikios
Oakleigh Chargers Northern Knights Calder Cannons
HF: 26. Gabrielle Newton 29. Cleo Saxon-Jones 24. Isabella Grant
Northern Knights Western Jets Western Jets
F: 15. Alyssa Bannan 23. Nell Morris-Dalton 4. Nicola Xenos
Northern Knights Northern Knights Oakleigh Chargers
R: 27. Molly Denahy Moloney 3. Gemma Lagioia 21. Ellie McKenzie
Sandringham Dragons Oakleigh Chargers Northern Knights
19. Marguerite Purcell 5. Elisabeth Georgostathis 34. Jessica Fitzgerald
Sandringham Dragons Western Jets Northern Knights
10. Alana Barba 18. Emma Horne 9. Bella Eddey
Calder Cannons Eastern Ranges Sandringham Dragons
7. Amelia Van Oosterwijck 6. Madeleine Edwards 25. Tahlia Merrett
Oakleigh Chargers Eastern Ranges Eastern Ranges




Saturday June 22, 12pm @ Avalon Airport Oval



1 Tahlia Meier 19-Oct-03 TBC GWV Rebels
2 Cassidy Mailer 02-Feb-04 153 Murray Bushrangers
3 Poppy Schaap 28-Jul-03 154 Geelong Falcons
4 Grace Matser 03-Jan-03 186 Gippsland Power
5 Gabbi Featherston 12-Nov-03 163 Geelong Falcons
7 Jaide Anthony 20-Nov-03 TBC Dandenong Stingrays
8 Jemma Radford 31-Jul-03 167 Dandenong Stingrays
9 Melina Ciavarella 24-Jan-03 161 GWV Rebels
10 Kate Tomkins 17-Jun-03 161 GWV Rebels
11 Alannah Sanderson 19-Sep-03 166 Geelong Falcons
13 Lilli Condon 25-Nov-03 154 GWV Rebels
14 Tara Slender 11-Mar-03 174 Bendigo Pioneers
15 Drew Ryan 11-Apr-03 172 Bendigo Pioneers
16 Macie Gilmour 03-Jan-03 158 Gippsland Power
17 Holly Booth 11-Sep-03 169 Gippsland Power
18 Analea McKee 06-Jul-03 174 Geelong Falcons
19 Ella Friend 30-Dec-03 172 GWV Rebels
20 Elizabeth Dowling 31-Jul-03 168 Geelong Falcons
21 Jayda Richardson 04-Nov-03 175 Bendigo Pioneers
22 Nyakoat Dojiok 07-Jan-03 180 GWV Rebels
23 Madeline Marks 26-Feb-03 173 Bendigo Pioneers
25 Tyla Angwin 24-Jul-03 172 Gippsland Power
26 Keeley Skepper 15-Mar-04 163 Murray Bushrangers



1 Mia Papachristos 06-Apr-03 157 Northern Knights
2 Teleah Smart 02-May-03 160 Northern Knights
3 Ebony Angelopoulos 26-Nov-03 160 Sandringham Dragons
4 Emelia Yassir 25-Sep-03 161 Calder Cannons
5 Stephanie Asciak 18-Sep-03 162 Western Jets
6 Emma Stuber 10-Jul-03 164 Sandringham Dragons
7 Aurora Smith 13-Dec-03 163 Murray Bushrangers
8 Alisha Liddle 30-Sep-03 175 Dandenong Stingrays
9 Matilda Hardy 24-Apr-03 170 Eastern Ranges
10 Ruby O’Dwyer 04-Oct-03 170 Eastern Ranges
11 Maykaylah Appleby 18-Jul-03 170 Northern Knights
12 Eliza James 01-Oct-03 170 Oakleigh Chargers
13 Stella Reid 10-Sep-03 170 Oakleigh Chargers
14 Jemima Woods 28-May-03 170 Western Jets
15 Caitlin Sargent 22-Dec-03 170 Western Jets
17 Kasey Lennox 07-Aug-03 174 Calder Cannons
18 Charli Murphy 26-Nov-03 174 Sandringham Dragons
19 Jessica Simpson 28-Mar-03 175 Northern Knights
21 Cassy Wilsmore 28-Mar-03 178 Eastern Ranges
22 Charlie Rowbottom 22-Jan-03 178 Oakleigh Chargers
23 Peppa Poultney 05-Apr-03 181 Calder Cannons
24 Neve Crowley 23-Jun-03 181 Calder Cannons
25 Tahlia Gillard 12-Dec-03 187 Calder Cannons

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