AFLW AFLW Season 5, Mega thread

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cats_09

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Jun 21, 2011
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And thanks to the AFLW and GC Suns for the following image & video - really good to see both teams form a guard of honour for the retiring Aasta O'Connor and Sarah Riley from the Suns

And good effort from captain Meg and vc Ivey in their attempt to chair off O'Connor, who happens to be 5cm taller than Meg & 9cm taller than Ivey


 

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winty

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Jun 8, 2006
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Just finished watching the replay. Ripping game of footy. Girls dominated from the start and never let the Suns get into their groove. How good was Maguire's tackle on Lauren Bella in the first quarter? Sensational stuff.

Loved the celebrations at the end of the game, especially when the 5 2021 debutants who were playing tonight, Garner, Gardiner, Moloney, Barber and Remmos all ran up to Hoody at the end and gave him a hug.
 

Cursed Cat

sticky fingers
Sep 15, 2005
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Just finished watching the replay. Ripping game of footy. Girls dominated from the start and never let the Suns get into their groove. How good was Maguire's tackle on Lauren Bella in the first quarter? Sensational stuff.

Loved the celebrations at the end of the game, especially when the 5 2021 debutants who were playing tonight, Garner, Gardiner, Moloney, Barber and Remmos all ran up to Hoody at the end and gave him a hug.
Maguire and Remmos two late-season debutants that kind of tilted the Scales of Optimism in my eyes - Laura Gardiner's late-season heroics another reason to stick with the Geelong girls in 2022.
 

Cursed Cat

sticky fingers
Sep 15, 2005
10,301
14,416
Cairns
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Geelong
***Long-Ass-Winded 2021 Geelong AFLW season review ahead. You've been warned.***



Geelong 2019: 3 wins-5 losses

Geelong 2020: 2 wins- 4 losses - a Covid-interrupted season, but our only wins coming against expansion sides GC and Richmond.

Geelong 2021: 1 goddamn win-8 losses

At this rate we will be held to love next year.


2021 was a sobering and often bleak season for Geelong's Women's team, during which the program's vision and planning were brought into question; mistakes made when assembling the team's inaugural playing list coming back to bite us.

Against the very best teams the difference in physical preparation was often starkly obvious; we have no equivalent of an Erin Phillips, a Kiara Bowers, a Gemma Houghton; players like that just toy with us.

And against even the most bog-ordinary of teams, we were unable to hit the scoreboard with anything resembling regularity; hour-long stretches without scoring at all being the norm rather than anomalous.

Once or twice we simply ran out of ideas and basically gave up; I'm fairly sure it was the loss to Richmond that I proclaimed was a 'disgrace to the jumper'; things were completely uncompetitive that week; timid and meek.

Fans/posters wondered whether a dour systems-based, tactical approach reminiscent of the men's so-professional-it-hurts game-plan might be actively inhibiting the squad's development; Paul Hood came under fire as the losses mounted.

To be faaaair though, there has been some mitigation.

That inaugural list build in 2018 (yes this will be a long post) was somewhat fumbled, but we were also stuck with certain obligations and restrictions.
The club's public committment to developing and providing opportunities for the local region was a strong platform, and surely went some way to securing Geelong a license to field a team in the AFLW - it also meant we were somewhat obliged to look in our own backyard for the inaugural list build and give opportunities for girls in the local region, as promised.

On top of that, we were seemingly in a pretty good position at the 2018 draft, yet there were restrictions that diminished our hand, and would come back to bite us yet again the following year.
So we were in a very different position to the Kangaroos, who approached things very differently and were a mere pandemic away from winning the flag last year.

We clearly needed some type of experience and leadership to provide guidance for the younger players that we'd draft onto that inititial list; however for some reason we opted to go with waaaaay too many genuine veterans, i.e. players whose best was well past them.

Apart from those list issues, our classiest and probably best player, Nina Morrison, has been limited to 7 of a possible 23 games - and may never quite reach the heights she threatened to at the beginning of the 2019 season.

Olivia Purcell worked her butt off to position herself as one of the premier midfielders of the competition, often carrying a helluva midfield load on young shoulders, before she too was ruled out with a knee injury...

... and so in 2021 the Geelong veterans predictably faded, and a raft of similarly limited mature-agers stagnated or regressed.
Opponents threatened to keep a bloody clean sheet against us more than once.

And yet there were signs of life, some steady improvers, a couple of surprise packets.



From me, now, bit of a spiel on each player's efforts in 2021 - I have refrained in waffling too extensively (imo) for nearly all of 2021 - but I have watched every minute of the girl's 2021 campaign, painful though it was to endure at times, so I at least have put in the hours and hopefully earned the right to state my opinions ...

1. Rene Caris. Just turned 22. Has played the 9 games in total now, which in Women's Footy years equates to 20ish.
She is still very raw, all knees and elbows, but she is a quick decision-maker. Not as tall as she looks. Still has a long way to go.

2. Danielle Higgins. One of only 4 Cats players to have played all 23 of the club's games to date. 1 goal from 9 games in 2021 as a small forward. Just turned 31. Probably gets a gig next year, but needs to stay involved in-game.

3. Amy McDonald. Went above and beyond in 2021. Absolute superstar - not the most polished disposal you ever did see, but has some real substance to her game. Her work in traffic throughout her 15-game career to date has been beyond impressive.
Below her knees she is elite; works the ball to her advantage in tight, eventually scoops it up and then uses deceptively strong hips and shoulders to shrug off the contact.
Flew the flag at some of the club's darkest hours this year. Respect.
Amy will be 24 at the start of the 2022 season.

4. Darcy Moloney. I think Darcy was the first of the 2021 debutants to make an appearance. Overall she arguably made the least impact of that 7-strong group, but I was not in the least disheartened by her progress. If she is committed to the hard training ahead then she has a pretty good chance of being a regular contributor to the team. Persist.

5. Jordan Ivey. I'm a big fan of Jordan Ivey; she's been genuinely versatile and her left-foot very reliable over 3 AFLW seasons and a couple of VFLW seasons too. 2021 was her first stint as a defender for Geelong, and she barely put a foot wrong.
She'll be 29 at the start of the 2022 season; hopefully she can get herself to yet another level of fitness and really make an impact.

6. Julia Crockett-Grills. & 12. Renee Garing
Both have played all 23 Geelong AFLW games. Julia will be 27 at the start of the 2022 season - Garing, who came to the game late, will be 33.
Both play a very similar brand, tough and tenacious; Crockett-Grills slightly more effective imo, and has more miles to give in her legs.
I'd see if Garing might want to look at playing for another team; she'd easily get a game at Richmond.

7. Madison Maguire. Got two games late in the season, she's going at %50 winning rate, better than most of her teammates. Had no idea what to expect from her. My impression after two games: she is like a bull at a gate; she seems to be falling over a lot, but is prepared to run hard and present herself. She'll make mistakes, but again, if she puts in the hard work then she has a good chance of becoming a solid contributor. Keep.

10. Georgie Rankin. Will be 24 at the start of the 2022 season. I thought she actually improved a lot in 2021, kudos to her. Reportedly did a really strong pre-season, hopefully she is able to put in the work again over the off-season. Retain.

11. Meghan McDonald. Tough first year as captain. But she was absolutely resolute. Wouldn't trade her for anyone; the whole defense is built around her.

14. Aasta O'Connor. Wisely recognised her time had come and hangs up the boots after her 2021 campaign. Good at times this year, and I thought she showed some leadership and heart early when things were starting to unravel - but she was labouring toward the end.
Aasta needs replacing urgently, too; Caris can't ruck one-out and Barber shouldn't be wasted/risked as a 2nd ruck as a rule.

15. Olivia Barber. Started the year an unknown commodity and ended the year as a rare beacon of hope for an often-miserable Geelong unit, firmly establishing herself as one of the team's Key Forwards.
She can do this and that, but it is her Fire that I think is her best asset; she does not like being beaten and does not back down.
I'm with dazbroncos - 4 year deal, damn the rules!

16. Olivia Purcell. Man I can barely address this. She'll be back, better than ever.
Still hasn't turned 21. Teams had been putting a lot more work into her in 2021 prior to her injury, McDonald can expect the same going forward.

17. Georgia Clarke. Will be 21 at the start of next season. Her best is obviously still ahead of her; I reckon she might still come good. Clever with the ball, she'll get stronger and better in the air. Needs to be nurtured developmentally though; a player like Webster got good opportunties to develop her craft; coaches need to have a clear picture of what they want from Clarke. Keep.

18. Laura Gardiner. I saw an interview with her before the season began on the Geelong website; she was quite deferential to her more highly-rated teammate and friend Darcy Moloney, and was generally very shy and quiet. Her first game at AFLW level was fairly inconspicuous but I wasn't discouraged; when she came back into the team for last two games she was a bit of a revelation in a weakened midfield; yes she is sleight but she is composed. Unexpected bonus in a bad year. Will still be only 19 at the start of the 2022 season.

19. Millie Brown. Still only 20, Millie had an up and down year. Has time on her side and a great role model in Meg McDonald. Did some good things here and there but also had some moments she must learn from going forward.

21. Rebecca Webster. An absolute gun, epitome of the modern AFLW footballer; she'd walk into any team in the comp and is still yet to turn 21.
I honestly reckon she had one bad game for the year, and that was when she copped a knock very early against the Bulldogs.
Her development has been very modern-Geelong; naturally talented, she has been dourly deployed in big-bodied defensive midfield roles for most of her young career.
It's paying dividends, though.
Absolutely crucial that we retain her going forward.

22. Nicole Garner. We got a decent idea of what Garner could bring to the table in 2021, but ultimately her position on the list is contentious to say the least - I prefer the little I saw of Remmos and Maguire to Garner, even though Garner in no way disgraced herself. Could find her list spot under threat imo.

23. Phoebe McWilliams. Reportedly put in the hard yards in terms of a pre-season, and I think ultimately it showed in 2021.
I was critical early in the season of her dropping marks she should have clunked, but I can't fault Phoebe's workrate despite her ups and downs.
In fact that workrate got better, and her attack on the contest more honest, as the year went on, and she finished strongly. Turns 36 in August.

24. Maddy McMahon. I kind of arrogantly pride myself that I spotted McMahon's talent relatively early, but I'd contend that she was way down on form at times this year. Turns 32 next month. I definitely back her in to get back to her best in 2022.
Keep - but she will need an understudy.

25. Stephanie Williams. Honestly hard to judge her season. Steph Williams will have benefitted from the exposure of playing against the best - can she repay the club down the track, contributing to wins? She has an eye for a goal and a furious turn of pace. Gotta see more of what she can do in the hoops for 2022 at least.

26. Maddie Boyd. Poor ol' whipping girl of cats_09
Lost her place in the team as the season wore on, with Olivia Barber capable of giving more repeat contests. Did show her contested marking best on a couple of occasions in 2021, but her career at AFLW might be under scrutiny. Would love to see her retained in the VFLW squad.

27. Sophie Van De Heuvel
Turns 21 at the end of this year. Despite the team's overall struggles, Sophie VDH improved greatly as a player at AFLW level. Shifted first back, and then into the midfield, Sophie clearly enjoyed being away from the forward line (which is where she earned her repuation at the 2018 U/18 championships), growing in confidence as the year progressed. There were ups and downs and I recall one particularly egregious kick into the corridor that cost us a goal, but she learned from it and is really starting to improve after two anonymous seasons as a half-forward flanker.

28. Denby Taylor. Finished the year injured and apart from the team, but still very much a part of the squad moving forward. A versatile player and a smooth mover with easy skills, Taylor is still only 21. Needs to find ways to stay involved more consistently to take the next step. She'll make it for sure if she puts the work in.

29. Carly Remmos. Along with Madisen Maguire, Remmos was blooded for two senior games at the back end of the season. A player with limited Australian Rules Football experience prior to being drafted, Remmos has a background in basketball. I was highly encouraged by her 2 games as an 18 year old; absolutely retain her on the list.

30. Richelle Rocky Cranston. Tough one. She's been a heart and soul player for Geelong over her 5 years at the club. She'd be 32 coming into the 2022 season, should she stick her hand up. She was our leading goalkicker in 2021. You tell me.

44. Rebecca Goring. Surely has bigger fish to fry moving forward. Recalled for a handful of games in 2021, wasn't disgraced by any means but we need to advance the list beyond players of her calibre in 2022. All the best!

45. Madeline Keryk. Good end to a reasonably indifferent season from the youngish veteran. Still has a few years left according to her passport. Keep her on the list.


Off-season, we will need to add support for Rene Caris in the ruck as an absolute priority.

Hopefully we have been in Maddie Prespakis' little sister's ear throughout 2021; she is touted as being one of the potential top picks at the end of the year; we missed out on Maddie, perhaps we can get Georgie signed up.
 
Last edited:

winty

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I doubt we'd be able to, but I would love to get Lauren Bella from the Suns to replace Aasta O'Connor. She had the most hitouts for the season, and is still only 20. Imagine having her feeding the likes of Morrison, Purcell, Moloney, Amy McDonald and Gardiner.
 

cats_09

Moderator
Jun 21, 2011
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Loved watching this replay of Rocky's goal, and at the end with Barber giving her a kiss on the head just at the end of the vision - I had a small chuckle becauseit's one of those things you normally see from a more senior player, but shows another side to Barber, the love for her teammates and her maturity that goes beyond her 18yrs

Watching her at various times yesterday, her around her teammates and after the match celebrating the win, I wouldn't be surprised to see her in the leadership group in the coming years


 

winty

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Jun 8, 2006
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Yeah, you have to love Liv Barber's sheer exuberance. Surely it has to rub off on her teammates too. I noticed several times she was the first one to congratulate her teammates when they kicked a goal, and her reactions when they were singing the song were great to see.
 

Shai

Premium Gold
Jun 30, 2013
5,743
4,623
Brisbane
AFL Club
Geelong
Other Teams
Oz Bball, Equest, Net, Tenn, Voll
***Long-Ass-Winded 2021 Geelong AFLW season review ahead. You've been warned.***



Geelong 2019: 3 wins-5 losses

Geelong 2020: 2 wins- 4 losses - a Covid-interrupted season, but our only wins coming against expansion sides GC and Richmond.

Geelong 2021: 1 goddamn win-8 losses

At this rate we will be held to love next year.


2021 was a sobering and often bleak season for Geelong's Women's team, during which the program's vision and planning were brought into question; mistakes made when assembling the team's inaugural playing list coming back to bite us.

Against the very best teams the difference in physical preparation was often starkly obvious; we have no equivalent of an Erin Phillips, a Kiara Bowers, a Gemma Houghton; players like that just toy with us.

And against even the most bog-ordinary of teams, we were unable to hit the scoreboard with anything resembling regularity; hour-long stretches without scoring at all being the norm rather than anomalous.

Once or twice we simply ran out of ideas and basically gave up; I'm fairly sure it was the loss to Richmond that I proclaimed was a 'disgrace to the jumper'; things were completely uncompetitive that week; timid and meek.

Fans/posters wondered whether a dour systems-based, tactical approach reminiscent of the men's so-professional-it-hurts game-plan might be actively inhibiting the squad's development; Paul Hood came under fire as the losses mounted.

To be faaaair though, there has been some mitigation.

That inaugural list build in 2018 (yes this will be a long post) was somewhat fumbled, but we were also stuck with certain obligations and restrictions.
The club's public committment to developing and providing opportunities for the local region was a strong platform, and surely went some way to securing Geelong a license to field a team in the AFLW - it also meant we were somewhat obliged to look in our own backyard for the inaugural list build and give opportunities for girls in the local region, as promised.

On top of that, we were seemingly in a pretty good position at the 2018 draft, yet there were restrictions that diminished our hand, and would come back to bite us yet again the following year.
So we were in a very different position to the Kangaroos, who approached things very differently and were a mere pandemic away from winning the flag last year.

We clearly needed some type of experience and leadership to provide guidance for the younger players that we'd draft onto that inititial list; however for some reason we opted to go with waaaaay too many genuine veterans, i.e. players whose best was well past them.

Apart from those list issues, our classiest and probably best player, Nina Morrison, has been limited to 7 of a possible 23 games - and may never quite reach the heights she threatened to at the beginning of the 2019 season.

Olivia Purcell worked her butt off to position herself as one of the premier midfielders of the competition, often carrying a helluva midfield load on young shoulders, before she too was ruled out with a knee injury...

... and so in 2021 the Geelong veterans predictably faded, and a raft of similarly limited mature-agers stagnated or regressed.
Opponents threatened to keep a bloody clean sheet against us more than once.

And yet there were signs of life, some steady improvers, a couple of surprise packets.



From me, now, bit of a spiel on each player's efforts in 2021 - I have refrained in waffling too extensively (imo) for nearly all of 2021 - but I have watched every minute of the girl's 2021 campaign, painful though it was to endure at times, so I at least have put in the hours and hopefully earned the right to state my opinions ...

1. Rene Caris. Just turned 22. Has played the 9 games in total now, which in Women's Footy years equates to 20ish.
She is still very raw, all knees and elbows, but she is a quick decision-maker. Not as tall as she looks. Still has a long way to go.

2. Danielle Higgins. One of only 4 Cats players to have played all 23 of the club's games to date. 1 goal from 9 games in 2021 as a small forward. Just turned 31. Probably gets a gig next year, but needs to stay involved in-game.

3. Amy McDonald. Went above and beyond in 2021. Absolute superstar - not the most polished disposal you ever did see, but has some real substance to her game. Her work in traffic throughout her 15-game career to date has been beyond impressive.
Below her knees she is elite; works the ball to her advantage in tight, eventually scoops it up and then uses deceptively strong hips and shoulders to shrug off the contact.
Flew the flag at some of the club's darkest hours this year. Respect.
Amy will be 24 at the start of the 2022 season.

4. Darcy Moloney. I think Darcy was the first of the 2021 debutants to make an appearance. Overall she arguably made the least impact of that 7-strong group, but I was not in the least disheartened by her progress. If she is committed to the hard training ahead then she has a pretty good chance of being a regular contributor to the team. Persist.

5. Jordan Ivey. I'm a big fan of Jordan Ivey; she's been genuinely versatile and her left-foot very reliable over 3 AFLW seasons and a couple of VFLW seasons too. 2021 was her first stint as a defender for Geelong, and she barely put a foot wrong.
She'll be 29 at the start of the 2022 season; hopefully she can get herself to yet another level of fitness and really make an impact.

6. Julia Crockett-Grills. & 12. Renee Garing
Both have played all 23 Geelong AFLW games. Julia will be 27 at the start of the 2022 season - Garing, who came to the game late, will be 33.
Both play a very similar brand, tough and tenacious; Crockett-Grills slightly more effective imo, and has more miles to give in her legs.
I'd see if Garing might want to look at playing for another team; she'd easily get a game at Richmond.

7. Madison Maguire. Got two games late in the season, she's going at %50 winning rate, better than most of her teammates. Had no idea what to expect from her. My impression after two games: she is like a bull at a gate; she seems to be falling over a lot, but is prepared to run hard and present herself. She'll make mistakes, but again, if she puts in the hard work then she has a good chance of becoming a solid contributor. Keep.

10. Georgie Rankin. Will be 24 at the start of the 2022 season. I thought she actually improved a lot in 2021, kudos to her. Reportedly did a really strong pre-season, hopefully she is able to put in the work again over the off-season. Retain.

11. Meghan McDonald. Tough first year as captain. But she was absolutely resolute. Wouldn't trade her for anyone; the whole defense is built around her.

14. Aasta O'Connor. Wisely recognised her time had come and hangs up the boots after her 2021 campaign. Good at times this year, and I thought she showed some leadership and heart early when things were starting to unravel - but she was labouring toward the end.
Aasta needs replacing urgently, too; Caris can't ruck one-out and Barber shouldn't be wasted/risked as a 2nd ruck as a rule.

15. Olivia Barber. Started the year an unknown commodity and ended the year as a rare beacon of hope for an often-miserable Geelong unit, firmly establishing herself as one of the team's Key Forwards.
She can do this and that, but it is her Fire that I think is her best asset; she does not like being beaten and does not back down.
I'm with dazbroncos - 4 year deal, damn the rules!

16. Olivia Purcell. Man I can barely address this. She'll be back, better than ever.
Still hasn't turned 21. Teams had been putting a lot more work into her in 2021 prior to her injury, McDonald can expect the same going forward.

17. Georgia Clarke. Will be 21 at the start of next season. Her best is obviously still ahead of her; I reckon she might still come good. Clever with the ball, she'll get stronger and better in the air. Needs to be nurtured developmentally though; a player like Webster got good opportunties to develop her craft; coaches need to have a clear picture of what they want from Clarke. Keep.

18. Laura Gardiner. I saw an interview with her before the season began on the Geelong website; she was quite deferential to her more highly-rated teammate and friend Darcy Moloney, and was generally very shy and quiet. Her first game at AFLW level was fairly inconspicuous but I wasn't discouraged; when she came back into the team for last two games she was a bit of a revelation in a weakened midfield; yes she is sleight but she is composed. Unexpected bonus in a bad year. Will still be only 19 at the start of the 2022 season.

19. Millie Brown. Still only 20, Millie had an up and down year. Has time on her side and a great role model in Meg McDonald. Did some good things here and there but also had some moments she must learn from going forward.

21. Rebecca Webster. An absolute gun, epitome of the modern AFLW footballer; she'd walk into any team in the comp and is still yet to turn 21.
I honestly reckon she had one bad game for the year, and that was when she copped a knock very early against the Bulldogs.
Her development has been very modern-Geelong; naturally talented, she has been dourly deployed in big-bodied defensive midfield roles for most of her young career.
It's paying dividends, though.
Absolutely crucial that we retain her going forward.

22. Nicole Garner. We got a decent idea of what Garner could bring to the table in 2021, but ultimately her position on the list is contentious to say the least - I prefer the little I saw of Remmos and Maguire to Garner, even though Garner in no way disgraced herself. Could find her list spot under threat imo.

23. Phoebe McWilliams. Reportedly put in the hard yards in terms of a pre-season, and I think ultimately it showed in 2021.
I was critical early in the season of her dropping marks she should have clunked, but I can't fault Phoebe's workrate despite her ups and downs.
In fact that workrate got better, and her attack on the contest more honest, as the year went on, and she finished strongly. Turns 36 in August.

24. Maddy McMahon. I kind of arrogantly pride myself that I spotted McMahon's talent relatively early, but I'd contend that she was way down on form at times this year. Turns 32 next month. I definitely back her in to get back to her best in 2022.
Keep - but she will need an understudy.

25. Stephanie Williams. Honestly hard to judge her season. Steph Williams will have benefitted from the exposure of playing against the best - can she repay the club down the track, contributing to wins? She has an eye for a goal and a furious turn of pace. Gotta see more of what she can do in the hoops for 2022 at least.

26. Maddie Boyd. Poor ol' whipping girl of cats_09
Lost her place in the team as the season wore on, with Olivia Barber capable of giving more repeat contests. Did show her contested marking best on a couple of occasions in 2021, but her career at AFLW might be under scrutiny. Would love to see her retained in the VFLW squad.

27. Sophie Van De Heuvel
Turns 21 at the end of this year. Despite the team's overall struggles, Sophie VDH improved greatly as a player at AFLW level. Shifted first back, and then into the midfield, Sophie clearly enjoyed being away from the forward line (which is where she earned her repuation at the 2018 U/18 championships), growing in confidence as the year progressed. There were ups and downs and I recall one particularly egregious kick into the corridor that cost us a goal, but she learned from it and is really starting to improve after two anonymous seasons as a half-forward flanker.

28. Denby Taylor. Finished the year injured and apart from the team, but still very much a part of the squad moving forward. A versatile player and a smooth mover with easy skills, Taylor is still only 21. Needs to find ways to stay involved more consistently to take the next step. She'll make it for sure if she puts the work in.

29. Carly Remmos. Along with Madisen Maguire, Remmos was blooded for two senior games at the back end of the season. A player with limited Australian Rules Football experience prior to being drafted, Remmos has a background in basketball. I was highly encouraged by her 2 games as an 18 year old; absolutely retain her on the list.

30. Richelle Rocky Cranston. Tough one. She's been a heart and soul player for Geelong over her 5 years at the club. She'd be 32 coming into the 2022 season, should she stick her hand up. She was our leading goalkicker in 2021. You tell me.

44. Rebecca Goring. Surely has bigger fish to fry moving forward. Recalled for a handful of games in 2021, wasn't disgraced by any means but we need to advance the list beyond players of her calibre in 2022. All the best!

45. Madeline Keryk. Good end to a reasonably indifferent season from the youngish veteran. Still has a few years left according to her passport. Keep her on the list.


Off-season, we will need to add support for Rene Caris in the ruck as an absolute priority.

Hopefully we have been in Maddie Prespakis' little sister's ear throughout 2021; she is touted as being one of the potential top picks at the end of the year; we missed out on Maddie, perhaps we can get Georgie signed up.
As always, I enjoy your writing. Some opinions from me, painful as it definitely was to watch our girls this year I still tuned in apart from 1 game.

2. Danielle Higgins. Didn't offer much at all.
5. Jordan Ivey. Liked her in the mid, maybe excuses for 1st season as a defender but as a VC?
6. Julia Crockett-Grills. & 12. Renee Garing. Julz 1st, she is a soldier and 1 of the few players that put in all season. Garing played her best game for some time in the last game! Makes me wonder where that endeavour was in all the other games.
15. Olivia Barber - very good, hope we can keep her because apart from ruck & mid, we need her most.
16. Olivia Purcell. Reminds me of Sel, tried to carry the team & has paid the price.

Unfortunately I have to wonder if Nina is the next Cocky but that said, it was brilliant to see the win & the responses to it yesterday.
 

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terry_bright

All Australian
Feb 21, 2010
997
1,443
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***Long-Ass-Winded 2021 Geelong AFLW season review ahead. You've been warned.***



Geelong 2019: 3 wins-5 losses

Geelong 2020: 2 wins- 4 losses - a Covid-interrupted season, but our only wins coming against expansion sides GC and Richmond.

Geelong 2021: 1 goddamn win-8 losses

At this rate we will be held to love next year.


2021 was a sobering and often bleak season for Geelong's Women's team, during which the program's vision and planning were brought into question; mistakes made when assembling the team's inaugural playing list coming back to bite us.

Against the very best teams the difference in physical preparation was often starkly obvious; we have no equivalent of an Erin Phillips, a Kiara Bowers, a Gemma Houghton; players like that just toy with us.

And against even the most bog-ordinary of teams, we were unable to hit the scoreboard with anything resembling regularity; hour-long stretches without scoring at all being the norm rather than anomalous.

Once or twice we simply ran out of ideas and basically gave up; I'm fairly sure it was the loss to Richmond that I proclaimed was a 'disgrace to the jumper'; things were completely uncompetitive that week; timid and meek.

Fans/posters wondered whether a dour systems-based, tactical approach reminiscent of the men's so-professional-it-hurts game-plan might be actively inhibiting the squad's development; Paul Hood came under fire as the losses mounted.

To be faaaair though, there has been some mitigation.

That inaugural list build in 2018 (yes this will be a long post) was somewhat fumbled, but we were also stuck with certain obligations and restrictions.
The club's public committment to developing and providing opportunities for the local region was a strong platform, and surely went some way to securing Geelong a license to field a team in the AFLW - it also meant we were somewhat obliged to look in our own backyard for the inaugural list build and give opportunities for girls in the local region, as promised.

On top of that, we were seemingly in a pretty good position at the 2018 draft, yet there were restrictions that diminished our hand, and would come back to bite us yet again the following year.
So we were in a very different position to the Kangaroos, who approached things very differently and were a mere pandemic away from winning the flag last year.

We clearly needed some type of experience and leadership to provide guidance for the younger players that we'd draft onto that inititial list; however for some reason we opted to go with waaaaay too many genuine veterans, i.e. players whose best was well past them.

Apart from those list issues, our classiest and probably best player, Nina Morrison, has been limited to 7 of a possible 23 games - and may never quite reach the heights she threatened to at the beginning of the 2019 season.

Olivia Purcell worked her butt off to position herself as one of the premier midfielders of the competition, often carrying a helluva midfield load on young shoulders, before she too was ruled out with a knee injury...

... and so in 2021 the Geelong veterans predictably faded, and a raft of similarly limited mature-agers stagnated or regressed.
Opponents threatened to keep a bloody clean sheet against us more than once.

And yet there were signs of life, some steady improvers, a couple of surprise packets.



From me, now, bit of a spiel on each player's efforts in 2021 - I have refrained in waffling too extensively (imo) for nearly all of 2021 - but I have watched every minute of the girl's 2021 campaign, painful though it was to endure at times, so I at least have put in the hours and hopefully earned the right to state my opinions ...

1. Rene Caris. Just turned 22. Has played the 9 games in total now, which in Women's Footy years equates to 20ish.
She is still very raw, all knees and elbows, but she is a quick decision-maker. Not as tall as she looks. Still has a long way to go.

2. Danielle Higgins. One of only 4 Cats players to have played all 23 of the club's games to date. 1 goal from 9 games in 2021 as a small forward. Just turned 31. Probably gets a gig next year, but needs to stay involved in-game.

3. Amy McDonald. Went above and beyond in 2021. Absolute superstar - not the most polished disposal you ever did see, but has some real substance to her game. Her work in traffic throughout her 15-game career to date has been beyond impressive.
Below her knees she is elite; works the ball to her advantage in tight, eventually scoops it up and then uses deceptively strong hips and shoulders to shrug off the contact.
Flew the flag at some of the club's darkest hours this year. Respect.
Amy will be 24 at the start of the 2022 season.

4. Darcy Moloney. I think Darcy was the first of the 2021 debutants to make an appearance. Overall she arguably made the least impact of that 7-strong group, but I was not in the least disheartened by her progress. If she is committed to the hard training ahead then she has a pretty good chance of being a regular contributor to the team. Persist.

5. Jordan Ivey. I'm a big fan of Jordan Ivey; she's been genuinely versatile and her left-foot very reliable over 3 AFLW seasons and a couple of VFLW seasons too. 2021 was her first stint as a defender for Geelong, and she barely put a foot wrong.
She'll be 29 at the start of the 2022 season; hopefully she can get herself to yet another level of fitness and really make an impact.

6. Julia Crockett-Grills. & 12. Renee Garing
Both have played all 23 Geelong AFLW games. Julia will be 27 at the start of the 2022 season - Garing, who came to the game late, will be 33.
Both play a very similar brand, tough and tenacious; Crockett-Grills slightly more effective imo, and has more miles to give in her legs.
I'd see if Garing might want to look at playing for another team; she'd easily get a game at Richmond.

7. Madison Maguire. Got two games late in the season, she's going at %50 winning rate, better than most of her teammates. Had no idea what to expect from her. My impression after two games: she is like a bull at a gate; she seems to be falling over a lot, but is prepared to run hard and present herself. She'll make mistakes, but again, if she puts in the hard work then she has a good chance of becoming a solid contributor. Keep.

10. Georgie Rankin. Will be 24 at the start of the 2022 season. I thought she actually improved a lot in 2021, kudos to her. Reportedly did a really strong pre-season, hopefully she is able to put in the work again over the off-season. Retain.

11. Meghan McDonald. Tough first year as captain. But she was absolutely resolute. Wouldn't trade her for anyone; the whole defense is built around her.

14. Aasta O'Connor. Wisely recognised her time had come and hangs up the boots after her 2021 campaign. Good at times this year, and I thought she showed some leadership and heart early when things were starting to unravel - but she was labouring toward the end.
Aasta needs replacing urgently, too; Caris can't ruck one-out and Barber shouldn't be wasted/risked as a 2nd ruck as a rule.

15. Olivia Barber. Started the year an unknown commodity and ended the year as a rare beacon of hope for an often-miserable Geelong unit, firmly establishing herself as one of the team's Key Forwards.
She can do this and that, but it is her Fire that I think is her best asset; she does not like being beaten and does not back down.
I'm with dazbroncos - 4 year deal, damn the rules!

16. Olivia Purcell. Man I can barely address this. She'll be back, better than ever.
Still hasn't turned 21. Teams had been putting a lot more work into her in 2021 prior to her injury, McDonald can expect the same going forward.

17. Georgia Clarke. Will be 21 at the start of next season. Her best is obviously still ahead of her; I reckon she might still come good. Clever with the ball, she'll get stronger and better in the air. Needs to be nurtured developmentally though; a player like Webster got good opportunties to develop her craft; coaches need to have a clear picture of what they want from Clarke. Keep.

18. Laura Gardiner. I saw an interview with her before the season began on the Geelong website; she was quite deferential to her more highly-rated teammate and friend Darcy Moloney, and was generally very shy and quiet. Her first game at AFLW level was fairly inconspicuous but I wasn't discouraged; when she came back into the team for last two games she was a bit of a revelation in a weakened midfield; yes she is sleight but she is composed. Unexpected bonus in a bad year. Will still be only 19 at the start of the 2022 season.

19. Millie Brown. Still only 20, Millie had an up and down year. Has time on her side and a great role model in Meg McDonald. Did some good things here and there but also had some moments she must learn from going forward.

21. Rebecca Webster. An absolute gun, epitome of the modern AFLW footballer; she'd walk into any team in the comp and is still yet to turn 21.
I honestly reckon she had one bad game for the year, and that was when she copped a knock very early against the Bulldogs.
Her development has been very modern-Geelong; naturally talented, she has been dourly deployed in big-bodied defensive midfield roles for most of her young career.
It's paying dividends, though.
Absolutely crucial that we retain her going forward.

22. Nicole Garner. We got a decent idea of what Garner could bring to the table in 2021, but ultimately her position on the list is contentious to say the least - I prefer the little I saw of Remmos and Maguire to Garner, even though Garner in no way disgraced herself. Could find her list spot under threat imo.

23. Phoebe McWilliams. Reportedly put in the hard yards in terms of a pre-season, and I think ultimately it showed in 2021.
I was critical early in the season of her dropping marks she should have clunked, but I can't fault Phoebe's workrate despite her ups and downs.
In fact that workrate got better, and her attack on the contest more honest, as the year went on, and she finished strongly. Turns 36 in August.

24. Maddy McMahon. I kind of arrogantly pride myself that I spotted McMahon's talent relatively early, but I'd contend that she was way down on form at times this year. Turns 32 next month. I definitely back her in to get back to her best in 2022.
Keep - but she will need an understudy.

25. Stephanie Williams. Honestly hard to judge her season. Steph Williams will have benefitted from the exposure of playing against the best - can she repay the club down the track, contributing to wins? She has an eye for a goal and a furious turn of pace. Gotta see more of what she can do in the hoops for 2022 at least.

26. Maddie Boyd. Poor ol' whipping girl of cats_09
Lost her place in the team as the season wore on, with Olivia Barber capable of giving more repeat contests. Did show her contested marking best on a couple of occasions in 2021, but her career at AFLW might be under scrutiny. Would love to see her retained in the VFLW squad.

27. Sophie Van De Heuvel
Turns 21 at the end of this year. Despite the team's overall struggles, Sophie VDH improved greatly as a player at AFLW level. Shifted first back, and then into the midfield, Sophie clearly enjoyed being away from the forward line (which is where she earned her repuation at the 2018 U/18 championships), growing in confidence as the year progressed. There were ups and downs and I recall one particularly egregious kick into the corridor that cost us a goal, but she learned from it and is really starting to improve after two anonymous seasons as a half-forward flanker.

28. Denby Taylor. Finished the year injured and apart from the team, but still very much a part of the squad moving forward. A versatile player and a smooth mover with easy skills, Taylor is still only 21. Needs to find ways to stay involved more consistently to take the next step. She'll make it for sure if she puts the work in.

29. Carly Remmos. Along with Madisen Maguire, Remmos was blooded for two senior games at the back end of the season. A player with limited Australian Rules Football experience prior to being drafted, Remmos has a background in basketball. I was highly encouraged by her 2 games as an 18 year old; absolutely retain her on the list.

30. Richelle Rocky Cranston. Tough one. She's been a heart and soul player for Geelong over her 5 years at the club. She'd be 32 coming into the 2022 season, should she stick her hand up. She was our leading goalkicker in 2021. You tell me.

44. Rebecca Goring. Surely has bigger fish to fry moving forward. Recalled for a handful of games in 2021, wasn't disgraced by any means but we need to advance the list beyond players of her calibre in 2022. All the best!

45. Madeline Keryk. Good end to a reasonably indifferent season from the youngish veteran. Still has a few years left according to her passport. Keep her on the list.


Off-season, we will need to add support for Rene Caris in the ruck as an absolute priority.

Hopefully we have been in Maddie Prespakis' little sister's ear throughout 2021; she is touted as being one of the potential top picks at the end of the year; we missed out on Maddie, perhaps we can get Georgie signed up.
An excellent summary of what was a clusterf**k of a season.

I won't go in to what's gone wrong this season, I'd out do your epic post.

The positives.

MegMac. Proved why she's one of the best defenders in the comp.

AmyMac. I didn't think she had it her to take her game to the next level. One of the best evaders of a tackle in tight in the game. A lock for the B&F.

Webster. Keeps on improving. Won't surprise if in a couple of years she's our best player.

Caris. After a horrible start to the year (following a poor couple of seasons), she really showed signs of improvement over the last month which was desperately needed as Aasta's form fell off a cliff in that time. I've been a critic and she has a long way too go, but green shoots are coming through. With Aasta retiring she will desperately need support going forward.

The draft picks of 2020.
All of Moloney, Gardiner, Barber, Williams and Remmos showed signs when given the chance and seem destined to have long AFLW futures. Barber in particular would be in our top 6 players already and has quickly become my favourite player. The passion and chip on her shoulder attitude you gotta love, to go with her undoubted talent.


Looking forward there a number of big decisions that need to be made on some of the players (mainly the experienced ones) as to their future.
O'Connor has retired.
Goring and Garing should be told thanks for your service but we need to move on.
Boyd has to go.
If Kate Darby comes back, McWilliams might get the tap on the shoulder.
Gardner will be 29 when the next season starts and IMO should struggle for game time next season.

And Hood has to go. The team has gome backwards over the last 3 seasons and we need a new vision.
 
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goyoucatters

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Maguire and Remmos two late-season debutants that kind of tilted the Scales of Optimism in my eyes - Laura Gardiner's late-season heroics another reason to stick with the Geelong girls in 2022.
These three really raised the spirits in watching Saturday's game. Gardiner is clearly going to be a fantastic player with more and more time in the game. And the spirit, determination and dynamism of Maguire and Remmos is really easy to like.

In the end, our really young players look really good. We have just ended up getting very little out of the senior players and have been massively behind the eight-ball as a result.

Add that trio to Barber, Nina, Purcell, Webster, Amy Mc, Taylor, VDH and Williams and you're looking at a very talented and capable young group that could form a real nucleus of a far more competitive line-up in the coming seasons. Will need some more tall timber coming through to fill out the side, though, so that should be a focus in ongoing recruiting/trading considerations.

Hood gets a tick for playing more of the youth as the season wore on. But he has to go in the interests of developing a better game plan and a fresh sense of energy around the group.

After a frankly horrendous year as a collective, I was really glad to see the girls finish the year with some sense of positivity to take into 2022.
 

winty

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Hood gets a tick for playing more of the youth as the season wore on. But he has to go in the interests of developing a better game plan and a fresh sense of energy around the group.

After a frankly horrendous year as a collective, I was really glad to see the girls finish the year with some sense of positivity to take into 2022.
I was in the "Hoody must go" camp too, but seeing how the likes of McDonald, Van De Heuvel and Webster have improved, and youngsters like Barber, Moloney, Remmos and Gardiner being blooded this season, plus the way the debutants made sure they ran across to embrace Hoody after the game on the weekend, it is clear the girls like playing for him. I'm not sure that the youngsters would appreciate Hoody getting moved on so soon after he gave them their start.

Having said that though, I'd definitely make sure in order for him to continue as coach past 2022, that we should set a pass mark, for example have at least a 50% win/loss record during the H&A season next year, and if that doesn't eventuate then we should part ways with him.

With the young talent we have at our disposal and the natural improvement we should see in them next year, plus being able to pick the best youngster in Victoria in the draft, that benchmark is definitely something that is achievable if the team work hard over the off-season.
 

Cursed Cat

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I'm guessing A McDonald is our Amy - anyone know what she did?

She nearly ripped someone's arm off - but fairly!

Seriously she has one of the most ferociously effective tackling techniques I've seen, executed 3 brilliant tackles against the Suns, won the free kick each time.

Before her injury I thought Liv Purcell was our best tackler, good to know she will have some serious support when she makes her way back into the team.
 

Cursed Cat

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These three really raised the spirits in watching Saturday's game. Gardiner is clearly going to be a fantastic player with more and more time in the game. And the spirit, determination and dynamism of Maguire and Remmos is really easy to like.

In the end, our really young players look really good. We have just ended up getting very little out of the senior players and have been massively behind the eight-ball as a result.

Add that trio to Barber, Nina, Purcell, Webster, Amy Mc, Taylor, VDH and Williams and you're looking at a very talented and capable young group that could form a real nucleus of a far more competitive line-up in the coming seasons. Will need some more tall timber coming through to fill out the side, though, so that should be a focus in ongoing recruiting/trading considerations.

Hood gets a tick for playing more of the youth as the season wore on. But he has to go in the interests of developing a better game plan and a fresh sense of energy around the group.

After a frankly horrendous year as a collective, I was really glad to see the girls finish the year with some sense of positivity to take into 2022.
Caris, Brown and Georgia Clarke, too (all tall), plus I'm backing in Darcy Moloney to improve significantly next year - agree we will need additional tall timber on the list though, particularly another ruck ....

with returning injuries and an extra pre-season we could field a reasonably competitive team next year:

B: M. Brown M. McMahon
HB: J. Ivey M. McDonald S. Van De Heuval
C: L. Gardiner O. Purcell N. Morrison
HF: D. Taylor G. Clarke M. Maguire
F: O. Barber S. Williams
R: R. Caris R. Webster A. McDonald

I/C: D. Moloney C. Remmos M. Keryk J. Crockett-Grills & AFLW Draft selection #2

Very young side, but also a side that has a decent amount of experience, only 4-5 players over the age of 25 and only Meg Mac @ age 30.
 

cats_09

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She nearly ripped someone's arm off - but fairly!

Seriously she has one of the most ferociously effective tackling techniques I've seen, executed 3 brilliant tackles against the Suns, won the free kick each time.

Before her injury I thought Liv Purcell was our best tackler, good to know she will have some serious support when she makes her way back into the team.
And she won the free kick for that tackle

Seems something is wrong with the game when you can be rewarded for an action within the match, but then punished for that same action after the match is complete
 

cats_09

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These are the incidents from our match

Maddison Levi, Gold Coast SUNS, has been charged with Rough Conduct (Dangerous Tackle) against Rene Caris, Geelong, during the first quarter of the Round Nine match between the Gold Coast SUNS and Geelong, played at Metricon Stadium on Saturday, March 27.

In summary, she can accept a reprimand with an early plea.

Based on the available evidence, the incident was assessed as Careless Conduct, Low Impact and High Contact. The incident was classified as a $400 sanction as a first offence. The player can accept a reprimand with an early plea.


Amy McDonald, Geelong has been charged with Rough Conduct (Dangerous Tackle) against Daisy D'Arcy, Gold Coast SUNS, during the fourth quarter of the Round Nine match between the Gold Coast SUNS and Geelong, played at Metricon Stadium on Saturday, March 27.

In summary, she can accept a reprimand with an early plea.

Based on the available evidence, the incident was assessed as Careless Conduct, Medium Impact, Body Contact. The incident was classified as a $400 sanction as a first offence. The player can accept a reprimand with an early plea.
 

cats_09

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