AFLW AFLW Season 5, Mega thread

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Turbocat

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Dec 10, 2003
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Which is probably why we've focused on drafting locals and others from rural areas - less likely to want to move to the city or interstate.
as they have maintained ..thats what it has been all about. Fine...but it it seems that will probably see us bottom 4 most years... especially now there is one ladder
 

cats_09

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Jun 21, 2011
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Would be interested to see how much player movement we would see in the AFLW if the league was fully professional rather than just semi-professional. What hampers us IMO is the limited employment opportunities in the greater Geelong area, which would make us less than a desirable destination for semi-professional athletes.
Exactly this; I'm confident the following players live in Melbourne and travel to Geelong for training, games etc: Meg McDonald, Keryk, Garner & McWilliams. Not sure on O'Connor, Ivey & Crockett-Grills, but wouldn't be surprised if they were Melbourne based also

Hickey was another who resided in Melbourne & traveled during down the highway her time with us

With the structured salary cap we can't exactly offer other players much of a salary increase for them to move down the highway, so then it becomes about trying to find other opportunities or employment that they had find engaging & give them reasons outside of football to be a deciding factor in a move
 

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cats_09

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Jun 21, 2011
28,659
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Im only a very passive observer of the comp... but Id say.. the comp is little like it was in the old VFL days. Work and play..which means we are a decided disadvantge..and those that are professionals may prefer a Melb club. North Melb came into the comp the same time as us... so far... their approach appears to be creating a more positive face.

Put it this way... the draft system has more down side than up side for us .... and which vic based clubs want to move from a melb club if tehy live and work in melb?

A more profession comp..probably suits us as a destination club much better
North Melbourne also has a small advantage when they entered the comp as they had had formed a near decade long partnership with the Melbourne University Women’s Football Club - so a good number of the players who moved to North had that prior connection with the team

We were a relatively young team and really didn't have that depth of history when we started in the AFLW to bring back those experienced players who already had that connection with the club - I know some of our VFLW players signed to our AFLW team, but there was also someone like Mithen who played 2 years with our VFLW team but she also had 2 years at Melbourne in the AFLW, so not necessarily a stronger connection to one team or the other but you stick with where you got your first senior opportunity

I know the draft system has kinda changed so that there's not the regions within Vic now, but doesn't necessarily make things easier while we're still in this semi-professional league - an 18 year old from the other side of Melbourne may have some struggles with a move to Geelong, especially if all other aspects of their life is in Melbourne other than playing football for the team in the hoops

That's why we need to target more experienced options where the player/s are happy to make the move or commit to what's required to play for Geelong even if not living in the region

And as you said, a professionally league changes the landscape of things again
 

cats_09

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Jun 21, 2011
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Which is probably why we've focused on drafting locals and others from rural areas - less likely to want to move to the city or interstate.

That's the theory anyway.
It's interesting to look at our drafting strategy over the past 3 years:

2018 draft - youngsters with our first 7 picks (all still on the list), last 3 picks were more mature options with only Keryk the only one remaining

2019 draft - 2 youngsters in Brown & Skinner, then "mature" options in Gemma Wright, Garner & McDonald. Garner & Wright both Melbourne based, and Wright walked away during the preseason citing mental health reasons

2020 draft - a return to youngsters, this time all either Geelong based including Williams who was at boarding school at Geelong College

I know some of our mature picks have worked, but do wonder if the Gemma Wright situation in 2019 factored into any decisions regarding drafting last year, such as our trade with Melbourne where we sent them picks 5, 35 & 49 for picks 10, 20, 27 & 39

So yes we got an extra selection back, and more selections in the 20s & 30s, but it's a pretty big thing to give up a top 5 pick even if getting pick 10 back - did we just not trust that who we took at pick 5 would become a long term player for the club, but at pick 10 we can pick up a local who may be more likely to stay
 

dazbroncos

Max Rooke Appreciation Society
Oct 9, 2010
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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.

Agree - has a future and needs to develop.

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.

Needs to be more consistent in games but as a Vet on our list can stay and id welcome it.

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.

Massive leap forward this year Top 5 player for us now. Plays really hard and never take a backward step. Must keep her for many years.

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.

Definitely keep her going forward. Not everyone will come in and make an impact immediately.

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.

Big improver and luv her Left foot coming out of CHB.

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.

Keep Grills -adds some toughness and endeavour. Garing is older but plays well. And lacking the older Vets types... id keep her.

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.

Need to see more but probably 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.

Agree keep.

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.

Must keep. Much better leadership than any other Vet... needs to be the skipper again and her game is so valuable to us.

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.

Thanks for her work but its time.

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!

I agree with you agreeing with myself.

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.

Must keep her. Must build with her. She is a leader, a star, a gun and just everything Geelong Football needs. She gets whatever she wants to stay.

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.

Still developing. Must persevere.

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.

Keep and develop further. Very young.

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.

Just another Kitten than needs time - has potential

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.

Very solid player that got better thru the year. And young. Much to like 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.

In doubt.

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.

Might go again but not overly shocked if she moves on. Has flashed but not taken the full extent of the chances she had this year. Barber to replace her if she leaves.

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.

Kind like Domsy was. Good and reliable.

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.

So much spark and potential. Needs time to develop but could be the Chappy style player we need.

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.

Cant see a place for her with Barber coming in

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.

Really elite skills for mine but fades from games. Maybe a fitness or motivation thing - I dont know. But she can really play well. Must keep.

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.

More work needed but has time.

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.

Young, raw and talented

.
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.

She has many good qualities but I dont see them anywhere near enough on the field. She can quit on contests and not work hard enough. Brain fades and leadership lacks at times. I see my girl at 21 leading better than she does. If she fixes this she's a keep. Its a hard on indeed.

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!

Move on.

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.

Luv her work. Must keep and provides a great support to Meg Mac.

Looking for big improvement from us next season and these rumours of my girl leaving need to die a fast and vicious death.

Go Catters


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.
Go Catters
 

cats_09

Moderator
Jun 21, 2011
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Round 8 coaches votes:

Geelong Cats vs GWS Giants
VOTES PLAYER (CLUB)
10 - Alyce Parker (GWS)
8 - Meghan McDonald (GEEL)
5 - Elle Bennetts (GWS)
4 - Alicia Eva (GWS)
2 - Cora Staunton (GWS)
1 - Maddy McMahon (GEEL)


Round 9 Votes
Gold Coast Suns vs Geelong Cats
VOTES PLAYER (CLUB)
8 - Julia Crockett-Grills (GEEL)
6 - Kalinda Howarth (GCFC)
6 - Alison Drennan (GCFC)
5 - Amy McDonald (GEEL)
4 - Laura Gardiner (GEEL)
1 - Richelle Cranston (GEEL)
 

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winty

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Jun 8, 2006
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Just had a look through all the teams of the week, and there were 10 players who made more than 1 team of the week who didn't make the squad of 40 - Cora Staunton (GWS), Jess Duffin (NM), Lauren Arnell (Bris), Amy McDonald (Geel), Jade Pregelj (GC), Hannah Priest (StK), Sabreena Duffy (Frem), Danielle Ponter (Adel), Rhiannon Watt (St.K) and Tahlia Randall (NM). There were also 2 players who made the squad who didn't make one team of the week - Ellie McKenzie and Jaimee Lambert.

Trivia question for you - there were 3 Geelong players who ended up making a team of the week this season. Meg McDonald and Amy McDonald were two. Who was the 3rd?
 

cats_09

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Jun 21, 2011
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I don't think Purcell made it in the first half of the season prior to her injury

Was it Becky Webster in maybe round 4 or 5; the other player I could think that have made the team was Ivey


Not completely surprised at Duffin making multiple teams of the week but not the AA squad - she didn't make her return to the game until round 5, so missing those first 4 rounds probably counted against her. But making teams of the week shows she hasn't missed a beat missing last season due to pregnancy, and not stepping onto a professional sporting field since Dec 7 2019
 

cats_09

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Jun 21, 2011
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Did some poking around and doesn’t seem to be much substance to my girls rumors at this point..:


PHEEEEEEEEW!

Go Catters


Ps... still nervous 😳
Do you recall what her contract status is - signed up for next season or out of contract heading into the offseason?

I can understand frustration at how this season played out (especially from the vast majority of players who've been on the list for longer than just this season, and thus had more positives in previous years than these past 9 weeks), and that's why what the club does over the next month or so could become very important.

I know that there was a lot of celebrations & joy after our win over GC, but our only win for the season was against the other winless side (until that match) - so say Hood is re-signed for the next couple of seasons, not sure it's presenting a good look and may be seen as accepting how we performed this season

Some players may also want to see what happens with list management decisions, who is re-signed, who retires or is delisted and who is approached to join the club etc
 

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