Ice in her veins. The clutch queen.
Giorgi Prespakis produced a clutch moment that Jamie Elliott would have been proud of to seal the win for the Cats with a penalty kick in the dying stages of the game.
She was electric in her first season, but all signs point to her taking another step forward in season 7.
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The Calder Cannons product played all ten matches last season, becoming an established member of Geelong’s highball brigade.
She averaged 13.3 disposals and 6.8 tackles, but if her performance against the Tigers is anything to go by, those numbers will increase in Season 7.
She finished with 16 tackles, eight tackles and Geelong’s only two goals.
After scoring her first AFLW goal in the third period and kicking the winner, she produced one of the highlights of the round as her teammates flocked to her.
What makes Prespakis so impressive for a youngster is her composure and composure around the competition.
The long-armed superstar is fast becoming one of the most prolific midfielders in the competition, forming a formidable midfield trio alongside Nina Morrison (23 caps) and Amy Macdonald (24 caps).
Richmond’s debutant Eilish Sheerin was perhaps the most damaging player in the first term.
The returning halfback had seven tackles and three inside 50s and was instrumental in Richmond’s transition from defense to attack.
In what seemed like a big sign for Richmond’s recruiting class, Sheerin finished the game with 19 tackles, five points and four tackles.
The 29-year-old is set for a number of years with 58 after her impressive display at the AFL Sydney tournament.
Sheerin was overlooked in the 2020 draft after suffering an ACL injury, but her body of work saw the Tigers take a chance at halfback in the most recent draft.
Her superior athleticism and versatility are set to be key assets for Richmond this season.
Richmond midfield mix
Richmond have been crying out for the support of superstar Monique Conti for several seasons now and they are on course to prove it.
Tigers recruit Grace Egan from Carlton during the off-season made an immediate impact in her Tigers debut, racking up 17 disposals.
Much-loved youngster Ellie McKenzie (15 touches) is developing well and has all the makings of a budding superstar, while Sarah Hosking looks set to have a solid season after tearing up the track in pre-season.
Hosking finished with 22 with 16 possessions by half-time, with seven marks and seven tackles.
“We’re getting that continuity and building that depth in our midfield,” Hosking said at halftime.
With the likes of Meg McDonald waiting in the wings, the Tigers have plenty of midfield options to choose from in Season 7.
Bowen is on fire.
Mikaela Bowen moved on from the West Coast Eagles in the off-season and looks like a sensible pick for the Cats in Season 7.
In the third term, Sarah Hosking fired up the Cats with a brilliant chase at the Tigers’ guns, then turned up the heat on the Tigers.
Bowen’s willingness to make plays turned the tide for the Cats, who struggled to get possession in the first half.
Alongside interception queen Meg MacDonald, Bowen’s 16 wing touches helped the Cats force turnovers and eventually break down the Tigers’ tight defence.
CATS 0.1, 0.2, 1.2, 2.3 (15)
Tigers 1.0, 1.4, 1.4, 1.5 (11)
Bolch’s Best: Cats: Prespakis, Morrison, M. McDonald, A. MacDonald
Tigers: S. Hosking, Sheerin, Seymour, Conti.
Goals: Geelong: Prespakis 2. Richmond: Seymour.
Injuries: Cats: Kearns (shoulder). Tigers: No.
UMPIRES Heffernan, Dore, Compton-Robins.
VENUE GMHBA Stadium.
Voices Player of the Year
3 g. Prespakis (yellow)
2 N. Morrison (yellow)
1 S. Hosking (RICH)
A bone-crushing moment includes the dog’s strong victory
As the GWS Giants defenders slept on Sunday night, flaming tails and plastered shoulders looked on, Gabby Newton’s pressure was on in the Dogs’ seven-point one-round victory.
After missing 6 seasons following a double-shoulder reconstruction, former No. 1 draft pick Newton filled the void left by the departed Bonnie Toogood with aplomb.
While Northern Knights’ production doesn’t have the same impact in the air, her work on ground level is superior.
It featured a bone-crunching goal in the second quarter – in which Newton scored twice – at the top of the Dogs’ goal range.
As Georgina Fowler turned and wheeled back to the Giants, Newton flew out of nowhere to make a perfect tackle and catch the Giants cold.
The 20-year-old bounced back and gave the Bulldogs a big lift with her first goal of the big time before a second was added.
Newton finished with 12 tackles, nine steals and two goals.
Cora scored a goal.
Cora Staunton continues to prove that age is number by kicking her 50th career AFLW goal.
The star Irish infielder, who scored 18 goals and just missed out on the league’s scoring award in his sixth season by a major, was once again the Giants.
The 40-year-old scored two memorable goals at key moments for GWS.
In the first quarter, Staunton used her experience and size as Isabella Grant – who at just 20 years old is Staunton’s half – gathered the ball and ran around the goal with her right foot.
Not content, Staunton outdid herself with a touchdown in the second quarter to keep the Giants within touching distance of the Bulldogs.
Staunton runs 40m from goal to the boundary line and runs into the ball in the forward pocket. She touched her body, judging the shot to perfection as it curled into the grass and went over for the goal of the day.
Tait Mackrill’s swinging arm narrowly missed the header of Bulldogs skipper Ellie Blackburn’s header after the MRO’s tackle.
Tensions were high at Icon Park in a spicy opening half, but tempers boiled over as the proceedings turned sour in moments of madness.
Blackburn’s rough touch on Mackerel got under the giant’s skin and Bulldog was sprawled on her back, Mackerel’s swinging arm narrowly missing Blackburn’s head.
The punch landed on Buckburn’s chest instead, potentially saving her from being suspended.
Minutes later, Mackrill took an unsuspecting Blackburn off the ball with a heavy hip and shoulder, resulting in a 50-metre penalty.
Pepe Randall is about to come under MRO control with a sling tackle in the opening quarter of a thrilling contest at Icon Park.
The match was characterized by intense fighting pressure early on from both teams, but overzealousness looks set to sideline the 26-year-old for a week.
The Dogs got off to a good start through All-Australian Kirsty Lamb and Richelle Cranston scored midway through the first quarter, and the Giants needed someone to make a statement.
Unfortunately for Randall, her encounter with Cranston was a textbook, two-act slingshot to the ground.
The forward of the dogs had her head down on the grass, but was able to get up and take the kick.
However, Randall looks set to miss the Giants’ clash with Brisbane next week due to a potential injury setback.
Bulldogs 1.0, 3.2, 5.4, 6.5 (41)
Giants 1.1, 2.1, 3.4, 5.4 (34)
The best of MOTTERSHEAD
Bulldogs: Newton, Blackburn, Brown, Lamb, Cranston, Pritchard.
Giants: Parker, Staunton, Mackrill, Stack, Dallaway.
Bulldogs: Newton 2, Moody 2, Lamb, Cranston.
Giants: Staunton 3, Doyle, Parker
Lions’ giant statement won over Frio
The AFLW has a full complement of 18 teams in its seventh season with four shiny new expansion clubs, but while many things have changed, they’ve stayed the same.
Brisbane has been an AFLW heavyweight since day one and the tried and tested star power against the Lions got the job done again at the Gabba on Sunday.
The Lions began their quest for a second flag with a 49-point win over Fremantle from ball magnets Emily Bates, Alexandra Anderson and Isabelle Dawes, while powerhouses Courtney Hodder, Jessie Wardlaw, Orla O’Dair and Greta Boday scored two goals each.
Brisbane’s enviable depth was on display with the understanding built on a large and established playing core.
Brisbane flexed their muscles in the second period with three unanswered goals to build a 19-point half-time cushion that came on the back of a 23-7 advantage inside 50 entries.
The Lions briefly broke free in the third period but senior coach Craig Starcevich urged Brisbane to “keep the temper” at the final change and they did just that, raising their highest AFLW total to date in the third.
Brisbane’s Lily Postlethwaite was playing her first AFLW match in 553 days since suffering an ACL injury. She missed out on the club’s Premiership bid in the 2021 and 2022 seasons.
But her comeback was short-lived when she left the field in the first quarter. She was helped by coaches from the field and went straight into the Brisbane classroom.
Postlethwaite – who made her return to the AFLW after leaving Maroochydore in the QAFLW – will go on to assess the severity of the injury.
The Dockers had their backs against the wall with an understrength lineup prone to injuries and off-season trips.
Fremantle lost Jessica Lowe (concussion) and Janelle Cuthbertson (broken nose) after ill-fated head-to-head collisions.
But the visitors didn’t throw in the towel after Brisbane kicked six-straight goals in the second round and the start of the third quarter.
The Dockers hit back hard with three unanswered goals to Megan Kaufman, Hayley Miller and Aine Tighe to take the replay. However, Brisbane soon reasserted their dominance in the competition to put the visitors to the sword.
Body, you beauty!
Normally, goal of the year contenders match Brisbane’s Courtney Hodder. But it was Lions teammate Greta Boday who put on the show. With the Dockers pressing hard late in the third period, Brisbane needed to arrest Freon’s momentum.
The settler was the surprise of Bodey, who kicked a lovely running banana kick from inside Brisbane’s forward pocket. With no angle to work near the boundary line, Bodey’s perfectly executed shot went into the stands where most of the 3,421 spectators had gathered.
Lions 1.1 4.3 8.7 11.10 (76)
Dockers 1.1 1.2 4.2 4.3 (27)
Lions: Wardlaw 2, O’Dwyer 2, Bodey 2, Hodder 2, C. Svarc, Smith, Conway.
Docker: Mulholland, Tighe, Kaufman, Miller
Lions: O’Dwyer, Bates, Anderson, Dawes, Boday, Wardlaw, Hodder
Dockers: Bowers, Miller, O’Driscoll, Runnels, Tighe
3: Orla Odier
2: Emily Bates
1: Isabelle Dawes