By Ryan Long
For (Rank): 488 (1st)
Against (Rank): 101 (1st)
Leading Goalkicker: Shelly Beggs (14)
Best and Fairest Leader: Ashleigh Allsopp
First official season in the EFNL and the Eastern Devils couldn’t have made any bigger statement. The girls have won their first six games of the season, with no side getting within five goals of them. They’ve been challenged at times throughout each win which speaks to the maturity of the team to get the game back on their terms and kick away late in games.
What may be the most impressive thing for coach Jason Cridland is that they haven’t had to rely on one or two players. Five players have all been in the best three times this season while 18 players have been in the best at least once.
Their forward line has been extremely versatile with Beggs, Allsopp and Hunt all combining for 36 goals.
Their major recruits have all performed well in the opening rounds of the season, Ashleigh Allsopp who has come across from Chirnside Park can be used up forward or on the ball to give them a bit of run while Tayla O’Hagan has been a key cog in the backline, dominating in one-on-one marking contests.
The Eastern Devils have set the benchmark and will be looking forward to seeing if they can continue this form throughout the remainder of the season.
For (Rank): 314 (3rd)
Against (Rank): 227 (3rd)
Leading Goalkicker: Isobel Urquhart (11)
Best and Fairest Leader: Matilda Kelly
A 3-4 start to the season may not resemble how well the club has done in their opening seven weeks in the Premier Division. Three of the side’s four losses have been by 13 points or less, including a one-point loss to South Croydon at Cheong Park.
Isobel Urquhart has been the most dangerous in front of goal, with 11 majors from seven games. However, Kelly, McConchie and Ploegsma have all proven to be valuable in front of goals.
A big match up next week against Vermont will be key for Mt Evelyn’s season, apart from a scoreless first quarter last time they played, it was a tight contest.
If there’s one side that might be slipping under the radar right now, it may be Mount Evelyn. Reverse the result of one or two or their losses and they’ll be every chance of winning a final or two.
For (Rank): 259 (5th)
Against (Rank): 422 (5th)
Leading Goalkicker: Claire Bould
Best and Fairest Leader: Georgia Grimmer
The Wolves made the transition from Division One to Premier Division this season, challenging themselves against the best in the league. The club has one of the best junior women’s programs with a lot of girls from the under 18’s coming up to the senior side this year along with their off-season recruits.
Despite sitting fifth in the division, the Wolves have shown they can match it with the other four premier division clubs, defeating the highly-rated South Croydon side by eight points and falling short to Vermont early in the season by just four points.
The Southam sisters, Maddison and Ruby, have both had a major impact since coming to the club from The Basin while Grimmer and Shepherd have both had great starts to the year.
Sitting just one game and percentage out of the top four, there’s still every chance that the girls can play finals at the end of the year.
For (Rank): 346 (2nd)
Against (Rank): 188 (2nd)
Leading Goalkicker: Taylah Black (17)
Best and Fairest Leader: Grace Tobin
Simon Hammersley’s group are in good shape going into the mid-season break, sitting in third place, still with an extra game to be played.
Their only two losses for the year have come against Vermont and the SBL Wolves, both by single-digit margins. It should give the Dogs some confidence when they face off against both sides in the second half of the season.
South Croydon is the second-ranked attacking and defensive side in the division, behind the Eastern Devils. Taylah Black and Tanikka Martin have combined for 28 goals so far, leading the way.
The side played just their first game on their home ground last week when they played Mount Evelyn. They’ll be looking forward to more games of their home deck in the second half of the year, giving them a bit more of an edge.
Their big challenge will be when they match up against the Eastern Devils for the first time and their Round 10 clash with Vermont at Cheong Park.
For (Rank): 267 (4th)
Against (Rank): 284 (4th)
Leading Goalkicker: Danni Shepherd, Rebecca Munyard and Sarah Gartland (6)
Best and Fairest Leader: Danni Shepherd
The Vermont Football Club and success have gone hand in hand over decades of footy in the EFNL and their senior women’s side is tracking in a very similar direction.
The girls have flown out of the blocks this year, winning five of their first seven games of the year. The club put an emphasis on their fitness and ball movement over the off-season which has so far, worked well.
Skipper Maddie Johns missed the opening two games of the year but has been in great form since returning. Danni Shepherd’s first season on the senior side has been a massive success, finishing in the best five of her six matches including a best-on-field performance.
Their only two losses have come to the undefeated Eastern Devils. Despite the heavy margins of 68 points and 41 points, the Eagles were much more competitive in those matches than the scoreboard suggests.
They’ll be looking forward to getting another chance at testing themselves against the Devils later this season before potentially going head-to-head in a final.
Premier B Women’s
For (Rank): 189 (4th)
Against (Rank): 325 (4th)
Leading Goalkicker: Rachael Slater (7)
Best and Fairest Leader: Stephanie Phillips
Boronia kickstarted their season campaign in the best way possible in an eight-point win over The Basin. Since then, they’ve tested the Pioneers, Magpies and Mt. Evelyn in their first crossover game.
Offensively they haven’t been able to quite match the top sides in the division. However defensively they’ve held up extremely well, not giving away any more than eight goals in a single match, including the loss to Mt. Evelyn.
Steph Phillips has been one of the stars of the side, finishing in the best five out of six games while Meaghan McKernan has taken her game to a new level. They’ll be looking for more help for Rachael Slater who’s been their most dangerous player in front of goal. Maybe the missing piece of the puzzle along with keeping everyone fit and healthy.
A win over Ferntree Gully next week would almost just about secure the Hawks a spot in the top four and give them a chance at playing some finals footy which would be a great success for the club and it’s women’s program that’s come a long way over the last few years.
For (Rank): 362 (1st)
Against (Rank): 319 (2nd)
Leading Goalkicker: Jasmine D’Amato (16)
Best and Fairest Leader: Jasmine D’Amato
The fast-attacking outfit of Donvale has had a solid start to the year, flexing their experience and proving that they’ll be contenders come finals time. The Magpies have evened things up at the top of the Premier B ladder by defeating Whitehorse for the second time this season.
Although they’re currently sitting third on the ladder due to percentage, Donvale is the number one attacking side, averaging 52 points per game. This comes off the back of having two great goalkickers in Jasmine D’Amato and Monica Latino who have combined for 30 goals in the first seven games. That forward line firepower was showcased in their 140-point win over Ferntree Gully where D’Amato and Latino kicked five each while Bertuna, Fraser, van Oosterwijck and Di Staso all had multiple goals.
The current group has a lot of experience on the list now, Jess Crundall, Mel Hamilton and Taylah DiStaso all had their 50-game milestone in their last win over Whitehorse.
They’ve had two big losses in their crossover games, there will be motivation for some improvement there when they take on Vermont in the last round of the Home and Away season.
Otherwise, 2022 is proving to be a massive premiership chance for the Magpies.
For (Rank): 162 (5th)
Against (Rank): 629 (5th)
Leading Goalkicker: Abbey Broughan (6)
Best and Fairest Leader: Georgie Pruden
After just losing the one game last season, it’s been a tough start to the year for the Gully who are still yet to win a game. While struggling in losses against the likes of Donvale and The Basin, the side was almost able to pinch a win against Boronia at home earlier this year.
Facing several injuries and players out due to illness, the effort has been there every week from the side despite not getting the desired final result.
There are a few contenders who could be leading the club’s best and fairest count as of right now, their top-end talent is still just as strong as any of the other Premier B clubs. Georgie Pruden’s start to the year has been close to perfect. Pruden has found plenty of ball in the midfield, especially with Amy McCormack giving her first use of the ball through the ruck.
With seven games remaining, the club will only play one more crossover game later in the year against the SBL Wolves which means they will have quite a few chances to steal some wins before the end of the year.
For (Rank): 341 (2nd)
Against (Rank): 267 (2nd)
Leading Goalkicker: Julia Baker (18)
Best and Fairest Leader: Zoe Alston
Despite losing some of their most talented players from past seasons over the off-season, The Basin has had a successful start to the year, sitting on top of the ladder ahead of Whitehorse and Donvale by percentage.
The Bears have improved as the season has gone by, winning three of their last four games including a 74-point thumping of the Eagles.
The Division One 2021 league best and fairest winner, Julia Baker, has continued her dominant form in 2022, being listed in the best five times out of her first seven games. Baker has kicked 18 goals for the season, having a major impact on the scoreboard while playing mainly through the midfield. The Bears’ biggest recruit, Zoe Alston, has also had a major impact coming across from Chirnside Park. Alston has finished in the best five out of her first seven games with the new club, standing out in the midfield.
Meanwhile last year’s club best and fairest winner, Brooke Priest has also had another strong start to the year, creating plenty of run alongside the likes of Monika Vantilburg and Caitlin Grimmett on the wing.
Everything is tracking well for the Bears who will be a very dangerous side to face come finals time.
For (Rank): 265 (3rd)
Against (Rank): 231 (1st)
Leading Goalkicker: Isabella Gietzmann and Morgan Khan (9)
Best and Fairest Leader: Briana Holland
Like the Bears and Magpies, the Pioneers are going into the mid-season break with a record of 4-3, sitting second on the ladder by percentage.
The club have made some improvements on the field from their 2021 unfinished season, even able to knock off a side they lost to twice last year in The Basin, beating them in a comfortable 26-point win.
While they may not have as potent of a forward line as others in Premier B, Whitehorse’s backline has held its own all year. The Pioneers are the number one ranked defence, led by Georgia Fischer and Margaret Kershaw. Defence does win premierships, but if they can find an extra goalkicker up forward to ease the pressure off the likes of Gietzmann and Khan, they’ll be a very hard side to beat.
The Pioneers are still yet to defeat Donvale, losing to the Magpies twice in their opening seven games. They face off one more time during the home and away season in Round 13, it’ll be one box on the checklist they’ll be looking to tick off before finals.