HAWTHORN 4.7 (31)
ESSENDON 4.7 (31)

WE ARE no closer to knowing who the team to beat is for the rebel VFLW premiership after Hawthorn charged home in the last 10 minutes to pinch a pulsating draw with Essendon in their top-of-the-table showdown at Box Hill City Oval on Sunday.

The competition heavyweights entered the showdown with just one defeat between them for the season – Hawthorn’s loss to Geelong at Geelong way back in Round 2 – and they produced a fierce battle befitting their standing, with only one goal each coming in the first half.

The Bombers lifted in the third quarter with 2.3 to 0.0 as Mia-Rae Clifford and 50th gamer Courtney Ugle took the upper hand, and they looked like winners when Danielle Marshall stretched the margin to 20 points 3½ minutes into the last term.

But the Hawks slowly turned things around with a couple of behinds and Nadia von Bertouch gave them a fighting chance with only her team’s second goal with just 7½ minutes to play.

It was still a long shot, but the Hawks refused to be denied and Emma Humphries and Jessie Williams goalled within the last four minutes to grab a share of the points.

As well as the scoreboard, the Hawks and Bombers finished locked together in disposals 241-241 and marks 47-47, but Hawthorn will feel it should have done better with its 42-28 inside-50 advantage.

Georgia Nanscawen shook off some close attention in the first half to again finish as the equal leading possession winner with 29 to go with five marks, five rebound-50s and six tackles, Amelia Radford (24) and Joanne Doonan (18, five clearances, five inside-50s, seven tackles) were crucial early as the Essendon co-captain took time to break free, and Bella Ayre (19, five marks, six rebounds) was a key reason why the Hawks couldn’t score despite the extra entries.

Hawthorn midfielder Isabelle Porter produced her best performance in the biggest game of the season so far, putting together 29 disposals, nine marks, six inside-50s and six tackles to top her previous best of 17 against Port Melbourne last week,

She found support from Abbey Holmes, who had 23, six clearances, seven inside-50s and a goal playing up the ground, while Ainslie Kemp (19, six marks, seven rebounds) was terrific in keeping the pressure on star Bomber goalkicker Federica Frew (0.4), Tamara Luke clunked five marks and Nic Garner stuck eight tackles.

Essendon's Joanne Doonan is tackled by Hawthorn's Tahlia Meier. Picture: Darrian Traynor/AFL Photos


COLLINGWOOD needed an inspirational smother from Hannah Bowey as Monique Demattio kicked the winning goal for the second straight week to help the Magpies escape with a 10-point win over an improving Western Bulldogs at AIA Centre.

The winless Bulldogs threw everything at the Magpies and even led by 11 points midway through the third quarter as the possibility of a finals-shaping upset-of-the-season materialised through the constant Saturday morning rain.

Debutant Keeley Skepper pulled one back for Collingwood before three quarter-time and Aliesha Newman gave the home team the lead eight minutes into the last term, with both teams desperately trying to find a matchwinner as the ball flew from end to end.

But just as the Bulldogs launched one more flurry from the last line of defence, Bowey threw herself across the boot of Eliza Morrison and the ball ricocheted to Demi Hallett, whose handball under pressure found Demattio for the match-sealing snap to consolidate sixth spot, a game clear of North Melbourne and Darebin.

Matilda Zander was the Magpies’ best with 19 disposals and six inside-50s, while Ebony O’Dea (18, five rebounds) did well in defence, Hallett laid nine tackles and Dematteo finished with two crucial goals.

But the stars of the game ended up on the losing team, with Eliza Vale (21 disposals, seven marks), Lucy Schneider (26, four clearances, four inside-50s), Britney Gutknecht (22, four marks, eight tackles) and Amanda Ling (17, 11 tackles) all prominent, while Jemma Webster (nine tackles, one goal) and Mikayla Barnes (eight tackles) gave their all.

Essendon's Marianna Anthony chases the ball. Picture: Darrian Traynor/AFL Photos


NORTH Melbourne moved into seventh spot and stayed on the tail of Collingwood after finishing on the right side of a seesawing two-point thriller against Williamstown at Williamstown on Saturday.

The Kangaroos looked in control with 2.4 on the board before the Seagulls scored, but the home team kicked five of the next six goals to grab a nine-point lead at half-time.

North added 3.3 to 0.1 in the third quarter before Williamstown came again, grabbing the lead a second time when Ruby Tripodi kicked her second goal seven minutes into the final term, but the Kangaroos found an answer with their season on the line, and Sarah Skinner’s second at the 12-minute mark proved to be the matchwinner.

Elizabeth McGrath was the difference with a dominant ruck performance for the Kangaroos yielding 18 disposals, four marks, 29 hitouts and nine clearances, providing first use to 50th-gamer Annabel Scott (18 possessions, 10 clearances, five tackles) and Tess Craven (17, five inside-50s, one goal), while Brittany Gibson (16, six marks, three goals) was outstanding in the forward line and Molly Eastman (13, five marks) was solid in defence in her own game No.50.

Sharnie Whiting produced another outstanding game across half-back for Williamstown with 22 touches and seven rebounds, with Jasmine Kawa (17, seven marks, five tackles, one goal) and Tripodi (16, five tackles, two goals) providing strong support.

Essendon's Tamsin Crook gets a kick away under pressure from Hawthorn's Izzy Khoury. Picture: Darrian Traynor/AFL Photos

CARLTON 3.5 (23)

SOUTHERN Saints avenged their early season upset loss to Carlton by cruising to a comfortable 31-point victory at Wilson Storage Trevor Barker Beach Oval on Sunday.

The Saints kicked themselves out of the game against the Blues in Round 2 but made sure there would be no repeat with three goals to none in the first quarter before Tayla Kearns’ second pushed the lead out to 24 points midway through the second.

The Saints held Carlton at arm’s length for the rest of the day to move to 7-3-1 to celebrate the 50th games of Georgia McLean and Ebony Nixon, led by their regular stars in Hannah Stuart (24 disposals, five clearances), Alana Woodward (21, five marks, nine clearances, nine tackles) and Grace Buchan (18), while Kearns’ two goals were matched by Kayla Ripari and Chanelle Slater.

Millie Klingbeil (16, five inside-50s), Madi Di Cosmo (16, four marks) and Brooke Plummer (15, four marks), Lily Goss (seven clearances, 10 tackles) and Jorja Borg (25 hitouts) battled hard for the Blues.

Hawthorn's Jenna Richardson and Essendon's Georgia Nanscawen compete for the ball. Picture: Darrian Traynor/AFL Photos

DAREBIN 1.2 (8)
GEELONG 9.6 (60)

GWV Rebels star Paige Scott kicked five goals as Geelong sent Darebin spiralling to a fifth successive defeat and all-but out of finals contention, thrashing the Falcons by 52 points at Preston’s Genis Steel Oval on Saturday.

The Cats sucker-punched the home team with three goals inside the first five minutes and Darebin in fact failed to score apart from a five-minute period just before half-time that was quickly answered with Scott’s third major.

The Falcons’ defence worked overtime and only conceded 1.5 between 4:23 of Q1 and 18:20 of Q3, but the second knockout blow came quickly with four goals in nine minutes either side of the last break.

Playing just her second rebel VFLW game, Scott, 17, had Darebin searching for ideas as she kicked 5.0 from 13 disposals, feasting on the work upfield of Adelaide AFLW premiership player Chloe Scheer (27 disposals, five marks, nine clearances, 12 inside-50s), who stepped seamlessly into rested star Laura Gardiner’s shoes, while Carly Remmos (24, six clearances, five inside-50s, 14 tackles, one goal) and Paige Sheppard (23, five marks, seven clearances, eight inside-50s, seven tackles) were also everywhere and Mia Skinner (two goals) and Breanna Beckley (eight tackles) were also important.

Nicole Callinan again led the way for Darebin with 18 touches, seven clearances and five tackles, with Gena Lawson-Tavan having 16 at centre half-back and Sally Lynch (14, 30 hitouts) winning the ruck battle against a still good Rene Caris (21 hitouts).

113:03 Mins
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VFLW Match Replay: Darebin v Geelong

The Falcons and Cats clash in round 12 of the VFLW Competition

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Essendon's Alex Morcom and Hawthorn's Jessie Williams chase the loose ball. Picture: Darrian Traynor/AFL Photos

CASEY DEMONS 9.12 (66)

CASEY Demons reminded Essendon and Hawthorn that it can’t be forgotten in the premiership race with a powerful 56-point win over Port Melbourne at ETU Stadium on Saturday.

The Demons locked the points away with a convincing 5.7 to 0.0 first half and continued in the second as the Borough was held to just one goal for the day.

Sammie Johnson produced a captain’s knock for Casey with 24 disposals, five marks and six tackles, while Eloise O’Connor (20, four marks), Maeve Chaplin (19, four marks) and Mel Hogg (19, four clearances) backed her up well, boom youngster Amber Clarke had 15, six inside-50s and a goal on debut and Monica Harasimiuk and Zoe Mitchell kicked two goals each.

Olivia Barton was a big reason Port didn’t lose by more, picking up 24 touches and having 12 rebounds in defence, with best-and-fairest Claire Dyett (23, four marks) also performing well and Courteney Bromage (nine) and Kaitlyn O’Keefe (eight) tackling themselves to a standstill.


Hawthorn's Nicole Garner tackles Essendon 50th gamer Courtney Ugle. Picture: Darrian Traynor/AFL Photos


Hawthorn ruck Sarah Perrott goes for a gallop. Picture: Darrian Traynor/AFL Photos


ROUND 13: Saturday, May 21: Southern Saints v Essendon (Wilson Storage Trevor Barker Beach Oval, 10.15am); Hawthorn v Darebin (Box Hill City Oval, 11am); Carlton v Casey Demons (Ikon Park, 11am); North Melbourne v Western Bulldogs (Aegis Park, 2.30pm); Port Melbourne v Collingwood (ETU Stadium, 3.35pm). Sunday, May 22: Williamstown v Geelong (Williamstown, 11am).

NEXT WEEK: ROUND 14: Saturday, May 28: Hawthorn v Williamstown (Box Hill City Oval, 11am); Essendon v Casey Demons (Windy Hill, 11.05am); Carlton v Western Bulldogs (Ikon Park, 1.30pm); Collingwood v Geelong (AIA Centre, 2pm); Port Melbourne v Darebin (ETU Stadium, 4.05pm). Sunday, May 29: Southern Saints v North Melbourne (Wilson Storage Trevor Barker Beach Oval, 9.45am).

THEN: June 4-5: Pre-finals bye

Twitter: @BRhodesVFL

Essendon's Nicole Julian handballs against the Hawks. Picture: Darrian Traynor/AFL Photos

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