HAWTHORN 6.3 (39)

SOUTHERN Saints powered into the rebel VFLW preliminary final and sent Hawthorn spiralling out in straight sets with a convincing 16-point win in the first semi-final at Box Hill City Oval on Sunday.

The Hawks rested their AFLW-listed stars for the VFLW finals and paid the ultimate price as the Saints took over in the second quarter with three goals to one.

Trailing by 14 points at half-time, Hawthorn came out with renewed vigour in the third term, putting on three goals in the first 6½ minutes to take the lead, including a remarkable bomb from defender Katelyn Cox from the centre square that cleared the forwards and bounced through.

But Sky Wilson’s go-ahead goal in the seventh minute was the home team’s last for the game as Southern quickly regained the initiative through Gabriella De Angelis, Hannah Stuart and Tayla Kearns before shutting things down in a goalless last quarter.

The Saints’ control of the game was shown in their 254-193 disposal and 49-35 mark advantages, but there was little between the teams in hitouts (33-29 Saints), clearances (28-25 Hawks), inside-50s (29-27 Saints) and tackles (59-58 Hawks).

Southern Saint Kayla Ripari leaves a host of players in her wake as she kicks one of her two goals. Picture: Daniel Pockett/AFL Photos

Stuart (29 disposals, seven marks, eight tackles, one goal) and Kearns (three goals) were the difference for the visitors, who were also well served by Deanna Jolliffe (22, eight marks, eight rebound-50s), Winnie Laing (20, four tackles), Rebecca Neaves (18, six rebounds), De Angelis (17, one goal) and Kayla Ripari (two goals).

Grace McRae was best for the Hawks with 19 disposals, eight clearances and five tackles, with Kristy Stratton (18, one goal), Ellie McLinden (17, five inside-50s), Cox (15, nine tackles, one goal) and Nic Garner (16, five tackles) also performing well.

But they were always behind the eight-ball with none of their AFLW elevations – captain Tamara Luke, Jenna Richardson, Ainslie Kemp, Isabelle Porter, Dom Carbone, Tegan Cunningham, Bridget Deed, Eliza Shannon and Zoe Barbakos playing in the first semi-final, while others including Emma Humphries (West Coast) and Aimee Whelan (Sydney) were not sighted after signing with other AFLW clubs.

By contrast, the Saints’ AFLW players only made cameo appearances throughout the season, and none more than Lucy Burke’s six games, meaning they have been able to field a more settled team.

112:39 Mins
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VFLW Match Replay: Hawthorn v Southern Saints

The Hawks and Saints clash in semi-final of the VFLW Competition

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Hawthorn star Kristy Stratton kicks a goal. Picture: Daniel Pockett/AFL Photos
Saint Pia Staltari tries to give a don't argue to Hawk Mietta Kendall. Picture: Daniel Pockett/AFL Photos


ESSENDON 11.10 (76)

THE Essendon juggernaut is looking more unstoppable by the week as it blasted its way into its maiden rebel VFLW Grand Final with a 67-point hammering of Casey Demons at Windy Hill on Sunday.

Like the Hawks, the Demons have put several key players into preparations for August’s AFLW season start and after hanging on until early into the second quarter were simply blown off the park, just two games after missing a golden opportunity to roll the Bombers on the same ground in Round 14.

With a near full-strength team available as it prioritised completing a four-year mission ahead of its AFLW debut, Essendon piled on six goals in 14 minutes to have the game safely in its keeping by half-time and conceded just one major for the second final in a row – a nice snap from Demon Alison Dowler 10 minutes into the last quarter.

Those six goals alone represented the Bombers’ highest score against Casey as they won their fourth game in a row over the Demons, holding them to the equal lowest score in their history.

Essendon won disposals 272-185, marks 66-25 and inside-50s 42-24, springboarding off half-back after losing hitouts 29-27 and clearances 25-22, led once again by reigning Lambert-Pearce medallist and co-captain Georgia Nanscawen, who ran riot with 25 disposals, seven marks, five clearances, five rebounds, seven tackles and a rare goal.

Amelia Radford continued her remarkable debut season with 22 possessions, five clearances and goal, while Alana Barba (21, five tackles), Mia-Rae Clifford (18, six marks, five tackles, one goal), Jordan Zanchetta (19, five marks), Courtney Ugle (18, five clearances), Joanne Doonan (three goals) and Eloise Ashley-Cooper (seven marks) also proved too hard to keep a leash on.

The Demons, who will have a chance to bounce back and earn another shot at the Bombers when they face the Saints in the preliminary final late on Sunday afternoon, were best served by defender Rebecca Grant (17 disposals, five marks, six rebounds) and their two AFLW players in Maeve Chaplin (15, five clearances, six tackles) and Alison Brown (15, four tackles), while Mel Hogg laid eight tackles and Shree Fairchild seven.

118:37 Mins
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VFLW Match Replay: Essendon v Casey

The Bombers and Demons clash in the semi-final of the VFLW Competition

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Saint Ilena Gentile handballs as Hawk Sky Wilson closes in. Picture: Daniel Pockett/AFL Photos
Hawthorn's Katelyn Cox floats in to take a strong mark in front of teammate Nic Garner and Saint Olivia Robinson. Picture: Daniel Pockett/AFL Photos


Sunday, June 26: Preliminary Final: Casey Demons v Southern Saints (ETU Stadium, 4.05pm).

NEXT WEEK: Sunday, July 3: Grand Final: Essendon v Winner Prelim (ETU Stadium, 12.15pm).

Twitter: @BRhodesVFL

Saint Chanelle Slater spoils Hawthorn's Nadia von Bertouch. Picture: Daniel Pockett/AFL Photos
Southern's Nicole Cormack kicks clear of Hawk Sarah Humm. Picture: Daniel Pockett/AFL Photos

In a first for VFLW, all finals matches in 2022 are being live streamed free via and the AFL Live Official App and can also be viewed at Matches are also being broadcast on

To access live scores, results, ladder, stats and to link to live streams/replays, download the VFL/W Official App from the Apple or Google Play stores.