Tash Gunawardana interviewed former Adelaide United captain Marijana Rajcic who was selected at pick no.32 by the Adelaide Crows in the 2017 AFLW National Draft. Congratulations and good luck to Rajcic in her first season at the Crows this year.
Why did you swap codes from women’s soccer to women’s Australian Rules football?
It was something that came out of the blue really. I had not ever really thought about playing AFLW, until my best friend planted the seed in my head. The opportunity presented itself and I thought why not give it a crack. A new environment, new people and a new challenge.
Do you think there will be other players from the W League who might swap codes like you and play in the AFLW?
Yes for sure. We already have the likes of Bri Davey, Ellie Brush & of course Jenna McCormick who have made the switch to AFLW. But I know a number of girls who have made the switch and are currently playing SANFLW. But as AFLW continues to grow, I know girls will see what AFLW has to offer them and make the switch.
Tash Gunawardana recently interviewed Fremantle Dockers midfielder Dana Hooker ahead of the upcoming AFLW season.Hooker was the inaugural best and fairest winner for the Fremantle Dockers AFLW side in 2017.
When you were a kid, what other sports did you play other than footy?
I grew up playing a few different sports. I did athletics and played basketball and softball all the way into high school. In early high school I started playing football and then that became my sport of choice when I was about 16.
What did it feel like to be the first female best and fairest champion at the Fremantle Dockers?
Winning the inaugural fairest and best was certainly a great achievement that I am proud of. The night itself was something I will not ever forget but overall, to have been apart of this inaugural team at Freo and started building the foundations for the women’s side, that’s pretty special.
At half time in the NTFL match between the Tiwi Bombers and St Mary’s there was little to suggest the final outcome. Both teams were locked on 50 points apiece in an arm wrestle where Saints gained the upper hand in the first quarter before the Bombers bounced back with a strong second quarter.
But that was where the similarities ended. Fourteen goals to four after half time saw the Bombers capitalise on their strong work to finish the first half to blitz Saints and record a valuable 65 point win. The performance has seen the Bombers jump up to sixth on the ladder, just a game outside the top five with plenty of time to secure finals. They sit just half a game behind the shaky Saints and have a steadily improving percentage. With their next two matches being against teams below them on the ladder, the Bombers have a great chance of finishing the season strongly.
Saints, on the other hand, have to regroup quickly or risk the unthinkable – missing finals. They simply must win their next match against struggling Wanderers before playing the improving Waratah, Buffaloes and Nightcliff – a trio of matches that will define their season.
It was only four rounds ago when the Darwin Buffaloes were thumped by St Mary’s for a fifth loss in six matches, with an average of nine goals a game over that period – twice being kept to just two goals. Credit must now go to the coaching crew and players after the Buffaloes won their third straight since then, with each winning score being 120 points or better. That massive turnaround sees the Buffaloes now sitting in clear third place and a chance to consolidate a finals spot after the Christmas/New Year break.
Palmerston Magpies fought gamely, being just two goals adrift of the Buffaloes at half time. But, a strong 10 goal second half from Darwin saw them pull away at the end by a comfortable 44 points. Once again, the Buffaloes found multiple scoring avenues, which has been a hallmark of their resurgence. Ezekiel Frank kicked four goals for the Magpies.
Tash Gunawardana interviewed AFLW player Sally Riley who is the joint vice captain of the Adelaide Crows. Riley was part of the first AFLW premiership in 2017 and is now a one-time premiership player at the Adelaide Crows.
Which AFL player past and/or current do you model your game on? Sam Mitchell and his clean hands, decision making and disposal efficiency as he lacks leg speed similar to myself.
Who has influenced your footy and sporting career the most?
My parents have been my biggest influence on my sporting career and involvement in sporting teams. To this day they still encourage me to do what I love and to give everything 100%. Football wise Andrew Hodges has been a coach and mentor of mine for a few years now and he has taught me an unbelievable amount.
Located in the far north of Australia, the Pyramid Power club – 25 kilometres south of Cairns – is no stranger to doing things a little differently. They have to. The club sits in Rugby League terrain and has to be extremely adept at finding ways to recruit, develop and maintain people – both on and off the field. That battle isn’t unique to Pyramid Power, but their latest project to develop this area is – and may be a blueprint for other clubs seeking ways to engage with community.
Back in 2012, the club launched their Brother Clubs Project – which was simply an invitation to clubs world-wide to be “brothers” – nothing more or less – as a way of bringing teams and people closer together. The idea still exists – friends remain friends, brothers remain brothers. But a part of that concept has now been applied closer to their home. The Pyramid Power Community Program again sees the club reaching out a hand of friendship to others in a way not often seen.
To many, the draw between Palmerston Magpies and Waratah rates as an upset. Certainly, few would have expected that the bottom team would get up and share the points with the team that has recently impressed so many. However, that is at face value. Digging a little further, there is evidence that Palmerston was due for a win – and when you are the bottom team, a win against any team higher could be seen as an upset.
But, digging into the eight defeats this year for the ‘Pies, their average losing margin is just 39 points – which is low for a bottom team. Their biggest defeat of the season was last weekend by 65 points against Nightcliff. Also, most of their defeats can be traced back to one poor quarter (or a little more) where concentration dropped and the opposition got off the chain. It suggests that any time Palmerston can put together four solid quarters they are a capable unit.
Marc McGowan from the www.afl.com.au website looks at the success of Darwin-based club – St Mary’s – in producing some of the greatest AFL players of all time – and plenty of other useful footballers. World Footy News reports regularly on the Northern Territory Football League, and many people Australia-wide are becoming more familiar with the NT talent, as well as one of the country’s most successful football clubs.
Those five words are the catchcry of the bloodlines-rich St Mary's Football Club, home to the legendary Rioli and Long clans, in the Northern Territory.
A club formed in 1952 as somewhere for Darwin-based Tiwi Islanders to play – and initially rejected for having a team of mostly "full-blood" Aboriginals – has blossomed into one of Australia's most successful.
Yes, it might be a foolish, early call, but there is every sign that Waratah might just be the real deal to go deep into this season’s NTFL finals series. Their win on Friday night against the previously undefeated Southern Districts Crocs at TIO Stadium, when taken in isolation, was just a bloody good performance. However, when looked at over a longer five-match performance there are some even better signs.
Round Five saw Waratah pull of an “upset” win against Nightcliff. But, looking back now, it may not have been so much an upset as a pointer to what would come. Two inconsistent performances against the Buffaloes and Bombers have been followed by a total dismantling of fellow finals aspirant, Wanderers, and now they have outlasted Crocs in a tight match – proof also that they can handle pressure when on their game. Should they continue in this vein of form, Waratah will play finals and will worry other teams. Crocs will be one of them, kept to their lowest score of the season by a miserly Waratah defence. Star Croc, Will Farrer, was kept to just two goals while Kim Kantilla kicked another five for Waratah.
The following media release from the AFLNT details the selection of five Northern Territory footballers about to embark on a trip to Fiji as part of the Rio Tinto AFL Flying Boomerangs squad. Each was selected at the end of the AFL National Diversity & Kickstart Championships back in April where the best indigenous and multicultural footballers from across Australia in the Under 15 age group played each other in a state versus state competition. The best players gained national selection in the Flying Boomerangs (indigenous) and All Nations (multicultural) squads.
Five Territorians will join the Rio Tinto AFL Flying Boomerangs Leadership Program, which begins tomorrow, Saturday December 2, in Fiji.
Clarence Baird (Palmerston Football Club), Joel Jeffrey (Wanderers Football Club), Brodie Lake (Southern Districts Football Club), Tyrell Lui (Wanderers Football Club) and Reggie Gallagher (CAFL) were all selected on the back of their performances at the 2017 AFL National Diversity Championships held in Blacktown earlier this year.