Finals within a whisker

01.08.19 18:20

The Thunder women are hitting the road again this week, travelling to Victoria to take on Geelong at GMHBA Stadium on Sunday afternoon for Round 13 in the VLFW.

Last time the two teams met was in the 2018 finals series, where the Cats narrowly beat Thunder in the semi-final by nine points. Thunder need a victory on the road to keep its 2019 finals hopes alive.

Rachael Killian, a hard-working forward who played in the Adelaide Crows 2017 AFLW Grand Final victory, will debut for Thunder this week after being a consistent performer at the Adelaide-based training sessions. Killian will be joined by 2017 premiership teammate, Ebony Marinoff. Marinoff, and her powerful left-foot kick, will start in the midfield for Thunder in her first game for the side this season.

The ever-dynamic duo of Kristy Irvine and Tayla Thorn are both important inclusions this week and team up with youngster Shantel Miskin-Ripia to form a strong backline for Thunder.

Following last week’s standout performance, Tayla Hart-Aluni will start forward in the hope for a repeat two-goal show and will be helped by the presence of Machaelia Roberts and Celina Whan who come back into the side after being late outs for Round 12.

Lateesha Jeffrey will be rested this week after not missing a game this season to date, the leadership duties being passed to Lisa Roberts who will captain this week’s team.

Alysha Healy is the final change as she is back to play her fourth game for Thunder, while Kylie Duggan is out due to unavailability, Maddie Gault will miss this round due to an illness and Caitlin Couch is nursing a hip injury.

Claudia Fabris and Eliza Morrison have been rested and Jaylah Williams omitted for Round 13, however, all three have been listed as the emergencies.

ThunderW coach Heidi Thompson said it was great to have the likes of Thorn, Irvine, Machaelia Roberts and Miller all in the team, especially since this game is the turning point for the team’s season.

“This game will be the culmination of all the hard work put in throughout the season and its crucial we are competitive and give ourselves every opportunity to win.

“The Cats are a similar team and are in a similar position to us in that they also have lots of young talent, low ALFW player numbers and have had a pretty inconsistent season, which will make for a quality game.

“Leading into a bye round next week, and with those four points for the taking, there will be no excuse for leaving any fuel in the tank come the end of the fourth quarter,” Thompson said.

VFLW Round 13

NT Thunder vs Geelong Cats
1:00pm AEST, Sunday 4 August
GMHBA Stadium, Geelong

B: Shantel Miskin-Ripia, Tayla Thorn, Kristy Irvine
HB: Charlie Deegan, Lisa Roberts (c), Ebony Miller
C: Janet Baird, Ebony Marinoff, Katie Streader
HF: Sally Riley, Tayla Hart-Aluni*, Michelle Ellis
FF: Machaelia Roberts, Celina Whan, Amy Chittick
FOLL: Mattea Breed, Sophie Armitstead, Rhiannon Busch
INT: Kat Simmons, Morgan Johnston, Rachael Killian, Billie Byers, Alysha Healy

EMG: Claudia Fabris, Jaylah Williams, Eliza Morrison

IN: Alysha Healy, Kristy Irvine, Rachael Killian, Ebony Marinoff, Machaelia Roberts, Tayla Thorn, Celina Whan

OUT: Caitlin Couch (hip), Kylie Duggan (unavailable), Claudia Fabris (rested), Madeline Gault (unwell), Lateesha Jeffrey (rested), Eliza Morrison (rested), Jaylah Williams (omitted)

New: Rachael Killian

*Indicates 23rd player