Machaelia Roberts

Thunder ready to rumble Blues at home

04.07.19 18:29

After a wet and wild game in Melbourne last weekend, Thunder has 12 changes to the team which will line up against Carlton at home for Round 9 of the VFLW.

The inclusion of AFLW listed players Stevie-Lee Thompson, Danielle Ponter, Hannah Martin, Jasmyn Hewett and Anne Hatchard is hoped to provide the team with the depth of experience needed to come home with a win in the last game Thunder will play at TIO Stadium for the season.

Jaylah Williams, Darwin Buffaloes NTFL Premier League player, will make her NT Thunder debut and look to strengthen the backline along with her fellow Big Rivers prospect, Billie Byers who will play her fourth game for Thunder this year after she was a late inclusion for Sharona Bishop who was unwell last week.

Kylie Duggan and Jordann Hickey return to the team, both players are crucial cogs in the team and were missed in last weekend’s game against Williamstown.

Livewire, small forward Machaelia Roberts had recovered from a rib injury sustained in Round 6 that has seen her watching from the sideline but is back to shake up the forward line this week.

Playing her first game for Thunder this year is former AFLW Crow and Wanderers NTFL player Sophie Armitstead, coming into the side with her ‘hard nut’ reputation and big tackling pressure.

Of a similar nature to Armistead is Rhiannon Busch, an addition to the NT Thunder list out of Adelaide. She’s a premiership winner with Palmerston in the NTFL and League best and fairest winner. So far, this season Busch has been playing in the South Australian Women’s Football League for Christies Beach and this week brings her experience to the Thunder side for the first time.

Katie Streader and Jade de Melo were two of the four injuries suffered in the loss to Williamstown last Saturday who haven’t gotten up in time to play.

Charlie Deegan and Tayla Thorn could be in better luck but will wait to Saturday to be cleared from their concussions. If one of them fails to take the field then Alice Springs-based Caitlin Couch, who has played in the Western Australia Football League and been training with the Pinktails after joining Wests the past two seasons, will come in as the emergency and for her first game.

Her fellow Centralian, Michelle Ellis will miss this week with a minor ankle injury, yet looks likely to be back for next weekend.

Three of Thunder’s most promising up and comers; Shantel Miskin-Ripia, Mattea Breed and Alysha Healy are all unavailable this Saturday as they travel to the Gold Coast as key players in the Central Allies team playing in the 2019 NAB AFLW Under 18 Championships beginning on Monday.

Unavailability sees Kristy Irvine, Eloise Jones, Kat Simmons, Nikki Gore, Angela Foley and Deni Varnhagen as the last five changes to the team.

This is the second time NT Thunder will play Carlton this season but with only 10 of the same players taking to the field this weekend.

The teams last met in Round 5 at La Trobe University, where the NT secured its third win of the season beating Carlton by seven points.

ThunderW Head Coach Heidi Thompson said following last week’s unique game conditions, and after coming away with significant injuries, this week was all about getting the basics right.

“We need to ensure our fundamental skills are up to scratch and take the learnings from last week’s game on board.

“It was a unique game with difficult weather conditions, a change to the oval size and playing against a physical opposition, but we need to overcome that and play with more composure and discipline.

“It’s the last doubleheader for the season which boosts the anticipation and excitement with both Thunder team’s adrenaline running through TIO Stadium all week.

“With the inclusion of a few fresh faces in the team combined with the girls training hard this week, we are looking forward to a competitive game with a positive result,” Thompson said.

VFLW Round 9

NT Thunder vs Carlton
3:30pm ACST, Saturday 6 July
TIO Stadium, Darwin

B: Billie Byers, Tayla Thorn, Sharona Bishop
HB: Charlie Deegan, Lateesha Jeffrey (c), Gemma Cusack
C: Lisa Roberts, Anne Hatchard, Kylie Duggan
HF: Amy Chittick, Stevie-Lee Thompson, Tahlia Holtze
FF: Machaelia Roberts, Dannielle Ponter, Jordann Hickey
FOLL: Jasmyn Hewett, Hannah Martin, Janet Bird
INT: Morgan Johnston, Rebecca Pryer, Sophie Armitstead, Rhiannon Busch, Jaylah Williams*

EMERGENCY: Caitlin Couch

IN: Sophie Armitstead, Rhiannon Busch, Billie Byers, Kylie Duggan, Anne Hatchard, Jordann Hickey, Jasmyn Hewett, Hannah Martin, Danielle Ponter, Machaelia Roberts, Stevie-Lee Thompson, Jaylah Williams*

OUT: Mattea Breed (Central Allies duties), Jade de Melo (concussion), Michelle Ellis (ankle), Angela Foley (unavailable), Nikki Gore (unavailable), Alysha Healy (Central Allies duties), Kristy Irvine (unavailable), Eloise Jones (unavailable), Shantel Miskin-Ripia (Central Allies duties), Kat Simmons (unavailable), Katie Streader (concussion), Deni Varnhagen (unavailable)

NEW: Rhiannon Busch, Jaylah Williams

*Indicates 23rd player

This game is part of the last NT Thunder VFLW/NEAFL doubleheader for 2019. The NEAFL game vs Sydney Swans begins at 6:30pm after the VFLW, gates open at 2:30pm.