Alice Springs based players

Thunder’s day of reckoning in the Red Centre

18.07.19 18:58

Five NT Thunder women will play on home soil this weekend as the team travel to TIO Traeger Park to take on the Casey Demons in Round 11 of the VFLW on Saturday evening.

Alice Springs-based players Caitlin Couch, Michelle Ellis, Jordann Hickey and Ebony Miller, who have become regular features for Thunder this season, will be joined by Shoneeka Abbott in what will be ThunderW’s last home game this year.

Abbott, fresh from the AFLW Under 18s Championships will make her debut, aptly in her home town and will be joined by AFLW U18 Championships Central Allies teammate and fellow NT Thunder debutant, Tayla Hart-Aluni.

Abbott received the MVP Award for the Northern Territory after Round 1 of the AFLW Under 18 Championships, while Hart-Aluni was a standout for the Central Allies during the Round 2 campaign.

Rounding out the debutants is Alice Springs born and bred Celina Whan. After playing a stellar 2019/20 NTFL season for the Darwin Buffettes, Whan has overcome a back injury to finally get an opportunity this weekend against the Demons.

AFLW Adelaide Crows players Sarah Allan and Dayna Cox both come into the side, Allan to play her first NT Thunder games for 2019. The pair bring their depth of knowledge and premiership experience to the side at a fitting time.

Tayla Thorn is back after missing last week’s game due to playing in the QLD Winter Series on the Gold Coast and joining her this week is Alysha Healy, after the youngster missed the previous two rounds due to playing for the Central Allies in the AFLW U18 Championships.

Katie Streader and Charlie Deegan have been cleared of concussion which has seen them sidelined since Round 8 and will be valuable inclusions for this week’s game.

The twelfth and final inclusion this week is general in defence and vice-captain, Lisa Roberts who missed last week due to unavailability.

Sophie Armistead, Janet Baird, Rhiannon Busch, Billie Byers, Angela Foley, Eloise Jones and Deni Varnhagen won’t travel to Alice Springs as they were all unavailable for selection.

While, Claudia Fabris, Eliza Morrison, Rebecca Pryer, Kat Simmons and Kristal Tak were omitted.

ThunderW Head Coach Heidi Thompson said with only five games left, this being the side’s last home game, they need to make it count.

“The strength of the squad has improved this week, and that should translate on the field with the girls showing more composure, better decision making and making sure we use our weapons of speed and forward line firepower.

“Alice Springs is our home away from home, and we want to play a good game for our family and friends,” said Thompson.

VFLW Round 11

NT Thunder vs Casey Demons
5:30pm ACST, Saturday 20 July
TIO Traeger Park, Alice Springs

B: Shoneeka Abbott, Tayla Thorn, Dayna Cox
HB: Sharona Bishop, Lateesha Jeffrey (c), Charlie Deegan
C: Alysha Healy, Anne Hatchard, Kylie Duggan
HF: Amy Chittick, Caitlin Couch, Stevie-Lee Thompson
FF: Machaelia Roberts, Sarah Allan, Tayla Hart-Aluni*
FOLL: Gemma Cusack, Morgan Johnston, Jordann Hickey
INT: Ebony Miller, Katie Streader, Lisa Roberts, Michelle Ellis, Celina Whan

EMG: Dominique Carbone, Matisse Hunter, Eliza Morrison

IN: Shoneeka Abott, Sarah Allan, Dayna Cox, Charlie Deegan, Tayla Hart-Aluni*, Alysha Healy, Jordann Hickey, Ebony Miller, Lisa Roberts, Katie Streader, Tayla Thorn, Celina Whan

OUT: Sophie Armistead (unavailable), Janet Baird (unavailable), Rhiannon Busch (unavailable), Billie Byers (unavailable), Claudia Fabris (omitted), Angela Foley (unavailable), Eloise Jones (unavailable), Eliza Morrison (omitted), Rebecca Pryer (omitted), Kat Simmons (omitted), Kristal Tak (omitted), Dani Varnhagen (unavailable)

NEW: Shoneeka Abbott, Tayla Hart-Aluni, Celina Whan

*Indicates 23rd player