NT Thunder will board its final plane for the 2019 VFLW season and travel south to play Melbourne Uni on Sunday at Arden St Oval in North Melbourne.
Dual AFLW premiership player for the Adelaide Crows, Deni Varnhagen joins the Thunder forward line in her fifth game for the year. The inclusion of Varnhagen will add valuable experience and skill to the team, especially when paired with Machaelia Roberts, who returns to the goal-scoring end after missing last week’s game due to unavailability.
Another significant inclusion for the final round and joining Roberts and Varnhagen is NT product Stevie–Lee Thompson. The two-time AFLW Premiership player for the Adelaide Crows will be sure to make her presence felt.
Dominique Carbone retains her place in the Thunder side after a solid debut last round while Shantel Miskin-Ripia, Kylie Duggan and Rhiannon Busch will all line up for the final game after being late ‘outs’ against Casey last weekend.
Billie Byers returns to the side to play game number eight for Thunder this season and is joined by consistent all-rounder Katie Streader who is back, fresh and ready to go.
Mattea Breed, Caitlin Couch, Madeline Gault and Kat Simmons will all wait until the 2020 season to pull on the Thunder jumper again as unavailability, and in the case of a Simmons; a finger injury, rules them out of the final round game on Sunday.
Eliza Morrison and Lori Niven will remain on standby as emergencies.
ThunderW Head Coach Heidi Thompson said the team aims to finish the season on a high with momentum, along with enjoying the time they will spend on the field as a team one last time for 2019.
“We want to see little improvements continue with our tactical and technical skills across the ground and make sure we are capitalising on getting the fundamentals right.
“We have the X factor in the forward line with Micky Roberts, ThunderW leading goalkicker Danielle Ponter and Deni Varnhagen who is a tall utility player that can play various roles.
“Melbourne Uni has a lot to play for, they are just holding onto that all-important sixth spot, but it’s the final time we will all be together as a team, so we will take the time to cherish that and ensure we do all we can to finish with a bang,” said Thompson.
VFLW Round 16
Melbourne Uni vs NT Thunder
12:00pm AEST, Sunday 25 August
Arden St Oval, VIC
B: Charlie Deegan, Lisa Roberts, Kristy Irvine
HB: Morgan Johnston, Jordann Hickey, Michelle Ellis
C: Katie Streader, Sophie Armitstead, Lateesha Jeffrey (c)
HF: Tayla Hart-Aluni*, Stevie-Lee Thompson, Rachael Killian
FF: Machaelia Roberts, Danielle Ponter, Deni Varnhagen
FOLL: Gemma Cusack, Janet Baird, Sally Riley
INT: Billie Byers, Rhiannon Busch, Dominique Carbone, Kylie Duggan, Shantel Miskin-Ripia
EMG: Eliza Morrison, Lori Niven
IN: Rhiannon Busch, Billie Byers, Kylie Duggan, Shantel Miskin-Ripia, Machaelia Roberts, Katie Streader, Stevie-Lee Thompson, Deni Varnhagen
OUT: Mattea Breed (unavailable), Caitlin Couch (unavailable), Madeline Gault (unavailable), Eliza Morrison (emergency), Lori Niven (emergency), Katrina Simmons (finger)
*Indicates 23rd player