Women’s Premier Division MOTW: Richo bags five against Giants

Image courtesy of Paul Carter Photography


Written by Phoebe McWilliams

There were goals aplenty when the UNSW Eastern Suburbs Bulldogs met the Auburn-Penrith Giants on Saturday at Village Green Oval.

The Bulldogs (second) sit just above the Giants (third) on the ladder, so a close match was expected. However, Bulldogs’ forward Rebecca Privitelli had other plans when she booted a five-goal haul for the home side to give them the victory by 43-points.

For three years I knew of Privitelli as ‘Richo’ – her nickname when her and I played in the Victorian state side back in 2015. She got the nickname because she played footy like her idol, Richmond Tigers forward Matthew Richardson.

On Saturday she did exactly that. Privitelli took mark, after mark, after mark and was a standout for the Bulldogs in their forward line. My favourite mark was in the final quarter when she marked at full-stretch impressing the crowd who gasped with amazement. She walked backed and casually slotted her fifth goal for the day.

Privitelli wasn’t the only forward causing problems for the Giants. Small-forward Roxy McGee was able to put through three (including two in less than a minute) and ruck, Ingrid Nielsen seems to have mastered the art of roving her own tap to snap on goal. She also put through three goals, all in similar fashion.

The Giants had a star forward themselves in Melissa Brydon. Brydon continues to improve each game, presenting well and taking some good marks. She kicked two for the game. Brydon was assisted by perfect delivery from Renee Tomkins and Angela Priftis. Priftis found herself in good positions all day and did a great job linking her side’s midfield to their forward line.

Tomkins had her hands full. Throughout the game I noticed her playing in the ruck, on the ball, as the loose man in defence and as a forward. I hope after the game she went home, made herself a cup of tea and put her feet up – she must have been exhausted. If she was wearing a GPS, I am sure it would have spontaneously combusted from overuse.

If AFL Sydney Women’s Premier Division had a ‘Longest Kick’ competition, Tomkins would surely win. On two occasions she nearly kicked a goal from the centre square. Unfortunately the bounce didn’t go the Giants’ way, registering minor scores both times and denying Tomkins a ‘Goal of the Year’ contender.

The Giants never gave up, with their highest scoring quarter the final term.

The difference between the two sides probably came down to the strength of the Bulldogs across the ground and their ability to win clearances. Meagan Kiely continues to win plenty of the ball in the midfield and contributions from Jemma Still up forward and Sera Kaukiono in defence made the Bulldogs strong end-to-end.

The win will give the Bulldogs a confidence boost coming into finals. The top three sides are confirmed – Macquarie University, UNSW Bulldogs and Auburn Penrith.

The fight for the final spot is between the Southern Power and Sydney University. Sydney University defeated the Power on the weekend, however they are still four points behind them on the ladder.

Both sides have tough games in the final round with Sydney University playing UNSW Eastern Suburbs at home, and the Power will face Auburn Penrith away. The Bombers will need to win if they want to remain in finals contention.

If I were the Bombers, I’d be thinking of a way to stop the in form Privitelli, whose confidence will be sky high after the weekend’s performance. Privitelli has now put herself back at the top of the league’s goal kicking tally with 25 goals for the season, leading Southern Power’s Rhe Lotter by two.

I simply cannot wait to see how the final round plays out.

Phoebe McWilliams is a current AFL Women’s player, recently signed by the Geelong Cats after two years spent with the GWS GIANTS. McWilliams is also a freelance writer for publications such as Inside Football Magazine. Following the 2018 NAB AFL Women’s season, McWilliams is playing for Hawthorn in the Swisse VFL Women’s competition in Victoria, while writing for AFL Sydney.

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