The NAB League Girls 2022 season commenced with very warm and challenging conditions greeting the players at venues across Victoria, while Tassie hosted Sandringham in Launceston.
Northern Knights v Oakleigh Chargers
REIGNING premier Oakleigh Chargers showed they will again be a force in the 2022 NAB League Girls competition after they overpowered Northern Knights by 26 points in the season opener at Latrobe University on Sunday.
The Knights came out hard with early goals to Grace Robinson and Amber Sciacca, but the Chargers flexed their muscles with five goals in 11 minutes either side of quarter-time to take control.
The fightback was led by best-on-ground Kristen Smith, who kicked two of her four goals on her way to 19 disposals and three inside-50s, while Jasmine Fleming (24 disposals, four marks, five inside-50s) was also in top form.
Northern hit back again with the only two goals of the third term with Robinson's second cutting the margin to eight points at the last change, but that was the end of the resistance as Oakleigh kicked the last three majors to win convincingly.
Pint-sized young gun Ava Jordan, 16 and 146cm, was in everything for the Knights, finishing with a match-high 27 disposals, while highly-rated Rylie Wilcox had 24 and Megan Barnes 20.
Eastern Ranges v Calder Cannons
Eastern Ranges eased past Calder Cannons by 23 points at Kilsyth on Saturday.
The home team took control with 2.2 to nothing in the first term and didn't look back as captain and Melbourne train-on player Bridget Deed did as she pleased with a whopping 36 disposals and seven tackles.
Isabelle Khoury (23), Tilly Hardy (21) and Ruby O'Dwyer (19) also had plenty of the ball, while Tahlia Read was best for Calder with 18 possessions.
Murray Bushrangers v Bendigo Pioneers
Zarlie Goldsworthy produced a stunning first game of the season as Murray Bushrangers kicked easily the highest score of the round in running away from Bendigo Pioneers by 37 points at Yarrawonga's J.C. Lowe Oval on Saturday.
The Bushrangers kicked at least three goals in each quarter to rack up 13.10 (88) as Goldsworthy ran amok with 33 disposals, five marks and 10 inside-50s, finishing off her dominance by kicking 4.4.
Teammate Zara Hamilton was also unstoppable, compiling 29 disposals, five marks, four tackles and 12 inside-50s, while India Lehman also kicked four goals and Cassidy Mailer had 19 touches.
Lou Painter (19 disposals), Tia Davidge (17) and Drew Ryan (16, two goals) tried hard for the Pioneers.
GWV Rebels v Gippsland Power
GWV Rebels announced themselves as a possible big improver by holding Gippsland Power goalless in a 59-point triumph at Latrobe University on Saturday.
The Rebels took control early with three goals in each of the first two quarters before cruising to the finishing line, keeping the Power scoreless in the second half.
Lilli Condon, who played VFLW for the Western Bulldogs last year, was in top touch with 21 disposals, with good support coming from Tahlia Meier (17) and bottom-ager Tyla Crabtree (15), while Paige Scott, Paige Glover and Ruby Stephens each kicked two goals.
Sunday Brisbane (21), Ash Centra (20) and Indiana Makai (19) could all hold their heads high for Gippsland.
Tasmania Devils v Sandringham Dragons
A wasteful Sandringham was forced to hold on for dear life to edge out Tasmania Devils by three points in Launceston on Saturday.
The Dragons had control of the game, but woeful kicking saw them add nine behinds without a major in the middle two quarters as they turned for home with the scoreboard reading 3.2 (20) to 1.13 (19).
But Pia Staltari kicked truly in the second minute of the final term to give Sandringham the lead and they clung on desperately, conceding just two behinds as the Devils threw everything at them.
Sofia Hurley backed up her big wraps with a game-high 23 touches and seven tackles for the Dragons and Keely Coyne had 18, while Claire Ransom (21 and seven) did everything in her power to get the Devils over the line.
Geelong Falcons v Dandenong Stingrays
Dandenong Stingrays scored a dominant 49-point win over Geelong Falcons at Deakin University on Sunday on the back of five goals and 23 disposals from star player Amber Clarke.
The Stingrays kicked seven goals to one in the first half to seal the deal and were never threatened, despite Geelong fighting the game out and winning the final quarter through the good work of Charlotte Simpson (18 disposals).
NAB LEAGUE GIRLS 2022 – WEEK ONE RESULTS
Saturday January 22
Eastern Ranges 5.8 (38) def Calder Cannons 2.3 (15)
Tasmania Devils 3.4 (22) lost to Sandringham Dragons 2.13 (25)
Murray Bushrangers 13.10 (88) def Bendigo Pioneers 7.9 (51)
GWV Rebels 9.7 (61) def Gippsland Power 0.2 (2)
Sunday January 23
Northern Knights 4.4 (28) lost to Oakleigh Chargers 8.6 (54)
Geelong Falcons 3.3 (21) lost to Dandenong Stingrays 10.10 (70)
All NAB League Girls matches in 2022 will be live streamed. The future stars of women's football will feature in a match of the round to be live streamed via the Herald Sun website each week, a first for NAB League Girls. All other matches throughout the season will be live streamed via the NAB League App, thanks to Telstra.
The NAB League App is available via the Apple and Google app stores. All NAB League Girls and Boys matches will be available to watch on demand via the NAB League App. The full NAB League Girls season 2022 fixture is available at: afl.com.au/nab-league/fixture.