The GIANTS have made seven changes to their VFL Women’s team to take on Melbourne University in the third of their invitational matches.
Britt Perry is set to return in the orange and charcoal for the first time since the GIANTS’ final AFLW match in Canberra, while fellow GIANT Haneen Zreika will play in her second VFLW game for the GIANTS.
New South Wales talents Sarah Ford, Emily Goodsir, Lauren Haughton and Lael Kassem have been recalled while Erin Todd will make her VFLW debut.
Sunday afternoon’s game is the GIANTS’ first VFLW match in over a month, however VFLW Head Coach Roger Moten is confident that the GIANTS can record their third-straight win.
The GIANTS recorded a convincing 79-point win over Williamstown in their opening game and a 28-point win against Richmond at Punt Road.
“It’s been a while since we played Richmond and, in that time, we’ve continued to develop the group,” he said.
“We’ve been able to bring additional players in who have not been previously exposed to the program, some from other sports and we’ve also been able to include some girls from our AFLW season last year.
“Having a couple of additions to the group has added to the enthusiasm and also given us more depth going in to game three.”
While the GIANTS haven’t played together since the Richmond game, they have continued to train together twice a week.
The GIANTS’ VFLW staff have also been keeping close eye on the form of players in their respective competitions, and in the process have been looking out for any talent that has yet to be discovered.
“We’re fortunate that the coaching staff are able to get out to some of the local games,” Moten said.
“Jon Vlatko (forwards coach) has been present at a number of games, often getting himself to two to three games on any given weekend to see various girls in their teams.
“Kristy Sutcliffe (development coach) is an assistant coach at Macquarie University and provides us with an extra set of eyes.
“In addition of that our recruiting staff is able to watch the vision that gets uploaded and where they can they’ve been able to get to a few games.
“What’s been pleasing is that we’ve been able to watch the VFLW squad members progress but also identify other players that going forward we’ll look to include in the program."
The GIANTS are under no illusions that this weekend’s game will be one of the toughest oppositions they face in the five-game invitational season.
With Melbourne University being aligned with the North Melbourne Tasmania Kangaroos, and with their side featuring a number of AFLW listed players, they sit sixth on the VFLW ladder.
“They have a number of experienced players come from their North Melbourne AFLW program with Melbourne University being their home club,” Moten said.
“I’m expecting that if they’re able to put a few of those AFLW players out on the park, they’ll be extremely competitive.
“They’ll be the toughest opponents we’ll face to date and from a player ability they’ll certainly possess the footy very well and use it well as they move the footy.”
Brenna Tarrant, Pippa Smyth, Rylee McGartland, Alexia Hamilton, Renee Tomkins, Sarah Halverson and Georgia Garnett have all been rotated out of the side.
Melbourne University v GIANTS
12:00pm, Sunday June 23
Melbourne University Oval
FB: Tanya Hetherington, Louise Stephenson, Lauren Houghton
HB: Emily Goodsir, Lisa Whiteley Amanda Farrugia
C: Sarah Ford, Tait Mackrill, Haneen Zreika
HF: Ellie Brush, Aimee Schmidt, Alicia Eva
FF: Delma Gisu, Rebecca Privitelli, Britt Perry
Ruck: Ingrid Neilsen, Jess Dal Pos, Alyce Parker
Interchange: Jodie Hicks, Jessica Allan, Lael Kassem, Erin Todd