Scouting Notes: 2022 NAB League Girls – Round 7
QUEENSLAND academies entered the fray in Round 7 of the 2022 NAB League Girls season. On a weekend where only two games were decided by under 20 points There were plenty of top individual performances along the way, which we outline in our latest Scouting Notes edition for the year.
Note: All comments are opinion of the individual author.
By: Declan Reeve
#2 Keely Coyne
Whilst Coyne wasn’t given her usual time through traffic as she usually has, she adjusted to the pressure of the contest well to start delivering shorter passes quickly rather than go for longer disposals. She was the prime ball winner for Sandringham, often the target for their clearances which gave her even more attention from the opposition. She positioned well to get first possession from hitouts, then generally backed her speed to get away from opponents
#15 Sofia Hurley
Dipping below 22 disposals for the first time this season, Hurley still managed to make her impact on the contest, with her defensive work rate and tackling inclose once again being a staple of her game. Hurley registered double digit tackles for the third time this season, taking advantage of the congestion nature of the game to hold up the ball before Dandenong had the chance to break forward. Hurley’s use by foot has consistently improved week to week out in space, but she managed to show it has improved when under pressure as well during the game, getting a few darting kicks out from packs.
One that has somewhat flown under the radar due to the sheer quality rolling through the Dandenong side, Robinson was a benefactor from Amber Clarke spending less time in the midfield, as she made the most of the opportunity to be arguably Dandenong’s number one through there. When Robinson wasn’t winning first possession and dishing it out, she was hot on the heels of any opponent that did, consistently earning a repeat stoppage by being so close to her opponent. Robinson grew in confidence around stoppages as the game went on, gradually working into running through packs to win the ball and burst out, with seemingly no worry for the opponents around her
It was truly incredible that despite the wet and windy conditions, Eardley still managed to make marking the ball well above her head look easy, consistently controlling the airways in Dandenongs defensive half and looking to quickly rebound with precision to a teammate further up the ground. Eardley gradually moved her way up the ground as the game went on, starting to take marks in the center square and damaging more with her disposal forward. She was simply unmatchable in the air, holding marks against multiple opponents without issue.
#26 Charlotte Blair
Another playing with increased minutes in the midfield, Blair showed her knack for accumulating possessions in the contest and breaking away to dispose of the ball. She was consistently reliable in that regard, popping up and managing to win the ball, making it look like almost no one else wanted it, whether this was in a contest or from her workrate to get free in open play.
#27 Charley Ryan
Whilst not accumulating the same amount of disposals as she has been of late, Ryan still stood out in the game with her ball use, especially by foot, clearly a step above others. Ryan’s composure and quick decision making is a key component to her game, showing it off once again with her able to use the ball effectively despite the congestion and intensity of the contest.
By: Peter Williams
The left-footer had some eye-catching moments in challenging conditions, standing up in a tackle to cleanly get the handball away, and remained clean through the contest. Though many were unable to deal with the conditions, Duursma was able to win the ball at ground level and try and take the game on, and had equal measures of offensive and defensive traits.
Molesworth had a big defensive day out. She broke the record for tackles in the NAB League Girls and was able to win plenty of the ball because of her defensive pressure. Laying 18 tackles against Eastern in wet conditions, the hard-nosed midfielder/forward thrived and was often found behind the ball. She picked up a personal NAB League Girls career high of 21 touches – previous best 15 – and worked hard to get the ball defensively. Like many of the players on the field, clean disposal was a tough task, and did not quite capitalise when going forward with ball-in-hand, but continued to have a crack.
#9 Jemma Birss
Often found herself under pressure in the back half, and seemed to use it fairly consistently. She came off half-back on a number of occasions and took some a couple of intercept marks as well. She was one of Gippsland’s best players across the four quarters, and also laid seven tackles to go with her 20 touches. She particularly became prominent through the middle two quarters as she stood up against the Eastern attack.
#16 Ash Centra
Unfortunately the talented 16-year-old only played the first half before coming off and not returning. Donning the long sleeves in the wet weather, Centra certainly made an impact in that first half, kicking a great goal off a step 11 minutes into the first term, becoming Gippsland’s only goalkicker. Centra continued to have a crack throughout the match in the first half, with the tall midfielder/forward looking calm with ball-in-hand and a clear standout considering the considerations.
#21 Amber Schutte
Another player who really bought in to the conditions and stood up, Schutte was one of the more prominent players in the forward half, sending the ball inside 50 on a number of occasion. She laid some fierce tackles throughout the game to tally up seven for the match, and late in the fourth term had a cleve moment where she handballed to herself, then recovered and had a shot towards goal that missed to the right.
#18 Laura Stone
Best on ground for the match with several key players out, the rebounding bottom-age defender was brilliant all game. She was one of the few clean players on the field, and showed good penetration by foot. She was able to win the ball at ground level or aerially, and if she did not mark she would bring the ball to ground and run off. Being a prolific defender from the back half of the ground, Stone did not make many mistakes and considering the heavy conditions, was kicking like it was dry day.
#29 Charli Granville
The top-age forward played her best game of the season, kickign a couple of goals from 11 disposals and generally looking the most dangerous inside 50. Having kicked two goals in her first four games, Granville slotted 2.1 – one in the second term and one in the third – with the latter coming from a tackle on a Power defender. She made no mistake to put the Ranges out by 21 points midway through the term. Granville narrowly missed a chance for a third goal twice in the final term with a set shot just missing to the left and one that fell short on the line and was intercepted, but her leading patterns were impressive with space inside 50.
#39 Jacinta Hose
The tall impacted around the ground finding plenty of it, winning it at both ground level and in the air, pulling down four marks in challenging conditions for talls. She provided a target inside 50 and finished with 1-1 after kicking a goal late in the game, but also had a number of other chances including a couple in the third term, one on the run from 15m and another from a set shot. Had she been able to convert she might have kicked a bag, but she worked hard around the ground and impacted when further afield.
#42 Jess Vukic
One of the best exponents of ruck craft in terms of her leap and taps, Vukic was far too strong for her opponents both at ball ups and around the ground. Vukic worked hard throughout the match and her hitouts were often decisive, then she would work hard defensively to get back and impact, such as when she took a good intercept mark early in the fourth term, and won another free kick on the wing not long after.
#44 Ava Campbell
The acting captain on the day with the entire leadership group out, the bottom-age Vic Metro hub representative really stood up when it counted. Along with Stone, Campbell was able to provide a driving force out of the back 50 from half-back, and she made good decisions by hand or foot. Just a consistent ball user and clever at getting into the right positions, Campbell was a rock solid defender for the Ranges.
By: Toby Mew
The 2005-born Barwick provided the show for the spectators today, continuing to add to her highlight reel. Barwick’s ‘take-no-prisoners’ approach to her football made her stick out in particular. Her ability to crash through contests at ground level and pick the ball up cleanly made her a valuable asset in the midfield. Her handballs out of traffic set up transition plays for much of the day. Barwick’s attacking brand was most on display with several strong sprints through the middle of the ground, her agility in dodging around opposition players second to none. In one particular play, Barwick sold candy to three different players before providing a pinpoint kick to an open player on the opposite side of the ground. Continues to be an impressive performer.
Although she was quiet early in the game, Gaffney worked her way back into it in the second half in a strong showing, eventually finishing with 17 disposals. Her agility in and around the contest at ground level was a key part of Tasmania’s third quarter surge. Gaffney’s composure and good decision making under pressure was best afield. On numerous occasions, Gaffney would fly through a contest and receive a short handball, bursting out of the area and hitting up an open target in the middle of the ground. One of her better games this season.
Ransom improved her draft stocks further with another strong showing today. She was a standout performer with her ball use all game. On the inside, Ransom was a strong contested ball winner around the contest, winning a game-high 26 disposals, and able to dish it off to an open teammate on the outside every time. It was more of the same on the outside, with Ransom’s composure and kicking ability allowing her to find an open player in dangerous spots around the ground often. Her ball use was a critical part of the Devils’ play throughout the game.
#14 Candice Belbin
Another who started slowly, Belbin worked her way into the game with her defensive efforts, capped off with an impressive final quarter. Belbin’s aggression at ground level was on display with nine bone-crunching tackles, helping to keep Tasmania in the game. She was frequently first in to the ball without regard for her own safety. Her ball use was also strong, with several hit up targets through the middle of the ground.
Brazendale was another key contributor for the Devils’ run today. She was a strong tackler, winning plenty of the ball through free kicks alone. She finished with 23 disposals, most of which came from hard running through the middle of the ground. Brazendale’s ability to run on the outside and kick long into dangerous positions provided her forwards with some extra opportunities to work with.
#2 Reese Sutton
Whilst Sutton struggled to make an impact with the ball in hand, she worked her way into the game courtesy of her defensive efforts. Sutton was loath to give up on a contest, with many chase down tackles resulting in some important free kicks. She also hauled in a couple of strong contested marks despite her size, demonstrating that she could get things going aerially for Calder as well. Sutton’s defensive impact was crucial as the game went on, finishing with an equal team-high 8 tackles to go with her 20 disposals.
Moved back into defence, McDonald was a strong performer as the game went on. She read the ball exceptionally in the air, rarely being beaten one-on-one. At ground level McDonald also demonstrated her contested ability, being able to get the ball forward quickly and give her defenders time to set up again. McDonald’s run and carry with the ball in hand produced some nice highlights, including a two-bounce run along the boundary followed by a neat kick down the line, hitting her target lace out.
#24 Amy Gaylor
Another 2005-born player who was strong, Gaylor provided plenty of activity forward of the ball for her teammates. She had a knack for being able to get in and under the ball with ease, and glide around her opponents for a swift kick down the line. Gaylor’s penetrating left boot stayed low and went long despite a significant gale blowing for most of the game. She also had a strong defensive influence, often found helping out her defenders in the defensive 50 rather than pushing forward in the hopes of a kick.
#27 Chloe Baker-West
Although she didn’t necessarily have much of the ball, Baker-West proved that you don’t need to in order to have an influence on the game. The 2007-born young prospect was the cleanest player by foot when the ball was in her hands, hitting up some impressive long distance targets. She herself lead strongly at the ball out of the forward line to provide some much needed linkage to the forwards for the Cannons. She also finished with eight tackles, proving she has the defensive side of her game where it needs to be. Not a massive game from her, but Baker-West showed that she definitely has the potential and is one to look out for in the coming years.
By: Michael Alvaro
#2 Tahlia Meier
Meier had a productive day overall, but boosted her numbers in the final term with two of her three goals. The diminutive forward is a menace at ground level, and proved her worth in that sense with some quick and crafty play to keep GWV moving forward. Her finishing was effective too, with one set shot conversion and a sharp shot with pressure coming on her right side in the first quarter.
Having shown some really promising signs over the last few weeks, Rentsch continued to make the wing her own on Sunday and produced exciting moments going both ways. Her speed is scintillating, and she backs it when streaming past or away from opponents on the outer. But unlike plenty of other wingers, Rentsch was again not afraid to go when her name was called in overhead marking contests, or in a tackling sense. Polishing her finishing touch will be the next big step in Rentsch’s development.
#20 Chloe Stevens
A second over-ager in this lot, Stevens had a big role to play as she lined up opposite Geelong forward Analea McKee. She held her own though, positioning well to not only win one-on-ones, but peel off and impact other contests. Stevens ended up with seven rebound 50s and just as quickly as she recovered possession, she looked to move it on forward.
#22 Molly Walton
Continuing her form through midfield, Walton again accumulated plenty of possessions and for the second week running, notched 29 touches. There wasn’t much room to move on Sunday and the wind impacted her kicking a touch, but Walton looked to carry when possible and even won a couple of stoppage clearances. She also shifted back to sweep across the defence and returned another solid shift.
Geelong shuffled the magnets on Sunday and that saw Dowling start at the centre bounces. Providing some size on the inside, the over-ager got her hands on the ball early and looked to swing onto her favoured left side each time. Her power was useful when breaking into space, and also when she shifted up forward in the second half – holding up play inside 50 and handing off to Geelong’s smalls.
#7 Sara Howley
Another who shifted into the middle in Round 7, Howley built into the contest and showcased some of her raw talent in exciting bursts. The under-ager is a touch light, but proved her quality when able to break into space and use her speed to gain good meterage. Her second term was particularly eye-catching, as Howley tucked the ball under her arm and burst away from congestion multiple times.
A classic type of rebound defender, Sunderland again assumed said role and was reliable with much of her work back there. She positioned well to cut off many GWV attacks and was tasked with bringing the ball out of defence, chaining possessions together where possible with run and handballs. Things would have felt relatively safe for Geelong when she was in possession, and she often got the Falcons going down the line.
Hardingham has put up huge numbers of late, and that was no different as she had no trouble finding the ball this time out. The Falcons ruck was confident enough to use the corridor by foot and have a say at stoppages. She prized her own clearances and her strength over the ball proved difficult to combat. Further, her bodywork in one-on-one situations made for a couple of nice marks, and Hardingham eventually spent some time up forward where she nabbed a goal in term three.
By: Michael Alvaro
#1 Lila Keck
Though a touch quieter than usual, Keck was able to showcase some of her best traits and the ground level craft that makes her such an effective small. The bottom-ager rotated through the midfield from up forward and seemed to have a good battle with Keeley Skepper, but was not afforded much space to make things happen. Still, Keck displayed her clean hands and was confident enough to kick the ball with either foot in windy conditions.
The Pioneers’ standout top-ager put forward her class on Sunday in little showings of smarts. She has her timing down pat and makes great decisions both with and without the ball, including little things like delaying her pick-ups when immediate tackling pressure is there, and assessing all options before kicking the ball. In a more frantic style of game, Di Donato was made to drill her kicks a touch more but generally proved effective, helping the Pioneers move into space as she featured mostly behind the ball.
Painter had her magnet shuffled on Sunday and started in defence, where her booming kick and physical nature both came to the fore. Tasked with kick-in duties, the under-ager was able to breach the defensive 50 at will and looked to really drive Bendigo into the rebounding phase. Her fierce defensive intent was arguably the highlight of her game though, credited with six and putting in plenty of double efforts. She also proved up for the contest in a heavy loss, enjoying some physical battles with her opposite number five.
Showcasing some of her best form for the year in the first half, Mailer was able to drive the ball forward for Murray from midfield. She pounced at stoppages and pumped her legs immediately to get on the front foot, while also sneaking inside attacking 50 to hit the scoreboard. Mailer snared a goal in term one, snapping truly, and could have had another couple if for better conversion from tight spots.
Having been a bolt from the blue in Round 1, we now know what to expect from Goldsworthy and she delivered again on Sunday. Leading all comers with 27 disposals, the star midfielder brought the intensity early with imposing physical acts at the contest. She conveys a mean streak that is often unteachable, but can also find the ball herself and do some damage going forward. Goldsworthy snared her lone goal at the start of term three, with a wind assisted effort Shane Warne would be proud of, given the drift and spin on the ball. She also took a couple of customary strong overhead marks and her punchy kicking was useful against the strong wind, even if ineffective at times. Best afield, again.
Having cut her teeth on the inside of late, Hamilton reverted back to a familiar role on the wing and went to work in her usual way. She again leant on her size to contribute at the contest, proving strong over the ball and clean in her handling. With a sound work rate, Hamilton worked into advanced areas and was clean with ball in hand, again displaying slight improvement in her kicking amid the tough conditions. At her best, she’s certainly prolific.
#17 Keeley Skepper
In a type of performance typical of Skepper, the top-ager worked hard from midfield to assist behind the ball, but also move it forward with purpose when possible. She read the play well to sweep up plenty across Murray’s own half, slamming it on the boot as only she knows how and suiting Murray’s all-action style of constant forward flow. It is a wonder no one has thought to cover her left side, as she finds it every time and, at the least, gains handy metres with her kicks.
By: Michael Alvaro
Although arguably not at her elite best this time out, Baskaran could not be faulted for her effort and still produced some productive play from midfield. The Jets skipper found little space to operate, and had to adjust to suit the contested style of the game. Though slighter than others, Baskaran was tough enough to do so and her class was a handy point of difference when driving forward. She snapped the game’s opening goal in term two and showed a clean pair of heels to break away from a contest the following quarter, as two highlights of her game.
#15 Sierra Grieves
Grieves is looking increasingly comfortable at the level with each passing week, making herself at home up forward and even getting among the midfield mix this time out. The 2006-born talent was not afraid to get her hands dirty and worked high up the ground to then help her side work towards goal. She found the big sticks herself in term two, snatching an opportunist chance deep inside 50.
#17 Lou-Lou Field
Another of Western’s highly talented under-agers, Field assumed her usual role in defence but proved aggressive in her mindset. She set a high line and was able to shift the ball forward with intent, while also paying her defensive dues with six tackles to live up to the contested nature of the game. Though she had less looks in the second half with Brisbane kept goalless, Field continues to show glimpses of promise.
#24 Laura Elliott
Western’s intercept marking machine was not quite made to rise as high to play her usual role this week, but still assumed the right positions to do so. She ended up with five grabs and did her job each time the ball came her way with little fuss, making the intercept game look relatively easy. She did not contribute as much outside of that set style of play, sticking to her strengths in a positive way.
#38 Montana Ham
Ham was arguably best afield in another imposing display from midfield, despite seeming to have her day end slightly early in term four. On a day where others fumbled and crumbled under pressure, Ham was incredibly clean and composed at the contest. Her powerhouse athleticism and booming kick helped to break the congested game open, with plenty a metre snatched through either method. Ham’s various spins out of trouble and a mad dash from half-back were highlights of her game, one which further showcased her top-end talent.
Against incredibly stiff opposition in midfield, Mullins was one of many Brisbane ball winners who were up against it. That hardly deterred her though, as she consistently looked to find a way forward and jostle her way free from congestion. Mullins was combative on the inside, but as many others learned, finding open space to operate on Sunday was difficult.
#9 Ella Smith
It was hardly a surprise to see Brisbane’s AFLW Academy member lead her side for disposals, setting the tone for a midfield mix which is largely renowned for its inside craft. Smith put her body over the ball and did the tough stuff defensively, starting well and having a solid third term. The left-footer could look to further enhance her kicking to have a greater impact on the outside, and that was shown in term three as she shifted away from the contest more than usual.
#21 Ava Seton
Living up to the billing of Brisbane’s inside midfield brigade, Seton won 15 touches and laid nine tackles in a performance where her impact was felt almost exclusively around stoppages. She put in a couple of great defensive efforts early on to help Brisbane show it was up for the contest, also winning clearances before rotating forward and even managing a shot on goal in term two – albeit for no score.
#27 Laura Roy
As was the case for each of her fellow engine room operators, Roy took toll with some physical work at the coalface and helped set a good tone from the get-go. At 171cm, the bottom-ager leant on her size to force her way into the contest with a whopping 13 tackles and the work rate to continually crack in. She even stopped a breakaway Montana Ham in term two, something most top and over-agers have not been able to do.
By: Peter Williams
Found the going tough early with not much space, but worked into the game well to have more of an impact in the second half. Taylor tried to use her first few quick steps out of a contest to breakaway from the Suns midfield who were onto her, but she was still looking dangerous when she went near it. At times her willingness to break the game open and charge through packs got the better of her, giving away seven free kicks in the match. One thing that can never be questioned with Taylor is her aggression at the ball, and her willingness to try and get her team over the line, and she kept pressing across the four quarters despite the game going against her team.
The Chargers captain started the game really strongly when a number of her teammates were kept under close guard, with van der Vlies able to spread to the wings and provide a target and link in transition. She led by example with her work rate, and was often able to win it and then kick it down the field, trying to create something for her team despite the momentum with the Suns. Though the likes of Fleming took over the high ball-winning in the second half, van der Vlies had been the one to stand up when the going was tough early, and never threw in the towel in a consistent effort across the match.
#10 Jasmine Fleming
It was clear the Suns midfield had done their homework on the talented young star, with Fleming under pressure every time she went near the ball. Too good not to accumulate the footy, she still won more touches than any other Oakleigh player – and the second most on the field – but found the going tough. Fleming had a lot more handballs in the first half, with the majority coming under pressure, until she was able to have more use by foot in the second half where she was able to have more influence on the game. She had a golden chance running into goal 15m out but skewed off the side of the boot, symbolic of so near, yet so far for the Chargers. Nonetheless, Fleming was still able to breakaway later in the game and try and get her side up, also getting her hands dirty with a game-high 10 tackles.
#33 Maggie Mahony
The most consistent Oakleigh player on the day, the 2006-born Mahony continued her rich vein of form in her debut season. Mahony played through the midfield and was able to push forward to kick an important goal, balancing her offensive and defensive abilities well. When her top-age teammates were being well contained by the Suns midfield, Mahony stepped up to the plate, and was able to work hard both ways to clear the ball from defence, and push up the ground to impact the forward 50. Prior to her goal, the Chargers had hardly got the ball inside 50, so Mahony was able to give them a sniff of hope in that second term and draw within a couple of kicks.
#1 Jasmyn Smith
The evasive midfielder really stood up in her first match against a Victorian side, not looking out of place at all against quality opposition. Smith worked the wings well and even roamed onball at times, finding her fair share of the pill both under pressure and in space. She was consistent throughout the four quarters, and whilst at times she could get knocked off the ball or outmuscled, Smith showed her nice balance of speed and endurance, and was able to use the ball well more often than not with a lovely kick that she utilised plenty during the match on her way to an impressive 23 touches.
#18 Imogen Evans
The Gold Coast Suns captain set the tone from the start, with an early clearance, inside 50, then winning the ball and having a free kick that gained an additional 50m. She converted the set shot from around 30m out for the first of the day, and it kick-started the momentum for the Suns. Throughout the match – in what was effectively her second competitive match in eight months – Evans provided clean disposal and a great defensive mindset, leading from the front. She was one of Gold Coast’s more prominent midfielders, and her kicking was technically sound, and certainly impacted when she had time and space, going inside 50 to apply pressure on the Oakleigh defence.
#24 Alana Gee
It was a remarkable performance from the top Queenslander who racked up the ball with ease and was a standout best on ground performer. Gee found the pill 34 times – five more than any other player on the field – and also recorded seven inside 50s, the most of anyone. Balancing her skills and athleticism to have an impact, it is hard to not notice the hard-running Gee, who finds it on the inside or outside, and just gets herself out of trouble with her lateral running and quick bursts to escape would-be tacklers. Though she did not hit the scoreboard on this occasion, she was able to spread well when required, and be a crucial player in driving the ball from midfield into attack.
#31 Havana Harris
The 2006-born Harris is going to be an exciting player, being an understudy to the top-age AFLW Academy member Fleur Davies, but is more readymade from the same age. Though still building her around the ground consistency, Harris acts as a “fourth midfielder” at stoppages, with the 15-year-old picking up 20 hitouts, four inside 50s and five tackles from her 12 disposals, making light work of Oakleigh’s undersized rucks. Backing her strong game against the Brisbane Lions Academy, Harris is one to watch in the coming years given her all-round game more so than just her ruck work.
#33 Fleur Davies
The AFLW Academy ruck was able to rotate between ruck and forward and did as she pleased, which was not too surprising given her extra centimetres and athletic leap compared to her opponents. Davies was able to hit the scoreboard early thanks to a strong mark on the lead and set shot conversion, doing exactly what is asked of her. Though occasionally she might drop a mark, Davies’ follow-up work is important, and like Harris, she is more than just a ruck, with her around the ground work prominent. When up and about with high confidence, Davies can certainly be a threat as a forward, and she recorded a game-high 26 hitouts to go with 11 disposals and three marks.