Scouting Notes: 2022 NAB League Girls – Round 8

A SHORTENED round of NAB League Girls action was stretched from Thursday night to Monday evening, with just four games going ahead. With a couple of key results in the Metro pool, 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.

  • Team
  • Calder Cannons
  • Western Jets

By: Declan Reeve

Calder Cannons:

#2 Reese Sutton

The reliable midfielder was one of the standout players from the contest as she led the game for disposals, registering 26 with an astonishing 22 handballs. It’s no surprise Sutton utilised her precision by hand so often, winning majority of her possessions in the thick of things and spotting an outside runner well, rarely taking too much time with ball in hand. Sutton particularly stood out early in the contest where she looked unstoppable around stoppages, timing her runs perfectly to collect the ball essentially uncontested, then continue at speed to move the ball forward.

#3 Abbey McDonald

Spending majority of her time in the backline, McDonald similarly looked particularly good early on in the piece, intercepting a few Western attempts forward and running the ball out with courage before disposing of it. McDonald’s positioning and tenacity when going for the ball stood out, at times running into oncoming traffic to win the ball, breaking through the pack and getting rid of it on the other side.

#11 Heidi Woodley

In just her third appearance for the season, Woodley proved to be a handful up forward with her speed and agility difficult for the Western defenders to match. Woodley was impactful up the ground with her consistent approach to winning the ball seeing her rack it up plenty.

#24 Amy Gaylor

The bottom-ager has quickly established herself as one to watch heading into next years draft, and once again showed why with her performance against the Jets. Playing predominantly through the midfield, Gaylor was consistently reliable with her defensive efforts for the game, always keeping to her opponents when required, but also looking to gather the ball herself and drive Calder forward. She demonstrated her sound disposal when doing this, not necessarily punching her kicks but placing them well for teammates to run onto.

Western Jets:

#1 Charlotte Baskaran

Baskaran was once again a standout performer through the match, with her ball use as solid as ever and her positioning superb. Whilst the eye test suggest she didn’t have her usual level of performance in terms of ball winning, Baskaran was one that worked hard all day to assist her backline by winning possession back there or providing an option for the rebound. What was really noticeable from her touches was how often she was winning them in the thick of the contest, cracking in to be a first possession winner at stoppages, or attempt to wrestle the ball out at ground level and handball it out to a teammate.

#15 Sierra Grieves

Whilst the 2006-born talent didn’t hit the scoreboard in the way she would’ve liked, it’s undeniable that her electric presence up forward is always a headache for opponents to deal with. Grieves read of the ball was superb and allowed her to take a couple of impressive marks in the forward half, or spoil the ball and beat her opponent at ground level with her speed and clean pick ups. What was arguably most impressive is that Grieves wasn’t one to just bomb the ball towards goal under pressure, she often looked to handball to a player running past, drawing opponents in to allow her teammates to get a free run forward.

#17 Lou-Lou Field

Another 2006-born talent for the Jets, Field played at the opposite end to Grieves as she has done all season and looked exceptional with her aggressive positioning up the field and follow up ball use. By foot, there aren’t many as damaging as Field, with her decision making leading to her hitting some impressive targets that not many others would attempt. It was also impressive to see that whilst Field was looking to be attacking, she didn’t neglect any of her defensive responsibilities, often spoiling in the defensive 50, or staying at ground level to lay a tackle.

#29 Kiera Leare

Leare looked dangerous through the contest, as her aggressive approach to winning the ball troubled opponents early on and then a stint in the forward line led to two quick goals. Leare looked dangerous when running running forward, even without the ball she was one that was always moving at speed to win it, collecting a few loose balls and setting up teammates for opportunities on goal.

#38 Montana Ham

Whilst Ham didn’t look like the scary inside beast we’ve become accustomed to early on in the game, she did still manage to look damaging as a more outside player with her link up play and efforts to hold her space and receive a releasing handball. As the game wore on, Ham found herself more involved with inside ball, but still maintained that damage as a receiver. She played behind the ball for periods of the game and looked as dangerous in the air as ever, rarely challenged legally when going for a mark and looking to move the ball on quickly. Unsurprisingly Ham stood up when in the contest with her ability to hold her ground in tackles, often pushing off opponents that threw themselves at her.

  • Team
  • Dandenong Stingrays
  • Oakleigh Chargers

By: Peter Williams

Dandenong Stingrays:

#4 Olivia Robinson

The dynamic midfielder/forward had a terrific game in being able to break the lines and look to create separation when at the stoppages. From the get-go she added an extra bit of run to the Stingrays midfield, looking lively early with pinpoint passes inside 50. She kicked a terrific first goal quarter from just inside 50, having won the ball cleanly, sidestepped then launched it to sail home. Early in the second term she showed clean hands through the middle to go to Gatt, then had a chance inside 50 but just dropped a mark she should have taken. Other than that, her performance was very impressive and she earned our best on ground honours.

#5 Mackenzie Eardley

The co-captain was reliably strong in defence, before moving forward with the ball up the other end for most of the first half. She tried to sell some candy in the first term, baulking one, but then could not get around the second. She laid a great tackle in the middle early in the second term, winning a holding the ball free kick, and then laid another strong tackle in the third term, kicking neatly across the ground to Clarke on the wing.

#6 Amber Clarke

Though her finishing was not what it usually would be from the classy talent, Clarke still had a big say on the match. The speedster found her fair share of the ball in the middle, and had a number of chances, but could not quite find her range inside 50 when running towards goal. She still showed her strength one-on-one, beating opponents in marking contests or at ground level, and pushed up the ground too. At one stage she ran towards goal, evaded an opponent but then just missed the final touch. Still one of the more productive Stingrays with 1.2, and a few other narrow misses.

#13 Taylah Gatt

Yet again another performance where you come away scratching your head wondering how she was only awarded eight touches to her name. Every time Gatt went near the ball, special things happened, and her ability to break the lines, often take a bounce or too and then kick long inside 50, was very noticeable. She looked to kick long whenever she could, and though it was not always pinpoint execution, there were some special plays such as a low bullet to Clarke in the opening minute of the second term out of the middle.

#21 Mikayla Williamson

Provided some great run and carry once again, working hard off half-back and being that defensive sweeper in the midfield. Like Gatt and Robinson, Williamson has the need for speed, and though her final execution at times could improve, she is able to generally kick it to the right area. Williamson also laid a great smother late in the third term.

#26 Charlotte Blair

A productive member of the midfield, Blair had some nice touches throughout the game, and tried to ball the time inside 50 on multiple occasions. Though she won her fair share of the ball with a particularly-dominant second term, Blair was incredible defensively, laying 11 tackles, the most on her side. She is clean in close, and though her long kicking was well read by the Oakleigh defence on a number of occasions, Blair still had her say in the match.

Oakleigh Chargers:

#7 Charlotte Taylor

The clear best-on for Oakleigh, and just a warhorse throughout the entire match. Bullocking her way through stoppages, Taylor shouldered a lot of the inside midfield load, trying to be the first receiver at stoppages every chance she got. Though admirable, Taylor could not haul her side over the line, though she laid a match-high 14 tackles to not let the opposition get away with it too easily. She kept pressing throughout the entire match and never gave in, standing up with the momentum against her side and racking up a truckload of contested ball.

#15 Amelie Smith

Six disposals, four tackles and a goal does not do Smith’s performance justice. She looked a little rough early with her disposal coming into the game returning from injury, but her pressure was very good, running down the athletic Eardley in the middle. Smith was starting to get moving in the third term, winning a ew touches and having a set shot midway through the quarter after a great run-down tackle inside 50, converting what would be Oakleigh’s only goal of the match.

#16 Erin Woodford

There seemed to be a rinse and repeat about Woodford’s performance and until she was rested later in the second term, was planted on the last line and providing the drive out of defence to the flanks. Though the Stingrays pressure forced turnovers and inside 50s, Woodford managed to remain consistent in the back 50, and was a key reason why the Stingrays did not pile on more goals when they had the game on their terms in the second quarter.

#21 Sarah Poustie

An eye-catching winger, Poustie had a real crack on the outside and was able to benefit from the likes of Taylor’s work on the inside. She worked hard to find space, but also was not afraid to put her body on the line, laying a high amount of tackles for the Chargers. She pumped the ball inside 50 on a number of occasions too, taking a nice mark sliding towards in the line in the third term, a quarter where she found her fair share of the ball and keep the pressure on the Stingrays’ defence.

  • Team
  • Eastern Ranges
  • Tasmania Devils

By: Michael Alvaro

Eastern Ranges:

#9 Mia Busch

Captain for the day, Busch enjoyed a bit more midfield responsibility on Sunday but also thrived in her usual defensive post. The top-ager was a defensive menace, hunting her opponents with constant pressure and using her closing speed to make them rush. In doing so, Busch helped force turnovers and continued each effort by competing for her own ball and then driving it forward. She was effective in straight lines, but could have used more lateral movement in possession to find enough space to get better purchase on her kicks.

#16 Isabelle Khoury

Again one of Eastern’s better and more experienced midfielders, Khoury grew as the game wore on as she found more space to operate. She was caught a couple of times in the first half and tended to dump her clearances forward, but began to pump her legs to the outer and manufacture her own space out of the contest. Khoury booted a set shot goal after her slick one-handed mark in the third term, before being thrown into defence during the final quarter.

#21 Ruby O’Dwyer

Another of the Ranges’ over-age crew, O’Dwyer was a rather permanent midfield fixture and showcased some of her flair exiting the contest. She set up well behind the ball a few times to clunk intercept marks, and had good moments when jetting off with her turn of speed. The highlight of her day was a lovely running goal in the third term, where O’Dwyer received the ball at full tilt and slammed it home from 40 metres.

#29 Charli Granville

Arguably the most lively forward afield, Granville snared a round-high three goals and set the tone for Eastern’s win. Her first term was terrific, booting 1.1 and setting a score up for Jess Vukic with quick hands. Her speed was troublesome, and Granville finished well to add two more goals after half time with less opportunities. She certainly knows where the big sticks are, displaying natural forward instincts to not only make her own chances, but bring others into the play too.

Tasmania Devils:

#3 Priya Bowering

Arguably Tasmania’s best and most consistent player across four quarters, Bowering brought her typical strength and tackling prowess to the midfield battle. Much of her work is done in the clinches, and while generally clean when possessing the ball, Bowering also stuck the majority of her tackles. She even snuck forward to snare two goals in the fourth quarter; one from a 50-metre penalty, and the other with a slick snap from the pocket.

#9 Claire Ransom

The classy AFLW Academy member was not quite at her best, but showed glimpses of why she is so highly touted in spurts on all three lines. Ransom started in midfield and had a solid first term, displaying clean hands and ball winning nous, but struggling to find the space to make her disposals count. She then rotated forward and had limited opportunities, before shifting back in the last term and shining with her composure.

#24 Georgia Clark

Clark’s marking prowess was on show during her latest outing, with the bottom-ager clunking a round-high seven grabs as her side went down. Her clean hands and strong form overhead proved difficult to combat for Eastern defenders, and she came up against some quality in Mia Busch and Isabelle Khoury on the day. Working high up the ground, she proved a key link into attacking 50 for the Devils.

  • Team
  • Northern Knights
  • Sandringham Dragons

By: Michael Alvaro

Northern Knights:

#11 Maykaylah Appleby

It was tough going for Northern’s forwards throughout much of the day, but Appleby was one who ended up with a couple of handy highlights for her troubles. Presenting up like a player above her size, the over-ager took a nice chest mark on the lead during term two and duly converted the 40-metre set shot. She backed that up in the final quarter, wheeling onto her favoured side right on the full time siren and slotting another major from range to cap off a much improved quarter from the Knights.

#14 Ava Jordan

Jordan had a strong case for being best afield in a losing effort, as she lead all comers with a whopping 35 disposals. Having started steadily as Sandringham quickly got on top, her second term onwards was nothing short of phenomenal. Jordan was often the get first hands on the ball at the contest and win clearances, but also worked hard in open play to drive the ball forward and chain any form of momentum for the Knights. She ended up shifting forward late on and remained lively, with much of her side’s late rallying coming through her agency.

#15 Tarrah Delgado

Tasked with plenty down back, Delgado showed just why she has been one of Northern’s most important players this season. With her combination of strength and astute reading of the play, Delgado got into good spots to create contests and helped drive Northern out of defensive 50 with her long kicking. The over-ager was then thrown into the on-ball mix and used her size to make an impact, ending up with 18 disposals, four inside 50s and five rebound 50s.

Sandringham Dragons:

#2 Keely Coyne

Again one of Sandringham’s best and most productive through midfield, Coyne showcased her composure in tight spots and manufactured plenty of time in possession. Never rushed, she used her turn of speed to break forward with four inside 50s among 22 disposals, but also got her hands dirty with eight tackles. She’s building nicely into Vic Metro representation this weekend.

#10 Bridie Hipwell

Hipwell battled a knock to her hand and missed good chunks of the game, but was her usual self in the first half. Starting in midfield, Sandringham’s captain for the day broke tackles well at the centre bounces as her Dragons got well on top of the midfield battle early. She covered good ground and looked to break away with intent, but sent a few wobbly kicks forward when releasing on the run. According to the Hipwell, she should be fine to fulfil her representative duties this weekend, and she even kicked a goal in the last quarter to prove as much.

#15 Sofia Hurley

Our player of the week for Round 8, Hurley was nothing short of dominant throughout the four quarter, but truly set the tone with an ominous first term. The top-age star won the first clearance of the day and was a force around the ball, winning several clearances and getting good purchase on her kicks. She snared a goal in the first term off a forward 50 turnover, and rotated forward to snare another in the last – having said she would venture into attack more this season.

#19 Ella Sciberras

Another of the Dragons’ top-age leaders, Sciberras spent plenty of time in attack and made an impact with two impressive goals. She started well, displaying strong hands overhead to mark twice inside 50 in the opening quarter. Making both opportunities count, she played on to snare the game’s first goal, and launched a lovely 40-metre finish for her second major after storming out on the lead. At 171cm, she used her size and strength well to have a presence inside 50.

#63 Mia Zielinski

Making a menace of herself inside attacking 50, Zielinski was difficult to contain whenever the ball came her way. She looked dangerous in all levels of play; taking clean grabs overhead and proving hard to spoil on the lead, while also recovering quickly at ground level and getting onto her preferred side to send away shots on goal. She eventually got some extra attention from the Knights defenders, but still claimed two majors in a solid outing up forward.

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