Scouting Notes: 2022 NAB League Girls – Round 9

ROUND 9 of the 2022 NAB League Girls season was all about opportunity, with Victorian representative action presenting the chance for the next tier of players to stand up. There were plenty of outstanding individual performances across the latest weekend of action, which we highlight in the next edition of Scouting Notes.

Note: All comments are opinion of the individual author.

  • Team
  • GWV Rebels
  • Western Jets

By: Peter Williams

GWV Rebels:

#1 Lilli Condon

It was another typical Lilli Condon performance across the four quarters, and you can never question her work rate or determination to get to repeat contests. Though her effectiveness was diminished due to the Jets pressure, she never wavered in her attack on the ball or the opponent. Producing hard running throughout the four quarters, Condon kept cracking in and thoroughly deserved her 31 disposals, but just lacked that touch of experience around her in the midfield without the in-form Molly Walton there.

#11 Olivia Leonard

Gave the greatest assistance to Condon in the midfield, with the defender-turned-midfielder racking up 19 touches in a hard-working effort. She applied plenty of pressure to the opposition in order to force turnovers, and was able to win the ball between the arcs and really step up in the midfield. Though like Condon she had little time and space to work with, she just kept cracking in.

#39 Kalani Scoullar

Returning for her first game since Round 5, Scoullar tried hard across the four quarters, using her strength to advantage. Though at times she struggled with Western Jets ruck Akima Manoah‘s athleticism, Scoullar was able to use her body positioning to get the ball to her teammates. Her second efforts were good, and though she copped a knock in the second term at one stage, she was able to return and have an impact. She took a strong intercept mark in defence on a couple of occasions, ad finished with the six touches and game-high 26 hitouts.

Western Jets:

#13 Kristie-Lee Weston-Turner

In what was easily her best performance of the year, the bottom-age tall slotted three goals from 12 disposals and still laid eight tackles. Standing at 176cm, Weston-Turner has some nice athleticism in both her quick bursts and leap for a taller player. She kicked her first from a set shot from 40m in the second quarter, then kicked one of the longest goals in NAB League Girls history from effectively the centre circle to bounce home. Her third came on the run in the opening 30 seconds of the second half, showcasing her quick first few steps to kick it well. She showed some promise as a tall for next season.

#15 Sierra Grieves

Just a beautiful kick of the ball, Grieves has high footy IQ and is a player to watch for the future. The 2006-born Grieves had an equal team-high 20 disposals in the win, and she was clean with nearly every touch, be it in space, or under pressure. She kicked a great goal by snapping around her body in the fourth term, Overall her cleanliness throughout the game and use of the ball by hand or foot caught the eye.

#17 Lou-Lou Field

The standout best on ground, Field was sensational all game, moving from an intercepting role at half-back, into the middle where she caught attention with the first clearance when she went onball. One could hardly fault her work throughout the four quarters, winning one-on-one contests, outmarking much bigger opponents – including Scoullar, and able to hit targets from long distances with ease. Her reading of the play and footy smarts was simply superb, getting to the right spots time and time again. Though she was brilliant offensively, she will applied great pressure, and won the ball in each of the thirds of the ground. Field had a chance to kick a goal in the second term after a juggling intercept mark at the top of the forward 50, but it just bounced through for a behind. Not fazed by opposition pressure, this was Field’s breakout game despite having a number of eye-catching performances in the defensive 50 over the past couple of months.

#29 Kiera Leare

Stepped up to provide a bit of dash and flair to the midfield group in the absence of star talents Charlotte Baskaran and Montana Ham, Leare was one of the better Jets in the win, and had a number of chances on goal. She kicked a fantastic running goal from congestion in the fourth term, and missed chances in the second and fourth quarters after nice bursts away from opposition defenders. She showed her ability to create separation down the ground, arching the back and going for a run on a number of occasions, then kicking long.

  • Team
  • Northern Knights
  • Dandenong Stingrays

By: Michael Alvaro

Northern Knights:

#11 Maykaylah Appleby

Beginning to thrive in a relatively new role up forward, Appleby had quality match-ups but was lively most times the ball came her way. The over-ager warmed to the contest after sinking a goal in term two, and had several more shots at the big sticks throughout. She looked best when working up to the corridor and breaking back with her turn of speed, managing a few baulks and running bounce forays like the Appleby who shot out of the blocks as a bottom-ager. She also earned some late midfield minutes.

#15 Tarrah Delgado

Another of Northern’s experienced campaigners who stood up against stiff opposition, Delgado played in each third of the field. She started in defence and displayed her typically sound reading of the game, not afraid to peel off her direct opponent to intercept. She moved into the midfield in term two and used her size to have a say at the contest, working extremely hard to split the midfield battle. Some forward time came in the final quarter, and while Delgado was a solid target, she could not quite translate her presence into scoreboard impact.

#22 Ella Smallacombe

The third 2003-born Knight on this list, Smallacombe had one of her best games to date on Saturday, despite it not showing on the scoreboard. Playing high off the half-forward line, Smallacombe worked over each opponent she was faced with by presenting into the expanses of the wing and clunking a game-high nine marks. She was clean in her handling and helped Northern link towards goal, which was a tough ask given their dearth of scoring passages.

#23 Lulu Beatty

Getting some good form under her belt with four games notched up for the season, Beatty was another whose magnet shuffled on Saturday. The top-ager was an emergency in the Metro Under 18 squad, but turned out for the Knights with an initial role up forward. She worked high up the ground and looked to twist or turn her way back towards goal, although that sometimes invited pressure. When the heat came, Beatty was competitive and looked to bring that same energy when she was thrust into the midfield after half time.

Dandenong Stingrays:

#4 Olivia Robinson

Clearly the best player afield, Robinson served a timely reminder of her talents having only recently been overlooked for Vic Country selection. She seemed to be Dandenong’s go-to in multiple situations; at the stoppages as she ran through midfield, but also with hand-off opportunities within range of goal. The latter did not quite come off, though Robinson was the player most effective when delivering the ball inside 50, and found the goals herself on two occasions. Her natural kicking style got her great purchase on both conversions, from upwards of 35 metres out. She did it all for Dandenong, taking over from the regions’ top-end talent for the day.

#20 Jemma Ramsdale

Ramsdale was perhaps not one who dominated the stats sheet, but made plenty of important contributions with her intent and two-way tendencies from defence. She balanced both sides of the game well, taking up attacking positions behind the ball and advancing into the forward half at speed, but also tackling with plenty of vigour around the defensive 50. A real tone-setter on the day.

#21 Mikayla Williamson

One who started in her natural position but rolled into another, Williamson was able to showcase some of her most exciting traits. Outside run is her great strength, and the bottom-ager took it upon herself to snatch up as many metres as possible with run-and-carry. Her finishing product can be polished heading into her draft year, but Williamson brought some valuable attacking intent and got busy when shifted forward in the second half.

#37 Sarah Hosking

Captain for the day, Hosking stepped into the leadership role with aplomb and made some eye-catching plays in full flight. Named as an emergency for Vic Country, the over-ager was ferocious when the ball scrambled around at ground level, and her turn of speed allowed for swift breakaways onto the outside. Hosking started in defence but shifted up to the wing and could have hit the scoreboard on a couple of occasions. Her finishing touch lacked, but Hosking did well to take the game on and create moments out of seemingly nothing.

  • Team
  • Geelong Falcons
  • Eastern Ranges

By: Toby Mew

Geelong Falcons:

#2 Kara Stacey

Stacey kicked the first goal of the game out of a crumb before being thrown into the middle of the ground from the second quarter onwards. She had several clearing kicks deep inside 50 throughout the game, winning plenty of the ball at stoppages. Her speed and carry with the ball provided a much needed point of difference in a Falcons squad missing much of its star power. She is a prospect with a high ceiling if given the opportunity.

#7 Sara Howley

The under-ager started in the centre of the ground, having an early impact. The ball continually found itself in her hands, and she demonstrated an easy ability to clear the ball long on both left and right foot. Howley was thrown onto halfback for the second half, providing a much-needed attack out of defence for the Falcons. Her run and carry onto the wing, combined with excellent kicking accuracy, made her a valuable contributor.

#9 Ashleigh Van Loon

Considered unlucky by some to have missed out on playing in the Vic Country squad today, Van Loon showed selectors exactly what they missed out on. The inside midfielder was in amongst the ball every opportunity she had, laying out several players with 13 equally strong tackles. She also won plenty of tough possessions out of the stoppage and at ground level, demonstrating remarkable vision with several clearing handballs to teammates on the outside. A quiet second half by her standards still yielded several impressive plays, including a courageous intercept mark running back with the flight in defence. Hard to go past her as the Falcons’ best player afield.

#19 Johanna Sunderland

Tasked with the kickouts for the first half of the game, Sunderland was keen to gain as much meterage as possible before launching the ball through the middle of the ground. She often found and hit up difficult targets under pressure, particularly with long kicks. In the second half Sunderland played more of a running half-back role, and provided some extra dash out of defence with a couple of key scoring plays from her seven rebound 50s.

Eastern Ranges:

#6 Matilda Hardy

The Ranges over-ager was impressive lining up on the wing, having a strong influence on the final result. Hardy was often overlooked by the opposition, finding herself in space plenty of times with the ball in hand. Her disposal by foot was pinpoint, hitting up several targets in the forward 50 with ease, many of which turned into goals. Her ability to wheel and go off the mark was notable, as she often gained upwards of 15 metres before hitting a leading forward with ease.

#7 Jade Hutchinson

Thrown forward in the absence of several gun goal-kickers, Hutchison provided multiple avenues to goal. She showed excellent vision and ability to hit targets by hand and foot, directly assisting several Ranges goals. Hutchison also made multiple clever taps to teammates under pressure, always looking dangerous around the ball. She added two goals of her own to go with her 20 disposals in a highly entertaining display.

#16 Isabelle Khoury

Khoury had a standout game in the middle in the absence of star teammate Bridget Deed. The inside midfielder competed well with the Falcons’ Ash van Loon, winning 31 disposals herself having been matched up on her most of the game. Khoury had a dominant first half, clearing the ball from centre bounces deep inside 50, resulting in several scoring shots, before being thrown forward in the second half and booting a goal herself. Khoury showed herself to be a weapon both as an inside midfielder and a leading forward, always looking dangerous with or without the ball.

#17 Georgia Wilson

The medium sized forward had a day out, booting three goals playing in the mould of a key position player. Wilson was the most dangerous forward all game, leaving opponents in her dust with strong leads out of forward 50. She presented well and took several strong marks. Wilson could’ve had more goals on the board had she been more selfish – she assisted several more goals with precise kicking deep inside 50 to uncontested teammates. A welcome surprise packet.

#30 Georgie Pruden

Another forward who presented strongly at the ball, Pruden had a quietly dominant day out. She was an accurate kick under pressure, setting up two goals for her teammates. Pruden also tackled strongly in space, with a couple of textbook chasedowns and subsequent score assists. Pruden enjoyed the opportunity provided by the gun forwards missing from the Ranges side, and will be hoping to continue her run of form against the Jets.

  • Team
  • Calder Cannons
  • Sandringham Dragons

By: Michael Alvaro

Calder Cannons:

#16 Tahlia Read

With some quality out of the side, Read was one who stepped up in an action sense. The top-ager featured mostly in the forward half for Calder but pushed right up the ground to create some urgency in transition, proving clean and quick at ground level. Perhaps the most eye-catching part of Read’s game was her aerial effort, as she went back with the flight and competed in several marking contests to help Calder stay in possession close to goal. She ended up with 21 disposals, nine tackles and a major in a well-rounded outing.

#19 Kyla Forbes

A 2006-born talent to keep an eye on, Forbes joined Read in a quartet of Cannons who racked up 21 touches. Featuring in midfield, the under-ager added a bit of flair to the engine room with her swift step and ability to carry the ball to the outer. She pulled out an array of tricks, baulking, blind-turning, and wheeling her way out of trouble to get Calder going on the front foot. It was the 15-year-old’s best game to date.

#25 Kayley Kavanagh

Along with the likes of Amy Gaylor, Kavanagh was one of the many Calder midfielders whose clean handling was quite impressive. While perhaps not as flashy as other ball winners, the bottom-ager was required just one touch in most plays and proved strong enough to stand up amid the heat of the contest. She began to find more outside ball and drive her legs a little more than in other games, which is a positive sign as she continues to develop.

#27 Chloe Baker-West

Another exciting under-ager at the Cannons’ disposal, Baker-West is a 2007-born prospect with plenty to like at this early stage. She looks a natural type, able to carry the ball with confidence and showcase enough smarts to win out against bigger opponents both in the air and on the ground. Many of her possessions ended in long kicks, the most impressive of which was a quick shark and snap for goal in the fourth quarter. One to watch.

Sandringham Dragons:

#23 Charlotte Ryan

One who benefitted from Sunday’s representative action was Ryan, who attended many more centre bounces with some serious Sandringham quality turning out for Vic Metro. The over-ager was clean at ground level and, on a few occasions, displayed the turn of speed that went a long way to seeing her don the ‘Big V’ last year. Ryan backed her pace and looked to work her way to the outside whenever possible, compiling one of her better games for the season.

#30 Pia Staltari

Another who got her turn in midfield, Staltari’s class was evident whenever she got ball in hand. The over-ager was seen wheeling onto her favoured right side time and time again, getting great length on her kicks and showing potential for that asset to be a damaging one. She was able to hit a few handy targets in the front half, finishing as her side’s top ball winner with 21 disposals and seven inside 50s.

#34 Meg Webster

One of Sandringham’s rising bottom-agers, Webster displayed her raw ability and athleticism in another promising outing. Initially stationed behind the ball before a move into midfield, she warmed to the contest steadily and came out firing after half time. Her ability to compete aerially at 168cm was complimented well by bursting coverage of the ground, making many of her contributions stick in the mind.

#63 Mia Zielinski

Again the centrepiece of Sandringham’s attack, Zielinski found herself working much further afield this time out. When gaining possession up past the forward 50 arc, the bottom-ager was able to use her booming kick to put the ball into dangerous areas as she wheeled towards goal. For the sixth time out of seven games, Zielinski also found the big sticks with an easy conversion from a 50-metre penalty in the final quarter.

  • Team
  • Tasmania Devils
  • Bendigo Pioneers

By: Liam Badkin

Tasmania Devils:

#1 Brooke Barwick

The tough midfielder was again at the coalface for much of the contest, and was terrific at extracting the ball and delivering to teammates on the outside. She was great at using her body to gain the upper hand at stoppages around the ground, and was never stationary. Her highlight came in the second quarter, where she overcame a two-on-one contest by spinning away from the clutches of both opponents and sending the ball inside 50. Despite not racking up as much ball as some of her other outings, she was still a vital contributor in her side’s big win.

#7 Meghan Gaffney

Gaffney was excellent both inside and outside the contest for all four quarters, and her workrate was something to be applauded. Despite having a cracking start to the match, the Pioneers continued to give her space as she rotated between forward and the midfield. In a terrific effort, she set up a scoring shot by laying consecutive tackles inside forward 50, and she was dangerous with ball in hand as she positioned herself well to help lock the ball inside Tasmania’s half of the ground.

#14 Candice Belbin

Belbin was once again amongst the action in Tassie’s big win, and was a crucial part of their engine room as they gained midfield dominance. She did her best work in and around the contest, using her body and bringing plenty of physicality to the Devils, and was often rewarded for her efforts with a free kick. Like Gaffney, Belbin was also able to get involved in keeping the ball inside 50, taking an intercept mark and generating another score on her way to 14 touches for the day.

#15 Madison Brazendale

Brazendale delivered one of her best outings of the season against Bendigo, getting involved in pretty much everything and was one of Tassie’s strongest on the day. She worked extremely hard up and down the field on the wing and found plenty of the ball as a result. At stoppages, Brazendale was often used as the sweeper and performed strongly in this role, thwarting a number of opposition attacks and generating some run for her team.

#24 Georgia Clark

What a performance from the talented utility. Clark was the standout of the day and proved to be quite unstoppable ahead of the ball. She booted an equal game-high four goals (three in the first term alone), pulled down nine marks and racked up a team-high 24 touches. Her work both at ground level and in the air was marvellous, with the Bendigo defence having no answer for her dominant play. It has been quite the season for the 2005-born tall, whose star continues to get brighter by the week.

#36 Bellah Parker

Despite the opportunity to have had an even bigger outing, there is no denying the powerful presence of Parker during the match. She had nine shots on goal and while only three sailed through the big sticks, her work up forward was a massive part as to why Tasmania’s offence worked so well. Provided the highlight of the day when she evaded an opponent deep in the forward pocket and then drilled the goal from the tightest of angles, as the Devils officially went into party mode.

#44 Shania Saward

It was an outstanding second half from Saward, who really stamped her authority on the game in the third quarter. After a quiet-ish first half of play, Saward moved up forward where she provided another avenue to goal for Tasmania. She booted three goals in the third alone and finished with four for the day, a number of which came from her ability to stand strong through tackles and still get the ball to boot.

Bendigo Pioneers:

#1 Lila Keck

Despite a tough day in the office for her side as a whole, Keck fought hard all day and impacted the contest whenever she could. Rotating between midfield and forward, she did whatever what was required for the Pioneers. Whether it was extracting a much-needed clearance or playing taller than her height and competing in the air, Keck fought bravely to give her side a boost wherever possible.

#5 Lucia Painter

Bendigo’s best on the day, Painter battled hard in defence all day, constantly looking to thwart opposition attacks, and performed quite well despite the avalanche of inside 50s. She laid bone-crunching tackles, took intercept marks and provided plenty of run out of the back half, in a match where all of these came few and far between for Bendigo. Despite a tough result, Painter can still hold her head high after a terrific effort.

  • Team
  • Murray Bushrangers
  • Gippsland Power

By: Michael Alvaro

Murray Bushrangers:

#5 Zarlie Goldsworthy

It is broken record type stuff, but Goldsworthy was once again the clear best player afield as she lead all comers with 27 disposals, eight marks, nine tackles and two goals. The top-ager is an absolute machine, imposing herself on the contest with willing defensive efforts, but also hurting the opposition with her penetrative kicking, aerial ability, and eye for goal. In the most fitting measure of her impact, both of Goldsworthy’s two majors put Murray in front on the scoreboard. Most importantly, the second made for the game’s final lead change. She’s a star, and near-impossible to tie down.

#9 Zara Hamilton

One of a couple of Murray’s top end top-agers available in the midst of representative football, Hamilton again produced a solid outing on both sides of midfield. She initially started in the expanses of the wing, before being shifted into the centre bounces when Murray needed a lift. Her ability to carry the ball forward on the outside again came to the fore, and despite not quite hitting all her kicks, Hamilton contributed well with 23 disposals and 11 tackles.

#14 Molly Kennedy

One of two 2003-born players on this list for Murray, Kennedy resumed her role in the ruck and was largely competitive at the contest. The over-ager exceeded her initial duties, getting her hands dirty to get involved at the fall of the ball with 15 disposals and seven tackles. At 175cm, that is something she offers when playing such a role. With less experience available at the centre bounces as usual, Kennedy stepped up to ensure Murray could reply to the heat Gippsland brought.

#32 Mindy Quade

Another Murray over-ager, Quade finished as one of five players overall to kick two goals. Her scoreboard impact came at a crucial time too, as she sparked Murray’s inspired third term with an early goal, and put the Bushies in front at the final break with another. She owned the forward 50 in that period, proving difficult to combat in the air and reading the flight of the ball well to mark cleanly. Most importantly, she was able to convert most of her chances and set her side up to win.

Gippsland Power:

#9 Jemma Birss

One of Gippsland’s exciting under-agers, the 2006-born Birss had some good moments in defence. Channelling the exuberance of youth, she was not afraid to attack each contest she got to with vigour and sough to intercept as many Murray attacks as possible. Birss also provided some quick bursting drives on the rebound, completing her flashes with kicks for 12 of her 16 disposals.

#16 Ash Centra

The superlatives are quickly running out for Centra, who scarily still has several years left in the NAB League Girls system. Playing in her most natural forward post, Centra turned it on in the first half and produced something special with every touch. She was the player Gippsland wanted kicking the ball inside 50 as she hit targets from range, but was also the marking fold her side needed closer to goal. The under-ager’s clean hands and elite football IQ made for some must-watch passages, which words can hardly do justice at this early point. She was given less looks after half time and could have converted her chances better, but ended up with 16 disposals, seven marks and 2.2 in a losing effort.

#19 Ella Stoddart

Already a reliable defensive figure for Gippsland, the 2007-born Stoddart was another who produced plenty of excitement in the first half. Advancing a touch further afield, the under-ager was able to showcase her intercept abilities and flew for marks with confidence. She competed well in each contest she attended and while she was forced a bit deeper after half time, offered plenty of drive out of defence with nine rebound 50s from her 20 touches.

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