State Academy notes: WAFLW – Round 6

THE West Australian Football League (WAFL) Women’s competition resumed for Round 6 on the weekend and we took note of some of the top State Academy players to run out for their respective teams, as well as some other mature-age players who impressed. Though there were plenty of State Academy representatives to miss, some made their League debuts, and others returned after long-term layoffs.

All notes are the opinion of the individual author.

  • Team
  • West Perth
  • Subiaco

Just the single State Academy member played in this contest, with West Perth‘s Under 16s representative Chloe Shearing coming into the team. Playing forward, Shearing took her chance in the final term by reading the ball off hands to quickly put it to her boot and through the open goals from 20m out, only the second West Perth goal for the day. She finished with three disposals, two tackles and one goal in the loss. For the Claremont Tigers, their mature-age talents of Jayme Harken, Madizen Wilkins and Tarnica Golisano remained readymade options, whilst teenager Madison Dodd is a name to perhaps remember, continuing her good form with 15 disposals and six inside 50s in the win.

  • Team
  • Claremont
  • Peel Thunder


#49 Ella Slocombe

Coming in for her debut, Slocombe might have only had the four touches, but she had some eye-catching moments including an impressive goal in the first quarter. She could not get her hands clear in the opening term, but recovered in the congestion off the next play to the kick the Tigers’ second major. Slocombe also had a flying shot that just missed later in the game, but her pressure around the ground playing through midfield at times was good, it is just getting her to win more of the ball.


State Academy member Mackenzie Webb was solid once again in defence, winning a lot of her touches under pressure and finished with nine disposals – three kicks – and two marks. Jacinta Valentini was dangerous inside 50 with three goals, and Mikayla Western had some eye-catching moment despite a quieter game than the past couple of weeks.

Peel Thunder:

#8 Ella Roberts

The star talent returned to the Thunder lineup and though her side went down in its biggest defeat yet, it was clear Roberts’ ankle injury had not dulled her elite closing speed, and defensive intent. She was fierce, laid a number of big tackles, and charged out of attack with vigour. Though she was not as one-touch as she would normally be – due to such a long layoff – she certainly created buzz and looked every bit ready to get back on track for a huge 2022 AFLW Under 18 Championships. Roberts finished with 13 disposals, three marks, four tackles and 1.1, with her goal being a clever over the back major, and her behind being a poster running in under pressure. At one stage she mowed down Western in a big tackle.


The two other State Academy members in the game were Bella Mann and Megan Bain. Mann was her typical crash-and-bash self, putting her body on the line and even having to attend some ruck stoppages, picking up 10 disposals, four tackles, one hitout and one inside 50, whilst Bain had the two disposals and two tackles. Though not an Academy member as such, Sophie Johansen did not look out of place on debut, with the youngster picking up 11 disposals, two marks, two tackles and two inside 50s in the loss.

  • Team
  • East Fremantle
  • South Fremantle

East Fremantle:

#7 Georgie Cleaver

The ruck-forward was definitely more impactful in the latter, having to go up against the even more athletic, Wakfer. Cleaver still had some impressive moments and was one of her team’s best, mostly roaming at half-forward and through the middle, taking some good marks and showcasing her athleticism. She often won the ball and turned on a dime well, with her work inside 50 early allowing her to kick an early goal. She ran past her opponent and then made no mistake, before helping set up a goal to Teakle in the third term. Her tackling pressure at ground level, and aerial presence was definitely noticeable across the board. Cleaver recorded the 13 disposals, four marks, five tackles, two inside 50s and one goal in the win.

#38 Zippy Fish

Spending more time in midfield this game, Fish showcased her lovely disposal technique, with pinpoint passes into dangerous positions. She has the speed to break the game open, and though she does not always utilise it, she finds space well and hits target with ease. Fish always looks to move the ball on quickly and open the game up, and has already proven to be an exciting 2024 AFLW Draft prospect. Fish recorded 14 disposals, two marks, two tackles and three inside 50s in the victory.


Defensive talents Taya Chambers and Natasha Entwistle both stood up in the victory, with Chambers recording 17 disposals, one mark, two tackles and one inside 50 to be named among the Sharks’ best, whilst Entwistle had the 10 disposals, one mark and one tackle with some promising signs throughout the game. Julia Teakle was clearly the star of the show, slotting six goals in a dominant performance, and was our Player Focus for the week.

South Fremantle:

#1 Noa McNaughton

The exciting small forward always looked dangerous when the ball went into her area, and she was able to kick a fantastic second quarter goal with a hard running effort and bounce before kicking just as she was about to slip. Even in the first term she looked likely to hit the scoreboard, putting it into dangerous spots inside 50. She worked hard up the ground, and though at times she could be a touch more composed, her game and goal sense is undoubtedly high, and she is one to watch over the next couple of years.

#9 Lauren Wakfer

The AFLW Academy ruck had another impressive game, and up against a multitude of opponents. She was sometimes outmuscled at boundary throw ins against Laura Catherine, but easily had the jump on her opponent at the centre bounces. What really stood out for Wakfer was her around the ground work, which featured an outstanding sidestep to get past an opponent, which was a move that few rucks could ever pull off. She almost kicked a goal in the first term grabbing it out of the ruck 20m out, but was touched on the way through, and finished with 13 disposals, two marks, two tackles, 18 hitouts and one inside 50.


Not a massive ball-winner, Rosie Anderson returned to the side and just scared the living daylights out of any ball carrier with her lightning closing speed and defensive intent. She was only rewarded with four tackles to go with her four disposals, but her pressure acts would be through the roof. Molly O’Hehir was the other State Academy member in the match, impressing on a wing and as a target in the forward half, picking up 12 disposals, two marks, six tackles and two inside 50s, but was only able to utilise her long kick on three occasions.

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