2022 RM Central NAB League Girls Team of the Year
OUR 2022 Rookie Me Central NAB League Girls Team of the Year is in, and grand finalists Western Jets and Dandenong Stingrays have lead the way with a combined seven representatives. Whilst they both unsurprisingly had multiple representatives, so did Murray Bushrangers and Sandringham Dragons (three), Eastern Ranges and Oakleigh Chargers (two). The remaining seven NAB League Girls clubs had one representative in the side. In 2022, we also had co-captains, with all the information listed player-by-player below.
Lucia Painter (Bendigo Pioneers)
The last line of defence features one of two 2006-born players in the side, with Bendigo young gun Lou Painter earning a spot in the back pocket, but being capable of playing anywhere on the field. She earned an incredible seven Team of the Week nominations throughout the year, and averaged 21.1 disposals, 2.6 marks, 7.0 tackles, 3.4 inside 50s and 4.9 rebound 50s.
Georgia Foran (Sandringham Dragons)
The strong Dragons defender was a standout in locking down the back 50, and particularly intercepting a lot of forward forays by the opposition. She automatically made the side thanks to her five Team of the Week nominations, and averaged a league-high 8.7 rebound 50s, whilst also averaging 14.4 disposals, 3.1 marks and 1.7 tackles.
Jamie-Lee Speakman (GWV Rebels)
After an unlucky run with injury, Speakman made her top-age season count with an outstanding year in defence, before being thrown forward later in the year. Including two games where she picked up 20-plus disposals, Speakman averaged 14. disposals, 4.6 marks, 2.4 tackles and 4.0 rebounds, before kicking four goals in her last three games as a forward. Speakman made Team of the Week twice, but was also an emergency.
Keeley Skepper (Murray Bushrangers)
The Murray Bushrangers talent showcased her versatility in 2022, developing from an inside midfielder to a running defender, but also going forward against NT and hitting the scoreboard. Making our Team of the Week four times this season, Skepper had three 30-plus disposals games, and only dipped below 20 disposals once from Round 3 onwards (19 disposals in Round 7). She averaged 24.2 disposals, 3.0 marks, 4.3 tackles, 4.8 inside 50s and 4.1 rebound 50s.
Mackenzie Eardley (Dandenong Stingrays)
A standout key defender, and co-captain of the Dandenong Stingrays, Eardley had a quiet Round 1, before really stepping up and hardly putting a foot wrong all season. Her best was outstanding, and she often pushed up the ground, averaging 14.1 disposals, 3.3 marks, 4.6 tackles, 1.1 inside 50s and 4.0 rebound 50s, and she made four Team of the Week’s.
Mia Busch (Eastern Ranges)
Progressing from a running half-back to a defender-midfielder in 2022, Busch stepped up later in the season in the absence of captain Bridget Deed with remarkable consistency. Only once did the talented top-ager drop below 15 disposals, and she made five Team of the Week sides to automatically qualify for our Team of the Year. Busch averaged 18.5 disposals, 3.4 marks, 5.8 tackles, 2.6 inside 50s and 2.6 rebound 50s in season 2022.
Zara Hamilton (Murray Bushrangers)
The highest accumulating winger in the competition, Hamilton was able to also spend time on the inside and forward in season 2022. She became a dominant ball-winner racking up 20-plus disposals in all bar two games, including a huge 38-disposal effort against GWV Rebels in Round 3. Making four Team of the Week’s this year, Hamilton finished her season with an average of 24.1 disposals, 2.2 marks, 6.1 tackles and 5.0 inside 50s.
Bridget Deed (Eastern Ranges)
Playing the least amount of games of any player in the Team of the Year, Deed earned a spot in the Team of the Week in all five matches she played to automatically qualify for the side. She had between 27 and 36 disposals in each of her games, and was effectively best on ground in just about all of them. Deed has headed off to Hawthorn after a season of 32.2 disposals, 3.4 marks, 6.8 tackles, 5.2 inside 50s and 2.2 rebound 50s.
Taylah Gatt (Dandenong Stingrays)
From the biggest ball-winner in the team to the lowest, Gatt is the living embodiment of why stats do not tell the full story. Averaging 10.8 disposals, 1.5 marks, 1.9 tackles and 2.7 inside 50s, they hardly jump off the page. But throw in her ball-use, metres gained and ability to create something special every time she went near it, and Gatt caught the eye with just about every touch. A high potential player who made the two Team of the Weeks, but earned a spot as a specialist winger.
Zarlie Goldsworthy (Murray Bushrangers – co-captain)
The most consistent player in the NAB League Girls competition, Goldsworthy took out our Rookie Me Central Medal for 2022, kicking a goal in every game for a total of 14 for the season. She earned a spot in more Team of the Week’s than any other player (seven plus one emergency) and was well on her way to making it a perfect sweep in her final game against the Bushrangers prior to having to be stretchered off just before half-time after colliding with a goal post. In her first season of NAB League Girls, the top-ager averaged 24.9 disposals, 4.3 marks, 9.0 tackles and 6.0 inside 50s in what was simply a sensational year.
Ash Centra (Gippsland Power)
The other 2006-born player with Painter to make the side, Centra lines up at centre half-forward after being a standout for Gippsland in each of her games. The 173cm talent played both through the midfield and up forward, kicking 9.10 for the season and picking up 15-plus disposals in all bar two of her eight games. She made six Team of the Weeks to earn the automatic place in the side, and averaged 16.0 disposals, 3.4 marks, 2.8 tackles and 4.4 inside 50s.
Jasmine Fleming (Oakleigh Chargers)
One of the highly touted prospects coming into the season, Fleming had a consistent season when she was in the team, making the most of her elite foot skill and burst from the stoppage. She made five Team of the Weeks from six games, averaged 25.7 disposals, 3.3 marks, 4.8 tackles, 4.2 inside 50s and 2.3 rebound 50s. Though she only kicked goals in one game, Fleming would often rest forward and create opportunities for others.
Amber Clarke (Dandenong Stingrays)
The AFLW Academy member had an exciting season, and overcame what looked to be a serious injury in the first term against Eastern Ranges in Round 6. She did not miss a beat though, and earned Best on Ground in the NAB League Girls Grand Final, slotting 2.2 from 28 disposals. Across her 10 NAB League games this season, Clarke averaged 17.4 disposals, 2.7 marks, 2.6 tackles and 4.6 inside 50s.
Elizabeth Dowling (Geelong Falcons)
Finishing the season on 14 goals, the defender turned forward then midfielder became a reliable source of scoring in 2022. She had double-digit disposals in every game she played, and slotted 11 of her 14 goals in the first three weeks. Dowling finished the year with 16.6 disposals, 2.0 marks, 4.6 tackles and 1.7 inside 50s, and made our Team of the Week three times.
Caitlin Sargent (Western Jets)
A no brainer for the Team of the Year, Sargent lead all-comers by season’s end in the goalkicking, sharing the award initially with Murray’s Mindy Quade on 17 after the regular season, then kicked four more in finals to finish on 21. She was a force to be reckoned with inside Western’s forward 50, making a couple of Team of the Week’s, but kicking goals in all bar one game. Sargent averaged 9.2 disposals, 2.9 marks, 3.4 tackles and 1.9 inside 50s, and 2.1 goals per game as well.
Krystal Russell (Western Jets)
Recording the most hitouts of any NAB League Girls player for a second successive year, Russell was enormous for the Jets in getting first delivery down to her teammates. Though not a known goalscorer – at all – Russell kicked her first major with the last kick of the season to deliver Western its first flag in club history. Russell was no stranger to hitouts though, averaging 23.8, as well as 9.5 disposals, 4.5 tackles and 1.2 inside 50s, making three Team of the Weeks.
Montana Ham (Western Jets)
An incredible ball-winner, Ham lived up to all expectations this year, with another big season at the coalface. After a strangely quiet opening game, Ham did not dip below 20 disposals all season, and picked up 30-plus disposals twice, whilst having a massive influend in the preliminary final. Recording six Team of the Week’s from eight regular season games, Ham was outstanding and averaged 24.1 disposals, 3.4 marks, 5.8 tackles and 6.0 inside 50s. She also lead the behind count without a goal, kicking 12 behinds for the season.
Charlotte Baskaran (Western Jets – co-captain)
There might be a theme to this onball brigade, but it was no surprise to the Jets skipper slot in here next to her teammates. Baskaran earned co-captaincy of our Team of the Year this season after six Team of the Week nominations from eight matches, and recording no lower than 21 disposals all season. She did pick up three 30-plus disposal games as well and was second in our Rookie Me Central Medal count.
Keely Coyne (Sandringham Dragons)
Automatically making the side after five Team of the Week nominations, Coyne had a consistent year for the Dragons, averaging 21.2 disposals across nine matches. In her regular season games, her disposal count went between 16 to 22, showing the same level each and every game.
Sofia Hurley (Sandringham Dragons)
Another Dragon on the bench, Hurley finished in the top five for average disposals this season, and only had below 20 disposals once (19). She had back-to-back 30-plus disposal games at the end of the season, and finished with four Team of the Week nominations.
Ava Jordan (Northern Knights)
The Northern Knights pocket rocket is the only non draft-eligible player to be picked for the squad. The 2005-born Jordan has been a special player since bursting onto the scene last year, and she continued that again this season with another consistent year. Jordan averaged 25.0 disposals, 2.6 marks, 6.4 tackles, 3.6 inside 50s and 2.0 rebound 50s, and having six 20-plus disposal games including two 30-plus games.
Claire Ransom (Tasmania Devils)
Though her year ended early, Ransom showed her usual class throughout, being near the Devils best player most weeks. She was able to still average 19.4 disposals, 2.6 marks, 4.6 tackles and 4.1 inside 50s despite being hampered in the last game, before being ruled out for the remainder of the NAB League season (final two games). Ransom made five Team of the Weeks from seven games.
Reese Sutton (Calder Cannons)
Sutton produced a remarkably consistent season, earning six Team of the Week nominations, and being one of the most renowned tacklers in the competition. In an even side, Sutton stepped up each week to average 8.3 tackles per game, as well as 19.7 disposals, 1.0 marks, 3.9 inside 50s and 1.4 rebound 50s for the Cannons.
Charlotte Taylor (Oakleigh Chargers)
Completing the squad of 24 is another strong midfielder in Oakleigh’s Taylor who gave her all each and every week. despite having niggles here and there, Taylor crashed and bashed her way to an average of 17.4 disposals, 2.3 marks, 6.9 tackles and 3.1 inside 50s, making the Team of the Week five times from her eight games.
Olivia Robinson (Dandenong Stingrays) | Georgia Clark (Tasmania Devils) | Rylie Wilcox (Northern Knights)
It was just as tricky to pick the three players to fill the emergency slots, but they went to the remaining three players with four nominations. Dandenong’s Robinson was really consistent, particularly in the second half of the season at half-forward, whilst Wilcox was a star when out on the park and not battling injury. Clark was the most unlucky not to make it, but with the Team of the Year edged towards top-agers and draft-eligible players Dowling got the preference, but Clark is rewarded with an emergency spot.