Scouting notes: AFLW U18s – Queensland vs. Vic Metro
IN one of the better AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships games of the 2022 carnival thus far, Vic Metro needed a full four quarters to kick away from Queensland and remain undefeated. Both sides had some outstanding individual contributors, and we took note of how some of them fared in our Scouting notes.
All notes are the opinion of the author.
#1 Jasmyn Smith (Gold Coast Suns Academy)
Starting on-ball, Smith had a quiet first term before really getting into it in the final three quarters. By the end of the match, she had become a classy clearance player, finding space amongst a sea of ‘Big V’ jumpers. She generally used it well with time and space, went in hard and won the contested ball, and was able to turn on a dime and dispose of it. Though under pressure she can be rushed by foot, when she has the ability to take grass, Smith is not afraid to run and carry down the field.
#3 Tara Harrington (Gold Coast Suns Academy)
The pinpoint precise 2006-born talent spent time through the midfield and was able to hit up some unbelievable passes with her elite kicking skills. Her weighting of passes were good, and though she had one uncharacteristic turnover going inside 50, it did come after Harrington had beaten potential top pick Jasmine Fleming in a one-on-one contest. She had one shot on goal that just fell short, but overall she was clean, and still has two years to hone her craft.
#6 Nyalli Milne (Gold Coast Suns Academy)
Another rising talent, Milne has the need for speed in a big way. When she takes off it is the equivalent of humans testing their own land speed records, and Milne just simply cannot be beaten in a one-on-one foot race. Though she still needs to have the composure to be able to bounce cleanly at top speed, and then finish a little cleaner, she did do it in the second term from a wing to half-forward. A first quarter shot on goal was marked in the goalsquare, too. Still, Milne had the 10 touches, three clearances and six inside 50s.
#7 Ella Smith (Brisbane Lions Academy)
The Queensland captain cracked in across four quarters and steadily built up her touches to be among the top few ball winners for her side. Though the middle she was able to find space, kicking long down the ground more often that not, and being utilised as a mover via handball. A highlight was a huge tackle inside the defensive 50 in the first term to win a free, but she unfortunately just turned the next kick over. Still, she had the 16 disposals and three marks for the match.
#13 Charlotte Mullins (Brisbane Lions Academy)
Another Queensland player who had a quieter start to the game before working in well with a good second term and then bringing it in the last quarter. Now back spending time on the outside, the hard-at-it midfielder rekindled her slick use and class, not fazed about pressure and able to dispose of it cleanly. She was happy to work hard defensively and win the ball in the back pocket as a switch option, and had also begun winning the ball at stoppages when moved inside. She picked up 16 disposals, four clearances, two inside 50s and two rebound 50s in an impressive effort.
#20 Alana Gee (Gold Coast Suns Academy)
Another massive performance from the star AFLW Academy member, who was near untouchable in the midfield. In the first half alone, Gee racked up 15 disposals and kicked at 80 per cent by foot working between defence and through the middle. Gee’s speed, evasion and silky kicking going forward was vital in a pressure cooker game. Though she had many highlights, one early was running off half-back evading an opponent and kicking to the wing, and then another came late in the second term where she showed great clean hands deep in defence, hit a target, ran up to receive it again and then kicked down the ground. She also had the smarts to punch it along the ground on the wing at one stage after laying a tackle. Gee spent significant time inside 50 in the final term, then won the ball one-on-one and calmly slotted the only goal of the final term.
#28 Fleur Davies (Gold Coast Suns Academy)
After a quiet first term that featured two free kicks against and just one mark and kick close to the quarter time siren, the talented ruck-forward worked her way into the contest in a big way. Though unsurprisingly rotating with Havana Harris to win the ruck duel against Vic Metro, Davies pushed right up the ground at time to finish with the equal most marks for her team (five). Though she had one turnover in the final term after a good mark at half-back, she was effective with each of her other disposals, running at a 77.8 per cent efficiency. Davies provided a kick out option from defence, and was fierce around the ground, taking some strong marks and follow-up work.
#2 Reese Sutton (Calder Cannons)
One of the higher accumulating players on the ground, Sutton took her Metro chance with both hands with a prolonged match on a wing, looking to drive the ball forward. When having time and space, Sutton was able to look to put the ball into dangerous positions, and though she could be rushed when under pressure, she applied good pressure as she has come to be known. Her ability to find space and also be that wide option for teammates was good, having 19 disposals – 17 kicks – as well as six marks, four tackles and seven inside 50s, also kicking a couple of behinds on the day.
#3 Rylie Wilcox (Northern Knights)
The smooth-moving Wilcox had an impressive performance, and was able to break the lines and take grass from midfield going forward, and really have an impact on the game. The Northern Knights small was our Player Focus for the game, so check that out for a full wrap up of her 16 disposals, three inside 50s, two rebound 50s and two goals.
#6 Charlotte Baskaran (Western Jets)
Playing inside 50 for the first half, Baskaran amassed just the five touches and did not have the same impact on the game as she so often could. But injecting her into the midfield was a different story. The talented midfielder immediately got to work finding the ball at stoppages and getting it forward, showing great spatial awareness to not be rushed amongst a sea of opponents and five off by hand. She had a great clearances late in the third term to hit up Charlotte Taylor inside 50. Her second half was where she really took control in the game, finishing with 18 disposals, two marks, five tackles, three clearances and three inside 50s.
#7 Keely Coyne (Sandringham Dragons)
Working well in the forward half, Coyne was able to apply pressure around the stoppages and win the ball at the top of 50 to kick inside. She collected the ball and kicked inside 50 to set up some scoring opportunities with some nice touches by hand or foot. Late in the second term she kicked long to the top of the goalsquare, and continued to surge forward and be quick between possession by hand or foot.
#8 Sofia Hurley (Sandringham Dragons)
Bringing a balance of offensive and defensive traits, Hurley was able to impact particularly across the first three quarters, where she had 14 touches by the final break. She did not always have a lot of time and space, having to quickly win the ball then send it forward. Though at times her execution could be cleaned up under the pressure she also brought the heat with a match-high six tackles. Her statline of 17 disposals, two marks and five inside 50s showed a strong contribution to the cause.
#10 Jasmine Fleming (Oakleigh Chargers)
Though naturally finding herself around stoppages as usual, the potential top pick had a far heavier contested work load than usual, cracking in hard and being forced to dispose of it quickly under immense heat. She is quick to get boot to ball or by hand, and that helps. She finished with a 55 per cent disposal efficiency, but given she ran at at a 65 per cent contested rate, Fleming was able to be influential in getting the ball forward and finding the space to put it out in front of the running players such as Wilcox and Sutton on the wings.
#27 Montana Ham (Western Jets)
An absolutely incredible performance from the AFLW Academy member who spent the first half in the midfield and the second half inside 50. Ham brought her own ball to the game early, racking up double-digit disposals, and having 14 touches by half-time. Though the opposition tried to limit her influence, Ham went forward and immediately looked dangerous, having a dribble attempt that just missed in the third quarter, then nailed a set shot not long after. She hit up Charlotte Taylor inside 50 for a goal, then almost bounced home a ripper from outside 50 that just took a left term. In the final quarter she kept presenting given she was too tall and strong for her opponent, always looking to set up teammates going inside 50.