Scouting notes: AFLW U18s – Triple Header

A TRIPLE header at Avalon Airport Oval ended the 2022 AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships for the two Victorian sides – Country and Metro – as well as South Australia and Western Australia. We took note of some of the top performers from each of the six sides, including the Allies and Queensland who will face off in the final game on Saturday.

All notes are the opinion of the individual author.


By: Peter Williams


#1 Brooke Barwick

Barwick was a standout for the Allies across four quarters, starting strongly and always looking calm and composed with ball-in-hand. The small midfielder made good decisions and executed her disposals mostly to perfection, showcasing the talent she will be able to display next year as a top-ager. Her clearance work – racking up a game-high seven clearances – was outstanding, with her evasiveness particularly impressive in tight situations. Though sub-160cm, Barwick is an exciting talent to keep an eye on next year.

#5 Cynthia Hamilton

After an uncharacteristically quiet start – taking almost 15 minutes to win her first touch, Hamilton got back to business to finish with 19 disposals, the second most of anyone on her side. She was clean with a touch early in the second quarter, and though at times her disposal could be inconsistent – such as a short kick just falling short of a target after coming out of a stoppage in the second quarter – her ferocity at the contest was clear. She finished with a match-high nine tackles, and though not having her usual dominance around the stoppages, still contributed defensively.

#7 Zarlie Goldsworthy

Much like Hamilton, Goldsworthy took a while to get going, but then had a number of consecutive kicks late in the first term to really kick into gear. With the last kick of the first term, Goldsworthy kicked a great goal on the run, and continued to be an impressive player often at half-forward. She still rolled through the midfield and won a couple of clearances, but did her best work in the forward half, hitting up a nice kick in the second term from wing to half-forward, and setting up an Anderson goal with a kick to the goalsquare.

#8 Courtney Hingston

Having a really busy championships, Hingston was a rock in defence, and often tasked with the kickouts. She was able to provide some good run and carry out of defence to kick long down the ground on her way to a team-high seven rebound 50s. She is usually effective with her kicks, and also provides a running option by hand to drive the ball in transition.

#9 Claire Ransom

Whilst a number of her fellow midfielders started quietly, Ransom stepped up to the plate, winning a number of touches early in the match. She pushed forward to be the deepest option at one stage, took a mark and quickly turned around with the open goalsquare to for it to bounce home. Ransom’s work to et out of the congestion was impressive, and though her second half was quieter, she rotated well between midfield and forward, being another player ready for the handball receive through the stoppages and on the outside.

#17 J’Noemi Anderson

Playing a highly contested role onball then pushing forward, the AFLW Academy member was able to have her moments throughout the game, on her way to 15 disposals, four tackles, four clearances and four inside 50s. She was able to run up to a ball in the goalsquare and kick it mid-air through to ensure she kicked a goal at the championships. Quick with her disposal, Anderson won a high volume of her disposals at the contest.

Western Australia:

#3 Emily Elkington

The silky Claremont midfielder made the most of her disposals after a quiet start to the game. She started having an impact in the second term with six touches, including a nice move from the stoppage to evade an opponent and kick cleanly to a teammate. Elkington’s recorded an elite 90 per cent by foot emphasising her skill, and she was quite often the player utilised to kick inside 50. What makes Elkington extra damaging is her incredible defensive pressure as well, laying a match-high nine tackles in the win.

#8 Kayla Van Den Heever

Stepping up again from her earlier games, the bottom-ager had a number od impressive kicks, including a piercing one to set up Blurton inside 50. She was effective with her disposals, finishing with a 75 per cent efficiency, but critically took the second most marks in the game with five, showing her one-on-one strength. She also created some scoring opportunities going inside 50.

#13 Tara Stribley

Returning back to the Western Australia line-up, Stribley had some good moments that caught the eye even if they were not consistent throughout four quarters. She had seven touches in the first half, but was quieter after that to finish with 10, though did set up a goal to Blurton by hand, copping a knock from the release handball. She had been involved in a number of forward plays, and even had a snap on goal in the first term that was marked on the goalline.

#14 Abbygail Bushby

Bushby provided some great run and carry on the toutside, and even rolled through the onball to split her ball-winning methods. She was often looking for the pinpoint passes by foot, though was often rushed with her handballs, not able to quite pinpoint them. Despite a quieter final term, Bushby finished with a handy 15 disposals, also laying five tackles, quite often against stronger opponents.

#18 Jaime Henry

Having pieced together a nice carnival, Henry had another strong game of 17 disposals, three marks, four tackles three clearances, three inside 50s and two rebound 50s to cover all bases. In the second term, Henry had an impressive moment by fending off an opponent inside 50, but just sprayed the kick to the left. It was a part of a seven-disposal second term after a quiet start, and her touches were often in congestion, though she still had an impact.

#19 Bella Mann

The captain lead form the front with a really strong game and arguably one of her best from an impact perspective. Though no stranger to putting her body on the line and competing each time she took the field, her disposal – bar one turnover kicking into the middle – was outstanding and she hit each of her other eight kicks with precision. She also took a couple of contested marks, and positioned herself well one-on-one and assisted the defence and being a kick behind play through the middle. One example of her mindset was flicking off a handball to a teammate then immediately applying a shepherd.

#26 Ella Roberts

There is no much to be said about Roberts that has not been said before, but the star player with clean hands, great goal sense and an ability to turn a game, racked up 21 disposals, seven marks, five tackles, two clearances, four inside 50s and booted 2.2. Her move into the midfield proved crucial to the Sandgropers’ victory, and for notes on her full performance, check out her Player Focus.


#27 Alli Nokes

The reliable defender produced an outstanding performance with her work rebounding from the back half very notable. She worked hard across the four quarters, mopped up deep in defence and often took the kickouts and cleared the defensive zone. With the team under siege in the third quarter, Nokes racked up a game-high 10 touches in the term and had a number of good moments. They included rushing a behind in the goalsquare to save a certain goal, and then taking a strong intercept mark and clearing the ball from danger.

#40 Tamashya Blurton

Making the most of her limited chances, Blurton only had three kicks in the second half, but all were goals, with two coming in the final term. She positioned herself well in front of her opponent and used her strength to mark, making good of any opportunities that came her way in the second half. Heading into the main break she had just two disposals, and then finished the game with six, but three of the next four were goals, indicating her impact on the game.


By: Michael Alvaro

Vic Metro:

#2 Reese Sutton

Sutton was a consistent performer for Metro across the carnival, and capped off her campaign strongly with a few nice moments against South Australia. The Calder Cannons co-captain lined up on the wing and looked to take the game on where possible with a bit of dash. She competed well and backed her speed on the outer, before shifting into the centre bounces as Metro looked to salvage the game.

#3 Rylie Wilcox

You would be hard pressed to find a tougher and more reliable player at 158cm than Wilcox, who dug deep for Metro. The crafty winger worked both ways on the outside and proved clever in traffic, getting busy with nifty shifts to navigate tight spots and look for ways to advance forward. Wilcox was in the wars during term three having copped a few heavy hits, including a Hannah Ewings fend-off, but absorbed each blow and kept soldiering on.

#6 Charlotte Baskaran

The Western Jets premiership skipper seldom has any trouble finding the ball and while Baskaran did so with 15 touches on Friday, she also achieved the rare feat of laying more tackles with a whopping 16. Given the power present in both engine rooms, Baskaran was made to work hard and had little room to take toll with her possessions, but gave whatever she copped back in full as her underrated two-way tendencies came to the fore.

#8 Sofia Hurley

Utterly dominant at times, Hurley formed a potent one-two punch with Montana Ham at stoppages and ended up as Metro’s most prolific ball winner with 25 disposals. The Sandringham Dragons standout is lauded for her hard running and leant on that work rate to not only rack up her own possessions, but shut down the opposition’s with effective tackles. Hurley’s evasive skills and inside-outside balance were on show, as she stamped herself as one of Metro’s most consistent players throughout the day. Along with Ham, she turned it on in term four and provided plenty of drive for her side.

#9 Mia Busch

Another smaller player coaches can rely on to have a real crack, Busch competed as hard as anyone throughout the four quarters. She was kept busy across half-back and worked high up the ground in aggressive attempts to intercept. Her ability to win the ball back for her side proved important and while her delivery was not always polished under duress, Busch was relentless in her pursuit to drive Metro forward from the back half.

#19 Laura Elliott

Being able to present your greatest strengths on the big stage is what the Under 18 championships are all about, and that is exactly what Elliott did on Friday. The prolific interceptor only ended up with nine touches and three marks, but took each one cleanly from great spots behind the ball. She read the play well and was just about unbeatable aerially, making her responsible for keeping Metro in with a fighting chance at times.

#27 Montana Ham

Easily the best player afield for her side alongside Hurley, Ham produced a sparkling display which very nearly helped Metro snatch an unlikely win from nowhere. She got to work immediately and was incredibly clean in contested situations, bringing the ball to the outside with unmatched power and sound distribution. Her neat handling translating to marking dominance too, and that was particularly evident during term four as Ham shifted forward in a truly inspired 20 minutes of football. Presenting on the lead, intercepting opposition kicks, and hitting the scoreboard, Ham was everywhere and may well have cemented herself as the top Victorian prospect. At the very least, she was rightly named Metro’s MVP.


South Australia:

#3 Georgia McKee

While certainly a quieter outing by her already lofty standards, McKee produced a few handy moments which point towards her potential as a top prospect for 2024. She spent most of the game up forward where Metro defender Brooke Plummer kept her honest, but also earned some midfield minutes and looked to provide a spark around the ball for South Australia. She got her hands on the ball in patches and tried her best to showcase her skill and step, but ultimately 11 touches with the added attention. It should put her in good stead for the future.

#8 Piper Window

A strong part of South Australia’s forwardline, Window imposed herself on the contest with physical work and tackling pressure in the attacking half. She got her hands on the ball early with a solid overhead mark as SA broke from the middle, generally presenting well to half-forward. Window’s tackling was the real feature though, as she laid nine to go with 17 disposals, setting a good tone for the victors.

#10 Ella Boag

Boag cemented her spot on the wing for South Australia and presents as an interesting prospect given her height (170cm) and running ability. The Glenelg product popped up for some promising moments in the opening half, including a running goal during term two as she looked to break forward for the Croweaters and do some damage in transition.

#15 Sarah Goodwin

Once again taking her place across half-back, Goodwin continued to showcase her value as a running defender with plenty of drive out of South Australia’s backline. She backed her pace to spark many a transition for the Croweaters, giving them a sense of potency moving forward with her lively and largely positive play. Her ability to advance the ball was damaging, but could have been capped with a touch more consistency on her kicks, albeit mostly delivered at full tilt.

#16 Shineah Goody

The bottom-aged AFLW Academy member was in irresistible touch on Friday en route to earning the nod as South Australia’s MVP. There will be plenty of easy headlines, ‘good’, bad or otherwise, to come from Goody’s play over the next year, starting with another scintillating representative outing. Notching a game-high 27 disposals, six clearances and two goals, things seemed to slow down when Goody got the ball and she made all the right decisions with a cool head in crises. The midfielder-forward booted both her goals from set shots in the third term, proving polished with each touch and hurting Metro with pure class. She’ll be right up there in next year’s crop.

#31 Hannah Ewings

There’s not much more to add about Ewings that has not already been said, but the hardened South Australian midfielder-forward finished off her carnival strongly. She got her side on the board with a goal in term one and had no trouble winning the ball at stoppage. Her power was useful in those situations and having won 23 disposals and five clearances overall, she also brought great physicality to the contest. Ewings’ most memorable play was an earth-shattering tackle on Montana Ham, but her penetrative kicking and a late smother were other features of a terrific game.

#39 Matilda Scholz

A physically imposing figure at Under 18s level, Scholz brings much more than pure brawn and largely had it her own way in the ruck. The Glenelg talent knocked down 24 hitouts against a strong array of Metro talls, but also dug in to win 14 touches and three clearances. She was clever with her hits at times and made her presence felt with a big third term – her best passage came in said period, bringing down Montana Ham with a tackle before hitting a neat short kick to centre half-forward.


By: Peter Williams

Vic Country:

#2 Keeley Skepper

The Murray Bushrangers talent made it back-to-back top-age MVPs having won the same award for Country’s best player two years earlier at the very same ground. In the match, Skepper was prolific on the outside, providing some serious drive, and her kicking was at some of her best she had showcased over the years. Having a quieter first term, Skepper really started to get going in the last three quarters, in particular the third term where she worked hard back into defence, and found it on a wing as well. In the game, Skepper recorded an elite 81.3 per cent disposal efficiency, made all the more remarkable by a 50 per cent contested rate.

#5 Yasmin Duursma

Playing arguably her best game in either NAB League or AFLW Under 18 Championships, Duursma was Country’s best player on the day, racking up a team-high 21 disposals, five marks and seven rebound 50s, whilst also laying four tackles. Though having cut her teeth as a midfielder with Gippsland Power, she had spent more time in the back half of the ground in her top-age year, and she did just that in the match against Queensland, mopping up time and time again. She used it well working hard, and though she got herself into trouble at one stage in the first term trying to play on, her ball use by hand or foot throughout the match was exemplify.

#6 Amber Clarke

The Stingrays speedster had another ‘almost’ game at the championships, kicking one goal from three scoring shots. Her sole major came in the second term, where Clarke recovered from an initial fumble to snap around her body successfully. She was clean at ground level and quick to get boot to ball, with one attempt hitting the post in the first term, and a number of other chances either just falling short or narrowly missing.

#18 Emily Everist

Seemingly piecing together the best of her carnival into one game, Everist had her most consistent performance to-date to finish with 15 disposals, three marks, four tackles and three rebound 50s. Providing some nice dash from the defensive half of the ground, Everist had nine first-half disposals and was on from the get-go, but still had some important plays later in the game. One of the more consistent Country players on the day.

#21 Elizabeth Dowling

The over-age Geelong Falcons prospect can hold her head high after a really consistent carnival for Country, having stepped up into the midfield and being a key extractor from the on-ball brigade. She cracked in, put her body on the line, and did not take a backwards step on her way to be the main clearance player for the losing side. Picking up five clearances and 10 tackles with a heavily-leaning contested rate, Dowling might not have the precision skills of some others, but she has the penetration and he work in close is strong. Having played on all three lines now, one cannot be much more versatile than Dowling.


#1 Jasmyn Smith

Again spending significant time in midfield in the second half, Smith was one of the more prolific ball users in the match, and came alive after a quiet first half. Heading into the main break, Smith had just four disposals to her name. By the end of the game she would have 15, and be able to utilise her short, precise kicking game to advantage. Smith was clever in grabbing loose balls, and able to take it from contested situations to space, winning another five clearances in the match, the same as Queensland’s loss to Vic Metro. Despite the quiet start, Smith definitely ended up one of the more notable players in the game.

#3 Tara Harrington

The talented 2006-born Harrington is so clean by hand or foot and can nail kicks that few others can over various distances. She uses her vision and footy smarts to set up opportunities going forward, and even had a long-range shot on goal that just fell short when it was marked in the square, but still created a goal for her side. Harrington was the opposite to Smith in the fact she racked up 10 of her 11 disposals in the first half before rotating from the wing.

#6 Nyalli Milne

Another bottom-age player who caught the eye once again and particularly early, Milne has some ridiculous speed and once goalside is impossible to stop. She clunked a great mark in the first term and duly converted the set shot, but also had a bit of a brain fade when pushing Skepper towards the fence and giving away a free kick on the wing. Though she went quiet in the last term without many opportunities, Milne was hard to miss with her breakaway speed and willingness to take the game on through the first three quarters.

#7 Ella Smith

The Brisbane Lions Academy hardnut cracked in as expected and came away as the most dominant ball-winner on the ground. Smith stepped up in the final term with the game on the line and lead by example as she recorded a massive nine touches, and finished the game with 22 disposals. Her full performance was analysed in our Player Focus for the match.


#13 Charlotte Mullins

Again playing a smooth-moving outside role, Mullins showed her class with each touch in the early stages of the game, and continued to be someone to watch going inside 50 right until the final siren. Mullins only had the one touch in the last term – but was an inside 50 – with her third quarter the biggest. She did end up giving away five free kicks in the contest, but her drive and willingness to run and put the ball forward with precision was important.

#19 Imogen Evans

The captain of the day, Evans started strong returning to her preferred midfield role, and cracked in as expect. She was really busy to hit up Caitlin Miller in the first term with a pinpoint pass, and was the recipient of two 50m penalties for encroachment in the game. It allowed her to have a number of inside 50s, but she also did the defensive things well such as a massive tackle on Paige Scott late in the game. In the end, Evans finished with 13 disposals, four inside 50s and two rebound 50s.

#20 Alana Gee

The top Queensland talent continued her great carnival with another eye-catching game. She started with a good mark at half-back, then showed her composure to move the ball from the area to half-forward, won a free kick at the next play, then hit up a teammate with a sizzling pass. She had a snap on goal in the second term but just missed, sold some candy in the same quarter with a clever sidestep and inside 50, and nailed another pinpoint pass in the third term to open up the game. Though the stats may say she kicked at 33 per cent, it is a perfect example of how they do not tell the full story, with her best clearly a class above at times.

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