AFTER going undefeated in last year’s AFL Women’s Under 19 Championships, Vic Country ended up going through 2022 without a victory. The Country side had a couple of heavy losses to Vic Metro (53 points) and South Australia (92) before pushing Queensland but eventually going down by 11. We take a look at some of their top performers.
MVP: Keeley Skepper (Murray Bushrangers)
The Murray Bushrangers utility spent a lot of time behind the ball, but also rotated through her familiar inside midfield position, following on the trend that was her top-age NAB League Girls season for the Bushies. She finished with averages of 15.7 disposals, 2.7 marks, 4.0 tackles and 3.3 rebound 50s, trying hard in the defensive half of the ground. Though her team was ultimately overwhelmed, Skepper was a shining light throughout the carnival. Her first game against Vic Metro she amassed more disposals than anyone else on her team, though kicked at just 40 per cent efficiency. In her final two games however, the midfielder-defender went at 71.4 and 69.2 per cent efficiency respectively.
Mackenzie Eardley (Dandenong Stingrays)
The AFLW Academy member was a consistent performer alongside Skepper, and was her side’s best against South Australia in the heavy loss. Though she was ultimately overwhelmed with the amount of inside 50s, Eardley finished the carnival averaging 12.3 disposals, 1.7 marks, 4.0 tackles and 4.3 rebound 50s, to be one of the standout key defenders across the board.
Amber Clarke (Dandenong Stingrays)
The speedster had some flashes of brilliance across the three games, but playing predominantly forward, it was a touch task in the side with the least inside 50s. She only ended up kicking the one goal, but averaged 13.0 disposals, 2.7 marks, 2.7 tackles and then 2.0 clearances when she went inside. Her work to move up the ground and amass 11 inside 50s was the most of anyone on her side, and she was key to launching scoring attacks.
Paige Scott (GWV Rebels)
Last year’s leading goalkicker at the championships did not quite have the same opportunities available as 12 months prior, but still had some flashy moments similar to Clarks. She slotted two goals from 10.3 disposals, 2.7 tackles and 2.7 inside 50s, and looked the most dangerous forward when Clarke was playing further up the field.
Tegan Williams (Bendigo Pioneers)
The Pioneers key forward turned it on at Adelaide Oval in the first half against South Australia, slotting two goals and looking incredibly dangerous as a leading target. Like Clarke and Scott the opportunities were not really there for the majority of the carnival, but she still clunked some big marks to finish with 9.3 disposals, 3.7 marks and 3.0 inside 50s across her three games.
Elizabeth Dowling (Geelong Falcons)
The overage prospect played predominantly inside midfield in the carnival and used her strength to advantage at the stoppages. She was among the top clearance players in the carnival, averaging 3.7 per game. She also picked up 13.7 disposals, 6.3 tackles and 2.0 inside 50s in the championships, and did her draft chances no harm by further illustrating her versatility this year.