AFLW Present & Future Draft Watch: Carbone lives out dream

IN a new weekly piece on Rookie Me Central, we hone in on those players to remember for the AFLW Draft, present and future. With four new AFLW clubs joining the competition, spots will heat up, and players will be looking to put their best foot forward. For this piece, we have looked at those players who might not be catching the headlines, but are worth both clubs and fans keeping an eye on. Today’s article focuses around the AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships and state leagues across the country.

PRESENT (2022 AFLW Draft)

Top young Vics to test themselves against draft’s best

In a match similar to the Young Guns game, some of the more underrated players both of top-age eligibility and over and mature-age calculations will take to the field as part of the Under 23 All Stars Team to take on the AFLW Academy side (with some additions to round out the squad). The Under 23 All Stars side is made up of predominantly Victorians, but does feature both Tasmanians and Northern Territory talents too.

Though in the traditional sense this kind of exhibition game is often for prospects who have been overlooked, or have lacked game time throughout the year due to injury, there are actually a number of top talents running around in the team. Among the highly rated prospects are Top 20 possibilities Charlotte Taylor and Rylie Wilcox, as well as Vic Country Most Valuable Player (MVP) at the AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships Keeley Skepper.

Eastern Ranges duo Mia Busch and Mia Austin, Tasmanian duo Candice Belbin and Meghan Gaffney, and Calder Cannons duo Abbey McDonald and Reese Sutton are among the other players to watch. Among some of the more mature-age talents in the game are Casey Demons’ Tahlia Fellows, Geelong VFLW’s Tamara Smith and Western Bulldogs’ VFLW Eliza Vale. North Adelaide forward Doreena Hansen is a Territorian named who has shown some exciting signs this year.

Golisano takes game to another level

Few players have enjoyed as consistent of a season as Subiaco captain Tarnica Golisano, even if the results have not always gone her way. The one-time Fremantle listed player managed four games in the inaugural 2017 season of the AFL Women’s, but has not been able to force her way back to the top level as of yet. Now 25-years-old, the consistent midfielder is averaging 19 touches and five tackles per game at WAFL Women’s level for the Lions. On the weekend she picked up a season-high 29 touches in the win over South Fremantle, and just kept getting to the right spots. With neat skills and good decision making, Golisano has the traits to earn a second chance at the top level, and is still young enough to be around for a while yet.

Carbone gets her chance

Talented Northern Territory young gun Dominique Carbone finally got her AFL Women’s chance, being picked up by Hawthorn during the week. The Darwin Buffettes star – who was named best on ground in the 2021/22 NTFL Women’s Grand Final – was given the good news during the week. In 2019, Carbone represented Northern Territory and the Central Allies at the AFLW Under 18 Championships, and spoke of her determination to get to the top level regardless of how long it took.

“My goal is to make the AFLW and it’s not always about the goal, it’s more about the journey and how much you have to work to get there and hopefully if I achieve that goal I can look back and see how much I enjoyed the journey to get to where I wanted to be,” Carbone said back in 2019. For the full feature, read below.



O’Hehir a name to remember for 2024

Having had an impressive debut season to-date, South Fremantle Under 16s talent Molly O’Hehir showcased her ability during her side’s loss to Subiaco on the weekend. Possessing traits that did not look to dissimilar to top talent Ella Roberts a couple of years ago. Though still raw, O’Hehir has outstanding athletic traits, is that tall utility who can roam off half-back, a wing or even inside as she did a couple of times in the Bulldogs’ Round 11 loss. O’Hehir just has “it” when it comes to natural footballing ability.

Turning 16 later this month, O’Hehir looked incredibly comfortable off half-back on the weekend, but also took part in a number of centre clearances, including using her burst speed out of the stoppage to kick long inside 50. Having already looked good on a wing earlier in the year, O’Hehir is one who might be a touch more raw than Roberts was in 2020, but with those kind of traits, she has a lot of upside with a couple of years to develop in the Bulldogs’ system.

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