IN what will put a full stop on the representative duties for the nation’s top AFLW Draft prospects, the AFLW Academy will take on the Under 23 All-Stars in a huge clash at Punt Road on Sunday. The match, which will take place from 11:30am, features the majority of the top draft prospects, as well as some exciting talents for next year on the Academy side. For the All-Stars, there are an array of either overlooked, mature-age or “next best” talents outside the Academy who will be keen to get one-up in their highly-fancied opponents.
The AFLW Academy team is comprised of mostly the squad chosen at the end of last year, with a few additions, and a handful missing. Top South Australian prospects Hannah Ewings (SANFLW finals) and expected inclusion Sarah Goodwin (injury) will be missing, as well as bottom-age stars Alyssia Pisano and Lauren Young who are both recovering from long-term injuries. The only other top-age AFLW Academy representative not playing in the match alongside Ewings is West Australian Ashleigh Reidy, whilst NT prospect Kyanne Campbell is also absent from the team.
With those missing ,the AFLW Academy has been able to invite a number of fresh faces in, starting with potential Top 10 talent Zarlie Goldsworthy, rising tall defender and All-Australian Laura Elliott, smooth-moving midfielder-forward Abbygail Bushby and NSW-based Murray Bushrangers winger Zara Hamilton all included in the squad.
The Under 23 All-Stars Team includes players from Victoria, Northern Territory and Tasmania, with a couple of All-Australians in the side. Vic Country Most Valuable Player (MVP) Keeley Skepper and Northern Knights winger Rylie Wilcox have both being included, as have highly toured prospects Charlotte Taylor and Mia Busch, and athletic ruck-forward Mia Austin.
From outside Victoria, North Adelaide dynamic forward Doreena Hansen will provide the highlights inside 50, whilst over-age ruck Cassie McWilliams is the other NT prospect in the team, boarding in Victoria whilst being aligned to Williamstown. Tasmania’s Candice Belbin and Meghan Gaffney are also in the side, largely regarded as the two next highly touted prospects from the Apple Isle behind AFLW Academy member Claire Ransom.
Naturally, the AFLW Academy side will be expected to win quite well, with many of the representatives set to be taken high in the AFLW Draft. Among those vying for the top picks – depending on how the expansion selections fall – are Victorians Montana Ham, Jasmine Fleming and Charlotte Baskaran, as well as the player largely regarded as the top one in the crop Ella Roberts, two-time All-Australian and NSW-ACT representative Cynthia Hamilton and Queensland’s Alana Gee. The AFLW Under 18 Championships Most Valuable Player Shineah Goody will also run out for the Academy side.
AFLW ACADEMY – AUSTRALIA U18 TEAM
|NAME||SURNAME||DOB||STATE||TEAM / ACADEMY|
|J’Noemi||ANDERSON||17-12-04||NT||Sandringham Dragons / NT Thunder|
|Charlotte||BASKARAN||09-12-04||VIC M||Western Jets|
|Amber||CLARKE||22-12-04||VIC C||Dandenong Stingrays|
|Fleur||DAVIES||06-05-04||QLD||Southport / Gold Coast Suns|
|Octavia||DI DONATO||23-02-04||VIC C||Bendigo Pioneers|
|Mackenzie||EARDLEY||13-01-04||VIC C||Dandenong Stingrays|
|Laura||ELLIOTT||27-10-04||VIC M||Western Jets|
|Jasmine||FLEMING||05-11-04||VIC M||Oakleigh Chargers|
|Alana||GEE||20-04-04||QLD||Mackay Saints / Gold Coast Suns|
|Montana||HAM||29-03-04||VIC M||Western Jets|
|Cynthia||HAMILTON||02-04-04||NSW/ACT||Queanbeyan / GWS Giants|
|Bridie||HIPWELL||15-06-04||VIC M||Sandringham Dragons|
|Sofia||HURLEY||30-01-04||VIC M||Sandringham Dragons|
|Dakota||MASON||27-08-04||NSW/ACT||Illawarra / Sydney Swans|
|Paige||SCOTT||25-06-04||VIC C||GWV Rebels|
|Ella||SMITH||27-05-04||QLD||Aspley / Brisbane Lions|
U23 ALL-STARS TEAM (Victoria, Northern Territory, Tasmania)
|Candice||BELBIN||14-07-04||Tasmania / North Melbourne|
|Doreena||HANSEN||13-03-01||North Adelaide / NT- Alice Springs|
|Sarah||HOSKING||24-01-03||Dandenong / Williamstown|
|Madeline||MARKS||26-02-03||Bendigo / Western Bulldogs|
|Cassie||MCWILLIAM||25-02-03||Northern Territory / Williamstown|
|Tahlia||MEIER||19-10-03||GWV Rebels/ Western Bulldogs|
|Jamie Lee||SPEAKMAN||5-06-04||GWV Rebels|