VFLW Player Focus – Grace Buchan (Southern Saints)
Flying under the radar a bit, she is the kind of hardworking defender that just gets the job done, just like she did on the weekend against North Melbourne. This Player Focus will shine a spotlight on her efforts in that particular encounter.
Final Stats vs North Melbourne
Disposals: 21 (15 kicks and 6 handballs)
Playing off half back, Buchan did not have much to do in the first quarter as the ball was locked in the Saints’ forward 50 for much of the term.
There were a few times she ventured up to her side’s forward 50 arc though so she did get involved in the play a few times.
She laid a strong momentum stopping tackle on a North player trying to run the ball out of defence early on in the quarter before later on getting a handball out of a pack which ultimately resulted in a forward 50 entry. The forward entry ultimately did not amount to much, but that cannot be blamed on Buchan herself and the passage showed how good Buchan is in tight situations and how she can really get things going for her team.
She even got on the scoreboard in the back half of the quarter but it was only a behind, before pulling off a defensive spoil on the shadow of the quarter time siren.
Buchan had a couple of flashes of brilliance in the second, but again did not have too much to do.
Unfortunately her first disposal of the quarter was an intercepted kick out of defence, not all her interactions with the play during the quarter were quite so negative.
She showed how she is able to get in good positioning out the back of a pack to provide the option via handball, how she is a strong intercept marker and she has the ability to find space well and look laterally for the team mate in best position.
Buchan showed more of her off the ball skills in the third term then her on the ball skills. She did take a great intercept mark and a great juggling mark in the second half of the quarter, but she did a lot more to help her team without the ball that quarter.
There were a number of times in the quarter where she was visibly communicating to her team mates and telling them where to position themselves around a contest, which goes to show why she has been a VFLW captain in the past and is currently a member of the Southern Saints leadership group.
She showed her bravery by putting her body on the line in an attempt to smother a kick, and also proved how strong she can be in a one on one battle for the ball.
It took all of about 15 seconds for Buchan to get involved in the action in the final term, intercepting the very first centre clearance of the quarter.
A tackle she laid earned her a holding the ball free kick, but funnily enough she tried to give the ball back to the umpire thinking they had blown the whistle for a ball up.
Buchan continued to take clever intercept marks and make good position to provide an option for her team mates.
She continued to prove she is a good lateral kick, not always looking straight forward for the best option.
She also provided a great running option from behind for a team mate to set up another attacking play for the Saints.