WAFLW Draft Combine invitee notes: Round 15
NOW the AFLW Draft Combine invitees have been named, the focus of the West Australian Football League (WAFL) Women’s Academy notes piece will look to those draft-eligible players and how they perform each week. These notes will be separate to the game-by-game notes, which will now focus on bottom-age talents and others who catch the eye.
As always, notes are the opinion of the individual author.
AFLW Draft Combine invitees:
Jaide Britton (Peel Thunder)
The Peel Thunder winger had another solid game with some impressive highlights across three quarters. She was largely missing in the second term due to injury, but was very busy in the first and fourth quarters in particular. She worked hard to get into defence, and teamed up well with Roberts on a number of occasions, being accurate with her kicks in the opening term, which also featured a run along the wing and kick to half-forward. Britton and Elkington had a great battle at times, and was involved with the umpire both for and against late in the game. She turned over a couple of kicks late in the game, including one where she was pushed in the back late and should have received a 50m penalty, but got her opponent back in the last 30 seconds with a fierce tackle.
Abbygail Bushby (Swan Districts)
Having another high production day, Bushby was one of Swan Districts most prolific midfielders once again. She was inconsistent with her kicking, but she was able to find the ball everywhere on the field and went in hard. Her aerial ability was good, and she finds space so easily. Though she had the odd pinpoint pass, Bushby’s main area of improvement – being that kicking consistency – is the way to take her game to the next level. Being a left-footer, the Swan Districts talent is able to get onto the opposite side compared to most, and is not afraid to tuck the ball under the arm. Bushby laid a great run-down tackle in the opening few minutes to set the tone for her performance in hat was another strong outing.
Emily Elkington (Claremont)
Elkington returned to the side and was quiet in the first half, taking a mark on the wing but uncharacteristically missing the target, and then giving away an in the back free kick. She did make it up by wining a free kick herself moments later with great pressure, and had a running kick inside 50 that went past the pack and almost bounced in before being touched. After half-time, Elkington was much more productive, able to pinpoint a number of passes, and was also involved with the umpire on several occasions, both for and against, usually involving Britton. She won it in defensive 50 at one stage, tried to fend off a player and got a handball away, then won it back and was able to kick down the ground perfectly for distance along the boundary line to a teammate’s advantage.
Sasha Goranova (Claremont)
The Claremont midfielder was the subject of our WAFLW Player Focus this week, with her full performance analysed there. She picked up 21 disposals and was fierce on the inside, with clean hands and one of the more consistent contributors for the cause.
Ella Roberts (Peel Thunder)
An outstanding performance from the potential Pick 14 in the AFLW Draft, with the talented forward following on from her AFLW Under 18 Championships where she moved onball in the second half of the final game. Against Claremont, Roberts spent significant time there, and had a massive influence with a 30-plus disposal game. Her elite clean hands at ground level were at play once again, and she showed good intent with her pressure. Aerially, Roberts was clean and her kicking – able to kick potently off both sides and over long distances – was also on show. She made the odd mistake under pressure – including a brain fade where she spoiled her own teammate Britton in the middle, but for the most part was so damaging with ball-in-hand, and able to get to the right spots off the ball. She looked to move quickly, spin out of trouble and provide a marking target around the ground, covering it well and showing why she is the best player in this year’s draft.
Ella Smith (Claremont)
The Tigers captain spent more time forward than even she normally does, which explained her lower-than-usual production from a ball-winning perspective. Aside from when she got injured in Round 4, the nine disposals against Peel Thunder marked the first time this season that Smith dipped into single digits. There was a good reason for that though, with the strong talent able to hit the scoreboard with another couple of goals. She kicked her first in the opening term to get her side on the board, winning a free kick and then a 50m penalty when she was just outside 50, allowing her to nail a set shot from 20m out. Her second goal came in the final term, having a flying shot on goal that sailed home. She was still very much involved in the game even if not winning it, laying some strong tackles and applying plenty of defensive pressure through bumps or shepherds. Smith has that nice burst out of the stoppage that catches the eye and is able to use the ball effectively down the ground.
Lauren Wakfer (South Fremantle)
The South Fremantle talent left the field in the first half after having an outstanding first term. She took a number of great intercept marks in the quarter, and was looking good in the quarter, also kicking well down the ground to dangerous areas. It is hoped the injury is nothing major.
Rosie Anderson (South Fremantle)
The Bulldogs speedster was again incredibly clean at ground level, having some eye-catching moments when required after missing the week before. She took it cleanly off the bounce at one stage, and had a number of running plays going inside 50, even able to kick deep inside 50. The play that symbolises her overall profile is one where she won the ball cleanly at ground level, backed herself to burn off an opponent, but could not quite compose herself when she kicked, turning the ball over inside 50. If she can improve that finishing ability, then watch out.
Jaime Henry (Swan Districts)
One of Swan Districts best on the day, the impressive bottom-ager also hit the scoreboard with a couple of goals in the game. She was far more damaging inside 50 than usual, with the inside midfielder best known for her clean hands and kicking efficiency around the coalface. She kicked her first goal 13 minutes into the second term to launch towards home and bounce through, before nailing another in the same quarter after running hard and receiving it well to slam it home. She just missed a shot in between those goals with a behind, but her skill and footy IQ around the ground was just superb.
Charlotte Newland (Subiaco)
Making her debut for the Lions, Newland warmed into the game with a bigger second half compared to her first. She had clean hands above her head, and provide a target to kick to. At times she might get caught on the wrong side of marking contest, but kept battling hard, and was clean by hand and foot, hitting up a teammate down the ground well to set up a scoring chain in the second term.
Molly O’Hehir (South Fremantle)
Though not as incredible as some games in 2022, O’Hehir still had some moments in the loss to Swan Districts. She applied good pressure throughout the match, and was able to put on the jets in the third term from half-back to take a bounce and kick long to half-forward. She just dropped a mark and turned over another kick at different stages, but when she was on, she was really on, and it is hard to miss her when she puts the foot down and bursts away.
Anjelique Raison (East Fremantle)
Played up forward and presented well, often unlucky to not quite mark due to the quality of her defensive opponents. She took a strong mark on the lead early in the second term, with her kick drifting wide but marked by a teammate. She did get her goal after a great defensive act, laying a strong tackle, winning the free kick inside 50 and converting the set shot from 30m out.
Ella Slocombe (Claremont)
Had a high-level impact that perhaps her statistics might not suggest. She gained plenty of meterage in the Tigers’ win over Peel Thunder, tucking the ball under the arm and taking a bounce going forward. She intercepted the ball at half-forward in the second term, ran inside 50 and took a bounce, then her flying shot just missed. She did kick a goal later in the quarter though, having a purple patch where she ran hard and handballed off, received it back and kicked inside 50, then won it back not long after close to the line kicking a brilliant goal on the run. Though she might get pinged trying to burst away – as she did in the fourth quarter – when it pays off, Slocombe can break open a game.
Zippy Fish (East Fremantle)
One of the standout future talents this week, Fish was impressive, and her usual eye-catching self. She showed off her clean hands and ability to win the ball on he outside and kick forward, involved in one-twos or putting on the jets to go inside 50. In the third term she sold candy at half-back, produced the one-two with a teammate then kicked from the wing to half-forward. Sh had a flying shot on goal late in the game that missed to the right for a behind, but overall she was clean by hand or foot and able to have an impact each time she went near it.