WAFLW Draft Combine invitee notes: Round 17
NOW that the AFLW Draft Combine invitees have been named, the focus of our weekly West Australian Football League (WAFL) Women’s Academy notes will shift towards draft-eligible players and how they perform each round. 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.
All notes are the opinion of the individual author.
AFLW DRAFT COMBINE INVITEES:
Madeleine Scanlon (Claremont)
Claremont is a side which has been decimated by AFLW signings on the eve of finals, but the list changes have allowed others to step into altered roles. Scanlon is one such player, as she shifted into midfield on Saturday. Attracting attention from defensive forwards across half-back, Scanlon was a touch quiet in the early stages but competed well behind the ball to split contests and inflict heavy tackles. Once on-ball, she looked polished with her use by hand, often drawing opponents before releasing at the ideal moment. 13 touches and five tackles made for a solid return.
Jaide Britton (Peel Thunder)
The much-improved Peel Thunder winger continues to showcase her range of traits on the outside, looking a star turn at state league level. She leant on her running capacity to sweep back time after time, racking up 23 disposals as a reliable outlet in transition. Gutsy in marking contests and competitive at ground level, Britton used her speed to both carry the ball and shut down opponents, proving a two-way influencer. While some of her kicks scrubbed off the boot under the enormous pressure of the game, Britton was hard to fault for her elite work rate and ability to chain up productive possessions. Top class.
Bella Mann (Peel Thunder)
Mann was sensational in defence for Peel, helping her side hold up against a game opponent all day long. The over-aged state representative took up aggressive positions to intercept and was not afraid to peel off her direct opponent to do so. Marking cleanly and winning most one-on-ones, she proved an expert in ball retention and recovered plenty of Subiaco attacks with great composure. At the end of that contested work, Mann also displayed her punchy and penetrative kicking over both short and long distances, with 15 of her 18 disposals distributed by foot.
Ella Roberts (Peel Thunder)
They say the cream rises to the top, and Roberts proved that with a champion effort in the second half of Saturday’s tense clash with Subiaco. There were times where she was contained well, and one occasion where she dropped to her knees in frustration, but the star AFLW Draft prospect produced the goods when Peel needed her to. Roberts started out in midfield and spent plenty of time there, before rotating forward and showcasing her incredible marking prowess around the ground. She clunked six grabs overall, but arguably stood out most with her ball use going inside 50. Assessing her options with great poise, Roberts would wheel onto her right side and ping passes forward with precision. She’s the type of player you want kicking to a leader, but also being on the end of the lead.
Ella Slocombe (Claremont)
The smooth moving forward may not have been able to hit the scoreboard on Saturday, though that was not for a lack of effort as she constantly looked to make things happen in Claremont’s attacking half. Slocombe was caught in possession a couple of times during term one, but continued to take the game on with her turn of speed and clean ground level game. An errant snap to the near side was her lone score for the day, a behind.
Claudia Wright (Claremont)
Wright is the kind of player who runs hot when she’s on song, and she was on song in Round 17. The winger did most of her best work in the front half, looking comfortable in possession and finding a good amount of the ball (16 disposals) around half-forward. She took a strong mark hitting up at full tilt in term three, before converting the goal, and later found Jasmin Stewart with a nice pass to the pocket to assist one. Like Slocombe, there’s plenty to work with for the youngster.
Kayla Van Den Heever (West Perth)
One of West Perth’s bright spots on a relatively dim day, Van Den Heever showcased some of what she does best. The midfielder was solid on the inside, proving one-touch on several occasions and distributing the ball by hand nicely. There is a touch of rawness in her decision making and defensive running, but the bottom-ager looked to get her side going with some carry and one-two chains coming away from stoppages, more frequently as the game wore on. One of her highlights was a handy overhead mark in term three, where she judged the ball better than Claremont’s Stewart at half-back.
Taya Chambers (East Fremantle)
Though she mostly plied her trade in defence, Chambers produced one of the plays of the day inside attacking 50. She pounced on a South Fremantle pass with too much air on it, cut it off, and recovered the ball before steadying with an accurate 40-metre strike on goal. Moments like that indicate that Chambers is one to watch, despite her numbers not jumping off the page. From the back half, she attacked the ball with ferocity and speed, mopping up at ground level and driving forward when she could. Six eye-catching disposals.
Georgie Cleaver (East Fremantle)
Looking past her rawness and awkward left-foot kicking action, Cleaver is a serious talent for next year’s crop. The developing tall was terrific up forward with stints in the ruck, proving a viable marking target and an absolute phenom with her follow-up work. She moves in a way many key position prospects simply cannot, making her a threat wherever the play goes, and with whatever delivery comes her way. Cleaver’s clean hands were a feature and though her goal came via a 50-metre penalty, she still had to take the mark in the first place. She does that well, and has enormous potential with kicking the key area she can work on.
Zippy Fish (East Fremantle)
By name and nature, Fish’s zip off the wing continues to prove troublesome for opposition defences. The young Shark backed her pace as usual on Saturday, looking to exploit any time and space afforded to her on the outside with bursts of speed. She managed to drive the ball inside 50 four times from her 11 disposals, and looked quite composed despite often moving at a good rate. Fish’s light frame did not stop her from taking a nice overhead mark or laying a strong tackle either, making for a relatively complete outing.
Anjelique Raison (East Fremantle)
One of East Fremantle’s prime targets up forward, Raison managed four scoring shots for the day but had to wait until the final quarter to get her goal. Already a good size, the bottom-ager competed hard in one-on-one contests and followed up to produce those scoring opportunities, showing good hunger to win the ball. Her goal came from a well executed turn and snap at the top of the goalsquare, capping off a solid game.
Kaitlyn Srhoj (Peel Thunder)
Srhoj’s impact defied her numbers, though her effort of 13 disposals and six marks was no mean feat. The bottom-ager is such a good prospect, balancing useful athletic traits with natural footballing ability. She took up her usual post on the wing and got to work immediately, looking to generate some run on the outer and charging into attacking positions. She has that mix of outside class and inside competitiveness, which bodes well for potential midfield minutes. Srhoj could have had an even better day but for more accurate finishing, as she couldn’t fully capitalise on her two scoring shots (both behinds).