Eagles young gun earns SA U16s MVP

AFTER yet another sensational outing, Woodville-West Torrens’ Jemma Whitington-Charity earned the Most Valuable Player (MVP) from the South Australia AFLW Under 16s’ two-match series. Whitington-Charity earned back-to-back best on grounds, even switching from Team Yellow to Team Blue for the second game, which ended in a draw.

Whittington-Charity had 34 disposals, 10 marks, five tackles, seven clearances, four inside 50s, four rebound 50s and three goals in the first game, before picking up 27 disposals, four marks, five tackles, six clearances, five inside 50s and three rebound 50s in the second game. A 2006-born prospect, Whitington-Charity has been one of a number of shining lights for the Eagles at SANFL Women’s level this season, which earned her a place in the State Academy squad for the 2022 AFLW Under 18 Championships. Though not earning a game due to the strength of the squad, Whitington-Charity is tipped to be one of the leading midfielders in next year’s carnival as a bottom-ager.

Alongside Whitington-Charity, her Eagles teammate and forward Klaudia O’Neill had a strong carnival, picking up 19 disposals, three marks, three tackles, 16 hitouts, two clearances, five inside 50s and a goal to back up 12 touches, four marks, 16 hitouts and three goals in the first game. O’Neill plays as a stay at home forward at SANFL Women’s level, but showcased her versatility in the ruck throughout the AFLW Under 16s carnival. A third Eagles prospect – Grace Martin – was the other standout, picking up 18 touches, four marks, six tackles and three clearances in Blue’s draw.

There were also a number of standouts on the Yellow side in game two, with North Adelaide’s Maggie Clark recording the most touches, picking up 24 disposals, three marks and four tackles. The Roosters talent had an impressive first game through the ruck and forward as well, managing 19 touches, two marks, nine tackles, 14 hitouts, two clearances, two inside 50s and two goals, showcasing her versatility. Also impressive in game two for Team Yellow was West Adelaide talent Asha Dufour, picking up 20 touches, two marks, two tackles, five clearances and two inside 50s, whilst South Adelaide superboot Shae Archbold had 19 disposals, three tackles, five clearances, three inside 50s and a goal after only managing a half in the first game due to injury.

South Adelaide midfielder-defender Esther Schirmer was clean and quick in close in the second game, and looms as one to watch for the future as well. Another Roosters prospect in Sienna Yarwood had an impressive 23 disposals, three tackles and five rebound 50s coming out of defence, backing up her 20 disposals, three marks, three tackles and four rebound 50s from game one. Norwood’s Asha Bianchi also was consistent across both games, picking up 14 disposals, two marks, three tackles and two inside 50s for Team Blue in game two, after 13 disposals, two marks, five tackles, three clearances and five inside 50s in game one.

Three of the top 2006-born talents missing from the carnival – having played through the 2022 AFLW Under 18 National Championships – were Central District’s Georgia McKee, Sturt’s India Rasheed and West Adelaide’s Lucy Boyd. The overall strength of the 2006-born players is incredible for the state, with more talent flourishing for the 2025 AFLW Draft (2007-born players). Those talents will have the opportunity to run out for their respective SANFLW clubs in 2023 after not being age-eligible to play previously. Game two marks the end of the representative action for the South Australian prospects, with the top-age talents set to earn spots on AFLW lists next week, before the SANFL Women’s teams get back into training later in the year.

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