Names to Remember: AFLW U16 MVPs recap
AS the future of women’s football continues to grow, we take a look back at the AFL Women’s Under 16s carnivals that took place in 2022, and the respective Most Valuable Players (MVP). Four of the seven state and territory carnivals have been completed, with Queensland, Tasmania and Northern Territory to have their two-game series carnivals in September. The other states were played any time from March until June, but have now finished up for the year.
Murray Bushrangers / GIANTS Academy
07/07/2006 | 173cm | Midfielder
Stats: 21.5 disposals, 7.0 marks, 6.5 tackles, 7.5 rebound 50s | 60.4 CP% | 67.9 KE% | 62.8 DE%
A player who NAB League Girls players will get to see a lot more of in the coming years, Hall won the Most Valuable Player (MVP) award for her efforts in the GIANTS Academy up against the Swans Academy. A natural future inside midfielder and a good size at 173cm, Hall can also play in defence as she did throughout the carnival, picking up some big numbers. Though averaging 21.5 disposals, 7.0 marks and 7.5 rebound 50s might sounds like an intercepting loose defender, Hall won 60.4 per cent of his disposals in a contest, laid almost seven tackles per game, and kicked at an incredible level. Similar to Charlotte Taylor in her versatility, Hall will be earmarked as one to remember for 2024.
Henley Sharks / Woodville-West Torrens Eagles
06/08/2006 | 170cm | Midfielder
Stats: 30.5 disposals, 7.0 marks, 5.0 tackles, 6.5 clearances, 4.5 inside 50s, 3.5 rebound 50s | 45.2 CP% | 53.7 KE% | 59.0 DE%
The younger of the two Whitington-Charity sisters out at West Lakes, Jemma was unlucky not to crack into the South Australian Under 18s squad at this year’s championships. It was more a case of the depth and quality of the Croweaters’ lineup, with Whitington-Charity certainly one who will be there next year in her bottom-age season. With two clear best on ground performances at Under 16s level – with the side minus those 2006-born players who had played all three games at Under 18s level – Whitington-Charity was a clear choice for MVP. She knows how to find the football and can sneak forward and be a threat, as she showed during Game 1 when she slotted three goals to go with 34 touches and torched the opposition side.
Sandhurst / Bendigo Pioneers
23/02/2006 | 173cm | Utility
Stats: 21.5 disposals, 3.5 marks, 4.5 tackles, 3.5 clearance 4.5 inside 50s, 1.5 goals | 50.9 CP% | 57.1 KE% | 60.5 DE%
Bursting onto the scene for her debut NAB League Girls season, Painter caught the eye early in the year, dominating her first couple of games, and by the end of the season, had been Bendigo’s top performed player. The 16-year-old won the Pioneers’ best and fairest and earned Team of the Year honours, remarkably playing on all three lines at different points. That happened again for Vic Country at the AFLW Under 16 Championships, where Painter was able to rotate out of the middle, go forward, or even rest in defence where she just had a natural ball-winning ability. Going forward, Painter will be a clearance midfielder who can also hit the scoreboard regularly, and be one to watch over the next couple of years as a player who can literally slot in anywhere and be a match-winner.
Strathmore / Calder Cannons
02/02/2007 | 163cm | Midfielder / Forward
Stats: 22.0 disposals, 3.5 marks, 7.0 tackles, 6.5 clearances, 3.0 inside 50s, 2.5 rebound 50s | 60.4 CP% | 58.8 KE% | 56.8 DE%
While the players above are not eligible under the 2024 AFLW Draft, Baker-West is a year younger, and as a 15-year-old is not eligible under 2025. It did not stop the ball-winning midfielder from racking up the ball consistently across the two games and taking home the Vic Metro MVP. Playing as a forward at Strathmore and at the Cannons to start with before moving into the middle, Baker-West is a smart player who just finds the ball and gets into the right spots. She slotted three goals in six games at NAB League Girls level, while also averaging 10.8 disposals, 2.8 marks and 5.5 tackles. Despite being one of the rare bottom-agers at Under 16s level, Baker-West had no problems adapting to the carnival, and averaged the 22 disposals and around seven clearances and seven tackles for Vic Metro to earmark herself as an exciting one to watch in coming years.
Mt Hawthorn / Subiaco
02/09/2007 | 181cm | Tall Forward / Midfielder
Stats: 22.0 disposals, 5.0 marks, 4.5 tackles, 5.0 hitouts, 3.0 inside 50s, 2.5 goals
The first AFLW Under 16s carnival that took place in 2022 was back in March, when the best of Western Australia locked horns. It also produced the youngest MVP, with the 2007-born Wolmaras even younger than Baker-West. Wolmaras is still only 14-years-old, but had no problems getting it done in the big stage, where she averaged 22 disposals, five marks and slotted five goals across the carnival. The Subiaco teenager also rolled into the midfield – yes, she can play midfield not just ruck – and she was as good at ground level as she was in the air, reminding fans of Amy Franklin in past years. Athletic tall forwards are hard to come by, especially those with high work rates who can find plenty of the ball, and Wolmaras is certainly that. A highly touted talent for the future.