Top Performers: AFLW U16s – Lions Academy
GOLD Coast Suns Academy enjoyed a couple of big wins over Brisbane Lions Academy in two very different games last week for the AFLW Under 16 Championships. There were a number of impressive eye-catchers and we first took a look at five names from the Lions Academy who caught the eye.
BRISBANE LIONS ACADEMY:
#2 Zimra Hussain
Missing the first game after representing the Medley’s against the Woomeras as a curtain-raiser before the Melbourne and Brisbane AFL Women’s game, Hussain certainly made up for lost time. Her work rate was second to none in the pouring rain at Bond University, and she continually got to the right spots to win the ball. Often involved with the umpires regarding tackles – both for and against – Hussain would throw herself on the ball and try and shovel it or hack it out of congestion to put it into open space. Though often under pressure and her kicks might fall a bit short, her defensive game and ability to read the play before it happened was impressive.
#11 Mia Geere
Geere’s first game was better than her second like many due to the better conditions, with the midfielder winning her fair share of the ball. She worked well from clearances, and got better as the match went on, possessing a decent leap at the ball as well. Geere worked into defence and was able to provide some run, and though her execution at the final moment can still be tidied up, she was clean at ground level and good at getting the ball forward long down the ground.
#18 Rania Shelford
A consistent contributor in the defensive half, Shelford was particularly prolific in the first game, constantly involved in transitional running. Her defensive attributes such as her tackling and willingness to put her body on the line were good, but she also had that offensive acumen to back herself and charge out of the defensive 50. Often Shelford’s disposals were long down the line to safety, but on a couple of times she tried to run hard from the defensive 50 into the corridor. A really competitive player who is another one who could tidy up the final execution, but certainly has a lot of great traits going forward.
#24 Ashleigh Moyle
Think of Moyle like an offensive tackle in American Football, with the Lions Academy Most Valuable Player (MVP) just crunching opponents again and again. Her fierce attack on the ball was a trademark of her game that underpinned her intent, and unlike many others, thrived in the conditions. Moyle even produced a huge double tackle where after bringing one player to ground and the ball spilling, got back up and laid another one on the next ball carrier. Unfortunately she had to come off late in the second game having smothered the ball with her head, but indicating her determination to put her body on the line. In the better conditions of game one, Moyle did have a nice side step and can hit her shorter kicks, but her defensive pressure is what made her succeed.
#25 Farrandai Hopkins
Often having to play on the last line, Hopkins was one of a number of Lions defenders who had her fair share of the ball across both games. She was a fierce tackler and provided that defensive pressure, but added a point of difference with her cleanliness at ground level in the wet. In game one, she thrived with the better conditions by providing some run and carry, charging out of defence. A kick-first player due to the positioning on the ground, Hopkins was steadfast in her determination to kick long down the ground. Though mostly one looking to play it safe with her long kicking, Hopkins did take a good mark in the defensive goalsquare showing safe hands and charged out on a couple of occasions providing some run.