2023 Vic Country Girls hub profiled
VIC COUNTRY officially announced its 2023 State Hub on Friday, with the 20 chosen athletes participating in a two-day camp over the weekend. Each of the representatives has been capped at NAB League Girls level and we name a few of them to watch, as well as some names for the future.
AFLW ACADEMY MEMBERS:
Lila Keck (Bendigo Pioneers)
Midfielder/Forward | 20/10/2005 | 161cm
Keck is a pocket rocket with some serious X-factor and goal sense. Standing at 161cm, the Bendigo Pioneers young gun packs a punch and can turn games with her influence. At times her consistency is something she could build on and keeping her composure when things are not going her way, but when they are, she is near unstoppable, with her reading of the play and burst speed among some the best in the draft crop. She has also already represented Vic Country at Under 18s level where she picked up 14 disposals and three marks.
Jessica Rentsch (GWV Rebels)
Winger | 11/10/2005 | 170cm
Hamilton region talent Rentsch is a high-upside player who is super athletic and one likely to impress in preseason testing. The GWV Rebels ball winner is a player who can run all day, but has a fierce intent on the contest. She can lay her fair share of tackles and critically take some strong grabs overhead. Her accumulation and finishing is an area for further improvement, with Rentsch a player who puts the ball to advantage rather than direct at this stage. However her endurance, combined with her explosive speed makes her such a dangerous player.
Bianca Lyne (Dandenong Stingrays)
Ruck | 06/04/2005 | 176cm
An undersized ruck with a strong leap, Lyne is predicted to be more of a key position player at the top level, which is likely where she continues her development in 2023. She averaged 16.5 hitouts from 5.8 disposals in season 2022, with her raw athleticism and ruck work the standout traits in her game. Still raw from a ball-winning and aerial perspective, Lyne is a player who with development could take her game to another level.
Mikayla Williamson (Dandenong Stingrays)
Defender/Winger | 08/05/2005 | 173cm
Similar to Rentsch but further developed, Williamson is an outstanding athlete with the need for speed. She can burst off half-back or along the wing, break the lines and look to kick long, becoming a damaging player through her run. Quite often it is just the final execution or polish that stops her from being in the top echelon of talent, but with a full year still to come, the Stingrays youngster has plenty of time to tidy up her kicking and be even more damaging with ball-in-hand.
OTHER TOP-AGERS TO WATCH:
Chloe Adams (Geelong Falcons)
Inside Midfielder | 13/12/2005 | 167cm
Adams looms as that player who is highly respected internally, but may not get as many plaudits externally. A crucial cog in the Falcons midfield, Adams is the see-ball, get-ball type who shows ridiculous fearlessness entering a contest. Not always the most glamorous, Adams plays a simplistic gamestyle, and is a fierce competitor. She stands at a medium size of 167cm and knows how to crack in to win one-on-ones, and if she can be a touch more polished on the outside, she offers a point of difference from many other midfielders in the hub.
Jemma Ramsdale (Dandenong Stingrays)
Tall Defender | 07/05/2005 | 174cm
One of Dandenong’s key contributors in her debut NAB League Girls season, Ramsdale played in the back half where she became a reliable rebounder. Averaging 8.9 disposals and 2.5 rebound 50s per game, Ramsdale is a defender who can play both an offensive and accountable role, depending on the opposition. She positions herself well in the back 50 and can provide a switch option, or kill the ball in order to allow her side to get numbers back in support.
Amber Schutte (Gippsland Power)
Midfielder | 13/12/2005 | 169cm
Sharing a birthday with Adams, Schutte is a midfielder who could be one to step up in her top-age year next season. At 169cm, the Power talent is one with some attacking prowess, averaging almost three inside 50s per game to go with 11.2 disposals and an impressive 4.7 tackles. She has an offensive approach to her game, but is one who, with an extra year of development could take another big step forward.
Kaylea Kobzan (Murray Bushrangers)
Tall Defender | 09/02/2005 | 172cm
A raw defender with talent, Kobzan enters 2023 with enough experience under her belt to be set to take the next step in the NAB League Girls. Possessing a nice vertical leap and being among the quicker players for her size, Kobzan is not a high production player, but one who has the traits to suggest she could develop into a consistent player. She averaged 8.4 disposals and 3.5 rebound 50s in 2022, and while her aerial ability and few other fundamentals could still improve further, it is easy to see why she was identified for the Vic Country hub.
Dandenong Stingrays’ success last season meant many bottom-agers did not get to show their skills too often, so unsurprisingly, there are a number of youngsters who could surprise in 2023. Tara Quinn is a medium defender who played six games for the Rays’ in 2022, while key forward Sophie Butterworth got on the end of nine goals from six games thanks to Dandenong’s impressive forward half players, Ruby Murdoch (one game) is another named in the Hub. Bendigo’s Bryde O’Rourke and GWV Rebels’ Laila Lappin are other top-age players to remember. Murray Bushrangers’ Paige Duffy played seven games for the Bushrangers in defence.
In what is looming as a bumper crop of 2024 AFL Women’s Draft hopefuls, two Vic Country names standout among the rest. Bendigo Pioneers’ Lucia Painter and Gippsland Power’s Ash Centra had outstanding Under 16s seasons for their respective NAB League clubs, and got it done in Vic Country colours as well.
Painter is an explosive mover from the stoppage, who is equally smart and tough, and can tear opponents to shreds in multiple ways. Both players are more than capable of playing on multiple lines, with Centra more of a smooth-mover out of the stoppage, but still with pace, and her extra size and ability to clunk contested marks makes her an outstanding talent.
Speaking of smooth movers, Sara Howley is a running defender who might be light, but is able to burn off opponents and use the ball well out of the back 50. More of a consistent defender at this stage, expect her to spend more time in the midfield next season.
Fellow Falcon, Kiara Woods has the size on her at 183cm, and provides an imposing figure around the ground. Clean by hand in the ruck stoppages, she will be looking to build on her fundamentals as she develops further. Bendigo Pioneers’ Jemmika Douglas is a versatile talent who is evasive and clean, while also been competitive, while Jemma Reynolds played two games for the Stingrays last season.