Scouting notes – 2023 AFLW U18s: GIANTS Academy vs. Swans Academy
IN the first of the AFLW Under 18 clashes between representative sides, the two NSW/ACT Academies went head to head at Gunghalin. The GWS GIANTS Academy proved too good for the Swans, racing out to a big lead and eventually securing the 16-point win, 40-24. In today’s edition of Scouting notes, we took a look at a few of the ones who caught the eye from each of the sides ahead of their Coates Talent League Round 1 matches.
GWS GIANTS ACADEMY:
#16 Ashley Patton
The bottom-age talent showed signs of being one to watch for 2024, with a nice kicking technique and aggressive offensive plays. A couple of times early in the game she tried to do a little bit too much such as being pinged for holding the ball and just earlier attempting a dribble at the top of the goalsquare rather than a drop punt, but in-field she was very damaging. To start the fourth quarter, Patton won the ball at the stoppage, took a bounce and burst away, kicking inside 50. It was not always perfect, but the traits – a balance of athleticism and technique – were there, so Patton is a name to remember over the next 18 months.
#17 Ellie Hall
Another bottom-ager who is looming as the standout from the state, Hall will be able to run out with the Murray Bushrangers in the Coates Talent League this season. A natural ball-winner who is strong overhead and can play both defence and on a wing, Hall racked up the disposals with ease, and was smart in her positioning at contests. Though at times her long kicks might have just missed the target, her technique was sound, and she provided a high metres gained along the way.
#21 Megan Mifsud
A top-age talent who booted two of the GIANTS’ goals in the game, with the first coming from the opening set shot 20m out from goal. Her second came later on with some hard running getting forward and converting on the move from the goalsquare, but it was her build up to get there that caught the eye. She produced a neat left foot bullet into Ammie Vamah to set up a scoring opportunity, and her second and third efforts when up the ground were noticeable. All in all, Mifsud packed a punch, had a crack and kicked a couple of goals in the process.
#27 Melanie Staunton
The sole GIANTS’ AFLW Academy member stood out with the blue boots and noticeable zinc, and after as slower start, worked into the game and began finding the ball. She was often around the stoppages in the middle, and having to crack in with the contested ball to free it to a teammate. Though that was her bread and butter, she did work to get to the outside as well, and won the ball on the wing or at half-forward, culminating in a goal assist to Indi Cook. She had a flying shot herself in the third term but missed to the left, able to rest forward at times. A predominant straight-line runner, Staunton has that powerful burst and showed plenty of courage.
#36 Ammie Vamah
The tall forward played a bit of everywhere including in defence late and even rolling into the ruck. Her best work came in attack though, converting a couple of set shots and should have walked away with a handful of goals in the game. She slotted the first set shot from 25m out, then the second from a similar angle later in the game. Two chances went begging with arguably the easiest of the set shots – 20m out – missing to the right later in the third quarter, before a snap on goal in the final term sailed out on the full. Her kicking action is a bit high and awkward, but from long distance it proved effective enough.
SYDNEY SWANS ACADEMY:
#10 Olivia Morris
Playing through the midfield and rotating forward, the AFLW Academy member had a number of moments where she showed good leadership in the team. She always applied great defensive pressure which was an area she said she wanted to improve on this season, and had a crack for four quarters with her clean hands and smarts to get into the right spots evident. Often having to dispose of the ball under pressure, she made some execution errors, but with time and space was able to deliver the ball cleanly to the right places.
#14 Kendra Blattman
The only multiple goalkicker for the Swans, Blattman bobbed up when it counted to kick a couple of majors, both in the second half. Her first game after taking a strong contested grab in the square, playing on and snapping in the third term, before kicking a brilliant goal off a step on the run from 40m midway through the final term.
#23 Nelita Sherrin-Bob
The over-ager has a couple of neat tricks that were on show in the match, kicking a very clever goal in the second term. Just three minutes into the quarter, Sherrin-Bob scooped the ball up cleanly, spun onto her preferred left – turning her opponent inside out in the process – and snapped over her shoulder for a goal. She spent time in the back half later in the game, but loves spinning onto that left side.
#24 Asha Turner Funk
A really consistent four-quarter effort from Turner Funk, who showed strong hands around the ground. One of the more prolific aerial players for a midfielder, she found plenty of the ball all over the ground. Along with her marking, she provided strong tackling pressure, and would often mop up and kick clear. Turner Funk also laid a big run-down tackle in the second term, and provided good composure for her younger teammates.
#34 Marnie Robinson
The second AFLW Academy member for the Swans played off half-back and took an impressive mark with the flight just before half-time. Unfortunately two of her first two kicks were both smothered as she got too close to the player on her mark, but once settled she played a relieving role in the back half. She did push up the ground at times, and her marking in particular was the standout. A few of her kicks were intercepted going forward, but she kept plugging away throughout the game and was an important cog behind the ball.