2023 Coates Talent League Girls: Round 1 wrap

A SUNDAY thriller in the country capped off a tight first round of the newly named Coates Talent League Girls action, with all games decided by under four goals. Bendigo Pioneers’ nail-biting one-point win over Murray Bushrangers was the pick of the matches from the weekend, while on Saturday, three teams from three different states got the chocolates.

  • Team
  • Tasmania Devils
  • GWS Giants Academy

In a tight contest on the Apple Isle, Tasmania Devils gained some breathing space against GWS GIANTS Academy at UTAS Stadium in the second term, with a four goals to one quarter ultimately being the difference between the sides. For the rest of the three quarters, the GIANTS held their own and kicked 6.6 (42) to Tasmania’s 4.10 (34), but the strong second term was enough to see the Devils celebrate in front of home fans.


Georgia Clark (Tasmania Devils)

The key forward was touted as one to watch coming into the match, and she did not let the team down, producing a magnificent performance both in the air and at ground level. She clunked nine marks from 19 disposals, laid four tackles, had five inside 50s and booted 2.1 to be the standout forward.


Bottom-age defender Mackenzie Williams picked up from where she left off with a game-high 21 disposals, while also taking eight marks, and finishing with five tackles and eight rebound 50s. Fellow Tasmanian, forward Ava Read booted 2.3 from 16 disposals and laying six tackles while Grace White (16 disposals, five marks and 1.2) provided great support. Up the other end of the field, Tunisha Kikoak was ruck solid rotating through the ruck and defence.

For the GIANTS, Amy Frost caught the eye in defence with 21 disposals and a game-high 11 rebound 50s, as the co-captain bravely defended the Devils’ forward forays. Fellow defender Cleo Buttifant also impressed at centre half-back with 15 disposals, four marks and five rebound 50s, while co-captain Melanie Staunton stood tall in midfield, totalling 20 touches all up.


5 – Georgia Clark (Tasmania Devils)
4 – Mackenzie Williams (Tasmania Devils)
3 – Amy Frost (Giants Academy)
2 – Cleo Buttifant (Giants Academy)
1 – Ava Read (Tasmania Devils)

  • Team
  • Geelong Falcons
  • GWV Rebels

Geelong Falcons kicked away in the final term to put inaccuracy aside and post a nine-point win over a more clinical Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels side. The Falcons were level or lead at each break, but held a marginal five-point advantage at the final break. Both sides booted a goal in the last term, but after over-ager Molly Walton drew her side within a point, defender-attacking midfielder Sara Howley kicked the winner.


Sarah Howley (Geelong Falcons)

After cutting her teeth as a rebounding defender last season, Howley came up big in the attacking half of the ground, being the difference between the sides. The bottom-ager accumulated 26 disposals, and racked up five marks, seven inside 50s and laid six tackles, all to go with 3.2 in an impressive all-round offensive performances.


Geelong Falcons onballer Chloe Adams produced her typical consistent performance, racking up an equal game-high 28 disposals, as well as four marks, four tackles and eight inside 50s. After playing as a defender for the Rebels last season, Madeline Seebeck wet up the other end for the Falcons in 2023, booting 2.1 from 19 disposals and clunking five marks to be a headache for the visitors. Kiara Woods worked well through the ruck, while bottom-ager Chloe Bryant – who only turned 16 in December – kicked a goal from 17 disposals and six inside 50s.

Touted as one to watch by coach Sally Riley, Millie Lang had a debut to remember, accumulating and equal game-high 28 touches to go with five marks and a ridiculous 15 rebound 50s. Isabella Davies (24 disposals, five marks, four tackles and four rebound 50s) also had the ball on a string, while Lily Jordan (three goals from 16 disposals) and Walton (one from 19) both contributed on the scoresheet.


5 – Sara Howley (Geelong Falcons)
4 – Millie Lang (GWV Rebels)
3 – Chloe Adams (Geelong Falcons)
2 – Madeleine Seebeck (Geelong Falcons)
1 – Isabella Davies (GWV Rebels)

  • Team
  • Dandenong Stingrays
  • Swans Academy

Sydney Swans Academy travelled to south east Victoria and stole the points away from reigning grand finalists Dandenong Stingrays, handing the Stingrays their first regular season loss since 2021. The Stingrays lead by 12 points at quarter time courtesy of a massive breeze, but the Swans slotted four goals to one in the second term to hit the front, and never look back. Holding the home side to one behind in the third term, the red and whites kicked the clear in the last term with 1.5 to 1.0 to record an 11-point victory, 6.7 (43) to 5.2 (32).


Ella Parker (Swans Academy)

Providing incredible run on the outside, Parker impacted the game more than anyone else both on the scoreboard and with her transitional play. She slotted three goals from 23 touches, took five marks, laid four tackles and recorded four inside 50s. While the breeze troubled many others, she was accurate with her shots on goal, slotting three goals from four scoring shots in what was ultimately a seven-goal game.


Over-age midfielder Asha Turner Funk worked hard across the game picking up 18 disposals and proved important with clean and quick handballs in close, also laying four tackles and having three rebound 50s. AFLW Academy member Olivia Morris stepped up in the middle with 16 disposals, five inside 50s and five tackles, while Holly Cooper impressed in the win with 19 disposals, five inside 50s and six tackles. Gabrielle Eaton was also named among the best.

Jemma Reynolds caught the eye in the Stingrays’ loss with her 16 disposals, two marks and two tackles, as she and Kayla Dalgleish (14 disposals, six tackles, three inside 50s and two goals) stepped up. Over-agers Abbey Tregellis (10 disposals, three marks and one goal) and Felicity Crank (13 disposals, six tackles and three rebound 50s) also tried hard, and Meg Robertson stepped up between the arcs.


5 – Ella Parker (Swans Academy)
4 – Asha Turner Funk (Swans Academy)
3 – Jemma Reynolds (Dandenong Stingrays)
2 – Kayla Dalgleish (Dandenong Stingrays)
1 – Olivia Morris (Swans Academy)

  • Team
  • Murray Bushrangers
  • Bendigo Pioneers

Bendigo Pioneers survived a scare from Murray Bushrangers to secure a thrilling one-point win up at Rumbalara Recreation Reserve. After not scoring in the first term and trailing by 16 points at half-time, the Bushrangers kicked into gear with four goals to two to trim the deficit to just five points at the final break. Though they hit the front early in the final term thanks to a goal from Matilda Lyons, a response from Pios’ Lila Keck helped the visitors get over the line, 7.11 (53) to 8.4 (52).


Lila Keck (Bendigo Pioneers)

The sole AFLW Academy member in the match, Keck lead from the front in her first game as captain, kicking the match-winner en route to an impressive Round 1 performance. She finished with 2.2 from 24 disposals, four marks, six tackles and seven inside 50s, playing the perfect midfield-forward rotation and showing her class and danger when around the goals.


It was an even performance after that for the Pioneers, with ruck Sasha Pearce totalling 16 disposals, 15 hitouts and nine tackles with fantastic second and third efforts. Vic Country hub member Bryde O’Rourke joined Keck in hitting the scoreboard multiple times, with two goals from 14 disposals, three marks and six inside 50s. Jemmika Douglas was lively with 18 disposals, five inside 50s, three tackles and one goal from three scoring shots.

Murray had an equally even team contribution, with Lyons’ attempt at being the match-winner far from her first impressive play, picking up an equal team-high 17 disposals, three marks and eight inside 50s. Holly Egan shared that team-high 17 disposals, while also laying five tackles. Kloe McElhinney battled hard in defence with seven rebound 50s to come from 11 disposals and four marks, while Alice Voss (16 disposals, three marks) was busy all game.


5 – Lila Keck (Bendigo Pioneers)
4 – Sasha Pearce (Bendigo Pioneers)
3 – Holly Egan (Murray Bushrangers)
2 – Kloe McElhinney (Murray Bushrangers)
1 – Bryde O’Rourke (Bendigo Pioneers)

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