Scouting Notes: 2023 Coates Talent League Girls: Round 1

IT WAS a staggered start to the 2023 Coates Talent League season with just the four matches on opening weekend, all from the girls’ competition. Kicking off on the Apple Isle, Tasmania Devils got a Round 1 win against GIANTS Academy, before Geelong Falcons defeated GWV Rebels out west, Swans Academy upset Dandenong Stingrays down south, and Bendigo Pioneers won a one-point thriller against Murray Bushrangers up north.

*All notes are the opinion of the individual author.

  • Team
  • Tasmania Devils
  • GWS Giants Academy

By: Michael Alvaro


#2 Ava Read

A real surprise packet on Saturday, Read came to life in the second term to help Tasmania charge into the lead. There may not be much of the bottom-ager, but she showcased super skills in a couple of terrific moments which produced her two goals. Read’s second major was particularly impressive, as she found the big sticks with a snap like a cork in the ocean. She ended up with 2.3 from 16 disposals in a promising outing up forward.

#15 Priya Bowering

Still a double bottom-ager, Bowering is already a key part of Tasmania’s engine room and proved as much on Saturday. She won the most ball of any Devils midfielder (18 disposals) while also laying six tackles, proving more than capable at the contest. Though her strengths very much lend to thriving on the inside, Bowering’s strong overhead marking is a handy point of difference.

#24 Georgia Clark

The dominant player at one end of the ground, Clark started her top-age season in immaculate form. She was utterly unfazed by the effects of pre-game rain, clunking a game-high nine marks and hardly looking like dropping one. Her clean aerial game, timing and leading patters were all on point, and Clark got reward for her work rate with two goals. Along with Read, her scoreboard impact put the contest in Tasmania’s favour during term two.

#29 Mackenzie Williams

Another exciting bottom-ager out of the Apple Isle, Williams was an absolute brick wall behind the ball. There’s generally room for improvement in her defensive positioning, but Williams showed an uncanny knack for being in the right place at the right time, with many of her eight marks being intercepts. Once in possession, she took off with strong bursts of speed and looked to do damage by foot, though her pace made execution tricky at times. Nonetheless, Williams looks like being a force for Tasmania in 2023.

#37 Tunisha Kikoak

Kikoak is somewhat of a key position wildcard for the Devils, and she leant on her versatility with a multi-faceted game on Saturday. The 180cm top-ager started out across centre half-back and rotated into the ruck, where her athleticism came to the fore. A player who has nice moments, Kikoak found the goals after a nice overhead mark in the final quarter, making amends for a set shot miss moments earlier.

#39 Grace White

If Read was the bottom-aged surprise packet, White proved her counterpart in the top-age category. The versatile tall essentially slotted into the role left vacant by an injured Bellah Parker (back), and ended up being more than capable fold for Clark inside forward 50. She had a say in the first two scores of the day; clunking a clean overhead mark before hitting the post, and then assisting Maggie Chen‘s goal. A nice find, she now provides Tasmania with somewhat of a healthy selection headache.


#16 Ashley Patton

Her numbers may not jump off the page, but Patton has the makings of a star player. The bottom-ager produced impactful moments in midfield and up forward, ending up with a goal from nine touches and laying six tackles. She looked incredibly polished and when taking the game on, brushing off opponents with relative ease through pure power. With more sustained impact and a couple of straighter shots on goal, she would have been the Giants’ standout player. Her stoppage snap goal in the second term oozed class.

#18 Tamika Rourke

A Giants Academy member who is also tied to the Murray Bushrangers, Rourke took on a significant role on Saturday. She was part of the forward-midfield rotation and got her hands on the ball with 18 touches, but also laid eight tackles. Rourke’s overhead marking was another feature of her game, and it yielded a couple of chances on goal for the Giants. She converted one herself, from a snap under plenty of pressure in open play.

#21 Megan Mifsud

Mifsud is another Giant whose numbers don’t quite tell the story of her talent. The crafty forward snared a lone goal from 11 disposals but troubled the Devils’ defence with her blend of speed and agility. In possession, she consistently looked to take the game on and put speed on the ball, skipping around opponents in the process. Her major came in the third term from a straightforward free kick conversion.

#27 Melanie Staunton

The Giants’ lone National Academy member was her side’s most prolific onballer, racking up 20 disposals and doing her best work on the inside. Of her touches, 13 were handballs as Staunton dished cleanly to runners, but also looked to create running passages with chains of possession on the move. Her clear moments of intent meant she lived up to the billing as co-captain, and Staunton’s first quarter goal helped kickstart her side’s game.

#28 Amy Frost

The second of GWS’ co-captains, Frost took on a heap of responsibility down back. Tasmania kicked 14 points and Frost took the majority of kick-ins, which she typically used to pump the ball long and clear the Giants’ defensive 50. With a tough role on Clark who looked ominous at all times, the over-ager did what she could defensively and showed a sense of urgency with ball in hand.

#35 Cleo Buttifant

A player who produced plenty of ‘wow’ moments through pure raw talent and athleticism, Buttifant looks like being a top-ager to note down. The 173cm defender showcased an incredible ability to cleanly reel in ground balls on the move, before shifting gears and leaving opponents in her wake. That kind of speed and dare made for good viewing, and could translate well to a line-breaking role further up the ground. In a tricky role, she fared well with 15 disposals, four marks and five rebound 50s.

  • Team
  • Geelong Falcons
  • GWV Rebels

By: Peter Williams


#1 Lucy Marescuk

The dangerous forward looked lively throughout the match having a number of shots, but just missing that last touch of composure to do a lot of damage on the scoreboard. She set up a goal to Seebeck in the opening term though and produced a lovely pickup off the deck in the second term to combine with Mekah Morrissy as some of her highlights. In the second half she had a flying shot on goal later in the third term but it went out on the full, then missed a shot from 20m, but the promising signs are there.

#6 Chloe Bryant

Burst into the game with an accurate goal that bounced home nicely on the move, and presented in that high half-forward role. She had a couple of “almost” chances with some ambitious marking attempts, but showed her X-factor in doing so. Rolling into the middle later in the game, she won a clearance from a half-back stoppage and was able to get it to Seebeck on the wing. She finished with 17 disposals, three marks, six inside 50s and a goal as that rolling forward/midfielder.

#7 Sara Howley

The star of the show and the player who ultimately kicked the winning goal late in the match. Still a bottom-ager, Howley ran all day and produced a four-quarter effort to rack up 26 disposals, five marks seven inside 50s and boot 3.2, as well as lay six tackles. She was our Player of the Week for Round 1, with her final goal bouncing home in the 14th minute to give the home side some breathing space. Her other two goals came in the third term, stepping up when the Falcons needed a spark, both of which came off clean pickups or handball receives to burst away and slot the goals on the run.

#22 Kiara Woods

Presenting around the ground, Woods held her own as a ruck, but also as a “fourth midfielder” by having 13 disposals to her 16 hitouts. Though not the complete package just yet, the bottom-age tall showed promise by being an option in transition and finding the pill in each third of the ground. Importantly, Woods laid a great tackle on a much smaller opponent in the final term to win a holding the ball free kick.

#25 Chloe Adams

The natural leader just put in a performance that has been expected of her, en route to 18 disposals, four marks, four tackles and eight inside 50s. She not only won the ball at the coalface, but also in transition on the outside, and particularly found a lot of it in the first and third terms. A reliable kick even when under pressure, Adams plugged away and found the space required, setting up her teammates with neat passes or quick handballs from congested situations. In the second half, Adams even showed off a nice burst out of the middle to kick inside 50 well.

#27 Madeline Seebeck

Playing forward, Seebeck was the surprise packet early, kicking two goals, including a remarkable one in the second term. after hitting the scoreboard in the first term thanks to a major off a couple of steps, she repeated the effort with an even better goal in the next quarter, Receiving the ball at the top of 50, Seebeck launched for home with an open goalsquare, and the ball obliged going through the big sticks. Though Seebeck occasionally just missed some other chances, she set up at least another couple of scoring chances, with smart plays to a running Howley and a loose Marescuk. A shot after the final siren into the breeze missed to the right to make it 2.1 for the match, but Seebeck was one of the biggest contributors for the Falcons in tehe win.


#1 Isabella Davies

The bottom-age small defender showed a clean pair of heels coming out of the back 50, and was able to evade a number of opponents throughout the game. She brought her own pressure to the contest as well, laying some critical tackles and even winning a holding the ball free kick. For a 160cm player, Davies is a comfortable overhead mark, holding her ground and generally looked to take on the opposition when behind the ball.

#5 Jessica Rentsch

The AFLW Academy member returned from that serious broken leg to make a solid contribution with some impressive plays. Though not at 100 per cent fitness just yet, Rentsch showed her burst speed by rebounding out of defence in the opening term, then running into space on a number of occasions in the second half. In the fourth quarter in particular, Rentsch won the ball at centre half-forward, burst inside 50 and kicked towards the pocket but it just went wide and out of bounds. With 11 disposals and four inside 50s, Rentsch will only get better with more runs in her legs.

#11 Molly Walton

The over-age member of the Rebels’ leadership group played a consistent brand of football that mostly centred around being at the stoppages then drifting back to be a kick behind play. She won a number of intercept possessions which is her forte, and though she often bombed the ball forward due to being under pressure or looking to get it in quickly, Walton did kick an impressive goal. in the final term. Off a couple of steps, Walton snapped around her body and it sailed home which first looked like it was marked on the line, but was paid a goal.

#15 Millie Lang

Bottom-agers who are 177cm intercept defenders do not grow on trees, but GWV Rebels have found one here in Lang who impressed coaches so much over the off-season she was named in the leadership group. It is easy to see why, with incredibly safe hands and impressive traits that lend themselves to winning contests aerially and at ground level, the Rebels could have been in a lot more trouble had it not been for the defender. GWV’s best comfortably, Lang racked up 28 disposals, five marks and had a whopping 15 rebound 50s. While some of those were counted from kick-ins, Lang did far more than that, taking some crucial grabs, impacting contests, and mopped up time and time again. A critical moment in the final term was an incredible run-down tackle on the goalline.

#24 Lily Jordan

It was a tale of two halves for Jordan who started like a house on fire and was the most dangerous forward on the ground. She slotted three goals, including the first of the game from a forward pocket, to head into the main break running hot over the ground. Her other two goals also came from in play with a running goal in the ninth minute of the second term, then six minutes later Jordan snapped across her body for it to sail home. More held in the second half, Jordan did have a flying shot in the fourth term, but it went out on the full. Still, she was the spark for the Rebels in the first half.

#35 Laila Lappin

The top-age tall rotated between centre half-forward and the ruck, providing a handy presence around the ground. She took a couple of strong intercept marks and while when forward she was not always super involved, she pushed up the ground to provide a target. Another player who has the potential to improve as the season goes on, particularly if she spends more time rolling through the ruck.

  • Team
  • Dandenong Stingrays
  • Swans Academy

By: Declan Reeve


#1 Bianca Lyne

The AFLW Academy member was trialed in a new role, still in the centre circle but not taking on ruck duties, as she looks to expand her versatility in her top age season. Whilst she did not necessarily win a heap of footy, her power and aggression around the contest was notable as she consistently looked to fight for the footy or stop opposition players pick it up easily. She was given more ruck opportunities in the second half and looked more comfortable, but showed promising signs as a rover regardless.

#8 Meg Robertson

Splitting her time between the midfield and up forward, Robertson was arguably Dandenong’s most consistent player across the four quarters, never letting the opposition win a clearance easily, and showing off her own ability to win the footy in close, Robertson was impressive with her burst from congestion and speed when on the outside. 

#24 Abbey Tregellis

The VFLW listed overager put in an impressive display across the four quarters, starting up forward and showing some impressive aggression at the footy aerially and willingness to defend, but it was when moved into the midfield that Tregellis looked her best. Using her frame and strength to her advantage, powering away from stoppages and bullying opponents out of her way to the footy. When moving at speed, there weren’t many that could bring her down, allowing her to run through opponents pretty consequence free.

#25 Jemma Reynolds

More of a receiver than ball-winner currently, Reynolds impressed with her ability to always get in the vision of her teammates under pressure, receive a releasing handball and follow up with fantastic ball use. Her composure and ball use through congestion was on full display, even looking pressure free when caught as the last player in defense, and moving the ball out effectively. With her ball use and positioning, Reynolds was one that managed to make things happen for Dandenong even when Sydney had all the momentum

#26 Kayla Dalgleish

Another Dandenong player who showed superb poise when required, Dalgleish took a bit of time to warm into the game, but took the second half as her own. Dalgleish worked hard to get involved in the play both when Dandenong were in possession and when they were not, generally making things happen with her clean disposal under pressure, and ability to evade opponents.


#10 Olivia Morris

Stationed around the midfield all game, Morris managed to have a good impact on both the inside and outside, using her speed and clean hands at ground level to her advantage around stoppages in particular. Morris showed good vision with her ability to release outside runners via hand, drawing opponents in to give her teammates more space. Whilst some of her kicks did not necessarily come off as well as she would’ve liked, she showed a sound technique and often got it to a teammates advantage.

#16 Holly Cooper

Displaying great burst from congestion and speed on the outside, Cooper was just one that continually took the game on, looking to get maximum metres from each of her disposals. She acted as one of the main drivers forward for Sydney, often placing the ball in front of leading teammates by foot, even when under direct pressure from an opponent.

#22 Ella Parker

The games leading goal kicker worked hard all day, consistently providing some exciting every time she was near the footy. Parker worked into the game well, shaking off a few early fumbles to really show her strong marking ability, aided by her timing and athleticism, with strong leads and an impressive ability to hold onto it even under contact. Whilst the goals immediately jump off the stats page, Parker was also a good user of the footy by hand, spotting teammates on the outside well to keep the Swans moving forward with speed.

#24 Asha Turner Funk

Just consistently cracked into the contest to win the hard ball, using her strength to outbody opponents and get the ball to her outside runners. It wasn’t just hard work on the inside, Turner-Funk worked just as hard to get involved in chains of play on the outside, looking to get the ball forward as much as possible, particularly when kicking with the wind.

  • Team
  • Bendigo Pioneers
  • Murray Bushrangers

By: Peter Williams


#9 Holly Egan

The bottom-age debutant finished with an equal team-high 17 disposals, largely playing forward and just getting into the right positions be it higher in the forward 50, or deeper closer to goal. Standing at 175cm, Egan was able to use her body to advantage, and though she only took the one mark and her best work was reserved for when the ball was in motion, she showed potential for the future. Impressively, the Bushrangers forward laid five tackles and was often the result of a second or third effort, and got reward for that effort with a nice goal off a couple of steps early in the third term. She should have had a second goal late in the game running into the goalsquare, but opted to pick the ball up instead of soccer it off the deck, and therefore was smothered. She will only learn from those experiences and get better.

#10 Paige Duffy

The defender-turned-midfielder, Duffy was able to provide a bigger body at the stoppages, using her 173cm frame against quite often smaller Bendigo opponents. She moved well showcasing her athletic background, and even fended off an opponent in defence. She has the pieces to make a full puzzle, and once she can clean up a few fundamentals, could get even better. Already identified as a Vic Country hub member, Duffy showed her versatility by wining the ball both inside and outside the contest, to finish with 13 disposals, but her stats do not do her justice.

#13 Matilda Lyons

The other Bushranger to have 17 disposals, Lyons had some big moments, particularly in the second half. Beating the highly-touted Lou Painter on the lead one-on-one early in the third term, she then hit the scoreboard in the fourth with a ripping goal off a step. She snapped it towards the big sticks and it bounced home critically to give her side the lead. Her fourth term was the biggest o the game, and she also took three marks and had eight inside 50s for the match.

#21 Kloe McElhinney

Playing in defence alongside Hay and Kobzan, McElhinney was one of the players to constantly clear the ball from danger. All of her 11 disposals were kicks and she had seven rebound 50s. After looking a little shaky in the first half with her kicking, she settled into the match in the third term and began having more impact with her kick-outs and deliveries down the ground. On a couple of instances, she looked to take grass and gain as much meterage as possible for her side.

#22 Grace Hay

Hay started the match as she had left off last season, ultimately being that rock solid intercept defender. She was handed the kickout duties and ultimately just kept putting the ball long out of the back 50, and quite often to the wing when given the chance. Late in the second term, Hay moved into the ruck in a surprise role, but won a few hitouts showing off her vertical jump, as well as her ground level work with her second efforts.

#26 Kaylea Kobzan

The Vic Country Hub member was reliable out of the back 50, and while she might have only picked up the 12 touches, she was neat and clean with ball-in-hand. Even if she did have to thump the ball forward, she did not put it into compromising positions for her side. In the fourth term she held a high line and had a long, booming kick inside 50 that bounced close to the goal but just fell short. Overall, Kobzan provided good run and penetration with her disposals.


#1 Lila Keck

The difference between the sides and the clear best on ground, Keck lived up to her AFLW Academy status with a sublime performance across four quarters. Her class has always been evident over the years, but Keck not only showed that through her two majors and numerous forward thrusts, but she backed up her offensive prowess with a high level of defensive pressure, laying six tackles and stopping opponents in their tracks. Her kicking was more often than not pinpoint, and she did it across four quarters, kicking the games’ first and last goals, the latter of which ultimately won her side the four points. A brilliant first-up game for 2023.

#2 Seph Demeo

Demeo joined Keck in providing some good run across the ground, stating off her day with a strong contested mark, using good body positioning. Though only 162cm, Demeo just got into the right ball-winning possessions and was most effective with her quick handballs to running teammates. She took more marks than anyone else on the field which was credit to her work rate and composure overhead, and laid five tackles as well to back up her aerial strength with defensive pressure.

#5 Lucia Painter

The talented bottom-ager worked into the game after a slow start, and while it was far from her best game, she still began to have some big moments later in the match. Painter shook off some rust. in the opening half, then when the third quarter rolled around, she was hitting targets off both sides and fending off opponents. She did give up a few free kicks for holding onto players too long, but was critical on the ball in the fourth quarter providing some nice weighted kicks from congested situations. One of the most clearly dual-sided players you will see.

#14 Bryde O’Rourke

Providing the need for speed, O’Rourke has that blistering first few steps to burn off opponents and break away inside 50. Though at times her decision making could be a little better, she provided some outstanding highlights including a good mark going back with the flight and subsequent set shot goal in the second term, then a brilliant running goal early in the third quarter. Once she has the ball in her hands she is clean and quick, and once she can tidy up some other fundamentals she can add to her impressive athletic profile.

#18 Eliza Coutts

Coutts played behind the ball and had some important plays in the back half of the ground, often rebounding and creating run, turning defence into attack. She was particularly busy in the second half where she burst away and would try and create some serious meterage, and though she often was forced to rush her kick due to oncoming pressure, was equally doing damage control by mopping up in the back 50. In the fourth term, Coutts showed her strength by standing up in the tackle and getting the handball away.

#26 Jemmika Douglas

A high X-factor forward who is still a bottom-ager, Douglas looked like setting the game alight in the opening term with a couple of early snaps. One hit the post and another just missed, but she got her goal when she was able to pick the ball up at full speed, evade an opponent and slam home a goal on the run. Finishing with 18 disposals, five inside 50s and three tackles, she was lively and always looked to break down the opposition zone when given the chance.

#27 Sasha Pearce

Possibly the next best behind Keck, Pearce was an exciting mobile ruck who got the job done both in the air and at ground level. She took a number of critical grabs at half-back, and was not limited to the stoppages for her impact. Pearce provided a presence around the ground, but if the ball hit the deck she was there to add an element of defensive pressure as well. She laid a whopping nine tackles, the equal second most on the ground, while having 16 disposals and 15 hitouts. As a 182cm bottom-ager, she has high-level potential.

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