2023 WAFLW State Scouting notes: Round 2
IN the latest edition of our WAFL Women’s State scouting notes for Round 2 of the 2023 season, we highlighted nine players across the four games who stood out as either current or prior members of the 2022/23 WAFLW State Academies, while mentioning others who also showed signs in their respective matches.
#1 Noa McNaughton (South Fremantle)
The lively small forward was deadly inside 50 with her high level footy IQ on show and ability to just get into the right spots and convert with ease. She kicked three goals in the match, including a fantastic crumbing goal nine minutes into the match. McNaughton added two more that came from similar circumstances with the next late in the second quarter running hard back to the goalsquare to soccer it home, then her third seven minutes into the fourth quarter roving a ball to perfection. She also look to give off the handball to teammates and set them up for better positions around the ground, and played the perfect small forward’s game.
Holly Gill came in for her first match in Royals League colours and though her statistics might not do her justice, she had some nice moments. After being sidestepped by the tricky Makaela Tuhakaraina for a goal early, she took a number of good marks, and also provided assistance off the deck with clean takes. Ruby Burgess rolled between half-back and the ruck taking a couple of good grabs as well, and even had a shot on goal while under pressure that hit the post.
#33 Anjelique Raison (East Fremantle)
It was a big game from Raison in terms of overall numbers, with the key forward/ruck collecting 18 disposals and 13 hitouts playing further afield than Round 1. She missed a couple of chances she would normally nail with ease, including a 20m set shot that strangely fell short, before getting her major in the third term. Provided a presence up forward and held her own in the ruck.
#32 Liliana Grassenis (West Perth)
Coming in after missing Round 1, Grassenis slotted into the forwardline as had been touted by the Falcons preseason, and impressed with her tackling pressure. Making our Team of the Week, Grassenis kicked West Perth’s only goal of the game by getting forward in space and converting from the goalsquare, but also worked hard with eight tackles to accompany her 11 disposals in the game.
#1 Megan Norbury (West Perth)
After a shaky Round 1, Norbury stepped up in Round 2 and found some of her best traits again with a solid performance against the reigning grand finalists. She might have only had the nine disposals, but she was able to find space and take six marks, but more importantly use her slicing low darts to hit teammates well in traffic. Norbury also generated some good run out of defence.
Kayla Van Den Heever started strongly before tiring in the second half to finish with seven disposals, though that included a couple of lovely pinpoint passes from half-back to the wing. Silky East Fremantle defender Zippy Fish was locked down on after a big Round 1 and kept to 12 disposals, and critically for the Falcons, just four kicks. Taya Chambers (12 disposals, three marks) was solid out of defence, while Natasha Entwistle had the 10 touches and four marks. AFLW Academy member Georgie Cleaver returned from injury to have a quiet game, but then produced a typical Cleaver highlight with an eye-catching goal on the run in the third term.
#11 Jaime Henry (Swan Districts)
Returning to League action for the first time since injuring herself in last year’s preliminary final, the top-age AFLW Academy member battled away for four quarters and was one of Swan Districts’ best in the loss. She found herself in a familiar role behind the ball after attending the stoppages, winning touches in the back half of the ground and generally using it well off her consistent left boot. She would end up with 20 touches, three marks and five tackles in defeat.
#15 Olivia Crane (Subiaco)
Though perhaps not as massive as the week before, the double bottom-ager had less to do this week as the defender’s side dominated. Crane still got involved up the ground though and was among the impressive plethora of Subiaco players, racking up 18 disposals and taking four marks, holding a strong line at half-back. Despite being three years away from her draft year, Crane looks incredibly comfortable at senior level.
Carys D’Addario was the next best of the state representatives in the match, with the 2007-born talent providing some good defensive pressure with five tackles, as well as winning 12 of her own disposals. It was a tough day out for anyone in black and white, but she could hold her head high. Lily Paterson and Indiana West both recorded the eight disposals, while Tyla Fitzgerald had the four touches.
#2 Evie Cowcher (Peel Thunder)
The Peel Thunder double bottom-ager was a clear best-on for the the losing side, and arguably even the match with a whopping 29 disposals, eight marks – three contested. -and 13 rebound 50s. She was sublime with her ball use, leaped up to crash packs and take huge grabs, and was steadfast in the back 50. Cowcher was our WAFLW Player Focus for the round, which looks at her performance in great detail.
>> EVIE COWCHER WAFLW PLAYER FOCUS
#6 Eva O’Donnell (Claremont)
The Claremont youngster looked lively in the front half of the ground, and though she missed a change narrowly by hitting the post, her build up for that play – running at full tilt and cleanly picking up the ball to burst away and have a shot – was one of the plays of the day. She has a lovely kicking technique, and though she can sometimes rush or get bumped off the ball by stronger opponents, O’Donnell always looked dangerous.
#10 Jorja Haines (Peel Thunder)
Stepping up into largely full-time midfield minutes, Haines found plenty of the ball in one of her higher production games. She was up against an experienced midfield and did not shy away from the challenge, with a strong attack on the ball both in the air and at ground level. The intensity of the game went up from her normal half-forward role where she would rotate into the middle, so her efficiency dropped, but she matched it with her opponents in terms of ball-winning capabilities and finished with 17 disposals and four marks.
Defender/midfielder Dakota Sexton collected eight disposals and laid three tackles in a hard-working effort for the Thunder, as teammates Kate Newson (ruck) and Holly Britton (forward) found the going tough against far more experienced opponents. Claremont double bottom-ager Juliet Kelly finished with seven disposals, doing what she could off half-back.