Talent League Girls Round 9 preview: Oakleigh Chargers vs Gold Coast Suns Academy
A MASSIVE clash between the two most impressive sides thus far takes place, with the unbeaten Oakleigh Chargers taking on a Gold Coast Suns Academy who cruised to back-to-back wins the past fortnight. The two Queensland Academies and Northern Territory remain in play as part of an eight-game fixture over the weekend.
Two sides who are yet to taste defeat are primed for a Sunday afternoon blockbuster. The Chargers became the only full-time Coates Talent League team to remain undefeated last week after Eastern Ranges lost, but take on a Gold Coast Suns Academy side running hot off a three-digit smashing of reigning premiers, Western Jets. Taking place at La Trobe University as part of a double-header, the clash is primed to be one of the best of the season.
TOP-AGE DRAFT WATCH:
#8 Lara Hausegger (Oakleigh Chargers)
03/08/2005 | 170cm | Medium Defender
The smooth-moving defender has been a consistent force throughout the season as has been expected with her agility and ball-winning abilities on display. She has been key in rebounding from defence and ensuring the Chargers remain unbeaten, while competing in the air or at ground level. Hausegger averages 20.4 disposals, 2.4 marks and 3.2 rebound 50s in season 2023.
#10 Amy Cariss-Brett (Oakleigh Chargers)
20/03/2005 | 166cm | Wing
A big improver in season 2023, Cariss-Brett has caught the eye on the wing a number of times and is looking to build consistency in the second half of the Coates Talent League season. Particularly prolific two starts ago against Calder Cannons, Cariss-Brett could have a huge head-to-head on the weekend. Cariss-Brett has had two 20-plus disposal games and three under 12 for an average of 15.4 in season 2023, while averaging 3.6 inside 50s.
#5 Sienna McMullen (Gold Coast Suns Academy)
15/07/2005 | 164cm | Wing
The highly touted Queensland prospect this year and member of the AFLW Academy, McMullen is a pure winger with fantastic endurance and speed which makes her perfect for the role. She can take the game on and use it well when given time and space, and is coming in for her first Suns Academy game after missing the opening two Talent League clashes.
#23 Josie McCabe (Gold Coast Suns Academy)
18/04/2005 | 173cm | Inside Midfielder/Forward
The Suns Academy skipper built on her game one performance with a better performance in game two, hitting the scoreboard and looking just as capable as a leading forward as she is at the coalface. A natural contested ball-winner, McCabe leads by example bringing that defensive pressure and often being the feeder out to her outside runners.
#25 Emma McDonald (Oakleigh Chargers)
18/04/2006 | 180cm | Key Forward
The athletic key forward has been threatening to break a game open in the early doors of the season, but did just that last weekend against Northern in Round 8. Booting 4.2 from 13 disposals and clunking eight marks, everything seemed to come together and she looms as a key target inside 50 for her teammates, and a problem for the Suns Academy defence.
#3 Sienna Tallariti (Oakleigh Chargers)
10/07/2006 | 168cm | Medium Utility
It is hard to know exactly where Tallariti will end up playing her best footy long-term as she can go inside, outside, play forward or in defence and find a way to impact the game. The last two weeks she has been stationed in the latter while rotating into the midfield, and picked up a season-high 26 disposals and eight rebound 50s against the Knights.
#10 Ava Usher (Gold Coast Suns Academy)
11/08/2007 | 162cm | Inside Midfielder/Forward
Coming off a remarkable performance against Sandringham Dragons where she kicked four goals from 21 disposals, Usher is still a few years away from being draft-eligible but is able easily able to compete against opponents older and more experienced than her. Strong and explosive with a determination to break the lines, she is hard to matchup on, let alone stop.
#30 Havana Harris (Gold Coast Suns Academy)
01/07/2006 | 181cm | Ruck/Key Forward
To have a ruck who is like a fourth midfielder is one thing, but when that ruck is still 181cm, it is almost unheard of. Harris is a rare talent who can not only win the hitout, but burst away from the stoppage and win the clearance as well, then go forward, clunk a mark and hit the scoreboard. A genuine pick one chance in 2024 in a really strong field of prospects.
No doubt Gold Coast Suns Academy’s biggest test yet and the same can be said for Oakleigh Chargers. The Suns Academy has looked unstoppable when getting going, while the Chargers are an outstandingly well-drilled unit. Both teams do not have a stack of top-age talents, but their bottom-agers are doing the job so expect it to be a thriller. The Suns Academy stars might just have the edge, though.
AROUND THE GROUNDS
Dandenong Stingrays vs. Bendigo Pioneers
Saturday, June 3 @ Shepley Oval, 12pm
Fresh off an inspired victory over the previously unbeaten Eastern Ranges, Dandenong Stingrays might have hit their highly-touted straps for the 2023 season. They host a Bendigo Pioneers side who is also coming off an inspiring win – over Northern Territory – just its second of the season. This is a step up in class though, and with Elli Symonds and Zoe Besanko among the more athletic talls, the Stingrays have a fluid and rotational gamestyle. Watch out for the in-form Lucia Painter, and hopefully the return of top prospect, Lila Keck.
Calder Cannons vs. Brisbane Lions Academy
Saturday, June 3 @ Highgate Recreation Reserve, 12pm
After storming to a 3-0 start to the season, the Cannons have been less convincing either side of the community break, failing to score against a red-hot Oakleigh, then coming back and needing a barn-storming five-goal final term to get past Gippsland Power. Back at home against the visiting Brisbane Lions Academy, the Cannons should be well placed to give this game a shake. Amy Gaylor is still missing from the cannons, but bottom-ager Kyla Forbes and the ever-reliable Kayley Kavanagh can get the job done. The Lions have won both their Coates Talent League games thus far, albeit against two of the winless sides in the competition. It will be a good test for the likes of AFLW Academy members, Sophie Peters and Rania Crozier.
Western Jets vs. Eastern Ranges
Saturday, June 3 @ Williamstown, 1:30pm
Two teams at opposite ends of the ladder, reigning premiers Western Jets have been unable to reach the levels they did last year with plenty of turnover stepping up to AFLW or VFLW level. The Eastern Ranges are the equivalent of the Jets last season, with some top-end talents – such as Alyssia Pisano and Laura Stone – as well as remarkable depth across the ground. Western still has dangerous talent itself, and while missing its top tall prospect in Kristie-Lee Weston-Turner due to injury, have the likes of bottom-agers Sierra Grieves and Lou-Lou Field stepping up. Eastern should bounce back with a win in this one, though expect the conditions to be challenging in windy Williamstown.
Northern Knights vs. Murray Bushrangers
Saturday, June 3 @ Preston City Oval, 2:30pm
It has been a rollercoaster season for the Northern Knights with some obviously talented players, but the majority are at bottom-age or double bottom-age level making them a very young side. They have still managed to pick up three wins from four games and should make it four from five against a winless Murray Bushrangers outfit. The Bushrangers too have some eye-catching players, with Holly Egan and Tamika Rourke a couple of bottom-agers to watch, while Hannah Scott is in great form for the Knights, and Ava Jordana natural ball-winner.
Sandringham Dragons vs. Tasmania Devils
Saturday, June 3 @ RSEA Park, 5:15pm
Tasmania Devils bounced back with a victory last week after back-to-back losses, defeating Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels up at Mars Stadium. The Devils dominated for the first two and a half quarters, and got back to the football they showed earlier in the season. The tall forward talent headlined by Georgia Clark and the in-form Grace White poses a problem for most defences. Sandringham’s run and carry is what sets the Dragons aside, with the classy Daisy Flockart and Sophie McKay two to remember for next year.
Gippsland Power vs. GWV Rebels
Sunday, June 4 @ Shepley Oval, 11:00am
Gippsland Power were horribly unlucky not to make it back-to-back wins in Round 8 after controlling the game against top four side Calder Cannons and just falling away in the last term after the magnets were moved. The Power have been boosted by the inclusion of a stack of 2007-born talents who look promising for the coming years, and will back themselves up against a Rebels side that has potential, but has not been able to tick over as many wins as it is capable of. Last time they played, the Rebels were far too good, with Laila Lappin and Lily Jordan among the more damaging players at Kilsyth. This time the Power have Ella Stoddart added in defence, while Ash Centra has cemented a more permanent role back there.
Geelong Falcons vs. Northern Territory Academy
Sunday, June 4 @ La Trobe University, 12:30pm
The match that has danger signs written on it given the Falcons have been blitzing anyone who has got in their way, the title contenders will host Northern Territory Academy as the Thunder get their biggest test yet. The Thunder went down to Gippsland by nine goals then lost to Bendigo last week after controlling play for the most part, but Geelong is a different beast. The Falcons juggernaut has racked up 91 and 81-point wins since returning from the break and has bolted into third, quickly catching up to Eastern’s percentage. Chantal Mason has booted 11.6 in the past fortnight, while Sara Howley has had 75 disposals and booted 3.5 as two of the stronger performers. For the Territory, watch for the class of Tatyana Perry and the run of fellow bottom-ager, Emma Stark.