SANFLW Under 23s set for Academy showcase

SOUTH Australia has never had a shortage of mature-age talent available to AFL Women’s clubs, and now the top Under 23s will be able to showcase their talent in an exhibition match against the State Academy.

The match will take place on Sunday at Thebarton Oval, from 11am local time as a preparation for the Under 18s’ second national carnival match. After defeating Western Australia by 35 points in game one, the Croweaters will head to Victoria on April 9 to face Vic Metro, before returning to Adelaide on July 15 to tackle Queensland at Adelaide Oval. That match will be a curtain-raiser to the Adelaide-GWS AFL match.

While the benefits for the Under 18s squad is evident in the form of maintaining match fitness prior to the remaining national carnival matches, the Under 23s also gain critical exposure from the clash. It gives those players who have been previously overlooked by AFL Women’s clubs a chance to shine on the big stage, and have the opportunity to be called up as an injury replacement player, or be in consideration for a full-time list spot at the end of the year.

Among the Under 18s named in the squad are the five AFL Women’s Academy members in skipper and SANFLW league best and fairest winner Piper Window, top AFLW Draft prospects Lauren Young and Shineah Goody, and top 10 talents Molly Brooksby and Elaine Grigg.

Grigg is coming off a flag with Central District and will play alongside Charlotte Riggs, Jasmine Evans and Sophie Eaton, the latter of whom steps up to Under 18s level coming off an Under 16s carnival where she won her state’s MVP.

The Bulldogs players will face off against some of their premiership teammates, with Madison Lane and Lauren Breguet sure to cross paths with Evans and Eaton up forward, while Laitiah Huynh and Caitlin Wendland will likely line-up on Grigg at some stage.

Similarly, South Adelaide inside midfielder Brooke Boileau will go head-to-head against her midfield partner in Senna Gulden and athletic top-age defender Alissa Brook might be assigned the job on Panthers key forward, Jorja Hooper.

The head-to-heads do not end there, with West Adelaide defender Georgie Pater a likely matchup for Bloods teammate Young, while Sophie Zuill and Audrey Holt will have their young star teammate in Goody around the vicinity depending when she is playing midfield or in defence.

Among the other possible inclusions from South Australia’s point of view are bottom-agers Lucy Boyd, Asha Dufour, Emma Kilpatrick and Laela Ebert, and top-age utility Chloe Charity. Port Adelaide father-daughter eligible Marlie Fiegert and Sturt double bottom-ager Monique Bessen are others set to make their under 18s debut in the tri-colours.

Crossing to the Under 23s squad, the team is expected to be ultra competitive with a strong midfield group, many of whom have coming through the South Australian pathway themselves. Lane is a former captain of the Croweaters, with Huynh, Zoe Venning, Lana Schwerdt, Tahlita Buethke, Breguet and Georgia Swan just a handful of names to be recent graduates who can play midfield or other roles.

Forward Alana Lishmund won the goalkicking in 2022 and returned from injury in the last month of the season as a forward to watch, while Tasmanian Aprille Crooks was deployed in multiple roles throughout the season for North Adelaide. Reigning 2022 Norwood best and fairest winner, Tesharna Maher, the equal fastest 20-metre sprinter Alysha Healy and consistent South Adelaide defender Jaslynne Smith are among the ones to watch.

SA U18 Girls v SA U23 Women

Sunday June 25
Thebarton Oval – 11am

South Australia Under 18s:
#1 Elaine Grigg
#2 Coby Morgan
#3 Violet Patterson
#4 Laela Ebert
#5 Monique Bessen
#6 India Rasheed
#7 Asha Dufour
#8 Ruby Ballard
#9 Shineah Goody
#10 Jasmine Evans
#11 Sophie Eaton
#12 Poppy Scholz
#13 Piper Window
#14 Molly Brooksby
#15 Jacinda Schunselaar
#16 Melissa Anderson
#17 Esther Schirmer
#18 Holly Ifould
#19 Alissa Brook
#20 Zara Walsh
#21 Marlie Fiegert
#22 Grace Martin
#27 Brooke Boileau
#28 Lily Whitcombe
#29 Emma Kilpatrick
#30 Lucy Boyd
#31 Lauren Young
#32 Jemma Charity
#33 Chloe Charity
#39 Charlotte Riggs

South Australia Under 23s:
#1 Laitiah Huynh
#2 Madisyn Freeman
#3 Tahlita Buethke
#4 Maddy Lane
#5 Caitlin Wendland
#6 Marie Martino
#7 Lauren Breguet
#8 Aprille Crooks
#9 Zoe Venning
#10 Audrey Holt
#11 Lana Schwerdt
#12 Julia Clark
#13 Alana Lishmund
#14 Tesharna Maher
#15 Georgia Swan
#16 Alysha Healy
#17 Georgie Pater
#18 Isobel Kuiper
#19 Senna Gulden
#20 Jaslynne Smith
#22 Brooklyn Kraft
#24 Sophie Zuill
#27 Caitlin Radbone
#28 Jorja Hooper

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