Scouting notes: SANFLW U23s vs. State U18s

SOUTH Australia’s AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships squad ran away with a 51-point win over the SANFL Women’s Under 23 All-Stars squad at Thebarton Oval yesterday. With impressive players on both sides, we took note of some of the standouts in the match.


#1 Laitiah Huynh (Central District)
05/11/2002 | 157cm | Wing/Utility

The Central District speedster was particularly notable in the final term, winning a stack of touches and working well from behind the ball, intercepting and driving it forward. Though not as efficient as she usually would be earlier in the match, she settled into it and held her own with the margin mounting towards the opposition. Overall had some nice moments, and was particularly clean at ground level.

#3 Tahlita Buethke (Norwood)
23/01/2002 | 167cm | Midfielder

One of the better Under 23s in the match, Buethke played her usual run-and-gun game to try and break the game open. She was often forced into rushed situations due to the pressure of the Under 18s midfield and defence, but she set up her side’s first major to Healy. Another player who was generally clean she contributed well across the four quarters.

#5 Caitlin Wendland (Central District)
13/09/2003 | 164cm | Midfielder/Forward

One of the best for the Under 23s, Wendland converted a late goal rotating between midfield and forward. Her potent left boot became a factor for her side, missing an early chance but then capitalising late in the game with a goal off the deck. She worked hard to intercept on occasions in defence and covered the ground well, and took a good mark against her Central District teammate Jasmine Evans after a well placed kick from a teammate which would have felt good,. A lively player.

#9 Zoe Venning (West Adelaide)
04/11/2003 | 168cm | Inside Midfielder

Earning the MVP for the Under 23s and backing up her runner-up in the SANFL Women’s League Best and Fairest, Venning is a natural ball-winner and that was on display once again. Quick and clean by hand, Venning stuck to her strengths at the coalface, and then when getting the chance on the outside, looked for that release handball. Always hard at it, Venning was consistent throughout the four quarters.

#11 Lana Schwerdt (Norwood)
09/11/2004 | 163cm | Inside Midfielder

Similar to her other inside midfielders, Schwerdt never drops in her defensive intensity and that was the case again. She won the ball out of the stoppage on numerous occasions, and though often had to kick long in hope, still managed to buy some ground. Never too far from the contest, Schwerdt was a workhorse once again and battled on all game.

#14 Tesharna Maher (Norwood)
15/11/2001 | 160cm | Midfielder/Forward

Showed her class early with a multitude of touches in the first 10 minutes, also hitting targets with her neat short, sharp kick. Not a penetrating kick, Maher plays to her strengths and tried to dance around an opponent from 30m out in the third term but just missed the shot to the left. She continued to go in hard until the final siren and was one of the better players for the Under 23s.

#16 Alysha Healy (Sturt)
29/09/2000 | 168cm | Forward

The one who would have increased her draft stocks from the game, Healy has always been around on the fringes as one of the quickest players going around. Though always known for her craftiness around goal, Healy is now stepping up and winning it at half-forward and setting up others, as well as finishing off. Booted two of her sides three majors, with some classy roving in the first and fourth terms. A very impressive performance from the Sturt forward.

#18 Isobel Kuiper (Sturt)
14/05/2001 | 171cm | Inside Midfielder

Returning from an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) earlier than expected this year, Kuiper had a massive second half of the SANFL Women’s season, and held her own in this game. Her kicking can still be iffy and a little high, but she just wins the ball with ease and is a naturally contested inside ball-winner. Her work to extract the ball by hand and then when not winning it lay a big tackle, was on show again. Kuiper was rewarded with a couple of free kicks for getting to the ball first in the third term.

#20 Jaslynne Smith (South Adelaide)
17/08/2000 | 168cm | Defender

A rock in defence, Smith played to her usual standard and mopped up plenty on the last line. She defends well, is competitive in the air and at ground level, and intercepts on occasions when the ball goes astray in there. One of the best behind centre, Smith her her own and while a number of Under 18s did get off the chain, she was a settling force in the defensive 50.


#5 Monique Bessen (Sturt)
05/02/2007 | 174cm | Wing/Forward

After a quieter start, Bessen really worked into the game, particularly when getting her midfield minutes. She was focused defensively, laying an attempted smother on the wing after winning a free kick for going in hard, and given the time and space, nailed kicks going forward. Her second term in particular was huge, and while not earning the minutes inside others did – as a double bottom-ager it makes sense – Bessen stepped up when required.

#6 India Rasheed (Sturt)
29/11/2006 | 172cm | Midfielder/Forward

Threatened to tear the game apart in the first term and looked a class above. She had the ball on a string, kicked a ripping first goal off a step and narrowly missed a couple of other chances, as well as went to pass one off unselfishly. Her quick hands and kicking were superb again, and then moved further afield in the second term to gain some more midfield minutes. Playing forward in the second half, she won a free kick in the goalsquare and converted her second major to be one of the highest impact players.

#10 Jasmine Evans (Central District)
05/02/2006 | 165cm | Forward/Midfielder

It was a game of ‘almosts’ for the talented forward/midfielder who had two chances in the first half that just missed including one poster. Had those gone through then she would have had a couple of goals to her name, but also set up some scoring chances kicking inside 50. She turned over a couple of kicks across the course of the day, but generally put them into dangerous positions and held her own.

#11 Sophie Eaton (Central District)
23/04/2007 | 169cm | Midfielder/Forward

An enormously gifted player, the South Australian Under 16s MVP showed she can match it with the best of the best around the stoppages, and had some high IQ plays. Not a massive ball-winner compared to some others in the game, whenever she goes inside, she finds the ball far easier, and it showed through the middle two quarters. In particular her second term was sensational, where she seemed to just ooze class out of a stoppage. Winning a centre clearance and hitting a 40m pass on the run to a leading Boyd in the second term was a highlight, and she has the composure to weight her handballs. One of the best for 2025.

#12 Poppy Scholz (Glenelg)
31/12/2006 | 179cm | Defender/Midfielder

Really liked her work behind the ball and then rolling into the midfield, winning some strong contests one-on-one in the air and at ground level. She took a number of intercept marks and hit up teammates down the field, and was one of the more influential players in stemming the flow of the Under 23s. She also looked to cut into the corridor wherever possible, and while it spelled danger on occasions, she was generally able to put the ball into good spots and held her own against more experienced opponents.

#16 Melissa Anderson (South Adelaide)
17/08/2005 |.173cm | Midfielder/Forward

Without a number of first-choice midfielders in the South Australian onball brigade, Anderson finally got her chance to play in her preferred position, and showed off her strength and power at the stoppages. Her kicking was a little suspect due to the pressure around her and having to just bomb it forward, but her athletic traits showed there is plenty to work with there. She also laid a great run-down tackle on Buethke in the second term, but then from the free kick unfortunately turned it over. The top-ager is a good size and versatile, and certainly knows her way around a stoppage.

#18 Holly Ifould (South Adelaide)
02/09/2005 | 167cm | Wing

Playing arguably her best game of the year, Ifould produced the all-round game both offensively and defensively to come away with the Under 18s MVP. She started strong, winning the ball at will, but not just through cheap touches on the outside, she also went in and laid tackles, as well as pounced on loose balls. Her kicking was more consistent today, and while under pressure it can still improve, she backed up her offensive traits with second efforts and was fierce from start to finish. Her performance definitely would have seen clubs take note.

#19 Alissa Brook (South Adelaide)
23/05/2005 | 176cm | Defender

Named among the best for the Under 18s, Brook teamed up well with her strong defensive cohort including Schulz and Lily Whitcombe behind the ball. Showing off her aerial prowess, Brook locked the ball up in a good tackle in the second term, and then took a number of defensive 50 marks to start off defensive chains. Her kicking was effective and she made the most of her opportunities when presented with them to be solid all-round.

#20 Zara Walsh (Sturt)
12/03/2005 | 172cm | Forward

Another one who considering the standard of game, played one of her best games for the year, showcasing that speed on the lead and forward craft that catches the eye. She kicked the two goals, with the first coming midway through the second term and the second coming in the fourth. Both resulted from free kicks and set shots, but Walsh also had a number of chances that just fell short, or where she opted to pass off to teammates who just missed. Though the Sturt talent could have a touch more composure at times such as when running into goal at the 14th minute of the second term, she held her own and showed the upside clubs are looking for in draftees.

#21 Marlie Fiegert (WWT Eagles)
10/05/2005 | 169cm | Midfielder/Forward

While many others had big first halves, Fiegert finished strong with a prominent second half, and staked her case to be an inclusion against Vic Metro. The Eagles onballer worked hard on the inside and used it as well as she has done all season, even shrugging off a would-be tackler in the middle during the fourth term and delivering it to half-forward. Finding her fair share of the ball and more importantly being impactful with her touches, Fiegert gained some reward for her efforts with a free kick eight minutes into the third term, kicking a goal from the goalsquare.

#27 Brooke Boileau (South Adelaide)
28/01/2005 | 168cm | Inside Midfielder

Best-on in the first half, Boileau stepped up to the plate as the number one midfielder given the resting of her AFLW Academy teammates. She was incredible across the first 40 minutes, not only winning numerous clearances and extracting it from in close, but when forward, booted two goals. Though both majors were from close range, the two came from general play off hands where quick thinking was required, and the South Adelaide midfielder delivered. Though a little quieter after half-time, Boileau was still clearly one of the best on ground.

#30 Lucy Boyd (West Adelaide)
12/10/2006 | 172cm | Forward

It was uncertain what to expect from Boyd who had not played a competitive match since April 22, but the bottom-ager was able to capitalise on her chances playing out of the goalsquare. In the absence of Bloods teammate Young, Boyd became the focal point of the attack, and finished with three goals. Her first was a free kick from a forward stoppage late in the second term, and then booted back-to-back goals within two minutes in the fourth quarter. Though that made her scoreboard impact look far greater, she did work hard all game and took a number of strong marks. She might have been a little rusty at times, but will be much better for the run and one to watch at the national carnival.

#32 Jemma Charity (WWT Eagles)
06/06/2006 | 170cm | Midfielder/Forward

The bottom-ager was another one of the best across the course of the game, and contributed both through the midfield and up forward. She got her chance in her preferred midfield role and looked clean and classy, and got on the end of a play by finding space and marking 30m out from goal in the fourth quarter. She made no mistake from there, and when she was not kicking them she was delivering piercing darts inside 50. A high impact-per-possession player.

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