Future in Focus: Bottom-age Vic Metro players to watch

WHILE all eyes will be on the 2023 AFL Women’s Draft hopefuls at the upcoming national carnival, there is an abundance of talent across all the states and territories who could impress at the championships. Clubs are looking more and more into the future similar to the men’s competition, and will be keeping an eye on the 2006-born prospects.

In what is set to be the strongest draft crop to-date, the amount of incredible players and top-end picks looms as a goldmine for clubs thinking 12 months ahead. We will dive into a state-by-state breakdown of some players to keep in mind.

We continue the series with Vic Metro, and focus our attention on the nine bottom-age players who have earned places in the squad.



The standout midfielder from a Vic Metro bottom-age perspective this season in the Coates Talent League has been Western Jets’ Sierra Grieves. Averaging 28.3 disposals per game, she is ranked second in the league for average disposals across more than one game. Boasting incredible clearance work and a potent kick when able to gain some freedom, she is one to watch next year.

Hot on her heels from a midfielder perspective is Sophie McKay. The daughter of Carlton’s Andrew, McKay has proven herself not only on-ball, but also inside 50. Able to hit the scoreboard and ever-dangerous around the forward stoppages, McKay has the hardness of sister Abbie, but also that class when moving in transition.

Northern Knights’ Zoe Hargreaves has been a revelation this season for her side along with sister, Phoebe. While Phoebe played at the Under 16 Championships, Zoe will take her place in the Under 18s team. A classy player who can roll forward but is that smooth-moving midfielder, she is a player with high upside considering less time in the elite program compared to some others.

Oakleigh Chargers’ Sarah Poustie rounds out the midfield contingent, with the winger turned onballer enjoying a strong season. She has been a consistent ball-winner for the Chargers, and is tough and clean by hand or foot. Working hard in transition, she complements the Chargers midfield and will likely play as a wing for Vic Metro.


Forward/midfielder Kyla Forbes is a clever left-footer out of Calder Cannons, and can impact the game both in the middle and forward of centre. Though the final execution is an area to improve, she kicks the ball so fluently, and is able to weave her way in and out of traffic seamlessly. Her ability to also hit the scoreboard when inside 50 is another string to her bow.

Sticking inside 50, and the most prominent forward to keep in mind next year is key forward, Emma McDonald. Showing signs from Round 1 of her ability, McDonald has an impressive vertical leap, great athleticism for a 180cm-plus tall, and can clunk those contested marks. The latter has been improving as the season has gone on, and she is starting to convert on the scoreboard more.

Eastern Ranges forward Georgie Brisbane has been another player to stand up in the 2023 season, catching the eye as a 175cm marking a target. Though her form has wavered a little in the past few weeks, Brisbane has the traits to impact at the national carnival. She is capable of pushing up the ground and playing higher with impressive mobility.

Up the other end of the field, Grieves’ partner-in-crime, top-end talent Lou-Lou Field is the most promising defender of the bunch. She is a terrific interceptor and in particular rebounder, with a potent left foot that can travel long distances. She can win a stack of ball, and though she will also likely gain midfield minutes over the next 18 months, is a tried and true defender.

Completing the bottom-age contingent is Oakleigh Chargers’ Sienna Tallariti. An ultimate utility, Tallariti has played as a forward, midfielder and now a defender. Her form behind the ball for the top of the table Chargers has been superb, and her strength, aerial ability and kicking have all improved in the 2023 season and she looms as a key player in next year’s draft.

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