Scouting Notes: 2023 Talent League Girls – Round 11

IT was back to a six-game round of action in the Coates Talent League and plenty of stars returned to the competition. We took note of some of those players in our weekly Scouting Notes, with a focus on top-age players who took part in the Victorian trials, or non draft-eligible younger players. As always, all notes are the opinion of the individual author.

  • Team
  • Eastern Ranges
  • Calder Cannons

Eastern Ranges:

#6 Hayley McLaughlin

Recording the most touches for her side, McLaughlin competed hard on the outside and looked to help provide run in transition. Prominent in the first half in particular, McLaughlin got involved with the play going into attack, but also worked back into defence to assist her teammates. Though her tackling numbers were down, she got her hands on the ball more than usual, with a season-high disposal count of 27.

#10 Laura Stone

Returning to the Ranges, Stone looked like she had never left, rolling between defence and midfield and providing some vital run down the corridor. Mopping up time and time again, Stone constantly looked to tuck the ball under her arm and hit teammates down the ground, while putting her body on the line to draw an opponent. She did not just impress offensively, but also defensively with strong tackles, to lead by example.

#14 Alyssia Pisano

The dynamic forward booted two goals in quick succession in the first term, and then one with the final kick of the game, becoming the highest goal kicker of the match. Other than her finishing ability, she created plenty of headaches for the opposition defence, leading up and back and making space for herself. On a few occasions, she would gather in between opponents, sidestep them and quickly give off the quick handball while running to receive it back, but the odd fumble from a teammate not quite ready saw a couple of missed opportunities. Still, Pisano was so damaging with ball-in-hand or when it was in her vicinity.

#17 Grace Baba

Her statistics do not always do her justice, though 13 disposals, three marks and six rebound 50s was still impressive from the defender. Not only is are closing speed and timing of spoils terrific, but when she has the ball, backs herself to take the game on and can hit targets by hand or foot. One to keep in mind for next year.

#22 Grace Belloni

It was a handy performance from the forward/midfielder who converted two goals and was among the Ranges’ best. She looked dangerous when inside 50 and and used her vision to open up space for her teammates to run onto handpasses. Strong overhead as well, Belloni’s 2.1 from 19 touches did plenty of damage.

#26 Lucy Ongaro

In just her second game, the bottom-age Ongaro looked lively inside 50. While she only finished with the nine disposals, she kicked 2.2 and probably should have had a couple more. One major was a kick around her body and another was a soccer off the deck, and though at times her kicking was hit or miss, she got to the right spots. If she converted more consistently, she would have had a big day out.

#54 Tayla McMillan

The standout double bottom-ager from the Ranges, McMillian is a classy player who will be a balanced midfielder for years to come. She can win her own ball, and also spread to the outside to use it well in space. Clean by hand or foot, she also provides good pressure on her opponents, with her release by hand well timed for a player of her age.

Calder Cannons:

#3 Chloe Baker-West

Coming in for her first game of the season, Baker-West wasted no time quickly asserting herself as the player to watch for the Cannons in a few years time. She gets to the right spots, covers the ground well, can compete overhead well for her height and can play inside or outside. Also capable of rolling back into defence, Baker-West had more disposals than anyone else on the field with 29 and was a prominent player in the loss.

#5 Jade McLay

Another double bottom-ager, McLay has performed strongly since coming into the Cannons lineup, and she was again effective against the Ranges. Though she only accumulated the 12 touches, she used her power to extract it from the stoppage and burst forward, thumping it into the danger areas inside 50. When forward, she was able to clunk a mark and convert the set shot.

#18 Sarah Grunden

Back to her best from earlier in the year, Grunden was influential with two goals from 17 disposals and bounced back from being hurt early in the game to have an influence. Her kicking inside 50 and vision was superb, winning a number of one-on-ones when inside 50. Strong overhead and with plenty of upside, her stocks are rising.

#25 Kayley Kavanagh

It was another consistent performance from Kavanagh who had more of an impact in transition rather than at the coalface. She took seven marks and laid eight tackles from her 23 touches, and was able to drift behind the ball to help project the Cannons forward. In the fourth term she hurt her arm but returned to have a role, though her set shot late in the match went too far wide and out of the full.

  • Team
  • Gippsland Power
  • Sandringham Dragons

Gippsland Power:

#15 Jasmine Sowden

After a dominant performance the week before, Sowden was again once of the better Power players, showing off her ability to kick on both sides. Though she was able to hit targets off her left, she even won a clearance off her right at one point, and was a key distributor going forward. There was one strange moment where she opted for a two-handed spoil rather than a mark despite being uncontested, but otherwise was influential across the match. Running hard all day, she has a booming kick and converted a goal from the goalsquare in the second term after a 50m penalty.

#16 Ash Centra

A jumper change could not stop Centra being her usual calm and composed self, winning the ball in defence and driving it forward. Boasting some of the best highlights of any player, there was one instant in the fourth term where she marked, went to kick and fumbled, but then just sidestepped her opponent with ease and drilled a ball between three Dragons to hit a target 30m away. At times she easily danced around players, and though she is building her running capacity, is so potent with her ball use.

#18 Siena Lane

The defender had a good game, cracking in from start to finish. With a strong attack on the ball, her ability to come out and meet it rather than sit back and wait was admirable. Being cleaner in the air and at ground level is the next step in her game, but she shows good second efforts and is not afraid to put her body on the line for her team.

#19 Ella Stoddart

The double bottom-age defender found plenty of the ball once again and looked to clear the danger zone of the back 50 and launch long down the line. Good overhead and penetrative by foot, the defender held her own. Developing her right side is important in the future as she often overcompensates on her left and is forced to rush, but when she is given time and space, she can do a lot of damage down the ground.

#32 Abby Hobson

Another double bottom-ager who has shown promising signs, Hobson booted two goals in the loss, reading the flight of the ball well and converting when given her opportunities. She almost had a third in the opening 20 seconds of the fourth quarter but the long range attempted bounced to the right for a behind.

Sandringham Dragons:

#12 Annabelle Embelton

Embelton started the game a little rough when trying to run from the back 50 but losing the ball on the second bounce and having to rush the kick which was turned over. That was followed by being outmarked in the marking contest, but after that stepped up to have an influence. She produced a strong run-down tackle on the wing in the second term and would provide an aerial presence at half-back, looking to penetrate the defensive zone with her powerful kick.

#16 Isabel Bacon

The standout Dragon on the day, Bacon smashed her previous high of 14 disposals in Dragons colours to record 22 touches in the win. She was a prime mover who looked to burst away and thump it down the ground, working well inside and outside the stoppages. Her tackling pressure was also high, following on from the previous week where she caught the eye. The Vic Metro member built good form heading into the national carnival and though she still has areas to work on, is a raw talent.

#21 Daisy Flockart

Showing a touch of class throughout the day, Flockart only had the 14 disposals, but they contained five inside 50s and two behinds. Though she could have made more of those chances, she did set up a number of scoring opportunities, and likes to create her own space to buy time to kick forward.

#46 Scout Howden

Piecing together an ultra-reliable season, Howden had another 20-plus touches for the fourth time in six games – with the other two being 19 – playing along a wing. She covers the ground well and had a bit more offensive flair in this game. Though her execution needs tidying up, she gains plenty of meterage by looking to run at any opportunity she gets.

#51 Jacinta Boyd

A bottom-ager who caught the eye, the 173cm forward booted a goal from 14 touches in her best game to-date. She has been building throughout the season, and while she has not had the reward on the scoreboard too often, looked like she had taken a step forward in Round 11. She kicked a goal out of noting in the 18th minute mark of the first term, then set up another one early in the second term.

  • Team
  • Murray Bushrangers
  • Western Jets

Murray Bushrangers:

#1 Destiny Dodd

Trying hard all game, Dodd competed as an undersized ruck and held her own with a nice vertical leap. She cracked in and found her fair share of the football, and though she has played as a leading forward, worked hard into defence to mop up too. Dodd recorded 20 disposals, six marks, six tackles, eight hitouts, five inside 50s and three rebound 50s, symbolising just how much ground she covered and the positions she got into in order to help her team.

#9 Holly Egan

Provided an intercept presence in the back half of the ground Egan took a number of strong marks and spread out to be an option from the kickouts. She is right foot dominant and occasionally takes a split second too long to dispose of it by foot, but can use it well by hand and is not afraid to take the game on and run.

#43 Majella Day

The first 2008-born player to take the field in the 2023 season, Day showed why she had been selected with an impressive 21-disposal game. She took a number of strong marks and played predominantly off half-back. Getting forward, Day nailed a goal on the run from 45m out. In the third term, she had a nice play 10 minutes into the quarter where she burst off half-back, took two bounces but the second spilled away. She recovered to win it, turn Henry inside out and hit up Paige Duffy well. Day then went on to receive the ball back and kick inside 50, showing her work rate and multiple efforts.

Western Jets:

#9 Sierra Grieves

Though Grieves has been a dominant midfielder this season, she showed her cards as to where she might play for Vic Metro when starting forward and rolling through the middle at times. She kicked two goals in the first term and had a massive impact on the game, still getting into the right spots to win the ball. If she was not kicking them, she was setting up here teammates, hitting up multiple targets on the lead.

#10 Tamara Henry

Rotating with Grieves spending more time in midfield then rolling forward, Henry was involved in the first goal of the game putting it inside 50 to McBride-Loane who found Grieves, then kicked her own goal in the second term. It involved multiple possessions in a chain and Henry showed the composure to finish off cleanly. She kicked her second goal out of nothing later in the third term then took a number of strong marks, including a confident pluck in the middle o the ground in the fourth term. Building nicely this season.

#11 Lou-Lou Field

Stepping back into the team for the first time since Round 8, Field was back to her best picking up 21 touches, taking seven marks and having six rebound 50s. Though she copped a crunching tackle in the second term, she recovered to play on and was able to be that key distributor out of defence. Often mopping up and kicking long, she was consistent in the air and reliable by foot, ensuring the Bushrangers attackers did not have it easy.

#14 Kiera Whiley

The skipper was the extractor on the inside, showing clean hands firing out quick handballs and then winning clearances out the back of stoppages. Able to kick off both sides, Whiley was a little fumbly at ground level, but her defensive pressure was outstanding again, laying eight tackles. She also enjoyed the freedom of being on the end of a win with a greater attacking presence forward of the ball.

#30 Alex McBride-Loane

In her second Jets game, the double bottom-ager came alive up forward, clunking four marks from 17 disposals and having numerous shots on goal. Though her maiden major will have to wait for at least another week, she was constantly involved and even moved into the ruck at times. She has the traits you like to see from a developing key forward, and though she is strong and powerful, is mobile too, covering the ground well.

  • Team
  • GWV Rebels
  • Dandenong Stingrays

GWV Rebels:

#5 Jessica Rentsch

Leading from the front in the first term, Rentsch was enormous winning a stack of touches coming off half-back and trying her best to quell the strong Dandenong influence with that swirly breeze. She not only kicked long, but tried to run as well and a lot of her disposals came from that opening quarter. Though a little less influential later in the game, she still presented in transition and and tried hard all match.

#15 Millie Lang

Donning the long sleeves for the game, it did not affect her ability to impact the game, mopping up in defence and being an intercept force. She took some strong marks and played aggressive, going up the ground. At one stage in the third term, Lang had a clean pickup against Sophie Butterworth and was able to fire a bullet handball away to a teammate in space between opponents.

#17 Claire Mahony

A developing bottom-age has a remarkably consistent form line this season, with between 10-13 touches in her six games and she had another 12 on the weekend. Though only registering one behind – touched on the line – which was unlucky. Boasting nice athleticism for a 181cm talent, she also laid a good smother on the wing in the second term.

Dandenong Stingrays:

#1 Bianca Lyne

The versatile tall has played in all three lines and on the weekend she continued her experiment in defence where she has spent the last few games. It seems to be the best spot for her, as she possesses good closing speed and can clunk marks. Her execution by foot needs work but she intercepted well and is able to time her spoils well one-on-one. In the best form of her season currently.

#6 Jemma Ramsdale

The skipper was one of the more influential Stingrays from the back 50, taking a strong intercept mark in the third term and applying defensive pressure across the match. Though she had one brain fade soccering it off the deck to go out on the full coming from defence, she had a lot of positives in her game. Ramsdale finished with 19 disposals six tackles and four rebound 50s.

#7 Mikayla Williamson

The AFLW Academy member was everywhere across the game and found plenty of the ball, even getting forward to kick a major from a set shot midway through the third term. Her disposal was not as clean by hand in the game, rushing handballs under pressure, but she worked hard to get into ball-winning positions and put her body on the line. A game-high 25 touches as well as five inside 50s, three rebound 50s and eight tackles.

#23 Zoe Besanko

Burst onto the scene in the first term with three first quarter goals to spark the Stingrays and never looked back. Two of those majors came in the first two minutes and she looked incredibly dangerous around goal. An athletic tall who rotates with Symonds into the ruck, Besanko has some nice raw ability to her game, finishing with four majors and a best on ground performance.

#45 Elli Symonds

The bottom-age ruck was the key ruck in the game and had a great battle with Laila Lappin. She not only possesses a big leap, but also gets down and lays fierce tackles as a follow-up. One with high potential, her kicking was more influential this week, kicking long down the ground which was important considering the conditions.

  • Team
  • Bendigo Pioneers
  • Oakleigh Chargers

Bendigo Pioneers:

#2 Steph Demeo

The running defender tried hard all day in what was a tough match for defenders, often undersized against her opponents. She did lose out to Gladman a couple of times, but at least provided some run and carry coming out of the back 50. She was generally composed and showed good vision in defence dishing off to running options when required.

#5 Lucia Painter

Bendigo’s best for the day, Painter had to step up after injuries to fellow ball-winners Lila Keck and Jemmika Douglas in the first quarter. She was powerful around the stoppages and had a particularly strong first half, trying to thump the ball down the field. Her work from the stoppage to power away and kick inside 50 was impressive, though was beaten a few times by Tallariti around the stoppages. Otherwise she had a lot of the ball on her terms, particularly when working into defence and getting involved in moving it down the ground quickly.

#14 Bryde O’Rourke

Stepping up in midfield, O’Rourke got some serious minutes on-ball this week, starting the second quarter in the middle. She was able to win a few clearances and showed her burst speed though did turn the ball over a few times. Still, her defensive pressure was up, saving a potential goal with a brilliant run-down, lunging tackle in the final moments of the third term.

Oakleigh Chargers:

#2 Sarah Poustie

One of the prominent ball-winners on the day, Poustie was everywhere across the ground, with. particularly prolific second term. She used both sides of her body and was able to dispose of the ball quickly, rolling between the wing and inside. Though not always having the same amount of space as she is accustomed to, Poustie covered the ground well and won the ball in each third of the ground. She also set up a number of goals with her disposal inside 50.

#3 Sienna Tallariti

After a quieter start, Tallariti was moved into the midfield to see more of the action and had a massive second half. She was influential around the stoppages, winning three in three minutes, and looking every bit the bonafide midfielder. She continued that form in the final term, playing a more attacking role and setting up two of Gladman’s goals with pinpoint passes lace out in the last 10 minutes.

#6 Maggie Mahony

Along with Poustie, the tenacious small found plenty of the ball once again, winning 23 touches. A lot of those were in close, as she fired off quick handballs or cleared the ball from congestion with quick kicks. She set up a goal in the second term with a kick deep that was claimed on the goal line. Never taking a backwards step, Mahony was consistent across the match.

#21 Amelie Gladman

The dominant player not just in the game, but across the round, Gladman slammed home a ridiculous nine goals, and even missed a few chances along the way.Not only was she kicking them from set shots, but on the run, making one-one-one and playing on, and even launching them from 45m out to bounce home. It was as complete of a performance from a forward as you could expect, and far from someone who might get a few cheapies, she worked for her goals.

#23 Maiya Stobie

Assisting Gladman in that forwardline, Stobie provided some great defensive pressure inside 50 and looked lively around goals, booting two goals from 10 disposals. She kicked her first seven minutes into the second term from a clever snap and then another after receiving a 50m penalty to go to the goalline.

#37 Chloe Bown

In just her second Talent League game, the 2007-born Bown was a standout for the Chargers, picking up a game-high 24 disposals and nine inside 50s. She is a clean ball user by hand or foot, and capable of extracting it from the stoppage and setting up scoring opportunities. Equally, she is a clean ground level player, and for someone who is 12 days off being a triple bottom-ager has the traits to watch in the future.

  • Team
  • Tasmania Devils
  • Geelong Falcons

Tasmania Devils:

#2 Ava Read

While Mason was getting it done down the other end, Read did all she could for her side, kicking four goals from nine touches. Not having many chances, she showed her footy IQ by winning the ball in general play a couple of times and just getting her boot to ball before anyone else had reacted. Along with a couple of close-range set shots, she had a big day out even if they all came in the second half.

#9 Mia Anderson

Coming into her own the last two weeks minus some of the Devils’ top-end talent, Anderson has enjoyed. the extra responsibilities that come with midfield minutes. She is able to play behind the ball a fair bit and win it from there, not afraid to take the game on in transition. She can be a little hit and miss with her efficiency, but overall has a lot of positives to her game.

#10 Meg Harrison

The bottom-age midfielder caught the eye this game because of her willingness to take the ball and go. She is a determined player who backs up for multiple contest efforts. Picking up a season-high 20 disposals, Harrison also took six marks, had four inside 50s and three rebound 50s, covering the ground well. Of her games this season, the performance on the weekend was her most consistent four-quarter effort.

Geelong Falcons:

#4 Caitlin Charles

As a small forward, Charles brings the pressure and the scoreboard impact and has now scored in each of her pat three games while having greater impact up the field. After failing to crack into double-digits in her first five games, she is averaging 16 disposals per game the past three weeks, and has kicked four goals in that span. She has the smarts inside 50 and can create her own space. Her eight tackles were another impressive element to her game.

#7 Sara Howley

In what has become commonplace for Howley, she had another 33 disposals and booted 2.2 in a best on ground performance. She was sublime with her ability to win it at the coalface and burst forward, then hitting leading targets on the run. Similarly she makes those extra efforts to find space inside 50 and mark uncontested to take set shots herself. Her first goal came from a set shot, with her second being a snap on the run. Her burst and impact on each game is clear, and she is set for a big national carnival.

#24 Chantal Mason

Her numbers jump off the page the past month, and her form continued yet again with a craZy six goals from 18 disposals. Providing a marking target inside 50, she kicked four of her goals from set shots, including a clever mark in the goalsquare after another set shot fell short. She remained alert and used her body well, something she has done impressively of late. Mason also missed a chance or two she should have gobbled up but still filled her boots to make it 21 goals in four games.

#25 Chloe Adams

The Geelong Falcons skipper returned to the team to play a consistent game across the board and finish with 25 disposals and six inside 50s. Playing a more attacking brand than earlier in the year, Adams has been effective forward or centre and set up a number of goals when exiting stoppages. She had an early chance on goal she missed, but the work she did to set up her teammates did not go unnoticed.

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