2023 Rookie Me Central WAFLW Team of the Year

SIX players from ladder leaders and premiership favourites Claremont have made it into the 2023 Rookie Me Central WAFL Women’s Team of the Year. The Tigers had two more than second placed South Fremantle (four), while East Fremantle, Swan Districts, Subiaco and West Perth all had three apiece. Peel Thunder recorded two players in the team, while East Perth was the only side without a representative.

The team is revealed line-by-line with the number inside the bracket indicating how many Team of the Week nominations the player had this year.


B: Ebony Dowson (Peel Thunder – 10) – Evie Cowcher (Peel Thunder – 9) – Jess Roper (West Perth – 6)
HB: Zippy Fish (East Fremantle – 7) – Olivia Crane (Subiaco – 5) – Kloe Bassett (South Fremantle – 6)

Without a doubt the two standout Peel Thunder players this year have been skipper Ebony Dowson and young gun Evie Cowcher. Both have been relentless in the back half of the ground, in what has ultimately been a tough year for the Thunder. Dowson is no stranger to success though having played through Peel’s successful era, while Cowcher was in her debut season.

Also in her debut season, fellow double bottom-ager Olivia Crane holds down the centre half-back position. She spent time in the midfield as well, but burst onto the scene as an intercepting half-back, a role she plays at the national carnival for the Under 18s squad. East Fremantle defender/midfielder Fish is one of the slickest players in the WAFL Women’s and earns her place at half-back.

Rounding out the back six is West Perth’s Jess Roper and South Fremantle’s Kloe Bassett. Roper made the Team of the Year as well last year, and has been consistent in the Falcons’ defence, making six Team of the Week’s to qualify, the same amount as Bassett. The South Fremantle defender has had a breakout season also pushing up the ground at times. Both players recorded one more Team of the Week nomination than fellow general defender Claire Ortlepp.


C: Beth Beckett (East Fremantle – 7) – Tarnica Golisano (Subiaco – 9) – Ruby Mahony (Swan Districts – 7)
R: Ariana Hetherington (South Fremantle – 11) – Jayme Harken (Claremont – 11) – Matilda Sergeant (Claremont – 7)

The two equal highest represented players fill out the ruck line with South Fremantle ruck Ariana Hetherington and Claremont midfielder Jayme Harken both recording 11 Team of the Week nominations. It means the pair share the co-captaincy of the team after outstanding seasons. Fittingly, Harken has won the most disposals this season, with Hetherington having the most hitouts.

Completing the inside midfield is another Tiger in Matilda Sergeant and Subiaco skipper Tarnica Golisano. The duo with Harken are the only three players to average more than 20 disposals this season from seven or more games. Golisano recorded nine Team of the Week nominations, while Sergeant managed the seven.

Though the two players on the wings are not natural wingers, seven nominations earns a starting spot in the team which is the case for East Fremantle’s Beth Beckett and Swan Districts’ Ruby Mahony. Beckett is ranked fourth in the league for total disposals, while Mahony ranks first at Swan Districts.


HF: Jacinta Valentini (Claremont – 7) – Bethany Bond (South Fremantle – 6) – Tiah Toth (Subiaco – 6)
F: Courtney Zappara (Swan Districts – 5) – Adele Arnup (Claremont – 5) – Taylah Edwards (Swan Districts – 4)

The forwardline is incredibly dangerous with a couple of Swans and Tigers lining up. The two talls selected are Swan Districts’ Bethany Bond and Claremont’s Adele Arnup, with the latter winning the league goalkicking and the former being the next highest goalscoring key position player with more than three nominations.

Swan Districts duo Courtney Zappara and Taylah Edwards are in respective pockets after five and four nominations respectively. Zappara finished second overall in the league goalkicking, while Edwards finished equal fourth.

Completing the front six is some experience in Claremont’s Jacinta Valentini and Subiaco’s Tiah Toth. Valentini had the seven Team of the Week nominations to be an automatic starter, while Toth was one behind with six.


INT: Emily Bennett (West Perth – 6) – Taylor Ferguson (West Perth – 5) – Ashleigh Gomes (East Fremantle – 6)
INT: Kate Orme (Claremont – 4) – Claire Ortlepp (Claremont – 5) – Lauren Vecchio (South Fremantle – 3)

The interchange allows for interpretation and objectivity to complete the lineup. However, those with six nominations started the bench, which included East Fremantle captain Ashleigh Gomes and West Perth midfielder Emily Bennett. They are also their respective side’s highest ball winners.

A second West Perth player – Taylor Ferguson – is also on the bench, as the specialist winger in the team. She had five Team of the Week nominations, as did Claire Ortlepp who was nominated five times. The Claremont defender was the next highest nominated player from her position.

The last two places to round out the team were chosen with a combination of nominations and overall impact. Kate Orme had the four nominations, but was the highest disposal winner remaining who had played more than five games. South Fremantle skipper Lauren Vecchio had the least nominations of anyone in the team with three, but came close on several occasions, and after Orme was the next most productive ball-winner.


EMG: Matilda Dyke (Claremont – 4) – Jeevna Heer (West Perth – 5) – Anjelique Raison (East Fremantle – 3)

The three emergencies were chosen off a number of factors. West Perth winger Jeevna Heer was the only player with five nominations who just missed out on the team and therefore was a monty to be an emergency. Matilda Dyke earned four nominations and prior to being drafted was the standout ruck with Hetherington. Meanwhile, Anjelique Raison kicked the most goals of the remaining nominees and secure the third spot.


B: Ebony Dowson (Peel Thunder) – Evie Cowcher (Peel Thunder) – Jess Roper (West Perth)
HB: Zippy Fish (East Fremantle) – Olivia Crane (Subiaco) – Kloe Bassett (South Fremantle)
C: Beth Beckett (East Fremantle) – Tarnica Golisano (Subiaco) – Ruby Mahony (Swan Districts)
HF: Jacinta Valentini (Claremont) – Bethany Bond (South Fremantle) – Tiah Toth (Subiaco)
F: Courtney Zappara (Swan Districts) – Adele Arnup (Claremont) – Taylah Edwards (Swan Districts)
R: Ariana Hetherington (South Fremantle – c) – Jayme Harken (Claremont – c) – Matilda Sergeant (Claremont)
INT: Emily Bennett (West Perth) – Taylor Ferguson (West Perth ) – Ashleigh Gomes (East Fremantle) – Kate Orme (Claremont) – Claire Ortlepp (Claremont) – Lauren Vecchio (South Fremantle)

EMG: Matilda Dyke (Claremont) – Jeevna Heer (West Perth) – Anjelique Raison (East Fremantle)

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments