Scouting notes: 2023 Rogers Cup Grand Final

WEST Perth completed an undefeated season running out three-point winners over South Fremantle at Mineral Resources Park on the weekend. The Falcons left it until the final few minutes to kick the winning goal – which came via a checkside from Molly Conroy. South Fremantle led the entire way and looked likely to have it in the bag, but one last charge from West Perth saw the Falcons get over the line, 3.4 (22) to 2.7 (19).

South Fremantle led by as much as 17 points in the second term, before West Perth struck with three second half goals. Grand Final MVP Mia Russo helped set up Samara Sallie with the first, before Kaitlyn Roper hit-up Chloe Shearing for a crucial goal on the edge of the three quarter time break.

Earlier in the game it was all South Fremantle, with Renee Morgan dropping back to Rogers Cup level after a successful stint at WAFLW, and she kicked a great goal in the second term, back up Alira Fotu‘s opening major three minutes into the contest.

The game was on the line right until the end with South Fremantle attacking in the final minute but unable to get a mark close enough to goal. The Falcons locked the ball up in the back pocket to seal the game and win the premiership.

WEST PERTH 0.1 | 0.2 | 2.4 | 3.4 (22)
SOUTH FREMANTLE 1.3 | 2.6 | 2.6 | 2.7 (19)



#14 Kaitlyn Roper

Starred on the day with a strong performance through midfield and dropped back to help out the defence time and time again. The best four-quarter performer of the day and had the ball on a string throughout the contest. Her power at the stoppages and ability to win repeat possessions was important, and she set up the third quarter goal to Shearing. Influential all across the ground. Her performance will be detailed in our Player Focus this week.

#15 Mia Russo

Named best on ground to add to her growing array of awards this season, the two-time Rogers Cup Best and Fairest shook off a tag from Summer Mollross in the first half to have an impact in the second half. She set up the Falcons’ first goal with a burst going inside 50, and won her fair share of it at the coalface and around the ground. She always caught the eye with ball-in-hand and though she was subdued in that first half by her standards, still showed she can do enough in a half to earn the best on ground award.

#19 Paige Dodunski

Played a key role on the last line mopping up in defence on a number of occasions. She would have saved a number of goals from the opposition with her dedication back there, and held her own one-on-one. Though sometimes forced to bomb down the line, tried to take some grass at the right times and play the percentages long to the boundary.

#24 Samara Sallie

Was up there with Roper and Russo as a prime ball-winner and won a fair bit of it in each third of the ground. She would roll between the arcs, drop back when needed then sneak forward. In the third term she won a holding the ball free kick and converted the set shot for the Falcons’ first of the contest. Sallie had an opportunity to kick a second with a snap close to goal from a set shot but was smothered. Still developing some fundamentals in her game, she was an exciting talent.

#36 Kyra Abbott

Kept bobbing up when required, Abbott looked a lively type in attack. She kept presenting and did well defensively too. She was unlucky not to hit the scoreboard herself, but a deep kick in the final few moments set up the goal to Conroy which won the game. Worked hard all match and while it was not always on her terms, she caught the eye with her power and determination to kick long.


#2 Madison Hadley

There is not much of the 152cm forward, but Hadley showed her class in the forward half of the ground and her ability to find space. She set up the goal to Morgan in the second term and is quick with releasing the ball by hand or foot. Though she can sometimes be outmuscled or rushed into bombing it forward, she was a lively player for the Bulldogs.

#14 Jasmine Bazeley

Dropping back to Rogers Cup level after a stint in the League side, Bazeley had some nice moments throughout the game with some attempts to take it on and kick inside 50. She sometimes had to go long without a particular target but looked good off the left with less pressure than at senior level. Unfortunately she came off hurt midway through the final term.

#20 Renee Morgan

To put it simply she was too good for Rogers Cup level, and the fact she spent six games in the League side, it really showed. She won the ball at will throughout the game, showed off her ability to step around opponents, as well as a knack to kick on either side of her body. Time and time again she would get to the right spots between half-back and midfield, and then she rotated forward and kicked that important goal in the second term, wrestling it off hands to snap with the outside of her boot.

#28 Alira Fotu

The exciting tall has all the traits to be a top talent in the future. Though raw, Fotu has an outstanding vertical leap, nice athleticism and clean hands at ground level. She set up a number of teammates for scoring opportunities and was the first on the board in the third minute of the opening term from a quick snap. Like many others, she is a 2007-born, 178cm utility and her scope for improvement is large. With more time in the system, she is a player that could become anything and she looked like the one to win the match for the Bulldogs working well with Morgan in tandem.

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