AFLW 23 Under 23: #16 Tarni Evans

OVER the next three weeks, Rookie Me Central will be counting down our 23 Players Under 23 years of age to watch in the upcoming 2023 season. The criteria is the player must be born in 2001 or later, and must have played at least one AFL Women’s match in Season 7. As the list is completely subjective, the opinion is that of the individual author.

#16 Tarni Evans (GWS GIANTS)

DOB: 01/02/2002
Height: 178cm
Position: Defender
Games: 19

Tarni Evans was one of a number of junior footballers who started their journeys on the south east coast of New South Wales. Taking up a spot with the Tathra Eaglettes, Evans chose to move to a stronger AFL Canberra league where she ran around the Queanbeyan. There, she was spotted for the AFLW Academy and quickly became known as an athletic utility with an outstanding endurance rate.

Evans was selected with Pick 9 in the 2020 AFL Women’s Draft, and like many that year, had her top-age season curtained by the global pandemic. Still, she made her debut in Round 1 of the 2021 season and played seven games that season, spending 83 per cent time on ground and averaging the 8.6 disposals. She would only add two more in Season 6 due to injury. Then came a breakout season with the GIANTS in Season 7.


Games: 10
Goals: 1
Disposals: 14.7
Disposal Efficiency: 72.8
Marks: 2.5
Tackles: 2.2
Metres Gained: 287
Inside 50s: 1.4
Rebound 50s: 3.7
Intercepts: 4.9
Time of Ground %: 83.5

Evans played all 10 games for the GIANTS, and while her side ultimately missed out on playing finals, the utility settled into the defensive 50 where she had a breakout season. Averaging 14.7 disposals, 2.5 marks and 3.7 rebound 50s, perhaps Evans’ greatest trait was her ability to create run and carry for the GIANTS. She picked up an average of 287 metres gained per match, while boasting a disposal efficiency of 72.8 per cent.

Only twice did Evans’ metres gained dip below 200, and she recorded above 65 per cent disposal efficiency in all bar one of her 10 games. Her best game came in Round 5 against Adelaide, where Evans finished with a career-high 22 disposals, as well as three marks, two tackles, five rebound 50s and 489 metres gained. It was a highlight in her season, but Evans also finished off the year in style, getting more and more confident.


In Season 8, Evans looms as one to watch not jus for the GIANTS, but across the league. The 21-year-old is capable of not just slotting into defence, but playing a role anywhere on the field, credit to her athleticism, endurance and versatility. Though unable to play finals in Season 7, Evans and the core group of young talents will be hoping to drive GWS into the post-season series.

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