AFLW U18s Player Focus: Kiera Whiley (Vic Metro)

WESTERN Jets skipper and AFLW Academy member Kiera Whiley is a good all-round player who can be a natural contested ball-winner, or slot onto a flank or a wing when required. In Vic Metro’s victory over Vic Country, Whiley almost exclusively played inside midfield, where she ran at an elite 80 per cent in both her efficiency and contested rate.

Whiley’s performance was put under the microscope in our latest AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships Player Focus.

2023 AFLW Under 18 Championships
Vic Metro 7.10 (52) def. Vic Country 5.6 (36)

STATS: 15 disposals (6 kicks, 9 handballs | 80% efficiency, 86.7% contested), 6 clearances, 6 tackles, 2 inside 50s


Kiera Whiley started the game in the middle on Mikayla Williamson and won her first touch just 12 seconds into the contest. She won the loose ball stepped back away from a would-be tackler and dished off the handball to Jacinta Hose.

Around the ground, Whiley lined up on a number of opposition midfielders, with Williamson (six times), Tyla Crabtree (three) and Sara Howley (once). Her next touch was a handball to Hayley McLaughlin at the five-minute mark which came from a spill in close.

At the 11:20 mark, Whiley won the ball in defensive 50 but was immediately tackled. She applied a half tackle a couple of minutes later after Williamson won a one-on-one contest. Whiley would continue to apply pressure to opponents with another half-tackle on Elli Symonds at half-back shortly before earning her third touch at the 17:52 mark which was a handball away as she was tackled to ground.


Whiley started the quarter as the defensive sweeper in the centre square, with three consecutive stoppages. In the first two minutes, she almost won the ball in close but could not take it cleanly, though went and put pressure on an opponent.

At the 6:15-minute mark, Whiley went against Crabtree in a one-on-one contest and laid a good tackle when her opponent won the ball. She crashed in to win a contested groundball at the 6:43 mark where Whiley ripped it from an opponent at ground level to shovel it out even without it being a clear disposal.

Whiley continued to play the sweeper role throughout the quarter, with her highlight coming at the 11-minute mark. At the centre stoppage, Whiley won it off the perfect tap from Jess Vukic, took Laila Lappin on, and when teammate Kayley Kavanagh provided a block on Crabtree to allow Whiley to run. She took the extra few seconds after looking like kicking, then produced a perfect pinpoint pass to Alyssia Pisano at half-forward.

At the 17 and a half minute mark, Whiley laid a great tackle on Williamson to win a free after the Vic Country co-captain was deemed to have thrown in. Her subsequent kick was a pinpoint pass to Sarah Poustie inside 50, with a final sixth disposal coming with a handball a second before the half-time siren.


Once again Whiley started on Williamson at the first centre bounce, but this time was on the attacking side of the ball-up. She applied good pressure from the start, and then won her first touch at the 2:44 mark. She picked up the loose ball, went to sidestep and was tackled by Symonds, but just got a spill away that was deemed a handball. At ground level she was desperate, punching the ball to space for Amy Cariss-Brett to win it.

At the 4:46 mark, Whiley produced a brilliant arm-pinning tackle on Lila Keck just outside the defensive 50 and won a free kick from the tackle. Unfortunately it ended up being Whiley’s first poor kick of the day in a direct turnover.

At the nine-minute mark she got involved close to the stoppage laying a strong tackle, then picking up a looseball and was immediately tackled by Chloe Adams. Her next touch came a minute later when Georgia Stubs put a ball in front of her. While it fell short, Whiley was clean at ground level, won the ball and dished off the handball to Emily Gough to kick inside 50.

Whiley would link up again with Gough at the 18-minute mark after a rest, winning it from the stoppage with a clean pick up. With 30 seconds left, the midfielder read the direct tap from Vukic in the third term. Moving well behind the stoppage, Whiley only had a split second but picked out the perfect kick to Cariss-Brett on the wing.


The fourth quarter was the first time that Whiley did not start in the middle, and featured at the five and a half minute mark on the wing. She had a chance to win the ball shortly after but went straight through her hands. Opposed to Crabtree again at the stoppage throughout the first half of the fourth quarter, she won her first touch at the midway point of the term.

Winning it via a handball receive off Stubs, Whiley moved well out of the congestion to kick in the front of Hayley McLaughlin in the centre of the ground off a split second. She would win a contested touch at the 16-minute mark with a handball as she was tackled that unfortunately turned over under pressure.

Over the next two minutes, Whiley won her other two disposals, with three of her four touches coming in the last four minutes of the quarter. She picked up a loose ball in defence and gave off a clean handball to Sienna Tallariti to clear from the defensive 50, and then won her last touch on the wing with two minutes to go via a handball.


Kiera Whiley is a neat AFLW Draft prospect with a good all-round balance of traits. While she does not necessarily have a standout elite trait, Whiley is as consistent as they come, with a balance between her offensive and defensive traits.

What does standout is Whiley’s ability to use her left side if needed, while her right side is calm and collected under pressure. She does win the majority of her touches at the coalface and provides some great strength in there, while being clean at ground level. Her impact around the ground is not as substantial, but she can be deployed in just about any region.

As it stands, Whiley would be considered in the second to third round range of the draft, as she has traits the clubs can rely on and know what she will produce each week. Whiley is the type of player who will always give 100 per cent and get the job done regardless of what is thrown at her. A clean and consistent ball user by hand or foot.

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