Young’s tops AFLW U18s goalkicking charts

TOP AFL Women’s Draft prospect Lauren Young lived up to expectations in her return from an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury by taking out the leading goalkicker title at the AFLW Under 18 Championships. The South Australian star won an MVP two years ago as a 15-year-old, and after missing all of 2022, came back to star in the tri-colours as a marking forward.

Young slotted nine goals from three games, with hauls of five (against Vic Metro), three (Western Australia) and one (Queensland) to be two clear of the next highest goalkicker. Though capable of playing in midfield or defence – the latter she did for a period of time against the Sandgropers – Young settled in attack and looked dangerous each time she went near it.

Vic Metro bottom-ager Emma McDonald finished with the highest goal-per-game average of 3.5. Despite being rotated out of the side against South Australia as that under-age prospect, McDonald kicked seven goals combined in her other matches. Five of those came in Metro’s opening match of the national carnival against the Allies.

Showing the future talent coming through the pathway, double bottom-ager Dekota Baron kicked five majors from two games, and had a lot of chances that went close as the key target for Queensland inside 50. Her top-age Maroons teammate Evie Long kicked a goal in each of the three matches to end her carnival on five as well.

Six players ended the tournament with four goals, including MVPs India Rasheed (South Australia) and Ash Centra (Vic Country). West Australian late inclusion Rosie Anderson kicked four across two games, while AFLW Academy members, Rania Crozier and Alyssia Pisano, and Metro pocket rocket Ava Jordan were the others with four majors to their names.


#1 | Lauren Young (South Australia) – 9
#2 | Emma McDonald (Vic Metro) – 7
eq. #3 | Dekota Baron (Queensland) – 5
eq. #3 | Evie Long (Queensland) – 5
eq. #5 | India Rasheed (South Australia) – 4
eq. #5 | Ash Centra (Vic Country) – 4
eq. #5 | Rosie Anderson (Western Australia) – 4
eq. #5 | Rania Crozier (Queensland) – 4
eq. #5 | Alyssia Pisano (Vic Metro) – 4
eq. #5 | Ava Jordan (Vic Metro) – 4


Vic Country bottom-ager Sara Howley continued her outstanding 2023 season by averaging 25.3 disposals across her three national carnival games. She marginally shaded reigning tournament MVP Shineah Goody (24.3). South Australian inside midfielder Brooke Boileau (22.0 disposals), Metro best and fairest winner Laura Stone (20.5 from two games) and Rasheed (20.3) round out the top five.

Goody and Metro MVP Kayley Kavanagh shared top billing with the clearances, recording 17 apiece across their three matches. Kiera Whiley (15), Boileau (13) and Howley (12) complete the top five clearance winners.

Bottom-age star Havana Harris recorded 51 hitouts – at an average of 17 per match – despite spending half of her time as a midfielder. She narrowly shaded West Australian bottom-ager Kate Newson (16.7) and South Australian Jacinda Schunselaar (16), while Vic Country’s Elli Symonds averaged 16 hitouts across two games.

Defensively, a couple of skippers lead the way. Vic Country’s Chloe Adams and Queensland’s Josie McCabe laid 22 tackles – and equal carnival-high – while Tasmanian Mackenzie Ford had 21 tackles from two matches. Queensland bottom-ager Tara Harrington (20) laid just one more than South Australian duo Elaine Grigg and Rasheed.

Allies’ Mackenzie Williams managed to top the rebound 50s count despite only playing two matches. The bottom-age defender recorded 14 at an average of seven per match across the carnival. Vic Metro’s Ava Campbell had 13, while South Australian Jemma Charity and West Australian MVP Evie Cowcher had 12 apiece. Queensland defender Kiara Bischa (11) rounded out the top five.

Up the other end, West Australian speedster Zippy Fish cruised to a competition-high 18 inside 50s across her three matches She finished four clear of Harris (14), with South Australian Jasmine Evans (13) and Howley (12). South Australian skipper Piper Window and Queensland duo Ava Usher and Nyalli Milne all had 11.

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