2023 AFLW U17 Futures preview

NEXT year’s draft hopefuls will get an early chance to impress AFL Women’s National Academy selectors at this weekend’s Under 17 Futures match. The clash takes place at Kinetic Stadium in Frankston tomorrow morning, and we take a look at the sides and players to watch.


Team Harris has some incredibly talented talls, highlighted by reigning AFLW Under 18 Championships MVP Havana Harris who will have the versatility to play midfield and forward rather than ruck. Elli Symonds will likely be the main ruck in the side, with fellow Victorians, Ash Centra and Millie Lang as bookends. Lang’s GWV Rebels teammate Claire Mahony will add extra marking power inside 50, while South Australian Lucy Boyd may return to defence given the tall timber up the forward end.

Looking into the midfield and the fact Harris provides a big frame in that will complement the likes of Sophie McKay and Kyla Forbes in there. Speedy wingers in Molly O’Hehir and Ella Parker will add to the team balance with the likes of Tatyana Perry and Emma Juneja also able to roll up there. Off the bench, both Tamika Rourke and Sarah Poustie provide fantastic depth.

From attacking options, the premier small forward in Noa McNaughton could do a lot of damage, while the classy Jasmine Evans and speedy Nyalli Milne will add a point of difference there. As a third tall option, Eastern Ranges’ Georgie Brisbane is in the forward pocket, while Claudia Wright has enormous upside, and Coby Morgan is another blistering fast forward.

In defence, the reliability of Lou-Lou Field, along with three running types in Zimra Hussain, Tatyana Perry and Emma Juneja will add further balance up that end. Overall, it is hard to fault what the team could look like, and certainly has that balance of talls and smalls.


B: Lou-Lou Field – Lucy Boyd – Zimra Hussain
HB: Tatyana Perry – Millie Lang – Emma Juneja
C: Molly O’Hehir – Kyla Forbes – Ella Parker
HF: Jasmine Evans – Ash Centra – Nyalli Milne
F: Noa McNaughton – Claire Mahony – Georgie Brisbane
R: Elli Symonds – Havana Harris – Sophie McKay
INT: Coby Morgan – Sarah Poustie – Tamika Rourke – Claudia Wright


As for Team Schleicher, it will look to rely on plenty of speed, as well as having versatility in defence. The defensive back six is highlighted by athletic duo, Charlotte Riggs and Grace Baba, while intercept marker Sienna Tallariti will take on a strong key defender. All-Australian Jemma Charity could play anywhere but has been put in defence again for this hypothetical, while West Australian Natasha Entwistle and Queenslander Tara Harrington will roll into the midfield at times.

Up the other end, the contested marking ability of Emma McDonald will be a focal point for the side as she teams up with another athletic tall in Zoe Besanko. Surrounding them are a mosquito fleet of forwards, with the quartet all classy players capable of providing both run and skilful passing inside 50. Zoe Hargreaves, Heidi Talbot, Ashley Patton and Jemma Reynolds can also do a fair bit of damage on the scoreboard.

The midfield combination is where the team shines, with the speed of Zippy Fish and Sara Howley capable of breaking the lines and hitting targets inside 50. Sierra Grieves will relish her time at the clearances, while Queensland ruck Lilly Baker is the sole pure ruck in the side. On the wings, Meg Harrison and Violet Patterson, though Harrison will likely spend time inside as well.

Off the bench, teh likes of Emma Stark and late inclusion Sophie Strong will provide some nice dash, while Lucy Thompson can fill a variety of roles. Northern Territory’s Amber Wunungmurra rounds out the squad and played one game at Talent League level for the Thunder and gets her chance to impress.


B: Sienna Tallariti – Grace Baba – Jemma Charity
HB: Natasha Entwistle – Charlotte Riggs – Tara Harrington
C: Meg Harrison – Zippy Fish – Violet Patterson
HF: Zoe Hargreaves – Emma McDonald – Ashley Patton
F: Jemma Reynolds – Zoe Besanko – Heidi Talbot
R: Lilly Baker – Sara Howley – Sierra Grieves
INT: Emma Stark – Sophie Strong – Lucy Thompson – Amber Wunungmurra


There are a number of players unavailable for the clash who would be set to play in the game, starting with Tasmanian Mackenzie Williams, who was originally selected. South Australian MVP India Rasheed and state teammates Georgia McKee, Shae Archbold (both ACL injuries), and Poppy Scholz are also missing. One of the top Victorian talents in Bendigo Pioneers’ Lucia Painter is also injured.

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